Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wishing You

Friday, October 30, 2015


While watching this lovely short video I thought, Yep, this is us. All of us (with background music, for those of you at work):

M U S E from Gunther Gheeraert on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

LT Early Reviewers

My third book from Library Thing's Early Reviewers program was The Florida Land Boom of the 1920s by Gregg M. Turner. A historian who has already written a number of books about the state where I grew up, Mr. Turner this time tackled a period of land development and real estate that built and destroyed fortunes, transformed a tropical backwater into a much-desired destination, and attracted millions hoping to find paradise and make their dreams come true.

Land booms in Florida are definitely regular events. My family moved from Maryland to South Florida during one, while my guy and I later moved away to escape some of the many problems caused by another. On average 803 people currently move to Florida every single day, which last year helped push the state past New York to become the third most populous in the union (only #1, California, and #2, Texas, presently have more residents.) Twelve hundred miles of beaches certainly don't hurt, nor do the very low taxes (Florida ranks fifth in the nation for states with the lowest tax burden.) Close to ninety million people simply visit Florida every year to work on their tans, take the kiddies to Disney World, Universal and a plethura of other theme parks, and otherwise bask in the Sunshine State.

From the beginning of the book I was impressed, not only by the author's meticulous research, but also by how he explored the fascinating people involved. We can thank developer George Merrick, for example, an aspiring writer who dreamed of building a "City Beautiful", for Coral Gables, and world traveler and (admittedly unlicensed) architect Addison Cairns Mizner for Boca Raton. Sarasota owes quite a bit to circus king turned developer John Ringling, who came on his yacht to visit the city after being snubbed by high society in nearby Tarpon Springs. Yet for every visionary there were scammers and criminals waiting to rip off and defraud the unwary; after being sentenced to prison for investment fraud in Massachusetts the infamous Charles Ponzi worked a scam to sell ten million building lots to investors that were too tiny to build on, located in the middle of nowhere, or drowning in swamp water.

This book is also chock full of fascinating advertisements and photographs related to Florida's 1920's land boom, and the men who drove it. I think reading the original ads used to lure new residents to the state are the most fun. The promises these guys made were often even more outrageous than their plans. The one thing they didn't mention in addition to the balmy sea breezes and warm winters was hurricane season, or how often Florida is hit by these monster storms. A category 4 storm made landfall in 1926 to wipe out greater Miami, cross the state and ravage the west coast, and then zip up the Gulf to batter the panhandle. Just one storm killed 400 people, injured 6,300 and rendered some 18,000 homeless.

Gregg M. Turner does a terrific job of pulling together bios, backgrounds, business ventures and thousands of little details to portray this chaotic and ultimately very costly time period. Students of Florida history should definitely invest in it, but it's a pleasure to read for anyone who loves the richness of the past, the mistakes our predecessors made in those times, and what we all might learn from them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sub Op

I spotted this open call over in the Paying Markets forum at

"NineStar Press is seeking submissions of MM paranormal and contemporary romance novellas & novels.

For paranormal, think shifters, vamps, angels, demons, magic.

For contemporary, think modern love in a modern world. Doctors, firemen, rockstars, businessmen, baristas…and etc!

Our rates are competitive and our terms author-friendly. We’re launching on November 23 and already have 40+ titles in production – and what we need now is some delicious MM paranormal & contemporary to add to our spring/summer 2016 lineup!

Each book receives gorgeous cover art, extensive editing, a full marketing schedule, and wide release at all major retailers.

Books over 50k will also go into print within 1 year after the digital release. We also release in audio.

We are looking for works from 12k to 120k+. No short stories at this time unless full erotica.

Heat rating can be explicit or PG or anything in between.

For details on how to submit, visit and click on Submissions.

Please note we are still open for general LGBTQA+ works as per our submissions info page."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

6 Days and Counting

In less than a week National Novel Writing Month begins, and for the entire month of November writers around the globe will be writing like maniacs to get 50,000 words done in thirty days. It's crazy, and crazy fun, and if you've never tried but want to I encourage you to do so. Everyone has a book in them, and NaNoWriMo gives you the opportunity to get it out and take it for a wild ride.

I've rifled through the PBW archives and pulled these links to help get your engine started:

Word count widgets: links to the official and unofficial NaNoWriMo progress meters so you can track and share how well you're keeping up.

