Sale: Little Loves, to Dark Matter Magazine

Thrilled to be able to announce that I have sold Little Loves, my space wasps, to Dark Matter Magazine for publication in 2021!

It’s a little piece of flash fiction that explores my healthy fear and respect of nature. Little Loves stems piece of research I read about predatory wasps suggested their brain chemistry is manipulated by the egg-laying sting of the wasp, and this then forces the poor creature that plays host to do what is best for the wasp larvae.

It also draws on a particularly gross hoax from my uni days about breast cancer and creepy crawlies that started to circulate, documented by Snopes here. Content warning, it’s a gross image and possibly NSFW. If you are grossed out, you might be a trypophobic like me – meaning fear or disgust of closely-packed or irregular holes. (Do yourselves a favour and don’t go looking at mango worm infestations). The idea of something implanted beneath your skin has been a gross-out for me since the era of the original Goosebumps.

These come together into a little body horror that you will be able to read next year over at Dark Matter Magazine. Their first issue is publishing one of my faves, OJ Cade and a host of other wonderful authors. Fresh off their Kickstarter, the team have discounts coming for early subscribers and it would be great to have another mag in genre.

Head on over to to check them out and I will let you know when my piece is available for purchase, if any of the above is of interest to you.

Deep Magic Fall Issue

Deep Magic, Fall 2018 Issue. Ed: Jeff Wheeler

If you follow my social media pages, you’ll know that I have a story out in the Fall 2018 issue of US-based ezine, Deep Magic. Look at this stunning cover; don’t you want to fly away to these adventures?

If you bought the mag and read, please head over to Amazon or Goodreads and leave a short review. It really helps metrics and authors like me!

I very much appreciate the selections Jeff Wheeler made with this issue. Each story has women at its beating heart, and drive the outcomes to embrace their own stories. Put alongside, it creates a

I’m sharing the TOC with 4 other fine authors. Without further ado…

Charity West, Love in the time of holodecks

Charity is clearly my writer sister. Love in a time of holodecks follows Katyn through treacherous mines into immersive entertainment (she slipped a little reference in to Star Trek – that’s my kind of writer!). Katyn’s desperately needed time out is interrupted by an intruder from the upper echelons of her world and he’s ruining the fantasy. Without ruining the story, there’s the Wild West, chase scenes, betrayal and romance. Our stories are each other’s natural companions, and I’m thrilled to share a TOC with Charity.

Cameron Johnston, The Dying Glass

A young girl’s mother is to be dedicated to the Temple of Mirrors in search of her god. The people in the mirrors live and she communicates with her deaf daughter in their own sign to tell her that it is all very wrong. An intriguing premise with excellent world building and one fierce protagonist whose disability is an asset. My first reading of Cameron’s work and I will definitely search out some others.

Tim Boiteau, The Ropemaker

A sing-song fairytale piece, this follows the Ropemaker and the hunt for her king. Dark and more than a little weird, it’s a little slice of darkness in the Fall Issue that adds nuance to the whole collection. The gender-flip in this piece reflects how troubling the treatment of the ever-after ending is.

Noel Wallace, Dream of Glass, Walk on Thorns

A fairytale in the best traditions of dark curses and magic, but coloured with sweet sisterhood and loyalty. Byrony, cursed with bones of glass, sets out to face the witch who condemned her. Her unlikely companion, loyal but aged knight, Sir Vermont, accompanies her or faces dismissal. The bravery of the princess resonated–she goes to face down a being of great power with the only defence being her love, mind and compassion.

April round-up

So what can I say about last month…

Greg and I got MARRIED!

Sophie Greg wedding
Greg and I. Photo by Andrew Harrison of Passion8 Photography.


I know…I feel like a grown-up.

The stress of it had been driving me nuts. My bride-slaves Lauren, Alexis and Nirvana kept me (mostly) on track (they did their best) and sane. Greg put up with me and now he’s stuck with me for life! Muahaha!

Sophie Y girls
The ladies who kept me sane. Photo by Andrew Harrison of Passion8 Photography.

I put together the new Symbiosis Special Edition of SQ Mag within a week, due to a week of horrible illness. Despite this time pressure, I have to say, it’s a great edition so go and read some awesome stories!

Luckily in that week that I was plague incarnate, I had my dear Cassie’s recommendation of the new TV series of Outlander. Scots – tick; time travel – tick. I’ve also started reading the series as I wait for Season 2 episodes. I’m not coming out. Damn it Cassie and Diana Gabaldon!

I’m working on a few pieces of my own at the moment. There’s been some work on my novel, a new science fiction short flash that’s with some astute writer friends and an epic poem that has some stanzas completed. It was inspired by one I composed on Storybird.

On that note, there’s some additional editing afoot. Many things to do! I’ll leave you with the micropoetry from Storybird: SevenBrotherBirds_SYorkston

Contact 2016: Geekery in Bris Vegas

What’s the deal?

Used with permission, (c) Contact2016
Make Contact!

Contact 2016 is the 2016 iteration of the National Speculative Fiction convention (NATCON). It’s the premier con that’s also associated with the Aurealis and the Ditmar awards this year. (The Ditmar Awards are the premier science fiction awards for Australia, whereas Aurealis Awards are awards for all speculative fiction).

It’s running in Brisbane over the Easter weekend 25 – 28 March 2016.

Why go?

It’s a fan conference, with everything that’s spectacular about speculative fiction. Something for the fan, something for the writer, a full contingent of cosplay with a whole lot of great guests and people. Plus it’s on in gorgeous Brisbane!

The bonus for me is that Brisbane has a thriving writing community. There’s the Queensland Writers Centre in Brisbane, and Writer’s Activation on the Gold Coast, as well as some very exciting, game-changing projects that have come out of creators in Brisbane. I’m going to connect with some kick-ass writers, who are also organisers of this con. They know spec fic, they know what our nerdy hearts love and they want to give it to us!

There’s also a contest for unpublished writers. Peter M. Ball has been writing some great posts on cons for first timers, and maybe start with his post on why you too should come to Contact!

I know, I know, you’re saying that it will be hard to get there. It might (key word: might) be a little late for folks in some other states, but if you’re in Queensland, and even more specifically Brisbane, why wouldn’t you come on down?!

What I’m hoping will happen at Contact

Mostly what I’m hoping to achieve by attending Contact is getting to know my peers, new (to me) awesome people and my industry a bit more. I’m especially keen to meet up with Brisbane writer friends who I’ve been getting to know online for the past 2 – 3 years. Supportive and encouraging friendships begin from starts like ours, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know people a little better.

I’m keen to know what great projects and fiction is coming out of Australia. If I can swing it, I’ll head to an awards ceremony or two, and see hard-working creators rewarded.

I’m also lucky to have many good friends in Brisbane, including dear Trev and Meg who are putting me up (and fronting up to our wedding a weekend later). One of my oldest friends and I are going to reconnect, which will be wonderful too.

All in all, I’m looking forward to a fun weekend in a city I love and connecting with a whole bunch of people who love the things I do. What better way to spend a weekend!

If you’re interested you can head to the Contact website or to the Contact Facebook page to find out more! Take a look at the Program. Friday and Monday are more affordable if you can only attend one day.

Also, edit!: I’m keen to meet new people and would love to talk SQ Mag with people, so come on over and have a chat about fiction, editing, whatever! 

The year that was, 2015

When I first wrote this post, I got to the end and walked away disheartened and depressed. I know we’re all supposed to put our positive out into the world, but the reality is when I laid it all on the table, I was disappointed with my year.

The first post I wrote was lauding all the personal successes I had this year: anything to avoid looking honestly at how this year had been for me as a writer and editor.

If you step back to look at my year, it looks pretty darn good. Adventures in the States, both short breaks and one long holiday, which was incredible. No regrets about the travel; it was an experience I won’t forget. I had two groups of wonderful writer friends who inspired me and gave me great feedback and critiques.I had this novel–I’ve written more of The Whale Singer than any other novel idea I’ve ever had–whose idea and protagonists I loved. I had two polished stories that no one had given me criticism of, but seemed to be in search of the right homes. There were ideas bursting out my ears thanks to my muse with her wanderlust.

SQ Mag had a year of wins. We won the Shadows Award, an award from Australia’s preeminent horror organisation, the Australian Horror Writer’s Association. There were international award wins and recognition from the profession by the selection of SQ Mag stories for Best of Anthologies. We’ve also had some wonderful solicited authors.

The reality is that while there were some amazing happenings this year, my writing has not been at its best. Buoyed by the confidence of placing a story in two anthologies (still proud to have worked with Cameron Trost and Black Beacon Books, and also the team at Phantom Feather Press, Alicia Ponder, Eileen Mueller and Peter Friend), I thought this year might be the time I got cracking.

However, the uncertainties in my life did not add up to a good writing practice. I felt and still feel out of control in my editorial world. My polished stories did not find homes, though one was with a big name publisher for quite a while (I’m looking at that as a pro, that it wasn’t rejected outright, but con, it was still rejected).

