Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Anthology Closed and Vacation Time



It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and the awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman! Thanks so much for all the time you put into this endeavor! If you want to join, please go HERE

At the moment, I'm vacationing in Florida! Best part is that I'm visiting my daughter and we're doing loads of fun stuff. So I won't be posting about fears today. But, I wanted to tell you that submissions are closed for the IWSG anthology contest. And next week I'm going to be very busy reading short stories as part of my duties as a judge. I can't wait! You can check out the details HERE





I hope you submitted a story!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

#IWSG: What's Hiding Under the Back Seat?



The first Wednesday of the month has rolled around again. That means it's time to post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group event. If you want to join, go HERE. Everyone is welcome!

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts this month: The awesome co-hosts for the October 3 posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken! 

This month's optional question is: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?


This is a timely question! We've done some restructuring at the day job and now my duties have been increased. Stress levels have increased. I've been promised some help, but probably not until the first of the year. A raise is somewhere in the offing too. For now, 10 - 11 hour days are the new normal. 

Writing time? Not likely, except on weekends, if I can manage it. 

Still, I'm grateful for my job and will do the best I can. But writing will take a back seat--or more likely, will be hiding under the back seat until I go looking for it and drag it into the light of day. Heh. There's a story in there somewhere... 



What do major life events do to/for your writing?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Untethered Realms have put all of our accumulated short stories together in an anthology--just released! If you like speculative fiction, this anthology has everything from ghosts, witches and sprites, to otherworldly creatures and dystopian worlds. 


Elements of Untethered Realms

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#IWSG Anthology: I'll Be The Judge Of That

WE HAVE NEWS!

But first...

It's September's Insecure Writer's Support Group event! Occurring on the first Wednesday of every month, writers post about their insecurities, or share news, and of course support our fellow writers. You can join HERE.

Many thanks to our host, Alex Cavanaugh, and to the many co-hosts that help make this event happen every month. This month's co-hosts are: Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler

This month's optional question is: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?


I chose self-publishing to begin with. It allows your work to get out into the world quicker and of course you have more artistic control over your work. It's also more work because you're in charge of everything from writing and editing, to formatting, book covers and then the dreaded marketing!

HOWEVER, after winning the 2017 IWSG Short Story Anthology Contest (Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime), and being published by Dancing Lemur Press, I became a hybrid author. I find dabbling in both self-publishing and traditional publishing very appealing--sort of the best of both worlds!

AND speaking of the IWSG Short Story Anthology Contest, guess who's been invited to judge this year's contest?! 

It's ME!

I am so thrilled and honored to be asked. And the company I'll be keeping? Let's just say that I am totally fangirling right now, but I'll try to keep it together lest I make a fool of myself like Lucy Ricardo. 

Check it out!


The 2018 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest

Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Theme: 
Masquerade

A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation.

Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges. This year, we are honored to have seven incredible judges:


Author Elizabeth S. Craig

Author Elana Johnson

Agent Kelly Van Sant, Red Sofa Literary Agency

Author S. A. Larsen

Write Club founder, D. L. Hammons

Author Kristin Smith

Author and previous anthology winner, Gwen Gardner


Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

Which publishing path have you chosen?

Will you be entering the #IWSG Anthology Contest?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#IWSG: Pitfall Avoidance Advice




It’s the 8th Insecure Writer’s Support Group of the year. No worries, though, you can sign up any time by clicking on the link. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. 

Thanks to our host, Alex Cavanaugh, and our co-hosts this month: The awesome co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover,Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

This month’s optional question is: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I have a simple bit of advise, really. If you want to get published, it’s all about rewriting and editing. And when you're done with that, edit, edit, and edit some more. How many times, you ask? I probably went through my short story that I submitted to the IWSG Anthology short story contest about a 100 times. I'm serious! Each time I went through my story I found something new to change or correct, or something that could have been said better, or a weak verb to toss. 

Typos and misspellings will get you booted right off the bat, so if you want a publisher or reader to continue reading, you can't make rookie mistakes. And then polish your story until it's squeaky clean. Make a self-editing checklist. Better yet, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a goldmine. Use it and avoid the most basic pitfall; an unpolished manuscript. 

This is the process I went through to win the feature spot in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime!

What is your best pitfall avoidance advice?






Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Goals and How The Clock Doesn't Stop



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day
 and 
Happy Independence Day!

Instead of the first Wednesday of the month, we're doing this month's IWSG event on Tuesday because of the holiday. If you'd like to join this group, go HERE:


The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne! And of course, thanks so much to our founder and host, Alex Cavanaugh!

Optional July 3 question - What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

My ultimate goal is, and always has been, to support myself with my writing. I still have the same goal, but it's changed a bit with time. The first eight years or so of my writing career (I was a late bloomer) was spent learning the craft and publishing. Then the realization hit that I could do better. So I unpublished my books, studied for a year, and now I'm close to publishing again. Oh, the things I didn't know! 

While I was learning and practicing, something else happened. The clock didn't stop and wait for me!

 *gasp*

And now I'm thinking about retirement (in the next five years), in the sense that I'm considering my "second career" options. Sort of a "Senior" project. LOL. I'm looking at writing shorter works, with quicker publishing (in order to build a back list), and a means to supplement my income. Because writer's don't retire, they just keep on writing. Am I right?


What are your writing goals?

How have your goals changed?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: Book Titles vs Character Names


Time flies and here we are again! It's the first Wednesday of the month when our Insecure Writer's Support Group writer's tribe make the rounds to visit, touch base, share and support our fellow writers. 

If you'd like to join, go HERE

Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts who make sure every one of us feels special: Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

This month's optional question is:


What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I write cozy mysteries. As a genre, titles of cozies tend to be punny. So fans of the genre know right away that this isn't the kind of read that's going to stress them out. In part, it's why we read the genre. It's so important to get the title right. 

My current WiP is a short story called, Lady Sings the Boos. You can probably guess that the story is about a ghostly jazz singer from the title. It's punny and fun. I don't know why, but it just came to me and I'm sort of in love with it right now. I am never going to say that titling is easy because *whispers* the title gods might decide I'm getting too cocky and put me in my place. 

Lately I'm finding character names harder to come up with. I mean, every Tom, Dick and Harry is named...Tom, Dick and Harry. Which reminds me, Lady Sings the Boos has a "Tom" in it. *scribbles note to change Tom's name to anything but Dick or Harry* 


How about you? 

Which do you find harder, titles or character names?

Do you find either of them easy?



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

#IWSG and Spring into Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime


This is a combined post of the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly event and the Insecure Writer's Support Group short story anthology release!

If you want to join this awesome group, please go HERE

Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh and our co-hosts for putting this together every month: M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

May 2 question - It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

Easy Answer! With Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime releasing today, I'm pretty stoked with spring right now! I'm so honored and proud to be part of this group of awesome authors too. 
There is something for everyone in this anthology. Cozy Mystery? Crime Noir? Thriller? 
We gotcha covered. 

So that's a big YES! Spring is inspiring me right now. 




Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting…


Mystery & Detective/Crime/Thrillers
Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552

Get your copy today!



HOW IS YOUR SPRING GOING? 
ARE YOU INSPIRED TO WRITE?





Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: Cloudy With A Chance of Writing



It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. The first Wednesday of every month our members post about the writing life with all its hopes and fears. If you want to join, go HERE

Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

The optional question of the month is: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing? 

Every Saturday there is a 95% chance of writing. That number clouds the horizon drastically during the week due to the day job. Setting a word count goal helps. I try for 500 words per day, then make up the shortage on the weekend.

Most importantly:

  1. I give myself permission to write a bad first draft, otherwise, no words would be written. Good writing comes with editing. 
  2. I don't beat myself up over the word count shortfall because that's a given. 
  3. I remind myself that I'm doing what I can. I'm learning to be kinder to myself. 

What's your go-to strategy to keep on writing?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

#IWSG: Count Your Blessings



Welcome, Insecure Writers!

Today I'm posting my insecurities over at Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, the blog site for the winners of the 2018 Insecure Writer's Support Group short story anthology contest.

I'm also co-hosting the IWSG event this month, so I will definitely see you around.



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG: Why I Write Cozy


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day! The first Wednesday of every month is when writers share their writing angst with fellow writers and lend a sympathetic ear or offer advice. Because writing ain't easy! (Is ain't a real word now?). If you want to join, you can sign up HERE



Today's optional question is: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

As a reader, I'll read just about anything, from classic literature to young adult dystopian to historical fiction, to self-help or inspirational. But my go-to book is always a mystery. Sometimes it's a procedural, sometimes it's a cozy, and sometimes even paranormal cozies because they are less stressful. I get stressed when reading or watching something over the top. Like the news these days...

But what I like to write are lighthearted paranormal cozy mysteries. There's something clean and wholesome about it. An affirmation that although there's darkness in the world, there is also an abundance of light. Justice always prevails, which satisfies something deep in my core being. 

While writing, I have control, and I make the best of it by making things sweet and cozy. Of course, all of this happens with a splash of mayhem, a dash of humor, and a bit of pot stirring to make things more interesting, because life is exciting and much too short not to have fun, even inside a fictitious world. 

Sometimes I wear rose-colored glasses. They're a bit out of fashion, but I like them...

What is your writing genre of choice?

Do you ever read cozies?


Do some genres stress you out?

What color are your glasses?



Monday, January 15, 2018

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime cover reveal

My last Insecure Writer's Support Group post didn't come right out and say that I won a much coveted spot in their short story anthology contest. Instead I pointed to links and hoped you'd follow them to find out my good news. I think I was still in shock. Am still in shock. Someday I'll write a post about it. When I have words. But right now I'm still speechless.

I want to thank the Insecure Writer's Support Group admin for hosting this event and for being the go-to industry support and resource that writers need.

Also, many thanks to Dancing Lemur Press for publishing our stories. Their reputation is equal to the IWSGs and speaks for itself.

And, finally, thanks so much to the admin and judges who donated their time to read all the submissions.


* * * * *

And now, on to the cover reveal!

Take a look at this amazing cover. It makes me want to dig my hand into a bin of lemon drops! Or are those really lemons drops...?


The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?


Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

 Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

Release date is May 1, 2018!
* * * * *
I read all genres of mystery, from procedural to cozy and paranormal.
Are you a mystery fan?
What is your preferred sub-genre?


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: A Secret Revealed

It's the first Insecure Writers Support Group event of 2018! On the first Wednesday of every month, we post on our blogs about the current status of our writing journey, then make the rounds to lend support and share experience and knowledge. If you would like to join, go HERE

Many thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for this month's postings of the IWSG: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria!


Pssst! I have a secret to reveal. But first...

Optional question - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I don't have a strict writing schedule, but I do have a basic guideline. I try to write 2500 words per week, give or take. Sometimes the words flow and I write more. Sometimes less. With a full-time day job, that's about all I can manage--during the winter months. During the summer, my writing comes to almost a complete stop. The day job gets too busy, and by the end of the day, I'm too exhausted, and any attempt at writing something creative is futile.

What I'm getting at is that I know my limitations and I've learned to not beat myself up over it. But even if I don't write, I'm planning or working on something writing related in my "spare" time. 

In 2017, I nearly finished another Indigo cozy mystery (in which she's all grown up now!). Then I did some brainstorming about where I was going and changed tactics. I decided I needed an Indigo cozy short story to offer for free in order to build up my newsletter list. So, I set the novel aside and wrote the short story.  AND THEN, I saw the IWSG Anthology Contest announcement which said that this year's theme was mystery. I had to enter! I cut about 5000 words from the short story (ouch!!!), submitted it, and you can GO HERE  or HERE to find out my secret revealed!

EEEP!!! All I can say is that it's going to be a great year!

What are your plans for the writing year?

Are you strict with yourself, or do you cut yourself some slack?