Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Articles

I recently wrote several Halloween articles. I kept getting sidetracked while doing the research, because I was finding a lot of fun activities and information.

Music-Themed Retro Halloween Costumes for Couples was fun to research. I started out wanting to write about couples costumes with a music theme and then ended up making them all retro.

8 Halloween Supersites is about the sites that go beyond the norm to provide what you need to make Halloween special.

Fun Online Halloween Activities will help get you in the Halloween spirit with games, puzzles, and more.

If you're throwing a Halloween party, check Halloween Parties: 13 Websites to Help Set the Tone.

Before you start decorating, consider reading Halloween Decorations: 13 Great Websites to Help You Decorate for some terrific ideas.

Ever wondered which actors have played Dracula on TV? 13 TV Draculas will answer your question.

Hollywood Vampires and Werewolves: Actors Who Have Played Both is an older article but still relevant at this time of year.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tapestry of Bronze Ode to Olympians

Genre: Ode

Restrictions: Must be about Artemis/Diana, the Goddess of the Hunt. Ode must be no longer than 30 lines, submitted by e-mail. Entrants should include their real name as well as a pen name if applicable. Adults must indicate that they're adults; minors need to include their birth month and year. Anyone under 13 must also have permission from a parent or guardian. Only one entry per person.

Deadline: November 30, 2011

Prizes: $50 to the winner in each age group

Entry Fee: None

Additional information: Tapestry of Bronze Ode to Olympians

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amy Foundation Writing Awards

Genre: Article

Restrictions: Must have been published during the current calendar year in a mainstream, non-religious publication either online or in print. Must contain at least one passage of Scripture. Entries must be sent by USPS; e-mailed entries will not be accepted.

Prizes: First prize is $10,000. Second prize is $5000, third prize is $4000, fourth prize is $3000, and fifth prize is $2000. In addition, ten Awards of Outstanding Merit will be given at $1000 each.

Entry Fee: None

Additional information: Amy Foundation Writing Awards

Friday, July 22, 2011

Panera Bread's Asiago Bagel Breakfast Sandwich: Review

If you're looking for a tasty change of pace for breakfast, consider Panera Bread's asiago bagel breakfast sandwich. The asiago bagel adds a different flavor that makes it stand out from a run-of-the-mill breakfast sandwich. My review provides details about this menu item's presentation, taste, and nutrition.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Green Tomorrow

Genre: Essay

Restrictions: Must be about how the environment affects your life. Entries are accepted from students in grades 6 through 12 who live in the United States. Maximum 1500 words.

Deadline: October 31, 2011

Prizes: $500

Entry Fee: None

Additional information: Our Green Tomorrow

Artwork is also accepted in a separate category, with the prize again being $500.

International Contest of Mountaineering Literature and Photography

Genre: Stories about the mountains and/or mountaineers.

Restrictions: Must be original, unpublished stories written in English or Spanish by a writer at least 18 years old. The previous year's winner is not eligible.

Deadline: September 10, 2011

Prizes: First prize is 500 Euros and inclusion of the story in a book.

Entry Fee: None

Additional information: Go to International Contest of Mountaineering Literature and Photography. The contest guidelines are provided in a PDF download.

Writing Contests

When I started researching writing contests to post about here, I had no idea there were so many! I'll be concentrating on posting about those with no entry fee. If I see one with an incredibly good prize for a relatively low entry fee, I'll include it as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Textnovel Contest

Genre: Story or novel

Restrictions: Entrant must be at least 13 years old and reside in the United States, Canada, or another country where the contest is allowed by law. Submission must be written in English and have a minimum of 50,000 words.

Deadline: August 31, 2011

Prizes: $1000 and possibility of representation

Entry fee: None

Additional information: Textnovel Contest

Past Loves Day Story Contest

Genre: True story

Restrictions: Must be a true story about a past love, with a maximum of 700 words. No restriction on tone.

Deadline: August 17, 2011

Prizes: First prize is $100. Second prize is $75. Third prize is $50.

Entry fee: None

Additional information: Past Loves Day Story Contest

Snag Today Poetry Contest

Genre: Poetry of any style or theme.

Restrictions: Maximum 50 lines. Must be written in English. Previously published work is fine, as are simultaneous submissions. Author must own publication rights.

Deadline: July 31, 2011

Prizes: $30 for first prize. Second and third prizes are $5 each.

Entry fee: None

Additional information: Snag Today Poetry Contest

Changing Focus

I recently took some time to think about the direction of Ellie's Writing Desk. Although I originally started this blog to promote my Associated Content articles, I realized that I wanted to do much more with it than that. I had a lot of ideas; the problem was figuring out which ones would work.

I finally came up with a plan, and I think it works. I hope it works.

1. Post writing prompts. I've already come up with some interesting ones, so be on the lookout for them. You'll be able to fulfill the prompts in the comments, on your own blog, or privately--or you can just ignore them. It's up to you. The idea is to get the creative juices flowing and just have fun.

2. Find and post information about writing contests.

3. Provide tips about writing and grammar.

4. Continue to promote my own articles, but more regularly. It still won't be very often, since I don't write that many.

5. Promote articles by other writers.

6. Spotlight different writers, including occasionally branching out into some interviews.

I haven't finalized a schedule, and that's probably not even possible. However, I do intend to update this blog much more often than in the past.

I also started a new blog, Ellie's Blank Book. It will be for most of the blog hops and blogging challenges, although any that are devoted to the act of writing will be here at Ellie's Writing Desk.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wrapping Up the A-Z Challenge

The A-Z blogging challenge wrapped up over the weekend, and now it's time to reflect on how it went. When I first learned about the challenge, I had to stop and think about whether I could participate. Eventually, I signed up all five of my blogs. From the beginning, my intention was to spread the challenge over all of them, posting on anywhere from one to five for any given letter. I also made three rules for myself.

My Rules, Meant Just for Me

1. Post at Help Michigan Pets for every letter.

2. Write and post them on the day they're due. In other words, no writing ahead or doing a pre-scheduled post.

3. Make-up posts are not allowed. If I miss a letter, I won't be going back and filling it in.

So, how did I do?

I followed my rules. I even kicked off the challenge by posting at every blog. I did let myself brainstorm ahead of time, and I made a master list of potential topics. I also allowed myself to start researching animals a few days ahead of schedule.

I had a bit of serendipity twice on my entertainment blog. The first instance of perfect timing occurred along with the bad news about ABC's cancellation of two soap operas, which gave me an L for Loss. Later, on S night, the next day's topic fell into my lap when I saw a new commercial advertising a web series based in my area. The title of that series begins with a T.

The timing of this challenge was also serendipitous. I had been neglecting my blogs and wanted to start them up again. The neglect began (and lasted) mostly due to circumstances beyond my control, but as time went on, it became increasingly difficult to make myself get back to them. The challenge gave me the push I needed.

The Tally

Since I already said that I followed my rules, you know that my pets blog got a new post for every letter. As for my other blogs, some received more new posts than others.

Help Michigan Pets: 26 new posts
Ellie's Couch: 17 new posts
Diary of a Non-Person: 12 new posts
Ellie's Attic: 6 new posts
Ellie's Writing Desk: 4 new posts

New Connections

I've gained quite a few followers and started following even more blogs than ever. Not all of them were participating in the challenge; I found some of them on other participants' reading lists. Here are just a few of the interesting blogs I've been following, thanks to this challenge:

Content for Foodies
Jeffrey Beesler's World of the Scribe
La fotografĂ­a efectista abstracta
Langley Writes
My Literary Jam & Toast
¡Palabras interesantes, raras, hermosas y divertidas!
Pirate Knitting
Tossing It Out


As a result of the A-Z Challenge, I've determined to come up with a schedule and stick to it. I'm also thinking about the future of this blog. Originally, it was meant to promote some of my articles, and I have another one reserved for blogging about writing in general. Now I'm trying to come up with a better plan for each of them.

Wrapping It Up

I'm glad I had the opportunity to get back to my blogs, especially my pets blog. If it helped even one pet find a forever home, it was well worth my time.

I enjoyed participating in the A-Z Challenge, and I definitely accomplished what I set out to do. I would like to do this again in the future if time permits, but with fewer blogs and with the intention to post all 26 letters on each one.

I'd like to thank the hosts for coming up with this challenge. Special thanks go to Elizabeth Mueller for the cool badge she provided for us, as well as to Deirdra Eden-Coppel for the beautiful awards she gave my blogs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ordering Your Own Lab Tests Online

I found out a few months ago that it's possible for people to order their own lab tests online. Although the law requires a doctor to actually do the requisition, consumers can go to one of several websites, place their order, and wait for it to be approved.

This practice isn't legal everywhere, but most states do allow it. To get the specifics, check this article.

There are quite a few things to consider before taking such a step, so be sure to read the pros and cons of ordering your own lab tests online.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Road Food: Where to Eat in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor

Some restaurants look great on the outside but don't have anything on the menu that you'd want to eat. Others don't look so great but have fantastic food. If you live in the area, you're more likely to know whether dining there is a good idea or not, but what if you're unfamiliar with the area?

The Baltimore-Washington Corridor is a popular area for visitors, and there's certainly no shortage of places to eat. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, check out these five great local restaurants in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor; they all have fantastic food at reasonable prices.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Celebrity Couples Who Met on TV

Celebrities get together all the time. They also break up all the time.

When actors are interested in each other after meeting on the set of a television show, it can get tricky. Should they go ahead and start dating? Should they wait until they're not working together anymore?

Some couples who meet on a TV show eventually get married. This is a look at five such celebrity couples who seem to be in it for the long haul. In fact, one of these couples got married more than thirty-five years ago.

Read more

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Being Erica

Being Erica is about to end its third season on SOAPnet. In this series, Erica Strange travels back in time to fix her biggest regrets--at least that's what the viewers are supposed to believe. Is that what's really happening, or is something else going on?

As someone who has never missed an episode of Being Erica, I have put together my top ten theories about what's really happening in this series. Although some of these theories are more plausible than others, they all have merit based on what the viewers have been allowed to see.

Read more

Friday, April 1, 2011

Arthurian Shows: Merlin Versus Camelot

Anyone who's into the tales of King Arthur and Camelot knows that there are many different versions of the legends. In fact, the two current television series depicting Arthur and Merlin have very different takes on life in Camelot.

While both shows are enjoyable, they don't necessarily attract the same audience. Which one is right for you?

Read more

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

After having to neglect all my blogs for several months, I've joined the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011.

On Mondays through Saturdays in April, I'll be posting on anywhere from one blog to all five of them.

I'm hoping this will help me get back in the swing of things.