Monday, November 29, 2010

An Early Christmas Gift and A Few Submission Opportunities

Last Wednesday I received an early Christmas gift from Silver Boomer Books out of Abilene, Texas. An e-mail from an editor informed me they would like to include "Read Away Vacation," in their Flashlight Memories anthology.

Yay! I'm excited because my essay is about how a program called "Read Away Vaction," put on over fifty years ago by the St. Louis Public Library , helped spark my life-long love for reading.

When I read an early draft of the essay to my Tuesday critique group last summer, they encouraged me to let loose and not to hold back my feelings. In my final revision I did just that. Once again, my critique partners proved how smart they are. (Thanks, guys and gals!)

For giving Silver Boomer Books approval to publish my essay, I'll receive a small cash payment and one contributor copy. I don't know the publication date, but after I find out I'll blog about it.

So, what does my good news have to do with you?

How about a link to the Silver Boomer Books
Call for Submissions page with descriptions of anthologies they might (or might not) publish in the future:

* The Faith of our Mothers. This might not actually be your female ancestors, but it should be stories of faith of real women at least a generation older than you are. Of course people like Susanna Wesley fit, but look for the more obscure ones like Mary McKendree, the invalid mother of Bishop William McKendree, a physician, a general, and lots of other outstanding children.

* Out of the Kitchen. When Sarah T. Hughes (who much later swore in Lyndon Johnson as President) was suggested as judge of the 14th District Court of Texas in 1935, a senator made a comment about the need for her to stay in the kitchen and not take the job of a man. Women pioneers in all the professions faced this kind of obstacle. Do you have stories about them you want to tell?

* Life Spinning Moments. Sometimes a comment or an event pivots a life into a new and startling direction. What happened, and where did the spinning end?

complete guidelines, including desired word count and proper format for speculative submissions, visit the Silver Boomer Books website.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping on Black Friday - A New Tradition

Last night and early this morning I did something I said I would NEVER do again. I fought the crowds to shop on Black Friday.

Shopping on Black Friday used to be a fun tradition I shared with my late daughter Julie, her in laws, and a few friends. Thanksgiving day we would scour the ads. The next day we met in the wee hours, fought the crowds, got the early bargains, grabbed a late breakfast, shopped some more, grabbed a late lunch, more shopping--maybe a trip to the ATM-- then drove back home by dark. It took a day to recover, but by golly I got some great bargains. Even if it was stuff I didn't need, at least I got it cheap.

Since we lost Julie and Mike in a motorcycle accident almost six years ago, shopping on Black Friday hadn't been a priority. My husband Walt and I were busy raising Cari and Michael, Julie and Mike's children. We made sure our grandkids got nice Christmas gifts, but I joked I would rather take a stick in the eye than fight the Black Friday crowds. Actually, it was because shopping on Black Friday brought back memories I wasn't ready to relive.

Then late Thanksgiving night Cari asked if I would take her and a friend of hers shopping.

So, shop we did.

We left the house around 11 p.m., drove to her friend's house, picked her up, then rode around looking for bargains--and a parking spot. I shook my head when I saw the lines of folks camped out in front of Best Buy. I spotted a tent and a bonfire, folks sitting in camp chairs, and a few playing cards at a table. We kept driving. The parking lot at Toys R Us was packed, so we continued on our way.

We ended up at Wal-Mart shortly before the advertised 12:01 a.m. sales began.

Maybe it was because of the cold or maybe the freeing rain, but people literally ran into the store from the parking lot. Inside, the greeter handed out sheets that showed where the advertised items were located. As I wandered around trying to maneuver through the crowded aisles, Cari and her friend, cell phones in hand, let me know where they were as they looked around.

I watched shoppers with wild looks in their eyes pile stuff in their overloaded carts. As expected, toys and games were hot items. Suprisingly, so were towels, steam mops, candle gift sets, luggage, storage tubs, and other household goods.

At 11:59 I stood in a line which did not move for 15 minutes, then it slowly inched forward. While I waited with my few bargains, Cari found a couple of inexpensive accessories she had to have. I passed the time talking with fellow shoppers. A twentyish woman in front of me had a basket filled with toys, games, and some household items. We chatted about Christmases past. She told me how excited her five-year-old son was the year she bought him a dinosaur that she got on sale for $100, but which she later sold at a garage sale for $10. "It was worth it," she said, "just to see the look on his face Christmas morning."

The family behind me took turns shopping while one from their group manned the cart. Not a bad strategy. Eventually our line forked into two. The twenty-something young lady veered towards the left; I to the right. That's when I noticed I could've used the Express line, but I didn't want to get out of line and take the chance of an even longer wait. At the fork I stood behind a family with three jam-packed carts. The checker was a woman about my age who was fast, efficient, and pleasant. By the time we left the store, around 1 a.m., I was about $80 poorer, but richer for the experience.

Outside, Cari ran into a couple young men from school who were selling hot chocolate to shoppers in the parking lot. What a clever way for teenagers to earn Christmas money!

After getting the girls a snack at a drive-through and taking Cari's friend to her house, it was well 2 a.m. when we got back home.

I drank a cup of hot tea and read for a bit then crawled into bed around 3 a.m. My feet ached, my back hurt, but I smiled as my head hit the pillow. Maybe it was time I started a new Black Friday tradition--this one with my granddaughter Cari.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reading - My Addiction

I love to read. There are books all around the house, a couple in the van; I even tuck one in my purse when I leave to pick up the kiddos from school. When I'm without reading materials, I feel something is missing, like an itch that needs to be scratched but I can't reach the spot.

Yesterday I finished writing my review of Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. It's not the type of book I would normally read--it's a fantasy about fairies who come to earth to save their families--but it was entertaining and enjoyable.

Many of the books I review for Bookreporter are for middle-grade or young-adult readers. Over the past several years since I've been reviewing books for Bookreporter, I've expanded my reading selections and have been pleasantly surprised with the results.Frankly, I think writers for the middle-grade and young-adult market are some of the best around. Good stories, great characters, strong voices, intriguing plots.

Next on my reading/reviewing list to review for Bookreporter is Crazy by William Peter Blatty. While I'm waiting for that book to arrive I'm catching up reading a few recently published anthologies,I'm blogging, and thinking about what needs to be done around the house for Christmas, which is at my house this year.

Earlier this month I finished reading The Help, which my writer/critique friend Becky raved about and let me borrow. If you're looking for a book with a compelling voice that will sweep you away, The Help is one you might enjoy.

I'm hoping to have some reading time over the holidays and am looking for some suggestions for good books. So, what are you reading now? What book do you recommend?

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Winner, Some Wins, and Happy Anniversary, Walter

Thanks to all my visitors who took time to leave a comment last week about my giveaway in honor of veterans.

Drum roll, please . . . The winner of the copy of A Cup of Comfort for Military Families, which includes my true story "Welcome Home," is . . .

ALICE. Please e-mail me at dvolkenannt (at) to make arrangements for me to get the copy to you.

Speaking of winners, I was happy to find out three of my submissions won awards in the Ozarks Writers League (OWL) writing contests. The awards were presented during the First Annual Hillbilly Formal last Friday evening in Branson, MO. Although I wasn't able to be there, some of my writing friends called, e-mailed, or posted the good news about my wins on Facebook.

My non-fiction article "Nicholas Cage and the Magic of Writing" won first place in the Storyteller Magazine contest. A short story of mine, "The Window Washer," won second place in a short story contest sponsored by High Hill Press. Last, "Criminal Minds," a short story that has recently been published in Hot Flash Mommas: A Shaker of Margaritas, won honorable mention in the Mystery/Suspense/Paranormal short story contest, sponsored by OWL President Delois McGrew. Several of my writing pals also were big winners, including Linda Fisher, Judy Stock, Bill Mueller, and others I'm hoping to hear from soon. Congratulations to all!

