The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#77

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

The awesome co-hosts for the May posting of the IWSG are: E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

Don’t forget to visit them and thank them for co-hosting!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

 Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The clock is ticking…

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting…

$14.95 USA, 6×9 Trade paperback, 204 pages, Freedom Fox Press

Mystery & Detective (FIC022000) / Crime (FIC050000) / Thrillers (FIC031000)

Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552

$4.99 EBook available in all formats

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”

 – Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars

“I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of thought-provoking crime stories.” – Denise Covey, author

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 and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

Tick Tock links:

Amazon –

B&N –

ITunes –

Kobo –

Goodreads –

Tick Tock Mystery Facebook –

Tick Tock Mystery Blog –

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 A warm welcome to Guilie Castillo who is on my blog today. She is busy with the blog tour for her latest non-fiction book.
I asked Guilie to give us some insight with regards to the challenges of writing a non-fiction book.
This is what she had to say———


No Room for Creativity. (Or Is There?) The constraints of sticking to the facts can feel like a straitjacket. We may not be able to get creative with the who-what-where-when, but what about with solutions for delivering the info? Great workout for the creative muscle. 

Term-Paper Nostalgia. Want to say that the majority of people do this or that? By all means: just add a footnote with the source. Don’t have one? Find it.

The Research Rabbit Hole. Yes, there is such a thing as too much research. You start out looking for one of those sources, and next thing you know your manuscript went from 200 pages about dog rescue to three volumes on the evolution of canines since the Ice Age.

Curb Your Language. Unless you’re a candidate for a Nobel in physics, you want to avoid overloading your writing with technical-speak. But, to safeguard credibility, nonfiction should sound ‘serious’. Professional. Walking the fine line between the two can feel impossible. (For me it was. It’s About the Dog has an informal style that refused to go away. Guess I flunked Nonfic 101.)

Thanks for letting me share a bit of my writing journey with you and the IWSG crowd, Michelle. I hope you’ve found some of this useful, and I look forward to chatting with everyone in the comments.

                                         — * —

Guilie Castillo, Mexican expat, writer, and dog rescuer, is the author of It’s About the Dog: The A-to-Z Guide for Wannabe Dog Rescuers (Everytime Press, April 2018), a hands-on, less-tears-more-action, 100% practical introduction to dog rescue. This post is part of The Dog Book Blog Tour & Giveaway.

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A RECAP: My#100words100days challenge, which ran from 01 January until 10 April, is now over! What a blast! More info in a later post…

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Aren’t those book covers great? Do you plan on snagging a copy of the IWSG Anthology? Don’t forget to check out the Dog Book Blog Tour & Giveaway! Happy IWSG Day!


  1. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor on May 2, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Great interview with Guilie and insights into writing non-fiction. I definitely agree about being careful how much technical jargon you use Not sure I miss writing term paper though 🙂

    Congrats on the 100 Words Challenge – well done!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks, Ellen! I’m with you, though; as far as I’m concerned, term papers can stay far, far away—please!

  2. Crystal Collier on May 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Yay for Tick Tock! It sound fabulous and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    If I was ever going to own a dog, I’d totally be reading Guilie’s book. Unfortunately, we deal with epic allergies, so we’re stuck admiring from a distance.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 2, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      The book is about actual rescuing (taking a dog off the street and to safety; lots of people confuse adopting with rescuing), but epic allergies would most likely prevent you from doing that, too. Ugh for allergies—so sorry for you, Crystal. Thanks for coming by.

  3. Ronel Janse van Vuuren on May 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    The book covers are gorgeous! Great interview with Guilie.

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer’s Support Group day: Autumn Decisions

  4. Christine Rains on May 2, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Congrats to Guillie! I often get lost down the research rabbit hole too. And congrats on the challenge, Michelle! 🙂 Yay for Tick Tock! It’s an amazing collection.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 3, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      That’s one rabbit hole I think we’ve all been down in, haha. Thanks for coming by!

