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1. Time for the Black Swagday Giveaway Extravaganza!!!

I can't believe it's already time for my annual Black Swagday Giveaway--but.... *double checks calendar*....Yep! THE TIME HAS COME!

(*whispers* If anyone can figure out how to pause time, that'd be AWESOME. kthanxbai)

Since this is the time of year where everyone has gifts on their minds--and I personally feel that books are THE BEST gifts anyone can give--I love doing this giveaway to help you guys make your gifts even more special (and btw--gifts for yourself totally count). But it only lasts for a few days so don't miss your chance!

So here's how this works.

If you buy any of my books (Keeper of the Lost Cities, Exile, Everblaze, Neverseen, Let the Sky Fall, and/or Let the Storm Break*) this weekend--which just so happens to be the biggest shopping weekend of the year, between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday--and fill out the form at the end of this post, I will send you the corresponding swag pack below.

*I'm not including pre-orders of Let the Wind Rise because I'll be doing a separate giveaway for that closer to the book's release

And here's what's up for grabs:

If you buy any of the KEEPER books and fill out the form, I'll send you this*:

- a signed bookplate 
- a signed, limited edition Verdi art print
- a Black Swan sticker
- a 5x7 character art print (featuring the awesome illustrations by Courtney Godbey)

AND, if you buy more than one KEEPER book, I'll throw in extra goodies as well--and if you want an example of what some of those goodies could be, here's a pic:

(Obviously you won't get everything you see in this pic--but you'll get some of it, chosen randomly at mailing. And the more books you buy, the more you'll get)

And if you buy LET THE SKY FALL and fill out the form, I'll send you this*:

- a LTSF signed bookplate
- a LTSF bookmark
- a LTSF sticker
- a Keep Calm and Let the Sky Fall sticker

AND if you buy LET THE STORM BREAK and fill out the form, I'll send you this*:

 - a LTSB signed bookplate
- a LTSB bookmark
- a LTSB sticker 
- a Keep Calm and Let the Storm Break sticker

All of this swag is only available here and hand signed by me!
*And should supplies run out of any particular item, it will be substituted with a comparable piece of swag

Everyone who fills out the form below between today (11/25/15)  and 11:59 pm pacific time on Monday, 11/30/15 WILL get their swag mailed to whatever address they provide. I'll do my best to have them in the mail straight away, so that you get it in time for whatever you're celebrating. No proof of purchase required. If you say you bought it, I believe you. But remember, every time you lie, it makes Keefe, Fitz, and Dex cry.

It also doesn't matter where you buy the book (though supporting your Local Indie Bookstore guarantees you a life of sunshine and happiness) or if you buy a paperback or a hardcover (ebooks and audiobooks count too!). And you're welcome to buy as many books as you want! (Just make sure you fill out the form accordingly so I know to send you the proper amount of swag).

Giveaway is also open internationally!!!

**Please note** This giveaway ONLY applies to books purchased between 11/25/15-11/30/15, and does NOT include books previously purchased. Of course I super-appreciate if you've bought my books before now, but I've also done previous giveaways that you would've had a chance to take part in (sorry if you missed them). So this is only for new purchases, and if you are desperate for the swag, you could always buy a book to give as a gift (what better gift could there be, really?) and keep the swag for yourself--I won't tell! :)

Um... I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, of course feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments (but make sure you leave those comments in the post on my website, not on goodreads or any of the other places this blog feeds out to, otherwise I won't see them). 

If the form won't load, click HERE to access it. Otherwise scroll down!


0 Comments on Time for the Black Swagday Giveaway Extravaganza!!! as of 11/26/2015 7:39:00 AM
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2. Monday Munchday...An Exciting Announcement!


So nice of you to drop by on Monday and visit me!  I missed you so over the weekend :)

And you won't be sorry for coming over!

I have SUCH exciting news!!!

Guess what???

I have invented a new recipe!

Yes!  It's true!

I must give credit where credit is due.  I was inspired by Shelley Kinder in a blog comment on the Halloweensie Winner's post.  During all the talk about nuts vs. no nuts in dessert, she suggested the benefits of peanut butter chips... and an idea was born!

