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

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

March Scribbler Box: Taking Chances

Some of you may remember a few years ago I tried a subscription box service called Scribbler. If you'd like to learn more about what attracted me to this service, or why I discontinued it after more than a year, please click the link in my "Labels" below.

However, a couple of times since cancelling I've given them another chance. The last time I did so was February 2022, and I was extremely disappointed. Yet, for some unknown reason I had an overwhelming need to try again for their fifth anniversary box. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic, maybe I was hoping for a surprise, or maybe I was simply going through withdrawals because it had been weeks since I'd stepped into an actual bookstore.

No matter the reason, I was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it is ironic that this month's theme is "Taking Chances".

First, for those who are not familiar with this service, you can pay a fee (one time, annually, or monthly) to receive shipments of "selected for you material" pertaining to writing. Touted as "The only subscription box for novelists - created by authors, for authors." The monthly box can be purchased for just $27.50 - $29.99. However, don't forget the additional ten dollars or so a month in shipping.

The website claims the box will help novelists do the three most important things: stay motivated, improve craft, and connect with writing professionals. Inside each box is - curated writerly gifts, a new release novel, a revision letter from an editor, an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional, and a collectible "writing passport" from a bestselling author. To learn more: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Two things I noticed upon receiving this latest box. First, the box had a slight change. It's still the same typical brown box with their logo and design. However, this month the text was in all white instead of the usual black. While that's not a huge deal for me, it was an interesting touch to celebrate an anniversary. The second thing I noticed upon opening the box was the missing confetti packing. This was a wonderful surprise for me. I've always hated the messy confetti packing strips. This time, they simply wrapped the items in a tissue paper sporting their logo.

Upon unwrapping the paper, instead of the customary writing exercise/contest postcard there was a card simply thanking me for continuing to support them. The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month include a shiny typewriter sticker, a "READ" pin with an interesting skeleton/guitar image, a magnet with a quote by Erasmus, a package of Gary Poppins popcorn, a waterproof notebook (yes, even the paper is supposed to be waterproof), this month's featured novel, and an individually published copy of a stand-alone prequel short story (see picture above).

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for this featured author, and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: Jill Marr, Literary Agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. I've met Jill Marr at a few conventions and always welcome a chance to hear her speak. The collectible 'Writing Passport' with the featured author discussing the theme of "Taking Chances" was included with not one, but two books by Beth Revis. Well, one novel and one stand-alone short story prequel. 

I was so excited to see this because I've been wanting to read this author for several months now following the recommendation of her work from several friends. I actually had her newest release in my Amazon cart.

From the 
New York Times bestselling author of multiple fantasy and science fiction novels, this new adventure is the perfect blend of history, fairy lore, and will-they-or-won't-they tension.

Emmi Castor grew up in a small town near Salem. Her home is centuries old, originally built by an ancestor renowned for witchcraft. Her grandfather converted the house into the Museum of Magic, collecting the arcane and putting it on display for all to see. But Emmi knows one thing for absolute certain…

Magic is not real.

But then a fae boy named Puck appears inside her house, the broken remains of a centuries-old witch bottle at his feet. At nearly the same time, a Hunter arrives on her doorstep, weapons drawn. Ghostly shadows call to her from the mirror, and Emmi’s grandfather is missing—perhaps kidnapped by nefarious fae, perhaps victim to the those who prey on magic.

History hides the truth.

Puck tells Emmi that she has the power to protect magical beings. He’s fae, but he’s also her only ally, and together, they explore the real-life history of witchcraft mingled with the unknown influence of the fae. Emmi must reconstruct the witch bottle, save her grandfather, and maybe even fall in love…but she has to be careful.

You can never trust the fae.

This is truly a story told like no other--the author wrote the text one chapter at a time in conjunction with reader votes, dice roles, tarot card pulls, and other forms of chance! The end result is a fun, unexpected romp where you never know what will happen next...but other than the fictional main characters, all the history and lore in the book is based on real events, archives, and texts.

What about you? Have you read anything from this author? Do you subscribe to any boxing services? What do you recommend? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Monday, March 20, 2023

14+ Spring Writing Opportunities

It's finally Spring, the busiest time of year for my family. It's also the time of year when many submission calls are open, and deadlines are fast approaching. 

1) Chicken Soup for the Soul: https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics - This is one company I have experience with and will continue to recommend. They always have a call out for multiple topics. They also pay fairly well in both cash and contributor copies. If you are interested in writing creative nonfiction, please check out the link above.

2) THE EVERY ANIMAL PROJECT https://www.everyanimalproject.com/contact/ -
Deadline March 31, 2023 We are currently accepting submissions around the theme of courageous animals for our first anthology, debuting in December 2023, The Dog Who Wooed at the World. Stories should explain how an animal’s bravery inspired and moved you. Stories must be true (non-fiction). They must relate to non-human animals (of any species) and can be about your personal experiences/growth because of an animal, an issue threatening animals today, or other aspects of the human/non-human animal relationship. One winning author will receive a $300 prize, and the second place author will receive $200. All other authors with stories chosen for the book will receive a $50 award, along with a free copy of the book upon its publication in 2023 a week before its release to the general public. Stories not chosen for the book will have the opportunity to be featured online on the blog, with a $20 award. Please keep your submission roughly between 500 and 3,000 words.

3) SEJONG WRITING COMPETITION https://www.sejongculturalsociety.org/writing/current/sijo.php -
NO ENTRY FEE NOTED. Deadline March 31, 2023. Divisions: adult division (age 19 and older) and pre-college division (age 18 and younger). Write one sijo in English on a topic of your choice. A title for the sijo is not required. Adult division: First ($1,000), Second ($750), Third ($500). Pre-college division: First ($500), Second ($400), Third ($300). Honorable mention (for both divisions listed above): Friends of Pacific Rim Awards ($50 each). (Thanks to 

4) THE FOLEY POETRY CONTEST https://americamedia.submittable.com/submit -
NO ENTRY FEE NOTED. Deadline March 31, 2023. Submit one poem of 45 lines or fewer. Poems should not be under consideration elsewhere. Poems may address any topic. The winning poem will be announced in early June and published in the print edition of America. The cash prize is $1,000. Three runners-up will also be published in subsequent issues.

5) BAEN FANTASY ADVENTURE AWARD https://www.baen.com/contest-faa -
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline April 30, 2023. Write and submit a short story of no more than 8,000 words. It must be a work of fantasy, though all fantasy genres are open, e.g. epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, contemporary fantasy, etc. The grand prize winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at industry-standard rates for professional story submittals. The author will also receive a handsome engraved award and a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books. Second place winner will receive a prize package containing $500 of free Baen Books. Third place winner will receive a prize package containing $300 of free Baen Books.

6) The First Line: https://www.thefirstline.com/ - Accepting fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, the next available deadlines are May 1, August 1, and November 1. Please click the link above to learn more.

7) FLASH 500 COMPETITION:     http://www.flash500.com/ - This is an annual set of three competitions for 500 words or less - in the categories of flash fiction, short story, and novel opening! This quarterly open-themed competition has closing dates of March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31. The results will be announced within six weeks of each closing date and the three winning entries each quarter will be published on this website. Entry fee: £5 for one story, £8 for two stories. Optional critiques: £15 per story. The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, including non-UK entrants. Only manuscripts which are within the 500-word limit will be accepted. Entries must be in English.

8) FURIOUS FICTION https://www.writerscentre.com.au/furious-fiction/ -
NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline quarterly. Your story must OPEN with a 12-word sentence. Your story must be 500 words or fewer (hyphenated words and contractions each count as just one word) and the winning story will earn its talented author $500AU. Maximum 500 words – hyphenated compounds count as just one word. This contest is open to anyone in the world. But you must be 17 or older to enter and you can only enter ONCE per competition round. On each competition weekend, we’ll reveal a set of story prompts and you’ll have 55 hours to submit your best story of 500-words (or fewer).

9) MONTHLY SHORT STORY CONTEST https://shortstory.substack.com/p/coming-soon - Deadline the end of each month. Winner chosen by the 15th of the following month. Their missioin is to revive the art of the short story, support artists, and produce something wonderful. The winner each month receives $100 for the chosen story plus half of subscription revenue to be sent by Paypal, Zelle, or check. For example, the  payout for Jan should be $225 or higher. Send submission to shortstorystack@gmail.com. Reprints are fine. Word limit ranges from only six words to as much as 10,000 words. Only the winner will be published and rights will only transfer for the winning story. 

