Monday 23 November 2020

#WEPff #WINNER of the October Challenge GRAVE MISTAKE! Rebecca Douglass' guest post Writing Through My Grief


Hi, Renée here:

 October's winner for the WEP challenge, GRAVE MISTAKE, Rebecca Douglass, guests for us today. Her winning entry was humorous and fun. Just what we needed after such a crazy year.

 Congratulations Rebecca. Thank you for writing such an inspiring guest post.

Photo by Jarl Schmidt on Unsplash

Writing Through My Grief

 It may be a little strange that someone who mostly writes humorous stories, and is being honored for a story that made people laugh, is here to write about grief, but here I am, trying to explain the inexplicable.

 Many of you know that my husband of 26 years was killed in a cycling accident in May. That the accident profoundly changed every aspect of my life is an understatement. It affected my writing in ways large and small, putting a complete halt to it at times, while at others writing has been an anchor to help me through this horrible time.

 Everything from washing the dishes to raking the leaves felt changed by the accident, so why should writing be any different? A hole in one’s chest does make it harder to write. Because what I mostly write is humor, it felt like an extra burden sometimes. Was it right, or even possible, to keep writing goofy stories between grief bursts? And yet I knew I couldn’t stop writing, and writing light feels a great deal safer right now than writing dark.

 For several weeks after the accident, I didn’t write anything but the most personal of journal entries and kept looking at the heap of my current manuscript as though it was a creature from outer space—beyond comprehension and a little scary. I wasn’t even sure if I could, or should laugh. A friend straightened me out about that, reminding me that this loss doesn’t change who I am, and who I am is a person who sees the absurdity of life all around me, even at inopportune moments.

 The call for entries for the IWSG anthology gave me a reason to start to write fiction again. Over the course of the next couple of months, I wrote my story, one sentence at a time. On a good day, I got two sentences. I had no idea if that would lead to a story that was worth submitting (I still don’t, though I submitted the story), but that wasn’t the point. The point was to prove to myself that, broken though I was, I was still a writer. The point was to hear the voices in my head again, the ones that were wholly fiction.

 Eventually, I was able to write whole paragraphs at a time, and the story was completed. The true miracle, though, was that when the story was finished, I picked up my novel and began to edit again. To my amazement, it felt good. And I was able to write the funny bits, find the humor in the situations I dumped the main character into, and make progress, albeit slowly. Again, I made the commitment to work for at least a minute or two every day.

 Yes, you read that right: a minute or two. For me, that has been the key: writing or editing every day, giving myself purpose, but limiting my expectations. Writing under some difficult circumstances (by headlamp in a campsite cold enough to need a down jacket and gloves!) seems to have helped all the more. I’ve lost my anchor in the biggest sense, but writing has managed to endure. I am deeply grateful for the gift that is creativity, and for the community of writers who have helped me hang onto it.

I’m not who I was in April, but I am still a writer.


Thanks so much for your inspiring post, Rebecca. And congratulations again on your win for GRAVE MISTAKE.

The 4th book in Rebbeca's Pismawallops PTA Mystery Series: 

Death by Library

 You can find anything at your local library… even a corpse?

When things turn deadly in the library stacks, JJ needs some answers fast, before she loses her job—or her life. She’s determined to learn everything about the victim, and for once the library doesn’t hold all the answers. JJ and Kitty may have to face the ultimate peril: a visit to Mrs. Halsey, the oldest—and crankiest—person on the island.


Smashwords (all ebook formats)

Barnes & Noble

Apple Books


After a lifetime of reading, and a decade or more of slinging books at the library and herding cats with the PTA, Rebecca began to turn her experiences into books of her own, publishing her first in 2012. That failed to quiet the voices in her head, but seemed to entertain a number of readers, so she wrote some more, which generated still more voices. Despite the unlimited distractions provided by raising sons to the point of leaving home (and preparing to move without forwarding address if necessary to retain that empty nest), not to mention the mountains that keep calling (very hard to resist the urging of something the size of the Sierra Nevada), she has managed to pen a total of 9 books plus a novella (which we suppose makes 10).


There's been a lot of disappointment at the cancellation of the December Challenge so, if you still wish to post for the 

Challenge, UNMASKED – please do.

Then let us know in the Comments of the December 1st post with a link so we can visit. POST ANY TIME IN DECEMBER. This is an unstructured challenge - no sign up, no winners, but the usual lot of fun leading up to the end of 2020 and our anticipation for a much better 2021.

