Let's Get it Started- 2012 Goals!

Song of the Day: Let's Get it Started by The Black Eyed Peas
www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKqV7DB8Iwg

   Hello all! Yesterday I shared how I matched up with my 2011 goals. If you're curious, you can find that post here. Today, I'm sharing what my new goals are for 2012. Some of my goals are the same and some of them are modified. Not that I believe in lowering the bar, but I do think some of my goals needed to be more realistic. So here's what I plan to accomplish in 2012.



1. Read 50 books.

For 2011, I said I wanted to read 75 books. That probably wasn't realistic considering I was trying to finish up my MFA. I figure a book a week is reasonable right? And I still have an extra two weeks of leeway.

2. Finish editing my NanoWriMo novel and begin querying agents.

I had this goal last year. I'll be working on a different novel, however. I actually really like this one. In fact, I can't wait to start editing it. I gave myself a month away from it. I hope that's enough time because I'm dying to start working on it.

3. Blog at least twice a week.

Last time I said three times a week, but I think two is a good number. If I happen to do more posts, great. I think it's safe to say I can manage two a week. I would also like to work on the content. I'd like to do more posts on the actual craft/process of writing.

4. More growth for Black Fox Literary Magazine

I think this will always be on my list. I am always looking for ways to develop the magazine and have it progress. Pam, Quita and I have big plans for Black Fox. We're hoping some of those will be accomplished in 2012.

5. Add to my emergency fund.

Now that I actually have an emergency fund, I'd like to continue saving money.

6. Write at least 3 times a week.

I was supposed to write everyday in 2011. That didn't happen. I think writing a couple of times a week is a more realistic goal for me.

7. Make church and God a priority.

Another one that will always be on my list.

8. Publish at least 3 more "things"

I would like some more publishing credit so my goal is to get more of my work in front of readers. I want this to apply to fiction and non-fiction. I've written some articles in the past, so I wouldn't mind writing some more "non-fiction type" pieces for publication.

9. Exercise 2-3 times a week

Again, this one will always be on my list. My hope is that I will get better at staying consistent. I did make some progress this past year, so let's hope for more in 2012.

10. Start a PhD program?

I have a question mark next to this zone because things are so up in he air. I have to get accepted first. The school I really want to go to is low residency and across seas. At some point over the next few days I'm going to be sitting down and thinking about this step.

What about you? Have you thought about any goals for 2012? Care to share?

2011 Wrap-up...How Did I Do?

Song of the Day: 2012 (It Ain't the End) by Jay Sean ft. Nicki Minaj
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uFalk1y38I

   Well folks, 2012 is right around the corner! It's a cliche to say this, but where did the year go? If I didn't learn anything else during 2011, I learned that time really is precious. I've also learned that I don't have enough of it. There are so many goals I have for the future. I wake up everyday excited to get started on them or continue working towards them. After looking at my goals for 2011 I have realized that I have A LOT of work to do. I'm listing the goals I had for this year and where I stand.



1. Read 75 books.

I'm not even at 20! I am trying to get to 20 by the end of the year. The bright side is that I read about 12 books in 2010. I'm already at 3 more than that. I guess that's progress. Right? Right?

2. Finish editing my NanoWriMo novel and begin querying agents.

Hmmm. Well I edited the first half. Does that count? The truth is that I edited the first half for my MFA thesis and I never stepped away from it. I needed some time away from the  novel because I was getting frustrated with it. I won't be making that mistake again.

3. Blog at least 3 times a week.

Hmmm again. I didn't do that. But I did blog once a week most weeks. I had more posts than I did in 2010. In 2010 I had a huge gap. Months went by without blogging. At least that didn't happen this time.

4. Establish more of a following for Black Fox.

I think we did that! Submissions are up and we have 801 followers on Twitter! Now, if we could just get the print sales up...

5. Create an emergency fund.

I achieved this goal too. It's not as much as I had hoped it would be, but I have a little something for a rainy day. Hopefully, I can continue this.

6. Exercise at least 2-3 times a week.

I didn't quite do this, but this year has been my most consistent ever. Like blogging, I exercised at least once a week most weeks. I didn't let months go by without exercise like I've done in the past.

7. Write everyday even if it's ten words.

This definitely did not happen. I did pump out more short stories and flash fiction, though. And I won National Novel Writing Month. Still, I think I can do better.

8. Make church and God a priority.

I slipped here. All I can say is that I NEED to work on this one.

9. Work on my non-fiction idea.

Didn't happen at all. I think I thought about it once. I'm debating on whether or not I want to work on this next year. I still want to execute the idea but I may not have time next year.

10. Publish something, anything.

I fulfilled this one! I published my flash story "The Truth About Lipstick" in the August issue of The Scarlet Sound.

11. Graduate with my MFA

Completed this one!

12. Accepted to a PhD program

Okay, so I'm not really sure where I am on this one. I won't be applying until next year. So, we shall see.

The year has been filled with highs and lows. I think I will be adding and reforming a lot of these goals for my 2012 list. I'll post my 2012 goals tomorrow. How did you do on your 2011 goals? Did you fulfill any major goals?

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- December 27, 2011

Song of the Day: Merry Christmas Darling by The Glee Cast
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH7oQCEEWos


   Hello all! How was everyone's Christmas? I had one of the best Christmases I've ever had. I got all that I wanted and I'm not talking about just the gifts. I also ate A LOT! I don't think I've ever eaten that much food...EVER! My family is Trinidadian and there was a lot of them that came from out of town so the house was well stocked. Not to mention my mother and aunt love to bake! I will be in serious gym mode this week.

   Today is the last set of opportunities for 2011! I'm excited for 2012, are you? It would be a good idea to get some submissions in before the new year is here but I know how busy the holidays can be. Maybe you could find some time and plan your submissions for January? It's a new year and a wonderful opportunity to start getting your work out there. Submit, submit, submit!


Calls for Submissions:

1. Luna Station Quarterly

Currently open to submissions of speculative fiction stories written by women. Stories can be 500-5,000 words in length. Deadline for publication on March 1, 2012 is February 15, 2012.

http://lunastationquarterly.com/submissions

2. Spinetingler Magazine

Accepting crime, mystery, thriller, suspense and horror stories. Stories should be 1,500-5,000 words long. Contributors are paid $25 for each story published. Writers may submit stories under 1,500 words but there is no payment for stories that short.

http://www.spinetinglermag.com/submission-guidelines/

3. The Masters Review

A yearly journal looking for fiction and narrative non-fiction by students enrolled in a graduate-level creative writing program. Anything from mainstream to avant-garde is acceptable. The deadline for inclusion in this year's issue is December 31, 2011.

http://www.masters-review.com/submissions

4. Cobalt Review

Cobalt Review is seeking submissions of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

http://www.cobaltreview.com/submit/

5. Rain Magazine

Now accepting prose, poetry, photography and artwork. Submissions should be no more than 5,000 words.

http://www.clatsopcc.edu/community/publications/rain-magazine

6. Washington Square Review

NYU's literary magazine is looking for your best fiction or poetry. Deadline for the current submission period is February 1, 2012.

http://washingtonsquarereview.com/submit/

7. Barrelhouse

Seeking fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

http://www.barrelhousemag.com/?page_id=8

8. Solid Objects

A literary magazine looking for fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry.

http://solidobjects.org/contact.html

   As always, Black Fox is accepting fiction, poetry, non-fiction and art. The last day to submit for the Winter Issue is December 31, 2011! We are also looking for a few good bloggers to become regular contributors. We are looking for bloggers to contribute as little as once a month or as much as once a week. Email racquel@blackfoxlitmag.com. Our fiction contest is also open until December 31, 2011. Happy Writing!

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- December 19, 2011

Song of the Day: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by Hanson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXp2P-bQZdA


   Hello all! Who's ready for Christmas? I'm in the holiday spirit, though I haven't finished my Christmas shopping. Yikes! How was the weekend? Mine was interesting. My office's holiday dinner was on Saturday so I got all dolled up and they took us to a really swanky restaurant. It was a lot of fun. I also got a lot of reading done. While I read a lot of Judy Blume books as a kid, I never read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I finally got a chance to read it this weekend. It was so funny and a pleasure to read. Judy Blume has a gift for capturing the adolescent voice. It was so innocent, which is why I don't understand the reasoning for placing it on the banned books list. I was also able to get some Christmas shopping done, though I have a ways to go!

   The year is wrapping up folks! Tell me, have you submitted any of your work recently? There's still time! You never know when you'll get an acceptance. Some markets respond within days, so you could get an acceptance for publication before the year is over. Then there's always January. Wouldn't it be nice if you got an acceptance and could start off the year with a bang? Take a look at what I've found this week.

Contests:

1. Escape into Life

Escape into Life is pleased to announce its first annual fiction contest judged by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert Olen Butler. The first place winner will receive $250, the second place winner will receive $100 and the remaining finalists will receive $50 each. Entry fee is $5 and the contest closes on December 31, 2011.

http://www.escapeintolife.com/fiction/eil-announces-first-annual-fiction-contest/


Calls for Submissions:

1. Nanoism

A twitterzine accepting submissions of fiction that are written in 140 characters or less. They accept all genres, but they are partial to literary fiction.

http://nanoism.net/submit/

2. Horizon Review

Horizon is currently accepting submissions of poetry, stories, essays, articles, memoir, multimedia pieces, art reviews, photo essays and other items of cultural interest. The submission period runs from December 15 - February 15.

http://www.saltpublishing.com/horizon/submissions.htm

3. ILK Journal

Ilk is currently accepting submissions of poetry.

http://ilkjournal.tumblr.com/ilksubmissions

4. Granny Smith Magazine

Seeking submissions of fiction, poetry and art that embody the feminine spirit ( submissions do not have to be written by a woman, however.)

http://www.grannysmithmagazine.com/submissions.html

5. 971 Menu

An online magazine looking for fiction and non-fiction. They are partial to stories under 1000 words, but they do publish longer pieces.

http://www.971menu.com/submit.html

   As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and art. We are also in need of a few good blog contributors. If you're interested in being a contributor for the Black Fox blog, email Racquel@blackfoxlitmag.com. Happy Writing!

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- December 12, 2011

Song of the Day: Invincible by Pat Benatar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8lJYN3FfC0



   Hello all! Opportunities are finally back today! It's almost the end of the year. Have you thought about submitting your work to a couple of places before the year is over? Now is the time to do it if you haven't done it at all this year. I must admit, I haven't submitted lately. With National Novel Writing Month being last month, I haven't had the time to even think about submitting work, let alone polishing up any short stories. I've decided to devote this week to looking over old short stories, editing them and deciding where I want to submit. It's part of one of my "wrap-up to 2011" writing goals. Here are some places you might consider submitting your work.



Contests:

1. The 34th Nimrod Literary Awards


Nimrod International Journal presents the The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. First place wins $2,000 and publication and second place wins $1,000 and publication. Entry fee is $20 and includes a one-year subscription. Contest runs from January 1, 2012- April 30, 2012.


http://www.utulsa.edu/nimrod/awards.html


Calls for Submissions:

1. NAP

NAP magazine is currently accepting submissions of poetry and fiction.

http://nap.submishmash.com/submit

2. Helix Magazine

Helix, the literary magazine of the University of Connecticut is seeking art, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and plays for the Spring 2012 edition.

http://helixmagazine.org/?page_id=181

3. Heavy Feather Review

Open to submissions of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction for the inaugural issue. Submit by December 15, 2011 for consideration in the first issue.

http://www.heavyfeatherreview.com/submit/

4. Flash Fiction Online 

Accepting flash fiction between 500 and 1,000 words, any genre.

http://www.flashfictiononline.com/submit.html

5. Vestal Review

Vestal Review is looking for stories of 25 words or less about pets for a new anthology called, What I Learned from My Pet.

http://vestalreview.submishmash.com/submit

   As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art. The deadline for issue #3 is December 31, 2011. We are in great need of non-fiction folks! We are also looking for a few good blog contributors. We need regular contributors who can commit to writing one blog post a week, every other week or once a month. Email racquel@blackfoxlitmag.com if interested. Happy Writing! 

