Writing Throwback: Participating in Writing Showcases

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Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

Having been blessed with so many amazing writing opportunities in the past couple of years, I feel it’s time to revisit a few of them. This week, I’m going to talk about Pen and Muse. I stumbled upon this writing website back in 2013 when their Twitter account showed up in my “Who To Follow” box. Curious, I followed them. At the time, I had a poem published in my community college’s literary magazine a year earlier and was looking for ways to build my writing connections.

Over time, I got to know the founders of the website, Jolene Haley and Kristen Jett, and began reading articles about the use of pen names for authors, publishing tips, and more! Soon, the website held Writing and Illustration Showcases for writers and artists to submit their own short stories and art. The stories centered on themes and holidays including Halloween, Christmas, and spring. Having the opportunity to participate in these showcases helped build credibility for my writing, try out short stories, and learn about writing great stories with a limited word count and set deadline. Routine was established, and so was taking time to edit and revise my work. If you want to check out my showcase stories, just go to the Portfolio and click on Short Stories.

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Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

What I really appreciated about Pen and Muse’s showcases was the chance to show off my work. I’ve read articles over the years from magazines and websites that have debated the issue of submission fees for contests and submitting work, so it was nice for a website to give writers free exposure to their gifts and not having to worry about paying a fee.

In 2014, I had received an email revealing that the stories and illustrations from the Dark Carnival showcase in October 2013 were going to be put together in an anthology and published as an e-book! I was stunned. This would be my first publication for the masses. The e-book was later released through Amazon and Goodreads in November. Even though I wasn’t paid, I had my very first publication credit outside of a showcase. Plus, it did very well, reaching #1 on Amazon for the horror category, surpassing Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft!! Recently, the anthology was featured in an article on Bustle after the film version of Stephen King’s novel, It, was released.

Although the website is no longer active as of 2015, you can still access some of their past articles and stories from prior showcases. Now and then, I still keep in touch with Jolene and Kristen. Jolene is still writing, running blogs and a small publisher called Hocus Pocus & Co., while Kristen is running her own marketing business called Starlit Strategies and helping people find success. I am forever thankful to them for what they did with Pen and Muse and am so happy about their recent endeavors with writing and business!  Please lend them your support and check them out! If you go to their websites, you should be able to find them on their various social media accounts.

Happy writing!

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Writing for Hallmark: Consider Hallmark Publishing for Your Next Story!

 

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Image: commons.wikimedia.org

After writing my first Book of the Month post for 2018, I feel compelled to share with you all a little more information about Hallmark Publishing, a branch of Hallmark Channel.

Hallmark Publishing is another way for Hallmark fans to enjoy their favorite stories, in e-book form! Besides Moonlight in Vermont (my Book of the Month for January), other stories available include Christmas in Homestead, Journey Back to Christmas, A Heavenly Christmas, and Love You Like Christmas. Another e-book, A Dash of Love, is forthcoming.

Even though I enjoy reading a classic (Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens), a modern romance (Nicholas Sparks), latest bestsellers (Nina George), some mysteries (Mary Higgins Clark), and some Christian Fiction (Karen Kingsbury, Rachel Hauck, Becky Wade, to name a few), there’s a place in my heart reserved for Hallmark Channel and their movies. Wholesome stories centered on family, friendship, finding love in the unlikeliest of places, and great messages, never get old. I actually talked about a Hallmark Channel Original Movie, “A Novel Romance,” in a post last year.

So when I found out Hallmark Publishing was looking for bloggers to review their books, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I want to again thank the publisher and Stacey Donovan for the chance to read some amazing books. Another thing I’ve appreciated is their Twitter account taking the time to answer questions about what they’re looking to publish and the submission process. If you want to see their complete guidelines and submit your own story, you can click here.

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Image: StartupStockPhotos (freerangestock.com)

I feel we need to take time to support publishers no matter how big or small whether it’d be buying their books, reviewing your favorites, sending a message to one of your favorite authors, or simply promoting them on social media and your personal blog. I hope I did my best accomplishing this feat here.

If you want to follow this amazing publisher, check out their Twitter and Facebook. Fellow writers, if you have a wholesome romance or mystery to share, consider Hallmark Publishing!

Happy writing!