Open Submission Calls

I finished a big rewrite recently and don’t know what to start next. I have ideas, lots of ideas  for books, but the thought of penning another 50,000-word disaster leaves me running to Facebook for a distraction.
Instead, I compiled some short story and novella open calls. I’m thinking it is easier to tackle 10,000 words than an entire book. Maybe we can all submit together.
1.      Feeling depressed? Like the end of the world is around the corner? This submission call is for you. The End of the World story contest is open now and closes August 31, 2018. More information at
2.      Into mysteries? Submissions will be accepted between May 1st and August 31, 2018 for Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible Anthology at
3.      Fireside Magazine will be open to novel and novella submissions for the month of August! Check out
4.      Mysterion opened for submissions on July 1st for science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories up to 9,000 words long about Christianity.
5.      The Chattahoochee Review has an open call until August 31, 2018 on the theme Lost and Found. They are looking for literary fiction. More information at
6.      Haunted Waters Press has an open call for flash fiction until July 31 at
7.      Mom Egg Review is open for submissions for the 17th annual print issue. They seek literary work that is about mothering or motherhood.
Enjoy the writing!

Summer Netflix – Brain on Fire

I recently watched two enjoyable Netflix films — Brain on Fire and Tau — and thought I would provide a quick review of Brain on Fire for anyone who has a few hours to binge.  I’ll get to Tau soon.

As a mom who spent three days in the hospital with her adult daughter suffering from blot clots, I related to Brain on Fire more from the parents’point of view than the protagonists. No matter which characters you invest in, the movie is well done and interesting to watch.


Can you imagine your life falling to pieces day by day and doctors having no idea why? The film follows Susannah Cahalan (played by Chloe Grace Moretz), a writer for the NY Post, who begins to experience unexplained symptoms from a rare neurological disease. Doctors claim it is everything from alcohol withdrawal to mental illness before diagnosing her with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Based on the book, Brain On Fire, the movie is based on journalist Susannah Cahalan true-life experiences.

Carrie Ann Moss and Richard Armitage play Cahalan’s parents. Previously, I saw Moss in the role of a tough-ass lawyer in Jessica Jones and The Defenders. I enjoyed her more realistic portrayal of a mom frustrated with the medical system. We’ve all been there. I also love Moretz as an actor and though she did an amazing job portraying the fear of having her body betray her without explanation.


I didn’t quite get Cahalan’s relationship with her boyfriend. While supportive, their interactions lacked chemistry. At one point she was talking to him about her symptoms and he’s mixing music, ignoring her. He came off as uncaring, and I had to wonder why the directors decided that was how they wanted to portray him.

While not getting rave reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is worth watching.  The characters are well portrayed and the fact that it is based on true events makes it more noteworthy.

Anxiously Waiting

Twelve Months of Awkward Moments arrives August 30. I’m anxious. Not your normal new book anxious, but the kind of emotion that interferes with every day life.

I could write about my main character Dani suffering from anxiety because I’ve lived it, and gee, it’s not fun. I don’t know when it began. I was always a quiet, sensitive, and weird child. I grew up in a dysfunctional family — story for another day.

My memories of school include not talking and being scared of every adult. One of my teachers made me so nervous, I puked in class. But it was always part of life. Growing up in the 70s and 80s it wasn’t a diagnosis, and it took me years to think about it that way.

I’ve learned to manage and my personal anxiety has given me a lot of empathy for the students in the class who suffer from it.  The next time I’m too quiet, it is because I don’t want to say the wrong thing.  I’ll remember my stupidity for years. The next time I skip a party it is because I’d rather have a stomach bug than be in a situation where I could possibly do something wrong. Days before the party, all the “what if” scenarios scream through my head.

I’m still recovering from Yale and Rutgers. Amazing experiences that left me so drained emotionally and physically.  Anxiety plays out not only in your mind but in your body.

I’m hoping Twelve months of Awkward Moments might shed some light on what students go through. I’m hoping you’ll get a copy and talk to me about it.




Yale Writers’ Conference

35051489_10214250991006667_8043354584304844800_nI must admit it was a little odd and a lot exhausting to arrive home from one writers’ conference to attend another. Serendipity smiled and allowed me to attend both Rutgers Writing Conference and Yale, which ran from June 9-12. While structured differently, some of the same topics such as point of view and the same quotes from author’s came through. Great minds and all…

Logistics wise, Yale was harder to navigate. I commuted and the first morning had trouble finding the garage, which was behind a hockey rink. After driving around the block a few times, I asked a kind stranger and made it to my destination. My first walk to campus took 15 minutes. By day two, I figured out all the shortcuts and got it down to half that.  The food was excellent and every person, both on campus and with the writing workshop, was truly friendly and helpful. Beyond friendly.

We spent the first 1/2 hour discussing safety and I have to say even though I worked in New Haven the previous summer, I left the talk spooked. I didn’t attend the evening program on the first night after security informed me that if I walked away from campus into an unknown or less than savory neighborhood, I needed to turn around and come back to Yale. Campus was safe, but… It was very intimidating for someone who had to walk to the garage every day.

Rutgers set up a Facebook page prior to the event and I think Yale Writers’ Workshop would benefit from doing the same. People could ask questions, meet participant, and it would alleviate some of the anxiety.

Now for the good stuff. I attended the Young Adult workshop during session 2 so I don’t really know how session 1 connected. I’m sure it was amazing.


Session 2 combined craft talks, author and editor presentations, and a critique of participant’s work. Participants in the YA breakout session critiqued my work and I also had a 1/2 hour one-on-one meeting with the instructor. While the craft lessons were excellent and useful, the critique became the highlight of the program.  The ideas that participants and the our instructor shared fulled my passion for writing and revising. I would recommend you have a manuscript or partial manuscript ready if you attend this sessions.

Shout out to Sarah Darer Littman, the best instructor ever!

Now if I could catch up on sleep and find more time in the day to write.

34984567_10214250990606657_9101460201906634752_nChoosing a conference depends on the time you have – 2 or 4 days – and how deep you want to go into your own work. Both Yale and Rutgers were amazing experiences.




Rutgers Writers’ Conference


I’ve found my people.  My Tribe. Attending the Rutgers Writers’ conference on June 2-3, 2018 left me inspired and ambition. While I’m sure these attributes will wane with a few days slogging through the last of my curriculum at school or as I amass rejections letter, I’ll bask in the moment and provide you with some of the highlights of the conference.

Non-essential stuff first: Delicious food, a hotel within walking distance, and a well-organized, fun conference.

Now for the stuff you really want to know: Alice Hoffman and Chris Bohjalian were talented speakers with amazing content who delivered wonderful keynotes on Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to sit down with both of them to learn the trade. Even better than their wonderful, illuminating speeches, both seem like really nice people who would help if you were stranded on the side of the road.



Bohjalian spoke about how he was told by a creative writing teacher to become a “banker” and how he received 250 rejections when sending out his short stories after college.  If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what will. By the way, he really talked about activism through writing.

All the workshops at the conference were valuable, but I have to point out two of my favorites.  “Writing True Romance” by Sarah Maclean kept me laughing as I learned things.  Maybe it was the content. We talked euphemistic “code words.” But still… this woman is brilliant. I can see why she has numerous best sellers. I only wish the workshop was longer.

As an English teacher, I thought I knew some stuff, but I learned so much from Chris Bohjalian’s “Hooking your Reader from the First Page – and Why It Matters.” The workshop discussed important aspects when starting a book such as picking a tense, a perspective, and writing an amazing first line. Bohjalian also volunteered to blurb any of the workshop participant’s books. He obviously didn’t know I have one coming out in August.  Should I email him?


Let me know what you think…please.

PS I’m going to Yale’s Writer’s workshop this weekend so I’ll compare and contrast for you next blog post.