Wednesday, January 5, 2022

IWSG Wednesday

 


The first Wednesday of every month is officially IWSG day. IWSG was formed by Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. Members post about their doubts and fears, discuss struggles and triumphs, and offer words of encouragement to others who are struggling.

 

This month’s co-hosts:

Erika Beebe https://erikabeebe.com/

Olga Godim   olgagodim.wordpress.com 

Sandra Cox  http://sandracox.blogspot.com/ 

Sarah Foster  http://thefauxfountainpen.blogspot.com/ 

Chemist Ken http://hogwartssabbatical.blogspot.com/ 

 

January 5 question - What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

 

I regret not getting involved in writing groups and going to conferences as soon as I started writing. It helps dispel the solitariness of writing, keeps you up-to-date on changes in the industry and offers you classes and information on how to improve your craft. AND you meet people in the process whose likes, dislikes and goals mirror your own, often developing lifelong friendships.

 

 

December reviews in no particular order.

*Disclaimer. If I run into an occasional typo, I ignore it and don’t factor it into my review.

 

THE TEXAN’S FAVOR by D. K. Deters


This is an adroitly composed romance set in the Old West.  The characters are well-fleshed including the secondary characters and the world building pulls the reader into a historic Western setting. I admired Kat’s—the female protagonist—spirt and independence. She show’s grit and courage throughout. Abby, the little girl is a gem, as is Jake’s grandparent. Jake—the male protagonist—is strong and tough. His weakness, Kat.  I loved the fact that the author mentioned Arbuckle’s Coffee. It was the premier coffee used in the Old West but this is the first time I’ve seen it referred to in a fictional novel.  If you love a romance filled with a lot of romantic tension, grab your beverage of choice, kick back and enjoy the read.

Available at Amazon.

 

 

CHRISTMAS WITH THE WRIGHTS: Justinia Wright Private Investigator Mysteries by C. W. Hawes

 

Hawes delivers.

These shorts are every bit as fun as the rest of the series and perfect for the season. The stories flow smoothly and are a joy to read.

The author has created a fascinating set of characters with the Wright Private Investigator Mysteries, but especially Justinia, the piano playing, cigar smoking P.I.

Recommended for readers who like their mysteries crisp and humor dry.

Available at  Amazon.

 

 

 

 

LOVE ME by Jacquie Biggar

 

The author had me at Cassie’s letter to Santa. 

LOVE ME is a heartwarming story that is perfect for the season, filled with feel-goods and love.

Grace Donovan’s life hasn’t been easy. Her husband passed and her daughter Cassie has cancer. She moves to a small town to enroll her daughter in an experimental cancer program at the local clinic. Cassie wants a puppy, but instead asks Santa for someone to take care of her mom in case something happens to her.

Kyle Roberts, the school principal, takes one look at Grace and is smitten. He offers her a job running a childcare program. Unknown to Grace, Kyle is also the benefactor of the grant she’s received to cover her share of the trials’ expenses.

As Grace fights the growing attraction between herself and Kyle, their daughters become fast friends and she discovers that miracles do indeed happen at Christmas. 

Available at Amazon.

 

 

THE RAVEN AND THE PIG by Lou Kemp

 

THE RAVEN AND THE PIG is a story of magic and high adventure under the sea and above it. Jonas Celwyn travels with Nemo, author Jules Verne, Pelaez his dark immortal brother and his pet Qing—a unique bird—along with others, to reach and work on a new flying machine, where disaster ensues.

The writing flows with smooth grace and fluid sentences that capture the imagination. Such as: “The glow of the Nautilus’ lamps illuminated the ruins, then dissipated and the inky water enveloped everything.”

AND: “From beside him, Verne’s eyes bounced like excited fireflies.”

AND: “A restless sea sloshed against the window.”

This second in the Celwyn Series will be much enjoyed by Kemp fans.

Available at Amazon.

 

 

SHATTERED by C. Lee McKenzie

 

Dreams are shattered when a young skier, who plans to take part in the winter Olympics, is run down by a snowboarder and paralyzed.  Now she must rebuild her life and make the inconceivable her norm.

The author took a difficult subject and turned a story that could have easily been depressing and difficult to read into an inspirational journey.  

Very well written.

