Monday, June 28, 2010

Real Simple's Third Annual Life's Lesson Essay Contest

Here's a contest from Real Simple. I've subscribed to their e-zine for about a year, and they always have something new and interesting. This essay contest appeared in their June 2 issue. The photo is also from Real Simple.

They want contestants to finish this sentence: “I never thought I’d. . .”

From their guidelines: "Have you ever taken a huge, surprising risk? Did you climb a mountain? Go back to school? Get married (again)? Tell us about it: Enter Real Simple’s Third-Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest and you could have your essay published in Real Simple; win round-trip tickets for two to New York City, hotel accommodations for two nights, tickets to a Broadway play, and a lunch with Real Simple editors; and receive a prize of $3,000.

"To enter, send your typed, double-spaced submission (1,500 words maximum, preferably in a Microsoft Word document) to Contest begins at 12:01 A.M. on June 1, 2010, and runs through 11:59 P.M. on September 24, 2010. Open to legal residents of the United States age 19 or older at time of entry. Void where prohibited by law. (Entries will not be returned.)"

Here are complete guidelines. Good luck!

Friday, June 25, 2010

MO History Museum Librarian at Saturday Writers

I'm so looking forward to tomorrow's Saturday Writers meeting to learn about research resources available for writers at the Missouri History Museum Library. History has always been an interest of mine, and local history is especially fascinating.

At the June 26 Saturday Writers meeting, Emily Jaycox, Librarian for the Missouri History Museum Library, will give a special presentation about research resources and collections. According to their website, "The Missouri History Museum’s research collections contain unique regional history sources and objects documenting St. Louis, Missouri, the Mississippi and Missouri Valleys, the Louisiana Purchase Territory and the American West. "

If you live in the metro-St. Louis area, the Saturday Writers meeting times on June 26 are from 11 am to 1 pm at the St. Peters Community and Arts Center, 1035 St. Peters-Howell Road. Meeting is free for members of Saturday Writers. Visitors may attend for $5. For additional information visit

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Last Call - Whispering Prairie Press Contest

Yesterday at critique group, Debbie, one of our newer members, read a lovely and emotionally charged piece that moved most of us at the table to tears. Well, me for sure. After giving my critique I encouraged Debbie to enter it in the Whispering Prairie Press contest.

I posted about the contest earlier, but if you're like me you wait till the last minute. And with Donna's Book Pub being a pub and all, I thought I would issue a "Last Call."

If you have an essay, a poem, or a flash fiction piece ready or almost ready, Whispering Prairie Press has a contest for you!

And there's still time to enter --- but not much! The deadline is June 30.

Contest categories are:

Poetry: any style, any subject. Limit: 36 lines.
Flash Fiction: 1,000 words or less
Personal Essay: 1,000 words or less

Entry fee: $5 each or 3 for $10 (May mix categories)
Prizes: $100, $50, $25 (in each category)

Results will be announced by Aug 1.

For complete guidelines, visit the Kansas City Voices site.

P.S. The organization is also having a 2010 Creativity Conference for Writers in July. Details can be found on the Kansas City Voices site. Early Bird deadline for the conference is also June 30.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What Do You Know About School Days?

For a few months now we've been receiving AARP bulletins in our mailbox for someone who, as far as I know, doesn't exist--at least not at our home address. Each month I mark through the man's name and write: "No such person at this address." Then I mail the bulletin back to AARP, hoping the man will eventually get his bulletin. About a week or so later the bulletin shows up again in my mailbox with my writing on the front page. Frustrating!

Guess AARP has unlimited postage funds, or maybe they're inflating their subscription numbers by mailing bulletins to solid addresses but to people who don't really exist. Who knows? Anyway, before tossing this month's boomeranging bulletin I browsed through it and found a call for submissions.

In the "In The Know" section, under YOUR TURN! the editors are looking for essays about "What you really know about school days."

I know some of my readers are or have been teachers, and we've all been to school, so it sounds perfect for you all! If you want to see you name in print in a national magazine (don't know if it pays), e-mail an essay of up to 400 words to or mail it to "What I Really Know," AARP Bulletin, 601 E. St., N.S., Washington, DC 20049. Be sure to include your name, phone number and e-mail address.

I couldn't find a deadline anywhere on the copy; just contact the editors to find out if there is one. Of course, if the editors are as inefficient as the folks who mail out the AARP bulletins, you might never get an answer, or you answer will be sent to someone else.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

V-A-C-A-TION and Information

Hi All,

Sorry for my infrequent posts this week. My posts will be spotty over the next several weeks. The grandkiddos are enrolled in a few summer sports camps and we've planned some day trips, so I'll be doing a lot of driving--and counting to ten. Yesterday we went to Grant's Farm, and today is my volunteer day at the MO History Museum for the Vatican Splendors exhibit.

Vatican Splendors is a great exhibition; if you get a chance stop by. The tickets are reasonably priced, and the volunteers are so friendly, except when we see someone trying to touch something or take a photo then we have to mace them (just kidding about the mace, we just ask politely not to touch or take photos).

Enough about me. No, wait. One more thing. I will be working on several deadlines for reviews and interviews for Bookreporter in June and July, so that's also got me busy. But on a happy note, it pays well. Can you say, "Cha Ching!"? Now for the good stuff:

To make up for not posting this week, here's a link to a website sent to me yesterday by Fred Pfister, the editor of The Ozarks Mountaineer. I guarantee all writers will find Information Please useful. If you go to the History page and scroll down to Related Content, you can plug in a year and find out what happened. Check out the year you were born. It's fascinating, but also time consuming, which reminds me. I gotta go.

I will try to post at least once next week.

Stay cool!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

MORE One Amazing Thing Contest

Because visitors to Donna's Book Pub are so utterly AMAZING, I'm certain this call for entries must be true of all of you.

Has one amazing experience ever happened in your life? If so, MORE wants to hear your story.

According to contest rules:
* Stories must be approximately 700 words and written by entrant
* Unpublished and may not have won any prize or award
* No changes to entries accepted after submission
* Entry period ends at 11:59 p.m., E.T. June 30, 2010
* Open to women who are legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia
* Must be 21 years or older
* One entry per person
* Read complete contest rules before entering

And good luck to all of my AMAZING friends!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Submission Opportunity - Shade Tree Greeting Cards

Get your pens ready and dig out your old photos. Here's a market that sounds like fun for humor writers and owners of nostalgic photos. Or maybe I'm just nostalgic because today is my birthday.

Shade Tree Greetings wants funny verses and unique photos for their greeting card lines. Shade Tree Greetings card line is creating new birthday, anniversary, congratulation, thank you, and friendship cards and are giving writers the opportunity to write them. They pay $50.00 for every verse they select to be used on a greeting card.

They also accept photo submissions. Shade Tree Greetings photos will pay $50.00 for each photograph chosen to be used on a greeting card. They are looking for photographs taken between 1940 and 1975 for use in their line of "Actual Pictures." They want unique photos depicting the times as they were. "Actual Pictures" cards strive for nostaglia with humor.

Click on the links above for complete details. Don't you love the photo of the guy in the girdle? How about the nuns in the car?

Friday, June 4, 2010

First Annual Donna's Book Pub Short Story Contest Winners

Maybe it's because May is such a lovely, lusty month and writers are busy outdoors or have other things on their minds, but I only received two submissions for my short story contest in honor of National Short Story Month.

Having said that, the two entries I received were outstanding. Thanks to Claudia Mundell and Stan Wilson for submitting their wonderful stories to Donna's Book Pub First Annual Short Story Contest in honor of National Short Story Month.

Both stories are very good, and they are also very different, but the compelling writing voice of one story edged out the other.

Drum roll, please . . .

