Wednesday, 8 January 2020

IWSG January 2020

A new year - a new decade - and what better way to see it in than with the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of 2020? Hosted as ever by Ninja Cap'n Alex J. Cavanaugh, the role of the group continues to be to offer a safe space where writers of all kinds can share their fears and insecurities without fear of judgement. January's co-hosts are T. Powell ColtrinVictoria Marie LeesStephen Tremp and J. H. Moncrieff!

If you don't mind, I'm going to use this as my "looking ahead to the new year" post - always a time of some insecurity but an exciting one too. I've started off on a good foot by typing "The End" on the last book in my trilogy. This one still needs a lot of work done to it, but for now I'm happy to reach that milestone. I'll be working towards a publication in spring or summer while at the same time, I'll be working on something new - it's been too long!

Another great way of starting the year would be bagging yourself an agent or publisher, and that might just come to fruition with the next #IWSGPit Twitter Pitch event. Simply ready your tweet-length pitch and get ready to post on January 15. Only a week away! Check out more details here. And of course, you can find more IWSG posts here.

How's your 2020 looking? What are your hopes and insecurities?

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

IWSG December 2019

It's the first Wednesday of December and that means it's time for us to convene for the very last IWSG of 2019. Hosted as always by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offer a safe space for writers to share fears and insecurities without appearing foolish or weak. If you haven't joined yet, why not make it your first resolution for 2020? Today's excellent co-hosts are Tonja DreckerBeverly Stowe McClureNicki Elson and Tyrean Martinson!

I'm skipping over this month's question - which I think is a good one, I just feel like focusing on the here and now and what I can do in this moment. We're approaching the end of the year and that traditionally means it's time to take stock. Well, I may not have got as much done in 2019 as I wanted, but I did get the second part of my trilogy out to quite a favourable reception, and I'm determined to finish the year out strong by completing the first draft on the finale. So basically, the same goal/insecurity I've had in previous months, but it will feel like a massive achievement considering the rather "fallow" year I've had. I'm looking forward to 2020 containing new adventures, including getting that conclusion to my series into the hands of readers, and I definitely want to get started on at least one new project. There's quite a few ideas I'm excited about, and as you probably know, a backlog tends to build up if you've been working on one story for a long time. So for me, 2020 looks like it has plenty of possibilities and potential. How's it looking for you?

Have a great Christmas, and don't forget to check out more IWSG posts here!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

IWSG November 2019

For the penultimate time this year, it's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it must be time once again for our meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Founded and helmed by Ninja Cap'n Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's excellent co-hosts are Sadira StonePatricia JosephineLisa Buie-CollardErika Beebe and C. Lee McKenzie. Join us if you haven't already!

My insecurity this month remains pretty much the same as last time - getting the ending of my trilogy wrapped up by the end of the year. I haven't made too much progress since that last post, but I remain hopeful/determined/blockheadedly stubborn about achieving this goal. It would be a great way to wrap up what has not been a hugely productive year. With that taken care of, let's have a look at this month's optional question (which is a lot of fun):

What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

I'm sure I've researched some very strange things, but maybe less so since I've been leaning towards a sci-fi/fantasy bent. Of course I might need to check some scientific principles and ideas but on the whole, I can draw on my imagination a lot more and there's less need to fact-check things from the real world. With that in mind, I'll cast back to one of my earlier novelistic attempts when I was trying to write detective/murder-based thrillers. One of my villains was particularly nasty and wanted to go to great efforts to cover his tracks - so I ended up attempting to research how to dispose of a body so it left no trace. Hopefully my name didn't end up floating around on a government watch list somewhere!

I'm sure there will be other entertaining answers to this question so why not check them out here?

Thursday, 3 October 2019

IWSG October 2019

It's the first Wednesday of the month - OK, it's Thursday for me because I'm running slightly late again while it's still Wednesday for others - and of course, it's time once again for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Hosted as ever by the peerless Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to share writing fears and insecurities of all kinds in a supportive and non-judgemental atmosphere. This month's co-hosts are Ronel Janse van VuurenMary AalgaardMadeline Mora-Summonte and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor.

This month's optional question is: "It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?"

It seems like there's quite a lot going on in this question but overall, it makes me think that "a writer who does not read" could be compared to a unicorn - does such a creature really exist? No writer can exist in a vacuum and I do believe that we're all a composite of everything we've ever read. Of course, some of it will stick more than others and that probably has an effect on the genres we end up gravitating to. We need inspiration to write and that comes from the world around us but it also comes from the books we read. And no, I wouldn't expect other people to want my writing if they knew I didn't enjoy reading - I wouldn't trust an author who said that because reading is a joy that's indispensable. 

This question also inspires me to read more, as well as review. It's something I always need to get better (and quicker) at!

Don't forget to check out more IWSG responses here.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

IWSG September 2019

We're into September already, the first Wednesday to be precise, and you know what that means - time once again for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Founded and headed up by Alex J. Cavanaugh, it's a safe space where writers can share their fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. This month's co-hosts are Gwen Gardner, Doreen McGettigan, Tyrean Martinson, Chemist Ken and Cathrine Constantine. I'm also running a bit late this month as I was having computing issues yesterday, which seem to beset me more often than I'd like these days, but on we go.

My insecurity this month is that despite making some public announcements, I've still not got down to writing again for the first time this year. Ideas are bubbling. Just got to take that leap to getting it down on screen which is proving a struggle for some reason, but this month will be the one!

Do I need a change of scenery, as proposed by this month's IWSG question - "If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?"

This is a very good question. I've been lucky in that I've been able to travel quite a bit during my life, so I could summon up a range of stunning locations. How about a view of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia as the sun goes down? (I envisage a nifty little desk set up in the desert.) Or on a Caribbean beach with ice cold beer in hand (I'm not much of a cocktail drinker) - it would need to be well shaded to avoid a glare on my laptop though, as I'm one of those people who likes to go straight to screen with a book. Maybe I'm overthinking it. I could go all intellectual by sitting in a pavement cafe on Paris's Left Bank. Really, though, I like to think I could write anywhere because the worlds I'm conjuring can't be seen from here and because as long as my wife is by my side, I've got the support I need to keep going - is that schmaltzy?

Don't forget to check out more IWSG posts here!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

IWSG August 2019

It's the first Wednesday of the month and, as ever, that means it's time for the monthly posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group! If you don't know about the group, it offers a safe haven where writers can post about their fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. For fun, there's an optional question to answer each month. Backing up our host and ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh this time round are Renee ScattergoodSadira StoneJacqui MurrayTamara Narayan and LG Keltner!

In terms of insecurities, I could be feeling insecure because I haven't made much headway with writing this year, but I'm feeling quite inspired. I just returned from Austin, Texas where I accompanied my wife on a business trip. It was great to soak up the hot weather and the Texan culture, but I was also impressed by many of the speakers at the convention who had all achieved amazing things in various fields. The talks were to do with motivation and empowerment so I hope to apply some of what I learned. I'm also going to post and share more about my wife's business because it's a great opportunity that anyone can join and make a career with.

Let's check out what's happening with IWSG this month - as usual, it's a lot!

Less than a month left to enter this year's IWSG Anthology Contest! We'd love to see lots more entries on the theme of voyagers and in the genre of middle grade historical (either adventure or fantasy). See the IWSG site for full details.

Don't forget our next Twitter Pitch event takes place in January. Deals have been struck and books published on the back of a tweet, so get yours polished up and ready now! See here for details.

The next WEP + IWSG collaborative writing event takes place on Aug 21-23, this time with the theme of "Red Wheelbarrow". Why not join in this fun and exciting challenge if you haven't already? Check out this post for more.

Instagrammers can follow along with this month's IWSG Instagram events by following our official account.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to introduce the newest addition to the IWSG admin team. Please give a big hand for Juneta Key!

Juneta Key writes SPECULATIVE FICTION, and loves fantasy and all its subgenres, the paranormal, mythological and space opera. In 2019, she entered into a partnership with another Indie author as co-owner of Stormdance Publications, to create fun, quality themed anthologies, especially about grumpy old gods. She’s one of seven founders of the Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop founded in 2015.

Interested in the Anthology Contest or Twitter Pitch? How does the WEP challenge grab you? You can find many more IWSG posts, as always, by checking out the sign-up page here.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

IWSG July 2019

It is the first Wednesday of the month and of course that means it's time once again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Hosted as ever by the Ninja Cap'n himself Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offer writers a safe place to share insecurities without fear of being judged. Why not join us if you haven't already? This month's awesome co-hosts are Erika BeebeNatalie AguirreJennifer LaneM J FifieldLisa Buie-Collard and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

Each month we get an optional question to answer, but I'm going to skip it this month because I'm drawing a blank on it. Instead I'm going to talk about my writing progress, or lack of it. I'm still trying to achieve a decent work/writing balance - I've not really got anything done this year in terms of the latter but I'm trying to remain stoical about it. Basically, we've got a few big things we need to get paid and then things should settle down a bit. I don't really feel in a writing headspace at all but then I do have various ideas flitting around - they settle for a minute like butterflies and then drift off again so I try to catch them while I can! I don't think I'll be stuck for things to work on when I do get some time - I've got the ending of the last book in my trilogy to finish off, the continuation of the book I started in December, or one of these twinkly new ideas. Basically, I'm trying not to be insecure - I'd rather not be writing for a lack of time than a lack of inspiration.

The IWSG Anthology Contest 2019 is open for submissions!

Guidelines and rules: 

Word count: 3500-5000

Genre: Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy

For those who are confused by the genre:
Middle grade – suitable for 9 – 14 year-old children.
Historical – it must have historical aspects and be set in a time before 2000 or earlier. It just needs to be set in the past.
Adventure/fantasy – the subgenre can be either adventure OR fantasy. The fantasy genre is acceptable as there are many ancient cultures and times that believed in supernatural occurrences.

Theme: Voyagers

Submissions accepted: May 1 - September 4, 2019

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. You MUST be part of at least one of those to enter.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges:

Finally, if you fancy pocketing a quick read for zero pennies, I've enrolled all my books as freebies in the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale for July. Check them out here!

And don't forget to check out more IWSG posts here.