Call for Submissions: New Family Stories Anthology (deadline extended to Sept. 1)

I am thrilled with the response so far to the call for submissions for a new anthology of family narratives (see below for details). Christi Craig and I have had several inquiries and some excellent submissions so far, and we are extending the deadline to September 1, 2016, to give writers time during busy summer months to polish up essays, creative nonfiction pieces, and poems. Please pass along the information to anyone you know who writes about family historical letters, diaries, and other documents.

Call for Submissions for Anthology of Family Narratives:  Bringing diaries and letters alive for present and future generations

Deadline: August 1, 2016 September 1, 2016
Publisher: Hidden Timber Books
Editors: Lisa Rivero and Christi Craig
Printable pdf of Guidelines

Theme, Genres, and Lengths

This new anthology in print and ebook will focus on creative nonfiction, found poetry and other poetry, and essays inspired by diaries and letters, genealogical records, gravestones, and so on.

Our goal is to publish a volume that showcases the telling of historical family narratives for present and future generations, both for our own families and for other readers. We encourage submissions from all cultures and backgrounds. In general, we suggest that the family papers/records be at least 50 years old but will consider all submissions that convey historical, cultural,  intergenerational, or other meaning.

We will consider short pieces of creative nonfiction from 500 to 4000 words (suggested length), found poetry no longer than 200 lines each or 500 words for each prose poem (up to 5 poems), and essays of 1000 to 5000 words (suggested length).

We are seeking new (not previously published) works, the only exception being works that have been published on authors’ personal blogs, in which case authors will agree to remove the works from their blogs upon acceptance.

Learn More about Creative Nonfiction and Found Poetry

Submission Requirements

Submit works through Submittable only. Acceptable formats are .pdf, .txt, docx, and .doc, formatted with 1” margins, double-spaced, and 12 point font. Please include your name on the submission and a cover letter that clearly identifies the title of your piece, word count, the family papers you are using and how they are incorporated into your submission, whether the work is being submitted simultaneously elsewhere, and your contact information. Do not submit the family papers or records themselves—only your original works on which they are based. While simultaneous submissions are permitted, please notify us of acceptance elsewhere and withdraw your entry as soon as possible. Each submitter may submit up to three pieces (each a separate Submittable submission—note that each poetry submission can be up to five poems).

Reading Period and Notification of Acceptance

Deadline for submissions is August 1, 2016 September 1, 2016. All submitters will be notified of the chosen works before September 15, 2016 October 15, 2016, at which point accepted authors will work with editors to make revisions for a planned publication date in late 2016 or early 2017. Editors reserve the right to decline all submissions should there not be enough acceptable material for a full-length anthology, in which case submitters will be notified as soon as possible.

Payment and Rights

Payment will be in contributors’ copies, and contributors will be able to purchase print copies of the anthology at a 40% discount. Author bios will be published in the anthology, and Hidden Timber Books will include the bios and social media links on its website.

Contracts will give Hidden Timber Books permission to publish in paperback and ebook, and translations of both formats and exclusive rights for the first six months after publication. Authors will retain all other rights and are free to re-publish their works six months after the publication date.

Legal Considerations

Note that copyright of diaries and letters is retained by the author of such papers and his or her heirs (or transferred from said owners), who may or may not be the person in possession of the papers. For this reason, please quote only from primary sources for which you have the copyright (or can obtain the copyright) and/or transform the original work using creative nonfiction or poetry or other literary means. Also, please disguise names of any persons still living or for any situations that are potentially libelous.

Please direct any questions to the publisher at lisa [@] hiddentimberbooks [.] com

Submit here.

“a place where everything I have experienced was safe to be remembered”

One of my nephews has recently spent three weeks in Nicaragua as a volunteer for Outreach360. Today he posted the first of three blog posts about his experience. As always, his writing, photos, and perspectives have brightened and enriched my day (and serve as an excellent example of a thoughtful and informative travel blog post):

“I arrived in Jinotega with a skeptical attitude, and a sort of adrift sense of orientation. But I think Jinotega is exactly what I needed. In one week the taste of coffee and honey, games with my new friends, and walking through the neighborhood with our teaching supplies to see the students all became familiar and comforting details. Normally when I listen to music, I will skip a song because it reminds me too much of a place or a time. That song will seem out of place, and will sometimes make me feel out of place. For example, listening to Clément Jacques in Arizona is sometimes too uncomfortable because it reminds me of Montréal. But in Jinotega, I could listen to anything. It was like a place where everything I have experienced was safe to be remembered. Perhaps it is because Jinoetga was so new to me and so unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. But I don’t like to analyze that too much. What I like to notice about it is that Jinotega was exactly what I needed to feel grounded in a time of transition.”

Read full original story

  • Jane Austen's Writing Table

On daily writing quotas, a life spent writing, and reversing destiny

My husband recently forwarded the essay “10 Rules of Writing” by Amitava Kumar that is too good not to share:

“If you have read this essay so far, you are probably a writer. That is what you should write in the blank space where you are asked to identify your occupation. I say this also for another reason. Annie Dillard wrote, ‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ Those words scared the living daylights out of me. I thought of the days passing, days filled with my wanting to write, but not actually writing. I had wasted years.

Each day is a struggle, and the outcome is always uncertain, but I feel as if I have reversed destiny when I have sat down and written my quota for the day. Once that work is done, it seems okay to assume that I will spend my life writing.”

Read full original post

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Continue To Tell Stories: Hamilton at the Tony Awards

“[C]ontinue to tell stories…. There are stories to be told and there are people who want to hear them.” Thomas Kail, Director, Hamilton

The following video is of the 2016 Tony Awards performance of the cast of Hamilton. I cannot express how happy, inspired, awed, and grateful this play makes me, even/especially on dark days, and will never apologize for the emotional power of stories and art, whether considered classic or pop culture, to turn the world upside down.

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Stanley the Sparrow’s Quiet Leadership

One of my favorite writers and speakers is Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop TalkingHer Quiet Revolution website is as beautiful to look at as it is jam-packed with information and inspiration. One of Susan’s most exciting projects is her Quiet Leadership Institute, committed to helping introverts bring “their authentic selves to work inside corporate cultures that are, for the most part, extroverted in orientation.” For many introverts, learning to share their authentic selves with the world around them is a long journey.

Helping children to understand and fully embrace the value of their own and others’ introversion is a passion of mine. So many introverted children try to be like their extroverted friends and family members in an attempt to fit in or stand out. While mastering some extroverted skills can be valuable (and vice versa for extroverts), introverts both young and old often do so at the expense of self-knowledge and self-worth.

Enter a sparrow named Stanley.


Illustration © 2016 Carolou Lennon Nelsen

Recently I have been fortunate to be involved in the publication of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley, a children’s picture book written by Betty Sydow and illustrated by Carolou Lennon Nelsen. Stanley is just old enough to leave his mother’s nest, and, once on his own, he tries to find and make friends by being like the colorful and flashy examples he finds in his environment—a football player and local hero, a singing canary, a diving loon, an acrobatic swooping bat. Every time, however, Stanley falls short, sometimes literally.

10 Stanley

Illustration © 2016 Carolou Lennon Nelsen

Not until a wise gray owl tells him to be true to himself does Stanley discover his place in the world and learns that he is a quiet leader whose gift is bringing other sparrows together.

Stanley’s author, Betty, says she chose a sparrow to tell Stanley’s story because the “sparrow is one of the most underrated birds and I wanted to tell the story of the importance of being the best you can be, no matter how unoriginal you think you are.”

There is more to this story. Betty is 89 years old, and Stanley’s illustrator, Carolou, is just one year behind her at 88—themselves powerful examples of quiet leadership, sustained creativity, and lifelong learning.

Learn more in this news story from Milwaukee’s WTMJ and the media links below.

The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley is available in hardback and paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and as an ebook from Amazon and iBooks.

Stanley book cover