Archive for August, 2011

Family Circle Fiction Contest 2011

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Write an original (previously unpublished) story in 2500 words or less for a chance to win $750 in Family Circle’s fiction contest. Click here for details.

Reading Ebooks Without A Kindle

August 27, 2011 4 comments

There are two things has done in the recent past to make things a little easier for people who do not own kindles. They have introduced:

The Kindle Cloud Reader: an e-book reader which lets you read digital books on a browser.

The Kindle Daily Deal: which is offering substantial discounts on popular ebooks.

Both are great strategies from Amazon. The former should increase sales, while the latter will bring more people to their site regularly (after all, who wants to miss out on great offers)?


Book Promotion

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Whether you are a traditionally published author or self-published, you have to promote your books. That’s the new reality, and there’s no way around it (unless you are Stephen King or Nora Roberts).

Publicist Maryglenn McCombs has some tips. Click here for details.


Authors Have Never Had It So Good

August 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Amazon’s gone and done it – it has announced that its New York imprint has bought print and digital rights to bestselling self-help author Timothy Ferriss’s next book. This is good news for authors because it moves them a step closer to the retail end by cutting out the middleman.


Click here for the entire article from The Guardian.

Will iPad be the Dominant Reader?

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

The iPad is Offering the Kindle Stiff Competition. Click here for the story.

Short Story Contest

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment



Good Housekeeping has a short story contest. $3000 grand prize and possible publication in the May 2012 issue. Deadline Sept 1, 2011.

Click here for details.


GUEST BLOG: Earl Staggs

August 15, 2011 2 comments


Remember those “Paint by Number” kits from years ago? Anyone could pick up a brush, put the right color in the right space and produce something called a painting. Would it be great art? Not likely. You can’t produce great art simply by following the numbers.

Two people can tell the same joke. One will leave an audience rolling on the floor in laughter, one will leave them yawning. People will sigh and say, “Some can tell ’em, some can’t.”  Call it talent, call it a gift. You either have it or you don’t.

It’s the same with writing. A lot of people learn the basics of writing and write by the numbers. They take one writing class after another, try one genre after another, one formula after another, and reach a point where they can string words together and tell a story.  Can they turn out truly great writing?  Very unlikely. It depends on whether or not they had genuine talent to begin with.

Spencer Tracy, legendary actor with a wry sense of humor, used to say when asked how to be an actor, “Learn your lines, say them at the right time, and don’t bump into the furniture.”

Anyone can do that and be an actor. There’s no mistaking, however, those actors born with genuine and immense talent within them. Every once in a while, for example, a Meryl Streep comes along. For her, the furniture moves out of the way.

I believe it’s the same with writing. Anyone can learn the basics and produce acceptable, even good writing. To lead readers to tears, rapture, rage or revulsion, however, you must have a special gift. You’re either born with it or you’re not.

When the truly gifted ones sit down to write, they may have to write, rewrite and rewrite again, but eventually, the best words, plots and characters appear, and no one bumps into the furniture.


For a few good laughs and a trip down memory lane, read “The Day I Almost Became A Great Writer and “White Hats and Happy Trails” at:

Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned thirteen Five Star reviews online at Amazon and B&N. His column “Write Tight” appears in the online magazine Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery. He hosts workshops for the Muse Online Writers Conference and the Catholic Writers Conference Online and is a frequent speaker at conferences and writers groups.  Read about his latest, SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, at

“Make Your Dreams Come True” Contest

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Avon books is holding a Debbie Macomber inspired short story contest. Prize is $500 and publication in the back of Ms. Macomber’s paperback as well as ebook, A Family Affair.

Click here for details.

Shady Literary Agents

August 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Is there such a breed? There are scammers, no matter what the industry. Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner has some common sense suggestions in her post.

Click here  for the post.

Clueless About Twitter?

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Shane Nyman’s column talks about what twitter can do for you. He says, and I quote, “Twitter, for those who use it for more than here’s-what-I’m-eating updates, is constant, instant access to whatever information you desire. Unlike Facebook, there is no weird social obligation to accept friend requests because, well, there are no requests. You follow what and who you want, so your flow of information is exactly how you shape it.”

Click here for the rest of the article.