Lo and behold, my new recipe:

Take the brownie recipe of your choice and add 1/2 (or 1/2 +) cup of peanut butter chips!  YUM!

And this gave rise to ANOTHER idea... add 1/2 (or 1/2+) cup of toffee chips!

OR add 1/2 (or 1/2+) cup of crushed peppermint!

OR go the s'mores route and add 1/2 cup mini marshmallows and 1/4-1/2 cup graham cracker cereal!  (Although that might get mushy... I'll have to experiment...!  Maybe crushed graham cracker at the bottom with the brownie batter mixed with marshmallows added on top...?)


And you're welcome, because I know I have just given you a whole new outlook on your holiday baking plans! :)

At least, I've given MYSELF a whole new outlook on MY holiday baking plans! :)

And the added benefit?  An unexpected Monday Something Chocolate Snack:

Please forgive the photos - I'm a baker not a photographer :) - but I promise they taste delicious!!! :)

So, thanks for stopping by.  I hope it was worth your time.  And I hope you weren't expecting anything else...


You were expecting something else?

Well in that case...

...maybe I should tell you...

...that it's time for...

The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
WA-HOOO!!!! :)

The Contest:  Write a children's story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) beginning with any version of "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop."  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version "[Verb of your choice]ing [any preposition you choose] the [any item you choose] [any preposition you choose] the [venue of your choice]."  For example, "Surfing along the wind-whipped waves at the Yuletide barbeque," or "Wandering through the pine-sweet woods at the cut-your-own tree farm," or "Quarreling in the checkout line at the local Toys R Us," or "Waltzing among the candy canes at the Holiday Bazaar"....   You get the idea, I'm sure :)  But "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop" is completely acceptable too - whatever works for you :)  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest :))  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful :)), but no more than 350!)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you're competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between 12:01 AM EST Monday December 7 and Friday December 11 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Monday December 7 and remain up through Sunday December 13 (no WYRI or PPBF during that week.)  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 7th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you! But please don't send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story into the email.)

The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on either Monday December 14 or Tuesday December 15 (depending on the number of entries :)) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Thursday December 17 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Friday December 18.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.

The Prizes!:  Ok, so I'm still working on the prize list and will have to update, but here are some of the prizes that will be offered, and I think we're going to have some additional awesomeness to add! (items in color are links for more info!):

 - A picture book manuscript critique by talented author/illustrator Iza Trapani, author of JINGLE BELLS, OLD KING COLE, ITSY BITSY SPIDER, and many, many more!
 - a picture book manuscript critique by the fabulous Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS!
 - Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class - in January or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 2016 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
 - a pack of Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing What's The Story Cards (hitherto un-introduced to the world!)

I can't thank these authors enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books to your friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you've read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

And now!  Sharpen those pencils!  Top off those coffee mugs!  Get those derrieres in your chairs!  And start writing those prize-winning entries!!!

I can't wait for the festivities to begin! :)

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3. Poetry & fiction contest with $1275 in prizes

The Dream Quest One.com invites international entries for their Poetry & Writing Contest. Accepting poems (30 lines max.) and short stories (5 pages max.) on any subject or theme. First prize poetry: US$250; first prize short fiction: US$500. Entry fees: US$5 (poetry) and US$10 (fiction).
Deadline: January 24, 2016.

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4. €1000 and writer’s retreat prize for poetry

The Munster Literature Centre (Ireland) invites entries for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition. First prize: €1000, a writer’s retreat at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, a trip to Ireland, and publication in Southword Journal. More prizes available. Open to international entrants. Length: 40 lines. Theme: open. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Guidelines.

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5. Poetry contest with $500 prize

Cosmonauts Avenue invites entries for their inaugural CA Poetry Prize, judged by Claudia Rankine. Winner receives $500 and publication. Submit two poems max. per entry. Entry fee: $10. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Guidelines.

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6. Bloomsbury’s #HarryPotterSpotter

It’s time to be a #HarryPotterSpotter!  From now through November 2, Bloomsbury Publishing is sponsoring a Harry Potter artwork scavenger hunt.  Twelve prints of Jim Kay’s illustrations for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are currently on display in twelve art museums across Britain, and fans are invited to find them all and document their search on social media.

