Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January IWSG: New Year and New Magic

Hello, friends! It's hard to believe it's time for the first 2019 meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. 2019! How did we get here already? My blog is officially 8 years old now, which is also hard for me to believe. It's been an amazing 8 years thanks in no small part to all the wonderful people who make up this group, which was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

It's safe to say 2018 was not a productive year for me writing-wise, and as December came to a close I was grumpy and mired in the type of defeatist thinking that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I was certain that 2019 would be the same, as well as 2020, 2021, 2022, and so on. In short, I had decided that I would surely never write again and I was a moron for ever thinking I could do it in the first place.

But then I was going for a run back in my favorite park and out of nowhere I had some new ideas come and sit on my shoulder and whisper in my ear. They were ideas for the story I've been working on forever and ideas for stories I'd never thought of before. I started feeling warm and fuzzy and tingly with adrenaline. I couldn't wait to get home to write down the ideas and start exploring them.

By total coincidence, I started reading the latest selection for the IWSG book club, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, that evening. I was amazed to discover that the title of her book refers to her own experience with having ideas and inspiration arrive unbidden. She likens it to the excitement felt when first falling in love, and views it as a form of magic. Big Magic.

While reading I thought of my experience back in the park and the excitement that coursed through me and decided I agreed with her. It was magic! And it was magic I haven't felt for far too long, as any writing I have done recently has felt more like a chore than like something I love to do.

So now I'm planning to ride this magic wave into 2019 and work on these ideas that have taken up residence in my head. I'm thrilled to feel excited again!

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 is a year filled with lots of magic and joy for all of us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December IWSG: My Writing Space

Hello, friends! Today is the day for the December meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

This month's IWSG question is:

                 What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

I am cheating a little here because I don't really have five objects in my space, unless you count things like lamps. My writing space is my living room couch and the only writing-related object I have there is my laptop, when I'm writing on it. 

Even though it's a bit boring, I love my writing space because I share it with these two handsome guys. 

If you've followed this blog for any length of time you probably already know my dog Clancy and my cat Nate. These two are both eleven years old and they have been along for the ride on every step of my writing journey since they came to live with me. 

One is the boss:

The other is the annoyed colleague who really just wants to sleep:

The Ohio State throw that Clancy is trying to use as his pillow there is a third constant in my space. 

So that's my writing space - my couch, my laptop, my throw, and my two furbabies. So I guess I do have five things to list, even though Clancy and Nate aren't things. Like I said, I'm cheating a little. 

I hope to spend a good part of December on my couch writing and I'm counting on boss Nate to get after me if I start slacking off. I didn't finish NaNo, or even come close, but I did make progress on my story so I'm hoping to continue with that this month and finish off the year on a productive front. 

I am looking forward to catching up with everyone after taking last month off. Happy December! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November IWSG: Third Time's the Charm?

Hello, all! Today is the day for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

I'm actually going to sit this month out because I decided at the last minute to sign up for NaNoWriMo and I'm busy working on that. I thought I would try one more time to finish a draft of my Window Box in Paris story. I tried last November during NaNo and ended up with about 500 words written, then I tried again during CampNaNo in the spring and ended up with even less. 

But I was in the mood to write again so I thought I would give it another go. With luck, the third time really will be the charm. 

I hope you all have a wonderful month ahead. And to those in the US like me I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

See you in December1 😊

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China by Sherry Ellis!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Sherry Ellis’ BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today. Welcome, Sherry!

I'm sharing an excerpt of the story, and Sherry is offering a tour-wide international giveaway featuring five autographed copies of her book. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

by Sherry Ellis
◊ Genre: Juvenile Fiction
◊ Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Paperback: 94 pages
◊ Grades 3-5

Squirt doesn't believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi'an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.
          It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can't go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don't know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.
          Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?



It’s me–Bubba. My turn! I was glad to get out of the hole, but what I saw did not look one bit like home. What I saw was an army of men. Thousands of them! They were all standing there, lined up, ready for battle. Armor covered their shoulders and chests. Their faces looked fierce and determined. And do you know what else? They were made of stone.
Squirt came out behind me. “Whoa!”
“What is this place?” I asked.
Squirt stared. “I have no idea. But what I do know is that you got us into a big mess!”
“Sorry.” I put my hands in my pockets and looked down. I knew this was bad. The hole and tunnel were scary. Scarier than the Banshee roller coaster at Kings Island. It reminded me of my accident at the pond, when my sled crashed through the ice. Memories of the day I died.
I didn’t want those scary thoughts in my head, so I took a deep breath and walked up to one of the soldiers. He was big. As big as Daddy! I stood on my tippy toes to get a closer look. Then I scratched my head, because that guy looked kind of familiar. I did a little thinking. That’s when I figured it out. He looked just like the guy who works at Kung Pau Dragon.
I walked over to the next soldier. He looked like the other guy who works there. But this place wasn’t Kung Pau Dragon. That could mean only one thing. We were in China! A big smile spread across my face. The shovel had worked. I was right where I’d wanted to go. 
“Hey,” I said. “They’re Chinese! We’re in China!”
Squirt scrunched her eyebrows. “Bubba, that’s impossible!”
“But look.” I grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the big statue and pointed at its face.
She studied it real hard. Then she shook her head. “It couldn’t be.”
“Yeah, it could,” I said.
Her green eyes flashed. “No! You don’t understand. These look like Terracotta Warriors.”
“Terra-what?” What was Miss Smarty Pants talking about?

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano.

When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Sherry, her husband, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia. 

For more on Sherry and her writing, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, her blog, her website and her Amazon Author Page.

This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) autographed copies of BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Sherry on her month-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October IWSG & Trying New Things

Hello and Happy October! It's officially my favorite time of the year as I love the period from October through December. So many things to love! Cool temperatures, sweater weather, football, holidays - I could go on and on.

Today is the day for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

I'm trying something new with my writing this month and I'm definitely insecure about it, but I also feel like it's the best move for me to make right now.

I've always been a "pantser" when writing and have only made the most basic of outlines. This has worked for me in the past and I loved writing this way. But it's not working now as I'm continuing to struggle with getting my Paris story together. I've been playing with this story for more than two years now and have made so little progress I decided something has to give. This story has significantly more characters and time periods than I have ever attempted to write before and it's become a jumbled mess in my head.

My friend Madeline at The Shellshank Redemption recommended the book Story Genius to me several months ago and I kept meaning to give it a try but never did. I was intimidated by the idea and kept thinking my tried and true "pants" method would eventually kick in and work. Then when I was once again feeling frustrated with my writing I saw another author recommending this same book on Twitter. It seemed like the universe was trying to tell me something!

So I got the book and am now committed to giving it a try, even though I am still intimidated by the idea of totally changing my writing process.

Have you ever changed your writing method to suit a new project? Are there any craft books you recommend?

Happy October, all!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Elaine Kaye Interviews the Witch!

Hello, all! I've been on an unplanned blogging break but I'm excited to jump back into the fray today  to help spread the word about the latest release from Elaine Kaye, Halloween Ride! Elaine is here with an interview with Halloween Ride's very own witch, Bertha.

Take it away, Elaine!

Elaine Kaye: Hello, Bertha. It’s nice to talk to you today. Our readers are very interested in you. The first thing they want to know is…where do you live?

Bertha, the Witch: I live in a cabin in a magical forest that no human knows about, with my ten cats and hundreds of brooms.

Elaine: What are your cats’ names?

Bertha: Puffball, Monkey, Doodle, Coal, Scratch, Merlin, Casper, Shadow, Jinx, and Onyx.

Elaine: Why do you have so many brooms?

Bertha: Because they're magical, dear.

Elaine: We know that the broom Gregory and Sammy find can fly them anywhere in the world. Does each one have a special magic?

Bertha: Some are for flying and some are for cleaning. The cleaning brooms visit people who need their houses cleaned, like the elderly. And the flying brooms go out every Halloween to give special individuals one ride. Except one of my brooms befriended a magical teddy bear, and the two of them go all over.

Elaine: I know just what teddy bear you’re talking about.

Bertha: How much longer are we going to be doing this, dear? I have some soup to eat.

Elaine: Speaking of which, was that really pea soup that Gregory and Sammy saw in your pot?

Bertha: Of course, it was. I make really good pea soup.

Elaine: What’s all in it?

Bertha: Peas, carrots, potatoes, onions, but it’s really the dried ants, worms, toadstool, and spiders that give it flavor and substance. Would you like a taste?

Elaine: Thanks, but I’ll stick to my recipe. It was a pleasure talking to you, Bertha.

Bertha: You, too, dear. Goodbye!

*And Bertha disappears in a poof of green smoke*


BLURB: One Halloween night, Gregory and his teddy bear Sammy go trick-or-treating, hoping for lots and lots of candy. But Sammy is scared of everything and is constantly asking, “What’s that?” Gregory gets annoyed until one of those things turns out to be a flying broomstick. And this broom wants them to go for a ride. Where will it take them? 

*Story picture book Ages 4-8.




Pea Soup Disaster: Amazon / Nook / Kobo

Doctor Mom: Amazon / Nook / Kobo

Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup.
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.
She is a grandmother of three boys.


Enter here to win a signed paperback copy of Pea Soup Disaster, a hand-stitched bookmark, and a pea pod key chain! Open to all from September 16, 2018 – October 1, 2018!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG & the American Writers Museum

Hello, friends! Today is the August meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

I am feeling a little insecure today as I didn't get any of the writing done that I wanted to in July, but I still had a good month and took a fun little road trip to Chicago, so I'm going to focus on that instead. I went to Chicago to see Hamilton, which was fantastic, but I ended up also visiting the American Writers Museum, which was amazing!

I'd never heard of this museum but my niece discovered it and we decided to head there since it was only a few blocks from our hotel. The museum only occupies one floor of a large building, but we spent several hours there and I feel like I could easily have spent much more time exploring the compelling and inspiring interactive exhibits.

Here are a few highlights of my visit. 

The Children's Lit Gallery was adorable, with large banners depicting famous works, including one of my childhood favorites Goodnight Moon.

"Goodnight comb and goodnight brush" ❤❤
The best was a mural depicting a tree full of squirrels all reading books, including a squirrel pondering over Gertrude Stein. So cute!

The center of the museum included a timeline of key events in American history and famous writers of the time.

And the ceiling was filled with books!

My favorite exhibit was the Word Waterfall, which initially looks like walls of unconnected words, but then lights up various segments to reveal famous quotations that reflect the American experience.

Images created by the lights, such as the Statue of Liberty in the above case, along with sounds such as ocean waves and birdsong, combine with the words to create a truly inspiring and mesmerizing display.

If you're ever in the Chicago area, I can't recommend this museum enough. There is something for every writer and reader to enjoy and I'd return in a heartbeat if I lived closer.

I hope all is well with everyone and I wish you all a Happy August!