December 12, 2016

Best of Write with Fey 2016

OPTIONAL January 4th IWSG Question: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)

At the end of every year I like to provide links and summaries to some of my favorite posts that I shared on my blog. These posts are the ones that got a lot of engagement from readers or was one that I particularly liked because of the information it offered, or because it was simply fun.


The best blog post from Write with Fey 2016:

Writing About:

1. A Hostage – A list of things to consider when writing about a character who is a hostage.

2. A Tsunami – This is the disaster for Book 3 of my Disaster Crimes series, and it was the hardest Writing About post I’ve ever had to write.

3. Oahu, Hawaii – Tsunami Crimes is set in Hawaii, so I shared 10 things I learned about Hawaii while writing this book.

4. Wrestlers – The most fun characters I’ve ever written about were wrestlers, because I really got to be creative with their looks and names.

5. Domestic Violence Awareness – I created this post to create awareness for domestic violence. I share warning signs and talk about the different kinds of abuse.

6. Zombies – In this post I shared do’s and dont’s that zombie fans say can make or break a zombie book.

7. Stalkers – Stalkers are scary. I share tips to remember if you ever write a story about a character being stalked.

8. Blizzards – What do you need to know if you write about a blizzard? I offer 10 pointers.

9. Wildfire – I’ve experienced wildfire. In this post, I share my memories of this disaster.

10. Halloween – This is my favorite holiday! I couldn’t resist delving into this day with all of its fun. A story set during Halloween should incorporate at least one of the things I highlight in this post.

Character ER:

1. Body Language – To add depth to a character’s actions and emotions, include body language.

2. Diet and Food – We don’t often think about a character’s diet, but so many people in real life eat special diets.

3. Flaws, Fear, and Weaknesses – Make your characters realistic by giving them flaws, fears, and weaknesses.

4. Habits and Quirks – Habits and quirks can bring characters to life and make them memorable.

5. Your Character's Pain – We experience physical and emotional pain more often than we’d like. Our characters should experience pain as well.


1. 100 Marketing Tips – Every marketing tactic that I know. Includes a FREE pdf.

2. How to Create a Website – All writers should consider having a website. I provide a list of items that all author websites should have.

3. How to Design a Business Card – I offer steps and tips to help you craft a unique business card.

4. Twitter for Writers – This post includes a list of hashtags all writers should know.

5. Instagram for Writers - 20 Instagram Ideas – Writers can get creative with marketing their books and sharing their writing process on this app.

6. How to Create a Newsletter – A step-by-step guide to creating a newsletter and getting subscribers. Includes a FREE pdf.


1. Harry Potter Wand Art Project – Do your kids love Harry Potter? Help them make their own wands!

2. Turtle Bread Recipe – This is a bread in the shape of a turtle. It’s yummy, and it’s fun to bake with kids.

3. Pine Cone Ornaments – Use these natural decorations as ornaments around your house or for your Christmas tree.

4. You Might be A Bully If – A list of things that bullies do. If you do any of these, vow to make a change today.

5. If I were a Mobster – This was my first ever blogfest for 30 Seconds Before. Participants got to turn themselves into Mobsters. It was fun.

6. Homemade Dog Treats Recipe – Last year, I made dog treats for all of my families’ dogs, and they were a hit.

A big thanks to everyone who visits, follows, and comments on my blog. I do all of this for you! Next year, my blog is going to change significantly. There won't be any more posts about writing, publishing, or marketing. But a couple of my monthly planned posts can still help writers. I hope you'll stick around to see what I have in store. :)

Happy Holidays!

Chrys Fey

December 07, 2016

I SURVIVED! Blogfest Sign Up + TSUNAMI CRIMES Reveal

Didn't I just do a blogfest? Yes, I did. I didn't think I'd have to do another one so soon after the If I were a Mobster Blogfest, but my publisher surprised me with the release day of TSUNAMI CRIMES...January 20th! So now I am scrambling. It doesn't help that this is a difficult time to plan anything with everyone taking breaks. *insert insecurity here*

I've thought up a fun blog hop, though. Here are the details:



"This is Chrys Fey reporting for Disaster 5 News. I am in [location of your choosing] where a tsunami hit yesterday morning. I have [your name] with me, a survivor of the tsunami. [Your name], can you tell our viewers what happened, and how you survived?"

