Saturday, March 31, 2012

Winners & Outside the Lines

The winners of the 2 How-tos giveaway are:

Robin Bayne, who wins Laura Oliver's The Story Within, and who likes Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.

Samantha, who wins Bonnie Neubauer's Take Ten for Writers, and whose favorite writing how-to is Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon.

Ladies, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to information to, and I'll get these prizes out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in.

The first quarter of 2012 is coming to a close today, and I've been looking back to see how well I've done with my theme of coloring outside the lines this year. I think I've gotten off to a good start; I did a lot of new-for-me things as well as things I love with the release of Nightborn, and the results were positive and fun. On the diet front I've successfully given up sugar altogether and (combined with the fallout from the jaw problem) have lost 15 pounds since January. My 1000 cards project stands at 277 finished to date, so I've been keeping up there.

As for the immediate future, I signed up for an online art class that starts in mid-April. I wanted to do this for several reasons: 1) it was inexpensive, 2) the instructor is teaching techniques in a medium I love, 3) I've never taken an online class, and 4) this is really coloring outside the lines for me.

The last time I was an art student I was regularly sent to detention (not by the art teacher, who actually liked me, but by every other teacher I had.) I have since learned to shut my mouth -- well, most of the time -- but I've never gotten over my aversion to teachers and classrooms. It's a stupid attitude for someone who loves to learn, and it's time I moved past it, which is another reason why I'm dipping my toe back into the educational waters.

If this wasn't enough stress, I'm also entering a piece in an upcoming art quilt challenge. I didn't pick an easy one because of course that would be the smart thing to do. If it were a traditional quilting challenge I would feel confident; I've been making patchwork quilts for twenty years and I'm pretty good at it. But I've only recently gotten into art quilts, and to date I've made only about a dozen. Half of those were failures ranging from pitiful to spectacular.

Thing is, I've come up with a simple technique to solve a major headache with traditional and non-traditional quilting, and I want to share it with other quilters. There's no better way to do that than by using it in a piece and entering a challenge.

I'm cautiously excited about taking the online art class. I started assembling my supply list yesterday and I didn't cave into the urge to cancel my enrollment. Also, I know if I can handle a virtual class without messing up or being kicked out of it, then the next step would be to try taking a real-world course. Maybe a beginner's class in photography, since I really know nothing about it other than what I've taught myself with a point-and-shoot. So while I'm suffering through the inevitable pre-class nerves, I have a more distant goal in mind to keep me moving along.

The art quilt challenge is a bit worse. I'm up against the best art quilters out there who have been doing this daily for years, so the odds are extremely good that I'm not even going to be noticed. I think about that, and all my past failures, every time I sit down to work on my piece. While it seems kind of pointless to try, I really believe in this technique of mine, and the results are pretty cool. If I don't place in this challenge, the next thing I could try is a more traditional one, where I would have more of a shot at getting some attention.

When a writing sub op catches your eye, or you consider preparing a novel proposal for a publisher, you'll think of a million reasons not to do it. There are so many writers out there, and at least half are better at it than you. The odds are most definitely against you. You've probably racked up enough rejections to feel beaten before you even start counting words or composing that cover letter. Sanity dictates that you stick to what you know and don't cross any lines into unknown territory. I understand. Been there. Done that. Ten years in a row.

What always kept me going back to the submission list -- and still keeps me at the keyboard every day -- is the thought of all the great writers who never were. How many wonderful stories have we lost to fear and self-doubt? I believe for every Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling on the market there are a dozen just like them who will never be known or their work read. The manuscripts for their amazing novels will sit on a hard drive or gather dust on a shelf until they're deleted or tossed out. This because they didn't think they were any good, and/or they were too afraid to try. Or they tried a few times, and failed, and gave up.

On a more personal level, I also think about a writer of mine who spent years getting ready to write his first novel. We talked about it a lot, and he had the kind of talent and ideas it takes to get into print. I knew he would make it. I just knew. He saved every penny, thought it through, organized, took off from work and prepared to go the distance. He was well aware of his competition and the odds against him, but he was ready. He was so happy, so excited . . . and then he died in an accident, and his novel died with him. So when I think about giving up on writing (or anything) I can almost hear him in the back of my head saying, "You're kidding me, right?"

What are you doing to color outside your lines? What would you like to do? What's keeping you from doing it? Let us know in comments.

Friday, March 30, 2012

2 How-Tos

The cover art for The Story Within ~ New Insights and Inspiration for Writers by Laura Oliver convinced me to pick it up, and I thought it was a pretty interesting read. It has a bit of a rocky start, but once you get past that there's much info to peruse. The author has a solid teaching voice but never drones on and on or gets too boring; I actually read the whole thing cover to cover. Few of the problems I find specific to writing genre were addressed, but I never once felt like the author was spitting on me, so it may be of use to someone who likes the lit stuff. And yes, she definitely has a literary attitude, but she's not obnoxious about it. If you're looking to beautify your writing, get more down-in-the-dirt honest, or explore your secret memoirist/creative nonfic/literary side, then this is could be the right how-to book for you.

Bonnie Neubauer's Take Ten for Writers has my vote for the book you should give that writer friend (or yourself) when they're/you're stuck for ideas, strangled by writer's block or otherwise not producing. I test-drove this one by working through a couple of the exercises, and they do take only ten minutes, and you do come up with some new ideas. The instructions on how to use the book are a little overly-complicated -- the user blindly picks a number between 1 and 10 and that choice decides the subject of the exercise -- which may initially discourage, but it's worth plowing through to get to the writing challenges. As with her Write-Brain Workbook the author incorporates lots of interesting photos, graphics and other visual special effects to keep the content lively. The thing I like best about this author's how-to books is that they're fun and serious at the same time, and this one is as entertaining as it is useful, so you don't feel like you're exercising the muse.

I'd like to pass my copies along to another writer (both have been read once but are in pristine condition), so if you're interested in comments to this post name which book you'd like to win, along with another writing how-to book you find useful (or if you can't think of one, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, March 30th, 2012. I'll draw two name from everyone who participates, and send the winners their choice of either Laura Oliver's The Story Within or Bonnie Neubauer's Take Ten for Writers, along with a surprise. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Off to Write

I have to unplug today so I can take care of some stuff for one of my editors. So that your stop here was not entirely wasted, here's an interesting video essay about writers by poet Kate Greenstreet (for those of you at work, this one is narrated and has background music and sounds):

Cloth from Kate Greenstreet on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lost Works

There's an interesting blog post here about what books authors never chose to (or were unable to) publish say about them. While fans of a deceased author often go into raptures over posthumously-published works, I find them a bit gruesome and often inappropriate (especially when during their lifetime the author made it clear they were never to be published.) Yet I was enchanted to hear about the discovery of some music written by Mozart when he was a child, so maybe I should adjust my own attitude.

