Wednesday, August 3, 2022

IWSG: August 2022


It's time once again for the monthly meeting of the IWSG. Thank you to the IWSG admins and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for starting this group where writers can support each other in victory and setbacks. Find the entire list here.

This month's optional question:  When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I always try to make the story what I want it to be. But in my writing persona, Susan Kelley, where I write romance I do have to follow some reader expectations. In order to be called a romance, a novel must have a HEA, Happily Ever After. If it doesn't have that, it's not a romance. Romance readers expect that and you want them to come back for more.

In my fantasy novels, I also make sure there is a 'hero's journey' which is the expectation. There are endless ways to make that journey interesting. 

I've been putting the hours in at my keyboard and have written thousands of words in the past month. It's nice to be back at it.

I'm enjoying the first full summer in my new townhouse where I don't have to do any outside work in this heat. I can do my daily walk and then enjoy the pool. I feel so pampered. I've read a lot of books and enjoyed numerous jigsaw puzzles during the hours I would have been sweating outside. 

"To desire nothing beyond what you have is surely happiness." Carleton Mitchell

Summer is a busy social month for us. Lots of anniversaries, birthdays, and this year, my daughter's wedding reception and my step-granddaughter's graduation. It's so nice to get together though I've had enough party food and drink for a while.

I feel bad for families with teenagers when they have to grocery shop. I know how much teenagers eat and I'm not sure how they can afford food. My husband and I are old enough that we don't eat large quantities, but it still is a shock each time I shop. Hope you're all doing okay and managing.

Do you write toward trends or what is currently 'in' or do you do your own thing? Are you staying cool in the heat of summer? Have you any TV or book recommendations?

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

IWSG: July 2022

 Another month has flown by and it's time for the monthly IWSG bloghop. Thank you to the IWSG admins and our founder Alex J. Cavanaugh. Please see the entire list of blog participating on this list.

This month's optional question: If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

LOL. Most of the books I read are set in worlds at war or medieval mysteries or fantasies. I love reading about them, but I don't want to live there! I don't want to live where there is no running water or central air or where women are second-class citizens and die in childbirth very often. I would love to live in a peaceful, futuristic world though that might make a dull book, it would be great to live in. I want to travel through space and see what's out there! I guess I would like to live in Star Trek's world without the conflicts.

"We cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know." Loren Eiseley

I would like to thank all of you who read my book, The Keepers of Sulbreth, for the IWSG Goodreads Book Club. I'm so honored to have been featured for this book of my heart.

I'm still writing though not as much as I would like. I'm planning my daughter's wedding reception. She and her wife eloped in May but now we're having a small local gathering. Seems there's always something more that needs doing.

I enjoyed the latest season of The Umbrella Academy. Not my favorite but okay. Stranger Things held my interest though I don't think any season has been as good as the first one. I watched The Terminal List on Prime. Definitely not light fare. I stopped watching The Boys. It seemed like each episode was trying to outdo the previous in grossness.

The warm weather has been great for walking and swimming. I love the heat as long as I can jump in the pool afterward. I've put some traveling plans on hold while I hope for gas prices to regain some sanity. Not entirely hopeful that will happen soon. So, I might spend my summer writing, walking, and swimming. Not too bad.

"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking." Friedrich Nietzsche

Is there a literary world you'd like to live in? Does your mind work creatively while you exercise? Any travel plans? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG: June 2022


Time is jetting past me. Here it is, June already and it's time for the monthly IWSG blog hop. I hope you'll join us for lots of info and sharing of joy and grief of being in the writing field. Thanks to our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is going strong. Find all the blog hop participants here.

This month's question:

When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If you have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

Tough to answer. It depends on what the 'tough' part is. Recently, as I whined about in this group, I've been unbelievably busy because I was a coordinator for a writers' conference. The desire to write was here but not the time. The conference was a big success and is finally over so I'm happy to report, that I'm back to writing. 

There have been times when I've been emotionally spent and not able to write, but they've passed. We all have those days, months, and even years. Attending events such as the above-mentioned conference is always good for my motivation. Sometimes, reading a favorite author is what does it. I don't think there is one good answer that works for every writer and in every situation.

"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." Marilyn Von Savant

The new season of Stanger Things entertained but parts of it moved really slow. That show is always more interesting when all the characters are together in their fight against the Upside Down. I really like Halo. I never played the video game so I had no expectations. Dr. Strange was okay but nothing exceptional. I found the second season of Picard disappointing. The Boys returns with a new season on Amazon in a few days. That show is so violent and crazy that I can't look away.

I love the heat of summer. I hope you all have a pool to cool off in when the temperatures rise. Having moved into a townhouse, I'm thrilled to not have to worry about the lawn or the flower beds. I have a lovely porch to sit on while I read. I have a few short trips planned for the next few months. Can't wait to get away. (If I can afford the fuel)

What gets you over the hump or back in the game when the muse is hiding from you? Any plans for summer vacations? Do you like the heat? Read or watch anything interesting lately?

"You can't wait for inspiration. Sometimes you have to go after it with a club." Jack London

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

IWSG: May 2022

 Welcome to the May version of IWSG. Thanks to founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, we meet every month in this blog hop to share hopes, failures, and dreams coming true. Notice my positive wording. Find the list of all participants here.

First my apologies. For the first time ever, I missed posting last month. I've been buried planning the Pennwriters 35th Annual Writers Conference. There is so much to do and endless communications to be dealt with. It will all be over in 10 days or so and I hope I can return to my writing life and reconnect with my friends in the blogosphere. I feel like I haven't done anything for my own writing career for two years now. Time to get back to it.

It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Crappy times have been the last two years when I've made almost no headway into the two novels I've started. I'm getting back to them very soon. Writer highs? That first contract. The first advance I ever received. The first time I led a workshop at a conference. The few book signings when I sold out of books. There have been a few. But I feel that writerly-high when I'm sitting at my computer and the words flow for page after page. I want to get back there.

"Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement."  W. Clement Stone

I'm loving Halo on Paramount. I'm not a video gamer at all, but I really enjoy the show. Moon Knight doesn't do much for me but it has moments of good entertainment. I'll be watching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds later this week and there are lots of things coming in the next few months. Joe Pickett on /Paramount. I love those books by CJ Box. The Boys coming back to Amazon in June and then The Umbrella Academy later that month.

I will likely get a large pile of books at the conference to read over the summer. I'm looking forward to getting back to swimming in a few weeks though the water will be cold. 

What gets you high on writing? Is spring waking new ideas and plans for you? Is anything good coming your way from the entertainment industry?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

IWSG: March 2022


Welcome to the monthly blog hop with IWSG. This amazing group keeps going and going. Thank you to all the admins who keep it dynamic and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Find the entire list of blog participants on this list.

This month's optional question that I usually answer:

Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

Not really. I have been surprised by another writer's take on two different stories I had written. She suggested the science I was using could be misconstrued. Well, I tried to explain science is science but she didn't really care. I didn't debate, though it reminded me that there are lots of opinions from many different people and we'll never all agree.

Onto recent entertainment. Peacemaker was profane and hilarious. No deep thinking needed. I enjoyed Reacher on Prime. Much closer to the book character than the Tom Cruise movies. 1883 on Paramount shredded my heart. I've often wondered when driving through Kansas how those people drove covered wagons over that landscape. The show didn't skip on the brutality of nature, the greed of men, and the inner strength and determination of the settlers. I highly recommend it.

My writing has been nearly zero as I help the conference coordinator for the 35th Annual Pennwriters Conference being held in Lancaster, PA from May 12-15th. There is so much behind the scenes work. I currently have 15 different sticky notes on my desk and four other lists of things to do. It will be worth it to see other writers in-person again.

I hope everyone is safe in this crazy world. I feel very lucky to have a nice home and no huge concerns about my financial situation though if gas and food prices keep going that could change. I wish magic was real and could fix the world. In my only little corner, I can only be as kind as I can and hope it spreads to a few more.

"No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of another." Charles Dickens

Have any parts of your writing given you pause or second thoughts? Have you watched 1883? Did it break your heart, also? What is keeping you busy?

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

IWSG: February 2022


Hope you're joining me to read all the great posts for this month's IWSG blog hop. As usual, thank you to the founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and all the IWSG admins for doing so much work to keep this group growing and vibrant.  Please check out the entire list of bloggers.

Today's optional question:

Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?

Jo Wake, my friend who I never met in person. She beta-read my work and mentored me on use of my Instapot. I still cry a little as I write this. I will never forget her. She loved reading and learning new things. She loved to cook. She's was one tough old-bird. Since I'm fast approaching the old-bird stage, I hope I'll remain as sharp and active as Jo was. I admired her so much and I know many others did also.

"To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever."  Henry Drummond

Another influence for me was my father. He actually died on this date 28 years ago as a relatively young man. He loved to read and was mostly self-educated. He kept a dictionary beside his chair to look up words. His vocabulary was amazing. He dropped out of high school to join the army and fight in WW II. After he retired, he read book after book and turned a bedroom into his library. All non-fiction. I think I caught my love of reading and learning from him.

"The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark."  Thomas Paine

I didn't Jeremy personally, but I have two of his tee-shirts. He was a very creative guy and the world is poorer for his loss. I'm going to check out some more of them.

I've been reading a lot and writing a little. I need to even those out a little. Preparing for the Pennwriters Annual Conference being held in May has been consuming all my screen time. If you ever attend a conference, spare a thought for all the work that went into making it happen and run smoothly.

The Expanse ended its run after six seasons on Prime, but there's still story to tell. I would love for them to have a season to finish all the story told in the books. Peacemaker on HBO Max is hilarious and a little bit obscene. I'm also really enjoying 1883 on Paramount. It's gritty and entertaining.

Have you had someone influence your writing? Have any writing events in your future? Watching anything good?

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?