September 30, 2015

11 Books that Impacted Me + Halloween Giveaway!!!

Banned Books Week began on September 27th and will end on October 3rd. In honor of literature, books, and authors I am sharing the 11 books that impacted me. (Although they may not be banned books.) 

1. Souls Perfection by Sylvia Browne

I read this book last year during a difficult time and it really opened my eyes to see that I am capable of getting through any hardships. Sylvia Browne answers the questions: What’s the meaning of life? And reveals how you can make your life meaningful. I know many people don’t like her beliefs and disagree with her on many topics, but this book was very enlightening for me.


“Without any negative rub in this life or phobias or worries, you wouldn’t gain any knowledge or insight.”

“So when you’re going through your trial and tribulations, you must say to yourself, “Chalk another one up for me. I have not succumbed to grief, futility, or despair.”

2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This book haunted me when I read it at seventeen. I actually wrote an essay about what it would be like if our world was like the one Aldous Huxley created, if people had no emotions. I don’t have that essay anymore (wish I did because it was good!) but I remember saying that I hope the world never becomes A Brave New World.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

This book is controversial because of the discussions about religion, creation, God, and science. I personally found it intelligent, reasonable, and to make perfect sense. Again, I wrote an essay inspired by what I read and my thoughts on creation and evolution. I probably won’t ever share it here though because I don’t like to broach these topics on social media platforms. Anyway, if you’re open-minded, check this book out as well as the one I listed as #1.

4. Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman

This children’s book has inspired me work more than any other children’s book. I reference it a few times in my unpublished series featuring Avrianna Heavenborn from Ghost of Death.

5. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

I know that he got blasted for lying, but that doesn’t make this book any less good in my eyes. The thing that I liked the most was his style. There’s no quotation marks (which normal bugs me but worked well with this story) and every page has lines with just a few words. This is a raw and deep story about drug addiction complete with friendship, love, and emotion.


She stares at me.
I’m sorry.
She had been broken.
Truly, truly sorry.
Broken by me.

6. Tao Te Ching (Translation by Stephen Mitchell)

If you’re open to other religions and concepts, this work is the most wise and insightful writings you’ll ever find.


“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”

“If you over esteem great men
People become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
People begin to steal.”

7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I first read this book in elementary school. When we finished it in class, I bought my own copy to read it again. I love it so much that I’ve read it several times. I’ve always been fascinated by World War II and stories about Jews (such as A Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank). This is a powerful book about the impact of war and Nazis for kids and adults.

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

This book is a heartfelt and honest story about the mother-daughter relationship. Reading this book felt like a journey. I really felt as though I was being told deep, dark secrets. I laughed until I couldn’t breathe and cried until I fell asleep. It made me look at life, love, and my mom in a new light.

9. Dragonfly Secret by Carolyn J. Gold

I read this book at a young age and it is 100% the reason why I love dragonflies today (I have a dragonfly tattoo) and believe in fairies. It’s a story about family, magic, imagination and belief.

10. Book of God: The Bible as a Novel by Walter Wangerin Jr.

The author took the Bible and created stories that read like fiction. This would be a great option for those who struggle to read the Bible and really want to get to the meat of the stories and enjoy them.

11. Footprints (Scripture with reflections inspire by the best-loved poem by Margaret Fishback Powers)

Footprints has always been one of my favorite poems and when paired with scripture, it becomes even more powerful.


“But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life, there is only one set of footprints.”

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the river, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” [says the Lord.] Isaiah 43:2

QUESTION: What books have changed you or your life?

September 28, 2015

Getting Reviews

One thing all authors want? Reviews. But getting them can be hard, especially if you’re new and relatively unknown.

I don’t have hundreds of reviews for my books. Fact is, many of the authors who are regular visitors here have far more reviews than I do. I know this, but I still know a few methods to get reviews.

1. Use Google Docs to create a form for people to sign up to help you with your blog tour and make one of the options a review of your new release. Offer them a PDF or MOBI copy. This is an easy way to get exposure, a review, and a blog feature all in one.

2. Ask authors you’re acquainted with if they know good reviewers. Chances are they do, and the reviewers they know are probably awesome.

