Monday, September 30, 2019

Special Risk by Sandy Nork

It's my pleasure to introduce a fellow Pennwriter, Sandy Nork, and her first in a series novel, Special Risk. She weaves facts in with her fiction as she introduces a fascinating new investigator

For Readers:

Special Risk is Book 1 of 3 planned for the Risk Series starring protagonist Valerie Sloan, a Japanese-American insurance investigator from Philadelphia. The book is a mystery centered around the search for a missing guitar and the involvement of an Asian crime family.

Special Risk took form when I read Tokyo Vice by journalist Jake Adelstein about his life in Japan as a reporter working among the Yakuza. I was intrigued by the idea that Yakuza members were able to come and go in the United States without much interference.

In addition, my husband is a musician who can play pretty much anything with strings. He knows a lot about guitars. He took me to the Great American Guitar Show, which I mention in Special Risk. At one of those shows, he took photos of the Gibson Les Paul guitar that I use as the missing guitar in the book. The “real” one was for sale and the asking price was $250,000.

You might also want to know that “special risk” refers to an insurance clause that covers a musician’s instruments when they take them out of their home to play at a gig.

For Writers:

I’m a plotter, not a pantser.  At one point during the writing of this book, I tore it apart and restructured it completely. That was a terrible mistake and cost me a lot of time and momentum to discover that my initial plan of how the book should flow was correct. From that frustrating experience I’d like to think that I learned the lesson of listening to my own instincts when it comes to building a book.


In the mystery Special Risk, Japanese-American insurance investigator Valerie Sloan searches for a missing guitar in Philadelphia. During her investigation, she confronts an Asian crime family and discovers a connection to her past.

Amazon link:


Sandy Nork is a writer, librarian, and musical tourist who lives in New Cumberland, PA, with her musician husband and his collection of guitars. Recently she vacationed in Nashville, the home of country music. While there, she researched at the Nashville Public Library, several museums, and – of course – the local restaurants. She plans to include anecdotal souvenirs from that trip in her next book, Flood Risk.

You can find Sandy’s website at She is also on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter as @novelgal.

Did you know musical instruments could be worth so much money? Have you ever heard of 'special risk' insurance? Are you a plotter like Sandy or a pantser?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: September 2019

It's the month when fall will sneak up on us and it's the first Wednesday so it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and his awesome comrades in arms, this group blogs once a month and shares wisdom and support. Find the entire group participating in this blog hop on this list.

This month's optional question:
If you could pick one place in the world to sit and right your next story, where would it be and why?

That is a tough question. First of all, I have an awesome office at home and I have it all to myself on evenings and weekends. It's pretty much perfect and I shouldn't be greedy and wish for something better. That being said, I would love to spend a week at a dude ranch in Montana where I could horseback ride in the morning and evening, walk for miles and enjoy the big sky and write in between being outdoors.

My daughter moved to Boston this past weekend to begin her PhD program. I'm not a city person but I appreciate the history of Boston and its many lovely spots to have a seat in a coffee shop and write. Harvard Square is one of my favorite. Yes, I could spend a week writing there.

The question for me, could I stay on task in those beautiful places? I'd like to find out.

"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Labor speech, 1903, Theodore Roosevelt

Work on my next book is going slow as I dealt with knee replacement and helping my daughter move. This time her move isn't simply going back to college. It's a real move that will last 5-7 years. Those are my excuses for writing only about 15K words the past two months.

I'm back to watching my granddaughter five days per week as her teacher parents go back to school. Such a little bundle of joy. She's speaking in full sentences and knows all her letters. (Her dad taught her the alphabet by watching Wheel of Fortune) She's only 2 and a half as of today. On our agenda, more library programs and swimming once per week to start. She loves learning and trying new things. Play doh last week.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  Chinese proverb

I'm also back to exercising 5 or more days per week. Since I have my knee fixed, I can actually do downhills again and use the elliptical more than one day in a row. I feel younger with my bionic parts. LOL

I have a writers' meeting tonight, so I'll try to visit as many blogs as I can before and after. I seem to keep volunteering for things I don't have time for.

"Experience is what enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again." Earl Wilson

I'm enjoying the last season of Killjoys. Only a few episodes left. I'll really miss those characters. The last season of Poldark starts later this month. I'm looking forward to the last season of Supernatural starting up in October. There's a new show this fall called Evil that looks interesting. Not sure anything else will catch my interest. Seems I'm depending more and more on Netflix and Amazon when I have the urge for a little screen time.

Do you have an ideal writing spot in all the world? Do you get yourself in trouble by too much volunteering? Do you like the coming of fall?