Sunspot Literary Journal currently has three contests open to authors and artists. The newest pays $100 for 100 words. Continue reading
C*nt Contest for Authors and Artists from Sunspot Literary Journal
Words are important. Words are so powerful that certain ones have been weaponized to use against specific groups of people.
C*nt is one of many, but in the world today, it is more incendiary than ever. Submit a story, essay, poem, or art piece that talks about c*nt in your life:
-When did you first encounter the word?
-Have you taken on this word and ones like it as a rallying cry?
-Have you ever used it to refer to someone else?
Send your rants, your ribald comedy, a poem, or a photo that cuts to the core. You do not have to use the word within your submission as long as you are conjuring the essence of some element of this word and its use.
All submissions for this contest will be compiled for a special edition of Sunspot Literary Journal. First place winners and two runners-up from each category will be published in summer of 2019.
All first-place winners will be considered for a cash award. The best of the best will receive $50.
The C*nt Contest is now open for submissions. Deadline: March 31, 2019.
June of 2019 will see the last Tin House literary magazine roll off the presses. After twenty years publishing original fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Tin House is saying goodbye.
The move was done in the face of mounting costs associated with print publishing. Rob Spillman, the co-founder and editor, is moving on to other areas. The closing brings an end to a very long stretch of quality contributions to the literary arena.
While some new works will still be published on Tin House’s website, the loss of yet another print publication is difficult for writers. Much of the industry still gives more weight to credits in print publications, so the loss of even one magazine can be bad news.
There is a bright spot, however. Sunspot Literary Magazine is launching in January of 2019. For the first year, one print edition will be published. The magazine hopes to add additional print editions in subsequent years.
Meanwhile, digital editions are scheduled for every quarter. The founder is also considering adding frequent special editions that focus on a single author or a single category.
The magazine’s mission is to “change the world through words,” and is open to new and established authors and artists. Submissions of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, essays, art, interviews, and reviews of books, movies and galleries are being accepted through Sunspot’s Submittable portal.
This is an excellent opportunity to be heard and to enact the change you want to see.
Sunspot Literary Journal is launching at the beginning of 2019. Submissions are already open for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid forms. (Links to their website and the submission portal are at the bottom of this blog entry.)
Words speak truth to those in power by drawing on the power of every human being. Sunspot, intent on being a force for change, hears every voice. Write a new world with words…your words.
Fiction Without Boundaries
Flash fiction, poetry, shorts of every length, literary works and genre stories are welcome at Sunspot.
Essays That Expand
On Friday, I took advantage of a fourteen-hour layover in Paris, France. With so much time to spend, I headed into the city for a quick look around.
The indie bookstore Shakespeare and Company was on my list. The shop is on a street known for the vendors who set up book stalls along the Seine River. Their location is near Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Louvre.
Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookstore in the heart of Paris. The building was originally constructed as a monastery. An old tradition held that one monk was assigned the duty of lighting the lamps at nightfall. The bookstore’s founder, George Whitman, cast himself as that monk when he began operating a store that would provide light through literature.
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!
Dark Winds Rising by Mark Noce. St. Martin’s Press, December 2017.
Finally, finally, the wait is over! You can–if you haven’t already–get a copy of Dark Winds Rising, the second in the epic historical series about a Welsh queen who stepped into her power in order to help her people.
The first book in the series is Between Two Fires. That work shows Queen Branwen’s strength of intellect and the strength of her heart as she accepts that the man she married is not her true love.
Now, in Dark Winds Rising, she must face the Queen of the Picts when raiders land on the shores of Wales. A mysterious assassin intent on killing her young son haunts her trail as she moves between different areas. The leaders of various areas would rather maintain their petty feuds with each other than join forces against the enemy, so the queen has her hands full.
Oh, and by the way, she’s pregnant. Provides a whole new angle on that modern mom thing, right? Even though sometimes young kids make it feel like Pictish raiders are marauding through your home!
Well, Queen Branwen never shirks her duty to her people or her country. Although taking her son with her on the road exposes them both to additional dangers, the assassin leaves her no choice.
The scenes in camp between her and her husband, Artagan, are some of the best in this book. They show the real dynamics between men and women during the medieval times while providing Branwen with enough room to move in her own direction.
Plus, the touching moments with the family are heightened outside stone walls. Readers participate in very warm and moving interactions between parents and children. And yet the tension never gives way, which of course gives those intimate scenes all the more impact.
This second title in the series is pitch perfect from front to back. You won’t a single place where you lose interest or where you feel lost. You will be thoroughly immersed in Branwen’s world, her time, and the rugged beauty of Wales.