Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

lion-mobilePublished or unpublished work accepted for the 22nd annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest. All themes accepted.

Entry Fee: $16.00 per entry.

Deadline: April 30, 2014

Prizes: FICTION: First Prize, $1,000; Honorable Mentions, 5 awards of $100 each | ESSAYS: First Prize, $1,000; Honorable Mentions, 5 awards of $100 each.

Visit the website for more information.

Indies Unlimited is pleased to provide this information as a public service. We are not affiliated with, nor do we endorse any specific events, conferences, workshops, or programs. Persons interested in participating are responsible for performing their own due diligence and research.

Video Trailer: Appalachian Justice

Appalachian Justice - Melinda ClaytonDepression-era West Virginia was hard; no one knew that better than Billy May Platte. Orphaned at fourteen, she survived on the kindness of the residents of Cedar Hollow.

But one terrible night in 1945 changed everything. When three local boys saw Billy May in a situation that called her sexuality into question, they orchestrated a brutal attack that nearly ended her life, and ultimately drove her into seclusion.

Thirty years later, Billy May finds a young girl whose life is in danger, and she must make a decision: Will she risk her own life to save the girl?

Appalachian Justice, the Southern fiction book by Melinda Clayton, is available from, Smashwords, Amazon UK and other online bookstores.

Don’t forget, you can cast your vote for trailer of the month on March 29, 2014 at 5 p.m. Pacific time.

Stop the Presses: How Journalism Helps Authors

reporterWhen at a loss for something new to write about on the art of writing, the ever-encouraging K.S. Brooks suggested to me that I should discuss the art of research for writers. She’s impressed by the fact I’m, apparently, the last person on earth who still goes to a library to do research (lest you think I’m the only one who patronizes the library, I will point out there are many individuals at my local branch – mostly homeless people trying to stay out of the cold or kids with laptops who like the free wifi).

Anyway, I’m not sure how much I have to say about techniques of research when it comes to writing, particularly for those interested in writing fiction. But what I can speak to is how my penchant for thorough research – primarily for my non-fiction writing but also to get certain facts straight in fiction as well – comes from a background in journalism. I think it was the author Tom Wolfe who noted that the best thing any aspiring novelist could do for his craft would be to spend a few years working as a journalist. Wolfe’s belief was that the world, when examined up close through the eyes of a professional observer, held a plethora of interesting stories, individuals and small details which could serve you the rest of your life in creating “fiction” that would ring true. While I’m not recommending anyone become a journalist (unless you’re prepared to make sub-minimum wage) I do think many of the skills one picks up as a reporter of non-fiction events can be transferred over to the realm of fiction writing. Continue reading “Stop the Presses: How Journalism Helps Authors”