Monday, May 20, 2019

5 Science Fiction Books That Predicted the Future

Science fiction has always been a genre of brilliant ideas. In many cases, the fantastical creations you’ll find in sci-fi are parables and metaphors for modern-day struggles: the androids in Blade Runner draw obvious parallels to race relations in America, the Klingons in Star Trek are a proxy for the Cold War-era Red Menace.

But sci-fi isn't just a reflection of our present — it's also a way for authors to exercise their imaginations in terms of how we might be living in the future. In this post, we’ll look at five predictions from classic science fiction books that have since become… science fact!

From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Florida Moon Missions

One of speculative fiction’s greatest innovators, Jules Verne still got a lot wrong about space travel in his 1965 novel, From the Earth to the Moon. For one, he imagined that a giant cannon could shoot a bullet-shaped capsule into orbit and beyond — a process that would have turned its passengers into compressed corpses.

One detail that Verne did manage to predict with eerie accuracy, however, is that the launches would take place from Central Florida. In the book, the Columbiad space gun is built on a hill in Tampa— a mere hundred miles away from Cape Canaveral, where NASA would stage the majority of its launches a century later.

But why Florida? Despite the fact that the Sunshine State is subject to some of the most mercurial weather conditions in America, its geography presents two major benefits. It’s close to the Atlantic, for one: multi-stage rockets are able to jettison parts safely into the ocean (and in the event of a disaster, civilian lives would not be at risk). Also, due to its proximity to the equator, launches receive an additional speed boost thanks to the rotation of the Earth. Hooray, science!

Brave New World (1931), The Antidepressant Epidemic

In Aldous Huxley’s all-time classic of science fiction, citizens of the World State are kept docile with the help of a mood-enhancing drug called Soma. At the time when the book was published, pharmaceutical solutions to psychological issues were pretty primitive — opiates and amphetamines were unnervingly seen as a panacea. There was no way for Huxley to have known just how prevalent antidepressants would become by the end of the century, yet his hunch most certainly turned out to be right.

Seeing how the media (rightfully) focuses most of its attention on the opioid epidemic in North America, you might be staggered to learn that over 11% of American use antidepressants. This is according to a CDC report that’s almost ten years old — and you can bet that number has increased in the years since. In many parts of the world, antidepressants from human urine have made their way into natural waterways at such a level that that fish have become less alarmed by predators. A brave new world, indeed...

Neuromancer (1984), The Internet

“A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…”

This is how William Gibson describes PAX, the global computer network at the center of his seminal novel, Neuromancer. Five years before Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, Gibson presented a stark vision of how online information would be shared, experienced and exploited. The story follows Case, a washed-up hacker who’s hired to break into a major corporation — a plot that has influenced any film where a teen in a hoodie hunches over a keyboard with a flurry of fingers before barking, “I’m in!”

What was once weird and fantastical has now almost come to fruition in 2019 — with the exception that we don’t talk about ‘jacking in’ to cyberspace, thank God.

Looking Backward (1888), Credit Cards

Da-da-da-da-da-da! Charge it!

Diner’s Club first popularised the idea of the credit card back in the early 50s, but the term itself was introduced a lot earlier. Edward Bellamy’s Looking Back imagines a socialist utopia of the future (in the year 2000!) in which those with harder jobs work fewer hours and all citizens are given ‘credit cards’ loaded with an equal split of the economy’s spoils.

Of course, you may have already gathered that these ‘credit’ cards function more like debit cards. It would, after all, not be a utopia if citizens were able to rack up debt with exorbitant interest rates and live in fear of losing their homes. But still: the concept stands today.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1939), Mass Surveillance

We couldn’t finish off this little list (list-ette?) without mentioning the granddaddy of sci-fi prognostication. The fact that “Orwellian” is a standard adjective for mass surveillance should give you some idea of how influential Nineteen Eighty-Four has been.

In the novel, a citizen’s every movement is observed by omnipresent “telescreens” under the guise of national security. As a result, an atmosphere of paranoia hangs over the people of Oceana: is Big Brother watching? And does he know what we are thinking?