The hunt is in collaboration with Kids in Museums and The Telegraph.  Clues to the locations of the prints within the museums in the UK and Ireland are on the Bloomsbury website.  Each print is on display in a free museum or in free areas of museums.  Only one print needs to be found to enter the contest, but participants are welcome to search for all twelve.

The overall winner of our Harry Potter Spotter competition will receive family tickets to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, a Jim Kay signed print of their choice and a copy of the Deluxe Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Twelve additional prize winners will receive a Harry Potter tote bag, a Jim Kay signed print (of the print they spotted) and a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition

To play, simply take a photograph of yourself in front of one of the prints on display in a museum.  (If you don’t want to be in the photo, you can just take a picture of the print.)  Share your photo on Twitter or Instagram, using #HarryPotterSpotter.  Images should be tagged to @KidsBloomsbury and the specific museum on Twitter, or @BloomsburyPublishing and the specific museum on Instagram.  Don’t forget to see more of the museum while you are there!

For a full slideshow of the artwork, participating museums, and clues, see here.

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7. The Worst Storyline Ever Contest 2.0


Guest Blogger: Chuck Sambuchino, editor and writer for Writer’s Digest, and host of the Guide To Literary Agents blog.

Here’s Chuck:

September 2015 sees the release of three of my new books, the 2016 Guide to Literary Agents, the 2016 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, and the anti-clown humor book When Clowns Attack: A Survival Guide.
To celebrate their release, we are bringing back a popular recurring contest: The “Worst Storyline Ever”—a competition that encourages terrible loglines. Winners get prizes.

The “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest 2.0

A logline is one sentence that explains what your story is about and shows the “hook” – the unique idea that makes people want to see more. You see loglines all the time on the back of DVD boxes. Here are some examples:

  • “Three middle-aged men defeat their midlife crises by starting a college fraternity.” (Old School)
  • “When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an evil emperor, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.” (Gladiator)
  • “In a future where criminals are arrested before the crime occurs, a cop struggles on the lam to prove his innocence for a murder he has not yet committed.” (Minority Report)

But that’s all the examples I’m going to give you, because I’m not looking for good examples of a logline; I’m looking for bad examples. Terrible, stupid, “oh-my-gosh-that-idea-REEKS” examples.
Examples of Bad Loglines (Previous Winners/Finalists):

  1. “After an unidentified cow swallows an armed nuclear device in a botched Homeland Security raid, Agent Tom Anderson is thrust into an unlikely partnership with buxom organic farmer Daisy Jones to sift through three hundred cows and 10 barns full of manure as the clock runs down in a desperate quest to save Kansas City from a moo-clear disaster.”
  2. “A young woman discovers she is half unicorn after farting a rainbow at her bat mitzvah, and must go on a hijinx-filled voyage of self discovery to find her real father and fit as ‘one of the herd.’”
  3. “Leonard the narcoleptic snail sets out on his lifelong dream of running the Boston Marathon while humming ‘Macarena,’ and invites you to join the excitement in real time.”

Stick to the format, but have fun with the idea. Your logline must be one sentence, 60 words or fewer, and explain what the movie/book is about. It’s what you put in that one sentence that will win you this competition. The trick is to make your logline a terribly creative idea that’s pitched in a minimal, professional manner.
The contest will go until the end of the day, 11:59 p.m., PDT, Tuesday, October 20th, two weeks from today. Submissions received after that will not be considered.
Chuck will judge the contest, with some possible input from other WD and WD Books staffers.
To participate, simply leave a comment at the end of this post with your submission and your full name. Make sure we are able to reach you through your website or email. Comment by clicking: HERE.

You can submit up to two (2) bad loglines. You can include both in the same comment if you wish.
The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W: A Content and eCommerce Company (formerly F+W Media).
If you have any questions about the contest, e-mail Chuck directly at literaryagent@fwmedia.com. Do not leave them in the comments and do not e-mail Rachelle.
You do not have to share news of this contest to enter, but if you want to share this fun contest with others, here is an easy tweet:

Create the worst storyline you can – and win writing prizes. http://bit.ly/1KClppO via @chucksambuchino and @rachellegardner.   Click to Tweet


There will be 3 winners.

