A couple months ago, if you’d asked me what a Ning Network was, I probably would have guessed it was a cell phone service. In fact, Ning creates really dandy social networks, and I now belong to two:

Teen Fire is a site created by Sourcebooks Fire as a place for YA authors, readers, and editors to interact. I’m not sure if it’s the first of its kind, but I am pretty certain that a place where YA readers and writers can regularly communicate with the editors and authors of a publisher has got to be rare! The most popular aspect of Teen Fire is the Writers Forum, where writers (age 13 and up) can post their work for feedback. Sourcebooks editors pop in frequently to read and respond to everyone’s work, as well as Joy Preble (author of Dreaming Anastasia), Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown (author and illustrator of Picture the Dead), Lisa and Laura Roecker (sister authors of the Kate Lowry Mysteries), and … well, me. Yeah, I’m there a lot. You can also find contests and book giveaways at Teen Fire – and because it is highly monitored by the editors and authors, it is a very safe site for teens to explore social networking.

Participation in Teen Fire led me to another Ning site, YALitchat – an online community for people who “write, read, and live YA.” This site was founded by Georgia McBride, author of the YA urban fantasy series PRAEFATIO. I’m a fairly new member (about 24 hours), so I can’t tell you as much about this site. However, glancing over the titles of the discussions and forums (Perturbed YA Parent, To Agent or Not Agent, Books to Film, etc.), I want to join them all immediately!

I highly recommend both sites for people interested in reading or writing Teen/YA fiction. Join me!