3. Search blogs and other sites for reviewers. Fact is, there are COUNTLESS book review blogs out there, which means you can find an infinite amount of bloggers/reviewers to ask for a review.
TIP #1: Check their guidelines to make sure they are accepting books for review, what genres they accept, what formats they like, whether or not they’ll post the review on Amazon and Goodreads, and how they treat reviews. Every reviewer and review site is different. 
TIP #2: Send an email with a blurb, all information they ask for, and the file if they need it. Then wait to hear back. It could take 2-3 months before you get a review. 
TIP #3: Check out Manic Readers. Sign up for free, add your book(s) to your profile, and request a review. You’ll be able to select from a long list of reviewers in the depot.
TIP #4: You can also try The Indie View's reviewer list. (Thanks, Lidy!)

4. Check out Goodreads. There are many groups for authors and readers in every genre. Many of these groups have a forum for authors to request reviews. Submit your info to these in the form of a comment or a new topic.
TIP #5: You may not get anyone interested or you may get many. Make sure, before you send a copy of your book, that you reiterate the genre and length to make sure they are fine with it. 
TIP #6: Don’t send your book to just anyone who wants to review it. I got a request from someone in a Goodreads group who said he wanted a swap for his book that is about...get this...bad reviews he's given authors. Um, really? No thanks!
5. Submit to Amazon Top Reviewers. Go HERE and check out reviewer profiles for ones that sound like the right fit for your book. Check under their contact info and send a polite email. Make sure to give them the blurb and all the relevant information about your book (length, genre, etc.), tell them you’ll give them a free copy, ask them to let you know if they are interested and thank them for their time.
TIP #7: Read some of their reviews to see if you like them.
QUESTION: How do you get reviews?

September 25, 2015

Blogger Interview with Lisa Thomson / The Great Escape

I am so happy to have Lisa Thomson on my blog today. She is a wonderful friend who I met through our blogs and a great writer. On The Great Escape, she blogs about divorce and relationships. Even though I’m not going through a divorce, I always enjoy reading her posts because of their truth. They help me to deal with other hard spots in my life and especially my past. 

Welcome, Lisa!

Lisa: Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Chrys. Yours is one of my favorite blogs to read!

Chrys: That's very sweet of you to say. Let's  begin, shall we? :)

1. Can you tell us about your blog The Great Escape?

Lisa: The Great Escape blog began as an extension of my self-help book of the same name; the goal being to help women starting their divorce process. I started the blog in October, 2011. It was (is) a way to communicate with my potential book readers. I was told that I had to have a blog if I was an author and you know what? I didn’t know what a blog was earlier that year. I share tips for divorce navigation, health and recovery as well as inspirational stories. My goal is to educate, entertain and show women they can come out of this experience a strong and healthy woman.

2. On your blog and in your book (A Girl’s Guide to Leaving a Marriage), you openly talk about your divorce. What made you decide to be so candid about this private and emotional time in your life?

Lisa: Sometimes I ask myself that same question, LOL. Seriously though, I was going through so much crazy stuff at the time and my divorce was turning out to be a complete nightmare. I had hoped to remain friends with my ex and get through the divorce without high conflict. What I was learning early on is, divorce is an extremely difficult process and we feel very alone in it.

I started journaling so I could channel my frustration. After a year of journaling, I had an ‘aha’ moment. I thought, why not write a book to help women who have decided to end their marriage but don’t know where to begin? That’s who I was initially and I remember I couldn’t find any helpful books. Most of the books talked about recovering your broken marriage etc. Plus, women who decide to end their marriage don’t get as much support from family and friends. There’s this underlying attitude that says “That’s what you chose, so too bad…” For example, I experienced many questions about ‘why’ I left, and quite frankly, it’s no one’s business but your own. People still have this inherent belief that unless he beats you, why would you leave. You must be selfish. I say we stop waiting for a catastrophe, let’s value ourselves more than that.

On that same theme, we still expect men to leave and women to be the victim. Look no further than pop culture.

So, as woman if we decide to leave, we throw that stereotype on its head. My book aims to bridge that gap of support.

A Girl's Guide to Leaving a Marriage by Lisa Thomson

Amazon / Goodreads

3. What was your very first blog post? 

Lisa: My very first blog post was titled simply, “Welcome” Haha. It was a way for me to introduce myself and explain why I wrote my book. 

4. Many of your readers are all going through divorce or a hard time in their relationships, what advice do you give them most often?

Lisa: Most often I encourage my readers to take the chance to improve their life. I remind them to listen to their instincts. I also listen carefully to what people tell me in their messages. Some women are still in love with their husband but are very frustrated with where their marriage is at. I always recommend counseling for these couples because divorce isn’t always the clear cut answer. I also hear from women who are in mentally abusive marriages and they want out but don’t know where to begin. So, my advice is very personal to each woman’s situation.

5. What are the top 5 most-viewed posts on your blog?

6. You also write for Huffington Post, can you tell us your experience with that?

Lisa: Writing for HuffPost Divorce is really great exposure. However, that said they don’t always feature your posts, so you have to work the social media connections pretty hard to get the exposure you’re hoping for. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of amazing bloggers. On the other hand, when you’re featured you must be prepared for Trolls.

7. Share your number one tip to bloggers just starting out.

Lisa: Definitely visit lots of blogs in your niche. Those blogs are likely to have your target audience. That said, don’t be spammy. Be considerate, like you would at any social event.

Oh, and don’t take it personally when someone rejects your submission or doesn’t reciprocate your interactions. Just hold your head high and move on. You will find your tribe.

Escapee Badge

Hyper Round:

1. Favorite time to post blogs? Mornings

2. Blogger or Wordpress? Wordpress

3. Do you host guests? Not enough

4. Where are you when you’re blogging? At my desk that faces a bank of windows. It’s in the same room as the television which can be problematic.


When Lisa separated from her husband in 2005, she found very few books that told her what divorce was really like.  In 2007, Lisa set out to write a self help guide for women ending their marriages and was sure to include her own personal stories and experiences, so women could get a realistic impression of what divorce is all about. Throughout the book, Lisa encourages you to “choose joy” and be a “hero in your own life”.  A must read for the economically dependent spouse thinking about ending their marriage.

Currently, Lisa resides happily in Vancouver, B.C. with her common law husband of six years. Her 3 children are in their 20’s and are wonderful humans, proof positive that children can thrive in spite of divorce. When Lisa isn’t writing you can find her at the beach, in yoga class, or at her painting easel with a glass of wine in hand. 


Lisa: Thank you so much for hosting an interview with me, Chrys. 

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Lisa! I'd love to have you back.

Please leave Lisa a comment. :)

QUESTION: Do you have a divorce-related question for Lisa?

September 21, 2015

Writing About: Self Defense Instructors

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Monster Truck Driving, the profession of Donovan Goldwyn from my Disaster Crimes series. Well, now it’s Beth Kennedy’s turn! She is a self-defense instructor and in Seismic Crimes we get to see her in action for the first time.

Here are a few things to remember if you ever want to write about a self-defense instructor or class:

1. Studio/Gym

Where does your character go to take self-defense classes? Or if your character is the instructor, where does he/she hold classes? Describe the building and the room. It should be spacious enough for a blue mat to cover most of the ground and several pairs of individuals to go one-on-one. In Seismic Crimes, I got to create a visual of Beth’s studio. I mentioned the front desk and what was on the walls to inspire the students.
TIP: Give the studio a unique name that highlights the purpose of the class. Beth Kennedy is all about teaching women who experience domestic violence at home and want to be able to defend themselves a fighting chance. That’s why her studio is called The Fighting Chance.
2. Equipment

A blue mat is not the only thing that needs to be in a studio, but also safety gear for the students to wear such as helmets, mitts, and even body gear to protect their torso and legs.

Aside from safety equipment, there will also be teaching equipment: dummies students can punch and kick, punching bags, striking pads that fit along the arms, over hands, and are large enough to hold in front of the body.

3. Techniques

There are many self-defense techniques out there that your character can learn in a class or teach students. Everyone should first learn the proper stance to get into to minimize getting hit and to prepare the body to strike. How to throw a good punch is the next biggest obstacle followed by how to strike with your feet. After that, a self-defense instructor can teach how to get out of holds such as wrist holds, choke holds, and even bear hugs. Scenarios are the best thing for instructors to teach. For example: what to do if someone grabs you from behind or how to incapacitate an attacker who is in front of you.
TIP: Watch videos (you can find a bunch on YouTube) and even go to a real class for research. Firsthand experience is always the best.

Stay tuned for easy self-defense techniques everyone should know. 

QUESTIONS: Have you participated in a self-defense class? Would you? What do you think of The Fighting Chance as a studio name?

September 18, 2015

National Teddy Bear Day

Today is National Teddy Bear Day!

I have a teddy bear and no, I am not ashamed to admit it.

Here is an excerpt from a memoir piece I wrote about the spine surgery I had when I was fifteen. It is called Woman of Steel and reveals how we meet.
The day after my fifteenth birthday, I woke up hours before the sun had opened its eyes. Wishing I could dive into bed and pretend it was not the day of my surgery, I groggily climbed into my mother’s car. On the way to the hospital, I watched the dove-gray sky lighten degree by degree. Slowly, as if its muscles ached, the sun stood up in the sky. 
I followed my parents into the hospital as my heart pounded in my chest and my knobby knees quaked. With each step, I silently hoped we would get lost. Unfortunately, we found the right area and sat down in uncomfortable chairs to wait for the inevitable. 
I hugged my backpack to my chest and tried to calm my racing heart. The woman sitting behind the receptionists’ desk saw me and called me over. I watched her heft a giant garbage bag off the floor and dig inside it, oddly resembling Santa. She pulled out a brown teddy bear with silky hair and a blue ribbon tied around its furry neck. 
“You look like you need to hug something,” she said as she handed the bear to me. Normally I would have turned my nose up at such a childish gift, but at that moment that teddy bear looked like a life preserver to me. I took the bear and embraced it with all my might.
I don’t have a picture of him when I first got him, when his fur was silky and smooth, but this is a picture I took a long time ago.

Image by Chrys Fey.

He looks pretty much the same these days and now my youngest nephew cuddles with him whenever he’s here. :)

QUESTION: Did you have a favorite teddy bear from your childhood? Do you still have a teddy bear? If so, give him/her a hug. :P

And while we’re on this topic, you should check out The Bear Who Woudn’t Leave by J.H. Moncrieff. You might need to hug your bear while reading this short story. Or it might make you look at it sideways….


Giveaway for a $10 Amazon eGift Card!

Follow this link to a sign up form: Chrys' Chronicles Sign up Form

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 16, 2015

Author Interview with Isla Grey / Asylum Harbor

Today I am welcoming a fellow The Wild Rose Press author, Isla Grey. She is discussing her contemporary romance, Asylum Harbor, and sharing the book trailer for our entertainment.And today is her release day! Yay!!! :D

Hi, Isla! Can you please tell us about your book?

Asylum Harbor tells the story of Devon Brown who packs up and leaves her home to become the new bartender of the Salty Dog on Shell Island.  She’s not looking for trouble or romance, but she finds it in abundance when she finds herself falling for the brash and brooding harbor master, Kerr.

Kerr is looking for anything but romance but can’t help but take an interest in the island’s new, no nonsense bartender.  But when a simple flirtation starts to turn serious, the two find that there are serious obstacles in the way of their “happily ever after”.  When the situation turns dangerous, Devon realizes that even the still waters of Asylum Harbor are no refuge during a storm.

Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Release Date:  September 16, 2015

Books Links:

1. What inspired you to write Asylum Harbor?

Asylum Harbor came about while I was on a family trip to the beach.  We took a quick day trip to Shell Island.  Yes, this place actually exists but no one lives there!  During low tide, people visit to find seashells and sand dollars.  The Salty Dog itself is based on a couple of nearby restaurants.  Both are family restaurants and one really does have a stage—sans the silver pole in the middle.

2. I would love to take a trip to Shell Island. Is Asylum Harbor part of a series?

Asylum Harbor is the first in the Salty Dog Series.  I’m currently working on the follow-up to the story and plan on a third after that one is finished.

3. How did you pick the title for your book?

Believe it or not, the title of the book was the hardest part.  I had called it several things while I was writing it and had even come up with the titles for the second and third book.  So, I finally went back through some nautical terms and there it was –Asylum Harbor.  The titles for books two and three stay along the nautical theme.

4. Using a nautical theme is a great idea! What would we find in your heroine’s purse if we went snooping?

Devon is a very basic, low maintenance person.  You’d find your usual wallet, her Jeep keys and lip gloss.  You’d also probably find a hair clip because she likes to keep her hair tied back.

5. Are any of your characters based on real people?

The only character that is somewhat based on a real person is Danny, Kerr’s younger brother.  There was a young man that I knew who was in a horrific accident and had to struggle and work to get his life back to normal.  That’s as far as the resemblance goes however.

6. What are a few things we would find in or on your desk?

Oh my goodness!  My desk is cluttered with pens, post-its, candy wrappers and an assortment of paper clips so I don’t get to use it much.  Even the chair is usually occupied by Daryl, one of our cats, for his afternoon nap.  But some of my favorite things is a picture of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hanging on the wall above my desk that was drawn by my daughter.  I also have an antique green glass that I use as a pen holder that has been a mainstay on my desk.

7. I like to put art made by my nephews near my desk. :) Is there a teacher (or teachers) you would like to personally thank for his/her influence? 

There was a principal, Mr. Habel, who’s either in his late 80’s or 90’s now who told me XXX years ago to never give up on my writing.  I still haven’t forgotten that.  It has really inspired me to keep going.  I also had two wonderful teachers who aren’t with us anymore—Mrs. Morrison and Mrs. Brown.  You didn’t get out of their class without learning something and both believed in reading.

8. Share three random facts about you.

- I’m a mom to a seven-year-old daughter who has never ending energy.
- I’m addicted to Penny Dreadful, Botched and the Walking Dead.
- Two of my cats are named Loki and Daryl—after Loki in the Thor movies and Daryl from the Walking Dead. (We had a Merle but sadly he’s not with us any longer.)

9. My sister-in-laws cat is named Loki! Do you listen to music while you write?

I’m completely obsessed with music.  I especially love ‘80’s country and rock and have it playing most of the day except when I’m writing.  For some reason, I have to have it quiet when I’m writing or I end up losing my train of thought.  When I’m editing though, I can turn the music back on.

10. Tell us about your writing process.

When I’m working on a story, the first draft is handwritten.  I keep a journal with me at all times—even when I’m going out to the store—you never know when the opportunity to write is going to present itself.  Everything else—edits and rewrites—are done on the computer.  


Isla Grey is from Central Virginia and still lives in the same small town she grew up in. She developed a love of writing at an early age and over the years has tried her hand at penning poetry (some good, some not so good), screenwriting, newspaper articles and historical stories. She’s “old school” when it comes to writing and is a hoarder of more pens, post-it notes and writing journals than she’ll ever need. Isla likes to write different types of stories from romance to mystery and anything in between and loves a “happy for now but there could be some bad things coming” feel. When Isla’s not writing, she spends her time being called “Mom, Mama, Mommy” (well, you get the picture) by her daughter who is forever active, even in her sleep. She considers herself an unofficial “cat whisperer” and is a pet human to a plethora of cats that have taken up residence at her home over the years. Isla also enjoys reading a good biography or ghost story, traveling even though “there’s no place like home”, good music played loud and walking.

Isla loves movies and is the movie mistakes editor at where she talks about…well…movies.  Her novella, “A Voice in the Dark”, is available now and her book, “Asylum Harbor”, will be released September 16th, 2015 through Wild Rose Press.

Author Links:

Thank you for chatting with my, Isla!

Please leave a comment for Isla. Thanks! J

September 14, 2015

Book Release Party

Release day parties are wonderfully fun and the great thing is that each one is different from the next. You can do whatever you want, follow your own set of rules. I have not done my own release day party yet, but I have been an author guest for several.

You can do a party anywhere, but I’m going to share tips on how to do a Facebook party.

1. Set a date.

Usually this will be the actual release of your book or the first Monday or Friday after it.

2. Decide on a time frame.

A release party can last one hour, four hours, or twelve hours. It’s up to you!
TIP #1: No matter how long your party is, make sure it’s updated with new posts regularly to keep guests entertained and to get them to participate. You don’t want to have a twelve-hour party with nothing happening.
3. Decide if you want author guests (or co-hosts) to come in and help out.

You can do the party all by yourself, you can invite a ton of authors to pop in and post whenever they feel like it, or you can specifically ask authors if they would like to participate and assign them an hour (or two, depends on you and the author) to promote their own work and do giveaways.
TIP #2: The authors will need a personal Facebook profile in order to post to the event. They can’t do it through their fan page, which can create a problem if they have a pen name. I had to create a person profile under my pen name in order to participate in Terri’s party.
This is one of the prizes I offered once.

4. Set up a schedule.

If you’re going to have author guests come in throughout the day and keep your party goers interested, you should create a schedule so you know when each author will have his or her time to have fun.

5. Create the event.

You can do this on Facebook. On the left hand side, under your name and profile picture, click on “Events” then click “+Create.” You can give it a catchy title or keep it simple. Write a small description in the “Details” area. You can include the guest schedule. Fill in the sections for “Where,” “When,” and set the “Privacy.” Finally, add the cover art for your release or a banner.

6. Announce your event.

Announce your event on your Facebook page, Twitter, blog, website, Google +, and any loops or groups you’re part of.

7. Invite people.

Notify the author guests and send them a link so they can join the party and invite their family and friends.
TIP #3: Don’t forget to ask the people who join to invite everyone they know. With luck, you could have 200+ people “going” to your Facebook party.
8. Prepare.

Figure out what you want to do during your party. Will you do everything for the duration or have co-host? If you have co-hosts, be ready to host the first and last hours of your party, and to introduce each guest before it’s their hour to take over.

9. Posts and giveaways.

Know what you’ll post and at what time.

When I co-hosted for Terri, I did two ebook giveaways, a small jewelry giveaway, and a grand prize giveaway. In-between these I posted questions for the party-goers to answer. I had one hour, so I was posting about every five minutes and keeping up with comments. At the end of my hour, I announced the winners of the smaller giveaways and reminded everyone the grand prize giveaway would end the next day. To win the grand prize, they had to “like” my Facebook page. So I kept track of the likes I got.

The grand prize I did for my first time participating in a Facebook release party.

TIP #4:
A giveaway can be anything: book swag, signed print books, eBooks, jewelry, home d├ęcor, gift cards, or something related to one of your books. 
TIP #5: Try not to giveaway the book the party is for. You want people to buy it, not to enter a giveaway and hope they win it. 
TIP #6: Someone can be eligible for a giveaway by posting a comment to the giveaway post or by doing something more such as liking your Facebook page, following your blog or Twitter, etc. 
TIP #7: You can do your own giveaways at the beginning and end of your party and also let your co-hostsdo giveaways. That way many of your party goers have a chance to win. 
TIP #8: After you randomly select a winner, check to see if someone else announced them as a winner for another prize. I noticed quite a few people for Terri’s party were the winners for several different giveaways, even mine. If you check first, you can do another drawing to get a new person who hasn’t won anything.

Don’t stress about this! If you have guest authors, they will take off a lot of the pressure. Enjoy your time in the spotlight!

I was just one co-host out of many but I loved it! I got a lot of great feedback and guests even said they loved me. :D

11. Clean up time.

When the party is over, thank everyone for coming and especially thank your guest authors. You can do something special to thank them such as entering them in a giveaway for your book or send them all a mobi copy of it.

Also, you’ll want to announce the winners of your giveaways and notify him/her. You can tag them in a comment, send a private message or an email. Then get the information you need to send them their prize. 
FYI: You don't need a lot of readers to do this. If you have authors as co-hosts, their readers will come to your party. Also, don't expect to sell a ton of books. This is for people to have fun and spread the news about your book. Many will be there for the prize, but you will generate interest and possibly a few sales.
SHARE: Your tips for hosting a Facebook release party.

QUESTIONS: Have you ever hosted or co-hosted a release party? What was your experience? Have you ever joined a release party as a guest?