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.