Wednesday, November 27, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Golden Scale & Links

For today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, I want to give a shout-out and a big thank you to Al Diaz, aka Father Dragon. I'm sure many of you are familiar with him, but if you aren't, I encourage you to check out the Dragon Cave. The Dwarves are very welcoming.

This week, Al gave a lovely tribute to a number of the blogging community. I was flattered to be included in it. The Dragon is a wonderful friend to have made here in Bloggy Land, and I'm delighted to have made his acquaintance. He's warm, welcoming, sincere, creative, and clever.

When he offered up the Golden Scale Award, he did so with the following words:

"Displaying the Golden Scale Award on your blogs implies that you've promised to become your own hero. It means you won't wait for any special thing to happen so you can be happy (i.e. when I get this or that I'll be happy; when I no longer suffer this or that, I'll be happy).

The Golden Scale Award is not for the things you did, but for the things you'll be doing to be happy on daily basis. It's for the courage you promise to show when facing adversity. The determination you promise to have when standing for your dreams and for what you believe in. It's the wisdom of knowing life is sometimes way too difficult but overcoming those difficulties is the only way to grow into a better person and to learn something. We face our fears to find ourselves and our own worth.

There is no wisdom without experience, and knowledge is empty without wisdom. Accepting this award means you are willing to work hard to start working miracles in your own life. I want to make clear I am not suggesting you stop believing on a High Power. I believe too. I am just inviting you to take responsibility of your life, like I did, and release all your true potential.

This promise I ask of you is not to me, but to yourselves. I won't know if you keep it or not. I will go on with my life and fight my own battles, seeking to win my personal wars. But if there is any kind of Father Dragon's essence I can give you, this is it. It's up to you to take it or leave it."

Thank you for the tribute, Al! I'm only too happy to accept the requirements.

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

The Dreadful Cafe is putting out their second anthology, Thresholds, and they're looking for submissions of fiction and art. Specifically, they'd like something that crosses genres and meets the theme of crossing boundaries/thresholds. Short stories pay $125, novelettes pay $250. Art pays on a scale. Open deadline, but will close when the desired number of entries has been reached.

Weird Tales just opened for submissions this last week. They're seeking entries with the theme of either Nikola Tessla or Ice. They will also be holding a flash fiction event online soon. Pays $.03 per word.

Writers Market has put out a call for entries for the 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing. They're taking pitches for topics through December 15. They aren't seeking writing craft pieces, rather the how-to's and tips for self-published writers. They pay competitive wages.

Red Paint Hill Quarterly is seeking poetry for their next issue. Deadline December 15. They also have an upcoming anthology focusing on relationships with mothers. Poetry, deadline February 1. I'm not sure about payment at this time.


This is a contest with an honorable backing. Story Share is holding a writing contest to find low-literacy stories to support beginning readers of all ages. Cash prizes for 11 winners.

Apex Publications is holding A Merry Little Apex Christmas Flash Fiction Contest. These should be Christmas stories with a dark Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror theme. Deadline December 16. 250 words. All entrants will receive a copy of Apex Magazine. The winning piece will be published on the Apex blog, with the winner getting a short story critique, payment of $.05 per word, and a year subscription to Apex Magazine.

Blog Hops:

Brenda Drake is holding the Pitch Wars, Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop. This blog hop allows you to submit a query and the first five pages of a manuscript for mentoring. There is a 24 hour submission window open on December 2. There will also be an associate Twitter Pitch Party. Thank you to Samantha Redstreake Geary for bringing this Blog Hop to my attention! 

I hope all my fellow Americans have a Happy Thanksgiving, eat tons of yummy food, and spend more time with your families than out shopping the Black Thursday sales. And to all my non-American friends, I hope you have tons of yummy food and family time, too! Because who says it has to be Thanksgiving for us to enjoy those things?

Anything of interest above? Has anyone submitted to these publications in the past? Anything to share? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Critique Partners Versus Beta Readers

Last week I discussed critique groups as a whole, and whether they were a good idea. I got a lot of great feedback on the topic, but wondered if people were talking about beta readers, rather than critique partners, in some places.

