Bird Face Wendy

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

Write a Short Poem to Enter This Competition!

For the first time, a poem has appeared in one of the Bird Face series books! I got to thinking . . . if one of my characters writes poetry, maybe some of the series’ readers do—or would like to try. And if you haven’t read any of these novels, here’s an opportunity to win the very last one (and a personal favorite).

3TTF Final Cover

In honor of my poet-character and her work, I will give away one paperback copy of 3 Things to Forget to a U.S. winner OR one such ebook to a winner in the U.S. or elsewhere.

This is a competition rather than a random drawing, and I am the judge! I’ve always loved poetry, and if you’ve followed this blog for some time, you may already know that I enjoy Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

To enter this competition, please comment on this blog post with a stanza or two of a poem you’ve written. It doesn’t have to rhyme, but I’ll admit I prefer rhyme. Easily guessed by looking at my favorite poets.

A few other things contestants should know:

Around 100 words will do. Although your work is copyrighted the moment it is published, even online, I respect your desire to protect your work. You don’t need to provide a whole poem. (Unless 100 words is the whole poem!) Just try to wow me or move me with the first lines, or your favorite lines, of your poem.

I will not extract and use your work. Remember, YOU choose to publish it in a comment if you wish to enter the competition. But this blog post will be shared by me and by others.

I will research your selection and will disqualify plagiarized work or previously published work (in print), even if it is yours.

If any subject matter and/or theme is of a sexual or graphically violent nature, would promote illegal activity, or would be inappropriate for children under 18, the comment/poetry will not be accepted.

This contest ends at 11:59 P.M. Central Standard Time, December 15, 2018.

I look forward to reading your poetry!

 

 

 

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Celebrate Your Success and Enter to Win an E-book

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Image courtesy of Morguefile.com free photos

In the early months of the new year, good things have happened to me as an author.

The second book of the Bird Face series, 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, is a semi-finalist in a book contest and a finalist in another. A Florida book fair company has acquired copies of both books of the series to sell to schools. I have sorted out some of the problems with my third manuscript and gotten back to writing it.

And I’m celebrating!

Don’t you think the small steps accomplished on any entrepreneurial journey should be celebrated? If you do, I invite you to celebrate yours–with me.

To expand the positive atmosphere I’m breathing, I’m offering a chance for a commenter on this blog post to win an electronic copy of either 8 Notes to a Nobody or 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status.

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All you need to do to enter for a chance to win:

  1. Share in the comments about an accomplishment in your particular endeavor (writing or other) that you celebrated or want to celebrate, and how (in a wholesome way–remember that young teens also read this blog).
  2. Subscribe to my monthly newsletter at cynthiattoney.com.

The names of all approved commenters who subscribe to the newsletter will be placed in a hat, and a winning name will be drawn. The prize will be a mobi file of your choice of either of my books, to be read on a Kindle or other device where you have a Kindle app.

After the end of March, I’ll notify the winner at the email address used to subscribe to the newsletter.

So, how about your entrepreneurial successes–in writing (prose, poetry, fiction, nonfiction) or an  altogether different endeavor? Was your poem or short story accepted for publication? Did you open a new online business? Sell your first painting? I’d love to hear about it.

Let’s celebrate those successes together!

 

 

 

 

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Contest Tips–plus Enter to Win a Free Critique from Sara Ella

To celebrate the New Year, I’d like to introduce you to Sara Ella, a brand new author of a soon-to-be-published YA novel.

Sara has a lot of experience entering–and winning–fiction writing contests, so I thought you’d enjoy the advice she has to offer. Take it away, Sara!

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The last thing I ever wanted to do was become an author.

Actually, not really. I’ve always wanted to be an author. But if I began my post that way, it wouldn’t hook you, now would it? However, starting my post with a contradiction piques your interest, doesn’t it? You probably wondered how I ended up becoming an author if it was the last thing I ever wanted to do, and thus you continued reading to find out how it happened.

And that is what “contesting” is all about, my friends.

Contests rely on first impressions. You may have the most stellar fiftieth page ever in your unpublished manuscript, but no writing contest judge will ever know that (nor will an agent) if you don’t hook them from page one, sentence one, word one! Because this is what they see. So it really doesn’t matter if your ending rivals Gayle Foreman’s “What just happened?” last page or Mary Weber’s “Aha, I got you!” final sentence. What matters is opening strong and ending your entry at the perfect place to leave ’em wanting more.

When I entered my first contest, I had no idea what I was doing. The truth is, even now that I can say I won an ACFW Genesis Award, I’m still learning, still growing as an author (and boy, do I have a long way to go). However, I have learned a few things in my two years of entering writing contests and in my more recent excursion of querying agents. I’m no expert, but I am going to share some things I’ve discovered along the way.

  • Just because the entry limit is fifteen pages doesn’t mean you have to end it exactly at that point. Sure, you want to give the judges the biggest bite of your work as possible. After all, many contests cost money and you want as much feedback as you can get. But you also have to end your entry on a strong note. What if page fifteen ends with something like, Jack walked into the house? Now, if the fate of the world rests on Jack’s entrance into that house, go ahead and end it there. But, more often than not, this will not be the case. Always make sure to leave the judges wanting more. That may mean ending on page fourteen, thirteen, or twelve. Whatever the limit, there is no rule saying you have to enter the full amount. Go it?
  • Even if you happen to be the next John Green or Cassandra Clare, readers are still subjective. Your story will not be loved by everyone (sorry to break it to you). There are books I LOVED that other people hated. Judges are advised to be kind in their critiques, but there will be comments and scores that will sting (I know from experience). Just take it with a grain of salt and move on. It’s one person’s opinion, not the end of the world.
  • Which brings me to this next point—if you get the same feedback from more than one judge or contest, take it into consideration. Yes, it’s your story, but judges do know a thing or two about writing. They’re experienced authors, and, if you make it to a final round, agents and editors (as in the Genesis contest). After receiving similar feedback across the board on the original prologue for my YA fantasy BLEMISHED, I decided to chuck that opening and start in a different place. And I am so glad I did. My novel is stronger now. Thanks, Judges!!!
  • If at first you don’t succeed…I know, it’s so cliché, but it’s totally true. J.K. Rowling received tons of rejections for Harry Potter before landing an agent, and even more before getting a book deal. Don’t let a few low scores or silence from the agent gallery get you down. Keep studying the craft. Revise, revise, revise. And seek help from other authors you know personally. This is probably the biggest and best advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The worst they can say is no, right? And some might say no if they’re on deadline or have too much on their plate, but most (in my experience) are glad to help. If I hadn’t asked for help with my Genesis entry, there’s no way I would have won that award. So join organizations like ACFW, RWA, SCBWI, or others suited to your work and get involved in critique groups. Support and encourage other authors in their success. If you do, they’ll more than likely be happy to return the favor.

Thank you for the great advice, Sara. So happy you could join us today!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Cynthia! I’m glad I could share my experiences with your readers.

Fiction writers, don’t miss this opportunity to enter to win a critique from Sara. She is giving away a critique for the first 15 pages (or less, remember?) of one reader’s novel, novella, or short story. 

To enter, place a comment below telling Sara why you’d like a critique from her. Please provide a website, blog, twitter, or email address where she can contact you if you win. Deadline is January 31, 2015. 

Sara’s Bio: Sara Ella dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle (aka The Plaza Hotel). Her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, but she did work for Disney—and her husband is far more swoony than any cartoon character could ever be. She now throws living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquers realms of her own imaginings. She is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary. Visit her website at http://saraella.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

 

 

 

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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. http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1862

“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!

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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.

“A FREND”

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!

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