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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: Titles vs Characters


Oh, wait; that's WRiTECLUB, which is in its final bouts this week. Sadly, this is my first year that I have neither participated  as a writer or voted since DL Hammons first conceived and launched the event. And what an awesome event it has become over the last (about) 6 years. Even picked up by the DFW writers conference. I can't say "AWESOME" with enough force for all the work and effort DL and all the initial judges put into this yearly event. And the readers that offer constructive critiques and sometimes difficult votes. As I said, I only read and voted on a few of the bouts this year (I've been a very lax blogger) but the entries I read were all stellar, well edited, and it pretty much came down to which genre I liked. Tough choices. Good luck to the finalists; perhaps we should ALL try to take a few moments to read the finalist entries and offer encouragement . . . . .

Encouragement: now there is a word we all need as writers. Lately, my "encouragement" has been in the form of - you can't make money if you don't write. And the ever favorite "I like it cuz you wrote it so I don't have to read it." Yes, I know I'm largely responsible for this lack of encouragement for my writing: I've not been writing much, not submitted anything this year, and have mostly dropped out of the writing community. Meaning, no writers group to force me into 'submission.' Yeah yeah, I have commitment issues. On the one hand, I don't like someone looking over my shoulder while I write; I don't want a 'group' to write my stories. On the other hand, no accountability is . . . no accountability.

I am getting some writing done; a slow pace, nothing worthy of showing off to a group, or the public at large (publication). But I am writing things in several word documents. Including a document for the WEP June challenge, Unraveled Yarn. Writing a "yarn" (a long and rambling, often improbable, story) seems to fit my writing perspective at this point. With a thousand word count limit, the YARN can't get too long, which in itself is an intriguing allure for the concept. I have my interpretation started, pretty much finished, except I need to tweak the "rambling" concept into a viable structure. Hey look; I'm plotting, an accomplishment itself!

Ah, I was about to segue into the IWSG, but have one more writing resource related comment. I don't know if anyone ever clicks on my writing related links; but I did get an email from someone stating they visited my blog, saw my resources, and added a link for freelance writers. I clicked on the link for jobhero, aka The Ultimate Freelance Writing Guide, and I did add it to my resources. It doesn't seem to be a scam or purely advertising site. If you are a freelance writer, or want to get into freelance, and you check out the link, please let me know if you discover it a scam site. It seemed useful to me in my brief browse, although I'm not interested in freelance. Well, I'm interested, just not that dedicated. Freelance writers put some SERIOUS work into their writing - and submissions.

OK, on to IWSG. Although if you read much of the above "yarn," I'm sure you'll read plenty of insecurities in the subtext. Am I still a writer if I'm not bashing out novel after novel, or producing short stories several times a week. (Punctuation Nazi's may note no ? at the end of that sentence. I'm not sure it was a question.)

When I first started writing a novel, then a trilogy, then some short stories, then discovered a writers group, and blogs and and and and and . . I zealously threw myself into it. Now, I still love writing, finding a story concept, developing the world and characters - especially developing the world and characters. And yes, I love getting published, though short stories is all I've had success with. Back then, I wasn't constrained by the knowledge of all the rules: genre specifics, querying (like job interviewing), reader trends, publicity gimmicks. I did not "study" to become an author, I just sort of fell into it. Now I feel like I need to go to college to learn business management, public speaking, marketing analysis, copy write litigation.

So I'm writing slow, with too much of the business end of writing on my mind instead of the creative process. The sheer joy of creating characters to fill a world. Building a world that my characters fit into. My completed trilogy (Uck, yes I lost two books and am in the process of recreating them) is a women's fiction I thought was totally unique. A few years ago, after much research and reading, I started to accept there is an entire genre (yep my intro to women's fiction) with my concept. I'm still hoping for some uniqueness. My ideal ambition for this novel (trilogy) is that it will get published, and Lifetime movie channel will will notice it. Hey! A girl can dream . . .

This month's IWSG question is: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names? Easy peasy answer: I suck at book/story titles. LOL, I really have a lot of novel and short story starts. Complete with excessive research into names, name meanings, character descriptions to go with those names, prevalence of names in my location/settings and time era's.

A title (usually) is the absolute last thing I settle on to finish a story. Mostly because you cannot submit without a title. A title is always a "working title" until the story has been accepted by a publication. It rarely even tentatively happens until at least midway through a first draft, and is still subject to change at any point prior to submission, depending on the theme of the publication. For me, a title must reflect the book content, which is introduced (preferably) in the first sentence, or paragraph, discovered somewhere in the middle of the book/story, and reinforced in the last chapter. Meh; just how I write.

I have only had one Title that I created characters and a world around. The title "LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES" came to me, then it took about three years for my characters, a plot concept, and a world to develop around the title. Perseverance was an understatement for this one; a lot of research went into the character names, setting, folklore. If you have ever completed a massive research project, and successfully integrated the research without it sounding like research, you'll understand what an undertaking this "title first" project was to accomplish. But it was published (with only one other rejection) at Bewildering Stories issue 744, if you have time or inclination to read it.

Please be sure to thank (via visit) our Ninja host/creator Alex J Cavanaugh, and the June co-hosts Beverly Stowe-McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonya Drecker, and Ellen at The Cynical Sailor.

Be seeing y'all around the blogs :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IWSG: Spring Inspiration

Hello Peoples:

I've been out all the month of April. I did not visit anyone cuz I really needed the break. I don't participate in A to Z as most of my online friends do; and I just find it easier to not post or visit at all during April. Congrats to all the A-Z winners.

I suppose that is my answer to this month's IWSG question: It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

If we are talking "write more" when it it comes to blogging, then I guess my answer is NO. I am not inspired to write  a lot of posts so I can comment on a lot of posts. Hmm, not that I'm opposed to commenting; I really do visit about 100 or so posts every month for the IWSG. Except April. I take a break.

But I think the IWSG administrators want to know if I write more in general during Spring (this year March 20 to June 21). And that answer is also, NO.

I'm a white white girl. The sun and I are not friends. I don't pink up and tan; I burn as soon as I'm exposed more than 15 minutes and my skin never acclimates to the sun with a beautiful shade of brown. Which doesn't take spring or summer to burn me. Despite my sensitive skin, every moment I can be out walking, destroying my yard, or just sitting under an umbrella in my yard, I'm there. If you've ever taken your computer, cell phone, kindle, iPad outside, you know the screen and the sun just isn't compatible.

And when I go inside? Well, over the last couple of years I've gotten out of the habit of writing in the evenings. Most of the programs I especially like during the fall and winter are taking season breaks, and I've made a blog goal to write more during 2018. The need to rewrite two complete novels should get that goal accomplished, lol.

I went to a writers workshop this last weekend, and did learn a few things. Got some insights, and inspiration. I'm hoping completing "writerly things" also counts as writing. I've been researching a couple characters for new stories, making a plotline (I know, weird for a pantster!)

I'm getting there - slowly.

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be hopping around the Insecure Writers Support Group linky and visiting as many participants as I can. Be sure to visit/thank your host Alex J Cavanaugh, and co hosts: EMA Timar, J Q Rose, C Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant.

And: hot off the Dancing Lemure Press, the third IWSG Anthology: TICK TOCK, A STICH IN CRIME is now available in print and e-book. Check out the IWSG books page for details.

Monday, April 2, 2018


Spring has definitely sprung here in Northern California. Time to make my big purchases of Benadryl so I can enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Heater in the morning, cooler in the afternoons. Beautiful!!

I will not be posting during April. Gonna take a break and not feel guilty at all, lol.

Good luck to all the A-Zers. See y'all for May IWSG.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018



Welcome to the March edition of Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). I'm on the road and will be slow in visiting blogs until this weekend, so I apologize in advance for being super late.

If you are here, you likely already know the IWSG posting details. Its been long and longer since I visited anyone new on the linky list. Sorry.

My insecurity this month? I've lost two books in my trilogy. Yeah, this sucks. I hope I find them on a missing flash drive. I don't see myself rewriting two entire books. Losing the trilogy - even though I'm not sure the books will ever sell - has me questioning if I want to continue writing. I know I have other books, stories, in me to write. But, that trilogy was my beginning, Ya know?

