Monday, June 19, 2017

Let Me Tell You a Story About Enid

In my middle grade story, Sign of the Green Dragon, I finally had a chance to write about Chinese mythology. It fascinates me because I fell in love with China and her ancient stories a long time ago. 

When I was about six, a woman named Enid Mihilov took me under her literary wing. She had an amazing library with many books from all over the world, but the Chinese ones were distinct. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those books, which she allowed me to hold, were very old, one-of-a-kind, and in retrospect, must have been printed on handmade paper in a long-ago century. Enid read them to me in Chinese while I looked at the pictures. Misty mountains. Dragons streaming through the sky on important business for an emperor. Exotic silk gowns and palaces of gold.

Dragon on a Canal Barge

This person opened a lot of things about the world to me. In the center of her library was a globe in a wooden cradle that was bigger than I was. I still remember her turning that globe, tracing the Yangtze River across China and telling me about the beauty of the Three Gorges. When I was older, I understood how much this Russian woman had traveled, that she spoke several languages, and knew more first-hand about geography than my teachers. 

When I finally did land in the Far East, I was primed to absorb as much about that culture as possible. I climbed the Great Wall, explored palaces and finally went up the Yangtze through the Three Gorges before the dam was completed and closed off one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

At the Top of the Great Wall with Two Friends

Enid and I kept in touch for years, even after my family moved. Unfortunately, when we returned to see her, she had died, so I never had a chance to tell her how important our time together had been to me. Someday I’m going to write what I remember of my afternoons with Enid Mihilov. And having written that, I think I have a title already.

This month I'm featuring another writer who loves to travel. J.H. Moncrieff jets off to far away places to soak up the settings and get ready to write her next story of suspense or horror. She has several out and I've read one so far. I'll be reading more in the future. 

Here's my review of The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave.


". . .a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder."

Don't forget that SUBMISSION are open for the next #ISWG Anthology. You have until July 31 to submit.
Title: Writing for Profit
Word Limit: 500-1000 words
Submission: admin AT insecurewriterssupportgroup DOT com

Quote of the Week: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 
 ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Monday, June 12, 2017

Please Make Me Want to Read Your Book

Please make me want to read your book. I really want to read it, but you have to help me out.

This may seem odd, but last month I started three books; I was only able to finish two. In one, the opening two sentences had three grammatical errors. Seriously. In the next one, the Kindle formatting was bad


had            trouble following



I finally found a book I could read and enjoy, so thank you for the fine editing, the good formatting and the satisfying read, Ms. Professional Author.

#IWSG Book Club selection this month is The Secret Garden. We're reading it to have a discussion about characterization. There are several reasons not to finish this book. One is the omniscient point of view. The author takes you into everyone's head, including some small animals, without so much as a scene change. Then there's the heavy use of respelling to create the Yorkshire dialect. That's hard to follow, especially when there are long chunks of one person speaking. It's filled with tropes such as the wise and gentle peasant in the bucolic cottage, the orphaned girl, the invalid restored to health by nature, the grieving uncle off to find solace in other places. Most of the story is written in what today's critics call Telling. The author simply tells you how the characters feel, she doesn't bother to reveal those feelings by Showing the character in action.

However, it still holds up as a great story.  First, I responded to the story as a period piece, and then before I knew it, I was caught up and wanted to follow the MC's journey to the end. It didn't matter that I was head-hopping or that I was being told how the characters felt. I was in the hands of a storyteller and enjoying the time in her tale. 

If you haven't joined us, I hope you will. The discussions are interesting. 

Join Us

Clare Dugmore and Kyra Lennon
Enter and tell about those small things that make you smile!

Here are mine: The view from the top of any mountain. Hills, too. The morning. A good friend who stops by. An excellent book. My family.

Quote of the Week: "Books are uniquely portable magic." Stephen King

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#IWSG Attack of the Insecurity Monster and How To Survive It

Thanks Alex
Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional! 

June 3 Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

It's so easy to ward off the attack of the Insecurity Monster. Look at this tiny girl does it! She points and says, "Back off buddy. You don't scare me."
Confronting our insecurities isn't quite this simple, but running away or hiding won't work. I know that from personal experience. And if you're already a #IWSG member, you've taken a giant step toward being as brave as little miss on the left. Pat yourself on the back, then get busy writing or submitting your work with confidence.

Answer to June 3 Question: I haven't said, I quit yet. I hate quitting projects until I've done what I set out to do. I haven't succeeded in what I want to do in my writing yet, so quitting's not an option. 

Oh and look what's happening next!
The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit--This will be a non-fiction book like our Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

What to write: Share experiences about making a profit as an author, what it takes to become a successful writer, the many skills a writer needs to learn other than writing, share the experience going from hobby writer to published author (without making it a self-promotion piece), the fallacies behind writing for profit, the little known facts learned along the way, what you wished you knew when you first started writing, or marketing tips based on experience of what has worked and what hasn't. Please include a title, your name, and a link to one of your sites. Send as an attached Word file or pasted into the email.
If you have any questions, email us at admin AT

Word limit: 500-1000 words.

Submission eligibility: All members of the IWSG Blog Hop, IWSG Facebook group and/or members of our IWSG Goodreads Book Club. It's free to join any of these groups and a great benefit to be a part of these communities.
Deadline: July 31, 2017
Send your piece to admin AT as an attached Word document and note which IWSG group you belong to. Please include your name, a one line bio, and one website link.

Do you like the monthly question?
Are you going to jump into the IWSG next amazing adventure and submit your experience?