Monday, February 3, 2014

Contests! Contests! . . . and some ENCOURAGEMENT

Hello everyone! And Happy New Year!

I know I've been gone a good little while (talk about that later) but I just wanted to let you all know about two writing contests whose deadlines are coming up soon.

Here's the info:

1)  The 2014 Sandy Writing Contest

This contest, sponsored by the Crested Butte Writers Conference, features categories of romance, mainstream adult fiction, suspense/thriller/mystery, fantasy and science fiction, and Children's and YA.

The judge for Children's & YA is Tracey Keevan, Senior Editor at Disney Hyperion. Check out her bio, and interview with the contest coordinator.

Basic entry fee is $30 for Crested Butte Writer members, for all others $35

Entries must be received by midnight, February 10, 2014.
Payments snail mailed (USPS) must be postmarked by February 12th.

And they are only accepting 250 entries so get those entries in soon!

2) 2014 Writers-Editors Network International Writing Competition

For complete guidelines, rules, fees, and entry form go here

Categories include Nonfiction (articles, essays, book chapters, columns), Fiction (short story or novel chapter), Children's Literature (short story, nonfiction article, book , poem), and Poetry.

Entry fee is $5 for members, $10 non-members for each entry under 3,000 words.  For entries of 3,000 to 5,000 words, the fee is $10 (members) or $20 (non-members). For complete  fee listings, see link to guidelines above.

Entries must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2014.
Enter by postal mail or email

LASTLY, check out this wonderful interview with Carol J. Perry who placed 1st in 2013 for her Novel Chapter, which she later sold to Kensington Publishing in a 3-book deal!

GOOD LUCK, everyone!

Getting back to my absence. . . . When I last posted, my family and I were in the middle of a BIG move from New Jersey to Connecticut, dealing with issues of employment and readjustment.  And somewhere along the line I think I lost confidence in myself and my writing, to the point where I couldn't even think about storylines and such.  I think even my two daughters lost faith in me!

I didn't TOTALLY forget about the blogosphere, though.  I still browsed around the blueboards, and a few authors' and agents' blogs and websites.  Now that things are a bit calmer, I am slowly creeping back into the writing life and restarting my journey toward publication.

And so I would like to share links to 2 very encouraging blog posts.  The posts aren't recent but they do give HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT, which I think all of us aspiring writers need!

The first post is by my good blogging friend, Tess Hilmo, middle grade author of the wonderfully heartwarming historical novel, With A Name Like Love (2011, FSG Books for Young Readers).  It's called "The Quitting Place."  Ever been there?  I have. Numerous times.  But I'm not stayin'!

Thank you, Tess, for your encouragement and this post!   Tess' new book Skies Like These will be released on July 15, 2014, by FSG.  Can't wait to read it!

Next, I want to share this post, "Stinky Self-Doubt," by middle grade author Danette Vigilante. This post really  hit home for me because it pinpoints what I've been feeling: self-doubt.

Many thanks to Danette for this inspiring post!  Danette's a talented writer, too, and uses NYC for her settings.  This brings back many good memories for me since I was born and raised in NYC, too.  :)   Danette's first book, The Trouble with Half A Moon,came out in 2011, and her second book, Saving Baby Doe, is due March 2014 from G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Well, that's it for me right now, guys . . . hope some of this was helpful! :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Great quote from Steve Jobs

I came across this quote from the late Steve Jobs a few days ago and thought I'd pass it on:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma--which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

--Steve Jobs

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Musings . . . I'm back, yes, really!

Hi everyone!

Long time, no see . . . yes, I’m back. So sorry I was gone so long but I had to deal with a few personal issues, including unemployment (lost my job in 2010). And with my husband working only part-time, it has been quite stressful to say the least. But I’ve been quite busy, nevertheless, transporting the kids to school and their various activities, doing some freelance proofreading, and of course, working on my middle-grade novel.

But enough about me . . . what I really want to focus on with this comeback post is the DEBUT PUBLICATION of my long-time blogger friend, TESS HILMO’s middle-grade mystery, WITH A NAME LIKE LOVE (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Macmillan, Margaret Ferguson Books, 2011). The excerpts I read on amazon had me wishin’ I had a Kindle to download the story right away. With a Name Like Love received 2 fantastic STARRED REVIEWS—from Kirkus and the esteemed School Library Journal—before it’s publication date (Sept. 27, 2011). That is a HUGE accomplishment! Congratulations, Tess!

You’ll find a wonderful interview with Tess on Robyn Campbell’s blog, Putting Pen to Paper (Hi Robyn!), as well as this interview with Tess over at CYNSATIONS, the blog of well-known author & resource of publishing info, Cynthia Leitich Smith. (And speaking of Cynthia, you have got to check out this inspiring guest post she wrote over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, “Your Only Real Competition is Yourself.” Doesn’t she speak the truth?)


IN CASE YOU’RE INTERESTED, you can win a copy of TESS HILMO’s With A Name Like Love by leaving a comment at Mother Daughter Book under the post Book Review and Giveaway: With A Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo. THE CONTEST ENDS OCT. 12th midnight (PDT). Good Luck!

AND, don’t forget to read Tess’ guest post at this same site, where she offers great writerly wisdom on The Power of Words.

You know, there’s been so, so many great blog posts this past year. Did anyone see the wonderful Tribute to Rita Williams-Garcia (author of the 2011 Scott O’Dell and 2011 Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel, One Crazy Summer) by her editor Rosemary Brosnan? This greatly inspiring read is in the July/August 2011 issue of The Horn Book magazine. I think most writers would give their right arm (and leg!) to have such a wonderful author-editor relationship as theirs!

Another great motivational read I came across was a post back in June entitled What’s Holding You Back? by guest writer, Joanne Kraft, on the blog of literary agent Rachelle Gardner.

Finally, here’s another post I though I’d mention. I came across it a few days ago, and it is SO TRUE. It’s called Write What You Love, But Make Sure Only You Can Write It, written by Martina, one of the bloggers at Adventures in Children’s Publishing. I wholeheartedly agree with Martina when she says, “If your pages could have been written by anyone else, there probably isn’t enough of you on them yet.”

Well, that’s it for now folks. I’ve really enjoyed writing this post and intend to post more in the coming days, weeks, and months. I can’t promise a set schedule but I do hope to be more consistent!

And I must give a shout-out to a great blogger friend, Robyn Campbell, who, commenting on my last blog entry, encouraged me to come back to the blogosphere. Thank you, Robyn! :)

Enjoy your week, everyone!  :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back to Blogging

Hi all!

I know, I know . . . long time no see!

Sorry I was gone so long! So much has been happening, both in my own life (no, no, I didn't get an agent if that's what you're thinking--oh how I wish that had happened!) and around the blogosphere (I'll cover writing/publishing news SOON in a later post). I think, though, I've finally realized why I just stopped blogging (and also writing/revising my MG wip) cold. Now, I'm not a psychologist or anything like that, but I do think that it may have been from grief and/or shock. You see, my last post was April 2nd. The very next day, April 3rd, a close cousin of mine (who I grew up with from, like, the toddler stage) passed away. Yesterday, she would have been 43, just a year older than myself (my birthday is on the 27th). The family knew she didn't have long for she had been sick quite a while. But still. For me, it was like losing an older sister. And I think, now, I've finally been able to come to grips (somewhat) with this loss.

So, slowly but surely, I'm creeping my way back into blogging and the blogosphere (and back to working on my wip) . . . I've missed you all! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Better late than never . . . First Page Blogfest

Hi all!

I know, I know. I've been a bad, bad, blogger. Sorry guys! And I can't really blame it on any one thing in particular, except perhaps sheer laziness or . . . maybe procrastination? I dunno. I mean I work full-time and have 2 kids (and sometimes a third, if you count my husband--sorry, hubby!). But I know that's true for so many of us--we all have things/people that we have to write or blog around. So I'm starting back (to blogging) and workin' on the time management (I found some great links on this that I'll put in another post later). I'll also be posting links to some really interesting witer/publishing info that I've come across in the last month or two.

For today (or what's left of it), I'm posting below my entry for Kelly Lyman's "In the Beginning" Blogfest . . . it's from the first page of TRAIN WATCH, my middle grade work-in-progress. I've never participated in a blogfest before so I'm a bit nervous, and I also haven't posted any excerpts in quite a while either! Anyways, here it is . . . let me know what you think (especially if anything strikes you as unclear).

