Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#TheIWSG September and the Publishing Path

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!
Creator of IWSG: Alex J. Cavanaugh aka The Captain

Optional Question:  What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

Publishing Path - Indie Publishing and Small Press Publishing

So far, I've taken the Indie and Small Press publishing path. When I looked around at publishing houses, agents, and other places to send my work between 2010 and 2013, I couldn't seem to find any who took Christian Fantasy and Christian Scifi. Since I had a Christian Fantasy novel for YA, I grew desperately concerned. 

I couldn't seem to find anyone who published Christian Fantasy or who agented Christian Fantasy unless the authors already had several books of non-Fantasy writing under their belt, or several books of secular Fantasy under their belt. I remember seeing several websites saying they would only look at Christian Fantasy by established authors. What? I didn't want to write Christian Amish Romance (the Christian bookstore shelves teemed with those books at the time) in the hopes of writing Christian Fantasy someday. 

So, I started researching Indie Publishing aka Self-Publishing. I spent two years combing the web for information, checking sources, finding books at the library, and then, with what I thought was great preparation, I self-published and set up a book blog tour and a book signing. The first month felt like a great success! The second month kind of bombed. I didn't know how to sustain sales. I didn't know how to market. I had troubles with my product (I have a post about that), and I floundered, but I kept on writing and working.

Several Indie-Published books later, I still can't say I have great financial success, but I do have awesome readers. And, four years ago, a small press who I knew through an Indie film project  asked me to turn an episode from one of their other projects into a novella. We had good communication at the start of the project, but it fizzled when the book was published. I didn't even know the book was out. (It still is, but I rarely advertise it.) 

However, I know that there are many small press publishers out there and some are excellent communicators. Dancing Lemur Press publishes the IWSG anthologies and since I had a story published in the 2016 IWSG anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, I've had the opportunity to discover that every communication with Dancing Lemur Press is professional, timely, and helpful. 

In the future, I hope to query agents, send work to small presses, and continue Indie publishing. I don't think there's a need to write myself into just one kind of publishing box.

And, by the way, I have found one small press which does specialize in Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction: Enclave Publishing. Do you know of any others?


The next anthology contest is open!!! 
Word count: 3500-6000

Genre: Young Adult Romance

A Masquerade can be a false show or pretense, someone pretending to be someone they aren't. It can be a ball, a fancy dress party, it can be a mask. Open to interpretation.

Submissions accepted: September 5 - November 4, 2018

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (Double spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges who will be announced September 5.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

Tyrean's News

I'm going to Poland to watch my daughter race her kayak! 

Ashes Burn, Seasons 1-7 (the whole, experimental, micro-fiction series) is available for pre-order via Smashwords.

What publishing path are you on? 

Monday, August 27, 2018

August Celebrations

It's been a full month and I didn't post often, so I thought a wrap-up might be in order.

Celebrations of Life

The Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team won the National Championships for the sixth time!

My youngest brought home several medals and qualified as a Team USA teen athlete for the Olympic Hopes (not the big Olympics) Regatta in Poland in September.

My oldest brought home a few medals, despite only practicing for three months ahead of time.

My husband is regaining his health (just in case you didn't hear).

My husband and I celebrated our 22nd Anniversary!

I celebrated my birthday, but the day took a somber turn when I discovered a childhood friend had passed away from an unexpected heart attack that morning. I spent most of the afternoon in mourning. I feel like my life has been shaken and stirred in a somewhat cliched way -  live life fully, take time to tell people you love them - but also in other ways. I remember some advice my friend gave me a year ago, advice I didn't follow, and I'm considering a rather big change-up to follow it. She was right. She usually was. And, she impacted thousands of lives around her as a teacher, counselor, principal, and assistant superintendent - she had a short life, but a life well-lived.

On a fun note, I get to sing with the Praise Team nearly every Sunday these days. It's a blast!

We bought a used car for our older daughter. We packed it up and we packed up the van, then she and I drove to Montana State University to prep her apartment for her second year of college life.

I walked between 6-10 miles a week and rode the exercise bike (no hills inside) between 6-57 miles a week, depending on the week.

I cleaned up our yard  a bit more (trying to keep the wildlife out of the main yard, out of the garden bed, and off the porch - meeting Bambi's dad on the deck or on the way to the trash can is unpleasant, especially when he thinks he owns the place). Less rampant foliage = fewer critter crossings.

I made some tiny progress on my Greenling Chronicles Book 1 revisions (baby steps, but steps).

I tackled some non-fiction project revisions (baby steps).

I re-created four class syllabi for the school year.

I purchased my plane ticket to Poland. I'm so excited to travel and to see my youngest daughter compete with and against athletes from all over the world. There's just nothing like hearing all the parents shouting for their kids in dozens of languages. :)

I decided (99%) that this is the new cover for Ashes Burn, Seasons 1-7 (The whole micro-series, release date October 8th).
Pre-order available through Smashwords and Smashwords' supported retailers.

 Bonus: I didn't realize just how busy life has been until I wrote this. ;p

BTW - I thought I would pick up speed with blogging this summer and fall, but so far, September is looking very busy with life, so I will probably only post twice then. See you for IWSG!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Roller Coasters, Champions, and a Caring Community

For those who stopped by and commented on either post last week, thank you for your kind words, encouragement, prayers, and positive thoughts!

If you haven't heard - my husband is back on his feet and going strong again!

Our family went to Oklahoma City for the 2018 Flatwater Sprint Canoe and Kayak Nationals held by the ACA (American Canoe Association) and hosted by the Oklahoma City Canoe and Kayak Club in the Boathouse District (an incredibly nice area in OKC).

We had a roller coaster week, with my husband going into the hospital the night before the races started and staying there for about 40 hours. I had a cot in his room the first night, but the second night he felt much better so I managed to get some sleep in our hotel. Our daughters (17 and 19) both competed in all of their races and I was able to watch most of them, although I missed a few and I missed some of their award ceremonies.

Our family's team, the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team, is one of the bigger teams in the country despite the fact that we operate out of a public park and off a public dock in a harbor on the Puget Sound (cold salt water). The largest canoe and kayak team is Lanier Canoe and Kayak from Georgia, the team who holds the record for winning the most National Championships.

We had a five-year winning streak, then took second to Lanier Canoe and Kayak last year, and this year - we won again! 

But, what really mattered the most to me this week isn't having my daughters on a winning team. What I loved most this last week is that my daughters are on a caring team and are part of a caring community. I had countless offers of help, prayers, and kind thoughts from our team members and from other teams (specifically, OKC and Bellingham).

And, likewise, I had a caring team of people through the Insecure Writer's Support Group who offered up prayers and encouraging thoughts. Thank you!

To top off the week, my youngest daughter made the team for the 2018 Olympic Hopes Regatta* in Poland. The Nationals competition is the qualifying event for the OHR team and for the Pan-american Regatta in the fall. 28 athletes ranging from 15-17 years of age will represent Team USA at OHR and I admit I'm not sure of the number of athletes going to the Pan-american Regatta (at least a dozen). In addition to that, eleven athletes competing at Nationals had just come home from Bulgaria where they competed in the Junior and U23 World Championship Regatta. (Junior World competitors are 19 and under and U23 means athletes 23 and under.)

*BTW, Olympic Hopes is not the Olympics. Olympic Hopes is a yearly international competition for athletes 15-17.

Again, I'm thankful for the amazing community of people we've been able to meet in this sport. If you like water sports, then I highly encourage you to find a Flatwater Sprint Canoe and Kayak team near you, or check out the ACA website for more options.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

#IWSG August 2018 Be the Tortoise, Not the Hare

FOR THOSE WHO READ MY PREVIOUS POST: My husband is out of the hospital and is doing okay. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this encouraging blog hop rocks! All writers welcome!
Co-hosts this month: Lee Lowery, Erika Beebe,  Susan Gourley, and Sandra Hoover.

