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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Family Circle Fiction Writing Contest 2009

Starting March 1, 2009, Family Circle will accept entries in their Family Circle 2009 Fiction Writing Contest.

From their website:
"Do you love to write? Enter our 2009 fiction writing contest.

One grand prize winner will receive $750, publication in Family Circle, a certificate for one online course (valued at up to $610), and a one-year AvantGuild membership ($49 value). Two runners-up will each receive $250 and a one-year AvantGuild membership ($49 value), and will have his or her story published on To enter, send an original fictional short story of no more than 2,500 words to:

Family Circle Fiction Writing Contest
c/o Family Circle Magazine
375 Lexington Avenue
9th Floor, New York, NY 10017

All entries must be typed, double-spaced, and page-numbered on 8-1/2-x-11-inch paper, and must include your name, address, daytime phone number, and e-mail address (optional). No purchase necessary to enter or win. Contest begins March 1, 2009, and ends August 31, 2009. All entries must be postmarked on or before August 31, 2009, and received by September 7, 2009. Entries must be original, unpublished, and may not have won any prize or award. Up to two entries per individual will be accepted, but each entry must be a unique short story. Open to amateur writers who are legal residents of the 50 United States, or the District of Columbia, age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Operator: Meredith Corporation."

Be sure to read the rules before submitting and check out the winning essay from 2008 for pointers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Frugal Writing Tip of The Day

Money! by Tracy O Creative Commons
Save your dryer lint to make paper! After about 10 loads of clothes, you should have enough for a sheet or two. And it will be pretty colors! Just wet it, smoosh it together in your paper loom (made out of spare old lumber and rusty nails), and then let dry.

Of course, you'll probably have to carve blocks of wood out of previously mentioned leftover lumber to make letter stamps. A pen or pencil might tear through your lint paper, after all.

I'm sure you can make some ink out of those spoiled blueberries in the fridge, you know, the ones with the christmas tree plastic wrap on them. And it only takes about two hours to make a sheet of paper. Fun!

Stay tuned for more money saving tips. Moohoohahahaha!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For Writers and Other Storytellers: Why You Should Hang In There by Ira Glass

Ira Glass is host of This American Life, and he has a genius video series on storytelling. One of my favorites  is about why we should hang in there when our vision doesn't quite match our narrative abilities - at least not yet. He's talking about producing radio stories, but it applies to all storytelling. Revel in the badness, people, and expect it. It gets you to the moist, gooey center later.

Updated Submission Guidelines for Christian Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle Gardner
Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner has updated her submission guidelines. She represents Christian fiction and non-fiction projects. Be sure to read her blog on what she's looking for before you submit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Author Susan McBride Featured in St. Louis Woman

Mystery Author Susan McBride, who gave an awesome presentation for Saturday Writers last year, is featured in February's issue of St. Louis Woman Magazine. You can read the article here.

Love the wedding gown in the picture! Don't miss her advice for writers on the last page.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Six Word Memoir T-Shirts

Not one for having your heart on your sleeve? Maybe you'd want to wear your life on a shirt. Smith Magazine is now offering t-shirts featuring its six word memoirs. You can use one from their book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure, or design your own angst. As their tagline says, "Everyone has a story."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amazon is a Cheater: How to Get Cheaper Books

Hello, book lovers.

I just found out Amazon and lots of other retailers charge faithful customers more than newbies who stop by for a look. I'd like to muster up some righteous indignation right now, but I find that it's all been used up by the poor people who can't live on 500,000 a year. Gee, I'm clipping coupons, and you might have to give up your personal trainer. Hmmmmm.

There is a way around Amazon's underhanded little strategy, but it's a large pain in the arse. You have to delete your cookies so they don't recognize you as someone who's bought tons of books from them in the past. As someone who's supported them through Kindle worship. As someone who's given gifts to their family, bought from them. *Waves fist impotently*

But then all those sites that automatically recognized you don't any more. And you have to type in that password you haven't used since you signed up because your cookies don't scream out your name. Oh the joy of emailing for all those passwords!

I get it, Amazon. You're in this to make money. No surprise there. But I must say, this looks bad. Especially after you ran out of Kindles well before Christmas - or held them hostage . . . Especially after the author bullying incident.

I hope you think about the bad press this'll get you. I don't mind you making a profit, but prices should at least be the same for everybody if you aren't going to reward loyalty.

I haven't decided what to do yet yet. Maybe the best strategy is to shop on a friend or relative's computer - provided they don't go to the same retailers and get recognized.

Or maybe they'll just make it so aggravating I won't buy as much stuff anymore. After all, I need to save money. But if you book lovers out there want a better deal, start writing down those passwords.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Best Break-Up Letter Contest

Many of us have certain feelings about Valentine's Day that resemble the white hot loathing of a thousand suns burning into infinity. Nuff said? Some of you got a sense of my opinion last year.

This feeling has apparently trickled into the younger generation if this little Valentine shin dig is any indication. I'm totally stealing their contest idea. I will award a $10 Amazon e giftcard to the person who writes the best fake break-up letter.

Judging will be done by me and whatever minions I deem fit. It will be totally arbitary and capricious, so be warned. If you are one of those people who complains about the outcome of a contest, don't enter mine. I reserve the right not to award a prize if I get fewer than five entries. I will award a winner based on creativity, humor, and the ability to do a triple back flip.

Enter by leaving a comment on this email by midnight central time on February 14. How long does the letter need to be? Well, that depends on how long it takes to deliver your angst to your pretend soon-to-be-ex sweetie. I will post the winner whenever the hell I feel like it, but probably within a week of the contest ending. The winner should then send me the email address they want the e-card sent to.

Email me at if you have questions.

Breaking News: Kindle 1's on Order will be Kindle 2

They finally announced the Kindle 2 today. If you go to Amazon and click on preorder one, farther down on the screen it says if you previously ordered a Kindle 1 and have not yet received it, it will automatically be upgraded to a Kindle 2.

"If you have previously placed an order for Kindle 1, and have not yet received it, your order will automatically be upgraded to Kindle 2. You need to do nothing."

Yipee! Come to Mama!

And if you own a Kindle 1, you can get first priority for a Kindle 2:

"Special Opportunity for Kindle 1 Owners

Even though we’ve increased our manufacturing capacity, we want to be sure our original Kindle owners are first in line to receive Kindle 2. Place your Kindle 2 order by midnight PST on February 10th and you will receive first priority."

Watch a video demo of the new Kindle 2. It says if you have a Kindle 1, all your current books can be downloaded to your Kindle 2 for free.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Coffee and Critique Schedule for February 2009

Close up of pen by Stardust_ Creative Commons

Feb 10 & 24 - Evening group, 6:30-8:30

Feb 17 - Daytime group, 10:00 to noon

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Literary Agent Seeking Clients

Kristin Nelson, of the Nelson Literary Agency has announced the addition of new agent Sara Megibow. Sara says in the blog, "So for all you writers out there I am here to say - there is one more hungry agent in the hunt!!"

She details her book preferences in the blog entry, so be sure you look at it and the submission guidelines before firing off that query letter. Congrats to Sara.

Reminder: Deadline for the Missouri Writers Guild Conference Contest

Don't forget all Missouri Writers Guild Conference Contest entries must be postmarked by today to qualify.

This is also the last day to get the early bird rate for the conference. If you're planning to attend, you can sign up with paypal. There are also new Sunday workshops to choose from.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Zombies Reach Illinois

Zombie Walk @ Sitges by Rumikel

Oh no! The zombies have reached Illinois. I'll keep you updated on further developments.

New Literary Journal Seeks Submissions

From the editor: seeks exceptional fiction and poetry. Arts Review Fogged Clarity is now accepting submissions for our March and April editions.

Submissions should be sent to Our February (debut) issue is free and available at In it you will find new work from poets Bruce Smith, Amy King, and Peter Ciccariello, experimental photography by Kyle Jones and Ryan Daly, short fiction by Dmitri Gheorgheni, and much more.

Fogged Clarity aims to transcend the conventions of the typical literary review by incorporating music, the visual arts, interviews, and political exposition. Our ambition is to form a community of artists whose interaction is not constrained by medium, but broadened by a collective love of expression. Our network is extensive, and our passion for ventilation intense. We sincerely hope you will join us, and share the fruits of your own foggedclarity. 

Executive Editor,
"Fogged Clarity"
Ben Evans

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Editors Are Looking For

Here's the latest scoop from the Bookends Literary Agency on what type of books some editors are seeking in the new year.

Sounds like nonfiction is a fertile territory.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Words fail me. If someone had ever proposed that two of my greatest loves could be combined in such a way. . .

Well, I wish I had audio on the blog so you could hear my maniacal laughter. Damn I wish I'd thought of it first.