Thursday, October 28, 2010

Proper E-mail Etiquette

Song of the Day: Can't Take It by All American Rejects

    Hello All! As writers we are probably sending emails all the time. I'm sure we all send at least one email a day, whether we're querying an agent, sending an email for our "day job," or just sending an email to a friend. Yesterday I received a couple emails at the "day job" that I thought were very rude, so I thought this would be the perfect time to blog about proper e-mail etiquette (I usually do "Literary Magazine Limelight" but I was so fired up yesterday, that my voice needs to be heard today on this subject matter). Here are the basics for for constructing a business email.

1. Address the Recipient in the Email

     That means, "Dear Mr., Ms., Dr., etc. You can also change that to a company name or address a group as a whole. You should also end with a proper signature. For example:

Racquel Henry, Editor
The Black Fox Literary Review
1122 Black Fox Blvd.
Fox, FL. 33221
Phone: (123) 456-7891

2. Content

    Slang, nudity, sarcasm, jokes, degradation of an individual or group, and profanity are all things that should not be in a business email. Content should also be short and to the point. Stick to the facts.

3. Subject

    Always put an appropriate title in the subject line, so the recipient can identify exactly what the email is about.

4. Grammar

   You should always use the spell check then proof read your emails for grammatical errors, or anything the spell check wouldn't be able to pick up on.

5. Tone

    Be very careful with this one. You know how we read a piece of writing and often try to identify the tone? Same thing here. People will be able to tell if you're being sarcastic, if you're upset, if you're frustrated, etc. I was able to tell that the emails I received were just plain rude. Oh, and don't use all caps, because it implies that you're yelling. Select your words carefully.

    Email is by far one of the fastest ways to communicate. Almost all of us use them in our professional lives. It's easy to fall into the habit of treating them casually. However, when we use emails as a business tool, then we have to treat them accordingly. In any business setting, you must maintain a professional standard, regardless of your position.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World

Song of the Day: Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

   Hello all! I got a chance to attend the Florida Writers Conference this weekend and it was GREAT! There's something to be said about being around "My People!" I met so many wonderful writers, and in the coming weeks I'll be posting what I learned in the workshops. In the meantime, here's another round of opportunities. And please forgive me, but I only have a short list of contests today. I've got a million things going on this week and I'm sick! You understand right?


1. Lucid Hills Spring Short Story Contest:

   They are looking for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary non-fiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and non-fiction. Entries must be previously published and should be no longer than 15,000 words. First prize will win $500, second prize will win $200, and third prize will win $100. Ten finalists will also be chosen and awarded $25 each. The entry fee is $15 and the contest deadline is December 31, 2010. Visit the website for official rules.

2. James Knudsen's Editor's Prize

    Submissions must be original and previously unpublished works of fiction that total no more than 7500 words. One winner will receive $500 and publication in Bayou Magazine (The literary magazine at The University of New Orleans). Entry fee is $15 and the contest closes on December 31, 2010. See the website below for guidelines.

3. Nightboat Poetry Prize

    Nightboat books is looking for submissions of for the 2010 Nightboat Poetry Prize. The winning poet will receive $1,000, a standard royalty contract, and 25 free copies of the published book. Finalists will be considered for future publication. Please submit only unpublished, original work. Entry fee is $25 and the contest closes on November 15, 2010.

Don't forget about the Black Fox Literary Magazine's fiction contest going on now! I'll probably remind you about this until the deadline (Hey, I have to look out for my own!). Good luck and Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gearing Up for National Novel Writing Month- How You Should Prepare

Song of the Day: Watch Me Shine by Joanna Pacitti

   Hello all! I apologize to those of you who actually listen to the song of the day. I couldn't find the full version of the song. I didn't want to change the song because it's perfect for today and I always try and match the song to the mood of the post. If you still have a burning desire to listen to the whole thing (and I recommend it, because it's AMAZING) then check out the youtube link. 
    I've been reading some very helpful advice about preparing for National Novel Writing Month and thought I'd share them on this post. I came across an article on written by guest blogger Michelle Devon. Some of the points are silly, but I still found the majority of them helpful. Here are her tips:

1. Buy Lots of Coffee

    I actually don't drink coffee, but I have the feeling I might start during November. I wonder if this will actually work for me. I don't really function well due to lack of sleep. We shall see.