In 2019, Big Brother has taken on many forms. Sometimes, he appears as the CCTV networks that criss-cross most major cities. Though, more often than not, he manifests as a multinational corporation that makes prestige television or allows our old classmates to share their incendiary opinions.

Martin Cavannagh is a staff writer for Reedsy, a marketplace connecting authors with the best freelance editors, designers and book marketers. Find Martin on Twitter.

Monday, May 13, 2019

#IWSG - Unlocking Writer's Block

Photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash
Writer's block is real. Too many people have experienced it to say it doesn't exist. However, even though there may be many reasons for it, it can be overcome.

Many writers feel that we can slump or run into slow times, but they don't believe in writer's block. They advise that you stop thinking and let the creative side take over.
Just write, even if it stinks at first.
There's always a rewrite. 

 For some it's actually serious – a massive, soul-sucking obstacle. This could stem from the constant drive to be productive and the thought that if you’re not, there’s something wrong with you. Sometimes you just don’t have anything to say, and that’s fine. 

If you are blocked, have you considered that you may be going the wrong way, your brain is fried, or because you weren't in the mental space to write just then? Learn to think about it not as a block but more of a hurdle. 

If we look at it from yet another perspective - are you saying you didn't have a single possible idea for what might happen next, or are you saying you couldn't think of the idea that was suitable enough for you to put it on paper? Looked at in this way, a block is absence of possibility.
On a positive and final note, maybe we need to see writer's block as a sort of siesta... or a catnap... or a snooze. Sounds quite pleasant, doesn't it? It's the mind taking a quick break as it tries to change the subject for a moment. 

So you choose - hurdle, absence of possibility or siesta?

I kind of like the idea of viewing it as a siesta, which leads to a recharge of your mental batteries allowing the ideas to flow freely once again.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Book Promotion: 5 Tips for Authors on Using Social Media

Writing the book might be one of the most demanding and difficult parts of being an author, but spreading the word about it is another part that will require some attention.

Social media gives its users the power to connect with others who have similar interests. An author can greatly benefit from this, as they can easily have access to thousands of people who will potentially be interested in the genre of the book. Here are some tips to help you promote your book on social media without much trouble.

1. Focus on the quality of your promotional content

The very first thing you should focus on if you wish to attract more potential followers and spread the word about your new or upcoming book is to make sure that the promotional content you create and promote is of the best quality.

While interacting with your fans is important, it is not the only thing you should be focusing on. Your promotional content might be in the form of a picture, a video or simple written text. Any of these things need enough preparation and knowledge from your part and it is not impossible for an author to find it difficult to write promotional-type text.

2. Host a giveaway for your book

Giveaways are a great way for you to get more people to see your new book and also follow your social media pages. The only thing you will have to do is take a creative picture of your book, post it on your social media pages and ask your followers to follow a certain set of rules in order to join the giveaway. These rules can include:

• Liking the post regarding the giveaway
• Sharing the post in their feeds
• Tagging one or more friends in the comments
• Following your account

You can choose one or more of these rules to follow and make the post more suited to your preferences. In any case, though, you will come to find that giveaways are not only easy to host but also actually effective at promoting your new work in a short amount of time.

3. Offer a chapter of the book for free

Another thing you can use in order to promote your book through your social media pages is to offer your followers the chance to read the first chapter of your book for free. Not only will this tactic make more people want to buy it so they see what comes next, but you will also be able to get more people sharing the post about the free chapter and talking about it.

You should not forget to include a link to purchasing your book online at the bottom of the post. If you have the link placed conveniently at the end of the post, the reader is much more likely to make an impulse buy and purchase your book right after reading the free chapter.

4. Stay in contact with your fans

Fans like to know that their favorite authors are willing to come in contact with them online. Along with that, people who come across your page and see you being kind and willing to interact with your audience will definitely create a positive impression.

There are many ways for you to interact with your audience through your social media pages and every one of them can help you boost your book promotions. You can reply to DMs, host live chats where you answer questions about your new book and of course reply to comments and follow your fans back.

5. Create and use your own hashtag

Last but not least, another thing you can do in order to help your book promotion is to create a hashtag which will represent the new book. For example, if you are writing a fantasy book, the hashtag can be the name or a variation of the name of the universe the story takes place in. It can also be the name of the main hero.

