The Word Count Podcast – Open for submissions!



UPDATE: The Hell that is my day job now goes to YOUR BENEFIT!  The NEW Deadline is 7 September 2012!


The Word Count Podcast Episode 26 is now open for submissions!

It’s been over two months since the last prompt for The Word Count Podcast.

With ReaderCON and this year’s blog hop, life has been very busy.

But the ‘cast break is OVER!  Time for a new show.  And as I’m itching to get recording and receiving stories from fellow writers, I’m bypassing the normal voting process and selecting a theme at random from the magical mystery repository of themes I have…

Okay.  I surfed the internet until something caught my eye.  And after I finished looking at pictures of the US women’s Volleyball team, I found a theme I loved:


“A man who sees ghosts checks himself into a mental institute, not realizing that the facility has been closed for almost thirty years.”


Submission guidelines below.  I’m looking forward to this one!


Submission Guidelines (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)

PROMPT: “A man who sees ghosts checks himself into a mental institute, not realizing that the facility has been closed for almost thirty years.”


DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by MIDNIGHT (Eastern Time) Friday 24th August 2012 Now SEPTEMBER 7th!

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original of yours. It could be a poem, short story, song—anything really as long as you write something based on the stated theme (“A man who sees ghosts checks himself into a mental institute, not realizing that the facility has been closed for almost thirty years.”) Do NOT exceed ten minutes. As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail. The e-mail should also contain the following:

Your pen name

Your latest bio

Links to your websites

Your Twitter name (if you have one)

A photo I can use for the show notes

Permission to use your recording in the podcast

At the end of the recording, please add the following: “This is <YOUR NAME> author of <YOUR WORK(s)> and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast”

Send your file to by Friday the 24th of August 7th of September. You can also e-mail me with questions before hand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.


Thank you bloggers!

Thank_YouWhat a wonderful six weeks it has been!

This year’s blog hop – “From the Front Lines: Writer’s of the 21st Century” had everything you could want.  Wit, wisdom, sarcasm and cussing.  Great articles by great writers and each of the names below are hyperlinked to their blog post entries.  Go back and reread them, it’s worth your time.

This weekend, I’ll be posting the next theme for THE WORD COUNT PODCAST, so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, I’d also follow these fine folks on twitter and get to know them.  A few of them will be famous someday.

Guys and gals, writers all: THANK YOU for being a part of the blog hop!


Diane Nelson 

D. Savannah George

Mercedes Yardley 

Monica Marier (Part ONE and Part TWO)

Tim Queeney 

Eden Baylee 

Heikki Hietala 

Terry Persun

Maria Kuroshchepova

Nicole Persun 

Steve Umstead 

Katherine Sears 

Leah Petersen

 Bill Kirton

Matthew Munson

Mike McNeff 

Zack Umstead 

Nicole Persun 

Steve Umstead 

Katherine Sears 

Leah Petersen

The Conventional Writer

There are different types of conventions a writer can go to, but no matter where you are in your career, you should be attending conventions (cons) when you can.

Not for the parties, nor for the large quantities of top shelf booze although both are kick-ass.

StormtrooperPictured: Kick-ass booze and party result

You should attend cons because you’ll be surrounded by experts in the field who’ve done what you’re dreaming about. 

Namely writing.

For aspiring authors, there are conventions, typically run by a writer’s association of some sort, that are designed to help writers learn to write a book that will sell, sell a book they have written, and let them rub elbows with, and even pitch their projects to agents. This is great for writers that are trying to break into the industry. If that’s you, find a good one near you and go there. It’s a great learning opportunity and a chance to network and meet the people who will be your support system and a leg up in pursuing your writing career. Established authors can benefit from these cons too, and are often found on panels that help the audience learn the things they need to know.

When you’re an established author, there are still cons for you. There’s a huge variety, whether it’s a genre-specific writer’s con, from RWA (Romance Writers of America,) to World Fantasy, or industry focused cons like Book Expo America, there’s a con that puts you in the thick of writers and readers in your specific genre or the industry as a whole. These are incredible networking opportunities, and no matter where you are in your career, you’ll learn something too. Plus, they’re fun.

There are also genre cons that have great resources for writers, but have a much broader attendance base. These are cons for the fans as well as the writers and producers that bring the entertainment to them. Dragon con is one of the biggest in the scifi/fantasy genre, Comic Con as well. (Can you tell I’m a scifi/fantasy author?)


Pictured: Entertainment

The drawback of cons is the cost, which can be a huge issue for the aspiring or even newer midlist author. So start small. Writer-specific cons are usually less expensive and there will be one near you. (Relatively, for some of us.) The bigger cons and the fan cons are once a year events, they’re not cheap, and for most of us will involve the cost of travel as well as registration, meals, etc. Some of them, like WorldCon, are in a different place every year and, as the name implies, may be held anywhere in the world. You may not make it to these without some serious saving or until you’re already published and have some royalties coming in.

The important thing to remember is that these cons are an investment in your writing career. Don’t let the costs scare you off. If there’s any chance you can make one, then pick one in your price range that’s most appropriate for you. Read up on them online and ask other writers on Twitter or the like about cons you might be interested in. Some are family-friendly and can be fun for the non-writers as well. Some are writer-specific and bringing alone the spouse and kids will be a waste of money.

Personally, I’m writing this in the airport as I wait for a flight to take me to ReaderCON, a con for the scifi & fantasy genres. Not only is it fun and informative, I’ll have a chance to strengthen relationships I made at last year’s ReaderCON, and Ad Astra con I attended earlier this year in Toronto.

Can you become an author without attending cons? Sure. Can you maintain a career as an author without attending cons? Of course. But cons are a great way to make sure you’re making the connections and capitalizing on the opportunity to do better, to be more. And, for those who aren’t as far along as you, they’re a great opportunity to give back, and that’s one of the best parts of being a writer.

And the drinks are to die for.





Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else.  

She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.

Her first novel, Fighting Gravity, is available now from Dragon Moon Press.

“We interrupt our program…”



ReaderCON Issued a public statement on 5 August, which you can read here:

Public Statement by the Readercon Convention Committee

But criteria below has been met and I’m seriously thinking about making an inquiry to join one of the committees outlined in the statement to help move the con back to a safe place to gather.


#  #  #  #


I need to take a moment away from the ongoing blog hop to address something that’s been really bothering me for a few days.

For years you have all read about my love for the ReaderCON conferences I’ve attended.  The people I have met, the friendships that have been forged and the unbelievable amount of knowledge I gained over each three-day period has been worth my time and my money.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as you well know.  Unfortunately, some have not.

I’m speaking of the sexual harassment incident this year I only found out about a couple of days ago.

ReaderCON policy states that:

Readercon has always had a zero-tolerance harassment policy.

Harassment of any kind — including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions — will not be tolerated at Readercon and will result in permanent suspension of membership.

As always, Readercon reserves the right to strip membership at its discretion.


See that “Permanent Suspension” phrasing?  Yeah, that’ll be important in a sec.

The details of the incident are all over the internet and I’ve included a fairly comprehensive list linked below.  But apparently the offender was only banned for two years, which is far less than “permanent.”

I have friends who have been harassed.  I’ve personally pulled a “Sonny Corleone” on a Jack Wagon who tried to force a woman I was dating at the time into a car (it involved a garbage can lid and that’s all you need to know).

And to give a two-year ban to someone, just because he’s a “popular” fan and an organizer of cons himself is in violation of policy and deplorable to boot.

Are the facts of this case different than what I’ve read?  I don’t know…I didn’t witness what happened first hand.  But I know personally people who did or know the victim in this case.

When a policy is posted, then waived or bent in favor of someone just because of who he/she is, well that’s an epic fail.

I’m awaiting a proper public response from the folks who run the con.  But let me say this.  Under no circumstances should that behavior EVER be tolerated.

What I want to see is an apology and a permanent ban of the “creep.”  To start. 

Then I’ll see if ReaderCON 24 is in my future.

Read the many other blogs about this incident HERE