Archive for February, 2010

Wild Violet Contests Deadline

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Fiction writers and poets, the extended deadline for the 2009 Wild Violet writing contests is this Friday. More information on the rules can be found at the contests page.

I do NOT judge the contest, so it’s OK to enter if you know me. The only restriction is that anyone who works directly with the magazine (such as proofreaders, reviewers or my husband, the Web designer) cannot compete. Prior contributors to the magazine are, however, eligible.

Article in Hometown Newspaper

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Last week, my hometown newspaper, the Milton Standard-Journal, for which I used to write, ran an article on my upcoming collection of columns and essays. I promised I’ll let him know when the book is out so they can do a follow-up.

The reporter talked to me over the phone, and then I sent him some possible photos to use. I’m pleased with the one he selected, because it’s always been one of my favorites. It’s a self-portrait of me with my dog, Una. The story behind it is this: in the fall of 2007, I wanted to take some photos for professional purposes. So I dressed in a teal button-down shirt, spruced up my hair and makeup, and made my way to the local park. I took Una along for the fresh air and the company.

She sat and watched patiently while I took self-portraits, using the timer, in various locations. Then, I moved the tripod lower to do a few of the two of us. On this particular shot, right as the camera beeped and the picture snapped, she licked me on the face! The action shot, and my natural reaction, is one of the best photos ever taken of the two of us.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how sometimes the best creative works come about by pure chance?

Wild Transition Underway

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

After a weekend spent going through the backlog of Wild Violet entries, I just completed putting together the rundown for the Spring 2010 issue, which will begin both Volume IX and the redesign.

Appropriately enough, the theme will be “transitions,” as will be reflected in many of the pieces I’ve selected. In addition to some familiar names, like Margaret Karmazin and R.S. Carlson, the issue will include many new voices, as well as reports from two film festivals by Rada Djurica.

While there is plenty of work still ahead, I’m looking forward to getting started with the issue graphics and design, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the issue publication process. While the graphics will be handled a little differently from now on (such as having only one image for longer pieces), I’ve had such a great response from our readers that I can assure everyone they will remain a staple of the magazine.

So now, the transition work officially begins!

The Truth about Cover Letters

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

On this Valentine’s Day weekend, I’m spending some time going through Wild Violet submissions before a night out with my husband. Predictably, the majority of them are not right for our journal, which makes the ones that do work shine all the brighter.

While many magazines do request (or even require) cover letters, let me give it to you straight: the cover letter will not get you published. No matter how many publishing credits you have, or degrees (with honors!), or awards and accolades, unless your writing works for the publication in question, you’re heading for a letter that begins, “Thank you for sending your work…”

In fact, I must admit, I don’t even read cover letters until after I’ve made a determination on the submission. I do this for two reasons: my overflowing mailbox takes enough time to sort through without reading anything extra; unless I’ve accepted a work, the biography doesn’t really matter. For this reason, Wild Violet has published both new writers and ones with impressive pedigrees. Some cover letters include explanations about the work and the process behind it. While that might be interesting to include on a bio page later, the work has to stand on its own.

That said, amateurish or rude cover letters will irk me when I finally read them and can sway me if I’m on the fence. Ultimately, though, for me, it’s always the work that matters.

Editors: How much do cover letters matter to you?
Writers: What do you typically include in your cover letters and why?

“The sun is new each day.”

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The title of this post is taken from Heraclitus, and while I am no Greek scholar, it feels appropriate. It’s amazing how much can change on the Internet in six years. My original portfolio site, launched in 2004, was cobbled together painstakingly (if amateurishly) using DreamWeaver. Today, it could look more dated only if it featured blinking images and a background loop of MIDI music.

Back then, I included a blog, “Musings,” on my site at friend’s suggestion, in order to have regularly updated content. Unsure how to embed a blog from another platform into my site, I created new pages each day (again, using DreamWeaver). In 2007, on the advice of a fellow writer, I began mirroring those entries in LiveJournal and have since attracted a following and made new contacts. My personal blog, “Through the Looking Glass,” will continue there. I’ll also include a link on this site to my earlier blog entries.

For this blog, I will address topics related to writing and editing, along with my thoughts on books and other relevant topics. I hope to occasionally entice a guest blogger to share thoughts.

You’ll also be able to view my latest tweets and to peruse (and purchase) my literary projects.

Here’s to a new day in the bright new sun of 2010.