LAST (Contest!) CALL

The last few days of the month are always a mad dash for me…I look up at the calendar above my desk and think &^*%! Two days? I’ll never make it!

Maybe it’s a conference I need to sign up for (along with a formal manuscript critique), or a writer-ish bill to pay. (Okay, The Beneficent Mr. Hall is going to pay that bill. But I still have to remind him.) And then there are the CONTESTS. So as it’s August 30th (OH MY GOSH, IT’S AUGUST 30TH!), we really don’t have time for dilly-dallying about if we want to make these deadlines:

The 2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest on a theme that reflects some aspect of women’s lives today. Good news? That’s practically anything (including Zombies)! Bad news: You’ve only got till September 1st. More good news? It’s online entries, so you can wait till the last possible minute! More bad news? There can be only one (winner). Okay, there can be three, actually. I just like to use the Highlander line.

The 2011 Family Circle Fiction Contest on a theme…hmmm. There appears to be NO theme. Wheee! But I’d suggest a quick look see at some of the past winning stories to get a handle on what Family Circle likes. Good news? You have till Septemeber 9th for this contest! Bad news? You have to mail the entry. But you can send TWO entries!

Now, off you go, my little writers. TIME’S A-WASTIN’!

Pretty Paper (And Good Reads)

You know what happens when you write a blog post while listening to holiday music? Your blog posts have titles oddly reminescent of Christmas songs. Fortunately, I’m a scathingly brilliant writer so I can tie in those songs to what I want to share.

I just wrote a post (on my other blog) about the best children’s books from 2010. You can take a peek right here if you want a few good children’s reads. But that started me thinking about favorite holiday reads. I can name a ton of children’s books I love…How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and A Cajun Christmas come to mind first because the Junior Halls loved those boooks. And I loved reading them. Though I still get choked up, trying to get through The Polar Express. Seriously. I can get a little ferklampt watching The Grinch, too. Probably because that silly cartoon takes me back to my childhood, sitting in front of an old black and white TV, singing along (the wrong words, of course) when all the Whos join hands to celebrate Christmas.

I love that short story, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. And there’s a few novels, though slender, that I’ll read almost every December: Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke and Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. Oh! And who doesn’t smile when reading the editor’s response to Virginia O’Hanlon’s question: Is there a Santa Claus? You can read what newsman Francis Pharcellus Church wrote here. And one of my favorite Christmas poems is called “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rossetti. You’ll recognize the last stanza, when you see the line, “What can I give him, poor as I am?”

And now, I know just what I want from you this Christmas! What’s your favorite holiday read? Children’s or adult, novel, short story, or poem…it doesn’t matter. And you know what else? You don’t even have to wrap it in pretty paper. Just leave a pretty, little comment.

(You were starting to wonder how I’d tie that song title in, weren’t you? Seriously? I was, too.)

Are You on the Prowl for a Place to Publish?

I am such a sucker for alliteration. I’m also a sucker for short fiction and getting my stories published in fun anthologies. Maybe you are, too. So why don’t you write something for A Shaker of Margaritas: Cougars on the Prowl?

Mozark Press has just released A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas, but apparently the editor’s hungry for more stories of romance, mystery, suspense, humor, well, any genre, really, as long as it’s set in modern times and has a “woman of a certain age” prowling about. And FYI: that age is a Baby Boomer, born between 1946 and 1964.

Start writing your 1,000 to 3,000 word story now and you’ll be ready to submit when January 1st rolls around. And you know, you don’t have to be a cougar to write about ’em. But why let your characters have all the fun?

(Find more info about the contest and compensation here.)

Tooting My Horn Tuesday: Hot Flash Mommas!

You know how your stories are sort of like children? You’re proud of them when they go out in the world and do well. And you love each and every one of them, exactly the same.

Except sometimes, you like one a little better than the other. She makes you laugh, or she makes you smile, or maybe she makes you sigh. But mostly, there’s just something there, close to your heart, that makes you like her just a teensy bit more than the others. Not forever, of course. You know that tomorrow, your heart will be pulled in another direction.

That’s just the way it is, with stories and kids. And that’s the way it is with my story, “The Funny Thing in The Bathroom at Casa Del Rio.” You can read it in A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas. This anthology has just come out of Mozark Press, and it’s brimming with wonderful stories about the forty or older woman and her search for happiness, or love, passion, or perhaps revenge.

I’m not sure what each character is searching for because I haven’t had time to read each and every story. But I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. And I’m so glad that this story of mine found a home there. There’s a little piece of me in that forty-something woman who bumps into a long-ago lover in the Senoritas.

Makes me feel twenty-something again when I read it. And for just a few minutes, that’s a fine thing. Might make a fine gift for the woman of a certain age you know. That’s all I’m saying.

And that I really love “The Funny Thing in the Bathroom at Casa Del Rio.” I’ll keep smiling… until the next special story grabs my heart.

Tooting My Horn Tuesday on Diamonds and Toads and Witches (Eeeek!)

There’s nothing like a good witch story to get you in the mood for Halloween, is there?

Um, this isn’t exactly a good witch story. It’s more about a bad witch. But I had jolly good fun writing this tale. And Kate Wolford, editor over at Enchanted Conversation, asked if she could use it at the Diamonds and Toads blog to promote the Hansel and Gretel issue, soon to be released at Enchanted Conversation.

Naturally, I said, “Yes, dearie.” And if I’m being perfectly honest, I kind of cackled. Hope you’ll cackle, too, when you read “Not Exactly Innocent,” by yours truly.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (That’s me, cackling.)