Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fives- Five Books to Watch For in 2012

Song of the day: I Can't Wait by Hilary Duff

   Hello all! Time to get ready for the weekend! This post will be fairly short, as I'm working on Black Fox Literary Magazine today. Issue #3 will be released January 30, 2012. I can't believe we're already on issue #3! We're all very excited.

It's Friday, so that means it's time for Friday Fives again. This week the blog Paper Hangover asks:

What are the FIVE books you're looking forward to in 2012? 

Here's my list:

1. Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates

2. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

3. Open Space by Joshua Ferris

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

5. The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomon

Are there any books you're looking forward to for 2012?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Song of the Day: Keep on Keepin' On by JoJo

   I used to do posts where I would comment on a book I read recently and that I thought was really stellar. I stopped doing that because, well, I didn't read as voraciously as I should have last year. I guess this kind of post is what would be considered a "review," but I like to think of it as me just talking about a book I happened to like.

   Girl in Translation is a coming of age story about a girl named Kim, or Ah-Kim according to her Chinese culture. After her father dies, she comes to America with her mother from China, by way of her aunt. Instead of really helping Kim and her mother like she should, the aunt puts Kim and her mother in a run-down apartment plagued with rodents and insects and gives them a job in her husband's factory. The factory turns out to be a sweatshop.

   Throughout this novel, Kim and her mother fight to make their way out of the slums of Brooklyn, escape the sweatshop and release themselves from under the jealous and watchful eye of Kim's aunt. Kim's only hope to get herself and her mother out of their situation is to excel in academics.

   Kim's story really moved me because I know what it's like to come to the U.S. and have nothing but a dream, then build yourself up. That's the story of my family, only we had a loving uncle to look out for us and so I think we weren't as unlucky as Kim and her mother were.

   Kwok has done such an excellent job with the characters of this novel, especially Kim. I was heavily invested in her, so much so that I was thinking about what was going to happen to her next when I wasn't reading the novel. There are very few authors that can make me do that. Girl in Translation is my second complete book of the year and I'm so glad that I chose to read it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fives- Favorite Writing Places

Song of the Day: Friday by J.J. Cale

   Hello all! TGIF! Anyone have any big plans? Even better, anyone have any writing plans? I'm going to do some editing this weekend and also finish reading the novel, Girl in Translation. I'm really trying to stay on top of my reading. I think I may also try and submit a story somewhere. I haven't done Friday Fives in a while, so today I just had to participate. This week the blog Paperhangover asks:

What are your FIVE favorite writing places?

1. My Couch

This is my favorite spot. Why? Because I like to be comfortable when I write. There is much debate as to whether this is good or bad, but the truth is that most of my writing gets done here. In fact, I'm writing this blog post from my couch. If it works, I don't think it's such a bad thing.

2. My Desk

My apartment no longer has a dining space because I turned it into an office space. I have my desk against the wall and my book shelves along the side. I absolutely love sitting at my desk and going to work on a story or a novel. However, I sit there mostly on the weekends and my days off because I'm usually too tired from work. I much prefer the couch after a work day!

3. My Bed

Yes, I write in bed. Like the couch, it's comfortable. What other reason do you need?

4. Panera

I'm not a huge fan of actually going to a cafe or coffee shop to write (I prefer my house) but when I do, I like to go to Panera. I've done a lot of writing at Panera and they have a really good breakfast souffle!

5. My Car

A little unconventional, but let me explain. I'm usually thirty minutes early to work, so a lot of the time I sit in my car and write before I actually start the work day. I've written huge chunks of my NanoWriMo novels in my car.

What about you? What are your favorite places to write?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- January 9, 2012

Song of the Day: Good Life by OneRepublic

   Hello all! How was the weekend? I have to say that I had a rather productive one. I finished reading my first novel for the year, which means I'm right on schedule. I really hope I can keep it up. I also got some work done for Black Fox. The latest issue will be released on the last Monday of this month so it's crunch time! I must admit, I still need to get some work submitted. I'm ready to get the ball rolling on my short stories for 2012. Have you submitted anything yet? If not, I've got options for you, including Playboy. Yes, you read that right! Turns out you don't have to take your clothes off to get into Playboy. You can be a college student and write a really good story. Read on for the contest details.


1. WRITERS' Journal Fiction Contest

WRITERS' Journal will host its annual fiction contest. First place will win $500, second place will win $200 and third place will win $100. Honorable mentions will also be announced. Publication in future issues of WRITERS' Journal will be given to winners and selected honorable mentions. Entry fee is $15 and the contest closes on January 30, 2012.

Playboy College Fiction Contest

The contest is open to college students of any age. First prize is $3,000 and publication in the November 2012 issue. Second prize is $500 and a year subscription. Third prize is $200 and a year subscription. Entry fee is $5 and the deadline is February 15, 2012.

Calls for Submissions:

1. Cumberland River Review

Cumberland Review is currently accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, essays and arts.

2. Don't Look at the Sun

Don't Look at the Sun is accepting submissions for its next issue titled, Paper Plane Poems/Paper Plane Prose. The issue will feature poems, short stories, flash fiction, and any bits of misfit lit. All submissions must fit on a single sheet of paper so that they can be folded into paper planes and flown off from the rooftops in Paris.

3. Unswept

Unswept, a Singapore based literary magazine, is looking for poems, stories, essays, reviews or other creative texts. The current reading period will end May 1, 2012.

As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art. Be on the look out for issue #3 later this month! Happy Writing!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Check-In: 2012 Goals

Song of the Day: Perfect Day by Hoku

   Hello all! We have made it to our first Friday in 2012! Wow! Time is already flying. I thought it might be a good idea for me to do a check-in post about my 2012 goals. I'm thinking I may do this at least once a month or maybe even weekly. Last year I wrote down my goals and I think I glanced at them once. If I do this check-in post regularly I think it will hold me accountable and also keep my goals at the front of my mind. It's so easy to get caught up in life and forget about them. So here's what I accomplished my first week of 2012.

1. My personal reading challenge- I'm almost done with my first book, which is called Go Ask Alice. I should finish it this weekend which will be right on schedule. I think this year I'll also keep track of how many short stories I read. While I didn't make my book reading goal for 2011, I know that I read A LOT of short stories. I've already read three this week.

2. My editing goal- I got three chapters edited and sent them off to my wonderful adopted sisters and writing buddy. They're going to tell me what they think.

3. Black Fox- Lots of good things happening for Black Fox. Looks like we'll be having additions to the staff soon! We are also gearing up for issue #3!

4. Exercise- I usually exercise on the weekends so today and tomorrow will make my minimum requirement.

5. Blogging- this post makes my second post of the week! My goal is 2-3 times a week.

Not too shabby! I hope I can keep it up! How have you been doing on your 2012 goals?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- January 3, 2011

Song of the Day: Beautiful People by Chris Brown feat. Benny Benassi

   Hello all! Well, 2012 is finally here! Can you believe it? I always get excited about the new year because it's a chance to start over or improve. I read several tweets and Facebook statuses this weekend where people stated that all the "new year, new me" statements were "BS." I beg to differ. Yes, we should constantly be trying to improve ourselves, but if someone wants to acknowledge that they need a change at the end of the year, then let them have their moment. No one literally thinks that they can change over night. A "new me" simply means I'm going to work on things to change who I am. I think that confident people who know themselves sometimes have a hard time understanding that not everyone is happy with themselves. So, I say good for you if you can admit that you need to change and that you set out to create a new you in 2012!

   Now that it's a new year, it's a fresh start for us writers to get our work out there. Have you sat down and planned where you'll submit your work this month? Remember, even if you can submit your work just once a month it can make a huge difference. You never know who is going to like that short story or poem. Submit your work and use the rejections as a learning experience (I sure have) rather than take them personally. Maybe people will love your work and you'll get very few rejections. You'll never know if you don't try. I have tons of opportunities today. Pick one, I dare you!


1. Switchback's Flash Fiction Contest

A prompt is provided each month and writers are encouraged to send poetry, fiction non-fiction and art in response to the theme. Submissions should be under 500 words. The January prompt is "No, that's not funny." Deadline is 5:00 pm on January 31, 2012.

2. Ruminate Magazine

Ruminate is thrilled to announce its second annual Ruminate Nonfiction Prize. The winning entry will receive $1,000 and publication in the spring 2012 issue. One runner-up will receive publication in the the Spring issue.  Entry fee is $15 and the contest closes on February 1, 2012. 

Calls for Submissions:

1. Hoot

A new literary magazine publishing prose and poetry on a postcard. Send your best fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, and book reviews. Graphic fiction and non-fiction are accepted also, as long as they fit on a postcard. Submissions are $2 but they do offer payment for published pieces.

2. Magic Lantern Review

An online publication seeking poetry, critical cinema analysis and short digital films.

3. NAP

Currently accepting short fiction and short poetry.

4. Rufous Salon

Rufous Press is looking for submissions of poetry, short stories and flash fiction from American and Swedish writers for an anthology of contemporary writers. The deadline is January 30, 2012.!rufous-press

5. Versal

Versal is currently accepting submissions of poetry, prose and art that is urgent, involved and unexpected. Deadline for the current submission period is January 15, 2012.

   As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We are also looking for regular bloggers and book reviewers. If interested, email Issue #3 will be out this month! Happy Writing!