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  1. by Linda Petrucelli Now, I am not usually the kind of person who likes to have someone tell me what to do. But in the case of generating words on a page, I often need a nudge to defeat that amorphous feeling of having nothing to say. A terrific writing prompt, I believe, acts like a pressure cooker. It should create some heat. Make you sweat—just enough and not too much. Literary limits (word, subject, or craft restrictions) can supercharge a piece of writing. By holding you back a little, an impactful prompt revs your engine that much more. My innate resistance to not doing what people tell
  2. Recently another writing friend put a wannabe novelist (WN) in touch with me. It's not that I'm an expert in writing, by any means. This individual was looking for writing feedback, and I'm part of a couple of critique groups. We met at a local coffeehouse. WN wanted to meet me before sharing her writing. I get it. The writers in my feedback groups are supportive and encouraging. However, I've visited a couple of groups which had a few problematic members. Writing something and sharing it--especially something like a novel--is scary. You don't want to just hand over your baby to a complete s
  3. I’ve been reading quite a few headlines lately about celebrity parents and their lack of hygiene when it comes to their kids (and themselves). And of course, it’s none of my business if these folks want to walk around till they (and their young’uns) smell to high heaven. But every time I see these articles, I think of the same expression. Technically, I see this image in my head, of a baby being thrown out with the bathwater. Because if you go around for who knows how long, skipping baths, you’re going to have some pretty dirty bathwater. At least, that’s where the expression came from, back
  4. Today I'm excited to interview Karen Ingram, one of the runner-ups for the Spring 2021 Flash Fiction writing contest. Be sure to read her story IED first, and then come on back to read our interview. First, more about Karen: Karen Sarita Ingram is half Kentuckian, half German, and proudly 100% Army Brat. Her first published story, “The Suicide Artist,” was featured in Touchstone Literary Magazine’s Spring 2012 issue and won the Best Undergraduate Writing Award at Kansas State University’s English Department the same year. When she’s not demanding to speak to your manager, Karen enjoys science
  5. Welcome to Michelle Walshe who is one of our creative nonfiction essay winners for her essay, "The Shape of Loneliness," which you can check out here. Michelle lives in Dublin, Ireland. She began writing in 2017. Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines and two anthologies: Teachers Who Write and A Page from My Life, which was number one on Irish bestseller lists in 2020. Her work is online at Writing.ie, Skelligmichael.com, Athensinsider.com, IrishExaminer.com, CabinetofHeed.com, and IrishTimes.com. Her short stories, memoir, and flash fiction have been shortlisted and won prizes
  6. TBR: Book love is highly personal. Rejection letters are not personal. I know you’ve heard that before. We tell each other that because rejection letters sometimes feel personal. After all, we’ve poured time and soul into the manuscript. Telling us you don’t want it, or worse yet that you hated it, feels deeply personal. I’m not going to stick up for editors or agents who say that they hated something. Or that you should stop writing or whatever. I think we just have to assume they didn’t have a West Texas grandma with a broom. They’d have learned not to be hateful. Recently, I learned
  7. My daughter has discovered Percy Jackson. This is after she discovered Harry Potter in early 2020, and then Hunger Games once we made our way through all seven books of Harry, and we were still in the middle of a pandemic. And for each one, she was in love with the books--couldn't get enough of them or the characters or the authors. She's in fifth grade this year, and when she discovers something, it consumes her. She's now planning her Percy Jackson Halloween costume and using her allowance to buy a PJ Camp Halfblood shirt. She made a PJ necklace, and she's constantly asking her grandparents
  8. Myna Chang writes flash and micro. Her work has been selected for Best Small Fictions, Fractured Lit, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, and The Citron Review, among others. She has been nominated for Best Microfiction, longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50, and named a finalist for the New Millennium Writing Award. She is the winner of the 2020 Lascaux Prize in Creative Nonfiction. Myna lives in Potomac, Maryland with her family. Read more at MynaChang.com or @MynaChang. interview by Marcia Peterson WOW: Congratulations on winning first place in our Spring 2021 Flash Fiction competition! Can you tell us what en
  9. So - here goes - let's talk about friendships, shall we? This isn't me telling you what to do or not to do - it's just a conversation and hopefully it will offer each of us a little something. Grab your favorite beverage (I'll fill my coffee mug) and we can chat a bit. If you're wondering, today's photo headline is me and my best friend on our wedding day - I still say marrying your best friend is a most fabulous idea! Take a moment to remember a friend who meant a lot to you - someone who is no longer part of your circle. They walked away, you walked away, etc... Take a moment to remember a
  10. Originally from Colorado, Krista Beucler received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. She was the Editor-in-Chief for Issue 7.2 of the Rappahannock Review, the literary journal published by the University of Mary Washington. Krista is a winner of the Julia Peterkin award for flash fiction, and her creative work has been published in From Whispers To Roars, and South 85 Journal, and Under the Sun. She can be found online on her website and on Instagram. interview by Marcia Peterson WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Q3 2021 Cre
  11. I like to keep a list of national “days” handy because it can be helpful when planning content for magazines, podcast episodes, and blog posts. For September, I noticed we have “National Courtesy Month” to celebrate. Here’s what the website has to say about the holiday: There are so many ways to show kindness to people through courtesy. Hold the door open for the people behind you! Mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn! Compliment that shy person you see every day on the subway! Above all, SMILE at everyone you meet! Because this is a blog for writers, I thought I’d talk to about the importance
  12. Nothing like a worldwide pandemic to make even reading feel impossible. I don't know about you, but somehow over the last couple of years, I lost my love of reading. Like a former relationship, I knew the love had been there once upon a time, but somehow I wasn't feeling that same passion anymore. Luckily, I wasn't alone. I came across countless articles written by my fellow bookworms, bemoaning their loss of reading. (Here's one.) Instead of fighting it, I accepted it. It wasn't like I didn't try to find the right book for me, but I didn't beat myself over it. Jump ahead to 2021. Oh look, th
  13. I've gotten hard nos--lots of them. Over two hundred (no exagggeration or stretching of the truth) of 'em. When I was trying to get an agent or publisher interested in my book, I submitted it over 140 times. Some replied with "no thanks." Mostly, I got no response at all. No response--in the publication world--means no. Sometimes the agent or press has a long response time, but after a couple of years, I got the message from the majority of the people I queried. They were not interested clueless about how totally brilliant and soon-to-be award-winning my manuscript was. (I mean this jokingl
  14. Last Saturday, my cell phone rang at 8:10 AM. When I picked it up it read “Nancy Next Door.” Uh-oh. Nancy Next Door only calls when there’s something wrong. A coyote jumping into my yard. A fallen tree on our shared fence. A broken gate…that sort of thing. Naturally, I thought a tree had fallen since A. there are lots of trees in the woods and in my yard that are leaning in a bad way and B. after over a year, I’d finally fixed the fence from the last fallen tree. “Are you home?” asked my neighbor. I was not. I was five hours away, at the beach. “There’s an alarm going off in your house,”
  15. Congratulations to Jeanie Ransom and How to Write a Perfect Sentence and all the winners of our 2021 Quarter 3 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest! Jeanie's Bio: Jeanie Ransom sold her first story to Seventeen magazine when she was seventeen. She’s written for numerous national and regional magazines and newspapers since, was an associate editor at a bed-and-breakfast magazine, worked as an advertising copywriter, and is the author of nine traditionally-published children’s books. In addition, Jeanie has been an elementary school counselor, a licensed professional counselor, and a Starbuc
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