Wednesday, 7 April 2021

IWSG April 2021

As we soldier on through the year and into a time when hopefully we will be free of all lockdowns, it's time to take our monthly stopoff and check in with each other for 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 of all kinds can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are PK HrezoPat GarciaSE WhiteLisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton.

I'm still trying to rewrite the ending to my trilogy after a technical issue meant I lost those few thousand words. My main insecurity is that it's not as exciting or well executed as the last time, but hopefully it will be ironed out in edits. Let's have a look at this month's IWSG question:

Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

This is an excellent question. I do believe that as an artist it's important to take risks and keep moving forward in your work. Of course there are successful authors who stick with a tried and trusted formula and have a solid fanbase who keep coming back because they know what they're getting, but it's not exciting to me as a reader. I'd like to do something different with each book I write. My current WIP (separate to my series, but it might turn into another series) is told from first person (which I've tried before but not often) and from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl (which is completely new to me). It's an interesting journey, certainly - I've been hit and miss in terms of getting it right, and my female CPs have offered invaluable feedback. As for controversial topics, they have come up on a few occasions, but I don't plan these things in advance - it's whatever is needed to move the story forward. Like with taking risks, I think it will come across as inauthentic if these things are too contrived or put in there for the sake of it. Everything has to start from the story, and if it takes me into some bumpy territory, I won't hold back from it. I think doing what serves the story is a good rule of thumb for pretty much all aspects of writing.

Do you enjoy taking risks in writing? Dealing with controversial topics? See how many other writers have answered the question at the IWSG sign-up list here.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

IWSG March 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 Sarah - The Faux Fountain PenJacqui MurrayChemist KenVictoria Marie LeesNatalie Aguirre and JQ Rose.

This month I'm feeling in an optimistic frame of mind, with spring in the air and the vaccine doing the rounds (my daughter had her first shot last week and my wife will get hers on Friday). Hopefully a bit more normality is ahead for all of us. I do have the usual nervy insecurity that comes with having a book out with CPs. Never sure how it will go down!

Let's turn to this month's IWSG question which is as follows: 

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?

This is a great question. I definitely think it's important to read as widely as possible. I'm currently leaning towards speculative fiction for writing, but I started out writing crime novels. I do think I was reading more of those at the time and now I know a lot of bloggers who write spec fic. But I read other things too. As a reader it should be the story that comes first, then worry about whatever genre it fits into. I'm all for groundbreaking ideas and concepts, but I won't get far with the story they're in if I don't connect with the characters. As a writer I also think there are things to be learned from all kinds of genres. They bleed into one another all the time. We tend to think of romances as being set in either contemporary times or the past, but if there's a story set in the future in which genetically engineered cyborgs fall in love, we'll call it sci-fi, but isn't there a case for calling it romance if that's the most important element? Publishing would be in a pretty insular state if all writers stuck rigidly to reading the genre in which they work.

What would be your answer to this question? Don't forget to check out many more IWSG posts here.

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.