Obviously writers should destroy anything they don't want to survive them, but this lost works post plus the Mozart discovery made me think of another way to handle posthumous publication. What if you destroyed what you didn't want published (which would really be smart, btw) but also deliberately left behind unpublished/unknown works that you do want published, either to finish works that were never wrapped up and/or to possibly provide some extra income for your heirs? In a way it would be a creative variety of writer's life insurance. It wouldn't be a bad way to bid your readers farewell, either.

I'm leaving behind enough unpublished works that I think the life insurance angle is pretty well-covered, but I also wouldn't mind writing a book and arranging to have it released posthumously for free on the internet. I can think of several ideas that would be cool to leave behind in the free library after I go on to the next place.

Writers, have you considered what should be done with your unpubbed work after your demise? Have you come up with any creative solutions to the dilemma? Let us know in comments.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Next Stop Irony

I love the cover of this map for the London Underground (click to see larger version), which was obviously designed by someone with a wry sense of humor. Wouldn't the journey be so much simpler if we could pick up a map that shows us in advance all of life's endless interchanges?

In the real world we can only wish, but in story worlds we plotters map out in advance what happens to our characters. We usually do this by writing outlines, synopses, chapter summaries, storyboards, index cards, filling in templates and what have you (I've gone so far as to outline a story like a wiring diagram.) I've never thought of mapping out a story like an actual map, probably because cartography is a beautiful, complex art that is completely beyond me. If you think of story like a simple line map for an underground or subway system, however, it seems far less intimidating.

The transit lines would be characters, I think, and the interchanges (stops along the way) would have to mark different points or elements in the story. To make it a useful tool, I'd want to map it out chronologically, starting the lines at chapter one and ending at the final chapter. One could draw/superimpose them on an actual real world map (assuming that would somehow be helpful), but to keep things from getting too complicated I'm going to start with a plain white background.

Here's my first try using three characters and the settings where they intersect in Nightborn:

This could be a lot of fun to do with story elements other than locations or settings, too. A map with transit lines of all the novel characters and what makes them intersect or split away from each other would be fun to put together. Or imagine exploring the progression of a relationship between two characters this way while using the interchanges as events, emotional shifts, the effects of other characters on the relationship, etc.

I don't think you have to use a photo shop program for this; you can draw it in colored markers/pencils on paper, or use a whiteboard with those dry-erase markers (which would probably be easier to revise.) If you're really creative you could probably do something similar with ribbons, push pins and a big cork board, too.

I'm going to keep tinkering with this and see what I can put together. In the meantime, what do you guys think? Would this be something that would work as an outlining tool for you, or is it too weird to be practical?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sub Ops Ten

Ten Things About Submission Opportunities

Abomination Magazine is looking for "submissions of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy between 1,000 to 7,500 words in length. We want you to scare us. If your story doesn’t incite dread, give us nightmares, or make us feel extremely unsettled, it’s probably not for us. Gore is acceptable, but not at the cost of story." Payment: one cent per word. No reprints, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details.

New lit e-zine Atomic Avarice " seeking work that is inspired by notions of civil disobedience and revolutionary (evolutionary) ideology for its debut edition. Work can be science fiction, fantasy (no unicorns please), horror, prose or whatever genre best suits your passion. Non-fiction work is encouraged. Please keep in mind that this is not a call for disgruntled, political banter or violent, ignorant rants but a rally to challenge the status-quo of the complacent witness with intelligence, creativity, and spirit. In short, Atomic Avarice wants to know if you know you’re alive." Length: "Flash Fiction – 750 words or less; Prose/Fiction – 2000 words or less; Poetry – 500 words or less; Editorials – 1500 words or less"; Payment: one cent per word. Query on reprints, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details. PBW notes: I'm striking this op off the list due to the report by a writer of nonpayment; see details in comments.

E-book publisher Eggplant Literary Productions is looking for novella-length fiction: "All types of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction and horror) are welcome and reprints will be considered; however, you should query first with story and publication information before submitting a reprint. Short story collections, full length novels (40,000 words or more), poetry collections or non-speculative fiction novellas will not be considered for open submissions" Length: 20 – 40K; Payment: "$250 (USD) advance + 25% royalty of list price". See guidelines for more details.

Eggplant Literary Productions also has an interesting open call for short pieces: "Inspired by such fantasy libraries as those found in Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, Eggplant Literary Productions presents Miscellanea: a transdimensional library. The shelves will be filled with books of the other: books that have never existed and that haven’t been written yet. What I am looking for are excerpts from such books. I’m looking for works 300 words in length or shorter. These must be works that have not been published elsewhere, that will not be published for the 6 months they’ll be featured on the library. I’m keeping my expectations wide open with this project: excerpts from fiction works, otherworldly recipes, snatches of poetry, faux reviews of imagined books, articles from cryptozoological texts, parapsychology manuals, works written in fairy languages, pictograms or mathematical equations, footnotes, even dedications are fair game. Let’s get creative here." Payment: $10 flat rate upon acceptance. See guidelines for more details.

Horror on the Installment Plan, a weekly subscription-based ezine, is looking for themed stories: "They must be linked to one of given themes. You need to register to access the themes. I want my authors to be registered because I'm going to write interviews and feature many of them online in the Purgatory Blog." Length: less than 3K (firm); Payment: 5 cents per word on publication, no reprints, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details.

In Fabula-Divinos ~ the tale-tellers a monthly e-zine and annual antho, is looking for stories to workshop for publication strictly from writers who are as yet unpublished: "Speculative in nature (that is, science fiction, fantasy or horror)" or "a meld of genres eg fantasy romance, science fiction crime." Length: less than 2k; Payment: $100.00 AU. No reprints (obviously), electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details.