You can invite your fans to use the hashtag in order to share pictures of them with the book which you can then repost on your social media pages. You can also follow people who use the hashtag or give them a shout-out. The more visible your hashtag becomes, the more people will be interested to learn more about its origins and therefore the more people will come across your new book.

Which one of these methods do you believe is the one that will best help you promote your book through your social media pages?

Kristin Savage is interested in writing and planning to publish her own book in the nearest future. Also, she has been a reviewer at Pick Writers for a few years and is known for her thorough approach to accurately assess newcomer translation services. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter .

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Masquerade Release Day and Announcing the 2019 IWSG Anthology Contest Opening

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin!

May 1 question: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

We have two amazing announcements today!

Just released:
Masquerade: Oddly Suited - An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844651 $4.99

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual companion or a date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Find Masquerade: Oddly Suited here - Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Goodreads

You can find out more about the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited here.

And the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are hosting a live Q & A session on Discord! Join them on Sat 11th May from 1:00 pm EST / 6:00 pm GMT to find out more about the anthology and the contributing authors and ask any burning questions you may have.
The Q & A will be held on Discord. Please follow the invite link: HERE

The 2019 Annual IWSG Anthology Contest is now open for submissions!

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 3500-5000

Genre: Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy

Theme: Voyagers

Submissions accepted: May 1 - September 4, 2019

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no page numbers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges:

Elizabeth S. Craig, author and honorary judge
Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries, the Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries, the Village Library Mysteries, and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently. Follow her on Twitter where she shares writing links @elizabethscraig or at her blog where she offers tips for writers. She lives in Matthews, North Carolina with her husband and is the mother of two.

Dianne K. Salerni, author
Dianne K. Salerni is the author of the The Eighth Day fantasy series and historical novels, The Caged Graves and We Hear the Dead. The Roosevelt Ghosts, featuring young cousins Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt and a vengeful ghost, will be released in 2020 by Holiday House.

Lindsay Davis Auld, agent - Writers House

Lynda Dietz, editor
Lynda has been fascinated with the written word since her earliest years of reading the back of the cereal box at the breakfast table. She’s now a copyeditor who works with authors in a variety of genres, both in fiction and nonfiction. She’s had a blog for over six years, and shares writing tips from an editor’s point of view with a healthy dose of snark and silliness. She’s also an unapologetic—but always encouraging—grammar thug.

S.A. Larsen, author
S.A. Larsen is the international award-winning author of the middle grade fantasy-adventure MOTLEY EDUCATION and the young adult contemporary-fantasy romance MARKED BEAUTY. When she’s not chasing her characters around a graveyard or antagonizing them with young love, she can be found in Maine with her husband and four children. Visit her cyber home atS.A. Larsen Books.

Rachna Chhabria, author
Rachna Chhabria's imagination has taken her all over the world and introduced her to all kinds of creatures. She is the author of Festival Stories Through The Year, Lazy Worm Goes on a Journey, The Lion Who Wanted to Sing and Bunny in Search of a Name. A columnist with Deccan Chronicle and The Asian Age, her stories have appeared in Young World, Open Sesame, Tele Kids and Deccan Herald Student Edition newspaper, as well as in several school textbooks. She also taught creative writing in a college for many years. As a child she loved listening to stories, now she loves writing them.

Tonja Drecker, author
Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.

David Powers King, author
David's works include WOVEN, THE UNDEAD ROAD, and FULL DARK: AN ANTHOLOGY. He currently resides in the Mountain West with his wife and 4 children.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

Our previous IWSG anthologies:
Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
Hero Lost: The Mysteries of Death and Life
Parallels: Felix Was Here

Will you be picking up Masquerade or entering the next anthology contest?
We also need co-hosts for June, July, and August. If you can co-host, leave a comment or email us.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Times Have Changed for the Insecure Writer.

Louise Dean, Founder of The Novelry, opens another avenue to publication... 

Here's how to get published.

