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Results 1 - 25 of 113
1. A History of my Archive in 10 Objects. No.8: The Blue Blanket, 1981-1982

Number 8 in this series of ten archive items from my dad's loft are some surviving copies of The Blue Blanket fanzine, which briefly flared on the streets of Norwich from 1981 to 1982.

Three years in Manchester may have seen a mixed development with my artwork, but it had a profound effect on other aspects of my life - especially through music. It was a fabulous time to be in Manchester - I moved there at the height of punk, and left just before the Haçienda opened. I saw all the iconic bands of the era, from Buzzcocks to The Fall to Joy Division, and all their touring contemporaries. Despite poverty as a student I loved Manchester and often wonder why I didn't just stay in the city after graduating, but I was penniless and disillusioned with my artwork, there were no potential clients for my drawings and the prospect of looking for a job or signing on in Manchester filled me with dread, I couldn't see any reason to stay in the city. A temporary return to the family home was inevitable, however while I was in Manchester my parents had decided to leave the West Midlands and move to a village outside Norwich. It was an entirely alien world to me, from the gritty streets of Manchester to a hamlet in the Norfolk countriside, which I'd only visited there on holiday once. What was I going to do now?

My head was full of musical and creative frustration, I needed some outlet for this energy, I was angry, disillusioned, full of post-grad angst and resentment. I needed to get something off my chest....
Cut from Blue Blanket issue 4, 1982

Musical ambitions were never to be fulfilled, so I did the next best thing -  I started a fanzine.

Why The Blue Blanket? The first thing my parents did after I returned to the family flock, after throwing away my entire wardrobe of arty (to my eyes) second hand rags (in theirs), was to tag me along on a short holiday in Brittany. I was really not in the mood, but there was a large blue blanket at the place we stayed, and blue fluff seemed to attach itself to everything - long after the holiday we were picking bits of blue out of things. I wanted a magazine that would get into the crannies of  Norwich, a blanket coverage that would stick everywhere. The name was a joke, but it also reminded me of Der Blau Reiter art movement started by Kandinsky and others.... this was to be a magazine about art as well as music (or so I hoped). Hence The Blue Blanket. 

The fact that I knew absolutely nothing whatsoever about Norwich, it's music or art scene didn't seem to matter, in fact I saw it as an advantage as everything came to me fresh, and to my eyes there really didn't seem to be that much of a scene to discuss anyway. Today, Norwich has several venues and numerous galleries, but in 1981 it was more of a city of antiques and second-hand bookshops, there were only a handful of pub venues and two small clubs that put on indie bands - The Gala (a former ballroom) on St.Stephens, and The Jacquard on Magdalen Street, plus occasional gigs at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Nevertheless there was an energy in the city, with some ambitious local bands, an energy which I soon connected with.

The first issue of The Blue Blanket extended to 16 sides of A4, printed (extremely badly) by the Freewheel Anarchist Bookshop in Norwich. It consisted of a manifesto, a news page, a band interview (the non-band Sans Culottes), some gig reviews and lots of opinionated noises from me (under various aliases) questioning whether Norwich was a creative cul-de-sac, a diatribe against the media, jokes, cartoons, an unplayable song and some truly awful poetry. I think the first edition stretched to 200 copies, some of which were stocked by HMV and other local outlets, Rough Trade in London offered to take some, and to my immense pride John Peel at the BBC gave it a shout out on his Radio 1 programme.

Spread from Blue Blanket #2, 1981

To my amazement it sold out, so I upped the price and print run and produced another one, followed by another, and another. My fanzine wasn't alone in Norwich (there was another  Is It Fish?, produced by Farmers Boys compatriot Kid Brian), but my policy was staunchly to focus on the whole of the local indie music scene rather than promote any particular band or cover touring acts. Succeeding issues ran features and interviews on Norwich bands The Vital Disorders, Carl Gustav and the 84's, Zod & the Universe, The Suspects, After Dark, The Higsons (author & comedian Charlie Higson's band!) and Popular Voice, though plans to include the local art scene as well as indie music never really materialised.  By Issue Four the print quality had greatly improved and it still regularly sold out of it's much increased print run, it was actually turning over a small profit, but the job of writing, compiling, designing and selling it was becoming a burden, though by that stage I had a few contributors and the distribution was much easier. John Peel's encouragement kept me at it for a quite a while (he announced the release of every issue and phoned me up once to talk about the Norwich scene on air, tragically I was out!), but my energy was being pulled back towards my illustration career. The focus and self-discipline of running the magazine was giving me a more professional attitude to my work, it gave me the determination to research the market and produce a new portfolio of illustrations to show around London.

The decision to finally hang up ambitions of journalism and close the covers of The Blue Blanket came when I was commissioned to illustrate my first children's book in 1982 - Jeremy Strong's Fatbag, published by A&C Black.

I thought I'd lost all but one remaining copies of The Blue Blanket, so was very happy to find a few surviving in my father's loft.

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2. Image Comics Partners with PREVIEWS to Announce IMAGE+ Magazine

Talk about some stunning Friday night news! At ComicsPRO tonight, Image Comics announced that they would be partnering up with Diamond to launch Image+, a monthly magazine that will ship with the long running PREVIEWS catalog. Clocking in at 64 pages each month, each of the first 12 issues of the magazine will feature four […]

5 Comments on Image Comics Partners with PREVIEWS to Announce IMAGE+ Magazine, last added: 2/23/2016
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3. Highlights High Five 2014 Pewter Plate Award

What a nice way to start the week. I just found a package on our front porch that contained a Highlights High Five 2014 Pewter Plate Illustration of the Year Award!  Thank you very much to both Highlights and editor Kathleen Hayes!

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4. More work for Wingspan

While I'm on a hiatus due to deadlines, here's some more work for Wingspan magazine....

