Friday, February 26, 2010

Saturday Markets

Eternal Press  - We are currently accepting: Novellas, and full-length manuscripts from 20,000-140,000 words.  Genres: Romance, Erotica, GBLT and BDSM, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Thriller, Horror, Historical, Young Adult.  We are particularly interested in: Erotica, Paranormal (vampire/shape shifter/witch/werewolf),  GBLT, Romance, BDSM, Young Adult, longer length novellas/novels.

Steampunk Anthology - Deadline is July 14th for stories 1-5k.  This might be interesting.:-)

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly  - Prose, poetry and pulp.  Think sword and sorcery.

Be sure to check out the guidelines before submitting.

Here's something I'd forgotten but found by accident tonight.  Free Rice  is a fun way to take a break and help feed the hungry.  You might even learn something.  They have quite a few subjects to play with...grammar, vocabulary, several different languages, math and chemistry.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In the Spotlight...

Okay...I just had to share this.  I haven't read it but it sounds like something I have to have.

Here's a short excerpt...

"Who was that lady I saw with you last night?" the mannequin asked.

Del-A kept walking. She passed animated displays of the latest appliances, beaming 3veeos at passersby. She paused at the tattoo projectors. The new projectors were only a centimeter across, and so thin that when they chameleoned they'd be almost invisible. Behind the table a zebra-toned pubescent whispered "even your partners won't know the real you."

Outside, a newsbot stood at the corner. Del-A waited for the cross signal. The newsbot stopped talking, then asked, "How many securibots does it take to update a scan?" Del-A ran.
And here's a review...
"The Simian Transcript is original, wild, and entertaining to the Nth degree. If you're brave enough to risk having your perception of reality as we know it shattered, dig in. You'll laugh. You'll ponder the meaning of it all. Above all though, you'll have your literary paradigms shattered ever so blissfully with each insane tale of chaos and rapture."  - Eric S Brown, Author of War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies
The special release price is $12.95 plus shipping and can only be gotten through this link.  If you have trouble with the link, let me know and I'll send you the original info.


Wednesday in chat several of us were talking about how sometimes the hardest part of writing was the showing up and putting backside in chair.  Seems like there's always 900 other things that need to be done or we're not in the mood or well, you know.  There's plenty of things we can blame for not getting the writing done.

But, in the words of Louis L'Amour, "If you wait for inspiration, you're not a writer, but a waiter."  I don't know about you, but "I'm a writer." sounds a LOT better than "I'm a waiter." 

And speaking of being a writer, how many of you actually tell people that you're a writer when they ask what you do?  It was really difficult the first few times, especially before I had anything published because the next question is "What have you had published?" or some form thereof.

So here's today's challenge.  Don't wait for inspiration.  Get the backside in the chair and write.  Also, if you are writing, you're a writer so the next time someone asks, proudly tell them you are indeed a writer.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Courage

"What “real artists” have is courage. Not enormous gobs of it. Just enough for today. Creativity, like breathing, always comes down to the question, “Are you doing it now?” The awful truth is that there is always some small creative act for which we can find the courage. If you can’t mail your manuscript today, you can Xerox it and address the envelope. Perhaps tomorrow the envelope can be dropped in the mail. Just for today, even if you can’t start a new canvas, you can stretch one, gesso one, and clean your brushes. As with housework, there is always something, and the little somethings add up, over time, to a flow. Courage, after all, is a matter of heart, and hearts do their work one beat at a time."

Julia Cameron, The Vein of Gold

Today, I challenge you to find your daily dose of courage and step out of your comfort zone.

**Shamelessly stolen from here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


According to "officials" who are supposed to know, it takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to develop a habit.  Of course they claim a lot of different variables such as personality and type of habit you are trying to establish.

While I'm not sure about how long it takes to set a habit I do know it takes much longer to break or get rid of it.

Tonight while sitting at Sonic, sipping on my blue coconut slush while son was at piano lessons (as is my habit) I started pondering the habits of writers.

Here's a couple I've noticed...

Using the same word...a lot.  For a long time, I used to use "that" all the time.  For a while it was "just" or some other word that didn't belong.  It took quite a while to weed these out of my writing though they occasionally sneak back in.

I use ellipses...a lot.  And most of the time, I really don't need them.  I just do it and sometimes I use them improperly.  I promise to do better.  Swear...

And, I start sentences with "and" more than I should.  I need to work on that too.

Those are several of my more annoying habits.

However, I do have one good writing habit at least.  I write every day except the weekends.  And, actually, I do write blog posts on Sunday so it's only Saturday. 

On Saturdays, I generally work on the submissions for Abandoned Towers and plan out my writing for the week ahead.

What about you?  Got any annoying writerly habits?  Or what about any positive writing habits?  Share them with us and we'll conquer them together.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't Take it Personal

One of the hardest things for the new or beginning writer is getting that first rejection letter. We slave over the computer, putting our hearts into our writing, bundle it up with love and a self addressed stamped envelop then send it out in to the world. And while those precious pages of prose wing their way to some lucky editor’s desk, we eagerly wait by the mailbox for a contract which confirms, yes we are writers. However, all too often that self addressed stamped envelop returns with the dreaded “rejection letter”. Whether on fancy letterhead with a signature, or a bad copy addressed to Dear Contributor and left unsigned, rejection letters just plain hurt.

Rejection letters are part of the “business” of writing. If you send your work out, sooner, rather than later, you will receive a rejection letter in some form or fashion. How we deal with that rejection is up to us.

First, let’s look at what a rejection letter doesn’t mean. It does not mean you are a bad writer and it is not a judgment of your writing. It is a no thank you, at this time your piece is not right for us. Maybe they recently published something similar, or have one like it in the works. Maybe, the editor was in a bad mood that morning and hates cats, which your piece just happened to be about. I once heard rejection letters called Negative Marketing Reports. I think I like that better. It is a no thanks, not now or this doesn’t fit us.

Next, how do we handle these editorial daggers to our self confidence? Personally, I like massive amounts of chocolate. Now, if I could just figure a way to take chocolate off my taxes as a writing expense I’d have it made. Several writers I know prefer physical activity such as chopping firewood or a trip to the batting cage. Another favorite thing is to write the editor a letter expressing your opinion about his knowledge of fine writing. Please, NEVER, EVER, mail this letter though. You may want to give him another chance one day.

The best way to deal with any rejection letter is to immediately send that piece of work or query letter out again. The sooner...the better. A tip I have used, and heard recommended many times is to have a list of at least five places appropriate for that specific piece. When it comes back from the first place, give it a good going over, bundle it back up and send to the second place on the list. If it comes back from there, repeat the process. Patience and persistence is the name of the game.

Sending out a piece of writing we have poured our soul into for the world to examine is frightening. Rejection letters will always sting and hurt. The payoff is seeing our name in print and the thrill that goes with it. Oh, the check is nice too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Saturday Markets

Here's a couple new markets for short stories and anthologies.  Some are genre specific so be sure to check the guidelines. 

Short Story Me  - This is a nifty site, they email you short stories.  Guideline say they "like hard genre fiction. That means crime, detective, fantasy, horror, mystery and science fiction."  They "don't publish romance, cozies, children's, poetry, erotica, polemics or non-fiction."

Every Day Fiction - Here's another site where the story comes to your email. They like them under 1,000. 

Distant Realms - For novella length (20-30k) fantasy.  Deadline is March. 31st.

Pine Tree Mysteries - From cozy to hardboiled, they take it all.  This isn't a paying market but hope to be one day.

Whortleberry Press - These guys have several anthologies in the works.  There's one for mysteries, Halloween and Christmas listed now. Be sure to check the guidelines.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Spotlight...

Danny Birt is published by Ancient Tomes Press, an imprint of Cyberwizard Productions and the first two books in his Laurian Pentology has received rave reviews.

A Fantastic Tale for Fantasy/SciFi Lovers. Ending an Ending held me to my chair reading. Magic, elves, vampires, the whole nine yards, to use a cliché, is involved with the characters in this book. The book is filled with fantastic adventures in which to lose oneself; the ultimate trip into book land and well worth the time and money to obtain a copy to read.- Lucille P. Robinson
Now, in preparation for the release of book 3, Cyberwizard Productions has a special offer. 

 If purchased separately you would pay $33.95 plus $15.00 in shipping for a total of $48.95  Through this special offer, you will receive both books for $20.00 plus $7.50 shipping, resulting in more than $20.00 in savings.

You must purchase through this link -----------> Click to Purchase to get this special discounted price.

Here's an excerpt for your reading pleasure...

Sanct awoke to the new day so full of questions that he couldn't help but wake the more scholarly of his companions.
"Tannon," he badgered the bleary-eyed man from where he knelt by the blanket, "Lalt said that the mage that attacked Obblagatt with us was named Alaris, then everybody else got mad. Some people called him "The Alaris," like it was a title. Was that another mage, like Obblagatt, or was he a mage and a monk at the same time? And what's a Dominion anyway? And who can be a Dominion master? ...Tannon?"

Tannon wrenched his glasses onto his face. Half of him wished his students back at the University were this anxious to learn, and the other (older) half of him berated the first half for being masochistic. "Good morrow to you, too, Sanct. Why the desperate need to know about The Alaris?"

"Well," Sanct mulled his words, still hesitant over how to translate feelings into language, "I think The Alaris was involved with our mission, and that I'll be seeing him again. Who knows if next time we will be on the same side? I want to be prepared."

"Involved in our mission?" Tannon asked, desperate for another few moments to clear the cobwebs of sleep from his mind. Repeating some choice phrase had always been an innocuous delay tactic for him.

"I get the feeling that it wasn't only by chance that he arrived when we did, that we were supposed to meet. Does that make sense?"

"Not a coincidence?" the scholar pondered, mind ready for action. "How so? Do you think the battle was staged, that it was a fake? Might Obblagatt still be alive?"

"No," Sanct said, "but it seems like we're missing a connection between them, like someone was pulling our strings - Obblagatt, Alaris, the monks, us. Doesn't it?"

Tannon wondered when Sanct had learned the phrase 'pulling our strings.' "I find it hard to believe that anyone could pull the strings of The Alaris if even half the stories about him are not lies."

"So you believe he exists?"

"The line of The Alaris is no lie," Tannon hedged. "It can't be. It's documented by too many solid sources. I'm certain that it's not the same person, though. No human lives that long, even Seren don't, and in all the credible stories The Alaris is always a middle-aged male human. Perhaps with his magic powers the original Alaris was able to create a continuation of his consciousness... I'm sorry, Sanct. What I meant was that perhaps at death The Alaris passes on his skills, powers and memories to another middle-aged human male who becomes the next Alaris."

Tannon fluttered his hands in front of himself, seeing that he was losing Sanct. "Regardless of how it works, The Alaris definitely exists. His group of Laurian mages, call them a cult or not, is proof enough for me."

"Well, I still don't believe in any old Alaris," muttered Pander from his perch on a rock. He was eating a handful of nuts he had found nearby while touring on his watch. "Humans living forever just doesn't sound right. Kyr wouldn't allow it."

Tannon rose from his blankets slowly, his arthritic hip dictating the speed of his ascent. "I didn't say he was immortal, did I? I agree with you; a human defeating the Goddess of the Afterlife does sound ridiculous."

Pander also rose from the rock upon which he had kept his watch. "The Alaris is an old mage's tale, Sanct, like the Mage God. If there were a deity for mages, there would be a temple to him for mages to worship him. If there was a god that gave mages power, the Surian Combat Mage Corps would know about it, and they don't."

"Tell me this old mage's tale, then," Sanct said.

Pander rolled his eyes. "Professor Tannon, would you do the honors?"

"Certainly." Tannon's face assumed its more scholarly lines. "Very few, if any, know exactly what or who The Alaris is. Some say he was the first mage ever born, and that he was given special powers or extended life. Others believe as I do, that The Alaris is merely some powers and a title passed down between generations of human male mages. A very few consider him a Seren of a Mage God."

Tannon looked over at Pander. "I wish that Lalt were here. He said that he had met the man. That would have been quite a treat and something that I might have been able to add to my Lord's library. Ah, well. Perhaps when he returns to Aeterna."

Sanct was not done with his questioning. "What does The Alaris have to do with Pinnacle and a Dominion?" he asked.

"Pinnacle is the ancient stronghold of the mages. It stands in the direct center of the kingdom of Sur. All the human mages of the world congregate there; many live there, others only come for research or to buy supplies.

"The Dominions are a group of settlements of powerful mages who either prefer solitude to the cramped quarters of Pinnacle or wish to practice certain magics which would be considered unsafe in closer confines. Most Dominion Masters end up taking on a large number of apprentices who are eager for their tutelage."

"So The Alaris is like Obblagatt?" asked Sanct.

"No! Not all mages are like that. Obblagatt was insane. But it only takes one with so much power to ruin the name of all mages for an entire community."

"So not all mages are bad?" Sanct said.

Tannon and Pander looked at one another, each urging the other to answer. In the end, neither did.

Upcoming Conferences

Writing conferences are a great way to meet other writers, talk to agents and editors along with just having a great time with folks that have the same interest as yourself.   You can find a list of conferences and workshops listed by state at ShawGuides.

Here's a couple conferences I'll be attending this year. 

NETWO - This a a very nice day and half conference held in east Texas.  There will be several agents and an editor along with times for pitching to them.  Takes place April 23, 24th.

Pen to Press - It's probably too late to sign up for this year but make plans now for next year.  This is a week long intensive workshop in New Orleans.  For three days you work one on one with best selling writers on your manuscript then spend two days pitching it to agents and editors.

Fen-Con - A fantasy conference in Dallas Texas.  Sept. 17-19.   My link isn't working right now but I'm hoping it's just the site being updated.  I'll check again soon and make sure.

Writer's Police Academy - Sept. 24-26  If you write cop stuff, then you really need to check this out.

There's also the Bayou Writer's Group, one day workshop in Lake Charles Lousiana sometime in Nov. I don't have the info on it yet but soon as I get it, I'll be sure to let y'all know.

What about you? What conferences or workshops will you be attending or know of? Share if you don't mind.

Also, remember to sign up for our newsletter for current information on contests, conferences and markets.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here's to Procrastination

Sometimes we just need to step back from our work and take a few minutes to play and relax.  And I don't know about you, but I can only play so many games of solitarie or mahjong so here's a few of my favorite places to "take five."

Lemmings - I don't know if you remember this game but we had it on our first computer years and years ago.  I LOVED it and would play for hours.  Start with the "fun" level and work your way up.

Wordle - I don't remember if I've shared this with you or not but it's really cool. Just add your text to the box and it'll make word clouds with your words.  You can change the color and shape for some really interesting looks.  You can then save the "wordles" for whatever you like.  I have one that I want to do as a t-shirt one of these days.

Superstickies - Love sticky notes?  Then you'll love this. 

Montana for Real - This is the blog of writer Kari Lynn Dell.  This really isn't a writing blog but she has some great posts on actual ranch life from someone actually living it. 

Virtual Turnpike - Similar to Google Earth, this gives you the street view of different addresses.  I even saw my house from the end of the driveway, which is kinda creepy now that I think about it.  But, it might be a nice help to see what locations look like for that scene you are procrastination about.

Another way is to post here and share your favorite means of procrastination.  So, help a fellow procrastinator out.:-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Writing Buddies...

Yestereday I worked on my novel and couldn't decide on how to move forward with a piece of it.  I'd revised the chapter from the way I'd originally written it but then decided it should be put back to its original version.  I went back and forth between versions and couldn't make a decision on which was best.

As luck would have it, my writing buddy said hello via gmail chat and we got to discussing my dilemma.  After explaining it to her, she pointed me in the right direction by asking some questions and reminding me that I already knew the answer to my problem. 

And she was right.  I did know. I was so close to the work I couldn't see it.  I've always said that it's so much easier to critique someome else's writing than your own and it's so true.  Once I realized I needed to step back, take a deep breath and look at it objectively, the solution made itself known.

This is why it's so important to have a writing buddy or first reader.  They can see things when you can't.  They can be objective when we can't.  They don't have the investment in the writing that we do so it's easier for them to pick out the flaws.

I encourage you to find a writing buddy if you don't have one.  And if you do, let 'em know just how much you appreciate them.

So...writing buddy of mine, you know who you are...THANKS BUNCHES!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's your priority?

