Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Legends, Tresure, a New Book, and an Interview with Katherine Briggs

Do like books? Want to read about legends and treasure in a fully immersive fantasy world, I recommend checking out this interview with Katherine Briggs and her new book The Eternity Gate! 

1. Katherine, can you name five of your favorite stories in books, movies, or shows? (These don’t have to be the top 5.) 
Katherine: This is a good and difficult question! There are many excellent stories. Some that have captivated and shaped me include The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, "Little Daylight" by George MacDonald, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Casablanca directed by Michael Curtiz, and the film Beauty and the Beast.

Tyrean: I love many of those, as well, especially The Horse and his Boy, and Beauty and the Beast

2. What have you learned from these stories, either as writing lessons or life lessons? 
Katherine: I admire growth, and I love redemption. Seeing these written well encourages me to press on in my own stories to try to offer these beautiful experiences to deserving readers.

4. Are you a plotter, a discovery author, or a mixture of both? What do you like best about plotting, discovery, or mixing both? 

Katherine: I think I'm a plotter and discovery writer blend. I plot bookseven scenesbefore beginning to write, but often things do not go according to plan (which is sometimes horrifying but always rewarding!). I tend to discovery write during idea creation before drafting and later when transforming plot holes and deepening characters while editing.

Tyrean: I do a combination of discovery and plotting, too. :) 

7. Which character was your favorite to write in The Eternity Gate? 
Katherine: One of my favorite characters to write in The Eternity Gate is Geras. He's the oldest surviving character through all the versions this story took in my mind and on the page. He also claims the prize for being one of the two most difficult characters I've ever tackled. I'm working on a third challenging character now, and she takes residence in the duology's Book 2.

8. I love the specific word choices you've given your characters to show they are in an alternate world with a different language than ours. How did you come up with those? 
Katherine: Thank you so much! That's a lovely compliment. I lived outside my home country for a few years, and I didn't have very many friends or access to books written in my language. So, I read lots of old books, especially the Bible. I think I drew a lot upon that time period and to shape the characters' vernacular. Verbs are particularly powerful.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Katherine! 

>> Book Blurb
Destroy the key. Save her people and herself.

The Eternity Gate is found, and kings and monsters battle over its legends of treasure. But rumors whisper that someone stole the gate's ancient key.

Seyo, handmaiden to the princess, keeps three secrets. First, she's gifted in fire, not light, and may as well be cursed. Second, she translates a prophecy warning that the gate does not offer treasure but judgment. Third, Jorai, the scorned prince and Seyo's confidant, entrusts her with the key and disappears.

Surrounded by war, Seyo and her companions embark on a journey to seek help from a faraway empire and find Jorai, unaware of the trap awaiting them. But what should Seyo do with the key? Who can survive judgment, especially someone as flawed as her? Will hiding the key—or destroying it—save her people or ensure their defeat?

>> Book Links

>> My Links

Website/Newsletter |

>> Short Author Bio
Katherine Briggs crafted her first monster story at age three. Since graduating from crayons to laptop, she continues to devour and weave fantasy tales while enjoying chai tea. She, her coadventurer husband, and rescue dog reside outside Houston, where she classically educates amazing middle school students, teaches ESL to adults, and enjoys studying other languages. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Fictional Werewolves: Guest Post by L. Diane Wolfe, Author of In Darkness: A Werewolf

Welcome L. Diane Wolfe! Today I'm celebrating my friend L. Diane Wolfe's newest book release, In Darkness: A Werewolf as part of her book blog tour. L. Diane Wolfe is the CEO of Dancing Lemur Press, a professional speaker, a multi-book published author, a Christian who writes and works in the secular side of publishing, and someone I consider both a mentor and a friend via the IWSG, an online group. We've never met in person, but I hope to, someday.

For today's post, I asked L. Diane to share some insights into Fictional Werewolves in celebration of her latest release In Darkness: A Werewolf.

Well, technically, there aren’t any non-fiction werewolves. Not in the truest sense, although the legend of a man who could become a beast goes back centuries.

There are many famous werewolves, both in books and movies. I thought I’d touch upon a few of them.

The Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King / Silver Bullet

This began as an engaging and unique book by King and eventually became a movie.

