March 21, 2023

How to Cleanse & Spring Clean Your Writing Space


How To Cleanse Your Writing Space

Drive away the negative energies in your writing room, work area, office space, bedroom, studio apartment, or wherever you write. As a matter of fact, I would say to drive away negative energies throughout your entire living quarters.

Method #1: Ring a bell

The vibrations break up lingering negative energies conjured by all of your writer’s blocks, editing headaches, rejections, plot struggles, and any other problems you might’ve had last year with writing, publishing, and marketing and that leaked into the air while venting your anxieties into your space’s atmosphere. Take a bell and ring it around your writing area, focusing on the corners where these bad energies can collect.

Method #2: Smoke Cleanse

Light incense and move around your writing space clockwise to cleanse the area. Wave the incense in all corners, doorways, windows, and throughout the rest of the space (you can do this in every room) with the intention of cleansing the space. 

Great incense scents to try for this: sage, rosemary, sandalwood, lavender

Method #3: Salt

Salt has protective properties. You can sprinkle salt around the outside of your house in a circle to keep out unwanted energies, including people with bad energy. You can also mix salt into water and sprinkle a little through your house for added protection and cleansing. 

Make sure to focus on your desk when you do these techniques. Ring that bell across your desk, and if your desk is in a corner or in front of a window, attack that space with the bell and incense. Wave that incense stick in front of your computer screen, around your modem, and hold your keyboard up so the smoke can float over the keys. Then sprinkle salted water around your desk and on your writing chair. 

If you can, open the windows after your cleansing to let out the negative and let in the good. Even for a few seconds. If you’re unable to open a window, stand in the middle of the room and imagine positive things (love, happiness, success) coming in. 

Enjoy your space!

Spring Clean Your Writing Space

Freeing up space makes me feel lighter and creates room for good things, better things to come in.

First, let’s tackle our writing devices.

March 07, 2023

Disappointing Sales

NOTE: My mom passed away on Friday, March 3rd around 2:22 am. I want to thank everyone who prayed for her and thought about her during the one year and two months she fought lung cancer. My return visits to your blogs and replies to your comments may be delayed while I process and heal. Thank you for your understanding!

I, just like any other unknown author—no matter if you are self-published or traditionally published—feel the bitter disappointment of few to no sales. It is impossible not to feel upset over no sales when you are doing everything in your power to get your name and your book out there.

I published two eBooks by 2014. In the beginning, I struggled as a new author—as any new author with no readership, no presence, and no writer friends would—but I did receive nice support from a small group of authors with my publisher and saw a boost from KDP Select’s five free days. (For my first short story eBook, I was completely okay and excited about those five free days, hoping for visibility when I was invisible.)

However, that quickly diminished, and by the time my second eBook came out, I noticed the small amount of sales and reviews that I was proud of for my first release did not arrive for my second release. (Side note: My publisher no longer participated in KDP Select at that point.)

When my third and fourth eBooks came out, I had an even harder time. When my first print book came out, it became an out-right battle. When my second print book and next short story came out (which to date has been my poorest selling eBook, despite the fact that I am extremely proud of this work), that fight turned nuclear.

Shouldn’t it become easier with each release?

In theory.

But that is not the state of publishing. Not then, not now.

Not seeing sales despite marketing yourself to the bone is hard to swallow. Sadly, it’s something all of us have to swallow, like a bitter pill.

February 28, 2023

Dear Undiscovered Writer


Dear Undiscovered Writer,

Many writers are insecure about being unknown and not having the traction that they desire.

This is the case for countless writers. Not only are there countless authors who are published traditionally through small publishers, there are even more who self-publish. There are an estimated 2.2 million books published worldwide each year. That’s a lot of books.

Some authors can publish several in one year, but the vast majority probably only publish one to two a year, so that could give you a rough (very rough) estimate of how many authors there are around the world.

With that many authors and that many books, it is hard to get noticed. It’s this way for every author.

What we have to focus on and be grateful for are the readers we do have, even if it’s a small intimate group. Every reader counts. Every. Single. One. If you have one reader, you’re in a good place, because that one reader is the right reader.

One reader means: one mind you're touching, one person you're influencing, one bibliophile you're giving a book escape to.

We may never be known by the hundreds or thousands or hundred-thousands, but being known by the dozens or less is just as great and is special. Each and every reader your book reaches is meant to be. 

You’re not unknown if you’re known by a few. Remember that. The readers you have now are special and worthy and amazing. Show them your gratitude today.

SHARE: Drop the names of lesser-known authors whose books you love in the comment section.

Universal Killer Chapter Eight Teaser

Diz took her place behind her weapon. A pale hand emerged. A thin finger curled around the trigger guard in preparation. Avrianna brought her radio to her mouth and whispered, "Diz is here. She's on the rooftop of Orbit Technologies." "Got her," came the voice of one of their trained snipers.

Chapter Eight and the Epilogue to Universal Killer are up with BONUS material.


I’ve started to post a new Avrianna Heavenborn novella on Patreon! 

Someone has been killed outside The Galaxy's Tease, the most-frequented strip club in all of New Vida. The patron's throat was slit, but that's not all. Something was taken from them...a very specific appendage. When a second body turns up, it's clear to Avrianna that the killer is targeting customers who enjoy the strip club and have one thing in common…what's in their pants. This murderer couldn't get more cocky if they tried, and it's Avrianna's job to catch them before they kill again.

Cocky Killer Chapter One Teaser

"A dead body was found in the alley next to The Galaxy's Tease." Avrianna arched a brow. "Isn't that a strip club?" "It is, indeed." She groaned. "Great." "Not a fan of strip clubs?" She scowled. "You do know whom you're talking to, right?"

Chapters One to Cocky Killer is up today with BONUS material.

February 14, 2023

My Romance Reading Journey

NOTE: If you saw this post last week, it’s because it posted too early. Oops.

Last year, members of the bookstagram community on Instagram created posts to share their romance reading journeys. I loved the posts and had fun checking out other readers’ romance journeys. I wanted to do one myself, but it looked like too much work for a social media post. So, I decided to save it for a blog post. This is that blog post.

Are you ready to go on my romance reading journey from past to present?

Let’s go!

First adult romance - Once In A Lifetime by Danielle Steel. Read at age 15. It was my mom’s book that I’d always seen and was curious about. I loved it and wanted to name my first born Daphne after the MC.

My old copy of Once In A Lifetime by Danielle Steel
Photo by Chrys Fey

Soon followed by - Sam’s Letters To Jennifer by James Patterson

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson
Photo by Chrys Fey

First Paranormal romance book/series - Charmed series by Constance M. Burge. Specific books: Kiss of Darkness, Crimson Spell. Now, these aren’t heavy on the romance, but the little bit of romance in them made an impact on me. This was where I’d first come across the phrases “cupped her face” and “framed her face.” I use both in my writing.

First YA romances - Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares
Photos by Chrys Fey

Then: All-American Girl by Meg Cabot and Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Another memorable YA romance from the same time period - If I Have A Wicked Step-Mother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor

Second adult romance book - The Ring by Danielle Steel 

First Historical Romance - Calder Born by Janet Dailey

First Nora Roberts book - Midnight Bayou

Then I devoured nearly every Nora Roberts and several J.D. Robb books (funny thing is I started with Rapture in Death, which is Book 4) from 2007-2011.

Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb author photos.

In Death Series by J.D. Robb
Photo by Chrys Fey

Romantic-suspense became my everything, which is why romantic-suspense is my favorite genre to write. I also read a few Sandra Brown’s during that period. It was Chill Factor by Sandra Brown that gave me the idea to write Hurricane Crimes

Chill Factor by Sandra Brown
Photo by Chrys Fey

February 07, 2023

The Frustrations of Creative Life


In her wonderful book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which I discussed last year on my blog, Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that handling our personal frustrations as artists is the most elementary part of creating anything, no matter if you’re a writer, painter, or musician.

The first time I read her book, I was deep in a bout of depression (not spurred on by writing or publishing in any way but which was impacting my writing in every way), I remember asking, “But how?”

The second time I read her book, when I was finally back to writing, I still paused at that line and again asked, “How?”

How can someone handle their frustrations, with or without depression?

That, I believe, is the trick and the challenge. Finding a way to handle frustrations, and let-downs, and stress, and writer’s block, and depression is, indeed, the most important part of living any sort of creative life. What works for one person to help them handle these ups and downs—mostly these downs—may not work for others. And finding the solution can be a long, hard battle.

Elizabeth also says that frustration isn’t an interference of our creative process, but rather that it is the whole process, from beginning to end.

I agree and disagree with this, which I believe Elizabeth Gilbert will say is in my right. (Thanks, Liz…if I may call you that.) I agree because frustration is definitely a major part of the process, just as rejections are part of the process, and writer’s block, ideas coming and going, publishing woes, marketing stress, and everything else that may cause a writer headache and heartache.

I disagree because frustration can interrupt your process, if you let it. And it can certainly interrupt the process if that frustration is combined with, or a symptom of, depression.

When I was younger, before my first head-on collision with writer’s block and (unrelated) my first encounter with depression, I didn’t believe writer’s block could happen to me. I also never entertained the idea of experiencing depression because of my frustrations with not getting published. Nor did I think it possible that I would get completely burned out and be unable to write. I used to say that if I didn’t write in a single day, then that day felt wasted. I hated it, simply detested it, if I didn’t have time to write, because it was my joy. Oh, I was so innocent then.

Writing isn’t always a stroll over a rainbow, with unicorns and shooting stars and all things lovely and magical and bright. Sometimes, the going is tough. Sometimes, an idea doesn’t work, or you can’t get two thoughts down on paper, or you feel gutted by a rejection or critique, or nothing you do to market your work seems to be helping. These things aren’t enjoyable, but we put up with them in the best, sometimes the only, ways we know how.

Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that how we handle ourselves during those moments that aren’t so lovely and magical and bright is rather revealing for how dedicated we are to our passion, and it can also show us if we have the chops to handle this chaotic but beautiful life of an artistic person.

Well, I have been tormented by my frustrations. I have fallen into the slimy, greasy pits of depression. In my anguish…perhaps in self-pitying moments, I would say aloud that I should quit publishing, and trying to publish, but I never said I’d quit writing. I never could. To say that would be equivalent to death for me. Even if I had stopped trying to publish, I still would’ve written. But the thing is, the times when I threatened to stop publishing altogether, which I fully meant in that instant, I knew it wouldn’t come true. Mind you, I don’t have to publish, but there will always be a part of me longing to share my work with others that I may never be able to quell. So, seconds after I’d make this statement, I’d be right back at it. Honestly, when it comes to my writing career, and my writing in general, I don’t have a quitter bone in my body. I will continue writing and publishing, even in the face of the most disagreeable aspects of writing and publishing, even in the face of depression.

I preserve. I push on. But that persevering and pushing on can be difficult. I still do it, though. I have no other choice. Not if I want to keep writing and creating, publishing and sharing, and living the life I see for myself.

The fact I do preserve and push on and don’t have a quitter bone in my body, I think means Elizabeth would say I handle myself well in those not-so-bright moments and that I am equipped for the demands of creative living.

Yay me! Yet, I never doubted that I did.

You can preserve and push on, too.

When I am going one-on-one with depression, though, it can be hard to see the other side.

I believe, though, that every state of depression can be mounted, and everyone going through depression can find their way through it.

But how?

There is no definite or single answer to that. 

Universal Killer Chapter Six Teaser

Chapter Six is up today with BONUS material. When you’re a patron, you get access to the previous chapters and bonus material as well.

January 31, 2023

It's Okay Not To Write


Sometimes, we have too much going on and we’re stressed from life. During those times, it’s absolutely okay to not write.

I’ll say it again. Slower.

It. Is. Okay. Not. To. Write.

If you’re stressed beyond belief.

If what’s happening in the world is sucking you dry.

If struggles cropped up in your life out of the blue and have left you shaken or exhausted or beaten.

It. Is. Okay. Not. To. Write.

Remember that. We can’t write every single day, even if writers may say that they do or advise other writers to do that. Occasionally, we will live through periods where writing isn’t possible because there’s just too much going on. In our heads. In our lives. In the world.

Sometimes, other things are more important than writing, like health, safety, equality, and justice. 

If there’s too much going on…it’s okay not to write.

We go through seasons.

Seasons when we’re bursting with creativity.

Seasons when we evolve and grow.

Seasons when we learn.

Seasons when we have to rest.

When COVID-19 first took over the world in 2020, creatives everywhere struggled to create and keep up because of the things they were feeling and the heaviness of the events taking place. But, here’s the thing, you don’t always have to keep up. You don’t always have to post. You don’t always have to write. You don’t always have to do what’s expected.

If you have to stop writing, stop.

If you must write slowly, write as slow as you need to.

Take the break you need.

Do what’s necessary for your soul.

QUESTION: What season are you in as a creative a human being?

Universal Killer Chapter Five Teaser

Chapter Five is up today with BONUS material. When you’re a patron, you get access to the previous chapters and bonus material as well.

January 24, 2023

Are You Prioritizing Your Responsibilities Correctly?


A common problem that so many people have is prioritizing their responsibilities incorrectly. I used to have this problem. In Sylvia Brown’s book Soul’s Perfection, she suggests creating a list that answers the question “Where does my time go?” Then create a second list, this time ask yourself "Where should my time go?"

The first time I did it, possibly 2016, this was what I came up with:

Where does my time go?

1. Blogging

2. Marketing

3. Procrastinating

4. Writing

5. Reading

Where should my time go?

1. Writing

2. Learning/Reading

3. Relaxing

4. Marketing

5. Blogging

Years later, in 2018, I tried it again.

Where does my time go?

1. Marketing

2. Blogging

3. Reading

4. Editing

5. Writing

Where should my time go?

1. Writing

2. Reading

3. Blogging

4. Editing

5. Marketing

In 2020:

Where does my time go?

1. Writing

2. Editing

3. Learning/Reading

4. Marketing 

5. Artistic Pursuits

Where should my time go?

1. Writing

2. Editing

3. Learning/Reading

4. Marketing

5. Artistic Pursuits

Did you notice that in 2020 I finally had my priorities right?

In 2022, my priorities were different, though. Throughout our lives, things change. Our responsibilities change, which means our priorities and their placements also have to change.

Where does my time go?

1. Caregiving

2. Blogging

3. Learning/Reading

4. Resting

5. Writing

Where should my time go?

1. Caregiving

2. Resting

3. Writing 

4. Blogging

5. Learning/Reading

Did you notice that in 2022 writing was at the bottom of where my time was going? That was because of my caregiving responsibilities impacting my writing, as well as my ability to rest.

Now, it’s your turn.

Where does your time go?

What should it be like instead?

Now, adjust accordingly. What do you need to do to start prioritizing your life correctly? 

Take small steps. Don’t try to create radical change so suddenly.

Your first step today is to notice which item you are prioritizing lower that needs to be higher and creating a plan to change that. Baby steps. Implement one strategy to shift this more important priority higher. It may take some time to get there, but in the end, when you have your responsibilities in the correct order, you will feel much more balanced and happier. That is the goal.

QUESTION: What is the first item on your "Where my time is going?" list and should it be the first thing you prioritize or not?

Universal Killer Chapter Four Teaser

Chapter Four is up today with BONUS material. When you’re a patron, you get access to the previous chapters and bonus material as well.