#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: My Anal Brain #IWSG

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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!


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


February 1 Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?


My experience is mixed. Reading isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

Prior to my life as a writer, I read mostly non-fiction – adventures of explorers, saturated my brain with new age stuff like books on meditation, philosophy, Buddhism, etc. On trips to exotic beaches, I’d read a few titillating romance novels, hoping no one would catch me blushing.

Now, while expanding the range of my preferred reading genres, there are so many novels that I can’t read to the last page. Errors in novels stand out like a glowing neon sign. It interrupts my focus on the plot and characters. If there are too many errors, or poor construction of the plot, or shallow characters, it spoils the reading experience. My critiquing brain does not turn off. Even while reading a very well written novel, part of my brain is on the hunt for spelling errors or a misplaced comma. Yep. Pretty anal!

The good side of having an over-achieving critique brain is I discover what works, and what kills a story. And I’m ever so grateful for my editor.

PS: Thank you to all you wonderful people who participated in my Thunderclap event. I was blessed with 154 supports, with a combined reach of 411,732.


#IWSG: MasterClass by James Patterson


What is IWSG?  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!

The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG will be  C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!

#IWSG: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?  My day is divided up into four time frames. Morning is writing and marketing. Afternoon, I take care of chores, all the while thinking about tag lines, book covers, dialogue. Evenings, I read and review novels, all the while comparing another author’s technique and style with mine. Night time, hoping to be overtaken by exhaustion and sleep, my thoughts churn out more tag line possibilities and mentally edit paragraphs or entire chapters.

How do I find time to write? Often I wish I could turn it off. Where’s that friggin off switch.

jamespatterson-creditsuesoliepattersonMASTERCLASS – James Patterson’s Writing Class

A few weeks ago I signed up for the MasterClass – James Patterson Teaches Writing. Paid my $90 USD and began to download the lesson pdf’s and watch videos of James Patterson’s tip on writing. On the plus side, he was entertaining and shared a lot of his techniques and tips from the idea concept all the way through to marketing.  He clearly states that his way is not the only way. It’s the way that works for him.

In other words, we each need to find our own way.

He stresses the need for practice. Write every day. He’s missed only one day – attended his son’s graduation. Read and write. Practice, practice, practice. He also emphasized doing research on everything. And, when you think a chapter is done, cut out everything that doesn’t need to be there, adds no value, doesn’t move the plot or characters along. Be ruthless.

One point that he stressed as a ‘no option’ for authors’ is the importance of writing out an outline, edit and rewrite until the outline ‘feels’ complete. Even so, his final manuscript is often different from what had been planned in the outline, including the ending.

One of the features that encouraged me to pay for this class was I could ask a question and receive a response via his OFFICE HOURS page. I did ask one question and got a reply that he was too busy to respond to all questions. One of his staff would email a response. I never got that email. Perhaps because I don’t  have a webcam or smartphone, my written query was not noticed.

I’m not sorry that I took the course. It was entertaining. Much of what he suggests, I already do or know. I did get to join the facebook CLOSED James Patterson MasterClass Group.  Perhaps there’ll be members who will become my favorite mentors. Stay positive.



Feather Stone – more stone today than feather.

Record and upload questions and comments for James to his Office Hours page here (link).

Now I feel pretty stupid for  thinking that Mr. Patterson would actually respond to my inquiry – a question about limiting a novel’s word count (< 90,000) to suit the criteria of most publishers.

WEP: Gardens – A Flower Bed of Characters




Denise and Yolanda:  Welcome to Write…Edit…Publish (WEP), the home of the permanent bloghop. You are welcome to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a designated word count– artwork and photographs welcome. Open to all genres! Fiction – Adult, YA, MG.

The Gardens prompt is all about creativity. What picture comes to mind when you hear the word ‘garden’ – the spectacular beauty of carefully landscaped tiers – the fresh delights of a new snowfall on frozen branches – or the haunting beauty of shadows and wilted plants at dusk on a fall night.

gardens olga


 Feather Stone:  “Welcome to my garden characters.”

Gardens invite more than simply quiet contemplation. Being a writer, I have discovered that I’m very conscious of the ‘character’ of each plant, where it should be placed, ensuring its special qualities add beauty to its companions – and vice versa.

I’ve noted that any plant, even small non-blooming shrubs look spectacular when accompanied by contrasting foliage, bird bath, or interesting rockery – the key is contrast in color, texture, shape, and/or ‘mood.’ The secondary characters in my writing play a vital role in making the main characters glow with unforgettable brilliance. It stands to reason that even ‘also ran’ characters in a scene require special attention to shaping their personality, stature, reputation, etc.

Thank you for visiting my garden. It would be so special if we could physically pop into everyone’s garden for a chat today, and share each other’s wisdom and experiences. Even so, these virtual friendship are wonderful, meeting so many amazing people from places I could never visit. Blessings to all.



 Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.
–  Alfred Austin


Gardening is medicine that does not need
a prescription … And with no limit on dosage.
–  Author unknown


A garden always gives back more than it receives.
–   Mara Beamish


The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic,
always enterprising, and never satisfied.  They always look forward to doing
something better than they have ever done before.
– Vita Sackville-West, 1892 – 1962


He who cultivates a garden, and brings to perfection flowers and fruits
cultivates and advances at the same time his own nature.
–  Ezra Weston, 1845


Gardens are not created or made, they unfold, spiraling open
like the silk petals of an evening primrose flower to reveal the
ground plot of the mind and heart of the gardener
and the good earth.
–  Wendy Johnson, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, 2000


A garden is the mirror of a mind.  It is a place of life, a mystery of green
moving to the pulse of the year, and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
–   Henry Beston, 1935, Herbs and the Earth


One of the most delightful things about a garden
is the anticipation it provides.
–   W. E. Johns



When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow,
but the gardeners themselves.
–   Ken Druse





You’ll enjoy meeting the many other great gardeners participating in this WEP blog hop.


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#IWSG: When do you say, “Hit the road, Jack,” to the manuscript?

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group

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.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders!


What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? My first, The Guardian’s Wildchild, was published in 2011. After only three rejections and a bit of advice from my mentor, Candas Jane Dorsey, Omnific Publishing accepted my manuscript. What a ride!

Hit The Road Jack

1-mosqueOkay, I’ve got a question for you, my lovely authors. After you published your novel (self or traditional), did you wish you had spent more time editing, and/or building characters and scenes?

I’m going over each piece of Forbidden in detail, D – E – T – A – I – L!!!

A thought hit me the other day. If I spend another month on massaging Forbidden, will it make any real difference to the reader, get me better reviews? Maybe. Or, am I just avoiding the hard work of writing the next novel?

An embryo of a sequel, Forgotten, is demanding nurturing. I’m not the sort who can write more than one book at a time. I can’t even read more than one at a time. Did you know when your manuscript was as good as you can make it? When is it time to tell the manuscript, “Hit the road, Jack.”?