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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Family Circle Contest

Hi All,
Here's a contest announcement that might be of interest to you all.
Good luck if you enter.

FAMILY CIRCLE FICTION CONTEST ---Contest begins March 1, 2007 and ends August 31, 2007. Submit an original, fiction short story of no more than 2,500 words,typed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Include your name, address, daytime telephone number and e-mail address (optional) on each page and send to: Family Circle Fiction Story Contest, c/o Family Circle Magazine, 375 Lexington Avenue, Ninth Floor, New York, NY 10017. Entries must be original, unpublished and may not have won any prize or award. LIMIT: Up to two entries from an individual will be accepted, but each entry must be a unique short story. Amateur writers who are legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, 21 years of age or older are eligible to enter. One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a grand prize package including $750, a gift certificate to a course of his or her choice retail value (“RV”) $610, a one year AvantGuild membership RV $49 and possible publication in Family Circle magazine. Total RV of grand prize package is $1,409. Gift certificate subject to issuer restrictions. Two (2) runners-up will each receive a runners-up prize package including $250, a one year AvantGuild membership RV $49, and stories may appear on Total RV of runners-up prize package is $299. One (1) prize per household.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mystery Writers Contest from St. Martin's Minotaur

St. Martin's Minotaur and the Mystery Writers of America are sponsoring a contest for unpublished mystery authors. All manuscripts must be unpublished and at least 60,000 words long. Check the contest guidelines for more details.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Literary Potpourri

Hope to see you all at the monthly Saturday Writers meeting on June 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Community Arts Center in St. Peters, and will feature a panel of speakers who will talk about prose, poetry, and assorted writing topics. Speakers include two of our Coffee and Critique members--Tricia G. and Mary H. All of the speakers teach English, writing, or communications courses at local colleges or universities. Check out the Saturday Writers web site for more details.
Last night we had a meeting for Coffee & Critique, and no, I didn't subject the members to another one of my purple prose newsletters. But, I'm going to in a couple of weeks, so unless you all want to read more of my mangled missives, you'd better be sending me something pronto.

Your Writing Space

As I sit here this morning at my computer desk, I have to move aside dirty dishes, empty coke cans, and scribbled notes to get to my keyboard. I share my writing space with my family's computer pursuits. There is an open bag of mint chocolate chips my husband is snacking on, a disorganized rolodex, and my latest copy of Writer's Digest. It's a mess, and it's not just my other family members who created it.

Writer's Digest has profiles of different writers' spaces in their new issue. One thing I noticed in the pictures is that even the writer's space they say is messy looks pretty good to me. I used to think I couldn't write in all this debris. Now I'm not sure I could write without it. The t.v. is playing upstairs, the cats are walking on the keyboard, and my daughter is babysitting a three-year-old and six month old in the next room. And all of this seems perfectly normal.

But I have dreams. When I am a rich, famous writer, I will have an office all my own with bookshelves for reference books, a sleek computer with no fingerprints on the monitor, and a view that looks out on what passes for mountains in Missouri.

Anyone want to blog about their writing space now and the one they'd have if they had a million dollars?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Imprint at Putnam starting July 9th

Bookstandard is reporting Amy Einhorn will publish under her own imprint at G.P. Putnam's Sons. The imprint will publish commercial and narrative non-fiction and fiction. It begins on July 9th.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pubrant: "When Strong Writing is Not Enough"

I came across this entry from last year on Pubrants on "When Strong Writing is Not Enough," and I thought it was worth mentioning. She talks about why she passed on some good writers with formulaic plots. I admit to frustration at the idea I might be a good writer but won't get published anyway. But then I realized it's great advice - I need to find new angles and twists on old stories to make myself stand out in the slush pile. It's a great blog entry, so you may want to check it out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm Published in Babble!

My breastfeeding article is on Babble! I didn't even see it until today, but it came out on June 21st!

Thanks to everyone who critiqued it for me. You can see the version they published, and some minor changes, including the title. I'll email anyone the original version if you want to see how they edited it. Thanks again.

Saturday Writers Meeting

As some of you know, I will be speaking on a panel of college writing teachers at the next Saturday Writers meeting. I am covering topics like: how to create a blog, how to do research for your writing, and how to research non-fiction markets.

So I'd love to pick your brain. What kinds of questions do you have on these topics? I will be creating several handouts, and I'd like to cover FAQ so everyone has concrete answers to take home.

If you can think of any questions, I'd sure love to hear them. I will also post my information sheets when I get them made up. Thanks to everyone.

Tricia G.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Got Flogged!

Hi Everyone,

Just sneaking in a post while on vacation. My first page came up for review on the flogometer (see previous blog about the flogometer), if anyone wants to see. This is the first page of my paranormal novel, Zombies Are Forever. He was really helpful, and I survived! You can too. Let me know if anyone submits pages, and I will link to them when your critique comes up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Q & A on Marketing & Request for Posts

There is a great Q & A on Marketing over at the Knight Agency blog today, including info on why it's good to have your website set up even before you're published. Scroll down a bit and you'll see the Q & A section for today.

I will be out of touch until Sunday, so anyone who wants to post, have at it. Just sign into blogger, and click on dashboard up in the right corner. Then click on posts to create yours. You can always go back to edit it if you make a mistake, even after you publish it. I did on this post -for anyone who saw Pubrants instead of the Knight Agency a second ago. Your revised post will replace the previous one. See you all next week.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Today's Meeting and Best Times of Year to Query

We had a great meeting today. Here are some of our writers hard at work.

C. Hope Clark, creator of Funds for Writers, says submissions slow down significantly in the summer months, making it a great time to get your query noticed. Everyone gets busy, so those of us who can still get a few queries out have a better chance during this slower period.

If you're having a busy summer too, she recommends December as another quiet time when editors receive fewer submissions. So if this summer is too crazy, plan for December and have some extra queries ready to go when the holidays hit.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sasee Non-Fiction Market

Sasee bills itself as a Woman's Lifestyle Magazine. They accept non-fiction submissions between 500-1000 words on topics related to women and their lives, so if you have any short essays in your files about things female, send them to Sasee.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Missouri Review Contest

When I read for the critique group, I often think it's easier to get nuances across using my voice rather than just words on the page. Here is a contest that lets you read your work out loud as part of the experience. The Missouri Review has created a writing contest with an audio angle.

There are several categories. You can read a poem, short story, or some creative non-fiction, present a personal essay with added sound effects, or even create a mini documentary.

The entry fee is a bit steep - $24, but the prizes are accordingly generous at from $500 to $1000.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Horseradish Festival

Except for a somewhat damaged tongue, I had a great time covering Collinsville's International Horseradish Festival for Fiery Foods & BBQ Magazine. It's hard for me to cover events like this because I'm not very outgoing. Anyone who has advice for conquering this problem, let me know! I usually try to make contact through email first, so I don't have to walk up to someone cold.
Here are a couple pictures from the festival. That upside down thing is a horseradish root balloon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Get Flogged

Ever wonder if you have a great first page to catch that agent or editor's attention?

Ray Rhamey has a site called The Flogometer that lets you submit the first few pages of your novel. Ray, an editor with Torr, then critiques your first page on this blog site.

I have submitted my first five pages, and I'm waiting for my turn. There are instructions on his website if you want to submit. The latest critique is also posted so you can see how he does it. Good luck and get flogged!

Correction: Sorry, my bad. I have that Ray is an editor at Torr, but I misread his bio. Mea Culpa, and sorry Ray.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites Just Announced

Writer's Digest has just announced their 101 Best Websites for 2007. They have them organized by categories like "Agent Blog" and "Genre/Niche". Click on the links in red to read their site summaries.

Blog Recommendation

Pub Rants is a great blog by a literary agent named Kristin. She gives great advice on everything writing related and keeps her blog frequently updated. She also lists links to other agents with even more industry insider information.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Query Letter for Missouri Life

I would love to see any examples of successful query letters from my fellow writers. In that spirit, I am posting an email query that got me a job with Missouri Life. My article on the Hunter Dawson house will be coming out in their December issue.

Rebecca Smith

Managing Editor

Missouri Life Magazine

Dear Ms. Smith:

Christmas at the Hunter Dawson house in New Madrid, MO means civil war recipe cookies, yards of pine roping, multiple Christmas trees and gaslight tours by guides in period costumes. This 15 room antebellum mansion celebrates a Victorian era Christmas each year for tourists and the riverboat passengers who stop off in New Madrid to explore the town legendary for its 1811 earthquake.

Home until 1958 to descendents of the Hunter family, the house was also temporary headquarters for Union General John Pope during the war, as is noted in your magazine’s list of Missouri Civil War sites. I would like to visit Hunter Dawson for this year’s Christmas celebration and write an article for the December 2007 issue of Missouri Life.