Optional Question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

My short answer: Rushing any part of the process isn't worth it.
Be the tortoise, not the hare. 

If a bump in the process happens, take the time you need to traverse that bump, even if it means changing a book release schedule.

My real life pitfall:
I created an unrealistic self-publishing deadline for my first novel, then I had a PC failure and lost my entire, beautifully copy-edited, proofed manuscript. Instead of changing my home-made blog book tour, I spent some sleepless nights attempting to bring my "almost" final draft to the level it needed to be. Afterwards, a friend found nearly 200 mistakes . . . 200! I felt so foolish and embarrassed. Yes, I've fixed them since then, but I didn't have the awesome book celebration I had hoped. I made myself ill with sleepless nights and then suffered the shame of not being prepared. 

I did a bit better on the next two books in the trilogy, but I still pushed too hard in the months before my book releases (ones that I planned). 

So, please, take your time. Even if you have years' worth of manuscripts just cooling their heels on your PC and in your file folder, just make sure you're ready. 

My current way of handling my "hurry, hurry" problem: 
I have at five partial-to-full projects cooling their heels. 


My experimental hint fiction series Ashes Burn is 95% ready to go (proofed, edited, formatted for e-book and for tiny paperback), but I'm fiddling with the cover and I'm giving myself another few months to finalize everything. It's a quirky project in a way (more than 200 hint and micro-fiction episodes create the whole story), but the genre is kingdom fantasy with a man on the run from his past, an evil king bent on war, and a sword-wielding princess who's tracking down her man.
I hope to finalize my cover in the next two weeks, then I'll just sit on it and make sure it's ready.
Self-pub release date: October 8th.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is teaming up with the WEP challenge!

More information found here: WEP

The 2018 IWSG Anthology Contest is Coming Soon!

This year's genre and more information will be released in September!

The IWSG Goodreads Book Club is reading:

The Plan for Summer Instagram

As the admin, I actually have veered a little bit towards Facebook on some Fridays, but having a news and promo day instead of a Follower/Friend or Fiction Friday. Hope that's okay. Please feel free to post and tag us! Thanks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


I have a post scheduled but it hasn't published and I can't seem to figure out why from my phone, which is all I have at the moment - in the hospital in OKC, not my home town, because my husband is having a health issue.
So, sometime my real post will go live, I hope.
Until then, I hope IWSG rocks.
BTW, I am okay, just dealing with one of life's roller coasters.

Monday, July 16, 2018

5 Reasons to Write with Plot Flexibility + A mom moment

5 Reasons to Write is a Return Series on my Blog

This series includes 5 Reasons to Write ____ (fill in the blank)
If you are interested in guest posting, please see the upper button for ideas, but don't limit yourself to them. Then, shoot me an e-mail, even if the topic you want has already been touched on by someone else.

5 Reasons to Write with Plot Flexibility

Sometimes, we run into a wall of frustration. We have to step back and re-read previous scenes, check our plot points, re-read character profiles, look at our plot map or sticky notes, gaze at our Pinterest board and just ask ourselves: why am I stuck? Is it me? Is it the theme? Is it the characters? Is it the plot? 

Sometimes, it is the plot and we have to change it to move forward.

1. If the plot points aren't lining up with what you're really writing. 

Have you ever written out a 5 to 25 point plot outline and then, after two months of draft, you realize you've drifted far away from your plot outline? 

I know I have. Sometimes, we need to revise the draft, but most of the time, I think it's best to see what the good parts are the page and adjust the plot, instead.

2. If the characters are refusing to do what you want them to do. 

Your character refuses to take another step.

 Every scene feels awkward. You can't write that kissing scene or that sword-fight scene or that intergalactic space battle. The characters just seem to keep slipping out of your grasp and doing everything but what you planned for them to do.

This means it's time to step back and think about what the characters are telling you as a writer. 

Yes, I know they don't really talk, but they are figments of our imagination and maybe, unconsciously, we really want to write a different book than we put in our plot outline. If the characters are being difficult, that might be the case.

3. If showing versus telling seems to involve the minutiae of life.

Readers like fast-paced novels. Although we may want to stop and explore the gorgeous castle library from one book to the next, most readers want a brief description (unless there's a murder weapon or a secret entrance to an underground lair in the library or the love interest is giving all the books to an MC who loves books). 

We also don't really want to know what they eat every meal, unless it's a foodie-based book or a food-centered saga, or if there's poison. One of my writing teachers, Pamela Goodfellow, used to say, "Don't include food, unless you plan to kill someone with it."

Don't include showers, unless you are writing steamy romance or it involves a Bates Motel type scene. 

Take out those minutiae plot points unless they reveal plot or character points. (In the rough draft, they are okay because we might be telling ourselves something about the character that we need to know before we can write more.)

4. If the tension has deflated like an old party balloon.

It's time to figure out why there's no "oomph" to the plot. 

Are the stakes high enough? 

Are the plot points of high tension too far apart? 

It might be time to tighten up the writing and shorten or cut the plot points of "rest."

5. If there is pointless dialogue.

This is similar to point #2. When characters are not doing what we want them to do, we often find ourselves writing pointless, somewhat pouty dialogue. 

Or, maybe we want the characters to interact, but we lost the tension while they were talking. It might be time to cut the dialogue and make them do something while talking in short moments between hurdling over hedges, kissing heavily, fighting for their lives, or sharing a taxi awkwardly with a wild driver careening through the city.

Reason for me to write this post: I recently had problems #1-5 all at once with my current WIP. I decided the book really wasn't hitting the right points for me as a writer because I want the characters to be older and able to handle some grittier stuff. I needed to include villains in nearly every scene (even if they are hidden in the background somewhere, waiting to be revealed later), and my characters were definitely having pointless dialogue in scenes with the minutiae of life on full display, including lots of meals in a non-foodie plot, although I am hanging onto Gran's cookies because they are essential to her character and how she attempts to deflate tension. 

So, out with an attempt at Middle Grade fiction, and onto Young Adult Superheroes (and Villains) with baggage. Same characters, similar, but with a different timeline. So far, my changes have breathed new life into a novel that had lost all forward momentum in draft #2. So, yes, this looks like another major revision/rewrite, but I'm actually excited about it. 

Do you write with plot flexibility or do you have an iron-clad plot outline? What reasons might you have to change your plot?

More plot posts are coming in August!

Mom Moment: My youngest daughter was featured in a news video about Olympic Hopefuls who were training in Oklahoma City for Olympic Hopes, an international regatta for teens:

Summer Sales:

99 Cents for Champion in the Darkness and Champion in Flight for Kindle readers until July 31st.

Smashwords Sale Items until July 31st.
FREE - Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry
FREE - Dynamic Writing 1: First Semester E-book
$1.50 Champion in Flight (I couldn't get it to 99 cents and put it in the sales catalog, probably author error).

Don't Forget #IWSGPit is Tomorrow!

Two of the images are free from

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Writing Focus: Strengths of Protagonist (Primary) Narrators and Secondary Narrators

Welcome to a new series of posts on writing. I'll be getting into the mechanics of plot, character, metaphors, and more. I'll be posting these once a month, interspersed with my IWSG posts, my 5 Reasons to Write series (guests and me), and some guest posts from fellow writers (who comment here and visit fairly often). I may also work on some movies-and-books-for-writers posts that I'm not sure how I'll name. On my Wordpress blog (hardly used, was thinking of changing but didn't), I'll be posting posts on heroes and villains and/or re-posting content from this blog.

