Bird Face Wendy

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

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.


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.”  


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.


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:


Author FB page:

Twitter handle: @LindenTheresa




I’m Almost Speechless

. . . and beyond excited!

PrintBird Face received the Bronze Award for Pre-teen Fiction Mature Issues in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

“Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts. Each year’s entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages.”

And my congratulations go out to all the other winners this year and in years past, including their publishers, authors, editors, and illustrators!


Another Excerpt from Bird Face (Wendy is half Cajun, in case you didn’t know)

BIRD.FACE.FC.reduced  What could I say about Bellingrath Junior High? Not much, except it was named after my secret hero, Bernard Bellingrath. But Barney wasn’t the kind of hero who rescued a kid from a burning building or found a cure for a disease.

Barney dropped a big load of money on our school to build the gym, stadium, and later the library annex. As his reward, a faded portrait hung on the wall of the visitors’ area inside the main entrance. But that wasn’t the reason he was my hero.

According to legend, Barney had been born with a tail. A tail. Grand-mere Robichaud, who’d once seen such a tail on a baby’s pink bottom, said he could’ve been mistaken for the main course at a cochon de lait—a Cajun pig roast. But Barney’s parents were very religious, so they refused to have the tail removed.

In spite of that decision, Barney grew up to be the richest and most powerful man in town. But that still wasn’t the reason he was my hero. The fact that he decided to keep the tail anyway—that was the reason.

Now, all these years later, you’d think physical imperfections would be tolerated at a school practically founded by someone with a tail. But no.

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An Excerpt from Bird Face

“Bird. Face.” A whisper, but the voice rang deep. He stood against the wall just inside the door.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. With animal instinct, I turned only my eyes toward the sound. Time slowed while I walked past him, so close the breath from his sneering mouth rustled my hair.

Bird Face. Those two simple little words came from John Wilson, the tallest boy in eighth grade. A Brainiac, he reminded me of Frankenstein’s monster. Not that he was hideous or scarred or anything. Other than his block-shaped head, he looked about as ordinary as any boy could—brown hair, brown eyes, glasses. He had bony arms and wimpy shoulders. Nothing scary about that.

But he had a way of creeping up on a person. I could be in the library or the bus line, and all of a sudden, there he’d be, looming in my personal space. He acted like the monster in some old black-and-white movie. I had gotten somewhat used to that, but it was weird he decided to speak. And what the heck was a “bird face,” anyway?

I kept walking. If John-Monster expected some kind of reaction from me, he wasn’t going to get one.

I didn’t stop until I got to my desk. That’s when I noticed a swatch of yellow on the seat. Another sticky-note message. Still printed, but this time signed too.

Only words.


And a bad speller, apparently. I examined the little square of paper for a few seconds. The writing still didn’t seem familiar at all. An eerie sensation like someone was watching me made me turn. But when I glanced around the room, I got nothing.

A yellow note pad would be a clue, if only I could find one. Tookie wore a yellow shirt —designer, of course. Gayle wrote in a yellow notebook. Frank grinned at me with yellow teeth. But no yellow sticky notes anywhere in sight.

I slipped this one into my purse. At least someone was paying attention.

Visit the CONTESTS page to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Bird Face!


A Bird Face in the hand is worth…

BIRD.FACE.FC.reduced…two books at any other stage of the game! I’m thrilled to announce that Bird Face in paperback is now available on, and a Kindle version will be available soon.

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her perfect-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer, will Jennifer still be around to support her?

Using humor and offering hope, this story for ages 10 to 14 (grades 5-8) delicately addresses issues of bullying, eating disorders, imperfect families, and teen suicide.

If you are–or once were–a young lady on the cusp between eighth grade and high school, this book was written especially for you. I hope you’ll recognize yourself and perhaps a few of your friends in Wendy’s story.

Your copy to enjoy and share with those you love is waiting for you at

Before you leave Wendy and me, please share with us–What is your special story from those awkward or thrilling middle school or junior high years?

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The Next Big Thing (and I don’t mean wedge sneakers) BLOG HOP

Hopefully the next big thing will be the newly published YA novel written by an author like you or me!

A young adult novel is no longer “only a teen book.”  Besides being as difficult to write as an adult novel, YA  is just as likely (or more likely) to win literary awards and become a classic. It has the potential to be widely read by all ages. But first, readers need to know it exists.

This blog hop is a great way for both published and unpublished YA authors to get our names and the titles of our works out there. We post some information about our books and then tag, or list, other authors and their blogs for our followers to visit. Those authors do the same, and so it continues.

After I responded to an email calling for participants, Janet K. Brown, author of Victoria and the Ghost, tagged me on December 12. Check out the blog and books of Janet K. Brown at  She didn’t even know me at the time! But this is one way you can get to know your fellow YA authors. And to share their blogs with readers who might enjoy their books, either now or when they are published in the near future.

As demonstrated on Janet’s blog and this one, ten questions (give or take) will be answered about each participant’s novel. If you are a writer but don’t have your own blog yet, following this blog hop may inspire you to create one.

After you’ve read the following questions and answers about my project, please take a look at the blogs of the talented authors I’ve listed below.


What is the title of your novel?

Bird Face

Where did the idea for the book originate?

I had been thinking about the problems that shyness causes, even well into adulthood.

Which genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Contemporary

Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie rendition?

That’s a difficult one because I don’t keep up with actors’ names, although I remember faces and acting ability. The main character, Wendy, should be played by someone who can come across as both sensitive and strong, like the lead actress in the movie Flipped.

What is a one-sentence summary of your book?

Anonymous sticky-notes, a scheming bully, and a ruined summer send almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud down a trail of secrets and self-discovery.

And here’s a longer blurb:

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her classmates Tookie and the Sticks. That is, until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend is hiding something. While juggling divorced parents, caring for abandoned puppies, and trying to make the high school track team, who has time to play detective?

Is your book self-published, published by an independent or other publisher, or represented by an agency?

Bird Face will be published by a notable award-winning independent publisher in Iowa, Port Yonder Press. It will be released in the spring of 2013. I do not have an agent.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

I worked on it in spurts for over a decade while pursuing my original career in design, advertising, and marketing. I changed jobs and either moved or commuted for a while, which interfered with writing a novel.

What other books compare to yours within its genre?

None exactly that I have been able to find. However, novels by Betsy Byars and Sarah Dessen inspired the tone and style.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I love preteens and young teens—especially awkward kids who speak without thinking first and are full of love but don’t always know where to direct it. Memories of my childhood and my daughter’s made me want to write a novel that would show kids from ages 10 to 14 how wonderful and powerful they are.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It delicately addresses serious issues of eating disorders and teen suicide. But it contains humor and is uplifting. I wanted it to appeal to kids in grades 5 through 8, as well as adults who care about them.

What’s on the horizon?

I am about halfway finished the first draft of a YA historical titled The Other Side of Freedom. It is about a boy and his Italian immigrant father who become involved against their will in a crime in the 1920s.


Laura Anderson Kurk

Leigh DeLozier

Stefne Miller

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