Wishing you all a happy & blessed Easter weekend! :)

And, of course, THANKS FOR READING!

Chapter 1

Letter to Mama

April 10, 1941

Dear Mama,

I hope you are doing well. PLEASE COME GET ME AND OTIS! I’m tired of working in the field picking cotton and corn and tobacco and whatever else Grandpa Lum grows for the Boss Man. I thought slavery was over! I want to come live with you, Mama. Now! And Mama, you’re not going to believe this, but yesterday, when me, Hattie, and Otis were out in the cotton field pulling weeds, Grandma Jenny hit me over the head with a hoe! She said I was too slow. Mama, I was just tired. Tired from walking the mile home from school. Tired from the heat. Tired


Oh no. Someone’s coming up the ladder! Grandpa Lum will skin me alive if he finds me up here writing to Mama.

Shoving aside the worn notebook she was writing on, Cleo Holmes swung her brown, mosquito-bitten legs over the side of the bed, narrowly missing the jagged metal springs poking through the thin mattress.

With the nearly-finished letter still in her hand, she hurried across the room and quickly pushed aside the dark sheet of the makeshift closet. Pulling down an old, tattered shoebox from the back of the top shelf, she placed the letter in the box alongside her blue ribbon ink pen (won in a most-books-read-over-the-summer contest). She scooted to the middle of the room just as Hattie, her twelve-year-old aunt, appeared at the top of the ladder, sweat streaming down the sides of her pecan-tanned face.

Cleo raised her eyes to the ceiling. Thank you, Lord. Grandpa Lum hasn’t reached the house—yet.

"Whoo-weee! It’s . . . some . . . kinda . . . hot . . . out there!" Hattie huffed, as she pulled herself up and over the ladder. She wiped the steady drip of water off her dirt-streaked face with the back of her hand and down the sides of the faded, dust-covered overalls she wore. Catching her breath, she continued, "Papa says you better hurry on down. He don’t want anymore dilly-dallying from you." She focused more clearly on Cleo. "You still in your school clothes?"

"Hattie," Cleo begged, shimmying out her knee-length plaid skirt, "tell him I’m coming. Please?" She forced her clammy legs into the new pair of blue jeans her mama had sent last month. "I just have to finish something first."

"Papa don’t care ’bout none of that. You better get a move on or he’ll be up here with a switch—or a belt." She looked over her shoulder, then back at Cleo.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Dear Lucky Agent" Contest reminder

Hi all!

Most of you know this already. Just a reminder that the 2nd "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest being held on the Guide to Literary Agents blog ends this coming Sunday, February 21, EST. The category this time is Kids Novels (Middle Grade and Young Adult).

To enter, you must submit the first 150-200 words of your unpblished, book-length work of middle grade or young adult fiction. Entry must be e-mailed with no attachments. Also, you must submit the title of your work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.

***To be eligible to submit, Chuck (the GLA editor) asks that you do one of two things: either mention & link to this contest TWICE through some type of social media (blog, Twitter, Facebook), OR mention the contest once & add Guide to Literary Agents Blog to your blogroll.

FIRST PLACE winner --- critique of 25 pages of your work by your agnt judge, a query critique, and 2 free books from Writer's Digest Books (you get to choose from several choices)

SECOND & THIRD PLACE winners --- critique of 10 pages of your work, and 1 free book from Writer's Digest Books

For complete details & guidelines, click here

Oh yes, the judge for this contest is Jennifer Laughran of the esteemed Andrea Brown Literary Agency

GOOD LUCK to everyone who enters! :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Contests! Contests! Contests!

**This is a long post so you may want to look this over a bit more on the weekend, you know, when you can sit back & relax (I hope!) with a cup of coffee (or tea or hot chocolate), and read at your leisure . . .

Are you in the mood for a contest or two (or three)?

Now, practically everyone knows about the Annual Writer’s Digest Competition (their 79th is now underway). If you don’t, you can click here for more information. The Grand Prize is $3,000 plus a trip to New York City to meet with editors & agents. There are also 1st through 10th place winners as well as Honorable Mentions (11th through 100th place). It ends May 14, 2010 (late entry deadline is June 1, 2010).

BUT . . . do you also know about these contests?

1) 2010 PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) Literary Contest
There are 12 contest categories including YA (submission is first 28 pages & synopsis), Children’s PB or chapter book (first 14 pages), as well as Adult Fiction & Non-Fiction. According to the guidelines, there will be 8 finalists in each category.
First place winners receive $600
2nd place: $300
3rd place: $150
The entry fee, though, is a bit steep: $35 for PNWA members & $50 for non-members. The good news is that every entry accepted in the contest will receive 2 critiques.

The entry deadline is February 19, 2010.
Click here for complete information & guidelines.

2) 2010 Sandy Writing Contest
This contest, sponsored by the Crested Butte Writers Conference, also includes Children’s (no PB’s) & YA as well as Adult Fiction, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Romance, & Suspense/Mystery. It is open to all authors unpublished in novel length fiction.
Submission requirements are the first 20 pages of a novel & up to a 2-page synopsis.

Final round judges include:
Christine Pride, editor, Random House (mainstream adult fiction)
Ginger Clark, agent, Curtis Brown (fantasy/science fiction)
Julie Scheina, assistant editor, Little, Brown BFYR (children’s/YA)

1st place: $50 & a certificate
2nd place: $25 & a certificate
3rd place: certificate
The entry fee is $25 for Crested Butte Writer members & $30 for non-members.
All entries must be received by midnight, February 15, 2010
Click here for complete information & guidelines.

3) 2010 Writers-Editors Network 27th Annual International Writing Competition
(Formerly CNW/FFWA Florida State Writing Competition)

For children’s writers, this contest has a Children’s Literature Division that includes submission of either an unpublished short story, non-fiction article, book chapter, or poem. For all other writers, there is a Non-fiction Division, a Fiction Division, & a Poetry Division.

1st place, each category: $100 + certificate
2nd place, each category: $75 + certificate
3rd place, each category: $50 + certificate
Honorable Mentons are also awarded certificates

The entry fees seem pretty reasonable:
For a fiction/non-fiction entry under 3,000 words, the entry fee is $5 (members) or $10 (non-members)
For entries of 3,000-5,000 words, the fee is $10 (members) or $20 (non-members)
For poems, the fee is $3 (members) or $5 (non-members)

Click here for complete information & guidelines.

Click here for their 10 Tips on Winning Writing Contests.

And you can click here to see their past winners. Interesting note: aspiring author/blogger, Suzette Saxton won 10th place honorable mention last year in the Children’s Literature division.
The entry deadline for this contest is March 15, 2010.

4) Willamette Writers 2010 Kay Snow Writing Contest

Folks, for this contest, both adults AND children can enter in their respective divisions. So if any of you know or have any budding writers . . .

This contest accepts adult fiction, adult non-fiction, poetry, juvenile short story, novel excerpt or article, and complete or partial scripts (for the screenwriting category).

Students enter under grade divisions (grades 1-5, grades 6-8, grades 9-12) and are limited to 1 entry. Also, there is no entry fee for students.

For us adults, though, there is a $10 entry fee for members and a $15 entry fee for non-members
Adult categories: 1st place, $300
2nd place, $150
3rd place, $50
Students: 1st place, $50, 2nd place, $20, an 3rd place, $10

The entry deadline is April 23, 2010.
Click here for complete guidelines

Click here to read a Kay Snow Award success story by Rosanne Parry, author of Heart of a Shepherd (Random House, 2009).

5) Houston Writers Guild Spring 2010 Writers Contest

This contest is open to novels and screenplays, any genre. You must submit the first 10 pages of your novel, book, or screenplay, plus synopsis.

The entry fee is $20 for members and non-members.
The deadline is February 28, 2010.

Click here for complete contest rules & guidelines, and here for the entry blank.

Lastly, don’t forget it’s just a few more days to enter Andrea Brown literary agent Mary Kole’s Kidlit Contest. Entry has to be for a FINISHED children’s novel (only MG or YA), and must be under 500 words.
Grand Prize: a 15 page critique
1st prize: a 10 page critique
2nd prize: a 5 page critique
3rd prize: a 2 page critique
Honorable Mentions: critique of 1st page of your novel
ENTRY DEADLINE is January 31, 2010 at 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time
Click here for her complete guidelines.