Volume 22 Number 1

"My mom and dad were actors when they were younger and had a horrible experience of it. My dad became a literary agent and my mom became a casting director.”

Daniel Radcliffe
Oct – December 2018

Web Site Review

Seeking an Agent

Literary resources compiled by B. Lynn Goodwin



Seeking a literary agent? You should read Jane Friedman’s article on the subject, https://www.janefriedman.com/find-literary-agent/. Friedman is a skilled writer and researcher with an excellent track record.

Writer’s Digest offers current information from agents seeking new clients in an ongoing blog along with lots of other useful information to get you ready for an agent. Read the latest at http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents.

Learn what the experts at Poets & Writers say at https://www.pw.org/content/literary_agents.

And here are a few tips about making a good first impression:

  1. Be honest.
  2. Follow directions.
  3. Rewrite until you are satisfied.
  4. Read it out loud.
  5. Ask a trusted writer to read it and give you feedback.
  6. Be concise.
  7. Be original.
  8. Show your personality without having an attitude.
  9. Accept that every publication will not want every story so save time by doing your homework.
  10. Remember there are many places you can submit a query or book proposal.

Indie Beacon is a family of services designed to help the indie author sell and market books. The site, http://indiebeacon.com, includes a list of literary agents complete with e-mails at http://indiebeacon.com/index.php/services/literary-agents. If you’re ready to find an agent, there’s no harm in looking. I have not used them and am not endorsing them, but it doesn’t cost anything to look and ask.

Remember, the right readers are out there. Finding them can be a treasure hunt.


Two Places to Publish Your Work

By By M. Kim


In the Beginning:

When I first started to freelance. I thought about a blog. I purchased a domain name and tried out a web hosting services. But I quickly realized I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what I wanted to write, and I wasn’t sure if my need for a blog outweighed what it would cost to maintain one.

That’s why I turned to Medium. With its paywall (access to certain parts of the website and its app are for paid subscribers only) and it’s 25-30 million unique users, Medium offered burgeoning writers a place to flex their wings, and I have never regretted signing up.

So when Medium started a new feature called Series, I was intrigued. Billed as a “new type of Medium story” it was made for writers who were interested in building their pieces as they went along. And after checking out the way Series performs on the Medium app. I found it to be very intuitive allowing regulars users to “hold their place” and finish reading at a more convenient time. And very interactive sending regular readers fun notifications when a favorite author adds to a story.

The only drawback is that parts of the Medium app are on that paywall mentioned above and that might turn off some new readers. Still, if you’re a writer looking to write long-form essays, or even test out some short fiction, this set-up might be the one.

The Competition:

With the way writers have embraced Medium, it was about time some competition popped up onto the horizon, and that competition is Commaful. Are you a writer, who is interested in filling your stories or articles with visual cues? Then embrace that desire to your heart’s content with Commaful.

This site not only gives you another platform to communicate with readers, but it also lets you publish the enriched pieces on all your social networking sites. A definite plus for any writer who is interested in cross-promotion, and cross-readership.

The one drawback of Commaful is that is a newer site, so it does occasionally have to troubleshoot some of it’s most popular features such as story counts, and words read. However, if you are interested in reaching a less mature audience, this website is still worth a whirl.

Give one or the other a try, and let us know what you think.

Adventures Abound at Travelers’ Tales


By Myrna L. Aguilar


Need a good read to inspire your next adventure or take with you on your next vacation? Look no further, the Travelers’ Tales website features books and stories from all around the world. Stories of lost luggage, befriending a stranger, and embarking on a personal journey, capture the essence of traveling. You can find it at http://travelerstales.com/.

Travelers’ Tales editors even encourage writers to submit their own stories of adventure in a far-off land or a local neighborhood restaurant. There is an entry fee to submit and plenty of categories to choose to submit to. Who knows? Your story might inspire someone to take a trip somewhere new. The Solas Awards, now in its twelfth year, allows writers to submit their stories to compete for Best Travel Writing, win cash prizes, and be published.

Throughout the spring of 2018, Travelers’ Tales will release new books offering travel advice, a compilation of stories from men and women travelers, and stories to inspire women to venture off on a solo trip. La Dolce Vita University by Carla Gambescia is an excellent guide for those ready to learn everything about the Italian culture. Mother Tongue, is a personal memoir written by Tania Romanov describing her family’s life spanning from the Balkans to San Francisco over three generations. Click on the book links, and you can read the introduction as well as a sample chapter. The book summaries give you a taste of what you didn’t know you needed to read.

The Travelers’ Tales website is very user-friendly. Click on the Books tab, and you’ll be transported to a list of countries and different categories of travel books that suit all interests. The Stories tab will leave you ready to pack your bags, and the Guidelines tab will encourage you to take a pen and paper with you, so you can write everywhere you go. Travelers’ Tales is the perfect place to visit before, during, and after you embark on any journey.


Myrna L. Aguilar is an MFA in Creative Writing candidate at Mount Saint Mary’s University, in Los Angeles. She enjoys writing, traveling, food and photography. She is mom to a thirteen-year-old son and a four-year-old Poodle-mix named Plumeria.   




by By B. Lynn Goodwin


Recently I asked a knowledgeable librarian if she knew how to upload a book to Net Galley.

She turned, surprised, and asked, “What’s Net Galley?”

Clearly it is time that the world knew about this site, which shares ARCs of all kinds of new titles—with reviewers. When you first go in you’ll find popular titles across the top along with the slogan, “Read, Review, and Recommend on Net Galley.” Writers count on reviews. You can help them at the same time you get yourself established as a reviewer. It’s all digital here, and there are instructions about how to download to your device.

If you want to sign up as a reviewer, click on “Become a Member.” You’ll be asked about the categories of books you like to read, your favorite publishers, and whether you are a blogger, general consumer, book trade professional, or traditional reviewer. Then you get approval and start selecting books. The honorable thing to do is read and review.

If you don’t like a book you can quit after the first chapter or two. Agents usually read three though. Give the book a try, but don’t force yourself to like something that is not to your taste. Write an honest, fair review and move on. There are thousands of books available and seeking your review.

Traditional publishers upload their new books, but if you are indie or self published, you can upload your own. The site provides you with instructions. It charges a fee, but your book will be available to thousands, eager to read and review your work. Reviews work. If you believe your book is solid, this can be an amazing opportunity. Upload your trailer. Be interviewed. Let the site work for you.

Net Galley helps books succeed. How will it contribute to your writing life?

IWWG: Empowering Women’s Voice


by Gina Luongo


With a recent revamp and update on their website, the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) calls itself a global powerhouse and digital village for mighty, soulful women writers. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this community I asked myself when I first came across the website. Recognizing the deep desire within women to create, to be heard and to share their written work, the Guild offers a variety of options for women writers of all backgrounds to come forth with their writing. Through a growing digital village and online presence, an annual weeklong summer gathering of women writers from across the globe, several writing conferences and workshop offerings and the option of membership to the Guild, writers of all genres can find a home in this community.

Membership in the Guild, at an annual cost of $55, brings a free subscription to the quarterly newsletter along with an opportunity for members to promote their own publications, to get advanced notice and discounts on Guild events, and even receive up-to-date lists of agents and publishers who align with the Guild’s mission. Submission opportunities and an opportunity to connect with other members via the Guild’s Facebook page is another attractive feature.

By joining the IWWG mailing list, you’ll be notified of upcoming events and opportunities such as virtual teleseminars and webinars and contact with published member authors. The website is bright, warm and inviting. I found it easy to navigate and find the key components of what I was looking for. I like that it is open to women of all ages and writers of various genres. I’d recommend looking into this site if you’re looking for a place to share your written work and feel empowered by the like-minded women driven by their passion for writing.


Gina Luongo is the author of Slowly, Gradually, Gentlyhttps://www.amazon.com/Slowly-Gradually-Gently-Learning-Accept/dp/1517093082, a self-published memoir detailing her journey in learning to walk again following surgery to remove a rare cancer. Gina lives in Toronto, Canada. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and can be found @Gina5Elle.



Story Circle Network 


Reviewed by Gina Luongo


If you take your finger and draw a circle in the air what you see and feel is that there are no angles. The Story Circle Network, an online community for women writers, has no angles either. Serving women writers who have an interest in writing about their lives in whichever genre, the Story Circle Network is a valuable resource for women writers of all ages and stages in their writing projects.

A Story Circle is a group of women who come together to read, write and celebrate their stories and is based on Susan Wittig Albert’s book Writing From Life: Telling Your Soul’s Storyhttps://www.amazon.com/Writing-Inner-Workbook-Wittig-Albert/dp/0874778484. She is a prolific writer and the organization actively encourages women to establish story circles in their local communities. The site is a comprehensive one stop shop for all kinds of writers. Podcasts, book reviews, writing contests, retreats, blogging, story circle communities and more are there for your choosing.

Although you can participate without paying a fee and even sign up for classes, Story Circle Network offers even more writing opportunities for members. With the fee comes an annual subscription to the Story Circle anthology, discounts on the Network’s classes, retreats, conferences and workshops, the possibility to submit stories to SNC’s journal and anthology and access to the Members-Only section of the website, to name just a few. Non-members have access to numerous online resources, can sign up for writing classes, workshops and retreats and can subscribe to a free subscription to the monthly newsletter.

There’s a lot to click away at and explore on this site. Bookmarking it and referring to it for future use is a great idea for writers of all genres. If you’re a woman looking for a supportive community to help bolster your writing practice, I’d recommend the Story Circle Network website.


Gina Luongo is the author of Slowly, Gradually, Gentlyhttps://www.amazon.com/Slowly-Gradually-Gently-Learning-Accept/dp/1517093082, a self-published memoir detailing her journey in learning to walk again following surgery to remove a rare cancer. Gina lives in Toronto, Canada. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and can be found @Gina5Elle.


Instead of reviewing one website this time, I’m giving you the websites of authors we’ve interviewed over the last 3 years. Take a look at what these authors say. Look at everything from their advice to their sales techniques. Then feel free to write back and tell me what works and/or what tripped you up. Memorable comments may be shared.

The dog in the picture is Eddie McPuppers, who is a columnist for a petfinder newsletter. He invites you to Google him.

7-16 Glen Erik Hamilton 

4-16 Anne K. Ross 

1-16 B. Lynn Goodwin
http://blynngoodwin.com & www.writeradvice.com

10-15 David Arnold 

7-15 Edan Lepucki

4-15 Rowan Coleman 

1-15 J.A. Jance 

10-14 Holly Brown 

7-14 Bee Ridgway 

4-14 Margot Berwin

1-14 Monica Wood 

10-13 Susan Wittig Albert 

7-13 Robert Dugoni 

4-13 Elizabeth Haynes 

1-13 Salma Abdelnour 



The Mother Lode of Resources for Writers
By Andy Smart

To call NewPages.com the mother lode of resources for writers (and readers, and teachers, and agents) may seem hyperbolic. However, any attempt to peruse the vastness of contests, open calls, book and magazine reviews, and writing programs the website has cataloged yields only one conclusion: New Pages is the mother lode.

On the site’s homepage there is a well-designed organizational system for visitors. Under the Literary Magazines heading, mags are categorized by target audience, among other things: Alt magazines, for instance. Or target contributors: Undergrad magazines. The site also has a whole section dedicated to reviewing literary journals; this is one of New Pages greatest gifts to the writer: a summary assessment of what different journals have to offer, from a third party perspective.

We all know the old saw that no one can be a great writer without being a voracious reader. The necessary companion to that maxim is that we all should subscribe to these journals, read them, follow the contributors, and still have time to create our own work. And pay bills. New Pages makes this unfortunate impossibility more palatable by offering a huge database of resources but breaking it into quasi-manageable chunks. And New Pages offers a webstore, so when a writer falls in love with a magazine, it’s available for purchase within a few clicks.

As someone in a transitional phase of graduate writing I was supremely impressed by the New Pages MA/MFA listings, which seemed even more current and organized than the Poets and Writers database. The site is inclusive, but also niche sensitive. It’s flashy but utilitarian. It's just really good. Writers can never have too many friends or too many resources. But if we could only have one, it should be New Pages.

Andy Smart lives and works in St. Louis, MO, where he's an MFA candidate at Lindenwood University. His poems have appeared in Two Thirds North and Red Fez.


Creating Writer’s Opportunities
By Andy Smart

Poet and educator Allison Joseph is a giver. Her gifts to readers include several collections, the most recent of which is My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe, 2010). Her gifts to the students in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale are immeasurable; she is not only the program director but also teaches workshops and gives extraneous seminars. But perhaps the most admirable gift Allison gives is to her fellow writers: the Creative Writing Opportunities list serve, or CWROPPS.

The CWROPPS concept is simplicity itself. Email Allison (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) asking to be added. Thereafter, check your email daily and find a catalog of open calls for submissions, descriptions of upcoming contests, available teaching positions, writer’s retreats, scholarships, and internships. It’s Allison Joseph’s free gift to the writing community. Every day, a dozen or so new listings are posted, giving writers the chance to peruse them.

Here, if CWROPPS has a downside, it is: there’s a lot to wade through. Some contests, for instance, are intended only for certain demographics (women poets over fifty from the state of Wyoming, in one case) or carry hefty reading fees. But, abundance of opportunities is a fine problem to have.

While Allison takes several brief hiatuses every year, the list is more-or-less a constant influx of chances for publication or to further your involvement in the writing life. It’s not the only resource you need, perhaps, but it’s certainly a wonderful supplement. All because a fellow artist wants us all to be heard.

Andy Smart lives and works in St. Louis, MO, where he's an MFA candidate at Lindenwood University. His poems have appeared in Two Thirds North and Red Fez.



Instead of focusing on web site this month, I invited the women in IWWG, http://www.iwwg.org/ to share a bit of information about their blogs. If you’d like a sampling of what women writers are sharing with the world, visit the sites below.

Consider commenting on the latest post. It’s a great way to give back to the writing world.

Donna Wootton is a retired teacher turned author who has published novels, short stories, poetry/haiku and creative nonfiction. Visit her at: www.dmwootton.com where her ebook is available and where she posts blogs, or at http://donnawootton.blogspot.com/ view her first novel Leaving Paradise.

Linda C. Wisniewski is a writer, memoir teacher, knitter, and quilter whose blog is at www.lindawis.com. She tries to make sense of life by writing about her cultural identity, physical anomalies, memoir teaching and the connections we make by giving each other space and time to be heard.

Deborah Eden Perfidio’s blog is www.bookshopworm.com. It's about book reviews and shopping reviews.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring is publicizing a blog focusing on her novel, The Munich Girl, at https://phyllisedgerlyring.wordpress.com/.

B. Lynn Goodwin’s blog, http://blynngoodwin.com is currently sharing the voices of her characters in her coming of age novel, TALENT. Read their views and find a whole lot more.

Websites for a 2015 Writer

Can’t get a major NY agent or a 6-figure deal? 

Don’t feel badly. It’s happened to a lot of writers. Some don’t even try to get there anymore, because they can make more money and sell more books publishing independently.
So how do you position yourself so your writing will be noticed? There are lots of people who will take your money or offer a free webinar on promotion in order to sell their services, and that’s right for some. 

Looking for an alternative? Inkshares, a new company, will help you self publish and self promote professionally using crowd funding and the power of your story. Publisher’s Weekly recently reported that they are the newest model in indie book sales. Read what they have to say at http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/67188-inkshares-offers-indie-booksellers-their-own-imprint.html.

You can also visit Inkshares directly at https://www.inkshares.com

According to their site, “Inkshares is a crowd-driven publisher. Readers express interest in a book by backing it with money. And in so doing, they select the books that we publish…. For authors who want the services provided by a traditional publisher-including marketing and distribution into physical bookstores-but with higher royalties and direct reader engagement, Inkshares may be an option worth considering.” 

Learn about the process and how to participate in it. Consider expressing interest in a book or even pre-ordering at https://www.inkshares.com.

Have your own book idea to pitch? What have you got to lose? If you can generate interest, there’s nothing like a following to push you to finish, edit, polish, and publish. Go for it.

The Nuts and Bolts of Literary Agents

What’s the best place to find information about literary agents? Answers will vary but one reliable site is Writers Digest’s, http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents. Chuck Sambuchino runs this blog. He’s an editor and author who runs one of the biggest blogs in publishing.

If you scroll down the titles of Sambuchino’s articles you’ll find a blend of articles promoting literary agents seeking work and how-to articles about the craft of writing. I particularly enjoyed 4 Writing Tips I Learned at Drama School and was glad to find another writer making the connection between theatre and fiction. There are so many parallels.

His site has instruction and information on literary agents, literary agencies, query letters, submissions, publishing, author platform, book marketing, and more.

If you scroll down the titles of Sambuchino’s articles you’ll find a blend of articles promoting literary agents seeking work and how-to articles about the craft of writing. I particularly enjoyed 4 Writing Tips I Learned at Drama School and was glad to find another writer making the connection between theatre and fiction. There are so many parallels.

Some other titles include New Literary Agent Alert: Lydia Blyfield of Carol Mann Agency, How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent - Agent One-on-One Boot Camp, The Utility (and Trappings) of the Novel Outline and several more New Literary Agent Alerts.

Each article is well written and gives practical advice. Because Writers Digest publishes this, there may be many others using it, so do everything you can to make your query sparkle and be sure to let the agent know why you picked them and why you think you’d be a good fit with your writing style and subject matter.

Let professionals help you find your way. If you find an article you like, spread the word through Social Media. You never know what good may come of it.

FM Writers


FM Writers is a free website made for novice and experienced authors. It is run by author Lazette Gifford, and has been around since 1998.

FM Writers comes in two parts; the first being a forum with designated boards for specific areas of fiction writing, while the other half being a chatroom where writers can mingle in rooms with certain topics and rules. The chatroom features rooms for both general chat, as well as talk focused specifically on writing and how to write.

FM Writers does not feature as many active users as some bigger, larger-reaching writers forums on the internet, but this is a boon as well as a drawback. The users are very easy to get to know, especially if you spend some time in the chatrooms during busy hours. The people there are always curious about newcomers, often asking them what their favourite genres and works are. The members also take part in NaNoWriMo, as well as other writing events such as JulNoWriMo. Their enthusiasm will mean that you’ll have no problem finding fellow people to join in the writing madness with.

As well as advice on how to write, members also give advice on what to do with what you have already written. The forums contain boards where members can share work for critique, as well as boards where people can discuss traditional and digital publishing with experts in the field. Discussions around creating books (such as cover design and blurb creation), as well as advice on selling the fictional word, means that members are always equipped with the knowledge to move in whatever direction they desire.

In short, FM Writers can very easily become your one-stop shop for all things writing, and even for recreation. If you’re looking for a small, tight-knit group to get accustomed to, I wouldn’t recommend anywhere else.

S.E. Batt is a humour writer from the UK. He is digitally published, and his works also appear in anthologies and magazines. He loves a mug of tea, cats, and a good keyboard, even though all three never mix.

Writer Unboxed Provides Writerly Support and Inspiration

Writer Unboxed, began as a collaboration between aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in January 2006. Both women are now published professionals. They have dissected complex books and movies, analyzing what made them work so well, and wrote and published an article about Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

After an article idea was rejected, they decided to create their own forum where they could publish their observations anytime they wished, just as I once decided to start Writer Advice so I’d have a place to publish author interviews.

Walsh and Bolton are thrilled the site now includes contributors from all walks-from the not-yet-published to bestselling authors and industry leaders-and that it’s grown into such a rich community for writers. They have 44 contributors listed on the attractive, well-maintained, and easy-to-navigate site. Ask if they’ll list your blog in their Blogtopia.

The articles I read were high quality, whether the author is offering advice, writing a commentary, or providing the humor that gives us all perspective. Their latest project is a live event, a writer’s conference that will be held in Salem, Massachusetts in November of 2014. Learn more at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-writer-unboxed-un-conference-registration-11517267457, unless you’re reading this after November of 2014.
Join them and over 5,000 other writers in WU’s promo-free Facebook group-rich in conversation and writerly support.

What Do Readers Want?

Have you ever Googled the question, “What do readers want?” If so, you found an amazing collection of answers and viewpoints. There are probably as many answers as there are readers. You’ll find even more results if you Google specific genres.

So how do you sort through and find the right answers for you? Take a look at the articles below. Skim the opening, the conclusion, the format, and see what you can discover.

Read the bullet points, and while you’re there see if Gotham Writers has a class that will jump-start your writing.

What do fiction readers want?
Scroll down and you’ll find a great list.

What do readers want from journalists? 
This is a comprehensive article!

What do YA readers want?
Book Brats has an amazing list of what readers want more and less of.

Why does YA appeal to adults? 
Admittedly the article talks about why adults should be embarrassed to read YA, but as a YA author, I have to say, “To each his or her own.”

Why read memoir? 
You’ll find reasons to read memoirs as well as book recommendations here.

What makes mysteries popular? 
This article will help you make a mystery memorable.

What do romance readers want? 

And finally, here are 7 reasons why everybody should read, regardless of the subject.
Share this one with your friends, your kids, your neighbors, and anyone you care about.

What have you read today, and how has it helped your writing?



Face it. Publishing is changing. Websites proliferate. How do I pick one to review? Writing blog? Writing association? Writing for a genre? How do I choose anymore? I’m grateful I found The Independent Publishing Magazine, http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/. It has resources for today’s author and a message that may give you hope.

You and I can be part of the revolution. More and more people support small independent presses, which bring us non-formulaic books and sometimes the books of authors without vast platforms. The Independent Publishing Magazine functions as a clearinghouse for news, reviews, articles, and resources about the independent publishing world.

At the top of the article’s database a short statement says, “Mick Rooney, editor of The Independent Publishing Magazine has written extensively on the publishing industry, and in particular, paid publishing services and the future of books and the impact of digital publishing. His articles are often informative, sharp and witty, and underscored by a balanced of honesty and stark realism for the modern publisher and author.” Writers need this.

The site is pragmatic, well-thought-out, and accessible. I respect Mick Rooney’s honesty. Quality work that does not meet commercial needs can still find a home, a publisher, and an audience. Get your work recognized.

Learn from the articles, check out the links, and see if Rooney’s services might help you find the right home for your work. I’m particularly interested in reading all the articles in “The Future of Publishing: 2020” series. I’m glad Rooney has an eye on the future.

It’s time to move forward. The Independent Publishing Magazine can help.


A Website Review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Each year Writer’s Digest publishes a list of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. Their fifteenth list is out came out last summer and contributors Tiffany Luckey and Ophelia Thomas spent hours compiling the content. Their list was published in Writer’s Digest, of course, but it is also available at http://media2.fwpublications.com/WDG/WD-101-best-websites-2013.pdf. Under each title is a URL, which is a hotlink in the .pdf. Use those links or download the whole page so you can revisit it often. This is an important resource.

The sites are broken into categories that include Creativity, Writing Advice, Agents, Jobs and Markets, General Resources (a surprising collection), Genres and Niches, Online Writing Communities, and Just for Fun. Find what inspires you today. Come back tomorrow or any day. A writer’s needs change, and there’s something for everyone here.

Nominations come from readers, and the authors investigate, research, and come up with a comprehensive, diverse list. Every site that I’m familiar with has something worth reading. Together they show the flavors and diversity available on the web. Take some time and check out what interests you.

Want to share your opinions or nominate Writer Advice for next year? A sidebar states, “Don’t see one of your favorite sites here? Wish we’d add a new category? Send your comments and nominations for next year’s list to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “101 Websites” in the subject line between now and Dec. 1.” This was posted in the May/June issue, and I realize that December 1 is past, but they didn’t specify a year. ;)

If you give it a try, let me know what they say or simply write back and tell me about a website you think I should recommend here. Cross promotion and networking are important, and so is your input.

Grammar Girl Shares Quick and Dirty Solution

A Website Review by Marlee Lisker


As students, grammar is something everyone learns and many quickly forget. Some call it a chore; others become sticklers no one else can stand. Whether it’s your favorite part of the editing process or the one thing stopping your novel from going to print, grammar is something no writer can avoid.

That doesn’t mean it always comes easily. For those who can’t remember if it’s effect or affect and struggle to decide when it’s appropriate to use “it’s,” there’s Grammar Girl, http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl, the grammatical help portion of the website Quick and Dirty Tips. As the name suggests, this site offers easy-to-follow guides on a variety of topics.
Mignon Fogherty, who is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips site, hosts Grammar Girl. The website is easy to use, with posts ranging from the basics to specific advice responding to user questions. At the top there’s a bar dividing tips into everything from “Punctuation” to “Style,” making navigation that much simpler.

The tips themselves are accessible to a variety of readers, written in a snappy, teasing tone that makes them less intimidating or dull than the typical grammar guide. Each tip is backed by research, with a source list at the bottom. Some of the tips come with recordings for those who don’t want to read through the advice. This site is sure to put grammar snobs in their place and eliminate one of the writer’s greatest hassles.

Check out Grammar Girl at http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com or search Quick and Dirty Tips and look under the Writing and Education Tab. 
Marlee Lisker is a creative writing student at the University of Miami. She has written for The Miami Hurricane and one of her poems will be published in the literary journal Emerge this summer.

Literary Marathon Meets Block Party

A Website Review by Marlee Lisker

Novel writing is a tricky business. It requires a focus and commitment that even the most practiced writers struggle with. The creation of National Novel Writing Month and the subsequent website, nanowrimo.org, attempts to mediate some of the challenges novelists face.

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 when Chris Baty and a group of fellow writers decided to start “noveling,” or meeting each day to work on their individual projects. This turned the tedious, isolating task of writing into what Baty describes as “half literary marathon and half block party.”

The idea quickly sparked into a phenomenon, in part due to the website. The site allows users to create a profile and during the elected “novel writing month” of November, provides a variety of resources perfect for the budding novelist. This includes online forums and ways to network and meet writers in your area as well as inspirational tools and emails to keep members on track.

If the emails aren’t enough inspiration, the staggering list of published participants speaks volumes about the success of the site. During November there’s a way to record your progress by logging your word count and charting it against the projected progress chart.

Though the idea of writing a full-length novel in a month may seem ludicrous at first, nanowrimo.org turns the process into something that is both social and challenging. The desire to meet daily word counts may appeal to some people’s competitive side, completing redefining what it means to be a novelist. 

Marlee Lisker is a creative writing student at the University of Miami. She has written for The Miami Hurricane and one of her poems will be published in the literary journal Emerge this summer

No One Can Tell Your Story But You

A Website Review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Everybody has great stories to tell. How do you get yours from your head to the paper? The National Association of Memoir Writers, www.namw.org may be able to help. Headed by Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., this site offers workshops, round tables, videos articles, free e-books, and gives you access to individual coaching.

Learn to weave craft and truth together as you hone in on your story. Learn to free write and take your message to the next level. Learn the skills of developing characters, writing dialogue, keeping your point of view consistent, creating sensual details and using them in scenes.

Learn to organize your material and when you are ready to share it learn the best techniques now that the publishing world is changing. One of the places you might get a short memoir about your experiences in the 60s or 70s published is to submit it to the Times They Were A’Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s Contest, http://www.timestheywereachanging.com/. Site owner Linda Joy Myers is one of the founders of the project and one of the judges along with Amber Starfire and Kate Ferrell.

Memoir writers need a place to talk, decompress, find encouragement, and recharge their bodies. The National Association of Memoir Writers makes some features available at no charge. For a fee, you can go deeper and access more resources. Visit, explore, and see how they can help you share your story with your family or the world.

Literary Publishing at a Glance


A Website Review by B. Lynn Goodwin What’s new in the world of independent publishing? If you’re looking for a small press and would rather not pay to have your work published, check out the numerous resources at NEWPAGES.COM, http://www.newpages.com/. Whether you’re looking for links to Literary Magazines, Indie Bookstores, Creative Writing Programs, Contests, or Publishers, you can find it here.

The site contains an extensive list of Alternative and Literary Magazines. Each listing includes a link. Searching here is probably easier and more rewarding than searching at Match.com.

Looking for an Independent or University Press? Hundreds are listed alphabetically. Click on Publishers to learn more.

Thinking about attending a creative writing conference? Click on “Creative Writing Programs” and take a look at all that’s offered state by state.

Whether you’re looking for a publishing opportunity, information, or the scope of options available to writers, you’ll get a well-organized, comprehensive look if you visit NEWPAGES.COM, http://www.newpages.com/. The clear organization on the home page and each supporting page makes this a user-friendly, easily navigable site. Visit, enjoy, and make use of the resources listed.

Get Paid for Your Writing

A website review by B. Lynn Goodwin

If it’s time to get paid for your writing, then you need to visit Funds for Writers, http://www.fundsforwriters.com/. The site emphasizes “…finding money to make writing a realistic career.” According to C. Hope Clark, editor and founder of FundsforWriters, “We focus on markets, competitions, awards, grants, publishers, agents, and jobs for your writing abilities.”

Just like Writer Advice Funds for Writers began with e-mailed newsletters and evolved into an ever-expanding web site. Their mission is still “to provide PAYING markets for writers.”

Though they believe that writers should earn a living, they still offer three free newsletters:


FFWSmall Markets


In addition she offers a program called Total FundsforWriters, which is the biggest, best newsletter of all. At only $15 / year it offers

• 2,000+ paying opportunities per year

• 75+ paying opportunities per issue sent biweekly to your email box

• grants, competitions, freelance markets, jobs, publishers, agents

• $350 or 20 cent/word and up in payment

• one article on how to improve your freelance income

• still the same high quality publication as our regular FundsforWriters newsletter - just more of it!

In addition they accept writing about

• ideas on breaking into a particular market

• pointers on winning contests

• unique ways to develop an income with words

• success stories with ideas for others

• profitable business practices related to writing

• seasonal material affiliated with particular markets

• grant success stories

• nonprofit partnerships

• unique markets

• unusual writing income ideas

• anything to help a writer make a dollar penning words

• a dash of humor, if possible; a positive note and a happy ending

If you’re ready to expand your marketability, sign up for Hope’s newsletters. You can do it at www.fundsforwriters.com.


Reviewed by Brianne Wetovick

Word Riot is quite the fun, diverse literary review. First started in 2002, it “has become one of the best known and most reputable online journals on the interwebs.” Word Riot includes creative nonfiction, flash fiction, interviews, novel excerpts, poetry, reviews, short stories, and “stretching forms”.

