Wednesday, January 6, 2021

January - Insecure Writers Support Group + Surprise Announcement!

January 6 question:

Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

This is a tricky one. I fail to finish books all of the time, and it is not necessarily the book's fault. I easily have a dozen books I have partially read in the past few years alone. Perhaps if I analyze a few that I have not finished, it will help.

The first group of unfinished books:  God Emperor of Dune, The Sword of the Lady, Soul Music, and The Wishsong of Shannara are all fourth or later in a series. If I do not have time to read them quickly in succession, then they will likely not be finished because I become frustrated with not remembering the multiple side plots or character names. If I feel like I cannot remember something that I am supposed to, I give up. Chances are, I do not have time to start over.

There is another group of unfinished books outside the Speculative Fiction category and these tend to get put aside because the goal of the main character is either unclear or unimportant. I think the reason I prefer SF is because the goals somehow seem more relevant. Or perhaps it is because the obstacles that prevent the goal from being attained are more believable. (Basically there is a tangible cause for the conflict like magical intervention or alien mind control. If it is something that could happen to me, it is probably not that interesting!)

Another thing that annoys me while reading is proper noun overload. A cast that is too big, or with names that are too similar is a big turn off. Too many settings can also trick me if I have to remember them by name. This one turns me off of a lot of long fantasy series. I never can remember which castles and towns and historic weapons are being referred to. I will struggle through this as best I can (for at least the first three books).

Lastly, I have a few unfinished items because they are simply too long, and I know I will not be able to keep up over the extended time it will take to complete the work. I also become frustrated if I have seen a film series first and the book deviates too far.  If I look forward to something specific that does not occur, I will put it aside. The Magicians fits in both of these categories: too much to read, and too many deviations. (Why is Margot named Janet? Why? Julia already has a five-letter "J" name, there should not be two main characters that close! And Margot was my favorite character in the series but is not as prominent or spicy in the books.) I will definitely pick this one up again at some point. The Expanse books are on hold for me, too, but only because of time. So far the deviations are acceptable and even enjoyable.

Proper character motivation, limited and unique character names, acceptable length, plenty of unbelievable obstacles that have believable impacts and I will likely finish the book. Now if I could just finish my own book!!!!!

Almost to the surprise...

If you are interested in reading what others have to say about this question, please follow the link behind the badge below. You will find many, many blogs here, and can hop to any you please for interesting perspectives.

The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner, Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!


You made it to the surprise!! 

Check out the new anthology coming out! Take a look at those awesome authors!!!

Dark Matter: Artificial

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology


Discover dark matter’s secrets…


What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?


Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Goldim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.


Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!



Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.


Release date: May 4, 2021

Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95

EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99

Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies (FIC028040) / Space Exploration (FIC028130) / Genetic Engineering (FIC028110)

186 pages



Artificial - Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Space Folds and Broomsticks - C.D. Gallant-King
Rift – Kim Mannix
The Utten Mission – Steph Wolmarans
Sentient – Tara Tyler
One to Another – Deniz Bevan
Resident Alien - Charles Kowalski
Nano Pursuit – Olga Goldim
Resurgence – Elizabeth Mueller
Vera’s Last Voyage – Mark Alpert

I'm so nervous...


  1. You are one of the authors - congratulations!
    I liked Wishsong but I am a big fan of Terry Brooks. Even met him once.

  2. Too many characters to keep track of makes me lose interest. I don't want to have to work so hard. Congratulations on making it into the anthology!

    1. Thanks! And thanks for the visit. It's funny I can memorize hundreds of student names but not ten characters. I guess there's no room left in my brain.

  3. It took me a month to read War And Peace. I was determined because I hadn't read back in college. I'm glad I finally did. In Games of Throne, I had to open the info page on my ipad while I was watching the series so I could remember who everyone was. I watched all but the last episode. Will I ever go back and watch it? I don't know if I can handle that much violence anymore. Hi Steph. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy New Year.

  4. Many congratulations on being part of a wonderful anthology.

  5. I'm with you on the too many characters part, especially when they all start with the same letter. It doesn't happen so much in modern fiction, but in older fiction, the authors often use multiple names to refer to the same character. I'm all for books that are not too long but have clear and believable goals/obstacles!
    Congrats to the winners of the anthology!

    1. Very true about older fiction. Thanks for the visit!

  6. Hi, Steph! I spotted you, awesome author! Congratulations on making the anthology, and enjoy the ride. I've read every IWSG anthologies multiple times. It's exciting to read the work of fellow IWSG members, and I can't wait to read yours. All the best! 👏 👏 👏

    1. Thank you! :) I am excited to read the others as well!

  7. Delighted you took that card, joined the group, and now you have a story in the anthology.

    Too many characters! Yes, especially in chapter one.

    1. Thank you! I am thrilled by how much has happened (on my writing path) this year!

  8. Congratulations on your story in the upcoming anthology.