The book is a month-by-month account of a werewolf terrorizing a small New England town and the boy who tries to solve the mystery of the killings. The movie compacted the events into half the time but it’s no less effective. While scary and sometimes gruesome, the movie is a story about redemption.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Also made into a film, this book introduced readers to Remus Lupin, a werewolf bitten by Fenrir Greyback who serves under Lord Voldemort. Remus taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. He is a sympathetic character who ultimately dies defending what is right.

The Wolf Man staring Lon Chaney Jr.

This was the first of five movies with Chaney playing the werewolf. While not the first cinematic werewolf, it was the film that launched the creature into stardom. It was part of the Universal Monsters line of movies and Chaney endured 5-6 hours of makeup time to prepare for his scenes.

 The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer

First a series of four books and then five movies, it featured Jacob Black, a werewolf and Native American of the Quielute tribe in La Push. Love them or hate them, this series established a sympathetic and vulnerable side to the werewolf legend.

 Hotel Transylvania

An animated series of four movies, it features many famous monsters and creatures. One of the most amusing it Wayne the werewolf, voiced by Steve Buscemi. Wayne is Dracula’s best friend and has dozens upon dozens of kids with his ever-pregnant wife. Beaten down by his huge brood, he is one tired but funny werewolf.

Yes, the last one was thrown in for fun, but kids will know Wayne for sure! (And those of us grownups who are suckers for such movies.)

In Darkness: The Werewolf

By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…

On her own in England, Vicki trains at a prestigious fencing school. Face marred by a birthmark, she’s suspicious of Nicholas’ attention. A dinner date reveals his genuine interest and they begin to connect. Nicholas is attractive and she wonders why he’s so shy and reclusive.

Then one evening she happens upon him changing into a lycan. Every werewolf legend is challenged by the gentle, fearful creature before her. Vickie accepts his secret, but Nicholas knows he’s an unpredictable beast. Can they trust love enough to overcome their physical challenges?

Release date – Sept. 5, 2023

Romance/Paranormal/Shifter, Romance/Paranormal, Fantasy/Paranormal

$3.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844927

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Spunk On A Stick - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips - Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Links for In Darkness: A Werewolf:

Amazon -
iTunes -
Barnes & Noble -
Kobo -
Scribed -
Goodreads -

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Happy Birthday, IWSG!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. 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. The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group day. Writer's post their thoughts on their own blog, talk about their doubts and the fears they have conquered, discuss their struggles and triumphs, offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling, visit others in the group and connect with fellow writers--aim for a dozen new people each time.

Celebrate with us. Answer this month's question. 

Remember, the question is optional!

September 6 question: The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

I discovered IWSG right at the beginning, sometime after I had participated in an A to Z Challenge, hosted by Arlee Bird, in which Alex J. Cavanaugh's posts had made a positive impression. As I was striving to build my platform, I caught the IWSG bug and signed up for this awesome group of supporters.

IWSG has changed over the years as Admins have come and gone (including me), as blogging has changed, as those who participate have changed. But one aspect of IWSG has remained true; the kindness and encouragement from involved authors who make this group one of the best gatherings of the internet once a month in the blog hop and who create a helpful and encouraging community on every IWSG platform. 

It would take me hours to properly describe all the kindness of the writers I've met through IWSG.

I've met writers who are willing to be ARC readers, who have given me feedback on book covers and book blurbs. I learned about the various types of publishing platforms through the IWSG blog hop, following along with the publishing journeys of a few hundred writers. I've hosted really cool release day posts and book tour posts and been hosted in turn. I've met individuals who became friends I've kept in touch with outside of IWSG through email and other platforms. I've been given help on social media shout-outs, and more, but more importantly, I've read encouraging posts when I needed them the most and had kind comments written here on my blog when, again, I needed them the most. 

Again, IWSG has helped me in countless ways, and I am thankful for all the kindness, encouragement, and support. 

Happy Birthday IWSG!

If you are new to the IWSG community, start at the website, or go find the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh.

A little about Alex:

Alex Cavanaugh is a writer and promoter. He works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. 
Sign up for the blog hop HERE.

And please thank this month's co-hosts: 

News and Something I Have slowly learned on Kindle Vella: 

First, I want to say Thank You to all who commented last month and offered to help with the eventual paperback and eBook release of The Dragon and The Ranger under my pen name Rene Hawthorne!

Second, well, mainly I've been writing, writing, writing, and marketing, marketing, marketing. Every day is similar, but different, and I am thankful for this life. 

