The 4th of July (also known as Chinese Pyrotechnology Appreciation Day) is over, and now we’re sitting down all too early with afterimages of fireworks burned on our retinas. Well, the happy consolations for the writer are thus: SmartWriter’s 2005 Write It Now Contest has announced its winners — and, in a burst of ubercool, has announced a short story contest as well. The rules are posted on the SmartWriters website, and read them carefully, possums.

The Writer’s Digest is pulling out a new short story contest, the WD Popular Fiction Awards. Um, so “popular fiction.” The antithesis, I guess, of literary fiction? Anyway, they’re looking at five categories: Romance, Mystery/Crime Fiction, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense and Horror. The Grand-Prize Winner will receive $2,500 clams, $100 worth of Writer’s Digest books and paraphenalia, plus a manuscript critique and marketing advice from a Writer’s Digest editor or advisory board member. Everyone who places gets a mention in Writer’s Digest magazine, which is a good way to get your name out there to sharp editorial assistants. The deadline is a reasonable distance away, and the fee isn’t expensive, either, which is always good to hear.

Meanwhile, the Fiction Open at our dearly beloved Glimmer Train Press has a July 15 deadline, so there’s still time to enter that fabulous story you know is within you. Courage, dear ones. Crank up the a/c, and once more into the breach!

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