Feeling the Love?

ALS_coverThe wonderful Inkerman and Blunt are looking for submissions for their next anthology – Australian Love Letters.

One submission per author.

Max 2,500 words (no minimum YAY!)

Hard copy submission only (the old snail mail variety – how romantic!)

Closes 29th May 2015.

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When life hands you lemons…..

images-26One of my supervisors said to me: In the time it takes to do a PhD, statistically, one or more major life events are sure to happen to you – births, deaths, marriages, relationship breakdowns, moving house, etc.

I got the second one. Twice.

So, for the last three months, my PhD has been put on the back burner.

Despite this, the PhD still travels along. Albeit at a slower pace.

I had a paper due the same week my mum died. I managed to get it finished. It was a welcome focus actually. The rest of the time I was wandering around the house like a old mole at a christening (as mum used to say).

My daughter was completing her VCE exams. There was all the end of year activities with the other two. Life was busy. I was distracted.

Four weeks later, I went to a conference in New Zealand. Great conference. My paper did really well. I still felt a bit like I was underwater. Took the kids. Did a few touristy things. Saw Germaine from Flight of the Conchords in the gift-shop at the museum. So, by all accounts, the trip was a great success.

I came home. My mum was still dead. And I fell apart.

But then, I re-drafted the paper, co-wrote a feature length screenplay, applied for teaching work. Got a flash fiction published.

Swings and round-abouts.

Christmas. Then New Year.

I won a prize. And my mother-in-law died. The same day.

It is not just me in all this. I have a husband, children, a sister, her family, my dad, my in-laws, friends. All grieving in their own way. All needing attention.

Before all this, I was finally starting to feel like I would get my PhD finished. This year. My PhD was important. To me. It is more important now. It is a focus. A direction forward. I am worried that when it is finished, I will start grieving all over again. Worse.

It is also less important. More a task to be completed. Less an all-consuming being.

I have a new perspective.

I was reluctant to share all this in such a public forum. But it may just be the most significant part of my PhD journey. It felt wrong to leave it out.

exps40736_CFT1437882D14C When life hands you a bunch of lemons, everything you write, read, touch seems lemon-flavoured. But I am not trying to make lemonade. Because I have a PhD brain, I analyse the lemon. I try to detach. I look at its composition, its effect, its relationships.

It gives new meaning to the word Bittersweet.

I am still very much in the middle of all this, so I don’t know how it will go, but my PhD is about the stories we tell ourselves. About how we make sense of our world. I hope it will help me make sense of all this.

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Check Out The Lifted Brow

Big news over at The Lifted Brow: with a great experimental non-fiction prize and submissions open for their relaunched print magazine editions (fiction and non-fiction).

It is a fantastic opportunity if you have the right kind of piece. Their guidelines are  pretty generous so, if you have something, send it in.

Submissions close 11th January 2015. With any length of fiction accepted (Hell Yeah!).

Good Luck!

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Spineless Wonders – Flash Fiction Competition

The wonderful ladies at Spineless Wonders are calling for submissions for the 2015 Joanne Burns Award. They are looking for pieces under 200 words (YAY!!!!). With the winner bagging a nice cash prize and all worthy entries getting publication in one the only Australian anthologies dedicated to the micro-lit form.

If you haven’t read their past fabulous anthologies, you can find them here.

Entries close 21st December 2014, at the bargain price of $7 per entry.

Good Luck!!!

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Get your writing out there…

Four rejections, so far, and no acceptances…

Starting to feel like a real writer.

For other the creative writers, there are many opportunities for publication – the first step though is to get your work out there. Here is a wonderful list of Opportunities for Writers for October and November 2014, from Aerogramme Writers Studio.

Good luck!

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A little bit of rejection…

3009247448_7d517ab7d0_bI am pretty new to this multiple rejection kind of thing, so it is a little bit painful, and that is only with two rejections, so far.

The rejection letters have been very sweet. Seizure sent a nice one about working your writing muscles. Word Riot said the piece was not right for them but I could try with something else. They are so nicely worded, it makes me wonder if they have different degrees of rejections they send out, from do try again to what the fuck were you thinking, give up, you stink, etc, etc.

Submittable is a new thesis avoiding obsession, as I check it everyday (Ok, several times a day, you never know when it could change), and watch as my stories go from received to in-progress, and then finally declined.

To cheer myself up I did the google thing and found this fabulous post on rejection, which I may read again (and again) whenever necessary. It is a bit daunting to know I have all this rejection ahead of me. Better get on with it I suppose…

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David Harold Tribe Fiction Prize – now open

University_of_Sydney_Main_QuadrangleHere is another competition – open to all Aussie residents and conducted by the School of Letters Arts and Media, The University of Sydney – The David Harold Tribe Fiction Prize. There is also a poetry prize, but it is not currently open.

There are big rewards for the winner – $12,000 – for a piece of short fiction between 3,000 and 3,500 words, with the winning piece published in Southerly.

Entry is free, but you are allowed one piece only, so make it a good one. It must be unpublished, and not have won, or be under consideration anywhere else. Entries close 3rd October.

Good Luck!  

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Sending Out Creative Work to Publishers

00x09910I am challenging myself to send some creative work out to publishers, so yesterday I sent out four pieces, and it took me most of the day. Here’s why….

1) I had no idea where the best place was to send each story.

All the pieces I sent out yesterday were short short (flash) fiction, which has a less traditional market. I have been reading many of the online journals who publish Flash, but felt like I needed to read more to work out the best fit for my stuff. And there are so many really good ones, so it took a lot of time.

I found my favourite stories, and looked up where those writers were sending their work, and followed their lead. I got a bit bogged down in some of their selection criteria, but looking at the actual stories each one published made it much clearer. 

Finally, I chose Seizure (Flashers)WigleafMonkeybicycle (I had one very short one for their one sentence stories) and Smokelong, as my top four for these particular stories, but I could have easily chosen others.

I am not sure how I will go sending to the American ones. I would prefer to start closer to home, but the choices here are limited. 

Some of my choices were also based purely on who was accepting submission at the time. Kill your Darlings will be open for fiction in September; The Lifted Brow is going through some changes, so no submission right now. But I will try these ASAP.

2) This could get expensive.

overland2-2

I’m going lateral with the images today

There are the traditional high-end publications here in Australia, like OverlandThe Griffith Review, and Meanjin and Southerly who publish literary fiction, with big name writers, as well as newbies. Anyone I have met who has any sort of recognised career here has published in one of these. These are the foot-in-the-door, people-are-taking-me-seriously big guys. But I have read their stories and my work doesn’t seem to fit here. So, I am a bit scared.

Also, another stumbling block right now is the expense. They don’t charge a reading fee for submissions, but subscribers get preferential treatment, and this is a bit more money than I have spare at the moment. So I’ll just read them at the library and dream of a future when I will have my subscription, and the right kind of story to send them.

So, for now, I have made the decision to send only to those that do not charge anything. I am testing the waters, to see if my stories are really of a publishable standard. If I get a few hits, I may change my policy (a form of problem gambling in my future, maybe?) but for now, I will back myself in a non-financially draining way. 

This also means I have accepted the fact that there is no chance of getting paid for my writing at this point.

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Fingers crossed gets a bit scary on google

3) Do I send out one piece to multiple places?

For now, I have sent just one piece to my number one preference for that story, in the vane hope that they pick it up.

But, next week, I will send  another piece out to a few different ones, to see how that feels too.

Just check that the ones you are sending to are happy to accept pieces submitted to multiple places. It will state it clearly on  the guidelines usually. I don’t want to piss them off this early in the game. 

So now I sit back and wait, anywhere between a few week and six months apparently. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Fingers crossed……

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