Each winner receives:

  • A critique by Chuck Sambuchino of either your one-page query letter or one-page synopsis .
  • Your pick of a free book from any of his 3 recent releases:


guide to literary agents 2016


2016 Guide to Literary Agents







childrens writers market 2016


2016 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market







when clowns attack


When Clowns Attack: A Survival Guide.









Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and instructor for Writer’s Digest Books. Find him on Twitter.


The post The Worst Storyline Ever Contest 2.0 appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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8. Short fiction contest with $1500 prize

PRISM international is now accepting submissions for their 2016 Short Fiction Contest, judged by Lee Maracle. First prize: $1500 + publication; more prizes available. Length: 6000 words max. Entry fee: $35-$45 (includes subscription). Deadline: January 20, 2016. Guidelines.

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9. Short story contest with no entry fee, $300 prize

Words & Brushes invites writers to write a short story (length: 2000-5000 words) around an artwork from their image gallery. First prize: $300. Participants may enter as many stories as they like. No entry fee. Deadline: December 1, 2015. Guidelines.

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10. Contest for attention-grabbing prose

Entries are invited for the Writer Advice’s Fourth Scintillating Starts Contest. Three prizes of $100. Submit opening paragraphs, up to 1500 words, of an unpublished memoir or novel (or other prose genre). Open to works in progress as well as finished manuscripts. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: November 10, 2015. Guidelines.

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11. Poetry contest with $1500 prize

PRISM international is accepting submissions for their 2016 Poetry Contest, judged by Kayla Czaga. First prize: $1500 + publication. More prizes available. Maximum of three poems per entry. Entry fee: $35-$45 (includes subscription). Deadline: January 20, 2016. Guidelines.

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12. Wanted: Engaging stories, vivid characters

Tethered By Letters is accepting submissions for the TBL Fall Literary Contest. Categories: Short story (1000-7500 words; $500 prize); flash fiction (55, 250, or 500 words; $150 prize); and poetry ($150 prize). Looking for engaging stories, vivid characters, and fresh writing styles. Winners published in F(r)iction. Entry fees: $7-$15. Deadline: December 1, 2015. Guidelines.

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13. 2016 CWIM Giveaway Celebrating TWO! New Articles, Plus a Poem Excerpt for Poetry Friday

I'm back!
Carmela here. I've been on a blogging break for much of this year, busy working on other projects, both personal and professional. (I have continued behind-the-scenes as our TeachingAuthors blog administrator, though, so I haven't been completely out of touch.) Today, I'm back to celebrate the publication of two of my articles in the just-released 2016 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (also known as the CWIM) edited by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest Books).

At the end of this post, you'll have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win your very own copy of the 2016 CWIM (courtesy of Writer's Digest Books)!

Since today is Poetry Friday, I'll also be sharing a poem--an excerpt from Barney Saltzberg's new picture book Inside this Book (Are Three Books), published by Abrams Appleseed. One of my articles in the 2016 CWIM is an interview with Barney, who is an amazing author, illustrator, singer, and songwriter. More about him and his new book below.

First, I'd like to talk a little about my other article in the 2016 CWIM: "Make a Living as a Writer."
[My original title was "Making a Living Writing, Even If You’re Not a Bestselling Author" but I guess that was too long. :-) ]

For "Make a Living as a Writer," I invited four traditionally published trade book authors who are also successful freelancers to share their experiences and advice regarding ways to supplement book royalty income. The four authors included my fellow TeachingAuthor, JoAnn Early Macken, former TeachingAuthor, Laura Purdie Salas, author and writing coach, Lisa Bullard, and scientist-turned-children's author, Vijaya Bodach. The article includes their tips on landing work-for-hire assignments, balancing work-for-hire with other career goals, and preparing submission packages for educational publishers.

The four authors also shared specific resources for finding supplemental income, including:
Over the next few weeks, my fellow TeachingAuthors will continue the conversation on this topic by sharing their own advice related to finding supplemental income. And Laura Purdie Salas will return to post a special Guest Wednesday Writing Workout on September 30, called "Is Writing on Assignment Right for You?" If this topic is of interest to you, be sure to enter our giveaway so you can read more about how to "Make a Living as a Writer." 

