TALE TELLING #IWSG

Time for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post and an update on my situation.

My health issues are no better, perhaps worse in that I’m struggling to stay comfortable in my powered wheelchair… no longer relaxed enough to sleep without spasms. And I can’t sit at my desk long enough to get much writing done.

However, a new wheelchair is in transit from Malaysia, which will support me far better, allow me to be upright and work at a standing desk, and to lie flat, all while strapped in safely.

Life is also becoming more chaotic and stressful as we are down-sizing in a planned move to a busy trailer park… sadly, not the dream rural retreat. Frustratingly, the new trailer has yet to arrive, but we’ve sold our house. Completion on July 1st, so time is getting tight.

Although the June IWSG post looks feasible, July’s might be scrubbed.

But I should manage to do the June WEP/IWSG Challenge.

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/p/challenges-2022.html

That should be the next episode of my Ukrainian saga, a follow-up to Rainbow Firebreak.

So again, I won’t be telling the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh ‘ffarwel’.

Finally, don’t forget to visit more active writers via the IWSG site:

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

As the question is optional, I’m tempted to answer… albeit briefly.


May 4 question – It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was 
the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”

(A Tale of Two Cities, Para.1, Line, 1)

Best of times: when I retired as a journalist and was able to concentrate on my fiction writing, having Spiral of Hooves published, and producing a ‘legacy’ of new draft novels, short stories, and flash pieces. The era of wisdom, belief, Light, and hope…although, there were low points like poor reviews and sales.

Worst of times: as my health deteriorates and my productivity declines, but not my thoughts and ideas. The spiral into foolishness – false dreams; incredulity – empty promises; Darkness, and despair… but there’s Light as in comments from followers, and listening to good audio books.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG are Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

I must be repetitive and ask you to agree these guys are the best. Why not? Well, they are – especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

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.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Afraid of What? Not #IWSG?

I’m afraid. Afraid of what?

Afraid of the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post?

Afraid of worsening health issues? Afraid of what that means?

As I write the fifth draft on April 5th, I’m afraid of what my blood test for CLL (leukemia) on April 13th shows.

Am I afraid it’s worse?

Afraid of being more of a burden? Afraid my wife is suffering as well?

Afraid of being moved to a nursing home? Afraid of the alternative in a crowded trailer park?

Afraid of losing my dog? Afraid she’s not qualified to be a companion dog?

Afraid of the suffering as I live?

Afraid of death?

Maybe this recent post from Writers Helping Writers is a comfort… or a red herring:

Afraid of a legacy lost?

Afraid of minimal writing? Afraid of failing the April WEP/IWSG Challenge?

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/p/challenges-2022.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Hard_Rain%27s_a-Gonna_Fall

Afraid for Ukraine? Yes, and I feel unable to help… beyond donating to…

Medecins Sans Frontieres: https://www.msf.org/

 Burned buildings marked with bullets holes and shrapnel fragments show the evidence of a brutal battle that occurred in Borodyanka. Photograph: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

What would my fictional Ukrainians do – Kalyna  and Vasy Chayka, the heroines of Feathered Fire?

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/p/voyagers-author-page.html

They fought the Nazis and fled from Stalin’s persecution.

So, their Canadian-Ukrainian granddaughters will fight Putin’s terror.

Rainbow Firebreak is in the pipeline.

I was afraid to tell the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh ‘ffarwel’. But not yet.

Finally, don’t forget to visit more active writers via the IWSG site:

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

As the question is optional, I’m not tempted to answer… beyond saying, “none so I listen to others”.


April 6 question – Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise – Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Well, they are – especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

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.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

#IWSG – No Show

My apologies for this ‘no show’ pass on the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.

As you may know, I’ve struggled for weeks with worsening health issues, which have drained me. So, minimal writing results. I did manage the February WEP/IWSG Challenge – https://rolandclarke.com/2022/02/17/wep-iwsg-february-challenge-all-you-need-is-love/  – but everything else is ‘sero’.

I must reassure the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh that this announcement is not ‘ffarwel’.

Finally, don’t forget to visit more active writers via the IWSG site:

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

#IWSG – Influencers

I was worried that I’d miss the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post as I’ve struggled for weeks with worsening health issues from wheelchair sores to hand cramps and finger failings – not conducive to writing. Mouse clicking is often the most I can do when I access the PC.

