Thursday, December 20, 2012

Welcome Guest Author CJ Lyons!

NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of Thrillers with Heart
I've been a storyteller all my life. When I was little this meant a lot of time spent in time-outs for not knowing the difference between fiction and non-fiction (or truth and lies according to my parents and teachers, lol!).

But all that time spent day dreaming and listening to the stories in my head meant that I often came up with solutions and possibilities that other kids who played by the rules didn't see.

Once I began putting my stories down on paper, my teachers encouraged me to keep writing. I had my first story published in our school's "literary" magazine when I was twelve and won my first writing contest when I was thirteen.

While I kept writing all my life, it was a long, long, long time before I actually thought about writing books for a living. Writing had always been my way of coping with the "real" world and coming up with ways to achieve my goals and dreams, like my dream of becoming a doctor.

My friends pushed me out of my comfort zone (that's what good friends do--and they're there to catch you if you fall or cheer you on when you win) and I gathered all my courage and tried to sell my books to publishers.

Back then it was hard work finding a publisher but now there are many ways to get your stories into the hands of readers. The most difficult part isn't being published, it's finding the courage to take the risk and let other people read your stories.

You need to be strong. Have faith in yourself. Not everyone will like your stories--just like you don't like every book your English teacher tells you to read. But some people will not only like the imaginary worlds you build, they'll want to return again and again.

If you want to be a writer, your job isn't to make everyone like your stories. Your job is to create a world and people it with characters who will come to life so that the readers who enjoy your writing want to lose themselves in the magic of your words.

That's why I believe the six most important words in the English language are: Let Me Tell You A Story.

Explore the possibilities with every new world you create. And have fun!

Happy writing,

About CJ:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at and everything she knows about being a bestseller at

Writing Prompt: A Brand New World
Good writing is all about creating characters who feel so real that the reader feels like they're seeing a whole new world through the character's eyes.

Look around at your ordinary world: your neighborhood or your school or favorite place.

How would this place look/sound/feel different to: an elephant escaped from the circus and on the run? Your great grandparents traveling forward in time from fifty years ago? Your best friend's little sister or brother?

Being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and view the world through their eyes is one of the most powerful gifts a writer has. Try experimenting with changing point of view next time you're stuck on a problem and need a solution or the next time someone upsets you or makes you angry.

Write down what they feel--use as many senses (smell, sight, touch, etc) as possible. See how your world comes alive, just by shifting your point of view.
You're Never Alone when Lost in a Good Book...
NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of Thrillers with Heart
Want to know everything I know about becoming a bestseller?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's the Word Wednesday - Rain, Rein, Reign

Rain, Rein, Reign!
Rain is drops of fresh water that fall as precipitation from clouds.

Rein is one of a pair of long leather straps connected to the bit or bridle and used to control a horse or other animal.

Reign is a period during which somebody is dominant or powerful.
Write a story that includes one or more of today's word. 
 A king might hold the reins of his horse as he reigns over his subjects but they don't get wet unless it's raining.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Calling all teachers: To receive your FREE e-book copy of Storee Wryter Gets a Dog send an email request to Storee Wryter, AKA Author Barbara Simpson Carducci at 

Eight-year-old Storee hopes to be a bestselling author some day. Every evening before she goes to bed she looks back on her activities of the day in search of inspiration for her next story.

In this book, young readers are invited to share Storee Wryter’s adventure as she teaches her new puppy how to sit and stay and walk on leash without pulling. Also sharing in the fun is Storree’s cat, Critique, who is convinced that cats are smarter than dogs and isn’t shy about proving it.

When Storee’s neighbor, Kyria, suggests that ADDIE be trained as a therapy dog, the whole family gets involved in making a very important decision.Will Storee have time to take on this added responsibility? She’s already busy with school, soccer practice, dance lessons, and her writing. And what about the cost? What if they adopt the puppy and she’s not suited to be a therapy dog?

The answer to these questions and more are answered in a story that kids enjoy reading again and again and parents find informative and inspiring. Included in this 60 page, five chapter book are writing prompts inviting kids to explore their own creativity and a code they can use to download the audio book at no additional cost.

Why am I  making this book available for free to teachers?
It encourages kids to explore their creativity through writing.
It is my mission to find and mentor young writers and inspire a lifelong love of reading.
I wrote my first story ate the age of eight and the encouragement I received from an adult is the reason I'm still writing today.
Teachers deserve all the help and support they can get.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Writing Prompt - Christmas Traditions

Storee, Addie, and Critque are busy preparing for Christmas. Storee is selecting gifts for her friends and family. She saved her money throughout the year so she can surprise them with something special. She even has a gift for each of her pets.  She is also helping her mother and grandmother bake cookies.

Addie and Critique stay close to the bakers, hoping a treat might fall. They love the wonderful smells in the house at this time of year and the twinkling lights on the tree.  Addie thinks having a tree in the house is a very good idea even if it is just to look at.

Storee and her family take Addie to visit people in the hospital and nursing homes every weekend. It's nice to see them smile and pet Addie. Sometimes they sing Christmas Carols and Addie joins in too!

Write a story about Christmas traditions in your family. If you celebrate a different holiday, write about that. The most important thing to remember is that all families love to celebrate together and share their love for one another.

What religious or ethnic holidays do you celebrate in December? Here is a list of some of them and the date they are celebrated this year.
5 - Ashura (Islamic, Muslim)
6 - St. Nicholas Day (International)
8 - Bodhi Day - Buddha's Enlightenment (Buddhist)
8-16 - Hanukkah* (Jewish)
12 - Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico)
13 - Santa Lucia Day (Sweden)
16-25 - Las Posadas (Mexico)
25 - Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International)
26 - Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom)
26 - Kwanzaa (African-American)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's the Word Wednesday - Warn -Worn

warn, worn

warn (WORN) (verb)

To tell someone to do or not to do something in order to avoid danger or trouble: "Parents warn their children to be careful when crossing streets."

worn (WORN) (verb)

Having been affected by wear or use: "Matilda has worn the same shoes for five years!"

Paula tried to warn Bill that his shoes have holes in the soles. Actually, it looks as if he has worn them out.

Write a story using the words warn and worn. And don't forget, people can become worn out too!

I hope that doesn't happen to you!