2. Buy a Shower Cap

    Devon says that you will need a shower cap to keep you from pulling out your hair. I must admit this scares me. Is it really that bad?

3. Lock up All Fire Arms

    According to Devon, this is in case you want to shoot your computer screen at 5am after no sleep and "a character decides to take the storyline in a whole new direction."

4. Buy Headphones

    You will need to drown out noisy people in your house, the coffee shops, etc.

5. At 11:59 pm on October 31- Promptly disregard and temporarily forget anything and everything 
    you have ever been taught about writing.

   This is the one piece of advice that I hear over and over. Writers are advised to "just write" and keep in mind that they are just supposed to produce a draft of their novel. Can I just say that I'm looking forward to this one? I know. That's probably easier said than done.

6. Learn How Not to Edit
   Again, easier said than done. Especially for the perfectionists out there.

All Fun and games aside, there are some things that I've read repeated by writers who have participated in the past. Here's what sticks out in my memory most.

1. Outline Your Novel

    An outline will give you a general direction of where your novel is going. After all the years I've been writing, I've never really tried outlining. I think I'm going to give it a whirl, instead of trying to proceed blindly into a novel. I'm hoping this will also ease up some of the writer's block. You should probably also get to know your characters, but I think that might go hand in hand with your outline.

2. Develop a Word Count Schedule

    You have to write at least 50,000 words right? That's roughly 12,500 words a week, or 1,667 words a day. Each writer is different. How long will it take you to write that daily? Make sure you set aside that amount of time each day to write. I predict that that many words will take me somewhere between 1-2 hours to write. So plan ahead.

3. Try Not to Schedule too Many Things in November

    Don't make plans, unless it's absolutely necessary. I read somewhere that you should even freeze food ahead of time! I don't know about that one. However, I would suggest trying to plan your life around your writing time, instead of the other way around. For example, I know that I won't have time to blog as much. I'm going to have a few posts written out ahead of time, that way I'm not completely gone for the entire month (Besides, I would miss you guys too much!).

So there you have it! Are you ready?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World

Song of the Day: It's My Life by Bon Jovi

  Hello all! SO....60 followers! Woo Hoo! 40 more until there's a celebration! Hope everyone had a good weekend, I know I did! I got to see my favorite NBA team, the Orlando Magic practice at the new Amway Center. I also have a serious crush on Dwight Howard, so it was a bonus watching him play ;) But enough about that, you're probably here for the opportunities. Check out what's going on this week.


1. The Narrative Magazine 30 and Below Contest

    The contest is open to writers between the ages of 18-30 years old. They are looking for, Works of fiction and nonfiction, including short stories, novel excerpts, essays, memoirs, excerpts from book-length nonfiction, Graphic novel excerpts and comics of no more than thirty pages, Photo essays of between five and twenty images (previously unpublished), original works of fiction and nonfiction in audio theater (including performance, radio journalism, and stories read aloud), and Short films and documentaries of up to fifteen minutes. The entry fee is $20 (and with your entry you'll receive 3 months of complimentary access to Narrative Backstage) and the contest Deadline is October 29, 2010. First Prize is $1,500, Second Prize is $750, Third Prize is $300, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. The prize winners and finalists will be announced in Narrative. All N30B entries are eligible for the $5,000 Narrative Prize for 2011 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week. For official rules and guidelines see the link below.

2. Glimmer Train Press- Family Matters Category

    Glimmer Train Press seeks original, unpublished short stories about families. The category is open to all writers. The contest entry fee is $15 and the deadline is October 31, 2010. Prizes are as follows: 1st place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue. Second place: $500. Third place: $300. For more information click the link below.

1Bloggers Needed
We're an internet media company, and we're looking for bloggers. In short, we want to pay people on a post-to-post basis to write for one or more of our media properties. Each blog post will likely require some research, and will average between 500 and 750 words. Blog posts are expected to be written in correct English, with no spelling or grammar mistakes. We currently need blogs written within the following niches: apparel and fashion, automotive, kitchen, musical Instruments.