Liquid Silver Books is looking for hero-centered novels: "When you think of classic romance, what stories stick in your mind? What do all the best-loved stories have in common? We think that special something is a Hero. Liquid Silver Books is looking for stories that feature Heroes. Whether these Heroes are on the nightly news, or unnoticed, or hidden as they go about their work, they all deserve that one person who’s not only their perfect partner, but who also brings them a very special “happily ever after.” These stories’ protagonists must be strong and capable, but should not be perfect – they should feel real, complex, with normal faults and problems, and they should learn important lessons about themselves as they fight to overcome the odds. There can be strong secondary characters, but the building relationship between the protagonists while they battle an intense and gripping conflict or villain must be the main thrust of the story. Heroes stories can fall within any heat level, fitting our Platinum, Sterling, Liquid, or Molten guidelines – see for more information on our heat levels. But they are romance stories, not erotica – there must be a strong and compelling story linking everything together, not a series of sex scenes. They must be at least 15K, and can take place in any setting, from small town America to the vast light years of outer space. They can include paranormal elements, such as shifters or alternate worlds, but the underlying Heroes theme must ring true. Do you have a larger-than-life Hero fighting against all odds in your latest manuscript? If so, we want to see it. We think strong ethics and leadership are in greater need today than ever, and we want to tell stories that showcase these qualities and entice our readers to add new books to their list of favorites." Offers 35% royalties on net sales, see guidelines for more details.

On the Premises is holding a contest for humorous fiction: "Humorous prose is not taken seriously in today’s literary world. We aim to rectify that. We dare you to write a short piece of fiction that makes us laugh, or at least smile. If you can make us laugh and think, or laugh and feel deeply about someone or something, all the better. We will not accept parodies of another author’s specific fictional characters or world(s). No exceptions! Any genre except children’s fiction and exploitative sex or horror is fine. Our sense of humor is broad and forgiving, but you might want to read our special tips for issue 17 on our “Hints for Winning” page anyway." Length: 1-5K, Prizes: Prizes according to Ralan are $180/140/100 & 0-3 HMs@$40 [which I'll interpret as $180.00 for 1st place, $140.00 for second, $100.00 for third, and $40.00 for a maximum of three honorable mentions] No reprints, electronic submissions only, see contest page for more details. Deadline: May 31st, 2012.

New YA literary magazine One Teen Storyis looking for "...great short stories written for the young adult audience ages 14 and up. We’re open to all genres of literary fiction between 2,000 and 4,500 words. Because of our format, we can only accept stories that are strong enough to stand alone." Payment: $500.00, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details.

The Saturday Evening Post is sponsoring their first annual Great American Fiction contest: "The winning story will be published in the Jan/Feb 2013 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." As for what they want: "Entries must be character- or plot-driven stories in any genre of fiction that falls within the Post’s broad range of interest—one guided by the publication’s mission: Celebrating America, Past, Present, and Future." Length: "1,500-5,000 words in length", no reprints, electronic submissions only, see contest page for more details on content and format. They're charging a $10 entry fee, which greatly annoys me, but for some of you the opportunity and exposure might be worth ten bucks. Deadline: July 1st, 2012.

Most of the above market listings were found among the market listings over at as well as the forums at

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Signature Colors for Characters

While I was reading the April/May 2012 issue of Quilting Arts magazine I was tempted by their reader challenge to create a "signature color" piece. Making an interesting monochromatic quilt takes some imagination, especially if your signature color is dark like mine (violet), but it wouldn't be a challenge if it were easy.

I like building color palettes for my characters, and color also plays a major role in my storytelling, so I wondered if any of my characters have a signature color. Jayr from Evermore came immediately to mind; I used bronze and violet and tangerine in her color palette, and when it came time to suggest a color theme for her novel's cover art I went with violet because it was my favorite of the three. Violet is definitely Jayr's color. Green played an integral part in building Gabriel's character in Night Lost, as did scarlet when I put together Lucan's world in Dark Need. I never consciously picked out one color for signature purposes but I often gravitated toward one in the process of telling the story. Certain shades of the same color can be used for very different characters who share the same connection, which is probably why royal blue will always remind me of Valentin Jaus while ice blue makes me think of Thierry Durand.

You don't have to pick out a signature color for your characters, of course, but if the idea intrigues you then you can almost let the character make the choice for you. A happy-go-lucky soul is probably not going to have black as their signature color, just as a dark and brooding type would likely not surround themselves in sunshine yellow (maybe if they were being tortured.) Colors have associations for all of us, so let the character's personality and preferences guide you. Also keep in mind that colors can be like armor, and the colors we show the world are not necessarily the colors we use in private. A goth who always wears black and projects a tough image might have a home bedecked in pink velvet and poufy white lace, as I discovered when I was writing Nightbred and got to know Christian Lang.

Color doesn't have to be the character's signature, either. I've used signature scents for all my Darkyn characters, for example, and signature tattoos for all my Kyndred people. Signature = symbol, so the possibilities are really endless.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This and That

Some links for weekend browsing:

Thanks to author Elizabeth S. Craig, we writers finally have our own search engine: Writers Knowledge Base.

Over at Books Love You I have a little tribute to The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, a book that helped me through losing my dad.

And have you ever wondered what it would be like to tour the city of Rome in 320 CE? Now you (virtually) can:

Rome Reborn 2.2: A Tour of Ancient Rome in 320 CE from Bernard Frischer on Vimeo.

Added: Forgot to give credit to Gerard over at The Presurfer, which is where I found the video link. (Sorry, G.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Three Mags

Since I haven't bought any writer mags in a while I thought I'd invest in a couple and see if they'd gotten any better or worse.

The March/April 2012 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine features a guide to writers retreats, how to choose the best residency, expert application advice, writing adventures and inspirational destinations. If you're lit and into it I imagine it's a great issue; I don't travel so it was wasted on me. I did find a bigger selection of no-fee sub ops (the best of which I posted yesterday) and there is an excellent article by author Maura Kelly on writer envy that should be required reading for anyone who can't kill their green-eyed monsters.

The April 2012 issue of The Writer Magazine had more appeal for the working writer with a section called The Fiction Answer Book that had some good advice, particularly for new writers. I also liked an excellent article featuring twenty ways to get instant writing motivation by Luc Reid; I may try some of these myself the next time I'm feeling like dodging my writing space. I was disappointed to see the Markets section had been devoted to conferences and workshops and offered sub op info for only four food magazine markets. There were also far too many first-person/my writing journey pieces packed in one issue.

I haven't bought an issue of Writer's Digest in fifteen years; this because back when I was unpubbed and clueless I responded to one of their ads that resulted in me nearly being swindled by Edit Ink. Their March/April 2012 issue reassured me that I have not missed much. Charles J. Shields has some decent advice on how to research like a pro, and the tri-authored "Mastering Voice" section was interesting even while I didn't agree with most of it (granted, voice is probably the toughest topic in the writing world to nail down.) I also enjoyed reading the long interview with author Mary Kay Andrews, enough that now I'll probably buy one of her books now. The rest of the content was either shilling Writer's Digest products, promoting Writer's Digest contests, or peddling the same old content dressed up with the same old carnival barker hoopla(Learn from the Pros! Secrets of Success! Transform Your Fiction!) Tiresome, really.

I think I'll look around the internet for some decent low- or no-cost e-zines. Does anyone subscribe to or hang out at any place online that they can recommend as a decent market/info/how-to resource for working writers? Please let us know in comments.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Sub Ops Ten

Ten Things About Submission Opportunities

Arkansas Arts Council offers individual artists fellowships of up to $4,000.00 annually to Arkansas writers in alternating genres; in 2012 the awards will be given for novels. Writers who are at least 25 years of age and have lived in Arkansas for at least one year are eligible. Submit 15 to 20 pages of a novel, a one-page synopsis of the work, an artist statement and resume by April 20th, 2012. No entry fee; see web site for more details.

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council awards grants of up to $2,500.00 three times per year to allow Minnesota writers to take advantage of a specific arts opportunity, as well as fellowships of $2,500.00 to $5,000.00 annually, to poets, fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers who are U.S. citizens, at least 18 years of age and have lived in Aitkin, Carlton, cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake or St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota for at least six months are eligible. For the grants submit up to ten pages of poetry or fifteen pages of prose, a description of the opportunity or project, and a resume by March 30th, 2012; for the fellowships submit up to ten pages of poetry or fifteen pages of prose, a work statement and a resume by March 30th, 2012. No entry fee; see web site for more details.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation offers the Ernest J. Gaines Award, a prize of $10,000.00 given annually to an African American author for a book of fiction published during the previous year. Submit ten copies of a short story collection, a novel or a novella published in 2011 by April 30th, 2012. No entry free, see web site for the required entry form and more details.

Gemini Magazine is holding a short story contest: "Grand prize $1,000.00, second place $100.00, three honorable mentions. All Five Finalists Will Be Published in The June 2012 Issue of Gemini. No restrictions on content, style, genre or length. Flashes, novel excerpts, experimental, mainstream, literary, noir, romance—all types of short fiction are welcome. Simply send your best unpublished work by email or snail mail. We publish both new and established writers." There is an entry fee for this one, but it's $4.00 so it's not outrageous; see web site for more details. Deadline: March 31, 2012.

Lilith Magazine "welcomes unsolicited submissions of high-quality, lively writing: reportage, opinion pieces, memoirs, fiction and poetry on subjects of interest to Jewish women. Our features usually run no longer than 2,500 words. News briefs are 500 words or less. When submitting, please make sure your name and contact information appear on each page of the manuscript, and include a short bio: one to two sentences, written in the third person. We accept submissions year-round. While we prefer online submissions through this website, we continue to accept hard-copy submissions as well." [PBW notes: No info on payment, but it's an interesting market so it might be worth querying.] See guidelines page for more details.

Passaic County Community College offers the Paterson Fiction Prize of $1,000.00 given annually for a novel or short story collection published in the previous year. Publishers may submit books published in 2011 by April 1st, 2012. No entry fee, see web site for required entry form and more details.

Washington Center for the Book offers the Washington State Book Awards, prizes of $500.00 given annually for a book of poetry, fiction and nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) by writers who were born in Washington tate or have lived in the state for at least three years. Publishers or authors may submit six copies of books published in 2011 by April 1st, 2012. No entry free, see web site for required entry form and more details. is holding their 11th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest: "Total cash prizes of $3,600 will be awarded, with a top prize of $1,500. This contest is free to enter. We accept entries online. Click here to submit your entry now. There is no fee to submit to the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Poets of all nations may enter. Your poem must be in English (inspired gibberish also accepted). Please enter only one poem during the submission period. Your poem may be of any length. Both published and unpublished work are welcome. First Prize of $1,500 and publication on (over one million page views per year); Second Prize of $800 and publication on; Third Prize of $400 and publication on; Twelve honorable mentions will receive $75 each and publication on" See guidelines for more details; deadline: April 1st, 2012.

Wordrunner e-Chapbooks has an open call for their June 2012 poetry echapbook; guidelines for which "will be posted by March 25. Submissions will be open from April 1 through May 21, 2012. General guidelines: At least one-fourth of any collection should be previously unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but only one submission per author." Payment: $65; they will also be posting open calls for Anthology and Memoir echapbooks later this year; see guidelines for more details.

The Writer's Center offers Emerging Writer Fellowships given annually to poets, fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers to give readings at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Fellows within a 250-mile radius of the center will receive a $250.00 honorarium, and all others will receive a $500.00 honorarium. Poets with up to three books and prose writers with up to two books published are eligible. For fellowships in fall 2012, submit up to ten pages of poetry or sixteen pages of prose, a cirriculum vitae, and a letter of interest by April 15th, 2012. No entry fee; see web site for more details.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back Online, Sub Ops

Hello, internet. Nice to see you again.

Now that I have a more reliable connection, here are a couple of sub ops I wanted to pass along:

The LBA Crime Fiction Competition: "Get represented by one of the UK's top literary agencies. Circalit, the crowd-sourcing platform for writers, has teamed up with literary agency, Luigi Bonomi Associates, to find talented new crime fiction writers. LBA is one of the UK’s top literary agencies and well known for representing authors such as David Gibbins, Alan Titchmarsh,
James May, Richard Hammond and many others. Now Thomas Stofer, an agent at LBA, is on the lookout for crime fiction novels to turn into international best sellers. All you need is the first three chapters of your crime fiction work plus a detailed synopsis." Enter for free at here. Deadline: April 30th, 2012.

Also from Circalit, an open call for their short story anthology: "Circalit has announced the publication of a short story anthology for Autumn 2012. The Circalit Anthology will be read by over 10,000 subscribers and will be available in paperback and as an eBook. Any short story uploaded onto Circalit will automatically be considered for the anthology. Simply create an account at and upload your short stories to be eligible." Deadline: March 31st, 2012.

So what's happening with you guys? Let us know in comments.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Technical Difficulties

We're having some problems with our internet connection, so I'm effectively unplugged until the service provider can figure out what's wrong. They tell me it should only take a day or two, but I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this causes.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Carry On

I'm taking the weekend off to attend a quilt show out of town, and will try to take lots of pics to post to the photoblog. Meanwhile, here's the lovely story behind Keep Calm and Carry On, the beloved slogan from a rare British WWII poster found by a bookstore owner.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The winner of the Discoveries Week Wrapup giveaway is:

Jennifer, who wrote: I'm not sure I could pick a favorite but if I did I think I'd say "whichever one I am reading at the moment."

Jennifer, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can get your package out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in and making this week such fun for me. And that wraps it up. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Discoveries Week Wrapup: The Darkyn

Before we get to the last of my release week giveaways, let me take care of some winner announcements:

The winner of the Discoveries Week: Marjorie M. Liu giveaway is

CrystalGB, who wrote I always go back to the first romance genre (historicals) I read when I need comforting. I can escape to another time and place in those books.

The winner of the Discoveries Week: Rob Thurman giveaway is:

Vom Marlowe, who wrote I love audiobooks. My favorite is The Last Camel Died at Noon, written by Elizabeth Peters and read by Barbara Rosenblatt.

Crystal and Vom, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can get your prizes out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in.

Wrapping up a release week is always a little bittersweet -- you're tired but happy, frazzled but relieved, and tapped out but quite thankful. According to my editor Nightborn did not make the Times list, which I suspected would happen, but the novel has made a very decent showing on Bookscan's BSL at #34. Nightborn also came in at #49 on the B&N overall mass market bestseller list and #11 on their romance mm list. Thanks to everyone who went out and bought the book; this was all your doing.

As my big finish for release week I'd like to pay tribute to my own Darkyn universe. It's a marvelous place filled with wonders, and I am delighted and so grateful to be writing in it again. To celebrate my return I've put together this prize package with lots of Nightborn and Darkyn goodies.

If you'd like a chance to win my wrapup giveaway, in comments to this post name your favorite Darkyn or Kyndred novel (or if you don't have one, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, March 15, 2012. I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner signed copies of all seven novels in the original Darkyn series, all four novels in the Kyndred series, and Nightborn, the first novel in my Lords of the Darkyn trilogy. The winner will also receive a beautiful emerald tote bag handmade by murf56dubois, a window garden kit of French herbs to grow, several Darkyn-inspired BookLoops, an adorable stuffed bear and her little toy horse, a writer's words mug from Author Outfitters, and a lovely quilted apron like the one that inspired one particular scene in Nightborn. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Elsewhere Spilling Secrets

Today I'm over at Under the Covers book blog revealing for the first time a look at my glamorous life as an author and all the delights that I enjoyed on the release day for Nightborn last week. Stop in if you have a chance and you may win a signed copy of the novel along with this lovely tote and some other goodies.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Discoveries Week: Rob Thurman

The winner of the Discoveries Week: Patricia Briggs giveaway is:

Stephanie, who wrote: I read as a reward. Sometimes I start a new craft/sewing project (though this usually backfires as something else generally ends up needing desperately repaired, sidelining the project).

Stephanie, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can get your package out to you. Thanks to everyone for sharing all the great ideas on how we can better reward ourselves.

Finding out that Nightborn would also be released as an audio book was like getting a very early Christmas gift. I love audio books and take at least one with me whenever I go on a road trip so I can listen to a story while I'm driving. Back when I first got serious about my own work I'd borrow audio books from the library in order to study how other authors handled certain elements like dialogue and pacing, which for learning purposes are often better heard than read.

Also, it's just beyond cool to hear your work being read out loud by a talented voice actor. They take the storytelling to a whole different level.

Some writers like Ariana Franklin and Anne McCaffrey have writing styles that are particularly suited to audio performance; Mistress of the Art of Death and Powers That Be are two of my favorite audio books of all time. I also want to get all of Rob Thurman's novels on audio as her writing practically shrieks to be read out loud. Speaking of Rob, Doubletake, her latest Cal Leandros novel is being released this month, and I know I've hooked so many of you on that series that you'll have to run to the bookstore for your copy.

Or you might get one here, along with an audio edition of Nightborn (the first copy just arrived today in the mail, and I'm keeping my promise to do a give away.) In comments to this post, name your favorite audio book (or if you don't have one, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, March 13, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner this elegant tote that I also found during my travels, packed with an unsigned copy of Rob Thurman's Doubletake, the audio edition of my novel Nightborn, the Artist's edition of Magnetic Poetry, a scroll edition of my BookLoop and some other goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Discoveries Week: Marjorie M. Liu

The winner of the Discoveries Week: Jessa Slade giveaway is:

Allison, who wrote: I'm seconding Charlie Huston. I'm still blown away by the fifth book of his Joe Pitt novels, and I know it's 90% because of all the dominoes he set up in the first four books. I'm probably sixthing Jim Butcher, and I have to say, Terry Pratchett is still my favorite storyteller in long and short form. Until him, I didn't realize you could have so much fun with short stories.

Allison, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can get your package out to you. Thanks to everyone for exposing all the other storytellers out there with mad skills.

I've already mentioned how stressful things were while I was in production on Nightborn, what with the change of editor and the loss of my father and other unhappy events. I owe a tremendous debt to the family members, friend and colleagues who were kind, understanding, sensitive and did everything they could to help me during a very tough year. You guys were great, too; I got so many wonderful e-mails from you filled with the kind words and prayers I needed to keep me going.

No matter how miserable you are, books are always waiting to take you away, and give you something else to think about besides your problems. One set of novels I took with me everywhere last year was Marjorie M. Liu's Hunter Kiss series. Just before A Wild Light came out in August I decided to reread the entire series, and that's why Maxine and Grant and the boys were with me during the worst of times. They became like my own personal garrison of hope, and when things got bleak, they brought me comfort and kept despair from overwhelming me.

For these reasons I planned to give away a complete set of Hunter Kiss novels when Nightborn was released. I had hoped to make a quilt for the giveaway, too, but unfortunately my work schedule prevented me from committing to any big creative projects. So during my travels I kept an eye out until I found a 54" square lap quilt that reminded me of Marjorie and her characters, and how there is always beauty to be found out there, even in the dark.

If you'd like to win the lot, in comments to this post name an author or book you've read who has helped you get through the worst of times (or if you can't think of any, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner unsigned copies of Marjorie M. Liu's Hunter Kiss series: The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls, A Wild Light, The Mortal Bone as well as the Wild Things anthology in which the very first Hunter Kiss short story appeared, a signed copy of my novel Private Demon, the beauty in the dark quilt, a Poetry mug from Author Outfitters, a BookLoop with a miniature of Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" along with some other goodies, all neatly stowed in a "See the Beauty in the Little Things" reusable shopping bag (once again, please note that the bowl of apples on the table are not included; they're for my kids.) This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW in the past.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Discoveries Week: Patricia Briggs

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a fat quarter (an 18" X 22" piece of fabric) of what looked like an Asian golden floral silk brocade. I was delighted as I unrolled it, at least until I saw the wrong side and then started swearing.

It wasn't silk brocade. It was satin brocade.

You cannot know the true demon from hell satin brocade is until you try cutting, sewing or tailoring it. This fabric won't stay put; it moves like it's alive. Sometimes, I swear, it moves on its own. It also frays like crazy; just turning an untreated seam can reduce it into a fistful of dandelion fluff. Pinking doesn't help; you have to burn it (which turns it into synthetic sludge) or use a gallon of fray blocker. Sewing machines like to eat it. When you work on it by hand, you have to use silk thread and the tiniest of quilters' between needles or it snags and puckers and begins to look diseased.

"Don't sweat it," my friend said when I called her to ask why she was tormenting me with this evil, evil material. "Just cut it up for your next Victorian."

Cut it up? I wanted to burn it. But she was right: it would be more manageable if I reduced it to some fill-in patches for a crazy quilt. The problem is I've never been one to take the easy road. "If I make this into something on its own," I warned her, "you have to buy me three yards of silk brocade."

"Two," she said, "and I want pictures."

As with sewing satin brocade, returning to the Darkyn universe wasn't an instant or simple process. Whenever I stop writing in a universe I mentally pack up and store away all the things I actively thought about while working on it; this keeps my mind-clutter to a minimum. Thanks to the Kyndred books I hadn't completely disengaged myself from the Darkyn, but I still had to do a lot of rereading and reviewing. It's a bit odd, too, when you have to research your own books for details you can't recall or have doubts on. I'm also glad I kept all my old Darkyn novel notebooks. I wrote down tons of important info in them, none of which appeared in the books.

Another author making a different leap this month is Patricia Briggs, whose Alpha and Omega series is moving from paperback into hardcover with the release of her latest book Fair Game. I haven't read this one yet; I've been saving it as my reward for surviving Nightborn's release week. That's not been easy, either; I really love this series and can't wait to read the latest edition. As popular as it is no doubt many of you feel the same way.

To celebrate Patricia's move to hardcover I have an extra copy of Fair Game to give away. If you'd like to win it, in comments to this post name something you do to reward yourself for hard work (or if you can't think of anything, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Monday, March 12, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner and unsigned hardcover copy of Patricia Brigg's Fair Game, a signed copy of my novel Dark Need, a "Little Calm" mini-kit, a font mug from Author Outfitters, a BookLoop with a miniature of Gustav Klimpt's "The Kiss" along with some other goodies, all neatly stowed in this lovely crystal-beaded tote* handmade by yours truly (please note that the bowl of apples on the table are not included; they're for my kids.) This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW in the past.

*Remember that wretched satin brocade? That's what I used to make the tote for this giveaway.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Discoveries Week: Jessa Slade

Losing an editor is never fun, but you get over it; even if it's an editor you've worked with for half your career. It is a bit tougher if that editor also happens to be the only one you've ever worked with on the bestselling novel series of your career, but after you hyperventilate your way through the anxiety attacks, and stop waking up in cold sweats at 3 a.m., you can adjust. Mostly. The truth is that's the worst case scenario.

Unless, of course, that editor you've worked with for half your career on the bestselling series you've ever written quits a month before you restart that series. Then you're probably going to need therapy. Or just give me a yell, because that's what happened to me right before I turned in the manuscript for Nightborn.

I tend to make therapists cry, so I decided it would be more sensible to stop freaking out and do something to manage the disaster before it turned epic. I had to find a new editor for the trilogy; someone who could step in and handle a well-established universe of 13+ books, who would get me as a writer, and who would be enthusiastic about what I was doing. Aka the editor every writer wants. I also had to do this before I was shuffled off to another editor who might not be such a great match.

To cut to the chase, I did my research, put in my request, and was fortunate enough to be assigned to that editor. We've been a great match, and I can say with certainty that Nightborn would not be the novel it is without her.

Another author with a new title out in March is Jessa Slade, who has impressed me with her work since her debut novel in her Marked Souls series. Jessa is a wickedly talented storyteller who puts together the most absorbing characters and effortlessly brings them to life on the page. I also think she's one of the most original world-builders in the genre (and Jessa doesn't know this but her series is one of the main reasons I asked to be assigned to her editor.) To date my favorite Marked Souls book is Vowed in Shadows, but her March release Darkness Undone just landed on my doorstep yesterday, and from the first chapter I've read it looks like it might take the top spot.

If you'd like to check out Jessa's latest, in comments to this post name an author who you think has mad skills as a storyteller by midnight EST on Saturday, March 10, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner an unsigned copy of Darkness Undone by Jessa Slade, a signed copy of my very first Darkyn novel If Angels Burn, a hand-quilted fully reversible Light & Darkness book tote (designed and handmade by yours truly; here's a shot with the reverse side showing), a blue crystal bookmark pen, an eco-friendly blank journal, a writer's words mug from Author Outfitters and some other goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.


The winner of the Discoveries Week: Stephanie Tyler giveaway is:

donnas, who commented: "I love the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong for shifters. Clay, Elena and Jeremy were one of my biggest introductions to the genre."

Donna, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to information to so I can get your package out to you. Thanks to everyone for all the great shifter novel recs, and stay tuned for the next giveaway, which I'll be posting later today.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Discoveries Week: Stephanie Tyler

The winner of the Discoveries Week: Shiloh Walker giveaway is:

Shrouded Heart, who can't wait to read Thea Harrison's Oracles Moon;

Shrouded Heart, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can get your prize package out to you. Thanks to everyone for joining in and making so many great March recs.

As much as I enjoy my Darkyn immortals, I think human characters can be just as much fun to write. Simone Derien, the female protagonist of Nightborn, is an extraordinary woman who wanted nothing more than an ordinary life of serenity and service at a French convent. To have it, she had to make a terrible bargain, but in the ten years since she's mostly forgotten about the price of her freedom. When a courier arrives at the convent with a message from one of the deadliest of Kyn assassins, Simone's promise comes due, and her quiet, peaceful life is suddenly gone forever.

While writing my Kyndred novels, I fell in love with other extraordinary humans much like Simone. No matter how powerful their gifts or heavy their burdens, the Kyndred always coveted most what the rest of us take for granted: our simple, ordinary lives. While we often admire and envy those who are exceptionally gifted, we rarely appreciate that deep down they're just like us, and want to be accepted and valued and loved for who they are, not what they do.

As one half of the Sydney Croft writing team, and author of her own Shadow Force and multiple SEAL novel series, Stephanie Tyler is already a very accomplished storyteller with wonderful range. This month she's debuting her first novel of the Eternal Wolf Clan, Dire Needs, a new paranormal romance series about the Dire Wolves, immortal shape-shifters battling an ancient enemy in the modern world. This story moves like lightning from the first paragraph, and has such vivid, wild characters that you're fully immersed in their dark and dangerous world within just a few pages. I think this is the most exciting debut series book being released this month, and definitely worth checking out.

Or you might win a copy from me, along with all four novels in my Kyndred series, an adorable stuffed pup named Scout, a writer's words mug from Author Outfitters, a black cameo edition of my BookLoop and some other goodies. If you'd like to win this bunch, in comments to this post name your favorite shifter book or series (or if you can't think of one, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, Thursday, March 8, 2012. I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner an unsigned copy of Stephanie Tyler's Dire Needs, signed copies of my Kyndred novels and the rest of the goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Discoveries Week: Shiloh Walker

As a writer I've been looking forward to March 2012 because of the release of Nightborn, which begins my new Darkyn trilogy. There's nothing quite like the delight of being able to write again in a universe you love. As a reader I couldn't wait for March to get here, either; I think this is going to be the best month of 2012 for great books by wonderfully talented series authors.

To celebrate both sides of March, help readers discover great series (new and established) and continue my 2012 theme of coloring outside the lines, I'm going to have a giveaway every day this week of my books along with books I love to read and some unusual discoveries.

Korvel, the male protagonist of Nightborn, is the kind of character a writer wrestles more than writes. Whenever he showed up in the original Darkyn series, he was a great secondary character: a man of strong convictions put in impossible situations; a warrior torn between unwavering honor and unrequited love; a veritable hub of conflict. He also tried to take over every story I had him in, so a lot of Korvel's scenes had to be ruthlessly trimmed back. Yet for all our power struggles I always appreciated Korvel for the drama he brought to my earlier stories. When I finally had the chance to focus on him and tell his story, I discovered he was also stubborn, reckless, fierce and occasionally pretty funny. I don't use the word valiant lightly, but in his story, Korvel earned it.

To discover other beautifully conflicted characters who are valiant in the most impossible situations, all you have to do is pick up a book by my pal Shiloh Walker. I recommend starting with her latest romantic suspense trilogy, the Ash novels, which are nonstop thrilling dramas that will keep you guessing until the end. As it happens her third and final book in the trilogy, If You Know Her debuts this week, and I've noted that the book stores are keeping her titles well-stocked, so you can usually find all three titles on the shelf.

Or you might get the trilogy from me, because today I'm giving away the whole set.

If you'd like to win, in comments to this post name a title being released in March that you're looking forward to reading (or if you can't think of one, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST tonight, March 7, 2012. I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner unsigned copies of Shiloh Walker's If You Hear Her, If You See Her, and If You Know Her, signed copies of Night Lost, Evermore and Stay the Night (these are the three books from the original Darkyn series in which Korvel appeared) my quilting discovery Eureka tote, a very cool You want drama? mug from Author Outfitters and some other goodies. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Korvel Arrives

This looks like a new release, but it's a bit more than that. Four years ago it was just a dream; one they tell us not to hope for in Publishing. On the cover is a fountain that I sat by in real life while I was (foolishly) dreaming of the story. Coincidence? Omen? Have no idea.

This novel and I have also been through a lot together, too. I had just sold it when I had to undergo eye surgery. My editor of seven years abruptly quit a month before I turned in the manuscript. I started production on the book just as my dad had a stroke. I worked on revisions while Dad was in hospice, and proofed the galleys right before his funeral service.

Every time I look at this book, though, I don't feel sad or depressed. What I remember is how the story stayed with me through the worst, and kept me focused whenever despair tried to drag me down into the abyss. I always talk about how we need to protect the work; oddly enough this time the work protected me. Nightborn grew from a dream to a hope to a reality, and then it became a steady beacon of light during some very dark times.

I am so proud of this novel that I wish I could give everyone a copy for free, but writing is how I earn my living, and for all that I give away, I do need to sell some work. You readers out there wanted more stories of the Darkyn, and now I've delivered. If you'd like me to keep writing them, then this book has to do well.

If you were planning to buy the book but haven't yet, please pick up a copy as soon as you have a chance (this week would be great, but anytime is appreciated.) If you like Paperback Writer, have found it helpful, lovon with all I do here, buying Nightborn is how you can show your support and provide funding for the blog. If you can't afford to buy a copy, please ask for the book at your local library; that is also a terrific way to help.

For all of the bloggers out there who have already helped by hosting me at your sites and/or otherwise spreading the word, and the readers who have already bought or requested the book, and/or have spread the word and encouraged others to check it out, thank you. I could not do this without you.

Bookseller links:

Tantor (audio book)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Zero Cost Ten

Ten Things You Can Have for Free

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

Bolide Free Slideshow Creator is "the smart software which saves a lot of your time and makes it super easy for you to create just amazing slideshow videos! This program helps you avoid uploading hundreds of photos from your summer holiday or birthday party or your friends´ wedding or some other celebration - instead you make only one stunning slideshow video which includes all your photos and even more! As you may guess, using Slideshow Creator you can not only combine photos into a movie with you and your friends in the lead role, but also add your comments and necessary notes. So, for each image you explain what is going on, who is there, where they are, why everybody is laughing and what has just happened before the photo was taken, etc. In other words, give as much information as you find necessary and suitable for the situation. Moreover, you are welcome to choose from a variety of awesome transition effects and the best music you find suitable for the shot. The program has all possible transition effects for every occasion! Be it a children´s party or a get-together for the staff, you are going to find something to your taste and make your photo slideshow video great!" (OS: Windows XP/Vista/7)

GloboNote is a virtual sticky notes program that offers a lot of unusual features: Set Alarms. Remind yourself of important events. Set recurring alarm, play custom sound(*.wav, *.aiff or *.mp3); Build-in Calculator; Organize notes in group. Display/Hide notes according to group; Customize notes. Change color, font, behavior of your note; Create note templates; Search Notes; Attach files on note then double click to launch it; Attach images on notes. Paste image from clipboard to note; Support for URLs handling; Find/Replace the content of the note; Make note to always stay on top of other window; Support for rich text editing with bold, italic, colour etc (OS: Designer notes: "Platform Independent. Run on any OS that has Java 6 or higher installed")

Hanso Recorder is "a feature-rich audio program developed for a wide range of sound tasks such as: converting CDs, tapes, DVDs, live performances, TV sounds, Internet radio, video games and any other sound source into audio files you can easily save on your computer. The software´s capabilities also integrate text-to-speech conversion that uses natural voices allowing you to listen to your documents while not around your computer. Hanso Recorder comes with support for the most popular formats including MP3, WMA, OGG, VOX, AU, AIFF" (OS: Windows XP/Vista/7)

In My Diary is "a smart, free personal organizer. The main display is based on a traditional diary format but, although all entries appear as one line of text, each actual entry can contain as many lines as required. Diary entries can be set to auto-repeat at the required interval. In addition to the daily diary, there is also a daily journal facility, a calendar, Address book with flexible labelling system, Anniversary entries and a notes section with links to diary entries" (OS: Designer notes: "It runs on Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, and on Apple Mac [10.4 and above]. There is also now a native version for Linux OS or the Windows version can be used and works well running in the Wine emulator")

InDeep Notes is a "simple application that helps you create and manage your text notes with ease" (OS: Windows XP/Vista/7, Designer notes "Requires: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5")

Interactive Calendar is "a free, feature-packed and extremely customizable desktop calendar that is a pleasure to use and look at. Unlike the majority of its direct competitors, this calendar software renders the calendar grid right on the wallpaper, considerably increasing the speed of refreshes/updates.
The calendar has several views and allows you easily create and manage tasks, specifying their duration, order and other parameters" (OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 32-Bit/64-Bit)

NoteItDown is "a protable application for creating and managing notes of all kinds. The most important features are: Notes can be stored in an user defined folder structure; The font, font size and colors are changeable for each note; With a RTF-editor each note can be designed individually; A search function finds notes with a specified text; Text inside of a note can be found with an incremental search function; An edited note will be saved automatically" (OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/2008/7. Designer notes "NoteItDown runs in multi user environments as well on USB sticks")

SNV Calendar Lite is "a highly customizable desktop month calendar that allows you to verify the accuracy of your dates. With this calendar application a selected date can be copied to the Clipboard, the difference between a current date and another date can be calculated, the background picture, color scheme, first day of the week and other properties may be set. An important feature of SNV Calendar is that its multiple instances can be opened as separate windows - each with different appearance" (OS: Windows 7/XP/Vista)

Task Coach is "a simple open source todo manager to manage personal tasks and todo lists. It grew out of my frustration that well-known task managers, such as those provided with Outlook or Lotus Notes, do not provide facilities for composite tasks. Often, tasks and other things todo consist of several activities. Task Coach is designed to deal with composite tasks" (OS: Win 9x/ME/NT/2K/XP/2K3/Vista/7)

VueMinder Lite USB is a free calendar program that can run from a USB stick - no installation required. It can auto-sync with Google Calendar. A calendar browser allows addition of many events, such as holidays, local weather, sport schedules, religious occasions, and much more. You can also create your own calendars, which are overlaid into day, week, and month views. Events are also visible directly on the Windows desktop, even when offline! (OS: Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7 32-Bit/64-Bit)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Interesting Contest

To promote a new release by one of her clients, Agent Janet Reid has opened a contest for debut "American writers who are not published in novel-length form (published includes self-published) and who are not represented by an agent."

The winner will receive the following: Registration for the Backspace Writing Conference in NYC (May 24-26); Hotel for three nights (Thurs, Fri, Sat); Travel stipend of $300; and lunch with Janet.

The contest is now open for entries; no fee is involved but you have to e-mail your finished novel to Janet in order to enter. It's a good opportunity to get your work in front of an agent regardless if you win or not, and if you win you get to go to a conference for free and meet the agent in person.

Deadline for this one is March 15, 2012, and more details on how to format your entry and where to e-mail it to can be found over at Janet's blog here.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Reasons to Hide Under the Bed

The one and only time I willingly go to the e-reader kiosk at the bookstore to find out which model is best for gimps like me, there is no demo guy there, all the store clerks are too busy to help me and I mess up the demo model the minute I touch it.

I fill out my entire month's schedule on every calendar in the house with all the right names, appt. times and work schedules. As I'm patting myself on the back for being so uber-organized, I realize I neglected to first flip all the calendars from February to March.

I don't insist on doing the laundry for my kid because he wants to be more independent, and demonstrates this by washing and drying a load of his own clothes. Only he forgets to check the pockets like I do, which is why he also washes and dries an extra-large indelible black marker that he forgot he stuck in his work trousers.

I am so intent on finishing a piece with intricate, pain-in-the-ass hand-quilting that I refuse to move it or me from the sewing table until it's done. An hour later I finally knot the final thread, go to lift the piece and discover I have quilted it beautifully -- to the cover I forgot to take off the sewing table.

Have you got any reasons to hide under your bed this weekend? Let us know in comments.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Elsewhere, Juggling Universes

As part of my ongoing trek around NetPubLand this week I have an article up today in the March newsletter of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror that offers some tips on how to manage writing multiple novel series.

For those of you who are visiting via the blog link from OWW, you might want to check out Part I and Part II of my virtual workshop on Quantum Writing.

Photo credit: David Hughes

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Elsewhere En Masse

Today I am over at Silk and Shadows visiting author Jessa Slade and her pals, and talking about a list of demands a letter I received from the Darkyn. Stop in if you have a chance and you might win this lavender-themed quilted tote and pillow sachet (designed and handmade by Yours Truly) a bookmark you can plant and grow into wildflowers, along with a signed final edition copy of Nightborn.