Wednesday, May 6, 2020

#IWSG - May - A new book and a new contest!!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!
Today’s optional question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share? 

Voyagers: The Third Ghost

Release date – May 5, 2020
Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press

Journey into the past…
Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?
Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!

The Third Ghost – Yvonne Ventresca
Winter Days - Katharina Gerlach
Feathered Fire – Roland Clarke
The Ghosts of Pompeii – Sherry Ellis
Dare Double Dare – Louise MacBeath Barbour
The Blind Ship – Bish Denham
A World of Trouble – Rebecca M. Douglass
The Orchard - Beth Anderson Schuck
Return to Cahokia – L.T. Ward
Simon Grey and the Yamamba - Charles Kowalski

Special thanks to our amazing judges:

Elizabeth S. Craig, author and honorary judge

Dianne K. Salerni, author

Lynda Dietz, editor

S.A. Larsen, author

Rachna Chhabria, author

Lindsay Davis Auld, agent - Writers House

Tonja Drecker, author

David Powers King, author

Our previous IWSG anthologies -
Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
Hero Lost: The Mysteries of Death and Life
Parallels: Felix Was Here

The 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest is now open!

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 4500-6000

Genre: Science Fiction

Theme: Dark Matter

Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Our official judges:

Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder
Dan Koboldt is the author of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy (Harper Voyager), the editor of Putting the Science in Fiction (Writers Digest, 2018), and the creator of the sci-fi adventure serial The Triangle (Serial Box, 2019). As a genetics researcher, he has co-authored more than 80 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals. He is represented by Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Lynda R. Young, author
Lynda R. Young is an Aussie writing fantasy novels as Elle Cardy. Wielder’s Prize is her debut YA epic fantasy. She is also an editor, game developer, 3D artist, graphic designer, photographer, gamer and more.

Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Colleen Oefelein is an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, a devourer of books, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars.

Damien Larkin, author
Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was published by Dancing Lemur Press and went on to be longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and is working on his next novel Blood Red Sand.

Ion Newcombe, editor and publisher
is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia's longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics into literature and communications.

Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency
Julie Gwinn most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Recently, she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words.

David Powers King, author
David's works include Woven, The Undead Road,, and Full Dark: An Anthology. He currently resides in the Mountain West with his wife and 4 children.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Dancing Lemur Press' imprint Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. (Please see their site for general submission guidelines.) Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!

Last night I posted this on Facebook:
I'm having a moment of silence tonight.
We are losing so many amazing people in this country.
We don't know most of their names.
We didn't get to say goodbye.
We can't even mourn them properly.
I'm thinking about them tonight.
May they rest in peace.
May their families find some comfort.


I feel so bad for these people and their families. I feel like they're just numbers on a chart that's going up and up and up, but we never acknowledge the actual people.

If you're so inclined, please take a moment to think about the people we've lost, the people that are sick, and the people who have recovered, but their health will never be the same.

We're in for a long haul and we need to make sure we don't forget what our humanity looks like.

Need some real joy? Check out SGN on YouTube. Some Good News by John Krasinski is the feel good show we needed. Not only is he really funny, but he's sharing good people doing great things.


  1. Looking forward to reading Voyagers!
    SGN is wonderful - love the joy he brings.

  2. Voyagers is downloaded on my Kindle - can't wait to dive into it!

    I haven't seen SGN - will have to check it out.

  3. Will have to check out SGN. You're right - we can't lose our humanity.

  4. Congrats to everyone in Voyagers.

  5. Beautifully written, Heather. They say the numbers so often on tv that, you're right, they do sound like just numbers instead of people, family members, someone's loved one. In Canada many of the dead are my age. It's scary. And no, we can't forget our humanity. People are dying. Not numbers.

  6. Nice post you made to FB. This is a time few will forget and one that ties us to everyone in the world.

  7. Another one launched and yet more to come! This is non-stop excitement.

  8. Good Post, Heather. I'll have to check out John Krasinski.

  9. You are so right to take time to personalize what is happening around us. I have my own struggles right now, but when I opened up FB and saw someone with whom my husband had gone to high school and with whom we both went to college had lost a struggle to COVID, it blew me away. That, along with two acquaintances and an aunt so far, and 22 pages of obituaries in the Boston Sunday Globe last week. This is real and we do have to recognize it.

  10. Congrats to the anthology winners, and best of luck to everyone submitting for the next!

    I've been hearing good things about SGN. I keep meaning to check it out, but haven't done it yet.

  11. As the numbers grow, they become just that - numbers. But each person was a unique individual with hopes and dreams.

  12. SGN is great! I loved the one with the Hamilton cast.

  13. It is so important to be aware of those we are losing to the pandemic. It is important to be grateful if we are lucky enough to have food, shelter, and funds to survive this, and to share where we can. So many people do not.

  14. I didn't see your post on FB. I've kind of been steering clear of that place, but I'm really glad you posted it. This sentiment needs to be brought to light. <3

  15. Thank you for what you said about the people we are losing to Covid-19 and the families and friends they leave behind, Heather. I think about them all the time and about what amazing, irreplaceable people they are. I fear that life has become terribly cheap in the US. I'm tired of hearing about how it doesn't matter if old, sick people die. I've literally been told that it's just clearing out the dead wood, getting rid of the burdens on our society. We must remember our humanity. Thanks, also, for sharing information about "Voyagers" and the next anthology contest. All the best to you!

  16. "The death of one is a tragedy. The death of millions is just a statistic."
    -Brian Warner

  17. Hi Heather - both anthologies are so inspiring for us all - writers or readers, or both. Life at the moment is tragic - difficult for so many, terrifying too - take care and all the best - Hilary

  18. Thanks for reminding us about the lives lost. Yes, we hear the numbers, and it seems so impersonal. But for every life lost, there's a family grieving. I think the government forgets that. By its ignoring that, we're encouraged to become inured to the numbers. Let us not forget those numbers are real people.

    Thanks for the link to SGN. I'd heard about what Jon was doing but didn't know where. Stay safe.


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