Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let's Get it Started- 2012 Goals!

Song of the Day: Let's Get it Started by The Black Eyed Peas

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

1. Read 50 books.

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

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

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

3. Blog at least twice a week.

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

4. More growth for Black Fox Literary Magazine

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

5. Add to my emergency fund.

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

6. Write at least 3 times a week.

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

7. Make church and God a priority.

Another one that will always be on my list.

8. Publish at least 3 more "things"

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

9. Exercise 2-3 times a week

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

10. Start a PhD program?

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

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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

Song of the Day: 2012 (It Ain't the End) by Jay Sean ft. Nicki Minaj

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

1. Read 75 books.

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

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

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

3. Blog at least 3 times a week.

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

4. Establish more of a following for Black Fox.

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

5. Create an emergency fund.

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

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

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

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

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

8. Make church and God a priority.

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

9. Work on my non-fiction idea.

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

10. Publish something, anything.

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

11. Graduate with my MFA

Completed this one!

12. Accepted to a PhD program

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

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Merry Christmas Darling by The Glee Cast

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

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

Calls for Submissions:

1. Luna Station Quarterly

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

2. Spinetingler Magazine

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

3. The Masters Review

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

4. Cobalt Review

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

5. Rain Magazine

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

6. Washington Square Review

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

7. Barrelhouse

Seeking fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

8. Solid Objects

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

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by Hanson

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

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


1. Escape into Life

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

Calls for Submissions:

1. Nanoism

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

2. Horizon Review

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

3. ILK Journal

Ilk is currently accepting submissions of poetry.

4. Granny Smith Magazine

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

5. 971 Menu

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

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

Song of the Day: Invincible by Pat Benatar

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


1. The 34th Nimrod Literary Awards

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

Calls for Submissions:

1. NAP

NAP magazine is currently accepting submissions of poetry and fiction.

2. Helix Magazine

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

3. Heavy Feather Review

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

4. Flash Fiction Online 

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

5. Vestal Review

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

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

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Trouble with National Novel Writing Month

Song of the Day: I Feel Good by James Brown

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

1. Choose Your Novel Topic/Story Carefully

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

2. If You Must Research...

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

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

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

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

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