What the hell was I thinking?

“Romance novels are big business. According to the Romance Writers of America®, the romance fiction industry is worth $1.08 billion dollars a year,* which makes it about a third larger than the inspirational book industry, and about the size of the mystery novel genre and science fiction/fantasy genre markets combined. Romance novels regularly top the major bestseller lists (New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today), and have a large, dedicated audience of readers.”

– Valerie Peterson in “What You Need to Know About Romance Genre Fiction”

Learning About TaleFlick

The trouble started when a writer friend told me her novel was listed on TaleFlick and perhaps I’d consider voting for it. TaleFlick tries to bring novels to the attention of Hollywood through reader votes, one per person. After voting for my friend’s novel, I entered one of my own, Conjure Woman’s Cat.

What the Hell Was I Thinking?

The answers to this question vary from, (a) I was drunk, (b) I mixed up pot with oregano when I made spaghetti sauce that day, (c) Mindless Vanity, (d) Magical thinking that Hollywood needed this story, (e) An illogical belief that an anti-KKK novel set in the 1950s could possibly compete against–wait for it–Romance.

Getting My Ass Kicked

If I’d known that a romance novel with a title similar to a famous Hollywood movie, one categorized on Amazon as Erotic Thrillers, Romantic Erotica, Erotic Suspense, was in the running, would have waited a few weeks before signing up for another contest.

At this moment (2:33 p. m. ET, 2/13/20202) this week’s contest has 1 day, 4 hours, and 25 minutes left to run. Double Identity has 1,850 votes; Conjure Woman’s Cat has 15 votes. So it’s close, what with the vote counts from outlying precincts being somewhat slow to come in.

In general, though, I should know better than to fight romance with magical realism. So, lesson learned. My next book’s going to begin with an orgy on page one that lasts as long as the readers can stand it. No doubt, it will be banned in Boston.





New Pages: a great resource

NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.New Pages

Literary magazines and writing contests have been a traditional training ground for aspiring writers for years. Some magazines pay. Some don’t. Contests usually pay, but sometimes offer publication and author’s copies. Either way, they give writers a way to practice their craft and potentially earn a few dollars and some writing references.

If you look at the website of a successful author, you will often see a long list of literary magazines where his/her work has appeared; so, too, grants and fellowships. Traditionally, mainstream/large press publishing has found these credentials more important than some of the newer small presses because the “resume material” helped show an aspiring writer had already received some validation elsewhere. While those who self publish don’t need a resume to publish a Kindle or CreateSpace book, magazine credits and awards still look nice on the website.

Many writers rely on the Poets & Writers database of upcoming writing competitions, grant opportunities, and fellowships. As a writer, I think more is more when it comes to keeping up with resources. So, I highly recommend New Pages. They offer multiple resources in addition to information about literary magazines, bookstores, competitions, as well as book reviews.  One unique feature is their publication of the titles of books received for review. This is kind of nice whether your book is reviewed there or not.

They also review literary magazines and keep readers up to date on news magazines. This feature helps authors choose where to submit as well as an easy way to learn more about the magazines before sending in an MS.

This is a writer-friendly site with multiple menu selections, options, and resources. It’s been around for a while and has a good handle on the subjects it presents.


Malcolm R. Campbell’s short story “Shock Treatment” appears in the Tulip Tree Publishing’s 2019 anthology “Stories That Need to be Told.”