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The compulsive reader's journal by Maaja Wentz.

Author Website
I won't be posting to LiveJournal anymore. I have my own website where you can track my creative adventures. Expect pictures of llamas, book reviews, upcoming publication news etc. For example, my latest novel, Feeding Frenzy, is going to be published in 2018. After winning a Watty award on Wattpad, I have given it over to award-winning editor Sandra Kasturi before publishing the definitive edition for sale. Join the Loon Lake Reading Club at maajawentz.com for news and upcoming freebies.

Feeding Frenzy for NaNoWriMo
These are exciting times for me as I take on a new, experimental writing project. In honour of NaNoWriMo I am writing part of a serial novel every day. The difference is, instead of just writing it I am posting it as well. My goal is to post at least every Friday on Wattpad. This week I managed to post Wednesday and Friday. I have just about reached 100 reads on this project which, compared to the number of reads you might get for a short story in a small literary magazine, isn't so bad. Each week on Wattpad seems to automatically attract new readers, or, at least that has been my experience with my non-fiction project.

My non-fiction 'book' on Wattpad, I Wish My Teacher Knew, has received 1050+ reads at this point. This isn't bad considering I haven't done much to promote it. If any of you are interested in joining Wattpad and/or contributing a short anecdote or some advice for teachers for this book, I'd love to hear from you. The idea behind this project is to make school better for creative types and to teach with more creativity. Over the course of a year
I am trying to blog a book on that subject. More about that
here and on my website, Maajawentz.com.

During NaNoWriMo this November I'm taking a break from the Non-Fiction in favour of a new project. Here's the blurb for it:

Feeding Frenzy is a paranormal thriller which explores our obsession with food. Imagine a mash-up between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stephanie Meyer’s The Host.

Sweet but chubby Tonya never gets the guy, the grades or the glory, but plans to change all that as she starts university. When the campus is overrun by a deadly obesity epidemic, only she can resist a hidden mind-controlling entity. Can Tonya uncover the mystery of its power before it's too late?

The events and characters in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to real places or persons is coincidental, and wildly improbable.

On Halloween I posted the first chapter which I am writing and editing as I go.

If you want to support me in this somewhat crazy-but-fun creative initiative, please take a look at my novel on Wattpad. I would love to have some of my friends read what I'm working on and 'vote' for it if they like it. I'd also welcome your critical comments. This is experimental writing for me and I hope some of the audience feedback I get on Wattpad will help shape it and make it better.

My Blog-A-Book Challenge
I'm really going to do it this time. I'm going to blog a book. Have you heard of this? It's the idea that you plan out a non-fiction book and then post it as you are writing it to a website. I am inspired by Blog-A-Book and the desire I've always had to share the teaching materials I have made over the years.

As I plan my return to teaching after a year's self-funded sabbatical to travel and write more, I've come to realize that I really do love being a librarian. There's something about running the library that makes you central to setting the tone for an elementary school.

I've taught grades K-8, regular, gifted and segregated special education classrooms. I've taught in private and public schools as a French teacher, homeroom teacher, ESL teacher and librarian. During all that time, the best extra-curricular clubs I ran were always the creative ones: yearbook, school plays, improvisation, making videos, Forest of Reading (readers) club and I always tried to bring the outside world into the classroom using blogs, YouTube, computers, WebQuests, Wikis, newspapers, podcasts etc.

I'm hoping the excitement of these creative pursuits will be of benefit to other students and teachers. That's why I've started my new website, Creative Teacher Librarian. It's still under construction and I'm still playing with WordPress to get it right, but I hope you will visit me there and sign up for updates.

If you're an educator, you might want to sign up for my monthly tips and resources newsletter as well. Teachers are always busy. My goal is to spark some creative ideas, provoke thought and save educators preparation time as well.

Happy writing,


Welcome to Camp NaNoWriMo

I've set a goal to write the first draft of my new comedy in the month of April. It features an ensemble cast with earthy magic at the core of the premise and enough fun and games to call it screwball. "Hot Old Ladies Club," is about a ladies book club where a deal is made, a wish is granted, and that is why everything goes horribly wrong. I hope reading it will be as much fun as I'm having writing it.

Here are my stats so far:

Average Words Per Day 2,453
Words Written Today 3,346
Target Word Count 60,000
Total Words Written 34,342
Words Remaining 25,658
Current Day 14
Days Remaining 17
At This Rate You Will Finish On April 25, 2014
Words Per Day To Finish On Time 1,510

I have purposely set my target low. The story is more likely to be a bit over 70 000 words but if I have 60 000 by April 25, I should have a few extra days get it done by month's end.

Why set this kind of output goal? If it seems arbitrary, it's not. Professional fiction writers often write over 2000 words a day, in addition to editing and other writing-related work. I'm teaching myself to work more and write better, and with a story as funny as this one, I'm having lots of fun doing it.

Off to Peru
I will be spending most of the month of February in Peru, socializing with my sister-in-law's family and friends and learning as much Spanish as I can. As a Canadian, I have French but my Spanish so far is just what I've picked up from a course or a book here and there. Time to get serious!

In the meantime, I've started a new novel but with the whirlwind of preparations for my trip, progress is slow. It's plotted out roughly and I know what kind of tone I want. I know the ending I'm building to and the characters. There is no reason not to work, except I can't concentrate on anything but my trip. Maybe I should be writing about that instead.

Hasta luego!

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Writing Update: 4 contests and my Wattpad experiment
I've entered 4 writing contests in October and November, with more deadlines November 30. If you want to read about these contests, or what I'm up to on Wattpad, read about it here:

Cereal Box Reader: Writing Contests & Writing Boot Camp

Happy reading.


Online Book Launch -- Urban Green Man
Book launch news: I will be reading a published story "Wild Caving" and my poem "Fallow God" from the Urban Green Man anthology at Can Con (Spec Fic Convention) in Ottawa, Canada on Oct 5-6. If you plan to attend, I will also be involved in the NaNoWriMo panel. Baby steps but I'm gradually coming out to play with the 'real' authors.... :-)

EDGE is holding an online book launch for the Urban Green Man Anthology starting October 2 at noon (CST). Go to www.bittenbybooks.com Oct. 2-3 and interact with the authors online. I'm going to try to log in around 3 pm CST each day. What time is that in your city? Here is a link to a time converter: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html. This should be great fun for readers who can interact with authors from all over.
If you have always wanted to do an online book launch, I think it would be interesting to drop in and see how it's done.

The Horse can see the barn -- Runaway novel sprints to the finish
Have you ever had a feeling of regret as you finished reading a book? You knew you would miss the characters and their stories, as if they were old friends. Well, it's a little different when you are writing the book. Sure, I'm a little sorry to finish rewriting Spies are from Mars, but I'm happy about it too. Today I reached page 223 of my manuscript, which adds up to 66 700 words out of  between 70 000 and 90 000, depending on the editing process.

It's exhilarating when you get close to the end and the writing goes faster, like taking a trail ride when the horse suddenly sees the barn and gallops towards it. Nothing can stop it or slow it, especially not a newbie like me, hanging on with arms and legs any way I can.

Note: In my metaphorical version of this story, the horse does not stop fast when it reaches the barn and send me flying over its head.

Update: Aug. 14, 2013. The new draft is done. Stats: 74 100 words/ 247 pages.

I'm getting published! -- Twice

I am bursting to tell you my publishing news, times two:

My short story "Wild Caving," is going to be published in the Amprosia anthology, which launches in two weeks.

My poem "Fallow God," is going to be published in the Urban Green Man Anthology, with an introduction by Charles De Lint.

The Green Man is an archetype of renewal and fertility, associated with forests and the European countryside. You might see his carved face disgorging sculpted stone leaves or hear legends of the Green Knight. He is at home in churches, forests and at the ever-popular Green Man Inn.
This new anthology, edited by Adria Laycraft, takes the Green Man archetype into the modern landscape where he is reinvented, relevant, reborn. To me, the urban green man is a shot of hot sap to reawaken our true natures and shake us out of complacency.


Evergreen by Susan MacGregor

The Gift by Susan Forest

Sap and Blood by Martin Rose

The Green Square by dvsduncan

Awake by Peter Storey

Breath Stirs in the Husk by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Green Apples by Rhiannon Held


The Grey Man by Randy McCharles

Mr. Green by Gary Budgen

Whithergreen by Karlene Tura Clark

Cui Bono by Eric James Stone

Fallow God by Maaja Wentz

Green Man She Restless by Billie Milholland


Purple Vine Flowers by Sandra Wickham

Exile by Mark Russell Reed

Without Blemish by Celeste Peters

Waking the Holly Kin Eileen Donaldson

Deer Feet by Michael J. DeLuca

Buried in the Green by Heather M. O'Connor

The Forest Lord by Sarina Dorie


Greentropy by Calie Voorhis

Abandon All... by Goldeen Ogawa

Green Salvage by Miriah Hetherington

The Ring of Life by Nu Yang

Cottage on the Bluff Michael Healy

Johnny Serious Satyros Phil Brucato

Fun Sucker by Suzanne Church


Greener Pastures by Micheal J. Martineck

Green Jack by Alyxandra Harvey

Green is Good by Karen Danylak

Neither Slumber Nor Sleep by Kim Goldberg

"Wild Caving" is a finalist
My Short story, "Wild Caving," is a finalist in the Amprosia contest. The last nine stories will be judged by acclaimed Canadian novelist Terry Fallis. Prizes of $1000.00, $400.00 and $200.00 will be awarded for the top three spots. Honourable mentions as well as prize winners will be announced March. I'm not sure I can stand the suspense!