Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Little Ice, a Lot of Awareness & Links

When I originally posted this, I couldn't put my dad's Ice Bucket Challenge video here, but he put it on YouTube, so here it is!




If you're not aware, my dad was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gherig's Disease) a little less than two years ago. A lot of people have never heard of it, though I can kind of let them know what it is by saying, "You know, it's what Stephen Hawking has." But Stephen Hawking is a rare case. Most people only live two years after diagnosis. My dad will be one of those who makes it beyond two years.

When I first heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge, I was miffed. As far as I knew, people were dumping ice over their heads instead of donating. It seemed to me to be a frivolous thing, not something that would do any good. Then the posts started popping up about "slacktivism," as in folks spreading the word about things via social media without doing anything real to fix those issues. Things like changing your photo on Facebook for a cause, private messages about "where you like it," etc. Whether those things bring necessary attention to the issues they're trying to expose is a question I can't answer. I can't say I've learned anything new from one of them.


I even posted a rant on my Facebook page saying to dump ice water over your head without donating or at least passing along some sort of information about ALS or a link to donate to wasn't worthwhile. I commented on someone else's rant that I was coming around to it, as long as folks were actually donating, but that I most certainly wouldn't be dumping ice water over my head.

But when I saw this challenge spreading like wildfire and, even better, millions of dollars worth of donations pouring in, I realized that this was a positive thing. That my self-righteous judgments were better reserved. And that it wasn't my business in the first place to decry what others were doing.

Even moreso, I saw how excited my dad got about it when he came across it. Not only was he excited about it and emailing out videos he found, but he took the challenge himself today at work, as I mentioned above. And he challenged me, one of my cousins, and the CEO of Hewlett Packard, my dad's current (though not for much longer, as it is becoming more and more of a struggle for him to work) place of business.

My dad has said from the beginning that he believes they'll find a cure. That he'll be a long-term survivor. He has been nothing but positive, even as the disease eats away at him. This challenge has given him a little bit of renewed hope, some positive energy over what is an incredibly negative disease. One that destroys every part of your body except for your mind, which it leaves perfectly intact within a frail, destroyed body.

Before I knew anything about this Ice Bucket Challenge, I had signed my family up for the Denver Walk, put on by the ALS Association. I'll have a little video for you guys next week for the Ice Bucket Challenge (hopefully). In the meantime, I'm going to break the rules and challenge you all before I've officially done it. Obviously, I will be donating money, as well, and I'll still be participating in the walk, just as I did last year. Here's part of my team from last year on the cover of the handbook! (We won the costume contest):


I know, it's not a great pic of a pic, so here's an actual photo of our team:


Even if you don't take on the challenge, even if you don't donate, pause before ranting about how useless it is. It's brought at least one person hope, and I doubt he's the only one. Bringing awareness to something like ALS can't be bad. Can it get annoying when it becomes over the top? Yes. But it will also be short lived. So I've decided that instead of insulting it, I'll embrace it. Just for a little while. And I'll enjoy the fact that maybe a few more people are aware of ALS, possibly even of what it actually is, and that just that much more funding went to the ALS Association this year to continue funding research into a cure, support and care of those suffering from ALS, and awareness. And I'll try to remember not to be so critical of the next big thing to sweep across social media.

If anyone is interested in donating to the ALS Association, you can GO HERE to donate. If you're interested in supporting our team, we're Dad's Defiant Defenders, and your money will go to the same place, but we'll get credit toward our team's goal of $1500. For that, you can GO HERE to donate. And if you happen to do the Ice Bucket Challenge, I'd love for you to drop me a note and let me know you did it. I know Livia has already done it!

Now for some links:

Accepting Submissions:

Purple Sun Press is accepting fantasy short stories. 1000-7500 words. These will be gathered into a compilation. Deadline September 30. Pays $.01/word.

Cherry Castle Publishing is looking for poetry submissions for an anthology honoring Nelson Mandela. Submit up to five. Open ended. Payment is one contributor's copy. They're also taking fiction/non-fiction manuscripts and poetry manuscripts. Reading period ends September 30.

Cleis Press has an anthology call out for Warlords & Warriors: Gay Erotic Romance & Adventure. Pays $60 and contributor copies. 3000-6000 words. Deadline September 15.

