Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't Miss This: Fiction and Nonfiction Contest Announcements from Dappled Things

Earlier this month, Denise Montgomery , from Catholic Writers of St. Louis, forwarded an e-mail with some exciting contest announcements from Dappled Things, a quarterly of ideas, art, & faith

It's taken me a while to pass this information along, but it's worth reading and sharing!

Here's what I like about these contests:

The contest prizes are generous. 

The processing fee for fiction is only $2.

There's no processing for nonfiction entries.

So, here's the scoop:

Last year, Dappled Things debuted the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. The contest drew about 400 entries, from which a winner and nine honorable mentions were selected by a panel of independent judges. 

This year the magazine is introducing a nonfiction category, the Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction.

Here’s what you need to know if you are interested in making a submission to either prize:

What are the prize amounts?
For the J. F. Powers Prize for short fiction: 
1st place: $500
2nd place: $250
8 honorable mentions: publication in the journal and a one-year subscription.

What is the deadline for the fiction prize?

You can submit your story until November 28, 2014.


For the JacquesMaritain Prize for Nonfiction, the prizes are:

1st place: $500
2nd place: $300
3rd place: $200

What is the deadline for the nonfiction prize?
Since all nonfiction submissions will be eligible for the prize (selected from among all the essays published in Dappled Things during a given year), then submissions for the prize are accepted year-round. To participate in the current prize, your piece should appear at the latest in the Mary, Queen of Angels 2015 edition, which means you would have to make a submission by June 2015. The issues could all be filled before then, however, so don’t delay. The editors publish about two to three essays per issue, and all published essays will be finalists for the prize. The earlier you submit, the likelier the chances your essay will appear among a given year’s finalists.

What kind of submissions are you looking for?
For the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction, please review the submission guidelines. If you have a story to submit that doesn't fit those guidelines, please consider making a submission under the general fiction category.

With regards to the Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction, the editors are not limiting submissions to a particular theme (this being in keeping with Maritain’s own broad interests), other than what would fit within the context of a Catholic cultural and literary journal. In other words, please follow the nonfiction submission guidelines and look at the nonfiction pieces that appear in previous issues

When will winners be announced?
Winners of the J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction will be announced in February 2015. Winners of the Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction will be announced in December 2015 (with the finalists being announced as each issue is published, starting with the Christmas 2014 edition).

Is there a reading fee?
No. 
However, given the costs imposed on us by the huge number of entries last the winner will be year, we are instituting a nominal $2 processing fee for the fiction prize to help us run it as efficiently as possible. Think of it as the equivalent of paying for postage if submissions were being accepted through the mail. 
There will be no processing fee for the nonfiction prize this year.
Make your submissions soon! 
Further information will be posted on the Contests page as well as Submittable. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

UMSL's Write Stuff Program: Chancellor's Certificate in Writing, Focused Seminars, Business Writing and More

UMSL's Write Stuff Program offers St. Louis area writers the opportunity to "learn from experts and enhance your skills." 

Writers interested in earning a Chancellor's Certificate in Writing:

* Complete a total of 50 contact hours 

* Contact hours include:

 ** Two core courses (one fiction and one nonfiction) taught by top students in UMSL's distinguished Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program 

 ** And focused seminars on a wide variety of topics (including business writing) 

Writers wanting to improve their writing skills but not interested in earning a certificate:

** Can pick and choose from a variety of classes or seminars that interest them

All seminars are taught by published authors

For more information on The Write Stuff Certificate Program or to register, please call (314) 516-7454.

This month, multi-published, award-winning author and writing teacher Dianna Graveman will give a seminar on: 

Writing for Dollars: Earn Income as a Freelancer

The seminar will be Saturday September 20 from 1-4

Here's a description of the seminar: "You've written a short story or have a great idea for a magazine article or personal essay. Now what? Where and how can you get it published and earn money for your work? Find places to publish, choose a market for your story, pitch an article, and more. Come away from this class with a wealth of information about how to start writing for dollars."

Two Business Writing Seminars will also be presented this month: 

Business Writing Seminars will count toward the contact hours needed for the Write Stuff Certificate. 

Business writing seminars are $65 each, or you may register for both on the same day for $100 each. Onsite training is available for a group of 10 or more participants. Please call for special pricing and scheduling options.

* Grammar and Punctuation for the Business Professional

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 • 9 AM–Noon  
Creativity and industry knowledge are building blocks for effective business writing, but common errors in grammar and punctuation can undermine the best efforts. Join this collaborative workshop to refresh your knowledge or to continue to build stronger skills.

* Telling the Story: Narrative Writing for Business Professionals

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 • 1–4 PM  
Storytelling skills aren’t just for novelists; business professionals use narrative writing, too – to weave scenarios, present case studies, develop compelling training modules, craft great blog posts, compose winning press releases, and more. Learn how to craft a piece that will hook your audience, engage them, and send them off with a memorable message.

For more information, visit the Write Stuff Program website.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

The last two weeks have been stormy, with strong winds, rain, hail, thunder, and lightning piercing the days and nights.

And. over those weekends, when my hubby, grandson, and I made trips to our house in Osage County, we could tell the storms that passed through had left their marks.

Driving the half-mile from the county road to our house, we found several branches down. Dark green palm-like cedar branches littered the road, while yellowish-orange globs of persimmons lined the sides of the road. Persimmons must be good eating because flocks of turkeys gather near the base of the persimmon trees.

When we made the curve to where the woods part into an open field, I spotted the old oak tree (on the left) in the cemetery had lost two large limbs.

I spent most of one day trimming small branches from the large limbs and putting them into the area where the guys collect firewood. My hubby and grandson (mostly) use the small branches for bonfires during deer season. And once the large limbs are cut down, the larger hunks of wood will warm our home on cold winter nights.

As I cut down and hauled off the detritus, I wondered how old the tree is. My hubby's guess is more than a century. I wish that oak tree could talk; what amazing stories it could tell.

Of the hundreds of trees on our property, the old oak took the biggest hit, but it wasn't the only one that took a good shaking during the late summer storms.

Several walnut and pecan trees lost limbs --  and countless nuts. Pear trees also lost some branches--and mostly unripe pears littered the ground. I gathered bags full of nuts from the trees nearest our house and a few of the palatable pears and laid them out on a towel on top of a table.

Squirrels were especially busy under the pecan tree near the porch, gathering their bounty then dashing across the gravel driveway to the nearest outbuilding, where they must be storing the nuts for the winter.

If the large amount of nuts, acorns, and fruit weighing down the trees on our property is any indication of what's to come, we're in for a cold winter.

On Labor Day weekend, we went to a neighbor's farm for an end-of-summer party, which our host described as a  "Hillbilly Hootenanny," complete with a shared pot luck dinner, swimming, line dancing on the backyard deck, and Karaoke performances. Some folks, from as far away as Linn and Jefferson City, remarked about how they'd also lost trees during the stormy weather.

By the time we returned home, I was sore from all the bending, stretching, and hauling, but I also felt peace after being out in the country, communing with nature and spending time with our neighbors.

While there was a whole lot of shaking going on, and the storms knocked down tree branches and limbs, the storms also left behind easy pickings for wildlife.

I believe from time-to-time it's necessary to shake things up and change. And so, the cycle of life continues. Storms pass and leave their marks, but goodness and bounty prevail.

Writing to Heal

One way I’m coping with breast cancer—and the side effect of chemo brain, which causes forgetfulness and muddy thinking—is to write.   ...