Available at  Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GIRL WHO LOVED CAYO BRADLEY by Nina Romano

 

Education shouldn’t be a deal breaker in a romance but it certainly causes problems for Darbee and Cayo.

This story is a steamy western romance set in New Mexico in the 1870’s. It’s chock full of historical tidbits from the foods eaten, clothes worn, utensils and accessories used, to native American customs. While Cayo and Darbee are trying to sort out their feelings and future, the author inserts flashbacks to Cayo’s time spent with the Apaches and how they shaped who he is now.

Recommended for history buffs and romance readers who like heat, tension and conflict in their stories.

Available at Amazon.

 


103 comments:

  1. Lots of good books there! Thanks for sharing, hugs, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Entirely my pleasure, Val.
      Hugs received and returned.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I did start going to confererences early on, and it helped me realize all mistakes I was making. I also got a request for a full submission at my first conference and actually
    made it to acquisisions.

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    1. Great job on all the above, Natalie.
      Wishing you a happy-writing 2022.

      Delete
  3. At least we have access to that and a whole lot more now.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it, Alex.
      Thank YOU for giving me the opportunity to visit other writers:)

      Delete
  4. Hi and Happy New Year!
    It took me some time to get into going to writing conferences too, but I am glad I started attending such events.
    Thank you also for co-hosting.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Aren't conferences fun, Pat? I would love to find one to go to in NC this year.
      Co-hosting was my pleasure:) Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  5. I went to my first conferences last year - one online and two in person. They were so much fun and I learnt a lot! But I only started going when another author I'd met recommended them. So your advice is really great for this group. Thank you for co-hosting today :)

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    1. Aren't conferences great, Emma?
      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  6. Same. Our posts are very similar. Happy New Year, and thanks for co-hosting!
    Best,
    A

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    1. I was happy to co-host:) Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. I really didn't get involved in writer's conferences until I was a publisher and a speaker, so I was really late to the game. LOL

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  8. I can't say that I have ever attended a writer's conference other than on zoom! I'm sure actually being there and rubbing shoulders with fellow authors would be inspiring and fun. I agree Shattered could have been a downer, but rather it is inspiring. Loved it. Those Christmas stories sound cute too. Thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. It is so much fun. We need to find one and hookup, Cuz:)
      The Christmas stories were great and Lee did an amazing job on Shattered.

      Delete
  9. When I started out, I didn't know other writers existed in my home state! I was on published book #3 before I ever spoke to a published author OR another writer! With online avenues everywhere these days, you can experiment without leaving your home office. I've been with the same critique group for almost 30(!) years, some published, some not but their encouragement keeps me going.

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    1. Thirty years with the same critique group. What a blessing.

      Delete
  10. And thanks for co-hosting, Sandra!! (slapping forehead - Duh!)

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  11. Thanks so much for the terrific review. Sandra's Place is a wonderful blog. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit! Best wishes for lots of sales in 2022!

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  12. I share the same regret, but working full-time makes it so hard to do those things. I might be able to make time for one here or there, but 100% immersion will have to wait until retirement. Thanks for co-hosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having a day job and writing is a challenge for sure.

      Delete
  13. That's a great point! I haven't been to conferences but I've gained so much from my online friendships and the groups I belong too!
    I really enjoyed Shattered as well - great story!

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    Replies
    1. Conferences are so much fun. It's been awhile since I've been to one in person and I miss it.

      Delete
  14. I agree, what we absorb and learn from other writers is terrific. Even those we disagree with or don't write in our genre teach us something.
    I wanted to learn to write, so I manage La Cruz Writers' Group (since 2012). It's been a mixed experience. Pro: I've learned a lot. Con: I've spent valuable time managing when I could have been writing.
    Thanks a million for co-hosting.

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    1. I very much admire folks that manage writing groups. It does cut into your writing time, so kudos to you (and to Alex) for giving of yourself to help the rest of us.

      Delete
  15. You are so right about the conferences. I really enjoyed meeting other authors in person. Many I am still in touch with. Great reviews, Sandra.

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    1. I would LOVE to meet you at a conference someday, Jacqui:)

      Delete
  16. Networking early on is vital, and like you, I could have done more of that. I just didn't know where to start until I joined SCBWI. That helped me connect with other writers.

    Thanks for co-hosting today and for mentioning Shattered. That was a lovely surprise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Learning to write is like learning to swim, isn't it? We flounder around a lot.
      Reading Shattered was a pleasure, Lee.

      Delete
  17. Happy New Year, Sandra! Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG question.

    Writing Groups and conferences are a great way to connect with other writers. I've made many dear writing friends through my writing group. I wish I'd know about writing groups and conferences earlier. Of course, I didn't have much money to spend on them. And with 5 kids to raise, it wasn't easy to find time to go to conferences.

    All best to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 5 kids. Kudos to you for finding time to write at all.

      Delete
  18. I'm not sure I would've continued as a writer if I hadn't found writers' groups. I've made lifelong friends in these groups. Friends who support, console, and kick my butt. I've learned so much from them. Thanks for cohosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where would we be without writer (and blog) friends?
      I was happy to co-host. Thanks so much for stopping by, Diane.

      Delete
  19. Writers Groups - Yes! Writers think differently than other humans - at last I felt less weird!

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  20. Thanks for cohosting, Sandra, and for the book recs. I'll have to check out The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley. Happy writing in January! Here's to a brighter 2022.

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    1. My pleasure, Sadira. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  21. I agree with the building life long friendships in writing. I know I've done that!

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    Replies
    1. That's great, Loni. It makes a huge difference, doesn't it?
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  22. I don't know that there were many if any writing groups around me in my early days of writing. It would have been nice. Going to college helped put me in company with others who had writing aspirations, but still I wasn't very involved. I never realized there were writing conferences until I started blogging in 2009. Haven't gone to any of those, but I did join a local writing group for a while until it disbanded.

    Blogging has been a help regarding writing for sure.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. We aren't nearly as isolated as we used to be, are we, Arlee?
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  23. Great reviews, Sandra :) I found a couple to add to my list, and one is next on my TBR list. Good question and answer. I think the same about our local group, I joined but never found time to go to the local meetings. Not sure they meet anymore. Xo

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    1. I'm still playing catch up on my reading and lagging way behind you:)
      I hear ya on going to the local meetings.
      YOU take special care my friend.

      Delete
  24. I love the CREATE balloon or ball. I'd love something like that.

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    1. I do too, Jeanie:) I think everyone should have one. I think it came from Home Goods.

      Delete
  25. What a great wish :) I do recall learning so much in those writing work sessions and open panel discussions. May your writing dreams come true in 2022!

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  26. Great line up of books!

    I agree - writing groups and conferences are a great way to connect. IWSG has been a lifeline for me many a time. I've missed not being able to attend in-person conferences these past two years.

    Thanks for co-hosting today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IWSG is such a supportive community, isn't it?
      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  27. It seems like most of us have some regret about not doing something sooner. But at least we started!

    Happy New Year and thanks for hosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. We started.
      Thanks for stopping by, Bish:)

      Delete
  28. Groups are the best! I was fortunate to fall into several when I first got serious about writing. They are wonderful for support, networking, and learning.

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  29. Congrats on cohosting today and reviewing all these books. I had
    Vet yet to write a book so maybe this year is the time....

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  30. Good question and answer. Thanks for the reviews.

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  31. I definitely agree with taking part in writing communities. I've gained a lot from being part of communities, both in person and online.

    The Warrior Muse

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  32. Thanks for co-hosting!

    I wish I had the money to attend writing conferences, either virtually or in person. Maybe someday.

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  33. I wasn't ready for a writing group for many years. I needed to build up my writing skills first so that the words were at least passable enough to actually be critiqued.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month! Happy 2022!

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    1. I understand that:) And back at you for co-hosting;)

      Delete
  34. Thank you for co-hosting this month! I especially liked the quick reviews. They were intriguing and made my to-be-read list even longer, so thank you again :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, S.E.:) I'm sure the authors were more than happy to increase your TBR list:)

      Delete
  35. Community is so vital to a writing life. I'm glad you've found it now, even if you didn't seek it way back when. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

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    1. Thanks, Samantha:) Also thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  36. I went to 1 conference only because it was close to home. I would have liked to join a nice, helpful writers group. My daughter was in one and she said they were harsh and unhelpful. That put the kibosh on that.
    thank you for co-hosting!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry your daughter had such an unpleasant experience. Harshness is never helpful in a support group.

      Delete
  37. Geniales recomendaciones. Te mando un beso

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  38. I only went to 1 writing conference in the early years of my writing, and I didn't have much of a positive experience. On the other hand, the online writing communities, like this and other blog hops, work for me much better.

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    1. I'm sorry your writing conference wasn't positive, Olga, but very happy the online communities have worked out well.

      Delete
  39. I've never been to a conference, my introverted personality cringes just thinking about it, lol, but I do value my online writing friends and have participated in a few online courses- which I loved!
    Sandra, thank you for the wonderful review for Love, Me! I see some new-to-me books for my TBR list, too :)

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    Replies
    1. I get it, Jacqui. It makes all the difference if you are going with a bud or meeting one at the conference.
      And thank YOU for writing LOVE ME:)
      I'm sure the authors are quite happy to be added to your TBR:)

      Delete
  40. Happy New Year Sandra! I love your short pithy reviews. I like the idea of writing conferences but haven't been for any, there are a few in India which require less upheaval and funds to attend than those in the US or China. When the time comes to book one I balk, preferring to work on whatever I'm working on. I hope you get to go to one soon.
    Happy New Year and thanks for co-hosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Kalpana.
      Wishing you a flood of creativity that flows from brain to fingers this year.

      Delete
  41. Hi Sandra - great post reminding us of IWSG writers with books out ... cheers to you - Hilary

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  42. Happy New Year, Sandra!
    Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG blog hop this month.

    Your comment has me wondering about the solitary writing existence that writers were subjected to, before the onset of networking and writing groups/conferences...

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    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Michelle.
      The times have changed for sure.
      Thanks so much for stopping by, Michelle;)

      Delete
  43. I have considered joining an (in person) writing group but, COVID aside, it's the time constraints which mean I haven't yet. We don't have as many writing events in the UK, but it is something I'm considering looking into, so thanks for the nudge.

    Thanks also for co-hosting.

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  44. I did benefit a lot when I joined an in-person writing group and local author events. I'm happy that I did. It took my many years to get up the courage, but I don't regret the time that it took me to join. I needed to grow first. :)

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I loved going to conferences and writing groups! I wish I could/would have kept doing so. I enjoyed your book reviews. Shattered is first on my list to read this year, and now I'm considering a couple on your list ;-)
    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    Replies
    1. Shattered is excellent. And I'm sure the authors are glad to hear you're considering more:)
      Thanks for stopping by, Diedre.

      Delete
  46. That's a great point-I didn't realize that joining groups would be so beneficial. I love it!

    Thank you for hosting this month!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. In house groups can be a lot of fun.
      Thanks for stopping by, Lori.

      Delete
  47. I agree with you about the conferences! I've only attended the wonderful Surrey International Writers' Conference and that's only since they've been holding it online, wish I could go in person!

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    1. I'm not familiar with the Surrey International. Sounds like a great one. Thanks so much for stopping by, Deniz:)

      Delete
  48. Good point! Nice reviews, too.

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  49. Thank you for sharing your regrets! Actually, I've found not every writing group offers a positive experience -- but a good writing group, one that truly fits your genre, style, and needs for constructive feedback, is beyond helpful. As are those writing conferences that we used to go to (pre-Covid!). Wonderful reviews this month as well. Write on!

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  50. My first writing group gave me the courage to let other people read my writing and even to enter my first contest. Love those folks. I still haven't been to a conference, but once COVID is done, I plan to.

    Happy New Year!

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  51. I'm with Olga that my first experience of writers conferences was not positive. There was a big clique in the area I lived at that time. I did better with my course group that kept in touch for a long time, but I'm not really interested in joininng a writer's group now, I have my group online as several others have said. Going to a Flash Fiction Festival may be more fun if we get back to them.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month. BTW How many 'occasional ' typos do you overlook before it affects your review?

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  52. Oh yes, writing groups are brilliant. I struggled to find any local ones when I first started writing so all of mine were online, but there are now a few in my area that I'm involved with. They are invaluable.
    The Raven and the Pig sounds like a very unique read.
    Thank you for co-hosting and all the best for 2022.

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  53. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    It took me a long time to get into writing groups and trying conferences too. Thanks for sharing your reviews.

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