Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Stresses and Delights of Writing #IWSG

Writing is a mixed bag of hard-boiled candy that will break your teeth, and soft chews that will wash sweetness over all your senses. 

The Hard-boiled: 

Letting go of my babies. When I’ve created a story, and it’s time to edit, I break my teeth (as it were) on the yearning for greatness, the striving for perfectionism, the dream of it going out there with exactly what I wanted to say with no errors or misunderstandings. I want my stories to touch lives, to grant sparks of laughter, to offer moments of comfort. I want them to bring insight, joy, escapism, and adventure. I want them to do wonderful things. 

And once I’ve let go enough to publish the stories, more stresses rush in. How will they be received? Will people love them? Will they hate them? Will people even find them, and if they do, will they buy them? 

Which leads me to another stress: the marketing. Am I doing it right? Do I have the right cover? The right blurb? The right story?! I know I should be more consistent with social media, but I’m not a huge fan of it. I’d rather sit in a corner and eat anchovies on stale bread…. Shudder. But I get a lot of sales through social media. It’s where people find my stories. It’s where I’ve met so many wonderful people… 

The Sweet Chews: 

Making connections. I’ve connected with so many people I never would’ve met without my writing. And I treasure every single one of them. And when I get a fan letter or a five-star review, oh my gosh, what a joy! They remind me that I don’t write in isolation. They remind me my words have an impact, a purpose, and they can make a difference. That’s exciting! 

And when I write—just let go and write—I’m transported. My world expands. My mind engages in a way that adds depth to my life. I feel whole. 

Writing is in my blood, and I must answer its call. 

How about you? What are your ups and downs with writing? 

Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional

The perfect gift for Christmas
ebook, paperback, hardcover

Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful Christmas and an awesome New Year.

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


Monday, November 22, 2021

Interviews, Writing Tips, and Books

Today I'm being interviewed over at Tyrean Martinson's blog. So if you'd like to know my top tips for writing, or where I find inspiration, or some other quirky things about me, then head on over.


And if you haven't picked up a copy of Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional for yourself or a gift for Christmas, then know it's now available as an ebook, paperback, and hardcover.

If you prefer fantasy, then I also have the Wielder's Storm Trilogy as a box set, or you can pick up the series individually starting with Wielder's Prize.

And if you prefer science fiction, then maybe try Tyrean Martinson's Rayatana series of novellas starting with Lift Off which is currently on sale for a short time only.

What are you reading at the moment?  

(And oh my goodness, have you seen the new Netflix animated series called Arcane? It's excellent! I highly recommend it and I've only seen the first two episodes so far.)

Don't forget to pop on over to Tyrean Martinson's blog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Of Wonders and Scavenger Hunt Giveaways

Today I'm promoting the release of the new edition of Cling to God:365-Day Devotional over at Lynn Simpson's website. I'm talking about just one of the many wonders of this world. Please pop on over and check it out. 


Scavenger Hunt Giveaway

I'm also taking part in a fun scavenger hunt to celebrate Patricia Josephine's birthday/anniversary, which starts tomorrow.

To take part in the giveaway, head over to Patricia's Blog for details and the list of other participants. 

(Before you go, you might want to jot down the clue below written in red).

Luc has regrets, but is the Devil worth forgiving?

Luc lives the quiet life in a small town as a priest. It is his atonement for his past wrongs against his family that banished him from their lives. A chance meeting with a beautiful, young woman named Rose throws his resolve into question. Does he want to go home if it means never seeing Rose again? He sees no choice, Rose could never accept who he really is. 

When when a Satanic cult from Luc’s past kidnaps Rose, Luc must not only face the cult, but himself if he wants to save Rose. Doing so means she will learn the truth. Will Rose be able to reconcile the truth with the soft-spoken man she knows? Or will Luc lose her forever? 

Mistakes of the Past is a sweet romance, urban fantasy about over coming past mistakes and owning who you are. Steam Rating: Sweet (Kissing only.) ​

Available for $3.99 at Amazon or read for free in Kindle Unlimited! Add to Goodreads


Do you enjoy scavenger Hunts and giveaways? What have you been up to lately?

Don't forget to check out my guest post on Lynn Simpson's website.


Monday, November 15, 2021

Book Cover Creation and Bloo Moose

Today I'm over at Jemi Fraser's blog, talking about the Art of Book Cover Creation. Please pop on over to find out more.

But while you're still here, I'd like to share Jemi's latest Bloo Moose Romance, which releases tomorrow on Nov 16th (or you can pre-order now)...just in time for Christmas! 

Reaching for Home

Nia Alexander is leaving the costume rooms of Hollywood in her rear view mirror and taking her son across the country for a fresh start and a white Christmas. She’s also hoping to leave behind the threats from the jerk who didn’t want to hear the word No. 

Jaz LaChance is never going back to the limelight. It’s been almost a decade since his photos were splashed in magazines and on billboards. Funding new businesses in Bloo Moose is better. Until Nia turns out to be a new tenant. Nia saved his ass once, but every time he looks at her, he remembers the humiliation of that night. 

When Jaz discovers Nia is being threatened, he needs to figure out how to leave the past truly where it belongs. If they can trust each other they might be able to make a home of their own for the holidays. 

REACHING FOR HOME is the 9th book in the Bloo Moose Romance series, although each book in the series is a stand alone. The book contains some strong language and sexy times. Enjoy! 

Check it out on Jemi Fraser's Website

My book, Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional, is also being featured in Follower News on Literary Rambles. Please pop on over there too and support this wonderful website! 

And don't forget to check out my post on The Art of Book Cover Creation.

Monday, November 8, 2021

On Gratitude

Because of the recent launch of the new edition of Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional, I'm out and about more than usual. (I've been a bit of a hermit the last few months for various reasons, one of which is getting this book ready for its exciting release into the world). 

So, today I'm over at Patricia Josephine/Lynne's blog, writing about gratitude. Please pop on over to check it out and say hi. 

A big thanks to Patricia and my lovely supporters, helpers, and readers. You are all so wonderful. I deeply appreciate all of you.


For something different, I'm also taking part in a book promo, so if you love Epic Fantasy reads, then you might find a new treasure in this lot: HERE

Don't forget to check out Patricia Josephine/Lynne's blog.

What's your favourite genre to read? Do you have a tendency to hermit away when you get busy or life becomes more of a challenge than usual?


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Launch Day and Book Titles vs Blurbs #IWSG

Today is the exciting and official launch of the new edition of Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional.

This special devotional book is a year-long journey with daily inspirational messages and uplifting scripture to help you spend time with God. With 365 days of short Bible-based teachings, it is faith building and thought provoking. It will encourage and refresh with reassuring reminders of God’s love. 

365 days of inspiration and Bible wisdom to lighten your heart.
365 devotions to bring you peace in uncertain times.
365 ways to Cling to God. 

A great companion for individual worship or for group Bible study. The perfect gift book or personal keepsake that will be cherished for years to come. 

Start each morning with Cling to God to brighten your day and draw closer to God. 

Available as Kindle ebook, Paperback, and Hardcover.

I'm super excited about the hardcover.

For a short time only, you can get the ebook for the special launch price of $2.99

If you don't own a kindle, you can pick up the free kindle app and read my book on your phone, tablet, or computer. 


Titles vs Blurbs. Which is the more difficult to write?

This is the IWSG question of the month, and it's not an easy one to answer. Both the title of the book and the blurb are important. The title is the first thing a potential reader will see after the cover. It defines the book. If done well, it places the book in a clear genre/category and entices the reader to pick it up. Once picked up, the blurb is the next stage of the decision-making process to read the book. No pressure. 

Sometimes the title is the first inspiration I get before the book is even written. Other times, I struggle badly. I had a massive brain-block with an old fantasy story. When the story was picked up by a publisher, it had a terrible name. Blood in the Snow. It sounded like a crime story! Thankfully my publisher suggested we brainstorm a few titles until at last we agreed on Birthright. The original story is no longer in print and when I got the rights back, I rewrote the whole thing and released it as Well of Ash. That title came to me like a strike of inspirational lightning. 

Blurbs are a whole different story. I always struggle with blurbs. I'll admit non-fiction blurbs are a thousand times easier than fiction blurbs, but I still question everything over and over. Is it interesting enough? Have I captured the book without giving too much away? Have I captured it enough to snag the reader's interest? Have I reflected the genre well? Have I included the conflict, the excitement, the essence of what I love about the story? 

My best advice on the topic is take your time. Let the new title or blurb sit for a while before sending it out into the world. Get second opinions. Do your research. But mostly, don't rush. 


Please visit the blogs of the lovely and generous people helping me with my book launch today for Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional. Tyrean Martinson, Jemi Fraser, and Lynn Simpson. Thanks so much! You're all so wonderful!

How about you? What are your tips for writing titles and blurbs? Are you excited about my new release? What's your reading preference: ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Cover Reveal and New Releases #IWSG

Today we have cover reveals, new releases, a guest snippet from the great Tyrean Martinson, and the IWSG question of the month. So let's begin!


Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional

Take advantage and pre-order your ebook for only $2.99. The price will go up after launch. Or, if you’d like to join my review team, I’ll send you a free copy. Just leave your email in the comments. 

365 days of inspiration and Bible wisdom to lighten your heart.
365 devotions to bring you peace in uncertain times.
365 ways to Cling to God. 

This special book is a year-long journey with inspirational messages and uplifting scripture. It includes short Bible-based teachings that will encourage and refresh. It is faith building and thought provoking with reassuring reminders of God’s love.

 A great companion for individual worship or for group Bible study. The perfect gift book or personal keepsake that will be cherished for years to come. 

Start each morning with Cling to God to brighten your day and draw closer to God. 



GUEST POST by Tyrean Martinson 

Klah in Dragonsinger and Coffee by Other Names 

If you read science fiction and fantasy or enjoy science fiction and fantasy movies, you might have noticed a tendency for writers to give a unique twist to one of Earth’s favorite beverages: coffee. 

As a reader, the first instance I encountered of coffee by another name came in the form of klah in the Harper Hall Series by Anne McCaffrey. I loved the sound of Klah. It was always warm and soothing to the characters, as well as a slight stimulant for waking up. 

In Dragonsinger from the Harper Hall Series, the main character Menolly is rescued and taken to Harper Hall, where she is removed from everything she knows except for her fire lizards, her music, and the comfort of the familiar klah. 

It makes sense for science fiction and fantasy writers to bring coffee, tea, or their favorite comfort beverages into their unique worlds, whether they call it coffee, klah, or another name. 

In The Rayatana Series, the beverage “awak” is like a mixture of coffee and tea with similar stimulating properties. When I came up with the idea, it was in homage to all the other science fiction and fantasy beverages out there in the books and movies I love. 

Nexus: The Rayatana, Book 2

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension. 

Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess. 

She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana. 

Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Goodreads, Bookbub

Tyrean Martinson is a word hunter. She forages for words both sweet and tart in the South Sound of Washington State. An eclectic writer, she writes speculative fiction, contemporary and historical fiction, short scripts, devotions, writing books, song lyrics, and poetry.

Tyrean's Writing Spot Blog, Tyrean's Tales, Instagram, Twitter, Tyrean's Tutoring Website.


IWSG question of the month

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language? 

While I have no qualms reading stories with salty language, it seems I'm not comfortable including it in my own writing. You'll find no F-bombs in my stories, or colorful phrases. As for topics, I try to stay clear of anything too sensitive or controversial. I want my fiction to be escapist and fun. Of course, having said that, I do deal with physical abuse in Wielder's Prize, my debut fantasy novel. It's a topic that makes many people uncomfortable so I softened an instance of it in a more recent edition. I didn't want the focus to be on the abuse. I wanted it to be on overcoming it and forgiveness.


Don't forget to leave your email in the comments if you'd like to join my review team and get a free copy of Cling to God:365-Day devotional.

What topics or language to do you shy from? Are you excited to read Tyrean's new book? What do you think of the new cover for Cling to God: 365-Day Devotional

A big thank you to Tyrean Martinson and Jemi Fraser for supporting me with my cover reveal. Please pop on over and say hi from me.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Definition of Success as a Writer #IWSG

Before I started writing, I had big dreams and believed success meant achieving a household name status. Something equal to JK Rowlings or Tolkien.

Before I'd finished a single manuscript, I adjusted my outlook and decided success meant getting published by one of the Big Six. 

After finishing that first manuscript, I packaged it up and sent it off to countless publishers (I had no clue at the time…clearly). Turned out, I needed an agent. So I sent off countless queries…and more. I began to think that success meant getting an agent and everything else would fall into line. 

Ah, the positivity of youth.

I ended up getting short stories published, a novelette, articles, anthologies and even a book of Christian devotionals. Over time, my definition of success shifted again. 

That first short story I got published was a massive achievement. The first time I opened a bound book containing one of my stories was incredible. The first time someone actually paid me for a story was just as awesome. Success became finishing a piece and sending it out. It became seeing my words in print. It became reading the great reviews from strangers. It became getting fan mail. 

Then I decided to take the publishing reigns myself. A scary leap. My first book, Wielder’s Prize, was a monumental achievement because of the steep learning curve. It was years in the making and to this day, I’m super proud of it. 

Since then, I published Wielder’s Curse and then Wielder’s Fire. I released the boxed ebook set, Wielder’s Storm Trilogy. Then I released Well of Ash, my fantasy novella. I’m proud of every book and see each one as another rung in the success ladder. I have to pinch myself to believe I actually achieved all that. 

And then recently, I took another scary step and got back the rights to my Christian Devotional, Cling to God. I’ve been working hard on it and will be releasing its new and shiny self on November 3rd. Eek. 

If you’d like to help with its cover reveal and/or its launch, please leave a comment. 

What is your definition of success?

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, August 4, 2021

Writing Craft Book Recommendations #IWSG

The IWSG question of the month: What is your favorite writing craft book? And why? 

I imagine a large percentage of people will say Stephen King's On Writing is their favourite writing craft book. While I did enjoy it and it's chock full of quotable quotes of goodness, I feel it sits more solidly in the memoir category. For me anyway. 

I have a few favourites I go back to over and over again. On Writing is one of them, but also The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell just works for me. It's described as Sun Tzu's The Art of War for novelists. It's easy to read. Super helpful. So many gems in its pages. 

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is another brilliant one. This one has a whole lot of anecdotal stories that bring the challenge of writing alive. It's wonderful to read someone else's succinct understanding of what it's like to be a writer. Again, this one has lots of golden nuggets to take away and apply to my own writing. 

Save the Cat is another wonderful one if you're looking to understand story beats. While it's more focused on screenwriting, it's helpful tips can be applied to novel writing too. 

There are a whole bunch of others. Each has had it's impact on me in some form or another. How about you? Which writing craft books have you loved? 

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, July 7, 2021

5 Reasons to Quit Writing #IWSG

The question of the month for the IWSG: What would make you quit writing? 

I thought about this question for some time and decided to focus on the word quit. Plenty of things have caused me to take a break from writing, but I’ve yet to quit altogether. So below is my carefully curated list of reasons that would make me quit writing. 

1. The zombie apocalypse. I imagine it would be difficult to write on the run from slathering zombies who want nothing more than the taste of my sweet, sweet brains. But then, maybe I wouldn’t quit. To occupy my time while holed up in my zombie-proof fort, I’d likely write manuals to help others to avoid the infestation. 

2. Stranded on a deserted island with no writing materials. Even then, I’d write stories in my head at night, or find a way to record my thoughts. Maybe I’d create paper from seaweed and ink from sea slugs. 

3. Abducted by aliens. Nope, not even then. That would likely give me even more reason to write. 

 4. If I were offered a million bucks to stop writing—nope, make that a BILLION, and even then, I’d likely keep writing under an alias. Because writing! 

 5. If I found something more creative and expressive than writing. Yep, that’s likely the only thing in this world that would stop me from writing. 

I must have that creative output, otherwise I get grumpy or depressed or both. So it’s in everyone’s best interest if I continue to create. 

How about you? What would make you quit your favourite creative outlet? 

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, June 2, 2021

On Resting a First Draft #IWSG

The IWSG question of the month: How long do you shelve your first draft before reading and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt? 

Regardless of my six published books and the countless others I’ve written, the drafting process of every book has been different. 

The first book I ever wrote has been shelved for a gazillion years—after years of writing the first draft, then multiple rewrites with little sitting time between drafts. Same with the second and third books, although the third one got shelved after the first draft.

The fourth was the first I got published and that had mere months between polished drafts while I sent it off to friends, family, and an editor and waited for their feedback. Once completed, though, it sat for years more, because I hadn’t been sure what to do with it. It was non-fiction—my daily devotional, Cling to God, and my writing focus had changed back to fiction during that sitting time. 

Then life unceremoniously reminded me that it would be tragic to let the completed book disappear into oblivion. So I found a wonderful publisher, edited it again, and got it out there. 

My fifth book then got a revisit. I had paused worked on that one after the first draft, stupidly convincing myself it wasn’t good enough. Because of that foolishness, it languished in isolation for too many years. That was Wielder’s Prize. It ended up being my fantasy novel debut. And I’m so proud of it. During its editing phase, it percolated for a couple months between drafts as I waited for professional feedback. 

Wielder’s Prize needed a series. So Wielder’s Curse and Wielder’s Fire were written. Wielder’s Curse was born during a particularly difficult time in my life. It was a mess when it was first drafted. I had to let it sit before I could finish it, let alone rewrite it. Finding clarity had been a massive struggle. Time and pigheadedness fixed that. 

Wielder’s Fire wrote itself and it got almost no sitting time by comparison. Only a few months while I worked on marketing and covers and everything else associated with releasing books. 

And that’s just part of the story. I have more books under my sleeves, but as I said, they’ve all been different—different in the way I approached them, how long it took to write them, how long I let them sit, how often I reworked them… and so forth. 

There is no magic formula. I am a slave to the needs of each story and the demands of life. 

How about you? What’s your writing process and how long do you let a story sit? 

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, 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 



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


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: 

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.