Tag Archives: writer

Hillerman Mystery Competition


deadline is June 1; minimum of 60,000 words – murder mystery or mystery novel; set in the Southwestern United States; prize is $10,000 advance against royalties

– will be published by St. Martin’s press

details HERE:


Chapter writers wanted

Chainbooks.com, which helps people write books together,
 will launch in summer 2011.
• Right now they are seeking are "Starter Chapter" writers. 
• (they need 500 first chapters complete before the launch)
• Each Starter Chapter is around 3000 words 
• Pays $25 for each approved chapter 
plus additional compensation on books that meet successful sales goals
• http://www.chainbooks.com or send an email to eapoe@chainbooks.com 

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 pathofpossibility.com, 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.

12 talks by authors/writers – watch online



From Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club) and Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) to poets and philosophers, this link has 12 videos of authors/writers giving talks.

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Robert V. Wickes, “The Hornbrook Prophecy”


INTERVIEW WITH Robert V. Wickes, author of The Hornbrook Prophecy

1. Tell us about your latest book, The Hornbrook Prophecy.

Let’s see. This is my second first book. That is, it’s the second book in print, but it’s actually the first one I wrote. I still think of it as my baby. When I began to write it in 2002, it was a very tough sell for a new author. I was writing a story about what I saw as a logical endpoint for where the country was heading, and it seemed too fanciful. I also filled the manuscript with too many polemic discources. Eventually, I pulled out most of the ranting and streamlined the rest into a faster-paced, more exciting saga of the struggle about the inevitable result of blind ambition and the abuse of power. The material I deleted became the basis of my non-fiction The Myth America Pageant: How Government & Politics REALLY Affect The Ordinary Joe.  So, if Myth America was about “here are the problems and here’s how you can fix them, and if you don’t someday it will all hit the fan,” then Hornbrook is about what happens when it really DOES all “hit the fan.” My dad’s been telling me for the last few years, “If you don’t get it published pretty soon, it won’t be fiction anymore!” I’m not so sure he won’t turn out to be right.

If you think that the notion of a “second first book” is odd, you’ll love this–The Hornbrook Prophecy is the first of what I’ve outlined as a four-part trilogy! I’ll explain that some other time.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was driving up I-5 through the northern California outback when I saw an exit sign for two small towns called “Henley” and “Hornbrook.” I thought, “What an interesting name that would be for a character in a book.” To pass the time as I drove I began to watch signs for other character names and over time I had collected an entire telephone book full of names.  Twenty years later, I’m still collecting. When I finally decided to use some of them, I thought I’d write a disaster novel but they’d all been done before hurricanes, tornados, fires, earthquakes, floods. However, after teaching a class called, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” I realized that the biggest and most likely disaster of all was going to be a social one, not some act of nature and anything to do with society today is going to have a heavy political tone. It wasn’t difficult to dream up a story with all the mischief politicians are up to. The day I finally decided how the story was going to end was the day I sat down and began writing it (although I ultimately changed that ending). Henley Hornbrook was the first name I had collected and he became my lead character.

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

I wish I had one. It took two years to write the first draft of Hornbrook because it was so difficult to find the time. I’d go to work all day, come home, take care of home stuff, kick back for a while and, finally, as the house grew quieter I finally could pull out my laptop. I did most of my writing between ten pm and two am, but the fact of the matter is that I write when the words “arrive”–and they can arrive at the oddest of times. A 3×5 index card and a pen can be your best friend when you are away from your keyboard.
4. Describe your workspace.

Me, a chair, my lap, and a laptop. Could be anywhere.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Anything written by Raphael Sabatini.  Although his 17th and 18th century story lines are swashbuckling fun (such as Captain Blood, and The Sea Hawk), I loved them because the characters are well-defined, the prose elegant, and the dialog demonstrates how rich (and civil) the English language can be. The generations today being raised on text messaging, Twitter, and email, will never discover or understand the beauty of language and its ability to create emotion and convey ideas. That is sad. On the other hand, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) is not a great technical writer, but she is an amazingly creative storyteller. Her ability to transport the reader and fully immerse them in another time or place is wonderful. There were seemingly minor story elements in the first book of the series the importance of which was not fully realized until the seventh book. That’s storytelling!

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’d love to do a standup comedy routine sometime–you can’t survive the world today and still be sane without having a sense of humor, and in my tender years on this sphere I’ve found there’s a smile to be found in almost every situation.

I have no interest in motor homing in my upcoming retirement (from my day job). I’d rather sail off to the Bounty’s Pitcairn Island, but I don’t think I can persuade my crew to try that. So, instead, I want to get a boat and travel the Great Loop, a 6000-mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of the U.S. using the intracoastal waterways, Great Lakes and canals, and the inland river system. I think it would be quite the adventure, and I’ve invented a new word for it:  Boaterhoming!

Once upon a time MANY moons ago, I particularly enjoyed a day off I had from my summer job as a bronzed god at Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. After sunning and swimming and wining and dining the day away in Avalon, my buddies and I just didn’t want it to end. We deliberately passed up the last boat to our end of the island, figuring we would be able to hitch a ride on the backroads later on. No such luck. We ended up walking 33 miles in the starlight, often using some narrow shortcuts we knew of through cactus-filled canyons, from one end of island to the other, because we had to back to work by 7:00 in the morning. We made it–barely. I was a tad nuttier–and a lot younger–in those days.

7. Favorite quote

I use a quote at the beginning of each chapter and section in each book, so I have a lot of favorites. Will Rogers once said, “It’s easy to be a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” Today, however, it’s getting a lot tougher to be funny when you’re talking about politics. I am a vigorous advocate for liberty over tyranny. One of my favorite quotes could be, “We don’t live in a democracy; we live in an AUCTION!”, but that actually was just a bumper sticker I made up once. Thinking of how anyone who today raises his voice in opposition to political or corporate business as usual becomes the victim of character assassination and marginalization, I am reminded of El Capitan Esteban in the movie, “Zorro, The Gay Blade,” who said, “Yes, everyone is free to speak their minds; we will simply arrest everyone who listens!” But if I delve deep into my psyche for the true inspirations for my passion for liberty, I find two quotes that are neck and neck for my favorites. The first was by Richard Rumbold, a Cromwellian rebel who fought against the Stuart monarchy. As he stood upon the gallows in 1685, he proclaimed, “I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another; for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.” The other is by Henry David Thoreau who wrote in Civil Disobedience in 1849, “The State is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is strongest.”
8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part is creating something that will outlast my pathetic little carbon life form, making a statement about life or about ideas and feelings in such a way that others will (hopefully) enjoy or learn from long after I’ve written the words. When I first held a finished copy of my initial book, it was like savoring the long-awaited arrival of a child. The worst part is that once you begin you are hooked. It’s too easy to let the rest of life fend for itself sometimes, as long as I can get at my keyboard.

9. Advice for other writers

Writers write because they must, not because they expect to be famous or rich (because few do). Don’t write so you can see your name in print. Write because you are passionate about your subject. If you aren’t, your reader won’t get anything out of it anyway, and you’ll both just ending wasting your time. But if you are, you’ll never lack for words and your readers will benefit from your inspiration. There’s nothing that hasn’t already been written, but your passion will lead you to express it in new ways.

Don’t be discouraged if you meet with repeated rejection as you try to get published. Tom Clancy couldn’t get ANYBODY interested in The Hunt for Red October. If you believe in your writing, just keep at it. Even if you end up self-publishing you will have accomplished something that most people could never manage to do.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

We were having lunch in a chowder house on the Oregon coast some years ago, before I’d written anything of note, when we spied an oar hanging from the ceiling with the woodburned inscription, YISDERSOMENIMORORSISASISDENDERISORSIS  We spent the better part of lunch trying to decipher it before I realized that the first letter, Y, was really a word, Why, and that it was, therefore, a question. The rest fell into place rather easily and it revealed one of the most profound queries about the nature of man and society. What makes it profound is that the answer is really self-evident within the question (I challenge you to figure it out right now). I printed it out on my computer and hung it as a sign in my office. Years later when I was writing my non-fiction work, The Myth America Pageant, I used it to summarize the “state of the union” on the last page of the book.  I’m sure that my fictional hero, Senator Hornbrook, has the same sign hanging in his own office.

Where can people buy your book?

If you ever happen to find yourself in Montesano, WA (the GOOD Washington), drop by my office on main street and I’ll fix you up with a nice copy. Otherwise, you’ll find it on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and in as many book stores as my publisher can manage (after it releases on August 1). Or else swing by my website at www.robertwickes.com where you’ll get the scoop on all my literary goodies.

Paying market for military history writers


Military History Quarterly pays $400 for departments and features START at $800.

Email ideas to: Military History


The Writer’s Haven seeks articles, poems, fiction, etc.


The Writer’s Haven Magazine should be up and running by May 1. The editor is looking for how-to articles of 250-1,500 words (dealing with lit agents, overcoming rejection, writing for mags, etc.) Looking for how-to pieces for poets and writers. Previously published OK.

Poetry: up to 20 lines; fiction 250-750 words; my first sale 250-750 words

Marcella Simmons, Publisher =  marcies04@bellsouth.net

Free contest for mystery authors


EDGAR AWARDS; Nov. 30 deadline; 

All books, short stories, television shows, and films [and

plays] in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are

eligible in their respective category if they were published or

produced for the first time in the U.S. during this calendar year.

Books from non-U.S. publishers are eligible if they are widely

distributed in the U.S. and are readily available on the shelves in

brick-and-mortar stores for the first time during the judging year.

Works should be submitted by the publisher, but may also be

submitted by the author or agent.  


10 QUESTIONS FOR…Daniel Smith, author of “On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department”


Author interview with Daniel Smith

An award-winning, nationally published journalist, Daniel P. Smith teamed with Chicago-based Lake Claremont Press to pen On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department, his first book and one inspired by his roots in a Chicago Police family. A noted speaker, Smith has appeared on WGN-TV, Chicago Public Radio, and WGN Radio as well as the History Channel’s “Our Generation” series, where he discussed the 1968 Democratic National Convention and Chicago Police response. He is presently working with photographer and fellow Chicagoan Brian Palm to share the stories and images of Chicago’s fading buildings. Smith’s journalistic work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Southtown Star, USA Cycling, ELITE, and Windy City Sports. He also serves on the Chicago Writer Association’s board of directors. A 2003 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was also an accomplished track and field athlete, Smith lives in the Chicago area with his wife Tina and dog Dublin.

1. Tell us about your latest book.OnTheJob_FC_hi-res4754DSwithhat

On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department is a collection of magazine-length feature profiles of individual Chicago police officers, 19 individuals in all. Against the backdrop of the Chicago Police Department’s history, culture, and organization and far from the imaginative portrayals sprouting from American televisions, On the Job seeks to examine how officers balance the work-life juxtaposition.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I came from a blue-collar area of Chicago, a neighborhood filled with cops, firemen, electricians, and other laborers, so the thought of becoming a writer never occurred to me. The only people I knew growing up who worked for the Chicago Tribune or the Chicago Sun-Times delivered or sold the newspapers, my grandfather included. Growing up, I never knew writing was a realistic option.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago, I began writing sports for the college newspaper. I then became the sports editor and, later, an editorial columnist. That work gave me a practical grounding in the craft and inspired me to do more. I began do freelance work for one of Chicago’s daily newspapers and a few magazines. And so my career as a writer began.

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

Constant work: on the phone conducting interviews; crafting query letters; writing to meet magazine or newspaper deadlines; and researching new ideas and story assignments.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Organized chaos. I try to be organized and diligent, but it’s just not me. At my right side, I have what I call my 3-2-1 binder. Each week, I have the goal of making 3 contacts to advance/market On the Job, sending out 2 query letters, and researching 1 address for an upcoming book on demolished Chicago buildings. Above my desk, I have a stash of reference books. At my left side, I have my invoice trays. If it sounds organized, that’s a lie.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is my technical Bible. Mike Royko’s One More Time is my study of newspaper writing with flair and purpose but not self-importance. The Writers Market is my window to professional opportunities. And Robert Fulghum’s All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is my example of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I’m a former collegiate athlete; the persistence and discipline I learned there has been central to my success as a writer. 2. I’ve only sent out one book proposal in my life and that proposal was for On the Job. I was 23-years-old when I signed that contract. 3. I’m a Seinfeld junkie.

7. Favorite quote

An Army motto says, “Do what has to be done.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I enjoy the daily challenge of crafting engaging stories that can entertain, inform, or enlighten. The worst part: writing my quarterly checks to the IRS and the other “business” nonsense that comes with being a full-time freelance writer.

9. Advice for other writers.

First, control what you can control. You cannot control if an editor will enjoy your idea and pick it up, but you can control crafting an engaging query letter filled with research, detail, and know how. Be a professional and do your part well—that’s the surest way to reach your writing goals.

Second, find a mentor, someone who can help you develop your craft, provide professional direction, and offer sincere feedback.

But above all, remember that writers write.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

As college graduation neared, I asked my journalism mentor, former Chicago Tribune reporter Robert A. Davis, to write a letter of recommendation for the high school teaching positions I was chasing. He did and the letter’s opening line read: “I resentfully write this letter on behalf of Daniel Smith. He’s a writer, not a teacher.” Though I did teach for one year and Mr. Davis passed before seeing me commit to the writing life, I’ve never forgotten his faith in me.

Short pitch on where to buy your book, your Web site, blog, etc.

On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department is available at Amazon.com and the Lake Claremont Press website (http://www.lakeclaremont.com/index.php). Signed copies are available at my blog, www.onthejob-smith.blogspot.com.