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Amber’s Blog

Sidekicks and Sounding Boards

Ever wonder why so many characters have sidekicks?  It’s not so much that the character couldn’t do whatever actions the sidekick takes in the story.  It’s that the audience needs to understand the underlying motivations behind the character’s actions, and a sidekick is an easy way to get the protag to vocalize her reasoning. One […]

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Antagonists Who Aren’t Villains

Does every story need a villain? There is a big difference between a villain and an antagonist.  A villain wants to impart physical or emotional pain to your story’s protagonist.  An antagonist is simply at odds with your protag.  Which means a villain is by definition an antagonist – but only some antagonists are villains. […]

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Tension as Uncertainty

No matter what your genre, maintaining tension is key to keeping readers engaged.  Too often, I read work where there is something lacking in a scene, and the writer is trying to fix it by resorting to exaggerated emotions (shouts and slaps when the dialogue itself would be impact enough) rough language (that doesn’t match […]

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Guest Blog: Kevin Wenzel

I’m going out to the opening weekend of Choctoberfest, the month-long Chocolate extravaganza held annually in Hico, Texas (about an hour and a half outside of Austin). I caught up with Kevin Wenzel of Wiseman House Chocolate, the chocolatier who started the event, to get some insight on the fest, and on his shop. What […]

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Language Learning in Literature and Life

As a language learner, things can get a little overwhelming at times.  Having a conversation one-on-one in a second language can be hard enough, but being dropped into an on-going conversation takes everything to the next level.  I still remember the first time I got into a car with a group of people who wanted […]

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Sticking The Landing

When you watch a gymnast doing a parallel bars routine, it is easy to get caught up in the grace and the power – coupled with an I-could-never-do-that kind of awe.  Nothing ruins that experience – or the gymnast’s score – faster than failing to stick the landing.  A double hop – or worse, falling […]

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Tour of Manos de Cacao

While we were in Monterrey, we got to spend a morning with the Llanderal Family of chocolate makers. It was an educational and enjoyable experience We sat down with Jorge Llandreal first and spoke with him about his business and his journey into becoming a chocolatier/chocolate maker.  He told us he earned his medical engineering […]

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