Voyagers Author Yvonne Ventresca’s “Pandemic” – A Great Read for This Trying Time

Currently the IWSG Anthologies blog is featuring posts from the winning authors in this year’s IWSG anthology VOYAGERS:  The Third Ghost.

This week’s post features Yvonne Ventresca, the author whose short story “The Third Ghost” won the top honour in the Voyagers anthology, giving the book its title and cover.  Yvonne is sharing the backstory to her award-winning young adult novel Pandemic., which was written before the current Covid-19 pandemic, but her research into the Spanish Flu crisis proved invaluable – and chilling.

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/10/yvonne-ventrescas-compelling-young.html

#IWSG – Distracted Writer?

September has been another of those catch-up month – sporadic fail – after I was ill in August. In short, backlog has multiplied.

Therefore, this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post crept up before I’d found the time/energy/motivation/space/whatever to visit last month’s visitors. Apologies to you all – or is that excuse getting stale?

Anyway, I can’t disappoint the Ninja Captain himself by missing a month – especially as he’s such a stalwart follower. Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where you can find better answers to this month’s challenging question.

October 7 question – When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

My image of a successful working writer is possibly Ernest Hemingway, at the end of his life an Idaho resident – like me, but I avoid the drink and guns, or the suicide ending.

7th October 1939: American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) works at his typewriter while sitting outdoors, Idaho.
(Photo by Lloyd Arnold/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

When I started down my writing path, I took the journalist calling – like Hemingway sin estimulantes. In fact, I was interested in warcos, such as Hemingway’s 3rd wife Martha Gellhorn. But I wandered along sylvan paths following country pursuits, and my image of a writer scribbling in notepads evolved into a writer at a typewriter with a wastebin of discarded pages.

Even now I have the image of a serious working writer in their dedicated space transforming the notepad scribbles into a manuscript – albeit on a laptop. Whatever the means, that still means dedicated time -a space of regular time set aside each day to go to that space and work. Yet, J K Rowling was forced to use coffee shops and why do I see Mary Wesley writing in her garden?

There’s as many different types of writers as genre variations multiplied by sheets in a ream.

Time to answer the hardest question: what sort of writer am I?

First, a retired equestrian journalist with a notepad/recorder and a desktop PC.

Second, a writer who aspires to release another book into the world, probably set in Snowdonia.

Third, a distracted writer who too easily finds other things to do whether that’s wading through and deleting endless emails, sleeping, or attempting to beat a game.

Are role-playing games my version of Hemingway’s addictions?

Or fourth, at this time of year, I transform into a NaNoWriMo writer. Come November and I usually manage 50,000 words plus in the month. Most of my draft novels were written or revised in November – although one was written at the same breakneck speed one April.

Does that make me a hobbyist? Or a spasmodic writer? That fits the spasms in my limbs/nerves as well as the tingling tattoos of my MC, Sparkle Anwyl.

For the record, I’m prepping my 2020 NaNoWriMo entry called ‘Lost Sheep’ with a premise linked to Sparkle:

A retired Welsh farmer faces challenges to his faith when his legacy is threatened.

Clue: Grandfather.

My thanks to Debs Carey for triggering my NaNo brain with this insightful post:

https://fictioncanbefun.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/secondthoughts-older-people-in-books/

 Also thanks to Fundy Blue who encouraged me to contribute a post the IWSG Anthologies blog today:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/

And a footnote: Hemingway disapproved of the 1939 Idaho photograph, saying, “I don’t work like this.”

Hemingway on Writing

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The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp,Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner! 

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. They are truly the best.

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 someth

#IWSG – Beta Author-Author?

August has been a low month as I fell ill a few weeks ago – MS related. The multiple sclerosis MonSter ensured all work was scrapped – except I did post my WEP/IWSG flash entry:

https://rolandclarke.com/2020/08/22/wep-iwsg-august-challenge-long-shadow/

I’ve been steadily working on this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post in advance of the due date. Can’t disappoint the Ninja Captain himself by calling in absent – even if I’ve been sick. Anyway, thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Visit their site for exciting posts. Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

And, before I forget, here are the details if you want to enter the 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest. It’s a challenging theme again – Dark Matter –but I’m sure you’ll be inspired. For the contest visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

Anyway, on to the monthly question which is another challenge – and possibly a chance to digress – as usual.

September 2 question – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

The idea of one of my ‘idol writers’ as a beta partner is intriguing – and daunting.

Would Ray Bradbury have felt my convoluted tales worth wasting feedback time over?

Would J R R Tolkien have related to my crime stories and minimal world-building?

What would Mary Shelley have made of my 21st century morals?

However, I realise their input would be as professionals and rise above our genre/era/style differences. But I’m looking elsewhere – well, to the living.  

I have recently had my WIP, Fevered Fuse read by three fellow authors/writers.  One was fellow IWSG Anthology author Rebecca Douglass, one fellow WEP/IWSG writer Toi Thomas – winner of the last Challenge, and the third and ‘diversity reader’ was screenwriter/producer/director Dawn Ostlund. And the feedback was first class.

So, if I was raising my expectations and seeking names?

Well, my debut novel was endorsed by Kristina Stanley, best-Selling Author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series – https://kristinastanley.com/. I also use Fictionary the creative editing software she has developed for fiction writers and editors – https://fictionary.co/. So, Kristina would be a choice, although maybe as my Story Editor.

If I had to choose a living successful author, who would relate to my current Welsh series, it would have to be Harry Bingham, best known for his Fiona Griffiths crime series set in South Wales – https://harrybingham.com/. Fiona Griffiths is a quirky detective who might have some interesting interactions with Sparkle Anwyl. And Harry Bingham runs Jericho Writers, which offers writers expert editorial assistance – https://jerichowriters.com/. So, Harry it is.

Best get moving on approaching that next beta reader. As Sergeant Marc Anwyl says, ‘Crime never sleeps.’

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The awesome co-hosts for the September 2 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando,J Lenni Dorner,Deniz Bevan,Kim Lajevardi,Natalie Aguirre, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

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.

A special shout-out to Louise – Fundy Blue who runs the IWSG Anthologies blog this year, keeping me on my toes.

Visit the IWSG Anthologies blog at:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/

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 – Planned or random?

I have to confess to not being on the write page for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. OK, I’m still willing to ask where would I be without the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group?

But I must admit to pulling out of the race to create an entry for the annual Anthology Competition. Many thanks, Captain Alex, but not this time.

However, before I forget, here are the details if you want to enter the 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest. It’s a challenging theme again – Dark Matter –but I’m sure you’ll be inspired. For the contest visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

My mind is insecure and struggling enough with my Sparkle Anwyl cases. Plus, I’m totally snowed under with the mounting emails and outstanding blog posts to read. So, apologies and more apologies to all that may concern.

Anyway, on to the monthly question which is another challenge – and possibly a chance to digress.

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mould into the shapes they need to be.” 
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I rarely stray from my chosen genre, although I moved from fantasy and SF shorts as a teenager to crime/mystery novels as a retiree. With a few exceptions, although Crime has merged with my Speculative and Alternative History diversions.

The main exception was my MG short ‘Feathered Fire’ for the Voyagers: The Third Ghostanthology. That was my only attempt at writing Middle Grade or historical – although, not fantasy.

However, my intention is to remain in my current genre – Crime – even if the form fluctuates between novel and shorts/flash.

But for NaNoWriMo this November, I may consider writing a longer piece with my characters from ‘Feathered Fire’.

Unless Crime never sleeps.

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The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey! 

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.

#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:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

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:

https://rolandclarke.com/2020/06/24/online-writing-resources-part-1/

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! 

So?

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:

https://rolandclarke.com/2020/06/17/wep-iwsg-june-challenge-urban-nightmare/

Graphics by Jonathan Temples – 
http://jonathantemples.co.uk/

…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:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

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.

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:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/2020/06/insider-writing-tips-for-iwsg-2020.html