Thursday, April 26, 2012

Teen Ten Page Contest is Open for Entries!

Good morning, everyone!  I'm pleased to announce that the first ever Ten Teen Page contest is open for entries. 

What is it:  A contest.  Did you not figure that out yet?

What are the prizes: The top two entries will receive a critique from a book loving teen for the first ten pages of their winning manuscript.

Who can enter:  Anyone!  But only one entry per person.

Where is it:  Right here on Inklined and over at my friends Hannah's blog, Candy Apple Books.

When is it: Today through next Thursday at midnight Eastern Standard Time.

What you have to do to get entered:  Submit the first 150 words of your WIP (you need to have at least ten pages written so when you win, you have something to win) to me at or my friend Hannah at  Also, if you have a blog, and most of you do, you need to mention the  Teen Ten Page in one of your posts.  Or you could grab the Teen Ten Page over on my left sidebar and not worry about the post!

In the end then, this is how your entry should look:

Subject:  Teen Ten Page Entry

Dear Sarah,
Below is my entry for the Teen Ten Page you're hosting on Inklined.  Also, here's the link the the blog post where I talked about this challenge. 
~Jane Dough

(Insert entry here)

If you don't quite understand, you can click over to my Contests tab for more information.
Happy Entering.  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I haven't done one of these posts in two weeks, so I'm not going to cover all the books I read during that time. Here's a hint:  It's a lot of books.  Like more then ten.
So today, I'm just going to do six and we'll do the rest next week.

The first book I finished after the last What I'm Reading Wednesday was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I talked about this book a few weeks ago when I was in mid-rant about Macbeth.  To any English teachers reading this:   Dandelion Wine was a great book by a well known and skillful story teller and should be put on your reading lists.   Summer reading lists would be even better.  To the rest of you, if you haven't read this book and you're on the prowl for a satisfying classic, go to your used book store and find a battered paper back of this book.  I don't think you'll regret it.

And then I read Powder Monkey by Paul Dowswell.  This book was a blend between Billy Bud, Sailor by Herman Melville and the Horatio Hornblower movies.  Although little bit dark, as per that time period in England's History, I still really enjoyed the story of this boys life aboard a navy ship.  Not a must read, but still a good book.

After that, I read Purge by Sarah Darer Littman.  Wow.  That's about all I can say about this book.  In my Goodreads account, I have three bookshelves; Non-Fiction, Made Me Think, and Five Stars.  Purge was on BOTH of the latter.  This book follows Janie as she struggles against her bulimia in a home for troubled girls.  It's good.

Next, I listened to This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen on CD.  I'd heard a whole lot about this book and was a little let down.  Safe to say, Along for the Ride is still my favorite Dessen book with Lock and Key a close second.  But I've read enough Dessen books to start to see Hallmarks of her style.  Have any of you notice some of the same stuff in Sarah Dessen books?

And then I read Final Warning by James Paterson.  This book is the fourth in the Maximum Ride novels and I liked it just as much as the rest of the books so far.  I love the characters and Patterson keeps the action coming.

Minutes after I finished that, I started the next Maximum Ride book, Max.  I liked this one better then Final Warning, but they were both good.  I've said is before and I'll say it again, if you haven't read these books, what are you waiting for?  I'm really liking them.

Come back tomorrow for the kick off of the first ever Teen Ten Page!  Yeah, I'm excited and I hope we get a ton of entries.
Have a great day and see you tomorrow!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fridays with First Timers: What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen

Can you believe the school week is over already?  I can't.  That went way too fast.  And to end this week we have a first timer spotlight:  What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen.
I have to admit, the first thing that drew me to this book was the title, unlike the last two spotlights, where the first thing I noticed was the cover.

So, here's a little bit about the author:

Tracy Bilen is a high school French and Spanish teacher in Michigan where she lives with her husband and two children. Before moving to Michigan, Tracy taught at a ski school for high school students in Vermont (Spanish, not skiing!). She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and taught English in Strasbourg, France. She enjoys cross-country skiing and walks in the woods. Her debut young adult novel, What She Left Behind, will be released by Simon Pulse on May 1, 2012.
You can visit her website by clicking here.