"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning."
Peter DeVries

What about you?  Do you wait until you're "in the mood" or do you have a set time or schedule when you write whether you feel like it or not.
I read another quote not long ago, and though I didn't save it, the same sentiment was there, that we need to make it a priority, not just something we do when we find the time. 
So, I challenge each of you...
Make your writing a priority.  If you don't have a set time and place, then establish a routine that allows you to write all the wonderful things you have inside just waiting to get out.

Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bonus Saturday

The Lorilei Signal is a fantasy ezine that wants strong female characters.  Be sure to read and follow their guidelines.  They also have specific reading times so be aware of that.

Aurora Wolf wants speculative fiction with strong characters and morals that uplift the down trodden, conquer the forces of evil and bring hope into our world.

Fried Fiction is for serial fiction of just about any genre.  

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Iceberg Principle

Icebergs and writings you say? That's right, they do go together. Take a look at your typical iceberg. Notice how large it is, yet most is hidden below the surface. And just like what was under the surface sank the Titanic, if we don't know what is under the surface of our stories they may sink too. Some places this applies are:

Characterization: As writers we must know everything possible about our characters. From their favorite food to what he/she does on a quiet evening at home. Is your character afraid of that little yappy dog? Then you need to know why. Maybe it was something that happened in her past and just might be important later in your story. Does your character scoff at the thought of finding his soul mate? Knowing why might give a clue as to why he is so standoffish with the opposite sex. What dreams and goals does your character have? Knowing these will make a difference in how she reacts in certain situations. If your character was raised in several foster homes, that might explain her soft spot for foster kids and her anger at the "system" that shuffled her around. One great way to get all this information is to imagine yourself interviewing your character. Ask as many questions as you can think of and pay attention to the answers. Things such as your character's past, background, likes, dislikes, dreams, and goals are things your reader may never need to know. But the more you know as the writer, the more real your character will seem to the reader.

Setting: No matter where your story is set, you must put your reader in that setting. You do this by showing the reader the things most important to draw them in. As writer we must know the small details and sprinkle them in where appropriate. What smells are in the air? Fresh baked apple pie, flowers in a nearby vase or maybe the smell of the nearby stockyard. When you look around the setting, what do you see? Maybe a hanging basket with a very dry and wilted fern, is tea set out in fine china cups or do dirty dishes cover the counters? If you close your eyes, what will you hear? Crickets and birds chirping outside the window or a train whistle in the distance? When your character turns off Main Street, what will she find? All these are details we need to know as writer. Even if we don't use them, the more we know about our setting, whether it is a small town, big city or somewhere out in the country the more real it is to us. When using a real setting, find photos or maps and stick them on your monitor so you can share the small details with your reader. I created my town so drew an in-depth map of the town square with the street names, the buildings there along with names of stores and other places that populate my world. This doesn't have to be artist quality but sure helps when you need to know what store is next to city hall and which street to turn on to get there.

Research: I love researching for the most part. I like finding interesting bits of information I can slip into my stories that bring them to life. Those details also let the reader know that I know what I'm talking about. But it doesn't take much to turn our reader off and turn the story into a lecture or a stage to show off how much we know. When researching tigers for a mystery, I learned more than I'll ever need to know and used just the bare tip of that knowledge. Your reader probably doesn't need to know all the techy details of reloading shotgun shells but you sure do if your bad guy reloads his own. Historicals are a place where you have to do lots of research...from period clothing to medical options and so many other things. If hoop skirts were the clothing of the day and your character strolls out the door in her slinky black mini skirt, then you have jarred the reader and more than likely lost them. But again, your reader doesn't need to know it all...just enough to firmly grasp the time frame.

Characters, setting and research...three places you can apply the iceberg principle. Can you find others?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Free Romance Writing Course

I got this in an email today and thought y'all might be interested.  If so, hurry and sign up, there is a limit to the number of students.

Romance Writing Workshop

Also...sign up for a free newsletter and email alerts for when things like this show up unexpectedly.  I promise not to give out your personal info even under threat of chocolate deprivation.:-)

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My...

Conflict...without it our writing would be very boring. Think of the Wizard of Oz. Would a trip to visit the wizard hold our attention without the wicked witch after Dorothy? I don’t think so. Even if you added the tin man, scarecrow and lion without conflict they would be just another distraction. Because of the conflict, we get involved in the story. We want Dorothy to get to the Emerald City, see the wizard and return to Kansas. We fall in love with her companions and want them to succeed in their quests also. The ending is satisfying when all the conflict is resolved and everyone lives “happily ever after”.

How does this apply to our writing you may ask? Conflict drives our characters. It causes our readers to turn the pages with eager anticipation of what is going to happen next. Conflict makes us wonder if the girl will get the guy, will the good guy win in the end or if our hero will save the world in time.

Conflict is all around us. Shoes are on sale but we need to pay the water bill, what do we do? A co-worker praises the boss and gets the promotion we should have had. Hubby wants dinner but I need to get this scene written, do I stop now or make him wait?

Not only are there external conflicts, but internal as well. The man that has to go to a hated job each day when he’d rather paint instead, the teen who is tempted to steal when the store clerk isn’t looking or the woman on a business trip who is tempted to cheat on her husband. After all, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Our characters need conflict in their lives and if we want to engage our readers and keep them involved in the story, we have to give it to them. But conflict has to be resolved within the story. The end has to satisfy or the reader will feel cheated and you may lose a reader.

Look at the piece you are working on...can you add some conflict? If you can, do it. Give the reader something special. You won’t regret it.

Here's a bonus.  Steal Your Character's Shoes

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Link Salad...

As I write this, the cooking channel is on so in the spirit of food, I present you this link salad.

Make Auto-Correct work for you.  I have to be honest, I'd never have thought of this but I'm sure glad he did.

Using "What, Why, & How" to create memorable stories.

5 Steps to Overcoming Fear of Success for Writers - Yes, it happens.  And more often than you think.

For you novelists, Take Your Novel to the Finish Line.  Some really nice tips here.

And while this is written for novels, short stories need the Perfect Title too.

Mix and enjoy!

Comfort Zones

I don't know about you, but I like my comfort zone.  It's comfortable. Actually, it's warm, snug and while I don't mind the occasional excursion close to the edge of that comfort zone, I'm generally not one for change or experimenting.  For example, I am not one to experiment with different foods.  Not at all, in fact if I don't know what's in it, I won't eat it and I don't care to try new things very often.  It's just not something I do.

But, when it comes to writing, I'm quite a bit more experimental.  I like challenges that push my writing comfort zone.  Normally I write fantasy (usually with dragons) and mystery.  I've played with science fiction, pushed the mystery envelope with a gangster piece that I had to do research for and even gave romance a try.

One genre I thought I'd never try though was horror.  However a couple weeks ago, I was given the challenge to write a Valentine's Day story that wasn't the usual hearts & roses, that was "out of the box."
After some joking, I ended up writing a zombie romance piece.  And honestly, I'm really surprised at the really great feedback I've gotten from those who've seen it.

My latest challenge arrived just the other night from a friend.  A steampunk romance.  Now, I've never cared for the steampunk I've been exposed to and even avoided it when I could.  Yet, as I've started the research needed to do this challenge right, I find I'm intrigued.   Very much so.  Another friend told me about Steamed so I checked it out and read the sample chapter.  I'm totally hooked.  I love the main character and will be picking it up when I get to town this week.

So, what's the point of this?

Expand your comfort zone.  Challenge yourself and your writing.  If you've only tried first person, give third a shot and vice versa.  Try a new genre. Challenge yourself with short word counts or try something longer if you've only been writing short stories.

You might discover you like stepping out on a limb ever so often.

What about you?  Got a comfort zone you don't like stepping out of?  Share with us and we'll push the boundaries together.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Follow me to...

The Wulver's Stane!

I'll be discussing just what writers can learn from pirates.

See you there.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Market Bonus

Dreams & Nightmares - a spec. fic. poetry publication.  He says he publishes about 95% poetry.  I have it on good authority he "likes weird stuff."

StoryTeller is nice little all genre, family publication.  Only accepts snail mail submissions though.

Triangulation - This is a spec. fiction anthology with the theme of "End of the Rainbow."  They leave it up to your interpretation and give you up to 5k.  Deadline is Mar. 31.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Inner Editors

I have a wicked inner editor named Roxy. Really, really wicked. Because of her, I write, rewrite and revise as I go along.

I've tried to ignore Roxy but it just doesn't work. On my bulletin board where I can see it whenever I sit down to write is the saying "write the first draft with the heart, the second with the head" along with "don't get it right, get it written," and several others to remind myself not to stress over getting the first draft perfect. However, it really doesn't work.

The other day, it took me three hours to get 900 words written to the point I felt they were "first draft" worthy. They still need work but at least I can move forward.

Sometimes though, I can promise Roxy that' I'll come back later and fix items. I have a "Revision Notes" document I make notes in about problems and how I might want to fix them. For example, one of my characters started out working the "night" shift but later I realized it'd be better if he worked days. So, instead of going back 20 or so pages, I made a note in my "Revisions Notes" doc and continued writing as if I'd already fixed it. Working this way is a nice compromise with Roxy.

How do you deal with your inner editor? Have you named him or her? Do you let your inner editor run loose as you write or have you worked out a compromise of some sort?

Enquiring writers wants to know.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Friend Indeed

No one understands the thrill of an acceptance or the sting of the all too common rejection letter. Nor do they understand the sheer, bounce off the ceiling, feet doing a happy dance, joy of seeing your article or story in print. No one that is, except another writer. And this is why every writer should have a writing buddy.
A writing buddy is a wonderful thing. They lift you up when you are down and celebrate your accomplishments with you. They give encouragement when you are discouraged and a (figurative) kick in the seat of the pants when you need it. Stuck for a word…ask your writing buddy. I bet she will know just the right one. Not sure if a scene is moving the story along….send it to your writing buddy. He will tell you the truth…and maybe make some great suggestions. Need an idea…chat with your writing buddy. Amazing ideas just seem to flow when writers get together. Looking for a new market place…check with your writing buddy. She just may know the perfect place to send that story. Does your dialogue sound real? Try it out on your writing buddy. You’ll get some great feedback.

But there are no writers in my neighborhood you say? So aim for a writer across the country or maybe in completely different one. The internet is a wonderful tool for the writer. Not only can you find just about any fact or myth you want, it is a great way to meet writers from all across the world.

Writing buddies can be found in writer groups and writing based chat rooms. Author websites often have message boards and genre sites usually have chat rooms also. Please use caution and don’t give out your home address and phone numbers to strangers though.

Now, what to look for in a writing buddy? I believe a writing buddy should be someone you would be friends without the writing connection. Having writing in common is essential but it takes more than just a love of writing to form a strong bond. Make a list of some things you would like. Does it matter if male or female? What genre should she write in? If you can’t stand horror and that is what she writes, then you wouldn’t be able to fulfill the responsibility of critiquing her work. Same thing if you write romance and she abhors it. A writing buddy should also be someone who is close to, or above you in ability and writing level. A beginning writer will not be the same help and support as a published and/or experienced writer. Speaking of new and beginning writers…let me say this. We were all newbies at one time and there is nothing wrong with being a beginner. If possible, find an experienced writer who will agree to be a mentor. They have been where you are and made the same mistakes. They can help you avoid them and smooth out the rough road to success a bit. And you older, more experienced writers… find a newbie to mentor. They will be very appreciative. I have a wonderful writing mentor and will always be grateful for the things she has taught me.

When you have a possible candidate for writing buddy…don’t jump into the relationship full steam ahead. Take some time to get to know each other. First impressions aren’t always accurate. Meet in a chat room and email back and forth, give the relationship a chance to grow naturally.

Every writing buddy relationship needs ground rules. My buddy and I use Gmail chat to keep in contact along with email and a chat room. If our status is set to “Busy” we can still send a message but the “busy” individual has the option to ignore it (with no hard feelings) until later. We always give constructive critiques of each other’s work and if needed, suggestions to improve. We always remember that critiques are just an opinion and never take them personal. We respect each other, not only as writers but as individuals and don’t take advantage of our friendship. When brainstorming ideas together, we don’t get greedy and keep all the good ones to ourselves. Our ground rules are fairly simple and very flexible but they work for us. Consider what guidelines will work for you. Do you only want to contact each other at preset times? Should you check with the other before sending work for them to look over? How much time do you want to involve yourself with your buddy?

Being and having a writing buddy is a big responsibility. It requires a commitment from both individuals. Work is required to maintain the relationship but the reward is….dare I say, “priceless”.

Need a writing buddy?  Check out StoryCrafters

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've been doing a lot of revision this week so here's some links to make that revision easier.

10 Helpful Editing Tips

Fiction Editing

Line Editing in 10 Easy Steps

And some inspiration to get you started...  Great Books Aren't Written, They're Mutilated and Pieced Back Together in Groundbreaking Intensive Surgery

Even if you aren't revising something big, these are some nice tips that apply to short stories also.

 "Good novels are not written, they are rewritten. Great novels are diamonds mined from layered rewrites.’"

 Piers Paul Read

Monday, February 1, 2010

Special Guest Post

Today we have a guest post.  Hope you enjoy.

Wolf Althuis is an up and coming writer living in Southwest Idaho. His work is currently gracing the desks of editors around the nation and will soon be in print. Just ask him. Check out his blog at The Wulver's Stane. 


If you hang around a writers group long enough you’re bound to hear a million questions. One of my favorite questions to hear is this…

You thought up what?! Where did that come from?

Not only is it a good question, but it’s one I find infinitely entertaining. Otherwise I wouldn’t be a writer. So where do we get our ideas and how on earth do you take one and make it into a story?

The simple response is you ask questions. A LOT of questions.

Take for instance a common day object, lets say a pen. Why a pen? Because it was the first thing I saw when I looked away from the screen. :o) So what? A pen is boring how can this turn into a story? Lets see.

Why is this pen important? Is it a normal pen? Obviously not . Ok then what makes it special? Is it sentient? No, too many talking pens out there. Is it magic? No, again to common. Is it about to murder that lying S.O.B. of a boss? Hmmm. Sure.

Ok so now we know the story is about a boss who gets murdered. That leads to a number of question. Who is doing the killing? Apparently an underling. Or maybe the spouse of an underling, or even more disturbing perhaps the child of an underling. :o) I like it. It’s creepy and not your normal murderer. But for PC reasons lets say the child is an adult.

Alright why would an adult child want to kill his parents boss? Did the boss fire the parent? Maybe, lets keep that one on the shelf. Did the boss kill the parent? No, to expected, tit for tat and all. Did the boss seduce the parent and break up the family? No, too many broken family stories out there for my taste.

Lets go back to firing.

Why would that be grounds for murder? The child is an adult so why do they need their parents to be employed? Are they mentally challenged and cant support themselves? Maybe. Are they fully competent but can’t get a job due to the economy? I like that one. Its something everyone can relate to, especially now.

So why would a fully competent man kill his fathers boss? Perhaps he has a family of his own that won’t survive… Nah. There’s too much help to keep food on the table. Maybe his marriage is in trouble and his wife is gonna leave him if money isn’t coming in. Sure lets do that

How, if she’s like that, would the father have been giving the money to the son? Maybe the son was working for the father? Or perhaps the two were keeping up the facade that the son never lost his job and now its gonna come out? Alright.

So now we have a Man who has been forced to lie to his wife to stay together. And all the stress from being jobless, lying to the wife, and being forced to take charity from his father have just culminated in the collapsing of his act and imminent failure of his marriage. He snaps and targets the perceived cause of it all. The boss(Maybe father and son worked at the same firm?) and decides to kill the S.O.B with his own lavish fountain pen.

All from looking at a Bic pen and asking questions. Granted its not the best story seed, but it gives you an idea of where all this comes from. Just keep the idea net open and keep asking questions.

Here's to Monday...

I don't know about you, but it really helps me get more accomplished when I have some sort of plan.  Whether it's a simple "to do" list or a more indepth breakdown of things to get done and deadlines, I really need something to help keep things in order.

And it just so happens that a really cool link showed up on Twitter this weekend.  Finish What You Write: Show Up as Your Own Project Manager   I'll be applying some of the tips from it this week.

Here's another you might be interested in.  It's a Daily Journal program that's free, though they would like a donation.

Routines for Writers offers Ten Ways to Write Everyday.

And lastly, from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, Seven Habits of Highly Effectual Authors.

So, how do you keep your writing projects organized and moving forward?