Contest FAQs

The 2016 story-writing contest has ended. The next contest scheduled is for 2017-2018.
Check HERE for more information.
 
Before asking me a question about the contest that is not covered in the Official Contest Rules, please take a look at these FAQs (frequently asked questions). The answer to your question may be hiding just below!

1. May I enter a story I have already written for a guest post here on Andi's blog? 
No, sorry, but each entry in the contest must be an original story that has never been published on the blog.

2. Can I make up new characters?
Yes! Just so long as you include some of the Circle C characters to interact with your new characters.

3. What if my birthday falls during the months of the contest and I end up in a different age category?
No worries. You can choose to stay in the younger category or go up to the older category. I'm flexible with these things.

4. Can we mix and match characters from all of the series into one story?
Yes, you may use characters from any of the CCAdventures, CCBeginnings, Circle C Milestones, and Goldtown books and put them all into one story. Older writers can write about the CCB and younger writers can write about the older series. It's wide open.


5. Is it okay to write about something Andi remembers in the books, like the time Mitch brought her a rattlesnake's rattle?
Of course! You may take any "flashbacks" Andi remembers from any of the books and expand them into a new story.

6. What about minor characters? Can I write a whole new story about them?
You bet!

7. May I write a story about when Andi's brothers were little?
Well, sure! Have fun with that. I did it with Chad, when he went with his father to Goldtown, in Tunnel of Gold. I also wrote "A Matter of Honor" short story for the Tales from the Circle C Ranch book. It was a lot of fun to make up stories of when Andi's siblings were little. 

8. May I type a story for a younger sibling?
Yes. Here is how it works. If your sibling is ages 6-9, she or he may narrate the story to you, and you can type it just as they tell you. If your sibling is ages 10-13 and they have a hard time keyboarding, you may type their story to submit, as long as they have written the story longhand first.

9. What if I go over the word count?
I suggest you go back and edit out as many unnecessary words as you can. You will not be disqualified if you are 25 to 50 words words over, but any more than that and I may send it back and ask you to reduce the word count. This is for consideration for our judges.

10. May Canadians (and other writers outside the U.S.) enter the contest? 
Yes, but if you win, your prize money will be limited to what I can send electronically, like via PayPal.

11. Can my sister and I write a story together? 
Yes. But realize that the prize goes for the "story," not for the number of authors. One winning story = one winning prize, which you will have to split between you somehow. And . . . the story must be submitted to the category of the older sibling.

12. Would it be okay if I illustrate my story?
You may, but it won't affect the judging in any way. If the resolution is high enough, it may find its way into the final book if you win.  

13. I don't have a way to scan the Entry Form. How will I get it to you?
You may mail the Entry Form to my address, but the story itself must be Emailed (or Google docs).


14. Can I make Andi older . . . like 15?
Yes. Andi (or any of the CCAdventures and Goldtown characters) can be any age you want.

15. Will every story entered be posted on Andi's blog? 
No, but the book and a Kindle edition will be available from Amazon at a very reasonable price.

16. If I don't win, can I still buy a copy of Along the Western Trail?
Yes. The compilation of winning stories will be published on CreateSpace and available as both a print book and a Kindle edition.

17. If I enter 2 stories, do I need a different entry form for each one?
Yes, so I can keep track of which story goes with which contestant. But you can mail them together (or scan and send via email; or take a picture with an iPhone and email me).  

166 comments:

  1. If I'm 12, but want to write a longer story, could I enter in the 14-18 age group?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but understand that your story will be in competition with much older contestants. :-)

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    2. I am twelve, if I enter the 14-18 contest do I still have to put my age down?

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  2. If I mail the entry forms, is it possible they could be separated from my stories since I am emailing the story?

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    Replies
    1. I promise I won't lose it! (smile). As long as your contact information is on both (if you have to mail in the entry form), I won't let them get separated, Jesseca. :-)

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    2. Okay. Thank You!!

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  3. Do I have to send the 2 entry forms seprate or can they be sent together?

