Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel/Call for Submissions

Let’s take a look at the latest trends, according to some editors. I’m not advocating writing to trends, since by the time your story is ready to submit, the trend may have passed. However, trends can indicate types of manuscripts that editors are looking for.

Here’s a peek:
Picture books are on the rise. This category had been flat for several years.
Chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels and new adult novels are selling well and have editors requesting manuscripts.
Humorous stories in all categories are a plus, as are realistic, contemporary stories.
Series continue to be popular.
Paranormal and dystopian have saturated the market so they are in less demand.
Horror stories are seeing a growth pattern.
Strong male protagonists in Young Adult are seeing an upsurge.
Historical fiction is in an upward swing.
Nonfiction in all areas of children’s lit is growing, possibly due to the Common Core, a program used by schools in which nonfiction books are utilized.
Remember, quality fiction and nonfiction transcend all trends.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
The second annual short story contest from the Loudoun County [Virginia] Public Library is NOT limited to Loudoun County residents. No theme: Take part in our annual adult short story writing contest. For ages 19 & up. Stories can be inspired by real life, fantasies, mysteries, adventures, or even horror.” Cash prizes: $200/$100/$50 for the top three stories. Those winners and honorable mentions will receive a copy of the resulting book. No entry fee.
Deadline: August 11, 2014.
Submit your entry:
Submission Guidelines at

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel/Call for Submissions

Today, I’m continuing the series, Writing a Middle Grade Novel.
A story is told through the viewpoint of the narrator, either in first or third person. In first person, the story is told by one of the characters, as in “I said.” Third person narrative is told from the perspective of someone outside the story, as in “she said.”
First person is popular with this audience because it lets the reader know what is happening as it happens. The character’s thoughts and actions are relayed as they occur. The voice of the character can add humor, sarcasm, anger in a way that reflects the growth of the character.
Third person narrative is also popular. The advantage is that it offer more sophisticated language and observations.
The writer’s job is to get into character and express thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. Most middle grade stories are told from the perspective of a single character. This allows reader to identify with the character, understand why the character behaves the way s/he does, and to support his/her efforts. 
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
COUNTRY MAGAZINE. We pay $250 for story submissions that run a page or more. Contributors published in "Mailbox" or "Little Humor" receive a gift certificate for a one-year subscription, or subscription extension, to Country Extra. Most other contributors will receive an authentic hand-forged iron dinner triangle. In our "Just For Fun" section, photos garner a dinner triangle; jokes and short items earn payment of $25. Generally, a published one-page story runs 400-500 words in length. Country magazine celebrates the breathtaking beauty, engaging people, enduring values and spiritually rewarding lifestyle of the American
1 ripe avocado
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Honey Lime Dressing
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
Submission guidelines at

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel/Call for Submissions

Today, I’m continuing the series, Writing a Middle Grade Novel.
Begin the story with action and conflict to grab and keep the readers’ interests. When the action slows and the protagonist seems to be getting the upper hand on the situation, throw his/her world into a tailspin. If the character does not have to struggle, if success comes too easily, the reader will not make an emotional investment in the character’s journey. To build interest, raise the stakes by adding more conflict. Example: He has 24 hours to accomplish a seemingly impossible task, and if he fails something even more drastic will happen.
Readers want a story that connects in some way to their own lives—the betrayal of a best friend or fear of completing some task. Present a character that is flawed but has other qualities—courage, compassion, etc.—that inspire the readers. The character should feel and think in ways that parallel the audience.
Give the character the opportunity to fail a few times. Through failure s/he learns how to cope and succeed. The ending doesn’t have to have a “happy ever after” scene but it should leave the reading feeling that there is hope.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Hogglepot accepts fantasy and science fiction of all sub-genres, including (but not limited to) alternate history, dystopian, fairy tale, historical, gothic, light fantasy, magical realism, paranormal, science fantasy, space opera, steampunk, superhero, supernatural, sword and sorcery, time travel, urban fantasy, and weird western.
Submission Guidelines at

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Writing a Middle Grade Novel/Call for Submissions

Today, I’m continuing the series, Writing a Middle Grade Novel.
Middle grade readers enjoy action-packed stories. This does not mean it has to have a chase scene or a fist fight, but it should include movement and the idea of something happening. Allow the reader to become involved in the action by showing the scene rather than telling it.
Start with action. Place the main character in the midst of a problem from the first paragraph. This is called a hook and it draws the reader’s interest from the beginning. The first paragraph is no place to tell the reader that the character lives in Omaha or by the sea unless the setting is critical to the action scene. Description and setting are both important and can be woven in later, after the action has sprung loose and captured the reader’s attention. To hang on to their attention, keep things moving.
Every scene is not, and should not be, high-paced. Quiet scenes allow the writer to express what the protagonist is thinking and what his/her plan might be. Let the reader know what’s going on in the protagonist’s head. What scheme is he up to? What is the danger? How could it backfire? This type of writing keeps the reader interested during the non-action scenes.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Brain, Child is an award-winning literary magazine for mothers. We publish 20-plus essays per month for our print, online and blog publications. Founded in 2000, our mission is to bring the voices of women of different backgrounds and circumstances together on the page, on our website, and on our blog.
We love to read submissions. We are excited by great writing. It makes our day when we hear from an established writer or publish an author for the first time. We believe our writers are the lifeblood of our publication and strive to publicize and promote our writers through our website, Facebook (60,000+ fans), and partnerships with, The Huffington Post, and others. We respond within eight to ten weeks. We offer competitive pay rates. We welcome follow up emails if by chance you do not hear from us.
For all submissions, please email the manuscript in the body of the email to with “Submission” and the department (i.e. “Fiction” “Essay” “Feature Pitch”) as the subject heading. Please don’t send your submission as an attachment.
Submission Guidelines at