Monday, December 4, 2023


Lora stared at her computer screen and sighed. Her English teacher was an old crackpot and this assignment was the worst.

Imagine you are your grandparent’s age. What is your favourite movie? Why?

Lora was sixteen. How was she supposed to imagine herself as an old lady?

Lora had never known her parents and the great people who’d adopted her hadn’t had any living relatives. And they’d been killed by a jerk texting and driving. Now she was stuck in a group foster home and supposed to think like grandparents she never knew anything about.

But she needed top grades if she was going to get scholarships. Foster kids didn’t have money for college and she wanted to get a degree. She wanted to make sure she always had a job and a home. Ditching even one assignment could jeopardize that.

At least she had the internet. Most people probably had favorite movies from when they were kids. She searched popular movies from the sixties and seventies, hoping something there wouldn’t be incredibly lame.

A couple of the movies surprised her. She hadn’t realized Jaws and Star Wars and Grease were so ancient. Would an older lady like one of them?

Lora had seen Star Wars before and she liked it. Her adopted dad had been a huge sci-fi fan and she’d seen the whole series of movies at least once.

The foster home had some streaming so she pulled up the original movie and watched it again. She hated crying, but couldn’t stop the tears as she remembered sitting with Jane and Rick watching the movie. Jane used to tease him that he wanted to be a swashbuckler like Han Solo. He’d tease right back saying Jane was strong enough to be a leader like Leia.

Right now, Lora felt a little like Luke who was also an orphan and then he’d lost his aunt and uncle too.

As she watched, Lora kept notes for what the movie was about. For what an older person might like.

The underdog winning.

Dealing with losing your family.

Wanting to have a bigger life.

Wanting to be the best.

Wanting to help your friends and your people.


Good versus evil.

Accepting people for who they were, not what species they were from.

Would an older lady like all that? Would she still remember the movie?

Lora wished she had some experience with older people. Crackpot should have thought of that before making the assignment. Not everyone had access to generations of family.

Eventually, she wiped her tears and started to write her essay.

The knock on the door startled her. The lady in charge of the night shift at the home opened her bedroom door with a smile. “Hey Lora. It’s late. You okay?”

She wiped her face again before turning around. Eesha was always nice to everyone and she didn’t want her to think anything was wrong. “I’m okay. Just finishing up an essay.”

Eesha laughed softly. “You always work so hard, Lora. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future. No matter what you choose, you’re going to be a star. Keep an eye on the time, it’s a school day tomorrow.”

Lora nodded and looked back at her screen, at her final line.

Star Wars might be an old movie, but it’s one that people might still be watching in another fifty years. We always want to see the little guys win.

Lora saved her work and turned off the computer. When she crawled into bed, she decided she was going to be one of those little guys who won.


Tagline: Everyone loves an underdog


I've loved Star Wars from the first moment I watched it in the theatre. Because of its setting and its message, it doesn't surprise me that the franchise continues to grow and thrive. George Lucas created an amazing view of the past with these stories.

If you've come from the WEP site, you already know that this will be the last WEP Challenge.

It's been an honour to work with the team over the past couple of years. Denise, Renée, Nila, Laura, Olga, and Sonia are amazing people with a passion for stories. Thank you to every one of you for everything you've done for this writing community.

To our challenge participants, it's been a privilege to read your stories for these challenges. I've learned a lot from all of you and I thank you for sharing your words with us. I look forward to reading your words in the future too.


Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season with warmth and love and family and magic. Take care of yourselves and each other!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

IWSG & NaNo Fun


The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

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Purpose: To share and encourage. 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. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  


November 1 question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I love Nano!

I think your love/hate/apathetic relationship with NaNo has to do with how your brain works. We're all different, and like everything else, NaNo won't work for everyone.

I have an intuitive brain that works on my characters and backstories long before I start typing about them. I don't plan/think about the story itself, but I have a glimmer of the crisis scene at the end and I usually know a couple of scenes. When I start typing, the story starts to flow and my subconscious works on the next scene while I'm typing the current one.

If you're a plotter and have your planning ready to go, NaNo probably works too, as long as the timing works.

Whenever I'm drafting, I aim for a NaNo amount of words daily. Actually I aim for 2000 because that's the safe zone to make up for days that are more difficult.

If your brain thrives on external pressure, the graphs probably make you happy. External pressure normally makes me buckle, but NaNo is all about building the word count, so I don't think of it as pressure - it's more joy of writing.

This year I thought I would write Book #4 in my upcoming series for NaNo. But my brain was whirling with the story and I wrote it in late September/October instead. #oops

I'm hoping my brain is ready to draft Book #5 this month, but if not, I'll at least get new words to celebrate.

So to me, NaNo is about joy and fun. Does your brain or writing style match up with NaNo?

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Think Of Me

Cassie took a deep breath and slipped into the shadowed doorway. No one called her out and no one appeared to ask her what she was up to. She turned the knob and only opened the door enough to pass through.

The darkness was punctured by red emergency lights above the doors. Spooky but at least it wasn’t completely dark. She wouldn’t have to risk a light.

The metal stairs and walkways might be sturdy, but they appeared too ethereal in the dim light that reminded her a little too much of blood. It took three deep breaths before she built up the nerve to step onto the first catwalk to cross the cavernous space.

Following the instructions she’d memorized, Cassie moved silently on her sneakers to the third stairway leading down. A couple of levels below, the shadows shifted but no one yelled at her. With a shiver, she checked behind her and above, but nothing else stirred.

Down she went. Through a door. Down again. Two catwalks. Up a level. Cross two rooms. And down one more time.

The door was unlocked as promised and she slid through it shuddering with relief. It took her seven long breaths before she could peel herself off the door.

The circular room soared into an arch above her. The red lights seemed to pulse with energy.

Cassie pushed off the door and crept to the middle of the room. She needed to be in the exact center.  Once there, she spread her arms wide and turned in a slow circle, embracing the air.

With a deep breath she brought her arms in, lowered her shoulders, closed her eyes and felt her diaphragm pull in the air it needed. Then she sang.

Think of me.

Think of me fondly

when we’ve said goodbye.

The first notes soared into the air and she almost smiled before she pulled herself back into the song that was filled with longing and regrets. Andrew Lloyd Webber knew what he was doing with those notes.

As she sang, the acoustics proved they were indeed perfect. The song filled the space with all the yearning the lyrics provided. She could almost hear the haunting notes of the piano around her as she sang.

Chills covered her as she sang through the heartache and the hope and the memories. She’d never been in a space so beautifully designed for music.

As the final notes ended on a sigh, she wrapped her arms around herself. If the auditions were held here, she stood a chance.

The sound of clapping had her whirling around. Two men stood in an open doorway. They wore orange safety vests and hardhats. One man pointed to the side door. “Nice job, kid. Now get going before we have to charge you with trespassing.”

The other man grinned. “That’s the best version we’ve heard so far. You’re going to nail the audition. Now move it.”

She moved it, grinning all the way. 


Tagline: Deep in tunnels, surprises await


The above is part of the October WEP Challenge: Phantom Of The Opera. I saw the Toronto production of Phantom one year with my husband for our anniversary. It was incredible!

Webber has written an incredible score. The music is haunting and memorable. I've even learned to play a few of the songs on the piano, including this one. Beautiful music.

To sign up with your own entry or to check out the other entries in the Challenge, check out the links below. There are always amazing entries in the challenge.

Enjoy the challenge!

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

IWSG & the Borg

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

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Purpose: To share and encourage. 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. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  


October 4 question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

I haven't even tried an AI program, so I really don't know much about it. I'd rather play with my stories than the tech.

I don't think AI can replace that human touch. When I was working as a teacher, it was always easy to spot kids copying from an Internet source (or when parents wrote the assignments for them) and I suspect AI will have that same generic tone.

We're all unique and our words and products are unique as well. Personally, I have exactly zero desire to see what AI can do for me. I'd rather use my own words and my own voice, but that's just me.

At this early stage of AI development, we're not talking about Borg-level technology, although we may be talking about that kind of tone. I can't imagine a future where technology can replace human creativity. It's one of the things that makes us a pretty fun species.

How about you? Have you played with AI? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

IWSG 12 Year Celebration!

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. 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. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  


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

Happy Anniversary IWSG!!!

12 years - almost a teenager!

