Wednesday, January 4, 2023

IWSG and So Much More

 It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another dip into the IWSG world! But I also have a couple other things going on, much so that I'm skipping my usual daily review/recommended read post. Let's just get started since today is a busy day!

This group was founded by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has grown from a small blog hop to a large group with all sorts of possibilities. One of these is the Twitter pitch party coming on January 25th (if you want to learn more about that, just head over to Alex's site here or tap on the IWSG logo). Every 1st Wednesday of the month, members get together with this blog hop to offer support, tips, comments, let everyone know what they're up to...and who knows what else. After all, writing doesn't have to be a lonely journey.

Tons of thanks goes to this month's co-hosts: Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!

I'm going to hit this month's question, since it does fit well with what I wanted to say today, anyway.

Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year?

That's my word. I've gotten myself back into the word groove during the holidays, and now that I'm actually liking my stories again, hope I can finally keep it going. There are so many stories to write!

What about you? Do you have any special words this year or goals or anything?


Story Pirates are Launching a Book Club for Kids!

The Story Pirates Book Club will launch in January 2023 with their inaugural selection: Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game by New York Times bestselling author Chris Grabenstein.

"Following the success of the Story Pirates Creator Camp, a virtual summer program that debuted in Summer 2020, Story Pirates and Random House Children’s Books will partner once again on the first-ever Story Pirates Book Club. Launching in January 2023, the monthly book club will introduce kids and families to the best new books from a host of award-winning authors, including familiar and beloved New York Times bestsellers like Chris Grabenstein (Mr. Lemoncello’s Library) and Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House), in addition to exciting middle-grade debuts like H. D. Hunter (Futureland: Battle for the Park) and Misa Sugiura (Momo Arashima Steals the Sword of the Wind). Book selections will span a variety of genres and feature stories that will interest and entertain young readers.

Included with Book Club registration is a copy of the featured title and access to two exclusive livestreams, held on Saturdays at 1–2 pm ET/10–11 am PT, where members can connect with fellow readers from across the country. The first event, which will be led by professional Story Pirates teaching artists and performers, will feature interactive activities and games inspired by the book of the month. The second event will be an exclusive class and Q&A with the author—a chance for Book Club members to engage directly with the writers, learn about their creative processes, and ask questions about their books. At the end of each month, participants will also be able to submit a book review with the chance to have it featured on the Story Pirates’ website and social media." 

For more information and to register, visit the Story Pirates Book Club at


Then, I have something for us writers out there. While stumbling through the book promotion world (which I often find myself doing), I ran across an online book touring company. Now, that isn't anything special, but when I learned what they do with the 'payments' they receive from authors, I just had to share. 

Coffee and Thorn is a small non-profit company that runs book tours, provides editing services, and develops promotional videos for authors.  All its takings go to support the education of girls from poor communities in Sierra Leone and Tanzania. They...

·         Promote books that they genuinely admire
·        Work more closely with authors on a wider range of projects
·         Use their labor, time, and commitment to fund really worthwhile projects

Carly and Lilyan fund all of the Coffee and Thorn overheads.  100% of what they take in for their work goes straight to The Paul Hodges Trust to support the Joan Davis Scholarship Program.  Authors receive confirmation of these donations from the Paul Hodges Trust, so that they know that as well as getting a service, they are making lives better for girls who would otherwise have no chance in life.

The Paul Hodges Trust is a tiny charity based in the UK.  It provides grants to local voluntary organizations working to tackle poverty in some of the poorest communities in Africa, and is focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through empowering women and girls.  It has a range of projects, funding the education, health, empowerment and employment of girls and women.

Below are some of the younger girls, 12-15 years, from the slum in Sierra Leone, who are being supported to continue in secondary schooling.  This is a critical age for many slum girls, as they have no earning potential outside of prostitution, secondary  school involves costs which the family cannot bear,  and although daughters do a lot of the domestic work, if there are several daughters, some of them are just “spare mouths to feed”.  Therefore they are frequently married off at this age – generally to much older, slightly richer  men, often as second or third wives, in households where their role is little more than domestic servant. Inevitable early motherhood soon means that they and their children are locked in perpetual dependence.

The scholarship program takes academically able girls who would otherwise be in this position, funds their school expenses and meals, whilst local social workers work with  both the girls and their familiesWe hope that some of these girls will go on to higher secondary school and possibly even university.  They will be pioneers for their gender, their communities and their country.

Anyway, I just found this an amazing way to help others and wanted to share. And you can find them at:  It's always a treat to touch base with them.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you've gotten back into enjoying writing over the holidays. Thanks for sharing about Coffee and Thorn. It's inspiring that they donate to such a worthwhile cause.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

When you wrote, "There are so many stories to write", it gave me shivers. Stories at some point became a part of my ongoing brain process. :)

Keep on writing!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a wonderful group.

I'm happy to hear you are writing again.

Melissa said...

What a cool non-profit! Thanks for sharing.

I'm going to write!!! in 2023, too. After I get settled into my new roll and unit educator, and spend the whole month of January doing an edit, and ... LOL People wonder why it takes me a year to write a book. :P

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I had to get myself back into that writing habit after years of nothing. Keep writing.

That non-profit is making a difference.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love you word!
And Coffee and Thorn sounds awesome. Thank you for sharing their work with us!

Yvonne V said...

Thanks for the nonprofit information.
Best of luck with your Writing goal!