Monthly Archives: April 2010

Poetry Contest Winners!

After a very busy and poetry-packed National Poetry Month, we’re very excited to announce the winners of our Novel Novice Poetry Contest! We received so many inspiring and creative entries – it wasn’t easy to choose our winners, but choose we must.

Our first-place winner is Carmen M. She will receive a fabulous prize package from Sourcebooks which includes a copy of Poetry Speaks Who I Am, Poetry Speaks to Children, The Tree That Time Built, Hip Hop Speaks to Children, My Hippo Loves the Hiccups, and the adult anthology Poetry Speaks. Carmen explained her entry as such:

It was inspired by the idea of sound and sensations. I started wondering what would happen if the way we feel things were to change. There are times when we feel alien in our own bodies when a new unknown sensation invades and we don’t know what to call it. The poem is based on such a situation where we can feel yet not understand it.

Here is Carmen’s poem:


Deeply affected
Only to enter an alien world to the senses
Where words lose meaning
All that one hears is a murmur
Growing louder with every second
Ending in goodbye.

The rhythm changes every time caterpillars
See the dawn awakening from a once forgotten sleep.

Gradually we are taken to a world where Nothing moves.
Nothing shakes.
The sound is palpable but inaudible.

Our minds are bottled away from our bodies
Disconnected and lost in a myriad of nonsensations.

Becoming alert with every explosion
Finding the meaning of every thud to prevent
Mass hysteria to a heart scattered
Throughout the ashes of time.

Our second-place winner is Ashly R., who shared with us that she wrote her poem about a bad breakup. She will receive a copy of Poetry Speaks Who I Am. Ashly’s poem:


She wished her tears could clear away the words on the book of Lies.
And the real truth appear in their place like invisible ink.
The liquid hatred poured out,
Sour like a lemon.
For a time, memories frozen in the Fortress of Solitude,
Unobtainable, distant. “Someday” and “Eventually” resembling Arabic.
Lonliness slithering through the wall,
Making its home in the corner.
Contemplating bloody hands,
And their place in the plan.
Taking responsibility.
Not bothering to wipe the blood off.
Deceit- choking, smothering her, stealing life.
When she did open her eyes,
Denial set in, disbelief, fear, sadness.
The brightness of white snow wiping him out.
Like he wasn’t even there.
Like he never had been.

Our third-place winner is Gladys B., and she will also receive a copy of Poetry Speaks Who I Am. She says this about her poem:

This is a poem I wrote inspired by the starstruck love shown by Romeo and Juliet. After we read this as a class in school, I understood so much more than what was under the cover of two lovers, seeing a lot of emotions not in the text, but deeper.  Writing this I hoped to foreshadow the ending of the story, but clearly show how love makes us blind. I enjoyed getting into Romeo’s shoes as he gets married, bringing himself to his knees for Juliet.

Here is Gladys’ poem:

A Sonnet, From Romeo to Juliet

Stars may shine bright but they dim in the night,
For your beautiful eyes put them to shame.
Roses are pure, but on them you shed light,
As you warm the world like an open flame.
The sweetest lullaby for me you speak,
Our families’ fight, long lost in our love.
Feuds cannot stop us, nor any critique.
You give me life I was once empty of.
Sincerely, today I promise you this,
Always together you and I shall be.
Take it all away; you’d be all I miss.
To my whole world, only you hold the key.
The wedding bells ring, I give you my heart,
Forever my love, ‘til death do us part.

Thank you to everyone who entered the poetry contest! Keep writing, keep submitting your poems for possible publication on Novel Novice, and stay tuned for more poetry contests in the future!

Lyric-Writing Contest Winners!

We considered National Poetry Month an opportunity to give the more musically inclined folks in our audience an opportunity to show us their writing chops in this genre. The top three winners of our Novel Novice Lyric-Writing Contest will each receive a copy of On the Meaning of Adam Lambert.

Our first-place winner is Meghan. Here are her lyrics:

Whispered Melodies

Verse 1
If I could show the world
That we were meant to be together
Would you finally confess
What’s been holding you forever
Would you take the time to say
What’s really on your mind
Or would you run away again
And leave what’s in your heart to hide

Refrain 1
We both know that this is really happening
So when will you become who you are
And find the courage to stop pretending

Verse 2
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how I feel
No one else will hear
You’ll say something I’ll never forget
That it’s false will be my only fear
And I’ll make sure that you’re at your best
I know it’s lonely at the bottom
There’s something I see deep inside
You’re tired of being forgotten

Refrain 2
I’ve never seen you this way with anyone else
I don’t know what that means to you
Or how we’ll ever forgive ourselves

Verse 3
There’s a place I’ve been wanting you to see
It’s higher than where we’re falling from
It’s the only way out of this misery
Just listen, together, we’ll be someone
And all I’ve been asking is for you to share
Who you are, how much you care
So maybe, someday, you’ll realize
That these whispered melodies just take time

Our second-place winner is Gladys B. Her lyrics:

My Love

(starts with voice and piano only, slow tempo)

Oh, my love,
How is this okay?
How are we here today?
If destiny says no…

Even today,
Though I see you here with me…
There is nothing here to see,
Because we are not meant to be…

(slightly faster tempo)

I know that even though,
We love each other so deeply,
Though our hearts are strung as one,
This cannot be easy…

It’s not okay.
It’s not okay.
I’m not meant for you,
Though I know I love you…

It’s too scary,
To see a world without you,
But even if I have to,
I Must. Leave. You…


(Other instruments added, tempo rises slightly)

My love for you is as strong as a fire
Burning ever so fiercely and with so much desire,
How is it possible to lift my spirits higher?
When I hold you in my arms…

The sun sings for us so brightly today,
Here we are, together we lay,
Holding hands and chatting away,
Sprawled across our lover’s lane.

My heart seems to beat again,
As your face glows with love for me,
Oh, if you could just see,
There is nothing better than that…


(silence, continues in fast tempo)

It’s not okay.
It’s not okay.
I’m not meant for you,
Though I know I love you…

It’s too scary,
To see a world without you,
But even if I have to,
I Must. Leave. You…

(Decrescendos to whisper, silence)

(Fastest tempo, singer is angry)

Why must it be this way?
Why can’t I be for you?
Why do I have to be.
What. I. Am?

Why do I love you so?
Why can’t I let you go?
To let you live your life…
Like. You. Must…

Why did it have to be?
Why did we have to meet?
Why do I feel this way?
I. Love. You…

(piano and singer only, slow whisper)

Oh, I cannot live without you.
I cannot breathe without you,
I cannot see without you,
But. I. Must.

I need you here with me.
I need you to see.
That I love you so…
I. Must. Go…


(slight silence)

…My Love…

And our third-place winner is Tanja. Her lyrics:

What is Love?

Love is a ball game;
When it sends you a curved ball,
Make sure to bat it!

Love is a corner
Of the street or of a room;
According to choice.

Love is a cascade
It takes your breath away, or
Purifies your soul.

Refrain: Love is a bar-code.
Lots of lines; all mean something…

Love is a cycle;
Flowers bloom, and then wither…
Leaving seeds for more.

Love is a circle
No beginning and no end –
Embracing a void.

Love is a drawbridge
You can shut everyone out –
Or allow access!


Love is a fir cone
Showing a hard exterior…
That love breaks open.

Love is a gamble
Dice are cast and lots are drawn;
Winner takes it all!

Love is a journey;
Bad signposts and bumpy roads
Drive you up the wall.


Love is a moonbeam

Contrasting with the darkness –
Lighting up your path.

Love is a mountain;
Rope, climbing shoes and warm clothes…
Equal importance.

Love is a peanut
Crunchy inside the shell, or
Smooth peanut butter.


Love is a spiral
Whether it leads up or down
Is yours to decide.

Love is a mountain.
Sheer cliffs; dead drops; an ice-cap;
Then, a  lush valley.

Love is a sandstorm
Undulating sand-dune sea…
A map is useless.


Love is an onion;
Each layer that you explore,
Brings the core closer.

Love is a blanket;
It will give security…
But it may smother.

Love is an alloy;
As elusive as mercury,
But precious as gold.


Repeat refrain and…. fade….

The Novel Novice Exquisite Corpse Poem

During National Poetry Month, we initiated a collaborative poetry game known as Exquisite Corpse. Throughout April, you – our readers of Novel Novice – submitted a phrase or word in the comments section. The words built upon each other and the result of this experiment is featured below. 

Many thanks to all of our contributors, including a few of our esteemed Novel Novice featured authors – Kimberly Derting, Lisa Schroeder, and Heidi R. Kling – for enthusiastically taking part in this collaboration!

Note: In compiling the poem, I took a few liberties with punctuation, capitalization, and line breaks to improve the flow – otherwise, contributors’ words are untouched. (For more about the history of Exquisite Corpse, click here.)

Without further ado, here is the finished Novel Novice Exquisite Corpse Poem, authored by all of YOU!


The flower’s bloom has yet to ripen.
Magnolia buds, cocoons on wet boughs,
love and needles and gypsy dreams.

The grass beneath the plows
robots in transit,
wave at the distant moon.

I hit the freezing water feet first. And that’s when I noticed the fins.
Finishing ends to this evil plot unfold.
But do not wonder.

Unnecessary chattering rips through my conscience,
guilt floods over me, cold and deep.
Rising unexpectedly, pounding against my bones

the air around us shivers
as we tumble into despair.
Rising once more just to fall again.

Tell us what you think in the comments!

Nat’l Poetry Month: The Lynn Emanuel Wrap-Up

We celebrated the first three weeks of National Poetry Month by featuring poets T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, and Allen Ginsberg.

This fourth and final week, we explored the poetry of Lynn Emanuel. Here’s the wrap-up of all the posts:

See all the posts from National Poetry Month in one place

Desktop Wallpaper: Lynn Emanuel’s “inside gertrude stein”

As National Poetry Month comes near an end, we have a new desktop wallpaper for you today featuring this week’s featured poet, Lynn Emanuel and her poem “inside gertrude stein.”

Click to view full-size, then right-click to save:

Creative Writing Prompt: In Receipt

Creative Writing Prompt #30
In Receipt

I have a handful of random receipts on my desk. I realized that I don’t often pay much attention to what’s on the receipt – besides checking to make sure I wasn’t charged for something I didn’t buy and to confirm the total is correct.

But in looking more closely at the hodge podge in front of me, there is an interesting array of words, phrases, and abbreviations on these pieces of paper that could certainly create an interesting poem.

Here’s a sampling from my restaurant, pharmacy, and grocery store receipts: stored order, Debbie, dine in, renegade, location, card number, important, ref, auth, goods/services, trip summary, spending, MC waiting, envy.

Dig through your wallet, box of receipts, or credit card bills and see what interesting words, phrases, and abbreviations you can pull out. Either write a poem around these discoveries or just begin writing any poem – ultimate “destination” unknown – and fit the words in as you write. See where the language takes you.

This is our last creative writing prompt for National Poetry Month! We hope you enjoyed this month of inspiration!

Lisa Schroeder: Our April Book of the Month Author

Today marks the last day of our April Book of the Month, featuring the works of author Lisa Schroeder. You can see everything from the past month HERE, but let’s take a look back at some of our favorites:

Lisa Schroeder Book Contest

Our April Book of the Month was a bit different than our usual routine here … that’s because we actually featured an AUTHOR of the Month — Lisa Schroeder — and we highlighted all of her fabulous books.

To make things even more exciting, Lisa offered up some of her books as a prize for a contest here on Novel Novice.

Today is your last chance to enter — the deadline is midnight (PT) tonight! — and two winners will each get the Lisa Schroeder book of their choice!

See complete rules, guidelines & details about the contest HERE.

An Exclusive Interview with Lisa Schroeder

Lisa was kind enough to answer a ridiculous number of interview questions for us — and her responses have been a treat to explore. Check out her complete interview here:

Verse Novels

We got a great introduction to verse novels this months, thanks to Lisa. Her three YA novels are all written in verse — and though it may seem intimidating at first, verse novels are actually a delight to read! In fact, in a guest blog written exclusively for Novel Novice, Lisa explains why verse novels are perfect for reluctant readers. And if you love verse novels, check out her recommendations!

Desktop Wallpapers Galore!

We love a good desktop wallpaper here at Novel Novice. And this month, we created some for ALL of Lisa’s novels. Check out the collections here:

For the comments: What’s been your favorite part of our April Book of the Month features?

Creative Writing Prompt: Poetryness

Creative Writing Prompt #29

It’s a subject people either completely shy away from or dig into with abandon:

Today, write a poem about poetry, writing, or being the writer. Be creative.

See all of our National Poetry Month posts

Creative Writing Prompt: Inside Lynn Emanuel

This week’s featured poet is Lynn Emanuel. In her poetry collection Then, Suddenly– there is a standout poem entitled “inside gertrude stein.” Emanuel calls Stein one of the “heroines” of her book, touting the poet’s choice to experiment with language. And if you’ve ever read any of Gertrude’s work, you know exactly what she means by “experimentation.”

So for today’s creative writing prompt:

Read “inside gertrude stein,” think about Emanuel’s language, read a few Stein poems, then start scribbling. Reading the work of other poets and considering their techniques can impact the writing you do – in a good way. It helps you step outside of the box, use a form you might not normally use, select language and unexpected imagery that might not otherwise appear. Let your mind roam free and see what comes along…

See all of our National Poetry Month posts

It’s Raining Cupcakes … Cupcake Recipes, that is!

In honor of It’s Raining Cupcakes, this week’s featured title from April Book of the Month author Lisa Schroeder we’ve tracked down some of the yummiest-looking cupcake recipes we could find. After all, in the book Isabel and her mother make a TON of cupcakes … and in fact, each chapter starts off with the name of some delicious cupcake. (Yeah, fair warning: when you read this book, you WILL be craving gourmet cupcakes!)

Without further ado, here are our favorite cupcake recipes:

Coconut Cupcakes

S’more Cupcakes

These ones are almost like the ones Isabel makes in the book!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Apple Banana Cupcakes

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

For the comments: What’s your favorite cupcake recipe?