Category Archives: inspirational

Paying literary magazine


In The Fray Magazine; pays honorarium for news, commentary, art, cultural criticism; details HERE:

Launch Pad contest for unpublished novelists


deadlines vary by category: historical fiction is May 10, 2012, suspense/crime/mystery/thriller is June 10, contemporary fiction/women’s fiction is July 10, middle grade, YA fiction is August 10, contemporary romance is September 10, Speculative is October 10. entry fee is $35; details HERE:

Big World Magazine seeks submissions


Looking for stories about food, travel, trends, culture and ideas. No how-to. Paying market. Details HERE:

Paying market for women’s humor, essays & articles


Sasee buys essays, satire, humor, articles and personal experience pieces between 500 and 1,000 words; guidelines HERE:

Guest post by Sage Cohen, author of “The Productive Writer” & “Writing the Life Poetic”


Planning for the Future Starts with Celebrating the Past
A guest post from author Sage Cohen

Happy New Year, writers! I hope this finds you invigorated about the year ahead.

I believe that there is no better launching pad into the great, blank page of 2011 than a thorough inventory of all that went right in 2010. With this in mind, I’m going to ask a series questions to guide you in recounting your many successes this past year! I encourage you to take your time and be as thorough as you can in listing every, single thing you appreciate about yourself and what you’ve accomplished in each dimension of your writing life–even if the best you can do is admire that you stopped burning your rejection letters. Deal?

  • What was most fun, exhilarating or rewarding in your writing life this year?
  • What obstacles did you face and overcome?
  • What relationships did you build, repair or retire, and how has this contributed to your writing life?
  • What did you let go of (habits, relationships, attitudes, clutter) that was no longer serving you?
  • What did you read that taught you something about your craft, your platform or how to take your writing and publishing forward?
  • What did you earn or what opportunity did you land that felt prosperous?
  • How has your confidence and/or craft improved?
  • What have you learned about social media that is serving your writing life?
  • What strategies worked best for being effective with your time?
  • How did you nurture and sustain your well being–in mind, body, spirit?
  • Who has praised your writing or teaching or facilitating? What did they say and how did it give you a new sense of appreciation for yourself and your work?
  • What did you learn about your writing rhythms: time of day to write, managing procrastination, how and when to revise, making use of slim margins of time, etc.?
  • Who did you help, and who helped you?
  • What did you learn about yourself from rejection, and how has it helped your writing, your confidence or your submissions approach develop?
  • What did you do that terrified you–but you did it any way? And how did that benefit your life and your writing?
  • How were you patient?
  • When and how were you successful at juggling the competing demands of family, writing, work, and everything else in your full life?
  • Who did you forgive? Who forgave you?

Because it’s so easy to keep our minds trained to the loop of an unsolvable problem or two, you may be surprised at how many triumphs are revealed as you answer these questions. Every risk you took, skill you fortified and skin you shed in the service of your writing life is a foothold in the future you are aspiring to create. Nice work!

About Sage Cohen

Sage Cohen is the author of The Productive Writer (just released from Writer’s Digest Books); Writing the Life Poetic and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. She blogs about all that is possible in the writing life at, where you can: Download a FREE “Productivity Power Tools” workbook companion to The Productive Writer. Get the FREE, 10-week email series, “10 Ways to Boost Writing Productivity” when you sign up to receive email updates. Sign up for the FREE, Writing the Life Poetic e-zine. Plus, check out the events page for the latest free teleclasses, scholarships and more.

10 Questions for Christy Strauch, “Passion, Plan, Profit”


Author interview with Christy Strauch

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book (as compared to the first two I wrote which are still, blessedly, in my desk, never to see the light of day), is a business plan book for right-brained creative people who want to make money and have a prosperous business doing the work they love; but are afraid of the “business side” of business.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I have been writing on and off since I was twelve. I finally caught fire when I joined the Phoenix chapter of Romance Writers of America ten years ago (I was an avid romance reader at the time). Surrounded by people who actually finished and published books (whatever you think about romances and their writers, you can’t argue with the fact that they are prolific); I learned that the key to a completed book is the formula Ass+Chair (attributed to the film director Oliver Stone).

I wrote two novels (see the answer to number one above about where they ended up); then realized I wanted to write non-fiction. Specifically I wanted to share my experiences in my own businesses, and help other people succeed. I took what I learned about perseverance from my romance writer buddies and finished the business plan book, and am halfway through the next one: The “I Hate to Market” Book.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Writing isn’t my only day job. I am also a business coach and workshop leader. The ideas for my books come from clients, so even though I love writing, I don’t think I’ll ever stop coaching and teaching to write full time.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I wage a weekly war with paper on my desk. Sometimes I win, sometimes not. I signal to myself when it is time to write by perching a painted wooden crab at the top of my laptop screen. This helps me ignore the paper if it won this week’s battle, and reminds me that I am now in writing time.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I love Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, and The Artist Way by Julia Cameron.

The Artist Way created the foundation for my writing; it taught me to think of myself as creative. Natalie Goldberg’s book is full of low-risk, no-judgment exercises that got me started writing regularly. Annie Lamott’s book helps me remember that all I have to write next is what’s in front of me; I don’t have to knock out War and Peace by 5pm today. I strongly recommend these books to anyone who wants to write (and to writers who might occasionally get stuck).

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I got (because I asked for) a ukulele for Christmas in 2008, and am teaching myself to play it. I used to own a computer company, and I have big, lovely feet.

7. Favorite quote

Besides the “Ass plus chair” quote attributed to Oliver Stone, I also like this one from Anne Lamott:

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best thing is about writing is the creating of something (a story, a how-to book like mine, a memoir, a poem or any other piece of writing) that didn’t exist before the writer wrote it. Writing is just like painting or dance or singing or even building construction; writers create something that didn’t exist before they put it on paper.

The worst part about writing is that the creation process is a bit mysterious and somewhat uncontrollable. My wooden crab and I show up to write regularly (that’s the part I can control), but there’s no guarantee that we’ll actually create anything worth reading. I show up to serve what needs to be written through me, and try not to get too freaked out if occasionally I can’t write anything, or I don’t like what I’m writing.

9. Advice for other writers

I have two pieces of advice. First; treat your writing as sacred. Give it regular time; don’t relegate it to the bottom of your to do list so that you only do it when absolutely everything else is done. It’s like exercise. If you only get out and walk or do your run once every other week, it never gets easier. Exercising and writing are most enjoyable when you make time for them almost every day.

The second piece of advice: give your unconscious mind time to work. My books explain (sometimes complex) concepts to my readers; many times when I start the first draft, I can’t figure out how to explain clearly what I want to say. So I go for a walk, read something that pertains to the work I’m doing, call someone, or work on something else for a few minutes. My unconscious almost always works out the problem on its own while I’m letting it alone to think.

I try to treat my writing gently. It’s a paradox: I have to be ruthless in setting aside time to write, and I have to be kind to myself as I’m doing it.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I really (really really) want my book to change the lives of people who are struggling to create prosperous businesses doing the work they love.

Right before the book was actually printed, I realized that I was terrified about it being published. What if it didn’t help people? What if they didn’t do the work in the book? What if it was a big failure? Part of me wanted to change my mind and not go through with publishing it.

At the same time I was struggling through my writerly angst, the printer was sending my publisher the proof of the book, and we absolutely couldn’t get a clean copy. It took six rounds of proofs to finally get one free of errors (free of at least the errors we knew about).

Two of my author friends, Sam Beasley and Suzanne Lorenz, who wrote a brilliant book called Wealth and Well-Being, talked me off the ledge. Theirs is also a workbook, and they’d already come to the realization that they couldn’t force people to do the work in their book either. They told me that I’d done my job; I’d written the book. I couldn’t control what happened to it after that.

My publisher got the clean proof the day after my friends helped me let go of worrying about the outcome of the book. It was as if my fear was participating with the printer in continuing to produce proofs with errors. Once I stopped worrying, we got the clean proof and published the book.

Where can people buy your book?

My book is for sale on Amazon. If you type “Passion Plan Profit” into the search box on the Amazon site, my book comes right up.

Christy Strauch is the author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. In addition she is president of Clarity To Business and has worked with over 300 small business owners, from artists to real estate agents, helping them do what they are passionate about – and make a profit. Her book is available at at

Publisher seeks creative nonfiction stories for anthologies


A new book publisher, Dream of Things,is seeking creative nonfiction stories for books on 15 topics. (Similar to the Chicken Soup series) To learn more and/or to submit, go to:

10 QUESTIONS FOR… Deborah DeNicola, “The Future That Brought Her Here”


Author interview with Deborah DeNicolaCover-MediumDeNicola

Deborah DeNicola‘s memoir The Future That Brought Her Here is from Ibis Press 2009. She has six previous books, including the anthology she edited. A new collection of poems, Original Human, is scheduled for 2010. Among several other awards, she received a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Deborah studied dream work at The Jung Institutes in Boston and Zurich and trained with Robert Bosnak. Her web site is:

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is my spiritual memoir, The Future That Brought Her Here; Memoir of a Call to Awaken. It’s the story of a normal, struggling, single woman who finds one day she has new senses, can see through her closed eyes, has visions and senses changes in energy. I have been meditating for over 20 years and when new senses emerged, I began a quest for what was behind our 3-D reality. This quest consisted of reading, going to channeling sessions and asking spirits what was happening to me as well as traveling through  synchronicity to other countries. My excursion to Southern France to follow the mystery of the Black Madonnas takes up the latter half of the book.

The book contains medieval history, science, and occult mysteries as well as a personal story of healing from my father’s death when I was an adolescent. It’s also about creative process and dreaming and dream image work.  At the end I come to some conclusions about where human evolution is going and ways to be in the world, living the ideals of A Course in Miracles. It actually took me 8 years to write and I started it as a novel because I was an “academic” and didn’t want to step out of the metaphysical closet. The story and writing the story helped me come to terms with some of these experiences.                     

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve written every since I learned to write. I think it might have helped that I had an older brother who wrote and he was like my mentor/tormentor. He’d assign me certain books to read and I just accepted him as my  teacher. We subscribed to the old “Classics Illustrated” which were wonderful comic books of the Great Canon.  As a kid I used to write mostly stories and didn’t start writing  poetry till adolescence, of course, love poems came first.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Currently I’m busy marketing my book and my dream process workshops as well as my mentoring new writers. I do two things: I help people process dreams, discover meaning, amplify their dreams, and relate them to issues in their current life. I also help writers develop material, create their book with exercises in writing, edit their work, and find the order and sequence of their experiences. My days vary considerably depending on what I’m working on.

I had a schedule when I was writing the book steadily and teaching. Almost three years ago I came to Florida from Boston because my mother was ill. I ended up staying because of her. All my belongings are still in storage in Boston. I moved in with her to help her. I realized it was a time I could also move to change my career. I’d been an adjunct professor teaching as many as 6 courses a semester and going away to writing colonies on fellowships when I had some breaks.

I found a huge holistic and spiritual community in Florida (of all places, I was quite surprised!) Then I found a publisher here, so in many ways, though I still miss Boston’s intellectual community, I feel I was led here . I’m living completely in the moment now. Every day I network, spend many hours on the computer but I also dance three hours a week, go to the ocean frequently and try to stay balanced. I’ve had another book of poetry accepted since I’ve been here; Original Human is coming out in 2010. And an earlier chapbook, Inside Light, was published the year after I arrived.  Florida’s been good to me. I am somewhat free to pursue writing and marketing and somewhat tied down with an ill 93 year old mother. (Another book to write!)