  5. M.L. Keller on May 2, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    hahaha I have totally fallen down the research rabbit hole myself. Thanks for sharing

    • Guilie Castillo on May 3, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      It’s so easy to, isn’t it? Thank *you* for visiting 🙂

  6. Nick Wilford on May 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Great to see all the coverage for Tick Tock!

    Great tips. Writing nonfiction is definitely no easy task. I’ve got a background in journalism, but writing a whole book still sounds daunting.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 3, 2018 at 11:29 pm

      It is daunting, Nick… I jumped in head-first, no clue what I was getting into. Not sure I would have if I’d known, so maybe it all worked out for the best 🙂 Thanks for the empathy!

  7. L. Diane Wolfe on May 2, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Non-fiction can have just as much of a voice as fiction. If you flunked the professional-sounding part, then your book is probably better for it. (I’ve written 2 non-fictions and certainly put some of my spunk in each one.)

    • Guilie Castillo on May 3, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      Diane, in one fell swoop you dealt the core of my insecurity about this book a deadly blow. I have no way of ever thanking you enough for that. (If IWSG works like this for every one of you, there is a new era dawning in literature. Kudos to you all!)

  8. Chrys Fey on May 2, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    I wish the anthology much success!

    Limiting technical speak is good. I know I;d have trouble with that.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 7, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      I think a lot of us would, Chrys—and do, at least in my case 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  9. Jemi Fraser on May 2, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Yay on the 100/100 challenge – good for you!
    I’m working on 2 nonfiction projects right now – and it can be a challenge for sure. But when life tries to knock me off my axis with another crisis, I find it’s the non-fiction that calls to me

    • Guilie Castillo on May 8, 2018 at 2:38 am

      Jemi, you’re my hero—best of luck, and of success, with your projects! Weird how some of us gravitate towards fiction or nonfiction, or even a certain genre… There’s a lesson there, somewhere. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  10. Tyrean A Martinson on May 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Congrats on your 100 days, Michelle!
    Guille – I think it sounds like you have the write tone for a very readable book! Congrats!

  11. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 2, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I can write articles but a full book of non-fiction would be a challenge.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 4:45 am

      I feel the same way, Alex. When I wrote for a magazine here in Curaçao, the articles never seemed to give me much of a problem. A whole book, though—wow. Didn’t see that one coming 🙂

  12. Anna on May 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    The covers are great. I’ve never written a non-fiction and do admire anyone that can. I have no idea where we’d be without writers like you. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 4:47 am

      Thanks so much for the vote of confidence, Anna! I have to say that writing this has given me newfound respect for those who write nonfiction on a regular basis. Not sure I could!

  13. Erika Beebe on May 2, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I like the “curb your language” advice. Man, some text books can be really overwhelming when all you want is the information and you have to ask google every five words what a word means 🙂 Great interview! Happy IWSG Day, Michelle 🙂

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 4:49 am

      Right?!?! I hate that too, Erika—especially when you’re looking for a quick explanation on something (not a Ph.D on it!), haha. Glad you enjoyed this, and thanks for coming by!

  14. Guilie Castillo on May 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Wooo-hooo on the challenge, Michelle! I’m breaking out the champagne for you—and I think you should do the same 🙂 What are the plans for all these amazing words you have now? Were they short stories? If so, I hope you can get them published somewhere, at least a few; I’d love to read them.

    Congratulations also to the IWSG gang on Tick Tock, and much, much success with it! It sounds like a winner, and I’m sure the world will agree.

    Thanks so much for including my bit on nonfiction today, Michelle. I’m beyond honored, and so very grateful.
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

  15. Madeline Mora-Summonte on May 2, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Congrats on completing the challenge, Michelle! Well done!

  16. Ryan Carty on May 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    I like the cover of the anthology. Seems like something I’d really like to read. Also, congrats on finishing the writing challenge. That is no easy feat. Well done.