 Third, Dark Blade: Forged, the serialization I started with on Kindle Vella has received over 1700 thumbs up - this is by no means phenomenal when looking at the top runners on the platform, but I am thankful for those who have read it.

Meanwhile, The Dragon and the Ranger under my pen name, also has over 1700 thumbs up despite being on the platform a shorter length of time. Why? I suspect it's because it's fantasy romance and not fantasy action adventure, but I also suspect it has something to do with something I learned about the platform. 

Something I've learned in a turtle-like fashion: 

Kindle Vella stories with more likes typically have more episodes for the entire story. For example, the front runners which have over 100,000 "likes" contain 121-187 episodes and they aren't completed yet. 

How this has played out in the above "like" average for two of my stories on there:

Dark Blade: Forged is around 68,000 words in a Word doc, but I split it into 41 episodes (chapters). It has over 1700 likes gained slowly over two years. 

The Dragon and The Ranger is around 71,000 words in a Word doc, and I didn't upload it to the platform until earlier this year, but I split it into 74 episodes. It has over 1700 likes. 

Each "like" is for an individual episode, so a story with 1700 likes doesn't have 1700 readers unless those readers all liked one episode and stopped there. In fact, not every reader will finish the story. 

Instead of switching titles for a new book in a series, the front running stories on Kindle Vella, simply state "Season 1 and 2," or "Seasons 1-5" to show these serializations contain more material than one would expect in an average book. I've read at least two seasons of Elven Heartbound (one of the front runners), and the amount of material is similar to reading two standalone books in a series. 

So, belatedly, I realized splitting the Dark Blade Trilogy into more than one title on Kindle Vella was a mistake. Argh. I'm remedying that the best I can by making "book 2" into a combination of book 2 and 3 with the plan to have 150 episodes of it by the time I'm finished with it. It's currently sitting at a modest 374 likes with 31 episodes, but readers are required to leave Dark Blade: Forged and find Dark Blade: Tempered. Kindle Vella doesn't make that easy.

If you decide to write for Kindle Vella, I recommend writing a series under one title name with many short episodes of 1200 words or less.  

There are reasons to have several Kindle Vella titles of shorter lengths, but to break into the top 250 Kindle Vella titles, a singular, massive title is more likely to get there. Romance also helps. Cliff hangers at the end of every chapter also help. 

BTW, the top 250 titles are the ones most new readers are reading on Kindle Vella, so that's why I consider it a benchmark.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

IWSG August 2023: Conflicted About Stories and Pseudonyms


OPTIONAL August 2 question: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

Oh yes! I've written several somethings I felt conflicted about, even had a few short poems with conflicted material published and suffered some negative feedback, but I survived and kept writing. 

For a while, I tried to shy away from conflict, but then I discovered something.

When I write something I feel conflicted about, I try to take a step back and let it rest before I run ahead with it, but often, I only revise it a little and then send it out into the world. Conflict, especially if I feel it, is usually a sign that I'm getting to the heart of a story. It's true I don't want to write a scene or story that's too gory, icky, or awful feeling to read because I want most of my writing to uplift, entertain, and offer hope. However, most characters in a fictional read will have to go through some hard stuff to get to the other side, or to discover where their hope resides. 

This is a perfect segue into my other topic for today: pseudonyms. Please be aware this gets lengthy, so feel free to skip if you would like to. 


I have a handful. Yep, may sound weird, but I felt like I had to try some of them out before I ran with them. I've experimented with various pseudonyms over the last ten years, with short stories, a Twitter novella, and some Kindle Vella stories. 

Two factors which make pseudonyms fun:

1. I feel freer to write to different audiences under pseudonyms, although the one I'm spending more time with today may seem much like what I write under my own name. 

2. I feel more confident with my pseudonyms, because of #1. 

There are two factors which make pseudonyms difficult:

1. Time management of projects, any associated media, and release dates.

2. Gaining an audience with a new name takes all of the above, plus it feels like a bit more. 

A few of my current pseudonyms: 

TA Thorne: Speculative, Heartrending, Hope

This is where my grittier sci-fi and fantasy stories are going. I struggled with the darker, more conflicted aspects of writing the Captain Wrath novel, so it went on my shelf and collected dust. This year, I pulled it out, broke it apart, and started uploading it onto Kindle Vella as Captain's Dilemma. More news about this title will come eventually, when it's ready to go into a full book publication. Even though the stories for Captain Wrath came out under my name, I feel it is a starker, older book than most of my fare. 

Rene Hawthorne: Author of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non-fiction, Seeking Hope on the Horizon

This is the name I have decided to use for sweet romantic fantasy and science fiction with faith themes, and for a bit of non-fiction writing. All of these titles are currently Kindle Vella titles, but my first will be coming out as an ebook and paperback in February 2024. 

The Dragon and The Ranger is a clean/sweet romantic fantasy adventure story told in a unique point of view with second-person point of view narration and first-person point of view narration. This is a completed Kindle Vella novella, has been edited by three outside editors, read in pieces by members of my critique group, and as of 7/27 has 763 thumbs up on Kindle Vella. 

While the point of view style makes this book slightly experimental in nature, I think it is a solid fantasy romance (yes, I'm biased) with plenty of adventure, shapeshifting dragons, a few assassination attempts, and some infighting for the right to rule the Realm of Claw and Might. 

I've had some fun writing it and gained a bit of an audience. I am looking to expand that audience. If this is something you would be interested in reading, please let me know via email or go check it out via the links for my pen name and the book's Kindle Vella page below. I am seeking a street team to help with my launch in February 2024.

Please note, this cover may be revised, but it is one I made fairly quickly in Canva, so it is the one I've used fairly successfully for Kindle Vella. 

The Dragon and The Ranger on Kindle Vella (first three episodes are free)

Princess Erissa, half-dragon and half-human, can hear the harmony of truth and the disharmony of lies in others, but the hardest lie she may have to face is her own. Daniel, sent to assassinate the "curse" of the kingdom, falls in love when he gazes into her eyes. Instead of being the downfall of the realm, she might be the only one who can save it. The Dragon and The Ranger is uniquely shared in second and first person dual POV. This is a complete novel with 74 short episodes.

Rene Hawthorne Website

Rene Hawthorne on Twitter

Rene Hawthorne on Instagram

 So, what happened to my sci-fi novella series, The Rayatana?

It's coming. I wrote it four times in the last two years, but I think the version I have now is solid. I am testing it out on Kindle Vella because I'm actually earning some $ there, which is going into editing and more solid cover art (forthcoming). The first episode is here. The first three episodes of any Kindle Vella are free. 

When I started The Rayatana, I was answering a question I had all along about another story I had previously written in 2016, based on a flash fiction story I had published in 2011. The roots of these intertwined stories run deep, and so while it may seem like I'm coming up with things quickly, the stories have been there, sitting on my dusty shelves and waiting for their time. Anomalies: The Gathering and Anomalies: Sanctuary were first written in 2016 as full-length novels for a MG or YA audience. I have started airing revised episodes for Anomalies: The Gathering on Kindle Vella, now that the links between those books and The Rayatana Series make more sense. 

And if you're wondering how I keep track of all of my projects, I have three methods:

1. Calendaring in print and on my phone.

2. Prioritizing three items each day. 

3. Running goal sheets in my journal and on an excel spreadsheet.

Bonus: grace for projects which need to be pushed back or reconsidered after time on the shelf. This is where The Rayatana has been because I couldn't seem to finish it properly until I fixed Anomalies.

Projected release dates for my projects (beyond Kindle Vella):

Paperback and eBook of The Dragon and The Ranger: February 2024. 

Paperback and eBook of Once Upon a Garden, a poetry book under my name: March 2024. 

Paperback and eBook of Resonance and Rift of The Rayatana series, coming out back-to-back in late spring/early summer 2024.

Paperback and eBook of Dark Blade: Forged, Dark Blade: Tempered, and Dark Blade: Guarded in the fall/winter of 2024, or I will push it all back to late 2024/early 2025 because I plan to release these one month apart. 

Paperback and eBook of Anomalies and book 5 of The Rayatana in 2025. Anomalies is linked to The Rayatana Series and is about super-powered teens on the same alternate, fictional Earth where The Rayatana series started. 

I have more plans than this. I have a shelf of books in binders that need to be either revised or formatted. I am working through those currently. I am considering taking a few of my newer ideas and writing them as screenplays to get the ideas out on paper without spending 300-500 pages on them. 

If anything in the 2024 range of publication sparks your interest, let me know! :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

IWSG July 2023


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this blog hop and all the writers who help each month!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
The awesome co-hosts for the July 5 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, Gwen Gardner, Pat Garcia, and Natalie Aguirre!

July 5 optional question - many story ideas come from dreams. Where do yours predominantly come from?

I get my story ideas from all over... 

Today, I wanted to say thank you to all who have worked at making this group a welcoming and encouraging place to be.

It's a busy month for me, so I hope I get around to say hello.

I'll be giving a message about prayer this Sunday, on James 5. 

I'll be going to Realm Makers 2023 in St. Louis July 13-15.

Happy Independence Day (a day late) to all!

Quick News:
Dark Blade: Forged is complete on Kindle Vella, and I'm having some pro cover art created for it before the fall 2024 release. 
Dark Blade: Tempered is an ongoing Kindle Vella and has 30 episodes out, with more to come!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

WEP Close Encounters

This post is part of the June WEP: Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To find out more, go HERE. 

Word Count: 975 NCCO

Side Note: Not sure it is important, but this story is set in the same world as my series that starts with Liftoff

 At five minutes to close, Nora startled as the shop bell jangled. She stared at what appeared to be an empty door frame with the door held halfway open by either someone invisible or someone shorter than the life-size superhero display between her and the door.

Thanks to recent events, the idea of invisibility was no longer off the table. Not since the alien war had torched a mini mall up north in Washington state. 

Nora reached for the emergency button and the taser under the countertop as the door swung shut, clacking against the jangling bell again. She leaned slightly to the right of the display and let out a sigh of relief at her friend Kit, who drove her new, high-tech, electric wheelchair down the center aisle. 

She paused when she saw Nora. “Hey Nora, is it okay to give you company?”

“Heck yeah,” she waved her friend closer. 

“You look like you weren’t sure there for a moment.”

Nora shrugged. “Well, it’s kind of embarrassing but I didn’t see you with that huge display in the center aisle blocking my view of the door and I thought, well, I thought you were an invisible alien.”

Kit snorted, and then let out a bray of laughter. Nora couldn’t help but join in, laughing with her friend. Kit’s laugh was like that.

Kit drove her electric chair to the side of the counter. “So, is your boss still being crazy?"

Nora shook her head. “Yeah. He wants me to stay past close to watch for whoever’s been causing our cameras to fritz.”

“What the… you know, is he thinking?”

“You can swear around me, you know.”

“You took an oath. I respect that.”

“It was stupid.”

“Yeah, I miss you telling off the meatheads at school with all the color of a woman who knows her mind, too.”

“I know my mind.”

Kit raised her eyebrows at her. “And that’s why you’re supposed to watch for potential burglars by yourself after close?”

“They’ve never burgled. They just light up the security cameras with some kind of flash.”


Nora shrugged. “I get paid twice my normal hourly for it.”

“Well, I’m not letting you stay here alone.”

Nora wasn’t sure either of them were prepared to deter an actual burglar, but having Kit here made her feel more comfortable. 

Nora locked the front door while Kit texted her mom. Nora had already prepared for closing, so she set the alarm system and they made themselves cozy with snacks in the security room behind the main counter. They had video views of all the outside walls set on one large screen. On the other large screen, they started the movie and wore the boss’s favorite headsets. Nora kept her volume low, just in case.

They were in the second half of the movie, when something on the other screen caught Nora’s attention. “What is that?”

Kit leaned in, paused the movie, and together, they watched as a figure dressed in loose sweats and a hoodie slinked along the back wall of the video store. 

Nora remembered locking the back door. Even so, she tensed, one hand on the emergency button in the back room and turned to stare at the door, thinking she heard something pushing against it.

Kit poked her in the arm and whispered. “Nora.”

In the screen, the hooded figure had turned its face to the camera, and its face glowed so bright it was hard to make out distinct features. The glow grew brighter until Nora closed her eyes to a partial squint. 

A massive flash forced her to close her eyes completely. Next to her, Kit gasped. Behind them, the door banged open. Whatever it was had effectively taken their sight, and it was inside. The footsteps coming their way were faint, but steady. 

Nora meant to push the security button, but Kit’s hand clamped down on her wrist. 


“I’ve got this.” Kit let go of Nora’s wrist and she could hear her friend’s chair whirring, then a whooshing sound.

Something thudded on the floor. 

Nora’s vision was slowly coming back, and she could see Kit staring down at the hooded figure, her hand on a dart-gun. Her eyes were glowing. 

Nora backed into the wall. “What the actual hell, Kit?”

“I’m not an alien, but I am one of their children.”

“No. That’s just, no. I’ve known you forever. Since baby days.”

“Yeah. We’ve been here a long time. The war found us.”

Goosebumps ran down Nora’s arms and she shoved her hands in her pockets. “Now what?”

Kit twirled her chair so she could stare down at the intruder. “We tie him up and call the police, and my mom.”

“Your mom?”

“I’m in so much trouble. And your boss will need to know about this, too. We need to get our stories straight.”

Nora bit her lip, listening to her friend plot ways to keep them from trouble. She wasn’t sure how to handle this reality. Kit made all the phone calls while Nora slid to a seat on the floor, clammy and cold. 

The bell jangled again and again, letting more and more people into the shop. Her boss, Kit’s mom, and Nora’s dad. The noise fell into a rhythm. It made her think, briefly, of that movie where the aliens communicated in music, and this made her start to laugh. It was a hysterical laugh, but that was all she had left. 

Kit patted Nora’s shoulder and Nora stared up at her friend, perched in her chair, her eyes no longer glowing. 

“Still friends?”

Nora nodded. “Yeah. But I pick the movie next time.”

“Whatcha thinking?”

Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Kit snorted, and then they both started laughing. It was going to be okay, even if Nora’s best friend was half-alien. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Before I begin my regular post, I have to say that I have been deeply touched and highly encouraged by everyone in this group, by all who stop and give comments and by the posts you all share. 

When I received news that Ken Rahmoeller (Chemist Ken, My Hogwarts Sabbatical) passed away, I cried. I had never met him in person. I never spoke to him other than through the comment sections on our blogs so I don't even know what his voice sounded like, but yet, I will miss him. He touched my life with his words, his fun, funny, and genuine posts over the course of a decade. He always encouraged me. I am praying for his family to be surrounded by a comforting support network, and loving family and friends. If you want to know more, you can read his obit here

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writer's Support Group over a decade ago and all the volunteers who keep it running.

And thank you for everyone helping this month:  Patrcia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J. Lenni Dorner, and Cathrina Constantine!

Please note, I have posted about this at two other places, but this blog is my official, connected link to IWSG. Those other posts are, in a way, an invite for more people to check out our awesome group. 

June 7 optional question - If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

Answer: That's not happening. I have only "stopped" writing for short amounts of time.

If I had to give it up because of some major health concerns, I would attempt to overcome those health concerns with new ways of writing and sharing stories. 

I come from a storytelling family. Most of my family members don't write, but they do spin yarns, based mostly on facts and life events. My grandparents were all uneducated - farmers, loggers, sawmill workers, and a Calvary Sergeant turned farrier, who also worked in a sawmill and had a large vegetable garden. None of my grandparents graduated from high school. Their spelling could be creative. Some were from Canada and didn't realize American and Canadian spelling and grammar are not the same. 

Despite their lack of formal education, my grandparents all loved swapping stories and reading. They were some of the best storytellers I've ever heard, with the way they could evoke emotion and setting with the tone of their spoken words. Their home libraries were either well-kept or scattered, but even those with organized shelves had books in nearly every room. They all also loved music. They couldn't read music, but they continued to play music, picking out the notes on their instruments. 

If I couldn't write stories, I would tell them or sing them, or do both. I can't imagine living a life without stories and music. They are not only necessary for joy, but they are necessary for living and making sense of life. 

What would you do if you stopped writing? Would you?


I'm writing Kindle Vellas, working on how The Rayatana and Anomalies fit together, journaling, and writing poetry. 

If you are interested in reading any of my work, check out the tabs above or go to one of the links below:

Liftoff, The Rayatana Book 1 is currently only 99 cents for eBook.

Champion in the Darkness is available for Kindle Unlimited for the summer.

A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts has a new cover and is currently only 99 cents. 

Dark Blade: Forged is a complete Kindle Vella series and is my second highest earning book of all time. Eventually, it will find its way to paperback and eBook, but for now you can find it all on Vella. 

So many other authors have awesome books coming out. If I get the links, I could post about some of them. Let me know if you have a new book coming out soon. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Redemption, Australia 1990s, and Historical Fiction: A New Release from Author L. Diane Wolfe!

 Redemption, Australia 1990’s, and Historical Fiction

Tyrean offered me several topics that tied in with my release today, In Darkness: The Shark. And I’ve decided to tackle all three.

Redemption is the theme of my In Darkness series. (And it ties to my earlier series, The Circle of Friends.) As a Christian, redemption is an important aspect to my faith. No matter how far gone someone is, through God that person can be redeemed.

The main two characters in each of the In Darkness stories are both in need of redemption. They are in effect in darkness, which is what links the stories together. They find that redemption through love. The love of someone who is completely and totally accepting of who they are.

The setting for this story is Australia early 1990’s. This was before most people had computers, let alone Internet, and cell phones didn’t exist. That gave me the perfect setting for the story. A place where great white sharks were plentiful but the constant barrage of information and privacy invasion didn’t exist. Human populations were also smaller, giving Jewels and Clarence peace and quiet and the opportunity to get to know each other.

Was writing a historical piece from my own lifetime easier? Yes, since I could access facts, figures, maps, etc., that were accurate. I could research where the aquariums were during that time, how many people lived in a given area, how far did the city stretch at that time? Through the Internet I could contact someone who lived in Australia at the time and get the lingo correct. I can imagine researching for a period a thousand years ago would be much, much more difficult.

And there you have it! Oh, and did I mention Clarence the shark talks?

In Darkness: The Shark

By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…

Focused on her studies and duties at the aquarium, Jewels prefers her solitary life. Burned many times and short on trust, she has more in common with her aquatic friends than the people around her. But she never imagined coming face to face with a shark named Clarence…a shark who talks!

As their friendship grows, Jewels must overcome her deep set mistrust. There are dangers, both in the Australian ocean and on dry land. Can Jewels depend on the great white or will his animal nature betray her?

Release date - May 9, 2023

Romance/Paranormal - Fantasy/Paranormal - Fantasy/Romance

eBook ISBN 9781939844910 $3.99

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. - Spunk On A Stick - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips - Insecure Writer’s Support Group


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Wednesday, May 3, 2023



Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Diane Burton, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour!

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this wonderful group!

Optional Question for the month: When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

Such an awesome question deserves a thorough answer, but as this post goes out I'll be on vacay, so I'll make it short.

I find inspiration everywhere - in the way sunlight and shadow play across the grass, in the news, in my faith life, in music, in conversations, in activities and work done by friends and family members, and in books and movies I've read or seen (especially when I want them to go a little differently). 

Often, these kinds of things jumble together in my brain and after I have a run with them in my imagination, I'm ready to let them pour out on the page. 

What inspires you?

And, if you really miss me and want to read more, check out my Kindle Vellas or my books.

Dark Blade: Forged on Kindle Vella

The Rayatana Series

Friday, April 28, 2023

Websites, Platforms, Branding, and an Online Anniversary!

 Is it just me, or does it seem like every year there’s a new “best platform” to use for writers, creators, or ecommerce peeps? How does anyone decide? Is it okay to switch things up? Does anyone stay on the same platform for a decade or more?

These are the questions running through my head today as I started to consider Substack vs. Shopify vs. Squarespace vs. Wordpress vs. My Old Blog For Over a Decade here.

Honestly, I started this account because I had just had a paid publication and I wanted to create a “clickable” name to have for my author bio. I was a little slow in the process (usual pace for me), and I didn’t have a “clickable name” until I had at least three paid publications. But the idea that I could create a place where people from all over the world could come and find out more about the stuff I was creating sounded pretty cool. 

At one point, I think I had at least four different blogger accounts: one for writing, one for homeschooling, one for a hint fiction series that went on for 210 episodes, and one I started and quickly abandoned. I was also a part of a few group blogs, and those have been fun, too.

 I went from blogger into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a brief moment on Youtube, a podcast, Wordpress, and Substack. I feel like I’ve been all over the place, and it’s a bit much to maintain. The question is, do I want to? Or do I want to buy into one platform and stay there forever. (hahaha. Who am I kidding? I don’t think any site or platform offers permanency)

If I don’t want to keep all of them, the question is, which platform or platform combination works best for me?

To know that I have to know my “Why” and my “How.” 

One would think I would have these basics of “branding” covered by now, after having stuff published since 1992 (a college newspaper before clickable content), blogging since, oh when was that… oh yeah, April 30, 2009. That means I’ve been online somewhere for 14 years! Whoa. 

I didn't realize that when I started this post. 

My first post here consisted of two sentences, which stated the purpose (the why) of my blog. I guess I did know something about branding before I had ever heard the term. 

But I am re-refining my old "why" and "how". I’ve done it before. I go through these growing pains/spurts every 2-4 years, and I feel a need to reinvent/reconsider/refine my why, my how, and my goals. 

I’m going to keep this blog

As it stated in that first blog post, I was looking for community. I found some, and I'm still adding to my community. 

I also want to have a commerce side to my online presence because I do want to have a space specific for my books beyond the ‘zon and the other online stores, so that’s something I’m still working out. I may end up with a Squarespace account and I may end up closing my Wordpress one. I’m not sure yet. 

I’m still learning and I’m okay with admitting that. 

What are you learning these days? And do you have all the platform options figured out? Is it every okay to close up one site and go onto another one? 

Monday, April 10, 2023

A Personal Poetry Challenge for National Poetry Month

 I decided, late in March, to take on a personal poetry challenge for National Poetry Month: to write one poem a day, and no matter how good or bad it was, I would share it on my IG poetry page. Ten days into the month, and I feel pretty good. 

True, not every poem has been good, but I am thankful for what I've written. I'm going to keep going for the month of April. Plus, I am making some plans for what is coming next here on my website and on Substack. 

For now, here are the poems I've written for April 2023:

Do you write poetry?

Would you like to join me in writing poetry?

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

IWSG April 2023 and a Bit of Poetry


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this hop and this community. And many thanks to those helping co-host this month: Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

If you would like to sign up for IWSG, go HERE.

April 5 Optional Question (s): Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I remember my first childhood book, one that I destroyed before I let many people read it. My second start on a novel ended up similarly discarded. My third, written in my late twenties, came after a series of novels started without finishes, and it still resides as an extremely messy draft, a 1.5 version I had edited by someone from an editing class. 

Before I ever wrote a book, and while I wrote my first books, and still, today, I wrote and still write short stories and poetry. My first publication was a poem. My second, a short story. These short works kept me going as a writer, despite doubts, setbacks, and curveballs. 

My first finished, edited, and published novel was Champion in the Darkness. I had so many doubts through the process of writing it that the before-editing final was the fifth or sixth draft. I thought if I could sell 100 copies a month, I would be doing well. 

I didn’t understand the way indie authors have to market their work or how much confidence I would need to have to keep writing even when my books sold far fewer numbers. 

While I don’t regret many decisions along the way, I can say I spent a lot of time learning. My only regrets include not believing in myself enough, not getting my work out into the world sooner, and maybe that one conversation I had with a fellow traveler who was interested in my writing at an airport years ago - in which I said I would never write romance and then I found out he was an agent for romance authors. (Yeah, that was embarrassing. He gave me his card. I was too embarrassed to ever send him anything, and again, back to regret #1.)

 I have learned that no matter the level of editing, a book will have typos. I have found that the amount of success an individual book has does not have an equal comparison to the amount of sweat I put into that book.

I have learned that the ideas I have are numerous, and I need to prioritize them as I go, because I’m still just getting started, even though I’ve published fifteen books, not counting serializations. 

My latest book 25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains is a short story collection because while short story collections often don't market well, my short stories have kept me going as a writer, and I want to continue to honor them, so when I get a number I like, I collect them together and put them out there into the world. One of my ongoing projects this year is poetry collection, beginning with the poem that made me an "award-winning" poet. I plan to publish that collection next year. 

Where are you in your writing journey? 

Based on what I've learned, these are my tips for fellow authors: 

  • Have confidence in your voice and your stories.
  • If a fellow traveler asks about your writing at an airport, tell them briefly and then ask questions, and don’t say you will “never” write any particular genre.
  • Think about your legacy of books, even if you are on your first.

Writing News:

After my older daughter's wedding (this event is worthy of much writing, but I don't have time here), I had a week of exhaustion, but I am writing a poem a day for April and working on some science fiction projects. I have a few Kindle Vella serializations still moving along.

But, due to many events of the last few months, I am pushing back some of my timelines for publications. I had hoped to release Rayatana 3 and 4 this year, but... I will be happy to get 3 out in the fall. 

Likewise, I had hoped to take one of my Kindle Vella serializations and turn it into an ebook and paperback, then release it in June, but it's already April and it's not ready. :(

So, I am continuing to write and work, but I have to recreate my goal schedule, and I think that's okay. 

I'm sharing my poetry drafts for National Poetry Month at my poetry Instagram account and on Substack, but I'll also share a few here: