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1. Comic Fiction Competition: The Robert Reeves Prize in Comic Fiction

The Robert Reeves $1,000 Prize in Comic Fiction, judged by distinguished author and editor, Daniel Menaker

Submit your short comedic fiction (no more than 5,000 words) to The Southampton Review’s first annual Robert Reeves Comic Fiction Contest! We won’t even try to tell you what we’re looking for. The comic impulse is so widely and variously expressed in fiction that it resists definition. But if your comic muse has led you to a story that you consider a match, throw caution to the wind and send it to us.

Entry fee is $15 per submission. Winners will be notified on or before January 15, 2015, and will be honored at the Manhattan launch of TSR: The Southampton Review’s Spring 2015 issue.

Submission Period: September 1st through October 31st. Submit here.

1st Place: $1000 and publication in the Spring 2015 issue of TSR: The Southampton Review. Finalist stories will be considered for publication in TSR Online.

Notably irreverent contest judge Daniel Menaker has been the fiction editor at The New Yorker, and Executive Editor in Chief of Random House. He is the author, most recently, of the memoir My Mistake.

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3. The World Serious

The Giants won the Series;
I didn’t really care.
The team I root for (Yankees)
This year didn’t make it there.

But always this reminds me
When my son was very young,
He referred to this finale
With a kid’s slip of the tongue.

He called it “The World Serious,”
Not meaning to be slick;
With all the hype surrounding it,
We’ve let that label stick.

And so we watched the Royals lose
Despite a rousing fight.
They sure looked serious to me,
The proof my son was right!

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4. Call for Submissions: Cooper Street

Cooper Street, an online publication sponsored by the Rutgers University Camden MFA program’s student organization, is still looking for more fiction and poetry for our second issue, slated for a January release. Priority deadline for full consideration for the issue is Nov. 15.  

All interested writers are welcome. Please send work as word documents (.doc or .docx) via email to:

ru.cooperstreetATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

using the following format for the Subject: “Last name – Genre.” We’re interested in stories and poems about cities, particularly those set in the Northeast. But we’ll consider all subjects if the work is interesting and strong. If you have creative non-fiction, we ask that you please save it for an upcoming issue.

Additional guidelines

Fiction: Send either one story of no more than 5,000 words (although stories of 3,000 words or less are especially welcome) or send up to three flash fiction pieces of no more than 600 words each.

Poetry: Send three to five poems as a single attachment, one poem per page.

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5. November Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

Lots happening with children's/YA lit in Connecticut this month, particularly because of the Connecticut Children's Book Fair. Plus Jeff Kinney is going to be here for a weekend. And there's a Fancy Nancy author appearance. Keep reading.

Sat., Nov. 8, Jeff Kinney, R. J. Julia Bookseller event at the Madison Congregational Church, Madison  Ticketed event. Times between 5:30 and 7:00 PM will be assigned to ticket holders.

Sat., Nov. 8, Norah Raleigh Baskin, Anika Denise, Christopher Denise, Anna Dewdney, Chris Grabenstein, Natalie Lloyd, Jean Marzollo, Barbara McClintock, Florence Minor, Wendell Minor, Pat Schories, Kevin Sherry, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Connecticut Children's Book Fair, Storrs Check link for schedule

Sun., Nov. 9, Patrick Henry Bass, Jerry Craft, Jane Dyer, Jeff Kinney, Caragh O'Brien, Dan Poblocki, Judy Schachner, Lauren Tarshis, Len Vlahos, Connecticut Children's Book Fair, Storrs Check link for schedule

Fri., Nov. 14, Leslie Bulion, "Talk of the Towns," Indian Springs Golf Course, Middlefield Doors open at 6:30, Event runs from 7:00 to 9:00 PM with four speakers 

Fri., Nov. 14, Chris Van Allsburg, R. J. Julia Bookseller, Madison 5:30 PM Pre-register

Sat., Nov. 15, Patricia Dunn, Elm Street Books, New Canaan  Noon to 12:30 PM

Tues., Nov. 18, Victoria Kann, Barnes and Noble, Westport 6:00 PM

Wed., Nov. 19, Jane O'Connor, Pequot Library, Southport 4:30 to 6:00 PM

Sat., Nov. 29, Jan Brett, R.J. Julia event at IKEA, New Haven 10 AM Event free, purchase of The Animals' Santa from R.J. Julia or at the event required for admission to the book-signing line.

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6. The first official book from international pop-punk sensation 5 Seconds of Summer

It’s here! The first official book from international pop-punk sensation 5 Seconds of Summer, Hey, Let’s Make a Band!, chronicling the group’s amazing journey to super-stardom. These four Australian boys — Luke, Michael, Calum and Ashton — are a global sensation. From posting videos of themselves performing cover versions of hit songs to YouTube, they […]

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7. Jerry Hall


Also posted on my Medium page.

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8. 10 truly haunting thoughts


Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

In the spirit of Halloween, I bring you ten truly frightening writing-related thoughts . . . (brace yourself)

  1. What if your last great idea really was your last great idea?
  2. What if you were forced to write a trilogy on a manual typewriter—by the light of a jack o’ lantern?
  3. What if Spellcheck had to be obeyed?
  4. What if the publishing industry adopts a Hunger Games style system for awarding contracts?
  5. What if there is, dare I say it, a comma shortage?
  6. What if the silent g and the silent p refuse to remain so?
  7. What if the act of writing causes cellulite?
  8. What if all books were based on 70s TV shows?
  9. What if editors demand all novels include calculus?
  10. What if your big-mouthed muse starts her own blog?

Bonus scary thought–What if Donald Trump writes a bestselling picture book and his hairstyle starts trending? (How hairifying!)

Happy Halloween from Frog on a Dime!

Once we are aware of our fears, we are almost always capable of being more courageous than we think. Someone once told me that fear and courage are like lightning and thunder; they both start out at the same time, but the fear travels faster and arrives sooner. If we just wait a moment, the requisite courage will be along shortly.  ~ Lawrence Block


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9. looking at second-person point-of-view

There are not many stories written in second-person point of view, at least not many that are well-known.  In books on writing, a handful of examples are given that are often repeated among the discussions, but from time to time a new use of the mode will be undertaken by a fresh, contemporary fiction writer.

A very good example of second-person writing (and an excellent work of fiction) is given in a recent short story, "The Rhett Butlers," by Katherine Heiny (The Atlantic, Oct. 2014).  Second-person writing is sometimes described as simply substituting 'you' for ' I ' in what would otherwise be first-person writing.  That's largely true, but just that exchange can have a major effect on how the reader responds to a story.  Moreover, there are many other nuances that also can be called into play with the second-person technique.  Let's just shorten the terminology to POV-2, and for first-person writing, POV-1, etc., for our following discussion.

Heiny's story is about a seventeen-year old girl student who becomes involved with her 40-yr. old history teacher.  It's a story that would probably most often be attempted in POV-1, but how reliable might the girl character be in revealing her motivations and emotional state when she herself might be expected to prevaricate about such things.  By using POV-2 we might be able to challenge her views, and allow her some sidestepping or irony in revealing her motivations. The POV-2 can also be useful in having the second-person narrator reveal some backstory or exposition that might seem unnatural or forced if left to the girl to furnish to the reader.  It will be useful to examine a few excerpts from the story to show the style and nuances that Heiny employs.  Here is one of the early paragraphs that will help set up the story as well as show the POV-2 style she so deftly uses:

YOU AND MR. EAGLETON are becoming regulars at the Starlite Motel.  The first time you stayed in the car while Mr. Eagleton checked in, but now you go in with him to see what name he uses when he signs the register.  He always chooses characters from your favorite novels: Mr. and Mrs. Gatsby, Mr. and Mrs. Caulfield, Mr. and Mrs. Finch, Mr. and Mrs. Twist.  This idea seems very romantic to you, even though you would never change your name, and certainly not to Eagleton.
The woman behind the counter seems to like Mr. and Mrs. Butler best.  "Ah, the Rhett Butlers," she says every time.  "Welcome back."
She is a large, motherly woman, who looks a lot like Mrs. Harrison, the womanwho drives the Children's Bookmobile.  She always has the TV on, and always on a channel showing Wheel of Fortune.  She's unbelievably good--you once saw her guess "Apocalypse Now" just from the letter C.
 This woman makes you feel a lot better.  Nothing bad can happen to you here. 

Notice how the narrator can fill in the reader on the prior frequency of visits, and show an equanimity of the girl, as well as her naivete, and other background things that would have been a lot more awkward in first-person exposition.  

Here is a slightly later paragraph that also illustrates the nuanced values of POV-2:

MARCY TELLS HER PARENTS that she's sleeping at your home.  This way she can stay out past her curfew or even all night.  She's going over to Jeff Lipencott's house; his parents are out of town.
 You agree.  Of course you do--think of all the times Marcy has covered for you.  You sit in the TV room, wearing sweats and your glasses and eating cold Pop-Tarts.  You wish only the very best for Marcy, but you feel forlorn picturing her at Jeff Lippencott's, maybe lying in his parent's bed, leading a real life.
Marcy knocks on the window a little after 11.  You open it and she steps over the window ledge, shaking little diamonds of cold rain from her hair, and says, "Oh my God, he's such an asshole!  He spent the whole time doing hand stands with his friends, and I didn't know anyone and wound up helping his little sister weave pot holders."
 This story should make you feel lots better.  It should make you happy to be you again.  But it doesn't.

The choice of POV-2 for this story seemed so right.  Check out the full story in The Atlantic.  You owe it to your career.  Another interesting story in POV-2, a novel actually, Chris Lynch's, "Freewill," a Printz Honor Award book.  Lynch has a long list of good YA titles, and is such a fine writer that it was inevitable he'd take up the challenge to write an intriguing POV-2 classic.  Read this one, too.

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10. Call for Submissions to Anthology: My Brush with Death

Deadline--January 31, 2015
Rain Drop Press, is reading for its first anthology, Life is a Journey. . . not a destination: Topic: My Brush with Death. Rain Drop Press  strives to share stories of those who survived a harrowing experience and are willing to leave their story as a legacy of their emotional journey.
My Brush with Death stories are inspirational, true stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary experiences; stories that will open the heart and rekindle the spirit. They are personal and filled with emotion and drama. For some who have had a personal brush with death, reading this anthology will be a moment of reflection and realization of their own mortality. For others, it will be a realization of how fragile life can be.
Read the complete guidelines here.
No Entry Fee

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11. 31 Days of Halloween: EC Comics on sale at Comixology

B1OVCwMCcAADNtQ 31 Days of Halloween: EC Comics on sale at Comixology

You can’t spell “horror comics” without EC—these finely drawn masterpieces of the macabre set a standard for illustrated chills that were so unsettling, they nearly got the whole comics industry shut down.

Fantagraphics has been reprinting the EC comics in handsome books devoted to various artists, including the late great Al Feldstein, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Graham Ingels and John Severin. And they are on sale from Comixology until 11 pm tomorrow night.  Each book is only $10.99, and pound for pound this could be the best back for your horror buck possible.

You may have seen the stories excerpted here there and everywhere, but if you’ve never experienced these tales in quantity, this is a fine jumping on point. And shhhhhh, Harvey Kurtzman’s great war comics are also on sale.


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12. Call for Submissions: Duende

Duende welcomes submissions of prose, poetry, hybrid writing, and visual art. We are especially interested in collaborations between two or more writers, or between writers and visual artists. We accept submissions from writers working in English, or translating into English, from anywhere in the world.

Duende tastes good on the tongue and caresses the ear. Duende seeks authenticity & soulfulness, earthiness & expressiveness, a chill up the spine. It encompasses darkness and intensity; elicits sorrow and joy; wrests a response from the body.

If your poetry is rough-cut diamonds, slightly off-kilter; if your fiction will make us feel more human and less alone; if you enjoy exploration of new forms at the edges of the literary universe; if you can bring us elegant translations of literature from far corners of the globe; if your nonfiction is wild and honest; if your visual art is raw and earnest…show us. We want to see it.

Duende aspires to represent the true beauty and diversity of the U.S. literary ecosystem. A majority of the work we publish will be from writers and artists who are queer, of color, differently abled, immigrant, working class, youth, elder, and / or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals. Please send us your work!

Submissions are open through November 15th.  

Visit our website for detailed guidelines.

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13. ‘Boo!’ by Adam Fisher

A ghost possesses a pumpkin for a little Halloween fun.

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14. Prepare Yourself for these Film Adaptations

The summer is almost upon us, which means the season for blockbuster movies is here. With the successful adaptation of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn I thought I would talk about some other movies that come from books. Like me, I am sure a lot of people out there would prefer to read the book […]

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15. Poetry Friday -- The Halloween Tree

 "Always the same but different, eh? every age, every time. Day was always over. Night was always coming. And weren't you always afraid, Apeman there? or you, Mummy, that the sun will never rise again?"

"Yesss," more of them whispered.

And they looked up through the levels of the great house and saw every age, every story and all the men in history staring round about as the sun rose and set. Apemen trembled. Egyptians cried laments. Greeks and Romans paraded their dead. Summer fell dead. Winter put it in the grave. A billion voices wept...Then, with cries of delight, ten thousand times a million men welcomed back bright summer suns which rose to burn each window with fire!

"Do you see lads? Think! People vanished forever. They died, oh Lord, they died! but came back in dreams. Those dreams were called Ghosts, and frightened men in every age..."

"Night and day. Summer and winter, boys. Seedtime and harvest. Life and death. That's what Halloween is, all rolled up in one. Noon and midnight. Being born, boys. Rolling over, playing dead like dogs, lads. And getting up again, barking, racing through thousands of years of death each day and each night Halloween, boys, every night, every single night dark and fearful until at last you made it and hid in cities and towns and had some rest and could get your breath.

"And you began to live longer and have more time, and space out the deaths and put away fear, and at last have only special days in each year when you thought of night and dawn and spring and autumn and being born and being dead.

"And it all adds up. Four thousand years ago, one hundred years ago, this year, one place or another, but the celebrations all the same -- "

"The Feast of Samhain --"
"The Time of the Dead Ones -- "
"All Souls'. All Saints'."
"The Day of the Dead."
"El Dia De Muerte."
"All Hallows'."

The boys sent their frail voices up, up through the levels of time, from al the countries, and all the ages, naming the holidays which were the same.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Trick or Treat!

This prose poem is from near the end of THE HALLOWEEN TREE by Ray Bradbury. The whole book is one long love song to Halloween -- a fantastic historical romp through times and ages, led by Mr. Moundshroud himself, and exploring what this time of death has meant and still means today.

Our beggars are out tonight, disguised in all manner of classic and modern costumes, braving the chill and the early dark, crunching through the dead leaves on the sidewalk, shouting at strangers, and receiving candy in their bags and baskets and buckets as the tradition of the celebration of death lives on.

Linda has the Poetry Friday roundup at TeacherDance.

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16. Assistant Professor: Performance Arts

Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University seek applications for an assistant professor, tenure-track position in Performance Arts beginning September 2015. We seek candidates doing interdisciplinary work or who can demonstrate the ability to teach performance within an interdisciplinary framework.

We invite candidates who practice and teach in the performative arts, linking them to a commitment to social justice through creative activism. The successful candidate will have extensive knowledge of history of the arts and theory as it relates to the applicant’s particular field. Applicant’s experience should include using art within community situations combined with an astute sensitivity to the numerous issues surrounding working with diverse communities.

Successful applicants will possess a keen understanding of how the arts are relevant to society beyond being a means of self-expression, and will have a record of collaborative community engagement, with an interest in involving students through youth outreach or creative activism. A demonstrated history of exhibition or performance is required. We encourage applications from candidates with experience in areas such as: educational theatre, teatro, dance, street theatre or video performance.

Teaching responsibilities will include intro- and upper-level undergraduate courses in the foundations and applications of performance. The faculty member in Performance Arts will teach in Fairhaven College’s core curriculum, integrating aspects of performance into thematic core courses. Other courses in art activism, scriptwriting and the technical aspects of performance will complete the teaching load. The candidate will mentor varied independent student projects.

Other duties include advising students who are encouraged to take an unusual degree of responsibility for the structure and content of their own education. Administrative service to Fairhaven College and the University is also an important component of the position. The professor of Performance Arts must continue creative activity or scholarship to achieve tenure at Western Washington University.

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17. Things are going to be so 'Bellatastic' at It's A Ruff Life!

Things are going to go crazy at Ruff Life.  There are so many fantastic things happening. It means more work for me. But I don't mind doing anything to make me more famous.

I mean a girl has to do anything she can to get what she wants. And I'm a great achiever in getting what I want.

I want fame, fashion, limelight and a peaceful life without a nosy, smelly brother that's always interfering.  So far I've only managed the first 3.goals, I'm still working on the 4th, but Max doesn't get any of the subtle hits I leave for him. He's just one stubborn mongrel.

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18. HAT WEEK: Sarah McIntyre, Celebrity Hat Stand

When I first started planning hat week, I knew I wanted to invite the wonderful Sarah McIntyre, illustrator and writer of picture books and comics extraordinaire to take part. The creator of Vern and Lettuce, Princess Spaghetti and half of the all singing all dancing Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space team Sarah has serious form when it comes to hats. Her hats are book events are legendary. She has even been called a “celebrity hat stand”…

Thus it is with huge delight and a great sense of honour that I’ve a guest post today from Sarah McIntyre, all about her love of hats. It is time to doff mine and let Sarah take the floor…

“I daydream a lot. I love my job, but sometimes I wonder, what would I do if I wasn’t illustrating children’s books?


I’ve contemplated taking various jobs, including:

  • a window dresser (I watched Mannequin too many times when I was a kid)
  • a medical illustrator (my biology teacher said I made good dissection drawings)
  • an archaeologist (I thought Indiana Jones was awesome)
  • a journalist (I tried it but found it too high-pressure)
  • a ship’s rigger (I interviewed for this job once but didn’t get it)
  • a shoemaker (I know exactly what kind of shoes I want and I can never find them)
  • a milliner
  • Okay, this last one. I’m not actually a hat maker, but funnily enough, my job has let me make little forays into this world of wearable sculpture. I don’t get very excited about the world of fashion; it’s mostly intended for skinny people and I’ve watched The Devil Wears Prada. I don’t understand all that stuff about stilettos and expensive handbags.

    I used to think I needed to wear slimming black and try to all but make myself disappear because I wasn’t a standard size, but south-east London has changed me. A large Afro-Caribbean population live in my neighbourhood and, let me tell you, a lot of those women don’t let a bit of WEIGHT stop them from looking absolutely fabulous. I adore their block-printed fabric designs. Here are some of my African-print dresses, from Sika Designs in Greenwich, and Esther Marfo in New Cross.


    And the outfits on these Nigerian and Ghanaian ladies don’t stop with curve-enhancing dresses in bold patterns, their bright colours rise two or three feet up into the air with incredible head wraps. On a Sunday morning when people are going to church, the bus stop can look like a sea of giant fancy sweet wrappers. It’s glorious!

    Making books has given me lots of reasons to dress up, and if I’m doing a stage event, I can go as over-the-top as I want; my only limits are whether I can fit the outfit onto the train or into the airplane. Here’s a six-foot-tall wig made out of purple clingfilm:


    In fact, I almost didn’t fit into my Oliver and the Seawigs book launch. I hadn’t counted having to pass through a glass door before ascending to the deck of the Golden Hinde ship. Here’s a photo of my editor helping me through. (Thank goodness for my dignity, I didn’t have to crawl.)


    The other thing that has changed for me is that I used to think comfort was the most important thing in dressing. But there’s a certain amount of discomfort that’s worth it, because it’s so fun seeing people’s jaws drop in surprise. This alien cake hat, for the Cakes in Space launch, for instance. It was quite heavy and clopped me hard on the forehead whenever I jumped in the air (because one does jump in the air, in stage events). But when I’d squeeze the hidden valve and its mouth would open, I’d have a wonderful time watching people gape. Some kids would obsess over it, trying to figure out how it worked, or if it really was alive.


    My sculptor friend Eddie Smith helped me with both the giant Seawig and the Cake. He’s a Royal Academy sculptor and has done lots of Proper Art Stuff, but he’s loved doing something a bit different.

    For Jampires, I tried to find a Bakewell Tart fascinator on the Internet, and there were lots, but they were all too SMALL. So I made this one out of a sprinkler attachment from the pound shop, a children’s ball (also from the pound shop), a foam pizza base, the plastic lid from a Christmas pudding, some felt, lace, fabric and glitter.


    My Summer Reading Challenge Medusa hat was also a pound shop marvel: a green pencil case, craft pipe cleaners, a yoghurt pot and a bit of painted foam. (I’m sure the Duchess of Cornwall wears very similar things herself.)


    If you go on to my Hats Pinterest page, you can see lots more things I’ve worn! Some of them I’ve made, and some of them I’ve customised, from vintage hats I’ve found in second-hand shops. It doesn’t take much to make a quiet hat into a startling headpiece; just stick on some large feathers or a big bow, or a ship, or a giant octopus. Some day I may make a book exclusively about hats, but for now, go check out David Roberts‘ fab new picture book with Andrea Beaty, Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau, inspired by his favourite hat makers.

    I do daydream about taking a year off to go study under someone such as Philip Treacy and make all sorts of wild headgear. But for now, I’ll be content with doing it as a job sideline… so much fun to be had!”


    So now you can see why I wanted Sarah to be part of my Hat Week extravaganza, can’t you! Do you have a favourite among Sarah’s hats?


    Sarah McIntyre’s most recent books include Cakes in Space with Philip Reeve and Jampires with David O’Connell. Visit the book websites for fun activities!


    Website & blog: jabberworks.co.uk
    Twitter: @jabberworks
    Hats Pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/mcintyre1000/my-hats/

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    19. Announcing the Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

    I’m thrilled to announce that  my good friend and colleague, author and 12X12 Picture Book Challenge Founder Julie Hedlund, and I have officially launched our new course, The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

    Julie and I have poured everything we know about writing query letters and the process of submitting picture books into this course. We are proud to say it is a one-stop-shopping source for EVERYTHING a picture book author needs to know about submitting picture books successfully to agents and publishers.

    In fact, we guarantee that every possible question about the picture book submissions process is answered in this course. How can we make that promise? Because if anyone purchases the course and finds, after going through all the material, that a question they have is NOT answered, we’ll both answer the question AND add it to the official FAQs.

    And for this weekend only, we are offering an early-bird special of $50 off the retail price of the course, bringing it down from $197 to $147. (That’s actually $3 less than my professional Query Critique service… and in true “teach-a-man-to-fish” fashion, empowers picture book authors to polish their own queries with confidence forever more.) In addition, those who purchase the course before the early-bird deadline expires will receive a BONUS gift – our comprehensive list of publishers that accept un-agented picture book submissions.

    This is NOT a mere ebook, but a complete soup-to-nuts resource for crafting flawless submissions to land an agent or a book contract. Those interested can take a short video tour of everything that’s in the course HERE.

    (But remember – the early-bird offer expires at midnight on Monday, November 3.)

    To your submissions success!

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    20. Call for Poetry Submissions: Really System

    Really System, the journal of poetry and extensible poetics, will publish its fifth issue in February 2015. We are looking for vibrant poems inflected by our shared technocultural moment and the ways it envelops us, fascinates us, dances with us, ignores us, and fails us. Submissions for issue five are open until January 1, 2015.  

    More information on our website.

    Submission Guidelines.

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    21. ‘SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’: New Trailer and Poster

    A new trailer and poster was released today for "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water."

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    22. Monster Madness Blog Hop

    Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls! Welcome to the Monster Madness Blog Hop hosted by Vicki Leigh and me. Since Vicki and I both released monster books this year (The Monster Within and Catch Me When I Fall), we thought it would be fun to have a blog hop dedicated to the monsters we love so much. So have some candy corn and enjoy this post as Vicki and I interview each other.

    Okay, Vicki, time to fess up. What monster scares you the most?

    I’m pretty hard to scare, to be honest. But there is one monster who gives me the creeps: Freddy Krueger. In a way, he was kind of the inspiration behind the Nightmares in my series, because the thought of someone being able to kill you in your dreams terrifies me. I’ve never actually seen the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but, man, that dude creeps me out.

    I love Freddy! My sister loved the Nightmare on Elm Street movies so I saw them much younger than I should have. ;)

    How about you, Kelly? You have to be afraid of someone or something, too!

    Growing up, I was terrified of the monster under the bed. I even wrote a short story about it called “The Monster of All Monsters.” Anyway, if I had to get up in the middle of the night for water or to use the bathroom, I’d stand on my bed and try to jump to the doorway. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear. Now the thing that freaks me out is ghosts. I tried to write a book about a haunting once, and the research totally scared me away from the idea.

    Oh, man. I love ghosts. Like, I legitimately want to spend the night in a true haunted house. I think it’d be awesome. (Yet, a fictional guy creeps me out. I’m weird; I know. J)

    All right, Vicki, you have to create a NEW monster. What does it look like, and what kind of terrifying things can it do?

    Hmm…I think a monster who takes the shape of whatever form you find most attractive would be pretty terrifying—especially when he/she sucks out your soul during a smexy scene and leaves you a comatose patient for the rest of your life. That may have been done before. I don’t know. But I’ve heard freaky stories about what it feels like to be in a coma. I never want that experience. Or being found comatose on my bed in my birthday suit.

    All right. So, my monster sucked. You create one, Kelly. I’m positive you can do better!

    I’m feeling the pressure now. I’m sort of stealing from Harry Potter here, but I think a monster that can transform into whatever it is a person fears the most would be just awful because no one would be safe from it. No wait! Better yet, the monster becomes ALL of your fears rolled into one! So if you are afraid of snakes, ghosts, and realistic looking dolls with eyelids that open and close (not that I’m being that specific because those are my top three fears or anything), the monster would turn into a doll possessed by a ghost who can charm poisonous snakes to attack on command. *shivers*

    Back to you, Vicki. We’ve all been inside haunted houses or mazes at Halloween time, right? What monster got the best of you inside one of those?

    I actually have a good story for this, because I really am super hard to scare. I’ve been in haunted houses and mazes, and usually when things jump out at me, I giggle. So, last year, I went to a haunted cornfield with a few friends. We walked through a LOT of really tall corn, and a trailer that was pitch black. None of the actors really got me, even when I had to feel the walls because it was so dark I couldn’t see. And then we exited the cornfield, and I was like, “well, that was fun,” thinking it was over.

    Then, out of nowhere, came a dude with a chainsaw. Good lord; I jumped out of my skin! I screamed and then tipped my head back and guffawed. That dude got me. It was the chainsaw noise that did it, and his perfect position: I thought the maze was over.

    How about you, Kelly? Do you have a good haunted house story?

    Ooh, sneaky little chainsaw-wielding devil! ;) 

    Okay, well I have to say I startle easily, not scare easily. I went through a haunted dormin college. I give the people who ran it credit because it was pretty good. There was a funeral in one room, and we all thought the dead body was going to get up. It was really a distraction for something that snuck up on us. Still, I wasn’t scared. Nor was I scared when they turned out all the lights and we had to find out way out in complete darkness. Then at the end, there was a guy in a gorilla suit. That made me laugh, but it also distracted me from the hands reaching out from under the stairs I was climbing. I admit I jumped when I looked down and saw what I’m assuming was a zombie gripping my leg.

    Time to change gears. What monster is your all-time favorite, Vicki?

    Am I okay to say Cookie Monster? J For real, though, my favorite is probably Dracula.

    How about you? You have to have a favorite!

    I think I’m going to have to go with a zombie. Something about a reanimated corpse is both disgusting and terrifying, considering it wants to eat your brains. Got to love that! ;)

    Now it's your turn! Choose 3 questions below to answer either in the comments or on your own blog.

    1. What monster terrifies you the most?
    2. Do you have a good haunted house story?
    3. What's your favorite monster?
    4. Is there a monster book that terrified you as a child?
    5. Have any book recommendations for stories that include monsters?
    6. Finally, create your own monster! What does it look like, and what scary things can it do?
    Then tag FIVE of your friends to share in the Monster Madness!
    And be sure to enter our giveaway to win books and SWAG from Vicki and me.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    23. Feeling Chatty

    Yesterday was one of those days when I logged off my computer at work and didn’t want to look at a computer screen again until I absolutely had to. I got to spend most of my day outside the library today which is nice to do now and then. I attended a local conference put on by the consortium my library belongs to. The topic was library marketing. It was pretty interesting. We had a chance to do some brainstorming there too and the other person who attended from my library and I came up with what we think are some good ideas to connect with a particular group of students. The trick now is finding the time to flesh it out and plan it and then put it into practice. We have such a small staff at my library that much of the time it feels like we are barely managing to keep our heads above water with all the things we have to do.

    Even though it was a good day, these conference things always leave me worn out. And since I am all caught up writing about books I have finished reading and I’ve not got any particularly fascinating book news to share, I am still feeling a little chatty so you’ve been warned.

    Oh! I do have something fun to share. Have you heard about the Hemingwrite? An MIT graduate and a Michigan software developer teamed up and designed a typewriter for the digital age. It looks a lot like the typewriter I went off to college with, typewrite body with a screen that shows your text before you hit return and it then typed your line. This one, however, is even better. It has an e-ink display, wifi and cloud storage. The display is six inches and everything you type is backed up to Evernote. It is also compatible with GoogleDocs and Dropbox. It’s portable too with a battery life of six weeks or more. The designers wanted to create a writing tool designed just for writing so there would be no distractions from the internet or email or Facebook.

    I don’t really have any problems with distractions when I am writing on my computer but the Hemingwrite is so neat I kinda want one. I will resist, however, because what I really want is an actual manual typewriter. I have absolutely no need for one but I admit to suffering from a bit of typewriter nostalgia. Between junior high and high school computers happened. When I was in 8th grade I took a typing class and by the end of the semester could type a whopping 60 words a minute on the industrial looking manual typewriters we had. In tenth grade I took a computer class; that’s how fast things changed (though it was years before I actually had my own computer). But aside from the nostalgia, there is a small part of my brain that says, hey, a manual typewriter will really come in handy when the world falls apart and there is no reliable electricity or internet. What I think I might need to type when the world falls apart I have no idea. Perhaps since I will be one of the few people with a manual portable typewriter I could use it to make a living typing letters and forms for people. Or maybe since I have so many fountain pens and bottles of ink I should forget about getting a typewriter and work on improving my penmanship then I can hire myself out as a scribe.

    It will soon be Halloween so it’s okay to consider horrible end-of-the-world scenarios. It also means the RIP Challenge is almost over. I didn’t do as well with it as I had hoped. I only managed She and Famous Modern Ghost Stories. I am still reading House of Leaves but I’m only about 2/3 of the way through. It is a chunky book and the pages are much larger than usual. There are some sections where there are only a few words on the page and for about five pages I can feel like I am really zooming along. But then I come up to page after page of densely written text that includes the main story, footnotes to the main story, and another story also told in footnotes. It is a completely crazy book and I found early that I could not stop reading in the middle of a chapter. So I have more or less been confined to reading the book at home when I have a chunk of time to give it which has made reading it go slowly.

    But that’s ok. I am glad to finally be reading this book and in a couple weeks I will be done. Bookman has to work Halloween night and we do not hand out candy. We did for years but never got more than 5-20 kids at our door which doesn’t make all the trouble worthwhile. Not that I didn’t enjoy the trouble, I love carving pumpkins, but the effort was not rewarded. My Halloween plan is to curl up under a blanket with the cats, a cup of hot chocolate by my side, and a book in my hands. I’ll start off with House of Leaves but if it starts to creep me out at all I will have something else at hand to read instead like Proust or The Magicians, or maybe I’ll start reading A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. As usual, there are too many choices. I’ll manage though, I generally always do.

    You are probably tired of my rambling by now and if you have made it this far I’m not sure whether I should congratulate you or feel sorry for you. Either way, I hope you have a good book to turn to to help you wash this chat-fest from you mind. And also, have a happy Halloween!

    Filed under: Books, Challenges, Technology

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    24. Call for Submissions: Tammy

    Tammy is reading for its fifth print issue for only four more weeks. Aimed at the esteemed fringes and unguarded egresses of American letters, Tammy seeks writing in all genres and forms of visual art that lend themselves to the printed page.

    Submit September 1 - December 1 for the spring 2015 issue and March 1 - May 1 for the fall issue

    Online submissions manager 

    Submissions in multiple genres and simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If your submission(s) is accepted elsewhere, please let us know via Submittable. 

    For queries outside of these guidelines, please email:

    thetjournalATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

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    25. A Halloween comic for fellow A WRINKLE IN TIME fans

    From the Will Write For Chocolate archives...

    0 Comments on A Halloween comic for fellow A WRINKLE IN TIME fans as of 10/30/2014 7:15:00 PM
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