Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Fives- Book Covers to Lust Over (via Paper Hangover)

Song of the Day: Cover of the Rolling Stone by Dr. Hook

   Hello all! For Friday Fives today Paper Hangover asks, what five book covers are you currently lusting over?

1. Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates

The green eyes on the cover are freaky. They make me wonder to whom do they belong?

2. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Okay, not the most interesting of covers, but I like this one for superficial reasons. I like the color- Tiffany Blue!

3. Self-Help by Lorrie Moore

A cover with a bunch of medication? Makes me think the people in the stories may be crazy enough to need meds, which makes them interesting, which makes me want to read about them.

4. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

A man in the middle of two women. There's tension on the cover alone!

5. The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates

I like this cover because it's so mysterious. If I saw it in a bookstore I would probably be drawn it it immediately.

Are there any book covers you're currently lusting after?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- April 25, 2011

Song of the Day: Never Say Never by Justin Bieber

Today's introduction will be short, as this is a busy day for me. Heck, it's a busy week. I'm sure it is for the rest of the world as well. Hopefully everyone had a great holiday weekend. I hope that you all are keeping up with your submissions. As hard as it is, you must be resilient. Take a look at the opportunities below and challenge yourself to submit something somewhere, anywhere. 


1. Writer's Digest Your Story Contest #34

If you read Writer's Digest frequently, you know that they host their "Your Story" contest on a regular basis and each time they choose a new prompt. The winner will receive publication in Writer's Digest. Writers should submit a story of 750 words or less and must begin the story with the line of dialogue: "You wouldn't believe what came in the mail today." Deadline is May 10, 2011 and it's free to enter (so you have no excuse!)

2. Crab Creek Review's 2011 Poetry Contest

Submit up to five previously unpublished poems by May 31, 2011. The entry fee is $10. The winning poet will receive $200 and publication in Crab Creek Review. All entries will be considered for publication. For official contest rules click the link below.

3. Monkey Puzzle Press 3rd Annual Flash Fiction Contest

Monkey Puzzle Press is looking for stories of 1,000 words or less. The first place winner will receive a prize of $300; The second place winner will receive a prize of $150.00; The the third place winner will receive a prize of $50.00. All winners will also receive publication in Monkey Puzzle Magazine. Entry fee is $10 and contest deadline is August 15, 2011.

Call for Submissions

1. Literary Laundry

Literary Laundry is currently accepting Submissions for its third journal issue. Each submission period is accompanied by a writing competition. Each submission received will be entered into consideration for their Award distinction. They will pay $500 for the best poem, $500 for the best short story, and $250 for the best one-act drama.

2. Sleet Magazine

Sleet Magazine will accept submissions starting in May. They are looking for Fiction, flash fiction and irregulars. Visit their website for more information.

3. Third Wednesday: A Quarterly Journal of Poetry, Prose and Art

Third Wednesday seeks unpublished poems up to two pages, fiction under 1500 words and b&w artwork or photography by experienced writers and artists. Send up to five poems and up to two stories.

As always, don't forget about the Black Fox Fiction Contest! We've increased the prize money! We are also looking for poetry and flash fiction for weekly web features. Visit our site for all the details. Happy Writing!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hint Fiction Contest- Guest Judge, Joyce Carol Oates!

Song of the Day: The Math by Hilary Duff

   Okay, I'm supposed to be blogging today about how to find time to submit your work while trying to write your WIP amongst other things...BUT...I have to talk about this new contest! So, I recently went to Barnes and Noble and stumbled on this book, more specifically this anthology. It's called Hint Fiction. What's Hint Fiction? I wondered. I flipped over to the back and here's what it said:

"The stories in this collection run the gamut from playful to tragic, candid to enigmatic, but they all have one thing in common: they are no more than 25 words long. Editor Robert Swartwood termed them "hint fiction" because the few chosen words suggest a larger, more complex chain of events. The 125 gemlike stories in this collection come from such notable contributors as Joyce Carol Oates, Ha Jin, Peter Straub, and James Frey, as well as emerging writers."

   REWIND. Did they just say Joyce Carol Oates? As you all know she is my writer idol, and one of my favorite past times is stalking her, though it's difficult since she doesn't have a twitter. (JCO if you're reading this, get on twitter!) After reading that her work was included in the anthology, I marched straight up to the register and purchased the book. Also on the back cover was the website for the editor, Robert Swartwood. I decided to check it out because I had to know more about hint fiction. Something about very short fiction just fascinates me.