As a writer, there were no successes for me this year.

I’m a realist: I know you can’t win all the time, certainly not in most to all of the areas of your life. There is also much that I have to be grateful for.

That didn’t stop it being disheartening. I put a bit of myself in my stories, and I’m a rejection wuss, though am better when it comes with helpful critique from someone genuinely trying to make your work better.

So for 2016, I think my work-to idea is one step at a time.

One step for my own practice and honing my craft.
Another step for doing a little bit at a time, and forgiveness if I didn’t do what I thought I could.
One step forward with a submission at a time.
One step forward with words, a chapter, anything to progress this novel toward the finish line.

And reminding myself, there will be backwards steps too. I might go nowhere, have no more measurable success. But that if I don’t work at anything, there’s no chance my writing will ever go anywhere. And I’m really at my first step, the early stages of any writing career I want to have.

My wish for 2016 for everyone is that there are at least little wins, and enough striving for better to make them feel worthwhile.

Striving for the little wins

Mentoring Opportunity

Before I tell you about the mentorship opportunity that my headline so simply announces, I feel that I should first tell you about the mentor.

I met Jodi Cleghorn online. It seems that apart from a very rare Canadian opportunity, thanks to one wonderful warm friend (and all three of the girls who I miss very muchly!), that most of my meet and greet of other authors happens online. Lucky for me, I get to meet some fine publishing industry professionals in my role as Editor at SQ Mag. Dan Rabarts introduced me to a group of others, working together on an idea of Jodi’s to help boost productivity, to get down and get more writing done. And boy, did we!

When Jodi has critiqued my work in the past, she seems able to see straight to the heart of a manuscript. She will ask you all the right questions about motivations, where you want that story to go. My work is better for having had her excellent insight.

Jodi tries new ideas, methods, makes connections with others in her field. She’s edited and published anthologies with her publication company, eMergent Publishing, which she’s revitalising with some of the funds from the program. She’s written an excellent guide to being a beta-reader.

Ok, so now that I’ve talked up this excellent writer, let’s talk about the deal. I’ll let Jodi’s own words explain her program, For the Asking:

Jodi Cleghorn, mentor of the hour


I’m not the only one who hungers for connection, for support and for the confidence that comes when others invest their belief in you.

I’m also not the only one who is constantly looking to upgrade their skills, deepen their creative connection and seek innovation in story telling.

And surprisingly enough, I’m not the only one looking for creative and sustainable ways of building an art-commerce model of income to support myself – in this case it’s the double whammy of not just funding myself as a writer but also a small press that wants to pay  authors well.

This has culminated in the conception of a mentorship program that draws on my own experiences, skills and accumulated insights. My vision is to be the curator of a supported creative space with the benefits of one-to-one personalised attention and small group interaction.

If you want to know more, head straight over to Jodi’s post detailing the initial offering. I know she will be posting more soon, detailing more of what it will involve.

But you have to apply; there’s a form. Get in soon, Jodi will be choosing a select four by Sunday, the 6th of September to start the following week.

I can honestly say that you won’t regret working with Jodi and her eagle eyes.

Writing update for May

I know it’s been a little while since I posted or updated. Life has been tripping away for this writer over the last few months.

While I must confess that not much writing has been done, there’s been some positive author career steps last month for this scribe. As of the 31st of May, I have two stories in for consideration at different places. I’ve tried to place a short, sweet little flash I wrote a while back, Perfect Match, in a publication with a wonderful ideology. Thanks to help from my wonderful mum, I got it sent in for consideration with The Big Issue’s Short Story edition. A physical submission; a little hard for me to send from Canada to get there in time for its closing 1st of June.

I’ve also given The Lane of Unusual Traders another go. A wonderful, collaborative world building project from Sue Wright and the rest of the team at the Tiny Owl Workshop. A great project with free shorts which you should check out immediately! Which reminds me, I still need to work on placing the wonderful story that I wrote for that last time, which didn’t quite fit with the vision of the Tiny Owls. Wish me luck.

On the editing front, I’ve just sent of a great Lovecraftian-related novel by a new author for IFWG Publishing, Shaun Meeks. Great to have a Canadian on the books now, and he’s been great to work with. It’s a great, fun read, and I will update you all closer to the release date.

