Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Moody Writing

What's your mood today?

Welcome to the April 2022 installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group...

Does your mood affect your writing? I definitely have to be in the mood to write. Usually, I complain about not having enough time to write. But over spring break, I was blessed with some extra time, and I just wasn't in the mood... I am stuck in the editing of two novels. I have glimpses of new ideas, but I hate not finishing what I've started. If I was working on these WIPs, I'd have no trouble taking a break to write some new stuff, but my writing inspiration has left me.


Way back when, I was writing for myself. Then I made a goal to get published. Now I wanted to inspire kids, especially boys like my own, to read more and spread a positive message. 

Lately, everything has changed, as the world tends to do. My boys are grown (still not readers, taking after their father) and though I had a small audience and felt like I inspired some reader fans, I started to lose motivation when my publisher winked out of existence. Then Disney stole my Beast World setting along with my desire to keep going with that series. And finally, the isolation and harsh political undertones everywhere have made me wary to write anything that might offend someone. At this point, I don't see the upside of writing.

But don't feel sorry for me! I'm merely at a juncture. I still want to share stories and inspire others, I just need to figure out how. So whether I gumption up and write, or go out and speak, or try my hand at producing something, I'm still hopeful! God will guide me and help me keep my chin up.

I hope you are in a good place or will soon be! Keep writing and having faith!
Bad times can't last forever, though they may seem to... 
and sometimes we can find some big inspiration from them!


Just like the saying goes, April Showers Bring May Flowers!

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Publishing Biz

For this month's IWSG post, I'm sharing an interview about publishing with a pro!

L. Diane Wolfe
Senior Editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

First, we'll talk about the IWSG Anthologies... How do you choose judges? and Themes? Can I ask - how much participation/entries do you receive?

We all search for judges based on the genre. Alex (J. Cavanaugh) probably does the most work on this.

For the theme, we all make suggestions and then vote on them. I always remind the other admins that simple is best and keep it to one-two words. We usually pick the best although I have the final say since it will be the title of the book my company publishes.

Alex said we had a record number of entries this year. That’s probably why this year’s top stories are the best we’ve ever had—lots of competition.

Fantastic - better and better every year!

As a publisher, how's business?

It’s been an interesting couple of years. 2020 we had no live events, which really hurt, but fortunately eBooks and audio books sold better than previous years, balancing out the lack of print sales. Last year was better although some of our live events allowed fewer attendees which certainly reflected in sales.

This year we have four amazing releases. It’s all a matter of getting them in front of their target audience.

I hear you and am also feeling the pinch. Hoping to get back to business soon!

Do you work with agents?

We’ve had agents approach us, but we prefer to work directly with authors. We are a small press, so it is my opinion that any agent contacting us is really aiming low and the author deserves better. (Agents take a 15% cut. Since writers can query us directly, I feel they deserve a better deal.)

That's reasonable and thoughtful! Many authors appreciate a direct approach.

What sells the best? Anthologies? a specific genre? popular authors?

Science fiction is one of our top sellers along with middle grade historical. But sometimes titles will surprise us. We have a fantasy/paranormal romance coming out later this year that’s garnered more positive review request responses than any book we’ve ever published. Some of our anthologies have done well and we are hoping that the upcoming romance title will perform great.

I think romance is a standard and usually does well.

What do you love about your job? (btw, do you have another job? Seems like this would be full time!)

I love the ability to work from home and set my own hours. Of course, my husband says I am the worst boss ever as I am at my computer (off and on) from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm or later doing work. I have a few other sources of income—book formatting, speaking engagements, teaching sessions at community colleges across NC, etc. I try to keep all of that spread out so it doesn’t take away from what I need to do for Dancing Lemur Press.

Well, your hard work pays off! Thanks for enlightening us on the IWSG Anthology and giving us info about publishing trends. All valuable info. Great chatting with you!

L. Diane Wolfe is the Owner of Dancing Lemur Press LLC as well as a Speaker & Author. Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. She conducts seminars on book publishing, promoting, leadership, and goal-setting, and she offers book formatting and author consultation. Wolfe is the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

  • Last little side note - I met a fellow local author recently, Janet Irvin, and she has a great blog and following. And I'm honored to be featured as her "Author of the Month!" Here's my interview... 

