Friday, January 30, 2009

Missouri's Poet Laureate Walter Bargen in St. Peters Tomorrow

Today's forecast for St. Peters: High 31 degrees, with a chance of snow, but warming up this weekend. (Yay!)

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 website and click on Events. Meeting is free to members of SW, and $5 for visitors.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

WOW! Winter 2009 Flash Fiction Contest

Today's forecast for St. Louis: Mostly cloudy, high 31 degrees, chance of flurries tonight. (After two snow days, the kiddos are back in school. They were actually happy to go back because this is Catholic Schools Week throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Today they got to "dress down," which means they didn't have to wear their uniforms, plus there's a school-wide trivia game this morning.)

While you're trying to stay warm over the next few weeks, here's a contest you might want to check out--the WOW! Winter 2009 Flash Fiction Contest.

I can personally vouch for the WOW! contests as being worthwhile because after entering the Spring contest, I was among the honorable mention winners. One of the best parts of the contest is the judging process; the final entries are judged by a guest judge. This go-around it's Literary Agent Janet Reid, with Fine Print Literary Management. She also has a blog that is helpful for writers, not only those seeking representation, but those who want to learn more about the business end of writing.
Back to the contest: The WOW! contest prizes are amazing, even for honorable mention. For the Spring contest, in addition to receiving a free one-year subscription to the Premium-Green newsletter, I received a huge box in the mail packed with goodies.

Enough about me. Here's a link for the contest details.
Good luck, and good writing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Special Contest - Advance Copy of ECSTASY by Jaqueline Frank

(Cover from the website)

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 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. 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 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

Creative Non-Fiction Submission Opportunity - Black Warrior Review

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Freezing rain today, high 19 degrees, flurries tonight. No school today because of snow, so there's a lot going on in the Volkenannt/O'Donnell household today.

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

WOW Blog Tour and Premio Dardos Award

Premio Dardos Award Logo

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Flurries today, high 20 degrees, sleet tonight. If you're planning to travel around town this evening, it's not looking too good.

I'm skipping Monday's market today to share some news.
If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you may have noticed the two logos on the right-hand side of this post. The top one is the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Excellence Tour logo. Next month I will host two writers as part of the WOW blog tour. I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour, which will introduce writers to my blog viewers. I'll post details about those two tours next week.

The other logo is the Premio Dardos Award. The editors of WOW presented me the Premio Dardos award, which means "prize darts" in Italian. The award is given in recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.

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

Freebie Friday - Linda Fairstein's LETHAL LEGACY

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Fair and windy, high 49 degrees. A bit cooler than yesterday's 60 degrees, but I'm not complaining--this is January, afterall. is giving away 10 advance reading copies of LETHAL LEGACY by Linda Fairstein to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. In Fairstein's new novel, the New York Public Library houses dazzling treasures, along with some deadly secrets.

To put your hat in the ring, you have to act fast--like today. If you are interested, you have to fill out this form by Friday, January 23rd. Visit the website for complete details.
Good luck, and good reading!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writing Assignment - Letter to the President

Today's forecast, mostly sunny, high 60 degrees. Yowser! Good day, sunshine; good day, sunshine; good day, sunshine . . .

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

Saturday Writers' One-page Poetry Contest

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 41 degrees. Here comes the sunshine . . .

Here's an affordable contest for all you poets. The contest was mentioned in an earlier post along with a few other contests, but in case anyone missed it, I think it merits a separate post of its own.

Saturday Writers, a chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, has announced its 7th annual one-page poetry contest!
Here are the 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 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:

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.

Visit the Saturday Writers website for complete details. And good luck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama - President, Writer

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 29 degrees.

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.

Over the weekend I read a list of some books our new president has been reading as he prepared for the presidency; the list was long and impressive. With President Obama himself being an avid reader, as well as a bestselling writer, I hope he will, by his example, inspire others to read and write more--especially to read more.
Ours is a great nation. Wouldn't it be wonderful if four years from now that sentence would read, "Ours is a great nation of readers."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Submission Opportunity and Open Mic - Mid Rivers Review

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Partly cloudy, high 30 degrees, with a chance of flurries tonight.

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.

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

Freebie Friday - Win a James Patterson Book

(Book cover from James Patterson's website)
Today's forecast for St. Peters: Right now it's 2 degrees, but it's supposed to get up to 16 and the frigid weather is supposed to end tomorrow, with a predicted high of 41 degrees. Yay!

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

National Archives Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Sunny today, high 8 degrees, low -3, with wind chills of -22 degrees. (Commentary: The newscasters announced our local weather is the result of an Alberta Clipper. Well, I wish Alberta would please take her clipper and return to Canada. The only part of Alberta we want around these parts is Albert (without the a) Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.)

Last week a friend and former co-worker, who now works at the National Archives in St. Louis, forwarded an e-mail she received from Adrienne Thomas, the Acting Archivist of the United States. In the e-mail Thomas announces the National Archives 75th anniversary celebrations, events, programs and a newly launched website .
*As writers, especially those of us who cherish history or enjoy research, I thought this e-mail might be of interest. The quote from FDR about the importance of preserving historical documents is wonderful. Anyway, here's the text of the e-mail from the Activing Archivist of the United States:

"This is a very special year for the National Archives. Founded 75 years ago on June 19, 1934, the National Archives' preservation of the permanently valuable papers of the federal government has made it a cornerstone of our democracy. Billions of documents created by federal officials are available for inspection, thereby holding public officials accountable for their actions. To celebrate this milestone, we have planned a number of special activities and programs throughout the year. If you have ever used the archives.
*Please go to the newly-launched anniversary web site at to learn about all of these events in Washington, DC and our regional facilities and Presidential libraries. We encourage you to join in the festivities whether you live in Anchorage or Austin, in Washington, DC or in West Branch, Iowa. Don't miss the testimonials on our web site from researchers and visitors who describe their discoveries at the Archives. Some of these are very personal stories of recognizing photos of their ancestors that are part of our exhibitions; others are accounts of long complex research adventures to discover the golden needle in a haystack of documents. We encourage you to submit your own discovery story for this page. The web site also includes a photo gallery of the history of the National Archives, and downloadable wallpaper and screensavers. Lastly, you can purchase a commemorative poster or other items that will become a keepsake of this milestone anniversary.
*Sixty-eight years ago, at the dedication of his Presidential library, Franklin Roosevelt said, 'To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.'
*The National Archives remains committed to President Roosevelt's credo. We will continue to preserve the records of the past, so that upcoming generations can make informed decisions about the future of our nation. I look forward to celebrating this year with you.
Sincerely, ADRIENNE C. THOMAS Acting Archivist of the United States."
**There you have it, straight from the National Archives of the United States. If you visit their website and have a story to share, you are encouraged to submit it. Who knows, maybe 75 years from now your great-grandchildren might read about how your use of the National Archives affected your life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saturday Writers' Flash Fiction Contest

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Chance of flurries, high 39 degrees but frigid tonight.

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 and click on Contests.

Wishing you good writing and good luck!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bantam Spectra Pulse Contest

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Flurries, high 21 degrees.

For its third edition of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra is allowing unpublished writers to get their work featured alongside some of the most well-respected names in science fiction and fantasy. One winner will receive $100 and have his/her story published in the Summer 2009 issue of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra’s exclusive magazine distributed at Comic-Con San Diego and select conventions and bookstores (available July 2009).
The submission deadline is January 31.
To Enter:
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 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.

For complete guidelines, visit their website or e-mail

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday's Market - Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoirs

(Cover from Smith Magazine website)

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 for complete details. And don't forget, keep it short.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Misspelled Words and Goals Revisited

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 51 degrees, but a chance of snow tonight. What???

Here's a link where you can test yourself on frequently misspelled words. So, have some fun and give it a try.

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

Query Letters - What's Your Opinion?

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 31 degrees, partly cloudy this evening.
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

Missouri Writers' Guild Conference

(Here's a photo from last year's conference)

That's me on the right with two of my writing friends--Mary Horner and Dianna Graveman--and Walter Bargen (Missouri's first poet laureate)
Today's forecast for St. Peters: Chance of fluries today, snow this evening. High 39 degrees.

*If one of your New Year's resultions is to get serious about your writing career by attending a conference, here's one I recommend.

* 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
** Michelle Salater, writer and editor
** Jessica Burkhart, writer and novelist
* Plus more speakers to be announced.

* Conference highlights include: one-on-one agent/editor appointments, marketing advice, and workshops on perfecting your craft.

* For complete details, visit the conference website or e-mail Emily Hendricks, conference chair, at

* Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Submission Opportunity - "Big Pulp"

(Typewriter from Big Pulp website)

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

Monday's Market - Sasee Magazine

(January 2009 cover from Sasee website)

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Partly sunny; high 35 degrees. When I ventured out early this morning to take out the trash, it was very cold.

Sasee is a "lifestyle magazine for women." That doesn't mean men can't submit.
*A couple of my writing acquaintences have been published in Sasee. If you want to read an example of the style they've accepted, Here's a link to "Anniversary Dreamin' " by Cathy Hall.
*According to their submission guidelines, they welcome "editorial submissions from freelance writers. We are looking for new, unpublished, first-person, non-fiction material that is for or about women. Essays, humor, satire, personal experience, and features on topics relating to women are our primary editorial focus. Diversity of subjects that reflect all age groups and variety of writing styles are invited."
* For complete details, including word length, click on the submission guidelines link above.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Book Notes - For These Tough Times by Max Lucado

Today's forecast for St. Peters: Patchy drizzle, low 47 degrees. While running errands earlier today it was in the low fifties--not bad for early January.

Recently I read a book written by Max Lucado and published by Thomas Nelson. I found this book comforting, especially during the holiday season, when the loss of loved ones can be particularly painful.

Max Lucado is a best-selling writer and senior minister at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. FOR THESE TOUGH TIMES is a short book--just under 90 pages--that attempts to answer the question from PSALM 11:3: "When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?"

In his Introduction, Lucado challenges the reader to "ask the questions that trouble us all during difficult times: Who is God? Where is God in all of this? Can good come from evil? And prayer--is God really listening?"

Lucado's book is divided into eight chapters which contain quotes from Scripture and pose thought-provoking questions. The chapters are:

* Where is God?
* God's Greatest Love
* Eyes on the Father
* Good Triumphant
* The Bitter Taste of Revenge
* In the Silence, God Speaks
* In the Storm, We Pray
* From God's Perspective

The primary text concludes with: "Do It Again, Lord: A Prayer for Troubled Times."
I recommend this book to anyone who has experienced grief or suffered a loss of: a loved one, a job, one's income, a home, one's dreams, or one's way. The subtitle of the book sums up how I felt after reading it. I am: Reaching toward heaven for hope and healing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Writing Goals for 2009

Today's weather forecast for St. Peters: Mostly sunny, high 45 degrees.

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,, 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 and I will add them to the list and post next week.

Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...