List of Journals Accepting Electronic Submissions

May 31, 2009

For all you writers who can’t stand bothering with stacks of photocopied manuscripts, cover letters and SASEs, Book Fox has this list of literary journals that accept electronic submissions.

The recent trend has moved the world of submissions away from paperwork and into the elctronic age. Maybe one day we’ll get to a point where all agents, publishers, journals and editors will accept electronic submissions. Some of these magazine accept ONLY electronic submission, and they should be applauded. Not so much because it saves paper but because it saves time and money for everyone involved.

Page One Contest: Now Accepting Submissions!

May 30, 2009

The Boogle is now accepting submissions for the Page One Fiction Contest! We are looking for the most gripping first page we can find!


DEADLINE: Midnight CST June 7th

JUDGES: Mark McGinty, Bobby Ozuna and Joanne Connors-Wade


  • Is the page extremely well written?
  • Did the author clearly define the situation, premise and characters?
  • Does the reader want to continue?

WINNER RECEIVES:  An expedited review on The Boogle plus a review on amazon touting your book as an award winner. Plus the book will be featured on The Boogle along with an author’s biography and supporting links. And more importantly, you will win the glory and bragging rights of having written an award winning book.

RUNNER UP: Runners up will also be featured on the site with an author’s bio and supporting links.


  • Free! No entry fee!
  • Submit the first page of your novel: the novel must be in print or currently in the printing stage – it cannot be a work in progress.
  • Submit the first page only – we realize that some 1st pages start halfway down while other start at the top. This can be the difference between submitting 200 words or 400. Yes, that is a factor but please realize there are benefits to both!
  • Multiple entries are accepted as long as they are for separate novels and meet the guidelines listed here.
  • Multiple entries must be submitted separately.
  • Entry must be written in English.
  • Once submitted, entries cannot be altered.
  • Late entries will not be considered.
  • The Boogle may change the rules at any time!! Not really, but please understand that we do have final say.


Email Page One of your novel as an attachment, or copied into the email to Please write “Page One”  in the subject line.

Include your name and the name of your novel plus your website or link to where the novel is sold.


Please email Mark at if questions arise, or post them as a comment below.

What is your platform?

May 28, 2009

In her eBook How Editors Think, Marcela Landres has great advise for any author: the need to have a platform: who knows you and who do you know?

Barack Obama and Dick Cheney have extensive platforms – my platform is a little less intense, a bit more, how should we say — accute? But every author needs a platform, a network of interested fans, a few humble listeners…read: people who want to read your book!

So how does a guy like me build an effective platform?

Tip #1 is to Stop Writing and start building your platform. Get away from your desk, head to a conference, start blogging (hi, nice to see you!), attend a writer’s conference, join a writer’s group, publish a short story, run for president, become an angry, balding, nearly-obsolete white man. It’s about building your network, expanding your reader base, and having your voice heard.

Would love for you to share how you’ve built your platform…go ahead…Click the link, leave a comment…

Hilarious Michele Bachmann Comic

May 28, 2009

Minneapolis City Pages has released an awesome Michele Bachmann comic today (inked by my lovely wife Lupi!)

check it out…


Min’s Monster

May 27, 2009

coverLila L. Pinord Publishing, 2007

248 pages, Fiction/suspense

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Min’s Monster has all the ingredients for a brutal psychological thriller: crazed villain on the loose in a small town, young girl in pursuit, dedicated cop hot on their trail, snowstorms, guns, knives, blood. Set in a small northwestern country town in the 1950’s, the story starts out like Little House on the Prairie but then quickly turns into Nightmare on Elm Street.

Lila Pinord has created an effective villain in Bruno, a giant, crazed buffoon with serious mother atonement issues and a passion for death, a devotion to blood. Imagine Sloth from The Goonies tripping on rabies. That’s Bruno. You won’t like him. You’re not supposed to like him. He is a nightmare from a horror movie, like Jason or The Terminator, who will not stop hunting until you are dead.

Automatically we root for his prey: a tough, thoughtful 12-year old named Min.  She is an independent girl who is close to her parents and educated on life in the woods (she hunted with her father as a child and learned to make soap from bear fat). A few pages in we know that this Laura Ingalls is headed towards a certain showdown with a demented serial killer.

After Bruno escapes from a minimum security prison (more like a workhouse, or day camp) he wanders into town and seeks refuge in a small country shack during a cold, winter storm. Home alone and undetected is Min, who hides in her room armed with strong instincts and a .22 rifle waiting for the intruder to make his move. Will Min turn into Clarice Starling and heroically defend herself or remain a damsel in distress rescued by Coop, the Dudley Do-Right local policeman in pursuit of the escaped convict?

Everything is in place for a great suspense story…but does it work? Well, sort of.

The book’s strength is its characters whose detailed narratives are developed through an effective use of anecdotal action and back-story. They are introspective people that the author knows quite well, almost personally. But we flashback to their past so many times that it tends to distract us from the main story. The adversarial relationship between Bruno and his mother Blossom (I know, don’t get me started) seems to be incomplete. She wishes he had never been born, which is understandable once you get to know Bruno but has she always felt this way? He was a troubled child, always rejected by mom who favored his brother James, Blossom’s Good Son but what accounted for that favoritism? It seems like there needs to be more to Bruno’s dementia than being ignored by his mother. He’s awful and she hates him even before his brutal episodes but we never really know why. Their story needs to be flushed of its inconsistencies and overall the book needs another edit (I counted nine typos).

The story is rich in local history and Pinord really takes us into Quinnu and Center City, two towns where the story takes place. She has either lived there, spent a lot of time in towns like these or has a very vivid imagination. At times it almost feels like researched historical fiction, and I mean that in a good way. Pinord has shaped her own community and populated it with real people.

But the detail and intricate plotting, especially the characters’ internal monologues, can be almost overwhelming at times. Too many details are explained when they don’t need to be. To all authors and writers out there: let us put two and two together – we will love you for it!

The book builds to an edgy climax reminiscent of a formula horror film where we hope that Bruno goes down, and that it’s at Min’s hands. More to see Bruno put out of his misery like a mad dog begging to be shot than to see Min survive the ordeal. She keeps her wits, never panics relies on common sense. With a rifle slung over her back one has images of the child warriors in Somalia and Sierra Leone except this girl is bundled up and surviving in the freezing cold.

And we wonder, what is Bruno? As a man with fantasies of running through the forest gnashing his teeth and smelling the wet fur of other animals, we ask: is he human? A spirit? A strange being reincarnated from long ago? I struggled with a rating for this book. Pinord writes pretty descent suspense and despite its flaws, the story is compelling and will appeal to fans of the horror genre. But it’s wordy, heavy on internal monologue with barely any interactive dialogue. If you like your horror stories narrated and not spoken, you will enjoy this book but if you enjoy reading dialogue as much as I do, you’ll find the book lacking in that area.

Min confronts a physical demon but what her own inner demons? What psychological battle is she trying to overcome in her own mind? Like Clarice Starling, haunted by those screaming lambs, what is Min’s great nightmare? I don’t think she knows. Not yet. After all, she’s only 12. Perhaps the confrontation with Bruno will be her great terror? His giant hands and that chilling howl tormenting her for years to come. Will that mouth-breathing giant who’s hot on her heels live in her nightmares forever? Or has she cleansed her spirit of his frantic assault?  In this sense Min’s Monster might be the story of a girl who is not yet ready to grow up, but is well on her way to becoming a troubled mind.

Strengths: solid characters, suspenseful, good use of foreshadowing, filled with nuance, rich in local minutia

Opportunities: minor plotholes, a few typos, overuse of flashbacks

Will appeal to:  fans of the horror/thriller/suspense genre

Min’s Monster is available on paperback.

Reviewed by Mark McGinty, May 2009

What Do Authors Want from Reviewers?

May 26, 2009

A quick little Booglation…

Cheryl Anne Gardner over at POD People has a great summary of what authors want from reviews from David Louis Edelman’s website. As a reviewer, these are great tips. I especially love #2 – Honesty. When I review your book I’ll give you the straight stuff, and I like when people give it to me as well. Check these out!

Coming in June: Boogle’s Page One Contest

May 26, 2009

Authors – Let’s see the first page of your novel!

Starting tomorrow (May 30th)  The Booogle will be accepting and reading Page One of your novel.

The best Page One wins the following:

1. An expedited review (your book moves to the top of the – fairly long – review queue) to be posted on The Boogle.

2. Your Page One will be featured on The Boogle, along with your bio, book’s cover and any links or websites you’d like included.

3. Endless glory and bragging rights.

Runners-up will also have their Page One posted to The Boogle with cover, bio and supporting links.

Submissions will be accepted starting June 1st and will run through June 6th (submission guidelines will be posted June 1st).  The winner will be decided by a 3-judge panel of published authors. If you have already contacted me about a review, please feel free to enter. It never hurts to get a little more exposure, plus a win will move you to the top of the queue!

With that said, here is Page One of my forthcoming novel, THE CIGAR MAKER. Enjoy!

The night that Salvador saw a man bite the head off a live rooster he had been in town for less than one day. He had lost hundreds of dollars betting on cockfights in Havana but after the factory cut hours and pay, no cigar maker could justify, or even afford, a rambunctious night of gambling and sport. It was not until Salvador made it across the Straits, to Tampa’s Ybor City, that he realized what had devoured all those lost wages and hours. This young town was prospering while old Havana slowly died before his eyes. When Salvador arrived in the Cigar City, and saw cigar workers filing the factories and a rowdy nightlife colored by green American dollar bills, he knew he had found a town that would one day be famous.

Ybor was a man’s city, clamoring with busy saloons, girls-for-hire, boxing matches, unending games of dominoes, and most of all: hard work. Ybor was a city whose cigar workers were in demand and everything seemed to be surrounded by rows and rows of shiny white tenement houses and the brick-oven smell of fresh baked bread. One thing was certain; this was no land of ancient sugar plantations and wealthy Spaniards. It was a cigar city ready for the Twentieth Century, and Salvador could smell them everywhere he went: in bars, on the street, in factories and restaurants, and on every neighbor’s porch. Cuba was a land in disarray, but here was a place where Salvador and his entire family could prosper for a very long time. This was a town where he could lose a lot of money on cockfights.

“I have found my place,” Juan Carlos told him. “I will die in this town.” Salvador understood because a town filled with rugged, drunken cockfights and cheap dime store prostitutes was a place Juan Carlos would be delighted to call his home. Friends since before they joined El Matón’s crew Juan Carlos was Salvador’s oldest acquaintance.

During the first war, when they were a couple of penniless teenagers trying to survive the poverty of Cuba, Juan Carlos summarized their options. “We can engage in petty larceny in the city, rob people at knifepoint and walk away with pesos and stale bread,” Carlito said. “Or we can join the rebels and steal from rich sugar planters who live in cathedrals and pay hefty ransoms for the return of their kidnapped wives and daughters!”

2012: Seeking Closure

May 23, 2009


Gregory Bernard Banks

WheelMan Press, 2009

190 pages, Fiction

3 out of 5 stars

A contemporary twist on a quotidian premise, Gregory Banks fictionalizes the 2012 doomsday prediction with a stock disaster story heavy with religious overtones that sees the human race tumbling towards apocalyptic calamity. It is December 21st, 2012 and the President of the Unites States has alerted the world that they are on a crash-course with an asteroid, and that in three hours all will be destroyed. We’re familiar with this scenario, the movie Deep Impact comes quickly to mind, but I was curious to see how the author would reconcile this seemingly Christian morality tale with a doomsday scenario based on Mayan paganism.

The fast-paced story quickly unfolds into a series of character-driven vignettes centering on the terrible mistakes  people have made and the various ways they decide to address their past. Violent and even savage at times, Banks paints a bleak picture of humanity where people are “sophisticated beasts who must be given direction” and whose souls can be freed only by death (with just hours remaining the Israelis and Palestinians still can’t stop killing each other). Once the three-hour fuse is lit, the story moves quickly towards disaster and the situation becomes more desperate as we move along. In such a character driven story it was odd that I felt more compelled by the doomsday scenario than by the people it would affect.

This is a very easy read, with short chapters that are never boring but there are so many characters that there is not enough time to get to know anyone, or to develop those characters we are supposed to care about the most. One of the most interesting threads concerns a bizarre religious cult reminiscent of the Heaven’s Gate UFO group whose  mass suicide in 1997 coincided with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp. We also get to know a fictional American president whose controversial decision to hide in an underground bunker while the rest of humanity awaits destruction drives his guilt and ultimately becomes his undoing. And the story of three immoral men trapped in an elevator with three hours to live would be a great setting for a one-act play but we are never with them long enough to develop a strong personal connection or a sense of involvement with their feelings.

Speckled with drug use, violence and gang warfare the story is balanced with mushy themes of repentance and redemption. The end of the world seems to be caused not by man’s own doing but by a cosmic or even supernatural event out of our control and it is our reaction to certain doom that sparks destruction, instead of the event itself. What ensues is a chaotic exercise where evil men are just as damned as those who repent and where no one has anything to lose. In the end, 2012: Seeking Closure is an exploration of man’s ability for chaos where one wonders why anyone deserves a second chance and why humans need to find greater meaning even if there isn’t one. Banks succeeds by addressing the question: how would we react if we learned we had only three hours left? The answer won’t be pretty.

Strengths: compelling use of a countdown, fast-paced, easy reading that is never boring

Opportunities: familiar premise, lots of characters

Will appeal to: light readers, persons of faith, fans of doomsday/apocalyptic literature

2012: Seeking Closure is available on paperback and Kindle.

Reviewed by Mark McGinty, May 2009.


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