Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Fives- Favorite Banned Books!

Song of the Day: Parents Just Don't Understand by Will Smith

   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?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Books Week- Reflection and Giveaway

Song of the Day: Can't Hold Us Down by Christina Aguilera

   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 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!

Monday, September 19, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Money by Pink Floyd

   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.


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.

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.

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.

Calls for Submissions:


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

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.

3. Cloudbank

A literary journal currently open to prose and poetry.

   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 Submissions are still accepted via Submishmash. Happy writing!

Monday, September 12, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Perfect Strangers Theme- Nothin's Gonna Stop Me Now

   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!


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.

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.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Matchbook Literary Magazine

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

2. Cobalt Review

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

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.

4. Big Lucks 

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

5. The Rag Literary Magazine

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

6. Specter

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

7. Memorious

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

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.

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.

10. Independent Ink Magazine

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

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!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Fives- Best Summer Reads

Song of the Day: Summer Love by Justin Timberlake

   Hello all! I know what you're going to say. "Where have you been all week?" And "what happened to the Monday opportunities?" The truth is that I've been busy. Excuses, excuses right? It's the truth! If you can believe it I'm still getting back into the swing of things after taking two weeks off from work. Then there are issues at the office and I've really had to step up to the plate and also work a little more while things stabilize. Then there's Black Fox. My pride and joy...and the pain in my butt! Really, I love working on the magazine with Pam and Quita but it does take a lot of time and TLC. Anyway, I PROMISE I'll get back into the mix of the blog world.

It's Friday, so you know the deal. Friday Fives! Paper Hangover asks the question:

What are the FIVE best books you read this summer?

1. Hint Fiction edited by Robert Swartwood- Everyone knows about my obsession with flash fiction. This book contained hint fiction--stories in thirty words or less. Plus it featured a story by Joyce Carol Oates. Need I say more?

2. Walks With Men by Ann Beattie- I could relate to this story and now I've discovered another literary fiction author that I love. Ann Beattie's prose is beautiful.

3. Bicycles by Nikki Giovanni- I've read several of Nikki Giovanni's poetry books. She's one of my favorite poets and as usual, this collection did not disappoint.

4. Beautiful by Amy Reed- Read this one based on the recommendation of my sis Pam. I'm glad I listened to her. This book left me affected and I was really impressed with the writing.

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- Okay, I'm still reading this one because I've only had time to read it in small sections, but gosh is it GOOD. If I'm not reading it, I'm thinking about reading it...Like now! I haven't felt that way about a book since I read Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates, which was at the beginning of this year.

What are some of the best books you read this summer?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Fives- Eye Catching Book Titles (via Paper Hangover)

Song of the Day: Remix to Ignition by R. Kelly

   Hello all! Who's ready for the long weekend? Okay, I don't know what was up with blogger this week, but I haven't been able to get into my account all week! There was some funny message about being hacked and malware. Thank goodness I was able to get in today. I don't know what I would have done, considering blogger doesn't have a toll free number. Anyway, I'm just glad to be back. Hope everyone has big plans for the weekend and enjoys every bit of it!

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

What are FIVE book titles that caught your attention?

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- I'm reading this one now by the way, and it is PHENOMENAL!

2. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan- What's a Goon Squad?

3. Liar by Justine Larbalestier- Who wouldn't want to read about a liar. What is the character lying about?

4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers- Heard about this one from my awesome sis Pam. When I first heard the title I thought, Some Girls are what?

5. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris- This title just had a ton of mystery to me. It made me pick up the book and flip it over to find out what the book was about.

What book titles have caught your eye?