Writers Rendezvous – February update Part 1

The Writers Rendezvous this month welcomed several new members, and ran into extra time because we had so much to talk about. I’m going to start this update with events and contests that have upcoming deadlines, and leave the more general information for part two of the post.

First, the Bridgeport History Center at the Bridgeport Library will be holding its monthly memoir writing workshop with Brian Hoover (online, of course) this Saturday, February 20, from 10:30-12:00 pm. The class includes writing exercises, an exploration of the nature of memoirs, and feedback on voice and perspective.  Register here.

Here are some contests with upcoming deadlines. Check the links for full details:

Novel Slices Novel Excerpt Contest Looking for novel excerpts of 4000-6000 words. Deadline: February 28. Entry Fee: $20 First Prize: $150 each for 5 winners.

Writer Advice’s Flash MEMOIR Contest Looking for creative nonfiction/memoir of up to 750 words. Deadline: March 2 Entry Fee: $5 or $14 if you’d like feedback on your work. First Prize: $150

The Orange County Library System in Florida is offering Continue reading

Writers Rendezvous – January update Part 1

Since yesterday was Inauguration Day, we had a smaller number of writers than usual, but that included some new members, which gave us a chance to get to know each other. I’m still loving the way Zoom meetings can expand my horizons, so I can meet people who would be unlikely to show up in person, because of distance. Here’s some of what we discussed.

If you like or write historical fiction, you may want to attend this virtual event at 7pm on Thursday, January 21. Darien Library and Barrett Bookstore will host authors Marie Benedict (The Mystery of Mrs. Christie), Melanie Benjamin, (The Children’s Blizzard), and Greer Macallister, (The Arctic Fury)  for a historical fiction panel that will delve into their most recent novels: The Children’s BlizzardThe Mystery of Mrs. Christie, and The Arctic Fury.  Register here.

Here’s an unusual Short Story Challenge run by NYC Midnight Movie Making Madness. This international creative writing competition, now in its fifteenth year, challenges participants to create original short stories in as little as 24 hours.  The challenge consists of four rounds.  In the first round—January 22-30—writers are placed randomly in groups and are assigned a genre, subject, and character. Writers have eight days to write an original story of no longer than 2,500 words. In further rounds, the number of words decreases, but so does the time allowed for writing the story. For more details, check here.  One of the benefits of this challenge is that feedback from the judges is provided for every submission and there are cash prizes for the winners.

Allison Dickens

The Westport Writers Workshops has many workshop classes, among them their popular series of One-off workshops on various topics of interest to writers. These include My Lessons In Self-Publishing with Libby Waterford and Allison Dickens this Saturday, January 23, from 10-12noon. Getting Your Book Published will be held on Saturday, February 6 (10a-12noon). Here’s one every novelist can use: Learn to Outline: How to Write a Novel and Not Lose Your Mind with Jessica Speart, on Saturday, February 20 from 10am-1pm. Others are available and WWW is always adding new ones.

Writer and teacher Tessa McGovern is offering a free one-hour writing sprint and ask-me-anything session every Tuesday at noon. Hosted by Westport Library, participants chat about successes and obstacles, write for an hour and then have 39 min  to ask Tessa anything about writing or publishing. More information and the link on her website (link above).

On January 27 at 7 pm The Connecticut Press Club is offering a virtual Boost Your Brand Workshop, led by Javacia Bowser. The workshop promises to teach you how to: define and convey who you are, what you want, and what you stand for as a writer; build relationships with other writers, bloggers, editors, and agents; use social media to manage your brand’s reputation, and grow your audience before you launch your book or blog. Free to Connecticut Press Club members, $15 for non-members. More information and registration here.

Courtesy of the Poets’ Salon, the Meetup for Poets: The Sunshine State Book Festival will be held online all day on Saturday, January 30. It will feature 100 authors writing in eighteen genres. You can preview a sampling of the author booths right now – each author will have their own video presentation and list of books to browse online. Free.

The Big Moose Prize contest is open to traditional novels as well as novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, and other hybrid forms that contain within them the spirit of a novel. Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Big Moose Prize for an unpublished novel. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded on publication. Deadline January 31 and submissions are now open.

The Mark Twain House is offering a six-week online writing course with author Dana Meachen Rau (Who is series) for a six-week writing course! Each session runs on Zoom from 4 to 5:30 p.m every Thursday, February 11 through March 18. This six-week writing course is offered in conjunction with the Page to Stage Short Story Writing contest co-sponsored by The Bushnell and The Mark Twain House & Museum. More information to come! Registration is $150 and grants you access to all 6 sessions. This course is limited to 10 students. Registrants will receive a Zoom link in advance of the first class. Register here.

Member Elizabeth Chatsworth allowed me to interview her for her book launch last week. If you’d like to see how it went, here’s the link.

That’s about half the information for this month. Check out Monday’s post for more events, and ways to increase your book reviews, particularly before you launch.

Meanwhile, keep writing!

Writers’ Rendezvous – December update

In spite of a gray day during which many people were out running holiday errands before the predicted foot of snow began to fall, nine people showed up for the Writers’ Rendezvous. This gave us a chance to discuss some … Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous – November update Part 2

I’m back with more suggestions for ways to keep your writing life going. For example…

Award-winning author and writing teacher Nora Raleigh Baskin is running a four-week workshop program for the Connecticut Library Association starting December 1, from 6-7:30pm). The cost for the entire program will be $100 for CLA members and $125 for non-members. Class size is limited, and each participant is expected to commit to the entire workshop series. Each session will build on the one before, so participants are asked to commit to the entire series. This program is a fundraiser for the Connecticut Library Association. Your fee goes back to CLA. because Nora Raleigh Baskin has donated her time and considerable expertise for the fundraiser. 

The Writers’ Rendezvous is a big supporter of the  Connecticut Press Club and its Awards contest, which is now open for submissions. If you’ve published anything in 2020, you may enter, and since there are 61 categories, you should be able to find your niche. They include all kinds of writing, as well as editing (of others’ published work), photography, graphics, radio and TV, websites, podcasts, advertising and PR, and a host more. You may submit up to three entries in any given category, and up to ten entries in total. The early deadline (which avoids an extra fee) is January 27, the deadline for books is February 3, and the final deadline is February 10.

Inkshares is a publisher with a difference. They work by crowd-funding your book. This article gives you Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous – November update: Part 1

We had a great meeting yesterday, with contributions from everyone who attended. People are getting things done in the writing sphere. Maybe not quite as much as they’d like to, but making progress all the same. Kudos to them all … Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous October update – Part 2

Welcome back! Here’s part two of the monthly update, with a couple of ideas for those doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), contests, and places to submit, among others.

Kelly Notaras, who runs an agency offering editing and coaching services for writers, is offering a free download of her book, Three Classic Book Outlines. If you’re planning on attempting NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in November, it will probably help to be prepared, and this might help.

Jane Friedman

Need a virtual writing assistant? Jane Friedman drew my attention to a software program called Shortly. After setting up an account (free), you can input a sentence or two, click a button, and the AI will continue writing your story. Perhaps an alternative to staring at the wall or out the window when you experience writer’s block? Or when you’ve run out of NaNo steam…

Chat And Spin Radio is an Internet Radio Station based in the UK, broadcasting to half a million UK & International Listeners per week 24/7. They are looking for book authors, writers, etc, to carry out 10-minute live interviews for their Evening & Late Show. Email Ian Johnson at chatandspin@gmail.com for more information. Caveat: They may ask you for a donation after the interview, but one is not required.

Christopher Fielden (How to Write a Short Story) maintains a list of writing contests with links to them here. This particular link is for book and novel competitions, but he covers everything from short stories to flash fiction and more. They’re mainly British, which means that if you win, you can be an internationally award-winning writer. 🙂

Members looking for feedback on their writing can get it via Scribophile, where you’ll find thousands of other writers ready to critique work in your genre. You do the same for them.

Feedback is also available at FanStory. This is a paid subscription site, but it does offer helpful critiques for everything you write, and a lot of contests with cash prizes.  Some upcoming ones include Halloween flash fiction and poetry (deadline October 31), and dribble flash fiction (50 words), which closes November 4. You can try their one-week “worry-free” money-back guarantee to see if you like it.

Vellum is a beautiful book-formatting software program recommended by member Libby Waterford. Currently available for Mac only, and it costs around $250. Worth it if you’re planning to self-publish a number of books.

Libby also recommended BookSweeps, which is a particularly useful giveaway site if you’re trying to build your email list. She netted 600 new subscribers last time she did it. There’s a small fee to submit your giveaway, but since you’re giving away eBooks, it doesn’t cost you anything on the production end.

At the meeting, people were asking for places to submit humorous articles. Here are some of the suggestions made by members: Richard Seltzer likes humor print magazine American Bystander (submit to michaelgerber@gmail.com) and the online humor magazine Glossy News Satire. Alison McBain recommended Defenestration – a humorous literary magazine.

Authors Publish recently sent me a list of 27 publishers with good distribution, that accept unagented submissions.

And here’s a similar list of 30 publishing companies from Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking submissions of new nonfiction work by older (60+) writers. They’re looking for personal essays/memoir, experimental work, science writing, profiles, historical nonfiction, lyric essays … any kind of lively fact-based writing. Your work need not address issues related to age/aging. Up to 4000 words, with a deadline of February 22. $3 convenience fee for online submissions. Submit your work here.

And finally, do you know the difference between literary fiction, upmarket fiction, and commercial fiction? I thought my novel was commercial fiction, but it might be upmarket. Either way, I found this infographic from literary agent Carly Watters useful.

Until next month, keep writing!

