Campaign Challenge #3 – ON THE PIER

The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs. The Campaign runs from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges, the last of which I’m posting TODAY!

Here are the parameters:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:

  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: “synbatec,” “wastopaneer,” and “tacise”   (these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them!).

And here is my entry: 

On the Pier

The steady cry of complaining seagulls conveys her mood perfectly: Ugh.

The sun has yet to clear the horizon, but she’s awake. Wait—not just awake, because that wouldn’t be so bad. Nope. She’s out of bed, dressed, and…  exercising?

She is not a runner. She’s barely a walker, and never before coffee. But here she is, huffing and puffing, trying not to become fed up with the monotony of one foot in front of the other.

Synbatec, wastopaneer, tacise… Mentally, she reviews SAT words in an effort to stay upright.

All because of you.

Because when your smiling voice called a smitten girl to invite her out for an impromptu weekend run, she couldn’t decline. Even if that run was scheduled for an ungodly hour. Even if her athleticism is severely lacking. Even if sweating in the presence of a cute boy is, like, the Eighth Deadly Sin.

The torturous jog continues. Together, you pass a washed-up fish, silvery scales dulled, smothered with flies. She catches a whiff of rot. Even though her stomach turns over, she resolves to keep her mood from plunging completely.

The sleepiness, the exertion, the fish—ick!—they’re worth it, because you’re huffing and puffing right next to her. Somehow, though, you make huffing and puffing look good.

“Ready for a cool down?” you ask, slowing to a walk.

Is she ever! She flashes you a grateful smile and dabs her glistening brow oh-so delicately.

You lead her to the pier and, thoughtfully, pull her hood up to ward off the morning chill. She smiles; now she matches you.

Though she’s all-too aware of why she’s here—exercise? No way!—she keeps wondering why you invited her.

But when you lean in to kiss her, the sun crests the horizon, gloriously bright, and she knows. 

My favorite of all three challenges, I think. Which one did you like best, Campaigners? And don’t forget to visit Rachel’s blog to vote for the entries you love. Mine’s number 105. 🙂

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RTW: A Winding Road (And congrats, YA Highway!)

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday has reached the 100th mile marker. How has YOUR writing journey gone so far?

One-hundred Road Trip Wednesdays?! Huge congratulations to YA Highway and its contributors on their longevity and all their success. Thank you so much, Highway-ers, for bringing your genius to the YA community, for doling out wisdom and expertise, for sharing insightful, informative, diverse, and entertaining posts, and for inviting aspiring authors like me to participate your fantastic Road Trip Wednesdays. I’ve met tons of incredible people since I first joined in over a year ago, and I’m so thankful for this outlet, and for this chance to belong to such a friendly and supportive community. Here’s to another hundred Road Trips!

Um… my writing journey? It’s going. 🙂 I’ve met some goals, for sure, and I’ve set some new ones. I’ve grown in many areas, and I’ve identified others I’d like to improve upon. I’ve signed with a brilliant agent. I’ve made some amazing friends. I’ve read some inspired books. I’ve written some beautiful words. I hope my writing journey continues in its forward motion (no reverse, please!), and I hope it continues to give me a sense of self and accomplishment no matter where my final destination may be.

How’s YOUR writing journey going?

Campaign Challenge #2 – Mama’s Imago

The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs. The Campaign runs from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges, the second of which I’m posting TODAY! Here are the parameters:

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:

-Include the word “imago” in the title.
-Include the following 4 random words: “miasma,” “lacuna,” “oscitate,” “synchronicity.”
-If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
-For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!

So, I’m going the way of flash fiction–I just enjoyed it so much the last time! This piece is exactly 200 words and–gasp!–not YA. I hope it speaks to my fellow mothers, particularly those with curious, whimsical, awe-inspiring daughters, like my girlie. 🙂

Her little girl loved anything with wings, real or mythical. Darting turquoise dragonflies and opalescent hummingbirds were just as fanciful as the spritely fairies living in her fantasies.

But the Monarch butterfly most thoroughly mesmerized her. Its metamorphosis, the perfectly mirrored synchronicity of its orange and black wings, its wanderlust. It intrigued her, and caused her imagination to oscitate, stretching it beyond its reaches.

She was a Monarch for Halloween. Every day after, too, she pulled on the onyx leotard and the shimmering tights. Her mama helped her tie the satin ribbons of the great painted wings, smiling when her girl donned the antennae headband as if it were a Princess’s crown.

They explored the woods almost daily, the girl flying ahead on spirited tulle, her mama meandering behind, enjoying the trees, the breeze, the warmth.

Until one day there was a lacuna in the girl’s cheerful chatter.

Her mama looked frantically about the silent, sunny forest, trying—failing—to ignore the dreadful miasma filling her nose and throat, choking her with terror.

And then her girl was there, crouching behind a stump, examining a tiny, emerald chrysalis.

Her mama gathered her close, careful not to crush her delicate wings.


If you enjoyed my Campaign Challenge #2 effort, please do take a moment to visit Rach Writes where you can LIKE my entry. Again, it’s called Mama’s Imago, and it’s number 130. Thanks for visiting!

Campaign Challenge #1 – Last Kiss

The Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes, is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs. The Campaign runs from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges, the first of which is TODAY! Here are the parameters for Campaign Challenge #1:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open…” These four words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “…the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

First thought: OH MY GOD I’VE NEVER WRITTEN FLASH FICTION IN MY LIFE! Second thought: TWO-HUNDRED WORDS? CAN’T BE *THAT* HARD.

Two hours later (two!), and I’ve come up with exactly two-hundred words of flash fiction. Holy crap–writing in past-tense is such a challenge! So is characterization within such a tiny word count. I’m, like, really nervous about posting this, but here’s my best effort, entitled Last Kiss

 The door swung open. He was there like I knew he would be, searing eyes and rain-soaked hair. He didn’t speak—he’d always been better at quiet—but he reached for my hands and pulled me forward like he owned me. 

He did—I’d been his since the day we met.

I let my cheek fall against his shoulder and inhaled his soap-and-spice scent, soaking up a million memories with rain that fell relentlessly from the slate sky. His t-shirt was drenched and then so was mine, but I didn’t care. I’d never cared about the consequences of being with him. I craved his strength and weight and intensity.  

His breath was heavy, ragged, when his cobalt eyes locked on mine. The moment unfolded, stretching into eternity. I foraged for words to make him stay, but they were elusive. Always elusive.

His wet hands were slippery on my face. His mouth found mine, raw, insistent, tasting of regret. Breathing was suddenly impossible. I gripped his t-shirt, kissed him back, but the ache of loss was inevitable.

“I’ll miss this,” he said when he’d had enough.

He pushed me back into the house. My heart shattered as the door swung shut. 


Like my flash fiction? Want to read Challenge #1 entries from other Campaigners? Pop on over to Rach Writes to check out the list of participants. 🙂 

The Campaign

I recently learned about a very cool blogging opportunity from my friend Alison Miller. It’s the Writers’ Platform Building Campaign, hosted by Rach Writes. The Campaign is cool way for writers and active bloggers to reach out and network with other like-minded people, thus building our own platforms and helping others to build theirs.

The Campaign will run from August 22nd to October 31st and will include three Campaigner Challenges:

  1. First Campaigner Challenge – Monday, September 5
  2. Second Campaigner Challenge – Thursday, September 22
  3. Third Campaigner Challenge – Monday, October 17

If you’re interested in finding out more about this opportunity, visit Platform Building Campaign THIS WEEK for more detailed information.

Friday Fun: Neville and Writing Communities

I spent last night at a Harry Potter double feature: Deathly Hallows I at 9pm, and then the Deathly Hallows II midnight premier. Holy hell… it was amazing! Even more awesome than I’d anticipated… a perfect end to the series, in my humble opinion.

Now, thanks to last night’s 4am bedtime (well worth it!), I’m in the process of recovering my wits and my sleep, but let’s take a moment to appreciate this…


When, might I ask, did Neville Longbottom get so hot?

And now a Friday Five from Paper Hangover, a fantastic group blog offering writing tips and advice, book reviews, weekly blog topics, and teen interviews. Here’s today’s prompt:


1) Savvy Authors – Can’t say enough about this one. Fantastic resources, forums, workshops, chat rooms, boot camps, and more… My CPs are members too, and I pretty much live in Savvy Chat while I’m drafting. I can always use the support and the sanity boost great writing friends bring.

2) YAHighway – Who doesn’t love YA Highway? These girls write posts that are super informative and often a little cheeky, which makes them all kinds of fun to read. There are interviews and book reviews that I’m always excited to check out, plus, YA Highway hosts the weekly Road Trip Wednesday. I’ve met some pretty amazing writers through this “blog carnival.”

3) YALITCHAT – Not to get too cheesy on you, but for me, this is where it all began. About eighteen months ago I had a complete manuscript that had never seen the light of day. Seriously. I had never heard of betas or CPs or gotten any thoughtful, unbiased feedback. Then I stumbled into the First Pages forum at YALitChat and lucked upon one of the greatest CPs ever (Heather Howland). Of course, YALitChat offers much more, so definitely check it out if you haven’t all ready.

4) SCBWI – Not just an online community, of course, but an opportunity for writers to meet up with and get to know others in their area. SCBWI offers mail out bulletins as well as zillions of resources on their website, at their conferences and their more casual social events. I’ve been a member for two years and plan to keep it that way.

5) Oasis for YA – I like the kind of chill, positive atmosphere the girls at Oasis offer. As well as writing tips, book recommendations and interviews, Oasis host a Thankful Thursday meme that’s always fun to reflect on and participate in. Oasis for YA is taking a summer hiatus, but do check it out in the coming months.

*And a big honorable mention for Paper Hangover! While I’m still getting to know this community, I love what I’ve seen so far and fully intend to continue following!

Three cheers for the weekend! Tell me, what are your favorite writing communities? Also, did you see Harry at midnight? Did you love it?

RTW: *Mistakes are the portals of discovery…


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: What’s the biggest writing/querying/publishing mistake you’ve made so far?

I’ve yet to do anything colossally stupid or embarrassing (I’m sure my time will come), though I have made mistakes that have slowed my progress. I’ve neglected to research (which explains why my first YA manuscript [a tragically low-concept contemporary] clocked in at approximately 130,000 words). I’ve queried too soon (yes, that same first manuscript), and I’ve entertained the wildly unproductive belief that I am the exception. But my biggest mistake, the one I’ve since remedied and will never, ever make again, is trying to make it as a writer all by myself.


Good news: That first manuscript? The tragically low-concept contemporary? It somehow snagged me a critique partner (the amazingly talented Heather Howland), who tore it up in the kindest of ways . In the process, she taught me all about voice, word choice, and plot, and also hooked me up with some of her writing friends (including my other two amazingly talented critique partners Jus Accardo and AE Rought).

In the interest of inserting myself further into the YA writing community, I started blogging and tweeting and interacting with all kinds of fantastic people (both online and local). Can you guess what happened next? I’ll tell you: Writing became easier. And more fun. I felt less crazy. Less alone. I also learned a lot, and my writing improved in the process.

I’m not sure what I would do without the YA community, and I’m not sure how my sanity survived that first manuscript without my critique partners and writing friends. (My husband might say it didn’t survive. Hmm…).

For more, check in Friday. I’ll share some of my favorite online writing communities. Also, stop by YA Highway to see how other participants answered this question.

Do tell… what’s the biggest writing/querying/publishing mistake you’ve made so far?

*The wise words of James Joyce.