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Friday, August 31, 2007

Common Ties Asks for Quickies

Besides their usual essays, Common Ties is now requesting Quickies - anecdotes of around 200 words or less that fit into one of three categories:

List from their Website:
1) secrets and confessions

2) moments of extreme euphoria or enlightenment

3) moments of extreme embarrassment, shame, terror, or despair.

Any topic goes, as long as it fits one of the categories. It must be a true experience of yours or someone close to you.

They pay $75.00 for quickies and some may be recorded for their site. They will also be adding audio stories starting in September 2007. So if you're short on time, a quickie might be just the thing - to get you published, that is;).

Writer Mama Contest Starts Tomorrow

Just a reminder:
Tomorrow Christina Katz, the Writer Mama, starts giving away writing books and tools to get moms and dads back to writing after their kids head off to school in the fall. To enter, just comment on her blog according to the rules. She's giving away a prize a day. Each comment you make responding to a blog post enters you for that day's prize.

And if you think about it, tell them sent you, and I might win a prize. Hey, no one said I was blogging just for the glory of it all. ;)

Some of the prizes include:
Writer’s Market Deluxe 2008
Guide to Literary Agents 2008
Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2008
Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2008
Poet’s Market 2008
Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids

Check out her blog for a complete list of the prizes. Winning that book or class might be what you need to jump start your writing for Fall.

For more information, check out Writer Mama.

Noble Prize Winning Writer to Speak at University of Missouri - Columbia

Here is a flyer from the University of Missouri-Columbia's Center for the Literary Arts.

MU’s Center for the Literary Arts
proudly presents the
Nobel Prize Laureate
Wole Soyinka

Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Wole Soyinka has been called Africa’s finest writer. Primarily a playwright, he is also an essayist, novelist, poet, and theater director. He writes mainly in English, but his works are distinguished by their exploration of "the African world view, often steeped in Yoruba mythology, imagery and dramatic idioms."

Author of more than 35 books, Soyinka’s passion for the written word is most poignantly revealed by his actions while imprisoned during the Nigerian Civil War; denied reading and writing materials, he manufactured his own ink, and kept a diary written on toilet paper, cigarette packages and between the lines of the few books he secretly obtained. Every poem or fragment he managed to smuggle to the outside world became a literary event.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, his many honors include the Enrico Mattei Award for the Humanities, the Leopold Sedar Senghor Award for the Arts, the John Whiting Literary Prize, the Benson Medal of the Royal Society for Literature, and the UNESCO Medal for the Arts.

Professor Soyinka has held positions at the Universities of Ibadan, Logos and Ife (Nigeria), Legon (Ghana), Sheffield and Cambridge (England), Yale, Cornell, Harvard and Emory (USA), among others. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Fellow of the DuBois Institute at Harvard University, and Senior Fellow of the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada.

He joins us at MU as the John William Proctor Distinguished Author for 2007-08.

Monday, September 24, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
Jesse Hall Auditorium free and open to the public (doors open at 6:45 p.m.) 884-7775

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shrinking Violet Promotions - Marketing for Introverts

Hello, my name is Tricia and I'm an introvert. "Hi, Tricia!"

Yes, I know I'm a teacher and it seems counter intuitive that I'd be an introvert. I don't have much trouble talking with small groups like my classes after I get to know them, so it doesn't always show.

But ordering pizza - I try to pawn it off on my children or husband (also introverts, so we usually draw straws - we're like the hermit family Robinson). I'd rather communicate through email than talk on the phone any day. The phone is a soul-sucking device that makes my ear sweaty and my left eye twitch. By email I get positively chatty.

So I was tickled pink (or purple in this case) to find a site devoted to book marketing for introverts. Shrinking Violet Promotions gives tips to writers who'd rather sit in a corner at writing conferences surrounded by only people we already know. We don't do networking. We'd rather have our eyeballs deep-fried. (Seriously, deep-fried anything, mmmm). Does that thought constitute cannibalism?

Anyway, they even have a link to a Myers-Brigg personality test so you can see if you're an introvert. Probably most of you are already clued in by the way you hide from people.

I love the blog because their advice works with your introverted personality instead of trying to force you into extroversion. So if your sole source of contact with the outside world is the Internet and the characters in your book, you may want to check it out.

Local Writers Hold Book Signing to Support Literacy

Help Saturday Writers encourage kids to write. Attend the reception and book signing to raise money for our annual young writers' contest.

The Saturday Writers Chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild will hold a reception and book signing featuring local contributors to the Cuivre River Anthology (Volume II). The event, which will be held September 8 from noon until 3 p.m., is being hosted by Jamie Duly, owner of Dahlia’s Distinctive Designs. The book signing will be held at Dahlia’s, which is located at 525 S. Main Street in St. Charles.

The Cuivre River Anthology is a collection of stories, poems, and essays written by award-winning writers from as nearby as St. Charles to as far away as the United Kingdom. Local contributors participating in the event are: Amy Harke-Moore, Joy Wooderson, Jerry Swingle, Diana Davis, Doyle Suit, Louella Turner, Candace Carrabus Rice, Dianna Graveman, Julie Failla Earhart, Tricia Sanders, and Donna Duly Volkenannt.

