A Fun Writing Update for My Blog Readers

My last update on the writing front was on June 5th, when I wrote:

I am in the middle of writing a short story.  It’s about four teenaged wards of the state living in hospice care.  Morbid much?  But I feel very invested in these thirteen pages, very passionate about these four friends who have no one but each other as their time is running out.  My writing group is helping me with the next draft, and I’m hoping to enter it into a contest before the month is over.

Then, on June 19th, I let you in on my writing process, specifically regarding the hospice care story, leaving a tiny P.S. at the end of the post:

P.S. I really did write Mack’s story about living and dying in hospice with other teenagers.  I’m submitting it to a contest this month, where I assume nothing will happen.  Once nothing happens, I’ll probably share it on my blog or over on Crux.

Well, guess what?

That short story– “Covered Up Our Names”– won the contest!  I’m so honored to be the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, a contest hosted by Hunger Mountain.

If you click here, you can even see their little write-up about me!  They called it a “powerful” story, and that fills my heart with deep gratitude.  The contest judge was Rebecca Stead, 2010 winner of the Newbery Medal.  I read her book “When You Reach Me” nearly one year ago and reviewed it on my blog, saying:

Brilliant!  I actually shouted aloud the moment that everything finally clicked into place for me– I was that excited.  Absolutely loved it.

writingI am thrilled that my story will be published in Hunger Mountain, and I’m so terribly grateful for the cash prize, but what makes the entire enterprise so special to me is that Rebecca Stead loved my story.

I’m honored and elated.

I want you all to read the story!  I imagine the rights will revert back to me after publication, so I’ll anticipate sharing it with you then.  Or you can purchase a copy of Hunger Mountain 18 for just $12.



back to summer camp

So, I know that on June 1st I said I would not be returning to my beloved camp this summer, but plans changed.  A few weeks ago, my friend Aaron sent me a text asking if I would be willing to serve as a counselor for Last Chance camp over Labor Day weekend.  Since my heart had felt the absence of time up there, it was pretty easy to twist my arm.  My roommate Desiree and friend Ashley went up too, as well as my brother and a TON of great friends.  It was fun to look around at the other counselors and see so many wonderful camp friends– there is just something special about the people you’ve spent time with under the pines in northern Minnesota.  If you don’t know what I mean by that, I’m sorry for you. 🙂

Anyway, it was a wonderful weekend, even though I forgot all my OCD meds.  Stupid, stupid, stupid!  I took Benadryl at night so that I could sleep without my Risperdal, but in the afternoons (when there were no planned activities), I could feel my spirits sag.  But I survived.  And laughed a LOT, so much that I lost my voice for a day.  Kinda love that.

In other news, I have continued to apply for writing contests and stuff, and I found out that I won a week-long writing retreat in December.  I’ll get to spend a week in this arts retreat house, focusing strictly on my novel, and I can’t wait!

More news: I discovered the band Mew last week.  They are from Denmark.  I like them a lot.  I have been reading a bunch and buying books faster than I can consume them (but what else is new?).

Life feels really good right now.  I feel like God is unleashing blessings on me, and I am praying that I will praise Him regardless of any of it.  My primary goal in life remains to stay connected to my Savior at all costs.  I am so glad that He is a pursuing God.

Okay, off to write some more!  Some book reviews coming up soon!

What about you?  What have you been up to lately??