Bird Face Wendy

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

Inspiring, Motivating Fiction for Teens

boy.green.eyes As I suspect is probably the same for teens today, my teen years were the period when I was most reluctant to venture outside my comfort zone. Whether to say hello to a newcomer or try a new craft or sport. Even to help in a way I’d never helped  before.

To trust—in myself, in family, in God.

Adults often find it difficult to encourage—let alone convince—teenagers to trust, to reach out, branch out, think courageously or outside the box. But story can sometimes do the job we are unable to do.

This holiday season I recommend a few books that might help. Most are newly released novels, and one is an anthology of short stories in case a teen won’t sit still long enough to read a novel. 🙂

I’ve read and enjoyed them all. Full disclosure: The anthology contains a short story of mine, and all its stories contain strong Catholic elements. One of the novels is mine as well, and the character lineup includes deaf and Jewish teens.

All these books can be enjoyed equally by boys and girls. So, take a look. You might find the right gift for a teen you know this Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah.

First up: Roland West Outcast (West Brothers series) by Theresa Linden, who was raised in a military family, where she developed strong patriotism and a sense of adventure.42190134

Shy Roland West, who fears speaking up, attends high school with gossips and troublemakers. After panicking in speech class and becoming the subject of gossip, his best friend, Peter, pushes him to uncover the vandals of an outcast’s house before they strike again.

My review: How I rooted for Roland to find his voice in this book! But Peter . . . he surprised me by becoming my favorite character of the West Brothers series. To quote him: “You can’t act on your impulses just because you love someone.” Therein lie the strength and beauty of the story message. Sometimes, like some of the characters in Roland West Outcast, young people believe that their feelings justify their actions. The results can be harmful to themselves or to the ones they love. Both Roland and Peter prove what pure, unselfish love can be. And they are put to the test in defending their faith and demonstrating it, in spite of strong criticism, while solving a mystery and righting a wrong committed against a new girl at their school.

Next: Where You Lead by Leslea Wahl, who strives to write fiction that will inspire readers to use their own talents and gifts to glorify God.

41153270 Sixteen-year-old Eve’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man. Thousands of miles away, Nick has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainty to convince his father to run for political office.

My review: This is my favorite of Leslea Wahl’s novels so far. The setting of this mystery is Washington D.C., and the historical and geographical references flavor the backdrop in just the right amounts. I immediately connected with Eve, and both Eve and Nick are not only likable characters but endearing. The balance of description, narrative, and dialogue makes this novel a smooth read. This story could be the start of a good series. It is clean with Christian/Catholic elements that are used in a natural way for the characters.

And: 3 Things to Forget (Bird Face series book four) by Cynthia T. Toney. That’s me! 3TTF Final Cover In Alaska, Wendy thinks she’s left behind the problems resulting from her mistakes in Louisiana, at least for a while. But starting the summer at her friend Sam’s house and volunteering with wildlife conservation bring not only strange surroundings but also strangers into her life. And those strangers have a secret involving a troubled girl who threatens Wendy’s friendship with Sam. As Wendy struggles to understand the Alaskans she meets and gets to know, will she be able forget what she hopes to, or will her new challenges teach her the importance of remembering the past?

The anthology: Secrets: Visible & Invisible by seven authors of CatholicTeenBooks.com. 40689696 This fiction anthology is a great way to get a taste of seven very different authors and their writing styles. It includes contemporary, dystopian, historical, mystery, romance, and more. Here are the nutshell descriptions of the stories:

1. In a dystopian future, an innocent picnic turns deadly!
2. Elijah knows nothing of the elderly stranger’s secret past–until her disappearance changes everything.
3. A mysterious, ever-changing painting alarms a group of teens.
4. The cannonball took Dario’s legs . . . Will he lose his soul too?
5. The arrival of a mysterious girl challenges everything about Jason’s life.
6. An unlicensed driver. His dad’s truck. What could possibly go wrong?
7. An old tale of murder and forbidden love leads to a modern day treasure hunt.

So, I hope you or a teen you love finds inspiration or motivation within one or more of these books. Have a beautiful holiday season!

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Sorry for the long break—7 months! So…

May I make it up to you with a SALE? May 20-26, the Amazon ebook version of 6 Dates to Disaster is only 99 cents.

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Maybe my timing isn’t all that bad, because you can catch up with Wendy and her friends at a reduced price while waiting for book four of the Bird Face series, 3 Things to Forget. Watch for it in September!

And for the first time, I have *completed* a short story! (Never thought I’d do it.) “Recreation” will be part of an anthology, Secrets. Sign up for the newsletter at the website featured in the meme below to receive updates. While you’re there, check out all the middle-grade and young adult novels from its members.

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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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Seeking My Niche

This post was first published on The Scriblerians blog, October 6, 2015.

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Image courtesy of Morguefile free photos

I have one of those in my house—a niche. It’s carved out of the wall at the end of a short hallway. Not much fits there, but I placed a tall pottery vase that is flattened from front to back so it nestles in the space just right.

And boy, is it showcased.

Isn’t that what we authors are supposed to do? Find a niche for our work? An audience where it’s showcased rather than one of many similar, cluttered objects where none stand out.

I suppose those are extreme examples, but books can’t yell for attention like humans can. How do I find the audience(s) where my novels might catch fire, so to speak?

I’m thinking out loud now. Thanks for sticking with me.

My YA novels in the Bird Face series use humor and hope to address serious issues facing teens today. Each novel addresses at least a few. It’s the way I like to write stories, with my protagonist facing multiple issues and crises that are intertwined.

So, how do I find a niche for those books?

Right now, I’m looking for teens with particular challenges or areas in teens’ lives where certain types of stories or characters are lacking. Stories featuring a teen that is hearing-impaired are hard to find, for example. So are those with Catholic teen characters.

I wrote my first book because I care about kids who are shy or bullied. It’s fiction that contains elements of Christian faith, and the half-Cajun Wendy naturally became Catholic because all the Cajuns I knew were Catholic.

I wrote my deaf teen character Sam in my second book because I care about hearing-impaired teens. A good friend in my twenties taught at a school for the deaf, and she shared her experiences.  I grew up not understanding much about the hearing-impaired children I met, but I later worked around hearing-impaired adults, who referred to themselves as deaf and who became my friends.

Like an ethnic group, both hearing-impaired and Catholic teens like to see characters similar to themselves occasionally depicted in the fiction they read.

I’ve decided to try target-marketing to both Catholic teens and hearing-impaired teens (as I continue to market to all teens, Christian and non-Christian). I know, I’ve selected two niches, but I’m still figuring this out.

Anyway, that’s my plan for today.

Are you an author struggling to find your niche? As a reader, are you attracted to specific religious aspects of story or social issues in story lines?

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Enter to Win a Copy of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status on Goodreads

10 Steps to Girlfriend Status FRONT COVER  If you’ve wanted to read the second novel of the Bird Face series, 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, a giveaway of a signed print copy is going on right now on Goodreads.com. This giveaway is open to addresses in the U.S. and Canada.

You don’t necessarily have to read the first novel, 8 Notes to a Nobody, to understand the second. If you’d prefer to read the books in order, look for an announcement soon about how to acquire a free Kindle version of 8 Notes to a Nobody.

If you are not a member of Goodreads, here are some reasons to join–and these are only a few!

  • It doesn’t cost a thing.
  • It’s a great place to find out about books with topics or themes you’re interested in.
  • It’s a great place to meet authors, writers like yourself, and readers with similar interests.
  • You can keep track of books you’ve read and want to read.
  • You can rate or review books and see other members’ ratings and reviews.
  • You can recommend books to friends and receive recommendations if you wish.
  • You can be notified of giveaways for books on your to-read list.
  • You can search for giveaways and enter them.

So, what are you waiting for? Someone will win, and it could be you!

Goodreads Giveaway of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status

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The Writing Process: A Blog Tour

TouringPaddleBoat  This image of a family touring in India was too cute not to use.

But in case you’re unfamiliar with what a blog tour is (also known as a blog hop), let me explain. Bloggers who have a common interest can tag other bloggers––with their permission–-for a future date, in order to continue a discussion and provide exposure for one another. Visitors to our sites see links to those other blog sites and can choose whether to keep touring.

If bloggers keep the system going, it will never have to end, so think about starting one for a topic of your choice!

This one is about the WRITING PROCESS, so––you guessed it––each of us participating is an author of fiction, nonfiction, and/or other types of writing, and we’re sharing how and why we write what we do.

Charlotte Ostermann kindly tagged me last week. She is the author of Souls at Rest, Souls at Work, and Souls at Play. She blogs at Chatty Catholic Doll.

Here are my answers to the 4 questions answered by each of us on the Writing Process Tour:

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on two novels. One, which is in the formative stage, is a sequel to my recently published contemporary teen novel, Bird Face. The other is a completed manuscript titled The Other Side of Freedom that has a boy protagonist who’s involved in a crime against his will. It’s historical fiction for teens, and its setting is a rural farming community in 1925.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Teens’ lives are complex, and I wrote the story of Bird Face with that in mind, incorporating several major plot lines that intersect and weave, instead of one main plot line. I hope to accomplish the same thing in the sequel.

The Other Side of Freedom is different from a lot of new historical fiction for teens because it takes place in the 20th Century instead of during ancient or European medieval times, and the main characters are Italian immigrants.

Why do I write what I do?

I love talking to tweens and teens. They are full of love and hope, and writing for them just comes naturally to me. And I prefer reading fiction for that age group because it is imaginative and entertaining in content and style,  so I’m inspired by some really good fiction there.

How does your writing process work?

Something has to grab me emotionally for me to write a story surrounding it. I’m not the type to study popular trends and search for an idea for a book that way. Bird Face came about because of the things I saw kids experiencing, and I was moved to write about them to try to help other kids. A story I write may be inspired by a current event or by history, but it will be a lesser known aspect of that event or period, an aspect that finds a soft spot in my heart.

Once I have an idea of the conflict I want my main character to experience and how I want him or her to grow because of it, I decide how I want to write the point of view (POV). I’ve always used a single POV so everything is seen and experienced through one person’s eyes instead of switching between two or more characters, and I write in past tense, either first or third person.

I envision a beginning, a middle, and an end for the story. I get those down in rough form, knowing they’ll change a little or a lot. Then I start filling in the steps in between, and often the opportunity for additional plot lines arise as I’m trying to make the original plot idea flow. I rely on scraps from my life’s experiences to provide details that are the right tone for a scene. At some point I write chapter summaries, and I study them to determine if scenes or chapters need to be rearranged for better effect. And all along the way, I revisit my favorite books on the writing craft for help with plot structure, setting, dialogue, and characterization.

Well, that’s how I work! Check out the writing process of these two bloggers I’m tagging for next week, July 7:

Amy Cattapan is an author and teacher who shares her love of books for teens and tweens at AJ Cattapan. Her upcoming novel is titled Angelhood.

Vanessa Morton is an author and archaeologist who writes for young adults. She reviews books at VanessaMorton. Her debut novel is titled Moonfall: Tales from the Levant.

 

 

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