Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Sigh. (#IWSG February 2024)

I feel like a broken record, but I've been struggling to write lately. I want to, I really do, and I often try, but I never get much out. Life in general has just been a drudgery, from illnesses in the family to constant appointments for ongoing health issues to increasing pressure at work. Even when I get the time to do anything, I just don't have the energy. 

I started to revise Gale Harbour Book 3, which involved going back to read the first two books. You know how sometimes you go back and read something you wrote in the past and go, "Hey, this is pretty good?" Yeah, that didn't happen. I don't know if it's because I'm already depressed, but I did not look back on it with rose-tinted glasses. I am going to keep going, and it will push me to make the next book as good as possible, but it just feels like a mountain that I do not have the ability to climb right now.

Before I get too negative, let's get to the question of the month... which will probably also be negative. Sigh. It is an interesting one, but will likely cause some (hopefully positive) conversations.

February question: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? 

I look forward to hearing everyone else's response on this, to learn things I shouldn't do with my website. I'm sure there LOTS of them.

If I have one pet peeve, it's pop-ups asking me to sign-up for a newsletter. I know, I know, newsletters are important blah, blah, I have my own mailing list, I get it. But asking me to sign-up for a mailing list before I even see anything about you is a big turn-off. If I'm interested enough in your work I will go sign up or buy a book, but I NEVER sign up for something that pops up in my face. It's just a stubborn principle. I refuse to buy anything from solicitors at my door, too (sorry, Girl Guides!).

Well, there's my gloom and grumpiness for this month. How's everyone else doing?

Hugs & kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Wednesday, January 10, 2024


Just dropping a quick note today to tell you about a fun new anthology coming next week from the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Writers Alliance!

Versus features thirteen stories that examine humanity's triumphs and failures in a world full of challenges. Drawing from science fiction, fantasy, ancient myths, and post-apocalyptic worlds, these tales examine the expectations and demands of society, love, death and reality through the supernatural, the challenges of technology, and reimagined myths and legends.

Versus presents exceptional stories from 

MJ James - G. Clatworthy - EB Hunter
Kat Vancil - M. Fritz Wunderli - LL Baker
Isa Ottoni - SR Malone - EA Robins
Nick McPherson - Michael C. Carrol

Forward by Jade C Wildy
Edited by Aaron H Arm



Who is the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Writers Alliance?

We are a group of Fantasy & Sci-Fi writers who have banded together to help promote each others works, share each others social media posts and try to help each other to create a healthy following of readers on all our social media platforms.

Once in the alliance, we will loop you in on follow trains for relevant platforms as well as postings to help promote you and your fellow alliance members works. You can join the trains or share the posts at your discretion, but the more you give, the more you will get from the experience.

The hope is to create a network of like minded writers who will be able to:

1. lengthen the reach of our social media,

2: to draw in more followers across platforms and

3: ultimately improve all of our success as writers.

Anyone who is a writer in the Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi genres will be able to sign-up, all that is needed is at least one social media account. It is encouraged to have at least the big three of Instagram, Twitter & Facebook though to get the maximum effect.

If you are a part of an Indie Publisher, you can also sign up your social media accounts to be linked into the alliance network.

No information that is provided on this form will be shared outside of the usage stated above, and will be kept in a secure location. This information will be provided to other alliance members so that they can help support you and share your accounts and works.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Survived Another Year (#IWSG January 2024)

So I had a rough end to 2023. In November the family came down with Covid and we were sick for weeks. I was sure I had long Covid, but turns out that I had actually developed an unrelated sinus infection (which I do not recommend), and my wife and daughter had strep throat. That was a lot of bugs going through our house! We had a course of antibiotics and finally cleared up in time for Christmas, but it was a close one.

Fortunately, I had mostly finished my annual Christmas book for the kids before the illnesses struck. As a reminder, every years for the past five or six years I've written a book for my kids and nieces to give to them at Christmas. As they've gotten older, the books have gotten longer and more involved. This year there was actually no illustrations (thank god), but it was about 50,000 words long. Which is a lot for something that will likely only ever be read by half-dozen people.

This is last year's. This is possibly the most work I've ever put into a book.

Last year I finished the Pokémon arc (which, by the way, met with mixed reviews because it had a rather dark, bittersweet ending - I don't sugarcoat things just because it's a kids book!), so this year I started a new series based on their Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Like our games, it started off with a lot of random nonsense, including numerous characters dying, before settling into a more traditional fantasy story. I'll have to let you know how it was received at another time, as they haven't all finished reading it yet.

Like I said, nonsense.

Looking toward the New Year, I think I should have the next Gale Harbour book out before the calendar turns over again. Still have a lot of revising to do, but nothing insurmountable. 

This is my tenth year in self-publishing. I don't know if I've hit my goals, because I never had a clear outline for what I wanted to accomplish. Sure, there are vague daydreams of making tons of money and quitting the day job, but that's never been the focus. I'm kind of amazed that I'm still going at all, to be honest. I don't have many hobbies that have lasted ten years. Except writing itself, which I don't really consider a "hobby." It's just something I have to do, whether I publish or not. 

Okay, that's all for now. I'm going to try to get back to a regular blogging schedule, so I hope to see y'all soon. Best wishes for your 2024!

Hugs & kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Thursday, December 7, 2023

What? I missed IWSG again?

 I'm not dead!

I haven't been posting much the last couple of months because life has kinda been awful. Battling Covid right now, I've had a fever on and off for two weeks. Needless to say, not much writing has been happening.

I hope everyone out there in IWSG land is staying well. I don't know how many blogs I'll get to visit this month, but I'll try.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Spooky Season is Coming and the Robots are Taking Over the World (#IWSG October 2023)

It's that time of year...

October 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?

AI has already replaced writers. You know those terrible click-bait articles about recasting your favourite movie franchise, or gossip about when new video games might be coming out, or even blog articles with old trivia stories about historical figures? They're all written mostly by AI now. Websites need a constant churn of bland, vaguely interesting content, and the fastest/cheapest way to generate it is through AI software.

It will take longer to replace fiction writers, but it will happen. AI continues to get better all the time. The first thing that it will master will be formulaic genre fiction. The plots and themes are already kind of repetitive and generic; it's only a matter of time until computers figure out how to replicate writers that already crank out 50 books a year.

I stole this from the Baltimore Sun. It's very appropriate.

Ultimately, like with any new technology, the people who will succeed will be those that can adapt and learn to take advantage of AI, instead of being fearful of it. We already use AI in our writing all the time whether we realize it our not. Tools like Grammarly and spell checkers? Those are AI algorithms, scanning your work and making suggestions to make it better. I look forward to when these tools get more sophisticated, and can help you find holes in your plot, clichés in your figures of speech, and excessive exposition. Or that can help you outline, and keep you on track if you veer too much off your through plot.

Authors being afraid of AI writing is like horse ranchers being afraid of automobiles, train operators being afraid of the airplane, newspaper reporters being afraid of the internet. Changes are coming, whether you like it or not, and fighting against it is a losing battle. The industry will change, and your job may look very different in a few years. The most successful writers will be those that can adapt to an evolving world and market.

We need to learn to live side by side...

* * * 

In less controversial news, remember last month when I said that I had like two chapters left to write of Gale Harbour Book 3? Well, that turned into five chapters, and I'm still working on the epilogue. So I guess I'm kinda done, maybe? It's hard to be excited until you officially write "The End," you know? Plus there's so much revision. So much. I'm probably going to have to cut those five chapters back down to two or three, among many, many other things.

I really hoped to be done by now, but this past month, not only did we go back to school, but we're fitting my son for a scoliosis brace, and my daughter has casts on both of her feet. It's been one of those months. Maybe I could use some AI help with my writing. 😔

How is your October shaping up?

Hugs & kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Missed by That Much (#IWSG September 2023)

I was really hoping to have an update today that the first draft of Gale Harbour Book 3 was complete. Alas, it was not meant to be. I'm close, I have about 1.5 chapters to go, but I couldn't get it finished by this weekend as I had secretly hoped to. That's okay. It's been a crazy year and the fact that I've gotten this close is still really good. Just another week or two to the finish line...

Strangely, I had steady sales and page reads on all my books last month. I usually get a sale or two here or there, but August showed a noticeable (though still small) spike. There were page reads every day, on all of my books no less! It was probably just a fluke, and I have no idea what caused it, but it's really making me want to finish book 3 so I can get it out there and get back to marketing and pushing the completed trilogy.

Hopefully it's better than the end of this trilogy.

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

That's easy. I discovered the IWSG in April 2015, while I was doing the A-to-Z Blog Challenge. That was the year I made the stupid and arrogant decision to write about characters from unpublished stories in the Closet. Who the hell wants to read about characters no one has ever heard of, from an unpublished writer? Someone must have, because it was in the comments in one of those posts that someone suggested I check out the IWSG. I apologize that I don't remember who it was (all of my blogger comments got deleted a few years ago). 

My first IWSG post was May 6, 2015, which was my 35th birthday, and the date I officially hit "publish" on my first book. It was a big day. I haven't looked back since. Of course, I've only published four books in that time (with a fifth coming soon!), but I've hardly missed an IWSG. 

The IWSG has helped me by becoming my first writer's network. It has helped by providing supportive comments during hard times, helped in promoting my books and writing, and hell, many of the members have bought my books! It's introduced me to some of my favourite writers, too.

That's it for me today. Gotta get back and finish that manuscript!

Hugs & kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

I feel the conflict within me (#IWSG August 2023)

Writing on Gale Harbour book 3 continues. I'm regretting that I gave so many characters their own side plots, because I feel like I have to tie everything up, and it's making the story a lot larger than I anticipated. This has evolved far beyond the simple sci-fi/horror adventure series I originally set out to write.

I joined a Facebook group for writers called 20BooksTo50k, the premise of which is if you have 20 books that are making moderate sales, you can make $50k per year self-publishing. You may have heard of it. It's a group for self-published writers to share what has worked for them, and there are some very successful people in the group. 

It's a simple concept, and mostly it's just a forum for people to ask about the specifics of self-publishing (which boxes to check, which genres categories to select on Amazon, marketing tips, etc), as well as post success stories of their making five, ten, twenty thousand dollars (or more!) in a single month. It's overwhelming to be honest. I can't even imagine making that much money from writing, nor did I ever expect to. But there are more writers out there than I realized having staggering success, so it's hard not to be a bit shocked and maybe even a bit jealous.

August 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?

I am constantly conflicted. There's the infamous story of how I got eliminated from the my first SPFBO because the reviewer didn't like a joke in my book. I thought long and hard about whether to keep it, and the fact that this negative review had been at the top of my reviews on Goodreads ever since really eats at me. I eventually did change it, because it's not just a book about sex jokes and I didn't want an early off-colour joke to spook people. As I've gotten older and found my voice I've definitely tried to tone down my writing a little. But it's not made a lick of difference. I think sold all of three copies of Ten Thousand Days since that review came out, and I haven't received a single new review, either. Did I cave? Should I have left it alone? I still haven't decided.

It's the same reason I'm considering taking down the "Werebear vs. Landopus" stories, and related to why I'm thinking of re-branding the Gale Harbour books. Like I said, I never imagined to have a huge success in self-publishing, and I know I will never live off of my writing, but I keep wondering if I could maybe expand my audience, at least a little bit? I want my writing to be true to my original ideas, but I also know that every weird title, sex joke and off-putting gross detail will make my audience just a little bit smaller. I don't write bizarro fiction (though occasionally there are elements), so maybe I should steer clear of it?

Who the hell knows why we do anything?

Hugs & Kisses,

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at

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