Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: Young adult

Help Me Choose My Short Story Subject & Enter to Win a Gift Card

So those Cubs won the World Series. Can you believe it? 

I wrote a young adult book titled, Caught Between Two Curses, which is actually a novel about a teenage girl who is caught between two boys and between two curses. One of those curses happens to be the Curse of the Billy Goat on the Chicago Cubs, and the other, well, I made up. Recently, my book went out of print and I retain the rights, so I’m thinking about re-branding it/marketing it and getting back in love with writing and marketing.

So I’ve decided to add some material to CBTC and self-publish it as a 2nd edition with a new cover. I am most likely including an alternate ending, book club questions, how I got the idea, history about curses–you know really pack it full of content, so teens and adults get their money’s worth, and my best friends will buy another copy. 😉 Oh, and I want to write a short story to include that is somehow based on the characters in the novel. This short story will ONLY be available in the 2nd edition of Caught Between Two Curses. I know, I know, the pre-Amazon sales will be amazing. 😉

But here’s where you come in. I am having trouble deciding on what the short story should concern, and so I would like you to help me. All you have to do is comment below after reading the three choices. And I am giving a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one person I pick randomly from the comments. Plus you can get an extra bonus entry if you sign up for my newsletter or to get posts emailed to you by looking in the sidebar and filling out the appropriate form. The gift card contest ends on Friday, November 11 (Veteran’s Day).

Now on to the choices:

  1. Julie (the main character) has a grandma who is very eccentric. As a matter of fact, it is this grandma who brought the curse on the family by falling in love with a man who was already spoken for. I could write a short story about the day they meet at the Cubs game, and the curse is put on the family. So this would be set in the past–grandma and grandpa as teenagers/new adults.
  2. (spolier alert if you haven’t read the book) A sequel of sorts–what happens once Matt and Julie get together. This would be a short story about some event in senior year and some problem the two of them have in their relationship, and how they solve it.
  3. A spinoff–Gus (the boyfriend who is pressuring Julie to have sex) has his own story about how he handles his life after Julie says no. So “the villain” becomes the hero in his own story–or does he? Will he always remain the bad guy or will something happen to change his life?

Okay, so those are the three short story ideas–which would you want to read?  


Harry Potter Fans: Many of Us Need to Calm Ourselves Down (re-post)

This post originally appeared on WOW! Women On Writing. It’s a great blog/resource for writers here: http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

downloadOne of my dreams came true when J. K. Rowling co-authored the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and someone in the publishing world wanted to make money and decided to print and sell it as a book. I did not stand in line at midnight to buy it, but it is one of the only hard-cover books I’ve bought in a long time. Before I had a chance to read it, (I was finishing up another lovely book, Me Before You), I read a lot of negative tweets and Facebook posts about the story. And I’ll admit I was disappointed. I was hesitant to read the book because I didn’t want my excitement to go away.

But I did read it, and I loved it. Yes, it is a play and it is harder to read than one of the seven tomes all us Harry Potter fans love so much. But I thought it was an excellent story–it brought in all the beloved characters–even the dead ones, and one of the most heartbreaking plot events in all seven books, Cedric Diggory’s death. Also while reading, I kept thinking: I really want to see this as a play. How will they do all this magic on stage? This will be so cool!

Then those negative social media messages really started to bother me. I put a post on my own Facebook page about how I guessed I was in the minority, but I was not afraid to state that I really liked Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Shockingly, I discovered I was not alone. Several of my smartest friends (wink, wink) also loved the book and were obviously not afraid to share this fact on someone else’s Facebook wall (i.e., mine).

So this post is not for those of you who loved the book, although please put in the comments that you did or why you did, if you would be so kind. But it is for those of you who didn’t like it and feel the need to spew everywhere your negativity. I feel you need to CALM DOWN. I mean, you are entitled to your opinion, even if it’s wrong. Here’s an example of a tweet, which is negative, but on the tame side:

Look, why are you fighting this? We all know J.K. (Jo above) Rowling is a genius. Her novels brought back a passion for reading children’s and YA books. We also all know that if she writes book 9 or releases the next segment of the Harry Potter story as a series of haiku, written in Sanskrit, we are still going to buy and devour it, and shed more tears over Snape and Dumbledore. I mean, have you, personally, ever written an eight-book series worth more money than you could spend in your lifetime? I didn’t think so. Please CALM DOWN.

Take a deep breath, write your tweet/review/Facebook post in a nicer way, such as: I just finished HP8. Okay, I didn’t love it, but I did like _______________________. (Fill in the blank with something you liked.) There you go, I bet if you’re a true Harry Potter fan, you can find one thing in the play that you liked.

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m just trying to convince you that as readers and writers, we owe it to other authors to perhaps offer constructive criticism, but to be respectful of the talent and time it takes to create these masterpieces, and show each other a little more love.

As for me, you’ll find me passing on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to my family members. My mom currently has it.

Margo L. Dill is a children’s author, editor, blogger, and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. You can find out more about her and her books by visiting her blog at https://www.margoldill.com, where she is currently musing over the meltdowns of Kindergarten. She also teaches a novel writing class for WOW! in the WOW! classroom.

Last chance to enter the new blog contest: https://margoldill.com/share-your-sayings-with-me-1st-official-new-blog-contest/