Online Writing Resources ~ Part 2

On the IWSG Anthology blog his week, the second group of authors featured in the 2020 Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology Voyagers:  The Third Ghost are sharing some favourite online writing resources beyond the IWSG.  From the Rosetta Stone to online archives discover what great resources our Voyager authors have found!   

And thanks once again to fellow Anthology author and blog-co-ordinator, Louise MacBeath Barbour for keeping us inspired.

#IWSG – Altered States

Another new month dawns, as does the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. Where would I be without the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group? Lost in some cultural desert as IWSG do such amazing things for writers, from the annual Anthology to friendly advice for all us vacillating writers. Many thanks, Captain Alex, for keeping me focused on my real goals. Especially at this difficult time when world news is so depressing – from Covid-19 to environmental degradation.

Before I forget, I’m attempting to stay motivated so I can write another short story – an entry for 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest. It’s a challenging theme again – Dark Matter – so my old brain is attempting to re-awaken my initial leanings. More about the contest at:

June was a confusing month, filled with distractions from my WIP writing/editing. However, the promotion surrounding the launch of Voyagers: The Third Ghost on May 5th has continued to inspire me. Here’s one of the last posts referencing that anthology:

Anyway, on to the monthly question which worried me – even when the blocks fell away – or rather the chocks were pulled aside. At least, I’ve attempted something – hopefully coherent and entertaining if not useful.

Supposedly– the question is 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?

I may be a plotter but not when it comes to the distant goal of publishing even my current WIP. That strategy is as flexible as my decreasing writing budget. A few months ago, I had the money for an editor, but it’s been frittered away on other non-essentials.

Which? Too many to mention. Or am I being too vague – or evasive? Let’s just call some escapism and some household.

Well, not exactly all unrelated to my writing. There was the graphic image for my WIP:

Graphics by Jonathan Temples –

…and that was based on future publishing potential. Graphic novels do seem to appeal to fit with a generation of shorter-attention span, minimal-readers. Also, we are becoming visual consumers so why not. Or it could be adapted into cover art if the traditional route survives.

And I sense the traditional will thrive in some guise, whether it’s e-books, audio-books, or page-turned paper touchables. OK, there may be a more visual offshoot related to Virtual Reality technology, but like graphic novels, words and stories will be crucial elements.

Genres will be as fluid as they seem to be whenever I glance at Amazon or Book Bub. I don’t suspect my genre – crime/mysteries – will diminish since it’s endured for decades, nor other genres I tend to read like historical fiction and fantasy.

However, I’m wary of predicting or planning for anything. I write what inspires me, not what seems marketable. If the industry changes, my manuscripts will gather dust and become my legacy – or scraps to be recycled. Anyway, my minimally-selling debut created no precedence – even in waste of space or dust-gathering.

One prediction though: the IWSG Anthology will continue for the near future as it’s a worthwhile exercise. So, I remind you again to check out the details of the next IWSG Anthology competition here:

Stay sensible, safe, and inspired, please


The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor,Beth Camp, Liesbet,Tyrean Martinson, andSandra Cox!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? 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 to say.

Strategies for Promoting a Book ~ Part 2

Fellow author and blog-co-ordinator, Louise MacBeath Barbour continues to keep us all informed about the tortuous but fun writing process on the IWSG Anthology blog.

As she says in this week’s post, “Book promotion is a serious topic for all authors, and if it isn’t, it should be!” Last week five of the authors featured in the 2020 Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology, Voyagers:  The Third Ghost discussed the challenge of promoting our book in enterprising ways.

Now, check out the promotion strategies the second group of our Voyager authors use – including my own mistakes.

#WEP/IWSG June Challenge – Urban Nightmare

Crime never sleeps.

Despite the disturbing world situation, I’ve found bits of time to devise more Sparkle Anwyl mind games as we continue the six-part story called ‘Custody Chain’. Meanwhile, the revision of my first Sparkle Anwyl novel, Fevered Fuse progresses in sporadic spurts too.

I’ve also had a graphic image of Sparkle and Kama created, which I blogged about last month: – inspired by  my diligent queer diversity reader.

She said, “Sparkle’s character is so strong and is so appealing, esp. to the younger generation who also love anime and comics, I wondered if you have considered getting an illustrator to have a look at your book and possibly create a comic book character out of her as well?…”

After the feedback on the original image, the illustrator made some changes based on comments. My beta readers should spot the imagined scene from Fevered Fuse – with artistic licence.

Graphics by Jonathan Temples –

What do you feel about the new image? An improvement? Hooked or confused?

Back though to Custody Chain.

If you missed the first two parts of the story, or would like to refresh your memory, here are the links:

Chapter One – Café Terrace:

Chapter Two – Masterpiece:

Please note there may be minor oversights/errors/omissions which editing of the final story into a novella will address. Writing new chapters throws up new clues to fathom.

On my April Challenge post, some people again commented that Sparkle’s mnemonic usage needed to be explained better – comments echoed by my beta readers for Fevered Few. I have attempted to introduce an explanation in this episode, which I intend to use and evolve elsewhere – if the idea works.

Anyway, enjoy this new chapter, and if you wish, please comment, or suggest what happens next. Many thanks for reading.

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




Tuesday, March 18th

Kama and I interview Urien Cadwallader in his private hospital room. Will he allay our suspicions?

“I don’t remember much. Didn’t your colleagues discover more?”

“Anything you can add helps. Did you see anything before you were attacked?”

I flip open my notebook as Kama probes. The CSI report and Tesni’s statement pose questions.

Urien shakes his head. “I’m usually alone – since my wife died. I have my art collection. Comfort—”

He falters. Tears streak his cheeks.

Seated beside his bed, Kama pats his arm.

“Take your time, sir. Your wife must have been special.”

“For 35 years – until…” He shudders. “I prayed Csilla would survive the treatment but— too invasive. I could do nothing so lost her—”

As he starts to cough, I reach for his glass of water, passing it when he stops shaking.

“Lungs – damaged from her childhood back in Miskolc.”

“Hungary?” The names slots together – Aranka, Miskolc, Csilla, Szarka.

He stares at me. “You know already? I thought those records lost decades ago.”

“A deduction. Please, apologies if I’m wrong.”

He shakes his head, then leans back, head lolling. “So, nobody told you. How?”

“Sparkle thinks laterally. Give her clues and she finds new angles.”

Urien gestures at me. “Your personal cryptograph?”

I laugh. “Fancy word for my mind games – but worth adopting. I juggle the initial letters of clues to get a mnemonic so I remember them—”

“And the new angle?”

“Triggered by the mnemonic. Like say M for Miskolc, A for Art, G for Generosity, Y for Yearn, A for Analysis, R for Replica, S for Stars. Spelling M A G Y A R S – as in Hungary where Aranka is from. Plus, Csilla sounds Hungarian as does Szarka. Correct?”

Urien palms his hands and nods. “Impressive.” He closes his eyes. “We met in 1988 when I travelled to Hungary as a mineralogist – my initial career. I was looking for the Herman Ottó Museum and Csilla helped me. A nineteen-year-old engineering student, Csilla captivated me, so I helped her flee the country when it broke from the Soviet bloc.”

M for Minerals, E for Engineer, T for Travel.


“You married in Hungary?” Kama reaches a shared conclusion. “The missing records. And your child?”

Urien confirms our suspicions. “Born in 1994 – talented and special – our joy in turbulent days. We named her ‘warmth from the sun’ in Welsh. She’s worth everything I spend.”

T for Turbulent Talent. S for Sky Sigil.


“Does Tesni know she’s your daughter? Or only that her mother was Csilla Szarka?”

Tears return to streak his cheeks. “I’ve failed to confess my relationship, although I’ve always felt she senses all that matters. Her art is everything in her world. Yet Tesni visits often.”

“That’s why her DNA was all over your house. And why she pressed your panic pendant. Did you or Tesni switch off the security you’ve installed? We must identify your attacker.”

“Tesni would never leave me unprotected. The attacker must have disabled the CCTV so he remained invisible. Didn’t Tesni see him before summoning help?”

Kama scrolls on her phone. “Her statement reads, ‘The figure was in black and masked. When I cracked the vase on the masked head, the figure fled…’ Then she helped you and rescued the urn pieces.”

“With her mam’s ashes – Csilla helping still. Did Tesni repair the urn?”

I smile and bow my head. “An invisible repair. The painting is secure too.” U for Urn, P for Protection, I for Invisible. “A mistaken theft that triggered our investigation.”


“Your case must be closed then. I’m anxious to return home, where my daughter has Csilla and our painting.”

“My cryptograph raises concerns. What compelled your wife to flee Hungary? Her health? Yet she left family behind. Aranka?”

He collapses into the pillows, eyes closed.

“Yes, Csilla was suffering. Her father worked in the steelworks, coming home covered in toxic dust. Love offered a route out of her urban nightmare. Economic recession was sweeping those industrial heartlands behind the Iron Curtain. Her sister, Aranka stayed with her profiteering husband.”

“Could your attacker have been Hungarian? They didn’t try to take the painting – just attacked you. Why?”

Urien shakes his head, but his glance wavers between us. We sense his fear.

“I made mistakes – and enemies. And my assailant must realise who Tesni is – even living apart. Help me protect my daughter, please?”


Word Count 998: FCA

Comments are welcome as usual, and the following applies:

Strategies for Promoting a Book ~ Part 1

Keeping us all informed about the tortuous but fun writing process on the IWSG Anthology blog has encouraged fellow author and blog-co-ordinator, Louise MacBeath Barbour to explore some great topics.

As she says in this week’s post, our 2020 Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology Voyagers:  The Third Ghost launched in the fraught current environment on May 5, 2020, and we ten authors tackled the challenge of promoting our book in enterprising ways – well, my colleagues did.

Check out the promotion strategies the first group of our Voyager authors have used during this difficult time.

Insider Writing Tips for the IWSG 2020 Anthology Contest ~ Part 2

Once again on the IWSG Anthology blog, fellow author and blog-co-ordinator, Louise MacBeath Barbour keeps giving us more insights into this tortuous but fun writing process. And again, she gives us more great links to everything anthology-inspiring.

First, some insider writing tips for the Insecure Writers Support Group’s 2020 Anthology Contest – here are the second group of my fellow 2019 winners, featured in this year’s anthology Voyagers:  The Third Ghost, plus our tireless editor-publisher, L Diane Wolfe of Dancing Lemur Press.

Then, a reminder of the 2020 Contest’s SF theme – Dark Matter.

Anyway, you can burrow further at: