Friday, January 30, 2009
The Saturday Writers' Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild is hosting Missouri's first poet laureate, Walter Bargen, at its meeting tomorrow, January 31. Bargen will speak about "Out of the Silence Cometh the First Line" at the St. Peters Community and Arts Center (on St. Peters-Howell Road, off Mid Rivers Mall Drive) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For details, visit the http://www.saturdaywriters.org/ website and click on Events. Meeting is free to members of SW, and $5 for visitors.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Weather forecast for St. Peters: Clearing, high 21 degrees. Kids are home again. It's sunny outside now, and with the six inches of snow we got yesterday and last night, I totally understand the meaning of snow blindness.
My friends at Bookreporter.com are sponsoring another fantastic contest.
This special contest is to win an Advance Copy of ECSTASY written by New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank. Bookreporter.com is giving away copies of Frank's new paranormal romance, ECSTASY.
Ten readers who answer a question correctly by reading an excerpt from the book will be automatically entered to win. The contest is open to all legal residents of the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 years of age or older. The following persons and their dependents are not eligible to enter or win: employees of Bookreporter.com or The Book Report, Inc. and their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and the immediate families (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) of each of the above.
But you have to act fast because the deadline to enter is tomorrow, Thursday, January 29.
Enter by filling out a form which can be found at their site. Visit the website for complete contest details.
Good luck, and good reading!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Thanks to Julie E. for e-mailing this information to me:
"The Black Warrior Review seeks Creative Non-Fiction for our Fall 2009 issue. We accept memoirs, old cars, pon fars, travelougues, jumping frogs, Boss Hoggs, essays, last days, death rays, lists, jists, mists, recipes, next-to-me(s), jujubees, how-to's, boo boos, and cows jumping spoons. Surprise us.
Please send your manuscripts (no longer than 30 pp) to:
Black Warrior Review
P.O. Box 862936
Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-0027
ATTN: Andy Johnson, Non-Fiction Editor"
For complete submission guidelines, visit their website; the link is above. After reading their submission call-out, my guess is they like humor.
Monday, January 26, 2009
By accepting the award, I must follow two rules:
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
2) Pass the award along to blogs you find worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.
The blogs I am nominating to receive the Premio Dardos Award are:
Midlist Writer "Welcome to Literary Purgatory" - This is the blog of Sean McLachlan, a freelance writer specializing in history and travel. His blog postings are wise and witty and include his thoughts on critiques, rejection, goals, and other publishing and writing-related topics.
Critter Alley - Pat Wahler is a freelance writer who enjoys reading/writing stories about pets. I especially enjoy the photos Pat includes along with her blog postings.
Coffee and Critique - Tricia Grissom offers writing tips, contests, submission opportunities, and other information to benefit writers. This blog is sponsored by the Coffee and Critique Writers' Group, which meets at Barnes and Noble in St. Peters, MO.
Cathy C's Hall of Fame - Cathy C. Hall is a freelance writer who loves to get published. Follow her blog if you want to find out where she meets Fame and Fortune along the way. Cathy's posts are humorous as well as informative and always put a smile on my face.
A Day in the Life "Stories, Mine and Ours" - Camille Faye loves stories. She has been a traveler, news reporter and teacher, and the stories on her blog include her life stories, as well as others' stories as they pass by her wherever she goes.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
On school days I ask my grandchildren Cari and Michael what was the most exciting or interesting thing that happened at school. Generally, Michael, who is ten and in fourth grade, mentions lunch or recess. Cari, who is 14 and an eighth grader, either shrugs or says, "Nothing much."
But last night was different.
Michael told us his class is writing a letter to our new president. I told him that's a wonderful class project. I remember how our school wrote a letter of sympathy to Mrs. Kennedy after President Kennedy was shot. Mrs. Kennedy wrote back, and her hand-written note was pinned to a hallway bulletin board.
Cari told us about a writing assignment she was given in religion class. The assignment is to write a letter to her grandchildren telling them how she felt about Tuesday's historic inauguration of Barack Obama. What an insightful writing project to give students!
In fact, both writing projects are inspiring!
Borrowing from Cari's teacher's idea, I've decided to record my thoughts for Cari and Michael--even though they live with my husband and me and we have discussed the election and inauguration--and to write down my impressions for them and my future great-grandchildren as well.
