Sunday 31 March 2024

#3 WEP GET TOGETHER - APRIL 2024 - IT'S THE A - Z CHALLENGE!


 Hi WEPpers and friends!

Already time for out third Get Together. Life is flashing by! Hit us with your news, writerly or personal. We'd love to hear from you.

And from now on, we're moving to bi-monthly posts. See you in June!

Seeing it's April, all long-term bloggers know it's time for the A - Z Challenge, currently captioned by our very own JLenni Dorner. I've asked JLenni to give us the rundown on the 2024 challenge. Here's what he sent me:


#AtoZChallenge 2024 badge


The ONLY way to officially sign-up for the 2024 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge is by filling out the Google form on the website from now until April 7. More information is available on the site.

The point of the #AtoZChallenge is both to test yourself to create 26 posts using and inspired by the letter of the day on Mondays thru Saturdays in April, as well as to "hop" to as many other blogs in the challenge and leave comments on the A to Z posts found there. This grows our blogging community and creates connections.

If you're looking to increase your blog traffic, grow the blogging community, and maybe learn something or enjoy a fun story, please consider joining us.

The A to Z team is focusing the http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com blog on blogging positivity and blogging your best life/blog.

~*~


Now moving onto what the WEP team have been up to:

Hello, writers! This is Nila with you.

Just logging in here cheers me up. Gosh, I can't believe a quarter of 2024 is already over! - can you? March is cusp season - always a good time to take stock. 


The good bits first -  I've already spent 3 weeks of these 12 weeks travelling. Including  places I've never been to before, both in and out of India. So that takes care of 'go someplace new, learn something new' - my non-resolution for every new year for decades now. 


Migratory birds at a river island in the Ganges at Kanpur.
An important industrial city in North India. First settlement
here goes back to the 13th century. Alexander MacRoberts 
set up the first textile mill here in late 19th century. Kanpur
was also a major centre in the 1857 Indian Uprising and the 
place of the infamous 'Cawnpore Massacre.'


Now for the bad and the ugly - I came back from Lucknow early this month and caught some ghastly virus which gleefully attached itself to the operated eye and scared the bejeezus out of me. Long story short, it was a serious setback so I'm still running round to the eye surgeons' and dealing with a tsunami of eyedrops and blurry vision and limited screen time. No end in sight, pardon another bad pun. 

Not sure if I will be able to make the A-Z this year, though I can't imagine not doing it either. Maybe I'll do a shadow version like I did in 2022,  flying blind and joining in as and when able.


Therefore, all that I blithely said about returning in March with supersharp vision and a different, deeper perspective, well...hah! the gods heard and they fell off their celestial seats laughing. I should have known better...Maybe the inner eye is a tad keener, who knows? certainly not me - but for sure the outer has a long way to go still. Patience has never been my strong suite and it seems to be at a particularly low ebb right now. 

However, as the proverb goes - a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. One step at a time. One day at a time. I'll get there, unlikely sooner, so...later. 

Meanwhile, you guys keep well, keep writing and keep in touch! 


~*~

Hello everyone! Renee here.

Happy Spring / Fall, everyone. Here we’re seeing more of the sun, fewer gray days and all those lovely flowers are wonderful. The pollen, though, I could live without, but it’s part of the process, isn’t it? So, if you see me out and about, I’ll be wearing a face mask. I’ve found it does wonders for keeping the sneezes away, and I’m all for that. Tax season is almost over, too, and I’m thrilled, except that I haven’t done my own yet. This is odd, as I normally have it done by the end of February. Talk about not being on the ball this year.

I’ve done little to no writing this month, which greatly bothers me, but I hope to make up for that in the months after the tax season.

To end my short post, I’ll leave you with this quote: 

“Believe in yourself, and your dreams will dance towards you!”


~*~

Hi all! Denise here. My month ...:
Well, yippee, we are finally having some autumn weather after a very rough, hot summer which never seemed to end. But it's raining non-stop, so we're all looking forward to bright, sunny weather again!

