Friday, November 30, 2012

Let's Get Digital, Digital: Random House Accepting Submissions for Digital Imprints

If you are one of the crazies overachievers who wrote a book during NaNoWriMo this month, here is some exciting news for you -- and for the rest of us who have shorter works we'd like to get published.

The Random House Publishing Group has launched three new digital imprints alongside their existing Loveswept digital imprint.

RHPG wants to to "give new authors the opportunity to showcase the best of what these genres have to offer . . . For the first time in history, authors will be able to forge wide-reaching and long-lasting relationships with their audiences, and we at Random House can’t wait to explore and create new opportunities in the digital space. The possibilities are endless, and we’re excited to offer authors the best opportunities to take advantage of this growing marketplace."

Editors are looking for submissions in these individual imprints:

Alibi - Mystery and Suspense
Flirt - New Adult
Hydra - Science fiction, fantasy, and horror
Loveswept - Romance and Women's

Word counts vary between 15,000-30,000 for shorter works and 40,000-60,000 for longer works (for all you NaNo folks).

Visit their website for information about submission process and guidelines and FAQ.

My apologizes to Oliva Newton-John for altering the lyrics to her "Let's Get Physical" song to "Let's Get Digital." Now where did I put my headband and leg warmers?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Submission Opportunities - Well Versed and Chicken Soup

When I opened my e-mail this morning I was overwhelmed by the notices about Cyber Monday sales offering fantastic deals--and free shipping. Of course, I get these e-mails the day after I ordered something on line and paid $8 in shipping costs. Oh, well. I should've known better.

Rather than selling anything, I thought I'd share some submission opportunities I've run across lately.

The deadline for Well Versed, the anthology put out by the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, has been extended until December 30. Linda Fisher, the editor of Well Versed, does an excellent job selecting submissions and producing a professional anthology. I'm not just saying that because two of my essays appeared in the last issue of Well Versed--well, maybe I am just a little--but the anthology is a worthy project. Here are the submission guidelines.

Chicken Soup for the Soul has several calls for submission, ranging from Devotionals for Women, to Holiday Stories, even Messages from Heaven. Several of my visitors have been published in Chicken Soup (even me) so we all know what a wonderful anthology the editors produce. So, if submitting to Chicken Soup is your cup of tea (talk about a mixed metaphor), check out their Possible Book Topic page for details.

Good luck if you submit!

If you have any submission opportunities to share, feel free to post about them in the Comments section.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview (Part II) with Deb Marshall, Director of Warriors Arts Alliance

In Part II of my interview with Deb Marshall, Director of the Warriors Arts Alliance, she discusses the selection process for Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, one of her favorite selections, plans for another anthology and how readers can purchase copies of the anthology.
Donna: Beyond the contest winners, what was the process for selecting submissions for the anthology?

Deb: That one you’d have to ask Susan. We talked at great length about my “vision” for the anthology. She did the rest. The selections and their order in the book is all hers and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out. Susan edits “Big Muddy” and “The Cape Rock,” so she’s tuned in to literary journals and what works well within a writing collection. Her ability to take what I thought the anthology should reflect and turn it into the final anthology has set the bar pretty high for any future editors I may work with. Our contributors are raving about their pride in the overall book, not just having their work published.

Donna: What is the most surprising or gratifying lesson you’ve learned from working on this project?

Deb: Pursuing this project has been extremely time-consuming---to the extent that publishing my own work has been delayed. The satisfaction that comes from service to others though, has surpassed anything I’ve ever experienced. It runs deep and true and I truly marvel with many of the things that have occurred for me personally and professionally since this all began. The notes from our contributors, along with those from our workshop contributors, provide great joy to me. As Monty Joynes, our fiction winner, wrote, “Service to others is the best work of all.” To be involved in writing and publishing in this manner has had a tremendous impact on my life.

DonnaAmong so many wonderful submissions, do you have one or two favorites?

Deb: I have exchanged e-mails with many of our contributors and met several others. A few I have known for awhile. I really enjoyed Velda Brotherton’s “Rosie the Riveter” story, probably because many of us are familiar with the legendary character. It’s difficult to pick even one or two favorites because it seems like showing favoritism to my kids.

Donna: What can you tell us about plans for another anthology?

Deb: We’re finalizing the next call for submissions for the 2013 anthology right now. We’re expanding the categories to include interviews with veterans or veteran family members and high-contrast photographs. We’d like to see more submissions from around Missouri, so the Missouri Press Association has joined us an ally now, so we’ll definitely be getting the word out. We’re discussing contest specifics at this time.

Donna: Anything you’d like to add?

