Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

I always love the new year-- a blank calendar of fresh starts, new opportunities, and renewed motivation to live the life you dream of! The new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and also look ahead to the future.

The past year has been a great one! I'm into my second year at Purdue and am really loving teaching, and I was honored with an Excellence in Teaching Award based on the end-of-semester evaluations from my students. I've written every day and made substantial progress on two novel manuscripts as well as nearly a dozen short stories. My play "The Stars in Illinois" won the Brian Mexicott Playwriting Award and my short play "love (lower case)" was produced as part of the Quills & Keys play festival in Santa Paula, California. My story "Jared Sampson's Mom" was published in the Valparaiso Fiction Review and nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and my story "Woman, Running Late, in a Dress" won first place out of more than 600 entries in the Ninth Glass Woman Prize. I also had some flash fiction published this year: "Wednesday Afternoon" in Concisely; "Wedding Day" in Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure; and "Ten Reasons" in Women in REDzine.

It was also an exciting year with Write On! For Literacy. Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing was released in February and rose to a #2 ranking on Amazon in the "literature anthologies" category and has received rave reviews from kids, teenagers, parents and teachers. The Write On! Summer Writing Camp was a great success, so much so that for the first time ever I held a one-day Winter Writing Camp over the holiday break from school. I am also now doing Guided Mentorships for young writers, something I really enjoy as it allows me to work individually with them on their writing projects. And the Tenth Annual Holiday Book Drive collected and donated more than 500 books this year, bringing the grand total to 12,290 books!

In my personal life, I met a truly amazing guy when we both volunteered teaching writing workshops for senior citizens. I love him very much and we will be celebrating our one-year anniversary in February. This past summer I traveled to Ireland with my brother and researched our family history, and I also traveled to London and Paris and visited my friend Celine, who I hadn't seen since college. I went to the Taylor Swift concert with my friend Holly; my dad came out to visit me at Purdue for October break; my mom, aunts, and cousins met up with me in Chicago for a fun "girls weekend." My boyfriend and I went to nearly a dozen plays and concerts, including "War Horse" and "Phantom of the Opera." And I got to spend wonderful time with my grandparents when I was home for summer and winter breaks. I am one lucky, lucky girl!

Here's a sampling of my goals for 2012:
  • Write! 400 words. Every day. No excuses. A great website I use to track my daily progress is Joe's Goals:
  • Submit to a literary magazine every other week.
  • Submit a query for a freelance article every month.
  • Read a short story every day & 40 books by end of year.
  • Send out a Write On! newsletter every month.
  • Teach a summer & winter youth writing camp.
  • Write a blog post twice a week.
  • Exercise 3 days a week.
  • Learn to cook 10 new healthy recipes. 
  • Call my grandparents every weekend. 
  • Volunteer at a nursing home or food bank.
  • Do at least one act of kindness every day.
  • Count my blessings every night.
What are your goals for the new year? Carpe diem -- seize the day!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Opportunity for young writers in Georgia

Pegasus, the literary magazine at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, invites submissions of poetry, short fiction (flash fiction welcome), creative nonfiction, artwork and photography for the upcoming spring 2012 issue. The submission deadline is February 29, 2012.

Pegasus is an award-winning regional journal that publishes writers enrolled in Georgia high schools or Georgia colleges and universities. Submissions by other writers will be ignored.

Pegasus accepts electronic submissions only. Please see for full submission guidelines.

Submissions not following stated guidelines will be ignored.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nominations Open for the "Write to Done" Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest

The website Write to Done is having their 6th Annual Top 10 Blogs for Writers Contest. If you like my blog, and have a moment to spare, it would mean a lot if you could pop on over to their site and nominate this blog! The deadline is fast approaching-- December 10th. I've pasted below the info from Write to Done:
How to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Blog:
→ Visit
→ Nominate your favorite blog in the comment section.
→ You have only one vote (only your first will be counted).
→ Please include the web address of the blog.
→ Explain why you think the blog is worthy of winning this year’s award.

To make the cut, a blog must be nominated more than once. (So it would be great if you could spread the word!)

Nominations must be received by 10 December 2011.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Story Published!

Exciting news! My short story "Ten Reasons" has been published in the latest issue of Women in REDzine, a multicultural literature and art magazine out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here is the beginning of the story to (hopefully!) whet your appetite:

Ten Reasons
by Dallas Woodburn

1. The lacy red panties she discovers wedged between the back left and middle seats of the Jeep Grand Cherokee while reaching down to yank out the seatbelt that always disappears into the crack between the seats. Abe usually drives the Jeep, but this is LeAnn's week to drive Miles and his friends to soccer practice, so he took the Prius instead.

Her breath catches at the feel of the cheap silk lewdness between her fingers. What a silly, stupid cliché. She manages to ball up the panties inside her clenched fist and slip them into her purse without Miles or his friends seeing them.

2. When she buys a new dress on sale at Macy's, with a low-cut neckline and a flattering belt that cinches at the waist, and she puts it on and saunters up to her husband, stretched out across the couch reading the newspaper, and asks, “How do I look?” with a coy smile on her lips, Abe glances up for only a moment before muttering, “Fine,” and turning back to the newspaper.

3. “What's wrong?” she asks on a Tuesday night during dinner, noticing how he picks at his food like a child.

He sighs. “Nothing.”

“Don't lie to me.”

“Your mashed potatoes,” Abe says. “They're too lumpy.”

“I made them the same way I've always made them.”

“Maybe you should add more milk,” he says. “Next time.”

* * *

You can read the rest here:

This story stemmed from a writing exercise I was given in my undergraduate workshop with Aimee Bender to write a narrative using a list format. It's a fun prompt to try -- I challenge you to do so!