Aroma Dating parties in London

Bathing in beer at the Starkenberger Beer Spa, Austria
A Silent Disco is shut down by the mayor of Salzburg for being too loud.

Yes, that's a self-portrait behind the turntables... well I couldn't resist.

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5. Recent work for Wingspan Magazine

Here's some more of my regular monthly cut illustrations for Wingspan, ANA's inflight magazine on their international flights.

A story about a wild boar in Australia that went on a rampage after swigging 18 cans of beer.

Nepal's Bird man Gautam Sapkota, world record holder for his ability to mimic 151 species of bird

Dracula's Castle goes on sale
In Dresden a moose became stuck in an office building for six hours

More to come!

I've been shamefully behind with my blog this year, chiefly because I've been pretty well overwhelmed by some very involved book deadlines, things have been extremely hectic! It's not over yet, things are still very busy, but I'll post again when things get easier.

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6. HighFive Magazine: “Watch Us Move!”

This is an illustration of mine printed in HighFive. Kids’ keeping active–with a little help from animals!







(Copyright Highlights for Children)

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7. A Peek at the Relaunch of The New York Times Magazine

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 9.43.30 AMPhoto by David La Spina

The talented team behind The New York Times Magazine has been hard at work for four months overhauling and redesigning the publication, and if you’re like me you love any chance to peel back the curtain on a project like that. Thankfully, there’s a great in-depth look at the relaunch, including information about new columns, typefaces, page designs in print and online, and a whole lot more.

We have used the hammer and the tongs but perhaps not the blowtorch; we sought to manufacture a magazine that would be unusual, surprising and original but not wholly unfamiliar. It would be a clear descendant of its line. This magazine is 119 years old; nearly four million people read it in print every weekend. It did not need to be dismantled, sawed into pieces or drilled full of holes. Instead, we have set out to honor the shape of the magazine as it has been, while creating something that will, we hope, strike you as a version you have never read before.

Click here to learn more about the relaunch.

Filed under: News

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8. Highlights 2015 Fiction Contest




Mystery stories


Three prizes of $1,000 or tuition for any Highlights Foundation Founders Workshop. (For a complete list of workshops, visit http://www.highlightsfoundation.org.)


All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2015.


No entry form or fee is required.

*Entrants must be at least 16 years old at the time of submission.

We welcome work from both published and unpublished authors. All submissions must be previously unpublished and not found online.

Stories may be any length up to 750 words. Indicate the word count in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of your manuscript.

No crime, violence, or derogatory humor.

Entries not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be returned.

Manuscripts or envelopes should be clearly marked FICTION CONTEST. Those not marked in this way will be considered as regular submissions to Highlights.


Highlights for Children
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431


The three winning entries will be purchased by Highlights and announced on Highlights.com in June 2015. All other entries will be considered for purchase by Highlights. For details about our purchase policies, please see our contributor guidelines: https://www.highlights.com/contributor-guidelines

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: Contest, magazine, opportunity, Places to Submit, publishers, writing Tagged: Highlights Fiction Contest, No fee Contest, No more than 750 words, Three $1000 Prizes

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9. No Fee Poetry Contest



Contest is open to residents of the U.S., its territories and possessions, including Puerto Rico who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry.


Tell us your original poem, in 15 lines or fewer. The entry must not be lewd, obscene, sexually explicit, pornographic, disparaging, defamatory, libelous or otherwise inappropriate or objectionable, as determined by the Judges and/or Sponsor in their sole and absolute discretion.

Prize(s): One grand-prize winner will receive $500 and his/her story will be published in Reader’s Digest Magazine. Reader’s Digest will also select three (3) runner-up winners to receive $100.

Winners and finalists will be notified by email and regular mail within two months of the closing date.

SUBMISSION LINK: http://www.rd.com/poetry

Read Rules: http://www.rd.com/magazine/poetry-contest-rules/#ixzz3MaCPeJpR

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Contest, inspiration, magazine, opportunity, Places to Submit, poetry Tagged: Andreja Peklar, Christine Brallier, No fee Writing Contest, Poetry Contest, Reader's Digest

2 Comments on No Fee Poetry Contest, last added: 12/28/2014
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10. sweetness

I received a package in the mail this week, and now I can finally show you a sweet assignment that dropped in my lap this summer. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen the whole thing in excruciating detail, but it always takes me a bit longer to come over here. Well, here goes:

Here I am on the table of contents, mine is the seal juggling Oreo truffles - of course.
 I got to do a feature for allrecipe magazine, and although I'm playing it cool, it was pretty exciting.

For this holiday candy recipe layout, the Art Director chose to photograph the confections in a watercolor Candyland landscape. The candies would become part of the picture, and turn into something else. I got to invent a storyline, paint the scenes and come up with ways to "disguise" the candy, which was a lot of fun.

These are a few of my favorites.

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11. Pockets Magazine Accepting Articles



Pockets® is a 48-page devotional magazine for children ages 6-12, published by The Upper Room®. They pay $.14 a word. If you want to write for children and are open to writing for a Christian Magazine, then this could be an opportunity to get published and earn some money. The themes for articles are listed at the bottom of this post.

Launched in 1981, the magazine began as a response to parents and grandparents who wanted a devotional magazine especially for children. The magazine is published 11 times per year. (January/February is a combined issue). Pockets is designed for the personal use of children to help them grow in their relationship with God. The magazine is distributed by individual subscriptions and standing orders to churches, which provide the magazine to the children in their congregations. Pockets includes full-color photos, stories, poems, games, mission-focused activities, daily scripture readings, non-fiction features, and contributions from children who read the magazine. Writer’s Guidelines

What is Pockets?

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine offers wholesome devotional readings that teach about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful pictures, activities, and scripture readings. Freelance submissions of stories, poems, recipes, puzzles and games, and activities are welcome. The magazine is published monthly (except in February).

The purpose of Pockets is to help children grow in their relationship with God and live as Christian disciples. It is written and produced for children and designed to help children pray and to see their faith as an integral part of their everyday lives. The magazine emphasizes that God loves us and that God’s grace calls us into community. It is through the community of God’s people that we experience that love in our daily lives.

What should I write about?

Each issue is built around a specific theme with material that can be used by children in a variety of ways. Submissions should support the purpose of the magazine to help children grow in their faith, though all submissions do not need to be overtly religious. Seasonal material, both secular and liturgical, is appropriate. Most of the magazine’s content is written by adults, but we also welcome submissions from children.

Copies of our themes are also available by mail with a SASE. Please note deadlines for each issue; late manuscripts cannot be considered.

Pockets is inter-denominational, and our readers include children of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. These differences should be reflected in the references that are made to lifestyles, living environments (suburban, urban, rural, reservation), families (extended families, single-parent families, and blended families as well as more “traditional” families), and individual names. Stories should show appreciation of cultural differences.

What ages are Pockets readers?

The magazine is for children 6–12. Though some children may share it with their families or use it in church group settings, Pockets is designed primarily for children’s personal use.

What type of material should I write?

Fiction and scripture stories should be 600 to 1000 words. Our primary interest is in stories that can help children deal with real-life situations. We do not accept stories about talking animals or inanimate objects. Fictional characters and some elaboration may be included in scripture stories, but the writer must remain faithful to the story.

Stories should contain lots of action, use believable dialogue, be simply written, and be relevant to the problems faced by this age group in everyday life. Children need to be able to see themselves in the pages of the magazine. It is important that the tone not be “preachy” or didactic. Use short sentences and paragraphs. When possible, use concrete words instead of abstractions. However, do not “write down” to children.

Poems should be short, not more than 20 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.

Non-fiction articles that are open for submissions include: theme-related quizzes; Kids with a Mission profiles of children involved in charitable, environmental, community, and peace/justice issues; biographical sketches of persons, famous or unknown, whose lives reflect their Christian commitments and values; and Family Time activities for families to do together (seasonal or theme-related). The length of these features varies greatly, and we strongly suggest sending a SASE (please send 6 x 9 size envelope) to receive a sample copy of the magazine if you are interested in submitting any of these.

Editorial Philosophy

The primary purpose of POCKETS is to help children grow in their relationship with God and to claim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ by applying it to their daily lives. POCKETS espouses respect for all human beings and for God’s creation. It regards a child’s faith journey as an integral part of all of life and sees prayer as undergirding that journey.

Special note: In addition to receiving regular submissions, Pockets sponsors a fiction contest each year.

How should I submit my writing?

Contributions should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2″x 11″ paper, accompanied by a SASE for return. Writers who wish to save postage and are concerned about paper conservation may send a SASP for notification of unaccepted manuscripts, and we will recycle the manuscript. Please list the name of the submission(s) on the card. Because of the volume of manuscripts we receive, we do not accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.

How will I know if my submission will be used?

If we use your submission, we will notify you before publication. Along with your letter of acceptance, you will receive a contract and a W-9 (IRS form) that must be completed, signed and returned in order for us to process your payment.

Submissions not chosen for publication will be returned only if they are accompanied by a SASE. Because of the number of submissions we receive, we are unable to check the status of submissions.

Send all submissions to:

Pockets Magazine
ATTN: Editor
PO Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004


Upcoming Writing Deadlines


June 2015

Deadline: 11/01/2014

Caring for Creation

Being good stewards of God’s creation is not only a matter of our self-interest or good intentions. It is a basic way of honoring our Creator. The aim of this issue is two-fold: a celebration of the wonder of creation and a challenge to look at practical ways we can address the earth’s problems. Typically this theme draws many stories on recycling and litter pick-up. While these are certainly important efforts (and we may feature one such story), we encourage writers to think more broadly about realistic ways children can have a positive impact on the environment. The tone should be hopeful and show that we can accomplish great things when we open ourselves to God’s power working through us.

More Info

July 2015

Deadline: 12/01/2014


Competition for Pockets readers could be many things: striving to make the best grades, wanting to have the coolest clothes, trying to be the best player on the soccer team or in the school orchestra, or consistently vying to be the center of attention. Competition can be healthy when it encourages us to do our best, but it is unhealthy when it causes us to make “winning” too important. We want this issue to help children examine their motives for competing and the role of competition in their lives. Does competing make them feel energetic and excited? Do they like to be with other competitors because of their shared interest? Or does competition make them anxious or cause them to dislike those with whom they are competing? Do they find themselves thinking that being first or best is more important than anything else? We want to invite children to view the competitive arenas of their lives (as we want them to view all of their lives) in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

More Info

August 2015

Deadline: 01/01/2015


One of the paradoxes of our age is that we are, arguably, both more connected and more isolated than ever. One of our Kids’ Advisory Board members reported that other children she encountered in an on-line game (with the benefit of anonymity) made comments questioning whether anyone truly cares about them and expressing the wish that someone would love them. Sad as this is, it’s perhaps not surprising. In our highly mobile, extremely busy, increasingly impersonal society, many people are lonely. Many of us live far from extended family and may not even know our neighbors. Technology encourages us to interact with others through devices instead of face-to-face. Violence causes us to spend more time behind locked doors, and even then we may be suspicious of others. Consequently, we find ourselves increasingly isolated from one another. Children do not escape this phenomenon. Perhaps they have difficulty making friends. Perhaps their families are too busy or in too much turmoil to offer comfort and companionship. Perhaps the families themselves are isolated from the larger community. Through this issue we want to help children understand that they are never truly alone, that God is with them always. We want to offer them comfort as well as creative ways to deal with their loneliness.

