Follow by Email

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Links on Coffee and Critique

I've updated the blog to inlcude some of the sites I visit for writing info - or just for fun.

They fall into three categories:

Link for Writers
Freelance Writing Jobs
A great source for freelancers who want to find jobs or about how to make money blogging. Just beware the exclamation points and don't work too cheaply.

Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market Blog
Excellent market listings, of course, but also great advice for contests and what's going on in the publishing world.

Funds for Writers
Lots of contests, grant opportunities, and great articles on how to make money writing.

Agents Who Blog
Nathan Bransford
I have found a new agent blog to love. Nathan Bradsford has lots of great info, sometimes hosts contests for novel pitches or first lines, and is just freaking funny. Beware if you query - he hates the ones that begin with rhetorical questions.

Fun Blogs
A Teaching Life
A middle school teacher in the trenches discusses her life, classroom, and evil Christmas-light- hating administrators. Rock on.

Alone in the Condom Aisle
Just freaking funny. She works in film and a hive collective of offices. In my favorite recent post, she assigned theme songs to her coworkers.

Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books
Raunchy, romantic reviewing fun. This is a rated R (or X) website for some of you I know. My favorite blogs are when they review the covers of romance novels - current and past. If it says not work safe, don't click. They are not pulling your long raven romance goddess hair. They are serious.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sixth Biennial Greensboro Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction

Thanks to Donna for this contest announcement.

"The Writers’ Group of the Triad, Greensboro, NC, invites your members to participate in the Sixth Biennial Greensboro Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction."

Prize: $500 each genre.
Deadline: April 30, 2008
Entry fee: $20 entry fee.

No children’s or young adult. Final Judges: Poetry – Kathryn Stripling Byer: Short Fiction – Shannon Ravenel.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Insider Tips For Writing Greeting Cards by Linda Fulkerson

Check out writer Linda Fulkerson's excellent primer on how to break in writing greeting cards. She attended the Erma Bombeck 2006 workshop and picked up detailed insider tips including the best type of cards to pitch and how to present your card ideas.

If you want to get into the greeting card business, this is the info you need.

Query on.

P.S. - This had a broken link before. I have fixed it, and it should work now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Danielle Steele Short Story Contest at Ladies Home Journal

I just saw over at Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books that Danielle Steele is hosting a short story contest with Ladies Home Journal to promote her new perfume. The grand prize winner gets publication of an excerpt in Ladies Home Journal and $2,500. The deadline is January 31, 2008.

I love the Smart Bitches website - they review romance novels and tell you which are worth your time and moolah. I especially love the critiques of old and new romance covers. But be warned, don't go there if you are offended by raw language or man titty. They have both.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Writers Market Wants Freelance Success Stories for 2009 Writers Market Book

Write your story of freelance success in 800 - 1500 words, and you may win $250, publication in the 2009 Writers Market, and a copy of the book.

They are looking for any kind of success story - ficiton, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting - whatever you've had success with, they're looking to hear about it.

The deadline is December 31, 2007. Those New Year's Eve deadlines are really stacking up.

Submit your story to with "Freelance Success Stories Contest" as the subject line. They don't say how eactly to submit, but I suggest cutting and pasting into the email so they aren't afraid of opening an attachment.

Query on.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two Essay Contests with New Year's Eve Deadlines

Here is info on two contests with entries due by December 31, 2007. Because I know you're not busy or anything.

Lantern Books Essay Contest
No fee. Big Prizes. Essay of 1,500 words or less on one of the following topics:

"How far does personal responsibility extend when it comes to the environment or other issues affecting the planet?

Where do you find peace, and how can that space be extended?

What "bad" experience has turned out to be "good" for you?"

1st Prize $1000
2nd Prize $500
3rd Prize $250

See the Lantern Books Website for more info on where to submit.

River Styx Schlafly Beer Micro Fiction Contest
Prize: $1,500
Two cases of Schlafly Beer
Publication in River Styx and a subscription
500 word or less - up to three stories may be submitted per entry
$20 entry fee

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Coffee and Critique On Holiday Break - But Not the Blog

Coffee and Critique is on hiatus for the New Year because our next two meetings fall on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Our next meeting will be January 8, 2008. So if you been reading the blog and thinking about stopping by, come on down. You are the next contestant on "Get Your Writing Published." Check out our FAQ for details.

I will likely still be posting. Hello, my name is Tricia, and I'm addicted to blogging. Hello, Tricia. (Is it a bad sign when I'm talking to myself?) Nah.

I plan to spruce up the blog over break by linking to some of the excellent blogs I've been reading, but haven't had time to add here. Can't you smell that fresh pine scent already? Kinda like a new air freshener in your car.

As it is the end of the year and time to reflect, I'd like to post any writing success you all have had. So leave a comment if you like or email me at if you would like me to trumpet your accomplishments.

I'll start with blog reader Jerri who had her essay accepted for publication in Sauce Magazine for June 2008. She read about it here! We hate her because it was her first essay ever and she got it published! Congrats Jerri.

All my lovely Coffee and Critiquers better email too. I know you have stuff to post.

Monday, December 17, 2007

All I Want for Christmas Is The Writers Off Strike, The Writers Off Strike

A lot of writing on television was awesome until the scrooge-in-training evil exectives refused to give the writers their fair share. They deserve it, people.

They killed Santa on Bones and had a group of Santas sing an evil version of "You Better Watch Out." It was priceless! And let's not forget House's evil game show disguised as a search for a new team of assistants. In other dialogue:

Pushing Daisies

1. Emerson: The truth ain't like puppies, a bunch of them running around, you pick your favorite

2. Ned: No. You let your anger win and you engage the crazy person, then you're no different than they are. People say "Hey! Look at those two crazy people fighting." I will not engage.

Emerson: Yeah. But if you don't engage, pretty soon people will start saying, "Hey, look at that crazy person eating that guy just sitting there doing nothing.

3. Emerson: Oh no, see, this is how it all ends. Some weird guy comes in saying stuff that don't make no sense. And by the time your head realizes "Hey, this weird guy makes no sense," your guts are all over the window.

Blood Ties

1. Vicki: Coreen, be still. No one likes a perky goth.

2. Vicki: Henry, I don't know what you want me to tell you. Alright, I checked, but Hallmark doesn't make a "Sorry I stabbed you in the gut, drank your vampire blood, and performed a dark magic ritual" card.

Pleeeeeese. Bring them back. Water them, feed them, do whatever it takes. It fills my pathetic life with nose-squirting-diet-coke laughter. I need that or I might snap and kill us all.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Anti Goals for the New Year

Okay. I hate to be the same as everyone else. It makes my scalp creep. I posted my goals for next year like everyone else, but it didn't quite feel right. I've decided to post some anti goals. Kinda the kryptonite for New Year's resolutions.

I will not:

1. Explain to my family for the umpteenth time that while I'm at home typing between 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. that yes, I actually am busy working and no, I don't want to update you on my life right now or discuss cousin Horace's knee operation. Besides, I might be taking a nap.

2. Respond to any freelance job ads with exclamation points in the title. Even though I could be making six figures! From home! In my spare time!

3. Help my kids with homework. Seriously. I did mine already when I was their age. And this new mathodology is killing me. You wouldn't put me in charge of a nuclear reactor because I'm not qualified. Don't ask me to multiply fractions.

4. Resolve to lose weight this year. Forget it. I embrace my Jabba-the-Hutness for now. Wave that big ass with pride, people.

5. Make efficient use of my time. All work and no play makes you Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

6. Behave in a morally responsible manner. Because I need to up my debauchery score on this quiz so I can be a more corrupt poet.

Like most New Year's resolutions, my anti goals will probably be jettisoned out the air lock about February 1. Then I can get on with the rest of my life.

Query on.

Writers Digest Poetry Contest

Writers Digest is having a contest just for poets.

Entry fee: $10

Length: 32 lines or less, any style or form

Deadline: Pretty fricking soon - December 20, 2007 (so you may want to enter and pay online)

First Place: $500
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $100
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $25
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate to Writer's Digest Books

All winners recieve a 2008 Poet's Market and their names published in the magazine.

Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville Contest

Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville Writing Contest - Fiction or Non-Fiction

The contest is open to anyone interested in entering. Each manuscript is to have a cover page with title, author’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address; also a short paragraph describing the story and genre.

The manuscript can not have been previously published in any manner, won any awards in previous contests or be submitted to a publisher where there would be a chance it could be published before the contest results are announced. No electronic manuscripts will be accepted.

Entry fees are $10.00 for the first manuscript and $5.00 for each one after that. Anyone wanting their manuscript returned needs to include $2.00 for envelope and postage.
Manuscripts are to be 5,000 words or less, standard font (Times New Roman) 12pt. font size and double spacing.

Dates manuscripts will be accepted, will be from October 15, 2007 until February 1, 2008. As long as it is postmarked Feb 1 2008 it will be accepted if it is received after that date.
Winners will be announced March 15, 2008 at the Book Fair at Washington Square Mall in Evansville, Indiana.

Prizes will be $100.00 for 1st Place
$75.00 for 2nd Place
$50.00 for 3rd Place

And all three winners will be published in an anthology MWG of Evansville will be putting together at a later date.

Make checks payable to:
Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville
Mail with the manuscript to:
MWG Writing Contest
D. Schenk
13000 Highway 41S
Robards, Ky 42452

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Writing Goals, Writers Digest Subscription Contest, and J.D. Salinger Imitation

Win a subscription to Writers Digest over at Maria Schneider's blog at the magazine. Remember, Ed says you can't win if you don't enter.

Start by leaving a comment on her blog with your writing goals for 2008. She'll pick her favorite posts and award ten of them a year of Writers Digest.

So what are your writing goals for this year? Mine are modest, of course.

1. Win a Nobel Prize for Literature (for my unpublished works that the Nobel Committee hears about and requests to see)

2. Top the New York Times Bestseller List for the last six months of the year (need to get the book rushed to publication for its brillance in the first six)

3. Chat with Oprah about how much she loves my book

4. Build my custom-designed writing retreat in Colorado overlooking the mountains.

5. Get a law passed that flays alive anyone who thinks it's okay not to pay writers, claiming they should work for free to get "quality clips." Later amend law to pouring lemon juice on them after flaying.

6. Hire someone to talk to all the people introvert me does not deign to speak to now that I have much moolah from #2. I vant to be alone to create art my dahlings.

7. Pull a J.D. Salinger at the end of the year and refuse all interviews. I need no stinkin' publicity.

8. Allow myself to be coaxed out of Salingerhood to do another interview with Oprah.

And you?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pikes Peak Flash Fiction Contest

The Pikes Peak Branch of National League of American Pen Women is sponsoring their annual contest and it's a Flash Fiction competition. Stories can be any genre but must address the theme "Beneath the Bed."

And they do mean flash - 100 words or less. Even if you don't win, you'll still receive feedback from the membership on your entry.

Submission guidelines say entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2008.

Entry fee: $8.00

1st Prize $60
2nd Prize $25
Judges Merit Award Prize $15

Friday, December 7, 2007

New Magazine Launches for November

Mr. Magazine has a list of new magazines that launched in November including Southern Beauty, Personal Development, Well Wed, Death Rock, Retirement Lifestyles and Long Weekends.

I couldn't get the Long Weekends website to load, but there is a snail mail adress. Query on.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let's Hear It For My Daughter Tessa!

My daughter Tessa received an honorable mention in a teen short story contest.

Whoo hoo! I'm so proud of her. Her short story "Reign of the Wolves" is a fantasy about a wolf colony that rules a world where humans are the minority. She did a fabulous job on it. Maybe some day she'll let me post part of it.

Quiz - Which Famous Poet Are You?

Thanks to my student Brandon for telling me about this quiz that determines which famous poet you most resemble. I'm not sure it's the same one he took, but he inspired me to look for the quiz and post it. I'm obviously doing something wrong. I need to work on getting my debauchery score higher.

Here are my results:

Your Score: William Wordsworth!

You scored 54 Demeanour, 27 Debauchery, 83 Traditionalism, and 50 Expression!

You are a happy person who looks for the beauty in everything. You play by the rules, but hey, people respect you for it. Don't they? Your masterpiece is "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey."

Link: The Which Famous Poet Are You Test written by Torontop on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Review of Microsoft Student With Encarta 2008

Microsoft Student with Encarta 2008 is a software program designed with lots of extras to help students complete homework assignments. It includes the Encarta 2008 encyclopedia, and retails for $49.95 to download at Microsoft’s website or $33.99 for a hard copy at Amazon.

The program’s main menu is divided into three categories: Homework, Projects, and Discover and Learn.

Homework deals with math and basic foreign languages like Spanish, German, French, and Italian with a link section that also discusses Latin and Japanese. The math section has an onscreen calculator and basic math explanations – helpful for me to review when I’m trying to help my children with their math.

As some of you know, they don’t call all math concepts by the same name they did when many of us were in school. They don’t “borrow” any more, they “regroup” in my children’s math classes. Plus my kids aren’t using an official book, so I can’t look over the explanation – they get supplementary handouts without any additional information on how to do the problems. So the math section looked like a godsend to me.
I didn’t like their link referral to because some video features on that site cost more money – you feel a bit bait and switched – and the pop ups to enter contests and register are annoying.

The Project section deals with writing papers and giving presentations. Presentations have become big at my kids’ school, so this section has great tips on how to present – whether my kids actually read the tips, I’m a bit iffy on. This segment shows you how to design PowerPoint Presentations, give speeches, and use Microsoft to create charts and graphs for your papers, including templates that make it really easy to produce spiffy looking graphics. The latter I know they will use.

Discover and Learn has the Encarta Encyclopedia, a section on Colleges and Careers, and a Fun and Games segment. College and Careers has lots of valuable tools to help you find admissions information and even financial aid advice. It has resume and cover letter templates and a place to track the paperwork you submit to different employers.

Fun and Games is organized by subjects like Geography, History, and Animals and Science. My eleven-year-old didn’t like them. The educational games didn’t seem enough like Playstation for him. My fourteen-year-old daughter loved the games, especially the ones about animals. She thought some of the resources were “cool.”

The best part about the Microsoft Student is the use of multimedia – sound clips, videos, virtual tours, as well as pictures and text. I also loved that my kids had a safer place to search for information than the World Wide Web. The sources were vetted, and I didn’t have to worry about checking every site they might run across.

My teenager did think some of the program was overly complicated. She needed to write a group of small essays for class and when she clicked on the “Reports” section it demanded to know what kind of essay she wanted to write before she could proceed. Different books and instructors label essays differently. Since she didn’t see anything that applied to her assignment, she went back to regular Microsoft Word to type the report. She says she “didn’t have time to figure it out” because she had to get her assignment finished. It tries to be a bit too helpful and provide too many templates.

These templates abound in the program – for essays, for PowerPoint presentations, for foreign language homework. If your student likes direction, this would be an excellent program. Mine are a bit more free spirits. We had a limited period of time to try it out, but I think my daughter prefers to design her own PowerPoint – she’s been doing it for years already, and she likes to be creative rather than follow a program’s format.

My favorite part is I can use Microsoft Student to assign my children summer homework instead of buying the expensive supplementary material the school sends home at the end of each year. To keep their brains from leaking info they learned in school, I’ll let them explore whatever interests them in Encarta and use some of the templates to write reports and make some PowerPoints for me. It also has math assignments they can complete. So there’s plenty of age-appropriate material to keep them occupied this summer and many summers to come.

Overall this program is best for late middle school to high school/college age students. My eleven-year-old boy didn’t have much patience for it while my 8th grader said she could see it being useful in high school next year. In spite of including too many templates in some sections, it’s a huge resource that would take months to explore. I only had a week, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of it as my kids use it for the rest of the school year.

