Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest

“There is a $10 entry fee, which helps defray a portion of the cost of operating the contest. All entries must be received electronically or postmarked by *July 1, 2015*.
“Stories must be between 1,500 and 5,000 words in length. All stories must be previously unpublished (excluding personal website and/or blog publication). No extreme profanity or graphic sex scenes.”

For more info and where to enter: Thanks, Kathy Temean.

Writing and Illustrating

saturday evening postThe 2016 Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest is underway! In its nearly three centuries of existence, The Saturday Evening Post has published short fiction by a who’s who of American authors including Ray Bradbury, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Louis L’Amour, Jack London, Joyce Carol Oates, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Tyler, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Sinclair Lewis, among so many others.

Now you have the opportunity to join our illustrious lineup by entering The Saturday Evening Post’s fourth annual Great American Fiction Contest. “This contest is a tribute to the Post’s legacy of featuring the most renowned American fiction writers,” says Steven Slon, editorial director and associate publisher for The Saturday Evening Post. “Our goal is to continue the tradition of finding and featuring compelling stories and the authors behind them.”

The winning story will be published in the January/February 2016 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, and the…

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Class Dismissed!

Indies unite! Save good authors from unnecessary despair and good books from oblivion! Eschew traditional publicatio!!

So you want to be a writer?

This is what I took away from the master class on how to get published last Friday: agents are pompous snobs.

Correction: the agents at this class were pompous snobs. ‘Well, the truth is, most people can’t write,’ one said in a lofty tone. The other one said, ‘And to be honest, I’m very, very busy with my already existent clients, so I don’t have much time to read from the slush-pile.’ However, they wanted to ensure us that if the writing was good, then of course they would take us on as clients.

Someone asked about taste, as in: aren’t agents just as subjective as the rest of us? How much of the decision making comes down to personal taste? ‘None,’ they said. We are professional people and know good writing when we see it,’ they said.

I raised my hand and asked how much of the decision making is colored by trends…

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My #SocialMedia Ground Rules: I Hope You’ll Adhere to Them; I Will Enforce

My #SocialMedia Ground Rules: I Hope You’ll Adhere to Them; I Will Enforce

Social media icons

Dear Social Media “Friends,” “Followers” and those who “Circle” me:

—Please do not privately message (PM or DM) me to promote ANYTHING or ask me to “LIKE” something or follow you. I will block you from then on.

—If you are an #author and want me to notice your books, write good books and let me find them. I don’t have much time to read much these days and I do not write reviews of most books. I’m trying to write my own!

—Please don’t request #bookreviews from me unless I know you and have reviewed your books already. I do not do swaps.

No Meme
image from

—Please do not become a “friend” or “follower” and then send me private messages in order to “date” me. It’s creepy. That is a horrible way to get connected. I will unfriend/uncircle you immediately.

—Please do not comment on my appearance, my photo, or my life in a private message if we don’t know each other. It’s also creepy. I will block you.

—Please do not “ping” me (put my name in your post) just to promote your…. whatever. See above.

—Please don’t ask me to vote up, promote, or review books I haven’t read. Do not send me “chain” posts or demand that I… Whatever. I won’t do it.

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—If you keep posting (I give you one “free pass”) about Jesus, Mohammed, God, or your non-Buddhist religious books, I will mute and then “unfriend”/”uncircle” you. I’m not interested. I don’t want Bible verses (“Old” or “New” Testament), Q’ran passages, Vendanta quotes or anything else that is not Buddhist appearing on my pages, EVER.

—I will post quotes from Buddhist leaders any time I want. If you don’t like seeing those, mute or unfriend me, but please do not argue or post nasty comments about these posts.

—Please do not post pictures of anyone or anything else that is even a tiny bit NOT PG-13 on MY pages, ever, unless you’re making a salient point about sex-trafficking, abuse of minors or women, or health information.

—If you post “artistic” photos that are almost always pictures of half-naked people, I will mute your posts and probably uncircle/unfriend you; same if those are your usual book covers. My audience rating is to remain PG-13.

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—In fact, unless we are actually friends and I know you fairly well, don’t post on my pages at all. PM/DM or email me and ask permission, being specific about what you want to post. Then, I will respond with “Yes, thanks!” or “No, thanks.”

—If I don’t like your politics but you are not offensively promoting them, that’s usually all right, depending on what they are. I’ll let you be. If I really hate your views, I can mute you.

—If you are hate-mongering, misogynistic, racist, classist, mean-spirited, name-calling and otherwise right-wing/ultra-orthodox anything and therefore, in my opinion, obnoxious, I will block you.

no isms allowed

—Please do not post rabid anti-Israel views on my pages, ever. My family is Jewish and some of them live there. Get a clue. I may not support all of its politics or actions, but I definitely support Israel’s right to exist. Intelligent, thoughtful discussions about Israeli politics and actions are welcomed; they are not always what I wish Israel would be doing, either.

Want to know what you are INVITED to do?

Curating Good Content: If you write or repost something you think I’d be interested in and it’s NOT an attempt to sell me your stuff, then by all means, “ping” me. I love learning/seeing new stuff on topics I’m interested in (which are MANY: check my previous posts. I will reblog/repost/share your great posts and give you full credit.

Connecting: If you are a reader of my books or posts, a sympathetic author, a meditator (especially Buddhist), a science-lover (especially quantum physics), a science-fiction fan, in harmony with me politically (feminist, left of liberal), or otherwise resonate positively with my writing, talk show and/or posts, please contact me to ask questions, offer suggestions, get to know me, especially if you live in or are coming through St. Louis, MO, USA!

image from:

Chatting: Want to promote yourself and have a great conversation while doing it? Check out my talk show, CHANGES conversations between authors, and offer to come on as a guest. Info is on my website:

Cooperating: Want more exposure? Offer to Guest Blog something that is NOT purely for self-promotion. Use my email address for these inquiries, which is on my website’s
“Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame.”

Community-Building: To get to know me, join groups/communities I’m active in (not a lot of those, though: on Facebook are “Clean Indie Reads,” “Fantasy and Sci-Fi Net,” “Gutsy Indie Publishers”; on Google+ are “User2User LIVE!,” “Lights, Camera, HOA!” are a few) and post something besides self-promotional posts and I might become interested in you and your books.

Collaborating: To get my attention, comment on my blog, follow my blog, comment on my posts, participate/view my talk show, CHANGES, buy my books and write reviews (or do that for Volume I, which is free), offer to help “crowdcreate” my two Volumes (VIII and IX), THEN email or PM me.

art by Aidana Willowraven

Crowdfunding: To support getting my ebooks into print, my videocasts into podcasts, my next two book covers and my ongoing support of other authors, my blog and my writing, AND get at least a free ebook or reduced-price editing/proofreading/writing tutoring services, please visit and donate to my crowdfunding campaign! I even sing a song for your consternation pleasure! :

I know many won’t see this, but it’s worth a try.

Where to find me:  main website, which has ALL links to books, other sites, reviews, interviews, CHANGES episodes, Guest Blog posts of mine on others’ sites, and more  Amazon Central author page Twitter: @sallyemberedd Spanners Series’ page on FB Sally’s FB page Pinterest Boards Spanners Series’ page on Google+ Sally Sue Ember on Google+ Youtube Channel Goodreads page  

“What to do to Keep Writing Even if You Think You Don’t Feel Like Writing”: Guest Post by John Howell #Amwriting #author

Suffer from writer’s block (which today’s guest blogger declares NON-EXISTENT)? Lack inspiration? Find it difficult to keep to a schedule, a word count goal, a deadline?

One of my guests on CHANGES conversations between authors (see below for more info about our Episode), John Howell, offer tips, advice, humor and more to help you out of your slump! Welcome to my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame”, John!

“What to do to Keep Writing Even if You Think You Don’t Feel Like Writing”:
Guest Post by John Howell
#Amwriting #author

a frustrated  writer for John H
image from http://venture

I am very grateful for the guest spot on Sally Ember’s blog. Thank you, Sally, for having me today. I had originally wanted to do some humorous stuff about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

However, as I thought about being a guest of Sally Ember, Ed.D, I had some second thoughts. After all, Sally’s blog is a source of all kinds of interesting information as well as a place to visit to learn new things. Stand-up comedy may be more of a fit over at my dump.

I should explain why I chose the subject I did choose. I have been asked, since becoming a full-time writer, about the most important piece of advice I could give a new writer. My answer always includes the advice to keep writing.

Just last week I was being interviewed and the question came up again. I gave my answer. Then, after the interview, I thought about what I would say to someone wanting to become a writer but not knowing how to keep writing. I decided right there and then to put some hints down on paper.

This post is the result of taking the time to detail some strategies that may be helpful to encourage a person to keep writing. So here goes.

To keep writing…

  1. establish a routine that includes writing something.
    This routine, by necessity, has to include other parts of the person’s life as well. It does a writer no good to commit simply to writing and meanwhile ignore all the other things that make a life a life. These other things include eating, sleeping, socializing and whatever work one has to do. It also includes those things that being part of the family dictate.
    When I first started writing, I would do jobs around the house in the morning and then turn to writing after lunch. One of the problems with this routine is there are so many things that can get in the way of the writing. Things getting in the way is especially true if the writing is difficult or the scene a little unclear.
    So, I changed my routine. I gave writing the top priority and once a minimum amount accomplished, I would be available for other parts of living.
    I am suggesting that new writers only commit to writing a low level of word count or page count. As a writer progresses, the count will go up during the same amount of time.
    I currently write one thousand words each day. After that, I am free to do other things or keep writing.

  2. do not show others any work that is not finished. Work includes full manuscripts, short stories, and poems. The quickest way to stop writing is to succumb to well-meaning criticism before the work is complete.
    Once you complete a piece of work, you can show it to anyone you wish and collect all the comments meant to improve the product. Trying this prior to finish is a completion-killer.

  3. do not recognize the phantom phenomena called writer’s block. There is no such thing. There may be a lapse in creativity, but as far as blocked is concerned, a writer should not give themselves the excuse of explaining the lack of writing as writers block.
    When I feel stuck on a story line, I write a short story. In this way, I am still writing and keeping the creative mind open. I find that the story will cause me to think of a solution. I have had some short stories become part of the manuscript, since the story solved whatever the issue was in the first place.

  4. vary the medium. Do this by creating a blog, guest posting on other’s sites, entering contests and writing book reviews. These are just a few of the things that can be done to keep the writing assignment fresh and interesting.
    Simply working on a novel day after day can cause the creativity to dry up: the writer will find they are going through the motions as opposed to bringing the passion and creativity needed for the task.
    I currently post seven days a week on my blog. The posts are original material and of various subjects. I do not write about writing. I spend enough time doing writing; I don’t feel like continuing the subject in some informational format. Besides, there are a lot of very qualified people who give a lot of good advice on writing. I just want to have fun. [Except for today!… note from Sally]

  5. don’t pay any attention to query rejections. The only message in a rejection is the piece did not fit what was going on with the reader at the time of the rejection. It could be that the one who is rejecting the work couldn’t face reading one more thing that day and didn’t take enough time. They could have awakened on the wrong side of the bed or quit drinking coffee for some unknown reason.
    The point is, when a writer gets a rejection, it does not mean to stop writing. It is just a rejection; heaven knows, we all have received a lot of those.

  6. find a way to reward yourself for accomplishing your daily quota of writing. It can be as simple as relaxing with a TV show or book. The important thing is that the writer is giving the writer permission to recognize themselves for a job well done.
    When I finish the week with my word quota achieved, I take some time on the veranda with a margarita. It’s not for everyone, but is my way of telling me I’ve done a good job for the week.
    By the way, there is no other person on the Earth who will give writers kudos for doing what the writer loves to do. If a writer does not love what they do, they should find something else to occupy the time.

To summarize, Keep on writing, no matter what.

Thanks again, Sally.

About John Howell:

John H photo
Photo by Tim Burdick

 John W. Howell was held captive for over forty years by organized commerce. In 2012, he was finally released to begin writing full-time. His novel, <em>My GRL</em>, has been published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of a <strong><em>John J. Cannon</em></strong> trilogy.
 The second is now with the publisher and the third in the final editing stage. In addition, John has also finished another novel not in the series which is being queried. 
 John lives with his wife and rescue pets on a barrier island off the coast of South Texas.

Find John:
Twitter: @HowellWave
Authors db:

my grl  John

My GRL is a fiction thriller telling the story of John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, who takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware that his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble occurs when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the woman who first sold him the boat. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

Links to My GRL:
on Amazon
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CAN:
Amazon author page:

Barnes and Noble:
Martin Sisters Publishing: Http://

John Howell was my guest on Episode 14 of CHANGES conversations between authors. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time:

Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest:

Want to be a guest blogger on my site? Visit my “Guest Bloggers Hall of Fame” to review other guest posts, read my guidelines and then contact me if you’re interested:

Book Promotion: Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni by Mary Smith

Very happy to see my most recent guest on *CHANGES* conversations between authors, Episode 31, featured here: Mary Smith!
Watch conversations with my previous *CHANGES* guests any time:

#Authors, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction and who blog, learn more about and get yourself on *CHANGES*, and
#Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest:

DreamQuestOne Poetry & Writing Contest is now accepting entries!‏

#opportunities for #poets and other #writers, here!

Writing and Illustrating


The above illustration was sent in from Craig Orback. He was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Click here to see more of his work.

This is DreamQuest One’s 10th year of inspiring, motivating and encouraging anyone having the desire or love of poetry and writing, to continue doing so without fear of failure or success. We are now accepting entries in our Summer 2015 competition at Dream Quest One. We hope you are still writing and artistically creating with passion and enthusiastically driven from your heart & mind to pen and paper. Enter your best poems and/or short stories for a chance to win cash prizes totaling $1275.00!

How to Enter Your Poems & Stories!
Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, style, or form, typed or neatly hand printed.

And/or write a story, five pages maximum length, on any subject or theme, fiction or non-fiction (including…

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Runaway Smile is an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards

So excited for Nicholas Rossis, my guest on Episode 7 of *CHANGES* conversations with authors and a guest blogger on my site, for his children’s book’s having been selected as a FINALIST for the 2015 International Book Awards! Mazel Tov! Good luck! ἴkalY tYkhy! ἴΚαλή τύχη!

Catch Nicholas’ and my *CHANGES* Episode and any of the 30+ others:  OR

#Authors, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction and who blog, learn more about and get yourself on *CHANGES*, and
#Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest:   OR

Nicholas C. Rossis

Runaway Smile by fantasy, science fiction and children's books author Nicholas C. Rossis is a Finalist in the 2015 International Book AwardsI got some exciting news yesterday, which I wanted to share with all of you! USA Book News announced the winners and finalists of THE 2015 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS (IBA) on May 21, 2015.

Over 300 winners and finalists were announced in over 80 categories and awards were presented for titles published in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Runaway Smile, my children’s book, was an award-winning finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards, in the Children’s Fiction category!

I want to thank my parents, and my wife, Electra, and Dimitris Fousekis, and . Sorry, Electra told me that this is not that kind of post. She promised to listen to my speech as soon as I’m done, though, so I’d better wrap this up and fetch the shampoo bottle (which doubles as award-accepting-ceremony-microphone in our household).

Before I go, a big thank you to all of you who have taken the time…

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