Places to submit

Dorothy Parker’s Ashes

Dorothy Parker’s Ashes “Dorothy Parker’s Ashes” is an online magazine that publishes fresh, contemporary first-person essays and art by women and gender non-conforming writers. “For our contributors, middle-aged or older women who have seen a thing or two,  the act of writing is the act of living more purely distilled. Many have spent their careers shepherding other writer’s work and now, in their retirement, they’ve got something to say. The longer we live, the more memories settle deep within, emitting an invisible, occasionally noxious gas. By giving them form, we set ourselves free. We elongate some things, cut others short.  We probe the seams underneath for the weak spot, hoping the puncture of our attention will allow all the pent-up emotion to rush through the hole where it escapes with a long sigh.  In the end, that is the reward. (In other words, we don’t pay.)— Rebecca Johnson and Bex O’Brian…


Comfort Food and more  . . . Prompt #727

Excerpted from the May 2023 issue of the Sonoma County Gazette: Research over the past 20 years shows the same result time and time again: when we’re stressed, we want what researchers call high energy and nutrient-dense foods—those snacks, treats and meals that are high in fat and sugar. Comfort foods improve mood, reduce loneliness and connect us to cherished memories, often linked to childhood. A craving for comfort food typically stems from an extreme emotion, including happiness, meaning we reach for comfort foods even to celebrate. Comfort foods often trigger our reward system by releasing dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter. When we take a bite of that comfort food, whether it’s a hot fudge sundae, peanut butter and apples, tikka masala or a double bacon cheeseburger, dopamine floods the brain and gives us a huge boost of pleasure feelings. Any negative feelings we may have been experiencing before—stress, anger,…

Just Write

Strenghten Your Writing

Ideas for strong writing. Use active voice rather than passive voice. ~From  –  sign up to receive free daily emails with writing tips: English verbs are said to have two voices: active and passive. Active Voice: the subject of the sentence performs the action: His son catches fly balls. Creative children often dream in class. Passive Voice: the subject receives the action: The ball was caught by the first baseman.The duty is performed by the new recruits.The dough was beaten by the mixer.The mailman was bitten by the dog. ~From Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon Adjectives: Use sparingly and consciously. Overuse indicates a need to find more precise nouns and to show rather than tell. Adverbs: Too often, writers use these to beef up weak verbs. Your goal should be to make verbs strong enough to do the work themselves and kill off your adverbs. You won’t be able…


I Scream, You Scream

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. I Scream, You Scream By Nona Smith It’s been well over a year since I’ve done any grocery shopping at Safeway. Early on in the pandemic, it was Harvest, our other local supermarket, who quickly adopted safety precautions: it made mask-wearing mandatory, limited the number of shoppers inside the store at any given time, provided handwashing stations outside, and offered free Latex gloves. Safeway was slow to adopt protective measures, making me feel unsafe in Safeway. Fast forward eighteen months, and I’m fully vaccinated and in need of a cake mix Harvest doesn’t carry. Being as health conscious as it is, the shelves in the baking section at Harvest are laden with organic, gluten-free, paleo, KETO, dairy-free cake mixes. There are only a handful of non-organic, full-on gluten, white sugar mixes on the very bottom shelf….



By Susan Bono “That’s quite a sack of rocks you’re carrying, sweetie,” my father’s friend Bruce said more than once during phone calls last year. It was his way of acknowledging how heavily Dad’s poor health, hard-headedness and self-imposed isolation weighed on me. But I also took it as a tribute to Dad’s stubbornness and my strength, too. “Dumb as a rock” never made much sense to me, since stone strikes me as having its own unassailable intelligence. Its ability to endure illustrates its genius. I have never believed in the ability to factor equations or compose sonnets was proof of brain power, although I shared with Dad the idea that someone with rocks in his head was lacking in foresight and flexibility. Rocks may be smart, but they are slow. Time measured in stone is something else again. There were moments during my dad’s dying that were as slow…

Guest Bloggers

Chug, Chuff, Hiss, Squeal, Off We Go

Today’s post is inspired by Nancy Julien Kopp’s blog post about using sound in writing. Nancy wrote: This morning, I was catching up on email when I heard the whine of a train whistle, blown several times. I wondered if it was the historic Union Pacific train, known as Big Boy, making its way across Kansas this week in celebration of 150 years of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was due to stop here in our town at 9:30 a.m.  The sound of that whistle made me stop and listen. I always liked to hear train whistles when I was a child. We lived across the street from the railroad tracks, so we were treated to that arresting sound on a frequent basis. I can remember being in bed on a summer night, windows open, hoping for the train to come by and announce its presence. When I did hear it,…


Today I celebrate . . . Prompt #500

Today I celebrate Prompt #500 on The Write Spot Blog. That’s a lot of prompts! I didn’t know what would happen when I started this blog September 24, 2003. That seems so long ago, and yet it’s only 17 years. A life-time for some, a blip for others. Since that first blog post, my daughter married, both my sons married, two granddaughters were born, we renovated our yard, bought tons of groceries, did umpteen loads of laundry, and so much happened locally, state-wide, nationally, and internationally. And I learned to Zoom. There are 1,252 posts on The Write Spot Blog: Places to submit your writing, book reviews, quotes, and guest bloggers sharing their thoughts about writing. Hopefully some of the posts have been inspirational to help you and your writing. Since 2003, five Write Spot anthologies have been published. I’ve given talks about freewrites, blogging, and how to write about…

Guest Bloggers

Uneasy? You’re not alone.

Today’s Guest Blogger Lara Zielin:       I often have the feeling I’m in trouble.        It’s this pervasive unease, like I’m doing something wrong.       The problem is, I don’t know WHAT I’m doing wrong. Which means that if or when I get in trouble, it’s going to be a terrible surprise.        Because of this, I have my antennae up all day, scanning, looking, wondering what I could be doing that’s awful. I mind my P’s and Q’s and I try so hard to do everything right. I try to stay busy.       I try to be so, so good.        But some part of me knows it won’t be enough. Trouble is still a-comin’.        Which means by the time I get to the end of the day, there is this exhausted part of me that is BEYOND…


Infuse Your Writing With Earth Imagery . . . Prompt #448

Excerpt from Poetic Medicine, by John Fox, “Giving Yourself Permission to be Wild and Magnificent” Earth offers us powerful images and metaphors with which to tell our stories. Rather than thinking of the earth’s resources as commodities like oil and wood . . . consider the more intangible qualities which nature offers us, such as beauty and spectacle, turmoil and order, mystery and predictability. A sense of beauty – wild and terrible or lovely and breathtaking – can be healing. Infusing your writing with earth imagery will help reveal your unique voice and imagination. The stories of earth – and our stories – are interwoven, constantly changing in the cyclic process of birth, growth and death. A language for expressing these deep changes in your life can be found by tuning to the language of the earth. Poem-making and the natural world give you permission to be wild and magnificent….

Just Write

Myths and Realities of Blogging

I recently spoke at a meeting of the Writers of the Mendocino Coast, a branch of the California Writers Club, on the subject of blogging. I recommend the blogs and books mentioned below. And of course there are many other blogs, books, and information about blogging on the world wide web. Highlights from my talk on “Myths and Realities of Blogging” If you don’t have a blog, but think you should, something to think about is why? Why should you have an author blog? “Blogging is simply a medium that allows you to connect with people who love the same books, hobbies and activities you do.”  — Gabriela Pereira, May/June 2018, Writer’s Digest magazine Author Blog Find Your Target Audience: Read the reviews of books in your genre on Amazon or Goodreads. Use words from the reviews for your headlines and tags in your posts. What to Post Stories about…