#IWSG – Covid-19 Reality

As the first Wednesday of April approaches, I’m attempting to write my IWSG monthly blog post. But I’m more than Insecure.

First off though, I’m grateful the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group as they 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 inspired to keep scribbling. Even at this difficult time.

I’m attempting to focus on my short ‘Feathered Fire’ in the imminent IWSG anthology, Voyagers: The Third Ghost due out on May 5, 2020.

Expect great stories – the weekly interviews have demonstrated the wealth collected. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy, and if you are tempted, these are the purchase links:

Amazon:        

Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472X/  

Kindle  https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/  

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857  

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956  

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost  

https://twitter.com/DancingLemurPre/status/1230480335625969666

Anyway, on to the monthly question which I wanted to evade this time. Too much backlog? Yes, so as usual apologies in advance for the slow visits on my part – I’m still wading through earlier IWSG-day posts, including last year’s. And now there’s the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge posts and fear…

April 1 question – The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

‘Stay safe, sensible and positive’ are my words of encouragement – to others. But some days they sound false when I absorb too much news.

Safe

My wife and I are safe in the sense of being in self-isolation. However, we’ve hardly been out since we arrived here in Boise, Idaho, USA on October 1st, 2016. Primarily, we went for medical visits – when we could afford those. We’ve only had one weekend away – last September to a cabin. The biggest drawback is getting me and my wheelchair out. So, it’s easier to escape into other realities – reading, writing, and gaming.

Some family members did visit, which helped. Great until the kids sneeze around us, forgetting that grandma and grandpa are vulnerable with chronic illnesses. We’ve both got seasonal colds, contracted six weeks ago from sick kids who recovered in a few days. Now, we are keeping them away, although it’s taken far too long.

Sensible

We’re trying to be ‘sensible’ in everything we do. When the family held a birthday party for my wife and a grand-daughter on March 7th, I was already concerned about the spread of Covid-19. Except almost everyone thought I was paranoid. Forget even flu-precautions like hand washing or hand sanitiser.

And as Covid-19 spread, the lax approach continued.

Then one of my wife’s son was diagnosed as having Covid-19 symptoms. He went into isolation. But not all the family were concerned or willing to take precautions, even when Idaho’s governor announced a lock-down. Sense finally prevailed a few days ago, and measures adopted by laxer family members.

In time? Too late?

Positive

There are glimmers of light everywhere amidst the tragedy unfolding. Places where the virus is being checked by what is called ‘social distancing’ but should be called’ physical distancing’. You are being social reading this rant and when you comment.

There are amazing people – doctors, nurses, scientists, first-responders, volunteers etc – essential fighters in this struggle. They are keeping the ‘positive’ alive.  They are the front-line fighters, we need to focus on.

I was worried about my family back in England and further afield, searching for a positive there. I was relieved when I discovered they were safe, when I got to speak to one precious niece – uplifting news.

And yesterday, we heard my wife’s son was clear – his test results a false positive.

That’s positive news though.

Every day, I’m reluctant to check the news. Will the chaos overwhelm the positive?

Outlook

How we respond is crucial.

Sometimes, I read an article that makes me realise the ‘sensible and safe’ approach is the only way forward – as in this Smithsonian piece: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-we-know-so-far-about-how-covid-19-pandemic-could-end-180974533/?fbclid=IwAR0c13624gYmJni9WWh5uS6Z9ZkZX4FPzqeKMtr79lpFZWXfZIBgw0y-3PQ#.XoJ28Ru72Rs.facebook

The closing statement was powerful and close to home:

“…But letting up too soon would only worsen the consequences, Lilian Alessa, director for the Center for Resilient Communities at the University of Idaho, tells Nicoletta Lanese at Live Science.

“We literally have to have absolute compliance,” Alessa says. “Without that, this is our new normal.”

So, I must be ‘positive’, even as a person more at risk due to my chronic condition, Multiple Sclerosis – and Leukemia. One MS blogger I follow, Dave Bexfield posted an inspiring article – The World Needs Our Help.

“So, I am calling on all of my friends with multiple sclerosis and other disabling conditions to unfurl your capes. More than ever, the world needs more superheroes. The world needs us–the world needs you.”

His words remind me that I’m an MS Warrior who has learnt about adversity and illness – and survival.

My fight pre-dates my MS too.

As a campaigning green for decades, I learnt to never give up. In many ways, this crisis is probably Gaia/Mother Earth defending herself.  Take heed humanity. My politics don’t grant immunity, but they give me hope that people might learn from this.

Stay sensible, safe and inspired, please

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The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

(As always, you must agree these guys are the best. Especially as they all have concerns, fear and insecurities. But they fight 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.

#IWSG – Rabbit Warren

I’m getting repetitive but it’s that time again – although this is written in advance as I’ll explain.

OK – Created  and hosted by the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, theInsecure Writer’s Support Groupmonthly blog post is here again – and so am I, insecure, although a chunk less as I scheme ahead to NaNoWriMo.

Yes, NaNo is my reasonable excuse for writing this as All Hallows Eve creeps ‘candily’ closer.

My decisive plan to revise ‘Fevered Few’ as my 2019 NaNoWriMo project is still on track – even though One Drive has locked some files. Thank goodness I have multiple saves elsewhere. Shame I can’t read my scribbled notes. This renewed novel, now called ‘Fevered Fuel’ entails a restructured plotline, new scenes, rewrites – and some rabbit warren detours

Anyway, on to the IWSG monthly question.

November 6 question – What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

I’m a research addict who attempts to get my facts right – sometimes mid writing sprint. But even while researching a topic at the correct moment, I end up getting distracted. I dive down rabbit holes at the slightest appearance of a tail.

However, these detours are fascinating not strange.

Is ‘strange’ researching corpse decay and poisons? Not for a crime writer. Nor I expect are medical conditions like amnesia – for my WIP – or wondering what it’s like living as an identical twin – another Sparkle Anwyl case.

I’ve even delved into how far crows – corvids – travel, but Sparkle is adopted by a jackdaw. All normal then.

But I’ll highlight three stranger examples.

In a previous project, I wanted the antagonist to feel predestined for greatness. And I found a rabbit hole called caul bearers. Interesting strange but not macabre strange. If you want to know more: “This is the place for caul bearers to dispel caul bearer myths, to learn, connect, and heal…a place for caul bearers to call “home.” https://caulbearersunited.webs.com/

Back to Detective Sparkle Anwyl and more normal research – if you are into alcohol. She likes a good black drink, stronger than her daily coffee, like Guinness, or her local brew, Darkside of the Moose – https://purplemoose.co.uk/products/case-of-12-darkside. However, I needed something more unusual so went digging and found this: “An Irish Car BombIrish Slammer, or Irish Bomb Shot is a cocktail, similar to a boilermaker, made by dropping a bomb shot of Irish cream and whiskey into a glass of stout.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Car_Bomb

Enough fiction. My health has taken me down some strange paths, some weird but others invaluable. Hence, I’ll leave you with this old article, although I’d travelled the rabbit run a few years earlier:

“After a review of scientific studies, researchers say extracts from marijuana plants can help treat pain and spasticity symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis.” https://www.healthline.com/health-news/researchers-say-cannabis-can-benefit-people-with-multiple-sclerosis#1 

Shame it’s illegal in Idaho.

*

The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

 (You must agree these guys all have commitments too – but they are the best. Ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts too.)

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. 

#IWSG – Hero or Villain POV?


Created and hosted by the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly blog post is here again – and so am I.

It’s been another bad month and my plans to develop and focus on Fevered Few, my NaNoWriMo novel were derailed so I am no longer sure about the track to publication. I am wondering if attempting to find a publisher for my second novel is realistic or whether I would be better to merely blog my scenes over an indefinite period.

 I will be posting the opening to another Sparkle Anwyl mystery for the WEP/IWSG Challenge next month as well as a separate Sparkle Anwyl case during the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April. Perhaps that is the way forward for my fiction writing rather than attempting to edit a novel – like Fevered Few – for submission to a small press.

What would you suggest that I do? Blog posts or publication?

Much of my writing problems are due to my health. During the last few weeks, it has become harder to type as my left hand is cramping up – like forming a claw. One of my solutions is training a dragon – Dragon Naturally Speaking. This post is my first using the dictation software. Apologies therefore for any errors in this trial run which the dogs are constantly interrupting.

Bark-bark. Woof-woof.

Anyway, on to this month’s question.

March 6 question – Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

Most of my writing is from the hero’s point of view but I have written from the villain’s perspective a few times.

My current WIP is from the POV of Sparkle Anwyl, my Welsh detective protagonist. However, some of the chapters within other draft novels have been written either from the villain’s perspective or from the POV of a shadowy and unclear character. I haven’t yet had to get inside the mind of a darker antagonist as these characters have been more misguided or conned by their own self-belief.

What about your favourite perspective? Hero or villain?


The Welsh Dragon, Mametz Wood Memorial

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The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

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. 

Remember, the question is optional! 

#IWSG – Creative Outlets

Created and hosted by the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly blog post is here again – and so am I.

My plans to develop and focus on Fevered Few, my NaNoWriMo novel are on hold for another week/month until a backlog of junk is clear and my depressed mind clears.

But I’ve been reading though – all pleasure and some as favours. Which brings me in a way to the topic of this month’s IWSG post:

February 6 question – Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

Nada – Zilch

Writing is my sole remaining creative outlet – unless I can count dreaming. But that’s linked to writing. I attempted sculpture – once – and struggled to play the flute, but that was decades ago. And the nearest to acting was my failed career as a producer.

So, writing remains my sole creative outlet – unless I cheat and add:

Reading and gaming

But those are both someone else’s creation, even if I spend my chilling time pursuing them. Anyway, in 2019, I have managed to read six books so far. One of those was the novelisation of a game that I have 90% completed, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – that’s the link to my review.

Writing again. So…Nada y Zilch.

Or do I count my photography? Mostly for work though. Creative? Or is that the poser? Anyway, I can no longer hold any camera steady so that is no longer any sort of outlet.

Zara Phillips competing at Windsor CIC*** – photo by Roland Clarke

What is your non-writing talent/creative outlet?

***

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

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