Wednesday, 5 January 2022

IWSG January 2022

Welcome to the first posting of 2022 for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! I hope everyone's had a restful and healthy holiday season and is in a good place for a great year of writing. If anyone is new to the group, its purpose is to offer a safe space where writers can share doubts and insecurities without fear of being judged. Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this month's co-hosts are Erika BeebeOlga GodimSandra CoxSarah Foster and Chemist Ken.

Christmas and New Year were pretty relaxed here at Wilford Towers and weren't marked by adverse illness, which I'm thankful for. I do go into 2022 with several queries outstanding on my standalone YA sci-fi novel, but I'd rather see these as opportunities than insecurities. I've managed to garner some valuable feedback to hopefully strengthen my query and will be revising and sending out more this month. 

Meanwhile, I'm starting the process of getting the final part of my dystopian trilogy readied for publication, which includes sending it out to beta readers. The bulk of this book was written by the end of 2019, but I struggled with the ending for a while, even having to rewrite it after a data loss. 2019 was also when the second part of the series was published, so I'm wary of the gap extending for too long. I did also fight shy of releasing during the pandemic, but such concerns seem increasingly meaningless. In fact I think we need the escape of a good story more than ever.

Finally, I'm continuing with a new WIP I started towards the end of last year, which I've enjoyed dabbling with over the festive period. This one is set in the near future, centres on trans characters and features a heavy sci-fi twist on the process of transitioning. It ventures into unknown territory for me and I'm enjoying the research and writing so far. 

Let's have a look at this month's optional IWSG question.

What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

I'd rather not focus on regrets at the start of a new year. The only thing I would say I'd regret was I didn't start taking writing seriously earlier. I started writing my first book at 26 - I'd had a few false starts before that but nothing went anywhere, which was probably out of doubt that I could actually do it. At some point you have to push through that doubt and just keep going. Like most people's first attempts, that book didn't come to much but it gives you the confidence to do another, and then another... in fact this year it'll be 15 years since I started down this road, which is strange to think about. I might do something to celebrate!

In the meantime let's look ahead to a very exciting annual event which is coming around the corner fast. 

The next #IWSGPit will be in January 26, 2022,
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 26, 2022, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

See full rules here - and don't forget to check out the full list of IWSG participants here.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

IWSG December 2021

For the last time in what has been another very strange year, it's the first Wednesday of the month and time for our monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers of all kinds can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are PJ ColandoDiane BurtonLouise - Fundy BlueNatalie Aguirre and Jacqui Murray.

The optional question this month is: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

I'm going to interpret this question as relating just to the writing itself, rather than associated activities like marketing, querying, formatting etc., which can obviously be major stressors. I'm querying at the moment and I think we can all agree that's a big source of stress. Others may read the question differently, but I just don't feel like going there with those sort of aspects!

So what stresses me the most about writing? I think it's all the nitty gritty elements, like making sure the timeline adds up and that there aren't any major plot holes. Okay, maybe that's more than nitty gritty. But it's basically all the things that need straightened out and set in line before you arrive at a finished book. Or as close to finished as is possible.

What delights me? I'd say when it does work out and all those disparate elements come together to make something beautiful. So, in order to get to the delightful part, I have to get through the stressful part. Which must mean that all the stress is worth it - or that's what I'll tell myself anyway.

Something that is hopefully delightful and not too stress-inducing is the annual #IWSGPit Twitter pitch party, which is coming around the corner soon on January 26, 2022. It's a chance to get your manuscript seen and hopefully liked by agents and publishers via a tweet-length pitch. Find more details here.

And for further entries in this month's IWSG meeting, check out the sign-up list here.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Patricia Lynne Birthday Scavenger Hunt

We've got a bit of fun today as I'm helping the amazing author Patricia Lynne celebrate both her birthday and 10-year writing anniversary. To celebrate, Patricia is holding a scavenger hunt where you need to collect a series of words nestled within various blogs. My word is highlighted in red in the post below. Make a note of it, then head to Patricia's blog for a list of other participants. Once you've collected at least five words, go back and comment with them on Patricia's birthday and anniversary post to enter a giveaway.

No human can resist Keane, so why can Quinn?

Keane is an incubus coasting through life without a care. It’s actually pretty boring. Then he meets Quinn, a human who can resist the allure of an incubus. That shouldn’t be possible. He’s going to have to use all of his wiles if he’s going to seduce her.

Quinn is less than impressed by Keane. He’s too cocky and has sex on the brain. A typical male, and her complete opposite. Despite their differences, they can’t deny the attraction between them. Can a human and an incubus make a relationship work?

But something sinister is lurking in Keane’s world. Incubi are vanishing, and when Quinn is kidnapped, Keane realizes someone is after him. He races to uncover who is behind the abductions and find Quinn. Will he get to her before it’s too late? Or is their tempting romance doomed?

Tempting Friendship is a friends to lovers urban fantasy.
Steam rating: Warm (Moderately explicit sensuality.)

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Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne
Author of paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi novels you can escape into.
◾ Website:
◾Twitter: @pjlauthor
◾Facebook: @pjlauthor
◾Instagram: @pjlauthor
◾Patreon: @pjlauthor

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

IWSG November 2021

It's time for the first Wednesday of the month and time for our monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers of all kinds can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are Kim LajevardiVictoria Marie LeesJoylene Nowell ButlerErika Beebe and Lee Lowery.

Let's have a look at this month's optional IWSG question. I think it's a good one: What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

This is pretty pertinent for me as I embark on querying small publishers for the very first time. I always thought the title was the hardest thing to do but weirdly for my last couple of books, the title was basically there from the beginning. For the project I'm querying, the title is a one-word description of the main character's special ability so it was always pretty obvious. I'm sure next time I'll go back to struggling for a pithy title. 

The blurb is really hard to do well, I think. Summing up tens of thousands of words of story in a couple of paragraphs that must grab the reader's attention in a couple of seconds? Mm... Before, I've gone for the approach of starting with a question - what would you do in xxx situation - which hopefully pulls the reader in right from the start, but it's hard to gauge if the approach is successful. I'm trying to transfer this blurb-writing style to the hook in a query letter. I figure they must be similar because they both have to rise above a sea of other stuff to hook the reader. A daunting task, but I suppose the key is to pack in as much stakes and conflict as possible. How easy that is probably depends on how strong those aspects are in the book itself. So, that must mean the key to writing a good blurb is to write a good book in the first place.

I'm sure more profound answers can be found with the rest of the IWSG list, which you can find here!

Monday, 20 September 2021

How to Recycle Your Words - guest post from Annalisa Crawford

Welcome to Monday and to a guest I'm delighted to host on the blog, my good friend and critique partner, Annalisa Crawford. She recently launched her new book, Small Forgotten Moments. Perhaps you've read it or added it on to your TBR list, but what you might not know is it was revived from a much older draft. Annalisa's here to talk a bit about that process and how to make it work. Let's hand it over to her.

I have a skirt in my wardrobe which I’ve had since I was seventeen, and I’m lucky enough that it still fits. I still have my first teddy bear, and the posy of silk flowers I carried at my sister’s wedding are proudly displayed in a vase in my bedroom.

I’m not a hoarder – there are just some things I don’t  want to get rid of. Like words. As with most writers, I’ve kept old notebooks containing scribbled descriptions which were too perfect not to jot down and those random idea which hit you in the queue for the post office; I’ve kept abandoned short stories and completed novels which when I considered submitting were suddenly the worst things I’ve ever written.

But I can’t let them go. Some of those plots or characters clawed themselves back into my head until I had no choice but to resuscitate them. This happened with both my current novel, Small Forgotten Moments, and with Grace & Serenity before that. Both were at least ten years old when I dusted them off and began to figure out what exactly was wrong with them.

Obviously, this process has worked out quite well for me, so here are some tips for resurrecting your old stories.

1.      Figure out why the story didn’t work before, and be completely honest with yourself. Was it the characters, plot, theme, premise, genre, or something else entirely?

2.      Decide what was good about it. Why exactly are you thinking about working on it again?

3.      Be ruthless. Take a black marker pen to a printed out copy or delete words on the screen if they don’t conform to your new vision – subplots, characters, tangents. If they stop you in your tracks, get rid of them (or save them for another project!)

4.      But don’t forget to highlight the really fantastic bits. Those paragraphs or sentences will be the foundations to carry the project forward.

5.      Re-write from scratch. Don’t be tempted to simply edit or add a couple of scenes – your writing style might have changed in the months or years since you last picked it up, technology might have made some plot points obsolete unless you choose to retain the previous time setting, world events may add an additional dimension. Treat your current manuscript as an elaborate plan.

6.      Good luck!

If this has inspired you to take another look at an abandoned project, I’d love to know.

You can read more about Small Forgotten Moments at or go direct to my publisher’s website for all purchase options

About Annalisa Crawford

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and canine writing partner, Artoo. She is the author of four short story collections, and two novels.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

The Cure by Patricia Josephine release

I'm helping celebrate the launch of Patricia Josephine's latest outing, The Cure, which looks like another excellent addition to a great collection of work by this author. You should check it out or some of her other books if you haven't already. 


Every human in the world becomes a zombie when they die. But Erin refuses to accept the world as it is now. She’s heard about a cure locked away in a lab in Upper Michigan, and she plans on retrieving it. To do so, she needs a zombie. Not just any zombie, though. 

Zee is Erin’s link to the lab. His connection to the living world is her bargaining chip. But only if she can teach him to control his mindless impulses.

Can a zombie be trained? Or will Erin be Zee’s next meal and become a zombie herself? The fate of humanity rests in her hands.

Universal Buy Link 

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I rose with the sun. A yawn shook me as I wiped the sleep from my eyes. Before the world ended, I wasn’t a morning person. Most days I woke closer to noon. My job as a freelance writer allowed it. Like an idiot, I took it for granted. Now, if I wanted to get anything done, I had to do it while the sun was up and visibility was good.

Damn, I missed sleeping in.

I dragged my feet as I headed to the deck. Sunlight cast golden rays across the river. Waves lapped gently at the yacht’s side. The air was crisp, and my breath fogged.

I cracked open a bottle of water and took a sip. What I wouldn’t give for a cup of coffee. I used to have a canister of instant coffee, but I ran out three months ago. I was still chastising myself for not rationing it better. Later, I would go to the Soo Locks Park and stock up on supplies. I could barter for more there.

Acquiring coffee had to wait, though. My new friend needed to be checked on.

I scarfed down a breakfast bar before grabbing my shotgun and a backpack and clambered into the raft.

A moan pierced the air as I reached land. I secured the raft and darted to the base. I entered a small reception area. A waist high desk was near the door with a computer sitting on it. A few chairs were set in the center of the room. Notifications hung on a cork bulletin board. Silence hung in the air as if the room was a bubble that somehow escaped the apocalypse. I almost expected to see Coast Guard personnel walk through the door and demand to know what I was doing.

I shook the feeling off and strode to the red cooler under a window. Flies swarmed around it. When I opened it, a sour stench assaulted my nose. I gagged, barely holding down my breakfast, grabbed a dead rat, and slammed the lid shut.

I walked to the tarp, removed a cinder block, and lifted the edge. Snarls greeted me. The zombie clawed at the sides of the earth. Hunger lit its eyes like fireworks. I lifted my shotgun and pointed it at its head. It stilled.

“That’s a good boy.” I lowered onto my knees. “You’ve been dead long enough to develop your basic instincts. How to walk and run. I’ve heard stories of zombies who forgot how to do that.”

The zombie watched me with narrowed eyelids. The color of its eyes had dulled to a muddy brown, and the whites were tinged yellow. Was it trying to figure out how to get out and eat me?

I smirked. “You should know how to hunt by now. Zombies sometimes hunt in packs. You aren’t as mindless as movies made you out to be.” I dangled the dead rat above it.

The zombie snarled, and spit flew from its mouth.

“I bet,” I continued, “it’s the hunger. It’s consumes you, like a vampire’s bloodlust. Well, if those were real.” Thank goodness they weren’t. One supernatural creature had been more than enough to destroy the world.

A surge of bitterness rose up my throat. The skin on my knuckles turned white from how tightly I clutched the rat by the tail.

This could’ve been stopped. Lives and the world could’ve been saved. She might still be here.

About the Author

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, though, and now she can't stop writing.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Social Media Links:




Amazon Author Page

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

IWSG September 2021

It's time for the first Wednesday of the month and time for our monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers of all kinds can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are Rebecca DouglassT. Powell ColtrinNatalie AguirreKaren Lynn and C. Lee McKenzie.

This month's optional question is: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

That's a pretty wide-ranging question. I suppose there are a few ways I could answer. I think anyone who completes a story that tells a tale from beginning to end is a successful writer. It's a lot harder than it might sometimes appear. Another marker might be if it makes an impression on someone else or somehow resonates with them, or they feel an emotional connection with the characters. If you can achieve that with just one reader, I think it's a sign you've done something right.

Any insecurities this month? Well, I'm hoping to make a connection with talent spotters by taking part in my first #PitMad this month. I've done the IWSG Twitter Pitch Party before, so I know it's a highly competitive field, but it's also good fun and an interesting experience. I think I've got my WIP down to a publishable form - just need to perfect that pitch. Anyone else taking part? How's your pitch coming along?

Don't forget to check out other IWSG entries here.