This review is sponsored by Mother Talk.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Missouri Writers Guild Conference 2008 - Professional Photos of Writers

For those of you contemplating signing up for the upcoming Missouri Writers Guild Conference, here is another incentive - A professional photographer will be taking digital photos of those who sign up. The cost is $25 for three digital photos emailed to you. Include payment when you sign up for the conference, and you'll get your very own glamour shots appointment.

It's a good opportunity to get some publicity photos for your website or other publicity use. The conference is in April, so I shall begin my pre photo diet now. Goodbye, sweet Christmas cookies. I give you up for my career. (Okay, maybe just one).

Kudos to whoever came up with the idea.

Two Horror Anthologies Seek Submissions

According to Tate Hallaway's blog, two anthologies are seeking submissions for upcoming books. The first is called "Traps" and the other "Terrible Beauty." The pay .01 cent per word up to 7,000 words.

The deadline for both is December 31, 2007. Check out the guidelines at Dark Heart Press.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Let's Hear it for Tricia S.'s NaNoWriMo Win

Coffee and Critique maven Tricia S. finished NaNoWriMo and won! She has 50,003 words of a novel she didn't have a month ago. Always hang with other writers like this. Inspiration is contagious. Jealousy too. :)

Calls for Abortion Stories, Family Stories, and Chocolate Poetry

Poets and Writers has posted some anthology calls for stories about having an abortion, blended/cross cultural families, and poetry on chocolate.

That last one it too easy. Who couldn't get poetic about chocolate? Of course, my personal preference for poetry is bread products.

Oh yeasty humidity
Rising from the oven
hiding the grain balloon,
pale and transforming
to brown nuttiness
for melting golden butter

Excuse me. I need a bagel.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Great Post on How To Approach Writing Contests & Calls for Submissions

There's a great post from the editor over at the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market blog. It's about what to consider before submitting your squirming wet bundle of writing joy in a contest or call for submissions. What does it take to win?

How do I submit thee? Let me count the ways.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Little Reinterpretation of the Classics - Meg Cabot and Little Women

Snort. If you're a writer, you must watch this video by young adult author Meg Cabot. I found it through agent Jenny Rappaport's blog over at Lit Soup.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Magazine Launch: Whole Foods Market Magazine

According to CNNMoney, Whole Foods, the organic/natural food store, will have a new magazine with recipes, health info, a wine column, beauty tips, and environmental news.

Issues premier in the midwest stores this January. They will go on to appear in the Rocky Mountain Region in March. Active Interest Media is producing the mag. The magazine will be customized according the area it's being sold in to appeal to regional interests.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Humbly Beg Help of Thee - Need Parenting Quotes

Hello blog readers. I'm working on an article about how parents are starting to think they don't have to be parent martyrs - essentially they can have kids and still have a life. I'm looking for quotes to support this from parents of young children (4 and under).

Dad perspectives would be great. I could use more mom's too.

The Questions
So can you be a parent and still preserve your individual identity and pursuits? What specific things do you do that preserve your identity?

If you leave a comment (I shall kiss your toes in a totally virtual way) please include your state, ages of children, and email me at with contact info so I can prove to my editor you aren't a 80 year old guy yanking my chain. Can't guarantee I'll use your info, but sure would appreciate the help. I need all responses by Thursday. You can comment or just email me.

Bless you.

Second Annual Warren Adler Short Story Contest - New York Fiction

This announcement from Beneath the Cover - The Second Annual Warren Adler Short Story Contest wants fiction that captures what New York is all about. Any story about New York - even if you've never been there. Hey, use your imagination. Are you a writer or what?

  • Deadline: January 15, 2008
  • Entry fee: $15
  • Word Count: 2,500

Winner take all :$1,000 plus publication on Amazon shorts
Five Finalists: Autographed first editions of Adler's books (The War of the Roses, Random Hearts. . . ) A People's Choice winner will also be available for sale through Amazon shorts.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Top Ten Christmas Gifts for Writers

Everyone is asking me what I want for Christmas, so I thought I 'd share some items the writer on your list might like. Forgive me if I'm a cliche, but it's fun to dream. If I won the lottery. . . Christina Katz also has a great list at her site.

1. Sony ebook reader ($250 -300) or Amazon's Kindle ($400.00)

2. Gift basket: paper (minimum 20lbs quality), gift card to an office supply store, pens, small notebooks to carry around and jot ideas, $5.00 gift card to Bread Co/coffee shop with wifi, bookstore gift card, #10 envelopes, 9x12 envelopes, stamps - any combo ($30-?)

3. Subscription to They have how to pitch articles with the inside scoop on magazines and a great freelance job board. ($49.00)

4. Subscription to Lists writing markets and contact info on countless magazines and book publishers (One year is $29.00, two years is 44.99. Or pay by the month at $3.99 so they can see if they like it.

5. Christina Katz book Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids - an outstanding book for beginning writers plus great tips for those already published. She also has a great list of other writing books on her website. (10.19 plus shipping)

6. Writer's Digest ($19.96) or Poets and Writers Magazine ($14.97)

7. Laptop, if you have the funds for such things (they have some great sales at Dell right now)

8. Glimmer Train subscription - great short story writing to inspire the writer within

9. If your writer is aspiring to magazines, an online course at The Renegade Writer would be a great start for the new year (around $120 for a basic course).

10. My manservant, Manolo

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Link to Amazon's ereader Kindle

Looks like they finally have the info up for the new Amazone ereader, Kindle. And . . . they are sold out. Not amused. They say get your name on the list now if you want one any time soon.

They even have a video demonstration on how to use the wireless feature to download books. Pretty cool.

New Magazine Looking for St. Louis Food Writers and Common Ties Seeks Holiday Stories

Deborah Ng posted these two freelance opportunties on her website Freelance Writing Jobs. Love her site - it's a great resource for jobs.

The first one is for St. Louis based food writers for a new foodie magazine. Click on the entry that says freelance food writers - the fourth one down.

In the other notice, Common Ties is looking for holiday stories, so click on that heading for more info. They don't have to be sugar plums dancin' either. They can be nitty gritty holiday.

Gee, maybe I should send one about this Thanksgiving. I'm waiting to see if my father shows up at my house tomorrow since he's arguing with my brother about who is having Christmas. See, I incorporate two holidays into the story. Happy freaking holiday, people.

I do hope your Thanksgiving is peaceful and full of bounty. Not the paper towels.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fiction in February

Crazy busy. Here is a link to guide Ginny Wiehardt's list of fiction contest deadlines coming up in February.

It never occurred to me to actually plan ahead to February instead of writing in a frenzy a week before the deadline. It probably still won't occur to me. My mind is a last-minute kind of place.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Ebook Reader Launches from Amazon

So today Amazon launches their new ebook reader to compete with the Sony one I've been drooling over. Kindle has $400 price tag and wireless capability that intrigues me. The wireless supposedly works anywhere, not just where there is WiFi. It's like the service a cell phone has.

I must investigate this new development. The article from the Guardian outlines the advantages and disadvantages - including that Kindle is $100 bucks more than the more stylish Sony model. There is no link on Amazon yet, but I'll post one as soon as they put it up. It was supposed to premier today.

Let's get with it Amazon people. We want an ebook reader is because we are an impatient breed. This image not available stuff is simply unacceptable.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Chicken Soup is Looking for Stories About Twenty-Somethings

According to the Apathy Myth Blog, Chicken Soup needs submissions for a book about the Twenty-something crowd. You do not have to be in your twenties to contribute. It can be about when you were twenty-something or the experience of a twenty-something you know.

The deadline is January 7, 2008, and you'll receive $200 if published. Think inspirational. Duh. It's a chicken soup book, so I guess I don't need to tell you that. My twenties were a blur. No. Stop thinking that. I didn't mean it that way. I had two little kids and no sleep. Seriously.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Freelance Writing Jobs by Deborah Ng

If you've never checked out Deborah Ng's webpage on freelance writing jobs, you're missing out. She has a huge list of freelance jobs every day of the week and advice on being a freelancer.

From reading her site, I've discovered you should avoid job listings with too many exclamation marks! They're often scams! Or they want you to work just for clips! Or pay them for their orientation packet! You know where you can put your offer!

