The awesome co-hosts today are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!
Today’s question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?
Music! Progressive rock and metal. Loud. Always sets the tone.
2019 IWSG Anthology is out now!
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!
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
Special thanks to our amazing judges:
Elizabeth S. Craig, author and honorary judge
Dianne K. Salerni, author
Lynda Dietz, editor
S.A. Larsen, author
Rachna Chhabria, author
Lindsay Davis Auld, agent - Writers House
Tonja Drecker, author
David Powers King, author
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
Doesn’t Louise look happy to get her author copies?
The 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest is now open!
Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes.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. (Please see their site for general submission guidelines.) Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.
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!
Katatonia - City Burials
I was late to the party when I discovered Katatonia. Their last album, “Fall of Hearts” made so many year-end top ten lists in 2016 that I had to check it out.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to think after my first run through. But that’s the beauty of the band. They’re not about instant gratification. The more I listened, the more I loved it.
The album is meant to be listened as a whole experience. It flows and crests like a wave, and the journey is amazing.
City Burials is another great entry in the Katatonia catalog. It’s nuanced and subtle yet full of stellar moments that you yearn to hear over and over. The musicianship and songwriting are amazing. This one will be on my top ten list come years end, and I hope you check it out.
And to go with Monday’s Music Moves Me, hosted by Xmas Dolly, here is the video for Lacquer, a melodic and haunting song:
This animated film dropped on NetFlix last month and after a couple good reviews, we decided to check it out.
Let me just cut to the chase – I hated this film.
Who thought a whimsical children’s film on severe child neglect and abuse would be fun?
The parents are absorbed with each other and don’t like their kids. They ignore them, don’t feed them, etc. The kids decide to orphan themselves and send their parents on a trip just hoping they will get lost forever. (Spoiler – And when they go to rescue their parents, mom and dad leave the kids on the side of a mountain and end up dying a fiery death in a derigible.)
The message is supposed to be about family, but the twisted messages about families overshadow any good message buried there.
Extremely not recommended!
Picking up Voyagers? Entering the next contest? Familiar with Katatonia - what did you think of Lacquer? Had the misfortune to sit through The Willoughbys? And what gets you into that writing groove?
Listening to music definitely gets me in the mood to write.
Congrats to all the anthology authors!
I am not in the slightest bit surprised that you turn to music to get into the zone.
Big congratulations to everyone involved in this latest anthology including, but not limited to, the writers.
It's cool that playing loud prog rock and metal helps get your writing juices flowing. Thanks for turning me on to Katatonia and City Burials and for steering me clear of The Willoughbys.
Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Alex!
'Cuz I live in a tiny space with my husband, my first concern was loud music and disturbing the status quo. Then I figured you wear probably headphones.
Music is a big part of your life, so it makes sense it compliments your writing. Nice
Hi Alex - congratulations to all the authors in the 2019 Anthology ... and thank you to the judges for reading and selecting the stories: Louise looks very happy with her copies. Now good luck to all entrants for the 2020 Anthology. Loud music - sometimes ... but mostly (almost always) quiet ... I get quite cross with garden machinery!! As Lynn says ... I think you run with music ... stay safe and thanks for all you do - Hilary
These are some great judges for the contest!
Oh, The Willoughbys sounds absolutely awful. Thanks for the heads-up!
Congratulations to all the authors in the anthology. For me to write it has to be peace and quiet all the way - no loud music here! Hope you are keeping well, Alex.
The authors/writers have done great, well done! The judges have it full in their hands.Peace and quiet may not work sometimes if not for the blast of loud music, true enough! Thanks Alex!
Music definitely gets me in the zone, but it has to go off when I actually start typing.
Cover for Voyagers looks great. And dark matter is a great theme - wonder where that could go?
Other than listening to music from the Harry Potter movies, I can't listen to music while I write. It keeps pulling me away from the words and right out of the zone. I can only listen to rain videos and other ambient sounds.
Thank you for your kind comment, Alex.
