Literary Agents, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Submit Today!

Looking GlassHaving a short fiction to submit, I took a fresh look at what’s out there in the way of getting it in front of readers. Googling “current fiction publishers” returned the usual half-million results. But a site that noted “a full list of publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers” had already done much of the work for me.
Here are two current (May, 2018) sources.

Free:
Erica Verrillo’s
https://PublishedToDeath.blogspot.com/p/calls-for-submissions.html
lists hundreds of markets. 217 Paying Markets for Short Stories, Poetry, Nonfiction; 36 Paying Markets for Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction; Speculative Fiction Magazines Accepting Submissions; 163 Literary Magazines Accepting Reprints; even a spreadsheet with 300 places to submit.
Erica also provides a list of Upcoming (June, 2018) Calls.

$5 per month
https://Duotrope.com/  currently lists 6,863 active fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art publishers and agents. I chose Duotrope because they successfully helped the Writers Co-op advertise for story submissions for our upcoming anthology, The Rabbit Hole. That, and, paying for updated information implies a contractual obligation on their part to keep their information updated.

Researching publishers that are actively calling for submissions and submitting Happyaccording to my preferences and their guidelines is, well, a fun and hope-full part of this business.

 

If you will, please tell us in the Comments section how you find outlets for your work.

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About Writers, inspiration, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op, writing technique

Writers on Writing

write drunkThere is no proof, of course, that Hemingway ever said that. It was probably his bartender. But many writers we know have offered useful advice. Here’s seven:

Ray Bradbury
“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.”

Stephen King
“For me, writing is like walking through a desert and all at once, poking up through the hardpan, I see the top of a chimney. I know there’s a house under there.”

Arthur C. Clarke
“When I start on a book, I have been thinking about it and making occasional notes for some time—20 years in the case of Imperial Earth, and 10 years in the case of the novel I’m presently working on. So I have lots of theme, locale, subjects and technical ideas. It’s amazing how the subconscious self works on these things. I don’t worry about long periods of not doing anything. I know my subconscious is busy.”

James Michener
“Being goal-oriented instead of self-oriented is crucial. I know so many people who want to be writers. But let me tell you, they really don’t want to be writers. They want to have been writers. They wish they had a book in print. They don’t want to go through the work of getting the damn book out. There is a huge difference.”

Tom Clancy
“Two questions form the foundation of all novels: ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’ (A third question, ‘What now?’, is one the author asks himself every 10 minutes or so; but it’s more a cry than a question.) Every novel begins with the speculative question, What if ‘X’ happened? That’s how you start.”

Richard North Patterson
“The most exciting thing is when you find a character doing something surprising or unplanned. Like a character saying to me: ‘Hey, Richard, you may think I work for you, but I don’t. I’m my own person.’”

Tom Robbins
“I’m very concerned with the rhythm of language. ‘The sun came up’ is an inadequate sentence. Even though it conveys all the necessary information, rhythmically it’s lacking. The sun came up. But, if you say, as Laurie Anderson said, ‘The sun came up like a big bald head,’ not only have you, perhaps, entertained the fancy of the reader, but you have made a more complete sentence. The sound of a sentence.”

Me?
Write to be a writer if that’s the one identity that makes sense of everything else you are.

What about you? If other writers want your advice. What do you say?

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Flash Fiction, Satire, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Flash Fiction Weekend

What a Difference an Alien Makes

+++It was an otherwise ordinary day when the Aliens landed on Earth. God’s Muslim soldiers murdered unarmed civilians, Christians blackmailed souls, businessmen sold weapons and governments cornered resources while politicians denied everything as Humankind collectively looked up to see strange beings dangling from little umbrellas. No ships. Just Aliens descending in brightly colored spandex suits. They had coarse black hair that their men wore closely cropped and tightly curled and that on their women hung straight down past the shoulders in braided mop-like strands. If they were men and women. It turned out each had both sex organs and employed them simultaneously during unpredictable but noisy mating seizures. They had slanted eyes, large noses and pale white skin. They were three feet tall and fat. It was later learned that each suffered some physical or mental handicap. They had been genetically altered to represent Earthlings.
+++By chance, Bob Whatt became the first man on the street to be interviewed about the Aliens. There was nothing special about Bob. Had he strangled the person in front of him while standing in line at Disneyland, witnesses would describe him as maybe white, of normal weight, not over six feet tall with dark hair. His scent would not stand out in a crowded elevator. A very average looking man even when seen up close, Bob was selected to represent the average white man from a crowd of ordinary people watching TVs through Davison’s Department Store window on Peachtree Street. “Tell us your reaction to this historic event, sir.”
+++“Surprise of course. Shock. Then suspicion.”
+++Bob’s reaction surprised and shocked Piper Wellington, interviewer for the European news website, Socialism Redux. She arched into the offended pose of a news personality confronting social injustice. “How can you be suspicious? Don’t they seem a lot like us?”
+++“Exactly my point.”
+++Before the astounded Piper could override such a negative view of people and near-people, an elderly black couple stepped from the crowd. Both seemed frail and overdressed for the warm spring day. The man in a topcoat looked like a grandfather too old to ever be really warm again and the woman wore a plain black dress with high collar and long sleeves. They smiled at Piper. She smiled back. “Ignore him,” the man told her. “Bob’s too white to understand what’s really happening here.”
+++“He’s a good boy,” the woman assured her. “Give him some time.”
+++“Hi Mom.”
+++Piper stared at Bob. “Mom?”
+++“I was a surprise.”
+++“Your face is Western European.” Her eyes twinkled.
+++“They love me anyway.”
+++Piper thumbed at the cameraman behind her to continue the interview but Bob ignored her. “I do understand, Dad,” he answered the old gentleman. “The presence of an Alien species defines all humans as one, right?”
+++Realization came over Piper’s face as if she suddenly sensed the real story here.  Signaling the cameraman again, she turned to the old man. “Tell me, sir, what was your first reaction when you heard the news?”
+++“Folks are gonna stop looking at me like I’m black.”

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book sales, publishing, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Blockchain Update

It’s like a big spreadsheet where an entry, once made, cannot be changed. The advantage is that no middleman, no clearing house, no central authority is required. (My explanation is admittedly like my understanding of blockchain technology: simple minded. It’s like looking straight up at a big wave. I can’t see much. But it is here.)

Books sold on a blockchain could be searchable by author, genre, popularity, etc. You could offer your book for sale in such a way that anyone could purchase it through PayPal.  No publisher or retailer is required. The transaction would be solely between you and the reader.

ALLiBlockchain Could Put Authors At Center of Publishing Universe
https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/blockchain-for-books/

IBMIBM is currently selling blockchain packages (starting at $1,000/month) that could be used by a service to provide writers a way to sell their books. Cost per author would depend on how many subscribed to the service. Could be quite cheap & I’d expect the pricing to go down as the tech becomes common.
https://console.bluemix.net/catalog/services/blockchain/

CannesCannes films are being distributed on blockchain this year.
http://www.cineuropa.org/nw.aspx?t=newsdetail&l=en&did=353794

astonishmentSix hours ago, CNBC reported that “HSBC says it’s made the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain.”

The news is coming in faster than I can type.

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About Writers, Stories, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Transitions

We all die. If we’re lucky, we grow old first. Just one of the many things writers must know to connect with readers. Between youth and old age, life transitions and stories happen, real stories that, when well told, connect with most people regardless of their beliefs, culture or ethnicity.

The great writers have told these stories well and great writers will continue to do so. It is worth wondering, are the stories we tell in this tradition? Or, are they cobbled together out of currently popular bits? Do we write only for money? Are we afraid to say anything others will find politically incorrect? Dare we write truths that offend whole groups? “The writer’s job is to tell the truth,” Ernest Hemingway said.

Personally, I suspect we all have truth in us. And all writers have stories that are difficult to write because their truths are unpopular, politically incorrect and offensive. That too, is one of the things that writers know. But these are the stories that last. Because these are the realities that readers know.

Write something true before it is too late.

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inspiration, Research, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Research Tool: Oculus Go

Oculus Go 2It’s here. $199 takes you into virtual worlds for startlingly up-close research. Float in the Orion Nebula and watch a star being born thanks to NASA’s Hubble Telescope. Look at the world of the 1800s through sepia stereoscope photos. Stand in the streets of major cities and gawk like a tourist.

Oculus Go* is a standalone, portable headset. You don’t need to buy anything else. The world wants to immerse you in free virtual reality. NASA, Nations, the Vatican, NGOs, foundations, zoos, theme parks, the BBC, Al Jazeera, the New York Times, Fox News Live, etc. all benefit from placing you right smack in the middle of what they have to offer. Did I say theme parks? If you haven’t yet, do ride the roller coasters <wicked grin>.

One free app, AltspaceVR, even allows you to set up book launches that can be attended by people from around the world.

This is all new to me as the gadget came on the market just last week. But before I write a scene now, I’m asking myself, can I find that place and go there for inspiration? Or for accuracy? No one needs to write a scene that takes place on the International Space Station without first having been inside it. If you’re not an astronaut, pop the headset on & take NASA’s 3d virtual tour. See it all up close.

*Caution: Should not be worn while operating heavy machinery.

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About Writers, inspiration, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Inspiration Rising

Guest Blog  By P.I. Barrington

               P I BarringtonWay back when I was a fledgling writer, I did speaking engagements, presentations, and panels with other, more experienced authors.  But there was one lady I’ll never forget. Why? Because I didn’t give her enough information when she came up to me after a panel asking “I have the desire to write but I can’t come up with a plot.” I was rushed and told her it will happen, just keep writing. To this day, I wish I could have told her more.

Like play the “What if” game with herself. The game consists of looking at seemingly ordinary things and asking yourself “what if?” What if that car was haunted? Or what if a pair of clones tried to murder one another? Or what if you could find true love (or at least a relationship) in a gas station?

My sister (who passed away a year ago) was great at that game. She could look at a piece of wood and come up with a brilliant plot, setting, characters. Me? All I could see was a piece of wood. Not something you’d expect, coming from an author.

But then again, I’ve finally come up with what I think are two styles or at least mentality of writers. No, I’m not going through the entire “pantser” or “plotter” theory here. I’m going a bit off direction. In a way, they’re the same thing.

No, I’m talking inspiration. Where does it come from and where can an author take it? Well, basically anywhere.  But here’s the idea: you have to be open to it. You can’t force it or conjure it up at any point, it has to “happen.” I went outside yesterday and paused for a moment, struck by the sweet scent of dusk and the beauty of my neighborhood. But did I make a story of it? No…at least not yet. But it could be a story, a setting, or some beautiful, engaging prose. Inspiration is there, in my own neighborhood. The children enjoying the last of daylight, yelling, laughing, running as their parents lean on car hoods, watching them and talking to each other. Now, “what if” someone came walking down the street carrying some type of weapon that turned the children into zombies? Who could do that to innocent children and more importantly why? What if it was the neighbor, a pastor, carrying the weapon? Is he really a demon in disguise? What if he is being forced to do it? Who could take a caring, gentle pastor and force him to transform children into the living dead? And, how do the parents stop him if they can at all? Start typing.

Remember this all started when I walked outside for a moment.  For me, it took a moment looking around, inhaling peacefulness, and then twisting it all around towards insanity. I didn’t look at a piece of wood and come up with that plot, setting, and characters (who will be introduced later). As I said, I’m not good at “what if”.  Sometimes, all you need is something banal and uninspiring, like your own neighborhood. But if you find it easy, like my sister, you’re already ahead of the game. You just have to recognize it, is what I’m saying. Read a book, any book, to see how the author did it. Look at the plot, characters and setting literally around you. Worked for Stephen King.

After a detour through the entertainment industry, P.I. Barrington has returned to her roots as a fiction author. Among her careers she counts journalism and radio air talent. She lives in Southern California where she watches the (semi-wild) horses grazing in the hills behind her house. Her series of science fiction novels, the “Isadora DayStar” trilogy, includes Book One: Future Imperfect: Crucifying Angel, Book Two: Future Imperfect: Miraculous Deception, and Book Three: Future Imperfect: Final Deceit.
https://www.amazon.com/P.I.-Barrington/e/B0032UWIA0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1525310022&sr=1-2-ent

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