I may write like this all the time now! It's kind of fun! Someone turn me off!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Writer's Digest Seek Short Stories for Contest

It's time once again for the Writer's Digest Short Story Contest. You can submit everything online, which I love. I'm an online kinda gal.

Send them your very short story, - 1,500 words or less. The entry fee is $12.

The deadline is a postmark by Monday, December 03, 2007.
First Place: $3,000
Second Place: $1,500
Third Place: $500
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $100
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books

P.S. - I promise, I'm going to finish the posts on starting a critique group. Uh, it probably won't be until after Thanksgiving, though. Sorry. Too many projects. Too many papers to grade. It's sad when you look forward to Christmas as slow time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sneak Peak at Missouri Writers' Guild Conference Contests

The annual Missouri Writers' Guild Conference always hosts a contest for published works from the previous year for members of the Guild. I'll be posting the categories over the next few weeks.

The big news this year is that different chapters/sponsors are also holding contests open to anyone who has registered and paid for the conference, not just members of the Guild. Entries for these contests can be published or unpublished works.

I'll be doing a series of posts profiling each chapter/sponsor contest, as well as the members-only Guild contest.

There are seventeen different contests open to anyone attending the conference. Entries must be postmarked between January 1 and March 1, 2008, so get them ready but don't send them off until the new year.

The first contest I'll cover is for my chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, Saturday Writers:

Saturday Writers presents the Flash Fiction Contest: Send us your fiction from 99-500 words. No excessive gore or violence. The entry fee is $5. I will post further details on where to send entry fees later.

Send entries to: Saturday Writers Flash Fiction Contest (Don't start submitting until January 1, 2008)

c/o Tricia Sanders
90 Westwood Trails
Foristell, MO 63348

Update from the Land Of NaNoWriMo by Tricia S.

Thanks to Coffee and Critique member Tricia S. for keeping me updated on her NaNoWriMo progress. This is how she feels about the challenge so far:

I’m thirteen days into NaNoWriMo and have to tell you this is the most exhilarating/frustrating challenge I’ve ever accepted. Don’t believe anyone that says you won’t have time to even take a shower. I do have my standards. Cleaning house is another story. That can wait until December. Glad I’m not having Thanksgiving in Casa Sanders.

I’ve written over 20,000 words—21,417 to be exact. What a thrill. I have two novels sitting on my hard drive in various states of disarray. One I started more than four years ago, the other more than six. Without NaNoWriMo, this one wouldn’t even be out of the idea chute. So thank you NaNoWriMo for forcing me to get these ideas out of my head. Now I won’t have to listen to the voices any longer. I’m hoping those are the voices of my characters. That’s what I’ve been telling myself all these years.

I’ve actually embarked on this adventure with three other writing buddies, and we email encouragement to each other often. So it’s helpful to get on the bus with traveling companions. Because when the bus stalls, you need the extra encouragement.

I had such a stall on Saturday. My plot was boring, and I was mad at my main character, so it was difficult for me to write the scene. So instead of slamming down the cover of my laptop, like I normally would have done, I stopped writing the scene and started brainstorming. I actually wrote out future scene possibilities. I even counted them in my word count for that day, so I’d make it. When I went to bed, I was on target with my word count. The next day when I started writing again, the brainstorming actually helped me finish the scene where I was stuck, plus I actually ended my writing day up 800 words—not counting the brainstorming session.

What have I learned from NaNoWriMo so far? Put down those writing books and write your damn novel. Once it’s on paper, then you can use all the books you want to help you edit and polish your prose.

Tricia S.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Adams Media Requests Hero Stories About Moms and Dads: I'm Holding Out for a Hero

I've posted on these before, but just a reminder:

This is another submission request with a November deadline - November 30th to be exact. Adams Media is looking for stories of mothers (or mother figures) as heroes.

They are also looking for stories with a hero dad (or faux dad) in the starring role. The deadline for this one is February 28, 2007.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Budget Travel Seeks Reader Stories for 10th Anniversary Edition

According to the travel website Gadling, Budget Travel is asking its readers to submit stories for their 10th anniversary edition. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2007. One submission per person. The Budget Travel anniversary issue will be published in June 2008.

There are several article categories. Some readers will even get $100 to spend in a favorite place - provided they write about the weird stuff they buy. Some readers will be assigned stories they pitch, but other writers can create their own according to these subjects.

They keep all rights, so consider carefully. They don't want established journalists, so this could be a clip for a beginning travel writer. I don't see anything about payment, so ask when you pitch.

Your Special Hometown
A Life-changing Trip
Finding Collectibles
Greatest Travel Innovations of Past Ten Years
Lessons Learned Traveling
25 Reasons You Love New York
Restaurant Recommendations
House Swapping Tales
Pet Travel Tips
Favorite Travel Websites

Friday, November 9, 2007

Contests and Submission Opportunties with Deadlines in November

It is Friday and it is good. Today I'm doing a round up of all the former blog posts (that I can find) with November deadlines. Sweet Father Time is taking is scythe to November days. Run like hell from the old bugger and get your submissions in.

St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Competition

Call for Stories Appreciating Black Fathers

Call for Holiday Tradition Stories

Sauce Magazine Seeks Food Essays

Chase the Dream Contest

P.S. - I'll continue the posts on starting a critique group next week.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How To Start a Critique Group - Part 3 Establishing a Format

Now that you've herded your cats together from Part 2, you need to come up with a plan for how your group critiques.

Believe me, without a format, things can get messy. Egos get bruised, critiques don't happen, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.

So there are a couple ways to go about it. I've done both, so I'll try to outline the advantages/disadvantages.

Option 1. Everyone makes copies of his or her submission before the first meeting and hands them out then for everyone to take home and comment on. Put a page limit - maybe 10-15. Spend the first meeting drinking lattes and getting to know each other.

Everyone brings submissions back the following meeting, and you pick names out of a hat for who goes first. Anyone who gets skipped for lack of time is written down to go first at the next meeting. Seriously - keep track of this. People get pissed if they don't get a turn, and rightly so.

  • Advantages: In-depth critiques and you get a lot critiqued at one time.

  • Disadvantages: Not everyone has time to take a monstrous stack of handouts home and do them justice. This is probably best for smaller critique groups - maybe around 6 or less.

Option 2. Everyone makes copies of his or her submission (5 page limit), brings them to the critique meeting, and reads work to the group right there for a critique. The group marks on a copy as the author reads. After he or she is finished, members take turns making overall comments. I recommend taking turns, or less talkative people (like moi) don't get heard.

  • Advantages: Instant gratification. Plus hearing the work can really highlight bumpy parts. You can make fewer copies (group members can share a copy for marking). People who are really crunched for time don't have to do homework. It all gets done at the meeting.

  • Disadvantages: Only a small amount gets critiqued and it may not be as in-depth. Plus, some people read like Bill Clinton at a fundraiser and the writing can seem better than it is, or they sound like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller. Anyone? Anyone? and the writing sounds less compelling. Also, us introverts get nervous about reading.

Those are the formats I've experienced. Modifications to each are certainly not out of the question, according to your group's needs. Some people email their stuff and insert comments in the document.

But whatever format you choose, this is not a democracy. If you are the critique group organizer, seize control like the little dictator you are and don't present any options at first. We all know what discussing things in committee is like. You can always adjust the format as issues come up. But someone needs to be the fearless leader. I nominate you.

Next blog: Tips and Warnings for running Critique Meetings in an orderly fashion, dammit.

Links to this post and all previous posts on starting a critique group can be found on the right under FAQ.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nominate Us as a Top Ten Favorite Writing Blog

Writing White Papers is accepting nominations for the Top Ten Favorite Writing Blogs. Thanks to Tricia S. for nominating Coffee and Critique.

Shameless Self-Promotion: If you like Coffee and Critique, we could use a second nomination to qualify. Or go submit your favorite. I'm partial to The Renegade Writer Blog.

Thanks to everyone who hangs out here. I must now go hide my face - it's hard for us introverts to ask for such things.

