The last post

Some of you may not know that my co-writer, Andrea, passed away earlier this year. She was the driving force behind this blog; after a lot of internal argument, I’ve decided that I wouldn’t feel right trying to restart the blog without her.
So this site will be closing down on August 1st, 2017. If there’s anything you’d like to save, please do so prior to that time.

Thank you all for being part of the community of writers and readers we built here.



Friday surprise: grow, eat, write

Homemade tartIt’s getting toward the end of strawberry season here in California. The neighborhood kids have all-day pink mustaches, and the farmer’s market has ruby red heaps of almost-too-ripe berries that you can smell when you’re within a block of the fruit awning. Friends who are good at making preserves buy them in huge baskets and months from now, we’ll get jam in pretty glass jars for birthdays and Christmas.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor here for writing: transforming beauty and simplicity into something sumptuous and delicious. Or maybe it’s about growing things. I found this article in my email inbox last week, about how Charles Goodrich grows not just plants but poems in his garden, how his relationship to gardens is also his relationship to words and to writing. He’s a creator of edible things – both literally and metaphorically.  Which is what Eat This Poem is looking for in their first annual poetry contest. There is lots of gorgeous writing about food (from Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table to Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin) out there for inspiration, so if you love to write about food…here’s a great chance in a new venue. And if you’re a little shy about entering contests (I am, largely because of the cost), Nat Towers just passed on some good advice on his blog about how to decide whether a contest is worth it that you might want to check out. Regardless, however, of the particular creative endeavors you’re approaching this weekend, I hope something luscious and joyful is part of it~ Ina

Morangos - Strawberries - Flickr - Adriano Aurelio Araujo

Summer submissions #1

Westpark 6809“Summertime…and the living is easy”

 –George Gershwin, from “Porgy and Bess”

Summertime is easy, isn’t it? Lemonade and salad for dinner and a yard sprinkler for entertainment. However, if you’re a writer of small things – essays, poems, stories – summer can be a harder time to submit work to be considered for publication*.

For U.S.-based writers, this is partly because many lit mags are published by colleges and universities, using  faculty and student love, labor, and time; as the institutions go quiescent in the summer, so do the lit. mags. But more generally, the publishing world is a bit becalmed, probably because the folks who manage all those innovative print and online venues finally get a chance to travel, fulfill family commitments, go to writing workshops & retreats, and even get some sleep.

The Fish Footman and the Frog Footman from "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" (1865)

The result is that it’s a little harder to find places to send stuff. If you’re on Duotrope, the familiar refrain, “We do not read submissions between June and September,” can get a little depressing. So to make the summer easier for those of us who are going into submission mode, I’m going to try to provide periodic updates on venues that are looking for summer submissions. And with that, today’s picks:

  • The Labletter: originally a project focusing on Oregon writers, they’ve broadened scope and publish poetry, prose, and art, on the edgy end but still accessible. Their next deadline for submissions is July 15th.
  • NANO Fiction: a great venue for flash fiction generally, their NANO Prize contest is open until September 1st, winners to be announced end of that month
  • WhiteKnucklePress: a project from team members at Right Hand Pointing, White Knuckle Press publishes e-chapbooks of prose poems. This month’s chapbook is terrific, and better yet, they are once again open to submissions as of June 1st.
  • And speaking of Right Hand Pointing: RHP is always looking for new poetry and they use a rolling-acceptance model. Currently, they’re reading for their non-themed August issue and a themed September issue on “Beds, Bedtime, Bedroom, Sleep.”
  • Writers Rising Up: if you’re a nature writer or an eco-focussed poet, this group publishes honest, non-sentimental work about the beauty of the natural world. They have contests year-round; they’ve just opened to submissions for next year’s WRUP calendar with a deadline of August 1st.

Okay, now I’ve got myself  all fired up – if you have any other venues that are looking for work over the summer, please come share it with the rest of the InOurBooks community – we really want to hear about places you love to read and share great work ~ Ina
Flowers in the Sun (3708636941)
*Andrea isn’t here to tell me if this is also the experience of novelists and other book-length writers. If you’re in that arena, do you find summers more difficult for submissions? Do agents tend to have their vacation emails on? Are publishers slower to read work over the summer?

Brighter Light Participants : a technical note

Hi, it’s Ina. Several people have run into issues with our Notice Board. I’m currently trying figure out what can be fixed and what is just a problem, so I wanted to pass on the information I do have (this reminds me of a joke my programmer husband says used to make the rounds at a company he once worked for: if a program has an unfixable  bug, just call it a “feature” and sell the program anyhow).Calopteryx virgo male

So here is what I have so far:

1) If the Notice Board suddenly started asking you to register before you can post anything, I think I’ve fixed it. It should let you post/comment again without registering. If you see any comments from a “Felicity Test” that’s me, testing out the fix.

2) Charmingly, it looks like you can edit your posts/poems right up until someone comments. So if, for example, someone posts a comment about your poem that suggests an interesting or useful change, the Notice Board promptly stops letting you do anything to your post – like input that interesting or useful change. Sigh. (It’s not a bug! It’s a feature!). I have been banging my head against the walls of any forum I can find about how to fix this problem with no success. So…as a work-around, Andrea has graciously offered to use your latest version of a poem, even if you can’t delete the earlier one. If you post a re-written poem and your earlier version can’t be deleted, please:

  1.  indicate which poem is the latest version (the version you want to enter in the contest)
  2. indicate the prompt to which it is a response

That way Andrea will consider the poem you want her to.

Steelblue Ladybird (Halmus chalybeus) on leafIf I make any further changes, I’ll keep you-all posted. I will also make sure that we don’t make any changes that will prevent you from accessing your poems and comments. If you run into any more technical problems, please drop me a line through the “Contact Us” link and I’ll do my best to fix it fast!
~ Ina

Today is Ina’s birthday

Here’s an extraordinary extra January prompt composed for an extraordinary poet sitting over on the West coast of America.
She just wrote an extraordinary wonderful post yesterday, – go there and enjoy.
“Music made of Words,” she says and here is the music, I, Andrea, sort of lacked today.

Happy birthday, Ina.
But where are the words? Please help me!
Please post a birthday poem here in the comments for Ina or just say happy birthday there.