Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Finding Beauty in Every Season

As I write this, snow melts outside my window. It doesn't snow much in South Carolina, so when it does, I cherish it, because I know it’ll probably be at least another year before it come again.

Although the cold seasons are my favorite time of the year, I must admit: I've been having spring fever recently.

Memories of sunny days by the pool, flowers budding on trees, the aroma of honeysuckle, waking up to the chirping of birds, and catching fireflies in the evenings (you’re never too young) fill my mind as I stare out my window, watching leafless trees sway within breezes.

Yet there’s something wrong about this. Because not too long ago, I was sweating from the heat, dreaming of cozy days cuddled by the fire and reading a good book.

Why is it that, no matter what season it is, I am always wishing for the next?

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's Minute Challenge: Writing prompt contest for teens & up!

A quick writing challenge (and contest) to help get your creative juices flowing for the new week.

  1. The entry must be between 150 - 300 words. (In order to see how many words your entry is, write it in Microsoft Word, or you can copy and paste it here.)
  2. The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  3. The winners will receive a badge for their blog, as well as extra points (see the point system below).
  4. The winner will be chosen based on the judges's preferences, as well as the following questions: Does this entry capture my attention immediately? Does it make me want to continue reading? Is the writing clear? They will also take into consideration the writer's voice and style--not necessarily technical issues, such as grammar, punctuation, etc. 
  5. This is only for fun and to stretch your writing muscles--not necessarily to be taken too seriously. =)

Since the point system has caused a bit of confusion recently, I have decided to take a different approach.

From now on, I will host a monthly giveaway, and one winner will be announced every four weeks. 

But don't worry! You can still receive a prize from the points that you have earned up to this point. Click here for more info

Keep in mind that you are in charge of your points from now on. If you win a contest, the only way that you will receive your points is by clicking the entry below. 

Also, if you have already liked my Facebook page, followed me on Twitter, etc. then make sure to click those entries as well in order to receive your points. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


There will be one randomly-selected winner chosen from the above raffle each month. They will have the choice of receiving one of the following prizes:

  • A critique on of one of their MMC entries
  • A blog critique
  • A 300 - 600 word critique on your novel, short story, blog post, etc
  • The opportunity to judge one of the contests
  • A free ebook of PURPLE MOON
  • A special surprise sent to your mailbox (snail mail, not email)


The judge panel chooses these winners based on a point system (not to be confused with the point system mentioned above!).

Keep in mind that the judges are not aware of which entry belongs to which participant until after the judging is complete.

The entries that the judges thought was the most intriguing (based on rule #4) is ... 

Third place winner: 

I trudge through the snow, fingering the spot where the string of the bow connects with the nock of the arrow. Glancing over my shoulder, I catch a glimpse of Jace moving through the woods, as silent as I. Tessa and Anna are counting on us to find food. The wind is chilling and snow falls heavily from the sky. I can barely make out the trees in front of me. My breath comes as a fog from my mouth. The woods are silent. I pause. 'The woods are too silent.' My instinct kicks in and I start to slowly make my way back to the cabin. Jace appears beside me. "Find anything?" He whispers.
"No. But something isn't right." I glance from side to side, trying to find what is making me uneasy.
"You sense it too?" Jace asks, cocking his shotgun. I nod slowly. The silence is broken by a piercing scream. Jace and I stop for a second, then make a mad dash for the cabin. "Tessa! Anna!" I scream. Another scream from the cabin. By the time we get there, it had gone silent for four minutes. The door is open, swinging freely in the wind. We run inside and find it torn apart. "They found us." I whisper. I hold my bow at the ready and go into the room that Tessa, Anna and I shared. It is empty, and there is a small drop of blood on the blanket on Anna's bed. "Darcy! Get in here!" Jace yells. I sprint into the other room, and find him holding something in his hand. It is a small, silver ring. The insignia on it: a tree crossed by a sword. "It's The Union." He says. "The Union got them."
Congratulations, FlyGirl! Click here for your badgeand don't forget to claim your points here. =) 

Second place winner: 

I wheeled my chair across the dirt yard by the stable. It had been years since I had been near a stable or a horse, but less this stable, and the horse I was here to see. There was a fear deep down inside that my horse wouldn’t recognize me. We had gone through so much, my horse and I. We had raced in various races, around the United States, winning a few of them. It wasn’t until we started racing in other countries that we had any problems. I shouldn’t have raced Dawn after she hurt her leg while being moved onto the ship, bound for Europe. When I saw her limping across the deck when the ship docked in England, I knew then that I shouldn’t race her, but I did. Dawn stumbled and fell before we had even finished a quarter of the race.
A smiled light my face and a laugh gurgled up my throat as I saw my beautiful horse walk over to my wheel chair. She nuzzled my face, nickering softly. And I knew all was right between us. I leaned my face up against her forehead. I would give anything to be riding on her back again. I ran my hands down the side of my face, enjoying the smell and feel of a horse, of Dawn, again.
Congratulations, MaryClick here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

First place winner: 

Was what I desired most really worth what it would cost me? The question echoed in my mind as I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable. She said it would cost me; I nonchalantly replied that I didn’t care. I would take the outcome like the healer that I was. She passed her hand over my forehead, spoke a few strange words, and was gone. Things would change any moment now.
I opened my eyes, but it was as if they were still closed. It made no difference how many times I blinked and looked for the sunshine. I couldn’t see anything. There was no reason to be worried, though. Yes, it was baffling… but I had never felt so safe. Surely nothing could hurt me here, no matter how frightening it seemed. Nothing could ever hurt me… and there was no one that meant me ill will. Anywhere.
Suddenly I woke from what seemed to be a dream to see my friends lying on the ground around me. A happy cry escaped me, but it died away in my my mouth. They were dead. They were gone. All of them. So much blood...   
A half-scream, half-sob escaped my lips and I wrenched my gaze away from the sight. So much despair running rampid amidst the chaotic ruin of this nightmare. I wept into my wrist and the tears dropped onto the back of my hand singly. Who could have brought such pain upon the people I loved most?
Suddenly I couldn’t bear the thought of looking at my hands. 
Congratulations, Elisabeth! Click here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

  • Submit your response in the comments below, or post it on your blog via InLink (below -- you will receive 2 extra points!). 
  • Your response should range between 150 - 300 words. 
  • The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  • If you'd rather not submit your post in the comments or on your blog, you may email it to me instead.

Choose at least one:

Note: You can always combine the prompts into one entry.

(Optional) Write a passage continuing your entry from last week week (or whichever week you'd prefer). If you can, try to continue it using one of the following prompts.
  • Write a passage using these items: old hat, blue gem, polaroid camera (submitted by FlyGirl)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by Sofia)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
    It was in that moment that I realized my only option: run. (submitted by FlyGirl)
*If your prompt was selected, be sure to claim your points here

Post your entry on your blog!:

If you're posting your entry on your blog (+2 points), please add your link below rather than in the comments. And don't forget to claim your points here!

Submit your prompt idea!:

The prompts that are used for Monday's Minute Challenge are submitted by the participants. Here's how this works:
  • You will be able to submit 3 prompts each week in the same format as above: three objects, one picture, and a piece of dialogue or phrase.
  • On Mondays, I will choose 3 prompts that have been submitted by 3 different people.
  • If your prompt is selected, you will receive 2 points!
  • You may submit in the comments below.

Current Judge Panel:

  • Tessa Emily Hall
  • Kate Petty
  • Caroline George
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Perks of Having a Writer Friend

photo credit: Its MS Word via photopin (license)

Let's face it: Being a writer can get lonely at times. It's not easy to find someone who shares the same weird passion for words as you do, someone you can discuss your characters with as if they were real people, someone who understands the mind of a writer.

It's hard to become friends with someone who you just have nothing in common with. 

So when Caroline George (YA author of The Prime Way Program) and I began to meet last summer to plan our book tour, we connected immediately. We were alike in the way that we had both struggled to "fit in" at school, the way that we shared the same passion for stories, and the fact that we both had our books published as a teenager.

And now, not only are we continuing to tour, but we also have a YouTube channel, send each other the chapters of our current work in progress, dream about our futures as an author, text each other our current writing music and actors/actresses that could play our characters, spend all day writing together, borrow books from each other, and drink a little too much coffee. ;) 

Caroline and I spent 5 hours the other day hovered over our laptops, headphones
in ears, and writing at a local coffee shop. =)
{View pic on Instagram}

Teaching a writing workshop for teens on the art of storytelling.
{View pic on Instagram}
Our version of a Friday night house party, which consists of writing
our books, drinking homemade lattes, and jamming out to our writing playlist.
{View pic on Instagram}
At the photoshoot for the book cover of Caroline's current WIP.
{View pic on Instagram
Taking a selfie with Kyle.
a character in Caroline's The Prime Way Program. =D
{View pic on Instagram}
Creating writing inspiration/storyboards.
{View pic on Instagram}
The first video we filmed together.
{Watch here}
{Prepare yourselves for my awful
speaking-in-front-of-camera skills please}
Our first book signing together
{View pic on Instagram}

Discussing our book tour last summer at Starbucks.
{View pic on Instagram}
I've already mentioned some benefits to having a writer friend, but here are my top 3: 

     1. Your passion for writing is ignited.

You're able to keep the passion for writing (and reading) flamed as you discuss why both of you love this craft. I believe this is the greatest benefit to having a writer friend since it gives you an extra "push" to complete your book. 

     2. You have the potential to grow as a writer.

As you share your writing with each other, you are able to get their perspective and feedback. Not only will this help to spot your weaknesses, but it will help you to develop your strengths as well. 

     3. You can dream about the future together. 

I believe it's important to dream: To write down goals and create a vision for your future. Without a dream, how are you supposed to know which direction to take, or what you would like to do in life? 

Since you and your writing friend share a similar dream, you will be able to hold each other accountable in achieving these goals. (Plus, it's fun sharing a writing journey alongside a friend! You can both share the same excitement when a new milestone is reached along the journey towards both of your dreams. =) )

It's important to have a writer friend; someone who can "get" you. Someone who can share your quirks. Someone who understands your passions and won't give you a strange look when you spend the entire day talking about your make-believe-world or a fictional crush. ;)

                                         ♡ ♡ 

And speaking of writing friends ... today is Caroline's 18th birthday! 

For those who don't know, Caroline George is the author of YA sci-fi dystopian trilogy, The Prime Way Program. She is a 2-time nominee for Georgia Author of the Year Award and has been on a book tour with me since last fall. 

She is also a Christ-lover, a coffee-enthusiast, and a book-nerd. (As well as an incredibly smart college student and a talented singer and a self-taught-guitar-player and song-writer and a certified barista and an aspiring screenwriter and casting director and filmmaker ... *deep breath*) 

It would be AWESOME if you could show Caroline some love on her birthday. 

She is currently hard at work on her third novel, which she plans to pitch this August at the Writer's Digest Conference. And I'm not just saying this because she's my friend: I am literally going to be in shock if this book does not end up on a future-best-seller-list. It's that good.

So with that being said, don't you think you should get to know Caroline before she makes it big time? ... =)   

If so, below are ways you can order a Kindle version OR paperback copy of her books: 

And here are ways you can connect with Caroline online:

Thanks, everyone! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROLINE! =D

! Do you have any writer friends? If not, what do you think would be the greatest benefit if you had one?

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