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New website design!

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As you can see, I’ve got a brand new, great-looking website! I have to thank my husband for that. He’s been working the last month or two converting everything over from WordPress to BlogEngine.net and trying to convert my weird demands into a useable website. I think he’s succeeded! There will still be things that we’re working on, but overall, I think the design rocks! What do you think?

So watch for new updates in the coming weeks and some interesting and exciting news from me!

Hustlin’ the Words!

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So I recently came across Word Hustler in my web-wanderings. It’s something of a novelty, I think. There are dozens of sites which give you submission information for various publishers, agents and magazines. This is the first site I’ve seen that will actually send your work for you. That’s right. Word Hustler is a mailing service for writers.

I should be clear: it isn’t just a mailing service. There’s thousands of markets and contests listed that you can use for free. That’s right. You can actually get all the market info for free! I was really astounded at that little perk. I’ve trolled through some of the listings and they’re pretty complete, along with links to web sites when applicable. Agents aren’t left out either. If you search through agents, you not only get all the regular contact info and what they’re looking for, you also get their client list, which isn’t always readily available at other information aggregate sites.

The unique thing that Word Hustler does is send out your submissions. For a price, they’ll print your Great American (or any other cultural group) Novel (or short story, or non-fiction book proposal), include your cover letter, a return post card, if you wish and package it all up nice and professional-like. Then they’ll send it to the markets/agents of your choice from their database or you can specify any address you wish (including your own).

So what’s the cost, you ask? It ranges from $.99 (under 4 pages) to $8.99 (50 pages) and .10/page after 50. It includes postage, tracking and SASEs. This can get pretty steep when you’re talking about 350 page books going out to a dozen editors. But for short stories, queries and even contests, this may be economical if you’ve got more money than time and you don’t want to mess with the hassle of getting everything formatted correctly. Check out the price list.

Oh, and when I signed up, I got a code for a free submission, so I’ll give it a try and see what happens. At the very least, that 3000 market database is going to get some good use!

So what do you think? Is it worthwhile to pay a service to send your ms? Making the assumption a service is trustworthy, are there reasons why you wouldn’t use it?

Spectra Pulse Short Fiction Contest – dl: 1/31/09

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From the website:

Presenting a new short fiction contest for unpublished writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

For its third edition of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra is allowing unpublished writers to get their work featured alongside some of the most well-respected names in science fiction and fantasy.

One lucky winner will receive $100 and have his/her story published in the Summer 2009 issue of Spectra Pulse, Bantam Spectra’s exclusive magazine distributed at Comic-Con San Diego and select conventions and bookstores (available July 2009).

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So here's the skinny: You have until January 31, 2009  to submit a spec-fic story under 2000 words. It can be submitted electronically! They'll notify the winner in March and announce officially in April.

Want more details? Go to the contest website!

Good luck!

Getting started again!

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Have you missed me? I’ve missed you!

Life, as always, sometimes gets a bit more than one can handle and some things have to fall by the wayside. I did not want this blog to be one of those things. Unfortunately, that happened anyway.

However, we’re going to start again, you and I, if you’re willing. I won’t promise daily updates, but, for now, I’ll promise weekly ones. And then we may move up to meeting twice a week! And even perhaps three times. And oh, won’t they talk about our clandestine romps, then!

So, how about it? A weekly date? You and me? We’ll talk about writing and reading and publishing. Maybe we can get a podcast or two going. What do you think?

Steps on the Journey – On Writing Horror

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So you don’t write horror, huh? Well, too bad! Pick this book up anyway! On Writing Horror is a collection of essays by dozens of premiere horror authors, including Stephen King, Tom Piccirilli, Jack Ketchum, Douglas E. Winter and many more.

This book will appeal to horror authors, especially, so why should you check this out if you don’t write horror? Simple: Most of the essays in this book can be applied across most, if not all, genres. The general principles are similar.

There’s a fantastic essay on character creation by Tina Jens called "Such Horrible People." You’ll find a lot of suggestions that you don’t see in every other book on character. There’s also a good piece on writing actions scenes in horror by Jay R. Bonansinga which can be applied to other genres. You’ll also find essays on marketing, plotting, and publishing in general.

Recommendation:
An absolute MUST for aspiring horror writers. Other writers can also benefit from a number of essays in this collection, so a library-check-out is definitely worth it!

Free Writing Software Today Only!

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Thought I’d pass this on!

Giveaway of the Day has Liquid Story Binder XE available for free download today. If you’re struggling with the organizational side of writing, particularly a large work, check this software out. There’s really not much out there that compares to it. You can do character sketches, import photos, do time lines and link everything together. It can also be used for word processing. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t “force” you to use it a particular way. You can use whatever components you find helpful. I downloaded a previous version a year or two ago and I really like it. There’s something of a learning curve, but the get-started tutorial is really helpful, plus there’s a Yahoo group for support as well. Here’s the link to the download page:

Giveaway of the Day’s Liquid Story Binder XE Download

The thing to know about Giveaway of the Day is that the software must be installed today. If you end up losing the software (such as a hard disk crash or getting a new computer), generally, you can’t reinstall, but some people have been able to reinstall some software by keeping the registration information from the original install. That may or may not work here.

One last thing… this software also installs on portable drives. So if you use a thumb drive to keep your writing, you can install it there. I plan on installing the updated version on my desktop, laptop and USB drive. I highly recommend this download!

Do you use writing software on a regular basis? If so, what software and how has it helped you?

Editor Girl!

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So, I’ve got some news. I’ve been waiting to post this until it was officially official (as opposed to unofficially official).

I’ve taken a position as a junior editor at Loose-Id Publishing. I’m very excited about the opportunity to get into editing. Those who know me know that, long-term, I’m looking to open my own small press and magazine. I think, in addition to being able to do something I love, I’ll be able to gain a lot of knowledge about e-book publishing and perhaps some print publishing as well.

Loose-Id is one of the top 3 e-book publishers out there. And they publish erotica. How fun! 😉 I have several friends who publish with Loose-Id, so I already knew they were a good group of folks.

In other news… I’m having a big party this weekend that I’ve been busting my tail to get ready for, so I haven’t had as much online time as normal (or as what I want to be normal). Once the party is done with, things will get back to a regular schedule here. I’ve got several WIL posts planned and, of course, we’ll have more Steps on the Journey. So hang with me! Good stuff is around the corner!

While I’m cleaning my house…what would your advice be to a teenager who’s interested in getting into the writing game? What sort of guidance would you give him or her?

Contest – deadline July 31

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Thought my readers might like to get in on the following contest from A cappella Zoo.

Origins Contest

They’re interested in primarily literary fiction, but welcome a magical realism bent. The deadline is July 31 and first prize is $250. There is a $5 entry fee, or you can purchase a discounted subscription and the fee will be waived. Keep in mind that the theme is “origins” and you should adhere to their normal Guidelines for submission.

Good luck!

Strange Horizons 2008 Fundraising Drive

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You won’t see this sort of thing on this site often, so when you do, you’ll know it’s a good cause! Strange Horizons is a free, online magazine publishing speculative fiction of all stripes. It’s free to read and is one of a dwindling number of short fiction markets for spec fic. They’re not-for-profit and rely on donations to keep things going. And they’ve been around for 8 years! That’s more than a lifetime for online venues.

Strange Horizons is wrapping up the 2008 fundraising campaign. They’ve extended it for a few days because they’re only a few hundred bucks shy of their goal amount: $6000.

So if you can spare $2 or $5 or more to help keep this great magazine churning out creative electrons, please check out their 2008 Fundraising Drive!

The Graduate!

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You may have noticed the blog’s been on hiatus for awhile. Finishing up Soul Cavern and the other requisites for graduating from SHU pretty well kicked my tail! Add to it that we bought a house at the end of April and moved in around mid-May. But, I’m happy to say, I’m back in the saddle! I managed to get everything done and everyone I needed to pass me passed me, so I did, in fact, receive my Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction! Woot!

More importantly, however, my manuscript is very close to being submit-able. I have a few revisions I’d like to make, but then I’m shoving it out of the nest to make its own way in the world!

As always, when I’m at residency, I learned a TON, and I’ll be posting some of that soon in What I’ve Learned. I also did my own teaching module on how to write action scenes, which will eventually end up here in some form. I met several very cool author-types whom I’ll be hyping as we move along, as well. And watch for expansions in the Links list on the left side of the page! I’ve got so much to put in there, you’re going to be amazed! We’ll also be getting back on path with the Steps in the Journey feature very soon.

I’m planning on a bit of a revamp on the website, but that’s back-burner, end of the list, whenever I get to it type stuff. I’ve got a few pages to add and I swear to whatever that I’m going to get a proper Contact Me page up!

So here we are! Ready to get started again?