Say Whaaaaaaat??!!

We interrupt this regularly schedule blog day for an important announcement. How many of you like that movie, the Dark Crystal?

Okay, I thought there would be a few of you. Now, how many of you would like to write a Dark Crystal novel and make your writing debut?

That’s what the Jim Henson crew is offering. Whether published or not, you now have a chance to compete to write a Dark Crystal novel. Check out the details more specifically on this site.

The idea is you write a “7,500-10,000 words that represent the story you would tell in a full-length Dark Crystal novel.” The deadline is between October 1 and December 31, 2013. They want the final novel to be somewhere in the 50,000 range, so try and make yourself a nice, tight-knit story.

They’ll also be posting all of the lore and world details on, but all the creativity is up to you.

What do you think my hearties? That many words is about 14-18 pages, depending on your spacing, font, etc. We’ve got until October. I guess my thinking is why not? What better exposure for your work than writing the new Dark Crystal novel? And even if you don’t make it, it’s good practice, especially if you’ve been laboring on the same novel for years (like me).

I’m going to check out the website and see if I become inspired. We’ve got this peeps!

UPDATE: Thanks to a few good writing cohorts, I was made aware of this blog post. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are published with the Henson company name, I’m sure agents and publishers will be clamoring for your next book. But it’s good to know exactly what you’re getting into. I guess this contest is much like the Amazon one when it comes to rights, but read this post carefully before you submit. Also the official RULES.

Rice-A-Roni and a Win

For the next two weeks I’ll be in the San Francisco area, which means blog posts will be more sporadic and infrequent until the 24th or so. It’s vacation time! I intend to see all that San Fran has to offer, maybe meet up with some friends, and eventually heading up the coast to the Redwood National Park. Maybe I’ll just do some picture blogging. I think I can handle that. No promises though.

So, probably like you, I think of Rice-A-Roni when I think of San Francisco. Well, that and clam chowder and Ghirardelli chocolate. But the point is, I was curious as to why it is the San Francisco treat. Well, once upon a time, an Italian immigrant named Domenico DeDomenico moved to San Francisco and had a bunch of kids who were friends with these Armenians who served a rice pilaf dish that inspired the rice macaroni combination. Add a little chicken broth, bada bing, bada boom: Rice-A-Roni. It was one of those “I came to this country with $5 in my pocket and created this food empire” stories. Aaaaaaah, good ol’ American dreams.

So it really is the San Francisco treat. I probably still won’t eat any while I’m there though.

Okay, and now for the win. No, not that kind of win. Trust me, when I’ve accomplished that win, I’ll use the big font.

Like this!

My friend and likely many of yours as well, Emmie Mears has gotten together with a bunch of cool peeps to for the Searching for Superwomen blog, where geek girls get their geek on. They’re inviting everyone to contribute, male or female, when it comes to talking about showcasing superhero women, girl heroes, and addressing remaining attitudes of feminism in media today. I encourage you to check it out.

Searching for Superwomen

The part where the win comes in, is they recently had a design contest where contestants were invited to design the header, Twitter, Facebook, etc. profile pics. And yours truly, was the winner. 😀


What did winning include? Oh, a little Amazon cash, and goodies like a Walking Dead comic. Plus a chance to get a little more of my designs out there. Who knows, I may want to freelance a bit in the future. 🙂

Check out the Twitter account and Facebook page to see more of my designs and definitely stop by the Searching for Superwomen blog to check out great articles and maybe see if you want to contribute one yourself in the future.

Next time we meet, I’ll be broadcasting from San Fran, hopefully with awesome pics (or maybe if there’s an incidental plane ride along the way).

Did you know about Rice-A-Roni? Have you been to San Fran? Any places you’d recommend I see or go to eat? Can you catch all of the geek references in my banner design?

Thursday News

Today is Thursday. Today is the day we are supposed to hear back on the Writer’s Digest Short Story contest.

But I’m not sure whether we would hear back on it via email or snail mail or both. And unfortunately, I’m leaving town from work, which means I can’t check the snail mail until I get back Sunday. So I may be a winner, I may not be. Ugh, suspense…

UPDATE: Just got the email at 11 o’clock my time. I’m not among the winners, unfortunately. Oh well, better not to stress over it all weekend, right? Good thing I’m going on vacation, now I can treat myself to something fabulous tonight. 😉

The upshot of losing means I can enter my short story Trick or Tree into other contests and see how I fare. It’s really short, like 1,500 words. But that was the requirement for this particular contest.


And just where am I going out of town you might ask? Does this give you a clue?

The BFF is down in New Mexico for work, so I’m going down for the weekend and we’ll catch the sights, like Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns. I’m sure I’ll have lots of pics to post on Tuesday. Who knows, I may even run into a blue box. I mean, there are a few likely places to encounter the Doctor. Obviously, London. Utah (woot!). And of course, at least once in Roswell, right? 😉 I’d love it if someone had erected a blue box, I’d be giving a fangirl squee and the BFF wouldn’t have a clue why. She’s not a fan. Sci-Fi isn’t her thing, although visiting the UFO museum is somehow. *shrug*

I feel like I’m so close to getting the query letter done. It’s like it’s just around the corner. I may work on it on the airplane, or I may just read my Kindle. But I’ve got my handy dandy bluetooth keyboard, so if I feel like it at any point during the weekend I certainly will (likeliness is probably 10% though).

Does anyone know how they notify for Writer’s Digest competitions? *sigh* I’m guessing it’s a no-win, but hey, I’ve still had quite a lot of success lately. And there are still future opportunities for Trick or Tree in the future. I’m not going to let it get me down.

Have you ever been to Roswell or Carlsbad? Any recommendations? Ever won or lost short story competitions? Are you waiting on news that’s keeping you in suspense? Let me know in the comments below.

The Candy Bomber

There’s not much to update with Row80, except one thing. Last night at my writer’s group I won an award. My group is the local chapter of a larger organization called the League of Utah Writers and we decided to have a chapter writing contest for short stories, articles, and poems, and have them judged by other chapters’ members—so there wouldn’t be any bias. I entered my short story TRICK OR TREE, and tonight I found out I won first place. 🙂 Granted, it’s only against the other members of my chapter, but it’s still nice to find out people thought my short story ranked first. Plus as an added bonus first place winners of each category get a $50 credit to spend toward future contests, writing conferences, or other writing career related things. Woot! I’m hoping this is a sign of further good things to come, like winning the final round of Pitch Wars (results won’t come until late January at the earliest) and the other two contests I’ve entered (results for these, not until late February). I was certainly all smiles last night. I am today as well.

And I guess that’s the end of this round of Row80. I think I’m going to take a break from Row80 and I may change up the blog schedule. But aside from all that, I’ve decided to take a break from my regularly scheduled programming to tell you about something you may love.

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to go to the annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas program. It’s kind of a big deal around here. We’ve seen the likes of Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jane Seymour, and Natalie Cole to name a few come and participate as guests during the program. This year it featured Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

You can go Thursday through Sunday when it’s running. Tickets are free, but if you want some you have to enter a sort of lottery and hope they select you for tickets. Or you can standby and hope you get in. Some years and days are easier than others.

Anyways, this year they featured the story of the Candy Bomber, a man Tom Brokaw wrote about in his book The Greatest Generation. Here’s the story.

Continue reading

Row80 Check-In Nov 7th

I’m really going to miss these leaves. They’re already starting to disappear, although many trees are still very beautiful. My goals:

  • Write at least 3 short stories intended for publication.  I’ll probably try my hand at several more than three, but the hope is to find three gemstones among the rocks.
    Trick or Tree got its final feedback session. Not as red as I thought, and my editor friend gave me a few good suggestions to tighten it up. I’ll probably focus on getting Trick or Treeready this week and submit it to the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will ya?Dog Shy I finished this morning, but I can’t decide how I feel about the ending. I’m not sure if I want it to be nefarious or sweet. Decisions, decisions. Maybe spending time on Trick or Tree will help me decide. I’m thinking nefarious might be better…
  • Read the helpful books to prepare me for the editing fest that will be late November early December on Shade.
    Life events have been kind of crazy and I had my parents visiting from out of town, so helpful books have not really been read. I intend to remedy this from today on out. I really want to finish Story so I can get to On Writing and eventually Donald Maass’s two books.
  • Have read all 201 available Anton Chekhov’s short stories, sprinkled with Hemingway and Bradbury.
    I’ve read 32 of 201 Chekhov short stories. It can barely be called progress. I really need to take the train and leave the car at home!
  • Once December hits, tear Shade apart and polish it to pure awesomeness!  I’m going to pull Shade‘s Chapter One out early for a contest with the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. It’s YA only. You can submit your title and the first 250 words of your novel. If you win you get a full manuscript submit with NY agent Regina Brooks. I think the top 5 get a one-on-one with her. Either way, I think it’s worth trying. Shade will come out after Trick or Tree is all finished and entered.
  • No Treat November. Thusfar has been wholly unsuccessful, but yesterday I finally got on target, and I’m working for it today as well. It isn’t very easy. I think the problem is I used to cook all the time and take the leftovers for work, now I’m just scrambling for whatever I can find in the fridge or at the store. Oh well, No Treat November continues. I’m using MyFitnessPal to help. I lost 15 pounds two years ago with it, and was able to maintain those lost for another year. I’ve gained 10 back now. It’s my laziness in eating habits really, since exercise hasn’t changed that much. Back to MFP I go!
  • The Holiday Book Read! Okay, I felt like I needed to at least snag a couple books from the library to shake things up. Plus I’ve been reading a lot of your blogs and you mention all the books you’re reading and I got jealous. So yesterday I picked up Pretties by Scott Westerfield and Abandon by Meg Cabot. I’ll check in with a short review when I finish them. I’m thinking sometime next week or the week after (due to time, not my reading pace).

It’s odd, things feel like they’re on track even though as I look over my goals they aren’t as on track as I’d like. I have to admit, I recently took a strengths test that I think Gallup sponsors. What was my top strength? Can you guess? When I name it a few of you blogger buddies I know won’t be surprised in the least. Ready? POSITIVITY. Yeah, are you surprised?

Anyways, how are you guys doing with your goals, be they Row80, NaNo or otherwise? We have to keep each other motivated, so let me know in the comments below.