IWSG: May 2020

6:30 AM Elizabeth Seckman 22 Comments

This post is packed with good stuff.

First up, IWSG Anthologies!
 We have one needing readers and one needing writers. 
But before we get to those, here's a couple of things you will definitely want to check out:

Have you written a story and wonder what your next move is? If you're not wanting to deal with the hassles and red tape of traditional publishing, you can self-publish. And if you want to save yourself some money and headaches, L. Diane Wolf has the course series for you! 

How to Publish Your Book Now (Publishing 101) is now a double webinar.
Register for May 19 here: https://www.eztalks.com/r/950554940 & May 21 here: https://www.eztalks.com/r/938209289

Book Release

A modern day, shape-shifting sheriff.
He’s the sheriff of a sparsely populated county in Montana. His blood brother and childhood best friend is Chief of Police on the Blackfoot Reservation, but they no longer speak. His deputy is a southern transplant with the body of a high-priced call girl, a voice of honey and a mouth of a trucker. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a secret that would stun those that know him best. Other than that, it’s business as usual for Sheriff Mateo Grey.


A chill March wind lifted Chief Deputy Blair Delaney’s ponytail and nipped her skin as she stepped out of the patrol car, snapping a twig beneath a sturdy boot. With a flick of her thumbs, she turned up her collar and burrowed deeper into her worn, brown bomber jacket.
The setting sun hovered on the horizon and outlined a dark-barked, bare-leaved oak that arced over the porch of Sheriff Mateo Grey’s cabin.
The temperature dropped. A wolf howled.
She spun on her heel. The large gray predator stood at the edge of the property, watching her. As seconds ticked, he held her gaze but came no closer. Finally, as if bored by the whole situation, he turned his head and loped behind the cabin to disappear into the trees.
Whoosh. Blair didn’t realize she’d been holding her breath until she expelled it. She’d seen the wolf before. That one and an older version that melted into the forest whenever she appeared. Apparently, they considered Mateo’s property part of their territory. And speaking of which, where the hell was he?
She took an impatient step forward then faltered as the hair on the back of her neck rose. The sense of a malevolent presence increased with the disappearance of the wolf. Her hand on the pistol at her waist, she whipped around and stared into the trees that surrounded the house. She appreciated Mateo’s desire for privacy but did it have to be in the middle of bum fuck nowhere?
Blair considered herself a pragmatist and seldom gave way to flights of fancy. Still a ripple of unease stole over her like a thick, tangible mist smothering her senses. She drew her gun, forcing her hand not to tremble.
She whirled. The sheriff stood on the porch shirtless and shoeless, worn jeans riding low on lean hips. Her heart gave a hard thump and her blood pooled at her feet. Dammit to hell, why couldn’t she work for someone who was overweight, balding and ate too many donuts? Though, on the plus side, he did have a way of heating her up and keeping the chill at bay.
He took one swift glance at the gun and was off the porch and at her side in four long-legged strides. Even in the biting wind she could feel heat pouring off him.
“Aren’t you cold?”
He ignored the question and cut to the heart of the matter. “What’s wrong? Why is your gun drawn?”
Feeling like an idiot, she cleared her throat. With his appearance the malevolent sensation dissipated like smoke. “I thought someone was watching.” She holstered her gun.
He took a step past her, alert, dangerous.


Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her
husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.
Her stories consist of all things western…and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.
You can find her at: https://www.sandracox.blogspot.com .
Her twitter handle: Sandra_Cox


I've read this book and it's a good one. A fast-paced read with the brooding, handsome sheriff, Mateo, who is a rescuer of small children and stealer of hearts, Mateo. He is challenged by his deputy, a Southern transplant to the tiny Montana town. She's tough, she's sweet, and she's able to make her boss blush with her trucker mouth.

Question Time!

Sandra sent a question and we have the monthly IWSG question:

Question 1: Sandra's question:
 If you were a shapeshifter and had the choice, what animal would you be? I'd be a house cat and the humans would be my staff.  Would you choose a secluded or highly populated area to live in? I'd choose a quiet house with ocean views. Got a place in mind? No. Any beach house will do. 

Question 2: IWSG Question: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE?  Care to share? I need my cup of tea. Hot. Three sweeteners, one dash of milk. 

Now, about those insecurities...

I believe the only thing worse than having a difficult dream is having a child who dreams even bigger. My son, Boy #2, started college pre-med prepping to be a dentist. His sophomore year, he decided he wanted to be a screen writer. Well, that's hardly an easy biz to break into, especially when you don't have any connections to Hollywood. 

I told him: the market is flooded and your chances are slim. Accepting that leaves you with a tough decision. Do you love it enough to do it at any level? Or is it a dream that requires winning to make it worthwhile? If  so, you're in it for the wrong reasons and you'll probably have to sell your soul to give yourself 50/50 odds of ever being happy. 

And you'll be soulless.

But if you truly love the intrinsic value of the work and the process of creation, then you can never go wrong pursuing \what you love as a career. Stick your foot in any door that will open and enjoy the process. The creation. Anything less will almost always lead to insecurity, frustration, and failure. 

He agreed. He switched his major to economics and decided to focus on the business end of movies. He revamped his school's film club, started making short films and cartoons, and applied to work on movie sets as a production assistant. He picked up a job producing a sport's show for a radio station. He taught classes and kept on creating. 

This spring he was offered spots at both UCLA and AFI in their MFA program for producers. I told him that was like writing a story that got sold in a bidding war. That's damn sweet. Enjoy the glory for a moment, then get back to work. 

Until next time, IWSG, stay busy, keep producing, and love the hell out of what you do. 

Thanks to our fearless leader, the ninja master, Alex Cavaugh and this month's awesome co-hosts: Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

Voyagers: The Third Ghost

Release date – May 5, 2020
Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press

Journey into the past…

Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?

Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!
Pre-order on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Goodreads

The Third Ghost – Yvonne Ventresca
Winter Days - Katharina Gerlach
Feathered Fire – Roland Clarke
The Ghosts of Pompeii – Sherry Ellis
Dare Double Dare – Louise MacBeath Barbour
The Blind Ship – Bish Denham
A World of Trouble – Rebecca M. Douglass
The Orchard - Beth Anderson Schuck
Return to Cahokia – L.T. Ward
Simon Grey and the Yamamba - Charles Kowalski

For the 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest:

Guidelines and rules:

Word count4500-6000

Genre: Science Fiction

Theme: Dark Matter

Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
Be sure to follow the submission guidelines! You can find them HERE

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com 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.

Our official judges:

Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder
Dan Koboldt is the author of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy (Harper Voyager), the editor of Putting the Science in Fiction (Writers Digest, 2018), and the creator of the sci-fi adventure serial The Triangle (Serial Box, 2019). As a genetics researcher, he has co-authored more than 80 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals. He is represented by Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Lynda R. Young, author
Lynda R. Young is an Aussie writing fantasy novels as Elle Cardy. Wielder’s Prize is her debut YA epic fantasy. She is also an editor, game developer, 3D artist, graphic designer, photographer, gamer and more.

Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Colleen Oefelein is an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, a devourer of books, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars.

Damien Larkin, author
Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was published by Dancing Lemur Press and went on to be longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and is working on his next novel Blood Red Sand.

Ion Newcombe, eidtor and publisher
is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia's longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics into literature and communications.

Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency
Julie Gwinn most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Recently, she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words.

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 Dancing Lemur Press' imprint 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. Please see their website for guidelines on the type of stories they accept.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!


  1. Congratulations to Sandra!
    That was very wise advice you gave to your son. And awesome he had two schools vying for him.

  2. Congratulations Sandra! I'm not sure what animal I would pick. I like the beach scenery though. I think I'd either want to fly or be really really fast. Congratulations to all the authors in the anthology too! Happy IWSG Day :)

  3. Congrats to your son! And well done to you for that realistic and amazing advice. :)

  4. Congratulations Sandra. Her book sounds great. Mateo is a super name.

  5. Congrats to Sandra - love the idea of a shape shifting sheriff :) And I love your answer to the shape shifter question. A house cat is definitely the way to go. What a wonderful outcome for your son. He's going to do amazing things :)

  6. Congrats to your son on figuring out a way to follow his dream. And Sandra's book sounds cool. I love the shape shifting element added to a mystery story.

  7. So much goodness in this post! Congratulations to EVERYONE!

  8. You encouraged your son with wisdom. Good on you, mom.

    Thank you for mentioning my webinar.

  9. Congrats to Sandra - the book looks fun!
    And congrats to your son - fantastic!!!

  10. Congrats to Sandra!
    And Congratulations to your son and you! Nice work!

  11. Sounds like a read I could get lost in. Love it!
    And your son, you must be so proud! Now all your books well be made into movies. right? LOL

  12. Lots of great news here today--from the personal to the professional. It's so good to read about the positive side of things during this lock down time. Thanks for this today!

  13. A gazillion thanks for helping me get the word out. You're the best. AND...I'm so excited to hear about your son. Your guys are doing so well. You've done a great job, mom:) I echo Yolanda, we'll be waiting for your books to hit the big screen.

  14. Congrats, Sandra!

    And congrats to you, for being an inspiring mom, and to your son! Wishing him much success with his career!

  15. Sandra's book sounds fun, and I am delighted to read about your son's success!

  16. What a refreshing collection of musing at the start of the new month. I enjoyed reading about those conversations every mother will have at some point. Not every one encourages their kids to follow their dreams though, so I'm sending hopes his future career continues to take off and thanking you for your support. Hmmn. Shape-shifting? I'm still thinking of the possibilities! Have a good month ahead.

  17. Congrats Sandra, on both your son's success and your part in inspiriting him!

    As for Elizabeth's question, my next move is to get moving on a story for the upcoming anthology!

  18. A cat would sure be the way. Congrats to Sandra too. Sounds like your son found his path indeed.

  19. Awesome excerpt, Sandra! Good luck to you, and Elizabeth, how did you know my current writer state of mind? :)

  20. you had me at shape-shifting sheriff! Oh yes!

  21. What wise advice you gave your son! Obviously, he took it and made the changes himself. Congrats to him on being offered spots at UCLA & AFI. Wow!

  22. Congrats Sandra! Fascinating subject matter and story...All the best.

    Wow, Elizabeth! What great news for you son! Congrats to him and all the best!


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