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  4. Can I send the entry forms before September 16?

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  5. i have a few various questions
    how close in age is Andi and Cory
    and how far is it from aunt Rebecca's house from Andi or how long does it take in a buggy

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    Replies
    1. Cory is 1 year older than Andi.

      Andi lives in Fresno, CA, and Aunt Rebecca lives in San Francisco, which is an 8-hour trip by TRAIN. Buggy would take a few days. No one would go by buggy. Maybe by stagecoach, however. HOpe that helps! :-)

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  6. yes it does thanks

    Rebekah

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  7. When is this going to be published? (The entry form says April 2013 but that doesn't make sense.)

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  8. Can you be more specific? When is WHAT going to published? The contest ends December 31, and it takes the judges a couple of months to pick the winners. Then . . . it takes awhile longer to compile the winning stories into the Ebook and the "real" book, and then I'll announce the winners in April and they will get their "published" "Circle C Stories." And then I'll put the book up for sale, so others can buy it too, if they wish.

    Does that answer your question about when the winning stories will be published?

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  9. Sorry about that. Yes, you did answer my question. (:

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  10. You said you'll announce the winners in April. Does that mean that is when you contact them or will you contact the winners before they're 'announced' on the blog?
    Sure seems like April is a long way's away ;-)

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    Replies
    1. I know. It all depends on how quickly the judges can score the stories and tell me the winners. :-) I will send the stories to them in January and they have until the end of February to judge them. I'm giving myself lots of time to get the stories published in the book, etc. If it is earlier, then I will announce it earlier. April 1 is the latest I will announce it.

      I've seen contests like this all the time, and they seem to give a lot of time between the ending deadline and the winners announced.

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    2. is Jan. 1st the postmark (like when to send it in) or is the actual like all entries must be there at that time DEADLINE becuz i am no where near finished with me story.

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    3. You really need to download the Official Contest Rules (go to the contest page to do so) and read them over. The deadline is NOT January 1. And since stories must be emailed in, there is no "postmark" deadline---just get the Entry Form to me somehow. You can mail that well before you email in your story.

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    4. January 15 is the deadline to email in stories.

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  11. I know it's the regular time frame, but It sure seems like awhile when we're in September!! LOL

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  12. Do you know what kind of trees might be on Andi's ranch? I looked on the internet, but I couldn't find anything very specific.

    ~ Rebekah H. (Yes, another Rebekah)

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    1. Mostly oak (like Valley Oak), eucalyptus, orchard trees (peach), ash trees (since Fresno means "ash tree" in Spanish, there must have been a lot of those around to name a town after it). Let's see . . . probably cottonwood by any water (creeks), and willow (again, only by water). There would be NO fir, pine, etc. except way up in the hills (sierras). Way too dry.

      I found this on the internet:

      The native vegetation is mostly grasses and oak trees, along with many species of native wildflowers.
      There are many other species of trees, but the valley oak is most common.

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  13. Also, does Millerton have a general store?

    ~Rebekah H.

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    1. I'm sure it probably did. In 1880 (Andi's time) Millerton is a ghost town. However, the town of Millerton would have been the only close-by town for Andi's family before 1872. Here is a link:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millerton,_Madera_County,_California

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    2. Okay, thanks!

      - Rebekah.H.

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  14. I just turned 10 can I do the 9 and younger one?
    -Anna-

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    Replies
    1. If you have a birthday anytime during the contest dates: September - December, you may choose to enter either the older age group or stay with the younger age group. Just note it on your entry form. :-)

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  15. Are my parents allowed to listen to my story and comment on it, or would that be considered cheating? I would assume no, but I just thought I'd ask.
    -Rebekah H.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you may get input from your parents, Rebekah. :-) Just make sure that whatever thoughts they express, you do the actual revising/writing of the story. They may even ask questions about things that might not make sense. But then you figure out how to make the changes.

