Wednesday, 3 February 2021

IWSG February 2021

It's time once again for our monthly posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share fears and insecurities without being judged. This month's excellent co-hosts are Louise - Fundy BlueJennifer LaneMary AalgaardPatsy Collins at Womagwriter and Nancy Gideon.

In terms of insecurities, I'm feeling quite good apart from those that have to do with homeschooling, vaccinations, variants... you know, what seem to have become the "usual" worries for most of us. I'm undertaking the second draft of a YA standalone novel that I hope to start submitting to small publishers this year, and I'm also still working on the last part of my dystopian trilogy that should be self-published this year also. I've got plenty to keep me busy, so I'm lucky in that sense. Turning to this month's IWSG question...

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?

Incredibly, later this year will see me reach 10 years of blogging, and I'm thankful to say that during that time I've met people I would consider friends for life, who I could count on for support and uplift with writing worries and anything else too. There would be too many to name here, but the Ninja Cap'n goes without saying, and I'll also give a shoutout to Kyra Lennon and Annalisa Crawford - great friends, amazingly talented writers, and awesome CPs!

Speaking of CPs, I'm currently looking for two or three more sets of fresh eyes for my standalone novel, and where better to ask than among one of the most dedicated sets of writers and readers on the web? This YA story is set on a distant planet colonised by humanity after Earth has become uninhabitable. Harica is a typical teenager who lives a quiet life on one of its orbiting moons, except she has an extraordinary gift - the power to defuse others' conflicts by entering their minds. Her use of this gift remains limited to resolving petty squabbles among her classmates, until she is headhunted by government forces to take on a much bigger assignment down on the planet - one involving an entitled princess, power politics and the lives and wellbeing of millions of people. Does she have what it takes to meet this challenge, and what will it teach her about her gift and, more importantly, herself?

With this book, I'm particularly looking to see if I've captured an authentic voice for my young female protagonist. It's uncharted territory for me. It goes without saying that I would reciprocate by offering a critique of anything you have in the works. I'd be looking to send you my book once I've finished my second draft, which should be by the end of this month but hopefully will be sooner. If we click, it would also be great if you could take a look at the conclusion of my trilogy later in the year - it's not necessary to have read the first two parts.

Thanks for considering, friends! Don't forget to check out many more IWSG entries here.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Chrys Fey's A Fighting Chance blog tour

Today I'm pleased to welcome author and blogger extraordinaire Chrys Fey as part of her blog tour for her latest release, A Fighting Chance. I also had the chance to ask Chrys a question and from her answer, it sounds like she has a lot more exciting projects coming our way too.  

Nick Asked: Do you plan to write more series after this or concentrating on standalone books, and can you give us a clue what might come next? 

Chrys Fey’s Answer: Both. I am actively working on what I lovingly call my Secret Book Baby Series (the real series title and book titles will remain a mystery for now.) I am in the process of rewriting the first book. For, oh, about the twelve thousandth time. Okay. So that may be an exaggeration. It’s more like the thousandth time. (haha) I’ve rewritten this book many times, as well as revised it and self-edited it countless times.

That series will give birth to many other spin-off series. And I mean MANY. The universe that these books are set in just keep on growing. I love it! One day, I hope to share them with you all.

Aside from the books related to my Secret Book Baby Series, I also have a middle grade series in the works. I started Book 2 last year before setting it aside. I have plans for a new romantic-suspense trilogy, too.

But I don’t just write books that’ll be in a series, though. I don’t believe in restricting my creativity like that. Not all books need or have to have a sequel or series to follow it. I have a long list of standalone books waiting for my attention.

Right now, I will be concreating first on perfecting the first book in my Secret Book Baby Series and finishing up a standalone book I started last year. I got pretty far on that, too, (just eight chapters sigh of the end), before 2020 happened and stole my motivation for that story. I love it so much and will finish it. After that, there’s a few other standalone books I am excited to get to. A couple of which I’ve already written a lot on, and a couple of which I’ve only plotted out. The possibilities are endless!

As for what might come next, we’ll you’ll have to wait and see. 😉


Pages: 154

Genre: Romantic-Suspense

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?


Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes



Amanda looked up from the current list of up-to-date payments for classes. A movement outside the glass storefront caught her eye. She tilted her head to see a man coming up the sidewalk from the side where the picnic bench sat. Through the vertical blinds, she glimpsed a square face—a short, rugged beard and long, dark hair pulled into a man bun. Her breath fled from her lungs. Her body went from icy cold to flaming hot in the span of a millisecond. She dropped to the floor and slid under the counter, beneath the ledge where they put their purses and cell phones.

“What—” Beth peeked at the windows. Then she snapped her fingers at April and pointed at the stools.

April jumped into action. She pushed the stools in so they blocked Amanda. The bell attached to the door jingled as April removed the jacket she wore and draped it across the stools, creating a curtain to shield Amanda.

From a crack, Amanda watched Beth move to stand in front of the twins, who were in their walkers playing peacefully. “I’m sorry, but we’re going to be closing.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’m here for Amanda.”

The sound of Damon’s voice had her heart beating even harder. That voice had haunted her nightmares, had come back to life in her memories.

Beth cocked her head to the side. “Who? There’s no one by that name here.”

“Don’t bullshit me. I know she works here.”

His voice was closer now.






Book Links: 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

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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.

Author Links:

 Newsletter / Website / Facebook Group /Blog / BookBub

Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

IWSG January 2021

Happy New Year! So we made it out of the other end of 2020, and as we hit another national lockdown here in the UK and we wait our turn for vaccination, one thing we can rely on is that we will all come together on the first Wednesday of the month for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Headed up as ever by the inimitable Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share their fears and insecurities without being judged. Today's excellent co-hosts are Ronel Janse van VuurenJ Lenni DornerGwen GardnerSandra Cox and Louise - Fundy Blue.

I thought I'd start with a quick recap of where 2020 took me writing-wise and what's on the cards for 2021. I didn't publish anything last year - I think there's a general suspicion that people are too worried about other things to think about buying new books, but as the uncertainty continues perhaps the best thing is to carry on with things that are normal as much as possible. For writers, that should mean writing and getting our work out there - shouldn't it? 

I'm going to take wrapping up my trilogy as a priority. Having completed the first draft of book 3 just over a year ago, I spent last year working on a different project, but I'll definitely be heading into revisions on that final instalment and getting it out there this year. I've got no shortage of things to work on so I've decided to just get on with it. Creativity and inspiration are as important as ever if not more so - which means I should read more as well as writing. That takes me onto this month's IWSG question, which looks like an interesting one:

Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

Well, this could open up a whole can of worms, and this is probably different in every case. I used to doggedly finish every book I started but I've since decided that life is too short to keep going with a story that I'm not connecting to for whatever reason. It could be cliched characters or unbelievable or unrealistic events (of course, these are the backbone of many of the greatest books, but they can only work if the context and world of the story have set us up to accept and believe what takes place), or just a narrative that drags and takes too long for anything significant to happen. While it's unfortunate to not finish a book I always think there's something to learn, just as we would from books we enjoy - even if it's what not to do! What would stop you from finishing a book?

Before I go, here's a reminder that the next #IWSGPit Twitter pitch event is coming up on January 20. Get your tweet-length pitches polished up and in front of publishers and agents! All the details are at the #IWSGPit page.

And don't forget to check out lots more IWSG entries here.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

IWSG December 2020

We've made it (almost) to the end of this strangest and most challenging of years and while we all look forward to what will hopefully be a brighter 2021, let's get together one more time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Founded and led by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share fears and insecurities in an atmosphere that's free of judgement. Why don't you go and drop in on this month's hardworking co-hosts: Pat GarciaSylvia NeyLiesbet @ Roaming AboutCathrina Constantine and Natalie Aguirre!

As we draw near to the end of the year I've still got an ambition to finish my first draft of the book I started at the beginning of it. I suppose I could think I'd like to have achieved more - I've got the small matter of editing and polishing the last part of a trilogy too - but all things will come in due course. One of the lessons I could take from this difficult year is that it's a blessing to have the ability, time and mental bandwidth to write and enjoy it without worrying too much about timetables. I haven't always felt like I wanted to do it and that's fine too. I wonder how this plays into our monthly question - let's have a look at it: 

Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

I'm not sure there's any particular season where I'm more productive. Because I write early in the morning, it's always dark or semi-dark at that time so it's just about how motivated I feel on any given day - but I do find the colours of spring and autumn inspiring.

The new year also brings the return of the IWSG Twitter Pitch! Get your pitches primed and you could end up bagging an agent or publisher. See all the details here: Insecure Writer's Support Group: #IWSGPit Twitter Pitch

And check out many more great posts at the IWSG sign-up list.

Monday, 16 November 2020

"Happy Ghoulidays" launch

 Today I'm helping out author and blogger Shannon Lawrence with the launch of her new collection, which promises to bring us a few festive chills this winter. Over to Shannon...

The holidays can be a stressful time, as we all know, but I'm hoping to lighten up this winter season with a little holiday horror.

Maybe "lighten up" isn't the right term.

The first story begins the winter holidays with Thanksgiving, with stories representing Christmas, Hanukah, Hogmanay (the New Year), Yule, Groundhog Day, and, finally, Valentine's Day. From serious horror to tongue-in-cheek. Read them all at once or save them for their holidays. Or both! 

Release day is November 20, which also happens to be my birthday! Just in time for Thanksgiving week. You can pre-order the Kindle version, with other versions, including paperback, available on release day.

Family time can lead to murder and mayhem, especially during the holidays. A turkey with a tale to tell, elves under attack, sorority sisters putting on a killer party, a woman's desperation to save her family, and a stranger ringing in the New Year. These and other tales of woe await you beneath the mistletoe.

Be careful who you offer a kiss. It may be your last.

Amazon pre-order link:

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes in her dungeon when her minions allow, often accompanied by her familiars. She writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in several anthologies and magazines, and her collections, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations and Bruised Souls & Other Torments, are available in stores. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast “Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.” When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings. Though she often misses the Oregon coast, the majestic and rugged Rockies are a sight she could never part with. Besides, in Colorado there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. What more could she ask for? 

Find her:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Instagram

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

IWSG November 2020

It's the penultimate month of what I think for many of us is the strangest and scariest year in recent memory, and while we ride out 2020 in the hope that better things are around the corner, and wait with bated breath for the result of a certain little election, one thing we can rely on is that we can all come together on the first Wednesday of each month to share in the group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can air their fears and insecurities without fear of judgement. Today's awesome cohosts are Jemi FraserKim LajevardiL.G. KeltnerTyrean Martinson and Rachna Chhabria.

Let's have a look at this month's IWSG question:

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

Great question! I think most writers ask themselves this question frequently - it's a healthy thing to keep questioning our own motives, even if the answer is not always easy to define. For me, I would say it's because a certain character presents themselves whose story demands to be told - everything else basically unfolds from that, but that's the starting point of it all. I don't know where it ends, I just hope that if I'm totally invested in resolving the conflict for this character, that excitement and interest will be transmitted to the reader. Writing might be a solitary activity, but you're also on a journey alongside your characters and - hopefully - some readers too!

At least, that's my answer for today. Another day, I might have given a different reason. Let's just say there are a lot more reasons to write than there are not to write, which I think is a cause for celebration!

I'm sure you'll find loads more interesting answers by checking out the IWSG sign-up list here. Have a great day.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

IWSG October 2020

So we've reached October of this most memorable of years and, seeing that it's the first Wednesday of the month, it's time again for our meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted as always by Ninja Cap'n Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to offload whatever fears or insecurities are plaguing us, which is surely becoming more needed than ever. Our cohosts this month are Jemima PettBeth CampBeverley Stowe McClure and Gwen Gardner.

What with one thing and another, I missed last month, but I figured I couldn't miss today's posting being as it coincides with a significant date for me of the "four zero" variety. Does that mean my life is beginning? I could use a fresh start...

Given that I've been able to work throughout the pandemic, I feel bad being insecure about anything. Progress continues on my newest WIP, although it's been on and off throughout the year, and I'm still trying to get back to that sweet spot of 1k a day. I am making progress, though, and I'm not going to whinge about anything. I sincerely hope you are all doing OK and haven't been impacted to too great a degree. 

Let's have a look at this month's IWSG question: 

When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

This is a great question and I think it comes down to how much you "own" being a writer. To me, a working writer is a writer who writes - simple as that. It would be very nice to earn a comfortable living from it, but that's the preserve of the very few, and no one gets there without putting in the same level of work - or more - than someone who has already become a household name. I'm not really sure what an "aspiring" writer is, but if you aspire to do something it basically means it's something you'd love to do one day, or at least that's my interpretation. If you start writing, you're a writer. "Hobbyist" sounds too trivial and brings to mind something like crocheting, although having said that, I'm sure there are crocheters (crochetists?) who are fiercely devoted to their work and would be outraged at being called a hobbyist. I hope I've answered the question there!

Don't forget to check in other IWSG writers by visiting the list here.