34th Parallel Magazine

I received an email from 34th Parallel. It was a nasty email responding to my request for three free books. This is only the second time I requested this. They said I signed a sort of contract, which I never did. In it, according to them, was the reason they would only give me one free copy of the magazine.

This is very uncommon. No other magazine I’ve dealt with has a contract. My book had a contract, but no short story that has been published has had a contract.

In my opinion, they are thinking of someone else. I will never again submit a short story to 34th Parallel Magazine.

Since they took my story, A Man in the Hat, off of their online magazine, I’ve begun to submit it to other magazines.

Now it’s wait and see.
________________________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

My Book of Stories – Part Four

The editor sent a book cover that I didn’t like. It was a cover of cigarettes. So I sent them a book cover I did like and told them to design a cover for my book something like it.

I’m still waiting to hear from them.
______________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater.

I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

Find Time to Write

Do you want to write more but feel frustrated at your lack of time? 
Are you doing ‘busy’ work instead of moving toward your creative goals? 
Is your To-Do list overwhelming?

I’ve been writing and publishing for over a decade. I’ll share my tip I learned in order to help you become more productive and, hopefully, save you time, money and heartache along the way.

• Identify what’s really stopping you from reaching your goals
• Say no and set boundaries for others — and for yourself
• Find more time to write
• Make the most of your writing time
• Dictate your words for a more efficient and healthy writing life
• Use outsourcing to buy yourself more creative time
• Work with co-writers to produce more books
• Use tools for specific aspects of productivity
• Focus on physical and mental health to boost your productive time
_______________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater.

I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

Ways to Quiet Your Inner Editor

Every creative person, including authors, deals with an internal critic. I’ll give you 5 ways you can continue being creative even when our inner editor is trying to get the upper hand.

We all have that voice in our heads, the one that says, “Careful now. That probably won’t work.” We need to get it perfect. Perfect means no one can criticize you. Perfect means safe. So maybe you should just wait to write until you know you can get it perfect. Maybe you’ll be ready in twenty years? Maybe then you’ll finally be able to get it right.

Our inner editors can be incredibly harsh.

As a writer, I didn’t just hear the voice, I was the voice. I rushed myself, nagged me to clarify my thoughts before they were ready, and made sure I cleaned up any messiness that developed in the creative process.

Today I’m happy to report I’m an independent writer. I work from home. I decide what’s successful. And I try to be a generous boss to myself.

I’ve traded in the culture of perfectionism for a process that allows me to experiment, make and mend mistakes, and create something original. The work I do is more playful. It’s more creative. And it’s more personal. I pour my heart into it.
_______________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater.

I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

My Book of Stories – Part Three

The editors sent me an email saying that the proofreaders were done. They sent me the track changes and the comments. I went through these and there was a long comment about one story that was attached to another story. I kept telling them it was there but they said the track changes had all the points in the comments.

Finally, we came to an agreement. Now they’ve started designing the inside. Can’t wait to see what they’ve done.
_______________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at Chicago Theater.

I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

My Book of Stories – Part Two

I had a call from the editor of the Press – Kyle. He’s the big picture guy, or so he tells me. We went over the stories in my book and the title.

He made some suggestions, which I agreed with. So I moved some of the stories to other areas and sent it back to him, which I did.

He likes the title. He told me Nick is the design guy and he also has a good sense of recommendations for literary journals in Illinois who can review my book.

Next step is proofreading. Yikes! I hope I haven’t made so many errors that they give up on publishing my book.

________________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press.

My Book of Stories

It’s taken me a long time to accumulate enough stories to put into book form. And it’s also taken a long time to submit to various small press magazines. But finally, one said it would love to put it to press: Atmosphere Press.

The first you need to do is find five books for which you like their book covers. This is so they can get an idea of what you like. You send them the five books covers and they will eventually send you a book cover you either like or not. If not, they go back to design a new book cover.

It should go to press in about 4 to 7 months. I pretty sure I’ll get a link to where you can buy it. If I do, I’ll let you know.

_____________________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millennium Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

Writing Skills for Leaders

If you’re a leader, you should have good communication skills. Here are some ideas to help you as you write:

Good Writing Helps Demonstrate Leadership Skills
• Articulates a clear vision
• Shows you see the big picture
• Shows you clearly understand the problem or situation
• Effectively explains what actions to take
• Empathizes with subordinates

10 Steps to Good Writing
1. Understand the Demand for Good Writing
2. Define Your Message
3. Be Precise, Clear and Succinct
4. Grab Your Reader’s Attention
5. Hold Your Readers with Rhythm
6. Discover Your Organizing Method
7. Choose the Right Tone
8. Use Your Best Grammar
9. Edit, Rewrite, Refine
10. Master the Documents You Use Most Often

Simplicity
• Simplicity is the most powerful way to communicate.
• State your points positively
• Drop unnecessary words

Replace Stuff Language
• Jack was disappointed due to the fact that his boss never recognized his hard work.
• In the event that it starts to snow heavily today, please follow our storm policy.
• Jack will furnish the team with notes subsequent to our conference call.

Drop Unnecessary Words
• Overstuffed: I thought you might like to know that more than 30% of the support staff will be taking vacations next week.
• Overstuffed: Let me start by thanking all who have contributed to our team’s success.
Replace Buzzwords with Straightforward Words
• If you disagree with Steve during our meeting. don’t say anything. We’ll discuss it offline.
• We need to incent our paralegals to make fewer errors.

Grab Your Readers’ Attention
• Start with what is important
– Get to the point immediately
– Avoid information overload
• Use active verbs

Use Your Best Grammar
• Grammar is a simple set of rules
• Grasp them
• Apply them
• Bend some of the old ones

Email Pointers

• Craft explicit subject lines
• Be brief
• Be organized
• Don’t cheat on grammar
• Don’t use funky fonts or text-messaging abbreviations
__________________________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories, A Surprising Measure of Subliminal Sadness, will be published by Atmosphere Press fairly soon.

Writing Tips

Can you relate to this scenario?

Imagine that the planets have aligned. The stars are twinkling and shining bright over your Muse. The inspiring energy of the waxing moon has fuelled your creative well and you are at the top of your writing game.

Then, in the next instant, you’re drawing a blank. Suddenly, your words have hit a brick wall, your characters are giving you the evil-eye and the stars have forsaken your Muse for a glitzy night out on the town in New York City. And you weren’t invited.

Sound familiar?

These are the moments that define us as writers; when we realize that we cannot always rely on the Muse to get creative. So, when the Muse has left us high and dry, we need a back-up plan. One that allows us to explore and engage our imaginative resources dwelling in the creative realms.

I’m going to share an alternative methods that I use to tap into my higher-creative mind.

Understanding the Higher Mind for Creativity

To understand how we can deliberately access the depths of the higher mind, we must first understand that the human mind has many layers. Cognitive neuroscientists claim that only five percent of our brain is conscious while the rest lies beyond our awareness.

The conscious mind rules rational thought and language, as well as logical processing, while the unconscious mind thinks in the expression of form such as images, memories, underlying desires and creativity.

It is the unconscious part of the mind that holds many keys to the lasting power of creativity. Creativity takes courage. As writers, we yearn to tell stories; to express a sacred part of ourselves and share it with the world.

When we connect to our natural creative resources, we are actually tuning into the unconscious part of our minds; this is where we discover the pathways that lead us to glorious realms – the highest part of ourselves that defines our existence – the obscure and mystic higher-creative mind.

Raise your Vibration
It is well-established that when we raise our level of vibration, we attract influences from higher realms. While we don’t know for certain where artistic inspiration originates, this wondrous resource is available to us all and is the cornerstone of all creation.

The higher the frequency of your energy or vibration, the lighter you feel in your physical, emotional and mental bodies. By raising your vibration, you become more in touch with your higher self.

Practice raising your vibration by:
1. Meditation – no surprise here, meditation has been practiced by our ancestors for eons. Some of these nuggets include stress reduction, positive effects on emotional health and enhancing self-awareness. Yet, there is more at play here. It is when we are able to cease our thought-stream that we are propelled into the great silence; and this is where it’s at – the portal to the higher-creative mind.

2. Connect with nature – there is nothing like curling your toes between grainy sand, or feeling the soft blades of grass folding beneath your bare feet. Don’t roll your eyes and frown, because guess what? Getting intimate with the earth is like tapping into a natural reservoir of electric energy. That’s right, the earth is equipped to absorb negative energy as well as supply what is needed to achieve homeostasis in our bodies. In short, stepping on the ground electrically balances you!

