Monday, September 13, 2021

Guest Post by Patricia Josephine: I'm Joining the Zombie Horde

 Please welcome author and awesome writer buddy Patricia Josephine!

I’m joining the zombie horde

I’ve always stated that if the zombie apocalypse happens, I’m joining the zombie horde.

Don’t get me wrong, I like being alive, but it just doesn’t seem worth it. It takes a lot of effort to stay alive. You have to be healthy and fit. You have to know how to defend yourself. You have to find yourself food. You have to trust other humans won’t stab you in the back.

Being a zombie on the other hand is much easier. You only care about one thing: Brains. All you want is to eat those tasty brains and not much deters you. A bullet to the leg? Nope. Lose an arm because a pesky human chopped it off? Big whoop. You’re still going. You have a one track mind. Then if you do get a bullet to the brain or your head lopped off, well… now you have zero things you care about.

You see, belonging to the zombie horde is a no-brainier. It’s less stressful. Less demanding. It’s just easy. Unlike being a human. We’re struggling with that without the addition of zombies.


The cure to stop the zombie apocalypse is hidden in Upper Michigan. Erin’s only chance at securing it rests in her ability to train a zombie.

Available at your favorite retailer. 

The zombie apocalypse could have been prevented. People didn’t have to die. Erin’s world didn’t have to be destroyed. But there’s a cure and she’ll do anything to get her hands on it.

Available at your favorite retailer.

Every human in the world becomes a zombie when they die. But Erin refuses to accept the world as it is now. She’s heard about a cure locked away in a lab in Upper Michigan, and she plans on retrieving it. To do so, she needs a zombie. Not just any zombie, though.

Zee is Erin’s link to the lab. His connection to the living world is her bargaining chip. But only if she can teach him to control his mindless impulses.

Can a zombie be trained? Or will Erin be Zee’s next meal and become a zombie herself? The fate of humanity rests in her hands.

Universal Buy Link -

Add to Goodreads -

About the Author

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, though, and now she can't stop writing.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Social Media Links:

Website –

Newsletter –

Goodreads -

Amazon Author Page -

Facebook Page -

Monday, September 6, 2021

Don't Forget to Breathe by Cathrina Constantine

 Happy Labor Day!

Please welcome Cathrina Constantine to my blog today! 


Leocadia arrives home from school to find her mom’s body. Unaware that the killer still lingers, she rushes to her mother’s side, only to be grabbed from behind. And everything fades to black.


Leo has been battling personal demons after a year of retrograde amnesia. She’s been having vivid dreams of that day. And her dreams are getting worse—she’s starting to remember. Two more bodies are discovered and they are oddly linked to her mom’s unsolved homicide.


Leo befriends her new neighbor. He’s eager to visit Star Hallow’s notorious haunted mansion. It’s located on a deserted cul-de-sac where she once lived and where her mom was murdered. But it’s the Lucien Estate, the mansion next door to her old home, where they happen upon misty ghosts, ghosts that just might help to unravel the homicides.


Will Leo's memories send her reeling into a relapse, or will she be able to overcome her demons to find her mother’s killer – only to become the next victim?

Amazon Universal Link: SMARTURL.IT/LEOCADIA

Cathrina Constantine

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

IWSG SEPTEMBER 2021: The Definition of Writing Success and an "Ask"

 It's IWSG Day! Time to rock the writing world! Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and the co-hosts this month: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

My answer has changed over the years. Originally, it was holding my book in my hand, and being able to say "I am an author of a book." Then, I went through a phase where I thought I really needed/wanted to make a certain amount of income from my writing to say to be successful. 

Honestly, I still wish I had more financial success as a writer. How much would be enough? Honestly, enough that I could say I'm making more than the average fast food worker per hour. But, I'm not there yet. I've read articles by writers who find their writing to be successful because they use their writing for other things - so in that sense, my tutoring, teaching, and any "writing" I do for my part-time job as a property manager would be considered making a living from writing. But, I still hope someday to actually make a steady income from the writing itself. 

For the most part, my definition of success as a writer really has become this:

I write. I finish things. I write again. I publish some. I have some published by others. I hold onto other pieces. I write and I write. And so on.

Success is in the act of writing. 

I've also read some articles who find their writing to be successful because they use their writing for other things - so in that sense, my tutoring, teaching, and any "writing" I do for my part-time job as a property manager would be considered making a living from writing. But, I still hope someday to actually make a steady income from the writing itself. 


The anthology contest is closed. The judges are hard at work.

Next up, we have the IWSG Twitter Pitch event coming on January 26th! For more information, check out our website at the pitch page HERE.



Patricia Josephine released her latest novel The Cure!



I still need help with the book party celebration aka book blog tour. Many thanks to those who signed up to help: Alex J. Cavanaugh, Patricia Josephine, MJ Fifield, Chrys Fey, Jemi Fraser, Shana Dow, and L. Diane Wolfe


If you want to join in on what I hope/plan to be fun, please check out my google form. If you can take a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday - that would be awesome! 

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension.

Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess.

She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana.


What readers are saying about LIFTOFF: Rayatana, Book 1

"This is a fast-paced story for teens...Throw in some misunderstandings, space battles, alien races locked in an ancient war, and we have a great escapist mix." -Elle Cardy, YA Fantasy Author

"I love the diversity of the characters, and not just because some are alien. This series has the potential to become a new-classic, space opera series." - Toi Thomas, Author

I enjoyed this lively adventure, a quick read that begins with a movie theater transforming into a spaceship. What a great premise!" - Carol Riggs, YA Speculative Fiction Author



Kindle 978-1-7357695-5-4

More formats forthcoming.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Summer 2021 Wrap-Up and "Ask"

 Summer 2021 has been a summer of "Big Deal" kind of days.

1. My older daughter officially graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In addition to her academic work, she created proposals and did undergraduate research, traveled to several countries, presented her research at a national event, participated in clubs, volunteered at a women's shelter for victims of human trafficking, became a student body senator, learned out to ice climb, and prepared an avalanche training course on campus. 

She's the one with the decorated cap sitting in the row closest to the stands. One of her friends is sitting in front of her and her friend has blonde hair.

2. My husband and I traveled to Wisconsin with his sisters and his parents to celebrate the life of his aunt Marianne at a memorial service. We saw the old homestead and were welcomed to look around by the current owner, visited places their great-grandfather had built, and had some fun recreating old pictures of places they visited as kids. 

On the beach with John and his sisters.

Recreating the "in trouble" photo outside the same store where they got in trouble in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Apparently, their cousins knocked the head off of a store mannequin, and they were all sent out to sit on the sidewalk to wait for their moms.

At the family homestead with cousins.

A tower their great-grandfather helped build.

3. My younger daughter turned 20, completed her first half marathon, hiked a "fourteener" in Colorado, worked at a YMCA camp this summer, and participated in a Navigators' Christian study program. She's back at school at Washington State University already and is started her fall semester today for Civil Engineering.

This is my daughter at age nine months. See below to see what she looks like now.

4. My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary with our daughters during a five-day vacation to the San Juan Islands (a few hours away from us in Washington state), but we're actually planning a "just us" celebration in September. It was our only week to hang out together as a family for more than a day or two in several months and we tried to make the most of it by hiking, bicycling, kayaking, and seeing the sights.

My husband, my older daughter, my younger daughter, and me at Deception Pass State Park, Washington.

My family on the tower at Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, Washington.
It's not a tall mountain as mountains go, but it's the highest point in the San Juan Islands.

In the prayer "maze" on Orcas Island. We were respectful, and then we goofed off joyously. I was surprised we all stayed on the paths for the whole reflection filled walk. Half of our family photos when our daughters were young included my husband taking them "off the trail" to see something.

Leaving Friday Harbor, San Juan Island on the last ferry ride back to the mainland.

5. I celebrated my 50th birthday quietly. I painted a ceramic dragon at a local art shop, went to my favorite small bookstore in town, read the afternoon away, and had some quiet reflection on life, past, present, and hopeful future. I wrote down 50 things I am thankful for and praised God for all the abundant blessings in my life, including my writing. 

Other things have happened too, some good, some challenging. Always, I have my writing, I have friends and family, and I have faith in God. As my father-in-law recently said to me when he was diagnosed with COVID (after vaccination, and after other challenging health issues), "It is good to dwell in the truth of Romans 8:28: 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.'"

