Expat Sat: 3 Writing Contests for Expat Writers

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


Wow…after 10 weeks of writing prompts, it feels a little strange to be posting something else. If you’ve been writing from the prompts, awesome! (If not, what are you waiting for? Get busy! Here’s the link.)

Anyway, here are three good contests for you to enter:

The Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize

(Note: All information has been taken from the Zócalo Public Square web site.)

Description: The Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize is awarded annually to the U.S. poet whose poem best evokes a connection to place. “Place” may be interpreted by the poet as a place of historical, cultural, political or personal importance; it may be a literal, imaginary or metaphorical landscape. We are looking for one poem that offers our readers a fresh, original and meaningful take on the topic.

How to Enter: For consideration, please enter up to three poems to poetry@zocalopublicsquare.org. Include your name, address, phone and email address on each poem. Personal identification will be removed prior to judge’s review. We will accept online submissions only.

Prize: The winning poet will receive $1,000.

Deadline: Entries will be accepted between September 5, 2011 and November 5, 2011.

Judging: Zócalo Poetry Editor Stephanie Brown will be the judge. Entries will be judged based on originality of ideas, how well the poem fits the theme, and style. Judging is at the sole discretion of Zócalo Public Square. The winner will be announced in March 2012, and the winning poet will receive $1,000. The winning poem will be published on zocalopublicsquare.org.

The Kicker: This contest is only open to U.S. poets. (I assume that means U.S. poets living any where in the world so all you U.S. expats, get a move on!)

The Upside: No reading fee.

Advice: This contest is all about place. P-L-A-C-E. The very thing we expats/repats/global nomads spend so much time thinking about, talking about over glasses of wine and cups of coffee, dreaming about, obsessing about as we traverse the world, and yes, yes, yes, writing about! So get your butts in gear! Submit.

For full terms and conditions, click here.

Active Travel Asia’s 2011 Writing Competition

(Note: All information has been taken from the ATA‘s web site.)

Description: You love traveling and at least had travelled to Indochina (Vietnam – Laos – Cambodia) once in a lifetime? It must have been an interesting exploration and a sense of Indochina’s beautiful nature? So why don’t you participate in our competition “Indochina in your eyes” and get the chance to come back Indochina once again and explore the grandeur of the nature? Please feel free write about your adventures and share with us!

How to Enter: Simply email your entry of no more than 1000 words (no attachments) to event@activetravel.asia. The entries after being sent to our mail address will be reviewed to guarantee the content of entries comply with the terms and conditions of this competition.

Prize: With the highest prize: The winner can choose one of our tours for 2 persons as below:

  • Kayaking Halong Bay
  • Trekking Sapa and homestay
  • Mai Chau Trekking
  • Motorcyling the Ho Chi Minh Trail
  • Biking Angkor Wat

Incentive prize: To encourage the writer we will award 3 incentive prizes for those who have the amount of like ranked highest. The prize is Hanoi City Tour with the private tour guide for 2 people plus some valuable extra.

Deadline: November 20, 2011 / The competition will start from 01/09/2011 to 20/11/2011 through our networks:

  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/Active.
  • Travel Travel news: www.activetravelmagazines.com & news.activetravelvietnam.com

The winner will be the person who has the amount of LIKE ranked highest on our facebook page plus 2 travel news sites: The prize will be announced on 30/11/2011.

Judging: ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA is responsible for the publication and the adjudication of this competition.

The Kicker: Honestly, I’m not quite sure how this competition is being judged, but still seems legit.

The Upside: Great prizes and a great opportunity to write about Indochina.

Advice: Give it a shot.

For full terms and conditions, click here.

10th Annual FundsforWriters Essay Contest / Theme = “Diligence”

(Note: All information has been taken from the FundsforWriters web site.)

Description: Your definition of diligence, however, might involve a personal relationship, a child, a career, a manuscript. Maybe you weathered a difficult phase in your life, and now that you’ve come out on the other side relieved yet wiser, stronger and empowered.

In this day of instant publishing versus traditional, of impatient waits for answers to query letters, the theme of Diligence seemed most appropriate. No, you don’t have to write about self-publishing versus traditional. Just make Diligence the clear, ultimate, and striking point of your nonfiction essay. (Not to exceed 750 words.)

How to Enter: Email entry to hope@fundsforwriters.com. (No fax or hard copy submissions.)

  • No attachments to emails. Embed in the email itself. (Viruses are nasty creatures.)
  • Note ENTRY FEE or NO ENTRY FEE on your submission.

Prize: A major different between FundsforWriters’ contest and other writing contests is the option of paying an entry fee. Some writers don’t believe in fees and other can’t afford them. So we offer a no entry fee category. Others, however, are willing to submit the $5 entry fee in order to vie for the higher prize purse. Take your pick.

  • ENTRY FEE CATEGORY – First place – $400. Second place – $100. Third place – $50.
  • NO ENTRY FEE CATEGORY – First place – $50. Second place – $25. Third place – $15.

Deadline: Receipt deadline Midnight (Eastern Time), October 31, 2011.

Judging: Judges are selected from Hope’s peer group of writers, authors and journalists, still pending, but the finalists are chosen by C. Hope Clark.

The Kicker: Zilch.

The Upside: Must be in English but entries accepted internationally. (Entry fees must be in US dollars.)

Advice: Write! Write! Submit! (Come on, expats, we’re some of the most diligent people out there.)

For full terms and conditions, click here.

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Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Alma Katsu

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Today’s writerhead? Alma Katsu, whose novel The Taker has set the reading world a’buzz. Tiptoe as we make our way into her writerhead…it’s a little scarier than most (see answer to question #2).

