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Victoria Riley

I was born and raised in Montana,but have lived in Minnesota most of my adult life. I am married and have 4 children.I discovered the joy of writing when I turned 40 and my daughters became more independent of my constant mothering. I just wrote my first book a Memoir of my mother, a true Native American born in Montana. Because I am half Native American I love the genre of Native Writing but, am finding that I have a ferocious interest to write fiction on all subjects. This contest is fun for me and I hope every writer feels great about their work!

Story: The Moccasins


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Write through uncertainty and doubt and even when you believe you are not a Writer. There will always be tomorrow to fix what you wrote today.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
I jump in, but first I clear my thoughts and allow my mind to wander for brief interludes. A name of a character, or the setting and story plot comes through to me. Its never difficult once I get in my "Writing" mode.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
Writing Criticism excites me, it means that my writing is worthy enough to gather another's opinion whether it be negative or positive.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
I am proud of my story, the characters, the plot and how it flows. Re reading it now, I would "fine tune" it, fix the 2 misspelled words and shorten a paragraph or two. Other that,I believe my story is exceptional!



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I have read a few other short stories in this contest and I think this one is my favorite. I found it authentic and fast paced. This Author kept me hanging on until the end and once I was at the end, I wanted more. Please ask her to finish the story of Star and Timber, I need to know!


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What a poignant story. It was well-written and cut to the heart of the matter, exposing prejudices and injustices of the past. Like others before have said, the story would come even mroe alive with dialogue through which the reader can identify more with the characters. There were a few spelling errors and overlong sentences and paragraphs, which a bit of editing will take care of. Well done! And thank you for reviewing my story, Double Take.


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The opening is good because the first and second sentence alerts something is wrong. The third sentence tells what's wrong. Victoria's writing style is good so is her plot. I wish the story was longer so Star's life on the run could be explored further and see if she and Timber would ever be reunited. I would have liked a better picture of the Indian village and the town.

Kathi Macias

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A touching and thought-provoking story--well worth the read!


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This short story was full of everything to captivate my love of the Native American genre. My great grandfather was a descendant from the Ojibwe tribe and I was interested to read how this author described the characters. My favorite was Timber and his description made me feel that my great grandfather was a warrior when he was the same age as Timber.This story was riveting and a little sad, yet at the same time I found myself uplifted when Star found her mother and Timber sent the moccasins he had made while imprisoned. Wonderful read!

Alyce Wilson

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I like the detailed texture here; you clearly did your homework! I got a little lost halfway through. Shorter paragraphs could have helped to draw the eye along. It is sad and shocking to think of how many people lived out similar nightmares on these shores.


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What a tragic history. It's an important story to tell and good to see the author is part Native American. It reads as if it is part of a longer piece -- maybe a book?

Jill Amber Menard

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This was a really good portrayal of the struggles, trials, and challenges experienced by Native Americans during such a turbulent time. It definitely does stir up many emotions of sadness and anger that so many people have been mistreated in our society. I felt that this story read more like a historical reenactment than a fictional story. The inclusion of dialogue would help bring this story into a more fictional realm and also make the reader feel more connected and attached to the characters. There were a lot of details but not enough "voice" from each character - dialogue makes characters really come to life. But I did enjoy a lot of the very detailed descriptions, such as this sentence: "Then a burly white man pushed against her smelling of a strong odor that reminded her of the whiskey the white settlers tried to give to her tribe as a trade for their fast horses." It sums up so much in just one sentence and really paints a clear picture - I could almost smell the whiskey on that man's breath! I think that with some added dialogue this story could be expanded into a book because there is a lot of great material here. I look forward to reading more of your work!!!

Lisa Rose

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I wish I could believe this was just a story and that it never happened. It is so sad what one group of people can do to another in the name of justice. I can't say I 'enjoyed' it or it was 'nice'. Those words don't discribe this story. It is however well written by the author. The scene where the men were hanged and then their murderers dance and party will haunt me.


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I live in Minnesota and have heard that every year there is a march to honor what happened in Mankato Mn in 1862. I guess I never really had an interest in the events that left so many killed.This fictional story with a young girl named Star was well written. The first paragraph caught my attention right away. I wished however the author would have told us where it was that Timber was taken and if Star will reunite with him. The ending left me a little sad, but it was a good read.


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Wow, Victoria is a writer who deserves to turn this short story into a book! This story about the 38 hung Indian men is poignant and is a teaching story. I will see to it that my children know what happened to this tribe and the history around it. This work of fiction surrounding the true life events was remarkably done. Thanks Victoria.


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Thank-you, Victoria, for writing this story. It helps to illuminate a shameful time in Minnesota's history--a time which many people would prefer to ignore. I wish more writers would focus on this time period. It takes courage to write any sort of fiction, but literature that deals with this type of subject matter requires even more than the usual reserves. Please keep writing!


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Short stories are a difficult genre. You must engage the reader from the start and in a brief time, leave them something to take home. I realized I was crying when the story was over. Star and her journey were so real, so tragic that I immediately reread this piece. Historically it depicts a time America has tried to hide and thus, few are aware of its existence. I pride myself on "awareness" and yet, I did not know of the atrocity at Fort Snelling . Victoria Riley is a wonderful voice for the native American community. I hope she keeps writing.


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Even though this story was dark at times, I was fascinated with the authors detail from"Stars" meeting her future mate to her being told she may not ever know if he was alive and all the events in between.Good writing, informative story.


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I really appreciated the way this author set up the story plot and made each charcater very colorful ,especaily from the view point of the main character Star. There was an apprecaition for the Native American culture and the author describes in detail the wrong that was done to this tribe and how eventually they had to steal,fight and kill to get their food. I agree it had a feel of "The Hunger Games" and I enjoyed the story!


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This story is amazingly written, the main characters have come to life and their presence are robust and vivid. I do not know a lot about the true life events about the mass killings but, because of this story I will now do research and learn about the devastation that took place. Though it is fiction, I'm hoping that there really was a young Indian girl named Star that survived and saves her siblings and one day finds her "Timber". Over all I was captivated from beginning until the end. I look forward to read the Sequel to this story!


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Characters Laken-Timber, Star and other native warriors of that time period are the reason tribal settlements are being disbursed to these indigneous people's cause and plight of that time period in this time period. Seeing ancesteral genocide through Star's eyes of these indigneous people's gives true meaning to empathy. Looking forward to Victoria Riley's next publications with keen interest.


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The characters were well-drawn and the historical details of their lives seemed more accurate than anything I've read in history books. The scenes were vividly described. It's kind of like "The Hunger Games," only it's based on some horrible, tragic, genocidal things that happened in our country, at the hands of the U.S. government. And it's a wrong that hasn't yet been made right. Thanks for the very moving story, Victoria; keep on writing, can't wait to read more from you.


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I was interested in reading this solely based on the fact that I was born and raised in MN, and also fascinated in native American history. I found this story to be wonderful for learning history, and also heartbreaking at times. I must admit that I am rooting for Star, and hoping that there's a sequel in which she finds Running Elk :-)


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I loved this story. There was so much information crammed into such a short story. Too bad it wasn’t a whole book. The characters seemed very realistic. I found myself wanting to get to know Star a little better. I could sense a love story developing in there and was really rooting for Star to have her happily ever after, although, I know that she probably never got her happy ending. The author painted a very vivid picture and I felt as if I could actually see it building up. Great job! Can’t wait to read more stories by Victoria Riley.


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Loved this story! Seems like a glimpse of a very talented writer.


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I thought this was a good read. I was surprised by the amount of historical accuracy contained in the story. The characters were developed nicely and I could picture the time period with which the characters lived.


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great story!

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December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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