One book leads to another...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG July 2020 - Choices and Changes

Hi there!

Whether you’re just passing through, or looking for a comfortable online group in which to share your writing journey, you’ve come to the right place! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers resources, tips, timely news, how-to’s, and don’t do’s – all the support we writers can use to make the most of our craft.

We meet on the 1st Wednesday of every month. Feel free to browse around and mingle. As in the words of IWSG founder and “Cassa Series,” author Alex Cavanaugh, “Your words may be the encouragement someone else needs” Join us!

Our awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

My World:

We had one humdinger of a storm soon after last month’s post. It was one of those sneaky mid-night especially destructive Monsoons complete with window-rattling thunder and lightning bolts roughly the width of Parthenon columns. It was one of those massive electric bolts that started the Bighorn Fire in our beloved Santa Catalina Mountains – in an area just above our house.

Persistent winds whipped a fiery swath through the canyons with a fury that roared over each side of the range in a flaming rage. At times, there were upwards of 900 brave responders battling the blaze that could be seen clear across the city.  Many of the 114k-plus acres that ended up perishing over the course of 25 days hadn’t burned in over 1100 years. The sheer magnitude of displaced wildlife is appalling and beyond tragic.  Authorities are pinning the losses primarily on the invasion.

If this year, such as it’s been, has taught us anything, it’s that invasions come in many forms. The aggression that significantly impeded the Bighorn Fire battle was that of the omnipresent and highly-flammable Buffelgrass, a non-native grass initially peddled as erosion control and livestock forage. This historic fire has drastically changed the landscape, and possibly the entire ecosystem of our mountain range. Going forward, we can only hope that future promoters of lousy experiments aren’t as careless in their duties as desert sentries.

On Writing:

Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that the Bighorn Fire may have radically changed (in a good way!) the ending of a book I plan to release later this year.

As for the book I’d planned to release in July (still do, actually): I was at a point where all the pieces were coming together nicely. I’d even approved a cover. Yet, there remained a pervasive sense of – apathy. Why wasn’t I excited about this? It wasn’t until I showed the cover to a trusted friend who asked, “What’s the book about?” that the reason for my lack of enthusiasm was as plain as the words on the cover. Ugh, that title had to go. It was surprisingly painless and had the same effect as hanging a Suncatcher at my favorite window.

Speaking of titles, I read a startling YA tale called “Tsantas” by C. Lee McKenzie this month. It’s sure to become the next Best Campfire Story – ever!

In answer to the (optional) IWSG Question of the Month:

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’m almost afraid to contemplate the lengths to which the industry, as well as technology, may one day evolve. I’d like to see more emphasis on author talent; rather than affiliations in terms of publishing. I can’t fathom an interest in any mystery a computer might write. I’m quite content to write – and share, as I do with the technology available today.

Happy Writing!


See ya soon!


  1. I've seen fire and I've seen rain
    I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
    I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
    But I always thought that I'd see you again
    - James Taylor

    Hi, diedre!

    I am distressed after learning the magnitude of the recent wildfire's impact on native wildlife. I didn't know a thing about the invasive weed Buffelgrass, and just now did some extra reading about "the archenemy of the Sonoran Desert." It's here in Florida, too! Nature tends to find a way to bounce back, and we can only hope that the area will recover over time and the displaced wildlife will adapt and find a way to survive. I am very sorry about what happened to your beautiful land, dear friend.

    I'm sure Cheryl-Lee will appreciate your words in support of “Tsantas.” I wish you much success with your upcoming releases.

    Here is my question. 2020: We will long remember it. What will we learn from it?

    Enjoy the rest of your week, diedre. If you plan to visit Shady's Place, I ask that you wait until my next post is published tomorrow morning. It is a timely musical essay that I would especially like to share with you.

    Thank you, diedre. I wish you much better days ahead. Please take good care of yourself!

    1. Hi Shady!

      Love the James Taylor song. These days, lyrics like that cause a catch in my breath.

      Aw, I'm sorry to hear you guys have Buffelgrass too. I can't imagine why it would be introduced there, though the excuses given for the southwest are less than acceptable.

      What will we learn from 2020? Or worse, what will we forget? I think of hope, faith, trust, and love as candlesticks. Only trouble is that each time you blow them out there's that much less to light.

      Of course I plan on visiting Shady's Place! I went by this morning, before being called to "duty" I'll be on the road much of tomorrow but will drop on by as soon as I get to a quiet place. I look forward!

      Thanks for coming by, my friend ;-)

  2. Glad you are okay after that terrible storm. And awesome that it helped you figure out a better ending to your current story. Good luck with your new book release!

    1. Hi Natalie!

      It truly is a powerful testament to the courage and tenacity of the firefighters that things were not worse than they are. It's not over yet, but getting there. Predicted rain today may help immensely.

      Thank you for coming by!

  3. You know folks, there's a reason that grass didn't grow naturally there. People need to think when they do something like that. Look at Australia and all the rabbits that have overrun it.

    1. Hi Alex!

      Exactly! Thanks for chiming in.

      Have a safe and happy 4th!

  4. Titles are so important. It's great that you got beta feedback before you released your book.
    I totally agree that the writer is more important than anything else in the publishing equation. A computer would make up very boring stories--but perhaps that's an idea for a sci-fi story.
    Happy ISWG!

    1. Hi Jenni!

      I think beta readers are invaluable ;-)

      You may be on to something with the Computer Without a Muse idea!

      Happy IWSG Day to you as well ;-)

  5. The title of a book really is important.

    More emphasis on author talent would be a great thing.

    1. Hello, Lady Chrys!

      I agree. And I think, going forward, I'll give a lot more thought to the title AFTER the story is finished.

      I emphatically declare you an extremely talented author, dear Chrys ;-)

  6. It seems we both live in areas where wildfires sweep through and make huge changes. Here, we're in the middle of our fire season now and have already had a couple of small blazes. Nothing is more fearsome to experience, so I know you have some fodder for that novel. Here's to a successful release!

    Thank you for mentioning Tsantas. It was interesting to write and I gave myself the creeps for a few nights. :-)

    At the moment, I'm trying to figure out where I can use coddiwomple. I love the sound that word makes.

    1. "Gave myself the creeps," Ha! I love it.

      Have a Happy 4th!

  7. dIEDRE ~

    What a shame about that fire! Glad you and your home remained safe, though.

    I didn't even know what lightning was until I moved to Arizona. I thought I knew, but I didn't. Some of the lightning displays I saw during my 20 years in Phoenix are burned into my mind forever.

    In fact, I didn't even know lightning could travel horizontally until I moved to Phoenix ("...but it's a dry heat". ;-)

    Coddiwomple... that's what I've been doing my ENTIRE LIFE!

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. According to "experts" a carefully unplanned Coddiwomple, or journey, leads to the best destination. Go boldly forth, my friend - and enjoy.
      Have a safe and happy 4th!

  8. Hi Diedre - love coddiwomple ... great word.

    That fire sounds horrendously dangerous ... and we're only learning now how wrong we are to try out new plants on other continents ... so many invasive species ... which destroy the natural habitat, and take a lot of man-hours to sort out once they've got a grip.

    Take care - and all the best - Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!

      I hope to see the day the entire world agrees there is no one-size-fits-all. Nature prevails without intervention just as those who strive to, do succeed.
      Wishing you peace and joy, dear Hilary ;-)


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