Thursday, May 6, 2021

Dark Matter Released This Week

Science Fiction is such a fascinating genre to me. It has endless possibilities and I always thing of past stories/movies and how things that seemed impossible are now a reality.

With that in mind I’m delighted to participate in this week’s release of DARK MATTER: ARTIFICIAL, the newest 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 Godim, 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
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 Godim
Resurgence – Elizabeth Mueller
Vera’s Last Voyage – Mark Alpert

Now join me in welcoming several of the authors to Thoughts in Progress today. Given the times we are living in, I’ve asked a few related questions. Has your writing been affected by Covid-19? If so, in what ways and if not, how are things the same? Do you think it will have any influence on your next book? Any suggestions for others trying to write during this difficult time?

Welcome, Tyler.

Ugh, Covid.

I love to write. But to pay the bills, I'm a high school math teacher (yes, I really teach math) Covid devastated my writing time down to almost nothing because I had to do so much extra planning to put all my lessons and tests online and make everything virtual-friendly. I was just glad we were able to finish the year--we did what we could to make our seniors' last months fun, if not unique and definitely memorable. 

Over the summer I was able to write--thank goodness for the IWSG contest! And yes, the state of the world influenced my story--living in such turmoil, I thought this would be the perfect time for an alien invasion! I also finished the rough draft of my 4th Pop Travel sci-fi detective thriller. But all book events were cancelled, so sales went to zero. I have been so thankful to be teaching in-person since day one this year, putting up with the masks and still doing a ton of extra work for those who've had to quarantine (had to do that twice myself!) It's totally been worth it! But it's taken a major toll on my writing. Sometimes I want to throw in the towel.

And that's my advice - DON'T GIVE UP! Don't give up on writing for anything. Even if you can only write a little each day or only on weekends (like me) It's a part of us. Sharing stories is essential!

Keep writing.

Tara Tyler

Welcome, C.D.

My writing has been affected primarily by the total destruction of my schedule. I've been working from home in my day job for the last year, and you would think that losing that hour-long commute every day would give me extra time. But guess what? That commute WAS my writing time. That was an hour each day I could stick in my headphones, open my laptop, put my head down and write. (I was on a bus, obviously, not driving. I'm not that bad). I haven't been able to use my extra time at home as constructively as I would like, because my kids are doing virtual school from home. They're in kindergarten and grade 3, so they need a lot of assistance, and the work from my day job gets pushed late in the evenings, leaving me with less free time (and writing time) than I had before.

The good news is that the pandemic doesn't affect the actual content of my writing much. My current series is a teen adventure/horror set in 1990s Canada (picture Degrassi High meets Stranger Things), so I don't feel that I have to include any of our modern day political, social or health complications. I know many writers, who are trying to keep their stories "modern" and "current," feel obligated to include references to the current world situation. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that, because it's very hard to incorporate such events honestly and fairly while you're in the middle of it. If you don't include mention of people wearing masks and keeping social distancing, it may seem jarring to many people who have lived that reality non-stop for the last 12+ months. If you include it at all, your story will seem dated and jarring in a couple of years once we've (hopefully) moved past this. None of that even touches the potential can of worms you could be opening in the ongoing masking and vaccination debates. To be safe I'm just going to keep writing about events and periods that are at least 30 years old.

If I had to give any advice to other authors trying to write and publish right now, it would be to go easy on yourself. Things will change rapidly day-to-day, and deadlines and word counts are going to come and go. There are millions of things that will weigh on you right now, probably far more than usual, so of course your productivity is going to suffer. There will be days when you won't have the energy or the mental state to do good work. That's okay. Don't blame yourself for it. Write whatever you can, when you can, even if it's just a few words here and there. Read, watch TV, exercise, do whatever you can to keep yourself sane and alive so when life starts turning around you will be here and ready to get back to doing good work and writing all the words.

C.D. Gallant-King is a Canadian writer currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. Check him out on Twitter (, Facebook ( or his blog (

Welcome, Charles.

Covid-19 has given me the impetus to put my hand to something I had always dreamed of: science fiction and epic fantasy. My previous books were contemporary thrillers (Mind Virus and The Devil’s Son) and historical fantasy (Simon Grey), both of which required extensive (and expensive!) research on location. Now, any further work in any genre that requires real-world research has been put on hold, so I’ve been focusing on work set in worlds that exist only in my imagination. The planet Ogygia in “Resident Alien” is one, and the other is a high-fantasy setting called The Hundred Realms, which I hope you’ll be seeing more of soon!

When the situation allows me to resume writing contemporary thrillers, I see myself making a passing mention of Covid-19, but not really letting it shape the story. It’s had enough influence on our real-life stories, and the only means of escape into a pandemic-free world we’ve had has been fiction.

To others who’ve been trying to write during this time, I’d say: Let the Muses guide you. It could be that this a fallow year for you, a time to rest and replenish before you’re expected to be back to full productivity. It could be that you, like me, are using this opportunity to focus on a new genre. But whatever form it takes, keep plying your craft! One thing this year has shown us clearly is that the world needs its artists and storytellers more than it knew.

These days, I’ve often recalled an old story about three little mice. One of them spends the autumn building a shelter, one spends it gathering food, and the third fritters away its time playing music and making up stories. When winter comes, you can probably guess what happens…

They all survive. Thanks to the first, they don’t freeze. Thanks to the second, they don’t starve. And thanks to the third, they don’t die of boredom.

Charles Kowalski

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Doesn’t this sound like an intriguing book? Now as readers, has the pandemic influenced the way you read?




  1. Hi Mason - and your three authors ... good to read about their stories in these times. It must be difficult for everyone with kids and sorting life out as it is now - keep writing is the main thing. Congratulations to the Anthology release and all the best - Hilary

  2. Congratulations to all the successful authors - and thank you for showcasing three of the contributors.

  3. Congratulations to all the authors!
    Last year affected everyone a little differently but it really seemed to hit the creative types. CD, hope you have your commute time back now.

  4. So glad to see this new anthology coming out! The ISWSG is a great group, and these stories look absolutely fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Mason.

  5. Congrats to the authors in the anthology. I loved learning more about them and how COVID affected their work and writing.

  6. Thank you for hosting these authors today. Tara, I'm sure you are thankful to be in person now. CD, good advice to go easy on ourselves. And Charles, very smart NOT to dwell on this mess in our stories as people do read to escape.

  7. Congratulations, authors! I'm honored to be a part of this anthology!

  8. I love how we all had different takes on this shared experience and gave a variety of advice. It shows we can all work through challenges and help others—something the world could do with!
    Thanks for hosting us Mason
    Tara Tyler Talks

  9. Great interviews!
    And oh my, Degrassi High meets Stranger Things? Gimme gimme now!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.