Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

7 Ways to Make a Blog Host Happy

If an author or other creative has the opportunity to be featured on someone else’s blog, here are some tips to make the blog host’s experience as pleasant as possible—and get the guest invited back!

Whether for a book review, interview, guest post, showcase of a creation, or any other feature that recognizes a creative person or his work, there are ways to submit items to the blog owner that make his or her preparation of the post easier.

1. Create Word documents that are clearly labeled as bio, summary or description, excerpt, interview Q&A, etc. Email them and any requested images as attachments to your host. The email message should state what you are attaching, or simply say that you have attached the requested materials.

When I receive such materials for an upcoming feature, I set up a folder on my desktop labeled with the author or artist’s name. I place all necessary documents and images there within easy reach. The desktop folder serves as a constant reminder that the host must prepare the blog post for publication.

Don’t copy and paste any of your information into the body of an email because …

a. Emails get lost in the muck and mire of hundreds or thousands of other emails and require the host to search later on.

b. A host like me will copy and paste information into Word documents anyway to organize and save it in a folder. That means extra work for your host, which is not a good thing.

2. If a guest thinks of an additional small piece of information after sending the original email containing attachments, I don’t mind copying a sentence or two (if clearly marked as new copy) from an email and adding it to an existing, appropriate Word document. But, for example, if a guest must revise a lengthy article or summary, please send a new Word document of the same name as the original one. That way, the host only has to replace the document by the same name in the folder.

3. When emailing images, don’t send high-resolution files large enough for printing a poster! They take longer to load and use unnecessary storage space. A book cover image file around 300 KB is plenty big enough for digital use, although around 700 is still manageable. I often open larger image files in Photoshop and save them to a smaller size, but it would be better for the guest to do that before sending to the host.

4. Provide all materials to the blog host at least one week in advance of publication date or by the date requested by the host. In your email, ask the host to let you know when he or she receives the email. A response benefits both of you as a reminder that everything is received and okay for publication.

5. Remember to sign up for email notifications of the blog’s posts. That way, you’ll receive an email when your feature has been published, and the host won’t have to notify you personally or email you a link. Either the host or the guest might forget the date when it draws near. The guest can unfollow the blog later.

6. Forward the post email to friends and share the post on all your social media.

7. Encourage friends to comment on the post. Check a few times over the first week for comments and respond to them.

Of course, if a blog host requires you do something different from what I advise, do what he or she prefers. Just as when you submit to an agent, editor, or publisher, it never hurts to ask in advance for guidelines if they are not provided initially.

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The West Brothers series … Standing Strong

Standing Strong is the fourth and most recent volume in the West Brothers contemporary Christian teen fiction series by award-winning author Theresa Linden. I’ve read the first three books to completion and am in the process of reading the fourth. I recommend this series containing spiritual, uplifting messages, especially for teens.

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One of the most interesting characteristics of this series is that each book has its own unique flavor, in my opinion. The first has a strong anti-bullying message, the second is more romantic, and the third contains a battle between angels and demons. The fourth book, Standing Strong, goes like this:

Having just confessed his sins to his priest–more sins than a kid his age should have–Jarret jumps in his Chrysler 300 and races to the outskirts of town. Overwhelmed with emotion, he pulls off the road and flings himself face down behind an outcropping of rocks. Ever since that life-changing night in the canyon, Jarret has felt the presence of the Lord in his soul. Now that presence is fading. Is it his fault? How will he remain faithful without it when he still struggles against the same temptations?

Meanwhile his twin brother, Keefe, questions whether he has a calling to religious life. He’s gone along with Jarret’s bad schemes for years. Is he worthy of such a calling? What would he have to give up to pursue a vocation? Keefe reads everything he can about St. Francis and the Franciscans, but he’s afraid to talk to his father about the Franciscans’ upcoming discernment retreat because his father seems closed to faith. Is he ready to go all in?

And because we enjoy knowing how stories come about, here’s some background on the series from the author:

While writing another story from Roland West’s point of view, I received an email that changed my writing plans. I learned about a teen who finished reading Battle for His Soul in two days and who texted his teacher (a nun) to find more of my books!

The nun wrote, “This is a young man who does not like reading, and who is not the type to text nuns for a half an hour on a Sunday evening! But he is so ecstatic about this book.”

That totally made my day and inspired me! Then the nun shared her ideas for the next story. She thought it would be great to read a novel about the converted Jarret West. Although he would want to do the right things, he would still have temptations and struggles to deal with and a lot of tough lessons to learn. “It’s great for modern youth to have examples of how to deal with the everyday struggles they have.”

After considering this nun’s suggestions concerning Jarret West—and knowing his twin brother’s unfinished business from Battle for His Soul—the storyline for Standing Strong came together! The book was written in record time too! It’s a story that offers hope for those struggling with temptation. And it’s a story for those who wonder if God might be calling them. And it’s just plain fun! I hope that my readers find Standing Strong entertaining as well as encouraging. And I can’t wait to find out how this young man and other teens feel about this story!

Follow the West brothers as they struggle through temptations and trials, down paths they can barely see, toward goals they desire in the depths of their hearts.

Standing Strong is available for pre-order. It releases October 4th in paperback and ebook on Amazon and in ebook on Barnes&Noble and Kobo.

square theresa An avid reader and writer since grade school, Theresa Linden grew up in a military family. Moving every few years left her with the impression that life is an adventure. Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. Visit her website: TheresaLinden.com. Follow Theresa Linden on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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All Ages Learn about Alzheimer’s from Reading AlzAuthors’ Books

Have you known someone who developed Alzheimer’s, or have you been diagnosed? Patients, adult caregivers, and children or teenagers in the family often need help in understanding what is happening to themselves or their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

In respect and appreciation for World Alzheimer’s Month and Alzheimer’s awareness, nineteen wonderful ebooks are on sale from the Alzauthors group during September 27th through 30th.

One of these is 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status (Bird Face book two), in which Wendy learns that her dear Mrs. Villaturo has Alzheimer’s. If you haven’t read it, now is another chance to do so—or purchase it for a loved one—at only 99 cents.

We in the Alzauthors group hope that one or more of our books will help you, a family member, or a friend traverse the Alzheimer’s or dementia journey with love, patience, and understanding.

Cynthia T. Toney

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Coming Soon! 1920s Historical Novel for Tweens and Teens

Something new is coming in October, and it’s

  • My first historical novel
  • My first crime drama
  • My first novel with a male protagonist

When the reward is the most costly sacrifice of all …

In a southern farming community in 1925, thirteen-year-old Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend. Will Sal keep the secrets about that night as his father asks, or risk everything he and his family cherish in their new homeland, including their lives? 

Amidst bigotry, bootlegging, police corruption, and gangland threats, Sal must discover whom he can trust in order to protect himself and his family and win back his father’s freedom. Sal’s family, their African-American farmhand, and the girl who is Sal’s best friend find their lives forever changed as dreams are shattered and attitudes challenged in a small community called Freedom.

 

Let’s visit the 1920s like you’ve never seen them before! I hope to meet you there!

 

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Starting July 4th: Only 99¢ for 6 Dates to Disaster

6 Dates to Disaster FC 5x8   While you enjoy a Happy Independence Day this July 4th, grab the Kindle version of 6 Dates to Disaster on Amazon at only 99 cents. It’s a lot less expensive than barbecue but just as delicious!

This special first-time sale runs July 4 – 10, 2017. Visit Amazon for your copy.

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A Story of First Love, Buried Treasure, and Waiting

Rightfully Ours Front  Author Carolyn Astfalk is enjoying the release of her first Young Adult (YA) novel, which I am looking forward to reading. I wonder if she notices the parallels between elements of the book’s story and her journey as an author, which she recently shared with me.

Until now, Carolyn’s published titles were adult inspirational romance, Stay With Me and Ornamental Graces. I’m always curious about authors who try writing a different genre, so I asked her to explain how that happened. Here’s what she said:

“Although Rightfully Ours is my third published book, it is the first novel I wrote, before my two new adult/adult inspirational romances. Most of the first draft of Rightfully Ours was written during National Novel Writing Month in 2010, which I began without a clue as to what I was doing and only a newspaper clipping for inspiration. Because the story involves a treasure hunt, both literally and figuratively, I think young protagonists were a perfect fit. Teens generally have a natural optimism and enthusiasm that open their hearts to discovering truth, beauty, and the possibility of treasure unimpeded by the cynicism and practicality that many of us adults have adopted.”

These are some of the similarities I notice between Carolyn’s journey and the description of this book:

This YA novel about first love was her first manuscript! Dare I say YA might be her first true love among genres?

Like the treasures in the story, this treasure of a book had to be discovered in the right way at the right time.

Finding a treasure requires patience. Waiting. Nothing about treasures is supposed to be easy, is it?

Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. 

Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side-by-side to uncover what could be lost treasure. 

Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake? 

The teen characters in Rightfully Ours learn to wait as they strive for premarital chastity. The author: “…it will touch the hearts of young people trying to discover the truth and beauty of human sexuality … this book’s journey has come to fruition just as my oldest child is on the verge of entering high school.”

Some might call it coincidence that this novel achieved publication so many years after being written. Others might call it fate or the simple result of the author’s determination to see this YA book in print.

But Carolyn says, “God’s timing is perfect.” I must agree.

Enjoy this trailer for Rightfully Ours. Learn more about Carolyn Astfalk and her books by visiting her website.

Let’s welcome Carolyn to the exciting world of writing for teens!

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Release Day! First Scene Preview: 6 Dates to Disaster

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My publisher featured 6 Dates to Disaster today on the Write Integrity Press blog with the first scene for your convenience. I hope you enjoy reading it!

This is the third book of the Bird Face series, and Jennifer is back in Wendy’s life, although not shown in the first scene. The story addresses honesty and how dishonesty can damage a teen’s relationships and future.

Be sure to check out all three of the books so far in the series on my Amazon author page! (The original Bird Face book, which is out-of-print, is still listed there, too. That story became 8 Notes to a Nobody.)

Thank you for reading.

Cynthia

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What would you advise your teenage self?

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A happy couple, drawn in high school.

Here is a pep talk I would give my 15-1/2-year-0ld self if I could. I borrowed the post from the group blog I also write for, The Scriblerians.

With the wisdom you’ve acquired, what would you say to your younger self?  (Even if you’re still in high school.) https://thescriblerians.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/pep-talk-to-my-15-%C2%BD-year-old-self/

 

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Introducing Mattie, Teen Reader

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Mattie at home with her dog, Bessie

If you’ve read 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, you’ll recognize the name “Mattie” as one of the characters. This is where I got the name!

Meet Mattie, a young lady around 15 years old, who was the first reader to contact me back when the original Bird Face was published. She wrote the sweetest letter and raised my spirits as an author when I needed it most. So naturally I wanted to name a character after her. 🙂

Although the real Mattie is not all that similar to my fictional character Mattie, she is amazing and worth writing about! She kindly agreed to allow me to interview her.

Cynthia: Welcome to the blog, Mattie. Tell us a little about yourself—what combination of personality, interests, and abilities makes Mattie who Mattie is?

Mattie: I’m a creative, quirky girl, who loves to read, write, and paint. I also spend a lot of time performing. I enjoy acting because I get to pretend to be someone else. It reminds me of when I was little, and I would run around screaming, “I’m a FAIRY!”

Cynthia: You’re very talented! I can understand how you would relate to the characters in my books. You have a combination of their talents.

Which kinds of books do you like to read, and would you like to write a book similar to any of those someday?

Mattie: I like to read books that have a little mystery and romance. Books about actors are also very interesting to me, since they help me improve my craft. If I ever write a book in the future, it will probably be about life experiences I’ve had and how God has helped me get through them.

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Cynthia: Terrific. The good thing for writers is that we can turn our experiences–good or bad–into a book.  And we can honor our friends by naming characters after them.

Do you have a lot of friends you hang out with or one or two close ones?

Mattie: I have a few close friends.

Cynthia: What makes a good friend for you?

Mattie: A person who loves to laugh always makes a great friend for me! It is so fun to joke around with my close friends. Especially when we get it on video, and we can laugh about it again later.

Cynthia: I wish my friends and I had been able to record ourselves!

What is the best thing about friendship with a boy? What is the worst?

Mattie: Hanging out with a guy is fun because we can play a sport or a video game which I wouldn’t normally do with my girly friends. However, the worst thing about having guy friends is that they are harder to relate to.

Cynthia: Yeah, having at least one guy friend is great for getting a male perspective on a situation, seeing the world through his eyes, but for some things you need your gal pals.

Because you have both male and female friends, I must ask you: which character in the series do you like the most?

Mattie: My favorite character is Sam. He would be a great friend to have because he knows just what to say or do when someone is upset. He is very caring.

Cynthia: Aww. Sam is one of my favorites too, even though he and Wendy have a couple of arguments, or at least misunderstandings.

Have you ever had a bad argument with the person who was your best friend, and what was it about?

