Archive for the ‘Get Published!’ Category

Write about a dog – – fiction contest for cash!

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

American Kennel Club’s 26th Annual Fiction Writing Contest is now accepting entries for our 26th Annual Fiction Contest. The winners will receive: $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. Winning stories will be published in AKC Family Dog as space allows.


1. The contest is open to anyone except employees of the American Kennel Club and their immediate families.

2. Entries must be original, unpublished stories that have not been offered to or accepted by ano other publishers. Only one entry per author.

3. The American Kennel Club retains the right to publish the three prize-winning entries in AKC Family Dog or other AKC publications.

4. Entries may feature either a purebred of mixed breed dog. The maximum length is 2,000 words. Entries exceeding that length will not be considered.

6. The author’s name, address, and phone number must appear on the first page. The author’s name and the page number must appear on each successive page.

7. AKC Publictions cannot acknowledge receipt of manuscripts and assumes no responsibility for any entry under any circumstances. Entries will not be returned. No phone calls, please.

8. All acceptable entries will be read by a panel of judges selected by AKC Publications. They will choose the winners based on the style, content, originality and appeal of the story. All decisions are final. Winners will be announced in an issue of AKC Family Dog in 2013.

Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by January 31, 2013

Send entries to:

AKC Publications Fiction Contest
The American Kennel Club
260 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016


For submissions: AKC Publications Fiction Contest, The American Kennel Club, 260 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016


Anthology Call for Submissions

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Are you the mother of a child with special needs?

 Deadline:  April 22, 2013

Nonfiction. Up to 6,000 words or 6 poems.

Submissions must address one of the themes listed below:

  • Challenges: Sometimes it sucks.
  • Purpose: I learned my own power; I get “it.”
  • Providence: Why was I chosen?
  • Pure Joy: Their joy is my joy!
  • Joy?: It’s the simple things.

For more information, visit:

The Sun Magazine

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The Sun

I picked up a copy of this magazine and didn’t put it down until I had finished the entire copy.  Have you read it?  Short stories, essays, interviews, poetry and letters all written with depth, humor, and insight.  They don’t want opinion pieces or academia.  The best thing is they purchase one-time rights, which means you can sell them something you may have sold before. 

One section is devoted to Readers Write, which asks “readers to address subjects on which they’re the only authorities.  Topics are intentionally broad in order to give room for expression.” 

 Upcoming Topics

Breaking the Rules       January 1      Deadline             

Bullies                                    February 1            

In The Dark                        March 1                                        

Honesty                                April 1                                              

Trying Again                     May 1                                                 

Writing Prompts: 

  1. Choose one of the topics above and write a personal experience piece on this theme. 
  2. Choose one of the topics above and write a short story.
  3. Choose one of the topics and write a poem.



College Students Get Published!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Discover a literary magazine which publishes work by college students!

First Inkling

Missed Opportunities

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Several years ago, a friend had written a fiction manuscript which had an amazing voice.  I couldn’t wait for her to market it.  She sent the ms. out a few times to editors  and received standard rejections until finally she got a nibble. 

“You need to show more than tell in these chapters,” suggested the editor.  “But your writing is good.”  She went on to give more of a detailed critique of what the writer could do to improve the beginning of the story.

My friend, instead of being elated that she received A PERSONAL REJECTION (aka SUCCESS IS COMING!), she felt dejected.  How could the editor not love each and every word of her book?  This must mean she was a failure as a writer.  

She put the manuscript back into a drawer. 

“Why don’t you work on that book again?” I suggested to her recently. 

She lifted up her hands into the air,  helpless.  “It’s too late now.  The editor wouldn’t remember who I was, even if that editor was still at that publishing house.  The house might even have folded.” 

“So what?”  I said. 

“But I missed my chance.”

“It’s not too late,” I said.  “You still have the manuscript with the fabulous voice.  Rework it.   Even if the editor is now selling Tupperware, there are OTHER editors out there.  And you never even tried an agent.  Besides, maybe the editor still IS and editor after all.”

My friend nodded slowly; a light flickered in her eyes. 

Writing Prompts: 

1.  Write about a time you missed an opportunity or thought you had.

2.  Create a poem titled, Missed Opportunities.

3.  Sometimes we choose to say no to an opportunity that we think isn’t right for us.  This opens the door for something better.  Who knows?   My friend may have more maturity now to handle the rewrite and will come up with a better draft.   Write a piece (any form or genre) about another door opening to a more desirable turn of events.

Jonathan Franzen – Writing Fiction and Memoir

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, Freedom, two other novels, a work of nonfiction and two collections of essays, gave a talk the other night and I was a fortunate attendee.

He spoke with thoughtfulness and richness.  When the audience asked questions, Franzen didn’t merely pop off answers from the top of his head, but gave them much consideration; the answers were from deep reflections, much like his writing. 

“Reading and writing fiction is an act of social engagement.”

“A character dies on the page if you can’t hear his or her voice.”

“A novel is a personal struggle.  What is fiction after all if not purposeful dreaming?”

“If fiction is easy to write it’s not any good.” 

(He mentioned he wasn’t talking about fun, light reading.)

“Take autobiographical risks.  Trust people you know to love the whole you.  All writers have to be loyal to themselves.”  His brother was similar to the character, Gary, in The Corrections, in that he was also working on a family album.  But Franzen learned not to be concerned because he knew his brother had his own life.  After his brother read the book he called him.  “John?” he said.  “This is your brother.  (Pause.) Gary!” 

“Tone, language, character – – – even a great TV show like Breaking Bad can’t do moral subtly. I’m trying to defeat other media.” 

“A writer wants to be alone in a room.  He’s easily ashamed and is an exhibitionist.”

“I’ve grown a thick skin.  I’ve learned not to Google myself.” 

“I never thought I’d do nonfiction.  I thought it was a betrayal of the novel.” 

Favorite bird at the moment?  The California Towhee.  Why?  Subtle.  Charismatic.  Not shy. 

Just like Jonathan Franzen. 

Writing Prompts:

1.  Franzen gave a plug for Memoir Journal, a nonprofit that is a literary magazine and also holds writing workshops.  Check this publication out a    

They are open to submissions for memoir pieces, with $500 and publication as their top prizes.  Write a memoir following their submission policy.   

2.  Choose one small autobiographical detail and combine it with a fictional character in your story.  Make sure it enhances and adds depth to your character and story.   

3.  Create a character with one or all of these descriptions:  subtle, charismatic, not shy.

Best Advice from Authors and Editors

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

I attended a Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators one-day conference in Rocklin, California this weekend.  Fabulous speakers gave terrific writing techniques and marketing tips which not only apply to those interested in writing for children, but writing for anyone.

Here are some gems:

Lin Oliver, who founded SCBWI with Steven Mooser in 1971, quoted well-known authors who have spoken at the L.A. conference since its inception.  

She quoted Bruce Coville:  “Follow your weirdness.” 

Lin also recommends for every book you write  you should read 500 of those types of books to get a feel for that genre.  Which books inspire you most? 

Andrea Tompa, editor at Candlewick Press discussed the process of revision in which she gave detailed questions we should ask ourselves as we go through our projects.    As she quoted Roald Dahl, “Good writing is essentially rewriting.”

Andrea advised us to think about both the internal and external stakes for our characters.  What are they?  How are they resolved?   Many times writers forget about internal growth which needs to happen to their main character. 

Agent Minju Chang from Bookstop Literary Agency spoke about emotions in books.  Make sure you build a bond with your main character and reader.   She quoted Maya Angelou:  ” . . . People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Sterling Editor Brett Duquette talked about voice, the most elusive technique in writing craft of all, in my opinion.  He defined it as the language used in harmony with the characters, narrative, style . . .

For a good example of picture book voice he suggested The Caveman A B.C. Story by Janee Trasler, where the voice begins within the title of the story.  For older books he recommended the play Peter Pan by M.M Barrie and The Fault in our Stars by John Green, among others.

One of several exercises he gave us was this:  Place your character in mortal danger.  Write a complete scene.  (Not necessarily to be used in your book – just to learn about your character)  You will learn a lot about your character through this writing prompt.

And although the agents and editors said they were tired of paranormal books and would love to see contemporary fiction, they advised write what you must and disregard the trends.  Just keep it fresh and unique!

Now . . . back to writing!

Writing Advice from the Best: Authors and Editors

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Gate Conference at Pacific Grove’s Asilomar this past weekend where I soaked up the sun, strolled on the beach, and became infused with creativity when speakers and attendees focused on their inner genius, the theme of the weekend. 

Although I can’t possibly portray the inspiration I acquired, I can share a few tips of some of the fabulous faculty. 

Young adult author Charlie Price (Desert Angel, Dead Connection) didn’t start writing seriously until he was 58.  He says, “Relax.  Release.  Let go.” 

The creativity panel told us to watch the movies of the genre we’re researching and writing to help vitalize our visual senses.

Author illustrator Dan Yaccarino (Go, Go, America, Lawn to Lawn) advises us to do what he did:  say yes, ask a lot of questions, and listen. 

Editor/author Arthur Levine, (Monday is One Day, All the Lights in the Night) most recognized for co-editing the Harry Potter series, reassured us that children’s books do not have a bleak future and this period is merely a transitional phase. 

He also asks the question, “Really?”  “Did that character really look like that?  She really say that?  Really feel that way?”   Don’t stop questioning yourself if it feels automatic.

What type of book is he looking for?  Visit his website and discover what is on his bookshelf already.  That’s how you buy a gift for someone, by checking out their bookshelves, isn’t it?  This is a very valuable suggestion as to what any editor desires.  

Philomel editor Tamara Tuller, who is most interested in modern, literary middle grade and young adult fiction and story-based picture books, recommends “Write like you’re drunk and edit like you’re sober.” 

Write with abandon!  Get to it!

Creative Writing Scholarships for High School Juniors and Seniors!

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Notre Dame de Namur University is offering a $20,000 creative writing scholarship to a California high school junior or senior who wins the San Mateo County Fair Literary Contest.

To qualify, the student must have a 3.0 GPA or above, submit a poem, short story, or essay (limited to one entry per applicant) that has not been previously entered in a San Mateo County Fair competition, and enroll and be accepted to Notre Dame de Namur within one year of graduating from high school.

The opportunity to become a published author by Sand Hill Review Press is also being offered by the San Mateo County Fair Literary Anthology 2012.

Enter a short story, poetry, essay, and sponsored contest submissions. All entries must be submitted in .doc or .docx file.

Every entrant will have at least one piece published, which will be available for purchase at the Fair between June 9 to June 17 and also on

For entry forms or more details about both literary opportunities, visit, call 650-574-3247 or email [email protected].  The submission deadline for both is April 16.


Turn Your Expertise into a Successful Book

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

                                 Sunday, Jan 22           2 – 4 p.m.                  


At the Lafayette Library and Learning Center

 Three successful non-fiction authors will tell you how they turned their specialized knowledge into successful books – and careers.  Find out from these three pros:


  • ·        How to develop a strong non-fiction book proposal
  • ·        Tips on the best ways to share your knowledge
  • ·        Go beyond the book by building your speaking and online platform


All the participating authors are members of the California Writers Club which is co-hosting this presentation.


Nannette Rundle Carroll is the author of The Communication Problem Solver.  She’s been featured in Investors Business Daily’s “10 Secrets to Success” leadership column and has appeared on radio shows and podcasts as a communication expert and trains professionals in communication and management.



Patricia Evans is the author of five books on dealing with verbal abuse and overly controlling people.  As a specialist in interpersonal communication, she has spoken about managing verbal abuse on more than two hundred radio shows, and 20 national television programs, including the Oprah.  She is also a consultant, speaker and trainer. 


Catherine Accardi is the author of three books in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, Walnut Creek, San Francisco’s North Beach and Telegraph Hill, and San Francisco Landmarks. Catherine turned her interest and knowledge of local history into award winning books.  Arcadia Publishing has been awarded the prestigious William C. Ralston Award by the San Francisco Historical Society for these popular local history volumes.     

A Writer’s Place is a program of the Friends of the Lafayette Library

www.  AWritersPlace .com

Lafayette Library & Learning Center  3941 Mount Diablo Blvd  Lafayette CA  94549 Q  925/ 385- 3380