Wednesday, December 1, 2021

#IWSG: What Stresses or Delights You?


It's hard to believe, but it's December and the last Insecure Writer's Support Group posting of the year. No worries, though. We will be back in January and if you'd like to join us, GO HERE to sign up. 

Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting this event every month, and thanks to this month's co-hosts who make it all possible: PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!

If you're struggling with what to post, here is this month's optional question:

In your writing, what stresses you the most? 
What delights you?

The lack of confidence in my current WiP stresses me out. Part of me wants to skip this book, which is the 2nd draft of book 2 of the series. It needs a lot of work, such as fleshing out the characters to make them feel more real, and establishing a firmer sense of setting... but I've lost interest in it. And that's a huge amount of work to put into something I've lost interest in. 


Instead, I want to start a new series (already outlined) from the beginning and add the details as I go along, those details that I know are missing from my current WiP as noted above. I think (hope?!) that the details will keep me grounded in my own story, unlike in my current WiP. "They" say to get the words down fast and go from there, but I'm wondering if that's not the best way to write for me. 

But, I have to finish my current WiP...DON'T I😵???

What would you do?

Do you write fast, then flesh out? 

Or write slow, and include all the details? 

What stresses you out?

What delights you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

#IWSG What's Harder: #Blurbing or #Titling ?


Welcome to the November 2021 Insecure Writer's Support Group posting where we share our writerly concerns and fears, and encourage and assist other writers with theirs. If you're a writer and want to join us the first Wednesday of every month, click on the link  for more information and to sign up.

Thanks so much to our host, Alex Cavanaugh and this month's volunteer co-hosts: Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery! 

If you're struggling with what to post about, here is the optional question: 

What's harder to do, coming up with 
your book title or writing the blurb?

Both are hard, of course, but for me, titles are harder. Coming up with an appropriate title can be agonizing, and can take months! And sometimes when you finally come up with a title you like, you may find, if not the exact title, something similar that has already been published by another author. None of us want that! So it's either back to the drawing board, or risk your book getting confused with another writer's book (I found this with my book Givin' Up the Ghost--after the fact--lesson learned). 

I write cozy mysteries, and punny titles are part of the genre. Adding the "paranormal" sub-genre aspect limits your options even further. 

Most titles in cozy mysteries use a well known saying or quote which is then modified. I don't consider myself particularly witty or clever, but I try to be consistent with my titles and that's a starting point at least. 

My original YA paranormal cozy mystery series used "ghost" in the title: Givin Up the Ghost (a take on a quote from the King James Bible, and as I said above, similar titles had already been used) and, A Guilty Ghost Surprised (a take from a Wordsworth poem). These titles aren't particularly punny and didn't fit the genre well for many reasons--they're now unpublished. 

My latest adult paranormal cozy mystery series uses "boo" in the title: 

A Scandal in Boohemia (Sherlock Holmes fans will recognize the reference) and Something Borrowed, Something Booed (a take from an old wedding saying). They took a while, but I got  there in the end. 

Which is a bigger struggle for you?
Blurbing or Titling?
What makes it harder? 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#IWSG: Devil On My Shoulder

It's hard to believe that it's already October and we're posting the 10th Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop event of the year! Still, it's an ongoing event and you can join any time by going HERE to sign up. 

Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh and his co-hosts this month:  Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!  Please stop by and say hey!

You can post what you like about your writing fears and concerns, and/or answer this month's optional question:

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

I'm known for writing cozies, which by definition are lighthearted, so there's not much room for controversy. No overt violence, sex or foul language allowed. But I will throw in a "bloody hell" and "blimey" here and there just to spice things up a bit 😉

But, ahem,  in real life, needs must and
sometimes the devil sits on my shoulder 😈

How about you? 
How far do you go in your writing? 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

#IWSG: Success As A Writer


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! If you'd like to join, go HERE.

This month's optional question is:
How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

This is a tough one. Success means different things to different people, and certainly there is the financial aspect to consider. For me, I'd like to support myself as a writer. That would be real success! 

However, I'm also happy to write and publish and have my work appreciated, even with no great financial gain.

So, speaking of short story Elephant in the Tomb was runner up over at Women On Writing, and I was beyond thrilled to win a $25 Amazon card, along with an interview, and my story published (you can read it here). 

Now I call that a success! 
I felt as if I'd won the Pulitzer Prize!

What about you?

What does success as a writer look like to you? 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

#IWSG: Best in Craft


Welcome back to episode # 8 of the 2021 Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly event. If you'd like to join GO HERE

Many thanks to our founder, Alex Cavanaugh, as well as this month's awesome co-hosts: PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

This month's optional question is: 

What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

As far as inspiration goes, Stephen King's 'On Writing' is my go-to. It's part autobiographical and part 'how to'. It's easy to follow with basic but helpful advice that you don't have to study to get down. Did you know that he threw his first draft of 'Carrie' in the trash? His wife fished it out. Thank goodness someone believed in him!

But just to throw my other 'must-have" favorites out there:

  • Marcy Kennedy's "A Busy Writer's Guide" series and in particular, Deep Point of View ,and Showing and Telling. These are short and easy to follow. 
  • Mary Buckham's "A Writer's Guide to Active Setting". If your setting is lacking, definitely pick this one up, it's pure magic. 
  • Renni Browne and Dave King's "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers". A must have for writers of all levels and especially helpful for self-publishers!

Also, I buy my favorites in paperback because I mark them up with notes in the margins and highlight the important bits and mark the pages with colored tags, like they're study guides. 

What are your go-to writing books 
for inspiration and how-to?

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

#IWSG: Writing is a Calling


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!
The first Wednesday of every month is when writers who participate visit other writer's blogs to lend support and receive it as well!

Sadly, I can't participate this month 
so I've disabled comments.

But here is the link to sign up, the optional question, 
and our host and cohost links below if you'd like to participate: 

If you'd like to join, go HERE. 

The optional question: What would make you quit writing? 
(I'll just sneak in here and say "nothing". It's a calling and I can't stop doing it). 

Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh,


The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG:

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

#IWSG: Things Are Getting Drafty


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! The first Wednesday of every month we blog about our thoughts and fears on writing, and offer encouragement to those who are struggling (hint: we all struggle). If you'd like to join, go HERE

Many thanks to our founder and host, Alex Cavanaugh, and this month's rotation of co-hosts: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month's optional question is: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Good question. I don't have a set amount of time between first and second drafts, but I have noticed that the longer it sits, the more errors/typos/plot issues become apparent. A good month or two gives plenty of distance. It helps to put the second draft aside to stew for a while as well. For me, this doesn't change with experience. 

I actually looked this phenomenon up because inquiring minds want to know *winks*. It's called "change blindness":

The New York Times defined it as “the frequent inability of our visual system to detect alterations to something staring us straight in the face."

Anyway, it doesn't affect just writers, it affects everyone. 

See? We're not so different after all! 

How long do you shelve your first draft? 

Does your "change blindness" get better with experience? 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

#IWSG: Sorry, No Post Today


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day! Thanks so much for stopping by. Sorry I can't post today, but I will be back for June's post. If you want to join, we'd love to have you. 

Go HERE to sign up. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

#IWSG #WhatTheFork #WritersBlock


It's time for the April 2021 Insecure Writer's Support Group post! You can sign up HERE

Thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh, and the awesome co-hosts for this month: PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!

April 7 optional question - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

I'm not a risk taker. Having said that, though, I did give up my career at one point and moved to the mountains to write for 3+ years. It cost me a lot, but they were good years, and I'm not sorry. But normally I'm a very careful person, even in my writing. Which can be really boring I guess. But I add some ghosties to cause a bit of havoc and some humor, and that makes me happy. 

But to be honest, I'm struggling. I have had a first draft of my next novel for quite some time (a year?) and I know it needs a lot of work and I'm sort of just paralyzed and can't move forward. My characters are static and not moving forward either. I'm even struggling with writing the blurb for which my illustrator has been waiting for for weeks now so that she can finish the back cover. 

What the fork, man?! 
(for The Good Place fans out there LOL)

Can this be writer's block? 

Any advice is welcome. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

#IWSG Give Me Something Good To Read


It's the first Wednesday of March and time for another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group event. If you'd like to join, please go HERE

Thank you Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this monthly event, and thanks so much to this month's co-hosts:  Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!

This month's optional question is:

Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I was a reader long before I became a writer. To me, a reader is a reader is a reader. Give me something good to read, whatever the genre, and I'll read it. Anything from inspirational and motivational to classic literature. 

But the mystery genre is my go-to. It's what I read to relax and escape.  

There are so many sub-genres to a mystery. I write in a sub genre called cozy mystery. But to go even further, I write in the sub-sub genre called paranormal cozy mystery. My paranormal cozies include ghosts, but other paranormal cozy mysteries might include witches and other paranormal creatures such as werewolves,  vampires, or even fairies and elves, which sort of crosses over into fantasy. 

Though I write cozies, as a reader, in recent years my go-to mystery is a police procedural by classic authors such as Ian Rankin, or the late P.D. James. Or historical cozies by Jacqueline Winspear. I still love the classic cozies, as well, such as those by the late author M.C. Beaton. 

BUT, I'm always desperate for something inspirational and motivational, so please feel free to drop your recommendations in the comments!

Do you write in genres other than your reading preferences?

Do you read widely?

Have a go-to genre?

Have a motivational/inspirational recommendation?

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

#IWSG #BloggingBuddies #MayInvolveWine

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group Hop

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this monthly event, and to this month's awesome co-hosts: Louise - Fundy Blue , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!

This month's optional question is: Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

I've met tons of friends through blogging. And through blogging, friendships pour over into other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I've learned a lot about what these friends think and how they feel about things, and even share in their successes and failures, the highs and lows, birth, marriage, death, divorce and the loss of beloved pets. My buddies at the Untethered Realms group I belong to are very supportive. 

We've never met face to face.

Except for... most special blogging-turned-real-friendAngela Brown! She is sweet and kind, beautiful inside and out, and so, so talented! We met through the A - Z Blogging Challenge back in 2012, decided we were going to blog tour together with our new releases, and have never looked back. We've been critique partners for nine years and we have a system down that works for us. We schedule when our work is due to each other for critique, and when it's due back. Then we have our monthly Friday Night Zoom Meeting to discuss what we've written, where we're stuck, what we want to work on next, and bandy ideas around. 

We discuss everything under the sun. 

Sometimes our meetings last two hours. 

And may involve wine. 

What about you?

Have you met any lifelong blogging buddies? 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

#IWSG: #HookMeFast #NoWhimperingFemales

Hello! It's the first post of the year for the Insecure Writer's Support Group and I'm co-hosting! Click on the link if you'd like to sign up!

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this monthly event, and thanks so much to the awesome co-hosts: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

This month's optional question: Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books? 

I read for pleasure and entertainment, so I don't want to be bored. Hook me fast! 
  • Too much backstory, too much description, too long to get to the point of the story--and I'll put the book down. 
  • Give me unique characters and an original story--or at least a twist on an original story--and I'll stick with it. Tell me an interesting story and I'm yours forever! 
  • A bit of snark and humor is important. Make me smile or laugh. 
  • And NO whimpering or whiney females, please!
Other than that, I'm easy to please. 
How about you?

What causes you to put a book down? 
What are your "must-haves" in a book or story?