Every "Big Deal" moment in my list came during/after challenges, heartbreaks, worries, risks, troubles, and frustrations. I just keep taking step after step into each day, trusting God to help with the details and the outcome.

As you may know, I have two book projects working their way into the world. 

Dark Blade: Forged is a Kindle Vella Series based in the world of The Champion Trilogy. The first three episodes are free. Please give them a read and see what you think.

Nexus is coming in October. The Pre-Order Link for Kindle is HERE

I need ARC readers and more help with a moveable book blog party. See this form to sign up or message me for more information at my email tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com

Dark Blade: Forged LINK

Nexus Pre-Order LINK

Nexus Book Party LINK

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

August IWSG

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR AUGUST: What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time your read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. 

This is a tough one. I have favorites upon favorites.

The Books I pull off the shelf the most often to use are:

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
And Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

I also really like: 
On Writing by Stephen King for both the memoir and the advice, even if I break his rules pretty often.

Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers is a good writing life book.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was a really good life-writing balance read. I really appreciated her authenticity. 

Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Wielend

Steal Like an Artist : 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon - Despite the title, this book is NOT about plagiarism. 

Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sealing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. LeGuin has excellent exercises.

A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves has great writing prompts and bits of motivation.

Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life - an anthology of advice from writers who loved Snoopy's writing efforts.

How to Publish & Promote Your Book Now by L. Diane Wolfe

Writing Secrets of the World's Most Prolific Authors by Sean McLachlan

Other books I like: 
Conflict & Suspense by James Scott Bell

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine

Seize the Day: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write by Victoria Hanley

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Kids Write! by Michael Olien - a fun book for elementary through middle grade writers.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lammot

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White

Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Grammar Girl Presents The Ultimate Writing Guide for Students by Mignon Fogarty - I use this book with all of my HS and MS writing students and students I tutor.

Writing with Emotion, Tension, & Conflict by Cheryl St. John

Craft books I am currently reading or rereading:
Turning Life Into Fiction by Robin Hemley - I read this 25 years ago, so it's a reread.

The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogel - I read this about 20 years ago, so again, a reread. It utilizes Joseph Campbell's work and puts into a format for writers to follow the hero's journey.

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandemeer with several articles by various authors. - a new and current read

And there are more books than these that I've read, but these are the ones which were closest to me when I wrote this post, and ones I wanted to mention. 


This contest ends soon, and we need more HEA SWEET ROMANCE STORIES!

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance
Overall, your story should be clean of offensive material, including profanity, vulgarity, excessive violence, or sexually explicit or suggestive scenes.
Elements in your story should focus on romance, not on sex, which should be kept “behind closed doors.”
The overall plot should lead to a positive and uplifting outcome, also known as "happily ever after."
Absolutely no erotica or pornography.
And please note RWA's definition of romance:
Definition: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Theme: First Love


News for me:

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension.

Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess.

She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana.

Nexus is YA Science Fiction and Action Adventure with a hint of Romance.

And, Dark Blade: Forged is dropping episodes every week or two for Kindle Vella Readers. The first three episodes are free HERE.

Dan Torren enters the Watch Guard for training, hoping to break away from his father's expectations. Instead of freedom from politics, he gets saddled with Prince Alex who blames Dan for his "punishment." With recruits from all over Aramatir, the Watch Guard has its own troubles, especially after Dan is claimed by the Dark Blade, an artifact and sword of power unlike any other in the history of Aramatir. Readers may recognize Dan as Dantor from The Champion Trilogy.

I've also dipped into writing books. They are:
A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts received an upgrade, and may be a bit beyond pocket-sized, but I think it's a decent addition into the writing prompt book genre. You can find it HERE.

5...4...3...2...1...Write! 25 Speculative Fiction Writing Prompts is tiny, but packed with different starts for speculative fiction writers. It can be found HERE.

What's your favorite writing book? Have you written one?
Any news for you? Are you submitting an HEA story to the IWSG Romance Anthology?


Monday, July 12, 2021

Author Insights 2021: Damien Larkin and Blood Red Sand


Welcome Damien Larkin to Author Insights 2021 - a post where I interview authors about their writing lives and current projects!

1. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, write and read as much as you can! I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but that novel won’t write itself (unfortunately). One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard in the past, is people saying they don’t have time to write. It can certainly be tough juggling a job and family commitments, but I believe that if you have time to watch TV or scroll on Twitter, then you have time to write. I’m not saying you have to dedicate every single waking moment to crafting your novel (everyone needs a break) but try not to get into the habit of making excuses. Do as much or as little as you can – every word takes you closer to your goal.

2. Tell us about yourself. (like what you do for a living, hobbies, etc..)

I work as a Planning Analyst for a major broadband and TV provider here in Ireland. It can be a tough, fast paced job but I really enjoy it. In my spare time, I love spending as much time as possible with my family – they’re my favorite people on the planet. If I’m not working or hanging with them, there’s a 99% chance I’m either writing or doing something writing related. The other 1% of the time, it’s a safe bet that I’m watching a sci-fi move or Star Trek!

3. What is your writing process? (A special place or how you outline, or do you just jump into it. Or, what you need before you sit down to write: coffee, tea, cookies)

I’m a coffee-fueled writing machine. Without coffee, nothing would get done! I fall into the pantser category of writers – I very rarely plan out what I’m going to write on paper, although I will often spend weeks/months working out the details of a story in mind. As soon as I have the main details worked out in my head, I dive straight into it. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m writing so I just go with the flow, let the words pour out and try to make it all make sense during the editing process.

4. From start to finish, how long does it take for you to complete a novel?

It varies from project to project (often depending on how busy I am at work) but on average it takes about four and a half months (give or take). Once I get past the first 10k words of a story, it becomes real to me and I give it an official title. I find if I struggle with a WIP before reaching the 10k marker, then I haven’t figured it out or some part of it needs more work. At that point, I’ll put the project on hold until I work it out or I’ll start something new. If I cross 10k, then I know it’s real and it’s very hard for me to take my foot off the gas until I have the first draft done.

5. How did you come up with the idea for Blood Red Sand? (insert title)

Sometime after the launch of my debut novel Big Red, my publisher Diane at Dancing Lemur Press suggested doing a prequel short story for it. Throughout Big Red, some of the characters make reference to the 1954 Battle of New Berlin pitting the Allies against the Nazis to seize control of Mars. It’s mentioned a few times throughout the book, but never explored. A few Big Red fans asked about the backstory too, even prompting me to do a blog post on it. From there, the seeds took root, and I wrote a 13k word story entitled Blood Red Sand which covers the initial disastrous invasion of Mars by the Mars Expeditionary Force. My publisher read it, liked it and told me to develop it into a novel (which I did with glee) so here we are!

Author bio: Damien is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut SF novel Big Red was longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel in 2019. His next novel Blood Red Sand is due out 6th July 2021.

Big Red:
Blood Red Sand (preorder link):
FB :
Twitter :
IG :

Blood Red Sand blurb:
Mars will run red with Nazi blood...

After World War Two, Sergeant McCabe knew the British army could send him anywhere. He never imagined facing down another Nazi threat on Mars.

In New Berlin colony, rivalry between Generalfeldmarschall Seidel's Wehrmacht and Reichsführer Wagner's SS threatens bloodshed. The Reichsführer will sacrifice everything to initiate the secretive Hollow Programme and realise his nightmarish future for humanity.

McCabe, Private Jenkins, and the Mars Expeditionary Force must overcome bullet, bomb, and bayonet to destroy the Third Reich. While Jenkins fights to stay alive, McCabe forms an uneasy alliance with MAJESTIC-12 operatives known as the Black Visors. 

Will this be the final battle of World War Two or the first confrontation in an interstellar war?

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

#IWSG July 2021 Never Say Die! aka Quitting is Not an Option AND Know Your Why


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the July co-hosts:


The IWSG is a place to let loose our insecurities and to gain/give encouragement. 

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR JULY: What would make you quit writing?

My answer: Never Say Die! Quitting is Not an Option.

This may sound extreme or like the titles to a Bond Film and a Motivational Ted Talk, respectively. 

Just hear me out.

I have "quit" writing for readers in the past. I have almost quit writing, but I couldn't really quit it. I kept finding myself scribbling out stories and poems on bits of paper, in my journal (note, I did give up my journal once, and I hope you did not interact with me then, it wasn't pretty), and well, everywhere. I couldn't stop thinking of ideas for stories. 

Even if all goes badly with my books, even if no agent ever is interested in any of my queries, even if I never go truly hybrid (I do have a novella out with a small press so I am partially hybrid), even if I stopped indie-publishing any of my books, stopped sending out poems and short stories, etc., I would keep writing for me. Even if I get arthritis, lose the sense of touch and my ability to type, even if I go blind, I will keep writing and creating stories via talk-to-text or other means. Even if my audience consists of me and God, I will keep writing. This is what it means to me to be a writer. I will always come up with stories. I will always want to create them and write them. Story creation is simply a part of who I am.

So, since quitting is not an option - I used to think it was, but now I know better - the question really is: what is my reason WHY?

The Why of why I write is what drives me forward and motivates me to actually put words to paper. The Why used to be amorphous. I wrote for myself primarily. But as I have written and continued to write, my reason for writing for a readership has become clearer. 

The main reason I write is: to provide entertaining, thought-provoking, inspirational, and empowering fiction, poetry, and non-fiction for a primary audience of young women and men (age 11-18) and a secondary audience of adults. 

If I could write for ages 1-10, I would. I admire Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit creator) and Corinne Luyken (modern picture book writer and artist), but most of my picture book ideas and attempts have not come off the way I wanted them to, so that audience isn't my primary focus.

In addition, as a Christian, I have delved deeper into why I feel so strongly about writing women characters with depth and strength - both as protagonists and secondary characters. I share that reason on my author page now since it is so important to me. 

Now, I wish I could put my reason "why" in saleable language. I've worked on it a few times. I'm still working on it, and some day maybe I will have my platform/brand named in concise, beautiful words. 

What's Your Reason Why? What drives your writing life? 



The new contest is on, right now!


An Author Highlight from Damien Larkin to celebrate his new book Blood Red Sand.
Come back next Monday to read more! 


Preparations for my next book release: Nexus.

The Rayatana, Book 2.

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension.

Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess.

She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana.

Release Date: October 4, 2021.

If you can help out with my book party (day of, and two weeks following), please let me know on my Google Form which I updated since I last posted it. I did take away a few of the original options because those were taken by some awesome people who already signed up! :) 

Thank you! 

Please share: What's your reason Why?

Monday, June 14, 2021

Reveal of a NEW Title for Book 2 of the Rayatana Series AND a Call for Book Party Help!

 My new title for Book 2 of the Rayatana Series is: NEXUS. 

This title came out of some changes to the manuscript, some feedback from my editor, CPs, and betas. I wasn't thinking about businesses or border patrol between Canada and the US. Even now, thinking about those...well, I'm still glad I made the change. 

Plus, I love what my cover artist Carrie Butler did with the title! Check it out here:

In early July, I'll be revealing my cover for Nexus: The Rayatana, Book 2.

And as of today, I'm starting a Call for a Book Party!

In many ways, I have struggled to truly celebrate my books. Usually by the time of the book release, I am a storm of nerves. 

So, I am going to throw a party for my new book.

I know, rationally, it's only semantics. I'll still need blog/website stops for the moveable Book Party, along with some party-streamer-throwing shout-outs, and I definitely plan on having a live celebration at a local restaurant with some video feed streaming. Party favors will be given away - swag. 

The dates are: 
October 4th: Streamer-Waving Shout-Outs
October 4th: Party Events Streaming and Live

October 5-15:
For the Moveable Book Party (Book Blog Tour), I hope to do the following:
1. Write guest posts about weird beverages/food in speculative fiction settings.
2. Have blog hosts post about their favorite kind of "awak" beverage or their favorite "awak" beverage holder (mug, can, bottle, glass). Awak is a cross between Earth tea and coffee, so hosts can post about any beverage that keeps you awake.

So, why beverages? This is a YA novella, but while brainstorming for this book blog tour, I wanted to stick to one area and I had just reviewed a scene where the characters sit down and drink "awak" - a beverage which keeps them awake like coffee or tea, but with more of a kick and less addictive properties. And yes, I know, naming things is not my strong suit. 

