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Finding confidence in the arts in 2022

(Confidence Launch Part 2)

After the readings from writers and actors and a short break we gathered once more to hear our special guests poet Gayelene Carbis, actor and screenwriter Naomi Lisner, emerging writer Monique Nair and poet and psychiatrist Jennifer Harrison discuss finding confidence in the arts.

The panel considered the impact that COVID-19 had on panel members creativity and their work. While some members found it a time of profound creativity others struggled with the lack of connection and work.

We next discussed the technology shifts towards video meetings and hybrid events. While the consensus was in favour of live events, the ability to connect more easily with colleagues overseas and build a strong sense of community was valued highly. Looking forward panel members agreed that increased funding was critical to support increased diversity, engagement of vulnerable people, social connectedness and a vibrant arts sector.

The second part of the conversation was about finding confidence as an artist. Panel members shared their thought on finding self confidence, confidence and ageing, over confidence and building self confidence as a writer.

We hope to share a video recording of parts of the evening soon.

Above: panel chair Amanda Scotney in conversation with Jennifer Harrison, Naomi Lisner, Gayelene Carbis and Monique Nair. Below: an engaged audience, Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 on display and celebrating the launch. Photos by Zev Howley.

Closing words

Thanks to all who attended and celebrated the launch of CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022, listened to the readers and the discussion “Finding Confidence in the arts in 2022”. We look forward to examining the theme of confidence from different perspectives and voices in 2023 and beyond. 

Thanks to all 46 writers, our book designer Caren and editor Kim.  Thanks to our special guests the panel members and actors who have provided a broader arts perspective. Thanks to my family and friends who have supported me on this journey particularly my partner Tony and my daughter Olivia who attended and to my mum and family in Tasmania. Thank you to everyone who travelled from regional Victoria in the rain to be there on the night.

Thanks to the Wheeler Centre Reception, Technical Team and Front of House for your support and thanks to Rosie and the team at the Moat for the splendid catering.

Thanks to each bookstore and library that stock us and support independent publishers and to all the writers groups and organisation that help to connect us  with writers and new readers.

Thanks to everyone who follows the Minds Shine Bright updates and we hope you have enjoyed sharing in the celebrations too.

A Night of Celebration

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The Confidence Anthology Launch – Part 1

On Friday 28th October 2022 writers, actors and guests from all over Victoria came together at the Wheeler Centre to celebrate the launch of Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022. Many people travelled from flood impacted areas along pot-holed roads damaged by the incessant rain.  

Despite shifting opening dates caused by publishing deadlines and COVID-19, despite the rain people came together to read, listen, discuss and celebrate. The first part of the night was readings and eleven writers and actors brought some of the winning and commended Confidence Anthology stories and poems to life.

Interpretations of the confidence theme

Amanda Scotney, Founder of Minds Shine Bright explained some of the interpretations of confidence that emerged across all 500 entries.

“Minds Shine Bright writers are a diverse group that range in age from children to octogenarians. Published entries came from a range of countries and we expect that the number of countries to grow over time.

A classic interpretation of the confidence theme across all entries was a person with an artistic talent who lacked self confidence. They were often anxious about performing or sharing their talent and sometimes faced harsh criticism. Somehow they were able to overcome their fears, find their sense of self and embrace their talent.

Some entries focused on the environment and its insurmountable challenges and the human spirit in the face of that. Many writers explored confidence through the lens of health and after a couple of year of COVID-19 waves there were many references to sore throats and breathing.

Humour and fairy tales were used to step out of day to day worlds.

Family violence was one of the most written about topics. Its impact on the lives of families and children, the erosion of self-esteem, and the struggle to break away and find a safe place were explored many times.

Explorations of death and dying, decisions and choices, loss of memory and loss of self were key threads.

Despite all the challenges hope rose from the deepest places and darkest spaces. The hope that things will get better, that we will get through today and wake to tell another story tomorrow.”

Calling all writers, poets, songwriters, playwrights and screenwriters Minds Shine Bright writing competition CONFIDENCE 2023 is now open for entries and we look forward to your exploration of many new layers of the confidence theme. You can enter on our home page here .

Each reading was unique and the diversity of perspectives contributed to a magical hour of story telling and poetry, bringing CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 to life.

Then it was time for a short break, and we were looked after very well by the front of house staff, from the Wheeler Centre and the team from The Moat who provided beautiful canapés with care.

The Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 Launch was such a wonderful experience and we will be sharing Part Two with you soon. It is all about finding confidence in the arts sector and in yourself as an artist, a writer, a creator and an explorer.

If you are interested in stories, script and poetry on the theme of confidence you can support Minds Shine Bright by buying CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 here or at bookstores that support independent publishers. Readings, Hares and Hyenas, the Little Paperback Bookstore, Fullers, Booktopia and many more.

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Celebrating writers and poets

Running a fiction writing competition has really exceeded my expectations. My life has been vastly enriched by embracing the arts and publishing books. There are tremendous levels of talent out there, so many stories, scripts and poems yet to be discovered. I’m looking forward to opening Minds Shine Bright writing competition CONFIDENCE 2023 on the last day of the month.

I so enjoy reading each contribution of the forty-six writers and poets represented in CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022, which is now available in print from some major and independent bookstores. (ISBN 978-0-6455231-0-2). I love it when people tell me excitedly that Microbial by Claire Dalkin was so good or that they shed a tear over Jaydan Salzke’s Rite of Passage or that Red Bikini by Françoise Thornton-Smith, the overall winner, will stay with them for a long time.

It’s inspiring and moving to read poetry, stories and scripts exploring the theme of confidence written by people at different stages of their lives. Some of the writers are very young and just starting out, others have a rich life experience and some have achieved highly in the arts. It’s a delightful mix of innocence and experience, established and new voices.

Discovering writers from eight different countries, opens the imagination to new places and ideas and makes connections between some of the universal elements being explored.

I love blind judging and curating poetry, scripts, short stories and flash fiction. These forms work well together. Having a song — New Zealand poet Sadie Yetton’s Party Song — as part of the Confidence anthology is exciting too and there is some fervent carol singing in Canadian writer Evelyn Menary’s Victory Memorial.

This Friday 28th October talented writers will be gathering from all over Victoria at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne to celebrate the CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 Launch. After a couple of topsy turvy years of fires, COVID-19 and floods it’s time to come together and celebrate with stories, poems and conversation exploring confidence.

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Storm Competition closing soon

Grey storm clouds loom, heavy with rain. Photo by Lily Mulholland.

Minds Shine Bright’s writing competition Storm is closing on 30th September 2022 so this is your last chance to finish off your storm stories, scripts or poems and send them in to Minds Shine Bright

As Storm writing competition closes the Minds Shine Bright shop opens. You can purchase a beautiful print copy or an e-book version of our very first publication CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright anthology 2022, featuring the winning and commended entries from the Minds Shine Bright writing competition here.

We are working hard to get writers copies to writers, anthologies into bookshops and planning our October celebration and launch at the Wheeler Centre in October. More updates soon.

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Confidence 2022 – Shining a bright light on writers

The Short List

Despite the cold, August was a wonderful month as we announced the winners of the inaugural Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022.  A total prize pool of $7600 was awarded to 46 writers and their work is featured in Confidence by Minds Shine Bright, our first anthology in a series exploring  the theme of confidence in fiction.

Congratulations to Françoise Thornton-Smith the overall winner for her short story Red Bikini, Alexandra Svoboda, short story category winner, All the Pain and all the Joy, poetry category winners Kevin Dyer, Dahlias and Michael Leach, Emergence of Voice, script category winner, Jed Stanley, Beaucoup Bills  and flash fiction category winner Poppy Brazier, Flying Free. Congratulations to all the commended writers too. Together these entries formed the  Minds Shine Bright Short List 2022.

The Long List – Special Mentions

The response to Confidence 2022 was incredible. Almost five hundred writers submitted  entries from many countries.Those that stood out were selected for the Long List, following a blind judging process and  an assessment against ten criteria. All long Listed entries receive a special mention on the Minds Shine Bright Long List and will be sent e-certificates soon.

Gifts of recognition

Gifts of recognition were awarded to twenty writers that wrote memorable fiction. This process was conducted after the overall judging process was complete. Writers were selected because their work really shone in some way. You can see all the writers who  were awarded gifts of recognition here.  These gifts will be sent over the next couple of weeks.

Another highlight from August is that we published Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 which will be arriving in bookshops soon. We are very proud of the high quality of our first ever publication and we are committed to creating beautiful books in the future too.

For readers

If you would like a copy of Confidence by Minds Shine Bright you can ask bookshops that purchase from Ingram (most do) to order it in (The ISBN is 978-0-6455231-0-2), or you can ask your local library to order in a copy too.

An online e-bookstore is currently being built for Minds Shine Bright here and once it opens we will let you know.

For reviewers

If you read Confidence by Minds Shine Bright please make the time to write a review and post it online. It will help others to discover us too.

For writers

If you enjoy entering Minds Shine Bright writing competitions Storm is currently open for entries until the 30 September 2022. You can enter Storm on the Minds Shine Bright home page by scrolling down to the form. In late October we will be opening the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2023. We look forward to seeing how writing on the theme of confidence changes. 

Thanks so much for your support of Minds Shine Bright. We will continue to explore new ways to shine a bright light on writers and we will share our journey with you as we do.

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Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022 Awards

Congratulations to the winners and commended entries which together form the Short List for the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022. Each of these writers is published in Confidence, which is the first in a series of anthologies by Minds Shine Bright exploring the theme of confidence through fiction.

The overall winner for the inaugural Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022 is Françoise Thornton-Smith for short story Red Bikini.

The joint winners for the poetry category,  are Kevin Dyer, Dahlias and Michael Leach Emergence of Voice.

The winner of the flash fiction category is Poppy Brazier Flying Free.

The winner of the script category is Jed Stanley Beaucoup Bills.

The winner of the short story category is Alexandra Svoboda All the Pain and all the Joy.

Commended entries:

Poetry

Charlotte Finn Treading on Water

 Jennifer Harrison Grandmother

 Mocco Wollert Jessica at fifteen

 Juliet Guthrie the last heady days

Clare Le Fossil

Ella Mitchell Beautiful Things

Sadie Yetton Party Song

Rafael S.W. Stag Nation

Drew Grant Night Owl

Diana Stoicescu Debarked

Peter Fitzgerald Mudgee Railway Station

Olga Pavlinova Olenich The Line of Trees

Heather Compton Somewhere: 2021

Janeen Samuel Parrot People

 Morouje Sherif When the Sea Takes You I Won’t Come

Shoshanna Rockman Dragons Don’t Smoke

Jericho Ellao The Kingdom of the Over-world

Lee A Baglin Of Machine and Love

Karen Lee Mills A Northern Flicker

Olivia Campbell The People of the Art

Short Story

Claire Dalkin Microbial

Karen Lethlean Catch and Release

 Jaydan Salzke Rite of Passage

Aoife McFadden Distorted Lens

 Anna Rodway Mabel

Regina de Búrca Sovereign

 Evelyn Menary Victory Memorial

Steve Fendt Gone South

 Jennifer Hurley Tree of Knowledge

Flash Fiction 

Kate Foulds Acorn

C Sullivan Morning Chorus

Leni Maag Sarah

David Edwards Chilblains

Eve Nucifora Trumpet

 Lesley Day Poached

 Amelia Carter  The Currawong

Sue Hall Barred Rock

 Scott Hallarn Townscapes

Jessica Kilkenny Move

 Hannah Small Confidence in Healing

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COMING SOON

Clouds roll in. In Melbourne it’s cold! cold! cold! Entries arrive from near and far as writers interpret the theme of storm. Every new entry is an inspiration – a force of creativity and there are still two months to go until the deadline of 30 September 2022.

The heater is on and next to my desk is a big box of flyers; ready to find their way into bookstores and libraries.

Below an image of a topsy turvy, vertical cityscape are the words: Confidence, Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022, coming soon.

We are working as quickly as we can to bring the words of our published writers to readers. We are so close now.

It will soon be time to celebrate as we announce the winners, commended entries and long list for the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022. There will be a virtual Awards Night, a Confidence anthology launch at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, and gifts of recognition will be posted. So keep warm, keep writing and celebrate with us in August and beyond.

Photograph by Lily Mulholland

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Stormy inspiration

Calling all writers of stories, scripts and poems. It’s time to start writing so you can send us your best fiction on the theme of storm.

Storms trigger visceral reactions in us — our vulnerability in the face of something more powerful. Our strength to keep going in the face of adversity. Admiration of wild beauty. Community spirit.

As a child the intermittent flashes of light and the crescendoing booms as thunder moved closer terrified me.  My nan told a story about a lightning bolt that came in through the window of a farm house and rolled around the floor. Rain brought the spiders in too and there was much angst and action whenever a large huntsman was spotted on one of our walls. 

On Christmas day 1974 after lunch we gathered in the lounge room to distribute presents and images of the devastation left by Cyclone Tracy filled the black and white TV screen.  

On holiday in Majorca I was woken from an afternoon siesta, when an explosion shook me awake. It was lighting – out of the blue, almost cloudless sky which had struck a tree and killed several people out for a day at the beach.

In Melbourne a hail storm struck suddenly when I was out walking with my daughter. We sheltered as best we could at a covered tram stop, my body shielding her, as big balls of ice smashing around us. When it eased momentarily we dashed into a surf shop. 

 Part of our idea of storm is formed by imagined constructs. The twister that transported Dorothy to Oz, the haunted storms of Wuthering Heights, the magic of Prospero, the playfulness of Ariel, the storminess of Caliban and so many more.

The winning entries of Minds Shine Bright Storm writing competition will together create their own literary storm.

Photograph by Lily Mulholland. 

If you like short, sharp writing you can:

View terms and conditions and enter visit Storm here. The closing date for storm is 30 September 2022.

If you would like to subscribe to our monthly updates you can add your email on our musings and subscriptions page.

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Thank you

Thank you to everyone who entered the Minds Shine Bright writing competition. Your entries were a joy to read. Some made us laugh and some made us cry. There was a great diversity of thinking around the theme of confidence and we look forward to exploring this theme further over time.

By the end of this week we will have contacted all entrants to let everyone know how they went.

Over June and July we will be working closely with our shortlisted entrants to create the first ever Minds Shine Bright anthology Confidence. We will also be giving twenty writers gifts of recognition to celebrate our first year of competition.

In August it will be time to celebrate and announce the competition winners, the shortlist and the long list. We are planning this event and will let you know more soon.

Winter is fast approaching and our first mini fiction competition will be opening in early June. There will be new prizes, new rules and we are excited to announce that our new theme will be storm.

So let your imaginations run wild. Storm can be a physical event, something more emotional and internal, it can happen behind the scenes to trigger the story line, like in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, or it can be a symbol.

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Taking shape

Something is brewing . . . not my morning coffee, delectable as its aroma may be . . . something big.

The judging is progressing and a long list will be finalized soon. We will write to each of you in May to let you know whether your entry has made it to the next stage.

We have some early ideas on how the anthology might take shape. It could be a bit like travelling along an unknown street and having a bird’s-eye view into the lives of the people we see out and about, and those behind closed doors too.

If you are enjoying this journey with us and are keen to write more we will be announcing the theme of our winter competition very soon.

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Autumn light

It was hard to write this post. Not because the days here are getting shorter, but because the next entry awaits and a moment of reflection and clarity is needed.

Like a submerged tree in a river I’m immersed in the judging process for the first Minds Shine Bright writing competition. Reading each entry provides a new perspective on the theme of confidence and the imagination and effort of each entrant shines.

Over the next couple of months a long list, a short list and the winners will be decided. If you are an entrant we will let you know when we have reached each stage. Then we will work with the winners and commended entries to create the anthology.

We will announce the winners around July, and we look forward to celebrating with you.

We are planning on running the Minds Shine Bright confidence writing competition each September, so that we can capture changes over time. However you won’t have to wait that long to start writing again.

We are creating a new writing competition for Minds Shine Bright which will start soon. There will be a new theme and some changes . . . but more on that next month

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7 days and counting down

As a writer and a reader it’s easy to spend too much time sitting. To counter this I keep active – walking, cycling, kayaking and learning to play golf.

Beauty often distracts me, and in trying to capture moments I find myself still again.

However, now is not the time for distraction. It’s time to focus and to submit your writing. There are only seven days to go before the Minds Shine Bright writing competition closes.

So polish up your paragraphs, verses and scenes, and get your entries in. Then your work will be done and the judging can begin.

You can submit your entry here.

So many moments are being created and captured in time, like this butterfly.

On a final note, we are thrilled that the Minds Shine Bright writing competition has been nominated by Reedsy as one of their best writing competitions for 2022.

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Writing competition deadline is 28th February

There are less than two weeks left to enter the Minds Shine Bright writing competition.

We want your fictional stories, flash fiction, poems, screenplays and plays on the theme of confidence.

Let inspiration set your imagination free!

You can enter here at Minds Shine Bright.com

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Behind the scenes

The 28th February deadline for the Minds Shine Bright writing competition is fast approaching. A ding on my phone indicates a new entry has arrived. A pile of folders sits on the table behind the Monstera, filled with stories, flash fiction, poems and scripts. 

Each entry is labelled with its own code, with names removed to support blind judging.

Since September over 6000 visitors have viewed MindsShineBright.com site more than 12000 times, and entries have been received from 12 countries. February should be busy.

Writers’ organisations have helped to connect us to writers by promoting the competition and including it in their calendars. Writing communities across social media platforms have helped to make connections too.

On the wall opposite my desk is a print-out of a draft cover design for the Minds Shine Bright anthology. A copy of the anthology will be sent to each winner, and it will also be available to purchase online.

There are 12 criteria for judging the entries and the process of rating each one will occur during March and April. Once the winners emerge the challenge will be to connect stories, poems and scripts in a way that flows and showcases the talent of our winning authors. 

 The announcement and celebration of the winning entries, the awarding of prizes and the launch of the Minds Shine Bright anthology is something to look forward to later in the year.  

As there is only a month to go it’s time to start writing. Thanks to everyone who has submitted so far, and we are looking forward to receiving more entries.

If you are crafting your writing or just getting started here are some links that might be useful.

If you want information on the competition theme, have a look at this post on Exploring confidence.

If you are looking for motivation look no further than 12 reasons why

Or if you want some tips on how to enter see Press Submit.

if you’d like to subscribe for further updates enter your email at the bottom of this page.

The Minds Shine Bright competition will close at midnight on 28 February 2022.  Get your entries in here.

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12 reasons why

As the end of 2021 approaches and we start to think about what 2022 might bring our way, it feels like a good time to reflect on why writers might like to submit an entry to the Minds Shine Bright writing competition.


1. Writing creates an environment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. During the holiday season it can be a bit like putting an umbrella up in the rain and enjoying the dry dome. Those few precious moments or hours of writing, allow focus on characters, environment, story creation and editing.


2. To practice your craft. Entering a writing competition sets up some criteria such as theme, category and word limits that you can build around. It’s a great way to practice your writing craft and any techniques you want to hone. 


3. Publication in an anthology. The first Minds Shine Bright anthology will feature winning and commended short stories, scripts, poems and flash fiction from across the globe.


4. Create compelling flash fiction. This is your opportunity to provide a unique and concise interpretation of the theme of confidence. Flash is a good entry choice if you are taking the first steps in building up your writing portfolio. 


5. Tell stories. If you are a natural storyteller, then the higher word limits in this category might suit you. Your story, if selected, will be one of a collection of pieces that interpret confidence through fiction. It will stand alone as yours but also be part of a bigger story.


6. Make a scene. If you love the big screen or the stage, scripts are the way to go. They have a well-earned place alongside stories and poems for readers to enjoy. Scripts give readers a different experience of visual cues, setting, action and dialogue.

 
7.  Write poems. If you are a poet you might like our longer line limit. This supports the entry of longer poems that are sometimes excluded from competitions. We accept shorter poems too.


8. The celebration of award-winning writing. We will be organizing some celebrations to award the prizes, announce the winners and to launch the inaugural Minds Shine Bright anthology. 


9. Being part of a writing community that connects globally. We can all learn from each other to build a richer understanding of what contemporary fiction writing is and can be.


10. Find your voice. Everything we write helps to shape us as writers and defines our unique voice.


11. Find out how you compare. Whether you win or not, it’s interesting to see what other writers are producing on the theme. What are the qualities in their work that resonate with you (or don’t) and what might you do differently next time

12. Expanding your audience. Entering the Minds Shine Bright writing competition will introduce your writing to a new audience.  In addition to publishing the Minds Shine Bright anthology we will also be publishing some pieces of winning or commended entries on our website. 

It’s exciting to see entries flowing in from so many different places. Which one of them will win the overall prize? Will it be a moving poem, a captivating story, a searing piece of flash or a shattering script? 

I hope this update has given you some inspiration because the winner might be you.

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Exploring confidence

As we start to explore the theme of confidence it doesn’t matter what we look like, how old we are or where we live. The focus is on the written words.

The way we feel drives much decision making in society. We don’t always apply logic and science when we consider the choices we will make. We often rely on opinions, raw emotion and gut instinct to guide our actions and their consequences. In society much effort is focused on studying and influencing market, business and consumer sentiment as these measures of confidence drive profit and help to measure community outcomes.

The arts have enduring societal benefits that are frequently unrecognized and under-valued by such metrics and models. For example, reading fiction can set the imagination free by transporting and entertaining us.

By suspending disbelief, we are encouraged to embrace complexity, uncertainty, new worlds and different ways of thinking. Interpreting confidence from a fictional perspective can open us up to subtleties, curlicues and diverse perspectives that will enrich our understanding of each other, the world and our place in it. It doesn’t do this by teaching but rather by entertaining us. As we read or watch we may laugh, cry or do both at the same time.

There are infinite ways to explore the theme of confidence. Imagine a circle with many lines drawn through it. Each line represents the perspective of a writer. Some may explore confidence and hope, others confidence and betrayal. Elements of confidence may be reflected in characters or in the environment. Key characters may be over-confident, lack confidence or have an experience that shapes their self-belief in some way. Some explorations will be light and joyous others more somber.  Think about your line, where it is headed and what you seek to share with your readers.

The relationship between a reader and a writer occurs across time and space. A reader sits skimming your lines with their eyes, completely absorbed. Once finished there is a sense of loss like farewelling a friend. Happy with the experience, sad in the parting but comforted that some of the meaning will stay with them, they put the book down.  This is also true for fiction that is spoken, acted on a stage or filmed.

 Some of our writing will influence people and have flow on effects that we may never know about. That is the true power of your piece.

You can find out more about what we are looking for in winning entries, information about managing your submission process and you can subscribe by email here.