More Info

Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: article, children writing, earn money, magazine, Places to sumit, Poems Tagged: Children's Christian Magazine, Pockets Magazine

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12. Kindergarten Story Contest


Warm up your computer and write a 150-word Kindergarten story and win $500.00!

The winning stories in this Kindergarten Story Contest will be published in the January eNews newsletter.

In addition, we will publish the winning entries our website.

Win one of five cash prizes

The contest offers five cash prizes: $500 for the winner, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places. These alone are a lot of good reasons to write and enter.

To enter our Kindergarten Story Contest, submit a fiction or nonfiction story about family, friends, life, play, or school—really anything—for ages 5 to 6, up to 150 words. The story should be appropriate for kindergarteners who are just learning to read on their own. It should be fun, use appropriate vocabulary and syntax, and be interesting to youngest readers.

Please take care to not write too high for this age group. Know what a five- or six-year-old can and cannot read. Originality and the overall quality of writing will be important. Publishability is the ultimate criterion.

Entries must be received by November 7, 2014

Entries must be received by November 7, 2014. All entries pay a reading fee of $15, which includes a six-month subscription to Children’s Book Insider newsletter and a six-month membership in the writer’s community CBI Clubhouse. Winners will be announced in the January eNews newsletter. Prizes: $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.

Obtain Official Entry Form or make online submission

You may submit your entry either online or by regular mail.

If you choose to enter online, you’ll need to first save your manuscript to a file on your computer and submit it through our safe and secure entry page. Please make sure to submit your entry and reading fee at the same time.

Your online entry is encouraged. Please click here to continue to the submission page.

You will be directed to the section requiring the pre-payment of a $15 reading fee.

For Mail-in Entries:
To submit manuscript entries through the mail, please click here to obtain an entry form.

Contest Rules

Submission Requirements: Any original, unpublished piece not accepted by any publisher at the time of submission is eligible.
  • Entries must be accompanied by a reading fee of $15 (credit card, check or money order accepted).  Please add GST for entries from Canada.
  • The fee will also entitle you to a six month subscription to Children’s Book Insider plus six months access to the CBI Clubhouse website, an interesting and active community for writers.
  • We encourage entries to be submitted online, however, you may submit your entries either online or by mail. Please be sure to read and follow the directions carefully for the method you select.
  • We cannot return submissions, please retain a copy of your manuscript.
  • All manuscript submissions must meet the entry deadline outlined in each contest
Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced. Please put your name and address on the first page of your manuscript, and your name on all following pages.To see an example of how to format your contest entry, please click here.

No entries containing violence or derogatory, racist, or sexist language or situations will be accepted, at the sole discretion of the judges. No employees or relatives of employees or former employees of the Institute or its divisions are eligible.

Obtain Official Entry Form or Make Online Submission You may submit your entry either online, using our safe and secure entry page, or by regular mail. If you choose to submit online, you’ll need to complete your manuscript and save it to a file on your computer. You will be directed to the payment section first, then to the online entry page.For Online Submissions: Please click here to continue.

You will be directed to the section requiring the pre-payment of a $15 reading fee.

For Mail-in Entries: To submit manuscript entries through the mail, please click here to obtain an entry form.

Word Count:  Kindergarten Story Contest: 150 words.

Judges: All entries will be read by faculty and editorial staff members of the Institute. Winners will be notified by mail approximately 105 days after the close of the contest. Once the winners are announced, all entries are released for submission elsewhere.

Winners: The winners will be announced in the January eNews newsletter, which receives first rights to the prize-winning manuscripts, after which all rights revert to the authors.

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: children writing, Contest, magazine, opportunity, Picture Book, Places to sumit, publishers, Win Tagged: Children's Book Insider, Institute of Chidlren's Literature, Kindergarten Story Contest

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13. How to Launch a Magazine in this Digital Age

Bespoke print magazines are undergoing something of a quiet-but-steady resurgence. At least, that’s the way it looks to me, admiring the works of such magazines as Cereal, Another Escape, and Smith Journal, and a few in between from afar. (I mean, if you haven’t been following what’s happening with Bristol Independent Publishers (BIP), you’re missing […]

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14. Call for Submissions: Reject a Hit

RejectAHit_FotorIn each issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, we ask one reader to step into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor. What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure? We need more of those short-sighted rejection letters!

If you’d like to be the one doing the rebuffing, channel the most clueless of editors by humorously rejecting a hit in 300 words or fewer. Then submit your letter via email (no attachments, please!) to wdsubmissions@fwmedia.com with Reject a Hit: [Book Title]” in the subject line.

Reject a Hit is humorous, but not mean-spirited. It is not the place to list all the reasons you hate a particular book. To help you understand the spirit of Reject a Hit, here are some excerpts from spoof rejections we’ve published in the past:

To Margaret Wise Brown regarding Goodnight Moon:

Parents will not like this idea of mush sitting out all night. No wonder a young mouse is running around. By mentioning air you are not lulling children to sleep—just the opposite. Soon they’ll be sitting up in bed and asking, “Is that what’s making the noise? Does it taste like mush? Is that what’s keeping the balloon up?” Parents do not want to answer questions at bedtime.They want their children to quickly fall asleep so they can finally read their own books.

To Washington Irving regarding “Rip Van Winkle”:

We received your short story “Rip Van Winkle.” What a snoozer. A man walks into a forest and falls asleep for 20 YEARS? I’m dozing off just rejecting you.

To George Orwell regarding Animal Farm:

[Y]our work depicts episodes of hen slaughter, horses turned to glue, as well as pigs not only imbibing alcohol, but actually cultivating their own microbrewery? And would you care to explain how a windmill is built by a community composed of claws, wings and hooves? Not one opposable thumb in the bunch. For God’s sake, man!

To Homer regarding The Illiad:

The loose poetic style you have chosen is ancient and outdated. To make a sale, try a rhyming verse. While it’s difficult, some poetry editor out there may be impressed that someone could rhyme Herakles and Agamemnon.

We even convinced Ransom Riggs, author of the bestselling Peculiar Children series, to try his hand at rejecting a hit. He chose the Lord of the Rings trilogy:

It’s so long. It’s in Elvish, whatever that is. Nothing like this has ever been published. And who’s going to be interested in these tiny little hairy, ape-footed beings? This is the time for serious literature, sir, not made-up fairly tales. You take yourself very seriously.

And finally, to further help you decide which hit you’d like to wittily dismantle, here is a mostly-complete list of titles we’ve already sent back to their authors for revision. Please do not send submissions pertaining to any of the following, as they have already been soundly rejected:

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Elements of Style by EB White

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Fun With Dick & Jane by Gray and Sharp

Marley & Me by John Grogan

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Crime & Punishment by Dostoyevsky

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

The Odyssey by Homer

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

“Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

My Life at The New York Times by Jayson Blair

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Old Man & The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Tulips & Chimneys by e. e. cummings

The Shining by Stephen King

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


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15. NO FEE: Good Housekeeping Writing Contest

New Writing Contest: “All About Love”

Tell us your tale — a first crush, an old flame, a treasured friend or family member, a passion for a special place…


Starting June 1, 2014, email your story of 2,500 to 3,000 words to lovestorycontest@goodhousekeeping.com, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win $2,000 and possible publication in a future issue of Good Housekeeping or on goodhousekeeping.com. Be sure to provide your full name, phone number, and mailing address both in the email and on the submission itself.

Entries must be received by midnight September 1, 2014. One entry per person allowed. Submitted material cannot be returned or acknowledged. Winner will be notified by March 1, 2015.

Contest is open to anyone age 21 or older who is a legal resident of the United States, the District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec).

One winner will receive $2,000 and possible publication of the winning story in a future issue or on goodhousekeeping.com.

Read the official contest rules »

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, magazine, opportunity, publishers, writing Tagged: All About Love, Get Published, Good Housekeeping Magazine, Win $2000, Writing Contest

1 Comments on NO FEE: Good Housekeeping Writing Contest, last added: 6/24/2014
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16. Bacopa Literary Review Contest


Bacopa Literary Review will award publication & cash to 9 winning submissions:

1st Prize = $350 (1 each for Poetry, Fic & Creative Nonfiction)
2nd = $200 (1 each for Poetry, Fic & Creative Nonfiction)
3rd = $100 (1 each for Poetry, Fic & Creative Nonfiction)


Make sure you Click the +Show Guidelines text underneath genre/category name to see submission guidelines for that genre.



+ Show Guidelines

$11.00 USD




+ Show Guidelines

$11.00 USD




+ Show Guidelines

$11.00 USD



There is no charge for anyone who is a member of the Writer’s Alliance of Gainesville. You can check out that info at: http://www.writersalliance.org/membership.html

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Contest, magazine, opportunity, poetry, submissions Tagged: Creative Nonfiction Contest, Fiction Contest, Litary Review Publication, Poetry Contest, Writer's Alliance of Gainesville

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17. Paula: Mother's Day Puzzle--With Raccoons!

Samples came the other day, of the fun Mother’s Day illustration I worked on for a back-page puzzle for Clubhouse Jr. magazine I had a lot of fun with this. I worked in a bit of a tighter style using a very thin line. I’m really pleased with how the final printed piece turned out. And the raccoons still make me smile! Below are some photos of the final art.

0 Comments on Paula: Mother's Day Puzzle--With Raccoons! as of 5/23/2014 11:28:00 AM
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18. Recent work for Wingspan Magazine

Those who've been following my antics for a while may remember I draw a regular monthly comic illustration for Japanese airline ANA's inflight magazine Wingspan. Here's a recent selection with links to the article themes.

Experiments indicate that carrying a musical instrument makes you sexier

The illustrations accompany short news snippets collected from around the world, unbelievable-but-true nuggets from the obscure depths of journalism, they're always fun to draw because the topics are invariably oddball and sometimes bizarre.

Appenzell New Year Bell Ringers in Switzerland

Report about an exhibition of work by Cholla the Painting Horse

I love to explore visual ideas, so when I receive the brief I send the designer a selection of sketches to choose from. I like to explore fantasy and surrealism, but for this series the stories are often odd enough in themselves they don't need much embellishment, I'm under instructions to play it straight for the most part.

Beard Advertising

The world's only modern day School for Gladiators

Although I work a lot with Photoshop I wouldn't call myself a digital-expert illustrator by any standards, I prefer to hinge my drawings on hand drawn pen lines and keep the pixel-manipulation simple and minimum. One of the most satisfying things about creating these drawings is that they allow me to explore textures and colour schemes within the parameters of my style.

Guinness World Record attempt for Most People Dressed as a Penguin in One Place

Since beginning this series I've learned a lot about the human world, this is indeed a remarkable planet we live on!

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19. Short Story Contest Prizes and Publication

Back Camera

This December illustration was sent in by Marcela Staudenmaier. It should help you get ready for the weather facing us soon. Marcela was featured on March 31st 2012. Click Here to View.

Writer’s Digest is looking for short stories! Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? The enter the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City! The winning entries will be on display in the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

Wondering what’s in it for you?
•A chance to win $3,000 in cash
•Get national exposure for your work
•A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!

Entry Fee: $20 per manuscript
How to enter: register and pay online or download a printable entry form. (Entry fees are $20 per manuscript.)

Entry Deadline: December 17, 2012 

One First Place Winner will receive:
•$3,000 in cash
•Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August issue
•A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!
•A copy of the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
•A copy of the 2013 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
•A copy of the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

The Second Place Winner will receive:
•$1,500 in cash
•Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August issue
•A copy of the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
•A copy of the 2013 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
•A copy of the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

The Third Place Winner will receive: •$500 in cash
•Their short story title published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August issue
•A copy of the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
•A copy of the 2013 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
•A copy of the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

Fourth through Tenth Place Winners will receive:
•$100 in cash
•Their short story titles published in Writer’s Digest magazine’s July/August issue
•A copy of the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection
•A copy of the 2013 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
•A copy of the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

Eleventh through Twenty-Fifth Place Winners will receive:
•A $50 gift certificate for writersdigestshop.com
•A copy of the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection

Deadline: December 17, 2012    CLICK HERE TO ENTER


If you have enjoyed the articles and information you received everyday this year, please help by dominating my blog. Submit an email to writersdigest@fwmedia.com to nominate my blog www.kathytemean.wordpress.com

I would greatly appreciate your help.


Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Competition, Contest, magazine, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry Tagged: Short Story contest, Win Publication, Writer's Digest Contest

1 Comments on Short Story Contest Prizes and Publication, last added: 12/13/2012
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20. What I've been working on

© copyright Alicia Padron

Hello There!

This is an illustration I worked on at the end of last year. I usually do book work but this project was a little different. They contacted me asking if I wanted to create a logo for a non-profit organization. It was for such a beautiful cause.. I just couldn't say no. :o) 

I can't say which organization just yet but I'll post about it once I have green light.

It was important for me to convey warmth, coziness, love and security in this illustration and I wanted it to be appealing to kids at the same time. I love drawing bunnies and they seemed appropriate for this.So bunnies it is!

I've also been working on several different magazine projects which is new to me and I have to say a lot of fun! I love how fast paced they are compared to a book for example. I will share some of that as we get closer to publishing dates.

Also I recently finished a new board book for babies, one of my favorite types of books to illustrate. :o)

For this year I hope to have time to work on one of my dummies and to create new work for my portfolio. Published illustrations work for the portfolio too but I think is important to create new artwork specifically for the portfolio. Sometimes what a particular house wants in a book is great for the book but not enough for a portfolio. You know what I mean? Portfolio images have to have tons of story telling and have to grab you immediately.

Working on dummies is time consuming and hard work. I don't know why but I am always so insecure with my dummies. Maybe is because I have so many alternatives that can change that is hard to make up my mind? I am the writer, illustrator and art director in a sense.. too many people in my head! Haha.. Sometimes I think I have to go ahead with the best idea I can and just go for it.. even though I'm such a scary cat.

How about you? It is hard to work on dummies too or just a breeze? If it's the second one, please share your secret.. I need help. ;o)

5 Comments on What I've been working on, last added: 1/26/2013
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21. Wingspan

In the meantime and in an altogether different vein, here are some more of the small regular monthly cuts I do for Japanese airline ANA's inflight magazine Wingspan.

The Calcio Storico festival in Florence, Italy

Every issue the magazine runs a short nugget feature covering the weird and unusual things that happen around the world. Often they're very amusing subjects and a lot of fun to draw. However the drawings themselves are always gentle observations, not outright humour.

Hong Kong - A ship-shaped department store 

Unlike my more detailed children's books, which are created on watercolour paper, for this kind of work I draw on a coated paper which results in a strong expressive pen line, a style I first developed for posters and other graphic work in Japan.

A Hotel in France where guests can live like hamsters

The drawings are scanned in, often assembled from several elements, cleaned up and then coloured digitally, sometimes using textures. I love the flexibility that this offers.

A restaurant in an Italian prison, where inmates serve the customers

I particularly enjoy this kind of work because it allows me to play around on the computer and explore graphic simplicity, though I don't regard myself as a "digital artist", everything still rests on a hand-crafted pen and ink drawing.
A restaurant in China run entirely by robots
My children's books are created almost entirely by traditional non-digital means which gives a natural resonance, but in these illustrations the stronger line and digital colouring provides a more dynamic graphic edge. This style of work appears to be unconnected to my pen and watercolour children's books, but in fact they both come from exactly the same pen, it's just the paper and colouring that's different. Just varied facets of the same realm.
The latest issue talks about a Ski Festival of Witches in Switzerland

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22. The 2013 Normal Prize – Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry




It’s that time of the year: The Normal School is accepting entries for the 2013 Normal Prize until 3/15/13. We can’t wait to spend our winters, holed up in our caves, reading submissions. Every entrant gets a free two year subscription to The Normal School so, why not? Read on for our full contest guidelines, and send us your best.

Fiction Prize: $1000 & Publication in magazine

Nonfiction Prize: $1000 & Publication in magazine

Poetry Prize: $1000 & Publication in magazine

Final Judges


Nonfiction: DINTY W. MOORE



  • All fiction and nonfiction submissions must be 10,087 words or less, double-spaced, 12 pt. font. Poetry submissions should not exceed five pages or five poems total. No identifying information on the manuscript.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished (print or electronic media).
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed as long as you notify editors should your piece be accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions ARE allowed.


  • All submissions must be uploaded through our online submissions manager found here.
  • $20 per submission, paid through PayPal only. One story or essay, or up to five poems per entry fee.
  • You will receive a confirmation email once your submission has been uploaded.
  • Submissions will be read between 12/15/2012 and 3/15/2013.
  • Winners will be announced Spring/Summer, 2013.

Note: Remember that you should always check out a magazine or publisher to see what type of things they like and publish. That will help you save money and give you a better chance to win.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Contest, magazine, opportunity, Places to sumit, submissions, writing Tagged: Get Published, Literary Magazine, The Normal School

0 Comments on The 2013 Normal Prize – Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry as of 2/18/2013 12:21:00 AM
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23. Illustrator Saturday – Katie McDee

katieMcDee_PhotocroppedKatie McDee was raised in the sun-filled, salty-fresh air of Southern California and is lucky enough to still live and work there. Katie’s interests include movies that don’t stink, delicious eateries, and discovering new places. Her free time is spent playing ultimate frisbee and capturing her friends’ most embarrassing moments in her sketchbook.

Katie’s artistic talent and creativity has always been a part of her life. Whether it was hand-made cards or Super Market art contests, as a child she was always drawing. In high school she not only starred in musicals but also designed the Tshirts and posters. Although she excelled in many areas of school, art and music were always her favorite.

Today she works as a traditional and digital illustrator for the children’s market. Past projects have included books, magazines, video games, board games, T-shirts, greeting cards and packaging.  With a BFA in Illustration from CSU Long Beach, and years of freelance experience, Katie has the knowledge and experience of working with art directors, designers, and other creative professionals.

Her clients have included:  Oxford University Press, Capstone Publishing, Highlights High Five, Pearson Education, Lakeshore Learning Materials, Friend Magazine, Pockets Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Bionic Games, Appy Entertainment, The Topps Company, and San Diego Gas & Electric (Sempra Energy).

Here is Katie explaining her process:


Thumbnail: When I start figuring out the composition of a piece I always draw small. Really small. I scratch out a bunch of little thumbnails and once I have one I like I scan it and enlarge it in Photoshop.

katieMcDee2-SketchSketch: Sometimes I’ll draw over the blown-up thumbnail in Photoshop or move pieces around, But usually I just print it out and trace over it with tracing paper and a BiC mechanical pencil.


Color rough: I like to do a quick color rough in Photoshop.


Blocking in: Once I’ve scanned in the final sketch and received approval, I place the sketch in Illustrator with opacity scaled back to 50%. I lock that layer and start blocking the shapes in layers. I usually have background and foreground layers with others as needed.

katieMcDee5-AiBlockedinBlocked in: After everything is blocked in with Illustrator, I export each layer as PSDs and put it all back together in Photoshop.


Final: In Photoshop I use even more layers to shade and highlight and bring in texture overlays. And voila!


How did you end up going to CSU Long Beach to get your BFA in illustration?

I actually started out at CSULB as a music major. I thought I was going to be a choral director. It wasn’t more than a couple months before I realized that my talents were better suited for visual art. So I switched majors and focused on illustration. Lucky for me I married a high school choral director so now I’ve got the best of both worlds.


What types of classes did you take that really helped you to develop as an illustrator?

All of the illustration, composition and design classes were my favorites but every art class I’ve taken was invaluable, from watercolor to screen printing. But my illustration skills have developed most through freelancing. There’s nothing like learning on the job.katieBathtub_McDee

Did they help connect you to companies that could give you work?

No, I don’t think I’ve had any work come from classes, though keeping in contact with some classmates through social media sites and email has.


Did you start out using watercolors for your illustrations?

Yes, in college I painted everything in watercolor (unless I had to use some other media). And my very first paid jobs were created in watercolor. I still love traditionally painting illustrations for clients and my own personal work.


What was the first thing you did that you got paid to do?

I can’t remember exactly. It was either a caricatured family portrait or a gigantic mural depicting castles, gnomes and fairies. But those were private commissions. My first freelance gig was a series of paperback reader books for Lakeshore Learning Materials.


How long have you been illustrating?

7 years professionally. 31 years doodling :-)


What types of things do you do to get your work seen by publishing professionals?

My work is showcased online on my website/blog and a couple illustrator sites like childrensillustrators.com. I’ve contacted art directors directly and sent mailers in the past but usually contract work comes through my online presence and word of mouth.


Have you ever tried to write and illustrate a children’s book?

Yes, there have been a few attempts. I’ve learned a lot since and plan to dust some of them off and give ‘em a complete overhaul one of these days.


Do you have an agent? If so, who and how long have the represented you?  If not, would you like one?

I do not have an agent or art rep. I’ve considered it many times and I’d like to have a good working relationship with one. But I’m waiting for the right fit.


Do you want to concentrate on being a children’s picture book illustrator?

That would be so great. Ultimately I’d love to just spend my time working on picture books exclusively. Though I’d probably miss the diversity and fun of illustrating for games and magazines.


Have you made a picture book dummy to show art directors, editors, and reps.?

No, not yet.


Do you ever use two different materials in one illustration?

Yes. Pencil sketches, painted textures and photoshop. Ink and watercolor. Sometimes even cut paper.


How did  you find the companies where you have done commercial illustration, games, etc.?

I have friends in high places, haha. No but really, most of the time they find me online or through word of mouth.


Do you attend the SCBWI Conference in LA? 

If so, how do you prepare for attending something like that? I attended one year, I think it was in 2009. I participated in the portfolio showcase so there was months of drawing, designing, and printing a portfolio and postcards to show off. It was a lot of fun and I met some amazing people that I’m now blessed to call my friends.


Have you seen your style change since you first started illustrating?

Oh, definitely. Though I was looking through old sketches the other day and noticed I still draw umbrellas and shoes the same way.

Lakeshore Colors.ai

Have you gotten any work through networking?

Yes! Thank you blogging and Facebook.


I see you have had your illustration published in quite a few magazines.  How many magazines have published your work?

Six, so far. I hope to double that in the next year. I love illustrating for magazines.


How did the LA Times find  you to illustrate a story for the ‘Kids’ Reading Room’ section of the newspaper?

I think I called the Art Director. Never underestimate the power of the ‘cold call’.


Are you open to doing illustrations for self-published picture book authors?

I have in the past. Unfortunately, I don’t take on self-publishing authors now because they don’t have a budget I can pay bills with. It’s a sad reality, especially when their book ideas sound so fun.


What made you go digital?  Is Photoshop your software of choice?

When I started freelancing for companies, it was all digital, all the time. There were many late nights figuring out Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop as deadlines sped towards me. Now I can’t live without my computer. I enjoy the crisp look and edit ability of Illustrator and the fun challenge of rendering an illustration to look painted with Photoshop. While I still love painting with watercolor and gouache, the computer affords me and my clients much-needed versatility. And there’s nothing better than ‘command Z’, am I right?!


Do you have any tips that would help other digital artists?

Get a bigger scanner and printer. The biggest you can afford. And a Wacom tablet. It’ll save your arm.


Do you own a graphic tablet? If so, how do you use it?

Me and my Wacom Intuos 3 are best buddies. I don’t even use a mouse. My mouse is dead to me.


How much time do you spend illustrating?

Depending on the circumstances (deadlines or family commitments) I can spend as little as 5 hours to as much as 12 hours a day working.

Lakeshore Colors.ai

Do you have a studio set up in your house?

My family insisted I take one of the bedrooms as my studio instead of a guest room. Sorry visitors but it’s mine and I love it!

Lakeshore Colors.ai

Is there anything in your studio, other than paint and brushes, and your computer that you couldn’t live without?

My drafting table is 7 feet wide. I am spoiled.


Any picture books on the horizon?

I’m about to start working on an early reader book with Oxford Univ Press.



What are your career goals?

My goals include more book, magazine and licensing work. I think pairing up with an agent or rep may be my next step. I’d also like to set up an online shop to sell some of my random paintings and creations. My ultimate goal is to spend my days writing and illustrating my own books and board games.

Lakeshore Colors.ai

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on some spot illustrations, early reader book(s), some educational activities/games and 2 magazine illustrations.



Are there any watercolor painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

Why stretch watercolor paper when you can use illustration board? I like Crescent. Sometimes I print out a copy of my sketch and paint a color rough right on it. Hmm, what else? I used to ink with a croquil pen but now I use Microns. They’re waterproof and come in multiple sizes and colors.



Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

Here’s my 2 cents. And that may be all it’s worth to you, but… Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone. I see many people who are only willing to work in one way or for one type of publishing. You will grow as an artist and more doors may open for you if you say yes to something different. Tackle that App, comic book, or board game design rather than sitting around waiting for your big break in picture book publishing (or whatever it is you so desperately desire).



Katie, it was pleasure getting to know you through your illustrations and this interview. I am sure we will be seeing a lot more from you. Please let me know when you have new successes and send in new illustration that I can use during the month. That way we can stay connected.

You can see more of Katie at the following sites: www.katiemcdee.com  www.katiemcdee.blogspot.com  www.childrensillustrators.com/illustrator.cgi/katiemcdee 

Please take a minute to leave Katie a comment about her work.  It is much appreciated.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, demystify, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, magazine, Process, Tips Tagged: California Southern University, Capstone Publishing, Highlights Magazine, Katie McDee

4 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Katie McDee, last added: 4/11/2013
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charlotte's receipt

When talking with Charlotte Bennardo on Friday at the conference, she showed me a receipt that she received at Barnes and Noble after buying a cup of coffee. I just thought this was so cool. Imagine seeing your book suggested on the receipt. Must have been very exciting for Charlotte. Another reason to make sure you look at your receipts.


In its nearly three centuries of existence, The Saturday Evening Post has published short fiction by a who’s who of American authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald; William Faulkner; Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; Ray Bradbury; Louis L’Amour; Sinclair Lewis; Jack London; and Edgar Allan Poe. Now you have the opportunity to join that illustrious line-up by taking part in The Saturday Evening Post’s Second Annual Great American Fiction Contest.

The winning story will be published in the Jan/Feb 2014 edition of the magazine and on our website. The winning writer will receive a payment of $500. Five runners-up will be published on our website and receive payment of $100 each.

Helpful Hints:

“We like a good story! Entries should be character- or plot-driven pieces in any genre of fiction, but keep it readable, please! “We are looking for stories with universal appeal touching on shared experiences and themes that will resonate with readers from diverse backgrounds and experience,” says Joan SerVaas, publisher of The Saturday Evening Post.” Think local. The Post has historically played a role in defining what it means to be an American. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America, Past, Present, and Future.

Submission Guidelines:

Stories must be submitted by the author, previously unpublished (excluding personal websites and blogs), and 1,500-5,000 words in length. No extreme profanity or graphic sex scenes, please. All stories must be submitted online and should be in Microsoft Word format with the author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address on the first page. There is a $10 entry fee, which helps defray a portion of the cost of operating the contest.

Click on the “Fiction Contest Entry Form” link below to upload your story and make a secure payment. Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. (EST), July 1, 2013.

Fiction Contest Entry Form

Thanks in advance for participating! The Editors

We’re pleased to announce “Wolf” by Lucy Jane Bledsoe the winner of our 2013 Great American Fiction Contest! Click here to read the prize-winning fiction from our winner and six runners-up.

- See more at: http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/fiction-contest#sthash.sEifrf2J.dpuf

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Competition, Contest, Kudos, magazine, marketing, opportunity Tagged: Charlotte Bennardo, Natalie Zaman, Saturday Evening Post Contest, Sirenz

3 Comments on Something Very Cool and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST GREAT AMERICAN FICTION CONTEST, last added: 6/13/2013
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25. illustration friday~children

i thought i'd share my sketches from the winter cover i did for SFC magazine last year. nothing like a little ring around the rosy with a group of children...and frosty of course ;)

seriously winter obsessed....i need to move to the arctic!

0 Comments on illustration friday~children as of 6/13/2013 11:55:00 AM
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