Tag Archives: writing contests

WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction …

Here’s an announcement from today’s Reading Recommendation-featured author, B. Lynn Goodwin, that should be of interest to all authors out there!

WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction running 750 words or less. Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us. Finalists receive responses from all judges. First prize is $200. Submit to the 10th WriterAdvice Flash Prose Contest by April 21, 2015. Fee: $15. Feedback given. Complete details at www.writeradvice.com.

Writer Advice Managing Editor, http://www.writeradvice.com
Author of YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

Picture 1

That Last Summer – a new IslandShorts ePublication!

IslandShorts is pleased to announce the release of a new ePublication in a series of short stories, novellas, poetry and short pieces of non-fiction.

That Last Summer by Susan M. Toy will be available shortly to download from all the usual sites.


Susan M. Toy captures the magic of the summer of ’65 in this tale of love and loss of innocence. The lake is alive with boys and girls, skiing and romancing. Rachel constantly spars with her younger sister, neither girl realizing the extent of life-changing problems that float below the surface for both a friend’s family and their own. Toy writes with confidence and elegance in That Last Summer and, as Juliet says in a famous scene performed around an August bonfire, “Parting is such sweet sorrow … ”

In the summer of 1965, Rachel Wainstaff is uprooted from her life in Toronto and her boyfriend to spend a reluctant summer with her family at their secluded cottage at Lone Pine Lake. In this story of self-discovery and young love, Rachel’s joys and disappointments are inextricably tied to making new friends and meeting a special boy, all while dealing with the irritation of her younger sister. Still, the true heart of this piece lies in the complicated relationship the teenaged Rachel has with her mother and father.
That Last Summer is a poignant love letter to the lazy, sun-soaked days of an Ontario summer at the cottage.
~ Kim McCullough, author of Clearwater

Susan M. Toy spent all the summers of her youth at the family cottage near Minden, ON. During that time, she was a voracious reader and always dreamed of becoming a writer of her own stories. That Last Summer was originally written as an entry for the 3-Day Novel Contest, and is the third eBook to be published by IslandShorts, an imprint of IslandCatEditions.

A sample FlipBook is available to read here.

And, coming soon, The Healer, another short story by J. Michael Fay!

On writing contests

I used to enter writing contests. I quite enjoyed them. In fact, I entered the 3-Day Novel Contest four times since 2008, and I managed to complete three manuscripts and send them in after each contest ended. I never did win at all, but then winning wasn’t the reason I entered – completing a manuscript in 3 days was why I put myself through such a gruelling test. I’m about to ePublish the first of those three, That Last Summer, a novella I’ve been editing and preparing over the 5 years since it was written. This will be the next IslandShorts edition.

I’m mainly writing this blog post today to advise all of my readers that this year’s 3-Day Novel Contest is fast approaching! It will be held over the Labour (minus-a-U if you are American) Day weekend. I’m not entering this year. I am busy, as I said, preparing a manuscript I already have completed. And there are two other novellas that need work and some other short stories, too, from the one year I did not complete my entry. You still have time to enter though! The experience is, shall we say … Exhilarating? And the bonus is you will have a completed first draft, after all is said and done.

I also created this contest, Coffee Shop Author, which is no longer operating, but it was fun while it lasted and I’m still in contact with a few of the entrants and winners. There has been talk lately of creating an entirely new contest based on the same principle of authors being seen writing in public. Stay tuned. You just never know what will happen.

And, finally, I wanted to post this article on entering contests – How not to get Scammed: Strategies for Entering Writing Contests for those of you who do enjoy the thrill of entering but are afraid you may be taken to the cleaners.

Good luck to Everyone with your writing, whether you enter contests or just write!


The ins and outs of being a writer …

As I struggle to get back to my own writing and question why I’m doing something that often feels so much like I’m beating myself over the head, I thought I’d procrastinate just a little bit longer and post a few more links to some very interesting articles and blog posts that address the issue of being a writer …

First off, a flow chart from terribleminds, because I love flow charts (and I know that my designer, Jenny Ryan, loves flow charts, too!)

From wordserve water cooler: Being a Published Author Won’t Make Me Happy (And How I Know That) by Lucille Zimmerman AND The Writing Life: A Super Balancing Act by Rebecca L. Boschee

From Tim Baker at blindoggbooks: Step Right Up – I’ll Make You Rich AND Do We Write for Love or Money?

From C. Hope Clark: One Day I’ll Write This Story

From Michael Hyatt: The 4 Hidden Rewards of Rejection

From Seth Godin: Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear

From Writing Forward: How to Write Well Without Losing Your Mind by Melissa Donovan

From HuffPost Books: When Novels Become Assassins by David Biddle

And, as if the angst of writing weren’t enough of a worry, here’s an article for those of you who are considering whether to go the traditional or the self-publishing route …

From The Guardian: Linda Gillard on self-publishing: ‘I market myself, not a genre’

Back on Bequia!

After what now feels to have been a whirlwind 7-week visit to Canada, I’m settled back on Bequia – for the time being …

I have a lot of thinking to do, plans and decisions to make, books to read, a novel to continue promoting. Oh, and a second novel to finish writing and edit. Enough to keep me “plenty busy,” as they say here. I’ve been formulating ideas about setting up an ePublishing company and publish the writing of other authors, relaunching an online writing contest, figuring out ways to transplant my author promotion business to Ontario, where I would now like to spend half of each year. And I have a couple of new schemes up my sleeve that I’d like to be able to develop. The beauty of all this is that *most* of what I hope to be doing in the future can be dealt with online, so it could be done from virtually anywhere in the world! Including Bequia. And I can still be my own boss. We’ll see where all this may lead over the coming months.

In the meantime, I’m still acclimatising myself to being back on the island. To my friends in Minden – if it’s any consolation, while we do not have blackflies, we are plagued at the moment by mosquitoes and no-see-ums. And for the Calgary peeps – it’s raining here, too, and it’s also terribly humid. I hate it when washing dishes causes me to sweat!

Fortunately, we’ve been invited over to Pammy’s Swimming Hole in Friendship today and have been promised all sorts of liquid refreshments. For our part, we’ll be packing the fixings for pan pizzas. Should be a fun way to pass the afternoon, even if it rains.

Thanks again to all my Canadian friends who made my stay in Canada so enjoyable! And to the many new friends who opened up their homes to me and made me feel totally welcome, as though we had known each other forever, and not just through a Facebook connection – thank you very much!

But, unfortunately, I didn’t buy a memory card for my new camera until after I had arrived in Toronto, so I don’t have many photos from my trip to post. For now, here’s the iconic photo of the Leuty Lifeguard Station by the boardwalk in Toronto’s Beach. I always have to break in a new camera with a picture of this!


Weekly offering of links to Blogs, Articles, Information, Discussion, Inspiration … and a Writing Contest!

On Editing:
From ragan.com: news and ideas for communicators
Why every writer needs an editor

From Writer Unboxed
The Value of Editors

On Reading, and Finding Readers:
From The Guardian
Readers are out there – but the model for getting their attention is broken

From The Guardian
Fiction prescription: why libraries make you happy

On Writing:
From GalleyCat
How To Write a Scene: A Step-By-Step Infographic (I love infographics!)

From Noveliscious.com
Write Your Novel – Torture Your Characters

From terribleminds
The Art of Asking: For Writers and Storytellers

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog
5 Ways “Difficult” Women Can Energize Your Writing and Make Your Fiction Memorable by Ruth Harris

From The Writing Corp
So, You Claim To Be A Writer?

From Northwestern Ontario Writers’ Workshop
2013 Contest Rules

On Publishing:
From terribleminds
Writers and Misinformation, Or: “How Did You Publish?”

From Rachelle Gardner
Sometimes You Fail. And it Sucks.

On Promoting and Marketing:
From Forbes
19 Things Successful People Do On Social Media

On Unnecessary Promotion and Publicity:
From Carin Makuz
dear media people

GREAT Blog Posts
From Eugene Stickland, a very inspirational blog post …
Caylan Boyse – Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

From Seth Godin
“I’m making money, why do more?”

And, Just For Fun!
From Proposition Zen
Daily Zen – March 4, 2013

Richard Antoine Soetens, Feb. 13, 1890 – June 6, 1972

Today would have been my grandfather’s birthday, so I’m reposting something I wrote earlier. Since I posted this commemoration on June 6th, long-lost-to-us-relatives in Belgium have contacted me and inquired as to whether Elise was my mother. Now we are connected again, at least by email, with cousins (twice-removed?) whose grandmother was our grandfather’s younger sister. It just goes to show that you never know who is reading your blog posts or where these postings might lead …

On June 6th in 1972 my grandfather died. He was being treated for cancer, during which time the doctors wouldn’t let him smoke his Players Navy Cut or drink Labatt’s IPA – in those days available in brown stubby bottles. I think that’s actually what killed him, not the cancer. Being denied the two things he enjoyed in life would have put him over the edge. That and Grandma’s constant nagging. I’m positive he just gave up.

Grandpa was born in a small Flemish Belgian town and made it through WWI, the war which pretty much devastated most of Belgium. He worked as a stable boy at a race track, but had aspirations to become a jockey one day, since he was slight. But when he met my grandmother, she had other ambitions, making him promise he would never bet money on horses again. As far as I knew he kept that promise. When we were kids living in The Beach in Toronto, the original Woodbine Race Track was in operation at Woodbine Ave. and Queen St. Later it became the Greenwood Race Track, but the real live ponies still ran there every day at that time. Our grandparents lived on Bellefair Ave., only about 6 blocks from the track. Grandpa would take my younger sister and me for a walk along Queen to the track where we just watched the horses run. To this day, I still love watching horses. I’ve never learned how to ride, but I haven’t felt the need to, as long as I can admire horses in motion.

I also seemed to inherit his love for opera. Grandpa had a collection of 78s, mostly recordings of Mario Lanza, that he enjoyed, even though he couldn’t understand Italian. He’d sit in his armchair in the living room, drinking a beer and smoking, and the music made him cry. I don’t react in quite the same way to opera, but I do appreciate the music.

The gene I most definitely inherited had to do with cooking. When my grandparents and their daughter, my mother, Elisabeth Marie (but Grandpa always called her Elise) first immigrated to Canada in 1919 by ship with Grandma’s family, Grandma managed to get Grandpa a job as a cook in the Chateau Frontenac. When they moved to Toronto the next year, he worked in the kitchen of the Prince George Hotel. Later, after they’d moved to The Beach, they owned and ran the Seagrill Fish & Chips at Queen & Leuty, which our Uncle Moe moved to just west of Coxwell and reopened under the Seagrill name. Grandpa made perfect Belgian frites, something my mother also made well, and now I too can make perfect chips. And I love to cook, and eat good food. Grandpa did all the cooking in the house; Grandma made all the money.

He was a good man – quiet, kind and unassuming, always ready with a smile, a joke and a laugh. Even though he never learned to read, my sister and I would sit on his knees and he’d “read” the newspaper comics to us, making up the stories, adding his own sound effects and hand actions. He allowed us to have sips from his beer bottle, and also taught us how to swear in Flemish. Then he would send us home with, “Say that to your mother.” I had no idea what the words were I was repeating, but they garnered a cuff from my mother as soon as they came out of my mouth. When I cried, “Grandpa told me to say that!” she phoned and reprimanded him, but then they both had a good laugh about it in the end – at my expense. To this day, my total Flemish vocabulary consists of swear words.

I borrowed heavily from my family’s history, and especially from my grandparents’ lives and personalities, to write a couple of short stories that have been published. Both Hockey Night on Bellefair Avenue and 50 Ways to Lose Your Liver have appeared in Ryerson’s The White Wall Review, and have won prizes. There are a number of other grandparent stories in production, four in early draft stages, and some just a title at the moment, but probably about 14 altogether. I hope to eventually complete and publish them as a collection titled The Grandparent Stories.

“It’s been good to see you. Now give me a bezeka and get the hell out of here!”

3-Day Novel Contest – 3 Days Later…

Well, I survived writing for the International 3-Day Novel Contest and am now here to tell you the tale.

Teach Your Children Well was date-and-time stamped Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, 8:09 p.m. (although my computer was still on Calgary time – the actual time on Bequia was two hours later, but still within the midnight deadline). My novel is 91-pages, double-spaced, and 21,317 words. Light for a novel, true, but it’s a complete storyline and I wrote all that I wanted to write.

The novel is about Sondra, a teenage girl who encounters bullying in her new high school and discovers that bullying doesn’t stop at graduation, but can continue throughout adulthood – even her own mother is a victim. So Sondra sets up a bullying-awareness campaign to try to stop all bullying in its tracks. I hadn’t intended to write this for a teen audience, but I hope now it will work as a cross-over or bridge novel, appealing to both teens and adults.

This was a story I developed a couple of years ago and had always planned on writing (as I explained here in an earlier blogpost) so I’d given the storyline a lot of thought before the weekend. I loved the experience though of writing on the fly, filling in the details, getting to know the characters, creating new characters and incidents and business that I hadn’t thought of previously, like making Sondra’s family, who moves to Toronto, French-Canadian, and in just playing with it all on my computer for three days. I hope that readers like reading it, but mainly because I really enjoyed the writing process. I know it’s cliche to say that the novel wrote itself, but this one almost did just that. Never once during the three days did I think, “What have I gotten myself into – again??? Am I crazy?” It was actually a pleasure to write for hours at a time, then even better when it came around to beginning the editing process – although I did discover a major gap in the timeline that needed patching, and I hadn’t thought, before submitting the manuscript, to check one of the jokes that was supposed to be spoken in French and make sure it was actually as funny in French as it would be in English. (It was – phew!) But I believe I caught all the major gaffs and typos, problems with formatting, etc., and if nothing else, I gave myself a crash-reminder course of what it takes to edit a novel.

So, a worthy way to spend a 3-day long weekend (although Monday was not a holiday here on Bequia) and I came out in the end with a novel that, while it may not win any awards in this particular contest, is something I’m happy to have written, proud to attach my name to, and that I know will be marketable and published at some time or other.

Thanks, 3-Day People!! See you again next year!

ABC Friday Reads – Writing Not Reading This Weekend!

Tonight at midnight marks the beginning of the International 3-Day Novel Contest and I am an entrant!

So I’m preparing myself today to begin writing a novel that I have completely plotted out (in my mind, at least). I will draw up an outline later today then begin filling in the blanks after midnight tonight. This will be my fourth time entering this particular contest. I managed to complete and submit manuscripts twice out of those three previous attempts and now have two decent and complete novellas and a collection of linked short stories that still needs work. This contest is a terrific way to kickstart your writing. It’s nowhere near as gruelling as you may think. As long as you have someone around willing to make coffee for you and look after preparing meals – one who doesn’t disturb you during the rest of the time – and you’re prepared with a complete storyline in mind then you have it made!

In fact, the most difficult aspect of the entire weekend is avoiding the total distraction of the internet… at least, that’s the greatest difficulty for me!

Will be back on Tuesday morning to let you all know how I fared…