04 September 2019

Hurricane & Writing Update | IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's optional question is:

"If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?"
Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. You can find out how I answered the question below.

I didn't have the time or energy to put together a "proper" IWSG post complete with an appearance from Simon the Time Traveling Cat. The reason has a name - Dorian the Hurricane.

I just asked my hubby when Dorian first came onto our radar as something we needed to be concerned about. He said, "Sometime last year." To be honest, that's what it feels like. In reality, I think it was just last week. When the National Hurricane Center started showing forecasts that had Dorian barrelling straight toward us as a major hurricane, that kind of got our attention. We prepped the boat, bought food, topped up the car with gas, and waited to see what Dorian would do.

Turns out we were fortunate. He bypassed us. Unfortunately, he pummeled the Bahamas. It's been heartbreaking seeing the photos and video showing the aftermath. So many of the places we've spent time cruising on our sailboat are no longer there. There really are no words to describe what I'm feeling and supposedly I'm a writer.

I have three more books planned in my Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series. I'm currently working on the third (Dead in the Dinghy) and once I finish that I need to get started on the fourth (Shooting by the Sea). I had always planned for it to feature a hurricane and the impact that it has on Mollie, Scooter, and their marina friends. Now I'm not sure what I think about that now.

In other writing-related news, I just finished writing a Mollie McGhie prequel novella - Robbery at the Roller Derby. (Yes, Mollie used to be on a roller derby team. That's how she met her hubby.) I'm planning on using it primarily as a reader magnet for newsletter subscribers, although I'll probably also put it up for sale. Love to hear from any of you about your thoughts and experience with reader magnets and building your newsletters.

Where would you like to sit and write your next story or work on your other favorite creative pursuit? Has Dorian impacted you (or forecast to)?

Want to find out more about my books? Check out my website. You can also sign up for my newsletter to get updates on new releases, sales and promos, and other fun stuff.


  1. Hi,

    I'm so sorry to hear about the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. I feel for the people in the Bahamas and am very happy that you and your hubby did not have any damage. Here in Germany, we don't usually have tornadoes, but one came on Sunday, August 25th. My office was totally flooded, so I can imagine how the people in the Bahamas are feeling.
    All the best.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  2. I believe everyone is praying for the people in the Bahamas and those still in line with this devastation. Thank God, you were spared!! Good Luck on all your new releases!!

  3. Glad to hear Dorian missed you. My brother moved down to Tampa last year and this was his first hurricane. He's on the other side of the state, but I still worried for him.

    Good luck with your series!

  4. Better all the preparation and then nothing happens. It looks like Dorian will be a weak 1 or even just a tropical storm by the time it hits us. Good!

  5. Mollie met Scooter at roller derby? Perfect! :-D

    My sister is evacuating from South Carolina. :-( Glad the hurricane passed you but sad for the Bahamas.

  6. Glad Dorian missed you. Still headed our direction.
    I have a short story that leads into my Cassa series. It's free now, hopefully pulling people into the series.

  7. I'm in Georgia so not likely to get any effects from Dorian other than maybe some rain. Those sort of things are extremely scary and the images coming out of the Bahamas are heartbreaking.

    As for reader magnets, I'm just now attempting those. At this point all things marketing are experimental, but luckily things like participating in newsletter builders are free/low cost. Good luck with your books!

  8. Glad to hear Dorian bypassed you. Grateful it was the same here.

    I don't have any advice re newsletters or reader magnets, but the prequel novella sounds like fun. You are so organized with your series! I wish I was like that with my writing in general. Sigh.

  9. I've been watching the Dorian news with horror and a sense of helplessness. :( I'm so glad you were spared and so devastated for those who've lost everything.

    My newsletter has about 20 followers, and my dad won't even confirm his subscription, so I'm afraid I can't help there.

    I think I'd want to write at a library, coffee shop, or hotel room without a distracting view -- get away from the chores and the 'I really should be..."

  10. Yes, breathing a sigh of relief along with you that Dorian scooted away. Have not heard anything about our place near Tampa, but I know the 'cane won't get that far. The pictures of the devastation in the Bahamas are heartbreaking. Where does one even begin getting back to a "normal" life? I am on the fence with a newsletter. Friends who have them seem to work very hard for not much payback. Good luck with your plans!
    JQ Rose

  11. Those hurricanes are treacherous beasts and becoming more so. I'm sure those on boats have a lot of prep when one is heading their way. BTW, thanks for the fun mystery. I read Murder on the Marina and had some good laughs. I didn't solve the mystery before you did, so congratulations.

  12. I'm glad you're okay, but the Bahamas did take an awful beating. Prayers continue.

    Have a fabulous day and rest of the week, Ellen. ♥

  13. My heart was in my throat as you wrote about prepping. I'm glad you're okay and I'm sorry it hurt you so deeply. I know its painful but consider writing your feelings down. Think venting, but save the pages for your book.

