National Punctuation Day & Contest


Each year, September 24 is National Punctuation Day. It was founded in 2004 by Jeff Rubin. It simply promotes the correct usage of punctuation.


Reader’s Digest offers Weird Facts About 5 Punctuation Marks You See Everywhere.

mental-floss-logoMental Floss tells us about Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using

National Punctuation Day is having a writing contest. Instead of the usual 250-word essay contest, they are going with a David Letterman-type Top 10 Contest: WHAT ARE THE TOP-10 WAYS PUNCTUATION HAS AFFECTED YOUR LIFE? 

Entries will be accepted through October 31 at The page doesn’t indicate what the prize would be, if any.

National Punctuation Day has a Facebook Page. On their website, they list style books and guides, and online resources to help with punctuation and grammar.


Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

Hint Fiction Contest


jpg_5936_Royalty_Free_Clip_Art_Happy_Pencil_Cartoon_Character_Holding_Golden_Trophy_CupThe West Hartford Libraries in Connecticut are holding a Hint Fiction contest.

According to their website: Hint Fiction Contest stories should be entertaining, thought-provoking, and evoke an emotional response. Stories both light and dark are appreciated – in 25 words. A positive, happier story just might stand out! 

Forty finalists will be selected by the staff of West Hartford Libraries. From the forty finalists, the Top Ten winners will be selected by three library-sponsored writing groups – West Hartford Fiction Writers, Connecticut Screenwriters, and the Faxon Poets.

PRIZES: Each of the top ten winners will receive a $25 CASH AWARD (provided by the library’s Thomas Kilfoil Bequest).

All 40 Finalists and Top 10 Winners will be notified via email on June 25, 2015jpg_letter4cash awards will follow by mail within three weeks. The return of any notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and an alternate winner will be selected. No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted.

Entries will be accepted until May 25, 2015. No more than three entries may be submitted per person – entries may be grouped together in one submission. All entries must be original, unpublished, and must not have been submitted elsewhere for any purpose. Participants must be at least fourteen years old on the date of submission.

Should you go for it, let us know ~ and good luck!


Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

Lascaux Review, Submission Reminder

lascaux-newsite5-browndropThe Lascaux Review, a showcase for emerging and established writers and artists has announced a call for submissions for its short fiction contests, The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction. Submissions opened October 1st for previously published or unpublished stories. Prize of $1,000 to the winner. The winner and the finalists will appear in the 2015 Lascaux Prize Anthology. Deadline is December 31st.

Also, the are still accepting manuscripts for the Christine E. Eldin Memorial Fellowship, an inaugural contest for unpublished middle-grade fiction which opened for submissions on September 1st. Prize of $1,000. Deadline for submissions is December 31st.

For more information and complete details on all the contests, click onto The Lascaux

Lascaux Review Call for Submissions


lascaux-newsite5-browndropThe Lascaux Review, a showcase for emerging and established writers and artists has announced a call for submissions for three contests from now through the end of the year.

The inaugural Lascaux Prize in Poetry with a $1,000 prize going to the winner. Up to 5 poems may be submitted per entry. Deadline: September 23.

The Christine E. Eldin Memorial Fellowship. Another inaugural contest for unpublished middle-grade fiction opens for submission on September 1st. Prize of $1,000.

And, The Lascaux Prize in Short Fiction. Submissions open October 1st for previously published or unpublished stories. Prize of $1,000 to the winner.

For more information and complete details on all the contests, click onto The Lascaux

The Lascaux Review Poetry Contest

lascaux-newsite5-browndropIn keeping with the theme of poetry a few days ago, I’d like to add another opportunity for poets to have their work recognized.

Stephen Lascaux of the Lascaux Review has just announced that the Inaugural Lascaux Prize in Poetry is now open for submission. Poems may be previously published or unpublished and simultaneous submissions are accepted. The winner will receive a thousand dollars and publication in The Lascaux Review  plus publication in 2015 Lascaux Prize Anthology. The entry fee for the poetry contest is $10.  So sharpen your pencils (or boot up your computers) and enter by June 21st. Check out the website for more details or click here to enter

Visit me at Look for excerpts of my new novels, KEEPING SECRETS and THE HARD WAY, my novella, NICK OF TIME, and my latest news


Mystery Writing Competition

Mystery Competition

Hofstra Law, along with Professor Alafair Burke and Mulholland Books, is hosting a “Mystery Writing Competition,” in which three best-selling authors will serve as judges. Three prizes are being offered (see more below). There is no entry fee.


1. Your story must feature a lawyer as a main character.

2. Your story must be original, unpublished, and less than 3,500 words.

3. Submissions must be in Microsoft Word, using a 12-point font and double-spaced. The document must be emailed as an attachment to by May 1, 2014, with the subject line “mystery writing competition.”

4. The first-place story will be published on the website of Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company devoted to publishing the best in suspense fiction. All authors will retain copyright.



FIRST PRIZE: $500 and Online publication and promotion by Mulholland Books




JUDGES: Lee Child, Marcia Clark, and Alafair Burke.

Check out the competition flyer — print and hang it as a reminder to work on your entry. Need a nudge? Read these suggestions for writing a mystery short story.

The clock is ticking ~ send off your best by/before the May 1 deadline. Are you going to participate? Got a story ‘in the hopper’ or ‘in the drawer’? Starting from scratch? (Don’t forget the MC must be a lawyer ~ keep that in mind).

If you submit a story, best wishes!


Follow me on Twitter @katcop13. 

The MWA Helen McCloy Scholarship

hm3 If you wander around the Mystery Writers of America website, you will come across a page entitled The Helen McCloy Scholarship.  Intriguing, right? So you may ask yourself, who is Helen McCloy? And I am able to answer your question, right from the MWA website:

“Helen McCloy (1904-1994) was a mystery author, editor, publisher, and agent. Creator of psychiatrist sleuth Dr. Basil Willing, McCloy served as president of MWA in 1950, won the Edgar® Award for mystery criticism in 1954, helped to establish MWA’s New England Chapter in 1971, and was named an MWA Grand Master in 1990.”

I might add that she was the first female president of MWA. Sounds like a busy lady, doesn’t she? First published in 1938, her numerous psychological dramas caught the tail end of the Golden Age. She wrote both novels and short stories well into the 1970s. Here are some of her book covers, very similar to those I remember sitting on a shelf in the living room when I was a child.




You can see more of her work on the Helen McCloy Amazon page.

And so, there is a scholarship in her honor which provides a $500 stipend to unpublished mystery writers striving to perfect their craft. The scholarship application process is open to U.S. Citizens or permanent residents only and can be used to off-set fees, tuition, etc. for writing workshops, classes or seminars. I urge  you to click through to the MWA Helen McCloy Scholarship page  for complete information, including what and how to submit.

All applications must be postmarked no later than February 28, 2014.

Good luck.


Lascaux 250: Flash Fiction Contest

lascaux-250-oneline4Stephen Parrish, Editor of The Lascaux Review recently announced the Lascaux 250   Flash Fiction Contest with a grand prize of at least $250 and publication in the 2015 Lascaux Prize Anthology.

The contest runs from March 6th through March 20th. There’s a $4 entry fee and for each entry received, they are adding $2 to the prize money. So, the more people who enter, the larger the prize.  Check out the site for the story prompt and the contest rules, then get writing!

Visit me at Look for excerpts of my new novel, KEEPING SECRETS and on my novella, NICK OF TIME, and my latest news and events.


Friday Fatales: Woman of Mystery Margery Allingham

Friday Fatales: Women of Mystery is an occasional series in which we honor an author recognized for her contribution to the genre of mystery (or suspense, noir, thriller, and crime fiction). 

jollyoldfruitMargery Louise Allingham (photo, left, courtesy The Margery Allingham Society), ranked one of the most distinguished writers of detective fiction’s “Golden Age,” was born in Ealing, a London suburb, on May 20, 1904. Both of her parents were authors. Her detective stories feature a gentleman sleuth, Albert Campion.

Allingham, along with Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy L. Sayers, are responsible for the beginning of the “Cozy Mystery” sub-genre.

Agatha Christie opined,”Margery Allingham stands out like a shining light.”

P.D. James believes “Margery Allingham deserves to be rediscovered.”

From 1935 until her death in 1966 at age 62, Margery and her husband Philip Youngman Carter (“Pip”) lived at D’Arcy House in the Essex village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy.

In 1988, The Margery Allingham Society was founded to celebrate the life and work of a great “Queen of Crime.”  For more in-depth look at Margery’s life, visit herebooks

Margery’s short stories appeared in such publications as Strand, Analog, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. For a list of her bibliography, visit here. To whet your literary appetite, check out the plot summaries of her novels. 


In 2014, The Margery Allingham Society will be sponsoring a new competition, organized by the Crime Writers’ Association, for short stories up to 3500 words. There are two key requirements for the Margery Allingham Short Story Competition: it must be an unpublished short story that fits Margery’s definition of a mystery: 

“The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”

The deadline for the CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition is March 16, 2014. The competition is open to anyone over 18, wherever they live. Stories must be in English and must not exceed 3,500 words. The entry fee is 10 pounds (approx $16.40 USD).  The Grand Prize is 1000 pounds (approx $1640.20 USD). For further information and an entry form, click here.

The winner will be announced at CrimeFest in 2014 in Bristol, UK. You can follow CWA on Twitter @the_cwa and on Facebook. A Facebook page is dedicated to the Allingham Family Fictions.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

501-Word Writing Contest

stacks_image_286Digital Americana, an independent and interactive journal of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art, and criticism, was among the first magazines made for tablet devices — and the first literary magazine made explicitly for the iPad. Digital Americana seeks to publish writers and artists that have showcased a unique American sensibility, experience, or theme in their work. Issues, also available in print, are released seasonally.

Digital Americana is on Twitter @digitalamerican and on Facebook. An app is available for iPhone.

stacks_image_50Digital Americana offers two contests: The Digital Americana Prize for Storytelling (information regarding the 2014 Prize will be announced in December) and the 501-Word Writing Contest, with a fast-approaching deadline of December 1, 2013. An entry fee of $12.00 is required.

The top five finalists will be published in an upcoming issue of Digital Americana. The winning story receives publication as well as the production of a short literary film (inspired by their own winning 501-word story) by the Digital Americana creative team (Check out the previous contest winner’s video).

The guest judge this year is director and author, Adam Cushman of Red14Films (which is a jpg_2786-Directors-Chairleading film production company that specializes in book trailers and other literary to film adaptations). Follow Adam Cushman on Twitter @Cushmanovich.

Submission Guidelines: All entries must be unpublished, original creative flash fiction that is up to 501 words in length. There are no other restrictions, including genre.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.