Flash Fiction Writing Contest has Closed

Our Flash Fiction Writing Contest

has Closed… Now The Fun Begins.

Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Photograph by, thecrazyfilmgirl.

I want to thank everyone who entered. I know that you took specific time out of your life to write your stories: due to the specific theme in the guidelines.

I’ve had a chance to glance through the entries, and it looks like we’ll have a tough decision ahead of us.

The judging process will begin with each story being read by myself, and two other readers. We will score each story with a rating of 1 – 10.

Then the top 3 stories will be further analyzed by all three of us and rated a second time.

Flash Fiction Writing contest

Photograph by Christine Grabig.

The top two stories will then receive a review by me, and I will make the decision as to the First Place Winner.

Good Luck!

Watch for the publication of the winner on
August 19, 2013
and the runner-up on
August 26, 2013.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Hopscotch”, by Julio Cortazar.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

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Flash Fiction Writing Contest – Submit

Flash Fiction Writing Contest…

Submit now!

the clock is ticking

Illustration by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

A few weeks ago we introduced the first ever flash fiction writing contest at NovelNook.com. The submission period for entry ends today at midnight. You still have time to pen that fantastic story.

Here are the official guidelines, once again

I challenge you to write a flash fiction story that incorporates these two elements: a victory at work and a defeat at home.

These are the rules

  1. It must be 1000 words or less.
  2. It must incorporate a victory at work, and a defeat at home, into the plot.
  3. It must be edited to the best of your ability.
  4. It must be submitted by Midnight, July 15th, 2013.
  5. You must submit it to, kentdufault@yahoo.com.
  6. You must submit it in the body of the email – not an attachment.
  7. You must accept the results of the contest without complaining.

These are the prizes

  1. The winning author will receive a free cover from my graphic designer wife for the writing project of their choice.
  2. The winning story will also be published on the  NovelNook.com blog on August 19, 2013.
  3. The winning story will receive a critique and an explanation as to why I chose it as the winner when it is published on the blog.
  4. The winning author will receive an Amazon Gift Card valued at $20.00 USD (for USA Amazon only)
The Fine Print
  • The cover must be redeemed by December 31, 2013.
  • This is for an electronic Ebook cover only.
  • The book cover will be produced to the cover standards as dictated by Amazon.
  • The prize includes design and illustration. If photography is requested, you will be responsible for purchasing the usage rights.
  • You will get three consultations with the graphic designer via email: An initial interview to convey your ideas, an initial proof round, a second proof round. After that, she delivers, and you take what you get.
  • All rights to your entries remain with you!! We’re asking for nothing but a good (well edited) story and first publication rights for the blog.

Second Place! Will be published on the NovelNook.com blog on August 26, 2013 and will receive a critique by me.

Here is a sample cover that my wife produced for me. I will be publishing this book on Amazon in the near future.

Bellakentuky

Hurry! Submissions end today at Midnight.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Hopscotch”, by Julio Cortazar.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

 

It’s a Summer Vacation (or not)

Summer is here!

Summer is here

Photograph by Kent DuFault

and that means but one thing for me…

I have to work harder than ever!

I’ve tried to include details about myself here at NovelNook.com. I hope I’ve kept that balance of, just enough to seem interesting, but not so much that you feel like I’m telling you my life story.

Today, I’m going to start with a topic about myself, because it’s important as relates to the next couple of months.

I am a Photographer

This is what I do to pay the bills. Every summer for the last five years, I’ve worked a freelance job on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I create beautiful portraits of families, decked-out in white and khaki, as they pose, and play, among the dunes and waves of the beach.

Summer is here

Photograph by Kent DuFault

When I tell most people what I do, they get this dreamy look in their eyes and tell me how lucky I am, and maybe I am  to some degree. It probably beats roofing a house or sitting in a tiny cubicle inputting data.

But the truth of the matter is it’s not all that romantic. It’s hard work. Most days, I have to work thirteen to fourteen hours. I have to deal with large groups of people in high heat and humidity, chase numerous small children up and down the beach, deal with drunken relatives that don’t really want to be there, keep a happy face and an upbeat spirit (no matter how I feel), and in the end convince them that they can’t live without the portraits so that they’ll part with large sums of money and hang them in their homes.

It’s exhausting and grueling.

But my point is this –

Over the next couple of months you might find my posts a bit more clipped and a little less detailed. I hope you’ll still enjoy them and find them useful. I’ve developed a few faithful followers,and I want you to stick with me here at NovelNook.com!

Here is my WRITING point for today

(I know you’ve been waiting breathlessly!)

My wife and I live in a single story condominium unit on the beach. There are only a handful of full-time residents; most of the units are short term rentals. The units rent out for a week at a time. We see a lot of people come and go.

The other day, I was leaving for work around 7:30 a.m. As my car rounded the corner of the building, I saw this woman (approximately thirty-five years old) crouched down right next to a car. She cradled a cigarette between two fingers and held a smart phone. She was furiously typing away. I was certain she was texting somebody.

What was odd about this moment was her positioning. She appeared to be hiding from someone. Instantly, I came to the realization that this woman was cheating on her husband. Sure, it might be my over active imagination; but I don’t think so.

summer vacation is here

Photograph by knownunsense.

I thought about what I had just witnessed as I drove to work and put it in the context of a story, (which is something I almost always do). I realized something.

If I were writing a story about a cheating wife, would I think to tell how she crouched by a car, while on vacation with her family, hiding, desperate to text her lover, even at the risk of being caught?

No. I don’t think I would have thought of that.

Observations of life around us is our richest gold mine: observe, remember, write it down.

I know that I’ve hammered away here about the concepts that will make your writing unique; there is a reason for that…

A lot of authors just aren’t doing it; the slush pile does not lie!

The cheating wife scene is in my idea book.

What’s in your idea book?

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Why You Must Strike a Red Line through Your Own Story

Her raven black hair flowed like a majestic waterfall over the soft slopes of her shoulders and onto the flawless porcelain skin of her back.

(I can’t tell you how many times I have read some derivative of this line.)

Publishing

Publishing

In my introductory post, I told you that I was a slush reader for everydayfiction.com. As I continue on into my blogging career here at NovelNook, I would like to expound on that a little bit. There are several reasons for this. One, many of you may not know what a slush reader is, or what they do. Two, many of the opinions, and information, that I will be passing along to you come from my slush reading experience. Three, you can benefit from knowing what goes on behind the scenes in the publishing industry.

What is a Slush Reader?

(I’m glad you asked!)

A slush reader is the first line of contact after you submit a story for publication. Now, I’m not completely sure if every publishing house does it the way Every Day Fiction does it. But I am sure that they have some similar workflow in place.

Here’s what happens when you submit a story; It goes into a pile of unread, (and unsolicited), material referred to as the slush.

(Cool article on the origin of the term “Slush Pile”. Click here.)

The slush reader is the first line of defense for an editor’s time. Editors are very busy people, and they just don’t have the time to thoroughly read every submission that goes into the pile. So, the slush reader pulls a story from the pile, reads the story, gives it a rating, a quick review; and then passes it on to an editorial assistant. The editorial assistant then reads the story, and based on their professional opinion, and the opinions of the slush readers (stories are generally read by more than one in order to counteract personal bias), the editorial assistant will write up their own review and  either reject the story right there, or, pass it along to an editor for further consideration. Once the story makes it to an editor, it’s considered close to publishable. That editor can opt  to publish the story, pass it to another editor for a second opinion, ask for a revision, or, reject the story. There are several levels of editors leading all the way up to the managing editor. Some stories go through many levels before a decision is made.

The Editorial Workflow
editorial publishing process

Illustration by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

From my experience in the publishing industry, these are the primary reasons that a story is rejected; poor or non-existent editing, cliche subject matter, an incomplete story arc, an overabundance of descriptive adjectives, an inconsistent narrator point-of-view, too much exposition, implausible situations, and unrealistic dialog. There are more- but I’ll stop there.

What does all this have to do with NovelNook? This is self-publishing.

I’m glad you asked that question, as well! While our guidelines state that your book will be read for explicit or non-publishable content, it will not be edited or reviewed in general. This is an important point for you. While no one likes to receive a rejection notice; it does have value. It tells you that someone (or a team of someone’s) didn’t feel that your story was technically or creatively up to publishable standards. In other words, it’s not going to ring well with the public. And that means the potential for poor reviews and lousy sales.

That’s a Good point! I want sales.
Show me the Money

Illustration by Clarisa Ponce de Leon

Of course you do! We all do. So, you must take it upon yourself to be your own slush reader, editorial assistant, and editor. You must find people (not your family and your friends) that will give you an HONEST opinion of your story. You must be a ruthless editor, or find (hire) someone who can do the job for you. And finally, you must have an open mind to what these people have to say. And you must do this BEFORE you publish. Don’t be in a rush to get it out there.

Follow this blog, and we will give you ongoing tips on how to make your book, (your story), even more successful as you continue down your path of publication.

I hope you’ll consider what I’ve had to say, because everyone here at NovelNook.com wants you to be SUCCESSFUL!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, Dracula, by Bram Stoker.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky

New Blogger Arrives On The Scene

Bellakentuky Blogs for NovelNook!!!

(It was fun to write that)

This is my first blog entry here at NovelNook, and I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Kent DuFault, but I write under the pseudonym, Bellakentuky. I was born in Minnesota, and I have also lived in Florida, South Carolina, and Argentina.

Bellakentuky blogs on writing displays his cats

The author hanging out with his buddies; Bella and Lolita

I’m married to a beautiful Argentine woman named Maria Clarisa Fernandez Ponce de Leon. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? Everyone calls her Clari. My wife is a graphic designer, an illustrator, a filmmaker, and a photographer. And… She is a direct descendant of the Ponce de Leon we all read about in grade school. We have two beautiful cats and a loving home filled with artistic energy.

marriage writing

Married in 2009

I found my way to NovelNook via Facebook. A fellow author posted about them, and I came over to investigate. (Social media does work!) I loved their concept, and I wrote to them immediately stating that I would like to be involved.

So, here I am.

I’ve been a writer most of my life. Publication of my first short stories occurred while I was still in high school. In my twenties, I worked has a reporter for a small newspaper chain (I wrote articles and took pictures). But the path of life took me toward photography. In 1984, I opened a commercial photography studio. This choice led to a pile of really cool life experiences. I traveled the world on somebody else’s nickel, met a few celebrities along the way,  and I even had the opportunity to photograph Mikhail Gorbachev once. During this period of my life, my writing was kept to myself and hidden in a drawer.

A Life Changing Event

Then, in 2001, I fell into a life changing event. A motion picture company came to Amelia Island, Florida; where I was living at the time; to make a movie. It was a film titled, Sunshine State. Not knowing any better, I went to their office and asked for a job. And guess what? They gave me one. (My name even shows up in the credits.)

Florida sunshine state

Florida – The Sunshine State

While this never led to a lifelong career in the movies, it did reignite my desire to write. You see, I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a renowned movie director, his producer, and their locations manager. They’re inside scoop to me was – Hollywood needs good scripts, (I’m not sure I believe that now, given what’s in the theaters), but back then I was naïve.

So, I began writing screenplays with a vengeance. Only one of them ever got made into a movie, and it was me who made the movie. No, the movie never made it to the theaters, although, it did receive some nice comments from the film festival folks that I sent it to. But, I learned a lot from the experience. One, making a movie is a lot of fun and probably one of the most rewarding creative endeavors one could ever undertake. To see something that began in your thoughts become real… well… it’s mind-blowing. But then there was number two; making a movie is expensive, and that ended my movie career.

In 2005, I made a commitment.

I started writing fiction, in earnest, back in 2005. My natural tendencies were, once again, toward short stories. Not that I don’t think about writing a novel – because I do. (My wife says I’m scared). We’ll just have to see what happens down the road. I have lots of ideas. Since making that decision in 2005, I’ve published numerous short stories both online and in print. I’ve won several major writing contests and placed in the top five for a half a dozen more. I studied the craft of writing at Writer’s Village University, (which is an online resource that is very inexpensive and I highly recommend them), to hone my craft. Then, I became a slush reader for, everydayfiction.com. This experience has become the ultimate tool in the improvement of my own writing. It’s in this role that I’m constantly learning from other’s mistakes, as well as their victories, in the publication process.

I plan to write on many topics; writing, plot, characterization, the industry, generating ideas, the mechanics of writing, social media, writing contests, creative fermentation, etc.

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, Dracula, by Bram Stoker.

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

Bellakentuky