Finding Something Friday: Humor, Books I’m Reading, Contest, Writing Tips

That’s not a very catchy post title, but it does pretty much sum up the day’s catch.
If you’d like to read October’s column in Modern Senior Living, check out page 13 for “My Not-So-Smart Phone.” (I could probably write a book about phones at the Hall house. One time, I walked into Juniorest Hall’s room and found this mangled mess of wires and such on his bed. Just before I threw it out, he yelled, “Wait! That’s my phone!” Which he was actually still using. It was the phone I’d purchased 24 hours after I’d bought his first phone–but that’s another story.)
As you may remember, October is National Book Month, and I thought I’d update you on what I’m reading now: Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley (a middle grade novel with fairy tale overtones) and Bodies of the Dead And Other Great American Ghost Stories (Did you know Edith Wharton wrote a ghost story? Neither did I, but there she is with Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Willa Cather, and Harriet Prescott Spofford. I don’t know Harriet Prescott Spofford from Adam’s house cat, but how many times do you come across a name with that many double consonants? When I finish this scary book, I’m giving it away in the All Hallow’s Read Giveaway. Don’t forget to mention BOOk in a comment if you want your name in the cauldron.)
Janet Reid (yes, the literary agent, again) is having a contest. You have till tomorrow (at noon) to write a 100 word themed Halloween story with the words she’s posted. You can win a critique from Barbara Poelle, and that’s pretty awesome for a micro-fiction story. (You get bonus points if you work in the word “insalubrious”. And yes, I know that you know what insalubrious means, but I thought I’d give a quick definition for all those folks who may have taken a siesta during 10th grade Vocab drills: insalubrious=not conducive to health, unwholesome.)
Finally, just a quick mention of the writing tips you can find over at Finders & Keepers this week. I mentioned that I attended an SCBWI conference and I wrote a “what I learned from whom I saw” post. It’s packed with stuff you can use, whether you’re a children’s writer or not. (Seriously. It’s kind of a long post. But no one will know if you skim it.)
And now, as my insalubrious tale won’t write itself, I have a story to find on this fine Friday. I’m pretty sure it’s rattling around in my head, somewhere.

A This ‘n That Thursday on Reading

So I came across Neil Gaiman’s bloody brilliant idea the other day on Twitter: All Hallow’s Read.
It’s pretty simple. Just give someone a scary book to read on Halloween. It doesn’t have to be brand-spanking new. It doesn’t have to be just for kids. It doesn’t have to be written by Neil Gaiman, even.
Just go watch the short video and hear what Neil has to say. But you’ll probably be distracted by the zombies in the background and not really listen. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I love this idea. In fact, I love it so much that I’ll give some lucky blog reader a scary book. Maybe I’ll give away a couple of scary books. I guess that depends on how many scary books I can round up. In the meantime, leave a comment with the word “BOOk” in it and you might get one from my personal stash of creepy favorites!
Also, whilst piddling…um, make that business networking, on Twitter, I came across a very funny site about the value of our libraries. If you’re familiar with the book, Go The F*** To Sleep, and have a wondrous imagination, you’ll know where I’m going with this site. And why I can’t actually mention it in a G-rated blog. You’ll just go and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Or again, maybe that’s just me.

A This ‘n That Tuesday (or Yay! A Market, a Publisher, and Free Books!)

So, yes, this is one of those posts where I throw stuff out there and you are free to pick and choose. Speaking of free, let’s start with your opportunity to win bunches of books!

I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and I Read Banned Books are hosting this humongous Banned Books Week Hop. And when I say humongous, I mean 250 blogs humongous. That’s 250 opportunities for you to win some banned books (which also happen to be some of the best books out there). I’ve already espoused my opinion on this subject here and here (and not to go on about it, but the 2010 post was one of my better efforts), so I’ll just say read a banned book today and grow your mind.

Next up is a submission opportunity at Big Pulp. I’m sorry I didn’t throw this paying magazine out there sooner–the window is only open till the end of September! But if you have a fantabulous fantasy, horrid horror, mystical mystery, awesome adventure, super science fiction, or robust romance then you’ve got a chance at Big Pulp. (Just so you know, I’ve absolutely been slashing adjectives out of my manuscript, but it didn’t seem right to waste all those perfectly fine modifiers. Not to mention adverbs.) And do let me know if you get accepted. I’d love to read your scintillating story!

And finally, if you’ve got a robust romance that is actually a full manuscript, then you might want to zip over to Mills and Boon New Voices. They’re looking for a new voice in romance and they’re giving away grand prizes, too. That is to say, the prizes are grand for the Top 20, but they also have one Grand Prize package. You have till October 10th on this opportunity but that doesn’t mean you can dilly-dally about sending in that first chapter. Pull that manuscript out from under-the-bed and give it a polish. And please, let me know if you’re over there so I can dash to your cozy chapter and give a comment!

That should keep you busting-out busy for the week. (And yay! I’ve used up my daily quota of adjectives.)

Thursday Tips on Writing and Editing

So I zipped over to Cynsations (Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog) this morning to read this lovely guest post from Deborah Halverson on Why Perfectly Nice People Make Perfect Bad Guys. It’s well worth the read, whether you write flash, short stories or novels, because characters can make all the difference in whether you end up with a good story or a bad story.

And as is so often the case, I found all sorts of other interesting writerly things to check out. Like the giveaway at Cynsations for Deborah Halverson’s Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies (just read to the end of Deborah’s guest post!).

And then, of course, I had to zip over to Deborah’s site called Dear Editor.com where she’s having a virtual book launch for Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. And she’s giving away a a first chapter manuscript critique for a couple days. (It must be a middle grade or young adult first chapter.)

And then, I nosed around the site to read a few of the Dear Editor questions and answers. Again, you don’t have to write for the kidders and teens to appreciate Deborah’s advice.

Honestly, it’s not even lunch and I’m feeling scads more writerly brilliant than I did at breakfast. Though I have no idea why I would say “scads.”

Thing One and Thing Two OR Writing Advice and Reading Awesomeness

Long before I ever read Stephen King’s quote, “Read a lot and write a lot,” I followed that advice.
One thing that I read a lot of is writing advice (What a coincidence!). And it just so happens that I came across a whole list of great quotes of writing advice (How serendipitous!). Truth be told, I’ve already posted about this fabulous list over at Finders & Keepers. But I found it so nice, I’m discussing it twice! So Thing One is this list from Online College of 101 Words of Wisdom from Famous Authors. Something tells me I should take another look-see at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s advice (“Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.”)
Yes, well, on to Thing Two. I got a heads up today from Jodi Webb who’s participating in a blog hop. (Notice I did NOT use an exclamation point. I wanted to, but as per the above advice, I restrained myself. Honestly, it feels as if something is lacking. Something like a big, fat exclamation point.)
If you’re looking for a chance to win a TON of books, this is the blog hop for you. Over 200 blogs are participating and giving away all sorts of prizes. So here’s your chance to follow Mr. King’s advice and read a lot, assuming you win books. You have till the 24th to join in the fun, so hop over now and start signing up. (!)
(I know you’re probably wondering about that fox squirrel. Because usually, I have a way of bringing a totally unrelated pic like that into a post and making a brilliantly witty remark by post’s end. But this whole exclamation point thing has me off my game. Blame it on Fitzgerald.)