Friday, October 17, 2008

Teens for Safe Cosmetics

I stumbled across a fantasitc website today, Teens for Safe Cosmetics. This organization was founded and is run by young women who are passionate about using healthy beauty products that do not contain ingrediants linked to cancer, reproductive issues or other health risks. Check them out today at

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Win FREE Wii™ System!, an iPod™ Nanos, or signed copies of THE BOOK OF NAMES

I'm stepping a bit outside my usual offering with this one, but the prizes (a FREE Wii™ System!, an iPod™ Nanos, and signed copies of THE BOOK OF NAMES, by D. Barkley Briggs of ) are just too big to ignore. So I emailed the author and asked if his book touched on true beauty in any ways. Here's Mr. Briggs' reply, along with a short passage from his book.

"The central theme of my book is about the power of identity, and where true identity originates. While the tone is geared more towards boys, I've heard from plenty of girls about how much they love the fantasy genre (as well as from their moms and grandmas who are buying it for them)."

The following scene involves Hadyn, the older brother, being captured by the Nameless. He is being hauled away in the hold of a ship along with many other Nameless/Lost, on their way to the island of the sorceress Nemesia. They go to her to forget themselves and their pain:

"I don't know what Kyra means. I just know I don't like it. I never have."
"Why? It's very pretty."
"That is why. I am not nearly so pretty as my name."
Hadyn, taken aback, quickly realized he needed to be careful. He did not want to risk offending whatever new friend or ally he had just gained. Kyra had smooth skin and bright eyes flecked with mischief not yet lost to Nemesia. Like all the Lost, she was dirty and worn, but most anyone seeing her would have thought her attractive. Not beautiful, but cute. And feminine, with a girlish, fluttering voice.
"I don't much like being a girl," she said, as if reading his thoughts. "Always guessing what other people think about me. I grew up watching the Revlon Cirque in Portaferry. Now those are women! So beautiful and graceful, with those huge feathers in their long, twirling hair."
"I'm sorry. I don't know what that is."
"The Cirque? Are you even from here? You talk funny."
"To be honest, I don't know how to tell you where I'm from."
"Well, everyone here loves the Revlon Cirque," Kyra smirked. "They are the most marvelous carnivale in all the world. Men desire them. Women envy them. Paintings of them hang in the streets. They are rich and famous." She lowered her eyes. "I do not have their shape, their face, or their fame. I never will. When I told a friend once how I wished I could be a Revlon, she laughed at me."
Hadyn spoke gently. "Not much of a friend, I'd say."
Kyra was unmoved. She pulled out a small round mirror from the folds of her gown. It fit in the palm of her hand. She gazed into it sadly. "That is only because you do not see what I see every day in the looking glass."

- from THE BOOK OF NAMES, by D. Barkley Briggs. Used by permission from NavPress. Copyright 2008, all rights reserved.

So I leave you with this simple question... What do you see every day in your looking glass?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Winners for Two Months Running!

And yet a second congratulations to the Reno Homeschool Wonderful Wacky Writers for taking first place in the Silly Books international writing contest for a second straight month! Check out their Penguin's Peanut Butter story. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kid Author Congratulations!!!

Congratulations to my Eagle Homeschool Co-op Writing for Publication class, the Reno Homeschool Wonderful Wacky Writers (RHWWW), who have just won the February writing contest at! Please view their adorable story, Pirates, Popcorn and a Party that has been professionally illustrated as part of their winning package.

Looking for more resources for homeschooling writers? Check out for a great list of contests and writing resources!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Growing in Beauty - Guest blog with author Camy Tang!

Something many of you may not know about me is that I was raised in Japan for seven years of my childhood. So is it especially fun for me to share today's blog with Camy Tang who describes herself as "the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit." She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.

Welcome, Camy. Thank you for joining us to share your reflections on beauty!


Thanks for having me here, Jenni!

I love the verse for your Inner Beauty Girlz website, 1 Peter 3: “Beauty should not come from outward adornment... Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”

It took me a long time to understand my inner beauty and to be happy with who I am. For most of my teenage years and even my twenties, I spent too much time being embarrassed for being awkward, nervous about making a social mistake, shy to put myself forward.

I knew my self-esteem was low, but I thought it was “natural” or that I needed to exert myself more in order to raise it. I knew that my self-esteem ought to be dependent solely on Christ, but I didn’t know how to go about doing that, and couldn’t get what I knew in my head to make an impression on my heart and how I felt.

It wasn’t until I reached my late twenties that I started to understand how to let Christ determine my self-esteem. I’d been under the misapprehension that I needed perfect social graces to be acceptable to other people. That mistakes on my part would make people think of me as strange or odd, and at all costs, I didn’t want to stand out or be thought of as a weirdo.

But slowly I started to understand who I really was, who God had made me. Slowly I started being happier with exactly who God had made me—a bit awkward, with an unusual sense of humor, a bit out of the ordinary.

And that was okay.

I made an effort to stop being nervous about social mistakes I made. I learned to ignore my mistakes or laugh at them. And I discovered that while some people DID think I was odd, I started making friends with people who DIDN’T think I was odd.

God sent me friends who loved who I was—awkward, strange, a bit of a dingbat. He gave me people to be my sisters in Christ, and a husband who completes me in ways I didn’t realize I needed him.

I have found my inner beauty, and realized it was there all the time, the beautiful person God had made me to be. When I could accept who I am, and stopped trying to be who I was not, He drew people to me who also saw my beauty. He helped me see myself as His child.

And because of what He’s done for me, this is my prayer for all my readers, too—that they will co me to see themselves as God made them, and to accept who they are.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winner of My Life, Unscripted

Plaughersquared, you are the winner of the January drawing for My Life, Unscripted by Tricia Goyer! Please email me at jennifer AT saake DOT biz (removing spaces and replacing AT and DOT with @ and .) with your mailing address by February 15, 2008, and I will be happy to drop this wonderful book in the mail to you!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Published Authors Under 18 Years Old!

I am going to be teaching a class in our local homeschool co-op on writing for publication. The class will be open to anyone in 4th-12th grades. As I'm collecting resources for this class I'm finding some really fun websites for or about authors under 18 years old. I'll probably be editing this post frequently, adding new links, but I'm getting it started today as a central place to keep track of what I'm finding.

Please note that while I have personally visited every site listed here, at least briefly, resources are listed here for informational purposes only and I am not specifically endorsing any site linked here. I have not had a chance to explore most of these links in much depth and would appreciate hearing from you if there is any site linked that would cause grief to the heart of God. I would ask you to prayerfully evaluate each potential markets for your writing together with your parents and have them approve any websites you wish to visit.

If you are serious about getting published, be sure to start with some of the resources found on the Young Author's Bookshelf!

Websites, Publications or Publishers Seeking/Accepting Youth Submissions:

KidLit offers children the opportunity to see their works of art or literature published on the web.

Cyberkids is a site for ages 7-12 to submit writing.

KidPub claims to be "the world's largest online collection of stories written by kids for kids!" (There is a a $12.95 yearly fee to participate on this website.)
Stone Soup invites young people ages 8 to 13 to contribute their stories, poems, book reviews, and artwork.

Creative Kids magazine "is the nation’s largest magazine by and for kids. The magazine bursts with games, stories, and opinions all by and for kids ages 8–14." Contents include brain teasers, contests, stories, artwork, poetry, pen pals, mysteries and more.

Skipping Stones magazine contains writing by adults and children. Kids ages 8 to 16 may submit essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs.

TeenAge Magazine online publication "For Teens, By Teens".

Teen Ink offers teenagers the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on the issues that affect their lives - everything from love and family to teen smoking and community service. Published more than 25,000 teens since 1989. (Request free sample issue from their site.)

The Claremont Review showcases inspiring young adult writers ages 13 to 19.

Cicada accepts submissions from 14 years and up and publishes short stories, poems, and first-person essays written for teens and young adults.

Teen Voices provides a forum for teenage girls by publishing their poems, essays, letters, and stories.

What If? showcases creative writing, editorials, book reviews, and songwriter interviews by Canada’s teens. Work by writers in other countries is also considered.

Cyberteens is a site for teens to submit writing.

Writing Contests:

Reading Rainbow, K-3rd, March 21, 2008 submission deadline

Scholastic: Kids are Authors, K-8th in teams of 3 or more, March 15, 2008 deadline 2008 Writing Contest invites any child age 16 or younger to write a silly book on any topic, but it must be under 300 words. It may be fiction or non-fiction. Books may be written by individual authors or in collaboration with friends or classmates. Final submission deadline is May 31, 2008. SillyBooks will choose a winning entry each month, between September, 2007 and April, 2008 (8 total monthly winners) with $25 cash prize each.

Listen to a Life contest. Interview an older person about their hopes and goals through their life, how they achieved goals and overcame obstacles, and how dreams may have changed along the way. You must be 8-18 years old, interviewing a grandparent or "grandfriend" 50 years or older, and write a 300-word essay based on the interview. Prizes include Lenovo computer, $25,000+ in Orchard software, and iPods! Deadline: March 31, 2008.

Picture Book Writing Contest for Homeschoolers, open to any homeschooled student "working at a high school level" (any age, as long as the appropriate level of study is presented), submissions between March 1 and March 31, 2008 only.

Christian Worldview Essay Contest offering $6,000 in prizes! Open to anyone ages 17 to 23 as of Jan. 1, 2008. Must read the book Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics John W. Robbins and write your essay about this title. Submission deadline September 1, 2008.

Online Publishing Large list of online publishing sources including many different contests for youth writers!

Academic Contests for Homeschoolers

Authors Who Have Become Published Before Age 18:

16-year-old homeschooler, Ellie Willingham, author of Wildwood.

Articles about homeschooled Christopher Paolini, author of NY Times best seller, Eragon:
Christopher Paolini and Eragon
How I write: Christopher Paolini
Interview with Christopher
How Stuff Works: 15 year old author
Young Genius CCN Video

Books by Children

Become a Better Writer:
While the first few sites listed here are specifically for kids who write, others are general writing resources or sites about writing children's stoies (and probably created more with adult authors in mind, but this doesn't mean you can't find some helpful tips too).

Writing Workshop for Kids offers 16 lessons teaching you how to create your characters and "show don't tell" their feelings. Write beginnings that "hook" your reader. Learn to use a "writing camera" to freeze a scene, and much more! Download free worksheets for practice and easy reference.

Learn to Write the Novel Way is a step-by-step program for 5th-12 graders, teaching you to write an entire novel!

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant interactive, menu-driven online writers guide and handbook free on the web

The Purple CrayonInformation about Writing, Illustrating, and Publishing Children's Books

Children's Book Writing Supersite


Getting Kids' Writing Published Ideas to help children submit writing and become published writers or artists in magazines, on websites, and in other publications.

Writing and Publishing as a Kid offers tips for young authors who are serious about their writing, basic elements of story writing, and a list of books for getting published as a kid.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Video Contest

Last week I featured Tricia Goyer's book, My Life Unscripted. (Don't foget to leave a comment on that thread for a chance to win her book!) Now let me share Tricia's latest contest with you. Creat Your Own Video and share it with Tricia for a chance to win!