The Trouble with National Novel Writing Month

Song of the Day: I Feel Good by James Brown
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzlpTRNIAvc

   Hello all! I'm ditching the opportunities today to talk about my November experience. I know I've been a complete ghost around the blogosphere, but I'm back. To be honest, something had to give. For those of you who don't know, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo). In order to keep up and make my word count, I had to give up a few things. November is a very busy month for me. There's Thanksgiving, my birthday, my mother's birthday, the anniversary of how long I've been in my sorority, Black Friday, the list goes on! Plus, there is a lot of drama at my office so I found myself working more to help out. I didn't think it was possible, but I found myself (yet again) learning from NanoWriMo. Here's what I learned this time.



1. Choose Your Novel Topic/Story Carefully

I had the idea that I would write a story about human trafficking. It was the most depressing thing I have ever had to write. I fell behind in my word count because I was avoiding it. To have to look at it everyday, was putting me in sad moods. And then there was the research. I read voraciously and watched videos and movies, which would often result in me crying (and trust me, I'm not a crier.) I've always liked writing darker fiction, but I think a book of this magnitude needs to be written with enough time so that breaks can be taken.

2. If You Must Research...

Do ALL of it BEFORE November! I guess I didn't really think about how much research was going to have to go into a book like this. I found myself trying to balance my time between researching and writing. It would have probably been easier if I had gathered all my information before, and then I would have been free to just write.

3. Whatever you do, DON'T Fall Behind on Your Word Count

It's really just too hard to catch up! On the last Sunday I had to write 7,000 words in one day. The Sunday before that I did over 5,000. While it is possible to do this, it's more stressful, at least for me. It's much easier to have to crank out 1,667 words than 7,000 in a day. TRUST me when I say this. Drag yourself to your computer everyday and get that word count in.

   This was only my second time doing NanoWriMo and it was a very different experience from last year. It was tougher this time around for me. I thought last year was bad when I fell behind (somewhere around 3,000 words I think) but this year with all the circumstances, I fell behind a little over 13,000 words! It is insane trying to come back after that. I've seen writers write over 100,000 words for the month but that's just not something that's for me. Still, despite my rough patches, I made it through and it makes the victory that much sweeter. I learn something about myself as a writer and writing in general every time I do NanoWriMo. It's safe to say I can't wait for next year!

Did you participate in NanoWriMo? Did you have any rough patches?

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- November 7, 2011

Song of the Day: The Glow by Willie Hutch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmHgpBsTtBA


   Hello all! How was the weekend? I had a pretty productive one. I spent most of the weekend helping my sister with her wedding invitation company. On Saturday we helped to assemble centerpieces for a wedding and Sunday she created elaborate signs for all the vendors at the Disney Bridal Stroll. I managed to squeeze in some writing time. Yesterday, I wrote 2500 words, but I'm still 3,000 behind on my NanoWriMo novel. Yikes! I don't work on Mondays so I'll be spending the day trying to play catch up. I know that this month will be harder for writers participating in National Novel Writing Month to submit their work, but I urge you to try and squeeze it in if you can. Why not try submitting something shorter like a Haiku or a short short story? Those don't take too much time to compose and you'll be keeping up with submissions. Maybe you have a story ready to go that's been sitting around and collecting dust? Submit it!


Calls for Submissions:



1. Crack the Spine Literary Magazine

A new literary magazine seeking flash fiction, micro-fiction, poetry, short stories, personal essays, book reviews, art and photography for their first issue.


http://crackspine.blogspot.com/p/submissions_03.html



2. Dark River Magazine

Dark River is looking for horror related writing. "Intelligent, thought-provoking horror is favored over shock." They accept short stories, novellas, poetry, art, photography, non-fiction articles, academic novels, serial novels, graphic short stories/serials, short films/serials.


http://www.darkriverpress.com/submissions.html



3. Inkspill Magazine

Inkspill is acceptnig submissions of fiction, poetry and art until November 30, 2011.


http://www.inkspillmagazine.com/submissions/



4. The Applicant

The Applicant is currently reading for their fourth issue. The theme is death. Submit your best fiction or poetry.


http://www.theapplicant.org/site/submissions/



5. Dead Ink

Dead Ink publishes full length manuscripts, proposals, 3 – 6 poems, journalism between 500 & 1000 words and stories up to 3000 words.


http://deadinkbooks.com/submissions


As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting fiction, poetry, non-fiction and art. We're reading for issue #3! We're also looking for guest bloggers and regular blog contributors. If interested, send an email to racquel@blackfoxlitmag.com. Happy Writing! 

Black Fox Literary Magazine- Issue #2- Fall 2011

Song of the Day: Dancing Machine by The Jackson 5
www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD2OsUcgb00


   Hello all! I was supposed to blog on Monday about Black Fox and well, I ended up running out of time. You wouldn't believe how complicated it is to get the files to upload correctly. That ended up taking me the whole day. Was I frustrated? YES! Was it worth it? YES! Issue #2 is finally here! Pam, Quita and I are extremely proud if this issue! The selection process was more complicated than it was for issue one. We didn't mind however, because we love reading the work of other writers. We're thankful and honored that so many writers would like to be a part of our magazine. You can read the free version on our site here. Or you can buy a print copy here. Fair warning, we had to increase the price because Lulu increased the cost of production. We don't actually make much per issue, but any support would be greatly appreciated!

