January 30, 2015

Author Interview with M.J. Fifield

Today M.J. Fifield, the author of Effigy, is visiting and sharing a few interesting stories with us...one includes a sword. Keep reading to be entertained!

Title: Effigy
Author: M.J. Fifield
Series: The Coileáin Chronicles Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 579 pages
Publisher: Favorite Spoon Publishing
Release Date: July 26th 2014


● Please tell us about your current release, M.J.

My current release also happens to be my debut release—EFFIGY, the story of a young queen named Haleine Coileáin, who finds herself battling evil forces in an attempt to save her people.

1. Is this book part of a series?

Effigy is the first book in a series, The Coileáin Chronicles. The entire series (six titles in all, should things go according to plan) will tell the story of three sisters and the roles each will play in an epic battle between good and evil. Haleine is the eldest sister.

2. If your book had a soundtrack, give us a list of a few songs that would be on it.

All of my WIPs have a soundtrack. It’s actually how I know I’m getting serious about a particular project. Some of Effigy’s key tracks include:

My Skin by Natalie Merchant (If Haleine Coileáin had a theme song, this would be it.)
Overcome by Live
Indifference by Pearl Jam
Do What You Have To Do by Sarah McLachlan

Have I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of 90’s music?

3. I LOVE 90's music! How did you come up with the names for your hero and heroine?

When I went to name my main character, I knew I wanted her name to start with an H. It’s weird, I know, and I don’t know why I was so determined to have that be the case, but that’s what happened. I went through several variation until I finally settled upon Haleine. (rhymes with Elaine)

4. My mom's name is Elaine. ;) What are a few things we would find in or on your desk?

On my desk you would find the following items: Slinky, a super-poseable Aragorn action figure (that’s what the package boasted), three pen holders chock full of various writing instruments, and a little pewter Pegasus who served as the inspiration for one of Effigy’s characters.

5. How old were you when you read your first romance book? What was it?

I believe I was 18 when I read my first real romance novel. It was Jude Deveraux’s Remembrance. My mother had checked it out of the library and left it out on the coffee table. I was looking for something to read and picked it up. I recall enjoying the story...but hating the ending.

6. I started reading Jude Deveraux at a young age also. What is the silliest thing you ever did while writing a story?

I consider myself to be a method writer, so that means I often end up physically acting out scenes. Once, while writing a sword fight, I accidentally killed a lamp and took a chunk out of my desk and the wall with my broadsword. This led my significant other to create the very strict “NO SWORDS AROUND ANY LIVING CREATURES” rule in the house.

7. I do that too! But not with swords. Have you ever experienced something unusual that influenced a story?

I fainted for the first time a couple of summers ago. That made me go back and rewrite a couple of scenes. The following summer, I cracked a rib at my day job. It made me realize just how badly rib injuries hurt. Rewrote some things, then, too.

8. Ouch! First-hand experience certainly helps us though. How long have you been writing?

Since I was very young. I was always writing little stories or poems. In middle school, there was a girl who lived over the river and through the woods from me, and we were each other’s first critique partners. Every morning on the school bus, we would exchange whatever we had written the night before. I started my first novel then, but never did anything with it. I didn’t get serious about writing until halfway through my college career.

9. Do you listen to music while you write?

Yes. I’ll listen to the aforementioned story-specific playlist, as well as a special playlist I call “Mood Music.” It’s mostly comprised of movie soundtracks and other instrumental music—nothing with lyrics. It always puts me in the mood to write.

10. Tell us about your writing process.

Just about everything starts off handwritten in a spiral notebook—or maybe a paper towel if I’m stuck at work. Scenes will generally start off with a few lines of dialogue off of which I build the rest of the scene, going back to layer in everything else. I’m also rather addicted to building storyboards on which I chart where the story’s been and where it’s going. Or might go. The characters very seldom follow my plans, but I’ve learned to go with it.


Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn’t writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire. Effigy is her first novel.


Thank you for entertaining us, M.J.! I enjoyed your interview.

Please leave a comment for M.J.!

January 28, 2015

Blake's Grilled Cheese Recipe / Very Inspiring Blogger Award


“I figured if you wanted to cause me harm, you sure as hell wouldn’t be cooking for me.”

He shrugged as he continued to stir. “I thought you’d be hungry.”

“You thought right. The last time I had something to eat was a bagel at one o’clock this morning.”

“Then you’re starving.”

She chuckled. “I am.”

He motioned for her to sit at the table. “I don’t know what you like, so I made everything I know how to cook.” He set a plate on the green placemat in front of her. She looked at it and grinned. He had made a tomato grilled cheese sandwich, homemade mashed potatoes, and spaghetti.

Blake sat across from her with his own plate and looked at her. “Why are you smiling at the food?”

“No reason,” she insisted. “It’s exactly what I would’ve made.”

“Is that bad?”

She shook her head. “No. It’s good. It looks good.”

With that said, she dug right into her food. The cheese was gooey, the mashed potatoes were excellent, and the spaghetti tasted like it came from an Italian restaurant. And she ate every last bite. “Those mashed potatoes were fabulous,” she claimed.

“My grandmother’s recipe. It was the only thing she was able to teach me how to cook. My sister is the chef in the family. That spaghetti sauce was hers.”

“She makes her own spaghetti sauce?”

“She uses it in her restaurant and sells it to her customers. She gives me a couple of jars every month.”

“Tell your sister she makes the best damn sauce I’ve ever tasted. And that grilled cheese was also the best I ever had. No lie.”

“Well now, I created the grilled cheese on my own.” He picked up the plates and set them in the sink.

“I’m going to go up and take a shower. The door will be unlocked if you need me.”

“Okay.” She didn’t know why the little detail about the door being unlocked while he was wet and naked had her heart racing.

Oh, wait, that’s why!

I didn’t describe Blake’s grilled cheese sandwich like in the recipe below, but when I thought more about how Blake would’ve made it, he told me. It’s a bit gourmet than your traditional white sandwich bread and American cheese combo, but it’s delicious!

Blake’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Two slices of thickly sliced bread
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese
Tomato, diced
Garlic powder

1. Mix a dash of garlic powder into a tablespoon (or so) of butter. Slather the garlic butter onto two slices of thickly sliced bread, such as Italian, French, or Cubano.

2. Heat a skillet, set one slice of bread, buttered side down, onto skillet.

3. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

4. Add diced tomatoes, top with an equal amount of shredded cheddar cheese and the other slice of bread, buttered side up.

5. Brown each side to a nice golden. Cut in half, let cool, and enjoy!

NOTE: Blake says you can omit the garlic better if you want. But to add flavor, you can smear a little basil pesto on the inside of the bread before adding the shredded mozzarella cheese.


Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Thank you so much, Sherry Ellis, for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Getting one of these awards from a fellow blogger always feels like an incredible honor, and it never dulls. Lidy Wilks nominated me for this award a few days later. Thank you! :) 

Below I am sharing 3 things that have inspired me recently. When I had to nominate bloggers, I had a major brain fart and I wanted to get this up quickly, so I only nominated 6 people. If you’re reading this though, I nominate you too! :)

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link to their blog.

2. Display the award logo.

Nominate 15 other bloggers (more or less) and provide a link where they may be found.

4. Go to their blog, leave a comment to let them know they have been nominated.

5. Mention three things that inspired you the most during the past few weeks.

Three Things that Inspired Me Recently:

1. I have been listening to the song “Chandelier” by Sia on repeat for days. I remember when I first heard it on a trailer for a movie last year and my ears perked up like a dog expecting a treat. I desperately wanted to know who the singer was and what the song title was, but time went by and I still didn’t know. Silly me, I could’ve Googled it or just listened to the newest album for a singer I like. Well, I finally stumbled upon it last week and I’ve been listening to “Chandelier” ever since while writing book 3 in my Disaster Crimes series. The rest of the songs on Sia’s album “1000 Forms of Fear” are also amazing! The video for “Chandelier” is also inspiring.

2. Roland Yeoman recently posted his 8 Simple Rules. While reading each one I was nodding in agreement. His posts are always thoughtful, but this one really inspired me because he shared a story with us that demonstrated how bad life can get, but he followed it with a reminder of how blessed we are.

3. I’ve wanted to go to Ireland for years, and next year I may just get the chance, so I’ve been doing research on Ireland and writing things down in a pretty journal I got for Christmas. Planning a dream vacation that may actually happen feels wonder, and Ireland, a place of mystery and magic, has always inspired me.


Roland Yeomans' posts are creative and thoughtful. Sometimes the ghost of Mark Twain takes over his blog.

Arlee Bird created the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. How much more inspiring can you get? You can sign up NOW

Gina Stoneheart is a dear friend of mine. Her posts are insightful.

Lisa Thomson blogs about marriage and divorce. You don’t need to be going through divorce to appreciate her advice. I often use her tips for relationships with my family and friends.

Stephen Tremp blogs a lot about space, which I love! The stars, moon, and planets have inspired me ever since I was a kid.

Cherdo's posts are funny and sarcastic. They make me smile and a smile is always inspiring.


