Archive for the ‘ Personal Projects ’ Category

Update: 31 Queries in 31 Days

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

It’s taken a while, but I’m finally getting some results from the action I took during my 31 Queries in 31 Days project.

Some of the responses have been rejections, such as from “Poetry” magazine and “Literary Mama.”

However, I’m starting to get some good news, too! I was contacted in response to one of the Elance jobs for which I applied, and I’ve just signed a contract to edit and format several short children’s books.

And just last night I learned that two of my poems, “How to Name a Cat” and “For Lack of a Wheelbarrow,” have been accepted by Miracle ezine. I’m very excited about it, because their mission (and feel) is similar to mine at Wild Violet. Plus, these two poems are personal favorites of mine that I’ve been sending to different places in hopes of publication. It’s great to finally place them somewhere.

News now about my November writing challenges. I wrote stories in response to three out of four of the story challenges of Project REUTSway. I was halfway through the fourth story when I had to throw in the towel due to sickness and an emerging migraine.

I didn’t do as well with Nina Amir’s Write Nonfiction in November challenge, mostly because I spent a lot of time promoting two Kindle promotions: one over Philcon weekend for “The Art of Life” and one over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend for “Dedicated Idiocy.”

For the month of December, I’m going to focus on putting together “Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.” Right now, I’m still compiling all the possible material (essays, journal entries and poems about my little Kung Fu Panda). Then I’ll get to the rewriting/editing phase and finally the design phase. While I would have liked to have it ready for the winter holidays, I’m going to shoot instead for January or February, when people will be burning through their gift cards. I intend to put together both ebook and print versions of the book.

I’m also going to try to start blogging here about other subjects that catch my interest, so it’s not just about my writing career and writing tips. If you have any suggestions of things you’d like to see me write about, please share them in the comments!

My Greatest Hits… Free!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

A few years ago, I embarked on a personal project that gave me a great sense of empowerment. I combed through more than a decade of my newspaper columns and online writings to put together a collection of essays and humor, titled The Art of Life.

The collection represented some of my best creative non-fiction and humor to date: including an essay on Marilyn Monroe and body image; ponderings about the conspiracy of giant cows on the American roadside landscape; and musings about my late dog, Una, who taught me to appreciate the little things in life: to smell (and lick) life’s goodness.

Since the collection addressed such a broad range of topics, I opted not to approach a traditional publisher but instead to go the self-publishing route. Because of The Art of Life, I not only got a chance to reflect on my writing up to that stage in my career but also dipped my toe into the modern age of self-publishing.

Of course, self-published books don’t have giant marketing operations behind them, and I happened to put the book out the same year that I gave birth to my all-consuming bundle of bouncy boy energy, Kung Fu Panda. I sort of fell down on the marketing aspect of it.

But you know what? I’m not giving up. And now that my son is entering preschool (and my gluten-free, dairy-free diet has cleared the cobwebs from my postpartum brain), I’m giving it another shot. In fact, I’m so convinced that you’ll like the book that I’m giving out free Kindle copies this weekend.

From November 8 (today) through Tuesday, November 12, stop by the Amazon.com page for the Kindle version of The Art of Life and snag a free copy. Then tell all your friends. And if they tell two friends, and if they tell two friends and if they tell two friends… an exponential number of people (or at least, what, 32? 64?) will give the book a read.

Ideally, that might lead to sales. But at this point, you know what? I just want people to read it. I guarantee you will find something within these pages that will make you smile, ponder and perhaps even turn to your companion — be they human or dog — and say, “You’ve got to hear what I just read.”

(And if you do like it, I’d like to encourage you to write reviews on Amazon.com, Goodreads or any other book review site. It’s good karma! Or, for my canine friends, good dogma.)

31 Queries in 31 Days: #28-31

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Striving to finish up the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

28) Submitted a proposal for a job via Elance, writing a custom poem for a client.

29) Submitted a proposal for a job via Elance, converting children’s stories into publishable short stories for a collection to raise funds for a charity.

30) Submitted a short story to Cricket magazine (one of my favorite magazines as a child).

31) Proposed a product name for a new style of boots, posted by a client on ODesk.com.

And that’s it! And just before midnight, too!

31 Queries in 31 Days: #26 and #27

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Let’s see if I can get this done today… cruising towards the end of the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

26) Submitted five poems to Found Poetry Review (so excited to find this outlet; I’ve been writing found poetry for years).

27) Submitted five poems to Poetry East.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #23-25

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Here I am again, close to the end of the month, but I’m determined to pull out a success in the 31 Queries in 31 Days project.

23) Submitted two poems to Hoot Review.

24) Submitted four poems to Literary Mama.

25) Submitted five poems to Paper Darts.

Updates: I received a rejection from “The Georgia Review” as well as from “Fabula Argentea,” which came with comments.

November Writing Challenges

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

For a couple of years, I’ve participated in the National Novel Writing Month’s challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. This year, I’d like to take on two different challenges, instead.

The first is called Project Reutsway. Sponsored by Reuts Publications, it’s an intriguing writing challenge. Each weekly, participants will be given a literary challenge to mash-up two different styles, which they have to complete in three days. Judges will offer commentary, and the weekly winners will be announced on the Reuts blog. At the end of the month, 10-20 winning submissions will be published in a collection with part of the proceeds going to the green charity, Reading Tree/Discover Books, which promotes literacy in the US by keeping books out of landfills, funding library sustainability, providing books to low-income families and more.

Sounds like a great creative challenge that will keep me on my toes, so I’m looking forward to it.

‚ÄĚProject


In addition to the Project REUTSway challenge, I’m going to be participating in Nina Amir’s Nonfiction Writers Rise to the Challenge During NaNonFiWriMo (National Non-Fiction Writer’s Month). This is an idea spearheaded by writer Nina Amir, who is asking non-fiction writers to set their own goals to complete a non-fiction project of any length in November: ranging from an article to a book.

For my project, I will be pulling together the essays and poetry for my new book, “Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.” This, as you might already know, will focus on writings about my son, whose online nickname is Kung Fu Panda.

That book is one of the final perks I need to put together for the Indiegogo campaign I ran this past April, Get the Ringbearer to Illinois, which secured funding for me and KFP to attend a wedding where he had been asked to be the ringbearer.

I like the idea of doing both of these challenges, since one will spur me to write some new material, while the other will help me focus on finishing up a promised perk.

What about you? Are you participating in any writing challenges in November?

31 Queries in 31 Days: #21 and #22

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Yesterday I was busy putting together Wild Violet, but today I’m back to working on the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

21) Submitted a proposal via Elance for a job doing a creative rewrite of a folktales book.

22) Submitted a proposal via Elance for a job editing and formatting a comedy book.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #15-20

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

I’m trying to get caught up with the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

15) Submitted a flash fiction piece to Fast Fiction.

16) Submitted a flash fiction piece to Every Day Fiction.

17) Submitted a flash fiction piece to Fabula Argentea.

18) Submitted poetry to Silver Blade.

19) Submitted a proposal via Elance for a short educational article on ladybugs.

20) Submitted a proposal via Elance to work with an author who’s developing a romantic novel.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #14

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

More progress on the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

14) Submitted five poems to North American Review.

Update: I got a response from “Parenting” magazine about my query letter. While they declined it, the editor wrote a hand-written note encouraging me to pitch another idea. I’m working on generating some and will definitely follow up on this!

31 Queries in 31 Days: #11, #12 and #13

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Since Friday, I’ve been working on a few personal writing projects, but I haven’t forgotten about 31 Queries in 31 Days. Since the whole point of the project was to make specific efforts to earn money from my writing, I’m including:

11) Wrote and submitted an article about “Sleepy Hollow” to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

12) Accepted an offer to participate in an interview for a client who contacted me via ODesk about a marketing/blogging position for a new organizational app for moms.

13) Submitted a proposal via Elance for a job proofreading a personal blog.

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