Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Young Adult Books/Calls for Submissions

When I decide to write a book about a particular subject, I try to determine what the interest of the audience (age group). If the book is fiction, my goal is to entertain and write in a voice the audience will appreciate and enjoy. Reading a variety of books in the genre of which I’m writing is a definite goal. Each author approaches writing a little differently so I’m always learning and improving my craft.

For young adult writers, Teens' Top Ten offers a list of "teen choice" books. Teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! If you’re writing for teens, these 25 books are a good start in learning what teens like to read.

The 2011 Nominees:
· Bachorz, Pam. Drought. Egmont USA. 2011. (978606840160).
· Beam, Cris. I Am J. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 2011. (9780316053617).
· Beaudoin, Sean. You Killed Wesley Payne. 2011. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. (9780316077422).
· Black, Holly and Justine Larbalestier. Zombies vs. Unicorns. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books. 2010. (9781416989530).
· Card, Orson Scott. The Lost Gate. Tor Books. 2011. (9780765326577).
· Clare, Cassandra. The Clockwork Angel. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry. 2010. (9781416975861).
· Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. Scholastic. 2010. (9780439023511).
· Collins, Yvonne. Love, Inc. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423131151).
· Condie, Ally. Matched. 2010. Penguin/Dutton. (9780525423645).
· Cremer, Andrea. Nightshade. Penguin/Philomel. 2010. (9780399254826).
· Fitzpatrick, Becca. Crescendo. Simon & Schuster Children’s. 2010. (9781416989431).
· Grant, Michael. Lies. 2010. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. (9780061449093).
· Hawkins, Rachel. Demonglass. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423121312).
· Hakwins, Rachel. Hex Hall. Disney/Hyperion. 2010. (9781423121305).
· Kagawa, Julie. The Iron King. 2010. Harlequin. (9780373210084).
· Lore, Pittacus. I Am Number Four. HarperCollins. 2010. (9780061969553).
· Moore, Peter. Red Moon Rising. Disney/Hyperion. 2011. (9781423116653).
· Nelson, Jandy. The Sky is Everywhere. 2010. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers. (9780142417805).
· Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010. (9780061726804).
· O’Neal, Ellis. The False Princess. Egmont USA. 2011. (9781606840795).
· Patterson, James. Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel. Little, Brown & Company. 2011. (9780316036207).
· Pearce, Jackson. Sisters Red. Little, Brown and Company. 2010. (9780316068680).
· Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Blessed. Candlewick Press. 2011. (9780763643263).
· Westerfeld, Scott. Behemoth. Simon Pulse. 2010. (9781416971757).
· White, Kiersten. Paranormalcy. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2010. (9780061985843).

Call for submissions for adult writers:
PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES. We are currently seeking experimental nonfiction for our "Pushing the Boundaries" section ("experimental," "boundaries," yes, these can be loaded terms). We want writing that blows our minds with its ingenuity, essays that not only push the boundaries of the genre, but tear down the borders. Be ambitious and send us work like we've never seen before.
As always, there's only on stipulation--the pieces must be true.
Deadline: June 13, 2011, and "Pushing the Boundaries" must be clearly marked on the envelope and cover letter.
Details at

Call for submissions for young writers:
Bitterroot Poetry Magazine. P.O. Box 489, Spring Glen, NY 12483. Publishes poetry. ubmit up to 4 poems at a time.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poetry How Do I Know Thee?, part III/Call for Submissions/Contest

Poems that contain figurative language can be fun and even silly, but they still have to make sense. Poems vary in length. Some rhyme; some don’t. Either way works. Here are some different types of poems.

Alliterative poem:

Three Grey Geese by Mother Goose
Three grey geese in a green field grazing,
Grey were the geese and green was the grazing.

A Shape Poem, also called a calligram, is written in the shape of the subject matter. A poem about a mountain would be shaped like a mountain. A valentine poem may be shaped like a heart.

“If I….” Poem

Set your imagination to the wind and soar with ideas. Here are a few to try:

“If I were the wind”
“If I were invisible”
“If I could fly”
“If I lived in 1750”

An acrostic poem is formed by writing a word vertically down the page, one letter per line. Each line of the poem is about the subject. Names are a good way to write these poems. Here’s an example of one about spring

Sharp chill turns warm
Plants pop out of the ground
Roses bloom
Irises blossom
Nature rules
Growing, flowering, coloring the world

Let your poems tell a story and see where the story takes you. Most of all, have fun with words. Play with them until they sound like music to your ears.

Call for submissions for adult writers:
Past Loves Day Story Contest, 2011. Write your true story of a former sweetheart, in 700 words or less. Awards: $100, $75, $50, Honorable Mention(s). Winning stories will be published in an upcoming anthology. No entry fee. Authors retain all rights.
Deadline: August 17, 2011.

Contest for young writers:

THE BIG DIG SCHOLARSHIP. One $3,000 award. Deadline June 1, 2011. Must be currently in
grade 12 and planning on entering college in 2011 or be in your first or second year of college. In 200 years, one of your relatives is going to be digging in your backyard. They will find something you buried in 2011, and it is going to put any financial worries they have to rest. Your job is to decide what to bury. Your goal is to find something that will have immense value in the future. The item must be
currently sold in a story today and cost under $500. The essay must be between 500 and 1,000 words. Be sure to answer all of the following questions in your essay:
1. What is the item you will bury?
2. Where could you purchase the item today?
3. How much does the item cost?
4. What made you choose this item?
5. Why do you believe that the item will have immense value
200 years from now?


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Poetry, how do I know thee? Part II/Call for Submissions/Contest

Poets use comparisons, or figurative language, to help readers see common objects in a new way and to add interest, imagery, and meaning to the writing. Figurative language goes beyond the usual meaning of words and provides another suggestion or association.

Metaphors compare two objects without using “like” or “as”. My heart is a hammer certainly adds imagery. A friend who has a wonderful sense of humor gave me this imagery-laden metaphor: a caterpillar is an upholstered worm.

Personification is a type of metaphor that makes a comparison by giving human qualities to animals or objects. The wind whistled a shout. The star winked at me.

Hyperbole is often used in poems and tall tales. The exaggerated comparsions are used for emphasis and are sometimes funny. I’ve told you a billion times not to exaggerate. I’m so tired I could sleep as long as Rip Van Winkle. My cow is so ugly, I had to pay flies to buzz it.

Using figurative language is effective because it makes poetry and creative writing easier to understand and more interesting. Give it a try.

Call for Submissions for adult writers:
The Single Hound , a new on-line literary journal, is accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, & book and film reviews.


Contest for young writers:
COYOTE'S HOWL FOR YOUNG WRITERS. Students aged 9 to 14. Various genres and topics, up to 1,000 words. First deadline August 14, 2011. Enter online. Contest winners receive an autographed copy of "Gift of the Desert Dog", the first book in The Borderlands Trilogy, and a personal letter of congratulations from author Robert Hunton. All qualified entries will be posted on website. Teachers see website to submit class work. Students and adults can rate entries to help in the evaluation process. Final winners chosen by publisher.

Next week, I’ll discuss a few types of poems.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Poetry in Prose/Call for Submissions/Contest

When I write children’s picture books, I stick to prose rather than a rhyming text. But, as with poems, I strive to evoke strong visual images or emotions with few words. And, as with poems, if the story line is humorous, I add the punch line at the end to surprise the reader. In these respects, I find that writing picture books and poetry are similar. Writing poetry helps writers become more adept at writing picture books because it teaches us to create vivid mental pictures using few words.

Poetry, how do I know thee? Let me count the ways.
· Economy of words—says a lot in a little with carefully selected words.
· Speaks in a special way by evoking feelings of joy, sadness, surprise, and more.
· Sounds like music to the ear
· Uses imagery to help the reader “see” a mental picture
· Rhythmical patterns
· Incorporates storytelling with a beginning, middle, and end

In order to say a lot with few words, poets make comparisons using similes. Similes use “like” or “as” to compare two different objects. In my book, Happy Birthday the Story of the World's Most Popular Song, I used this simile: Words tripped off her tongue, smoothly as ice cream dripping from a cone on an August afternoon. Words and ice cream seem to be objects of unlikely comparisons until they’re used in a simile. These words did more than compare. They evoked the feeling of a hot, steamy day and painted a picture of how words could flow smoothly as ice cream.

Next week we’ll look at how poets make comparisons with metaphors, personification, and hyperbole.

Call for submissions for adult writers:
221b Magazine Summer Issue: a short story competition. The best six entries will be included in the next edition of our magazine.

Anyone who submits must first read our terms and conditions:
Deadline: 31st May 2011 Tuesday

Contest for young writers:
The Hummingbird Guide is hosting their first Children's Story Contest about hummingbirds. Minimum of 300 words for submission.
· Submit original work written by you.
· Contest open to ages 6 to 12.
· Fill out the "name" box and be sure to include your age.
· Winners will be selected based on visitor comments (favorites).
· Submissions deadline is May 31, 2011.
· Details at