Plus, what good party doesn't have some kind of beverage, whether it's soda water, tea, or something else?

And the last, biggest CALL for help:
Could you/would you read an ebook ARC between July-September? All hands on deck are needed for this. Reviews are as precious as gold, especially for books in a series.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

IWSG June: How long do you rest/shelve a rough draft? and What I've Learned from Podcasting


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the co-hosts this month: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?


I've always believed resting the rough draft of a novel was an important step in the writing process. I rested every single one of my books between rough and second drafts, until last year when I took Liftoff from rough to second to third to edited and revised drafts in several months. 

My critique group, beta readers, and my editor all helped me polish it and make it a decent read. It never had a full rest, because even when it was in the hands of my editor, I was thinking about it.

I believe that the project itself, or the writer's relationship with that project, determines how long the draft needs to be shelved. I still have many shelved drafts. MANY. 

But then, there are short projects that I've written and sent out into the world without any rest at all. Those projects are sometimes just as successful, or sometimes more successful than the ones I "rested" between drafts because sometimes (often), I revise things into a corner. I did this recently with book 2, cutting so much that the third draft didn't make as much sense, which meant I had to put stuff back in. 

And that leads me to...


In January, my church started creating podcasts. First, our two pastors did the majority of them, and then they invited a group of people to help. I was one of those people. I had never created a podcast before. Most of the ones I created at the beginning were recorded on my phone, or my old laptop with malfunctioning speakers...neither of which were ideal. 

On the podcast schedule, I created and recorded a podcast once every eight days, February through May, as my church put out the podcasts five days a week. This schedule didn't give me a lot of time for "revision." I researched the set of Bible verses I was given, reading them, reading commentaries, delving into word studies and cross-referencing the verses. Or, at least that's what I did for most of them.

At one point, I had forgotten to record my podcast until 10:30 the night before the podcast was supposed to air. I had read the verses earlier in the week. But I read them again twice, prayed, and recorded. I deleted that first recording because I sounded like I was falling asleep, wrote down some hasty notes, made myself jump up and down a few times to wake up, recorded it again, and then sent it to my pastors. 

From the feedback I received from listeners, the podcast I created last minute was just as good as the ones I spent hours working over, recording multiple takes, and micro-managing my words/phrasings.

What I learned from this podcasting experience:

  • Deadlines work.
  • Work I dawdled over was not any better than work I created in a short, intense burst.
  • Having good tools/tech is helpful, but it is possible to work with less and still do a good job.
  • Scheduling helps (see deadlines above).
  • Short bursts of writing/recording/speaking work for me.
  • Authenticity in a podcast is just as important as "professionalism" especially when one is sharing an experience, or faith-based thought. 
  • I really like podcasting, even if I still haven't added in any sound effect frills yet.
If you are interested, have time, or like podcasts, check out One Hope Church's One Hundred Essential Bible Readings HERE

Other News and Notes:

The IWSG Science Fiction Anthology from our contest last year Dark Matter: Artificial is out! 

If you don't have a copy, I highly recommended getting one and reading it. The stories in here are really fun reads!

Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Website - IWSG Anthologies

Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies / Space Exploration / Genetic Engineering
Print ISBN 9781939844828
EBook ISBN 9781939844835

Print and eBook:
Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Nobel

And, next up, the IWSG Annual Anthology Contest for 2021 

Please see the site and the publisher's website for details and guidelines. Write your best. Get some feedback. Send it in. 

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance

Theme: First Love

Submissions accepted: 
May 7 - September 1, 2021

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), 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. You must belong to at least one aspect of the IWSG to enter.

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

Plus, as a reward for some finished writing, I had some fun and created a wall calendar for writers. If you're interested in an 18-month calendar with quotes from sixteen different authors, literary dates and celebrations (Ex: US National Library Month and AA Milne's Birthday), from July 2021-December 2022, check it out here: Write On! ( 

Although I initially created it for me, I thought a few more people might like it, so if you're looking for an 18-month calendar, please feel welcome to purchase one. My favorite page I created is this one:

I created most of the images via although I did include some of my own photography, too.