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

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

National Audiobook Month

June is National Audiobook Month, when hundreds of retailers encourage people to give listening to books a try. These businesses run various promotions and discounts to get more listeners interested in the format.

The Audiobook Publishers Association has spearheaded audiobook month for a number of years. Audible, Kobo audiobooks, Google Play Books, Storytel, Scribd, Audiobooks.com, and dozens of others offer audiobooks. 

Did you know you could access complete audiobooks for FREE on YouTube?

To learn more about the history of this celebration check out: Audiobook Appreciation Month 2023

Have you tried an audiobook? Which are your favorites? When do you listen to them?

Monday, May 22, 2023

April Scribbler Box: Improvisation

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. I was pleasantly surprised, and you can read about that box by clicking the tabs below.

So, I decided to try one more time since the April box was a double issue.

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/

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 "Writer on Board" magnet, a rainbow scribbler bookmark, a burlap "Write On" pencil pouch, a cookie dough snack, and this month's TWO featured novels (see picture above).

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for the featured author and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: Sarah Russo, founder of PAGE ONE media, a boutique literary publicity and marketing firm. The collectible 'Writing Passport' with the featured author discussing the theme of "Improvisation" was included with not one, but two books.



Also named one of the BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by Vanity Fair, Time, NPR, The Guardian, Oprah Daily, Self, Vogue, The New Yorker, BBC, Vulture, and many more!


From one of the most celebrated writers of our time comes an “inventive, effervescent” (Oprah Daily) novel about the memory and quest for authenticity and human connection.

The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is forty, with four kids, restless, and desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—which allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes.

In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter, and a chapter of tweets. Intellectually dazzling, 
The Candy House is also a moving testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for connection, family, privacy, and love.

This timely, moving debut novel follows a teen's efforts to keep his family together as his parents face deportation.

Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they're hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family's worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents' fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, all as he's forced to question what it means to be an American.

Daniel Aleman's 
Indivisible is a remarkable story—both powerful in its explorations of immigration in America and deeply intimate in its portrait of a teen boy driven by his fierce, protective love for his parents and his sister.

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

Monday, May 15, 2023

Annual Faust Sonnet Contest Deadline Fast Approaching

The "Faust Sonnet Contest" is now accepting submissions.

There is no entry fee, and the sonnets may be written in Shakespearean, Petrarchan, Spenserian, or non-traditional form. Only previously unpublished sonnets are eligible. 

Each entrant may submit one to three sonnets, maximum, with sonnets to be received no later than June 1, 2023. Cash prizes total $2,000.  When you visit the site, you can review the winning entries from the last few years. For more information, visit http://www.sonnetcontest.org/

Not sure how to write a sonnet? Try reviewing these guidelines, tips, and examples: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/sonnet-examples.html

Have you ever written a sonnet? Does this seem like something you might want to try?

Monday, May 8, 2023

Submission and Reading Opportunities for Veterans, Graduates, and More

It's May, that time of year for high school and college graduations, as well as honoring our Veterans.  It's also an opportunity to enjoy some extra time reading, or prepare a submission for a few anthology calls:

1) Southeast Missouri State University Press and the Warriors Arts Alliance have joined together once again to create the 12th volume in a series of anthologies about military experiences. The deadline for this issue is May 19, 2023. They accept fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, essays, and interviews. I was fortunate enough to be included in the second volume with my interview of award-winning author Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried). For more information on supporting these great Americans or to learn more about the Proud to Be series: http://www.semopress.com/events/proud-to-be-writing-by-american-warriors/

2) Interested in a graduation flash fiction? Read mine here, or try writing your own. You can also see my list of 5 Books for Graduates.

3) Chicken Soup for the Soul has a call out for six different anthologies right now. To learn more, check out: https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

4) Challenge: Compose a letter of thanks to a soldier you do not know or donate books to the troops. For more ideas on how you can help: http://www.give2thetroops.org/

Have you ever written for veterans or graduates? Does this seem like something you might want to try?

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

IWSG: What inspires you?

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.

When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

MY ANSWER - So many things - music, emotion, conversation, nature, daydreaming, food... If you feel like you have "Writer's Block" - Exercise, read a book, watch a good movie, listen to great music, travel – anything that gets me away from the work and relaxed. Then I can return with a fresh mind and renewed energy.

How about you? What inspires your stories?