Saturday, October 31, 2009

Interview with Amazing Young Nonfiction Writer Allie Sakowicz

Allie Sakowicz is proof that you are never too young to make your dreams come true. At just fifteen years old, she has written more than 30 articles for print magazines such as Odyssey Magazine and Chicago Parent as well as several in online publications including True Genius Magazine and Scrubs Magazine. She is also a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps, and as such her assignments have included attending a rally for former Presidential candidate John McCain, and President Barack Obama’s Election Night and Super Tuesday Election Night parties. Wow! Her website is

Read on for Allie's tips about how YOU can tap into your interests to make a career as a writer at any age!

How did you get your first piece published?

My first piece was actually a book review of Because of Winn-Dixie in the Chicago Tribune when I was 10. There was a general call for submissions and, being a huge fan of the Kate DiCamillo book, I submitted a review. I never expected to see it printed several months later! As for my first "real" article, the story went a bit differently. The author of the Angelina Ballerina series of books, Katherine Holabird, was making visit in my community and I was able to attend and take a picture with her. My family encouraged me to write an article about the experience and submit it to a local parenting magazine, who accepted it. It's certainly not always that easy, but I was lucky that the right opportunity came along at the right time and started my writing career.

How did you become interested in writing?

As long as I can remember, I've loved to write. Even now, I would prefer to write an essay on something than do an art project or something else any day. I wish I could tell you more, but I really can't. Writing has just always been there as a big part of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What is your writing routine like? How do you find time in your busy schedule to write?

Being a full-time student makes it extremely difficult to find time to write, especially since I am involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. However, I believe that we always make time to do what we love, and writing is something that I love. Whenever I feel inspired, I will jot down a few words on an article or make a note about something I want to include. I am passionate about writing non-fiction because I love helping people gain knowledge on a certain topic. There is nothing better to me than getting an email saying that I inspired someone through my work. That is what keeps me going, and that is why I am in my room typing while my friends are at the pool, or why I am at the library researching on a 90-degree day. It's all about priorities.

Do you have any tips for dealing with the trials of the writing life, such as writer's block and rejection?

I realize that they are things that happen to each and every author at some point and try to work around them. As a non-fiction writer, I think I struggle with writer's block a whole lot less than others, but it still does occur. What I do when it does happen is find some new sources about my topic and do more research. Usually when I do this, I will come across new information I was not already aware of, and that opens up many more doors with the article. As for rejection, I'm not going to lie: it hurts. I have had many cases where it seems like an editor is very interested in my work, only to get a standard form rejection a month later. But, I just pick up the pieces and move on. Rejection is bound to happen in this business, and most of the time it is not because of the author's work, it is just an editor's preference. The one important thing to remember is to never give up. The right opportunity will come and you have to keep persevering to find it.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I read a huge variety of books, so I have favorite authors in every category. One of my favorite books, Shiver, was written by my friend Maggie Stiefvater and is a must-read. I also enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Meg Cabot and John Grogan. As for non-fiction, I love reading medical books because I am a huge dork.

What is your biggest advice to other young writers?

I think that it is very important for kids to never give up on their dreams and goals just because of their age. It's difficult to be taken seriously sometimes in this industry, and the only way to get around that is to act serious. That means doing your research and writing quality articles or manuscripts.

What are you working on now? What's next for Allie Sakowicz?

I'm on a little bit of a hiatus from writing right now to focus on school, but I still have a few pieces in the works. I've begun to center in on articles about medicine, which is what I'm really interested in. I'm not really sure what the future of my writing career is, but I am having so much fun right now and can't wait to see what happens next.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Feel free to email me at if I can every help! I'm more than happy to offer advice or guidance to help get you where you want to be.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Online Writers Marketing Group

I just joined an online marketing group for writers and authors, and I am so excited about it that I just had to share in case any of you are interested in joining as well!

Here is more information:

Put your writing career in motion with the yahoo marketing group
VBT-Writers on the Move. Promote your platform, yourself and your books! We utilize ONGOING tours; viewpoint segments; mystery site give aways; blog radio spots; and much more to increase visibility and readership. To learn more contact Karen at: Please put "VBT-referred by Dallas" in the subject box.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Essay Contest for Young Writers

Be the Star You Are!
announces its 6th annual essay contest to promote literacy and positive messages.

300-600 words.

Who is your role model and/or mentor? In what ways has this person changed your life for the better?

FEE: $10 donation per entry

DATES: November 15, 2009-January 18, 2010

FIRST Prize: $100 plus guest appearance on the nationally syndicated radio program, Be the Star You Are!® (Total value, $700) Additionally, your story will be published in our Star Searcher Express newsletter and at In the event of a tie, winners share cash prize and both receive publication and radio interviews.

Runner-ups: Published in our StarSearcher’s Express newsletter and noted on web site.

All submissions must be received by Be the Star You Are!® by midnight January 18, 2010. Essays accepted by mail or email, with email being the preferred method. PO BOX 376, MORAGA, CA. 94556. You may enter as many essays as you'd like, however each one must be in a separate email or envelope accompanied by a $10 tax deductible donation entry fee. Donation can be via PAYPAL You will be notified when your entry and donation are received. Guidelines at or email:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Write Every Day!

One of my favorite activities is visiting schools and talking about reading and writing. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Junipero Serra Elementary School in Ventura, California to talk to all the third and fourth grade students. They were so creative, respectful, energized and, to use one of their favorite words, awesome! :)

Often kids will ask me what advice I have for becoming a writer. My biggest advice is simple: Write every single day. Even if only for fifteen or twenty minutes. Make writing a priority; make it part of your daily routine, as essential as eating dinner or brushing your teeth. Writing a whole book may seem like a daunting endeavor, but if you write just one page every day, at the end of a year you'll have 365 pages!

Recently, my own life has gotten incredibly busy. In between applying for graduate school and international fellowships, doing radio and online interviews, working on articles for magazines and websites, and the endless everyday tasks of daily life, my fiction writing time gradually slipped away. I began to feel drained and overwhelmed. At the end of the day, I would look back at all I had accomplished and still feel like something was missing.

Then I realized: I needed to listen to my own advice! I needed to make my fiction writing -- writing that is dearly important to me -- a priority again. I have set a new goal for myself of writing 1,000 words on my new novel manuscript every single day. It's been almost two weeks, and many days I have gotten on a roll and written 2,000 or 3,000 words at a time! For me, an important thing to remember when working on a first draft is not to censor or edit myself too much, but simply to let my creativity flow. Editing comes later. I often write longhand and then transfer my writing to the computer. I find I am more open-minded and free-flowing when I write by hand.

Since I've been recommitted to writing every single day, I have felt more purposeful, happy, and inspired. And my new novel is coming along great!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stress-Busting Tips

On this Monday morning, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about a condition that plagues just about all of us: stress.

Do you fluster through your days always worried about the next thing you need to get done? Do you never seem to have enough time? Do you often feel irritated and cranky, causing you to lash out at loved ones without meaning to?

How much more fulfilling would your life be with less stress?

Thanks to Victoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life, for telling me about a great book called The Inner Game of Stress by Tim Gallwey. Gallwey is a sports psychologist who takes what he's learned coaching world-class athletes and applies it to the rest of us as we face stress in our daily lives. Here are three tips from the book that might help you let go of some stress:

· The STOP technique: Step back, Think, Organize, and Proceed with a more conscious choice process.
· The Attitude tool: If you feel resentful, try focusing on gratitude instead.
· The Transpose Exercise: Imagine what the other person thinks, feels, and wants and develop empathy, kindness, and better relationship skills.

I'd love to hear some of your stress-busting techniques!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Interview on DreamList Radio Show

Many thanks to the very inspiring and enthusiastic Melissa Borghorst for having me as a guest on her wonderful radio show! Listen in for our tips and insights on how you can start pursuing your dreams TODAY!

Visit the website for additional resources, support and inspiration!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Neat Gift Idea for Kids

I'm always excited about endeavors to get kids excited about books and reading. I recently came across the website for The Lollipop Book Club, a company that describes themselves as "specializing in making the gift of books fun for children of all ages." Each gift arrives in a bright red envelope with a book, a lollipop, and a gift note printed on a sticker for inside the book. The Lollipop Book Club allows customers to build their own book packages, and I was happy to see that they have a wide variety of titles on their site to choose from. Another option is picking a book from one of their themes, such as Caldecott books, Just for Girls, Just for Boys, Happy Holidays, and Baby Books. Their website is

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kids Writing Contest

Here is a great writing contest for kids ages 9-12: Just Us Books Youth Writing Contest.

The prompt is "How will you use education and faith to make a positive difference in the world?"

You can win a $250 cash prize!

Entries must be received by January 31st, 2010.

Visit for more information.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Check out this site

James Patterson is not just a best-selling author; he is also a phenomenal literacy advocate. He has helped found the website with the goal of inspiring kids to become life-long readers and book lovers.

Here is their mission in Patterson's own words: "The only way to get kids to read [is] to give them great books, cool books, books they [will] absolutely, positively love. I believe we've gathered the creme de la creme of such reading right here. These are very, very special books that kids will gobble up and ask for more. If your kids get a few of these books under their belts they'll be well on their way to becoming readers for life. I promise you."

ReadKiddoRead breaks up book selections into age categories and also subject categories to satisfy every type of young reader. The site also features interviews with authors, quizzes, reading guides, and more. Here's their "12 Tried-and-True Ways to Get Your Kiddos Reading."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Interview with Young Writer Kyle Borland

Kyle "K.G." Borland, age 16, born in Massachusetts and raised in Germany, lives in Alabama with his military family. A high school junior, his interests include writing, reading, history, debating, politics, web design, tennis, fishing, soccer, being active with many community organizations, and serving as a GOODREADS co-moderator for several online groups. One of his favorite genres is writing urban fantasy, but he loves to mix genres.

Kyle is the 3rd place winner of the William Albrecht Young Writing Contest in Davis, California and his winning entry, Banishment, has recently been published in the 4th issue of the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review. Read it here:

I was delighted to interview Kyle about his life as a writer and advice for other young writers.

Congrats on your recent contest accolade! How did you feel when you learned the good news? What did you do to celebrate?
Thanks Dallas, I felt ecstatic! It’s the first time I’ve been published, naturally I was excited. What didn’t I do to celebrate? I went out to dinner, told everyone who would listen, and went to Disney World. The trip was previously planned but I made it part of my publication celebration!

How and when did you become interested in writing?
In third grade I attended a writing program for elementary school students at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. They compiled our works into one project. It was enormous fun and I loved every minute of it. I’ve been writing ever since.

What is your writing routine like? You sound very busy -- how do you make time to write?
Unfortunately, my writing routine is what some would call chaotic and hit and miss. I am extremely busy with school, work, and extra-curricular activities.When I have a free moment I try to get on my computer to write.

How do you deal with trials of the writing life, such as writer's block and rejection?
When I have writer’s block, I open a blank Word Document, save it, and then write about absolutely anything for as long as I can. Also, I keep lists of plot ideas, descriptions, and words. When I’m suffering a terrible ‘trial’ I select one of the words or one of the summary plots and write about it. Once I get my mind/muse flowing I can transfer my energy to the piece I’m working on. As for rejection, I haven’t been rejected yet. Sending my piece, Banishment, to the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review for the William Albrecht Young Writing Contest was the first time I submitted my writing anywhere. I’m sure I will have my share of rejections as I start submitting more material. I’ll let you know how I learn to cope!

Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite authors, wow, that’s a hard question to answer. One of my favorite books of all time is The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald is definitely one of my favorite authors. In contemporary times many authors’ books are a MUST reads for me: Markus Zusak, Richelle Mead, Laurell K Hamilton, and Dan Brown to name a few. I enjoy a range of genres, mainstream books, small press books, and I love to discover a not generally well-known author, for example Maria V. Snyder. Her fantasy novels are amazing! Snyder’s books/series is one I cannot put down.

What is your greatest advice to other young writers?
My advice to young authors is to just write. Write, write, write, and write some more. Even if you are simply writing about an object you see in front of you. Write. Try to write at least once a day. If you have a story in mind, write it down, don’t wait. Just, Write On! (Pun intended.)

What are you working on right now? What's next for Kyle Borland?
Right now I’m working on three stories. That’s just personal projects. I think I will eventually select one of the three and focus on it until it is completed. I am also a writer for a collaborative story hosted by my writing mentor D.B. Pacini. We have six writers and we all met on GOODREADS. Each writer has a turn and must write 2500-3000 words. Then, the next writer continues the story. We cannot kill a character we did not personally create. I’m very excited about the collaborative project. It is interesting and challenging to be part of a writing team.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank author D.B. Pacini. She told me about the William Albrecht Young Writing Contest and she encouraged me to enter it. Now she is encouraging me to continue submitting material to literary magazines and journals. She mentored you; you know how insistent she is! Also, I want to thank you for this interview. I appreciate it very much and look forward to learning more about you and about Write On!