QUESTIONS: Do you have a ingredient you use when you make grilled cheese? When was the last time you had a grilled cheese sandwich? I had one for lunch yesterday! :) What has inspired you recently?

SALE! Hurricane Crimes is on sale for 99 cents! Get it here:

Amazon / NOOK / KOBO All Romance eBooks / BookStrand

January 26, 2015

Writing About: A Snowball Fight

In my novella, 30 Seconds, I wrote a fun snowball scene that lets my characters unwind from the scary, intense moments they experienced before then. I wholeheartedly believe in taking a step back from the action to let your readers and characters breathe, and if your story is set in winter, a snowball fight could be just the thing.

Here are 5 things to consider if you ever write a snowball fight:

1.    Opponents

Who is playing in this snowball fight? Are there just two people battling against each other, or is a family divided?

2.    Snow

Describe the ground as your characters run from each other and their boots sink into a foot or so of soft snow. Also describe the making of the snowballs, the freezing of unprotected fingers, and the creation a snowball piles.

3.    Hits and Misses

Let your readers know about all the hits and misses; when your hero/heroine gets smacked in the side of the head, the hard and cold impact, and the explosion of snow. Or he/she can see their snowball hit their opponent and cheer in victory. Also tell your readers about the misses. Your hero/heroine could be throwing snowballs one right after the other but not making any contact.

4.    What else do they do?

A snowball fight isn’t just about throwing balls of snow. Let your readers in on your hero/heroine’s thoughts to share his/her strategy. Does he/she hide behind something? Run? Or make a stand with an armful of snowballs?

5.    Who wins?

How do your characters decide who wins? Does someone forfeit with his/her hands in the air? In 30 Seconds, my character’s snowball fight ends with a kiss, so maybe they are both winners. ;)

QUESTION: Have you ever been in a snowball fight? Tell me about it!

January 23, 2015

Scene Spotlight for Dearest Darling by Andrea Downing

I have a special treat for all of you...I’m bringing a new feature to Write with Fey for authors to showcase a special scene in their books. Andrea Downing, an author from The Wild Rose Press, is the first to be honored with this feature. She’s sharing a scene from her recent release, Dearest Darling.

Andrea Downing: Let me first say thanks so much, Chrys, for having me here today. This is the first time I’ve done a ‘scene spotlight’ and I really enjoyed it.
Title: Dearest Darling
Author: Andrea Downing
Genre:  Western Historical Romance
Page Count: 106
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Release Date:  October 8th 2014



Daniel drove back in with the feed sleigh in the late afternoon. The snow had stopped, leaving a silver-white aura over the landscape. The moon fought the sun for this hour, a crescent hanging in the sky like a misplaced toy. There Emily stood, her pelisse bundled tight around her. She leaned on the corral fence, staring out, the mountains standing silently caped in their ermine cloaks, the high prairie encased in its diamond shell, a fading sun scattering jewels onto the landscape. As he reined in, she cast a smile his way, one he could not help but return.

“It’s so beautiful. This landscape. It’s remarkable, quite honestly. It’s as if there’s nothing but space for us for miles and miles and miles. Only the mountains and rivers and the prairie, no one else, just us. Amazing.”

He halted the dray horse, set the brake, and jumped down to stand beside her at the corral, trying to see what she saw, see it through her eyes. He sucked in the fresh air, his hands on the fencing he had built himself. “Like you, I didn’t know what I was coming to. Ten years back. But I had read lots. It was different then, quieter. Even less folks than what there are now. I thought...I thought I’d never seen anything so beautiful. Still don’t.” Although, with her before him, he wondered.

“It’s so different from the city.”Her voice had a note of quiet peace, like the evening call of birds. That was what her voice was like. A call. To him.
Picture by Andrea Downing
“Yeah. It sure is.” He patted the waiting horse, puffs of cold breath forming clouds from its nostrils as it snorted out its impatience.

“I’ll put dinner on,” she informed him, and with a last glance at the hills beyond, she headed back into the cabin.

Daniel stood watching her, the reins in his hand, the horse stomping eagerly to be led to warmth, to its feed.

Bet it’ll be good. Bet it’ll be delicious.

And when he made his way back from the barn, the hay sleigh unhitched, the horse curried and fed, he caught sight of her in the lamplight, sitting there with the mending once more, the table set and waiting for him.

He wanted nothing more than this, the firelight casting her shadow against the cabin wall, the golden locks of hair highlighted by the wavering colors of the fire in the grate, the woman at her work, silently waiting for his return. His alone.
He removed his hat as he entered and set it on its peg before unfastening his sheepskin coat. He wondered if he smelled, if she was offended by his body odor and his unshaven face and uncut hair, but it was too late to care about such matters. Ethel, still in New York, still breathing the stench of city streets, enclosed streets with no views, still waiting in the wings, haunted him now.

