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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Night Flight by Diane & Dave Munson

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce husband and wife writing team Diane and Dave Munson and their exciting new YA thriller, Night Flight. Welcome to both of you.

Thanks for interviewing us. We're excited to be here.

Your writing gives readers the inside scoop as courageous federal agents track down the guilty. What prompted you to write Night Flight, your recent thriller for Young Adults?

 We are a husband and wife that write and travel the country meeting readers and speaking about God’s love in tough times. Because Diane is an attorney and former Federal prosecutor and David a former NCIS agent (before serving as an undercover Federal drug agent), we love creating heroes for readers to believe in. Our writing, though fiction, is inspired by our exciting and dangerous careers where God has protected us. This is especially true for David as he has traveled the world to bring criminals to justice.

One night we finished editing our last thriller, The Joshua Covenant, and David became convinced we should write a novel using the teens from Joshua. Filled with tomorrow’s headlines, we reveal in Joshua what happens when CIA agent Bo Rider is assigned to our embassy in Israel. His wife Julia and their young teens, Glenna and Gregg, experience relics and riots in the tunnels of Old Jerusalem. As we wrote of the Rider family learning of God’s ancient covenants, we had such delight exploring the teen’s growing courage that we penned Night Flight. It’s a high velocity adventure for young adults and adults who are young at heart.

Featuring Glenna and Gregg in Night Flight gives us a chance to introduce teen readers to books their parents and grandparents are reading. It’s our attempt to bridge the generation gap. We have grandchildren and find the gap broadening as they embrace ipods, FaceBook, and technology many find intimidating. Night Flight provides teens with an opportunity to read serious Christian suspense with the same characters and plots their adult family members are reading.

You call your novels “Factional Fiction” because they are based on your careers. Will you tell us what action in Night Flight is from your real cases?

We have fun weaving in the drama from David’s undercover work and readers find issues of adoption and child custody influenced by Diane’s family law cases. In The Joshua Covenant, Bo Rider discovers things about his birth that even his parents didn’t know. In Night Flight we highlight hero dogs that David worked with in his time as a Special Agent. These law enforcement dogs are trained to sniff out explosives, currency, and drugs. So when the Rider teens long for a puppy, their dad instead adopts Blaze, a mature Golden Retriever and Lab mix.

Action and suspense build because Glenna and Gregg don’t know their dad Bo is a CIA agent. So when Blaze confronts some crooks and the teens learn their dog has mysterious smelling powers, their imaginations kick into high gear. The teens are forced to take refuge at their grandparents’ home in Treasure Island, Florida. While there, they put Blaze to work stopping crime and Grandpa Buck involves them in more adventure. The whole family invests their lives in helping a desperate homeless girl they befriend in the neighborhood.

Though the action is intense, the Dove Foundation awarded this thriller “Five Doves”, their highest rating, for family friendly content, which is appropriate for all ages.

Does your writing contain a spiritual message?

Yes! As believers in Jesus, we enjoy writing suspense novels that show characters seeking freedom, justice, and truth. Some try to trap the guilty in their own strength. When they come across agents empowered by God in their lives, this causes them to dig deeper into the meaning of life.

Our novels appeal to non-Christians and Christians alike. We believe it is crucial to write realistic fiction that will keep even a non-religious person reading a God-honoring book. So in Night Flight, the Rider teens experience how God is interested in their daily lives. When their non-Christian fellow student is threatened with a terminal illness, Glenna and Gregg are heartbroken. But after seeking God’s help in prayer, they concoct a plan to save his life using Blaze. Readers have told us they cannot stop reading until the last page and find the ending, “powerful!”

Your six adult novels stand alone and can be read in any order. What are you writing now?

When we completed our debut novel, Facing Justice, we loved our main federal agents so much that we decided to keep telling their stories in each of our novels. Eva Montanna hunts down masterminds that fund terror after her twin sister is killed on 9/11. FBI Agent Griff Topping also appears in our subsequent releases. Through our pages, Eva and Griff become embroiled in a mystery involving the JFK assassination, Chinese espionage, and freeing a Sudanese woman trapped in modern slavery. In all of these adventures, Eva wants to help her grandfather write his WWII memoirs so we decided to finally give her that chance. Thus we are researching, interviewing Dutch Resistance survivors from WWII, and writing Eva’s family story involving a dangerous legacy. Stay tuned, because we have many surprises in store for our readers.

