Monday 21 December 2015


Happy Holiday's Everyone!

Thanks to everyone who participated during this very busy time of year. The challenge was particularly difficult as you were asked to write in a science fiction genre, but you rose to the challenge and we have some true masterpieces to enjoy. If you haven't yet, use the links in this piece or click HERE!

AlexJ. Cavanaugh, our guest judge generously took the time to read and comment on each entry. Without any input from us, he's chosen the following winners.

Alex wrote, "It was a difficult choice although I wish nailing down the winners of the IWSG Anthology contest had been this easy! Thanks again for asking me to judge and to write a guest post."

Thank you Alex. Denise, and I find choosing the winners near impossible!

So without further ado – The Winners!


Alex said, "Not only did it use several of us in the story, (not that that swayed me), there were pop culture references and lots of humor. And presented in such a unique way! Hooked me immediately."

A world without war is the universal wish. If only.

Congratulations EC!
This is your year!

Please accept the winner's badge and display on your blog with a link to your excellent story. 

An Amazon Gift Card of $10 will be winging your way shortly.



Alex wrote, "This came across as a reporter’s story and it was so interesting because it was based on real facts about the International Space Station, ISS and more. Fascinating stuff."

I think we all learned something from reading Nila's non-fiction piece.
Congratulations Nila!

Please accept the badge and display it on your blog with a link to your non-fiction piece!


Alex said, "Told from an alien’s point of view, this one had humorous elements. Dug the main character and would like to see more of him."

Despite his reluctance, alien, Lyd-Co found the Christmas Spirit and saved the holiday for a young believer.

Congratulations Olga!

Please accept the badge and display it on your blog with a link to your story!


This year's entries included poetry, excerpts, and flashes that embraced the challenge's criteria.

Such as Book Lover's 'Earth Day'. Alex wrote of Donna's piece, "She told a solid story about young men and what they’re willing to do to gain an audience with a young woman. It had personality and could easily be a longer story." Donna's story made the short list!

We agree. So many of the stories could be expanded to either novellas or books. It's happened in the past, and it's what the WEP is all about.

The goal is to take on a challenge, surprise not only your readers but also yourself, and turn that experiment into a true masterpiece.

Excerpts such as


Thanks everyone, for an exciting December!
You're all winners in our eyes!
Now the WEP will be taking a break 
as we all adjust our lives for the New Year.

But we'll be back in February 2016 with a new challenge!

Denise here. I want to thank Yolanda for helping me bring WEP back to life. She's learnt fast and is a fabulous partner. Thank you Yolanda! There would not have been these 3 challenges without you! And so much fun would have been missed!

If you've been enjoying WEP, please Spread the Word
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The #WEPFF has announced the winners of the WEP Holiday Celebrations Challenge.  @YolandaRenee @DeniseCCovey &

Monday 30 November 2015

#WEPFF- HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS that are out of this world!

December is the month of celebrations worldwide, below is a list of just a few. For this challenge, we want you to give your favorite celebration a Science Fiction twist. This month's judge is Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of the Cassa Series and Dragon of the Stars.

Winter Holidays Around the World

Diwali - Recently celebrated, Diwali is also known as the festival of light is celebrated at the start of winter in India, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Fiji.

Hanukkah - Also known as Channukkah is a 'Festival of Lights'. One of the most important Jewish holidays.

Boxing Day - Also known as St. Stephen's Day, is celebrated the day after Christmas. On this day it is common to give gifts to the poor and needy.

Las Posadas - This is a traditional winter holiday celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala and Southern parts of United States of America.

St. Nicholas Day - This day is especially celebrated in Northern Europe on December 6. St. Nicholas was a protector of the weak against the rich and the strong.

St. Lucias Day - This is a winter holiday celebrated on December 13 in Sweden in honor of St. Lucia, who lived in the third century and is regarded as the patron of light.

Eid-al-Adha - This is a feast that is celebrated by Muslims, to commemorate Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, at the behest of God.

Kwanzaa - Literally meaning 'First Fruits', this has its basis on an ancient harvest festival of Africa which celebrates ideals like collective responsibility and work; self-determination; co-operation; purpose; creativity; faith; and unity.