So, what do I mean by Protagonist Narrators and Secondary Narrators? What are their strengths? Here's a bit of what I think: 

Protagonists (Primary Narrators) are the center of the plot. 

The plot revolves around their action or inaction, their choices or their refusal to choose.
Protagonists are the heart of any plot.

Examples of Protagonist Narrators:

  • Would The Hunger Games still be The Hunger Games without Katniss? No. Katniss and her choices drive the plot forward. Even when she doesn’t want to play along, the other characters view her as an important figure and her action or inaction makes the story come alive. 
  • The Hobbit is obviously centered around Bilbo Baggins from title page to first paragraph to finish. the book is Bilbo’s book, his adventure, and all from his point of view. It’s why we don’t know what Gandalf is up to until he comes back to report things to Bilbo and the dwarves. While I do prefer the novel to the three movies, I enjoyed the three movies based on The Hobbit because we were able to see Gandalf’s adventures. 

Movies are almost always from a third person omniscient perspective, which is a bit different than a true protagonist narrator, or even a narrator who is not the protagonist.

Can a narrator not be the protagonist? 

Secondary Narrators can hold the plot within their point of view without being the protagonist. 

Their perspective colors the events, but the events are not centered around them.


  • Dr. Watson narrates most of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, but Sherlock is definitely the protagonist. Sherlock may rely on Dr. Watson, but the action and solution of the great detective stories center around Sherlock.
  • In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Utterson (a completely forgettable busybody) is the narrator of the events in the story. There is almost a sense of an omniscient narrator since the story is told in 3rd POV, but it is Mr. Utterson’s steps we doggedly follow through the strange rumors and events that lead to the revealing of Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde.

So, how should we, as writers, create our novels and stories? Should we use protagonist narrators or (non-protagonist) secondary narrators?

I think it depends on our style as writers and what best viewpoint there is for the story at hand.

Strengths of Protagonist Narrators:

  • We get some of the thoughts and emotions along with the character’s actions. Why does Katniss struggle to “perform” for the audience even when her life depends on it? We find that answer in her point of view in the novel.

  • We have a front row seat for events in the novel. The protagonist narrator is the center of the plot and therefore, the plot is right there and in our faces when we read a protagonist narrator. Katniss takes us with her for a brutal game of combat and heart-ache. 

Strengths of Secondary Narrators:

  • We see the story with a full picture as the secondary narrator ferrets out information that the protagonist may not even be thinking about. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Utterson gets eye-witness accounts and gossip in his quest to help his friend, Dr. Jekyll. Many of the other characters are able to voice their perspectives and since we see Mr. Utterson worry over his friend, we know that Dr. Jekyll is usually a decent person.
  • Secondary narrators may keep the grisly stuff off the main page. When Dr. Jekyll is Mr. Hyde, he relishes in his adventures, which include murder, child rape, and other things that we, as an audience, might not want to see from the front row seat of his mind. Although Mr. Utterson is horrified and shocked, we are just seeing the actual crimes from a perspective of hindsight and unspoken graphic details.

Can we mix these two types of narrators, protagonist narrators and secondary narrators, in the same story or novel? 


  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card revolves around the early life of Andrew (Ender) Wiggin, but every chapter starts with a short, disembodied conversation between two adults who are “training” him. 
  • In my trilogy (The Champion Trilogy), the point of view jumps between the protagonist, her mentor, the villain, another mentor, and some of her friends (one of whom is a secondary protagonist/love interest). Each of these characters takes control of the plot in certain points of the trilogy, but only one is truly the main protagonist. 

There are many styles of protagonists in novels and short stories.
I hope to do a more extensive set of blog posts and articles on them, eventually.

However, next week, I will be starting a lengthy series on plot.

For a related post on characterization, check out my May post at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Writing Realistic Antagonists.

What kinds of narrators do you like best? 
Protagonist (primary) Narrators or Secondary Narrators?

