Monday, 21 September 2020

#WEPff #WINNER of the AUGUST Challenge LONG SHADOW! Toi Thomas Guest Post: Reading and Writing to Cope-Still Waiting for Hope

 Hi! L.G. here!

The winner of the August Challenge, LONG SHADOW, joins us today. This is the second challenge in a row Toi Thomas has won, and it's no wonder. Her words are powerful and poignant.

Take it away, Toi!

Reading and Writing to Cope- Still Waiting for Hope

12 years ago, I had no idea I wanted to be a writer.

It's true that throughout my life I've always written in some way or another, but it was never something I thought I needed or wanted to pursue. Then one day, I began to find myself writing- being fueled by emotions. Going through a tough time, those words begin to help me. I was fortunate at the time that the things I wrote ended up being the first novel I ever published. While that novel isn't available to the public right now, pending a rewrite, at the time it was the most important thing in my life. Now don't get me wrong, my family and my faith have and always will always come first, but writing is what helps me keep the life- the clarity of mind- I've always had.

It's not just writing either. I've always been a fan of reading, though there was a time that I stopped reading due to the pressures of mandatory reading. Once I got over and past that, reading became part of my life again and just like writing it helped to soothe me- to help keep the balance and clarity I needed. Sometimes that means reading my Bible or reading devotionals but for me, mostly, it's fiction that really impacts and embraces me.

I become overwhelmed by the things people are able to imagine in their minds- things that are many times clearly inspired by reality, whether that reality is good or bad, fair or terrifying, fiction has always been that thing that has helped me cope.

I have been struggling lately. I'm not even sure if “struggle” is the right word but it's the one that I have for right now. I am living through a time that history has continued to repeat, and it breaks my heart daily. I live in a world where someone who looks like me can die at any moment if they piss-off the wrong person with skin lighter than ours. It breaks my heart that other people don't, or refuse to, see the Injustice of the world that we live in. It breaks my heart that people don’t, or refuse to, acknowledge their privilege and acknowledge the brutality that others have to face every day.

People of color, especially black people in the U.S., live in fear. Because of the color of our skin, the police will shoot us instead of talking to us or offering us due process. We don't get to walk out of our houses and tell someone to leave us alone if they're bothering us. No, instead, we get to keep our mouths shut, we get to hold our heads down, and we get to pray that we make it home every day.

So, these are the things that I have been reading about. These are the things that I have been writing about. These are the things that I have been trying to cope with. So many people right now are focused on the horrifying pandemic that we're all dealing with, but for me, the pandemic is the least of my worries. Dying from covid-19 doesn’t scare me- it’s preventable. Having a headlight go out scares me because I could get pulled over by a cop and be killed for being the wrong color.

So, these are my words. I write them to help me cope- still waiting for hope.


My latest release: Why Are You Afraid?

There’s no easy way to explain racism, especially to young kids, but the sooner kids learn the truth, the better they can combat it and work to help make changes.

This is a light, yet serious, story about perceptions. This book was written to help parents start the race conversation with their children, whatever their race or skin color may be.

Amazon link


Toi Thomas is a geek-girl, vinyl collector, chocoholic, movie buff, animal lover, avid reader and reviewer, blogger, vlogger, and an indie author of children's books, fiction, and nonfiction. Find Toi online at the following links.

Website- The ToiBox of Words

YouTube- Toi Thomas

Facebook- Toi Thomas Author

Twitter- @ToiThomas

Website- Lit Carnivale

YouTube- Carnie the Bookworm

Instagram- @CarnieTheBookworm

Thank you so much for the guest post Toi, and congratulations once again for your win for LONG SHADOW!

Our next challenge is almost here! Please get your thinking caps on for GRAVE MISTAKE. The first post will go up on October 1st. Have your entries ready by October 21st-23rd. Once again, we will be practicing WEP-Lite.

L.G. for the team:


@ToiThomas #WEPLONGSHADOW  #WEPwinner #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPLONGSHADOW  #WEPwinner Reading and Writing to Cope #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPLONGSHADOW  #WEPwinner  Reading and Writing to Cope-Still Waiting for Hope #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

Monday, 31 August 2020


Hello everyone! This month saw a lot of great entries! We also noticed many of you were inspired to write poetry this time around, and it was all so good! Thank you to everyone who gave it their all and joined in with us for this challenge.

