Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Obligatory IWSG Post So I Don't Lose My Place On The List

December question - In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

The biggest stress I have right now is that I have a manuscript sitting, mostly complete, waiting for edits and I haven't been able to work on it in weeks. 

What delights me is finishing it. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Hugs & Kisses,

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Walking the Obscenity Line + AN ANNOUNCEMENT! (#IWSG October 2021)

 October Question - In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

This is a fun one. Not too long ago, I was pretty adamant about writing whatever the fuck I wanted. In fact, when I used to write for a role-playing game site, I purposefully wrote a vulgar and inflammatory style, which I look back on now and cringe. It was mostly me just trying to be edgy for edgy's sake.

As I get older, I've mellowed out a little. Not that I think my writing should be "clean" by any means - anyone who's read my "Werebear vs Landopus" stories know that they're grotesquely obscene. Hell Comes to Hogtown was pretty graphic and vulgar, too. But with Psycho Hose Beast from Outer Space, I made a conscious decision to tone it down a little, mostly because I wanted it to reach a wider audience. Since it's set in Newfoundland, I figured my parents and relatives might actually read this one, and if I wanted them to recommend it to their friends (which they did), I had to hit a more "PG-13" level of language, sex and gore. Some beta readers actually suggested toning it down further, to a more traditional "YA" level, but I balked at that. As it was, I had to edit the teen character's voices quite a bit. Those of you who used to be 12- and 13-year old-kids know that they swear a lot around their friends, which I had to trim out in my effort to be less salacious. Probably the least believable part (in a book about aliens and undead witches) is that my teen characters don't use a cuss-word or slur in every other sentence. Especially since this was set in a rural town in the 90s.

I have recently wondered about changing some of the marketing around my stories, maybe even using a different pen name for some of them. If my great-aunt who liked my odd little book about kids fighting monsters in Newfoundland accidentally picks up The Gun Nun, it might give her a heart attack. Then there's a my Gussy Saint stories - the one that appeared in the IWSG Anthology is relatively tame, but for the one that appeared in Mardi Gras Mysteries, the editor asked me to tone down the graphic sex. If I ever write enough of those stories to make a collection, fitting them all together is going to problematic.

Me, trying to mash story elements together. And yes, any sexual innuendo is indeed intended.

Anyway, suffice to say, I certainly do think about where to draw the line, even if I often hop rigtht over it. 

Oh, one last thing...

Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space came out a year ago last week. I was really bummed because I wanted the sequel to be out by now, and it would have been nice symmetry if it came out exactly one year after book one. Alas, that was not the case. However, I am finally able to confidently announce that book 2 is on the horizon. I can even share the title with you:









wait for it...













any minute now...










Here it is:

Totally worth the wait.

I don't have the exact release date yet, but it will likely be in early 2022. I don't want to share too much of the plot yet (and my blurb is currently terrible) but I can share with you some feedback that I received from a beta reader:

I think that's a pretty good endorsement!

Watch this space for more info! 

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 1, 2021

Just the Question (#IWSG September 2021)

How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

The answer to this question evolves as you grow and change as a writer. My first goal was to finish writing a book. Next was holding a book in my hand. Getting a short story published was also a goal.

Currently, my next level of success will be:
1. Making enough money off each book to pay for the next one (editing, design, marketing, etc)
2. Finishing a trilogy

The first one I kinda completed. I did make enough money from the last book to pay for the next one; life just got in the way so the money's no longer there. And I'm well on the way for goal number 2; I'll be quite happy when I complete that one.

Ultimately, though, my true markers of real success are the following. I think I've shared these before, because I've held onto these goals for a long time. Once I hit these, I will know I have made it:

1. Seeing someone read my book on the bus or subway. At which point I will lean over and whisper, "Not very good, is it?"
2. Finding my book in the discount overstock bin for $0.99 at Chapters/Indigo.
3. Having my book turned into a shitty, low-budget Canadian indy film, a la "Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter."


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 4, 2021

ughhhh... (#IWSG August 2021)

I had hoped that today I would be announcing the release date for Gale Harbour Book 2. Actually, I really wanted to announce it last month, but this was my back-up deadline. Unfortunately, it's still not happening. 

It all had to come crashing down eventually.

The last year has been very positive for me, writing-wise. I published a book, wrote another, had four short stories appear in anthologies and magazines. I knew I had to keep the productivity ball rolling as long as I could, because once it went off the rails, that would be it.

I've felt like crap for weeks. The problem, of course, is the environment in which I'd been working for so long. In addition to the writing, real life has continued on. With the pandemic, the kids were doing school from home all last year. We've barely saw anyone or done anything. With restrictions changing constantly we're never sure what we're allowed or not allowed to do. The kids finally go to day camp, get the sniffles, then everyone freaks out - it's probably just a cold, but what if it's not? Even if they're fine, we tell everyone else in the family and people have to miss work and cancel plans if they self-isolate... It's all very stressful. Not to mention that camp was a reminder than our kids' social skills have taken a serious hit over the last sixteen months...

But back to the writing. Last year, I saw a moderate amount of success with Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space. Enough that I made a bit of money that would cover an editor and cover designer for the sequel. Well, I finished the sequel and had my people lined up... and then realized the money wasn't there anymore. Life happens. Replacing every major appliance in the house over the last year certainly didn't help. Nor did repaying some employment insurance my wife received incorrectly several years ago, or paying for that camp where my kids got a cold, or a hundred other things. 

The realization that I don't have the money to publish my book the way I wanted to, on top of all the stress and exhaustion from everything else... and I'm just done. All of the excitement, all of the energy I've had the last year, it's all gone. I don't know what to do with myself. I open my manuscript and stare at it for awhile, but there's nothing I can do with it. I try to write other stuff and no words come. I played a game of D&D online with some friends a couple of weeks ago and it was the worst game I've run in years. I just have no energy, no imagination, no nothing.

I don't know if I'm burnt out, or depressed, or what. I'm struggling to do my day job, too. To do basic stuff around the house. I don't want to go anywhere or do anything. All I want to do is nap and play video games. 

I try to tell myself to let it go, that it will pass. The book will come out eventually, the next one will get written. But it's hard to accept in the moment. I was really excited to get my book out by the fall, even though I have no deadlines besides those I made for myself. I also know there are plenty of people in way worse places than I am, so I feel guilty about feeling shitty. I'm basically making up reasons to feel sorry for myself now. 


I submitted Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space to both the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) and the new Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC). My book falls somewhere in between Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but since there isn't a Horror competition yet, I figured I would try them both and see what happens. Much like previous years I don't expect any major results, but the 2018 SPFBO did give me a small boost in sales and reviews for Hell Comes to Hogtown, so it's worth a shot.

I'll be out of town when this post goes live, so I may not respond to comments or visit many blogs this week. Hope everyone is well!

Hugs & Kisses,

EDIT: ...and I'm already cut from SPFBO. They said it was too sci-fi, which is fine. Except last year a sci-fi superhero book made it to the finals. It really all depends on which reviewer gets your book. Judging by this review, I doubt anyone even read mine.

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, June 2, 2021

...It'll work itself out fine (#IWSG June 2021)

Hey, look! It's my first time this year posting two months in a row for IWSG! (Please don't drop me from the list, Alex, I'm at #59 and I don't want to start over!)

June Question
For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

I know I should wait between first draft and revision. I used to wait longer (on my first published book, Ten Thousand Days, I waited 8 years). I usually advise waiting at least a month after finishing your first draft, to give the story time to percolate, and to come back to it with fresh eyes. Unfortunately, the more I write, the less time I seem to give myself. On my second book, I waited two or three months. On Psycho Hose Beast, I waited about a month, which I feel is ideal. On my current WIP? I finished the first draft on a Tuesday and I started revising on Wednesday.

I'm putting unnecessary pressure on myself. I had a release date in my mind that I wanted to hit, which meant that I had several deadlines to meet that. Deadlines to get it to an editor, to get the cover artwork, to set the pre-order on Amazon, to arrange reviews and marketing. Again, I haven't announced this release date, and the only person expecting anything is myself. But it seems that as I write and publish, I want to write and publish more, so I'm shortening my timelines and making everything more difficult. 

Why did I think this is a good idea? The rest of my life certainly isn't getting any easier, or giving me more time. I just want to get Gale Harbour book 2 out, so then I can start working on book 3, and then I can start something new...

This is the kind of stuff I tell my kids not to do. My son especially. I'm constantly telling him to slow down and take his time, to work carefully, and enjoy each step in a process. Or at least to make sure it's done properly, to save yourself headaches down the line. Is there a fable about following your own advice? I think I need that one...

Anyway, onto some good news...

The latest volume of Strangely Funny is now available! It includes my short story, "Exorcist to the Stars." This is my fifth time appearing in Strangely Funny and my fourth published story this year:

Other crazy people who have printed my stuff.

It's been a heck of a year for me writing-wise, and I would love to cap it off by releasing a new novel, but will it happen? Should I care? More importantly, should I lose sleep and neglect other parts of my life to make it happen? 

I think I know the answer, I just have trouble convincing myself it's the right one.

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, May 19, 2021

NEW RELEASE: A Quick Spell by Patricia Josephine (Guest Post)

It's a great day! Friend of the blog, Patricia Josephine/Lynne has a new book out! I already read this latest collection of short (short!) fiction, and really enjoyed it. You can check out my review here. And find out more about Patricia's book below!




We are bewitched by what we can't see.

Conjure delight with a fantastical collection of tales. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to delight your imagination no matter how busy your day is.

Will you believe? 





The challenge of writing short fiction
by Patricia Lynne/Josephine

You may think writing a 200 word story isn’t that challenging, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some writers may actually say it’s harder than writing a full-length novel, and I know a few who don’t write shorter fiction because they can’t wrap their brains around it. Their muse only works in long form.

Writing short fiction is different from a novel. With novels, you have an unlimited number of words you can use to paint a picture for the reader. Short fiction you have restrictions on word count. You may only have 1000 words. You can even have as little as 50. When you have that limit, you are forced to choose more carefully. Your strokes have to be broader instead of going into minute details as you can with a novel.

The way I approach short fiction is similar to my novels. I just start writing. I figure out the story as I go and when I get to the end, I edit. I edit until the story is at the word limit I’ve imposed. That’s done by cutting descriptive words. The sentence doesn’t need the color of someone’s shirt for example. Thoughts the character has might get axed as well. If it doesn’t serve the basic story I want to tell, it can go.

Sometimes that doesn’t always work. Sometimes the story I’m trying to tell needs to be longer. When that happens, I stop worrying about word count and let it end as a novella or novel. I have a zombie apocalypse story I hope to release in the future that I initially intended to be 100 words. It ended at over 10,000!

Writing short fiction is a great exercise. It makes you think about word choices and their importance to the story. I encourage anyone who enjoys writing to give it a shot.


Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. 


Website | Patreon |Twitter

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Amazon Author Page Smashwords 

Draft 2 Digital 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

DARK MATTER and other frivolities...(#IWSG, May 2021)

What the hell... I missed another IWSG post last month? I don't even know where I am anymore...

As you've no doubt seen from other IWSG blogs today, the latest IWSG Anthology was released this week! Dark Matter: ARTIFICIAL, published by Dancing Lemur Press, is now available for purchase! Featuring brand-new stories from 9 amazing writers (plus me), you're sure to find something to satisfy any hankering for sci-fi goodness!

Be sure to check it out and pick up your copy here! 

You can also learn more about the anthology and all of the contributors are the official IWSG Anthology blog website.

Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Print ISBN 9781939844828
EBook ISBN 9781939844835
Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies/Space Exploration/Genetic Engineering

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!


IWSG May Question

Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

Those of you who have followed me awhile have probably heard this story before. Back in 2016, I signed up for the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off with my first book, Ten Thousand Days. I didn't expect to do very well, but I also didn't expect to be the first book (out of 300) cut from the competition.

The reviewer assigned to my book took offense to an off-colour joke in the first half-dozen pages or so, and didn't even read any further. Now, I'm not surprised when people are turned off by some of my writing (Hell Comes to Hogtown and the Werebear vs Landopus stories are really obscene in parts), but I never dreamed anyone would be offended by Ten Thousand Days. I tried to keep it PG-13, and there was nothing in there that you couldn't find on prime time network television, but this particular reviewer just really didn't like the joke. It was a harsh reminder that different audiences like different things. The things that some readers love are loathed by others, and taste varies tremendously.

For comparison, the aforementioned Hogtown was entered into SPFBO the following year. The first reviewer who received it adored it, despite it containing hundreds of f-bombs, sex, and gratuitous violence. It actually made it to the second round of the completion. 

I dunno either, Pierre.


Oh, in case you missed it on Facebook and Twitter... I finished a thing:

I still really hope to get it out this year, but I'm a couple of months behind schedule so we'll see what happens. Watch this space for more info.

So.... is the world around you shit for everyone else, too?

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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