Tuesday, December 5, 2023

IWSG - Big Breaks & Disappointments

It's time for the last Insecure Writer's Support Group post of the year!

I missed last month! Yikes. I don't think I've missed a month since I started participating in the IWSG.

The IWSG exists to create a space of being open with our writing insecurities and lending each other support. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, it occurs the first Wednesday of each month. Anyone can sign up. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list.

The co-hosts this month are C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray.

The optional question for this month is: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the author or for the reader? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

Reviews are not my specialty. I don't like saying anything negative about a book, especially if it's a lesser known author, but I also have no interest in lying to say it was better than it was. Sometimes this presents a conundrum. If there's something I feel I need to warn people about, I'll include that. In general, I leave my overall impression/feeling about the book, any warnings or drawbacks, and anything I really liked about it. But I've been skipping reviews and just rating the books this year.

So let's talk insecurities. I had this big exciting project I posted about on here a few months ago. I honestly thought this was going to be if not THE big break, A big break. I set aside everything else to work on it. Well, last month it fell through. Death by committee. The team I was working with could not agree on a direction, so it's been shelved.

It was a major blow and I haven't written a word since. I needed some time to work through the disappointment and the ego blow. I'm not sure I'm out of that yet, but things are getting better and I'll resume final edits on the book releasing this spring soon. 

In the meantime, I'm working on that good ol' work/life balance and trying to get on a better schedule. My husband and I just spent the last week in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and I made the conscious decision before we went to not work on anything writing related. We scheduled only two things and the rest of our time there was dedicated to enjoying ourselves, resting, rejuvenating, and spending time together. It was downtime we both desperately needed. 

So I'll leave you with some photos from the trip!

Have you ever had a big project go under? Did you move past it immediately or take some time? What are your insecurities?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

IWSG - Projects & Gary Robbe New Release


It's IWSG time!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group serves to give writers a place to air their insecurities and support each other. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up, then post the first Wednesday of each month.

This month's co-hosts are: Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass.

We're in my favorite time of year, though it's been so hot and rainy that the trees haven't really started changing near our cabin in southern Colorado, but they're changing farther up north. Temperatures are still in the 80s right now, so this was not a year where we saw our first snowfall in September. I'm not placing any bets on October.

I finished the first draft of the big project I was hired for, so now comes the waiting part for edits or a rewrite request. I definitely proved to myself that pantsing or "discovery writing" is where it's at for me. Preparing an outline in advance then trying to stick to that outline is simply not how my brain works, but it was required for this, so just another aspect of the learning experience. The entire thing has been very interesting.

And, of course, until that final acceptance, I remain insecure about the whole thing.

But while I wait, it's back to finishing up work on my March release. My first novel will be coming out March 2024. More news in the coming months, but it feels nice to be so close. Add it to the list of insecurities! Once I have more info, I'll likely be putting out a call for help getting the word out. 

Until then, I have Gary Robbe's new release. Not Buried Deep Enough was released this past Monday, October 2.

We all have nightmares buried in our psyche. Gary Robbe has uncovered thirteen terrifying stories that weren't buried deep enough. WWI soldiers encounter ghouls in the wastes of No Man's Land. Siblings in rural Appalachia are haunted by their dying mother's last request. A family discovers that tearing down an old house doesn't make it go away. And the dreams get darker from there...

Gary's striking and unnerving tales - ranging from folk horror to supernatural to weird western - have been scaring readers for many years. Not Buried Deep Enough is his debut collection of horror stories. 

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Gary Robbe is a retired educator, and a not retired writer, currently living in Colorado. His dark fiction has appeared in numerous ezines, magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, including Dark Corners Magazine, Sanitarium Magazine, and The Best of the Horror Zine - The Middle Years, Screaming in the Night Vol 1, Terror at 5280', and the NoSleep Podcast. Gary is a member of the Horror Writers Association, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and a founding member of the Denver Horror Collective. He is also an associate editor with Bewildering Stories. 

What are you feeling insecure about? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Have you ever had to switch to the other? How did that go? Have you checked out Gary's book?

May you find your Muse.

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

Monday, March 13, 2023

More Blog Visits for Happy Ghoulidays II!

I'm visiting some more folks this week to talk about Happy Ghoulidays II. The book releases this Friday, March 17th! Schedule below:

Monday, the 13th

Marcy S. Hatch - Maine Words

Natalie Aguirre - Literary Rambles (I'll be in her follower news, but she always has a great post so I recommend visiting her!)

Wednesday, the 15th

Patricia Josephine - Twisting Myths

Jeff Wood discussing a short story career

Thursday, the 16th

K.A. Olgren - Stories 'n' More for an author interview

And a final one on April 5

L. Diane Wolfe - Circle of Friends

Thank you to everyone who hosted me and everyone who visited, commented, and shared! You can check out last week's posts at Guest Posts at Alex's, Anna's, and the Colorado HWA. (DeAnna's post was scheduled after I titled it, but the link is in the post).

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

IWSG - Cover Reveal & April Submission Roundup

It's time for the March IWSG!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group is a monthly blog event where writers can post about their insecurities and lend support to other writers. Anyone can join. Click on Alex's name above and add your blog to the linky list.

This month's co-hosts are Deidre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose. Be sure to stop by and visit them!

This month's optional question: Have you ever read a line in a novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

Oh yeah. I am constantly awed by glorious wording (and occasionally plot twists, though I find those harder to come by). I love a good plot twist, but I can't think of one off the top of my head that awed me. The entire opening sections of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca are worth reading for the fantastic wording. Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has some great descriptive sentences. And the opening line of Stephen King's The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger is a great one, as well.

I'm skipping submission stats this month, because I haven't been submitting while I finished getting Happy Ghoulidays II ready. Speaking of which, how about a cover reveal? I don't have the paperback pre-order link yet, but I'll post the e-book link below.

Happy Ghoulidays II releases Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick's Day), as the first story in the book involves St. Paddy's. The universal link for e-books is HERE.

If you're willing to help with my book launch this month, you can sign up HERE.

And look what my husband (my cover designer) did!

If you missed L. Diane Wolfe's guest post last week, she wrote about tying books in a series together. Check out the post and her new book!

Open for Submissions

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

Dragon's Roost Press is seeking submissions of weird, dark speculative fiction for The Midnight Zone. Must involve a new monster. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline March 30.

Aurealis is open year round for authors in Australia and New Zealand, but they're open to international submissions once per year for the month of March. Speculative fiction. Pays $20-$60 AUD per 1000 words. Deadline March 31.

Masks Literary Magazine is seeking poetry and prose up to 3000 words. Pays $20-$25. Deadline March 31.

Gordon Square Review is seeking poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Word limit varies per type of submission. Up to 7500 words for prose. Pays $10-$25. Deadline April 1.

ev0ke is seeking pieces with the theme "sex magic." They take a variety of submission types. Pays $5. Deadline April 15 (does not open until April 1.)

Dread Stone Press is seeking horror flash fiction. 500 to 1000 words. $.02/word. Deadline April 15. (Opens April 1.)

Seaside Gothic is seeking flash fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays .01 pounds/word. Deadline April 16.

Reservoir Road Literary Review is seeking literary fiction short stories and lyrical creative nonfiction. Up to about 8000 words (no hard limit). Pays $5. Deadline April 30 (does not open until April 1).

Khoreo is seeking speculative fiction. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.10/word. Deadline April 30.

Dragonsoul Press is seeking stories featuring pirates for Pirate Gold. Yes, that even includes space pirates. 3000 to 20,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline April 30.

Inklings Press is seeking speculative fiction mystery stories. Up to around 5000 words. Pays $10. Deadline April 30.

The First Line is seeking stories starting with the line: "All the lawns on Mentone Avenue are mowed on Wednesdays." 300 to 5000 words. Pays $10-$50, depending upon submission type. Deadline May 1.

Rock and a Hard Place is seeking literary noir stories about rich people behaving badly for the anthology The One Percent: Tales of the Super Wealthy and Depraved. 2000 to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $35. Deadline May 1.

December Magazine is seeking literary prose, poetry, and nonfiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $10 per page. Deadline May 1.

Three Ravens Publishing is seeking post-apocalyptic stories for Tales of the Apocalypse. 5000 to 10,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline May 1.

What are your insecurities? What's your favorite line from a novel (or what novel is it from)? Have you written a series? Any of these publications of interest?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Guest Post - L. Diane Wolfe: How to Tie Together a Series

L. Diane Wolfe is stopping by today to discuss her new book with a guest post about tying series together.

How to Tie Together a Series 

Sometimes writers plan out a series. Sometimes one book turns into more. And sometimes a writer conceives of multiple, seemingly unrelated stories. How can one tie it all together? 

Here are some ways you can groups stories into a coherent series: 

Continuation of the characters: 

Take the main character and continue his/her adventures. Each story can stand on its own or each one can progress forward in time. There are a lot of examples in the literary world: Sherlock Holmes, Jack Reacher, Nancy Drew, etc. Readers who fall in love with the main character will enjoy more stories surrounding that person. 

It doesn’t have to be the same character, though. The main character’s best friend could become the main character in the next book, and so on and so on. Many of the secondary characters will cycle in and out of the stories, keeping readers grounded in the cast. I did this with my new adult series, The Circle of Friends. 

Set in the same universe: 

Think DC or Marvel comics. Many superheroes across one large universe. Sometimes they cross over, sometimes they are merely referenced in another story. The stories can also be set many years apart. The Imager series by L.E. Modessit is an example of a single universe series, as is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. 

Using a theme: 

If the characters don’t overlap and neither does the setting, then stories can be tied together by theme. The theme can be simple or complex. It can tie specifically to the stories’ genre. But some key element binds the stories to a series, a theme that readers will enjoy regardless of the exact setting or characters. Theme is what I used to tie my In Darkness series together—each main character(s) deal with a darkness in their lives, whether it’s due to their supernatural nature (vampire, shark, werewolf, alien) or human flaws and baggage dragging them down. 

If you have some stories written and would like to tie them together, consider one of those three options. If you’d like to plan a series or turn a single book into one, now you have some ideas. Series do well, so if you can get one going and it’s successful, you’ll gain dedicated readers for years. 

In Darkness: The Vampire 
By L. Diane Wolfe 

Souls shrouded in darkness… 

Stuck working as a barmaid for her demanding father, Anna dreams of adventure. When mysterious strangers enter the bar, she overhears they seek Zancrela, an ancient fortress filled with treasure and a magical library. Taking her chance, she offers to guide them. The conditions: deliver Zancrela or die. 

As they journey through the wilderness, she discovers their secret: they are vampires. And most view her as food. One takes interest in her and her heart dares to hope, but it might not be enough to change her fate. Will Anna find Zancrela or become a vampire morsel? 

Release date – February 7, 2023 
Romance / Paranormal / Vampires (FIC027320), Fantasy / Paranormal (FIC009050), Fantasy / Romance (FIC009090) 
eBook ISBN 9781939844903 
$3.99 eBook available in all formats 

Buy Links: 

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Submission Stats & Open Calls for March

Since I didn't have time last week to add the usual onto my IWSG post, I'm doing it this week. 

First, my submission stats for January. They're awful, BUT that's because I'm busy working on Happy Ghoulidays II, so I don't even feel bad about it. HGII releases March 17!! (I'm looking for folks interested in helping spread the word about HGII in March. You can sign up here. Thank you!)

In January:

3 submissions

3 rejections

12 currently on submission

So. many. needing. submission.

Okay, now for publications taking submissions with deadlines in March. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Hexagon Magazine is seeking speculative fiction short stories. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline March 7. (Note they are only open for submissions from the 1st to the 7th.)

Solarpunk Magazine is seeking stories by BIPOC authors only for a special themed issue. 1500 to 7500 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline March 14. (Note they are only open for submissions from the 1st to the 14th.)

Eye to the Telescope is seeking speculative poetry with the theme of Fungi. 1-3 poems. Pays $.04/word. Deadline March 15. 

EvOke is seeking speculative fiction stories with the theme Gods and Goddesses of Witchcraft. Pays $5. Deadline March 15.

Nunum is seeking flash fiction. Up to 500 words. Pays $20CAD. Deadline March 15.

The Ex-Puritan is seeking a variety of works, including short fiction, poetry, and essays. Pay is between $35 and $200, depending upon type of submission. Deadline March 25, but deadlines roll, so they are continuously open for submissions. Deadline merely determines which issue you're being considered for.

Dragon Soul Press is seeking stories featuring East Asian warriors for the anthology Honor. 3000 to 20,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline March 25.

Munster Literature Center is seeking short fiction for Southword. Up to 5000 words. Pays 250 euros. Deadline March 31.

Cohesion Press is seeking military horror short stories for Snafu: Punk'd. 2000 to 7500 words. Pays $.05AUD/word. Deadline March 31.

The Woodward Review is seeking poetry and prose. Up to 5000 words. Pays $50. Deadline March 31.

Be sure to stop by on February 22 when L. Diane Wolfe stops by!

Have you been submitting? How's it going? Any of these of interest?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

IWSG - Book Covers & Book Launch Help

Ack! I almost forgot to put together this post! Note: I will have to either post this month's submission calls in a separate post or add them to this one later. It's been a crazy (albeit good) day, and I just didn't have time to get it together.

It's the first Wednesday of February (I am never, ever ready for a new month, it seems), which means it's time for another round of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to create an environment for writers to share their insecurities and support their fellow creatives. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list.

The co-hosts this month are: Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!

The optional question is: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I'm Indie, and my husband makes the covers for me. I find it amazing that I can tell him some events/items to focus on, and he comes up with these great covers. 

And he puts together marketing images. This question is oddly timely, because I should be sending my newsletter out within the next week featuring the cover reveal of Happy Ghoulidays II! My newsletter subscribers get to see it first. If you're curious, you can sign up for the newsletter over to the right. He's putting the finishing touches on it as we speak. Getting the official cover is one of my absolute favorite parts.

If you're willing to help with the book launch in March, between Monday, March 6 and Friday, March 17 (release day is the 17th), you can sign up by clicking HERE.

I will have to do my submission recap in a separate post with the submission links, because I have to get up really early for a work meeting, and it is way past when I should have gone to bed for it (not that I can sleep when I go to bed earlier than usual, anyway, but I can at least be in bed reading until sleep is a possibility.)

What are your insecurities? Who does your covers? How much say do you get? Which of your books has your favorite cover?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

IWSG - Book Release News & 2022 Submission Stats

Yep, it's that time again. First Wednesday of 2023 means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group time.

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG creates an environment where writers can share about their insecurities and lend support to their fellow insecure writers. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and add your blog to the list.

This month's co-hosts are: Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, T. Powell Coltrin.

This month's optional question is: Do you have a word of the year? Is there a word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? What's your word for 2023 and why?

I don't usually do a word, but I might as well! This year's word is Productivity. I started a new job in May and another around July or August, and very little time has gone to writing as I learned the jobs and worked to improve at them. This year is the year of writing and publication.

I'm planning on releasing Happy Ghoulidays II March 17 (St. Patrick's Day), with stories for St. Patrick's, 4th of July, Easter, Halloween, and more. So I'm hard at work on that. I didn't release anything in 2022, and that's unacceptable. I also have at least one other release (preferably with much longer pre-order period than HG II will have) planned in 2023, but have ideas for more, so it will all come down to what I can manage along with the job. I have a novel I've decided to self-pub, but I want to get the second in the series written before I start planning the release. There's another (unrelated) novel I need to be editing.

In other words, this is the year of GETTING SH*T DONE. Because I did not last year. I've been terrible about short story submissions, and that needs to improve, too. If I hadn't taken the class with Storied Imaginarium, I wouldn't have written any stories for several months. I'm so glad I took that class. It got me inspired and ready to move ahead full tilt.

Submission Stats for December:

1 submission

2 rejections

0 acceptances

12 currently on submission

Submission stats for 2022:

103 submissions

6 acceptances

85 rejections

15 other (publications went under)

My acceptance percentage was more than double this before, so I need to work on that, too. I will say, though, that I also branched out into other genres and did a lot of fiddling around with that, and a chunk of those submissions are from me playing with new stuff. There was also experimentation in my horror. So this may have influenced the stats.

These markets are open for submissions. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Neon Hemlock is seeking queer gothic horror for The Crawling Moon: Queer Tales of Inescapable Dread. Up to 6000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline January 15.

World Publishing Company is seeking stories about the gods for Avitus: Humans, Gods, Demons. 2400 to 4200 words. Pays $10. Deadline January 15.

Fulcrum Publishing is seeking essays on women's productive health. Up to 2000 words. Pays $150. Deadline January 20.

Dark Matter Presents is seeking horror involving monsters and their lairs for Monster Lairs. 2000 to 4000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline January 30.

Air and Nothingness Press is seeking "stories of massive engineering megastructures that reshape stellar systems" for Gargantua. Should be EXACTLY 1000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline January 31.

The Bureau Dispatch is seeking fiction and creative nonfiction with the theme "Wayfinding." Up to 1000 words. Pays $50. Deadline January 31.

Brink is seeking short fiction, poetry, and art with the theme "Gravity." Up to 1500 words. Pays $25 to $100, depending upon submission type. Deadline January 31.

Brigids Gate Press is seeking stories about seers and sibyls. 1500 to 5000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline January 31.

The Last Girls Club is seeking horror stories with the theme "Panic." Up to 2500 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline February 1.

The First Line is seeking stories with the opening line "I am the second Mrs. Roberts." 300 to 5000 words. Pays $10 to $50, depending upon submission type. Deadline February1.

Medusa Tales Magazine is seeking stories of transformation and immobilization. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline February 15.

EvOke is seeking stories stories, poetry, and artwork about paganism in the African diaspora. Pays $5. Deadline February 15.

Ghoulish Books is seeking short, fun horror for Ghoulish Times. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.07.word. Deadline February 15. (Note: the editors used to run Dark Moon Digest.)

Other Worlds Ink is seeking hopeful near future stories for Transform the World. 2500 to 15,000 words. $50 to $100, depending upon length. Deadline February 28.

Gwyllion Magazine is seeking speculative fiction. Up to 10,000 words. Pays 10 pounds. Deadline February 28.

Dragon Soul Press is seeking trickster stories. 3000 to 15,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline February 28.

Any of these of interest? What's your word for the year? Do you set goals? What's something you want to change for the year? Do you review your submission stats for the year?

May you find your Muse.

*Blue Swoosh - md - OCAL - clker.com