Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG - Progress

 It's the first Wednesday of September, which means we're creeping up on my favorite season of the year: Autumn.

It also means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to support insecure writers. All are welcome to join. Simply add your blog to the linky list, post, and visit your fellow insecure writers. 

This month's co-hosts are: PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

Last month I posted about having quit my day job and establishing a new writing schedule. I figured I'd update on how it's going. The short version is that it's going great. The longer version is that there are still little quirks I need to work out, but having weekends off, plus a weekly deep cleaning day, means I'm allowing myself to relax more than I have in a while. 

Before, it was a rush to get everything in. I've got teens, and all that involves. I had a day job and a volunteer job. Various groups I belong to require a certain amount of work. Then there was writing, editing, submitting, formatting, and various other writing duties. And I was somehow supposed to keep the house clean, do laundry, take care of the cats, yadda, yadda. Because there was so much, I never actually took any time for myself that wasn't consumed by thinking about what I SHOULD be doing during that time. It was, "I should be working," "I should be doing payroll," "I should be checking my emails," "I should be working on a schedule for workshops." Sometimes it was so much that it shut me down.

While I still, like everyone I'm sure, have too much to do, I now have something closer to order. It's freed up my creative mind on the designated writing days, which is what I'd hoped for. It's also made it so that I'm not cleaning instead of writing or instead of relaxing or instead of doing whatever else I need to do, because there are designated times to do each thing in.

I haven't reached my word count every single day. Some of this is due to school having started, us closing on a cabin on property and everything that came along with that process, trying to write on the porch and finding I don't want to work if I'm outside, starting late, etc. I have a problem with not being outside when it's nice. I worked through most of the summer in a way that made me never get any outside time, and now that it's calming down, with weather more in the upper 70s and lower 80s, I want to be out there! Once I acknowledged that desire and started giving myself more time outside before getting to my writing, I started getting my word count done. I now know I need some time outside, and that I don't like writing outside, because all I want to do out there is relax.

I did a reading last week, and it's available on YouTube if anyone's interested. I'm the second reader after the musical performance.

I've also joined a book club with our local Sisters in Crime chapter, so I'm looking forward to that experience. It will be nice to talk to others about books and not be the one running the show in some way. 

Speaking of running the show, I have less than a month remaining on my volunteer job! Once that's done, it will free up that much more mental and creative space. Plus time. I'm making a lot of changes this year, but I'm looking forward to it.

Okay, time for my submission stats. I like to share these each month to keep myself accountable. My stats for August:

4 submissions

1 acceptance (my fastest yet--20 minutes from submission to acceptance)

2 rejections

13 stories currently on submission

I'd like to get that number up to a minimum of 20 on submission at any given time. However, I've been working on a set of collaboration pieces, plus a solo collection. Pieces completed for the solo collection are not being counted in my stats. The collaboration pieces are included in the stories currently on submission since their placement is not guaranteed.

Moving on to recent media. 


You Beneath Your Skin, by Damyanti Biswas

A touching crime novel that addresses crime in New Delhi. The big city is full of crime. In this book, crimes against women and children are addressed, with a police officer and his cohorts working on a set of crimes that come together in a deeply personal way for many of those involved. From the struggles of a single mother with an autistic child to a woman's struggle opening up to others due to a physical issue to an affair that hurts emotions and jobs to an officer who has to face a deeply personal villain. 

An excellent read for those who enjoy crime novels.

Cemetery Closing (Everything Must Go), by Jeff Strand

This is the fifth in the Andrew Mayhem series, but the first I've read. It's not the first Strand novel I've read, though, and so far I've enjoyed them all. This book is witty and full of humor, even when it involves cannibals and treachery. Mayhem is the father of a bunch of children, including a set of infant triplets. When adventure calls, he turns it down...until the stakes are raised. With the permission of his exhausted wife, he sets off into the jungle of South America to find an amazing buried treasure that's supposed to kill off his bad luck. The trouble is, Mayhem is a magnet for everything crazy that can go wrong.

A quick read that made me laugh out loud quite a few times. 


Bill & Ted Face the Music

We bought this on the release date for less than it would have cost for the four of us to go to the theater. Happily, we've got a projector in the basement, so we got to watch it in style. We picked up sodas and theater-style candy, plus pizza, for our home viewing.

Having said that, it didn't feel like the original movies. I wanted to like it. I didn't hate it. The girl playing Ted's daughter did such a great job of adopting some of Keanu Reeves' body movements from the earlier films that she was probably my favorite part. I love Samara Weaving, but other than talking a bit like they did in the original movie, there wasn't a lot of call back to Bill's character. The guy who played the original Reaper was still a funny character. 

Basically, it was a fun movie to watch and relive a bit of my youth. It missed the mark a bit for me, but I'm not unhappy we bought the film. It felt good to be watching a new movie for the first time since Birds of Prey and The Hunt came out to buy online.

La Llorona

This is NOT the movie that came out in America last year. This is a Guatemalan film (with subtitles) about a dictator who committed crimes against his people, who now want him convicted of those crimes. This is a very different take on the legend of La Llorona, and a good one. It's a slower burn than some might like, but the scene is set well. Is La Llorona the bad guy or is it the dictator? A powerful film.


This Dutch horror film is a horror comedy about a killer lion let loose in the city of Amsterdam. Part of it is in English, but the rest is subtitled. I like a killer animal film, and the humor in this one hit the spot. Cheesy, of course, but that's one of the best parts of it. Rather than the usual badass male hero, this one features a female hero with her expert ex, who also happens to be in a wheelchair. It doesn't slow him down, though. 


My Name is Earl

A funny show from the early 2000s, I've been watching it with my son. He likes it enough that he's gone on ahead of me a few times, yet still rewatches the episodes with me. A criminal realizes that his bad karma is taking away all the good in his life, so he makes a list of everything he's done to wrong other people and set out to make it all right. After the first season, the guest actors on the show are a who's who of actors that are a kick to see. And of course Jason Lee and Jaime Pressly play their roles so well, as do the other three main characters. Randy is the dopey younger brother, Catalina an illegal alien working in the motel where they live, and Crab Man as the guy Earl's ex cheated on him with, but you can't think ill of him because he's such a great guy.

If you're in a comedy show hole, this one's a lot of fun.

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

Accepting Submissions:

Split Lip Magazine is seeking memoir, poetry, flash fiction, short stories, photography and art, interviews and reviews for their online issues and print annual. They want experimental and literary. Up to 3000 words, depending upon type of submission. Some months cost money, but every month is free for the rest of the year for black writers. Pay varies depending upon type of submission. September is a free month for all submissions.

Other Worlds Ink is seeking stories that depict a near future earth that's better than this one. 5000 to 15000 words. Pays $75 to $125, depending upon length. Deadline September 30.

18th Wall Productions is seeking stories for Shadows Over Avalon. They want Cthulhu mythos stories set in the Arthurian world. It doesn't have to be horror. 4000 to 20000 words. Pays royalties based off profits. Deadline October 1.

Underland Arcana is seeking short fiction. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline October 1.

What are your insecurities? Have you been submitting? Any of these links of interest? Have you seen any of the shows or movies I listed? How about the books? What's happened in your world this week?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I understand your angst about not being outside. I finally screened in my porch and it's my new 'office'. I sit here most of the day working, writing, and observing my jungle instead of the jungle devouring me...lots of mosquitoes and other bugs love human blood. Scratching is very distracting.

  2. Sounds like your life is coming around in a way that is most beneficial. Congrats on all your positive changes. Glad the writing is going better...and I understand the pull to be outside.

  3. That's great that you are glad that you quit your job. I started working part-time earlier this year and am enjoying having more time to write and do the things I enjoy. I also can get my house cleaning and other jobs done during the week.

    Glad your writing is going well.

  4. So great that you'll have more time away from the stress and the worries! Of course, life will always fill in a void, but you should have more time for your writing and to just be. Loved the cabin pics!

  5. I wish I could have stayed home when my sons were teens. That I couldn't still bothers me. Teens are so vulnerable. Best of luck with everything you do, Shannon.

  6. Glad you have more time to cram it all in. I'd be enjoying the outdoor weather as well.
    I agree with your assessment of Face the Music. Ted's daughter was more like him than he was. Still fun though.

  7. Wow, what a way to design a cover - You beneath your skin

  8. It's interesting how when we give ourselves permission to relax we get more productive. I bet that means something. ;)

  9. I'm glad it's going great! Having order is important and so helpful.

  10. Order is better than complete chaos. (Even though that's how I tend to operate.)

    A killer lion - I'll look for that movie.

  11. Glad your job is done and you have more free time. I haven't seen any of those movies or shows. No killer lions for me, though, I like cats too much to see something bad happen to it, even if it is a killer! After all, that's what cats do, right? Kill things.

  12. I'm glad things are going great, even with all the quirks.

  13. Thanks for the shoutout! Really appreciate you taking the time to pick up the book, Shannon.

    I'm with you on wanting to be outside--here in Singapore, it's been raining pretty much everyday, and that ruins my walking plans, which makes me angsty.

    Glad you'll have time to work on your writing--and congratulations once again on the acceptance.

  14. Thanks for the shoutout! Really appreciate you taking the time to pick up the book, Shannon.

    I'm with you on wanting to be outside--here in Singapore, it's been raining pretty much everyday, and that ruins my walking plans, which makes me angsty.

    Glad you'll have time to work on your writing--and congratulations once again on the acceptance.

  15. What an incredible speed for the acceptance. I'm very impressed. Congratulations. I'm glad everything is going well after leaving your job - relaxation is so important, but hard to achieve when you work from home.

  16. I haventsubmittedfor a while. Right now I'm working on a novella and toward a short fiction collection both of which I plan to self-publish.

  17. You're submitting a lot and I hope you can reach your target soon. Good luck with all your writing.
    Sonia from

  18. So cool that you found a schedule that works for you, and while raising teenagers (a phase I am finally about to grow out of). I plan to copy your approach shamelessly.

  19. 20 minutes is amazing. I've had rejections in shorter times, but an acceptance that's unfathomable!

  20. You are definitely a warrior, Shannon! Good luck with your writing and submissions. Enjoy the lovely Colorado autumn weather.