Sunday, May 6, 2018

Interview with K.M. Weiland

Hello! I had the opportunity to ask the great K.M. Weiland a couple of questions. K.M. Weiland is the author of how-to writing books as well as other works of a fiction. Look below to hear her answer a few questions about rejection and the daily life of writing that aspiring authors can surely take to heart!
K.M. Weiland bio:
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the award-winning and internationally-published author of Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

1. What was your first rejection, and how did you deal with it?Because I’ve independently published all but one of my books (and the international versions), rejection in the standard format isn’t something I’ve had to deal with too much. But my one and only query letter, for what became my second published novel Behold the Dawn, was kindly turned down by an agent who wasn’t interested in medieval fiction. It was disappointing, but not hugely, since I was already moving forward with publishing it myself.2. What does a typical writing day look like for you?Most of my days look something like this: breakfast, workout, shower, writing (outdoors, whenever possible), email and social media, lunch, more email and social media, small odds and ends, more social media, marketing/editing/big odds and ends, supper, even more email and social media, movie watching, reading, sleeping.3. What are your writing habits? Where do you like to write, and how do you do it? Pen, typewriter, Macbook?I write for two hours every day, usually from 10-12 in the morning. I start by proofreading what I wrote the day before. Then I choose a soundtrack, then open Scrivener on my computer, and start writing (which translates to “staring at the blinking cursor for at least ten minutes”).My perfectionist nature forces me to edit as I go. If I know I have a plot problem in the previous chapter, I have to go back and fix it. Otherwise, it niggles in the back of my mind and drives me crazy. So I edit a page at a time, a chapter at a time, and fifty pages at a time. Once I’ve finished my first draft, I go over it thoroughly two or three times and then send it off to my first round of beta readers. I may go over the manuscript again after receiving their corrections, but then I’ll just let the book sit in the closet for a few years while I start the process all over again with a new project. I’ll pull the manuscript out every couple months and tweak it (or majorly overhaul it, as the case may be), but not until I’ve finished my next project will I have gained enough distance from Project #1 to really see its faults.4. What is the toughest criticism you've ever been given as a writer?That’s tough. Criticism isn’t something I dwell on too much. If it’s a problem I can recognize and fix in a story, it’s relatively easy to move on from and forget about it. Probably, though, the toughest bits of criticism—the ones that hurt and stick with me for the longest—are those that are more about me as a person or my overall skills as a writer. “You can do better” is always a tough one.5. Finally, what is the best advice you have to give to aspiring authors?So many misconceptions surround the idea of plotting/outlining, and so many writers are afraid it will take the fun right out of writing. But outlining is a valuable and exciting part of the writing process. By planning the story ahead of time, we’re actually paving the way for an easier first draft, which helps us save time, which helps us write with less fear and stress, which helps us produce a better story. Outlining is about exploring everything from character backstory to theme to conflict to plot structure.

Thank you,  K.M. Weiland, for this awesome interview! I really enjoyed collaborating with you! Check out her bio below.

Why We Need To Teach Foreign Languages to Our Children

Hi! I was researching for an essay project in language arts when I came across some really cool information. I decided to write it down and share it with you! Here goes:


“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” This was spoken by Frank Smith, who is recognized for his work in the study of linguistic and cognitive psychology in the modern day world. He also said, “you can’t see other people’s point of view when you only have one language.” Everyone can benefit from learning a second language, but no one so much as children! When elementary students’ days are partially taught in another tongue such as French or Spanish, the results are immediate. Children taught as bilingual in primary school succeed better musically, connect with people of different heritages more effectively than other students, earn more money, have better jobs, receive higher test scores on important exams in high school, and can multitask much more easily than students who only speak English!
Being taught as bilingual in primary schools has an impact on a child’s future. Imagine 15 years from now. Where do you want your child to be? Any good parent wants a good job, education, home, and sound economic situation for their kid. When schools offer education in a second language, that child’s test scores are better than a primarily English learner. Taking important tests such as the ACTs and SATs impact the eligibility for colleges. This is important because getting into a good university influences your child’s prospects later in life. If he or she knows a second language, job opportunities such as international sale managers, foreign correspondents, game translators, and community representatives are all available! Multilingual individuals also earn more money than others. Studies have found that learning another language earns you approximately 67,000 more! Spanish alone will earn your child about 51,000 more in their lifetime, and a more difficult language such as German 128,000. Opposers who state that teaching foreign languages in school cost too much with too little benefits must not looked at these statistics.
Surely, learning another dialect will improve communication between your child and other members of your community. For example, let’s say that half of your child’s school day in taught in Spanish. The U.S.A. alone has more Spanish speakers than Spain, which is regularly considered as the Spanish speaking capital of the world! The U.S. has the second most Spanish speakers in the world, second only to Mexico. When our country has so many Spanish speakers, it’s almost impossible to live in this community without seeing or communicating with a Spanish speaker.
Studying another language will also improve your child’s empathy for other cultures. While some children believe that another world outside their home and town doesn’t exist, that’s far from the truth. Learning another terminology helps kids recognize how people live in other countries, which is a critical skill in our adapting world!
While Americans of any age will benefit from mulling over the fascinating languages of French, Italian, Korean, Mandarin or Latin, it’s easier for young children. According to a recent articles by and, which are both credible websites dedicated to spreading information about teaching children languages, due to something called the sponge affect, children’s brains ‘absorb’ material more effectively because their minds are still growing and adapting. While a child is beginning to learn English, introducing another language at the same time will have better results than trying to cram German or French into high schoolers’ heads.
Finally, not only does learning another language aid a scholar’s future, kids are interested! A recent survey conducted on sixth grade students in Gas City, Indiana who are currently attending RJ Baskett Middle School concluded that so much as every person was intrigued by the process of studying to become bilingual. Obviously, these are huge statistics! Spanish was the most popular dialect noted, with 35% of students contemplating this option. French was not close behind with 28%, and 8% wished to learn Korean. Russian, Italian, German, Norwegian, and Mandarin all had a 5% interest, and American Sign Language, Latin, and Japanese all snagged the bottom spot with a 3% intrigue rate. These are positive results because the languages students took the most interest in (Spanish and French) are widely spoken languages, which also produce the most effective benefits for the student!
For example, many schools across Canada and the United States with French immersion programs have cropped up. One mother says, “My son, now in grade three, ended up in French immersion by chance. But it was the best chance that ever happened to his education.” She goes on to state, “my son attends one of the best public French immersion schools in our city and absolutely loves it. It’s been interesting, inspiring and challenging for him since day one.” Other parents have had similar responses. A trustworthy article from Today’s Parent reads, “For Peter Barnes, French immersion was a walk in the park. He began in grade one, says his mother, Shereen Barnes, and took to it right away. Now in grade six, he loves immersion, and “he even seems to think in French,” says the Mississauga, Ont. mom.” While some families have not all had positive results, parents firmly declared that there was nothing wrong with the program, but “a personality thing.” Sometimes it takes a few weeks, but a strong percentage of students have benefited massively from French immersion. What we can learn from this? There are a few children who succeed better in primary English speaking schools, but a large percentage of these students have learning, cognitive, or emotional disabilities. Concluding, French immersion may be frustrating for a child who has a setback in just the English world, but average and gifted students flourish in the growing world of French immersion.
In conclusion, the expanding world of immersion and language classes for early students is a thriving and prosperous ideal our schools need to dive into. If we really want our pupils to succeed in life, and our schools to receive better statistics, we need to immerse them in the beautiful tongues of Spanish and French. Studies show rates of bilingual individuals are constantly growing. These people will shape our country’s economical, political, artistic, and cognitive future. Don’t you want to be part of the future?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance by Simone Biles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

HUGE fan of Simone Biles! Loved watching her at the Olympics in Rio. Simone tells the tale of her life in this extremely inspiring book. Sad family situation, but the story of her grandparents adopting her brought a beam to my face. In this autobiography, a real, honest-to-goodness person shines through. Biles is wonderfully humane, but still a very powerful role model for girls and boys alike. Down-to-earth, funny, and overall terrific, I would recommend this read to readers 10 to forever. Hoping to see Simone Biles at the next Olympics . . .
Hope you enjoy!

View all my reviews

Review: Threads of Blue

Threads of Blue Threads of Blue by Suzanne LaFleur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I positively adored LaFleur's first book in this series, Beautiful Blue World, and have been awaiting this book eagerly. As soon as it came out, I rushed to pick it up from the library. It was a bit of a slow start to me, but it picked up right away. I would be embarrassed that I cried over the train track scene, but I am confident enough in LaFleur's master storytelling to know that many others did too. In conclusion, fantastic read! The series seemed to come to an end, with a bittersweet conclusion that satisfied, but I am still hungry for more novels by Suzanne. Hoping a new book will come out soon!

View all my reviews

Review: Palace of Stone

Palace of Stone Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fresh, brilliant read by Shannon Hale. I felt like it was hard to get through at the start, and left it to the side at a couple points in time, but definitely a worthwhile read. The conspiracy against the new princess, Mira's friend, had me on my toes. Overall, great book! Would recommend for strong readers who enjoy suspense and are looking for a new read.

View all my reviews

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Summer Begins

Summer Begins Summer Begins by Elizabeth Doyle Carey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These cousins' friendship is totally #goals. Light, happy, and intriguing with a touch of mystery - a must read for all ages!

View all my reviews

Review: Unfriended

Unfriended Unfriended by Rachel Vail
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ADORED this book! At some points I felt as if I should roll my eyes at all the drama, but honestly, it is pretty spot on. I fell in love with every character - adorable, tough, sensitive Jack; funny, YOLO Clay; bratty, tough, sneaky Natasha; idiotic Lulu and Evangeline; cool, caring Brooke; and above all: the sensitive striver that is Truly. Would recommend this to anyone!

View all my reviews