Micro-Outlining: If you want to outline but find the usual templates and worksheets daunting, try my SCARAB approach to micro-outling.

Naming: If you're having a tough time coming up with character names, try this online random name generator that you can customize with gender, nationality and even some genres.

Organize: Hiveword is a free online novel writing organizer that can help you map out your story before you write it.

Pep Talk: I wrote this post a few years back to offer some ideas on how to cope with pre-Nano fears and doubts.

Story Carding: for an alternative and fun way to outline your novel, try this idea that uses trading cards you make with a free online generator.

I'll also be around throughout the month of November to offer advice, encouragement, helpful links and otherwise shake my NaNo pom poms for you all. In the meantime, if anyone has any questions or is looking for a particular resource related to NaNoWriMo that can't wait, let me know in comments and I'll see if I can help.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Instant TBR

I stopped by my local Dollar Tree store last Friday to pick up some mailing envelopes, and noticed they had a really nice selection of hard covers and paperbacks, too, so I invested in ten by authors I've never read:

The Door Through Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley (yeah, I know, but I've never read her. Honestly.)

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

The Lingering Dead by J.N. Duncan

Absolution by Patrick Flanery

News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman

Gary Jennings' Aztec Revenge by Junius Podrug (An editor thought up this title. I'm sure of it. Also, a disclaimer: I did read Gary Jennings' first Aztec book before he went on to the next place.)

The Deadliest Sin by Caroline Richards

The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg

The Taint of Midas by Anne Zouroudi

Six hardcovers, two trades and two paperbacks for a grand total of ten bucks; I defy anyone to beat that price for brand-new books. It also helps my book budget to buy remainders when I want to try some new authors. I then I donate the books to our local Friends of the Library for their annual sale, so they'll be passed along for more folks to discover.

The Florida Land Boom of the 1920s by Gregg M. Turner, the third book I've gotten for free from Library Thing's Early Reviewers Program, also just arrived. I'm looking forward to diving into it this week. It did take about seven weeks for the publisher to send it to me, just FYI for anyone who is thinking about joining the program -- sometimes you do have to wait a bit for them to arrive.

Library Thing will also be kicking off their annual Santa Thing book exchange, which I'm thinking about doing again this year because it's always fun to discover what other book lovers think I should be reading. I might request e-books this time around, though, to get some new reads on the Nook and see if I can motivate myself to start using the e-reader more frequently than once or twice a year.

How are you getting cheap or free books these days? Let us know in comments.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Just Write Sunday Edition

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

My link: More on Ghost Writer (click on the title to go to the .pdf), with new material beginning on page 141.

For more details on Just Write, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: My kid. :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sub Op

I spotted this open call for an antho with an interesting theme over in the Paying Markets forum at

"Ylva Publishing is looking for lesbian fiction short stories for an anthology. The protagonists should be involved in the publishing anthology, for example, a writer doing “research” for a love scene, a sexy librarian who doesn’t quite fit her profession’s stereotypes, a bookstore owner who has a secret crush on one of her customers... The possibilities are endless.

Stories can be romantic, humorous, or erotic.

Stories should be 4,000 to 8,000 words in length, previously unpublished, and written by a female author.

Writers whose stories are selected for the anthology will receive a one-time payment of $40 (via PayPal), two complimentary copies of the anthology in print, plus a free e-book in each format (epub, mobi, pdf).

The deadline to receive submissions is March 1, 2016."

For more info, see the guidelines page here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Quick Trip

Spend a day in Denver, Colorado in less than four minutes (with rather thrilling background music, for those of you at work):

One Day on Earth - One Day in Denver from Ryan Dravitz on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Trivial & Sub Op

I was at BAM the other day picking up the new Mary Balogh book when I saw a big display of adult coloring books. Since I keep reading about these things online I decided to have a look. For all the other old people out there who don't get it, they're just book versions of the old DoodleArt posters from the seventies (and here's how old I am -- I actually colored in the entire Jungle edition poster back in the mid-70's.) I still don't get why they're so popular, but since I like to draw Zentangles I'm not going to judge.

World Weaver Press has an open call for their upcoming Siren-themed spec fic antho: "Sirens, the fourth title in Rhonda Parrish's Magical Menageries anthology series from World Weaver Press featuring Fae, Scarecrow, and Corvidae, is seeking submissions right now.

Greek mythology describes the Sirens as being charismatic monsters; part bird, part woman, with enchanting voices whose songs either lure men to, or foretell, their deaths. In Roman mythology they play a similar role but shift their domain to the sea and take the form of mermaid-like creatures. Mythological Sirens such as these come with a capital ess; there are only a small number of them, they have names, Godly parents and occupations. Those Sirens are welcome within the pages of this anthology, but so are their lower-case sisters.

In Sirens, we will honor and share stories of historical Sirens, but we’ve equal room for modern re-imaginings and will be giving matching space to both avian and aquatic varieties.

Whether from the sea or sky, sirens are beautiful, dangerous and musical, and we’re open to works that exemplify as well as those which defy those expectations.Sirens will be a book full of tales that evoke a vast spectrum of emotions toward these maidens, empathy, disdain, sorrow, awe and anger. I want stories of wretched and cursed sirens who fight against the roles imposed upon them and tales of those who revel in them. I’m hoping for pieces re-telling or playing upon the traditional myths and others which create their own mythologies, and all the little niches in between.

We are looking for speculative stories up to 7,500 words long.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $10 and a paperback copy of the anthology from World Weaver Press. We are looking for previously unpublished works in English. Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: August 15 - November 15, 2015

Length: Under 7,500 words

Submission method: Email story as a .doc or .rtf attachment to fae [at] worldweaverpress [dot] com. Subject line: Sirens Submission: TITLE

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Multiple submissions = no."

For more information, see their guidelines page.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Halloween Reads

I'm looking for spooky reads for Halloween. I usually go with a romantic suspense but this year I wouldn't mind a good mystery, or an intelligent horror (yes, there is such a thing) novel.

I have a strange relationship with horror. I really like it when it's smart and elegant, particularly if it involves a haunted house. Not so crazy about the gratuitous slasher/gore variety. After much beating around bushes I finally tried Joe Hill by reading his book Horns over the summer (it was one of those buy two get one free deals, and I can only read so many wallpaper historical romances before I develop an aneurysm.) He's definitely intelligent horror, and his dad's boy in many ways, but I think he's read Catcher in the Rye a few too many times.

On the other hand -- and the opposite/far end of the horror spectrum -- Chuck Wendig (who I think is writing like Star Wars books now) can write gory horror, which I really don't care for, quite well. I paid full price for his book Double Dead and did not regret it, even when things got uber gory with cannibals squatting in a Wal-Mart. He also had one of the best endings of all time in that book (and please note Wendig's novel is extremely violent, gory, bitter, and not something I'd rec for the faint of heart whatsoever.)

I usually read an Anne Rice book around Halloween. I think this year I'll go with The Witching Hour since I haven't read that one in a few years. Beautiful book, way over written (it's over a thousand pages, and I think there are as many characters, too) but by the time you get into the Mayfair family tree you don't care.

As for my Halloween rec, I have to go with Anne Frasier's Pretty Dead, which was my September book of the month. You don't have to read Play Dead and Stay Dead, the first two books in the series, to follow along, but if you haven't read them you're really missing out.

So what spooky read do you recommend for some fun Halloween reading? Got one of your own you want to tell us about? Let us know in comments.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Match Game

Let's play a game. Match the writer with their unusual quirk:

The Writers

1. Charles Dickens

2. Dan Brown

3. Wallace Stevens

4. Sir Walter Scott

5. George Bernard Shaw

6. PBW

7. Dr. Maya Angelou

8. Ernest Hemingway

9. T.S. Eilot

10. John Steinbeck

The Quirks

A. Wore green-tinted face powder and lipstick while writing.

B. Always wrote standing up due to pain from an old leg injury.

C. Wrote in a shed mechanized to slowly revolve.

D. Wrote on horseback.

E. Would take a Bible, a copy of Roget's Thesaurus, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry to a small hotel room to write.

F. Stopped every hour while writing to do sit-ups, push-ups and stretches.

G. Kept a comb nearby and used it hundreds of times per day while writing.

H. Could not write with loose hair; always wore it tightly bound, braided or pinned up while writing.

I. Wrote while walking.

J. Always kept twelve perfectly sharpened pencils on the desk.

Post your best guesses (no Googling!) and tell us if you have an unusual writing quirk, too. The correct answers will be provided in comments at the end of the day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Outline 14

Someone (you know who you are) asked me to repost a list of links I put together back in 2012 to help with outlining a NaNoWriMo novel. Here you go:

Planning, Scheming, and Plotting by Stephannie Beman -- Stephannie talks about her method of sketching out a nice, brief checklist to loosely organize her stories in advance of the writing.

Keith Cronin abstains from Roman numerals in his hybrid pantser-plotter approach to outlining, The Big O.

For those who prefer to write the classic synopsis as an outline -- there are one or two of you like that, yes? -- Charlotte Dillon has a fabulous page of info and links here.

If you'd like to organize your outline online, I recommend trying Hiveword, Mike Fleming's free online novel writing organizer, which I demo'd and reviewed here.

If you hate the idea of outlining at all, you may get some comfort (and ideas) from Crawford Kilian's post Writing Without an Outline.

Advice from a master: Effectively Outlining Your Plot by Lee Masterson

Alicia Rasley's classic article Outline Your Novel in Thirty Minutes asks all the right questions; you provide the answers.

For a very brief outline, test drive my one-page ten point novel concept outline template (the first page is the blank template; the second is filled in as an example.)

If you like Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method of outlining, you'll probably also love TextTree, a freeware written as a companion program for it.

TiddlyWiki is a free service that provides a reusable non-linear personal web notebook (LJ Cohen did a terrific virtual workshop a few years back on how to use TiddlyWiki to organize your novel.)

Try virtual whiteboarding with the free online service Trello, which I demo'd and reviewed here.

Juliette Wade's Sequence Outlining offers an event-driven method of outlining. has a Blank Novel Outline worksheet here.

And finally, a post I wrote that after five years remains the #1 most popular on PBW, my Novel Outlining 101.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Off to Work

I have to finish up a project for a client, so there will be no Just Write this weekend. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Count 'em Ten

Ten Word Count Widgets for NaNoWriMo's Wordcount Tracker

Another Little Progress Meter

Critique Circle's Word Meter Builder

Language is a Virus's simple NaNoWriMo Word Meter

NaNoWriMo's page of official participant wordcount meters

ProgPress is a word meter plug-in for the WordPress (hasn't been updated in a while, so caveat emptor)

StoryToolz's word count meters page (must register to gain access but it's free)

Writeometer, which I think is an Android App

Writertopia's two wordcount meters

Writing Journal, which is a free iTunes time tracker & word meter

Friday, October 16, 2015

Drifting Back

A bit of personal nostaliga this week: this lovely video was shot in Monterey, California, where I lived for while, and shows some of the spots where I'd sit and watch the sunset (with background music, for those of you at work):

Adrift from Brendan Lim on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's Official

I'm in love:

So cool. Okay, you win by getting married, so probably not for the feminists, but still. How often do you see one of your all-time favorite novels get made into a board game? The web site where you can order it is here.

Image credit: September 2015 issue of Victoria magazine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sub Op

Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly has an open call for stories for their ninth issue:

"THEME FOR ISSUE 9: None (all SFR submissions welcome)

Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words.

Payment: 2.5 cents/word (US) paid upon publication, promotional biography with two links, and a complimentary quarter-page advertisement.

Deadline for Issue #9: 15 November 2015.

Rights sought: Six-month exclusive world digital rights from date of publication; non-exclusive thereafter.

Other info: One short story will be published per issue. Please send only edited and polished work. Due to time constraints, we are unable to give personalized feedback on rejected stories.

Stories that tie-in to a previously established world will be considered, but story must stand alone.

All sub-genres of science fiction will be considered.

Any heat level, from sweet to erotic, will be considered. Original, previously unpublished fiction only. No fan fiction, please.

Story should meld the Science Fiction and Romance genres, and must have an upbeat ending.

Not quite sure what we’re looking for? Read our original fiction in previous issues.

No multiple submissions. No stories that have previously been rejected by us.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please inform us if the story is placed elsewhere.

Submit: Standard manuscript format, please. Send brief cover letter with biographical information and publication history, along with attached story (.RTF or .DOC format) to Diane Dooley — Fiction #at# SciFiRomanceQuarterly #dot# org — by deadline."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I can't decide if I like the participant badge design for this year's National Novel Writing Month:

So it's not as awful as that one year when they went with the Gameboy-style design. I like the colors, but the graphics make me think more of writing journals than novels. The hodge-podge font is hard to read, and the design is on the clunky side (and before anyone asks, I was not the model for the crooked hands. Mine aren't that crooked.) On the other hand it's not as awful as that one year when they went with the Gameboy-style design.

What do you think? Let us know in comments.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Free Online Mapper

Wise Mapping is a free open source "web mind mapping tool that leverages the power of Mind Maps mixing new technologies like HTML 5.0 and SVG. A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making. It is an image-centered diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information. By presenting these connections in a radial, non-linear graphical manner, it encourages a brainstorming approach to any given organizational task, eliminating the hurdle of initially establishing an intrinsically appropriate or relevant conceptual framework to work within. A mind map is similar to a semantic network or cognitive map but there are no formal restrictions on the kinds of links used. The elements are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts and they are organized into groupings, branches, or areas. The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of information on the method of gathering knowledge, may aid recall of existing memories." You can download this one or use it online, and the currently supported browsers are: "Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and above. Google Chrome 19 and above Firefox 12 and above. Safari 5 and above. Opera 11 and above. Important: Internet Explorer 8 require the installation of Google Chrome Frame plugin."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Just Write Sunday Edition

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

My link: More on Ghost Writer (click on the title to go to the .pdf), with new material beginning on page 135.

For more details on Just Write, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: My kid. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Flash Sub Op

For those who like to write flash, here's an open call for mystery/suspense fic:

"FLASH BANG MYSTERIES is open to submissions until October 31, 2015. We're currently considering stories for the Winter Issue, which will go live in January of 2016. The detailed guidelines can be found on the Submissions page of the website, but here's the lowdown:

Flash fiction ONLY between 500 and 750 words
Mystery/suspense of all types (police procedural, private eye, amateur sleuth, cozies, hardboiled, etc.). Basically, if it involves a crime and it is within our guidelines, we would love to consider it.
We want stories that feature believable characters who speak naturally, realistic situations that bleed conflict, and surprise endings that stay with us long after we reach the final period.
We welcome new and established authors.
$10.00 one-time payment, via PayPal, upon publication."

(Found over in the Paying Markets forum at

Friday, October 09, 2015

Next Gen Yarn Bombing

We can 3-D print anything these days, even computer-generated knitted garments -- as you'll see in this promotional video for an inexpensive computer-controlled knitting machine (with background music, for those of you at work):

Made In the Neighbourhood (ft. a clothing printer, OpenKnit) from Gerard Rubio on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

No Name Required Sub Op

Just a note for anyone who did not stop by last week -- PBW's weekly Just Write feature has moved to Sundays and will be staying there indefinitely.

Here's an open call I spotted over at's Paying Markets forum from a new SF e-zine startup launching January 1st; the interesting part is that they want blind submissions, and don't want your name unless they accept:

"Metaphorosis is a new online semi-pro magazine of speculative fiction. What we want:

style – We want writers who use language beautifully – so that words aren’t just the carrier for your story, they’re part of the scenery. We want the poetry of Roger Zelazny, the finesse and ingenuity of Jack Vance.
mood – We want stories with atmosphere, where mood is an important element. Think Patricia McKillip.
character – We want stories with characters – real people with real emotions, whether those people are aliens or trolls or both. Think Arthur C. Clarke.
intellect and emotion – We want writing that makes us think and feel. We want the intellect of A. A. Attanasio, the social awareness of Ursula Le Guin, the impact of George R. R. Martin.

See our submission guidelines for details.


We are now open for submissions! We launch on 1 January 2016

What we pay:

We pay a semi-pro rate of $.01/word. We'd love to raise this, and will do so as soon as funding allows. See our Patreon page for information about where new funding would go.

What we're buying:

The guidelines have details, but we're buying first English rights and non-exclusive anthology rights (monthly for Patreon supporters, and a best-of annual). Sample contracts are posted on the submissions page.

What else:

Submissions are blind. We ask that you not include your name in the submission itself, and we generally won't see your name until/unless we accept a piece.

We pay via PayPal, immediately on acceptance.

Reprints: no, Multiple: yes, Simultaneous: yes

We also buy cover art at $50/piece (nonexclusive, reprints okay)

We'll aim to give brief personal feedback, including telling you by which page we decided a story wasn't for us. Depending on the level of submissions, we may have to curtail this, but we'll try.


We'd appreciate your spreading the word to other writers and artists. And, of course, come read the magazine on 1 January!"

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Got these SF story titles from's book title name generator:

Veteran Of Life
Girl Of Darkness
Foreigners Of The Moon
Agents Of The Sun
Officers And Recruits
Traitors And Men
End Of The New Order
Border Of The Stars
Mother Of The End
Perfection Of Time Travellers

Not everything you'll get is usable, but there will be a couple that are interesting (A Perfection of Time Travellers would make an awesome short story title.) If you hover over the categories at the top of the page, you'll see links to the other five million or so free naming generators at the site, like the tavern name generator, which gave me this list:

The Secret Bat Pub
The Open Shoe Bar
The Huge Rabbit
The Gullible Sugar
The Spotless Unicorn Bar
The Dusty Cashew
The Modern Curry Inn
Ye Olde Bass Inn
The Warm Hawk Bar
The Victorious Stream

Ye Olde Bass. Even I'd have a drink in a tavern named that . . . .

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Poetry Sub Op

Here's an open call I spotted over at Ralan. com from The Pedestal Magazine for poetry for their December 2015 issue:

As editors of The Pedestal Magazine, we intend to support both established and burgeoning writers. We are committed to promoting diversity and celebrating the voice of the individual.

The Pedestal Magazine does not accept previously published work, unless specifically requested; however, we will accept simultaneous submissions, if so noted. Please inform us immediately if your submission is accepted elsewhere. Also, we do not accept submissions by regular mail. Neither do we accept email submissions. We now accept all work through Please do not submit more than once per reading cycle.

Current and Upcoming Guidelines:

The editors will be receiving submissions of poetry for the December 2015 issue of Pedestal. No restrictions on genre, length, theme, or style. Send up to five (5) poems in a single file. Open for submissions November 2 - 29.

Payment: $40 per poem.

The Pedestal Magazine publishes reviews of full-length poetry collections (we are no longer able to review chapbooks), short-story collections, novels, and various works of non-fiction. Most of our reviews are handled in-house by staff reviewers. If you are interested in submitting a title for possible review, or would like to review a specific title, please query at

As mentioned above, The Pedestal Magazine does not accept previously published material, unless specifically requested. It asks for first rights to any piece its editors select. At the time of publication, all rights revert back to the author/artist; however, The Pedestal Magazine retains the right to publish the piece(s) in any subsequent issue or anthology, whether in print or online, without additional payment. Should you decide to republish the piece elsewhere, we ask that you cite The Pedestal Magazine as a place of previous publication and provide The Pedestal Magazine's web address.

We do our best to respond to submissions in 4-8 weeks. Please do not query regarding status of a submission until at least eight weeks have passed. All questions pertaining to submissions should be addressed to the editor at

Thank you for your interest in The Pedestal Magazine."

Monday, October 05, 2015

NaNoPrep Ten

With NaNoWriMo less than a month away, it's a good time to begin the prep for writing your November novel. To help you with that, here are:

Ten Things You Can Do to Prepare for National Novel Writing Month

Decide: Committing to take part in NaNo is a huge thing, and everyone should think it over carefully before signing up. Doing that now instead of on October 31st 11:59 pm gives you more time to weigh all the pros and cons and be sure you can swing it. But if you can do all that in sixty seconds or less, by all means, wait.

Declutter: Clean up your writing space. Leave only the things you absolute need to write a novel in thirty days and get rid of the rest of the ephemera. If you'd rather leave the creative nest intact, set up a new one just for your NaNo novel.

Dig for Supplies: If you want to use a notebook, notepad or other office supplies, and they're buried in some closet or drawer, go excavate and create a NaNo-ready pile. Or, if you don't have the supplies you need, buy them now.

Discuss: You need to write your ass off in November, and you don't need people railroading you with helpful input while you're trying to do that. So: if you must discuss your story idea with a crit partner, writing pal or other source of sympathy and feedback, do it this month. Or make NaNoWriMo like Fight Club and don't talk about it with anyone whatsoever.

Dive into Research: If you need to read up on a certain topic to prep your knowledge base for your November novel, now would be the time. Make it a weekend thing and take notes so that when you are writing next month they're right there and ready to be used.

Do the Outline: This will help you decide if your idea will stretch for at least 50K words. Even if you don't follow it, outlining can help you sort out the story in your head. Organic writers, you can skip this step if outlining kills a story for you.

Dole Out Responsibilities: Talk to your spouse, significant other, kids, parents, friends and anyone else who can mess with you in November and let them know you're trying to write a novel in thirty days. Ask them to help you by pitching in with housework, cooking, laundry, etc.

Dropkick the Doubt: November is National Novel Writing Month. Note the word doubt appears nowhere in the previous sentence. If you must torture yourself, October is the unofficial month of I Don't Know if I Can Do This. My advice? Spend the next couple weeks dropkicking the doubt out of your head. Do November for you, for fun. Screw the doubt.

Dump the Distractions: Weed out all the unnecessary writing-related tasks from your writing life. Put your blog on vacation. Shutdown Facebook, Instagram, and any other time-sucking online vortex. Twit your Tweeter pals and explain you're going to Antarctica for the winter if you have to, but take a break from everything that keeps you from writing.

Dwell on Your Ideas: Now that you've done most or all of the above, spend some time thinking about your story idea. Let it run in your head like a movie only you can see. Enjoy fleshing out your characters. Pick songs or color palettes for them. Assemble your novel notebook. Have fun building your world, laying out your settings, and otherwise visiting and polishing and refining your story playground. Because next month, when it's time to actually play in it? You won't have time.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Just Write Sunday Edition

Welcome to the new Sunday edition of Just Write! Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

My link: More on Ghost Writer, with new material beginning on page 130.

For more details on Just Write, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: My kid. :)

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Writing Contest

If you're looking for a writing warm-up for NaNoWriMo, or just a way to give your muse a kick in the mojo, here's a no-fee two-week writing challenge competition that takes place in four rounds:

"WYRM’s Gauntlet features a new writing or reviewing challenge every round. All are invited to enter the first round (until the deadline hits, or we are filled), 8 will move on to the second, 5 to the third, and just 3 to the final round. As you advance through the Gauntlet, fewer and fewer challengers will remain, so judging must become shrewder. Challenges are not announced in advance, but as a new round opens. So pay attention. Some of the challenges Gauntleteers have had to face in the past include: Write a short story from a unique prompt, write a freestyle story of any length, review a published story, review an unpublished story. (All entries are private, and go through our submission form.)

We know that’s pushing your creativity to the brink, but pressure can make all the difference, and we’ll add the following promise. Just as we ask you to meet our mean deadlines, WYRM will judge your stuff promptly to keep these rounds moving. We invented the Gauntlet Timeline, and we always adhere to it.

As for elimination, we cull the herd as the Gauntlet moves ahead. It can be rough, and it can lead to all-nighter judging sessions, but WYRMs are up to the reading workload. Once the Gauntlet has a solid number of entrants (to be known from now on as Gauntleteers) we’ll determine how many can advance to each round. The bottom line is, the air gets thinner the higher you go, and you better be at your best.

The only real rule is to let it all hang out. That means, give us your best shot and don’t worry what the neighbors think. That, of course, and please respect your fellow Gauntleteers and internet citizens in this forum. Trash talking doesn’t bother us, but if you give us a real reason–like hate speech or plagiarism–we won’t hesitate to give you the boot."

According to there is no word limit, and the prizes are: "1st=$150; 2nd=$75; 3rd=$50, +in-depth critique for all 3." No reprints, electronic submissions only, see guidelines for more details. Round 1 opens on October 12th, 2015 (do not submit before that date); Deadline: October 26th, 2015.

Friday, October 02, 2015


This very cool video shows us how cleverly tavern puzzle jugs were made, thanks to artist Michelle Erickson's recreation of one from the Victoria and Albert Museum (with narration by the artist and some background music, for those of you at work):

How was it made? A Puzzle Jug by Michelle Erickson from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Just Write is Moving

There will not be a Just Write Thursday today week as I'm working under a couple of tight deadlines. Thursdays are also turning out to be very work-intensive days for me, and since I just picked up a new series project I've been considering putting the feature on hiatus over the winter.

Rather than do that, I'm going to try something else. As of this week I'm moving Just Write to Sundays, which are now the least work-filled day of the week for me. I'll pick up where I left off last week with Ghost Writer this weekend on Sunday, October 4th, and see if that works a little better. Thanks is advance for your support.

For more details on Just Write Thursdays, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: windujedi