Diana Renn

Mysteries that Matter

Author

Here’s some news . . . I’ve taken on a new job as of this month, exchanging my writing hat for an editing hat! (I like to change hats every once in awhile. Even though hats make my hair look terrible, and really I don’t look good in any hats at all).

Anyway. I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined the awesome team at YARN (Young Adult Review Network) as their new Fiction Editor. YARN is an award-winning online magazine dedicated to short-form writing for young adults. YARN features short stories, poems, and essays, publishing teen writers alongside emerging and established authors.

My friend and fellow YA novelist Kathryn Burak (author of the Edgar-nominated Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things) has also just joined, as the new Poetry Editor. You can read the news item about us here.

I first discovered YARN a couple of years ago when I was looking for markets for short YA fiction. There weren’t that many. YARN, founded by Kerri Majors, was among the first to emerge online. A few more YA magazines have come out recently, but there are still not as many publications as there are for adult short fiction. And with an Innovations in Reading Award from the National Book Foundation, YARN has quickly established itself as a leader in this publishing sector. As both a reader and a former contributor to this magazine, I’m thrilled and honored to be part of this dynamic team.

I’m enjoying this dip back into short fiction, too. I’ve written and read short stories for as long as I can remember. Short stories taught me to become a writer. Writing stories for literary magazines in college and after taught me a lot about storytelling, as well as working with editors. I still love the satisfaction I get from reading — or writing — a story in compressed form. I love how great stories stand up to rereading and can offer fresh insights each time. I love the tiny windows into other people’s experiences that short stories can give us. And I believe we need MORE short stories for YA readers.

It’s also fun to wear the editing hat again. I worked as an editor for many years, in educational publishing, before focusing on writing novels. Editing involves a different kind of creative process; I can almost feel different muscles in my brain working. And getting involved with an innovative, energetic magazine, with some freedom to develop my own ideas, is a wonderful opportunity.

What’s your yarn? We’re looking for great YA stories, so if you have one up your sleeve and are interested in submitting, please do! You can read about YARN’s submission guidelines here. (Please submit through the YARN website).

And finally, if you’re going to the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference in Boston next week — or even if you’re just in the area — you’re welcome to come hang out with me and my fellow YARN editors, Kerri Majors and Kathryn Burak! We’ll be at the YA Publishing Cocktail Party, sponsored by Paper Lantern Lit, along with folks from Figment, Sucker Literary Magazine, and other YA-themed publications. YARN will be running a cool contest too, with copies of Tokyo Heist and Emily’s Dress among the prizes. We’re still nailing down some details, so check the YARN website or Twitter feed (@YAReviewNet) for more info in the coming days!

The cocktail party is free, but RSVP is required. Click here for details and the RSVP info. (Also, attendees must be 21+ — sorry!!) Would love to see you there!

Today I’m celebrating Teen Lit Day by participating in Rock the Drop! Rock the Drop was started by Readergirlz, a literacy and social media project for teens. It’s now also supported by the fantastic teen community writing site, Figment.

For Rock the Drop, participants leave YA books around their community — libraries, cafes, bus stops, schools — wherever we think teens might stumble across them. Then we post a picture of our book drop to the Readergirlz Facebook page and tweet about the drop with the #rockthedrop hashtag.
If you’d like to rock the drop, visit the Figment or Readergirlz sites for more information, or feel free to use this handy dandy bookplate to print out and insert in your own books. And if you’re a teen looking for books, happy hunting! They’re out there!

I’m skulking around and dropping off five books around my community today. Inside each one is this bookplate, as well as one of my bookmarks and a note. Each donated book comes wrapped in exclusively manufactured, high-quality TOKYO HEIST crime scene tape. If you found one of my book drops, I’d love to hear from you!