Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Ok, I'm having to retrain my fingers to hit the right keys and click the right icons, but I'm remembering MAC. He's coming back to me. He's holding out a bit, asking for passwords I don't have as the secondhand user of his keyboard. But, I'll get that password my pretty... or else I won't and I'll just not be able to print. Such is life.

Ok, here's some writing info for today:

This is a great site to tool around. Info enough to keep you busy. Wait, you're not a woman. Ok, dudes, here's something for you:

This has nothing to do with writing, but was suggested to me by a writer. It's weird and funny and all kinds of wrong.


Monday, May 11, 2009

My office is locked & how to steal from your friends

RIP e-Machine, circa 2006

Alas, I am not the Fonze. I cannot knock it here or tap it that and I have not enough 'tude to toss any longer to make it come on. My computer is dead. I am left with only a laptop with no software and no way to load any because the disk drive doesn't work and no way to download any because it will not allow connections to any sites other than Yahoo and wack-a-doo central.

So, I am waiting till this weekend when a gracious family member has offered me an old Mac in my state of need. I started out as a Mac, but then became a PC, but I'll use an XYZ, a ING, a TLC, I don't care, so long as I can write.

I will not be thwarted! now--on to the writing tip of the day!

Ok, my tip today. Steal from your friends. Their ideas? No!! Their research. One of the most important things about getting your work published is finding the right place to submit it. You have to take the time to look at old issues, or go online and look at excerpts and read about the magazine...all that jazz to determine if what you have to "sell" is what they "buy."

But where to start? There are hundreds, yet thousands of places to submit. One thing I like to do is look at the credits of writers I admire. Where did they publish? Is that somewhere that I would like to see myself in print? I use their credits as a "short list" if you will. A way to whittle down the haystack.

Here's a writer I love as a person and who is a force to be reckoned with as a writer. She and I have been in the same journals in the past. I know her taste is good. So I took her credits and researched those mags. I found a few that I thought were a good fit for me and submitted. I got some rejections. But I also got a bite! Spring 2009 issue picked up one of me stories.

So, go forth and steal. Don't know anyone. Steal from me. Feel free to look at my website, steal from my "short list" of lit mags and see if any of them are a fit for your work. Then submit! You might get a bite.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Adventures in Computer Disaster & the advice that changed my query letters

I'm sure to misquote this, but once again Helen Keller is spot on as far is my life is concerned--"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

Ok, maybe computer failure does not constitute anything daring on my part, but it certainly was tempting to toss the lastest busted up piece of technology out the window it sits beside. I already have a laptop that is good only for unwanted pop-ups on an internet connection that connects to nothing but Yahoo and several wack-a-do websites that my husband frequents.

Now, a "something electrical is burning" comment turns out to refer to the other computer that was already "tricky" at best. I didn't panic when I tried to turn it on and nothing happended. I've been there before. Instead I looked for "some button" on the back that I might press and press again. "Voila."

So now I feel a bit like The Fonze. If I knock it here, tap it there, and toss a bit of 'tude, I can make it come on. I will not be thawted in my attempts to force my writing on the general public--or the small portion of it I happen to have within my grasp.

So, step into my office....I have some advice that changed the way I write a query

Check this out: (didn't have it linked last time) (ditto) This is a new zine coming out in the Asheville area, although you don't have to be from there to submit. I have no idea if it will be the best thing to hit the streets around here or something that we never see again after the first issue, but just as I was wondering "does Asheville have a lit mag" given all the other artisitic endeavors around here, I saw an ad for submissions. It comes out in June.

GREAT ADVICE ALERT! I just saw Kevin Watson speak at Malaprop's last month and really took alot away from his talk. His best advice to this modest gal: "Your query letter is not the place to be modest." Lay it out, tell me who you know, where you have connections, what you've done and what you want to do. If I take you on, we're going to have this conversation

So I did, I sent a letter to him and name dropped, plugged myself and my website, , talked about my writing goals and ambitions and got a chance to send him some stories.

He said also, that even at the big houses, the days of publisher funded and arranged book tours are all but over. Houses of any size want you to promote yourself and them. They want you to work for it. So start working. Get a website. Easy: google, create a website and take your pick. Start a blog.

And don't be thawted!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Places to submit

Ok, this blog has been pretty random of late--much like life really. But I'm soon to recieve a gift computer later this month and will be back from outer space.

I will be posting new contests and places to submit fiction and poetry and the like. I will also post info about local readings and events of interest, so if you're in the Asheville area or want to be for the day, check here to see what's going on. You'll find conference info and the like. I'll talk about books I love and hate and why. You never know what you'll see here.

Just a tidbit for today (computer will not be up and running on a daily basis until mid May.)

This is a pretty well known site--but if you don't already know it:

This is a great list of lit mags and so forth--new and old. There are direct links to websites and more.

Always the best place to see local and even national authors is Malaprops here in Asheville. Check them out at

Ok, so stay posted and if you're raeding this, please pass it along to someone. You never know who out there is writing or wanting to and what piece of info or inspiration is just what they needed to take the next step in their writing career.