Mock Turtle submission deadline May 1

The submission deadline for issue 11 of Mock Turtle Zine is May 1. You still have time to submit, And, yes, you will get performance points for submitting to any appropriate publication this quarter. I’ve listed several possibilities in earlier posts. Talk to me about it if you have any questions.


We are now accepting submissions for Issue 11. The deadline for Issue 11 has been pushed back to Friday, May 1. Be sure to check our submissions guidelines below before sending your poetry, prose and artwork.

This issue also features the Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest, so please, check below for awards information. The contest is for poetry only. Please put “AWW SUBMISSION” in the subject line of your email, and include a 50-word bio, with your hometown. All contest entries will be considered for the contest as well as for regular publication.

Please review the general guidelines as well as the author/artist guidelines below. Do not submit your work until you have reviewed these guidelines.


AWW Poetry Contest Awards

  • Best-in-show award: Wins scholarship (registration and tuition fees) to the 2015 Full Week workshop (July 11-17), with afternoon poetry seminar. (Other afternoon seminars—fiction, creative nonfiction, and focus on form—and not available with this scholarship.) Fees other than registration/tuition (e.g., travel, lodging, food, one-on-one manuscript reviews, the Saturday Seminar optional add on, or fees for any other programs Antioch Writers’ workshop holds) are not included. This scholarship may only be used in 2015. This is a scholarship award only; no cash value.
  • 1st place and 2nd place awards in adult category: Both win $125 scholarship, which may be
    applied toward the 2015 Full Week Workshop (July 11-17) programs—including Full Week, Morning Only, Afternoon Only or Saturday Seminar. This scholarship may only be used in 2015. This is a scholarship award only; no cash value.
  • 1st place and 2nd place awards in teen category: Both win $125 scholarship, which may be applied toward the 2015 Full Week Workshop (July 11-17) Young Writers program or Saturday Seminar. This scholarship may only be used in 2015. This is a scholarship award only; no cash value.

General guidelines

  • Do not copy and paste submissions into your email. Please, attach all submissions as Word, Open Office, or text documents.
  • Submit up to THREE pieces per category: poetry, prose (fiction or nonfiction), drama, photography, and other visual art. If you submit more than three, we will stop reading/looking after the third. Send us the best, not everything, please! (We simply get too many submissions now to handle more. We’re volunteers, after all.) If you think you have an exception (such as a set of short related poems, like several haiku), then just check with us.
  • Save each submission as a separate document. Do not submit multiple works in one document.
  • Save each submission with last name first, then first name, then the title of the work. Sample: Dendy_Christina_For_Us.doc.
  • Provide a short biography or artist statement in your email. Biographies should not exceed a short paragraph, four to eight sentences. We print abbreviated (one to two sentences) biographies in the print publication.

Although we have published work from outside of Ohio in the past, we are a local publication that accepts work from artists and authors from Dayton and the surrounding area only at this time. Thank you!

Author guidelines

You may submit any genre, any form. Poetry, song lyrics, fiction, and nonfiction all apply. In fact, we’d love some more nonfiction, so send some!

  • Poetry and song lyrics should not exceed 100 lines. We prefer pieces under 30 lines. Fiction and nonfiction prose should not exceed 2,500 words. We prefer pieces under 1,000 words.
  • Documents are accepted in Word, Text, and Open Office.
  • Documents should be single-spaced in a black, 12-point Times or similar serif font, with one-inch margins. Avoid fancy fonts and formats.
  • Documents should not include address, bio, word count, or other miscellaneous information.
  • You may submit up to three pieces of literature.

Visual artist guidelines

You may submit any artwork that can be represented in a two-dimensional image. Paintings, illustrations, cartoons, photography, etchings, woodcuts, and sculpture all apply. If you are photographing art, be sure to check light and shadow in the final image.

  • All inside pages print in grayscale (black and white). Please submit only b&w images for publication inside the zine.
  • Images are accepted in pdf, jpg, and gif formats.
  • Images should be between 800 px and 3200 px in width.


We have expanded our call for submissions, so we may have to decline some of your submissions. Please know that we will look at every submission and consider its merit in terms of the guidelines and the balance of content within the magazine. We’ll let you know one way or another.

So, a word of advice? First, follow the guidelines. Second, don’t send us something hot off the mental press. Let it sit for a few days, and then look at it again. Revise!Ask a friend to read it and give you feedback. The stronger the piece, the more likely it will be accepted. Look for errors (misspellings, typos, syntax) to fix, and take the time to think about your content. If you wrote a story, does it have a conflict? If you wrote a poem, do you use imagery? If you wrote an opinion piece, do you state a clear perspective? For visual art, make sure you send us a strong image of your piece. If your artwork didn’t scan or photograph well, then scan it again, please. If your photograph is blurry, then perhaps consider another one unless the blur serves a definite aesthetic purpose.

Review process

How do we select work? When submissions are received and the deadline has closed, the editors duplicate the submissions and strip them of identifying information. Submissions are then split into batches, and sent to reviewers, who sort the works into categories (definitely want to publish, might want to publish, and not this time). The editors then review the “definitelies” and the “maybes,” and based on space, make selections for the print publication. The editors also look through the “nots” to make sure that they agree with the reviewers. Preference is given to those pieces considered “definitelies” by reviewers and both editors, and so on, but the final decision is made by the managing and the founding editors.

If a piece was not selected for publication, it does not mean that it did not have merit. It simply means that our team of reviewers and editors judged other pieces to be stronger in some way. Thank you to everyone who had the courage and vision to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, eye to lens, and pen, paintbrush or other implement of creation to visual medium. Please, keep doing it, and send us more.

Authors and artists retain all rights to their work.
And no, we do not pay.
We are not-for-profit and unable to offer compensation.


Hat reveal

No, seriously, you guys. Watch this. It’s only 7 seconds. You will laugh. If you don’t laugh, you get an F. No, you get an F-.

Selfie with Blue Woman at the DAI

Selfie at the DAI

Here is my favorite piece of art from our recent visit to the DAI. Another day, I might choose another piece, but I had to go back and visit this one and take a selfie, so it’s my favorite. I’m not sure why she intrigues me so much. Maybe it’s because the docent said lots of kids were scared of her, and I thought that was absurd and insulting. (And that wasn’t the only absurd or insulting thing she said.) When I saw it, I thought, I want to know this woman’s stories. I think she’s lived an interesting life.

I could be all wrong about that. She might have lived the dullest life ever. But as writers, we don’t always look for the truth as it is. We look for the truth as we see it, and we write so other people believe our fiction is the truth — even when dragons appear in the sky or zombies shuffle into Walmart on a Saturday morning.


One of my favorite blogsites is David Thorne’s 27b/6. He’s one of those rare bloggers whose crazy, irony-filled posts earned him a book deal. So far, he’s published three books. His first one hit #4 on the New York Times best-seller list. He no longer gives his work away for free on his blog for obvious reasons. I would hate him, but I think he’s kind of brilliant, and he wouldn’t care if I hated him anyway.

The school filters his website because of the adult content, so if you go to it, know that he swears and tiptoe in accordingly.

adult content


(graphic from sandybelldf@deviantart)



Congratulations, bloggers! You made it through your first 10 weeks of blogging. (OK, technically 8. Thanks, winter.) I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, and I hope you’ve enjoyed writing most of them. I also hope you’ll continue writing on your blog, keeping a record of your life for all the world to see. If nothing else, it’s a good way to get things off your chest. And who knows? You might get some comments in return. If you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

Maybe I’ll see you in the next rotation … maybe I won’t. But whatever the future holds, remember this: Writing is dusty, sweaty work. The only way to defeat that blank page and get to the reward is to put your butt in the chair and write …. and write …. and write.

(Photo credit: Foter)

Making brilliant comments

comment key

(photo credit:

One way to gain new readers and make new connections in the blogosphere is to make comments on other people’s blogs. I found a good article on the art of commenting titled “How to Write Amazing Blog Comments,” but unfortunately it can’t find its way through the school’s filter. If you’re reading this at home, you should be able to go directly to the link. For those of you who are reading at school, I’m going to copy the most relevant part of the post below.

“But Queen Carol,” you may ask, “aren’t you violating copyright laws by doing that? Are you even possibly plagiarizing?”

The answer to both questions is no. I can  copy a portion of a copyrighted work as long as I give credit to the author, which I did by linking to the original article. Also, special consideration is given to educators when it comes to copyrighted material, and I believe I’m within the guidelines. Finally, I’m going to send a link to this post to the author of the article and make sure it’s OK with her that I post such a large portion of her post here.

So, without further comment, here are some pointers for writing comments. My thanks to author QueenMomJen for her wise words.

Read the Post

I visit quite a few blogs each week. Last week I was reading a very heartfelt post about a woman’s recent loss on a blog I had never visited before. I felt moved to reach out to her in compassion via a comment on her post. As usual I scrolled through the other comments only to find this as the first one.

“Popping in from ____ hop. Love your blog, you can visit me at ___.”

I guarantee you that this kind of comment is the wrong one about 99.9 percent of the time, and the blogger who did this is setting themselves up to fail. They are setting themselves up to fail because they don’t understand that successful bloggers are community builders.

Pull Out a Specific Point

You do not have to comment on everything in the post. If there is one particular section that speaks to you, then comment on it. This lets the author know you actually read their post and didn’t just skim through the pictures before posting your comment.

Share Equal Experiences

I admit that there have been some posts where it was very difficult for me to hit the publish button. Mainly because I felt so strongly about what I was writing and worried about what others would think.

If you can help give insight or boost up another blogger with shared experiences, then do it! This is an important part of community building. Besides that, as humans, sharing and caring is generally a good thing to do.

Read Some of the Other Comments

It’s not that you have to be 100 percent original and witty all of the time, but you don’t want to say the exact same thing the person before you did. Try and genuinely add to the discussion with your comment. If you get stuck, you can comment on someone else’s comment saying you thought the same thing.

Write More Than One Line

Sometimes I have commented in one sentence, but I try not to. Pull something specific out of the post and comment on it, then add in your one liner. For example, don’t have your only comment be, “Thanks for sharing!” Thanks for sharing what…? Add what you liked and now you have a short, succinct, and meaningful comment!

Don’t Write an Opus

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you should not feel you have to write a long and detailed comment. You may want to because you find so much in common with the author, but keep in mind that sometimes too much personal information shared is too much.

Be Nice

Thumper’s mom had it right when she said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” You are better off just closing the tab and moving on rather than looking like a donkey.

Reciprocation is King

Respond to commenters on your blog in a timely and thoughtful manner. Then make sure to visit their blog in return. This is a very important element of community building and one that I truly enjoy. I have found so many wonderful blogs and bloggers by doing this. Community building can be very fulfilling if done properly.

Something else to keep in mind with this is to have commenting widgets or apps installed on your site that will email alert someone that their comment was replied to.

Know When to Cut Bait

This is an old saying fisherman use when it’s time to reel it in and go home because the fish aren’t biting. The same applies to commenting. This may sound harsh, but personally, I have a very limited time in which to blog ( 4 children and all) so I have had to drop my comments on some blogs.

I still may enjoy what they write and periodically stop in, but if they are unable to be a part of my community then it is time to move on. It’s not a “Tit for Tat” kind of thing, it is just the reality that we can give more to those who can enrich our own lives in return.

Adding text to photos

One of the requirements for this blogging rotation is that you add text to a photo and include it in one of your posts. Today I cruised through my Facebook feed and found a few examples …. not that examples are hard to find. They’re everywhere. The hard thing is coming up with something clever or profound to add to a photo once you’ve chosen it. If you aren’t sure what photo you want to use, try perusing some of the free photos sites, like the ones on this list.

Arguing with idiots Brian Williams Ford plane crash Florida winter storm I'm in the mood for 6000 Monopoly Saw it Liked it

And here are a few examples of photos without text that might inspire the addition of some text. Have fun!

bummed out Conversations Dog in superman socks skeleton in the snow sunrise

A Good Family review

A Good MarriageLast Friday after I posted about how Kerri Rawson, who found out her dad was a notorious serial killer, had chewed Stephen King out for writing a novella and a screenplay based loosely on her family, I looked the movie up on Netflix and watched it. I’d ignored it before because it only had 3 out of 5 stars, and I rarely waste my time for anything that’s earned under 4 stars on Netflix. The movie is titled The Good Family, because the story is about one of those dull, yet perfect, middle-class, suburban families. They’re dull, that is, until the wife finds out her husband is a serial killer who has raped and murdered 12 women. Then he, at least, seems a bit more interesting.

About 20 minutes into the movie it started to feel familiar, although I knew I’d never seen it. I realized I’d read the novella a couple of years ago, and I remembered the story. As often happens, King’s story was better in writing than it was on the screen. The wife’s character was flat, too sweet and nice, bland. Although we’re seeing a lot of the action through her point of view, we’re not in her head like the reader is in the novella. The explanation the husband gives for why he has this second bad person living in him who makes him do horrible things to women doesn’t ring true in the movie, although it did in the book. He simply has no clear motivation for his heinous crimes, and until she finds the evidence that he’s the killer, he’s given no indication that he’s a vicious sociopath. None. Zero. These people collect coins for fun. That’s how they spend their Saturday nights. Surely the guy must have kicked a puppy or made a rude comment about a woman in a short skirt or done something to indicate he wasn’t simply a boring family man.

So I finished watching it, and I gave it 2 stars. I may have been generous because of Stephen King’s name on it. It reminded me of something I’ve often thought about King’s books. He’s a fantastic writer. A master at the craft. I’m not a fan of horror, but I read him because his skills amaze me. I want to learn from him. But the fact is, his stories — the underlying concept, which we’ve talked about — aren’t very good. If you stripped them of his writing skills, they wouldn’t sell. And his endings are collectively some of the worst I’ve ever read.

And yet I continue to read his books, because he knows how to write tension like nobody else. And his characters are well fleshed out, interesting, unique. They just don’t tend to stand up in his screenplays.

It’s something to know, as a writer. Your story doesn’t have to be that great if you’re a great story-teller, and you’ve honed your skills through hours and hours of writing and revisions, and you’ve learned a lot about people so you can build full-blooded characters.

Even if you like horror, I don’t recommend this movie. The only thing that’s horrible is the movie itself.

Grade: D

How to Tell Your Children and Friends That Your Father Is a Serial Killer

After we watched Django Unchained, we had a short discussion about sociopaths or anti-social personalities. In a change of perspective, here’s an article about Kerri Rawson, who found out her father was the infamous BTK (blind, torture, kill) serial killer, Dennis Rader. Rawson has criticized Stephen King for writing a novella and a screenplay for the movie A Good Marriage based on her father in which the killer’s wife discovers her husband has killed 10 people. I can understand Rawson’s argument that King may be exploiting what is an awful situation for her family. However, writers often take a seed from something that happened in real life and grow a fictional story from it. In fact, I would encourage you to do that, and especially to write from the perspective of another character other than the killer, one who is affected, but who doesn’t have all the information. As long as it really is fiction, you can take a story like that anywhere you want to go.


Recently, Roy Wenzl profiled a woman named Kerri Rawson for The Wichita Eagle. Rawson’s life was upended a decade ago, when an FBI agent knocked on her door and informed her that the man she’d always known as a loving father was in fact the BTK serial killer. Wenzl’s piece is a compelling and meticulous portrait of a woman slowly coming to terms with the impossible. Below is an excerpt:

When friends questioned whether it was wise for them to have children, Kerri ignored them. She never worried about her kids inheriting a serial killer gene.

When Emilie, at 5, understood what “grandfather” meant, she asked where her grandfather was.

“In a long time-out,” Kerri replied.

Couldn’t Kerri go see him? Emilie asked.

“It’s a really long time-out,” Kerri replied.

Kerri asked friends: “Don’t tag our children” on Facebook. When friends asked why, she didn’t know how to answer them…

View original post 74 more words


Look at thisDon’t forget to check the assignments page on the homepage for Queen Carol’s Classroom. Snow days do not affect due dates for your blog posts. You all had posts due this past Friday, and you will have posts due this Tuesday and Friday. I’m looking forward to reading your words!