Wednesday, January 5, 2022

IWSG: January 2022


Welcome to the first IWSG blog hop of 2022. Thanks to founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the other awesome admins of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, this monthly virtual get-together keeps going and going. Find the list of all the participants here as we share our insecurities and encourage each other.

This month's optional question:

What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

No, I can overcome it. The thing I regret the most is that I didn't begin writing for publication sooner. I wish I could go back and change that, but...  Then again, I've always been a forward-looking person who lets the past go. Can't change it, so keep on going.

One thing I always enjoy about the end of the year and the beginning of the next is the plethora of planners and calendars to choose from. I love them all. I love setting up my new planner with all the important dates throughout the year. The biggest date I've put on there so far is the end of my term as president of Pennwriters, the statewide writers' group I've been part of for over twenty years. (May, 15th, yippee) I've served over seven years on the board and sacrificed my own writing time. It's past time for me to get back to my own writing.

Most of the writers I know are very generous when it comes to helping other writers. The admins of IWSG are perfect examples. I'm happy to have given my time to IWSG in the past as well as Pennwriters and other local groups. I will continue to volunteer but it will be a huge relief to not be one of those responsible for running the whole affair.

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." Booker T. Washington

I intend to revitalize my social media efforts as I find more time for my writing career. I'll have no more excuses for not sitting my butt in the chair and writing.

For 2022, my wishes for you are good health, inspired writing, good books to read, delicious beverages, and no tax surprises. 

I also wish you well on any goals you've set, personal or professional.

I kind of enjoyed the Amazon Wheel of Time first season. As someone who has read the books, I wasn't entirely happy with the changes but I also understand why they made some of them. I am glad anytime a fantasy series manages to snag a series or movie contract. I really enjoyed the second season of the witcher. I liked everyone being on the same timeline and having only a few story arcs to follow. I really love the setup for next season. The latest Spiderman movie was great. Funny as usual but sad overall.

I also tuned into 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone on Paramount +.  As someone who grew up on westerns, it is fun to see a new one on TV. It is rather dark and grim, but I expect real life was pretty harsh and grim in 1883. The Expanse on Prime is winding down with only a few episodes left. I assume they won't cover most of the story told in the last three novels. I'm very interested in how they wrap it up.

I hope you received some gift cards for books or actual books for Christmas. I received both and I already have books picked out.

"Be happy. It is one way of being wise." Colette

What would you change looking back over your writing career? Did you get some books for Christmas? Have any plans for making 2022 great? Any good shows to recommend?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG: December 2021

 Welcome all to the last IWSG post of 2021. The past year has solidified how much the support of online groups such as IWSG is necessary for the mental health and motivation needed to keep going in this business. Thanks to the IWSG admins, our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and all the participants who share knowledge, comradery, as we navigate the writing world. See the entire list of participants here.

This month's optional question: In your writing, what stresses you most and what delights you the most?

I don't think any one things stresses me. I worry about timelines when I'm writing fantasy. I worry about keeping it fresh when writing romances. A hundred different things are always bubbling about. Over the past year, not finding time to write is stressing me more than anything. I hope the major theif of my writing time is not a problem by next summer. Delight? There are those moments when the perfect solution or perfect scene appear in my thoughts out of nowhere. Doesn't happen every day, but I usually have some kind of delightful moment a few times in each novel I write.

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." William Penn

Thanksgiving was lovely. My daughter was able to be here after the pandemic kept her away last year. We even had the pleasure of two relatives from Myrtle Beach who were able to join us. For the first Thanksgivng in our new home, we had many things to be happy and grateful about. I hope yours was the same.

A little pet peeve here. I read a lot of library books and support our library system with donations. I love the library, and the workers there are so friendly and helpful. A few days ago, I picked up five books on hold for me. One was a new fantasy book by an author who is new to me. It is a delightful need which I'll probably finish by the time this post is published. Much to my disgust, a previous borrower had underlined passages throughout the almost brand new book. It's not the first library book I've found vandalized in such a way. But why? Why would someone do that to a book that doesn't belong to them? Such casual misuse of public property really offends me, and the obvious disregard to other readers is very arrogant and self-centered. Sorry about the rant. Guess it isn't such a small peeve.

"There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." Frank Zappa

I'm looking forward to reading the last book in The Expanse book series which was released yesterday. The Wheel of Time series on Prime is keeping my interest. I read the books, but most of the changes in the show make it better. They can't put everything in the books in a show. Some good shows coming in December. The final season of Lost in Space on Netflix is out this week. The final season of the Expanse is on Prime next week. And the following week, the next season of The Witcher is on Netflix. Enough to keep me occupied and fill those hours when I'm not watching my granddaughter and working on my responsibilities to Pennwriters.

I hope the supply chain issues are interferring with your holiday preparations and shopping. With my children all grown, my granddaughter is the only one I had to search for gifts for. All done and wrapped and under the tree. I only send a few Christmas cards to people that I don't see very often. It will be nice not to visit the post office at this time of year. It was stressful last year when I worried about packages arriving on time or even arriving at all. And we all plan to be together again and that what really makes the holiday special for me.

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other." Audrey Hepburn

Anything particularly stressful about writing for you? Was Thanksgiving a good time for your family? Are your holiday plans coming along?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

IWSG: November 2021


Shiver. November brings us closer to winter. Yuch! But welcome to IWSG blog hop. Thank you to all the admins and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for starting this supportive group. Please visit more participants found on this list.

This month's optional question: What's more difficult, coming up with a book's title or writing the blurb?

Easy answer. The BLURB, hateful, hateful things. I've never had trouble with titles. My publisher has suggested changing a few and I've always agreed with their reasons. I'm glad for their insight.

I wish good luck to all of you participating in NaNo. Go for it!

Congrats to all the entries in the IWSG short story contest. I am continually impressed by the talents and creativity of this group's writers. Can't wait to add the latest to my keeper shelf.

If you live in the USA, I hope had a chance to vote yesterday. Amazing how big those school board races are this year.

One of my sons asked me to go with him to see The Eternals this weekend. Let's hope it's better than early reviews. I have hope because the reviewers have criticized many of the Marvel movies that I liked just fine.

I'm so happy with the new house. No steps, no outside maintenance, and lots of room. My office is great. The only thing I'm really missing is my fireplace. We have a gas fireplace but it's not the same as burning wood.

I hope everyone's day jobs are going okay. Three of my sons work in logistics so they are dealing with supply issues daily with lots of headaches. If you can't find your favorite team's baseball hat this Christmas, it's because my son couldn't ship them to stores because they're waiting on product. My son who is a teacher is having another challenging and frustrating year. Hope you're all doing better.

But it is a time to be thankful. Our family is healthy, employed, and mostly happy. And I can't post without mentioning that my granddaughter is lovely in all ways.

"I cannot change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." Jimmy Dean

How is your day job going, if you have one? Do you have difficulty with titles? Are you having any issues with the whole supply chain thing?

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

IWSG: October 2021


October already! Thanks to founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, our group of insecure writers continues to meet here in the blogosphere on the first Wednesday of every month. For the entire list of IWSG participants, go to this link. And make sure to check out the IWSG blog's present and past posts for some professional advice in all aspects of this challenging career of being a writer.

This month's optional question:

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

There are lines for me, some personal, and some professional. It's easier than ever to offend someone accidentally these days. The ways people can take offense are too varied and numerous to mention, but I try to stay educated on what I know and don't know. Nobody writes only what they know. How could I write from a male POV? How could I write from a futuristic space traveler's POV? I do the best I can though I know writers who have been attacked for their portrayal of a character when they 'were doing the best that they could do.'

Along more personal lines, I don't enjoy reading or watching a story with an abundance of swearing and cursing. Profanity can be realistic in many situations, but too much only distracts me from the dialogue or action. I use profanity quite sparingly. I also never write about children suffering or dying. Just can't do it. I also don't try to work current politics into my writing and hate it when writers do that. I read to escape the messy world not to be reminded of it.

I remembered as I titled this post that October is my blog birthday. I've been here on blogger since 2008. Happy birthday to Susan Says.

Busy weeks ahead for me with so many Zoom meetings, and I'm presenting a workshop at a mini-con in Erie, PA this Saturday. Not sure how many people will turn out for this in-person event, but I'm looking forward to sharing time and networking with other writers. If you live nearby, here is the link to The Writer's Road Trip along with the schedule.

Did any of you watch Le Brea? There has only been one episode of this new show, but it caught my interest. Hopefully, it will keep getting better. Network TV is still really lacking for me.

Those evil spotted-lantern flies are ruining fall here in PA. They are large, ugly bugs that stowed away in shipping containers from China. They jump on you anytime you're outside. They are extremely harmful to some trees and plants and they are really creepy when they get on you. My granddaughter loves to hunt them down. We spray them with diluted vinegar. Bug hunting is her current favorite activity.

"It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret to happiness." James M. Barrie

Hope you all are staying safe and healthy.

Where do you draw the lines in reading material and in writing? Have you caught Le Brea yet? Are you in an area cursed by the spotted-lantern fly? Have you attended any in-person writing events lately?

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

IWSG: September 2022


Welcome to the last quarter of 2021 and the first Wednesday of the month's bloghop, IWSG. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and the entire IWSG staff for this amazing group of supportive writers. I feel so grateful and fortunate to be part of IWSG. Find the entire group of participants here.

This month's optional question:

How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

What a question. I've been so busy lately, I've had little time to reflect on where I am in my own career. I always get a little thrill holding one of my books in my hands. I've had some financial success, but it's an up and down thing. I certainly couldn't live on what I make writing. I feel successful when I actually feel like a writer. When I'm submitting work even if it results in a rejection. When I working on changes from an editor. Those writer-ly things. This blog hop makes me feel like part of a community of serious writers. Am I successful? I would say moderately so, but I'm not sure where I should set the mark. When one of my books becomes a Netflix show? I count Nancy Springer as a successful writer friend. She writes the Enola Holmes series, has her Netflix show, but I know she keeps plugging away at the next book. We all keep on going and that's how we become successful.

"He conquers who endures." Italian Proverb

On to more business, my daughter is back from Jordan, thanks for all your wishes and prayers, but she's still in Boston. I'll be seeing her over Labor Day.

My husband is excited for the start of football season on all levels. Watching our son coach high school, cheering on Penn State, and watching Pro teams to cheer for his fantasy players. If not for Football, I would see no reason to have TV beyond streaming services at all.  I think all I watch on the screen are shows I've watched before. Background noise, mostly.

I pray the world stays open as the fall moves in with winter on its tail. I don't mind wearing a mask if it means the kids get to go to school and we can shop in stores.

I'm still indulging in not having to mow grass and no leaves to rake later this month. My granddaughter is keeping me busy and challenged. She keeps my mind young, but I'm not sure about the body keeping up with all that energy. We've been spending hours swimming, but it will be too cold for that soon.

Wish you all good books to read and flowing words to put on the page.

"The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money." Thomas Jefferson

Are you feeling successful in your career be it writing or other business? Are you watching something good or reading something great? Please share. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

IWSG: August 2021

 It can't really be August already, can it? It is the first Wednesday of the month and that means IWSG time. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the administrators of the IWSG group. This group has grown so far beyond the initial blog hop group. And it's still the best, most supportive, online writing group there is. Find the entire blog list here.

This month's optional question:

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

I think this has changed as I've learned and hopefully grown as a writer. I think the first craft book I really loved was The Comic Toolbox by John Vorhaus. Recently, I've kept Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes on the shelf I can reach without rolling my desk chair. The next book I have on my to-buy list is

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. 

There are so many resources out there for writers. As I type this post, I'm listening to a free two-hour workshop presented by Pennwriters for members on the Pros and Cons of Independent Publishing versus Traditional Publishing. Not all those available are free, but I have fewer physical writing books than I used to when I started.

I'm happy to report that I've moved and settled in my new home. I miss the country setting with deer in the backyard every day, but I don't miss mowing those acres. I enjoy walking where I'm not taking my life in my hands on a narrow country road.

We also cut the cable cord when we moved. It took my husband a while to learn how to navigate through the streaming services we have, but since we still have his favorite sports packages, he's happy. The savings are really great.

Best wishes to all the writers who submitted to the IWSG writing contest. Can't wait to add the next anthology to my keeper shelf.

A few writers groups I know are once again venturing out to meet in person. Please keep your fingers crossed for the mini-con being held in Erie, PA in October that we'll be able to share some in-person time even if we do have to mask. However it turns out, we will figure out a way to be together in the same room be it virtual or face-to-face.

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." Theodore Roosevelt

Have you been able to meet with some friends in person recently? Are you going to check out some of the craft books you'll read about today? Have any of you 'cut' the cable and are you happy with your decision?

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

IWSG: July 2021

 Oops. I'm really late and very apologetic. As some of you know, I'm in the middle of moving and have no internet at the moment. 

Happy IWSG day to everyone. I hope you're in the cool somewhere and have visited a lot of blogs today. Polish up those stories for the anthology. Can't wait to read them.

The Seventh Annual IWSG Anthology Contest!

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance

Theme: First Love

Submissions accepted: May 7 - September 1, 2021

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. You must belong to at least one aspect of the IWSG to enter.

* A short reminder on the characteristics of a sweet romance. 

Overall, your story should be clean of offensive material, including profanity, vulgarity, excessive violence, or sexually explicit or suggestive scenes. 

Elements in your story should focus on romance, not on sex, which should be kept “behind closed doors.”

The overall plot should lead to a positive and uplifting outcome, also known as "happily ever after."

Absolutely no erotica or pornography.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

I'm thrilled to be a judge. I need some entertainment right now.

This month's question on what would make me stop writing?  Well, I've written almost nothing over the last 15 months, but that has nothing to do with desire. Too many other things have taken up my time. I do know grief makes it impossible for me to write, but I've always come back to it. So, I'm  not sure I will stop until I'm physically unable.

Are you thinking romantic plots for the contest? Are you managing the heat where you are? My daughter is in Jordan and a number of days in the last two weeks, we've been hotter than her. And the desert cools down at night whereas we haven't been.  Have you experienced the hectic chaos of moving to a new home recently?