Sales of the anthology help fund the Saturday Writers’ annual children’s and teens’ writing contests and awards, which are presented each December. For more information call 636-379-9362 or visit the Saturday Writers web site

Columbia Chapter of Missouri Writers' Guild Hosts Fall Conference

Fall 2007 Writing Conference
The Columbia Chapter of the Missosuri Writers' Guild is hosting a one day conference for writers. The price is fantastic - only $30.00 for early birds (register by September 29th) or $35.00 for regular registration. The price includes lunch if your registration is postmarked October 25th or earlier. Go to the Columbia Chapter's website for the registration form.

Saturday, November 3rd, 8am-4pm
Stephens College Campus

Presented by
Stephens College English/Creative Writing Department &
The Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild

Speakers List Keynote – Richard B. Schwartz
Kate Berneking Kogut-Playwriting & Screenwriting
Kristine Somerville—Non-Fiction
Greg Michaelson-Unbridled Books
Tina Parke Sutherland--Poetry
Cate Dodson—The Pitch

Want to know more? Go to http// or e-mail a request for information to subject line: CCMWG Nov. Conference. Registration fee includes breakfast snacks, information packet, lunch, plus a choice of break-out sessions in which to participate. Register early as space is limited.
Mark your calendar! Thanks to our sponsors, cost is only $35.

Participants will have a chance to hone skills, network with other writers, gain valuable writing tools, and win door prizes. Don’t miss this opportunity! Come see what the CCMWG fall 2007 conference has to offer you.

Conference Agenda

8:00-9:00 a.m. Registration, Breakfast snacks
Author’s Hall Open
9:00 a.m. Welcome—Dr. Judith Clark, Department Head
English/Creative Writing Stephens College

Opening remarks---- Eva Ridenour, President CCMWG
9:15-10:00 a.m. Keynote Address— Richard B. Schwartz:
Agents and Publishers: Paths through the Thicket

10:15-11:00 a.m. Session I (concurrent break-outs):
Kate Berneking Kogut –FUNdamentals of Playwriting
Kristine Somerville—What is Literary Nonfiction?
Richard B. Schwartz—The Theory and Practice of Crime Fiction

11:15-12:00 p.m. Session II (concurrent break-outs):
Kate Berneking Kogut—FUNdamentals of Screenwriting
Kristine Somerville—Turning Yourself into a Character

12:00-1:15 p.m. Boxed Lunch, Author’s Hall Open
1:15-2:00 p.m. Session III (concurrent break-outs):
Greg Michaelson—Unbridled Books: Title to Be Determined
Tina Parke Sutherland— Poetic Forensics: Metaphoric Bones

2:15-3:00 p.m. Session IV (concurrent break-outs):
Cate Dodson: The Pitch: Selling Yourself and Your Work
Tina Parke Sutherland— The Dangerous Poem: Writing What You’re Not Supposed to Write About

3:00-4:00 p.m. Closing Comments, Prize Drawings

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Win Books for End of Summer Reading

I'm all out of summer reading, but a plethora of contests from authors and publishers are just begging to give books away. Check out this contest from Berkley/Jove Authors and enter for your chance to win ten books.

If you don't read romance, check out this list of book giveaways at BookLoons to find your cup of literary tea.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Magazine Launch for Tweens - Kiki Magazine

Kiki Magazine originated with a mom tired of seeing overly mature themes in magazines aimed at her tween daughters. She decided to launch her own magazine aimed at the 9-14 year old set, without all the kissing lessons and how-to-snag-a-boyfriend articles. The premier issue will debut in September 2007.

The press release outlines the philosophy of the magazine and its approach to stories for tweens. So check out this new magazine and pitch them your idea.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Book Review for Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

Between Fang’s blog, the environmental theme, and even the title, James Patterson does an excellent job tapping into 21st century teen culture with the third book in his sci fi young adult trilogy, Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports.

My fourteen-year-old daughter and I are sci fi fans, so whenever a book appeals to both of us, we read it together. Like the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, the likable characters and kick butt heroine in Maximum Ride 3 engaged us in spite of some occasional plot problems. Max and her human bird hybrid flock are out to save the world from evil corporate America and its eugenics plan to makeover civilization.

I took a crash course in Maximum Ride, reading all three books in a weekend. In spite of occasional nitpicking, I was always anxious to get to the next book and see what happened to Max and her flock. This last book started a bit slower than the others, but once it took off, it flew as fast as Max does and kept me up late reading.

My daughter is the same age and sex as Patterson’s main character, Max, and she admired Max’s leadership acumen. She did question how Max and friends had time to learn about Harry Potter and other pop-culture facts they reference, given that the flock is always flying from one aerial karate confrontation to another.

We both thought the Eraser bots were a bit lame. Erasers bots are flying robots that pursue Max and her gang and replace the human-modified Erasers that used to chase the bird kids in the previous books. The flying monkeys in Oz wouldn’t be nearly as terrifying if they were robots. There’s no sense of malice in a mechanical creature, so the earlier Erasers were much scarier.

My kiddo loved the teen power aspect at the end, while I found it a little hard to swallow. I felt like an old fuddy duddy. I kept thinking - where are these kids’ parents? Don’t they need an adult or two, at least for the mop up at the end?

The absence of adult authority is exactly what my young adult reader loved. And hey, the book isn’t for me, so it looks like that was right on target. This book would probably appeal most to kids a bit younger than my daughter – around eleven to thirteen.

The author does leaves some loose ends I’d like tied up better. How did they track the bird kids all the time? He brings it up all the time in the story line, but never explains. And what exactly was the By Half plan? A virus? Nuclear strikes? It can’t be easy to kill half the world.

My daughter found the books entertaining, but what she really wants is the movie. She must see the movie. I’m finding that books I couldn’t pay my kids to read are snapped up after they see the movie version.

It isn’t feasible for every book, of course, but making stories into movies sends my kids straight to the books for comparison. Holes, Eragon, and Lemony Snicket are all examples. Harry P. doesn’t need any help, but I’m sure the movies draw in kids who wouldn’t have read the books without a movie tie-in.

Patterson’s internet marketing campaign has been hugely successful and likely attracted many kids to the series who wouldn’t otherwise have cracked a book. Many adult authors are making YouTube short videos to promote their books, and since my daughter practically lives on YouTube, it’d be wise for the young adult book industry to use new technologies like James Patterson has to produce some promo clips to get kids reading. If I can show my children a YouTube video about a novel, it might be easier to entice them to read it.

Overall I’m willing to ignore my admittedly minor plot complaints to enjoy a ripping good story about characters I like, but am glad I don’t have to parent. Bring on the movie.

(This review is sponsored by MotherTalk.) For some reason I can't get blogger to post their graphic.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Me Write Funny Someday - Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Want to be a humor writer? Online registration for the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop will open starting September 10, 2007 at noon EST. Last year's workshop sold out in only 12 days, so get your septic tanks in a row. The workshop will be April 3-5, 2008 in Dayton, Ohio.

The 2008 workshop fee is $350 - all sessions and meals included. Keynote speakers include Garrison Keillor, Martha Bolton, Mike Peters, Connie Schultz, Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan. Read the speaker bios and see a list of workshops on the website.

Classes include:
* How to develop and use humorous anecdotes
* Raising your humor writing IQ
* How to take your humor writing from amusing to amazing
* Humor writing: What works and what doesn't
* Are you SURE you want to be a humor columnist?
* How to write humorous greeting cards

* Shaping your life experience for the page
* How to touch readers' hearts with your words

* How to survive and thrive throughout the creative process
* Networking for writers

* Freelance writing for the greeting card industry
* The renegade writer's guide to breaking into magazines

* Podcasting for writers
* Using online video to market your books and yourself
* How to create an bestseller

* Book proposals and literary agents
* How to choose the right self-publishing company

Teachers/Mentors as Hero: Submissions Deadline Extended

Come on people. I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero til the end of the night - or until September 5th anyway.

The Literary Cottage Agency needs fifty stories for "My Teacher is My Hero," and the deadline is closing in. You have a teacher or mentor who deserves a tribute. You know you do. This is a great opportunity to get a story considered and get paid for your writing.

The Literary Cottage Agency needs stories about everyday heroes centering on following three themes:

Teachers or Mentors who are heroic, deadline extended to September 5, 2007
Mothers or mother figures who are heroic, deadline November 30, 2007
Fathers or father figures who are heroic, deadline February 28, 2008

The stories should be true and uplifting - similar to Chicken Soup or Cup of Comfort style. Each should be between 850-2000 words. You can find further guidelines and tips for writing a hero story on their website.

Payment is $100 and complimentary copy, with extra money prizes awarded to the top 3 stories in each book: 1st place is $250, 2nd place is $150, and 3rd place is $100.

New Literary Magazine to Launch from Lindenwood University

Elsewhere, a new literary magazine from Lindenwood University, is seeking submissions for their debut issue. Preference is given to authors associated with Lindenwood, the St. Louis area, or the Midwest; however submissions from everywhere are encouraged.

The debut issue will be in Spring 2008, and the deadline to submit your short stories and poems is December 31, 2007. To request more information, contact or

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Magazines for July 2007 at Mr. Magazine

Looking for new markets? Go to Mr. Magazine's website. He covers the magazine industry and posts magazine debuts by month. Check out July's latest magazines. They cover everything from martial arts to weaving.

He also has a blog about developments in the magazine industry.

New Magazine Launch - Divine Whine

Donna sent me this notice about a new St. Louis magazine, Divine Whine. I love the title, and it suits my mood at the moment. The first print issue is debuting in October 2007, but some material is posted online now.

They're looking for genre or speculative short stories, essays, and all types of poetry. The website has submission guidelines.

Some essays and poetry are posted, so you can see examples. No compensation is mentioned - probably because it's a literary type magazine just starting out.

I've only had time to briefly peruse the site, but I like Elise Aasgaard's essay defending New Orleans residents who've decided not to go back and rebuild.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Book Review Author Sued and Amazon Book Reviews

Since I just started writing blog book reviews for MotherTalk, this story about a book reviewer being sued for giving a bad review snapped my head around real quick. The review was posted on the reviewer's blog, so I'm watching to see what happens.

But please, people. That's what reviews are - people giving their opinion. Not everyone likes everything. I was reading another author's blog (I'd link if I could remember where the hell in the blogosphere I was), and she was justly suspicious of books that get only five star reviews on Amazon.

As she points out, surely someone out there isn't going to like something. She said she'd reviewed a book and the author made a complaint about her negative review and had it removed. (If you recognize these comments, let me know and I'll link to you). Update: I was reading my favorite websites and found the entry about the suspcious five star reviews on Fangs, Fur, and Fey.

Now if someone starts attacking the author on a personal level and not based on the book, I'd say that's a problem. But I haven't seen any reviews that do that. The reviewer being sued was harsh, but all his review comments were centered on the book's content and layout.

I feel like I can tell most of the time if the Amazon reviews are full of it. If everything is sugar coated goodness, I'm suspicious. There is an over-the-top quality to most of the reviews written by the author and their co-conspirators. And I'm not sure how I feel about asking friends to give reviews. Is it unbiased? Is anything?

But fake comes across in writing, people. I'd rather trust a review that points out flaws - they seem more credible, and I bet you the authors who post fake reviews can't even contemplate putting a negative comment in there to better trick us into believing it's a real review.

Grow up, fake book reviewers everywhere.

My first book review for MotherTalk, Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, will be posted here on Monday. I have my attorney standing by.

Will Rogers Writing Contest - No fee

Check out the Will Rogers Writing Contest. If you can write Will Rogers style, you have a chance to win. Write a 500-750 word essay of commentary, humor, human interest, or a brief (not your underwear). There are examples of each on the website.

Entries must be received by October 1st, so mail early or take the easy way and email.

Prizes: First Place $200
Second Place $100
Third Place $50

Springfield Writers' Guild Writing Contest

This flyer on the contest is from Lee Ann Russell, President. I am guessing you make checks out to SWG. There is an email address at the bottom if you have questions. There are two different (and very low) entry fees. Be sure to read carefully.

Springfield Writers’ Guild


#1. POETRY any subject, any form Limit 1 Page, Single space
#2. FICTION any subject Limit 1,500 words, Double space
#3. NONFICTION any subject Limit 1,500 words, Double space


All winners receive certificates.

#4. Article
#5. Short Story-Any Genre
#6. Nostalgia/Reminiscence
#7. Humor-Any subject
#8. Essay or Opinion Piece
#12. HAIKU—TRADITIONAL(5-7-5, Nature Theme)


1. All entries must be the original, unpublished work of the contestant.
2. Do not enter the same prose or poetry in more than one category.
3. All manuscripts must be typed on 8 ½ x 11 paper in standard manuscript form. Double- spaced prose and single–space poetry. All entries must have a titled except the haiku.
4. Place the category name and number, plus the number of words for prose, in the upper left corner of each entry. List the poetry form where applicable.
5. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON THE ENTRY. Include a cover sheet for each entry. On the cover sheet, place the category name and number, title, the first line of the manuscript or poem, and your name, address, phone number and e-mail.
6. Keep all originals; no copies will be returned. No entries/winners will be published.
7. Winners will be announced and awards given at the October, 2007, regular SWG meeting or mailed to those unable to attend.
8. DEADLINE: All entries must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2007. SWG is not responsible for lost, misdirected, or postage-due entries.
9. For a list of winners, please include a SASE with your entry.
10. No limit on entries per category. However, no entrant may win more than one award per category entered, regardless of the number of entries.

M J Becco, SWG Contest
3025 N East Ave
Springfield, MO 65803
More information:
OR SWG website:

Brava Romance Novella Contest

You have 750 words to make a romance story work for this contest. What do you do. What do you do!

You submit 750 words of your novella (about 20,000 -25,000 words) for Brava's Novella contest about reunited lovers. The top twenty finalists will be read by the Editorial Director at Kensington, Kate Duffy. Submit from August 1- September 30. Many former contestants have been published through this contest, as you can see on their website. May the Speed be with you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Glossary of Freelance Writing Terms

New to the freelance writing game? Be sure you know the lingo. Here is a nice glossary of writing terms from freelance writer Amy Derby at

I'll add a few definitions:

Essay - A non-fiction piece of writing that expresses a point or lesson from the author's viewpoint.

Op Ed - A piece of writing expressing the author's opinion on a subject. They are usually written for newspapers, but may also appear in other publications.

Sidebar - Writing that is set off from the rest of the article in the margins. It can be a recipe, a highlight of a quote from the article, a quote from someone else, or additional facts and information on the subject.

The DabblingMum has an article on "How to Write Sidebars". If you pitch an article to a magazine that likes them, be sure include suggestions for the sidebars. The more work you can do for the editor, the more he or she will love you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Win a Book on Vicki's Lane's Blog

Check out Vicki Lane's blog where she shares her writing journey penning her paranormal novel. She's inspiring me to get back to revising my book.

She's also hosting a contest this week and giving away a copy of Dark Lover by JR Ward. Just drop by her blog and comment sometime this week to enter.

New Coffee and Critique Meetings

We are adding two more meetings per month to the Coffee and Critique Writers Group. The morning session will now meet every Tuesday starting next week.

So the new schedule looks like this:

August 28 - Two Meetings 10 a.m. - Noon and 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

September Schedule:
September 4th - 10 a.m. meeting
September 11th - 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. meetings
September 18th - 10 a.m. meeting
September 25th - 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. meetings

Get writing!

The Renegade Writer's Tips for Finding Article Ideas and Using Smells to Brainstorm

Linda Formichelli has a great blog on finding article subjects called 8 Tips for Generating Salable Article Ideas. I love her site, The Renegade Writer. If you're writing freelance, you should check it out.

I'll add a tip of my own for essay and article writers. Try using smells to generate memories and associations. Smell is a strong brain trigger for memories, so use it to brainstorm about what the smell reminds you of. (Yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition now.) I use this with my class sometimes to help them think of possible essay topics.

Maybe smelling baking bread reminds you of your flour-covered fingers kneading dough in your grandmother's kitchen. Then you can write an essay about your baking memory and submit it to Chicken Soup for the Soul. They are looking for stories about Baking With Kids. Share your loaf lessons of childhood baking and you may get published. And don't forget to incorporate sensory information into your writing. It gives it a whole new dimension and texture.

Some other smells to scratch and sniff for ideas:
peanut butter
cut grass
roses (yeah, corny. I just told you to stop and smell them)

Today is the morning Coffee and Critique Meeting. Hope to see you there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

School is In! Time to Plan Writing Goals

I love my children. Really, I do. But today is the first day of school, and I'm cranking up the rock n roll and air guitaring around my house. The hubby is gone, the kids are gone, and the computer is mine.

After I get a brillo pad and scrub the child goo off the keyboard, I'm going to take a look at Christina Katz's 12 Ways to Take Your Writing Career to the Next Level (that don't involve writing). Just click on WM Blog link and you'll find the article.

I especially like number 11 - Create a reprint file. I adore thinking about more potential profits from work I've already sweated blood for and published. So I'm making that file of articles for this time next year before copies get lost in the paper shuffle. She suggests reading "One Article, Many Checks" by Kelly James-Enger for tips on how to get started.

Now you'll have to 'Scuze me while I Kiss the Sky.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

St. Louis - Share Your Story of WWII with KETC Channel 9

KETC Channel 9 is asking St. Louisans to share their memories of WWII so they can be featured in conjunction with Ken Burns's new documentary, The War. Some stories will be featured on Channel 9 or on their "Your Stories" website. All stories will be collected by KETC and stored at the Missouri Historical Society.

There are several ways to submit your story. You can see their guidelines for submitting on the website, or read some of the stories already submitted. You can also watch some video stories submitted by community members at YouTube. KETC will be accepting stories through November 11, 2007.

Want to Write Comic Books? sponsors an ongoing weekly contest for the Archie series. Winners are posted on the website and recieve a free one year subscription to the comic of their choice or a comic/digest collectors set of their choice.

The winning weekly entries are entered in a quarterly contest, and that winner gets his or her story published as a Digest comic. You just submit your story as a comment on their story starter blog. They set a story prompt for the contest and writers respond. You can check out some winning entries to see what they're looking for. It sounds like a great way to get a clip for your resume.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Speculative Romance Contest for Dorchester

Dorchester has a new speculative romance line called Shomi, and they're having a contest for manuscripts.

What is speculative romance? According to the website description, “These romances aren’t bound rules or any one reality. They’re suspense, they’re paranormal, they’re fantasy, they’re sci fi… But above all, they’re romance at it’s very best.”

The contest guidelines say the prize is a publishing contract. You must submit fifty pages of a 80,00-90,000 word manuscript. The deadline is April 30, 2008.

Friday Contest at Knight Agency Blog

The Knight Agency Blog is hosting a Friday book contest. Everyone who leaves a comment on today's blog will be entered to win.

One winner will get three books:
THE PLAYBOY TAKES A WIFE by Crystal Green, DEAD RECKONING by Sandra Moore and THE SCRAPBOOK by Lynette Kent.

Another winner will get these three books: NAVAJO ECHOES by Cassie Miles, THE ULTIMATE BITE by Crystal Green and SCARED TO DEATH by Debbi Giutsi.

Winners will be announced on Monday, so check back then.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seeking Poetry Submissions About Girls and Girlhood

Two editors are seeking submissions of poetry relating to girls and girlhood for an upcoming anthology. According to the submission guidelines, possible topics include, but aren't limited to:

"family relationships, work, activism, sexuality, friendship, consumer culture, physical or mental illness, body image, domesticity, athleticism, intellectual pursuits, creativity, geography, displacement, belonging, separation, identity formation, partnership and triumph. Poems that are not subject-driven or narrative but might still be of particular interest to a teenage girl reader are also welcome." Quoted from WhatsGoodforGirls.

The book will be aimed at high school and college age girls. You can submit up to three poems and the deadline is October 1, 2007. The anthology will be published in 2009.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Inspirations Essay Contest at

Who inspires you?

Write a short essay about it and enter it in's essay contest for Venice Magazine. Publish your 400-500 word essay at and it might be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine. The deadline is August 19, 2007.

Should Authors Post Chapters on Their Websites?

There is an excellent blog over at BookEnds, LLC about whether authors should post work on their websites. Many writers are afraid work will be considered published if it shows up on their web page and then an agent or editor won't touch it. Still, sometimes you feel like a little kid jumping up and down and yelling, "Pick me! Pick me!" from the slush pile.

More and more author websites are publishing first chapters as a teaser and as it says at BookEnds, LLC, some agents are looking, especially if you comment on their blog entries. It's natural. I always look at blogs or profiles of people who comment on mine. After all, they must be cool if they are interested in my blog.

Agents are people too. They're curious about who reads their stuff, just like everyone else. So I'm leaning toward posting at least a sample chapter. Most agents and editors don't seem bothered by it, and it's worth it if I can generate some interest in the book from potential fans, as well as agents or editors.

I wouldn't put your beta draft up there, of course, but consider posting after you have graduated from that shitty first draft to the can't-put-it-down, groan-for-a-sequel, soon-to-be-bestselling novel. Wait till you have the book finished. You don't want to generate interest, get a response, and have to tell someone it isn't done yet.

Then comment on those agent and editor blogs and see what happens. As more agents and editors enter the blogosphere, it'll be more dignified that jumping up and down.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chicken Soups Seeks Stories From Pet Lovers

Chicken Soup is looking for stories from pet lovers. Titles include:

  • Cat Lover's Soul: Raining Cats! Submit your story of cat love, deadline for submissions is December 31, 2007.

  • Dog Lover's Soul: Unleashed! Submit your story of doggie love, deadline for submissions is December 31, 2007.

  • Christmas Pet Book Submit stories about pets and the holidays, deadline for story submission is March 31, 2008.

Literary Cottage Agency Seeks Hero Stories

Who are the heroes in your life?

The Literary Cottage Agency wants stories about everyday heroes centering on following three themes:

  • Teachers or Mentors who are heroic, deadline September 1, 2007
  • Mothers or mother figures who are heroic, deadline November 30, 2007
  • Fathers or father figures who are heroic, deadline February 28, 2008

The stories should be true and uplifting - similar to Chicken Soup or Cup of Comfort style. Each should be between 850-2000 words. You can find further guidelines and tips for writing a hero story on their website. Early submissions are encouraged.

Payment is $100 and complimentary copy, with extra money prizes awarded to the top 3 stories in each book: 1st place is $250, 2nd place is $150, and 3rd place is $100.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Webcasts of 2007 BookExpo America/Writer's Digest Books Writers Conference

No time or money to attend the 2007 BEA/Writer's Digest Books Writers Conference?

Now Writer's Digest, Booksurge and Write Bros. are sponsoring online web videos of some sessions. The keynote address by Jodi Picoult is free.

There are several other sessions that cost $20 per viewing. But once you pay, you can view them as many times as you like. It's much cheaper than attending the conference, and you can pick the sessions most valuable to you.

Here is the list of webcasts:

Keynote Speech: Jodi Picoult (FREE) Keynote speech by Jodi Picoult.

Writing the Breakout Novel: Characters ($20) Workshop on creating characters by agent Donald Maass, of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

The Six Usual Suspects: Fiction Writing Conundrums ($20)Fiction writer Peter Selgin's workshop explaining how to fix six errors novelists make.

How to Write an Irresistible Nonfiction Book Proposal ($20)Rita Rosenkranz, of the Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency, covers how to create a winning non-fiction proposal, hook an agent, and get published.

Later they plan to have free audio versions of popular workshops from the conference, so stay tuned.

Finding Fresh Ideas for Articles - Non-Fiction Books

Sometimes finding article ideas to pitch is like finding that matching sock. It seems like the sucker will never surface. So when my brain has turned to cream cheese, I fall back on a few methods that make my grey matter work less and get my fingers writing more. So if you're stuck for article ideas to pitch this week -

Look at new non-fiction books.
Most authors are thrilled to give interviews on the subject of their book. Focus on a specific aspect of their book small enough for a magazine article. This gives you a topic idea and a possible source to draw from when you write the article.

Go to and click on books and then at the top click on new and future releases. You can further narrow the search by clicking on non-fiction. Then read the reviews to see what topics the book covers, or google the author's website for more details.

Example: Danica McKellar just came out with a new book called Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. You could pitch an article about how girls can suceed at math to kids/teen mags, or spin it a different way and pitch an article to adult magszines on showing parents how they can help their girls succeed at math. And asking Danica for interview wouldn't hurt.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Research Tip - Google News Alerts

Researching a topic? Google has a form that lets you sign up for Google News Alerts based on key words.

So if you are researching a non-fiction article or book, sign up for a Google News Alert request, and it will email you links to the latest web information containing these words. I have an alert for the key words "overweight," "children," and "teens" because I'm working on a book about overweight teenagers.

They have five variations on the Google Alert, so you can customize it according to your needs.

  • 'News' alerts will email links to the latest news articles with your keywords, taken from the top ten of a Google news search on that topic.

  • 'Web' alerts will email links to the latest web pages with your keywords, taken from the top twenty results of a Google Web search.

  • 'Blog' alerts will email links to the latest blogs with your keywords, taken from the top ten results of a Google Blog search.

  • 'Groups' alerts will email links about groups with your keywords, taken from the top fifty results of a Google Groups search.

  • 'Comprehensive' alerts combine all of the above in one email to provide the widest overview of results on your topic keywords.

Some stories will be repeats of the same information, so not everything is useful. The up side is you get a flash if breaking news or new information appears about your topic. You choose how often Google checks for info. It can be as developments happen or once a day. That doesn't mean you'll receive an email each day. If there are no hits on your topic, it doesn't send an email informing you. You receive emails when it finds results.

Go back and cancel the alert when you're finished using it. You can register for up to 1000 different Google Alerts for topics you're researching.

Tip: Choose your key words carefully - it's better to be a bit broad and then delete stories that are off the mark. You can always go back and adjust the Google alert if you're receiving too many off-target alerts. So if you're looking for information on writing, you might key in "writer," "writers," "writing," "authors" and other word variations that might be used.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Speaking of Epublishing: Harlequin Starts New Ebook Line

Harlequins's profits are up and their first foray into standard romantic ebooks has been doing so well, they are starting a new line called Spice Briefs.

Spice Briefs will feature erotic stories between 5,000 and 15,000 words. You can get them for 99 cents until August 15, but after that they'll be $2.99. Harlequin also plan to start releasing an ebook version of every book they're hard publishing.

Book Catcher has more info on what they are looking for in the Spicy shorts, straight from Spice Brief's editor Susan Swinwood. Harlequin also has an exclusively ebook line. It looks like an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new market. Romance author Sunny lists contact info for Susan Swinwood and other editors seeking submissions on her website.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Writer Mama's Back-to-School Daily Giveaways

Christina Katz, the Writer Mama, is giving away writing tools each day in September to get moms back to writing after their kids head off to school in the fall. Some of the prizes include:

Writer’s Market Deluxe 2008
Guide to Literary Agents 2008
Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2008
Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2008
Poet’s Market 2008
Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids

To win you need to comment on her site. For more information check out her blog, Writer Mama.

Save the Sci Fi Magazines!

The slushmaster over at livejournal is asking those of us who like sci fi to put our money where our mouth is and subscribe. The subscriber numbers are way down for lots of sci fi magazines, so he has a list of publications you can support. So whip out that credit card and preserve at least one market for both readers and writers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What about Epublishing?

Many authors are considering epublishing. Epublishers produce your writing in an electronic format that is bought and downloaded by readers instead of published in a hard copy. There are advantages and disadvantages to this and Margaret Riley, epublisher of Changeling Press, gives and overview of the process at BookEnds, LLC.'s blog.

She makes some great points. It can take years in traditional publishing to get an agent, sell your book, and then finally get that 5,0000 or 10,000 advance. In the meantime you get nothing.

However if you publish short novellas around 20,000 words on a regular basis, you might make $500 within a few months. No advance up front - it's all based on sales. But your books continue to sell as you publish new ones, and the checks can be steady. But of course you don't get the respect that comes with publishing in print.

That attitude may change one day, but it hasn't yet. One number I saw said epublishing sales are up 1,000% over last year. It's a market with big growth potential, and Amazon and other publishers are starting to get on board.

From what I've seen, genre rules in ebooks. Erotica, sci fi, and supernatural romance are big categories right now, but many companies publish non-fiction and other genere fiction too. EPIC, an organization for electronically published authors, has a list of epublishers to check out. I am assuming they've vetted them, but always do your own research to make sure the companies are reputable and pay on time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Is Reading Dying?

Many people are bemoaning the fact that now that Mr. Potter has gone off to his eternal Quidditch game, kids will stop reading. The National Endowment for the Arts says only 56.6% of adults will crack a book this year.

As a child I owned forty times as many books as stuffed animals. I went through the entire biography section in my puny school library in a month. I breathe, therefore I read. So its hard for me to think about how kids might need motivating.

But I know not all kids are like me. My son is not. He must be coaxed to read with carefully selected books because he is that elusive reader known as the eleven-year-old boy. But it can be done. He is currently in love with Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief series. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to get boys to read.

So how can we encourage reading when many adults don't read and see little necessity for it in their busy lives? Our schools may have to take on this mission. This year my daughter participated in a trivia contest called "The Book Battle." It harnesses kids love of competition by having them read a selected list of books and compete in teams to answer trivia questions.

The number of students who signed up was a shock to the librarians who organized the contest. The kids loved it. And if the publishing industry was smart, they would start hosting these contests, donating books, and developing future readers who will buy their products.

As authors, we can help. Many states offer Artist in Residency programs that provide money for writers to go into schools and sponsor writing programs. If we want people reading our work in the future, we need to get kids reading and keep kids reading. End of windy rant.

Monday, August 6, 2007

2007 Missouri Writers' Guild Winter Writing Contest

I just got this announcement from Donna. The Missouri Writers' Guild is holding a winter contest. And let me say thank you that they've included two count them, two non-fiction categories.

You can submit personal essays of up to 1,000 words and articles up to 1,500 words. Woohoo! I usually feel left out because most of my writing is non-fiction. Here is the info:

2007 Missouri Writers’ Guild
Winter Writing Contest

DEADLINE: Postmarked by October 1, 2007
ELIGIBILITY: All writers everywhere, except contest chair and judges.
ENTRY FEE: $5 per entry, maximum of two entries per category.

1st Place $50
2nd Place $25
3rd Place $10
Honorable Mentions: certificates (1 HM per 10 entries)

Top three prizewinners in each category will be given the opportunity to publish entry (one-time rights) on the Missouri Writers’ Guild Web site.

Categories: Short Story (to 3,000 words), Poetry (to 1 page), Personal Essay (to 1,000 words), Article (to 1,500 words). Word count does not include title. Hyphenated words count as one.
Categories with fewer than 20 entries will be canceled (entry fees returned)
Unpublished at time of submission, original work of contestant.

Standard manuscript form: (Except no name on manuscript.)
8½” x 11” white paper
Typed in 12-point Times New Roman
Prose double-spaced; poetry may be single-spaced
Prose pages numbered, word count under category name on page 1
Category in top right corner of page 1
Cover sheet for each entry, with contestant’s name, address, phone number, e-mail (if you have one), and category and title of entry.

Send one copy of each entry. STAPLE (preferred) or paperclip entries of more than one page. Paperclip the cover sheet to the entry. Mail flat, not folded, with #10 SASE for winner notification or return of canceled category entry fee. Make checks out to Missouri Writers' Guild. (Manuscripts will NOT be returned.) Winners will also be posted on the Missouri Writers Guild Web site in December. If you have any questions, email

SEND to:
Mary-Lane Kamberg
MWG Contest Chair
2128 E. 144th St.
Olathe, KS 66062-2355

The Author/Agent Contract Explained

Pubrants' Kirsten Nelson is dissecting an author/agent contract to explain what each section means. In a series of blogs, she quotes the contract then provides an explanation of what it means to both author and agent. So if you want to know what the contract commits you and your agent to, this gives a layman's explanation.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Which Harry Potter Character are You?

Which Harry Potter character are you most like? Take a quiz to find out. Thanks to Roller Coaster Teacher's blog "A Teaching Life" for this fun trip to Rowling's realm. I'm Remus Lupin with a dash of Luna Lovegood. Who are you?


Friday, August 3, 2007

Free Online Writing Conference

Can't make it to a conference? Cost too much? Check out the The Muse Online Writing Conference hosted by The MuseItUp Club. The deadline to register is September 15, 2007. The conference will be held from October 8th - 14th.

The MuseItUp Club was voted one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites in past years, so it looks legit. They plan to have workshops, a contest, free ebooks, and live chats.

There is a long list of workshop topics, so it looks like a great place for writers to exchange ideas and get inspired. I didn't see any biggie speakers, but there are some hard-working authors on the list. And did I mention it's free?????

Blue Mountain Arts Seeking Greeting Card Writers

Blue Mountain Arts wants submissions about "friendship, family, special occasions, positive living" and other topics you might find in a greeting card.

They do buy all rights, so once you sell your work, they can do what they want with it after a one time payment. This includes publishing in anthologies.

They pay $300 for poems used in greeting cards or $50 if it's used in an anthology.

You must request writer's guidelines by sending a blank email to Put "Send Me Guidelines" in the subject line. You can also contact them through snail mail:

Blue Mountain Arts, Inc
Editorial Department
P.O. Box 1007
Boulder, CO 80306

Thursday, August 2, 2007

New Home Business Magazine Launch: True Wealth

True Wealth: Your Guide to Starting a Profitable Home Business shows readers how to be successful entrepreneurs. It will cover home-based business opportunities, franchises, direct sales and more. They also want stories about thriving home businesses, advice from experts, and articles that support beginning or continuing a business.

They publish bi-monthly, so they should need plenty of material. Cutting Edge Media put out a press release with more information.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Take Your Writing From Good to Great: Figurative Language Sets Writers Apart

Figurative language is what separates the adequate from the inspired when it comes to writing. The words and phrases that use imagination and creativity to describe, emphasize, or explain pump life into the dead body of your writing.

I'd been working on straight-forward articles for some magazines, but when I finished the first drafts, I was dissatisfied. They were boring and adequate - just no-frills explanations. To make them interesting, I added fresh figurative language to surprise and entertain the reader. I had built my body ala Dr. Frankenstein and now I had to dress it up - give it some eyebrows, lipstick, and a nice purse.

Some examples of figurative language:

Metaphors - a literal comparison. "Horseradish flavor is a pistol-whip to the face."

Similes - a comparison using like or as in the phrasing: "I felt like a 24-hour grocery store at the Apocalypse, understocked and trying to keep the customers from rioting."

Hyperbole - an exaggeration for effect. "Open the windows when grinding horseradish or the EPA may show up at your door with a hazmat squad.

Understatement - Mark Twain- "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." I would say so if he's alive to comment. Or "I found having the knife plunged into my chest slightly annoying."

Onomatopoeia - Creating words to mimic sounds like the comics or the old Batman and Robin from the 70s. Pow, bang, splat, ruff, meow. Hmmm. Huh? Grrrr.

By Tricia Grissom

The Rejector's Advice for Young Writers

The Rejector, a blogging literary agent, has some tough advice for young writers posted on his July 30th blog. His take is controversial - he doesn't think you can write well without experience and maturity behind you. But having said that, he gives some advice on how to improve your craft.

If you're a young writer interested in improving your craft (aren't we all?), join NaNoWriMo for a crash course in writing a book in a month. It's crazy fun, and I'll be trying it again this year. No fee, and you can sign up now and get email reminders before it starts in November.