[Your Story]

Details: Every post will begin with the intro above. What will follow is your made-up story. It can be fantastical and wild or realistic. The goal is to make this fun. :) You can create a flash fiction piece or write a paragraph. You can even create a back-and-forth interview. Be creative!

When? January 20th
Where? On your blog!

Note: Every post will include the blurb, cover art, and links for TSUNAMI CRIMES, which I'll provide.

Won't you please sign up?

I SURVIVED! Blogfest


Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.

This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson's men.

Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.

If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again.



If you can't sign up for the blog hop, I am hoping to do a short blog tour from January 23rd to February 3rd. Or you can sign up for both!

I had fun with my Y Post where I answered questions posed by many of you, so I am going to do that for my blog tour. Come up with ONE interesting question, and I will give a detailed answer for my guest post. NOTE: Doesn't have to be related to my book/series. Your question can be totally random. :)

What's in it for you? I will be running a Rafflecopter giveaway for a signed, paperback copy of SEISMIC CRIMES and HURRICANE CRIMES playing cards. All participants (blog hop/tour) will be automatically added as entrants to the giveaway, increasing your odds of winning. :)

I hope you can forgive me for making this post all about me. This release is a BIG one, and I want it to go smoothly.

Thanks for understanding!

OPTIONAL JANUARY QUESTION: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

*Add this question and your answer to your January 4th IWSG post.

December 05, 2016

Writing About: Christmas

Christmas is a fun, festive holiday. I read Christmas stories during any time of the year to enjoy this holiday again and again. Everything about it is warm and uplifting. And there are so many ways that you can include Christmas in a novel or spin a full-out Christmas story.

Here are a few things you can add to your story:

1. Decorations

People go all-out, even getting into competitions with neighbors. Outdoor lights on the roof, nativity sets on the lawn, and blow-up lawn decorations are all the rave. And that’s just outside. Inside there can be nutcrackers, garland along banisters, miniature villages complete with people, cars, and even fake snow. Then there’s the Christmas tree. Trimming it if it’s real or taking it out of the box if it’s fake. Putting lights, bows, ornaments, tinsel on every branch, and a star or angel at the very top.

Take a moment to describe the pretty decorations of your character’s house, mention a friendly competition among neighbors, and the craziness of decorating a tree. A tree that cats can climb into, dogs can knock over, and children can decorate with homemade ornaments made of Popsicle sticks.

2. Goodies

Christmas is one of our most fattening holidays. There’s pies, cakes, cookies (dozens and dozens of different kinds), chocolates, candy canes, fruit cake, fudge, and hot chocolate. Mention a few of these goodies during your fictional festivities. And if your character is a woman who worries about her weight, have her fret about the calories…as she stuffs fudge into her mouth.

3. Santa

There can’t be a Christmas story without Santa! Especially if there are children. Have your character bring his/her kids to see Santa at the mall and write Santa letters. The children can ask questions about Santa and his reindeer, as we all know kids are naturally curious. You can even let the parents use little threats like “If you’re not good, I’ll tell Santa.”

4. Christmas Shopping

Everyone does Christmas shopping (if they celebrate Christmas). Show how packed the stores are whenever your character goes shopping, and how short-tempered everyone is as they elbow in to get the last toy. Have your character fret over what to get for their partner or new boy/girlfriend. In Seismic Crimes, I share a brief Christmas shopping moment.

5. Fun

There is so much fun that people can do during Christmas: picking out a Christmas tree, baking, ice skating, sledding, building a snowman, snow ball fights, Christmas parties, parades, pageants, ballets, tree lighting ceremonies, candlelight church services, and so much more. Add one or two of these to your story.

6. Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, have the kids in your story put out a plate of cookies for Santa with a glass of milk. I used to put out a carrot for Rudolph. Growing up, my family also opened presents on Christmas Eve. If there aren’t kids in your story, you can have your main character go to a Christmas party and meet someone, or do a gift exchange with his/her new boy/girlfriend. This can be a cozy scene any way that you write it.

7. Christmas Day

If there are kids, have them wake up extra early excited to see what Santa brought. If your character doesn’t have kids, this could be a nice morning for them to cuddle before they head off to see family. Or if your character is single, he/she can throw him/herself a pity party before visiting mom and dad. (Note: This last one is not me's just an example. You can do whatever you want.)

The possibilities are endless. It can be light and fun, sad (if this is the first Christmas after someone’s death), filled with family drama, or dark if you’re writing a murder mystery. Think dead bodies under Christmas trees with bows stuck to their foreheads.

QUESTIONS: What do you like/dislike about Christmas? Does your family open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Share a Christmas memory with me.

SHARE: I don’t know much about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, share some highlights of these holidays in your comment. I welcome it all. :)

December 02, 2016

Author Interview with Leanna Sain / Red Curtains

Today I am pleased to welcome my fellow The Wild Rose Press author Leanna Sain. She is sharing her new romance-mystery with us, Red Curtains.

Welcome, Leanna!

Title: Red Curtains
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release date: 9/30/2016

Dead bodies, fake money and falling in love were NOT part of the assignment.

Cleo Davis must find a model for her senior art project or she won’t graduate. When she discovers Lily Telfair-Gordon, she gets more than just an eccentric old homeless woman who spouts famous quotes, talks to ghosts, and wears a weird hat. Lily has unwittingly stumbled upon a counterfeiting ring, and Cleo gets dragged right into the middle of it.

Jonas Holmes, an investigative reporter for the local paper, is asking the question: why do bodies of homeless men keep showing up in the river? But the homeless are scared and won’t talk to him. When he finds Cleo and Lily, he thinks his problems are solved; he doesn’t realize that they’re just 

While romance blossoms between Cleo and Jonas, they work together to see how the two things are connected, but will they find out before it’s too late?


1. What inspired you to write this book?

My husband and I were in Savannah, GA, celebrating our 26th anniversary. We were waiting for one of those little buses that take you around the historic district when I spotted a homeless person—I think it was a man, but I can’t be sure. He was wearing a long trench coat over ragtag clothing, but the most eye-catching part of his ensemble was his hat. It was the court-jester type, you know, the kind with the long dangly tails with jingle bells attached to each end. He was strolling down the sidewalk, talking animatedly with someone, though there wasn’t anyone there. He proceeded to walk right up to a nearby mailbox and sprinkled some invisible substance around it, chanting in some unknown language. I don’t think the others in the group even noticed him, but I was mesmerized. Right about then, the bus pulled up and everyone boarded. I hurried to a seat and scrounged through my purse for paper and pen, then I started scribbling ideas and storyline just as fast as the ink would flow. That’s where Red Curtains was birthed. That homeless man became one of the main characters in the story: Lily, a homeless woman who has found a bag of counterfeit money in a trashcan and has accidentally witnessed a murder. 

2. Is this book part of a series? (What books came before it?)

Red Curtains is the first book of my new series: GRITS (Girls-Raised-In-The-South.) It’s not your typical series, though. It won’t have the same characters showing up in each story. What makes it a ‘series’ is that each stand-alone novel will be set somewhere in the South and will feature strong, creative Southern women—GRITS, if you will. I do try to include little “links” in each book; something that ties the story with other books I’ve written. Don’t worry, though. If you haven’t read the other books, it won’t make you feel like you’ve missed something. It’s just a little “extra” for those of you who have.

3. Did you do special research for Red Curtains?

Since one of the main characters was a homeless woman, and I knew next to nothing about homelessness, I had to do quite a bit of research on the subject. I usually love that part of writing, but this…well, the more I learned, the heavier my heart grew. I had to do something to help, but what could one measly writer do? Increase awareness of the issue, yes, but what else? I decided to give all my profits from sales of this book to the “Stand Down” program that I talk about in the story. It’s a program held at the Savannah Civic Center every year that is funded by several big organizations. Its sole purpose is to help homeless veterans. 

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

My husband actually helped come up with it. On that same trip to Savannah, I was picking places that would be featured in the book and while we were walking around the historic district, I saw a house that would be perfect. It was four floors high, plus an attic. In one of the attic windows they’d hung red curtains. He said, “How about ‘Through the Red Curtains’?” That got shortened to “Red Curtains.”

5. Are any of your characters based on real people?
Yes. As I’ve said, Lily is based on a homeless person I saw, but Raymond, Lily’s homeless friend is also based on a real person…actually, two people. One is the man who created a palmetto leave rose, and the other is a person we saw sitting at a little table outside a little cafĂ©. He was bent over a spiral bound notebook, scribbling page after page of squiggles. I combined those individuals into a single character who has good days, when he can create the palmetto roses and bad days when all he can do is scribble in a notebook. There’s also an insignificant character at the end of the book who walks three Great Danes around Forsyth Park. He was real too. Cleo’s house is real. It’s on the corner, right across from the park. I actually found pictures of the inside, too because it was listed on a realtor’s website. There really IS a chandelier in the master bathroom!
6. If you could give your book to anyone in the world to read (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I’d give it to my mentor/writing coach/editor/friend, Gerry Mills. Sadly, I can’t, because he died a couple of years ago, and it still makes me cry to think about that. I’m so thankful for the time I had with him, and for all that he taught me. He was the best editor ever, and I miss him and his red pen terribly. Well, maybe not the pen. No, even that. I’m the writer I am today because of that pen. Thank you, Gerry. I hope you’re proud of me.

7. Share three random facts about you.

I ran my first half-marathon (13.1 miles, in case you don’t know) at the age of 53. 

I can milk out a goat in about 4 minutes.

I’ve painted a mural on a wall in an orphanage in Kirov, Russia.

8. How long have you been writing?

My mother told me I wrote little stories, complete with illustrations, when I was a little girl. I’ve always loved writing. I had two teachers in high school who fed that drive: Mr. Collins and Mrs. McDaniels. I was an art major in college with an English minor, so I had the best of both worlds: drawing and writing. Once I graduated, and started “adulting,” life took over and writing got moved to the back burner. I did little books for my sons when they were little, but that was about it. Then in 2004, at a Halloween party at a friend’s house, I saw “the gate” that inspired my first novel. That actually turned out to be a trilogy. I never thought about writing a novel; never dreamed I had something like that in me, but after the first one, it was like someone had uncorked a bottle and the stories keep glugging out. I can’t seem to stop them, not that I want to, of course. The next story in my GRITS (Girls-Raised-In-The-South) series is at the publisher, as we speak. I have two additional novels complete, with another two started. And there’s such a long list of other ideas, I’d have to live forever to be able to write them.

9. Tell us about your writing process.

It starts with a “story seed.” I plant that in my mind and let it germinate, take root, grow. Then, when it’s crowding out everything else in my mind, I start writing. I don’t use an outline, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a “pantser” either. I know sort of where I want to start, kind of where I’m thinking of finishing, and a few things I want to happen along the way. Once I start, the characters take over and many times take the story off in a direction I never saw coming. I love it when that happens. I call it “magic.” I write the entire story from start to finish and end up with what I call a “skeleton.” Then I go back through it and flesh it out, adding muscles, and all the vital organs until I can be like Dr. Frankenstein and yell, “It’s alive!”

10. Your advice to new writers

Two things; one from Winston Churchill and the other sort of ‘borrowed’ from Dory: Nevah, nevah, nevah give up. And…just keep writing, just keep writing. Just keep writing, writing, writing...


North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover. 

Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books. 

She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit:

Twitter: @Leannasbooks

Thank you for sharing Red Curtains with us, Leanna!

Please leave Leanna a comment. :)