Even if you're not looking for ways to supplement your writing income, you'll want your own copy of the 2016 CWIM for my interview with the amazing Barney Saltzberg, along with all the other helpful articles, interviews, and market information!

Barney Saltzberg, for those of you who may not know, is the author and/or illustrator of over FIFTY books. Back in January, April wrote a great post in honor of Beautiful Oops! Day, a day inspired by Barney's wonderful book, Beautiful Oops! (Workman Publishing). Since then, Barney has published three more books: The first two books in a new board book series from Workman Publishing, Redbird: Colors, Colors Everywhere and Redbird: Friends Come in Different Sizes, and the picture book Inside this Book (Are Three Books), published by Abrams Appleseed. Here's a brief description of Inside this Book:
"Inside This Book is a tribute to self-publishing in its most pure and endearing form. Three siblings create three books of their own using blank paper that they bind together (in descending sizes to match birth order). One sibling's work inspires the next, and so on, with each book's text and art mirroring the distinct interests and abilities of its creator. Upon completion of their works, the siblings put one book inside the other, creating a new book to be read and shared by all.
The second sibling in the book is named Fiona. She is "an artist and a poet," so her "book" is filled with poetry. In honor of Poetry Friday, here's an excerpt from Fiona's section of  Inside this Book.

            from Inside this Book, Too, by Fiona
            . . .  Can you tell I love to rhyme?
            I play with words all the time.
            I write a poem every day.
            My new favorite is “Who Wants to Play?” . . . 

 © Barney Saltzberg, used with permission, all rights reserved 

I've kept this excerpt short to inspire you to get Barney's book for yourself. After you've read it, you'll understand why the School Library Journal review of Inside this Book said:
 "Readers may well be empowered to write their very own stories or books." 
Be sure to check out today's Poetry Friday roundup over at the Poetry for Children blog AFTER you enter our giveaway drawing.

And now, for our giveaway info:

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win your own copy of the 2016 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market , You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options.
If you choose option 2, you MUST leave a comment on TODAY'S blog post. If your name isn't part of your comment "identity," please include it in your comment for verification purposes!

(If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com.)

Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.

The giveaway ends October 10 and is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck and happy writing!

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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14. Critiques 4 U, September Edition

Hello, friends! Guess what? I’m all moved from Florida to New York. We’re in a rental house for now while our house is being finished, so there are still boxes everywhere and half our stuff is in the garage. But I’m so excited to be here. It’s September, and the weather is beautiful; my kids are actually playing outside without having to be bribed with popsicles. The deer like to wander across our yard to eat the apples that are falling off the tree across the street. SIGH. So happy!

IMG_1172The move itself was crazy, and since my kids got out of school in May and didn’t start up here until last week, it was the longest summer of all of our lives. So I hope you’ll understand why I didn’t run the critique contest last month :). But everything’s good now, and I’m ready to get back to the fun stuff. Because it’s been awhile, let me just restate the rules…

If you’re working on a first page and would like some objective feedback, leave a comment that includes: 

1) your email address. Some of you have expressed concern about making your email address public; if you’re sure that the email address associated with your WordPress account is correct, you don’t have to include it here. But if you do win and I’m unable to contact you through that email address, I’ll have to choose an alternate winner.

2) your story’s genre (no erotica, please)

3) the intended audience


Three commenters’ names will be randomly drawn and posted tomorrow. If you win, you can email me your first page and I’ll offer my feedback. Best of luck!

And just a reminder that we’re less than a month away from the One Stop for Writers release. If you’d like more information about this research tool that includes all of our thesaurus content (plus more awesome stuff) in one convenient place, sign up for our newsletter!

The post Critiques 4 U, September Edition appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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15. RL/GL - Announcing Your Winners

Our Red Light, Green Light contest has come to its very end... which means it's time to announce our top three. We had some amazing entries in this contest, and we wish each and every one of our contestants the best in their future writing! At the end of the day, however, you - our amazing community - and the judges have spoken.

Read more »

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16. Get To Know the Red Light Green Light Winning Entries

Our Red Light Green Light competition has been going on for weeks now, and it's finally come time to announce our winners! After voting closed on Monday night, we tallied the votes from our judges and you, our fabulous community, and pulled out our Top 10. The entries below had the highest score overall, and will all receive a critique from a published (or soon to be published) author, or an agent.

Our overall winner and two runners up will be revealed next week. The runners up will be receiving critiques from some of the industry's most sought after agents, and our overall winner will receive a partial request from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Congratulations to our finalists (in alphabetical order) below! 

Read more »

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17. Revealing the Red Light Green Light Top 10!

Our Red Light Green Light competition has been going on for weeks now, and it's finally come time to announce our winners! After voting closed on Monday night, we tallied the votes from our judges and you, our fabulous community, and pulled out our Top 10. The entries below had the highest score overall, and will all receive a critique from a published (or soon to be published) author, or an agent.

Check back next week to see each finalist's pitch and the first 100 words of their manuscript! And check back the week after that to find out who our overall winner and two runners up were! The runners up will be receiving critiques from some of the industry's most sought after agents, and our overall winner will receive a partial request from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Congratulations to our finalists (in alphabetical order) below! 
Read more »

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18. Writing Contests

Questions you should ask before entering a writing contest.


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19. Retweet for a Chance to Win “A Little Chaos”

SnitchSeeker is giving away Blu-Ray copies of Alan Rickman’s new film, A Little Chaos. All one has to do is retweet a tweet from SnitchSeeker’s Twitter feed. This contest only applies to US Residents only. Please visit the original article for more details!

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 6.52.08 PM

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20. Round 2 Voting Now Open: Vote for Your Favorite Opening Lines!

Vote for your favorite opening lines below!

Winners of the contest receive critiques from industry professionals, aiding their careers - by spending a couple of minutes voting, you're helping emerging writers!

Voting closes at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday 3rd August.

Spread the word using the hashtag #GreenLightWIP. Good luck to all that entered! We'll be contacting those who successfully made it into the next round on Tuesday morning.

The survey will load shortly.

Some people using Internet Explorer have been having issues with the voting form above. If this is you: don't worry! You can still vote HERE.

If you'd like to read over the rules and see what you're helping our emerging authors win, then click here.

0 Comments on Round 2 Voting Now Open: Vote for Your Favorite Opening Lines! as of 7/29/2015 6:35:00 AM
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21. The EVERBLAZE paperback release giveaway!

They're here! They're here!


And I know a lot of you already bought the shiny hardcovers. (if you did--THANK YOU SO MUCH! *tacklehugs*)

But I still get crazy excited when my books finally release in paperback, because they're so much more affordable, and I know for so many families (including mine, when I was a kid) that makes a HUGE difference. I've heard from so many readers who've been waiting for the paperback before they can read (it's why I try to be so vigilant about spoilers) so I'm super excited they'll finally be able to.

Plus, even if you DO own a hardcover--there's something extra special in the paperbacks you might be excited to see:

Why yes, yes that IS the first chapter of NEVERSEEN!!!! 

So I think this calls for a giveaway. After all, the hardcover readers shouldn't be the only ones who get some fun extra goodies.  So here's how this works:

If you pre-ordered the paperback version of EVERBLAZE any time before August 4, 2015--OR if you purchase a paperback copy between now and August 11, 2015--fill out the form at the bottom of this post by 11:59pm pacific time on August 11, 2015, and I will send you these:

(in case you can't tell, that's a signed bookplate and a character art print postcard--which has all four covers on the back)

In addition to that, five random winners will also get one of these exclusive Black Swan mirrors:

If you buy more than one copy of the paperback, you can definitely get more than one set of swag. Just make sure you fill out the form separately for each copy, so I know how many to send you. 

And please note, this giveaway is only available for people who buy the paperback during the designated time period. (If you've bought the hardcover or ebook, I've already done giveaways for those--sorry if you missed them!) Also: no proof of purchase is required. I like to keep my contests on the honor system, so if you say you bought it, I trust you. But remember: every time you lie, Iggy has to miss a meal, and do you really want an angry imp coming after you????

International entries also totally count. I will mail swag anywhere you live. But this is only for a very limited time, so don't miss your chance.  And don't forget to fill out the form* (you must fill out the form in order to get your swag).

And... I think that pretty much covers everything. But if I missed something, ask in the comments. Otherwise here's the form you need to fill out: (and if you can't access the form for some reason, you can find it HERE). 




*You must be 13 or older in order to fill out this form. If you're not, please have your parent or guardian fill it out for you.


0 Comments on The EVERBLAZE paperback release giveaway! as of 8/4/2015 7:49:00 AM
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22. #GreenLight WIP Writing Contest, Round 2 Voting Is Open: Vote Now for Your Favorite Opening Lines!

It's time for Round Two of the Red Light, Green Light Writing contest! In a combination of public voting and voting by our agent and author judges, we've narrowed the entries to the top fifty eye-catching first sentences. The entries are now up to two sentences for your reading enjoyment.

Please help us out by voting! Your votes count for forty percent of the total score, and you'll get a chance to see how your votes compared to the industry professionals. Want to see the results?

Click here to see the results so far from the public vote!

Click here to see the results so far from our industry professionals!

Vote for as many entries or as few as you like. The top twenty-five will be moving on to the next round. Voting will close at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday August 10th.

Click Read More on the right below to see the entries and cast your vote!

Read more »

0 Comments on #GreenLight WIP Writing Contest, Round 2 Voting Is Open: Vote Now for Your Favorite Opening Lines! as of 1/1/1900
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23. Can You Kill a Query in 5 Words? Winners + Hilarious Tweets!

killaquerySo the other day my husband Eric, who’s the news editor over at BoardGameGeek, told me about a board game publisher that created fun Twitter games like #BoardGameBand, where tweeters would come up with fun mashups of board game titles and band names — like “Frankie Goes to Hollywood Blockbuster” or “Dungeon Petzshop Boys.”

“Why don’t you do that?” Eric said.

Ding ding ding!

Together we came up with the hashtag #killaqueryin5words, and the premise was simple: I wanted writers to offer up five-word phrases that would cause an editor to trash their magazine query.

I launched the game on Monday morning, seeding my feed with such 5-word screw-ups as “I never read your magazine,” “You don’t publish poetry, but…” and “Google says you like chocolate.”

#killaqueryin5words took off! Writers around the web got a good laugh reading hilarious (but sadly common) query snafus. (In fact, contributions are still rolling in!)

Then I had another brainstorm: Why not pick my favorite #killaqueryin5words tweeters and offer prizes?

The #killaqueryin5words Winners

Here are my top picks. If you’re listed as a winner, please choose any e-book from the Renegade Writer Store that you’d like to receive for free (yes, even the $29.99 one!) and email me your choice at hello@therenegadewriter.com.

Most Prolific

I have to give props to @GiulianoDebra because she contributed more posts than anyone! (I think someone was procrastinating on their work yesterday. :) ) Congrats, Debra!

Most Creative

Next, I was super impressed that @NewJerseyWriter created the graphic you see at the top of this post just for the game. She used morguefile to find the photo and Canva to create the image. She also gave me permission to use her graphic on the blog. Thank you, and please choose your prize!

Most Insightful

Another winner is @justinrbannon for his insightful tweet about the game: “Perhaps the most concerning thing about #killaqueryin5words is that it’s provided more than one actual tip.”

Most Hilarious (But Sadly True)

Finally, I had trouble choosing just one most awesome #killaqueryin5words tweet, so we have five winners:

1. @danielcasciato: I’m giving you first dibs. #killaqueryin5words @LFormichelli

2. @BretteSember: “you’re probably not interested but…”

3. @sharonnaylorwed: #killaqueryin5words “my writing group loved it!”

4. @RitaMailheau: #killaqueryin5words To Whom It May Concern

5. @BillDavisWords: I’m here in your lobby #killaqueryin5words

These tweets showcase five fatal query flaws:

1. Arrogance.
2. Under-confidence
3. Unprofessionalism
4. Laziness and lack of research, not to mention a stiff writing style!
5. Stalkerishness

Congrats to the five of you…please choose your prize!

One thing I discovered is that Twitter doesn’t seem to save hashtagged tweets for long, so if you want to check out the funny feed, do it now! It’s at https://twitter.com/hashtag/killaqueryin5words

I have a great idea for a new writer Twitter game for next week…stay tuned!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the #killaqueryin5words game. It’s been a blast!

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24. #GreenLightWIP Final Voting is Live!

It's time for the very last round of posting in our Red Light, Green Light competition! In one week, we'll announce the finalists, all of whom will receive a critique from a published/soon to be published author or agent! We'll also be posting a round up of our finalists, including links so you can follow their publishing journeys, and the elevator pitches for their novels!

In just one tiny little week after that, we'll be announcing our three winners, who'll be receiving critiques and/or partial requests from one of our participating agents!

Please help us out by voting! Your votes count for forty percent of the total score!

Vote for as many entries or as few as you like. Voting will close at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday August 24th.

Click Read More on the right below to see the entries and cast your vote!

Read more »

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25. Interview Sources We Love to Hate: Twitter Game Winners + Knee-Slapping Tweets!

twitterSo this week I ran another Twitter game. (You may remember that last week I did #killaqueryin5words.) This one was #sourcefromhellin5words, and the idea was that we writers would give five-word phrases that would make us want to never interview a source. Like:

  • How much will you pay?
  • Who else are you interviewing?
  • Can I see the article?
  • Is the article out yet?
  • Sorry, I forgot the interview.
  • I’m the foremost expert!
  • We’re creating a new paradigm!
  • You should mention my book.
  • I could talk all day!

What was really cool was that ProfNet and HelpAReporter, the two biggest source-finding services for journalists, got in on the action, so we had a ton of submissions…and also, expert sources who use those services got a lesson in what NOT to do when working with a writer. Not only that, but ProfNet did a post about the contest where they featured their favorite contributions!

As with last week’s game, some tweets were just so AWESOME that I decided to offer prizes to my favorites. And they are:

@anngol: “Oh you’re not from Redbook?” #sourcefromhellin5words [This was hands-down my favorite! The snobby source…ugh.]

@write4income: (In response to everything you ask): “That question is too personal.” #sourcefromhellin5words @LFormichelli [Persnickety sources don’t get called back!]

@lilbusgirl: How’s 10pm your time sound? #sourcefromhellin5words [Yeah, because we writers don’t have a life!]

@CaroleeNoury: Answers are in my book. #sourcefromhellin5words @LFormichelli [Hint: We journalists need to get quotes straight from the source; we can’t just pull quotes from books.]

@RobinDarling: “I read it on Wikipedia” #sourcefromhellin5words @LFormichelli [And you call yourself an expert?]

@danielcasciato: “Get a quote from PR” @LFormichelli #sourcefromhellin5words [Yes, we writers LOVE sanitized PR-speak!]

@RAHolloway: “I will need final approval. @LFormichelli #sourcefromhellin5words [Now THAT’S good journalism!]

?@rebekah_olsen: It all started in 1965…(when you only need one quick quote about their work) @LFormichelli #sourcefromhellin5words [I hope you took a bathroom break before this interview!]

Winning tweeters, I’d love to offer you a free book, course, or checklist from the Renegade Writer Store. Please choose your favorite and email me at hello@therenegadewriter.com with your selection! (FYI, I’m out of town because my grandma passed away. :( So please be patient and I’ll send you your book next week for sure. Thanks!)

Thanks so much to everyone who played #sourcefromhellin5words. It was a blast!

On Monday morning I’ll be launching a new Twitter game called #editororgasmin5words. I think you can tell what we’re looking for here! Some examples I’ll have on my Twitter feed include:

  • Yes, I’ll write for free! (Yes, we can get snarky in this game! :)
  • I created an extra sidebar.
  • I fact-checked all stats.
  • Pynchon agreed to an interview.
  • Can I file this early?

The game will start Monday at around 8 am ET (New York time) and run all day. (Please wait until then to start posting, and I’ll retweet your contributions!) Just add the hashtag #editororgasmin5words to your post, and feel free to tag me at @lformichelli!

If you want to get announcements when I hold a new Twitter games like these, please join the Renegade Writer email list! You’ll also get a free e-book and checklist for writers, plus my Monday Motivations for Writers emails!

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