Halloween & Supernatural Themed Submission Requests

 

PumpkinBoo Fellow Writers!

It’s getting eerily close to my very favorite holiday, Halloween. It’s not just because the stores are stocking (or should I say stalking) candy corn and pumpkins that I mention Halloween before August is dead and buried, but because there are some serious deadlines coming up. Don’t be caught dead missing a deadline! Okay, I’m not sure the evil sounding voice that I hear while typing this post is actually coming through to you all, so I’ll stop the bad jokes. Seriously, if you have a creepy piece, you need to send it like NOW. Below are some journals/magazines requesting Halloween and/or spooky pieces for one of the following genres: flash fiction, short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction pieces. Pull your monster out from under the bed or out of the closet and get submitting!!

Written Backwards:

Theme: Miscreations; Gods; Monstrosities & Other Horrors;  Deadline: 8/31

Tigershark:

Theme: Night Terrors; Deadline: 9/30

Stormy Island Publishing:

Theme: Stories must have a supernatural theme (ghosts, spirits, demons, hauntings, anything that goes bump in the night); Deadline: 9/13

Deadman’s Tome:

Theme: Monster Party: Horror, satire, & dark fiction involving and about the less popular monsters. Set Dracula & Frankenstein aside, and let’s bring Yeti, The Mud Man, Swamp Thing, The Lizard Man, and Radioactive Ant, and so forth. Think B-Movie horror monster. You can even go international & pull from other cultural influences; Deadline: 9/15

Cleaning Up Glitter:

Theme: Honoring October holidays like Dia de los Muertos, Samhain, and All Hallows Eve by focusing on Mystery, Death and the Dead, Harvest, Season of Darkness, etc.; Deadline: 9/31

Trembling With Fear:

Theme: Halloween; Deadline: 10/13

Please do read the guidelines for submission closely. Make sure you check that you are submitting for the correct genre and word count. Also, when I was new to submitting, I didn’t always read the fine details a/k/a blah, blah, blah. Well, blah, blah, blah is super important. As an example, I will give you one of those fine details from the list above. Miscreations states that they do not accept the following: graphic, gratuitous depictions of child abuse, sexual abuse and animal abuse. Now, I wouldn’t have known this had I not read it on their submission page. They want a haunting based on a college campus? Do I have a short story for you?! My trigger happy finger hits SUBMIT before noticing they like just about anything but ghosts. See what I mean? You may love your gruesome little ghoul, but not everyone does. It wastes time for both you and whomever you are submitting to. 

 Happy Writing!

 

 

 

AJC Decatur Book Festival 2019: Presenters and Exhibitors

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Hello Fellow Writers and Readers,

The AJC Decatur Book Festival, one of the largest independent book festivals in the country, is fast approaching and I wanted to post the presenters and exhibitors that I am particularly interested in, and of course, there are all those reasonably priced books to mull over as well. Don’t feel guilty about buying another book. Authors need the support and you need to read, right? Plus, you can always hide whatever you buy in the trunk of your car and sneak those books in later when your partner is asleep. It’s so easy.

Always wanted to meet your favorite author? Writers are rock stars disguised as writers. One of my all time favorite short story writers, George Singleton, will be there. Don’t be frightened to get your book signed or worry about what comes out of your mouth. I consistently say something embarrassing to authors I admire. At least they will remember you, right? They’re generally harmless unless its their writing time. Then, I suggest keeping you hands in your pocket and remaining mute.

Here’s my list: 

Stacey Abrams: Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change

  • First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary presented by AJC
  • Sat 10:00-10:45a Baptist

Richard Blanco and Natalie Scenters-Zapico, PEN American Immigration Track:

  • Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary presented by Emory University
  • Sat 12:30-1:15p Presbyterian

Megan Volpert and Lisa Ferrell: Bending Genre, Unexpected Stories:

  • Marriott Conference Center Auditorium
  • Sat 12:30-1:15p Marriott Auditorium

Casey Cep: Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee:

  • Marriott Conference Center B presented by Atlanta Pro AV
  • Sat 12:30-1:15p Marriott B

George Singleton and Anna Schacher: Narrative Voices of the South:

  • Decatur City Hall presented by City of Decatur
  • Sat 5:30-6:15p City Hall

Janisse Ray: Coastal Nature, Coastal Culture, Sponsored by The Ossabaw Island Foundation and Education Alliance

  • First Baptist Decatur Carreker Hall presented by Mailchimp
  • Sat 5:30-6:15p Carreker

Poetry Reading: Jericho Brown, Lauren K. Alleyne:

  • Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary presented by Emory University
  • Sun 2:30-3:15p Presbyterian

If you are interested in pursuing higher education, there are several universities with exhibiters that provide information on their MFA creative writing programs. Reinhardt University, MFA-Creative Writing, where I received my MFA, will be there at Booth #205. Ask for Bill Walsh. He’s the program director and an amazing poet. If you click the link, I’m the graduate in the middle.

I’ll be at the Atlanta Writers Club (AWC) booths 101-103 on Sunday at 2:00. Come visit me and join up! The club is beneficial to writers of all stages in their career, even if writing is only a hobby. They have workshops, lectures, and an annual writing conference, and so much more.

Here’s a list of exhibitors I plan to visit, but this is just a drop in the bucket of who is going to be there:

Atlanta Shakespeare Company: Booth 113; Atlanta History Center: Booths 521-522; Horror Writers Association: Atlanta Chapter: Booths 505-507; Georgia Humanities Booths: 509-512; Georgia Writers Association: Booth E; The Georgia Review: Booth 503; Jambo Book Club: Booth 609; Pat Conroy Literary Center: Booth 508; Serenbe Playhouse: Booth 110; Shut Up & Write!: Booth 624; The Wrens Nest: Booth 624

Several publishers will be present from traditional publishing houses to self-publishing. Since this is the next step in my writing career that I am focusing, I’ll be checking the options out and plan to blog on this topic at a later date.

There’s stuff for the kiddies, too. The Children’s Parade starts at 9:30 on Saturday and 11:30 on Sunday beginning at the Community Band Stand and ending at the Children’s Stage. There are tons of books for children and teens.

Some of the special events require tickets and have sold out, so please make sure you check the special event page on the site first. I totally missed out on Sonia Sotomayor. That said, the rest is free and open to the public. Just make sure you get there early to get your seat in the front row where I like to be, except for I’ll be at the end of the row (anti-social behavior sometimes associated with writer types). The heavy hitters fill up quick.

There’s food trucks, beer and wine and Decatur’s Square offers a ton of awesome restaurants and bars.

See you there.

Happy Writing and Happy Reading!

Dawn

 

 

Shut Up & Write! Writers & Procrastination

Writers BlockProcrastinate: to delay doing something; to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring 

If you’re a writer, you may be surprised that a picture of your face doesn’t follow that first definition. The latter part of the definition includes the words “unpleasant” and “boring.” What?! We love to write. It isn’t unpleasant and boring. We wouldn’t do it if it was, right? However, I find myself wiping the dust off my plant leaves, reorganizing my books, binge watching The Mindhunter, basically dilly-dallying away a perfect time to write. And, why?

I believe that the procrastination element seeps in when you’re not working on the right piece at the right time. As a short story writer, if it’s not jumping from the brain to the paper, I move to another. I have multiple short stories going at one time. Can you not apply that same practice to poetry and novels. Work on a different poem or a different character and/or scene. Don’t force it, because 1.) it’ll will come out all wrong anyway which will turn into more of a waste of time, and 2.) you will begin to do that thing–procrastinate–because it’s unpleasant and boring.

Suffering from Edititis? 

Another reason I do the P-word (dilly-dally sounds like something fun or a piece of candy), is when it’s time to edit. Have you suffered from edititis? Yeah, I made that word up. Symptoms of edititis consist of aversions to red ink and/or red ink pens, stiff fingers, laptops that mysteriously turn off and won’t turn back on, and the increased interest in activities that one normally finds repulsive. Edititis is linked to more severe cases of procrastination, and if left untreated will result in normalcy and mortality. Good Lord, I don’t want edititis. This is when you must force yourself. You are not that brilliant that you are immune from editing!

I can write a short story in a few days (not a good one), but the basics are down. This is a period of euphoria and I wonder why I ever doubted myself as a writer. I share lines with my family and smile at things that would usually irritate me. I go back and edit for typos. I think this story is my best one yet. I let it sit for a month. I read it again. It sucks. One typo I missed in the previous edit mated with another and the typos have increased. That line I thought would be quoted on future coffee cups is a cliché. It’s terrible. The magic ends. I turn off the computer. Are those fingerprints on the door handles?

Yes, it’s difficult to edit content. To be honest, I never stop editing. I have stories that are fifteen years old that I continue to tweak on an annual basis. So, how do you avoid the P-word and worse yet, edititis? You time yourself. If you know after twenty minutes of editing you’re seeing prints on your door handles only a forensic team would discover, then stop at nineteen minutes.

Some other solutions?

One of my writer friends created a Facebook group that is a place to share your joys and sorrows on writing and sometimes they do word sprints. The idea is to start at a particular day and time and check in with your fellow word-sprinters afterwards. You can apply this to new material or editing. It keeps you honest having an accountability group. If you’re not into groups, maybe you can check in with a writing partner. I’m also in a critique workshop that meets monthly. One of the benefits of being a member of Atlanta Writers Club are these workshop groups. In addition, I recently found a fun solution called Shut Up & Write They have online writing challenges with daily email reminders as well hour-long write-ins where you meet up with other writers and you guessed it, write for a continuous hour. They oftentimes meet in libraries and coffee shops. You can find your Shut Up & Write chapter by city. Interested in motivating other writers, there are also options for organizers. Another option is Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month. You commit to writing 50,000 words in one month (Nov.1-30). They have word counters to track your progress and you receive fun badges when you complete a new personal record. It’s so motivational. Will this be a fully edited masterpiece at the end of November? Nope, but three years later it may be. I got my first composite novel, The Bystanders, out of this experience.