DebWe read a lot about the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I polled a number of veterans to choose the anthology’s title. When it came to “Proud to Be,” one vet summarized sentiments best when he said, “You know, people think we’re all crazy. That doesn’t mean we’re not proud we served our country.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

 Donna Where can readers purchase copies of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors?

 It will also be on sale when we celebrate the anthology and its contributors with an evening of readings on Tuesday evening, November 27th, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Avenue in Maplewood 63043. This event is hosted by the St. Louis Poetry Center.

Thank you, Donna. I appreciate the time you have taken to allow me to share a little about our veterans writing program. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview (Part I) with Deb Marshall, Director of the Warriors Arts Alliance

I'm pleased today to welcome Deb Marshall, Director of the Warriors Arts Alliance, to Donna's Book Pub. I met Deb several years ago at a Saturday Writers meeting and got to know her when she was president of the Missouri Writers' Guild. She is a writer with vision and energy and compassion. I'm certain those characteristics are what led her to get involved with the creation of the anthology Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, a collection of stories, poems, photos and articles written by and about American warriors who have served in the Armed Forces.

Here's Part I of my interview with Deb:

Donna: Welcome to Donna's Book Pub, Deb. I'm so happy you could take time from your busy schedule to answer my interview questions. The Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors (Volume I) is an inspiring anthology filled with moving stories, poems, photographs and nonfiction pieces from veterans and their families. Where did the idea come from for the anthology?

Deb: A handful of St. Louis area poets and writers led creative nonfiction and poetry workshops for veterans at Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center. We had veterans from the Korean War to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars participating and the writing they were doing for the workshops were very individual stories, but their messages reflected the same sentiments, regardless of the generation it represented. We opted to put an anthology together to reflect a variety of voices from many generations.

DonnaSeveral organizations worked together to make this anthology a reality. What can you tell me about these organizations and their interaction?

Deb: The Missouri Humanities Council provided laptops for our workshops at Jefferson Barracks, but they also partnered with the Missouri Writers’ Guild to publish the “Storm Country” anthology to raise money for Joplin’s school libraries while I was president of MWG last year. Since the veteran writing initiative has continued to grow in scope, it needed to have its own organizational structure, so the Warriors Arts Alliance was born as a spin-off of the Missouri Writers’ Guild and is partnered with MHC.

I consider our editor Susan Swartwout a great gift to this program. She brings a proven publishing track record at SEMO University Press and over two decades of editorial experience, but, in this case, her role extends beyond that. There are bumps in the beginning of any start-up project, and this one was no different. Susan has been able to not only help us put those bumps behind us, she has also been instrumental in paving a new path.

We have an unusually well-balanced relationship between the three organizations.

Donna: Included in the anthology are contest winners of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. How did the contest work?

Deb: Our editor made selections for the first round. These were then forwarded to our judges, who each selected two finalists and a winner for each genre – fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

Donna: The list of contest judges is impressive, and the judges did an excellent job selecting the winners. What can you tell us about the judges?

Deb: Didn’t they do a fantastic job?  

William Trent Pancoast judged fiction. His character development of the Vietnam vet character in his novel Wildcat was superb and his reputation for being “the blue-collar writer” made him a good choice. Plus, he’s just a really nice guy and a true gentleman to work with.

Although Mark Bowden didn’t serve in Iraq as many people believe, he was a journalist imbedded with our troops for an extensive period of time. His book Black Hawk Down was probably the first nonfiction work to come out of the Iraq War.

Then there’s Brian Turner, another one of the literary giants to come out of the Iraq War in which he served as an infantryman. Now he teaches poetry. Brian had already agreed to be our judge before he was a speaker in St. Louis for the first St. Louis Humanities Festival last April. He is revered by his soldier/poet contemporaries, but he’s a wonderful down-to-earth guy who gave directions to people in the hallway who were attending his reading at Webster University. 

Donna: Beyond the contest winners, what was process for selecting submissions for the anthology?

Deb: That one you’d have to ask Susan. We talked at great length about my “vision” for the anthology. She did the rest. The selections and their order in the book is all hers and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out. Susan edits “Big Muddy” and “The Cape Rock,” so she’s tuned in to literary journals and what works well within a writing collection. Her ability to take what I thought the anthology should reflect and turn it into the final anthology has set the bar pretty high for any future editors I may work with. Our contributors are raving about their pride in the overall book, not just having their work published.

Thanks, again, Deb for insight into the making of this amazing anthology.

Please come back tomorrow  for Part II of my interview, in which Deb will discuss plans for another anthology.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors

A month or so ago I received a call from Deb Marshall, Director of the Warriors Arts Alliance, asking if I would be willing to review Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors.

In the blink of an eye I said, "Yes!" I had heard about this project some time ago and was thrilled to be asked to read and review the finished product.

The anthology is a colloborative effort among the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warriors Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press.

It was such an honor to read this wonderful collection of stories, poems, and nonfiction from and about Americans who have served their country in the Armed Forces. The collection includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photographs.

The winning nonfiction piece selected by Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down is: "Rockhappy 1944-45" from Paul Mims

The winning poem selected by Brian Turner, author of Here, Bullet, and Phantom Noise is:
"Baring the Trees" by Gerardo Mona

The fiction winner, selected by William Trent Pancoast, author of WILDCAT, is:
"First Day at An Khe" from Monty Joynes

The winner for Best Writing from a Missouri Writer, judged by the Missouri Humanities Council is:
"Between Wives" by Jay Harden

In addition to the entries from the competition prize winners and finalists are selections from other writing warriors and their family members.

One true story I found moving is "Hyphenated Americans" by Jan Morrill, in which she shares the experience of her family and in particular her uncle, Sergeant Yoshio Sasaki, as Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The selections in this anthology, edited by Dr. Susan Swartwout, are filled with discovery and daring, sacrifice and shared experiences, courage and compassion. But most of all this is an anthology of hope and healing.

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is available from Amazon, Southeast Missouri State Press, and other sources.

Note: This post was supposed to appear on Veteran's Day, but my Internet service was down, then there was a problem with my router, so I apologize for the delayed post.

Second Note: Later this week I will post my interview of Deb Marshall, who shares her insight on the creation of this impressive anthology.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Not Too Late to Take Your Writing Career in the Write Direction

This Saturday, November 10, I'm excited to be giving a workshop at the "Write Direction" conference in Columbia, MO.

The annual conference, sponsored by the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild,  kicks off at 8:30 and ends at 4 p.m.

The conference will be held at the Unity Center, 1600 West Broadway in Columbia.

CCMWG president Judy Stock, conference chair Carolyn Mulford, and everyone involved in planning the event have done a wonderful job obtaining presenters, laying out the agenda, and keeping the registration fee affordable.

Here's what you can expect:

Bill Clark, columnist with the Columbia Daily Tribune, will serve as the keynote speaker and inspire participants on The Joy in Taking the Next Step"

Other speakers and breakout session topics include:

Bridget Bufford on "Creating Characters through Archetypes"
Matthew Murie, English professor at Westminister College, on "Finding Your Perfect Pitch"
William Trowbridge, Missouri Poet Laureate, on "Humor in Poetry"
Dr. Edward Adelstein, anatomic and clinical pathologist, on "Every Death is a Short Story"
Donna Volkenannt on "Structuring Short Stories for Passion and Profit"

Linda Fisher from Mozark Press, Yolanda Ciolli from AKA Publishing, and Lou Turner from High Hill Press will participate in publisher/editor panels

Registration fee includes lunch, special-interest tables, book sales, and an afternoon tea.

Student discounts are available and Late registrations will be accepted at the door.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 5, 2012

November: A Time to Remember and Hats off with Hope in our Hearts

Last week, on November 2--the Feast of All Souls--I took time to pray for the souls of my loved ones who have departed this earth.

I also remembered to say a prayer for a good writing friend who passed away this summer.

Bea Siros was a cherised member of Coffee and Critique writers' group who left us suddenly and much too young. Although Bea is gone, her spirit remains with us.

Bea was known for her cheery smile and for her collection of hats--ball caps, feathered hats, trendy berets, demure chapeaus, you name it--Bea had one in her wardrobe. And often her signature bumblee pin could be seen on them.

During Bea's visitation service, several members of our writing group wore hats in her honor. I shopped around and found a tan hat with a dark brown brim and a black ribbon to wear in honor of Bea. I keep the hat on my coat rack by the door, and when I see it I remember her sweet smile.

This morning I used that hat to select the winner of the copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and left a comment.

The anthology includes two essays by Alice Muschany, a breast cancer survivor and member of Coffee and Critique. One of Alice's essays is titled "Hats Off to Betty."

When I e-mailed Alice to ask her if she wanted to pick the name of the winner or if I should throw the names into a hat--she asked me to use the name-in-the-hat option.

So, I wrote down on sheets of paper the names of everyone who left a comment on the Chicken Soup giveaway post in October during breast-cancer awareness month. I folded the papers and threw them into what I call Bea's memorial hat.

I reached into the hat and pulled out one sheet then took a photo (on the left) of the hat, the book, and the name of the winner.

In case you can't read it, the name selected was  -- Marcia G.

Congratulations, Marcia. I will get the book to you. And thank you Alice for your generosity and for sharing your stories of  hope and healing.

Finally, if you're the praying kind, take time to remember the souls of your loved ones or those who have left us. Here's a prayer I use:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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...