IWSG – Apr 2023 – Looking Back

Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh created IWSG — because Alex understands we need a place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds good to you, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and the hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, a specific question is offered, which may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or a story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you struggle with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

April 5 question – Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you’re at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

First of all, a huge THANK YOU to all my beta readers. I am more grateful than words can express. You know who you are, so please remember I’m here to reciprocate if you need some help.

April’s Question…

Truth is, I’m not where I thought I’d be. Looking at that face in the photo to the left, I remember how excited I was when Dead Witness was published 15 years ago. My face hurt because I was trying so hard not to smile for fear I’d explode. I was beside myself with joy. I’d done something most people only dream of and I wanted the world to know.

Now, I’m what they call seasoned. Haha. In more ways than one. I could whine about not reaching the heights I thought I’d reach, but I can’t succumb to negative talk. It’s too hard to get back up from it. Better to reiterate that I’m not a quitter. My journey’s not over, not by a long shot.

I published Dead Witness in 2008, which lead me to a contract with a publisher for my second novel and another publisher for my third. Last year, my fourth book was published. My fifth is very close to being ready. Today my goal is to take a step out of my comfort zone, find a literary agent for my next novel, and keep reaching for the stars. Along the way, the plan is to help promoted fellow authors. So, before you leave, please check out Martha Engber’s new book: Bliss Road

★★★★★ “Illuminates the complicated path of a neurodiverse family.” Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal: Living with Aspergers Syndrome

Martha Engber lives a charmed life in the suburbs with a husband and two kids where everything is fine, fine, fine until suddenly she’s… completely broken. She’s so used to lying to others and herself that she has no idea who she really is or how she feels about anything. What happened? Why is her life smooth driving one minute and totaled the next?

In this sometimes funny, often devastating memoir, Martha describes the arduous journey toward discovering the invisible roadblock that ran her life off course: her psychological distress is the result of being the neurotypical daughter of a dad with undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder, a condition that affects over 75 million people worldwide.

Martha uses personal anecdotes and research about the emergence of ASD as a diagnosis to explain the psychological, emotional and social challenges she faced as a child, then as an adult and parent. Along the way, she shows the sometimes harrowing, but eminently rewarding, route others can follow to chase down the source of their family angst and so reach a more blissful future.

About the Author
Martha Engber is the author of ‘Winter Light’, ‘The Wind Thief’, and ‘Growing Great Characters from the Ground Up’. A journalist by profession, she’s written hundreds of articles for the Chicago Tribune and other publications. She had a play produced in Hollywood and fiction and poetry published in the Aurorean, Watchword and other journals. A workshop facilitator and speaker, she lives in Northern California with her husband, bike and surfboard. Visit: marthaengber.com.

“Bliss Road is a raw and real memoir, illuminating the complicated path of a neurodiverse family fixed in a legacy between trepidation and tenderness; a legacy that may well have repeated itself had it not been for Engber’s ability to face the mirror and find the answers to the questions she didn’t even know she had about autism and the power of love.” Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal: Living with Aspergers Syndrome

“With bracing honesty, and rare insight, Martha Engber’s courageous, highly readable account of her experience as the child of a parent with undiagnosed ASD is compelling, joyous and inspiring.'” Byddi Lee, author of The Rejuvenation Trilogy

“In Bliss Road, Martha Engber takes the reader on a candid and poetic journey through her life with a neuroatypical father. A glorious blend of insights and wisdom, this memoir may just be what we need to deepen our human capacity for love and understanding.” Imi Lo, author of Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity: How to Manage Intense Emotions as a Highly Sensitive Person

“Engber skillfully integrates current knowledge about autism into her own engaging story as the child of a parent on the autism spectrum, giving readers an understanding of the challenges those children face-and making the case for further research.” Patti Isaacs, author of The Second Long March: Memoir from a Witness to China’s Transformation.

As an added bonus, if you clink on the link below you have 4 weeks to choose a free book from the list provided.


Comments 17

  1. I can’t remember how I felt when my first book was published and not even when a big international publisher published my first book. I was naive. I didn’t know what it meant to be a professional author.
    Nowadays I am pretty relaxed. I am a consultant for one of my old publishers and sometimes I edit the work of other authors. I am happy that I don’t need to go on lecture and book signing tours. I read a lot for fun and look after my house and garden.
    All the best
    Klausbernd 🙂

  2. I wonder if any of us are where we thought we’d be when we started out. I’m sure not–not in my writing life, not in my career, not in my personal life. But part of the joy of living is to be flexible, to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, to adapt, to wander in new directions when we feel called to do so.

    And really, 5 books is awesome! Good luck with the agent search.

  3. Wow, I think it’s more like – Look at where you are now. Four great well-received books and a fifth on the way. That’s something to celebrate. You’ll get an amazing agent I’m sure. Best of luck, Joylene!

  4. I’ve definitely gone down a different path than the one I envisioned, but it’s been interesting. Good luck with book five! I love that picture with book one. It was just the beginning.

  5. What is life without a little seasoning? Our journeys are all so different. I know mine has not been anything like I thought it would be. But I know I’m on the right track. As long as we keep moving forward, keep trying new things and keep the words coming, we’ll find success. Maybe not as we thought we would, but it will be there. Wonderful post and here’s to great success with book #5!

  6. First, I love the photo of you with your first published book. And you got a deal for another book and then another publisher. This is wonderful. You ARE a seasoned writer with much to give to your readers. As long as it’s not too scary, I’ll read for you if you need me. More power to you, Joylene!

  7. I’m constantly amazed that a seasoned writer continues to face major challenges in the publishing world.
    I admire your attitude and know you will succeed.
    I’m looking forward to reading your 5th!

  8. Oh, the thrill of the first book. I was around when you first published Dead Witness. I loved that story! And the following ones. Looking forward to reading #5!!! Congratulations!

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