Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013

   Hello all! I can't believe it's already time for Banned Books Week! This year is flying! For those of you that don't know what it is, here's what has to say:

   "Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."

   I don't believe in censorship and I believe that everyone should be allowed to read what they want. If you don't agree with a particular book's message, then don't read it! In honor of the week I thought that I'd list some of my favorite banned books. 

In no particular order: 

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

2. The Bluest Eye by Tony Morrison

3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

4. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney

5. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor

6. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

7. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

8. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

9. Push by Sapphire

10. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

11. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

12. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Did not read, but it's on my list. I was shocked to find it on the list.)

   As Banned Books Week comes to a close, I hope we all celebrate our freedom to read. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- September 24, 2013

Song of the Day: Roar by Katy Perry

   Hello all! How was the weekend? For the first time in a very long time, I edited a ton of my own work. I was able to edit five chapters, and also three short stories. I always have these periods I go through where I won't edit or write. It's really quite terrible. But then I always go back to it. I guess that means that I am really meant to be a writer, because words seem to have this power over me. They sing songs in my head and whisper sweet nothings in my ear. I am never able to resist them no matter what I do. I know I'm not the only writer out there who feels like this--and if you don't, then you might consider reevaluating your choice of profession. I hope that you're all practicing your craft and by that same token, making strides to let the world know about your writing. So many great places to submit. Give it a go.


1. The 2014 Mississippi Review Prize (Fiction and Poetry)

The annual contest awards prizes of $1,000 in fiction and poetry. Winners and finalists will make up next winter's print issue of the national literary magazine Mississippi Review. The contest is open to all writers in English except current or former students or employees of The University of Southern MississippiEach entrant will receive a copy of the prize issue. No manuscripts will be returned. Previously published work is ineligible. Paper entry fee is $15 per entry, payable by check or money order to Mississippi Review. Online submission entry fee is $16, payable through Submittable. Deadline is December 1, 2013.

Calls for Submissions:

1. The Golden Key

The Golden Key is a bi-annual journal of speculative and literary writing, inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale of the same name. They seek realist work sensitive to the magical and strange. The fantastical. Slipstream. Fabulist. Gothic. Weird tales. Work that unlocks. Work that restocks. They love writers who see familiar things in unexpected ways, and writers who revel in playing with language. They are currently accepting unpublished fiction and poetry submissions for Issue #3: Things Unseen. Submission period for Issue #3 ends October 1, 2013.

2. The Telegram Review

The Telegram Review is opening up to the public and calling for any flash fiction between 400-800 words.

3. Border Crossing

Housed at Lake Superior State University on the border of America and Canada, Border Crossing seeks the best fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by emerging and established authors in both countries. Online submissions only. They seek writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren't often heard in mainstream publications. Reading Period ends January 15, 2014.

4. Twelve Winters Press Anthology

Twelve Winters Press is accepting submissions for an anthology of poetry, prose poetry, and flash fiction (1,000 words maximum) inspired by the theme of "extinguished and extinct." Contributors will want to think in terms of animals that have become (or are becoming) extinct, but also plants, insects, even bacteria and viruses.

Feel free to think of extinguished and extinct in more abstract terms as well: disappeared ecosystems; eras; political, social, cultural, artistic movements; perhaps even extinguished emotions on the personal level. As long as you're thinking extinguished and/or extinct, they want to take a look at it.

Contributors may submit up to five total pieces (poem, prose poem, and/or flash fiction) and will be paid in two copies of the anthology, which is planned for a 2014 release. After confirmation of acceptance, contributors will receive page galleys for approval. Deadline is November 30, 2013.

5. Another Chicago Magazine

Another Chicago Magazine publishes work by both new and established writers. Their reading period is currently open and they're looking for Fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Art, Audio/Video (for publication on the ACM website). There is a $3 reading fee.

6. The Lindenwood Review

The Lindenwood Review is accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, and personal essays for Issue 4. Submission period deadline is December 15, 2013

7. Conte

The editors of Conte, an online journal of narrative writing founded in 2005, announce an open submissions call for poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction for the twentieth issue, slated for publication in Winter 2014. Submission Period deadline is December 1, 2013.

   As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art and photography. The summer 2013 issue is out! Happy Writing! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

   As some of my regular readers might know, I don't do book reviews. I do however, post about books that I thoroughly enjoyed. These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen is one of those books. I came across this book at Books-A-Million and after reading the back, was immediately intrigued. I had already enjoyed one of Pekkanen's short stories (All is Bright) and loved it. These Girls follows the lives of three characters (Cate, Renee and Abby) each beautifully flawed in their own way. These three women slowly discover a great deal about themselves and also about their friendship. Here's what Goodreads had to say:

   "Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.
   Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.
   Cate’s roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she's heading for real danger.
   Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.
   Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other."

   Another reason I wanted to pick up this book is because it is classified as women's fiction. My writing tends to fall under the genre as well and I wanted to stay abreast of what's selling. This was one of those books I didn't want to put down. After finishing the novel, I would definitely pick up another one of Sara Pekkanen's books. In fact, I already bought a copy of The Opposite of Me and can't wait to read it. At the bottom of this post you can also click the link to visit Goodreads on your own.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- September 17, 2013

Song of the Day: Free by Donovan Frankenreiter

   Hello all! It's been a while. The real deal is that I was transitioning jobs. I finally got out of the traditional 9 to 5! I am now teaching English I and II at the college level. While I am working less hours "on the record," I am also doing a lot of work "off the record." There are papers to grade and emails to answer from students, etc. I am still trying to find my balance, which is why I've been so absent. I am slowly finding my way back, so fear not. I hope that you all have been keeping yourselves busy with your writing. We're already midway through September, which means we have three months to meet our goals for the year. I feel like I'm still far away from my own writing goals, but we still have time to kick it in gear. Take a look at the opportunities that I've found. It's so very important to get your work out there. Be brave.


1. Philip Levine Poetry Book Prize 2013

There will be a $2000 prize and book publication by Anhinga Press. Manuscripts should be original poetry, not previously published in book form, 48-100 pages, no more than one poem per page. Include two manuscript title pages: one with name and contact information and one with the name of the manuscript ONLY. Entry fee is $25 and the contest ends on September 30, 2013

2. The 23rd Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction, Essay and Poetry

Prizes are as follows: $5,000 for Fiction, $5,000 for Poetry and $5,000 for Essay. Select winning entries in the past have been reprinted in the Best American series. Entry fee is $20 and the contest closes on October 1, 2013

3. Tennessee Mountain Writers

Tennessee Mountain Writers announces the Excalibur Award for a first-time novelist of a full-length juvenile (for middle school level readers) or young adult novel manuscript of publishable quality. The winner will receive a $500 cash award to be presented at the 2015 Tennessee Mountain Writers Conference. Writers are asked to submit the first forty pages and a complete one- to two-page synopsis of the novel; semi-finalists will then be asked to submit their entire novels. They are accepting submissions only from writers who have not previously published or self-published a novel. Deadline is June 1, 2014.

Calls for Submissions:

1. TINGE Magazine

TINGE Magazine, Temple University's online literary journal, is seeking submissions of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. The submission period ends November 1, 2013.

2. Thornapple Books

Thornapple Books, the literary fiction imprint of Levellers Press in Amherst Massachusetts, is currently accepting submissions of literary fiction. Review the submission guidelines on their website.

3. Heron Tree

Heron Tree is now accepting submissions of poetry. Submission period deadline is December 1, 2013.

4. Sou'wester Magazine

Sou'wester Magazine is now reading for its Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 issues. All submitters who have not yet published a book are eligible for the Robbins Prize, which will be awarded to one poet and one prose writer whose work was published in the current volume. The award will include a cash prize of $100. The awardees will be selected by the editors.

5. Pebble Lake Review

Pebble Lake Review, now in its 10th year, will be accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. The editors are particularly seeking more short fiction and prose poetry, but are enthusiastic about other styles/genres as well. Submission period deadline is March 1, 2014.

6. Josephine Quarterly

Josephine Quarterly is accepting poems on a rolling basis. The editors are interested in work from both established and new voices. Please submit up to five poems of any length via Submittable.


1. Backwaters Press

The Backwaters Press is a nonprofit publishing company in Omaha, Nebraska with a proud 16-year history of publication and a national reputation. They need an editor and jack-of-all-trades interested in working with an active Board of Directors to continue the Backwaters tradition. They are searching for an enthusiastic, energetic literature lover to become managing editor of an amazing, award winning literary press in Omaha, Nebraska. They will consider a partnership of two editors heading up the press.

Note: This is an unpaid position, with a non-profit entity.

Visit for more information.

Send your CV/resume to by October 1, 2013.

   As always, Black Fox Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art and photography. The summer 2013 issue is out! Happy Writing!