Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG: September 2020


Welcome to the monthly blog hop of The Insecure Writers Support Group. This dynamic group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and led by a group of amazing administrators, posts once a month to share our insecurities, knowledge, and to encourage each other.  Find the entire list here.

This month's optional question: If you choose one author, living or not, to be your beta reader, who would it be and why?

That is a tough one. First, I would be completely intimidated by my choice. Brandon Sanderson is my likely first pick. He writes big books and I would love to see his series bibles for all his different series. He writes epic heroes, but they are perfectly flawed and often insecure. They make so many human mistakes, and he conveys their inner voices so well.

2020 has flown by and yet few of us can wait for it to be over and done with. Not that flipping a page on a calendar really wipes away the previous months. The stresses are many and the escapes few. It's easier for people like me who are mostly content to stay home, write and read, and who need only occasional trips to the grocery store. Though I still have to worry about my family as they all continue to go to work each day. I hope you all are doing okay. Remember to reach out with a phone call or email to someone who might be feeling alone. It will lift your spirits also.

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

I'll be perfectly happy to never attend another Zoom meeting. But I have two this week and more in the days to come. I can't imagine what it is like for students and teachers to spend all day on it. On the 12th, I'm attending a virtual writers conference. We'll see how that goes.😕

I'm looking forward to The Boys returning for season 2 on Amazon in a few days. I'll also check out the new HBO offering, Raised by Wolves. There is so little new things to entertain. Good thing I enjoy books!

My granddaughter starts pre-school next week. Just two mornings each week, but I feel like I'm throwing her into the wild. LOL  It didn't bother me at all to send my own children off to school. Being a grandparent is really different. Though I'll miss having my little shadow by my side for 8 or 9 hours per day, I'm excited for her to spread her wings and learn her way. She is three and a half. About time she gets going.

"It's great to arrive, but the trip's always most of the fun." Malcolm Forbes

Who would you like as a beta reader for your work? How are you entertaining yourself and family during the restrictions? Are you keeping in touch with friends and family?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Keep Writing With Frey

 Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!


When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:


·        Writer's block

·        Depression

·        Writer's burnout

·        What a writer doesn’t need to succeed

·        Finding creativity boosts


With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing.





Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo





When I shared my story about depression and writer’s burnout, I received many emails, comments, and Facebook messages from other writers thanking me for my bravery and telling me about their own trials. That really put into perspective for me how many people suffer from depression and/or burnout in silence. I had no idea those individuals were impacted by these things, just as they hadn’t known that I was, because my outward presence to others was always happy and smiley and bright.

After the supportive response and upon realizing how many writers in my online circles were struggling, too, I wanted to do something to help. I was candid with my experiences and blogged about the things that assisted me through the rough times in the hope that it would aid others.

During this time, I recognized the need for writers to receive support, guidance, tips, reminders, and encouragement during their writer’s block, depression, and burnout. That’s how I got the idea for this book. A book not just about depression or only about writer’s block, but both, and much more.

Since you have picked up this book, that means you may need assistance with one or all of these areas, and I sincerely hope you find what you need here…that tiny spark to get you through whatever you are going through.

As always, keep writing.

Keep believing.

Keep dreaming.

Chrys Fey



Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout.



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG: August 2020

How can it be August already? Yet, I know it is because it's time for the IWSG blog hop. Please find the other participants in this blog hop here. Thank you to all those who keep this monthly event going and to Alex J. Cavanaugh for bringing us all together in the first place.

Skipping this month's optional question, let me get right to the whining part. Never mind. My family is fortunate to not have lost anyone during the pandemic though it has brought varying levels of stress to us as it has to the entire world. I know we've been blessed that none of us have lost our jobs and we haven't had to worry about money anymore than usual. So no whining this month.

Like many writers, I don't mind avoiding social gatherings. Trapped at home with my writing and my books! I've gotten much more done than if we'd been doing more traveling and socializing over the past months.

I'm a little bit Zoomed out, but there's no end to that in sight. I am tentatively scheduled to go to a one day writers conference in Erie in October. I love the optimism involved in planning it and really hope we can actually get together.

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther

I really enjoyed season 2 of The Umbrella Academy. The last season of the dystopian show I've always enjoyed, The 100, has been disappointing. TNT's The Alienist is darker and grimmer than ever. I enjoyed the books and watch the show but it's not for the faint-hearted. It's always so horrifying how terrible life was for the poor during those times. Not that's it's so great now.

My husband is clinging to some hope that there will be some kind of football this fall. I'm not so hopeful, but I've talked him into a lot of home repairs because he's been bored.

Funny story from my baby brother. He's a self-employed lumberjack. And he looks like one, big and strong. But when the pandemic started, he asked and was told he had to shut down. According to him, it took the state government about two weeks to figure out where toilet paper comes from. Not that anyone is accusing the government of not thinking things through, but according to my brother, the temporary toilet paper shortage was all about the lumberjacks. After a few days of shutting down, he was told he could cut trees again. He was after all, an essential worker.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it more complicated."  Confucius

Writing it going okay. About a month behind where I wanted to be, but I hope to be done with the first draft of my WIP by the end of the month. The good news is that I have two beta readers whom I really trust, so once I get my part done, I'm looking forward to their input.

I'm driving north to Boston to pick up my daughter and bring her home for a week. She'll return to Boston University then to teach and continue her own academic program. The good thing is that BU has their own testing and labs so she doesn't have to quarantine for two weeks.

Has your life been simpler or more complicated lately? Have you been stuck at home recently and is that good or bad? Did you know where toilet paper comes from or is that only state officials who didn't understand how we get paper?

Hope you're all doing well and staying safe. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG: July 2020 Version

It can't be half way through 2020, though lots of people can't wait for the year to be over. Just when we think things can only get better, there's another smack in the face. At least we have the IWSG friends to suffer, cheer, and empathize with all our woes and worries. Thanks to founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and his team, we have this amazing group. Find everyone on this list.

This month's optional question:
 There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

It would be nice if technology could stop book pirates, though I doubt that's possible. I expect to see some of the big industry publishers suffering as they stubbornly refuse to keep up with changes. I hope that small presses and indie-published writers will find more ways to meet readers and get in bookstores and libraries.

Things I'm still missing as our state crawls toward reopening: (none of them as important as people's health)

The library is open for ordering and curbside pickup. That's nice but it doesn't give me the chance to browse for some new authors. I think next week we'll be able to go in. I also miss taking my granddaughter to their programs and to play in the children's section.

I do miss coffee with my friends and a chance to hang out at Panera or Starbucks while we catch up. Though some of those places are open, we haven't tried to dining out yet.

I am so tired of watching the same things over and over again on TV or not being able to find anything to watch. I did just start watching The Boys on Amazon. I don't know why I put it off. It's not my favorite. It's horrifying and actually probably how super beings would really act if they existed. They wouldn't be Steve Rogers.

And who bought all the jigsaw puzzles? I'm a puzzle nut, the bigger and more difficult, the better. They're gone! How dare all those amateurs buy my puzzles? LOL  I figured bikes and puzzles will be huge items at upcoming yardsales.

That's enough whining for now except for one more thing. Still waiting to get into my hairdresser. My hair hasn't been this long for more than decade.

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abraham Lincoln

Writing is going well though not as fast as I'd like. Don't judge me, Jo!

What do you see coming for the writing industry? Have you dined out recently? Did you buy my jigsaw puzzles? Any thing you're really, really missing during shut down?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG: June 2020

Wow. I almost put the wrong date in the title. How can it be June already? The first Wednesday of the month means time for IWSG. Thanks to the founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, we meet every month and share the woes and victories of being writers. Find the entire list of bloggers here on the IWSG blog.

This month's optional question: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours? Something readers would never know from your work?

Readers of this blog probably know plenty about me. I can't think of any real secrets I keep from my blogger friends. I'm such a regular, average person that I can't think of one secret to share. But I'm interested to read about yours.

One bit of news I would like to share. I've been elected president of Pennwriters, a state-wide writers group. I've been a member for many years and on the board for the last five. It's a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. Pennwriters has done so much for me from the time I was a total newbie to now, that I feel like it's my time to give back. If you live in Pennsylvania or any of the surrounding states, you should check out our group. We have a mini-con in Erie in the fall and a large conference coming up in May in Pittsburgh. We had to cancel this year because of the pandemic, but we're staying positive about next year. The future is completely unpredictable.

"Real life seems to have no plots." Ivy Compton-Burnett

I'm working hard on my WIP, which is the last book in my fantasy series. If you recall from earlier posts, the first book was published by a small press who closed their doors right before the second book came out. I still need a publisher or I need to decide to self-publish. I'm going to checking out L. Diane Wolfe's upcoming seminars next week. No matter which road I take, I can always learn something about promotion.

I have been suffering some eye strain between writing and working for Pennwriters. Good thing there is nothing to watch on TV. I've been skipping that screen entirely. The news is the worst of it, too.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

I visited a bookstore yesterday for the first time in about two months. Our libraries aren't open yet. I miss the library. I haven't really missed most of the other stores that are closed, but when they open I intend to to support my local small business as best as I can. Later this week, I'm going to an independent bookstore and buy some books I don't have time to read. I know the owner and want her to stay in business. She is very welcoming to local authors and holds events all the time.

Are you keeping secrets? Has your life returned to anything like normal? What have you missed the most when everything was closed? Do you have too much screen time lately?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG: May 2020

It's been a long month for lots of people. I'm truly grateful that my family is healthy at this point and that my children are all still working and don't have to worry about their incomes. I hope all is well at your house. Because I have siblings scattered across the USA, I'm getting insight into many parts of the country and how things actually are rather than the news reports on TV.

But on to the IWSG, a terrific online group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh where writers support each other with cheers, empathy, and share amazing advice. Visit this list of find all the participants.

I'm skipping this month's questions though I look forward to seeing the responses of other participants. I'm not a ritual kind of person.

I do have my own insecurities this month. With the current state of affairs around the world, more and more business is being done online. Meetings, promotions, and social interaction is taking place on numerous platforms. It seems I'm learning of new technology everyday. And b ecause of my responsibilities to my writing group, Pennwriters, I need to use some of this technology. And I don't know what I'm doing! The learning curve seems to sharp! I need to know now! Sorry for all the !!!!, but I am stressed about it. All I know how to do is keep stumbling forward.

Moving on to another depressing item. The rain has been horrific here in Pennsylvania. It rained most of April and May started out with a day of flooding. Weeds, weeds, everywhere. I can't keep up with them.

TV is so bad right now. The season ending of Prodigal Son was really good, but who knows when next season will be filmed. I only averaged about an hour of live TV per day before the pandemic. Now, most days I only watch a half an hour of local news. I am going to watch the new season of Medici on Netflix.

Despite all the pain of dealing with technology, I'm getting a lot of writing done and reading an hour or more every day. Jo On Food, Like, and Scent of Chocolate knows what I'm working on. I'm also getting a lot of walking in though the rain has interfered with that some days.

Granddaughter is a joy. She makes us laugh so much. Two days ago, we had to watch a snake sunning itself in the front yard for twenty minutes. It's amazing to watch her little mind being curious about everything.

My blog has been a bit inactive the last six months. If you would like to do a guest post or a promo post, please let me know. I would love to have you appear here.

Have you been forced to attend or organize more online stuff since we've all been staying at home? How are you entertaining yourself? Is it spring yet in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG: April 2020 & Dragon's Heart

I can't believe it's April. And all I hope for this month is for all of you and your family and friends to be safe and healthy. Thanks to the administrators of IWSG for all the work they do and to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group.  Find all the entire list of participants here.

The question this month: How are things in your world?

All fine, so far. My husband and I are staying home except for a few careful trips to the grocery store. My granddaughter's parents are teachers, so they're working from home. I'm only watching her a few hours per week while they attend various Zoom meetings. I like being at home so the order to remain there doesn't bother me even a bit. I live in the country, so going outside for a walk doesn't bring me into social contact.

One bit of stress that I mentioned last month has now been relieved. My Pennwriters Conference that was supposed to be in May was being held hostage by the hotel. Even though we were supposed to hold any large gatherings, they wanted to hold us to the cancellation penalty of many thousands of dollars and wouldn't let us invoke the national emergency clause. Finally, last week they gave in, but only after we contacted a lawyer. I get that they're losing lots of money, but geez....

That said, there are many people I'm worried about. I have a number of older relatives and many, many older friends. Four of my five sons still have to go to work. My daughter is far away in Boston. My one sister lives in Washington State in a small town not far from Seattle. She might have been safely out of it until the Seattle residents invaded their town and wiped out all the little stores of supplies. I have a sister who lives outside New Orleans, and we know how dangerous that piece of real estate has become. So many of my former students are in the medical field and a number are police officers. I'm worried about them. I'm worried about small business owners. I'm worried about all those people who live paycheck to paycheck. I can't even imagine what is happening in some parts of the world.

I'm  not going sleepless. It's more like a constant low-level feeling of something wrong that is with me all the time. Please stay home and stay safe.

On the writing front, all this force time at home has given me time to get back to writing. Five thousand words last week and hope for the same this week. And in other good news, today is the release day for Dragon's Heart by David P. King. Read all about it.

Dragon’s Heart 

A princess. A dragon. Their quest.

Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy.

She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses.


“King has gifted us an immersive world, filled with memorable characters. What an adventure! All fantasy novels should have this kind of momentum.”
                               - Carrie Butler, author of the award-winning Mark of Nexus series

About the author:

David was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to write. His works include the internationally published YA Fantasy Woven and The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He now lives in the mountain West with his wife and four children.

Are you staying home? Do you have to go into work? Are you finding writing easy or difficult during this time? How cool is David's cover? I love a quest to break a curse.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG: March 2020

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post, but it's the first Wednesday of a new month and that means IWSG blog hop. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, this vibrant group on this list support each other not just once a month but whenever called upon.

I'm skipping this month's question since I only had the simple answer of 'no.' Instead, I'm going to whine about a major distraction interfering with my work on my newest project. Except I can't yet. It's too secret. LOL  I'll fill you in next month.

In the meantime, I'm working on the outline for the last book in my fantasy series and ready to search out a publisher willing to take on a series that has already had the first book published and then unpublished when the small press closed. I've decided if I don't find a publisher by the time I complete the last book, I will self-publish. Something I didn't want to do, but will.

"Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th." Julie Andrews

In the meantime, a special shout-out to my friend, Jo, for help she's been giving me. And not just advice from my Insta Pot.

My granddaughter turned 3 yesterday. It goes so fast. She is so much fun and exhausting for her old grandmother. The best use of my time is spending it with her.

TV is so boring.... But Supernatural is back on soon. What else is there to watch. I tried a few shows on Netflix and Amazon. Couldn't get into any of them. This is giving me lots of time to read and work on that distraction. I'm rewatching Stargate Atlantis on Amazon for now. I loved that show when it was on. More than the original.

The unusually warm weather is making me anxious for spring. The bulbs are all sprouting already so I guess it's well on its way. I don't miss the snow and cold, but I did think I would get to sled ride and build snowmen with my granddaughter a little. She did learn the joy of throwing snowballs at me this season.

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

Have you had a warm winter? Any thing good on Netflix or Amazon? How is the writing going? Are you going to any conferences or other traveling or is the coronavirus interfering? I've heard of things being canceled or put on hold.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

IWSG: February 2020

Welcome to another month's addition of Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. Thanks to all the great administrators for IWSG and Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing group. Find the entire list of participants here.

I'm going to skip this month's optional question and get right to some insecurities. And there are a few.

First, I haven't been very good at visiting my blogging friends the past few months. I promise to do better.

Second, I've been preparing my second fantasy series to send out to publishers I've identified who might take on a previously published book. As I've mentioned the first book in the series was published for a about a year by a small press and then they folded a few weeks before the second book was due to be released. Both books have been through extensive edits so I'm mostly refreshing my connection to my characters before I write the third book. The first book sold well while available. I sold out of every copy of every book signing I did for it. Now, I hope to get it back out there while I'm writing the third book. No matter how many books I've had published, the submission process is stressful.

Third, I'm so busy with the Pennwriters state-wide writing group where I serve on the board. So much goes on behind the scenes which I'm sure the masterminds behind IWSG will empathize with. It's been very time and emotionally consuming for a few months now, but I think I see a light at the end. If you're not too far from PA, I hope you'll consider our conference being held in Lancaster this May.

All this really makes me feel spread a little thin. A few concerns with the extended family including my baby sister finally leaving an abusive husband has added to a stressful end of 2019 and start of 2020. 

LOL. Thanks for the therapy session, IWSG. Really, I've very lucky and surrounded by a loving family and friends. My problems are small compared to so many.

Good things going on! My granddaughter is such a delight. She's is like my shadow for 8 or more hours per day. She is so well behaved and easy to take care of. Another blessing on my plate. My daughter is doing great in Boston and has been asked by one of her professors to serve as a editor for his academic book. This is the second time she's been asked to do this kind of work. The last book was in Arabic. Not sure about this one.

TV is in a blah period. How many times can I re-watch The Witcher? Supernatural is on break. Evil finished its season as did Emergence. Sometime in the next year, my husband and I are cutting the cable. I'm taking notes from those who have already. I already have Prime and Netflix. I'll need Hulu to get local programming. What else would you recommend?

What are your insecurities this month? Do you still pay for cable? Anything good I should check out on Netflix or Prime. You guys always give me the best recommendations.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

IWSG: January2020!

2020!!! Wow! Ready or not, it's a new decade. Will we be blogging still in the next decade? Who knows. But for 2020, IWSG group is still the best there is. Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group offers support and assistance to new and veteran writers. Find the entire list here and don't forget to check out the guidelines for next week's Twitter pitch opportunity.

This month's optional question: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

My 9th grade English teacher had us read The Hobbit. Then she lent me her own copies of Lord of the Rings. I was hooked on fantasy, but I wasn't really thinking about being a writer at all. I'd always loved reading and continued into adulthood and parenthood though there were years I was so busy I barely opened a book for pleasure. Almost thirty years after that dedicated and inspiring teacher turned me onto Tolkien, I created my own fantasy novel. Once I started writing, I knew I would never quit. As a busy mother, teacher, and coach, knowing I would be a writer didn't suddenly come to me. It was a plan. A plan for me to have some time for what I wanted. Usually that time was 10 PM to midnight, but it was mine.

Writing Business
I've been stuck. The space opera romance I've been working on just isn't flowing. I like my characters and know where the story is going, but I can't seem to sit down and write it. I brooded on it for most of the last four months and then decided I needed to set it aside for now. Instead of writing new stuff, I pulled out the manuscript of First Dragon, the first book in my second fantasy series that was previously published by a small press that went out of business. I'm determined to get that book back in print this year as well as the second book which has been through two rounds of editing by the now defunct publisher. Only a few independent publishers will consider a book that has been previously published. I'm making a list and checking it twice.

How good is The Witcher? Really, really good. I've watched it three times. The first one left me confused until near the last two episodes. The story is told along multiple timelines and it took me two viewings to totally figure it out. Then I watched the third time just to enjoy the Witcher's interactions with others. So much humor I missed at first though it is a dark, violent show.  I wasn't over-the-moon thrilled with the fourth season of The Expanse but it was okay. Hoping season 5 is better. The Bone Collector is a new show premiering on Friday. I'm going to check it out. Criminal Minds returns tonight for its last season. It's a creepy how, I'm going to watch anyway.

Happy New Year to you all. Our holidays were fun and stress-free. I'm grateful everyday that our children all get along with each other and us. They love spending time together. As they get older and busier, those times become more precious and appreciated. 

"May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart." Inuit proverb

I'm a long time member of RWA. If you've heard about anything going on with that largest of writers' organization, you'll understand how incredible it all is. Members like me who have only casually paid attention to the leadership don't even know what to think. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. That's all I have to say about it.

We've had our first real snow and I'll be taking my daughter sled riding today. And she wants to build a snowman just like Olaf. Yes, we're there already. Frozen has entered her understanding of the world. LOL

Have you watched The Witcher? Were your holidays pleasant? Are you enjoying any snow? Participating in the Twitter pitch?