Saving the best for last: Happy anniversary to my husband Walter, who became a United States citizen on this date in 1968, a little more than six years after he emigrated to the USA from West Germany. Walt was in the US Air Force at the time stationed at Scott AFB, in Illinois, which is where we met.

We had been married only four months, and I remember him studying for his citizenship test at nights after he got off work. For almost a year a captain at the base had tutored him on the constitution and American law.

The day Walt became a citizen, the judge at the courthouse in East St. Louis, IL, gave him his citizenship test, which was not about the Constitution or laws, but to write in English this sentence: "It is a fine day."

Walt passed with flying colors. And, for us, it was a fine day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Submission Opportunity - The Lindenwood Review

Last night at the local author's event at the Middendorf-Kredell Library in O'Fallon, I visited with several writers and other friends--and made some new friends, too. The staff from the St. Charles City-County Library District did an awesome job with the gala, especially Sara Nielsen, who planned and organized the evening.

During the get-together I spoke with Cindy, one of my writing buddies who is a poet, a photographer, a polo player, a pilot--and an MFA student at Lindenwood University. Cindy is one busy lady, who is about to get even busier. Last night she shared the exciting news that next semester she is going to be an editorial assistant for The Lindenwood Review, the literary journal of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.

Cindy is excited about her new assignment and is looking forward to reading submissions. When I asked what kinds of submissions the editors hope to receive, she told me they are looking for fiction, poetry, and personal essays.

This morning I visited their blog for more details. The editors want fiction with believable characters and a vivid story; poetry with original, interesting use of language; well-crafted, honest essays; and mostly, work that moves them.

(The photo of the Cultural Center on the left is from their blog.)

The Lindenwood Review is a print journal published annually in the Spring. Their first issue will be published in Spring 2011.

Contributors receive two copies of the issue in which their work appears.

The submission deadline is December 15, 2010--so put down your Christmas shopping list, forget about writing out your Christmas cards for a couple weeks--and start writing!

Submission guidelines are available on The Lindenwood Review blog.

Happy writing, and good luck! Um, I was kidding about the shopping and Christmas cards. Have fun, kids!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Local Author Open House at Middendorf-Kreddel Library

Tomorrow I will be participating in the St. Charles City-County Library Local Author Open House and (hopefully) signing copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Christmas. My essay in the book, "Unexpected Joy," is about the year a family in our parish adopted us as their Advent friends.

The author event will be Thursday, November 18, from 4:30-8:00 p.m., at the Middendorf-Kredell Library, 2750 Hwy. K, in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Our library district is great about supporting local authors, and this is the second year they've invited me to participate. Last year I had to leave early because of a family commitment, but tomorrow evening I will be there for the entire event.

I'm excited --- and nervous --- about it. Several writing friends from Saturday Writers will also be there. Click on this link to read a list of everyone who is participating. You do not have to register in advance to attend; I think they use a registration form so they can plan on how many to expect.

So, if you're in the area, even if you aren't interested in the book, please stop by and say "HI."

Oh, and I have it on good authority that refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cup of Comfort Giveaway and Submission Call Out

November is a month for remembering.

At the beginning of the month, we remember saints on All Saints Day and sinners on All Souls Day. Veterans Day was just last week. That's the special day when we take time to honor veterans who have given so much to keep us free.

For me, November is also a month for remembering anniversaries of birthdays and deaths of loved ones.

In the spirit of remembering and with gratitude for treasured memories of loved ones, I'm giving away a copy of A Cup of Comfort for Military Families, which includes my essay, "Welcome Home." The essay is about special Vietnam veterans in my life and the year my husband Walt spent in Vietnam, right after the birth of our daughter Julie.

