Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kaye's "King of Bull" takes first in Toasted Cheese contest

I'm PLEASED to report that Kaye's story (here I go again, referring to myself in the third person), "King of Bull", took first place in the Toasted Cheese 2007 Dead of Winter Contest! The last time she won first place in a short story contest, she was 12. Perseverance pays off!

This was the second story she wrote for the contest -- the first one was "Crossing Guards", which she didn't submit because it made a disappointing show at the Pencils! meeting on November 27. So she came up with this second idea.

The story will be published in Toasted Cheese's March issue. Toasted Cheese is a great mag; check it out at

Kathryn scores internship!

Kathryn has just been awarded an internship by Time, Inc. She'll be working in New York in the editorial department for this summer.

This is really quite an achievement. Congratulations, Kathryn! May this be the start of a fabulous new career!

Walt places piece in Every Day Fiction

Walt's done it again! Every Day Fiction picked up a story for their Valentine's Day special. I'm not sure which story it was, so hopefully he'll chime in and then I can send this out again. But, CONGRATULATIONS, WALT!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Website Updates!

The photos from the 5TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL are now up on the site,

Some of the pix are really hilarious. You can check it out here:

If for some reason this link doesn't work, you can just go to Pencils! home page, hit Pencils! Scrapbook, and then click on '5th Annual Christmas Cocktail 2007!'

In addition, I took any websites I had for anyone and splashed them up on the front page of the site under our main profile to give you all a little more exposure. If you've got a website or blog that's not there, it's because I didn't know about drop me a line and I'll add you! (Chris? Does this mean YOU?? I was pretty sure you had a blog.)

Happy writing and enjoy the site!

4th Annual Rejection Slip Burning slated for 2/23/08

Well, it's that time of year again: REJECTION SLIP BURNING time! Here's some details so you can mark your calendars..."official" invitations will be out sometime this week!

The 4th Annual
"Oh Sweet Rejection" Slip Burning Dessert Party
Saturday, February 23, 2008
7:30 p.m.

Al & Maryanne's
(address provided on official invitation)
We'll provide some sweets, but you may bring something sweet to share if you like. BYOB and don't forget to bring every slip that really pissed you off!
Snow date: Saturday, March 1

Kaye's Quintuple Whammy

All things considered, 2008 started off with a bang for Kaye. Here's what's going on:

"Wailing Station," which placed 2nd in Toasted Cheese's “Dead of Winter” Contest last year, has been picked up by the audio-serial Parade of Phantoms. This is truly exciting--they always have professional readers, and the stories on the other episodes are really top-notch. I'll let you know when "Wailing Station"'s available, but for now, do yourself a favor and check the mag out here:

A review of my story "Bad Enough", which was published last December in Susurrus Press' I Am This Meat anthology, appears here. I was pretty pleased with what he had to say:

Orlando Attractions Magazine printed a tip and a photo of mine in their Letters to the Editor section. The clip, in JPEG format, is what appears above. If you're a fan of Disney or any of Orlando's other major attractions, you should check it out at:

The Taj Mahal Review published "Matchbox" in their December 2007 issue:

"Glass Kill" appeared in Goddard College's journal The Pitkin Review, Spring 2008 issue. Now, here's something interesting: the editor sent Kaye a note assuming that the word she'd used in the story, "chourico", was misspelled, and shouldn't it be "chorizo"? Kaye replied, "no, the story is set in Fall River, Mass, where "chourico", because of the area's Portuguese influence, is spelled this way. "Chorizo" is the Spanish spelling." In fact...the meats are, indeed, prepared using different spices, so they don't even taste the same: Despite all of this, the magazine prints -- you guessed it -- "chorizo"!

I honestly have to say that this is SUCH a major error I won't be submitting there again—this is the kind of stuff that undermines a writer's credibility. Besides, next time around they might just insist the Bronx Zoo is really in Manhattan...and these are MFA students? Hello? You can check out their Fall, 2007 (not the issue "Glass Kill" appeared in) at

Writing stuff on the horizon...

Hi guys,

Here's a few things I've had forwarded to me by various people over the last month. I think Claudia may have sent me some news, too, regarding upcoming contests and events Pencils! members may be interested in, but I can't find that e-mail. Claudia, if you have it, can you re-send? Or maybe it was Vance? God, I'm a train-wreck...

Anyway, here's some stuff coming up. Take a gander:

The Vocabula
Well-Written Writing

Eligibility: The Vocabula Well-Written Writing Contest is open to all.

Write 200 to 500 words of readable, well-written, even beautiful
writing. Send your entries to Along with your
submission, you must include your name, address, email address, and
$20 entry fee.

Contest Dates: Entries for the Vocabula Well-Written Writing Contest
are accepted year-round. Each contest ends on May 31. The next contest
begins the following day.

Selection: We accept nonfiction submissions only. Entries are judged
on readability, beauty, and creativity -- in that order. Submissions
not meeting the word count requirements are disqualified.

Prizes: First prize is $200 and your choice of any three $40 Special
Offer books.

