Monday, September 1, 2008

Deadline time

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best Short-Short Story: 90

Only a few more hours to get your teeny tiny stories submitted. When September 1 ends on the East Coast, so does your chance to enter the 2008 Short-Short Story contest, so no more procrastinating!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Weapon of Choice

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best Short-Short Story: 30

I have an abnormal fondness for pens. I'm not sure exactly when this passion was born, but by the time I was in high school, my tastes had become so specialized that I was almost exclusively using fountain pens (no wonder I disliked math class--the one place I couldn't get inky). My best friend shared my obsession, and we traded different colored ink cartridges back and forth the way some teenaged girls swap lipsticks.

My friend and I were a minority of two in this regard. I'll admit to getting a twisted thrill out of brandishing my blackened hands at cheerleaders, pretending I was going to rub ink on them. It never failed to draw a most comical look of utter terror.

Little did I know that, across the state, my future husband was toiling away with ink-stained fingertips, changing out empty cartridges at inopportune moments, washing dried-out and clogged nubs, making a joyful mess with a fistful of his own Schaeffers.

Sadly, Brian's and my combined efforts apparently weren't enough to keep the mass production of fountain pens a lucrative venture. The only fountain pens at Office Depot these days are the boxed-gift variety, costing $25 and up, with special, impossible-to-find refills. And they don't even work as well as the three buck Schaeffers did.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered the Varsity disposable fountain pen. Yes, the disposability pretty much negates the purpose of a fountain pen, but I'll admit I'm hooked. It has that good old fountain pen feel. The ink looks rich on the page, and the angled nub makes the worst chicken scratch look more elegant. Because they're disposable, they're mess-free too, which I appreciate now that I'm an adult and need to at least try to blend into the mainstream.

So please, do me a favor and order some to keep them from going extinct. They have black, blue, purple, and even turquoise ink. I see that Foray now has an even cheaper disposable fountain pen, (which hopefully means Pilot's pen has been a smashing success) but I haven't tried these yet and can't vouch for them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Results have been posted!

Total number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best First Chapter of a Novel: 198

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best Short-Short Story: 23

We emailed our mysterious winners and have heard back from all three. Their bios--impressive as always--and have now been posted. The Best First Chapter contest always leaves us feeling a bit unsettled. We want to read chapters two and three and four and so on till we reach THE END. Hopefully these talented writers' novels will be available at a bookstore near you soon, and we'll all be able to keep turning the pages and find out what happens next.

Congratulations to our winners! We'll be putting the money orders in the mail today (apologies to our two international writers for the current weak state of the dollar). Thanks to everyone who took the time to find us and to submit your work. As you can see, your chances for the short-short story contest are quite good at the moment, so if you have a short piece of fiction, send it our way.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Deadline looming

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best First Chapter of a Novel to date: 140

If anyone’s still checking in, I apologize for the prolonged absence. Life has just been a little too interesting the last couple of months.

Contest entries started pouring in last week, and my first thought was that the new online Writers’ Market listing must’ve gone up. It finally occurred to me that it’s end-of-the wire time, which is always extra busy. I can’t believe we’ve almost reached another deadline. Leap year gives you an extra day, so be sure to get your first chapter in before March 1.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Contest prize change

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best First Chapter of a Novel to date: 42

I went to the post office during my lunch hour yesterday to buy money orders, but when I saw the line stretching outside the door, I did a 180. All those people with Christmas packages reminded me I have three I need to get in the mail myself, so I figured if I have to stand in line, it makes more sense to just do it all at once. Course that means I have to actually get the gifts I've bought boxed up. I don't know why that small step seems to take so long.

But I promise, contest winners, the prizes will go out in the mail this week.

Which reminds me of some fun news--one of Brian's goals is to increase the prize amounts, and he decided at the last minute to take a small step in that direction now. Effective immediately, third place will get $25 in addition to an autographed novel.

It'll probably be a year or two till we bump up all the prize amounts, but that is part of the grand scheme. Don't worry though--the contests will always be free to enter.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Post-contest letdown

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best First Chapter of a Novel to date: 37

Usually prize-awarding time puts me in a good mood, but after these recent comments, I'm feeling guilty. We certainly never meant to discourage or sadden anyone with these contests.

If you entered but didn't win, take heart. Think of all the people who say they want to write but never do. You overcame that hurdle. Then you showed courage in sending out your work. I know that isn't easy.

My dad, a seasoned freelance illustrator, came to talk to my freshmen about the creative process a couple weeks ago, and he reminded them (and me) this: every artist out there with an impressive list of achievements has a much longer (usually secret) list of rejections and disappointments. There will be stretches of time when you aren't rewarded for your efforts, so you have to be patient and persistent.

I'm not trying to discourage you further; I'm just trying to say that everyone who sets out to be any kind of artist has obstacles constantly springing up in front of them. Most eventually give up, but some keep stubbornly finding ways over and around those obstacles.

There's so much of this business you can't control--whether it's winning a contest, getting a work accepted for publication, or landing a grant. The only thing you can truly control is yourself and your work. If you refuse to give up, if you commit yourself to honing your craft and doing your best work, if you continue to send out your work, then you are a writer, and no one can tell you otherwise. The external validations are bound to follow.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Quick contest update

Number of entries received for the 2008 InnermoonLit Award for Best First Chapter of a Novel to date: 35

Time flies fast during the holidays. Then too, we've been having some computer problems which have put me more in a pen-and-paper mode of experiencing time. From an electronic perspective, I haven't posted in ages, though it really doesn't feel that long to me.

Contest judging for the short-short story contest has been completed! I know we're running late with the official announcement, but we haven't heard back from all three winners yet. So remember to check all your email accounts if you entered. Hopefully the news will get posted soon.