Archive for January, 2009

Snow Day

Yesterday the office was closed for snow, and our internet was down at the office.

So, no work. Even though I had a few things I could do from home. I opted to play in the snow with my dog instead.

My dog is black and looks very impressive in the snow.

My dog is black and looks very impressive in the snow.


And then today I woke up and drove my ice burg of a car in to work (thanks to my neighbor for giving me a push) and it’s back to life as normal. Ah, the magic of snow days.

The snowy parking lot at our Cincinnati office.

The snowy parking lot at our Cincinnati office.


Red Heart :: Black Heart — A Valentine’s Day Writing Contest by Writer’s Digest

Do you feel like you have a red heart at this time of year, or a black heart? We want your poems, essays, and letters about love and heartbreak—your highest moments and your lowest. And we promise we won’t tell you how to feel about this very controversial holiday of the year. Just choose the most appropriate category of submission:

  1. Love Poem
  2. Black-Hearted Love Poem
  3. Love Letter
  4. Rejection Letter (and we don’t mean the editor/agent kind)
  5. Essay on Love at First Sight
  6. Essay on Love Lost

Winners and Prizes
The Writer’s Digest staff will choose the best entries from each of the six categories, and post them on the forum no later than February 10, 2009. The entry with the most votes on the forum by February 12, 2009, at 5 p.m., determines the contest winner.

The winner will receive a $250 shopping spree to the Writer’s Digest Store. Plus Writer’s Digest Publisher Jane Friedman will send the winner a Whitman’s Sampler with a personal, red-heart note of congratulations. The best entry in each category will receive a free 1-year subscription to and 50% off any course from WritersOnlineWorkshops.

Red Heart :: Black Heart Compilation
The Writer’s Digest staff will select the best entries from this contest for a Red Heart-Black Heart compilation, available for free as a download at, or as a print-on-demand book.

Length guidelines
1 poem, up to 30 lines
1 letter, up to 750 words
1 essay, up to 750 words

Deadline: February 6, 2009

How to submit your work
No fee to enter. All work must be original and the author must own all rights to the work. Send the work in the body of an e-mail (no attachments!) to Only one entry per e-mail message, please. Entries beyond the word count or with attachments will be disregarded. We’re sorry, but we can’t confirm receipt of submissions.

The fine print
Writer’s Digest retains one-time nonexclusive publication rights to the best entries, to be published in a Writer’s Digest compilation. All rights remain with the author. All decisions of the editors are final. Read the official rules here.

Our New Editorial Philosophy


Beware! Write at your own risk!

P.S. Of course, I’m just kidding. Editors are a lovely, compassionate, nonviolent bunch. Mostly.

January blitz

I keep hearing about the post-holiday blues, but it seems to me that so much is gearing up it’s impossible to be down in the dumps. Here at work the verification process and updates for the 2010 Market books are kicking into gear, my awesome sister is about to begin training for the Flying Pig Marathon, which she completed last year (a modified 26.2 race), and I now have a year’s worth of movies, books, and music to anticipate.

I’m not a runner, myself, but I did seriously consider signing up this year. My sister runs with Team for Life which gives their money toward Cystic Fibrosis, and one of her teammates and best friends has CF. It’s pretty amazing watching him beat the disease and knowing that there are people like him and my sister trying to help others, and that’s my goal this year: to make the world a happier, better place, even if it’s just in some small way (or a bunch of small ways).

Ultimately, though, the prospect of training for that left me feeling less than thrilled. I figure I’ll help out by giving money toward my sister’s run and walking and maybe even doing a bit of running with her while she trains. I’ll be there to cheer her on come race day, like I did last year. But that doesn’t mean I can’t walk in some 5k races! Maybe in October I’ll be ready to do the Run Like Hell, or maybe I’ll find some other way to use my talents for good, and not for evil.

In the meantime, I’ll resume my weekly skating on Wednesday nights with my friends. Talk about fun fitness! Give me roller skates any day. This year is going to be awesome, and I’m enjoying all the anticipation and activity as it kicks into high gear.

What are you all looking forward to this year?

Inbox & Cubicle Nirvana

Between my new position at F+W, the Thailand adventure, budgeting season, and holiday break, my inbox has been a mess of outstanding requests for more than three months. Today, finally, I achieved what I’ve so yearned for. I no longer have to get up in the morning and think of the months-old messages that still await my attention. I present: inbox nirvana.

Jane's inbox nirvana

One of my colleagues, Kelly Nickell, recently attained another type of nirvana late Friday: cubicle nirvana. She actually has a visible desk now, space on her bookshelves, a clean inbox.

Big, peaceful sigh.

Employee of the Year for 2009

I know it might seem a little early to announce this distinction since it’s only the first workday of 2009 and barely anyone is here. But alas, I think the competition is already won.

This employee will go out of his/her way day in and day out to meet the specific needs of each of his/her coworkers, providing an energizing force to countless projects and meetings. This worker’s innovative presence will invigorate the office, and the company doesn’t even have to pay him/her a salary. He/she will also eliminate the need for costly and time consuming Starbucks runs. As a result of his/her diligence and personalized attention our staff will remain enlivened even during the bleakest of winter mornings and the laziest of summer afternoons. One day soon we will all sigh and wonder how we ever got anything done before he/she was here.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you our new coffee maker:

Thanks, Jane!

Thanks, Jane!

Additionally, I am of the opinion that any trusted and loved employee/appliance deserves a name. Anyone have any ideas?

January 2009
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