Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Happy New Year - The Year of the Dog

Happy New Year IWSG Friends! May all your writing dreams come true this year! Based on the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is the year of the Dog. I'm not sure if you follow any of that, but if you do, then you'll want to know that this year, "its characteristic word is ACTION!" And as writers we need a ton of that, right? Right!

Anyway, like most folks, the end of the year was a trifle exhausting and frankly, I was happy to see 2017 go. Now onto a new year. Things have slowed only a bit due mainly to my kids being on break, but that will change in the next week.  Not to worry though, I'm ready.

And now on to IWSG! Before I begin, special thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating IWSG monthly hop. This month's co-hosts are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria!  Thanks, you guys!

To learn more about this program and how it can help your insecurities, visit the website here.

IWSG January 2018

Monthly question:  "What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?"

The only thing I've done somewhat consistently is writing. I have one novel I made some progress with during NaNo and last month. Truthfully,  I've been working on it for some time and then there are other novels I've nearly completed. My goals for this quarter are to have at least two of the pending novels and the one I'm working on now completed by end of March. After that, it's editing, editing and, more editing -- which is something I'm terribly insecure about. But I'm not worried about it. I'll manage. Anyway, that's it. I'm trying to get back on track with a better blogging schedule so keep your fingers crossed on that one.

Do I have any resolutions? No. Not really. It's really more lifestyle changes to help me better manage my projects, work and of course my family's needs.  For example, I've mentioned several writing objectives above and I've thought long and hard about how to achieve them. I have a few strategies I've put in place that mostly center around me saying no. And that's not easy to do as a parent. Still, I've been making some headway so between this and my schedule, I think I'm heading in the right direction. Wish me luck.

And before I forget...Happy New Year!


Remember #IWSGPit 

The next #IWSGPit will be Thursday, January 18, 2018!
8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

What are your insecurities this month? How's your writing going?

Mina B.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop 2017

Happy holidays, everyone! Is everybody ready for Christmas? Is your shopping done yet? I'm nearly there but I have a few last minute things. Does anyone have any travel plans? I have no travel plans thankfully. With the holiday craze running at full speed right now, I'll be glad for a break.

It's been some time since I've participated in this book hop, but I figured it was a great way to close out one year and welcome a new one. 2017 has been just as challenging as 2016 and I pray better things are to come in the new year. The host of the giveaway hop is Mary from Bookhounds. There are over 75 blogs participated in this blog hop and at least ten days until the end of the year to enter and possibly win some great stuff.

Once again, I'm giving away one (1) FREE $10 Amazon Gift Card. See the details below on how to enter.

Enter To Win!

You MUST be a follower of my blog and MUST fill out this entry form. (And yes, I do check GCF)

Extra entries…

+2 Subscribe to my blog
+2 Like me on Facebook/MinaBurrows
+1 Follow me on Google Plus
+1 Tweet this Twitter (limit 1 retweet)

The giveaway runs from 12:01 AM on Dec. 21st - Dec. 31st, midnight. The contest is open to International participants.

See who else is participating.

Mina Burrows

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: Artificial Intelligence & Writing

2017 is coming to an end. Yikes! How on earth did time move so quickly? Oh well.'s time for another monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group. Special thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating this monthly hop. This month's co-hosts are Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

To learn more about this program and how it can help your insecurities, visit the website here.

ISWG December

Monthly question:  "As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?"

I don' have any success or failures to comment on... I would say I've gotten back on track over the last few months with certain projects and that in itself is a success for me, but that's pretty much it. NaNoMo wasn't as big as a success as I'd hoped for, but then again the holidays can do that to any writer. Am I right about that? Did anyone else have great success with NaNo?

Artificial Intelligence & Writing

By now most of us know how AI (Artificial Intelligence) has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives. If you're having doubts then take a look at your cars, your home entertainment systems, phones, computers etc.... The list goes on.  I hadn't thought about what that meant until I started reading how in the future, AI will replace coders and even the oldest profession is being programmed right now. Ugh. These recent news articles really freaked me out. Call me crazy, but I believe humans understand human behavior best and that's despite all the real, ugly stories and controversies including #MeToo, free speech, LGBT rights, and all the other hot topics right now. 

That said, it forces me to look at us as writers. Would you believe that AI could take over that aspect of humanity too? Haven't thought about it? Well, other people are. In fact, recently published an article, "This Supercomputer Was Programmed to Think Like the Zodiac Killer. No Wonder Its Poetry is So Creepy." From the article, "After being fed all the known writings of the infamous Zodiac killer, a supercomputer named CARMEL has developed the ability to think like the elusive serial murderer. It often writes poetry like one, too." Listen to CARMEL's work below:

Can you say creepy? Skynet is upon us!


Using AI for Writers

Artificial Intelligence is supposed to make things easier, although I cringe when I hear my ten-year-old ask Alexa the time, or how to spell a word.  I tell her to grab a dictionary and she looks at me like I'm crazy. God help me. *facepalm* Which this got me thinking about using Alexa for writing. Alexa has skills you can download for writing prompts which I thought was interesting.  And it also has other uses. Here's a brief list of skills in case anyone was interested in using it to help with writing:

* Organization Skills
* Time management Skills
* Researching skills such as History Channel
* Dictionary Skills

Since I'm sure Alexa will be adding more skills in the future, expect there to be more. Siri from iPhone is another AI that many of us use with talk-to-text, hands-free calling etc... Cortana, the AI inside Windows, offers decent dictation which some writers use. I'm not sure how much this would help in my writing process, but it's certainly interesting how quickly things are changing...even for writers.  There's an interesting article about how AI is already affecting the writing industry, "What a world of AI robot writers will look like." Read this if you want to learn more about AI & writing.


That's it for this month.  What are your insecurities this month? What do you think about AI? Do you use it when you're writing?

Have a fantastic rest of the week!

Mina B.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November's Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Who's ready for Thanksgiving? Not yet, huh? Me neither. Well, like it or not, it's about a week and a half away so get your turkey and stuffing ready, because the food fest is coming. Nothing pairs better with Thanksgiving then family, food and reading a good book.

Every year, I participate in this giveaway hop as a way to say thanks to all my blogger friends and readers. The Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop is hosted by Mary at BookHounds and for this GG hop, I'm giving away one (1) $10 Amazon GC to one great winner. The Giveaway hop starts on November 15th and runs until November 30th, eod. International participants welcome!

What's so great about this hop is we keep things simple. 


To enter…

You MUST be a follower of my blog and choose one of the following:

Subscribe to my blog


Like me on Facebook / Facebook/MinaBurrows

See the form to enter:

That's it.  Want to see who else is participating? See below and hop on by!

Mina Burrows

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG: Nano...It's that time again!

 Today's Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly topic is about what else...National Novel Writing Month.  Before I get started I wanted to give a huge shout out to Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the monthly blog hop and support group for writers.  If you're interested in learning more about this program and how it can help your insecurities, visit the website here.  This month's brilliant co-hosts are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!  Thanks, guys for all that you do!

Before I begin I want to remind everyone that today is the last day you can enter the IWSG Anthology Contest!

ISWG November: "Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?"

NaNo is a tough one for me. My biggest challenge with monthly writing blitz is I have an incredibly hard time managing everything I've got going on.  In the past, I'd start out strong and then get sidetracked. And that's putting things lightly.  This month I'm hoping that things will be different.  I'm not traveling or camping or dealing with flood issues so I think I've got that going for me.  Other than that, being able to carve out some quality time to write is my challenge.  Wish me luck.  Has anyone else signed up for this month's writing challenge? I'd love to know who's signed up for this month's writing frenzy.

If you're looking for a bit of inspiration for NaNo, here's a list of best-sellers who started during NaNoWriMo.

Great Writer Tool for NaNoWriMo

Do you ever get stuck in a rut with your writing and you think, why the heck did I write that? Ugh, we've all been there, especially during NaNoWriMo.  Let's face it, sometimes it's more important to push through the writing process and fix things later.  That said, fellow writer/blogger, Jack Milgram, reached out to me about this cool infographic that I thought would be helpful when you're banging away at your keyboard during NaNo.  For a better view of this list, visit here and if you don't mind share!

28 Boring Words Alternatives - Improve Your Writing

Last Week on Twitter - Library Uproar!

Last week, some twitter-fool, Andre Walker, sparked a massive backlash when he tweeted  "Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools."  *Smacks hand in face.* There are no words. Anyway, you'll have to forgive me for re-posting this because it has more than a few "F" bombs from the Angry Librarian. If you can look past that, it's very funny.  And...terribly scary how narrow-minded some folks are. Yikes!

That's it for this month.  What are your insecurities this month? Are you participating in NaNo? Do you like the infographic?  If so, please share! Lastly, I'm participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop which started Nov 15th! Sign up for this blog hop here.

Have a fantastic rest of the week!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Freaky Friday: Meeting up with Ghosts

Hey guys!  I can't believe October's almost over.  Whew! Where did the time fly? This week I've been running nonstop, trying to get way too much done.  That's life huh, especially as we get into these next few months.  Anyway, I hope you're enjoying the Halloween season.  To celebrate the season, I have a special guest, Donna Galanti here on my blog. She talking to us about meeting up with ghosts which sounds incredibly interesting.  Please welcome Donna!

Meeting up with Ghosts 

by Donna Galanti

I’ve had several paranormal encounters as a young adult. Thankfully none as an adult. This is probably a good thing as I now live in a 250-year-old house that’s fortified with three hand-forged locks on every door. To keep the Red Coats out?

Hmmm…not sure, but I can imagine the bloody battles, deaths, and mayhem that may have gone on around this old house in Pennsylvania. I’m glad to not live with the ghost of a bludgeoned robber or poor murdered farmer defending his land (that I’m aware of!).

This was not the case with the old house I grew up in. It didn’t harbor a malevolent spirit though, but a sad one. She was a young woman who wore a high-neck lace dress with a cameo at her throat. She would float in my room, stand at the end of my bed, and look sadly at the wall over my head. Who was she? Someone who died there or lost a loved one? I’ll never know.

The old Upstate NY house I grew up in

I would also hear hammering coming from our falling down “buggy” barn when no one was in it. Was it the ghost of the worker who long ago had been hammering on the three-story ceiling? He had fallen to his death below on the spikes that the horses were tied to.

Then there were the ghost horses in the barn that screamed wild with pain. Their screams floated on the winds to my room. Were they the horses that once fell through the rotted barn floor and had to be shot and cut up to be hauled out? It still gives me shivers.

One time a friend and I channeled an “evil spirit” through a ouija board who levitated the movable indicator. The spirit told us to find a boulder in the woods with an “X” on it as that would be where we would find hidden green treasure. We found the boulder but the only green treasure we found was the angry, verdant icy flow of the raging creek that nearly swept us away that February day. That was my last attempt to play with a ouija board.

The scariest spirit I encountered was at my friend’s house. She claimed a robber lived in her closet. He had been killed in her house during a bungled robbery. Her family and friends joked about it, but she was serious. She would leave the closet open for him a crack each night or he would get angry. He was dressed in black with a mask and carried a knife. I didn’t sleep over there too often and pulled the covers over my head when I did.

My friend wasn’t afraid of him, she said he just watched her–but I was afraid. I only saw him once. I was in the bathroom and he passed by me in the mirror, knife poised to stab. I ran downstairs terrified of the mysterious man in black. And he became the basis behind my own watcher “Man in Black” in my novel, A Human Element. Only I molded my creation out of bad and good.

Not long ago, my book club read my book, A Human Element, and decided to create a psychic theme night and include a psychic reading for everyone. The psychic asked me if I lived in an old house. Yes, we do. She then asked if my young son slept with the radio on. Yes, he did. She said that this was his way to drown out the voices of the ghosts in our house so he could sleep. Not to worry, they were benevolent. Well, good thing for that! He’s since become a teenager and no longer sleeps with the music on. Pheww. Talk about spooked!

Whether I’ve outgrown my paranormal perceptions or not, they stay with me and have colored my characters in A Human Element–from Laura Armstrong, the young girl who can read minds and make objects move, to the Man in Black who can seek people out and see into the future, to X-10 who murders with his mind.

I’m waiting to see if my son meets up with any new spirits in this old house. If he does I won’t joke about it, that’s for sure. And if he does, I hope they’re fun, good-hearted, and mischievous–just like him.

P.S. I’m also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card below!

About A Human Element:
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Praise for A Human Element:
“A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.  Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author

Praise for A Hidden Element:
“Fascinating…a haunting story about just how far parents will go to protect, or destroy, their children in the name of love.”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times best-selling author

Special Offer!

Purchase A Human Element here: On sale for just $0.99 10/27 – 11/2!

Purchase A Hidden Element here: On sale for FREE 10/27 – 10/31!

Donna Galanti Bio:
Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers theBig Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at and She also loves building writer community. See how at

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much, Donna, for stopping by! And thanks for that special deal too!
If you have had a chance to read Donna's books, now's the time.  Check out my reviews here and here!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Mina B.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2017

It's that time again! The annual Spooktacular Giveaway Hop is upon us. This hop happens to be one of my favorite hops. Love, love, love Halloween and love books even more. What a combo for those of us who love them both. Woot! The host of the giveaway hop is Mary from Bookhounds. Last year over 100 blogs participated in this blog hop and this year should be just as awesome as last.
I'm giving away one (1) FREE $10 Amazon Gift Card. See the details below on how to enter:

Enter To Win!

You MUST be a follower of my blog and MUST fill out this entry form. (And yes, I do check GCF)

Extra entries…

+2 Subscribe to my blog
+2 Like me on Facebook/MinaBurrows
+1 Follow me on Google Plus
+1 Tweet this Twitter (limit 1 retweet)

The giveaway runs from 12:01 AM on Oct. 15th - October 31st, midnight. The contest is open to International participants.

See who else is participating.

Mina Burrows