<![CDATA[Yvonne Ventresca - Blog]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:15:10 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Author Spotlight on L. Nahay, Contributor to the Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/author-spotlight-on-l-nahay-contributor-to-the-mysteries-of-death-and-life-anthologyThe Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life anthology will be released on May 2nd. If you'd like to help get the word out, you can sign up to participate in our blog tour here.

In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author L. Nahay, who contributed the story "Breath Between Seconds" to the anthology.

Interview with L. Nahay

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Do you have any tips for getting work done around other obligations? Do you have a writing routine you’d like to share? Any fun/useful writing habits? Any advice for other writers?

Don't stress about how other people are writing, or how much they manage to write. You can only write according to the time you are given and within the circumstances you are in. It's incomparable to anyone else.

What do you like to write about or what drew you to this anthology? Is there anything interesting about your background as a writer you’d like to share?

I seem to write about women- typically mothers--finding their way through traumatic situations. Since I was way too young to be a mother! I wasn't sure at first how I would relate that into this topic, but I knew she had to be a she, and she had to bend preconceived notions and be a soldier. With my female characters, I love writing a complimentary male figure--not specifically for romantic interests. I love the differences in how things are approached and handled by each, and how we compliment and challenge each other when respect is there. That came out very strongly, yet in a heartbreaking way, in 'Breath Between Seconds'.
What’s your favorite recent book and/or one from your teen years or something from your to-read pile?

Recently, I'd say the On The Bones of Gods series by K. Eason (especially when listened to). It's a great mix of fantasy, old Nordic life and mythology, and a smart addition of unbalanced matriarchal government (any unbalanced government is bad, but this was a first glimpse into this opposing spectrum).
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More about L. Nahay:
L. Nahay is an author of fantasy and an independent publisher through Midnight Tomorrow Books. She has always ever written. She is a mom to two monsters, and while she’d love to live the more wild way most of her characters do, she currently resides in 
Indiana. For reminders of life outside her stories, she enjoys reading, creating, camping, hiking, exploring, and time with those monsters of hers. To date, she has published the first book of her fantasy series entitled Red Moonglow on Snow, and an urban fantasy short story called The Dryad.  She has also recently stepped into the world of Steampunk and bought the monsters a telescope. Be forewarned.

You can connect with L Nahay on Web | Blog | Twitter | Instagram.
Learn more about the anthology on our Lost Hero website.
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<![CDATA[Library Love]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/library-lovePicture
It's time to Celebrate the Small Things! This is a blog hop hosted by Lexa CainL.G. Keltner, and Tonja Drecker

Today I want to celebrate public libraries. According to my reading history, I've taken out about 125 books from my local library in the past 3 1/2 years. Some I've loved enough to buy my own copy. For many of them, I'm happy to have a free book to borrow. And some I returned unfinished, or even unopened if I changed my mind (or ran out of time). That's the beauty of it, right? You can take out a book with a no-risk return policy!

I currently have about eight books out--a mix of nonfiction, novels, and short story collections. 

Do you have a favorite feature of the library? (Mine is requesting books and receiving an email when they are ready for pick up.) ​Do you ever return books without reading them?
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<![CDATA[Author Spotlight on Ellen Jacobson, Contributor to the Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:30:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/author-spotlight-on-ellen-jacobson-contributor-to-the-mysteries-of-death-and-life-anthologyThe Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life anthology will be released on May 2nd. If you'd like to help get the word out, you can sign up to participate in our blog tour here.

In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author Ellen Jacobson, who contributed the story "The Silvering" to the anthology. Read on for an interview with Ellen.

Interview with Ellen Jacobson

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Do you have any tips for getting work done around other obligations? Do you have a writing routine you’d like to share? Any fun/useful writing habits? Any advice for other writers?

I really wish I had tips for getting work done around my other obligations. This is actually an area I've been struggling with recently. We're currently getting our sailboat ready to go cruising in the Bahamas and boat projects have overtaken my life. After long days trying to fix engine problems and contorting myself in small spaces trying to remove bolts, my creative energy is sapped and writing is the last thing on my mind. I am hoping that once we're out there on our boat, anchored off of a lovely deserted island basking in the sunlight, I'll be motivated to get into a daily writing routine.

What do you like to write about or what drew you to this anthology? Is there anything interesting about your background as a writer you’d like to share?

I'm new to this whole writing thing, so I don't have too much of a background to share. I started off blogging about our sailing and travel adventures a few years ago and discovered that I really enjoyed the creative process. That led to me trying to write my first novel, a cozy mystery about a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.

Somewhere around draft #2,314 of my cozy mystery, I was starting to get just a wee bit frustrated about my lack of progress. To take a break from it all, I decided to take a stab at writing a short story inspired by a dream I had had about a strange world where people don gloves at the age of ten never to take them off again. When the ISWG anthology contest was announced, I thought that my story might just fit the theme and, in a fit of madness, I entered. 
What’s your favorite recent book and/or one from your teen years or something from your to-read pile?

I love to read. Normally, I read between 8-10 books a month and I always have a large to-read pile waiting for me. I tend to gravitate towards sci-fi/fantasy and mysteries, but as I've started to focus more on the craft of writing, I find I'm reading a wider range of genres. Not only have I learned tons from reading with a critical writer's eye, I've also been surprised by some of the genres I thought I would have hated but ended up enjoying. Amish romance, who knew?

While I haven't read a lot over the past couple of months (sadly, boat projects even deplete my reading energy), one of the ones I really enjoyed recently was The Remnant by William Michael Davidson (a fellow Dancing Lemur author). I'm also looking forward to reading the next book in Patty Jansen's Ambassador series
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More about Ellen Jacobson:
Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is currently working on the first in a cozy mystery series about a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth, as well as tales set on imaginary worlds. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn’t working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures.

You can connect with Ellen on Facebook | Blog | Google+
Learn more about the anthology at the Lost Hero website.
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<![CDATA[Teen Tuesday: Scholastic News Kids Press Corps]]>Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:56:34 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/teen-tuesday-scholastic-news-kids-press-corpsPicture
Scholastic News Kids Press Corps opened its call for applications for the 2017–2018 school year! Students ages 10–14 from across the country and around the world with a “nose for news,” a passion for writing, and a strong interest in journalism are encouraged to apply.
 
Students can download the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps application online at www.scholastic.com/kidreporters. Applications must be received by May 31, 2017.

For other writing resources specifically for Teens and Tweens, visit my Resources for Teen Writers page. Happy Writing!
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<![CDATA[Author Spotlight on Jen Chandler, Contributor to the Mysteries of Death and Life Anthology]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 23:19:13 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/author-spotlight-on-jen-chandler-contributor-to-the-mysteries-of-death-and-life-anthologyThe Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life anthology will be released on May 2nd. If you'd like to help get the word out, you can  sign up to participate in our blog tour here.

In honor of the anthology, I'll be spotlighting different contributors between now and its release in May. Today's blog post features fellow author Jen Chandler, who contributed the eponymous story "Mysteries of Death and Life" to the anthology. Read on for an interview with Jen. You can find the Celebrate the Small Things Blog Hop further below.

Interview with Jen Chandler

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​Do you have any tips for getting work done around other obligations? Do you have a writing routine you’d like to share? Any fun/useful writing habits? Any advice for other writers?

This is the hardest part for me. I have a slew of hobbies and "want tos" and, of course, the part time job, the husband, the cats, and the other "have tos". There is a constant battle inside me between WRITE and CLEAN and LEARN and CRAFT. I envy those who have one interest or, better yet, those who work in their chosen field, turn off the light, leave the workspace, and go home to relax and not thing about ANYTHING else! Alas, I am not that person.
 
The best writing routine I learned was several years ago when I (finally) finished college. One of my writing professors introduced me to the practice of Stream of Consciousness writing. The easiest way to describe SoC writing is this: it's where you sit down, preferably with pen and paper but I have done it on a computer, set a timer for 5, 10, 30 minutes, whatever suits your current schedule, and write. You don't stop until the buzzer goes off. You don't edit; you don't even go back and fix spelling. You just writing. Then you put it away for a month.

We did focused SoC's (those with a "prompt") and unfocused ones. The unfocused sessions were amazing exercises at emptying the main. I was amazed at what came out when I pushed aside my inner critic and just let the words fly! By the end of that eight week class, I had a slew of new story ideas!

The only advice I can give you is passed through me from my favorite writer Madeleine L'Engle. She taught that writers should concentrate on three things in order to properly "serve the work" as she called it: keep an honest, uncensored and -preferably- unpublished journal; read the great works of literature and read often; write every day. It really is as simple as that.
 
What do you like to write about or what drew you to this anthology? Is there anything interesting about your background as a writer you’d like to share?

I have always enjoyed ghost stories and Southern Gothic. I'm from Georgia. We like our ghosts down here. The topic of the anthology drew me in. I saw it as a good way to try out some light horror that had been floating around in my head. I've always been fascinated with the concept of an Angel of Death. Why he came to me for this anthology, at this particular time, I'll never know but I'm awfully glad he did :)

What’s your favorite recent book and/or one from your teen years or something from your to-read pile?

Oh, this is a hard one. I read voraciously. If I'm not reading at least three books at one time my husband thinks something is wrong with me! My favorite recent read is Italo Calvino's "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler". It's a beautiful work of experimental fiction. It twists and turns through multiple tales but all have a single, similar thread that ties you and the book together. To say any more would be to spoil the fun! Currently I'm reading James Joyce's "Ulysses" for the first time. I'm ashamed to say I've never read it but I am having so much fun! This book is fantastic! It's brilliant, rambling, hilarious, bawdy, and hypnotic. Once you fall into Joyce's rabbit hole, you'll never want to come back. I could go on and on about my favorite books but I won't. It would take up way too much time!

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More about Jen Chandler:
Born and raised in the deep, dirty South, Jen Chandler cut her story-telling teeth in the old folktales of Appalachia. She grew up chasing ghosts and gods, devouring the myths and legends of Egypt, Greece, Ireland and the British Isles. Now happily ensconced beneath the moss laden oaks of Savannah, GA, Jen delights in rummaging into the dark corners of stories, re-imaging mythology and collecting ghosts, goblins, and other strange things that tap at the back door of her imagination. When not writing, Jen can be found drinking copious amounts of tea, designing and stitching fabric patterns, studying folk herbalism, and re-reading old copies of British Country Living with frightening regularity. She may or may not be addicted to gummy candy

You can connect with Jen on Blog and Instagram. 
Learn more about the anthology on our Lost Hero website.

Celebrate the Small Things Blog Hop

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It's time to Celebrate the Small Things! This is a blog hop hosted by Lexa CainL.G. Keltner, and Tonja Drecker

What I'm celebrating: 
​I had the chance to read to 6th grade students at Temple Hill Academy this week in honor of Read Across America Day.


Did you celebrate Read Across America? What are you reading these days? I'm in the midst of The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey. I'll be blogging about it in a future post. :)
​Have a great weekend!
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<![CDATA[IWSG Blog Hop: Reworking an Older Story]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 11:30:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/iwsg-blog-hop-reworking-an-older-storyBy Yvonne VentrescaPicture
It's the first of the month, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group's blog hop. IWSG was founded by author Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts are Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!


This month's question: 
Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
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Yes! Sometimes leaving a story to work on something else and returning to it later can lead to success...

​Black Flowers, White Lies went through many incarnations over the years before it evolved into my second published novel (Sky Pony Press, 2016). I actually wrote the first draft of the psychological thriller in 2006. I had a hard time getting the plot to come together, so after many rewrites, I put that manuscript aside and began a story about deadly bird flu, which became my debut novel, Pandemic (Sky Pony Press, 2014). Pandemic’s success reenergized me, and I started a new version of what became Black Flowers, White Lies. BuzzFeed’s included ​Black Flowers, White Lies on their list of 23 YA Books That, Without a Doubt, You’ll Want to Read This Fall, which was a gratifying moment. I’m glad I didn’t give up on the story!

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Do you ever feel refreshed after leaving a project alone for some time?

If you're interested in reading other answers to the IWSG monthly question, follow the blog hop links below.  (If they don't show up due to tech issues, please visit the IWSG website to access the links.)
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<![CDATA[Professional Authors Forum at #NY17SCBWI]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 22:09:06 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/professional-authors-forum-at-ny17scbwiPicture
​Earlier this month, I attended the “Professional Author Forum” at the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Winter Conference. While it’s hard to summarize this jam-packed day, here are a few takeaways.

Connection within the kidlit community and beyond. In his talk about Grassroots Marketing, children’s librarian Matthew Winner provided some helpful ideas for participating in the book community online, including using twitter chat hashtags, commenting on blogs, skyping with libraries, and writing unique guest posts. Author Andrea Beaty talked about getting outside of the “kidlit bubble” and how she reached out to scientists while marketing her picture book. 

Career-building for writers. Cynthia Leitich Smith offered wisdom and advice around the concept of a creative career. She differentiated between acting as the author/ambassador of your work versus the creative writer, and stressed that you need to protect your writing time. Another bit of helpful advice that she gave (besides “don’t drink and tweet”!) is to focus on what you can control (craft, productivity) instead of what is out of your control (sales, awards).

Creativity and the importance of working on the next book. This came up during agent Marcia Wernick’s talk and again in Cynthia's. Andrea also spoke about balancing time, money, and energy and how she outsourced certain tasks (like researching online “influencers” and their contact info) so that she could focus her time on other things. Author Erica Perl mentioned saying no to say yes, because that “no” allows time and opportunities for other pursuits (like writing!). Maybe this caught my attention because I'm currently trying to balance marketing and writing, but it was affirming to hear "do the writing!" message multiple ways.

Do you consciously protect your time for writing or other important pursuits? Do you have any tricks to saying “no” to optional activities?
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<![CDATA[Productivity Tips]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 20:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/productivity-tipsFor this week's blog post, here are a few quick productivity tips.
1. Do you have an old laptop or computer that's not connected to the Internet? Consider using that for your writing so you won't be distracted by social media and email. This idea comes from 10 Productivity Tips for Writers by Bamidele. (You can use a thumb drive to transfer your writing when you're ready.)
2. Need some motivation to clean your desk? The Productivity Ninja offers some decluttering tips.
​3. James Clear recommends starting each day with a small positive action. " . . . I find that if I get something positive done within the first five minutes of the day, then I naturally carry that productive momentum into the rest of my day," he says.
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It's time to Celebrate the Small Things! This is a blog hop hosted by Lexa CainL.G. Keltner, and Tonja Drecker

What I'm celebrating: 
If things go according to plan, despite yesterday's snowstorm, I'll be in NYC at the SCBWI Professional Authors Forum today.


Do you prefer a clean desk or a messy one?
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<![CDATA[Reading as a Writer]]>Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:30:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/reading-as-a-writerBy Yvonne Ventresca
This is my first month participating in the IWSG blog hop! The question is: 

​How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

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I often find myself analyzing for craft as I read. For example, if the story contains a satisfying twist, I go back to figure out how it was executed. If a scene is particularly suspenseful, what makes it so? What makes a character unique or compelling? 

This can work for negatives, too. If I'm losing interest in a story, why is that? What diminishes the tension?

A few years ago, I took a "Reading as a Writer" workshop given by Ann de Forest at an SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Conference.  “Books that we read can be our teachers,” Ann explained then, and I still find that to be true. (I wrote a summary of the workshop if you're interested.)

"Books that we read can be our teachers."
​~Ann de Forest


In other news, the brand new website for the IWSG Anthology, Heroes Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life is now live! You can check it out here. Thanks to my fellow anthologists for being such an organized, motivated group of writers, and a special shout-out to Renee Cheung for creating the website. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's stories, and I hope you'll follow the group blog to learn more.
If you are reading this on February 1st and live in the NYC area, consider coming to the Jefferson Market Branch of the NYPL for a Teen Author Reading Night! I'll be reading, along with the an amazing lineup of young adult authors, from 6 PM to 7:30 PM:
Crissa-Jean Chappell (Snowbirds), Tiffany D. Jackson (Allegedly), Pam Laskin (Ronit and Jamil), Shani Petroff (Romeo & What’s His Name), Matthue Roth (Rules of My Best Friend’s Body), Mary Thompson (Flicker and Mist), and me (Black Flowers, White Lies)

What's the last book you read that you learned something from?

If you're interested in reading other answers to the IWSG monthly question, follow the blog hop links below.  (If they don't show up due to tech issues, please visit the IWSG website to access the links.)
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<![CDATA[Cover Reveal for Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life]]>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 15:00:00 GMThttp://yvonneventresca.com/blog/cover-reveal-for-hero-lost-mysteries-of-death-and-lifePicture
It's cover reveal day for the upcoming anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life!  I love the shadow image and look forward to reading the other stories.

Here is a list of the authors included in the anthology:
L. Nahay – Breath Between Seconds
Roland Yeomans - Sometimes They Come Back
Elizabeth Seckman - Mind Body Soul
Olga Godim - Captain Bulat
Ellen Jacobson - The Silvering
Erika Beebe - The Wheat Witch
Yvonne Ventresca – The Art of Remaining Bitter
Sean McLachlan - The Witch Bottle
Sarah Foster - The Last Dragon
Renee Cheung - Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight
Tyrean Martinson - Of Words and Swords

The anthology will be released on May 2, 2017 from Dancing Lemur Press and was created based on a contest through the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We'll have an anthology-specific website and blog available soon.  In the meantime, here's a description: 

Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Can a lost hero find redemption? 

What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

Delving into the depths of the tortured hero, twelve authors explore the realms of fantasy in this enthralling and thought-provoking collection. Featuring the talents of Jen Chandler, L. Nahay, Renee Cheung, Roland Yeomans, Elizabeth Seckman, Olga Godim, Yvonne Ventresca, Ellen Jacobson, Sean McLachlan, Erika Beebe, Tyrean Martinson, and Sarah Foster.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these twelve tales will take you into the heart of heroes who have fallen from grace. Join the journey and discover a hero’s redemption! 

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My story, "The Art of Remaining Bitter," is about a girl who recognizes the motivating power of sibling rivalry in a society that only values positive emotions. Can feeling jealous ever be a good thing? What do you think?

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