Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 Holiday Book Drive a Huge Success!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you to everyone who donated books to Write On's Holiday Book Drive for showing what Christmas is really about -- the joy of giving.

This year, we donated 923 new books to charities including the Boys & Girls Club, Casa Pacifica, and schools including Haycox School in Port Hueneme, California and 93rd Street School in Los Angeles.

Special thanks to the following generous people for donating beautiful boxes of books:

* Andrea Spence Accinelli and the Write On! Canada Chapter donated 31 new books.
* Ventura's Cabrillo Middle School students donated 167 gorgeous new books.
* Jeff Becker from Ventura donated a huge box of 128 books.
* Linda Brug's class at Ventura High School donated 50 books.
* Marsha Barr and Santa Barbara High School students donated 47 great young adult books.
* Nichole Schiff from Dallas, Texas donated 50 books to her local library.
* The Baxter Family in Laguna Niguel, California donated two boxes of beautiful books!
* Nanci Cone from Ventura, California donated childrens books in excellent condition.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jack London Writing Contest for High School Students

Here is a great contest for high school students! I encourage you all to enter! Here is the website for more information:

January 31, 2010, marks the deadline for entries in the 21th annual Jack London Writing Contest. The Jack London Foundation encourages high school students to explore the spirit of Jack London through reading and participation in the Writing Contest.

The writing contest is open to all students in grades 9 through 12. The essays, or stories can be on any subject. The number of entries are limited to 10 from each teacher. The entries are judged on content and form, with an emphasis on creativity.

The writing contest concludes with the first place winner receiving $2000.00, the second place winner receiving $1000.00, and the third place winner receiving $500.00. It is the expectation of the Jack London Foundation that the cash awards be used by the winners to assist in the advancement of their educational goals. The first place winner, along with his/her parents, will also be invited to the annual Jack London Birthday Banquet as special guests. The first place award will be presented during the banquet ceremony. All of the winning entries will be published in the quarterly "Jack London Foundation Newsletter".

English teachers can obtain all necessary forms, rules and publicity posters by contacting:

Jack London Foundation
P.O. Box 337
Glen Ellen, CA. 95442

Monday, December 21, 2009

Story Published in The Newport Review!

I have exciting news to share: my short story "How My Parents Fell in Love" won third place in The Newport Review flash fiction contest!

Here's the beginning:

My mother walked out of a grocery store. She wore a red dress and her hair was permed, the way it looks in the photo albums. My father drove up in a car, a fast car, silver, a car that goes vroom vroom. He did not know her yet. She was a pretty woman in a red dress with ruffles at the hem. He rolled down the window. He leaned out and smiled at her and said, “Hubba, hubba!”

They fell in love and lived happily ever after.

You can read the entire story here:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Books Make Great Gifts!

Looking to get a gift for a child this holiday season?

Why not give the gift that lasts a lifetime -- the gift of reading!

A book is something you can read again and again. A book can raise your spirits on a rainy day. A book can take you to another world. A book can inspire to you pursue big dreams!

Here is Amazon's "Top Picks" for Picture Books of 2009:

Here is's "Top Picks" for Middle Grade Books of 2009:

And here is Amazon's "Top Picks" for Young Adult Books of 2009:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Year in the Life of a "Working" Writer

One of my favorite things about being involved in the Santa Barbara Writers Conference is getting to meet so many wonderful writers! Ernie Witham is not only one of the best humor writers around, he is also a great teacher of the craft and an all-around amazing person. His Humor Writing Workshop at the Conference was always filled to capacity. I am so grateful for the friendship and support he has shown me since we met three years ago.

Ernie has a new humor book out titled A Year in the Life of a "Working" Writer. As Ernie self-deprecatingly says: "It's the perfect gift for somebody who already has a fruitcake." I think it's perfect for anyone in your life! Books make great gifts that can be shared and read again and again. And, especially in these trying economic times, what better gift can you give than laughter?

You can order autographed copies of Ernie's books, in addition to signing up to receive his columns via email, at his website

Monday, December 7, 2009

Markets for Young Writers

* Stone Soup
Is made up of stories, poems, book reviews, and art by young people through age 13. Although all the writing we publish is in English, we accept work from all over the world. To get an idea of the kind of writing and art we like, please look through our writing and art sections. Send us stories and poems about the things you feel most strongly about! Whether your work is about imaginary situations or real ones, use your own experiences and observations to give your work depth and a sense of reality. Pay $40.

* Girl's Life
Each issue of GL is packed with the stuff girls crave—real information and advice—from academic success to peer pressure to time-management and stress-relieving tips; from growing up to boosting self-esteem. Plus, GL profiles real girls facing real challenges that have amazed and inspired readers for almost 15 years.

* Speak Up
Speak Up Press publishes the literary journal, Speak Up, featuring the original fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, photography, and artwork of teens (13-19 years old). Speak Up accepts submissions from teen writers and artists around the world.

* Teen Ink
A national teen magazine, book series, and website devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos and forums. Students must be age 13-19 to participate, register and/or submit work. Distributed through classrooms by English teachers, Creative Writing teachers, Journalism teachers and art teachers around the country, Teen Ink magazine offers some of the most thoughtful and creative work generated by teens and has the largest distribution of any publication of its kind. We have no staff writers or artists; we depend completely on submissions from teenagers nationwide for our content. We offer teenagers the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on the issues that affect their lives - everything from love and family to teen smoking and community service. Hundreds of thousands of students have submitted their work to us and we have published more than 45,000 teens since 1989.

* The Claremont Review
The editors of The Claremont Review are looking to publish first class poetry, short stories and short plays by young adult writers (aged 13-19) anywhere in the English speaking world. What are we looking for? We publish anything from traditional to post modern, but with a preference for works that reveal something of the human condition. We strongly urge contributors to read back issues of The Claremont Review. That is the best way for you to learn what we are looking for.

* Young Writer magazine
We would love to see YOUR writing and we might even publish it in Young Writer magazine or here on the website. It can be anything that you want to say, prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction. Just make sure it is your own unaided work, write it as well as you can and send it to us. Let us have your name, your age and your address. We do not pass these on to anyone else. You can send it to us by email or post. Remember, whenever you send your writing off to any publisher, make sure you keep a copy for yourself in case it gets lost in transit. Email word documents (under 600 words in length, please!) to

Friday, December 4, 2009

Advice for Young Writers

Can young writers get published?


Here is a great article, "Get Published: Advice for Young Writers" from

Publishing Central is a terrific resource for writers of all ages.

Happy writing!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Guest Post By Yvonne Perry

I have enjoyed much time in the classroom both as a teacher and a student, but the most fun times are when I’m able to visit a class as an author. I have written twelve stories and compiled them into a book titled The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. I’m hoping for opportunities to visit more classroom and share my stories with kindergarten through 2nd grade students; and now I’ve found a way to do just that without even leaving my home. Love it!

Thanks to Skype an Author Network, I can sit in front of my computer with my video camera and speak live to boys and girls anywhere on earth! All the teacher needs is a computer that has Skype’s free software that can be downloaded at . If you are an author who wants to do a virtual classroom visit, go ahead and sign up on Skype an Author. It’s free and you could actually be paid for speaking to groups via Skype. Librarians can find author resources to help kids get into reading books. Publishers who are looking for inexpensive ways to help their authors of K-12 books find classroom engagements will love this tool. Isn’t technology wonderful?

If the topic of my book interests you and you would like to learn more about having me visit your classroom, check out
Inspired by adventures I’ve had with my first-born grandson named Sidney, each story in The Sid Series (ISBN: 9780982572207) focuses on skills such as overcoming fear, being environmentally conscious, helping others, being true to one’s self, and following inner guidance. This collection of body-mind-spirit stories highlights unique lessons about love, acceptance, self-worth, caring for the body, diversity, facing fears, dealing with change, experiencing the death of a pet, using spiritual gifts, and psychic experiences today’s children exhibit.

The titles of the stories in The Sid Series are as follows:
Sid’s Fairy ~ Learning about Inner Guidance
A Stormy Adventure ~ Facing the Fear of Storms
The Pirate’s Treasure ~ Finding Treasure Within
You Can Be! ~ Understanding Destiny and Making Choices
Ask Your Body ~ Understanding the Body’s Needs
A Ghost in My Closet ~ Communicating with Angels
A Powerful Potion ~ The Power of Imagination
My Friend’s Skin ~ Accepting and Appreciating Diversity
Puppy Love ~ Dealing with the Death of a Pet
Old Things New ~ Learning About Recycling
Always Be Honest ~ Learning to Tell the Truth
Making Room for Brother ~ Coping with Family Changes
If you would like to read inside my book, please visit

BIO: Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and editor, award-winning bestselling author, podcast host, blogger extraordinaire, newsletter publisher, Internet marketing guru, and an outstanding keynote speaker. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Interview with "Ella Enchanted" author Gail Carson Levine for

Newbery Award winning author, Gail Carson Levine, talked to about her experiences as a young adult novelist and shared advice for aspiring writers. As well as penning Ella Enchanted, Fairest, Dave at Night, The Wish, The Two Princesses of Bamarre and the Princess Tales among others, Gail also wrote Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly to help young authors avoid writer's block and develop a process. If your tween is interested in creative writing or is a fan of Gail's books, we highly recommend sharing this article with them.

How did you start writing? Did you always want to be a writer?

I wrote as a kid, but I never wanted to be a writer particularly. I had been drawing and painting for years and loved that. And, I meditate. One time when I was meditating, I started thinking, "Gee, Gail, you love stories - you read all the time. How come you never tell yourself a story?" While I should have been saying my mantra to myself, I started telling myself a story. It turned out to be an art appreciation book for kids with reproductions of famous artworks and pencil drawings that I did. I tried to get it published and was rejected wholesale.

That book led me to a class on writing and illustrating for kids, and when I went into it I thought that I would be more interested in illustrating. But I found that I was much more interested in writing and that I didn't like the illustrating at all. I had always been the hardest on myself when I drew and painted. I am not hard on myself when I write. I like what I write, so it is a much happier process.

That's how I got started. And then everything I wrote was rejected for nine years.

Read the rest of the interview at:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Writing Handicapped" -- Guest Post by Linda Suzane

Linda Suzane is the author of THE MURDER GAME and THE EYES OF TRUTH. She also designs murder-mystery computer games and reviews books. Check out her website at

Well the month of November is past and I am finally catching up with all the stuff I put on hold while I was busy writing for NaNoWriMo. Did I reach 50,000 words? No. 34, 246. But I did complete the story. I'm not sure, even with a rewrite, that I will reach 50,000. But since I have several short stories that are in the same universe, I figure I have the makings of a book. But for me it was a major breakthrough.

Because of health problems, I have literally suffered from an over six-year writer's block. The medications they put me on to control the arthritis and depression have changed my brain and the way it functions. I used to sit for hours and daydream, fantasize stories in my head, but that ability is gone. It has only been this year that I have been well enough to return to writing. I have gotten my three books reprinted and am working hard at promoting them. I learned just because a book is published does not mean it will sell. You have to promote it and promote yourself. And that is hard work. But it doesn't require much creativity. Sitting down to write a new story from scratch -- now that is something different. I had not fully realized until this moment that I am handicapped. Oh, yes, I'm on SS disability. I walk with a walker. I take morphine and other opiates just to be able to move my body, and then not even well, or without pain. But I had never truly recognized my mental handicap.

A while back I went to the doctor because I was having trouble remembering things and it was interfering with my life. She sent me in for a battery of tests and what I learned from those tests was that I function verbally far beyond the norm. It didn't matter that I had lost a significant part of my capacity, I still was above average. And I didn't have Alzheimer's. Like all handicapped people, I have learned to compensate for my handicap, doing things in a different way to accomplish what I need to do. Now, looking back over my month-long experience of writing something new for the first time in over six years, I see my handicap and how I have worked out ways to compensate without even being aware of what I was doing. It is pretty amazing. I'm not able to create, to come up with a new story idea, but I can borrow. My first decision was to write a sequel, which provided me with ready-made characters and setting. Then I blatantly borrowed from Lauren Haney's The Right Hand of Amon, where Lieutenant Bak investigates a murder at an army fort and must eliminate each of the officers as suspect. So I sent my hero, Dar, to investigate a murder at a fortress on the Kingdom of Naj border. Then I followed the formula I use to create murder mystery games to plot the crime, which is basically fill in the blanks.

I was about halfway through before I discovered something very important: the parts that were good in the story were those places where I turned over conscious control and let my subconscious mind do the writing. All writers have that experience sometimes. But for me it became very important. Because I am handicapped by not being able to fantasize, to create a story in my conscious mind, to listen to the characters carry on that internal dialogue in your mind that you just record what they are saying and doing, I found myself blocked. I didn't know where to go next in the story. I decided to try an experiment, to do automatic writing. Years ago I had worked on a story, never knowing where it would go, I would just start writing without consciously thinking about the story. It had turned out to be a very interesting story and went in directions I had not imagined. So I decided to try that on this story. I would sit down and just write, let my subconscious mind take control. And in this way I managed to finish the story. As I said, I have not put into words until just now, to honestly recognize that I am not only physically disabled but mentally disabled and that I must find alternate ways to do what I need to do. In this case, it is to borrow and use known story ideas, but also to let my subconscious mind take the place of my conscious creative mind. There is a part of me that mourns what has been lost and will probably never be found again, but at the same time I rejoice that I have found a way to still be a writer.