Twisted: Short Stories by Young Writers

I have fun news! I’m getting another short story published in an anthology! This anthology is all about stories with twist endings, written by young authors, which is super cool!

cover2Twisted: Short Stories by Young Writers

From dueling families to an insane asylum, these short stories are… twisted.

During the autumn of 2016, the team behind the Chapter One Young Writers Conference mentored two talented young writers through the publishing process, giving them a head start on becoming the successful authors of tomorrow. Now, read the stories on which these up-and-coming writers worked, along with four by the Ch1Con mentors themselves.

Each of these stories comes with a twist. You’ll never see what’s coming next.

 

I’m extremely excited, and can’t wait for everyone to read it! For an excerpt of my story, scroll down to the blog tour schedule and click on the link!

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Today, I’ll be interviewing another one of the authors in the anthology, Cameron Vanderwerf!

First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey, blogosphere. My name is Cameron Vanderwerf, I’m 22 years old, I graduated from college with a BA in English in 2015, and I love to write fiction. My interests within fiction seem to change rapidly—one month I might be really into British social satires, and the next month I might only be reading Raymond Chandler—but I almost never stop loving authors I’ve loved before, and I never stop loving fiction in general.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Well, I know I’ve enjoyed writing—especially fiction writing—since I was about ten years old, but it wasn’t until this past year that I realized writing is really one of the things that I most enjoy spending my time on. I graduated from college 18 months ago, and being out of school has really given me perspective on how I want to spend my future.

Can you explain your story in five words or less?

Dressage instructor faces thwarted ambitions.

What’s your favorite thing about this story?

My writing generally tends to reflect the type of literature I’m interested in at the time, so this story reflects my own personal take on British literature of the 1800s. I think that era of literature was very apt in exploring the social stratification of the time with honesty, beautiful language, and the occasional touch of dry British humor. I’m obviously no Dickens or Forster, but I always enjoy the challenge of updating old styles of literature to suit more modern tastes.

What’s your favorite thing about writing in general?

If I had to choose one thing, probably character development. There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a person that feels both interesting and well-rendered. Whether it’s their backstory or their way of speaking or their own peculiar habits, interesting characters provide much of my enjoyment in both reading and writing. But that’s if I had to choose only one thing. Writing in general provides both a great escape and a great path to reflection and discovery, and every part of the writing process is an aid to those things.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?

Ideally? Travelling the world in my personal high-speed hovercraft, writing first-hand accounts of the world’s many different cultures. But I would be just as happy to stay at home and make a living writing funny mystery novels.

What was your favorite part of the Ch1Con mentorship program?

Every part of the program was great, but if I had to choose a favorite session, I’d have to say working with an editor. Preferences vary by writer, but to me, revising is always the scariest and toughest part of the writing process. I usually get outside critiques from people in my writing group, but it was also helpful to get feedback in the more formal and rigorous context that the writer-editor relationship provides.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Love and friends and family are the meaning of life and the key to happiness. Work hard and stand up for what you believe in. Also, if I may be so brash, I’d like to take this opportunity to plug my own blog. It’s kind of a work in progress, but I’ll try to post something every week. The address is camvander.wordpress.com. Peace and love.

Thanks, Cameron! It was a pleasure interviewing you. 🙂

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In honor of Twisted’s release, we’re holding a mini blog tour on the mentors’ blogs. The tour includes interviews, excerpts from the anthology stories, and more. The blog tour schedule is below:

The paperback and e-book editions of Twisted are available now for order on Blurb.com, and the e-book will be available soon on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

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Twisted: Short Stories by Young Writers (2016)

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From dueling families to an insane asylum, these short stories are... twisted.

During the autumn of 2016, the team behind the Chapter One Young Writers Conference mentored two talented young writers through the publishing process, giving them a head start on becoming the successful authors of tomorrow. Now, read the stories on which these up-and-coming writers worked, along with four by the Ch1Con mentors themselves.

Each of these stories comes with a twist. You'll never see what's coming next.

Add on Goodreads

 

Excerpt:

I shouldn't have answered the phone. Mom was going on and on and on about this boy she wanted me to meet and how he'd just moved down by me to go to my college, and I should date him, because he was her best friend's son or something like that and "you should see him with his shirt off," and-- whoa. Really, Mom?

