Monday, July 9, 2018

Guest post with author Susan Kelley - Minimal Viable Population

I'm still enjoying some family vacation time, but I have a special treat for you. Please welcome the wonderful Susan Kelley to my blog!

MVP: Minimal Viable Population
I’m thrilled to be here on Christine’s blog and take it over for a day. Let’s talk some genetics science stuff.
Survivors of the Apocalypse, my three book dystopian romance series, is set three hundred years in the future. A virus has nearly wiped out mankind. Inside a doomed city are thousands of people, surviving by keeping their sterile city completely closed to the outside. But there are people outside the doom who survived the pandemic. They’re living rugged, frontier lives, but they have plenty of resources. The thing they don’t have is a large population.

This forces the frontiersman to reach out to the city, hoping to recruit people so they can maintain a MVP, minimal viable population. What is that number for humans? There are many examples in science of species being brought back from extinction, some with as few as one breeding couple. But what about humans?

There are plenty of opinions on that, ranging from 50 couples to 10,000 or even 50,000. The TV show Salvation put that number at 160, which is a number sometimes quoted in the scientific community. The population would have to careful to prevent inbreeding. Why is inbreeding bad? After all, many of the old noble houses in Europe, and let’s not forget the Tsars of Russian, who married relatives for generations. And that most famous of fictional inbreeding stories, Game of Thrones, showcases how common though not always accepted marrying a close relative was in medieval times. Here’s an interesting debate on those numbers.

Now for the bad:

Any birth defects that are in the family line become more likely to appear.
Genetic issues that are recessive are more likely to come up if related people have offspring.
Successive generations of close inbreeding will decrease the diversity more and increase the rate of bad mutations.

Siblings or parents and kids (super disgusting) marrying are the worst. They share 50% of their DNA. First cousins share 12.5% and until rather recently, wasn’t considered that bad of a thing. Before people became more mobile, most people were born, lived, and died within less than a ten-mile radius. They didn’t have many options. It was also a way to keep wealth within the family. Once people moved around more and women had more say in their futures, first cousin marriage started to be frowned upon. In some parts of the USA, it is against the law though the US is the only western country that has such a prohibition. However, there are groups of people in the world who still practice it. Read more interesting facts about cousins marrying.

On the fictional series like Game of Thrones, we see the Targaryens have many family members who suffer from some mental issues. But what we really want to know is if Jon and Daenerys should have children, being aunt and nephew? Most of today’s societies would consider that an incestual relationship. But then again, it’s in Westeros.

But back to my series, the outsiders are smart enough to understand they need a larger gene pool. But can the city people survive the outside air where the virus still lurks? Can the outsider people possibly convince the city folks that a match with a rugged frontiersman is the best thing for mankind?

The last book in the series, Exile’s Savage Lady, is now available along with the first two books at all major eBook retailers. Robin Linden was saved was saved by the outsiders when he was exiled from the city by a corrupt government. Now he’s determined to return to the city and bring the cure to the starving, oppressed population. Kerry Gibbs was raised with her brothers on the wild frontier and isn’t afraid of anything. Until he realizes she might lose the strong, quiet big man back to the city he feels responsible for saving. Her only choice is to sneak into the city with Robin and make sure he doesn’t get himself killed. Robin is willing to sacrifice himself to save those unfortunates, but Kerry is going to do everything she can to make sure he survives. The city is a dangerous place and neither of them may make it out alive.

Susan Kelley has been writing for more than ten years and has nineteen published romances. She resides in a large country home in central Pennsylvania where she has raised six children alongside her husband of many years. Deer, turkeys, hawks, and other wildlife cavort outside the window of her office where she writes fulltime. Find her:

What do you think about marrying cousins? How close is too close? How many people would you put on a ship to populate a space colony?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#IWSG for July 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne!

This month's optional question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

A long time ago, I wanted to be the next Stephen King. I wanted to be picked up by a big publisher and an agent, be an international best seller, make millions, and have movies made from my books. If that still happened, I'd be ecstatic, but I'm much more realistic now.

I no longer feel the desire for an agent, and I don't query publishers. I'm in control of my own destiny. Being an indie author wasn't an option when I was young, but these days, it is a wonderful choice. I'd love to be able to make enough money to equal my husband's salary which would make me a mid-lister. In our publishing world, that would be a marvelous achievement. And instead of movies, I would love an HBO show or series on a cable channel that follows my books as well as Game of Thrones followed Martin's.

I have no doubt my ultimate goals will change again in ten or twenty years. The industry might be a whole different beast then.

* * * * *

We're only sixteen days away from this month's IWSGPit! Click on the image for all the details. It's a fantastic opportunity for writers.

8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

P.S. I'm lounging by the lake and reading this week. I'll get around to everyone's blogs later this month. Have a great week!

Monday, June 25, 2018

It's Summertime and there's a Murder at the Marina

I'm so excited to be celebrating the wonderful Ellen Jacobson's new release, Murder at the Marina today. I had the honor of receiving an ARC, and this cozy mystery hooked me completely. I laughed out loud so many times! You can read my review HERE.

The story takes place at a marina with a small sailing community in the summer. Summer is my least favorite season. I know that shocks a lot of people, but I don't handle the heat well. I much prefer it to be chilly. I'm also very fair, and I burn within 15 minutes of being out under the sun. Burn and freckle!

There is one thing that has recently made me look forward to the summer, though. That is Camp Brosius. It's a family camp tucked away beside a lake in Wisconsin. There's plenty to keep the kids busy and a variety of activities for the adults. Plus loads of family fun. You can also choose to do absolutely nothing. Just lounge by the lake and read.

Last year was our first year at Camp Brosius. I hadn't relaxed so hard in a decade! We want to make this an annual family trip. It's the type of summer vacation I want my son to remember fondly when he grows up. Maybe the type of vacation he wants to bring his family on some day.

* * * * *

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1

Buy Links:

Author Bio: 
Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

Sail away with Ellen here:
The Cynical Sailor Blog -
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page -
Newsletter Sign-up -

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I'm visiting the Writing and Wellness site today!

I'm excited to be at the Writing and Wellness site today. Colleen M. Story interviewed me about writing and how it affects my physical and mental health. Come say hi!

This amazing site shares information on all aspects of health from studies, experts, writers, and artists. I love the author interviews and all the wonderfully creative ways we each deal with our unique situations.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Elements of Untethered Realms

Enter our mysterious realms where the stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets. Enchanted forests are knotted with roots and vines. Dreaded paths take us through stranger, unexplored places.

Investigate new worlds and a house frequented by ghosts. Come across witches and wizards and an assassin tasked to kill Death.

Meet hot robots, hungry winds, and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien lands, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where the people bury the living with the dead.

Encounter paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Search shifting worlds trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where the president seeks to rid the world of Otherkind.

Experience a haunted ride on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the lady of the lake who lurks in dark waters.

From USA Today bestselling and popular science-fiction and fantasy authors comes Elements of Untethered Realms, a supernatural compilation of Twisted Earths, Mayhem in the Air, Ghosts of Fire, and Spirits in the Water. These forty thrilling tales feature authors Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, Cathrina Constantine, Julie Flanders, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha/M. Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, Graeme Ing, Simon Kewin, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich, and Catherine Stine.

Coming October 2018.

Love this cover! I'm so excited about this collection. Untethered Realms is an amazing group of authors, and wow, these stories.

We are prepping to take on another big project writing stories in a shared world. (Think Wild Cards created by George R.R. Martin.) It's going to be epic!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Fabulous new release: Write With Fey


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.

•        Spark One: Being a Writer
•        Spark Two: Story Essentials
•        Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
•        Spark Four: How To
•        Spark Five: Character ER
•        Spark Six: Editing
•        Spark Seven: Publishing
•        Spark Eight: Marketing
•        Spark Nine: Writing About
•        Spark Ten: Final Inspiration

With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.



 Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Fey realized she wanted to write by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes.
Chrys Fey’s Links:


Open to all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018
Click here to enter or use the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

#IWSG for June 2018

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

This month's optional question: What's harder for you to come up with: book titles or character names?

Book titles. By far! I love coming up with character names. I have lists and lists of names. Book titles are incredibly difficult for me. I usually ask my writer friends for title suggestions. I try to keep my titles simple, but even then, I'm banging my head on the desk to find something that encompasses the story.

This month's insecurities: Time. I'm so behind on everything. This is not unusual for me. I know in the summer, I have precious few hours on the computer to work. Family comes first. I try to make to-do lists to reasonably fit that. But I'm looking at my June list and shaking my head. There's so much I want to do. I should be easier on myself. I tell myself to not worry. But my creative juices want to propel me forward at a speed that is hard for me handle. Then I berate myself for not getting enough done. I'm kinder to myself than I once was, but I'm still my own worst boss.

What are your insecurities this month?