#IWSG: Standing in the Storm


Insecure Writer’s Support Group: My favorite group of authors.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

JH Moncrieff
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Jen Chandler
Megan Morgan
Heather Gardner 

Since the death of my dear husband exactly three months ago, I have been standing in an unrelenting storm. To bank managers, government officials, lawyers, I create a facsimile of strength and tolerance for change. Day by day, meeting after meeting, legal documents and sympathy cards, have driven home the message that I will have to change or the storm will wear me down to become a fragile and incompetent old woman.

In some respects, the storm is still raging. My center is gone. Making decisions has been terrifying. Sometimes, I can’t decide on anything. I wonder, how can I write again. Do I want to write?

Then miracles, those ‘oh my god’ events, gave me hope. Last month I asked for help in getting one hundred reviews for Forbidden. Many of you requested a copy of Forbidden and then posted incredible reviews. Thank you so very much. You made my heart sing.

Recently, Cheryl Masciarelli (CMash Reads), because she loved Forbidden so much, asked if I would agree to being the Author of the Month on her blog. Forbidden will be front and center, avec interviews and guest posts each June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and June 29th.

And, she encouraged me to feature Forbidden on the Partners in Crime blog starting June 19th to July 7th. Watch this blog for dates and location of interviews, guest posts, giveaways. Doing the happy chicken dance.


I think the main challenge for me is to accept I am going to be different in the months ahead. It is frightening. Most days, I feel like I’m still standing in the storm. And yet, there’s a hint of exhilaration.  There may be damage and turmoil, but also a possibility of resurgence of energy and freshness.

Blessings, everyone.



#IWSG: Do Men Write Book Reviews?

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I did a couple of short, short stories many years ago. Then after a couple of computer changes, those documents were lost. I’ve always wanted to redo them but hesitate. It would feel like trying to copy an original. I’ve never liked singers who try to redo the original masterpiece. It’s never the same, not as good as the first piece. But, those two do haunt me. Perhaps …..

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG are

Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!

During Forbidden’s recent book launch, I noted that the majority of the people who responded to my ads were men. Their location was largely in the Middle East region so I assumed I had attracted the attention of US military personnel. I was pleased – at first. One of my goals was to entice both men and women to be Forbidden’s target audience. And, of course, given the popularity of Forbidden during the Amazon FREE promo, all those happy readers would write a review. Double good.

Please Write a Review.
Please Write a Review.

Well, then a second thought dashed those hopes. Do men write reviews? If so, are their opinions valued equal to women?

Here’s an article by VIDA: Women read more than men—by a particularly wide margin when it comes to fiction. So why is it that male voices, both as authors and as critics, continue to be given way more authority in the world of book reviewing? A new study out by VIDA, a group dedicated to improving women’s representation in the literary world, shows that while things are improving slowly, men are still way overrepresented when it comes to book reviewing. Hannah Ellis-Petersen at the Guardian reports:

Apparently, according to VIDA, men’s reviews are taken more seriously then reviews written by women (rolling my eyes). But if a man reads a book , I’m thinking they are probably less inclined to write reviews than women. What is your experience with respect to men writing book reviews?



If  you would like to write an article about writing, authors, books for OPAL magazine, they’ll be very pleased to work with you – no charge for articles. And they have very reasonable rates to place an ad in their monthly editions.


#IWSG: Thicker Skinned and Book Covers

My best friend and hubby.
My best friend and hubby.

First let me thank everyone who sent kind thoughts, healing prayers my way during my husband’s illness. He is home but not back to being a healthy and happy mate. I’ve had to learn about getting a thick skin and squaring off my shoulders while facing off with a side effect to the angioplasty, PTSD (Is it mere co-incidence that Forbidden’s main female character has PTSD?). My most shocking eye opener has been how the medical community is pathetically unprepared to address mental health issues – especially in the middle of the night. Nuff said.


The awesome co-hosts for the June 1 posting of the IWSG will be Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner! Take full advantage of a wealth of information and the experiences of these accomplished writers and visit their blog today.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve made some significant decisions.  I will self-publish. It still scares my socks off but it also feels right. The next decision was under which ‘distributor will I launch Forbidden. Recalling my attendance at the ROMCON in Denver, writers had told me about the great success they had with Smashword (thoush I’m still wondering about Createspace). I downloaded Smashword’s manual and it sounds good. If you’ve published via Smashwords or Createspace, I’d love to hear about  your experiences.

Two weeks ago I gave an ekiss to Forbidden and sent it off to my editor. During this period of both dreading and looking forward to the return of the manuscript (that red pen salute can be ego busting), I’ve kept busy with reassessing Forbidden’s cover. This is where you,  my lovely, talented, sharp-eyed, perfectionists come in. After studying articles about book covers, the two key elements that attract readers are simplicity and color. And, of course, it has to look good on a variety of devices.