I sighed and tucked my phone between my ear and shoulder. "Mom."

"What, honey?"

"Do you know how many people named Brown there could be here? Or heck, even Joshes. I know at least five of them, just from college. Chances are, we'll never run into each other, and you and Maggie will just have to live with that. I've got a date with someone else tonight, anyway."

“Just keep him in mind, honey.” Mom sighed. She wanted grandkids, and had never been shy about telling me that, unfortunately.

“Okay, Mom. Maybe we’ll find each other, and maybe we’ll become a thing.”

“You should.”

“Maybe.” My doorbell rang and I sighed. "That's probably the maintenance man coming to fix the leaky drain he’s already ‘fixed’ three times. I'll talk to you later."

"Love you, sweetie."

"Love you too."

My socks slid along the linoleum as I hung up and tucked my phone into my back pocket. I undid the latch and opened the front door, only to stop short when the man who appeared was definitely not Bill, our building's janitor and handyman.

"Um, hi," he said, brown eyes meeting mine. "I just wanted to come over and introduce myself. I'm Josh, your new neighbor."

Of course he was a Josh. Make that six Joshes I knew who weren’t Maggie’s son.

Oh, wait, this must be the source of all the banging next door. It wasn't actually a herd of elephants?

"I'm Kassidy," I said, opening the door the rest of the way. "Want to come in?"

A Pizza My Heart Cover Reveal!

I am VERY excited to help reveal the cover for A PIZZA MY HEART, aka the #Pizzathology, aka the anthology that I have a short story in!

 

A-Pizza-My-Heart-Pizzathology-Cover (1)

It’s got my name on it! Isn’t that so cool?! (I may or may not have squealed when it popped into my inbox. LOL)

Our cover designer, Haley Crosby, did a wonderful job, and I love it!

 

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Book Name: A Pizza My Heart: An Anthology

Book Genre: YA fiction anthology

Book release date: November 12, 2016 (National Pizza with the Works except Anchovies Day)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30119563-a- pizza-my- heart

A-Pizza-My-Heart-Pizzathology-Cover (1)

Gooey cheese and warm pepperoni, with a side of kissing and murder.

A Pizza My Heart is a quirky and fun anthology that crosses all genres. Fifteen extraordinary authors have united to tell stories of mystery, mayhem, romance, danger, deceit…and pizza.

Sometimes spicy, sometimes cheesy, but always delicious, A Pizza My Heart invites you to explore life, happiness, and the pursuit of pizza.

 

Stories Include:

A Slice of Adventure by Maria Carvalho

Between Slices by Andy Grieser

Fresh, Hot, and Deadly by Rena Olsen

KissingDancingPizzaMURDER by Darci Cole

Kneadful Things by Jenna Lehne

Love Pizza No. 9 by Vanessa Rodriguez

Madame Miraval’s Pizza Place by Kelly deVos

Password Is… by Jolene Haley

Pizza by Emily Simon

Pizza Buddy by Brian LeTendre

Pizzamergency by Brett Jonas

Survival Pizza by Rebecca Waddell

The Last Stop at the End of the World by Jamie Adams

The Pizza Guy by Jessi Shakarian

Where There’s Pizza by Jasmine Brown

 

 

About the Publisher:

Established in 2014, Hocus Pocus & Co. loves to bring unique voices and stories to fruition.

Cover Design by Haley Crosby

Join the book buzz using hashtag #Pizzathology

I’m Getting Published!

I honestly can’t say it without squealing. I’m getting a short story published in an anthology!

The anthology is called A Pizza My Heart, and it’s an anthology (or collection) of young adult stories all about pizza. Mine has baby goats and kissing and pizza (of course) and it’s super cute (in my oh-so-humble opinion).

The anthology comes out on November 12th, and in the beginning, it will only be available digitally. If it sells well enough, we will (hopefully) get to do a print run, which would be super amazing! We don’t have a cover yet, but here’s the blurb and other information:

 

Book Name: A Pizza My Heart: An Anthology

Book Genre: YA fiction anthology

Book release date: November 12, 2016 (National Pizza with the Works except Anchovies Day)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30119563-a- pizza-my- heart

A-Pizza-My-Heart-Cover-641x1024

Gooey cheese and warm pepperoni, with a side of kissing and murder.

A Pizza My Heart is a quirky and fun anthology that crosses all genres. Fifteen extraordinary authors have united to tell stories of mystery, mayhem, romance, danger, deceit…and pizza.

Sometimes spicy, sometimes cheesy, but always delicious, A Pizza My Heart invites you to explore life, happiness, and the pursuit of pizza.

 

Stories Include:

A Slice of Adventure by Maria Carvalho

Between Slices by Andy Grieser

Fresh, Hot, and Deadly by Rena Olsen

KissingDancingPizzaMURDER by Darci Cole

Kneadful Things by Jenna Lehne

Love Pizza No. 9 by Vanessa Rodriguez

Madame Miraval’s Pizza Place by Kelly deVos

Password Is… by Jolene Haley

Pizza by Emily Simon

Pizza Buddy by Brian LeTendre

Pizzamergency by Brett Jonas

Survival Pizza by Rebecca Waddell

The Last Stop at the End of the World by Jamie Adams

The Pizza Guy by Jessi Shakarian

Where There’s Pizza by Jasmine Brown

 

About the Publisher:

Established in 2014, Hocus Pocus & Co. loves to bring unique voices and stories to fruition.

Forthcoming Cover Design by Haley Crosby

Join the book buzz using hashtag #Pizzathology

 

A-Pizza-My-Heart-Pizzathology-Cover (1)

A Pizza My Heart (Hocus Pocus Co, 2016)

Title: A Pizza My Heart
Published by: Hocus Pocus Co
Release Date: 2016
Contributors: Brett Jonas, Jolene Haley, Maria Carvalho, Andy Grieser, Rena Olsen, Darci Cole, Jenna Lehne, Vanessa Rodriguez, Kelly deVos, Emily Simon, Brian LeTendre, Rebecca Waddell, Jamie Adams, Jessi Shakarian, Jasmine Brown

Gooey cheese and warm pepperoni, with a side of kissing and murder.

A Pizza My Heart is a quirky and fun anthology that crosses all genres. Fifteen extraordinary authors have united to tell stories of mystery, mayhem, romance, danger, deceit…and pizza.

Sometimes spicy, sometimes cheesy, but always delicious, A Pizza My Heart invites you to explore life, happiness, and the pursuit of pizza.

Stories Include:
A Slice of Adventure by Maria Carvalho

Between Slices by Andy Grieser

Fresh, Hot, and Deadly by Rena Olsen

KissingDancingPizzaMURDER by Darci Cole

Kneadful Things by Jenna Lehne

Love Pizza No. 9 by Vanessa Rodriguez

Madame Miraval’s Pizza Place by Kelly deVos

Password Is… by Jolene Haley

Pizza by Emily Simon

Pizza Buddy by Brian LeTendre

Pizzamergency by Brett Jonas

Survival Pizza by Rebecca Waddell

The Last Stop at the End of the World by Jamie Adams

The Pizza Guy by Jessi Shakarian

Where There’s Pizza by Jasmine Brown

Add on Goodreads

Getting That Writing Itch Again

A few weeks ago, I finished writing the first draft of Elaru. I’d written Estermead in 108 days and then started Elaru the very next day.

After almost 240 days of writing every single day in a row, I had two completed first drafts.

And I was done. The need to write was gone. All I wanted to do was sleep for several weeks.

But instead, in the past few weeks, I kept myself busy with (mostly) writing related things. I’ve edited Estermead into a slightly – very slightly – better second draft. I’ve beta read four books and signed up for three more. (More on that in another blog post.) I’ve done creative writing homework. I even read a book for fun! (Only one so far… but it’s progress.)

But now I’m starting to get the itch to write again. I want to sit at my keyboard and pound out the words. I want to create new characters and bring them to life. I want to explore a new world.

I’ve got an NA Contemporary idea that’s been bothering me for a while. Both NA and Contemporary would be new for me – but I’m thinking that Hanover may be the project I tackle next. We’ll see. Nano is coming and while I’m not sure I’m going to attempt the full 50k, I’d love to get a bunch of this book nailed down quickly.

I’m glad to have the itch back. I missed it.

What do you do when the writing itch disappears? And are you doing Nano?

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

-George Orwell

Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.

William S. Burroughs

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work dissapoints you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in the phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the most important thin you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through.

-Ira Glass