One thing I haven't mentioned, is that I'm going all out brushing up on my French via Duolingo since last July. It's fun. Takes time though.

Of course the cooler weather helps with writing and I've grabbed every chance I can to print out my complete ms of Angelique's Paris Cookery School (102,000+ words) and self-edit, try to cut etc. Will be ready for Renee soon. (UPDATE - down to 101, 300+)




As my ms nears completion, my mind is on marketing. Due to family situations, I've completely neglected marketing, and any published writer knows without a large fan base, any book relies on marketing to be noticed amongst Amazon's 23 million books available to buy. 

Marketing changes all the time. I'm ready to give up on Amazon marketing for everything except for those free days as it changes constantly and is so confusing. I follow a lot of excellent Facebook marketing groups and I'm writing down ideas as they come to light. That way, I'm up to the minute. My plan is to market from release date. See how that goes. I'm such a plod when it comes to writing speed, it may be months yet.

I just bought a book on Social Media marketing, which is where the action is these days:


Let's face it, if writing is your business you need all the help you can get!



And the time has come to go to my cover artist who illustrated my Paris Dreams cover. I'm going to hire her for new covers for my paranormal series (which were created by Fiverr) and for my two new novels. I enjoy this aspect of self-publishing even though it takes so many run-throughs to get it right. 




I'm hoping for something more like this ABOVE for my vampire series, although I'm going with different colored roses. I thought readers would be interested in the Renaissance/medieval theme so that is what my covers represent, but even though I have had millions of 'impressions' on Amazon ads, no click throughs on covers like this which I liked:

 





Ah, self-publishing means try, try, try again until you hit it!

Any luck with marketing?
Any suggestions?

~*~

Hi everyone! Jemi here 😊
It's almost spring here in Northern Ontario! We were down to no snow in February/early March, but then winter returned. We'll see if April can get things smoothed out.

In book news, the No Fail Heroes series is almost here. Book #1, No Good Deed, releases on April 16th. If you like small-town romances with suspense, this one might be for you. The dog Piper rescues is on of my favourite characters ever. Oreo is a total charmer. Barnes and Noble selected No Good Deed as a Top Indie Favorite!

With a surname like his, Troy Phail has learned to do whatever it takes to succeed, but growing his town is out of his experience. He hires an urban planner for two weeks to help him. The sweet and sexy planner turns out to be brilliant—and exactly the kind of woman Troy has dreamed about. When danger from her past threatens, Troy will do anything to keep her safe. Failure is not an option.

If you'd like to read the prequel to the series, sign up for my newsletter to read No Chance In Hell. Happy April, everyone!

~*~

Hello everyone! Sonia here.

It's summer time in Delhi and the mercury is rising. I am busy packing the house, because I am moving to a new Indian state and city. It will be much warmer than Delhi and am I ready to brave it out! But I'm looking forward to the move. The city of Jodhpur is quieter and slow compared to the capital, and I think it might work for my writing.

On the writing front, I have few submission-ready poems and a short story, that I've been slowly working on over the last two months and I am going to squeeze some time into my busy schedule to submit them. I am glad that I could discipline myself to write a little on most days in March, and hope it continues to be like this for the rest of the year. 

If you'd like to listen to me recite a poem, I have one on the blog by Edgar A. Guest titled, It Couldn't Be Done. I'm sure you'll come back inspired. Here's a picture from last month, a stubborn story of resilience that finds a mention in this post.



Enjoy the sunny April days, until we meet next time. 

~*~

Hello everyone! Olga here.

No news here. I haven't even been writing anything, except one article for my newspaper. 
As to the A - Z post, Not sure. I can't come up with anything from the letters JLenni gave us. Plus the theme of blogging. If anyone comes up with anything, I might be able to expand. Otherwise, I'll pass. 



UPDATE: Have had an aha moment. Inspiration hit! Will do the A - Z post JLenni asked for.

Can't wait to read your news in the post, ladies.

~*~



That's it for most of the team this month. Looking forward to your posts. 


Denise for:




See you in June!



Thursday 29 February 2024

#2 - WEP Get Together - March 2024


 

Hello fellow WEPpers and friends!

Welcome to the second WEP Get Together! Starting in April, we go bi-monthly. 

The WEP team decided to keep in touch with each other and any of you who wish to meet each month and chat about our lives, or ask for help in publishing or anything, really. We learn from each other.

The options for participation are - 

- create a blog post with the lovely badge we use above and send us the link in comments.

- put the link in our C-Box which is found in the sidebar,

- write us a story in comments.

We don't want this post to be rigid. No specific topics. The topic is up to each of us. Share what's burning in your heart at the moment. It may not be writing related at all! That's totally fine. There's no word limit, but let's try to keep it down.

The writing world changes constantly and is not without its challenges. 

For example, 

- have you discovered something about your writing/publishing journey that you'd like to share? Please tell us! 

- have you found a way around a problem that others may be facing?

- have you found a fabulous editor who gets you?

- or share an interesting factoid - have you been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize???

- have you found a beta reader who made all the difference to your manuscript? 

Don't forget to access the 'How-to' posts which will remain in the sidebar. 


~~

Nila’s roundup of events:


Hi folks! Nila here, logging in from Lucknow.

Glad and relieved to report that the eye op went well, the right eye is done. I'd thought the other one would be done at a two week gap, -so that the whole tiresome process would be over by end Feb. The surgery gods must have been rolling on their respective heavenly floors laughing at my cluelessness.  The left one will be scheduled after I get back, meanwhile I'm struggling with temporary eyeglasses in various denominations. Writing or reading smoothly is still an elusive dream!


Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. Built 1650s.
By the same chap who built the Taj Mahal.


Also meanwhile, officialdom decided they needed to see us physically for various odd requirements, so we've had to zoom up to Delhi. Not that I'm complaining, Delhi is one of my favouritest cities in India - I've spent my some of my growing up years there.  I visited some old haunts, some of the famous monuments and caught up with friends and family there. I've now landed up in Lucknow, also a historic city - known for its refinement, chikankari embroidery, a major school of Urdu poetry and amazing kebabs - a foodie paradise. 


Son-e-Lumiere at the British Residency in Lucknow. Built
1780-1800. Main site of the Siege of Lucknow in 1857. 


My February has just whizzed past. Hoping March will be a little less hectic, but that's just wishful thinking. More eye op coming up and attendant houha. 

Hope everyone is doing well. Stay well, keep writing and keep in touch! 


Hi all! Denise here. This is my month in a nutshell:

UPDATE on last month.

The heatwave has lost its grip somewhat. Quite bearable to be honest. Still cyclones hovering, but no more vicious damage as of now.

Which has made the writing less of a challenge.

I've spent most of the month editing Angelique's Paris Cookery School so I can catch the superfluous bits before sending to our very own Development Editor, Renee. 


A quick mock up cover from Canva so this space is not empty and sad without an image.


AI in writing is on my mind thanks to the IWSG question of the month. I use it as I suck at blurbs. Here is an AI-generated first paragraph of a blurb for my novel:

In the enchanting city of Paris, where the aroma of freshly baked croissants fills the air, Angelique Ravello has decided to revive her beloved cookery school after a devastating loss. Determined to start anew and heal her wounded heart, Angelique has sworn off men, focusing solely on her culinary passion.

Other than study posts from the gazillion Facebook writing/editing groups I'm a member of, that's about it for me.

Congratulations to those of you who have powered on and published and promoted books.
Don't forget to share with us!


I have posted for the IWSG HERE....for Wednesday 6th ... The optional question is: Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

Now that's a controversial topic ...

~~**~~~~**~~~~**~~


Hi everyone! Jemi here😊

We've moved through 1st winter, false spring, 2nd winter, 2nd false spring, and are currently on 3rd winter... all typical for Northern Ontario!

In writing news, I've filled plot holes and corralled the commas in No Good Deed. With Yolanda Renée's help, I'm now doing the same with No Going Back (book 2 in the No Fail Heroes series). Renée's comments are SO helpful!

Hope everyone is doing well and can't wait to read your updates!

______________________



Hey everyone! Renee here 👋

Update on last month's news regarding Conundrum: I did not place in the top three, but I'm still a runner-up. And I'm still celebrating.

Since our last post. I've been working and not writing. In fact, the only thing I wrote was a poem for Sue @ Elephant's Child called An Angel. I'm sharing it here.

Photo by Nico Frey on Unsplash

AN ANGEL


I know an angel

of earthly fame

many seek her confidence


life is tough

living can become rough

this angel understands


many lose hope

but her light's bright

her words pure

this angel

with a heart so true

offers love and advice


recognized truth

means sorrow

disappears


promise returns

her magic works

happy folks


all recognize

her blessing

God's messenger of love


the restorer

of damaged souls

this holy vessel of perfection


but she knows sorrow

and immense pain

more profound than most


suffering despite

her heavenly calling

her beauty shines from within


and still

she gives all

despite her grief


this spiritual being

a guardian angel

of hope.

***

Yolanda Renée Stout © 2024

I send my thanks to Jemi again, for letting me be part of her team on No Going Back, book 2 of her No Fail Hero series. Jemi is an amazing writer! Anyone interested in a Developmental Edit just follow the link! 

Anyone interested in Jemi's books follow the LINK!


As always, I'm sending hugs and positive vibes to our writing community. Please let us know how you're all doing!

*****~~~~*****

Hello everyone! Sonia here.

We are slowly slipping into spring in Delhi, but it continues to play hide and seek with winter refusing to give way any time soon. In writing news, I finished the first draft of a short story for a writing grant and am now going to start with the edits. I've also submitted a poem for an annual anthology that features Indian poets. This is a special submission for me. My poems have been rejected for the last three years but I refuse to give up. Fingers crossed for 2024!  


This is picture from the World Book Fair at New Delhi. Fancy, isn't it?


I have a new post on the blog about book fairs (I visited World Book Fair at Delhi in February). It highlights how and why they aren't quite a reader's paradise and the things that didn't work for me. It's called NEW DELHI BOOK FAIR- A LONG & TIRING SWIM.  How was your writing month? I look forward to the 'catching-up' this March!


***************


Tbat's it for most of the team this month. Looking forward to your posts. 


Denise and Sonia for ...



Wednesday 31 January 2024

#1 - WEP GET TOGETHER, FEBRUARY 1, 2024

 



Hello fellow WEPpers and friends!

Welcome to 2024 and the inaugural WEP Get Together!

WEP has closed down, some say temporarily, but the team decided to keep in touch with each other and any of you who wish to meet each month and chat about your lives, or ask for help in publishing or anything, really. We learn from each other.

This is our inaugural meet and greet post and it may be a little shambolic until we fine tune. But we have to start somewhere.

The options for participation are - 

- create a blog post and send us the link in comments.

- put the link in our C-Box,

- write us a story in comments.

- any other suggestions??

We don't want our first of the month post to be rigid. No specific topics. The topic is up to each of us. Share what's burning in your heart at the moment. It may not be writing related at all! That's totally fine. There's no word limit, but let's try to keep it down.

The writing world changes constantly and is not without its challenges. 

For example, 

- have you discovered something about your writing/publishing journey that you'd like to share? Please tell us! 

- have you found a way around a problem that others may be facing?

- have you found a fabulous editor who gets you?

- or share an interesting factoid - have you been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize??? 

Don't forget to access the 'How-to' posts which will remain in the sidebar. I'm looking at Jemi's post on publishing wide, which is going to be a challenge for me.


THE ANTHOLOGY UPDATE:


Nila here, hi! First off a big fat thank you to everyone who submitted, we truly appreciate your creativity and your making the time to write for us. Thank you Jamie, Cara, Rebecca, Bernadette, Shilpa, Deniz, Pat, J Lenni, and Donna. 

However, not all winners/members were able to submit, due to a host of personal and family reasons. There are not enough submissions as of now,  much short of the 20 targetted. I'm truly sorry to have to tell you that the anthology is not happening at this moment in time. To those of you who submitted, please feel free to submit your flash elsewhere. We wish you all the very best with publication.

~~~

Nila’s roundup of events:


The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas had put up the 'JFK was here'
banners for the 60th anniversary of the assassination.  

Rather a lot has transpired for me personally since I last wrote for WEP.  I travelled to the USA, spent an extremely pleasant month catching up with family members and childhood friends, some of whom I'd last met 40+ years ago. Visited museums and national parks and river trails to my heart's content. Learnt a whole heap of things about American history, geography, culture and values...And I got to see their cities at their sparkling best for the festive season. That was the great part. 


Poster from the women's suffragette movement 
1915-1920. The NC History Museum, Raleigh.

However, 2024 so far has been the same old same old mixed bag - I lost an elder relative and then my routine visit to the eye doctor has wham!   fetched up the need for urgent corrective surgery - the first is scheduled for this Saturday. As you can imagine, not much writing is happening. 


Could have been a lot worse though...so...grateful for mercies big and small. Hoping to be back here with supersharp, corrected vision and some more life lessons in patience learnt, in March! Till then, keep safe, fit and happy. And keep writing! 



_________________________________________________________________________


Hi all! Denise here. My past month can only be described as:


Challenging. 

Australia, especially where I live in sub-tropical Queensland, has been in the grip of a heatwave since before Christmas while Northern Queensland has experienced cyclones, one I got caught up in as I was traveling at the time.

To writing.



"I'll think about it tomorrow!"

I had such high hopes for January but, whatever, all good things come to those who wait, eh? 

I have two novels pretty much ready to go - one completely finished romance novel, Fijian Princess. It's been professionally edited, but I've found ways to make the Prologue more interesting. Just can't decide what to do with it. Think I may try traditional publishing?? Not sure. I never submit to publishing houses, but I did bite the bullet and submit to Storm Publishing. To encourage anyone who has ever felt the sting of rejection, take encouragement from me. I've decided to go ahead and work the traditional publishing trail for just this one novel.

I have my favorite novel up til now, Angelique's Paris Cookery School, which is still on the back burner, LOL. It proved popular when I offered the first six chapters on Book Funnel. I tweak it at times, but I'm just waiting for summer to be over. Extreme heat is not conducive to writing, even when locked in an air-conditioned office. It does something to your headspace.

So whenever I want to escape, I reach for my latest thriller, or stream an episode of The Bridge, a great scandi noir crime thriller. Hopefully watching/reading scandi noir will help me finish the last half of my very first thriller. 


Highly recommended if you need help plotting. The plots/twists are superb.


I take my hat off to those of you who have powered on and published books. Go Jemi! Anyone else?

Maybe by March 1, I'll have some great news!!!!

I've been reading posts from the team as they come in. It's great to hear everyone's news and have links to follow! Thanks all! 

I have blogged my post HERE...live Thursday 1st...and it doubles as my IWSG post for next week...


~~**~~~~**~~~~**~~


Hi everyone! Jemi here😊

We're having a very strange winter here in Northern Ontario (Canada). We've had very little snow. My front snow bank is generally over 6 feet/2 metres tall at this point. Currently, it's about 1 foot/30cm. Climate change is real and scary!!


In writing news, the last book in my Small Town Heroes series came out a few weeks ago and I'm having so much fun writing a new small-town romance series called No Fail Heroes. The first book will be out in April. I'm having a blast digging into the edits based on notes from a FABULOUS editor (our very own Yolanda Renée). She really gets the story and the characters. I still have a big mess (of my own making) to fix up, but the story is going to shine so much brighter when I'm done!

Hope everyone is doing well and can't wait to read your updates!

______________________


Hey everyone! Renee here 👋

I received great news today: my story, Conundrum, has placed in the top ten with WOW-Women On Writing. I don't know my actual placement, but I'm still celebrating.

Conundrum is a flash that I re-wrote from a story called Be Careful What You Wish For, which was originally published with the Romantic Friday Writers Challenge in 2015. Thanks to Denise and Donna, it was a time when I learned with every submission.

So, every now and then, I pull out a story and re-work it for submission elsewhere; this time, it paid off. Other than that bit of excitement, I'm working on a new noir called Pink City, and I'm still working on finishing the edits for the 7th book in my Alaskan series, Murder on Mount Fairweather.

Tax preparation and editing are quite different, but still loads of fun. So I'm keeping crazily busy.


Thanks, Jemi, for letting me be part of your team. You know how much I love your books! Anyone interested in a Developmental Edit just follow the link!

Sending hugs and positive vibes to our writing community. Please let us know how you're all doing!

*****~~~~*****

Hello everyone! Sonia here.

It is wonderful to share updates on this inaugural WEP Get Together. January was a very cold month for Delhi and the winter blues aren't over yet. I haven't had a very good start to the year on a personal front, but I am grateful for the kindness of those around me, and also for the online community here.



In writing news, I don't have much to show, except two blog posts. I'll Do Me is my first attempt at reading a poem, something that I wish to explore this year. I'd love for you to listen to it and leave your valuable feedback.

Understanding Life Through a Keloid Scar  is an introspection on loss and life. 

There are two things I am looking forward to in the first half of the year, even though I'm struggling to do some real writing - curating all the stories I've written for the WEP for a Kindle Version, and writing a short story for the Rama Mehta Grant, which is a scholarship and writing programme. I hope that I will have some solid updates on these when we meet next.

I am grateful to the WEP members for the community support. I wish you all a good writing year and look forward to the writing news at your end. 


***************


Hello everyone! It's Laura here.


I know it's been a long time since anyone has heard from me. Between demanding hours at work and raising four children, it's a wonder I ever find time for anything. That also means that writing has unfortunately fallen by the wayside over the past year. Some of that is due to a lack of time, and some is due to lack of inspiration.  However, I want to change that.

Part of that involves me coming here and saying hi to all of you and promising that I will return to blogging. My posts won't be frequent, but doing this will hopefully help motivate me. I will also try writing some short stories over the next few months.  I even had a bit of inspiration the other day, so that seems like a great place to start.

I'd like to thank the wonderful WEP team and all of you who've participated over the years. This truly is a wonderful community.

~~**~~~~**~~~~**~~


Hi everyone! Olga here

I haven’t done anything interesting writing-wise in the past couple months, but I did play with imagery, to no one’s surprise. I was re-reading Michelle Diener’s sci-fi novels belonging to her Verdant String series. I enjoy Diener’s writing, but I don’t like her covers. So I decided I would make my own covers (strictly unofficially, for my own amusement) for the books I’ve finished this time around. There are 2 so far: Breakaway and Breakeven. Here are the existing covers, published by the author.

Here are the images I have created. I don’t want anyone to accuse me of anything, so I didn’t put the writer’s name on the covers, but I like my covers better all the same. :))

All original images come from Pixabay.com. The artists I used for my composite covers are:

  • ParallelVision
  • AlanFrijns
  • Jcoope12
  • Diversicat
  • MythicSon
  • BrinMacen
  • Majabel
~~**~~~~**~~~~**~~