Young adult author encourages aspiring writers

We need people interested in writing our history.

No Regrets

Wendy Garman, manager of the Mount Wolf Elementary cafeteria, is the author of the book “No Regrets,” published in May of 2014. Recently, I had the chance to sit down with her and talk about her book and how it came to be.

 How long did you work on No Regrets?
It started as a book for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, in ’09. It worked well because I can be very ADHD. I wrote at a specific time of day and had a support system – The NaNo community – to keep me on track. Obviously, I edited a lot after that, but that was when I got the skeleton of the story done.

Did you ever quit or stop writing?
No. It was difficult when I went on a “no technology” vacation with my family the November I was writing, but I had to find time to write. To keep myself from getting caught up in the story, I only let myself read the last sentence I wrote to continue with. Making sure it all flows happens in editing. When I finished the first draft, I didn’t pick it up for maybe three weeks, but I never totally stopped.

How much of your writing is based on true events (versus being made up)?
I’d say about 40 percent of it is based on my own experiences, and the other 60 percent is stuff I made up. When I write, I don’t have any kind of outlining; I let my characters do what they want.

What do you take into consideration when writing?
The best parts of my stories come from me wondering about the “what-ifs”. One thing I couldn’t think about was how others would interpret my writing. My first reader, my sister, is brutally honest. When I read it to my friends and co-workers, they would laugh at me sometimes. I couldn’t focus on their reactions until I finished.

No Regrets was self published. How hard was that?
It was actually really easy. I used CreateSpace by Amazon, and they give as much or as little help as you want. The prices were decent, and it was definitely a worthwhile investment. I might not ever be able to quit my job, but I got more back than I put in, and in the end all I wanted was to hold a tangible copy of my book.

What do you think makes a better writer?
Writing, writing, writing. Read the stuff you write about, and follow trends – as in, now would not be a good time to write a vampire novel. Read what’s current.

What is the best advice you’ve been given regarding your writing?
Don’t quit, regardless of any negative feedback you get. Don’t give up easily; the writing market is becoming easier to get in to, especially with self publishing becoming a big thing.

What can you tell those who want to become an author?
To read what you’re interested in. Also, buy a thesaurus to increase your vocabulary!


Northeastern High School‘s book club read No Regrets not long ago, and the reviews they gave were nothing but good.

“It was very intense and was filled with powerful emotion,” said sophomore Heidi Wood.

“I really enjoyed Mrs. Garman’s book, especially because she works right in our district,” said junior Destiny Eisenhour. “It’s one thing picking a book off the shelf because you like the genre, but it’s even better if you know the author and are able to put that into perspective while reading the book. I’m always into young adult drama novels so I really liked it. She did a really good job of putting the reader in the shoes of her main character as well. It was even cooler that she came in and personally autographed all of our books for us too.”

You can buy Garman’s book on Amazon.

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Courtney DeMonda takes on the Fashion World

Deciding where you want to go to college is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Determining what you want to do for the rest of your life is an even more impossible feat, but Courtney DeMonda, a recent graduate of York Catholic, has her dream all figured out.

Courtney DeMonda showcases her sense of style through her fashion blog.

Courtney DeMonda showcases her sense of style through her fashion blog.

Watch out for DeMonda’s name in magazines and the news — she’s working to become a professional stylist, while studying at LIM College in New York City. She is currently majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a concentration for styling.

“I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry, but I wanted to know more about the business side of it instead of design. LIM College is much more focused on the business of fashion, so it felt like the perfect fit,” DeMonda said.

DeMonda said she has had a love of fashion for as long as she can remember.

“I had a passion for styling since the time I watched my first episode of “The Rachael Zoe Project.” I just want to make someone feel beautiful with the clothes that are on their body,” DeMonda said. Continue reading “Courtney DeMonda takes on the Fashion World” »

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Alternative to college routes: W. Sebastiaan Ney

W. Sebastiaan Ney. Photo submitted.

W. Sebastiaan Ney. Photo submitted.

W. Sebastiaan Ney faced the world after high school by delving down a path of his own choosing. During his years at William Penn Senior High School, Ney took some college classes and observed his older friends attend college.

