Wednesday, March 3, 2021

I've Got a Lot Going On (#IWSG March 2021)

 Wait, what day is it? I missed February's IWSG? It's been a hell of a week month year.

Y'all know what I'm talking about.

March Question

Everyone has a favourite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I read quite a variety of different stuff. I tend more toward fiction than non-, but I like a good biography or history book from time to time (currently reading - Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates, by David Cordingly). In fiction, I'm also all over the place - fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, westerns, "literary" (which I treat more disdainfully than "literary" types treat genre fiction), comic books, I'll try anything. Much like my writing, I especially gravitate to humour and satire, in any genre or category. There is enough blackness and misery in the world - if you're going to escape into another world, might as well make it fun. Especially if you can skewer or satirize the real world in the process.

Speaking of writing and comedy...

Smooth transition, right?

I am pleased to announce that I have had another story accepted into the Strangely Funny anthology series, from Mystery & Horror, LLC! The picture above is from last year's volume, but volume VIII will be published this Spring, and will include my brand new story, "Exorcist to the Stars!" This is my FIFTH time appearing in Strangely Funny, so I really feel like I've found an outlet for my brand of humour and horror there.

Also, I just approved the edits for my story in the upcoming issue of The Weird and Whatnot. My story was accepted there about a year ago, so it's been a long time coming. The new issue should be out within the next couple of weeks.

Pictured: Last issue.  Who doesn't love Death playing a pipe organ?

For those of you keeping score at home, these publications are in addition to the previously released Mardi Gras Mysteries (also from Mystery & Horror) and the upcoming IWSG Anthology: Dark Matter: Artificial, from our friends at Dancing Lemur Press.

Look, ma, I'm a writer!

That's FOUR new stories published in just the first half of this year. And not to jinx it, but I'm still really hoping that I will have Gale Harbour Book 2 out before the end of the year as well. Either way, it's going to be a big year for me, writing-wise. 

So why would I be insecure? Because I'm really frigging stressed out, that's why. Life is crazy enough right now without trying to write and publish. I should be keeping a low profile, taking it easy, focussing on my family and my real job. But when I get on a roll it's hard to stop, you know? I've wanted to be a writer since I was five. The fact that I'm actually doing it, and having fun and a small modicum of success with it, is hard to step away from. The only thing saving me is that I don't have any real deadlines or pressure except for what I put on myself. I don't have a contract saying that I have to have a manuscript in by July 1st. My children won't starve if my next book doesn't sell 5000 copies. This is supposed to be a hobby, so the only stress involved is what I put into it. 

That doesn't mean it's not real stress, of course. It's just that lovely self-imposed kind that we all seem to be so good at creating for ourselves.

So how's your month going?

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

New Release: The Window by Dave Cole

Hi everybody! It's the beginning of February and we're smack-dab in the darkest part of winter (at least in this part of the world), so it's a great time to pick up a new book and stay inside. Here's one from our friends at Dancing Lemur Press that's worth checking out!

Hugs & kisses,

The Window

By Dave Cole

A dark window to the future…

Everything changed the day Brian Bingham looked out the attic window and saw something that wouldn't happen for another week. Through a mysterious window no one else can see, Brian gains a portal into the future. But the future is not always something he wants to see.

Brian has enough troubles in the present without worrying about the future. His parents are constantly fighting, his grades are plummeting, and his new relationship with Charlotte, a girl way out of his league, is in jeopardy.

When the window reveals his best friend's brutal death, Brian’s world is turned upside down. He must find a way to change the future…or die trying.

Release date – February 2, 2021

$13.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 170 pages

Print ISBN 9781939844767 / EBook ISBN 9781939844774

Young Adult – Paranormal (YAF045000) / Contemporary Fantasy (YAF019010) / Horror (YAF026000)

The Author:

Dave is from St. Louis and has a degree in Computer Science. He is the author of The Math Kids series for middle grade readers. When he is not designing data center management software, he is usually reading, writing, or coaching elementary school math teams. He loves writing and his wife loves that he has found a hobby that doesn't cost money!


Amazon -

Barnes & Noble -

Kobo -

Goodreads -

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

New Year, New Books! (#IWSG January 2021)

Happy 2021! It won't solve all your problems, but at least we can start with a more optimistic outlook, right?

You've probably already read the news by now: My story has been chosen for the IWSG 2020 Anthology! Pretty crazy, right? This will be my third time appearing in the anthology. I want to thank Alex, the folks at Dancing Lemur Press and all the judges for putting up with my ridiculous stories time and time again. And congratulations to all of my fellow contributors!

Dark Matter: Artificial

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

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, unravelling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Goldim, 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!

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.

Release date: May 4, 2021
Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99
Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies (FIC028040) / Space Exploration (FIC028130) / Genetic Engineering (FIC028110)
186 pages

Table of Contents
Artificial - Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Space Folds and Broomsticks - C.D. Gallant-King
Rift – Kim Mannix
The Utten Mission – Steph Wolmarans
Sentient – Tara Tyler
One to Another – Deniz Bevan
Resident Alien - Charles Kowalski
Nano Pursuit – Olga Goldim
Resurgence – Elizabeth Mueller
Vera’s Last Voyage – Mark Alpert

For more info on the anthology, check out the IWSG website.


In other news, I also have a story in another anthology released this week:

Mardi Gras Mysteries is an anthology of Mardi Gras-themed crime and mystery tales, edited by Sarah E. Glenn and published by Mystery & Horror, Inc. It's available in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon.

My story features inept gumshoe Gussy Saint, who coincidentally first appeared in another IWSG anthology, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, a few years ago. Unlike the first story, Gussy's latest outing is a little, shall we say, racier, as you can see from the opening lines:

I woke up in a brothel and stumbled out of the back room in nothing but my socks and boxer shorts. I expected some hard looks from the ladies and the madam, who did not take kindly to me passing out and taking up one of their beds for the night, and I was ready with a witty retort to put them at ease and call off their goon, a huge Polynesian man named Leakee.

I was not expecting to be surrounded by cops, and thus found myself for perhaps the first time in my life at a loss for words. My quip about polishing the morning wood would probably fall flat on these uncultured, humorless swine...

Not all of the stories are as odd or racy as mine (they actually asked me to tone it down a bit), so there should be plenty in there for mystery of lovers of all kinds. Even if you're not into bumbling, foul-mouthed detectives chasing women with polymastia.

So, 2021 is starting off pretty well for me, writing-wise. Then again, we're less than a week in, so there's still plenty of time to go downhill.

How's your New Year going?

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, December 9, 2020

Mardi Gras Mysteries! New Story and Cover Reveal

Just wanted to drop a quick line today to let you all in on some news: I will have a story appearing early in 2021 in the MARDI GRAS MYSTERIES anthology, from Mystery & Horror, LLC!

These are the same fine folks who publish Strangely Funny, where my stories have appeared multiple times. I decided to try my hand at some mystery this time, instead of comic horror, which is always fun. For those interested, this new story will follow Augustine "Gussy" Saint, the protagonist of my story that appeared in Dancing Lemur Press' Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime anthology a few years ago. Gussy is a hard-boiled detective (well hard, anyway, and his detective license is under review by the state) from the mean streets of Mount Vernon, Washington. In this go-around, Gussy finds himself in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and is once again thrust into the middle of a mystery he didn't ask for and has no idea how to solve. Hilarity, sex and mayhem ensues. 

I will of course have more details closer to the release date, which is scheduled to be just in time for Mardi Gras. It looks to be a fun one!

Hope everyone is staying safe and getting ready for the holiday season. Be nice to each other, okay?

Hugs & Kisses,

A previous anthology, available right here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Writing Time (#IWSG December 2020)

Mother of god, is this year still going on?

I wrote a lot for the optional December question, so I'm just going to go with that.

December IWSG Question:
Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

Heck, yeah. November and December are usually my busiest writing months. Why? Because I nearly always write a book/story to give as a present to some of my friends/family.

This is one of my favourites. It's Book 3 in a 5-book series, though, so it doesn't make a lot of sense by itself.

I started this tradition back in 2004 when I wrote a book for my wife as a Christmas gift. I wrote something like 60,000 words in 17 days. I was not used to being crouched over my computer so long (I'm a champ at it now) and I ended up needing to get physio on my shoulder in the New Year. I kept it up, with either novels or stories nearly every Christmas since. In 16 years I've written I believe 8 novels, 12 short stories and 3 children's books (the children's books are the biggest pain because they're illustrated). This does not include any other homemade projects I make as gifts (I'm also known for board games and repaints of Christmas village houses as whorehouses), or any other writing I'm doing at the time. So on top of regular life, work and holiday responsibilities, Christmas is usually a crazy stressful time for me.

Sometimes I need a reminder to wear pants, too.

The best part, and the reason I don't know if I can call this writing "productive," is that NONE of those books or stories have been released publicly. A couple of them I've re-worked with the intention of hopefully sharing/selling, but so far only my closest family members and a handful of friends have actually read them. It is very much a labour of love for a very small audience. Most of my relatives have no idea how much work goes into them. My kids don't get it all, which is hilarious. I think they assume everyone's fathers write books. In Grade 1, my son brought one of my kids books to class for show & tell. His teacher loved it and asked if she could get a copy, but my son said he only had one so I would have to write her another one. 

It was the bath water book, by the way.

Yesterday I sent off this year's books to the printers (unsolicited plug - is great for this) and it felt like a large weight was lifted of my shoulders. One thing of my list. Now I just have to wait to see if the other presents I ordered actually come in on time. 

This was last year's book, for my kids and nieces. It was the second-most-time-consuming book I've ever written. Only surpassed by this year's book.  

So anyway, that's my rant(?) about what I do at Christmas time. How about you? When do you write a lot? Or what fun(?) stuff do you do for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/(Insert Holiday of Choice)?
Happy Holidays to all! 
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, November 18, 2020

New Release: Happy Ghoulidays by Shannon Lawrence

Happy Ghoulidays!

Friend of the Blog, Shannon Lawrence, has a new book coming out in just a few short days, and it looks like a doozy. It's a collection of spooky tales for the holidays, which is the best kind of holiday stories.

She also asked me to share some of my family's weird holiday traditions, which I originally jumped at, then realized my family's traditions aren't that weird. Odd, maybe, but not that weird.

🎄My paternal grandmother always served salt fish and raisin bread for dinner on Christmas Eve. I don't really know why; fish and raisin bread doesn't exactly scream "Christmas." I suspect it started because they had a big family and it was inexpensive, but she kept doing it, and inviting all the family over, every Christmas Eve until she passed away. My parents have since taken over the tradition, so if you're on the West Coast of Newfoundland and have a hankering for salt fish and raisin toast on December 24th, I've got a hook-up for you.

🎄We try to do a Secret Santa Gift exchange every year with my in-laws (my wife's parents, sister & husband). I say "try" because we usually do some sort of theme, and my wife's parents seem to have trouble grasping this. One year we were doing funny "gag" gifts and my mother-in-law brought a generic Santa Claus decoration, which was neither funny nor any kind of joke. Then there was the time we were supposed to buy our own favourite book to share with someone else, and they bought new books they knew each other wanted to read.

So, yeah. Kind of a disappointment. But you know what isn't a disappointment? Shannon Lawrence's new book! 

HAPPY GHOULIDAYS by Shannon Lawrence

The holidays can be a stressful time, as we all know, but I'm hoping to lighten up this winter season with a little holiday horror.

Maybe "lighten up" isn't the right term.

The first story begins the winter holidays with Thanksgiving, with stories representing Christmas, Hanukah, Hogmanay (the New Year), Yule, Groundhog Day, and, finally, Valentine's Day. From serious horror to tongue-in-cheek. Read them all at once or save them for their holidays. Or both! 

Release day is November 20, which also happens to be my birthday! Just in time for Thanksgiving week. You can pre-order the Kindle version, with other versions, including paperback, available on release day.

Family time can lead to murder and mayhem, especially during the holidays. A turkey with a tale to tell, elves under attack, sorority sisters putting on a killer party, a woman's desperation to save her family, and a stranger ringing in the New Year. These and other tales of woe await you beneath the mistletoe.

Be careful who you offer a kiss. It may be your last.

Amazon pre-order link:

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes in her dungeon when her minions allow, often accompanied by her familiars. She writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in several anthologies and magazines, and her collections, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations and Bruised Souls & Other Torments, are available in stores. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast “Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.” When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings. Though she often misses the Oregon coast, the majestic and rugged Rockies are a sight she could never part with. Besides, in Colorado there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. What more could she ask for? 

Find her:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Instagram

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Hose Beast Continues to Rumble On (#IWSG November 2020)

Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space has been live for just over a month. I am pleased to say that it has been pretty successful so far.

Last month I probably seemed a little disappointed with the sales, but that was a premature. While Hose Beast didn't take off to be a massive success like we all secretly hope our books will be, it did stay very consistent all through the month. So much so that it has already surpassed what my last book, Hell Comes to Hogtown, sold in its entire first year. It's also rapidly approaching what my debut, Ten Thousand Days, did was well.

There's been other successes as well. The book peaked at #4 on the Amazon Canada Horror Comedy/Parody Bestseller list, climbing ahead of books by Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, David Wong and Joe Hill. It has officially gotten more reviews on Amazon than any of my previous books (which is only 10, but still). It is also now available for purchase at 2 different book stores in my home town. 

This may not seem like a big deal for some of you big time book slingers, but I thought it was pretty neat.

Speaking of my home town, I have to give a shout-out to my mom. She has been a HUGE cheerleader and sales rep for the new book. She never seemed super-enthusiastic about the previous books (probably because off all the sex, cuss words and violence), but she has jumped into this one gung-ho. She's the one who brought them down to the local bookstores without me even asking, and she's been going through everyone she knows bugging them to buy a copy. I don't have an exact count from here yet, but I suspect if I add her numbers to my total I will have already surpassed Ten Thousand Days. She's already gone through the first box of books I sent her and has already sold half the next one even before it arrived.

So what do I have to be insecure about? Well, beside the looming threat of societal collapse and civil war in the country next door? I have to write another goddamn book. I actually got a message from my uncle yesterday, someone who I haven't spoken to in years, telling me he loved the book and asked when the sequel was coming out. The last book only came out a month ago! It took me four years! (well, not exactly, but it has been four years since my last release) Now I already need to be thinking about the next one???

Go ahead. BUY THE BOOK and then bug me to write another one. You know you want to.

These are good problems to have, I know. And I am working on it. Progress has been slow with back-to-school and other projects getting in the way, but I will get there. I figure I have a year, right? I haven't committed to anything (I have timelines in my head, but there's no way in hell I'm admitting to them). 

And yes, I know the world is insane right now. I'm keeping busy with writing and book promotion to keep me from losing my mind. How was your October?

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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