Bird Face Wendy

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

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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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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Teens! Here’s an Art Contest for You

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Teen artists ages 11 to 18! Enter this contest to win a copy of my new novel, 6 Dates to Disaster (Bird Face series book three). Visit my website www.cynthiattoney.com, subscribe to my newsletter there, and email me (see Contact, under About Me tab on the website) a sketch of your fave character(s) in a scene from one of my first two books.

In the email, tell me which book and which chapter you got your idea from. Contest ends at midnight CST, January 1, 2017. Winner will be notified by 1/31/17 at the email address you use to subscribe to my newsletter. Winner must provide a valid U.S. or Canadian mailing address in a return email.

I can’t wait to see what you draw!

Cynthia

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Cover Reveal! Book three of the Bird Face series

Coordinates well with the previous two, don’t you think? If the image appears pixilated, it also does to me. I’ve requested a higher-resolution image from my publisher. All part of the process of getting a new book ready for publication! The anticipated release date is December 6.

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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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High School: Hard Labor

It’s Labor Day in the U.S., and I’m thinking not only of the mighty work force that has built this country over the years but also of all the hard-working teens in high school.

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Ask any teen if high school is hard, and I think you know what the answer will be. Even if some aspects are enjoyable, there’s a lot of work involved.

In a brief discussion with my nephew, who just started his sophomore year, I asked a few questions about his high school experience so far.

He shared with me that the beginning of his freshman year was difficult because he’d come from a much smaller school. Compare that experience to starting a new job at a much larger company than you’re used to–and one that requires new skills or more rapid application of them–and you get the picture. I feel stressed just thinking about it.

He said that the “late nights” doing schoolwork are particularly tough. I can believe that. There’s so much more to learn in 2014 than there was in 1974 or 1984 or even 2004.

Besides going to school and contributing to chores at home, a lot of older teens work part-time jobs on days that many of us enjoy as a holiday–like Labor Day.

I don’t know about you, but if I drive up to a fast food restaurant or shop at a store today, I’ll try to remember to smile at the teen inside the window or behind the counter.

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I’m Keeping My Eye on the Prize

BIRD.FACE.FC.reducedThe prize being my debut novel published in 2014. By then, I hope Bird Face will have received some positive reviews. But I won’t be crushed by any negative ones, because I believe in this book; and some very talented editors selected by my publisher have helped make it as good as it is. When I hold a copy in my hand for the first time, I’ll know I have a story that will mean something to someone somewhere. What I hope is that it will mean something to a lot of someones. But even if it helps only one girl like Wendy or Alice or Tookie or Gayle (or consoles one adult reader who was like one of them),  the years of work I put into it were well spent.

Please don’t be afraid that it’s a sad story. It’s not. I promise you’ll laugh a lot, even if you’re the sensitive type, as I am. Here’s what readers can look forward to:

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 for her all over school. It would be great if they were from David, Wendy’s first crush, but nobody’s talking. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something.

At the end of eighth grade, Wendy doesn’t have much time to play detective. She juggles divorced parents, cares for abandoned puppies, and tries out for the high school track team. When she grabs her big chance to prove her artistic talent in the Spring Program, John-Monster ramps up his efforts to spoil her dreams, and Jennifer only makes matters worse.

As Wendy uncovers secrets about everyone around her, will Jennifer still be there to support her, or will Wendy face the summer alone?

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

I’m holding off writing a sequel to Bird Face, which takes place during Wendy’s first year of high school, because I’m eager to find out which of the characters YOU, the readers, would like to see featured in the next book of a series. More about this later…

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