Thursday, February 25, 2010

Short Story Published in "The Green Silk Journal" Winter 2010 Issue!

I am excited to share with you that my short story "Click, Then Silence" is part of the Winter 2010 issue of The Green Silk Journal!

Here is an excerpt:

“I miss you,” I say. I don’t mean to; the words just tumble off my tongue, like pearls slipping off a broken necklace then spilling across the floor, a few caroming underneath the furniture. You can try to collect them all and string them back together, but you’ll inevitably be missing one or two.

The good thing about the phone is he can’t see me, can’t see the way I’m nervously twisting a strand of hair around my index finger, around and around and around, as if by doing so I can turn back time and take back those three little words I so carelessly threw at him.

My best friend Susanne says guys don’t like to have things thrown at them, even unexpected compliments; they like to work for it, or at least feel like they are working. I haven’t asked Keith if this is true, of course, but if I did I bet he would snicker, “Why do you always listen to Susanne?” I don’t think he likes my friends much, Susanne least of all.

I hear him breathing on the other end of the phone. Just soft breathing. The silence lingers, stretches, two breaths, three, five, and then he exhales an awkward little laugh and says, “I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay, bye.” I wait a few more breaths – mine, one, two, four – until I hear the tiny click of him breaking away from me, and then I, too, hang up.

Read the rest at
(Scroll down; my story is the second on the page.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Guest Post by Debra Eckerling

Networking for Writers
by Debra Eckerling

Networking is an essential part of any business. And writing is a business! How can you expand your reach if you are not out and about meeting new people? Online communities are great. I am a huge fan of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Plus, I have my own writers website -
Write On! Online - and Facebook Page for promoting community. The key, however, is to meet people in real life, expand your social network, and embrace new opportunities.

Places to Go:

"Performance Art" is what we call going into a coffeehouse and reading your script or manuscript, working on a laptop: doing some sort of writerly activity - it never fails to draw attention. Pick your favorite coffee house, hole-in-the-wall diner, out-of-the-house workspace, and go there regularly. You may see the same people on a frequent basis and strike up friendships and conversations. When I had a corporate day job, I would take my lunch hour a few times a week in the eating area outside the building next door. I would see the same people every day, have an occasional chat while eating and/or doing my writing, and have enough distance from my office that I could be productive.

Take a class, go to a lecture, learn something new. Granted, those of us in Los Angeles and New York have a lot more opportunities: The Writers Store in LA, Writers Guild of America, the Paley Center of New Media, and others have amazing events. Check your public library and/or local bookstore - Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Mom 'n Pop Bookshop - for local author-signings, lectures, and workshops. You can even check the community college for extension courses; Sur La Table and other specialty stores have classes and demos. Look for activities that interest you: do some searching and see what is offered. You never know who you will meet or where it will lead you.


Networking Events, Meet Ups, and Mixers are filled with people actively looking to meet others. If you are outgoing, these situations are a piece of cake; for introverts, not so much. If this is not your cup of tea, that's okay, All I can say is this: give it a shot. Stay 30 minutes or 3 hours. Big crowded events, where you are forced to in a room with total strangers may be overwhelming, but they can also result in the highest rewards.
The secret to going to networking events is to be friendly and genuinely interested in what your peers have to say. The people you meet may not be able to help you, but they could know someone who needs what you have to offer. … Most importantly, remember to bring business cards and collect those of others.

What's Next?

Follow up and follow through. "Friend" your new "friends," add them on Twitter, Facebook, and any other appropriate networking site. That way, you stay in their head, and vice versa.
Opportunities for networking are everywhere: in the line at the grocery store, at your kid's school, the hair salon. If you are open to meeting new people, the options are endless.

Debra Eckerling is a professional writer with expertise in feature articles, corporate communications, and public-speaking. Eight years ago, she founded Write On!, a live - and now online - gathering of writers of all abilities, genres, and specialties. Debra i
s one of the LA hosts for's Networking Parties. The next Los Angeles Party is on Tuesday, February 23. For more information and to RSVP, go to

Debra is part of VBT - Writers On the Move Blog Tour. Please check out the VBT Website for more exciting author interviews and expert columns!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Their leadership and courage make them true heroes—and inspirations to us all.

Each year, the Barron Prize honors twenty-five winners nationwide. Half of the winners have focused on helping their communities and fellow beings; half have focused on protecting the health and sustainability of the environment.

These young people reflect the great diversity of America. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from many backgrounds. Examples are Michaella, who organized a rodeo for disabled kids; Carter, who led the effort to conserve a local river; Ashley, who created a scholarship fund for African girls; Kyle, who organized a reading mentorship program; Joying, who cleaned up South Carolina's beaches; Ryan, who helped provide clean drinking water to more than 70 African villages; and Barbara, who created a successful oil recycling project in Texas.

The goal of the Barron Prize is to celebrate such heroic young people—and to inspire others to do their part. Like the woman for whom the prize was named—my mother, Gloria Barron—these young people demonstrate the power of one person to make a difference to the world.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Writing Contests for Kids and Teens!

Here are some writing contests I've rounded up that are specifically geared towards kids and teens. Best of luck! Keep me posted!

The "It's All Write!" Short Story Writing Contest includes generous prizes to be distributed among nine winners! The contest is open to students in grades 6-12. Writers submit an original short story to be judged by a panel of published authors. The Awards Ceremony is held during the Ann Arbor Book Festival in May. Check out the list of winners from the past few years and read the winning stories from the 2008 & 2009 contest. Submissions for the 2010 "It's All Write!" Short Story Contest will be accepted between January 22 and March 19; take a look at the rules and guidelines for more details:

The Allstate Foundation Keep the Drive High School Journalism Awards is a print and broadcast contest to promote safe driving habits among teens, especially on how to avoid texting while driving. Contestants will submit either a print article or videotaped segment that creatively communicates a message regarding the dangers of texting while driving. Find more information here:

The William Saroyan Story Writing Contest for Students is sponsored by the William Saroyan Society and offers prizes of $100, $75 and $50 for the top three stories by students in each of the following age divisions: grades 1-2, grades 3-4, grades 5-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12 and college. Maximum 2 double-spaced pages per story. The theme for 2010 is: "Which friend or family member has had the greatest impact on your life? Why?" Special needs students are especially encouraged to submit. Download the entry form online:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

High School Film Competition

The Heartland High School Film Competition was established to encourage tomorrow's filmmakers to create films that explore the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for positive values of life and educate them about Heartland's mission.

The competition is open to all currently enrolled high school students who have not yet graduated. Film submissions will be judged on criteria similar to that of the Heartland Film Festival, including artistic excellence, technical merit and representation of Heartland's organizational values.

The 2010 High School Film Competition's theme is "hope." Click here for award details.

Submissions are being accepted now until
May 15.

Four finalists and one Grand Prize winner will be awarded. Winners receive a cash prize, Heartland Film Festival tickets, recognition and much more!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Write On! Contest Winners

We received more than 250 entries from all across the U.S., and even as far away as the U.K. and New Zealand! Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to all our winners!

Short Story Contest

Middle School (6th – 8th grade):

1. Audrey Larson, "Tornado Watch"

2. Kienna Kulzer, "For The First Time in a Long Time"

3. Jesse Rubin, "Warrior"

H.M. Katelyn Larger, "My Old Dog"

H.M. Grace Euphrat Weston, "Rain"

H.M. Bernadette Augello, "The Familiar Stranger"

H.M. Zoe Appleby, "The Wolf's Defense"

H.M. Abigail Honaker, "Lightning Bugs"

H.M. Emily Saunders, "Anyone Can Make It"

H.M. Taylor Busse, "Socks"

H.M. Kendra Ellis, "Just Like That"

H.M. Josie St. Myers, "Wind"

High School (9th – 12th grade):

1. Emma Elisabeth Fosso McNairy, "Untitled"

2. Lucia Kemeng Chen, "Take My Hand"

3. Ioana Grosu, "Victory"

H.M. Danielle Lemmons, "Just One Day"

Poetry Contest

Elementary School (5th grade and under):

1. Regina Vestuti, "The Accidental Valentine"

2. Juliet McLachlan, "Instructions for the landscape"

3. Sidney Hirschman, "I Live in Song"

H.M. Bethany Krupicka, "The Things You Say"

H.M. Emily Amaro, "Lightning Strikes"

Middle School (6th – 8th grade):

1. Zoe Appleby, "Horse of Stone”

2. Robyn Dickason, "Untitled"

3. Ivy Pike, "The Beach"

H.M. Kaylin Barr, "Quiet, But Determined"

H.M. Gianne Braza, "Nature's Beauty"

H.M. Madison Watkins, "Mom"

H.M. Austin Rogers, “All is Well”

High School (9th – 12th grade):

1. Mirriam Neal, "Pegasus and Bellaphon"

2. Kayleigh Sephton, "The Perfect Dance"

3. Emily Nelson, "The Silver Rose"

H.M. Anna Geare, "Beauty Through The Fall"

H.M. Emma Elisabeth Fosso McNairy, "Real"

H.M. Gillian Zia Rutherfod Wenzel, "The Blue Room"

H.M. Janelle Jewell-Roth, "L├ípiz”

H.M. Leighton Suen, "I Let Go of You"

H.M. Cadie Underwood, "Without You"

H.M. Korina Chilcoat, "What Makes You Happy?"

Essay Contest

Elementary School (5th grade and under):

1. Ninad Mahajan, "The Fantastic Trip"

2. Nicole Bellmore, "The Humpback Whale"

Middle School (6th – 8th grade):

1. Isabella Spaulding, "My Journey"

2. Stephanie Latos, "On Top of the World"

High School (9th – 12th grade):

1. Emma Elisabeth Fosso McNairy, "Untitled"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

HarperCollins Debuts Interactive Writing Platform for Teens

Thanks to Justin Mitchel for sending me this article on TechCrunch:

"HarperCollins has launched InkPop, a site that aims to attract young readers and writers with a combination of community publishing features, user-generated content, and social networking elements.

"In addition, the company has engaged a group of international HarperCollins editors and authors to function as an 'editorial board' to review the site's top five monthly selections, provide teens with feedback and mentorship opportunities, and also consider their work for publication."

Read the entire article at

Visit InkPop at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Contest for Young Writers in Kentucky

KET is launching the KET Young Writers and Illustrators contest, a statewide competition designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. The effort encourages Kentucky’s students in kindergarten through third grade to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original works.

The Kentucky winner from each grade level will be entered into the national PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest, where a renowned panel of judges will identify the national winners. Winners will be announced and national prizes, including laptops, digital cameras and MP3 players will be awarded in summer 2010.

To enter, kids must submit an original story with at least five original and colorful illustrations. Children who cannot write may dictate their story to a helpful grownup. The length of the stories varies by grade level. Complete rules are available at

KET will accept submissions Feb.1 through April 1, 2010.Those interested in participating may contact Kathy Day at (859) 258-7451 or for more information.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How many have you read?

The BBC released a list of the "100 Greatest Books" -- and they apparently believe most people have only read six of them! How many have you read?

(Thanks to the BK Publishers newsletter for this! Join the online discussion at

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - read some, but not others...
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy.
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth.
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tainted Tea's Writing Contest

Looking for a fun, free writing and/or art contest to enter? Tainted Tea is a marvelous new literary magazine -- and a wonderful supporter of literacy and Write On! -- and the editors have announced a flash fiction and bookmark contest!! Here's the information:

Flash Fiction Contest

Complete a story in 1,000 words or less. There is no specific subject, but all stories must either be dark, macabre, or something in the horror genre. Judging will be based on character development, plot, originality, and overall storytelling. Please submit stories in .doc or .rtf.


The WINNER will receive Underland by Mick Farren, a novel involving vampires, Nazis, and Antarctica. The winner will also be published in the Spring 2010 issue of Tainted Tea and will receive a free PDF.
The RUNNER-UP will be published on Tainted Tea's blog.

Bookmark Contest

Create bookmark. It doesn't matter how, just as long as the bookmark fits with Tainted Tea's theme. Judging will be based on subject matter, composition, and overall design. Tainted Tea cannot receive mail, so we can only accept bookmarks mailed as JPGs.


The WINNER will receive the tea cup and saucer featured on the cover of Tainted Tea Spring 2010 issue. The winner will also be published in the Spring 2010 issue and will receive a free PDF.
The RUNNER -UP will be published on Tainted Tea's blog.


The deadline is April 1, 2010.

Send all submissions to You can find all the contest information, plus more delightful literary odds and ends, at the Tainted Tea blog:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

National Share the Love of Reading Month

Throughout the month of February, the nonprofit organization My Own Book ( is hosting a national Share the Love of Reading event. They are encouraging every teen and adult in the United States to buy a favorite children's book, read it to a child, and give the child the book. If you send an e-mail to Kyle and Brady Baldwin at, the amazing young founders of My Own Book will send a bookplate for every book you give out.

Need help Sharing the Love of Reading? If you know of a child or children in need of books, e-mail Kyle and Brady at with your name and address (this may be a school). Please include the child’s first name and age for the personalized bookplate. They can send entire classrooms books if necessary.

This is a great project for service clubs, businesses, and schools to get involved in. If you would like to donate books to be read aloud, My Own Book will be happy to find readers for them!

My Own Book is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the joy of reading to less fortunate children through teens reading and letting children pick out their very own brand new books. Personalized bookplates are added to each book to solidify ownership.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the busy founders of My Own Book, Kyle and Brady Baldwin, for an interview about the importance of sharing books and spreading a love of reading!

Why is reading and literacy so important?
Reading opens up the doors for children. Without books they cannot dream of a greater world, learn about new possibilities or explore new horizons. Books are the key to a better life.

What is your favorite part about being involved with My Own Book?
The great feeling you get when a kid hugs their book or giggles with glee at the thought that they get to keep this book and it is their very own! Book ownership empowers these children: many have grown up without a single book, most do not know the pleasure of owning brand new items.

What has been the most difficult part?
Getting schools to let us visit -- they always assume there is a catch. There isn't. We really just want to share the joy of reading with K-3rd graders.

Are there any life lessons you have learned through My Own Book?
A ton but the most important is probably the benefit we have experienced by reaching out to children and sharing the joy of reading. We have learned empathy and a greater awareness of our community.

What is your advice to other young people who want to make a difference through volunteering?
It is great! You'll meet people, develop new skills, and it will take you places you've never imagined. Follow your interests and perhaps you will discover your passion.

How can readers get involved with My Own Book?
Visit our website at We are ALWAYS looking for volunteers to read and give out books. We are happy to ship books and bookplates anywhere in the country. You'll feel great interacting with the children and doing good in your community. Please contact us! We'd love your help in reading and giving out books!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Giving Running to Mali

My brother Greg, founder of the nonprofit organization Share Our Soles that collects, cleans and donates gently-used athletic shoes to third-world countries, recently returned from a trip to Mali, Africa, to deliver 100+ pairs of shoes to the small village of Sikoro. I could not be prouder of him!! Here is a video clip of his amazing journey: