Calling All Tweeners and Teens (MG/YA)

I’VE HAD AN AH-HA MOMENT AND CANNOT believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier.

Here I am blogging my little heart out with my personal musings, photography, art and information about my books, some of which might—just maybesome of the time—be of interest to my focus group (the middle- and high-school readers). Though the things I write about are always “clean”—wholesome and viewable by any age (I want to maintain my “G-rated” status), I must (much of the time) seem awfully boring to the middle grade and young adult readers.

That’s not my intent.

So, to rectify that, I am looking for young writers, ages 10-17, that might be interested in using my blog platform to show off their writing and artistic skills. I know you are out there. I’ve seen evidence of it! Some truly awesome writing and art by so many young people! Depending on the number of submissions received, I will post on Wednesdays, at least once a month—I only need four to five regulars to post weekly. Submitted work will remain anonymous (if you wish, use a pen name)—unless you choose to reveal your true identity to the readers, but either way … when submitting, I will need real (legal) name, age and a verifiable email address and parents phone number (you are under-age…I need permission to do this).

What qualifies? Things that kids can related to, connect with … here’s the requirements:

Submissions may be poetry, prose, artistic or photo-journalistic in nature, about:

Excerpts from a story or poem you are writing
•Photos, artwork or sketches that tells a story
•Short stories about problems you encountered and have—or are attempting to—overcome
•Short stories about awesome teachers/instructors/adults that have help you overcome an issue/obstacle
•Tell us why you like to read—and what type of books you like to read
•Tell us why writing or art is a passion—and what types of writing or art you do
•What are the passions in your life?
•Let us know what kinds of things are lifting you up or dragging you down

You could even give us a book review of your favorite/least favorite book/poem. Show ’em how it’s done right, without putting the author down. This is not a school book report, don’t worry. Why did you like/dislike it? What made you pick it up to read in the first place? Did the book cover catch your eye or a friend recommend it? Or did a teacher force you to read it and you discovered it wasn’t so bad?

Other types of submissions will be considered on an individual basis.

Submissions should be (I will consider exceptions to this rule):
•No longer than 800 words
•Use less than ten photos (JPEGs no larger than 10mb)
•Verbiage must be clean—that means, think and write about what you want to want to say without vulgarity. No swear words. It is possible. (Submissions will not be automatically rejected, but I may return for re-writes with suggestions.)
•Photos must not be vulgar—I know … that is in the eye of the beholder, but please consider that my site is pretty much G-rated and I do not want to violate my readers’ trust. I will have the final say—I may choose to use it with a cautionary note to readers if I feel it is appropriate to what you are trying to convey.

Pass this link on to others you think might be interested in participating. As soon as I get materials from a few of you, I’ll begin posting on Wednesdays—I’ll announce the first post the Friday before. Together, we can make things work.

MUSINGS and ramblings…

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Ireland, I have given myself plenty of time to find everything that I will need. Weeks upon weeks, in fact. Now I am down to four days–well, actually, three and a half–and I am just now remembering things to add and must still find. Where is that list when you need it?!

I like to think of myself as being fairly organized, but (at least with me) with age, goes memory. Once I used to find things in a flash…now, not so “flashy”. Having a very “lived-in” home does not help. And I have no one but myself to blame. It’s just me, myself and I…plus a dog and a cat. I’d much rather do anything else–literally anything — but houseclean, so just the basics are done. Occasionally, I get crazy and do tons of cleaning…then figure I can leave it for “awhile”. It would help to have enough proper storage, which I do not have. That’s on my list of things to do, but I think, I must consider that as part of the “housecleaning” conundrum because it hasn’t happened yet. (wink)

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day searching for a stupid little global phone, last used on my trip in April, 2011. In my mind’s eye, I can see it clearly — in the quart-sized zip bag with it’s power cord and instructions, yet after spending so much time searching, I have yet to find it. I have checked all of the places it should be, the places it might have been placed and when 11pm finally rolled around, gave up looking in places it may have shifted to unintentionally. Such a small device in a large home is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

When I get home, it will probably be sitting there, in plain view, taunting me. Or, I figure some day, when I have the house cleaned down to it’s bare bones (and ready to move out?), I’ll come across it — and many other ‘lost’ items along the way, and think to myself: “So that’s where it got to!” Then, hopefully, I will place it in a safe, locatable home so the next time I need it, I will actually be able to find it.

