AUGUST ISLE by Ali Standish

I’ve longed to read AUGUST ISLE since the second I heard about it. It is the second middle grade book from THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE author Ali Standish. Miranda longs to visit August Isle, the town where her mom spent summers as a girl. In part, she thinks it might help her bond with her busy and aloof mother better. But then, Mom takes … Continue reading AUGUST ISLE by Ali Standish

Four on 400 in bold red on a background of text

March Four on 400 Feedback

Thank you to all the brave souls who entered this month’s Four on 400 contest! Sharing your writing takes courage, and we appreciate your enthusiasm for our contest. Below, we’ve posted the first 400 words from this month’s winner, along with feedback from at least four of our members. We also encourage our readers to share their (constructive) suggestions and encouragement in the comments section below. Middle Grade … Continue reading March Four on 400 Feedback

Four on 400 in bold red on a background of text

March Four on 400 Contest

Q: What is Four on 400?  A monthly contest that provides ONE LUCKY MG or YA WRITER with feedback on their opening 400 WORDS! As part of our ongoing mission to support writers, we’ll give a MG or YA writer feedback from four of The Winged Pen’s contributors. Q: Sounds exciting! How do I enter? To enter, simply click the link the at the bottom of this post and submit … Continue reading March Four on 400 Contest

Featured: The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith

Welcome to Windows & Mirrors, where we feature books that provide us windows to lives outside our own and mirrors to our shared common human experiences. This week we are featuring The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith. I have been wanting to read The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away since before I knew the title! Ronald. L. … Continue reading Featured: The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith

My Writing Life to Date: Stay-at-Home Dad & Words

During this morning’s writing session I was reflecting on how long I’ve been at this writing gig. Not in a bad way. Strictly the facts. I’ve written five middle grade novels now. It’s impressive to me when others in the arts share their struggles WITHOUT some big news to share at the end. Just the challenging points in the middle with no “but-now-I’ve-made-it” caveat. So … Continue reading My Writing Life to Date: Stay-at-Home Dad & Words

Featured: THE BRIDGE HOME by Padma Venkatraman

Welcome to Windows & Mirrors, where we feature books that provide us windows to lives outside our own and mirrors to our shared common human experiences. Today we are featuring THE BRIDGE HOME by Padma Venkatraman. Eleven-year-old Viji and her younger sister Rukku quickly discover how vulnerable they are when they run away from their abusive father and try to make a home for themselves … Continue reading Featured: THE BRIDGE HOME by Padma Venkatraman

Recommendation: Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas

Kids have so much going on in their lives today with school, grades, friends, and family, it’s hard to get through it all, especially for kids who keep their struggles to themselves. What I love about books is that they are friends, the kind who show kids they’re not alone. Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas, by Andrea Pyros, does that by tackling issues such as … Continue reading Recommendation: Pink Hair and Other Terrible Ideas

Windows & Mirrors Feature: TIGHT by Torrey Maldonado

Welcome to Windows & Mirrors, where we feature books that provide us windows to lives outside our own and mirrors to our shared common human experiences. This week we are featuring Tight by Torrey Maldonado Bryan is a Puerto Rican sixth grader whose home life is always full of drama. He has a very awkward relationship with his dad, who is newly released from prison. … Continue reading Windows & Mirrors Feature: TIGHT by Torrey Maldonado

Window & Mirrors: BLENDED by Sharon M. Draper

Welcome to Windows & Mirrors, where we feature books that provide us windows to lives outside our own and mirrors to our shared common human experiences. Today we are featuring BLENDED by Sharon M. Draper. Because her parents are divorced, eleven-year-old Isabella feels like she’s literally torn between two different worlds. Every other week, she’s Isabella who hangs out with her black dad, his girlfriend … Continue reading Window & Mirrors: BLENDED by Sharon M. Draper

Tackling the Terrifying. How to Write Scary

I love the kinds of stories that make you look in the dark corners of your room or order a clear shower curtain so you know if a knife-wielding man dressed as a woman is going to stab you. (True story – I watched the movie Shutter Island while on the treadmill. I couldn’t stop looking behind me. You can see how that’s not a … Continue reading Tackling the Terrifying. How to Write Scary

Four on 400 in bold red on a background of text

October Four on 400 Feedback

Thank you to all the brave souls who entered this month’s Four on 400 contest! Sharing your writing takes courage, and we appreciate your enthusiasm for our contest.Below, we’ve posted the first 400 words from this month’s winner, along with feedback from at least four of our members. We also encourage our readers to share their (constructive) suggestions and encouragement in the comments section below.   Upper Middle … Continue reading October Four on 400 Feedback

Conferences – Sharing What I Learn

September 28 – September 30, 2018, I spent the weekend at the SCBWI Carolinas “Word and Line” conference. The weekend was filled with craft, networking, and catching up with fellow writers and Pennies. But you know the feeling you get after spending a week or weekend at a workshop or conference filling your mind with ideas, tips, inspiration, and motivation? It’s a little exhaustion, a … Continue reading Conferences – Sharing What I Learn