Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday's Market - A Cup of Comfort

Today's weather forecast for St. Peters: Foggy and cold. Expected high 49 degrees.

A Cup of Comfort is a market I've been fortunate enough to be published in three times. In fact, just last Friday I received my contributor copies of "Welcome Home," which appears in A Cup of Comfort for Military Families.

My experience with editor Colleen Sell is that she's flexible, open to new writers, and responsive to answering questions. Payment is $100, plus a contributor's copy. Right now, they're looking for submissions for Dog Lovers II (deadline Dec 15) and A Grieving Heart (Feb 1), plus a few other anthologies. Check out the website for complete guidelines and announcements. Here's a link to their site.

Okay, but I promised to talk about critique groups this week, so what does A Cup of Comfort have to do with critique groups?

Here's what: Three members of Coffee and Critique, the critique group I now belong to, have been published in Cup of Comfort books just this year. In addition to my own acceptance, Pat Wahler has a story in A Cup of Comfort for Cat Lovers, and Alice Muschany has one in A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors.

Here's why I think our critique group helped us all get published: Critique groups can be great places to get your work ready to submit for publication or a contest. They are also helpful places to discuss writing and work on improving your craft. After Alice, Pat, and I wrote our stories, we made copies and brought our drafts (or e-mailed them) to our Coffee and Critique group. There, the stories were read out loud. Members offered comments, asked questions, made editing suggestions, or made notes on their copies. Then we took our written-on copies home and polished them, e-mailed if we needed clarification, and revised until the stories were ready to submit. Of course, it's always up to the writer which comments she choses to use, but if several people point out the same fault or have similar questions about something that was read, it may need a second look.

In a nutshell, that's how our group operates, and it seems to be working. If you don't belong to a critique group, you might find one at your local library, college, coffee shop, or book store (ours meets at a Barnes and Noble). If there isn't one around, why not start one of your own or search for an on-line group? And good luck!

Tomorrow, in honor of Veterans' Day, I'll talk about memories of veterans who have a special place in my heart and announce a contest to win a copy of A Cup of Comfort for Military Families, which has my true story "Welcome Home" in it.

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