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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.