If you would like to win a copy of the book, just leave a comment between today and November 20. I will pick one name at random and will post the winner's name next week.

My essay in the Military Families book is my third in the Cup of Comfort anthologies.

Speaking of Cup of Comfort, here's a call out for stories, just in time for the holidays!

Last week, Alice, one of my critique group buddies, told me about a Cup of Comfort call out for favorite holiday memory stories. She has written a wonderful story, which she shared with me. If you have a favorite holiday memory story, the deadline to submit is December 5. Here are submission guidelines.

Don't forget to leave a comment here by Nov 20 to enter my contest to win a copy of Cup of Comfort for Military Families.

Good luck!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview with Bill Mueller - Part II

Here's part II of my interview with W. E. "Bill" Mueller, author of Peaches and Cream:

DV: You are a versatile writer of essays as well as short stories. Your short stories have won several awards, and your essay in "The Liguorian" magazine is poignant and uplifting. Please tell us about your awards and some of your publishing credits.

WEM: Probably 2008 was as exciting as it gets. Toward the end of the year, Sept.-Oct. I received phone calls telling me I was Winner, First-Place, Numero Uno of the St. Louis Writers Guild short story contest, and also First-Place winner of "The Writer" magazine's short story contest. Both of those are open, nation-wide, indeed, world-wide contests. To this day, I'm still astounded. Also, in 2009 I won two Honorable Mentions in "Writer's Digest" genre short story contest. This contest attracts thousands of entries, and the publication can award as many as 100 Honorable Mentions. To win two of them is an accomplishment, I believe. I've had essays in Commonweal, a handful of book reviews in the Post-Dispatch (in '07-'08). My stories have appeared in 'Echoes of the Ozarks', the OWL anthology, in Lindenwood University's "Untamed Ink" quarterly, and a few other spots.

DV: Wow! You have had some wonderful accomplishments lately. Congratulations on your success and here's wishing you even more. Now, can you tell us a bit about your reading experiences. Growing up, who was your favorite author? Who are some of your favorites now?

WEM: Can't say I had a favorite childhood author. Favorite (fiction) authors are, first, James Lee Burke. He's a must read. Then there's a long list: Richard Russo, Elmore Leonard, E.L. Doctrow, Louise Erdrich. For short stories, I think you have to read Annie Proulx.

DV: That's an impressive list. James Lee Burke and Elmore Leonard are a couple of my favorites, too. Since this blog is about books, here's another question about them: Not counting your own book, what one book has made a difference in your life?

WEM: Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment." Be sure you get the translation by Constance Garnett. It is a beautiful story of love and redemption. I read the book in my sophomore year of college, finishing it in the reading room of the dorm, shamefully crying my eyes out. I've read it at least three times.

DV: Hmmm. "Crime and Punishment by Dostovesky." Lots of folks love those dead Russian writers, and maybe with "Crime and Punishment" having such an impact, that's why you write crime novels. Now, another question about writers: If you could meet one writer living or dead, who would it be and why?

WEM: That would be a toss-up between Dostoevsky and John Updike. I think I'll go with the Russian. Just on the basis of Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamozov, The Idiot, Notes from The Underground, The Possessed, and the story of Dostoevsky's life are enough to intrigue any serious writer (and reader).

DV: Back to your own book. How can readers purchase copies of Peaches and Cream?

WEM: Peaches and Cream can be ordered on Amazon, or at a Barnes & Noble, or Borders. A few St. Louis area book stores have it on the shelves, but it can be ordered at any legit bookstore. (Note: It also is available at Bill's publisher, High Hill Press.) E-mail

NOTE: If you want a signed copy of Bill's book, I also happen to know he will be at the St. Charles City-County Library District’s annual Local Author Open House on Thursday, November 18, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Middendorf-Kredell Branch Library in O’Fallon, MO.

DV: What are you working on now?

WEM: I have completed at least another half-dozen short stories since Peaches and Cream came out. Currently, I am trying to expand a Zach Bannister story (Working the Crossword--which is in Peaches and Cream, and won 'The Writer' magazine first place award) into a novella. Got about 20,000 words done.

DV: Zach Bannister is a wonderful character and I remember "Working the Crossword" when you read it at critique group. It is a great story. Any final words of wisdom or advice about writing or life in general?

WEM: Revise and revise. Read at least 60 books a year, not all of them fiction. Revise and revise. Write what you don't know, but like. Revise and revise. Remember, it's all about story. Think of a good story. Fill it with characters. Make the reader ask, What happens next? revise and revise. I saw someone recently handing out a book with the title "Write a Book in a Month." That, my friends, is pure bull-hockey. Just remember the three R's: read, rite and revise.

DV: I agree about reading, riting, and revising. All three are critical. Wrapping things up, readers might want to know how to contact you with questions or comments.

WEM: I'm digitally-poor. E-mail me at Put 'Peaches and Cream' in the subject line or my computer might 'spam' your message.

Thanks, Bill, for taking time from your busy "reading, riting, and revising" schedule to visit with us.

Note: If you live in the local St. Charles metro area, Bill and I and several other writers belong to a Tuesday critique group which meets at the Rendezvous Cafe on Main Street in O'Fallon. Occasionally Bill will bring in one of his stories, which are always enjoyable. And don't forget he will be at the Middendorf-Kredell Library on November 18th.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interview with Bill Mueller - Part I


W. E. "Bill" Mueller was born at a very early age (allow him to steal that line). Faulkner and Hemingway were still writing. Einstein, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Babe Ruth were still alive. During high school he worked Saturdays in the Editorial Department of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch, where the Book Editor and Culture writer were also housed. One Saturday, the assistant Book Editor, Howard Derrickson, asked if he liked football. Before he could answer, Bill was handed a biography of Red Grange, the Illinois Galloping Ghost, and asked to write a 100-word book review. During his high school years he reviewed books for the Post-Dispatch. Also, in those days, visitors to the P-D's Editorial department included Walter Lippmann, Marquis Childs and other prominent writers/journalists.

Bill wanted to be a writer, too. He attended St. John's University (Minn.) where he moved through the ranks of the school newspaper and was named Editor in his senior year. Upon graduation, he joined the newsroom of the P-D for a brief period before serving in the Army. He found the reporter did not fit his writing style and found a job in advertising shortly before he married. He spent his career in advertising--writing copy, news releases, company histories, sales catalogs, etc. When he retired, he decided to try fiction. On December 8 of this year, he will be 74. Too late for a Pulitzer or Nobel or National Book Award, but he'll take the accolades his contemporaries throw his way and be grateful.

Here is part one of my interview with him:

DV: I love short stories and mysteries, especially when they are well written and have an intriguing voice. Your short story collection Peaches and Cream is both. What was your inspiration for the collection, and why do you write short stories rather than novels?

WEM: The "inspiration" was the mere fact that I had a 'collection' of stories that were not published individually, but had pleased certain folk or won certain awards, and I thought might make a decent book of stories, disparate as they are. When I retired, I spent the first two years on a novel, at least half that time in research. I loved the title (The Midnight Snowman) and the plot (which I'll keep secret), but found that I had let my research carry me away and it fluffed the book needlessly. I also had written two short stories which had been praised (guardedly) and decided to move in the short story direction.

DV: Please tell us about some of the stories in the Peaches and Cream collection. What's your favorite story or the story you've received the most response to?

WEB: My favorite story is the last story in the collection: From My Ozark Warehouse. It is very personal. Half true, half fiction, but all of it from the heart. The story or stories that most people enjoy are those involving Zach Bannister, the P.I. I have invented. His stories received notice from Harry Levins in the Post-Dispatch, and from anyone who's read the collection. I am working on more Zach Bannister stories and hope to make them a single collection.

