Tag Archives: short stories

Seemingly Small Changes Can Add Up BIG Time

I’m polishing up a short story for the middle grade anti-bullying anthology (details found in this post here), and just got feedback from a writer friend of mine.

“First person, maybe?”

Yeah, first person, definitely. It took him to point it out, but as soon as I started reworking my 2,500 words, I knew he was dead right. And so I started revising with a vengeance.

Katy I peered into her my lunchbox…

By the time I finished, I must have had a thousand and one changes. It was tedious. And I missed a lot the first time around. I still probably have some third person where it should read first.

This isn’t a simple matter of find/replace. Story telling is too nuanced for that. It requires a reread of every sentence–nay, every word–to keep the style, voice and story cohesive. The change, while seemingly minute, was actually huge.

In writing, there are a thousand and one minute changes that all add up to lots o’ work. It’s called editing. And if you don’t have patience for it, you will never be a writer. Getting that rough draft on paper is the easy part. Polishing it is a challenge worth accepting.

You never know, it could make the difference between seeing your words in print or lining the bottom of the bird cage.

Other things that add up big time:

  • The writer who pointed out my POV mistake? Steven Carmen. His debut novel, Battery Brothers is set to release in March. Steve has been a critique partner of mine on several projects and I value his opinion almost as much as I look forward to holding his baseball novel in my hands.
  • Battery Brothers shares the same publisher as Whispering Minds, a YA novel that Steve also critiqued. Currently, author A.T. O’Connor has teamed up with four other authors for a romantic novel giveaway just in time for Valentine’s Day. Giveaway details here.
  • A.T. O’Connor and I both have short stories published in the Season Series by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. The last one, Winter’s Regret, is due out any day!
  • Lastly, EBP has invested time and energy into a new anthology for middle grade readers. I alluded to it above and posted on it before, but in case you missed it, I am the acquisitions editor on the project and will be accepting short story submissions (2,500 words or less) for readers 7-11 on bullying to be told in the POV of the bully, the bullied or the bystander. Stories must have a clear resolution and must be emailed to me by February 15. So, what are you waiting for?

Hugs~

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Call For Submissions: antibullying anthology for middle graders

As everyone knows, bullying is a topic near and dear to my heart. Nobody deserves to be broken down and beaten up–physically or emotionally–by another person. Nobody. Ever.

And yet, we let it happen with great regularity. Even our anti-bully programs have been proven ineffective for many reasons: namely, that we are targeting our audience after their behavior patterns are set. Seldom do kids start bullying for the first time in middle school or high school. More often, these children have been exhibiting poor social skills (ie a propensity to bullying others) from their earliest school years.

Knowing all this, it is my pleasure to announce that I am heading up a middle grade anthology on bullying for Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. EBP is taking an active role in the anti-bullying movement and creating a collection of short stories that will delight young readers while empowering them to be stronger advocates for healthy relationships.

Studies show that targeting children before the age of ten and teaching them how  to positively interact with each other before their behavior patterns  are set is the biggest deterrent for future bullying. So, yay to EBP for recognizing this need and pulling together an anthology specifically with an eye to helping our youngsters grow socially.

Submissions can be told from the point of view of the bully, the victim or the bystander and must be suitable for middle grade (MG) readers between the ages of 7 and 12. All stories should have a clear resolution that will help readers better understand the impact of bullying and/or help give them appropriate tools to deal with potential bullying situations in their lives. The maximum word count for stories is 2,500.
  • Submissions can be sent to my email address ( catwoods.writer@gmail.com ) with MG Anthology in the subject line.
  • Submissions are due February 15, with a projected publication date of May 5.
  • EBP will not be able to pay for a story, but they will send authors a gratis copy of the final anthology.
  • So, spread the word, send me your stories and help ease the pain of bullying.
Cat~

Going on a School Visit…and I’m not afaid.

Can I just say that I LOVE reading to kids?

Good, because I just said it. Tomorrow I get to read one of my short stories and help a high school-led anti-bully group talk about the impact of bullying.

I love speaking, I love kids and I love proactive teens who want to help make a better world for the upcoming generation.

Thanks, Lexi for seeing the need in our community and founding BRAVE. Thanks, Mrs. Anderson for taking on the BRAVE project so it could expand to more classrooms and more grades. And lastly, thanks to the peer helpers who take the time to spread the word about Building Relationships Against Violence Everywhere.

Now get ready fourth graders, cuz here I come.

Dear Readers and Writers, Got Stories? Want Free Books?

Announcing three Literary Events and what they mean to you.

  1. October 31: Call for Submissions. Short story submissions for the Winter’s Regret anthology must be received by this date. For all you aspiring writers out there, share your story of regret with Elephant’s Bookshelf Press and join other Seasons Series authors. Details can be found here: submission guidelines, while submissions can be sent to anthologies@elephantsbookshelfpress.com.
  2. November 1: Debut Novel Release and Prize Giveaway. This day marks the end of an Epic Ten Day Giveaway. Between now and then, A.T.O’Connor is giving away prizes left and right to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Whispering Minds. Prizes include six novels by fresh new writers, as well as other fun and delicious goodies. Check out her blog by the same name: Whispering Minds.
  3. November 1: The Official Start of NaNo. For those who thrive on crazy deadlines and nearly impossible tasks, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. “What is NaNo?” you ask. National Novel Writing Month is that crazy thirty days where writers eschew all real life responsibilities and pen 50,000 coherent words. Yes, I will be NaNoing again this year, and you can join me. Hop over to NaNoWriMo and sign up now.

And that’s it. Three great things that happen in less than a week.

So, if you write, get your butt in gear. If you read, add to your bookshelves. And if you do neither, there’s no time like the present to start!

Hugs~

Little Dog. Big World.

I love reading. I love writing. I love the idea that Somebody Somewhere reads the words I write. And yet, it’s terrifying.

IMAG0260My stories are small dogs in the giant kennel of life. They are but an infinitesimal dot on the landscape of literature. The period at the end of a single sentence in the vastness of the Library of Congress.

Yet my hope is that Somebody Somewhere will be impacted–in a good way–by the tales I tell. But there’s so much great writing out there already that I worry how my words will hold up against the books on the world’s bookshelf.

Over the last decade, I’ve had short stories, poetry and articles published in various places under various names. This past year alone has been a bit of a rush with six short stories in four anthologies, a major project in the works and a debut novel coming out this fall under my alter ego.

And yet I wonder: how will you find my writing? Physically and emotionally. Will you stumble across it on someone’s coffee table, on an Amazon recommended list, on GoodReads or a blog? Will you hear about it because Someone Somewhere said, “Hey, you have to read this.”? Or, will it languish in the corner like a naughty, half-starved mutt in the kennel? You know the ones. The kind so ugly they hurt your sensibilities with a yappy bark so annoying your ears bleed. Yeah, those dogs.

Confession time: I am terrified that in addition to being a small dog in a big world, my writing is subpar at best.

Although, Someone Somewhere took a chance on me. I’ve had an agent. I’ve had editors. I’ve even got a publisher. What I seem to struggle with is the confidence to just flop down with the big dogs like I belong.

How do you gather the courage to pursue your passions despite the fears that go along with them? Are you as terrified of succeeding as you are of failing? Do you ever feel like a little dog in a big world?

Curious minds want to know.

New Summer Reads: Anthologies

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly summer sails by. Between baseball for my boys, a sick daughter, and a couple writing projects that have kept me very busy; I barely caught sight of Independence Day before it launched me to the halfway point of summer vacation.

Sheesh. Summer is already half over and I’ve only been to the beach once.

That said, I have a trip to Colorado coming up and a possible jaunt to the Black Hills. In preparation for this time away from work, I have a TBR pile of books double digits deep that will accompany me on my kindle.

If you’re looking for a few of your own beach reads, let me help you out.

Summer’s Edge. This is the second newest anthology in the Seasons Series from Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. Along with some great stories about relationships on the edge, you can find one of my very own, very short pieces of fiction: Indiscretions. I think the title says it all.

The newest (by a few hours) is Summer’s Double Edge, the fraternal twin to Summer’s Edge. Due to the number or quality submissions, EBP simultaneously released a second collection of short stories. The shorts found in this book are a bit darker, including another of mine titled Ten To One.

What’s on your beach read pile this summer?

Curious minds want to know!

 

Name A Rump: Win A Prize!

This baby’s got back and s/he needs a name!

My publisher, Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, is hosting a contest to name its mascot.

A Few Rules of Note:

*Head over to EBP’s website and leave your suggested name in the comments.

*All Entries must be received by April 15th. Yeah, tax day. But naming our pachyderm friend is a lot more fun than paying Uncle Sam.

*The top ten names will be listed over at EBP on April 30th where you will have the opportunity to Rate The Rump–er, vote on which name you like.

*So, what are you waiting for?

Prizes you say? Okay, the individual who suggests the winning name will receive one of three prizes depending on age and/or desires. S/he can pick from the following:

So, no matter what your reading preference, you should find one story that will tickle your tweeter and make suggesting a name worth your time.

And a reminder: EBP is still selecting short stories for the upcoming summer anthology. The theme deals with endings and whatever that may mean to you. If you’re interested in penning a new piece or dusting off something from the trunk, head over to Elephant’s Bookshelf Press for submission details.

Please spread the word about the contest and the call for submissions. The more names to pick from, the more fun it will be.

Already I can think of half a dozen: Mirabelle, Preston…

How about you?