Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Receive a Free YA Novel!: Read-Pass-Repeat

One of my favorite aspects of reading a book is that sense of escape. Of getting lost in a story as reality fades. Of identifying with the main character and realizing that I am not alone in my struggles.

This just happens to be one of my favorite aspects of writing as well. Because not only does writing offer that same sense of escape, but it allows me to offer this to my readers as well.

Which is why I have decided to give this opportunity to three of my blog readers. At no cost.

I want to give you the gift of my YA inspirational novel, PURPLE MOON. Why?

I know how special a book can be. I'm not saying that everyone is going to love my book; however, I want to at least give you the chance to read it. Because personally, I believe that there is no better physical gift than the gift of a book. Isn't it crazy how something so simple as words printed on a page can become such an important part of our lives? Our growth, even?

Stories leave an impact. They stay with us forever, etched on our hearts, long after their physical copy has worn and the pages have become torn. 

So for those who are interested in receiving my novel (for free), send me an email answering this question: What do you love most about reading and why? Keep in mind that only the first 3 people who email me will receive a book at this time.

The only thing I ask is that you don't keep this book to yourself. Instead, when you are finished reading, pass it to someone else. Give them the gift of a story. 

For every person that receives my book, I will include a small treat: A tea bag. Or Hershey kisses. Or a special bookmark. Instant coffee, etc. Then, when it's your turn to pass the book, you can include a small treat as well. 

There will also be a log of names listed in the back of the book. When you receive this, write down your first name (or user name), as well as the dates that you read the book. And then you could maybe even include a short comment as to what you thought of the book.

Once you have passed it along to the next person (which may be a friend, family member, or even a stranger), send me an email. Let me know what you thought of the book and who you passed the book to. I will then put your name in a drawing to receive a Purple Moon Prize Pack, and a new winner will be chosen per every 5 readers. 

Will there be other chances to win PURPLE MOON? Yes. I will soon have a page on my blog that tracks the path of every Read-Pass-Repeat book, with the list of locations that PURPLE MOON visited, etc. You will also have the opportunity to win one of these books or begin your own Read-Pass-Repeat path as well. 

In the meantime, don't forget to send me an email for your chance to win! =)

Books brought people together and gave them a path to worlds they would not otherwise experience.   
- Karen Kingsbury, The Bridge
(PS: You can still enter even if you have already read Purple Moon.)
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Monday, January 19, 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!).

Important Update:

What I love most about this contest is the sense of community that has resulted from it. MMC was initially started a year ago as a way to help get your creative juices flowing for the week--however, you have made it much more than that. 

I love the way you all encourage and support one another; it's obvious that you don't enter the contest to win. Rather you enter it because you love the challenge, and you love receive the feedback. 

So thank you to every MMC participant: to those who have stuck around for months, and to those who are just beginning the challenge. I'm excited to see how you will continue to grow in your writing!

And with that being said -- since you all love to read one another's entries, I have decided to add another feature to Monday's Minute Challenge.

From now on, every 8 weeks I will choose 5 participants to be part of the MMC Teen Writing Board. 

When a new MMC is posted, these members will send me their top 3 favorite entries for that week. After I tally the votes, I will then send the top 10 most-voted entries to the judges.  

The Teen Writing Board members will be responsible for:

  • Sending me their top 3 favorite entries by the following Monday after a new MMC is posted. They should also explain what they liked about the entries that they chose. 
  • Announcing when a new MMC is up by posting on their blog and/or social media outlet
  • Sending me any ideas that they may have for MMC (or letting me know what they think about a new idea that I may have)
What will these members receive?:
  • 5 extra entries into the drawing (for both of the months that they are on the board)
  • A badge to place on their blog
  • A feature on every MMC post (for the 2 month duration that they are on the board)

And yes, the members will still be able to participate in the contest. (However, they will not be able to vote on their own entries.)

Want to apply? Click here!


