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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grants and Contests for Writers~ A Discovered Resource

Every now and then I search around Ye Olde Internet for grants and contests that I don't end up following through with because I either A) forget about the deadline, B) feel like novel drafting is more important at the time, or C) Life intervenes. During one of these recent quests, I discovered a website that might already be familiar to some of you:


FFW is a website that has several different pages (including Grants, Contests, and Markets) that direct you to a variety of opportunities.

Warning~ some of them are location-based (example: for an Arizona writer) and some are subject-based (example: project must support social welfare in some manner). I'd set aside a good hour to peruse the possibilities as you may have to sift through lots of things that won't apply to you in order to find golden tickets.

After a fairly quick assessment, I was pleased to see that they do have up-to-date grants/contests and the deadlines are (mostly) stated. Here's one contest they list:

ALICE MUNRO FESTIVAL SHORT STORY COMPETITION http://alicemunrofestival.ca/?page_id=306 ENTRY FEES $10 and $25. Limit 5,000 words. Deadline August 1, 2014. Both the teen and adult categories will award first place $500, second place $300, third place $200, fourth place $75 and fifth place $25. Portions of the winning stories may be read during the gala event on September 27.

Many of the contests require entry fees, but here's the website's response to that:

Writing contests provide steps up for a writer – especially a struggling writer. A portfolio that contains contest wins means more than many clips. Can’t afford the entry fees? Consider entering one contest a quarter or something more amiable to your pocketbook. A few are free. Contests provide prizes, prestige and usually publication with many offering book contracts. Denouncing contests from your writing repertoire is like discounting an entire genre or refusing to eat yellow vegetables. You’re giving up something valuable that may serve you and your career well.

This might be a website to check every month or so to see if they've added anything that's up your alley. Feel free to chime in if you have any experience with FFW!

(Oh, and here's the lovely-as-always July contest round-up from Sub It Club: http://subitclub.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/july-contest-roundup/)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day! My Favorite Dad in Life & Kid Lit...

Dad holding my youngest kiddo
Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there!

If you have a chance to leave a comment on this post, I'd love to learn who your favorite fictional dad is. Mine has to be Danny's father in Roald Dahl's Danny, The Champion of the World

My father has always been a fan of music, particularly songs that tell stories. His favorite singers (including John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin) are ones who have interesting things to say, and he's one of those people who will play you a song, pause it, then repeat a lyric to see if you've realized how cool or poignant or meaningful it was.

He probably doesn't remember this, but he once told me that Paul Simon's "Graceland" was the most perfect song ever written. So this one's for you, Dad:
The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war
I'm going to Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland
My traveling companion is nine years old
He is the child of my first marriage
But I've reason to believe
We both will be received
In Graceland

She comes back to tell me she's gone
As if I didn't know that
As if I didn't know my own bed
As if I'd never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead
And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

I'm going to Graceland
Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland
Poor boys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland

And my traveling companions
Are ghosts and empty sockets
I'm looking at ghosts and empties
But I've reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

There is a girl in New York City
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when I'm falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
Oh, so this is what she means
She means we're bouncing into Graceland
And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

In Graceland, in Graceland
I'm going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There's some part of me wants to see
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there's no obligations now
Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

Sunday, June 1, 2014

One Month Countdown to Becky Thatcher and Co.

Hi All~
I've got a book coming out in just one month and my editor, the lovely Kristin Ostby of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, was kind enough to ship me a couple of early copies so I could see what they look like. Here they are:

(mine's on the left, next to shiny new editions of MARK TWAIN (!!!) books)
New editions of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are being released at the same time (to be sold individually and in a boxed collection with Becky T.). Iacopo Bruno did a wonderful job with the covers and interior illustrations and I'm excited for the books to hit shelves on July 1st

Munchkin# 1 w/ books

Munchkin #2 w/ books (looks like she prefers Huck Finn)
My parents happened to stop by last Thursday/Friday and I got to surprise them with the dedication page featuring two names that are very near and dear to me: Mom & Dad. They drove to Colorado after visiting my grandma in Iowa~ 11 hours just to see the grandkids~ before heading back across the country to their home in Tennessee. They called this morning, having stopped in Hannibal, Missouri, hometown of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. Here are a couple of photos they emailed me from the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum:

Becky Thatcher House (part of the Museum's property)

Boyhood Home (with nicely whitewashed fences)

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum sign
And in weather news, it's finally starting to warm up around here. My 5-year-old gathered a bowl of hail during last week's storm and put it in the freezer to show anyone who happens to drop by, but other than that, I believe summer is on the way. Hope you're all doing well!