Wednesday 28 September 2016

Writing about CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN. And the Write...Edit...Publish team expands.

Hello there! Wow, it's nearly October. Lots of exciting things happening in October. Firstly, it's birthday month for a few of us...Roland Yeomans, Donna Hole and myself...anyone else?

And on October 1, the inLinkz list goes up, with calls for submissions for the Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) October challenge. So you can help us celebrate our birthdays by joining us for the WEP October challenge where you have a choice:

You can respond to the CONSTELLATIONS challenge, or
you can respond to the HALLOWEEN challenge, or
you can be very clever and combine the two.

Go HERE to read more about these challenges.

We accept flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photographs/photo essays, artwork. Written work needs to be 1,000 words or under to help with reading time.

We award 3 places for the best entries: overall WINNER (who receives a $10 Amazon Gift Card), the RUNNER UP and the ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD.

If you are the winner, you are offered an opportunity to write a guest post before the next challenge.

Poet and fiction author Nilanjana Bose was the winner for the August GARDENS challenge. I'm loving poetry at the moment, so I'm sharing the beginning of her amazing poem, Point me to...

Point me to the earth, always, always,
even one thousand years later,
when all you have is some fragments
and this yellowed, sparse dust of paper.

When words have lost their hundred tongues,
cities have plucked their hundred streets
and thrown them like javelins straight and hard,
when the meek come to leash the elite;

the smoke from rocks is tightly curled,
the sun’s lava a wrinkled-skin moon.
The skyscrapers have their yawns shushed
but still silence won’t carry a tune.

Point me to the Earth even then,
to lost wildflowers, fossils of pollen.

Here is an extract from her guest post, where Nila has researched CONSTELLATIONS to help you if you choose to respond to this prompt...


...The night sky has fascinated humans from time immemorial with its magnificence and vastness.  Ancient peoples looked to the stars as harbingers of seasons and for navigation across featureless lands or seascapes. They wove them into myth and folklore, faith and spirituality.  Constellations are imaginary star patterns the ancient humans drew connecting clusters of the brighter stars. 

The earliest written star catalogues go back to around 1200 BCE in Mesopotamia.  Around the same time, an astronomy system was developed in the Indus Valley Civilisation, though no written records of it survive.  The alignment of various ancient monuments to stars and planetary bodies tells us both of the fascination for them, and the sophisticated techniques the builders employed. Stonehenge in UK and the Giza Pyramids are just two examples where the skies have influenced buildings on earth; there are many others throughout the world. 

...Originally, the study of stars was possible only through what was visible to the naked eye.  Mostly plotting the stars and charting their courses and those of the sun, moon and the planets.  A branch of astronomy that is now called astrometry.  How the celestial bodies slotted into the universe as a whole was constructed through a philosophical exploration.  By the early medieval period, the ideas from Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, India and Greece had been pulled together into a geocentric theory which assumed that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

In the medieval period the learning centres shifted from Europe east to Persia, the Levant, India and further into China. Sophisticated mathematics and engineering skills, and the setting up of new observatories in the Islamic Empire led to a manifold growth in knowledge.  The astrolabe was developed in Islamic Spain and introduced to other regions. Scholars identified and recorded new stars and celestial phenomena, and even today many terms in astronomy – azimuth, nadir, zenith - have their roots in Arabic and Persian language. Omar Khayyam, more famously known for his Rubaiyat the world over, was also an astronomer-mathematician and knew more about the ‘flight’ of stars than he let on in his poetry –

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

...Poetry and stars/constellations go together like…chicken tikka masala and naan. However, constellations and stars pervade not just poetry but all spheres of art and literature, from Shakespeare to John Green via Van Gogh, everywhere you look you’ll see a million examples.  There are innumerable things to do with this prompt. The sky is literally the limit. Constellations can be tweaked to fit into any idea you may have.

Let’s take Romance.  Do the constellations work there? Yup, starlight and serenades, clandestine assignations, candle-lit dinners, I mean, darkened skies are almost a staple in love-stories.

Adventure? Yup. Think night, think navigation, think Ursa Minor or Crux. Constellations chart the course of our lives, they are the zodiac, fate, destiny, karma, repositories of mythology, they peg us to our own place in the vast scheme of things.

Crime/Mystery? Yes, of course, crime happens right under the noses of the stars most of the time!

Fantasy and speculative fiction? Yes again. And don’t let’s even start on Sci-Fi, more than half of which genre is based in inter-planetary/-galactic settings! There are constellations all around in deep space, no avoiding the things. 

And before I go, I’d just like to mention that constellation need not be of stars alone.  The word has been used as a name for paintings, music bands and albums, a cruise ship, an abandoned space exploration programme, books, films and journals.  Endless possibilities.  So bloggers, art-makers and story-tellers, let’s get the pencil points of imagination sharpened and put the prompt to work.  Can’t wait to read the results! Good luck! and see you soon…

Thank you Nilanjana!

Now we haven't forgotten about HALLOWEEN!

It's time to scare us silly! Give us your best 'Booooooo!' 
Have you got a scary story, fictional or real? 
Have you got a scary poem?
Have you got a scary image?
Make sure we can't get to sleep after reading  your entry! Send our scare-o-metre to the stratosphere!

If you can scare us while writing about CONSTELLATIONS, you're a genius of the first order!

Sign up October 1st
Post October 19 - 21

Now, some exciting news!

Hosting WEP is a huge commitment. So that we can continue this vibrant writing community, Yolanda Renee and I have added two more talented writers to our team, Olga Godim and Nilanjana Bose. If you don't know Olga and Nilanjana, please visit their blogs and say hi.

Please help spread the word for our October challenges. Copy and paste the badges onto your blogs. Share via social media. Encourage your writer friends to take part.

Image result for image twitter

Announce the Guest Post by Nilanjana Bose
and introduce our October Challenge!
We'd love if you'd Tweet one of these:

A WEP Guest post featuring Nilanjana Bose @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

A WEP Flash Fiction Challenge - the prompt is Constellations & Halloween @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

What's your October inspiration? The stars or the supernatural or both? @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

Thanks for coming by...

  • I'm so excited about CONSTELLATIONS, I've already got my post ready to go...
  • How about you? Would you consider posting something on CONSTELLATIONS or HLLOWEEN between October 19 - 21? 
  • InLinkz submissions go up on October 1, so watch this space...

Tuesday 20 September 2016


Hello fellow scribes!

It's the September/October school holidays in Oz, so I'm chilling at the beach. Hard to think about blogging, but I can't leave Crystal Collier's cover reveal up forever!

George Santayana said: "To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring." I don't know. We Aussies are hopelessly in love with every season except summer. In these days of global warming, it's just way too hot and we're sick of getting melanomas cut out! So at the mo', we're enjoying beautiful spring weather and that means the sun, surf and sand and relaxing.

I keep a special desk on the deck so I can ponder the Pacific blue.

So, after much pondering I came up with a post!

Book Titles.

We writers can be overprotective and pathological hoverers when it comes to book titles.

Okay. We’ve made the monumental effort of producing a book. Maybe the monumental effort of choosing the title is the final hurdle we have to jump over. 

Or maybe we think it’s no-one’s business but our own what we call our little darling.

If you’re traditionally published, a book’s title is subject to hot debate and sometimes you have little/no input. 

The creative and commercial worlds collide.

Usually, the commercial wins.

But I did a little research and found that history shows us that that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Here are a few title changes which should warm your heart, and help us to trust editors and others when they offer advice re the title of your baby.

  • The Jewboy became Whacking Off which then became Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.
  • Jane Austen’s father submitted an early version of her second novel, First Impressions. It was rejected, only to re-emerge as Pride and Prejudice.
  • Jacqueline Susann’s They Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen became Valley of the Dolls.
  • How about 1984. George Orwell’s The Last Man in Europe doesn’t quite have the ring. Changing its name resulted in commercial success.
  • One of my favourite stories—the publisher Faber plucked Strangers from Within from the slush pile. With some masterful editing, it became Lord of the Flies. Say no more.
  • Margaret Mitchell's blockbuster Gone With the Wind was tentatively titled Tomorrow is Another Day.
Now if you’re self-published, as more and more of us are these days, you don’t have whole marketing departments, sales teams, book chains and publicity directors clamouring over your book, demanding the commercial title of their choice.

You may say, just as well. My title is sacrosanct.

Is it?

After reading some of the examples above, maybe we should pay closer attention to our titles and throw them out there for opinions other than our own.

What do you think?

In 2015 I dusted off a manuscript from 2010, a story which I’ve always thought of as The Perfect Silence of the Night. One night as I was creating in my head instead of sleeping, I had another title pop up (fired by Michael di Gesu’s blurb). So my paranormal romance which I self-published for Halloween last year (having not submitted it to any traditional publishers—maybe next time), has the new title—Under the Tuscan Moon. And I couldn’t be happier!

Now I'm pondering the title for my contemporary women's fiction/chick lit/women's fiction...whatever...

My working title has always been Carpe Diem. Then I began thinking, maybe not everyone knows that Latin saying...maybe they'll think it's about a special Catholic mass. Then I thought of adding Art and Love in Paris (the hero is an artistas a sub-title to replace Paris Never Leaves You. Then I thought of The Art of Loving in Paris, then decided that could be mistaken for porno or erotica. Hmm. Tricky things, titles.

I know you've got better things to do, but if you have a suggestion for my title, I hope you'll leave it in the comments.

I'm curious. Have you ever changed your book title? Had to run with one your publisher chose and you hated? Please tell us...

Thanks for stopping by. Would you believe blogspot had a glitch and I had to write this twice, so if it doesn't altogether make sense, that's because who likes to write a blog post twice? I mean, I'd rather be pondering how many shades of blue there are in the Pacific Ocean.

The October Write...Edit...Publish challenge is looming! There is a choice of themes: CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN, or if you're very, very clever, a combination of both! So get your little sci-fi, fantasy or horror brains around the next challenge. Linky goes up October 1! Should be a double hoot!

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Crystal Collier is Timeless! #CoverReveal and #Blurb!

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

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Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.

Thank you for supporting our purple girl today by showing up. Here's to the success of Crystal's latest in her series.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

#IWSG post--is our writing ever good enough? There's help out there!

Aren't we all somewhat insecure about our writing? Well, duh, that's the whole point of IWSG!  I've never yet met a writer who wasn't stricken with self-doubt somewhere along the line. So a perfect antidote is to attend a masterclass with someone whose past students got published after attending her classes and many ended up on the New York Times Best-selling List. I could live with that!

Facebookers amongst us will know that I've been attending a Margie Lawson Immersion Class for 5 days, where 8 lucky writers who were the first to sign up spent 12 hours a day learning at the seat of the master editor and make-your-novel-amazing Margie from Colorado.

The mornings were spent learning how to make our manuscripts sing louder, through more visceral writing and amplification, and the afternoons were spent writing, analyzing our manuscripts and the biggie--one-on-one sessions with Margie.

Absorbing her edit system (which of course I can't share due to copyright) was the most awesome thing about the retreat, held in a gorgeous home in a leafy suburb of Brisbane. I also picked up 2 fab critique partners, both romance writers.

Margie has asked me to host an Immersion Class at our beach house in March '17. I'm considering it.

No, Margie didn't hire me as her publicist, but I'm so excited about what I've learned that I thought I'd share it for the #IWSG.

So I'll just share one example of mine with you. You have to have a ms under your arm when you turn up. I brought along my 45,000 word ms for 'Carpe Diem---Love and Art in Paris' (WORKING TITLE).  I never got further than a few pages with Margie as she was bursting her creativity all over those opening pages (and my major turning point). I went away from the one-on-one and rewrote my opening line...and my first two chapters several times.

Here's the opening line on my original ms:


The stranger props himself on a bar stool in front of me like he owns the place.

(cringe-worthy much?)


I watch the tall Frenchman push his way into Marcel’s Bar in Pigalle, Paris’s naughty end of town.

(After a session with Margie. Less cringe-worthy?)

Now, it still has room for improvement, of course, writing always does, but now that I've been Margie-fied, I have learned a few more ways to tempt the reader.

NOW after visiting other IWSGers, I see I was supposed to answer the question: how do I find the time to write in my busy day...well, lately I've been getting up early and writing for a couple of hours before anyone else wakes's just me, my laptop and the sea view. Then I grab two hour sessions throughout the day. I'd say at the moment I'm averaging about six hours a day writing. That's what Hemingway did, and Dean Koontz does...

Thanks a whole bunch of koalas, Margie!

First Wed of Every MonthMargie Lawson's profile photo
Twitter: @margielawson
Facebook: Margie Lawson
Inline image 1

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Go HERE to sign up or read more posts.

Visit the co-hosts!
C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata! 

And a heads-up for the October Write...Edit...Publish. There is a choice of themes: CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN, or if you're very, very clever, a combination of both! So get your little sci-fi, fantasy or horror brains around the next challenge. More details soon! Should be a double hoot!


  • How about you? Have you attended a writers' retreat?
  • Do you know Margie Lawson?
  • Do you have any editing tips to share with us?