DV: Please tell us about the characters in your stories. Are they based on real folks, totally fictional creations, or a little bit of both? And --- which, if any, character in your collection is most like you?

WEM: The characters are fictional, totally. I believe, however, that characters should be stretched beyond what they might normally be. For example, in "Midnight Bob" the 'bad guy' dumps trash in a river. Now I'm sure that the idiots who really do this are normal looking people, not evil looking or twisted as I make Midnight Bob. Character development is important, and a lot of what I read by my contemporaries does not address the need for a physical differentiation or a different voice for characters. The only character close to being me is the boy in From My Ozark Warehouse.

DV: The settings for your stories are varied. How do you choose the settings?

WEM: I think the story and the characters determine the setting. Settings are easy (or I should say, less difficult) to create these days with Google maps, etc. that can take you to a site or location. The setting should match the theme and feel of your story. I think of a story first, then put it in a setting.

Stay tuned for Part II of my interview with Bill.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Peaches and Cream" by W. E. Mueller - A Sweet Read

Peaches and Cream, W. E. "Bill" Mueller's eclectic short story collection, is an unusual combination of stories written in a variety of voices--some in third person, others in first--but all well told and entertaining. The time periods range from the 1940s to present day. The settings are also diverse: St. Louis, Hollywood, rural Missouri, and Wisconsin.

The most "connected" stories in the collection are set in metro-St. Louis in the late 1940s. Readers will soak up the atmosphere with references to famous St. Louis sports legends and infamous mobsters from years gone by, as well as long-gone landmarks such Sportsman Park and Coral Courts Motel.

The centerpiece character for many of the stories is St. Louis PI Zach Bannister, whose snappy voice as a savvy yet soft-hearted PI is reason enough to read the book.

In the opening story, "Peaches and Cream," Bannister is visited by former Central High School Classmates (Class of '37), identical twins Helen and Betty Braun. The twins are now strippers Peaches and Cream, who perform at the Stardust Club. The Braun sisters are in a fix and need Zach's help, but they are also smart cookies who are more than puffy hair, shiny sequins, and high heels.

"Working the Crosswood," another memorable and clever Zach Bannister story, won first place in The Writer magazine contest--and after reading the story I can see why it was the winner.

The compelling tale "Hollywood and Vine," formerly published by Lindenwood University's literary magazine, Untamed Ink, features down-on-his-luck, sickly ex-actor Charlie MacTaggert. Charlie Mac, as he is known, has a weakness for demon Rum. He uses his special gift when he performs for tourists on streetcorners, or maybe his gift is not so special after all.

"From my Warehouse," the final story in the collection, is a coming-of-age tale told from the first-person viewpoint of a lonely boy whose Sunday visits to his grandparents' home bring special meaning to his life. It is a touching story about love and loss.

Award-winning writer W. E. Mueller's lively short story collection brims with crisp dialogue, vivid and unique descriptions, unusual and memorable characters, raw emotion, and compelling voices.

While the book's black and orange cover is clever and appealing, don't be misled by the image of long-legged ladies performing on a stripper pole. Peaches and Cream, published by High Hill Press, is not a bawdy book about hookers and harlots or hard-hearted Hannahs. It is an entertaining collection of well written short stories that uplifts and takes the reader to another era. Peaches and Cream, by award-winning writer W.E. Mueller, is a sweet read.

Note: Bill and I belong to the same critique group. I always look forward to listening to his stories, and was thrilled when his publisher offered to let me review "Peaches and Cream."I hope to read more Zach Bannister stories in a future collection.

Another Note: Watch for my two-part interview of Bill later this week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Submission Opportunity - 365 Senior Love Stories

My long-time writing friend David Lee "Kirk" Kirkland forwarded me this submission opportunity the other day, and I thought it might interest some of my blog visitors.

I'm happy to say I'm too young to submit to this one. ;-)

Note: I couldn't find any mention of payment or compensation in the guidelines, so you'll need to check that out.
365 Senior Love Stories

Submission Requirements
* Deadline: December 31, 2010.
* At least one party must be at least 70 years old at the time of submission
* Both parties must be living when submission is made
* May be written by the couple, relatives, or third-parties on their behalf
* Limited to 300 words (include how couple met, courtship, wedding cermony, length of marriage, etc.);
* Typed and include full name of the couple, address and contact information for verification
* Published story will contain only first names and ages
* May be rewritten and edited at the discretion of the book authors
* Book authors reserve the right to select the love stories for publication and will notify the submitters in advance of the selection
* If a photo is submitted, include couples' names and photographer's name if credit is required.
* Pictures cannot be returned.
* Image requirements: JPEG format and 300 dpi.
* For mail submission, to: The Ehlers Group Attn: Senior Love Stories 6203 W. Commercial Blvd. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33319 For more info, please call (954) 726-9228

For complete details, here's a link to the publisher's blog.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Submission Opportunity from LaChance Publishing

Last week two writing friends, Linda O'Connell and Julie Earhart, forwarded e-mails to me announcing a call for submissions for Volume 2 of Voices of Breast Cancer from LaChance Publishing. Last Tuesday, Alice, a 15-year breast cancer survivor and a member of our Tuesday critique group, asked for advice on what she plans to send them. I thought visitors of my blog be interested in submitting as well.

The publisher wants: "first-hand stories of literary merit. If you or someone you know has had breast cancer and wish to share your heartfelt, inspiring, true story of facing this life-defining challenge, this could be a great way for you to give courage and comfort to others while building your writing resume."

Deadline: March 1, 2011

Expected publication date: October 2011

Stories should focus on one of the topics listed below:
Discovery and Diagnosis
Taking Charge of Treatment
Dealing with Physical Changes
Family and Friends
Looking Back

Multiple submissions accepted.

Word Count: Minimum 600 words, maximum 4,500 words.

A fee will be paid for stories accepted for publication.

Complete submission guidelines can be found at

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls Day: A Day to Remember Loved Ones Who Have Died

Today, November 2, is not just national election day. It is also All Souls Day, sometimes called "Day of the Dead."

In the Catholic Church, All Souls Day is a special time to remember loved ones who have died and to pray for their souls so they may enter heaven. One prayer I recite when remembering loved ones who have passed is:

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed,

through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Here is another link to some information about All Souls Day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Winner, Two Links, and Good Luck Wishes

Drum roll, please . . .

The book "Salem's Lot" by Steven King was mentioned most often as scariest book by those who posted comments during my giveaway. However, the name picked as winner of "The Reckoning" by Kelley Armstrong is Jenny, who recommended the book "The Divide" by Nicholas Evans.

I checked out Jenny's blog, The Jenny Pincher, and found lots of useful information. I also signed up as a follower and plan to visit again.

Jenny please e-mail me so I can make arrangements to get the book to you. My e-mail is dvolkenannt (at) And to my visitors, if you get a chance, check out Jenny's blog.

If you didn't win my contest this go around, take heart; I'll be announcing another contest later this month.

Speaking of contests, here's one you can visit and enter to win some fab prizes. If you didn't win my "The Reckoning" giveaway, here's one I found over on Lisa's Ricard Claro's blog. Writing in the Buff. Lisa is giving away some sweet gifts, including chocolate (yum), a Yankee candle, and other goodies. So pop over to Lisa's blog and check out her nifty contest giveaway--and become one of her followers for even more opportunities to win!

Finally, on this first day of November (All Saints Day) good luck to all you writers who are participating in NaNoWriMo. (And why aren't you busy writing now?) I tried NaNo a few years back but didn't get past the first ten days--life got in the way of my writing. So, I admire all those brave souls (All Souls Day is tomorrow) who can churn out 50,000 words in one 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...