Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Weds Post: Back Home Again . . . and Writing!

Something about this pandemic makes me want to hit the road. So, after four and a half months of sheltering-in-place, we traveled south. Drove 7 hours straight to Oregon, only stopping for gas, with our masks in place. A four day escape to visit dear friends from long ago. We sat on their expansive patio as dusk fell, admiring the garden of flowers and the deer who came to browse. Four wonderful days of talking with friends face-to-face. Not on Zoom. Not on FaceTime. Four days without news.

Even on the way home, we could appreciate each change in the landscape, from rolling farm hills, along a sort-of-tunnel road to the Columbia River, then up the east side of Washington home to the high plateau of dry pines and mountains. We appreciated anew our solitude, the birds who visit our tiny patio, and quiet in the morning for writing.

Update for The Seventh Tapestry: The last two months have been challenging as I wrestled with Amazon and Draft2Digital over who had rights to publish my latest book, The Seventh Tapestry. Sales were blocked for a time -- as were reviews. Finally, all the behind-the-scenes issues have been resolved.

Would you like to review The Seventh Tapestry? I would be thrilled if you said yes. Let me know by e-mail to, and I will send you a free copy (e-pub, PDF, or mobi, your choice), and only ask that you post your honest review on two outlets by August 20. Your choice: Amazon, GoodReads, or Barnes & Noble.

Update for latest writing project, The Missing Sarcophagus. Yes, I'm already hard at work on the sequel to The Seventh Tapestry. This new story has Sandra and Neil mired in another missing museum artifact. The setting? Cairo, Egypt, where I was lucky enough to travel not so long ago.

Egyptian Blue Water Lily (Wikipedia)
This morning's research led me to find the lovely and sacred Blue Water Lily, also known as the Blue Lotus, known for its poisonous and mild psychedelic properties. How did that flower get into the welcome bouquet delivered to Sandra and Neil at their hotel, just as they arrive in Cairo?

May you be well, nurturing yourself and all those who need you, saving some time for creativity and to appreciate (even now) the beauty of each day.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

IWSG #6 July: The Next Decade????

I've stopped counting days that we've spent staying at home since the pandemic began, for us in early March. We still wear our masks and observe social distancing with family and friends. We're not quite ready to go out to a restaurant or grocery shop. We are in at least one of those vulnerable groups who live cautiously, at least for the immediate future.

So, that's why when IWSG's question came along this month, I kind of groaned.

Optional July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

How can I look ahead ten years to the 'changes in the industry' when I don't understand truly how I, as a writer, have been affected by the past decade? So I'll start by looking back ten years:

  • RESEARCH: I rely so much on the internet for research into historical and other settings. For example, yesterday I watched a YouTube video that took me on a walk through a crowded, open air market in Cairo, Egypt. If I need to understand the psychology of a criminal, Google it.
  • WRITING SKILLS: I was an early adopter of technology, back in the 1970s, and I love learning new things. Today, though, I no longer head to the library first or subscribe to writerly magazines. Instead, I leap onto the keyboard, in search of my favorite writing gurus. I subscribe to far too many newsletters and enjoy online writing challenges, including this monthly post for IWSG. OK, I'm privileged with too many devices -- and I can sync them.
  • WRITING ITSELF remains pretty much the same. I dream, draw, and freewrite, then outline (somewhat) my way into stories. Sometimes on paper, more often on the computer. I do insert pictures into my drafts (visual writer) to keep me anchored in this story world. I still print out drafts to go over them again and again.
  • PUBLISHING. Way back in 2012, my first little self-published book of short stories came out. Four novels later, I remain quite happy to be an older-than-average indie writer. The publishing 'industry' has shrunk; technology keeps changing the 'how,' with competing resources increasing like mama's chickens, Amazon's gifts to indie writers like me still mean access to readers. Who could imagine back then, readers would one day  read my book on their iPhone???
  • MARKETING. Aargh. I'd rather be writing. Even traditional publishers ask their writers to do more. But we indie writers have many options that include building our own blogs, setting up readings (just not now), being active in professional associations, and developing a social media profile that is consistent and connected to our readers.
So what's coming in this next decade for writers, up to 2030? 
  1. I hope to still be alive and writing -- still an indie writer.
  2. Technology will ramp up in ways we cannot imagine, even in just ten more years, so we need to stay 'in the curve' of learning.
  3. Who we are will continue to be shaped by events around us. As writers, we may need to be more disciplined to not fall down the rat hole of unending distractions and change. 
  4. We have choices. Our passion, commitment, and the stories we write influence others. So, the themes we choose, our heroines and heroes, can influence others. Writers offer more than a reflection of life around us.
Do you remember reading Orwell's 1984?

What writers have you read that changed how you view the world? That challenged your understanding of life's potential?

What books will you write in the coming decade?

Stefan Keller (Pixabay)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group, is led by intrepid and fearless Alex Cavannagh, and with the help of this month's co-hosts: Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp (that's me!), Liesbet @ Roaming About, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox. The IWSG offers many resources to help and encourage writers at all stages. Why not join in this wonderful community of writers?

And remember our current mantra: Stay safe, wear that mask, and practice safe distancing --- and, perhaps most importantly, cherish each day!

NOTE: I don't normally do this, but since you actually read this far . . . David Gaughran, one of those writing gurus referred to above, just released his 4th edition of Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should. It's free as of today (July 1st), so you could check it out