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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

IWSG: Updates and Voting

Update: As I mentioned last week, there have been some changes to how members are now participating in the monthly "Insecure Writers Support Group" posting.

Every month, our hosts 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.

The July 6 question - What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

Voting: As many of you know, the IWSG and Dancing Lemur press have decided to publish an annual anthology of short stories. Last years theme was science fiction and I was honored to have my story "WIN" included in the book. 

Voting is now open for selection of this years theme. There are 10 genres to choose from (excluding science fiction since that was last years theme). Each member may vote one time only before July 8th with the winning theme to be announced around July 15th. Check your IWSG newsletter or visit the blog for the link to vote.

What genre would you love to see win?

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Write Support and Vonnegut's 8 Rules

I'm preparing to lead a writer's workshop tomorrow called "The Write Support." The purpose is for writers to come together for a full day of support. We'll have time for lessons, critiques, reviews, editing, selling/buying each others work, marketing, and more.

For some reason, Kurt Vonnegut's "8 Rules for Creative Writing" are rolling around in my mind. Maybe I saw his name recently, or overheard someone else mention them? Either way, I thought I would share them here in case you have never read them before.

Kurt Vonnegut: 8 Basics of Creative Writing
Kurt Vonnegut created some of the most outrageously memorable novels of our time, such as Cat's CradleBreakfast Of Champions, and Slaughterhouse Five. His work is a mesh of contradictions: both science fiction and literary, dark and funny, classic and counter-culture, warm-blooded and very cool. And it's all completely unique.
With his customary wisdom and wit, Vonnegut put forth 8 basics of what he calls Creative Writing 101:
  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.
From the preface to Vonnegut's short story collection Bagombo Snuff Box.
Which one do you feel is the most significant? I'm partial to #5. Do you agree with these? How do you feel they compare to Elmore Leonard's rules?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Changes to IWSG Day

If you're a member of the "Insecure Writers Support Group" then you know we post once a month, but what you may not be aware of are a few changes starting with the July post.

Our hosts are revving up IWSG Day 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.

The July 6 question - What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

5 Reasons to Love Westerns

I am guest posting on the Southern Writer's blog today. If you have time, please stop by to say hi, and read my thoughts on "5 Reasons to Love Westerns". You can find my article here.

Do you read westerns? Who are some of your favorite western authors, or what western titles do you recommend?

Monday, June 13, 2016


Authors often draw inspiration from real life scenarios, and sometimes from theories which have yet to be proven. It's a writers job to take that inspiration and create a believable world for the reader. One successful example can be found in Yolanda Renee's Ever-Ton, but I'll let her tell you more about that:

For my story Ever-Ton, in the Parallels: Felix Was Here IWSG Anthology, I chose Al Gore’s concern regarding global warming to base my story on. While Al Gore, may have exaggerated some of the issues during the production of his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. There is real reason for concern. Here are some of the facts:

What’s Really Happening?

1) The global average temperature has risen 1.4 degrees.
2) The last two decades were the hottest in 400 years.
3) Alaska, Western Canada, & Eastern Russia temperatures have risen twice the global average.
4) Arctic ice is disappearing and polar bears and indigenous cultures are suffering from the loss.
5) Glaciers & mountain snows are melting more rapidly – Montana’s Glacier National Park only has 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910.
6) Coral reefs, highly sensitive to changes in water temperature are dying off.
7) Extreme weather events, wildfires, heat waves, & strong storms are the result.
8) Industrialization, deforestation, and pollution increase the greenhouse gases and trap heat near the surface.
9) While natural cycles of warming and cooling on Earth are also normal, what used to occur over the span of several centuries is now happening in 100 years or less.

The result of global warming:

1) Food and water shortages.
2) Sea level rise between 7 and 23 inches.
3) Huge coastal populations affected.
4) Stronger hurricanes, droughts, and other natural disasters – growth of deserts.
5) Species face extinction.

My resource for this post was the National Geographic News.

Ever-Ton Excerpt:

In the 1970s, scientists had warned of the dangers of global warming, but nothing happened until the year 2000. President Al Gore couldn’t get the legislation passed that would curb the dangers caused by fossil fuel, but he found the funding for the New World Aeronautical Organization - NWAO. They began the search for a New Earth.

Terrifying storms, devastating droughts, and unimaginable diseases took the earth to the levels of an apocalypse that no one foresaw, not even President Gore. The building of survival units in the highest mountains became a top priority.

Now, in 2050, the world’s atmosphere had grown toxic. The city of Ever-Ton, meaning Everlasting Mountain, sat high in the Himalayas. We were the largest and last community of
survivors trying to leave earth.

I walked through the city noting the homemade flowers, along with wiry trees, lined the broken cobbled streets. Ever-Ton, the biggest dome-covered metropolis in the Himalayas, had lost its luster. Workers used to keep it clean; now they worked on building the resources for the new world. The dome, once translucent, now looked like a mud-covered window. I’d never experienced the sun’s rays, breathed air that wasn’t manufactured or tasted water from a spring. Donning sunglasses against the artificial sunlight, I hurried to NWAO headquarters.


Yolanda Renée grew up in Pennsylvania, but an adventurous spirit took her to Alaska where she hiked the Brooks Range, traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and learned to sleep under the midnight sun.

She’s the holder of a BS in Business Administration specializing in Accounting, and an MA in Organizational Leadership. Curiosity Quills Press is the publisher of her Murder Trilogy - Murder, Madness & Love, Memories of Murder, and Murder & Obsession. She’s also self-published a book of short stories titled When Zombies Attack:Tales of Horror & Romance.

You can find Yolanda at her blog Defending the PenFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Amazon.

Friday, June 10, 2016


Barnes&Noble is hosting its first "Teen Book Festival" starting tonight and running through Sunday evening. . Participating stores will host author talks, giveaways, and more. Check with your local store for more information on participation and times. For more general information http://www.barnesandnoble.com/h/b-fest-teen-book-festival?sourceId=L000021008&st=EML:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


I recently mentioned a new string of markets that I've been writing for and I thought I would share one with you.

Thrive is a publication local to southwest Louisiana. I have several articles in the June issue, and I have already submitted several articles for upcoming issues. So far, working with them has been a very positive experience. To view their FREE online versions, please visit: http://www.thriveswla.com/

Here are a few thoughts on how to: Pad Your Resume, and Wallets, by Writing for Smaller Markets

What projects have you been working on lately?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Write Support

The Write Support
June 25, 2016
10 am – 4 pm
Howells Furniture Conference Room – 2nd Floor
6095 Folsom Dr, Beaumont, TX 77706

FREE to all TGCW and BWG members, but since table space will go quickly to the first to reserve, please RSVP to Sylvia Ney by commenting below.

The Write Support – is a day of writers helping writers. ATTENDEES will include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry professionals.

10 am – 1 pm              Bring your latest manuscripts and questions to share for honest feedback, and to encourage needed reviews.

LUNCH                      On your own at your discretion.

1 pm – 4 pm                Come sell your books, and check out the work of others, ask questions, make connections, and learn current industry news.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

IWSG: New Experiences

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.

Last month I mentioned taking a chance. So far, this year has been full of "new" experiences and chances for me. I've submitted to new markets, been published in several of them, visited with new groups, loved a few of them, and traveled to new places - including Scotland!

While you can never control whether a new market will publish your work, you can control what chances you take and which new experiences to try. Those new experiences in turn can fuel your imagination, relax and even excite you with future prospects. Never give up on taking chances, trying new things, and experiencing new events.

What new experiences have you taken part in this year? Are you planning any for the future? How might you benefit from that experience?