Make sure you follow Diane and check out her imprints and blog!

Looking ahead to better weather on the horizon.
Ready for sunnier skies and dispositions!

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

I Love a Happy Ending

I especially love a happy ending that leads to a beautiful beginning.

If you set any resolutions, I hope those haven't ended. But you can resolve to make improvements in your life at any time of the year! I found a great list of inspirational changes for a better you (and me). I edited it down to a more manageable list because I find a shorter list is easier to handle (and remember). Maybe just try one each month (and hope they stick from the previous month)

15 Positive Resolutions... (borrowed from Article)
  1. Drink more water
  2. Move more, sit less
  3. Volunteer more
  4. Call mom/siblings/grandparents more
  5. Live simple, consume/waste less
  6. Turn on music instead of video
  7. Take more breaks
  8. Ditch one bad habit
  9. Clean out your in-box
  10. Take a 24-hr break from social media once a month
  11. Clean out your closet
  12. Make a new friend
  13. Learn a new language
  14. Organize your photos
  15. Go outside more
I started working on #2 - I was doing great with my nightly treadmill treks, until I got sick again. I'm trying to get back into it now that I'm better. The trick is to remember to go down there when I'm at a break before my alarm goes off. I'm usually in the middle of something for the alarm and forget to go later.

I also picked up #6 - not that I watch much TV or videos these days. And not that I have much interest in the current TV Series. I've been watching re-runs of old faves and new-to-me oldies. But turning on my radio instead of wasting time trying to find something to watch has been a pleasant change.

And I hope to carry these forward into my regular routine when I choose another one... 

This summer I hope to pick back up on my writing. I've had a few ideas strike me but time is not on my side. I'm just glad we have the IWSG to keep me blogging. It's so nice to communicate with you all. Something I don't want to come to an end any time soon!

Speaking of Happy Endings, we are celebrating Valentine's Day with lovely bites from each author in the new IWSG anthology - First Love. Stop by if you can!

So, do you have any positive changes you're working on?
Is this year going well? I hope so!

Stay warm and optimistic!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

New Year, New Life

Happy IWSG day and Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were jolly and you enjoyed time with family and friends. We sure did! We have been truly blessed. And after that short blip of fantasy, it's now time to face harsh reality again.

Big changes are ahead for me and my family this year. 

My oldest son who graduated from college and has a great job moved back in with us last summer to save money. I'm sure he will want to move out this year to be on his own. I've loved having him back, but he's ready to fly.

My middle son--the army guy who lives far away--will be getting married in May, if all goes according to plan. They are young, so you know how that goes.

And my youngest will be graduating high school then heading off to college in August.

I'm really glad I have a job to keep me busy or I don't know what I would do with myself. I've been down about all the changes, not only in my own future, but with the unstable world. I'm a worrier, which usually sends me into action, but I've been frustrated lately because there doesn't seem to be anything I can do. The down time has been awful.

The down time is usually when I write. But this funky mood has taken a hatchet my desire to write.  It's like my muse is being held for ransom somewhere. I haven't worked on my WIPs in a month. Sure the holidays are a busy time and I had to prepare for company as I finished up the semester at school, plus I got a cold in November and the flu in December... but I'm a whirlwind of activity. I thrive on chaos and pressure.

Probably the biggest drain on my willingness to sit down and write is the lack of events. In person book events kept me writing because I love talking to readers, and they bought my books. My writing had a purpose. I felt valued. After trying for two years to finish a new book, I've hit a wall. Motivation has left me stuck in a mud puddle of self-doubt.

With school starting back up, I'll be busy again, so I will survive. But I'm not sure if I'll keep up with my monthly posts. I really appreciate the IWSG and all my writing and blogging friends. You've always been there with acknowledgement and encouragement.

The world is constantly changing with highs and lows to keep it interesting. I hope you are dealing with it better than I am. Maybe I need to refocus and reboot. Maybe I will change tracks and start writing a non-fiction inspirational book... For now, I'm allowing myself to take a break from writing. Sometimes that's what we need to get the spark back, right?

Wishing you happiness and productivity and a light at the end of the tunnel in 2022!

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