Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Joy of Getting Reader Feedback #IWSG


The IWSG question of the month for May: Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way you didn't expect?

Whenever a reader responds--a good review, a fan email, a smile, a quiet thanks--I'm always surprised. Why? Because it means my writing touched someone enough that they went out of their way to let me know. It's easy to think you write in a vacuum, even when you're getting good sales. The stories go out, but percentage-wise, it's rare for anything to come back in terms of a response. Good, bad, or otherwise.

The time that surprised me the most was at a book festival. I was sitting around with other, better known authors, and a random person came up to the group and looked straight at me. 

"I know you," he said. 

I scrambled to place where I might've known him. At work? At school? At church? Nothing triggered.

"You wrote [insert novelette in an anthology that's now out of print--the same one I ended up rewriting and turning into the novella, Well of Ash]. I loved it!"

I kind of blinked at him. How on Earth did he recognize me? Turned out, he was a quiet follower of my blog and social media. This was an actual fan.They exist!

Don't think I've ever been more blown away.

So, if you love a writer's work, please let them know. We can live off that happiness for years to come ;)

Have you ever let an author know how much you loved their work? Have you ever been surprised by a reader's response?

 

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month, members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

On Taking Risks in Writing #IWSG


It's hard to believe it's April already. I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Easter. The IWSG question this months is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? 

The whole process of writing and publishing is one giant exercise in risk-taking. We put ourselves in the stories we write (even when it's fiction) and then bare it all when we let those stories out into the world for others to read and judge. 

Then there's the risk of choosing a genre that might not be considered easy to sell.

Or the topics that people might have issue with.

Or the style of writing that might step slightly from the expected norms.

Or heaven forbid we should break those golden writing rules.

So yes, I'm a risk-taker when it comes to writing. I love breaking rules if it gives me the impact I want for the story. I don't have a choice of the genres I write in because while the market might be flooded with YA Fantasies, I love reading and writing YA Fantasies. And if the story edges toward a controversial topic, I will do my best to handle the topic with as much sensitivity and respect as I can, but I won't shy from it. 

One more thing: I won't dumb down my language for the teen market. I write for young adults, not children. It's ridiculous the number of articles that say you should keep the language simple for the teens to understand. A rich vocabulary is important for all of us to be able to express the nuances of life. I don't write in jargon, but if there's a word that succinctly captures what I'm after, then I will use that word...even if it has--gasp--more than two syllables. 

Just sayn'

How about you? Are you a risk-taker in writing? Do you bend or break the rules, if so, which ones?


 

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month, members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

7 Reasons I Choose a Book #IWSG


IWSG question of the month: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice? 

My favourite genres to write in is scifi and fantasy.  And yes, I read extensively in those genres through multiple sub-genres. They are my favourites to read. I also read thrillers and romance and anything widely considered "good". 

A number of factors influence my reading choices: 

1. If it's discounted and a book I'm familiar with through social media, then I'll snap it up. 

2. If it's discounted and has a great cover, then I'll read the first two or three lines on the back. If it still sounds interesting, I'll snap it up. 

3. If I'm down and need a lift, then it won't matter if it's discounted or not. I'll snap it up if I've heard good things about it through reviews or word of mouth. It won't matter about the cover or genre.

4. If it's got a READ ME! cover (Something artistic and gorgeous) and it's in the genre I'm in the mood for, then I'll snap it up. I won't bother reading the back or reviews--IF I'm in a bookstore. Otherwise I'll read a little of the blurb.

5. If people keep raving about a book then I'll eventually need to read it for myself, and it won't matter about the cover, genre, or blurb. 

6. If I want to try writing a different sub-genre, I'll pick up a few books in that sub-genre to get a proper feel for it. ie, research.

7. If I want to support a fellow writer, I'll read and review it.

I think that covers all my reasons for choosing a book.

Kinda shows how important a good cover and reviews are. 

How about you? What influences your reading choices?


This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month, members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Reason I Blog and Free Reads #IWSG

I first started blogging back in 2010. Yikes. That was another world. I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed with big dreams. Blogging was going to lead me onto the path to greatness. I chuckle now. 

When a new writer asks me if they should start a blog, I tell them that I wouldn't recommend it. Blogging isn't as big as it used to be. I honestly think there are more writers on blogs than readers. 

If your audience is writers, then sure! Blog away! If you write non-fiction, then yes, blogging might work for you. If you love, love, love writing longer content for your interested readers, then yes, blogging is for you. 

There is, of course, other reasons to blog.

The IWSG question of the month: Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere? 

This is the reason I continue blogging after all these years. The friends I've made*. I blog to stay in touch, to help where I can, and to share a little extra of what I do that I don't share on other social media platforms. And--gasp--it's enjoyable.

*I couldn't possibly name all the friends I've made. If I tried, I'd inevitably leave someone out, and I don't want to do that.

What do you love about writing or reading blogs?

 

And a special treat for you today. If you love Fantasy Adventure, you might like to pick up some free reads here.


If you prefer Young Adult Fantasy and Fairytale Romance, then you might like these books, which are free with Kindle Unlimited.



Monday, January 18, 2021

Chrys Fey on Tornado Safety

Today I have guest author, Chrys Fey. Take it away, Chrys:

Growing up, I was afraid of tornados. Probably from watching Twister every single weekend. And watching Night of the Twisters a lot, too. 

 In Night of the Twisters, the character Dan slips a wood slate over the bathroom window before getting into shelter with his baby brother and his best friend. In A Fighting Chance, Amanda does the same thing. I obviously got this from the movie. (Hey, some things stick with us.) 

When I was little, there were a lot of severe thunderstorms. Practically daily. Every spring and especially during the summer. And thanks to watching Twister so much, we worried about getting sucked into the sky. There’s a scene at the end of Twister when Jo and Bill use leather reins (or something like it) to wrap around a metal pole that goes deep into the ground, and they climb into them to hold on for dear life. My mom connected the metal hooks to rubber straps/bungees around these two posts in the middle of our house so we could slip under them if there ever was a tornado warning. And, of course, hold on for dear life. 

Those two things gave me an idea for A Fighting Chance. Amanda, a smart woman, has a baby mattress crib in her closet with belts around it so she can hold the mattress in place over her back while she’s hunkering down in the bathtub. This is a great example of using what you know. ;) 

Tornado Safety: 

- Have a plan before a tornado is a threat. Designate where family and pets can gather in the event of a tornado warning. 

- Have supplies in that area at all time, such as pet crates/carriers, a flashlight, a whistle or alarm (in case first-responders have to dig you out, you can help them find you), blankets, and anything to cover your head (pillows, a mattress, etc.) 

- Go to a room without windows, on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, basement, storm cellar, center of the hallway). 

- If you can, get underneath something sturdy, such as a table. 

- Lay down or curl up at the bottom of a tub. 

- Cover your body with a blanket or mattress. This is where a baby mattress comes in handy, especially in tight confines like a bathroom or closet. For a large mattress, you could flip it over you in the corner of a room. 

- While it’s still safe, leave a mobile home and go into a nearby building. 

- If you’re outside and unable to reach a safe building, lay flat in a ditch and cover your head with your hands, or slip beneath a truck or other such vehicle that is elevated (higher off the ground). 

- If you are driving, don’t try to outrun a tornado. Find the nearest building/sturdy shelter. Buckle up! 

- Afterward, check for injuries. If you can, call loved ones immediately to let them know you’re okay.

For more tips on what to do before, during, and after a tornado, check out this article from the Red Cross.

Romantic-Suspense, 154 pages, Heat Rating: Hot 

A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.

Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse—space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's worried the truth will frighten her away. 

And Amanda is afraid. She’s scared of her attraction for Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending. 

Up against an abusive ex and Mother Nature, do Thorn and Amanda have a fighting chance? 

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes 

 ***FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME*** 

THE DISASTER CURSE 

Author’s Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance, and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow. Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink* 

The Disaster Crimes Series: 

*The Crime Before the Storm (prequel) 

Hurricane Crimes (novella, #1) 

Seismic Crimes (#2) 

Lightning Crimes (free short, #2.5) 

Tsunami Crimes (#3) 

Flaming Crimes (#4) 

Frozen Crimes (#5) 

A Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6) 

The Disaster Curse (short story, #7) 

*Free exclusive story to newsletter subscribers. 

 

***LAUNCHING A WEBSITE***

TheFightingChance.org is a website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired by the Disaster Crimes series. 

***GIVEAWAY***  

Prizes: Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes 1) and Seismic Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2) eBooks (mobi or epub), Hurricane Crimes Playing Cards, Girl Boss Sign, and a Volcanic Blast Scented Candle  

Giveaway Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a92670/ 


Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press.  

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

7 Reasons Readers Stop Reading #IWSG

The IWSG question of the month: Being a writer, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books? 

Writers stop reading for the same reasons readers stop reading, but experienced writers can be more succinct as to the reasons why. Here are a few: (Hint: most of them come down to editing)

1. Too much backstory. One of the biggest mistakes is to load the beginning with set up for the story. The history of the world, the backstory of the characters. The carefully laid-out details can wait. Or, they can be woven into the story in palatable bites rather than massive chunks that just bore the reader before they've even set foot in the story. Avoid the info dump.

2. Not enough backstory. Backstory adds richness to the characters, makes them well-rounded. It's essential in making the current story whole. Without any depth or history, the characters or world can come across as cartoonish and thin, lacking in realism, which makes it harder for the reader to make an emotional connection. 

3. Poor character motivations. I personally call this "because plot". Something happens that makes no sense to the characters, but the author wants it to happen to push the plot forward. I see this too often and it hurts. 

4. Poor pacing. A slow book where nothing happens is a sure way to turn off readers. Long passages of description can slow down the story. This doesn't mean you can't describe something, nor does it mean you need explosions in every chapter. It means the plot needs to keep moving forward, otherwise you'll bore your reader. On the flip side, I read a book that moved so fast, it left me breathless. It also left me not caring about the characters because they didn't stop long enough to even react to the events. 

5. Poor dialogue. Dialogue is more important than you might think. It's where the reader connects with the characters. It pulls you into a story faster than any description. But too often it's cliched, or stiff and drawn out. If the characters come across as wooden or predicable, then the reader won't make that all important connection. 

6. Not enough description. Too much description is often touted as a writing sin, but I'd like to add the other swing of the pendulum. With not enough description, the reader can't sink into the story. They are merely a distant observer. Without description, they can't taste the chocolate cake the character might be enjoying, they can't feel the chills racing across the character's skin because they can't see the clawing trees or the fog creeping across the ground as if on purpose. The trick is finding the balance of description so it doesn't slow down the moment in the story.

7. Poor editing...or no editing.  This one speaks for itself. Polish your story. Learn grammar. Get an editor. 

There are many more reasons a reader might stop reading, including: The book promised something and delivered something else; too predictable, thus boring; too many long-winded sentences; unlikable characters; unbelievable characters; lacking in clarity; and on it goes. 

What are some of the reasons you stop reading?

Wishing everyone a great new year. For some free books you might like, click HERE.