      For example, say that you are reading the story to them and you have some dialogue (talking). And then your mom might say, "I'm not sure who was saying that just then. Can you make that clearer?" Then you would go back and do the fixing. Things like that.

      Does that make sense?

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    2. Okay. that's what I thought. Just wanted to make sure. (:

      -Rebekah H.

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  16. How much would a doll be in 1860? I was looking at other prices of things, but I couldn't find anything about dolls. ):

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  17. Here is a picture of a bisque (china/porcelain) doll in 1880 and I think the prices are in dollars: the cheapest looks to be $9.50, but I'm sure some were cheaper. These fancy dolls were for the rich only, I think! :-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jumeau05.jpg

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  18. Mrs. Marlow? I was wondering, will the contest judges know a lot about the carters in the stories or just a little? 'Cause I was wondering if I should explain about the charters in more detail or not.

    EG. "Andi Carter smiled proudly as she slowed her horse Taffy down to a trot.

    or

    Andi Carter smiled proudly as she slowed Taffy to a trot. (This is suppose to be the starting of my story, but I want to stay away form unnecessary words.)

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  19. The judges know the stories well. That was a requirement to be a judge. So they will definitely know the characters. No worries there.

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    Replies
    1. Oh good. Thank you. I'm kind of picking up from where the last book in the circle C series left off. It's should be interesting....

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  20. If we add a title page, can it have our names on it? I'm not sure if you would want to keep our names a secret.

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    Replies
    1. Your name MUST be on the story somewhere, and a title page is fine if you want to do it that way. :-)

      However, I am the only one who will know your name. Your entry will be numbered before it is sent to the judges.

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    2. Okay. I was just wondering!

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  21. My sister is 9. Can she enter the 10-13 age group?How old is Andy when she dies?Can she write about the Titanic?

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    1. and can i be in the story?like andi gets kidnapped and thrown in a closet and later i am thrown in also?

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    2. Why would you sister want to enter the 10-13 age group when she is only 9? That would be a lot of heavy competition. She would have a better chance entering the 6-9, where she is at the older end. She can still write about the CCA. She doesn't have to do the CCBeginnings, just because she enters that age group. But if she really wants to enter the upper group, she may.

      And Andi was born in 1868, so she would be 44 at the time of the Titanic incident, which (believe it or not) is still very young! :-) Yes, you can write about Andi being on the Titanic, coming home from Europe.

      Yes, Rayana, you may be in the story! :-)

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    3. also how does andi die?Can she die on the Titanic

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    4. Sure, if that's what you want. It's your story! :-)

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  22. That sounds like a cool story!
    Mrs. M, I know you already put this somewhere, but I can't find it. Is it true that if Andi is eleven, Melinda would be 15? I am not sure if I'm off or not. (:
    Rebekah H.

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    Replies
    1. Also, does Melinda have a nickname? Like Mel or Meli?

      R.H

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    2. There are 5 years difference between Andi and Melinda, so I will let you do the math. :-)

      I always thought of Melinda's nickname as "Linda," which means "pretty" in Spanish. However, I have never used her nickname in any of the books (possibly because she hasn't taken a prominent role in any of them so far).

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    3. Okay! Thanks! Linda makes more sense too. (:
      R.H

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  23. What is Cory's horse's name?
    AJH

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    Replies
    1. Never mind. I found out his name is Flash.
      AJ (P.S. Rebekah H. is my sister)

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  24. What one of your books is first?

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    Replies
    1. Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home.
      But you can read Dangerous Decision first too.

      Hope that helps.

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  25. How do you enter the Book contest?

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    Replies
    1. Do you mean the Short-story writing contest? You can click the "Short STory contest" graphic to read all about it.

      I don't know about a Book contest? I am not giving away any books right now.

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    2. Thank you. I meant the Short-story writing contest Ijust did not know what it was called

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  26. I am going to change from Rebekah H. to Bekah. Hopefully things will be less confusing. (:

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  27. Was Luisa the cook even when Andi was little? Or was there someone else?

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    1. Luisa has been the housekeeper/cook for ages and ages. Nila came "on board" after Long Ride Home. :-)

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    2. I was wondering how old Andi is in the circle c beginings.

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    3. Thank you Andi.

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  28. Okay- that's what I thought. Just making sure (:

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  29. What is Cory's last name?

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  30. Replies
    1. Go to the Short Story contest Link and download the PDF file that is the RULES and ENTRY form all in one. Or, go to this link and download it:

      http://www.circlecadventures.com/official_contest_rules.pdf

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  31. Andi, before Rosa came, who was a good friend of yours? A girl, I mean. (:

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    Replies
    1. Way out on a ranch, away from town, there were not many opportunities to have many girlfriends. At school, Rachel and Maggie were my friends; on the ranch, some of the children of the harvest workers. That is just the way it was back then. :-)

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  32. It's possible, but in a small town like Fresno, the black smith or livery stable owner usually served as the "vet" or even in bad cases, the "doctor." *shudder*

    A good stock man took care of his own livestock.

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  33. Can you ice-skate, by any chance? (: Or is it not cold enough to freeze water in California?

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    Replies
    1. Only high up in the Sierra in the middle of winter. There are some lakes up there that freeze up.

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  34. How many chapters are usually in circle c beginnings

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    Replies
    1. The Circle C Beginnings are 8,000 words divided into 10 chapters.

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    2. OK. Thanks Andi. You're the best.

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    3. Oh, Andi, may I make it less than 10 chapters?

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    4. You need to go by word count, not chapters. Check the Official Rules on the Short-Story page to find out how many words you need to stick to for your age group. :-)

      Don't worry about chapters! This is a short story, not a book. :-)

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  35. Can brothers and sisters be in the story? I'm already in the story and I want my siblings to be mine and you're friends.

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  36. You can do whatever you want, so long as Andi and her family are in the story. Have fun!

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  37. Replies
    1. If you click on the Official Rules you will find my email address. :-)

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  38. After this contest, will there be another?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe next year, if this one is a big hit and not too much work. :-)
      And if I can sell some of the books to recoup the costs this contest is costing me. We'll see!

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    2. O.K. , thanks.

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  39. Also, will it be the same?

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  40. This is a comment, I LOOOOOOOOOOVE your books!

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  41. Where will you post the winner for the contest?

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    Replies
    1. On the blog, in the Ezine and probably on the website . . .

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  42. Where was Riley in the older books ?

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    Replies
    1. The older Circle C Adventures books were written first, and Cory was Andi's friend. When I wrote the younger books later, Andi needed a friend on the ranch so I created Riley. That is why he is not in the older books, although Cory is in both series. :-)

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    2. oooooook, thank you!!!

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    3. will u contact the winner before it is posted on the blog or will they have to loom on the blog to see after its been posted, and also, do you HAVE to post the persons real name on the blog post? Such as me, I am using "Anonymous" becuz i dont want people to know my name.

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    4. Absolutely the winners learn who they are before it is announced on the blog! :-) Download the Official Contest Rules. The Entry Form allows you to write with a "pen name," i.e., a made-up name and that is the name that would be listed in the book and on any blogs, etc.

      I only need your real name to mail you the book and prizes, etc.

      Make sense?

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    5. yes, thank you.

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  43. How many Andi books have you written? Are there more than 2 series?:-)

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    1. And(from the question above)what are they called.:-)

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    2. so far 12 Andi books (CCA and CCB). And I've begun the new Circle C Milestones series, with Andi taking up a few months after Price of Truth ends. There will be 4 of those. AND I'm writing a companion book, Tales from the Circle C Ranch, which are a number of short stories that fill in the blanks between the various books. Lots to look forward to!

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    3. I sure am looking forward to it! Thank You!

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  44. Mrs. M, when was Andi born? I can't find the family tree anywhere.

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  45. Never mind found it.

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  46. I was wondering if I need to introduce the characters in my short story. For example, do I need to say that Chad and Mitch are Andi's Brothers? Or just assume that the reader knows. I think it feels awkward if I don't introduce the characters, but maybe not?

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    Replies
    1. You don't need to, but if you feel it sounds awkward, go ahead and include their relationship. I make sure I do it in nearly every CCA book I write. Like you, it just feels "right" to do it that way. :-) Do it in such a way that it is not "author intrusion," naturally in the narrative, like:

      "Mitch!" Andi called to her brother.

      That is more natural than just stating, "Mitch was Andi's brother." That is unnatural and doesn't read as well. Make sense?

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    2. Thank you! That helps a lot :)

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  47. I have another question. Was the money used in Andi's time any different that what we use now?

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    Replies
    1. yes and no. You can read about 1880s money at this past post (part 1 and then there is part 2):
      http://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/2011/06/money-in-1880.html

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    2. Thank you! That is really cool, because I found one of the Indian pennys once!

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  48. Are you allowed to write it as first person? Just wondering. :)

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  49. I just sent in my story! I can't wait for the results!!

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  50. Do you count all the words including "chapter 1"

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    Replies
    1. No, you don't have to count the chapter titles. Just the words in the story itself.

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  51. How many years apart are kate and ellie?!?

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  52. Is there a doctor in Fresno, Visalia and Modesto?

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    Replies
    1. Yes. Dr. Weaver is in Fresno. You can make up the others.

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  53. Hey, I'm Lydia, and I love reading the books you wrote! They are so interesting and always have a lesson to them! I want to thank you for writing them. Ive read the "gold town adventures", the "circleC adventures" from the little girls, and I'm currently reading the "circleC adventures" for older girls. I love them all! I am working on a project and I have to interview an author, so I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions... How did you get started? And what kind of education is required for this job? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting! :-) Here are my answers:
      1. How did I get started? I started writing stories when I was 10 years old. I wrote mostly outer space stories and a story about being castaway on an island. You can read that story here: http://www.circlecadventures.com/Author.html Just scroll down until you find "Castaway Island." LOL I wrote the CCAdventures when my youngest was born, in the evening, after all the kids went to bed (I homeschooled so that is the only time I had free).

      2. I have a degree in elementary education, but you really don't need any formal degree to be an author. Learn how to write, read a ton of books that are in the genre (subject) you would like to write, and write, write, write. Let others read your work and show you how to improve. It's more like an apprenticeship rather than formal classes. I didn't really take any "writing" classes. I just wrote and wrote and learned from writing "mentors" (other authors) and I went to writing workshops.

      If you want to ask me more questions, you can use the Blogger Contact Form (Email Andi Your Questions and Stories)
      Mrs. M

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  54. Replies
    1. I can't receive a FAX. But if worse comes to worst, you may copy (by keyboard) all the information into an email and I can copy it onto an entry form. Just have your parents type their permission for me.

      Your story needs to be sent in an email or in a Word document to my email address.

      Hope that helps!
      Mrs. M

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  55. Hi, Mrs M! Could I do another take on illustrating and take a picture?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you may illustrate your story. No actual photographs, but drawings are acceptable and can be sent as a JPG file. Does that make sense? You basically either scan your drawing or take a picture of it and send to my email, along with your story.

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    2. Ok. Thank you!

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    3. Oh, and what does the resolution have to be in order for it to appear in the book? (If my story gets in the book)

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  56. Mrs.M I've never entered one of your contests before so I don't very much about what to do.

    ~Lexah Nelson~

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    Replies
    1. Go to the Writing Contest tab and read that. Then click the link to download the official contest rules and print them out. It's very clear and easy to understand. Looking forward to reading your story if you decide to enter! Have fun!

      Hope that helps!
      Mrs. M

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  57. It does! I Just didn't know if you posted everything on here.

    ~Lexah~

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  58. I'm writing a story and I plan on entering.
    ~Lexah~

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  59. Hi! It says that if you illustrate your story and send it in, that if the resolution is high enough, it may find it's way into the book... what does the resolution have to be?

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  60. Hey Mrs.M, if your too busy understand but could you try to post more on Lost Stories?The last you did post was 2014.
    ~Lexah~

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    Replies
    1. that's because they are "lost" and it takes a while to dig them up from the archive files. I will try to dig a little harder, but eventually, you know, I will run out. :-)

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  61. Silly me! It doesn't say "lost" for nothing! I'm sorry Mrs.M!

    --Lexah

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  62. Is it OK to write stories with gruesome parts? Or would that not be OK cuz younger kids will read them?

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    Replies
    1. Define "gruesome." :-) Worse than when Mitch is all bloody and shot up in Trouble with Treasure? You can email me through the Blogger Contact Form on the right sidebar and be more specific if you want. What do you have in mind? I can give you and idea if the judges will be okay with it, :-)

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    2. Like if someone died and I described it in depth?

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    3. As long as it doesn't go on and on and it's important to the plot. You have limited words so make sure you keep that in mind. I personally have no problem with a little "gruesome."

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    4. OK great thanks :-)

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    5. I have another question, is it OK if I change why Andi looks like?

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    6. Not quite sure why you'd want to do that, unless it's a disguise or something. The judges know what the characters look like and if she's suddenly blond or something, they might think you are unfamiliar with the stories.

      I don't judge these stories, so . . . . just sayin' . . . you can write your story any way you like, but you're taking a chance if you take too many liberties with established characters, ya know? :-)

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    7. OK cool thanks for your time :-)

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  63. When do the judges have to turn in the results and can we know about them then? Or do you still have to get the book published, etc.?

    Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. I will announce the winners as soon as the judges come back with their picks. I think the "official" announcement says no later than April 1, but I'm pretty sure I will be able to announce the winners before the end of this month (February). I gave the judges until February 12, I believe (I want them to have enough time to go through so many stories without rushing.
      Exciting times!

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  64. Yay!!! I'm so excited!! Thanks! I can't wait!!!

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  65. I want to enter. But is your adress on here?

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    Replies
    1. The contest for 2016 has ended. The new site for all of this is here: http://circleccontests.blogspot.com/p/2016.html

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  66. Thanks your the best.

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  67. I love your books.Jesus loves you. God bless.

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  68. I know the contest is over. But I am working on my story for next time. Do you have to have all the same carecters from the other books?

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    Replies
    1. Not sure what you are asking, but you can make up supporting characters (or even main characters) so long as you INCLUDE characters from the books. You surely do not have to use them ALL! :-)

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  69. I have a question for the 2017 contest. What are the age groups (and word count if possible)? I want to get a head start on my story but want to make sure I am young enough to enter. LOL! Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. You can check it all out by going to the Circle C Contests and Giveaways (a tab at the top of this blog). Then you can see the 2016 contest. All the rules will be the same. Ages? Hmm . . . 6-9, 10-13, 14-17. That sounds right. :-)

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    2. Oops. Word counts. Hmmm. Check out the 2016 post on the contest blog. They counts are there. :-)

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    3. Sweet! Thank you!

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  70. Hi Andi! I have all of the Adventure books and Milestone books. (Except for Courageous Love, which I'm getting :D) They are so good! I have read them many times. So, naturally, ;) I couldn't resist entering this contest.
    Am I allowed to start my story before the Contest Start-Date of August 1? Can I work on it during the summer?
    Thank you so much!

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! You may start sending them in when the contest officially launches.

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  71. Hi Mrs. M!

    I'm working on finishing my story, and was wondering if it would be alright if my brother could edit it for me when I am finished. He would only be editing my spelling mistakes, not changing or adding to the story. Would that be alright? Thanks! :)

    -Sadie S.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Sadie, that would be fine. He could also tell you if something confuses him or if you need "more" somewhere. But then, of course, you must be the one to make the changes.

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    2. Yay! Okay, thank you so much. :)

      -Sadie S.

      Delete

Let Andi know what you think!