Hogmanay - This is a Scottish word which means the last day of the year and is basically celebrating the New Year, according to the Gregorian calendar, in the Scottish way.

Japanese New Year - New Year celebration is one of the most major events in Japan. New Year's Eve is known as Omisoka in Japan. The Japanese spend a lot of time shopping and cleaning their houses in preparation for the new year. This symbolizes getting rid of the past and starting afresh.

For this month, we want you to take us out of this world, whether in a flash fiction piece, a non-fiction piece, a poetic interlude, maybe a photograph or an artwork with an otherworldly flavor and explanation for how it relates to the challenge. This time the sky's not the limit! Think on some of the holidays above and if you need more prompting, remember these are merely suggestions and in no way have to turn up in your entry.

Further prompts:

What if space travel was necessary?

- The world is succumbing to the abuse of its population, and flights to other planets occur regularly...or

- It's simply an opportunity to travel to other planets, say for vacation, a job opportunity, or because it's always been a dream, but you depart or arrive during the Holidays.

- How would you write a farewell scene that takes place on that special Holiday? It could be lovers, families, or friends that are departing.

- What if your job is the Entertainment Director of a new settlement? You have a diverse population, what would you do to celebrate the 'holidays' of the crowd or would you imagine an entire new celebration?

So, scriveners, use your experience, memories, or your out-of-control imagination to write a Holiday Celebration that is out of this World! Or a farewell that is of this world!

December 16 – 19
1000 words or less

Don't forget to share the Challenge!
Tweet one of these:

Do you have an idea for a Holiday celebration that's out of this world @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee join us #WEPFF

Flash Fiction a Holiday that's out of this world What planet would you visit?@DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

How would you celebrate the New Year in Space? Holiday Flash Fiction Challenge @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

The Inlinkz code – if you want to add to your blog!

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Tuesday 24 November 2015


Introducing the man who needs no introduction:
the founder of the 
Insecure Writer's Support Group,
author of 4 Amazon Best Selling books in Science Fiction, 
and the judge for the WEP - December Sci-fi Challenge

Take it away, Alex!

Writing Science Fiction –

It’s Not Really That Alien!

I’ve been a science fiction fan for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I read superhero comic books, watched television shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, went to every science fiction film, and read science fiction books by authors such as Heinlein and Bradbury. That I would choose science fiction as my genre of choice when I began writing was no big surprise.

But what if that’s not your genre of comfort? What if you’re not familiar with science fiction outside of Star Wars? What if the concept really is alien to you?

If you don’t know the difference between a plasma drive and a warp drive, don’t worry. While the setting and technology may be a bit different, the basics of good storytelling still apply. Beyond that, here are some tips for writing science fiction:

Study the genre. Read the books and watch the shows. It will give you a grasp on the elements of science fiction.

World building is very important in any speculative fiction story. If your story is set in the future or in another galaxy, you need to consider how that world came about and what sustains it – history, currency, politics, technology, social structure, etc. Most of it won’t end up in the story itself, but it gives you the background and a template for maintaining consistency.

Often you’ll feature technology that doesn’t exist. Sometimes you can take something that is a possibility now and make it real in the future. Or create something completely new. If there aren’t a lot of facts and theories to back up what you’ve created though, just be sure everything is at least plausible.

It’s all right to take ideas you’ve seen elsewhere and use them. Just make them uniquely yours and don’t reuse too many items or concepts. Tossing Star Trek, Star Wars, Avengers, and The Terminator into a blender will probably not make for a great story.

The characters are still just as important! Put just as much effort into character development. They still drive the story. And after all, even a robot has personality.

Does the universe speak English? Doubtful, so find a way to make it possible for races to communicate. Maybe they have all learned to speak the same language or they use a device to translate. Don’t include a lot of alien speak though. It works in the movies, but not so well in books.

Speaking of alien, make sure your names are easily pronounced! And don’t overload your story with so many alien sounding names and items that the reader has a hard time following it.

Now, what are some good science fiction concepts?

  • Taking a possibility to the extreme.
  • Tackling one of life’s big mysteries.
  • A breakthrough or discovery gone horribly wrong.
  • Changing the laws of the universe.
  • Merging with another genre. (Think Firefly, which is a mashup of Western and science fiction.)
  • Time travel.
  • Taking something normal and twisting it.

Now, are you ready to write a science fiction story?


Join us for December's challenge and find out!

Questions? Just ask the Ninja Captain.

Meet the Ninja Captain

Alex J. Cavanaugh & his avatar.

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

You can find Alex J. Cavanaugh via these links

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Alex J Cavanaugh is discussing science fiction  #WEPFF Write…Edit,,,Publish @YolandaRenee & @DeniseCCovey

Next Tuesday, look for the InLinkz sign-up list for the
December Challenge

Tuesday 10 November 2015


Hello again,

In The Dark was J Lenni Dorner's winning entry for the WEP  - October Halloween Challenge. I hope you've all had a chance to read it, if not the link will take you there. 

Today, as our guest, he's writing on settings and how it affects your characters.

Take it away J Lenni Dorner!

When asked if I'd write a guest post I thought, "Sure! What will be my topic?" I devoted myself to settings that become characters, so that seemed like the best well from which to draw. I hope to inspire you on your writing journey!

The most important function of any setting, or any item in a setting, is how it affects a character. 

There's a sunrise. It's the most beautiful sunrise ever seen. Hues of orange and yellow drift into blue as night is vanquished from the sky. You know what? That's not the quality writing publishers (or most readers) are looking to buy. Give us a character who was blind and is experiencing a sunrise for the first time. Or a kingdom that was cursed to darkness for twenty generations and let that sunrise be the first sign of freedom. That's getting closer. Do more by having your point of view character feel something because of the sunrise. Don't just tell me Jane felt happy. Show me. Make the reader feel like they're sharing the experience.

 A popular example of a great setting is the arenas in The Hunger Games series. Those of you who read the books know that those arenas are monsters. Yes, President Snow is the main antagonist. But the arena tries to kill Katniss. There are passages that discuss players who have died because of an arena. It's a person-versus-nature element.

 Now imagine if The Hunger Games didn't have an arena. Katniss and Peeta are sent to modern day New York City and have to outlive their opponents. Would the books be as popular? There are plenty of books about a NYC character figuring out how to survive and thrive there. Taking away the arena changes the story. That is a great example of a setting that is a character. The reader is presented with a place they've never imagined before, and that place offers an emotional challenge to the point of view character.

 Your writing journey might be different. Perhaps your setting is a well-known location. I'll use New York City as an example again. Rockefeller Center presents a myriad of emotions for characters. Has that location made your character reminiscent of watching the tree lighting with their family, all of whom were killed this year? Is it the place where she fell on the ice and a McHottie picked her up, held her close, and whispered, "amateurs should stick to the outside lane" before skating away? Maybe there's a bench here where his great-grandfather ate lunch every day after coming to this country to escape the concentration camps. Or the character has to go this way to get to work at NBC, but is allergic to pine and thus looks like Rudolph all winter long.

Loui Jover; Pen and Ink, 2013, Drawing "the red umbrella":
Saatchi Art
 Each of these are examples of how a setting can affect a character. It isn't about Rockefeller Center - it's about what Rockefeller Center means to your character. So go ahead and let the rain fall on that dark and stormy night, but be sure to make the reader feel like it's something they're experiencing through your point of view character. Maybe a shivering puppy who hasn't eaten properly in days, is soaked to the bone, and has been ignored by the world huddles under a massive tree for shelter. A lonely young character lost her dog and has come to the Rockefeller Center's tree to wish that Sprinkles comes home. The rain turns to fluffy flakes of snow as the two are reunited.

 I have farmed potatoes. But I've never had to grow taters to survive on Mars. Yet, while reading Andy Weir's "The Martian," I felt like I had. That's another great story with a setting that can't be swapped. Mark Watney wouldn't be as compelling if the book were "The Idahoan." A story where the majority of the population is in favor of spending billions of dollars to help one farmer out doesn't seem plausible. But put him on Mars and it works.