Related note, if anyone is in the Hawkesbury River area this weekend, the lovely Paula Boer will be selling her great Brumbies series at the Tom Quilty Cup. I worked as an editor for Paula’s work and it’s a great NA/YA about Australian rural life with gorgeous illustrations from Rowena Evans and some great new covers to top it off. If you’re in the area, drop by: Paula’s writing comes from lots of equine experience and she loves to talk that kind of shop.

Otherwise, SQ Mag is going along well. We’re on a little submission hiatus, and finally getting through some backlog, whittling away the numbers waiting. There’s some names I know waiting, and I can only say, soon! Very soon.

Currently, I’m jobless and travelling in the US, which is great and a wonderful adventure. I’m going to try and post about some of our stops over the next couple of days. We’re heading home to Australia in August.

Happy mid-year everyone! Hope all your travels are happy and uncomplicated.

The little mag that could


It’s been a pretty exciting month or so for me in my role as the Editor in Chief at SQ Mag.

SQ Mag has been a labour of love for me and its original conceptualiser, Gerry Huntman, Chief of IFWG Publishing Australia. We started it as a six monthly hard copy edition in 2010 and brought it online 2012.

We run it for the love of new fiction and the thrill of being able to say yes to great fiction. (I should add that saying no sucks, and if you ever receive one from me, know that I send the email with some sadness.)

So it has been great to receive some recognition for the work and what we’ve been striving towards, which is an ezine full of diverse voices and stories from all over the globe.

Firstly, a story I loved the minute it crossed my computer screen, Treading the Brittle Shell by Rhoads Brazos, from our special edition in 2014 was picked up for Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror Volume 7. For those who know me and are not of the speculative fiction world, Ellen Datlow’s a bit of a big deal (understatement, understatement). She’s a giant, particularly in the editorial worlds of fantasy and horror. That she liked worked that immediately spoke to me is a great boost for my editorial ego.

Secondly, nominations were released for the Australian Shadows Awards, Australia’s premier horror fiction award from the Australian Horror Writer’s Association. We were nominated in the edited works category for out Australiana Special Edition, along side stiff competition from Cohesion Press’ SNAFU collection, edited by G.N. Braun and A.J. Spedding, and Suspended in Dusk, edited by Simon Dewar. I’ve seen some great reviews for both these collections and I wasn’t sure we had a chance.

In those same nominations, a creepy horror story by the name of Bones from Michelle Jager was also nominated (from the same edition). Another great story–there was several that edition–that we published. It was exciting times.

Our Australiana edition was a hat tip to our strong and thriving speculative fiction coming out of Australia and our origin. We were so proud of every little bit, and it has been so great to see that people responded to it as well.

The hat trick of the month was to end up winning the category of Best Edited Work. Being in Canada, I woke to the numerous messages of congratulations and wishes from friends and the speculative fiction community. I am endlessly discovering what a close-knit and supportive community the Aussie spec-fic group is, and I am privileged to be a part of it.

I’m also incredibly grateful to be recognised by the consummate professionals at the Australian Horror Writers Association, and to the readers, who thought enough of the ezine to nominate and vote for us.

I love the accolades but they need to be shared with these wonderful people:

  • Gerry Huntman, a great boss and partner in this venture first and foremost, without whom the ezine would not run
  • The talented fiction contributors, especially those from the edition: Angela Rega, Alan Baxter, Mitchell Edgeworth, Kaaron Warren, Rhoads Brazos, Sean Williams, Stacey Larner and Michelle Jager
  • Tehani Wessely and G.N. Braun who contributed thoughtful outlooks on the current state of Australian speculative fiction
  • Jeffery Doherty, author and illustrator extroadinaire who designed the striking cover
  • Our faithful and talented reviewers, Mysti Parker and Damien Smith

In a little side note, while they may not have contributed to this edition, my SQ submissions readers changed my life, so thanks for 2014 sanity goes to: Paula Boer, Gareth Edwards, and Louise Zedda-Sampson.

2014: A Writing Year

Now that it is officially 2015 here in the northern hemisphere, I feel like I can finally take a look back on this year and see where I’m starting from this year, particularly in terms of my writing. It’s been a big year for me both as a writer and an editor.

IMG_2742-1.JPG2014 had a lot to offer me, and I have to be grateful for its magnanimity. It was the year that I began submitting my work to magazines and anthologies, and there has been a success or two. The year started strongly with my early acceptance into the Subtropical Suspense anthology from Black Beacon Books. I am incredibly proud to have been part of this project; Queensland was my home for a long time and there is much to recommend it. Cameron Trost is also a wonderful editor, and tireless in his endeavours to get these stories out to a wider audience. It’s also been lovely to have so many of my family and friends tell me how much they liked my story, with especially heartwarming praise from my grandfather comparing it stories published in a highly regarded suspense magazine that he enjoyed. This anthology will always hold a special place in my heart as my first publication.

twistyxmas3The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, from Phantom Feather Press out of New Zealand, were my second success. This children’s publishing press is a powerhouse, and the collective powers of Alicia Ponder, Eileen Mueller and Peter Friend are immense. They marketed for all it was worth, were very inclusive of the authors as well as allowing us all to help, and ran a great crowdfunding campaign, which resulted in a sell out launch and sales doing very well up to Christmas. I heard about this anthology through a new friend, Dan Rabarts (great Kiwi writer to keep an eye out for), and had a couple of ideas, one of which was my Manuka Mischief story. I will review the collection soon, here on the blog, but the team at Phantom Feather Press collected some great writers here, so it is well worth checking out (details here). After I had been accepted, I also discovered Eileen is a cousin of our dear Kiwi friend here in Vancouver, Jacqui. Small world!

So, in 2014 I submitted thirteen times, and was accepted twice, for an acceptance rate of 15%. 36% of those submissions received personalised feedback from the editor, and several of them positive (enjoyed but of the ‘not quite the fit for this collection’ variety). Of those submissions, there are several stories submitted a number of times. My favourite, a short science fiction called Sleepers, has been hit back from some big markets, but I am aiming high. It’s my best work to date, it feels true to me and to my characters, and it’s polished and ready for the right home. I have more places to try to place it in the new year. I have eight completed shorts that are polished to a degree; some that I need to review in my new year.

Sadly, my novel project is a bit like pulling teeth. I’m proud of the largest narrative I’ve ever written, and by Jim, I will finish it, because I need that victory, so that I know I can. It will need lots of work when I finish it, but hey, what novel doesn’t need that. The original title I had in mind doesn’t really work with the novel as it is shaping up, so it will also need to be renamed.

So overall, writing wise, I’m very pleased with what I’ve done. There’s been oodles of words and lots of hard work from me here.

This year was also a reasonable editing year for me. I’ve continued as the Editor in Chief at the SQ Mag ezine. I have however been very grateful to receive the help of some great slush readers in the latter part of the year. It’s been great working with Paula Boer, Gareth Edwards and Louise Zedda-Sampson. It’s also been wonderful to review alongside author Mysti Parker and Damien Smith. Gerry Huntman has, as always, been a great boss and the behind the scenes guru. It’s been another great year working together, Gerry!

I’ve also completed the Brumbies series with Paula Boer, as part of my ongoing work with IFWG Publishing Australia. I worked with Paula on the last of her series this year: Brumbies in the Outback and the very recently released Brumbies in the Mountains. I’m so pleased to have been a part of this process over the years. We’ve worked together since Paula’s first book came out: The Okapi Promise. Paula’s prose has gotten so tight with these last couple of books that editing has gotten to be so easy! It’s been great to get to work together and I think the quality of her books speaks to the passion we both have for her work. Congratulations to Paula on the completion of your series, and I wish you all the best with the new project that is in the works!

Another wonderful work I helped get out there this year is a debut novel, a science fiction called The Pouakai by David Sperry. David’s a US writer out of Seattle these days, but he’s a pilot and former resident of the Hawaiian Islands, where the novel is set. This took a little while to organise, due to me, but David was so great to work with and his story is extremely imaginative–the aliens in it are really different. He also introduces people to smaller islands in the Pacific, which I always think is great. If you have time, pop on over and have a look at his book on the IFWG page.

On a personal note, there’s been some great connections I’ve made with other writers this year. I’ve been lucky enough to be included in a small online writing group, courtesy of a few writing friends I’ve made in the publishing game. We worked in a 6 stories/pieces in 6 weeks challenge, which I really think was the most productive portion of my year. I’m really honoured to be included amongst the puppies and have made some great friends along the way. It’s wonderful to have a group of people to be your sounding boards, editors and beta readers, commiserators and cheer squad, who you know are all facing the same struggles. Thanks for including me.

I’ve also got a great writing group here in Vancouver. I meet with the girls irregularly about once a month. They are a wonderful and lively bunch. Caitlin has been a great friend, Deana has made me open my mind to get my head around a couple of my faltering stories, and Jen and I have been brainstorming on how to cure the science fiction world of its hesitation about female writers in the genre. Each of these girls has read my work and helped me make it better in some way, and they’ve been great to bring me back up when I have been feeling imposter syndrome. With all my heart, thank you, my friends!

I’m also very grateful to Deana for turning me on to the Surrey International Writers Conference this year. This is very much a craft-centric event, and I felt like I learnt a lot. I wish I had been up to the point where I could have worked on my synopsis with an editor, or had a fellow author read my work and critique it, or even pitched to an agent. It’s a crucial learning process I could have used and I certainly would recommend this to any person who writes and wants to be published.

Particularly, I want to thank all of my friends who read and constructively criticised my work this year. It has helped so much, with both my opportunities and with what I’ve learnt. I do want to add a shout out to my other writer friend Mark Hargrave, whose advice and deconstruction has been solid and so right every time.

Also, thank you to everyone who either bought, reviewed, shared any piece that I’ve worked on online, or given me their honest thoughts. It is so important to hear how you liked my writing, or promoted it. That support keeps me going. You all rock.

Otherwise, the only other big event of this year was my engagement. After four and a half years, Greg decided that he liked me enough to keep me around, and proposed on a mountain top in the Yukon. I am a bit sore at the Aurora Borealis for not being visible so he could go with his original plan of proposing to me under them, but one small satisfaction is you can’t really hear me complaining about cold hands and being obstinate on our proposal video (sneaky Greg).

2014 was hard, but I think it was a learning year for me professionally. I am grateful for my lessons, but I am hoping to have a bit more success in the future without so many tears and tribulations. Bring on 2015, may it be a successful one for us all.


Are third-party sites helpful for writers?

Hoping to grow awareness of my work, I’ve been challenging myself with my writing by getting involved with weekly challenges at two places on the internet.

The first, and by far the most successful at generating traffic to the blog, has been at writer Chuck Wendig’s page, terrible minds. Chuck is a funny, self-effacing kind of guy and I do read more than just the weekly challenges when I am there. Given that most of people there are fans and many also aspiring writers themselves, it’s a great and supportive atmosphere. It works for Chuck too; I have bought a book to read (on my to-read list currently). You post the link, and people come directly to your blog, and it does seem to translate to viewing other posts.

I have experience with another weekly challenge site. If you head to Smoph Writes and click on the weekend writer tags, you’ll see a few stories. It generated a bit of traffic to my blog too, from people involved in the group.

The one drawback (and it’s terrible! *end sarcasm*) is that you end up reading many other people’s works. This can be good if you’ve got the time, and if you’re reading work more polished than your own, or with better structure. Or, you know, broadening your reading scope!

The other option I have been dabbling with is a third-party hosted site, Readwave. It’s pretty to look at, as you add images in for your stories, and has a large pool of writers and, crucially, readers. There are weekly challenges, and there are a small community of readers who are officials of Readwave that seem to read every post. People are friendly and generally constructive with their criticism. There’s an algorithm that calculates read time per 100 words or so, so if you’re reading a story, you know how much commitment there is. So far I have 5 pieces on the Readwave site.


There have been a few changes of late that I have thought of disappointing. First, the management are only displaying stories of 3 minutes reading time or less (this is, I guess, around 800 words maximum, since this is what challenges are now set at) on the front page under the Trending (popular) stories. This means it’s not really short stories, more flash fiction, which allows less skill growth. It also means if you have less followers, your story doesn’t get much traffic.

They’ve also taken challenges from the front page tabs. This means, for writers like me, trying to improve their readership and their skills, that there is again reduced traffic.

Translating the readers to my blog though, seems to be non-existent. I have my social media details and blog site on there, but it doesn’t directly link.I could be wrong as I seem to get hits from Google searches about once or twice a week (but cannot tell why I get them as they’ve changed the algorithm so WordPress cannot get search terms). This might be a stretch though, as there are bots and other internet places I frequent.

I have tried writing one piece on there and a follow up on my blog, but that hasn’t shown any traffic change either.

My other experience with this type of site is, from back when I wanted to write a bit from other people’s worlds. Don’t laugh too hard at my Harry Potter and as yet still unfinished Twilight story. There, my writing had more followers, probably because the themes are better organised.

In my personal experience so far, I would say that the third-party hosting does not seem to be doing me any favors. I tried Readwave out to see if it might connect me to readers, which it has in a limited way that does not allow me to grow myself. My hard work is their gain. I won’t give it up completely, but it will definitely go to a back burner.

My suggestion to those starting out is to find writing groups online. They are helpful and inclusive, if you give them a little time.

So, instead of Readwave, I’m going to focus on challenges in a book that my partner Greg bought me, 642 things to write about by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Keep an eye out!