Renée for the team:

Please Share the Love! 

@RebeccaDouglass #WEPGRAVEMISTAKE  #WEPwinner #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@RebeccaDouglas #WEPGRAVEMISTAKE  #WEPwinner  Writing Through My Grief #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge 

@RebeccaDouglas #WEPGRAVEMISTAKE #WEPwinner  Writing Through My Grief #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

Sunday 8 November 2020


Hello everyone! Thank you for participating in the WEP October challenge GRAVE MISTAKE. You didn't disappoint. The entries were wonderful - some scary, some fun, all creative! 

If you remember, Olga reported during the challenge that she was sick and couldn't comment on entries. We are sad to report her illness is unfortunately ongoing. She hasn't yet received a diagnosis, but it all started with a bad case of pneumonia. We are all keeping her in our prayers. 

Stay strong, Olga, you've got this!

Also, after careful consideration over these last few months and because most of the WEP staff is dealing with continuing health issues, grief, and the awful stress of Covid and the toxic political atmosphere here in the U.S. ... we are canceling the December challenge. We apologize to anyone who already has their entry ready. We'll unmask UNMASKED another day, so don't despair. But we felt a longer break was needed for the team's mental health and to give everyone a Christmas break and a fresh start in 2021. 

We promise we will return for February 1's post. If anyone feels they'd like to add their energy to the team in some way, small or large, please email Denise on and we'll consider your application.  

Please keep your eyes on this site where we'll reveal our challenges for 2021. Most probably on December 1. An exciting new 2021 is coming!

Since we're still keeping things lite, there will be no blurbs again this month. But if you still haven't read the entries, just follow this Link to GRAVE MISTAKE!

It's never easy to decide on a shortlist, and this challenge was no exception. After much debate, here is the final shortlist 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.

J Lenni Dorner Time Travel

 Naughty Netherworld Press-Friends from the End

 Christopher Scott- The Price of Home and Humanity

 Rebecca Douglass- The Slab

 Toi Thomas- Home Wasn’t Safe For Us 

 Carole Stolz - So Bury It 

Donna Hole Book Lover-Grave Mistake

Donna Hanton Grave Mistake

 Bernadette Braganzo  Grave Mistake

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 again, we still notice and appreciate your thoughtful responses to each entry.

As you all know, the winner of each challenge receives a critique prize along with the opportunity to Guest Post here at WEP This month, Yolanda Renée, yours truly, is offering to give: 

- feedback, or a content edit on your short story, flash fiction, 


-she’ll beta read your latest WIP and give a written critique.



Congratulations, Rebecca Douglass 

Nick wrote: "Great fun. A nice touch of light humor to offset some of the heavier entries.

 Rebecca, please link the badge to your poem, The Slab, and post it on your blog. You've also won this month's fabulous critique prize! If you can't avail yourself of the prize, please email Yolanda so we can offer it to the next on the list.

Congratulations again on your fun and humor filled entry!



Congratulations, Toi Thomas for Home Wasn’t Safe For Us

Nick wrote: "Heartbreaking and a stark reflection of the times. A wake-up call."

Toi, please link the badge to your story, Home Wasn’t Safe For Us, and post it on your blog.


Congratulations Donna Hanton for Grave Mistake

Nick wrote:  "Very exciting and tense. A breath of fresh air!"

Donna, please link the badge to your story,  Grave Mistake, 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 an admin member for outstanding contribution to the WEP and this time for also submitting consistent stories that just amaze.


For your outstanding artwork on all our badges, and for consistent excellence in storytelling, please accept our gratitude and this virtual bouquet.

And here is a badge, Olga, made from your intricate artwork to celebrate your mastery of your fantasy serial.

Readers if you missed Olga's posting, here are links to her imaginative and continuing serialized story of a paper mage.

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

If you're wondering how we got our badges this month, Olga sent what was needed to Denise, and her husband Geo put it all together. I think he's done a super job! Thanks Geo!

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 OCTOBER winners @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

#WEPFF GRAVE MISTAKE winners announced @DeniseCCovey @yolandarenee @LGKeltner @OlgaGodim #flashfiction #wepwinners 

Come congratulate our October winners. #WEPFF GRAVE MISTAKE 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 GRAVE MISTAKE @DeniseCCovey @yolndarenee @OlgaGodim @LGKeltner #amwriting #flashfiction #wepwinners

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