“I saw how unhappy and in debt a lot of them were. It wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Ney said.

Among college visits, Ney also visited a school of massage therapy and instantly fell in love. “I couldn’t see any other way,” he said.
Continue reading “Alternative to college routes: W. Sebastiaan Ney” »

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Rocky Ridge lights get a Central student’s touch

Matt Portka, left, with his wife Autumn Portka, and their daughter Alina Portka, 2, all of Dover, during Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge Park in early December. A Central York student helped coordinate a portion of the lights set to music. (File photo)

Matt Portka, left, with his wife Autumn Portka, and their daughter Alina Portka, 2, all of Dover, during Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge Park in early December. A Central York student helped coordinate a portion of the lights set to music. (File photo)

Most people decorate for the holidays by stringing lights in trees and bushes, or placing large, festive figurines in their front yard. Caleb Linburg, a junior at Central York High School,  prepared for the season a little differently, by decorating more than just his house.

For the first time, the 16-year-old has been working with the people at Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park to add a musical element to the popular holiday attraction. “We started [working] at the end of last school year and met to set up over the summer,” he said.

Linburg’s main job is to program the music and synchronize the lights so that they will “dance” along to it. “I am syncing the lights to dance to five different songs,” he said. “There are a variety of different trees and elements, like a mega tree, that dance to it as well.”

Continue reading “Rocky Ridge lights get a Central student’s touch” »

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Students participate in National Novel Writing Month

The official coat of arms for NaNoWriMo.    Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

Sierra King spent her free time in November in front of her computer. This sounds like the average student lifestyle, however King wasn’t just browsing the web. She was an active Wrimo, the term describing those who take part in National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, is sponsored every November by a non-profit organization of the same name. The month focuses on motivating participants to create a 50,000 word (minimum) novel by 11:59 pm on November 30th. For those that finish a novel with at least the minimum word count, sponsored prizes are available.

Last year, 310,095 people participated, according to the official NaNoWriMo website.

Continue reading “Students participate in National Novel Writing Month” »

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Northeastern students talk about lesser-known clubs


Sophomore Nick Craft watches an informative video on “The Odyssey” during a Thursday quiz bowl practice

Imagine a high school football game. A multitude of fans fill to bleachers to their greatest capacity, cheerleaders push the players on to victory, and the band’s peppy music fills the air after a touchdown. The atmosphere at any typical high school sport game is full of school spirit.

So, what does that have to do with anything? Everything at a high school will create school spirit – it’s just natural, expected.

Well, not quite.

Continue reading “Northeastern students talk about lesser-known clubs” »

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50 Word Summary: Marc Charisse.

Marc Charisse, night content editor of the York Daily Record, recently visited the members of the Teen Takeover staff. During this meeting, he and the staff explored the necessities of good journalism and how to enthrall readers by “writing what matters.” Charisse’s storytelling abilities, strengthened by extraordinary life experiences, kept the staff entertained from the moment he walked into the room until the last word he said.

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50 word summary: Marc Charisse visits Teen Takeover staff

Marc Charisse, night editor at the York Daily Record, recently spoke to our staff about good journalism. To Charisse, a journalist is an “underpaid idealistic”, a risk-taker writing stories that stay with and improve the lives of readers. By answering questions and relating anecdotes, Charisse shared his knowledge with staffers.

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50 word summary: Marc Charisse

Marc Charisse, the night content editor at the York Daily Record said good news stories are the ones that “make people’s lives a little better.” His dynamic character, witty humor, and magic trick abilities made his visit to our Teen Takeover meeting quite memorable. His words were nothing but truth.

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50 word summary: Marc Charisse and his magic

Marc Charisse, the night editor at the YDR, visited the staff to talk about his job. He does “a little bit of everything,” which he proved by starting with a magic trick. With his stories, Charisse revealed the real magic: using journalism to tell stories that make others’ lives better.


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