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: 

Train tracks. Ever on, into the sky on either side. Like my life. My life seemed to last forever. Hers lasted for only a moment. I shook away memories. No need to delve any deeper into useless facts. They were gone. Nowhere to be found on this earth again. Yes, it’s difficult to move on; but you have to. It never happens like in stories, how the girl always dies of heartbreak or the lack of will to live. Complete nonsense. We move on because we have to. There’s no way to escape the monotony of our lives. Scars only give us more of a reason to regret our lot.
    Cobblestone streets. Always there, just another piece of this world. Sure, there were helpful things here… if you were trying to keep living. We weren’t. We were forced to. Lives extended past the expiration date. Surviving on unwanted borrowed time.
The train was taking longer than I should have thought possible. I’d been sitting here for at least five days. Stilskin was normally closer to punctual, especially with magic business; he didn’t like getting in trouble with higher councils. Finally the train came into sight, the headlights glaring through the darkness. I shook out my umbrella and left it and my suitcases sitting on the sidewalk. They were only to help with an alibi if anyone asked what I was doing. Stepping aboard, I smoothed a strand of brown hair from my forehead.
“Stilskin, take me back to Triquiana.”
The little man looked at me awkwardly and rubbed his glasses and returned them to their humble perch. “Erm... well, see, you’re not going to Triquiana.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve been ordered to take you to the Council.”
Magicians and councils and trouble, oh my. Finally something exciting.
Congratulations, Elisabeth! Click here for your badge. =)

Second place winner: 

Two hundred dollars and a leather suitcase. 

It's all I have left of her. 

The last time I'd seen her was nearly three years ago. She'd been sitting on that leather trunk, her black traveling dress clean and pressed, but soaking wet even with the old black umbrella propped above her head. Her satchel was dripping pathetically on the brick walkway where she waited, but she didn't seem to notice... or care. Her head was craned eagerly to the side, her back rigid with anticipation, as the harsh yellow gaze of the train came barreling towards her. The picture was etched so clearly into my mind, there were days I almost believed I could still see her sitting there. 

She'd left us against all the advice, persuasion, and threats we could muster. My father said he would disown her if she stepped foot on that train. But her mind was made up. "I'm doing the right thing, Mara." They were the last words I'd heard her speak before I turned and left her there. I listened to the train hiss to a stop, and a few minutes later chug on again. Only then did I dare to look back... and she was gone.

Twenty-three silent months later, and we received word we had a package on the train. Her leather trunk, shipped anonymously; a clipping of her obituary in an envelope on the front. Her death sounded suspicious at best. Her satchel was nowhere to be found.

My life seemed to last forever. Hers lasted only a moment. 

It's my turn to await the train now. I'm going to the city my sister dreamed of- the one that took her life. I'm going to find who did this.

With all I have left of her- two hundred dollars and a leather suitcase.
Congratulations, S. Brightly! Click here for your badge. =)

First place winner: 
The raindrops bounced off her black umbrella with a blitheness in sharp contrast to the despondence of her posture. She used to like the storms. They sympathized with her, were there with her in darkness when all light had fled. But now even the rain did not care. Tears leaked out of the corners of her eyes for the first time in years. The sky would not do her crying today. Her frame shook as she sobbed silently. She covered her mouth to muffle the sound. He would hear.

As she tried to stifle her whimpering, the long sleeve of her overcoat slipped down her wrist. Quickly she pulled it back over the scars and bruises. He had told her never to let anyone see them, that people would lock her away, that they would hate her. He’d told her a lot of things. She still remembered his gentle words, his constant declarations of love. But she did not want love. Not anymore. Love hurt. “Are you alright, miss?”

She let out a small scream and turned around, eyes wide with terror. He’d found her. It had to be him– or one of his friends. She knew all about his friends. They were rough, coarse men who did things she did not like. Instantly her gaze dropped to the ground. Never make eye contact, that was the rule. The stranger repeated his question, stepping towards her. She nodded and backed away onto a set of train tracks. He started talking again, urgently, but she did not hear. In the distance, a piercing whistle broke into her dulled mind.

Then the train came, swift and sudden. It carried her away before the man could do anything. The umbrella floated to the ground. Rain’s tears bounced blithely off it, cold, and uncaring.
Congratulations, Michael! Click here for your badge. =)

Honorable Recognitions

These winners will receive a badge, as well as 2 extra points:
  1. TW Wright
  2. Lace
  3. Kaity
 Congratulations! Click here for your badge. =)

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: peppermint mocha, notebook, silver ring (submitted by FlyGirl)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by TW)
  • Write a passage incorporating this phrase:  
    It was either a horrible way to end a good story, or else a terrific way to begin a nightmare. (submitted by S. Brightly)

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:

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.

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