Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Market and Bloggy Vacation

photo courtesy of 19Melissa68
I'm taking a couple of weeks off to enjoy the holidays. Come back after the first of the year, and I'll get back on my novel, new contests and conferences... And be thinking about your goals. I'll post mine, if you'll tell me yours. Then we can hold each other accountable. Deal?

Oh, here's the market. If you like to write
green, here's a link to the writers' guidelines for Plenty magazine.

Have a great holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Themed Novel Contest

photo courtesy of chicks57

The folks at Ellora's Cave Publishing are holding a contest to find your favorite holiday themed novel. Check out the post on their blog for details.

The contest is limited to fiction published after 1970 and there are prizes to boot. You've got until December 22nd to post comments on their blog listing author and title and a paragraph or two about the story and why it is your holiday favorite.

After 1970 is tough for me. Most everything I think of relating to the holidays is in movie form. Christmas Vacation, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (yes... you got a problem with that), Muppet Family Christmas (so, see previous answer), Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas. Those are all my favorites. It just dawned on me. As much as I read, I don't think I've ever read a Christmas-themed book. Point me in the right direction...

I'm not a scrooge about the holidays. It's just that I think holidays are a time to be with family. I can't do that with my nose stuck in a book. And it seems senseless to read a holiday book say...during June. Instead, we pop in our favorite movies and enjoy the evening as a family. But writer friends, I promise I'm an avid reader the rest of the year. You can ask Borders and Barnes and Noble. They know me well.

I'll have to check back after the contest and see who the winner is. Maybe I'll ask Santa to put the winning book in my stocking.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Personal Essay Contest and Writer Networking

Take a guess who the baby is...

Memoirs, Ink. Half-Yearly Personal Essay Contest - 2009 Contest Guidelines:

Less is even more this year. What makes this contest different is that the word limit is half that of our yearly contest. The guidelines are below.

Memoirs Ink is looking for original, well-written personal essays, memoirs, or stories that are based on autobiographical experiences. The narrative must be in first person, other that that, the contest is open to any type, genre or style of story. It is open to any writer, any age, writing in English--that means Canadians, Brits, Australians, Ugandans and anyone else anywhere can enter.

Entry must be previously unpublished (this includes websites and blogs).

Entry fee: $17. (Please make check or money order to Memoirs, Ink.) or you can pay online. (Make sure to mail in receipt of payment with entry.) Get $2 off entry fee by becoming a fan on Facebook.

Prizes: This year, to prove that less is more, or at least reward less with more, we are giving away more prize money. First Prize: $1000. Second Prize: $500. Third Prize: $250.

Please limit entries to less than 1500 words.

Contest Deadline: February 15, 2009 (postmark). Late Deadline: February 28, 2009 (Postmark - Late entries require additional $5 entry fee per entry)

Winners will be announced April 30, 2008. We will announce them by e-mail and on our website.
Send entries to: Memoirs Ink Writing Contest 10866 Washington Blvd, Suite 518, Culver City, CA 90232

Please submit entries as follows: Typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font.
Your name should appear only on the contest submission form. Click here to print submission form.

The title of the manuscript should appear on every page.
The pages should be numbered.
We used to prefer paperclips, but are now partial to staples.
Multiple submissions are accepted, however, an additional $10 entry fee is required for each additional story.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted, however, if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere, you need to let us know immediately that you are withdrawing your submission.
E-mail questions to Jill at Memoirsink dot com

Other Info

Manuscripts will not be returned. Memoirs, Ink., is not responsible for manuscripts lost in the mail, etc. Memoirs, Ink cannot confirm receipt of your entry unless you provide a self-addressed stamped postcard.

Winners must sign a contest winner agreement form that certifies your writing is original and assigns us temporary rights and electronic archiving rights.

If you win, we will publish your story. If you do not want your story published please do not submit it.

We reserve the right to mention or not mention anyone honorably.
Winners will be contacted between April 1-30, 2009.


I'm already making resolutions for the new year. Diet failed, so let's try something new. My resolution for the new year is to network, network, network. This is a challenge for me. I know I appear to be a big mouth, but I'm not. Really, I'm not. Talking off the cuff does not come easy. Put me in front of a crowd to talk about something I know something about--no problem. But ask me to make small talk, and I freeze.

I don't consider myself shy, and I don't suffer from stage fright. Speaking in public doesn't make me nervous. So what's the problem? Beats the hell out of me.

So there you have it--my New Year's Resolution. I've said it out loud, so now I have to act on it.

Here's my networking strategy for the new year... (if you can think of others, let me know.)

1. I resolve to mingle more at conferences. Usually I slither into the room at the last minute, find a seat at the back and then beat feet out when the presentation is over.