See? There are ways out of the muck, and some of them are far from unpleasant and boring.

Shut Up & Write! & Atlanta Writers Club will both be at the AJC Decatur Book Festival 8/30- 9/1. SUW: Booth 441 & AWC: Booth: 101 & 103

Happy Writing!

Book Review: Rules For Lying by Anne Corbitt

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You often hear the term page-turner, but in the case of Anne Corbitt’s novel, Rules for Lying, the expression is dead on. The chapters are extremely short (sometimes only a couple of pages long) and rapidly draw the reader into the character’s experience. The structure has the effect of leaving the reader on a cliffhanger every single time the chapter ends.

The author explores the ambiguity of consensual sex verses rape. It’s a controversial subject yet done effectively. You can’t choose sides, which is interesting for a reader who naturally seeks an automatic protagonist and antagonist. If you want clear lines in the sand between good and bad or right and wrong, good luck here. I think that is the beauty of the novel. In the story, everyone agonizes over this accusation of rape. The crime of rape doesn’t limit itself to the two families involved, but causes a tornado of blame within a community. Perhaps, the antagonist is society. Surely, the novel is commenting on that.

I recently watched the documentary, Roll Red Roll!, which touches on the impact social media has on rape culture and victim blaming. It’s a worthy watch and is available on Netflix. I had already read and reviewed Corbitt’s novel on Good Reads, and decided to go back and review on my new blog, because I also wanted to recommend this documentary. Corbitt addresses some of the same issues addressed in this film. It’s an important topic for discussion and one I’d like to see our country get on top of better. Well, the rest of the world for that matter.

On a final note, the author subtly weaves music throughout her novel. Whether it’s a high school marching band or jazz at a seedy Atlanta bar, there is this constant musical thread that reminds us that we are all connected in the composition of life. The metaphor is that each character’s score has an accumulative effect on the main composition. They’re playing their parts. This sounds a little vague, but read the book and it will make sense!

 

Thinking of Building an Author Website

Together We Create

My first blog. Wow. I wasn’t sure I’d make it here, because before introducing myself to the world I needed a website and that was no fun. As a writer all you want to do is write, so all this WordPress, domain name, finding a theme, social media stuff was a damn chore. For Christ’s sake? What is a widget?

I recently attended a lecture on how to build an author website. I bet there were about 100 writers there all thinking that they wished they could be at home working on their novel, reading poetry, editing, submitting, anything but driving up Interstate 400 to Alpharetta on a Saturday to attend a lecture on a topic that makes most writers cringe. I left still not knowing how to build an author website and a little discouraged because of the costs involved to hire a web designer Yet, I also left with a little more knowledge than when I walked in and as a writer a tiny fragment of knowledge can lead to big things. I was determined to NOT fork out thousands of dollars for a web designer. Hey, I’m a writer! That means I never get paid, right? I had to get over myself, though.

First and foremost, stop having this this conversation in your head: I just want to finish my novel. I hate the ending of this short story. I have a critical thesis to write! I should be spending time submitting to journals, finding an agent, or any of the other activities that you prefer to do rather than creating your site.

Done? Great. Let’s move on. The purpose of this blog post to provide baby steps. Remember how intimidating it was when you contemplated writing a novel. It was day by day, but the accumulative effect was a whole manuscript, so approach this task in the same manner.

Today, I will leave you with three simple tasks that will slowly but surely help you develop your website:

Week One: What is your objective? Do you want a website to house your information such as your publications and future projects? A place where readers can buy your books? Do you only want to blog? For ideas on author’s websites, check out this blog on Twelve Author’s Website That Get It Right from Reedsy: https://blog.reedsy.com/author-websites/

Week Two: Decide on your domain name and register it. You can use GoDaddy to check availability and register you name. Alternatively, you can use a name through WordPress, but I preferred the simplicity of the name I chose on GoDaddy. For instance, my domain name is DawnMajor.com. That’s easier to remember than dawnmajor@wordpress.blog. Whatever WordPress provided was too long and too hard to remember. It’s relatively inexpensive and there are options to buy that become cheaper based on the amount of time you choose to keep the name. I’m talking 1 year verses 3 years. To register: www.GoDaddy.com

Week Three: This step takes some time and I am still experimenting with themes. Go to WordPress.com or some similar source to build websites (GoDaddy is another) and view themes for writers/authors. List your top three. They have names by the way. Find your favorites. I liked cleaner pages with a lot of white space for writing. That is, after all, what you are doing.

Okay fellow writers, I’m going to stop there. You have three weeks to complete these steps before I provide the next three. This isn’t so bad, right? The point is you don’t have to build it overnight. Now, when you view my website, you may think it’s not all that. Well, it’s a work in progress. I considered waiting to launch it until after I figured out what a dang widget was but saw this as an opportunity to share knowledge as I acquired it. Also, if you all have any ideas to share on this subject, please comment. We’re in this together.

Happy Writing!

Dawn