Posted in Holidays, Publishing, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, Swirl and Spark Weekly, The Crimson Five series

Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey all! What’s new?

Not much here…just sitting around on a cloudy summer day figuring out how to keep this website fresh… and I thought of something! Hence the name of this blog post. Back in the day (like three years ago), I religiously blogged once each week, without fail, on Wednesdays. But as time has gone on, it has become harder to think up things to blog about and to find the time to do it. And as life has gotten in the way, my post have become more erratic.

But I hate that. I like connecting with all of you. So here I am, creating a weekly column called Swirl and Spark Weekly.

You may wonder why I think it will be easier to keep it up to date, now that I’ve given it a fancy title. And that would be a fair question. I mean I haven’t thought of any more earth shattering topics to write about, and life hasn’t slowed down at all. It’s is still… well life. But my mom taught me a long time ago that if you stay in touch with someone by talking to them on the phone every day, you know more about their every day life, not just the big moments. You’re more likely to pick up the phone because your conversations can be brief, you don’t have to have an hour long conversation each and every time. The task doesn’t seem so daunting. Sometimes it can be a brief check-in, just to say hello and let the other person know how you’re doing. And even though that’s just my mom ensuring that I call her every day, (Hi Mom!) she does have a point. 🙂 And yes, I do call my mom every day–mostly!

I’ve noticed that often times when I sit down to blog lately, I’m making it harder than it has to be. I’m trying to write something fabulous, something you know…worthwhile. But that’s wayyy too much pressure. So for now, until I get back into the routine, my weekly updates may be as thrilling as “Hey Guys, I went for a run/ slash walk today, spent too much time on Twitter, and struggled with what to make for dinner. Oh and I revised my WIP. How about you?” Or…it may be something amazing like, “Here’s the link to my new book trailer. Check it out!”

Many exciting things right now are happening for me as a writer, for the first time ever, and I want to share it with you all. You’ve been great at cheering me on through the struggles as I’ve worked toward publication, and now that it’s happening I want to bring you along with me to experience the fun stuff too! Because you will all be there soon enough too, if you aren’t already, and maybe my crazy ride will make yours just a little bit less crazy- if I share my stories with you!

So that’s that. I’m working on some other updates to the site too. The Book Nook will be getting a new look sometime soon. I’ve been more active on Good Reads lately so eventually I’ll be sharing my reviews over there. I’ll add a link when it’s updated so you’ll be able to see what I’m reading, what I want to read, and any reviews I’ve done.

I’ll also be adding back to the site some activities for kids pertaining to summer reading and writing. So keep checking back for those. I recently added my College Essay Assist information too. It’s that time of year again, so if your college- bound child needs my help, just click on the tab for info.

Do you guys have any fun holiday plans for the weekend? I’ll be doing a little packing (vacation is coming soon!), a little reading (I’m reading two books right now that are sooo good and critiquing my CPs WIP!), a little picnic-ing with the fam (always good to have family time), and taking a stroll through my town’s 4th of July exhibits at the Town Hall (lots of food, crafts, people watching…fun!).

The ARCs of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB (Book 1 of the Crimson Five series) should be arriving soon and I am literally shaking just thinking about it. Ten years is a LONG time to dream about holding your own book in your hands. I’m not sure if I will scream, faint, cry ugly tears, happy dance, or pee. Maybe all of the above!! I am sure that there will be pictures though. Lots of pictures and I will post them for all of you to see!

As far as writing goes, I’m on a writing break right now and it feels so weird! Like I have no projects hanging over my head. I submitted Book 2 of The Crimson Five series to my editor. We’ll start revising next month some time and I can’t wait! You know how much I love revising…polishing words is a sick sort of fun for me!! I’ll reveal the title and the release date in the coming weeks too.

So yeah, like I said, lots of fun stuff is happening around here and something really fun is happening next week in regards to the release of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB. It’s top secret though so you’ll have to check in next week to know what I’ve been up to!

Well my friends, I’m off to my exciting life of laundry, picking up after teenagers, and checking out Instagram! I may even buy the ingredients to make another flag cake this year. Doesn’t that sound fun?!

If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, come find me! I’m jackieyeager18. Or like my Facebook page: Jackie Yeager Author. I’d love to connect with you too!

Happy 4th to my friends in the USA! Cheers to independence and freedom…and a shout out to those around the world too, because everyone deserves a reason to celebrate!

Until next week…

Dream big and big things will happen!

Jackie ❤

Posted in Holidays

Merry Christmas 2015!

Hi Everyone,

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is here already~ the most magical time of the year! I wish each of you peace, joy, health, and a celebration (big or small) filled with family, friends and those you love.

Thank you for being a special part of my joy.

Merry Christmas and hugs to each and every one of you. Take a little time for you this week…take some time to be jolly!

Tis the season to be jolly

 

 

Posted in Critique Corner, Holidays

Happy New Year 2015!

Bring on 2015! Are you ready for it? I am so ready. I’m ready to say goodbye to the old and in with the new. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. 2014 was a good year, but I’m a sap for new beginnings in any shape at all. That’s why I love January so much. I love starting fresh. I love taking showers first thing in the morning. I love making fresh tracks in the snow. I love watching the sunrise. I love new notebooks and new sharpened pencils. I love making plans. I love making lists.

So here’s a list of what I have planned for this website and blog in 2015.

More books highlighted in the Book Nook

More books listed in my To Be Read Pile

More short stories posted in Writer’s Showcase

More participants in our Critique Corner Rounds

More posts about getting published on the blog

So here’s the thing. I’ll take care of the Book Nook, Writer’s Showcase and the blog, but all of you can help me with Critique Corner. Please. Pretty Please! Help me spread the word about our virtual critique rounds. I’d love to reach as many writers as I can. That way we’ll all make our writing better.

Our next round is at the end of January. What better way to ring in the New Year than to submit your work and let the rest of us help you polish it up? I’m accepting submissions right now, so get yours in! The details can be found on the Critique Corner tab and right here.

And new for this round, I’m bringing in a special guest to provide feedback too! My amazing new critique partner, the Fabulous Melyssa (aka Mel) will be critiquing all the entries! Believe me. You want her to critique your words. She and her purple highlighter have done wonders with my manuscript. On the merit of her middle grade manuscript, Mel was one of the chosen participants in last fall’s PITCH WARS on Brenda Drake’s website. Yeah. She’s good. 🙂 I’m so excited to have her help. Thanks, Mel!!

As far as the blog, I’m going to be posting more about the process of getting published. Query Letters. Submitting. Agents. There’s so much to getting published and based on feedback I’ve gotten on the blog, I think some posts on this subject might be helpful to many of you. So stay tuned!

January is a time to start fresh and who knows what the new year will have in store for any of us. The unknown can be exciting though and I’m choosing to embrace that fact. Happy New Year and cheers to all of us. May we all make each day this year all kinds of amazing!

Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

What better way to ring in 2014 than to write something new? Today and in the early days of the New Year, I challenge you to push yourself… to create a story different from your usual stuff. If you normally write stories about real things that have happened to you in the past (like your vacation), why not write about a made up invention? If you usually write about sports, why not research one of our former presidents and write about the activities he participated in as a boy? If you like to write about animals, why not write a mystery? Maybe even a mystery that involves your pet? Writing the puzzle of your very own mystery story is tough—but a great way to get your ideas swirling!

For the older writers out there, you could do the same thing. If you usually set your stories in a high school, why not write your characters into a different setting? Like maybe a spa or the restaurant where they work. How about a big city? Research a place you’d love to go. Immerse yourself in that culture, whether it’s Paris, NYC, or the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Then find a way for your character to travel there. Who knows what a new setting could do for your characters and your story?

The New Year brings with it an amazing opportunity to start fresh. We can pack away the old ways of doing things (if they aren’t working, of course) and give something new a try! With each story we write, we improve. So this year, if you like to write, keep writing! Keep working on that great idea. Make the time to turn it into a story—even if it turns into a short story or merely a section of a story. The important thing is to get those thoughts down on paper before you forget about them!

Even if those stories get tucked away in a drawer in your bedroom or a file on your laptop, whatever you do, keep them! They’re important. Someday you’ll want to read them. Reading the old stories you’ve written is the best way to see how far you’ve come as a writer in the past year! And besides, there may be parts of those stories that you want to use again in your next even better story!

So in the spirit of the New Year, I’d like to leave you with 7 words:

Cheer

Key

Corner

Believe

Shock

Box

Choice

In your free time, turn these words into a short story. Be sure to include a problem and a solution. Make your characters memorable and make their problem BIG! Remember, the bigger the stakes the better the story.

Have fun with this! I’d love to read the stories you come up with and post them on the website. 

And remember, go check out the Critique Corner tab. We’re having our next critique round on January 29th. The stories can be about these 7 words but they don’t have to be. I’m accepting stories right now and up until January 27th. I’m sure there are many readers who’d love to read what you’re working on… and I bet you’d love to get some feedback too. 🙂 So go on. You can do it. Break out your notebook or laptop or tablet. Let 2014 be the year you become a better writer. That’s my wish for all of us!

So cheers…Let’s turn those sparks of imagination into our best stories yet! Happy New Year!!

*hugs* Jackie

Posted in Holidays

Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas to all my Swirl and Spark friends! It’s been a busy time around my house lately. We’ve had fun days full of family, friends and cookies. Yes, lots of cookies! I hope you’re having a happy holiday season too. Thanks for stopping by the blog. I’ll be back soon with more goodies for you but in the meantime, I’m sending virtual cookies your way with my warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas!  😊

Posted in Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Six years and ten months ago, I became a writer.  

It was a wintery January day, when an idea for a children’s book burst into my head—like a sparkle from an icicle almost. At first I ignored it. I’m not sure why exactly. But the idea was persistent. I couldn’t get it out of my head. 

A few days later, I bought a notebook and started writing the idea down on paper. I wrote late at night. I wrote while my daughter was in gymnastics. I wrote while my son built Lego knights. I wrote whenever I had five or ten or twenty minutes to spare. My husband thought I was going crazy. (Maybe I was! 🙂 ) But, the more I wrote, the more excited about my story I became. Eventually that idea turned into a completed novel filled with my whole heart. It took me six months to write it and revise it. Megan in Middle School was story about four best friends who venture off to middle school and face all sorts of drama and adventure.  I thought it was the most amazing story ever written.

It wasn’t.

I thought I would send it to the first literary agent on my list and she would love it.

She didn’t.

I thought I could get my first novel published and I would have a fabulous career as a published author.

I couldn’t and I didn’t.

And that’s what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for that very first idea I had. I’m thankful for Megan and her adventures with her friends: Courtney, Lindsey and AJ. That story will always have a special place in my heart—because that’s the story that turned me into a writer.

I went on to write a second story, because I realized that Megan in Middle School would never be strong enough to be a published novel. I had so much to learn about writing children’s books.  And so that’s what I did. I went to writing conferences. I signed up for writing workshops on line. I read today’s most popular children’s books.  And most of all, I kept writing. Because like I say, the best way to become a better writer is to write!

Today I think of my second novel as the story I wrote as I learned how to write. I spent much longer on that one, over two years in fact! I fell in love with that book even harder than Megan in Middle School.  But that one had its flaws too and wasn’t meant to be published as it was. One day I’ll go back to it, (and that’s why I’m not sharing the title with you) but for now, it’s waiting patiently for me to pick it up like I once did and give it the attention it deserves.

My focus now is on my third novel, the spark that came from a million ideas swirling in my head. Literally. You’ll know what I mean by that when you read it some time. This story is everything I want it to be. And more.  I couldn’t be more proud of a story or love a story more. One day I hope to share it with you. But first it needs a bit more work. A bit more polish and even a bit more heart. And that’s what I’m working on now.

That…and this blog! For years I’ve wanted to create a place where younger writers could come to read about anything and everything that has to do with the world of writing.  I found so many wonderful blogs to help me out when I was first starting out. Miss Snark’s First Victim and Kidlit.com were and still are a few of my favorites. (You should check them out!)  I wanted to create the same thing for younger writers. I had so many ideas for this blog. I just never had the time to get them down on paper and I never thought I had ENOUGH ideas to make this place interesting. But then I realized that I had to give it a shot. Because, just like Megan in Middle School, I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head!

And so here I am—thankful that I never could get those ideas out of my head.  Thankful they kept swirling. Thankful that I had the courage to follow my ideas, wherever they have led me!

You may have noticed that this blog post isn’t like I had said it would be. Instead of our usual Critique Round, I had planned to post all kinds of things that my readers were thankful for. The truth is, this blog is pretty new and hasn’t reached as many people as I know it will. That takes time and that’s okay. I’m a patient person! It takes even more time for those people to want to share what they’re thinking. But that’s okay too! I know this blog has developed a small but loyal following. (I have ways of knowing these things. 🙂 ) And for that I’m very thankful! And who knows, the next year may bring even more visitors!

So for now, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who stop by either once in a while or every Wednesday to read my new post. I’m thankful for all of you!

And most of all, I want to say thank you to the people who encourage my crazy writing dream every single day! You know who you are! 🙂

*And today just when I thought there weren’t any of my blog readers who wanted to share, a few did just that…

Sent from Riley:
This year, I’m thankful for that New Idea that popped into my head a few months ago. I think I’d like to write a book about it, and I feel like it’d be really neat to write. I’m excited to see how it turns out when I finally get around to writing it!

I’m also really glad there’s so much great music around, because it’s great inspiration for writing, and because it helps a lot of people get through a lot of difficult things.

Sent from Scott B.:
Im thankful for finishing this really good book and it even has a sequel!

Sent from Mackenzie N.:
Thankful –
Gobble Gobble Gobble thanksgiving is coming up and did you know that thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, eat a lot of food like turkey and get together with family. But I would like to tell you that I am thankful for many things. One thing I am thankful for is my family. I am thankful for my family because one part of my family is my parents. I am thankful for my parents because they take care of me, feed me, give me shelter, buy me clothes, and give me entertainment, but that’s not all that they do for me that’s the basic they do many other things for me. I am also thankful for a different part of my family my siblings {I have many of them I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters}. I am thankful for my siblings because they entertain me by doing some cool and exciting things. I am also thankful for my siblings because I have 3 of my 4 brothers that do or did hockey and there games could be quite entertaining. also I have 2 sisters that can do girl stuff with me [ I would be desperate with out them. And only have for brothers and be the only girl]. A second thing I am thankful for is my pets. I am thankful for my pets because I have a lot and I love animals { I have 2 dogs buddy [boxer] and Charlie[chit-zoo] , 4 cats Boo ,Clohe Boots and last but not least Mynx, I have 2 lizards [bearded dragons ]. In conclusion / I am thankful for many things like family and pets.

Posted in Critique Corner, Holidays

Critique Corner Update

In honor of Thanksgiving, we won’t be holding a critique round in November. Instead, I’d like to turn the blog into a collection of thank you notes!

Writing is a gift and that warrants an entire blog post, don’t you think?

Starting today, you’ll have a chance to write about something or someone you’re thankful for. Whether you’re a writer, simply love books, or just like to visit this site, I’d love to hear from you! You may be thankful for something related to your writing, or you may be thankful for something else. Whatever that is, go ahead and write about it! Then email me at swirlandspark@gmail.com. I’ll post your message and everyone else’s on the blog the day before Thanksgiving.

So, what are you thankful for this year?                           

A favorite book?

When your favorite book is made into a movie?

Quiet time spent writing in your journal?

The fact that you finally finished writing your first short story?

When your mom says, “Yes,” after you beg for just 5 more minutes to finish a chapter before bedtime?

Or even just your mom?                                                      

Whatever it is that you’re thankful for, why not write about it? We all have so much to be thankful for, but we’re not always comfortable saying it out loud. (We are writers after all, right??) So what better way to say it, then to write about it on swirl and spark?

So please send me your messages. Grab a pen and paper, turn on your computer, or open up your Plain Text app. Then write your message. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to share when you’re truly thankful for what you’re writing about. 🙂

Posted in Holidays

Blog Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the Swirl & Spark blog and welcome to my first official blog post!  I’m happy to announce that Swirl & Spark is alive and swirling. For anyone just stumbling  upon this site, feel free to look around and comment. I mean it. I’d love to hear what you think of it. Besides, it’s always nice to have someone else join in on the celebration!

I have high hopes for Swirl & Spark. I’ve wanted to create a blog for young writers ever since I started writing stories myself. Well, that may be an exaggeration since back then I was only about 7 years old and all I wanted to do was act out the plays I had written for my brother and sisters.  (More on that later.)

My goal now is to create a community of young writers, a place where kids like you can gather together to encourage each other’s writing. I’m sure each of you has amazing ideas and interesting stories to tell. Hopefully by working together, we can make our stories even better!

So here it is. Swirl and Spark. I hope you like it. I hope you’ll tell your friends about it. I hope you stop by often and I hope you comment on these posts too. If you have an idea for a topic, I’d love to read about it. If you have a question, I’ll try to answer that also.  But before you go, check out the tabs on the right so you’ll get an idea of what this site is really all about!

Thanks for stopping by. See you on Wednesday… but until then keep writing. Write anything. Write a song. Write a rhyme. Write a description of your pet lizard or your princess tiara. That’s how you become a better writer.