Wednesday, December 4, 2019

IWSG and Saying Goodbye to 2019

Hello, friends! Today is 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, or to sign up and join the group, visit the IWSG page here.

I haven't done much writing this year but I'm slowly getting back into the groove again and plan to make 2020 a much more productive one for me. I'm working on a story as well as thinking about some new ideas, while trying to focus on the simple enjoyment of writing. I expect to have some good publishing news to share soon and I am also kicking around some ideas to try to be more engaged with the writing and reading world in the year to come.

I really couldn't think of much to write about this month so I will make this short and simply say I continue to be so grateful for all of the amazing people I have met through this blog. I hope everyone has a great December, and I wish you a wonderful holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG & Writing for the Fun of It

Hello, friends! Today is the October 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, or to sign up and join the group, visit the IWSG page here.

Now that we are in the last quarter of the year I can officially say that 2019 has been the least productive year I've had since I started on this blogging and writing journey nine years ago. Some of that has been due to circumstances out of my control but, if I'm being honest with myself, most is due to my own lethargy and the apathy I've felt towards writing for far too long now.

Somehow over the past few years I've become so obsessed with needing to publish something new that I've managed to take all the joy and fun out of writing. Any time I'd start writing something I'd immediately start thinking that I'd never be able to get it published or find an agent or publish it myself. As a result I have more scattered notes and half-finished chapters and pages with no more than two sentences than I can count. And as a result writing has become something that feels more like a chore than something I love to do.

So for the rest of 2019 the only goal I am setting for myself is to figure out how to enjoy writing again. This all started because I loved playing with words and characters and bringing the stories that had always danced around my head to the page. I want to find that joy and fun again, even if it means the only person who sees what I write is me.

This quote by Margaret Atwood is my motto for the rest of this year.

Before I wrap this up I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to my long-time blogger buddy Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. Deanie has an adorable new children's book out called A Tractor Named Wilbur and I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy. The book is wonderful and if you have any little ones in your life I'm sure they would love it.

How cute is Wilbur? For all the info on the book, visit Deanie's site here.

I hope this new month finds you all well and I wish everyone a very happy October!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG & The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Hello, friends! Today is the September 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, or to sign up and join the group, visit the IWSG page here.

Back in July I returned to the IWSG and planned to spend the rest of the summer actively writing and blogging. But instead some unexpected health issues popped up and totally derailed my plans. Fortunately I'm doing much better now and am starting a new plan to be active and productive for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed!

Each month the IWSG administrators suggest a question to answer in our post for the month. This month's question is:

If you could pick one place in the world to write your next story, where would it be and why? 

This was a fun question to think about! 

I'm totally enchanted by Scandinavia even though I have never been there. I love the scenery, the winter landscapes, and the remoteness of some of the areas. I have always found winter to be a muse for my imagination and writing. 

Recently I learned about the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway and I would love to go there and settle into a house by the sea for my own private writing retreat. 

If I ever do make it there I'm hoping I can see the Northern Lights. 


So that's my writing retreat daydream. I'm looking forward to reading where all of you would love to go. 

Before I wrap this up I want to give a shout-out to my friend Luanne G. Smith and her fantastic book The Vine Witch. Luanne was one of the first friends I made here in the blogging world, back when she was running her Bards and Prophets blog, and I'm so happy to see her finding such success with her books now. 

I received an ARC of The Vine Witch and I can't recommend it enough. If you love witches, wine, France, or just a well-written story full of intrigue and great characters, this is a book for you. The book is one of Amazon's first reads this month so if you are a Prime member you won't go wrong picking The Vine Witch as one of your choices. 

Congratulations to Luanne! 
And Happy September, all! This is the start of my favorite time of the year and I am looking forward to the months ahead. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Importance of Friends from Windy Hollow Author Tara Tyler

Hello, friends! Today I'm thrilled to be hosting my friend and all-around awesome person Tara Tyler as part of her Windy Hollow book tour. Welcome, Tara!


I wish Julie and I could get together more often. It's great living near my friend, but even when you live close to your friends, life makes it tough to see them!

That's why summer is great for me--I get to plan trips and lunch dates to see my friends. Friends can talk about anything--we chat about life as if no time has passed. From college friends to writer friends to neighbor friends close by. And getting together in person is so refreshing--I need my hugs!

my writing buddy Christine!

my bff from college

baseball mom friends!

my travel buddy and old roommate friend
friends from our wedding and childhood

my old neighbor and great listening friend

Friends are so important in life. They're honest, caring, helpful, and empathetic. We run the gamut in our conversations, from baring our souls to peeing our pants laughing! We talk, commiserate, encourage, and comfort. I don't know where I'd be without my friends!

at lunch with my parents we got these fortunes
Julie and I go way back to the beginnings of my writing life. I'm so glad we've done events together--the down time can get pretty boring! Thanks, Julie, for being there--online and IRL!
2017 - we need to do this again!
Do you plan trips to see friends? Do you like to travel? How do you keep in touch?

Friendship bonds can form early and last a lifetime. In Beast World, the kids learn they can't always do things on their own and should depend on their friends sometimes. True friends won't let you down when things get tough!

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

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

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

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

twitter: @taratylertalks
Instagram: taratylertalks
newsletter: tara tyler news

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG & Returning To Blogging

Hello, friends! After taking a few months off I am excited to be jumping back into the blogging pool. I hope this new month finds you all well and that you are all happily engaged in lots of writing or blogging projects. I'm happy to say that I'm writing fairly regularly again after nearly a year of doing a whole lot of nothing so I hope that will continue.

Today is the day for the July 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.

Each month the IWSG administrators suggest a question to answer in our post for the month. This month's question is:

What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

This one is an easy one for me to answer! Like me, my protagonists all either have pets or love animals. Danny, the protagonist in my Polar books, has a dog named Sox. Several of the characters in The Ghosts of Aquinnah love animals. And I am currently working on two WIPs and in both stories the protagonists have cats. 

I didn't actually do this intentionally when I started writing but it just came naturally. I couldn't help but insert my favorite guys into my stories in various ways!

My dog Clancy

My cat Nate

The only rule I have about animals in my books is that none of them get harmed or killed. I know this is a bit twisted since people get murdered in all of my stories but I can't help it. I am one of those people who will watch violent movies or shows with little to no emotion, then sob like a baby if an animal ends up dead.

I am looking forward to reading everyone's posts and with luck making a few new friends as I hop around as well. It's great to be back in the blogosphere.

To my American friends, Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Stepping Back

Hello, friends! I'm taking a break from blogging for a bit in order to try to get the ideas popping around my head into some kind of coherent story.

Take care and best wishes, all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Corruption by Nick Wilford

I'm happy to be hosting Nick Wilford today as part of his Corruption blog tour. Corruption is the second book in his YA dystopian series. Welcome, Nick!!

Hi Julie! Thanks for hosting me today. I'd like to share the opening of Corruption with your readers.


Wellesbury took his lunch out of the food production unit and followed Ezmerelda through the newly installed double doors to the grass area outside the canteen. Grass. A concept that had been alien to him until a few months ago. So many things were new, it was making his head spin. But in a good way. Everyone seemed more relaxed. He and Ez sat down on opposite sides at one of the tables that had been placed in the picnic area.
“Taste good?” he asked as his girlfriend took a bite of the steamed trout on her plate. He’d chosen a vegetable lasagne. Okay, so the food was still synthetic, but they were working on that and at least there was a choice of menu options now. 

“Mmm,” she said. “Yeah. I wonder what the real thing will be like.”

Newly recruited teams were at that moment exploring coastal areas, to see if any fish still lived there. Early reports had been encouraging.

“It’s weird to think there could be actual animals here,” said Wellesbury, slicing into his lasagne. “Like the ones we saw in Fusterbury, but a bit cleaner, hopefully.”

She laughed. “Yeah, we need just the right amount of dirt to be healthy. I really hope George gets his expedition together soon. People are still dying over there.”

“I hope so, too. I mean, we don’t even know how many family members Mal’s got left. They need to set up the communication system.”

Ezmerelda skewered a potato with her fork. “I suppose we’ve just got to trust he knows what he’s doing. I know there’s a lot of things to do here, but we’re not the ones in dire need.”

“He’s getting there. The immunity potion is a big thing. No point him and his team dying of the same disease they’re trying to save people from.”

She sighed. “I know, I know.”

The sun peeked out from behind a cloud, and she closed her eyes, a smile lighting up her face with pleasure. Wellesbury wasn’t going to get tired of seeing that smile any time soon. And real weather was so much more interesting, now they’d got rid of that atmospheric cloud that only permitted a watered-down outline of the sun to peek through.

“Well, let’s go and see what Mal’s up to before we go back.” Wellesbury rose from his seat and put his empty plate in the outside vaporiser. That was one piece of technology that was certainly worth keeping. Not everything the Reformers had done was bad.

Wellesbury’s long-lost twin brother, Mallinger, who had come to their country looking for help but instead had only narrowly avoided an agonising and lonely death in a jail cell, had enrolled in Magnificence High School. Ability groups had been organised for the first time, and while he was obviously at the opposite end from Welles and Ez due to his lack of any previous learning, he’d picked up reading and writing remarkably quickly. His practice sheets were bordering on legible.

Mal was sitting at a table at the opposite end of the grass area, chatting and laughing with his classmates. He’d settled in well, picking up his own set of friends. A far cry from his arrival, when he’d been callously labelled a demon by a closed-minded mob. Welles was glad people had become more accepting since the curtain had fallen on the government’s activities.

“Hey Mal, what’s up?” said Welles, playfully punching him on the shoulder.

“Oh, hey bro,” said Mal. “Just chilling with the guys.” About ten of them were squeezed round the small table, and the rest continued with their boisterous conversations. Welles saw a lot of himself in Mal; what he might have been like if he had been raised in a less constrictive environment, and had more love from his parents. They were twins, after all, but separated from the moment they were born.

“What you doing after school?”

“Got a big football practice with my team here.”

Football was the game that Mal had brought over from Fusterbury, and it had proved wildly popular. It was simpler and less elitist than gravball, the version that had been invented by the Reformers. Welles used to be the star of the school gravball team, but had lost interest since his friendships with his former teammates had gone awry. He’d washed his hands of them. Somehow, they seemed to prefer the old, regimented way of life. He enjoyed a kickabout with Mal now and then, but these days that was as far as his sporting activities went.

“I’ll see you at home after, then.”

“Not got a hot date?” asked Mal, grinning at Ez, who rolled her eyes and tutted affectionately.

“Oh, you know. Don’t want to get sick of each other,” said Welles, looking at Ez and winking.

She shook her head and said, “Right, that’s enough of you silly boys’ antics. Time to get back to class.”

“Yes, ma’am!” said Mal, raising his hand to his temple in a mock salute.

“See you later,” said Welles, waving at Mal and going after Ez.

At first, his parents had resisted having Mallinger live with them, even after the truth of Fusterbury had been exposed. It was just such a culture shock having more than one child in the house, they said. But as Dr Tindleson had explained, Mal was their child too, and if it hadn’t been for Wellesbury, they would never have known he even existed, let alone have had the chance of a relationship with him. And, thought Welles, Mal had softened them a little bit. There was still something about him that seemed so innocent, and he was so trusting and eager to please, in spite of everything he’d been through. Amazing, really.

The three of them hung out in Welles’s room often, and this might also be a beneficial factor for his parents; with the scientists slowly working on people’s biological make-up to effect a return to a previous, primitive state, Mal could act as a sort of chaperone.

Title: Corruption
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series: Black & White Series #: 2 of 3
Release date: 11th February 2019
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment.

After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.

Can they get to the root of the problem and eliminate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.

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.