Saturday, October 22, 2011

Report From Cloud Nine

I'm thrilled to announce that my short story collection Somewhere Between What Was and What Will Be (or What Is--as quick witted friend Bill Spencer joked) is slated for publication in the fall of 2012 from Press 53.

I'm excited to be attending Press 53's annual Wine & Words Festival tonight (Oct 22n) where Kevin Watson will be announcing the winners of their annual Open Awards Contest and debuting the 2012 Open Awards Anthology. A couple of my friends-- Debbie Daniel and Kristen Sherman--were finalist in areas of that contest Congrats!

I've been a fan of Press 53 for some time and I'm honored to soon be one of the authors in their house. Many thanks!

In other news, you may know about this site, but if not, I happened upon a contest site called Just a Contest that lists all manner of competition in many different categories. Take a look at that.

I was pleased to see my old friends Saturday Writers have a contest listed there. Check them out and pass that on to your friends.

The weather is getting chilly and for this warmblooded creature, that means outdoor activities are about to get limited. So I'll be taking that indoor time to write and check out that contest site. I hope you will too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Keeping the Morning Glories off my Desk

The morning glories look so pretty, the way they have crept up the tomato stakes, covered over the low lying zucchini, and are now making advance up the porch railing. The white and purple blooms of neglect make it easy to shrug my shoulders and pretend I meant it that way.

It's been too hot to weed, too hot to cook, too hot to care that it's all going to waste. But it's been just the right temperature to stay inside in the a/c and write. Just perfect for haunting the publishing sites for submission deadlines and contest dates.

So, yeah--I've harvested a total of two green peppers, five tomatoes, and one big fat zucchini from garden that has yielded much much more to the ground, but I've been writing, submitting, entering, getting rejected--and yes, getting published too.

My garden is a bust, but the writing this season has been good. I've nothing to can for the winter, but plenty to chew on none the less.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ouch! (and check out this new blog)

Was is me who was going on about "if you're not being rejected, you're just not trying?" Well, I must be trying pretty hard, because I'm getting a daily dose of rejection to remind me of my effort.

Gotta say, it's a bummer.

Ah well, such is the writing biz. I keep lobbing them out there and they keep going foul. Or some other misquoted sports analogy. :-)

Bright spot--In about a weeks time, I'm headed up to Wildacres Writers Workshop. I've been going there for 15 years or more. My husband and I met there, so it's always a time of reconnection for us. But writing wise, it's a time of rejuvenation for me. With kids and housework, a (very) part time job, and life in general--it's nice to get a week of devoted thinking and writing time.

I'm taking a novel that I'm excited about this year to work on a "final" ha ha draft before I query it up and send it out.

Wish me luck.

One of my dearest friends from Wildacres, Gary Floyd, has started a new blog that you should check out. I admit, I'm not always up on whats up in the real world-but he is and I'm excited about learning a thing or two from his blog.

Check it out! Labor's Pains the working class in this new economy.

Well, hang in there if you're getting rejected, and if you're not--jump in, the water is fine.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Solitary Confinement

Does it ever feel like writing is akin to being held in solitary confinement? Nothing but you, your imagination and a rock to scratch a note on the wall in the hopes that someone, anyone, will hear what you have to say?

Ok, that's a little melodramatic, but writing can be pretty lonely if you let it.

I had someone recently ask me to post some more links to contests and such--stating that they were new to all this writing biz. So that got me thinking about a couple pieces of advises that I'll join together.

I've been spending the last week alone in the bedroom (where my internet access computer is) hunting up agents for novels and markets for short stories, while out in the world it's a sunny day--and Saturday today to boot.

I suggest that if your schedule and circumstance will allow it--take a field trip every now and then. Get out of your hole--where ever it is that you write--and go to your local free Wi-Fi access haunt and spend the day out in the world. You may not actually talk to the folks you see--but seeing them is nice.

So if your writing plan (and I suggest you make some--more on that later) for the day is searching for markets, head out to a bookstore, coffeehouse,what have you, get a cup of coffee (or six) and plug in to something like newpages or duotrope and take some time to research markets. You may also find copies of some of these mags depending on the bookstore.

I like each of these sites for different reasons. Duotrope has a feature that lets you customize you search if say--you're low on funds and looking only for places that accept online submissions. The downfall here is that when you limit your search--well, you limit your search.

Newpages on the other hand requires a bit more plow through but as you're searching and paying more attention to the websites it leads you to, other avenues such as contests and chapbook presses and so forth cross your path.

This is why I say to plan to spend some time and make that time enjoyable. We tend to put alot of effort into the writing and no as much into the publishing and what that gets you is very much like the rock scratchings on the prison wall. They could be brilliant--but who will ever know.

So, since your goal is put your writing out in the world--spend some time out there yourself. Don't let yourself get distracted, you're there to work--but a change in senery can motivate you.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's Getting Hot in Here

If I can keep focus that is. Was it Poe who said that writing success was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration?

I may have the numbers and the name wrong, but the idea is spot on.

I've been writing for 20 years. Off and on mind you--around college and kids and moves and career changes. But if I'm honest with myself it's been more off than on and more my own laziness that has seen that many years go by without the success that might have been.

Suffice it to say--I've yet to break sweat.

I've done ok, for not trying all that hard--nearly a dozen stories in print. Not a bad showing. But I haven't really tried to get my longer pieces on paper (that didn't come out of my own printer that is.)

So, now that I don't have a full time job (other than wife, mother, housekeeper etc) to blame for my lack of time--I really have no excuse not to turn up the heat.

At least I'll be able to say I tried.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

They can't tell you "no" if you didn't ask

Ah the joy of rejection. Just checked my e-mail to find a thanks but no thanks. A long time ago I used to get really bummed out when a story was passed on. These days I think of it as proof that I'm trying.

When I was in college at ECU, the best teacher I ever had, Luke Whisnant, brought in a shoebox full of little slips of paper. He passed it around and had us all look through his little box of rejection. There were form letters, letters with handwritten notes, letters with just "NO" written across the top...all sorts of "thanks but no thanks."

His reason for bringing this in was to show us that all writers get rejected on their road to publication. Every no in that box was an attempt.

If you're not getting rejected then you're not really trying. Now, that's not to say that I don't feel a flicker of disappointment when a magazine I thought might take one of my stories doesn't, but it's just a flicker. I don't take it as evidence that the story isn't worthy and that I'm no good at this thing.

Luke found homes for all those stories. All those the magazines that where represented in that box were just names of places that didn't jump at the chance to be part of his resume. And that's ok.

It's ok for me too. One magazine down, hundreds to go.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To cast or not to cast

I asked a writer friend of mine once how she had gotten so much in print so fast. Of course, her work is amazing and deserves to be printed. But alot of folks are good writers and yet their stuff never sees the light of day.

She said, in words that I'm paraphrasing, that she cast a big net. She submitted like it was going out of style and she had a shit load of it left. Her advise though, was to be careful. She said she had gotten some things printed that in hindsight, she wasn't thrilled with. Whether she meant the story or the publication (likely some of both) I don't know.

But of late, I've tried to take this to heart a bit. I have a tendency to let time get away from me. I will look back over a submissions list and see that it's been nearly a year since I sent out "this" and even longer since I sent out "that."

I've been making myself put ass to chair and read and research and send things out. I've gotten a couple of things printed this that i've been submitting (randomly) for a long time and one that I had just finished.

Thanks to the popularity of online submitting, I've gotten loads more out than when it cost paper, ink, and postage.

But, as I edit an online journal myself and therefore, only take electronic subs myself--I see the downfall here as well. It's darn easy to cast a line with the wrong bait on it.

When I was putting out money to print and send, I was careful about how I used those funds. Since online it free, it's tempting to just send your stuff out everywhere and see what happens. This can be a dangerous thing. And what a pain in the ass for the editors.

I see that in my own journal. I get alot of great stuff and alot of stuff that was cast out in a big net with no thought. It overloads my inbox and makes it hard to give everyone the through read that they deserve.

So my advise, find a happy medium. Don't let time get away from you. Submit and then submit again. Take youre time and make good choices. Dont' contribute to mass mailing and overloaded editors. What's it's costing you could be a chance to be read and published.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Midlife Crisis and loving it

I'll be 40 in less than a year. Midlife crisis time, eh? Should I buy a sports car or date a younger man? I don't think my husband would approve of either of those. So instead I had another baby, quit my job, and decided to focus full time on promoting my husband's biz and my own writing career.

Life is full of new beginnings--and thank God for it. How boring would this all be without those twist and turns.

I've had two stories come out this month. One in Saltwater Quarterly and one in
Quite Curious Literature. Check out those two markets.

I'm full steam ahead with Blue Lotus Review and proud to say that we're on our third issue.

I'm enjoying the time to connect with my children and to make writing my full time job (along with laundry and dinner and the garden and the dishes, and .... )

I couldn't be happier. And besides, I can't fit three kids in a sports car.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So Now I'm Back From Outerspace

I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face....ok, that may or may not be the words... point is GOOD LORD it's been almost a year since I wrote anything here. When last I stopped in I was

working on getting an online magazine launched--check

going back to school--nope!

pregnant and didn't know it--check
baby boy due March 16 2011

So now I'm off work till baby comes and knee deep in the nesting phase (cleaning out closets and cabinets and making way for a new little life) I'm surprised to be 39 and starting the baby game again but excited beyond belief.

I've been putting tush to chair and writing everyday which I'm glad about as well. Getting some old stories in shape and sending them out into the world and even working on a little guilty pleasure novel that is worlds away from what I usually do, but fun as all get out to write.

Anyway....I'm trying to get back to some of the things that I love and have been ignoring because of work and procrastination.

We'll see how it goes.