Hope you all have a "sweet" weekend--sorry I couldn't help myself.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Hope you all have a "sweet" weekend--sorry I couldn't help myself.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
From the May 26th Poets and Writers newsletter comes an invitation to visit the Poets and Writers Small Press database, which lists 147 small presses looking for submissions.
Among the presses is Cherry Pie Press, whose Midwest Women Poets Series publishes poetry chapbooks of new and established women poets whose lives or poetry ground them in the American Midwest. This chapbook series aims at uncovering the innovative possibilities of a voice that is female, central, and pivotal.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I had no doubt they were looking down from heaven smiling at us all--probably in part because they know we now officially have a high schooler on our hands. Yikes! And in four years, we get to do it again when Michael graduates eighth-grade. Life is good and God is great!
Friday, May 22, 2009
There's nothing like chocolate to help elevate my mood. And, boy, after the day (and night) I had yesterday, I sure could use some chocolate today!
Yesterday morning started off wonderfully. My grandson Michael's class play and poetry recitation were outstanding! The fourth graders did a fantastic job. As I prepared to leave school, Michael complained he had an upset stomach, which is a ploy he has used several times before when I visited school so he can leave with me. Our van must have miraculous powers, because on several occasions after I would let him leave with me, he would be miraculously healed, even asking for Chicken McNuggets on the way home.
Yesterday, I wasn't falling for it. I told him he probably would feel better after lunch and recess, which generally is true. Plus I had lunch plans of my own with my sister and some friends--something I hadn't done in quite some time.
My lunchtime fun stopped after my cell phone rang. It was my husband Walt.
Unless it's something urgent, I don't like to talk on the cell phone, especially on those rare occasions I'm able to go out with friends. Walt knows how I feel, so when I noticed a missed call followed immediately by a voicemail message while I was at lunch, I knew it had to be important.
I excused myself from the table and listened to Walt's message. "Call me when you get this."
I called back right away. "What's wrong?" I asked, hoping Michael wasn't really sick.
He cleared his throat and said, "The washer caught on fire."
Okay. This was not what I expected to hear. True, the washer had been making funny noises for a couple of days and Walt took the back panel off the night before to check it out, declaring the engine was about shot. We planned to get a new washer over the weekend, hoping there would be a sale. It was a holiday weekend, right? Everybody has some sort of sales on holiday weekends.
By the end of the conversation I found out that fortunately Walt was at home when the washer motor caught on fire. No damage, but a lot of inconvenience and mess.
Well, at least I had a conversation piece for the remainder of lunch, plus it would be a good story to tell the kids on the drive home from school later in the day.
Granddaughter Cari and the rest of the carpool were fascinated when I told them about the washer catching on fire. Michael was mostly quiet. As soon as we got home, he went straight to bed, not bothering to change his school uniform, and complaining he felt like he had to throw up. He didn't even want his usual after-school snack. And when some neighborhood friends rang the bell to see if he wanted to play, he wouldn't budge.
A little bit later, the "fun" began. I won't describe all the details; I'll just say it was a not-so-sweet mess, which required scrubbing the carpet, changing all the bedding, and washing down the walls. And that wasn't nearly as bad as the guilt from thinking Michael was faking being sick to leave school early.
Then the even worse reality sunk in. With the washer broken, I could not wash the clothes, towels, and piles of bedding. So, I rinsed them all out and soaked everything in the hallway bathroom tub.
Sleep didn't come easy last night for Michael, or me. After even more episodes and more dirty towels and linens, I resorted to piling everything in our master bathroom tub.
Thank goodness the washer will be delivered today--between noon and 4 p.m.--they promise.
Okay, this is long and whiney post, so how about some good news for a change?
How about free chocolate? Yep. You heard me. Don't you think we all deserve it?
Here's the deal: Every Friday through September, Mars (the candy people, not the solar planet) will give away free chocolate to 250,000 people. To participate, you need to sign up at their special Real Chocolate Relief Act website, where "sweet relief is on the way."
I could use some "sweet relief" right about now. How about you?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
If you can't make it to the Cards-Cub game this evening, here's something you can do that I promise will be informative, enlighting--and fun!
Thursday, May 21, from 7-8 p.m., one of my good friends and Saturday Writers writing buddies, David Lee "Kirk" Kirkland, will be the featured speaker for the St. Louis Writers' Guild. Kirk will talk about "The Marketing Adventure – Tales from the Trenches" at the Barnes and Noble, 8871 Ladue Road, Ladue MO 63124. The event is free and open to the public.
I'm going to try to be there--if the kids' schedules permit and my knee cooperates. Yesterday I had a cortisone shot in my knee (no one warned me how painful those shots are). Ouch! I actually had a panic attack afterwards. Enough about me.
For more information about Kirk's talk, contact him at email@example.com
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Thinking about mystery writing also reminded me about a presentation Marcia Preston gave at the MWG conference last month. Marcia is a classy lady from Oklahoma with a kind and generous heart for writers trying to succeed. She is a former English teacher and editor who has published several books and is winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award for her novel "Song of the Bones." She also served on the Edgar judging panel, where she read parts of 250 mysteries. So, I think it's safe to say Marcia has insight into what makes a compelling (and selling) mystery.
There you have it. Advice from someone who is definitely "plugged into the mystery world." To recap, I think it's time for me to: dig into my characters, watch my pacing, and PERSIST with my novel.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Where? The Springfield Library Center
4653 South Campbell Avenue; Springfield, MO
Contact Diana Locke for more details and registration information at 417-832-9191 or e-mail her at dilock @ sbcglobal . net (delete spaces) or visit the ORA website for complete details.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
While I have my notebook handy from last month's MWG conference, I thought it would be a good time to share some notes I took during a presentation on "The Process" by Kate Angelella. Kate is an acquiring editor at Alladin, a division of Simon and Schuster. Kate's area of expertise is the 'tween market, ages 9-13, which she calls "an untapped market . . . for readers who have graduated from Nancy Drew but not ready for Gossip Girl."
Here are some of her answers to frequently asked questions:
What should I write?
Don't write into a trend because they change
Write what you want--because when you do, it shows
How do I submit?
Find an agent
S&S does not accept unsolicited manuscripts--must be through an agent or invited by an editor
Know whom you are submitting to--make sure that's what they represent
Know their tastes and what they're looking for (hint--look at acknowledgements in books)
What does she want to see?
Voice must be authentic
The "hook" is critical
The first page is the most important
Complete manuscript (through an agent or by editor's request only)
Other words of advice:
It's all about the author's drive
Have an on-line presence
Be passionate about what you write
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This week has been quite busy, so I didn't get a chance to post Monday or Tuesday. So, to make up for it I want to share information about a paying market aimed at teenagers, with a positive message--Listen Magazine.
(Celeste Perrino-Walker at 2009 MWG Conference)
Last month at the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference I attended a workshop given by Celeste Perrino-Walker, Editor of Listen Magazine. The print and on-line magazine is a drug and alcohol prevention magazine, primarily aimed at teenagers.
According to its website, the magazine "encourages development of good habits and high ideals of physical, social, and mental health. It bases its editorial philosophy of primary drug prevention on total abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Because it is used extensively in public high school classes, it does not accept articles and stories with overt religious emphasis."
Celeste receives between 800-1,000 submissions a year. During her workshop she shared writers' guidelines along with dos and don'ts of query letters. Reading some of the letters made me appreciate the work of a magazine editor--and realize how important it is to read submission guidelines and polish my queries before submitting them.
Some guidelines she stressed were: follow the word count; include an SASE; and do not include stats, street names for drugs, side effects, etc. because that information is a permanent part of the website.
Celeste said a good way to break in to Listen is an article about celebreties or famous personalities, especially if the article includes the celebrity signing the Listen pledge. The best way to find out their submission guidelines is by visiting http://www.listenmagazine.org/
Friday, May 8, 2009
Who doesn't love Cheerios? My favorite brand is Honey Nut Cheerios, which I have most mornings with sliced bananas or strawberries--or just with milk. So, how about a writing contest from Cheerios, where a new writer could win up to $5,000 and a publishing contract?
The Cheerios New Author Contest encourages aspiring authors to write and submit an original story for a book for children ages 3 to 8.
The stories must be original, and will be judged on: appropriate story/content for children ages 3 to 8, emotional connection, writing quality, uniqueness, and read-aloud potential.
One grand Prize of $5000 cash will be awarded. In addition to the cash prize, the grand prize winning story submission will be offered to a reputable Children’s Book Publishing company for possible future publication. Publication not guaranteed. Two First Prizes of $1000 each will also be awarded. The stories of all prize winners will appear on http://www.spoonfulsofstories.com/.
This contest is for new writers, so be sure and read the complete guidelines. The deadline is July 15, and there are specific rules, which are posted on the website.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Okay, all you writers who have a story to tell about a favorite quilt, here's a chance to win an autographed copy of a book from Marie Bostwick.Quilter and New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick is looking for stories about quilts. If you have a story about a special quilt that helped you endure during a hard time or one about a quilt that helped you celebrate a milestone, mark a memory, create a bond with a friend or family member, or brought laughter and a smile to the face of a loved one, send her an e-mail via her website with MY QUILT STORY in the subject line. Also include a brief description of your story, a photo of your special quilt, and another of yourself. If she uses your story in a talk she will be giving, the submitter will receive a signed copy of one of her books.
Marie's fifth book A Thread of Truth (cover above) will be released later this month.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Now, onto writing. My writing friend Julie E. forwarded me an e-mail announcing a fiction contest that I want to share with my readers.
2. "An Insurrection"
3. "Never, Ever Bring This Up Again"
To make sure your entry is considered, read and follow the complete rules or click on the Esquire logo above.
Thanks, Julie, for always sending me such good information about writing opportunities, and good luck to everyone who enters. Even if you don't enter, you can visit the site to read some great stories.