Mattie: One time, I was aggravated with my best friend, and I made fun of her most hated flaw. She was super offended, and she wouldn’t talk to me for the whole day. Fortunately, she forgave me for saying something so inconsiderate, and we are still besties!

Cynthia: Wow, you two are good friends. I always feel bad if I make a comment to someone I like and she gets that hurt look on her face. Sometimes I’m kinda like Wendy was in the first book, lacking in social skills.

In your opinion, what is your best quality or social skill? Which quality or skill would you like to develop?

Mattie: My best quality is that I’m not afraid to be myself. I am comfortable in my own skin. I would like to develop the skill of small talk. When I am first meeting someone, it can be hard for me to make conversation since I hardly know them.

Cynthia: It’s great that you’re comfortable being yourself. Some teens don’t feel that way.

If you worry, what do you worry about the most? What kind of action do you take to solve the problem or get your mind off worrying about it?

Mattie: I usually worry about silly things like what I’m going to wear to an event or how I’m going to decorate my room. I will read, do some homework, or watch T.V. to clear my head.

Cynthia: Are you public, private, religious or home-school educated? What is the worst thing about school? What is the best thing?

Mattie: I go to a public school. About 50% of the stuff I learn in school will probably go to waste. I doubt I’ll remember the elements of the Periodic Table by the time I’m 30. I still like school because I get to see my friends all the time, and I eat yummy pizza for lunch everyday!

Cynthia: Thanks for visiting, Mattie. I hope this semester of the school year goes as well as the first!

If you enjoyed meeting Mattie as much as I did and would like to see her in action, she’d love for you to follow her Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC94_Sy-pS_Rct9ZNEMyOM4Q

 

 

 

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A new novel for teen boys by Theresa Linden

It’s a trend long awaited–growing numbers of contemporary novels for boys in junior high and high school with a male protagonist 13 to 17 years old. Not to say that girls or adults can’t read and enjoy them too!

Watch for more posts in the coming weeks about novels being released for this audience. Today, please take a look at this one mixing realism and the supernatural–Roland West, Loner–by author Theresa Linden. It is one of my favorites.

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Description:
Roland West, Loner is a contemporary Christian story of a fourteen-year-old boy who finds himself friendless at a new school and the subject of cruel rumors. Despised by older twin brothers, he feels utterly alone but not without hope. If he can avoid his brothers while his father is away, he might have a solution to his problem. When his brothers lock him away, having a plan of their own, he gets rescued by an unlikely pair: a neighboring autistic boy and his brother. Struggling to trust his new friends, secrets, rumors, lies, and an unusual inheritance put him on a journey that just might have the power to change the life of this loner.

Roland West, Loner addresses loneliness, sibling relationships, facing fears, autism, and the Communion of the Saints. Susan Peek, highly popular author of saint stories for teens, including A Soldier Surrenders said, “Roland West, Loner is one of those books I couldn’t put down. Linden tells a delightful tale, weaving the supernatural with the ordinary in a way that left me breathless. You’ll never doubt the Communion of Saints after reading this wonderful novel. I can’t wait for the sequel.”  

Excerpt: 

Time stopped. In a moment of clarity, Roland knew what he had to do. Ignore him. The advice hung in his mind like a caption between scenes of a silent movie. Walk away.

A second later, something inside him snapped. He visualized the buttons popping off his shirt and sailing through the air, their threads like streamers. His sleeve ripping in slow motion, exposing his weakness. Jarret wanted to steal his trip to Italy, his salvation? No way.

Roland’s hands shot out and landed on Jarret’s chest. He shoved.

Jarret staggered back, shock in his eyes. Roland had never made the first move in a fight. He hardly ever defended himself.

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Author Bio: 
Theresa Linden, an avid reader and writer since grade school, grew up in a military family. Moving every few years left her with the impression that life is an adventure. Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She hopes that the richness, depth, and mystery of the Catholic faith arouse her readers’ imaginations to the invisible realities and the power of faith and grace. A member of the Catholic Writers’ Guild, Theresa lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, three boys, and one dog. Her other published books include Chasing Liberty and Testing Liberty, books one and two in a dystopian trilogy.

Connect with Theresa Linden:

Website: http://theresalinden.wix.com/theresalindenfiction

Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/theresalindenauthor

Twitter handle: @LindenTheresa

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TheresaALinden/catholic-teen-fiction

 

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