Wednesday, January 2, 2019


Happy New Year peoples. I hope you accomplished all your NaNo and end of year goals, and had fabulous holiday parties.

My goal was to do nothing, lol. And what a surprise, I accomplished it. This year I decided not to make any resolutions around writing. I seem to break all my goals, resolutions, promises. I suppose I'll continue to write occasionally as I have been. I have a couple books to rewrite - I lost two books in the original trilogy, so have been slowly recreating them as time and memory allow. Talk about a work in progress.

I've also been working on a few old short stories, some of which may turn into long short stories. Gotta write sometimes to still call myself a writer!!

I've been away from the blogs and the Insecure Writers Support Group for a couple months, so I might be slow in getting back into the routine. Rumor has it the 2018 Anthology winners will be announced today, so be sure to visit the IWSG site, and our host Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and the co hosts Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, Fundy Blue for the winners list. Congrats to all!

This months optional IWSG question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

One of my favorites is: how do you come up with your stories? I love this question. It gets me to talking about and thinking about my writing. So often writing is a solitary, almost secret endeavor. I love talking about my passion.

Least favorite: why do you waste your time if you're not making money at it? My answer to that can be discourteous sometimes. Why do you play golf? Why do you knit? Why do you sing Karaoke? Why are you on a pool or bowling team? Why do you do anything you're not making your fortune off? I write because it makes me happy, I enjoy it. I would sure like to be the next best selling novelist and have instant fame and fortune, you betcha! But hey, if all that comes from my writing is some published short stories in free ezines and a sense of satisfaction at someone else acknowledging I'm almost as good at my hobby as I think I am, then that's good enough for me.

Yep, I still work a day job and buy a Lotto ticket. Life is pretty sweet that way too.

See y'all around the blogs

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Creative Evolution

Hey everyone;

Is anybody really here this month? Between NaNoWriMo, Holiday preparations, weather changes - and sometimes weather damages - who has time to blog?

I don't have any of those excuses, or reasons. I'm just lazy this time of year. But, I'm also pretty busy learning my new day job right now so my creativity has tanked worse than usual. There is only so much space in my brain for typing right now - letters, emails, orders, notes on how to do my job and use all the electronic equipment. Poor internet connections (or slow equipment) that freezes my outbox. Yikes, it seems the more we rely on technology, the slower the data works. Exactly like all the synapses in my brain!

Better get off that subject or this post will turn into a rant . . .

This month's IWSG optional question is: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Hmm, I had to read that question several times and still, I'm not sure I've absorbed it. "Creativity in life?" I'm not sure how creative I am in real life. When the kids were little, I took up crewl stichery, and embroidery, experimented with cooking, achieved several disastrous art projects to keep them occupied and learning, pretended to learn to fish.

Since I started writing - and the kids aged through teenagers and outgrew me - just about all my focus has been writing related. Or home improvement. Research into interesting details/descriptions of homes, businesses, careers, settings, has me looking more outward, into the world in general. I guess I see more more sides of things, not just my own upbringing and world view. Makes me more interested in traveling, landscaping, decorating.

Well, that's how I interpret this question. Maybe writing has expanded my mind more than just reading.

Thank you Alex - and the Insecure Writers Support Group Team - for this very thoughtful question this month. Please be sure to visit the IWSG co-hosts: Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman.

Finally, I'm outta here for the rest of the year. Good luck to all the NaNo'ers, Happy Holidays, and congratulations to all those who submitted to the 2018 IWSG Anthology. Can't wait to read who the winners are.

See ya next year!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

WEP: Deja VU

I started writing my flash fiction submission for Write..Edit..Publish October prompt with a repetition scene. Good thing I checked the true meaning for Deja Vu. According to Urban Dictionary, Deja Vu is: Something that very few people know the true meaning of. Even though deja vu is French for "already seen", it actually is used to describe the strange feeling you get when you're in a situation, and feel like you've been in the exact same situation before, but really haven't. Most people think it means the same thing happening twice, which is wrong. Get it right people!

OK, rewrite; hopefully I "get it right" this time. I also looked up info on VooDoo (or Vodou as it is more appropriately spelled) but just did not have the time to develop that level of a story. Anyway, there are lots and lots of people signed up on the WEP+IWSG linky, so if you are a fast writer, you can still submit for a day or two, or just go and read what others have written for this prompt.

Below is my submission. 978 words, full critique acceptable, hope you like Viking Gods.


“We’ve been here already,” Thor lamented as he bashed Mjolnir against a stone wall blocking their progress through the labyrinth.

“No,” said Freya brightly. “I remember every turn we have taken, and this spot is new. I know exactly where we are. I was meant to be here at this time.”

“If you say so, Sister,” Freyr grumped. He was bored and frustrated with the seemingly endless circling. “A small spell, and the way will be clear to the –“

“I got this,” Thor growled, though his impatience to get to the feast was quickly outdistancing his pride.

Freyr was not happy about the journey to visit their father, Njord, at his giantess wife’s snowy home. The summons left him surly, wishing he had Thor’s hammer to bash in a few walls himself. He despises any travel that does not rely on his boars, or his ship. The only light in the situation was the thought of the wedding feast, and all the associated revelries. His sudden smile at the thought brightened the corridors of the labyrinth.

Thor’s bottomless stomach rumbled as if in response to Freyr’s thoughts. As he raised his hammer to strike the fiercest blow yet, Freya touched his arm to gentle his anger.

“Stay your hand Thor. The dead will show us the way.”

“The what?” Thor leaped around to face the wide corridor behind them, Mjolnir braced to defeat any threat.

“The what,” Loki echoed from far above as he watched the trio through Aegir’s scrying globe. “Exactly where did you place the construct I provided?”

Aegir looked to Ran, who shrugged. “Some old battle mound a short distance from Skadi’s fortress. We needed them traveling in the correct direction to allay their suspicions. It is said the dead here are restless.” She withdrew her magical net and smiled at her own cleverness. “One more blow from Mjolnir and that wall will collapse. The dead will push them through the next segment atop the frozen lake. Freyr will naturally unfold his ship and,” she spun the net above their heads and watched it grow.

Loki shook his horned head at her. “An old battle mound. Not the mountain Lake. Why?”

Ran and Aegir exchanged frowns before returning their attention to the scene in the globe. “More fun for us this way.”

The dead had indeed risen from the ground in a blood thirsty rush; shouting battle cries for one Lord or another, swearing vengeance at Ragnarök for the deaths of their brothers.  Many more were emerging in a shambling mass from the thick stone walls as if the barriers that withstood Thor’s hammer blows were insubstantial.

“Yes!” Thor roared, a smile of intense pleasure cutting a gash through his red beard. Lightning flared and flashed. He maintained his battle stance protectively in front of Freyr, as lightning flashed from Mjolnir, his golden grieves reflecting ghostly lights from battered helms, breast plates, shields, swords, and battle axes.

“Be still,” Freya admonished testily, raising her arms in invitation to the advancing horde.

Freyr touched Thor on the shoulder and stepped to the front. “My thanks, Thor, but we can handle this ourselves.”

Thor lowered his hammer instantly, his battle rage fleeing as quickly as it had flared. No one could remain hostile under Freyr’s will. The savage spirits of the warriors also calmed, their battle cries turning to boasts of valor as Freya held court.

Still watching from outside the scrying globe, Loki swept his burning gaze up to Ran and Aegir, who stumbled back at the searing intensity of Loki’s wrath.

“Why did I consent to help you two? Hmm? The plan was such a simple one, if you had just followed my instructions to the letter!”

Aegir brushed stone dust from his chest. “The Elf King and the whore of Asgard; what trouble could these pitiful Vanir be?”

“Besides, they are still moving in the right direction. We did not expect Thor, but it will be fun to watch him melt the ice with a bolt from Mjolnir.” Ran had not put away her net and seemed as unconcerned as Aegir regarding Loki’s distress.

Loki pointed a finger at the globe. “And what do you see happening down there now?” Green venom dripped from his fingertips, causing fissures in the globe’s surface.

The giants stared down at the now quiet corridor. Freya seemed to glow as she listened to each warrior in turn. She sorted them in three groups, the spirits in the largest group fading and losing their shape as Freya’s attention focused on the two smaller groups.

“What is she doing?” Ran cried, dropping her net as she tried to see through the cracks in the globe.

“Culling the worthy dead for admission to Valhalla.”

“Oh,” Ran and Aegir stated lamely.

Loki, Aegir and Ran were all thrown to the floor as the scrying globe exploded. When the dust settled and the three were able to pick themselves up, Thor, Freyr and Freya were glaring at them.

“I knew this had to be one of your tricks, Loki.”

“Ha ha,” Loki agreed. “Can’t fool you Thor. Yes, exactly, a trick we thought to play on Freyr and Freya.”

Aegir and Ran vigorously nodded. Ran tugged at her net less than inconspicuously. Freyr pretended not to notice, smiling through the awkwardness. Freya’s attention was still on her conquests.

“So, what brings you here Thor?” As he spoke Loki’s raiment was subtly changing from his dark armor to wedding finery.

“Well, Freyr did mention something about a wedding. And a feast.”

“I’ll make my sister’s excuses,” Freyr said as Freya and her warriors strode into the ether and out of sight. “So kind of you provide a distraction for her. Her beauty would detract from the bride and groom. Shall we move along now?”

Thor’s stomach growled again and the issue was settled.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: Writing through life changes


How did you like September? The cooler days in NorCal were refreshing; Fall is my favorite season, and we got just a taste through September. October should be much better. Its my birthday month after all. And Halloween. I love Halloween, but I'm no longer a fan of Trick-or-Treating; too dangerous for kids now days. Never know what people might put in candy, or who might be bringing a real machine gun to the party, or if some one will take the car and plow through the hordes on the streets. All the fun things about Fall - harvest festivals, street markets, community clean ups - are laced with scary anticipation.

Can't let a little fear stop the good things in life. Right? If you stop by my house on Halloween, you WILL get candy. Unless I run out before you get here.

October is also the last month I blog for the year. Although this year, I seem to have only blogged for IWSG. Every year I go off-line for two months to write, and usually get very little done. I hope this year is different!! Because October is my favorite month, I'm co-hosting IWSG with Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken. And Alex, of course.

October 3 optional question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

That's a heavy question. Appropriate for me just now though . . .

I lost my job on Aug 31. The company decided outsourcing Reps would be cheaper than paying their own, and the new company decided not to hire any former employees. So, I've been home for about six weeks. Great time to get a whole lot of writing done! There's the 2018 IWSG Anthology contest, WEP October prompt, several unfinished short stories to complete for submission next year, the Women's Fiction trilogy to work on. No shortage of writing projects.

Yet, I've barely worked on anything. I started writing seriously in 2005 when I was fired from a job. And yes, it helped me get through one of he most horrific periods of my life. Immersing myself in that fictional world helped me escape from all the problems and pressures of being an unemployed single mom. Luckily, I had not yet gotten used to being on my own, taking care of my own life, and there were people to help me (rescue me) get back on my feet.

Over the last 15 years however, I have grown up and learned to handle my own life, and all its problems. I was devastated when I lost my job five years ago, and it was difficult to write. But I did. I had an income still, things were not as desperate as it felt. This time there is no income and reality has hit me so hard I can't immerse in fictional fantasies. With any other life changing event - death, divorce, disability - I think I could write through them. It would help to work through the emotions.

Writing, and cleaning, lol. I do my best house cleaning while under stress. Cleaning helps me think clearly; seeing the completed task boosts my self confidence; confidence leads to better job search; and as my mind wanders, it always circles back to my unfinished writing projects. And then, I can write!!

Don't get too worried about me; I did find another job. Doing the same thing basically with a rival company that is growing and expanding, not cutting expenses. I start next week. I think I will like it.

Which means I should be able to get some writing projects done (fingers crossed). I'm working on my IWSG Anthology submission, but I have no YA voice. None. Guess I better work on the  WEP flash challenge instead. The WEP sign up linky is open now.

Good luck; happy writing!!

Do you write through your major life changes? Or get stifled until its all over like me?

P.S: Ugh, my virus program is blocking just about every blog I visit. Sorry if I'm a bit late in commenting here and at your site: I'm battling the blocks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: Publication Path

Here we are already into September. Another month gone, and I haven't posted on my blog, or commented on other blogs. This is getting to be a bad habit. I'm forcing myself to sit and finish this Insecure Writers Support Group post . . .

September's IWSG optional question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I have always been on the Traditional Publishing path - get agent/editor; Agent pretties up the novel and finds publisher; publisher/agent handles media and advertising; big bucks roll in while I write the next book.

Anybody else start with that fantasy? How has that worked out?

I'm insecure about my writing abilities, so having someone else (ie Agent/publisher) say its good has always been necessary for my ego. After several years of Agent queries and not a single acceptance (I don't count the vanity press that cost me lots of dollars but taught me valuable publication lessons), I put the novel writing on the back burner and have been writing short stories which I submit to Publishers myself. None of these publications have been paid (though rejections have been sparse) and I am again questioning my "publication path."

Recently - like, over the last two to three years - I've been considering Inde Publishing. I'm not as confident in my writing skills as I pretend, so self pubbing is a scary prospect. And it comes with a lot of out of pocket expenses (huh, like the vanity press) for things like book cover art, professional editing, and publication fees; acres of promo work; and the ever present prospect of no revenue. Would anyone actually read it once its available on Amazon or other publishing sites?

I know, we authors write for ourselves, the sheer joy of creating a story. Well, that's starting to sound like a lot of bunk to me. I want people to read and enjoy my stories; and I want to get paid for it.

Really got to put the butt in chair and get the writing done before worrying over the publishing path though. As I stare up at my posted 2018 writing goals, I realize I haven't accomplished anything on the list. And, its already September.

As Vonnegut says in Slaughterhouse Five - "so it goes."

If you are ready to publish your polished story, and not totally ready for self publishing, visit Dancing Lemur Press, which also publishes the annual Insecure Writers Support Group Anthology . This year's genre is Young Adult Romance, with the theme Masquerade. Visit the Insecure Writers Support Group Home home page for news, updates and submission guidelines.

Please remember to visit and thank the IWSG founder Alex J Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts: Toi Thomas, T Powell Coltrin, MJ Field, and Tara Tyler.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: Pitfalls

Hello All;

I love the Insecure Writers Support Group question for this month: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid in their publication journey?

Now, I don't love this question because I have lots of advice to give to newbie writers. Quite the opposite; I love this question because it gives me the opportunity to request YOUR advice and experience in the comments on this post.

Ask yourself this question before submitting to a publication, or agency: what are they doing for me  (you) as an author? What do I (you) put in, as opposed to what I (you) get in return?

Basically, my advice on pitfalls is to have the self confidence to know your skills and marketability, and follow your instincts.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, especially if a small fee is to garner exponential profits.

Thanks for reading my post today. And I'm serious about wanting to know what pitfalls you have to share in the comments. I will visit a lot of blogs on the IWSG linky over the next few days, but I can't visit all the 195 links (194 minus mine) and I'm curious to know what publication pitfalls other authors have encountered. So if you stop by my blog, leave your insights. I do return a visit to every blog that comments here.

And please, add a reply comment to todays IWSG post, as well as visit our IWSG creator Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts Erika Beebe; Sandra Hoover; Susan Gourley; Lee Lowrey.

I have also been a consistent participant of the Write Edit Publish (WEP) prompt writing web site. The WEP post on July 26 announces that WEP and IWSG are now partners, with spec-fic author and IWSG admin Nick Wilford as prominent WEP judge for the WEP prompt writing contests. Visit the WEP prompt writing challenges site for full details on the prompts, posting dates, prizes, and judging criteria. Winner of the WEP prompt  receives a $10 Amzon gift certificate, a guest post on the WEP blog site, and a special badge proclaiming the author a winner of the prompt.

Sign ups for the next 1000 word WEP/IWSG challenge is August 1, with a posting date of  August 15.

Who hasn’t had one? This one’s easy, right?

A commitment made when a prospect looked attractive, a decision on a course of action, and then regrets and reluctance to follow through.  It could be an engagement, a date, a diet plan, a chore someone said they’d do and didn’t follow through.  A strip poker-game. Or maybe a gamble with super-high, panic inducing stakes.  A break for independence that once made, gives pause for second thoughts.  A bolt for the grass-always-greener pasture and then wanting to vault-n-turn right back. Something offered, then withdrawn.  Myriad ways to go

See you there/then. And don't forget to vist IWSG creator Alex J Cavenaugh and the Aug 1 IWSG POST that announces the next IWSG Anthology details.

Oh: in adding the links to this post, I read a resonating post by Cloud Nine Girl (aka Erika Beebe) and discovered this line in her post that really resonated with me as an author:

"In a post by the, the author states POV is “who’s eyes we see the action through, who’s head we’re inside of, and who’s feelings we experience as that character feels them.”

The author goes on to say, “This is why it’s so important to choose the right POV character for your story. It will “determine what you tell, how you tell it and, often, even what the action means.”

I hope you find this quote as inspirational as I did.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

WEP: Unraveled Yarn

A "yarn" (in writer speak) is a long and rambling, often implausible, story. Hard to do as a short story, let alone a 1000 word flash. So the hosts at Write..Edit..Publish have tweaked the prompt to THE UNRAVELED YARN for the June challenge.

I'm going to try to write a long story in a flash. Can you unravel the truth of this Yarn?

word count: 999

The rumble of a John Deere rivals the thunder as it parallel parks out front of my store. Had to be Mike Shirley; the only idiot farmer with a tractor large enough to brave the flood waters and come in from the fields during a winter rainstorm. Three reasons for his being here, and only two would set easy with me. His wife needs milk and meat because there's no way out to shopping on the county roads; he just wants a beer and bullshit. Or another city slicker idiot ignored the warning signs and drove his Mini Cooper up 7 mile road.

Well, I hoped it was AFTER a rescue. It’s been several hours since I last heard chatter on the scanner from my county volunteer fire fighters. The code-speak told a tale of a car with three passengers floating in a fifteen foot dip. Mike's John Deere has the towing capacity of a tank, and Mike is a certified scuba diver. I know, you're wondering what use a County volunteer fire department in the middle of rice farm country has for a scuba diver with a John Deere tractor.

Mike and his family moved here about ten years ago. Why a Navy Seal with no family ties to the community would ever want to settle in this land-locked county of farmers nobody ever bothered to ask. We’re not rude here in the sticks, and his wife hired on to Social Services before they moved here. Mike and his wife bought fifty acres, planted wheat, rice and barley, hired on local immigrants; fit right in with the community. The two boys made friends quick and easy, joined the FFA; they raise high quality pigs that bring in top dollars, and donate the entire profit to the school.

Mike didn't join the fire department right away, but he seemed to be around every time a crisis was happening, and just tagged along. Always knew what equipment would be needed, what trucks to take. Whether or not to have an Ambulance or helicopter on standby. Just too much weird; but in a good way. Didn’t take long for him to make Chief.

The Mennonites think he is a demon who causes calamities so he can be a hero and won’t let him on their properties. They pray for the souls of those he rescues; the living and the dead. The Baptists think he’s an Angel with a direct line to God. The lives lost are not his fault; people don’t always listen when God talks through his emissaries.

“Hey Mike,” I say as he practically falls through the door. The wind has been picking up over the last hour.

“Yo Del. Got any coffee?” He slams the door, shakes water off his slicker and tugs at the zipper.

If he's taking off his raincoat and galoshes there isn't an emergency.

“A pot.”

“Good.” He kicks his galoshes to the side and walks in his socks to the coat tree beside the deli counter.

I keep a few camp chairs in front of the fifteen cup coffee pot. There’s a rug on the concrete floor, an old pot belly stove, a basket of near expired muffins and cookies, and paper coffee cups. And the scanner. Nobody ever sits there in the spring and summers – locals have too much work to do and the travelers mostly seem to know the area isn’t for strangers. Late fall and winter though, its usually filled with old farmers and well known duck hunters with gossip on their minds. I don’t charge them for the coffee and treats. Can’t put a price on good company.

“How’s that family you rescued?”

“A close thing, but all are safe. Even the one I had to dive for,” he says, pouring the last dregs of the pot into a cup.  He immediately dumps the filter, pulls out a fresh one, adds coffee, then turns with the empty pot and starts around the deli case where a mini kitchen and toilet is hidden. “Ah, mind if I make more?”

This makes me a bit worried. He could want to hang out – its Wednesday and he’s known for hauling his wife to their parked car at the edge of the flood zone. Or he needs a pot for the road. I shrug and return to my cigarette count.

“We’ve no coffee at the Fire House,” he announces, interrupting my count. The Fire House is next door to my store. “And, all the thermos’ are missing. Again.”

Damn. I put down my pencil and paper. “The crew turned in a few last week. And I got a stash upstairs in my apartment. Should I, make another pot upstairs?”

“Nah,” he says, pouring the water into the compartment. He pushes the button, then retrieves his cup and sits down. “But if you could bring me those thermos’ I’d be grateful. Damn, but its cold in the House.”

“Uh huh,” I say, and head to the kitchen and the stairs to my apartment.

I dally a while, praying that Mike is just bored and wants to get the House stocked for the next call. Or maybe the crew is having a meeting tonight. This last call was tough on everyone; a babe trapped in the car seat, Mike going down before the gear was fully attached, parents screaming in their cell phones on top the sinking car as it floated downriver.

When I go down the stairs I hear Mike on his cell phone.

“Yeah Babe, I got this. Won’t hit the call center, I promise. Already got the coffee going. I’ll stop them with my badge and tractor, and nobody turns down free coffee on a day like this. Bet Del will let me take all the stale muffins too. That casino bus will turn around.”

I send better than stale muffins when Mike leaves half an hour later with the Deere, three thermoses of coffee, and the last of my paper cups.

There's my submission for the Unraveled Yarn. Of course if you prefer the more recognizable yarn story involving a ball of woolen string, perhaps you should visit the WEP linky and read what other participants have written. I'm sure there is something cozy or kittenish submitted.