Bird Face Wendy

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

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!


Shout Out to Bloggers 2

2birds The list has grown! Bloggers who’ve hosted me or reviewed Bird Face are listed in approximate order starting with the most recent. Some of the interview questions were so much fun to answer! And I enjoyed the new experience of guest blogging on a couple of the sites. What would authors do without bloggers?

Please check out my feature as well as other posts on these entertaining and informative sites:

Ane Mulligan Southern Fried Fiction

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Word Sharpeners

Lisa Godfrees

TJ Akers

Stitches Thru Time

Sara Ella

Come Hither and Venture to Other Worlds

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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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Bash and the Pirate Pig

Bash PiratePigThe delightfully illustrated cover is enough to entice you to pick up the book.

Then there’s this great opening line:  “For stupid reasons that weren’t my fault, I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to a summer with my wacko cousin Bash on the Farm of Doom.”

Burton W. Cole’s middle-grade novel shows children the great big beautiful playground God has created for them outdoors, containing cousins, weird friends, and other living creatures. Through Bash and his “farmin’ and fishin’” book, Raymond (aka Beamer) builds, explores, and learns to care about much more than himself.

Both boys and girls ages 8 to 11 can relate to the characters and enjoy the fun of their antics. And as an adult, I was reminded that kids often labeled “mischievous” are merely adventurous. There’s goodness in those pranksters and stunt performers.

This is a book the whole family can appreciate, and it may nudge the kids out of their virtual worlds and into the real one. Find it on Amazon and in Christian bookstores, as well as in others.

Please take a look at what author Leigh DeLozier has to say about Bash and the Pirate Pig at Writing Stars.


Using the Arts to Create Setting

sculpture head

Perhaps you’ve written a middle-grade or young teen novel.  Or you’re reading one.

It’s natural for many of the scenes to take place at school or at someone’s home. Or maybe at a sporting event. Those places make up a big chunk of a young person’s world if he doesn’t drive.

But I love it when a story surprises me with a scene  at an art fair or museum, a dance recital, concert, or movie theater (some do consider movies “art”).  Although a change of scenery can play a part in the plot, it doesn’t have to—not for me, anyway.  I simply enjoy reading and writing about young characters’ interactions in  artsy settings where they might easily find themselves even if they don’t drive.

Opportunities abound for vivid writing to engage readers. Scene descriptions that employ sensory detail such as color, smell, sound—and often taste—make what’s going on with the characters in a scene all the more exciting. And there’s occasion for characters’ reactions to their surroundings, which can reveal their personalities and relationships or show character growth. In Bird Face, Wendy reveals a lot about herself when she watches her dancing best friend, Jennifer, practice and perform.

Reading and writing novels that use the arts to create setting have been a fun way for me to learn about some of the arts I’m less familiar with. Whether a character visits a junkyard sculpture booth at an art fair or attends a street music performance, you may find an art-loving character a lot more interesting to read and write about.

If that character is a jock or a farm kid or a villain, even better.

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For Hurricanes or Anytime: A Family Book Club

The windows of the house are boarded up, water is stored, flashlights and candles are ready and waiting. The kids hope they don’t lose the signal for their hand-held technologies. You hope the roof doesn’t blow off.

It’s been a long while since this many members of your family have been in the same place all at once. Maybe the group is not at home–maybe you’re all in the car, stuck in traffic on an evacuation route.

If only you had a family-friendly book for everyone to share. To kill the boredom. To calm the nerves. To reconnect you to one another.

You recall a period in your lives when you read together. Your spouse shared an article in a favorite magazine. A daughter or son, niece or nephew, tucked a sweet head under your chin to hear a fairy tale. You and your sibling raced each other to devour the same romance novel or legal thriller at the top of the bestseller list.

You can reclaim that closeness that reading together brings. You don’t even have to purchase a copy for every member of the family. One will do. One printed copy of a book to pass around the room or the car. Everyone able to turn the pages will have the opportunity to touch them, whether they are able to read them or not. Someone else can do the actual reading for the three-year-old or the great aunt who is partially blind. They’ll still hear the words and enjoy the sounds of your voices bringing a story to life.

Revisit a classic like Anne of Green Gables or The Swiss Family Robinson, or select a new title from your library or bookstore. Search online for middle-grade novels that family members of all ages can relate to. Check out the reviews.

It doesn’t matter if you are only a “family of two” like Wendy and her mother. If you want to know your family better, get your heads together inside a book and discuss what you find.

I hope you won’t wait for the next hurricane to do it.

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