OPPArt (Opportunities for Artists)

Posted in Event at 6:44 pm by Amber

Today I spent part of the afternoon at the Greater Columbus Art Council’s offices for one of their OPPArt (Opportunities for Artists) events.  Dawn Friedman, a local freelancer, presented How to Become a Working Artist: What it Takes to Make a Living.

Friedman mainly focused on marketing and branding with a few tips thrown in such as “be your own patron” and “it’s a business”.  Writers and artists generally complain that time is taken away from their art to promote themselves or their work.  No matter how successful anyone becomes, or how large a staff he/she employs, there are times when simply no one else can handle the business side of things.  Honestly, would you read a Julia Roberts interview that was really her assistant answering questions on behalf of Julia? 

Once I decided to become more serious about my writing all I heard about was platform, platform, platform.  It hasn’t made any sense until today when Friedman addressed the topic.  She provided excellent examples of branding showing how one artist uses the same logos, fonts and color schemes across various websites.  Another example was a writer with a more serious website for her adult books and a much flashier one for her young adult books. 

Today’s workshop was full and had a waiting list.  I suppose a handful of people participated by offering up networking sites, sharing their experiences on the helpfulness of a community of like-minded individuals, and how volunteering time or donating items can be beneficial down the line.  It was really exciting to be around other people who are trying to take the next step forward with their artistic endeavors. 


Literary Rock Stars and The Quills

Posted in Writing at 5:46 pm by Amber

I think nearly every industry has rock stars in it. Rock stars are usually recognizable to non-industry people and are the ones people want to be around. Sometimes rock stars are only known to the people that follow that genre or subject matter.  I think a list of author rock stars would include Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and David Eggers.  This is, of course, not a complete list and your list would be different if you thought of a bunch of names in five minutes.

What I’m about to reveal is really old news as it was reported in February of this year. The Quill Awards are no more! You may be wondering what exactly the Quill Awards are and with good reason. The intent was to create the literary equivalent of the Oscars.  Voting was done by the public after the nominees were chosen.  The awards ceremony was televised on NBC but it was taped about a week before the broadcast.  Other than an occasional reminder to vote I can’t remember anyone or any news publication really mentioning it.

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Fund Drive, Giveaways and a Raffle for Readers

Posted in Giveaway at 9:09 pm by Amber

Writers (and readers) are very giving people.  I regularly donate to an organization that helps make it possible for homeless Corgis with medical costs to get the needed medical attention before finding a new home.  CorgiAid just had their 2008 auction and the results are still being totaled.  Lisa Scottoline is owned by a Corgi (it’s unusual for us to own them) and donated an autographed copy of her book Dirty Blonde to this year’s auction.  I can’t wait to hear how much has been raised with this year’s auction.  CorgiAid was presented with Pedigree’s 2007 Best Breed Rescue Fundraising Program award.  This year, partially due to the awareness created by Pedigree, we’ve been able to raise over $18,000.00 for Corgis that need assistance.

Last night it occurred to me that there are inexpensive ways to obtain books that a few of you may find interesting.  I thought there were more fund raisers and raffles happening right now but I was wrong.  Most of the links are for giveaways.

Strange Horizons is holding their annual fund drive until June 30th.  They are an electronic publication geared toward speculative fiction that pays professional rates.  Anyone who donates during the fund drive is entered into the drawings for some cool fund drive prizes.  If you like what is being published then let them know.

Lisa Damian is giving away a copy of Stephenie Meyer’s newest book, The Host.  All you need to do is leave a comment on her blog post about the giveaway between now and June 21st.

If that isn’t enough Stephenie Meyer for you, MAW Books is holding a giveaway for all of Stephanie Meyer’s books.  Five people could win a copy of The Host.  The lucky winner of the grand prize would be able to catch up on Twilight before the movie release date.  Entries are accepted until June 30th and there are multiple ways to enter.

Each Monday Katrina Stonoff has a book giveaway.  The book for Monday is Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer.  If you’re interested, leave a comment on Katarina’s blog by Sunday noon PST and she will draw names on Monday.

If your reading tastes are geared towards other genres there is a potpourri (mostly religious) of books available on Joyce Anthony’s web site.  The Arkansas church of Lacresha Hayes had damage from the storms and the money raised from the raffle is for her church family.  Each drawing in the raffle is $1 and garners an entry to win a box of autographed books including several books written by Lacresha.



Flash Fiction Flash Newsletter

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:22 am by Amber

Pam Casto is looking for more subscribers to her Flash Fiction Flash newsletter. I received the June issue yesterday and it has information on flash fiction markets, contests, and who has been recently published.

Per Pam: I have three big projects in the works and I’d like to get as many new subscribers as I can. I want to use the newsletter to announce the publication of those projects, which will be of interest and help to all writers of flash fiction. Ask all interested writers to subscribe by sending a blank email message to FlashFictionFlash-Subscribe[at]yahoogroups.com Thanks for your help!


POV Call For Entries Broadcast Season 2009

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:26 pm by Amber

I picked up a postcard yesterday at my husband’s work and thought it might be of interest to someone reading this…

P.O.V., public television’s premier showcase for independent nonfiction film, seeks submissions from all perspectives for broadcast in annual PBS series.  P.O.V. welcomes all subjects, styles and lengths.  Unfinished films may be eligible for completion funds.  Open Call guidelines are available at pov.org/forproducers.  This postcard is your only CFE notification.  No paper forms will be mailed.  Questions?  Call P.O.V. 1-800-756-3300 x380

The submission deadline is June 27, 2008.


storySouth’s Million Writers Award Update

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:24 pm by Amber

Back in March I noted that nominations were open for storySouth’s Million Writers Award for best online short story.  The notable stories have been chosen and are being narrowed down to the top ten at the moment.  Some excellent online reading can be found there if you’re interested.


Story of the Month – “Dead Dog Rising”

Posted in Story Of The Month at 8:30 pm by Amber

The short story for this month is “Dead Dog Rising” by Kate Hill Cantrill.  It was most recently published in Issue 20 of SmokeLong Quarterly.

First, I’m a sucker for dogs.  While I know they are animals I accept that they have feelings, needs and thoughts like humans.  Sometimes these can be articulated with a behavior, a facial expression or a noise and sometimes there is no hope of effective communication between a person and a dog.  The title is what caught my attention. 

Second, I can identify with different elements of the story.  When you live with a person or animal you get to learn their noise patterns to know where they are and what they might be doing.  Sammy’s nails make a click clack sound on the hardwood floors but louder when his nails are long.  It’s one way of knowing when he needs his nails trimmed; and I can tell by the sound if he’s gone table surfing in the dining room.  Like the father in the story, I do not function well when I’ve not had enough sleep.  I become irritable and act irrational at any unexpected sound.  Uninterrupted sleep is the only cure.

Using the five senses is one way to make writing come alive.  I think sight and touch are the two senses most used in stories.  “Dead Dog Rising” has a lot of sound words to make it unique. 

If you’ve read this far and haven’t read “Dead Dog Rising” yet then go do it.  The ending seems very natural and I found it to be a wonderful summary of the relationship between the dog and the father.

Niteblade Anthology and Voting

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:49 am by Amber

Niteblade is still accepting submissions for its first ever print anthology.  It will be a mixture of new material based on Marge Simon’s cover artwork and older favorites.  You can still read the last four issues online and vote for your favorites from each issue.  No book reviews for the anthology from me; it’s all short stories and poems.  Let the voting begin!


Junior Geography Detective Series

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:44 pm by Amber

Elysabeth Eldering’s first book in the Junior Geography Detective Series is currently set for an August 2008 publication date.  States are featured as a mystery destination with the readers guessing the state after receiving clues and facts about each state.  If you know someone who is interested in receiving monthly emails about the series and happenings in the different states, don’t delay in signing up for her newsletter.  The newsletter sign-up is on the right hand side of her blog.


Busy Writing Month Over!

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:01 pm by Amber

Last month I mentioned May would be a busy writing month.  With 45 minutes to spare, I had 31 short stories based on writing prompts written.   There are two more half-written stories where I knew they were going to be longer than the time I had or would be best served as novels.

I didn’t write every day but I wrote more frequently than I do during a normal month.  Doing all that writing jars ideas loose in the head.  It made me want to write about things that weren’t driven by a prompt.  Willpower or foolishness kept me on track and I wrote the ideas down in my writing notebook. 

Due to the sheer volume of stories expected in 31 days I wrote a lot of flash fiction (most of the stories were under 500 words).  This won’t be the end of those stories – at least not all of them.  They are going to rest for a few weeks while I get some editing done on pieces I began before the beginning of May.

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