First place winner: "Blood Kin," by Claudia Mundell is a coming-of-age story about Alice Gallagher set decades ago in summertime Kansas. The setting of "Blood Kin" rings true: Momma in the kitchen canning tomatoes and green beans and warning Alice to watch herself around grown men, the family sitting on Grandma's wraparound porch telling stories and swapping gossip, Aunt Mary Kate ignoring what she doesn't want to see, and creepy Uncle Daniel lurking in the background. Claudia's excellent writing voice, use of vivid description, realistic dialogue, suspense, and tension when Alice changes from innocence to understanding combine to make a compelling and memorable story.

Second place winner: "The Bonding of a Man and His Cat" by Stan Wilson is told from the point of view of a cat called "The Cat or Kat," who lives Sheriff Raymond T. Wills aka RW. Stan uses touches of humor in his short story, which is set in Hendawson Falls, Indiana, during Prohibition. A crooked sheriff, a talking cat, a shady lady, race cars, racy card games, illegal moonshine, and a shoot-out with an infamous ganster make an entertaining story.

Well done, Claudia and Stan, and congratulations! Claudia wins a copy of Cuivre River Anthology (Volume I) and a certificate. Stan wins a certificate. I will mail out the winnings by mid-month.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dove Bar My Mini Moment Photo and Essay Contest

Have a favorite mini moment to relax? Dove ice cream wants to see and hear about it in their Dove Brand Ice Cream Photo and Essay My Mini Moment Contest. Download a photo and an essay of no more than 1,000 characters by June 7. Prizes include a mini getaway to Napa Valley, a mini spa escape, and an ultimate mini oasis room makeover. Click here for prize information. Check out complete contest rules. If one of my belog vsitors wins I'll be happy, but also a little jealous. :-)

That reminds me of another reason to enjoy the month of June: Ice cream.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Father's Day Books for Dad from Bookreporter and 10 Reasons I Like June

While the lovely month of May gets lots of praise in "The Sound of Music," June is one of my favorite months. Here are 10 reasons I like June:

End of school
Summer vacation
Nice weather
Flowers in bloom
My birthday
All Saints parish picnic
Flag Day
First day of summer
Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day, from now until June 14 my friends over at are giving away a cooler filled with goodies Dads will love, along with 12 very special books (retail value $400). Titles include the last book in the popular Stieg Larrson trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. Click here to see the gorgeous book covers and titles, along with complete instructions for entering the contest. Good luck!

What are some of your favorite things about the month of June?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Goals for the Month - Letting Go of Stuff

Over the past week I've done some spring cleaning, but I've still got a long way to go. Cari and I worked on her room on Sunday. Like me, she is a saver, which means she had lots of stuff to go through. I've also decided to move some furniture around, which means get rid of stuff. I've filled up several bags and boxes to give away to various charities and people, but this month I'm also going to focus on cleaning up my writing act.

With the new month, I've set some new writing goals. Here they are:

Book Reviews - Finish one interview and three reviews this month.

Short stories - Work on "Grandma's Suitcase" (now at 1800 words). Have 3,000 words by the end of month

YA Novel - Pull it out, dust off the cobwebs, and start over. Note to self: You can do this!

Critique group - Bring something to read to two meetings. Usually I give up my reading time to others, but this month I'm going to stop being a slacker and bring something to read.

Market/Contests - Find one new market or contest and submit.

Blog - Announce winners of my short story contest in honor of National Short Story Month by June 5th.
Find one new market and post on blog.
Find one new contest and post on blog.

Saturday Writers - Follow up with MO History Museum about speaker for June.
Send out e-mails about Cuivre River Anthology
Update website twice during the month

Book Stack/Shelf - Give away or recycle at least 10 books this month--to library, to critique group, to Saturday Writers, to my sisters, or as a blog giveaway. I'm taking three books to critique group today, so seven more to go by month's end.

How about you, do you have any writing goals for the month?

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...