Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Inheriting John Wayne

It's a kid's world. At least from my perspective these days. I can remember how fun it was to run through my grandmother's pasture chasing butterflies, digging for earthworms or trying to catch crawdads in the creek. By the time I became a teen, time stood still. I couldn't grow up fast enough.

Now, looking back, I'm wondering why such a hurry?

My mother can no longer live in her home. I've been going through her things--trying to decide what gets dumped into a trash bag, what goes to Goodwill and what I should keep (and what my brother keeps). I think brother and I are falling all over ourselves trying NOT to step on each other's toes. We've both inherited the pack rat gene since both parents had it, so I think he feels like I do--no matter who gets what, we always have access to it.

The house above was my grandparents house. My brother bought it years ago and renovated/updated it. Before the renovation, he moved it to the woods. No cable tv--no Internet. Just the sound of coyotes at night, wind whipping through the tall pines ... and bugs. Lots of bugs.

See John Wayne? I bought him for my dad back in the 70s when we both enjoyed a drink or two. John was filled with something ... I can't remember what. He's perched on the empty shelf... waiting to see who will get him. I'm tempted, but I know deep down in my gut, someone else wants him. I'll wait ... wait... wait ... The empty shelves are depressing.

So... now you know why I'm not posting regularly. My head/heart isn't in it, but I'm thinking about you.
And for those of you who truly believe it's a kid's world, and you write for kids, check out these two markets: 

Speeding Star is a new trade imprint from Enslow Publishers, a company known for its educational titles. Speeding Star will focus on stories geared to boys, and the editors are actively seeking submissions. Unagented writers are welcome. Fiction manuscripts should be between 5,000 and 12,000 words, written at a fourth-grade reading level. The editors are especially interested in adventure stories, mysteries, sports stories and fantasy fiction with boy protagonists. Submit the manuscript through their online submission form, found here.

Amazon.com is adding two new imprints for children’s books to its growing list of publishing endeavors. Two Lions will be devoted to children’s picture books through middle grade books, while Skyscape will focus on YA and New Adult titles. Margerey Cuyler heads up Two Lions and Tim Ditlow will oversee Skyscape. Together, the two imprints make up Amazon Children’s Publishing. Query to acp-submit@amazon.com. Attach the complete manuscript for a picture book and the first three chapters for all other works.

Monday, February 11, 2013

FREE Conference - IndieReCon

I'm dragging when it comes to blogging, aren't I? Sorry. Lots of things happening right now that's zapped my energy when it comes to posting fun, encouraging info. Many of my family members are experiencing problems--physical, spiritual and emotional. Blogging seems a little self-serving. If you're a praying person, I would appreciate prayers for my loved ones. Not necessary for you to know names--God does. If you're not a praying person, a few good thoughts our way will be cherished.

And in return, here's some info you might take advantage of--an online conference.

IndieReCon is an online conference that will discuss the nuts and bolts of self publishing. Bob Mayer is a guest speaker. It's totally free. Once you go to the site using the link below, just sign up by putting your email in the left side bar to receive notifications.
IndieReCon is happening from February 19-21, 2013.
I'll be out of pocket that week, but from what I understand transcripts will be available to those of us who sign up but can't make it. Attendees from last year say it's well worth your while.
Here's the link, if anyone is interested: http://www.indierecon.org/

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Insecure Writers's Support Group: Refresh Yourself

I love the Insecure Writers Support Group. You might want to join and take part. It is the brainchild of  Alex J. Cavanaugh, and I can honestly say, I wish I'd created it! What a wonderful brainchild!  The purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of feeling foolish or weak.

Nothing encourages me more than writing (creating) something short, a piece I can begin and finish in a day or two—or a new market to submit to. Sometimes we need a break from our routine, from our long, on-going projects, don’t we? Often creating something different refreshes us.  When I want to do something different, I look at the Chicken Soup for the Soul site first. They always have call-outs.

If you’re feeling in a slump, discouraged, just down and out, try something new. Create a greeting card just for fun. What would you say to someone getting a divorce, a new college graduate, a new dad? Usually, what we would really say, we can’t find in a greeting card, right? (There’s probably good reason for that!)

I love writing short. I usually over-write, then start cutting to the specified word count. Cutting for me is so much easier than embellishing. I take a hard look at each sentence, each paragraph, then remove words that don't work, add nothing. Cutting always cheers me a little. It's like carefully peeling an apple, or carving a fish out of soap. It's so wonderfully methodical. It forces me to think.
There are so many ways to encourage ourselves, refresh our dreams—our point of view. Keeping submissions circulating is only one way, and writing shorts allows us to keep our work out there on a continuous basis. Poems, flash fiction, book reviews, recipes, greeting cards, personal essays -- There's absolutely no reason to ever give up our writing when there are so many avenues for us to take to publish.

A friend sent me a wonderful quote yesterday, one I need to post over my desk so I can look up and read it when I’m NOT feeling like a writer:
No man is born into the world whose work is not born with him. James Russell Lowell

Think about it, then get busy creating something short to get  “in the mail.”  Start with Chicken Soup. Remember, you have to go to their website to submit.
How do you refresh yourself when you're down and out, feeling blah? Share!

Devotional Stories for Wives
One of the biggest roles that a woman can take on in her lifetime is to become a wife. It takes commitment and dedication to remain loving as the years go by, especially when children and the busyness of daily life can sometimes be overwhelming. If you have a brief true story (up to 500 words) that shows how your faith in God has shaped your journey as a wife, please share it along with an applicable Bible verse and a 2-3 sentence prayer. You will receive $100 for each published devotion ($100 due to the shorter word count than our regular books). The deadline date for submissions is February 28, 2013.

Holiday Stories
We are collecting stories for our newest holiday book. Everyone has special memories and stories to tell about Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa - from inspirational and joyous, to heartwarming and humorous. We want to hear about your holiday memories and traditions. NOTE: Please make sure that the stories you are submitting to this book are NEW holiday stories that our editors have not read before. If you have submitted stories to our Christmas books in the past, we have your stories in our database. Also, please make sure your stories are "Santa safe" as we want to keep the magic alive for the young ones. The deadline date for story submissions is February 28, 2013.

Lemons to Lemonade
"When life hands you lemons... make lemonade!" And don't only make lemonade but squeeze every last drop of juice from that sour lemon to make the sweetest lemonade possible. We are looking for stories that show how you made the best of a difficult situation and how you turned what seemed like a negative into something positive. Did a change in your attitude help? Did a friend give you the boost you needed to get you past what seemed like a dead end? Tell us your success story and how you made it happen. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is February 28, 2013.

Messages from Heaven
We have heard many terrific stories about your own after-death communication experiences since our first Messages from Heaven book came out. It was a national bestseller so we have decided to make another edition, with the theme "Love Never Dies." If you have a story about receiving a sign or communicating with a loved one after his or her death, we would love to consider it. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is March 31, 2013.

Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide
Moms are the busiest people in the world! They juggle kids, husbands, jobs, housework, paid work, volunteer work, parents, pets, etc. How do they do it? Sometimes they are successful and get everything done. Sometimes... disasters happen! Busy moms - here is your chance to pass along your words of wisdom, your lessons learned, your funny or embarrassing moments. Pretend you're talking to a friend and share your wonderful stories with other busy moms. The deadline for story and poem submissions is June 30, 2013.

The Dating Game!
We're publishing a book on dating! First dates, blind dates, group dates... we want to hear about all of them. Meeting the family, embarrassing moments, break-ups and make-ups... we want all of your war stories. Did you meet your perfect match online? Did you have an office romance or start a relationship with someone who was just a friend? How about first dates after divorce, reconnecting with a person from your past, or even simply finding your happily-ever-after where you least expected it? Tell us everything from love at first sight to dating disasters. For this book, we prefer contemporary stories. They will be favored over stories about events that happened decades ago. We are accepting stories from men and women 18 years and older. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is July 15, 2013