Picture by Andrea Downing


1. Where does this scene take place?

Daniel’s ranch house was inspired by the Cunningham Cabin in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  I always envisage Emily coming out of that cabin, and standing by the rail and taking in that breathtaking scenery around her.  I’ve tried to capture what it would be like in these photos but nothing does it justice; you have to go there and experience that sort of beauty, that solitude.

Picture by Andrea Downing

2. If this were a movie, what song would be playing in the background?

I’m a big Country fan so this was a difficult decision, but I think I’ve settled on ‘Never Knew Lonely’ by Vince Gill.

3. Which actors/actresses would play the characters present in this scene?

For Daniel, no one could be better than Chris Hemsworth—I promise you!  Not just because he’s been voted sexiest man of 2014, but he definitely fits how I envisage Daniel.  Maybe I shouldn’t say that because the character is named for my daughter’s boyfriend!  For Emily, I’d settle on Natalie Portman; she has the beauty and the range necessary for this character.

4. What inspired this scene?

As I said above, the ranch was based on this historic site in Grand Teton National Park.  When I was there I knew that the solitude, the way one feels about being so distant from everyone else, had to play a part in the book, especially referencing Daniel’s loneliness and his need for company, for a wife.  Emily’s first bit of dialog captures everything I felt there and the scene evolved from that.

Picture by Andrea Downing

5. What do you love the most about this scene?    

First of all, I’m very proud of my line, “The moon fought the sun for this hour, a crescent hanging in the sky like a misplaced toy.”  It’s one of those lines an author writes and then later wonders where it came from!  Did I write that?!  But the other thing I love about this scene is the vision of Daniel peeking in his window and seeing Emily in the lamplight.  How many of us do that, either walking along a street or driving by houses; we peep into windows and feel the warmth of the home there, the love of a family.  And that’s exactly what Daniel is longing for, only at this point in the story he believes Emily is the wrong woman for him.


Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?

Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.
But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head.

Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born,  instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, another full length novel, comes out in February, 2015.

Thanks again for having me, Chrys!  Loved doing this.

You’re very welcome, Andrea. I’m super glad you had fun with it. I’ll welcome you back for another Scene Spotlight in the future. :)

QUESTION: How did you like Andrea’s scene for my first Scene Spotlight?

January 21, 2015

Blog Post Ideas

After you’ve blogged for a while, or even before you begin blogging, you may struggle with what you should blog about. If you have to create a few posts every week, your well of ideas may end up dry.

Here is a list of blog ideas you can do:

Write about a topic you know.

Join a weekly meme or two. Check out:
Celebrate the Small Things created by Vik Lit (Friday).  
 Create your own special features to fit your personality, such as Weird Word Wednesday, Friday Funnies, etc. If you have a theme for certain days, you'll be able to come up with ideas. And it doesn't even have to match the day.

Sign up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Every April a massive amount of bloggers join this challenge. We blog every day in April, except on Sundays. Each day is assigned a letter of the alphabet. You can have a theme or post random things.

• You can try my 30 Day Writing Challenge and blog a prompt once or twice a week.

Sign up for blog hops. When you get to know more bloggers you will come across blog hops in a variety of topics. These are quite fun to do.

 Host guests for guest posts.

Host authors for blog tours.

Again, when your blogging network grows, you’ll see requests from authors for help with their blog tours. You’ll also be able to ask bloggers if they’d be interested in writing a guest post for your blog.

More Ideas:

Share your poetry/short stories.
Write about your childhood/school memories.
Review movies, books, music.
Interview people.
Create profiles on famous individuals.
Host giveaways/contests.
Answer commonly asked questions about your niche.
Share 20 random facts about yourself.
Update readers on your progress toward a goal.
Talk about your hobby (gardening, painting, writing, etc.)     
Top Lists (Top Ten Favorite Books, Movies, etc.)
Talk about your pets.
“What if...”
7 reasons why...
Tell your readers about your vacations/travels.
Discuss world news.
Write opinion pieces.
Share recipes
Art projects for kids
DIY projects
Parenting stories 
Homeschooling tips
Share your photography/art.
Give a history/mythology lesson.
Tell a personal story about a recent holiday.
Write health pieces.
Share inspirational stories
Share a joke.
Ask your readers what they’d like to see you blog about.

SHARE more blog ideas so I can add them to this list!


What do you enjoy blogging about?

What do you wish more bloggers blogged about?