Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: Writing Space


I am, again, almost late for a post day. Time just got away from me, so I'll make this short and simple. I hope.

Today's IWSG is brought to you courtesy of founder Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts: Gwen Gardner, Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken, and Cathrina Constantine.

September optional question is: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

  This is a more difficult answer than it should be. I always thought my favorite place to write is home; then it was a beautiful setting like the beach or some other resort. Somewhere alone, no distractions like work or kids or husband, or cats, or cleaning.
  The truth is though, it really doesn't matter how alone I am, or where. I can get distracted by simply turning on my computer - with or without internet. There are games in there, and photos, and old unfinished stories to review that might relate to my current writing
  I suppose my favorite writing place should be alone, in a room with nothing to eat or drink, no cell phone, a computer with nothing on it but a word program - - oh look, I wonder what that button/feature does! OR - I could open another document and also write on that new character that just entered my head and doesn't belong in this story.
  OR - -

I love writing stories. I really do! I love being in a character's head, creating their world, making up all the rules, making stuff happen, or not. The more twisted the concept, the more I enjoy it. Writing is my favorite way to spend time, or waste it. All I need, is to stop letting myself get distracted. And a beautiful setting to write in, would just make me want to explore my surroundings.

So where is your favorite place to write? Are you easily distracted? Or do you immerse yourself and have to be dragged out of your writing time kicking and screaming, lol. Did you get a submission in for the IWSG Anthology contest?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

WEP/IWSG flash challenge: Red Wheelbarrow

Hey y'all

 I've nearly run out of time to post my submission for the Write Edit Publish/IWSG August challenge; Red Wheelbarrow. I had a story started for this prompt, a nicely bloody tale that needed some editing and - slashing to fit the 1000 word count. The MC just would not cooperate however, and finally I had to give up on the flash and go with a short story. Ten year old developing serial killers can be so needy and attention seeking!

So here I am, posting at the last minute with a hurriedly thrown together flash. I don't know where this story came from - I was watching Disney's Epic as I wrote it. I know, the TV should have been off, but I can't stand silence when I'm writing and music would have been a bigger distraction.

Hope you enjoy twisted fairy tales. No Denise, no blood in this, hence the lack of reader warning, lol.

word count: 868
full critique acceptable


“What happened next Granny?”

“Well, that part is unclear. The little Fairy hid a long time under the red wheel barrow. So long in fact, that the sun was nearly set before she dared peek out. But then,” Granny’s voice lowered and she leaned closer to the troll girl’s bed of rocks.

Gwenda leaned forward, her eyes almost humanly round and wide.

“Then,” Granny drawled, pinching the blanket of moss for dramatic effect. “A firefly buzzed around the wheel barrow, and then another, and another. And then the voices.”

Gwenda shrank back with a horrified gasp. “Was it . . Children?”

“Yeesss! Two boys and three girls. They carried nets, and glass jars with screw top lids. They laughed and squealed at the sight of the fireflies, jumping all around and over the wheel barrow. They stomped, and leaped, kicking the sides and handles of the barrow. It got darker and darker, and only the tails of the fireflies lit the garden area where the Fairy cowered in fear.”

Granny scooted back into her rocker, picked up a fried human ear, dipped it in sludge and chewed noisily. Mimicking the scared Fairy, Gwenda clutched her favorite petrified rat and tried to sink deeper into the rock pillow.

“Scared?” Granny asked brushing crumbs from her lips.

Gwenda shook her head, dislodging an earwig that had gotten stuck in the crevice of her neck. Granny’s scary stories were the best park of spending the day.

“Good girl. Now where was I? Oh yes. The little Fairy was trapped under the red wheel barrow, the Children racing all around, chasing the fireflies.”

“Did they catch them? The fireflies? Why can’t they just turn off their tails and disappear into the dark.”

“Oh yes, they caught them. The fireflies can turn off their lights, but they are too stupid to do so for long. They think the flashes ward off predators. Even us Rock Trolls dare not eat a firefly, they are poisonous even to us.”

“But aren’t the Children predators?” Gwenda sat boulder straight, pulling her knobby knees into her chest.

“Not like us. They just don’t know any better. Children think its just fun.” Granny dipped another ear and offered it to Gwenda.

Gwenda nibbled on a lobe, then asked; “Did the Children run away after they caught the fireflies?” She would be very disappointed if they did.

“No, no. Once they had the fireflies in a jar they wanted to watch the bugs flash about. So the boys reached down, gripped the edge of the wheel barrow, and flipped it on its wheel.”

“They let the Fairy escape?”

Granny laughed, a soothing sound like boulders rolling down a cliff. “They did not know she was there, now did they?”

Gwenda thumped the side of her head to dislodge the rocks weighing down her thinking. Of course the Children did not know the Fairy was there. They were preoccupied with the fireflies.

“Luckily, the Fairy was too shocked at her sudden release to immediately take flight. She was still clinging to a paint chip when one of the girls hopped inside, she nearly squished the Fairy with fingers.”

Gwenda licked her lips at the thought of Fairy jam. Blue Fairies were tastiest, but red ones were rare so worth the faint sweetness. “What color was she Granny?”

“Huh? Oh, green, I think. Green apple.” Suddenly Granny dropped her half eaten ear back into the gourd and shoved it away. She must have been thinking about Fairy jam too.

“But she didn’t get squished.”

“Nope. The Girl Child screamed and pulled her hand away. The Fairy jumped high, flapped her wings twice, and dashed straight into a jar one of the boys had quickly grabbed. Then he closed the lid tight and held it up for all the Children to see.”

“I wish I could see her in that jar,” Gwenda said angrily, rubbing her fingers together in a squishing motion. “Maybe it was the Fairy that released my butterflies.”

“Hehehe. Maybe.” Granny peered at the dimming stalagmites above Gwenda’s bed. “Grampy’s closing the cave, dawn is coming. Its time for all good Trolls to get some sleep.” She leaned over the bed to kiss Gwenda’s nose.

“But the story Granny! I have to know what happened.”

“I’ll finish tomorrow. I promise.”

“I get to stay another night? Yipee!!” Gwenda rolled around her rock bed, grinding small stones with her knees and elbows.

Granny gave a grin the size of a cave mouth and turned to leave.

Gwenda was pulling the moss snugly around her when the rocks in her head shifted again and she had a sudden thought. “Granny, is this a true story? How do you know about the little Fairy and the Children?”

Granny winked. “Perhaps, perhaps not. You know how unreliable bats can be. Good morning little one.”

Gwenda yawned, her thoughts drifting to a red wheel barrow she had seen near a human farm the night before. If it was still there, the little Fairy might still be trapped in the jar.

She fell asleep dreaming of green apple Fairy Jam, and the gossip the Bats would spread about Gwenda’s great battle with the monstrous Children.

This writing is part of the WEP/IWSG bi-monthly flash challenge. Click on this link for a list of other participants and challenge rules.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: Writing Surprises

 Hey y'all - How's your summer going? I'm in sales and merchandising, so my summer is pretty much ended, and I'm already planning winter gear and Christmas. Ugh, I've always hated thinking about Christmas before the Thanksgiving Turkey is even baked.

Just goes to show how things don't always turn out as you planned, right?

Welcome to the August 2019 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh and his minions Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jaqui Murray, Tamara Narayan and LG Keltner. This month's optional question is:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

    Well, my first short story submission received its acceptance eight months after submission, and was published nearly a year after acceptance. I had given up on the submission after three months, and forgotten the story - and pretty much lost heart in short story writing - within six months. I went back to writing on my novel, which had lots of good feedback for revision, but seemed just as hopeless for publication.

When I got a call from the publisher at Bewildering Stories I was stunned into nearly speechlessness. My response was, of course "Is this a joke?" The ezine held onto the story longer than most, had many many staff discussions regarding the content (8 year old boy takes gun to school) and finally the staff decided that if it was that controversial among the staff, it needed to be published.

And that started me on the path to writing and submitting controversial content. Its still scary, but I believe sometimes you gotta stretch yourself if you want to take steps to achieve your goals.

Not that I always persevere, or succeed, but I am less fearful of putting my writing out there, and more accepting of disappointments.  What can I say - if it can happen once, it can happen twice! And some day, that novel trilogy I'm re-working on might get traditionally published.

There is hope is accepting the unexpected.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: Characterizing Me

Hello Everyone

I am happy to be back posting again with Insecure Writers Support Group. I haven't been writing over the last couple months, so no awesome or worrisome news to report. Busy busy with the day job. But I'm taking some time off for 4th of July, and that is perfect timing to hop around the blogs. On Friday though, as I'll be working out of town today, and cooking and spending time with family on Thursday. Hope you all have wonderful Holiday plans.

July's optional question is:  What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

I think every author writes a bit of themselves into their favorite characters - be they protagonists, antagonists, or secondary/supporting characters. My hero's have traits of myself that I like (mostly) and at the least have the heroic qualities I wish I have. I have them reading my favorite books, listening to my music, consuming foods and drinks I like (or wish I could imbibe). They will have some of my quirks, expound some of my political and social views, and even occasionally raise their children as I did.

The villains, of course, harbor some of my less than acceptable habits, and act on my anti-social desires. They are the ones that benefit most from my social worker studies into psychology and addictive behaviors.

My secondary characters, and I think these are more often my favorites than the protagonists, have a whole list of my quirks and off center sense of humor. Their special talent is to be the voice of reason, or conscious, of the protag or antag. They keep the story theme in the reader memory, add light humor, distract from intense situations, or do the dirty work. Dirty work can be immensely fun and satisfying, lol.

I think writing a touch of myself into my characters is like Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, and Stan Lee making minor appearances in their movies. I need to see a bit of myself in the work, as a type of reward for all the hard work of creating the worlds and characters/creatures that make it onto the page and imprint into the viewer minds.

Thanks for stopping by today; I can't wait to read everyone's take on this question, and catch up on the latest blogger news.

The co-hosts joining our industrious leader Alex J Cavenaugh this month are: Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre, Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ Cynical Sailor. Please give them a heartfelt thanks by visiting their blogs and leaving awesome comments.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Does this look like a fabulous, impromptu weekend writers retreat?

That's a picture of my motel suite in Elko NV for the weekend. No cats, no cooking, no cleaning, no hubby or family interruptions. Bathroom all to myself.

My plan is to get some type of writing done - and not just this blog post, lol. Tomorrow; today is mostly over, and I've been away from blogging for a couple months so I'll be visiting around for a little bit before finding somewhere to eat.

I'll be back to blogging regularly in July, starting with the IWSG. I know, my name has dropped off the list. Knowing how frequently I take two month blogging breaks I doubt I'll sign up again. I still get the IWSG newsletter, and have a half baked idea for the upcoming anthology, but MG has never been my thing, so maybe I'll just work on something else and perhaps be ready for whatever next year's anthology theme will be.

See y'all around. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG: Writing Wishes

Oh hey! Its Insecure Writers Support Day. Ya know; first Wednesday of every month. EVERY MONTH.

Like, (face palm) duh, how could I forget? Well, easy peasy, for me. Not like I did not remember - nah, its like, I know its coming, I know what I need to write, I know I need to write a post, answer the question, have something to say . . .

And then, POOF, the thought flits in and out of my brain. Instantly. There and gone!

So I'm unprepared; writing this after 10pm Tuesday. I posted though . . right?!?

April 3 question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

FIRST CHAPTER!!! I have a completed trilogy (counting the two books I lost in a computer transfer and need to re-write) and just have never been happy with the first chapter of the first book. This has been through more changes than a baby in their first year of life. I've submitted the novel too many times, to all manner of Agents and publishers, and have yet to garner any interest in the novel. Its the first chapter, I'm sure.

My MC is just not likeable in the first chapter - or two. She is not heroic, funny, goth/emo, bitchy.  She is just - Amy. Boring, recluse, scared. Not YA angsty or dramatic. This is a Women's Fiction novel. A bit of romance triangle, domestic violence, addiction, an abusive childhood, and lots of regret and future hopes.

I think the novel lacks hair flipping, furrowed brows, clenched jaws, and a first person POV. (LOL, yes, that was meant as a joke - mostly.)