Many of you who have followed Forbidden’s journey know the story. If you haven’t, I think your advice would be just as valuable – maybe even more valuable. Note the image below. If you saw that book cover on your kindle’s app with Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or wherever, would it (1) invite you to stop and take a closer look, (2) be tempted to read the synopsis, and (3) give an impression or hint about the genre of the story by just the book’s cover? Let me know what you would like to see changed or modified. Thanks for your most honest and kind advice.

1-Forbidden bc edited



#IWSG: Watching My Mate Die

December 24, 1969Forty eight years ago a handsome man asked if I would be his wife. A few months later, we stood in a small country church on the Big Island of Hawaii and said our vows. Of the many reasons I wanted to spend my life with him, a selfish one was that I didn’t want to spend my old age alone.  Now, it seems I must adjust to a very different life than I had hoped for.

Ralph is very ill. He has been getting weaker and deteriorating for months. He’s been in the hospital 1985 Graduationtwice in the past two weeks.  I feel so inadequate while watching him struggle for breath, panic attacks and more.  Yesterday, while holding his hand, I accepted the fact that neither I nor the doctors may be able to change the outcome. I want to shield him from the gut wrenching fears, and yet I can barely manage my own. For the time being, I remain at his side and walk with him into the night. At some point, I may have to let go of his hand – and just the thought of that terrible moment is torture.

If you have a spare moment, please send my dear husband a prayer or simply thoughts of comfort. My hope is that, in spite of his lack of any beliefs of an after life, that he may become aware of being surrounded by love. Thank you.


#IWSG – There’s a Wolf Staring at Me

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The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the #IWSG are:

Megan Morgan, Chris Votey, Viola Fury, Christine Rains, Madeline Mora-Summonte, L.G. Keltner, Rachna Chhabria, and Patricia Lynne!

Please do visit their blogs and many others listed at IWSG. Here you will find the greatest bunch of writers, talented and supportive. If you’re a writer, you’ll receive a treasure trove of hints on how to succeed. If you’re a reader, you’ll discover the business of writing is not all glory. Often, it’s quite the opposite.

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My Writing Cave

There’s a wolf staring at me. Every time I have an impulse to play a round of online poker instead of editing more of Forbidden, I see those fierce eyes daring me to stray. Those beautiful eyes, those penetrating peepers drill into my conscience. He never utters a word, but I get the message.

“Okay,” I mutter, “another paragraph. Happy?”

Am I angry? Not really. I adore Sir “Ernie” Shackleton. He inspires me to think outside the box. He’s my, “What if,” who spirits me away from formula writing. His fire and passion is woven into every scene. Forgive me for being weird, but there are times I would rather be his mate, running wild and free, than be a writer.

Lately, I really hate being an author. How long must I  suffer the insatiable urges to create, to imagine, to study, to write, to perfect? Damn it, the demands to please agents, publishers and editors has been overwhelming. When will this madness find satisfaction?

DSCN0547Oh, let me introduce you to my muse, Bart, reclining under my monitor. He’s got a silly grin that makes me smile.

“Hey, pretty woman.” His Spanish accent and sultry expression makes me blush. “Perhaps you could breathe more better if  you’d undo some of those buttons on your police uniform shirt. No?”

He’s reminding me that Captain Sharif is about to be executed and I’d better ramp up his police instincts.

“Bart, you’re a sick froggy,” I snicker.

Along with Ernie Shackleton and Bart, are images of a polar bear, a stormy seascape, a woman with her horse, and Hawaii’s Diamond Head. All these things evoke vivid memories. I tumble through a tunnel of rapture alternating with pain and terror. My past, my survival, my ghosts, planted the seeds of The Guardian’s Wildchild and Forbidden.

An inspirational message sits just to the right of my monitor. “You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where  your thoughts take you.”

Yep, I need an attitude adjustment. When I wrote The Guardian’s Wildchild, it was fun. I would write for hours, forget about eating, or returning phone calls. This past year, writing has become, ugh, a job. Lately, I’ve been writing hoping to please everyone out there.

“Stupid woman, but I love you,” says Bart.

I blow a kiss to my faithful tormentor.

“Hey, you. Come on over to my cave and try out my new sheep skin rug?” softly growls Ernie.

Ernie speaks? I can see by his come hither expression that he’s got something enticing on his mind. My eyelashes flutter in his direction. Maybe a little diversion will help. Guess where I’m going? Forbidden can wait. I feel a new fantasy thriller in the works.


I’m admitting to burnout. If you’re in the same boat, check out this article at Live Write Breathe.