It’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:

Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

Writing has been my calling for 36 years, as long as I’ve known how to write. It’s just something I’ve always done, the way others have a lifelong calling to medicine, art, music, or the clergy.

I’ve been writing historical since I was about eight. History was always my favoritest subject in school, and I never understood why so many of my peers found it boring and stupid. I love learning about how people lived in other eras.

I discovered my secondary genre, soft sci-fi, in fifth grade. We read a book of short sci-fi stories in English class, and I was so fascinated by these imagined future worlds, I planned a bunch of my own books set in various future years. The first story in that book was by Asimov. As much as I love Asimov, I wish I had a more original gateway story!

I strongly suspect this year’s NaNo will be a bust, or that I’ll barely squeak out 50K, instead of overachieving as I always do. Without in-person write-ins and the ability to get out of this annoying open concept house I’m still stuck in, a home which isn’t my own, my normal daily wordcounts are gone. This apparently permanent lockdown is ruining so many people’s mental health!

At least my vision has improved most marvellously with my new scleral contacts.

In happier news, all four volumes of Dark Forest and the book formerly known as The Very First are finally now available in paperback. There will be upcoming posts about TVF, which I’ll never think of by its published title. I know all four books in the prequel series desperately needed better titles, but after 20+ years, I’m emotionally attached to their original names.


E-book cover is on the left; print cover is on the right


Is it possible to live in two worlds at once?

When German-born Katharina Brandt immigrates from Amsterdam in 1938, her dearest wish is to become a real American girl. From now on, her name is Katherine Small, and she adopts the nickname Sparky to try to seem even more American. But before she can realize her dream, she’ll have to learn the ins and outs of her unusual new neighborhood and group of friends in Atlantic City.

Sparky is taken under the wing of Cinnimin Filliard, the youngest child of the man who helped her family immigrate. Cinni teaches her a thing or two about American life and their strange neighborhood. Sparky wants to believe Cinni is steering her right, but Cinni has some conflicting attitudes. Though nice and intelligent, Cinni often cops a superior attitude just because she was voted Most Popular Girl. Particularly to neighbor Violet, whom Cinni is convinced is after her title.

Sparky will do almost anything to fit in, except compromise her Judaism. She longs to be Sparky to her friends while remaining Kätchen to her family and staying true to her values. But along the way, Cinni, who tries to tempt her into wearing shorter skirts and eating non-kosher food, slowly begins realizing there’s more than one acceptable way to be a real American.

Will she ever be able to pull off being Sparky to her friends while remaining Kätchen to her family and staying true to her values? And just why was she nicknamed Sparky?

My feral friend White Shoes says hello!

Are you doing NaNo this year? Is lockdown negatively impacting your writing life?

7 thoughts on “IWSG—November odds and sods

  1. This pandemic has been tough on so many people. I hope things are looking up soon!
    Love that you were drawn to history and sci fi so early! I didn’t find sci fi until much later but fell in love with it as well. Asimov isn’t a bad introduction at all!


  2. Yes to reading history! It’s filled with stories and lessons for everyone. Good for you. Congrats on getting the contacts you need to see better–so essential for readers and writers.


  3. I agree about the effect of the pandemic on so many people. Thankfully this has probably hit me in the best time of my life since I was mostly staying home anyway. I’m so over this COVID nonsense and I’m hoping the powers that be will wake up to see what a destructive thing they are doing in the states like mine where they are keeping things under such a restrictive rein.

    AS far as history, I was one of those students who didn’t appreciate the subject of history. In reality I liked the subject–the stories and the people–but the approach taken in school was not always best. I got dragged down by dates. Now I love history and the concept of timeline is far more understandable to me. Maybe it’s because I’m older now and I can better understand timelines and dates (even though I’m terrible at remembering things like birthdays and such).

    You’ve been doing a great job with your writing and your pursuit of the craft. Keep up the good work!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How wonderful that you have improved vision, Carrie-Anne! Sparky sounds like a wonderful character. Good luck with your book!


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