Glimmer Train’s June Fiction Open is accepting fiction submissions between 2,000 and 20,000 words until midnight (PST) on June 30, 2015.  This biannual opportunity is open to all writers and all subjects and themes.  Unpublished novel excerpts are considered, provided they feel like complete stories.  Up to four multiple submissions are also accepted.  The reading fee for each submission is $20.

The first place winner will receive $2,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and twenty copies of that issue.  The second and third place winners will receive $1,000 and $600, respectively.  Results will be announced on September 1.  For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.com/fictionopen.html.



You Heard Write

Last month I attended the Orange County Christian Writers Conference.  Having attended the event previously in 2012, I had vacillated before registering earlier this year.  My experience three years ago was a high point in my writing life, as an excerpt from my developing novel caught the attention of publishers and editors and won three fiction awards.  Astonished and elated, I had vowed to dedicate all my free time to completing the book and pursuing publication before the end of the year.

Within weeks, however, the demands of my career and graduate school and life thwarted all my good writerly intentions.  With my creative energy allocated to finishing my course work at Chapman University and numerous guest columns and blog posts, progress on my novel stalled.  There was simply no time to write more than a few chapters for my MFA workshops, and I labored over those small accomplishments.  While I did return to the novel at full speed in 2014 in order to fulfill my 150-page thesis requirement, I have often felt disappointing and even disobedient to God by not finding a way to finish.  Even worse, as the years passed, I began to diminish the merits of the recognition my excerpt had received and question what I had believed was my lifelong calling.  It shouldn’t be this hard, I thought.  Perhaps I heard God wrong.

I had a multitude of excuses for not attending this year’s conference, but a niggling feeling urging me to go prevailed.  I decided to register and attend Friday night’s activities.  I could always skip the Saturday workshops and appointments I had scheduled if I felt at all uncomfortable or out of step with the other attendees.  After checking in, I helped myself to a paper cup of coffee, said hello to my tablemates, and settled in for the keynote address by Sharon Elliott.

I liked her immediately.  She was boisterous and frank, assuring us that rejection and self-doubt would unquestionably be part of our writing and publishing quest, just as they were for countless bestselling authors.  And then she said the most powerful words of the night, the weekend, and probably my year: “Relax.  You heard right.  You’re in the right place.”  Wait, what was that?  Is she talking to me?  In case we missed it, she said it again: “You heard right.  You’re in the right place.”  And at that moment, I knew that I had and that I was.

The rest of the conference was just as propitious and exciting.  Significant connections and new friends were made, and complicated questions about the current publishing industry were answered.  I left on Saturday evening knowing exactly what I needed to do to continue the narrative I began so many years ago.  I heard about platform-building and social media optimization and online branding.  I learned how to submit to magazine editors and why it’s prudent to always maintain film rights.  I was even convinced to…wait for it…tweet, something I vowed I would never do.  Most importantly, I know that I haven’t imagined or misunderstood my calling.  I can relax, because I heard right.  He said “Write.”




This post was published first on the American Christian Fiction Writers website on May 14, 2015.  

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.  And then there are books […] which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.  It wasn’t even that the book was so good or anything; it was just that the author […] seemed to understand me in weird and impossible ways.


~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


"Lesendes Mädchen" ("Reading Girl") by Emil Rau (1858-1937)

“Lesendes Mädchen” (“Reading Girl”) by Emil Rau (1858-1937)

The sun shines fair on Tweedside, the river flowing bright,

Your heart is full of pleasure, your eyes are full of light,

Your cheeks are like the morning, your pearls are like the dew,

Or morning and her dew-drops are like your pearls and you.


Because you are a princess, a princess of the land,

You will not turn your lightsome eyes a moment where I stand,

A poor unnoticed poet, a-making of his rhymes;

But I have found a mistress, more fair a thousand times.


‘Tis May, the elfish maiden, the daughter of the Spring,

Upon whose birthday morning the birds delight to sing.

They would not sing one note for you, if you should so command,

Although you are a princess, a princess of the land.


                                                                     ~ Robert Fuller Murray


"Spring Spreads One Green Lap of Flowers" by John William Waterhouse, 1910

“Spring Spreads One Green Lap of Flowers” by John William Waterhouse, 1910


The steadfastness of generations of nobility

shows in the curving lines that form the eyebrows.

And the blue eyes still show traces of childhood fears

and of humility here and there, not of a servant’s,

yet of one who serves obediently, and of a woman.

The mouth formed as a mouth, large and accurate,

not given to long phrases, but to express

persuasively what is right.  The forehead without guile

and favoring the shadows of quiet downward gazing.


This, as a coherent whole, only casually observed;

never as yet tried in suffering or succeeding,

held together for an enduring fulfillment,

yet so as if for times to come, out of these scattered things,

something serious and lasting were being planned.


~ Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Albert Ernest Flemming


"Contemplation" by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902)

“Contemplation” by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902)


The wind is tossing the lilacs,

The new leaves laugh in the sun,

And the petals fall on the orchard wall,

But for me the spring is done.


Beneath the apple blossoms

I go a wintry way,

For love that smiled in April

Is false to me in May.


~ Sara Teasdale


"Apple Blossom" by Henry Ryland (1856-1924)

“Apple Blossom” by Henry Ryland (1856-1924)

damselfly press is accepting submissions for its thirty-second issue through June 15.  Now in its ninth year of publication, the quarterly journal continues to be “intrigued by the everyday seen through sundry lenses” and looks for bold female voices and writing that “soars beyond common perceptions.”

Eligible fiction and nonfiction submissions may be comprised of up to two fictional stories or nonfiction pieces such as memoir or personal essay, must be previously unpublished, and not exceed ten pages and seven pages, respectively.  Poetry submissions may include up to three previously unpublished poems.  All submissions must be in a Word document or .RTF attachment.  A brief biography of no more than fifty words should accompany all submissions.

For more information and to submit online, visit the website at http://damselflypress.net.




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