"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, March 28, 2016

Four More Days!

In just four days we will begin the SEVENTH A to Z challenge!

There are already nearly 1600 participants signed up. Are you one of them? Interested in learning more? Still need to join? Visit here.

My theme will be "interviewing." Do you have a theme?

See you on April 1st for the letter A!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter and Theme Update

You've spoken, and I'm listening. The majority of comments left and private messages received were requesting that I spend the "A to Z" challenge discussing interviewing - how I teach interviewing, my favorite interview subjects, what I've learned, ones that have inspired me personally, etc. Therefore, my posts in April will all relate to interviewing in some way. I hope you'll stop by to say hi!

I'll be back after Easter. I hope you enjoy a beautiful weekend with friends, family, and fun.


Monday, March 21, 2016

WIN and A to Z Theme Reveals

Happy Theme Reveal Day!

First, Yolanda Renee is hosting me on her blog today and asking a few questions about my upcoming release "WIN". If you have a chance, stop by and say hi here.

And now, today is the great "A to Z Theme Reveal"! If you'd like to participate, you can sign up here.

I have to admit, I haven't decided on my theme yet. I fear becoming too repetitive so I thought I would let you choose a topic, or several. I can focus on interviewing, nonfiction, fiction, writing in general, teaching, or continue a theme from several years ago where I supplied a devotional each day. So, there you have it: you can choose one of the above, or recommend your own.

What do you choose?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Water Break - Part II

I've posted a science fiction writing challenge over at the Parallels blog today. If you'd like to participate, go here.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our community, sending warm wishes, and even donating. I took this picture of the street behind mine today:

My house is about 3 - 6 feet higher, so I think we'll be fine. Officials are expecting the water to crest tonight. However, not far from here:

Interstate Highway 10 between Texas and Louisiana has been closed down due to the flooding:

Officials are still struggling to make sure everyone is out of the danger zones, and the rains will be returning today:

If you'd like to learn more, the flooding is taking place in the Orange and Newton counties of Texas. Southwest Louisiana is having just as many problems if not more. You can search Starks and Vinton Louisiana to learn more there.

Continued prayers and donations are greatly appreciated!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Water Break

My apologies if I'm not around much this week. My kids are on Spring Break and we had hoped to enjoy the nicer weather. Unfortunately, due to recent downpours, and a release from the nearby dam, our county is starting to look like this:

At present, we are safe and dry, but the waters are still rising and the rain is supposed to return tomorrow. Prayers for my friends and family along the south Texas and Louisiana border please!

In the meantime, don't forget the "A to Z" theme reveal will happen next Monday. Over at the A to Z Blog, Alex Cavanaugh is talking about the importance of a theme for the Challenge. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Good Times

The past few days have been such a joy for me!

On Friday I had the opportunity to spend the day with third graders at a local school. We read several Dr. Seuss books and shared our love of reading, writing, and illustrating. The students were so well behaved, thoughtful, and had some great questions about becoming authors and illustrators. I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a school day.

On Saturday, I got to spend some time with a great writer, and even better friends. BJ Bourq spoke with one of my writers groups about westerns, mysteries, thrillers, and crime. His 25 plus years of experience in the field have given him a level of expertise that shines through in his writing. His sense of humor, and commanding demeanor make him an excellent speaker that I would recommend to any group. If you'd like to learn more, check out his website bjbourg.com

Any of my friends who've been paying attention, or read my blog last week, know I've been having a rough time lately. These two days of enjoying the craft with others has been a more than welcome respite. Thank you to everyone who continues to share this writing journey with me.

I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG: Feeling Overwhelmed

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

I've been feeling completely overwhelmed lately. A large number of obligations vying for my attention combined with stolen credit card information and thousands of dollars in fraudulant charges is enough to make anyone want to curl up in a corner and cry.

Needless to say, my writing has taken a back seat this past week. It's easy to let the writing go when life interferes, but then we are left with no output, and no income for it. So, how do we combat that possibility?

The only things we can do:

1) Take one thing at a time - start with what needs your most immediate attention. In my case, shutting off the credit card so no additional charges were made. Then meet promised deadlines and appearances, but don't make any additional plans until you feel more steady.

2) Learn from the hardships - relationships with agents, editors, or publishers can go sour. Learn from the experience. Realize you are dealing with human nature, then decide what you can do differently next time, or what you are willing to put up with in the future. Don't let the difficulties take the joy from your life.

3) Adjust your goals - prioritize with this new information and set of circumstances. What is most important to you? What do you want to happen now? Say goodbye to whatever is no longer important, set boundaries for what you keep, and rediscover the joy in everyday activities and relationships.

I hope your days are not so overwhelming, but when they are, how do you cope?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March Opportunities

March is finally here, and so is the new issue of Southern Writer's magazine.

This month features an interview I did with Wally Lamb. This bestselling author and Pushcart Prize winner has a new release coming out this year. If you'd like to learn more, check out this new issue here.

Looking for new submission opportunities? Try some of these:

Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize is run by Vermont-based journal Hunger Mountain. The winner receives US$1000 and publication. The judge of the 2016 prize is award-winning novelist, poet and playwright Janet Burroway. Stories may be up to 10,000 words in length and entries close on 1 March.
Puerto del Sol now in its 47th year of publication, is the journal of the English Department at New Mexico State University. It welcomes submissions of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, translations, artwork and criticism, as well as any interesting combinations thereof. Puerto del Sol’s current reading period closes on 1 March.
Glass Mountain is seeking fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry from undergraduates at any college or university. Submissions for the Spring 2016 issue, which has the theme ‘Growth’, close on 4 March.
Glastonbury Festival is seeking poets, wordsmiths, lyricists, spoken word artists, raconteurs, story tellers, stand-up poets and slam champs to perform on its poetry stage. Applications close 4 March.
Stockholm Review of Literature is an online publication that seeks to publish superlative literary fiction, poetry, essays and art, and undertakes to promote the writers and artists that produce it. Submissions received by 5 March will be considered for its thirteenth issue.
Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing is open to unpublished one-act plays from amateur playwrights. The winning writer will receive a £500 prize and The Windsor Fringe will underwrite the staging of the winner and the two runners-up with selected directors. Entries close 5 March.
Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers is open to Canadian writers aged under 35. Candidates should submit 5 – 10 pages (up to 2500 words) of previously unpublished fiction. First prize is CA$5000 and there is no entry fee. Entries close 7 March.
In Fact Books is seeking true stories for an anthology about siblings. The editors are seeking work that captures the complexities and comforts of sibling relationships and hope to represent the widest possible variety of sibling relationships—whether adoptive or biological, step or full, human or animal, one or many. Submissions close 7 March.
Room Creative Nonfiction Contest is open to until 8 March. Room is Canada’s oldest literary journal by and about women. The winner receives CA$500 and publication. The entry fee includes a one-year subscription to the magazine.
Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition is open to stories up to 2200 words in length and can be on any subject. The winner receives £2000 plus two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Tŷ Newydd Writers’ Centre and a day with a Virago editor. Women writers from all countries are eligible to enter. Closes 14 March.
Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction is offered each year by Colorado State University’s Center for Literary Publishing. The winner receives a US$2000 honorarium and the story is published in the fall/winter issue of Colorado Review. There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be at least 10 pages (or 2500 words) but no more than 50 pages (12,500 words). Entries close 14 March.
James Jones Fellowship Contest awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2016. Two runners-up will each receive $1000. Entries close 15 March.
Willow Springs Fiction Prize awards a first prize of $2000 and publication. There is no work limit and every entrants receives a subscription to Willow Springs. Closes 15 March.
Gigantic Sequins is a black & white print journal based in Philadelphia. It publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics and book reviews. The current reading period closes on 15 March.
Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize is awarded by Selected Shorts with partner Electric Literature. The judge of the prize in 2016 is T.C. Boyle. The winning entry will receive US$1000 and the work will be performed and recorded live at the Selected Shorts performance at Symphony Space, and will be published on electricliterature.com. The winning writer will also earn free admission to a 10-week course with Gotham Writers Workshop. Closes 15 March.
Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction offers a prize of US$1000 and the winner and many runners-up will be published in the Spring 2017 print edition of Bellingham Review. Entries close 15 March.
Missouri Review is looking for stories, poems, short audio documentaries and humor pieces for its 2016 Miller Audio Prize. A US$1000 prize will be awarded to the winner in each category. Closes 15 March.
Independent Legions Publishing is seeking original horror stories for the new eBook Anthology The Beauty of Death edited by Alessandro Manzetti. All types of horror are welcome but sex or violence in a story should be artistically justified; no excessive gore. Contributors will be paid US$100 for their work. Submission close on 30 March.
Fiction Desk’s Ghost Story Competition is open to all English-speaking writers aged 16 or over. First prize is £500, second is £250 and third prize is £100. All winners will also be published in a Fiction Desk anthology. Fiction Desk advises that ‘ghost story’ can mean a lot of different things, from an encounter with an actual phantom to more unusual paranormal phenomena and unexplained events. Entries close 31 March.
Scribe Publications is an independent publisher based in Melbourne, Australia. It publishes “narrative and literary nonfiction on important topics, and the best of local, international, and translated fiction.” Scribe is considering unsolicited submissions until 31 March.
Hugo House is located in Seattle, USA. Its writer-in-residence program offers a monthly stipend of $500 plus paid teaching opportunities, along with the time and space to complete a manuscript. Applications close 31 March.
Masters Review is accepting submissions for its printed anthology. The anthology is open to fiction and narrative nonfiction from emerging writers worldwide who have not yet published a novel-length work. The selected writers will each receive US$500, publication, and distribution to over 50 editors and agents.Submissions close 31 March.
Pennsylvania State University Altoona Campus English Program is taking applications for a one-semester teaching residency in poetry and playwriting/screenwriting. The program is targeted at early career writers, preferably without a published book.
Quotable is a quarterly print and online publication. Submissions are now open for its 21st issue on the theme ’Finale’. The editors are seeking flash fiction (up to 1000 words), short fiction (up to 3000 words), and creative non-fiction (up to 3000 words), as well as poetry and art. Submissions open on 1 February and close on 1 April.
Ploughshares is welcoming contributions to its book reviews series. The editors are open to a wide range of book subjects, and only ask that the books you choose to review be “literary” (i.e. not genre fiction), not written by your friends or family members, and published within the last four months.
Bateau Lit Mag is a letterpress publisher based in Northampton, Massachusetts. It produces high quality, well-designed, environmentally minded literary publications. Submissions for Bateau Lit Mag are encouraged from writers at all stages of their careers: age and previous publication are not considerations for eligibility.
Wrong Quarterly is a London-based literary magazine showcasing prose from both British and international writers. Its aim is to provide an inclusive platform for emerging writers worldwide. The Wrong Quarterly accepts fiction up to 8000 words and non-fiction up to 5000 words.
Bodega Magazine releases digital issues on the first Monday of every month, featuring poetry, prose, and occasional interviews by established and emerging writers. Submissions of  poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction are read year round and simultaneous submissions are accepted.
The Review Review is looking for new reviewers of literary magazines. Writers can express their interest by completing a form on their website and supplying two writing samples.