Since we're still keeping things lite, there will be no blurbs again this month.


It's never easy to decide on a short list, and this challenge was no exception. After some debate, here is the final short list we sent off to our judge, Nick Wilford. We've added a link for you to check them out if you didn't get to read them.

C. Lee McKenzie- The Lynching

Dixie Jarchow- Choices

Toi Thomas- A Growing Flame

Bernadette Braganza- The Deserted Railway Station

Elephant's Child- Me and My Shadow

Susan Rouchard- The Banker

DM Hanton- Long Shadow

Sonia Dogra- Long Shadow



We would like to thank all of you who have made the effort to comment on all/most of the entries. That is such a crucial part of making WEP work. Though we didn't count them this time around, we still notice and appreciate your thoughtful responses to each entry.


As you all know, the winner of each challenge receives a critique prize. This month, Juneta Key is offering a fabulous prize: 

-feedback and an edit on a short story, flash fiction, or the first twenty pages of a manuscript

-an Author Spotlight on Writer's Gambit & Stormdance Publications

-questions/setup with website or technical help

-questions/setup with Facebook or Twitter

Juneta writes speculative fiction involving Grumpy Old Gods, Space Opera, Paranormal & Sci-Fi Fantasy.  She is co-owner/editor and website manager of Stormdance Publications.  She is the fiction columnist and editor of The Ninja Writers Pub, and manager of the accountability program, teaches short story and host fiction co-working calls, write-ins for Ninja Writers. She offers coaching in story development/world building, short story, Scrivener, Scapple, Canva help. Her contact. 

Website | Amazon Author Page | Medium Profile | Facebook | Twitter




Congratulations, Toi!

Nick wrote: "Haunting and poignant. Only needs a few words to create a powerful impact."

You always amaze us with your ability to move and inspire us in so few words, Toi. Please link the badge to your poem, A Growing Flame, and post it on your blog. You've also won this month's fabulous critique prize!

Congratulations again on your evocative entry!




Congratulations, Dixie!

Nick wrote: "I liked the mixture of a mystical fantasy atmosphere with the timely issue of gender. Great take."

Dixie, please link the badge to your story, Choices, and post it on your blog.




Congratulations, Sonia!

Nick wrote: "Beautiful and exotic, I really like the introduction of the myth and accompanying intrigue."

Sonia, please link the badge to your story, Long Shadow, and post it on your blog.


We also have a special award this month. This is an award the WEP team hands out when we feel the need to acknowledge a WEP participant for their dedication, regardless of whether they make the shortlist.

This month we would like to acknowledge Roland Clarke. He posted this month despite personal struggles that made it extremely difficult, and his ability to serialize always impresses us. 

Roland, please link this badge to your story, Chapter Four: Umbrage, and post it on your blog.

Here's our prompt for OCTOBER. Let's get those thinking caps on. The thinking-caps post will go up on October 1st. The sign-up post will then go live on October 21st. October is our BIG month where we delve deep into dark tales. If darkness isn't your forte (you may well think there's enough darkness in the world without adding to it!) respond in whatever way you wish. 

This is a wonderful badge from our creator, Olga Godim. Its atmospherics conjure up all sorts of Edgar Allen Poe imagery. OOOOH. Let's get creative!


Traditionally October is the month when we like to bring out and parade the the cupboards and on our brains. 

Stay safe and well everyone, and here's to a super creative October!

We'd love for you to tweet this post or share it to Facebook or your favorite social media site.

Read excellent entries from our WEP August winners @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

#WEPFF LONG SHADOW winners announced @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners 

Come congratulate our August winners. #WEPFF LONG SHADOW Challenge @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

The #WEPFF writers had some fantastic entries! WEP winners announced! @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

#WEPFF LONG SHADOW @DeniseCCovey @yolndarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

Thank you for the writing excellence, WEP Winners! @LGKeltner @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

Wednesday, 19 August 2020



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The linky will close on the 22nd of August at 23:55 EST.
Please be sure to read and comment on everyone's entries. We may not be counting comments this time around, but it's crucial to the success of WEP that all of you continue to read and comment to the best of your ability. We all appreciate your efforts!

Sign up for the WEP challenge, Long Shadow. @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting, #amreading, #amediting, #ff, #flashfiction, #nonfiction, #poetry, #prizes

Join the enthusiastic writers at WEP. Sign up here for the Long Shadow challenge  @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting, #amreading, #amediting, #ff, #flashfiction, #nonfiction, #poetry, #prizes

Fourth WEP writing challenge of 2020 @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim Sign up or read. #amwriting, #amreading, #amediting, #ff, #flashfiction, #nonfiction, #poetry, #prizes

Read some great short #writing here at the WEP, @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting, #amreading, #amediting, #ff, #flashfiction, #nonfiction, #poetry #prizes


Saturday, 1 August 2020

#WEP/IWSG August Challenge for 2020 - Long Shadow

Hello everyone! Laura here!

2020 has proven to be a stressful and frightening time for us all, and we're so grateful that so many of you continue to take part in WEP! Perhaps writing and community are just the thing so many of us need right now.

Let's talk a little about this month's writing challenge!

Welcome to the August Challenge
Long Shadow!

Firstly, we tried something new last challenge, WEP lite. For those of you who weren't here for it last time around, here are the basics.

WEP lite is WEP stripped of everything but the absolute essentials.

There will be no...

  • Comment counting. Again this month we rely on your goodwill to read as many entries as you can, remembering how it sucks if only 2 people read yours. Don't let this happen!
  • Blurbs. We'll hold off on them again this month. 
  • Constant post monitoring. We'll still try to check the website and C-Box as much as possible, but if you have a very urgent query, email Denise at

There will be...

  • Shortlist and judging
  • Winners' post announcement
  • Winner's Guest post
  • Mail Chimp emails (at least some of the time)

So, let's get to it...

This is the put-your-thinking-cap-on post ONLY. Sign up post goes live August 19, EST, and will remain open for 3 days. Be ready to pounce! 3 days of reading and commenting. This is a great way to relax and tap in to your creative side.

We all know times are tough. We hope you'll find some joy in participating in WEP. Work that stress out through your writing. Use that creative spark to bring a smile to your face.


How does the Long Shadow prompt inspire you?

Do you ever feel like someone is watching you from the shadows?

Do you feel as if you live in the shadow of another and yearn to break free?

Or is your shadow a dark secret that you carry with you and would do anything to protect?

What hides within the long shadow?

This month we have a wonderful prize for our winner! Juneta Key is offering feedback and an edit on a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or the first twenty pages of a manuscript.  On top of that, the winner will also receive an author spotlight on Writer's Gambit and Stormdance Publications, questions/setup with website or technical help, and questions/setup with Facebook or Twitter.

It's come to our attention that there have been some issues with critique prizes. Not everyone who wins WEP has something ready for critique. That's okay. If you win and you don't have something ready and would like to pass the prize on to someone else who can use it, let us know! We can then offer it to the runner-up. These wonderful editors have a lot to offer, and we want to make sure the prize goes to someone who needs it!

Your admin for the August WEP is L.G.

For those of you who like to plan ahead, our prompt for October is:

We'd love if you'd Tweet Tweet Tweet some/all of these:
WEP writing prompt Long Shadow @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim
Sign up August 19! #amwriting #flashfiction #WEPFF #poetry #nonfiction

Get-your-thinking-caps-on for Long Shadow @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim
Sign up August 19! #WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction #poetry #nonfiction

Join WEP @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim  for the fourth challenge of the year August Long Shadow Sign up August 19!
#WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction #poetry #nonfiction

Step out of the shadows by joining @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim  for the latest challenge! Long Shadow Sign up August 19! #WEPFF #amwriting #flashfiction #poetry #nonfiction

Laura for the WEP Team

Monday, 20 July 2020

#WEPff #WINNER of JUNE challenge! URBAN NIGHTMARE! Toi Thomas Guest Post: The Revelation of Expression Through Technique.

Hi, Denise here.

June's winner for the WEP challenge, URBAN NIGHTMARE, guests for us today. Her winning entry was short, succinct and terrifying. Goes to show, we don't always need 1,000 words to get our point across. Again, congratulations Toi. Thank you for putting this piece together to inspire us.

Because of the poignancy and relevance of Toi's entry, I'm reposting here in case you missed it or would like a reminder...

It’s cold outside, but I can’t wear a hoodie.

My pants are too tight, but at least it doesn’t look like I’m carrying.

My car is run down, but at least I’m less likely to get pulled over.

I just need to make it a few more blocks…

Take it away, Toi.

The Revelation of Expression Through Technique 

Oh boy, is that title a doozy! I was pretty proud of myself when I came up with it. 

Essentially, this article is going to be all about how I discovered the necessity of "Showing" readers my emotions versus "Telling" them about it. This is not a continuation of the long-running debate over Show versus Tell. I, for one, think there is merit to both techniques, but that’s an article for another day. No, this is me, Toi Thomas, admitting that I struggle with these techniques constantly until there’s something I really want to say. 

For me, and likely, many writers out there, writing is an extension of my love of reading. It’s a form of escapism. It’s a chance for me to get lost in worlds and characters I’ve created. However, it’s one thing to write for one’s own entertainment and another to write for the masses. Pleasing others is much harder than pleasing oneself. I can tell you a good story, but you might find it a bit boring if I don’t show you any emotion. 

That’s what I discovered when I started to write something that was more than an escape. I started working on a very personal short-fiction project. Something so special and private I haven’t even tried to share it with anyone yet. Still, when using a nifty read-aloud program to hear my words from a different perspective, it was clear that they lacked impact. For the first time, I didn’t need a critique partner or beta reader to point out where the initial weaknesses were ‘cause I could hear them. It was a true revelation for me. 
I poured over that first draft and added about two thousand words to replace all the “feelings” words and convert them into physical descriptions. The whole process took thirty-six hours and I was mentally numb afterward. It may seem crazy to some to say that it took thirty-six hours to write two thousand words, but there was more to it. 

I wrote and rewrote. I cried, I yelled, I paced. Moved things around and restructured them, all in an effort to perfect this piece so that it could properly express the ideas and emotions I wanted to convey. I can’t say with one hundred percent confidence that the piece is perfect because I recognize that a second opinion is still needed. Yet, I know when I hear my words spoken back to me now, they move me. It doesn’t feel like I’m hearing words being spouted out, trying to make me feel something. I do feel something. Maybe someday I’ll share this with someone, and they too will be moved by it. 

Toi’s latest release: Why Are You Afraid?

There’s no easy way to explain racism, especially to young kids, but the sooner kids learn the truth, the better they can combat it and work to help make changes.

This is a light, yet serious, story about perceptions. This book was written to help parents start the race conversation with their children, whatever their race or skin color may be.

Toi Thomas is a geek-girl, vinyl collector, chocoholic, movie buff, animal lover, avid reader and reviewer, blogger, vlogger, and an indie author of children's books, fiction, and nonfiction. Find Toi online at the following links.

YouTube- Toi Thomas
Facebook- Toi Thomas Author
Twitter- @ToiThomas

Website- Lit Carnivale
Instagram- @CarnieTheBookworm

Thanks so much for guesting for us Toi. And congratulations again for your win for URBAN NIGHTMARE. 

And everyone, our next challenge is upon us. Please get your thinking caps on for LONG SHADOW. First post up on August 1. Entries ready by August 19 - 21. Once again, we will be practising WEP-Lite.

Denise for the team:


@ToiThomas #WEPURBANNIGHTMARE  #WEPwinner #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPURBANNIGHTMARE  #WEPwinner  The Revelation of Expression Through Technique #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPURBANNIGHTMARE  #WEPwinner  The Revelation of Expression Through Technique #guestpost #ShowDon'tTell @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

Monday, 6 July 2020


Hi all, the team here. Everyone helped collate this post:

JUNE 2020 saw WEP move to WEP-Lite to stay afloat during trying times. Many of the team were struck with various storms of life and need some time to recover. We're glad we went ahead with the challenge as many found it cathartic to write about various horrors. Even though fictional, there was a large dose of truth intermingled. Some of us have been personally touched by the virus and death. So, writing is a great exercise to take us away from the horror for a while. The JUNE entries were excellent and reflect that need.

Thank you, everyone, for your amazing tales, they were filled with hope, humor, love, life lessons, but especially the creativity that continues to amaze and inspire us.

It's always a delight to welcome new writers to WEP. New writers add an excitement as we eagerly anticipate a new writing style and approach to the prompt. This month we welcomed Helen Mathey-Horn  . Thank you all for making Helen welcome!


And we'd like to add in a friendly reminder about the different levels of critique while we're here. Each of you should choose a level of critique you feel comfortable with. Here's a quick reminder of what the various critique levels are:

The explanations are fairly straight forward. If you choose Full Critique Acceptable (FCA), that means people may offer a thorough critique. While we would never condone a critique that is outright cruel, such a critique may involve pointing out a lot of issues with your writing you may not have seen before. For some this may be uncomfortable. Only choose FCA if you think you can handle it and wish to use such commentary to strengthen your work in the future. Otherwise feel free to select any of the other levels you feel are right for you at this time. Alternatively you could ask for a full critique to be emailed to you.

We're sorry that we lack blurbs this month. But all entries are perpetually available to read by accessing the sign-up post.


As usual, we had a difficult time deciding our shortlists, but it quickly became apparent that everyone had a favorite: We sent this list to Nick:

Susan - Urban Nightmare
Sally - Blame
Shannon Lawrence - The Widow
Dixie Jarchow - Urban Horror
Carole Stolz - Her Urban Nightmare
Toi Thomas - Driving Home



Thank you, everyone for commenting so generously without the motivation of the Best Commenter award!  And please know that the team reads your comments, taking them into consideration when forming the shortlist. They are more important than you may think. Besides informing our decisions, it feeds the writer. Feedback is not a simple thing. It means the world to the writer.

Quite a few readers left comments on the WEP blog as they couldn't access your comments. Please turn off comment moderation for the week. There's always glitches beyond our control, but please try to make sure your blog accepts comments. It takes a patient person to comment multiple times then have to come to the WEP blog in the end. Thanks everyone!


Nick commented: "All entries were excellent ... Tough choice!"
But we had to choose ... so ...



Congratulations, Toi!

Nick wrote,  "Timely and devastating in just a few lines. This one gave me pause."

Congratulations Toi! We were all moved so much by your few words. Please link the badge to your story, Driving Home, and post it on your blog.

In addition, you've won a 5,000 word critique plus synopsis from Rohini Sundaram, and a guest post here at WEP.

Details will be emailed to you shortly.
Congratulations, on such an evocative entry!



Congratulations, Carole!

Nick wrote, "Really packs a punch. I hope the narrator can escape this nightmare."

Carole, please link the badge to your story, Her Urban Nightmareand post it on your blog.



Congratulations, Sally!

Nick wrote, "A really different take on the prompt as well as the current times. Interesting to see the rat's POV and then to find out they're just the scapegoat."

Sally, please link the badge to your story, Blame,
and post it on your blog.

Here's our prompt for AUGUST. So get those thinking caps on. The announcement will be posted on AUGUST 1st in the thinking-caps post.
And the Sign-up Link Post goes live on AUGUST 19th.

Until then, say safe and stay well!

And Sue!
Thank you, Sue, for stepping in and helping to monitor the posts and report problems, and helping us choose the winners. You made a difficult job run much more smoothly!

We'd love for you to Tweet this post or share it to Facebook 
or your favorite social media site.
#WEPFF URBAN NIGHTMARE winners announced @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners 

More writing excellence from our WEP June winners @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

Come congratulate our June winners. #WEPFF URBAN NIGHTMARE Challenge @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

The #WEPFF writers had some fantastic entries! WEP winners announced! @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

#WEPFF URBAN NIGHTMARE winners all @DeniseCCovey @yolndarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

Thank you for the writing excellence, WEP Winners! @LGKeltner @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners