Teens and Teachers

Free Today on Amazon

As an adult writing from a teen perspective, I’ve encountered some challenges. I remember being a teen and certain memories can spark feelings of profound alienation, intense joy and a giddy sense that I will live forever and am not accountable for my high risk behavior. Until, of course, accountability bitch slapped me in the face and told me to grow up.

Even with those memories, it’s difficult to capture what it felt like when everything was new and you had to take it all in while trying to fit in at school, get good grades and deal with imperfect authority figures, and tap dancing hormones.

Reading young adult fiction can help, but nonfiction is essential as well. I can highly recommend “We Are Absolutely Not Okay,” a collection of biographical essays by 14 teens attending an alternative high school. These at-risk youth lay it all out there, letting the reader into their hearts and minds as they describe painful turning points in their lives. This book is not free, but at $2.99 for the Kindle edition it is more than worth the price.

The freebies below are both teen oriented. One is by a high school teacher who describes his experiences in the classroom. The other is a YA fiction sampler, which contains sample chapters from six different books.

Stories from a Teacher by Jonathan Flores
In 2008, Jonathan Flores surprised his students as one of the youngest, most energetic teachers they’d ever seen. After only four years, Mr. Flores turned in his resignation, and his students showed up to find out why. But instead of describing a single moment that made him quit, he told them his stories – each one, an insane memory from his teaching career. While he describes how he fell in love with the job, he also describes the harder realities that followed. As the world demands ‘superhero’ teachers, Flores shares experiences (from hilarious to heartbreaking) to reveal that teachers aren’t invincible. Each memory offers deeper insight into the teaching life, and the obstacles teachers face from day to day.

Product Details  New Teen Voices
A free eSampler from the hottest new voices in YA. Includes excerpts of Fury and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer! Put down that textbook and pick up this free eSampler with excerpts from the hottest new voices in YA Lit! This collection features excerpts from: Fury by Elizabeth Miles; Witchlanders by Lena Coakley; The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin; Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez; Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts; and Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Market News and Writing Guides

Market News

Only four days left to submit a completed speculative fiction novel to Harper Voyager. You can find more information on the Harper Voyager website.

Maybe you can’t submit to Harper Voyager. Maybe you don’t have a completed manuscript, or write in another genre, or have some short stories or nonfiction articles you’re dying to get out there. Have I got a resource for you? You bet!

Cindi Myers uses her WordPress blog to generously provide writers with market news. Although she is primarily a romance writer, she posts opportunities for all kinds of genres. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, horror, Christian, poetry, literary, etc., you’ll probably find something relevant to your style of writing.

You can find her blog here: Cindi Myers Market News’s Blog  If you’re on WordPress, you’ll want to hit the “follow” button.

If you’re working on a novel or working up to a novel, and need a little help and inspiration, I found a couple of freebie writing guides that look promising. As always, you don’t need a Kindle to download these babies. The Kindle app is available for computers, tablets and smart phones.

Free Today on Amazon

  Screenwriting Tricks For Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff
Are you finally committed to writing that novel but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author – but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? Screenwriting is a compressed and dynamic storytelling form and the techniques of screenwriting are easily adaptable to novel writing. You can jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page – by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling tricks of great filmmakers.

  Writing Your Way: The Great American Novel Track by Julie Smith
WRITING YOUR WAY is all about finding your own best writing method, not a writing teacher’s idea of what’s right for you. It’s for the pre-published novelist who’s way past finding her inner writer and just wants some nuts-and-bolts advice that’ll help her through the plot knots and POV power struggles.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Mushroom Soup, Nordic Noir and Social Justice

This past Saturday was cold and dreary, with the temperature hovering in the mid-thirties all day. Our Internet connection had gone wonky, but no worries as we had plenty to read and a movie to watch. BTW, I really recommend the movie, Headhunters. It’s based on the novel by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. If you like your Nordic Noir with dark humor and questionable morals, this is for you.

I threw together a mushroom soup that turned out pretty fab. It warmed body and soul on a cold autumn night. Here’s the recipe. I used the typical white button mushrooms, but next time I’ll use a mixture. I’m dying to try this with chanterelle mushrooms. This is a single pot recipe. I used our Le Creuset French oven, which I adore, though any large stock pot will do.

Mushroom Soup


  • Half a cup of butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 can of chicken broth (approx. 14 oz.)
  • Fresh mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • White wine
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried scallions
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Take aside about 1/3 of the mushrooms and, using a food processor or blender, chop into a thick paste. Slice the remaining mushroom to your desired thickness.
  • Melt the butter in the pot and let it simmer just a bit
  • Using a whisk, stir in the flour and also allow it to simmer for a moment or two
  • Slowly stir in the milk and bring to a slow simmer
  • Slowly stir in the chicken broth and bring to a slow simmer
  • Add the spices to taste
  • Add one or two splashes of white wine
  • Stir in the mushroom paste
  • Stir in the sliced mushrooms
  • Bring to a boil while stirring
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about an hour


Free Today on Amazon

Looking for more soup recipes? Passionate about social justice? Then do I have a freebie for you!

  Soup and Bread Cookbook by Martha Bayne
The Soup and Bread Cookbook aims to explore the social role of soup through a collection of terrific, affordable recipes from food activists, chefs, and others. This quirky exploration of the cultural history of soup as a tool for both building community and fostering social justice is the result of a brainstorm: eating your way through a pot of soup day after day can get boring — why not get together and swap some with friends? Now neighbors across the country are getting together regularly for home-based “soup swaps.” In Chicago, the arts collective InCUBATE uses soup as a microfunding tool. And of course, soup can be a political statement: the radical volunteers of Food Not Bombs have been providing free vegetarian soup to the hungry as a protest against war and social injustice since 1980. These are just a few examples of the stories Bayne wraps around a collection of delicious, accessible, and tested soup recipes.

Description provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Global James Bond Day

Shaken, Not Stirred

Today is Global James Bond Day, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the premiere of “Dr. No,” the first of the dapper British spy’s 23 movies.

If you are a Bond fan or just enjoy the spy/thriller genre, you can participate in a number of ways:

Adele’s latest single is the title track to the movie and, no surprise, debuted today.

If you’re a Kindle owner or app user, Amazon has something for you. Today only, October 5, 2012, you can pre-order new editions of Ian Fleming’s series for $7.00 each. The regular price is $9.99 and the books will be delivered to your Kindle on October 16. It’s a nice discount and the new editions have cool new covers with a graphic, retro appeal.

Want to celebrate by watching a 007 flick tonight? Netflix and Amazon Prime have many of the films available for streaming.

If this puts you in the mood for a novel in the spy genre, you can find free reads for the Kindle and Kindle app on Amazon in the category Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue.

Enjoy a suspenseful weekend!

Oh No, the Synopsis Monster!

A Synopsis Resource

As I noted in a previous entry, Harper Voyager, the scifi/fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, is accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 to October 14, 2012. To submit your manuscript, you must fill out a form that includes, along with your completed novel, a query letter and a very brief synopsis.

This took a couple of writers I know by surprise, since they have neither a query letter nor a synopsis. Who out there thinks these are scary monsters they’d rather not deal with? Note that I am raising my hand. However, I did manage to write both.

The query letter is the most important, I think, because it’s your main marketing tool. It’s the first thing an agent or editor will read, so it’s got to be good. I took my crappy pitch and query letter to the San Francisco Writers Conference. After a number of workshops and some professional advice, I managed to improve greatly on both. Note that my pitch is incorporated in my query letter. What made the difference is that I finally figured out how to to tell my story briefly, with a hook, and that I wrote my query in my voice.

I can’t recreate my conference experience for you, but I can recommend an inexpensive book that can help you write both your synopsis and your pitch.

In Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide, author Nicola Morgan details her Write from the Heart method using her Crappy Memory Tool. She gives step-by-step instructions to guide you through a process that will lead to a 25-word pitch, a hook paragraph and a synopsis. This short book is an invaluable resource and well worth the cost at $3.99.

Her method can help you craft a synopsis of any size. If you want to submit your novel to Harper Voyager, but are hesitating for lack of query and synopsis, you may want to take a look at this book. Keep in mind that her method isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. You still have to do the work and create a polished product. However, I’m very pleased with the synopsis I came up with after working through her method.

For more information about the Harper Voyager unsolicited manuscript submission period, go here.

You can submit your manuscript here.

Harper Voyager Now Open for Submissions

Harper Voyager, the scifi/fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, is accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 to October 14, 2012.

This publisher does not ordinarily accept unsolicited submissions, so this is a big opportunity for speculative fiction writers with a completed manuscript. Please note that they are not accepting uncompleted manuscripts. Your novel must polished and ready to submit by October 14, 2012. Books that are accepted will be published digitally, not in print format.

You can find the guidelines here. Read them carefully.

You can submit your manuscript here.

FYI, along with your manuscript, you also must submit a brief synopsis, no more than 1,500 characters, including spaces, the best scene or first 1,000 words of your novel, and your query letter.

Good luck!