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.


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.
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.


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.


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


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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Party On!

If you've been around this blog for awhile, you know that I occasionally take late night walks. On these walks, I sometimes see interesting things or get a little scare, but even if I don't, I tend to come away with tons of story ideas or to have worked out a story issue I was having.

The other day I took one of my late night walks (it's been super rainy here lately, which is weird for us, and the other night was actually clear!) While I didn't observe anything fascinating, I did walk by a party. On the one hand, I was happy they were out on the porch, as it meant there were people who were a) conscious, and b) in a position to hear me, say, scream should anything happen on this late night walk. Yes, I think about those things, and I know I shouldn't go on late night walks, but they soothe me and open up my creativity. And sometimes that is my only opportunity to get out for a walk or any type of exercise.

Courtesy of Stephanie,
Back to the party, it made me think about how parties can be used in your writing for various purposes. For instance, having a character interact with folks one way, then completely change their behavior in privacy can tell you about that character pretty quickly. And even if you don't change anything once they get away from everyone, you can still learn plenty about them. Are they bubbly and outgoing? Shy and reserved? Do they feel threatened or get aggressive? Are they highly competent and professional? Are they putting on the party? Crashing it? Or are they being forced to attend due to a relationship, friendship, or work?

A party scene can also help you introduce several characters at once, giving us a hint about who it is we should follow and become invested in. Harry is highly personable, organized the entire event, and was the life of the party. Betty skulked in the shadows, cast fake smiles at anyone who spoke to her, and left early. Ramin was friendly, albeit reserved, chatted with folks and showed interest in what they had to say, but was relieved when the evening came to a close. We've just met three characters, and if you write the scene properly, you should actually have been able to show their personalities through their actions and reactions, rather than telling us their personality traits or situations.

Courtesy of Camaher,
The type of party can also say a lot about the setting and characters. Is it a raucous, drunken orgy of energy? A sophisticated, highbrow affair? A dinner party? A barbecue? A kegger? What type of house is it being held in? What is the general setting? A field? An apartment? What's being served? Is there hired help or a frantic hostess? Even better if you can immediately set a time period for the story. Are they wearing hoop skirts, evening gowns, or poodle skirts?

Interactions between folks can also lead to the sharing of quite a bit of information. Conversations can reveal backstory, establish relationships, and lead the story forward. A character can discover clues or additional information they might not have gotten otherwise. Discoveries can be made.

Not only can information be established, but so can relationships. Did Betty glare at Ramin the entire time she was there? Did Harry look at Betty with lustful eyes or with deep love that isn't returned, because she never notices him or pays any attention to him? Is Ramin carefully studying Harry out of the corner of his eye, maybe reporting into a hidden microphone?

I'm sure I could keep going, but the point of it is, parties can be a great tool in your writing toolbox. If you're struggling with presenting some information, consider throwing a party! In your book, anyway.

Have you used a party in your writing? What did it help you establish? Can you think of other ways it could be used to help your story?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday: Refuse to Art & Links

Okay, I lied. No Chihuly pictures from the Fine Arts Center yet, as we didn't get a chance to go. However, I realized I never shared Hillside Gardens photos with you. Perhaps the word "garden" conjures up a certain picture to you, but Hillside is different (though I think they've got flowers in parts of the garden I haven't gone to). Instead, Hillside has an eclectic collection of all things old and antique. There's an antique washing machine graveyard, for instance. I go there on Wednesdays to listen to live music. Pretty cool place. And it looks good in black and white.

Now for some links! These are links to information I have come across, and should not be considered personally recommended. I have done no research, merely passed the information along. Always do your due diligence before submitting to contests or publications.

Accepting Submissions:

Monster Hunter Quarterly is seeking novellas about monsters and the ones seeking them. Pays in royalty shares, and is open until full.

Ruminate Magazine is open to nonfiction and poetry submissions through August 15. They do not take fiction or visual arts due to having open contests, but the next submission period begins August 16. Nonfiction pays $15 per printed page. Poetry pays $15 per poem.

Michael M. Jones is seeking YA urban fantasy stories for the anthology Schoolbooks & Sorcery. 2000-7000 words. Deadline August 15. Payment will start at $.02/word.

Inaccurate Realities is seeking short stories for young adults in all speculative fiction categories. The current them is "monsters" and closes August 15. 2000-5000 words. Pays a token fee of $15-25.

Luna Station Quarterly is seeking speculative fiction. This is a publication for female writers only. 500-7000 words. Winter issue deadline is August 15. Pays a flat $5 fee and a lifetime subscription to the e-magazine.

Fantasy & Science Fiction has a very short window for submissions. The next open submission window will be August 1 through August 15. If you go there now, it says they're closed to submissions, but it will open on the 1st. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.07-.12/word.

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly wants your romantic science fiction stories. 1000-7500 words. Cyborg theme. Pays $30. Deadline is August 15 for the current issue.

Noo Journal is seeking your contemporary pieces. Fiction, poetry, visual arts, and literature reviews. Pays in 2 contributor copies. No specific deadline or submission period.

That's Life is seeking humorous, positive contemporary stories of 700-2800 words. Pays $400AUS for the first page (varies for each following page). No specific deadline or submissions period.

Edwin E. Smith Publishing is looking for poetry, essays, short stories, art, and photography. $5 per published page for prose. Pay varies for other types of submissions. No specific deadline or submission period.

Plenitude Magazine is seeking literary writing and graphic narrative by LGBTTQI writers. Pay is to be determined as they work out sponsors. No specific deadline or submission period.

Thanks to Christine Rains for sharing the following: Brilliant Flash Fiction is seeking your flash pieces. 1000 words or less, all genres. No payment at this time, but your work will be considered for a future anthology.

Blog Stuff:

Samantha Redstreake Geary has done it again! Her collaborations inspire creativity and the intermingling of the arts. Her new project is Imagine: Epic Music Inspires. This time, though, it's not just about flash fiction and music. There are multiple related events going on at one time, ranging from steampunk viking flash fiction to t-shirt design, book trailer creation to book cover design. Bring your artistic self to the challenge. Going on now.

Elizabeth Seckman is hosting the Bella's Point Blog Challenge. Taking place July 15-31, she asks that you post something readers want to read. Entries will be judged, and there will be prizes.

Ever been to a place like Hillside Gardens (or heard of one)? Have you been enjoying any live music this summer? Any of these publications of interest? Anything to add?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Conversational Prompts

I'm back from vacation! It was fun, my first time going on a trip with friends. We drove up to Moscow, Idaho to visit one friend's son at college there, then back down through Montana and Wyoming. I only snapped a couple photos of a sunset one night, as we weren't really sightseeing. I do wish I'd photographed the canola fields in north-western Idaho, though. They were flush with bright yellow flowers (the canola).


Moon over Pocatello, Idaho

Pocatello Sunset

While on vacation, I didn't get any writing done. However, I got several ideas based on conversations we had. There are gems in everything we experience, buried there, waiting to be discovered. Now, only one of the ideas was directly based on something discussed. The rest were weird random jumps in thought that were triggered by an idea or even misunderstanding of an original topic. Point being, anything can be fodder for stories. Conversations and observances, reading writing by others, and just plain writing, which can spurn other ideas as you work. I'm excited to get started on some new story ideas. First, I have to resubmit something I got a rejection for yesterday.

Today is back to work. Or, as we sang while rolling into town: "Back to life, back to reality." Back to the grind. I'm hoping to have some Chihuly art photos to share on Wednesday with the links, and I'll likely do more links than usual to make up for not posting last week.

What was your last vacation? Ever taken a road trip with friends? Where'd you go?

May you find your Muse.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Vacation

Hi guys! I'm on vacation this week, but I'll be back next week. "See you then!"

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG & Links

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which makes it Insecure Writer's Support Group time!

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this once per month group posting lets us insecure writers talk about our insecurities, whatever's preying on our minds, or to offer comfort to our insecure brethren and sisteren (so what it's not a word...). This month's co-hosts are Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson. Thanks for co-hosting this month!  

My insecurities are much as they've been. Lack of time and energy to write, and rejections rolling in with nice comments, but no acceptances. Instead of dwelling, I'll give my 2014 numbers for the year, so far:

7 pieces out on submission right now
3 stories awaiting editing for submission
13 rejections in 2014

So I'm toddling right along and working on not letting it get me down. And I'm submitting a short story to my critique group every two weeks, which means I'm writing and editing. 

Now for some links. Bear in mind that these are links I've run across online, and I am not personally recommending any of them. Always do your due diligence when researching publications and contests.

Accepting Submissions:

Kayelle Press has a all out for their romantic speculative fiction anthology. Deadline July 31. 3000-6000 words. Pay unknown.

Breathless Press is seeking entries for their October themed issue, Tales From the Haunted House. Anywhere between romance and erotica. Deadline July 31. Must be over 10k words. Pays in royalties.

Weird Bard Press is open for submissions to their anthology Torn Pages. They want stories based on social issues that elicit certain responses from you. Deadline July 31. 1000-5000 words. Pays $.02/word.

The Book Smugglers Press is looking for subversive fairy tale retellings for an anthology. Speculative fiction from MG to adult. 1500-17,500 words. Deadline July 31. Pays $.05/word up to $500.

Crossed Genres Magazine has a monthly theme. This month's is School. Must involve elements of sci-fi and/or fantasy. Deadline July 31. 1000-6000 words. Pays $.06/word.

The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk is seeking dieselpunk short stories, as defined at the link. Deadline August 1. Pays $.05-.08/word.

Unlikely Story is open to submissions to their issue with the theme The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Deadline August 1. Up to 8000 words. Pays $.05/word.

Slice Magazine's open submission period closes August 1. They're looking for short fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Fresh voices and compelling stories. The theme for this issue is Resistance. Up to 5000 words. Pays $100 for short stories/essays and $25 for poems.


Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers is holding their 20th Annual Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers Short Story Contest. Deadline July 31. Come up with the wildest conspiracy theory you can. First prize gets $75 and publication. All entries will receive critiques.

Blog Stuff:

The Armchair Squid, Cygnus, and Suze are hosting the Songs of Summer bloghop July 11. Post five of your favorite summer songs and whatever memories they bring up.

What are your insecurities? How are you doing with your writing goals? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to add?

May you find your Muse.