2. I resolve not to skip social hours at conferences.

3. I resolve to visit other area writer's groups and expand my writing network of friends.

4. I resolve to put myself out there at workshops and conferences by meeting and talking to the presenters and conference organizers.

5. I resolve to put my writing first, but not be obnoxious about it. (I hate it when people are me, me, me and won't let others get a word in edgewise.)

6. I resolve to grow my online writing network.

7. I resolve to actually use my business cards.

8. I resovle to grow my blog by telling people about it (help me out here and tell your friends to stop by for a visit.)

9. I resolve to tell people that I am a writer when they ask what I do.

10. I resolve to pay attention to others who are good at networking and learn their secrets of success.

For you shy ones, C. Hope Clark has a book called The Shy Writer .

Monday, December 8, 2008

First Paragraph Challenge

photo courtesy of abbyladybug

Crazy guy. He's done it again. Nathan Bransford at Curtis Brown LTD. is hosting his 2nd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. Go check it out here.

Here's Nathan's rules.

1. Please post the first paragraph of any work-in-progress in the comments section of his post (NOT HERE FOLKS-GO TO HIS BLOG). The deadline for entry is THURSDAY 4pm Pacific time, at which point entries will be closed. Finalists will be announced on Friday, at which time you will exercise your democratic rights to choose a grand prize super awesome winner.
2. You may enter once, once you may enter, and enter once you may.
3. Spreading word about the contest is strongly encouraged.
4. I will be sole judge this time. Bwa ha ha.
5. A word on word count: I am not imposing a word count on the paragraphs. However, a paragraph that is too long may lose points in the judge's eyes. Use your own discretion.

Here's da prize.

The grand prize super awesome winner of the SUFPCx2 will win their choice of a partial critique, query critique or 15 minute phone conversation in which we can discuss topics ranging from reality TV shows to, you know, publishing. Your choice. Runners up will receive query critiques and/or other agreed-upon prizes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Favorite Writing Books

photo courtesy of Lynn
As promised my favorite writing books in no particular order.

* Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (a must for any aspiring writer)

* Write Right by Jan Venolia (a compact tool kit for writers)

* Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliot, Ph.d. (a painless and funny guide to better grammar)

* The Fiction Writer's Silent Partner by Martin Roth (great tool for generating ideas)

* No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty (he helps you stomp down your internal editor and write)

* Make a Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld (if you can't write a scene after reading this, keep your day job)

*First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner (love her worksheets)

* Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (this is the book I'm using to go back and edit my first novel. Really helps you find the flaws and weaknesses in your writing.)

* The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal (short and sweet and a great book to take on the road. It's compact.)

* Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents (Oh boy... I know you can get this stuff on the Internet, but I'm still a book snob. He also provides advice and interviews with agents and such. Thank you Jeff Herman for compiling it in a single book. My carpal tunnel thanks you.)

* Writer's Market (Yep, this stuff is on the Internet, too. They compile it plus provide tips and interviews.)

* To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I know it's not a book on the craft of writing, but read it and you'll know why I included it. It's a classic. And to think Harper Lee only wrote the one book. Oh my gosh...)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Fiction Contest and Gifts for Writers

photo courtesy of taberandrew

Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers

A prize of $1,500 and publication in Boulevard is given annually for a short story by a writer who has not published a nationally distributed book. The editors of Boulevard will judge.
Submit a story of any length with a $15 entry fee, which includes a one-year subscription to Boulevard, by December 31.

Send an SASE, call, or visit the website for complete guidelines. Boulevard, Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers, P.O. Box 325, 6614 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, MO 63117. (314) 862-2643. Richard Burgin, Editor.

Gifts for the writer in your life (or you or me.)

-Fuzzy Slippers (to keep footsies toasty under the desk)
-Office Supplies (paperclips, index cards, sticky notes and flags, red ink pens, computer paper)
-Ink Cartridges for Printer (I'd heart you forever)
-Flash Drives (my fav is the SanDisk)
-Digital Recorder (I love mine. It comes in handy when I'm driving and get a brainstorm.)
-Gift Certificates for book stores (we need to keep the book business alive)
-Books on the craft of writing
-Music CD's (who doesn't have a favorite song or artist who inspires them.)
-Registration for a conference they want to attend
-Chocolate (it keeps the internal editor happy)
-Diet Coke (it counteracts the calories from the chocolate)
-Subscription to Writer's Digest (gotta keep those magazines in business)
-Thesaurus (I know I can use WORD, but sometimes you just want to look it up in a book)
-Stapler (it's an office supply, but you gotta try the Paper Pro One Finger Stapler-love it!)
-3-Hole Punch (or if you really heart the person buy the already punched paper)
-Wireless Keyboard (then they can pace around the room)
-Office Chair ( Don't get that balancing ball thing, unless you buy them extra insurance.)
-Portfolio (to keep all the clippings of published articles handy and presentable)
-Postage Stamps (for all those submissions)

Tomorrow, I'll share my favorite writing books.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Short Story and Poetry Contest and What's Next.

photo courtesy of jodimarr

Crazyhorse, a literary journal announces their Crazyhourse Fiction Prize and Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize here .

Top Prize is $2000 and publication in Crazyhorse. Entry fee is $16 per manuscript for new entrants and $14 per manuscript if you've entered Crazyhorse prizes before.

Deadline is Dec. 15, 2008. Get cracking!

I've finally come down off my NaNoWriMo high and found I actually have some words left (my friends won't be surprised, because I usually never shut up.) I've taken this week off to recuperate (ie. sleep late), clean my office (I pretended to throw stuff away so my husband would shut up about the mess) and get ready to decorate the house for Christmas (okay, put up a fake tree with a couple of shiny ornaments and tinsel that I saved from last year. I had to throw the candy canes away because they got all gooey. Who knew?)

I have three more days, then I get back to work on the novel. Ya'll keep me on my toes, because I have a tendency to slack (play computer games.)

Tomorrow I'll post my list of favorite gifts to buy the writer in your life (or me, if you're so inclined.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Poetry Contest

courtesy of sbpoet
One-page Poem Contest

In honor of April being poetry month,

Saturday Writers is announcing our 7th annual poetry contest!

Submission Guidelines:

1) Any style, any subject, any form. Wow us in one page. (One poem per single-spaced page.)
2) No identification should appear on the entry. Attach a separate coversheet with title, name, address, e-mail, and phone number.
3) Two copies of each entry! (Each judge needs a copy.)
4) Entry fee: $5 per poem, maximum of three entries.
5) Poems must be unpublished at the time of submission, original work of the contestant.
6) Deadline: March 16, 2009 postmark.
7) Prizes: 1st place - $100, 2nd place - $50, 3rd place - $25. Top 10 entries receive a certificate.
8) Winners will be announced on the website by April 30, 2009. Certificates and cash prizes will be mailed in early May.
9) Mail entries flat, not folded, to:

Louella Turner
Saturday Writers One-page Poem Contest Coordinator
2731 Cumberland Landing
St. Charles, MO 63303

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT send by certified mail!

10) Checks payable to: Saturday Writers.

Contest is open to members of Saturday Writers and non-members. Prize winners and honorable mention recipients (top ten only) may be given the opportunity to have their stories included (one time rights) in the Saturday Writers literary collection, published the following year.

For a list of winners, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Or check out our website after April 30:

Decision of judges is final. Not responsible for lost or misdirected entries. Poems will not be returned. Submissions paid for by checks which are returned by the bank will be immediately disqualified.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Novel Contest and Shopping Update

photo courtesy of weidmaier

It's almost time for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest., Penguin Group (USA), and CreateSpace are joining forces for the Breakthrough Novel Award for 2009.

If you have an unpublished novel holed up in a drawer somewhere (and honestly who doesn't?), get that sucker out and spit shine it. Open submissions begin in February of 2009. Check out this link for details.

While you're at it, sign up for contest updates.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was awesome. Spent it with family and had a great dinner. And I didn't have to cook. What's not to love about that?

Spent a hectic day on Friday running from store to store in search of bargains. Found not a one, but I spent it with my daughter. We had a great time making fun of all the people lined up outside the stores. Not us. While a whole gaggle of folks were lined up outside Target, we raced into Penney's (no line), made our purchase, then raced down to Dick's Sporting Goods--again no line.

But taking up four spaces (that's right 4) in front of Best Buy was a rented motor home. Yep, a motor home. Apparently some women had rented a motor home to do their holiday shopping in. When we arrived they were sitting inside, drinking coffee. We could see them through the windows-and no we are not peeping toms. They had the curtains open and the lights on, so in the dark night, they stuck out like sore thumbs.

Now I ask you, what kind of bargains warrant renting a motor home?? I don't know about you, but I saved about $10 on my bargains Friday. So there is no motor home in my future shopping escapades.

I'm sure you're asking why I would get up at 5:00 am for a $10 savings. Tradition, folks. It's all about tradition. Heck, I don't even care if I buy anything. It's me and my daughter dragging butt out of bed in the dark and racing to the store--together. It's the day witih my daughter that's important and laughing at the other crazies who brave the night air in search of the elusive bargain.

Oh, and about the shopping cart--I didn't do it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.