    Take care.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  14. So glad that Dorian missed you. I'm glad my mom no longer lives in Florida.

  15. I have two friends from the Bahamas and they have been really worried about their friends and family. Some parts of the Bahamas were definitely hit worse than others and it's devastating.
    I'm glad Dorian missed you.
    Happy writing!

  16. The photos from the Bahamas are heart wrenching. Glad to hear it missed you guys.

    Looking forward to more Mollie stories! I've thought about using a book magnet, but not real sure how to do it.

  17. Dorian is all over the news and it's been so sad to see the destruction.
    Stay safe, Ellen.

  18. I thought about you out on your sailboat. I knew you were in Florida, just not sure where. So glad everyone's okay. My daughter lives near Melbourne, so the last week I've been tracking Dorian as well. Now she tells me there's something coming out of Africa--hopefully it fizzles out.

  19. Oh, my dear sea sister. I know so well what you must have feel when Dorian made a bee line to the East coast.
    We were on our sailboat, La Vita, when hurricane Jimena blew over us. Today, 10 years later I remember the experience as if it was yesterday. The intense need to prep: stock piling water & food; making sure the lines are tight, and communication tools in place remain constant every season.
    The devastation in the Bahamas is heartbreaking. I so admire the gourmet chef using his talent, connections, and resources to deliver food to the folks in need.
    May your days be sunny, dry and safe.

  20. Praying to see an end to this thing, that it will go out to sea and break up in the North Atlantic.

    Meanwhile, Bigger Girl wants to join the roller derby, she says the newbies are called "fresh meat."

    With hurricane damage being part of life in this part of the world, i think including how it impacts Molly and the gang would be appropriate. You wouldn't sensationalize but you would be true to how things can be after a storm. Perhaps it would give readers who have never lived through it an insight, rather like reading about how awful blizzards on the prairies can be impresses me, as i've never been in one.

  21. We were in path but then got down graded to Tropical Storm Warning and then just Wind Advisory. It is so terrible to think about. I spent a week on the Grand Bahama Island and met some really wonderful people. I hate to think about their struggle now. Sending prayers.

  22. Good to hear the hurricane missed you, but so sad about the Bahamas.
    Best wishes for your writing plans.

  23. So glad Dorian missed you! My folks evacuated to Alabama, but I think the worst of it missed them (Volusia County, Fl.)

    OMG - I loved roller derby when I was a kid! One more reason to love Mollie!

  24. Okay, weird--I was almost done typing and the whole comment just vanished. Sigh.

    Glad you are safe.

    I was noting that I've not done much with my newsletter, and need to fix that. Also that I might have a story I should put out as a bit of reader-bait. For things like that I do need to be able to do my own covers, though, as I can't afford to pay for a cover on something that won't earn a cent.

  25. Glad you are ok, but what it has done to the Bahamas is terrible.

  26. I am glad you are safe and feel bad for all the victims of this storm. In a sad twist, my favorite place to write is on seaside patio furniture at our favorite Outer Banks hotel. We would have been headed there now but for all the expensive setbacks this year. It's bittersweet good fortune for us, really, so I have to look at that positive tidbit among all the heartbreak. Take care, my dear, and Happy Writing.

  27. Glad you're safe. So sad about all the devastation so far. Hugs.

  28. The devastation in the Bahamas is horrific. I can only imagine what it must've been like for those poor people to be hammered by the hurricane for so many hours. I'm glad you folks in Florida got a welcome pass this time. Not sure how well the Carolinas are going to do, though.

    I'm soooo over-the-top impressed with how systematically you've approached your writing career. You are killing it, girl! The prequel sounds terrific.

  29. It is terrifying, heartbreaking, and devastating to see the wreckage Dorian has brought. I'm glad you weren't in the path of the storm.

  30. So glad you didn't get caught in the storm.

    (Just trying to imagine Molly at a roller derby!)
    (Not that I know much about roller derbys, so my imagination could be sending me down the wrong track!)

  31. It's been so awful to see the devastation in the Bahamas. I can't even begin to imagine what those people are going through. So glad the hurricane passed you by!

  32. I am so glad Dorian gave Florida a miss but it is so awful what Dorian did to the Bahamas.

    Looking forward to reading about Mollie's Roller Derby days.

  33. Dorian has destroyed the Bahamas. Just awful. I'll bet you're relieved it didn't affect you. The devastation in these past years makes me wonder why anyone stays in the Caribbean at all.

  34. A roller derby?! That sounds like so much fun!

  35. I’m glad Dorian spared Florida this time, but I do - unfondly - remember the hurricane and cyclone prep we always had to do when leaving Irie (or being on her) that time of the year. Quite ironically - as you know - we had to deal with Dorian in Canada!

    You’re still on a roll with your writing, Ellen. Congrats. And, where would you like to sit and write if you could pick any place?

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