I’m thrilled to announce that Reading Opens Minds has chosen my novel RADIO HEAD for book club participants, thanks in part to a generous donation from the John Aaroe Group.
Designed to reach those most in need, Reading Opens Minds book clubs encourage the shared experience of reading and discussion to nurture self-worth, foster empathy, encourage meaningful communication and increase sense of community. By providing new books and mentors we envision comprehensive literacy as a gateway to success and an opportunity to expand understanding, benefiting individuals and the greater good. Learn more at www.readingopensminds.org.
The teen writers asked for it, so we’re bringing it back! On October 25, 2017, the Teen Story Slam returns to Westside Pizza!
Teen creative writers in grades 7-12 are invited to step up to the mic to read their own prose for 5 minutes. Anything goes: a short story, a scene from their novel or screenplay, poetry, or wild and wacky true stories. Just keep it PG, please. Every writer who participates gets a prize! No competition, no memorization, just pure storytelling awesomeness.
In partnership with Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), the Kitsap Regional Library, and Westside Pizza, benefits from the event will support our Teen Writers Workshop afterschool writing program, and Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp.
Beloved Bainbridge High School English teacher Noah Barfield will serve as master of ceremonies once again. Mr. Barfield is known in the community for his achievements as a playwright, and among his students as a comedian.
At the inaugural Teen Story Slam we had 23 intrepid writers who kept the standing-room-only audience rapt. Teens, sign up now! Registration is encouraged. Family and friends are welcome to come cheer on the writers!
WHEN: Wednesday, October 25, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
WHERE: Westside Pizza, 323 High School Rd NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
SIGN UP at the Reference Desk at the Bainbridge Library, or by calling 206-842-4162
*Can’t wait? Drop in to Teen Writers Workshop–it’s free! Facilitated by me and author Margaret Nevinski, MFA, students in grades 7-12 meet at the library on the 2nd Thursday of every month during the school year, from 3:30-5:00 pm.
Please read my latest article on Huffington Post:
Seventh-grade student Carissa carried a painful memory around with her, but it wasn’t a secret. There were plenty of kids who witnessed (her now ex) boyfriend humiliate and verbally abuse her in the hallway at school. While the scene replayed in her head every day for the next year, she wouldn’t talk about it openly with anyone.
Carissa does have a secret, however. She’s a talented writer, and she explores her thoughts and personal challenges through short stories. This summer, she attended a free creative writers’ camp for teens at her local library. Every day, the students were provided writing prompts and mini lessons to create stories, poems, and scenes for novels-in-progress. This year, the students were introduced to storybooth (), a website that collects real stories from kids in their own words and brings them to life through animation. Kids of all ages are welcome to record their own personal experiences that made a lasting impact on their lives, whether positive, negative, or downright hilarious. It’s free, easy, and has the power to relieve a weighty burden – something that no other platforms for young people are doing. The act of recording a story is an effective means of letting it go, and not only that, the kids have a supportive community behind them.
The team at storybooth looks for stories that will make viewers laugh, think, and feel, and has a way of showing us how we are all connected through our shared stories. The award-winning site has over 100 million views, with multi-ethnic, compassionate and often humorous animations. But the most significant part of storybooth is the community response. As a digital platform unlike other social media sites, storybooth is an overwhelmingly supportive and safe place for kids to share their personal journeys. The peer comments are encouraging, understanding and uplifting.
When participants in the teen writing camp viewed several stories and took part in a short lesson on memoir writing, several felt empowered to put their own experiences into words. One student wrote about her family moving several times throughout her life and how difficult it is to say goodbye. Another talked about crashing a car through the family’s garage on his first day of driving school. (He’s still afraid to test for his license.) Carissa dared to read her story about the very public embarrassment that haunted her for months, discovering a sense of peace by dissolving the memory of its power. When kids reveal their authentic feelings, it can help other kids gain a fresh perspective on their own struggles.
What makes a good storybooth story?
- The storyteller allows him or herself to be vulnerable. They’re not afraid to go into the details of an experience.
- The storyteller looks at him or herself honestly. They expose their own truth, knowing they are anonymous and no one is judging.
- The storyteller takes the fear out of telling their story because they know it will help others.
- The storyteller comes across naturally. They are authentic, have dignity in owning their own mistakes, and just let themselves go.
For teens who are interested in visitingand sharing the story that’s been replaying through their head, simply visit , hit “record” – and then let it go. Those looking for some extra guidance can consider writing out the story ahead of time – the memoir writing exercise developed by the creative writers’ camp for teens is available here. If the story is chosen by the storybooth team, it’ll be animated and posted to the website. Other kids will have a chance to see the story and comment, and perhaps be inspired to write and record their own story.
Calling all Kitsap area teens in grades 7-12! Join me and author Margaret Nevinski for a jam-packed week building your work-in-progress, creating new characters and stories, and strengthening your writing muscles. Every day, we’ll provide writing prompts and activities to stretch your creativity and range. We even have a special camp theme: Character motivation. (Why do our characters act, talk and behave the way they do? Let’s explore!) We’ll sharpen dialogue, delve into interactive memoir using Storybooth, and venture into ekphrastic writing with an art expert at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA). (Bonus points if you know what “ekphrastic” means!)Starting the week in a dramatic setting, we’ll take over the auditorium at BIMA on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, we’ll meet up at our traditional writing headquarters at KRL’s Bainbridge Island Community Room, where we will be among the very first to use the refreshed and renovated space! Prepare to be impressed and writing in comfort and style:)
Wait, there’s more! Margaret and I will provide one-on-one consultation each day, campers will share their prose in The Writers’ Circle, and we will produce our own Literary Magazine. If that isn’t enough, we’re also hosting a A Reading and Celebration of the Teen Writing Camp at BARN! The Friday evening celebration will feature our own intimate Spoken Word event for all camp participants. Invite your family and friends to hear your stories, chapters, poems, and/or essays. Dessert will be served.
Our teen librarian Stefanie Reddy will provide yummy snacks daily. Your work-in-progress will thank you, and that shiny new journal will love the smell of fresh ink. We can’t wait to write with you!
Where: Bainbridge Island
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
A Reading and Celebration of the Teen Writing Camp at BARN
Recommended For: Grades 7 – 12
Sometimes we receive unexpected treats. An author interview allows us to pause a moment and consider why we’re doing the work we are, and what we’re really trying to say in our novels. Every time I’ve sat in the spotlight as interviewee, I’ve come away with a surprise insight about my journey, or an “aha!” moment about an issue I’d been struggling with. Recently, I had the indulgent pleasure of being interviewed by a trusted confidante I hold in high esteem: Lisa Manterfield, author of the paranormal romance A Strange Companion.
Please check it out to learn
How (and where!) Lisa and I first met
Why music plays such a big role in my novels
A discussion about dead daddies and the protagonists who love them
What I love about working teen writers
What I’m writing RIGHT NOW.