AWer New Releases!

Congratulations to AbsoluteWrite members Stacia Kane and K.A. Stewart on today’s release of their respective books! I’ve been waiting for the release of both of these books with great anticipation, for what seems like months.

Stacia Kane‘s new book Unholy Magic is book 2 of the Downside Ghosts series. You can read an excerpt on The enthusiastic All Things Urban Fantasy review says:

Like any drug, the first taste gets your attention but its the second taste that gets you hooked. I thought the first Downside Ghosts book, Unholy Ghosts, was an impressive debut, but UNHOLY MAGIC is even better. I am well and truly addicted to this dark, seductive urban fantasy series.

Stacia Kane is singlehandedly writing her very own hot new take on Urban Fantasy, so I’m excited for this next installment in the Downside Ghosts tales.

If you favor an Everyman hero, Fantasy Literature describes K.A. Stewart‘s new book, A Devil in the Details (Jesse Dawson book #1):

Every lost soul needs a champion. Jesse James Dawson was an ordinary guy (well, an ordinary guy with a black belt in karate), until the day he learned his brother had made a bargain with a demon. Jesse discovered there was only one way to save his brother: put up his own soul as collateral, and fight the demon to the death.

There’s a review of A Devil In the Details up at The Best Reviews that tells us:

K.A. Stewart is a welcome addition to the urban fantasy writers with a strong opening entry. Told in the first person by the laconic hero in a sardonic witty voice, readers get to know Jesse up front and in person. Flawed and courageous, Jesse risks eternity to help those who cut demonic deals although by doing so he shortens his lifespan because one day he will lose a fight. A Devil in the Details is a dynamic debut.

You can find an essay from K.A. Stewart about writing Jesse James Dawson on the Penguin Books Website. She writes:

The character of Jesse Dawson sprang to life out of my desire to see an “everyman” in extraordinary situations. He’s your average Joe. He has a house payment, a wife, a beautiful daughter that he spoils. His job is menial at best, and he’ll never be what anyone calls wealthy. Ultimately, his life probably isn’t a lot different than yours.

Until, of course, you throw in the demons. Oh, did I forget to mention those?

If you’d like to know more about how other writers are making their books work—and sell—K.A. Stewart has a recent guest post about building characters on The Other Side of the Story.

So these books are some of what I’ll be reading this month. How about all of you? And if you’re an AWer with a book coming out, drop me a note!

Heads Up, folks!

You guys know I don’t endorse very many contests. But this is well worth looking at:
Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

$2000 Awaits Winners of Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

Writers of short fiction are encouraged to enter the 2010 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The competition has a twenty-nine-year history of literary excellence, and its organizers are dedicated to enthusiastically supporting the efforts and talent of emerging writers of short fiction whose voices have yet to be heard.

Lorian Hemingway, granddaughter of Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway, is the author of three critically acclaimed books:
Walking into the River, Walk on Water, and A World Turned Over.
Ms. Hemingway is the competition’s final judge.

Prizes and Publication:

The first-place winner will receive $1,000. The second and third-place winners will receive $500 each. Honorable mentions will also be awarded to entrants whose work demonstrates promise.

The Saturday Evening Post To Publish First-Place Winner:

The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition is pleased to announce that each year — beginning with our 2009 competition — The Saturday Evening Post will publish our first-place winner in its pages. And occasionally, the Post may also choose to publish our runners-up, either in its pages or on its website.

The Post will pay a fee to winners upon publication of his or her story, in addition to the $1,000 first-place prize given by the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The Post’s payment will be in keeping with the magazine’s general rate structure for fiction at the time of publication. Entrants whose stories are published will allow The Post first serial rights, nonexclusive electronic (including online) rights, and nonexclusive anthology rights. This is a standard agreement for magazine publication.

For many years it has been our dream to be able to offer an assured publication for our first-place winner. The Saturday Evening Post, through its generosity and deep appreciation for new voices in literary fiction, has made that dream come true.

Breaking News:

“Lazarus” by 2009 Winner Gregory Loselle is Published in Jan/Feb 2010 Issue

Lorian Hemingway Joins The Post’s Prestigious Fiction Advisory Board Along with New Members Robert Stone, Gary Svee and Ray Bradbury

Indianapolis, IN, February 4, 2010 – The Saturday Evening Post, the nation’s oldest magazine, which traces its roots to Benjamin Franklin and is famous for covers that illustrate the lives and experiences of the American people, today announced its exclusive partnership with the internationally respected Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, publishing 2009’s winning story in its Jan/Feb 2010 issue. Joan SerVaas, chief executive officer and publisher of The Saturday Evening Post, made the announcement.

The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition (, in its 30th year, supports and encourages the efforts of emerging writers of short fiction. As part of the partnership, The Post will have the first serial rights to and annually be the exclusive magazine publisher of the competition’s winning story. “Lazarus,” by 2009 winner Gregory Loselle, can be read in the magazine’s current issue.

Throughout its history, The Saturday Evening Post has introduced and published fiction and poetry from a long list of celebrated writers, including Edgar Allan Poe, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Jack London, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The magazine’s new alliance with the competition is part of The Post’s recent restoration of fiction as an important component of its editorial mix.

“While it’s important to tap into our vast archives of fiction, it is equally important for The Post to maintain its role as the leader in finding the next great American fiction writers, and forming this partnership is a significant step toward meeting that goal,” said SerVaas.”

Lorian Hemingway, author of the critically-acclaimed books Walk On Water, A World Turned Over and Walking Into The River, said, “For many years it has been our dream to be able to offer an assured publication for our first-place winner. The Saturday Evening Post, through its deep appreciation for new voices in literary fiction, has made that dream come true.”

In addition to the alliance, Lorian Hemingway has joined The Post’s prestigious Fiction Advisory Board, along with new members Robert Stone, Gary Svee and Ray Bradbury. The board advises the magazine’s editors on fiction selections and recommends up-and-coming fiction writers.

Eligibility requirements for our 2010 competition

What to submit:

  • Stories must be original unpublished fiction, typed and double-spaced, and may not exceed 3,000 words in length. There are no theme restrictions. Copyright remains property of the author, with the exception of the first-place winner, whose work will be published in The Saturday Evening Post.

Who may submit:

  • The literary competition is open to all U.S. and international writers whose fiction has not appeared in a nationally distributed publication with a circulation of 5,000 or more. Writers who have been published online or who have self-published will be considered on an individual basis.

Submission requirements:

  • Submissions may be sent via regular mail or submitted online at: Please visit our online submissions page for complete instructions regarding online submissions. Writers may submit multiple entries, but each must be accompanied by an entry fee and separate cover sheet. We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, the writer must notify us if a story is accepted for publication or wins an award prior to our July announcements. No entry confirmation will be given unless requested. No SASE is required.
  • The author’s name should not appear on the story. Our entrants are judged anonymously. Each story must be accompanied by a separate cover sheet with the writer’s name, complete mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, the title of the piece, and the word count. Manuscripts will not be returned. These requirements apply for online submissions as well.

Deadlines and Entry Fees:

  • The entry fee is $12 for each story postmarked by April 1, 2010. The late entry fee is $17 for each story postmarked between April 2 and May 15. We encourage you to enter by April 1 if at all possible, but please know that your story will still be accepted if you meet the later deadline. Our dual deadline must be imposed this year due to information already in print in Writer’s Market, etc. that states May 15 as our final deadline. We apologize for this inconvenience. Beginning with our 2011 competition we will have a single deadline. Entries postmarked after May 15, 2010 will not be accepted. Entries submitted online after May 15 will not be accepted. Writers may submit for the 2011 competition beginning May 16, 2010.

How to pay your entry fee:

  • Entry fees submitted by mail with their accompanying stories may be paid — in U.S. funds — via a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. Please make checks payable to LHSSC or The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Entry fees for online submissions may be paid with PayPal.

Announcement of Winners and Honorable Mentions:

Winners will be announced at the end of July 2010 in Key West, Florida, and posted on our website soon afterward. Only the first-place entrant will be notified personally. All entrants will receive a letter from Lorian Hemingway and a list of winners, either via regular mail or e-mail, by October 1, 2010.

All manuscripts and their accompanying entry fees should be sent to:

The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition

P.O. Box 993

Key West, FL 33041

or submitted online at:

For more information, please explore this website or e-mail:

Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition Online Submissions
We are pleased to announce that we are now able to accept online submissions to our competition, in addition to continuing to accept entries by mail. We have been accustomed to doing things the old-fashioned way for so long — 2010 will mark the 30th anniversary of the competition — that accepting stories online seems like a bold step into a brave new world, and while we have a bit of stage fright we do believe that this additional option of submitting your stories will help save a few trees in the long run.
Below please find what we trust are rather simple guidelines for online submissions:

Online Submission Guidelines:

  • All submissions must meet the requirements set forth in our regular guidelines. Stories must be original, unpublished fiction. Word count: 3,000 words or less.
  • A Paypal account is required for online submissions. If you would like to sign up for Paypal, please click this link to be taken to their signup page: Paypal Signup. If you do not wish to have a Paypal account, please follow the normal submission procedures described on the Guidelines page.
  • Use the PayPal drop-down selection to pay for your submission prior to sending your story. You will be given a choice of paying for the April 1 deadline entry fee or for the April 2 – May 15 late deadline entry fee. Please make sure you choose the appropriate one.
  • In the subject line of your submission please write the Transaction ID number given to you by PayPal, along with your full name as it appears on your PayPal receipt.
  • Please print out a copy of your PayPal receipt for your records.
  • Once your transaction is completed you may submit your story to after following the very important guidelines provided below:
  • Stories must be submitted in Microsoft Word Document format, as an attachment. Please do not send your story in the body of an email.
  • Each story must be accompanied first by a cover sheet that includes the writer’s name, the title of the story, his or her complete mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, and the word count of the work submitted. The author’s name should not appear on the story. Only the title should appear on the manuscript.
  • Writers may submit multiple entries, but these must be submitted as separate Microsoft Word documents, with separate cover sheets and separate entry fees.
  • If you have questions regarding online submissions please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Many thanks and the very best of luck to all who enter!

Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition Submissions
Through April 1st, 2010 $12.00

April 2 through May 15, 2010 $17.00

Requiescat In Pace, Dick Francis

Dick Francis
Mystery novelist Dick Francis

I’m very sad to announce that British mystery writer Dick Francis, 89, has died.

Mr. Francis wrote the first mystery novel for adults I ever read. I was a child who was too grown-up for my chronological age, but I loved horses passionately. I’d read all the Walter Farley books, Black Beauty, and pretty much any other book about horses you can think of. If a book even hinted that it might mention horses, I’d read it. I was also at that in-between age; I was reading widely, but had only just recently made the jump to reading both fiction and nonfiction written for an adult audience.
Whip Hand

So when a book-loving neighbor gave me a copy of Whip Hand, it was like discovering a kindred soul. People wrote books for horse-crazy grown-ups, too! I’ve happily read my way through an awful lot of Dick Francis horse mysteries, in the years since.

Mr. Francis was a renowned jockey, before he became a best-selling mystery novelist.

He’ll be missed.

Interview with Laura Kinsale

Lessons in French
Lessons in French

I get to read a lot of interviews with writers, editors, publishers, and other assorted interesting people. This interview posted on Tartitude is very fun. Not just because award-winning NYT best-selling author Laura Kinsale has a new book out, but Hope101’s interview questions aren’t just the same old standards, either, and Ms. Kinsale’s answers have humor, heart, and a sense of fun that’s a joy to read.

Ms. Kinsale has more advice for writers in a Q&A posted today on Apprentice Writer, as well.

You can follow Hope101 on Twitter: @tartitude

You can follow Laura Kinsale on Twitter: @LauraKinsale

You can find Lessons in French at your local bookstore, or your favorite online bookseller.


A rather silly and  inaccurate article from WSJ proclaiming The Death of the Slush Pile.

An excellent post on agent Janet Reid’s blog, Slush Works.

discussion on the AW forums, that references both essays.

This stuff comes up every now and then. Every week it seems like some new Website goes up, announcing that they’ll revolutionize the publishing industry by collecting writers in one place for agents and editors to browse at their leisure; this is such a common meme that savvy writers simply call these sites YADS: Yet Another Display Site.

A mighty pile of paperEvery week it seems like some newspaper looking to fill column inches runs a scare piece about the death of the slush pile, all the ways publishing is doomed, the “revolution” in “indie” publishing or yet another ridiculous story about submitting a re-keyed manuscript version of Gone With the Wind, and—quelle surprise!—receiving form rejections from agents too canny to verbally engage with some wingnut who’s just submitted a re-keyed manuscript of Gone With the Wind…Then Twitter explodes with links to the original essay, writers despair, bloggers pontificate, and message-board threads proliferate on writer’s fora across the Web.

Read those pieces more closely. Too often,  these articles are thinly-disguised, self-serving press-releases pretending to be articles. Remember a few things. Remember that there are some very key differences between fiction and nonfiction publishing. Remember that book-selling and publishing, while very closely related and interdependent, aren’t the same industry.

Most of all, remember that an article full of speculation full of doom and gloom and looming apocalypse is just more interesting reading than an essay that says, “Yep. Writing is a competitive and challenging aspiration. You’ll have to work your ass off, and you still may not make it. That hasn’t changed one little bit in centuries, so don’t look for it to change anytime soon.”

The best essay I’ve ever read about slush, by the way, is Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Slushkiller. You should read it, if you haven’t. You should read the comments, too. And if you’ve already read it, you should probably read it again. Every writer I know actually finds it oddly encouraging.