Writing is an exploration; you start from nothing and learn as you go.” E.L. Doctorow


We Need Diverse Books is sponsoring a short story contest for middle grade stories. The winner will be published in an anthology “Stories For All of Us”, from Crown Books For Young Readers in January 2017. In addition to publication in the anthology, alongside writers such as Matt de la Pena and Grace Lin, the winner of the contest will receive $1000. Stories may be up to 5,000 words long, suitable for readers ages 8 to 12,  The story should be written by a writer from a diverse background ” including but not limited to, LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities currently marginalized in North America.”  Your story should include diverse characters, and must relate to the prompt “Once I began to read, I began to exist.” There is no fee to enter the contest. Entries must be received between April 27 and May 8, 2015. For all the details, go to the story page here. 


The HerStories Project is seeking essays for a new feature, HerStories Voices. if you are a woman writer, you may submit your personal essay of up to 2000 words about an experience or moment that was transformative or that made you realize something important. Payment is $40 per essay. For more details, go here. 


My first new historical romance in several years, written under my pseudonym Cynthia Sterling, is now available at your favorite ebook seller. Purchase Loving the Outlaw at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your favorite ebook retailer.


Spinster seamstress Laura Brown has a secret. Once the spoiled, privileged daughter of a banker, her life was destroyed by scandal when she fell in love with an outlaw. Disgraced in the aftermath of her lover’s arrest, she ran away and started life over in the small town of New Spring, Texas, where she’s slowly regained the peace and respectability she craved.

But her former lover Cole Randall is out of prison now and has tracked her to New Spring. Unnerved by her lingering attraction to Cole, Laura resists his attentions. But when a bullet meant for her strikes Cole, Laura finds herself back under his spell. Will loving the outlaw destroy Laura again, or will it restore her to the only life worth living?

Mystery/Crime writers who live in Connecticutt, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts or Rhode Island may be interested in submitting to Level Best Book’s 2015 Short Story Anthology. The editors are interested in crime stories by writers from these states, ” mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror. (No torture/killing of children or animals.)” Stories may be up to 5,000 words and may not have been previously published. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2015. Payment is $25. For more details go here.
 Canadian publisher Morning Rain is actively searching for romantic short stories between 5,000 and 10,000 words, for a Valentine’s Day anthology, to be published February 13, 2015. The deadline for submissions is January 26, 2015. The stories should be romantic and passionate, but no erotica, please. They only accept submissions from Canadian writers. For more information, go here.
As always, feel free to share the information in this newsletter with others– reprint, repost, retweet. Please give me credit as the source, and include a link to this blog. Thank you!  Cindi