Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pitch Perfect Critique Camp

The heart of your story, the hook of the reader boils down to the pitch. Whether you're readying for the arduous task of querying or finishing that novel—you’ll need an iron clad pitch. It’s the foundation of a manuscript and the skeleton of the characters.

At Writers of Kern, we’ll do more than help outline its importance, we’ll show you. Join our online Pitch Perfect Critique Camp

Choose one of the following live sessions and put your name in the ring for a $100 Amazon Gift Card as the Pitch Perfect Critique Camp Winner.

The winner will be announced on April 14th in a live video (explaining how and why the winning pitch was chosen).

1) Must have current CWC/WOK membership (or pay $25 entry fee)
2) Must have access to a computer/camera for the interactive sessions
3) Must have access to WORD or PDF
4) Register via

April 12th (Wednesday) 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
April 13th (Thursday) 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Please note: You do not need to attend a session to participate in the drawing (the sessions allow for critiques, pointers and suggestions). However, you will still need to have an active membership or entry fee.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Contests and Competitions

Image result for contests image

Wergle Flomp Humor (Poetry)
Deadline: April 1, 2017
Entry Fee: $0
Prizes: $100-$1,000
More Info

Fish Publishing (Flash Fiction)
Deadline: 2/28/2017
Entry Fee: $15
Cash Prize: $1,090
More Info

James Jones Literary Society (Novel)
Deadline: March 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $30
Cash Prize: $10,000
More Info

Red Hen Press
Women's Prose Prize (fiction or nonfiction)
Deadline: 2/28/2017
Entry Fee: $25
Cash Prize: $1,000
More Info

Association of Writers & Writing Programs
Award Series (novel, poetry, creative non fiction)
Deadline: 2/28/2017
Entry Fee: $30
Cash Prize: $5,500
More Info

Fabulous Five Contest (fiction, romance)
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Entry Fee: $18-25
Prize: Agent and Editor Intro
More Info

Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation (poetry)
Deadline: March 15, 2017
Entry Fee: $10
Cash Prize: $1,000
More Info

Ghost Story
Supernational Fiction Award
Deadline: 4/30/17
Entry Fee: $20
Cash Prize: $1,000
More Info

Monday, February 20, 2017

Not Doing It All

Two days ago I sat in our monthly Writers of Kern meeting, I'd snuck in just before it started and after a quick phone call from the babysitter, was back out before the meeting was over. Before I left, one of our members asked how I managed three young children and a writing career (career is a loose term, yes?). She wanted to know how I did it all.

Here's my answer (drumroll)...

I don't. I'm not even close to doing it all.

My husband is a trauma rep (meaning he's on call 24/7) and I have three kids with piano, violin, cello and competitive gymnastics. This doesn't include our GATE programs or volunteer projects. And let's not forget school activities.

None of the above include my own obligations to the local school district, my editing clients, our semiannual Girls Only Ragnar trip and my position as Critique Group Coordinator for Writers of Kern.

I had two Writers of Kern obligations in one week but with my daughter busting her leg and a babysitter needing to bail, I missed one completely and left halfway into another. And let's not forget rebuilding a fence that fell over in our recent storm.

Plain and simple, I physically and quite literally can not do it all. 

But I sure as hell can try.

When you're drowning in to-do lists and skipping from one event to another, writing feels like an impossible task. Editing isn't even a thought. You want to beat your fists against the keyboard you just sat down to tackle, only to realize your parents are at your door. Or your dog just vomited on your feet. Or the school called, you forgot to pick up your kid. Or your thirty-year-old is moving back in.

You could fold and walk away or you could give what you have. No one can do it all. We're not supposed to do it all. It absolutely takes a village.

Thankfully, I have a safety net with a supportive husband, understanding (for the most part) kids and the best board of all time at Writers of Kern.

There are going to be days where you punch out only a sentence. And then there will be days you get a paragraph. But one word is better than no word.

You can't do it all. But you sure as hell can try.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Critique Group Openings

We are currently revamping our critique groups, both online and in person. 
As a professional writers organization, we offer complimentary critique groups for our members.
For more information please email or fill out a critique questionnaire.

For those not ready to commit, we do offer a two-week critique camp.
For more information please contact us (dates to come).

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Contests and Competitions

Take a risk and show your literary muscle...

Nelson Algren Literary Short Story Awards
Deadline: Jan 31, 2017
Prize: $3,500
More Info

39 Signs of Hope Short Story
Deadline: Jan 31, 2017
Prize: $300
More Info

New Millennium Writings (poetry, creative nonfiction, short story)
Deadline: Jan 31, 2017
Prize: $1,000
More Info

Crazyhorse Literary Prizes (poetry, short story, essay)
Deadline: Jan 31, 2017
Prize: $2,000
More Info

Writers at Work Writing Competition
Deadline: Jan 31, 2017
Prize: $1,000
More Info

Virginia Commonwealth University Levis Reading Prize (Poetry)
Deadline: Feb 1, 2017
Prize: $5,000 (and all expense paid trip)
More Info

University of Wisconsin
Institute for Creative Writing
Deadline: Feb 1, 2017
Prize: $30,000
More Info

American Short(er) Fiction
Deadline: Feb 1,2017
Prize: $1,000
More Info

Red Hen Press (Women's Prose)
Deadline: Feb 28, 2017
Prize: $1,000
More Info

James Jones Literary Society First Novel Fellowship
Deadline: March 15, 2017
Prize: $10,000
More Info

Great Beginnings (Romance Fiction)
Deadline: Feb 14, 2017
Prize: One on One Agent Review
More Info

Thursday, January 5, 2017

This Is Our Year

2016 changed the literary landscape and put critique groups on the map. The publishing world cheered with unprecedented support for critique groups and the organizations that embraced them. Writers of Kern was perched on the forefront of this publishing trend—elevating our little group on a national level.

 But 2017 is the year our members will be elevated. Once a month I will post both local and national contests, adding a bit of shine to each of our resumes. This is the year we—you—me will be published, whether it’s your short story, your poetry or your novel, 2017 is our year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fighting the Holiday Halt

The temperature dips and so does your word count. Between holiday parties and family gatherings, there's little to no time left for your masterpiece.

Scott Eagan, founder of Greyhaus Literary Agency encourages writers to steal 1-3 hours for your writing time during the holiday season. 

As a mother of three and the owner of what feels like Grand Central Station for the neighborhood, church and family--an hour sounds like a hopeless endeavor. 

But fifteen minutes? That's doable.

Those fifteen minutes sometimes slip into hours while other times they're just a few minutes of staring at a screen listening to another rousing argument between adult siblings.

No matter your trade taking a break for a few weeks (or months) sets you back. A few days here or a few days there can revitalize your focus. More than that, and your craft begins to slip.

Like Scott, I believe the trick to maintaining your writing career is slogging through a scene when its the last thing you want to do. Who wants to be sequestered when cinnamon rolls are fresh from the oven? Or wants to miss your cousin drag her latest victim under the mistletoe? 

Fifteen minutes. Hide in the bathroom. Hide in the closet. Fifteen minutes and your book will thank you.