Here's Stwartwood's definition:

"Hint Fiction (n): a story of 25 words of fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story."

Once I'd read the definition I noticed something on the sidebar. It said:

"New Hint Fiction Contest judged by Joyce Carol Oates, announced."

   I almost fell out of my chair. I couldn't wait to get home and start writing hint fiction. I'd already tried out six word stories how hard could it be to write one in 25 words? Well, EXTREMELY HARD. It sounds a lot easier than it looks. I'm in the process now of preparing my entry and I'm SO nervous because the writer that I look up to the most may actually read over my work! Talk about pressure! Anyway, I think I've gone on long enough. I've listed some details of the contest in case you want to check it out or enter!

First Place: $100
Second Place: $50
Third Place:$25

*The first place winner will also receive journals and anthologies donated by publishers*

  Writers may submit up to two entries of no more than 25 words each. For more information and official rules visit the link below!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- April 18, 2011

Song of the Day: Push it to the Limit by Paul Engemann

   Hello all! Hope your weekend was phenomenal. Mine was very busy. Today, I ask you again, have you been submitting your work? What steps have you been taking to get your work out there? A blogger friend of mine (Alicia Gregoire over at Slice of Blog Pie) suggested that I write a post on how writers can find the time to submit their work while working on WIPs and trying to balance life. I thought it would be a great idea to create a post with tips on how to balance life with trying to get your foot in the door. Look out for that upcoming post this week. Thank you for the suggestion Alicia!


1. Writers' Journal Short Story Contest

Writers' Journal hosts its annual short story contest. First place will win a prize of $350.00; Second place will win a prize of $125.00; Third place will win a prize of $75. First, Second, Third, and selected honorable mentions will also be published in a future issue of Writers' Journal. The entry fee is $10 and the contest ends on May 30, 2011.

2. Narrative Magazine Spring 2011 Short Story Contest

Narrative Magazine's short story contest is open to all fiction and non-fiction writers. They're looking for short stories, short shorts, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, one-act plays, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and non-fiction. Entries should be no longer than 15,000 words and previously unpublished. First prize is $3,250; Second prize is $1,500; Third prize is $750; and ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication. Submission fee is $20 and the contest closes July 31, 2011.

3. The Ledge Poetry Award

A prize of $1,000 and publication in Ledge is given annually for one poem. All entries will be considered for publication. Submit up to three poems of any length with a $12 reading fee. The contest ends on April 30, 2011.


1. DC Library presents: Author Eugenia Kim- 2 Day Workshop

For those of you in the DC area, the DC Library will host a 2 day workshop with Eugenia Kim. Eugenia Kim is the author of the novel, The Calligrapher's Daughter. Writers who attend the workshop will have the chance to examine how culture shapes a story, learn key elements of craft and exercises, and discuss the influence of culture on their own writing. The workshop is free but you must submit a writing sample by May 1, 2011.

I thought I had a link for a cool new YA lit magazine for all my YA followers, but I went to the link and it didn't work. I'm going to double check on it and if it's just a glitch, I'll post the link next Monday.

For those of you who won cupcakes I finally figured out that Bangerang Bakery went out of business! I'm SO disappointed. So, since the cupcakes were going to cost me about $7, I will give each of you a gift card to Amazon or a bookstore of your choice for $8. It will be a virtual gift card, so leave your email in the comments, or email me directly. Thanks for your patience and I apologize for the inconvenience (I know some of you really wanted those cupcakes!)

As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting general submissions and also fiction contest submissions. We are also looking for poetry and flash fiction for our weekly web features. We're very close to launching our new site, so be on the look out for that as well! Happy Writing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Fives- Trading Places with Characters (via Paper Hangover)

Song of the Day: Best of Both Worlds by Hannah Montana

   Hello all! I'm really late, but better late than never, right? For Friday Fives today Paper Hangover asks, What five characters would you switch places with for a day? As I was examining all the books I've read, I realized that there were very few characters I would trade places with. I read a lot of dark fiction (I had never realized how much.) I did manage to come up with a few though.

1. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I love the time period and who wouldn't want to fall in love with Mr. Darcy?

2. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Bridget is hilarious! Although she's a little awkward at times, she's a strong and independent woman discovers her true self.

3. Cassie Moore from The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club by Jessica Morrison

At some point most people will end up with their heart broken at least one. When Cassie gets her heart broken she does something drastic. She books a plane ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has this whole new exciting life all because she took a risk. The best part is that she gets to visit another country.

4. Allie from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook is one of my favorite love stories. Ally gets Noah...enough said.

5. Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Becky does a lot of shopping in Confessions of a Shopaholic. What fun! Though she does get herself into a heap of debt, she gets it under control in the end. I know the whole debt thing is not the best thing, but she sure does have a lot of fun shopping!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Interview with Lynette Benton

Hi all! I'm being interviewed by Lynette Benton for her special series, "When You Hate the Book You're Writing." You can check it out on her blog, here: Stop by and say hi if you can!
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Climbing to the Top by Lionel Richie

  Hello all! Confession time. I haven't submitted any of my work lately. I know this is bad, but I've been a little busy with other things (hence the reason the opportunities are late this week) such as re-designing the Black Fox website, working on a project for The Florida Writer's Association, and the most important of them all: MY THESIS. I'm trying hard to balance them all, but my thesis comes first. I've already submitted my entire  creative thesis (27,000 words) and my professor responded with comments within two days! If he's going to be that quick, then I'll have to step it up. I'm still going to make time to submit something this week, though. I was thinking of the Our Stories contest. LOVE the flash fiction! What about you? Are you balancing life and writing? Will you be submitting your work this week?


1. Seven Hills Literary Contest

Seven Hills Review is a literary publication produced by The Tallahassee Writer's Association. Seven Hills is looking for manuscripts for their annual contest. The categories are Short, Story, Creative non-fiction, children's picture books, and flash fiction. First place will receive a prize of $100; Second place receives $75 and third place will receive $50. Winners will also be published in Seven Hills Review. The contest entry fee is $17 for non TWA members and $12 for members of TWA. The deadline is August 31, 2011.

2. Our Stories- The Gordon Award for Flash Fiction

Our Stories is pleased to announce The Gordon Award for Flash fiction Contest. One first place winner will receive $200 plus publication and 3-5 runners up will have their submission fee waived. Submissions should be 1,000 words or less. They review all stories, so with your submission fee of $10 you will receive feedback on your work. Deadline is April 15, 2011.

3. Glimmer Train Press Family Matters Short Story Contest

Glimmer Train announces its annual Family Matters Short Story Contest. They are seeking original, unpublished short stories about family ranging from 3,000-12,000 words. First place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories and 20 copies of of the issue in which their work appears. Second place will win $500 and third place will win $300. Entry fee is $15 and the contest closes on April 30, 2011.

As always, the Black Fox Fiction Contest is going on now. Enter for a chance to win a prize of $100. We are also looking for flash fiction and poetry for our weekly web features. Look out for our new website where we'll start featuring author interviews and help for writers! Happy Writing!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fives- What I wish I'd Known Before I Became a Writer (via Paper Hangover)

Song of the Day: If I Knew Then by Lyfe Jennings

As you all know my incredible adopted sis (Pam) is a contributor of the blog Paper Hangover. Their Friday posts are awesome and will definitely get you either blogging or writing. Today they ask the question: What are five things you wish you'd known before you became a writer? Here's my list.

1. I wish I'd known that you had to have thick skin.

When I had my first writing workshop, I got so emotional after all the comments. I took it VERY personally. I had to learn that comments (most of the time) are actually beneficial and only make the work that much stronger. Even if you don't take all the suggestions people give to you, at least it gets you thinking about what works and what doesn't.

2. Being a writer is no cake walk

Between the rejections, the editing and re-writing, the critiques, the blank stares, I've discovered that being a writer is hard work. I decided to be a writer in the fifth grade (I was nine) after my teacher told me "you have a way with words, you should be a writer." I had already been reading since I was three and had already written several stories, complete with illustrations (all on construction paper, of course.) Writing had always come naturally to me. I whizzed through writing assignments, while my friends struggled to write a single paragraph. I never thought that would only be acceptable for the time being. I had to learn (fast) that the first draft wasn't going to be the final draft.

3. Getting your hands on every piece of information possible is essential

I wasted so much time! I went through phases when I didn't want to be a writer. My AP English teacher would literally rip my papers to shreds. After high school I figured that writing was probably not for me. I decided to be a pre-optometry major (I don't know what the heck I was thinking either) when I became a freshman in college. That wasn't working out because I was struggling in Chemistry and Calculus but excelling in English. A professor pulled me aside and told me that I should consider a major in writing because my work was good. That's when I decided to stop fighting my love for words. But I still didn't take it as seriously as I do now. I should have done internships, started attending conferences, reading more and making genuine connections with other writing students. I did none of that. I wish I'd spoken up more in class and formed relationships with those around me. Maybe then I would have had other writers to relate to that live close by.

4. You won't get it right on the first draft

I touched a little on this in #2. I still struggle with this. When you're a writer, you are destined to feel self-doubt at some point. This is my constant battle. I have to always remember that it's okay to get the words down on the page and then go back and fix it. National Novel Writing Month actually helped me with this. I finally stopped making excuses and realized that I can in fact write a novel.

5. You need writer friends

Whether you have friends that live near or you rely on twitter, you NEED people around you who are also writers. Who else is going to understand your pain? Having a writing buddy encourages you and keeps you sane. Rejections may suck, but at least you're not the only one getting rejected. When you see success stories, it motivates you to press on with your own writing goals. Thank God for technology. It makes this one a little easier.

If I'd known all of these things before I became a writer, I would have still chosen to be one. The only thing that would have changed is that maybe I'd be a better writer now. I love being a writer, heartache and all.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- April 4, 2011

Song of the Day: Career Opportunities by the Clash

Hello all! Hope you had a fantastic weekend! Do you hear that sound? That's the sound of opportunity knocking! Okay, maybe that was a little cliche, but really, are you taking advantage of every opportunity offered to you? I've missed the deadline for a few writing contests, some of them unintentionally, and I can't help but wonder, what if I'd entered that contest? Would they have liked my piece? Would I have won? I'll never know the answer to any of those questions, because I didn't enter. At least with a rejection, you know that you tried. It's important that us writers take advantage of all the opportunities offered to us, especially the free ones. No excuses. Hope everyone has been submitting their work and making the most of all the opportunities. Here's what I found this week.


1. Mason's Road Creative Writing Contest

Mason's Road, a literary and arts journal sponsored by Fairfield University, is looking for short stories. One first place winner will win a prize of $1,000 and publication. The theme is: ARC- the rise and fall of dramatic tension within a piece. The entry fee is $15 and I couldn't find the contest closing date, but I'm assuming it's May 1, 2011, since that's when their submission period ends.

2. BOMB Magazine's 2011 Fiction Contest

BOMB Magazine announces it's fifth annual fiction contest. Stories should not exceed 20 pages and must not be previously unpublished. One first place winner will receive a prize of $500. Entry fee is $20 and the contest ends on April 16, 2011. With entry fee comes a one year subscription to the magazine.

3. Fugue's Tenth Annual Prose & Poetry Contest

First place winners in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry will receive a prize of $750, publication, and a year's subscription to Fugue. Second and third place winners will receive publication and a one year subscription. Story and essay submissions shouldn't be more than 10,000 words and poets can submit up to 3 poems or 5 pages. The entry fee is $15, which includes a one year subscription. Contest closes May 1, 2011.

4. 7th Annual Gival Press Novel Awards

The contest is open to submissions of previously unpublished and original novels of 30,000 to 100,000 words that are of high literary quality. The grand prize if 3,000 and publication by Gival Press. Author will also receive 20 copies and a standard contract. Entry fee is $50 and the contest closes on May 30, 2011.

5. New Rivers Press' American Fiction Prize

The contest is open to short story submissions of 7,500 words or less. First place will receive a prize of $1,000; Second place will receive a prize of $500; and Third place will receive a prize of $250. Winners and finalists will be published in the Fall of 2012 in the anthology, American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers. Entry fee is $12 and the deadline is May 1, 2011.

As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is hosting a fiction contest. We are also accepting flash fiction of any genre and poetry for weekly web features. Happy Writing!

***Also: To my winners that should have received cupcakes, something went wrong with the Bangerang Cupcake order. I got an email that was a return receipt. I tried emailing them and asking what happened and haven't received a response. SO, I'll have to think of something else for you all. Sorry for the inconvenience.***