Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cave Region Review: Submission Guidelines Change

Coffee and Critique is reporting that Cave Region Review have changed their submission guidelines.

"Please pass the following information along to your members. I am co-editor of a new literary journal, Cave Region Review, published at North Arkansas College. This journal is dedicated to highlighting the best literature and art being produced in the Ozarks.

We have extended our deadline to Feb. 15 and have broadened our submission guidelines to welcome submissions from all writers and artists living in the Ozark region. Please visit our website, ttp:// for complete submission guidelines.

This is going to be a quality journal in both content and format. It will be 75-100 pages, full color, and professionally bound."

Phil Howerton
English Instructor
North Arkansas College

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why Can't I Get a Job Like This?

Let me start by saying that I really have enjoyed some of the writing jobs I've had/have. But, I wish I'd have had the job writing this how-to insert for Peerless faucets. Normally, I don't have any desire to look at an instruction sheet, much less a desire to write one until now.

Here's a couple of excerpts: Again, this may take an adjustable wrench or pliers (and if you like, a few mild curses). Have you banged your knuckles on the pipes yet? If so, congratulations. Get out from under the sink, apply a bandage and move on.

So how much fun was that? No orders to attach Part C to as shown in Exhibit H. No instructions in Swahili or Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Just a fun down to earth imminently doable set of directions with some sass.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Author Interview: Carolyn See

I love Carolyn See's book, Making a Literary Life. One of the things she recommends in the book is to send a charming note to an author, agent, publisher or editor daily. I felt it was appropriate that she be the recipient of my first charming note.

I later asked if she'd do an interview for me and she graciously consented.

MP: What is a typical workday?

CS: There is no "typical" work day. For my weekly reviews I try to take the book outside and read for a couple of hours until they're done. Then, since I'm such a terrible typist, I'll write the review on one day (they're 850-900 words, but I count them as 1,000), and type it the next -- which is the hardest part of the process. Then one day to revise, with notes from the editors of the Washington Post, and that can vary wildly, from ten minutes to three hours. They're wonderful people, but I have my favorites -- those who agree with me, of course.

If I'm going to a conference or a seminar, I'll spend a couple of hours organizing, or if I'm lazy, I don't.

For writing long projects, I try to do 1,000 words a day or (no more than) two hour's revision five days a week. If I'm working on a deadline, all that goes out the window, of course. I have a couple of anthology pieces coming up, and I'm procrastinating so much that I'll end up doing them over a period of three or so days. But I don't recommend that. I try to work in the morning, read in the afternoon. But I also try not to get tied to any particular schedule -- there too many ways to get off it and then beat myself up about it...

MP: How do you feel about plotting and outlining?

CS: For plot and outline, as I say in MAKING A LITERARY LIFE, I generally know the first thing that's going to happen and the last. Then I'll do the second chapter and the penultimate chapter. Then I'll do my favorite scenes, the ones I feel like doing that day. I don't want to be dogmatic about it, but I think, except for mysteries and commercial novels, you don't need an outline. Because life doesn't have one -- it's full of surprises, and by doing outlines you fence yourself in.

more later . . . . .

As more of this interview becomes available I'll get it posted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Epic Sagas, Movie Marathons, and the Lure of Horses

A few weeks ago my husband decided he'd like to watch Lonesome Dove. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Lonesome Dove was originally aired in 1989 as a mini-series. It's based on the novel by Larry McMurty. I haven't read the book but have heard that he does a lot of description. Perhaps too much for some people's taste.

Be that as it may, the mini-series is wonderful. The music, the fabulous cast (Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Duvall, Danny Glover, Diane Lane) and the breathtaking scenery only serve to enhance a plot full of twists and turns. I still have it on VHS so we watched it, as intended, in two hour intervals.

When we came to the end we were compelled to watch it's sequel Return to Lonesome Dove. And we didn't want to wait. We were still basking in the glow of the first mini-series and needed a fix. So, like the movie junkies we are, we began calling every video and retail store within an hour's drive to see if we could locate a copy.

Bless the guys down at Vintage Stock in Rogers, Arkansas for they had a used DVD which they put on hold for us. We were able to continue the saga, uninterrupted for another three days. Putting us at 12 hours in 6 days.

Not willing to give up the momentum we decided were in a quandary as to what to watch next. Should it be the Gone with the Wind or the Indiana Jones films? I hesitantly suggested The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's a series of films that I enjoy but my husband isn't into things fantasy.

"Is it really that good?" he asked.

"Yes. And there are horses," I replied.

That was good enough for him and we spent a couple of hours each night for the next six days entranced by the adventures of Frodo, Sam and the ring. Overall, he like the movies but I'm not sure that I made a convert of him horses or no horses.

What are your favorite epic sagas? It's not necessary that they include horses or that they be made into films. I've got to say my favorite one as far as reading goes is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. How about you?