Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG - Moving On & Links

It's July, and time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group again. I missed the June edition. Really, I missed most of June. But I'm getting my feet back under me, and here we go!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists to lend support to fellow writers dealing with their insecurity. And, of course, to air your own insecurities. Anyone can sign up by clicking on Alex's name and adding your name to the list then posting the first Wednesday of each month. Be sure to visit your fellow IWSG'ers, especially the co-hosts:

At the end of May, my dad succumbed to the ALS he'd fought for 6 1/2 years. The average lifespan is 2 years from diagnosis. We were lucky dad made it as long as he did, though he should have had another year, based upon how he was progressing. 

What does this have to do with IWSG? I'd set goals, things I wanted to accomplish before he died, because I wanted him to see those achievements. My writing career has been a ticking clock for 6 1/2 years. The biggest goal I had was to traditionally publish a novel before he died. I was also working on a novel where the main character had ALS, with the intention of having him do a sensitivity/accuracy read. I wanted him to see someone with ALS get to be a hero, despite the disease. (Although we found out just how much of a hero he was once he was gone, thanks to over 100 people who reached out to us after his death to let us know how he'd impacted those in the ALS community. People he'd helped.)

I failed to accomplish a lot of things I wanted to do before he died. The problem with making a goal like I did is that when the driving factor behind the timing of your goals is removed, it leaves you flapping in the wind. Now what? Sure, I'll still pursue my goals, but they feel somehow emptier now. There's no deadline anymore. As much as I'm sure I'll still want to achieve them, there will be a certain hollowness to the victories, because I didn't make it in time.

I'm working on two things right now: overcoming the numbness I currently feel toward my goals and trying to get the creativity flowing again. I'm trying to be kind to myself about my lack of writing this month. I never miss deadlines, but I had to ask for a week extension for one deadline. There were a couple anthologies I wanted to write for that had a deadline at the end of June/beginning of July, and I had to let those stories go.

Catch up time is here. I have to meet that deadline, get some short stories edited, get back to writing. I'm intellectually aware that I need to give it time and not beat myself up, but that's easier said than done. I can't not keep moving forward. My dad was a driven man, and he would want me to keep going, keep progressing, and achieve my goals.

I will get there.

Since I didn't post last month, I'm going to do my short story submission stats for both May and June. They're pretty piddly, considering my being sick, having surgery, and everything else during that time. BUT I didn't allow my writing career to fall completely by the wayside. 


Submitted - 6
Accepted - 1 (this was from an invite)
Rejected - 2
Released - 1


Submitted - 3
Accepted - 1 (this was from an invite)
Rejected - 1

Currently on submission: 9

How about some links?

Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Pole to Pole Publishing is seeking short stories for Not Far From Roswell. Alien themed. Dark fiction. 3000 to 5000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline July 30.

VQR is seeking poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. 2000 to 8000 words for short fiction. Pays up to $1000. Deadline July 31.

Freeze Frame Fiction is seeking flash fiction. 1000 words or less. Pays $10. Deadline July 31.

Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking mystery/thriller themed flash fiction. 500 to 750 words. Pays $20. Deadline July 31.

Less Than Three Press is seeking LGBTQIA novellas for Creature Feature. Monster themed. 20,000 to 60,000. Pays in royalties. Deadline July 31.

Necro Publications is seeking short fiction for Blasphemous Rumors. Religious horror. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline July 31.

Dragon Soul Press is seeking short stories featuring both a vampire and a dragon for Coffins & Dragons. 5000 to 15,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline July 31.

What are your insecurities? How do you get started writing again after a massive derailment? Have you been submitting? Any news? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Writers Behaving Badly: Top Ten Alternatives

I've written about misbehaving writers in the past, but they've been rearing their ugly heads a lot lately. These days, being a writer doesn't get to be a fully solitary pursuit. A media presence is important. Unfortunately, there are always people who shouldn't be in a position where eyes are on them and interaction is a necessity.

From bizarre videos and ill-advised legal cases to Goodreads attacks and outbursts in Facebook groups to cocky letters to reviewers, writers are behaving badly. I watched an author become aggressive and hateful in a Facebook group where she attacked people who return audio books, confronting everyone who tried to discuss it from the other viewpoint. Then she attacked those telling her to stop attacking people.

Ultimately, having a public meltdown will likely end in a deficit of readers. While the free press you get might alert some new readers to you, it's more likely to put off both people who hadn't heard of you and people who were already reading you. Know what bestsellers have in common? They usually haven't launched crazed attacks online.

Rather than haranguing on this, considering most of you probably agree that it's not a good idea, here's a Top Ten List of things you could do instead of publicly freaking out:

1. Write something newer and better and privately say, "In your FACE!" But only where you can hear it.

2. Gorge on ice cream, sweets, or other edible sadness-soppers that make you feel better with sugar, carbs, fat, and calories.

3. Go for a Rocky-jog while listening to "Eye of the Tiger" and sweating your anger out.

4. Take up a dangerous - but satisfying - hobby like lion wrangling or cactus farming.

5. Write your response down on pieces of paper then sacrifice them to a fire built using elm trees and rattlesnake bones.

6. Paper a wall with whatever review, post, or issue is setting you off then paint over it with black and red.

7. Find a practitioner of magic to put a zit spell on the perpetrator. No one ever has to know it was you...

8. Headbang to Alvin and the Chipmunks songs and get a mosh pit going.

9. Adopt as many kittens and puppies as possible, and create a giant snuggle pile.

10. Go to a bar and sobbingly do karaoke to "I Will Survive" over and over until they kick you out. know...just ignore it and move on.

Oh, hey, I'm actually going to do links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing them, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

El Chapo Review is seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. All genres. Up to 1000 words. Pays $100. Deadline June 1.

Claw & Blossom is seeking short prose and poetry that involves the natural world in some way. The current theme is "Gnaw." Up to 1000 words. Pays $25. Deadline June 6.

Randee Dawn and Michael Ventrella are seeking short speculative fiction submissions for a Beatles themed anthology entitled "Across the Universe." Up to 4000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline June 14.

Stormy Island Publishing is seeking romantic fantasy fiction. 1000 to 8000 words. Pays $20. Deadline June 14.

Iridium Magazine is seeking short stories in a variety of genres with LGBTQ+ characters. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline June 15.

The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is seeking flash fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, and visual arts. Pays $50. Deadline June 15.

Darkhouse Books is seeking short stories with Lovecraft/Diesel Punk/Steam Punk flavor for "Fearrington Road." 2500 to 6000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline June 15.

What would you do instead of having an online meltdown? The more creative, the better. Have you ever responded to a bad review? Have you witnessed writers behaving badly? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

*Image "Curls Tantrum Colour Blank Bckgrnd Clip Art" by Peter Van Herk,

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG - Deadline

It's time for the May Insecure Writer's Support Group post, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today's going to be a super brief post, because I thought I had until the end of May to finish a story, and it turns out I have until today. Good thing I pulled up the email to check!

So what's my insecurity right now? Finishing this story! Holy cow!

I'll have to post about my stats and my experience at Mountain of Authors this past weekend later. I've got Pikes Peak Writers Conference starting tomorrow. I'm co-running the green room, so I'll be away from the hubbub of the main conference floor, which will be nice. I'm on one panel about short stories then have a book signing then a query appointment with an agent, all in a row. After that, I can focus on just doing my job.

Conference ends Sunday afternoon, and then next Wednesday I'm having surgery to remove my gall bladder. I've got a busy week coming up!

The co-hosts for this week are
Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin! Be sure to stop by and say hi.

The optional question is: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

See you guys on the flip side.

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG - Doldrums

Into April we go. It's been random snow, rain, fog, and sunny days around here, with temperatures all over the place. Ah, spring.

It's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group serves to create a community of support for writers. All are welcome to participate. Just sign up at Alex's blog or the IWSG blog and post on the first Wednesday of each month. Be sure to drop by some new blogs and visit!

The co-hosts for this month are J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken! Stop by their blogs and say hi!

The optional question for April is: If you could use a wish to help write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

The next IWSG anthology opens May 1! The genre is Middle Grade Historical: Adventure/Fantasy. The theme will be announced when the anthology opens May 1!

Also, this is my last post as an IWSG admin. Elizabeth Seckman and C. Lee McKenzie will be taking over the newsletter.

I'm feeling a bit frustrated right now, as I haven't sold any stories in 2019, so far. I've been through dry spells before then gotten a lump of acceptances all at once, so it will come back around. It would be nice if it happened soon, though.

My stats for the month of March are as follows:

1 submission (I had a bunch out on long response submissions)
5 rejections
7 currently on submission

Have you checked out WRiTE CLUB yet? Submissions are open through April 14. Simply submit a 500 word writing sample. The slush readers (raises hand) read the samples and narrow down the selection. The finalists will face off on DL Hammon's blog. All entries and bouts are anonymous, and you get fantastic feedback during the bouts.

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Nonbinary Review is seeking art and literature with the theme HG Wells. Pays $.01/word. Deadline April 22.

With Painted Words is seeking fiction and poetry. Up to 1000 words. Pays $3. Deadline April 25.

Fiddlehead is seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Up to 6000 words. Pays $60CAD per page.

SinCyr Publishing is seeking romance with queer identifying characters in kilts. 3000 to 7000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline April 30.

Martinus Publishing is seeking short stories for This Never Happened! Alternate History Farce and Fantasy. 1500 to 10,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline April 30.

Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking mystery flash fiction. 500 to 750 words. Pays $20. Deadline April 30.

Split Lip Magazine is seeking fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. 1000 to 2500 words. Pays $50. Deadline April 30.

Have you signed up for IWSG? Will you be submitting to the anthology? Have you looked at WRiTE CLUB? Are you submitting?

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dragging Myself Back From the Dead

Wow, look at me slacking on blog posts. This one isn't going to be anything major, and I can't guarantee I'll be consistently blogging again yet, but I wanted to say hellooooo out there, blogging world!

I took a new job in late December that rapidly grew in responsibility and hours. For about a month and a half I had two jobs at the same time, and had suddenly been launched into full time work for the first time in fourteen years. Thus the silences and slacking. I'm exhausted, but happy, with the new job. My house is a mess. However, I took a partial day while the kids were at school to get one floor of the house clean. It's amazing how good it feels to have that one truly clean space. Not to say my house is filthy--my husband and I have done some consistent, but piecemeal, cleaning. But there has not been a big, thorough cleaning that leaves the whole house spanking clean and spotless.

I had two more publications come out since the last post. One was a surprise. It was due out in May. Turns out, the magazine is closing, and they're opening a slightly different one in its place, so they gathered their final stories and put them out in this earlier edition.

Don't Cry to Mama is a horror comedy anthology and Bloodbond Magazine focuses on monsters.

In the midst of everything, I also still had two volunteer jobs, one of which involved putting on a half-day miniature writing conference with six speakers. We happened to get a massive snowstorm the night before, which led to the cancellation of one speaker and many attendees, and yet it turned out to be the most financially successful, so far, out of seven years of having the event. I think that's mostly due to the attendees coming through for us, which was wonderful. And we managed to fill that speaker slot at 7 AM the day of the event!

I now have books consigned at three different locations, two of them local, which is exciting! Plus, I finished a short story and got in some much needed editing time.

My mom also had to have surgery during all this business. She had an abdominal hernia. My dad has ALS, and she's his full time caretaker, so my brother and I helped where we could. Luckily, the VA provided a daily respite worker and two CNAs to get him out of bed and put him back to bed, which took a weight off my brother's and my shoulders. We filled those roles last time mom had surgery. Happily, her surgery went well, and she's healing up, though she still can't lift him or do anything strenuous. And I got to hear my dad's machine voice for the first time (it's his voice recorded while he could still talk consistently, but it still sounds like a robot voice that kind of sounds like him...) I ended up posting some amusing interactions with the respite workers. Some of them were quite odd. The respite workers, unlike the CNAs, did not have to have any sort of certification. One was from Jamaica, but could not swim. One never stopped talking. I'm not sure she ever breathed. One thought I was offering her dinner when I gave her the food to feed my dad. One was racist. One wouldn't put the fork all the way in dad's mouth and expected him to lean forward for the food--he can't. So on and so forth. And then we have the VA provided house cleaner whose boss came to check up on her. The woman stood there petting the dogs on my dad's lap, and jumped when she realized she'd been treating my dad's legs like a table. She didn't know he was there...despite the fact that he's on a noisy bipap machine that breathes for him. Fascinating folks and plenty of story fodder.

I was a bit sad that I simply didn't have time to do fun things for Women in Horror Month. I did end up having a bump in sales, which was nice, but I wanted to enjoy the month and do some stuff with the blog. Next year! However, I did get to participate in a group reading for National Tell A Fairytale Day up in Denver at the BookBar, so that was fun.

In the midst of all this, I switched out the meds I'm on for PTSD, which means I've been randomly napping (not a thing I do unless pregnant, feverish, or apparently dealing with anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds) and have been making that adjustment.

We did squeeze in a family overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge (which is right here in our lovely city, but they don't do day passes, so you have to stay at the lodge in order to visit the water park). The stay was comped for a past issue with a stay, and they gave us a cabana for free one of the days. I feel like I experienced a bit of what rich people get to have, with a private cabana at the water park, a TV, outlets, a table, free drinks, and a waiter that came by every once in a while to see if we needed anything. It was pretty cool! I felt spoiled. I can definitely recommend their customer service.

Don't forget that WRiTE CLUB is going on now! I'm one of the slush readers. Check it out if you haven't before! It's run by DL Hammons.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a billion things, but that's okay. Next time!

Have you heard of WRiTE CLUB? Are you participating? How has the beginning of your year been? Are you getting some writing done?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG March - Heroes vs Villains

March! It's supposed to be spring soon, but what that means in Colorado is the most snow of the year. Right now we're having regular snowstorms on the weekends, which is rather annoying, but we usually have some gorgeous, warm days mixed in, as well, so here's hoping.

It's also the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for IWSG!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group exists to provide community and support to writers of all stripes and levels. All are welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name above and sign up. Post about your insecurities or reassurances for others, and bop around to visit different people. It's a great way to meet new folks.

This week's co-hosts are:
Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard! Be sure to stop by and say hi.

The optional question is Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero or the villain? And why?

You'd probably expect me to say I prefer the villain's POV, and I do get a maniacal delight out of writing from the antagonist's view, but I get something different out of writing from the hero's POV, and I enjoy that, too. And I write from that POV more often.

I didn't really answer the question, did I? There's fun in writing the villain, but I probably glean more satisfaction from writing the hero.

I've been busy with work, and just finished with the big annual event for my volunteer job (a half-day mini-conference with six speakers), so my writing has been minimal, but I finished a short story this past week, and I'm happy with that. I've had time to get some other writing done, as well, so yay! I'm calling that a victory right now.

My short story submission stats for February:

7 submissions
5 rejections
1 short listing
0 acceptances
3 releases
11 currently on submission

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores is seeking short fiction in science fiction and fantasy. 1000 words and up, but they prefer shorter. Pays $.06/word. Only open for submissions from March 21 to 28.

Darkhouse Books is seeking mid-century murder stories. 2500 to 6000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline March 31.

Crannog Magazine is seeking poetry and stories. Up to 2000 words. Payment unspecified. Deadline March 31.

tdotSpec is seeking speculative fiction stories for Imps & Minions. Up to 10,000 words, but they prefer 2000 to 5000 words. Pays up to $25CDN/story. Deadline March 31.

Orbannin Books is seeking short epistolary horror for Letters From the Grave. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline March 31.

Death's Head Press is seeking bizarro short stories for Breaking Bizarro. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays $10. Deadline March 31.

Verity LA is seeking a variety of written word and performances. Up to 5000 words. Pays $AU100. Deadline March 31.

Davetopia is seeking horror and thrillers about clowns, but the clowns should not be the bad guys. Anthology name is Fears of a Clown. 1000 to 10,000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline March 31.

Prospective Press is seeking stories of female predators. 4000 to 7000 words (or up to 1000 for flash). Intends to pay $.04/word (depending upon Kickstarter success). Deadline March 31.

How has 2019 treated you and your writing aspirations, so far? Do you prefer to write villains or heroes? Have you been submitting? Any news? Any of these links of interest?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Nick Wilford's Corruption Blog Tour!

Nick Wilford is stopping by today to talk about "Corruption," newly released this month!


Hi Shannon! Thanks for hosting me today. I'd like to offer your readers a brief insight into the nature of Loretanian cuisine.
Today I’m going to talk about some of the delicacies enjoyed in the land of Loretania. These people don’t have a lot and are used to living off the land. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to grow there is bits of scrubby grass. When it’s wet, the land turns into a muddy bog, and when it’s dry, it’s a parched, arid landscape.

To deal with this, they’ve adopted a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, almost like primitive cave people. With large families and scarce resources, they’ve learned to make a little go a long way. Roasted rat is a particular delicacy and is enough to feed a family of six. In Corruption, we see Ranglebuck, the chief of one of the villages, hunting a wild boar which is then served at a feast for the entire village, including the team of scientists who have just arrived to rid the land of the crippling disease that is holding it captive. In truth, it’s rare that such a beast can be found, and it could have lasted a bit longer if it hadn’t been shared with the newcomers, who have their own freeze-dried rations. One thing we learn, though, is that the Loretanians are completely hospitable, even for a people who have nothing.

They treat everyone equally, and it wouldn’t occur to them to be cold or distant. For them, life really is too short.
Title: Corruption
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series: Black & White Series #: 2 of 3
Release date: 11th February 2019
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing

Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment.

After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.

Can they get to the root of the problem and eliminate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Purchase Links:

Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.

Thanks for coming by, Nick! 

What do you guys think? Have you ever tried rat? Have you grabbed your copy yet? 

May you find your Muse.