Monday, January 31, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- January 31, 2011 & EXTRAVAGANZA!

Song of the Day: Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper

Hello all! Well, I've finally done it! I've passed 100 followers! I can't thank everyone enough for all your support. In honor of that, I'll be hosting an EXTRAVAGANZA! Details will follow the opportunities for today. Read on...


1. Finishing Line Press- New Women's Chapbook Contest

An annual prize of $1,000 and publication by Finish Line press is awarded for a poetry chapbook written by a woman who has not yet published a full length collection. Manuscripts may be up to 26 pages. The entry fee is $15 and the contest deadline is February 15, 2011. Visit the website for official details.

2. Association of Writers & Writing Programs

Two prizes of $5,000 each and publication by a participating press will be given annually for a poetry collection and a fiction collection. Also, two prizes of $2,000 each and publication by a participating press will be given annually to a novel and a book of creative non-fiction. The entry fee for each award is $30 ($15 for AWP members). Manuscripts must be submitted by Feb. 28, 2011. Please visit the link below for more information.

3. Pay It Forward Contest

Shelli is having a contest over at Market My Words. This contest is a great opportunity for aspiring writers! Writers can enter their pitch and she will choose a top ten. The top ten will send her their full query pitch letter. From the top ten she will choose her top three. Those three will get a query critique and get to send her the their first three chapters. She will pick one person that she will recommend to her agent, which means you will get pulled out of the slush pile. The contest starts today. Visit her blog to find out how to enter.

And now....drum roll please...Details for my EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!

Here are the prizes I will give away:

1. A $50 Gift Card to Amazon
2. A $30 Gift Card to Amazon
3. A $10 Gift Card to Amazon

And you can't celebrate without cake! I saw this cool place in Oprah Magazine that delivers cupcakes in a jar! It's called Bangerang Bake Shop. I will choose 2 followers and have a cupcake delivered to each of them to celebrate my 100 followers.

To be eligible:

1. You MUST be a follower of my blog

2. You must leave a comment on THIS post telling me what author you are most
     inspired by and why.

3. Extra points will be given to anyone who tweets, mentions the contest on a blog
    post, or adds the contest to their sidebar. If you tweet please make sure I am
    tagged to your tweet (@RacquelHenry) so that I  know that you tweeted about it.
    If you mention it anywhere on your blog please be sure to let me know in your

4. Please be sure to leave me a link so that I can contact you if you win. DO NOT
    leave me an email address with your comment. If you don't have a link then email
    me directly at with your name and email only.

5. If you have any questions feel free to ask me via email.

The contest will close at 11:59 pm on February 18, 2011!

Thanks and Good Luck!

Friday, January 28, 2011

99 Page Blogfest! Page 99 of my WIP! Would You Read My Novel?

Song of the Day: I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

    Hello all! It's been a rough week for me. What about yours? To lighten up the mood, I hope, I'm participating today in the 99 Page Blogfest! Basically, following my introduction I'll post page 99 of my WIP. People who are participating will stop by and tell me if they would keep reading and why or why not. Aaaaaaggghhhhh! Okay, now that that's out of the way, here is my page 99. I'd like anyone to tell me what they think. You don't have to be participating in the blogfest to leave a comment. Thanks in advance! Here goes nothing!

From my novel, tentatively titled, What's in the Fabric

When I arrived at the house, Wendy was already asleep, which was starting to become a regular thing for her. I was so used to her vibrant spirit always greeting me when I walked in, that her latest sleeping trends seemed a little on the strange side. Still, I knew she was getting older, and it was probably best for her health if she slowed down some. Plus, I was worried about that cold she seemed to be developing. If taking it easy would keep things from escalating, then so be it.

I glanced down at my cell phone for the time. It was already a little after ten o' clock. It was probably too late to call my father. But then again, if I called him now, maybe I would get his voice- mail, that way I wouldn't actually have to speak to him. I dialed his number and waited to hear his automated message on the other end.

“Hello?” he answered.

Damn. I really wasn't anticipating him being up at this time. I cleared my throat, “Hello, it's Amelia,” I said, avoiding using his name or having to call him father altogether.

“Amelia, sweetie, it's so good to hear from you!”

“I'm not waking you am I? If I am I can always call back some other time...”

“No, no, no! Don't be ridiculous. I'm still awake. I usually go to bed around eleven. Even if you did wake me, I wouldn't care. I've always got time to speak to you. So how have you been?”

“I've been okay,” I said. “You?”

“I've been good. Can't complain. Anything new happening?”

“Not really. I've started my own business. I now own a coffee shop. It's called the Secrets Cafe. It's literally five minutes away from mom's old house.”

“That's wonderful. I'd love to come see it sometime,” he said.

“Well, now that you mentioned it, that's why I'm calling. Wendy and I are hosting a sort of Thanksgiving celebration at the house next week. I know we haven't talked in a while, and that it's such short notice, but we'd like to invite you and your family to share the day with us.” There. I said it.
There you have it. Now let me know what you think.

Monday, January 24, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Make it Happen by Selena Gomez

    Hello all! Hope everyone had a great weekend! I'm only 4 followers away from 100! I remember when I only had 2! As I've been saying I'm going to host an extravaganza when I reach 100, so be on the look out. I'm already working on some goodies to give away. Today I'm mostly talking about the AWP conference. It looks like it's going to be Amazing. Take a look.


AWP Conference in Washington D.C. Feb 2-5, 2011

       Okay, seriously, this conference is jammed packed with workshops and famous writers. My favorite writer and "writer idol," Joyce Carol Oates will be there! I literally could not breathe when I found out she was one of the presenters. Writers from around the U.S. will attend and there will be agents, publishers, editors, literary magazines, representatives for MFA programs, and literary greats in general!
Here are some of the writers that will be in attendance:

Juhmpa Lahiri
Junot Diaz
Sandra Cisneros
Rita Dove
Jennifer Egan
Joshua Ferris
Mary Gaitskill
Amy Hempel
Rick Moody
Joyce Carol Oates (insert trumpets here)
Gregory Orr
Elizabeth Strout

      And many more! I almost fell over while reading the list. The list of workshops and presentations is also quite extensive. There's so much to do, that it will be rather hard trying to decide which ones to attend. Here are some examples:

Short Story to Novel
Hired! Landing the Elusive Tenure-Track Job
CLMP Panel- So You've Made an E-book...Now What?
WAMfest and Fairleigh Dickinson University Present: Musicians Who Write More than Songs
A Sense of Where We Were: Nonfiction Writers on Setting
Beyond Print: Digital Directions in Literary Publishing
Examining the PhD in Creative Writing
Playwriting and Screenwriting: Their Business in the Academy
Writing: What to Teach, How to Teach It, and Why
Channeling Voices: The Persona Poem
What to Expect When You're Expecting You're First Book
Transformative Dialogues From Writers of Color
Pushing the Boundaries in Young Adult Fiction

     And that's nothing. Those are less than a handful of the workshops/presentations that will take place. (Anyone notice my shameless plug for my school Fairleigh Dickinson?) The best part about the conference is its affordability, especially if you're a student. They've closed pre-registration but there will not be a cap on the number of people that can attend the conference. On-site registration will be available everyday.

AWP Members          $175
Non-members            $245
Students                     $45
Spouse                       $90
One Day Pass             $110

      If you're a student you can't beat $45 for a four day conference. If you can attend, I would definitely recommed it. I checked and all the hotels in the area are booked, however I'm still hoping to make a miracle happen. If you're in the D.C. area already, then don't let the opportunity pass you by! 

    I do have one contest to announce. My lovely sisters Pam and Marquita are hosting a contest over at their blog now that they have reached 100 followers! They have several prize packs including books, gift cards and critiques! Enter by Jan. 28, 2011. Get over there NOW, if you haven't already.

    As always, don't forget about The Black Fox Fiction Contest going on now! We are also looking for flash fiction pieces and poetry to be featured weekly on our site. Happy Writing!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Rise of the E-Book

Song of the Day: Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer

   Hello all! If you know me on a personal level then you probably know that I don't want a Kindle, Nook or any one of the many e-readers out there. There's nothing like sitting down to read a good and physical copy of a book. Since I started reading, which was at the age of three, I've always had a "thing" for books. I not only like to read them, but I actually love them (And I've been teased my so many of my friends about this!). In high school, I implemented a "no lending" rule. I lent a friend of mine two books. One was Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and the other was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first was never returned, the latter was returned with a torn cover. I decided that I didn't like the way people treated books. I hated bent covers and folded pages so I gave up lending out my ANYONE.
      I think the invention of the e-reader is brilliant, not to mention convenient. Some authors really love it. But the rise of the e-book threatens the constancy of the bookstore. I can't fathom a world without bookstores. As a young girl I would spend entire Saturdays in Barnes and Noble reading and eating cupcakes from the cafe. Don't get me wrong, I've accepted the e-book, but I do hope that there will always be people like me. I hope that there will always be a choice. I'm still pulling info off the shelves from the 2010 Florida Writer's Conference. I attended a discussion on how e-books are changing the publishing industry and I thought I'd share.

The following are my notes from the 2010 Florida Writers Conference. Keynote speaker, T.J. Waters:

-Publishing is in a talespin (Bookstores are in trouble. Some stores are closing quietly. Even Walmart and Target will soon reduce their book inventory).

-At the moment Amazon is selling more e-books than hardcover copies of books.

-One benefit of the e-book is that authors are able to pinpoint what consumers are actually purchasing their books.

-Some authors such as Steven King, Stephanie Meyer, and Steve Berry have announced e-book only titles.

-Dorchester Publishing is going completely digital.

-The world at your fingertips- It takes less than 5 minutes to purchase an e-book.

-The e-book is changing how we read. Carrying around your e-reader allows you to read anytime, anywhere at the exact place you left off. Kindle software can sync to other mediums such as your laptop, desktop, phone, etc. You can forget your book at home, but when you buy a digital copy, you almost always have access to it.

- Authors make less per book, but they're selling more copies.

-Retailers are able to contact consumers about upcoming releases from authors of books they've already purchased.

-E-books allow retailers to deliver the product to the consumer where and when they want it.

-With E-books, "All the world's a stage."

   Cold. Hard. Facts. Who can argue with them? Not even I can. This discussion really brought me into reality. Does it make me want an e-reader? No way! Am I happy that it encourages people to read and may save literature? Totally! :)

What about you? Do you prefer an e-reader or physical books?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Post at Julie Anne Lindsey's Blog: "What is Flash Fiction?"

Hello all! Just letting you know that today I'm guest blogging at Julie Anne Lindsey's blog. It's called "What is Flash Fiction? 7 Ways to Craft a Quality Flash Fiction Story." Please stop by and show some support if you can! Click the link above. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Let Freedom Reign by Chrisette Michelle feat. Talib Kweli & Black Thought

    Hello all! So I figured since it's a new year and I'm making changes, that I should have a new blog design. How do you all like it? I had to get rid of the music player because it was to wide to fit on the side bar. I'm a little sad about that, but I'll still provide a link for the song of the day. If anyone knows of any other music players for blogs please leave a comment and let me know.
    Today we celebrate a man who fought for equality for everyone. I am thankful for the freedom that I have, there are still many that aren't so lucky. Really, I could go on forever about this, but I won't. I hope everyone takes a moment to reflect on the day and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are the opportunities for today.


1. Georgetown Review Poetry Manuscript Contest

    One author will be awarded $1,000, 20 author copies, and publication by the Georgetown Review for a poetry collection. Manuscripts submitted should be 48-80 pages and should be accompanied by a $20 entry fee. The deadline is Feb. 1, 2011. Please visit the website for official rules.

2. Madison Review Poetry and Fiction Prizes

    Two prizes are given annually for a group of poems and one short story. Poets should submit three poems totaling no more than ten pages. Fiction writers should submit a story of no more than 35 pages. Entry fee is $10 and the contest deadline is February 1, 2011. See the link below for official guidelines.

3. Potamac Review Annual Contest

    One short story or one essay will be awarded a prize of $1,000 and publication in Potamac Review. All entries will be considered for publication. Writers may submit up to 1,000 words of prose and an entry fee of $20. With entry fee comes a subscription to Potomac Review. Click the link below for more information.

Also, don't forget about the fiction contest going on at The Black Fox Literary Magazine. One more thing, tomorrow I'll be guest blogging over at Julie Lindsey's Blog, so look out for it! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Song of the Day: Good to Be Alive by Michelle Featherstone

   Hello all! It's been a while since I've offered my opinion about a book I've read. I just have to say that I'm blown away by the novel, Glass by Ellen Hopkins. As one of my resolutions for 2011, I said that I would read more YA novels. Through my two writing buddies Pam and Marquita and after reading a couple novels, I've come to the conclusion that many YA novels are just as good, and often times better than adult fiction. Glass is no exception.

     Glass is the sequel to Crank. The third book, Fallout was released late last year (I'm waiting until it comes out in paperback!). The main character, Kristina, takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions as we follow her on her journey with "the monster" a.k.a Methamphetamine. Kristina, an unreliable narrator, tells the reader that she has this alter ego, named Bree. Throughout the novel, there is an inner struggle between Kristina and Bree. Kristina is innocent and usually wants to do the right thing, but Bree is responsible for pushing Kristina into rebellion.

      A very raw and real novel, Glass is the story about a young teenage mother and her struggle with a drug addiction. I don't want to give too much away, but I highly recommend this book to anyone. It seems like a long read (over 600 pages long) but the novel is written in unique poetic verses, so it goes by quickly. Glass took about five days because I had other things going on, but I read Crank in three. Ellen Hopkins is quite the gifted writer. I'm looking forward to reading Fallout and the rest of her novels. Hope you will too.

***I mentioned Pam and Marquita above. They are only 5 followers away from 100! They will be giving away prizes once they reach 100. Please stop by their blog and support them if you can!***

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- Jan 11, 2011

Song of the Day: Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield

   Hello all! Sorry the opportunities are late this week. I spent the day yesterday doing something very important, though I can't say what! (I'll let you guys in a little later). Hope everyone had a great weekend. I encourage everyone to at take advantage of at least one of the opportunities.


1. Warren Alder Short Story Contest

    Publication on the Warren Alder website and a cash prize of $1,000 is awarded annually for one short story. Writers may submit up to 2,500 words with an entry fee by January 15, 2011. Please visit the official website for details.

2. Chattahoochee Review Lamar York Prize

    An annual prize of $1,000 and publication in Chattahoochee Review will be given for the winning essay. Essays submitted may be up to 5,000 words. Entry fee is $12 and the deadline is January 31, 2011. Please see their website for rules and details.

3. Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award

    Main Street Rag will award a prize of $1,000 and publication by Main Street Rag, including 50 author copies, to one poetry collection. Poets can submit 48 to 84 pages of poetry with an entry fee of $20 by January 31, 2011. Visit website for official rules.

4. University of New Orleans Writing Contest for Study Abroad

   Three prizes valued at $3,500 each will be awarded to one fiction writer, one poet, and one non-fiction writer to attend University of New Orleans' international writing workshops in Edinburgh, Scotland. The award includes full tuition, lodging, and some meals. The winning works are published in Pinch. Entry fee is $25 and the deadline is January 31, 2011. Please visit the link below for contest details.


1. Web Content Writer Wanted- The Creative Group

    Intermediate Ad Copywriting, Intermediate White Papers, Intermediate Web Page Content Writing,  
    Intermediate Training Materials, Intermediate Script Writing, Intermediate Research, Intermediate
    Promotional Copywriting, Intermediate Press/Media Kits, Intermediate Copyediting skills, Intermediate
    Consumer to Business, Intermediate Branding, Advanced MS Word. See the link below for complete

2. Professional Blog Writers Wanted

    Phoenix-based legal marketing company with a national clientele and expanding team to meet the
    demand of new clients. Currently has 3 copywriters and are looking to add 2 more people
    to Copywriting Team to keep up with the work. See the link below for complete description.

  Be careful when applying to jobs online. There can be some real creeps out there. As always The Black Fox Literary Magazine is looking for good fiction and poetry. Visit the site for more information. Good luck and Happy Writing!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Huckleberry Finn- My Take

Song of the Day: Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall

    Hello all! As we all know, the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain has a lot of controversy surrounding it. And now, there's even more. In case you haven't heard already, there are new editions of the novel being released without the "n" word. A Twain scholar by the name of Alan Gribben will release a version of Huckleberry Finn along with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in a single volume. The "n" word and also the word "Injun" will be omitted.

     At first I wasn't sure how I would feel about this, but now, I've pretty much taken a side. I'm against it. First, did anyone get Mark Twain's permission to make those changes? Oh, that's right, you can't because he's dead. How does anyone know that Mark Twain would approve? Being a writer myself, I would not approve of anyone changing my work. Period.

     The argument is that the word is offensive. Well, it is. But isn't this the same word being thrown around by my generation and much younger? This is the same word that is repeated on track after track on rap/hip hop albums and in music videos. In the novel, Huckleberry Finn, it's supposed to be reflective of the time period. It actually serves a purpose.

      If parents are worried about their children reading the novel, then why not explain it to them? I don't suggest a twelve year old reading the novel, but a high school student around sixteen can certainly handle reading the "n" word in a specific context. I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when I was about fifteen. And there very well may be a point when a child comes into contact with the word before they even read the book. I was called the "n" word when I was eleven. I discovered its true meaning very early on. While I was offended and even hurt that a classmate would call me such a word (and only be suspended for two days), the word was used out of context.

     I've made the personal decision to not use the word. I don't believe it contributes to a progressive society, but I do believe that in the context of a novel that was supposed to reflect the history of America's slavery period, that it should stay. The word stings, yes. But isn't that what we want people to remember? People should feel uncomfortable and they should feel a sting when they read over that word in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Imagine how the slaves felt. When we look back on it we should realize just how far America has come.

How do you feel about this new controversy surrounding Huck Finn?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- Jan. 3, 2011

Song of the Day: Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine

  Happy New Year all! How did everyone bring in the New Year? I had a great time because I had family at my parents house from all over the U.S. And Trinidad! The only pitfall was that I spent much of the New Year's Eve making centerpieces. It was all for a good cause though. My sister is married, and it was a beautiful wedding. I hope everyone is keeping up with their resolutions. What better way to start the New Year off right than with a few good opportunities? Take a look.


1. Asheville Poetry Review

Asheville Poetry Review awards a prize of $1,000 and publication to one poem annually. The winner will also be given a reading at the Wordfest Literary Festival in Asheville. Poets may submit up to three poems accompanied by a $20 entry fee by January 15, 2011. Please see the website for official details.

2. Crazyhorse Poetry and Fiction Prizes

Two prizes of $2,000 each and publication in Crazyhorse will be given to one short story and and one poem. Poets may submit up to three poems and fiction writers may submit a short story of up to twenty five pages with a $16 entry fee. For more information please visit the link below.

3. Wag's Revue Winter Writers' Contest

Wag's Revue will award a prize of $1,000 and publication in the magazine for a poem, a group of poems, a short story, or an essay. All entries will be considered for publication. Writers can submit up to ten poems or 8,000 words or prose. The entry fee is $20 and the deadline is January 15, 2011. Please visit the link below for official rules and guidelines.

It's a new year, so why not make it a must to get your work out there in 2011? Also, don't forget about the Black Fox Fiction Contest. We are also looking for flash fiction and poetry. Submit your best work now! Happy New Year and Happy Writing!