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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: fiction, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,638
26. Coming Soon (and I can't wait)

Looking through the upcoming hardcover adult fiction lists for work, here are some books that caught my eye:

Paris Red: A Novel by Maureen Gibbon. A novel exploring Olympia--the model the posed for it, the painter who painted it, and how it changed everything in their lives. Pubs April 20

Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by CW Gortner. A fictionalized biography of Coco Chanel. I've recently made my peace with fictionalized biographies (they're literary biopics!) and they're a fun way to read more about someone I wouldn't necessarily read an actual biography of. Pubs March 17

The Scapegoat: A Novel by Sophia Nikolaidou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. Based on a true story, a school student is assigned the task of finding the truth in the murder of an American journalist in Greece in 1948. The killer was found, but after serving his time, claims his innocence. Out now

Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley: Novellas and Stories by Ann Pancake. I've been getting into short stories lately and these take place in rural Appalachia--a place that is so geographically close to me, but is a whole different world. Out now.

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab. Library Journal gave it a star and this part of a sentence is what sold me "the three Londons we see (and rumors of the one we do not)..." Pubs February 24

Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: A Novel by Judd Trichter. Eliot fell in love with an android, and she's been kidnapped and sold off for spare parts. Now he has to buy up the parts, reassemble her, and then hunt down the people who did this to her. Out now.

Bones & All: A Novel by Camille DeAngelis. Kirkus said this coming-of-age story about a ghoul who keeps eating people read like a cheesy episode of Buffy. Like that was a BAD thing. Pubs March 10.

The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel by Daniel Torday. Eli idolizes his uncle Poxl--debonair fighter pilot and WWII hero, but as Eli learns more, he realizes that there is a darker side to Poxl's life and the legend he's built up for himself. Pubs March 17.

A Love Like Blood: A Novel by Marcus Sedgwick. Um, Marcus Sedgwick wrote an adult book. The only other thing you need to know is that is it's out now.

The Prince: A Novel by Vito Bruschini, translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel. The most promising of a handful of mob books on this month's lists. This one covers the true story of how mafia began in Italy, Irish and Italian gang turf wars in New York, and WWII. Pubs March 10

A Dangerous Place: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear. New! Maisie! Dobbs! Pubs March 17.

The Devil's Detective: A Novel by Simon Kurt Unsworth. A detective novel about a serial killer--but it takes place in Hell. Intriguing. Pubs March 12.

The Mouth of the Crocodile: A Mamur Zapt mystery set in pre-World War I Egypt by Michael Pearce. It's the subtitle that got me--pre-WWI Egypt. This is the 18th in a series I'm unfamiliar with, so I'll have to start at the beginning with The Mamur Zapt & the Return of the Carpet). This new one pubs on March 1.

Murder in the Queen's Wardrobe: An Elizabethan Spy Thriller by Kathy Lynn Emerson. Ladies in waiting that double as spies? Elizabethan England and the Russians are involved? Please download this into my brain ASAP. Pubs March 1.

Duet in Beirut: A Thriller by Mishkla Ben-David, translated from the Hebrew by Evan Fallenberg. A spy thriller written by a former Mossad agent. Ben-David's a best seller in Israel and this is his first novel translated into English. Pubs on April 14.

Leaving Berlin: A Novel by Joseph Kanon. Alex fled the Nazis for America, but in the McCarthy era, his pre-war activities mark him for deportation. He strikes a deal with the CIA--he'll return to Berlin, as their agent, and earn his way back to the US. But the CIA wants him to spy on those it was hardest to leave the first time. Pubs on March 3.

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27. IRL: Review Haiku

Gamer girl figures
out the rules aren't always
black-and-white. Hardcore smarts.

In Real Life/IRL by Cory Doctorow, illustrated by Jen Wang. First Second, 2014, 192 pages.

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28. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e February 6th 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last weekabout writing from the last week:

Four Reasons Your Query Might Be Rejected (Rachel Kent)

Editing Clauses in Publishing Contracts: How to Protect Yourself (Victoria Strauss)

Writing Characters Whose Loyalty is Uncertain (Janice Hardy)

Give Them What They Want (Rachelle Gardner)

So What Do I Do Now? (Wendy Lawton)

How to Become a Traditionally Published Author (Carrie Jones) aka carriejones

Call Your Book By its Name (Sharon Bially)

The Quintessential Paradoxical Pantser Conundrum (Larry Brooks)

Have a Routine (Michael Mcdonagh)

Yanking Readers Out of a Story (Elizabeth Spann Craig)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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29. Shoplifter: Review Haiku

Personal fulfillment
in the modern workaday
world. Plus stealing.

Shoplifter by Michael Cho. Pantheon, 2014, 96 pages.

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30. Subliminal Messages in Romance

I received the following email from a post on the BRP blog about five romantic memes that need to die.  I will provide a link at the end of this post.

“Dear Ms. Hurwitz, Thanks so much for your 2/4/15 post on the Blood Red Pencil. My genre is contemporary romance and while I’ve tried to avoid the 5 syndromes that you’ve listed below, I’m jealous. For some authors those exact syndromes actually worked. And have brought major successes. My question, why do they work for some authors and not for others? Trying not to whine, B."

This is a rather long response, but I feel it is an important one.

I fear they work because there is a severe amount of dysfunction in our society. To whit:

Reality TV is a constant barrage of people behaving badly for ratings. Indiscretion, infidelity, financial excess, drunken brawls, verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and mounting body counts are daily sources of entertainment. There should be a line feed at the bottom of the broadcast with a warning: “If this resembles your reality, you can get help, please call…” followed by telephone numbers for domestic abuse and mental health hotlines.

A young girl posted a video that went insanely viral in which she stated that if your boyfriend beat you, it meant he loved you … because he invested all that energy in beating you and you should take that as a compliment and sign of affection.

College students are passing around passed out co-eds like blow-up dolls.

Domestic violence is at an all-time high, and women and children aren’t the only victims.

Hazing at the high school sports level has devolved into sexual assault with athletes literally getting “reamed” in locker rooms and school buses.

In the entertainment industry at large, and the romance genre in specific, there are too many stories that perpetuate the idea that you can fix that bad boy by being so amazing he immediately reforms in the blink of an eye with no professional help. All that matters is that they have a hefty bank account and six-pack abs or a title. These rogues are guilty of kidnapping, degrading language, physical manhandling, murder, and rape, but all is forgiven because they fall in love and his actions were “justified” at the time or the girl can be equally "bad ass."

Everyone who reads a murder mystery does not go out and kill someone. And everyone who reads a dysfunctional romance novel won’t go out and accept abusive behavior in their real life. But a steady diet of subliminal messages combined with a vulnerable population is a toxic cocktail.

Teens and young adults can be very suggestable. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t kept up with insanity inspiring pop culture amplified by an internet world full of cyberbullying, trolls, and provocative “selfies.” The high school and young adult phases are a time when many girls and boys are trying out new identities. They are easily influenced by their peers and the world around them. They adopt affectations. They are beguiled by the exotic and new. Joseph Campbell called it the knock, knock and twinkle, twinkle phase. Self-esteem can be shaky. More young women read books (especially romances) than young men, but both are affected by the entertainment industry and the culture they live in.

I believe we need healthy role models in all mediums of storytelling because our narratives influence the collective consciousness. We owe it to vulnerable teens and young adults. If bad boy heroes get a wink and a nudge for their “nefarious ways,” they make poor role models for our sons. Making female protagonists equally nefarious isn’t helping the situation. If our cultural expectation is that men are bestial as a baseline and must be tamed by the right woman, it is tacit support for unacceptable, even criminal, behavior.

In past decades, too many stories modeled women as helpless, compliant sex kittens fixated on finding the right guy. Women only went to college for a "Mrs. degree." 

Grooming kids for the mating game has trickled down to the grade school level. A six year old should not be concerned about being “sexy.”

Women from the baby boomer generation experienced a shift in cultural focus from finding the right guy and becoming wives and mothers, to focusing on self before making those choices and having the right to dictate the terms of those choices. 
 And we are ferociously fighting to hold onto our rights.

Millions of women worldwide are still subject to human trafficking, child brides, and arranged marriages. Women are still considered property of men. They are denied education and independence. They are raped, stoned, whipped, burned, and disfigured. 

That is the “reality" many people read to escape from.

We need to teach our young people that their prime directive is to become self-sufficient, stable, centered people with intact boundaries before they consider having relationships. 

Select schools have offered special classes for girls on how to recognize abusive relationships and protect themselves from rape (finally!), but no classes for boys on how to recognize abusive relationships and what constitutes rape, or any topic for that matter. It reminds me of when we were sequestered to view the films about our lady parts and monthly curse.

I wish my generation had access to Robin McGraw's Aspire initiative. Educating everyone about healthy relationships is crucial to changing the tide.

So, what does all that have to do with writing romance novels?

You can write a truly gripping romance without having severely dysfunctional/damaged characters. Mild dysfunction can create plenty of problems. You have to write realistic tension: obstacles that could potentially make or break their relationship. You have to convince your reader that the outcome is in doubt, even though in the romance genre there is always a happy resolution.

While many obstacles to love have been removed in cultures where people can randomly bed hop all they like, obstacles still exist in different personality types (wants, core needs, personal currency, motivation, ability to coexist amicably), misunderstanding, lies, secrets, betrayals, different backgrounds, socioeconomic factors, religions, ethnicity, strong opposition from other people in their lives, work, etc. As long as you make those obstacles believable, and ultimately realistically resolvable, you have the tension necessary to drive a love story.

In my opinion, the subliminal messages of your story matter. It is just as easy to model and inspire health while still addressing reality.

Thank you for your letter.

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31. Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny: Review Haiku

Behold: your go-to
gift for the karate* kid
in your life. (*I know.)

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman. Holt, 2014, 144 pages.

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32. Books with the word ‘Girl’ in the title

In the last two months, I’ve read three books with the word girl in the title. In December I read Gone Girl, in January I read The Girl on the Train and I just finished reading The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan. I started to wonder if this was a recent trend in book titles, but […]

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33. Review of I Was Here

forman_i was hereI Was Here
by Gayle Forman
High School    Viking    272 pp.
1/15    978-0-451-47147-5    $18.99    g

Meg Garcia is brilliant and passionate — a standout in her dead-end Washington State hometown and a constant in best friend Cody’s unstable life. But just months after escaping to college on a prestigious scholarship, Meg checks into a motel and drinks a bottle of industrial cleaner. Cody is blindsided and guilt-ridden; when she finds an encrypted document on Meg’s laptop containing explicit suicide instructions, Cody slips down an investigative rabbit-hole that leads her deep into Meg’s hidden personal life. Cody reaches out to Meg’s college friends, and most agree that Meg was troubled. But when scouring Meg’s remaining digital footprint turns up correspondence with a disturbing pro-suicide web forum, Cody pursues this lead with reckless desperation. Capable and tough, Cody is a relentless but self-destructive detective bent on untangling a grim and dangerous mystery that offers no possible redeeming solution. A volatile but tenderly drawn romance with Meg’s tormented musician ex–love interest offers moments of tentative hopefulness for Cody, but her struggle with grief and complicity is intense and affecting up until an emotional gut-punch of a conclusion. Once this compelling case is closed, what remains is a haunting, elegiac tale about enduring and understanding loss.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


The post Review of I Was Here appeared first on The Horn Book.

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34. Bad company

Conspiracy theory or everyday life? These new YA novels — three thrillers and one dark comedy — star teen protagonists finding their places in worlds manipulated by not-so-scrupulous corporations.

myers_on a clear dayWalter Dean Myers’s posthumously published On a Clear Day takes place in 2035. The Central Eight (C-8) companies rule everything, enriching themselves while the rest of society suffers. Millions are starving, schools have closed, and everyone seems to ignore the collateral damage caused by the seductive “marvelous gadgets” the companies sell. Hope lies in small bands of resistance such as the one joined by sixteen-year-old math whiz Dahlia Grillo. Dahlia is an appealing protagonist in a troubling world not far removed from our own. (Crown, 14 years and up)

bacigalupi_doubt factoryMoses Cruz, leader of a diverse group of orphan teens, has targeted Alix Banks in order to destroy his real objective: her father, whose PR firm defends harmful products sold by Fortune 500 companies. Moses shatters Alix’s sheltered, privileged existence — stalking and kidnapping her — in hopes that she’ll help expose her father’s corruption. In his compelling thriller The Doubt Factory, Paolo Bacigalupi excels at creating two fully rounded narrators: Alix, who transforms from naive rich-girl to activist, and Moses, enigmatic, dangerous, yet somehow likable. (Little, Brown, 14 years and up)

rubin_denton little's death dateIn seventeen-year-old Denton’s world, AstroThanatoGenetics makes it possible — and the U.S. government makes it mandatory — to know the date of a person’s death at the time of their birth. On the morning of his funeral, Denton wakes up in his best friend’s sister’s bed, unsure of whether he’s cheated on his girlfriend. He then spends his deathdate (also the day of his senior prom) wondering how he’ll go — and there are plenty of possibilities. Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin has dark humor in spades, plus fully developed relationships and a mystery that will keep pages turning. (Knopf, 14 years and up)

lippert-martin_tabula rasaIn Kristen Lippert-Martin’s Tabula Rasa, Sarah is one of several young patients in a remote state-of-the-art hospital, living in isolation while doctors surgically remove their memories. Before her final treatment can be completed — and after Sarah has taken a covertly delivered pill that may release her damaged memories — soldiers attack the hospital, killing patients and doctors alike. Sarah taps into a forgotten cache of strength, agility, and tactical instinct to evade the intruders, but to escape the hospital she must ally herself with friendly-but-cagey hacker Thomas. Mysteries stack upon mysteries in this gripping, multifaceted thriller. (Egmont, 12–16 years)

From the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.


The post Bad company appeared first on The Horn Book.

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35. Nightmares: Review Haiku

Not bad, surprisingly:
real kid fears handled with
real kid solutions.

Nightmares by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Delacorte, 2014, 368 pages.

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36. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e February 13th 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

My GRAVITY lawsuit and how it affects every writer who sells to Hollywood (Tess Gerritsen)

How to Slash Your Word Count by 20-40% (Jodie Renner)

Why Authors Walk Away From Good, Big 5 Publishers (Harry Bingham)

Business Musings: Following The Crowd (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

The World According to You (Donald Maass)

Subplots (Joe Moore)

Novelists: Two Empowering Little Mind-Models That Just Might Change Everything For You (Larry Brooks) JON’S PICK OF THE WEEK

Picture Book Plotting 101 (Sarah Frances Hardy)

Who's Running Your Writers' Group? Why You Should Be Careful (Victoria Strauss)

Learning to Love the Synopsis (Jael McHenry)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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37. Stella by Starlight: Review Haiku

A fair bit of stiff
exposition, but you
can't help liking Stella.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum, 2015, 336 pages.

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38. The Crossover: Review Haiku

Briefly confused by
narration, but I loved these
guys and loved their game.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. HMH, 2014, 240 pages.


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39. Anton Chekhov's Selected Stories: A Norton Critical Edition edited by Cathy Popkin

My name is Matthew and I am a Norton Critical Edition addict.

Hardly a term has gone by without my assigning students at least one NCE, both when I was a high school teacher and especially now that I'm teaching college students. (This term, it's The Red Badge of Courage.) I have been known to change syllabi each term just to try out new NCEs with students. I have bought NCEs for myself even of books that I already owned in multiple other editions. I have all four editions of the NCE of Heart of Darkness because the changes between them fascinate me. (I've been meaning to write a blog post or essay of some sort about those changes. I'll get to it one day.)

Anton Chekhov is my favorite writer, a writer whose work I've been reading and thinking about for all of my adult life. The Norton Critical Editions of Chekhov's stories and plays published in the late 1970s remained unchanged until Laurence Senelick's Selected Plays came out in 2004, and then, finally, last year Cathy Popkin's Selected Stories. Senelick's collection is good, and probably all that the average reader needs, though I'm more partial to Senelick's true masterpiece, the Complete Plays, which is awe-inspiring.

Popkin's Selected Stories is something more again, and easily the best single-volume collection of Chekhov in English. This is the place to start if you've never read Chekhov, and it's a great resource even for seasoned Chekhovians. I'll go further than that, actually: Because of the critical apparatus, this is a great resource for anyone interested in fiction, translation, and/or writing; and it is one of the most interesting Norton Critical Editions I know, almost as impressive as my favorite NCEs, Things Fall Apart and The English Bible.

Popkin made the interesting and valuable choice to not only include stories from multiple translators (including new commissions), but to foreground the act of translation by including helpful descriptions of each translator's approach and methodology, as well as short passages from multiple stories in numerous translations for comparison:

sample of the Comparison Passages section

Further, Popkin frequently offers a perspective on the translation of an individual story in the first footnote for it, and sometimes in subsequent footnotes that point out particular choices the translator made.

The foregrounding of translation allows Popkin to bring in essays in the critical section that focus on Chekhov as a stylist, something Ralph Matlaw, editor of the previous edition, specifically avoided because he thought it made no sense to talk about "since the subtleties of Chekhov's style are lost in translation." Popkin's contention is that this no longer needs to be true, if it ever was.

What we have here, then, is not only a book of Chekhov stories plus some biographical and critical material, but a book about aesthetics and writing. One of the critical disputes that Popkin highlights, both in her introduction and in her selection of essays, is a longstanding one between critics who believe every detail in the stories has a particular purpose and function, and critics who believe that Chekhov's art (and philosophy) resides in the very extraneousness and randomness of some of his details. There is, as Popkin notes, no solution to this question, and plenty of readers (I'm one of them) believe that in a certain way both interpretations can be correct — but the value here is that Popkin is able to make the critical dispute one that is not only about Chekhov, but about writing, realism, and the reader's experience of the text. Attentive readers of this Selected Stories will thus not only gain knowledge of Chekhov's work, but will also participate in the exploration of aesthetics: the aesthetics of the stories as well as the aesthetics of translation.

Inevitably, I have one complaint and a few quibbles. The complaint is that the physical book is terribly bound — the binding of my copy broke when I opened it, and continued to break whenever I opened to anything in the middle of the book. No pages have yet fallen out, but they could soon. This is unusual for a Norton book — The English Bible is huge and only one year older than Selected Stories and its bindings (2 big volumes) are very strong; my copy of the 1979 NCE of Chekhov's stories, purchased at the earliest 15 years ago, seems unbreakable. I hope the problem with this new book is an anomaly.

My quibbles are purely those of anyone who has their own particular favorites among Chekhoviana. I detest Ronald Hingley's imperialist atrocities of translations, and though I know they're necessary for this volume because they offer such stark contrast to other translations, why why why did Popkin have to include Hingley's translation of perhaps my favorite Chekhov story, "Gusev"?! At least she could have included somebody — anybody! — else's translation alongside it. (Indeed, I think it would have been helpful for the book to choose one complete story to offer in multiple translations. "Gusev" is probably too long, but Chekhov wrote a number of quite short stories that have been translated numerous times.)

The selection of stories in this edition is almost completely superior to Matlaw's, but it's unfortunate to lose the 1886 story "Dreams", which seems to me a perfect encapsulation of Chekhov's style between his early humorous sketches and his later, longer stories ... but it's easily available elsewhere.

One significant improvement Popkin makes over Matlaw's previous edition is the inclusion of some of Chekhov's longer stories, most significantly "Ward No. 6" and "In the Ravine", two of his most important works. The book is already almost 700 pages, so obviously novellas such as "My Life" and "The Steppe" — hugely important, original, difficult, complex, breathtaking works — wouldn't fit without bumping out a lot of other worthwhile material, but still I pine. Perhaps Selected Stories will be successful enough that Norton will consider a Critical Edition called Chekhov's Novellas...

Finally, it might have been nice to include something on the adaptation of Chekhov's stories to theatre, film, and television — though of course his plays are more frequently adapted, some of the better adaptations are of the short stories, and there's been at least a little bit of critical attention to that. Adaptation is another form of translation, and it would have been interesting to consider that further within the frame that Popkin set up.

But really, these are the inevitable, unimportant quibbles of the sort that any anthology causes in a reader familiar with the territory. Popkin's edition of the Selected Stories is a book to celebrate and savor, and it gets so many things right that it is churlish to complain about any of it. Even the cover is a smart, appropriate choice: a painting by Chekhov's friend Isaac Levitan.

This book is clearly the result of lots of love for Chekhov, and as such I can only love it back.

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40. Fiction Competition: The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction

The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction is offered annually for a previously unpublished short story of no more than 50 pages. The winning short story will be published in the 2015 fall/winter issue of Colorado Review; the writer receives a $2,000 honorarium.  

The Nelligan Prize was established in 2004 in memory of Liza Nelligan, a writer, editor, and friend of many in Colorado State University’s English Department, where she received her master’s degree in literature in 1992. By giving an award to the author of an outstanding short story each year, we hope to honor Nelligan’s life, her passion for writing, and her love of fiction.
Previous winners of the Nelligan Prize include Amira Pierce’s “Anything Good is a Secret,” (selected by Kent Nelson); Edward Hamlin’s “Night in Erg Chebbi,” (selected by Jim Shepard); and Matthew Shaer’s “Ghosts,” (selected by Jane Hamilton).

General Guidelines for the 2015 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction:

$2,000 will be awarded for the best short story, which will be published in the fall/winter 2015 issue of Colorado Review.

This year’s final judge is Lauren Groff; friends and students (current & former) of the judge are not eligible to compete, nor are Colorado State University employees, students, or alumni.

Entry fee is $15 per story (add $2 for online submissions); there is no limit on the number of entries you may submit.

Stories must be previously unpublished.

There are no theme restrictions, but stories must be under 50 pages.

Deadline is the postmark of March 14, 2015.

Winner will be announced by July 2015.

All submissions will be considered for publication.

You do not need to be a Colorado or US resident to enter.

To submit online:

The story title and your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address should be entered in the cover letter field, separate from your story. Be sure your name is not anywhere in the story itself (for example, in the header or footer).

The fee to enter online is $17 ($2 goes to the good people at Submittable; in most cases, it will be less expensive to enter online than by mail).
On or before March 14, 2015, submit here.

To submit via regular mail:

Include two cover sheets: on the first, print your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and the story title; on the second, print only the story title. Your name should not appear anywhere else on the manuscript.

Enclose a check for $15 for each story. Checks should be made out to Colorado Review. You may submit multiple stories in the same envelope, and the check can be made out for the total.
Provide SASE for contest results.

Manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not enclose extra postage for return of manuscript.
Entries must be clearly addressed to:

Nelligan Prize
Colorado Review
9105 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-9105

For complete guidelines, visit our website.

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41. Writing Competition: riverSedge

riverSedge is a journal of art and literature with an understanding of its place in the nation in south Texas on the border . Its name reflects our specific river edge with an openness to publish writers who use English, Tex-Mex, and Spanish and also the edges shared by all the best contemporary writing and art. 

Submit here.

General Submissions/Contest Guidelines

Deadline to Submit is 3/1/15

$5 submission fee in all genres (except book reviews)

3 prizes of $300 will be awarded in poetry, prose, and art. All entries are eligible for contest prizes. Dramatic scripts and graphic literature will be judged as prose.

Multiple submissions are welcome in all genres. Each submission should be submitted as a separate entry. In other words, do not send two or more entries as one document.

Previously unpublished work only. Self-published work (in print and/or on the web) is not eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us of acceptance elsewhere as soon as possible.

Submissions in English, Spanish and anything in between are welcome.

Current staff, faculty, and students affiliated with UT-Pan American, UT-Brownsville, or South Texas College are not eligible to submit original work to riverSedge.

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42. Writing Competition and Call for Submissions: Jabberwock Review

Jabberwock Review invites submissions to:


DEADLINE: March 15, 2015

· Each winner (one for fiction and one for poetry) receives $500 and publication in Jabberwock Review.

· Entry Fee: $15, which includes a one-year subscription.

· Go to our website for more information and to submit using Submittable.

· We are also open for regular submissions in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Send us your best work!

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43. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e January 30th 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week


The Hunt is On! How to Find an Agent (Janice Hardy)


Do Contest Wins Boost Sales? (Maryann Miller)


Red Ink In the Trenches: A Copyeditor’s Perspective (Dario Ciriello)


Your Inner Author Nagging (Mary Keeley)


Is it Time to Quit Your Day Job? (Rachelle Gardner)


How Are You Going To Succeed As a Writer? (Cathy Yardley)


Characters Who Care (Mary Kole)


Working With a Cover Designer: Time-Saving Techniques (Elizabeth Spann Craig)


Why an Agent’s List is Never Full (Janet Kobobel Grant)


How Not to Fumble Your Social Media Presence (James Scott Bell) JON’S PICK OF THE WEEK


Two Red-Flag Sentences in Publishing Contracts (Victoria Strauss)


If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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44. Review of Stella by Starlight

draper_stella by starlightStella by Starlight
by Sharon M. Draper
Intermediate   Atheneum   324 pp.
1/15   978-1-4424-9497-8   $16.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9499-2   $10.99

Eleven-year-old Stella Mills may have trouble getting words on paper for school, but she’s a deep thinker, “a gemstone hiding inside a rock,” her mother tells her. Even on the coldest of nights, she sneaks out of the house and writes under the starlight. Writing helps her makes sense of her world; the novel’s third-person point of view provides readers with a perspective wider than young Stella’s, as much of life in segregated 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, is beyond her understanding. There’s plenty of action — cross burnings, house burnings, a snakebite, a near-drowning, and a beating. But at its core this story is one of a supportive African American community facing tough times, a community acting as an “unseen river of communication that forever flows — dark and powerful,” keeping an eye on its children as they walk to school, knowing who is sneaking out at night, bringing cakes and pies when folks are ill, and attending the (unexpectedly hilarious) Christmas pageant at school. If times are bad, the community makes them better, and Stella grows in its warmth and love. Even her writing gets better as she writes about things that matter — Mama, snakes, truth, hate, even the Klan. Readers will close the book knowing that Stella will turn out just fine: “Roosters never look beyond the fence. I doubt if they ever think about flying. But I do.”

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


The post Review of Stella by Starlight appeared first on The Horn Book.

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45. What If the World Were a Village ?

We are busy as bees over here getting ready for our 2nd Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th 2015. We hope you’ll join us along with our 17 sponsors, 9 co- hosts, 150+ bloggers and many author sponsors to celebrate those books that celebrate multiculturalism and diversity. Please check out the excitement here and “save the date” for our huge Twitter party with oodles of prizes on 1/27/15 (9:00-10:00 ET)


Author David J. Smith and I are kindred spirits.  Both of us promote “world mindedness.”

He says,” This book is about “world-mindedness,” which is an attitude, an approach to life. It is the sense that our planet is actually a village, and we share this small, precious village with our neighbors. Knowing who our neighbors are, where they live and how they live, will help us live in peace.”

In his book If the World Were a Village, he explores the idea of exploring the world as if it were a village. At this time there are nearly 7 billion people on the planet. It’s oftentimes hard to wrap around our brain around this idea. David J. Smith brings it down to size for us. What if we took 100 people from around the world and look at the world as if it is a village.

If the World Were a Village

In this village of 100 people there would be 21 people who speak Chinese, 10 who ear only a dollar a day, 13 who cannot read or write, 28 who have a television in their homes, only 37 would have enough to eat. 83 people would have access to clean water while 17 others would spend most of every day in the search for clean water.


If the World Were A Village shows us who we are, where we live, what languages we speak, how fast we’re growing, and what religions we practice. This well thought out book also asks, “What will our village look like in the future?” Will there be enough food, housing, jobs, money, electricity, water etc.

What if the Wolrd were a village

One of the things I like so much about this book is that it takes a very large concept such as world population and how that effects the planet and the people on it, and brings it down to a very manageable size. The illustrations by Shelagh Armstrong are bold and colorful bringing the diversity on this planet richly to life.

Something to Do

Let’s Map the World

It’s important that kids have a really good sense of how the world is laid out. Make sure you have a current and up to date world wall map hanging up.

One really great way to learn the world is to create it. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Nussbaum. He has this wonderful website and this really great activity called Super Map. Super Map is a new map-making tool on MrNussbaum.com that allows students to custom-make their own maps of the United States, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, or Asia. Students can create map keys, add state or country names, rotate names, change colors of oceans, continents, nations, or states, add longitude or latitude lines, zoom in or out, and add text about each nation or state that appears on the map when it is printed out. Works on touchscreens as well as traditional computers. And then…you get to print it out!

Super map

Can you name ?

Playing a roving game of Can you Name helps kids learn and experience the “details” of a region or country of the world.

  • Can you name the capitals of every state in the US?
  • Can you name the capitals of every country in the world ?
  • Can you name the continents ?
  • Can you name the biomes in the United States ? In your country ? Around the world ?
  • Can you name the language spoken in ( pick a country and/or a region )
  • Can you name the religions worshipped in a particular country ?
  • Can you name the form of government ?

What’s next to ?

This is a game where one player chooses a country in the world and the person next to them has to name a country next to that one.

Is there Enough ?

Have a conversation with your children while looking at a map and you might like a computer near by so you can search. Pointing to an area of the world ask the following questions. If you don’t the answer to these, look them up.

  • Is there enough food ?
  • Is there enough clean water ?
  • Do children go to school ? What are the requirements for going to school. Many 3rd world countries require that you have a uniform to go to school. Most people are too poor to afford one and so their children do not go to school.

Meet Your World

As important as it is to know how the planet is laid out by countries, capitals, people , religions, languages etc, it’s also equally important to meet different people from a variety of people on our planet. Go to a celebration from another culture near you.

Finding a pen-pal with someone from another country is another way to make a connection with someone else on the planet.

Another way to meet your world is through literature. Multicultural Children’s Books Day is such a celebration which has created a vast resource of multicultural books and authors on our website.

Multicultural Children Book Resources

Understanding the geography of the earth, how and where the people on the planet live,  what languages they speak, what religion they believe in, what challenges they face is a starting point into knowing our world better and for teaching our children “world mindedness.”

My Gift to YOU!

Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my Read Your World Multicultural Booklists and Activities for Kids.

Read Your World Multicultural Booklist and Activities for Kids

The post What If the World Were a Village ? appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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46. We Meet Again: Review Haiku

Is this pint-sized
sociopath actually growing
on me? Oh dear.

We Meet Again (Timmy Failure #3) by Stephan Patsis. Candlewick, 2014, 272 pages.

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47. Gabi, Girl in Pieces: Review Haiku

We need diverse books
because Gabi's is a
universal story.

Gabi, Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. Cinco Puntos Press, 2014, 208 pages.

0 Comments on Gabi, Girl in Pieces: Review Haiku as of 1/23/2015 6:53:00 AM
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48. Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e January 23rd 2015

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

Working from Home as a Writer—Some Truths (Elizabeth Spann Craig)

The Holy Trinity of Character: Goals, Obstacles and Stakes (Art Holcomb)

What Makes a Good Podcast? (Jeremy Szal)

First Steps: Situation or Story? (Diana Hurwitz)

Do You Have Impostor Syndrome? (Rachelle Gardner)

Forthwringing Tonguishness (Dave King)

Stuck Emotions (Mary Kole)

Should You Set Limits with Your Readers? (Jan O'Hara)

Dealing with Publishing Blues (Stina Lindenblatt)

10 Common Fiction Problems and How to Fix Them (Jack Smith)

The 5 Laws of the Fiction Reader (James Scott Bell)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2014, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

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49. Snippet from Dead Writes - revised

Started writing this play a while back and have been slowly - accent on the slowly - adding-to and tweaking the play over time. Recently gave it yet another read and after deep thought and concentration, have finally come to what I believe and hope to be, a good ending. Still not finished, yet, but I've been making progress, which in itself is a good omen. Sometimes omens are all we have to propel us along.

I've shared bits and pieces of it here before but here is the latest incarnation. The cast list will most likely grow slightly. I've adapted it for this blog but the cutting and pasting isn't ideal. Comments welcome.

The story: Sometimes lessons in life come at a cost especially when the cost involves sacrifice on behalf of another.

By Eleanor Tylbor


CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK:     50-something; former reporter, deceased

JOSIAH:                 Heavenly "Spiritual Adviser - Disembodied Souls Division:

MIA STEVENSON:          Ambitious young reporter





SETTING:   A funeral parlor

AT RISE:   A group of people are seated in a funeral chapel, socializing for the most part, while waiting for the service to begin. A coffin is situated on an elevated stand in the middle of the room.

CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK, wearing a diaphanous flowing dress lays next to the coffin. Slowly she sits up, looks around in a confused, slightly stunned state. Touching her arms and body parts, she moves to an upright position and pulls at the material of her dress

                                  FX: SOMBER MUSIC


Really must'a tied one on last night. Weird, though. No hang-over like usual.
Stands upright, moves closer to coffin, straining to see inside. A funeral organizer passes by without acknowledging her presence. She pokes him in the back, to no avail.

'Scuse me…hello'? Could you tell me…? Wait a minute. Don't ignore me. You are so rude!’

He ignores her, focusing on the coffin

Lemme be blunt like the real me: who's the corpse?

         Man continues to ignore her

What is your problem? A name - that's all I want! It's not a lot to ask.  Fine. Suit yourself. I'll find out on my own…creep!

A man, JOSIAH, enters and stands directly behind CHARLOTTE. Dressed entirely in white, he glitters from head to toe


There's really no need to yell. I can provide you with that information
          Startled, she whirls around to face him


You could give a person a heart attack sneaking up like that. And I thought I looked bad in this outfit? If you don’t mind me saying, sir, you look like a bad case of indigestion after eating too many Halloween candies. I've been trying to find out what's going on but the guy over there is ignoring me. Some people just don’t have any manners



He can't hear you



It’s not like me not to remember some details of the night before but my mind is a complete blank. Not even a few flashes. Nothing



Not surprising. You’ll get used to it



I get it now! This place is one of those new theme clubs and you're the bartender, right? Explains a lot especially the look. So – like - you doing Liberace? That would explain my dress, too. Go figure a funeral parlor would double as a club. So where’s the booze?



The one thing I can assure you is that this is not a nightclub. You know…if you really want, Icould tell you who's in that coffin



How would you know that unless… What’s wrong with me? Here's me going on about nothing and you're burying someone who means a lot to you. That’s it, isn’t it? Sometimes I'm so dense. My sympathies.


You could say I’m related to that dead person. In fact - I'm close with most people that pass through



You work here, then?


In a way. Death is the human equalizer, don't you think? Everyone is on an equal plane no matter how important your life was or how much money you had or how much power you wielded



I suppose so - can't say I've given it much thought, lately. You wouldn’t happen to know how I ended up here, though, would you?



Do these mourners strike a familiar chord?

CHARLOTTE glances at the mourners


Vaguely... Hang on a minute!  These people work with me!

(Aside to mourners): ‘This is a surprise party, right? It's all a big joke. I should have known. Whose birthday is it? 'Ya don't hafta worry 'bout me giving it away!  Hello? I’m talking to you all!’

Weird. They're all ignoring me like I wasn’t here or something. Dumb…dumb…dumb. Ignorance, thy name is Charlotte! This is a "for real " funeral. That has'ta be it and this here is a real body in a real coffin! Okay –so – then - why am I here? Must be somebody I knew…

She strains to see in the coffin again without results


You seem to know a lot about this. Was it Don McGrath or Pete Winston? Don't know how many times I warned them both to slow down, but did they listen? ‘Course not! What does an old broad like me know, right? Burn the candle at both ends and you’re gonna burn your light out, I told them time and time again. Everyone thinks they’re gonna live forever



It wasn't either one of them



That's a relief 'cause we're the last three old farts left at The Sentinal. Started out together at the same time and we've seen 'em come and we seen 'em leave. Some on to bigger and better and some like this here person, in a wooden box. Things are sure different now. Back when we were in our prime, the only thing we had'da know was a keyboard. Nowadays everything is electronic - cyber this, cyber that. They'll soon find a way to replace us all with computer systems and you know what? Nobody will give a damn



They'll always be a need for the human touch



Look at 'em all…young kids just out of J-school. What do they know about getting’ a story? How can you write about life if you never experienced it?  This really is a real funeral, isn’t it?



Unfortunately, you are correct



Guess you were a friend of the corpse, then, or related?



I'm friends with a lot of people. You can say that I help them through a difficult period



So you're one of those - what do they call them - grief councillors? Bet you go to a lotta funerals



I can honestly say that I've never missed one






Never in all the years I've been assigned here



Have we met somewhere before, maybe a long while back? The more I look at you, the more familiar your face seems to me. Wait a minute! It’s so obvious as the nose on my face. You're a new bartender at Pat's watering hole. I'll pay my tab next week, I swear, it's just that I've been running a little short lately…



We've had a few close encounters in the past, Charlotte, but this is the first time we've met one-on-one. My drinking days are history in the true sense of the word but you seem very caught up with alcoholic beverages



Got it now. You own the new funeral parlor down the block and you're here to scope out the competition



Not…exactly but you could say I'm in the funeral business since I make a point never to miss any. In fact, funeral parlors are where I first connect with…



(backing away)

Hey! You're not one of those slimy creeps who pick up rich, lonely women at funerals. Listen buddy, I'm not rich and certainly not in the market to add a new man in my life.  Been there, done that, too many times. Know what I mean?




You're quite priceless, my dear. Trust me when I say my interest in you is anything but corporeal in nature. You do like games, don't you, with all your questions that I would be glad to answer. There really is no secret



It's my nature to snoop and dig for answers



You don't have to. I'd be most happy to supply you with the necessary information but if you insist. Have it your way



Strikes me that this corpse wasn't too popular in life judging by the amount of people who showed up here



It's all quite sad, actually. She believed she never needed people and in the end, seems that people weren't there when she needed them most

Mourner moves to front of room and stands in front of coffin

So the departed is a female. Looky who's here! It’s my friend and co-worker, Janice. Hey girl, we were supposed to meet for lunch yesterday! I showed up but what happened to you?



Miserable, lying witch! At last you made a useful contribution to the world and left it! Good riddance to bad rubbish



Is that the way to talk about the dearly departed? Even dead people deserve respect from the living. Your mama never taught you any manners?

JANICE touches the coffin and returns to her seat

(aside to JANICE): ‘Janice? You-hoo! It's me.’

(aside to JOSIAH) I'm not surprised! She was always a grudge holder. We better take a seat…the minister is here

Gives Janice "the finger" while passing her by and sits with others, accompanied by JOSIAH

(Cont’d. CHARLOTTE - aside to male, PETE): ‘Heeeey Pete-eee! So, how things goin' with you? Sorry 'bout that story, but I just couldn't help myself. In fact, I did just that. I'll return the favor in the future. You know how it is in our biz’


(PETE) ignores CHARLOTTE and talks to female on other side

(Cont’d. CHARLOTTE) Still mad at me, huh? See if I care! That’s the last time I share a lead with him, let me tell you



He can't hear you



What are you talking about? Of course he can but he's busy chatting up the new receptionist. Probably still pissed 'cause I stole a lead on the story he was after! Far

be it for me to beg forgiveness. He knows that's the way things work. First come - first served!


And you certainly helped yourself, a lot, didn't you?



Listen, if something falls into my hands, who am I not to take advantage? I needed a lead and Pete was nice enough to do the legwork for me. We're old friends anyway. He'll come around, won't you sweetie?



You find a way to justify everything. Has it dawned on you, yet, why you're here and that people are ignoring your presence?



What other reason than to pay my respects to someone in the paper 'biz. Really bugging me, though, how I got here and landed up lying next to a coffin. I've covered practically every kind of story but I can't ever remember spending the night in a funeral parlor. Maybe I was after a story but why is my mind blank?



Merely a temporary fog that will clear after you -


- sssh! Talk softer. We're gonna get kicked out and I'll never find out who's in the coffin

MINISTER steps behind podium




           Voice calls out:

'She didn't have any, so move on!'



..we are here to bid goodbye to one…

Another voice:

'Good riddance to bad rubbish!'



…a…good reporter, a good friend and colleague.


This dead person must'a really screwed them over but good, but she – you did say it was a woman? Like I was saying, the dead deserve some respect too.

CHARLOTTE stands up and addresses everyone

'That's no way to speak about the dead, you bunch of parasites. Have some respect!'



Is there anyone here who has something positive to say, about the departed? Surely there must be one person in this entire room that could say a few nice words about the late Charlotte Pembrook?



Excuse me? I can speak for myself, thank you very much… What's with this "late" junk?


No one? Then we'll proceed with the service


What in the hell is he talking about? 'I'm still among you, in the flesh! Look! I’m here’



Please try to control using the "H" word? I've been trying to tell you that no one can hear you – or see you, either


They're doing it on purpose to teach me a lesson. ‘Well, it won't work people! I'm on to you all!’

CHARLOTTE stands up on chair, waves and screams on top of her lungs


‘Charlotte is here! The old witch is alive and kicking. You can't ignore me forever’

JOSIAH walks to the front of the room and stands behind the coffin


I'm the only person who can see you, at least for now


Calm down, Charlotte. There’s a very simple explanation for all of this. I’ve had too much too drink and this is just a nightmare. Soon I'm gonna wake up and everything will be like it should. That’s it. A nightmare.


What’s the last thing you can remember?


Food! I was at The Rib Rack gnawing on a rib. Must’a been a bad rack or something to give me a nightmare like this. Alright – gotta calm down. I’m okay…gotta will myself to wake up…time to wake up now… C’mon body – wake up!


Come over here and take a peak inside

CHARLOTTE moves slowly to the front of the coffin and peers down. She jumps back


If this is a bad joke, I don't have a good sense of humor, today. Enough is enough, already. I don't know how you did this, Joey or whatever your name is to make a person look just like me. A dummy - it's a dummy, right? Hey - it's been a blast meeting you, but I got things to do, places to go…

           Aside to mourners

‘Okay you guys. You pulled off the ultimate practical joke. Got me fair and square. I give in. C'mon – don't be such grudge holders! You know I was only doing what you would'a done in my place’



It's you in there for real

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50. Call for Submissions on the Theme of Atmosphere: The Quotable Lit

The Quotable Lit is open for Issue 17: Atmosphere

Submissions open January 1, 2015 – March 1, 2015
“Green was the silence, wet was the light,the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
― Pablo Neruda 

General Guidelines:

We seek:
flash fiction (under 1,000 words) - 1 submission per reading period
short fiction (under 3,000 words) - 1 submission per reading period
creative nonfiction (under 3,000 words) - 1 submission per reading period
poetry - 1 submission of up to 3 poems per reading period
We accept only original unpublished work. We do accept simultaneous submissions, but ask that you notify us immediately should your work be accepted elsewhere.

Submissions link.

To ensure fairness, The Quotable has a blind submissions process. Remove all identifying information - name, email address, etc. - from your manuscripts. We will decline any manuscript that contains the author's information. Contact us with questions.

Upon acceptance, The Quotable acquires first serial publications rights, after which the copyright reverts to the author. All accepted work will be archived on the site for so long as the site manager(s) should deem appropriate.

The editors of The Quotable envision a world in which all artists are paid handsomely for the considerable efforts they make to enrich mankind. While we labor toward that utopia, however, the only payment we can offer is the esteem of seeing your name in print and your work appreciated

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