Joining us from Phoenix, Arizona is Amanda Goossen. She is blogging with Crazy Mom's Everywhere, Snooth.com and WhatsCook.in as well as working with Lit Fest Magazine and reviewing books for Publisher's Weekly. Today on Writers in Business, Amanda is announcing a short story contest, giveaway and guest blogging spots.
Welcome Amanda! Let's start with your LitFestMagazine.com. Can you tell us about it?
Lit Fest Magazine was developed about a year and a half ago after I left my position at a literary magazine and I was determined to create an online magazine that included everything I love. I had just gone to the Los Angeles Times Literary Festival at UCLA and was feeling such bliss from everything that surrounded me at this event. I named my website Lit Fest because I wanted it to encompass everything that you would find at a really phenomenal Literary Festival...Literature, Music and Food. Living in Los Angeles my husband and I had a number of friends in these fields so I put out the word of what I was doing and that I wanted people to contribute. The reaction, feedback and eventual work submitted was terrific!
Our market for Lit Fest was originally Los Angeles based but because we had a few writers spread out through the country and actually the world (I have one book reviewer who lives in Australia) I knew it would be enjoyed internationally. I recently moved to Phoenix, AZ and I large amount of our material is based on things regarding our new city and may become our target market.
Our Guest Blogs and Weekly Short Story Contest tend to be two of the most popular parts of Lit Fest. Our Guest Blogs are done by authors who are usually promoting a book and want readers to read about their work as well as get a feel for who they are. My favorites have been the month long blog author Andrew Gross did from his vacation in Napa Valley, an author who wrote about why she was a terrible judge for a dance contest and another who write about getting her life back after spending a year in front of her computer writing her first book. In about 1,000 words these authors can crack you up laughing, make you cry or at the very least introduce themselves to you in a way you would have never known them otherwise. I love reading them each time they hit my inbox.
The short story contest is something I decided to include with Lit Fest because so many people are writing and don't know how to get their work seen by others. There are an incredible amount of talented people out there that just want a few people to read what they have to say...I think there should be more arenas to have writing viewed by other writers and readers. There are a few stories I've read by aspiring writers that were so incredibly amazing that I still think about them often.
Anyone interested in the Short Story Contest can find information on LitFestMagazine.com and authors looking for a Guest Blogging spot can email me Amanda (at)LitFestMagazine (dot)com about open dates and guidelines.
I love your graphics, design and content of Crazy Mom's Everywhere. Can you share your inspiration and purpose for this new blog?
Thanks! I have spent the past year teaching myself Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and have loved everything I've learned. The 'Crazy Mom's Everywhere' graphic was developed while I was experimenting with what I learned and applying it by trying to create a logo and name for an event planning company I hope to have someday. Everything was kind of accidentally working as I went and I thought I had to use this now instead of holding on to it for a few years. So I pushed that logo aside and developed this instead.
My purpose for Crazy Moms Everywhere was originally to anonymously post the good times and bad of being a mom. I feel like sometimes us moms feel like we are going to go crazy in the mayhem of everyday. But we don't always realize how many others are in our same exact position. We are all going crazy, running here, doing this thing and then that. Trying to be perfect and never quite making it there. I had friends who would act like everything was perfect but if you asked them how they really felt they would break it down and explain all the chaos that filled their day. I wanted moms to realize we don't have to put up a front, we can be honest with each other about the good times AND the bad! Oh and I gave up on the anonymous part because I felt if we were being honest, we had to be completely honest.
The blog tends to have a lot of food based writing because food plays such a large part in my life and in our family. I have a hard time sharing some things about my kids and family because I believe in privacy and don't want my children to ever look back and think, "Oh thanks Mom" although I'm sure they will do that anyway, so instead I talk about our family through our relationship with food. I talk about how our stressful, frustrating day came through in our dinner when I burned the homemade pizzas I was so excited about but totally not relaxed enough to be preparing. Or how a certain incredible brand of breakfast items (Waffle Lady) has changed our life and the way we eat. You can say my food obsession translates to the blog in a huge way!
(<--Amanda's Fairy Cupcakes)
In the past week I have tried to vary things a bit, taking a few breaks from food discussions. Recently I started "31 Days of New Things" where every day I try something new, mostly food and cooking oriented but there will be some mommy firsts which will arise for sure! I am actually in the middle of writing one right now!
Speaking of food, I understand you are writing a new column in the Arcadia News and you are writing food and wine articles for Snooth.com and WhatsCook.in. It's interesting to learn how writers acquire these regular writing projects. Do you send out query letters with clips?
Finding new writing jobs can be a challenge, but it's also about how much time you are willing to spend searching. I spend about two hours, one night a week looking for writing jobs on various websites. I'm registered in a couple online writing groups which send out emails about jobs as well. One thing I've had to learn is to apply, apply, apply. I send out resumes (with a few writing clips) every time I see something that might be up my alley. Every time I send an email for a writing job, however, I have a sudden tinge of fear before I hit send. I have a moment of doubt which quickly dissolves and hearing back a positive response makes it all worth it. I've just convinced myself that I can't get a job if I don't put myself out there!
Also, I have an outstanding friend who I went to college with who is also a writer and we talk non-stop about our progress, what we need to do to write more, find jobs, get better at what we're doing and how to juggle our passion for motherhood with our passion for writing. Our love of reading and writing is a major part of our friendship and a plays a large role in my writing career.
On top of all of this writing, you are also a reviewer for Publisher's Weekly. I'm sure many of my readers would like to learn more about this.
Reviewing books for Publisher's Weekly has been an incredibly exciting and enjoyable experience. Since I was six years old I have been an avid reader. Books have been one of the great loves of my life and being able read for a well-known company has been an honor. I can organize my time however I need to and depending on the length of the books I can usually read about 8 books a month, only having to devote a few hours a day about five days a week. This works out well for me because I also review books for Lit Fest and gives me time to read those as well.
Before we provide the information on your new giveaway, I wanted to ask if there is anything else you would like to share with my readers.
Yes, I would love for moms to know that writing (or whatever passion they have) is totally reachable, but they have to be willing to go after it. My kids and spending as much time as I can involved in their childhood is my main priority so I spend a lot of time up late. Coffee is my friend!
Thank you Amanda! I've spent years working around my childrens' nap times, bed times and now around their school days. It's wonderful to have that flexibility while still contributing to our family finances.
To end our interview, could you tell my readers how they can register to win your contest?
I'm happy to. We offer frequent contests and giveaways through Lit Fest Magazine and Crazy Mom's Everywhere.
To be entered into this Crazy Mom's Everywhere and Lit Fest Magazine Gift Bag Giveaway readers must go to LitFestMagazine.com or Crazy Mom's Everywhere and sign up to follow by email or as a Google follower. They must also send an email to Amandagoose (at) gmail (dot) com with their name, address and email. This information will only be used to mail the winner their prize.
Contest runs from Sunday October 30, 2011 until November 5, 2011. Winner will be notified by email on November 6, 2011 as well as announced on both websites.
Gift Bag Includes:
Waffle Lady Whole Wheat Waffle Mix (The absolute best waffle mix in the world)
Leo Monster made by Allison Barum (My favorite gift to give the special kiddos in my life)
Superhero Joe by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman
Mr Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer
Young Adult Books:
The first two books in John Grisham's YA Theodore Boone series
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
Theodore Boone: The Abduction
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School By Kathleen Flinn
A Pinch of Love by Alicia Bessette
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory
The Hallows Insider: New Fiction, Facts, Maps, Murders and More in the World of Rachel Morgan By Kim Harrison (Release Date: Oct. 25, 2011….beautiful hardbound book with color pages, illustrations and more)