"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG: Industry Changes

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.


JULY QUESTION There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

MY ANSWER - I feel that as a result of the pandemic, we are seeing an increase in the return to people reading large amounts for entertainment. As a result, I would subsequently love to see an increase in the number of publishing houses, and the material they are willing to print. I would also love to see the publishing houses taking a risk on newer authors as well.

What industry changes would you like to see?

Saturday, June 27, 2020

June Scribbler Box: Pacing

The June box from Scribbler has arrivedYou can learn about previous boxes, and why I subscribed by clicking the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

As always, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise/contest postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice. The deadline for this month is July 13th. 

The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month include a "Tell Your Story" pin, a "Future Bestseller" notepad, a bookmark featuring this months book, a bag of "Citrus Chamomile" tea, and a "Writing Around the House" prompts and story ideas writing map.

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for this months author, and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: Eliza Swift, Senior Editor of Children's and Young Adult Books at Sourcebooks. There is also a collectible 'Writing Passport' with the author discussing this months theme which is PACING.

This months new release is LITTLE CREEPING THINGS by Chelsea Ichaso.

A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just can't trust, perfect for fans of Natasha Preston.

As a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that's what she's been told. She can't remember anything from that day. She's pretty sure she didn't mean to do it. She's a victim too. But her town's bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody's eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.
When Cassidy overhears what sounded like an abduction and Melody goes missing, Cassidy knows she should go to the cops, but... She recently joked about how much she'd like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. It's up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened, because if she comes forward without a suspect, she knows people will point fingers at her. Again. And she can't let that happen.
But the truth behind Melody's disappearance will set the whole town ablaze.
If you'd like to see learn about previous boxes, click on the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? What do you recommend? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Monday, June 22, 2020

5 Reasons to Write Short, Plus 20 More

The ability to write a short story, and write it well, is invaluable to any author. Writers can benefit from regularly immersing themselves in short fiction. I'm sure you've heard the adage "the best way to build a career as a writer is to write a lot."

So, here are 5 of my reasons you should be writing short fiction,k plus thoughts from other authors:

1. Variety - many authors will tell you to only write in one genre, but I disagree. If you're not sure what style you prefer, or if you want to try a variety, short stories are a great place to attempt new works without committing to novel length. If you're like me, you end up with more ideas for stories than you ever have time to address. Shorter works allows you to explore more story lines. The more you produce, the more likely you are to show up in someone's Amazon or Goodreads feed - such as through the "Customers who bought or read this, also recommend..." feature. So, having more ways they can find you—that is, more books and more short stories—means that readers are more likely to remember you and eventually they’re more likely to buy. For more information on the length of various genres, see Word Count Woes.

2. Hone Skills - Whether your attempting that new genre, a different time period, or writing from a different POV (for example gender or ethnic based) short stories can be the answer. Since they are less of a commitment than a full novel, you can experiment, practice, and attempt to tackle new skills. Because they are so short, all of you weaknesses are magnified. While this is extremely annoying, it helps you pinpoint exactly what you have problems with when it comes to writing style or idea development. It also forces you to find a way to fix these problems, which not only results in a good short story, but will also help you later on in future projects. Writing is a process of continual learning and growth, and even the failed experiments can help you become a better writer and build better relationships with your readers.

3. Platform Expansion - writing more frequently (more short stories) allows you the opportunity to submit to more markets, or self-publish a larger number, thus building your platform by reaching larger numbers of audiences. The more you write, the easier it is for people to find you. I've expanded on this idea within the other four points.

4. Multiple Price Points - Readers are a mixed bag when it comes to what they are willing to spend money to purchase. If you offer a variety of lengths and price points, you are more likely to reach a wider audience. For instance, some audiences refuse to buy works from a single unfamiliar author so they are more likely to pay the price of an anthology (anywhere from $0.99 to $29.99) to try multiple authors. Some readers refuse to pay more than a dollar while other refuse to buy something that cheap believing there is a reason the price is so low (i.e. it's garbage). So, if you can publish both traditionally and self, but at multiple price points then you are more likely to find yourself in a variety of reader’s budgets therefore eliminating any excuses not to buy. Once you’ve written a bunch of short stories, you can collect them into an anthology of your own. For more information on the price of various length pieces, see Counting the Cost of Words.

5. PromotionGiving away copies of your work is an excellent strategy to win new readers. But what if you don’t have a series of novels where you can make the first book free? Or you don’t want to give away a thousand copies of your novel just to get 35 paying buyers? Short stories are the best way to promote yourself, or a new release. You can post short stories on your blog to draw new readers, offer story downloads to newsletter readers, and offer Kindle freebies to build your readership.

Interested what other short story authors think? Check out these four articles:



Monday, June 15, 2020

2020 Summer Literary Trips

Due to the apocalyptic like events of 2020, we currently are not planning any big trips this year. My regular followers know that I love adding little literary stops to each of my vacations if I don't outright plan an ENTIRE literary tour de force.

Since we aren't stopping anywhere new for a while, we've been enjoying looking back at all of the literary stops we've made in the past. Curious what locations have attracted us? Check out these locales:

17 New Orleans French Quarter Literary Hot Spots
26 Days of Literary Scotland
7 Austin, Texas Literary Locations
10 Italian Literary Hot Spots
10 Places You Can Drink Like Your Favorite Writer
10 Reading Venues Worth a Visit
7 Literary Locations to Visit With Kids
5 Writers Homes for Literary Vacations
Poe Museum

6 Authors and Their Literary Stops in Southern California
The Haunted Book Shop

How about you? Have you taken, or would you recommend any literary visits?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

22 Pet Publications Open for Submission


To the left is a picture of the baby I lost a year ago in May. This dachshund was named Dulcinea - Dulci for short. Bonus points if you get the literary reference.

We recently adopted a new Dachshund baby (below) and my girls decided to name her Bella. You don't get as many Bonus points if you get the literary reference for this one.







Curious what type of pets writers prefer? I did a little research and found many of them have loved cats, dogs, and other usual household pets. However, just as many of them have preferred unusual, or endangered, ones including ravens and peacocks.

To find out what pets make the best partners for writers, or to peruse photographs of famous duos, try one of the six articles below :

The Best Pet for a Writers Health and Well-being
Adorable Pictures of Famous Writers and Their Pets

Literary Pets

Writers and Their Pets

Literary Figures and Their Wild Pets

Authors and Their Pets - Pinterest Photos

Do you want to write about your pets? Check out these 22 opportunities:



Dog Writers Association of America - http://www.wideopenpets.com/contributors/ 

Life Lessons from your Cat or Dog - http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics 


Simply Pets Lifestyle - https://www.simplypetslifestyle.com/submission-guidelines

Wide Open - https://www.wideopenmediagroup.com/careers/

18 more pet publications - https://thewritelife.com/pet-publications/

What type of pets do you have? What name did you pick and why? Did you figure out the literary references for my dogs names?


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG: A Writers Secret


It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.



JUNE QUESTION Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

MY ANSWER: I LOVE to read and write romance - voraciously. Why might this be considered a secret? The truth is, while I have written A LOT more romance than any other genre, I haven't attempted to publish most of it. I'm not sure why - perhaps academic stigma? Most of what I have published has been nonfiction, science fiction, horror, etc. - you know - serious genres. I think somewhere along the way, I've subconsciously picked up the idea that to be taken seriously as a professor, teacher, etc. I must steer clear of "cheap, tawdry, smut". I still can't figure out how Romance causes this negative backlash. Ok, so there is the erotic genre, but I'm talking about sweet, or soft core, romance - nothing centered on on what happens (or should happen) behind closed doors. Most of the romances I've written I'm completely comfortable sharing with my mom and daughters, but not the rest of the world.

Why do you think romance has this stigma? Do you think it's a legitimate concern? Do you have any secrets?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May Scribbler Box: Theme


In April I talked about my March Scribbler box and mentioned how it would be my last shipment. This sevice has been hit or miss for me. I've only enjoyed maybe half of the books, and some of the "writerly gifts" - and seldom together. In other words, there were only a couple of those months where I loved everything inside - the novel, the gifts, the talk subscribers are invited to, etc. Thus, with everything else going on in life, my husband and I have decided to cut back on unnecessary purchases. Hence, I just couldn't see continuing with a service I wasn't 100% thrilled with EVERY month.

Well, surprise to me, hubby gifted me a three month continuation of this service (minus the April 2020 box which was digital). So, here is a peek into the thirteenth box I have received from this service. 

As always, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise/contest postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice. The deadline for this month is June 13th. 

The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month include a beautifully ornate journal in black with a gold embossed sun, moon, and stars. Inside the box was also a Bic 4 Color pen, a temporary tattoo that looks like the dictionary entry for the word "writ-er (n)", and a pack of Chewie Fruities - a candy I had never heard of before this.

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for this months author, and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: bestselling author Jessica Brody who has published over seventeen novels for all ages including Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. There was also the collectible 'Writing Passport' with the author discussing this months theme which is THEMES.


This months new release is STORIES WE NEVER TOLD by Sonja Yoerg.

From the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of True Places comes a suspenseful novel of love, secrets, and obsession.
Psychology professor Jackie Strelitz thinks she’s over Harlan Crispin, her ex-lover and colleague. Why should she care if Harlan springs a new “friend” on her? After all, Jackie has everything she ever wanted: a loving husband and a thriving career. Still, she can’t help but be curious about Harlan’s latest.
Nasira Amari is graceful, smart, and appallingly young. Worse, she’s the newest member of Jackie’s research team. For five years, Harlan enforced rules limiting his relationship with Jackie. With Nasira, he’s breaking every single one. Why her? 
Fixated by the couple, Jackie’s curiosity becomes obsession. But she soon learns that nothing is quite what it seems and that to her surprise—and peril—she may not be the only one who can’t let go.

If you'd like to see learn about previous boxes, click on the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? What do you recommend? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Monday, May 18, 2020

May Through June Reading and Writing Opportunities

It's soon to be Memorial weekend in the USA. It's also that time of year for high school and college graduations. We are living in strange times, but it's also an opportunity to enjoy some extra time reading, or prepare a submission for a few anthology calls:

1) Southeast Missouri State University Press and the Warriors Arts Alliance have joined together once again to create the ninth volume in a series of anthologies about military experiences. I was fortunate enough to be included in the second volume with my interview of award winning author Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried). For more information on supporting these great Americans or to learn more about the Proud to Be series: https://www.mohumanities.org/proud-to-be-anthology-series/ and http://www.semopress.com/events/proud-to-be-writing-by-american-warriors/

2) Interested in a graduation flash fiction? Read mine here, or try writing your own. You can also see my list of 5 Books for Graduates.
3) Chicken Soup for the Soul has a call out for five different anthologies right now. To learn more, check out: https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics
4) Challenge: Compose a letter of thanks to a soldier you do not know or donate books to the troops. For more ideas on how you can help: http://www.give2thetroops.org/

Have you ever written for veterans or graduates? Does this seem like something you might want to try?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

IWSG Anthology Contests


The 2020 Insecure Writer’s Support Group Annual Anthology Contest is now open!
The genre is science fiction and the theme is "Dark Matter".

Word Count: 4500 - 6000.

See the site for full details, including deadlines, judges, prizes, entry, etc.
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

Previous years anthologies are still on sale, including the latest:






Voyagers: The Third Ghost

Journey into the past…

Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?

Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.

Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Print ISBN 9781939844792
eBook ISBN 9781939844736
Print and eBook:

For more information on this anthology, or the ones that came before it, you can visit the website - IWSG Anthologies 

Will you be submitting to the new contest?