Since launching in January of 2019, Sunspot has amplified multinational voices from around the world. The publication is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, scripts, screenplays, photography, and art until November 30. Translations and extremely long-form pieces are accepted. Submit here or visit the website here.
For the 2020 edition of the Single Word contest, Sunspot is handing the megaphone over to you. Submit the single word you feel is the most important in today’s world.
You’ll have 1,000 words to describe why using any form of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. If you feel the word speaks for itself, your description can simply state that fact.
Since English doesn’t always convey exact shades of meaning, the word you select can be in any language. A definition written in English will be required, and the definition will count toward the total word count of the description. The description must also be in English.
For the first edition of this contest in 2019, the prize was $50. In 2020, the prize is being increased to $500.
In addition to receiving the cash prize, the winner will be published. Select finalists will have the chance to be published.
Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw your piece if it is published elsewhere before the winner is selected. Deadline is March 31, 2020.
Reedsy, a huge freelancer’s site, selected Inception: $250 for the Best Opening as one of the Best Contests of 2019. Check it out before it closes October 31.
Sunspot Literary Journal wants your best fiction, nonfiction, or poetry opening. No restrictions on theme, category, or length of the piece from which the beginning is excerpted.
Length for the entry: Up to 250 words for prose. Up to 25 words for poetry.
First place winner will be published, and finalists will be offered the opportunity to be published. Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions accepted. Work can have won other awards without being disqualified.
Cash award of $250 for the winner.
Closing October 31, 2019.
Microfiction, micro essay, micro memoir, short poem, micro script, micro screenplay…if it’s 100 words or less, it might be worth $100. No restrictions on theme or category.
First place winners and finalists in various prose categories will be published in Sunspot Literary Journal. A byline and bio will be included, and select pieces will receive special attention on the website.
Enter as many times as you like. One piece per submission. Pieces must be unpublished except on a personal blog or website. Simultaneous submissions accepted. Work can have won other awards without being disqualified. Cash award of $100. Closing July 30, 2019.
Last week, I posted a book review for the second title in a historical series by Mark Noce. The first two titles are Between Two Fires and Dark Winds Rising. Both feature Queen Branwen of Wales, an original empowered woman!
Today the author has been kind enough to answer a few questions. So, here we go!
MC: Hi Laine, and thanks so much for having me here!
How would your advice for new writers differ from advice you would offer writers who have been in the game for a while?
Hmm. My advice would be…don’t take too much advice. I’m not saying that there isn’t a lot of good advice out there, but it’s crucial for each author to find what works for them, and what doesn’t. Experiment, trying things, learn the hard way. It’s what I do. Try writer’s conferences, creative writing groups, online forums, and see what speaks to you.
As for the writing itself, I adhere to Ray Bradbury’s advice to write a lot and often, otherwise, “if you only write a few things, you’re doomed.”
When you take a break from writing, is it a full and total break or is your mind constantly parsing the world for fodder? What does that parsing look like? How does it make you feel as an artist? As a human being?
I dream about writing (seriously I do), so I’m not sure that I ever really do take a break. Writers are readers, so if you feel you need a break, make sure to plug your time with as much reading as you can. It’s grist for the mill, and there’s so much good stuff out there to enjoy. Writing’s work, but it’s fun too. So long as you keep it fun, you won’t want a break from it.
From your perspective as an author, what do you feel is the biggest challenge to the publishing industry today? Is there a way to solve that challenge?
There are plenty of challenges, but it wouldn’t be worthwhile if it was easy either. One of the big challenges is simply getting your message heard through all the white noise that fills everyone’s everyday lives. When you promote a book or even get your novel into someone’s hands you probably still don’t have their full attention, i.e. the TV is on, they’re multitasking at work, their kids are interrupting them, etc. All you can really do is try to connect with them right from the get go with those first few lines so that they make the conscious choice to dive into your story. It’s part skill, part luck, part faith.
What books are you currently reading?
Everything! There’s nothing I won’t read. I try to read about 3-4 books a week (and during the summer I try to reread some of my favorites). I’ve been diving into history books lately, fiction and nonfiction. Stuff by James Jones, George Orwell, and even Katharine Hepburn (yes, you read that last part right).
Which authors do you think are underappreciated in the current market, and why? (The authors do not have to be living.)
It’s difficult to say, as you never know what books are being loved in people’s homes across the world, but aren’t bestsellers. I’m a big Lawrence Durrell fan, so if you haven’t read Justine or any of the Alexandrian quartet, you’re in for a treat.
Which new writers do you find most interesting, and why?
One book that really blew me away this year was Cherie Reich’s stories entitled People of Foxwick. If you enjoy fantasy, check it out. When I read it, I was shocked that a major press hadn’t picked it up yet, it’s that good.
Finding the discipline to keep writing can be tough. Which “get writing” techniques are most effective for you?
Everyone is different. If you do something 60 days in a row though, it typically becomes a habit. Then you simply do it without thinking. Also, it’s key to develop your own regimen. For me, I write on weekdays, but give myself weekends off to read and absorb life. By Monday I’m always chomping at the bit to get writing again.
Can you give us a sneak peek into your current project?
Sure, I’ve got lots. The sequel in my Queen Branwen series, Dark Winds Rising, came out this month, but I’ve got two manuscripts for two different series already with my agent. One is set during the Viking age and another in WWII London. They both feature female protagonists, and I’m really excited to get these out there with publishers.
Do feel free to tell me anything else you think people should know about you, the book, the writing lifestyle, or your process.
I love writing, especially historical fiction. I work by day as a tech writer in Silicon Valley, and when I’m not writing, I’m with my wife raising my kids. My little redheads are great, but looking after them makes writing and the corporate world look easy by comparison. 😉
I hope you enjoy Dark Winds Rising, and I look forward to connecting with all of you. Please feel free to drop me a line at marknoce.com any time. Thanks!
Head’s up, everyone! Kim Peterson, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance author who was highlighted for great book sale prices here and here, has sweetened the deal. Now she’s offering a signed copy of Angels & Vixens, an Angels & Vixens tote bag, and a $20 Amazon gift card.
Go here to take advantage of this great giveaway. Hurry! The deal runs for only 13 more days!