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Peter Scallion’s Work Accepted by McSweeney’s & Reader’s Digest

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After taking Brett Leveridge‘s Humor Writing course, Peter Scallion has had his work accepted by McSweeney’s and Reader’s Digest.
Peter had come up with a list of anxiety medications for an assignment in Brett’s course. Brett suggested he submit it to McSweeney’s. After New Anxiety Medications For Coping With Economic Gloom was posted, an editor from Reader’s Digest read it and e-mailed Peter asking if he wanted to submit the material to the magazine. Peter was both flattered and flabbergasted.
Says Peter, “It’s an example of what Brett was telling us: Sometimes it takes the right person to read your stuff and present you with an opportunity.”
Currently, Peter is putting together a blog called “The Scallion-The Leaner, Greener Onion.”
Peter says, “It’s a satirical news site modeled after that brilliantly funny publication.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Humor Writing Courses at

Andrea Clark Publishes “Avalanches for Dummies” in High Country News

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Avalanches for Dummies is an article about Homer, a certified crash test dummy who has been utilized in engineering tests to determine what exactly happens to a human body inside an avalanche.
Author Andrea Clark remembers pitching the idea to High Country News after taking Jay Cooke‘s Travel Writing Boot Camp.
“After I took Travel Writing Boot Camp, I understood that an emailed rejection is a type of acceptance, so I would write editors back until I came up with an idea they liked.”
Andrea has forged a relationship with High Country News through various assignments such as “Avalanche for Dummies” and would like to keep pursuing freelance work with other magazines.
“I became a lot more confident of a freelancer after I took the mediabistro course and began querying magazines about freelance ideas,” says Andrea. “I also came to understand the idea of slanting a story. A general idea is usually not specific enough. Pitching the story is half the battle.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Travel Writing Courses at

mb Alum Sharon Sakson Writes Book About Healing Power of Dogs

51d-MKaWr2BL__SL500_AA240_.jpg Sharon Sakson‘s most recent book, Paws and Effect: The Healing Power of Dogs was released June 9th. Mixing scientific research with compelling narrative, Paws and Effect tells stories of inspiring ways that dogs have healed people.
Sharon is also the author of Brussels Griffons: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual, Paws to Protect: Dogs Saving Lives and Restoring Hope, and co-authored, with Neil Plakcy, Paws and Reflect: A Special Bond between Man and Dog.
Sharon is a journalist who has worked as a writer/producer at ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, WNBC News and other local stations.
In addition to writing, she is an accredited American Kennel Club dog show judge.
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Upcoming Creative Non-Fiction Courses at

Zena Polin Enjoys The Taste of Mediabistro

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After taking Jane Black‘s “Breaking into Food Writing” course at mediabistro, food lover Zena Polin‘s recent article, “Sol Food” published in the Washington Flyer has her savoring the taste of success.
“I never would have had gotten the commission with The Washington Flyer without mediabistro and the freelance marketplace,” she said. “That membership was priceless, since the article is just so lovely.”
But this is not Zena’s first published piece. She is a woman of many trades – managing editor and principal writer of two destination magazines, Visitor St. Kitts and Nevis and Discover St. Kitts, author of two guidebooks, The Other Side of Sydney and The Pub, Club and Grub Guide to Washington, D.C, owner of The Winning Ticket, a public relations, marketing and communications firm that specializes in food, restaurants, travel and lifestyle clients, and she also writes a food and wine column in Dollhouse magazine.
Having taken several other mediabistro courses with Barbara Martin, Karen Shallet, and Kristin Harmel, she says “…All of them have inspired me to write and convinced me that editors are approachable, whether you are doing public relations or sending pitches. They helped humanize the process.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Upcoming Food Writing Courses at

Monique Reidy Co-Founds; Co-Authors Working World 101

Monique Reidy 1.jpgMonique Reidy is the co-founder of, a Web based magazine for “motivated professional women who want more out of life.”
She also co-authored Working World 101: The New Grad’s Guide to Getting a Job. She described this process as “eye-opening.”
Says Monique, “I had no idea what to expect so I just listened to what the instructor said. It was like between me and my partner, the blind leading the blind.”
They searched through a list of book agents supplied by mediabistro and finally settled on Uwe Stender owner of TriadaUS Literacy Agency, Inc. which mediabistro featured in 2006.
Monique advises people to take lots of mediabistro courses:
“I have a master’s degree in communications but they don’t teach you in graduate school how to write or sell a book.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Upcoming Web Courses at

mb Instructor Galia Gichon Makes Sure Your Money Matters

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Galia Gichon is an independent personal financial expert with more than 14 years of experience in financial services, including nearly 10 years on Wall Street.
Her recent financial product “My Money Matters”, a boxed set of financial cards with money affirmations, instant money tips, and workbooks, has been featured in publications such as Newsweek, New York Times, Glamour, and Urban Baby.
She runs her own company, Down to Earth Finance, where she addresses individual financial needs and concerns and has made feature appearances on The TODAY Show, NY1, and Fox Business News.
Follow her on Twitter, @simplymoney.
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Business Courses at

Self-Publisher Courtney Brandt Writes About Marching Band Experience

Brandt 1.jpg “For too long, we’ve been an underrepresented and misunderstood group and I want my book to change that fact,” says Courtney Brandt.
Brandt is the author of The Line, a celebration of the marching band experience.
She has taken a young adult novel writing course with Mediabistro and has had two young adult novels published.
The Line is a self-published novel in a series of five books. The other novel, the next in the series, is titled, A Fine Line.
Says Brandt, “It was about bringing a fictional voice to band geeks everywhere.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Young Adult Novel Writing Courses at

No Laughing Matter; Dino Vigo Fulfills Comedy Dream

Dino Vigo 3.jpg Dino Vigo always knew he was destined to be a comedian. As a high school counselor for kids on probation, he just wasn’t sure how he was going to fulfill his dream; that is until he signed up for Alan Cross‘s Writing Comedy for TV course. Vigo’s comedy journey was about to begin.
Now a professional stand-up comedian, Dino has performed in nearly every comedy club in New York including Carolines, Comix, Laugh Factory, Stand Up NY, Laugh Lounge, Gotham and Comic Strip.
Says Dino, “Alan not only taught us the craft of comedy writing but showed us how to get work. He referred me to several writing jobs, suggested I take an improv class and even got me a spot in a McDonald’s commercial.”
As someone who has performed all over New York, he claims it’s always a different experience anywhere he goes and that you shouldn’t ever think about money because it’s not there.
Says Dino, “You have to really want it; be prepared to be hurt and have the best experiences. Be prepared to be let down.”
Dino received his first TV credit for BET’s “One Mic Stand“.
Says Dino “It has been an amazing journey and it all started with Alan’s class.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Humor Writing Courses at

Erika Jakubassa Enjoys Traveling & Writing

Jakubassa 3.jpg Erika Jakubassa has traveled to Argentina, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico. Next is Tuscany, Berlin, The German North Sea Islands, and probably Uruguay again. 2010 will most likely be Morocco. Similarly, she describes the Travel Writing course she took with James Sturz as a traveling experience of its own.
Says Erika, “It was a bit like traveling the world with a very nice and dedicated group of people, and a tour guide who was always encouraging and inspiring, and very giving of his considerable expertise as a travel journalist and writer.”
She was sad when the course was over and claimed she had to return to everyday life without that weekly ‘fix’ of sharing stories and expanding her skills with other travel aficionados.
Says Erika, “The students were a great mix of ages, professional and personal backgrounds, and favorite travel destinations- all in class because they were serious about writing.”
Erika offers this advice to travel writers:
“Think about the places you’ve been to and loved. Start writing about one of them in a way that makes other people able to live your experience through your writing. Send your piece to friends and family for comments. Parallel to that, get to know the market for your writing.”
–William Battaglia
RELATED: Travel Writing Courses at