"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, June 28, 2013

Feeding My Addiction

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.”
-          Desiderius Erasmus
A hardcover book costs about the same as:
1)      One-fourth a ticket to a professional sporting event.
2)      Half a pair of pants.
3)      One steak in an up-scale restaurant.
4)      One-third of a haircut in a ritzy salon.
5)      One ticket to a minor theater production.

A paperback book costs about the same as:
1)      A couple of lattes from Starbucks.
2)      One tube of lipstick.
3)      One 12-pack of beer.
4)      A small meal for two at McDonald’s.
5)      One CD of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest.
ebooks can be anywhere along the spectrum depending on author and genre.

I must admit, books are my biggest vice – chocolate is a close second. Even after cleaning out my closet and passing on about seven dozen books, I have hundreds left. Only about two-thirds of them have been read.

Every time a friend publishes something, I buy it and read it. I love to support them, but since I read them ASAP, it pushes my TBR pile a little farther behind. Of course, I have friends and family that pass books along to me as they finish which add to the pile, and then of course, it’s nearly impossible for me to be near a bookstore without a purchase.

Five years ago, I lost every book I own in a flood. Yet, somehow, I still have multiple book cases that look like this picture.

What about you? How bad is your reading addiction?

Monday, June 24, 2013

17 Writing Contests

Many of these contests are about to begin accepting submission. Please click each one for more specific details.

  1. Sitcom Writing Contest, write a 22 minutes sitcom episode with the winner receiving a prize of $10,000 if the script is the sole winner (or shared if more than single winner) and another $5,000 if the script is used on sitcom independent production studios. Due July 1, 2014.
  2. Screenplay Writing Contest, write a screenplay / teleplay about drama comedy on today's political environment and a culture difference between individuals involved in the story limited to a maximum of 5,000 words. This is jointly sponsored by Teen America Foundation and Los Angeles-based motion picture production. Due March 31st, 2014.
  3. Poetry Writing Contest, Springfield Film Festival and Springfield Art Institute have united their prize budgets to offer a writing competition for all levels and all ages to submit their own original poetry about Climate Change for a two round contests. Due June 30th, 2014.
  4. Satirist Comedy Writing Contest, looking for the next George Carlin, the man referred to as, "a major force in comedy since 1960s and there will be no substitute for his insight, nor his tireless and hilarious attacks on the enfranchised. Due August 30th, 2014.
  5. Love Story Writing Contest, is a contest for romance novelists and new writers who want to try writing about the magic of love and the everlasting love between a couple and their journey into deepest emotional bond that can be experienced. Due June 1st, 2014.
  6. Romantic Poetry Writing Contest, by Franklin Arts Institute Grant offering new writers an opportunity to earn a cash prize for writing romantic poetry. All work submitted must be original work by the contestant and all contestants are expected to be. Due February 1st, 2014.
  7. Ocean Dream Cruise Liner Writing Contest, sponsored by Fairview is looking for the best ocean dream poem that captured the mood of cruise passengers on the seas and the nostalgic emotional creativity that is brought to one's heart at the deep ocean at night making hearts speak of love and romance, desperation and agony, or dreams. Due June 1st, 2014.
  8. Short Story Writing Contest, by grant offered through Georgetown English Literature Institute and Winchester Creative Writing School together uniting to promote short story competition that is both ambitious and exciting for new writers. Due May 31st, 2014.
  9. Amazon Novel Contest, a novel writing contest for original, unpublished or self-published, fictional, English language manuscripts of any genre that is not offensive, pornography, publicity, indecent proposals, technical manuals or guides. Only accepting the first 10,000 entries.
  10. Dayton National Story Award Contest, is aimed at providing a competition that would result in constructive and, we hope, inspiring short stories by writers of all levels, but particularly new writers joining the profession for the first time.  Due January 30th, 2014.
  11. Halloween Poetry Writing Contest, is a writing competition organized each year by Salem Writing Arts Foundation with the intention to create out of the ordinary poetry and allow the development of dark poetry as a means of communicating arts. Due January 31st, 2014.
  12. Writers Village Writing Contest, offers a national contest for a work of fiction without a pre-defined theme and all styles are welcome. Genre-based fiction would be crime, mystery, science fiction, political, suspense, horror, or historical and all levels. Due May 30th, 2014.
  13. Emerald City Writing Competitions Contest, a writing award contest with the famous writer Scott Moore as the panelist judge for the best new original fiction about American history that is both enticing fiction and based on an even in American history. Due June 15th, 2014.
  14. Centerville Leaf eBooks Writing Contest, is once again presenting its annual creative writing contests and this year the theme/genre is best original work of fiction in mystery or drama that is presented and distributed in eBook format in North America. Due June 1st, 2014.
  15. Winchester Commonwealth Short Story Prize Writing Contest, sponsors an annual $10,000 award for its short story writing competition to introduce new writers and new artistic work into the industry and is open to everyone in U.S. and a few others. Due May 21st, 2014.
  16. Madison Poetry Writing Contest, is open to all U.S. and international poets of all levels who may consider themselves hopeless romantics, dreamers, visionaries, idealists, or just normal people gazing into art of expression, poetically. Due February 1st, 2014.
  17. Alexandra Manchester Fiction Writing Contest, is a joint sponsorship with publishing houses and Clinton Literary Awards Foundationthat offering a semi-annual writing competition for debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and young author. Due January 31st, 2014.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Read Poetry

Thank you Dana for sharing this. I had to pass it on to all of my friends. I laughed so much at this hilarious video from Fishbowl Improv, which pokes fun at the way some poets read. Enjoy!

Happy Writing!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Party Like the Book

I enjoy planning parties. I especially enjoy theme parties based on favorite reads. Below are a few examples.

Wonderland Tea Party – My girls are both fans of Lewis Caroll’s Alice. Here are some pictures of our party designs: http://pinterest.com/sylvianey/my-alice-tea-party/

Dr. Seuss – This party can be adapted to a single Seuss book theme such as Cat in the Hat, Hop on Pop, Lorax, etc. Here are some pictures from the party for my girls: http://pinterest.com/sylvianey/my-dr-seuss-party/

Great Gatsby – I’d love to host one of these, perhaps for New Year’s. To recreate one of Jay Gatsby’s legendary Saturday night galas, invite your friends over to your mansion-away-from-home with Long Island flair for an opulent evening filled with ecstatic jazz (live is best, but if not, a throaty record player will do), and more gin rickeys than you can shake a stick at, dolls. Then slip off your dancing shoes and cap the evening off with a midnight dip in the pool. 1920s fancy dress required for entry; the more pearls and longing looks, the better.

Night Circus – This book begs you to have a fun and mysterious reenactment. Dinner, of course, starts at midnight. Partygoers must wear only black and white, with an occasional dash of red if desired, and the decor should match — black and white plates, napkins, down to the food, which must be as delicious as it is colorless. Several magicians — also dressed in black and white — should be patrolling the event, creating wonders with various levels of veracity. Caramel popcorn should be served for dessert.

Garden/Tea Party – good for Disney Fairies, the Fablehaven series, Mary Poppins, Secret Garden, and Anne of Greene Gales - With festive recipes, a collection of bird houses, and a few crafts this party is simple and fun. http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2012/03/secret-garden-7th-birthday-party.html and http://thefastlanekids.blogspot.com/2012/03/anne-of-green-gables-tea-party-on-first.html

Fancy Nancy - The girls get glitter in their hair and sparkly stars on their cheeks. Then they each get their very own hot pink tutu and butterfly wings to wear and then off to the Kings crown. http://www.andbabiesmakefour.com/2010/01/happy-birthday-to-my-favorite-fancy.html

Jungle Book - I love the palm trees.  She gives directions on how to make them yourself which makes this Jungle Book party a forest feel. You can also adapt those luau party decorations you have. http://www.greygreydesigns.com/2010/10/grants-jungle-book-2nd-birthday.html

Hunger Games - Fun party food like Cookies from Peeta’s Dad, Chocolate Rock Favor bags, goat cheese on bread, poisonous berry mini cake. http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/03/hunger-games-party-food-ideas/

Winnie the Pooh - The whole feel is very natural, with references to bees, honey and the 100 Acre Wood friends. With very neutral colors, paired with shades of yellow and touches of red, and burlap fabric. http://www.lynleespetitecakes.com/2011/07/silly-old-bear.html

Bookworm – Celebrate your love for all books with this theme including a great color scheme and fun food ideas like Nerds, apples, worms, and lots of fun things to feed your brain, this bookworm party would impress any reader. http://www.jatyourservice.com/2011/09/glitzy-bookworm-ette-birthday.html

Have you hosted or attended any parties based on favorite reads? Please share your own ideas and links below.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Defining High Concept

Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner answers the question "What do editors and agents mean when they are requesting 'High Concept' books?"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Came across this recently. I have no personal experience with them, but I thought I would pass it along to my fellow writers...

GHANA POETRY PRIZE - NO ENTRY FEE. Poetry Foundation Ghana announces its inaugural (2013) GHANA POETRY PRIZE. This will be an award of Gh 2,000 (equivalent to $1,000). This contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. The submission (MAXIMUM OF TWO POEMS) must not be more than 30 lines long. Deadline June 30, 2013. The aim of this prize is to support younger emerging poets.

For more information:  http://www.poetryfoundationghana.org/index.php/featured/poetry-news/item/674-ghana-poetry-prize-is-opened

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Fifty years ago this month, Scholastic published the original CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG book by Norman Bridwell. The BIG in the 5th annual "BE BIG In Your Community Contest," is an annual contest which invites everyone to take action and raise awareness for how Clifford's BIG Ideas (Share, Help Others, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Have Respect, Work Together and Be Truthful) can make the world a better place.

This contest is open to anyone age 2-70 (minors will need parental consent). Enter now for the chance to bring your BIG Idea to life with a $5,000 community grant. Other prizes consist of 5 $1,000 first prize grants. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. Contest ends  June 23, 2013.

For more information: http://camarillo.macaronikid.com/town/camarillo/article/438435/5th-annual-be-big-in-your-community-contest

Monday, June 3, 2013

Be A Real Writer

A friend of mine just started a new blog.

Be A Real Writer isn't just about blogging or promoting your books; it's about teaching and mentoring others—and promoting YOU. You should be promoting your name—not just a title. So, let’s keep that in mind.
How you plot, research, manage your time, construct a short story or poem, overcome procrastination, promote, plan a career, or find a publisher or agent is valuable information—to all of us. Anything that helps you Be A Real Writer will help others.

Today she introduced her first guest blogger: L. Diane Wolf  and learning how to put together a nonfiction book.

Interested in submitting? Please keep your submissions no longer than 500 words. Make certain your submissions are as error free as possible. Pictures are welcome if you have rights to them. She especially wants a picture of you and your title(s). Always include your bio with urls for your blog, website and where readers can purchase your books. At this time, posts will be made Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And until she gains more followers on the Be A Real Writer blog site, your post will be used on both of her blogs. Please: No erotica and no profanity.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email her: jessyferguson (at) gmail (dot) com.

You can follow her blogs: