Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Win a Signed Copy of ROCK STAR SANTA

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

You know what that means...........Christmas is right around the corner. And Santa is busy getting ready for his big night on Christmas Eve---his Christmas concert.


Yes. Santa's choosing his Christmas Carols and adapting them to electric guitar. Donner is on bass and Blitzen is beating those drums.

1. So if you want to attend the concert-- get your ROCK STAR SANTA picture book today. Available at Scholastic Teacher's Catalog (Option 3)

2. Or become a new follower of The Storyteller's Scroll and win a a front row seat to Santa's "rowdy, rockin'' Christmas concert.

3. Or make a comment about why you would like to win this "hit" Christmas book.

Winner will be announced on December 15th, so the book will arrive in time for Christmas Eve.

Merry Rockin' Christmas


Thursday, October 31, 2013

And the winner is.........

The SPOOKY Halloween first page contest was a “howling” success. Stories from lost houses to changelings on a school campus to a child that lures a young boy into a ghost dance for eternity.

The ghastly ghouls have agreed that the winner of the first MG/YA Spooky first page contest is:

Donna Smith with her “Lost House” entry.

Congratulations, Donna. Please send your 5 chapters as an attachment to within the first five days of November—the submission period for First Peek Critique.

So tonight,
when the moon shines bright in the sky,
and ghosts and witches on broomsticks fly by,
be aware of noises,
But don’t shiver with fright.
It’s only the spirit of Halloween night.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Just a reminder!

With October coming to a speedy close and November's time for NaNoMo and PiBoldMo. Sign up and get inspired. Who knows, maybe your next great novel or picture book will be born of these great creative gatherings.

Monday, October 7, 2013

"First Page" Halloween Story Contest

For the past five years, the Storyteller's Scroll has sponsored a Halloween Poetry Contest. You can find some excellent poems in the archives. Some even went on to be sold to children's magazines like Highlights and Hopscotch.

This year, I'd like to sponsor something different........... A Spooky "First Page" Contest for a MG or YA story.

Use the picture above for a prompt and write no more than the first 23 lines of a Halloween or Spooky novel.  All stories should reflect the picture above in some way. Please make sure your name, title and genre are designated on your first page and that you use 12 point font.

Subject line should say -  Halloween First Page Contest - your name - your genre

You can send the pages in the body of the email to

Last day for submissions is October 28th. Winner will be announced on Halloween.

The best written, most intriguing first page will win a 5 chapter critique of any MG or YA novel you are currently writing. The critique value is $200.00 and will be sponsored by First Peek Critique, my critique service.

Judges of the first page contest will be my awesome YA WONDERWRITERS critique group.

Good luck and don't let the shadows scare you. :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Better Late Than Never......Author Blog Hop

I know this should have been posted in September, but I was a tad bit busy.

Busy you say..........what could you have been doing that you couldn't get a simple blog post up? Well......I read nine other writers full manuscripts for a wonderful writer's retreat we attended at Avalon, NJ.

I polished two of my own manuscripts to be read by awesome agents that attended above retreat.

I critiqued and posted poems for The Poet's Garage.

I submitted my seasonal poem to Children's Writer.

I queried several agents with my latest completed novel.

And I went to NYC to support my godson, who was a contestant on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

So, now, I can post the author blog hop.....hop....hippity hop..... and because I'm so late, I'm going to introduce you to one fantastic writer instead of three, but first a word from our sponsor...........ME!

I will answer the 4 mandatory questions and then turn the blog over to ROXANNE WERNER.

So first things first, I was asked to participate in this AUTHOR'S BLOG HOP by not one, but two awesome writers, both whom I'm happy to say have been critique partners of mine. One, Lori Mortensen, was in my very first crit group, THE SLUSHSLASHERS, when I branched out from picture books to novels and the other, Anita Nolan, is currently one of my critique partners in the YA WONDERWRITERS.

Lori is very published and you can view her books on her website - 

And Anita runs a fantastic blog at

So here are the answers to my four questions:

1. What are you currently working on?
So, I have completed 5 novels over the past 10 years. Now, I am about to start a new one and for the first time I'm using an outline. New for me, since I'm primarily a "panster." I used to think it would tie me down and not let my creativity take over, but I was wrong. The creativity still comes, it just comes at a different time, so I can brainstorm the entire novel before I'm actually in it, because when I get in a new novel, I'm totally immersed in the new world and the characters. This way, I at least know in what direction I'm headed. Will keep you posted on my results later this year. Oh, it will be another YA, but a genre I've never tried before..........a psychological thriller. YIKES!!!!!

2. How does it differ from other works in the genre?
The MC will be a teen boy, for one thing. And another, it's a story with a vastly different dynamic than those I've written before. As for comparing it to what's already out there. There doesn't seem to be too many written at the YA level, so this should be both a unique and challenging story for me to write..........and boy I love a challenge! :)

3. Why do you write what you do?
I've always read since I was a young girl and then being a teacher, training prospective early childhood education and elementary teachers. What I found is that my students didn't like to read unless it was relevant to them, so in the course of my writing, I have written stories that incorporated their interests.
Retold Fairy Tales - RATGIRL: Song of the Viper (Pied Piper), The Storyteller's Daughter (Scheherazade) and ROCK STAR SANTA, a new take on the Night Before Christmas set to a lyrical rhythm. 
Now, I will be creating a dark, suspenseful novel that includes a love story and a surprise ending..... What is it you ask?  
You'll have to wait until I'm finished writing it. :)
4. What is the hardest part about writing?
Keeping all the fantastic ideas in some type of tangible file, because it's always in your head, but you can't always count on your memory to keep it reserved in the precise way you want to present it, files, oodles of lined tablets, and composition notebooks help keep things organized.

And now for the hop to Werner's Woods............

Roxanne Werner writes fantasy YA, MG and PB. A former fiction editor of Stories for Children Magazine, she continues to edit for The World of Ink Network and does editing for hire via her website. A winner of the Highlights Fiction contest for her science fiction story, Snowday in Space, her magazine credits include Highlights, Know Science Magazine and Turtle, as well as articles, and stories published online. Her adult works include two short stories, published in the Adams Media ‘Hero’ anthologies. Roxanne is a member of SCBWI and Cliffhouse Writers Group. Her most recent publication is My Dangerous Heart, a YA steampunk story included in the Spencer Hill Press anthology Real Girls Don’t Rust. Visit her website at

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Win a Critique from an Award-winning Author


Selene is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information!
Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

She is the author of The Girl Next Door.   
Book Cover
Her virtual blog tour runs from September 9th until September 20th.

Ms. Castrovilla has agreed to play a game with you all. The game is Two Truths and a Lie. She has listed three situations as related to her novel. Two of them are true. One is not.

Please leave your comments on the blog and you may be a winner of a critique of your manuscript!

So here she is..... Selene Castrovilla!

Hello everyone!

I’m excited to be a guest on Gayle’s blog, because I get to test my lying abilities. I rarely lie in real life, so it was a challenge to write this. But then, how often do you get to find out if you’re a good liar? Without facing consequences or hurting anyone, that is.

Some people say writing fiction is concocting lies, but I say au contraire. There’s a deep truth in fiction that we all relate to – it’s what makes it compelling, and what makes us care.

Out of the correct guesses, I will give three winners a critique of their work (up to three chapters.) I also write picture books (my latest one is Revolutionary Friends, a Booklist Top Ten Biography for Youth, 2013) so feel free to send me one if you’re a lucky winner!

