The writer’s genetic inheritance and her or his experiences shape the writer into a unique individual, and it is this uniqueness that is the writer’s only stuff for sale” .- James Gunn


Thought not strictly related to fiction writing, I wanted to point out a few essay calls/contests that came to my attention this week, as I believe many of the readers of this blog might find them of interest.

Real Simple Magazine is sponsoring its Sixth Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest. Submit your essay of no more than 1,500 words about a time you took a risk and the lesson you learned from this. The deadline for entries is September 19, 2013. The first place winner wins $3,000, second place gets $750 and third place nets $500. Find all the details here.

Ladies Home Journal is interested in the story behind a special recipe. This could be a favorite family dish, something handed down through your family, or a new creation, as long as it has an interesting story to go with it. You can read some examples of these stories here. Send your story to

Ladies Home Journal also accepts submissions for its Your Story Feature. Check out their tips for writing an essay for them here. Send your submissions to

Redbook Magazine accepts first-person essays about “a dramatic, pivotal moment in a woman’s life.” Send to Articles Department
300 West 57th Street, 22nd Floor
New York,  NY 10019


Another cover reveal this week. This one is of a Christmas Anthology I’m privileged to be in with Fern Michaels, Marie Bostick, secretsanta

and Laura Levine. Secret Santa will be in stores October 29, 2013, but you can preorder online now.

The Mountain Between Us also goes on sale October 29, and is available for preorder now.



Crimson Romance is looking for romance short stories of between 5,000 and 10,000 words for some upcoming themed collections. Submit your Christmas or New Years’ stories by June 1, 2013, and Valentine’s Day stories by August 1, 2013. The editors are also interested in stories featuring professional athletes. Send these in by July 31, 2013. Any heat level is welcome. Stories will be published digitally. Find all the details here.


Samhain Publishing is looking for horror novels between 12,000 and 120,000 words. All works are published digitally, and works between 60,000 and 120,000 words are eligible for print publication also. The editors are looking for “exciting, dramatic and frightening” stories or all types, with a fresh premise, three-dimensional characters and suspenseful writing. Find the details here.


As always, feel free to share the information in this blog — repost, retweet, reprint. All I ask is that you give me credit as the source, and include a link to the blog. Thanks!  Cindi







This week, I’m reporting on the Spotlight on Tor Books from the Romance Writers of America’s National Convention.
The Spotlight on Tor was presented by Heather Osborn, Editor, Tor Paranormal Romance. Also with her was Melissa Frain, Assistant Editor.
Tor has been publishing romance for four years. They publish one romance a month, all paranormal romance. They also publish urban fantasy that is not part of the romance line.
Because Tor is primarily a science fiction and fantasy imprint, they like their romances to have a strong paranormal element. They publish all sub-genres: vampires, werewolves, psychics, witches,  fallen angels, futuristics – pretty much anything goes. She loves steampunk. She also loves fantasy romance and space opera type romances. She’d like to see more futuristics set on other planets. She likes everything from humorous to dark. Heather previously worked for Ellora’s Cave, so she’d open to erotic content, though that’s not the focus of Tor’s line.
She’s not a fan of time travel or ghosts. Doesn’t like historical western or Civil War settings. And she doesn’t like Gothics.
Time travel is an iffy genre for paranormal. The paranormal element must be strong in all the time periods – time travel alone is not enough.
They’re okay with stand alone books, series or trilogies.
Melissa is looking “almost exclusively for young adult.” She likes YA urban fantasy and YA romance for older teens, dark and edgier. 65,000 to 85,000 words.
Tor will accept unagented and unsolicited manuscripts. Don’t just query, send the submission. Submission guidelines
Include a brief cover letter, a synopsis that includes the beginning, middle and end of the book and the first three chapters. Write Tor Paranormal Romance on the envelope.
In addition to paranormal romance, she’s interested in urban fantasy. She’s open to YA paranormal romance and YA urban fantasy. You may submit YA to Heather, Melissa or to the Tor YA editor, Susan Chang. If the romance is really strong, send to Heather.
Length 75,000 – 100,000 words for romance. Fantasy is much longer.
Check out the covers for my January books:
Baby, It’s Cold Outside, an anthology with Jennifer Greene and Merline Lovelace: or 
Shock Totem publishes dark fantasy and horror short stories. Payment is 5 cents a word. Editors K. Allen Wood, John Boden and Nick Contor are looking for mystery, fantasy, suspense, supernatural and morbid humor with a clear horror element. They’ll accept unpublished stories no longer than 5000 words. Find the guidelines at
I was honored to be invited to participate in the anthology Broken Links, Mended Lives, a short story collection produced by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. You can get your copy here or  
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