I remember when IWSG first started. I didn't join right away because life was overwhelming at that point. I also didn't feel like a "real" author yet and Imposter Syndrome was all-consuming. I still deal with Imposter Syndrome daily, but I manage to shove it to the side and get words written and published anyway.

For years, I read and responded to tons of IWSG blog posts, but I didn't post my first post until July 2016. That seems like such a long time ago now!

I wrote my first short story in response to the IWSG Anthology prompt of a ticking clock. I'd never written a short story before but an idea I loved popped into my head and it was selected for the anthology.

Having Until Release accepted and published was the boost I needed to start finding my way through Imposter Syndrome. If that hadn't happened, I'm not sure I would have ever had the confidence to publish.

Now, here we are in 2023 and I've published a nonfiction book on Dementia, 10 Bloo Moose Romances, 4 Small Town Heroes Romances (#5 Built Of Illusions releases on Sept 19!!) and I'm halfway through drafting the stories for my next series.

I'm so grateful to Alex for creating the IWSG and to the many (MANY!) friends I've discovered through the blogs. Not only is Alex a terrific author, he's a genuinely kind and generous human being!

So Happy Bloggiversary to Alex and the IWSG! Thanks for everything you do!!

How about you? Has the IWSG given you a much needed boost?

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


This was not the day to improvise. This was the day to follow the recipe to the letter. She wasn’t generally much of a recipe follower—or rule follower for that matter—but today, she’d do it exactly as prescribed.

The recipe called for the flour to be scooped into the measuring cup and then levelled off with a knife. Ridiculous, but she did it anyway. Same with the cocoa powder and the sugars.

Next, she cracked the eggs and whipped them gently in a small bowl. She measured out the other ingredients and set them in a row so she would be sure to add them in the correct order.

Melting good chocolate apparently required placing one bowl over a pot with boiling water inside. And not quite a rolling boil, something she’d never heard before but could now identify.

She used the whisk and whipped the chocolate with some butter. It did smell good. Really good. But taking a taste would maybe screw up the final results and that wasn’t acceptable. This had to be perfect. Just like mom used to make.

Once the mixture was in the preheated oven, she set the timer and cleaned up the mess. So many dishes just to make some brownies!

The timer finally beeped and she set the pan to cool. Another timer and when the brownies were cool enough, she cut them and put them on the flowered plate her grandmother loved so much.

Knowing how much the older woman hated a mess, she checked to make sure she didn’t have any stains on her clothes. Between that and the clean kitchen, there was no evidence she’d even been in the kitchen.


She knocked on her grandmother’s door and waited for her reply before entering.

“Those smell like Diane's brownies. No one makes brownies like you do, Diane.”

Her mother hadn’t been home for over a year. Who knew where she was this time. Her grandmother's face fell when she realized she wasn't the beloved Diane. “These are delicious. Tell your mother thank you. Why don’t you leave the plate?”

She smiled and nodded, then stepped out of the room.

When the next timer beeped, she wiped off the doorknob and entered her grandmother's room again. With her gloves on, she wiped off where she'd touched the plate and then checked to ensure the old woman was dead.

Slipping out the back door with her hood up, she headed for the subway. She’d be back in her dorm when someone called with the sad news.

And then she’d be rich.

Tagline: Not quite how mom used to make



The above is part of the WEP Challenge for August. I hope you'll join in the challenge - we're always eager for more entries!

Obviously you don't have to know the movie (this is another one I haven't seen), but chocolate is a great prompt for all kinds of stories.

Check out the links above for some fabulous stories!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

IWSG & Delete!

 The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.

IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. 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. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 

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?

All the time.

I'm an intuitive writer. The characters walk around in my head for a long time before they make it onto the page. They tell me their backstories and their hopes and dreams. They grudgingly admit their flaws and fears as well.

What they don't tell me is how the story is going to work.

So, yes, I sometimes feel conflicted by what I've written. But, overnight, my subconscious works it out and I delete whatever I've written and start again. Thankfully, I've learned to listen to my subconscious and I usually know within a day or two that things need to go, so I'm no longer deleting chunks of 25 thousand words (or entire stories...) like I've done in the past.

How about you? Are you another fan of the delete key? Are you an intuitive writer or a planner or both?