Wednesday, December 6, 2023

IWSG: December 2023

Welcome to the IWSG blog hop. Thanks to all the admins of IWSG and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh for keeping this group so dynamic and amazing. It just gets better and better. Check out all the participants on this list. Share your insecurities and let us lift each other up.

This month's optional question:

Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book reviews do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

For me, it's always about what I liked about the book and the writing. I admit to never leaving negative reviews though I might mention something that I didn't like. If I couldn't finish a book or hated something about it, I just don't review it. As a writer, I know how discouraging negative reviews can be and they do help one grow as a writer, but I just can't do it to a fellow author.

I've been hard at work getting the second book in The Morbunda Trilogy, War Dragon, ready to be released. I'm pleased to say it is as of a few days ago. I'm spending this month doing the same with the third and final book in the series. Doing some painful final edits right now.

I'm going into the holiday season being extremely thankful for all I have. A nice house, a steady income, a wonderful, mostly healthy family, and many friends. I have time to do the things I enjoy and am blessed to find joy in many things so I'm never bored. My grown-up Christmas wish is that everyone, or at least more people, could have what I have.

"We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives." John F. Kennedy

I've been working out on my elliptical watching some oldies but goodies like Grimm, Fringe, and the first season of Halo. Most of my entertainment hours are spend reading and doing my most recent jigsaw puzzle.

In the meantime, here's some information about War Dragon.

Battles have been fought. But now it’s war as only a dragon can fight one.

 The invading army rises from winter’s lull and pushes south. Little stands in the way of the fanatics.

 Lady Lyla Logan journeys south to seek help from the great cities beyond the desert even as she grapples with the powerful magic roiling inside her.

 Kerik and Lord Donal Logan lead their few allies and attack the fringes of the Bellamite horde with ambushes and sabotage.

 All the embattled allies face their own fragilities and fears as war rolls over the land and anyone in its path. The freedom of mankind rest on them as they gather the last of their strengths and hopes.

Available through Amazon Kindle and Amazon Paperback.

Do you do many book reviews? Are you looking forward to the holiday season? Do you notice I got through an entire post without complaining about the cold?

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

IWSG: November 2023


Whew, November already. Thanks to all the admins at IWSG and our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, we're still going strong with our monthly supportive blog hop. Please find the entire list of participants here.

This month's optional question:

November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I have never participated in NaNo and likely never will. It's not how I write, with that hurried urgency to just get words on the page. I admire those who do and will cheer them on. I know many writers have written successful novels during NaNo. I won't be one of them.

I am working on new writing and getting work done of the books I received my rights back from the publishers who previously held them. Not all the books were published before I took back the rights, but most of them have already been through multiple rounds of edits.

My big news is that with the help of others, I've re-released First Dragon, Book One of The Morbunda Trilogy. 

Birthed in fire. Bound by family.
A fast-paced tale of a war smoldering for centuries and waiting for a spark to burn down the fragile peace. The foundling, Kerik, learns his true nature as war rolls over the land of Morbunda. Everyone he cares about is in danger and only he has the power to keep them safe. But can one dragon stand against an entire invading army?

Find First Dragon on Amazon in ebook and print.

I'm busy doing final line edits on the second book, War Dragon. And still working on my new stuff which is a change for me. Usually, I tend to only work on one project at a time.

Not that there's anything to distract me on TV. This week I'm going to try Bodies on Netflix. Nothing else interests me right now. But I've kicked my workouts into a higher gear and am back to jogging after almost two years of walking only. I'm sooooo slow, but it still feels good and I've lost some weight. I hope I can keep it going as cold weather creeps in to ruin my days.

I hope those of you in the USA have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. The family all comes to my house so I'll be busy and exhausted but also surrounded by love and fun. Everyone gets along and there's never drama. I wish that all for you also.

Are you doing NaNo? Are you dreading the cold like I am? Having Thanksgiving at your house?

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

IWSG: October 2023


Here we are again. Time for the IWSG blog hop. Thanks to founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and all the admins of this amazing group. Please share your woes and victories so we can support you and celebrate you. Find the entire list of participants here.

This month's optional question:

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

I think AI is the biggest threat to writers there is, and it's only going to get smarter. The Hollywood strike really alerted us to their concerns. If I'm correct in what I know, AI could read a few books you've written and then create a new book using your voice. Not that anyone would want to do that to me, but I think big-name writers need to be aware. It's already been done for music. Soon art? I hope that humanity continues to want human-created content and art, but I fear the point will come when machine generated material will replace so much. A disclaimer here, I'm not even close to an expert on what AI can do, but I'm not sure anyone else is either.

I do know a few fiction writers who have embraced it. I don't understand how they think it improves their work. My family jokes about the coming of Skynet of Terminator fame, but I'm starting to wonder if reality is getting closer to fiction.

But as usual, I just keep on going and doing my thing. I wrote about 10K in my newest work this past month, and I almost have my re-releases ready on Amazon. 

A few entertainment things have given me an hour or two of mindlessness. The second season of the Wheel of Time is underway. I try to appreciate it for what it is and not compare it too much to the books. I find it 'okay.' The second season of Loki starts tomorrow. I'll probably watch it. I started to watch two new shows, Irrational and Found. Not sold but I'll tune in a few more times.

I'm going to a one day conference in Erie later this month. I'm excited about it.

This month marks my blogging anniversary. I started this blog in 2008 so I've been here a long time. I'm not as active as I used to be but I still enjoy keeping up with all my blogging friends. I would love to have you follow me on Instagram and Twitter also.

Are you embracing AI or wearing a foil cap? Getting any writing done? How long have you been blogging?

Monday, September 11, 2023

In Darkness: The Werewolf

 I'm so pleased to welcome L. Diane Wolfe to my blog for a guest post in celebration of the next installment of her In Darkness series, The Werewolf. Most of us know something about Werewolf legends, but how did it all start? Diane is here to tell you.

How the Werewolf Legend Began


The werewolf legend dates back at least 2000 years. Maybe even more.


In Greek mythology. A king called Lycaon served Zeus a dish of his slaughtered son, and as punishment, Zeus transformed Lycaon into a wolf and killed his fifty sons. (Probably where the term “lycan” comes from.) There is also a man called Damarchus who was turned into a wolf after eating the entrails of a human child sacrificed to Zeus. These men were both of Arcadia and there are several other instances of Arcadians being turned into wolves.


In Virgil’s poetic work Eclogues, a man named Moeris uses herbs and poisons to turn himself into a wolf. In Gaius’ The Satyricon, Niceros tells the story of a friend who turned into a wolf. Early Christian authors also mentioned men turning into wolves.


Medieval Europe saw a widespread belief in werewolves. They were mentioned in law codes, religious writings & teachings, and many forms of literature. The word werewolf is German but never appears in medieval German poems or prose. The persistence of werewolf tales continued longest in Scandanavia, including berserkers who wore the skins of wolves.


In more modern times, there were numerous werewolf novels in the early 20th century. The legend gained widespread appeal through movies such as The Wolf Man. It continued with films such as An American Werewolf in London and The Howling. Even in games the myth was represented, with Dungeons & Dragons featuring a lycanthrope, a humanoid shapeshifter.


The werewolf legend has been with us for centuries and it doesn’t appear our fascination with shapeshifters will wane anytime soon. Not so long as the full moon continues to appear…



In Darkness: The Werewolf

By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…

On her own in England, Vicki trains at a prestigious fencing school. Face marred by a birthmark, she’s suspicious of Nicholas’ attention. A dinner date reveals his genuine interest and they begin to connect. Nicholas is attractive and she wonders why he’s so shy and reclusive.

Then one evening she happens upon him changing into a lycan. Every werewolf legend is challenged by the gentle, fearful creature before her. Vickie accepts his secret, but Nicholas knows he’s an unpredictable beast. Can they trust love enough to overcome their physical challenges?

Release date – Sept. 5, 2023
Romance/Paranormal/Shifter, Romance/Paranormal, Fantasy/Paranormal
$3.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844927

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior 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 -
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Kobo -
Scribed -
Goodreads -


Did you know where werewolf legends came from? Do you have a favorite werewolf tale? Do you like your werewolf as the good guy or the bad guy?

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

IWSG: September 2023 and Happy Anniversary

 It can't be time for IWSG already, but here we are on the first Wednesday of the month to share our woes, victories, and knowledge. As always, a special thanks to our founder. Alex J. Cavanaugh, and all the other admins for keeping the group amazing. Find all the participants on this list.

A special shout out to this week's co-hosts:

J Lenni Dorner

Sonia Dogra

Pat Garcia

Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen

Meka James

And thanks to all the IWSG members who have cohosted in the past. You help it happen.

And have a cupcake today to celebrate the 12th anniversary to IWSG! The time went so fast and it gets better with age, like all of us.

"You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream." C.S. Lewis

I was one of the early admins for the IWSG blog hop and have been here since Alex started the group. More people were blogging 12 years ago and I met so many wonderful people. Many were writers but some were not. The the time, I was blogging a lot, usually at least 3 times per week. I don't know how I found the time, but it was fun. 

During those early years, I hosted many of my fellow bloggers when they had new releases and they reciprocated. Still doing that for any of my fellow authors who'd like to guest post. I learned about things like Twitter pitches and saw the beginnings of those great anthologies IWSG has created to showcase some of the awesome writers in this group. I own all those anthologies in print and they grace my keeper shelf.

I think it is so important for a writer to find their tribe, a group who understands what it is like to work, struggle, and grow in this difficult business. I love in-person writing groups, but they're difficult to find. And during the Covid shutdowns, they were nonexistent. But IWSG kept going strong and helped me stay at my writing. I hope they've helped you in some way.

"The best is yet to be." Robert Browning

How has IWSG helped you? Do you belong to other groups? How long have you been part of IWSG?

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

IWSG: August 2023


Welcome to the monthly blog hop, IWSG, and led by our creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join the entire group of bloggers on this list as we share and our successes and give support to other writers.

If you haven't read this IWSG inspirational post, I hope you'll take a few minutes and check it out. Would love to see your own comments after reading it.

This month's optional question:

Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

I don't know if conflicted is the correct word. I have changed or deleted scenes or characters because I wasn't sure I represented them correctly. I have cut ties with a fellow writer who thought science could be interpreted as something offensive. Science is science, or at least my degree claims it is. I hope my writing never hurts anyone, but in today's world, it seems everything hurts or offends someone.

I have been getting a lot of writing done in the last month. Not my fastest work ever, but I feel more enthusiastic about than any of my more recent projects.

I started an online class sponsored by Pennwriters. I've shared how my romance publisher closed their doors and returned all my rights to me. And I have the rights back to my high fantasy series also. The class is to guide writers like me through the self-publishing process. I've never wanted to self-publish but I have no other options at this point. I will continue to work on my new stuff while I try to figure this all out.

Summer has flown by, and I'm not looking forward to cooler weather though the recent heat was a bit much even for me. I hope you all were safe and cool enough.

No much new to watch anywhere and with the strike, there's not going to be much new for months. Time to re-watch some old favorites. Now I'll have no excuse not to be writing.

Do you believe you are easily offended? Have you read anything recently where you felt the writer should have removed that part? Has the heat been too much for you? Have you ever taken an online class?

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

IWSG: July 2023


Half way through the year already. Time for the monthly IWSG blog hop. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and the awesome group of admins, we meet through our blogs the first Wednesday of every month to share victories, set backs, ideas, helpful wisdom, and most of all support to writers everywhere. Find the entire list of participants right here.

This month's optional question:

Where do your ideas for your writing predominantly come from?

I think writers often are asked this question. I can't wait to read all the answers. For me, I don't really know. They usually start with a character for me and then I build a world and story around them. Start small and expand the idea into a novel or multiple novels.

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Summer is rolling along. I do love the heat compared to the cold. I've been riding my bike more than walking for exercise. I can really feel the work for my thighs than I can when I walk. I'm trying bigger and more hills every day. I'm doing pretty good for an old lady. I have some biking goals.

"Like is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." Albert Einstein

In the last few months, I have added so many books to my shelves, all waiting to be read. I went to two local library book sales, a new independent book store, Barnes and Noble, another independent store, the Pennwriters Annual conference where I always pick up a load of books, and then a trip to 2nd & Charles filled up the last inch of space left in my office. It's tough to sit down to my own writing when I have so many good books calling my name.

Good thing I have so many books and my latest 3,000K puzzle to entertain me since there is nothing to watch on TV. I'm thinking of watching Narcos. I've also been playing a few docu-drama series on Netflix and Prime in the background while I'm doing other things. I think I've become too picky.

If you live anywhere near Erie, PA, Pennwriters is hosting a one day mini-con in October. Registration is open, but more details are being added every day. I've attended this event in the past and it's very professional and a great time for writers at every point in their careers. Here is the link.

How big is your TBR pile? Do your creative ideas pop into your head? How are you exercising in the heat? (Unless you live where it's winter now) How is your writing coming along?

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

IWSG: June 2023


Difficult to believe it is June already. Time for another first Wednesday Insecure Writers Support Group. Thanks to our found, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and all the IWSG admins, we can share our woes, victories, expertise, and ask questions. Find the entire list here.

This month's optional question:

If you ever stopped writing, what would you replace it with?

Though I hope many years pass before I even consider stopping, I have so many things I love doing besides writing. Reading. So many books and so little time. Cross-stitch. I have two projects started and many more I would like to do. My beloved jigsaw puzzles. Just finished a 4,000 piece and have two 5,000 and one 6,000 waiting my attention. I'm into my new bicycle and pickle-ball. I have sisters in three different states I want to spend time with. So much to do and so little time. When do I find time to write?

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln

Looking forward to a new season of Jack Ryan on Prime and The Witcher on Netflix. And Justified is making a short comeback. At least some good things to watch in June.

Coming up on two years in our condo and I love it more everyday. The upkeep is so easy and no grass to mow. Not that it is growing much with our current lack of rain. Lots of places to walk, bike, and a pool to swim in that I don't have to take care of.

Had a great writers conference last month in Pittsburgh, PA. Great keynote speakers and so much goodwill  and talent surrounding every workshop and activity.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
― Aesop

What keeps you busy day to day? What are you looking forward to in June?

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

IWSG: May 2023


I can't believe I missed last month. I believe it was the only time I've missed. I'm not sure why I'm busier ever when I'm 'retired.'

But welcome to my post for IWSG. Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the admins for the this amazing group. Find the entire list of blog posts here.

This month's optional question: When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

I'm inspired by lots of things. Reading a good book. Hearing about one of my writer friend's success. Sometimes watching a good show or movie. Visiting a bookstore or library. Attending a conference or any writing event such as a book signing. With all that inspiration, you would think I would get more writing done each day.

I have been getting some writing done. About 6K words in April. Still, slower than I'd like. And I have a conference coming up in about two weeks that will inspire me further. Had some work done of our home so that was disruptive and distracting and a few more events coming in May that will slow me down. I'm already collecting my excuses so they're ready to go. Hopefully, June will bring some peace and quiet at the old homestead.

"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So little to watch on TV. I have enjoyed Will Trent in its debut season. The Last of Us was good considering I am completely ignorant about the video game it was based on. I'm going to watch Amazon's newest The Citadel but I haven't started it yet. The Mandalorian was disappointing but I have hope for next season.

I hope the spring season is filling you all with warmth and inspiration. 

What inspires you? Are you getting some writing done? What is your biggest distraction?

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

IWSG: March 2023


Time once again for the monthly blog hop. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and his intrepid admin team, the IWSG is rolling along helping and supporting writers at all stages of their writing careers. Find the entire list of participants in this month's blog hop here.

This month's optional question:

Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

I have admired many plot twists but the most recent one that comes to mind is by Sarah J. Maas. In the cliffhanger at the end of Book #2 of her Crescent City fantasy series, she linked the series to one of her earlier series. It gave me shivers of delight and envy. Can't wait for the next book!

I'm nearly finished with edits on the fantasy series I've decided to self-publish. Waiting for my cover art for the first book. In the meantime, I'm also outlining my next three book series. Just a bare skeleton at this time, but it's getting some flesh on it. I'm pretty excited about it.

"I dwell in possibility." Emily Dickinson

I've been enjoy the new ABC show Will Trent. I read the books by Karin Slaughter. Fortunately, the show isn't as dark as the novels. I'm looking forward to the return of the Mandalorian and a second season of Shadow and Bone. I've found The Last of Us entertaining though it is rather brutal. Went to see the new Antman movie. It was okay...

I hope we see some more spring-teasing weather. I'm tired of chilly rain, clouds, and artic breezes. I know many of you live in locations with much more to complain about.

I'm also busy handling online registration for the 36th Annual Pennwriters Conference being held in Pittsburgh this year on the third weekend in May. Check it out if you're in the area. We have lots of great workshops and numerous agents and editors eager to hear your pitches. No matter how long I've been writing, I always learn useful things at the conference. Hope even one of you can join us.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle

Have you suffered or maybe enjoyed some writerly envy? Yeah or Nay on any of the entertainment I mentioned? Are you ready for spring?

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

IWSG: February 2023


We're here already. Thank you to all the admins of the IWSG and our founder Alex J. Cavanaugh for this amazing group of writers. Hope you're here to share woes and victories. Find the list of participants here.

This month's optional question:

If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

If you read my last post, you know the small press I've been with for around 15 years closed their doors at the end of 2022. Suddenly, I have 28 homeless books that had already been published. I also had a three book epic fantasy series that had been contracted by another publisher who closed their doors a few years ago. I wasn't sure what to do.

I hate designing covers but I found a person to partner with me. We've started to get some of my work back on the market. And now I have full control over my covers though I'm always open to the recommendations of my partners. My previous publisher was very good about asking for my thoughts and then trying to bring my stories to life with a great cover. No complaints.

It's great to be back to writing though I'm mostly editing right now. I feel really good about it all. I'm also keeping busy helping set up the registration for the 2023 Annual Pennwriters Conference that will be held in Pittsburgh in May this year. I'll let you know when registration is open.

I've been so busy and it's wonderful. 

"Either you run the day or the day runs you." Jim Rohn

I've been enjoying the new show, Will Trent, based on the book series by Karin Slaughter. The show isn't near as dark as the novels which I like. The Last of Us is holding my interest also. Otherwise, not much happening. Give me some recommendations, please.

I feel like I'm in the best place as far as my writing that I have been for a while. I hope it is the same for you.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Henry David Thoreau

Do you get a say in your covers? Do you have a favorite style of cover or least favorite? Are you following or living your dream?

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

IWSG: January 2023


Can we believe it's 2023? Not quite but welcome to the first blog hop post for IWSG for this year. Thanks to the IWSG admins for keeping us going and to our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, for bringing us together in the first place. Find the entire list of participants on this page.

I'm skipping this month's question and putting to page some thoughts going into a new year. As many of you know, my publisher closed their doors at the end of 2022. That's more than 20 published books that are now homeless. Enough to crush my motivation. But...

I have found some things to inspire me.

1. Seeing colleagues having new books coming out. Some are writers I've known for years and have spent time at writers conferences networking together. I love seeing them succeed and it makes me work harder.

2. Reading the various newsletters that come my way from a variety of sources. Some are writing groups like this one and some are from individual authors. I learn so much and also witness the writing successes of the other members.

3. Finding a new author, or new-to-me, that I fall in love with. There have been a few recently, but one fantasy writer I'll point out is Kel Kade. Kel's first serious was self-published and her second series was picked up by TOR.

4. Helping set up registration for the Pennwriters Conference coming to Pittsburgh, PA in May of this year. I love spending the weekend with other writers.

5. Receiving an invite from a successful local author to join her FB group. If you attended last year's Pennwriters Conference, you know Misty Simon. A gifted writer of mysteries who brings a lot of laughter and joy to those she interacts with.

Those are a few things to keep me going on this writing path with all its hills and valley. Things to remind me to work harder. What keeps you going?

"There are no traffic jams along the extra mile." Roger Staubach

"Hope is a waking dream." Aristotle