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Monday, March 30, 2009

St. Charles Community College Coffeehouse Open Mic

I'd so be there if I wasn't leaving town for the MWG Conference. If you have to miss the conference, this a great way to get a shot of writerly creativity for free - plus cookies!

WHAT: The Coffeehouse open-mic night
WHEN: 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 3
WHERE: Daniel J. Conoyer Social Sciences Building auditorium; St. Charles Community College campus, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Dr. in Cottleville
COST: No cost
CONTACT INFO: Teddy Norris, 636-922-8407

The SCC Coffeehouse, an Open-Mic night for poets, prose writers, song writers, and creative non-fiction writers to share their creativity, will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 3, in the auditorium of the Daniel J. Conoyer Social Sciences Building at St. Charles Community College.

Organizers of The Coffeehouse open-mic night invite SCC students, faculty, staff, and the public to share their original selections, or to come to listen and enjoy the entertainment. Creative selections should be 5-7 minutes long. Complimentary coffee and cookies will be served.
"The Coffeehouse is an open-mic opportunity for creative people to share what they’ve written – poetry, short fiction, essays, skits, song, and more," said Teddy Norris, event organizer and professor of English. "The Coffeehouse brings them all under one roof and into the perfect setting to share their best work with others."

The SCC campus is located at 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in Cottleville. The open-mic night is free and open to the public.

For more information about The SCC Coffeehouse, call Norris at 636-922-8407 or visit and click on “Coffeehouse.”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thin Threads Anthologies Seeking Submissions

I found this courtesy of writer Becky Povich's blog. She has a link to a trailer about the series on her blog, so be sure to check it out. I'm loving your blog soundtrack, Becky. The Thin Threads anthologies are seeking inspirational submissions for the following books:

Thin Threads of Business & Career
Thin Threads of Compassion & Giving
Thin Threads of Recovery & Survival
Thin Threads of Holidays & Celebrations (including Romance/Valentines Day)
Thin Threads of Teachers & Mentors
Thin Threads of Teens & Young Adults
Thin Threads® the Legacy Project – featuring fathers, mothers, grandparents
Thin Threads of Patriotism & Courage
Thin Threads of Achievement in Sports & Fitness

They pay $100 for submissions, and right now they're running a contest. The winner of best story will get two tickets to Europe on AirFrance in addition to payment. See their submission guidelines for details on what they're looking for and be sure to read the fine print in their publication agreement.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Literary Agency Contest: Book in a Nutshell

 The Knight Agency is hosting a contest for every writer who has a complete, unpublished manuscript.

Sum up your soon-to-be-bestseller in three riveting sentences (150 word maximum), and you might win a perusal of your manuscript by one of their agents. Twenty winners will be selected. Email your entry to: submissions @ (delete spaces). BOOK IN A NUTSHELL must be the subject line for your submission to be eligible. The deadline is April 20, 2009.

Check out the genres they rep books in, and here's their client list so you can see some of the big names they work with.

Great opportunity. No drinking yourself insensible on vodka because your query letter isn't measuring up. Just craft three simple sentences. Moohoohahaha. I know, I know. Where's the Smirnoffs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Skirt! Magazine Seeks Essays for 2009

Skirt! Magazine has their list of themes for 2009. Remember to submit your essay on the first of the month before the one you're shooting for. So if you want it to go for May's "The Nest" issue, submit by April 1, but even earlier is better. Check their contributor's guidelines for details. Read "The 1 Second Rule" from their current issue to get a feel for their style.

Vintage Skirt by tajai Creative Commons

2009 Skirt! Themes
May "The Nest
June "The Eve Issue"
July "The "F" Word
August "The Crave Issue"
September "The Finish Line"
October "The D.Y.I issue"
November "The Soapbox Issue"
December "The Inspiration Issue"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Charles "Images of America" Book by Dianna Graveman

Writer and fellow Lindenwood instructor Dianna Graveman and her husband Don have a new book debuting on Monday. Images of America: St. Charles Les Petites Cotes tells the rich history of St. Charles, Missouri through photographs. I am a sucker for old photos, so I'm looking forward to perusing it.

If you'd like a firsthand look, they're having a book signing on Saturday, March 28th from 1 to 3 at Main Street Books, the first day of the bicentennial celebration.

Another signing will be at Barnes & Noble in St. Peters on Saturday, April 4th from 1 to 3, and Mayor Patti York, who wrote the forward for the book, will appear from 1 to 2 p.m.

The Suburban Journals has a great article that traces the birth of the book and Dianna and Don's journey in writing it. Congrats to Dianna. I can't wait to see the book.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Maternal Spark Wants Flash Fiction by Moms

Places for Writers reports that Maternal Spark is seeking flash fiction from moms (but not necessarily about being a mom). Aim for 500 words or less to submit.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Writer Mama Giveaway Winner!

All the posts were great, so I did the very scientific thing and had my daughter pick a number out of a hat.

And the winner is - Emily Chadwick, commenter #11. Emily, please send your snail mail and email addresses to, and I'll pass them along to Christina so she can send you a copy of Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway! Story #14

Christina Katz is celebrating the two-year anniversary of her book, Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, with a blog tour describing how she got published. I am honored to welcome her to Coffee and Critique as she shares part of her story and gives away a copy of her book.

Leave a comment here answering the question below for a chance to win a free copy of Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids. If you've been thinking about freelancing, it's the perfect step-by-step guide to getting started. My copy is on my bedside table for easy reference. You can read the entire story from links on her blog.

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!
 Post #14: Assemble a Team of Confidantes
To round out the support from the publisher side and your agent, you’ll need a few more teammates. Think of these folks as your personal, private cheerleading squad. The publishing process has a lot of ups and downs and you’ll likely need as much friendly emotional support as you can get. So when you are gearing up to write a book, be on the lookout for at least three friends who can offer you the following:

Editorial Insight
Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint, so it helps to have a “catcher,” to receive your completed chapters as you go, whether this person will offer feedback or not. After I got the contract for Writer Mama, I knew I’d need a first reader. I also knew just who to ask: my longtime graduate school friend, Kristin Bair O’Keeffe.

Kristin served as my “catcher”—person to receive the early drafts of my chapters as I wrote them. Depending on how polished your drafts are, you may or may not need a draft editor, but you should always ask someone you trust to be your catcher, to help you stay on track of your deadlines. Since I didn’t strictly follow an outline to write Writer Mama, I needed lots of editorial support and Kristin’s feedback was a big help.

Emotional Support
I think it’s an unspoken rule that every first time author has to go through some trials in the process of writing and promoting a first book. Maybe it’s part of the initiation process, I don’t know. But apparently no one is exempt. There were plenty of bumps along the book-writing road for me and that’s also been the case for my friends with their first books. So you’d better be prepared with plenty of emotional support because there’s a pretty good chance that you are going to need it. My friend Sage Cohen provided a sympathetic, listening ear when I was going through my first-time-author ups and downs. She was there when I needed to vent and I can only imagine that listening to me has helped her with her own first-time-author challenges.

Professional Savvy
I was fortunate that Kelly James-Enger served as a first-time author matchmaker and put me in touch with Sharon Miller Cindrich, when we were both in the process of writing our first books. What we were able to do for each other was not just commiserate, but also provide professional advice to each other along the way. I remember nudging Sharon about her platform development. And I remember her offering content suggestions for my book. Even if you never have a crisis along the book writing path, it sure helps to have someone you can call on and share your professional process with, especially when the other person is going through the same thing you are. That’s when bonding over book-writing is both cathartic and fruitful.

Keep in mind that your private support team won’t take the place of your agent or your interactions with the folks inside your publishing house. But when you have publishing folks, an agent, and writing friends, you’ll likely have a more positive book-writing experience than you would otherwise, which will only lead to a better book in the long run.

Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog's comments: If you got a book deal today, who would you call on to be part of your team of confidantes? What strengths would they bring to the table?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Contests Galore Today

My writer pals are busy posting great opportunties for writers and photographers. Tricia Sanders has a post on a Women's Day Essay Contest with a library theme, and Donna Volkenannt had one earlier this week on a monthly photo contest sponsored by Midwest Living.

And last but not least, WOW - Women On Writing has announced their 2009 Spring Flash Fiction Contest judged by literary agent Wendy Sherman.

Query On.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bank offers Kindle 2 for New Account Holders

Want a Kindle 2? A bank is offering one to new customers. You only need $50,000 to deposit.  LOL. I think people can get their own Kindle 2 if they have that much moolah lying around.

Yeah, yeah. I know. As much complaining as I've done about Amazon, I've still been seduced. *Puffs cigarette in leisurely manner* I can't help it. I love my Kindle 2.

You see, it whispered to me seductively, hey teacher, you could download all those classic books for free and read excerpts to your students without carrying mounds of bookage around to class. And why not store all your syllabi on it so you don't have to root through the mounds of papers to find the right one? Heaven.

Not to mention the access to books. At 3 freaking a.m. if I want! As god is my witness, I never have to go bookless again. Are there disappointments with it? Well, sure. I haven't figured out how to organize my many tomes on it. Folders would have been useful, Amazon. And sometimes I see phantom impressions on mine from pages past- nothing that interfers with my reading, mind you. But today I bought one Kindle book in a series I normally read, and got another in the series free. Nice. It averaged out at about $2.79 per book. We shall see if the pricing holds.

Spoiled am I. Thanks Mom and D.J. I promise to ask for nothing for the next three Christmases and a half.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Updates and Discounts Missouri Writers Guild Conference 2009

The Missouri Writers's Guild Conference fast approacheth, and Donna has some great news over at her blog on deals and discounts if you haven't signed up yet.

Now you can just register for Saturday, a nice option in our frowny economy. I'll be there for the duration, so say hi if you see me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Win a Cozy Mystery from Macmillan

Macmillan is giving away 10 copies of In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen. Enter for a chance at a free book.

From the website:
Irish immigrant Molly Murphy and her New York City P.I. business are in the midst of a sweeping influenza epidemic and a fight for women’s suffrage that lands her in jail. Her betrothed, Police Captain Daniel Sullivan, finds her, but he hardly has time to bail her out, what with Chinese gangs battling for control of a thriving opium trade. The only consolation Molly can take from her vexing afternoon in the clink is that it made her some new friends among the Vassar suffragists---and brought her a pair of new cases.

For the first, Emily Boswell is convinced her miserly uncle stole her inheritance and wants Molly to uncover the truth behind her parents’ lives and deaths. Second, Emily’s college roommate Fanny Poindexter wants Molly to find proof of her husband’s philandering so that she can leave him without one red cent. But when Fanny dies and her husband claims she’s a victim of the epidemic, it’s more than Molly’s conscience can take.

Rhys Bowen’s Agatha and Anthony Award--winning historical series continues to breathe life into the past with its wit and charm and its complete sense of early-twentieth-century New York, which makes In a Gilded Cage her most accomplished mystery yet.