Finished the story for Friday's deadline...

...and sent it out this afternoon.  So I have part of my list done, and that story was work #5, the unfinished one.  So I just have to finish my edits to my manuscript and come up with a 1500 word story by 3/15...piece of cake.  Maybe.  Would be easier if I didn't have work, bills to pay, and home stuff to do - this productive member of society stuff is cutting into my free time.  Later...

Been busy writing...

...revised two old poems and sent them out to a contest.  The revisions were enough to make them new in my eyes, so I will count them as works #8 and #9 in my quest for 100 works in 2007.

This will be a busy week as far as writing (and every other aspect of my life) goes.  I have two prose/fiction contests I want to enter - one by 3/9 (this Friday) and the other by 3/15, and I have barely started.  But I think I can hammer something good out if apply myself early in the week.  I work best under pressure, even if it is pressure I created by my own procrastination.

I am also working on final edits and setup for my book, My Own Brand of Blues.  My publisher contacted me last week and the book is basically in production (yay!) - so I have to do my part and put the finishing touches on it.  Most of my changes will be in formatting and reading it a million times - I'd hate for one spelling mistake to loom there on a random page in a manuscript I've had "finished" for 3+ years.  I'm a little nervous about it all, since this is a part of the publishing biz that is pretty much new to me, but I'm ready to see where it takes me.  It will be damn cool to be a published author with a book when it's all said and done.

Anyway, I might not blog for a few days, at least until all these loose ends are tied up.  Until then, be good...

Great resource for writers - Duotrope.com

Are you a writer looking for places to submit your work? Then you should check out www.duotrope.com.

It is an extensive database of over 1600 current markets for short fiction, poetry, and novels/collections. Use this page to search for markets that may make a fine home for the piece you just polished. It is an useful, comprehensive site! But before you look at one market, you may want to donate a little cash, even though it is a free service.  Like all good web innovations, you can't complain when the site founders finally decide to charge for their services because nobody donated.

Out Of Line info

ooo2007small.jpgAs mentioned previously, my poem A Runaway Slave's Song appears in the 2007 edition of Out of Line, an annual anthology of imaginative writings with underlying themes of Peace and Justice.   Click here to access the website of Garden House Press, the publisher of Out of Line, if you are interested in purchasing a copy of this great literary anthology.  I also have two short stories in Out of Line 2006 - Excessive Punishment and The Understanding - which is also available to order on the website.

Just wrote a poem...

...so maybe I'm out of my mini-writer's block.  We'll call this poem, I Hate Poetry, work #6, since I haven't given up on #5 as a story yet - just waiting for a little inspiration.  Trying to get something more written this weekend to get back on pace towards meeting the goal of 100 works written and published in 2007.  I am behind, but creativity comes in spurts, so I'm not too worried.  Yet.

Not much word on the writing I have out under consideration, just one rejection notice came in the mail yesterday.  I try to be an optimist and think no news is good news, or that the longer they're looking at my writing, the more chance I have to win contests or find a place in a journal.  But that damned pessimism keeps creeping into my thoughts.  So I better get back to writing - waiting for incoming emails or for the mail to come isn't a productive use of time.  Later...

2 New Publications

Love Commentaries, a triad of prose poems with different viewpoints on love, appear in the latest issue of It Takes All Kinds, a quarterly litzine that includes short stories, poetry, comics, articles, photography and columns from a wide variety of writers and artists.  This is the 5th issue of this independent literary publication, and I'm happy to be part of it - I contributed to their first and second issues as well.  In this issue there's also great poetry from friends and collaborators of mine Don Savant and Cecil Donaby.  Click here if you're interested in purchasing a copy of this up-and-coming Minnesotan litzine. 

Also, my poem A Runaway Slave's Song appears in the newest edition of Out of Line, an annual anthology of literature with themes of peace, justice, civil rights, and equality.   As you might guess from the title, this lyric poem is about the thoughts of freedom an escaped slave would have had while on the run.  It's publication is timely since it's Black History Month.  Other notable poets in this edition include Holly Day and Lyn Lifshin.  It's an honor to be able to contribute to this publication for the second year in a row.  Not sure about how you can get a copy of Out of Line - when I find out about availability I'll post an update on this blog...

Not much going on...

...over the past couple of days.  Received a rejection notice, but it was one of the friendliest ones I've ever read.  Still doesn't make it feel much better.  Sent out a couple of batches of poems for consideration to two journals: one batch included #4, which I think is a solid poem.  Hopefully I'll get some (positive) feedback soon.  Some upcoming journals and anthologies should be out soon with some of my work in them - I'll make a mention when I know more.  About to rework some old poems that are sitting around unfinished to add to my list of works in 2007...some are pretty close to being done, others need a complete overhaul.  Hopefully along the way I might get a few new ideas....

Started #5...

...it's a short story.  Wrote a strong introduction, got 1200 words deep...then nothing.  But at least it is started, we'll see what I can do with it later.  No acceptance or rejection letters in the mail, so I will just keep plugging away, young American writer working in obscurity.

Goal Setting and Other Overrated Activities

Every year needs a purpose.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it’s a little late to make a New Year’s Resolution, so maybe I’ll set a goal I’ll actually accomplish, or at least try to meet.

My goal is to try to write 100 pieces of writing (poetry and fiction), edit them, and get them published this year. That would pretty much double my published works and hopefully expand my fan base. I might fail miserably, but hopefully I’ll get some serious writing done. If I just get the 100 pieces written, it will make me grow. In the process, I want to finish the poetry manuscript that I’ve been working on, as well as complete a full-length collection of short fiction. I also plan on participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge in November, where I will try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. All of this seems daunting, but you don’t know what you can do until you try to do what you think is imposible.

All of this will keep me busy as a writer, force me to be productive, and give me a little more to talk about in this blog. I am going to try to talk almost every day about my writing, my acceptances, and the scores of rejection notices I will undoubtedly receive.

I just set this goal today, and I am already behind. Here is an inventory of what I've written so far this year:

1. A Love Supreme – short story

2. Meditation on Meditation – poem

3. Simple Needs – flash fiction

4. Discussing Temptation – poem

#1, #2, and #3 have been edited and submitted to contests and/or regular calls for submissions by publishers. So I need to finish up this blog entry and get back to work – I have 96 works to write and 100 to get published. Gotta get on my grind…

The Talking Stick Volume 15 Now Avaliable

15.jpgThe newest edition of The Talking Stick, a Minnesota Literary Journal put out by The Jackpine Writer's Bloc, is now out.  The Talking Stick is a ten year old publication. Showcasing some of the best to be found poetry, prose, fiction and creative nonfiction, The Talking Stick is an honest glimpse into the eyes of writers. Proud to be written and entirely produced by writers' and artists of Minnesota, The Talking Stick is a northern treasure. You can enjoy the book in the comfort of your own home by buying a volume here or in one of the many Minnesota book stores that carries it.

My poem Someday Your Prince Will Come, which is a satirical poem about some females and their flawed dating practices, is included amongst the works in this journal.  Check it out if you are interested in reading some work from emerging Minnesotan writers.

"The Essence of Doubt" to be published in Inspirit

Just received word that Inspirit, a Christian literary journal published by the Baughman Memorial United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania, is interested in publishing my poem The Essence of Doubt.  This poem is a very personal piece about doubt and how it tricks you into wandering from the righteousness path, so I consider it an honor that it will appear in their Winter 2006 edition.  I'd like to thank Gail Varney, the editor, for seeing potential in this poem.  I'll let you know more once the new edition of Inspirit is out.

"Velvet Avalanche: a collection of erotic poetry" now available

Announcing the release of Velvet Avalanche:  a collection of erotic poetry.  Published by satajah projects, this international collection of sexy poetry is hot off the presses.  I have two poems in the collection, Savage and A Bachelor's Guide to Her Backside.   I just received my copy and the book is professionally done and boasts a lineup of about 75 talented poets.  If you are looking for a good read,  I would suggest it as a steamy poetic page turner for these cold winter nights.

"In the Eye: A Collection of Writings" now available for ordering

IntheEye.jpgIn the Eye: A Collection of Writings is now available for ordering.  My poem Purgatory Creek is among the works included in the anthology.  I was happy to contribute to this anthology that is for such a worthy cause; all profits from this anthology go to Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild the areas affected by Katrina and Rita.  More info about the book appears below.

Edited by Katherine Tracy, Foreword by Catharine Savage Brosman, Introduction by Jack B. Bedell, and Cover Image by Kirk Jordan. The elements of Nature are scattered throughout the pages of 48 poems and stories by 36 writers who speak of wonder and devastation, inviting us to experience our own humanity in the beauty and force of Nature.

Thirty-six writers contributed to this project. They share a common ground in that their voices have found their muses in Nature because they understand that Man is indeed part of Nature. The element of water is a constant that runs throughout this anthology, along with Man and other living creatures scattered throughout the pages. Katrina is not the first disaster to cause such devastation. Nor will it be the last, however, Katrina brought much of the Gulf Coast and especially New Orleans to its knees, and to this date, more than a year later, it continues to have lingering, if not lasting effects. Some of these writings emphasize disaster while others remind us of the beauty that we behold in Nature, and some illustrate that precious balance that is so significant to our existence.

"Love Commentaries" accepted by "It Takes All Kinds" litzine

My "Love Commentaries," a triad of prose poems with different viewpoints on love, have been accepted for the fifth issue of It Takes All Kinds, a quartely litzine that includes short stories, poetry, comics, articles, photography and columns from a wide variety of writers and artists.   I had the opportunity to be in the inagural and second issues of this journal, and I am excited to be able to contribute to it yet again.  Misty O’Brien, the editor, has created a noticeable and diverse litzine in a short time, and I appreciate her including me in it.  I will provide further info about the next edition of It Takes All Kinds when it comes out.

why I write

because an alpha-male Gemini with mood swings can’t hide sinister thoughts or embarrassing feelings unless they are stashed inside books and journals, especially since nobody really reads literature anymore.

because writing is cheaper than therapy and a bit healthier than alcoholism.

because something good should come from all my bullshit experiences.

and sometimes I write simply to empty a pen and waste paper.

Two Poems Accepted by "Velvet Avalanche: Poetry Anthology"

Received some good news over the weekend - two of my poems, "Savage" and "A Bachelor's Guide to Her Backside," have been accpeted to be part of "Velvet Avalanche", an anthology of erotic and seductive poetry. 

I would like to thank Donna Hill, the editor of this project, for including my work in this collection with many exceptional writers.  I am excited to be part of such an ambitious project that will feature the work of about 75 contributors and will be nearly 200 pages.  It looks like the book will be out in October or November...I'll make a mention on this website when it becomes available.

"Survival Notes" wins 2006 Cervena Barva Press Short Story Prize

I just received word that my manuscript "Survival Notes" just won the 2006 Cervena Barva Press Short Story Prize for a short fiction chapbook! 

I would like to thank Gloria Mindock (Editor) and Dorthy Freudenthal (Judge) for this opportunity and award.  The chapbook will be out sometime in 2007 and contains several stories that have either won awards in the past or have been published in journals or online.  I think you'll find that it is a good read.  I'll let you know more details as the publication date nears...