The Scoop About The Taker

“On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her…despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

“Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.

“Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.” [from amazon.com]

The Buzzzzzzzzzzz

“Readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away from Katsu’s mesmerizing tale.” ~ Booklist starred review

A Cosmopolitan UK Book of the Week: “Dark and super sexy…This will impress all Twi-hards who like their heroes to have graduated high school…”

“Seductive, daring, soaring, and ultimately gut-wrenching, The Taker is a lush, historical rendering of transcendent love…” ~ Jamie Ford, bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

First Sentence

“Goddamned freezing cold.”

_________

And now, Alma’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

My state of writerhead has changed over time. When I first started writing, they were periods of complete bliss. Just me, a pen and notebook, and usually a bed (I like to lie down while writing) and a sense of being deep in another world. The best times were while traveling, left alone in a hotel room with those uninterrupted hours before me. Now with the release of The Taker and the press of promotion, plus going through edits on the second book, those deep REM states of writerhead are rare. Despite the pull to do twenty things at once, when I really need to create something new I’ll feel a primal need to turn down the lights, get a notebook, curl up on the couch and write.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

I’m lucky to live a quiet life. My husband is a musician and away most evenings. My dogs are old enough now to be content lying at my feet while I’m at the laptop. I ignore the phone to the point where no one calls anymore. When someone does yank me out of a deep writing session I will be polite enough but inside I’m plotting the best way to kill them, or at least hurt them very badly. Like door-to-door solicitors for some completely worthy cause. There are probably a couple buried in my backyard.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

For me, writerhead is the life I’m supposed to be living, instead of this one where you have to go grocery shopping and do laundry.

_________

Alma Katsu is a writer living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. She graduated from Brandeis University, where she studied writing with novelist John Irving and children’s book author Margaret Rey, and received her MA in Fiction from the Johns Hopkins University. The Taker is her first novel and is published by Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster.

If you’d like to connect with Alma, hop on over to her web site (www.almakatsu.com). You can also greet her on Twitter (@almakatsu) or say hidy-ho on Facebook.

_________

Q4U: Writers / Looky-Loos / Readers of Books That Scare You: Alma (along with a number of past writerheads) talks about how her writerhead has changed over the years. Has yours? How so?

_________

GIVEAWAY!!!

Today—Wednesday, September 21, 2011—I’m giving away 1 copy of Alma Katsu’s The Taker.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment for Alma right here on WRITERHEAD. Show her some love! Tell her how gripped you were by the first paragraphs of The Taker. Ask if she’s going to be giving a reading in your town or how she came up with the idea for the book.

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on September 22, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, September 22. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (I know, I know…but this isn’t American Idol.)

*****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container…blocks box, [unused] cereal bowl, sand bucket, etc.)

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Diana Abu-Jaber

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Ssshhh…today we’re giddily mucking about in the creative noggin of Diana Abu-Jaber, the brilliantly talented author of the novel Birds of Paradise (about which Ron Charles–book reviewer for the Washington Post–recently said, “This is a full-course meal, a rich, complex and memorable story that will leave you lingering gratefully at her table.”)

I’m grateful Diana opened the door to her writerhead because as you’ll see, it’s a rich, laugh-out-loud kind of place.

Enjoy! (And yep, my voracious readers, I’ve got one copy of Birds of Paradise to give away today so leave a comment to enter. Guidelines below.)

The Scoop About Birds of Paradise

“In the tropical paradise that is Miami, Avis and Brian Muir are still haunted by the disappearance of their ineffably beautiful daughter, Felice, who ran away when she was thirteen. Now, after five years of modeling tattoos, skateboarding, clubbing, and sleeping in a squat house or on the beach, Felice is about to turn eighteen. Her family—Avis, an exquisitely talented pastry chef; Brian, a corporate real estate attorney; and her brother, Stanley, the proprietor of Freshly Grown, a trendy food market—will each be forced to confront their anguish, loss, and sense of betrayal. Meanwhile, Felice must reckon with the guilty secret that drove her away, and must face her fear of losing her family and her sense of self forever.

“This multilayered novel about a family that comes apart at the seams—and finds its way together again—is totally involving and deeply satisfying, a glorious feast of a book.” [from amazon.com]

The Buzzzzzzzzzzzz

“Diana Abu-Jaber’s delicious new novel weighs less than two pounds, but you may gain more than that by reading it. If you know her cream-filled work—especially Crescent and The Language of Baklava—you’re already salivating. This Jordanian American author writes about food so enticingly that her books should be published on sheets of phyllo dough. Birds of Paradise contains her most mouthwatering writing ever, but it’s no light after-dinner treat. This is a full-course meal, a rich, complex and memorable story that will leave you lingering gratefully at her table.” ~ Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Abu-Jaber writes with wit and insight about her range of characters, and her sharp observation of setting makes Miami another character in the novel, from the sleek downtown high rises to the glimmering thump of the SoBe clubs, from the lush quiet of the Gables to the multilingual street life of less opulent neighborhoods. And, this being South Florida, there’s a hurricane….Her prose is often lyrical, rising into striking images like the spun sugar on Avis’ creations. But Birds of Paradise has satisfying substance, too, for anyone hungry to read about the many ways that modern families lose and love.” ~ Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times

First Sentence

“A cookie, Avis told her children, is a soul.”