So I encourage you to take some time with your settings. Find the sights, smells, textures, tastes, and sounds that make this place unique to your story. Use the setting as a tool to reveal traits of your character. Let it be a challenge or a comforting friend. Give the reader a reason to care about your setting (to the point that there would be a trending Twitter riot if Hollywood tried to put your characters elsewhere). It will pay off.

I'm J Lenni Dorner, winner of the 2015 Youthful Frights and Adult Fears WEP Halloween Challenge, and author of "Preparing to Write Settings that Feel Like Characters" (Amazon, Smashwords).

 Socialize online with 
J Lenni Dorner: 

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J Lenni Dorner is guest posting - the subject is settings #WEPFF Write…Edit,,,Publish @YolandaRenee & @DeniseCCovey

J Lenni Dorner talks setting and characters at the #WEPFF Write…Edit…Publish. @YolandaRenee & @DeniseCCovey


A guest post by Alex J. Cavanaugh
'How to Write Science Fiction'
just in time for
December's Challenge - Sign up Dec 1st!

Tuesday 27 October 2015


Hello everyone!

There were simply too many amazing stories to make the job of choosing a winner easy, so we gave up. Just kidding.

Annalisa took her time, reading and re-reading the 3 entries sent to her and this is the result:

Annalisa told us, "wow, that was so hard. I'm glad I only had to look at the final three - I'd never be able to make a decision otherwise." :-)


Annalisa said, "Because I was right there in that room, hiding under the covers and telling myself monsters aren't real!"

I think we all were! J. Lenni took us back to our childhood. A true Halloween treat!

Congratulations J. Lenni!

Please copy the badge onto your blog, brag about it, link it to your fabulous poem so your fame can spread far and wide.

An Amazon Gift Card to the value of $10 will be winging your way shortly!



Annalisa said, "I love the ingenuity of mixing music with the prose."
Samantha, your modern treatment for Hansel & Gretel was a feast for the eyes, ears, and imagination!

Congratulations Samantha!

 Please copy the badge onto your blog, brag about it, link it to your fabulous mix of music, prose and artwork. It's a criminal offense not to see this modern masterpiece!



Annalisa said, "A chilling, horrific story, vividly written. So many questions..."

So true, the altruistic gift of mothers' milk from such horrific actions, unbelievable and so perfect for Halloween.

Congratulations Nila!

Please copy the badge onto your blog, brag about it, link it to your fabulous chilling flash fiction! It's  hardly fair that we were chilled to the bone, yet some remain oblivious to this horrific story lurking on the web.


Denise and I sent Annalisa a list of 3 finalists, but before that, we went back and forth, and back and forth because the list was near impossible to cut down to 3. We love hosting the WEP and coming up with the challenges, but we HATE choosing the list of winners. It's just too damn hard!

The stories were so wonderful--how do you choose between Jeff's man-eating skunk monster, and Arpan's haunting stranger on the path home, or Bish's funny naked mermaid and Michelle's descent into madness? I tell you it's near impossible, so a huge thank you goes to Annalisa Crawford for making the process a little easier. Our previous post gives a sketch of each entry.

And our winner is:

Congratulations Jeff!  
A $5 Amazon Gift Card will arrive soon!

~~~ ~~~

Thanks everyone, for an exciting October!
As we said before we're going to be busy in November with
The NaNoWriMo challenge.
But we'll be back in December with a new challenge:

Just add a touch of sci-fi to your entry
Tell us about the holiday celebration
of your dreams or nightmares.
December is the month of celebrations
So pick your favorite.
Extend our knowledge.
Show us something new!
Take us on a journey like no other!

Just follow this link and discover the many

And for those of you in the northern hemisphere, remember in the southern hemisphere we are sweating it out during the holiday season. Do they have beaches on Mars? Hmm...

Please take a little time to comment and wish the winners well! Maybe next time it will be you! It's been a wonderful challenge, enjoyed by so many!

Don't forget to Spread the Word
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