This is a beautiful email we had to share.

Saturday, October 14, 2006
Dear Editors,

As far back as I can remember I have loved language...whether it's the spoken or written word. Saying that...

Two things have happened in the last two weeks. First, I was finally able to see the heart-warming film: Akeelah and the Bee. Both beautifully written and directed by Doug Atchison. The main character was growing up on the South Side of LA. Really though, in my mind, it's not the location, it is the insecurities within her, and how she overcomes them.

As women, as writers, we can allow things to pull us down and not take the time to truly nurture ourselves, or maybe, never put ourselves out there and try. We say I'll do it tomorrow, while the clock is ticking ever so loudly.

What I'm saying is... if the desire, the drive in your heart is to write, then do it, Now!

Saying that leads me into the next thing: I found myself feeling the need for validation by someone I love with everything in me...but didn’t take the time to examine myself for the validation. Believing in ourselves will help move us forward...

No one is born published.

The following words, as well as I can remember them, from Akeelah and the Bee touch my heart:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are antiquated, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous; actually, who are you not to be? We are born to make manifest the glory of God; this is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

With Love,
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The Power of Variety, Learning and Detail

Friday, October 13, 2006
If you’ve been with us for our September and October issues, you know we have had two authors that have beautifully written, albeit—quite humorously, at times, memoirs. They would be Maralys Wills, A Circus without Elephants, and Diana Abu-Jaber, The Language of Baklava.

There’s a book, On Writing Well, by William Zinseer, that I have been referring back to for quite a while. Chapter 14 is Writing About Yourself and there were a few things that stuck out in my mind. One thing is if you are a connoisseur of memoirs, like Mr. Zinseer, you won’t want to miss his partial list of favorites on page 135.

Mr. Zinseer discloses the art of detail as one secret in writing your memoir well. That chapter confirmed the true excellence found in the aforementioned memoirs.

As I continued reading, I felt a longing to start putting some things on paper, or in the computer, that I had previously felt I could never give _expression to. How interesting, that the power of learning some ins and outs of a particular genre can ignite creativity, previously suppressed or ignored. All this meditation brought to mind an interview I did this month.

Mary Rosemblum’s article echoes the sentiments of almost all the authors we’ve interviewed in the sense that she attributes her continued growth as an author to reading...reading...reading...
Her answer to the question of how important writing is to a writer, "Critical! You need to stretch, grow as a writer. Read things that you wouldn't ordinarily read. Read things that are outside your 'universe'. The more you broaden your mind, think about things, and see other viewpoints; the more you will bring to your writing, no matter what you do.”

Variety, the power of variety, the power of learning, the power of’s creating a desire within me to stretch, to be brave—like Maralys Wills and Diana Abu-Jaber—and write from the heart while engaging the brain, utilizing all these wonderful things I’m learning...won’t you join me?

Take care,

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Email Questions About the Flash Fiction Contest

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We received an e-mail from a reader who wanted to enter the Flash Fiction Contest, but she had a question concerning the prompt and genre. We thought we'd post it here for anyone who had a similar question.

To refresh your memory, here is the prompt: "You receive the pom-pom that you thought you had lost ten years ago in high school. There is no return address on the box."

Q: "For the contest, can you only write on the prompt? In some areas I felt that I could write in any genre and others only spoke of the prompt."

A: You can write in any genre, but your story must touch on the prompt in some way. Here are some examples:

Horror Genre: You could write about a stalker who sent you your old pom-pom in the mail.

Fantasy Genre: The pom-pom sent to you has magical powers that allows you to cloak your identity.

Romance Genre: An old flame from high school comes back into your life.

Mystery Genre: The pom-pom provides a clue to an unsolved case involving a murder victim.

Science Fiction Genre: In the future, pom-poms are considered contraband, and cheerleading is a forbidden...

Mainstream/Literary Genre: When the pom-pom arrives on the doorstep, it causes an unexpected quarrel with your husband.

Humor Genre: As you open the box containing the pom-pom, a crazy dog jumps out of nowhere, chews on it, and then carries it down the street as you go running frantically after him.


Anyway, you get the idea! Those were just off the top of my head. There are a plenty of ways to take this, and feel free to use one if you'd like. I'm not the judge, so I have no idea if these would appeal to Teresa, but the main thing is to be creative! It doesn't have to be plot driven, it could be character driven as well. Play with setting, location, and characters to see what you come up with... and most of all, have fun!

If you have any questions, you can post comments here on the blog and we'll answer them, or e-mail us at:

We look forward to your entries!

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'Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings' Wins Book of the Year

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tyler Perry's book Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings, published by Riverhead, was voted Book of the Year by readers last night in the second annual Quill Book Awards. Tyler's book also won in the Humor category.

Now I have another book to put on my reading list! Here's the blurb:

"In 2005, Tyler Perry took Hollywood by storm. The movie he wrote, produced, and starred in, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, opened number one at the box office and went on to gross more than $50 million. In its first week on sale, the DVD sold 2.4 million copies. At the same time, Perry was starring nightly across the country in a soldout stage show he'd also written, produced, and scored-Madea Goes to Jail-even as another one of his productions, Meet the Browns, was touring nationally. Every week in 2005, 35,000 people saw a Tyler Perry production. His second feature film, Madea's Family Reunion, opens in theaters in February 2006. Now, this triple-threat actor/playwright/director, has written his first book, and it features his most beloved, most irreverent creation: sixty-eight-year-old grandmother Madea Simmons.

Madea is at the center of all of Tyler Perry's work, and she's always unfailingly outspoken, dead-on, and hilarious. But in Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings, Madea shares more than she ever has before- about herself, and about what she thinks of everyone around her. The topics inimitably covered by Madea (a term of endearment for "Mother Dear") include love and marriage, child-rearing, etiquette and neighborliness, beauty tips, health tips, financial tips, the Bible and the church, and, of course, gun care. She's brazen, feisty, and never at a loss for words, but at the heart of everything she says- and at the heart of all of Perry's work-is a resounding message of faith and forgiveness.

Shockingly hilarious, surprisingly moving, and as rousing and inspiring as a great gospel show, Madea's words of wisdom, memories, and straight-up in-your-face advice will be cherished by Perry's numerous fans- and it all comes just in time for Mother's Day. Tyler Perry is about to take the publishing world by storm." -- from Penguin Group

Buy it here: Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earings

The Quills Award was held at the American Museum of Natural History, and was hosted by NBC News anchor Lester Holt. The Quills were created last year by Reed Business Information and NBC Universal Television Stations to give readers to opportunity to vote for their favorite books. The event will be aired as a one-hour special Oct. 28 on NBC. That should be interesting to check out.
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Aury Wallington on Booksie!

Friday, October 06, 2006
Our friend Sol over at has some exciting news!

Newton, MA - Aury Wallington, a writer for Sex and the City, Veronica Mars, and The Wedding Album, and author of a series of novels based on the popular television show The OC is teaming up with the new site to debut her novel POP!

“We’re really excited about helping Aury get the word out about her novel. We think the readers on the site will enjoy the advance peek they are getting,” said Sol Nasisi, the Founder and Director of TheNextBigWriter, LLC, the company that launched Booksie.

Aury’s new novel POP! is about Sex, Love and Friendship:

In POP!, seventeen year old Marit’s hilarious and disastrous attempts to juggle sex, love, and friendship leave her in danger of losing all three. POP! delivers an entertaining, thoughtful, and realistic portrayal of the emotional minefield of first love.
“I’m thrilled to be giving readers a sneak peek at the first chapter of POP!,” said author Aury Wallington. “Writing is such a solitary endeavor, but a site like Booksie makes me feel like I’m not alone. It’s amazing to be able to connect and interact with thousands of readers, and the immediacy of the site is so exciting and inspiring.”

Have you been to Booksie yet?

Booksie is a free site for writers to share and promote their writing. “Booksie provides writers with a platform to put their work in front of thousands of readers, while providing readers with an enormous choice and the ability to interact with the writers they like, said Sol Nasisi, Founder and Director of TheNextBigWriter.

Using Booksie, writers can quickly and easily share and promote their work over the web. With just a few clicks of the mouse writers can upload their novels, short stories, and poems to an eager worldwide audience that is growing daily. Writers determine how much or how little they wish to publish on the site. In addition, writers can receive and respond to reader comments and accumulate and manage a fan-base. Work that is highly ranked by readers appears on the site’s Top 20 list and receives even more exposure.

Empowered Readers

Readers on the site receive access to a rapidly growing list of work, easily searchable by keyword, tag, genre, and author. In addition, readers can leave comments and engage the writers, and through the ranking system determine which work will make it onto the various Top 20 lists. “Booksie offers readers an empowered reading experience. They don’t just have the opportunity to read, but can interact and with each other and with the authors on the site,” said Mr. Nasisi.

To read POP! on Booksie visit Aury Wallington’s Booksie page at: Aury Wallington on Booksie!

Read the first chapter of POP! or the work of other writers at

In addition to, TheNextBigWriter operates TheNextBigWriter an online writing workshop with over 4,000 registered members.

TheNextBigWriter, LLC provides the tools to empower writers and to bring readers new material from emerging and established writers. In addition to, the company also operates, an online writing workshop with over 4,000 registered members, and, a resource site for writers covering the art and business of writing. Together, these sites reach tens of thousands of writers and readers per month.


Congratulations Sol on the successful launch of your new website and we look forward to all the exciting things to come!
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Why enter a writing contest?

Thursday, October 05, 2006
Our writing contest is turning out to be more fun than we ever imagined. In addition, our respect for writers, at every stage of creativity, has grown immensely--since the inception of our flash fiction contest.

The variety of stories that are inspired by the same few words has amazed us. Writers, you are showing great imaginations, gifts of expressions and courage to hit that SEND button. We are impressed.

We read and laugh, cry and/or drop our jaws. What power words have, whether we are reading or writing, and that includes flash fiction.

Contest prompts can make us step outside of our comfort zones, dealing with themes that we may not be familiar with, some subjects that we never would have considered, on our own, and those stretching exercises help us grow as writers.

Another thing, entering contests demonstrates that we write for the sheer joy of writing! Let's face it, no one is going to make a living from entering writing contests. Nevertheless, a lot of us love the challenge of seeing what we can do with words wrapped around another person’s idea, word count or other guidelines.

Spontaneity is a part of creativity. Writing contests, especially like ours, encourages impulsiveness and, perhaps, can give a needed break from what we're doing. Contests engender a different kind of adrenaline rush from our usual routine and can spark some excellent writing when we return to our more serious projects.

These are just some of the motivations that I can think of, for entering a contest. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a contest prompt that suggests a story about why we would want to enter a contest. We are certainly open to ideas from you, the most important people with opinions—our readers.

Take care,

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Rubbing Shoulders with the Best

Sunday, October 01, 2006
When you're new to writing, it's like anything else, it's easy to feel awkward, etc. As time has progressed with my writing, I forgot something. I forgot that I'm still working feverishly to turn out the best I can, still learning what I can do to improve (thankfully, on that one), and many other things that I felt when I started writing.

As we have had the opportunity to interview very talented and successful authors, guess what I found out. Some things never change. They feel the same way we do; they're working feverishly to turn out their best work to date, they're still learning, they don't like being rejected and love being accepted.

There has been a common theme, "I'm always learning" and "I read, read, read," among other things.

WOW! (Forgive me.) I wish I had realized much sooner, that all the emotions, gasping for the next perfect words, anxious to find out if others see what I see in my writing...let's face it, Sisters of the Writing World, we'll never get over these moments. We'll always perspire (this is a woman's site) as profusely (okay, I could have used the man-word, couldn't I?) as we did when we started, hitting the highs and lows on our World of Writing Roller Coaster.

So my thought is that no matter where you are on the road to being published, from thinking about what you're going to write, on up to being on the bestseller list...we all share these same emotions, moments.

So, it's time to relax, as you feverishly write (maybe only women can do this simultaneously) and are on a roller coaster ride of emotional highs and lows...check out the woman next to you, she could have written the book you just read and loved.

Put your energy into your writing, no need to worry about anything else, just work with each moment as it comes and...


Take care,

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