Monday, June 27, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Thank You by Dido

   Hello all! How was the weekend? Mine was not so good. Have you ever felt like you were stretching yourself too thin? What about when you do a bunch of work for someone and they don't even say thank you? This past weekend was consumed by a particular project I'm working on. The head of the project is nowhere to be found. I am now doing work that I never signed up to do, ALONE. When I told the "overseeing person" that this had consumed my entire weekend and that I still hadn't completed it, she seemed upset. Not even a thank you for sacrificing my ENTIRE weekend. I've even explained countless times that I am graduating from my MFA program in less than two months. What would you do in this situation? Jump ship? Or see the project through?

Here are the opportunities for this week. There is some good stuff!

***Last day to enter my 150 Follower Giveaway is Thursday! Win $30 to a bookstore of your choice or a book of your choice.***


1. Theresa Frohock's Blog Contest

Theresa over at the blog Theresa Frohock is hosting a contest with AMAZING prizes. To enter, write a 250 to 300 word self contained fantastical short story. The prizes:

  • PACKAGE #1 -- autographed copy of MISERERE: AN AUTUMN TALE + 25-page critique from my agent, Weronika Janczuk + autographed MISERERE postcard*
  • PACKAGE #2 -- 50-page critique from my agent, Weronika Janczuk + autographed MISERERE postcard
  • PACKAGE #3 -- 25-page critique from my agent, Weronika Janczuk + synopsis critique from my agent + autographed MISERERE postcard
  • PACKAGE #4 -- 25-page critique from my agent, Weronika Janczuk + synopsis critique from my agent
  • PACKAGE #5 -- synopsis critique from my agent, Weronika Janczuk + query critique

2. Tahreh Mafi's Giveaway

Tahreh Mafi is giving away an ARC of her novel, Shatter Me. Visit her blog for details.

3. The Third Annual Bartleby Snopes Writing Contest

The challenge of this contest is to write a story that's composed of only dialogue. Entries must be under 2,000 words and cannot include narration (this includes tag lines such as "he said" or "she said," etc.) Prize is $250 to first place and $10 to four honorable mentions (amount of the prize increases if more money is generated from the contest entries) Entry Fee is $10 and the contest closes September 12, 2011.

4. Oregon Writers Colony Short Story Contest

Submit a story of up to 2500 words, fiction or non-fiction. First place will receive $200, second place will receive $100, and third place will receive $50. Additional honorable mentions will be mentioned on the OWC website. The fee to enter is $10 for OWC members and $15 for non-members. You may also submit an additional $10 for a critique of your story. Contest deadline is August 15, 2011.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Storyville Short Stories

Storyville accepts original work of high literary quality that has not been published as a stand alone story in a print or online literary journal. They do publish stories that have been previously, or are currently, published as part of a printed or ebook collection or anthology. There is payment for accepted stories.

2. About Place

About Place is a literary Journal published by The Black Earth Institute. They are currently looking for poems or non-fiction of up to 2000 words. The submissions are themed and the current theme is "A River Runs Through Us." Deadline is November 1, 2011.

As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is currently accepting fiction of all genres and poetry for possible publication. We'd love to see your work! Happy Writing!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Fives- What Gets the Creativity Flowing (via Paper Hangover)

Song of the Day: Let it Flow by Toni Braxton
   Hello all! Time for Friday Fives again! Can you tell I'm excited? The blog Paper Hangover hosts it's weekly segment titled, Friday Fives. Feel free to hop over there and join in on the fun. This week's question:

What are five things that get your creativity flowing?

1. Music

I have been a lover of music for my entire life. A couple of years ago, I had been in a writing slump and a writing buddy of mine suggested I listen to music. Really listen to it. She told me that songs tell a story. Just like you might pick up something to read and get inspired, the same is true with a song.

2. Reading

Reading almost always gets me in the mood to write. Sometimes when I'm reading, my characters will nag at me. They often say, "You should be writing about me and not reading. I have a story to tell too, you know."

3. Watching TV

You're probably thinking, that's just an excuse for me to watch TV, and you're right. Well, you're half right anyway. I do LOVE watching TV, but seriously, I get A TON of story ideas when I'm watching it. It's also a way for me to study people in general. Though some of these people on TV may be fictional characters, people like them because they're realistic. This is the same goal we have in our writing, the "believable factor."

4. Free Writing or a Writing Exercise

Sometimes I just start writing whatever comes to mind and if I'm lucky it can develop to become a story. I learned how to free write early on and it's something that has always stayed with me. The same is true for writing exercises. Some of the stories that I'm most proud of started out as writing exercises.

5. Running

I enjoy running not only because I always feel amazing after, but also because I get story ideas while running. I also feel like it clears my mind. After a good run, it's as though my mind is a clean slate and ready for whatever writing project I'm working on.

What about you? What gets your creativity flowing?

***Don't forget about my 150 Follower Giveaway*** Click the link or check it out in the side bar.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Inspirational Encounter at My Writers Meeting

Song of the Day: Don't Stop Believing by Journey

   Hello all! As I've mentioned before, I'm a member of a writers group called FWA (Florida Writer's Association.) A few weekends ago, they held the monthly meeting which usually involves a guest speaker. The guest speaker this time was the grandson of the author of The Happy Hollisters series. The Happy Hollisters was a children's series from the 1950's written by Andrew Svenson underneath the pen name, Jerry West. The series is now being re-released by Andrew Svenson's grandson, Andy Svenson. Andy also brought along his sixteen-year-old daughter, Libby. Out of the entire presentation, I found Libby to be the most inspiring.

   Libby wrote a novel called Andromeda's Turn (click the link to find it on Amazon.) Get this, she wrote it when she was thirteen! I almost fell out of my chair when she announced this. I was writing stories at the age of thirteen, but can you imagine writing something worth publishing? I was immediately transfixed. I listened attentively to virtually everything Libby said. She wrote the novel on a car ride from Florida to Maine during the summer of 2007. She was bored and said to herself, "I should write a book." And just like that, she did.

   What was interesting to note was the editing phase. Libby went through rounds of edits before her book was ready for publication (she even brought samples of the different rounds.) As much as I hate editing, we all have to do it, and it pays off. I was very impressed with Libby, her novel is 414 pages long. I read the first page, and I was immediately intrigued. I will be adding this one to my list of books to be read.

   Libby's story has inspired me to keep pushing to edit my novel and get it published. At only sixteen years of age, Libby is a published author. This post was actually prepared a while ago, but the day that I was going to post it, I got a rejection letter in my inbox from a contest I really wanted to win. I didn't even care about the money. All I wanted was the publishing credentials, and just to know that my work was good enough to be published in that particular literary magazine. When I got the letter, I was depressed, and was in no mood to blog about inspiration.

   Of course, being that I'm so passionate about writing, those moments of self doubt are short lived. I simply, "try again." I revisited the draft version of this post and remembered why I write. Every time I seem to doubt myself, something comes along to remind me and inspire me to write again. That's how I know my writing career is destiny.

Have you had any of those moments when you were doubting yourself as a writer and something comes along to inspire you?

***I had pictures of the books, but for some reason blogger is not uploading my pictures (surprise, surprise.) I will try to post them again later.***

Monday, June 20, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- June 20, 2011

Song of the Day: It's Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World) by The Ramones

   Hello all! How was Father's Day weekend? We shouldn't celebrate our fathers only one day out of the year (and trust me, I don't) but I can't help but love Father's Day. I have the most AMAZING father ever. Like my picture? Growing up, he did everything for me and made sure that our family had all that we needed. I watched him go from sweeping floors at Walmart to owning his own construction and investment company. It is his heart and his spirit that inspires me everyday to work hard to get where I want to be in my career. That's why I continue to submit my work, (despite the rejections) continue to attend conferences, continue to write, and continue to edit. Which leads me to my next question. Have you been keeping up with your submissions? Even submitting once a month is better than nothing. If you're having trouble keeping up, I wrote a post on how you can balance submitting your writing and life.

***Reminder: Enter my 150 Follower Giveaway for a chance at a $30 gift card to a bookstore of your choice!***

Here are this week's opportunities. Have at it.


1. NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge

This is an interesting contest with four writing challenges and every entrant is guaranteed to participate in at least two challenges. In each challenge writers have two days to complete a 1,000 word story based on an assigned genre, location and object. Writers will be able to get feedback on their writing. For more details on how the contest is structured visit the website. First place wins $1500, second wins $500, third wins $250, and fourth wins $100. Early entry deadline is July 14, 2011 (fee is $39) but writers may enter up until August 17, 2011 (fee is $49.)

2. Dream Horse Press Poetry Chapbook Prize

Submit up to 20-28 pages of paginated poetry in readable font, table of contents, acknowledgments, bio, and email for results. The prize is $500 and 25 copies of the printed chapbook. The entry fee is $15 and the deadline is June 30, 2011.

3. 2011 Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Contest

Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley is searching for the best short short story of any theme. Stories should not exceed 500 words. The winner will receive $300 and publication in Big Muddy. Entry fee is $10 and the deadline is October 1, 2011.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Prick of the Spindle

A quarterly literary magazine currently accepting fiction (flash to novella length), poetry, creative and academic non-fiction, drama, and literary reviews.

2. Women of Color Anthology

The Women of Color Writer's Community is seeking quality submissions of flash fiction, poetry, short stories, Essays, One Act Plays, non-fiction, and original freestanding art work for the anthology, Boundaries and Borders. Deadline is September 1, 2011.

As always Black Fox Literary Magazine is open for submissions of fiction and poetry. We love getting submissions from under-represented genres. Also, look out for our first issue, set to be released next month! Happy Writing!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- June 13, 2011

Song of the Day: We are the Champions by Queen

  Hello all! How was the weekend? I must admit, this weekend wasn't as productive as it should have been. I think I needed a little bit of a break. Friday I submitted my final (official) submission of edits to my thesis mentor. I've been stressed about it for months, so it felt good to relax a little. I still have work to do on my presentation, so I'll be back in the trenches this week. One good thing that did happen was that The Miami Heat lost in the playoffs and the Dallas Mavericks won the championship! I DON'T like Lebron James (think the V.S.Naipaul of basketball) because of his cocky attitude and it's good to know that the good guy/underdog can have the last laugh. I hope that the submissions are going well for everyone. Here's a list of the opportunities for this week. (Lots of blog contests.)

Also, Don't forget I'm giving away a $30 gift card to a bookstore of choice and a book of choice to two lucky followers! Enter my 150 Follower Giveaway!


1. Pam and Quita's Blogoversary Contest

My two adopted sisters over at Y(A)? Cuz We Write are having celebrating their blogoversary by giving away two amazing books. The first is Notes from the Blender by Brendan Halpin and Trish Cook (signed by Brendan Halpin.) The second is Fill in the Blank Plotting by Linda George. Get over there NOW!

2. Alicia Gregoire's Giveaway

Alicia Gregoire over at Slice of Blog Pie is giving away the coolest notebook known to all writers. It's a Circa notebook from Levenger. Check out her blog for details. Deadline is June 19, 2011.

3. Jamie Manning's Giveaway

Jamie Manning over at Writers Write, Right? is giving away three gift cards! A $20, $15, and $10 gift card to the chosen bookstore will be given to one lucky follower of his blog. For rules on how to enter, visit his blog! Deadline is June 15, 2011.

4. Figment's Fable Contest

One winner will be given a prize of $1,000. The challenge is to write a fable story in 1200 words or less, set in a fictional country on the day before the final battle in a devastating war. Paulo Coelho author of The Alchemist will determine the winner. Voting will take place to determine the top ten stories. Contest Deadline is June 19, 2011.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Nano Fiction

Nano publishes flash fiction, prose poems, and micro essays of 300 words or fewer and is accepting submissions all summer.

2. The Fascinating Females Book Project

Len Lambert who blogs over at Conversations with Self, is looking for articles about fascination women for a new book. For more information visit her blog. Deadline is June 30, 2011.

As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is open for fiction and poetry submissions! Happy Writing!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Five- Summer Reads! (via Paper Hangover)

Song of the Day: Summertime by Will Smith

    Hello all! Friday Again! You know what that means...Friday Fives! (And well, the weekend!)

    The blog Paper Hangover hosts its weekly Friday Fives. This week's question:

What are your FIVE favorite summer reads?

I usually like darker fiction, so in the summer I do like to slip in a light read or two. Four out of five on my list are light reads. The last'll see.

1. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite authors (as she is mentioned twice on my list!) Her reads are well-written and light. You will find yourself literally laughing out loud with this book.

2. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

This one is just as funny as The Undomestic Goddess. Her books also go by really fast. You won't be able to put it down. Trust me.

3. Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Can you tell I have a thing for British Authors? Seriously, I LOVE Bridget Jones. If you've seen the movies you probably know her character is a little off. Don't we all feel like that sometimes? I think that's one of the reasons she's so universal.

4. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

I'm a sucker for a good love story. This love story is probably my favorite one ever, besides Pride and Prejudice of course!

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Okay, Jane Eyre isn't exactly a light read, but it's a classic! We tend to have more time in the summer and why not tackle a classic? The book is also a little long, so summer is a great time to read it. Jane Eyre is perfect because it has a little of everything. There's drama, romance, suspense, mystery. It's all the genres rolled into one.

I know this is Friday Fives, but I went over to my bookshelf and there is one more book that I think would make a great summer read. It's called Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern. It's a fun and light love story. The whole thing is written in a letter format. GREAT read.

What are some of your favorite summer reads? Any suggestions for me this summer?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Response to V.S. Naipaul's Comments at his Interview with the Royal Geographic Society

Song of the Day: Where is the Love by The Black Eyed Peas

   Hello all! As I stated on Monday, I have a response to V.S. Naipaul's comments about women in his interview with the Royal Geographic Society. I couldn't find the actual interview. All I could find were reports with quotes on what was said. I ended up just reading the Guardian's report on it.

   I've known about V.S. Naipaul for quite some time now. I had always heard his name during my undergraduate days in college, but never thought much of him. What I didn't realize was that he was Trinidadian. I discovered that fact only after a professor in my MFA program suggested that I read some of his work for research. The professor had asked me if I did any writing based on my culture and when I told him no, he said that I should read some Trinidadian writers to explore my heritage. Naturally, he suggested Naipaul. I had been so excited to learn that he was Trinidadian, but that excitement was short lived. Just days later when my Uncle picked me up from residency and I was telling him about Naipaul, he told me that he was a great writer, but he was ashamed of his Trinidadian heritage. He had heard rumors of Naipaul claiming to be British. As someone who is VERY proud of her Trinidadian heritage, I found this to be repulsive. I vowed to never read a single word of Naipaul's work.

   The Guardian reports that in an interview with the Royal Geographic Society, Naipaul was asked if he considered any woman his literary match. Naipaul responded with, "I don't think so." When he was asked about Jane Austen, he said he "couldn't possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world." Are we talking about the same Jane Austen here?

Here are some quotes from Naipaul taken from the Guardian report of the interview:

"I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me."

This was because of a woman's

"sentimentality, the narrow view of the world". "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too."

"My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, low and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don't mean this in any unkind way."

   Excuse me, but who made him the Godfather of literature? He claims that women writers are unequal to him, but there a women who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature the same prize he also won. The prize has been given to literary greats such as Toni Morrison and Doris Lessing, and those are only two. Naipaul has a lot of nerve saying that not a single woman on this earth can match up to him.

   And what does he mean by calling women sentimental and have a "narrow view of the world?" I don't understand it. I know that Joyce Carol Oates is one of the greatest writers ever, and she is neither sentimental nor does she have a narrow view of the world. And what exactly is his definition of a narrow view of the world? Isn't his view of women writers narrow-minded, thus making his view of the modern world, narrow?

   I guess I take this so personally because I'm used to more of a support system in the writing community. We're not here to look down on anyone or bash each other. If he really felt that way, then maybe he should keep comments like that to himself. This is not the suffrage movement. We're in 2011. Women shouldn't have to continue to prove themselves this far in the game.

   One thing that's interesting to note is Naipaul's personal life. I decided to do a little background check of Mr. Naipaul, and well, I wasn't shocked by what I discovered. I came across an article in the Telegraph. The article's headline: "Sir Vidia Naipaul Admits His Cruelty May Have Killed Wife" by Nigel Reynolds. Apparently, Naipaul was very cruel to his wife of 41 years, Patricia Naipaul. Naipaul had a mistress for twenty four of those years and his wife knew about it. What she didn't know was that Naipaul had regularly visited prostitutes in London. She only discovered this after he boasted about it in a magazine interview in 1994. His wife had just had a mastectomy and was in remission from cancer when she learned the news. Naipaul had refused to buy his wife a wedding ring and even when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, "he showed little compassion." When Patricia died, and he had a chance to marry his mistress (the woman he spent most of his time with) he ended the affair.

   It's clear Naipaul never had any respect for women. After reading this article in the Telegraph, I can no longer be surprised by Naipaul's comments about women. I really hope he's done his research and read a variety of books by women authors to support his claim. Quite frankly, I feel sorry for the man. Most Trinidadians don't like Naipaul because of his contempt for his own country. I am no exception.

The Guardian also posted the "Naipaul Test: Can you tell an author's sex?" Take it and see if you can tell which authors are male and which are female from the passages.

What are views on this whole V.S. Naipaul debacle?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time to Party- 150 Follower Contest!

Song of the Day: The Party Song by Blink 182

   Hello all! Yesterday I blogged about the Wall Street Journal article on YA being too dark and tomorrow I'll be blogging about the V.S. Naipaul's comments about women. I thought I'd lighten up the mood today by announcing my contest!

   First, I'd like to thank all the loyal followers who have supported my blog from the start. In case you don't know, I started this blog in 2009 and then posted one post but then had no idea what to do with a blog. I had what I like to call a "dead" blog. I did nothing with it for about a year. Then I met my two adopted sisters Pam and Quita! They encouraged me to start blogging again at our residency in England. I remember when I had only one follower, which was myself! Now here I am 154 followers later!   

    I'd also like to thank the new followers. I hope you can get something out of my posts, and I hope you'll keep coming back.

   This contest is smaller than the last (obviously the last contest was a bigger milestone.) This time I'll be giving away two prizes to two followers:

  • $30 gift card to Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, or a bookstore of your choice (as long as I can purchase it online.)
  • A book of your choice

The Rules:

You MUST be a follower of this blog (If you're not a follower feel free to follow my blog to be eligible) +1
You MUST Comment on this Post with a response to the following question: Why do you write? +1-5

***Bonus Points (not required):

Tweet about the Contest +1
Blog About the Contest +1
Add the contest to your sidebar +1

The most weight will be given to how you answer the question. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Contest Deadline is June 30, 2011 and the winners will be announced Monday July 4, 2011.

*Please note, if you win and you don't check the post then contact me within two weeks, I'll have to choose another winner. I'm really sorry, but it's just too much to track people down.*

Let's Party.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wall Street Journal Article on YA- My Views

Song of the Day: Wake up Everybody by John Legend and The Roots feat. Melanie Fiona and Common

   Hello all! Hope everyone is having a great week so far. As I stated in my post yesterday, I have a few things I want to say in response to the Wall Street Journal Article on YA. In case you haven't read the article or you want reference it, it's called "Darkness to Visible?" by Meghan Cox Gurden. The quotations I use in this post were also taken from the same article.

   First, let me state for those of you that may not know me or those who don't regularly read my blog, I'm not a YA writer. However, I LOVE the genre. I enjoy reading YA novels and I enjoy connecting with writers who write and read it. Second, let me say that I don't believe in censorship.

   Now, the article in the Wall Street Journal stated that young adult literature is too "dark." Here's a quote from the opening of the article:

"If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds."

   According to Ms. Gurden, YA books reflect "hideously distorted portrayals of what life is." There are children and teens in the world facing and enduring some of these dark YA themes. To call it a "distorted portrayal of life" is not accurate. Her claim is instantly negated by the simple fact that it is happening. For her (or anyone else) to deny that truth is ridiculous.

   My mother monitored what I read until about the age of fifteen. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal. While I was in middle school, my cousin was reading the Sweet Valley High Series. I was not allowed to read the High School Series because I was still in middle school. My mother told me that I was only allowed to read the Sweet Valley Twins Series (the twins were in sixth grade) and Sweet Valley Junior High Series (here they're in seventh grade)  until I got to high school. Same thing in elementary school, I was only allowed to read Sweet Valley Kids. Essentially, I advanced in the series as I advanced in age.

   Somewhere around fifteen years of age my mother stopped telling me what to read. There were a couple reasons for this. One I think, was because she trusted me by that point. I had made the honor roll every grading period, and I never got into any trouble. Two, I was one year younger than everyone in my class (I started kindergarten at four) and I began taking AP classes. In these classes we often read books that definitely had adult themes. Some of them were classics and some of them were not. In high school I read the novella A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and the novel, The Orchid Thief  by Susan Orlean. If you've never heard of either, look them up. (You might better recognize The Orchid Thief by its film counterpart, Adaptation.) The novels were filled with very adult content and there I was reading them at sixteen. Did that make me into a reckless teen once I started reading whatever I wanted? Absolutely not.

   It seems that parents are concerned that kids are going to start behaving like the characters in the novel. If parents do their jobs, then why would you need to worry about something like that? If you raised decent children, then shouldn't they have the ability to differentiate between what's right and what's wrong? AND NEWS FLASH: they aren't going to get any ideas from reading YA novels. Chances are they've already heard about or have already come into contact with the "dark" issues in YA novels. Gurden calls the material in YA novels, "ugliness." Well, like it or not, it's an ugly world.

   Also, how many YA books has Ms. Gurden read? People who don't read YA would probably be surprised at how much these books resonate emotionally with readers. They are just as good as adult fiction. I'm tired of people cutting down the genre and the talented authors who write it.

   I fully believe that parents should have the right to restrict what their children read. If you don't want your child reading "dark" material, then by all means, monitor their reading. My boss asks me for suggestions of YA books that are "clean" for her daughters. She monitors their reading habits, and she should. They're still pretty young. Still, parents shouldn't bash authors who write YA and definitely shouldn't embark on any book banning campaigns. Some people need these books. These books save people, including teens, as the Twitter hash tag "YAsaves" revealed. Is it really such a bad thing to have them on the shelves? If you don't like it, then it's simple, Don't read it. No one is forcing you. I think it's very sad that people are not acknowledging what's really going on in the world. Wake Up.

What about you? How do you feel about YA? Is it too dark? And do you think it's such a bad thing that dark literature for teens exists?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- June 6, 2011

Song of the Day: Heart of a Champion by Nelly

   Hello all! What was the weekend like this time? I had another productive one. I revised 60 pages of my novel, and also got a lot of other things done that I've been "meaning to get to." I also attended a Workshop on blogging sponsored by the Florida Writers Association. It was one of the best workshops I've attended and I can't wait to share with you all what I learned.

   I want to briefly touch on two major things that happened over the weekend. The first was the article published the the Wall Street Journal. It was about the YA genre. Being that the vast majority of my readers are YA writers, I'm sure you all heard about it. I finally read the article this weekend, and I must say that I was not happy with what was said. I felt like the article was an attack on the genre. I will be writing a blog post with more details on how I feel about this. Also, in literary news the author V.S. Naipaul bashed women writers. He basically said that women were "sentimental and unequal" to him. I was especially outraged by this particular piece of literary news because V.S. Naipaul is a Trinidadian writer and I'm also Trinidadian. I've known about him for some time but never supported him because he is truly a disgrace to our culture. My views on him, needs its own blog post, so I will be posting about that as well. It's a shame that this kind of negative news is forcing us to have to address them in a new week, but there are things I do believe need to be said, and I intend to say them. On a more positive note, here are this week's opportunities.


1. Narrative Magazine 3rd Annual Poetry Contest

Narrative Magazine hosts its third annual poetry contest. The First Prize is $1500, Second Prize is $750, Third Prize is $300 and ten finalists will receive $75 each. All entries will be considered for publication. The entry fee is $20 and the contest closes on July 15, 2011.

2. 2011 MDEW Maryland Prize

Maryland Editors and Writers is seeking manuscript submissions for prizes in the following categories poetry, fiction, non-fiction, script, collection by a single author, and/or MA/MFA thesis. The prize is a large print, paperback book publication with royalties and twenty free, author copies. Author portrait will appear on the front cover. Royalties will be $1 per book or 6%, whichever is greater (with that calculation based on the gross, brick and mortar bookstore list price established with their distributors). The entry fee is $10 and the contest deadline is July 1, 2011.

3. New Millenium Writings

New Millennium Writings is now accepting submissions for its thirty-second consecutive awards for Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction. Writing competition winners will be published in NMW and on this website. There will be a cash prize of $1,000. The last day to submit is June 17, 2011 and the entry fee is $17.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Tinge Magazine

Tinge Magazine is Temple University's new online literary journal. They are currently accepting submissions of fiction, poetry and non-fiction.

2. Palabra Literary Magazine

Palabra invites Chicano/Latino writers to submit work that pushes the boundaries of Chicano/Latino lliterary art.

* I will be announcing a 150 follower contest, but I'm going to do it as a separate post.

Also, Black Fox is closed to submissions for consideration in our summer issue. However, our submission gates are still open for consideration in our fall issue. Feel free to submit your fiction or poetry. Happy Writing!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fives- "But I don't Wanna..." Excuses Writers Should Nix (via Paper Hanover)

Song of the Day: Excuses by Alanis Morisette

The blog Paper Hangover hosts its weekly Friday Fives! This week's question is:

What are FIVE excuses you have to be ready to give up in order to be a better writer?

1. I don't have the time to write.
That excuse is complete and total bologna. You do have the time. I have the time. We all have the time. I too, used this excuse. I know I ALWAYS talk about NanoWriMo, but I can't help it. It changed my life. Nano taught me that I do have the time. It proved that I simply, "can."
2. My writing isn't good enough to submit.
If you put in the hard work, then someone will like your writing. Sure, it's the most demoralizing thing in the world when you get a rejection in your inbox, but you have got to pick yourself up and move forward. How will you be published if you don't get your work out there? Keep trying, your work is as good as you want it to be.
3. I don't have time to read.
If you don't have time to read, then forget about becoming a better writer. You MUST read. Most writers actually like to read, but reading in a way is like work. Some books you read for pleasure, some for research. When you read in your genre, you are researching and learning your industry. It just so happens that doing that is actually fun at the same time.
4. I'm waiting for...
Waiting for what? I also used this excuse before. I didn't write my novel because I was waiting to become a better writer. What? Looking back, it sounds do ridiculous. I had to learn that by sitting down and writing that novel, I was becoming a better writer. I wasn't becoming a better writer by waiting to write a novel. I wish I had realized this sooner.
5. If I write about a certain topic, what will they think of me?
I'm still struggling with this, but really, who cares what they think? The best writers push the envelope. Just look at Joyce Carol Oates. She writes what is most controversial, something I love about her. It's called fiction for a reason. If other people don't get that, why do we care so much? One of my favorite quotes (and one I remind myself of frequently) is: "What other people think about you is none of your business."
Bottom line, we writers are full of excuses. The trick is to remember the part of you that wants to be a writer. The part that can't stop coming up with story ideas, the part that feels disconnected when you don't write, the part that's stronger than the excuses.
Can you think of any excuses that we writers should stop making in order to become better at our craft?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- June 1, 2011

Song of the Day: Dreams by Van Halen

    Hello all! This post is ridiculously late, but I got swamped yesterday and I didn't get a free moment. I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. I usually discuss something writing related before the opportunities, but today I'm going to talk about my Memorial Day.
Disclaimer: If you don't like Basketball, then feel free to skip over this.

    Guess where I was on Monday? At Dwight Howard's Barbecue! If you know me at all, then you know that I have a tiny crush on him. *Insert dreamy eyes here* Anyway, I had a fantastic time, and I still can't believe how close to him I was. What impresses me the most is the way he cares about his fans. He held a dance contest for the kids that attended and gave out cash prizes to the winners. There was also plenty of food for everyone, though my parents are the ones that told me this. I definitely did not notice the food!

    If you're a basketball fan, then no doubt you've heard the rumors circulating about him leaving the Orlando Magic. There's even been talk about him leaving for the LA Lakers (one of my least favorite NBA teams-I'm just saying.) At the end of the event he told fans that he's staying in Orlando, but the team needs the support of the fans (definitely didn't have to tell me that, as I am a die-hard Magic Fan.) I have tried to tell my friends who follow basketball, and they continue to be delusional about him leaving. Call me crazy, but I believe what he says. What NBA player do you know throws a free barbecue for their fans anyway? My two adopted sisters Pam and Quita are always talking about their celebrity crushes, just thought I'd share a little insight on why I like mine. I think it's safe to say I had the best Memorial Day ever! (And for the record, I still managed to squeeze in some writing and reading time!)

    Okay, I don't often blog about anything outside of the writing world, so give me a break! Also, occasionally my parents read my blog, so if you're reading guys, Happy 32nd Anniversary!

I've gone on enough, here are the opportunities this week. I hope you are all at least finding a little time to submit?


1. Literal Latte Short Shorts Contest

The literary magazine hosts its annual short short story contest. One First place winner will receive a prize of $500. All entries will be considered for publication. Stories should not exceed 2,000 words. The contest has a reading fee of $10 for up to three stories or $15 per set of six shorts. Contest deadline is June 30, 2011.

2. 2011 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize

Spilling Ink, a literary magazine, seeks short stories of up to 1500 words for an annual contest. This is a UK contest, but it's open Internationally. First place receives a prize of £250, second place receives  £125, and third place receives £50. All three winners will receive publication and a free copy of the annual print anthology. In addition to the three winners, there will be entries that are shortlisted. Those authors will receive publication and a free copy of the annual print anthology. Entry fee is £5 and the contest closes on July 1, 2011.

3. Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction

An annual national short fiction contest. One short story will win a prize of $2,000 and will be invited to an awards dinner at Rosemont College. The winning story will also appear in the winter print and online issues of Philadelphia Stories. Stories should be previously unpublished works of fiction of no more than 8,000 words. The entry fee is $10 and the contest deadline is June 15, 2011.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Fiction Fix

The University of North Florida's Literary Magazine Fiction Fix, is currently accepting short fiction, short short fiction, and novel excerpts until August 1, 2011.

2. Brevity Magazine

Brevity seeks unconventional non-fiction for their "Pushing the Boundaries" section. Deadline is June 13, 2011.

This Friday June 3, 2011 will be the last day to submit to Black Fox Literary Magazine's Fiction Contest. It will also be the end of the submission period for consideration in the Summer Issue (Can you believe it?) We'd love to see your work, so send it in now! Happy writing!

P.S. I've also noticed that I hit 150 followers! Yay! I think this is grounds for another contest! I'll be thinking this week of what to give away in my upcoming contest!