Welcome to Our First Friday Feed of 2024!

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Happy Friday, readers, writers, and shark fans! And welcome back to the Friday Feed! I’m so excited to get this series back up and running. If you’re interested in a more in-depth version of the Friday Feed each week, including writing/submission tips, behind-the-scenes information, and exclusive submission opportunities, be sure to subscribe to Lit Shark’s newsletter!

Let’s jump right in! We have a bunch of fun things coming up, and you’re about to see some new faces around here!

 

First Up: Don’t Forget to Submit!

In case you missed it earlier this week, we announced the winners of our December-January Poem of the Month Contest AND our February Contest! The winners were “Bioluminescence Flashes in the Pull” by Sandra Noel and “Still” by Carol Edwards, with Honorable Mentions going out to Victoria M. Johnson, Doug Van Hooser, and Dustin P. Brown. These poems are beautiful, and I had a great time creating the broadsides. I hope you’ll check them out!

If you’re interested in being considered for our next Poem of the Month Contest, the March Contest is still open for one more week! Please submit up to 5 poems (10 pages of poetry) by the end of the day on Friday, March 1, to be considered! If you submit after that date, we’ll hold onto it and consider it for the following month, so win-win!

We also are still accepting submissions for our special edition SHARK DOG Edition of Lit Shark Magazine, from which some of our proceeds will go to support rescues that are saving dogs impacted by the XL Bully Ban in the UK and Wales. We’ve received some amazing submissions so far, including powerful poetry, memoir pieces about people loving their dogs, essays about ethics and proper dog ownership, and we’d love to see more. We’re welcoming nonfiction, memoir, poetry, fiction, and photography! Please consider submitting. We love this project and need your support.

We’re also seeking submissions for Issue 5 of Lit Shark Magazine! If you have work that doesn’t fit with the SHARK DOG issue or if you aren’t interested in submitting to the poetry contest, we still have our main publication, as well, and we would love to see your work!

Also, I recognize that this is a LOT of options to take in at once. Please don’t feel like you have to submit to every opportunity we offer, though you are WELCOME to do so. I’m just a very multi-passionate person, and Lit Shark is a multi-passionate entity. Thank you so much for being supportive of that!

 

Lit Shark Issue 4 front coverOut Now: Issue 4

in the midst of announcing our Poem of the Month winners, we also were finally able to release the paperback edition of Issue 4 of Lit Shark Magazine, our final issue for 2023. If you’re interested in the paperback and would like to submit Lit Shark’s mission, that’s now available to you!

If you’re not in a position to purchase the paperback, that is totally okay, all of our magazine issues are available as free PDFs on our site. There’s a one-page version where you can read one page at a time, and there’s a two-page version where you can look at it laid out as if it were a physical book, depending on what your reading preferences are!

Happy reading!

 

Coming VERY Soon: Anthology

This has been a VERY long time coming, and if I’m being honest, I’m getting frustrated that it’s taking so long! My family like many families lately got hit repeatedly with severe illness early in the new year, and it’s really taken the wind out of our sails and made it difficult (if not impossible?) to get our projects done.

I’m in the very final stages of the anthology before finally sending it off to get it published, and I’m remembering why I was so excited about this project in the first place. As I’ll explain more when it actually releases, I received over 1,200 submissions in 2023, I selected my top 50 favorite pieces from the year, and I invited each of those 50 writers to submit something new to appear alongside their previously published pieces. It’s a “something old, something new, something to sink your teeth into” anthology, and it’s… stunning. I adore it and can’t wait to share it with you.

 

ALSO Coming VERY Soon: Notebooks

Right on the coattails of the anthology will be even more fun news: Lit Shark’s first round of notebooks and creative writing prompt books will be published!

There’s a creative writing prompt book that I think is amazing and I can’t wait to complete it myself; there’s a guided poetry prompt journal; there’s a creative writing prompt book specifically for teens; and there are seven other notebook decisions to choose from, ranging from very discreet to very pretty and artistic.

They all have a sea theme of some kind, but they include a range of sea life, like sharks, whales, coral, seahorses, and octopi. I loved designing these, inside and out, I think they’re beautiful, and I can’t wait to share them with you. My daughter (she’s nine) has already asked me for one of each book for herself, and she’s also picked out which ones she wants to give to her two younger brothers (they’re five and three). I’m sensing a lot of sealife notebooks floating around my house, plus a rampage of stories, poems, and drawings scattered about, in no time!

 

Welcome to Our Team, Beth, Julie, and Martina!

In other news, I’m excited to share that we’ve grown our team a little bit! Beth Mathison and Julie A. Dickson will be joining me to help me read submissions for our primary magazine issues (I’ll still be handling the Poem of the Month contests, the SHARK DOG special edition issue, and future anthologies). All work will still be read anonymously so that each piece is given a fair reading, regardless of any team member’s affiliation with a submitting writer. Beth and Julie both have impressive backgrounds in creative writing and publishing, and they’ll both be tackling poetry and short prose submissions. Beth is also interested in contributing articles, so you’ll likely see her name on the main site from time to time!

To our group of contributors, I’m also excited to welcome Martina Frka Milotic. She’s a published writer of memoirs and essays on motherhood, as well as theory on local folklore, and she loves reading and reviewing books. Lit Shark has partnered with her to translate her book reviews from Croatian to English and to adapt each one to Lit Shark’s platform. All of her reviews are fair reviews, and they’re relatable, entertaining, and helpful. We’re excited to invite her to our reviewing space!

 

Are You Also Interested in Joining Our Team? Read On!

At the moment, we’re not specifically looking for additional editor roles, but if there’s something you’re especially interested in assisting with, I’d be happy to hear from you about it!

We ARE, however, very interested in hearing from more people who are interested in regularly contributing on the site. We’re looking for people who enjoy writing long-form, in-depth book reviews, as well as essays on writing craft, creative writing prompts, and long-form essays on conservation, sustainability, green living, marine life, etc. At Lit Shark, we support the literary community AND the marine community, so we need people who can speak to one or both of those audiences! Feel free to pitch me single story ideas, feel free to pitch me a series/vertical idea, or feel free to simply let me know that you’d like to regularly contribute in [whichever category]. I’m very open to ideas and would be happy to talk with you about how you imagine yourself helping Lit Shark grow into a space that gives back to the literary community and conservation community in a greater and more meaningful way.

We ALSO would love to hear from artists! We would love to feature more art on our website, on our social media accounts, and even start placing art in our literary magazine issues. We’d love to hear from you!

And of course, we always want and need submissions, as we said earlier!

Unfortunately, please keep in mind that all of this is on a volunteer basis for now. We’re hoping to change that as soon as possible, because we believe every writer and contributor we publish, every editor we hire, and every artist we promote should be paid for their work, their art, and their time. We’re still so new and small that we just don’t have the means yet, but again, the sooner we grow, the sooner we can start changing that for our team and for our greater communities!

 

Settling Into Our New, Better, Normal of 2024! Stay Tuned!

Though the year began with a rocky start with so much illness, I’m really excited about what we’ve done so far this year and what’s coming up just in the next few weeks. But my brain’s absolutely humming with the possibilities of how Lit Shark could grow and what it could do, in a positive way, this year. Now that we’ve been around for a year, I’m so excited to see where we get to go from here. Thank you for being here for all of it!

 

Have a wonderful weekend, readers, writers, and shark fans!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You will not be charged extra, but a portion of your purchase will help support Lit Shark’s causes in inclusive and accessible literature and writing resources, as well as our growing movement in conversation education, rescue, and revitalization.

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McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.

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