Leading literary agencies have buddied up with The Novelry to get their hands on their writers' work because the standard, thanks to their rigorous process, is so high. They fast track members' work, giving a response in one to two weeks. It's a VIP pass.
To join The Novelry, sign up for one of their writing courses, they're inspirational and practical, there's nothing like daily guidance and a deadline and The Ninety Day Novel course is the tonic many aspiring novelists need to get that novel done.
"Because there's never a right time to write a novel," says founder and author Lousie Dean "I created the right place. You'll need our method, an hour a day for ninety days and I'll give you a new good habit that will last you a lifetime of happy writing."
Members working across all the fiction genres - Literary, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical including Young Adult and Children's - get matched to literary agents under the careful stewardship of The Novelry.
The Novelry offers online writing courses and residential writers' retreats with guest tutors including bestselling award-winning authors Kit de Waal and Sophie Hannah.
The Novelry's courses have been named in the top creative writing courses online worldwide by The Bookfox, winner of 'Best Course to Write Your Novel' and 'Best Editing Course'.
  1. If you love reading and would love to raise your writing game to publishing standard, you might like to explore what's on offer at The Novelry. Plenty of free advice at the blog and a free mini-course.
  2. The Classic Course teaches writers how to build a world in fiction. Learn the techniques and methods of authors like JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JK Rowling and more. Delve into your own unique life experience and find the story inside you. You’ll leave the course with a plan for your novel and plenty of material. 
  3. If you have an idea and need to write it, write it fast. So write it in a season as Stephen King advises with the Ninety Day Novel ® course. It’s an online course, available worldwide, you can sign up at any time and you’ll be guided step-by-step, daily, and supported all the way to ‘The End.’ With one-to-one troubleshooting sessions and plenty of encouragement from fellow writers, no one gets left behind. 
  4. Put that pen down! Leave that novel in a drawer for at least a month and read other great books again, then return to the novel and produce a second draft using the Editing Your Novel course.
  5. Submit those first three chapters one by one to the novelists' community at The Novelry for warm wise feedback. Then when you’ve taken on board all the constructive and cheering praise, you send it to Louise Dean, founder of The Novelry who will submit for you to their leading literary agency partners.

Founder of The Novelry, Louise Dean studied History at the University of Cambridge. She is the award-winning Man Booker listed author of four novels published worldwide. The Novelry hothouses writing talent preparing writers for safe submission to leading literary agents and a happy and secure writing life.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Write Advice

Did you just cringe at the blog post title? Are you contemplating it? Or do you just don't care? Guess what? All are okay. For it can be right to cringe over the wrong use of write. It can be right to think about it and see how it fits. It can even be right not to care and take it as it is. It can even be right to do all three. Come again?

Every person is an individual with strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, beliefs, and all kinds of other things. So what are you going to get? If you've been around a while you already know the answer. You are going to read conflicting advice, advice you disagree with, advice you agree with that doesn't work for you, advice you agree with that does work for you, and even advice you may think is nuts but works.

Writing advice is just that, advice. Or tips if you prefer that word. Either can be right. All can be right. All can be wrong. It all comes back to you.

You have to decide what works. You have to decide what doesn't. You have to decide for yourself. You have to do the work. Yep, there is no way around it. It all truly does come back to you. Thankfully, there are steps you can go through.

Step 1

Decide what you are looking for. Editing advice, marketing tips, etc.

Step 2

Search and gather that advice.

Step 3

Narrow what you have found down to the best 10. Or pick a number that is good for you.

Step 4

Decide what you want to learn and expand upon. Could do this sooner, but by seeing the advice collected, you could have a better idea about what you want to explore.

Step 5

Compare the advice to each other and your capabilities. Does it make sense? Are you able to do that or willing to give it a try? Does it fit in your budget?

Step 6

Fact check. There are many out there just after money or recommending useless things because they are an affiliate or something of the like. Double check anything that recommends a service. Scams and worthless so-called systems abound. You don't want to get caught up in those. Also, use common sense. If it sounds to good to be true, it almost always is. If you find anything guaranteeing sales or that you'll never have to edit a word after the first draft, better to turn and run the other way.

Step 7

Deploy the advice that you have gathered and remember that it is a marathon. Everything from writing to marketing takes time. You can't just go "poof" and have things done.

Step 8

Keep track of results. There is no sense in putting more money into an ad that did nothing the first time. There is no sense in following a writing schedule that you can't seem to follow.

