And The Award for My New Most Favoritist Author Goes To….

Brandon Sanderson! Not that any award I’d be giving out actually means anything, but there it is. I’ve been very satisfied with every book I’ve read by Sanderson so far. He’s got some very creative ideas. So far, what I’ve read of his is other-world fantasy, and the worlds that he creates and the “rules” of these worlds are captivating.

In this post, I talked about why writers should read. I’m finding Sanderson’s books great fodder for my imagination, plus I’m taking lots of mental notes about his world building and war/battle/fighting description and his ability to give every character a distinct voice. As a writer and as a reader, I’m a fan. So I thought I’d share and recommend his books, especially Warbreaker and The Way of Kings.


I Can’t Go It Alone, and Neither Can You

For the last couple of months, I’ve been busy. Too busy to engage much with my writer’s community; it was a temporary lapse due to the life of a mother-of-two who moved to another city during the Holiday season. And that’s alright; my writing career, though important to me, simply can not be my number one priority at this time in my life. However, writing has become a priority, and it’s moved it’s way up near the top of my list over the past year. I’ve just begun to engage other writers again, to take my writing days, to look at magazines open for submission, to read and study other writer’s works (fyi: I’m loving Brandon Sanderson). Essentially, I’m getting back to the business of being a writer. 

And it hit me yet again: I can’t do this stuff by myself. I can’t be a loner. And I’m talking about the work of being a writer, yes, but also the work of just living life well. Over the past couple of months I had to withdraw myself a little bit not just from the writer’s community, but from my friends, my church family and people in general. And like I said, that’s okay. I’ve got two little rugrats, our family moved, it was the Holiday season, and our family passed around a few illnesses before it was all said and done. Sometimes we are just forced to take a step back from some things in order to give more attention to other things that are more pressing.

However, now that I’m able to re-immerse myself into community with other writers and with my friends and church family, I’m finding myself less burdened and more motivated. I personally think it’s because God created us to support one another, whether that be spiritually, physically or emotionally. Some of us need less support than others, sure, but we all need someone

In relation to being a writer, I find getting and giving support particularly important. When I’m meeting with other writers, talking about my craft, discussing aspects of what it means to be a writer, I find myself more motivated. The words flow a little easier. I see progress on my writing projects. I read novels with a student’s eye, noticing how scenes come together and learning more about making dialogue effective. 

I’m not just talking about writers here. In fact, writers who practice community with other writers, I encourage you to branch that concept out into other areas of your life. Whatever your career (STAH Parent, Artist, Musician, Teacher, etc or a combo of professions), engage others, develop relationships, and meet with other people who do what you do. Don’t try to do it alone. You can’t–not without running yourself into the ground.

Jefferson City Novelist Group

I moved to Jefferson City, MO in November, and since then I have been searching for a local writer’s group to add to my already awesome list of groups I attend. I found a group that meets at the local library once a month through a blog post of one of their former members. The most recent post I can find made about the group is in a writer’s digest forum in 2008. They are still meeting, I think, because I found them on the library’s calendar. Anyway, after some detective work, I will be dropping in and hopefully finding some new writing buddies here in JC.

However, I have decided to start a meetup group called the Jefferson City Novelist Group. I know- oh so original- but hey, whatevs. Every time I meet with other writers I feel this boost of writer-mo-jo, so the more that happens, the better, in my opinion! So, if anyone is looking for a group to meet with in Jefferson City, please check out the JCNG here.

I am hoping that this group will turn into a place where writers can come for encouragement and motivation, where they can learn and grow in their craft, and where they can just have some fun with other writers! I will head out tonight or tomorrow to post flyers around the city, and hopefully, soon, I won’t be the only member (lol…it’s looking pretty lonely on the meetup site).

Wish me luck! And thank you to all my peeps at the Columbia Novelist Group and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writer’s Guild for inspiring me every time we meet! I hope JCNG gives some writer out there the renewed excitment and motivation that those two groups give to me!

Artist Interview: Kelly Olson

I recently went on a search for an artist to work with for my novel series, and Kelly Olson made my top three picks. He works as an IT guy/librarian at the Fremont, NE library, and he enjoys reading, drawing, painting, sculpting, and computer graphics. He is also always willing to lend a hand to people in need. His website,, has examples of some of his older work. I was pleased to be able to ask Mr. Olson a few questions about his work and about his future interests insofar as working with authors as an illustrator.

Q&A: Kelly Olson Artist Interview

1. Which artistic mediums to you typically work with? Which one is your favorite and why?

My favorite medium is straight pencil and pen. I am just more comfortable with a pad and pencil to get the idea down, tight lines and shading. Then, depending on where I am going with it, either use it as reference for painting or scan in for color. More recently, due to tight deadlines, I have been working a lot more through the computer using Photoshop and Illustrator, and although comfortable with it I am never completely satisfied with the linework that is produced. 

2. It’s important for an artist and a writer working together to be compatible. If you were to work with a writer on illustrations or cover art, what kind of expectations or preferences would you have? What expectations would you expect from a writer?

I think that for the best collaboration between the writer and illustrator involving the cover would be communication and mutual respect. I think that the writer, having worked on the book, probably has a good idea of what they have in mind for a cover and are maybe not able to do it themselves, but they have a picture of something in their head and the best thing they can do is communicate that. Also, another important thing would be to not make it a rush job, because that ends up lowering the quality when the illustrator is not given a decent timeframe for what is being asked for, especially when going traditional means. 

3. Do you have any preference concerning genre when working with a writer?

I have always thought of myself to fit into more of the fantasy/sci-fi genre when it came to book covers. I think that is where my imagination is at it’s best, having grown up with an artistic family and always being introduced to the art on the covers. I have seen some pretty cool things recently on some of the more recent Young Adult books that come through the library with image manipulation, although the original ones get copied very quickly onto other books. 

4. Why do you think you would make a good illustrator or cover artist?

I have always thought that I would enjoy working on book covers and just Illustrations themselves and am always on the look out for opportunities to expand into different fields.

5. What do you love most about your craft?

I enjoy the process of art, and getting the ideas in your head and making them work on paper and seeing them come to life. It has always been a dream to work from a little studio at home and be able to work on illustrations.

6. Who is your favorite cover artist and/or illustrator? What do you like about their work?

It’s easy to say that Frank Frazzetta has to be my favorite cover artist, not to sound cliche, but there is just no question when it comes to his work and having grown up looking for different or new images from him, he is definitely a huge influence. From the layout to the figures and the color palette, the covers are just amazing. I am recently finding new (to me anyway) artists out there that continue to blow me away also, such as Mike Butkus, Andy Brase, and others. I also have been hugely influenced by comic books, especially in layouts and line work.

A Taste of Olson’s Artwork

Displaying conan_does_not_bow_wip_by_kellyandthebat.jpg

The above piece is entitled Conan Does Not Bow.

This was created as Olson was “playing with layout.” He was attempting to “capture the feel

of Conan being in a gladiator setting and not submitting to the King no matter what

he does.”

Displaying Science vs Religion.jpg

The above piece is called Science vs. Religion.

Olson says: “Could we accept a reality of angels existing or would we need to dissect it?”

Displaying death_of_the_guardian_angel_by_kellyandthebat-d42dve3.jpg

This final piece is part of a series called Death of Guardian Angels.

From what I’ve experienced, Olson is ready and willing to work with an author on cover art/illustrations. If you would be interested in finding out more, feel free to shoot him an email at: