Wednesday, December 2, 2020

IWSG: Home Flipping, Taking a Plunge, and Putting Yourself Out There

 Well, hello, it's that time again. Time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. 

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group serves as a place for writers to come together once a month, on the first Wednesday, to discuss our insecurities and lend support to others. Anyone can participate. Just click on Alex's name above and put your blog on the linky, then be sure to visit some of your fellow IWSG'ers.

The optional question is: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

I'm probably more productive during the winter because I'm trapped in the house. Then again, that was true when my kids were actually leaving the house to attend school. Now my day-time schedule revolves a lot more around when they're online for school. And, of course, right now there's hardly any writing getting done because I'm in classes.

My insecurities this month have to do with how much I'm putting myself out there. Having premiered a new podcast last month and put out my first collection that had ALL new stories, rather than previously published ones, it's been a different and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. But all good, so far.

Speaking of new releases, two of my friends have put out new books!

First up, K.A. Olgren has a cozy mystery full of snark about house flippers. I asked her to do a Top Ten Reasons you Might be a House Flipper:

Top Ten Reasons Why You Might Be A House Flipper

1.     If you spend hours scouring the internet for home design trends and you’ve received a sizeable inheritance or enjoy working with people whose job title is “hard money lender”, pressure is your middle name and stress is your last, you might be a house flipper.

2.     If you like crawling through crawl spaces and attics hoping not to find structural flaws, strange items, and/or bodies (animal or otherwise), you might be a house flipper.

3.     If you want a chance to be wealthy, like to work with your hands, and don’t mind ending up broke because you just discovered the sewer line has disintegrated and is nonexistent one foot from the main, you might be a house flipper.

4.     If the thought of chasing squirrels out the attic with a boom box turned up as loud as it can go makes you giddy, house flipping might be for you.

5.     If buying a new six-foot vanity because the faucet you installed had a factory defect and blew up overnight, flooding the bathroom and the garage you just finished drywalling, you might be a house flipper.

6.     If the idea of spending hours hitting every home improvement store in town to find one clearance bin kitchen cabinet knob because you miscounted sounds like a blast, you might be a house flipper.

7.     If you find listening to the neighbors’ horrific tales of the former occupant and her twenty-seven cats who were found feasting on her deceased body thereby cursing her to be a ghost haunting the house you just bought thrills you, you may need psychiatric help; and you might be a house flipper.

8.     If slowly driving around neighborhoods like a stalker, looking for dilapidated houses with newspapers and flyers piled up in the driveway is your idea of a leisurely Sunday drive, you might be a house flipper.

9.     If you enjoy ruminating over the mechanics of why the water draining from the tub came up through and overflowed the kitchen sink, or why the dishwasher only works when you flip the switch on for that cute little lamp post at the end of the driveway, you might be a house flipper.

10. If you enjoy jumping through hoops for realtors, inspectors, title companies, money lenders, partners, contractors, and banks, to finally sell the money pit you just spent four months fixing up, congratulations! You are a house flipper. You are stout of heart, questionable in sanity, mostly fit of body, and driven in spirit.

Time to find another house!

You can get the Kindle version of "Flipped: A Jillian McElroy Flipping Mystery" by clicking on the title.

The next one is Liesbet Collaert's long-awaited release:

Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.

Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.

Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.

Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?

 To purchase "Plunge: One Woman's Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary," click on the title, which will take you to the global link. You can get it in paperback and e-book.

If you didn't see my last post, I now have a weekly podcast about true crime, unsolved mysteries, cryptids, the paranormal, and more, called Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. New episodes every Wednesday on your favorite podcast platforms! Today's release is about an area in North Carolina called The Devil's Tramping Ground and the cryptids of Maryland. Click HERE to find the episode listings on our website. If you have a story about one of these topics to share concerning a personal experience or one a family member or friend has experienced, we'd love it if you'd email us so we can read it on the podcast. You can find our email on the website or fill out the form on the main page, which will notify us automatically.

Also, don't miss my new holiday horror collection. These are NOT all Christmas stories. They include holidays from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day. Available in e-book and paperback. Click HERE to purchase. (After some negative opinions about holiday horror, I would appreciate if you refrain from posting similar on my page, thank you.)

Now it's time for my submissions to keep myself accountable. Bearing in mind that I'm in the middle of taking college classes, was starting a podcast and learning how to edit it, and had a book to get out, here are my submissions stats for November:

13 submissions

7 rejections

1 withdrawn

0 acceptances

I was supposed to have a short story come out in an October publication, but one month later, that edition hasn't come out and I've yet to hear a word about it. I've also noticed an increase in markets not bothering with sending rejections, and I'm struggling to continue submitting versus just putting out my own books in light of this. The only thing keeping me from that right now, is that I love the experience of working with editors and meeting other writers who are in the same magazines and books. We'll see. I'm feeling significantly discouraged.

School is going well. I've finished 8 credits since I started. I'm trying to speed it up now.

I hope you have a pleasant December. See you again in 2020!

What are your insecurities? Have you been submitting? Have you found the same thing I have with fewer people sending rejections? Are you hanging in there through the pandemic? Interested in any of the new books? Have you tried out the podcast yet?

May you find your Muse.

*Image: Blue Swoosh - OCAL - 


A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Shannon. I'm the opposite. I tend to slow down in winters but yes, just like you my children going to school is my productive time too.
I've seen Happy Ghoulidays around. Seems to be going places. Great! I will probably gather good courage soon to read horror. You've also been sending a lot of submissions. That's nice. At my front it's slowed down now. Hoping to start fresh in the New Year. Wish you a great holiday season.
Sonia from

C. D. Gallant-King said...

Yup having kids at home as greatly messed with my schedule. I'm still getting writing done, but I'm not getting much sleep and no exercise. I fear this past year is literally shortening my life 😐

That house flippers book looks pretty fun! And congrats again on your new release!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi Shannon,

When I first read your blog a few years ago, I got the courage to start submitting. So, your blog has always been an encouragement for me.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe passage into 2021.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Patsy said...

I also write more in the winter, because that's when I spend most time indoors.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon - you've been doing so much recently ... just enjoy! Take care and stay safe, while good luck to all new publications - all the best - Hilary

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think a lot of people are more productive in writing in the winter. I'm hoping that's true for me too this winter. Sounds like you are being productive on a number of fronts. Hope your podcast goes well for you.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet it's tough with the kids around.
Big congratulations to Liesbet.
Chasing squirrels out with a boom box - now that is funny!

Jemi Fraser said...

You've always got a full plate! So glad school is going well!
The list of my insecurities is long and varied - and inextricably linked to that confidence thing :)

J Lenni Dorner said...

Sounds like you've been really productive! Keep up the great work on writing.

Yolanda Renée said...

Sorry for the stress of negative comments! I love holiday horror. LOL Of course I do. I love the idea of your pod cast, and I'll definitely check it out! Congratulations on all your success!!!!
Have a lovely holiday and a blessed New Year!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad your new experiences and exposure has been good so far. I hope that continues.

Congrats to K.A. and Liesbet!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love Plunge cover. They put some love into creating it. If I was younger, I'd love to flip houses. A lot of work, but you end up with something to show for it.

Leigh Caron said...

Love the books you hi-lighted. My insecurity lately has been my reaction to a review from Kirkus. After reading it, I crawled into an emotional cave and I am just now getting out. I finally looked up other reviews that authors got and guess Kirkus is extremely tough. My was so-so

Diane Burton said...

From my daughter & DIL, I understand how stressful virtual schooling is. Hang in there. Best wishes on the new releases.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

8 credits - that's good.

I can lead flippers to a couple houses in our neighborhood.

cleemckenzie said...

It's a topsy turvy year for sure. I so hope the schools will open again soon and establish some sort of normal routine for the kids as well as their parents and teachers.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Way to go with putting yourself out there! I admire your tenacity and the way you're going about it.

Donna Hanton said...

Congrats on the podcast, and putting yourself out there. Thanks for sharing these new books--both sound great.

Andrew Leon said...

What's writing?

Olga Godim said...

I guess this year forced many people to change their routines, what with self-isolation, kids at home, etc. Hopefully, your creativity hasn't suffered too much because of it.

Anne Higa said...

Congrats on all the hard work and keeping it all up.

Anne from

Liesbet said...

Congratulations with the new podcast, Shannon. Oh my, are you a busy bee, especially in November. I can't believe you manage to create new work and send out submissions on top of everything else. I've had zero time for that, most of 2020.

Thank you for featuring the release of my debut travel memoir here! And, I love K.A.'s reasons of being a house flipper. Very funny! After having owned a sailboat for eight years, the last thing I want to think about is fixing up something else! :-)

Happy holidays - I hope they will be peaceful and more relaxing than the other months. But, I have to agree with you, winter is the best time to write! :-)

Liza said...

House flipping is not for the faint of heart!

Thevagabond said...

Congratulations on your new podcast. I can understand how covid has slayed all the plans and with children being home all dayne can hardly get any writing done. Ruchi Nasa

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Hope the new podcast is going well! Also: I remain impressed with your consistent efforts with submitting stories.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

The house-flipping list was super cute.

Congrats on continuing to submit, even when you're busy. It takes commitment. Right before Christmas, I had two ghost stories rejected by my own publisher (they publish anthologies). I was a bit crushed, because one of the stories I'm really proud of, but at least now I have more to sell.

Happy New Year!