Congratulations to Samantha for winning the Pandemic one-year birthday prize pack!
There is still time left to enter the giveaway for a query or chapter critique from Julia Byers, founder of Ch1Con, a writing conference for teens. You don't need to be a teen to benefit from Julia's expertise. Visit this blog post and scroll down to access the giveaway.
Bill Gates worries about pandemics! Who knew we had so much in common? He predicts there's a 50% chance that a widespread deadly contagious disease will occur during his lifetime. Read more about his view here. And let's hope he's wrong.
Do you worry about pandemics? Natural disasters? Zombie-causing wasps? Feel free to share your fears below.
I'm a member of the KidLit Authors Club, a group of published children's writers from NY, NJ, PA, MD and VA who do regional signings, panels, presentations and workshops relating to books for grades K-12. For this week's Teen Tuesday, some of my fellow KidLit Authors have contributed their advice to teen writers.
Advice from Alison Ashley Formento, author of Twigs
"A book takes time. Writing a good book takes a lot of time. Time. Take your time. We live in a world of texts, tweets, snap chats, novel-in-a-month, and instant everything. You may be able to pound out a first draft of a book in a month, but let the story breathe for a few weeks or a month and return to it with the slow caution of a rigid building inspector. Every word and sentence must be built on a solid foundation or your story won't hold up. "
Advice from Alissa Grosso, author of Shallow Pond
"First drafts can and should be ugly. Anyone who tells you they write beautiful, flawless first drafts is either a liar or completely useless at assessing the quality of their own work."
Advice from Margaret Gurevich, author of Chloe By Design: Making the Cut
"Don't be afraid to step out of your writing comfort zone. By pushing yourself to write in a different voice, genre, tense, or point-of-view, you're exercising new writing muscles. Even if you don't like the end result, there's a good chance you'll be surprised at your writing range and proud that you gave something challenging a shot."
Advice from Jennifer R. Hubbard, author of Try Not to Breathe
"Read a lot. Reread, because you'll see more in a book each time. Write what you love to write, what you're interested in, what matters to you. Rewrite, because you'll see more in your own writing each time."
Advice from Darlene Beck Jacobson, author of Wheels of Change
"Don't worry about what others think. Write to please yourself. Don't take criticism personally. If you want to improve as a writer, you need to listen and learn from the comments that make sense and will make your story better. Set small goals that are achievable. One page a day is a book by the end of a year. 2-3 short poems a week will give you something to edit and work on each day. If you write something every day--no matter how small--you'll feel a sense of accomplishment."
Thanks for the advice! Readers, what's the best advice you've received, writing or otherwise?
As the author of a YA novel about a deadly bird flu , I was excited about the opportunity to contribute a short story to a pandemic-related anthology. This collection, Prep for Doom, will be released on June 18th.
There's a brief interview about my story, "Escape to Orange Blossom," featured on the Prep for Doom blog today. It includes a video with a special guest appearance from one of my dogs, Luna.
Here's more about the Prep for Doom premise:
From the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM - an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, some of whom will cross paths.
What begins with a seemingly innocuous traffic accident soon spirals into a global pandemic. The release of Airborne Viral Hemorrhagic Fever upon New York City’s unsuspecting populace brings bloody suffering within hours, death within a day, and spreads worldwide within a month.
An online community called Prep For Doom has risen to the top of a recent doomsday preparation movement. Some have written them off as crazy while others couldn’t be more serious about the safety the preppers could provide in a global disaster. But when AVHF strikes, their preparation may not be enough to save them.
It has been such an honor to learn that my debut YA novel, Pandemic, won the 2015 Crystal Kite Award for the Atlantic region from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. You can learn more about SCBWI here.
In separate news, for this week's Teen Tuesday post I'm participating in the Ch1Con 2015 Blog Tour with an interview/giveaway from conference founder Julia Byers.
Founded in 2012, the first Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con) took place in Chicago with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream. It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: Could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference? The answer soon became apparent: Yes. And so the conference was born!
Because the teen writing community is a particularly vibrant one, Ch1Con is proud to say they are the only writing conference by young writers, for young writers. Their team comprises a number of high school and college age writers at different experience levels in the industry, eager to create a unique experience for others like them.
This year, the conference will take place on Saturday, August 8th in the suburbs of Chicago, IL, in Arlington Heights. 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99.
If you’re a writer from middle school to undergraduate level and you’re interested in this opportunity, register ASAP! The early bird discount ends May 31st and there are only thirty slots open. For more information and to join the Ch1Con community, check out these links:
Interview with Julia Byers
If you had to describe the biggest single benefit of this conference for teen writers, what would it be?
The biggest benefit of attending Ch1Con is that it gives teens and young adults the opportunity to learn about writing and publishing in a casual, fun environment that diverges from the stress and rigidity of conferences meant for adults.
What is the most fun aspect of the conference for participants?
Definitely getting to meet and hang out with other teens and young adults who are passionate about writing! Writers are the weirdest (and coolest) people ever and we don’t get to see each other nearly often enough. Ch1Con gives participants the opportunity to connect with one another in person, make new friends, and talk to teens and young adults who are successful in the industry and can help guide them on their way to following their own writing dreams.
What writing advice would you offer to teens who can’t make it to the conference this year?
Find other ways to connect with young writers! If you can’t make it to the conference, there are still so many opportunities for connecting, especially online. The internet’s a magical place, and while you obviously need to be careful, it’s also a great way to make friends and learn about writing and publishing. Having a strong support network in place for the hard road to publication is absolutely crucial.
How did you get involved with the conference?
I started work on the first Chapter One Young Writers Conference back in my senior year of high school with the goal of creating an event that would be both educational and fun (and an excuse for my online writer friends and me to finally get to meet in person). We loved that first little conference, so over the next couple years we worked to expand it into an event more kids would be able to attend--with bigger speakers and more opportunities for participants--and in 2014 we unveiled the new and improved Chapter One Young Writers Conference. This year we’ve continued to expand it, and I’m so excited to share the 2015 conference with everyone!
Thank you, Julia! The conference sounds like a great opportunity. Here's another opportunity: a chance to win a critique from Julia using the rafflecopter (below). Good luck!
This week's Friday Five is devoted to some of my favorite visuals that include encouraging quotes. Share some of your own in the comments.
Have you entered the Pandemic giveaway for a chance to win a $75 Visa gift card, a signed hardcover, and some fun swag? Three days left!
My young adult novel, Pandemic, debuted a year ago. To celebrate, I'm giving away a signed Pandemic hardcover, a $75 Visa gift card, and a story-related necklace to one lucky winner in the US.
Pandemic (Sky Pony Press, 2014) is about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a deadly bird flu outbreak. School Library Journal called Pandemic "an engrossing apocalyptic story” and Kirkus Reviews said “this realistic page-turner will keep most readers enthralled.”
You can enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter below. Thanks to JenHalliganPR for helping to coordinate this. Good luck!
Teen Tuesday: Teen Ink Community Service Essay
Teen Ink has several ongoing contests, including a
Community Service Award essay contest.
From the website: "What do you do to make your community a better place? How has volunteering changed you and the way you view the world? Write an essay describing your experiences and be recognized for all that you do." (150 to 1000 words)
Contest winners receive $100 for their favorite charity. There is no deadline--entries can be submitted throughout the year. See the community service writing tips and the Teen Ink submission guidelines for more information.
It's been a year since Pandemic, my debut novel, was published by Sky Pony Press. I have a guest post today about five things I've learned in my first year as a published novelist at UncommonYA.
I'll be celebrating Pandemic's first birthday next week with a giveaway. Bloggers and book lovers, you can sign up to take part in the giveaway promotion here. The prize includes a $75 gift card, a signed hard copy of Pandemic, and some fun swag.
Come back next week to enter the giveaway!
Teen Tuesday is back! If you've been reading my blog during April, you'll know I focused on productivity, especially as it relates to creative people. I'm returning to my regular schedule, featuring blog posts for teen writers on Tuesdays and posts for writers/readers of all ages on Fridays. I may try to throw some productivity tips and quotes in as well. (Scroll down for today's quote.)
"The Youth Honor Awards recognize creative and artistic works by young people that promote multicultural, international and nature awareness."
What: Essays, interviews, poems, short stories, photos, paintings, etc.
Who: Ages 7 to 17
When: By June 25th
"Winners will receive an Honor Award Certificate, a subscription to Skipping Stones magazine and five nature and/or multicultural books."
Complete guideline are available at the Skipping Stones website.
Part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge tradition is to write a “reflection” about the April experience. Participants can post a reflection on their blogs any time this week.
Having survived last year’s challenge, this year I wrote all my posts ahead of time. What I lost in flexibility, I gained in peace of mind and preparedness. I don’t think I would have finished otherwise.
One of the nicest parts of the challenge is visiting other blogs and corresponding with other bloggers. I tried to be more organized this year in my approach to this, but I still didn’t have enough time to visit as many blogs as I wanted.
One thing I wished for: after the theme reveal, I would have liked a list of participating blogs along with their themes. Seeing the themes upfront would help me choose some of the other blogs to visit.
I helped with A to Z this year by being a minion on C. Lee McKenzie’s “Muffin Commando Squad.” It made me appreciate how much effort goes into running the A to Z Challenge, but it also added to the time I spent on A to Z this month. (A shout-out to my fellow muffins Carrie Butler, Patricia Lynne, Tyrean Martinson, Donna McDine, Tammy Theriault and Tara Tyler.)
I really enjoyed researching and writing about my productivity theme. If you’d like to read my A to Z productivity-themed blog posts, here they are. (I also gathered them on a Pinterest board.)
A is for Analyze: How Do You Spend Your Time?
B is for Beginning: Wisdom from Newton, Hemingway, and Others about the Power of Getting Started
C is for Ciotti: Interview with Sparring Mind's Gregory Ciotti
D is for Digital Procrastination and the Illusion of Productivity
E is for Exercise
F is for Focus and Flow
G is for Getting Things Done
H is for How to Procrastinate
I is for Important Things First: Prioritizing Tasks
J is for Julie: A Calendar Trick from Author Julie Lindsey
K is for Killing Time: An Unscientific List of the Best 5 Ways
L is for Lifehacks and Links
M is for Myths about Productivity
N is for "No"
O is for Open Loops (Unfinished Business)
P is for Pomodoro Technique
Q is for Quit Bad Habits
R is for Routines and Rituals
S is for Sleep
T is for Technology Tools
U is for Unclutter: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
V is for Vanderkam: Interview with Productivity Author Laura Vanderkam
W is for Will Power (Which Isn't Enough)
X is for Xeriscape
Y is for Yours Truly: Productivity Advice from Yvonne
Z is for Zig Ziglar Quote
What were the best parts of the challenge for you? Will you participate in the challenge next year? Share a link to your own reflections in the comments if you’d like.
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