Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Art of Name Dropping

So, for all that I fear some of the literary world relies on "who you know," or the art of name dropping, I do have a fun anecdote from college days that shows if you're not artful, then dropping the best names in the world won't help you any.

I had a college poetry workshop with A Very Famous Poet. (Blatant attempts by some students to completely suck up to Very Famous Poet were pretty ridiculous, in fact.)

Anyway, one student wrote a poem that I remember was one of the worst pieces of schlock I had ever read. Okay, we were all in college so maybe that was mean, but I wasn't an entirely nice person back then. So, part of her exercise was to send it off to a magazine that Very Famous Poet had suggested.

So in her cover, she wrote something along the lines of, "Very Famous Poet suggested I send this poem, XXX, to you."

Her poem was rejected. Howevr, at the very end, the editor wrote, "Please tell Very Famous Poet that I say hello."


So, yeah. I'm sure networking and contacts help but sometimes, a bad poem is just a bad poem.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Table Talk

I met up with a friend of mine tonight for coffee, who I haven't seen in months upon months, who was also an English major in a previous life. We started talking about literature and he was of the opinion that the Internet's easy access to publishing solutions is just going to lower the bar on everything, and create a world where "anything" can get published.

I, of course, have embraced the democratizing value of technology and the Internet. I find it much more liberating than the previously closed-off world where there are so few venues for good fiction, like The New Yorker being the only game in town. (Not to bust unfairly on The New Yorker, but just to use that as a symbol of the rarity of fiction markets in another age.)

Was hoping to get some discussion on this. Does anyone have an opinion? Will quality go out the window with so many venues? Will a glut of "published authors" lower the bar?

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 28, 2004


So, I went out and had a life last night. (Went to see the band Flogging Molly, with The Briggs and The Street Dogs opening up. I guess it's a good way to get out and live a little, even if it was a "school night." There was good music and lots of good people watching.) As a result, I'm very tired so I don't have very much to say this fine evening. (Fine is an overstatement. The remnants of Hurricane Jeanne blew through our area today, complete with torrential downpours of rain.)

Meanwhile, I'm waiting impatiently for a whole slew of responses to some of the fiction I've sent out recently. Some of it I fear is in the black hole, as I have a sneaking suspicion I will get no responses for, so that will be a fiery blog post later on in time.

However, October is definitely D-Day, so to speak, as some of the magazines that I have found generally do respond will be due to respond. Then I can start scouring for markets for them anew.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Man Booker

Over on Bibliotechno, you can find the short list of this year's nominees for the Man Booker Prize. This isn't something I ever paid too much attention to, but maybe now I should, considering my big summer reading pleasures were previous winners/nominees, Middlesex and Life of Pi.

I've just started reading Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre, another previous winner (or is it just nominee, I don't know). So this means I'll be engrossed in the novel form for a while, so I won't have much to say about lit mags, though I just recently dug into Grand Street before deciding to take a sharp turn and dig into a novel.

Having seen the short list of this year's nominees, I guess it might behoove me to check a few of them out. Brian mentioned how they're books "nobody's read." Ah, the literary life...

Thanks for reading,


Friday, September 24, 2004

Being Single Sucks

Single spaced, that is!

So, having been moonlighting a bit helping edit a friend's literary mag and looking through some submissions, and having more than once gotten manuscripts passed to me by friends and acquaintances, I have more than once seen manuscripts typed in single space. Don't do it! I think a lot of editors just trash 'em if they come in like that.

I remember when I was in my late teens/early 20s and just starting to write fiction and looking into submission mechanics, and HATING the fact that you're supposed to double-space your manuscripts. I couldn't understand it for the life of me. (And over the years, I've heard people kvetch about it, just like I did.)

It's for editing purposes, dammit. Even editing your own work requires double space so when you print out that hard copy and attack it with your red pen, you have room to insert changes and notes and rearrange and all that good stuff.

As for submitting it to markets, it's just plain easier on the eye. If you want somebody to read it you want it as easy to read as possible, which includes of course using some boring old font like Times New Roman.

At any rate, I thought I'd pass that little tidbit along. It's one of my pet peeves and many people probably already know it's a rule, but I thought I'd get that one off my chest. (Paper clips, not staples, too! That's another one of those rules that may not make any sense but stapled manuscripts bug me too, even when they're my own.)

Thanks for reading,


National Novel Writing Month

Is anybody planning on participating in National Novel Writing Month in November? I'm trying to come up with some ideas for it. And I would find the link to its web site only right now I'm exceptionally lazy. All you have to write is 50,000 words, which is actually a novella, but likely not that hard to do.

I have a rough idea for it, with the caveat that I'm not going to take it all that seriously. Otherwise I don't think I'd participate at all. Anybody else feel like burning themselves out WORSE than they already have been day jobs, paying gigs, blogging, and writing other types of fiction? Ha.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Email List Mockery

So, I signed up for an emailing list from a magazine I have submitted to. I didn't realize that that would fill me with angst.

This publication supposedly has a 2-3 month response time for submissions. I haven't heard back for 2+ months and I'm starting to get that antsy, "what-if-they-lost/discarded/otherwise-disrespected-my-manuscript" anxiety. (Of course, I generally like to delude myself into thinking that the longer I wait, the better a sign it is, like they're seriously considering it or something, however, I don't like the reality that it's probably just that they're busy, with lives. Meanwhile, I guess the flip side is, who the hell wants their manuscript sitting in the "Maybe" pile? Ugh.)

This was compounded by the fact that the email bulletin contained word that they're first print issue is about to go to press, or something of that nature. What..... nooooo!

Anyway, this is all pretty much par for the course. But what's a blogger to do but blog about life's frustrations?

The millisecond it hits 3 months they've had it, of course, I'm sending that email, like what the EFF happened to my manuscript, jackasses. ;)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I've been having a weird thought lately. Not about literature, per se, but about the advent of blogging.

Most blogs started off more as online journals more than anything else. Though now, some have, of course, branched off into targeted subject matter or even function as their own journalism. Not to mention the whole self publishing bent.

So I was recently wondering if maybe the advent of blogging coincided at all with the advent of reality TV shows. Now of course, sheesh, lots of blogs are far better than the tripe served up as reality TV.

However, I wonder about the idea of, "Hey, real life (subtext: my real life) is more interesting than what some writer could write, or an actor could act."

Of course, the mere notion of having an audience changes the whole scheme anyway. Turning a person who is on a reality television show into someone who's serving up the drama that is going to make people like or hate them. Meanwhile, I'm betting most bloggers come up with a slightly different persona, that's more for public consumption.

I don't know, odd thoughts for a night when I'm about to go to bed. And wondering what comparisons can be drawn in what's "in" right now.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, September 20, 2004

Salty Editors

Over on Bibliotechno, we were discussing editors, and I asked, "Are editors today worth their salt?"

Maybe not, or maybe not lots of them. It's a good question considering that the two latest Harry Potter books could be used as barbells in a daily workout. Meanwhile, like, Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code (UGH!) certainly could have used a more stringent editor. Cut out some of those adverbs, friend, and most certainly edit out things like, "He thought he saw a horse. He said, "I thought I saw a horse!"


At any rate, the summer 2004 issue of Tin House discussed F. Scott Fitzgerald's relationship with the editor who helped him along with The Great Gatsby. That was a cool essay, in that it reminded us of the important relationship between writer and editor. The description of the give-take between the two was really neat -- and reminds us all that self editing is not always the end-all, be-all.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Home Sweet Home

Okay, so here's the more general overview of the Summer 2004 issue of Tin House. I liked it a lot -- it was definitely a fulfilling and rewarding read, though some of it seemed a little bit "form over function." But, it was worth the $12.95 I laid down for it, and at least it was willing to take a few chances.

I guess my favorite story was Graphology, by Dan DeWeese, followed by Dancers, by Ellen Litman. Eros 101, by Elizabeth Tallent, was a really cool idea but somehow it took a while to dig into -- there was something a little distant about the beginning, a little hard to follow.

Another really cool idea: Severance by Robert Olen Butler. However, I would say the idea was better than the prose, and that one is a very telling example of the "form over function" problem. It contains snippets from the minds of figures over the ages who have been beheaded. However, I think that the prose itself was lacking in power, though the overall effect is, "what a cool idea."

So yeah, overall a good read. Though, I don't know, while I thought the recipe for the Tin House martini at the end, was cool -- it also felt pretentious and ivory towerish. I think one of the things that I feared about Tin House all along.

Overall though, if you decide to pick it up, there's a lot to like within its pages. (There's also the fact that visually, it's a lovely publication.) There are other perfectly good short stories in there, and decent poems as well as essays. Again, a satisfying journey into literature. Maybe it didn't knock the doors off, but I didn't feel cheated of my time or money either.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 18, 2004

On Happiness

I've been thinking about happiness and art a lot lately. A few days ago, I was blogging about having written my first short story with a "happy ending." So it was interesting to read about the concept in a touching memoir about Spalding Gray in the Summer 2004 issue of Tin House.

Spalding Gray dealt with depression -- not so surprising amongst creative folks, though whether depression and other mental disorder (or substance abuse) go hand in hand in writing as some might suppose is likely another blog post for another time. The artistic temperament is a difficult one, but I don't think one has to be all effed up to be creative. Goodness knows I am less effed up now than I used to be, and get more fiction written, but then again, I'm still very much subject to my own peaks and valleys.

So anyway, "Remembering Spalding Gray," by Francine Prose, talks a little bit about Gray's struggles. The third part is called "Happiness." "The problem, he kept saying, was the difficulty of making art about happiness -- happy families are all alike -- and the essential relationship between narrative and conflict." Later: "Spalding spoke of his worries about ever writing another monologue, about whether he could continue to make art out of a life that was increasingly calm, placid -- and happy. That night, we talked as if happiness were a permanent condition, a nearly insurmountable obstacle."

Unfortunately, we all know the end of the story -- the car accident, followed by increased bouts of depression, and then his disappearance. I recommend the memoir, it was interesting.

But that one passage was particularly thought provoking. It's so true -- it's hard to build conflict in the midst of describing happiness. Milton's Paradise Regained is less interesting than Paradise Lost -- how interesting is purity, good, happiness, and contentment? There's got to be some conflict somewhere. It's the hook. But then again, how many of us are able to create these conflicts without being subject to at least the occasional funk -- if not being completely down in the dumps or orchestrating a conflict-ridden life for ourselves? A life, so full of drama, with the thought that someday it will be fodder, to write away the demons.

This is probably an age-old question of writers everywhere.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hard-ass House

All right, so I am reading the Summer 2004 issue of Tin House. Now, it's suitably enthralling so far, that I suggest it as a market, especially if you're a big fan of form over function. And I plan to do a more review-like sweep once I'm done with the issue. But, I happen to have a rant.


The Web site is lovely. And the print publication is lovelier. Judging by the print version's artistic layout, I know this magazine is no stranger to the possibilities available through desktop publishing programs. Everything about it is modern.

Except for the fact that it doesn't accept submissions in electronic form!!

I don't know, maybe it's a way to suitably torment us struggling writers. Maybe it's a way to cull out the heathens of the Internet masses (though I dare say, a bad writer is just as perfectly capable as a good writer of wasting some trees to print out a manuscript and cover letter and put postage on the envelope as well as the SASE).

Okay, that's my rant for the day.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Sorry people, I've got a screwed-up link for Poppy Z. Brite's blog, which I recommended yesterday. I'm sure that if anybody out there is interested, if you do a Google search on Dispatches from Tanganyika it'll come up.

Sorry about that, I've tried two fixes to the link and it's not working. And at this moment, sleep is seeming like a better idea than banging my head against a wall over this. Maybe it's a LiveJournal thing, I don't know.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Brite Lights

I think I'm a fan of Poppy Z. Brite's LiveJournal. Now, I am a fan of her horror lit, like Lost Souls, so I think I could theoretically qualify as one of the goth geek fans that she'd probably like to shake (NOT that I've ever written asking for more on Steve and Ghost, dear God no), but I have to say, I do have one of her newer novels, Liquor, on my reading list.

I'm not a huge fan of straight-up journal blogs -- at any rate, you have to be a very good writer to carry one off, and I do know several that qualify (though from clicking that "Next Blog" tab on Blogger, I can tell there are a lot of not-so-hot blogs out there).

Anyway, though, she is a good writer and a well-known and published one at that, so no wonder I'm loving her frequent posts. Check it out, if you feel so inclined.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, September 13, 2004

Not-So-Happy Endings

All right, so last week I was rather gleeful about my first-ever happy ending for a short story. (Having explained that generally speaking, if my "relationship horror" lit stories don't end with downright unhappy endings, they generally end with ambiguous endings.) But hey, it's not done!

I ran it by my roommate, who is a good reader and a good advisor for my fiction (though she is definitely NOT The Fiction Bitch -- she is a very nice person!). (I know I should workshop it on Zoetrope, but unfortunately, I'm afraid I don't have the time to spend on the site right now between all my varied projects, and I'd hate to give other writers there short shrift when I'm looking at their pieces.) She liked it, but told me it isn't tight enough yet.

Ack! I know this is all part of writing -- the endless rereading, cutting, and revising. However, I sat staring at it all weekend, unsure of what to cut. There are a few segments that I thought could be cut altogether, but she disagreed with that tact. I think this one might be one to throw in a drawer and forget about for a few months, as Stephen King suggested in On Writing -- given time, maybe areas for tightening will be glaringly obvious.

It would have been nice to have it come out ready for submission though -- some do. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. And the truth is, I did have serious doubts about it -- the question I asked my roommate (special code name forthcoming, I'll have to ask her who she wants her alter ego to be, haha), was, "Is this story too stupid?" Luckily, she gave me the big thumbs up on another one I ran past her.

Meanwhile, I've got another that just sits waiting for a conclusion. I have serious doubts as to whether it's worth the time I'm putting into it. Although I did run into the person who one character is very roughly sketched on.... which truly didn't help, actually.

Write on,


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Check it Out...

Jen, of the blog JMB, has posted her literary magazine live, JMWW. If you get a chance, check it out, there's good stuff there -- in particular, I enjoyed "Roadkill Eulogies," by Oana Capota.

Thanks for reading,


More on the Train

I know, I know, I harp a little too much about Glimmer Train. But, I saw something interesting when I looked at their site the other day.

There was a link with a question, something to the effect of, "Is it even possible to get published by Glimmer Train?" If you click on the link, you get a gushy sentiment from a recently published author, who mentions having been trying for TEN YEARS to get into the magazine and finally did.

It's interesting, though -- that question brings to mind the idea that Glimmer Train's a popular yet frustrating market for many. I'm not sure what its great appeal is for writers -- sure, I do try now and again and send a story to them, but like I said, I don't think I've ever been too impressed with their editorial direction. (The summer 2004 issue I blogged about recently notwithstanding.)

But I do recall Zoetropers expressing some frustration with the market, too. It's got to be interesting food for thought when a magazine (apparently) gets lots of questions about whether it's even possible to be published within its pages (with the subtext being, I suppose, without having a really good agent, connections, or previous publications in high-profile magazines).

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 11, 2004

Getting Off the Train

Yesterday I found myself in Borders and of course, perused the literary magazine shelf. They never have anything too out of the ordinary but of course it's one perfectly legit place to buy some literary rag. I picked up the Summer Fiction issue of Tin House.

Yeah, I have the Fall 2004 issue of Glimmer Train that I've been trying to slog through, but so far in the couple stories I've read, slog is the word. I did really like the Summer issue, but seeing how my traditional history of reading them generally leaves me less than impressed, it's not surprising to me.

So, I think I'm going to set aside GT for a while and see what Tin House has to offer. Again though, my reading pace has slowed down a whole lot recently. Work and social life have gotten in the way. (Hey, I have to have a social life don't I?) It's another variation of that theme where you wish you could be in two places at once. Not to mention, working on my own fiction is a bit of a stretch right now.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, September 10, 2004

Bitched Out

So, how many of us would be masochistic enough to send our work to a self-proclaimed bitch? Stephen, who blogs at CoolReading, pointed me to this lovely blog, The Fiction Bitch.

Yeah, yeah, it made me laugh out loud. She asks for writers to send their work to her if they suspect that they are actually just plain bad writers and their family and friends haven't had the heart to tell them. (Likely a pretty major concern for some.) If your work is suitably bad, she lampoons it on the site (and includes the original story where her vitriolic comments pop up when your cursor moves over the link, very nice use of technology!). Some poor sucker's fable got the treatment most recently.

I have to say, it's a funny idea, even though that's probably all writers' secret dread -- to realize, "Hey, I suck and didn't know it!" And the part of me that thinks it isn't too cool, thinks of people I've encountered on online workshops like Zoetrope and realized that generally speaking, the people who needed the most help were the ones who were the most grateful for constructive criticism. I think maybe there aren't enough people willing to give that and help others grow.

Yesterday, the Fiction Bitch hadn't posted since April, and I feared maybe someone offed her when they didn't like what she said. However, as luck would have it, when I checked just now, there was a post where the Web master gave a "mea culpa" and promised posts will begin again soon. Whether this is good for us literary types, or bad, I don't know, but it's worth checking out.

Write on,


Thursday, September 09, 2004


Jen, of JMB, recently pointed out Fiction Warehouse as a good market. Thanks for the heads up! They've definitely got some interesting stuff going.

Earlier, a few of us were talking about the veracity of fiction contests, but Fiction Warehouse has got a pretty cool idea as far as that sort of thing goes. (With me, innovation goes a long way.)

They're not only running a contest that is judged by a single judge -- it's also judged by readers. So, there's also a popular vote as to who has written the best story.

Now, okay, I understand that this could become a bit of an Internet popularity contest, as writers petition all their friends, acquaintances, coworkers, family members, and local Starbucks baristas to vote for their work. However, it's quite a nod to the democratization of the Internet. It's nice to think that your submission might stand more of a shot at recognition beyond the overworked intern delegating pieces to the slush pile, or an editor in a bad mood that day.

Check it out, at the very least. It should continue to be interesting to see the different directions in which literature will go using the Internet as a medium.

Thanks for reading,


Shout Out...

... to all book lovers, who might consider themselves "geeks." Bibliotechno is up and running, and Brian pointed out a fun pastime in the vein of "Trivial Desires," check out this post.

Thanks for reading,



Sorry things are a bit dull right now, but my literary endeavors are at a standstill at the moment. I'm still working to get through the fall 2004 issue of Glimmer Train, even with the added incentive that I dig my new groovy highlighter pen with built-in Post-It flags. Really, it's rather helpful, but not much of a motivator.

Yeah, honestly, life has started getting in the way, hahaha. Dealing with things like, oh, work, which includes writing-related stresses of its very own, much separate from what goes on here, and the fact that I got a flat tire on the way to work today. It was from a giant bolt I picked up in my tire -- and when I got out at the nearest gas station, it was making a loud hissing sound: SSSSSSS. It's patched now, yes, but I'm a little too OCD to take that all in a mellow way.

Hopefully soon I will have some kinds of interesting thoughts to share, but right now I'm kind of slogging away.

Write on,


Tuesday, September 07, 2004


So, every once in a while, the deluge of spam makes me seriously wonder about whether the written word can survive the onslaught.

Like, those spam messages that are written so poorly, with so many grammar and typing errors, it would make you weep. Or the spams that look like this: Vi@gr!a, Mort*gage. (Who on earth are the people who are buying these idiots' products?)

At times, the word salad spams that inundate my mailbox at work, trying to sneak past the spam filters, look almost like nonsensical poetry. agatha beelzebub vacation rainfall colon. (And then, they're not even selling anything if you scroll down!)

Looks like the work of schizophrenics. Though some of it borders on poetry.

Today, I got a spam that started off with something along the lines of "the mummy crept through the open door." So, yeah, I guess soon they'll have a paragraph of fairy tale at the beginning.

Weird. Sometimes I wonder if it can't be good for our ability to read and interpret the written word. Then again, maybe it will drive us to covet a well-crafted sentence that makes sense.

All spammers (and virus writers) need spankings. Or, if they're not pimply basement dwellers, they need new brains. It's one of those things that makes me a little bit angry, every single day, till I'm a little worn out. A punching bag might help.


Monday, September 06, 2004

Breaking a Streak

Most of the rejections I've gotten recently have been personal ones that say to send more stories to those markets. I guess I need to follow my own advice and feel heartened by that fact.

Of course, I've got a story submitted to The New Yorker. I haven't submitted to them in years because I generally figure the chances of getting a story accepted there are about the same as being struck by lightning or winning the lottery, but every once in a while I get excited enough by a story I've written to go for it, and I recently discovered that at least they accept emailed submissions now. But, forget about receiving a personalized rejection from them. And as I've complained before, one of my submissions to McSweeney's has been out of commission since fall 2003. So I guess I will get no answer from them, personal or otherwise. I've since gone ahead and submitted that story elsewhere, considering that it's been there for about a year now.

I guess soon I will be getting an onslaught of form rejections though, having work submitted at Zoetrope: All-Story and Glimmer Train (yeah, even though the latter has had its moments of pissing me off to no end with its content -- it still pays good American money so is kind of worth the hope, filthy lucre). October's D-Day in terms of a bunch of submissions I have.

Hopefully now that today's Labor Day and summer is officially over, there are lots of other markets that are reading again, since summer's a pretty bad time to even think about marketing your writing. It's likely writers are among the only people who celebrate the end of summer. It's time to dare to dream again.

Write on,


Saturday, September 04, 2004

Culture Wars?

Kudos to Blog of a Bookslut -- AGAIN -- for providing this interview with the guys who have launched the new literary magazine Barrelhouse.

A lot of the discourse into why these fellows launched the magazine has to do with the state of art today. These guys contend that people now are more likely to merge high and low culture, as opposed to the way that the literary world usually operates, with one of the guys describing that attitude as, "We should all have Serious Thoughts about Serious Issues, reading only Serious Books and admiring Serious Art."

I've wondered about that myself. For example, Gargoyle magazine, as I described in a blog post recently, definitely publishes some work with a sense of humor, dark that it may be. So maybe these guys are onto something, onto the way our generation thinks and has been raised, with a blurring of the lines between entertainment and art -- and maybe the ability to not take everything, including ourselves, so dreadfully seriously.

I highly recommend the interview, it's interesting and thought-provoking (and touches on other interesting topics, like the proliferation of quality content on the Web as compared to traditional print journals), and recommend checking out Barrelhouse.

Thanks for reading,


Happy Endings

Well, I guess I'd better pat myself on the back. I think tonight, I managed to actually give a short story a happy ending.

Usually, my fiction falls under a new term I've coined (at least I think I coined it): "relationship horror." All about dysfunctional relationships. And therefore, happy endings are generally in short supply. I probably wouldn't know romance if it kicked me in the behind.

The story I ended tonight is one I've been grappling with for about a month -- one that I set aside and actually wrote a whole different, full-fledged story in like, 2 days or something.

Well, with this current one, I re-examined it tonight and took a different tact -- ending it more abruptly than I had originally envisioned. (Why drag out the happy part? Sheesh.) It was already getting long anyway, but the truth is, I think I am happy with the result.

Is it a ravingly happy ending? Well, no. If anything, it's a bit ambiguous, but the more I think about it, the more it's dawning on me that damn, it's a happy ending. It'll probably get a good deal of further thought and revision over the weekend. But I always feel better about a piece when it at least has a beginning, middle, and end. Even though the ending's usually unhappy, ha. So I guess I can consider tonight a fairly constructive night.

Write on,


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Night Train Delayed

I've been eagerly awaiting the return of Night Train for quite some time, as it stopped accepting submissions a while back and at the time, said it would return by August's end. I just stopped by the site to check on it, and now it won't be accepting new submissions until 2005. However, it is running a contest starting September 1, with a $10 reading fee.

This elicited an inward groan. I know it's so hard to make it (in particularly, financially) as a literary magazine, but there's something innately disappointing about waiting for a magazine to start accepting submissions again and find out it's running a contest instead.

Contests are a toughie. On the one hand, there are tons of writers willing to throw their hats into the ring (as well as a $10-$20 reading fee) for the chance at their "big break." Those of us who have day jobs to support our writing habit -- who aren't on a complete shoestring budget -- may not mind a small fee and may even see it as a donation to support the literary cause. On the other hand, I know lots of writers resent reading fees and related contests. It's not too hard to feel like it's a bit of a pyramid scheme.

And this makes me uneasy -- on the contest page, I can't seem to find exactly what the prizes ARE. I'm sure publication, but is there payment? Is there a cushy cash payment for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes, for example? What about runners up? Do they get anything? Dammit. I can't seem to download the PDF of FAQs, but prizes should have been disclosed on the contest's main page. Grr. Like, thanks for telling me I can use PayPal to send my fee, and not publicizing exactly what prizes authors are hoping for!

Write on,


More Great Tools

So, I previously blogged about my strange writerly affection for office supply stores like Staples. I popped into one yesterday, since it's my vacation and what better time to go to such a store for the hustle and bustle but back-to-school season? Plus, I have recently decided to try a little personal renaissance of handwritten letters. Not sure how long I'll last, but I thought I'd look for some good stationery, which of course, Staples didn't have. (My preference? Crane.)

Well, I raved earlier about Post-It flags and how they're so helpful to the literary life. The newest innovation from 3M: highlighter pens with Post-It Flag dispensers built in!

Yeah, this is so nerdy that I was completely excited by the gadget. (About as excited when I discovered Wite-Out tape, as compared to those old-fangled, always gloppy bottles of Wite-Out.) Now, I can safely mark my lit mags with the flags, and then properly deface them with highlighters, all in one fell shot. I bought a 3-pack. What a sucker, huh?

Thanks for reading,