Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saturday Writers 8th Annual Short Fiction Contest - A Bittersweet Experience

Today in St. Peters, MO: Light snow, high 39 degrees. Let it snow!

On my blog today I'm posting the names of the winning entries in the Saturday Writers 8th Annual Short Story Contest. In the past I have served as a contest judge, but this year it was my honor to serve as contest chair.

Chairing this year's contest has been a bittersweet experience. The bitter part came after the death of our contest judge, Pushcare Prize nominated writer, Lynn Carney. When I asked Lynn to be our judge in the fall, she was so excited. We exchanged e-mails, especially after the contest deadline was extended. Lynn was anxious to receive the entries and finish judging before the holidays.

On Friday the week before Thanksgiving, I mailed the contest entries to Lynn. At suppertime the following Monday I received a tearful call from her husband Mark that he had received the entries, and he told me Lynn had passed away over the weekend. Lynn was only 56 years old. She was such a wonderful writer and generous spirit. Mark told me Lynn's passing was peaceful, and he was content that she was in the hands of the Lord. I told Mark Lynn was in our hearts and prayers and not to worry about mailing back the entries--he had enough to worry about.

The sweet part of the experience came when my dear friend Louella Turner, CEO and publisher of High Hill Press, and also a Pushcart Prize nominated writer, did not hesitate when I asked her to serve as judge in Lynn's place. Lou was thrilled to judge the entries, almost 90 of them. Fortunately, the rules asked for two copies of all entries. I delivered the second copies to Lou in late November, and she immediately got busy judging, which was blindly, so she did not know whose story she was reading. She not only judged the stories, she also provided comments about her experience. You can read Lou's comments on the Saturday Writers Contests page.

Here are the names of the winning entries:

And the winners are:
1st Place "To Touch the Moon" Lisa Tiffin; West Henrietta, New York
2nd Place "Myrtle" Pat Wahler; St. Peters, Missouri
3rd Place "Peligro" Wilma Gore; Sedona, Arizona
4th Place "The Baby" Evan Guilford-Blake; Stone Mountain, Georgia
5th Place "Firebreak" Doyle Suit; St. Charles, Missouri
6th Place "These Boots" Lisa Tiffin; West Henrietta, New York
7th Place "The Darkness of the Pines" Jerrel Swingle; O'Fallon, Missouri
8th Place "Marge" Charles King; Springfield, Missouri
9th Place "Streets of Gold" Nancy Peacock; Fort Smith, Arkansas
10 Place "Splashdown" Brenda Brinkley; Marshfield, MO

Honorable Mention
"Owen Bentley" Jean M. Emrick; Tuscon, Arizona
"Revelation at the Hacienda" Lonnie Whitaker; High Ridge, Missouri
"The Last Time I Saw Herbie" Charles King; Springfield, Missouri
"Misery and the 8N" Terry Alexander; Proum, Oklahoma
"Redneck GPS' Russell Gayer; Fayetteville, Arkansas
"A Grief Too Astray" Zac Walsh; Hayward, California
"Mingled Tears" Lilah Continue; St. Charles, Missouri
"Daddy" Cathy C. Hall; Lilburn, Georgia
"The Man Who Loved His Refrigerator" Dimetra Makris; Amherst, Massachusetts

Congratulations to all whose names are listed below, and thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Part of the contest fees help fund our children's contest and annual meeting. Submitters retain all rights to their stories.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mid Rivers Review Open for Submissions

Today in St. Peters, MO: Chance of flurries, high 35 degrees.

If you live and write in the metro-St. Charles area and one of your goals for the new year is to submit your work for publication, here's an opportunity with a local literary journal.

The Mid Rivers Review is the literary journal of St. Charles Community College. The MRR is published annually by the SCCC English Department and contains poetry, prose, and artwork contributed by students, staff, faculty, and area residents.

My short stories have been included in three issues of MRR, and the English Department at SCCC does an excellent job producing the journal. Teddy Norris is the journal's editor, and I found her easy to work with and very helpful. She accepts original, unpublished poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and artistic black and white photos, from September through January.

Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2010. Contributors receive two complimentary copies. For complete guidelines, visit

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Missouri Redneck Christmas Poem

Today in St. Peters, MO: Chance of showers, high 45 degrees.

A Missouri Redneck Christmas Poem

The week before Christmas in a small Missouri town
a dusting of snow fell down to the ground.

The trees were all sprinkled with flakes from above,
and throughout the woods spread a feeling of love.

When across the vast forest what should appear
but a painted red sleigh with eight mounted reindeer.

Inside the sled my brother-in-law Steve sat,
wearing a Cardinals sweatshirt and camouflage hat.

Huddled next to Steve, sat sweet sister Bridget with antlers and smile,
hoping her Budweiser hoodie would keep her warm for awhile.

The Missouri Redneck sled, built by my niece Angie’s husband Paul,
was mounted on his quad-runner, with deer heads from their family-room wall.

I share this photo so one and all can see why I so “deerly” love my family

We're not phony or fake and we have a good time,
But I must apologize for my attempt at this rhyme.

As Christmas draws near, I wish you much joy and good cheer,
Maybe one day you’ll ride in a sled with eight mounted reindeer.

Merry Christmas! Donna Volkenannt

Monday, December 21, 2009

River Styx - Fourth Annual Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest

Mostly cloudy, high 35 degrees. There's still a dusting of snow on the grass.

The Fourth Annual Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest wants your best micro-fiction. Compete to win a $1,500 First Prize plus one case of micro-brewed Schlafly Beer!
Rules: 500 words maximum per story, up to three stories per entry.
$20 entry fee also buys one year subscription to River Styx. Include name and address on cover letter only. Entrants notified by S.A.S.E. Winners published in April issue. River Styx editors will select winners. All stories considered for publication. Send stories and S.A.S.E. by December 31st to:
River Styx's Schlafly Beer Micro-fiction Contest
3547 Olive Street, Suite 107
St. Louis, MO 63103
The photo of the "boat dude" is from the River Styx website, where you can find complete details.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Question from Woman's Day Magazine

Today in St. Peters, MO: Chance for rain and snow, high 41 degrees.

As part of the Woman's Day Reader Network, I receive e-mails occasionally asking me to participate in surveys. In their latest e-mail, they asked: How would you spend $5?
If they use my answer, I could be quoted in an upcoming issue of Woman's Day. To participate, I need to e-mail my name, city, state, email address and answer to with "Spend $5" in the subject line. I believe others may participate as well, so you might want to check it out.
How would I spend $5? On a discount paperback novel and a tai chi latte.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Summerfield G. Roberts Award

Today in St. Peters, MO: Partly cloudy, high 49 degrees. Not a bad day to put a dent in my Christmas shopping.

Here's an interesting writing competition from the Lone Star State. If you've ever lived in Texas, you know it is a state like no other. Walt completed his basic training at Lackland AFB outside of San Antonio in 1967, and our family lived in El Paso in the mid 80s when he and I both worked as civilian employees for the Army at Fort Bliss. Living in Texas was a memorable experience for us and our children.

Back to the award: The Summerfield G. Roberts Award is presented by Sons of the Republic of Texas to encourage literary effort and research about historical events and personalities during the days of the Republic of Texas (1836-1846).

In Texas, they do things big--the cash award of $2,500 is for manuscripts written or published during the calendar year for which the award is given. The award is made possible through the generosity of the late Mr. and Mrs. Summerfield G. Roberts of Dallas.

Manuscripts may be fiction, nonfiction, poems, essays, plays, short stories, novels, or biographies. The competition is open to writers everywhere. Deadline is Jan 15. For complete guidelines and to find out more about the Summerfield G. Roberts Award, visit their website. Good luck, y'all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Miracles - And the Winner Is . . .

Today in St. Peters, MO: Sunny, high 39 degrees, but it's 16 out there now. Brrrrr.

The response to the Christmas Miracles book giveaway was amazing!
First, thanks to Dianna Graveman for generously donating a copy of the wonderful book with her story in it. And thanks to everyone who shared their special stories with the rest of us. As I mentioned in my original post, it's a good thing the winner's name was picked at random because all the stories were so great I couldn't possibly pick one as being the best.

And the winner of the Christmas Miracles book is . . . Becky. If you could please contact me, Becky, I will make arrangements to get the Christmas Miracles book to you.
Speaking of Christmas, I have lots of cleaning and shopping to do.
Check back later this week to find out how you could be quoted in Woman's Day magazine.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BookReporter's Holiday Basket of Cheer Contest Deadline Dec 17

Today in St. Peters, MO: Mostly sunny, high 30 degrees. Baby, it's cold outside.

If you're looking for a Christmas gift for that special someone--like you--here's a contest that has been running for a few weeks, but you still have time to enter. The featured books change each week. This week you could win a basket of books with inspirational titles, along with peppermint, warm gloves, and chocolate--sounds good to me! Because I'm one a Bookreporter reviewer I can't enter, but my blog visitors can. Here are the details:
This week's inspirational titles are: HER INHERITANCE FOREVER: Texas: Star of Destiny, Book 2 by Lyn Cote, LEAH’S CHOICE: Pleasant Valley, Book One by Marta Perry, A LINEAGE OF GRACE by Francine Rivers, THE MOMENT BETWEEN by Nicole Baart, PRAYERS FOR SALE by Sandra Dallas and STRAY AFFECTIONS by Charlene Ann Baumbich. Their Holiday Basket of Cheer is a woven basket stocked with holiday-themed items. Along with copies of each of the titles above, winners will receive Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate mix, gourmet hand-cut vanilla marshmallows, Peppermint bark candy, red wool gloves, a decorative holiday spatula, a snowman dish towel, cinnamon sticks, and a snowman mini planter perfect for a small tree or single bulb.

To enter, complete this form and answer a question by Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 11:59PM (Eastern Time). You can find the answer by reading an excerpt from PRAYERS FOR SALE by Stella Dallas.
Stay warm, and good luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Writer's Digest is Looking for Your Story

Weather for St. Peters, MO: Patchy drizzle, high 50 degrees.

Here's a creative challenge presented by Writer's Digest Every month they provide a short, open-ended prompt, looking for a short story of 750 words or fewer based on that prompt. The winner will receive publication in an upcoming issue of Writer's Digest. According to their website they appreciate humor. For complete story prompt and complete rules, click on their Your Story link. Deadline is Jan 10.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Miracles Book Giveaway

Today in St. Peters, MO: Windy, with flurries tonight, low 10 degrees. Button up your overcoat!

Yesterday I had a wonderful surprise from Dianna Graveman, a good writing friend of mine. Dianna e-mailed and asked if I would like to have a couple copies of the book Christmas Miracles, edited by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson. Cecil Murphey is the New York Times bestselling co-author, along with Don Piper, of 90 Minutes in Heaven.

Dianna's heart-warming story, "Milton's Gift," is included in the CHRISTMAS MIRACLES anthology. She very generously offered to donate two copies of her book. One copy is for my 22-year-old niece, Alexandra, who has recently begun chemo and radiation treatments to halt the spread of brain cancer. Alexandra is in need of a miracle--and prayer.

The second copy is to give away here on Donna's Book Pub. Last night Dianna stopped by for a few minutes to deliver the books; she even autographed the copy for Alexandra. We had a nice chat about families and writing and overcoming obstacles in our lives.

So, to pass along Dianna's generous gift, I would like to offer a copy of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES to one of my blog visitors. Here's all you have to do to win the copy:

Christmas is such a special time of year, if you have a special Christmas memory you would like to share, please post it here so we can read it. For sharing your story, you could be selected as the lucky winner of the book. Post your story between now and Dec 15. One winner will be selected at random. The winner's name will be announced here on Dec 16.

Also, please visit Dianna's blog Write in the Midwest to learn details about a special on-line chat next week with the contributors of the CHRISTMAS MIRACLES anthology. I will also post a link to the chat room later this week.

Thanks, Dianna, and good luck to everyone who drops by to post a comment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mississippi Review Online Wants Your Flash Fiction

Today in St. Peters, MO: Light freezing rain, high 39 degrees.

Around the holiday season we've all been told, "Don't flash your cash," but here's some flash that can give you cash--in the form of a publication credit. (I'm not sure if they are a paying market.)
The Mississippi Review Online is looking for flash fiction. Kim Chinquee is editing a special collection of flash fictions for the January 2010 issue of MR online. She's looking for pieces not more than 750 words.
Send to as attachments in MS Word format or in the body of your e-mail. Submissions accepted Nov 1-Dec 15.

So, if you have something that fits their guidelines, send it. If you don't, write it, but quick about it because the Dec 15 deadline will be here--well, in a flash!

Monday, December 7, 2009

WOW! Call for Query Submissions: YA Issue

Today in St. Peters, MO: Flurries, high 40 degrees. Brrr it's cold outside.

It's cold outside, but here is a hot market!
My good friend Margo Dill e-mailed asking me to spread the word for query submissions. She is the guest editor for a special YA issue of WOW and needs your query submissions. WOW is a paying market. Here's Margo's call for queries:
"Young adult (YA) books are selling despite the economy. Adults and teens both seem to enjoy reading these books, which can be about many of the typical teen issues: suicide, peer pressure, dating, drugs, and cliques. Vampires and werewolves have practically taken over the YA section at the bookstores right now thanks to the Twilight series; and YA authors, like Ellen Hopkins author of Crank, are constantly on Twitter, Facebook, and their blogs, talking about censorship.
"Angela has decided to dedicate March's WOW! issue to YA! She has also asked me to be a guest editor for the issue. I am thrilled and can't wait to work on this exciting issue about the YA market. I love YA!Here are some ideas we had about topics for articles/interviews in the YA issue:
Interviews with YA authors about the craft of writing and marketing YA.
Interviews with YA editors or agents and what they’re looking for. What aren’t they getting?
Should YA authors find an agent or editor or does it matter?
YA authors and social networking/blogs: Do they target their teen fans or their writing colleagues or both? Special challenges of having teen fans.
What makes a book YA? The difference from tween and middle grade.
Edgy subjects in YA: are there any that are too edgy? What about language?
The use of technology in YA books—when does it date your ms? Do you need to put in e-mail, texting, Twitter and so on in contemporary novels now? How does having cell phones change the plots of novels?
YA non-fiction: What types of subjects are authors writing about now for teens? Is this an 'easy' sale for authors and publishers?
Trends: Is everybody writing about vampires? What’s the hot thing coming up? Should you write about trends?
We’re open to any ideas you may have for this issue. Please review our past children’s issues to check for YA topics we’ve already covered:
If you have an idea for an article or interview, please query us at submissions (at) wow-womenonwriting (dot) com.
Writer’s Guidelines:
Pay: $50 - $150 per article.
Looking forward to reading your queries,"
Margo Dill
Thanks for letting us know about the opportunity, Margo
And good luck to everyone who gets a query accepted,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

St. Louis Writers Guild Annual Short Story Contest

Today in St. Peters, MO: Chance of rain, high 41 degrees. Chance of snow tonight.

Here's a contest with a quick deadline--and a $300 first-place prize. The St. Louis Writers Guild Annual Short Story Contest has a postmark deadline on or before December 5. According to the guild's promotional material, this is one of the "oldest, if not the oldest, writing contests in the country." TENNESSEE WILLIAMS won first place in this contest in 1935 for his story, Stella for Star.

Writers do not need to be a member of the SLWG in order to participate in this contest. The entry fee is $15, and entries must be postmarked on or before December 5, 2009. The judge for this contest will be best selling thriller author JOHN LUTZ.

Here is a link to the complete contest guidelines. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today in St. Peters, MO: High 60 degrees.

Can you believe it's December already? I can't. This year, Christmas is at my house, so I'll be busy--like everyone else--but I wanted to post some contest listings from Poets and Writers with deadlines this month.

Here's a link to their submission calendar, which lists more than 55 contests for December.

Good luck!

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...