Issue #2 Features work by: Barbara Neu (Cover Artist), Valentina Cano, Adam Cogbill, Tess Dewhurst, Marit Ericson, Patrick Gabbard, William Garland, Roberta Guthrie Kowald, Pamela Jessen, Vineet Kaul, Ash Krafton, Michael Lee Johnson, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Caryl Sills and Jennifer Yu. Special Interviews with Contributors Roberta Guthrie Kowald and William Garland. Author Interview with KM Walton. 


Check it out and let us know what you think! We love feedback. Happy Reading!

Why I Write

Song of the Day: Mr. Writer by Stereophonics
www.youtube.com/watch?v=nryFY4X5v7s 

   Hello all! Who is excited about the weekend? *Raises hand* I'm hoping for another productive one. I have to work on issue #2 for Black Fox, do some more research for my NanoWriMo novel and I really want to get some reading in. I'm crossing my fingers that I get all of that done. Do you have any plans?

   I know I'm really late, but last week everyone was participating in the "Why I write" campaign. I was really busy and didn't get a chance to say why I write, so I thought I'd do a post on that. It's just that important to me.

Why I write...

   I have been writing since I could hold a pen and form words on a page. When I was in the first grade, I often stayed at my uncle's house when my parents were working. I would sit at his dining room table and write stories on construction paper, complete with illustrations. When I finished the story, I would tie the pieces of construction paper together with yarn. At this point in my life I didn't really know that I wanted to be a writer.

   When I got to the fifth grade, I was still writing stories. Writing had become second nature for me. English became my favorite subject and I enjoyed our weekly vocabulary words. My teacher told my mother that I "had a way with words." After hearing that, I told myself that I should be a writer. When the scholastic book fair came to our school, I got my mother to buy me the book, How I Came to be a Writer by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I still have the copy as you can see in my picture above. I read it, and I knew right away that I wanted to be a writer.

   Throughout the remainder of my academic career I continued to do well in English and my teachers continued to praise my work, until I got to the eleventh grade. I began taking AP classes and my teacher was one of the toughest teachers at my school. She would return my papers with red ink bleeding over every single page. She pretty much broke me. By the end of that class, I believed that I couldn't make it as a writer after all.

   Then I got to college. I wore glasses and my mother had a friend who was studying pre-optometry and she suggested that I do the same. She said it was a really straightforward major. I thought that studying the human eye was something that might be interesting and I would be able to help people. When I had my first meeting with an advisor, I declared pre-optometry as my major. The problem was that it wasn't so straightforward. I had to take all theses prerequisite classes including chemistry, pre-calculus and algebra. I was struggling in those classes but excelling in my English classes.

   Then in English class one day my professor began to hand back the essays that were assigned. She didn't give me mine back and asked that I stay after class. I was terrified. I thought she was going to tell me that I needed to start off in a lower level of college English. What she said instead, was that she thought my paper was the best in the class. She told me that she was really impressed and that she had never seen such a well written college paper from a freshman. She then asked me what my major was and I told her pre-optometry. She asked "why?" with a look of disgust on her face. I explained to her why I chose the major, but as I was talking, suddenly none of my explanation made sense. It all sounded absurd. She told me that she didn't want to confuse me, but she thought that I should consider changing my major. She said that I have a gift and I belonged in the writing field. I changed my major the next semester.

   What was interesting was that in order to write that essay, I used a formula from that same tough teacher in the eleventh grade. This whole time Ms. Nichols was only being hard on me because she wanted me to be the best. After that "aha!" moment as Oprah would call it, I never looked back. I was tired of fighting with myself. I was a writer and that was it. I still am. And it's still the ONLY thing that I really want to do. It is the one thing that makes me happy. It's the one thing that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. And it's the one thing that if I couldn't do, I may as well fall off the face of the earth. It takes work, but a lot of the time it's not really work for me. I love it and if I never make a dime off of it, I'd still do it.

   This is a long post, but if you took the time to read it, please know that I appreciate you. Why do you write?

Preparing for NanoWriMo- Advice for the Newbies

Song of the Day: Dare You to Move by Switchfoot 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOTcr9wKC-o


   Hello all! We're almost done with the week, which means we're that much closer to the weekend! You know what else it means? We're that much closer to National Novel Writing Month a.k.a NanoWriMo. I couldn't be happier. There is just something about the Nano campaign that makes me get my butt in the chair. I'm also really excited about my novel.

   I did NanoWriMo for the first time last year and it taught me a lot about myself as a writer. It also gave me the courage to FINALLY stop making excuses and write my first novel. I did a post on what I learned, which you can find here. I also learned a lot about what I should be doing to prepare. I wrote a post about that too. It's called Gearing Up for National Novel Writing Month. Having actually gone through the experience, I also learned a couple of things along the way that I should have done, but didn't. I thought I'd give some advice on that today and also recap a little on how to prepare.

With that being said, here is what I know to be true about NanoWriMo:

1. You'll need Coffee

I wasn't a coffee drinker before NanoWriMo but last November, I became one. Trust me, you will need that cup in the morning to either perk your eyes up, or you'll need it at night to keep your eyes open while you're trying to meet your word count for the day.

2. You'll need a Dropbox Account

Picture this: you're pounding away at the keyboard. You're somewhere at the 20,000 word mark and your laptop falls out of your lap and hits the floor--with your jump drive. Gasp! That happened to me. Luckily, I had emailed the majority of my novel to myself, so I only lost about 2,000 words. Still, if you know the word count requirement for the day, (1667) then you know that a loss of 2,000 words sets you back a couple days. I pouted and I didn't write for three days. Had I had a Dropbox account, I would have had my novel backed up. My suggestion is to back your novel up in as many places as possible, DAILY. I mean email it, put it in Dropbox, put it on a flash drive, put it on an external hard drive, save it to your computer, get my point?

