2017 Ch1Con Blog Tour

Hello readers! It’s that time of the year again – I’m participating in the Ch1Con 2017 Blog Tour, an annual tour in preparation for this year’s conference, which brings original content from the Chapter One Young Writers Conference team to a number of fantastic, writing-related blogs. You’re on one of those right now!

If you haven’t heard of it, the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con) is a writing conference entirely by and for young writers. The team is composed of a number of high school, college, and early-twenty-something writers, who work to create a unique, inclusive experience for young attendees. The conference, with its subset focus on the young adult novel, brings teens together to hear from accomplished speakers their own age, participate in professional workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world.

The first Ch1Con took place in Chicago in 2012 with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream. It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference? The answer soon became apparent: yes. So, eager to get others involved in the fun as well, the team took the conference public in 2014.

This year, Ch1Con is bigger and brighter than ever, with more opportunities, cooler giveaways, and a new roundup of fantastic speakers headlining the conference on Saturday, August 5th in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers ages eleven to twenty-three and at an early bird discounted price of $49.99. The speaker lineup is up on the website now, featuring Kody Keplinger, author of a bevy of YA hits including THE DUFF (now a major motion picture!), literary agent superstar Brent Taylor, more.  (There’s also pizza, but more on that later….)

For my stop on the tour, I had the opportunity to interview not one, but three really awesome people who are involved with Ch1Con: Ariel Kalati (Associate Online Administrator), Emma Rose Ryan (Tumblr Expert), and Brett Jonas, Chief Creative Consultant.  All three are terrific writers, and through Thursday night Ch1Con Twitter chats, we’ve become Twitter-friendly in the past few months. 🙂

Here’s how our conversation went: Continue reading →


Writerly, Readerly, Geeky Guest Posters Wanted!

I’m looking for guest posts from individuals (not companies), which have something to do with writing/reading books, or even geeky, fandom-related stuff (because I have a soft spot for geeky stuff).  If there’s another topic that you feel would also be relevant on this blog, please feel free to pitch it as well!

These posts will likely go up over the course of the next few months as I collect my thoughts and recharge my creative batteries.  (Of course, I’ll still pop in with a post here and there so you know I’m still alive, but I’m honestly out of ideas for what to share here.)

If you’d like to help out, please contact me!

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Please keep the content of your guest post appropriate for general audiences.
  • By all means, promote your own creations, but please make sure the promotional portion of your post is relevant to your stated topic and not overdone.
  • I don’t impose a specific minimum or maximum word limit, but this isn’t the opportunity to post works of Tolkienesque proportions! 😛
  • Linus Van Pelt once said, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”  I agree with him.  Please don’t discuss these things on my blog at all.

Story of ABBA 2016 Blog Tour!

I’m participating in Becky Laine’s blog tour for the upcoming re-release of her biography of the Swedish band ABBA.  This new edition of   The Story of ABBA for Young Readers includes completely revised text and new hand-drawn illustrations by the author.  Bloggers from the ABBA fan and literary online communities are joining forces help spread the word!

Teenage author Becky Laine has been a fan of ABBA since she was very young.  She first published The Story of ABBA in 2013; through all its incarnations, it combines Becky’s love of ABBA’s music and her artistic talents in a way that fellow ABBA fans of all ages can enjoy.

For those of you who don’t know, ABBA was a Swedish music group who rose to fame during the 1970s, winning the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest with their hit song “Waterloo.”

The revised second edition of Becky’s book chronicles this victory and more, with completely new, hand-drawn artwork and updated text reflecting new milestones in the group’s history (including the members’ recent onstage reunion in the spring of 2016)!  The brightly colored pages are eye-catching and easy to read, guaranteed to captivate the youngest of ABBA fans.

Whether you’re a fan of ABBA’s music or you’re curious about the people behind it, this beautiful revised edition of The Story of ABBA for Young Readers is an excellent gift for fans this holiday season.

The Story of ABBA will be available for purchase, in two variant cover styles, on December 16th, 2016 through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace.  Visit Becky’s blog, abbafan456.blogspot.com, for updates and more release info.

Check back tomorrow for an interview with the author, Becky Laine!

Save the Date: Story of ABBA for Young Readers Promotional Blog Tour!

Hi guys, my friend Becky’s doing a blog tour to help promote her book, which is coming out later this year.  If you’d like to take part, please see the official posting below for more info. 🙂
Teenage author and illustrator Becky Laine (abbafan456.blogspot.com) is releasing the revised, second edition of her book The Story of ABBA for Young Readers this December.  It’s a kid-friendly biography about the Swedish pop group ABBA, whose music was popular during the seventies and eighties.

From November 15th to December 16th, we’re inviting people across the literary blogosphere and the online ABBA fan community to participate in a blog tour leading up the book’s release.  And we’d like to invite you to join us! It’s a great way to help new authors gain exposure, and as a stop on the tour, your blog will be visited by all kinds of new readers.

If you’d like to take part, we have a few different posting options, depending on how many reservations we’ve received and Becky’s availability:
  • a standardized pre-written blog tour post;
  • an original interview (text-based) with the author/illustrator, Becky Laine;
  • a book review (advance digital copy of the book will be provided);
  • a unique, original post of your choice – feel free to use your imagination, we’re open to ideas!

All blogging participants will receive a standardized post outlining the information we’d like circulated during the tourFeel free to customize it to match your personal style!  Following the tour, all participants will receive a 25% off discount code for a print version of the book in return for your kind help.

Depending on availability, we may also be able to offer a giveaway for you to host on your website, as Becky hopes to be giving away a few autographed print copies of the new book.

If you’re interested in participating, please reply to this message, or contact us at storyofabbablogtour2016[at]gmail[dot]com by October 31st with the following information:

  • The name and URL of your blog/website
  • Available dates between November 15th and December 16th
  • Desired post format (e.g. standard prewritten, interview, book review, etc.)

We encourage you to reserve a spot early, especially if you are looking to make an original or interactive post involving Becky.  Allison Rose (allisonthewriter.wordpress.com) is organizing this tour, and will be happy to help you out if you have any questions or comments.  We encourage people under the age of 13 (aka minors) to get a parent or guardian’s permission prior to participating.

If you know any other bloggers who would be interested in participating, would you please help us out by passing this message along?

Thank you!

On Star Wars and Writing – Guest Post by Julia Byers

Hi everyone!  I’ve been invited to take part in the 2016 Chapter One Young Writers Conference blog tour, featuring guest posts, interviews, and giveaways from the esteemed founders all around the writerly blogosphere.  Julia, Ch1Con’s amazing founder, is here with us today to talk about how the Star Wars film franchise has influenced her as a writer.  But wait, there’s more – we’re also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for a complete YA or middle-grade manuscript critique by Julia!  (Because WordPress.com is a spoilsport, I can’t be cool and embed the raffle widget in-post – click the link, please.  I promise, it’s 100% Rickroll-free.)

That said, take it away, Julia! 🙂

* * * *

Hey, guys! My name is Julia and I’m the founder of the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, an annual writing conference for and by teens and young adults.

Our 2016 conference will take place Saturday, August 6th at the Hilton Garden Inn – St. Charles, in St. Charles, IL, a western suburb of Chicago. Our speakers will include Susan Dennard (New York Times bestselling author of YA fantasy novel Truthwitch), Francesca Zappia (acclaimed YA contemporary author of Made You Up), and up-and-coming YA authors Jennifer Yu (Four People, Five Days—coming spring, 2017) and Jordan Villegas (represented by Emily Keyes of Fuse Literary).

Chances are—unless you live in a galaxy far, far away—you’ve heard of Star Wars. There’s also a good chance you’ve seen at least one of the Star Wars films (especially with Episode VII, The Force Awakens, coming out this past December and breaking pretty much every box office record ever).

I’m personally a pretty huge fan of the Star Wars franchise. Excluding the prequel trilogy (because one should always exclude the prequel trilogy), the Star Wars films are smart, well-constructed stories—and, they can teach you a ton about writing.

So, with that in mind, below are a few of the writing-related lessons I’ve learned from Star Wars. Continue reading →