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Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Fun: A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors

Woohoo! to my friend Alice who just had her story "Hidden Treasures" published in Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors.

I got to be a Beta reader on this one, and it's really cool to see the final essay in the book. Fifty cents of each copy purchased goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Buy yours today!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

2009 Essence Short Fiction Writing Contest

Author Niobia Bryant has a blog post on the 2009 Essence Short Fiction Writing Contest. The rules say you can enter one story up to 2,500 words and the entry must be postmarked by September 30, 2008 and received by October 7, 2008.

They're looking for new voices, so you can't have previously published in a major book or in a magazine with a circulation over 25,000. The story must feature "an adult female of African descent as the main character."

The prize: $1000 plus publication in Essence. Looks like a great opportunity for a new writer to get recognition.

Query on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Agent Lori Perkins Looking for Erotic Stories About Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's

Stocking Fillers by zenera Creative Commons

Agent Lori Perkins is seeking submissions for several anthologies:
Sex and Shoes (Submission Deadline September 2)
Men in Shorts (Submission Deadline September 15)
Erotic Christmas Stories
Erotic Hanukkah Stories
Erotic New Year's stories

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saturday Writers: Susan McBride Speaks on Secrets of Publishing

(Photo by Suzy Gorman)
Saturday Writers, the local chapter of the Missouri Writer’s Guild, will host mystery author Susan McBride this Saturday, August 30, 2008 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Her workshop will give tips and tricks to help writers adapt to today’s publishing environment.

The first book in her new young adult series, The Debs, premiers today.

From the Saturday Writers website: "Today's publishing market is tighter--and crazier--than ever. With celebrity books taking over publishing budgets, boundary lines being crossed between literary genres, and some genres shrinking out of sight, what's a writer to do? Being open-minded and versatile is the best game plan, and St. Louis author Susan McBride will discuss how she's kept her literary muscles flexible in order to adapt to these tricky times.

Susan is the author of five Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon, two darker small press mysteries, and the forthcoming young adult series, THE DEBS, from Random House/Delacorte. Susan will share her tricks for working with very different editors, keeping your eyes open for opportunities, and always thinking outside the box!"

Saturday Writers meets on the last Saturday of the month at St. Peters Community and Arts Center, 1035 St. Peters-Howell Road, off Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters. The meeting is free to members and $5 for non-members. Annual dues are $15.

For more information, visit the Saturday Writer's website at

Monday, August 25, 2008

Harlequin Mills and Boon's Feel The Heat Writing Contest

Staring at the Sun by LaserGuided Creative Commons

Author Cindy Proctor-King has a notice on her blog about Harlequin Mills and Boon's Feel The Heat Writing Competition.

The rules say authors should submit their first chapter, up to 5,000 words and a synopsis. The novel is targeted for the Modern Heat line with it's upbeat voice, hip audience (18-35), and alpha-male heroes.

The winner gets an editor for a year, and two runners-up will get critiques of their first chapter and an editorial phone consultation. No entry fee.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nora Roberts Interviewed by AuthorTalk

Check out this interview with Nora Roberts courtesy of AuthorTalk. Funny stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Publishing Terms and Acronyms Defined: Fiction, Freelance, and Genre

Today BookEnds' blog has a nice mini dictionary of commonly used terms in publishing.

I also previously posted some fiction writing acronyms, including a few used in the romance industry. The Renegade Writer also defined freelance writing acronyms for magazine writers.

And another previous Coffee and Critique post rounds up definitions of different genres like cozy mystery, women's fiction, paranormal romance. Writers Digest recently did a list defining subgenres of mystery, science fiction/fantasy, romance, horror, and thrillers.

Learning the lingo can help you get published.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2008!

It's time once again for the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway extravaganza.

Last year Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama: Raising a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids and the upcoming Get Known Before The Book Deal,  gave away a ton of excellent writing books and prizes. She'll be doing it again starting September 1. To enter, just drop by her blog each day in September and leave a comment on the topic of the day.

I won three books last year including her Writer Mama, which I highly recommend. I'm also looking forward to Get Known Before the Book Deal which talks about how writers can build that elusive element called a "platform."

Just a few of the books and prizes on the giveaway list for this year:
1. 2009 Deluxe Writer’s Market by Robert Brewer
2. 1-yr subscription to
3. 1-yr subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine
4. Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2009 by Rachel McDonald
5. Guide to Literary Agents 2009 by Chuck Sambuchino
6. Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner by the Writer’s Digest Editors
7. First Draft in 30 Days + From First Draft to Finished Novel by Karen Wiesner
8. Page After Page + Chapter After Chapter by Heather Sellers
9. WGF: Plot & Structure + WGF: Revision & Self-Editing by J.S. Bell
10. Writing the Breakout Novel + Workbook by Donald Maass

So stop by, enjoy the discussion, and win goodies.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 and The Maui Writers Conference

Writers Digest is introducing, a feature that lets you watch streaming videos from popular writing conferences. If you didn't make it to ThrillerFest, you can watch video workshops from the conference for $14.99 a session or subscribe to the series for $69.99.

Soon they'll also have sessions from the star-packed Maui Writers Conference. Or you can register as a member of the Maui Writers Conference online and get access to videos, podcasts, and other info for writers. New material is added each month. It's $99 for six months or $19.95 for a month - not inexpensive, but much cheaper than the conference.

Not sure if it's worth it? Check out their free video of past conference highlights or other sample videos. The highlight video is worth it just for the first few minutes to see Ron Howard sing. Seriously, the whole video is a inspiration vaccination for authors. You'll also see Sue Grafton, Dave Barry, Frank McCourt, and a bunch of people who'll need restraining orders if I go to that conference.

Last, but not least from the world of writing and tech, you can also buy the MP3s or audio Cd from the 2008 Erma Bombeck humor writing workshop for $129. Technology rules.

My ultimate evil plan/life goal is to go to the Maui Writers Conference and stumble around clutching the schedule to my chest and trying to trip over the writerly famous. Steel-toe boots people. I'm just saying.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Games Journalist Wanted

Craigslist is advertising a job for a games journalist. If you love games (I'm assuming computer and video, but possibly others), get paid to review them.

Kiddo Plays Video Games by
Brighterworlds Creative Commons

Friday, August 15, 2008

Juvenile Writers of Kansas City Hosts Agent Day

Jennifer DeChiara
The Juvenile Writers of Kansas City group is hosting an Agents Day on September 20, 2008. Come meet agents Tina Dubois Wexler from International Creative Management, Linda Pratt from the Sheldon Fogelman Agency and Jennifer DeChiara of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.
When: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Kansas City Public Library
14 West 10th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105
From the JWKC website:
"They [the agents] will speak about the children’s book market and answer questions during the morning session, as well as take limited individual appointments.

The afternoon features two sessions: In the panel discussion “Building an Identity,” agents will discuss how writers can create a professional identity and use it as a marketing tool. And, back by popular demand, our “First Page” critique session will let attendees have the first page of a manuscript read aloud and critiqued by the panel of agents."

 Tina Wexler              

 Fees: JWKC member cost is $100; non-member $110. Make your check payable to Juvenile Writers of Kansas City and mail your registration form to:
JWKC Agents Day
c/o Diane Bailey
1230 Wagon Wheel Rd.
Lawrence, KS 66049

Please note: No refunds after August 15, 2008.
Juvenile Writers of Kansas City is a nonprofit chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild.

For more information, visit JWKC at
Questions? Email

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book Review: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

In James Patterson’s The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, fifteen-year-old Daniel is earth’s resident alien hunter and an alien immigrant himself. After his parents are murdered, Daniel is left on his own to defend the planet from its evil galactic foes.

This action-adventure book is aimed at boys aged around ten to twelve, and Patterson wrote it in an effort to get youngsters like his son reading more.

It adequately accomplishes the objective. My son, who is twelve, says and I quote “I like it. It’s very twelve-year-old boyish. There’s guns and explosions and aliens." Would he recommend it to a friend? “Probably.”

For him this is a glowing recommendation. He’s only ever been fanatical about one book series, (Rick Riordan’s Olympians books), so though his praise may sound lukewarm, it’s not a bad review.

My fifteen-year-old daughter started reading it when she ran out of books one day, but had the same complaint I did. All the characters sound like twelve-year-old boys, including the evil aliens who want to take over Earth. In fact Daniel at three (though he’s advanced for a toddler) sounds a lot like Daniel at fifteen. I thought the villains were clich├ęs, but it didn’t seem to bother my son. I wasn’t the target audience, so I kept that in mind.

There’s plenty of gross out factor for the boys, including a trip through an alien’s ear canal and lots of generally slimy descriptions of off-world foes. Daniel also has some amazing powers that would be the envy of any kid.
The novel does an okay job, but I’m hoping the series improves a bit as it goes a long. I think Patterson’s Maximum Ride Series is edgier and does a better job sounding realistic. The bad guys are much scarier in those books because they seem real.

I love that they have a book trailer for the novel. Sometimes it's a hard campaign to get my son reading and the trailer could be a way for me to entice him into trying a book. Unfortunately my son said this video doesn't really do anything for him. He would have preferred they use the opening scene of the novel were Daniel's parents are killed. The pink elephant in this one put him off.

Boys nine to eleven would probably appreciate The Dangerous Days of Daniel X the most. Overall I’d give it a thumbs sideways. It’s not classic young adult literature, but it’s not bad brain candy for young boys looking for a light read.

This review is sponsored by

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

School Days and Chicken Soup Reminder - College and Extraordinary Teen Stories Wanted

Today is my daughter's first day of high school. Gah. And my son is starting the seventh grade. I dutifully recorded the occasion for posterity.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Writer's Digest Poetry Contest 2008

Writer's Digest has announced their poetry contest for this year.
Entry fee: $10 for first poem
$5 for every additional poem
Style: Any
Length: 32 lines or less
Deadline: December 19, 2008

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

* The First-Place winner has the option of a FREE package from
* The names and poem titles of the First through Tenth-Place winners will be printed in the August 2009 Writer's Digest, and winners will receive the 2009 Poet's Market.

You can submit online or mail this form to:
WD Poetry Awards
700 East State Street
Iola, WI 54990

Monday, August 11, 2008

Negotiating Your Own Book Contract

Close up of pen by Stardust_ creative commons
Sometimes writers negotiate their own book contracts.

Maybe you're going with a small press or a university imprint and they prefer to deal with you directly. Maybe you went out and got an offer and you're to kind of person who can talk the local shop keep into a great deal on that handmade blanket they're hawking.

Whatever the reason, before you sign on the dotted line, literary agent Janet Reid has some great advice on negotiating your own book deal.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bulwer-Lytton Bad Prose Award

Statue of Liberty by Lori Greig Creative Commons

The 2008 winner of Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest is Garrison Spik. Each year contestants attempt to write the worse opening line for an imaginary novel. Spik's winning entry is an homage to a New York love affair.

I must say, writing badly on purpose is better than recieving something like the Bad Sex in Fiction Award wherein published authors have their hot prose judged frigid. The 2007 award goes to Norman Mailer for his imagined conception of Adolph Hitler. No, I'm not making that up.

So go forth and sin no more people. Well, Mailer is dead, so I guess no worries there.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

WOW! Women On Writing Seeks Inspirational Interviews

The August 2008 issue of WOW! is out. The edition, Personal Writing...Personal Space, discusses writing for self-discovery and designing a writing-friendly space to create. They have some cool products profiled in "Must Have Personal Writing Utensils."

They are also seeking interviews for future issues. See the quote from their newsletter below:

Calls for Submissions

WOW! is seeking inspirational interviews. Do you know an author, publisher, writing foundation or organization to feature in our Inspiration column? We are looking for an extraordinary woman who is doing good things to benefit others or has overcome challenges and prospered in her life. Submit your interview query or nomination for a woman who has a WOW! spirit.

We need interviews for the Inspiration column for the upcoming monthly themes:
Sept. - Magazines
Oct. - Novel
Nov. - Time
Dec. - Children

Please review our submission guidelines on our Contact Page (scroll to the bottom) for pay rates and how to submit. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Twilight Party at Borders

So I went to the Borders Twilight party last Friday for the book release of Breaking Dawn, and I'm finally at home to get the pictures up. After going to the Harry Potter celebration for the final book, I have to say it was a bit underwhelming. I know Twilight isn't as big as the boy wizard, but creativity goes a long way.

They had:

  •  some plain white paper on the walls where you could leave your best wishes for Edward and Bella's engagment (it was billed as an engagement party for them)

  • you could make black and red roses out of electrical tape (which I forced my mother to do for my daughter while I took photos)

  • trivia questions

  • drawings for prizes. But no freebies or other features.

  • exclusive Twilight 16-month calendar - again, for a price.

I did love the enthusiams of the party goers, many who were gracious enough to let my photograph them, as you see. Seeing the t-shirts and costumes was worth the trip.
My daughter pre-ordered her book from Amazon and still has not received it. I'm hoping it comes in the mail today, but I'm disappointed that Amazon didn't make sure it arrived Saturday. In the future, it will probably be worth the extra money for her to buy it as Borders or Barnes and Noble the day it comes out (or at midnight the night before if it's a biggie like Twilight).

Amazon used to be great about getting you stuff quickly and mailing books in separate shipments if they were waiting on one to be in stock. But my brother said he pre-ordered the new Dresden Files book that isn't due out for several months, and they wanted to hold the entire order until then. Not cool. So he canceled his pre-order and plans to buy it at a brick and mortar store the day it goes on sale.

Many of things I used to love about Amazon are changing. I understand if fuel prices are higher and shipping costs are going up, but if they lose business because of slow delivery, it isn't going to help them recoup shipping. They need to consider shipping orders separately if a pre-order date is over a week away, or they can kiss the business for books with a big following goodbye.
Something to think about.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wal-Mart Writing Contest

Wal-Mart is sponsoring a writing contest at It seeks true stories about how parents saved money on back-to-school buying for their kiddos.

The top three stories get $600 Wal-Mart gift cards (the average price they say families pay to get ready for a new school year). So submit your creative tip for a chance to win.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Romance Writers of America Convention and Breaking Dawn

RWA is having their annual convention in San Francisco this weekend. If you aren't there and want to live vicariously you can check out blogs about the RWA conference or this clip from the Today Show about the conference and the romance industry.

Tonight I'm off to Borders for the premier of the next book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn.

My off-at-camp daughter has dispatched me to gather intelligence for the evening. It's not cause I adore the books. Really. Stop laughing!

 Hopefully I'll have some post party pictures to post tomorrow. Say that five times fast.