Wednesday, June 5, 2024

IWSG: June 2024


Whew, I almost put the wrong date in my post. I typed 2026 but fortunately caught it. Time is flying but not that fast. But it is time for the monthly get together of the IWSG blog hop. As usual, thanks to our founder,  Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the IWSG admins who do so much. Find the entire list of participants here.

This month's optional question:

In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

Good question, but not sure of the answer. I've learned so much from IWSG and met so many amazing writers, many of whom feel like close friends. I've been thinking of some things being done in my other writing groups. I'm not sure if they are things that would work for IWSG. 

One is a write-in, held on Zoom at certain times where writers meet and just write together. Participants come and go as they need. Sometimes the moderator starts the write-in with a short spiel about something writing related. Sometimes the write-in starts with participants sharing what they're working on. One group does this one day a week. Another group does it every weekday.

A second thing one of my groups does is have once monthly review parties. There are different ways to organize these, but the goal is to help other writers get reviews for their books.

Last month an amazing thing happened. I was privileged to meet L. Diane Wolfe in person. She was a guest of Pennwriters in Lancaster PA where she led workshops and took pitches from hopeful writers. She is even more wonderful than I expected. What energy! Everyone loved her. She was kind, funny, knowledgeable, and just a light wherever she went.

The entire conference was great fun and very informative, but Diane was one of the biggest highlights for me.

I'm still working steadily on my newest fantasy series. I hope to have the first draft done by the end of the summer. It's a really, really rough draft.

My exercising is going well and the warm weather always motivates me. And the swimming pool is open. I've been jogging at least two days a week and walking at least three days. My jogging is soooo slow that my younger self wouldn't even have called it jogging, but it works my muscles so much better than walking.

TV and streaming is so boring for me right now. I'm rewatching Fringe for the third time because I can't find anything I want to watch.

Do you have any ideas for IWSG moving forward? Have you made some forever friends in this group? Have you had a chance to meet any of them in person?

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

IWSG: May 2024

 It's difficult to believe it's 2024 and soon to be summer. I do love the hot weather nearly as much as I love IWSG. Please share all you insecurities with the participants on this list and my usual thanks and appreciation to the IWSG admins and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

This month's optional question: How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

I tend to write late at night after most distractions are already in bed. This is a holdover from my years teaching when the only time I had to myself was usually between 9PM and midnight. It's still my most productive time.

In the meantime, I'm about 40K into the new novel. The ideas are coming too fast and I can't keep up. It's fun to be there again.

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." Maya Angelou

Only two weeks until the Pennwriters Annual Conference. Can't wait. I'll share any writing tidbits I pick up with you next month. For the first time in years, the bookseller will be selling some of my books at the conference book sale. Hoping to gain some new fans.

We're lucky to have Hank Phillippi Ryan as our keynote. Her books are great and she's a tremendous speaker.  Our other keynote, Timons Esaias, has been an instructor in a MFA for creative writing program for years. He's published many poems and short stories in speculative fiction magazines. I've attended his workshops numerous times in the past. He's a winner and very entertaining.

I'm looking forward to watching Shardlake on Hulu starting today. I've been a fan of those books for years and I do love historical thrillers and mysteries. In the meantime, I've been watching Beacon 23 on Amazon. I read that book a long time ago, and I don't remember at all how the story spools out.

Keeping busy with the warmer weather with walking, jogging, and riding bike. I feel strong but I haven't really lost any weight. Sigh...

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, 'I'm possible!'" Audrey Hepburn

Are you easily distracted when writing? Do you usually write at a certain time of day? Have you a favorite writer you'd like to hear as an inspirational speaker?

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

IWSG: April 2024

 Welcome to the monthly blog hop of the IWSG.  Please visit the site and check out all the participants, and don't forget to thank our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the admins of this terrific group. Let's share our pain and triumphs with other writers.

This month's optional question:

How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?

Well, I've been blogging since 2008 so, a long time. I was on Facebook at about the same time. It's not my favorite place and I started Twitter whenever it started. I've had an Instagram account for a number of years but have only recently started being more active on there. Instagram is the most distracting for me. I really like the content I find there. I always feel a bit sad about how blogging isn't what it once was, but I have made real friends through this blog. I've never liked Facebook and only visit because I feel I shouldn't totally let it go and I see pictures of my relatives on there. Twitter is often mean. I've blocked so many negative people on there. Will we ever call it X? Never expect to see me on TikTok.

I still working on my new WIP and have taken a pause in getting my previously published books back out there since I now have all my rights back from the publishers. I did the work and have re-published my two completed fantasy series. The Morbunda Trilogy and The Futhark Chronicles are now available on Amazon. I still have more than 20 science fiction romance novels to re-publish.

I watched the 3 Body Problem on Netflix. I found it to be okay but I don't get all the hoopla about it. I enjoyed the new version of Roadhouse

In some cool news, my granddaughter has joined in my jigsaw puzzle hobby. Though she just turned 7, she's doing 300 piece puzzle by herself. She used an end of my puzzle table while I'm working my my 3,000 piece puzzles and we talk about everything. I know all the first grade intrigue from her elementary school which I can't share because I'm sworn to silence.

I hope spring is heading your way. Be safe if you're lucky enough to see the eclipse next week. I'm excited about it.

What is your preferred social media contact with the world? Any social media you despise? Is spring upon your abode yet? Did you love The 3 Body Problem

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

IWSG: March 2024

 It's warm, rainy, and March. Welcome to another blog hop of IWSG. Please check out the entire list of participants here. Thank you to our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh and to all the admins who provide a safe place for writers of all genres and all levels of experience.

This month's optional question:

Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

Excellent topic. I can't wait to read everyone's opinion and experiences. I have not used AI for any of my writing stuff. I think it's a slippery slope. I know some writers who are touting it, and I think they are sliding down that slope. AI can already duplicate your physical voice and with training, can duplicate writing styles. Some AI companies have already been sued for using writers' work to train their AI. We all like to think that nothing can replace human creativity, but I think that belief underestimates AI's possibilities. I fear AI's impact on the writing world. 

And let's not get started on SKYNET.  LOL

My own writing is going pretty good. New stuff is getting done, though slower than I'd wish. Old stuff is getting editing and new covers. I'm almost done with that for the immediate future. I'll have my two completed fantasy series available on Amazon very soon. Book #3 in The Futhark Chronicles, Beneath the Mountain, is now available on Amazon.

I'm feeling good about exercising. With the warmer weather, I'm off the elliptical and back on the road with my old-lady jog.

I'm really disappointed in Netflix. They canceled two shows I enjoyed, Shadow and Bone and The Brothers Sun.  At least a few network shows I follow are back on, but I'm not really exited about any of them except Will Trent.

I'm busy organizing the registration for the 37th Annual Pennwriters Conference being held in Lancaster this year. I'm so excited to meet in person, L. Diane Wolfe, who will be attending, leading workshops and taking pitches from attendees. She's making a long drive and we appreciated it.

Do you think you're read anything written by AI? Do you attend in-person writing conferences or workshops? Any shows you love get cancelled lately? 

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

IWSG: February 2024

Here we are for this month's Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. Big thank you to the admins of IWSG and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Please stop by and share your highs and lows in this crazy writing life. And stop by to visit as many of the blogs on the participant list as you can.

Before answering this month's question, if you have a minute stop by my guest post featuring L. Diane Wolfe as she talks about her favorite 'alien' themed movies and announces her newest release, In Darkness: The Alien.

Diane is so talented. She writes fiction and nonfiction, runs her own publishing company, and attends
many events and conferences. And does them all very successfully. I'm very excited to announce that L. Diane Wolfe will be a guest publisher at the 2024 Annual Pennwriters Conference being held in May in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After being online friends for years, I'll get to meet Diane in person. You can too. Find out more about the conference here

This month's optional question:  What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author's books? Constant mention of books?

I can't put my finger on any one thing. If I go to an author's website, I want to hear about their books or I've followed a link because they're sharing some writing advice. I don't even mind if their newsletter invite pops up. I don't see many author websites that turn me off so I'm interested to read the other posts on this subject.

My writing is going okay. I'm still spending time each day on getting my books back out into the world. I have more than 30 books previously published by small presses that I now have my rights back to that

I'm re-editing and publishing myself. I'm trying to do one per month and have managed that so far. My latest re-emergence novel is my first fantasy novel ever published. The Keepers of Sulbreth is the first book in The Futhark Chronicles. Books 2, 3, & 4 will be forthcoming. I admit, I like the cover I designed better than the one my previous publisher created.

I'm so eager for spring, but I know it's a long way off. In good news, I think sometime within the next week or so, TV networks are finally getting some new shows on the air. I loved Will Trent last season and I'm looking forward to season 2 of Halo. Did you watch The Brothers Sun on Netflix.  Highly recommend.

I hope you're staying warm, and if you're in California, dry and safe. Seems that some kind of dangerous weather somewhere all the time.

Do you have a favorite alien movie? Do you have pet peeves about author websites? How is your writing going?

Monday, February 5, 2024

In Darkness: The Alien, Guest Post with L. Diane Wolfe

It is my pleasure to once again have L. Diane Wolfe as my guest. She writes such interesting posts. Please welcome her and read about her newest release.

Greetings to Susan’s fans and followers!


Since my latest release, In Darkness: The Alien, deals with extraterrestrials, she asked me to name a top five on both sides of coin. (Friendly/evil aliens.)




The obvious – ET. But how about:


The Arrival – Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, this film revealed gentle aliens who only wanted to help man.


The Iron Giant – Voiced by Vin Diesel, the title creature is a gentle giant, befriending a boy who wants to protect him from the government.


Starman – Starring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, this is a very sweet movie about an alien stranded on earth who takes on the appearance of a woman’s deceased husband.


Cocoon – Staring Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, and Hume Cronyn, the aliens here have only returned to revive and bring back their brethren who were left behind years ago.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Starring Richard Dreyfuss, these aliens are also benign despite abductions over the years, and its special effects hold up even 46 years later.




The obvious – War of the Worlds. But how about:


Aliens – Starring Sigourney Weaver, the aliens on this planet only want to propagate and destroy. It’s a wild ride as the humans struggle to outwit and defeat them.


The Puppet Masters – Starring Donald Sutherland, these alien invaders attach to humans to control and conquer them.


A Quiet Place – Starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, the danger of predator aliens who can hear any sound is intense and scary.


Signs – Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, it’s one man’s fight for the survival of his family against alien invaders.


The Thing – Starring Kurt Russell, this intense take on the novella Who Goes There, set in the artic, gives us an alien who only wants to assimilate and conquer.


Those are my tops picks. What are yours?



In Darkness: The Alien
By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…

Abducted from her research station, Liz’s life is flung into chaos. Sold into servanthood for her knowledge of planetary mining to a race called the Stren, she discovers her problems go far deeper. She is to marry her alien master, Krist, after enduring a procedure designed to eradicate her emotions.

Desperate, Liz persuades the Stren to grant her the duration of a short voyage to change his perception of emotions. But how can she convince someone lacking feelings of their value? Is there a means of accessing the emotional side of Krist before it’s too late?

Release date – February 6, 2024

From Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Romance-Science Fiction / Science Fiction-Alien Contact / Romance-Paranormal
eBook ISBN 9781939844972 $3.99

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s an editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Spunk On A Stick - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips - Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Amazon -
iTunes -
Barnes & Noble -
Kobo -
Everand -

Gardners -
Goodreads -

Do you love aliens as much as I do? Do you prefer friendly or evil aliens? Have you checked out Diane's earlier books in this series?

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

IWSG: January 2024!

 It  can't be 2024, yet here it is. There's a great way to start the year and that's with IWSG. Thanks to the admins and our founder Alex J. Cavanaugh, we can all share our insecurities for another year. Please find more bloggers participating in this blog hop here.

I am going to skip the optional question this month and talk about other things today.

I've said many times that I don't set goals, but I do make plans and right long to-do lists. Writing this post was on my most recent list. Other things on there for January of 2024:

1. Reach out to more reviewers and review sites for The Morbunda Trilogy.

2. Update my Goodreads page and other social media.

3. Continue work on my newest WIP. (No title yet even though I'm almost 30K in)

4. Write more reviews for my writer friends.

5. Help Pennwriters open registration for the Annual Writers Conference being held in May.

6. Begin editing on another of the book series I've recovered my rights for so I can self-published it.

That's enough for January. In the last three months of 2023, I managed to self-publish 3 books, write that 30K, attend a mini-con and set up a book signing for February. 

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." Thomas Jefferson

The holidays were joyful and filled with family and friends. Too much food, but that's what the treadmill and stepper is for. Later this week, I'm heading out to meet a friend at an indie bookstore/cafe. I hope you find time to support those local bookshops and keep them running.

I enter 2024 with more optimism than I felt a year ago about my writing. I wish I could make enough on my books to dent the inflation that is hurting my pocket.

"If you can dream it, you can achieve it." Zig Ziglar

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2024. 

Are you making goals and plans for 2024? Are you feeling optimistic this January? Did you accomplish what you want in 2023? Do you have a favorite indie bookstore?