Writers’ Rendezvous: October update – Part 1

I love the Zoom meetings we’re having with people from across the country. Writing can be lonely, but the lockdown has brought to the fore this great way of communicating. So, the WritersMic on Tuesday welcomed people from as far … Continue reading

Writers Rendezvous: August update – Part 1

Thanks to everyone who came to the Zoom meetings of our WritersMic and Writers’ Rendezvous this week. I was delighted to welcome some out-of-state members too. It’s one of the reasons I like Zoom and hope we’ll keep using it. Congratulations to member Libby Waterford, on the publication of her second novel in a series of four: Can’t Make you Love Me! There’s lots more to tell you, so here goes:

The Westport Library continues to add to its video series of author interviews, and this evening, August 20, from 7:30-8:30pm, bestselling authors Rea Frey and Hank Phillippi Ryan will discuss their newest books and the business of writing with book blogger Suzanne Leopold. Ryan is the award-winning author of many thrillers—the latest is The First to Lie. Rea Frey is the author of Not Her Daughter and Until I Find You. Hear their journeys of navigating the publishing world. Register here.

Frey also the Founder and CEO of Writeway, where ‘aspiring writers become published authors.’ There are three ways to engage: one-to-one book proposal creation and development for Nonfiction; one-to-one editorial forensics for Fiction; or a selection from a digital course catalog, covering everything from writing to branding to design. Explore the site for more details.

The Summer Short Story Award for New Writers, organized by the Masters’ Review, is open for entries from July 1-August 30. The winning story will be awarded $3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and $300 and $200 respectively. All winners and honorable mentions will receive agency review by: Nat Sobel from Sobel Weber, Victoria Cappello from The Bent Agency, Andrea Morrison from Writers House, Sarah Fuentes from Fletcher & Company, Heather Schroder from Compass Talent, and Siobhan McBride from Carnicelli Literary Management.

Gemini, and online literary magazine, is running a flash fiction contest with a word limit of 1000 and a deadline of August 31. There’s a $6 entry fee, which helps pay for the first prize of $1,000. (Second prize $100.) All finalists will be published online in the October 2020 issue. Open to any subject, style, or genre.

https://www.meetup.com/Norwalk-WordPress-Meetup We’re an online WordPress group hosting live speaking events on a range of WordPress topics. You can join us in our online live streams and eventually in-person events. Their first event is a virtual Meet & Greet on September 1 at 7pm.

Writer’s Digest’s 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards honors the best self-published e-book(s) in eight of the most popular categories with $5,000 in cash, a featured interview in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York City. In addition to $13,000 in total cash prizes, all entrants will receive a brief commentary on their work from one of Writer’s Digest’s judges.  Entry fee $125. Deadline September 21.

Margaret Gibson, State of CT Poet Laureate, is inviting all poets who live in Connecticut to send poems to be considered for inclusion in an anthology funded by an Academy of American Poets Grant. The anthology will be published by Grayson Books in Hartford and will be released in time for Earth Day, 2021. Three Poems from poets of every racial and cultural background and experience are welcome: we all live on this earth together   Deadline October 30. Click here for more information, and submission guidelines.

The Westport Writers Workshop continues to offer a number of one-time workshops. Among those scheduled for the fall, beginning September 5, are: Finding Inspiration(September 5), NaNoWriMo: Prep for Success(October 17), Learn to Outline(September 26),

Small Wonders: Writing Flash Nonfiction(November 7), and many more. For more information, email exec@westportwriters.org

If you’re looking for reviews of your book(s), check out Story Origin, who will deliver eBooks for both ARC’s and contest prizes.

From Jane Friedman. Missing out on group writing time with friends? Take a look at Ohwrite for a tool to help you meet your writing goals by word sprinting online, alongside others. Still in beta and free. One thing to note – you write online, so you should remember to copy whatever you’ve done to a file of your own. But it’s a great way to get words on the page. If you’re not interested in word sprinting, but a coworking accountability partner, take a look at FocusMate instead. You sign in for 50 minutes with someone you probably don’t know, and all you do is write, or work from home or do your homework. Three sessions a week for free, and then you pay something.

I’ll have more for you on Monday, folks.

Keep writing!

 

 

Writers’ Rendezvous – July update: Part 1

I’ve always thought that living here in Connecticut, we’re blessed with almost unlimited resources for writers. Nowadays, with so many meetings and events held on Zoom and similar platforms, distance is no bar to attending whatever you want. I’ve been making the most of this, joining write-in meetings with writers in California, Texas, The Carolinas, and even Canada and Europe. Much safer than actually traveling there. And I’ve made new friends along the way.

All the events listed here are via Zoom, and if I know the link I’ve included it.. If I don’t, I’ve shown you where to get it. The next Zoom event I’m running is a write-in on Mondays from 10-11:30am EST. Join us and write for two 45-minute sessions, It’s amazing how much writing gets done!

Next Tuesday evening, July 21, it’s time for WritersMic, our open mic session, from 7-9pm. You can come to read, or to listen. Contact me for the link if you’d like to be there. Or sign up at Meetup, which will provide the link immediately.

The Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers Association (CTRWA) is hosting a writers’ hang out via Zoom this evening, July 16 from 7-8pm. All fiction writers welcome.  The link is highlighted above.

The Westport Library has a couple of author events worth Continue reading

Award-winning Rendezvous!

The list of award winners in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual contest has just been published, and I’m delighted to say that over thirty awards were won by members of the Writers’ Rendezvous. Several won in more than one category. … Continue reading