  17. Carol Kilgore on May 2, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I’ve written some nonfiction, too, but in the form of articles and profiles. Totally had a problem with maintaining a professional and credible tone. Not sure I could do a full book. Kudos!

    Hi, Michelle 🙂

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 4:53 am

      That’s all I’d written, too, before attempting this book, Carol… But apparently the informal tone seems to work for some people. Or maybe it depends on the subject matter, also. I dunno. I do know that, for me, when I do read nonfiction, I much prefer the ‘non-professional’ (or maybe it should be ‘non-professorial’) tone. Maybe that’s also why I have such a hard time writing any differently… We tend to write what we like to read, right? Hmm… Food for thought—thanks for that! And for coming by 🙂

  18. Yvonne V on May 3, 2018 at 2:28 am

    Great interview! Yes to the research rabbit hole….

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 4:55 am

      So glad you liked it, Yvonne! Thanks so much for reading, and wish you a super happy weekend!

  19. Pat Garcia on May 3, 2018 at 10:31 am

    I’ve already got my lovely copy. Pre-ordered it and it was in my app at release time.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  20. Natalie Aguirre on May 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I write non-fiction articles and try to keep them conversational.Great tips here. Thanks. And congrats to all the anthology writers.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 4:58 am

      Natalie, so happy to hear the info here resonated with you, especially because you have much more experience than I do with nonfiction. Conversational really is so much better, and also, somehow, easier for me to channel. But then I begin to obsess that maybe I’m coming across like a crank, haha… That Golden Mean is so elusive!

      Thanks so much for reading!

  21. Mary Aalgaard on May 3, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the shout out for the Tick Tock anthology. Great tips on writing non-fiction. It can be very compelling. I’m reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” right now, and it’s fascinating. Congrats on 100 words in 100 days!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

      Mary, I *loved* ‘Henrietta Lacks’! Such a great book in so many ways. The story itself is beyond compelling, of course, but also the format of it, the amount of research that went into it—and how easily it’s conveyed without it ever feeling ‘soap-box-y’. Great example of good nonfiction; thanks for bringing it up! And thanks also for coming by; glad to hear you enjoyed the tips.

  22. Angela Wooldridge on May 3, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Yeah, that research rabbithole can be a dangerous place to take the wrong turning!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:01 am

      Too right, Angela—not even GPS can save us then, eh?

      Thanks so much for coming by!

  23. Lynda Dietz on May 3, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    Lots of variety in your news this time around! Congrats on the 100 words 100 days challenge. That’s a pretty big deal!

    Tick Tock and Guilie’s book both sound interesting, and I like Guilie’s guidelines for writing nonfiction. I work mostly with fiction, so I’m always reading up on nonfiction helps to make my nonfiction edits as effective as possible.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:04 am

      Glad you liked the tips, Lynda! Like you, I’m mostly involved with fiction, so this project really was a leap into the unknown for me. Not sure I would’ve done it if I’d known in advance how challenging it would be—but I’m glad I did it. Like you, I think working outside fiction did help my writing skills overall.

      Thanks so much for the visit, and for the feedback!

  24. E.M.A. Timar on May 3, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    The rabbit hole of research is a great place to visit as long as you don’t stay too long. Guilie provided great insight into writing non-fiction. Congratulations on completing your 100 words for 100 days!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:08 am

      100% with you, E.M.A.; trips down that rabbit hole need to be brief! I’m happy you found something useful in my mini-rant (hehe). Thanks so much for reading!

  25. Raimey Gallant on May 4, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Hi Michelle! What an interesting topic for a non-fic book. There are three kittens that I can’t get off my mind at the moment. They lived with their extended cat family in the abandoned property next to my airbnb when I was recently in Mexico. More than once, I asked myself, what’s the right thing to do here? How do I even get started with wanting to rescue animals? Great post!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:10 am

      It’s precisely for people like you, Raimey, that I wrote the book—and there aren’t many of you 🙂 Congratulations on having that extra-special heart, and thank you so, so much for coming by! Really happy to hear you enjoyed the post.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:12 am

      Oh, and P.S.: CONGRATULATIONS ON TICK TOCK!!!!! I wish you all the success in the world with it!

  26. Shannon Lawrence on May 4, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Great information on non-fiction! Research can be way too fascinating. Can’t wait to hear about your 100words100days.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:11 am

      You’re so right, Shannon—way, way too fascinating 🙂 Glad you liked the tips here, and thanks so much for coming by!

  27. Lexa Cain on May 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Love the title “A Stitch in Crime.” So clever. 🙂

  28. Sherry Ellis on May 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Looking forward to reading Tick Tock! I can understand the research rabbit hole. It’s so easy to start researching one thing and find something else interesting to research.

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:15 am

      Exactly, Sherry! You start out with, say, dogs, and end up on pharmaceutical developments of the nineteenth century. Somehow. Is it our attention spans? Are we just fascinated by too many things? Is that why we’re writers? Hmmm…

      Thanks so much for the visit!

  29. C. Lee McKenzie on May 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    I’m still scrambling to catch up from May 1. Can’t seem to get any traction with these shoes of mine. Great job on 100 words for 100 days! That’s really a great idea.

    Loved seeing the anthology here today alongside Guile’s book. Thanks for giving us a shout out!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:19 am

      Bravo to you, Lee, for being part of TICK TOCK! I know it’s going to do super well 🙂

  30. Loni Townsend on May 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Woot for Guilie for her non-fiction! And super grats on making it through the 100 days, Michelle!

  31. Michael Di Gesu on May 9, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Michelle!

    YAY for TICK TOCK…. Looks like an amazing anthology! ALL The best to the writers and CONGRATS!

    Thanks for featuring GUILIE!
    Hi, Guilie! CONGRATS on your book. Such a wonderful subject matter. WE so need to know how to take care of our furry friends and save them from such hardships….ALL the best! AND< thanks for sharing your insights on nonfiction writing!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:23 am

      MICHAEL! So cool to see you here—thanks so much for reading! I’m glad you found the nonfiction bits useful. And thank you for having the wonderful heart you have… I know you’re a furry-friend lover, and it warms my heart to know that such homes *do* exist for them 🙂 The world needs more of you!

  32. H.R. Sinclair on May 9, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Congrats Guilie! And thanks for the tips.,

    And congrats Michelle on the #100words!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:23 am

      Thank you, H.R.! I’m happy to hear you found the tips useful 🙂

  33. Elsie on May 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I love seeing Guilie here too!

    Congratulations to you, Michelle on completing your #100words100days Challenge. That is a big accomplishment! Also, what a great idea because it’s something that gets your butt in the seat every single day and is a goal that is attainable rather than say, oh 500 words a day. Awesome! Go you!

  34. Victoria Marie Lees on May 12, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    What a great interview, Michelle. Nice to meet you, Guilie. I agree with you, Guilie. Non-fiction writers can’t make things up, but we can present “the facts” as a story in how the facts unfold.

    Thanks for all you do, Michelle to assist your fellow writers here at IWSG. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 13, 2018 at 5:29 am

      That discovery was a paradigm-shift moment for me, Victoria… When I started writing this I really felt like my hands were tied, and then it hit me, like you say, that creativity isn’t just about the facts but about how they’re told. It seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? But for me it really was an “Eureka!” moment, haha.

      Thanks so much for coming by! I’m glad you enjoyed reading this 🙂

  35. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer on May 15, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for the chance winning It’s About The Dog. It’s important to hold the reader’s attention but I do like a novel where you feel they know what they’re talking about and I’m sure this will definitely be the case here. Hands-on experience is so valuable!

    • Guilie Castillo on May 22, 2018 at 1:59 am

      Thanks so much for the vote of confidence, Inge! You’re right, that balance between holding the reader’s interest and keeping the facts straight can be a challenge—but it really is what makes or breaks a book, especially in nonfiction. Glad you came by!

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