Monday, June 17, 2019

WEP and Announcements

Write...Edit...Publish is the writing life in miniature. We write with enthusiasm...we edit carefully...and then we publish our work. All writing or photographic contributions used as part of WEP challenges are copyright.

We will follow this process every second month or so, in response to different prompts - voila - our writing will improve.

Caged Bird Theme: The topic of a caged bird has many possible interpretations, both literal and metaphorical. Choose one and write the best flash story you can in 1000 words or less. Or maybe create a photo essay about your favorite canary. Or a non-fiction story about captivity and its psychological impact. Whatever you choose, we want to read it.

Each entry is under 1000 words. Prizes are offered. Go to the WEP website for more information.

My 997-word entry is actually from an old novel version of Captain Wrath I worked on a few years ago. It fits the theme as a fictional story about captivity and psychological impact. 
 For those who have been following along with the other Captain Wrath entries, this is a bit different for two reasons.
1. It's from another character's viewpoint - Carya. This is actually her introduction scene in the novel.
2. It's not written with the journalistic style. I thought of changing it, but I've been swamped this month with family adventures.

And, I must caution readers here. Although it isn't graphic, the content of this story section discusses violence and human trafficking. Do not read onward if those topics are uncomfortable for you.

Carya tried not to even think about all that had happened to her, all the tortures she had endured. Her body healed too well, too quickly. She was the perfect piece of meat for customers who wanted something rough.

Carya could smell Gorog before she could see him. Oil and sweat with an acidic after-smell from his battery pack. He wasn’t going to be around for much longer unless Madam Xodhur replaced his battery core.

“Get up.”

Carya could barely lift her head. If he wanted her to move, he could move her.

His charcoal pants came into her view. His thick, muscular legs and lower torso were all that was left of his original humanity.

He slapped her with his robotic hand.

It stung, but everything else hurt more. She blinked at him, tried to look up. She only got as far as the waistcoat he wore buttoned over his robotic chest. She didn’t know why he tried so hard to look normal.

“You aren’t healing.” He stated the obvious. He leaned over to look her in the eye.

The sight of his face was oddly comforting. This disgusting cyborg scum had never done anything other than slap her and push her around. He was probably the gentlest being she’d had contact with in the time she’d been kept at the Depraved Labyrinth. His red mechanical eye swept over her clinically, while his cloudy gray eye seemed turned inward, never focusing on anything. His face-plate of bronze had a crack on one temple and his jaw was wired shut. He ate intravenously through the tubes in his torso. His voice came from a box hidden under the cravat at his throat.

“Madam Xodhur must be notified that you will be unavailable for three days while you rejuvenate with your tree.” He wrapped her up in a sheet, handling her like a giant rag doll, but still more gently than any of the customers would have.

Carya flopped limply. Her muscles refused to do anything and her mind felt fogged.

As Gorog closed the door to her cell, he said, “It is finally time. I didn’t think you would be so strong.”

This statement sent fear through her, but even that small adrenaline rush didn’t help her. Her muscles twitched involuntarily and she cried out from the pain.

“Sh. You will be with your roots soon. Don’t fight it. Just . . .”
A hard knock on her head sent Carya into darkness.

Carya woke to the hum of a stasis tube. Through the edges of her eyelashes, she could see the inside of glowing stasis tube, and she wore a clean hospital gown that covered her entire body, except her neck and head. Two tubes fed into her right hand and her left hand was buried in her potted tree’s soil. She could feel rootlets from her fingers taking life from the tree. Her body healed with the sap of her root-tree, and she felt strong enough to move now.

The hum of the stasis tube changed pitch, from high to low, and the smell of lilacs filled the chamber – sleeping gas.

The second time Carya woke, the stasis tube had stopped humming. Her finger-rootlets were still attached to her root-tree. Her whole body felt strong, alive like it was spring on her home planet of Edvena. As she reveled in this feeling, wishing she could unfurl and let loose flowers, she heard heavy footsteps outside of the tube, and smelled the familiar combination of oil, sweat, and dying battery acid. Tears came. She couldn’t help it. She released the roots of her tree, and waited for the torture to begin again.