Article Outline: an interview with the house’s director, a side bar recipe for civil war Christmas cookies, details about the Christmas tours, decorations and the house’s Civil War history. The article would also feature pictures of the striking two story mansion, its greenery, and its guides in period costumes.

Possible titles for the article include:
Christmas by Gaslight: The Hunter Dawson house celebrates the season Victorian Style
An Old-fashioned Christmas: The Hunter Dawson House Celebrates a Victorian Holiday
Civil War Cookies for Santa: Celebrate the season at the Hunter Dawson House

I am a freelance writer from St. Louis, and I attended your 2006 workshop at the Heartland Writer’s Guild Conference. My sources will include the director of Hunter Dawson, Mike Comer, and my mother-in-law Nancy Grissom who lives near New Madrid and baked period cookies for last year’s celebration. I also teach Communications at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Tricia Grissom

I also included my contact info, but I cut it from this example.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Writing Software

I was just curious if anyone besides me uses writing software. I use a program called WriteItNow for novels, and I absolutely love it. It has different sections that let me keep track of character names, ages, and quirks. There are also tabs to write notes. It has some other fancy features I don't use, but I love the ones I do.

I know all you really need is Microsoft Word, but I find it difficult to go back and forth between documents to look at my chapters. With this I'm just a few clicks away from another chapter or all my character info. It's well worth it for the $40.00 bucks I spent. It also has a place to keep track of queries - if I ever actually send any out:)

Does anyone use writing software? Do you think it gets in the way instead? How does everyone keep track of their submissions?

Friday, June 8, 2007

15 Markets for non-fiction stories

FYI For everyone writing personal essays and stories, has a list of fifteen markets where you can sell your writing.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Summer Reading

Summer is here! At least it feels like it today. I love to do a lot of reading over the summer, so if anyone can recommend any books, please tell me about them. The New Yorker has a great article on "The Best Novels You've Never Read". I plan to check out at least one on the list. I also try to read one of the classics I haven't gotten to yet.

My recommendations: Janet Evanovich's series on bounty hunter Stephanie Plum

Bel Canto by Anne Patchett

Jim Butcher's Supernatural Detective Series the Dresden Files

J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) "In Death" series about futuristic crime detective Eve Dallas

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Saw that Pat had another ByLine win. Woohoo! And poetry again.

Book Publicity Advice

I saw this nifty article on how to promote your book through booksellers. Check out "How to Talk to a Book Seller: A Ten Step Guide For Authors" Promotion seems to be the name of the game these days, so it pays to be ready to promote.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Harlequin Announces New Non-Fiction Division

I saw this press release on a lit agency blog. Harlequin Romance has announced a whole new division for non-fiction books. See the press release below.

Harlequin Announces Launch of Nonfiction Program
Editorial to include relationship books, self-help, memoirs and biographies
Toronto, (May 30, 2007)

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, announced today that they will enter the nonfiction market in the fall of 2008. Harlequin will publish titles in numerous genres, including relationship, health, self-help, diet, fitness, inspirational, memoir and biography, as well as companion pieces to successful fictional series by the company’s many bestselling authors. “Harlequin’s entry into the nonfiction market builds upon our existing strengths as a publisher who provides millions of women around the world with great entertainment and a rewarding reading experience,” says Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

Industry analysis and reader feedback clearly indicate that the nonfiction category holds tremendous opportunity for Harlequin, with its unique stature as a publisher of content for women. Harlequin had tremendous success with Friends: A Love Story by Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance. Spotlighting the compelling real-life love story of the Hollywood power couple and published in February 2007 under the Kimani Press imprint, Friends: A Love Story was a New York Times bestseller and marked Harlequin’s very first nonfiction romance story.

Harlequin is not creating a new imprint for the nonfiction program. Instead, the books will be author/title-led and will be published under Harlequin’s existing imprints, based on their content.“The publishing strategy will focus on content that entertains, supports, inspires and provides insights to women as their lives and roles change,” says Loriana Sacilotto, Executive Vice President, Global Publishing & Strategy. “The editorial will concentrate on such categories as health, diet, fitness, self-help, motivational and relationship books as well as narrative nonfiction—nonfiction that tells a story, such as memoirs and biographies—and will cater to women 35 years and older.”

Welcome to the Coffee and Critique Writers' Blog

This blog was created for a group of writers that meets to critique the first four Tuesdays of each month. Here we post our ideas, successes, and information to benefit writers. Feel free to comment on any posts.