So, excited! Today is the first of my new feature for Young Adult or Fantasy Authors and Illustrators. Without further ado, let me introduce my guest post today. She is a Young Adult/Tween writer and an awesome person to to follow and be followed by on Twitter. Don't forget to read the excerpt from her story. I can't wait for more and wish you, Dale, the best of luck on your publishing journey. :o)
Dale S. Rogers
Scratching chalk onto the blackboard of a high school classroom years ago, I might have thought about the knifing which occurred there shortly before I started student teaching. I also might have wished I'd majored in Journalism or Creative Writing. I still do.
I did my share of writing in school, from my first story in fourth grade, which drew ooh's from my classmates when I read it to them, to book reports and term papers. Writing came easily, so I served on my high school newspaper staff, doing features and a regular column. I was also interested in poetry, and several of my poems appeared in the school literary magazine.
Writing runs in my family. Many people can say that, but can they also say those same people steered them in the wrong direction career wise? They didn't mean to, of course, but when my mother, who worked at a newspaper in her earlier years, switched to teaching secondary English, it had an impact on me. My older sister took a similar position years later, and it sent a definite message:
Teach High School English.
Not long after I started my English Education major in college, my sister switched to a newspaper job.
If she'd done this earlier, perhaps I would've looked into it, since writing was one reason I chose an English major.
My last two years in school were traumatic, since I lost twelve hours after transferring to a university, and I had some killer English classes with an unbelievable number of books to read. I then started a hectic student teaching schedule, preparing four different lessons each day. I knew teaching wasn't right for me almost immediately, and it didn't help that I was at one of the roughest high schools in the state of South Carolina. (There was another knifing shortly after I left.)
Needless to say, I didn't go into teaching. Instead, I worked at a printing/newspaper office for about a year, but the only writing I did was my wedding announcement (and thank you notes). Shortly after Rick and I married, we moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where I worked at various jobs, including secretary in the International Students Office at Texas Christian University. Typing student newsletters gave me a taste of writing, and I seemed to gravitate toward it any time I could.
After we moved back to South Carolina, Rick kept asking me about my summers at girls' camps, and he finally suggested I write a book about my adventures. I thought it was a good idea, so I started what is now a tween novel, The Legend of Feather Lake. I'll admit I was easily distracted, and I didn't accomplish much writing during the next few years. We moved to the country, however, and I found myself getting bored, so I wrote--sometimes until one or two in the morning. I finished my first draft while there, and we moved to a town a couple of hours away. We were so busy, it was two years before I started working on my novel again, but I eventually typed my draft on our electric typewriter and sorted through the unorganized pages, cutting and pasting (literally) until I had a cohesive story. A friend suggested I go to our town's writers' meetings, and I started working to polish my craft. By the time I went to my first Writers Conference, I had something decent to show a publisher, and she was actually a little interested. Then came months of editing and rewriting, and I started another book: The Caribbean Code, which I initially wrote as a Nancy Drew book.
When we finally got a computer, typing was so much easier, and I made more progress. I wrote quite a bit while at a receptionist job, and I wanted to write almost all the time. I cranked out a couple of adult novellas and novelettes, and even some television scripts. I've published poetry and some articles, but I haven't yet acquired an agent or published my fiction, which also consists of short stories, a couple
of picture books, and more adventures for tweens, including one based on my experience as an extra in the movie remake of That Darn Cat.
It's been a long journey from that story I read out loud in the fourth grade until now, but I like to think most of it has contributed richness to my writing.
Excerpt from the future novel, The Legend of Feather Lake, by Dale S. Rogers. Please respect the works of others. Remember what mama says: If it ain't yours, don't touch it. :o)
The Legend of Feather Lake
Dale S. Rogers
As the members of Walnut Cabin settled in their beds, the pitter-patter of tiny droplets of rain fell on the tin roof. Harder and harder they fell, sounding almost like sleet. The noise became tremendous, exciting, and rhythmic.
“That’s the loudest rain I’ve ever heard,” Sandy said.
There was no wind, thunder or lightning; just the lonely, yet comforting sound of the rain. Suddenly the campers heard a thud beneath the floor.
“Do you think it's thunder?”
“Maybe . . . shhh . . .”
Sandy whispered, “Something’s under the cabin!”
“It’s the mystery!” Kim gasped.
Their counselor, Darlene, jumped out of bed. “Nobody panic--I’ll get help.”
“You can’t go out!” said Jan, their other counselor. “It’s pouring, and you don’t know what might be under there!”
“You’re right. As long as it stays underneath the cabin, we’re okay. We’ll have to wait 'til morning--then I’ll run to the directors’ office and have them call Mr. Kidd at the stables. There’s nothing we can do tonight.”
“But who can sleep?” Sandy said, realizing the thought of a huge creature
combined with the noisy rain would keep her awake.
Jan hesitated for a moment. “Okay, just this once, we’ll have a powwow until things calm down. Deal?”
It was the slumber party of parties when everyone forgot their fears and
developed a case of the giggles. Darlene and Jan constantly reminded the girls to keep their voices down.
“I’ll bet it’s a mountain lion!” said Trish.
“A wolf!” added Mia.
“Not around here,” Jan said. “Anyway, let’s not think about it. I haven’t heard it in awhile--maybe it’s gone.”
“And the rain has let up,” Darlene said thoughtfully. “Time for bed, everyone. We’ll investigate around the cabin tomorrow.”
Waking with the sun as Darlene sneaked out the door, Sandy thought, She’s going to get Mr. Kidd.
It wasn’t long before the husky voice of the stable man pierced the early morning silence. "Let’s see here."
Sandy peeked outside as he cautiously approached the crawl space under the cabin. “Nope--nothing there. And the pine straw around the building kept it from leaving any tracks. It’s my guess that some critter used the space as shelter from the rain.”
“It’s okay,” Darlene sang as she came inside. “Whatever it was is gone.” She tried to sound confident.
“Let’s just be a little more careful today,” Jan said.
Sandy dressed for breakfast as usual, but not with the same carefree attitude. Something was uncomfortably close to them the night before, and it could be lurking nearby.
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Lots of <3,