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Friday, February 29, 2008

New Literary Agency Bressler Scoggins

The Guide to Literary Agent's Blog has a post on a new literary agency, Bressler Scoggins.

Located in North Carolina, they specialize in romances, southern, and literary fiction. They accept a small amount of nonfiction.

According to their website they currently they want:
"Romance - supernatural, contemporary, or commercial
Southern Literature
Intermediate Fiction
Young Adult Fiction
Literary Fiction with a strong narrative
Women's motivational and business"

Query on.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nathan Bransford's Literary Agent Blog Roundup

Say that five times fast.

Busy today, so I'm shamelessly stealing Nathan Bransford's post on the best blogs from literary agents this week. He links to agents who've discussed the latest industry trends, the math on making back your book advance, and their pet peeves in query letters (just say no to rhetorical questions, people). My favorite blog news from the post - Vampires say reports of their death are greatly exaggerated - at least in literature.

Query on.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to Make a Million Dollars

HA. Made you look. No, I'm not going to tell you how to make a million dollars. If I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be sharing my secret. At least, not for free. I'm going to help you get your procrastination under control. You don't procrastinate, you say? Well, what are you doing here instead of working on your manuscript?

Honestly, do you find yourself surfing the net or checking your email or playing spider solitaire when you really should be putting the final edits on your Great American Novel?

I just found the coolest timer ever at Harmony Hollow Software

I downloaded it, changed a few settings so it stays on top of my document. Then I can set the time for whatever increments I want. I'm always getting sidetracked an zoning out to check my email, or blogs or whatever. Now I set my timer for an hour and write. When my hour is up, I allow myself a ten minute break and set my timer. Then I can surf or email or raid the fridge. When the timer goes off, I reset it for an hour and write again. If I need to stop for a pitstop, I stop the clock, make my pitstop and then come back and restart the time.

It's such a little thing, but it really keeps me on track. I know you could do the same thing by watching a clock or using a kitchen timer, but this is free and it's way cool.

How Long Should Your Novel Be?

Great post over on Nathan Bransford's blog about novel word counts. How much is too much? What word count will take you out of the running from your first painfully polished query letter?

He says there may be a new trend toward shorter books because they leave more shelf space for retailers, thus making more money. He references this post from and editor on the subject.

So if you've crafted that pretty query with the dedication of a serial killer stalking his prey, don't waste it by proposing a 200,000 word manuscript - or a 40,000 word one.

Query on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Writer's Digest Genre Definitions

The newest issue of Writer's Digest has a fabulous genre tree that shows all the subgenre branches of mystery, romance, horror, and science fiction/fantasy.

So if you want to know what is an urban fantasy, sweet romance, or splatter, you can check out Writer's Digest's genre definitions.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another First 100 Word Contest at Bookends - Erotic Romance

Today the BookEnds first 100 words contest is for erotic romance. The rules are the same as the previous contests, but the deadline for this one is tomorrow, February 26th at 9 a.m. EST or 8:00 a.m. Central.

Good luck to everyone who enters.

The Complete Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice last night. I loved it. Again. Colin Firth and those emotive brown eyes. Sigh.

Then I scurried over to my bookshelf to reread the titillating sequel Darcy Takes A Wife by Linda Berdoll. It's the erotic romance version of Darcy and Elizabeth's life that picks up right after they get married.

If you are an Austen purist, you probably won't like it. It is a bodice ripper in every sense of the word. And I love it - all 476 satisfying pages. I got the huge book and about passed out in sheer joy after I found out I liked it. It's hard for me to find a book that lasts me more than a few days.

Warning: If you are offended by the idea of Darcy and Elizabeth sex scenes, avoid this one. Don't get me wrong, it has some great sub plots too. It's not all about the sex. But it is a lot about the sex.

And also I love the sequel to the sequel Darcy & Elizabeth, Nights and Days at Pemberley. More sex, more good subplots. Even a few more pages.


Cahoots Seeking Submissions

Places for Writers says Cahoots magazine is seeking submissions for upcoming issues. It has a literary flavor, and they publish a variety of writing.

From their website:
"Cahoots is an alternative Canadian on-line magazine for women that is more than your typical women's magazine. Cahoots is a place for diverse, original, strong, humorous, fearless writing about things - such as work, health, home, life, the world - that really matter to women. As well as publishing articles, Cahoots also publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and beautiful visual art."

Query on.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sock Wars

I bow to human creativity. The other Tricia from Coffee and Critique just sent me this link about "Sock Wars." I have no words.

If other people can be this creative, so can you my fellow writers! Look upon this and birth a crazy contest idea of your own. Then you could dramatize it in a short story. . .

Geez. This is the kind of stuff I use to procrastinate with instead of grading papers. *Backing away slowly*

Friday, February 22, 2008

Are you Left-Brained or Right-Brained?

Writer Mama Christina Katz has a fun post over at her blog linking to a test that shows if you are left-brained or right-brained. It's one of those optical illusions where you can see two different pictures, depending on which areas your brain highlights.

If you see the figure turning counter-clockwise, you're more left brained. If she turns clockwise, you're right brained. If you see both, I guess you're pretty messed up. Actually it probably means you can multi-task, so I hate you. I can be grading papers then my mind shifts to "Oh look at the pretty lights outside. Me like the pretty lights." Concentration is not my strong suit.

I see her turning clockwise. The only way I can see her turning counter clockwise is if I look at it out of the corner of my eye. (She does stop turning periodically, I think she needs some caffeine or something - just wait a sec and she should start up again.)

Let me know if right-brained = writer. Most of those who commented on Christina's post said they are right-brained - and they are presumably wordsmiths. The article says most people see the figure going counter clockwise.

Step right up. You are the next contestant on "Your Brain is Right." Or Left.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"So,Where'd You Go to High School?" Author Dan Dillon Speaks at Saturday Writers This Weekend

Meeting: Saturday, February 23, 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Place: St. Peters Community and Arts Center 1035 St. Peters Howell Road (just off Mid Rivers Mall Drive) St. Peters, MO 63376
Members: Free
Non-Members: $5 (join at the meeting and the $5 will count toward your $20 yearly dues.

From Saturday Writers Website:

DAN DILLON: "Picking up the Pieces: How to Turn a Failed Project into a Successful Book."

In "Picking up the Pieces," Dan will discuss how he was able to shiftgears on a work-in-progress. Dan’s original book topic was Prom Magazine, a local monthly magazine read by St. Louis high school students from the late '40s through the early '70s. Problems forced him to withdraw from the project. He was fortunate enough to be able to salvage much of his research on the "Prom" project and turn it into the second edition of "So,Where'd You Go to High School?"

DAN DILLON has been a writer/producer at KMOV Channel 4 since 1983. He is the recipient of 14 Mid-America Chapter Emmy Awards for writing, directing and editing. Dan is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He is also a proud alum of St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

Dan lives in Olivette with his wife Kim, and daughters Kylie and Mackenzie. After the meeting, Dan will be selling and autographing his books. If you know someone who went to school in St. Louis, his book would make a great gift. The meeting starts at 11:00 am. St. Peters Community and Arts Center 1035 St. Peters Howell Road (just off Mid Rivers Mall Drive) St. Peters, MO 63376 Phone 636-397-6903

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Call for Hero Stories About Fathers

I've mentioned this one previously but I saw a notice at The Internet Writing Workshop that says Literary Cottage is still looking for hero stories about fathers.

The submission deadline is February 28, 2008. Check out their guidelines for more information.

Query on.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New 100 Word Contest At BookEnds Literary Agency For Paranormal/Fantasy

They've announced the winner of the BookEnds first hundred words of a mystery contest. They will also be explaining their selections for honorable mentions in future posts.

Now they are opening the next contest for first 100 words of a paranormal romance/romance with fantasy elements/fantasy with romantic elements contest. Add your title and first 100 words to the comment section of this post by 8 a.m. central, 9:00 a.m. EST, February 20, 2008.

I'm heading over to enter mine, Zombies Are Forever. Good luck to everyone.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Silhoutte Seeks Dark Paranormal Stories for Nocturne Line

Silhoutte is seeking dark paranormal stories for their novel line, Nocturne. They want both full length books and ebook novellas called Nocturne "bites," of 10,000 - 15,000 words. The latter is a new call for submissions and a great opportunity to get your cinderella slipper in the door.

Query on.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Don't Forget Saturday Writers One-Page Poetry Contest

In honor of April being poetry month, Saturday Writers is announcing our 6th annual poetry contest!

Submission Guidelines:
1) Any style, any subject, any form allowed. Wow us in one page. (One poem per single-spaced page.)

2) No identification should appear on the entry. Attach a separate coversheet with title, name, address, e-mail, and phone number.

3) Two copies of each entry! (Both judges need a copy.)

4) Entry fee: $5 per poem, maximum of three entries.

5) Poems must be unpublished at the time of submission, original work of the contestant.

6) Deadline: March 15, 2008 postmark.

7) Prizes: 1st place - $100, 2nd place - $50, 3rd place - $25. Top 10 entries receive a certificate.

8) Winners will be posted on the website by April 30, 2008. Certificates and cash prizes will be mailed the following week.

9) Mail entries flat, not folded, to: Saturday Writers One-page Poem Contest, Tricia Sanders, 90 Westwood Trails, Foristell, MO 63348. Do NOT send by certified mail!

10) Checks payable to: Saturday Writers.

Contest is open to members of Saturday Writers and non-members. Prize winners and honorable mention recipients (top ten only) may be given the opportunity to have their stories included (one time rights) in the Saturday Writers literary collection, published the following year.

For a list of winners, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Or check out our website after April 30:

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

How Much Will You Get Paid For That First Novel?

Agent Jennifer Jackson has a great post on how much of your advance you'll actually get for your precious baby of a first novel - and when. It's a sobering look at the realities that reinforces you must love writing in order to put up with the government-bureacracy-like slowness of the publishing world.

Writer John Scalzi has an equally eye-popping breakdown of the fiscal realities for freelance writers. Thanks to Nephele Tempest (god I want her last name) for the links.

Brace yourself if you choose to read Jennifer's post. Kissing that publishing toad yeilds a prince who still lives with his parents and has $10,000 in credit card debt. And her example uses the high end advance you might expect for a first novel, without deducting what you might spend promoting your book all by your lonesome.

Having said that, I'm psychotically undeterred! If you are too, welcome. You're a writer.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Win a Critique From BookEnds Literary Agency -100 Word Contests

BookEnds, LLC is hosting a series of genre specific contests on their blog! Winner gets an agent's critique of their synopsis, query letter, and first chapter.

The first contest is for mysteries (traditional and cozy). Enter the 100 first words of your mystery in the comment section of the blog entry for your chance to win. The deadline is tomorrow, Feb. 15th at 9 a.m. EST - That's 8:00 a.m. for us CST people in the midwest.

So get those words in. The next contest will be for paranormal romance/romance with fantasy elements, so be prepared.

Upcoming contests will be in the following genres:
Paranormal Romance/Romance With Fantasy Elements
Erotic Romance
Women’s Fiction
Romantic Suspense
Contemporary Romance
Historical Romance

Stay tuned, get your 100 words in, and good luck to everyone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Two New Magazines Launch

The Missouri Review blog announced the premier of a new literary magazine. Low Rent magazine is the creation of a former Missouri Review poetry editor Jason Koo. The magazine will publish fiction and poetry, and submissions should be made through email.

The debut magazine The New West covers "the mountain west," including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and eastern Oregon and Washington. They will be covering: "Culture, politics, growth, demographics, energy, environmental issues, new economy (tech, biotech, venture capital etc.), tourism and travel, lifestyle, outdoors, wildlife, Western literature, film and food."

See their writers' guidelines for more information.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Albino Brain Chiggers! Run for your life!

It's sneeting where I live. Yes, that combination of snow and sleet that means it looks like fluffy snow, but once you tread on it, your feet start playing Dance! Dance! Revolution without you.

My favorite 3rd Rock from the Sun episode has one of the aliens run screaming in panic because he's never seen snow before. He calls them albino brain chiggers and thinks they're coming to suck out his brain. Though 3rd Rock has been off the air many years, I've never forgotten the albino brain chiggers, and I always laugh when I see snow.

Ah, the power of good writing, heh? Thank God the writers are off strike.

Strongest Start Novel Competition at is sponsoring their Strongest Start Novel Competition for 2008. The prize is $2,000 worth of editing services for your novel.

Writers post their first three chapters in a closed online forum where they receive feedback to improve the submission until the contest deadline on April 16, 2008.

I didn't see an entry fee, but they have some kind of fee to join the website and post. It's $7.95 for a month and about $14 and change for a quarter. Three winners will be chosen and there are cash prizes in addition to the editing service.

Everyone who enters will get feedback from the website members on their chapters. was voted one of Writer's Digest 101 best websites in 2007, so it doesn't look like a bad deal. But as always, read the fine print before you submit.

1st place $100 plus editing services
2nd place $50 plus free 90 day membership
3rd place $25 plus free 90 day membership

Lake of the Ozarks Writers Guild Playwrighting Contest

The Lake of the Ozarks Writers Guild is sponsoring their annual playwrighting contest, Origins 4. They want one-act plays of about 30 -45 minutes. Three winning plays will be produced by the Camden Museum Players. All plays submitted will receive critique comments.

The theme for the contest is "hope." For information call Herron at 573-964-5181. Their website also has last year's guidelines. The guidelines for this year may differ, so be sure to email or call for info.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Fun - The Men of Jane Austen Personal Ads

Saw this great link to personal ads for Jane Austen's Men on Editor Cheryl Klein's blog.

My advice - run from Mr. Collins - straight to Mr. Darcy, of course.

Anthology Seeks Stories About Loss of a Child

Anthology Seeks Submissions on dealing with the death of a child.

From the advert:
"Content considered for the anthology are personal stories, stories of close friends and family, profound quotes, and images (artistic in nature) reflecting various aspects of loss, coping and living. "

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Missouri Indie Film Bloggers Wanted is looking for Missouri fans of independent films to blog about indie film festivals in our fair state. They want bloggers to attend all the events and keep a daily blog that includes film reviews.

The first festival is coming up February 28th in Columbia, Missouri. They aren't paying for the gig, but they will publish the blogs on their website, and the bloggers get press credentials to attend all the parties and event for the festivals. I don't normally recommend jobs writing without pay, but if you're going to festivals anyway, it's a nice way to get an all access pass to events.

If you're interested and want more information, please contact them at

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Let's Write" Contest

"Let's Write" is the annual writing contest for the Gulf Coast Writers Association (Mississippi). $10 dollar entry fee for fiction or non-fiction, $5 for poetry. Deadline April 15th. Prizes of $75, $50, and $25, each category. Check the website for more details:

What Not To Do In A Fiction Critique

Sorry no post yesterday - Sick day

Don’t pick on the little things.
It’s tempting to fall back on making comma coments or pointing out grammar gaffes. But there’s a difference between line editing and helping to shape content. Why pick on punctuation if the sentence may not make it to the final draft?

Don’t argue if someone is defensive.
They aren’t open to hearing your comment, so don’t waste time or energy in a debate. Other group members may agree with you and the writer might start to reconsider as comments pile up.

Don’t say the same thing everyone else just said.
If another writer as already pointed out the dialogue needs work or a word isn’t quite right, don’t cover the same territory in depth. My group uses “ditto” a lot to let the writer know when we agree with a previous comment. It is important to let them know you agree because it shows it isn’t just an individual opinion, but don’t beat it to death. Spend your time on what other people haven’t mentioned yet.

Don’t say things like “It doesn’t seem like you spent much time on this,” or “It seems like you’re having trouble with this section.”
Those comments are more about how they write than what they wrote. It’s like telling them they look like they lost weight when they know they haven’t dropped a pound. It doesn’t help them improve their writing, and they feel uncomfortable if the comment is totally off target – they spent a lot of time on it or really loved the section you aren’t fond of. Stick to content comments.

Don’t underestimate being on the outside of the writer’s head.
If you’re a new writer, you may be insecure in your critique opinions. But new writers are usually veteran readers. You can tell if you like a character, if something doesn’t make sense in the plotting, or if the writer forget to tell you a plot point he or she has understood for months but forgot to explain to the reader. Just pointing out problems helps.

You may not know how to fix it, but more experienced critique group members will likely have suggestions.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hot Metal Bridge

Hot Metal Bridge, the University of Pittsburgh's online literary journal, is currently accepting submissions in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and cultural criticism!

In recent issues, they have featured such writers as Michael Martone, Dan Chaon, Christopher Bakken, Roy Kesey, Richard Siken, Jack Pendarvis, and Kevin Moffett. However, they welcome work from both new and established writers, and hope to see yours soon.

Please feel free to forward this call for entries to any colleagues, graduate students, animals, vegetables, and minerals who might be interested in submitting their finest previously unpublished work.

The upcoming submission deadline is February 25th. For further details regarding submissions, and a lot of really incredible writing, you can find them at

The Complete Jane Austen - Mansfield Park and Miss Austen Regrets

I didn't do a review of Masterpiece Theater's Mansfield Park last week because I felt my judgment was a bit clouded by actress Billie Piper being Fanny. Not that she did a bad job of it, but I am a big Dr. Who fan, and it was simply hard to see her as anyone other than Rose, the Doctor's companion.

Having said that, I'm going to review away. I've seen Piper in other things, and she can portray spunk with the best of them. In this version of Mansfield Park, Fanny seems to fade into the background without much to say. We get a lot of her pining after Edmund, but doing nothing about it. She didn't seem to be a real force in the story. It's more she bumps along a boat from one plot point to another, rudderless and not even trying.

And Edmund falls in love with her because she makes a faithful nursemaid to his brother and companion to his mother? What's up with that? Not your ususal Austen heroine unless you apply more spunk somewhere. Just stamp traditional on her and hand her over for the missionary position.

I also don't understand the waltz at the end. My recollection is that waltzing was scandalous when if first appeared (they were dancing much too close, according to convention). Now we have a future clergyman dancing with a dutiful Fanny. It seems outside the characters they built for this production.

Miss Austen Regrets is another matter.

Of course they fictionalized her life - they do point that out from the start. Some basic events are true - she had a marriage proposal she accepted then broke off a day later, and her niece Fanny did write to her for advice on chosing a spouse.

But you run into trouble any time one person gets to say what Jane Austen really thought about love and marriage. Olivia Williams was very authentic as Jane Austen, and she brings a little harder edge to Jane and makes you a bit uncomfortable for her. Jane makes fun of the foolish a little too well, and you can see how this might put off potential suitors.

I'll go along that given her writing and the times she was raised in, she might have regreted not marrying at the end. But the conclusion left me feeling sorry for her rather than celebrating her accomplishments. It almost gives the very antiquated idea Jane gave up to much for her work.

There's also much talk in the story of her trying to earn money for her family. It looks like they are still in the cottage after her death - was that a result of her earnings or some other reason? It would be nice to know how the money aspect added up at the end. Call me a mercenary modern girl, but I wanted to know.

Overall it was an interesting portrait to add to the many cameos we've created around the myth of Jane Austen. But this picture is a little sad and definitely, regret-filled.

2008 Wabash Prize for Fiction

Creative Writing Contests has submission guidelines for the 2008 Wabash Prize for Fiction from Purdue University. They want a short story or stories of similar theme up to 10,000 words.

First Prize: $1000
Entry fee: $10

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Library Hotel - The Dewey Decimal Way to Stay

I want to stay at the Library Hotel! I Stumbled upon it through a crazylicious sight called Unusual Hotels of the World. There you can find treehouses, ice igloos and even a Beagle to sleep in.

But my biblophile's desire is The Library Hotel is in New York. It has ten floors of the Dewey Decimal System: You can stay on the Science and Math floor, the History and Technology floor, or my favorite, the Literature floor. Each room is a sub topic of the floor theme and is chock full of books based on it.

So the Lit floor has rooms centered around the classics, poetry, fairy tales and even erotic literature for Valentine's Day.
Guests can use the Writer's Den and sit by a crackling fire while they read, or check out the Poetry Garden, a greenhouse that accesses outdoor seating for fair weather frolics.

It's like a big piece of cheesecake on Mount Everest - I'll never get there, but it sure looks good. I'll have to live vicariously off the virtual tour.

You can check out The Library Hotel's website for more info. I'm not being paid to endorse it. It just looks seriously cool.