#IWSG – Miracles

Apologies if this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post seems ‘off-theme’, but I will get to the point… eventually. First, I must unburden myself.

I was unaware of the fateful significance when I wrote the following words within my October WEP/IWSG Challenger post:

“How much longer have we? We’ve so much to share. Evading death takes a miracle.”

On Sunday October 23rd, I was rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pains, which had me screaming in agony. The emergency medics were unable to identify the problem beyond suspecting some sort of blockage, from their initial tests – and my constipation for five days.

A nasogastric tube was inserted through my nose, down through my throat, and into my stomach, to remove whatever might be obstructing my intestines.

More pain. More medication.

I was taken to a room on the medical/surgical floor, pending further tests and prior to any surgery. Overnight, gunk was sucked out via the NG tube, and the worst of the pain subsided. A CT scan revealed a section of my upper intestine twisted around itself, but at this stage my doctor (surgeon) and I felt cautious about operating given various factors, not least my age, existing medical conditions – MS and leukemia – and my minimal but positive progress since admission.

By Wednesday, I had finally shit and my abdominal pain was minimal. But worried about a possible surgery still being needed, I had asked my Hospice chaplain to visit. His visit was more a chance to discuss what I still had to finish, than confess to decades of sin.

Publishing at least one more book must be one task to complete.

His prayer encompassed both paths, Heaven and more Time. And hence the miracle unfolded.

A second CT scan showed the twisted gut had cleared. The doctor said my progress had made surgery less necessary, although why the gut had twisted remained unclear. If the blockage reoccurred, then he would have to operate. My choice therefore was to have investigative surgery that day or later, if the blockage returned.

My wife wanted me home, and I agreed.

So, after another night monitoring my recovery, I came home—

–to concentrate on the key tasks… my second chance.

To focus on family and writing… on leaving a loving legacy.

My Snowdonia police procedural will be finished, and my December WEP-IWSG Challenge, titled ‘Swords to Ploughshares’ is being outlined.

Anyway IWSG. Remember, the question is optional!

November 2 question – November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

2019 was my ninth year of doing NaNoWriMo, and my last… so far. My reasoning for stopping and a rundown of my attempts is in this December post: https://rolandclarke.com/2019/12/09/nano-notches/

In 2020, I sketched out an idea for ‘Lost Sheep’, a Snowdonia Shadows novella from a different POV – Sparkle’s maternal grandfather. The retired sheep farmer is a devout Presbyterian, who disapproves of her sexuality. However, I struggled to get beyond the opening scenes due to a mix of NaNoWriMo pressures and the first signs of writing debilitating health issues.

So, I’ve since stuck to the slow-plod writing.

However, I was tempted – for a few hours – to use November to work on ‘Freedom Flight’, the collation/collection of all my Ukraine stories. But that would have been the worst kind of cheating… the kind discussed in that 2019 post.

Strange though, I announced the IWSG Anthology Contest 2019 winners in the same post. And one was ‘Feathered Fire’, my short which began my Ukraine journey.

Slava Ukrayini

**
The awesome co-hosts for the November 2 posting of the IWSG are Diedre Knight,Douglas Thomas Greening,Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!

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

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

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

#IWSG – Twists

I’m writing this monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post as the new month starts… and as my bed-ridden position is bearable this morning.

And my long-suffering wife brought me Apple Orchard tea, despite her bad knees and other ailments. I wish our family did more… but they try given their own problems.

The usual single key tapping continues, but my new pain-med regimen helps ease the intermittent pain, improving my concentration.

My Snowdonia police procedural still depends on my desktop appearing… within another three months, perhaps.

My October WEP-IWSG Challenge – ‘Thriller’ theme – is written but needs honing. I’ve even started creating ‘Freedom Flights’, which will be a collation/collection of all my Ukraine stories.

Part 1 will be ‘Feathered Fire’, my historical fantasy which appeared in the IWSG Anthology ‘The Third Ghost’ and introduced the Cheyka family from Ukraine. However, there may be complications using a published piece.

Part II will be my Challenge pieces on the current conflict in Ukraine.

Anyway IWSG. Remember, the question is optional!

October 5 question – What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

I hesitate over ‘favorite genre’ as my current writing for the WEP-IWSG Challenge could be classed as ‘contemporary’ or will become ‘historical’ in a few decades.

My current audio read, ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’ by Lily Graham, is classed as Historical, as it’s set in WW2… and present day.

OK… so best characteristics of Historical: seamless blend of fact and fiction.

Does that make ‘Freedom Flight’ historical? Eastern Front WW2 and present-day Russian invasion?

Let’s switch to my equally favorite genre… Crime.

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

As in ‘Fevered Fuse’ my police procedural novel, undergoing revision, well, awaiting that desktop appearance. Plus, all my other Sparkle stories set in Snowdonia are police procedurals.

And my wife and I are avidly watching ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries” on Acorn TV, a New Zealand series with a great mix of quirky characters.

That’s not quite the Crime genre’s best characteristics… almost.

Twists

Whether red herrings, misleading information, false trails, or any crafty plot coils, a devious writer uses.

Used craftily, these keep our little grey cells firing and our minds entertained.

**
The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker,Victoria Marie Lees,Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!

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

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

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

#IWSG – Shire Dreams

My apologies for this ‘late show’ on the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.

Our move has proved a nightmare with no disabled features to the house like wide doors or wheelchair ramp, a low toilet I have to be transferred onto by a trained carer, plus weeks without internet. My desktop is still in storage as no office imminent, so I’m writing this one-fingered on a laptop barely in reach.

And the new wheelchair keeps dying on me at inconvenient moments.

The flash-drive with my current novel went AWOL during the move, and other backups are proving elusive.

My health is suffering and paying for carers will cripple us… unless my brother acts out of character.

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

Anyway IWSG. Remember, the question is optional!

July 6 question – If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

A few come to mind from Narnia to Earthsea to a galaxy far, far away. But as Tolkien is my early writing inspiration, I choose Middle Earth… well, a safer region, The Shire.

Is that my yearning for rural England on which The Shire was modelled? Home?

Except my heart is in North Wales, where my Sparkle stories are set. Can I live there, please?

+++

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

Insecure Writer’s Support Group


Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!


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

The awesome co-hosts for the July 6 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!

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