I prefer quiet or white noise when writing.
Congrats to all the authors in the anthology! And love the photo of Louise! :)
My husband and I are on a bad movie streak lately. Hopefully the next one will break that trend.
Shady, I think you will appreciate Katatonia's melodies.
Lynn, no headphones. Fortunately, my wife likes the same kind of music.
Elizabeth, just steer clear of that film.
Nick, anywhere you want it to...
Madeline, we did find a good one - I'll review it next Monday.
What a cute photo of Louise! Congratulations to all of the anthology authors--I wish you much success.
Have you read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch? Loved it!
I just deleted W-by from my queue. Yikes. I trust your judgement. Congrats to the anthology authors - sounds like a winner. And rituals - nope - flex the fingers and then sit staring at a blank page.
Happy May, Alex.
I like music when I need emotion for a specific scene. Congratulations to the anthology authors! I haven't seen the Willoughbys. By the sound of your review, I don't think I will :)
Willoughbys sounds horrible. Thanks for the warning. I'm watching movies and recorded theater shows. It's not the same, but offers a nice distraction. And, gardening. I've been planting tons of seeds - a hopeful activity.
Congrats to all the winners! Although I don't overwrite, I'm just not a short story writer. I hope your world is getting back to normal!
Knowing you, I'm not surprised that music is part of what gets you into writing. Congrats to all the authors in the anthology. Can't wait to read it!
And I'd like to be a co-host a few times this year. Can you let me know when you need help? Any month is okay.
Thank for another great hop. I got my copy of Voyagers yesterday and am very excited about it. I wonder if some theories of ideas about Dark Matter will be shared or will each submission be left to interpretation. Either way, I think this will be exciting. Too bad about the Willoughbys. Was kind of interested, but now, I think I'll pass.
Hi Alex, if I were to listen to music while writing I would never get any writing done. But knowing you it doesn't surprise me one bit that music gets you into the writing zone :) How are things in your city?
I have Voyagers downloaded on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading it. Congrats to all the authors in the anthology!
Congrats on the new anthology release! I hope it brings good things to those authors, besides a happy feeling.
I used to listen to music when I wrote. I don't do it anymore. Probably because it's just not...handy? I don't know. At least it doesn't seem to make a difference. I'm still writing books. :)
I do like prog rock but I'd probably have a difficult time writing to it--I get distracted enough as it is. For me it's classical music--preferably peaceful relaxing music that kind of stays in the background.
Another anthology! Time is really flying!
Tossing It Out
Music plays such an important part in the creative process..
Congrats to the anthology winners :)
I look forward to reading the anthology because there are two or three writers that participate in the WEP and I want to read their stories.
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange
Yes - music ALWAYS helps me to write as well!
Congrats to all on the anthology!
I'll put my thinking cap - Dark Matter is a great theme :)
Music is so vital to writing for me. I can't imagine doing it in silence. Yes, Louise looks very happy. Look at her face and try not to smile! Happy IWSD day, Alex!
Congratulations to the writers in the new anthology! I'll have to do some research and thinking about the dark matter theme, since that seems outside my wheelhouse of soft sci-fi.
I love listening to music when I write--but no lyrics. My mind can't deal with those words around me and write at the same time. lol That leaves classical and songs in a foreign language (like Andrea Bocelli). Thanks for the review of The Willoughbys. I can scratch that one off the list.
I love how the anthology came out! Congratulations to all! I almost watched The Willoughbys the other day. Won't bother, now.
I'm the same. Listening to music gets me in to the zone too. I even go so far as to create playlists on Youtube. If I'm writing romance, then I'm listening to RnB, Soul and love songs. But with fantasy I'm listening to music by Audio Machine, Two Steps from Hell, etc.
Congrats to the authors and release of Voyagers anthology!
The song was pretty.
I love that photo of Louise. So much joy.
Loud progressive rock and metal! LOL. If I have music playing while I'm writing it might be something like Pandora's Mystical Trance Radio... In fact it's what's playing right now.
Here's to Voyagers being out in the world! I'm so excited to be a part and to finally read all the other stories!
Looking forward to the Anthology! It is going to be epic.
Oh, my heck. That move The Willoughbys sounds terrible!
Music gets me into the zone, too.
A big congratulations to all of the Voyagers authors!
Congrats to all the authors of Voyager!!! Love that picture!
And, best wishes to all who enter the next anthology contest.
Many, many thanks to all of the judges!
Music is powerful. I kind of thought you'd use it for getting into the zone.
Jennifer, I haven't!
Joanne, you won't regret that.
Jennifer, I'm still working, so it never got too far from normal.
Natalie, June or July would be great!
Toi, glad you got your book!
Rachna, things are looking better here. More businesses will be opening soon.
Ellen, that's awesome!
Pat, you will enjoy it.
Jemi, yes it is.
Carrie-Anne, you can do it.
Diane and Sheri, just avoid it.
I wish I could write to loud music--might drown out the sound of Hubs on the phone, which is how he's dealing with isolation. Gotta get some noise-canceling headphones.
Loud music. You do love your music. LOL It is a perfect choice though! Another anthology, Sci-Fi, and Dark Matter. Hmmm...
Hi, Alex! I love "Dark Matter" for the theme. That is wide open and can be considered from many angles ~ from love to the hardest of scfi. And thanks for making the length up to 6,000 words. 5000 was tough for "Voyagers." Now I have to get serious about a subscription for Microsoft Word. My submission will NOT come squeaking in at the last moment in Pages. And what a great panel of judges!
I love to write to music too, although over the last many months CNN has been on in the background. I usually pick music with a specific emotional tone, depending on what I'm writing at the moment.
Thanks for the shout out. I no longer worry about getting snapped in my freezer-cleaning finery!
All the best to you!
I can't listen to music at all when I'm writing because I'd get to caught up in the beat, and then I'd be dancing around the room...LOL
Congrats to you, the IWSG team, and the winners of the anthology! Another book in the world! It's really a great accomplishment. You're doing such amazing things for writers everywhere!
There are times I need music to write, but more often I like it quiet.
First off, THANK YOU! A few years ago, "someone"... don't remember who, naturally, but someone in Europe... included a song on their blog that I absolutely loved. Told myself I'd remember the group's name, but of course, I didn't. All I could think of is the name sounded Greek, but I could never quite come up with it. Ta DA! I'm almost positive Katatonia is the group! Again, thank you! I'll have to go exploring to see if I can find the earlier song that so enamored me. :)
That's an impressive group of judges for the next anthology. Sounds right up your alley, too... I hope you submit something.
Congrats to the winners!
I can't think of any rituals I have but music isn't one of them--I'll just end up dancing. LOL
I wish I could write to music but it either makes me want to move or sing along. Sometimes I can listen to classical or new age because there are no words but mostly I write in silence. I will avoid The Willoughby's like the plague.
The story titles are so enticing I’ll probably get a copy of Voyagers to read over the summer.
I haven’t heard of Katatonia. The song “Lacquer” was every bit as haunting as you suggested ;-) But sometimes that’s what gets the words flowing.
Thanks for the warning about The Willoughbys. Films like that make you leery of the creators. On the other hand, perhaps by example, they do us a favor – Don’t write that kind of stuff ;-)
Have an excellent month!
Hooray for the new contest!
Thanks for introducing me to Katatonia - I'd never heard of them and I did enjoy listening to Lacquer. It might work better than metal, if I was forced to listen to music while writing, but - unlike you - I need total silence (ideally) to work or get in the writing groove. Boring, maybe, but the empty void allows my brain to work better. :-)
Sorry you had to sit through The Willoughbys. You taught me a new word that I had to look up: "derigible". All a bit far-fetched as well.
Do you know whether Dancing Lemur Press created the covers for "Voyagers" and the other anthologies? I've been impressed by and loved all of them!!
Yolanda, maybe you give it a try? You did one before for Parallels.
Louise, glad you are considering entering! And you look just fine.
Susan, that's awesome! Most of their music if very melodic - hope you find that song.
Diedre, good point!
Liesbet, yes, they create all of the covers.
I enjoy listening to rock and metal too, although weirdly not when I'm writing :)
I need to think about the new anthology. Sci-fi is my genre, but the theme - Dark Matter - is complex. Cogitating...
I've already been warned off The Willoughbys. They hated the movie just as much as you did.
I remember my mama's shared insight: what you cannot have, you desire. The Roling Stones said it musically: "You can't always get what you want..."
My husband and I were only occasional movie-goers pre-lockdown. We didn't care about Oscars and such. But since we haven't been able to go to a movie theater since mid-March, we miss our occasional date night - if only for the extraodinary popcorn.
Don't wanna Netflix and chill - oh, well.
Congrats to all involved with the new anthology. Especially to the writers, a few of whom I'm thrilled to call friends. Keep of the great work!
Alex, you must have the patience of a saint to sit through the movie you reviewed. I can't imagine anything like that.
Very excited about the upcoming anthology theme!
Love Katatonia! Not even my closest friends know this, but I'm a closet heavy metal lover, from Led Zeppelin to Apocalyptica to Five Finger Death Punch. Not sure what that says about me, but might explain the black cloths and nails. :-)
It's a great theme! I'm looking forward to reading the stories.
And yes, music works as an awesome way to focus.
I would like to rat out Katharina Gerlach. I believe her website is https://www.katharinagerlach.com/. She definitely deserves the link. Her work is amazing.
Happy IWSG Day!
I know so many writers who use music to help them write. I create playlists, but I have to use them before or after. I need relative quiet when I actually write.
Music would distract me. Sounds like one movie that should never have gotten made. Weird that they'd ever pass it off as a kids movie.
Congratulations to all the authors in the anthology, and the cover looks great too! I’m also impressed with your list of judges. I wish I could write with music on, but I work better in silence. Thanks for everything, Alex!
I always found music distracting, impossible to write with music in the background, until I tried wearing headphones. Altogether different experience. Headphones create a bubble around me and help me focus.
Thanks for the introduction to Katatonia. I just gave the song a listen. It is dark but, these last two lines really touched a chord. I think I will listen to more of them this weekend.
My voice traveling
Soaring bird above your head
I sometimes listen to music when I am writing and I might drink a glass of wine. I guess it depends on my mood. No ritual though.
Stay safe and healthy
I used to have certain sound tracks I would listen to when I write, but now I go for no noise. You guys put together a bunch of great judges for the next anthology.
The stories in the new anthology sound really good, especially the one about the Firebird in WWII!
I almost don't want to answer because is sounds not true but to be honest, all I do is put my ass in the chair and write. I enjoy first thing in the morning. Bang out the work, be done, enjoy the rest of the day. I find writing very, very easy.
Ass. Chair. Write. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I'm looking forward to reading the anthology, it sounds so good!
The Willoughbys sounds awful. thanks for the heads up.
I love all music and I love it all loud.
I could see me writing to Katatonia. I'm hoping to motivate myself to enter this Anthology contest and looking forward to reading Voyage.
Kids movies now are too angsty. Like, they are trying to make sure children turn into angsty teens. Too sad.
Congrats to all winning authors Alex . much hard work must have gone into their writing to achievent being of winning status.
Congratulations to all Anthology writers. Thanks Alex for this space where we can share our insecurities and doubts. Keep safe and healthy!
Sonia from https://soniadogra.com
Congrats to all the antho authors and the IWSG on the new book! The cover looks brilliant.
Olga, I bet you can think of something.
Carol, it was like watching a train wreck - wanted to look away but couldn't.
Lee, you rock!!
Pat, it was disturbing.
Ian, that's interesting.
Truedessa, please do.
Jenni, Roland will be happy to hear that.
Doreen, good for you!
Donna, you should enter.
I am curious and will wait for the winner later ... I will also wait for the best story work
Congratulations to all the anthology authors!
Louise definitely looks happy:)
Stay safe, Alex.
I thought something seemed off about that show. Have you heard of The Last Kids on Earth? Been enjoying that one. Happy to be part of the next anthology round. :)
Oh gosh, that movie sounds horrid! So does the ear-bursting prog rock, haha.
A huge congratulatons to the anthology authors and the new anthonology sounds intriguing.
I'm one of those people who needs silence when I write. If there's music on, my brain will latch on to that to the exclusion of all else because music paints new stories in my head. I have two words for Lacquer - absolutely epic. Congrats to everyone in the new anthology! And I certainly will NOT being watching the Willoughbys.
The Willoughbys sounds horrific. Maybe they were trying to model after Roald Dahl and missed the point. The cover of Voyager looks great!
The cover to the "Third Ghost" anthology looks really neat.
I like listening to music for inspiration for my writing, but normally I don't play it while I'm writing. If I do that I'll get into listening to it too much and not get any writing done! lol
Music is out for me--too distracting.
"Dark Matter," huh? Going to take some thought. How can I write a light story about dark matter...
The song you have chosen here is truly a cesspool of thoughts. Does one dive in and try to figure their own way out, but is the person walking lost or are they just swimming with their eyes closed or are they sitting wondering if they should walk or run!?! Have a great weekend my friend! Be safe... be healthy... praying for you & yours for sure! The Lord never turns His back on the ones He loves & He loves us all! hugs
Oh my gosh, that picture of Louise is the best! I love it. She is the face of pure joy. Thank you for sharing it.
I admire that you can work with loud music while you write. I can't. I need semi-quiet. I can tune out the family (geez that sounds terrible) and the television as long as it isn't too loud but that's about it.
When I saw this year's anthology, I thought of you. Great judges too!
It's amazing how many writers can write and create while listening to music. And you listen to it loudly, like my husband. He likes to "feel" the music as well as listen to it. He used to play in a jazz band, trombone. I’d like quiet to think. I don’t get it. But I’d like it to be that way.
Bravo to all the winners in the anthology! I am so proud of you all. Way to go! Be safe, Alex!
That music is interesting.
Congrats to the authors of the VOYAGERS! I hope it is a very successful publication!
How exciting that another anthology contest is underway. You have to love this one, Alex. Dark sci-fi should be an interesting theme.
Hope all is well with you!
Congrats to the anthology contest writers. I keep a lot of white noise going as I write. Music, television etc. But I run a very tight ship when it comes to keeping my workspace organize. Happy IWSG, Alex!
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Hey, that sounds like growing up in the 70s with boomer parents!
Louise is adorable! Congrats to everyone involved with Voyagers The third Ghost!
I am not surprised that music always sets the tone for you! LOL!
Thanks for letting us know about The Willoughbys!
Take Care Alex!!
Music helps me write too!
I have been hearing terrible things about The Willoughbys! Sorry to hear you watched and felt the same.
Congrats to all who are featured in the anthology. :)
Congratulations to all the anthology contest winners! Such fun! I think I may submit to the next one!
I don't know what I do to get in the groove. It used to be music. I guess I just gear up mentally and go at it these days. :)
Thanks Alex for news on the Anthology. Might enter this year, the story is forming in my head as the May sun has finally come out to disperse the dark clouds of the past few weeks.
Great Katalonia extract, like it.
Have an inspired month of writing. Take care, stay safe.
Congrats to the anthology authors! That premise about Pompeii sounds really intriguing.
Great music recommendation!
I'll skip the movie with the sick sense of humour.
As for the new anthology contest -- what I know about dark matter might exterminate the universe, so I'll pass on this one :-)
Ronel visiting for IWSG day Notes on the Women in Publishing Summit 2020
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