When Gorog opened the stasis tube, she didn’t look at him. She sat up slowly, letting her feet dangle over the edge of the tube.

“We will be there soon. You must be ready. No time for chat.” Gorog thrust clothing at her and stomped away.

Carya tried to sort out his words as she stared at her old pilot’s uniform in her hands. She didn’t understand. With trembling hands, she put on the one-piece uniform, zipping it up the front until it came to her chin. It was baggy on her. She had never been large, never been anything but fit, but her uniform hung on her like a sack. She picked up her root-tree, and walked barefoot across the room. She appeared to be in a long storage container. The walls were a corrugated metal, and the floor was gritty with space dust. Was she truly on a ship, headed away from the Depraved Labyrinth?
If so, why had Gorog taken her? What was his plan? She didn’t understand.

She searched the room for a weapon. It was empty except for her, her root-tree in its sturdy container, and the discarded hospital gown. Gorog had sounded hurried.

Going to the control panel of the stasis tube, she pried off the cover with her fingernails. With that free, she pulled out some of the wires with a yank, and took the small battery that powered the control panel. It wasn’t much, but if she –

The door to the storage container opened, and Gorog stepped heavily inside. He shook his head. “No time for that. Come. Go free. Complete the deal.”

“The deal?”

“Freedom for you, new battery for me. The deal.”

Carya understood now. If Gorog thought he could save his own decaying hide by saving hers, then he would sell her to the highest bidder. She still pocketed her scavenged supplies in her ship’s uniform leg pocket. She held her root-tree in both hands and walked towards him.

He stepped aside for her at the door, and trained his wrist-gun on her. Attached to one of his bionic arms, the weapons had enough firepower to take down a dozen beings at once.

Carya passed him, knowing that if he had wanted to kill her he would have just let her die already.


Tara had a long journey to get this book published!

Beast World MG Fantasy Series, book #3
by Tara Tyler
Available NOW!

In BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, Gabe and his friends go on a quest to save their school, blowing up all the rules, and discover their origins.

Then they go to CRADLE ROCK and meet some real live humans, scaring them into attack mode. The Beasts realize they have to spread the truth ASAP.

Now, school's out, and Gabe is ready for a break from all the drama...

Gabe and his friends fly over the Great Sea for the wedding of the century: a dragon prince and a beautiful harpy. But Gabe can't relax on this vacation. Besides competing in rigorous wedding events, he overhears the nearby human village WINDY HOLLOW is in danger from an evil human scientist and a vengeful were-ogre experimenting on beasts. Gabe and his friends risk crossing the mountains to help, despite several warnings. 

Maybe he's going too far this time, but he's in too deep to quit. It's do or die, hopefully not die!

Author Bio
Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her husband and one boy left in the nest. She has two novel series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit in all these projects, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might write a book on that... Make every day an adventure!

How to find:
twitter: @taratylertalks
Instagram: taratylertalks
newsletter: tara tyler news


Coming Soon from Krystal Jane Ruin ...
Title: Garden of Ravens
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: Poetry, Dark Contemporary & Folklore
A collection of dark poetry that journeys through folklore, twisted tales, mental breakdowns, and depression. 

We hide in shadows
We wither under layers
Sunlight is for beautiful people
Darkness is for us


Amy Stapleton of Tellables is looking for a few freelance writers to create Tellables content for the Tricky Genie skill. She has asked me to try to find a few authors. If you are interested, e-mail me and I'll send you a file with specific requirements for the work and you can decide if you want to pursue it. My e-mail is tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com and you can find out more about Amy by reading her guest post from last Monday at IWSG or by checking out her LinkedIn page. I met Amy in person while she attended a conference in Seattle, and I think she's a great person to work with through edits for stories in this new realm of voice-first storytelling and story-gaming.

What do you think of Carya's chance for freedom? 
Are you picking up any new books?
And would you be interested in writing Voice First content?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Editing Tips



Editing is something we all have to do at some point, no matter the route we take with publishing. 

It's challenging to look at our own work and see all of the flaws, especially after a first draft.

It's still challenging on the second, third, fourth, and all the other drafts it takes to finish. 

So I started compiling a list of tips, then I asked for some help from Instagram and Twitter followers. 

So, the image contains my list of tips (plus, I added them below in case the image has problems). 

After the image, we have all the awesome tips given by fellow authors. 


1. Print out your draft.
2. Use several colors of pens to highlight and take notes.
3. Use sticky notes.
4. Read it out loud.
5. Always highlight a part you like in each editing session with your favorite color.


"Printing out is key. I always highlight my favorite sentences, too! I also find reading the beginning and ending back to back is helpful to see if they play well together. I always tell my students ... don't marry your first draft! Don't be afraid to cross out, add, change, and rearrange!"

From Phi @longwaydownbook on Instagram:
"Leave yourself comments about your emotions as you read! If you wrote a sad scene and it's not making you sad when you reread it, you may need to look at it again."

"I love my multi-coloured pen approach. I bought a pack of twelve coloured pens for the purpose, but the yellow is pointless for writing - it's my doodle pen now ... I have a specific pen to procrastinate." 😊

"I like to print out my manuscript when I edit. It "feels" like a different process than writing on the computer and I think my brain recognizes it as such. Also, have lots of cookies at hand."

From Tonja Drecker @TDrecker on Twitter:
"When I have trouble capturing a character's reactions/thoughts, I sometimes write a section in another POV (1st instead of 3rd) so as to see it from another angle."

From Laurel Garver @LaurelGarver on Twitter
"Change the line length and font size. You need to trick your brain to see the words anew, not as you *think* you wrote them."

From Linda K. Rodante @lrodante on Twitter
"Circle every "to be" verb--am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been and then see if you can change that sentence to get rid of them. Of course, you can't and shouldn't get rid of them all, but try to get rid of a good percentage, esp on your first page!"

This is the first of a series of posts I hope to do with tips from friends and followers. I'll be posting one about handling rejection in the IWSG site on June 17. 

BTW - if you are looking for ways to engage with your Twitter and Instagram community, I recommend trying something like this. Be sure to add the hashtag: #writingcommunity or the hashtags appropriate to your post to get responses. (And if you have accounts in both places, always share "through" from one to the other for more engagement.)


The IWSG is accepting submissions for the newest short story anthology. See details here

The June Instagram "Challenge" is here.

Tellables founder Amy Stapleton is doing a guest post at IWSG today about Voice First Storytelling. Check it out. 

Do you have any editing tips to share? 
Which editing tips mentioned above do you use?

And, if you have any to share, would you like to be a part of an Editing Tips, Part 2 post in August? Let me know by stating that in the comment section. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

#TheIWSG June 2019 + Genres + NEWS

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, all of the administrators, and our co-hosts this month: Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I love to write fantasy/SF because I love thinking of new worlds with new customs and people.

Plus, I think it's possible to highlight real world issues within an entertaining new realm within the multiple universes of Story - a place only restricted by our imaginations.


Tyrean's News -
I have a new two-part flash fiction story out with Tellables. Just say "Alexa, Open my Box of Chocolates" to hear it.

My youngest daughter has graduated! She is going to WSU in the fall and I'm super excited for her.
And, if ever wanted to know what a home-school cooperative graduation might look like, it could look something like this:
They are "moving their tassels" in this part.

Each student speaks at graduation for 2-3 minutes about their past, present, and future. Plus, we had a guest speaker, slide shows for each of the students which were 40 seconds in length, an invocation and a benediction, and special music.

My daughter's last slide show picture.
(Photo by Connie Riggio Photography, used with permission)

Each one of the students has completed home-school curriculum and community college classes as part of their education. 

The various plans they have include: sustainable textiles, biomedical engineering, civil engineering, real estate, taking a gap year, ministry and missions, and automotive technology. So, not all home-schoolers are alike - in fact, I think the main theme of home-schooling is uniqueness

And now, that chapter of my life is done and I'm looking ahead to the next adventures with excitement, anticipation, and a little concern - what will I do? It hasn't been settled yet.
One might think I was the one graduating.

Will this change in my life change the way I write or what I write about? Maybe. Slightly. Not sure. I'll find out.


The topic of a caged bird has many possible interpretations, both literal and metaphorical. Choose one and write the best flash story you can in 1000 words or less. Or maybe create a photo essay about your favorite canary. Or a non-fiction story about captivity and its psychological impact. Whatever you choose, we want to read it.
BTW - some changes have been made for WEP participation - see HERE for more details.

The next IWSG Twitter Pitch will be January 15, 2020!
Mark your calendars ahead!

Want to write a story for the next IWSG anthology? The genre is Middle Grade Historical Adventure.
There's no time like the present to write about the past!
You can send your story in today!

Ready for some Beach Reads? Tips? Motivation?
Want to share some?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Writing Links, Quotes, and a Quick Reading Update

Writing Links I Really Enjoyed Recently:

5 Writing Tips from Harlan Coben
My favorite line from this: "Write like there is a knife against your throat."
(I don't think I can write like that, but it definitely caught my attention.)

The Netflix Literary Connection
We can all dream Netflix will pick up our books, can't we?
This might be even better than a movie deal.

5 Science Fiction Books That Predicted the Future
This post might give you the same "pause" it did me, or not. It's good food for thought.
If you write SF, do you think it's possible your writing is predicting the future?

Writing Quotes found via Instagram shares:

"Overnight success is almost always a myth. Half of this industry is luck, and half is the refusal to quit." Victoria Schwab

"Who I am and what I am capable of doing has always managed to surprise me." Jodi Piccoult

"I write because it fulfills me. I do it for the pure joy of the thing and if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever." Stephen King

Quick Reading Update

This just keeps getting shorter, I know. For my full reviews of the following books, head to either my Instagram, previous blog posts, or Amazon. 

Big Red by Damien Larkin - a SF reread that was just as mind-bendingly satisfying and fun as the first time I read it! Highly recommended! 5/5 Full review in another post in May.

The Broken Star by Emily R. King - this YA Fantasy Adventure is lushly immersive, exciting, and just wonderful. Highly recommended! 5/5! My favorite NEW book of May.

The Book of Mistakes - a beautiful and encouraging picture book written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken, one of the speakers at the regional SCBWI conference I attended recently. 5/5 Highly Recommended!

Archangel by Margaret Fortune - YA SF - action-packed, fun, and thought-provoking sequel to Nova. 4/5

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound Series Book 3) - fun, entertaining YA SF Romance. 3.5/5.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer - an entertaining YA Portal Fantasy Romance based on the Beauty and Beast story, but definitely going new places of its own. 4/5.

I also read or attempted to read at least three books that I really didn't like. I will not name them. I am beginning to think I don't like things off the Bestseller List - what does this mean?

An Extremely Short Movie Update:
I went to see Avengers: Endgame and I was impressed by the CGI, character arcs, and the ability of the directors to juggle just that many actors and storylines. However, I wasn't a fan of ... well, two scenes. So, it's a yes, I loved it, but ... movie for me.

Remember, the IWSG is looking for stories for their new anthology contest!
Word count: 3500-5000
Genre: Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy
Theme: Voyagers

And, the IWSG is already gearing up for #IWSGPit 2020!

What have you been reading lately? Seen/heard any good writing quotes? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

5 Reasons to Join the SCBWI If You Are Writing YA, MG, or PB

So, technically, this isn't a 5 Reasons to Write Post, it's a 5 Reasons to ... Post. I may change that graphic soon(ish). Here's another for today's topic:

After years of hearing about the SCBWI from other authors, I finally joined last spring/summer. 
After I joined, I promptly read a bunch of materials on their website, then I slowly realized that nearly every regional monthly meeting feel on a weekend my family had other events planned. 

Finally, I made it to a monthly meeting in April, then the regional conference in May (last weekend). 

Despite my late adoption into the SCBWI and despite my slowness to actually participate, I really love this group!

So, why join?

1. An excellent, informational, and encouraging newsletter! Really, it's not huge, but it is packed every time with great articles! (I liked this even before I made it to a meeting.)

2. Monthly meetings with encouraging and informational speakers! So, I admit, I've only made it to one of the meetings, but I was super impressed in April, and according to everyone I spoke to, they bring that level every month.

3. An awesome regional conference! The SCBWI WWA in May (just last weekend) was the best writing conference I have ever attended! It had a great variety of informational workshop sessions, encouraging and excellent speakers, and plenty of opportunities to meet fellow creators and industry professionals. By the end of just one day, I had met at least seven fellow creators (writers and illustrators), handed out a few business cards, met an agent (by the snack table), and felt like I'd gained some huge, needed insights into creativity, writing, and traditional publishing.

4. If you are a Young Adult (YA) author, and you fear that the SCBWI is geared only towards MG and PB authors, fear not! They have information and encouragement for all writers who write for ages 1-17.
(Maybe you wouldn't fear this, but I did until I joined because I was thrown by the word "Children" in their name.)

5. If you write Middle Grade (MG), chapter books, or Picture Books (PB), or if you are an illustrator who wants to work on PB or Graphic Novels, the SCBWI also has a information and encouragement for you. At their regional conference, they have a portfolio showcase so you can show off your illustrative work. 

So, if you write or illustrate YA, MG, or PB, are you an SCBWI member? If so, why? If not, why not?

And, if this doesn't apply to you at all, what organizations have you joined to help you in your writing journey?

I'm a part of:
SCBWI - Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators
PNWA - Pacific Northwest Writers Association (I haven't made any meetings in a while.)
Tuesday Write-In - we don't have an official name, we just show up at a local community center and write for three hours on Tuesdays. 
First and Third Thursdays - A critique group, again, no official name.
And, of course, the IWSG - the Insecure Writer's Support Group (an awesome online group with a blog hop, a website, and platforms on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram). 

I think being a part of a group of some kind can help us grow as authors. 
What do you think?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Big Red Review

Please note: this book is picture-approved by Emily the cat. 
(No offense meant to Emily-humans. Emily is a good name).
Rating: Four Paws! (4/4)
This rating is based on four areas:
1. Her owner's lap was available for the entire book reading.
2. Her owner did not get up during the entire book reading.
3. Her owner was happy, so Emily approves.
4. Emily likes the cover (as pictured). 

Tyrean's Review: 5/5 Stars! 

Rating Based on 5 Areas:

1. Page-Turnability:

From the first page to the last, I was hooked by Damien Larkin's premise, characters, plot, and world-building! I did not want to put the book down. Because I started reading it in the evening, I read into the night with my cat on my lap and tea by my side. 
The entire book is thrilling, mind-bending, page-turning ride!

2. Premise:
From the blurb: "Suffering the side effects of Compression travel, solider Darren Loughlin wakes up screaming from a gunshot wound that isn't there." 

In this book, we are taken on a long, twisting journey into the memories and training of Darren Loughlin about his year-long tour of duty that isn't just a year, isn't what he signed up for, and isn't what it seems. As readers, we are fully immersed with Darren as he fights to get his memories back. Author Damien Larking immerses us as readers so seamlessly into the premise that it's nigh impossible to close the book. 

3. Character(s):
While we are fully immersed into the MC's viewpoint, Darren is surrounded by fellow soldiers, scientists, officers, and colonists while we journey with him on Mars. Darren has a compelling character arc, including moments of heartbreak, moments of levity, and moments of fuller understanding and determination. He learns a great deal about perception and reality in Big Red. In addition to Darren, author Damien Larkin fills the book with fully realized secondary characters and as a reader I appreciate this because it adds to the plot and to the world-building.

4. Plot:
As stated in the page-turner section, the plot drop-kicks the reader into the world, Darren's mind, and the premise all at once. There is no long preamble or slow introduction. We are with Darren in his confusion, his moments of clarity, and his long haul into understanding his mission and all that it entails from the first page. The plot gallops forward through training sessions, missions, and plot twists, not letting go until the very end. It's a satisfying, action-packed read!

5. World-Building:
If you like SF, you won't be disappointed. If you are not a big SF reader, the world-building leaves enough to your imagination that you won't feel dogged down by too much description. Larkin's book gives you just enough world-building through the eyes of his main character that you can be fully immersed in the story without pausing for long-information dumps. It's tightly knit world-building - the kind I highly appreciate. Every bit of world-building has a purpose and a place within the plot, character building, and the premise.

By the way, I did receive this book as an ARC from Dancing Lemur Press. I'm pretty sure they, and Damien, were hoping for an early review (you know, the Advanced Reader Copy kind), but I'm very slow - that's not a reflection on the book. 
I read it back in December - the same evening after I opened the package! 
I couldn't slow down enough to take notes on it as I read. I just was in a state of "wow" after I read it, then Christmas and other life events happened. So, I read it again before I wrote this and it's just as good on the second read! 

If you would like to know more about the author, go to my last post - Damien did a guest post for me!

If you are looking for action-packed, mind-bending SF, read Big Red! 

Big Red
By Damien Larkin

 We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

 With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

 But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...

Barnes & Noble - -  Amazon - -

Monday, May 13, 2019

Guest Post from Damien Larkin, author of Big Red

A Small Note from Tyrean:

Please welcome Damien Larkin to my blog today! I had the opportunity to read an ARC of Big Red and, in short, I can definitely say it's a wild, mind-bending, action-packed ride! I'll post a full review on Wednesday.

Guest Author Damien Larkin's Writing Journey, Perception is Reality, and Big Red

Damien Larkin

A few years ago, when I was in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces (RDF), my platoon and I were out doing manoeuvres. Our corporals used to yell at us to ‘switch on’ if we were too slow or didn’t follow their orders to the exact letter. One day, on a whim, they ordered us to race across a field. We were tired and exhausted from hours of drills at this stage. The sun was beating down on us, we were laden with equipment and as we ran, the griping started. People cursed and lamented about our predicament until someone turned to me and asked why I was so quiet. Shrugging my shoulders, I told them quite simply that there was nothing we could do about it, whining wasn’t going to solve anything and I was quite happy ‘switching off’. Everyone laughed at that and for the rest of the week, the levels of people moaning and whining over something beyond our control dropped considerably.

There are things in this life that we can control and things we can’t, but one that people take for granted is our thoughts and emotions. I like to sum this up with three words:  perception is reality. We can be or do anything we want to if we change our mindset to align with our goals. That might sound easier said than done, but the first step is to separate what you can control from what you can’t. Once you understand that, it’s surprisingly liberating.

Perception is Reality and the Writing Journey

Using writing as an example: I started out on my writing journey over two years ago. I didn’t tell that to many people, but those that I did tell thought I was nuts. I was a stay-at-home father, my children were both young and I also worked part time in the evenings and weekends. I had virtually no free time and had never once (openly) expressed an interest in writing up until this point. I could have let myself become upset or frustrated at the lack of support around me, but instead, I switched off and focused on my goal of writing a novel before the end of the year (and made that goal two hours before New Year’s kicked in!)

It’s easy to beat ourselves up over things or tell ourselves we’re not good enough. The hard thing is to change that outlook, to push aside limiting beliefs and actively force our minds to see the positive. If I had listened to everyone else, my debut sci-fi novel Big Red wouldn’t be out on the 14th of May and I would never have known the joy of watching this story grow and evolve into what it is now.

All of us are capable of achieving our dreams, but the first step is to start with ourselves. It’s up to us to recognise what baby steps we can take to get there, even if it’s simply reminding ourselves that we can do it. Whatever your goal is, I can’t promise it will be easier getting there, but I can promise it will be worth it.

Big Red

By Damien Larkin

We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...


Barnes & Noble - -  Amazon - -

Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

#TheIWSG The Power of Language, Submissions Open, Masquerade Release, and More!

Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this blog hop for insecure and encouraging writers has expanded onto several social media platforms and has become a steadfast writing community.
This month's co-hosts are: Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin! 

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I was a young child, I stayed the night at my grandmother's house across the street as often as I possibly could because I loved the way she told stories - fairy tales and stories from her childhood. I loved the ones from her childhood best. Her voice brought every moment to life.

Not all of my friends understood my grandmother, even when I was young. She had been born with a cleft palate and it was fixed via surgery when she was ten - an age when most of our language and speech patterns have become fixed. To me, her voice was beautiful and her words were clear.

As an older child, when I was around the age of ten, my grandmother had a stroke and moved in with us. When we went out to eat together as a family and she ordered her meals, servers often didn't understand her. I was shy and my parents were working on me to speak up, so if a server didn't understand her, it became my job to clarify her order. I learned speaking mannerisms could help or harm a person - words and their presentation have power, even in a simple moment of ordering a meal. 

A few months ago, I answered a submissions call for a Mother's Day story collection. It's a different kind of collection - a spoken collection with an AI. This means the stories (or, in my case more of an essay) are told in a storytelling style with the voice of an AI. It's a different kind of writing than the usual short story writing. It has a different ebb and flow. It reminds me a little of my grandmother's stories, which is why I wrote my essay "Grandmother's Legacy" for the collection. To hear it and other stories, find out more here.

Language, both written and spoken, is extremely powerful. It can shape the way we think. It can certainly shape how other people "hear" us or even treat us. 



Tellables is looking for stories for their Summer Romance story collection. Here's part of their submissions prompt and guidelines: 

Have you ever visited a chocolate shop where a chocolatier is making candy?  The shop smells sweet with a counter full of all flavors, shapes and sizes of chocolates for sale by the piece or the box.  It’s an inviting place where customers enjoy chatting as they sip the richest hot chocolate, topped with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  

Today, one of the chocolatiers enjoys listening to stories told by the customers. Summer is approaching, calling up visions of past summer romances in the minds of some of the clientele.  

Your challenge is to write a very short story (275 words or less) with the theme “summer romance” that will be told by one of four imaginary chocolatiers. Imagine one of the regular visitors to the chocolate shop. What summer romance might they have experienced in their past? How did it turn out? Can the protagonist see humor in the situation now? Your story can be pure fiction or based on real-life. Write the story from the perspective of the chocolatier who is retelling the story.

Tellables needs your stories by May 10th - and the full guidelines are here: Call for Submissions.

Word count: 3500-5000

Genre: Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy

Theme: Voyagers

Submissions accepted: May 1 - September 4, 2019

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full 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: 

Elizabeth S. Craig, author and honorary judge

Dianne K. Salerni, author

S.A. Larsen, author

Rachna Chhabria, author

Lynda Dietz, editor

Tonja Drecker, author

David Powers King, author

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. 



Masquerade: Oddly Suited - An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844651 $4.99

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual companion or a date to the ball? 

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard. 

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. 
Don your mask and join the party…

Find Masquerade: Oddly Suited here - Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Goodreads

And the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are hosting a live Q & A session on Discord! Join them on Sat 11th May from 1:00 pm EST / 6:00 pm GMT to find out more about the anthology and the contributing authors and ask any burning questions you may have. 
The Q & A will be held on Discord. Please follow the invite link: HERE

The IWSG Goodreads Book Club is discussing Method Acting For Writers: Learn Deep Point Of View Using Emotional Layers starting on May 22nd.

The WEP Challenge for June is already out! Get writing!

 When have you experienced the power of language? Are you going to submit some stories? Picking up Masquerade? Participating in Goodreads or Instagram?