10) EATON LITERARY AGENCY SHORT STORY/ARTICLE AWARD http://www.eatonliterary.com/submissions.htm - A $3000 prize will be awarded to the winner of our short story and article program, open to any unpublished short story or nonfiction work less than 10,000 words. 

11) WERGLE FLOMP HUMOR POETRY CONTEST https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/wergle-flomp-humor-poetry-contest-free - Deadline April 1, 2023. First Prize: $2,000 plus a two-year gift certificate from our co-sponsor, Duotrope (a $100 value). Second Prize: $500. Honorable Mentions: 10 awards of $100 each. Top 12 entries published online. Length limit: 250 lines maximum. No restriction on age of author. Both unpublished and previously published work accepted. Authors from all countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US government restrictions). The poem you submit should be in English. 

12)  BRILLIANT FLASH FICTION WRITING CONTEST https://brilliantflashfiction.com/2023/01/01/lets-be-brilliant/Deadline April 15, 2023. Limit 500 words. First prize $200. Second prize $100. Third prize $50. Shortlisted stories receive publication and $20. One entry per author. Open to writers worldwide, no age requirement. Fiction only, please. No poetry or essays.

13) Thrill of the Hunt Anthology #9- Paranormal Paradox: Submissions | PALMAS PUBLISHING (palmaspress.com) - Deadline August 1, 2023. Premise: The world has been through hell. Millions dead and millions more still sick and dying. What if the pandemic did something to us? What if the vaccine the government provided changed us at the cellular level? What if those who died came back?

14) Hellbound http://www.hellboundbookspublishing.com/subs-anthologies.html - Deadlines of various horror poetry, short stories and novels from now through the end of summer.

What about you? Is this a particularly busy time for you? Are there any great books we should read? How about great submission opportunities?

Monday, March 13, 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day

March 17 is the traditional day to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. If you're interested in participating, but not quite sure how, check out this article I shared a couple of years ago: Irish Classics, Prompts, and Party Tips.

Feeling Lucky? Check out the post about where I and a few other writers get their inspiration: https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2022/03/feeling-lucky.html

Some additional educational and fun holiday ideas include:

  • Streaming Irish jigs and songs.
  • Watching traditional Irish dance on YouTube or chrome cast to your TV.
  • Adding green food dye to your short bread cookie recipes.
  • Sewing or gluing crazy Green Irish hats, ties or belts using felt, ribbons, or fabrics.
  • Cooking Irish Stew, scones and clotted cream or butter from scratch or from cans. 
  • Telling Irish fables about leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold, or gnomes.
  • Reminding your children about the “kiss of the blarney” and the folkloric tradition known today as “the gift of the gab”.
  • Research the real St. Patrick.

How about you? Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day? How are you spending this time?

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

2023 A to Z Challenge

It's nearly time for the 2023 "A to Z Blogging Challenge".

Important Dates for 2022

Mar 12 - Theme Reveal OPEN
Mar 18 - Theme Reveal CLOSES
Mar 26 – Master List OPENS — officially sign up for the challenge
April 1 - 30 Posts for this challenge.
April 8 - Master List CLOSES
May 1 - Reflections OPEN
May 6 - Reflections CLOSES
May 15- Road Trip starts

For more information, or to sign up for the challenge check the website where you can find all things A to Z related. Click here to visit and receive updates.

Unfortunately, I won't have time to participate this year. I'm working two jobs, trying to complete another degree, and still find time for my family and their events.

How about you? Have you participated in this challenge before? Will you be participating in this year's challenge?

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

IWSG: Author Envy

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.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive. Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

 Have you ever read a line in a novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

MY ANSWER - Yes, frequently. I'm often envious of beautiful lines and unique scenes I come across in poetry, novels, and plays. Sometimes that envy is for a classic such as all of Jane Austen's work, and sometimes it's for an as yet undiscovered author, like some of the students I work with in high school and college. A strong voice and moving scene can be found in many places if you only look for it.

How about you? Have you read anything especially moving lately?