Wednesday, February 7, 2024

IWSG & Bloo Moose Nooz

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!  

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February 7 question: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author's books? Constant mention of books?

For me, blogs and websites are different and have different purposes.

I'm a pretty straight-forward person and like websites to be straight-forward as well. A clear menu is a must. I don't think most of us need a lot of fussy things - mostly we need: links to the series, links to the books, links to social media, and an easy way to sign up for the author's newsletter.

If it's too difficult to figure out where things are, I give up.

One of my pet peeves when visiting author blogs is the lack of the person's name near the top of the blog. I've visited far too many where the author NEVER says their name. If the Blog title doesn't have your name in it, please put your name somewhere at the top!

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Bloo Moose Nooz

I started publishing the Bloo Moose series in 2020. I've learned a lot about covers and series since then. My cover designer and I decided it was time for a bit of a refresh of the Bloo Moose covers.

We wanted to make them more visually alike so they are obviously part of a series. And we wanted the "Reaching For" to be more visible. We've added the series number on the cover as well. Some of the cover art remains the same and some are zoomed in to keep in with the balanced look for the series.

The two different covers are for Trust and Roots. At the time, we couldn't find a good pic of Jack & Trina, so we used the legs. Ryan and Emmy also get a refresh with a photo that's more in line with the series.

What do you think? I think she's done a great job and I'm thrilled with the refresh!



The No Fail Heroes series will be out soon, but after that, it will be back to Bloo Moose for some more fun!


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

IWSG & Built Of Steel

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!  

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January 3 question: Do you follow back your readers on BookBub or do you only follow back other authors?

I generally only follow back other authors now, although that was different when I first joined up.

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If you enjoy small-town romantic suspense, Built Of Steel releases next week! (Jan 9)


When your heart is the weakest link


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I hope 2024 is kind, gentle, and generous to you and yours!

May your hard work make your dreams come true!



Wednesday, December 6, 2023

IWSG & Reviews

 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!  

***

December 6 question: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book reviews do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

Before I became an author, I never reviewed a book (or anything else). I had no idea how important those reviews could be.

Now, I always review books I enjoy. Life is short, and if I'm not enjoying a book, I don't finish it, and don't see any point in reviewing. Just because I didn't enjoy a book, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it - it's just not for me.

I leave reviews for the author first, but also for the reader. I talk about the things I enjoyed in the book, hoping that those reviews will help both the author and new readers.

How about you? Do you leave reviews? Do you read reviews to help you decide what to read?

Monday, December 4, 2023

Underdogs

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.

Teamwork.

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

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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.

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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.


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!  

***

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

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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.


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!  

***

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?