Kill Your Darlings accepts original writing during the month of September. Pay varies depending upon type of submission: lead feature commentary, commentary, fiction, or reviews.

Pink Narcissus Press is accepting submissions for their anthology (Gender) Queered Space. 2000-10,000 words. They are interested in underrepresented characters in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. $50 token payment.

Local Hero Press is putting together an anthology under FakeEditor (you can look it up on Twitter.) It is entitled Who is Ebony Boneshaft? 3000-5000 words. Open for submissions between September 1 and 30th. Will pay in royalties.

The Puritan is accepting submissions. They take interviews, essays, reviews, fiction, and poems. Pay varies by type of submission, between $15 and $50. Deadline September 25.

Contests:

The Coalition of Texans With Disabilities is holding the Pen 2 Paper Contest. Deadline is September 22. Four categories: fiction & drama, non-fiction, poetry, comics/graphic narrative. All entries must have a main character with a disability or a theme dealing with disability.

Blog Stuff:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has announced his next blogfest, the Underrated Treasures Blogfest. It will take place September 22. Post about an obscure treasure, like a band you love that no one else seems to know about. Or a movie.

Other:

Barnes & Noble has a Discover Great New Writers Contest. They recognize one in fiction, one in non-fiction. Prize is $10,000 and promotion by B&N. This is for titles yet to be published, but no less than three months from coming out. Deadline September 25.

Any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? Have you done the ice bucket challenge? Know anyone who has? What causes are near and dear to your heart?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Spotted Baby (or Baby Spotted?) & Links

Did you guys know elk fawns (or whatever baby elk are called...?) are spotted just like deer? I didn't, though I can't say I'd thought about it before. Here's an elk fawn from a short two-day trip we took up to Estes Park a couple weeks ago.


This little one and two grown ups were right alongside a path we had to take to get back to our car in Rocky Mountain National Park. We all slipped behind some trees to go around and try not to disturb them, but it meant this caravan of people had all bunched up at the path and were going in single file around the trees. The little one was communicating with the two bigs through a series of fluting sounds that they'd return. I got photos of the other two, as well, and could have gotten a really good one of the last one we had to pass, because she happened to look up as I was going behind the tree across from her (I was last in line). She stared at me, and right as I raised my camera (stuck as I was while I waited for someone else to go), she started walking toward me. I figured my life, or at least intact bones, was more important than a photo. But it would have been a good one. In the end, she let me pass, waited until we'd all gone up the path a little, then resumed grazing.

Now for some links!

Accepting Submissions:

The November issue of Westerly closes for submissions August 31. They accept poems, essays, and stories. It sounds like they may prefer Australian authors, but it doesn't say it is limited to those. Pays rates from $75 to $150, depending upon type submitted.

Horrified Press and Rogue Planet Press are taking submissions for the anthology Sex Droids & Their Cyborg Toys. Deadline September 15. Flash fiction and short stories up to 6000 words. With Thirteen O'Clock Press, they are taking submissions for Steamworld through September 10. Flash and shorts up to 7000 words. Also with Thirteen O'Clock Press, they have an anthology named Killer Tracks that's open for submissions. No specific deadline, just until full. Word limit is 5000. Pay unknown for any of these, but my understanding is that it is a paying market.

Grinning Skull Press is open for submissions for Attack! of the B-Movie Monsters: Alien Encounters. Deadline September 15. 2500-10,000 words. Pays 1/4 cent per word, plus a print and digital copy. They are also open for submissions of novels and novelettes. In addition, they have an annual publication called Cranial Leakage-Tales From the Grinning Skull that takes 1000-7000 word horror stories. Return to Deathlehem is a horror charity anthology with a Christmas theme that closes August 31. And if you've got kids who enjoy writing, they have Little Monsters - Horror for Kids, by Kids. Open to kids ages 5-12. Will pay a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Samhain Publishing has put out a special call for their Childhood Fears anthology. This is for novellas of 25,000 to 30,000 word only. Will be released as individual e-books first, then bound together in an anthology. Deadline September 15. I'm unsure of payment.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt has put a call out for his Kickstarter anthology World Encounters. This is alien themed. Deadline September 15. 3000-7000 words. Pays $.06/word.

Freeze Frame Fiction is looking for flash fiction of any genre, 1000 words maximum. Deadline September 15. Pays $10 per piece.

Sorcerous Signals, a fantasy e-mag, is open for submissions through September 15. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $5 for short stories, $2 for poems and flash.

Inkstained Succubus Press is open for submissions through September 15 for Candle in the Dark, a M/M erotic anthology. I'm unsure of payment.

The Were-Traveler is taking submissions of drabbles, flash, and short stories for Elves & Spacerockets, their general sci-fi and fantasy themed issue. Deadline September 15. Not a paying publication.

Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Publishing has put out a call for stories for their After Tomorrow. Post-apocalyptic stories. 2000-15,000 words. September 15 deadline. Pay unknown. Note that they are also still open for Funny Halloween stories through August 31.

Any of these interest you? Anything to share? Publication news? Did you know elk fawns were spotted? What do they call elk fawns, anyway?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG - Rejection, Rejection, Rejection & Links


It's IWSG time! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.


My insecurity is the same as usual. Rejection after rejection received.

My numbers for 2014 stand at:

16 rejections
4 still out on sub
7 stories to re-sub
3 stories that have been through critique group and need a final edit before sub

The kids start back to school in 1 1/2 weeks, though, and I'll be throwing myself into editing and writing during the day again. Here's hoping I get some acceptances.

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Eldritch Press is accepting submissions for their steampunk anthology The Lost Worlds. Up to 20,000 words. Pays $.08/word.

Shades of Romance Magazine is open for articles with the theme "children's books." Deadline September 1. Query before submitting. Also taking short stories, devotionals, and fillers. Pays $10-$25, depending upon type of submission.

Ginosko Literary Journal is accepting short fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, interviews, social justice concerns, and spiritual insights. I'm unsure of payment details.

Max Avalon is accepting short stories. Speculative fiction. 5000-20,000 words. Pay unknown.

Perihelion is looking for science fiction short stories (not spec. fic., ONLY hard sci-fi). 400-1600 words or 2000-8000 words. Pays a maximum of $75 for longer works, a minimum of $12 for the shorter works.

Daily Science Fiction is accepting speculative fiction stories of 100-1500 words. Pays $.08/word. They would love to see a flash series of three or more.

Freelance Job Available:

Good Catch Publishing, a Christian publisher, is looking for freelance writers to conduct interviews and write pieces on inspirational true life stories of overcoming. Stories average 3500-7000 words. Pays $175 per story. A friend works there and says they're great employers.

Contest/Award:

The Sustainable Arts Foundation is offering a Visual Arts Award and a Written Arts Award. This is for those with a child of under 18. $6000, with multiple awards being given. Deadline for application is September 8.

Blog Stuff:

Kyra Lennon is hosting the Charity Cat Anthology Hop, to be held September 5. You can write a story of up to 2500 words. This is for a charity anthology.

Of Interest:

The Noteboard is an interesting little deal for writers. It's index card sized, but unfolds into a much larger board. Dry erase and comes in a pouch. 

What are your insecurities? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to say about any of them? Have you got any submissions out? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Twittery Observations

For the last two days, I've been trying to organize my Twitter feed into lists, a project that's long past due. I have no idea how close to the end I am. However, I've taken in some things about Twitter, and about what works. (I say this as someone who doesn't use Twitter much, so take what I say with a grain of salt.)



First of all, if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can make lists (categories) to put those you're following under. Then you can click on a list and just view the tweets from that category. So, for instance, I have a "bloggers" list. If I want to get rid of the "noise" of Twitter, and just want to see my blogger peeps so I can visit them if they've tweeted a link to a blog post (for example), I can just click on the blogger list I've created and scan down the page, getting rid of all the other tweets sitting there on the feed.

You can make these lists public or private. I've made these all public, so if someone goes to my profile they can click on "lists" and look up Twitter accounts that fit one of the above categories. Want to find publications? You can find them under my lists!

I separated out lists for bloggers, writers/authors, editors/agents, publications, news/links, and promotion. This will probably be modified later, but this is a good start. I'm getting tweets thanking me for adding people to the lists. I had no idea they'd be notified when I put them in the list--I simply wanted to simplify how I approached Twitter so maybe I'd use it a bit more, while making it easier to use. So it's a good thing to be added to a list. See? I learned something!

But there are a bunch of people who won't be going into any of the lists I've created, because there's no explanation under their names as to who they are. And when I'm going through more than 2000 people, I don't have time to click on everyone to check out what they do and what they're tweeting. They get skipped.

There are people who do have something written there, but it's a clever statement, quote, or something along those lines. Several are wonderfully creative or funny. However, if I don't know who this person is, I'm not adding them into a list. I'm not unfollowing them, though, which I am doing with some accounts I'm coming across.

The ones I love are accounts that straight up say that they're a blogger, writer, editor, agent, publication, publicist, musician, comedian, actor, whatever. A bunch lay it out there, whether it's via hashtags or written out. Some particularly well done author bios, as an example, include that they're the author of such and such series, won x award, and blog at such and such blog or website. That's a lot of information, all squished into the limited area allowed for bios, but they did it. There are agents who are also authors, writers who are also book reviewers, so on and so forth.

Thanks to this little project (urg), I'll be reviewing my own bio once I'm finished organizing everything.

To create a list of your own, go to your profile page on Twitter, click on "more," select "lists," then click "create new lists" on the right side. You'll be prompted for a name for the list, an explanation of it, and then you can add names by typing them in or clicking on the spot on your profile page that says "following." This will bring up a list of everyone you follow, and you can click on the sprocket symbol then select "add or remove from lists." Then you can select which group or groups you'd like to add them to.

You can also click on the sprocket icon at the top right of your Twitter profile page, in the toolbar, to access your lists. (Here's a Twitter instruction page for it.)

Do you utilize lists on Twitter? What categories have you separated them into? Do you find it helpful, or was it a waste of time?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - High Desert Beauty & Links

The high desert spends a good deal of time in shades of brown, but in the summer, we bloom!









For the following links, these are items I have come across. I have not researched them and am not personally recommending them. Always do your due diligence before submitting to a contest or publication.

Accepting Submissions:

Freefall Magazine closes for winter issue submissions August 31. Open to Canadians only. They take fiction, poetry, art, and book reviews/interviews via query only. Pays $100 for fiction and art, $25 for poetry.

The deadline for Vine Leaves Literary Journal October issue is August 31. Vignettes of no more than 800 words, poetry, or artwork/photography. Pays 3.50 EURO.

The Reading period for the fall issue of Wolf Willow Literary Journal closes August 31. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and artwork/photography. Pays $10-$20, depending upon your medium.

Third Flatiron is taking submissions for their fall issue with the theme Abbreviated Epics. 1500-3000 words unless it's humor, which should be no more than 600 words. Deadline August 31. Pays $.06/word.

Dreaming Robot Press is putting together an anthology, 2014 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide. Aimed at Middle Grade readers of sci-fi. 3000-6000 words. Deadline August 31. Pays $.06/word.

The reading period for KYSO Flash closes August 31. They are currently only open to halibun, prose poetry, essays, and reviews. Pays between $.10 and $.14, depending upon length.

Helen Literary Magazine closes their October issue reading period August 31. Theme is Strong Female Lead. 500-5000 words. Pays a flat rate of $20.

Contests:

The Creative Writing Institute is holding their International Short Story Contest. No entry fee. Any genre. Themed contest must include these lines: "I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?" This is for a themed anthology. Cash prizes. First place is $200 or a free writing course with a personal tutor, plus publication. Closes August 9.

Loudoun County Public Library is holding their Write On! Adult Short Story Writing Contest. No entry fee. Closes August 11. No more than 2500 words. First prize is $200.

Xchyler Press is holding a contest for their anthology with the theme Out of This World...True Story. Deadline August 31. 5000-15,000 words. Fantasy.

Anything of interest above? Anything to share? Publishing news? What does your summer landscape look like? Super colorful or brown?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Guest Post - C. Lee McKenzie - Realistic YA

I'm delighted to welcome C. Lee McKenzie today, as she launches her new book, Double Negative.

Why I Write Realistic YA Fiction, a guest post by C. Lee McKenzie

Long ago, I vaguely remember being a fourteen-year-old sophomore in high school, but, even all these years later, I have a vivid memory of opening the book I’d been assigned to read for English. Silas Marner. Within the first few pages, it was clear that this nineteenth century tale about an outcast weaver had nothing to do with my life. I couldn’t relate to it. By the end of chapter one, I stopped trying.

When I was older and studying at the university, a teacher said adolescents need emotional and social development and not intellectual growth. My textbooks reinforced that message. The classics are lovely, they should be cherished and passed on, but with a few exceptions, they don’t come up with answers to questions young readers are asking.

“Who am I?”

“Does anyone know how I feel?”

When I started writing young adult novels, I knew I wanted to write stories that spoke to the issues kids face today, not two centuries ago. I knew that if I’d been assigned a book that had kids working through things I could relate to, I would have read that book. I would have appreciated finding out that others had hard times, failed, were unhappy, but somehow worked through all of that and found their way.

I guess you’d say I didn’t want to leave my readers feeling alone as I had been when I had no life experience to connect with Silas and his problems. I wanted to write books that turned kids into lifelong readers rather than turn them off.

About Silas Marner—it’s a book I will read as an adult one of these days. It’s on my list because now I think I’m ready to appreciate it.

Thank you for stopping by, Lee! I couldn't agree more on needing to provide books for teens that they can identify with.

Below, you'll find information on C. Lee McKenzie's new book, Double Negative, now available for purchase. At the bottom of the post, you can enter the drawing!




Double Negative
C. Lee McKenzie

Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Young Adult
Available now from Evernight Teen

Hutchison Mc Queen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. He’s a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.

You can purchase Double Negative HERE at Evernight Teen.

You can find C. Lee McKenzie at:
Her Facebook fan page

Have you purchased Double Negative yet? What books did you identify with as a teen? Or were there any? 

May you find your Muse.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Goofy Asides & Links

For this week's photos, I figured I would post some random goofy pics I've snapped with my phone recently. I've previously posted a couple of these, but I was cleaning out my cell phone, so you get them again. (Disclaimer: I was not driving when I took ANY of these photos. I was stopped at lights for the three taken from my car.)

Sounds...tasty? (It says Colon Orchards)

On a bench in front of a restaurant in Estes Park

If you can read this, UR2CLOZ

They really take employment seriously here (Hospital Property)

No, thanks? (Teste the Sunshine)
Works for me!

Look for it in a town near you.
Hungry?
A good rule of thumb!

Now for some links! Bearing in mind that I am not personally recommending these, nor have I researched them. I pass along what I find. Always do your due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Unsolicited Press is about to end their reading period for their autumn issue of The Fictioneer, their literary magazine. Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, op-eds, interviews, and art. Deadline is August 1. Pays in royalties.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking at putting together a collection of Christmas stories. 1200 words or less. Deadline August 30. Pays $200 per story.

Tacitus Publishing is seeking short fiction stories for their anthology, It's a Grimm Life. They want a modern look at the Grimm Fairy Tales. 1500-5000 words. Deadline August 31. Pays $.01/word and a contributor e-copy.

Less Than Three Press has a call out for their anthology, Lovely, Dark and Deep. Dangerous tales set in the forest. 10,000-20,000 words. Deadline August 31. Pays $200, plus contributor e-copies and print copies.

Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing wants your funny Halloween stories for their Funny Halloween anthology. 2000-10,000 words. Deadline August 31. Pay unknown. They are also taking submissions for their Hope and Love Charity Anthology (LGBTQ protag - deadline August 1) and Cogs in Time 2 (steampunk - deadline August 10).

Cleis Press has a call out for their gay erotica anthology, Cowboy Up. 2000-5000 words. Deadline August 1. Pays $50, plus 2 contributor copies.

Michael Matheson is editing This Patchwork Flesh, an anthology of LGBT western horror. 90% Canadian, but all are welcome to submit. <8k words. Deadline August 31. Pays $.05/word.

Photography:

Call for possible cover photos. You can submit up to 10 photos for the cover of Vine Leaves Literary Journal. If your piece is accepted, you will be paid 50 Euros.

Contests:

Writer's Digest and The Guide to Literary Agents Blog is holding their Dear Lucky Agent Contest. This is for Middle Grade fiction (this time around--the genre/niche changes each time). Submit 150-200 words of your unpublished book. Deadline July 30. Top 3 winners get a critique from Peter Knapp, literary agent, plus a one-year subscription to Writersmarket.com.

STOP READING HERE, GARY!

Blog Stuff:

Beth Fred, Lexa Cain, and Medeia Sharif are hosting the International Potluck Blogfest on August 12. You are asked to post a cover to a book you love and food associated with it.

Anything of interest here? Anything to share? Publishing news? Have you seen any funny signs or other items?

May you find your Muse.