Calls for Essays from Cup of Comfort

(Just received this list of manuscript needs for the popular Cup of Comfort anthology series from editor Colleen Sell. Note that the information is not yet posted on the Cup of Comfort site, where you can also check out sample stories, but will be shortly.)


A Cup of Comfort is a popular anthology (book) series featuring inspiring true stories about the extraordinary experiences of “ordinary” people. We are currently seeking submissions for three new volumes:


Only another writer can truly understand what it’s like to aspire to become and to be a writer. For this anthology of true stories celebrating (and commiserating) the writing life, we seek compelling, insightful, and exceptionally well-written personal essays from writers of every persuasion and level of experience.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:
* Mentors or teachers
* Overcoming challenges in becoming a writer, in your life as a writer, or in the
writing process
* Milestone(s) in your journey to become a writer or as a writer
* Discovering and/or heeding the call to become a writer
* Writers groups; the camaraderie of other writers
* Why you write
* Transcending self-doubt, fear, criticism, rejection
* What writing has taught you about life
* What life has taught you about writing
* Discovering/following your muse; what inspires your writing
* Best or worst writing experience and what you learned/gained from it
* Finding/making time/space to write

Submission Deadline: July 31, 2006
See submission specs, below.


As any dog lover will attest, dogs are, indeed, our best friends… and so much more. They’re also our helpers, heroes, champions, teachers, and beloved family members. For this volume, we seek heartwarming true stories that speak to the amazing bond between dogs and the people who love them. Stories can focus on any experience/theme that demonstrates how a dog has inspired and/or enriched the life/lives of a human(s).

Possible themes include but are not limited to a dog’s:
* Devotion and loyalty
* Courage
* Amazing feats
* Role as a member of a family or community
* Companionship
* Therapeutic effect on a human
* Unique relationship with a person
* Unique relationship with another pet or animal
* Inspirational effect on one or more people
* Amusing, endearing, exceptional ways

We do NOT want sad stories about a pet’s suffering or death. However, stories can be about the life of a dog that is now deceased and can include a fond farewell to a lost pet—provided the story isn’t solely about the pet’s death.

Submission Deadline: August 31, 2006
See submission specs, below.


As Oprah Winfrey has often said, parenting is the most difficult and important job in the world. It can be even tougher for single mothers, who face all the usual parenting challenges plus another whole set of unique ones. But single motherhood — whether by choice or by chance — also brings many untold rewards, for both moms and children. For this collection of personal essays celebrating single mothers, we seek uplifting true stories about the joys and the difficulties of single mothering. The majority of stories selected for publication will be written from the single mother’s point of view, but we will also consider stories written by the children of single mothers as well as by third parties with intimate knowledge of (and the permission of) the single mother and her child(ren).

Possible themes include but are not limited to:
* Juggling the myriad responsibilities of single motherhood
* Raising sons or daughters solo/without fathers
* The support of family, friends, other mothers
* Having/navigating adating/romance/social life
* Hard lessons learned
* Busting myths about single mothering
* Defying stereotypes about single moms and/or children of single moms
* Overcoming adversity
* Self-acceptance and self-respect in a society that sometimes disparages single mothers
* Unconventional wisdom(s) gained
* Blessings, joys, and rewards of being a single mother or the child of a single mothers
* The unique bond between a single mother and her child(ren)
* The courage, resilience, ingenuity, devotion, accomplishments, and/or integrity of a single mom
* Why you chose single motherhood (if by choice) and how you’ve made it work
* The unexpected and/or under-recognized advantages, joys, and/or rewards of being a single mother or having a single mother

Submission Deadline: December 31, 2006
See submission specs, below.


* $500 grand prize (one per book); $100 (each) for all other stories published
* Author receives one complimentary copy of book
* Story length: 1,000 to 2,000 words
* Stories must be original, true, uplifting, typed, and in English
* Simultaneous submissions acceptable
* Previously published material acceptable–EXCEPT for stories that have been or will be published in a widely distributed, mass market anthology or magazine
* Each submission must include the following:
Author’s name
Author’s mailing address
Author’s phone number
Author’s email address
Story title
Story wordcount

* Submit by email or mail:

EMAIL: In the subject line, cite the Cup of Comfort volume (i.e., Dog Lovers). Copy and paste (or type) the story into the body of the email (no attachments. One story
per email. Send to: cupofcomfort(at)adamsmedia(dot)com or wordsinger(at)aol(dot)com

MAIL: You can send more than one story per envelope. Include self-addressed, postage-paid envelope for each submission. Send only the paper copy of the story; do not send computer disks or CDs. Mail to:
Cup of Comfort
Adams Media
57 Littlefield St.
Avon, Massachusetts 02322, USA

Please direct questions and suggestions to: cupofcomfort(at)adamsmedia(dot)com or wordsinger(at)aol(dot)com. We cannot accept phone calls.”

Copyright 2001-2006, Adams Media Corporation, an F+W Publications Company. Reprinted by permission. (Thanks to the Renegade Writer blog for the lead.)

New (No-Cost) Story Contest from Writer’s Digest

In case you haven’t yet heard, changes are afoot at Writer’s Digest. For one thing, the magazine is now published bimonthly, rather than each month. (Keep that in mind when querying.)

For another, there’s a new contest (it appears to be replacing the “Your Assignment” challenge in each magazine/published each month on the Web site). It’s called “Your Story,” and like the new magazine schedule, it will offer a new challenge every other month (publicized both in the magazine and on the Web site).

Here’s the deal: “We’ll provide a short, open-ended prompt. In turn, you’ll submit a short story of 750 words or fewer based on that prompt. You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story. The winner will receive $100 and publication in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest.”

There is NO ENTRY FEE. One entry per person. Writer’s Digest obtains first-time rights to the winning and runner-up stories. Submit via the online submission form at the Web site (that’s also where you’ll find the current prompt).

The deadline for this first contest is July 10; winners will be announced in the December 2006 issue and on the Your Story winners page at

A Bloomsday Blog Post

As you may know, today, June 16, is the anniversary (the 102nd anniversary, to be precise) of Bloomsday. As D.T. Max’s article in the current New Yorker explains, Bloomsday is “the date on which the events in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ take place. There will be the customary commemorative celebrations surrounding Leopold Bloom’s famous walk through Dublin: public readings and festivals in cities around the world, including Dublin, New York, Berlin, Paris, St. Petersburg, and Melbourne. In Budapest, two hundred or so academics will convene a Joyce symposium–the twentieth to be held on Bloomsday.”

Alas, all is not golden and celebratory. Read the New Yorker article to find out why.

Book Contest Updates

If you’re a novelist or short story writer looking for contests that lead to publication and other prizes (including cash) you’ll want to streamline your search with our e-book directory of literary contests for book-length fiction. It’s just been updated, with much more detail to each listing. Download your free preview with sample listings–and tips for contest entrants–here.

I hadn’t updated this e-book since December, so several links had changed and some contests had to be removed, too. Notably, two contests previously run by Lewis-Clark Press had to be taken out.

When I checked in with the editor at Lewis-Clark (LC) Press (I had to e-mail her because the press does not appear to have a Web site–sometimes a bad sign in itself if only because it signals an antiquated approach to marketing) about the Lewis-Clark Discovery Award and the Lewis-Clark Expedition Award, I was surprised to hear back that the press is no longer running any contests. I was even more surprised to discover that the Press will now read submissions year-round–for a $10 fee.

The press calls this a “no-risk fee,” because they promise to refund the fee if they select your manuscript for publication, and they’ll send you one of their past titles if they don’t. But somehow, I don’t think this is going to sit well with many members of the literary community, however honest the intent behind it.

I have to admit I’m leery about it myself, especially now that I’ve done a little more research and discovered an article that reveals how unhappy one LC contest winner was with her published book. Apparently Billie Travalini’s work was published with a number of typographical flaws. Only 500 copies were issued, and the book was not available on

So, of course, I’ve removed the LC Contests from our e-book. And I can’t see myself submitting my own work to that press, especially for a fee….

By the way, the e-book also includes a list of additional resources to consult for contest guidance. What I’ve learned about Billie Travalini’s experience makes me especially glad I’ve included a link to Laura Backes’s article on “How to Tell if a New or Small Press is Legitimate.” Though the article is targeted to children’s writing/publishing, its wisdom transfers easily to the market for grown-ups, too.

For New York-based Writers

Also found this part-time writing opportunity–an internship in New York paying a “small monthly fee and out-of-pocket expenses”–over at craigslist:

We are a non-governmental independent media company working on issues of poverty, disease and hunger in poor and least developed countries. We are looking for writers with experience in covering meetings, conferences, press briefings and conducting interviews. This is an internship position at the United Nations. Please respond with a detailed resume and bylined stories. This internship position calls for considerable time spent at the Secretariat covering a wide range of events, conducting interviews, making presentations and interacting with Ambassadors at Permanent Missions to the UN. Please own a laptop and digital camera. Ability to upload stories onto the Web and perform layout functions on the company website will be considered an added asset.

See the announcement for yourself (with contact information) here.