Category Archives: Uncategorized

2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest deadline nears

write it

I ran across this contest on one of my favorite blogs, Sherry Zander’s  Writing4Effect.  This is a great opp for many of my writing buddies, but time is running out to enter.  The Good Housekeeping Short Story Fiction Contest deadline is September 1st!  Get your manuscript in.  Check out more about the content, including rules and potential prizes at the contest link on the Good Housekeeping website.

This is just one of many opportunities that are out there.  Check out the local writers’ associations where you live for more contests that may interest you.

Why participate in writing contests?  Aside from the potential monetary and publication benefits, you’ll develop your writing portfolio and it’s also a great exercise in tuning not only your writing skills, but also those of performing within guidelines.  Deadlines, word counts, focusing on a specific subject, accepting critique of your writing — all of these are important areas that will help you be a more polished professional.  So let’s talk about these ideas.

Deadlines – Sticking to deadlines is a valuable skill.  If you aspire to do freelance work, this is something you will have to learn to keep your clients!

Word Counts  – Many of us writers have a hard time saying what we need to say in a concise and “to the point” manner.  Again, this is an important skill.  And entering these contests that set guidelines for you to work within will help you improve your ability to adhere to word counts.  If you want to write for newspapers and/or magazines, you’ve got to pay attention to word counts.  And what’s more, you cannot let yourself get upset when parts of your writing gets cut.  It’s all part of the territory.  It’s okay to get upset, but get over it.  As someone who has been on the editor side of a publication, I understand the importance of balance copy with advertising space.  Now that I am more on the writer side, it helps me to keep things in perspective when I do find parts of my column getting cut.

Subject focus  –  staying on target with your writing is another challenge.  If you run off on  tangents when you write,  try practicing developing an outline for your writing project.  Sometimes if you “map it” you can see how ideas fit into each other and this will assure that you are staying on the path.

Criticism of Writing  –  Like I said above, it is important that you are willing to let your writing be edited and this includes accepting constructive criticism by others.  Think about joining a writing group that has a critique sector where you can practice both giving and accepting criticism.

Okay now you’re ready to start on those contest submissions.  It might be too late for you to get your manuscript ready for the 2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest,  but there are plenty more opps out there (see the links below).   Talk to your fellow writers, look online and be sure to check with some of your favorite publications to explore some of their contests.

Check it out and happy writing and competing!!


Filed under communication, success, Uncategorized, writing

Encouraging kids to learn!

School (1)

Image via Wikipedia

Christine Speno: Graduate one, everyone launched |

The new school year is fast approaching.  And with it come community efforts nationwide to make sure that all students start the year off right with everything they need to be successful in reaching their highest potential.  Good habits have to start at an early age.   We each can play a role in assuring the success of future generations by instilling the value of a good education in each young person that we come into contact with.  Whether that child is your own son or daughter, a niece, nephew, cousin, neighbor, or just the kid down the street, we can all help by participating in special programs and giving of our time, talent and resources.  Take the first step in your community to make a difference in the children that are our future.  .  Get involved in this community effort by participating in “back to school” events or local career fairs.  We all have a lot to offer.  All you have to do is take that first step.

Read how the Flagler County school district and its community partners are launching the new school year by clicking on the title above or  here.   What kind of special activities and events does your community organize to promote education?  Share it here by leaving a comment!

To our readers:  Read the July columns from  The St. Augustine Record Palm Coast Neighbors by clicking on the links below.  I’ve had a hard time staying in touch with all of you.  It was a busy July!!  Thanks for reading…..

July 2

July 16


Filed under community, schools, Uncategorized

Speno: Live theater in Flagler County |

Speno: Live theater in Flagler County |

Photo courtesy of Flagler Playhouse

I hope that all my readers have live theater in their communities!

Learn more about Flagler Playhouse  in Bunnell, Florida in this week Neighbors feature in The St. Augustine Record.  The playhouse has a rich and interesting history in our community.

For more information about programs, volunteering, the shows or tickets, visit the playhouse at or call 386-587-0773.  Tickets are also available by emailing

And be sure to tune in later in the spring to check out their new website being developed by Marlin Consulting Solutions. 

At $85 for a season ticket, the playhouse offers a real entertainment value in our community and is something to think about for the 2011-12 season.  So as the Flagler Playhouse members and staff will tell you, “come out to the Crossroads of the County” and discover just how much talent we have in our community!

Access the article by clicking on the post title or the link below

Palm Coast Neighbors feature

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Filed under community, Uncategorized

Christine Speno: Ways to celebrate Earth Day |

Christine Speno: Ways to celebrate Earth Day |

You will find my latest column for The St. Augustine Record at this link.

Thank for Reading!!


Filed under Uncategorized

Speno: Flagler Beach Relay is this month |

official logo of the American Cancer Society R...

Image via Wikipedia

The Relay for Life is an international effort to raise money for cancer research.  This month the Flagler Beach Relay for Life takes place on April 15 and 16.

Relay for Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 19 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, we are creating a world with more birthdays a world where cancer can’t claim another year of anyone’s life.

Read my latest from The St. Augustine  Record to learn more about getting involved in this year’s event and to learn more about upcoming events in our community.   Click on the title above or the link below to view.  Thanks for reading!!

Speno: Flagler Beach Relay is this month |


Filed under community, Uncategorized

Putting a cell carrier service to rest.

Mobile Phone

Image by johnmuk via Flickr

Several weeks ago I attended a Webinar sponsored by MLT Creative that discussed B2B (Business to Business) blogging techniques.  One of their ideas was to write a blog in a different format from what you usually use.  They even suggested a poem.

Now a writer I am, a poet I am definitely not.  I tried, and it was pretty pathetic so I took my ideas and put them into prose here and embedded a few attempts at poetic lines.  Here ya go and please don’t laugh!  I’m trying to keep my readers engaged here….

The Saga of the Final Cell Phone Bill – Communication in Dollars and Sense!

We recently changed our cell phone carrier.  That seems easy enough today.  You go in to your new carrier of choice, they transfer your number, set up your new phone and they even cancel your account with your former carrier.  Sounds simple right?

Although they make it easy

The final bill was enough to make me queasy

As luck would have it we did this changeover on the day that our former carrier rolled our new bill.  Now we all know that you generally pay for your service a month in advance.  I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up with a final bill for 78 cents.  That’s right 78 cents – 3 quarters and 3 pennies.  Here’s where my adventure began.

I thought now I can send them a check for 78cents, but that will cost me 44cents in postage.  That just seemed silly to me.  HA! Talk about silly.

So I thought I’ll just go to my bank’s billpayer online service, which is where I pay most of my bills.  Trouble was the bank has a minimum payment requirement of one dollar. I wasn’t crazy about that idea either.  I thought I’ll just stop by a local AT&T store and pay the *$%@# bill.

Double HA!

The nice gentleman at the ATT store said, “Sure we’ll take your 78 cents and more,”

It would cost me 500 pennies, 20 quarters, 50 dimes so thin,

In other words, to pay in full costs a service charge of an extra fin

The friendly man said, “Just go pay online”

Now that would be fine

But my closed account won’t let me in

I thought my only choice is to spend that fin

So back to square one.  I thought I just can’t win this battle.  So I figured just pay the extra 22 cents with BillPay and be done with this nonsense.

At last I guessed my journey was done

But soon the mailman came and brought more fun

To my surprise I got a check

Those two dimes plus two pennies came back

Now I get to spend some gas to drive to the bank with that silly draft

But in the end I won, I think.  Well, maybe not, just think about all of the energy it took me to figure out how to get rid of this silly little bill.

Oh what a complicated world we have created.  You gotta love it!  Do you have a story to share ?  Let’s hear it!!


Filed under communciation, Uncategorized

Speno: Christmas Come True year-round project |

Illustration from children's novel, Christmas ...

Image via Wikipedia

There are lots of great causes in our community.  Between walks, runs, rallies and fundraisers, it is often hard to decide where to  place your efforts or your resources. Well, let’s explore one more project that needs your help throughout the year, offering you lots of ways to help.  There is a newer non-profit in the Flagler area that works  hard to help Flagler families have a Christmas that their children will remember.  But this organization does much more than that, and they do it non-stop in a variety of ways.  Christmas Come True, Inc. is always buzzing with actitity as they try to make the holidays better for those in need in our community.  Read more in this week’s column by clicking on the title or the link below!

Speno: Christmas Come True year-round project |

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Filed under community, Uncategorized