Monday, January 30, 2012

Scrabblicious writing

Karen, here!  Is Scrabblicious even a word? Anyway, I'm a bit of a Scrabble-maniac. A few weeks ago I played the word "toilet" going down. Next I came across with "robot." Robot toilet. I thought I'd like to hear a sentence with those two words! Choose at least 5 words from this Scrabble board and put them into a paragraph. The words are listed below. Write on!

by, gelatin, fox, fair, remits, pi, rev, go, swag, zoom, hi, unites, is, owe, diet, lure, la, tapes, boot, shine, pan, quack, fig, rode, fire, gore, cue, vex, hi, zit, to, ego, eyed, lat, moods, nap, belt, injures, soaks
Send your paragraph to by Wednesday, February 8th and we'll post it on Friday, February 10th! Type "Scrabble 1" in the subject line. Oh, yeah, there are plenty more Scrabble boards coming your way.
It was the first day of Deandra's diet and her mood reflected the dreary, sunless sky outside her window. She gripped the tiny bottle; rattled it. The risk would be worth it if the teasing would just finally stop....sorry about that...I couldn't resist. Looking forward to reading YOUR paragraph.

Writing Tip: If you love what you’re writing, so will your readers. If you’re getting bored, guess what? So remember--have fun with it.

Scroll down to the previous post for a great interview and enter to win Cheryl Rainfield's new novel, Hunted.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview with Author Cheryl Rainfield + A Contest To Win HUNTED!!!

Hello everyone!

Selene Castrovilla here. I'm delighted to be a part of this dynamic blog, and excited to bring you our first author interview with Cheryl Rainfield!

Author of:

Hunted (WestSide Books, Dec 15, 2011, F&W Canada, Jan 2012)
Caitlyn, a telepath on the run from government troopers, must choose between saving herself or saving the world

Read the first 6 pages:
Get fr-e-e HUNTED goodies:

Scars (WestSide Books, 2010)

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself before it's too late
GG Literary Award Finalist, ALA's Top 10 Quick Picks, 2011 Rainbow Listand hi-lo fantasies Dragon Speaker: The Last Dragon and Skinwalkers: Walking Both Sides

                             Cheryl's Book Blog

           Enter our contest to win a signed copy of HUNTED!
                           (Courtesy of Cheryl Rainfield)

Here's how:
1. Join this blog.
2. Leave a comment below or email us directly Type "Win Hunted" in the subject line.
3. Get one additional chance for each re-post you make about this comment on any social media.

                  Contest ends February 10th. Good luck!

And now...drumroll please...our inaugural interview:

What inspired you to write HUNTED?

My life. I'm a ritual abuse survivor (my parents were part of cults) and I wanted to write a book that showed some of what that's like, but that had enough lightness that people could still read and enjoy it. I think that sometimes fantasy can help us hear things that we might not be otherwise able to hear, so I used that genre to make strong analogies to cults or groups that oppress, and to show that we can stand up against oppression, get ourselves and others safe, and make a positive difference. It was important to me to show the negative effects of cults or groups that control and oppress people, as well as homophobia and racism, or any oppression that singles people out because they're different than the mainstream. And it's very important to me to encourage compassion, healing, and hope, and to break silence, while still telling a good, entertaining story.

Any advice for writers starting out?

Read as much as you can. Read what you love; it will nurture your creativity, feed your soul, AND help you write better. Write what you love, and what is deeply important to you., what you care about and need to talk about. Draw on your emotions and your emotional truths when you write. Read books on writing technique, join a writing critique group, and/or find a way to polish your writing. Get feedback from other writers before you submit. Don't submit your first draft, or even your second. Revise, edit, and polish your manuscript until you think it's the best it can be before you send it out. Research who you submit to, and follow the guidelines that the editor or agent set out. And if you really want to get published, don't give up! If you don't keep sending it out there, you can't get it published (because no one is looking at it). It took me more than 10 years and more than 30 complete revisions to get SCARS published, but it finally happened, and SCARS is still doing well, still reaching people. And with HUNTED I only did about 13 revisions before it was accepted. Keep following your dreams.

Is HUNTED auto-biographical in any way?

Yes. Just as I did with SCARS, I drew on a lot of my abuse and trauma experience and my emotional truths to write HUNTED, even though HUNTED is a fantasy/dystopian. Like my main character, Caitlyn, I know what it's like to have my life be threatened, to be tortured and oppressed, and to have to decide between hiding my true self or being who I am, even if that means danger to myself. Over and over, I made choices to not be like my abusers, to never abuse or oppress others, and to try to help others, and I tried to show Caitlyn using that inner strength to make those choices, too.

What’s the best email or review you’ve ever received from a teen reader?

I still get reader letters every week for SCARS, and I cherish them all. Some of my favorites are where teens (or adult readers) have told me that SCARS helped them cut or burn themselves less or even manage to stop; to feel understood for the first time in their lives; to keep from killing themselves; and/or to really understand people who self-harm and judge them less. Those are all things I really wanted and hoped would come from SCARS, and it's amazing and wonderful that it has.

What was your road to publication like?

It was long and sometimes hard. Rejection is painful to receive, especially when you put so much of your heart into your work, and especially when the rejection is repeated and ongoing. It took me more than 10 years and 30+ revisions to get SCARS published. At first I felt hopeful and determined to follow my dream, but when it got to be 8 years, then 9 years, I started feeling hopeless and despairing. I wanted to be published so badly, but the rejections and the length of time to get there were wearing on me, as were all the negative crap that my abusers told me--that I'd never succeed, that no one would ever listen to me, etc. Sometimes I felt like giving up--even though writing is such a strong force in me.But I didn't give up.And then I found the perfect editor for me (Evelyn Fazio) at WestSideHUNTED's been published, and I have another book on the way, and I am starting to live my dream. I am so grateful and glad! And glad that I didn't give up when it felt too hard.

A big thanks to Cheryl for graciously answering these questions, and for the donation of her signed book to a lucky winner :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Got Inspiration?

Each Wednesday, Got Teen Fiction? will be about inspiration. What inspires you? What keeps you going?

This is one of my favorite sayings--both for life and for writing. A writing career can be stormy. There's lots of waiting--when you're searching for an agent, when your book or story is on submission and then waiting for it to finally be published. And there's lots of rejection. That's hard. But you can find the joy, even in the hard times. Just keep your head down and savor the love of writing.

Thanks to everyone who has visited us here. Scroll down to see Monday's writing prompt. We've started to get some fabulous submissions and can't wait to get some more.

And don't forget to "follow" our blog (click "follow" on the side). Come back Friday for an insightful interview with Cheryl Rainfield, author of Scars and the new book, Hunted.


Monday, January 23, 2012

On the Edge of YA Fiction

Raife clicked his blade open behind his thigh. He trembled but held the slim blade tight. His father walked towards him slowly, his hands balling into fists, his lips curling up into a smile.

Not this time, Raife thought. Not this time.

With an upward swing he pushed the blade deep into his father’s –


But I haven’t even gotten to the part where his eye pops –


It’s a blog. I believe… I believe so.


Okay. No. Wait. What about sex? Can we write a sex scene - later?


That’s okay with us.


No shit. Hey that reminds me can we use four letter words?


That’s got five letters.


Got Teen Fiction?

Don’t let the dandilions and green grass fool you.

Welcome to a place where teen fiction is the subject, writing is the verb, and the writing life is where we’re at – whether you’re a teen writer, adult writer of teen stories, or reader of YA fiction.

This is our first post. We’re Shari Maurer, Joe Lunievicz, Karen DelleCava, and Selene Castrovilla. Come back each week for writing tips, writing contests, inspirational quotes, author interviews, and published contest winners. Become a follower right now and I promise we won’t use any 4-letter words in our next entry. Or the word gruff. There’s something about that word that just gets under your skin…

Each week we will be giving you a writing prompt. Go back to wherever it is you write (be it desk, bus stop, classroom, bed, couch, or kitchen table) and come up with an approximately 100 word story that completes what we begin. Send it to us at by Wednesday of the following week. That Friday we will be posting some of the best selections that we get. That’s right--this is your chance to be published.

This week we’d like you to finish the above story. Tell us what happens to Raife and his father. Deadline: Wednesday, February 1. Be thoughtful. Be creative. We can’t wait to see what you write!

Also... stay tuned for our first contest, the winner of which will receive all five of our books... coming soon...

Posted by: Joe Lunievicz

Friday, January 6, 2012

Coming Soon!

Stop back again to find out how to win signed copies of all 5 of these books.

In the mean time be sure to check out:

Chapter 1 of Saved by the Music and The Girl Next Door at

Change of Heart at

Chapter 1 of Open Woumds at

Chapter 1 of A Closer Look at