How about you?
Maybe you might want to write your thoughts about this week or urge your own children or grandchildren to, so decades from now future generations will be able to better understand the feelings, thoughts, and impressions of this week's historic events.
Or, like Michael's class, you or your family will write a letter to our new president and his family. Here's a link to an article on e-how on "How to Write a Letter to the President of the United States." that you might want to check out to get started.
One last thought: If you're not a Democrat or not a fan of our new president, how about writing a letter to former president and first lady, George and Laura Bush. It might be nice to thank them for their service to our country and for the graciousness they showed welcoming our new president and first lady to the White House.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
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:
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 everyone--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: http://www.saturdaywriters.org/.
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.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
On this historic inauguaration day--when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, the first African-American elected to that office--our nation is poised to enter an era of change. One change I hope President Obama will use his leadership and influence to foster is a greater emphasis on literacy in America.
Monday, January 19, 2009
This submission opportunity is a regional one, but one worth sharing.
The Mid Rivers Review is the literary journal of St. Charles Community College and is published annually by the English Department. The journal contains poetry, prose, and artwork contributed by students, staff, faculty, and area residents.
Three of my short stories have appeared in previous years' issues, and the English Department did an excellent job editing and publishing each one. It was a very exciting feeling when I received my two complimentary copies in the mail.
The next deadline for submissions is January 31. Their submission guidelines are fairly specific, so visit their website and follow the guidelines carefully.
Here's the link. http://www.stchas.edu/divisions/ah/eng/mrr.shtml
While you're visiting the website, you'll notice their Coffeehouse announcement. If you're in the metro-St. Louis or St. Charles area, I recommend attending one of these. They're done in an open-mic format where writers can share their original poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, skits or song lyrics with an appreciative audience. Microphone time limited to 7 minutes. Complimentary refreshments served.
Here's the Coffeehouse schedule posted on the website for early 2009. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 and Friday, April 3, 2009. The events are held in the Social Sciences Building Auditorium. For more information, call 636-922-8407. Before you go, call the number on the website in case there's a change.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Here's something that might help heat things up. Last week I promised to announce a contest to win a copy of a book that has a story of mine in it, but there's been a change in plans. Don't fret--this is even better!
The other day I read about a contest to win a free book. This sweepstakes is sponsored by best-selling author James Patterson, who is offering a chance to win a copy of RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, a thriller written by Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Fifty copies of the book will be given away to lucky winners selected at random who sign up for the sweepstakes by Feb 2 and who answer a question about a poet. Sound intriguing? For complete contest details visit the James Patterson's website. Good luck!
Another feature I like about Patterson's website is his movie review section, so if you like candid and brief reviews about movies, you might want to check that out while you're there.
Hope you have a great weekend, stay warm, and take time to write!
P.S. If you enter and are one of the winners, please let me know so I can be jealous. ;-)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It's that time of the year again. The Missouri Writers' Guild is hosting its annual conference and awards in April, and the Saturday Writers chapter is sponsoring a Flash Fiction Contest. I'm this year's flash fiction category contest chair, so I'm trying to encourage all eligible writers I know to enter--and maybe win!
This year's flash fiction category is 21C. Saturday Writers presents Flash Fiction. To enter, send your fiction from 99-500 words. Entries may be published or unpublished. No excessive gore or violence.
Things you should know about the FLASH FICTION CONTEST (Category 21c):
1. Category is open to all Missouri Writers' Guild members (whose dues were paid by Dec 31), MWG chapter members (whose dues are current), or anyone attending the MWG conference who has paid her/his attendance fee by Feb 6. MWG membership or chapter membership must be paid and up-to-date.
2. Saturday Writers FLASH FICTION contest entries (Category 21c) may be published or unpublished.
3. The contest judge will be an outside judge (not a current member of Saturday Writers), so all Saturday Writers are eligible to enter.
4. Materials submitted for the contest will not be returned.
5. Entry Fees: Send check or money order for $5, payable to Saturday Writers.
6. Only one entry per category.
7. Entry must be submitted no later than February 6 (postmark).
8. If we do not receive at least 12 entries, the category may be canceled, and the entry fees will be returned.
Send to: Saturday Writers Flash Fiction Contest, c/o Donna Volkenannt, 32 Country Crossing Estates Drive, St. Peters, MO 63376.
AWARDS: First place prize of $25 and a certificate, a second place prize of $15 and a certificate, and a third place prize of $10 and a certificate. Honorable mention certificates may be awarded.
The Flash Fiction contest is one of several categories from MWG, to find out about other categories, visit http://www.saturdaywriters.org/ and click on Contests.
Wishing you good writing and good luck!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Submit a work of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, new weird, anything fantastic in nature) no longer than 2,000 words in length to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31, 2009. Be sure to include your name, e-mail address, and mailing address.
One winning story will be selected by the Bantam Spectra editorial department. The Winner will be notified by March 18, 2009 and announced on April 28, 2009.
Open to adults, ages 18 or older, who are residents of the United States and have never published a work of fiction nor entered into a publishing contract as of the time of entry. Entrants who subsequently enter into a publishing contract will be disqualified from winning if their contracted work is to be published before Fall 2009. Submissions that have been submitted to another publication or online site for publication will not be accepted.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Today's forecast for St. Peters: Light snow, high 41 degrees, but it's cooooold out there this morning.
If one of your goals is to "write tight" and eliminate clutter from your writing, a way to challenge yourself is by submitting a six-word memoir. Smith Magazine's motto is "Everyone has a story."
Publishers of the critically acclaimed magazine recently celebrated their third anniversary by releasing SIX-WORD MEMOIRS ON LOVE AND HEARTBREAK.
And, how's this for great news: Congratulations to Pat Wahler, the secretary of Saturday Writers and a member of Coffee and Critique! Pat's six-word memoir is included in LOVE AND HEARTBREAK (of writers famous and obscure). Pat claims to be in the obscure category, but I'd say she's pretty famous.
With several ongoing projects, Smith Magazine publishers encourage writers to submit: "stories, which may be included in upcoming books. They may win contests. Or they can just help you share the story of your life with friends and loved one."
Visit their website http://www.smithmag.net/ for complete details. And don't forget, keep it short.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Here's a link where you can test yourself on frequently misspelled words. So, have some fun and give it a try. http://www.quiz-tree.com/Spelling_Frequently-Misspelled-Words_1_MC-4.html
Last week I listed my writing goals for 2009 and invited others to post theirs. Beth Fehlman, the author of Courage in Patience, posted this: "My writing goal is two-fold: for my debut novel, which released in September 08, to be a success, and to finish the sequel to it by summer. Beth Fehlbaum, authorCourage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abusehttp://courageinpatience.blogspot.comCh. 1 is online!" So check it out if you get a chance.
I visited a couple websites with some different slants on the subject.
On Sean McLachlan's Midlist Writer he also talks about writing goals. He mentions some goals writers sent him, including one about monthly goals. He's still inviting writers to post their goals. So check out his blog if you get a chance. I frequent his blog for his interesting information and unique perspectives.
Tricia Sanders talks about her word for the year on her A Novel Approach blog. Her word is "reduce." Tricia got me to thinking.
I have chosen "simplify" as my word for the year because that's what I hope to do between now and 2010. In fact, I've already begun to simplify my life by eliminating some clutter. I've packed up several boxes and bags of gently used clothes and other items to give to family or donate to charities, and they are gone, gone, gone! I plan to ship out at least one box or bag each month to give away. I especially like donating to charities who call to remind me then show up the next day, pick up the items, and leave a tax receipt. Not that makes cleaning up clutter simple!
That's all for now. Hope you have a great weekend. Speaking of giving away things: Next week I'll announce a contest to win a free book that has one of my stories in it.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I'm glad it's not supposed to snow tonight because we're going to see Disney on Ice at the Scott Trade Center. (I won free tickets, Yay!)
Now, on to query letters.
There's a discussion on two agents' blogs--Kristen Nelson's Pub Rants and Nathan Bransford's blogspot--about query letters. Kristen's site shares a successful query letter from one of her writers. That same writer has posted on her blog the query letter in the original version and revisions written with the help of someone else--along with the reasons for the suggested changes. The final version is what led to a book deal. I found it enlightening to read all of the versions to see the changes and what worked and what didn't.
Someone on Nathan's asked how he felt about it. The debate centers on the ethics? of having someone other than the writer compose your query letter, or writing a query letter "by committee" in a critique group. There are more than 130 posts on Nathan's blog, so there are some strong opinions on both sides.
Because I belong to a critique group and know how helpful they can be, I think it's a good strategy to run a query by a critique group (or a trusted reader) before submitting it to an agent or editor. In fact, several members of critique groups I've belong to have done just that before sending out their queries (or synopses).
But . . . while getting advice and suggestions from others, such as members of a critique group, can be helpful, I advise writers to be prudent about which advice they use. The bottom line is: the writer should "own" his query letter, and it should reflect the writer's voice so the agent or publisher knows what to expect in the book.
Anyone care to share an opinion on this?
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
* The Missouri Writers' Guild will hold its 94th annual conference April 3-5 at the Drury Lodge in historic Cape Girardeau, MO. (Cape Girardeau is in Southeast Missouri, about 115 miles south of St. Louis.)
* This year's MWG conference will feature speakers:
** Lee Goldberg, TV writer (Monk)
** Annette Fix and Angela Mackintosh, WOW! Magazine editors
** Harvey Stanbrough, Pulitizer Prize nominee
** Kate Angelella, Simon and Schuster editor
** Celeste Walker, editor of Listen Magazine
** Marcia Preston, former editor of Byline Magazine and award-winning novelist
* Plus more speakers to be announced.
* For complete details, visit the conference website http://www.mwgconference.org/ or e-mail Emily Hendricks, conference chair, at email@example.com
* Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Today's forecast for St. Peters: Freezing rain; high 40 degrees. The kiddos are home from school today because of ice on the roads.
Here's an online journal that pays for submissions:
"Big Pulp is an online journal featuring genre fiction and artwork of all kinds. We are actively seeking submissions of prose, poetry, photography, artwork, and comics for our pages. We define 'pulp fiction' very broadly – it’s lively, challenging, thought-provoking, thrilling, and fun, regardless of how many or how few genre elements are packed in. We don’t subscribe to the theory that genre fiction is disposable; in our opinion, a great deal of literary fiction could easily fall under one of our general categories."
According to their website, they accept genre fiction, non-fiction and poetry in the following genres: horror, science fiction, adventure, mystery and romance. They also accept artwork and photography. For complete submission guidelines, including payment rates, visit their website. And if you get something accepted, please let me know.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Happy New Year! For me, the first day of each year is always a fresh start--like a blank screen or a clean piece of paper waiting to be filled.
For 2009, I'm going to focus on my writing goals. When I worked as a management analyst, I learned one way to set and accomplish goals was by using the SMART approach.
SMART goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Are positively stated and written down, Realistic, and Timely (have a date or time attached to them). So, here are my SMART writing goals for 2009, with some comments on how I hope to achieve them.
1. Write two book reviews or author interviews each month. (I write book reviews and have done some author interviews for Bookreporter.com, Teenreads.com, Kidsreads,com, and have begun reviewing books for Thomas Nelson Publishing, so this should be attainable.)
2. Submit three entries to the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc (OWFI) contest by Feb 1. (I have a few things in mind that I'll work on this month.)
3. Finish the first draft (50,000 words) of my YA novel by Sep 30. (I have 14K words completed, so I need to work harder on this goal.)
4. Polish my YA novel and query an agent by Dec 31. (dependent on goal #3)
5. Write a minute mystery (250 words) and submit to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Feb 15. (I will write the story then read at my critique group this month. After that I'll polish it and submit to EQMM.)
6. Outline, research, and write a proposal for a non-fiction book by November 1. (I have some notes on this but won't start in earnest until the summer.)
7. Double my writing income by Dec 31. (This one is dependent on all of the above.)
Other things I'm working on not listed above are: edit the galley for Cuivre River Anthology (Vol IV) by the end of January, coordinate entries for MWG flash fiction contest, continue this blog and network with more bloggers, and if my schedule permits, attend one writers' conference this year.
How about you? Do you have any writing goals for 2009 you want to share? If so, please post them here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add them to the list and post next week.
Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...
St. Louis Civil War Roundtable On the last day of November, I accompanied my writing friend and critique group member, Pat Wahler, acr...
(Cover from the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website) Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 20 degrees; right now it...
The second church on our tour was St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, 15 Plaza Square, commonly known as St. John's Downtown. The churc...