Issue 32 - Wings of Self-Promotion - Penny Sansevieri, Sandi Ault, Lilian Pizzichini


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Author Marketing Expert - Penny Sansevieri

WOW! Classes

Real Stories of Authors on a Budget: Promotional Gimmicks


Winter 2009 Contest Winners!


Get Your Brand On! - Shelli Johannes Wells


Time to Twitter - Using Social Media to Further Your Career - by Kathi Browne

A Wild Adventure - An Interview With Sandi Ault


The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys - Lilian Pizzichini

Flash Fiction Contest!

How to Promote Yourself Through Teaching - Lisa Tiffin

Fall 2008 Contest Winners!

Inspiration - Overcoming Grief with Love

Summer 2008 Contest Winners!

Wow! Magazine Fall 2008 Contest



Truly Useful Site Award

As Featured On Best Ezines



 

Go to wow-womenonwriting.comArticlesContestMarketsBlogClasses

   
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This season we had an open prompt. Our only guidelines were that the entries be fiction with a minimum of 250 words, and a maximum of 750 words. So, enjoy the creativity and diversity!

   

Thanks to our Guest Judge:

Literary Agent, Wendy Sherman

WOW! was honored to have Guest Judge, Wendy Sherman, choose our Spring season’s top winners. Thank you, Wendy, for sharing your time and efforts to make these contestants’ dreams come true.

To share your thanks, please visit her website, Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc. www.wsherman.com, and email her personally.

Wendy Sherman launched her Agency in 1999 following a twenty-year career in publishing. Her experience includes being Associate Publisher and Executive Director of Henry Holt as well as positions as VP and Director of Sales, Marketing and Subsidiary Rights at Simon & Schuster and Macmillan. With this experience, the Agency offers a competitive edge to its clients.

Wendy Sherman Associates has an impressive roster of well established, critically acclaimed and award-winning clients that range from literary to more commercial, including Nani Power (Crawling at Night), Howard Bahr (The Black Flower), William Lashner (A Killers Kiss), Liam Callanan (All Saints) and famed actress Rue McClanahan (My First Five Husbands).

Attracting a wide range of fiction and non-fiction authors, the agency is especially well known for discovering new writers, including Therese Fowler, author of Souvenir, one of the most talked about first novels of the year (March 2008, Random House/Ballantine), which is a Barnes & Noble New Reads Book Club choice, a Book Sense Notable and has been sold in eighteen countries (so far). With two younger agents, Michelle Brower and Emmanuelle Alspaugh, the Agency also attracts the next generation of writers.

And just in case you missed it, WOW! also interviewed Wendy in our November Issue: Secrets for Your Success: Signing the Perfect Agent: Interview with Wendy Sherman

   

Special Note to Contestants:

This season, the stories were phenomenal! All the winning stories you see on this page, including the Honorable Mentions, scored a “15,” which is the highest possible score they can have. With so many 15s, it was hard to narrow down the entries to the Top 10. All the stories were superlative in subject, content, and style—it really came down to technical aspects and the guest judge’s personal choice of which ones made it into the Top 10. Every story is a winner in its own right and has the potential to win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Place. They were that good.

We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your wonderful stories with our guest judges this season. We know it takes a lot to hit the send button! While we’d love to give every contestant a prize, just for your writing efforts, that wouldn’t be much of a competition! One of the hardest things we do after a contest ends is to confirm that someone didn’t place in the winners’ circle. But, believe it when we say every one of you is a true winner.

Every writer has been a gracious participant through the whole process, from the beginning of one season to the next. We’ve written emails to authors, agents, and publicists who have donated books to our contest, and we’ve shared our delight regarding the true sportsmanship among our contestants. It doesn’t matter if it’s one writer who placed or another who tried but didn’t; all writers are courteous, professional, and wonderful extensions of WOW! Women On Writing’s team. Writers’ stories and e-mails fill us with enthusiasm.

Kudos to all writers who entered, whether you won or not, you’re still a winner for participating.

***

To recap our current process, we have a roundtable of 4-7 judges who blindly score equally formatted submissions based on: Subject, Content, Technical, and Overall Impression (Style). That’s the first step of the process. If a contestant scores well on the first round, she (or he) receives an e-mail notification that she passed the initial judging phase. The second round judging averages out scores and narrows down the top 25 entries. From this point, our guest judge helps to determine the First, Second, and Third Place Winners, followed by the Runners Up.

As with any contest, judging so many talented writers is not a simple process. With blind judging, all contestants start from the same point, no matter the skill level, experience, or writing credentials. It’s the writer’s story and voice that shines through, along with the originality, powerful and clear writing, and the writer’s heart.

***

We’ve enjoyed reading your stories, each and every one of them. The WOW! Women On Writing judges take time to read them all. We recognize names of previous contestants, writers familiar with our style. We enjoy getting to know you through your writing and e-mailing. Remember that each one of you is a champion in our book. We hope that you continue to enter so we can watch you grow as writers and storytellers, because each season is a rebirth of opportunity.

Now on to the winners!

Drum roll please....

1st Place:  Teresa Davis
Germantown, Tennessee
Congratulations Teresa!

Teresa’s Bio:

Teresa Davis, an accounting graduate from the University of Alaska, spent numerous years as a CPA until she turned her focus back to her first love: writing. Her work has appeared in a trade newsletter and several online magazines. She has also written teaching curricula for GoTeachIt.com. She now lives and writes in Germantown, TN. This was her first contest accomplishment, and she was honored to be among the finalists.

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The Girl

 

Today I think I'll wear my periwinkle dress with the white lace collar. When I was younger, I would have never worn this pale color. But, now that I'm a relic, periwinkle actually works for me. It puts a little pink back into my sallow, worn out skin.

I wonder if I'll see her today. Of course, I know I will. We will meet at the same spot in the road as usual where she tries to sneak up behind me. Silly girl. I will see her coming though, as I always do, because I'll be watching for her. She'll slip up in her shiny yellow beetle bug convertible, with the top down, and greet me. She'll accelerate just enough to glide up to my side. She'll pause there for a moment until I look over at her. She'll throw her right arm up, tilt her head back slightly, and mouth, "Good morning!" in a youthful, cheery way. Then she'll gradually float off into the horizon. Every Sunday it is the same. I don't know who she is or where she is going, but every Sunday for the past year and a half, we've shared this moment together.

I like her. She reminds me of me when I was that age. She wears bright snappy colors that scream out, I love me! She wears scarves in her hair like all the girls in my time wore. You don't see young ladies today wear scarves in their hair just for the sake of letting it blow like crazy in the wind. She's happy, and lovely, and fun.

I've often wondered if she's on her way to church, as am I. But there are no churches other than mine up the road where we are headed. There is nothing but a small town where only old people live now, with two abandoned restaurants, one rusty, dusty gas station, one broken-down church and one sleepy grocery store. Beyond that...nothing.

Occasionally, when my arthritis has kept me awake all night, I'm tempted to skip church—sleep in a bit. I never do, though. What would she think if I weren't there to jiggle my saggy arm back at her? She'd think I'd keeled over, that's what. She might even be sad. No, I couldn't do that to her. Thus, I gather myself up and go to church anyway, so we can have our moment together.

Maybe I should get a beetle bug convertible. Wouldn't she be surprised! It makes me giggle to think about the look that might be on her face if I were to pull up beside her for a change, grinning wildly from a topless speedster with a beautiful print scarf fluttering about. Ah, that would be grand. She'd get a kick out of it, that's for sure.

I think I'll drive with the windows down today.

As I approach our meeting spot, I check my rearview mirror. I see a speck—right on time. In seconds, she's with me. She flashes a playful smile, then eases into the next lane to pass. When she reaches my side, I teasingly mimic her gestures: waggling arm up, head back, "Good morning!" We share a good laugh today, and off she goes.

I am still chuckling about it when I pull into town several miles later. A commotion just past the grocery catches my attention. It's difficult at first to sort through the shapes, but then I see it—beetle bug yellow under a large truck. Oooh, no! My heart pounds as I slam the car into park. Leaving my car in the middle of the street, I run, as best I can, toward the wreckage. I pass a small gathering of people gawking at the motionless pile. Whyyyy isn't anyone trying to free the poor girl? I frantically tug at shard metal with my bare hands. Crimson blood flicks onto pale periwinkle. And then I see a stretcher with the sheet pulled high and a colorful scarf trailing behind.

 

***

What Teresa Won:

  • $200.00 Cash Prize
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A WOW! Prize Pack
  • A Year’s Subscription to Premium-Green Markets
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
2nd Place:  Laurel Robertson
Dacula, Georgia
Congratulations Laurel!

Laurel’s Bio:

Laurel was born in the tiny town of Presque Isle, Maine and has spent most of her life moving south towards warmer weather! Now a native of Dacula, Ga. (let's just say Atlanta), she resides in hectic tandem with her always-on-the-go 5yr old daughter, Lucie Marie. An avid photographer, reader and fan of story telling, Laurel has kept writing on the back burner for many years while working her two full time jobs as a Sales & Marketing Coordinator and a single mother. Recently a spark lit and took hold as she began writing her first YA novel, which she is now in the process of editing. Although telling stories has always been in her blood, this is the first contest she has entered. Laurel is excited to entertain the idea of writing as a serious quest, as well as creative outlet. She looks forward to writing more short fiction and finishing the novels stacking up in her head.

You can follow her on her new blog at: http://photogirllearnstowrite.blogspot.com/, send her tweets at http://twitter.com/Photogirl1968 or visit her photography at www.timecatcherphotos.com.

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Home by the Sea

The incessant noise permeated my brain; a distant screaming, which I couldn’t quite place. I awoke from the recurring dream still bewildered and shaken, never able to recall what took place. It had been over two weeks since I had a good night’s rest. I was positive my sleep, or lack thereof, was starting to cause delusions.

It was much too cold for a June night I bemused as I pulled the covers tight. The clock flashed 3:30 AM, but I knew what it would say before I even looked. I awoke precisely at that same time every night now. Still undisturbed was the place in the bed next to mine. Carl, my husband of 13 years, was not there—again.

I dragged myself out of bed and down the hall, softly pushing the door open to my son’s room. He was fast asleep, curled up with his favorite stuffed bunny. Some kids had blankies, some sucked their thumb—Nathan had his beloved bunny, Mr. Walter. I wondered if he was getting too old, at 10, to sleep with stuffed animals, but the part of me not ready for him to grow up liked the fact that he, at least in that respect, wasn’t ready either. I smoothed the erratic mass of black curls out of his face. As I wiped the hair across his forehead, he stirred. His eyes never opened, but he murmured in his sleep, "I love you. Miss you." I wondered what he dreamt about and whom he missed? After covering him up, I kissed him on the forehead and retreated quietly.

The light crept under the door in front of Carl’s study. He was sprawled across the desk, his usual tidy blue shirt a wrinkled mess. His wire-rimmed glasses pushed up on his nose, sitting awry. Even asleep, he looked exhausted. My first instinct was to tell him to go to bed, but he always scolded me for "waking him up to go to sleep." I glanced at the contents on his desk, now crushed under the weight of his body. Photographs, some old, some new, scattered everywhere. I picked up a few and sifted through them, smiling at the memories—vacations, parties and assorted loved ones and pets.

A shiver ran down my spine and I couldn’t seem to shake the chill. I walked over to the French doors and tested them to make sure they were closed. Outside the window, the moon hung like a giant yellow orb, glowing in the onyx sky. Streaks of gold washed across the ocean, as frothy waves crashed upon the shore—our backyard—beautiful and haunting.

The front door opened and closed gently and I spun towards the desk to find Carl nowhere in sight. So lost in the view, I never heard him get up and leave. Without hesitation, I ran to the door to see where he was heading at this late hour.

Head hung low, he lumbered down the wildflower path to our private sanctuary at the side of the house and stopped under the solemn weeping willow overlooking the ocean—my favorite spot. He was carrying some kind of silver container, beautiful and ornate, sparkling in the moonlight. Swiftly, I made my way down the path behind him to get a better view. He knelt beside a large round stone, speaking softly. With great vacillation, he emptied the contents of the container, which swirled upon the ground and flowed towards the sea with the gentle breeze. "Carl," I called out to him and he glanced up, as if the night whispered to him. I walked closer and called out again, panic edging my voice. Tears streaked down his face in the moonlight.

Chilled through to my soul, I peered at the garden stone he knelt beside. All the air rushed from my chest as I gasped in disbelief. There, engraved in fancy script, was my name. “In Memory: Annabel Marie Stratton, loving wife and mother. We will miss you for eternity.”

There was but a brief moment of confusion—just before the intense vision occurred; the inevitable impact as the spinning car flashed in front of my eyes. My ears rang with the sound of screeching tires, crushing metal and shattering glass.

My solid form dissolved. Mimicking the ashes Carl had just scattered, I began swirling and drifting out towards the sea in a plume of mist.

Set free—finally.

 

***

What Laurel Won:

  • $150.00 Cash Prize
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A WOW! Prize Pack
  • A Year’s Subscription to Premium-Green Markets
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
3rd Place:  Elizabeth Barton
Chicago, Illinois
Congratulations Elizabeth!

Elizabeth’s Bio:

Elizabeth Barton has been writing stories for just about as long as she can remember. After attaining degrees in psychology and nutritional sciences, she began work as a medical writer and editor. She participated in the Writer’s Loft workshop in Chicago for more than four years and has recently begun seriously pursuing a career in fiction writing. Elizabeth has dozens of short stories in varying degrees of completion and is polishing a draft of her first novel. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Ian, and two cats, Roxie and Gordon. When she is not writing, Elizabeth is an avid reader and enjoys travel, theater, and wine. She also loves to dabble in, but never master, various pursuits including drama, sewing, painting, and stained glass work. She believes that every experience can be an inspiration.

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The Wedding March

She trembled as she opened the door and stepped into the church foyer.

“There you are! Thank God! It's almost time!”

While the first chords of Pachabel's Canon were audible, the foyer was a haze of pink taffeta, white roses, and black tuxedos. Hair was fluffed, and ties were straightened a final time as the party assembled into an orderly queue behind the doors leading into the main part of the church.

Dizzy and parched, she gulped for air, almost inhaling the white mesh that shrouded her face. One hand held the flowers, the weight of which threatened to make her buckle. The other hand was clenched, her perfectly manicured nails digging into her palms until she feared the skin might break. Mustn't get blood on the white dress.

Open and shut swung the doors. One couple disappeared. Her time was scant.

The world around her moved in slow motion while her mind was catapulted into the future, revealing a blurry pageant of regrets.

Stop it! Charles was a good man. Everyone loved Charles. He loved her, and he would take care of her. Good, dependable Charles would never let her down. That is why she was going to marry him.

Open and shut the doors went again. In front of her, only one couple remained. Her feet wobbled in their white satin heels while the penny in her shoe dug painfully deeper into the ball of her foot.

But Stephen...oh, Stephen. Why was she even thinking of him at a time like this? He was everything Charles was not—erratic, passionate, impulsive, unreliable, and intense.

Open and shut. She was alone, wishing that her father were there to give her away, to march her down the aisle, to make sure she didn't do anything rash and stupid.

The music changed—the Wedding March blared to announce the main attraction.

Wide open swung the doors, and the expectant congregation saw a wisp of white lace disappear out the back of the church.

 

***

What Elizabeth Won:

  • $100.00 Cash Prize
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A WOW! Prize Pack
  • A Year’s Subscription to Premium-Green Markets
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

RUNNERS UP (In no particular order):

Congratulations to the runners-up! It was very close, and these stories are excellent in every way. Enjoy each one’s story!

Click on their entries to read:

Coffee Break by Diane Hoover, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Much Like Flying by Amy Perry, St. Charles, Missouri

Reflection by Michelle Dwyer, Harker Heights, Texas

Date Night by Ann Imig, Madison, Wisconsin

You Can See by Doris E. Wright, Homer, New York

Poster Child by Madeline Mora-Summonte, Sarasota, Florida

The Last First by Nicole Waskie, Johnson City, New York

What the Runners Up Won:

  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A Prize Pack from WOW! Women On Writing
  • A Year’s Subscription to Premium-Green Markets
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTEST SPONSORS:

It is the sincere desire of our sponsors that each writer will keep her focus. Be wholesouled, and never give up. Please show your appreciation by visiting their website!

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Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love

By Dr. Diana Kirschner

Finding true love is possible in just 90 days. Renowned clinical psychologist, Dr. Diana Kirschner, uses the latest research, clinical and personal experience to show you how. Dr. Diana knows the questions single women everywhere face: "Why am I attracted to the wrong kind of guys?" "Why is he just not that into me?" "Why can't I seem to find the One?" She also knows the unconscious mistakes that women make over and over again in love-regardless of age, work success, or the type of men they are dating.

Over the years Dr. Diana has received countless inquiries from single women about writing a how-to guide on her work. Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love isthat book.

Love in 90 Days is fun, savvy and based on the latest research on singles, online dating and healthy relationships. Loaded with step-by-step instructions, checklists, and weekly homework assignments, this revolutionary love book is also an intensely personal journey for each reader. Love in 90 Days guides you along your own path towards self discovery with proven and effective dating advice and tough love. Dr. Diana dispels common misconceptions about love relationships and dating, and share personal stories from women who have successfully completed the Love in 90 Days Program. There's also a chapter devoted to the special issues faced by African-American women, single mothers, and women forty-five and older.

Visit Dr. Diana Kirschner’s website: http://www.dianakirschner.com/

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GrammarBook.com

http://www.grammarbook.com

GrammarBook.com: English grammar, punctuation, and capitalization rules, examples, interactive quizzes with answers and explanations, weekly e-newsletter, contests, and more. Perfect for writers, editors, teachers, and students. Find the entire contents of Jane Straus’s bestselling The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation here.

Gift Certificate: One Year Membership to GrammarBook.com Access to the Membership-Only Quizzes on the most popular English usage site on the Internet! One-year membership to Grammarbook.com English Usage Quizzes. Hundreds of online, downloadable, reproducible, instantly scored quizzes with explanations.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS (In no particular order):

Congratulations to our Fall Essay Contest Honorable Mentions!
Your stories stood out and are excellent in every way.

The Shopping Gap  by Shelley Jewell, West Baldwin, Maine

Succubus Unbound  by Jessica Titterington, Burnsville, Minnesota

Hunger  by Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Chicago, Illinois

The Last Supper  by Jayeeta Kundu, Bethesda, Maryland

Verboten  by Carol Bryant, Forty Fort, Pennsylvania

The Limit  by Corey Ann Haydu, New York City, New York

Coming Clean at Love  by Claudia Mundell, Carthage, Missouri

Dancing with the Gods  by Cathy Keller Brown, Lyndhurst, Ohio

The Kiss  by Sheila Fox, Baltimore, Maryland

She Liked Sunflowers  by Andrew Rittenhouse, Hagerstown, Maryland

A Renter Comes to Roost  by Kym Wilson, Arlington, Texas

Color Schemes  by Elisabeth Stewart, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Good Intentions  by Crystal Posey, Jasper, Alabama

1 A.M.  by Melissa McNallan, Elgin, Minnesota

Glasses Gone  by Tavi Black, Vashon, Washington

What the Honorable Mentions Won:

  • A WOW! Prize Pack

IN CLOSING:

This brings our Spring 2009 Flash Fiction Contest officially to a close. Although we’re not able to send a special prize to every contestant, we will always give our heartfelt thanks for your participation and contribution, and for your part in making WOW! all that it can be. Each one of you has found the courage to enter, and that is a remarkable accomplishment in itself. We’re looking forward to receiving your entries for our next contest. Best of luck, and write on!

Check out the latest Contest:

http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php


 

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