3. Explore your inner-world through free writing – free writing is to the mind what yoga is to the body. Allowing your thoughts to run free without restriction through your writing develops and fosters your writing abilities, as well as drives inspiration. In addition to promoting good writing habits, free-writing unearths emotional themes and can shatter those invisible barriers stifling creative expression.

4. Contemplate your divinity and reflect – without getting too enigmatic, it is amazing the revelations available to us when we take the time to ponder the mystery of life and our connection to all that is. It is in the small, quiet moments when you’re digging your toes in the sand and gazing at the ocean, or just sitting beneath the sun and appreciating its warmth that you connect with a higher energy, thus, raising your own vibration. Acknowledging and becoming aware of your connection to the universe cannot be underestimated.
___________________________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories placed semi-finalist from Elixir Press.

Creating an Compelling Character

The main character of your book is key to both the story itself and to your readers’ enjoyment. An interesting hero will keep readers turning pages and bring them back to your book again and again.

It’s the centerpiece of your story. The source of all reader satisfaction and dismay, and it might not be what you think.

World-building, romance, a good antagonist, and epic battles are all important to telling a good story, but at the end of the day, people want to read books about people. That’s why a strong protagonist is an absolute must for all-powerful stories.

Used here, strong means to describe the realism and depth of the protagonist, not their physical or emotional strength. Some of the best characters ever written actually start out lacking in one of these areas, and it’s that growth that makes their story so engaging.

Here are three activities to help you make sure you don’t end up with a flat, cookie-cutter character, but with a strong protagonist to drive your story.

A great way to get your protagonist off to a strong start is to build them a profile of interests, values, flaws, and abilities. Build a list of traits for your character using the list below, and you’ll have a solid foundation to start with.

Choose one interest:
Give your protagonist something to love! It can really be anything, as long as it aligns with his or her core values, i.e., a deeply religious protagonist probably wouldn’t have an interest in artistic vandalism.

It is advisable to make it something that fits into your story. For instance, you can make your protagonist seem more human by giving them a love of playing piano, but it won’t do much for readers if he or she never comes across a piano in the story.

Choose two core values:
Core values are (seemingly) unshakable beliefs your protagonist holds, at least at the beginning of the story. One of the most powerful storytelling devices is challenging those beliefs, but we’ll get to that later.

For now, pick two things your character believes in, that matter to him or her more than anything. Examples of these values include: religion, spirituality, family, revenge, justice, community service, advancement in a business and so on.

Choose one character flaw:
Make something wrong with them! It doesn’t necessarily need to have anything to do with morals either. A flaw is just an aspect of a character’s personality that creates challenges for them in the plot, and as such should have something to do with the conflict.

An example of an effective character flaw would be giving your protagonist the need to handle problems alone in a situation where others’ skill sets are needed. Your protagonist’s growth towards accepting help as they fail to conquer obstacles on their own makes for an interesting journey.

An ineffective character flaw would be to make your protagonist bad at math in an adventure story where the conflict revolves around a quest. It wouldn’t necessarily lead to failure, or challenges. Your character might never fail or experience adversity, which would make for a very boring story.

Choose one change to your Protagonist Profile:
This change is something that should be sprinkled throughout the story, through many minor conflicts like the alleyway experiment above. As the story goes on, your protagonist should question one of their core values, or perhaps gain a new one. They might act in a way that defies their flaw.

Your protagonist can grow, or devolve. There are endless possible paths he or she can take, but the key is to make sure your protagonist is not the exact same person at the end of your story that they were at the start.

This is just one method of piecing together the aspects of a strong protagonist. If you build them a Profile, then put them through a minor conflict, and make sure they change, you’ll have a great place to start.

Remember, the plot revolves around your protagonist’s conflict. Make sure they aren’t defined by one trait. Make sure they are a strong character, and the story should follow.
___________________________________________________________________
My fictions have appeared in numerous publications, including Saturday Evening Post, New Millenniums Writings, Blue Earth Review, Micro Monday, R-KV-R-Y, Funny in Five Hundred, Blue Lake Magazine, Adanna Literary, Dying Dahlia Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Off the Rocks, and others. The News was on stage at a Chicago Theater. I was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and two of stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Also, my book of my stories placed semi-finalist from Elixir Press.