I have been working on a book of essays on Dream Image Work and I think it’s halfway finished.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a wonderful red bookcase from Ikea that is the center of my study. I have a MAC laptop and desk and several filing cabinets. I try to keep conscious of the concepts of Feng Shui so I get the maximum out of my work hours in energy. I’m very aware of energy in a room and how clear it is, how supportive. Here’s a tip, keep your north-west corner uncluttered as it’s your money area. I have, of course, piles of clutter elsewhere.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Let me start with favorite writers. Oh, so many. I love contemporary fiction, read all nationalities but I am also a classic scholar. All the Greek material; I read and taught Ovid, Homer, the major Greek playwrights. I compiled and edited an anthology of contemporary poetry on Greek myths called Orpheus & Company, published by University Press of New England. It had some course adoption which was nice for me.  The Harvard Review called it “An important book.” As much as I could I taught what I loved or was interested in, the poetry of Rumi and Rilke, the Romantics, the Moderns, poetry being my first love.

I designed and taught a class on the literature of war which deeply moved me. It struck me that Homer’s Illiad , the first book in Western Civilization, says everything that’s ever been said about war, it’s glory and it’s horror. I have been troubled to understand this dichotomy. I read a lot of Viet Nam novels, a lot on the Serbo-Croatain tragedies, and the literature of the Holocaust.

For some reason I was drawn to try and understand the concept of evil. In many ways, my book looks for answers to that question. I believe we are all One, living in the illusion of separation. I’m a Course in Miracles practitioner. Fear and ignorance of our true spiritual connection are basically the reasons we don’t treat each other well. The lack of understanding that everything we think and feel has a frequency that attracts situations to us is probably to blame. I think however, that as bad as the world looks, these ideas are spreading exponentially. Spirituality has exploded into its own industry. Then of course there is the topic of religion, man-made institutions that have failed. Okay, so I’m off-task. Naming favorite books . . .

Tim O’Brien’s The things They Carried is a wonderful book on writing as much as it is on war. It’s about story telling, how to tell a war story. And as addicted to drama as humanity is, this book teaches so much. I was a French major in college so I love a lot of the big nineteenth century French novels by Zola, Balzac and Stendhal. I recently read a wonderful novel by A Mexican author, Thomas Louis Urrea, The Hummingbird’s Daughter.  I love all the South  American poets, Neruda being the be-all and end-all for me. And as for South American novelists, no one can top the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then for Americans, oh, the whole lot of Fitzgerald, some of Hemingway, and their short stories. The short story form in general, is so unappreciated by the public, except, of course, for M.F.A. students . . . Flannery O’Conor, Cheever, Updike,  Faulkner, Katherine Mansfield that whole generation . . . then Ann Beattie, Joyce Carol Oates (although I o.d.ed on her) Tobias Wolf, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a book I’ve read several times.

I could go on an on, but I’ll just add that one of my favorite contemporary novels is Ann Padget’s Bel Canto and I recently read and loved the story collections of  Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies and  Unaccustomed Earth.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

(A) Well, I do dream work. I think it’s one of the most important things we need to do. The unconscious mind is a treasure trove. And if we can take back and own our projections, and realize everything in our dreams, atmosphere, landscape, objects, figures, are ALL US, we will see we all have the same fears and complexes. When we make those conscious, we have more compassion for ourselves and others. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves, change our reactions to stimulus of our separation. I fervently believe this. But it is so difficult to change our neuron pathways because our unconscious mind does not always believe what we consciously want to create. We do create our reality, but we create it unconsciously a lot of the time and therefore we project and have conflict and war and injustice. Working on your dreams and making them conscious shows you what you really are feeling, what is sabotaging your plans, as well as what you could become. The unconscious is extremely wise. But it speaks a different language. We must learn the language. It is universal. We all dream and dreams take us out of our reality to another reality. If we live to be 80 we’ll have spent 20 years dreaming. It only makes sense to try and make sense out of our dreams.

I have learned a process that reveals meaning rather than “interprets it.” It is experiental and emotional, and it works.

 (B) I’m a poet. Everyone knows poets are crazy. No one pays them. We agonize over whether to put an “and” or a “but” for hours, days maybe and no one cares but us. But poetry, like life, contains ambiguity. And poetry resolves paradox; it holds the opposites in tension where they can produce a reconciling image. It’s the ultimate healer. It’s also greatly expressionistic of our most intense emotions. Poetry heals, especially its dark side, heals. We get to experience in the moment, which is where we need to be. It’s actually not that crazy, though mainstream people have no idea what it’s about. But when someone writes poetry, to be in the act of it, puts you totally in the moment and the unconscious delivers. it’s like channeling. One is given so much solace. Poetry is addictive, in a good way. And it has correspondences with dreaming, so it seems natural to me as I love imagery.

(C) My third eye is open. My book goes into this. I’ve been meditating over 20 years and one day during meditation I saw an eye looking back at me. I also became aware of invisible presences around me. This awakening is at the heart of my story. The Future That Brought Her Here  is a quest to understand what had happened to me, is happening to me. I’ve acquired senses I never had, although I did have imaginary friends when I was very young, and now it makes me wonder . . . I was never interested in the occult, always frightened of it actually. However, I was led on a fascinating journey, calling me to different locations where I had different experiences, Israel, Colorado, France. I read a lot of history of the occult and then quantum physics. I studied near death experiences, the world between worlds, and I believe my visions are related to past lives. I found a British physicist , Rupert Sheldrake, who writes about the Presence of the Past. I came to some amazing conclusions and then found that there are thousands, maybe millions of people on similar spiritual journeys, different symptoms but we all agree that humanity is evolving and we are in for great changes of our whole civilization. I will leave it al that . . . hopefully tempting you to read my book.

7. Favorite quote 

C.G.Jung:  “Unless the unconscious is made conscious on the inside, it will happen on the outside, as fate.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best—it’s so enriching, so satisfying to feel you’ve expressed what you intended, such a healing release. And then the added bonus—other people like it!

Worst—it’s lonely. Although I’ve been in a lot of writing groups, the ultimate work is done alone and requires long hours. Two other worsts, (“worse and worser” . . . ) very few writers make a lot of money, even if they’re good. And the “worser”, it’s hard work.

9. Advice for other writers

Read. Read before you write. Read and write every day. Don’t become a writer unless you can’t help it.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Well, I once drove 300 miles to read to one person. But that’s a reading experience? Hmm… I once stopped making love, to jot down some notes . . .  how’s that?

Where can people buy your books?

You can get my book online through my distributor, just put in the title or my name in the search box. Also on and My publisher’s web site:  I’ve read at Borders here, but not every Borders may have it, though you can order it. And the same with Barnes and Nobles. If there’s a spiritual bookstore near you, they should have it.  My web site lists my books and blurbs, will direct you to them although I don’t sell them from there.


Deborah DeNicola is the author of five poetry collections and she edited the anthology Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology. Among other awards she won a Poetry Fellowship in 1997 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Deborah has been a recipient of many writing colony residencies. Her most recent book is her spiritual memoir published by Nicolas Hays/Ibis Press, The Future That Brought Her Here. Another full collection of poetry Original Human is forthcoming from Custom Word Press in 2010. She teaches dream image work and mentors writers online at her web site

For a limited time, you can purchase The Future That Brought Her Here from Amazon and receive bonus gifts. Click here for details: To learn more about this virtual blog tour, please visit:

Cash award for self-published/indy books


Jan. 21, 2010 deadline; $1,500 cash prize; $45/book entry; various genre categories

info and entry here: