Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hashtag Insecurity

The Insecure Writers Support Group

Please visit the co-hosts for today's posting of the IWSG: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!



Optional Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?

My short answer: Yes. My long answer: Yes, and I'm now sure I don't want to do that anymore. I have enough insecurity without doubting my own good judgement, going counter to it, and failing. Please!


Here's a bit about insecurity that I liked reading.
  According to Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., practicing psychologist in Mill Valley, California up to 40% of our "happiness quotient" is based on our recent life events. 

She writes that "since unhappiness also influences your self-esteem, failure and rejection can deliver a double whammy to your confidence."

I think she's talking to writers, don't you? I mean her message is spot on. And here's more from Dr. Greenberg.

"Persevering despite setbacks can lead to eventual successes—which raise your self-esteem.  Before becoming president, Abraham Lincoln lost his job, was defeated for nomination to Congress, and failed at least twice in Senate bids." 

Doesn't all of this sound as if you've heard it and HEARD IT? Yes. But maybe that's okay. Maybe repetition is necessary to keep us on track. Ergo, this regular every first Wednesday post! 


Another reminder: I'm ready to take a break, so if I can't get around to everyone, my apologies, but I'm packing and fretting and being insecure about SECURITY and my FLOTATION DEVICE that I'll supposedly find under my airplane seat. Then there's my passport and my Global Entry number. . .Well, you can see that it's not only writing that generates insecurity in me.






Did you see that The Insecure Writers' Group has something special coming up for you? Another chance to be a published author is coming. You can submit your Crime/Thriller/Mystery story for publication. The theme is TICK TOCK. Look for DETAILS starting September 6.









Are you jumping into the next contest? What's your happiness quotient these days? See you in November with my "slide show" from France and Texas. You can hardly wait, right?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day & Break Time for The Write Game

The End of Summer Holiday
is here! Enjoy your barbecue and your gathering. Thank Mr. Maguire for creating this holiday back in 1882. 


Show Us Your Writer Insecurity
on 
October 4, 2017
Post a picture of yourself or avatar with some of the #IWSG Swag or Logo. Members with the most pride will win some prizes.


Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh.

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell.

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers.

We have some great IWSG swag – pens, mugs, magnets, erasers, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site. 


The crops are in this month and I'm eating vegetables! The taste of those from garden to table is the reward for all that labor that started in March. 















I'm going to have to catch all of this excitement on the run. I'm taking a break this month starting 27th and October. A trip back to France has been calling me for several years, so I'm packing and getting ready to take off. I'm no sooner back from France, than I'm off to Texas for a wedding. I've set up my #IWSG posts, and I'll have to catch up with everyone when I return. 



Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

I'll regale y'all with the details--mishaps (there's always those), inspiring moments (I pray for these), and my new boots (gotta buy some in Austin this time).









Quote of the Week: "The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world." Alexander von Humboldt, Naturalist

Monday, August 28, 2017

Meet Bouhaki, and then Let Me Tell You A Story

Amazon



I had this short piece on my computer, and decided to publish it. The weather (hot), the wine (chilled). the day (long) all contributed to my decision.  

Also I was just edged out of first place in the August WEP by this cat person named Hatt (rhymes with cat), so I thought I'd better ramp up my cat game a bit. Congrats to him and to Hilary as well. Applause to you both.

Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for the fun and the great themes.









Some of you know that I once lived in Vientiane, Laos. The stories I have tucked away from that experience fill a file drawer, and I don't expect to ever be able to set all of them down. But here's one that I thought might be fun.

Our kitchen and wash room were separate from the main house. Very sensible because of the heat. Alongside these rooms was an extra sleeping room, and I had a girl who lived there with her family. She worked for me, and over time, we became good friends. She taught me some Lao and I taught her some English. With only a few words, we created some interesting pidgin sentences, so we understood each other. I have lots of stories about when we didn't!

Late one night--her husband gone, my husband gone--a terrible sound came from the washroom. I grabbed the kitchen broom and was outside in a shot. I was sure we were in grave danger. Nong met me, carrying a garden rake. You can see why we got along. We both liked to be armed and ready. 

Holding our weapons out, we advanced on the wash room, but it was empty, except for the washing machine and some boxes. We waited, listening, but there was only silence. We no sooner backed out than that same sound froze us to the spot. Imagine a dinosaur trapped inside an 8 by 8 cement room and you've imagined what we heard coming from those dark recesses. Once we'd girded our loins, we advance shoulder to shoulder and banged on the side of the washing machine. 

That's when the dinosaur sprang. Two feet long. Very prehistoric. Quite cranky because of all of our whacking. The iguana came at us. Drop weapons. Run for life. Wedge selves in doorway. Scream. Un-wedge and head for the house.