And about the book:

You can’t run from the truth

“Don’t even think of leaving…I will find you,” he whispered. “Guaranteed.”
Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it. Each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late… for them both.

Don't miss What She Left Behind when it hits shelves May first!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Tips: Plotting, Obstacle Course, Landscape, or Enchanting Eyes

Happy Tuesday!  I'm using the schedule post feature for the first time, so hopefully this is going to be published at least on the right day.

Yesterday, I started The Nighttime Novelist and although I'm only a few chapters into it, I really like it.  I just finished the part about plotting and it struck me that story ideas can really come in three different  ways for me.

The first is the obstacle course.  This form of idea is when you get the story problem.  Like : Boy wakes up with no memory of who he is.  He finds himself in an all boys compound in the middle of a shifting maze.  (The Maze Runner by James Dashner.)  For me, this is the most common form of idea.

Then there's the landscape, where the setting is the first thing you see.  I didn't really understand that people could get a story idea from an interesting setting until I got the idea for "The Other World."  This is still nothing but an idea, but basically it takes place in a world where the space between thought and action is much thinner. Right now, there's no characters and no problems, just a setting.  I think a lot of Dystopian novels started out this way, like Delirium and Uglies.

And then there's what I call the Enchanting Eyes, where a character or cast of characters stumble into your mind without knocking and you just feel like you have to tell their stories.  This is my favorite idea shape because normally a problem is not far behind a character.  Here's an example: Alex's parents died when he was small and then, when he was fourteen his uncle died in what he is told was a car crash.   Then he finds his uncle's car with bullet holes in it and learns there was more to his uncle then met the eyes. (Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz.)  Characters are -- in my opinion -- the most important aspect in a story and so I love it when they're the first thing to come to your brain's doorstep.
What about you?  What's your favorite form of idea?  Do you have one that I don't mention here?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mind the Writer Monday

Happy Monday!
Late Sunday afternoon, I realized that I had promised the first Sneaky Agent Stalker post on Saturday.  As you can see, it didn't happen.  Sorry.  Maybe next Saturday.  Maybe not.  We'll see.
So, this post is about two things.

The Waiting Game:
I understood writers had to wait a lot.  Just not as it applied to me.  Until a few days ago.
If you look at the bottom of the blog, you'll see an over-sized button labelled "NextGen."  That is a free online Christian teen writing conference.  I "attended" last August and plan on doing so again.  Last month, NextGen organized a few teen critique groups.  I'm in one of those.  A few days ago, I submitted my first chapter for critiquing.  I feel like I've checked the computer every five seconds since then to see if anyone has posted a critique of my first chapter.  Maybe I'm not cut out to be an author.  These few days of waiting have been killing me.  So, are you playing the waiting game?  What are you waiting on?

First Draft Race:
I'm working on the first draft of two books right now.  One is long hand, one is on the computer, and I love them both.  I just started both of these at the end of March/ beginning of April and their collective word count is about seven thousand.
I think I'm a pretty slow writer.  If I really try, I can crank out two thousand words in a day, but I can't do much else.  And I don't do two K every day.  I'm lucky if I sit down to do that much once a week.  It really just depends if that day is a writing day.  On a writing day, I'm committed to writing a significant amount that day.  Between 1 and 2 K.  But on a non-writing day, I might only get as much as five hundred.  If you're lucky.
Take this week.  On Wednesday, I participated in a Word War.  I wrote just over 2,000 words.  I haven't touched my manuscript since.  But the week before, I wrote about 300 words every day.  Which gave me about 2100 words for that week.  So, sometimes my writing is like a sprint to the end of the next scene and sometimes it's like the tortoise, slow and steady.
What about you?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fridays with First Timers: A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

Happy Friday! I was so busy reading all the A-Z posts that I almost forgot to post myself.
But, I'm going to and this should be fun.

The spotlight this week is A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont. This is another cover I simply love.

Here's a little about the author:

As a child, Eve was a tomboy/animal lover/aspiring actress who staged lip-synched productions of her favorite musicals since she couldn’t sing. Her love for athletics and animals remained, but the acting bug was soon replaced by the writing bug. In fourth grade, she wrote her first chapter book entitled, The Only Tomboy in My Class, and she was hooked.

Now Eve teaches high school English and Creative Writing in the Philadelphia suburbs and sponsors her school’s literary magazine. When not grading papers or writing, Eve can be found watching the Phillies with her husband, playing with her shelter pup, or daydreaming about her next story.
Click here to visit her website.

And a little bit about the book:

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre…

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own.

A Breath of Eyre came out March 27th. Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Word War

So I was all set to do a What I'm Reading Wednesday today and then yesterday an online friend challenged me to a Word War. If you've never done one of these, it's when two or more people try to see who can write the most in a set time. In our war, the loser has to post a video of themselves singing "I'm a little Tea Pot." That person is not going to be me, so I'm off now to go see if I can thrash out a few hundred words before school.

P.S If you haven't stopped by Go Teen Writers yet this morning, there's an awesome guest post to cheek out. Just click here!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fridays with First Timers: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Can you believe the week is almost over already? My house is getting ready for hosting Easter Lunch and Egg Hunt after church on Sunday. While trying to get the yard ready, our lawnmower broke. For the second time this spring. My dad is just a *bit* frustrated.
On another note, if you give the blog a good poke this morning, a few new things might shake out. First, up top here, ^ you'll see I've added two new pages. I would suggest checking at least one of those out. I've also started a new Saturday segment called Sneaky YA Agent Stalking Saturdays. This is pretty much what it sounds like, and I'll have the first post tomorrow or newt Saturday.

Now, on to the spotlight!
This Friday, we're spotlighting The Selection by Kiera Cass. This book cover is simply gorgeous and I've been seeing it all over the place lately. If I'm not mistaken, The Selection movie cast is being chosen right now! How exciting for Ms. Cass.

So, a little bit about her:

I was born and raised in South Carolina, a proud child of the 80's.
In 2007, my world was shaken by a local tragedy, and I took it pretty hard. Over the course of the following year, I tried a lot of things to get myself together resulting in me sitting down to write a story where my character had to deal with my problems so I wouldn't have to.
Once I started writing, I felt like an idiot. How had I not known I loved this all along? Seriously.

In early 2010 (when my son was just two months old), I started querying The Selection and was lucky enough to find a wonderful agent in Elana Roth. Sometimes I still can't believe she took a chance on me. After a few months, Erica Sussman at HarperTeen snapped up The Selection, and it is slated to come out April 24, 2012.
I currently live in Blacksburg, VA with my hubby and son and spend my free time playing on YouTube and twitter and eating cake.

And, about the book:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

The Selection comes out April 24th! I don't know about you, but I can't wait.

Have a great Easter weekend!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesdays

Happy Wednesday! I feel like I haven't posted in forever. In fact, I was really close to posting yesterday but I didn't really have anything to post about. There is now a long, rambling post on rewriting buried somewhere in my unpublished posts. But, on to the books!

First, I read The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. I haven't actually read any of his fiction, but his non-fiction writing books are great. As you might know, I don't really buy books very often because I can get them from the library for free and I don't have the kind of money it would take to fuel my reading. But I am very much considering putting this book and Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Mass on my Birthday Wish List. It was that good!

Then, over the weekend while I was sick, I read The Always War by Margret
Peterson Haddix. This book started great. It's a 200 page read, which I find perfect for Sunday afternoons. I read along happily . . . until I came to the last 15 pages. 15 pages that should have been 50. Or 75. The ending defiantly needed more. As a SMALL SPOILER this book ends in a revolution. A revolution that took about five pages from beginning to end. You can read whole seven book series on revolutions (Garth Nix books) so for me five pages didn't come close to cutting it.

Then, for school on Monday, I finished The Tragedy of Macbeth. Excuse me while I say "Thank goodness that's over." It wasn't that I completely hated it. I thought it had good themes and ideas about manhood and power. But really, it's a play. It was meant to be watched and heard, not read. So why do high school English teachers across the world force this script down the throats of teens? I honestly think the books I enjoy the most are the ones I pick out for myself, even if I pick them out from classics. For example right now I'm also reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I'm really enjoying it and I think part of the reason is that when I read it I don't try to pick apart each chapter and try to figure out what I'll need to know for the 20 question test on Monday.
I wonder how many Shakespeare lovers I lost during that paragraph?
Have a great Wednesday!