Rolling into February and it's time once again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the monthly event where we get to share fears and insecurities in a judgement-free zone. Hosted as always by Alex J. Cavanaugh, today's co-hosts are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox and Lee Lowery.
This month's optional IWSG question is: Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?
Ahh, this could get emotional, so I'll keep it brief. I have two nominees. One is my stepson Andrew, who many of you will remember. He had an infectious enthusiasm for life and a fearless willingness to take on anything, despite the challenges he faced, and I try to keep that spirit with me at all times. Many members of this group kindly contributed to the anthology of stories I published as part of the drive to send Andrew to a specialist college - perhaps you were among them.
My second nominee is the late great Terry Pratchett, an incalculable influence on my own writing. I started reading his work at the age of eight and never looked back! Pratchett's strength lay in reflecting the full gamut of human experience and emotions, even when the characters weren't human and lived on another world. All delivered with a mischievous twinkle in the eye. He was also a master of the mash-up, breaking boundaries and combining genres such as sci-fi, fantasy, thriller and mythology. I could go on and on, but I'll finish by encouraging you to pick up one or two of his books. There are dozens to choose from, and you can't go wrong.
So what else is happening? I'm continuing to query, and trying to send submissions to a few more agents and publishers each week. I've hit 10,000 words on my new WIP, which feels like it's starting to get into its stride now, and I'll shortly start prepping the final part of my trilogy for release. So plenty to keep me going.
I'll finish on a musical recommendation, which I don't often give, but this week I've been really enjoying Cult Leader Tactics, the new album by Paul Draper (former frontman of Mansun, who were another big influence on me, just in terms of creativity). Any fan of 80s electropop with a modern twist should love this album. It's packed with his trademark dry wit and tongue-in-cheek humour, but the song in the video strikes a more emotive note, with a powerful chorus about being unable to reach someone during lockdown. It feature Steven Wilson (the guy in the little handheld device), a name that prog rock fans might know. Check it out!
And of course, don't forget to check out the other IWSG entrants here!