I think the iguana decided he didn't care much for the chase and took off into the jungle where he could get a good night's sleep. It took a week before Nong or I had the courage to go into the washroom, and that happened only after one of our husbands checked behind the washing machine. 



Quote of the Week: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta, World Traveler

Monday, August 21, 2017

Books. Books. Books. AND Insecurity Pride Day!

This month I featured Yolanda Renee. She has been a great guest, and I hope the feature helped make her books more visible out in this wildly competitive world of books. Be sure to take a look at all of her work, including Parallels: Felix Was Here, an anthology The Insecure Writers Group made possible.


The SnowmanIt takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.
Buy your copy now and be terrified. A #Freebook on August 23 and 30!




Tara Tyler has a new book out, too!

Deja was a happy, trouble-making troll, until she was exiled from her home under the mountains for her perilous pranks. Now she must serve a frilly human, Princess Calleah who's locked in a tall tower. The Two Princesses from opposite sides of the Valley become unlikely friends in their seclusion, but when the time comes for Calleah to leave the tower, their bond is put to the test by propriety, princes, and parents. Deja doesn't take any gruff and will give it right back to protect Calleah, no matter the cost.




This week I was interviewed by Jody Mott. He has a great website that features podcasts with authors. The theme is their favorite children's book. Jody asked some great questions and we got into the RIDDLE in ALICE IN WONDERLAND which has an interesting literary history. I had a chance to talk more about my story in Beware the Little White Rabbit. Here's the link if you'd like to hear. Start 4 minutes in for the actual INTERVIEW, otherwise you have to hear Timothy Lear's poetry.




Join Us!
Are you proud to be an insecure writer? 

Then show us! 

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) 

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved: 

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh. 

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell. 

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers. 

We have some great IWSG swag – pens, mugs, magnets, erasers, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site.

You have almost two months to prepare – show us your best insecurity!



Quote of the Week: "No two persons ever read the same book." Edmund Wilson

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Write, Edit, Publish. REUNIONS!

I love joining in the WEP. It's a fun and creative hop. I couldn't do it last month, so I was delighted when I could spin a short yarn this month. The theme is Reunions. I hope you enjoy my contribution, and I hope you'll visit the others who have shared their stories today. The link to find others is at the bottom.




Liza’s Quilt

The walls of our cabin danced with shadows from the wood fire, but no matter how much I stoked and encouraged the flames to warm the room, the air remained chilled. When I touched Gran’s gnarled hand, the iciness of it made me weep. She emitted a cold that no fire would warm again, so I lay with her, wrapped in Liza's quilt and listened to the fading sounds of her words. 

“Sweet Mara, you are. . .” Even close to my ear, her raspy voice was barely audible. She took short, shallow sips of air, and for a moment I thought she wouldn't say more, but then she did. “You are the only one now who will hear the Voices. Listen to them. I followed their instructions and pieced the quilt as they wanted it done.” She paused again, and I stilled my breath, listening for hers. Her hand grasped mine. Tightly. “But I have no time left to understand the mystery of this quilt, or how they intended it would help us find your sister.”

“I’ll do what you ask, Gran,” I whispered, and I burrowed closer to her as I had since childhood. The autumn leaves of her heartbeat fluttered against my chest. I willed my heart to beat stronger for the both of us, but my will was not enough to return her strength. My magick rose up in me the way I commanded it to, but it wasn’t enough either. During the night, the Voices dropped to murmurs in the darkness. By first light, Gran had been called from our world, and the Voices had fallen silent. I lay there feeling the weight of being the last of our family in the meadow, wondering how I could live without Gran and if I could learn the mystery of Liza’s quilt.

In the days that followed, the emptiness of what was once home to five, gnawed at me, and the yearning to find Liza and bring her back increased with each sunset. She was taken from the meadow when she was ten and I only eleven, five years ago. Astride their horned beasts, the Shriekers had pounded down the warren of twisted mountain trails, their dark hair whipping in the wind. In a thunder of hooves, they trampled our gardens and their piercing cries shattered our world. We’d hidden, but one rider found Liza. He scooped her up and rode off. Once again they’d taken their spoils. Two years before, they’d mortally wounded my mother. My father gave them chase, but never returned. Killed or perhaps lost in the maze leading to their lair. 

The Shriekers always descended on the first full moon at the cold season’s end. Every year we hid. Every year we ached for our losses. Now the cold season was at an end again, and that night the moon would rise full-faced. At dawn the Shriekers would come. This time I was alone.

After the sun settled behind the mountain, I opened the quilt and smoothed it across the bed. Gran called her stitchery a crazy quilt. Her embroidery meandered throughout the pieced fabrics and along the edges like a meadow path, looping and inviting my fingers to follow her fine hand work. Liza loved sunflower yellow, and Gran’s nimble figures used to sew garments in those golden hues for my sister. Many of the patch-worked pieces were those remnants of Liza’s childhood dresses long ago washed into threads. These bits trailed throughout the quilt, a bright reminder of her laughter and sweet nature. Liza was born fair and full of joy. I’d come to the world with raven hair and heavy with our family legacy, magick. My magick had saved me that day from the Shriekers, but it hadn’t been enough to save Liza. I so missed my sister, and I needed her. I needed the Voices to return, but I was beginning to think they were Gran’s magick, and not mine. They might never return. 

“Speak to me,” I commanded. But the cabin remained silent. With the quilt covering my shoulders, I walked outside to watch the moon glow spread over the meadow.  

As I stood looking up, a tingling like butterfly wings started across my back. I ignored it at first, but it was insistent, so I pulled off the quilt and held it before me to find what the cause of that sensation could be. There was nothing, and yet, the palms of my hands now felt that same tingling. I spread the quilt gently on the earth, and I’d no sooner released it from my grasp than the yellow remnants from Liza’s childhood clothing grew bright. When I looked into the distance, a trail of sunflower gold spread from the quilt, away from the cabin and toward the mountain pass. It continued as far as I could see. 

I gazed into the distance, the Voices singing inside my heart. “Follow the golden way.”

They’d guided Gran’s nimble fingers to create the way to my sister, and now that I had that path to follow I didn’t hesitate. Even with the full moon, the night held danger, but I felt my magick grow steadily stronger with each step I took, and my fear fell behind, a detached shadow.

At the most tangled crossroads, the first sun rays spiked into the sky. Sensing movement ahead, I stopped, straining to hear. My breath stilled. From beyond the curve I heard the sound of hurried footfalls, and before I crested the rise, Liza came running toward me, her smile more glorious than when she was a child, her arms open and quick to embrace me. 

“How––” I gasped.

She didn’t let me finish. “I felt your magick, and the golden light guided me through the Shriekers’ labyrinth. At last I could escape and find you. We clung to each other, my sister and I together again. 

And then a thunder of hooves shook the earth.

A quilt as a map has always fascinated me.
Thanks Yolanda and Denise for giving me a chance to explore that idea.

VISIT WEP

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heads Up! WEP Ahead


The August Write It! Edit It! Publish It! is almost here. On August 16 those who signed up on the Linky will be posting their stories about this month's theme, REUNIONS.






Amazon

Is marketing sucking the joy out of your writing life? Then read what
The Insecure Writers' Support Group Book Club is reading. Our new book selection is based on survey results that showed this area was the biggest challenge for writers.










I'm always reading about other authors' goals and admiring them for setting down what they plan to accomplish. I've been so scattered this year that I've started making categories of lists. One will not do. Here's some of my August GOALS. Take this as the entertainment today.

WRITING:
1. Finish last draft of YA: Not Guilty.
2. Send off last book in Pete Riley trilogy and cross fingers.
3. Write, Edit, Publish Reunions short story.

BUSINESS OF WRITING:
1. Record podcast with Jody Mott re: Alice in Wonderland.
2. Set up Featured Follower for August.
3. Put up new cover for Sliding on the Edge and promote as FREE.
4. Do #IWSG Guest Posts and own posts through Sept.

OTHER LIFE: (What is that?)
1. Set up garden for fall.
2. Pack for France.
3. Buy tickets for Texas.
4. Do all publicity for Library through September.



Quote of the Week

Monday, August 7, 2017

August Featured Follower, Yolanda Renee


This month welcome Yolanda Renee!  

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.


World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 



A killer plays cat and mouse with a young widow against the snowy backdrop of an Alaskan winter. 



She's author of five novels and has stories in several anthologies. Her Detective Quaid Series now has a prequel, which I've read and reviewed. 
See what I have to say about Snowman

Visit her author page all of her work on AMAZON.
Yolanda blogs HERE.

Want one of her books? One lucky person will win a book of his/her choice. Tell us which one in your comment, and you're automatically entered. You get points if you're among my Email Connect or Free Book List friends. 

AND
THE SNOWMAN IS A #FREEBOOK TODAY!!!

August 7th





Each month the Write Game features an author or authors. So what does that mean? 





  • I buy read and review your book (Amazon and Goodreads) and mark it as “Am Reading/Read” on Goodreads. 
  • I feature you on my blog, The Write Game, two times. 
  • I post one your covers on my Pinterest under Covers That Catch My Eye.
  • I feature you/your book on my Email Connect that goes out on the 1st and 15th of each month. If you want to do a giveaway during the month, I mention that on my Free Book List that goes out on the 1st of each month
  •  Facebook is networked with my blog, so my blog posts will appear on my Timeline. 
  •  Each Wednesday I tweet about your book three times throughout the day.
If you haven't joined one of my lists, I hope you'll do that and help me spread the word. The longer my lists, the wider my reach. It's fairly painless, and I don't bug people more than twice a month. 


Quote of the Week: "If you believe that no one was ever corrupted by a book, you have also to believe that no one was ever improved by a book." Irving Kristol, American Columnist and Journalist.




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#IWSG Special October Fun

Mark it on your calendar! OCTOBER 4 is a special IWSG Wednesday. There are prizes to win. There's fun to be had. So get ready and jump in for some fall excitement.


Not an IWSG Member?
Sign Up Now

The optional August 2 question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Are you proud to be an insecure writer? 



Then show us! 

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) 

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved: 

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh. 

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell. 

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers. 

We have some great IWSG swag – pens, mugs, magnets, erasers, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site.You have two months to prepare – show us your best insecurity! 


So are you in? Hope so. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

What The Delivery Guys From Macy's Taught Me & Nick's Cover

Last month we splurged and bought a new couch. And since we want to keep Macy's in business, we went to their brick and mortal store to make our purchase and schedule the delivery. You know, old school. No drone drop off. No UPS truck.

When the delivery guys arrived, they were cheerful and courteous and dressed in crisp, clean shirts and pants. They rolled out a red carpet at our front door and put on shoe covers before coming inside. Once they'd brought in the couch and put the room back in order (lamps, tables, rug), they handed me an evaluation form.

"We hope you've found our service excellent," one said. "If you could give us an excellent rating where you think we deserve it, we'd really appreciate it. Those ratings are so important for us. Thank you for your time."

So how does any of this relate to the business of writing? Well, I'll tell you if you haven't already seen where I'm going.




Professionalism  The delivery guys were well-groomed, and they entered my home with care, so that I felt comfortable with them in my private space. I like to approach this business of writing the same way. I want people who visit my blog, my website, my Facebook page. . .all my social media to feel comfortable when they let me into their lives with that click of a mouse. I also want them to enjoy what  I write, so I edit the posts as carefully as possible. After all, I'm a writer, I should write good stuff. :-) Just a small joke!






Flare They made the arrival of my couch an event with that red carpet, I wasn't just getting a piece of of furniture; I was getting THE BEST piece of furniture for my home. That's how I want my readers to feel when I present them with my work. I want them to feel that I'm giving them the BEST I have to offer.

Source
Honest, Straightforward Request They handed me the evaluation and asked for my rating. They did so clearly and with a reason behind their request. Then thanked me in advance. Now that's a concept we writers understand, isn't it?  "I hope you enjoy reading my book. If so, I'd really appreciate it if you would give me a review. Those reviews are so important for writers."


I'm glad I needed that couch. Buying it and having it delivered made this post possible and reminded me to attend to three important things while I'm in the writing business.




A new book's coming September 18. And here's your peek at the cover.




What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.





Quote of the Week: "The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself." Oscar Wilde



Monday, July 24, 2017

Hero Lost, Mysteries of Death and Life, Part 4


Last installment of my Featured Follower of the Month 
for 

Hero Lost Mysteries of Death and Life
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology



Print ISBN 9781939844361 $14.95
eBook ISBN 9781939844378 $4.99

Print:
EBook:

Each author has submitted a favorite inspirational quote.
Thank you, authors!


Yvonne VentrescaThe Art of Remaining Bitter
“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. . . .You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”—Ira Glass

Renee CheungMemoirs of a Forgotten Knight
“This is The Great Work, and all you have to do is choose it, not look back and never fucking stop until you're in your box, under the dirt and flowers are growing between your teeth.”—Warren Ellis


Web | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Sarah Foster, The Last Dragon
“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”—Gustave Flaubert
I've finally changed the cover on Sliding on the Edge. For better or worse, here's the new one. I'm keeping it a #freebook to celebrate finally getting this done. 


Scarred. Scared. Alone. 
Can sixteen-year-old Shawna Stone overcome her inner suffering and transcend the past? 
FREE NOW




Only three days left before #IWSGPit. Are you ready?





Don't miss the July 30 deadline for the next IWSG Anthology. 


Quote of the Week: "The art of the creative process is not seeking and finding; it's bumbling." Jonathon Safran Foer, American Novelist