So what exactly are they looking for? The people at Word Riot seem to want the very best of the most unique pieces, and from up-and-coming writers. It’s refreshing to read things that are slightly off the beaten track, and “edgy.” You won’t read any one thing similar to another.

Each issue highlights the best of each genre through just a few example pieces. This draws more attention to the individual pieces, and really lets the author’s intent sink in.

This publication’s enthusiasm and willingness to publish things that are extraordinary is much appreciated by both readers and writers, as is their willingness to give a voice to a person that may not have the chance to speak elsewhere.

Writers who are ready to pursue should consider Word Riot. Click on the Submissions link above the title to get the Submittable Link. There is no fee for submissions, nor is there a subscription fee. The diverse genres seem to encourage one to submit, and the general feeling is truly supportive.

If you’re a reader you’re in for a surprise.

Daily Writing Tips

Reviewed by Brianne Wetovick

Craft and skill make your writing accessible. Exposure to sloppy writing makes the rules you learned in school fuzzy. When you have a question about spelling, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and the other writing basics, try DAILY WRITING TIPS, http://www.dailywritingtips.com/.

Sixteen categories, listed on the left-hand side, will direct you to information about everything from book reviews to writing basics. Whether you’re a fiction writer, a freelancer, a reviewer, or a business writer, this site has something for you. This is a well-organized, navigable, comprehensive site.

Popular articles are listed on the right, and features, articles, and even quizzes are added daily in the center. From March 10 through March 15 the titles were “Attribute Tags and Their Alternatives,” “The Function of ‘The’,” “Onomatopoeia,” “A Quiz About Combining Sentences,” and “Ethics vs. Morals.” Clearly this site is diverse and inclusive. In fact, it meets so many needs that it’s difficult to categorize them.

On the “About” page, Editor Mark Nichols writes, “Whether you are an attorney, manager or student, writing skills are essential to your success. The rise of the information age - with the proliferation of e-mails, blogs and social networks - makes the ability to write clear, correct English more important than ever.”

If you’re a writer, editor, writing coach, teacher, or intelligent communicator, this site has intelligent concise answers to your questions. Don’t just take my word for it. Check it out at http://www.dailywritingtips.com/. This is a valuable site. Use it to make your writing polished and professional.
Self-Publishing Comes of Age

http://www.smashwords.com/ Self-publishing has come of age, and one of the companies that’s made it happen is Smashwords, http://www.smashwords.com/. Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform for authors, publishers, agents and readers. If you are opposed to ebooks, this site is not for you. But if you interested in sharing your work with the world, spend a bit of time at Smashwords.

They are an open, accessible, and extremely democratic company publishing novels, short fiction, poetry, memoirs, essays monographs, research reports, essay collections and any form you can think of.

Wondering how they can do this without charging any fees? Find answers to all your questions and learn what motivated founder Mark Coker to start this site on the “About” page, http://www.smashwords.com/about.

Then, check “New Releases,” “Best Sellers,” “Most Downloads,” and “Highest Rated,” to get an overview of popular topics, genres, and interests. Will your book fit? Absolutely. Whether you have a collection of literary stories, a book of jokes, a self-help book, a poetry collection, a thriller, or a story of vampires and other worlds, Smashwords has a spot for you.

It's free to publish and Smashwords will distribute with to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Diesel e-Book Store, and five other venues. More retailers are on the way. If you need help with formatting or a cover design, they have people for you to contact. Best of all, when you do a top-notch job of promotion, your ideas will get out in the world. Being published opens doors.

Is this right for every author? Of course not, but isn’t it nice to have options? In the time I’ve been writing this article, three more books have been published at Smashwords. Check them out at http://www.smashwords.com/. Whether you’re a writer, reader, or publisher, Smashwords has something for you.

With Stories to Tell


Story Circle Network, www.storycircle.org, is “for women with stories to tell.” Why review a site that specializes in women’s stories? Certainly it’s for our women readers, but it’s also a place where astute men can gain new perspective. Women of a certain age were often trained to put themselves last. Story Circle Network focuses on helping these and other women unearth and share their stories.

Founded in early 1997 by Dr. Susan Wittig Albert, “Story Circle Network offers classes, workshops, story circles, reading circles, retreats, and conferences in the Austin TX area, and encourages Story Circle members to organize similar activities where they live.” People from all over the country participate online.

Join a class or offer one if you’re a skilled teacher with online teaching experience. Become a reviewer. Get your work edited by experts. Or write for the many journals and contests that Story Circle Network sponsors.

Unsure of your abilities? There’s something for everyone with a story to tell. If you are a technical writer, a children’s writer, a journalist, a romance, sci-fi, mystery, memoir, or diary writer, you’ll find a place for yourself and an audience that listens with compassion and understanding.

To support the organization and use even more of the resources, join for as little as $20. You’ll find its money well spent. Your writing can
blossom and your voice will be heard with the help of the supportive people at Story Circle Network.

BOOKFORUM - A site for Curious Minds


Bookforum is bold online complement to Bookforum’s print magazine. It features enticing articles and interviews, explores writing trends, and keeps abreast of important issues that affect writers. It also lists titles that are only available in the magazine. This is a site that both literature lovers and authors will enjoy.

Examine the issues facing today’s best writers and the reading public on “Current Issue,” “Reviews,” “Omnivore,” “Paper Trail,” and “Syllabi.” The June issue includes an empowering article on bestsellers that states, “As a rule of thumb . . . what defines the bestseller is bestselling. Nothing else." It then goes into depth explaining that a bestseller is a fast seller, gives a history of fast-selling books, and offers explanations of past best sellers. Seventeen additional articles are listed under that category and you’ll more in “Features,” “Fiction & Poetry,” “Columns,” “Non-Fiction,” “Film,” and “Monographs.”

If you click on “Contact Us” you’ll find out how to send a Letter to the Editor or suggest a Syllabus. If you’ve registered on the site, you can comment on “Syllabi” or “Interviews.” It might be a way to get your foot in the door.

The issues are updated monthly. Ads for books run down the right-hand column and ads for other writing-related devices and services run down the left. Readers can pick up tips and open themselves to new ideas and insights at no cost. If all the options seem overwhelming, select what’s relevant and save the rest.

Those with quick, active, curious minds are likely to find this site fascinating. Visit http://www.bookforum.com/ and see what it offers.

Narrative Affirms Humanity with Literature in a Digital Format


Looking for outstanding prose and poetry in a digital format? Drop by Narrative Magazine, www.narrativemagazine.com. You’ll find a wealth of material, a wide variety of genres, and a caliber of thought that will engage and inspire you.

The home page invites readers in with a Story of the Week, a Poem of the Week, and an outstanding collection of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, iPoems, one-act plays, iStories, classics, photography, and more. Click on any title. The work of both emerging and veteran writers published there is thought provoking, and eye opening. The site is attractive, updated regularly, and easy to navigate.

Narrative Magazine was founded in 2003 with the primary goal of maintaining and promoting the legitimacy of quality storytelling in the digital age. It has over 100,000 subscribers. “Narrative serves as a virtual bridge to connect more readers and writers than ever before, publishing more work each year than any other literary periodical” according to the “About Narrative” page.

Interested in submitting? Joshua Clark, Narrative’s unofficial community manager, said that Narrative contests coincide with each new issue of Narrative Magazine. “In addition to the regular story contests (Winter, Spring, and Fall), we also offer an annual poetry contest as well as an annual ‘30 Below’ contest.” Guidelines are at http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/360.

In an age when more than half of young Americans no longer read for pleasure, Narrative is eager to reach out. Their research shows that “Literary readers are more than twice as likely as nonreaders to vote, to volunteer, and to be active participants of the communities in which they live. They are more likely to be healthy, to be hired, to create art, and to achieve both academic and economic success….Reading opens minds and changes lives.”

Co-founder Tom Jenks adds, “Stories and poetry are an essential aspect of society, an affirmation of and means of assuring our humanity toward each other.”

Visit soon at www.narrativemagazine.com. You’ll find yourself in wonderful company at Narrative Magazine.

A Valuable Resource


Poets.org is the official website of the Academy of American Poets. It is a database of American poets and poetry, a center to promote public awareness and support of poetry, a discussion forum, and a retailer of poetry-related merchandise all rolled into one. The website also features numerous essays on writing and teaching and so functions as a supplementary resource for educators.

It is updated with a new-featured poem each day and is constantly changing in order to promote various events and poetic movements (for example, right now the main page features links to an essay on Poetry and Race and, separately, an essay on George Oppen's references to Walt Whitman in his long multi-part poem On Being Numerous). Aside from providing the text of numerous poems, Poets.org also often allows a user to hear the poem read aloud. Sometimes the author reads it.

In terms of user-interface, the website is equal parts text and image and is easy to navigate. Links provide drop-down menus of sub-links, such that a user could go to the website with no other desire than to read a poem about baseball and could come up with a comprehensive list of poems from various schools and time periods that deal with the sport. The website is notoriously interrelative; if I am interested, for example, in the featured "Poet of the Day,” I can read a biography about that poet as well as see a list of all of the author's poems that are on the website. From that point, I can read one of those poems, and from there, I can read poems with similar themes. The website seems designed to promote interest in the vast canon of American poetry, and also allows users to e-mail poems or share them via Facebook or Twitter. If you like a poem about baseball, you can pitch it to your friends.

Finally, one of the more innovative features of Poets.org is the user's Notebook. By creating an account and logging in to the website, users gain access to their very own Notebook, which is a kind of digital file system where almost any content from the website--biographies, poems, essays, reviews--can be saved and viewed at a later date, complete with user-designed categories. This feature is extremely useful for scholarship concerned with poetry.

Overall, this is one of the best poetry-related websites I have encountered, and is a valuable resource for poets, teachers, and enthusiasts alike.


Adam Neikirk is a poet, musician, and teacher. His writing has appeared online and in printed journals. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Music and hopes to enter an M.F.A. program for Poetry. He lives in Massachusetts with his family.

WOW! Supports Creativity


WOW: Women on Writing, “is a global magazine, designed to support women's creativity, energy, blood, sweat and tears, throughout all stages of the writing process,” according to their “About Us” page. Since all of my contacts with WOW have been excellent, I wanted to recommend them here, as long as the site did not exclude men. According to Editor Angela Mackintosh, they’ve “actually had two male winners in our quarterly flash fiction contest, and men enroll in our classes all the time.”

The site is a smorgasbord of informative articles and enlightening interviews. It also includes information about contests, markets, classes and a long list of sites on its resources page. Click, search, and explore as you would on any site. There’s something for every aspiring and experienced writer here.

I’ve had two exceptional experiences with WOW. I submitted to their quarterly flash fiction contest years ago and won an Honorable Mention. Though the story was not published there, I received an encouraging note and a lovely, useful gift bag a few weeks later. I loved feeling noticed and respected.

WhenWOW organized and orchestrated my blog tour for You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers. I shared articles and books with over 15 blogs I did not know, met many other writers, and still check in on some sites from time to time. Jodi, who coordinated the whole thing, is fabulous to work with. So is Angela Mackintosh who provides answers to every question I send her way.

This lively, thriving site is a great place to explore all that the writing world has to offer women and men. Regardless of your gender, you should check it out.

Do You Blog?


Do you blog? Writing coaches and publishing companies tell us that writers must do it to build their platform.

When people ask about my blog I tell them I have an e-zine and we publish four issues a year. Instead of running my own blog, I post responses on other people’s sites. When I check my stats, I can see it’s paying off. Apparently, people check out Writer Advice because they see the URL in my signature line.

So what are the benefits and drawbacks of blogging for most writers? Here are responses from members of the California Writers Club, http://www.calwriters.org/. Their responses verify that most writers use their blogs for promotion. Numerous strategies abound. I urge you to check out the blogs below and comment. It’s a great way for writers to support writers.

Joanne Brown
Purpose: Brown blogs “…to establish an online presence demonstrating an ongoing interest in and ability to write. That way when some lucky agent takes note of my query letter, the blog will help sway him/her…”

Shannon Brown
Purposes: One is “…a newish blog about vintage culture” and the other “promotes my business by featuring my shirts.”

Marlene Dotterer
Purpose: Dotterer blogs to “… chat about writing and other things.”

Bee Hylinski
Purpose: Hylinski’s baseball blog is “… about what ever piques my fancy or tickles my funny bone.”

Alfred J. Garrotto
Purposes: Garrotto’s blog “…promotes sales of my book, The Wisdom of Les Miserables: Lessons From the Heart of Jean Valjean” His blog also “…provides a place for me to write about ordinary (and extraordinary) wisdom when I find it” and “…lets me hear back from readers.”

Bobbie Kinkead
Purpose: Kinkead said, “…when I send out manuscripts to editors they can see my art.”

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Purpose: Koehler-Pentacoff “…is focused on writing prompts and contests for both students and adults.” She added, “It's least helpful when I have a lot of articles and books that I'm working on and school visits to give and I don't have much time to devote to it. But it's fun to turn an experience into a writing prompt!”

AL Levinson
Purpose: “I needed a place to seek advice, a place to park thoughts refined from fragments of journals, a place to provide a passenger seat for those who would join me in spirit. And a place to store the notes for the 2011 version of Travels With Charley, Blue Highways, A Walk Across America, On the Road with Charles Kurault.”

Lani Longshore
Purpose: In trying to document the process of cleaning her sewing room, Longshore “unearthed treasures, found links to family history, and more than a few excuses to discuss my opinions of life, the universe and everything.”

Judith Marshall
Purpose: Marshall blogs “…to promote and sell Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever

Nanette McGuiness
Purpose: McGuiness blogs to “…talk about what music I'm studying, listening to, or hearing in concert, as well as the books that I'm reading.”

Camille Minichino
Purposes: Minichino’s three blogs meet different purposes. She writes to “…share everything from bookmarks to crafts aprons” on Killerhobbies, and to “…take on a different theme every two weeks” in the Ladykillers. Her newest blog, “The Real Me” is a place to “take on topics like religion and politics as well as childhood issues that I hope will resonate with readers. This blog is less for promotion than an exploration of themes that we all think about.”

Violet Carr Moore
Purposes: Moore’s blogspot “is an all-around soapbox for book reviews, interesting people and places” while her wordpress blog “is dedicated to writing-related topics.”

Ann Parker
Purposes: Parker’s personal blog is “…good to have around to "ramp up" when a new book is coming out or something pops to mind,” and her group blog, LadyKillers, is a place where “each bring something different (and our own "followers").” This “intensifies its visibility and usefulness.”

Dore' Ripley
Purposes: Ripley blogs, which she runs for her college students meet two purposes: “1) to gain real world writing experience outside the college classroom; and 2) what you say in cyberspace (no matter how stupid) will follow you…”

Aline Soules
Purposes: Soule’s first blog allows students to “…find 100% of their assignments, materials…including Word documents, PDFs, links to tutorials, links to other Web sites.” Her “writing blog,” http://alinesoules.wordpress.com stores her “ideas, tips, speeches, etc.”

Everyone shared their sites and their purposes, and some, as you can see above, have multiple sites and purposes. People blog about their passions, whether it’s writing, baseball, or crafts. They blog to put their voices out in the world. They blog to promote their books, their interests, and their passions. They blog to inform readers of events and resources. It’s an easy way to communicate with readers and get feedback.

Educators use their blogs to dispense information to students and teachers quickly and efficiently. The information stays available as long as they want it out there and they can reach those who miss class by posting assignments and readings on the blog.

The biggest problem is that quality blogs take time. I understand that concern. We’re all stuck in a 24-hour day and I marvel at how much some of these writers get so much done.

Judith Marshall voiced a concern of many author-bloggers all over the Internet: “We all know there’s a whole lot of blogging going on…. But how many books get sold as a result of your blog? That’s the key question.”

Do you blog? Tell us how it’s helped you and how you make time for it in your busy schedule.

Writers and Aspiring Writers Seek Encouragement at Confident Writing


In this increasingly digital age, Confident Writing, a blog by Joanna Paterson, offers advice on powerful writing for a variety of different social media. Seeking to provide a welcoming community for new or aspiring writers, Paterson emphasizes in her “About us” section that Confident Writing is intended more for “those who want to write than those who already define themselves as writers”. For many writers and bloggers unsure of their own abilities, this is a refreshing remark. With its helpful articles and friendly community, Confident Writers inspires writers to find their voice and, as the title indicates, write with confidence.

Paterson offers unique advice on blogging with regularly updated articles, written in a warm, inviting style that’s appealing to both new and experienced bloggers.“10 Killer Posts on Blogging with Confidence” compiles the most helpful posts on Confident Writing for those looking to start or improve a blog. The posts range from topics such as first starting out, to devising quality posts, to engaging the reader. Each is clear, insightful, and helpful-even a seasoned blogger may find something new and useful.

Confident Writers also stresses networking on Twitter, not just for blog promotion but to make valuable connections. For those new to Twitter, there is a helpful article on “Tweeting with Confidence”, with 10 tips on connecting and posting successfully on the social networking site. There are also several interesting articles on how Twitter, as its own unique form of blogging, can improve your writing.

The most valuable aspect of Confident Writing is that the tips, articles, and posts, are applicable to all types of writing, not just social media. Writing confidently is something every writer can benefit from. In addition to Paterson’s helpful posts, the feedback provided by the Confident Writing community makes the site welcoming and encouraging.

Check out this award winning blog at http://confidentwriting.com/


Rachel Rosman is a Writer Advice intern and an incoming senior at Brandeis University, majoring in English and Creative writing.

Red Room Reaches Out With Literary Social Media

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

Every week, Red Room invites members to blog on a subject they send out to their whole community. The responses amaze me. Even though I haven’t found time to respond, I applaud the outreach. Red Room offers so many ways to check in with authors and literature lovers. It is a social media site for the literary world.

Hope Edelman, who I interviewed about The Possibility of Everything for this issue, has a page. So does Beverly Cleary, whose books I remember from childhood. I found pages for writers I had interviewed, writers I follow, and household names like Stephen Colbert and Barack Obama.

Anyone can contribute to the pool of creative thought. Review, blog, or contact other Red Room members. The editors select the Blog of the Day, Post of the Week, and Review of the Week and share them on the home page.

In addition to the camaraderie, Red Room can provide other perks like Ivory Madison’s Advice for Writers, listed under “About Us,” and personalized coaching and editing services for writers in any genre. Red Room also offers copyediting and proofreading services. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details and fees.

When I asked founder Ivory Madison what she would most like to share, she said, “Red Room is a supportive community that grew out of our real-world community in San Francisco, the Red Room Writers Society. It’s free for readers and aspiring writers and is a place to ask questions, make friends, meet your heroes, and feel entitled to your dreams. For professional authors, it can be your central platform for marketing, networking, and building a reader base. I feel lucky to be a part of it.”

Check out this strong, supportive site at http://www.redroom.com/.

Wisdom, Free of Charge

Reviewed by Courtney Watson

Without a doubt, the best advice an aspiring writer can receive comes from a writer who has spent time on a Best Seller list and toiled for years in the industry. AuthorMagazine.org is a great start for writers looking for advice from successful authors. The site offers dozens of author interviews, ranging from Richard Bach to Julia Cameron. Each one shares their unique journey and encourages new authors to stay focused despite a world of negativity.

Author Magazine shares monthly reviews on both fiction and nonfiction books, covering the smaller titles as well as those monster best sellers. It publishes articles offering tips and techniques to ensure each writer gets the most out of every story they pen. The “Editor’s blog” is updated almost three times a week, enticing readers to check out the site frequently.

While those features are exceptional resources, my favorite section was the encouraging author interviews. Julia Cameron, for example, the author of The Artist’s Way, discusses how to “take the ego out of writing.” She explains how doing so allows individuals to write more freely. The amount of quality information available through “Author” is staggering. And it is free of charge!

Author Magazine is presented in partnership with The Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association, and is always encouraging new talent to submit articles or book reviews. Complete with a mailing list and a podcast on iTunes, Author Magazine promises to keep writers current on the happenings in the world of writing. Dive in to all that Author Magazine has available.

Courtney Watson is a professional dreamer and an aspiring writer. She graduated from California Baptist University in 2008 with a B.A. in English and is currently working on a Masters in Creative Nonfiction Writing though National University.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are interested in becoming an intern for Writer Advice, please send a query letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Give us a paragraph or two about your writing experience, education, and interests. This is an easy way to pick up writing credits for your resume. We’d love to hear from you.

Book Promotion in the Age of Social Media

I joined Facebook last January. A Writer Advice reader recommended it, and I am grateful she brought me into the world of social media. There’s a revolution going on inside Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and writers are gaining exposure and credibility on all three sites.

On Facebook, I quickly became friends with authors and their friends and with bookstores. I keep up with countless authors. I reconnected with Hope Edelman, who has a new book coming out, and she sent me a copy for review. I found Meg Waite Clayton and learned that The Wednesday Sisters was going into its fourth printing. You can read our interview, “Two Thousand Words or 2:00” at http://www.writeradvice.com/archives.html. Facebook is a great place to announce my events, keep up with the day-to-day musings of teachers, and follow the posts of writers I only see once a month.

On LinkedIn, I’ve found elder care, Alzheimer’s, writing experts, and more. I’ve exchanged books with some and been on radio shows with others. Some writers posts make me grateful for all that is right in my life. Others make me appreciate how hard writers have to work. Several have asked me to be a guest blogger and one asked me to write for his print magazine. LinkedIn is a good place to make professional connections, and it’s opened up several paths for me.

I get so much mail from these sites that I’ve been reluctant to join Twitter. Annie Fox, who did a radio interview with me, archived at http://www.writeradvice.com/ywmtdw.html told me, “I’m finding Twitter to be way more valuable to connect with like-minded professionals and those seeking the kind of services I provide than LinkedIn (which seems to only be professionals) and Facebook which is just friends and family.” That’s good motivation, since Annie and I both help people facing stress. Twitter is a niche I plan to explore very soon.

Which sites are you on and how are they working for you? I’d love to hear your experience, preference, and endorsements. E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Summertime and the Reading is Real Good

A Review of http://www.goodreads.com Summer brings up images of lying in a hammock and being lost in a book. While this may not be reality, you can still carve out time to read.

Looking for book recommendations? Check out the numerous options presented at Good Reads, www.goodreads.com.

It's a great site for diversion, entertainment, information, sharing, and pleasure.

Goodreads bills themselves as “the largest social network for readers in the world.” They have over 2,100,000 members and are a “place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike.”

If you want to advertise your books, Goodreads Authors program is “a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience - passionate readers.” If you write reviews, they can be published here.

Connect, share, and promote. You can “share book excerpts and other writing” in a blog available to over 2 million members. I particularly enjoyed the non-fiction book lists found at http://www.goodreads.com/list/show_tag?name=non-fiction. Though I don’t agree with every bias, I like the passion and commitment here.

I’ve had two invitations to join--one from a professional and one from an aspiring author. It’s a site for everyone. Check out Good Reads, www.goodreads.com and, if it is right for you, add your voice to the mix.

Be An Expert Who Cares -- Help a Reporter

A website review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Are you an expert on economic woes, parenting, recycling, feng shui, outdoor sports, global travel, technology or eldercare?

Whatever your specialty, reporters need your help. They need quotes from experts for their stories, so they rely on Peter Shankman’s Haro - Help A Reporter Out, www.helpareporter.com/.

Marketing guru Peter Shankman says, “This list was originally conceived on Facebook, but since Facebook caps group emails at 1,200 people, this is the next incarnation.”

The URL will take you to Shankman’s “I am a source” page. Simply sign up, add Peter Shankman to your address book, and his e-mails, filled with reporters needs, will come straight to your inbox. Skim the queries. If you see a request that you can fill, scroll down and read the specifics. Then contact the reporter. Shankman only asks that you “ promise not to email a reporter with an answer that doesn't match what they're looking for.” Don’t won't waste a reporter's time simply to promote yourself.

Towards the end of his welcome letter, Shankman adds, “Wanna do me a favor? Give your PR buddies this link: www.helpareporter.com ,and give your reporter/editor/journalism buddies this link: www.helpareporter.com/press ” This review answers that request. Take advantage of this win-win opportunity. When you help a reporter, you build your platform, to say nothing of your karma. Enjoy the role of expert.

A Huge Demographic-Learning about Caregivers and Seniors

A website review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Does your readership include the largest growing demographic in America, boomers and seniors? If you want to learn more about them, one source of insider secrets and solutions is Aging with Grace, Your Solution to Eldercare Stress, http://www.agingwithgrace.net/.

Eldercare is a hot non-fiction topic right now. According to “The Silent Productivity Killer” one of the accordion bullets on the home page, at Aging With Grace, “Millions of American workers are caught in a desperate struggle, largely hidden from most employers…. Studies estimate that more than 14 million U.S. workers were taking care of older relatives, with a productivity loss of $29 billion a year.” Learn how people are coping.

Creative writers will get story ideas from photos, the key, and the handwritten postcard decorating the left-hand column. Dig deeper to discover concerns and motivations. The CareConnection Blog includes musings about how seniors are seen, Generation X, mind over matter and more. Whether you want to write a memoir, or a mystery about the will and the insurance, you can find names, places, motivations, and other authentic details here.
The stress of caregiving made me journal, and my experiences became a “how to” meets “self help” book called You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers. Aging with Grace can help you find some writing opportunities you may not have considered. Educate yourself about this growing market. Check out Aging with Grace, http://www.agingwithgrace.net/.

New Books and More at MyShelf.com

A website review by B. Lynn Goodwin

My Shelf, http://www.myshelf.com/, is colorful, attractive, and easy to navigate. November’s author of the month, Sue Monk Kidd, is one of my favorites. When I clicked on her name, I found an intelligent essay about her work and her visit to the Marin Center in San Rafael. Reviewer Laura Strathman Hulka is first-rate. Each month a different reviewer chooses a new author.

Back on the home page, I clicked on Holiday Reading Lists and found children’s books grouped by ages, and adult books grouped by genres. Who knew there were so many Thanksgiving books? Who knew that Y2K was a holiday?

The site had 142 new reviews in November and 169 in December. I looked in Adult Non-Fiction under “How-To,” “Self-Help,” and “Writing” searching for Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s review of my book, You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers, and I found it under writing. You can learn more about that book on this website by clicking on Journaling for Caregivers.

I returned to My Shelf’s home page and found “Audio Buzz,” “Babes to Teens,” “Back to Literature,” and six more columns filled with appealing commentary. The award-winning site has “contests, reviews, columns, holiday reading lists, and Deaf Characters lists” according to the owner.

Whether you are New York published, self-published, or somewhere in between, explore MyShelf.com. Consider advertising, writing reviews, or editing for them. Explore the wealth of information on this comprehensive, long-running site.

Paying Markets

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art1489.asp and http://www.writerswrite.net/paylist.cfm
A website review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Have you checked the Contests and Markets page for the current (Fall, 2008) issue? If so, you’ve found some of the excellent markets I discovered when I typed “little known writing markets” into Google and found “Markets for Writers-Nonfiction Writing.” From there I found Bella Online http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art1489.asp. There are 111 markets listed on that page.

I clicked on one of the first few entries, “Alphabetical List of Paying Markets,” which took me to Paying Markets List, http://www.writerswrite.net/paylist.cfm, and found 676 markets listed. It was certainly worth the few clicks it took to get there.

I clicked randomly and found publisher, website, and description on all pages. Most also included the editor, an e-mail address, the URL, rights, needs, length, and payment information, plus a place to click for guidelines.

Scroll through. Click on whatever looks interesting. Record the sites that look promising. Though I found a few defunct sites as I used the list to complete my “Contests and Markets” page for the Winter Issue of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, most are current.

If that site doesn’t meet your needs though, click back. There are 110 more sites to explore on Bella Online. Find links to literary publications, fantasy and science fiction markets, Christian markets, dark markets, children’s markets, travel markets foreign publications, something called Fiction Factor, and much more in this eclectic list. Men are welcome despite their claim that Bella Online is “the voice of women.”

Why not get paid for doing what you love? There are nearly 676 leads at Paying Markets List, http://www.writerswrite.net/paylist.cfm and 110 other sites listed at Bella Online, http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art1489.asp.

The Internet Review of Books

A website review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Are you a bibliophile? Do you crave intelligent book reviews? Visit The Internet Review of Books, http://internetreviewofbooks.com/index.html, which reviews books in the fields of science, social science, history, art, music, and current affairs with “attitude and passion.” It bills itself as “An Intelligent Guide for Intelligent People.”

Though Editor Carter Jefferson included May booklists from Publisher’s Weekly and the Wall Street Journal on the blog page, his site also encourages self-published authors, offering them

special advertising rates. The June issue takes a specific look at the perks and perils of self-publishing in Associate Editor Bob Sanchez’s essay, “Diving for Pearls.”

In the May issue, I found a drop down box of enticing questions. Click on the question and you were zapped to the review that explored it. In the June issue, I found some questions, but no way to click. I hope this is a technical glitch, rather than a new style.

The reviews I read in both May and June were well written, balanced, and strengthened by the voice of the reviewer. Writers dig for meaning and interpret it within the context of their own lives.

Interested in reviewing or contributing to the “Lasting Impressions” series? IRB accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Details are in “Reviewing Guidelines.” Get to it by clicking on “About IRB.”

I plan to revisit this site, especially when I fear that my own reviews are falling flat. The pieces in IRB revitalize and inspire me. Be sure to check them out.

Booksense pairs with Independent Booksellers

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

Frustrated by bookstore chains? Check out the recommendations of independent booksellers by visiting Book Sense, http://www.booksense.com/. Click on Book Sense Picks to read current recommendations from booksellers. Thirty-six were listed for the week of May 13. All can be ordered from the website or purchased elsewhere.

Looking for more titles? Click on Bestseller List. Then choose from Trade Paperback Fiction, Trade Paperback Nonfiction, Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover Nonfiction, Mass Market, Children's Interest, Children's Illustrated, and Children's Fiction Series. The top three books in each category are pictured. Click on the picture and you’ll go to a page that announces, “BookSense.com is all about shopping locally.”

The site makes it easy to buy online, but if you want to go shopping, click on Store Locater. I did, and I learned that my California zip code yielded 110 results. Many offer links to their web pages, where customers can continue to click and explore.

The site gives you “…access to information about myriad staff recommendations -- and you will also be presented with content that reflects the collective wisdom of booksellers from all 50 states and Puerto Rico.”

If you passionately support independent bookstores, as most authors do, check out Book Sense, www.booksense.com.


with Garrison Keillor
A web site review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Poetry rocks. It can also intimidate. Exposure helps.

Poets, potential poets, and the rest of us can have a new poem delivered by e-mail seven days a week. Simply subscribe to The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor at http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/. Visit the webpage and click on Newsletters. Then enter your information and scroll down to click on The Writer’s Almanac.

In addition to a poem, each e-mail includes Literary and Historical Notes for the day. To hear Garrison Keillor read the notes and poem, click back to the Home Page and subscribe to Podcast or click on Real Audio when you get your e-mail. Keillor’s voice enhances meaning and his pacing brings out subtle nuances.

Want to know more about the poet’s craft? Click on Bookshelf and select a poet. You’ll read highlights of an interview focusing on inspiration and technique.

The Writer’s Almanac houses an amazing library of contemporary poets and their predecessors in Archives. Records go back to 1995.

Let The Writer’s Almanac, http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/, broaden your imagination and enhance your appreciation of poetry. Reading or listening to The Writer’s Almanac will enhance your day.

Mediabistro Offers Help for Nonfiction Writers

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

Mediabistro, http://www.mediabistro.com/, caters to nonfiction professionals. It is “dedicated to anyone who creates or works with content, or who is a non-creative professional working in a content/creative industry,” according to the site.

Register at no charge to read blogs, media news, class descriptions, and current job openings. See what other freelancers offer or list your freelancing specialties for a fee. Explore the Content tab, which includes many free articles. Explore the Forums tab, where you can post your own questions and respond to others. As a newly registered member, I posted information about the Writer Advice Flash Prose Contest (www.writeradvice.com) on the Bulletin Boards in Forums with no problems at all.

The “How to Pitch” segments come highly recommended. Mediabistro includes a piece called “Pitching an Agent.” I am told these articles are well worth the $49 annual fee.

Although the quantity of content seems overwhelming at first, Mediabistro has a great deal to offer journalists, editors, photographers, memoirists, screenwriters, and freelancers. Take some time to explore http://www.mediabistro.com/.

Detective Fiction References

Reviewed by Catherine Accardi

After you enjoy the mystery short story anthology, Fog City Nocturne, edited by B.J. West, take yourself on an intriguing internet adventure to http://www.strafe.com/FogCity/Gino's/Noir.html

You will find "Detective Fiction References". These are numerous links that will take you too sites such as Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang, American Crime Fiction and Film Noir, and Film Noir and the Hard-Boiled Detective Hero, by John Blaser, just to name a few. John Blaser's essay discusses the nuances of the tough, cool operative, a character at the center of detective fiction.

These links will assist you in exploring, and writing, your own crime fiction. There is nothing as satisfying as good Noir fiction. If you are a writer who enjoys creating intriguing stories, or a reader who enjoys taking a peak at the "dark underbelly" of mysterious characters, this website will take you where you want to go. Remember, make your way carefully through the dark alleys, writing can be dangerous.

Double click on the Hooked on Books button above and you will find Catherine Accardi's bio following her review of Fog City Nocture.

SFWA--A Treasure Trove of Resources

A web site review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Do futuristic worlds open the doors of your imagination? Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc, http://www.sfwa.org/ is an excellent place to expand your knowledge. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, a science fiction writer or pursuing other genres, you'll find valuable resources here. Most of them are available whether you are a member of the organization or not.

At the bottom of the Home Page, you'll find seventeen links. Want the latest news about the Sci Fi-Fantasy World? Click on The Bulletin. Want to read work published in the genre? Click on Members' Fiction. Want to improve your writing skills? Click on Writing. Inside each of these pages, you'll find straightforward articles packed with facts and inspiration. Looking for a writing group? Find them inside Links.

If you want to dig further into the genre, explore Members' Pages, Reading, Pressbook, and Nebula Awards. For expert tips on the business of writing, visit Contracts and Writers Beware. To stimulate your imagination, explore all that is offered in Links. This page goes beyond what you might expect on a writer's site.

Expand your knowledge at http://www.sfwa.org/. This thoroughly professional site offers something for every writer.

Duotrope's Digest

Reviewed by Catherine Accardi

Let's just say you had written the best novel ever. Where would you go to find "a database of over 1,925 current markets for short fiction, poetry and novels." Let me help you with the answer to that question: Duotrope's Digest at http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx.

The search engine on this site allows you to find publishers by genre, length, pay scale, media, and country. The database is updated daily. There are fifteen genres to choose from including literary, mainstream, fantasy, romance, mystery, action, historical and western. What more could you want? Read on.

The handy guide on the side of the home page allows you to easily search by these categories with a clear legend of all the information provided. The menus at the top of the home page allow you to explore the free services offered including "Find by Title", "Newsletter", and "Theme Calendar".

I entered genre: mystery; length: short story; media: any, and instantly I received a listing of 77 primary matching markets and a listing of 170 secondary markets. For each listing there is a "details" button, which provided me with complete details of that particular market, including market description and detailed submission guidelines.

I have bookmarked this gem of a website, so, now go ahead and you do the same!

Click on Hooked on Books and scroll down to read Catherine Accardi’s bio.

Book Catcher Shares Advice

By B. Lynn Goodwin

Need to jump start the marketing and publicity for your newest book? Book Catcher is one of many sites that can help. It promotes itself as the site for people who write, publish, market, and love books. Whether you fall into one category or all four, check it out.

You’ll find that Book Catcher is chock full of how-to information and expert advice. It has 23 book development articles, 38 book marketing pieces, and 11 book publishing guides.

Not to the publicity stage just yet? There are 25 articles on book writing.

Considering self publishing? Check out the information in the self publishing and e-publishing links. Learn what works and what to avoid.

Take a look at what is happening in the writing world today by clicking on publishing news and book marketing. Two other how-to sections, book events and writing contests, should be updated soon. There’s also an excellent section offering freelance writing jobs. New postings go in almost every day.

If you have a book you are already promoting, submit a copy of your release to their free book publicity directory. Wherever you are in the writing process, Book Catcher has something to offer you.

Mystery Readers International

Reviewed by Catherine Accardi

Mystery Readers International (MRI) is the largest mystery fan/readers organization in the world. It is no wonder their website, http://www.mysteryreaders.org, is fabulous.

Mystery Readers International’s organization, and website, are open to all readers, writers, fans, critics, editors, and publishers. All of the above consider this site as an essential source of mystery related information. Mystery Readers International is headquartered in Berkeley, California, but MRI has members in all fifty states and eighteen foreign counties.

Categories on the website include:

- The Mystery Readers Journal: Here you can enjoy samples of past issues of the quarterly, thematic periodical online. Listed are themes for 2007, such as Historical Mysteries and Mysteries Set in Ireland. Authors of mysteries falling into the themes are invited to submit short essays.

- At Home Online: This section provides interviews with prominent mystery authors.

- Mystery bookstores: Here you will find listings of mystery bookstore for the entire United States and thirteen countries.

- Reading groups: This listing includes reading groups in the United States, Canada, England and Spain.

- Mystery periodicals: One hundred seven periodicals are listed. Each has a brief description, website address, and contact information.

- Mystery readers/writers events: Events are listed for all the States, and several foreign countries.

- Members in the News: Keep up to date on the latest news regarding your favorite authors, including yourself!

Of course, the website is appealing to the discriminating eye of the viewer, but the website also provides substantial amounts of current, useful information for the mystery reader, and writer alike.

Catherine Accardi is a regular contributor to Writer Advice. Click on the Hooked on Books button to read her bio.

Travelers’ Tales

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

If you have the time to travel and the urge to write, take action. Plan a trip; record your experiences, reflections, and personal growth; and when you get back, turn your adventures into travel writing. If your journeys are limited to visiting relatives, you’ll find plenty of stories there as well.

Whatever your circumstances visit Travelers’ Tales, http://travelerstales.com/, to learn about travel writing that sells. The site focuses on “stories, wit, and wisdom from travelers around the world.” In the center of the home page, Editors’ Choice publishes submissions that work. Author Talk shares interviews in podcasts.

Flying Carpet, Travel Watch, and TT Experts help you organize your trip and make travel arrangements.

Catalog lists great themed books and will give you ideas for focusing your own writing.

Solas Awards offers cash prizes. The deadline for the second competition is September 1, 2007 and details are on the site.

Travel Tales editors search continuously for humorous, insightful, reflective essays to share. Submit a Story gives guidelines for the books in progress.

In 1993, editors James O'Reilly, Larry Habegger, and Tim O'Reilly teamed up to “paint a portrait of a country through the experiences of many travelers.... These books give readers a depth of understanding that can only come from people who have been there.” Let their essays encourage you to expand your world.
Pack your suitcase and travel to new settings, where untold stories await. Share what you find at Travelers’ Tales and order the stories of other travelers.

Mystery Lovers Corner

Reviewed by Catherine Accardi

Exploring can be a mystery especially if you are exploring the website, Mystery Lovers Corner.

Discover the many new best selling mysteries, as well as obscure hidden treasures. Check out Meet the Authors, Featuring, and News, for the latest information about your favorite authors.

Click on Categories to find a listing of mysteries from academic to wildlife. Click on Library, and you can just place your mouse on the cover of one of the featured books, and read the first chapter.

This website truly is a Mystery Lovers Corner, so make yourself a cup of tea, get cozy, and explore a mystery!

Click the Hooked on Books button and scroll down for Ms. Accardi’s bio. She’s reviewed a mystery called Bookmarked to Die there.

The Association of Authors’ Representatives

Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

For writers, The Association of Authors’ Representatives, AAR, is a little like Match.com--without the photos or fees. Writers can search for an agent by looking at all 381 listed agents or narrow the search in several ways.

Looking for someone to publish your self-help book? Go to “Search for an Agent,” click on “Simple Search,” and type in self-help. Looking for agents that specialize in children’s books? Type in children. Hear an agents name at a conference? Look her up in “Name Quick Search.” Save, store, and retrieve the results. It’s all part of the service.

The site answers four FAQs:

• What can an agent do for you?
• What does the Author/Agent relationship consist of?
• How can you find an agent?
• What should you do if you find an agent?

A well-stocked page of links lists high quality publishing publications and offers links to a wide array of professional organizations, book fairs, booksellers, bestseller lists, and reference sites including sites on copyrights and royalties. AAR will open your eyes.

The world of agents is sometime murky or overwhelming. Let this site simplify the process. The Association of Authors’ Representatives, http://www.aar-online.org/, is here to serve.


Reviewed by Catherine Accardi

“A World of Writing Tips…For Writers Around the World”

More than 600 articles and columns are available at Writing-World.

This website is huge, offering vast amounts of information for every type and level of writing.

If you are new to the writing world, click on “Getting Started.” Here you will find ten subcategories, such as “First Things First: What You Need To Get Started,” and “Setting Effective Writing Goals.”

If you are ready to publish, click on “Rights and Contracts” and you will find six subcategories such as “Understanding Rights and Copyright” and “Understanding Contracts”.

There is also every conceivable subject in-between, from beginning a writing project and sealing the final deal. It even has a section titled “Writers Wanted” with links to paying and nonpaying markets, and lots of them.

Since Writing-World.com is such an extremely large website, I suggest you go to the “Site Index” to start your journey into the world of writing.

Writing -World is a must see website. Seriously, fellow writers, put Writing-World.com at the top of your “to do list”.


A Dictionary-Thesaurus Worth Exploring
Review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Explore, discover, and create at the Wordsmyth Dictionary-Thesaurus. It will help broaden your appreciation of the nuances in the English language.

Take advantage of the incredibly useable format. Simply type in any word and find a definition, synonyms, and related words. Click on the synonyms and see more and more words emerging like branches from a tree trunk. Expand your vocabulary and delete repetition.

Inside “Vocabulary,” click on “Word of the Week” and you’ll over 100 categories. Click on the E.S.L. List, the College Entrance List, the Language Lovers List or the Crossword Puzzle.

In addition, visit “Links” for access to “ language and linguistics,” “grammar and usage,” “dictionaries & thesauri,” “ESL,” and “education.” With all due respect to Microsoft Word, this incredible site takes the dictionary-thesaurus concept to a whole new dimension. Log in (privacy guaranteed) and bookmark this site. You’ll want to return to Wordsmyth’s resources.

Do you know of a good writing website that should appear here? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The OWL at Purdue

Reviewed by Catherine Accardi

What a clever website - The OWL at Purdue. OWL stands for Online Writing Lab, but, as we all know, an owl is considered a wise bird. It would be wise to visit the OWL.

According to the website, OWL is used as “a complement to classroom instruction, a supplement to face-face tutorials, and a stand-alone reference for thousands of writers”. This popular website received 312 million visitors from over 125 countries in 2005-2006.

The navigation menu covers thirteen writing related subject areas, such as The Writing Process, Research, and Creative Writing.

Each major area is then sub-divided. For example, you can click on “The Writing Process” and a drop-down menu includes “Developing an Outline”, “Proofreading”, “Starting the Writing Process”, and “Writers Block”.

Clicking on “Starting the Writing Process” provides three pages of detailed advice to guide the writer. Clicking on “Research and Citation” takes you to twelve sub-headings.

The OWL provides wise advice indeed.

The OWL is provided and maintained by Purdue University. The University requests that visitors to their site read and observe the Fair Use Policy found at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/551/01/.

Glimmer Train

A Collection of Fiction That Shines
Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

Glimmer Train Press, Inc. at http://www.glimmertrain.com/ is a boon to literary fiction. It publishes 'Writers Ask,' a newsletter for serious writers, and 'Glimmer Train Stories,' one of the most respected short-story journals in publication. Read samples of their quality stories and poems by clicking on "Index." If what you see appeals, consider buying a single copy, subscribing, or even submitting your own work. Log in to learn more. It’s free.

Glimmer Train accepts submissions in five categories: Standard Submissions, (no reading fee), Fiction Open, Poetry Open, Very Short Fiction Award, and Short-Story Award for New Writers. Click on "Writing Guidelines" for details about each one. Online submissions streamline the process and even a technophobe can do it with ease.

Reading fees pay contest winners. An owner explains, "We imagined, at the beginning, that it might be possible to break even eventually. So far, 13 years later, that’s not happening. Competition reading fees help some, but mostly go to larger payments to competition winners. Subscriptions help a LOT."

Worth it? You be the judge. Look at "Index" and "Writers Ask," and consider submitting or subscribing to this classy collection. You'll be in excellent company.

Bookslut.com -

Reviews, Interviews, and Attitude
A Web Site Review by B. Lynn Goodwin

For a perceptive, edgy look at diverse current titles, visit www.Bookslut.com. Editor-in-chief Jessa Crispin used the name of a book club she was in to articulated the site’s mission: Speak the truth and pull no punches. An article in the Contra Costa Times identified Bookslut.com as “a premiere Web destination for book lovers.”

Curious, I visited and was seduced by this attractive, well-organized, graphically pleasing site. It features multiple interviews; fiction, nonfiction, and poetry reviews; and sassily titled columns.

Ready to read strong voices and unflinching points of view? Reviews and articles pinpoint truth and are laced with audacity, which piqued my curiosity. While I resist harsh critiques, intelligent reviewers and sparkling prose make this site work. It’s reviews and blog attract 5500 and 6000 visitors daily.

Click on “contact” to learn how to submit a letter to the editor, send your own books for review, or offer your services as a reviewer or columnist. Take a bite out of the literary world at Bookslut.com

The Internet Public Library

A Web Site Review by Catherine Accardi

The Internet Public Library (IPL) website is a gem. From the home page, at http://www.ipl.org, click on “Arts and Humanities”, then on “Literature”, and you will be taken to a vast network of resources for the writer. Included on this page are sections on authors (information about the work and lives of specific authors) and writing (works about the writing process and directed mainly towards writers). The “Writing” section includes grammar, style notes and what makes a good short story.

One of the gems of this site is the section titled “Purdue Writing Lab Instructional Handouts”. The section is of particular interest to writers. It is a seemingly endless selection of quality information. Go directly to this site at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/. You will find a collection of over 120 online papers on writing organized by topic; subjects covered include general writing concerns and professional writing issues.

Back at the IPL home page index, click on “Reading Room” and there you find the text of books, magazines and newspapers that are freely available over the interest.

Click on “Ready Reference” and, magically, at your fingertips are online almanacs, encyclopedias, periodical directories, and the list goes on for several pages.

The Internet Public Library web site is highly recommended. Easy to navigate, it presents accurate information in a dignified manner. Bookmark this site and you will be a happy writer!


The Online Journal of Creative Writing
A Web Site Review by Leona Mayeux

Dotlit - a semi-annual journal - prides itself in publishing "new and emerging" writers, as well as commissioning works from "established" writers. Its content brings the reader fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, reviews, scholarly essays, as well as digital stories. It is published by the Creative Writing and Cultural Studies discipline, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

In its call for submissions, dotlit gives detailed guidelines, pointing out that only unpublished work is accepted. The journal asks that all writing be submitted electronically, double spaced in MS Word. Ten weeks are required for a reply. Not having offered payment for non-academic contributions heretofore, dotlit is working toward some remuneration for future submissions.

Contributors should include a 50-100 word biography, accompanied by an e-mail address. Book reviews submitted may be of fiction, creative non-fiction, 'how-to' guides, or scholarly titles.

I was fascinated by the guidelines given for Digital Stories: "these must be one's own personal story, no longer than two minutes; a transcript must accompany the audio file. Submissions of photographs &/or documents of other people must not be defamatory.

This review is slightly limited, unlike the sight itself. Although different from my usual reviews, I believe it might fascinate the reader enough to lure each of them into the many avenues open for submissions.

About Freelance Writing;

A comprehensive site for writers seeking success
A Web Site Review by Leona Mayeux

I was drawn to About Freelance Writing when I read the site's article entitled "The 3 Secrets to Successful Freelance Writing: Write, Rewrite, and Market." That formula reminded me of my years teaching high school seniors writing. The "rule-of-thumb" I taught was Read, Write, and Correct. The two bits of advice can walk smoothly together without stumbling off the success path. Without reading, the writer can get lost on the path of ignorance, minus the proverbial bliss. Without correction of writing (rewriting) finding a market is highly unlikely. The marketing is usually the most difficult part. In high school the students seek not only good grades, but enhanced self-esteem, knowing they can produce a product acceptable to their mentor - the teacher. For the professional writer, the market mentors hold the writer's future in their editorial hands.

The About Freelance Writing article index covers many avenues to the writer's needs: Getting Started; How- To, Tips & Samples; Getting the Writing Done; Rewriting & Editing; Your Writing as a Business; Marketing Your Writing & Yourself; Writing Specialties; Self-publishing & e-Books; Questions & Answers.

For those aspiring to freelance, the site deals with cogent considerations: the kind of freelancer one hopes to be; concrete ways to realize these hopes; dealing with rejection; being aware of where ideas come from; the query letter, letter of intent; manuscript critique, using a writing coach, one's writing voice and more.

Perusing this vast site could be a sound investment of the writer's time.

Narrative Magazine is First-Rate

A web site review by B. Lynn Goodwin

Narrative Magazine embraces writers and encourages high standards. At a reading last year, a guest remarked, ‘This wasn’t a New York event, it was a Narrative event. . . . No cynics.’”

Editors Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks answered, ‘…that was precisely our goal-to create an embracing sense of community for writers and for the readers of a magazine that reaches worldwide.”

Dig in and explore the first rate fiction, non-fiction, and interviews as well as numerous other resources. Visit About Us and click on each editors name to discover multiple opportunities.

Submissions guidelines ask for work “of interest to readers who take pleasure in storytelling and imaginative prose.” The magazine awards a $4000 Narrative Prize annually.

A section called “Reader’s Narrative” provides an “ongoing conversation” with readers around the world. Share ‘something meaningful, informative, moving, vivid, essential about the world as you know it.’ Also, check out book recommendations and excerpts in “First & Second Looks.”

This thought-provoking e-zine is a great place to refresh your mind and recharge your literary batteries. Check it out at www.narrativemagazine.com.