Posts filed under ‘Events’

We’re Moving!





WriteLikeCRAZY is packing up and moving to a new home!  

Because my goal is to focus on writing and teaching fiction, I decided to merge my two blogs into one powerhouse of information and inspiration!  

What will change:   

  • WriteLikeCRAZY blog will still be here so you can find archived prompts, tips and links like before
  • Writers Inspired will be home to how-to tips on the craft of writing and submitting your fiction work, for both young adult and adult writers
  • Writers Inspired will occasionally host published authors through interviews or guest posts on the writing, organizing and publishing processes, plus awesome Book Giveaways!!
  • Writers Inspired will also offer games, exercises and prompts for young adult writers (and their teachers!!) to use
  • Writers Inspired will be like an online writers group where you can read and share helpful topics, like:  unique ways to find ideas, dealing with procrastination, the latest in writing contests and new markets, tools and resources for fiction writers, tips on tracking submissions and all aspects of the fiction writing craft.
  • Writers Inspired will have one page for young writers with links, prompts and advice PLUS one page for teachers with lesson plan ideas, games to energize the class and notes on what I’ve learned as a Creative Writing Teacher
  • Writers Inspired will also have a list of events for young writers and teachers in the DuPage County (IL) area

What you need to do:  

  • Go to Writers Inspired
  • Click “Follow”
  • Be surprised by the updates you get in your email inbox or Google Reader every time a new post appears
  • Leave lots of comments! This new blog is for you – the readers-and I want to provide content that you’re interested in reading: )
  • Send your friends and teachers!

So, thank you to my current and future followers! Now, let’s get on the ROAD!!!  


April 15, 2010 at 10:55 am 1 comment

Student Writing Contest and Scholarship

Amazing opportunity for young writers!  Can’t you just taste the salty sea air already?  Good luck!

The Black Dog Tall Ships & Merlyn’s Pen Writing Contest

Start Date   March 10, 2010End Date   May 1, 2010Eligibility   Writers ages 12 to 17
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sails’ shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.


I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied. . . . ”  from

“Sea Fever,” by John Masefield


Has something in nature ever called to you? Has your soul been tugged by something not quite seen, only felt? Have you seen a place in nature that you’ve never forgotten? Have you been outside in a storm or shower and felt, yes, I belong here. Writers, artists and adventurers share a sensitivity to nature’s claim on us. In their art and exploration, they are attuned to a hidden, even incomprehensible connection to the natural world.

For the young poet John Masefield, whose phrase “down to the seas” is never far from a sailor’s mind when he or she has been too long on land, it was the ocean that tugged at his soul, called out to him. For others, it might be the sky that beckons, or the mountains, a desert, or a grove. Or the tug could come from a simple tree, a creek, a pond, a garden, a country path, an arrangement of stones. This contest asks: What in nature calls, or has called out, to you?


Writers 12 to 17 years old as of July 11, 2010, are eligible. Poetry, personal narratives (nonfiction), and creative nonfiction are welcome.

The winner earns a full scholarship, plus a travel stipend of up to $400* to attend The Black Dog Tall ShipsKids Cruise–Writers’ Week,” the writing & sailing adventure for teens this July in Martha’s Vineyard. 


Go to, and on the home page click Submit Your Writing Here, or click “You Write,” then “Submit Your Writing.” Writers may submit up to three poems or two personal narratives during the contest period. (If you enter poetry and prose, send no more than two poems and one narrative.)

Click here for inspiration! See how some teen authors have written about nature and the sea.

March 22, 2010 at 12:02 am

Local Events for young writers (and readers!)

Indie Bookstores need our love!

They’re worth it! Look at the fun events Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, IL)  is hosting over the next week:

Maryrose_Wood_01Maryrose_Wood_02 MARYROSE WOOD

In her first middle grade book series, Maryrose Wood presents some wild, canine-like children that will have readers howling! In The Mysterious Howling, a young governess is charged with raising the Incorrigibles, and facing some most unusual mysteries. Come meet the author-a former stand-up comic-and find out about this Book 1 in her The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3 at 7:00 p.m.

Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville



We’re celebrating with young adult authors Carrie Jones and Alyx Harvey, who each have books to share. Ms. Jones book, Captivate, puts readers in a pixie world with a demanding King and escalating turf wars. Zara makes a daring rescue of love interest, Nick, and finds her life is on the line. And in Hearts at Stake, author Harvey brings a vampire romance teens will love. Alliances are formed, family ties are strained, and a power-hungry queen threatens. Free tickets are available at Anderson’s in Naperville for this event, but are limited to 40 guests. Books will be offered for purchase at the event. Please avoid disappointment and call today!

THURSDAY, MARCH 4 at 5:30 p.m.

Lou Malnati’s, 131 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville




What if you had just one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? In Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver’s new raw, emotional teen novel, the value of everything in life is weighed. Please join us to meet the author of this heartbreaking, but beautiful, story.

MONDAY, MARCH 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville

February 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Announcing…a book club for WRITERS!

The passion for writing is pretty wide spread, so when a fellow writer and/or teacher contacts me about some neat project they’re doing to help inspire young writers, I’m so open to helping them spread the word.


E.M. Rowan, of E.M. Rowan’s Field Notes (Research for Beginning Writers) would like to share this info with you:

The Writer’s Book Club will be an online group—if you want, participate from the comfort of your home while wearing pajamas! No one will see you or even hear your voice. I’ll announce the book; approximately a month later, I’ll create a discussion post. Everyone is welcome to join in and comment as much as you want. My only rule is that you be respectful of the author and other people’s opinions. Feel free to calmly disagree with the author or readers, but I’ll delete comments such as, “This club sucks! I’m right and you’re wrong! This is the worst book in the history of the world!” You get the idea.

While brainstorming ideas for how the book club would work, Ellie had a great suggestion:  ” . . . then on the blog we talk about what writing was good in the book, and what writing was bad, so then it’s not just about the story, but we’re studying it from a writer’s perspective. We could even take it deeper and read one book because the author is famous for giving good descriptions, and another that is good at story-pace, and one that is good at back story . . .”

I immediately pounced on this idea. How many book clubs study from a writer’s perspective? Maybe lots, I don’t know. But I like it, so I’m incorporating it. That does not mean you must be a writer in order to join the club. Anybody who wants to read books is welcome. We’ll still be discussing the story, characters, favorite parts, etc. But if you’re a writer, it’s like an extra bonus. I hope you’ll learn something new by studying each book.

The first book is Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater and the discussion begins on December 2nd.

November 30, 2009 at 12:02 am 2 comments

Ready, Set, NaNo!

OK, I’ll make this brief, I’m saving up all my words for NaNo, ya know!

TheSecretoftheSacredScarab_coverOn Tuesday, November 10, stop in and talk to published author, Fiona Ingram. Fiona will give you writing tips and use examples from her newest novel: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. And if you like Egyptian themes, you’re in for a treat! Fiona will also provide a long list of sites and books to check out to feed that Sphinx craze!

Then come back here throughout the month of November for some rockin’ novel prompts.

I’ll have quick, intriguing ideas on how to take your novel in a new direction. Some prompts will be silly, some scary, some just absurd. It will depend on my coffee level that day : )

Feel free to add your own prompts – you may help another NaNo’er push past a block.

Bring your friends! Bring your Teacher! Bring your Teacher’s Friends! And let’s NaNo!

October 29, 2009 at 12:04 am

Are you ready to NaNo?

ywp nano logoNaNoWriMo is not some texting lingo, guys, it’s only the COOLEST, CRAZIEST, LARGEST project of writing across the globe.

Excited yet?

You should be! National Novel Writing Month begins at the stroke of midnight on November 1 (after all the candy-munching goblins have scampered off to bed) and goes through midnight November 30: 1 month, 30 days, 50,000 words.

A Novel. In one month. Write it. Don’t edit it. Get it down on paper or computer. Upload it to the YWPNaNo site to be showered with riches and glory. OK, you’ll receive a cool certificate to print out and a rockin’ badge for your site, blog Facebook page, what-have-you, plus the bragging rights you’ll have that you wanted to write a novel and you did it!

I know you’re thinkin’ I’m crazy and you can’t do this.

Yes, I am and yes you can!

What’s neat for young writers, is the flexible word count limit you can select. On their site, they list your grade in school and how many words you should shoot for (for your goal.) There are character and plot discussion rooms, forums on settings and word war games. Wanna know more?

You have to sign up! It’s free. it’s fast, it’s FANtabulous.

You’re going to join me, aren’t you?

Be my buddy: register yourself then come back and click this link to get to my page and see what I’m working on!

Check back here later and I’ll be posting survival tips for NaNo. Cause it’s jungle out there…

October 21, 2009 at 12:01 am 1 comment

Are you ready to NaNo?

ywp nano logo

What’s NaNo?  No, not the next dance craze you’ll see on Dancing with the Stars or the up-and-coming sound you’ll hear on Glee!


NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writers Month and runs from November 1-30 every year. Thousands share in this crazy experience of writing a complete novel  – start to finish in only 30 days. How? Lots of caffeine, support and of course a good story idea!


No, better than that, a solid outline of your plot, developed characters and plenty of  descriptive scenery to beef up your word count.


The rules? Pretty simple, really. Sign up on line – it’s free, though they do appreciate donations to keep their massive server running, their volunteers pumped with caffeinated beverages and I’m guessing they have a heck of an electric bill. Browse around the site, get to know others in the chat rooms and forums. Then, TELL EVERYONE you know that you will be writing a novel in November. Will it become published? Maybe, someday. But the goal of NaNoWriMo is to say you’re going to do this and follow through. The catch: No revising! That’s right chickadees, no cross-outs, spell check, or rewriting one scene until it melts from your page like butter. If you did this, you would not complete a first draft in only 30 days. December is for Revising!


So, are you with me? Find me and “friend me” so we can keep each other motivated and see how our word count grows! My handle is: “mjcwriter”


More on NaNo as we get closer to November…

September 15, 2009 at 12:02 am

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