How to Start a Critique Group - Part 2 Who Do I Want in My Group and How Do I Find Them?

First, what kind of writers do you want and what experience level? Fiction? Non-Fiction? Genre? Literary? Beginners? Published Writers?

It's best to cast a wide net and not restrict your membership too much. If you go for just cozy mystery writers or people who write paranormal chick lit thrillers, all you're likely to get is lonely. All writers improve with practice. The important thing is that they write regularly. Ho Hum writers can turn into the next Stephen King or Flannery O'Conner with enough regular practice of the craft. See - one genre writer, one literary writer. Please don't write me cranky notes about comparing Stephen King to Flannery O'Conner.

Coffee and Critique is open to writers of all levels and interests because we were all starting out at one point. Our much published members give the benefit of their wisdom to beginners, and we all get to read material we may not have picked up on our own at a book store. As far as we're concerned, all of it teaches us about writing - whether it's the kind we do or not. Except we don't do poetry because we don't feel qualified.

But there is nothing wrong with concentrating on fiction or non-fiction, or even a specfic genre like fantasy or mystery. It can be tougher if you live in a rural area that has fewer writers. You may have to open it to any writer. If you live in a large city, it's much easier. You have a bigger pool to draw from.

Draw up your member guidelines and make flyers you can hand to interested parties.

Once you've decided who you want in your new critique group, how do you find them?
  • First google for local writers' organizations in your state. They've already herded the writers together for you - now go into the pen and pick the best fillys. Get thee to a local chapter meeting. Ask if anyone is looking to join a critique group, and you should get some interest. If there are no local chapters, you might email the state group and ask them to post a "Writers for Critique Group Wanted" notice on their website and indicate what area of the state you live in.

  • You can also post an ad on Craigslist. I recommend you include a specific meeting date in your ad that's about a week or two after your post. This gives your quest momentum and lets writers know you are serious. And us shy introvert people can just show up and not talk ourselves out of responding to your ad because it gives us an angina attack.

  • Check the bookstores. Not to beat this one over the head, but writers hang out near books. Barnes and Noble, Borders, and independent bookstores often have writers inside clip clopping away on their keyboards. Strike up a conversation (or if you are a introvert like me, go to the cafe, make up a tent sign for your table saying "Writers Wanted for a Critique Group," buy a latte, and wait for the writers to come to you).

  • Post your flyers in local libraries, colleges, and bookstores. If you don't have much time to hang out or can't make a local writers' meeting, this is your best option besides Craigslist. Be sure you get permission so the flier doesn't get trashed for being unauthorized. The student activities office at colleges is usually in charge of postings, or they can tell you who is.

This is how I would go about it. I met my current critique group through a local chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. I met my previous critique group by lamenting my lack of critique partners to the writers I met at a writing conference. A writer who was in an established critique group was kind enough to invite me to check his out.

My next blog will be on developing rules for your writing community a.k.a. Lion Taming for Critique Group Leaders.

Links to this post and all previous posts on starting a critique group can be found on the right under FAQ.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How to Start A Critique Group - Part 1 Where do we meet?

I've had some questions on this lately, so I thought I'd do a few posts on how to start your own critique group. I've compiled the musings and methods of my fellow critique groupers into a handy dandy set of instructions.

1. Find a place to meet.

  • Talk to your local book store. Both Borders and Barnes and Noble will usually reserve space for writing groups in their cafes at no cost - hey, we buy books and lattes - it's a no brainer for them. Many independent bookstores will too.

  • If you don't have a bookstore close, try your local library and see if they have a room you can reserve. Those are your tax dollars at work, so use 'em.

  • Check out your church or local community center, if available. They may charge a small fee, but it can't be more expensive than everyone's frappuccino at Barnes and Noble.

  • Maybe you're Martha Stewart and meeting at your house would work. For me, I'd be holding my twitching left eye at the prospect of cleaning before each meeting. Also, I'd get too caught up in making refreshments. We're foodies at my house, so I'd spend too much time coming up with Gorgonzola and honey on sliced baguettes to get my writing ready to go. But, hey, Martha gets off on that stuff, so maybe you do too. Some groups rotate among members' houses, but that can get confusing. But do whatever works for your group.

Next post I'll address how to hook up with fellow writers interested in a critique group.

Links to this post and all previous posts on starting a critique group can be found on the right under FAQ.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Seeking Stories from Over Forty Group - Midlife Success

Second Wind Stories is seeking essays about love and business success after 40.

Authors selected will equally divide seventy percent of the advance money the editors receive, minus agent commission. It sounds like they will be shopping the project, so I don't know if payment is guaranteed - and I'm not sure what a typical anthology advance is or how many stories they will be using. The typical first book advance is 5,000 to 10,000- but I don't know if that applies to anthologies.

Let me try a worst case scenario: Advance = $5,000

15% Agent Commission $750 -

Total $4250

70% of Total = $2975/40 authors =$74

Disclaimer - I am not a math person, and I'm not sure I'm correctly calculating how agent commission is deducted. Bascially, I'm not sure what the hell I'm doing. But if I was submitting a story, I'd go based on my own weird calculations. More authors = less money. More advance = more money. Plus, you get published.

It doesn't sound like you'd get much less than the typical $100 usually paid to anthology authors, and you might get more. But the explanation is vague enough that I don't know. Just FYI.

There are email addresses for more questions: and If anyone finds out more, you might want to post it in the comments.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Check out the blog "Alone in the Condom Aisle"

I want to give a shout out to the blog Alone in the Condom Aisle for two reasons. One, she has my blog under "People I Think Are Fun in That I Don't Know You Kind of Way." How can I not just want to pinch her little cheeks and squee at her? In a totally virtual kind of way, of course.

Second, she is freaking hilarious. You have to check out her blog post "Bored Games" about giving everyone working in her office their own theme song which she plays from her cubicle. Personally I think the Imperial Death March applies to a lot of people. Unfortunately, several I know would be flattered by it. Now I have to go assign themes songs to everyone I know.

I really don't have time to do this, so I guess I should be irritated. Not. It's irresistible. So what's your theme song? We probably don't do well at picking our own, but I will think about mine now. I have no choice.

List of New Magazine Launches in October

Mr. Magazine has a blog on how the candy-fat month of October tends to be the biggest month for magazine launches. He has a list of ninety-six magazines that launched last month, complete with pictures of their covers.

Want to write about beer? There's a magazine for that. Actually there are several. I'm not sure what the women with big boobs is doing on the cover of this new one. I've never seen sex associated with beer advertising. . .

How about Koi? Yeah, I mean the fish. There is a magazine dedicated to Koi. Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma, Florida and Hawaii are a few states that have new magazines dedicated to them.

Query forth.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NaNoWriMo Starts

So. I did NaNoWriMo last year and had a great time and came out with about 40,000 words (nope, I didn't make it to the 50,000 word goal by November 30th.) I have been avoiding the knowledge that today is freaking November *shifty eyes* because I know there is no way in hell I can do it this year, and I'm downcast, bereft, bummed, bamboozled. . . Okay, not that last one but I got lost in the alliteration for a moment.

I kept going after November last year, and now I have a 65,000 word manuscript of a paranormal novel I am steadily revising with the keen insight of the coffee and critiquers. My first chapter is posted on my website.

This year, here I am with my face pressed up against the glass, condensation marks and face grease smudging the window, on the outside, looking in the cafe at Barnes and Noble where the writers I know go to flog their keyboard.

No warm camaraderie from my fellow authors. No late night marathons of writing while my children exist on Ramen noodles and whatever they scrape out to the crisper. No novel writing in November.

I'll certainly be writing everyday. But on stuff that pays me a lot quicker than shopping a novel does. Someone has to buy all that Ramen.

If you're doing NanNoWriMo, I'd love to hear about it. My fellow blogger at A Teaching Life is planning on doing it, so I'm going to live vicariously through her. If you're doing NaNoWriMo and blogging about it anywhere, tell me so I can use you shamelessly in the same manner.

So good luck, all you lucky, deranged NaNoWriMoers. May the force be with you. Always.

Congrats to Tricia Sanders!

Coffee and Critique member Tricia Sanders won 2nd place in two categories of the Springfield Writers' Guild Contest.

  • 2nd Place in the Prose-Nostalgia Category for Down Home
  • 2nd Honorable Mention in the Jim Stone Memorial Non-Fiction Category for Sins of the Season
Way to go, Tricia. (Okay, is it wrong I also feel like I'm giving myself a pep talk by congratulating someone who has the same name? I digress)

This is just two in a long line of contest wins for her, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more in the future. The Missouri Writers' Guild contest, perhaps?

St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Competition

Enter St. Martin’s Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Competition.

  • Unpublished manuscripts

  • minimum 60,000 words

  • Story Centers on a Murder or Serious Crime

  • Deadline to request an entry form is November 30, 2007

  • Deadline for manuscript submission is December 31, 2007

  • Prize: Contract and $10,000 advance

Come on, Paul. You know I'm talking to you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

My Son's Pirate Ship Pumpkin and my Daughter's Vampire Pumpkin

Check out Paul Schmit's Mystery Novel in the Gather Contest

Coffee and Critique member Paul Schmit has entered the first chapter of his mystery novel, Memory Stick over at's mystery novel contest.

You'll need to join Gather to read it and vote. Voting starts November 15, 2007 and ends on December 9th.

The top 25 chapters will move on to be whittled down to a final five, and then to one grand prize winner. Contest judges for the last stage include Davis Baldacci, Harlan Coben, and Sandra Brown, plus additional people from Borders Corp.

Horror Stories Anthology Seeks Submissions

D.L. Snell's Market Scoop has the insider info on submitting to the upcoming anthology Unspeakable Horror: From the Shadows of the Closet. He interviewed the editors to get details on exactly what they're looking for - horror stories from the closets of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
  • Deadline May 15, 2008
  • Pays: 5 cents per word
  • Story length: 1,000-7,500 words
What's in your closet?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pitching Your Novel - Pubrants Blog Pitch Workshop

Hello, all. Sorry my posts have been sketchy lately. The plague visited my house (cough, cough), I just got a few new writing jobs with fast turnaround times (not that I'm complaining), and I have so many stacks of papers to grade, I'm thinking about opening an Office Depot on the side.

Anyhoo, literary agent Kristin of the invaluable Pubrants blog is doing an enlightening Blog Pitch Workshop on how to write an enticing pitch for your novel. Check it out.

Blog Pitch (Part I--young adult)
Blog Pitch (Part II--young adult)
Blog Pitch (Part III--young adult)
Blog Pitch (Part IV--literary fiction)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sonora Review Short-Short Contest, American Short Fiction Contest, and a New Magazine

Thanks to Tricia S. for these announcements. Both contests have December 1st deadlines and the second one has major prize money and a correspondingly large entry fee.

Sonora Review Short-Short Contest
Prize: $250 and publication. Ten finalists will also be considered for publication.
Judge: David Means

Quoted from their Guidelines:
"For our purposes, "short-short" means 1,000 words or less. Stories over 1,000 words will not be considered. No previously published works, or works forthcoming elsewhere. A $10 fee is required; entrants may submit up to three stories (each 1,000 words max.) with each $10 fee, payable by check or money order made out to Sonora Review. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but fees are non-refundable. Cover letter must include name, address, phone number, and title(s) of stories submitted."

Postmark deadline: December 1, 2007.

Send entries to:

Sonora Review Contest
Department of English
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721

American Short Fiction Contest
The Literary Magazine American Short Fiction invites submissions for its Short Story Contest.
Length: Stories up to 6,000 words
Entry Fee: $20
First Prize: $1,000 and publication
Second Prize: $500
Deadline: December 1, 2007

New Magazine Looking for Writers, Stories

NOW ME! A Magazine for Women is looking for inspiring stories from women who've overcome "impossible odds."

They are also seeking writers for this soon to debut magazine. Submit your resume and published writing samples for consideration.

Congratulations, Claudia

Congratulations to Claudia Shelton on her third place win for her adult short fiction story, "Westward With Hope" in the Abilene Writers Guild Contest 2007.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Me Write Funny Someday- Erma Bombeck Workshop Audio Available for Preorder

The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop is extremely popular and sells out fast each year. So if you didn't get your shoe leather in the door or couldn't afford the trek to Ohio, preorder the audio versions of the 2008 workshop and get the 2006 recordings absolutely free! (Why do I suddenly feel like one of those home furniture commercials?) They come as MP3 files on a CD rom.

It costs $89 dollars, which is not a pittance, but if you consider the price of going to two conferences to hear these, it's reasonable. The special that includes the 2006 recordings expires on April 2, 2008 and the price increases to $99 and you only receive the 2008 workshops starting April 3rd.

Writing Topics include:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Reminder: Saturday Writers Workshop This Saturday

You can still register at the door for the Saturday Writers Workshop this Saturday featuring Gail Galloway Adams. Lunch is provided.

From the Saturday Writers' Website:

Saturday Writers Annual Workshop Presents
Gail Galloway Adams
Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award
Saturday, October 27, 2007
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Spend the day at the St. Peters Community & Arts Center with Gail Galloway Adams. An exciting combination of lecture and “pen to paper” on-site writing that will send you home with knowledge, inspiration, and the beginning of your next masterpiece.

Lunch Provided

“I’ve heard Gail, and she’s a real hoot. Great energy, great teacher, with a great story—from hippie commune to University professor and winner of the prestigious Flannery O’Connor Award. Don’t miss this great workshop!”~~Saturday Writers Treasurer, David Kirkland

“It’s been my pleasure to know Gail for over a decade, and each time I hear her read or attend her workshop, I’m newly amazed at her talent, wealth of literary knowledge, and her unmatched ability to light a fire for writing in everyone around her.”
~~Saturday Writers President, Amy Burle

Saturday Writers Member: $50
Full-time student or full-time teacher: $50
Missouri Writers’ Guild Chapter Member (not Saturday Writers): $60
General Public: $75

St. Peters Community & Arts Center is located at 1035 St. Peters Howell Road (just off of Mid Rivers Mall Drive) St. Peters, MO. Phone 636-397-6903 for directions.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Genre Definitions from Editor of Novel and Short Story Writer's Market

So what kind of novel are you writing? A paranormal with romantic elements? A steampunk? A suspenseful murder mystery? Women's fiction? What defines any of these?

With so many genres combining elements, it's getting a little crazy out there folks. Trying to identify your book in a cover letter is like Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded. Most agents say we always get it wrong anyway.

So here are some definitions I've found in various locations. Opinions vary, but hopefully these can give you a general idea.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Call for Stories Appreciating Black Fathers

The Appreciating Black Fathers website is seeking positive stories about black fathers.

Stories must be true and between 350-1,500 words. They prefer new stories but will consider previously published material.

Deadline: November 15, 2007

Selected stories will be published in a book, and authors will receive a $25 honorarium.

A future call for stories on black mothers is in the works.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Magazine Launches - Alternative Brides, Luxury Outdoors, Loft Living

The wedding website Bridal Wave has announced the launch of Black Meringue, a new bridal magazine aimed at brides who'd rather go goth than cross champagne flutes. The focus in on the exotic and edgy wedding ideas rather than traditional nuptial rituals. No website yet.

And reports that APG Media is starting two new magazines. Lodges is for those who like granite counter tops with their roughing it. The magazine has luxury outdoors information and travel features.

The other magazine, Lofts, is aimed at loft living urban dwellers, their lifestyle and design sensibilities.

These publications join Romantic Homes, Victorian Homes, and Cottages and Bungalows (premier issue this month, no website yet) in APG Media's stable of niche shelter magazines.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Guideposts Expands Book Division

The Book Standard is reporting Guideposts has expanded their retail book line.

Guideposts has writers' guidelines posted for their children's book division, Candy Cane Press, which publishes picture and board books on a variety of biblical themes.

As they expand, them may post more guidelines at their Ideal Books website. Check out the site listings for the types of books they currently publish.

Call for Holiday Tradition Stories

It's the time of year when the holiday gauntlet begins. Before reality sets in and destroys misty, romantic memories of Christmas past, write a story about a family Christmas tradition and submit it to this call for Holiday Stories from the

Stories should be between 700-1,200 words and the deadline is November 15, 2007.

They pay $75 upon publication and a contributor's copy.

Seventeen Magazine Fiction Writing Contest for Teens

Seventeen Magazine is hosting a fiction writing contest for its readers. The task is to finish a Meg Cabot story with 350 words that represent your personality and preserve the story line.

Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by January 2, 2008 and arrive by January 7.

According to Meg Cabot's website, the prize is $2,500, possible publication in Seventeen, and your name used for a character in her next book.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Contest for St. Louis Area Poets - Poetry in Motion on Metrolink

St. Louis's Metro Arts in Transit and the Poetry Society of America are sponsoring the Poetry in Motion contest for poets living within 50 miles of St. Louis, MO. The contest is open to children and adults.

Fifteen poems will be selected, paired with images, and displayed on Metrolink's trains and buses for one year.

Winning poets receive $50 and a year's subscription to Poets and Writers Magazine - and get their poetry read by all those zombie bored commuters.

The submission deadline is January 15, 2008. A postmark won't do for this one guys - it must be there by that date. The poem must come from an address within 50 miles of St. Louis, MO.

Butcher Shop Anthology Seeks Horror Stories

D.L. Snell's Market Scoops has info on an anthology seeking supernatural and horror stories, including an interview with the editor, Scott T. Goudsward on what kind of writing this market likes. The anthology, Butcher Shop Quartet: Volume 2, wants epic, dark stories that disturb readers.

Submit unpublished novellas between 15,000 and 40,000 words by January 31, 2008. Payment is 1 1/2 cents per word and contributor's copy.

D.L. Snell's Market Scoops publishes interviews with anthology editors for insights that help authors create stories to submit. Looks like a great website for researching anthologies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sauce Magazine Seeks Food Essays

Thanks to Donna V for this notice.

Sauce Magazine , the St. Louis Metro Area's Restaurant Guide, is seeking food essay submissions for a new column. So if you can carry on about cheese, wax rhapsodic about rutabagas, or write drool-worthy prose about your favorite food experiences/memories, write an essay and submit it to Sauce.

Essays should be around 900 words and 12 will be featured in a monthly column published over the next year in the magazine. The deadline for essay submissions is November 15, 2007.

If they get enough gastronomic essays, they may continue the column after 2008. See the editor's letter below for details.

Letter from the Editor of St. Louis's Sauce Magazine:

Hello wordsmiths and friends of Sauce!

I'm really excited to tell you about a new column we'll be starting in Sauce in January: a column made up of personal essays (aka narrative nonfiction or creative nonfiction), featuring an essay written by a different author each month. Having food in the mix somewhere is the reason such essays will fit in Sauce, but the real goal here is to spotlight great stories, exceptional storytelling and beautiful writing. This is one of my favorite writing forms, and I'm convinced that you'd all be great for this.

The essays can be about *anything* (really!), as long as food factors in somewhere -- either directly, as a main character or the main focus of the story -- a description of the first time the author ate an exotic ingredient, for example, or perhaps a story about experiencing the food in Italy -- or indirectly, as a component of the story or as a background element. A look at a family's kooky dynamic as told through a typical family dinner hour is an example; so is the chapter in Ruth Reichl's "Tender at the Bone" where she hints at her mother's mental illness by describing her mother's "quirk" of serving dangerously old food to guests. Absolutely any story is fair game here, as long as it's personal, real and original.

As great writers with diverse and interesting experiences, I'm hopeful that you'll want to contribute an essay to the column. But I'll have to ask you to bear with me a bit. Since this is a new column for us, and a kind of writing that we don't typically publish, I've been working out the best way to collect enough essays (12) to be sure we'll be able to publish a year's worth of columns. I'm casting a wide net, with the hope that enough of you will be interested in sharing your food memories, thoughts and insights that this new column will be a go. I hate to call this a contest, but I guess it sort of is...

So I'd like to invite all of you to contribute a personal essay that has something to do with food to Sauce by November 15, 2007. We'll publish the best 12, one per month throughout 2007 (and beyond, if we get enough responses!). We'll choose those 12 blindly; authors will be paid for published essays (and this column will be an exception to our normal practice of paying upon publication -- since we'll be collecting column content so far in advance, the selected writers will be paid in advance). Word count is 900 words. Please email (or mail) submissions to me, with "essay" in the subject line.

I hope you're as excited about this new project as I am. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me. Now, go dig up your favorite food memory/story and get writing!!
PS-- feel free to extend this invite to other great writers you know!

Katie O'Connor
Senior Editor

Sauce Magazine
1820 Chouteau Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Writing Acronyms - Fiction and Freelance

Last month I posted a primer on novel writing acronyms. Now Linda Formichelli at The Renegade Writer has posted a helpful list of freelance writing acronyms and linked to my fiction acronym list.

I hadn't seen some on her list, so I'm linking back for all my fellow writers who are also writing freelance. My original fiction writing acronyms post is below. FYI - NaNoWriMo is fast approaching! Start your finger physical therapy so you don't strain anything, and sign up for the craziness of writing a novel in a month.

Original Post:

When I first started participating in online writing activities, I noticed a strange secret code in effect. I knew many of the acronyms used in chat - like LOL and such. But novel writing has its own special acronyms, so I thought I'd share some I've learned. I know I've forgotten some, so if you notice any I missed, remind me in the comments and I'll add them to the list.

  • WIP - Work in Progress (Your current writing project, usually a novel)
  • MC - Main Character
  • POV - Point of View
  • ARC - Advanced Reader Copy (The copies authors and reviewers receive before the book is actually available to the public)
  • HEA - Happily Ever After (Used by romance genre to indicate a happy ending)
  • HFN - Happy For Now (The characters end up together, but no indication it's a forever relationship)
  • H/H - Hero/Heroine (A couple in a romance novel)
  • M/F - Male/Female (Romance between a male and female character)
  • GLB - Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual
  • het - Heterosexual
  • YA - Young Adult
  • SF - Science Fiction
  • NanNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month (Participants who join this website complete a 50,000 word novel in a month, toiling along with their fellow writers: November 1 - November 30th).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Normal School Literary Magazine Seeking Submissions

Thanks to Tricia S. for this announcement - and thanks to Donna for everything she sends for the blog.

Normal School, a new literary magazine, is seeking submissions of creative nonfiction, stories. poem, critique, experiential recipes (works arising from life experiences) for its debut issue and beyond. Their website is, but it's still under construction.

From the announcement:

Quirky. Boundary-challenging. Energetic. Innovative in both form and focus.

We're the equivalent of the kid who always has bottle caps, cat's eye
marbles, dead animal skulls and other treasures in his pockets.

Trust us. We're Normal.

Contributing Editors include Steve Almond, Tom Bissell, Beth Ann
Fennelly, Duncan Murrell, Laura Pritchett, Steve Yarbrough, and MORE.

Are you Normal School material?

Send us your work:

The Normal School
5245 N. Backer Ave.
M/S PB 98
California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA 93740-8001

OR as an attachment in .doc or .rtf format only to
Please include an email address in your contact information and
indicate genre to the best of your ability.

WOW, the Women on Writing Site, Seeking Submissions

Online Writing Jobs says WOW (Women On Writing) is seeking submissions on several topics for upcoming issues:

  • December - Platform Building
  • January - reading groups, literary guilds, libraries
  • February- Romance Writing
  • March - Small Press Publishing

Check their submission guidelines and the announcement on Online Writing Jobs for details.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Poetry Contest - Burning the Midnight Oil

Burning the Midnight Oil Poetry Contest
Sponsored by The Write Helper

Submission Guidelines:

Every poem receives a free critique!

1) Any style, any subject, any form allowed. Poem should fit on one page.
2) No identification should appear on the entry. Attach a separate coversheet with title, name, address, e-mail, and phone number.
3) Entry fee: $5 per poem, maximum of three entries.
4) Poems must be unpublished at time of submission, original work of contestant.
5) Deadline: October 31, 2007, postmarked.
6) Prizes: 1st place - $100, 2nd place - $50, 3rd place - $25.
7) For free critique, include a business size, self-addressed envelope or provide email address. Optional: For a thorough line edit, include $2 per poem.
8) Winners will be posted on the website by November 30, 2007. Cash prizes will be mailed the following week.
9) Mail entries flat, not folded, to:

Burning the Midnight Oil Poetry Contest
c/o Amy Harke-Moore
104 Harke Lane
Old Monroe, MO 63369.

Do NOT send by certified mail!
10) Checks payable to: The Write Helper
11) Now accepting online entries on our website:
Contest is open to all poets. Prize-winners will be given the opportunity to have their poems published on our website:

For a list of winners, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Or check out our website for the top 25.

Decision of judges is final. Not responsible for lost or misdirected entries. Poems will not be returned.

About the Coffee and Critique Writing Group

We are a critique group comprised of both fiction and non-fiction writers. We have reviewed novel excerpts, essays, query letters, contest entries and book synopses. We don't do poetry because we don't feel qualified to critique it. Many of our members have been published, and some are still working toward publication.

Our members have published in:, Cuivre River Anthology I, II and III, Cup of Comfort, Fiery Foods & BBQ, Great American Outhouses Stories: The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt, Missouri Life, Ozark Mystery Antholgy, Sweetgum Notes and The StoryTeller Magazine.

We meet every Tuesday at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in St. Peters, MO from 10 a.m. to around noon.

We critique a maximum of five typed, double-spaced pages to the meeting, including at least 6 extra copies for members to read (7 copies total).

We chat for the first twenty minutes or so, and then each author reads his or her work while the rest of the group follows along and edits/writes comments on the copies. Each group member presents comments as we proceed around the table. There is a lot of "ditto," so we don't beat you over the head with it if we all spot the same grammar error. We mention if we agree with previous content criticisms, so the author can get an idea how many readers share the opinion. The copies are returned to you at the conclusion of the critique.

We are honest but diplomatic when we comment. We do not eviscerate, rip, or maim in any way. Some of us have had negative experiences with critique groups tearing authors apart and making them feel as if they can never be writers. We want to build you up while giving honest commentary that helps improve your writing. Persistent authors who continue to build their skills will get published in some form.

We aren't always able to critique everyone's writing in a meeting, but if you don't get to read at one meeting, your name goes to the top of the list for the next meeting. Everyone signs up to read on our official notebook paper :) upon arriving.

Tricia Grissom

African American Teen Magazine Launches

Mahogany Visions is a new magazine aimed at african americans teens age 13-18. According to the press release:

"Features will include current events, education, business, health and fitness, college news, and teen lifestyles. The Magazine was created to uplift and motivate the young African American community."

You can see their first issue at They are looking for writers to contribute to the magazine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicken Soup Wants Stories From Stay-at-home Moms

The Mommy Life website reports that Chicken Soup is asking for stories from Stay-at-home Moms. Submit your stories of 1000 words or less about being a SAHM to the Chicken Soup website. Scroll down their list of books to find the book description.

Chapters include:

A Mother's Love

Insight and Lessons

On Gratitude

On Sharing and Giving

Through the Eyes of a Child

Overcoming Obstacles

Letting Go

Time for Me

They don't want the kind of mom stories I write - they involve children with milk-filled shot glasses and keeping one eye open at night so the kids can't get me. That's what the voices tell me to do anyway. . .

What to Put in Your Author's Bio for Query Letters

Agent Nathan Bradsford referred his intrepid readers to Agent Jonathon Lyons post on what authors should include in their query letter bios. They want to know me! They really, really want to know me!

It falls into three major categories:
  • Publishing Credentials

  • Professional Career

  • Personal Details
You'll find his examples in the the blog post.

Of course, agent tastes differ. Some agents tell you not to put anything if you don't have any good credits. But all the advice I've read says you should put things relevant to your book. So if you're an astronaut writing books about astronauts, it might be good to include that.

For example, Patricia Wood, author of Lottery, writes about a mentally challenged character who wins the lottery. She is a P.h.D candidate studying education and disability, and her father won the Washington State Lottery, so I'm sure those experiences helped her write the book and might have helped sell her query on the novel. My book review of Lottery appears earlier on the blog.

Don't include all regional contest wins - focus on awards with national reputations unless you won the award at a conference the agent/editor attended.

But most of all - you must send out your query. After you've done your homework and refined it, set it free. It doesn't matter what credits you have if no one ever sees your letter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Harlequin and Team Up To Offer Romance Novels

Harlequin is really getting out front in the new technologies. In addition to getting on board with ebooks by launching eHarlequin, they've now joined in offering a subscription for two Harlequin audio books per month for $9.95.

You can download these to an MP3 player and listen to books wherever, whenever. is even offer a nice quality MP3 player for just $29.99 for those who sign up for Harlequin's subscription. If you already have one, you're golden.

My hubby had a subscription to Audible when he was logging a lot of hours in the car for work, and he loved it. It's great for long commutes, too. I do still prefer to read actual pages in a book, but this isn't a bad alternative. Though I'm still lusting after the Sony ebook reader.

Technology marches on.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Book Review - Lottery by Patricia Wood

Anyone looking for something to read? I recommend Lottery by Patricia Wood.

I actually started hearing about this book before it came out from an announcement on Agent Miss Snark's blog (sadly she has retired her site). Ms. Wood was a former devotee of the Snarkmeister. I thought about reading it then, but recent book reviews on other blogs reminded me, so I bought it a few weeks ago. I read it straight through.

Perry Crandall, I.Q. 76, (which means he is one point above legally retarded, as he frequently reminds us) wins the lottery and deals with how his family and friends change - as well as how he changes - as a result.

I have a few nits to pick. There doesn't seem to be one redeemable human being among Perry's maternal relatives - you'd think at least one might be somewhat decent. But no.

The other is part of the ending - how Perry and Cherry's relationship ends up and why. It went down like peanut butter and dry crackers - not well.

But aside from that, I loved hearing about the world from Perry's point of view and especially his use of his dictionary words to process what's happening in his world. Grams has had him studying the dictionary since he was little, and his words of the day are often ironic in the context of the story. (Grams is a great character too, and though she dies early in the novel, she's very much present throughout the rest of the book).

The decision Perry makes at the end about his money could have been sugar and spice sweet, but because we've followed him through the book and hear how he changes, it makes a cliche into something authentic. I believe in Perry and his decision at the end.

It's a great read, and I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened to Perry. I think you'll feel the same way.

This review is not sponsored by anyone - just sharing a great read.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Contests, Conferences, and Submission Calls from Novel and Short Story Writers' Market

The Novel and Short Story Writers' Market has a page with free announcements about contests, writing conferences, and calls for submissions from various publications. Some I've already posted info on, such as the Amazon novel contest and the Next Great Crime Writer competition from Court TV and Gather.

There is a new announcement calling for submissions from mental health workers - basically anyone who works with emotional or mental health issues. The deadline for the anthology called, Tales from the Couch, is August 1, 2008.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Be Amazon's Next Breakthrough Author Contest

Amazon is sponsoring a Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Enter your manuscript by November 5, 2007, but do it quickly. Only 5,000 novels will be accepted.

A panel of Amazon editors and reviewers will select the semi-finalists, who each get a Publisher's Weekly Review and a page on Amazon with an excerpt of their novel.

Based on customer feedback, Penguin will look at some semi-finalists for possible publication. The winner gets a publishing contract with Penguin, lots of electronics goodies, and help publicizing his or her book. Those who place 2nd through 10th also get some great prizes, including the opportunity to self-publish. This whole contest is to advertise Amazon's new self-publishing division.

You'll need a blurb of your book to enter. If you have a query letter, you can probably adapt it for your book description. If I can get my manuscript polished in time, I may go for it. I'm not sure, however, if they're looking for genre or literary fiction.