One Headlight Has Been Published…and more!

Cover of Best New Writing 2017It has been a strangely wonderful week, and we’re only on Tuesday. 

Today, Hopewell Publications released Best New Writing 2017 for purchase on Amazon. A collection of short fiction, Best New Writing features finalists for the Gover Prize for Short Fiction. Though I didn’t  win that award, my short story, “One Headlight”, was awarded The Editor’s Choice award. 

“One Headlight” is the story of a group of high school friends coping with the loss of one of their own. You can read it and many other wonderful short stories, here.  The collection is on sale for a limited time at 99 cents. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Thanks again for your support! 


April Activities

I have had a very crazy month, and now that we have reached the end of it, I would love to catch you up on some of the things I have either been participating in, doing, reading or learning in the month of April.  While my March around the Web post last month was more random wanderings than anything else, this month’s is much more about what I, personally, have been up to.  Enjoy!

  • As of today’s word count, I have completed Camp NaNoWriMo, with 55,997 words, which is just insane.  This month was different than my first adventure with NaNo as there was also the battle of the illnesses going on at my house, family and friends in the hospital (all of whom are doing well and recovering, by the way) and life just getting in the way at every turn.  But I did it!  I won NaNoWriMo!  Again!   I’m contemplating whether or not I will participate in the next camp in July.  I’m not sure if I can handle doing it again so soon especially with my wedding anniversary falling in that month and my son Logan’s birthday on August 1st.  We will see.
  • Also contributing to this month’s “How the hell am I going to WriMo?” question has been the fact that I have a cool new side gig!  I’m working as a reader for Sucker Literary as they go through entries for the 3rd issue of their Young Adult Literary Magazine and I have been having a great time doing it.  If you want to learn more about Sucker Literary, you can either visit their page on WordPress (linked above), like their Facebook pagefollow their Tumblr blog, follow @SuckerLitMag on twitter, or, you know, do them all!
  • By the way, if you have a twitter and want to check out my account, which includes  quotes from my works in progress, writing information, fangirl things and everyday life stuff, you can follow my twitter account @justine_manzano.
  • As an unabashed feminist, this article brought up a bit of an odd feeling within me.  Can somebody learn to write in another gender by following these rules?  What do you think?  I feel like the idea that “Women tend to sympathize and share experiences rather than give advice,” seems like a ridiculous generalization to me, and statements like those abound in this Writer’s Digest article.
  • In this vein, check out my mini-rant entitled “On Daycare and Gender Roles” that can be found on the blog where I post the non-writing related stuff that I participate in (such as fandom things or political and social observations) on Tumblr.
  • Do you know how to write a synopsis of your novel for submission to agents and publishers?  This article at Writer Unboxed has some great tips that got me excited to start working on mine.
  • Ever read through a literary magazine and start to snore?  J. Robert Lennon thinks he knows why.

And finally,

  • Every day, the flow of a story dies due to word repetition.  Writer’s Digest tells you how you can help, here.

I hope you enjoyed my mixture of news and cool things from around the web.  I’ll be back in two weeks to discuss why it’s not so bad to be a little jealous of the success of others.  Until then, keep writing, keep reading and keep being!

My very first blog award!


Hello all,

I just discovered that I’ve been nominated for the Illuminating Blogger Award!  Thank you Pete Denton for the nomination! I’m truly honored that you find my blog to be illuminating and I hope I can continue to post content that is any way helpful or interesting to fellow writers.

So, here’s how the blog award works.

1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).

2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.

3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.

4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award.

5. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (

One random thing about myself… I enjoy my son’s children’s shows almost as much as he does.  I think I like the purity.  It provides me with a nice vacation from the stuff I write, which can be pretty intense.

Ok, now my nominees:

1) Jon Minners:

2) Allegra Rose:

3) Jess Sturman-Coombs:

4) Karen M. Rider:

5) Harvey Stanbrough:

Please check out the nominees!  Thank you all for your continued support, and stay tuned for my next blog post, which will be posted later this week.

Crossing The Finish Line

2012-Trad-Nano-Winner-Certificate1.2I am tired.  But I am victorious.  And then some.

After a month of writing as much as I could for as long as I could, November is over and I have crossed the finish line with a final word count of 57,982 words.

I have walked away from NaNoWriMo with a few amazing things.

  • I have written two complete, and probably horrible, short stories that need tremendous editing.
  • LK has been renamed OK (or rather, The Lost Key has been renamed The Order of the Key) and has been sliced down into three books – because writing as much of it as I did (it was my main focus throughout this month) meant that I was forced to face the fact that this storyline was much bigger than the space I had allotted myself.
  • I have added 5 new chapters to OK and a chapter and a half each to LI and DG, which is a tremendous amount of progress.
Just a couple of points I wanted to discuss regarding NaNoWriMo:
  • While what you produce in this process is unedited and likely unpublishable (clearly, not a word) at this point, this raw form of your story is a great way to work through problems in your tale and iron out funky plot wrinkles.  At one point, I wrote a chapter to add in between two chapters I had written because I realized I needed a little more action at that portion of the story.  By the time I was done with what I was writing for OK, I realized I had missed an explanation earlier on, and jotted it down on my list of things to go back and fix.
  • 50,000 was not as many words as I would have thought.  And 1,670 a day was even less.  By the end, I was blowing through that in a day.  Like a muscle, your writer’s brain can be built through exercise.
  • A person can’t write like this all the time, but I have made a commitment to myself.  I found this process so inspiring and motivating, that I decided my own self-imposed NaNoWriMo was the way to go.  So, December I give myself a break.  And then January, I’m trying this again. For myself.  Just because.  If I could write this much in one month, I can finish my work faster – I just have to force myself to put the pedal to the metal!
Check out my totals below:

Story Key:

Short Stories: OH, C2SS
Novel Length Urban Fantasy: OK
Novel Length Romantic Comedy: LI
Novel Length Space Opera: DG

11/26: 1227 words of OK – This was the day I won NaNo!!!  I wasn’t feeling very well and had a late day out, but I managed to cross the finish line!

11/27: 1084 words of DG, 528 words of LI, 1006 words of OK – 2618
11/28: 1093 words of OK, 1570 words of LI – 2663

11/29: 420 words of LI, 1729 words of OK = 2419

Lastly, before this blog returns to its regularly scheduled insanity, I would like to thank my readers for the support, encouragement, and conversation you gave me throughout this process.  This was fun, but a little jarring at times, and I wouldn’t have made it through had I not had such a great online community.
Thank you, and I will be back next week with a look at Perception vs. Reality in the world of writing.