Before there was this
or even this
there was this
My first published works, besides articles in my junior high and high school newspapers, were short stories in the winners' collections for the Alabama Penman writing contest for high school students. When I was in ninth grade, my short story "The Wild Morosa" came in third. If you are super-curious [*blank stare*] you can read it here. I posted it back in 2006 when one of my friends on Live Journal invented "International Embarrass Yourself as an Artist Day." If you read closely and are feeling generous, you'll see it's a little baby romantic comedy, like the ones I write now for Simon Pulse. By twelfth grade, my new short story had made it up to second place! Woot! And it's a little baby teen drama, like Going Too Far or Forget You.
You laugh. But in all seriousness, these prizes meant the world to me. From the time I was fourteen, my writing had affirmation from someone outside my high school. I would cling to that affirmation, I would continue to write short stories and articles for my college literary journals and newspapers...and when I decided a career in music was not for me, I switched to English without another thought. These two Alabama Penman collections are still on the bookshelf right behind my desk, at the bottom of the pile of my published novels.