Here’s a brief synopsis of The Girl Next Door:

Originally published: April 25, 2010, eBook Publication Date: May 22, 2013
Two teens are forced to make some very grown-up decisions when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer, twisting them into an unpredictable nightmare. Best friends since toddlerhood, Samantha and Jesse grapple with the realization that they are actually in love. What now? Beautifully written while handling a very heavy topic, Castrovilla addresses the universal question: In a world where the worst can strike at any time, how can we ever feel safe?
The Girl Next Door: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

And here are my three “confessions”:
In The Girl Next Door, Jesse made his mom a stuffed pillow in his third grade art class, which she gives back to him to help him cope with cancer:

                        “I gave it to my mom for Mother’s Day. It’s a ‘feel better’ pillow. It was supposed to make her happy when she was sad. She was always crying after my dad left,” Jesse said.
                        “Your mom cried?” I was shocked. “I don’t remember that.”
                        “Yeah, she never did it during the day. In the middle of the night, I’d come into her room and find her like that--” He stopped, pulled the pillow from his lap and examined it. It was real raggy, but actually not bad for a third-grader. There was a decent cat face drawn on it with markers, and a tail glued to its back. It was the stitching that needed help; there were big gaps, and white fluff stuck out between them.

I, too, made a pillow in school – a dog. But I never got to bring it home because someone took it when I put it down to open my locker. The hall got so crowded...then it was gone. I was so upset, because I wasn’t good at sewing and it had been a huge effort. Plus, I’d grown attached. I’ve never sewn again.

#2  The book opens with this stark diagnosis:
            Jesse’s dying.
            The doctors are 96 percent sure of it.
            They even have a time-line: seven months. They give him seven months, tops. I try to hold on to hope, but 4 percent is a weak reed to cling to while you’re thrashing to keep your head above water.

            In real life, my boyfriend also had cancer. But it was stomach cancer, and once he had an operation to remove the tumor (the size of a baseball), the doctor said he would be okay. He had chemo as a precaution, though, which made him very weak and sick.

#3 In the book, Sam and Jesse share their own special spot in Central Park, away from the noise of Manhattan and the rest of the world:

                        It was where we used to play tag, and hide-and-seek, and other kid games. It was where Jesse tackled me, making me taste dirt through my laughter. It was where we made up stories about what we were going do when we grew up; it was where we learned to dream.

I also had a special spot in a park near my house, where I would go by myself and read. I didn’t have the easiest childhood, and having a place to head off where no one could find me helped clear my head, and separate myself from the madness. It was like a self-imposed time-out: a saving grace. Sometimes I got in trouble for being gone so long, but it was worth being yelled at.

So there you have my two truths and a lie. Can you spy the lie?
Thanks for reading and thanks for playing along with me on my big, lying adventure!


And thank you for stopping by, Selene. I'm sure everyone will enjoy your new novel, I know I did. You can catch my review of The Girl Next Door on Amazon and Goodreads. :

So lets start playing.  If you guess correctly, you could be the winner of her critiques.


PS. Selene is pleased to team with the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation helping young adults in their fight against cancer. She will donate $1 for each book ordered during THE GIRL NEXT DOOR's Blog Tour!

Selene will send a free autographed copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to anyone who donates $25 or more to the foundation (click here to donate!). For your purchase to count and/or to show proof of donation, just send a screenshot or receipt of your order or donation, along with your shipping address if necessary, through "Drop me a line" in the "Latest News" section of her website,

The AVM Foundation Mission:
The Mission of The Anthony V. Mannino Foundation is to financially assist young adults in the age group of 18-28 while they are undergoing their cancer treatment.  We also want to help development support programs to aid this unique age group, with their special needs, as they battle cancer. 

We found that Anthony's age group of 18 plus, doesn't have the emotional or financial support that other age groups do. We are also aware of the unique situations that this age group faces and want to help those adolescents and their families. 


Grand prize is a  Kindle Fire + THE GIRL NEXT DOOR ebook (US only), and 10 second prize winners will receive an ebook copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (International). 

Rafflecopter link: 


September 9th
Katie's Books (Interview & Review)
A Book and a Latte (Excerpt)

September 10th
Books Over Boys (Feature) 

September 11th
Dear Teen Me (Feature)

September 12th
Books, Authors, Blogs (Guest Post )

September 13th
alwaysjoart (Review)

September 16th
Writer's Alley (Interview)

September 17th 

September 18th
YA Reads (Interview) 

September 19th

September 20th
Mythical Books (Review)

Energized to Write for the New Year

 So happy to be attending the SCBWI National Conference this week. My peer critiques went well two nights ago, and energized me to see the p...