A permanent list and permanent homes for all my travel things would be an excellent idea. Maybe, just maybe it will get taken care of when I get home.

Deep sigh. Maybe…

Now I’m in the Groove!

Aaah!  Finally.  Poetry unit done, now on to fiction.  You get to see my assignments as I do them (boring, I know, but I am so excited — just gotta share them)!

writings by debra smith

(assignment: no more than 300 words, describe something that evokes specific emotions/feels w/o using the word & no people in it)–I was enjoying myself too much…over-achiever…did two of ’em:


Wind sweeping up from below, catching hold of anything in its path, strikes relentlessly against the few tattered bits of vegetation that manage to grab hold and survive here.  The sun is cloaked in a fog that wraps its icy fingers around and seeps into every crevice, leaving only ghostly shapes to haunt the memory.

A singular silhouette of a tree, bent over backward, shudders against the ever-present wind, protesting in silence.  Tenacious droplets of water harvested from the fog hiding in the craggy bark of its branches, enabling wisps of lacy, pale green lichen and patches of bright orange fungi to struggle for their very existence.  Exposed roots of this solitary tree cling desperately to the imposing cliff.

The jagged prominence stands as a lone sentinel, laid out in front of the oncoming barrage of waves and wind, bracing itself against the inevitable wasting.  Pebbles and boulders alike tumble to their final resting place, mounding up beneath the churning waves to create their own gravestone.

Nothing save the moaning of the wind through hollows and branches and the bombardment of crashing waves, not one sound — not even a single bird calling out in distress, fighting against the wind to find sanctuary — can be found in this place as the storm approaches.

(word count:  213)


Where once stood tranquil orchards and fields set upon rich, soft brown earth, now, well, now everything is larger than life; buildings of all sorts towering over and surrounding everything like giants.  Some were dark and sinister; others like mirrors, reflecting nearly everything that touched them, especially the beautiful blue, cloudless sky.  The sun glinted on others, almost blinding observers.  Even in the glaring light, the neon signs vied for the viewers attention.  “Come Here!”  “See Me!”

All around, rushing to unknown destinations, there is pushing and shoving without a thought to the comfort or discomfort of those around them.  Cares everywhere:  revving engines, honking horns, screeching tires and some drivers yelling above the din to protest some unseen calamity.  The heat from the pavement and sidewalk is so stifling that any plantings that usually survive were wilted beyond recognition.  Feet danced from the heat soaked up through the soles of shoes.  Standing in one place could result in blistered feet — or a trampled body.

All of this made navigation through the throng of souls daunting.  Finally, through this wave of bodies, a portal opens, allowing one to escape to a calmer, quieter, alternate world within one of the massive buildings.

(word count:  201)

Now, the assignment I get to work on tonight is to take my description (s) above and weave a person into it (them).  I read #1 to the class, so that’s where I will start…but I will do it with both of them.  My #2 description actually had a person in it, but the rule was no people, so I had to pull her out & adjusted the description.  Now, I’ll put her back in, but may not change the description back to the original…it turned out too cool to do that ^,^  I have till Tuesday to get this right.  I am loving it.

Hope you are enjoying my writings.


I am taking a creative writing class to improve my writing skills — a neverending task — to keep from becoming stagnant.  The course would cover poetry (which I never really enjoyed or wanted to do, even in high school), fiction (I can hardly wait!!) and non-fiction (oh, dear…memoirs, etc).

LOL…so, I must endure the poetry section of the creative writing class before they get to the fiction writing — so you get to share in my misery.  My first full-fledged homework assignment was to write 3-5 original poems & one had to be formal (that’s to say, had to follow the dictates of the style I chose) — the rest could be free-writing.  So, here they are.  Enjoy (or endure):

(Haiku Poem — my chosen formal poem, must have 3 lines, 5 syllables, then 7 syllables, then 5 again.)

Waterfall (hmmm…usually no title in Haiku!)

Thundering, misting

Tumbling down over rocks

Into bab’ling brook.

(Free-style Poem)


Four years, sometimes fleeting–sometimes agonizingly slow

Lonely nights, days without

Learning to live alone.

Trying to find a new identity

Doing this and that

Dismal failures, jubilant successes.

Faith, family and friends: my security net

Keep me alive and thriving

Looking ahead, not behind.

The anniversary comes, less pain now

Everyone mourns The Towers

I chose to celebrate Life

I’m free

At last.

Cinquain (another formal poem style, 5 lines, syllables: 2,4,6,8,2…more rules, but I don’t think I got that part right, so I won’t bore you with them ^,^)



Falling softly,

Golden leaves cascade down.

Crimson, crinkled, t’is the season.

Piled high.

I did one more but it is monster-long, so I won’t bore you (and I really messed it up, even though it’s free form!)

Have fun reading.

NaNoWriMo:National Novel Writing Month

Hello, all!

This will be a first for me — I’m diving in (already signed up) and participating!  NaNoWriMo is all about writing — beginning November 1, ending November 30 at midnight, anyone that wishes to sign up and join in, commits to (attempt to??)  write a 50,000 word novel.  The goal is not quality, but quantity — so that opens it up to anyone that wants to give it a try.  This quantity over quality is something very foreign to me, so I consider it quite a challenge!

I will post my gibberish here — or at least excerpts — for your reading pleasure.

If anyone is interested, here’s the link to the NaNoWriMo site:

Let me know if you decide to give it a try!  If you register, my online name is djamesonsmith.  See you there.

New Information!

Here’s some stuff I’ve been doing recently–some for fun, some serious:

New Storyline Created for Middle-Schoolers.

I just finished a personalized story created especially for the 13-15 year old age group and am excited at the potential it creates. A fantasy with a bit of a moral twist, your pre-teen might find this a good read.  It takes them through the highly possible situation of a friendship tiff and the moral solution.

One Day In May

Apparently, this theme was done in 2003, internationally.  A specific day was chosen, then from the time each photographer (whether amateur or professional) arose, they took one picture every hour until they went to sleep and finally posted them online.

It was repeated on May 10, 2009 — I am not sure who has participated this year, but I chose to try it for the first time.  Below, you’ll find my One Day in May, 2009.  Some photos were taken in situations where I could not use flash or the effect would have been lost…so I  manipulated them to create black and white images, which then enhanced the images.  I also found myself sidetracked and missed a few “hours”…


Too early to get up!   IMG_0042.JPG Daily routine of meds...        IMG_0723.JPG Last things to put on after getting dressed!    IMG_0043.JPG

5:42:55 am             6:02:50 am                6:32:36 am

Too early to get up!  Morning meds… Last to go on in AM

Feed me!          IMGP0427.PEF

7:38:14 am

Feed me!

worship at church      IMG_0725.JPG still in worship service -- close friends & their son & his girl friend         helping in Sunday school 1st graders          IMGP0428.PEF

7:58:32 am             8:34:21 am         11:19:29 am

(L) worship at church;  (Ctr)still in worship service — close friends & their son & his girl friend;  (R) helping in Sunday school 1st graders
driving home         IMGP0429.PEF
12:21:39 pm

driving home
easterly view on Sunday at home       IMGP0431.PEF relaxing in living room: a view        IMGP0433.PEF being chauffered to Mother's Day dinner        IMGP0435.PEF

1:06:02 pm          3:17:26 pm                    4:01:39 pm

easterly view      relaxing in living        being chauffered to      at home            room: a view          Mother’s Day dinner

We're early, so wandering in plaza before dinner        IMGP0436.PEF

4:33:00 pm

We’re early, so wandering in plaza before dinner

Flying Fish decoration         IMGP0438.PEF on our way out the door -- lovely dinner          IMGP0441.PEF

5:27:32 pm                                6:36:21 pm

Flying Fish Restaurant         on our way out the door                decoration                               –lovely dinner

I forgot to shot two hours -- this is the last thing I saw before lights out: "n

9:31:42 pm

“nobody’s perfect”

…and the end of this experiment.

W E L C O M E !


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