I spend too much time reading other people’s blogs. Granted, I’ve learned a lot from them and continue to do so. But I need to be writing more novels and short stories instead.

That said, if you also are a writer, here are some people you need to be keeping in touch with.

1. Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She posts about once a week and knows a lot about the publishing business, both from the writer’s viewpoint and the publisher’s, having been both.

2. Dean Wesley Smith, husband of Kristine Kathryn Rusch. His Killing The Sacred Cows of Publishing series will open your eyes. He’s also offering comments on how he writes his newest short stories and offering them for free reading within a certain time span.

3. The Passive Guy. He ranges far and wide with his blogging and offers several different ones a day, but he is also a lawyer and often dissects bad contracts for his readers to understand.

4. J.A. Konrath. Always controversial and often right.

Leave me a comment. Have you found someone interesting to follow? I have several more on my favorites panel, and check out others via twitter when they are highlighted, but the above are the ones I trust.

WHAT I’VE READ THIS WEEK—Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.

Last Call For Scare The Dickens Out Of Us

The postmark deadline for the ghost story writing contest Scare The Dickens Out Of Us is October 1, 2011. You’ve got just enough time to write that winning entry and get it in the mail. First place winner will get $1000.00 and a trophy. Second place will get $500.00 and a neat ribbon. Third place gets $250.00 and their own neat ribbon. The Junior contest winner gets $250.00 and a trophy. Runners up get ribbons.

Besides rewarding writers for the best ghost story we see, this contest is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas, the oldest library in Texas that has been in continuous use. The contest is privately funded. All the entry fee money goes to the Friends of the Library.

We have received some great stories in our three years of running this contest. They have come from all over the United States, Canada, and even from as far away as South Africa, Australia and England. We even get stories from Texas, though not as many as we would like. (Actually, only the correspondence coordinator ever knows who wrote the stories or where they are from until the contest is over. We did get asked once if we were Texas-biased. The answer is “no”.)

We get asked a lot of other questions too. Yes, it has to be a ghost story (not a zombie story or a devil story, etc). Yes, it can be gory. It can also be funny or touching or even, dare we say it, scary. You should type it in normal fonts and font sizes, doublespaced on one side of the paper (although we have seen entries that do none of the above). We will not reject you for not following the rules, except for the following: word count limit (5000 words and less), postmarked date of entry (no later than October 1), and lack of ghost in the story (you’d be surprised). And the Junior contest is only for ages 12-18.

Unfortunately for the judges, the majority of the entries will arrive the week the contest ends. Why not add yours to the pile. We’d love to read it. Full rules can be found at and at under the desserts tab.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK–Number The Stars by Lois Lowry.  And God Save The Mark by Donald E. Westlake.  And Mile 81 by Stephen King.