Where can we find your books?

Our books are available in print and eBooks. Autographed copies are available on our website. Readers can find print versions at Lifeway and other Christian stores and both print/eBook versions are on Amazon, B&N.com, and Christian Book.com. Fans of NCIS will enjoy signing up for the blog on our website, where we critique the NCIS show that airs on Tuesdays. Those who sign up to receive our email newsletter can participate in contests to win books, NCIS caps, and other fun items. May God’s blessings rain down upon you and His people.  

When a millionaire drug-dealer wrote a memoir that became a movie staring Johnny Depp, Diane Munson decided the good guys wearing white hats should be the ones to write memoirs. A former Federal prosecutor, she knew the back story. She asked David, a former undercover DEA Special Agent, to join her in writing about David’s arrest of Johnny Depp’s character in Chicago and other criminals in what the Munsons call factional novels. Now, this husband and wife weave the thrills of back alley deals and major courtroom drama into international suspense novels. 

Diane Munson is an attorney of more than twenty-five years who transitioned from writing briefs for judges to writing inspiring fiction for readers. David Munson was a Special Agent with the NCIS and with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As an undercover agent, he infiltrated international drug smuggling organizations. Diane and David have co-authored together six suspense thrillers: Facing Justice, Confirming Justice, The Camelot Conspiracy, Hero’s Ransom, Redeeming Liberty, and The Joshua Covenant. “Night Flight,” their newest thriller for young adults, released September, 2012. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley

Today I am reviewing Like Moonlight at Low Tide by new author Nicole Quigley, Due to some content, I would recommend this book for young people age 12 and over. It would probably be more enjoyed by girls than boys.

The story unfolds as told through the eyes of a bullied teen forced to face harsh reality when tragedy strikes. I was hooked on page one, where the author foreshadows the future, then familiarizes the reader with “Messy” Missy Keiser, an insecure teen who returns to her school in Florida after three years away, anticipating encounters with the same cruel classmates who inflicted hurtful emotional wounds.

Things have changed, though, and Missy finds herself accepted by peers and even enters into a relationship with the boy of her dreams. The blossoming teen also forms a shaky alliance with the boy next door, who forces her to search within herself for a deeper understanding of what is really important.

Characterization is one of the strong points of this book. The author probes the mind and heart of many of today’s teens as she paints a picture of a broken home, an inadequate mom, and an economically struggling family.

The plot builds to a conclusion that is not easily envisioned, yet brings the reader to a satisfactory end. Each scene serves to move Missy Keiser along on her journey to maturity as she discovers the meaning of life, relationships, 

Find Nicole's book here. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reluctant Reader Turned Writer Max Elliot Anderson

Starsongs is proud to welcome  author Max Elliot Anderson. A reluctant reader as a child, Max now pens adventure books for boys. 

Max, you spent much of your younger years as a reluctant reader. What suggestions do you have for avid readers who would like to encourage their reluctant reader friends to discover books?

If a child avoids reading in every way possible - choosing video games, or the computer over reading - you might set those activities aside as rewards. Parents can say, “After you’ve read for thirty minutes, or an hour,” for example, “then you may spend time doing those other things.”

But reading doesn’t always have to be a book. Find a subject that the child is interested in, then look for articles, magazines, Internet sites, or other sources where that subject is written about. Here are some other ideas. Read aloud with your child. Get rid of distractions. Above all, make reading fun. Have your child try reading to a dog, a cat, a doll, or stuffed animal. Look for high interest, low vocabulary books called Hi-Lo, and advance from there.

A library must be very intimidating to a reluctant reader. On your web site, you make the comment that “It has…been said that a reluctant reader simply hasn’t found the right books yet.” What, in your opinion, leads any reader to the right books?

As a child, my problem was in finding books that interested me. Back then books were boring. They had large blocks of type that intimidated me. I could easily lose my place on the page, if there were any distractions nearby. I understand that graphic novels help some reluctant readers. These are books that have lots of drawings, sort of like a glorified comic book. In my own writing, I stick to shorter sentences, fewer descriptions or boring details, employ a faster pace, lots of humor and dialog in order to keep things moving.

But it all comes down to interest. If the child likes animals, find books about the animals they like. If they’re interested in sports, seek out sports books, and so on.

Tell us about your recently released novel,  River Rampage.

When I started writing about eleven years ago, I wrote stand-alone manuscripts. I did this because I wanted to explore all sorts of different main characters. In this way, I could deal with various personalities, strengths, and weaknesses in those characters. River Rampage is actually the third book in a traditional series - The Sam Cooper Adventure Series - with the same primary characters in each book. The first book in this series is Lost Island Smugglers, and the second is Captain Jack’s Treasure.

Sam Cooper and his friends have the chance of a lifetime to go rafting down the mighty Colorado River. The rains have been heavy this season, making the raging river even more treacherous. The boys become separated from the main group, their rubber raft is going flat, and now they're on their own. They have their hands full with a crusty prospector, his gold mine, a gang of outlaw bikers, and a desperate river escape on their makeshift wooden raft. Think that's the worst that could happen?

Well, it isn't.

Do you write on a regular schedule?

I don’t. My writing has always been project oriented. By that I mean that I take on a writing project and stay with it until it’s finished. In the early stages, I turned out many manuscripts without contracts, an agent, or publisher. This resulted in 35 action-adventure & mystery manuscripts for young readers. Since that time, I've taken on the writing of regular short stories for a magazine and a monthly column. Those projects are written according to fixed schedules and deadlines.

And because I wrote so many manuscripts in advance, I can spend most of my time with promotion and marketing of the 10 books that are out now. I've just signed a contract for multiple books with an education publisher, and have an additional 4 book project under contract with two other publishers. One of these is book #4 in the Sam Cooper series.

What is your favorite part of writing and why?

What I like most is the writing itself. I love closing the door to my writing room, turning on mood appropriate music to the scene I’m writing, lighting a candle, and disappearing into a world of my own making. The amazing part of the process is sitting there and pounding on the keys as an adventure or mystery appears right in front of me. I don’t work from an outline, so each story is filled with surprises even as I write.

Least favorite and why?

I’m thankful for having such a great agent, Terry Burns at Hartline, because it’s the details that drive a writer crazy. We already are called upon to shoulder most of the marketing and promotion. If I had to deal with everything else that goes along with the publishing process, there wouldn't be much time for writing.

Tell us about your “message in a bottle” real life adventure.

The thought occurred to me that if I were to be publishing adventures and mysteries for kids, why not start a real one of my own? I made an offer of a free set of my books to anyone who found my floating bottle. The bottle was released into the Rock River, in Rockford, Illinois, where we live. From there it should have had a clear shot to the Mississippi. From that point it would have the chance to travel into the Gulf of Mexico and possibly the ocean.

Unfortunately, shortly after I sent the large, clear, plastic bottle on its way, we had torrential rains, resulting in unexpected, severe flooding on the Rock and the Mississippi rivers.

Has anyone claimed the prize?

Not yet. This was probably five years ago now. Who knows, maybe Amelia Earhart will find it, on the beach of that island where she landed, and send it back for her free books.

What kind of advice would you give to young writers?

Publishing is a long, slow, solitary process filled with highs and lows. You have to be serious about making your way in it, and willing to work hard to achieve your goals. If you feel called to write, don’t let anyone try to stop you. Most of all, never, never, ever give up.

Click the following links to learn more about Max and his books.

Books for Boys Blog 
Author Web Site 
My Youtube Videos
Books you can trust for your kids

Thanks for stopping by to spend some time with us, Max!


Using his extensive experience in dramatic film, video, and television commercial production, Max Elliot Anderson brings that same visual excitement, and heart-pounding action, to his many adventures & mysteries for readers 8 – 13.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Interview with YA author Jill Williamson

Starsongs Magazine is excited to introduce YA author Jill Williamson. Hi Jill and welcome! It's a pleasure to have you here today.

Jill, you say you write speculative fiction for teens. What is speculative fiction?

Speculative fiction is a term that encompasses a wide variety of “weird” fiction genres. It’s the supergenre of everything that falls under science fiction and fantasy. Spec fiction can take place on earth but often takes place in worlds created by the author. Some subgenreexamples are: alternate history, apocalyptic, cyberpunk, dystopian, fairytales, fantasy, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, space opera, steampunk, and, supernatural. I wrote a blog post called Speculative Fiction Subgenres, if you want to learn more about each. 

Why do you think dystopian novels have become so popular for teens?

Genres come and go, as far as popularity. But with the dangers in our current world, dystopian plots seem much more plausible. They warn of an unhappy future that could conceivably happen soon. Readers like plots they can relate to. They also like to see an underdog face incredible odds. Save-the-world-type obstacles often stand in a dystopian hero’s way. Maybe he faces a corrupt government. Maybe his peoples' way of life is wrong or threatened. Maybe he lives in a world with no hope. And that appeals to teen readers because many feel like underdogs themselves.

What is your writing process? Do you write regularly or when inspiration hits?

I spend several weeks brainstorming a new story. I use a brainstorming worksheet like the one on my website to outline the story. Then  I take the next month or two to write the first draft. I try and write 2000-3000 words a day, starting in the morning. Once I finish the rough draft, I go back in and rearrange, cut,and add characters or scenes. Then I start rewriting. And I tend to rewrite as much as possible right up to my deadline. 

What is The New Recruit, your latest book, about? 

Forced to choose between military school and a Christian spy organization, skeptic Spencer Garmond signs on with the Bible geeks. But before he even boards the plane for Moscow, Spencer realizes this is no Bible club.

These guys mean business.

Stumbling onto a case involving a gang of homeless boys, a chilling tattoo, and the always beautiful Anya Vseveloda, Spencer struggles to find the faith needed to save the Mission League from enemy infiltration.

What inspired this book?

This is the first book I wrote. I was trying to write a story about teens going out into the world like missionaries, but since teen fiction books about missionaries weren't getting the attention of agents and editors, I tweaked the story and turned them into undercover agents. I was also trying to copy the format of Harry Potter. My goal was to get some teens away from their parents where they could receive some kind of training. At the time, I thought this was sneaky and brilliant, but it created so many problems! I’ve never written a book that way since. It’s not a good idea to copy what’s already successful—because the world already has that book. And humans were created unique for a reason. There’s already one J. K. Rowling. And I need to be Jill Williamson. All that to say, even though I’ve rewritten The New Recruit from that first horrible draft, this book is not my strongest, but it’s still a whole lot of fun.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Captives, which is the first in a dystopian trilogy coming out from Zonderkidz in February 2013. It’s based on Daniel 1 when Jerusalem in conquered by Babylon and the young people are taken into the city.

Do you have any advice for aspiring teen authors?

Write a lot. And don’t worry about getting published until you’ve written several books and have polished them. Be patient and enjoy the process of creating and learning. If you rush things, you’ll regret it.

Where else can readers find you online? 

Go Teen Writers Blog: 

Also, I give away one of my books and a one-chapter critique every month on my website. So stop by every once in a while to enter. Look under the “Contests” tab to see what contests I have going on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Victoria and the Ghost by Janet K. Brown

Welcome to the world of the debut release of an inspirational, paranormal YA titled Victoria and the Ghost by Janet K. Brown. 

Janet, welcome to the Starsongs blog. Tell us about your book, Victoria and the Ghost.

At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends, and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy.

Here’s how Victoria recounts the move:

My name is Victoria Peterson. My life isn’t fair. I never thought that when I was fifteen-years old, I would end up away from my mother, my friends, and the city. Dad got this really dumb idea to move my seventeen-year-old sister and me away from civilization. He even expects me to tend chickens. Can you believe that? Why, my nail job won’t last a month.

It’s only temporary. When Mom returns from her honeymoon, she’ll move me back to Dallas to live with her. I am her favorite, you know. Maybe then, I can buy a decent pair of shoes.

What inspired you to tell this particular story?

I’m a Dallas girl, but awhile back, we moved our family to Wichita Falls which is about three hours northwest of Dallas. My husband and I discovered the true-to-life Texas ghost town of Clara. The area captured my interest. We walked among the tombstones. I read everything I could find and learned about the man and the ghost of Colonel Hermann Specht.

He was a colorful fellow. North Texas owes him a debt for his foresight and belief in the area though the town itself withered and died. He changed the landscape in a few short years. After losing his cherished wife and being stranded in Germany when World War I started, it is said he returns in search of his wife, Clara, for whom the town was named.

When my granddaughter, Victoria, (her real name) reached the rebellious teen years, and her single mom couldn’t do anything right, God brought the story to my mind of a girl that really faces rejection and isolation in her teens. What would happen if this poor, unhappy teenager met a ghost who prowled a cemetery with a sad heart?

Why do you think the supernatural is such a compelling subject for teens?

Teens find the supernatural interesting. So do I. I don’t see why non-Christians get to make up tales of evil and fear without Christians having input. God is the author of the supernatural. Though still fearful, why can’t there be more to it that just scaring us?

What do you see as some of the problems teens face today?

Teens struggle to make sense of things that happen in their lives. Divorce has become the new norm. Often, a young person battles rejection and guilt. In a big city such as Dallas, the superficial lifestyle of name brand tennis shoes and the latest fads tempt young girls to place undue importance on that which has little affect. Like Victoria in my story, they live in permanent denial of what really torments their thoughts.

 I pray that Victoria and the Ghost will speak to them of forgiveness and allowing God to mold them into the treasures He foresees in them, despite trauma fostered on them.

Have you written other novels?

Though I’ve written seven complete manuscripts, this young adult was the first to sell. I thank 4RV Publishing and Vivian Zabel, the owner and president, for being willing to take a chance on a new author. Great editors like Harry, Robyn, and KC helped strengthen my story, and Aidana Willowraven did a super job on the cover art.
I’ve started a sequel to Victoria and the Ghost that I will present to 4RV Publishing when it’s finished.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

My husband and I love to travel with our RV. He is my sweetheart and my best friend. We have three beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and three perfect grandchildren, who give me lots of inspiration for my teen short stories and novels. I enjoy reading, traveling, line dancing, Bible studies, and lunch with friends. I keep busy in retirement, my husband loves to remind me.

Janet loves to hear from her readers. Here's how she can be contacted.

Here’s how you may contact me. I love to hear from my readers.

e-mail:  Janet.hope@att.net




Janet, thank you so much for spending some time over here at Starsongs!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview with Author K Dawn Byrd

I am proud to introduce author K Dawn Byrd. She shares some information about her book, A Case of Fatal Attraction, herself, and her main character, Zoe Mac. Leave a comment to be placed in a drawing to win a free download!

Hello Dawn and welcome to the Starsongs blog. Tell us about your book, A Case of Fatal Attraction.

Zoe is thrilled when she lands her first paying case until she learns she'll be going undercover at a local blood bank. The fact that she faints at the sight of blood makes working there more than difficult. Who would steal blood and what would they do with it? Is her creepy vampire-like coworker using it in a cult ritual? 

When Zoe learns that Nate will be working undercover with her, she's overjoyed. She soon finds that the gorgeous Rikki's attraction to Nate is too distracting and considers throwing him off the case. Zoe questions his loyalty even as Nate proclaims that she's the only girl for him. 

Nothing is as it seems and Zoe has no clue who can be trusted. Who's stealing the blood? Is it the director? The vampire-like guy with the fangs who wears all black? Or, her gorgeous co-worker who has a thing for Nate?

How did this story come to you?

Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I love a good mystery and I love romance, but you don't find the two together very often. Also, there are very few books available with college-age characters. I pitched the idea of combining all of the above to Desert Breeze and the rest is history.

Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.

I had already published several books with Desert Breeze when they opened a young adult line. I'm excited that they liked the idea for this new series.

Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

1)  I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
2)  I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.
3)  I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)

What is your favorite writing tip?

Write something every day. All of my books are written in 30-day marathons. I decide how many words I want to write in 30 days and map them out on a calendar, so I can keep track of where I am and where I need to be.

What are you working on now and what's next for you?

I'm working on my December release, which is the third book in the "Identity Series." It's called Double Identity and is about two seventeen-year-old identical twins who never knew about each other. One, raised by her mom, is a Christian, the other, raised by her father is a wild child. When the two meet up and the wild one falls for the Christian one's boyfriend, sparks of the worst kind begin to fly.

Parting comments? 

Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books. 

Interview with Zoe Mack.

Tell us about your latest mystery.

My grandfather owns a detective agency and needed my help, but he was afraid to give me this case. It involved going undercover in a blood bank and finding out why blood is disappearing. My grandfather knows that I faint at the sight of blood. It wasn't easy and I had my moments when I became really sick, but I'm no quitter.

What was the greatest obstacle to solving this case.

My boyfriend, Nate, went undercover at the blood bank too. He worked as a janitor and once, when I puked after an accident with the blood, he got to clean it up. I thought I'd die of embarrassment. Back to your question, the greatest obstacle in some ways was just having Nate hanging around. You see, I had this gorgeous coworker named Rikki and she had a crush on Nate. We couldn’t tell her that we knew each other because that would blow our cover. Do you know how hard it is watching another girl go after your boyfriend, especially a gorgeous girl?

What did you learn from working on this case?

I learned that I can do things I never thought possible. I never overcame becoming queasy at the sight of blood, but I did learn to live with it. I also learned that I hate snakes and that sometimes creepy vampire-looking guys who wear black aren't all bad. I also learned to trust my instincts even when Nate says I'm wrong.

So, how is your relationship with Nate after solving two mysteries together?

We had some rocky times, mainly because of Rikki, but I've learned that sometimes, things aren't as they seem and you have to learn to trust people. Nate is a great guy and I love him more than ever. I've learned to accept the fact that my mother will never be crazy about him, but that's another story.

Will there be another case any time soon?

College is getting ready to start up and I’m taking a little time off to concentrate on school. Of course, if Gramps needs me, I'm always up for a good mystery!

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense with seven books published so far. Recently, she tried her hand at young adult fiction and found that she really enjoyed writing it, which led to a contract for four young adult books for 2012.

She's also the moderator of the popular facebook Christian Fiction Gathering group

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years while walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Twitter: kdawnbyrd
Book trailer on youtube

Don't forget to leave a comment by September 30th to be placed in a drawing for a free download of K Dawn's book, A Case of Fatal Attraction.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Starsongs Summer 2012 on sale now!

Our new Starsongs Magazine is up for sale, and it's got some great stories and articles. 

Summer may be over and some of you are already back in school. Still, a summer short story is a good read anytime.  

Whether you're entering fourth grade, your senior year, or somewhere in between, it's never too early to start thinking about college. This issue has an excellent article about ways to begin preparing for your higher education now.

15-yr old Jordan Romero  is the youngest mountaineer to summit all seven of the world's highest peaks. We caught up with him in cyberspace with a few questions.

Poetry is a great form of self-expression. You'll find some of that in this issue of Starsongs as well.

The deadline for our STARBRIGHT novel writing contest is a little over six months away. You'll find the entry rules in the sidebar. Check out our adult guest writer's advice on how to craft a first chapter that is bound to hook your readers.

Click on the link above to preview Starsongs. Check us out today!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Welcome NextGen Conferees!

HI! Welcome to the Starsongs web site. I hope the NextGen conference has provided you with new and exciting ways to improve your writing. Thank you for attending and for participating.

If you are visiting this web site, I hope it means you are considering sending a submission to Starsongs. Visit the Starsongs guidelines page found in the sidebar to learn the specifics about how to submit. If you are an aspiring novelist, check out our STARBRIGHT annual novel writing contest.

 Visit our sample writings page to read some pieces that have appeared in Starsongs.
Go to our Meet Our Authors page and read about some of the young people who have contributed to Starsongs. You will find many of them are just like you, young people with a desire to write and be heard.

I urge you to check out the post before this one, written by a Starsongs contributor. She talks about taking your time with your writing. Leave a comment after that post before August 31st to be entered in a contest to win a free download of our new Summer 2012 issue.Older posts address some helpful tips on writing and submitting your work.

Would you like to share some of the things you have learned about writing? Email me at starsongs.mag@gmail.com with your idea for a blog post. I'm looking for young bloggers to guest on this site.

Leave a comment. What do you like about the site? What do you not like? What else would you like to see? What subjects would you like to know more about related to writing and publication? I want to hear from you!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taking Your Time

Today, Starsongs is excited to welcome guest blogger Mary Kate Crockett.

Mary Kate Crockett, a homeschooled high schooler, has penned three novels and dozens of poems and short stories. She has published a few poems in the past and continues to submit to publishers as she improves her craft. Last semester, Mary Kate taught a writing class and loved helping others learn to enjoy writing. In her free time, Mary Kate travels, reads, and experiments with other arts and crafts. She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family and occasionally blogs about her writing hobby.

In today’s hurried world, temptations to rush through projects often arise. Hurry through breakfast so you can get to school. Hurry through school so you can get to chores. Hurry through chores so you can get to dinner. Hurry through dinner so you can finally slow down and watch a little TV... right?
Whatever happened to do your best or practice makes perfect or finish what you started?

Even in writing, young authors often send their work to friends, family, and even publishers within minutes of writing those two little words The End. Guilty of this for quite some time, I could barely put down my pen before reading my work to any family member who would listen. Thankfully, I never submitted to a publisher until I was a little older and had been practicing my craft for several years. Even with a few publications under my belt, I still have a tremendous amount of writing and editing to do before I become an expert.

Researchers have found that most people who are experts in their job skill (sports, art, music, business, etc.) have accomplished around ten thousand hours of deliberate practice in their field – practice sessions where their goal was to become better. They weren’t born with some gift to be the “World’s Greatest ____”. They put in the hours of hard work and then reaped the reward of their labor. Check out this article to read more about this research. That’s quite a few hours! If I began calculating the hours I have spent in writing classes, practicing writing, editing essays and stories, and reading about writing, my total would probably come out to less than a thousand hours – I’m not even 10% of an expert! 

Humbly put, we’re probably all just a few hours away from being experts in the writing field. So, what’s the rush?

This doesn’t mean we can’t ever submit or share our work with others until we reach an X amount of numbers on a clock. Or that we have to throw out any piece of fiction we wrote before achieving a set amount of hours. But, it does mean we need to slow down when writing, take time to edit, and seek the advice of other writers before sending work off to be published. Writing, although fun, should be treated like any other profession. It takes time and hard work to be an expert.

We’re all learning, no matter where we are in our writing career. So keep an open mind, constantly try to improve your craft, and enjoy the journey.

Are you willing to put in the hours of deliberate practice to become the best author possible?

Leave a comment about Mary Kate’s post between now and August 31st to be entered in a drawing for a free download of the Summer 2012 issue of Starsongs magazine .

Monday, July 16, 2012

2012 NextGen Writer's cCnference

Announcing the 2012 NextGen Writer's Conference!

If you like to write, want to know more about the world of publication, or want to meet your favorite authors online, NextGenwriters is the place to be! The conference will be held on August 2nd and 3rd. 

It's a free, online conference designed to help authors under the age of twenty discover new craft techniques and improve their writing. Want to know how it works? Find out here

Our presenter list includes some amazing new and returning talent this year. Talent you won't want to miss Click here.

Want to learn more about the craft of writing?

Wonder how to submit a manuscript?

Need encouragement?

NextGen is the place for you! Hurry on over and register today! 

Registration opens June 15, 2012. See you there.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Let's try this again!

Almost two months ago, I wrote a post (see below) introducing this Starsongs Magazine blog. Unfortunately, shortly after that, my granddaughter and I decided to make some font and color changes. Little did we know we managed to wipe out the entire web site!

It's taken a few weeks to get things back in order, so again, I would like to welcome you  Take a look around. Send me an email from my contact Patti page or leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Let me know what else you would like to see on the site.

Happy writing! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome to Starsongs Magazine

Welcome to Starsongs Magazine's official web page. It will take me a few days to get everything here that I want, but for now you will find our guidelines and the rules for our annual novel writing contest.

In the next few days, I'll be adding lots more, including samples of writings from previous issues, information about our authors, more ongoing contests, and what we are seeking for up and coming issues.

What would you like to see in Starsongs magazine and on this blog?  My goal is to serve as a resource for young writers not only for improving your writing skills, but for getting published. 

Have questions? 

Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Look forward to hearing from you!  
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