Clear paths for submitting article proposals

August 10th, 2019. This list is now long out of date. Fully 30% of links die each year on the net, making any link article impossible to maintain.

These publications offer a clear path for submitting article proposals.

Discover Magazine:

Esquire Magazine. Unusual. Accepts complete manuscripts. Link now dead.


High Country News:

Los Angeles Times Magazine:,0,760705.story#axzz2slBY9koC

Pacific Horticulture Magazine:

Popular Mechanics:

Popular Science:

Sacramento News and Review:

Sactown Magazine:

Scientific American:

Smithsonian Magazine:

Spirit Magazine:

Sunset Magazine:

Via Magazine:




Waiting is always a part of the trade

As of today I have the following out:

One completed article sent, awaiting publishing, revision or rejection;

Three query letters sent, on three different subjects;

One e-mail sent, asking for a referral.

The difficult part, aside from the waiting, is judging how long to give a recipient time to reply. In the meantime, while mulling that question over, I will continue to work on ideas for new stories.


Research completed for query letter

Just got back from some fabulous country. Backcountry, actually, around the mountains near Gerlach, Nevada. That city is the jumping off point for Burning Man on Labor Day weekend. The photo shows how it looked when I left. Be sure to click on the image to see it full size.


Into the Wild

I’m getting ready for next week. I’ll be spending five days in the backcountry of Nevada, out in the sage, researching some of the activities of a non-profit environmental group. I hope to turn my reporting into a magazine article for a national magazine. This is far more work than I have previously done before receiving an acceptance letter, never-the-less, the story I need is Out There, and that’s where I need to go.

I’ll have interviews and pictures and observations to bring back that will make for a compelling query letter. After acceptance will come the real work, of putting the story together. Could I do an article with less effort? Perhaps. A small regional magazine might be content with some pictures and a few interviews conducted in an office. But I really think that I need to get into the field for an arresting 3,000 word article.



Lost and found

How do you find someone who is lost even to the police? Try social media. In writing an article recently for a local newspaper, I wanted to talk to a woman who had suddenly closed up her restaurant and bar, a landmark in West Sacramento. What happened? A code violation? Or something more permanent?

The three telephone numbers I found for her did not work. She did not seem to use e-mail. People who knew her did not have a contact number. What now? The business did have a Facebook page, although it was nearly dormant. The owner’s last post was in 2010. But people could still write on the wall for the page. So I left my e-mail address there in case anyone had information. Sure enough, a week later, I got a reply.

She had seen the post. Turns out I was not the only one looking for her, in fact, the woman’s best friend had filed a missing person’s report with the police. Everyone’s fine now and there had never been any foul play. My writing for the article can now go on, thanks to a bit of investigative work and social media.



Query letter mania

I’m working on several different query letters right now, each taking much longer to write than I want. But even though they are coming together slowly, I am going to keep at it. Having several letters out at one time gives me a better chance of getting an acceptance. Mind you, I am not discussing multiple submissions. That’s completely unacceptable. What I am talking about are different letters on different subjects.

In this internet age I think that a few well-crafted paragraphs are not good enough anymore.  You now need less, not more. You need one good paragraph to start your writing. Better make that one great paragraph. If you don’t catch a person’s attention with your first few lines, well, they’re probably not going to march down the page with you. They’ll let you know if they want more.


Why telephones? Q&A

Q. You’ve written a great deal on telephones, especially telephone history. You even appeared on the History Channel as an authority on Alexander Graham Bell. Why telephones?

A. The story of the telephone is the story of invention. And the story of invention is the story of America.

Q. A bold statement.

A. But very true.  Curiosity, persistence, and ingenuity — these are all traits of American pioneers and inventors. Invention is in our very nature.  I find technology fascinating for its own sake, but then things become so much more than the device itself: an entire story develops around the invention.

Q. Like what?

A. Alexander Graham Bell was absolutely consumed with inventing the telephone. He and Watson worked in a poorly lit attic that was a hovel; a firetrap they were lucky to have survived. Steve Jobs and Wozniak worked out of a garage.

In both cases they came up with a wonderful product, after a while, but in the beginning they had to struggle with little or no money, endless weeks and months of no sleep, wary investors, patent questions, and powerful forces as competition. With Bell and Watson it was the Western Union Company. With Jobs and Wozniak it would be IBM and Microsoft.

It’s not enough to invent something. To make your invention succeed, you yourself must succeed. All very American. All good stories.


A new site and a new beginning

tomnewphoto“I’m like a monkey with a transistor radio!” A friend used to say that whenever confronted with new technology. At this point, I, too, am feeling a bit simian. Although I developed a 400 page website over a period of ten years,, it’s been eight years since I created a web page and time has rushed on. This web site and blog uses, a web authoring service that you can use to endlessly edit. Like a word processor, it offers the promise of carefully groomed text or complete inefficiency.  How much time, for example, should you spend changing link colors from green to blue? Revisions and editing are acceptable to a degree, but at some point you must get your writing done, especially promised writing. Deadlines must be met, they are the one thing that technology will never change.