This months optional IWSG question: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?
  Wine. Happy Dance. Lots of positive self talk and pats on the back. I don't currently have any crit partners, but in the past it was send off to the critique group, integrating suggested revisions, then submitting off to the publication the story was written for.
  I have several short story publications, most published by the anthologies they were submitted to; but the women's fiction trilogy still sits in the computer. I have re-written the first chapter of Book 1, and fulfilled a New Year's resolution/goal (and in the process noted that I've lost the other two books); and completed some of my Finish Line rituals; but now I need to revise some to integrate the changes into the continuing work. And then, query/submit. Its been a good five years since my last round of submissions for this novel; probably two years since I last opened the documents.
  I consider submitting the ultimate Finish Line ritual. I love writing, but I also love acceptance and publication. I will share with you that I intend to submit to Morrigan Books (if I locate the other two books in the series), and I hope YOU might have something also to submit also. Morrigan books is looking to expand into e-books:

Areas that Morrigan Books are very keen to see submissions from would be Horror, Dark Fantasy, Crime, Science Fiction, Contemporary, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy and Young Adult.
Areas not likely to generate interest are: Paranormal Romance (although Paranormal itself will be considered), Dark Comedy and Erotica.
If you think you have a book that is well-suited to our catalogue (please visit our homepage for further details) please send a mail to our query department
query[at]morriganbooks[dot]com with a full plot synopsis, first three chapters and cover letter, explaining who you are and your writing to date.
We are interested in submissions from both unpublished and published authors.
 That's my March IWSG post. Be sure to visit our host/creator, Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


This writing might stretch the concept of Write..Edit..Publish.. flash fiction prompt, IN TOO DEEP. Whew! I got the concept from reading DEADLY MESSENGERS, by Susan May. I wrote this as sort of a prologue for a short story - one of three horror/thriller stories on my resolutions/goal list for 2018. Although February is the month of romance, and by common assumption the story should involve Venus, Eros, Cupid, Aphrodite, Min, Bastet, Nuwa, Kamadeva, Freya; it does not.

Full critique acceptable as I am hoping to expand this into a thriller type short story. Click here to visit the Write..Edit..Publish web site and check out the other participants for this month's theme IN TOO DEEP, and to hank the WEP administrators Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee for inspiring my story start and structure. Regardless of whether it fits the WEP concept, I hope it captivates you as a reader.

Ok, here we go .. . . .  . .

Word Count: 960

“LUNATIC WALKS INTO A BAR” the headline read, and James tapped onto the link to bring up the video report.

He pushed the up- volume button on the back of his LG then set it on the bar to listen as he sipped an early afternoon beer.

“It was a usual Tuesday night,” the bartender told the microphone. The teletype identified the brown haired, Caucasian, lack-luster man as Ian Kirkland, owner/manager of Kirk’s Quirks, a bar and grille on South 100th Street West.

The camera panned back to show a corner street establishment, parking in the rear sign the most distinguished logo looming above a reddish neon that was nearly washed out in the blue backdrop of a stormy sky. James grunted his opinion of the air time the bar shooting would garner in the public eye given its seedy locale.

“How so,” the pretty, Barbie Doll type asked Kirkland as she flashed a smile towards the viewing audience.

James did not recognize her, so assumed she was a hungry intern the station had promoted when the other reporters refused to venture into this part of town.

Kirkland rolled his eyes skyward as the camera zoomed in, then looked directly into the camera. The average, busy viewer might have mistaken the gleam in Kirkland’s eyes as tears, but James knew it as the excitement of notoriety; even if only for this 15 minutes of fame. He'd witnessed it often.

“He was a regular,” Kirkland admitted. “Shy guy, not so good looking the Gals flocked to him. But, everyone who met him – including me – liked him. Paid cash for his beers, occasionally bought a round for the house, kept the Juke rockin’. Never went out with a Lady, but bought their drinks, treated them with respect. Sherman – ah that’s the shooter’s name,” and here the gleam dimmed and Kirkland looked nearly embarrassed to know the perp’s name. “Uhm, Sherman Hahn, yep, a regular. Well, he ordered his usual Bud Light, knocks his name on the pool line up, though its just a formality, ya know, there’s never a waiting line on a Tuesday – we only have tournaments on Thursdays and its three weeks to the first match of the season . . .”

Kirkland was silent a moment, as if pondering when the first match would happen, who the teams were. Barbie smiled her rehearsed smile, then prodded Kirkland with: “A typical Tuesday, nothing unusual  . . .”

“Right,” Kirkland quipped, back on the media trac. “Around ten this Yuppie type comes in –“

“Yuppie?” The Barbie asks.

Kirkland looks a bit confused. Then he seems to recall the age he is currently living in as he strokes his politically correct chin hair. “Ya know, investor/lawyer type. All arrogance and flashing cash. Musta got lost, GPS in the Prius out of whack.” He laughs nervously.

Yuppie wasn’t a modern word, and few people outside a select 80’s culture would even recognize the term. Techies and Geeks described today's young, ambitious, techno-hybrid entrepreneurs; but James knew that whatever they called themselves now, his brother’s associates – and possibly murderers- were highly sophisticated, well informed, cautious to the point of paranoid, intelligent, influential, and financially secure. Not to mention bold, unconscionable, and connected.

“Hmm,” the Barbie prompted.

“Well,” Kirkland said as the camera zoomed in on his neon lighted face. “Dude did not belong, though we all tried to ignore the fact. Cash is King, blah blah blah. But, there was just something off about the guy, and not just his clothing or speech. And he seemed to target Sherman with every . . . comment. I don’t know how to explain it. There just seemed to be a connection between the two, though they did not seem to be in the same worlds. Hard ta explain, ‘less you was there to witness.”

James exited the feed and took a shallow drink of his beer. He would have lit a cigarette, if it was still legal to smoke in the bar, and if he had not quit years ago. He knew the rest of the story: four dead, including the Yuppie, and the shooter disappeared. Same MO as his brother's shooting.

Robin Walton, several years younger and seemingly more than a generation's difference in world philosophy, had consistently impressed James with his exhaustive connections. James loved Robin, and never missed an opportunity for a casual meeting. Days before Robin's death, he texted and invited James to a luncheon at a downtown Bistro. James eagerly accepted- the two rarely met outside of family gatherings – but they barely had opportunity to catch up as several well dressed patrons stopped by their table to say “hello” and “thanks.”

When James asked who his co-horts were, Robin shrugged and said “people I’ve upgraded security systems.”

Then Robin was killed in an upscale bar by a regular patron. The investigators labeled the shooting random; Robin a victim of stranger psychosis. James’ investigation turned up two previous such shootings in a six month period. This made four. No one would listen to him: the Yuppie/Techie was the key to all these murders. Lunatic walks into a bar, and for no discernible reason kills a random number of usual patrons, and one unknown stranger that happens to be a Silicon Valley Yuppie.

Robin’s cell phone bleeped with a text. “Dude; thought you was dead.”

James stared at the message, unsure how to respond. He never really understood his brother, couldn't pretend to speak the same language. How was he to fit in Robin's world? But who else would solve Robin's murder? Not the police obviously. KCVN was turning deaf ear, had even fired James for asking too many questions. The text on his brother's phone had to lead somewhere.

He just needed a way in. One final step off the deep end.

Captivating? Engaging? Boring? Meet the IN TOO DEEP criteria? Toss it or write on?
Your feedback matters in the comments. Oh and Yes, I did accidentally publish a version of this two weeks ago.
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG: Genre writing

Luckily, this is not titled 'HOW YA DOING ON NEW YEARS GOALS/RESOLUTIONS.'

Cuz, ya know; I suck at it. Several times I logged on to post book reviews, read blog followers posts, just do stuff. Yeah, well .  . . . . .

And now its Febuary. Already?? Sheesh ..

I at least have a story start for February WEP, IN TOO DEEP. Lets hope I finish and post. Uh huh.

I do have some book reviews in my scheduled posts. Just got to get those starts (drafts) finished and published.

I have unlimited internet access in my car; yeah, just need to pull out the computer and get writing....

February 7 IWSG question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

  Sort of an easy answer!! Well, I kinda write in three genre's: women's fiction, fantasy, and thriller/horror. Sometimes I think all three are the same concepts.

 - I like Women's Fic because it deals with everyday issues the social worker in me deals with -family, work, relationships.
- I'm the Stephen King, John Grisham, Dean Koontz type thriller/horror/suspense writer cuz they give today's modern hero's (every day people thrown into the freaky/weird) an opportunity to rise above
- I like epic fantasy cuz it explores alternate universe's/realities so outside the everyday norm its like a day-dream I can indulge in when my real life is intolerable and without hope. And all human issues are today's issues, despite the year or reality . .

What all these genre's have in common when I'm writing is that I can create a universe, write the characters, give them issues, and resolve everything within a virtual world. Everything is adaptable, within my own imagination. Hey, I'm a social worker by profession, and I love it when I can fix everything, everybody.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Hope y'all are doing better at keeping New Years Resolutions/Goals than I am.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Scheduling


Do you feel like you are living in the future? It occurs to me that  we are now living in  "the future" that so many movies were set that I watched as a kid. Or at least young person. Not 2018 necessarily, but we are entering the era. I'm thinking of the movie Soylent Green, the first post-apocalyptic story I was exposed to. It aired April 19, 1973, a futuristic crime mystery, and depicted life in New York City in 2022 where overpopulation and the Green House effect has led to overpopulation and starvation. I was eleven years old, and very likely saw this movie at the Drive In Theater.

Not that I'm eager to live in any of the post- or pre-apocalypse worlds that consumed my reading or viewing time in my younger years. Or any that I have written myself recently. I can't even imagine a STAR WARS type future though.

We have already passed the 2015 date of the still popular BACK TO THE FUTURE II setting. I don't know about you, but I'm highly disappointed that flying cars are not an every day purchase. Time, and the years, do not seem to be flying by for me; its more like its standing still. Technology seems to have reached the same point as Hollywood: consistently remaking the same merchandise, calling it "improved" without stepping too far away from developments within the last 20 years. Before we know it, it will be 2089 and no closer to colonization of planets within our solar system than we were at the 1990 release of TOTAL RECALL.

One of the more realistic events I'd like to see in my near future involves publication. Lots of it! To obtain that, of course, I need to write and submit more. There's a unique idea for January's Insecure Writers Support Group post. Right?!?

Not only is this my first post for 2018, but its also the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. This month's question is appropriate for the New Year, and actually got me seriously thinking about my writing schedule as well as goals for 2018.

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

I've very good at making and keeping a work schedule. Its how I get paid. Scheduling writing time though, nah. I only disappoint myself when I fail. Now, if I had a literary agent, a publisher that has given me a deadline, then you bet I can write to their schedule.

For many years I've not put any pressure on myself to stick to any kind of writing or blogging schedule. I'm determined to change that in 2018. Not with "resolutions" but with goals, just as Michelle Wallace suggests in the Dec 2017 IWSG Newsletter:
So when you sit down to plan for next year, instead of making writing resolutions, why not create a few specific, attainable, and measurable goals?
I've thought long and hard (through many long, boring hours of driving) about some reasonable writing goals for myself for this year, and this is what I came up with:

 - write three new horror short stories to submit to random anthologies between August and December
 - FINISH, edit, and submit three of the incomplete short stories in My Documents
 - rewrite chapter 1 of my novel NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE
 - revise and submit query and synopsis for FATE
 - write and schedule six book review posts

And yes, reviewing the above list, I'm already feeling anxious about how I'm to accomplish all that. I do have a plan, a sort of writing schedule. Writing on the road is not easy for me; I mostly "camp in my car" and it uncomfortable to juggle a computer in the car or even at road stops (never know what the environment will be like). But I should be home every weekend, and at least one week (up to nine days) each month. Weekends are good for blog posts (and comments), and that solid week is excellent for actual writing - including revision.

The incentive to stick to this schedule - lax as it is? Well, I do love being published! And starting 2018 with a publication is an awesome ego boost.

My short story LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES, an Urban Fantasy, is scheduled to publish on January 8 in issue 744 of the ezine Bewildering Stories.

offers a home and an audience
to speculative writing.
All genres are welcome
in prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction.

Thank you all for stopping by today. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's 2018 goals and scheduling triumphs. This month the IWSG crew is announcing the winners of 2017 Anthology contest. Be sure to stop by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanuagh and his co-horts: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen the Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane and Rachna Chhabria.