Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The new year brings new beginnings. This is a good time for writers to reflect on habits and activities that worked well in the past and on changes that can promote writing careers. As Dolly Parton said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

Dolly’s words ring true with writing, also. If we want to grab a publishing contract we have to put up with some rain: schedule time to write, accept rejection, revise manuscripts, and other tasks that come with the deal.

Life interrupts. The interruptions are often and major. It’s easy for me to find reasons not to write or revise. The floors need to be swept. Laundry is piled up. I’m hungry. I don’t know where to go in the story. How can I make the character more interesting? I’m hungry. The dog wants out. The dog wants in. I’m hungry. [I think I see a pattern here.]

Our minds fill with guilt for not doing this or that. Or is that guilt a way to avoid sitting in a chair and writing. I can invent excuses for not writing as easily as grabbing another bite of that chocolate bar that keeps me jumping out of the chair. Writing is not easy and it will never be easy. Let’s face it: writing is hard work and I love nothing more than avoiding hard work. BUT, and there always seems to be a “but,” we have to keep the butt in the chair if we expect to get a contract. So here’s to butts in chairs and a prosperous new year of writing.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

GENEii Family History Writing Contest. Cash prizes for family history or local history articles, published or unpublished. Note that "subjects need not relate to California or the United States."

Deadline: December 31, 2012

Submission guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Relate Magazine. Pay: Varies The mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Topics include design, entertainment, the future in terms of college and jobs, beauty, faith, life, quizzes. Average article is between 650 and 1,600 words in length although longer work will be considered. Sidebar information is also encouraged, as well as graphics, including illustrations, and photographs. Feature Article (around 1,800 words): $350-$700 General Article (around 800 words): $150-$200.

Submission guidelines at

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Where Words Take Us/Calls for Submissions

A writer never knows where the words will take him/her. In 1939, Robert L. May, working in the marketing department for Montgomery Ward, created the words for a coloring book and titled it RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Before deciding to use the name “Rudolph,” May considered "Rollo" and "Reginald." Would the story have been as popular with either of the other names? Maybe, maybe not. Later, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, adapted the rhyming text as a song, and Golden Books released it as a picture book. The story didn’t stop there. It has been developed into an animated TV special and a full-feature film.

Did the writer imagine that his character would become one of the most widely known in the world? Probably not. There’s no way to predict what will become an enduring classic. We write what we enjoy and hope others like it, too.

So here’s to words taking you to where you want to go and to places you never imagined. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow writers.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

John Ciardi Prize for Poetry is offered annually for the best unpublished collection of poetry. Prize is $1,000 and publication by BkMk Press. Deadline: January 15 postmark. (Also offered with same deadline: G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction.)

Deadline: January 15 postmark.

Submission guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Speak Up Press[ages 13-19]

· All work must be your original creation (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry)

· Your pieces should be 2500 words or less

· Submission Guidelines at

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nonverbal Communication, Part 1/Calls for Submissions

Communication between characters is critical to move the story forward and to tell the story. Dialog is a typical form of communication, but the nonverbal type can be effectively incorporated into a story with a few tricks of the trade.

Facial expressions can show fear, glee, anger, sadness, joy, and disappointment. A smile rounds a person’s eyes and raises their cheeks. A frown can wrinkle a nose and forehead. Fear sometimes opens a child’s mouth. So does surprise.

The way the character walks, stands, and sits can also rely information to the reader. Angry people walk with a heavy gait and may stomp a foot…or two. Sadness may be depicted with a shuffle of feet or stooped shoulders. A character that skips along is probably happy and one that walks with a straight back and held high shows confidence.

The character’s eye contact tells a lot. Direct eye contact implies truthfulness and self-assurance. A character that looks away may be lying or perceived to lack confidence.

Nonverbal communication adds depth to a character. Give it a try.

Next week, I’ll continue this article.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Iowa Award in Poetry, Fiction, & Essay is offered for the best short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Winners receive $1,500, plus publication in the Iowa Review.

Deadline: January 31, 2013

Submission Guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Youth Imagination. Short Story Size limit: 1000 to 4000 words (preferred limit is 3000 words. We will consider longer stories, but they must be extraordinary)

Serial Size limit: 20,000 to 40,000 words (we only accept one or two serials per year)

Youth Imagination encourages and fosters creative writing, and especially writing by teens and preteens, by including guided writing exercises, discussion and workshops on our website. Then, after the stories are developed, written, workshopped and polished, there's always the questions, what's next? We have the "what's next,” too- a magazine that focuses on the creative writing for and by teens.

We are open for submissions, and are particularly interested in creative fiction stories by teens, but will also accept YA stories by adult authors. Make the stories awesome, inspiring and engaging. Our goal is to publish the best writing for and by teens. We accept a wide variety of stories: happy ending, sad endings, humor, genre, literary or gritty.

We accept most genres of fiction, including modern, urban or classical fantasy, as well as sci-fi, slipstream, literary, action-adventure and suspense.

Submission Guidelines at

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Author Interview/Calls for Submissions

At the Head of the Holler by Miriam Moyer is a historical fiction book for all ages—middle grade, young adult, and adult. This story is an inspirational and descriptive portrayal of mountain life in the 1880s.

ISBN: 978-0-69201-880-4

Price: $19.80—Book

$35.00—9 Audio CD Album

Today, I’m pleased to have the author, Miriam Moyer, as a guest.

NKA: Miriam, how did you get the idea to write about this fictional family?

MM: The development of family life in the home intrigues me. (I have eight children myself). So when, it is, that Sprout, a nine-year-old boy, runs carefree, avoiding rules and work, there is sure to be repercussions with the siblings. Readers easily love Sprout and his willful ways.

NKA: What was the most difficult part of writing your first novel?

MM: Since the aim was two-fold,

1. preserving the way of life, which is our heritage, and

2. creating our county and country,

I found making the “man talk” and their quarreling to be the most difficult.

NKA: I, too, have difficulty writing dialog for male characters and for characters who are not in my age group. That's why I'm always sneaking around and listening to people talk. I usually grab my notebook and jot down an unusual phrase when I hear it. Then the phrase will pop up in my writing. Your book certainly intrigued me. I really enjoyed it. Where can this book be purchased?

MM: At this point the book is available locally at the following, but the list is ever expanding:

Yoder Bulk Food—Hindman, KY

Appalachian Artisan Center—Hindman, KY

Cozy Corner—Whitesburg, KY

Lighthouse Bookstore—Pikeville, KY

Or an order can be sent to me at

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.Do you have a winning short story of 1,500 words or fewer? Would you like a shot at national recognition for your work? Imagine the effect winning or ranking in a highly respected story competition could have on your résumé and publishing career.

· Win up to $3,000 cash-Plus, more cash and prizes awarded to the top 25 entries

· Get national exposure for your work-The winner will be featured in Writer's Digest magazine, and the top 25 entries will be published in the 2013 Writer's Digest Short Story Competition Collection

· Win a paid trip to New York City-The first-place winner will be sent to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City!

Guidelines at The 13th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition

Call for submissions for young writers:

Launch Pad publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by kids and teens ages 6 through 14. We choose stories and poems that are creative and well written. We do not publish all submissions. Read some of our stories and poems to get an idea of the works we like to publish. We also have Writing Tips to help you out.
Guidelines at

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part VII /Calls for Submissions

This article is the last of the series.

The protagonist must have an important goal, so important that if s/he fails, disaster strikes. Review your story. What happens if the main character fails? What are the consequences? Are they great enough to create a motivation so strong the character will pursue his/her goal at all costs?

The resolution must tie all loose ends or questions. Don’t leave the reader wondering what happened. Readers expect to see the main character reach his goal or attain a more favorable one. The ending should be logically drawn from the characterization and story details.

A happy ending is not necessary but a satisfying ending is. Make the reader glad s/he read your story all the way to the end.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

THE BINNACLE Annual Ultra-Short Competition. "THE BINNACLE will sponsor its Tenth International Ultra-Short Competition in the 2012-2013 academic year. We are looking for prose works of 150 words or fewer and poetry of sixteen lines or fewer and fewer than 150 words. All works should have a narrative element to them

Submissions: December 1, 2012-March 15, 2013

Guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets

Deadline: January 31, 2013

Guidelines at

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