I read (audio book) on impulse by a novel by Tami Hoag. I have read several of her mysteries, and I like her writing style. There was an audio book staring at me the last about four months at one of my Golden Gate stores, and finally I bought it. I should have known it would be a category romance by reading the title, TAKEN BY STORM. I guess I just could not believe it would be a romance. But yeah, it was. Now, I like Tami Hoag, one of my favorite mystery authors. TAKEN BY STORM was seriously your typical category romance. All the furrowed brows; clenched jaws/fists; furrowed brows; dual hot, head jumping perspectives; main conflict a job the love bad guy won't give up, distrust of promises . . . ya know, category romance.

And I'm wondering: if I really want to be Traditionally Published, do I need to adhere to all the YA/Romance lingo? Do I need to have more drama?

No, I'm not disrespecting the Romance genre. I happen to like several aspects of the genre (uhm, RomComs are a secret guilty pleasure), in its various subgenre's; but I'm not sure I want to write it.

And thus, the problem with rewriting the first chapter to make my main character more likeable to today's reader. Or write it as an action novel from the man's POV. Which negates the fantasy of "women writing for women, about women" category.

I'd like to use this quandary for my excuse for not writing at all right now. But sadly, even I know that's pure BS.

Oh yeah, the WEP/IWSG linky is open for the April Challenge - Jewel Box.

While I'm driving, I come up with several story starts, then forget them by the time I get to a hotel and have a few minutes to think about writing.

The wine and sleep usually win out.

I know - I should be re-writing that first chapter instead of wishing on the magic writing Genie for a quick fix.

I'm late this month for everything. It may be early in the month for most of you dedicated authors; but in my sales world, I'm a month behind. Spring is great weather wise, but it brings on a lot of extra time servicing my stores, resetting programs, counting credits for returns, restocking with tons of product. Seasonal changes are not fun, or easy. This week is worse than most others. I think. It could be normal and I'm too tired and addle brained to know any better.

I'll get around to commenting this weekend. Sorry for the delay. Good think IWSG is this week and not next week or I would not be able to  post/comment at all. And while I hope to write something for WEP, this and that are the only posts for this month. Its A-Z blogfest month, and this is not the time for me to make my first commitment. But congrats to all who are participating.

Thanks Ninja Captain Alex, who is the IWSG creator, and his co-hosts: J.H. Moncrieff; Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken.

  IWSG Anthology MASCQUERADE, Oddly Suited, available April 30, 2019. Click here for purchase links and details.

Monday, March 11, 2019


Hi Peoples;

This is a legitimate job opportunity at Narrative Magazine for someone with experience in publishing and web management. Not something I can take advantage of; but someone out there might.

Narrative Seeks A Content Coordinator

Position Description
Location: San Francisco, CA
Narrative magazine seeks a motivated, outgoing, team-oriented applicant with a background in publishing and/or web management for the position of Content Coordinator. The Content Coordinator will work directly with the magazine’s editors and art director in planning and executing the magazine’s weekly presentation online and via email. The Content Coordinator will be responsible for creating and programming the magazine’s email communication and will be the point of contact for authors, agents, and publishing houses with work in the magazine. The role requires excellent organizational and written communication skills, a deep love of words and an active interest in literature, a strong internal drive toward excellence, self-motivation, an ability to inspire confidence and trust and for team play, as well as superior prioritization and time-management skills, diligence, creativity, and an appetite for challenges.

Experience in marketing is a plus.

Must be proficient in Adobe Dreamweaver (HTML), CSS, and Photoshop.

Manage all aspects of website, including home page, banners, ads, story pages, and special purpose pages, using Content Management System (CMS)
Create emails communication in HTML in relation to weekly website updates, advertising, special events, and fund-raising drives
Develop strategic plan for acquiring advertisements for online and email, and strengthen relationships with existing and potential advertisers
Communicate with authors, agents, and publishers throughout the publication process
Plan and design promotional images for the website and email
Write and negotiate agreements for new content for the magazine
Respond to queries from readers and provide technical support
For additional details or to submit your experience for review, please send a detailed cover letter, salary requirements (a range is fine), and resume in an email with the subject line “Content Coordinator” to us here.

- - Anyway, I hope someone can take advantage of the opportunity. Good luck.