Step 9

Adjust and continue to adjust until you find your groove.

Step 10

Rinse and repeat for the next aspect you are looking into.

Even this advice won't work for everyone, but you have just checked something else off that won't work for you. That means you are getting closer to something that may work. Only takes one tip or piece of advice to help you on your way and/or teach you. You just may have to wade through much to find what works.

And it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, completely ignore advice that sounds dumb. "Publish without ever editing" is just one such example.

Have you ever found any advice or tips that worked? Any that you thought would work but didn't? Can you spot the scams and crappy advice? Do you know anyone whose tips worked for them but not you?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Why Copying Other Successful Authors Won’t Make You Successful

Have you ever looked up to another writer, admired her success, and said to yourself, “That’s what I need to do. I’ll just follow what she did.”

We naturally learn from observing others, and it’s always helpful to study those who have reached the level of success we aspire to. The problem comes from expecting if you do exactly what this other person did, you’ll accomplish the same level of success.

In fact, trying to follow in the footsteps of successful authors often leads to discouragement and despair rather than triumph. When you do (or think you did) everything the successful author did, and the same rewards refuse to come your way, you may feel like a failure.

But in truth, you didn’t fail. You just followed a path that wasn’t meant for you.

Why Copying Successful Writers is a Losing Strategy
Successful authors have been there and done that, so they know what they’re talking about. Many make it a point to condense what they’ve learned into easy-to-follow instructions for other writers, in the sincere hopes of helping them out.

Can we learn from them? Absolutely, particularly when it comes to gaining ideas for marketing techniques, productivity hacks, plot developments, and that sort of thing. The danger comes when we fall into the trap of thinking if we do what another successful author did, we’ll automatically experience the same level of success.

“The daily habits and thought processes of your idols are certainly a contributing factor to the quality of their lives,” writes comedian and writer Jon Westenberg in Business Insider, “but only because they have realized that those things work for them . . . . Those things are deeply personal, and they're not something that can be copy-pasted into your own life with any guarantee of impact or effectiveness.”

It seems logical to imagine that once a person figures out how to succeed as a writer, his or her experience should translate into an easy step-by-step process that other writers can follow. The problem is that the successful writer in question came by her process through a typically long period of experimentation in finding out what works for her.

That means her process is extremely personal, just like her fashion style and preferred brand of toothpaste. You wouldn’t expect that buying the same clothes and brushing with the same product would help you emulate her success, and similarly, following her process to success likely won’t, either.

Yet many writers fall into the trap of thinking this is the way to build their careers. It’s an innocent mistake, but one that can be dangerous, as when you don’t achieve the success you hoped for when you thought you should, you may start to doubt yourself as a writer.

Writers Have to Climb Their Own Mountains
Consider how many variables there are in life. To start, no two people are the same. You don’t have the same talents, gifts, or personality as someone else. You are you, and that means you must forge your own path to success.

Yes, you can absolutely pick up tips from others, learn important skills from them, study as an apprentice, and use your newly acquired knowledge to take giant steps forward in your career . . . as long as you go about it with the right mindset, understanding that all you’re doing is picking up tools to make your journey a little easier.

But if you think that following in another’s steps will take you to the top of that same mountain of success, you’re making a huge mistake. We all have our own mountains to climb. You have to find yours.

This can be really bad news if you have no idea how to go about finding your own path. After all, if you get instructions from another writer on how to succeed, you can follow those instructions, but if you’re left standing on the open road with no instructions at all, you can feel lost, frustrated, and worst of all, hopeless.

The Secret to Writing Success: Find Your Own Path
There’s no doubt that forging your own path as a writer is difficult—probably one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face as a creative individual. But it’s the only way to fulfill your potential and find a career that’s right for you.

“I can tell you from my own experience that I spent a lot of time in my early months as a blogger mimicking some of my unknowing mentors,” writes blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur Corbett Barr on “My sites didn’t really start to grow until I stopped mimicking and started becoming myself.”

But there is the question—just how do you become yourself?

I’ve found that one of the best ways is to take some time to determine exactly what your strengths are, both as a writer and a creative individual. Too often writers focus on their flaws. We get writing critiques and send our stories out to beta readers to discover what’s wrong with our stories.

Even if we receive some praise, we’re likely to overlook it and focus on the critical statements. Humans are wired to focus on the negative. Even from an early age, we pay more attention to bad news. That means it’s natural for you to focus more on those critical comments and negative reviews than the positive ones, but by doing so, you’re ignoring what you need to determine your unique path.

Instead, pay more attention to the positive comments. I recommend you keep a file of all the positive comments you receive on your writing (and other creative endeavors). As your file expands, start identifying categories. What do readers respond to? Your unique settings? Your humorous dialogue? Your quirky characters? The fact that your stories are fast-paced and exciting?

Investigate your comments and determine what they’re saying about your strengths. What do you do well as a writer? The more you can figure that out, the easier it will be to chart your own path.

You can apply the same process to your author platform. What is working for you? What blogs or podcasts that you’ve produced get the most attention? What else do you do creatively that people respond to?

Pretend you’re a scientist and your subject is you. What makes this person special? What does she have to offer readers that no one else has? How can she package that information in such a way that she attracts more readers to her work?

As you answer these questions, you’ll find your options gradually narrowing until there’s only one road left ahead of you—the one that leads to your unique brand of success. And that’s much more satisfying than someone else’s, anyway.

For more help determining your unique strengths and building an author platform that attracts readers, see Colleen’s new book, Writer Get Noticed! Get your free chapter here.

Barr, C. (2010, December 15). The Difference: Copying Your Mentors vs. Becoming Your Best Self. Retrieved from
Hanson, R. (2010, October 26). Confronting the Negativity Bias. Retrieved from
Vaish, A., Grossmann, T., & Woodward, A. (2008). Not All Emotions Are Created Equal: The Negativity Bias in Social-Emotional Development. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 383–403. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.3.383
Westenberg, J. (2016, January 12). Imitating the habits of successful people is ultimately pointless. Retrieved from

Colleen M. Story inspires writers to overcome modern-day challenges and find creative fulfillment in their work. Her latest release, Writer Get Noticed!, is a strengths-based guide to help writers break the spell of invisibility and discover unique author platforms that will draw readers their way. With over 20 years in the creative industry, Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness and Writer CEO. Please see her author website or follow her on Twitter.

For more help determining your unique strengths and building an author platform that attracts readers, see Colleen’s new book, Writer Get Noticed! Get your free chapter here.


We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning podcasts each week.

The next one is Episode 242: Challenging the Status Quo — Interview with Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG April 2019 - Next Anthology News!

So it looks like it's April then - how did we get to the second quarter of 2019 already? Hope it's been a good one for you so far. Of course, being the first Wednesday of the month, it's time for our monthly meeting, so let's get to business.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

This month's wonderful co-hosts are J.H. MoncrieffNatalie AguirrePatsy Collins and Chemist Ken!

And this month's question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

Hmm, this is definitely an interesting question. A wish to help me write the whole book wouldn't go astray, but that might be pushing cheating a little far! Actually, I usually find it particularly tricky to write the end - and this is the case right now as I grapple with pulling together my trilogy to write its final chapters. It definitely seems to be a tall order to tie everything up neatly, and of course there's the dreaded twist - you don't want readers to see it coming, but you also don't want them to feel like it's totally hit them out of left field. With the best twists, I think, "Ah, of course!" So yes, a bit of divine intervention in that department would definitely be appreciated.


Now let's turn to this month's exciting news - we're announcing the genre and opening date for the next IWSG anthology!

Our genre is Middle grade historical: adventure/fantasy and the opening date is May 1. The best brains are on the theme, and that will be announced on the opening date. So this is just to whet your appetite - you could use that time to brush up your knowledge of the genre if it's not your usual bag, for example. We're looking forward to more great entries!

Don't forget the Masquerade anthology is hitting the shelves on April 30!

Masquerade: Oddly Suited

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Website - IWSG Anthologies

Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary

Print ISBN 9781939844644

eBook ISBN 9781939844651

Print and eBook:

Special note:
We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

Here's the very funny Episode 236 with Jeff Somers on Writing Without Rules (or Pants).

Check it out and come back later this month for details about the program.

OK, now it's time to check out more IWSGers at the sign-up page. What part of your WIP would you wish for help with? Excited about the theme for the next anthology? Or for grabbing a copy of Masquerade? Interested to learn more about DIY MFA?

Monday, March 25, 2019

10 Literary Podcasts all Writers Should Listen To

Writers are always being told that if they want to continue improving their craft, the best thing they can do is read. But if you’re in the middle of writing or publishing a book, looking at another book — or even a blog post — is probably the last thing you want to do with your time. Luckily, there’s no need to read when you can start listening… to these ten podcasts! Each of them offer insight and advice for writers and book-lovers alike.

1. Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Raise your hand if your browser history contains searches like “regardless or irregardless,” “double negatives,” or “purposely or purposefully.” It’s alright, you’re not alone! If you find yourself frequently turning to Google for answers like these, the podcast Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing will likely be for you. In episodes that range from 7-20 minutes, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty puts the most confusing and long-pondered vocabulary questions to rest in a funny and insightful style.

2. Writing Excuses

Disclaimer: this podcast doesn’t provide writers with excuses to avoid their craft. Instead, by going over various writing techniques and trends, the 15-20 minute episodes aim to give authors an excuse to write by educating them more about their craft! Come for the funny tag-line — “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart” — and stay for the advice that can truly improve your prose.

3. The Creative Penn Podcast

Let’s be honest, Joanna Penn has kind of become the BeyoncĂ© of the indie author world. And while we can’t personally remark on her singing chops, we can attest to the quality of her podcast. Tune in every Monday for inspirational episodes that provide authors with the know-how to tread the unknown waters of self-publishing, plus tips on what goes into being an author-preneur.

4. I Should Be Writing

If you can relate to the title of this podcast right off the bat, you will definitely connect with the honest episodes that detail the ups, downs, and emotional roadblocks that all career writers eventually encounter. It’s hosted by award-winning science fiction author Mur Lafferty, and often features interviews from a variety of other genre authors. If you like your podcasts with a bit more edge, you can also check out her I Should Be Writing spin-off, Ditch Diggers, which comes with a warning that it contains explicit content and is not kid-friendly.

5. A Way With Words

An hour-long National Public Radio (NPR) program, A Way With Words explores language through the lens of history, culture, and family. It’s hosted by author/journalist Martha Barnette and lexicographer/linguist Grant Barrett, who discuss slang, old sayings, new words, grammar, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and more. It’s a great program for authors who want to go back to the very basics of any piece of writing: expression through language.

6. What Should I Read Next?

If you’re in the middle of writing a book and you find yourself unable to detach from thoughts of your own prose, this podcast will help you fall in love with reading for pleasure all over again. Each week, host Anne Bogel has a guest on to discuss their reading lists, encouraging listeners to make reading an everyday part of their lives.

7. DIY MFA Radio

If you’re the kind of writer who feels like learning is never over and there’s constant room for improvement, you will get a lot out of the industry experts and authors who appear on Gabriela Pereira’s podcast, DIY MFA Radio. Including the likes of Sara Dessen, Jojo Moyes, Eoin Colfer, and Orson Scott Card, each episode aims to be as educational — and also as accessible — as possible. But don’t let the comparison to academia fool you: these are not dry lectures, but fun and relatable insights into the experiences of seasoned writers.

8. Story Grid

“Helping you become a better writer.” This is Story Grid’s tagline, and if it sounds too good to be true, think again! The podcast has over 150 episodes under its belt and has been capturing authors’ attention for years with episodes that cover thought-provoking questions like “Do you have to be depressed to be a good writer?” and “What if my writing sucks?” So if you’ve ever felt defeated by writer’s block or enjoy discussing what the “X factor” of a truly great story is, then yes, Story Grid will help you become a better writer.

9. Longform

Yes, most of the podcasts on this list are aimed at fiction writers. But nonfiction authors aren’t without their own insightful programs! Longform, for instance, features lengthy (as the name suggests) interviews with writers, with a focus on journalists and nonfiction writers. Each episode dives into the writer’s past and maps out how they got to the current point of their publishing career.

10. Bestseller

We couldn’t really make a list of the ten best podcasts for writers without including our own, could we? Hosted by Reedsy’s Casimir M. Stone, each episode follows a different part of an independent author’s self-publishing journey. It starts at the very beginning, from that lightbulb moment that gave them the idea for their book, to the very end: publishing and marketing their book. If publishing your own book feels like a long and winding road, Bestseller will give you reassurance that you’re not alone, while helping you find your own footing.

Monday, March 18, 2019

#IWSG - Get your Merch / Goods / Wares / Products / & Stuff!

Image result for spaceballs merchandising quote

What better way to show your insecure pride than to wear it on your sleeve?

Your T-Shirt sleeve!!

Check out the IWSG t-shirt designed by Jeremy Hawkins!
You can get this shirt in grey, black, or navy blue!

Get all your t-shirt size options HERE and order yours today!


There's more!!!!

We've got a great selection of IWSG merchandise to choose from!

Pens, key chains, coffee mugs, tote bags, and of course...notebooks!
You can never have too many notebooks!

Check out our merchandise page HERE and order some of your favorites today!

Proceeds from sales help support and maintain the IWSG website and fund upcoming events.



We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

The next one is Episode 233: Crafting the Victorian Novel — Interview with David Morrell.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Benefits to Listening to Audio Books for Writers

By Melissa Chan of Literary Book Gifts

Writers are some of the most avid readers around. It's an obvious way to develop such a love of books, reading, and literature—by reading for years before starting write a book. As an aspiring writer I know that a healthy and continuous amount of reading is the best thing for putting me in the mood to write.

I spent much of my childhood reading mainly paperbacks and hardcovers. Library trips every weekend helped me to replenish a continue stream of reading material for the week. Around high school I discovered audio books and have chosen them as my preferred form of reading ever since. The switch from reading with my eyes to reading with my ears may seem like a dramatic one, but if I reflect back, even before picking up books, my parents would read stories aloud to me, often before bedtime. I’ve fond memories of listening to tales of the past from my grandparents, relatives, and family friends over meals and during long summer afternoons. So I think perhaps I always listened to audio books in a way, and am simply returning to that form of reading.

Upon reflection of both forms of consuming literature, I have noted upon a few benefits that I would like to share with you today.

I find that no matter how much writing is done conceptually in the mind it always eventually takes place typing on the computer. Even those with the clearest of handwriting will eventually have to get it onto the digital page. Audio books offer a definite change of pace from the long hours of sitting upright to type and the possible eye strain that can come from staring at a screen. Audio books let you close your eyes and relax. It's the most ergonomic form of reading because you can read while lying down, taking a walk, or while doing some simple stretches. I find that audio books can be even more relaxing than television, since all your senses besides listening have the possibility of resting. With a pair of headphones, one has the possibility of physically removing themselves out of the places they write and even enjoying the outdoors on a hike.

As a writer working on your own manuscript it's impossible not to see words and construct sentences visually. Audio books let you consume a story in a different medium than the one you are writing in. The auditory processing as opposed to visual processing allows for a sort of separation in your mind.
My final and favorite reason why writers should listen to audio books is to get ideas for then they might want to record their own. Not every story gets recorded into an audio book. It is my hope that eventually more stories will be recorded, audio books exist as a completely digital goods. Unlike their written counterparts which are read in various physical formats or as eBooks, audio books exist only as sound recordings.

Sometimes if I am lucky I will find an author has read aloud their book and recorded it for all time. In some cases the author is now deceased. In this case the audio book is now a preserved copy of not only their work as an author but also of their voice.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a few ways in which audio books are beneficial for writers. I encourage everyone to read, listen, and tell stories aloud. Do you listen to audio books?

Written by Melissa Chan, lifelong reader, aspiring writer, and designer of bookish items with a wide selection of gifts for writers. When I'm not attempting to write a novel, I spend my time listening to audio books and browsing for new reads at the library.

Enter a Literary Book Gifts giveaway HERE
Buy the Typewriter Tote Bag
Buy the Vintage Book T-Shirt

Special note:

We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

The first one is Episode 234: A Master Class on Character — Interview with David Corbett.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.