Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pursuing the Impossible: Interview With Young Debut Author, Rachelle Rea

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I am a huge supporter of teens who go after their dreams. I love stories about teens and young people who defeat all odds, ignore those who may try to stop them, and strive to pursue their passions. 

Because of that, I've decided to create a new segment on my blog titled Pursuing the Impossible. In this blog series, I will interview teens and young adults who have chosen to walk their own path and are either on a journey towards achieving their dreams, or have already reached a milestone. 

For the first post, I am thrilled to have Rachelle Rea--blogging friend and debut author--stop by today and share with us how she was able to land a book deal at only 22-years-old. {You can also check out a guest post she wrote on pursuing her dream to become a freelance editor here.}

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1. When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author, as well as a freelance editor?

Welllll, I actually did that one backwards. ;) I wanted to be an author first. I wrote novels long before I edited them. I opened my editing business sort of on a whim, but I had already begun to pursue publication for Diamonds. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey towards achieving those dreams?

I'd love to. Research was the most important thing to me. When I decided I wanted to be a novelist, I put effort into researching how to do that well. Elements of story. Good writing. The industry. Writing blogs helped immensely. I followed much the same process with freelance editing. I peppered a friend with questions--she had hung out her shingle before I had even thought about entering that line of work. And I went back to blogs, researching how to open a business, edit well, interact with clients. Basically I read everything I could find! :)

3. Why did you choose to pursue writing and editing at a young age?

Great question! I never even really thought about my age as an impediment to my achieving those dreams--instead, I viewed being young as an asset. I figured it would be a long time before I achieved publication because I've heard that it takes years; I decided to use those years to study the craft of writing and editing. 

4. Were there any doubts or obstacles that you faced along the way?

I assumed I'd be a decade down the road, married with children or something, when first I held my book in my hands. God flipped that on me, but you'll hear no complaints here. Just surprise and gratitude. :)

The biggest obstacle came when I entered Diamonds into the Genesis and didn't semi-final. Disappointed, I sat down on the stairs that night and considered quitting.

I didn't. Instead, the next day I queried the publishing house that would later sign me. :)

5. Do you believe that teens/young adults should strive for the impossible? What advice would you give to those who do have big dreams, such as writing?

Absolutely. Dream big! But I would caution with patience. It's incredibly easy to make the impossible in this industry happen on your own now: you can self-publish. And for some that is exactly what you want to do. But if you want to be traditionally published, never be discouraged. It can happen to you, if you are willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen. Maybe it won't happen as young as you would like. I know authors who have waited ten or twenty years to hold their book in their hands. That kind of patience pays off. Don't give up on your dream. :)

~ ~ ~ 

About Rachelle:

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she's lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. An Oreo addict, she is also a homeschool graduate and retired gymnast. She wrote The Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Writing Journey Update: Keeping the Vision Alive

photo credit: Willow at Raven Creek via photopin (license)
{Here's a hint.}
Waiting isn't easy. Especially when there's a passion that consumes your heart, a dream so vivid in your imagination that you can almost reach out and touch it. You're desperate for time to hurry, will do whatever it takes just to make the vision come to pass, to rush the process. 

And yet, God says to wait. He tells you that now is not the time; there is still much to learn, but to trust Him, and don't give up, because every step you take is one step closer towards the finish line. 

photo credit: 3C1A9850 via photopin (license)
{Here's a hint.}

But it's hard to remember that His timing is best. Especially when I receive yet another email from a reader asking when my next book will be published. It's pains me to tell them there isn't a release date yet, that I'm currently rewriting/revising the story that I've been working on for the past few years.

If there's one thing I've learned over the past six years, it's that the process of writing and traditionally publishing a book is not instantaneous. 

{Here's a hint.}

Sure, my first novel, Purple Moon, was quicker than most. I began writing it at 15, met my publisher when I was 16, signed the contract when I was 17, and saw the story in print when I was 19. And I thank God for this -- because if I never had my book published at a young age, I'm not sure I would believe in my writing career as much as I do today.   

But honestly, part of me is grateful for the time that's in between having a story idea and seeing that story in print. Because even more than my desire to see this book in print is a longing to make it the best it can be. I would much rather spend time working on this project rather than throwing it together just so I can say that I have a new book coming out.

{Here's a hint.}

And if you also have a dream on your heart, please don't become intimidated by the time it takes to achieve it. Any goal worth achieving is worth the time and effort that it takes to achieve it. 

When I was in 5th grade, my teacher received a grant that allowed our class to create our own stories in a bare book. I can still remember how thrilling it was when Ms. Wilson announced this to my class -- because to my 10-year-old mind, seeing my story in a hard-bound book was the equivalent to having it published.

I devoted hours into brainstorming my story, typing it up on the computer, counting the pages in the bare book so I could plan how to fill those pages accordingly, then pasting the story inside of the book and illustrating the pages. 

Adjectives were clearly my very, special, bestest friend back then. =p  

Blair only sketches her favorite things. Wait, I thought that was Selena?
Also, I'm very curious as to what kind of food they served at Hippos.
When I ran into this the other day, the vision was stirred once again -- the one I have to create stories that touch the heart. Because throughout my childhood, the majority of the stories I wrote were bittersweet yet inspirational, including this one. 

Here's what the book is about.
And here's how it maybe will end. Maybe.
I believe that these are the kind of books God wants me to write: Stories that offer an inspirational perspective on the issues that we face daily. Ones that touch the heart and offer a glimpse of God's healing grace. 

That's why I'm not going to fret over when the novel I'm working on now will be complete, which publisher will pick it up, etc. Instead, I'm going to to believe that God has placed this vision on my heart for a reason. And when He gives us a specific dream, we can be certain that He will also provide a way for us to see it come to pass. We can trust that He will arrange it according to His will and His timing.  

{Here's a hint.}

But for now, I will wait. Even more than that: I will work. 

No, not just because the idea of seeing my sophomore novel in print excites me ... but because this is the area of ministry I believe I've been called into. And when God gives us a gift, it is our responsibility that we continue to work at it, day-by-day. 

Not for ourselves. But for Him. And for those who may some day be lead to Christ through this gift He has entrusted us with. 

{Here's a hint.}

Some day, I will be able to say that the release date for my sophomore novel is official. But that day is not today. And the reason I don't post much on this blog anymore is because I devote every spare minute I have into working on this book. I want it to be the best it can be. Not for myself necessarily ... but for you

So I just want to say thank you for bearing with me! And if you have still yet to read my debut novel, you can order it on Kindle for only $1.99! (That's cheaper than a Starbucks' drink, you guys.) =) Click here.

{Here's a hint.}

~ ~ ~ 

Is there a specific vision that God has placed on your heart? I'd love to hear about it!

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday's Minute Challenge: Writing Prompt Contest For Teens & Up!

A quick writing challenge (and contest) to help get your creative juices flowing for the new week.

  1. The entry must be between 150 - 300 words. (In order to see how many words your entry is, write it in Microsoft Word, or you can copy and paste it here.)
  2. The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  3. The winners will receive a badge for their blog, as well as extra points (see the point system below).
  4. The winner will be chosen based on the judges's preferences, as well as the following questions: Does this entry capture my attention immediately? Does it make me want to continue reading? Is the writing clear? They will also take into consideration the writer's voice and style--not necessarily technical issues, such as grammar, punctuation, etc. 
  5. This is only for fun and to stretch your writing muscles--not necessarily to be taken too seriously. =)

Since the point system has caused a bit of confusion recently, I have decided to take a different approach.

From now on, I will host a monthly giveaway, and one winner will be announced every four weeks. 

Keep in mind that you are in charge of your points from now on. If you win a contest, the only way that you will receive your points is by clicking the entry below. 

Also, if you have already liked my Facebook page, followed me on Twitter, etc. then make sure to click those entries as well in order to receive your points. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


There will be one randomly-selected winner chosen from the above raffle each month. They will have the choice of receiving one of the following prizes:

  • A critique on of one of their MMC entries
  • A blog critique
  • A 300 - 600 word critique on your novel, short story, blog post, etc
  • The opportunity to judge one of the contests
  • A free ebook of PURPLE MOON
  • A special surprise sent to your mailbox (snail mail, not email)


The judge panel chooses these winners based on a point system (not to be confused with the point system mentioned above!).

Keep in mind that the judges are not aware of which entry belongs to which participant until after the judging is complete.

The entries that the judges thought were the most intriguing (based on rule #4) are ... 

Third place winner: 
Shock registered on my face as I watched the soldier troop by. I don’t know I was shocked at the fact that they were soldiers. I knew they were. I think I was shocked at the darkness that surrounded them. Their clothes were dark, their hair was dark, even their eyes. Not one of them had light colored eyes. I gaped at them as they past, hoping they didn’t see us.
If they saw us the likely hood of us getting away was slim to know, and they didn’t look like their hearts would be softened towards to young girls.
My hope was long lasting, when the last soldier turned his eyes slightly and saw us. I snapped my mouth shut, swallowing hard. The soldier stepped out towards us, a spark of anger in his eyes, anger that was unexplainable, to me.
“What are you two doing here?” He snapped at us.
I blinked quickly trying to think of something to say.
“W-we are taking a break. We are k-kitchen maids.” Anna stammered quietly.
I nodded my head in agreement, hoping I look more innocent than I felt.
The man glared at us, after a quiet glance at the rest of the soldiers that were disappearing around the corner of the building.
“I don’t believe you, but you listen to this. I will be watching you two. And if I see either one of you doing anything you shouldn’t I will tell, Lady Patricia.” He snarled. Then looking to where the soldiers had disappeared, he gave us one last glance before he ran off to catch up with them.
Congratulations, Mary B! Click here for your badgeand don't forget to claim your points here. =) 

Second place winner: 

I could turn away now and no harm would be done, but I would be plagued all my life with curiosity. Or I could open it, and change my life forever.
“Remember Pandora’s Box.” A small dragon hisses up at me. “Terrible things happened.”
“But Hope came out, too.” Another cried in the back. “Don’t dissuade her!”
The large one, who was leaning over my shoulder smacked it with its tail. “Shut up, squeakster.”
I stared at the thin book. “I…” I touch it. It burns me, and the sparks bounce off the stone floor.
“You could have the world, darling.” It purrs again in my ear.
The world.” The others echo, save the small one, sprawled at my feet.
The book called to me. I could feel the pull. I could have the world. I fell to my knees before the book, tears streaming down my cheeks. I wanted it. I was afraid of it. I shouldn’t take it. I must have it. It was wrong. But I would have the world.
The cavern full of dragons waited, an occasional hiss, or swish of a restless tail.
I would have the world. Dale would hate me. My sister would try to kill me. She would hate me.I rose, still staring. “I can’t.” I took a deep breath and ran out of the tunnels.
* * * * *
The large dragon raised a claw, quieting the disappointed rumbles. “She’ll come back. Sheis the one.”
Squeaster whimpered.
* * * * *
I now sat in a forest, surrounded by my small army, defeated again. My men were beginning to murmur about me being a worthless girl. Dale hates me now.
I should have taken that book. I could have had the world.
I decide quickly. I’m going back for the book. The world will be mine. 
Congratulations, Rebekah BClick here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

First place winner: 

     He was watching me. I was sure of it. The man with a tattoo of a swallow on his neck had his eyes fixed on me from the corner of the room. I’d never seen him in my life… at least, no spark of recognition was there. It was dark in the room, though. I thought that perhaps he remembered me, maybe from an event we had both attended. 

Should I make conversation, or make nothing of the situation? I could turn away now and no harm would be done, but I would be plagued all my life with curiosity. Or I could open discussion, and change my life forever. I decided to try for it. My curiosity was so much. 

“Hello.” I greeted him as I sat myself in the chair across from his. “I’m Meredith Daley. What’s your name?” 

He looked puzzled at first, but then regained his confident composure. “Well, you are surprising. I was sure that I would have to go to you. But you’ve made it so much easier.” He smiled mysteriously. Before I had time to rethink this conversation, he began again. “My name is of no importance. You will never see me again. However, I will be seeing you.” For the first time, his hand moved from its grip on his coat and he wrote something down on a pad of paper in front of him. When he glanced up again, he smiled the same as before. “Goodbye, Miss Daley.” 

By the way it was said, I assumed that he would be the one to leave. But when he kept his eyes fixed on me and made no move, I realized that I was being dismissed. As I walked away, I wondered just what this meeting meant and what was to later come. 
Congratulations, Maddie! Click here for your badge, and don't forget to claim your points here. =)

Honorable Recognitions

These winners will receive a badge, as well as 2 extra points:
  1. Sofia Marie
  2. Rebekah (Horse Feathers blog)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! 

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

  • Submit your response in the comments below, or post it on your blog via InLink (below -- you will receive 2 extra points!). 
  • Your response should range between 150 - 300 words. 
  • The deadline for the contest will be the Thursday after next. 
  • If you'd rather not submit your post in the comments or on your blog, you may email it to me instead.

Choose at least one:

Note: You can always combine the prompts into one entry.

(Optional) Write a passage continuing your entry from last week week (or whichever week you'd prefer). If you can, try to continue it using one of the following prompts.
  • Write a passage using these items: shelf, song, laughter (submitted by Sofia Marie)
  • Write a passage based on this picture (submitted by Maddie)
  • Write a passage either incorporating this phrase OR based on this phrase:  
    "Well," he says, "this is it. This is what we've been waiting for." (submitted by Maddie)
*If your prompt was selected, be sure to claim your points here

Post your entry on your blog!:

If you're posting your entry on your blog (+2 points), please add your link below rather than in the comments. And don't forget to claim your points here!

Submit your prompt idea!:

The prompts that are used for Monday's Minute Challenge are submitted by the participants. Here's how this works:
  • You will be able to submit 3 prompts each week in the same format as above: three objects, one picture, and a piece of dialogue or phrase.
  • On Mondays, I will choose 3 prompts that have been submitted by 3 different people.
  • If your prompt is selected, you will receive 2 points!
  • You may submit in the comments below.

Current Judge Panel:

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