3. Outline...or Don't Outline

Last year I outlined the first eight chapters of my novel. By about chapter two, I was going in another direction. That is how I discovered that I'm indeed a panster. I like to let the story form on its own. My characters do the talking for me. They often have very different ideas than I do. This is what works for me. If you're more of a plotter, then you definitely want to take some time to sit down and outline before NanoWriMo starts. If you're like me and you're a panster, I would still suggest having a loose outline. Just a few ideas jotted down about where you intend for the story to go. That way, if you get writer's block, (and there's a 90% chance you will) you can refer to your list of ideas.

4. Resist the Urge to Edit

The whole point of NanoWriMo is to just write. I had a lot of trouble even writing my novel because I was always so critical. I would stop and edit, then get frustrated and stop writing altogether. Relax. When you get the urge to edit, remember that you're just getting the words on the page. I like to repeat to myself: "You can go back and fix that later."

5. Map Out Your Day

It is crucial that you plan to write every day. If you fall behind, it is VERY possible to catch up, but it's also a lot harder. I like to think of everything I have to do for the day and decide when I can sneak in writing time. Last year, I wrote in the car before work, I wrote on my lunch hour and even got a few words in between work hours. Figure out the little gaps of time you have and use them to your advantage. I get to work early and usually have about thirty minutes to spare.  That would allow me to write anywhere from 400-700 words. That's a good chunk of your daily goal. If you notice that there will be a day where you'll be too busy to write, try and write extra words on other days. Just make sure you plan.

6. Get a Support System

If you don't know any writers, it's really easy to make writer friends from NanoWriMo. I made a ton on twitter alone using the hashtag #NanoWriMo. Having NanoWriMo friends is important because these are the people who will cheer you on, they'll understand if you're behind on your word count or if you're struggling with your characters, they'll also encourage you to keep going. I couldn't have done it without my NanoWriMo buddies.

   If you want to look me up on the Nano site, my name is Clasica106. I'm really excited about National Novel Writing Month this year. I can't wait to get started on my novel. I'll see you folks in the trenches! Good luck writers!

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- October 24, 2011

Song of the Day: Never Surrender by Cory Hart
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocnrPLKbkD0


   Hello all! How was the weekend? I had a great time celebrating my father's birthday! We got him an Android phone and he loved it! The look on his face was priceless. Nothing made me happier than seeing his reaction. I also had a chance to work on Black Fox, edit for my sorority newsletter, and start researching for my National Novel Writing Month Novel. It was a really productive weekend, which I haven't had in a long time. How has everyone been doing with submissions? Remember, it's better to submit at least one thing to one place, instead of nothing at all. October is almost over, so if you haven't submitted anything this month, consider choosing from my list today!


Calls for Submissions:

1. Noir Nation

Noir Nation is currently reading for issue #2. They're looking for Crime stories in the noir tradition as well as essays and graphic novels. Deadline to be considered for issue #2 is December 22, 2011.

http://noirnation.com/?page_id=35

2. Literary Laundry

Literary Laundry accepts fiction, poetry and one-act dramas. They also publish novellas and chapbooks.

http://www.literarylaundry.com/submissions

3. The Tavern's Vault 

The Tavern's Vault is an online fantasy magazine seeking 1000-6000 word fantasy/medieval fiction. They're also seeking non-fiction, reviews, and art related to the fantasy/medieval genre.

http://tavernsvault.com/Submissions.html

4. Nontrue

Nontrue is looking for stories that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They publish one story a week. Submit your poetry, fiction or non-fiction.

http://nontrue.submishmash.com/submit

5. Two Thirds North

Two Thirds North seeks poetry, fiction, memoirs, essays, and photography. Reading period ends November 15, 2011.

http://www.twothirdsnorth.com/submissions/

As always Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art. We're also looking for guest blog posts and guest bloggers. Email racquel@blackfoxlitmag.com if interested. Our second issue will be out a week from today! There won't be any opportunities next Monday, as I'll be posting about Black Fox. Happy Writing!

End of the Week Check-In and Black Fox Literary Magazine

Song of the Day: Weekend by The Black Eyed Peas feat Esthero
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnYiQ2FVG8I


   Hello all! Well, we've made it through another week! Before you know it, October will be over. By that time we'll be in full National Novel Writing Month mode (at least I will.) This post will be very short today because I'll soon be on my way to my hometown to celebrate my dad's birthday! He's such an inspiration and he's a really big part of my life, which is why he deserves my undivided attention today.

I wanted to let you all know about a post my sisters Pam and Quita wrote about Black Fox. We are on the verge of releasing issue #2 and we couldn't be more excited. If you read issue #1, then you're really going to LOVE issue #2. We're going to be including some very talented writers. I hope you all will check it out! Also, read the post Pam and Quita wrote. We're looking for a couple of things and we'd love it if you gave feedback or expressed interest.

Have a great weekend everyone! Write a lot.

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- October 17, 2011

Song of the Day: I Believe I can Fly by R. Kelly
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16FdJrrAWSo


   Hello all! How was the weekend? I am happy to report that I'm finally feeling better. Still have a few very faint symptoms, but the aches, pain, and the urge to stay on the couch is gone! Now I have to play catch up. Just wanted to let everyone know that Black Fox has a new website! Check it out and let me know what you think. We're still tweaking it, but Pam, Quita and I are very excited. Hope everyone is finding a little time to submit their work. Hopefully, you can find something on my list.







Contests:

1. Narrative Magazine's 30 and Below Story Contest

Narrative is calling on writers, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers, between eighteen and thirty years old, to tell them a story. First Prize is $1,500, Second Prize is $750, Third Prize is $300, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. Submissions are accepted in the following media: Written (fiction, non-fiction, including short stories, novel excerpts, essays, memoirs, and excerpts from book-length nonfiction), Drawn (graphic novels and comics), Photographed, Spoken, Filmed. The entry fee is $20 and the contest ends on October 29, 2011.


http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/148406


2. Quarter After Eight- Robert J. Demott Short Prose Contest


Submit your prose poem, short short fiction, or essay in brief. Submissions should be 500 words or less. Reading fee is $15 for every three pieces submitted. A complimentary one-year subscription to the journal is included with the submission fee. One winner will receive a prize of $1,000 and publication. Deadline is December 1, 2011.


http://www.quarteraftereight.org/submissions.htm

Calls for Submissions:

1. Weave Magazine

Weave is currently seeking fiction (including flash fiction), non-fiction, poetry, drama, reviews, and artwork.

http://weavemagazine.submishmash.com/submit

2. Split 

Split is seeking stories, photos, art, poetry for their winter issue. The theme is: Spare. Deadline is December 1, 2011.

http://splitquarterly.com/submissions/

3. Marathon Literary Review 

Submit your fiction, poetry, art, photography and multimedia pieces. The reading period for the winter issue ends November 30, 2011.

http://www.arcadia.edu/Marathon-Literary-Review/

As Always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is always accepting fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art. We're also looking for contributing bloggers, and guest posts. If interested email racquel@blackfoxlitmag.com. Be on the watch for Issue #2, out October 31, 2011! Happy Writing!

Friday Fives- Favorite Childhood Books + Winners of my Giveaway!

Song of the Day: Tik Tok by Kesha
www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP6XpLQM2Cs


   Hello all! How did everyone brave the week? I have been miserable for most of it due to this cold that turned into the flu. I'm getting better, but I'm still not 100%. I'm really hoping it goes away within the next few days as I need to start preparing for National Novel Writing Month, not to mention the release of Black Fox's issue #2! I'll try the "getting my life together thing" again this weekend. But that's only if I can get rid of this bug.

It's Friday so it's time for Friday Fives! The blog Paper Hangover asks:

What are your FIVE favorite childhood books?

1. Miss Nelson is Missing

2. Corduroy

3. Amelia Bedelia- All of Them!

4. Berenstein Bears- All of Them!

5. Where the Wild Things Are 


Also, I'm announcing the winners of my Banned Books Giveaway! Yes, it's time to party! I'll be contacting you by email soon. I did this the old school way. I selected names out of a hat! And the WINNERS are:

1. Sophia Chang

2. Jennifer Hillier

3. Sarah Allen

Congrats! Have a great weekend everyone!

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- October 10, 2011

Song of the Day: Reach by Gloria Estefan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMs83vY2d34


   Hello all! How was the weekend? Shamefully, I have to admit that I didn't get all the things on my to-do list done. After I came home from community service, the cold that I have had for over two weeks, caught up with me. I stayed in bed for the rest of the weekend. I hate when things happen that are beyond my control. I had so much to do, I still have so much to do. I'm trying to play catch up today before I head into work tomorrow.

   Don't forget about my Banned Books Giveaway. Last day to enter is this Wednesday October 13, 2011!

   We started a new month, have any of you taken the time to sit down and plan out where you'll submit your work? I hope you're still keeping up! Here are a few options to choose from.

Contests:

1. Glimmer Train Family Matters Contest

Glimmer Train Stories is looking for stories about family. Stories are usually 1,500-6,000 words but can go up to 12,000 words. First place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories and 20 copies of the issue. Second place wins $500 and third place wins $300. Reading fee is $15 and the contest closes on October 31, 2011.

http://www.glimmertrain.com/familymatters.html

2. Gemini Magazine Poetry Contest

The contest is open to all forms of poetry. First prize wins $1,000. Second place wins $100 and third place wins $50. Three honorable mentions will also be announced. All six finalists will be published in the March 2012 issue of Gemini Magazine. Entry fee is $5 and the contest closes on January 3, 2012.

http://www.gemini-magazine.com/poetryopen.html

3. The Danahy Fiction Prize- Tampa Review


One previously unpublished work of short fiction will be given an award of $1,000 and publication in Tampa Review. All entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Tampa Review. Manuscripts should be between 500 and 5,000 words. Entry fee is $15 and the contest deadline is November 1, 2011.


http://www.ut.edu/TampaReview/TRDetail.aspx?id=12481


4. Straylight Fiction Contest


Straylight Literary Magazine is hosting their first short-fiction contest. Submissions should be between 1,000 and 5,000 words. First place wins $125, print publication, 1-year subscription, 3 copies; Second place wins $50, print publication, 1-year subscription, 3 copies; Third place wins $25, print publication, 1-year subscription, 3 copies. There is a $10 reading fee and the contest closes on October 21, 2011. For more information visit the link below.


http://straylightmag.com/?page_id=1368


Calls for Submissions:

1. Steampunk Anthology

Entangled Publishing is seeking submissions for a summer 2012 steampunk anthology. Submissions should be 20,000 to 30,000 words in length, contain strong romantic elements and heavily feature steampunk technology and the alternate world it exists in. From what I can see, there is no reading fee. Submissions will remain open until December 1, 2011.


http://www.entangledinromance.com/2011/10/03/call-for-submissions-steampunk-anthology/


2. The Coffin Factory


The Coffin Factory publishes phenomenal fiction, essays and art three times a year. Send your original fiction or essays under 6,000 words. 


http://thecoffinfactory.com/?page_id=8


As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. We are also looking for guest bloggers and regular contributors. If you're interested in blogging for us, send an email to blackfoxlit@yahoo.com. Be on the lookout for our second issue, set to be released October 31, 2011! Happy Writing!

Friday Fives- The Five Ways I Find Inspiration

Song of the Day: Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Ella Fitzgerald
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-7VprPX8kg


   Hello all! I know, it's been a while. As I tweeted last night, "October is kicking my a**!" It's been a rough start to the month and I've been insanely busy. I'm thinking it may be one of those things again where I have too much on my plate. I'm hoping to take the weekend to "organize my life." My parents will be out of town, which means I won't be leaving town and I'll be at my own apartment. I'm looking forward to some quiet time so that I can get a couple things done. I'm usually much more productive by myself. What are your plans this weekend?

It's time for Friday Fives! The blog Paper Hangover asks:

What are Five ways you find writing inspiration? 

1. Reading

Often, I'm inspired by reading a book. For me, an idea can spark from a single word in the dialogue or a phrase the character might use.

2. Television

Like reading, I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from TV. Seriously. A scene will trigger something in my head and then I'll usually make a note of it and come back to it later.

3. Music

Same concept as #1 and #2. Song are like short versions of a stories and they can make us feel emotions. It's no surprise that we can be inspired to write simply by listening to music. And most of my editing time is spent with my iTunes running on shuffle in the background.

4. Other Writers

Other writers, whether they are famous or not, inspire me. When I hear about writers going through the same things as me (writer's block, editing, re-writes, trouble with scenes) I'm always inspired to keep going because they keep going. When I hear about writers getting agents or getting book deals, I'm inspired. I keep going. I keep thinking that one day that will be me.

5. Life

Life inspires me. I'm truly thankful for being alive in this "advanced age." We have so much technology and information at our fingertips. Living life and all the ups and downs inspires me everyday.

   The picture I used above also inspires me! I found it after I finished this blog post. Obviously, I need to stop complaining about having too much on my plate, and just eat what's there already! What inspires you to write? Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday Fives- Favorite Banned Books!

Song of the Day: Parents Just Don't Understand by Will Smith
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW3PFC86UNI


   Hello all! Well, we've made it to another weekend! Amen! Any big plans? I intend to get some writing and reading done. Just a reminder, don't forget about my Banned Books Giveaway! I'm giving everyone until October 12, 2011 to enter. What are you waiting for?

It's that time again--Friday Fives! The blog Paper Hangover asks the question:

What Are Your FIVE favorite Banned Books?

1. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrisson

3. Crank by Ellen Hopkins

4. Push by Sapphire

5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Banned books shed light on real issues. These books are good because they invoke emotional response in the reader. I don't like reading books and not being "affected." Banned books tend to have an affect on me. I think that's why we love them so much. People shouldn't try to cover the truth, nor should they try to control what other people read. I've always said, if you think a book is too "racy," then it's simple: DON'T READ it. What are some of your favorite banned books?

Banned Books Week- Reflection and Giveaway

Song of the Day: Can't Hold Us Down by Christina Aguilera
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg8QgUIKXHw



   Hello all! How was the weekend? I am proud to report that the writing slump is over. I actually sat down to write this weekend. I'm quite happy to say that I'm back into the swing of things. Instead of the opportunities today, I'm going to talk about Banned Books Week.

   I am completely against censorship, particularly regarding books and music. I believe that people have the right to say what they want to say and everyone also has the right to not listen or to not read. Why go through such lengths to ban a book? I learned about banned books week last year, towards the end when it was pretty much over. This year I spent a little time looking over the list of banned books and I couldn't believe how many books on the list I was familiar with and even read. I'm disgusted quite frankly.

   My mother was strict with what I read, but she never went to the extent that some of these parents are going. I recognized a great deal of books that I was actually required to read for school. Good books. I just recently used Push in my thesis for my MFA. I read that Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry was on the list because a woman in Seminole County Florida "objected to its depiction of Southern racism, which she considered inappropriate for kids." This one really hit close to home because I was required to read this book in the seventh grade, a year after a classmate called me the N word in the sixth grade. What that woman doesn't understand is that there are some kids enduring the things that are written in that book.

I've been trying to think of a giveaway for reaching 200 followers, so in honor of that and Banned Books Week, I'm going to giveaway three banned books from the following list:

1. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
2. Forever by Judy Blume
3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
6. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
7. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
8. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
10. Push by Sapphire

There's also more of an official list and I'm willing to give away a banned book from that list as well. You can find that list here. The three winners will each receive one banned book of their choice.

All you have to do is comment on this post (include your email) and you have until Wednesday October 12, 2011. (If you're not comfortable with leaving your email, then leave a link to your blog. If you don't have a blog, email me at writer106@yahoo.com.) I'll announce the winners on Friday October 14, 2011. Also, You MUST be a follower of my blog but it doesn't matter if you're new or old. No need to tweet or blog about the contest but they are both greatly appreciated. Good Luck!

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- September 19, 2011

Song of the Day: Money by Pink Floyd
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl6NfQyNLto

   Hello all! What was your weekend like? Mine was extremely unproductive. My sister was saying that hers was also (we were both back home) and also that sometimes, you just need weekends like that. I guess she's right because I got a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep. I didn't realize how much I needed that.

   On the upside of things I had a chance to visit the old bookstore I used to work for. It's called Book Warehouse. I did a post on how to save money and I mentioned this bookstore. They don't always have the hottest titles, but you know how there's that one book you've been "meaning to buy?" There's a good chance Book Warehouse will have it. They buy the surplus books from the major chains and sell them at a MUCH lower cost. The Average price of a paperback is $3-$4 and the average price of a hardcover is $7-$8. I got eight books this weekend and most of them were popular titles that were once "hot" but the hype has now died down. The stores are always having sales and this weekend the hardcovers were 50% off. So yes, they averaged $3.50-$4! You can visit their website to find a store near you. They also recently introduced online shopping, which is not a good idea for me. Let's just say I already have a tab open with a couple books in my cart as I'm writing this blog post. Don't tell my family though!

   Here are the opportunities for today. I hope you are all still submitting.

Contests:

1. NPR's 3-Minute Fiction Round 7- Arriving and Leaving

They're looking for original, short fiction that can be read in less than three minutes — so the story can't be longer than 600 words. Each round, they have a judge, usually a writer, who throws out a challenge. This time the Judge is Danielle Evans and her challenge is that your story must have someone arriving in town and someone leaving town. The deadline is September 25, 2011, 11:59 ET. Click the link below for details.


http://www.npr.org/2011/09/10/140353661/three-minute-fiction-round-7-arriving-and-leaving


2. Submissions are now open for the Pen/Faulkner Awards


To submit, send any work of fiction published in 2011 for consideration. According to the website:


The PEN/Faulkner Award, which is peer-juried and one of the nation’s foremost awards for literary fiction, honors excellence by selecting five writers whose work represents the best of American fiction published within the calendar year. The winner receives $15,000, and the other four finalists receive $5,000 each. 


I didn't see a deadline but I'm assuming it would be sometime in December of 2011. For more information visit the link below. 


http://www.penfaulkner.org/Submissions_Open_for_the_2012_PENFaulkner_Awards

3. Five Stop Story- September Short Story Competition

The theme of the contest is Autumn/Fall. Stories can be set in autumn/fall or else take a creative approach to the theme.Winners, runners up and honorable mentions will be published to the site and the iPhone and iPad applications. Stories should be 1500 to 2500 words and the contest is open Internationally. Deadline is September 30, 2011 and there is no entry fee. Please see the link below for official details.

http://www.fivestopstory.com/write/

Calls for Submissions:

1. JMWW


JMWW is an online quarterly magazine accepting fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art, and essays.


http://jmww.150m.com/Guidelines.html

2. Gulf Stream Magazine

Gulf Stream is a literary magazine published and supported by Florida International University. They are seeking submissions of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. Submissions for fall 2011 are now open and will close on November 15, 2011.

http://w3.fiu.edu/gulfstream/news.asp

3. Cloudbank

A literary journal currently open to prose and poetry.

http://www.cloudbankbooks.com/Submissions.html

   As always, you're welcome to submit to Black Fox Literary Magazine. We accept fiction, poetry, non-fiction and writing or book related articles for our blog. Also, we are in the process of redesigning our website. Soon we'll have a new design, domain name and new emails for the editors. Right now the old site is still up, but it won't be for long. To be safe, please send email inquiries to blackfoxlit@yahoo.com. Submissions are still accepted via Submishmash. Happy writing!

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- September 12, 2011

Song of the Day: Perfect Strangers Theme- Nothin's Gonna Stop Me Now
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNm_yzHun4A


   Hello all! How was the weekend? I spent much of the weekend reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I made a nice dent in it and I'm hoping to finish it today! The book has been an emotional journey. I'm sure my twitter and blogger pals are tired of hearing me rave about it, but it really is a good book. There's a lot of controversy around it (which is one of the reasons I picked it up) and there will be a blog post soon.

    So, how has everyone been doing with submissions? I must admit I haven't been submitting as much. I got about five rejections in the space of a month. Sigh. I'm kind of in a writing slump. I'm at that point where I'm doubting my work and I missed two deadlines for contests because of it. As I was reading The Help this weekend, I remembered how many times it was rejected before publication. Sounds cliched but it made me realize that I need to keep going. We all need to keep going. To make up for the opportunities being absent the past couple of weeks, I've listed TONS. Surely you can find somewhere to submit to. Let's go!

Contests:

1. Boston Review's Aura Estrada Short Story Contest

The winning author will receive a prize of $1500 and have their work published in the Boston Review in the summer of 2012. Stories should be 5,000 words or less. Then entry fee is $20 and the deadline is October 1, 2011. For more details visit the link below.

http://bostonreview.net/about/contest/index.php#Estrada

2. Writer's Digest 12th Annual Short Short Story Competition

Writer's Digest hosts its annual short short story contest. The prizes are as follows: First Place: $3,000 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference; Second Place: $1,500; Third Place: $500 Fourth Through Tenth Place: $100; Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer’s Digest Books. Stories should be 1500 words or less. Entry fee is $20 and the contest closes on November 15, 2011. For official guidelines please visit the website below. 


http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/short-story


Calls for Submissions:

1. Matchbook Literary Magazine

An online literary magazine seeking short fiction of 1,000 words or less.

http://www.matchbooklitmag.com/guidelines.html

2. Cobalt Review

An online literary magazine seeking  fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

http://www.cobaltreview.com/submit/

3. Big Wonderful Press

A small press looking for short fiction collections, full length poetry collections, poetry chapbooks, poetry/art collaborative chapbooks, literary novels, and book length creative non-fiction. They are also looking for serious literary stories written by women from the point-of-view of a male for the Voice Project. Those stories should be 5,000 words or less.

http://www.bigwonderfulpress.com/submissions/

4. Big Lucks 

A literary magazine open to submissions of fiction, poetry and art.

http://biglucks.com/submit/

5. The Rag Literary Magazine

The Rag accepts submissions of short fiction, poetry, manuscripts (first three chapters initially), and art.

http://raglitmag.com/

6. Specter

An online literary magazine currently accepting works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and flash. All genres, styles and forms accepted.

http://www.spectermagazine.com/submit

7. Memorious

Memorious is an online literary magazine looking for submissions of fiction and poetry.

http://www.memorious.org/?submit

8. SteamPunk Magazine

SteamPunk Magazine is "a publication that is dedicated to promoting steampunk as a culture, as more than a sub-category of fiction." They are currently accepting submissions of fiction for issue #8. Deadline is October 15, 2011.


http://www.steampunkmagazine.com/deadlines-submissions/


9. Crazyhorse


Crazyhorse is a literary magazine accepting fiction, poetry, and non-fiction/essay between September 1 and May 31. Payment for accepted work is $20-35 per page of layout.


http://www.crazyhorsejournal.org/page.php?id=113

10. Independent Ink Magazine

A quarterly digital publication seeking fiction and adventuresome non-fiction.

http://indinkmag.submishmash.com/submit

As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine accepts fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. We're also looking for blog posts and consistent blog contributors. Visit our website for more details. Happy Writing!

Black Fox Literary Magazine

Black Fox Literary Magazine
Open for fiction, poetry and non-fiction submissions

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