Summer Sales:

99 Cents for Champion in the Darkness and Champion in Flight for Kindle readers until July 31st.

Smashwords Sale Items until July 31st.
FREE - Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry
FREE - Dynamic Writing 1: First Semester E-book
$1.50 Champion in Flight (I couldn't get it to 99 cents and put it in the sales catalog, probably author error).

Don't Forget #IWSGPit

Notable Post from Summer so far:
Ellen Jacobson's 5 Reasons to Write Cozy Mysteries (Guest Post)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Guest Spotlight: Diane Burton and Numbers Never Lie


A Romantic Suspense
By Diane Burton
Romantic Suspense
Length: approx. 80,000 words
Available at Amazon  
Free with Kindle Unlimited

A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie.

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack's an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Upon returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother Jack’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that--an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack do that puts Maggie in danger?


Maggie Sinclair wondered for the tenth time that morning why she hadn’t had her head examined before agreeing to Ellen’s offer. The week before, Maggie called off the trip when not one parent volunteered to chaperone. She hated disappointing the girls who had been crushed when their leader moved away. For the past two months, they talked about camping again. But week after week they returned with the same news. Their mothers refused, and their dads were too busy.

So when Ellen said her dad would help, the girls went wild. And Maggie, who should’ve known better, believed Ellen who swore she’d asked and her father agreed. Maggie should have followed up with a phone call, but years of avoiding Drew Campbell prevailed. Years of unreciprocated longing—from when her heart first took notice, through the years when he was single, then when he was married. Except for that one time, she never let him know. Avoidance was best.

Now here she was needing his help with the girls. Preparing them for a week-long camping trip to Isle Royale had been Trish Morrow’s goal when she started the group four years ago. The girls loved roughing it. They just needed more hiking and camping experience before tackling the primitive island in Lake Superior.

Though they’d gotten a late start this morning because of the fog, Maggie noticed the girls’ energy start to flag after the fifth mile of the hike. That was when she put Drew Campbell at the front of the line. From the rear, she watched him trying to set a faster pace—especially after Gretchen’s assurance that they could keep up. The man was in a world of hurt even if he was making a concerted effort not to show it. He looked so trim, so athletic, Maggie had assumed he was in good shape.

Typical desk jockey. He probably got his exercise in a climate-controlled gym. No, wait. In a health club.

For better or worse—and she was afraid worse was the operative word—she was stuck with him for the next thirty hours.

Are we having fun yet? she mocked herself as she tromped through the woods with eight tough little girls on the brink of womanhood and her brother’s best friend. From the back of the line, Maggie watched his long-legged stride and the way his navy golf shirt revealed his strong shoulders and the way his obviously new jeans conformed to his butt. She lifted the tail of the bandanna knotted around her neck and wiped the sweat from her upper lip. She couldn’t blame the sun for the heat coursing through her.

Okay, Sinclair, she told herself, keep your mind on the matter at hand. And not how good Campbell’s butt looked in tight new jeans.

Good Lord, she felt fifteen again—instead of thirty-four. Her stomach in knots, her skin on fire. 

Numbers Never Lie is available at Amazon.

About the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:

Connect with Diane Burton online

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert:

 Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Tweet to help Diane get the word out!
Was Jack's car crash an accident? NUMBERS NEVER LIE #RomanticSuspense #humor #MYSTERY @dmburton72

A camping trip, an accounting nightmare, and a car crash. But was the crash really an accident? Or worse? NUMBERS NEVER LIE #RomanticSuspense #humor #MYSTERY @dmburton72.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#IWSG July 2018 The ULTIMATE Writing Goals

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group hop is an awesome opportunity to share insecurities and to encourage each other as writers! The website and newsletter offer great writing and business tips. The Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads Group, and Instagram pages are all places offer places for us to connect on a daily basis. 
This whole group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh.
The administration team has awesome, caring writers involved.
And, our co-hosts this month are: Nicki Elson, Juenta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne.