So what is the difference?

That's the question. When is a critique partner a beta reader, and vice versa? I'm willing to bet there will be quite a few differing ideas on this, so I'm going to throw out what the terms have meant in my head, and then I'll look forward to seeing how others define the two.

Beta Readers

To me, a beta reader is someone who will take the manuscript in its entirety and read it for an overall view of the manuscript. Basically, a detailed review. They're reading it as a reader, not a fellow writer. Their opinion is meant to give you an idea of what your audience might think. Is the book readable? Does it have good flow? Are the characters interesting? Would they purchase this book?

When you seek a beta reader, you're looking for someone to tell you whether anyone would read the book, not necessarily for specifics on character arc, grammar, etc. You want to know about the general readability of your book from them.


Critique Partner

A critique partner, my understanding, is someone we want to read the book as a writer. They're looking for the dynamics of writing. Story and character arc, realistic characterization, plot, theme, grammar. They should be looking at your work with the eye of someone who has experience with the dynamics of writing, someone who has experience writing and/or has attended various workshops and conferences and can give an educated opinion. Rather than looking at what the reader has to say, their opinion should be closer to that of agents and editors. Instead of saying, "Would someone buy this at a bookstore?" as a beta reader would, they should be asking, "Would an agent/editor give this a second look?" Is it salable? Is it ready?

By Roxy,

I have an awesome beta reader (not that I've given her anything recently) who intermingles the two. Though she isn't a writer, she has a great eye, and she is accustomed to beta reading/critiquing her husband's work (he is an aspiring screenwriter). For me, that is perfect, and just what I need. She catches problems with the story flow, the characters, grammar, etc. But she's looking at it from a reader's point of view, not a writer's.

On the flip side of that, I have my critique group, made up of people in various stages of their writing journey. They bring writing knowledge to on the dynamics and specifics to the table. I find having both of these a helpful part of my writing journey, each for their own reasons.

This is just how I see it, in brief. What's your opinion? Have I fudged the two? Do you see the definition of these two terms in a different way?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Cannibal Tomato & Links [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday photo is [Mostly] weird.

See, we put our tomatoes in the window to ripen, and one of them got forgotten, but rather than just get all mushy and rotten, this one apparently started reproducing and cannibalizing itself.

I don't know how well you can see these, but in the first one, the tomato is sprouting like crazy...from the inside!! And in the second one, you can see an entire root system within the tomato.

Am I the only one who's never seen anything like this before?! We're going to plant it, possibly after slicing the bottom open to let the roots free, and see what happens.

By the way, this one was store-bought, and is not a GMO product. I sort of want to cut it open and see what it looks like, but then we can't plant it. Or can we?

Now for some links.

Please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting any of these publications. I haven't researched the validity of these offers. Please due your own due diligence before submitting to any publication.

Accepting Submissions:

The New Ohio Review is currently in their open submissions window. This one closes December 15, then is open again from January 15 to April 1. Paying market. Literary market for prose and poetry.

Picayune Literary Magazine is taking submissions through December 15 of short or flash fiction, poetry, black and white photography, and black-line art. Pays with one contributor copy.

The Lindenwood Review is taking submissions through December 15. Accepts fiction, poetry, and essay. Pays in a contributor copy.

Strange Musings Press is seeking romantic stories that make you laugh. They can be any genre, as long as they involve a romance and are humorous. Deadline is December 30. Pays in royalties and an e-book copy.

The Apalachee Review is always open for submissions. Fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. Pays two contributor copies.

Puritan Magazine is always open for submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interviews, and reviews. Paying market (pay differs per type of submission).

Martinus Publishing has a variety of anthologies taking submissions right now, with varying deadlines. The topics include: Veterans of Future Wars (December 31 deadline, pays in royalties); Altered America (December 31 deadline, pays in royalties); Life of the Dead (open until filled, pays in royalties); We Were Heroes (opens December 1, pays in royalties); To Hell With Dante (opens December 1, pays in royalties).

Of Interest:

Speaking of accepting submissions, here's a list of the "Hottest, Newest Lit Mags (Begun in 2012 or 2013)." This list was put together by The Review Review.

This one's been going around a lot lately, but in case you haven't seen it, here's a map of the Most Famous Book Set in Each State, presented by the Business Insider.

Any of these of interest to you? Any submission/publishing news? Anything we should know? Have you ever seen a tomato do this? Did any of the books catch you by surprise? How many did you guess?

May you find Your Muse.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Critique Groups: Yay or Nay?

After a sizable hiatus, my critique is finally going to meet again tonight. We started this summer, but were all so incredibly busy that we only met twice before having to pause. While I'm not sure we're really any less busy, I'm excited to be back at it.

One resounding thing I've heard over and over in the writing world is "You must get a critique group!" It's usually said forcefully, but with a pleasant smile. Inside they're saying, "Get a critique group or FAIL!"

By Alice,

Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic.

At conferences, conventions, and workshops, I repeatedly hear that writers need a critique group, that a critique group can help you get your manuscript ready for submission. Some people swear by them, with thanks to critique groups showing up in the front of books.

However, there's also an outspoken contingent who say critique groups can ruin your book, or possibly your self-esteem as a writer. That it's poison to go into a group and deal with people who rip your work apart. Some cite groups they've gone into where there was at least one really nasty person who did nothing but criticize, never giving construction criticism, just nastiness.

I've witnessed several panels where an argument has ensued over whether or not you should join a critique group.

In my opinion, you should try it out and see if it works for you, but only if you're interested. Don't be bullied into deciding one way or another. Do you feel your manuscript could benefit from having a fresh pair of eyes on it (or a few)? Have you read your book so many times that you have it memorized, so you can't pick out any issues? In that case, it would be a good idea to seek out a critique group. Be sure you are prepared to do critiques, as well as receive them, and that you're dedicated to the group. Otherwise, you shouldn't start until you can be completely dedicated. Critique groups work both ways, and you need to be a full partner in it.

On the other hand, if you feel there's nothing to fix, that it really wouldn't matter what they're going to say to you, skip it. You won't be open to what anyone is saying, anyway, so this isn't an option for you. In order to get anything out of a critique group, you must be open to hearing what other people have to say.

There's another reason not to do it, as well, though, which comes up on the opposite side. If you will be too open, if you'll take everything they say and think you need to make those changes, you should probably avoid it, as well. I feel like you have to have some confidence in your story to be able to get it critiqued. Of course, that's true for submitting it, too. If you have no confidence, you could end up tearing apart your story while stressing yourself out and questioning your ability to write, all because you couldn't pick out the useful feedback from the white noise.

I'm not saying it's easy. I'm starting over on a book that very nearly became a trunk book, all because I took everything to heart that was said in critiques. When I couldn't reconcile my opinion with several mixed opinions, all of which differed from each other on various aspects of the story, I gave up.


Once you decide whether a critique group is for you, you've got to hunt one down. If you have some writer friends whose opinions you trust, see if they're interested in starting a critique group. They don't have to be local; you can email the critiques. We like to meet in person, but I think that's because we enjoy the social aspect of it, as well.

If you don't have writer friends you'd like to start a critique group with, you can check into local writer's groups. Go to meetings they offer and meet other writers. Check on their website, any forums they may have, etc., and see if they have any critique groups or if they have a mechanism with which to hook you up with any.

If that fails, start searching online. There are Meetup groups you might be able to find online by plugging in your location. Search for forums or online critique websites. There are some websites dedicated to allowing online critiques, but you must earn them by giving critiques first and maintaining a certain amount of points.

Once you've found or created your critique group, figure out the group's rules and get started! How are you expected to submit? What does the critique consist of (flow, grammar, answering specific questions, numerical judging, etc.)? How long will you have to do the critique? When do you need to get your piece in by? Will you email it or meet in person? If you're meeting in person, will you get the piece in advance to go over and make notes on so you can come prepared to the meeting? How many words/chapters will you submit at a time? How often will you critique?

Getting these and other questions hammered out in advance will make your life easier as you go into the critique group world.

Tell me about your experiences with critiques. Are you strongly on one side or the other (pro or con)? Have you had any especially nasty experiences in critique group? Any wonderful ones?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - I Von' to Suck Your Blood & Links

I took the kids to Bent's Old Fort, a trade fort set up in south-eastern Colorado in the 1800's. I got some photos of the fort and the area around it, but I felt like sharing the leeches with I did! Of course, the original burned down and this is a re-vamp, but it was made from measurements a man had taken before, so they tried to rebuild the fort as lose to the original as possible. In one little cabinet in one little room on the second floor, there was a lovely container marked "LEECHES." You've gotta' be able to cleanse the humors and whatnot.

Before we get to the links, I'd like to thank E.J. Wesley and Roland Yeomans for e-books I won recently. Can't wait to read them! From E.J. I got a copy of the "Death by Drive-in" anthology. From Roland, I got "Her Bones Are in the Badlands."

Now for some links. (Please bear in mind that I am not personally vetting any of the following. I find information and pass it along. Always due your due diligence and research a possible publication or contest before submitting.)

Accepting Submissions:

An open audition is being held for travel writers by Great Escape Publishing and International Living. No experience necessary.

Match Books is taking submissions for their Fantasy Anthology: Urban Legends. They're looking for kick-ass female protagonists. Deadline December 6, short stories. Pay unknown.

The Head & The Hand Press is accepting submissions for multiple publications. For Asteroid Belt Almanac, they're looking for short fiction, narrative non-fiction, and visual art. Pay unknown. Deadline December 13. The Breadbox Chapbook Series is open to literary fiction and non-fiction essays of a certain length. Ongoing. They also take manuscript submissions.


Spark is holding a contest with the theme "Winter." Either poetry or prose. $500 1st place prize, one for each category. No entry fee. Deadline is midnight, December 2.

Zizek Press is holding an ongoing contest for fiction and non-fiction, as well as a Bad Fiction Contest with the deadline December 10. Cash prizes.

Harper's Bazaar is holding a short story competition. Their theme is "Spring," and the deadline is December 13. The winner will get to choose an antique book and spend a week on a private island.

Blog Hops:

M.J. Joachim and Tina Downey have put together The Holiday Food Drive Blogfest. November 18-20 blog about a local food bank or charity to bring attention to them. Donate or do something to help them and let your fellow hoppers know what you did.

Julie Flanders and Lexa Cain are holding the Dream Destination Blog Hop December 5-8. Just post about where you would travel if you could go anywhere in the world.

Any of these of interest to you? Anything to share? Ever shared a pond with leeches (I have)?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

I'm not going to do a full blog post today. Instead, I'd like to offer my thanks to our soldiers, veterans, and their families for all they do and have done.

For a great post on some of our heroes, please visit Writing From the Peak for Jennifer Lovett Herbranson's post, What Writers Can Learn From Warriors.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Resurrection Blogfest II: Scaring Myself

Today is Mina's Resurrection Blogfest II, wherein we resurrect one of our posts from the last year and share it with all you lovely people a second time.

I went back and forth on what to re-post, and finally ended up with something that seemed to fit the badge image. Note: I did edit it to remove a mention of a blog hop I had coming up, but did not edit the body of the post itself at all.

Originally posted on December 17, this is...


Do you ever get so lost in your fantasy world that you freak yourself out?

I do.

When I was a teenager, my family loaded up in the Pickle Mobile (our 8-seater Dodge van), all seven of us, and we took a road trip from Colorado Springs to California, then up the Pacific Coast Highway to Oregon.

The Pacific Coast Highway is gorgeous, at least the parts I remember (it's been awhile, other than just a stretch in Oregon).  However, at night it's dark, and much of it is enclosed by trees.  Small, privately owned businesses used to line it (can't speak for now), and their empty black eyes stared at us, reflecting our headlights before absorbing them and going dark once again.

Flickr, Axel Hartmann 

We believed in driving through the night, and the hour was late enough that there was no one else on the road for long stretches.  The isolation closed in on us as the younger kids fell asleep, leaving only my parents and I awake.  The van was massive, and the empty spaces surrounding my sleeping siblings yawned behind me.  A car came up behind us, matching our speed, never altering from the pace we set.

I began to spin a tale of who might be in that car behind us, and what they planned for us when they got us to just the right spot.

At first, my parents laughed.  Gosh, wasn't I funny?  But at some point the laughter stopped, and silence reigned in the front seats of the van.  My dad's foot pressed down on the gas in an unconscious gesture of unease.  My mom's hand clutched the door handle.

And in the back, all alone in that yawning darkness, I began to believe my own tall tale.  A sensation of electric unease worked its way up my spine, and I wanted desperately to undo my seatbelt and crawl up into the space between my parents.

It should be noted that the vehicle behind us kept up with the speed, even when my dad accelerated.

There were no open gas stations, no 24 hour restaurants.  Even private residences were darkened, closed up.  There was no one that would know if something unimaginable were to occur on that mostly deserted stretch of highway.

Then the car turned off, and we all chuckled uneasily.  Phew, escaped that homicidal maniac.

The thing is, we all knew there was no psycho behind us.  But the setting was right, and I was so intent on my story that our reptile brains kicked in and took us into fight or flight mode.

I do this all the time.  Especially when I'm writing horror, or when the lights are out and there's a sound in my bedroom I don't recognize.  When my husband is out of town, and I'm all alone in bed, I run through every possible scenario as I try to drift off to sleep.  I run through what I'll do if the alarm goes off.  I terrify myself thinking that someone may have entered the house when I was out with the kids, and they're just waiting for my breathing to relax before they creep out of my closet.  I fear that someone can take my babies out of their rooms without my hearing it.

Flickr, Luc Viatour © GFDL,
Hubby just got back from a business trip to Australia, and the week was a rough one.  There was not one night I got a full night's sleep, due to various crazy things happening.  Two nights ago, the power went out for an hour and a half, starting at half past midnight.  Go check a moon calendar to see how much moon there was out there...I think a sliver that night!  As I crept through the house to get to the one place I knew we had a working flashlight, I first looked out the front door to be sure it wasn't just my house that had lost power.  After all, I read and watch horror/thrillers all the time.  I know what happens when they're coming for you.  THEY SHUT OFF YOUR POWER!

After I saw that our entire neighborhood was pitch black, I needed reassurance that someone HAD power.  After all, I live near NORAD, and an EMP isn't out of the question, right?  Would that violate the stone walls of Cheyenne Mountain?  I don't know.

Happily, up on one of the burned hills stood a lit up Christmas tree.  Someone had power!

Okay, not terrorists then.  Not unless they had it out for my little suburban neighborhood.

My flashlight only reached so far; it was just a tiny one.  I shivered my way through the house, hunting down candles and a lighter.  The darkness seemed to be alive, constantly moving and changing in my peripheral vision.  We have a big open area with vaulted ceilings, and the open space around me was somehow creepier than when I was in the regular layout of the living room.  I couldn't see or feel what was above me or around me.  I began to imagine more than just shadows coming up on me.  The hair on my neck stood up.  A shiver worked its way up my spine.  My heart pounded.  My throat filled with the sands of the Sahara.

Did I mention I was watching American Horror Story when the power went out?  I don't find the show at all scary while watching it, but apparently a power outage was just the thing to add a slight edge to its frightfulness.  A man in a freaky leather sex suit would blend in perfectly in the shadows.  And what about creepy mutant babies?  What about all the things NOT in American Horror Story?  Things with tentacles, gaping maws, razor sharp teeth, talons.  What about that dude waiting in my closet?  The monster under the bed?

Once I had candles lit, things were much improved.  A warm glow surrounded me, and I could see the entire room, though the hallway was all the blacker for the light around me.  As long as I kept it in view and had my back to the wall, I was fine.

Flickr, Brenda Starr
Except for the silence.  When they say silence is deafening, they're right.  I kept feeling the need to pop my ears, because the silence was a pressure against them.  All the things that make electronic noise and mask the creaks are gone.  No snoring refrigerator.  No buzzing television set.  No humming machinery.  Silence.  Deep and awful.  And out of that silence arose sound after sound, creak after creak.  It was windy out, and somewhere the air whistled and whispered in vague and terrifying ways.  Branches scratched along the side of the house.  The back porch shifted, and it was so black outside that, even sitting in a darkened room, I could not make out whether there was something out there.


One of the endless nights before that, as I lay in bed with the lights out, I made the mistake of dangling a foot off the bed.  I was perfectly fine until a single thought crossed my mind.  You know that thought you get when your foot is exposed from beneath the covers.  I could almost feel something reaching for me, scuttling about under my bed, saliva trailing down its chin as it prepared to yank me under into its hellish lair.

Of course, I yanked my foot back under the covers, but the darkness had won.  It had filtered into my brain, taking root while I was otherwise occupied.  A scuffing sound became a grotesque creature crawling toward me along the carpeting.  That clicking was someone, or something, at my window.  What was that in the corner?  Was that pressure on the bed?  Was something in here with me?

I'd been working on a zombie tale involving children during the day, and my daughter, all of five itty bitty years old, burst into my room around 3 in the morning.  At first, she didn't say anything, just exploded through the door and shuffled over to the side of the bed, her hair in disarray, her outline the only thing visible to me.  Thank goodness she didn't groan at me.

Just as in the van all those years ago, I knew none of this was real, that not a single one of these fears would come to life.  I knew my daughter was no zombie, that there was nothing under my bed.  There was no one in my closet (hell, I'd checked).  That didn't stop the thoughts from occurring to me, flitting through my head until I latched onto them.

The funny thing is that when my hubby is here, I don't wake him up if I hear a noise; I investigate it myself.  I've always been that way, even as a teenager.  I guess there's something comforting in knowing there's someone around to hear you scream?  Someone that can do something about it?  That's all I can think of for the sudden fear that grips me when he's gone.

Not to say I don't freak myself out plenty when he's here.  I do.  Sometimes it's just a bit amplified when there's no other adult in the house.

So, yeah, I've got an active imagination, but I know I'm not the only one.


Do you have an overactive imagination?  Do you freak yourself out sometimes?  Any notable examples you'd like to share?  

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group & Links

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's...

My insecurity this month is about buckling down and writing consistently. I'm a sprint writer. When I finally buckle down and take my seat, I can throw together words left and right, a regular word slinger. But more often than not, I'm going to bed regretting my lack of progress, and beating myself up for spending too much time doing something else, whatever it was that day. It's not that I don't have the time, I've decided. It's that I don't seize that time whenever it presents itself. I have this erroneous way of thinking that causes me to look at the clock and be running through my head what I have to do throughout the day. If I have to be somewhere in 30 minutes, 40, whatever, I instantly think I don't have the time to write. I know I do this, I know it's wrong, and yet I continue to do so. It's a horrible habit I've established, and I don't understand it one bit.

Time to STOP!

What about you? What are your insecurities? Do you find that when you look back on your day you maybe had 20 minutes here or there you could have carved out for writing?

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Permuted Press is putting together Fat Zombie, "an anthology of unexpected survival stories from the apocalypse." November 30 deadline. Payment not listed.

War Stories is an anthology seeking military science fiction short stories. Pays 5 cents per word. Deadline November 30.

Contrary Magazine is seeking original commentary, fiction, and poetry. Pays $20 per author per issue. This issue's deadline is December 1.

Cohesion Press is putting together an anthology of military horror, entitled SNAFU. Short fiction and novellas. Deadline December 1. Pays AU 3 cents per word, plus e-book, hard cover and paperback contributor copies.

The Summer Review is in their open submission period through December 1 for fiction and non-fiction, and poetry through February 1. Pays $25 per printed page, plus contributor copies.

Cleis Press has put out a call for their anthology Take This Man, focusing on romantic erotica focused on committed male couples. Deadline December 1. Pays $60 per story, plus a copy of the book. They are also taking submissions for Me and My Boi: Queer Erotic Stories. Same deadline, but pays $50 per story.


Loose Change Magazine is holding a contest sponsored by Power2Give and the City of Atlanta. The poetry deadline is already closed, and the prose deadline is November 15. $125 first prize, with additional cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd, plus publication to their "Best of" anthology.

Dappled Things is holding their J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. The theme of your short fiction story must be someone straddling two worlds. Deadline November 29. $500 cash prize, plus publication for the winner and 9 honorable mentions.

Quantum Shorts is holding a flash fiction contest. Deadline December 1. Must be linked to some aspect of the quantum world. Cash prizes and a 1-year subscription to Scientific American for first through third place.

Blog Stuff:

The lovely Mina Lobo, of Some Dark Romantic, is hosting her second Resurrection Blogfest. This Thursday, November 7, post a link to a post you did between November 8, 2012 and November 6, 2013, so it can get the bloggy love it deserves, and maybe didn't have the first time around.

Interested in any of these? Any good news to report? Have you submitted anything recently?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Inspires You?

Different people are inspired by different things. One person's raucous ball game may be another person's rainbow. Some people love a rainy day, while others only bloom in the sun. Some people leave a party hyped up; others leave a party exhausted and unable to do anything else.

I would love to hear what inspires you. And I don't necessarily mean in writing. What inspires you overall? What makes you want to run out and do something artistic, or something you love? Does attending a musical make you want to write a song? Does a gorgeous sunset inspire you to go on a photo tour? Does going to the zoo inspire you to go out and help wildlife? Does a stirring speech push you to action? Does a movie with an awesome set of parents and kids involved make you aspire to be a better parent or to have more fun with your kids?

And, yes, I'd still love to hear what inspires your art, specifically, what makes you want to write, but I don't want to limit it to that. We're inspired to do a lot in our lives, and it isn't always about art.

On a side note, how are you doing with your monthly goals? If you're doing NaNo, how's that going? If you're not, do you have personal goals you're reaching for this month?

I spent Sunday setting up a new laptop since my old one crashed and burned a long time ago, requiring me to do a weird Twister-like contortion to keep the power cord from moving whatsoever so the computer wouldn't die on me. Plus, it would randomly stop reading the keyboard or the mouse (not at the same time, one or the other). It would overheat if I had to use the video card at all. It was a hot mess.

While getting my Outlook set up, I managed to hit a button that said "Delete All Emails in This Folder." Problem being, I didn't want to delete all the emails. I wanted to delete one email (it had imported all almost 8000 emails I hadn't deleted from the online Gmail version of the email), and I pushed the red "x." Only...I didn't notice it said it would delete ALL the emails. Yeah. Who knew that was even an option. Apparently, it just gives me that option while in the midst of importing with IMAP, because I haven't seen that button since then.

I had a bit of a heart attack, because those deleted emails didn't show up in any of the other folders, and when I logged in online, it showed that everything had been cleared out of there, as well. In short, I was screwed!

Many hours, rants, and borderline panic attacks later, my email made the sound that signifies emails received. When I pulled it up, those emails had magically appeared in the trash folder. It was insanity! Thankfully, it looks like everything's there, so it's just a matter of sorting through 8000 emails to get them reorganized. Totally doable compared to the horror of having lost all my emails.

So...I didn't get any writing or editing done Sunday. That was just one small part of the day, but it really signified the kind of day it was.

HOWEVER, I got writing done the two days preceding Sunday, and I'm not actually disappointed in not writing or editing yesterday. I don't have a 50,000 word goal for the month, just overall goals (you can see this post if you want to know what my goals are for ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo), and I'm doing just fine. Friday, I eked out a little time to add some wordage to Novel #2 (1230 words added) and to research some things for said novel. Saturday, I started a short story and got 2541 words written to it. I think I will add another 1000-1500 words to it before it's finished. Today, my goal will be to get some editing on Novel #1 or a short story.

So, what inspires you? How are you doing with NaNo or your monthly goals? What do you wish would happen to inspire you?

May you find your Muse.