2. Engineer Bloggers Needed

    I am in need of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering oriented bloggers, preferably with past experience at Engineering/Technical blogs/websites.

3. Health and Wellness Blogger

    Startup company looking for a health and wellness oriented writer/blogger. You must live and breathe the stuff and be able to show a history of independent and opinionated writing that is both easy and interesting to read.

Just a few more things. Be careful when applying to jobs online and don't forget about The Black Fox Fiction Contest! Good Luck and Happy Writing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Literary Magazine Limelight-Our Stories Literary Journal

Song of the Day: One Step At a Time by Jordin Sparks

  Hello all! You all know the deal. It's Thursday, so it's time for another Literary Magazine in the Limelight. Take a look.

What: An online Literary Journal "committed to publishing the best fiction on the web. In each publication, you’ll find new stories, a letter from the editor and an author interview in our Interview with a Master Series." The best part of this magazine is that they give feedback on your writing. They will tell you about their impressions, what you can do to fix your work, etc. AND it costs NOTHING to submit! They also have contests and you can pay for their writing workshops (you basically choose one of their one-on-one workshops and you also have the choice of a staff member).

Where: On-line. You can read stories published by the magazine online and find their submission guidelines.

When: Contest submission times are held during summer, fall and winter. See the website for official submission dates.

Why: Besides the fact that the magazine publishes quality fiction, the feedback on your writing is worth submitting alone. That way, writers are able to recognize what went wrong.

For more information go to:

Don't forget about the Black Fox Literary Magazine Fiction Contest. Good Luck and Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Faking It to Make It: The Power of Positive Thinking

Song of the Day: King of Anything by Sara Bareilles

     Hello all! It's no secret that I follow Writer's Digest Blogger Jane Friedman. Her Post yesterday was titled, "Fake It 'Til You Make It." It's a really interesting topic and I just thought I'd dedicate my post today to my own thoughts on the subject. There were two points I found interesting. First, Friedman makes the point that "Interviews with successful authors never get old," but she wonders if these interviews can have a damaging effect because many writers read them in "aspirational mode." To an extent I do believe Friedman is right. For many writers reading interviews with authors can leave them wishing that they were in the shoes of the given author. For me, I sometimes wish those things, but I think that I lean more towards the side of reading interviews for motivational purposes. Whenever I read about or see the success of other writers, it motivates me to be better. It makes me think, "What have you written today?" I sometimes even envision myself in the shoes of the author. Instead of whatever author is being interviewed, it's me, with my book, doing my interview with the Paris Review. This brings me to Ms. Friedman's next point.
     She says, "If we want to be different, we have to first (at least) believe OR pretend that we are, until we make it. We have to emulate or do all those things that we believe or think someone would do if they weren't faking it. And, one day, we're no longer faking it." I believe this to my core. This sounds crazy, but this is what I've been doing for the past month or so (seriously), and nothing but good things have come my way. And I'm talking about career things. Suzanne Vaira Workman writes this thought on Friedman's Facebook page:

"It's a neuro-plasticity thing. The more brain cells and motor function dedicated to a manifestation, the greater the subconscious and conscious acquisition of accompanying data, stimulating more dendrite growth connecting those brain cells and logarithmically multiplying that knowledge/understanding (much like compound interest hyperbola), making real what began as only desire."

    This goes hand in hand with the Secret. For those of you who don't know what the Secret is, it's the theory that "thoughts become things." It's based on the law of attraction. You attract everything, both positive and negative into your life (whether you intend it or not). If you know me, you know that I am always preaching about the secret. If you surround yourself with only the negative, and think negative thoughts, then that's what you are going to get back. Thus, if you fake it and pretend you are the best writer on the planet, then ultimately that is exactly what you will be. I've also been listening to the song I have listed for the song of the day. If I start doubting myself as a writer, I turn it on sing along with Sara Bareilles, "Who cares if you disagree, you are not me, who made you king of anything?" :)

What do you think? How do you feel about Author Interviews? Are you faking it until you make it?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World

Song of the Day: Hit Me with Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar

Hello All! Happy Monday (maybe?). Time for another round of opportunities! The first contest listed is AMAZING...the prize money for the winning story is...well...WOWZER! Check it out.


1. Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest

    Any original short story is eligible. They are looking for short stories, essays, of works of prose up to 5,000 words. Writers are allowed to submit work simultaneously to this contest or others, and can submit work that has been previously published or won prizes, as long as the author still has the online rights. The winning story will be awarded a cash prize of $3,000 (what did I tell you?....WOWZER!). Second place will be awarded $1,000, third place will be awarded $400, and the fourth place winner will be awarded $250. There will also be 6 "most highly commended" awards of $150 each.  The top 10 entries will be published on the Winning Writers website (over one million page views per year) and announced in Tom Howard Contest News and the Winning Writers Newsletter, a combined audience of over 30,000 readers. The contest has an entry fee of $15 and is open from July 15, 2010-March 31, 2011. Visit the link below for official details.

2. Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

      This contest is the same as the one above, but for poetry. So, the prize money is the same! The only thing that's different is entry fee. It's $7 for every 25 lines of poetry submitted. Click the link below for official guidelines.


 1. 9th Annual Florida Writers Conference

    The Florida Writers Association presents its annual conference that will take place in Lake Mary, FL from October 22-October 24, 2010. I just found out about the contest, so I apologize for the short notice. The deadline to register online has passed, but writers wishing to attend can still sign up on-site. The cost for the entire conference is $329. You can also attend a specific day if you choose. The cost for Friday is, $150, Saturday costs $200, and Sunday costs $60 (Sunday is shorter than the other days). If you attend all three days the cost covers:  All workshops from Friday morning through Sunday morning, Friday Lunch, Dinner, Welcome Reception, Open Mic Night, Saturday Breakfast, Lunch, Awards Banquet, and Sunday Breakfast. See the website for details on what is covered on individual days. They also have available for purchase: Interviews with an Agent, Publisher, or Acquisition Editor, Mentoring Sessions, Pitch practice sessions, and manuscript critiques. The only catch is that you have to be a Florida Writers Association member to attend the conference. The cost of membership is only $45 for a year. I will be making my way to the conference, it appears that there will be some quality workshops!


1. Freelance Tech Blogger/Journalist- CMSWIRE.COM

   Looking for an intelligent and driven freelance blogger/journalist with 2+ years covering enterprise software, enterprise collaboration, information management and/or web content management topics. For details:

2. Person needed to write tech articles to be published in magazines (VA, MD & DC)

    Looking to hire a skilled freelance writer with very good knowledge in technology and some expertise in business. **This work can be done from home**

Details of the position:
You will be writing magazine articles that are targeted for audiences ranging from SMB to mid-sized companies i.e Construction companies, Law firms, Doctor's etc. The articles will cover different topics ranging from networking, security, data storage, virtualization, etc.) to the more mainstream such as mobile phone OS's, Internet browsers, social media, and consumer electronics products. For more info:

3. MagazineWriter/ Liberty Ink Journal/ Fort Collins, CO

   Magazine writers wanted for headline, features, special features, columns and entertainment departments for local, state, national and international sections to write news and commentary on today's political scene told from a foundation in libertarian, conservative and constitutional understanding. Pay ranges from $45.00-$350.00 per article depending on the type of article written not by the word, and depending on the writer's experience. For details:

Also, don't forget about the fiction contest over at The Black Fox Literary Magazine. As always, Good Luck and Happy Writing!

P.S. I've noticed that I have 55 Followers! Woot Woot! I just want to thank everyone for your support. When I get to 100, there's going to be a CELEBRATION! ;)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Literary Magazine Limelight- The Black Fox Literary Magazine

Song of the Day: Bad by Michael Jackson

   Hello All! It's Thursday, so you know what that means? It's time to put another literary Magazine in the limelight! I've promoted a lot of literary magazines on my blog, and I will continue to do so, but as I said on Monday, this week, it's all about The Black Fox Literary Magazine. I recently started this magazine with my two WONDERFUL friends over Pam and Marquita over at Here's the 411.


The Black Fox Literary Magazine

The Black Fox Literary Magazine was founded by Racquel Henry, Pamela Harris, and Marquita Hockaday. The three writers met during an MFA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey.
The Black Fox Literary Magazine is an online quarterly publication featuring quality fiction from both established and new writers. We welcome all fiction, but we especially like fiction from under-represented genres and styles. Some examples of under represented genres we're looking for are, but not limited to: YA, Romance, Flash Fiction, Mystery, etc.


  Our Spring issue is published in March, the summer issue is published in June, the fall issue is published in September and the winter issue is published in December. We accept submissions on an ongoing basis, but do keep in mind that we do have cut off dates for each issue.
Spring Issue Submission Period: November-January
Summer Issue Submission Period: February-April
Fall Issue Submission Period: May-July
Winter Issue Submission Period: August-October


We are a new magazine, but we strive to provide our readers with srories that inspire, invoke emotion, and who knows? Maybe even change a few lives. Wouldn't you like your story to be a part of that?

So what are you waiting for? Submit your best fiction now! You know you want to!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Song of the Day: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' by Michael Jackson

    I've done the Unthinkable. I'm an official participant of National Novel Writing Month this year. That's right, come November, I will no longer have a life. I was doing some blog reading last night and came across the "NaNoWriMo" badge. I figured I would see what it was all about. It's actually pretty cool. I keep dragging my feet on my novel, so I figured I might as well give  NaNoWriMo a whirl right? The cool thing about NaNoWriMo is that once you sign up, you are registered as an official participant, and you can join regions. You can join any amount of regions you want. Once you do that, you are asked to pick one as your "home region." Since I'm in Tampa, I'm a part of the Tampa Region, but I also joined the Orlando Region since that's my hometown, and the St. Petersburg region since it's close by. Each region has a leader and that person organizes "write-ins", events, etc. I love the idea of the write-in, because not only will you get to meet other writers in your area, but it gives you reassurance that you're not alone. There is also an introduction event scheduled where writers participating in a given region will be able to meet each other. I'm actually getting rather excited. I know that once the writing begins, I'll probably want to slap myself, but I'm sure the end result will be worth it. So, who's with me?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Opportunities In the Great Big Literary World

Song of the Day: Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics

    Hello all! Hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday! The website for the literary magazine I started with Pam Harris and Marquita Hockaday ( is up and running! Check it out here: I have promoted a great deal of literary magazines and contests in the past and naturally I will be promoting my own this week. So submit your best fiction to the Black Fox! As promised I've added some jobs to the opportunities. Hopefully something on here will strike your fancy.


1. The Black Fox Fiction Contest

    The Black Fox Literary Magazine is interested in quality fiction for their first issue set to be released in the summer of 2011. They accept short stories from all genres and especially like fiction from under-represented genres such as, flash fiction, YA, romance, etc. Short Stories should be less than 5,000 words. There will be a monetary prize for the winning story, but since this is a new magazine, the amount will be based on the number of submissions received. The contest entry fee is $10 and the deadline is April 30, 2011. Visit the website for submission guidelines.

2. The Black Fox Cover Art Contest

    The Black Fox Literary Magazine is looking for Art Work for the cover of their first issue and issues thereafter. You can submit your art work through the website. Winners will be awarded a monetary prize and featured on the cover of one of the quarterly issues. The entry fee is $10 and the contest deadline is April 30, 2010.


1. Blogger/Activist

    Start-up Social Network web site needs bloggers/activists to write blogs and hand out leaflets on subjects of interest to them. Follow the Craigslist link for more information.

2. Ad/Marketing Agency Blog Writer (Remote)

    Interactive agency is selectively seeking a clever and compelling ghost blog writer to write 2 to 4 articles per month. Topics: web strategy, design, development, marketing campaigns, mobile apps and social media.
Follow the Craigslist link for more information.

   I'm just testing the waters on the job section. Hopefully I'll be able to track down more jobs in the future. I plan on posting jobs in all areas of the country, so don't panic if you don't see anything in your area this week. Maybe something will pop up next week. Also, be very careful with craigslist. They usually have some very good jobs but every now and then you get someone running a scam. Be cautious and be smart. Good Luck!