Optional Question: What are your ultimate writing goals? And, how have they changed over time, if at all?

My original, ULTIMATE writing goals are huge (and require those capital letters, really).

The last two years have been all about writing survival.

 I've written over 250,000 words of rough draft material, most of which has yet to be read by anyone other than myself. Much of my writing this year has been in my journals. The entries there range from goals to reflections to Bible studies to prayers to stories and character profiles. My laptop writing has been all over the map, as well from fiction to non-fiction, goals, etc.

However, my ULTIMATE writing goals are still intact. Despite feeling several times like I should throw down my writing torch, the writing flames just won't die. 

No matter how sick I've been, no matter how few sales I have on certain months, I can't stop writing. It's in my blood, my brain, my fingertips, and when one of my doctors (I have several due to multiple physical health issues) asked what I really loved to do, I told her about my writing. She listened to me for fifteen minutes into her lunch break.

I usually hate talking about my writing, but I've felt so held back by my health that the passionate cry for writing in my soul just wouldn't shut up. She was looking me up on Amazon on her phone as I left her office.

Since my goals are super huge (spanning several typed pages in detail) and I've already spent sometime circling the topic, I'll just give the basics.

My basic, ULTIMATE writing goals:

1. Write every day for the rest of my life. (I think I have this one.)

2. Complete all of the project ideas I have in partial to full draft format (15).

3. Write and complete a minimum of 50 books (fiction and non-fiction).

4. Get them published - any which way that works.

5. Get one book on the bestseller list. It could be way down in the rankings, but I would love to make the NYT bestseller's list. This is one of those goals that I doubt a lot, but it's still there, so I'm being raw and honest with this crazy idea.

6. Write a minimum of 100 poems that get published.

7. Get over 300 short stories published.

8. Help other writers. Specifically, I hope to start (not now, not ready yet) at least an online quarterly magazine with a yearly publication attached to it. And, I hope that some of my posts and my non-fiction are helpful to writers. Originally, I wanted to start my own indie publishing press, but I'm not ready yet and I'm not sure I will be for a several more years. If I do it, I want to do it well.

9. I also have this super-crazy, pie-in-the-sky idea in which I would help create a Writer's Refuge/Writing Center in the community where I live. There's one in Seattle, but that's a bit of a drive (ranging from 45 minutes on a good day to 2 hours on a heavy traffic day). This is far, far off.

The good news is that I've made progress on most of these goals. I have books, stories, and poems published. I have tried to help fellow writers here at my blog by showcasing books and by providing some information posts (more of which will start coming next week). So, now, onto the next word and the next word, and onward.


#IWSGPit is coming soon! The Admin team, especially founder Alex J. Cavanaugh, has been working tirelessly to prepare for this event and I think it will be the best one yet!

What are your ultimate writing goals? Have they changed? Do you have any cries of the writing soul that just won't be silenced?

Summer Splash Days for IWSG Instagram:

BTW, I'm taking part in the summer Smashwords Sale for all of July!
Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry is FREE
Champion in Flight is only $1.50

Monday, June 25, 2018

5 Reasons to Write Cozy Mysteries with Guest Ellen Jacobson

Please welcome Ellen Jacobson, author of Murder at the Marina!

5 Reasons to Write Cozy Mysteries

My first cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, was just released, so I thought what better topic for Tyrean's blog than to share 5 reasons why I enjoy writing cozy mysteries. 

1 – My mom can read it.

Cozies are typically gentle and clean reads with no graphic violence, naughty language, explicit sex etc. That means my mom can enjoy my books without either of us getting embarrassed. I think I'd just about die if I ever wrote a book with a sex scene and my mom read it. 

2 – You can kill people without going to jail.

Come on, admit it, haven't there been times when someone has bugged you so much that you may have momentarily wished them harm? When you write mysteries, you can create characters who are inspired by annoying people and have them meet some unfortunate demise. It can be an oddly satisfying activity.

3 – You can share your love of a hobby, occupation, or lifestyle with others.

Cozy mysteries often have a hook which draws readers in, like knitting, baking, owning a bookstore etc. It's a fun way to read about a pursuit that you may personally enjoy (I always enjoy baking cookies) or something that you'll never do in a million years, but which is interesting to learn about. My cozy mystery series is set at a marina and features tidbits about what it's like to own and live aboard a boat.

4 – You can develop quirky characters.

My main character, Mollie McGhie, is what you might call a kooky kind of lady. She has an occupation which is quirky, to say the least (you'll have to read Murder at the Marina to find out what it is). It's been fun creating characters who are a bit odd. After all, odd is definitely more interesting. I've also enjoyed developing characters who the types of people you might find in a marina and boating setting, such as a boat broker, a sailing instructor, and an unemployed boat bum.

5 – You can create puzzles. 

As the author, you get to create clues, red herrings, suspects, alibis, motives etc. and craft a puzzle for the reader to solve. Being an avid mystery reader, it's fascinating to be on the other side of the fence knowing who did it, why they did it, and how they did it.

You can find out more about my personal journey writing and publishing cozy mysteries on my website:

Cover Design—Determining what kind of cover fits your genre, preparing a design brief, and DIY cover design. (

Draft #743—How I went from a blank sheet of paper to finalizing a draft to send to my beta readers, as well as how long the whole process took. {Spoiler alert: It took quite a while.} (

Beta Readers—What beta readers are, how I found mine, what kind of feedback I asked them for, and processing their feedback and making changes to my manuscript. (

Going Indie—Why I decided to self-publish rather than go down the traditional publishing route. (

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.


Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1 

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

Available at:
Amazon (US)
Amazon (CA)
Amazon (UK)
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks
Google Play

Author Bio

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor. 

The Cynical Sailor Blog -
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page -
Newsletter Sign-up -

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

#IWSG June 2018

Blog Hop Captain and Fearless Leader: Alex J. Cavanaugh

IWSG Day Question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

That's a huge toss-up. I mostly . . . struggle with book and story titles. Considering that I write short stories and I submit them as often as I'm able, well, it's not good to struggle with story titles. I usually know what I want to call them after I'm finished writing them. 

So, my current WIP has had at least three different names, and it's "Greenling, Book 1" at the moment. Not very informative, right? It's a superhero book for young teens, either older MG or younger YA. Yes, I should have that nailed down, too. But, I have made some drastic draft changes.

In the draft days, my first novel Champion in the Darkness was either "The Sword" or The Crystal Sword and my youngest daughter drew my first cover in crayon on a blank piece of paper that I inserted into my 3-ring binder of drafts.

Character names usually just come to me in the first draft, or they don't
In Champion in the Darkness, the villain didn't have a name in the first five drafts. She was "the dark sorceress." I finally came up with three different ideas for her name and had a facebook poll. By popular vote (5 out of 8) she became Kalidess. This actually helped with all of my names for the Dark Sisterhood sorceresses, because I decided that once they joined the Dark Sisterhood, they were supposed to change their names and add an "dess" or an "ess." So, Kalidess's sister is Maedess. And, that one locked in the dungeon who didn't change her name, well, there's a reason she's in the dungeon.

My June Insecurity for Insecure Writer's Support Group

I'm co-hosting and I've been having health issues. I actually forgot I was co-hosting until the newsletter came out. Yikes! But, I am here. I will co-host strong in short spurts throughout the day. (My dizziness has been getting slowly better, but it still hits randomly.)

Then, I will probably go into radio silence until an awesome guest post by new author Ellen Jacobson, one of our co-hosts, on June 25. Please come back to support her! 


Next month, IWSG will take place on July 3rd instead of July 4th!

Plus, get your pitch ready for #IWSGPit on July 19th!!!

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 19, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query. 

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents. 


Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript. 

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit. 

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction