How to use games for world building

How to use games for world building

World building. There are tons of places to find inspiration for your fictional landscapes, cultures, and conflicts in your story. New writers are told to read what you want to write, not to copy, but to emulate. Books, movies, current events — they’re all fair game. But some of the most influential slices of entertainment

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Life as a Student Author | Dakota Caldwell

Life as a Student Author | Dakota Caldwell

Authors. Of all the careers in the world (with maybe the exception of the pope and deep space explorers), this particular profession elicits more mystery, reverence, and respect than any other. I mean, when someone asks you what you’re doing, tell them that you’re writing a book. Watch their reactions and tell me if I’m

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My Word for 2017

My Word for 2017

There is so much buzz going around about the year 2016, how terrible/surprising/tragic/ridiculous it was. While I felt a few personal blows last year, something more overshadowed my experience in the past ~365 days. A foul cloud of discouragement and cynicism hovered over 2016. And yet I’m not sure that this year was really worse than any other. I joined

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Creating traditions to remember

Creating traditions to remember

Do you have any holiday traditions that you loved when you were younger? For me, I loved waking up bright and early on Christmas morning. Yeah, I’m one of those. I loved tiptoeing down the hallway (on the edges of the rust-colored carpeting, so the floor wouldn’t creak and give me away), and seeing the

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Living with Intentional Thanksgiving

Living with Intentional Thanksgiving

I want to focus on gratefulness today.  I need to. Not just because it’s traditional to drown November in memes and quotes about thankfulness. But because the current state of the world makes me want to bury my head back into my pillow and hide under my cozy covers forever. My social media has worn

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Why people are worth your time

Why people are worth your time

This blog post is late. Here’s why: I’m writing to you from a messy place in my life. The dishes aren’t done, the floor could use a vacuum, and there’s an ever-present email list I need to tackle. Today — read, this week — didn’t go as planned. I had goals to divide and conquer.

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What to do with a rejection letter

What to do with a rejection letter

We’re coming up to the end of August, which for lots of people means the start of a new school year – and for everyone, it’s the beginning of autumn (bring on the pumpkin-spiced everything!). But for us at Crosshair Press, it’s the end. The end of novel edits (this is where those of you

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Realm Makers 2016: A New Trope

Realm Makers 2016: A New Trope

Note: This was supposed to be about 700 words. There is no way, my friends. No way that’s happening. In fact, this will probably my closest attempt to publishing a full-length novel. I hope you enjoy. (Feat. photo credit: Gretchen Kuykendall Engel) When I mention Realm Makers to folks, they always ask me what it

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Writing from Real Life

Writing from Real Life

If you’re a writer, and even if you’re not, odds are you’ve heard the adage, “Write what you know.” And if you’re a writer, it’s probable you’ve sat and thought, “I know about grocery shopping, my work, and living in the suburbs. There’s nothing exciting about what I know.” And so we sit and we

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What if?

What if?

Did you ever play the “What if?” game? Not necessarily the “What if I could go back in time and tell my 16-year-old self not to date that jerk,” version. No. On a bigger scale. Think more along the lines of, “What if Napoleon had successfully invaded England?” “What if Germany had won World War

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2016 TPA Conference: The Joy in Coming Full Circle

2016 TPA Conference: The Joy in Coming Full Circle

We don’t talk a lot about homeschooling here, and we probably should, since all the founders of Crosshair Press actually were homeschooled. And not just for a year or two. Not just for elementary ages. Actually, of the four of us, I’m the odd one in that I attended a private school in Houston for

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When your story hurts

When your story hurts

On Friday morning, four days ago,  my beloved aunt tried to take her own life. She shot herself in the stomach after a months-long struggle with anxiety and depression. At 11:00 a.m. my phone rang and Lauren, at 22 the oldest of their seven children and more my little sister than cousin, came on the

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