Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: My Homework Ate My Homework

Eleven-year-old Zaritza has a big problem. Acting is her life, and she is about to get her big break. The Laramie Traveling Children's Theater Troupe is coming to Zaritza's school, and she is determined to claim the lead role in the school's production of Calamity Jane. The problem is, in order to participate in the play at all, she needs to pass all of her subjects, and she is in serious danger of failing math. Her only hope is to take on a truly dreadful extra credit assignment: taking care of Bandito, the class ferret.

While many of her classmates would be happy with the assignment, Zaritza has never liked Bandito. She thinks he is hideous and creepy, and smells like boiled cabbage. Nevertheless, she is willing to do anything (other than her math homework, that is) to land her starring role. When Bandito escapes confinement, Zaritza discovers that her homework has eaten her homework, but this is only the first in a series of "disasters" that threatens her big chance at becoming a world-renowned actress.

Patrick Jennings has produced a funny, fast-moving, and exciting book that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Short, snappy chapters make the book good both for reluctant readers and as a classroom read-aloud. Zaritza and the other characters are well-developed and believable, and run the full gamut of human emotions as the story progresses. Every bit of the action is realistic, but that does not prevent it from being madcap and zany, at least when told from the perspective of an eleven-year-old drama queen. There are a few good moral lessons worked in, but none of them are too blatant or detract from the story.

Overall My Homework Ate My Homework is an excellent book, and highly recommended.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Six Ezines Looking for Submissions

Looking for somewhere to submit your work? Here are six ezines that are seeking fiction submissions.

The Were-Traveler (theweretraveler.wordpress.com) has published eight issues so far. Each issue is centered around a specific theme, but there is a good deal of latitude for creativity. Upcoming issues include Crossroads: The Realm of Death; The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters; and The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. They normally look for works from 100-2500 words long.

Myths Inscribed (ezine.mythicscribes.com) is the ezine associated with the Mythic Scribes website, a site devoted to fantasy writers. They are seeking primarily fantasy, but consider cross-overs with a significant fantasy element as well. The ezine is published quarterly. One special feature of Myths Inscribed is their Warp and Weft feature each issue, which is a story that has been extensively revised through one-on-one interaction between the author and one of the editors.

Strange Horizons (www.strangehorizons.com) specializes in speculative fiction, and looks for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and slipstream. They accept fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews. New stories are published on the website weekly.

Lightspeed (www.lightspeedmagazine.com) is a science fiction and fantasy magazine that publishes its stories free online, as well as selling in an ebook format. According to the site, "No subject is off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope." The magazine has been closed to unsolicited submissions, but will start accepting them again on June 20. Lightspeed pays .05 per word for unpublished fiction.

Crossed Genres (crossedgenres.com) is published online monthly, as well as in print anthology form twice a year. The magazine looks for science fiction and fantasy, and every issue has a specific theme that must be followed. They do not accept poetry. Word count 1000-6000. They pay .05 per word, and reserve at least one spot in every issue for a new/unestablished author.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies (www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com) is published biweekly, with two stories in each issue. It is a well-established magazine with more than 120 issues published so far. They are looking for "literary adventure fantasy" - that is, exciting character-driven fantasy adventures written with a strong literary flair. The magazine pays .05 per word.