Wednesday, September 6, 2023

IWSG - Supportive Communities & Rebecca Douglass Book Launch


Here we are in September, with another Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to provide a forum for writers to discuss their insecurities, of which we have many. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and add your blog to the linky list.

The co-hosts this month are Sonia Dogra, J Lenni Dorner, Pat Garcia, Sarah - the Faux Fountain Pen, and Meka James. Be sure to drop in and thank them for co-hosting!

The optional question this month is: The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

It's been years since I discovered IWSG, but I can't say exactly when. I believe I found it after participating in the A-to-Z Challenge. In both the A-to-Z and the IWSG, I found such a wonderful community here online. I'm not able to visit folks as much as I would like, yet when I do get those visits in, it's like I was never gone. Writers need each other. We need support from those who understand the particular, unique issues writers face. The IWSG helps us attain that and gives us the opportunity to offer our support and experience to others dealing with similar issues. We have lost several members through the years and banded together to support our fellow bloggers through the loss of family, health issues, mental health crises, and more.

I also was one of the admins for a while! It was a lot of fun being a part of the team.

Speaking of supporting each other, a place I've gotten help and offered help is with new releases. And Rebecca Douglass has a new release to help with right now!

Retired science teacher Seffie Wardwell has moved to coastal Maine looking for peace, fresh air, and an accepting community. So far, she's enjoying the sea air. When a corpse shows up in Seffi's flower garden, she can't help asking questions about the victim and his death. Police officer Miah Cox doesn't want her assistance, but Seffi's curiosity is what made her a scientist.

The more she learns about the dead man's background, the more she wants to know. Estranged from his wealthy family, and a village pariah for something that happened years before, the dead man had plenty of enemies. At least one wanted to make him disappear forever, and they're all eager to see this case wrapped up and forget about him.

The way Seffi sees it, somebody has to care about him, and as a fellow outsider, she's it. But all of her poking around is stirring up trouble in the village. It's up to Seffie and Miah to figure out whodunit before they strike again, and before the locals decide the handiest scapegoat is Seffie herself.

Find "A Coastal Corpse" in the following places:

Smashwords | Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Large Type | Barnes & Noble | Apple Store/iTunes | Kobo

Rebecca M. Douglass has lived and worked around the American West for more years than she'll admit, while raising two children to adulthood and dreaming up interesting ways to bump people off. Thanks to good friends in Maine, she has also spent time on the other side of the country and has fallen in love with that coast. Since retiring from work at the library, the author of the Ninja Librarian series for younger readers and the Pismawallops PTA mystery series lives in Seattle, where she is writing the Seffie Wardwell mysteries. She has also had short stories published in a variety magazines and anthologies. When she isn't writing, Ms. Douglass hiking and backpacking or to travel to discover new places or revisit old favorites, including the Grand Canyon and of course Maine, where so many of the best cozy mysteries are found.

Good luck on your book launch, Rebecca!

What are your insecurities? How long have you been hanging around with the IWSG? Have you read any of Rebecca's books?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

IWSG - Stretching Myself

It's IWSG time! And this month I'm a co-host, along with Kate Larkindale, Diane Burton, and Janet Alcorn.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group exists for writers to share their insecurities and give and get support. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and go to the IWSG tab to sign up. Post the first Wednesday of each month and hop around to visit others.

The optional question is: 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 believe I've done this. At least not that I can remember. It's one of those things where I feel like I must have, but simply can't think of an example. I did have a story that got rejected because I had harmed a dog (the dog did not get killed). Only, the editor said they wished I had gone all the way and killed the dog. So I edited it and killed the dog. The next editor rejected it because I killed the dog. For a time, I kept both versions of the story and submitted them to different markets, paying attention to which way I thought that particular market might lean, but I never sold it. Ultimately, I gave up, removed the dog entirely, and killed a human in the dog's place, then included it as a bonus story in one of my collections.

As far as current insecurities, I'm in the middle of a project that has me questioning whether I've really advanced far enough in my writing abilities to be able to pull off this off. Am I good enough? Did this opportunity come to me too early? All I know is I'm going to do my best and hope that my insecurity is unfounded. I've got a little more research to do, and have two months to get it in by deadline.

For locals, I've got a book signing coming up on August 12th, 1-3 PM, at Hooked on Books. They will be providing cookies and lemonade. I'll be signing with Bowen Gillings, Steven J. Anderson, and Christina Bergling.

I also have a signing with a larger group at Tattered Cover in September, so I'll post about that next month. I'm looking forward to MileHiCon in October, as well, so will have that information soon, too.

If you haven't signed up for my newsletter, my first one in several months is going out soon. You can subscribe over to the right. I send out release information to my newsletter subscribers first!

My podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem is ongoing. We're actually in season 6, which is pretty crazy! We do two seasons per year. I'd like to get some more interesting cryptids and hauntings on the show (it is true crime heavy, but I'd love to have more ghosts and monsters to mix in). Any recommendations? What are some of your favorite myths, monsters, or ghosts? Any haunted sites you think might make a good story?

What's your favorite cryptid? Have you ever worried that you weren't good enough to do a project you'd taken on? What did you do to push through? What are your insecurities? Any exciting new projects you're working on?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

IWSG - Work/Life Balance


It's that time again. The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the first Wednesday of each month. We support each other in our writing fears. Anyone is welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up.

This month's co-hosts are: PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, Gwen Gardner, Pat Garcia, and Natalie Aguirre.

This month's optional question is: Where do your story ideas predominantly come from?

Most often they spark off something I saw or heard. A what if based on a twist or a quirk. While I'm a vivid dreamer, dreams are very rarely a source of my stories. In fact, I can't think of a story I based off a dream. Which is weird, because I've seen that's a huge source of story ideas for a lot of people. Most of  my dreams are pretty nonsensical.

While a different project is on hold, I'm editing a WIP. I've been making good progress on it. Not as good as when I wasn't working, obviously, but I've been able to work on it nearly every day, because I'm making myself cut out of work by a certain time. As I mentioned last month, I'm really trying to work on work-life balance. Unfortunately, "work" includes the day job, writing/publishing, and the podcast, so just as many of you have to do, it's getting all that established and still ensuring I have time to rest, as well. I'm giving myself a brain off day every other weekend and I've been walking again after finding some solutions for arthritis in my knee. (Walk one day, rest one day, exercise bike one day; ice and Voltaren gel on walk days as needed). 

The job balance is improving and I'm getting so much more reading done this year than last. I'll be hitting my Goodreads reading goal early this year, which makes me happy.

How do you reach work/writing/life balance? What are your insecurities? Where do your ideas come from? What are you working on right now?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

IWSG - Taking Time for Myself


It's IWSG time again! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG gives writers a place to air their insecurities and support other authors in their insecurities.

Before jumping in, I want to say a quick goodbye to "Chemist Ken," Ken Rahmoeller. I was sorry to hear of his death. He was a nice guy here in IWSG-Land and Blog-Land, and there will be a hole without him.

This month's co-hosts are Patricia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J. Lenni Dorner, and Cathrina Constantine. Be sure to stop by!

This month's optional question is "If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?"

I tell you what, I'm in the middle of a big writing project, but am in limbo while I wait for something back from the publishing company, and I've gotten SO. MUCH. done! So many things that I set aside repeatedly, because I don't have time between writing, podcasting, and my day job. Photo things, cleaning things, and organizational things. So, admittedly, I would probably just get more normal life things done and focus a bit more on photography and scrapbooking. I'd get more outside time. Sometimes I fantasize about just having free time to organize the pantry or read during the day. But it turns out when I've set aside all other writing projects for one that requires a quick turnaround, only to then be left waiting for over a week for something I need to move forward, my stress levels change, as does my "free time." Given, I put free time in quotations for a reason. I still fill the time, but it feels different. Normally, if I have any time, I guilt myself into writing to fill that time.

Last night, I relaxed around the firepit with my husband, because I'm also trying to keep myself to clocking out at dinner time from the day job, and to not sign back in at night. I need to draw some lines. There's only one night per week that I should be working late into the evening, and that's Thursday. All other nights I should be keeping my day job to day time. Most days, I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the computer lately, and that's not okay. We also ate at the dinner table for the first time in about two weeks, because there was stuff piled up there and I was busy working, anyway.

With the free time, though, I also went through and submitted a handful of short stories, which I was not doing for a while, as I had set aside short stories to work on my novel. Since that is also on hold, though, it was easier to submit some already written stories than to go back to novel editing only to have to stop when it's time for next steps in the current project.

Best laid plans and all that. When an opportunity drops in your lap, you drop everything else and put your all into it. Here's hoping it comes to fruition. If not, I got a peek into a different kind of writing world.

Have you done anything for yourself lately? Do you have anything you can do to give yourself more sustainable time? What would you do with extra time? What are your insecurities?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

IWSG - Inspiration & Struggle

Time for the May IWSG!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group exists for writers to give and get support. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list, then post on the first Wednesday of each month.

The co-hosts this month are Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Victoria Marie Lees, M Louise Barbour.

The optional question this month is: When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

Music and a walk are go-tos. Of course, a good book or movie can also be inspiring. Another author's success can be inspiring. Lots of things!

As far as insecurities, I'm struggling right now. When life things are rough, my creativity takes a nosedive. But I was so productive while working on Happy Ghoulidays II, so I'm hoping to get back there. I had several trips and it's the end of the school year (and I have a senior, so it turns out it's a LOT!), so I'm trying to give myself a break until the end of May. Not to say I'm not going to write or edit at all, just that I'm trying not to punish myself if I don't get as much done as I feel like I should.

Short version: I'm looking forward to things normalizing!

And I did get through initial edits on the horror comedy, so I have gotten something done. Some of my problem is probably that my focus is on edits, and they are my least favorite part of the process.

I also think I need to figure out a time/way to get out of the house to write. My hours at work increased, and I sit in this chair so much of the day that when it comes time to write I just want to shut my brain off instead and put the laptop away. I'm sure plenty of you can relate.

Subject change!

This upcoming Saturday, May 6, I'll be a spotlight author at Mountain of Authors, which is put on by the Pikes Peak Library District. It's one of my favorite events. It used to be there would be two panels then a keynote speaker, but it changed for a while because of COVID, just as everything did. I was excited to see that this year they're bringing back a panel in addition to the keynote speaker! I've been to events where authors were second class citizens, but this event has always treated its writers so well.

And bonus: it might just give me that energy I'm missing, spending time with fellow writers.

What are your insecurities lately? What inspires you? What's your favorite writing event?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

IWSG - Flops & Friends

Happy IWSG Day!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group exists to support the writing community in the airing insecurities. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, anyone can join. Simply click on his name and put your blog on the linky list.

The co-hosts this month are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre. Be sure to drop by their blogs and thank them for their help!

The optional question this month is: Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

Technically, my first published book was my nonfiction title The Business of Short Stories. The first ones I wrote are in limbo somewhere. My career path has been a bit different from that of most authors, as it's focused on short stories up to now. 

All that is changing, as I feel like I've grown stagnant in my writing career. I don't want to keep doing the same thing over and over again (this from a person whose longest work position before getting bored and moving along has been maybe 2 1/2 years). That doesn't mean I want to abandon horror or short stories, but it's time for me to grow and stretch and try new things. What that means right now is writing the next two books in my urban fantasy series so I can self-publish those, completing edits on a horror comedy novel I'll be shopping to agents this year, writing a memoir of my dad's journey with ALS, and writing the first in what will be a proposed amateur sleuth mystery series so I can start shopping that, as well. In addition, I'd like to revisit a YA Post-Apocalyptic novel I wrote way back when to see if I can bring it up to my current standards and either start shopping it again or finish what was a planned trilogy to self-publish.

So I have some fairly diverse plans for the next year, yeah?

I do have the rights back on enough short stories that I'll be releasing another collection in the next year. I just haven't decided how I want to time that yet. Plus I have to figure out which unpublished short stories to put in it, because I always like to put several brand new ones in for those who loyally purchase every publication I'm in. 

While I'm doing all this, I'm telling myself I will be pulling back on both submitting short stories and attending writing events as a speaker/featured author. Given, there are a few favorite events I'll likely keep appearing at, but I will not be seeking out new appearance opportunities. Which also means slowing down on the podcast appearances I was doing for a while. I think? (I have a work ethic I struggle to overcome, lol, which means I say I won't take on anything more, and then I do it anyway, but I REALLY need to give myself a break.)

Since I'm pulling back on submitting short stories, I'm going to probably cease keeping track on my IWSG posts to kind of discourage any deep focus on that. We'll see if that works or if I remember next month that I'm not doing that, LOL!

Both Sandra Cox and I are guests on L. Diane Wolfe's blog today, so stop by and say hi!

I want to thank anyone who helped with my book release in March! Diane is the last person on this hastily thrown together blog tour. Something significant and traumatic happened when I should have been prepping my book release, and it tied my hands for a couple weeks right after I got the book cover. I wrote out a whole post last month about it and ultimately decided it wasn't something I could share at this time. When I posted in desperation for help on Facebook the week of the release, a lot of people stepped up and helped by sharing the book release post. I feel bad, because, depending upon how that's shared (visibility setting) I can't see everyone who shared unless I happen to scroll past the post on their page. So some people don't end up getting thanked.

My current insecurity? I consider this launch a bit of a flop. The sales just weren't there. Since I released this title to force myself back into the game and it was meant to be fun for me, I've decided to move on and quit dwelling on the numbers. I didn't expect it to be BIG, but I did expect more than what ultimately happened. Interestingly, with the posts people did, several included other titles, and I saw a bump in sales on my older titles, so that was awesome and took away some of the sting of the low sales on Happy Ghoulidays II. But the support I got from the blogging community, the local writing community, and my friends and family when I asked for help is the most important and valuable thing that came from this book release. I appreciate all of you.

Onward and upward! The book is out. I learned some things. There were many factors I had zero control over due to personal life issues. But the factors I CAN control, I learned about. Each experience is an opportunity to learn, right? That's what I'm doing.

I'm actively editing the horror comedy novel now and will be asking for beta readers in the near future, and that's exciting! I have a plan for research material I'll need for my dad's memoir. And I've crappily outlined (I hate outlining and simply don't do it) the mystery novel. 

Cheers to next steps!

This ended up much longer than I intended. It was kind of a mental dump. I'll either add the open submissions onto this post later tonight or do a whole new post with those, but I wanted to get this posted.

What are your insecurities? Where are you on your journey? How has your journey changed since you started? Have you ever had a book release you considered a flop?

May you find your Muse.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy Ghoulidays II is OUT!

Today's the birthday of Happy Ghoulidays II! Happy Ghoulidays II brings horror to the holidays in a follow up to Happy Ghoulidays. The first one covered Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day (and Lupercalia). Happy Ghoulidays II picks up where the previous one left off, covering St. Patrick's Day through Halloween, with pit stops on April Fool's Day, Mother's Day, Election Day, the 4th of July, Easter, and Beltane.

Title: Happy Ghoulidays II
Release Date: March 17, 2023

The holidays elicit a mixture of emotions, from joy and revelry to despair and rage. In these stories, we examine the dark side of the holidays with a twisted Easter egg hunt, a desperate St. Patrick's Day curse, a monster that's only visible in the light of fireworks, a mother's guilt on Halloween, and more in this follow up to Happy Ghoulidays that embraces the underlying shadows of our favorite holidays.

Available in e-book on Kindle, Nook, Apple, Scribd, and Smashwords. Universal link

Available for paperback from Barnes & Noble: B&N paperback 

Amazon paperback: Amazon paperback 

Amazon International: UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | NL | JP | BR | CA | MX | AU | IN

Signed copies are available from my Square Storefront. You can also get the Ghoulidays box set, which has both 1 and 2: Warrior Muse Press Square Storefront