Second prize is $100 and your choice of any one $40 Special Offer book.

Winning entries will also be published in The Vocabula Review and may
be considered for publication in a forthcoming anthology.

Everyone who submits an entry will receive the PDF version of 101
Elegant Paragraphs, a $10 value.

Fees: There is a $20 entry fee.

Copyrights: The author retains the copyright to his or her writing.

Notification: Winners are announced every August 31. Winners are
notified by email.

Decisions: All decisions are final.

Privacy Policy: The Vocabula Review does not lease, lend, sell, or
share personal information collected.

Sponsored by The Vocabula Review. All rights reserved.

If you do not now subscribe to Vocabula, you may do so here.

You may send your entry fee through PayPal, or you may send a check
for $20, made out to Vocabula, to:

5A Holbrook Court
Rockport, MA 01966


CT Press Club Program
February 7, 2008

Self-Publishing Success

Self Publishing Success: From Manuscript to Mass Distribution

You Can Self-Publish Your Manuscript! Greetings!

Learn how to self-publish and market your book at the Self Publishing
Panel featuring four successful self published authors on February 7,
2008 at the Norwalk Inn in Norwalk.


Patricia D'Ascoli

Self Publishing Success: From Manuscript to Mass Distribution

The Norwalk Inn
East Avenue
Norwalk, CT
February 7, 2008
6:00 PM to 8:30 PM Dinner and Informative Panel Discussion

Robert Crooke, Michele Turk, Stacy Lytwyn Maxwell and C.J. Golden,
all successful self-published authors, will share their
self-publishing know-how.

Learn how to make your book look completely professional, from
editing to cover design to quality of the printing. Learn how to
distribute your book (via Amazon and bookstores) and how to create a
marketing plan to get more publicity and to generate more sales -
something every author needs to know! RSVP for this Event NOW!
CT Press Club

Connecticut Press Club
P.O. Box 4099
Stamford, Connecticut 06907

$35 for CPC Members/$40 for non members. Reserve by contacting
Patricia D'Ascoli at (860) 354- 6488 or email


Registration is open for the

2008 Nieman Conference

on Narrative Journalism!

Visit our Web site to register online and view our growing list of
speakers, including keynoters John Hockenberry, Sam Pollard, Sherry
Turkle, and the team of Dana Priest and Anne Hull. While you're there,
connect with other conference participants through our message boards.

To take advantage of our early-bird discount, register now. Don't
forget to make your hotel reservations at the same time to take
advantage of special conference rates offered by the Sheraton Boston.

Please forward this e-mail to all who have an interest in narrative

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard · One Francis Ave. ·
Cambridge, MA 02138 · 617.495.2237

John K's "Peas in a Pod" to appear...

John Kildahl's story, "Peas in a Pod," was accepted for publication in the upcoming first issue of Whatever Literary Journal.

Congratulations, John!

Pencils! News: Jen's new design

Hey gang,

As you know, Jen Connic has been busy in her position down at The Herald News in New Jersey. She reports they recently launched their new website. Check it out here:

Congratulations, Jen!

Walt's recent publishing forays...

Walt sent some of this news to you late last month, but I'm reiterating it here in case some of you missed it!

First, the second volume of Cruising the Green of Second Avenue is now available from Wild Child Publishing. You can check it out here as an e-book you can download as a pdf file, at

Walt writes:

Cocktail Reviews again gave the collection their five Champagne glasses, saying, "Volume II, allowed me to revisit everyone from Volume I. I slipped back into Jake's life easily, feeling as though I knew them all—good character development, an easy voice, and funny lines saw to that. Once again, a brilliant set of short stories that involve everyone in Jake's life. Here's hoping there is a Volume Three."

In addition, Walt's short story "Cable Window" was published in Bewildering Stories issue 271, and you can check that out here: (

Congratulations, Walt!

John finishes 2007 with a bang!

John Palisano got word that his story, "Wings for Wheels," will be included in the publication Darkness on the Edge. As he commented in his e-mail, "a very amazing way to finish off 2007"!

Congratulations, John!

Jerry's new website & "in print"!

Hey, gang...

Well, here we are, catching up. I apologize for stuff going out that happened, like, seven weeks ago, news is old news around here!

Jerry has a fabulous new website! Check it out at Way back in December, his photo was featured in a Connecticut Post article on National Novel Writing Month. Unfortunately, the link to the story has expired (Kaye's bad 'cuz she waited too long). I was going to spend $2.95 for their archive to get the text, but then I realized it doesn't come with the photo. What a RIP! So, instead, I give you:

The lead:

Date: December 9, 2007
Publication: Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, CT)
Article ID: 7679262

Think you accomplished a lot last month? Elizabeth Laden, Patti Woods and Brian LaVoie and 65 other area residents each wrote a complete, 50,000-word novel during November. They were among more than 100,000 writers from more than 70 nations participating in the annual National Novel Writing Month, which organizers claim is the largest writing competition in the world.

"It's all about getting to write, getting a pure train of thought...


The close-up of Jerry's photo.

Pretty swank, eh?