_________

And now, Diana’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

It used to be a much more disconnected state than my usual operating mode. I had specific writing hours and times when I was at-work, and the rest of the time I was at-life, and the two states didn’t necessarily mingle all that much. As I’ve gotten, ahem, older, I’ve found that they seem to migrate into each other and I’ve become more adept at sort of flipping the switch, picking up on a writing project where I’ve left off, when and where I need to. That might be at my desk during “work hours” or it might be in the middle of cooking or at a traffic light or waiting at the dentist’s office. If I could just work out how to write WHILE getting cavities filled, I think I’d really have it all figured out.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

This is another before and after answer for me, as in: BEFORE I had a child, I might have been just a smidge diva-ish if my husband had stumbled into the office with an ad for a new boat; I might possibly have channeled my inner J-Lo and said something like, “Um, yeah? At work here? You know, work?” Nowadays, after 8 months of baby colic and a year of wee hour wakings and 2 years of animal cracker power struggles, I’m more like, “Honey, look! I made a word! A word!”

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

Okay, I think for me being in the writerhead is like going outside to see if it’s started to rain yet, and it hasn’t quite started, and you can just barely sense those first scant drops, so light you almost wonder if you’re imagining it, but you know if you just wait for it a bit longer, it’s absolutely going to come down, any second now.

_________

Diana Abu-Jaber’s newest novel, Birds Of Paradise, is an Indiepicks selection.

Her novel, Origin was named one of the best books of the year by the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. Her second novel, Crescent, won the PEN Center Award for Literary fiction and the American Book Award. Her first novel, Arabian Jazz won the Oregon Book Award.

The Language of Baklava, her memoir, won the Northwest Booksellers’ Award.

She teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland and Miami.

Want to connect with Diana? Check out her web site (www.dianaabujaber.com). You can also greet her on Twitter (@dabujaber) or say hidy-ho on Facebook.

_________

Q4U: Readers / Writers / Looky-Loos / Foodies / Miami-ites: When is the last time you channeled your inner J-Lo when interrupted while in writerhead? Come on…come clean.

_________

GIVEAWAY!!!

Today—Wednesday, September 14, 2011—I’m giving away 1 copy of Diana Abu-Jaber’s Birds of Paradise.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment for Diana right here on WRITERHEAD. Tell her how much you loved her previous books and how much you’re looking forward to reading this one. Give her a virtual high-five. Share your own “inner J-Lo” moment. Ask a question about how she wrote Birds of Paradise or if she’s going to be giving a reading in your town. Tell her how smitten you are with her description of writerhead. (I am!) Etc.

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on September 15, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, September 15. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (I know, I know…but this isn’t American Idol.)

*****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container…blocks box, [unused] cereal bowl, sand bucket, etc.)

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Meredith Mileti

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


How excited am I to welcome my amazing friend and writing colleague Meredith Mileti to WRITERHEAD to celebrate the publication of her debut novel Aftertaste?

Almost as excited as I’d be if I could actually host Mira Rinaldi–the main character in Aftertaste–herself. Mira is one of those characters who will stay with you forever. She kicks ass in all the best ways (literally and figuratively)…and I love that.

For the past week or so, Aftertaste has kept me up at night turning the page, urging me onward. I was so bummed when I had no more pages to turn…but also satisfied and content.

(And for all you Pittsburghers out there, you’re in for a hometown treat. Part of the book takes place in the ‘burgh and many favorites make guest appearances–Mineo’s, Pittsburghese, the Strip District, Mellon Bank, the Post-Gazette, and loads more. It’s like coming home.)

Remember, I’m giving away 3 signed copies of Aftertaste today. Just leave a comment here to enter. (Complete guidelines below).

The Scoop About Aftertaste

Mira Rinaldi lives life at a rolling boil. Co-owner of Grappa, a chic New York City trattoria, she has an enviable apartment, a brand-new baby, and a frenzied schedule befitting her success. All of that changes the night she catches her husband, Jake, wielding his whisk with Grappa’s sexy waitress. Mira’s fiery response earns her a court-ordered stint in anger management and a demotion to lunchtime cook at her own restaurant, but that is only the beginning of Mira’s legal and personal predicament as she battles to save her restaurant and pick up the pieces of her life.

Mira falls back on family and friends in Pittsburgh as she struggles to find the right recipe for happiness. Slowly, buffered by her best friend, her widowed father’s girl friend and an unanticipated career twist, Mira starts to assemble the ingredients for a new, very different life. But the heat is really on when some surprising developments in New York present Mira with a high stakes opportunity to win back what she thought she had lost forever.

For Mira, cooking isn’t just about delicious flavors and textures, but about the pleasure found in filling others needs. And the time has come to decide where her own fulfillment lies even if the answers are completely unexpected.

The Buzz

“Meredith Mileti’s Aftertaste is as honest, hearty, and deeply satisfying as the Italian peasant fare cooked by her heroine. A delightful debut novel about the important things in life: food, family, and love.” ~ Ann Mah, author of Kitchen Chinese

“I loved this unflinchingly honest portrayal of a woman’s fresh start—in life, in love, and in her very special kitchens.” ~ Melissa Senate, author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School

“Hot. Funny. Sexy. This is one delicious story and Meredith Mileti is one steamy good writer!” ~ Jamie Cat Callan, author of French Women Don’t Sleep Alone and Bonjour, Happiness!

First Sentence

“The best thing about the location of the Manhattan County Courthouse is its proximity to Nelly’s.”

_________

And now, Meredith’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

You can’t plan or induce writerhead, but I can often tell from the moment I open my eyes whether it will be one of those blessed days. (I realize there’s no scientific evidence to support this contention, but I suspect that if you were to take a PET scan the brain you’d be able to actually see writerhead glowing silvery-blue or plum, or some equally incandescent and mysterious color.) Externally I feel a gentle tingling, a slight buzz in the surrounding atmosphere, a bit like I imagine someone might feel just before they spontaneously combust. It’s nerve-wracking, thrilling, heart-stopping and wonderful all at once.

If I sense it might be a writerhead day, I tread softly and take extra precautions to try to minimize the interruptions. I’m an early writer. I love being up in the morning before anyone else is awake in my house. I make a vat of coffee and retreat to my office, making sure my “Disturb Under Pain of Death” doorknob sign is in place. I don’t check my email. I just jump in.

Often I can’t type fast enough. Words and images swirl around my head waiting for me to corral them and assist them onto the page. Writerhead, at it’s best, is like listening in on a party line conversation between two characters who have come to life in a way you hadn’t imagined. I’m just the scribe.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

Once, years ago, when my son was small, I was working on a something—I can no longer even remember what it was, (probably for the best)—when Mark toddled into my office. He was in that language acquisition phase where he would repeat one word over and over. He sidled up to my chair and began repeating “button, button” over and over again and, mad to finish the paragraph I was writing, I kept repeating “button, button,” with all kinds of goofy inflections, trying my best to forestall the inevitable interruption. Suddenly, my screen went blank. He had pushed the “off” button on the computer tower and, of course, because I was in my altered-writerhead state, I was not focused on the earthly and mundane task of saving my work. The word “button” still occasionally strikes terror in my heart. We both ended up in tears. Happily, Mark has lived to almost-adulthood and the scars barely show anymore.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

I recently started running. (Actually, I’ve been saying I’m a runner for years now, but that meant I’d made it 4 times around the high school track without feeling like I needed CPR.) You always hear runners talking about “the runner’s high.” Well, I never felt anything but achy, cranky and occasionally on the brink of death until this summer when I finally managed to break the 4-mile barrier and experienced my first runner’s high. (Okay, there’s probably not a marathon in my future, but still it was a big deal for me.) It feels like you could go on for miles, your body tingling, your feet barely skimming the ground; it’s peaceful, heady and exhilarating; all the outside distractions seem to fall away. It’s very much like writerhead. Now, if I could only write while I run…

_________

Meredith Mileti lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their three mostly grown children. Since producing her first batch of gluey brownies from her Easy-Bake oven, Meredith has loved cooking for her family and friends. She is an adventurous and eclectic diner, and appreciates any well-cooked meal, whether from a lobster shack in Bar Harbor, a friggitoria in Naples, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris or an undiscovered little gem in her Pittsburgh neighborhood. Aftertaste is her first novel.

Hungry for more? Visit Meredith at her web site. Give her a high-five on Twitter (@winsomechef). Or raise a glass to her on Facebook.

_________

Q4U: Readers / Writers / Looky-Loos / Cooks / Eaters / Pittsburghers / Primanti Fans: The sign Meredith hangs on her office door when she’s writing reads “Disturb Under Pain of Death.” What does your sign read?

_________

GIVEAWAY!!!

Today—Wednesday, August 31, 2011—I’m giving away 3 signed copies of Meredith Mileti’s debut novel Aftertaste.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment right here on WRITERHEAD for Meredith. Tell her that you pre-ordered Aftertaste and have just cracked the spine. Talk to her about a particular dish you love to cook for your family and friends. Describe your favorite spice. Delight in a shared writerhead moment. (Or for you Pittsburghers out there, you can even dish about your favorite Primanti’s sandwich.)

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on September 1, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, September 1. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (I know, I know…but this isn’t American Idol.)

****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container).

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Eleanor Brown

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Welcome, welcome, welcome to Eleanor Brown, author of one of my favorite novels, The Weird Sisters. I’ve been hankering to learn a little something-something about Eleanor’s writerhead ever since The Weird Sisters debuted and now (whoop! whoop!) I do.

Listen up, folks!

The Scoop About The Weird Sisters

The Andreas sisters were raised on books—their family motto might as well be, “There’s no problem a library card can’t solve.” Their father, a renowned, eccentric professor of Shakespearean studies, named them after three of the Bard’s most famous characters: Rose (Rosalind—As You Like It), Bean (Bianca—The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia—King Lear), but they have inherited those characters’ failures along with their strengths.

Now the sisters have returned home to the small college town where they grew up—partly because their mother is ill, but mostly because their lives are falling apart and they don’t know where to go next. Rose, a staid mathematics professor, has the chance to break away from her quiet life and join her devoted fiance in England, if she could only summon up the courage to do more than she’s thought she could. Bean left home as soon as she could, running to the glamour of New York City, only to come back ashamed of the person she has become. And Cordy, who has been wandering the country for years, has been brought back to earth with a resounding thud, realizing it’s finally time for her to grow up.

The sisters never thought they would find the answers to their problems in each other, but over the course of one long summer, they find that everything they’ve been running from—each other, their histories, and their small hometown—might offer more than they ever expected. [from http://www.eleanor-brown.com/]

The Buzz

“…bright, literate debut…a punchy delight…” ~ Publisher’s Weekly

“Here’s what I adored about this book: the first person plural narrative voice (I can still hear it in my head), its realistic take on the pleasures and pangs of sisterly relationships, and a cast of complex, three dimensional characters who love reading but find that real life sometimes doesn’t fit neatly—or can’t be solved—within the pages of a novel.” ~ Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust and Book Lust to Go

“Brown’s knockout debut about the ties that bind us, the stories we tell ourselves, and the thorny tangle of sisterhood was so richly intelligent, heartbreakingly moving and gorgeously inventive, that I was rereading pages just to see how she did her alchemy. Brilliant, beautiful, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before.” ~ Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You and Girls in Trouble

First Sentence

“We came home because we were failures.”

_________

And now, Eleanor’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

You describe writerhead as a temporary state, but for me it’s a state that lasts a long time, just in different levels. On the first level, usually when I’m thinking on a new project or just starting to write something new, everything I see calls out its story to me— conversations I overhear (okay, eavesdrop on), articles in magazines, song lyrics, the perfect blue of the summer sky. Things are sharper and clearer to me. It’s like a heightened sense of awareness of everything that’s going on in the world, and I’m usually very, very happy.

The second level is when I’m actually writing, and that’s when I really start to get sucked in, when I can draw on all those things that have been catching my eye, literally or metaphorically, and start to put them on paper. That’s kind of dreamlike, because I’m no longer aware of the outside world. I’m fishing around in my heart and my memories to find exactly the right way to describe that perfect blue.

The third level is when I’m deep into the project, when I’m beyond sorting through my notes or doing research or anything that pulls my eyes away from the page or the screen. The words are just coming out—not always pretty, but they’re coming!—and I can’t stop them. Interestingly, I am usually very, very grumpy at this level, maybe because my body keeps making ridiculous demands, like needing to be fed or washed or something silly like that.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

I don’t usually notice! My partner will say something to me, and I won’t respond—I genuinely don’t even hear it. Usually, he then launches into an extended monologue about how he and our cat are going to go to the moon in their cotton candy spaceship. By the time he gets to cotton candy, I’m usually aware enough to tune back in, but sometimes he has to get even more ridiculous before I’ll notice. Maybe I should suggest that he mention ice cream earlier in the story—I think even writerhead can’t keep me away from ice cream.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

For me writerhead feels like I’ve passed out of my body in order to connect more directly with the world through its stories.

_________

Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and national bestselling author of The Weird Sisters. Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Eleanor has lived in St. Paul, San Francisco, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Oxford, London, and Brighton, England. She lives in Colorado with her partner, writer and new media superstar, J.C. Hutchins.

To find out more about Eleanor, visit her web site. You can also give her a wave on Twitter (@eleanorwrites) or Facebook.

_________

Q4U: Readers / Writers / Looky-Loos / Sisters: What grabs your attention about Eleanor’s writerhead? What makes you go “Hey, that’s so crazy!” or “Oh, my god, that’s just like my writerhead!”

_________

GIVEAWAY!!!

Today—Wednesday, August 24, 2011—I’m giving away 2 signed copies of Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment right here on WRITERHEAD for Eleanor. Compliment her on her shoes. Tell her about your sisters. Talk about a shared writerhead experience. Ask her a question about how she wrote The Weird Sisters. Give her a standing ovation for writing such a spectacular novel. Etc.

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on August 25, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, August 25. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all your charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (I know, I know…but this isn’t American Idol.)

****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container).

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Laura Harrington

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


I met today’s Writerhead–Laura Harrington–on Twitter after I witnessed a flurry of tweets about her new novel Alice Bliss. Turns out Laura is not only a much-buzzed-about debut author, but also an award-winning playwright, lyricist, and librettist. Yowza! As you know, I’m a sucker for lovely, oozy creative lava, so I just had to know about Laura’s writerhead.

In addition, I’m giving away 5 copies of Alice Bliss today (whoop! whoop!); be sure to leave a comment to enter. Guidelines below. (Laura is also setting off on a terrific bookcrossings.com adventure.)

The Scoop About Alice Bliss

When Alice learns that her father, Matt Bliss, is being deployed to Iraq she’s heartbroken. Alice idolizes her dad, working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. After Matt ships out, her mother begins to crumble under the pressure of suddenly being a single parent and Alice struggles to fill the void as she balances the drama of adolescence with the effort of keeping her family together.

But Alice is supported by a safety net strung with relationships, including almost boyfriends, a grandmother, a baker with too many children, her track coach, her kid sister, her Uncle Eddie, and even her well meaning but complicated mom. She will learn to drive, plant her father’s garden, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother, and take care of her precocious little sister, Ellie. But the smell of Matt is starting to fade from his blue shirt that Alice wears everyday and his infrequent phone calls are never long enough.

Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variations: the support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy-next-door. These characters’ struggles amidst uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and poignancy that is both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future. [from www.lauraharringtonbooks.com]

The Buzz

“Harrington creates nothing less than a fully realized vision of a young, complicated girl.” ~ Entertainment Weekly

“Heartbreaking yet edged with promise, Alice Bliss explores the wounds of war, love, and family bonds while illuminating the strength of a young girl’s spirit. A stunning debut.” ~ Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

****Alice Bliss is a ‘People Pick’ with 4 out of 4 stars.”**** ~ Sue Corbett, People Magazine, July 4, 2011

First Sentence

“This is the first time Alice has been allowed to walk back to their campsite from the Kelp Shed alone.”

_________

And now, Laura’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

Writerhead, for me, is both very mysterious and perfectly mundane. On the one hand, I don’t usually talk about it because it feels so personal and occasionally weird. It can also feel a little bit like magic. On the other hand, it’s really pretty simple.

I have different kinds of writerhead for different kinds of writing. For lyrics I like to walk. I wrote almost all the lyrics for Lucy’s Lapses, my first musical, while walking in the rain in a suburb just outside of Portland, OR. I’m sure I looked crazy as I would walk, then stop, trying to get the bill of my baseball cap to keep the water from leaking onto my tiny notebook. The rhythm of walking helped me connect to the rhythm and music of the words that would become song.

Revising a lyric is another kind of writerhead all together. It’s initially very prosaic: lists of words, of phrases, the thesaurus, the rhyming dictionary. I’m surrounded by pieces of paper, scribbled notes, scraps of ideas, dictionaries, often Bartlett’s book of quotations. It’s a big mess. And then, in the midst of that stew I get very quiet as I try to find that phrase, that perfectly musical phrase where the words begin to combine with a pulse, with a life force, with an ease that belies all the hard work evident in the mess around me.

And then there’s writing a novel, where I begin by sitting quietly until I start to hear my characters. It can be something as simple as a phrase. Henry appeared completely unexpectedly in Alice Bliss with the phrase: “There’s no accounting for Henry.” Why not? And who’s Henry? I follow that phrase and the questions it provokes wherever it leads me. The fact that a character can appear nearly fully formed with something as simple as a phrase is amazing to me. It’s as though the phrase is like a line of code, encompassing an entire human being.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

Mostly I like interruptions; sometimes I crave them: a walk, a swim, hanging out the laundry. Interruptions create time to think, to reflect, to reconsider, to listen to a character’s voice, to listen to the promptings of my better—or worse—self; both of which are useful. I even like crazy-making interruptions because I’ve learned, like an improv actor, to use them.

I was traveling to NY on the train once, working on a play—a comedy—about Civil War re-enactors. Two guys were in conversation on a park bench—a lost truck driver and a chubby re-enactor, taking a break from a long hot day on Pickett’s Charge. The guy in the seat behind me on the train got a phone call in the middle of my scene and talked on and on and on. At first I was totally ticked off; I couldn’t concentrate on or even hear anything but his voice, which was so loud and so insistent that he filled all the space in my head and my characters were silenced. Until I decided to use the interruption and have my character, Chuck, get a call on his cell phone from his six-year-old. Great moment: a guy pulls a cell phone from the pocket of his lovingly created Confederate uniform, filthy with dirt and crusted with sweat and fake blood. Nothing could have juxtaposed the world of the battle, the mind of the re-enactor, the parallel universe that is re-enacting, colliding with the “real world” in quite the same way.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

Writerhead is like getting to be a seal or an otter for a little while. Playful, joyful, buoyed by the water around you, living in a medium that feels like perfect freedom, aware of unexplored depths and the light above you, at one with the physical world, aware of the possibility of a spiritual world, breathing, playing, grateful, in awe.

_________

Laura Harrington, award winning playwright, lyricist and librettist, winner of the 2008 Kleban Award for “most promising librettist in American Musical Theatre,” has written dozens of plays, musicals, operas and radio plays which have been produced in 28 states, Canada and Europe, in venues ranging from Off-Broadway to Houston Grand Opera to the Paris Cinemateque.

Harrington has twice won both the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in playwriting and the Clauder Competition for best new play in New England. Additional awards include a Boston IRNE Award for Best New Play, a Bunting Institute Fellowship at Harvard/ Radcliffe, a Whiting Foundation Grant-in-Aid, the Joseph Kesselring Award for Drama, a New England Emmy, and a Quebec Cinemateque Award.

Laura teaches playwriting at MIT where she was awarded the 2009 Levitan Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She has also been a frequent guest artist at Tufts, Harvard, Wellesley, Skidmore, and the University of Iowa.

Alice Bliss, her first novel, has been chosen by Barnes & Noble for their “Discover Great New Writers” program for Fall 2011.

You can find out more about Laura Harrington on her web site (www.lauraharringtonbooks.com). You can also say “Hidy Ho, Laura Harrington” on Twitter (@bookalike) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/Lharringtonbooks).

_________

Q4U: Readers / Writers / Looky-Loos / Playwrights / Librettists: Do you have different kinds of writerhead for different kinds of writing? Do you welcome interruptions? If so, how do you use them?

_________

GIVEAWAY! 5 Copies of Alice Bliss

Today—Wednesday, August 3, 2011—I’ll be giving away 5 copies of Laura Harrington’s novel Alice Bliss.

“5?” you ask incredulously.

“Yup, 5!” I say.

So thanks to Laura’s very generous publisher, you’ve got a great chance of winning.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment right here on WRITERHEAD for Laura. Wish her well. Tell her you have a neighbor named Alice Bliss. Talk about a shared writerhead experience. Tell her you can’t wait to read her novel. (Make sure to leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.)

**Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on August 4, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***The lucky winners will be drawn on Thursday, August 4. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container).

*****Although I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest.

Laura Harrington’s Novel “Alice Bliss” on bookcrossings.com Journey

Book Bloggers around the world, listen up!

Next Wednesday (August 3), I’ll be featuring author Laura Harrington on Writerhead Wednesday. Her new novel Alice Bliss was published back in June and it’s getting lots of great buzz. (I’ll also be giving away 5 copies of Alice Bliss next Wednesday! So be sure to stop back.)

In the meantime, Laura is launching a bookcrossings.com campaign for Alice Bliss. If you’re not familiar with bookcrossings, it’s a really cool way to share books around the world.

As a repatriated expat (China), I love this program. (Yep, there are bookcrossings events in Shanghai.) After all, it’s not always easy (or affordable) to get books when you’re living “elsewhere.” So if you’re a book blogger based anywhere in the world, you can participate.

To join in the fun, here’s what you need to do:

 

Help us send Alice Bliss all around the world.

This summer, book bloggers from across the United States and the globe have the unique opportunity to participate in an exciting, new international adventure. Laura Harrington, author of the novel Alice Bliss, is pleased to invite you, a book lover and blogger, to be a part of Where’s Alice Bliss?

What Is Where’s Alice Bliss?

Where’s Alice Bliss? is a campaign to send copies of the novel Alice Bliss to as many countries and U.S. states as possible. Through bookcrossing.com, copies of Alice Bliss will be registered and tracked as they travel around the world, passing from one reader to the next. Your bookcrossing ID (BCID) allows you to follow your book wherever it goes. It’s like a passport enabling your book to travel the world without getting lost. Once your book is registered, you will leave it in a public place with a note inside for someone else to find, read, and pass on, like a modern-day message in a bottle. You will be part of an international movement encouraging readers to read, register, and release books for others to enjoy.

How Do I Join?

If you are a teenage or adult book blogger, you are invited to request a copy of Alice Bliss through lauraharringtonbooks.com. Click on the Where’s Alice Bliss? page and fill out the submission form. The copy you receive will have a bookcrossing book plate on the inside. Please go to www.bookcrossing.com to register your book and get your book’s unique bookcrossing ID (BCID). Put the BCID in the space provided on the bookmark. This number will allow you to track your book’s journey.

What Do I Do When I Get My Copy?

Upon receiving your copy of Alice Bliss, you should read and review the book before logging on to bookcrossing.com and following the instructions to “release” your book to someone new. Photograph or video your “release” and upload your images to your blog and/ or Tumblr account and send us a link.

Goal:

We want to send Alice Bliss to four continents and 50 U.S. states.

How Can I Follow Alice?

You can find out where Alice is by going to wheresalicebliss.wordpress.com, see pictures and videos of Alice all around the world on wheresalicebliss.tumblr.com, and get Where’s Alice Bliss? updates by following WheresAB on Twitter.

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Ransom Riggs

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


To be honest, when I started reading Ransom Riggs’s new novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I wasn’t sure I could finish it.

Why?

Because it’s a little bit scary (especially the first couple of chapters), and I’m a little bit chicken.

But despite the fact that I was checking under my bed for ghosts and peeking behind doors before turning off the light, I still couldn’t wait to turn the page.

On top of an incredibly compelling story line, the book is full of photographs. Oodles of creepy, bizarre photographs that draw you even deeper into the story.

Technically, I think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is labeled YA, but I loved it (and I’m a smidgin over 16).

So let’s get started.

The Scoop About Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows. [from www.ransomriggs.com]

The Buzz

“An enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters and some very creepy monsters . . . dark but empowering.” ~ Publishers Weekly

“A tense, moving, and wondrously strange first novel. The photographs and text work brilliantly together to create an unforgettable story.” ~ John Green, New York Times bestselling author of Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska

Named one of the “Best YA Books of June” at Amazon.com.

Named one of the “Top 10 YA Books of the Year So Far” at Amazon.com.

First Sentence

“I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”

_________

And now, Ransom’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

I’ve become a creature of habit in this respect. The way I write is mostly can’ts—I can’t write in coffee shops, because there’s always some blabbermouth chattering away at the next table, or I get distracted with whatever they’re playing on the stereo; I can’t write on planes or while traveling; I can’t write at night; I can’t write without at least an hour and a half of free time in front of me, or I get distracted thinking about whatever’s about to happen in less than an hour and a half. I’m spoiled: I need hours of obligation free quiet time in my house (I have an office in my house where I write), with no one else around or in the next room (so I can get up and pace around and mutter to myself without feeling self-conscious about my weird habits) and it helps to be surrounded by books that I can grab and flip open at random for inspiration. Also, it helps when the Internet is broken, for obvious reasons. I have no clue how people work regular day jobs and then come home and write in the evening with kids and dogs crashing around their houses. I couldn’t do it!

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

I get cranky! My wife always knows I’m writing when she calls me in the middle of the day and my speech is clipped and fast—it’s like I’m trying to save my words for the page instead of using them up on the phone. (I always apologize to her later, though.) I don’t have any great stories about this…usually I just get annoyed, then keep writing when whatever’s distracting me is over.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

It’s like a state of half-dreaming, where you’re letting your brain go and have adventures and imagine things, but you’re aware enough to write them down. A bit like lucid dreaming, I’d imagine.

_________

Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida, where he spent his formative years making silly movies with his friends in their various backyards, snorkeling, and complaining about the heat. He studied English at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He is married. He has a cat. He lives in Los Angeles. He makes films you can watch on his YouTube page: www.youtube.com/ransriggs. He enjoys traveling to exotic lands and complaining about the heat.

You can find out more about Ransom on his web site (www.ransomriggs.com) and connect with him on Twitter (@ransomriggs).

_________

Q4U: Readers / Writers / Looky-Loos / Lovers of YA Fiction / Lovers of Spooky, Creepy Fiction: What are your writerly /readerly “can’ts”? (I can’t write if someone–a.k.a. my husband–talks to me in the morning before I sit down to write; I can’t read in a car or a train…)

_________

GIVEAWAY! 3 Copies of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Today—Wednesday, July 27, 2011—I’ll be giving away 3 copies of Ransom Riggs’s crazy, lovely, creepy, captivating novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment right here on WRITERHEAD for Ransom. Wish him well. Tell him you can’t wait to read his novel. Talk about a shared writerhead experience. Ask him why he’s always complaining about the heat. Anything. (Make sure to leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.)

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on July 28, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***The lucky winners will be drawn on Thursday, July 28. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container).

*****Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (This isn’t American Idol.)

 

Expat Sat: The 2012 Narrative Travel Writing Contest

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


TransitionsAbroad.com’s annual travel writing competition opens for submissions on July 15 (2011). Another great writing opportunity for expat writers! (Note: All information below is taken from TransitionsAbroad.com.)

Description

Given the huge downturn in the global economy since 2008 which has resulted in a marked decrease in opportunities to work in your home country, many have turned to volunteering as a way to see the world, often inexpensively, as well as to altruistically help others handle their own economic plight. Transitions Abroad has long been a big believer in contributing to the host community either financially, through works, service, or through respectful interaction with the natives in which all learn from each other. Please describe an experience(s) you have had in which your volunteer work or service, or even voluntourism, has had a positive impact on the natives (as far as you know), as well as contributing to your inner development as an empathic global citizen. In some cases, volunteer service abroad also may help you find work at home in the aftermath. We are open to a combination of narrative and practical writing, including a sidebar which provides others with the information they need to follow your footsteps or pursue their own path. We recognize that at some level all travelers or volunteers all ultimately “outsiders” in some way, but we believe that through empathy the gap between people and cultures around the world can be closed, just as music is a universal language which often brings people together.

We are not looking for destination pieces which describe in flowery “amazing” terms your experience, nor are we looking for travelogues or blog-like posts which are too overly personal and self-involved to necessarily resonate with others on their own paths of discovery. We are looking for inspirational pieces which will lead others to experience the sense of engagement as a global citizen.

How to Enter

  • Submit an original and previously unpublished essay from 1,000 to 5,000 words. Supporting photos in .jpg or .gif format are welcome to illustrate the experience and are considered part of the essay submission. Please do not embed the photos for the travel essay in the .doc files.
  • To enter the Contest, attach your essay in Microsoft Word format or copy and paste it into an e-mail as a last resort. Please include your the essay title, full name, complete postal address and phone number in both the email and Word document and add a brief bio if you so choose. Please type “2012 Narrative Travel Writing Essay Entry” in the subject description of the e-mail and send the e-mail to narrativewritingcontest@transitionsabroad.com.
  • Accompanying photos which enhance the narrative are highly preferred. Photojournalistic essays or accompanying videos will also be considered, and humor is appreciated where appropriate.
  • Please include an optional bio of 1-3 sentences which reference your websites, blogs, books, and contact information in the body of the submission.

Eligibility

The contest is open to professional, freelance and aspiring travel writers from any location around the globe and of any nationality.

Rights

Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will require first-time Worldwide Electronic rights for all submissions which are accepted as contest winners and for publication. In addition, Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will reserve the right to reprint the story in a future publication. The writer may republish the unedited submission as desired six months after initial publication on TransitionsAbroad.com.

Prizes

  • The first-place winning entry will receive $500 (USD).
  • The second-place winning entry will receive $150 (USD).
  • The third-place winning entry will receive $100 (USD).
  • Any other articles selected as runner-ups will receive a $50 payment.

Deadline

  • The contest begins July 15, 2011.
  • All entries must be received by January 5, 2012.
  • Winners will be notified by phone, mail, or e-mail by January 15, 2012 for publication by March 10th due to the time required for all writers spanning the globe to send in Agreements and payment to be cashed.

Judges

Editors of TransitionsAbroad.com will judge entries based upon the following criteria:

  • Sensitivity to the people and culture being described
  • Ability to engage the reader
  • Literary quality
  • Rich photographic/video illustrations

The Kicker

None that I can see.

The Upside

Money, money, money!

Advice

Read past winning entries. Then start writing.

 

For full terms and conditions, click here.

_____

Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Summer Contest!

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Today I’m giving away a $25 Visa gift card…with the hope,  intention, and understanding that the lucky winner will use it to buy necessary writer-related stuff—books, pens, paper, a shiny new stapler, one-third (one-fourth?) of a much-needed therapy session, a cheap thumb drive, business cards, a couple of double-shot lattes, a few hours of babysitting time, a bottle of Jack, etc.

What do you have to do to win?

Easy peasy.

Just answer this writerhead question in the comment section:

Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something. (For example, “For me, writerhead is like chomping into a habanero pepper” or “When I’m in writerhead, I feel like I’m floating down a peaceful river, until I plunge headfirst over the falls.”) You can also take a look at the writerhead authors, like Jael McHenry or Eugenia Kim or Lisa Brackmann.

If you’re new to this site (welcome!) or need a refresher course on what exactly writerhead is, keep reading:

Writerhead is “a (usually) temporary state of dreamy concentration and fluctuating consciousness during which a writer is most creative, productive, and artistic.”

You know…the purest moments of creation. Those beautiful (sometimes excruciating) sh, sh, sh, ssssssshhhhhh, I’ve got to get this down moments when words are bubbling, popping, zinging, and swinging. The ones when the “real” world disappears behind a gauzy cloud (insert sucking sound here…) and the imaginative world takes on firmer lines and brighter hues.

Some writers call it “the flow” or “the zone.” Some call it “hell.” Others refer to it as “writerland.” I’ve always called it writerhead.

“Sshshh,” I say to my husband if he tries to talk to me in the morning before I hunker down to write. “I’m in writerhead!”

Ready?

Got your answer?

Great!

Post it in the comment section below…and please make sure to either leave your email address or check back later in the week to see if you’ve won.

Good luck!

_____

GIVEAWAY RULES & REGS:

*To enter the giveaway contest, answer the question (above) in the comment section. Easy peasy.

**Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on June 30, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

***This contest is open internationally.

****A winner will be drawn on Thursday, June 30. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

*****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container).

******Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest.