Feeding Frenzy Launched at Bakka-Phoenix

Feeding Frenzy Launched at Bakka-Phoenix

Yesterday, Feeding Frenzy launched at my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy book store. Bakka is one of the most unique book stores in North America, family-owned and delightfully supportive of SF&F writers. I was invited, along with seven other  authors, to take part in the store’s first Indie Literary Market.

I was a bit nervous, since my throat was very sore that morning and I didn’t want to lose my voice before it was my time to read. In my haste to get boxes of books and my sign packed up, I forgot to gargle with salt water. As my time to present approached, I imagined dire scenarios where disappointed listeners who couldn’t hear would try to be kind about the fiasco. “Well, she held the book professionally…”

Fortunately, after an emergency dose of salty French onion soup from the cafe next door, the reading went well. People laughed in the right places but, because of my throat, I shortened my talk on the fly. Here’s part of the story attendees missed.

Autographing Maaja Wentz, Feeding Frenzy Launched March 2018
Autographing Feeding Frenzy

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. The first story she wrote in school started, “that was the day the barn burned down.” She didn’t know it yet, but that was when her mother suspected she might become a writer. Later, this little girl’s very first book report was rejected by the teacher, because it was based on a science fiction comic book she had written, illustrated, and stapled together herself.

You could say my first attempt at self-publishing wasn’t much appreciated!

Maaja Wentz, Feeding Frenzy Launched March 2018
Feeding Frenzy Launched at Bakka-Phoenix

Award-Winning Serial Fiction

As a kid, I read mystery novels and science fiction and fantasy novels of all kinds. In University, I studied literature in English and in French, while devouring everything written by writers like William Gibson.

In my twenties, I kept my love of books, but lost my nerve. Despite winning a prize in a short story contest at University of Toronto, I was afraid to become a writer without income.

After a Masters degree in comparative literature, I left grad school to get a teaching degree. After that, life streaked by in a blur. Teaching at a private school, marriage, teaching at a tough inner-city school, motherhood, teaching ESL, French, Library, and finally, taking up writing again.

Sandra Kasturi at the reading Maaja Wentz, Feeding Frenzy Launched March 2018
Sandra Kasturi (standing, right) at Bakka

I joined critique groups, and wrote lots of short stories, but didn’t submit them. They were never perfect enough. Or, if I had a story I liked, I would send it to one market or one contest and if it didn’t win, that was it. I retired the story and wrote a new one. My audience was the critique groups which were great for making friends, and improving , but I wasn’t getting much published.

Meanwhile, I was getting older. Time was running out. I was going to die with filing cabinets of stories and novels that would never be read!

I was suffering from fear of submission. (The literary kind!)

An Artistic Dare

Out of desperation, I made an artistic dare with myself. I would write 2000 words a day and draft a new novel in a month. At the same time, I would polish one chapter a week and post it on Wattpad. If anything could get me over fear of submission, this should do it. Once something’s out on the internet, you can’t take it back.

The Prologue went up on Halloween, 2015, with chapters dropping weekly until the story was finished. It never occurred to me Feeding Frenzy would catch on with readers. Wattpad was just supposed to help me over my psychological block, and make it  easier to submit short stories to magazines.

It worked, by the way. I’m delighted to say, “Inside of a Dog,” will be published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. This is a life goal for me, since I’m a longtime fan of Ellery Queen.

Maaja Wentz, Feeding Frenzy Launched March 2018
Maaja Wentz signing Feeding Frenzy at Bakka-Phoenix, Toronto

Dare and Do

Perhaps the moral of the story is to dare. Don’t worry that it’s too late, or that you’re too old. Don’t worry that your thing isn’t yet perfect. You can make it better when you know better. Don’t worry about being rejected and having to try again. Dare and do. The world of creativity–and life–belongs to the doers. It feels great to have finally joined them.

It took a lot of editing to make Feeding Frenzy good enough for me to publish. Winning a Watty award and accumulating 141 000 reads on Wattpad convinced me the story had legs, but that was just the beginning of a long and fruitful editing process. I’m grateful to brilliant editor, Sandra Kasturi, for agreeing to take on the project and help me make it shine.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy life! I wish you courage to overcome perfectionism, make mistakes, and learn from them in all your pursuits.

Win 10 Kindle bestsellers with this free Giveaway

Update: This giveaway is over.

Subscribe to the Loon Lake reading club to be informed of future contests: Loon Lake reading club

YA science fiction and fantasy novels.
YA science fiction and fantasy novels.

You could win 10 Kindle bestsellers just by entering this free giveaway.

I like YA fantasy and science fiction so much I’m running a contest. Enter as many times as you like and earn extra entries by sharing this giveaway with your friends. Here are the details: Whether you call it a sweepstakes, a giveaway, or a contest, scroll to the bottom for your chance to win. One lucky winner will walk away with $150.00 CDN in YA fantasy and Science Fiction Kindle books.


10 Kindle bestsellers
For lovers of fantasy and science fiction novels.

Explore new worlds with these top-ranking YA Kindle books. From paranormal thrillers and fantasy to cutting edge science fiction, these stories will grab you by the imagination and take you for a thrill ride. Spend time with compelling characters in unique worlds which will appeal to teen and adult readers of YA fantasy and science fiction.

Win 10 Kindle bestsellers:

Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Book 1 in the celebrated Disk World series. 

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

#1 New York Times bestselling series.

Zeus is Dead by Michel G. Munz

A murder mystery and a cosmic showdown. For fans of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Percy Jackson.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

An extraordinarily dark and whimsical adventure.

Ancient Magic by Linsey Hall

FireSouls, dragon magic, and shifters caught up in a life-and-death adventure.

Configured by Jenetta Penner

In the future, love will make you a traitor. Join the rebellion.

Grave Mistake by Izzy Shows

Paranormal noir with a kickass heroine.

Darkness Brutal by Rachel A Marks

Demons, ghosts, and passionate energy in an all-out battle of light versus darkness.

Elementals by Michelle Madow

A new series for fans of Percy Jackson and the Secret Circle.

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

For fans of the Hunger Games and Divergent


Sharing = more chances to win

Don’t forget to share this contest with your friends and on social media to increase your chances of winning. For more information and for free fiction, don’t forget to visit maajawentz.com.

Feeding Frenzy Wins a Watty Award

Feeding Frenzy Wins a Watty Award

I can hardly believe my supernatural thriller won an HQ Love Award in The Wattys. This award is given to the handful of stories most read and recommended by the Wattpad staff. Wattpad holds the largest online writing competition in the world with a community of 40 million. Feeding Frenzy was selected from among 75,000 entries. It appears on the Wattys list and just got a ‘Wattys’ badge added to the cover.

Feeding Frenzy wins a Watty Award.
Feeding Frenzy wins a Watty Award.

“Each year with The Wattys, we celebrate our community and recognize the stories that have captured the hearts of millions of people around the world,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and co-founder. “We launched The Wattys in 2010 as a small writing contest. Today, it has grown into the world’s largest online writing contest, and it brings the entire Wattpad community together in celebration.”

Founded in 2006, Wattpad is a free app that lets people discover and share serialized stories. More than 40 million people use Wattpad in over 50 languages. The company is based in Toronto.

Feeding Frenzy to be Published in Paperback and Ebook

It may have won a Watty but I consider the free Wattpad version of my novel to be a draft. Sunday I sent off a newly revised version of Feeding Frenzy for professional editing in advance of its upcoming publication in ebook and paperback forms. I am delighted to announce that multiple award-winning editor, Sandra Kasturi, has agreed to take on the project. Sandra writes brilliant poetry, appreciates quirky fiction, and has a wicked sense of humour. The manuscript couldn’t be in better hands.

Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi celebrate with their World Fantasy Awards.

Bookapalooza Book Fair

Bookapalooza Book Fair

It’s been a week since this Durham book fair. Standing behind my table all day, my only regret is missing some of the readings. The organizers at WCDR encouraged us to take time before doors to the Bookapalooza book fair opened to the public so we could visit other vendors. I also took time out during the day to buy autographed books by WCDR members, and to join the Toronto branch of Sisters in Crime. I felt like it was a successful day, despite my having nothing for sale.

 Giving Away Free Books is Part of the Fun.

Maaja Wentz, posing with free book prizes for the Bookapalooza book fair
Posing with prizes for the Bookapalooza book fair in Durham Region. This book fair, run by the WCDR is an annual fair for book lovers with sales and readings.

Many people visited the Feeding Frenzy booth and turned the spinning wheel to win free paperbacks, or free ebooks of Feeding Frenzy to be delivered once it is released. The wheel drew a lot of interest, as did the treasure hunt card implemented by Heather O’Conner. To fill the card and be eligible to win a basket of books, visitors had to visit booths, collecting signatures from the vendors. If I return next year to sell Feeding Frenzy in paperback, I’ll be sure to run another spinning wheel game because people really seemed to enjoy it. Better yet, I can only hope to be placed next to Heather again. Her upbeat manner made for a fun day.


Giving Away Free Books at the Book Fair

I’m not going to release the names of winners without their permission but here are some stats from my spinning wheel experiment:

  • 15 people specifically signed up for the Loon Lake Readers’ Club
  • 22 in total gave their email addresses (some in order to receive their free ebook without checking either yes or no in the Readers’ Club opt-in box.)
  • 11 people won the ebook version of Feeding Frenzy
  • Mostly women stopped at my booth and only women spun the wheel, which fits perfectly with the majority of my readers on Wattpad
  • Everyone who didn’t win a prize was given a ‘quick access card,’ with a Q-code and a short URL for the free, Wattpad version of Feeding Frenzy
Maaja Wentz gives away free book prizes at Bookapalooza book fair.
Feeding Frenzy previews at Bookapalooza. Maaja Wentz standing in her vendor’s booth at Bookapalooza book fair, run by the WCDR.


Reading at the Bookapalooza Book Fair

In addition to the booth, I was also granted a space during the readings. This was an interesting opportunity by itself as reading to a live audience is a great way to see if your chapter is working. An interested audience is a still audience and I am happy to report that listeners seemed very attentive during my chapter. One of my friends, David Talon, turned up to hear the readings, sporting a fabulous ‘Movember’ moustache. What a lovely surprise!

Cthulhu spotted at Bookapalooza!
Cthulhu spotted at Bookapalooza!
Readers visit Bookapalooza book fair


World Fantasy Convention 2015

Thursday morning I head off to Saratoga Springs, New York, with Rebecca Simkin, Gemma Files and Steve Barringer. It will be my first US literary convention. For months I’ve been looking forward to these four days of books, discussions about books, launches, author readings, autograph sessions, workshops and, of course, parties. Fantasy fiction covers a lot of ground. My hope is to come away with a new appreciation for authors I’ve never read before, and for genres within fantasy I don’t usually read. Memberships are sold out for this year but the website is still worth a look if you are considering going next year: World Fantasy Convention.

Lately, editing Feeding Frenzy has taken up so much writing time that I haven’t posted many book reviews. Let’s hope that returning from World Fantasy I will have a bundle of new books to read and write about.



In other news:

  • Feeding Frenzy exceeded 49 000 reads on Wattpad
  • Over the weekend I submitted three short stories in two days to anthology calls and a contest (fingers crossed)
  • Bookapalooza did a ‘spotlight’ article about me on their website. Click the link to read about the various exhibitors in the Spotlight.

Feeding Frenzy Featured on Wattpad

Feeding Frenzy named a 'featured story,' on Wattpad.
Feeding Frenzy named a ‘featured story,’ on Wattpad.


#11 in Mystery/Thriller Sept. 7, 2015 with 25 000 reads on Wattpad

Feeding Frenzy is a paranormal thriller about our obsession with food. It was inspired by the madcap pacing of Jan Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum mysteries and the over-the-top imagination of Christopher Moore’s comic fantasy novels.

— Maaja

Featured on Wattpad

Wattpad has officially chosen Feeding Frenzy as a ‘featured story.’ You can read it on Wattpad for free anytime. Wattpad members access an almost unlimited supply of stories, in many popular genres. Wattpad is a social network as much as a reading site, and half the fun is connecting with people all over the world.

Those who do not wish to join Wattpad can wait for the definitive paper and ebook versions of Feeding Frenzy, slated for publication late fall/ early winter. The release date will depend on the availability of editors. It’s too soon to name names but I am very excited about the industry professionals I have spoken to so far.

At the moment, the story is in the hands of an award-winning author with a fantastic sense of humour. His notes will help me do a rewrite which I will then hand over to an experienced editor for further feedback. Readers deserve nothing less than professional work.

After Feeding Frenzy is fully edited and covers are made, the book will be ready to launch. Join the Loon Lake reading club to receive notification of publication, pre-order deals, and time-sensitive discounts.

Blasted Bloomers: a new story in the works!

Discover Helene's mysterious past in this Feeding Frenzy prequel.
Discover Helene’s mysterious past in this Feeding Frenzy prequel.

In Feeding Frenzy, Tonya must pay the price for her Aunt Helene’s past mistakes among the magical families of Loon Lake.

Young Helene is an ambitious teen who charms animals and people without trying. In Blasted Bloomers, she tries to ‘be good’ until she meets Jack Waldock, the devilish rebel who tempts her with a seemingly unlimited source of power.

This prequel to Feeding Frenzy will be free for members of the Loon Lake reading club when it’s completed. Join today and be first to receive your Blasted Bloomers ebook.

08/20/2015 Note: I am currently editing Feeding Frenzy with professional input. Blasted Bloomers is a new project which will not be finished until edits on Feeding Frenzy are complete.

Cliffhanger Castle – Contest Launch!

cliffhanger Secret Special Project 2_edited-3
Secret Special Project: Cliffhanger Castle

This is a writing experiment with its heart in community. Expect chills, thrills, and breathtaking plot twists…

Do you love chapters that end on a cliffhanger? One part contest, one part serial anthology, one part battle of writerly of wits; talented writers compete for the chance to captivate your attention. This story is inspired by a real abandoned hotel and artist’s colony, overlooking lakeside cliffs.


Set around modern day Lake Ontario, Austen and Tiffany are two teens thrown into a nail-biting search for Austen's little sister, Rhea, and her pet dog Ciggaro. The trail leadsto a condemned hotel in the beautiful but perilous grounds of Cliff Park, an old estate with a chequered past and it's fair share of ghost stories.

-- Joanne Weaver


Chapters are are posted as they are accepted on Wattpad. If you aren’t yet on Wattpad, you can read Chapter One here. You can also follow the project for email updates, and to enter the contest.

I’m editing this project, but even I don’t know what will happen next. Maybe the next chapter will be yours…

*** Update: Cliffhanger Castle is on hold until after the publication of Feeding Frenzy *** 

For updates, sign up for the newsletter: [wysija_form id=”3″]


What is a Serial Thriller Anthology?

Cliffhanger Castle, an innovative serial anthology created by Maaja Wentz
Cliffhanger Castle. A paranormal serial anthology created by Maaja Wentz

Is this Wattpad’s First Serial Anthology?

This project is a paranormal thriller with a twist – author collaboration in a serial anthology. If you have ever wanted to read a suspense novel that combines mystery with lots of surprises, this innovative novel, the first of its kind on Wattpad.

Exciting writers compete to display their unique style, in conjunction with other talented authors. The idea is to combine a gentle game of writerly one-upmanship, with a chance for like-minded writers (and readers) to find each other. Only the most talented contributors will have their chapters included in the story.

Is a Serial Anthology Right for You?

Written by various authors in styles ranging from sweet to suspenseful, there is a lot of variety for the reader. If you don’t want to miss out, consider following the project on Wattpad. Here is the link to my Wattpad Profile: @MaajaWentz (on Wattpad)

There you will also find my Watty-Award-Winning mystery/thriller, Feeding Frenzy,as well as virtual shelves of reading recommendations in different genres. There is a lot of free fiction available every day on Wattpad. As a platform, Wattpad has a monthly audience of 45 million to whom it is committed to provide all its stories for free.

Note: Wattpad is for members only but all you need is an email address. Join Wattpad for full access, or get Cliffhanger Castle updates outside Wattpad by joining the Loon Lake Reading Club.


*** Update ***


After putting Cliffhanger Castle on hiatus while I concentrated on editing Feeding Frenzy for publication, Cliffhanger Castle is relaunched and looking for contributors. If you are on Wattpad and you would like to contribute, feel free to pitch me with a chapter idea. If I like your idea, and the samples of your work posted on Wattpad, you may just be our newest featured author.

November Creative Updates

Creative Teaching Update

I Wish My Teacher Knew, the non-fiction online book I made to collect first-person stories about education and creativity, has received over 1050 reads on Wattpad. This is exciting because the more people read it, the more will contribute. The hope is that these stories will inform Creative Teacher Librarian with fresh ideas for renewing education. Find out more about it by clicking on the story below. Drop me a line if you have a story of your own to add. It would be great to hear from you.


Creative Writing Update

As of October 31, the new serial novel, Feeding Frenzy, is underway. Over a hundred readers have perused the first three chapters. As it grows, the hope is many more people will read it. Serial fiction is a great motivator and antidote for writers’ block. Since making a promise to update weekly, there is real pressure to follow through. Last week I posted chapters on Wednesday and Friday. Reader comments have been encouraging. Writing Feeding Frenzy is a nostalgia rush too, as it forces me to reflect on my first year of university, although mythical Loon Lake University is nothing like my alma mater, University of Toronto. If you like fiction with a little humour, mystery and paranormal suspense, this one may be for you.

The Wattpad experience has been stimulating in a lot of ways. I attended a second Toronto meetup at the Wattpad offices in October, which resulted in a new Halloween Story compilation. This platform makes it easy to engage online with writers and readers in their late teens and twenties. Who better to discuss creativity and new ideas in fiction?

Convention Update

My schedule for http://sfcontario.ca/ has firmed up. If you are in Toronto next weekend, and you are interested in speculative fiction, attending a convention is worth doing. I’m moderating three discussion panels and I’ll be running a flash fiction contest, open to attendees. If you are at the convention, be sure to say hello. Here is my schedule:

Reviews and Critiques – Saturday 11 AM
Tricorders in the Classroom – Saturday 12PM
Flash Fiction Slam  – Saturday 7PM
Sherlock vs Elementary – Sunday 1pm

In case you are wondering what a Flash Fiction Slam is, I admit I made it up. The idea is to have writers perform their own 500-1000 word stories, and have the audience choose the winners. In a traditional poetry slam, a couple of volunteers are chosen from the crowd who give each slammer a score of 0-10 for his or her performance. No props or costumes are allowed, and only 20% of the offering may be sung. Beyond that, there are few rules. Whatever the reader does to make the performance exciting is allowed. My idea is to take this format and apply it to flash fiction, all in aide of engaging entertainment.




SFContario Wattpad and Feeding Frenzy Serial

SFContario is a convention which offers over 50 panelists, covering science fiction, fantasy, science, costuming, art, writing, genre television, and movies, as well as other topics of interest to fans. It runs from the evening of November 14 to Sunday November 16, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 300 Jarvis St, Toronto. I have been invited to moderate a few panels, including a couple that are education-related. The plan is for me to run a flash fiction contest as well. For more information or to join in the fun, check out SFContario.

Sunday I attended a meetup at Wattpad in Toronto, arranged by Takatsu. It was an opportunity to meet readers and writers who are eager converts to this new medium. We toured the Wattpad offices which feature magic marker signatures on the walls, top flight tech, commissioned Graffiti, a vault, the employee ping-pong ladder, a giant light fixture bedecked in Wattpad novel covers, and a tree-sized, tree-shaped bookcase. After the tour, and a brief-but-shocking game of Cards Against Humanity, we headed to C’est What? for dinner. My great pleasure was in meeting Gavin (‘The Orangutan’ on Wattpad) who was in town from the UK. We talked Science Fiction, family life and culture. Takatsu emphasizes philosophy, and there was plenty of that too. I also met a brilliant teen who talked Romanian history and politics.

Feeding Frenzy launches on Wattpad tomorrow. For more about this serial writing experiment, check out the previous blog post. The status report, as of tonight, is that half the novel is planned, a provisional ending is decided, and chapter one is written in draft. Tomorrow I get up at 5:00 am and proofread before I post it and leave for work. Terrifying as it is to post as I write, Wattpad provides an opportunity to interact with readers I can’t pass up. Who knows, maybe the second half of the story will surprise me as much as them.

I Wish My Teacher Knew, a non-fiction book I started to collect testimony from teens and adults about their school experiences, has surpassed 1000 reads on Wattpad. I’m very happy about this as the more people read it, the more will be likely to let me add their stories. There is nothing like first-person testimony to help define a problem, or measure success as I continue gathering information on creative teaching.

Enough! It’s time to lay out the Halloween costume (mine is a lady bug – complete with feelers, wings, and pearls for the visual pun).

Best wishes for a creepy, crawly, creative Halloween!

Conan the Librarian celebrates all books returned!
Conan the Librarian celebrates all books returned!