If you’re reading this I’ve pushed with pained doggedness onto the monthly question, so please prepare for more weirdness

But first I must thank the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for all he does – and thanks for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group without whom my writing would be non-existent…and every post might be ‘farewell’.

And thanks to all those whose encouraging comments ensure I scribble onwards. Apologies for failing to reply to every comment. I try at least to press ‘like’ when I’ve read them. I do attempt an all-inclusive answer sometimes.

Finally, don’t forget to visit more active writers via the IWSG site, and to read better answers to this month’s intriguing question.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Although the question is optional, I’m again tempted to answer.


February 2 question – Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn’t around anymore? Anyone you miss?

A: Roger Woddis and Rhona Martin

“Terror, no need to add,

Depends on who’s wearing the hood.”

Extract from ‘Ethics for everyman’ – a poem by roger woddis

The late Roger Woddis, my first creative writer tutor. Although he was a notable left-wing poet and magazine contributor, he also ran creative writing classes in London. He encouraged me to write regularly and tempered my purple prose. I was a besotted Tolkien fan and tried/failed to emulate his fantasy style. I admit that a few recent scribblings have been ‘over-egged’, but I try to restrain my inner bard. Maybe I’m learning… still.

Here is more info on Roger Woddis:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Woddis

https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/3950255

The late Rhona Martin was the leader of the Novel Group within Tunbridge Wells & District Writing Circle back in the UK. Over a few years, when I was writing the early drafts of Spiral of Hooves, my only published novel, I read extracts to the group. Rhona’s comments were insightful and invaluable, and she helped me turn the novel from a rambling multi-part epic into a tightly woven tale, albeit still complex.

Rhona was a published historical fiction writer, and the winner of the First Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize with Gallows Wedding. So, she also fanned my interest in the genre.

https://bookshop.org/contributors/rhona-martin

https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/2017/01/gallows-wedding-by-rhona-martin.html

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/rhona-martin/262472/

“I think myself I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense…. But it’s unquestionably good escapist literature and I think I should rather like it if I were sitting in an air-raid shelter or recovering from flu. “

Georgette Heyer after she had completed Friday’s Child, her first “instant bestseller”, written in 1944.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 2 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Well, they are – especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

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.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

#IWSG – Regrets

Time for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post and my latest news on the writing front.

First Fevered Fuse, which came back from my London-based editor friend early December with some invaluable suggestions on improvements. Hopefully, her input is not wasted as I struggle to absorb her thoughts and finish my first Snowdon Shadowspolice procedural. My declining health is eating into my productive time.

Will I notch up a major regret by not reaching the submission stage?

Which brings me in pained doggedness onto the monthly question, so please prepare for more weirdness (Also, be warned – some of this post is copy & paste so apologies.

But first I must thank the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for all he does – and thanks for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group without whom my writing would be non-existent…and every post might be ‘farewell’.

And thanks to all those whose encouraging comments ensure I scribble onwards. Apologies for failing to reply to every comment. I try at least to press ‘like’ when I’ve read them. I do attempt an all-inclusive answer sometimes.

Finally, don’t forget to visit more active writers via the IWSG site, and to read better answers to this month’s intriguing question.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Although the question is optional, I’m again tempted to answer.


January 5 question – What’s the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”

 Kurt Vonnegut

A: Not persisting with an invaluable copy/developmental/substantive edit of my second draft novel.

Okay, I’ll explain – in a rambling way as that was the cryptic answer – as usual.

Back in 2012/2013, I completed the third draft of Wyrm Bait, the first novel in the Gossamer Flames cyber-mystery series set against the world of online gaming. Some friends helped me get the manuscript edited substantively by a well-respected editing firm in the UK. Their feedback was extensive and should have led to a much improved fourth draft, albeit with a recommended new POV for part of the novel.

However, I baulked at what felt like a massive task, and put the project in cold storage. But  I did draft a sequel and various saga style shorts linked to the gaming world, as well as visiting the ‘world building’ for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z posts. Yet so far I haven’t made proper use of that substantive edit.

A major regret.

Now there’s Snowdon Shadows my police procedural series, and my fear that the edit of Fevered Fuse will lead to a second major regret – if I can’t rise above my current depression and pain,

Yet I keep wanting a second novel acceptance. Am I letting my readers down if I fail to commit to more hard graft?

 Put your head down and work hard. Never wait for things to happen, make them happen for yourself through hard graft and not giving up.

 —

Gordon Ramsay

**

The awesome co-hosts for the January 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Well, they are – especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

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.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

#WEP/IWSG December Challenge – Narcissus

I feared my entry for this month’s WEP/IWSG Challenge would be too late, but then as I wrote this short piece, I realised I had to post today. The reason might become relevant on reading the last scene. As for the theme, I found a Welsh element to tie elements together for Sparkle and Kama.

This 2021 Year of the Art theme has provoked some interesting thoughts – and trips down rabbit holes.

Although this year’s posts are not another ongoing case for Sparkle Anwyl and Kama Pillai of the North Wales Police, I’ve attempted something else involving them. So, once more I’m going down the stand-alone path with my dynamic Welsh duo.

But this time, I’ve tried a change of genre – well, perhaps. Also, this is a response to my editor pointing out an oversight in my Fevered Fuse novel – the lack of personal growth.

As always, apologies if I’m slow to respond or slow to visit your posts.

Plus, ensure you visit all the other writers in this challenge via:

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com

BLURB:

Uplifted by daffodils, two women affirm their love and pledge to fight for human rights.

MIRRORED PRIDE

2016

Saturday, 10th December

I stare at the unfamiliar reflection and wince. Pain comes with the job,but I can’t go out like this – not to celebrate.

Stupid. Some guys never give up easily – even cuffed.

Does it matter how I look? I purse my lips. Perhaps. I’m not vain, but tonight is special.

I reach for the makeup bag. Should I use some yellow concealer to hide my black eye? The icepack helped, but it’s still obvious. People might jump to the wrong conclusion. Abusive partner.

My fingers touch the slash on my cheek. Is a scar a turn off or a mark of courage?

Will Kama care? My whisper echoes round our bedroom.

“Of course not, cariad.” Kama replies in the doorway. I swivel and smile as she walks over, then kisses me softly. “You’re beautiful whatever happens.”

Then she sits down beside me at the vanity table.She traces the cut, then my nose. “At least, he didn’t break your mischievous feature.” She continues caressing my face.

The perfect excuse for my own daring exploration for hidden pleasure.

“Leave something for later. We need to get dressed up not down. After dinner antics are best.”

“Haven’t we always eaten first.” I slow my teasing hands, then add, “We never break the rules.”

“Except speeding on our bikes. That’s an unbroken addiction.”

Motorbikes brought us together nearly five years earlier – as did crime and our first case together.

I let our lips meet, and I enjoy the taste of minty cardamom. Long and lingering, and then I ask, “Do you ever regret the life we lead?”

“Never. I’m proud to be your partner. Both as a wife and a cop. You have doubts?”

“No longer, chellam. I admit my heart has wavered – doubt can be a mischievous trickster – was once. But we’ve proved ourselves as women, as lovers, and as crime busters.”

Kama clasps my hands. “Now we can be open with our pride, despite the risks.”

“Risk is our adrenaline and will be forever. And there are tests ahead, but we have each other. Still, I’m covering up these blemishes before we go out.”

“The table is booked for eight so I can pamper myself too. And then I’ve a present for us downstairs. Seasonal light for the cottage.”

***

A floral feast fills our front room. Dozens of displays of daffodils, not yellow but white blooms.

Kama beams with the flowers. “It may be eleven weeks until St David’s Day on March 1st, but why wait until our Welsh National Holiday?”

“Paperwhites – I love these daffodils. Perfect Christmas light bringers.”

“And I bought some bulbs to plant for the Spring as well. Plus, I added some which might flower on New Year’s Day. Those bring good fortune according to Chinese legend.”

“A bonus – even if having each other is our valuable destiny already.”

“I’ll echo that sentiment, cariad.”

***

We arrive on time at the Italian trattoria to celebrate and ‘Stand up for someone’s rights’ on a day when we are lucky to be in Wales.

When our cocktails arrive, I toast all those who fight for justice. “Not just on Human Rights Day but at every moment, chellam.”

“And together, we can take a stand for more humanity.”

On the wall behind, the face of Caravaggio’s Narcissus looks down through his pool of water at us and the vase of paperwhites on our table.

571 words FCA

Crime never sleeps.

Nor does the fight for justice and human rights.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/HRDay2016/Pages/StandUp4HumanRights.aspx