Click the image to explore the Disaster Crimes series.

NOTICE:


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June 14, 2022

Meet Thistle the Fairy in Human Form + Giveaway


Last year, I cosplayed as Thistle Greenbud from my mom’s middle grade chapter books Bad Fairy and Bad Fairy Strikes Again. I bought a black wig, put on a black frilly dress I’d worn for Halloween once, topped it with a dark red T-shirt, clipped a flower to the fake hair, and trained my voice so I spoke as I imagined a fairy would speak. Thus, Thistle was born. Or, more accurately, Thistle became human-sized.



I was looking for ways to help my mom market her books, to attract more readers, to stand out. Honestly, while it did stand out in terms of a unique way to promote a book, it didn’t garner the result I was hoping for; we didn’t see an increase in book sales. Not all ideas work in the way you imagine.

Still, I had fun.

Uh-oh! Thistle is human-sized!

What trouble will Thistle get into now?

After I shared images of myself as Thistle, I created short videos that I turned into reels on Instagram. A lot of people don’t like videos on Instagram because it started as a photos-only platform, but everything evolves and evolution is a good thing. Reels can be a creative and fun way to promote a book, which is 100% acceptable to do on Instagram or any other social media platform. Reels/videos can also be used in informative and educational ways, as well as a way to connect to followers more than through immobile images and captions, no matter how long they are.

So, I recorded myself as Thistle.


Here’s the first reel I shared to my mom’s Instagram account:


NOTE: When you click the play button, the video will be small because it’s a reel, not a full-sized video. You can watch the full-sized reel by clicking the “View on Instagram” links below each short clip.


Thistle’s Cry For Help:

0:12 seconds 

View on Instagram 


After the initial video explaining how Thistle got to be as big as a human, I created short clips to introduce her, share fairy secrets, talk about fantasy creatures mentioned in the books, and highlight some fairy slang.


Thistle Reveals Fairy Secrets:

0:21 seconds

View on Instagram


Thistle Greenbud:

0:22 seconds

View on Instagram


Facts About Thistle:

0:18 seconds

View on Instagram


What’s A Batty-Eye?

0:19 seconds

View on Instagram 


What Does Okum-Sokum Mean?

0:09 seconds

View on Instagram 


The above reels/videos are the ones that I think are good introductions to Thistle and are a couple of my personal favorites, but I also want to share the most-viewed reels on Instagram because it’s usually not the images and videos we think will do well that get a lot of interaction. From the ones above, Facts About Thistle (currently 1,090 views) and What’s A Batty-Eye (currently 1,509 views) are among the most-viewed on Instagram, but here’s more:


What Do You Call A Group Of Fairies?

0:11 seconds

View on Instagram

Currently 1,064 views


What Are Brownie Fairies?

0:17 seconds

View on Instagram

Currently 1,395 views


What Are Flower Fairies?

0:28 seconds

View on Instagram

Currently 1,380 views


What Are Goblins?

0:14 seconds 

View on Instagram 

Currently 1,365 views


What Are Boggarts?

0:14 seconds 

View on Instagram

Currently 1,347 views


What’s A Pixie?

0:13 seconds

View on Instagram

Currently 1,079 views


I’ve been VERY slowly posting all the Thistle reels I made for my mom to my TikTok, because it is perfectly acceptable to post videos from Instagram to TikTok and vice versa, and it’s not only acceptable but considerate to cross-promote the same content across your social media for the followers who aren’t everywhere and who would otherwise miss it if you only shared it in one place.

So far, it’s interesting to see the differences between these two platforms. I’ve noticed the videos that did well on Instagram don’t do as well on TikTok, but also the ones that do well on TikTok hadn’t done as well on Instagram.

For Instance, What Do You Call A Group Of Fairies? on Instagram has over a thousand views. Meanwhile, on TikTok (posted much later), it has 236 views. Also, one titled The Fairy Realm has 151 views on Instagram but has 1,300+ views on TikTok. I notice the same for my own reels and TikTok videos (the ones where I’m not cosplaying as Thistle).

This demonstrates why it’s a good idea to share the same content widely, just as you’d have your books wide (which means having your books available on multiple book sites so your readers can purchase them from sites according to their device and purchasing preferences).

TikTok is still foreign to me, but I do like to make videos (be it reels or TikToks) from time to time.


If you’d like to see ALL of the Thistle reels I did for my mom, check out her IG reels here.



June 7 - 24

PRIZES: Signed paperback copies of Bad Fairy and Bad Fairy Strikes Again (middle grade chapter books) by my mom Elaine Kaye, pink flower headband, pink fuzzy fashion scrunchie, “Be Kind” rainbow cosmetic/pencil bag.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


QUESTION: Do you believe in fairies? 🧚‍♀️ 🧚‍♂️ 🧚 


P.S. Thistle may come back in human form this year. Follow my mom (Elaine Kaye) on Instagram to see it when/if it happens!

May 31, 2022

LGBTQIA+ Book Recommendations for Pride Month


June is Pride Month for the LGBTQIA+ community, and believe me, we need it. Yes, “we.” I am the A in the acronym, which stands for asexual (not ally, a common misconception that erases asexual people). With heterosexuality celebrated every day of every year for the past two thousand years or more, those of us on the LGBTQ+ spectrum need and deserve a month to be proud of who we are, love ourselves for who we are, celebrate ourselves for who we are, and to be unapologetic about it.

We need this month.

We need community.

We need true allies.

We need books!

Books written by LGBTQ+ authors and/or with LGBTQ+ characters are the most challenged and banned books EVER. That’s not an exaggeration. LGBTQ+ content dominates each year’s list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books curated by the American Library Association, along with books about racism and books about BIPOC people. In 2019, 8 of the 10 titles that made the list had LGBTQ+ content or characters in them. In 2020, the word/phrase most used in censorship reports was “LGBTQIA+.” This is only getting worse, but it won’t stop kids or readers from reading whatever the hell they want to read!

I support the LGBTQIA+ community.

I support LGBTQIA+ authors.

I support LGBTQIA+ books.

Let’s celebrate the freedom to love our way and the freedom to read!

This post is packed with LGBTQIA+ book recommendations for you to add to your TBR list, read, review, recommend to others, gift to loved ones, share with young readers, donate to Little Free Libraries, and request at your local library.

There’s so many books that I didn’t have space for blurbs or short descriptions. I organized the titles into groups based on where they fall on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and used Bookshop’s widgets that you can scroll through. Then you click on the covers of the titles that catch your eye and read more about them on Bookshop.

***This is not an exhaustive list but rather a starting point.***

Enjoy!


First, I have to shout out this great non-fiction book:


Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride, and Protest in the Fight For Queer Rights

Buy @ BookShop

My Review: This book is fabulous. This is a history of queer rights that was needed and is needed. I learned knew things and expanded my knowledge on others. There’s so much here that’s not readily known, and for a reason, because it was history that had been buried on purpose or it was taboo to discuss.

For instance, we all know about Hitler’s terrifying reign in which Jewish people, Polish people, people of color, people with disabilities, and queer people were targeted. While the fact that queer people were targeted is mentioned (most of the time), it’s never really discussed. Like how 5,000-15,000 men were sent to concentration camps for being gay, and when the war ended and the camps closed, they weren’t often freed but sent straight to prison for being (or assumed) gay. They are “forgotten victims of the Nazis.” 

This book covers a lot including the Stonewall Riots, the AIDS crisis, voguing, the rainbow flag, Pride marches, the LGBTQ+ acronym, prominent figures, and more.


LGBTQIA+ BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

May 03, 2022

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook / Books for Writers

 

May is Anxiety Awareness Month and Mental Health Awareness Month.


THE ANXIETY & PHOBIA WORKBOOK

BUY @ BOOKSHOP


At first glance, this doesn’t look like a book for writers, does it? 

But many writers suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.

I do.

And I’m willing to bet several of you do, too. Or you have in the past. And, although I hope not, you may in the future.

When you suffer from anxiety as a writer, it can impact your writing, your creativity, your energy.

It’s impossible to write when your heart is pounding a-mile-a-minute, when you can’t breathe, when you feel as though you may be sick,  when you’re shaking, when you can’t get your present worry off your mind, when you have ANY symptom of an anxiety or panic attack.


NOTE: An anxiety attack has a trigger and a build-up, which could be as little as a handful of minutes or over the course of days, weeks, or months. A panic attack is sudden, with no warning, no trigger. They share many of the same symptoms, though, and you can have an anxiety attack and a panic attack at the same time. Last year, I had both, separately.


MY STORY:

Anxiety didn’t use to be something that I worried about. Before my anxiety, it was depression and burnout that I feared the most, both of which I discuss in my book Keep Writing with Fey.

Depression is a monster, but anxiety is a nasty beast all of it’s own. Sometimes anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand, two monsters teaming up for a double whammy. And both (either together or by themselves) can be a symptom of burnout. What’s more? Anxiety can cause depression as well as burnout. It’s that sly, that evil.

Now that anxiety is a major concern for me, I am able to look back and see that I’d been experiencing anxiety for much longer than I’d realized. 

The incident in 2016 (which coincidentally occurred in the blogosphere and which I detailed in my book) that brought on my worst case of depression started with a massive anxiety attack. What I had described in my book (but hadn’t realized) was an anxiety attack triggered by what had occurred. Since then, blogging and the blogosphere has remained one of my triggers. I love my blog, and I know many great bloggers, but that doesn’t change the negative impacts I’ve experienced.

It wasn’t until last year (2021), though, when I realized I had a problem. My anxiety had grown from Gremlin-sized to Abominable Snowman-sized. And there were triggers everywhere.

April 26, 2022

The Big Leap / Books for Writers


UPDATE: Last Tuesday (April 19) my mom was admitted into the hospital again and is still there. We’ve received some not-so-good news about her cancer, although her immediate medical diagnosis is improving. I’ve decided not to share anymore updates, good or bad, for…well, indefinitely…until all of her treatments are done and any good news we get is expected to last.


You can read The Big Leap for the reading challenge for writers I’m hosting called Read With Fey. You can join it on The StoryGraph here. But you don’t have to be on The StoryGraph to participate! Check out all the details here: Read With Fey: Challenge For Writers


THE BIG LEAP: CONQUER YOUR HIDDEN FEAR
AND TAKE LIFE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Image by Chrys Fey

In January I was struck in the solar plexus by what I’d be devoting my year to, which can also be described as my year’s goals/themes/words. 

Transformation

Growth

Manifestation

Shifts/Leaps

I purchased several books to help me with these goals and listened to podcasts and watched IGTVs (live videos on Instagram).

My favorite podcast and IGTVs are created by Amy Rushworth. In one of her IGTVs she recommended the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, so it was one of the books I purchased for my transformational growth.


Throughout the book Gay Hendricks teaches us about his program called The Big Leap and living in our Zone of Genius. The terms he uses to describe his theories may not be for everyone (they even took me a little bit to get used to), but nuggets can be found throughout his book that can help us to grow in more than one way, such as:

- Figuring out if what we do is in our Zone of Incompetence, Competence, Excellence, or Genius.

- Spotting our Upper Limit Problems (traits and personal dramas and other things we do unconsciously that keep us from staying happy and enjoying our success).

- Discovering what our genius is (our unique ability)

There were other teachings throughout his book, but these were the most impactful for me.

FYI: In order to better understand these terms and what they mean, it’d be best to read the book.


While I was reading this book I was also taking a month-long break from social media and all things in order to rest and recuperate from…life. Twice throughout the month I had random thoughts about work/tasks/responsibilities that I did that I no longer wanted to do. I listened to those thoughts, found them curious, and pondered them. It was shortly after the second thought when I noticed a possible connection between those thoughts and what I’d been doing that month.

1.) I was resting and replenishing myself with reading, learning, meditation, self-love, and more. 

2.) I was reading a book about not staying stuck in doing things that you’re competent in or even excel in because then you’re not fully embracing your genius and all the ways you could be truly and fully happy and successful.

The two thoughts I had were alerting me to two things I shouldn’t be doing anymore because they were keeping me from leaping into my Zone of Genius, which is writing.

These concepts are all about knowing who you are and what makes you happy and doing things, as well as not doing certain things, that will support you in that happiness and success.

The problem is that most of us don’t know ourselves as much as we should and don’t know what makes us happy, and certainly don’t do what makes us happy for a whole host of reasons.

I’ll reveal my Upper Limit Problems to you.

April 19, 2022

Asian American Pacific Islander Book Recommendations


May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month.

To celebrate these beautiful cultures, to honor the AAPI community who has seen increased violence, and in order to encourage others to read more books by AAPI authors and/or with AAPI characters, I have created a short list of book recommendations for you. There's romance, memoirs, graphic novels, young adult, and more here. This is not an exhaustive list but rather a starting point.

Enjoy!


Asian American Pacific Islander Book Recommendations


*** MEMOIRS ***


Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir by Elizabeth Miki Brina

Representation: Japanese-American

Short Description: Elizabeth's mother was working as a nightclub hostess on U.S.-occupied Okinawa when she met the American soldier who would become her husband. The language barrier and power imbalance that defined their early relationship followed them to the predominantly white, upstate New York suburb where they moved to raise their only daughter. 

Blurb & Buy @ Bookshop


In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar

Representation: Pilipino-American

Short Description: In these nine globe-trotting tales, Mia Alvar gives voice to the women and men of the Philippines and its diaspora.

Blurb & Buy @ Bookshop


Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan

Representation: Pilipino-American

Short Description: Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a sun child from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America. Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as she was treated by others with special preference or public curiosity. 

Blurb & Buy @ Bookshop


So Many Islands: Stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian, and Pacific Oceans by Nailah Folami Imoja

Representation: The subtitle says it all.

Short Description: The 17 selections of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in this vibrant collection unite the voices of islanders from around the globe, complete with an excellent introduction by Marlon James...Readers encounter the language, customs, and flora and fauna of many island nations in this delightful and enlightening volume, an invitation to share and experience islands around the globe.

Blurb & Buy @ Bookshop


*** LITERARY ***


House of Many Gods by Kiana Davenport

Representation: Hawaiian-American

Short Description: Told in spellbinding and mythic prose, House of Many Gods is a deeply complex and provocative love story set against the background of Hawaii and Russia. Interwoven throughout with the indelible portrait of a native Hawaiian family struggling against poverty, drug wars, and the increasing military occupation of their sacred lands.

Blurb & Buy @ Bookshop


*** POETRY ***


Tofu Quilt by Ching Russell

Representation: Chinese-American

Short Description: A collection of poems telling the story of Yeung Ying, a young girl in Hong Kong in the 1960s who, against the conventions of society and family members, aspires to become a writer.

Blurb & Buy @ Bookshop


*** ROMANCE ***

April 15, 2022

My Date with Thorn from A Fighting Chance + GIVEAWAY


UPDATE: My mom was allowed to go home on the 12th (my birthday) but was still inpatient (not discharged) and continued her treatments at home with nurses visiting throughout the day to monitor and even take her blood. She was officially discharged from their care yesterday (the 14th) but is still on oxygen until her lungs get stronger and the pneumonia clears out. Thank you all for your prayers and birthday wishes. ❤️


NOTE: I am posting this a lot faster than usual. Lately I've only be posting once a week on Tuesday, so if you missed my post from Tuesday, you can find it here: Disaster Crimes Series Playlists with Scene Breakdowns.


The author/character date is a feature I've offered my guests in the past, and when I realized I've never gone on a date with one of my characters, I wanted to remedy that ASAP, so I'm going out on a date with Thorn from A Fighting Chance (Book 6 of the Disaster Crimes series, although he is featured throughout the series).


My Date with Thorn From A Fighting Chance


I am lucky, lucky, LUCKY.

If you've read A Fighting Chance and know all about Thorn, then you know just how lucky I am.

If you haven't been introduced to Thorn yet, consider this your invitation!

Thorn and I are going to have a one-on-one date. He's bringing me to a Thai food restaurant because after he found out that, although I'd written all about him and Amanda have a lovely Thai lunch together, I have never tasted Thai food. Being the considerate and kind man that he is, he wanted to rectify that for me. He says he knows me well and what I will enjoy it, and I trust him 1000%. Not only do I trust him to protect my taste buds but also to have my back. When it comes to someone having your back, Thorn has exemplified this from the moment he came into the Disaster Crimes series in Book 2, Seismic Crimes. He's the one you want on your side. He's the best of the bestest best friends anyone could ask for. And when it comes to be a romantic partner, he is top tier. The top-est of the top tiers.

Okay. Enough gushing over Thorn. Although, he's totally gush-able. That sounds weird, but I'm not taking it back.

Okay, now picture this...

Thorn, a lookalike of Josh Duhamel, is wearing dark wash jeans, boots, and a button-up blue flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, because the sleeves always have to be rolled up to show sexy forearms. I don't make the rules! I just gleefully follow them, and I love sleeves rolled up to show sexy forearms.

Sitting across from me at a small table, he points out dishes on the menu that I'd like. The air smells of shrimp and curry and mouth-watering goodness. 

I order a chicken Khao Pad (fried rice), served with a wedge of lemon and cucumber slices;  Gaeng Daeng, a delightful mix of meat, red curry paste, and coconut milk; and Yam Nua (beef salad) with grilled tenderloin strips, chopped shallots, onion, garlic, and sprigs of fresh spearmint.

I sample it all and am quite pleased. Thorn chuckles as I stuff a hunk of red curry-covered meat into my mouth.


Chrys: What?

(I ask that all elegant-like, with my mouth full and cheeks puffed out.)

Thorn: Nothing. I'm glad you like it.

Chrys: I like it a lot. (I swallow my mouthful.) So, tell me, how is work?

Thorn: You really want to know how my work is going?

(Thorn is a detective at the Orlando Police Department. Usually I find his work fascinating, but today I really don't care much about it.)

Chrys: You've got me. I want to know about you and Amanda.

(Thorn grins like a man in utter love, totally committed, and blissfully happy.)

Thorn: You know we're good.

Chrys: Yes, I know that, but they don't. (I point at my laptop screen where my blog is open, transmitting this date for you.) Besides, it's been a while since we caught up.

(Thorn takes a gulp of sweet tea before crossing his arms on the table with a mischievous grin.)

Thorn: Okay, so what do you want to tease them with?

Chrys: Whatever you've got.

Thorn: Like how Amanda's ex nearly cost us our happy ending?

Chrys: That's a good place to start.

Thorn: Or how about that surprise from Mother Nature?

Chrys: Let's not forget that.

Thorn: Or how I finally won over Amanda?

Chrys: We definitely can't forget that!

Thorn: And what happened afterward when I thought I had inherited Beth and Donovan's disaster curse?

Chrys: That was unfortunate.

Thorn: Or how Damon finally got sentenced?

Chrys: Wait. He did? (I blink in surprise.) When? What happened?

Thorn: Or our wedding plans? Or--

Chrys: Thorn, hold on...

Thorn: Or what about--

Chrys: Stop! (I throw my hands in the air.) We clearly have a lot to catch up on.

Thorn: Indeed we do, but some of it is confidential, so-- (He points at my laptop screen.)

Chrys: Right. (Turns to laptop.) Sorry, everyone. You heard the detective. Confidential is confidential. (Lowers laptop lid, ending the transmission.)


Sorry I couldn't share any more about our date with you. If Thorn ever let's me share those details, my newsletter subscribers will be the first to know. And I have a feeling he'll let me share it in my May newsletter, so sign up now to get those details! *wink*


PRIZES: Signed paperback copy of A Fighting Chance, XOXO wall art décor, XO bath bombs coconut scent, travel size first aid kit, and an emergency flashlight that you recharge by squeezing.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




April 12, 2022

Disaster Crimes Series Playlists with Scene Breakdowns + GIVEAWAY


UPDATE: I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t provide these updates anymore because every time I share good news, there’s a setback immediately after. My mom has been in the hospital since Sunday evening after an early trip to the ER and a diagnosis of pneumonia. She’s feeling better, and if everything works out we’re hoping she’ll be coming home today, April 12 aka my birthday. So, you know the drill…my return visits to blogs and replies to comments will be delayed but not forgotten.


In my last post, I shared playlists I've created for writers, so I thought I should also share the playlists I've created for the Disaster Crimes series. Today is also my birthday, so I really wanted to do a fun post. :)

Feel free to check out the Playlist page on my website for all of my playlists.

Click the links below to go directly to each playlist on Spotify.

You can also go to my Spotify profile to follow me.

I hope you enjoy the playlists!


DISASTER CRIMES SERIES PLAYLISTS:



HURRICANE CRIMES:

FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.



PLAYLIST BREAKDOWN BY SCENE:

NOTE: May contain spoilers.

"Hurricane Girl" by Alexz Johnston - The opening of the story with Beth and Hurricane Sabrina.

"Look At Those Eyes" by Alexz Johnston - When Beth and Donovan meet and Beth looks into his eyes.

"Blow Me Away" by Breaking Benjamin - When Beth sees the breaking news bulletin.

"Hurricane" by Thirty Seconds to Mars - Hurricane Sabrina.

"Gotta Be Somebody" by Nickelback - Intimate scene and the end.

"Living In The Eye of the Storm" by Trapt - While Hurricane Sabrina rages.

"The Thunder Rolls" by All That Remains - The Crimes Before the Storm (prequel), Donovan before he crashes his car in front of Beth's house.



SEISMIC CRIMES: 

FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.



PLAYLIST BREAKDOWN BY SCENE:

NOTE: May contain spoilers.

"Waitin For You" by Demi Lovato - Beth as a kickass self-defense instructor.

"Army Of Me" by Christina Aguilera - Beth's theme song.

"Fight Song" by Rachel Platten - The theme song for The Fighting Chance, Beth's self-defense studio.

"My Kind" by Hilary Duff - Beth and Donovan intimate after they're allowed to leave police department.

"Free The Animal" by Sia - When Beth is undercover at Viper's.

"Catch My Breath" by Kelly Clarkson - Beth's growing love for Donovan.

"The Sun Will Rise" by Kelly Clarkson - Beth walking through San Francisco alone after the quake.

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers - When Beth is trying to get back to Donovan.

"One Step Closer" by Linkin Park - Donovan's PTSD following his brother's murder.

"Somewhere I Belong" by Linkin Park - Also for Donovan's PTSD.

"Getting Away With Murder" by Papa Roach - Buck's theme song.

"I Bet My Life" by Imagine Dragons - Donovan alone in San Francisco following the quake.

"Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon - Intimate scene with ice cream.

"Back At One" by Brian McKnight - Donovan's love for Beth.

"Without You" by David Guetta, Usher - Also Donovan's love for Beth.

"I'll Never Break Your Heart" by Backstreet Boys - For Donovan's promise to Beth. The end.



TSUNAMI CRIMES:

FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.



PLAYLIST BREAKDOWN BY SCENE:

NOTE: May contain spoilers.

"Riptide" by Vance Joy - Opening surfing scene.

"The A Team" by Ed Sheeran - A song for April.

"Hit Me Like a Man" by The Pretty Reckless - When Beth is undercover as a sex worker.

"Drive" by Halsey - Car chase involving Beth.

"All Of Me" by John Legend - Beth and Donovan's wedding and honeymoon night.

"Kings and Queens" by Thirty Seconds to Mars - Surfing in Hawaii.

"Dead in the Water" by Ellie Goulding - Beth and the tsunami.

"Anchor" by Skillet - Donovan and the tsunami.

"My Blood" by Ellie Goulding - Beth post-tsunami.

"Lifeline" by Papa Roach - Donovan post-tsunami.

"Tears Don't Fall" by Bullet For My Valentine - When Beth is kidnapped.

"Paradise" by Coldplay - Also for when Beth is kidnapped and held hostage.

"Broken" by Seether, Amy Lee - When Donovan searches for Beth, and when they are reunited.

"Human" by Krewella - Beth's PTSD.

"Walk on Water" by Thirty Seconds to Mars - The end.



FLAMING CRIMES:

FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.



PLAYLIST BREAKDOWN BY SCENE:

NOTE: May contain spoilers.

"Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys - Beth's theme song for Flaming Crimes.

"All Around Me" by Flyleaf - Beth's PTSD and Donovan's love for her.

"Just Drive" by In This Moment - Donovan's monster truck driving/competition.

"Fire and Fury" by  Skillet - Beth and Donovan intimate.

"Fire Meet Gasoline" by Sia - Beth and Donovan intimate.

"Let It Burn" by Red - For all the fires burning throughout Central Florida, and Lori's house.

"Burn It Down" by Linkin Park - For the fire surrounding Beth and Donovan's house.

"Let Us Burn" by Within Temptation - Beth confronting Viper in the middle of the inferno.

"My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" by Fall Out Boy - Beth and Donovan intimate after the fire.

*All the Demi Lovato songs represent Beth, and all the Daughtry songs represent Donovan.



FROZEN CRIMES:

FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.



PLAYLIST BREAKDOWN BY SCENE:

NOTE: May contain spoilers.

"Feel Invincible" by Skillet - Theme song for Frozen Crimes.

"Somebody's Watching Me" (Epic Trailer Version) by J2, Lola - Stalker at the window, stalker in the car.

"Applause" by Lady Gaga - Donovan performing in his monster truck.

"Home" by Daughtry - When Donovan comes home after traveling for monster truck shows.

"Anchor" by Skillet - Beth and Donovan intimate when he returns home.

"Broken Arrows" by Daughtry - Donovan feeling helpless.

"Traitor" by Daughtry - The stalker messing with Donovan's head.

"Battleships" by Daughtry - During and after the blow-out between Beth and Donovan after the stalker sends explicit photographs to taunt Donovan.

"Every Breath You Take" (Re: Imagined) by Denmark + Winter - The stalker's theme song.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by The Carpenters - Slow dance with Beth and Donovan during their holiday party.

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey - Another song Beth and Donovan dance to at their holiday party.

"I'll Be Home For Christmas" by Michael Bublé - Slow dance with Beth and Donovan during their holiday party.

"Where Are You Christmas" by Faith Hill - Played during their holiday party.

"Wonderwall" (Acoustic Stripped Version) by J2, Miranda Dianne - Beth's point-of-view during the times when Donovan is trying to get back inside the house to her, post-blizzard.

"Aint No Mountain High Enough" (Epic Trailer Version) by J2, Coleen McMahon - Donovan's point-of view while he is trying to get back inside the house to Beth, post-blizzard.

*The rest of the songs I listened while writing the holiday party and blizzard scenes.



A FIGHTING CHANCE:

FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.



PLAYLIST BREAKDOWN BY SCENE:

NOTE: May contain spoilers.

"Face Down" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Amanda's past abusive relationship from when she was still with Damon.

"Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato - Amanda's theme song.

"Crawling" (Acoustic Stripped Version) by J2, I AM WILLOW - Amanda's PTSD and anxiety from past trauma, as well as her panic attack after Damon shows up.

"What About Now" by Daughtry - Opening scene when Thorn is getting up the courage to ask Amanda out on a date.

"Waiting For Superman" by Daughtry - For Amanda before she meets Thorn for their coffee date at the park.

"The Sound of Silence" by Disturbed - Thorn's point-of-view following Amanda's panic attack after Damon shows up.

"Every Breath You Take (Re:Imagined) by Denmark + Winter - When Thorn realizes Damon has been spying on Amanda.

"One Way Or Another" by Until The Ribbon Breaks - Damon's theme song.

"Halo" (Epic Trailer Version) by J2, I AM WILLOW - Amanda falling in love with Thorn more and more.

"Feels Like Tonight" by Daughtry - The moments leading up to Thorn and Amanda making love for the first time.

"Love Me Like You Do" by Ellie Goulding - When Amanda and Thorn make love.

"Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" by Denmark + Winter - When Damon breaks in during the storm.

"Warrior" by Demi Lovato - Amanda fighting Damon off.

"Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood - The tornado.


APRIL 5 – 22

PRIZES: Signed paperback copy of A Fighting Chance, XOXO wall art décor, XO bath bombs coconut scent, travel size first aid kit, and an emergency flashlight that you recharge by squeezing.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



QUESTIONS: Do you make playlists for your books?





April 05, 2022

Spotify Playlists for Writers (and Readers...ANYONE!) + GIVEAWAY


UPDATE: On Valentine’s Day my mom rang the chemo bell. At the end of February she was hospitalized for two nights due to complications. The beginning of March she completed radiation. Then she had a CT scan done that showed the tumor in her lung has shrunk from 5.5cm to 2.2cm. She has started once-a-month immunotherapy treatments to continue to kill cancer cells and maintain the positive outcome of her previous treatments. ❤️ Thank you for all of your prayers and kind thoughts. Its not over yet, but this is great news. Continued prayers appreciated. ❤️


📣 ANNOUNCEMENT 📣 

I am a judge for the Florida Writers Association’s annual Royal Palm Literary Awards, and I couldn’t be happier! When I looked into the contest, I was pleased to see their diversity statement, the fact that they implement diversity training for all judges, have an LGBTQ+ category for fiction and non-fiction, and have separate categories for young writers so they can enter and see their dreams realized, too. This is a competition I can support and am honored to be a judge for.

I have judged three entries already, which is the amount we must judge before announcing we’re a judge. I can’t say which genres/categories I’m judging, but I will say that it’s several. I am looking forward to reading more entrants and seeing the winners announced later this year.


****


While I was participating in NaNoWriMo last year, I was also creating a bunch of playlists for writers. I updated the Playlist page on my website.

On Spotify, you can see the full playlist and also follow it by clicking the heart icon. The widgets below only go up to 100 songs, and some of the playlists are longer than that.

Click the links below to go directly to each playlist. Then click the ❤️ to add that playlist to your library.

You can also go to my Spotify profile to follow me.


MY SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS:


Romance Playlist for Writers (...ANYONE) - Love songs. Listen while writing romance scenes of all heat levels, reading romance, & when you are with your love. Classics, 90s, and current hits.



Heartbreak Romance Playlist for Writers (...ANYONE)Heartbreak/sad love songs. Listen while writing romance/scenes when your characters are heartbroken, or when you're feeling the blues from a breakup. Classics, 90s, & current hits. 




Erotica Playlist for Writers (...ANYONE) - Sexy playlist. Listen while writing steamy romance and erotic scenes, reading erotica, or when you want to get in the mood for sexy times. *wink* 




My Top 10 Favorite Battle SongsThese are my top picks for battle songs I listen to while writing battle scenes. They're ordered to be a progression from before, during, and after a battle. 



My Top 10 Favorite Fight SongsThese are my top picks for songs I listen to while writing fight scenes.




Action Playlist For Writers (...ANYONE)Rock music and heavy metal. Listen while writing action scenes (fights, battles, etc.), reading suspense, or during those times when you need to vent anger.




For Fighters/Warriors/Survivors - A playlist to support survivors of domestic abuse and all forms of violence. These songs are about strength. Let them lift you up, make you feel powerful. Workout Playlist. Pump Up Playlist. All genres. 




Other Playlists I’ve Made:


APRIL 5 – 22

PRIZES: Signed paperback copy of A Fighting Chance, XOXO wall art décor, XO bath bombs coconut scent, travel size first aid kit, and an emergency flashlight that you recharge by squeezing.




QUESTIONS: Do you use Spotify? Do you listen to music while you write OR to get inspired?





March 29, 2022

10 Book Recommendations for Ramadan (for EVERYONE!)

 

This year, Ramadan is predicted to begin on April 2, although this could change slightly depending on the sighting of the moon, and end on May 1. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. To honor those who will be celebrating and participating in Ramadan, I am sharing 10 book recommendations with you to help you add diverse books and authors to the titles you read this year, as well as to encourage you to educate yourself on a group of people (Muslims) who are vastly misunderstood and discriminated against. We can only know better and do better if we learn and unlearn, and reading is the best (and easiest) way to do that.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:


*** Not the Girls You're Looking For ***

by Aminah Mae Saf


Debut author Aminah Mae Safi's honest and smart young adult novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if--especially if--you love them. 

Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she'd nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she's done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Once Upon an Eid ***

Short Story Collection


A joyous short story collection by and about Muslims, edited by New York Times bestselling author Aisha Saeed and Morris finalist S. K. Ali

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** Love from A to Z ***

by S K Ali 


A School Library Journal Best Young Adult Book of 2019

A YALSA 2020 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes--because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb's teacher, who won't stop reminding the class how "bad" Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn't bad. She's angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, "nicer" version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam's.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam's stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam's also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs...

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP



*** The Bad Muslim Discount ***

by Syed M. Masood 


It is 1995, and Anvar Faris is a restless, rebellious, and sharp-tongued boy doing his best to grow up in Karachi, Pakistan. As fundamentalism takes root within the social order and the zealots next door attempt to make Islam great again, his family decides, not quite unanimously, to start life over in California. Ironically, Anvar's deeply devout mother and his model-Muslim brother adjust easily to life in America, while his fun-loving father can't find anyone he relates to. For his part, Anvar fully commits to being a bad Muslim.

At the same time, thousands of miles away, Safwa, a young girl living in war-torn Baghdad with her grief-stricken, conservative father will find a very different and far more dangerous path to America. When Anvar and Safwa's worlds collide as two remarkable, strong-willed adults, their contradictory, intertwined fates will rock their community, and families, to their core.

The Bad Muslim Discount is an irreverent, poignant, and often hysterically funny debut novel by an amazing new voice. With deep insight, warmth, and an irreverent sense of humor, Syed M. Masood examines universal questions of identity, faith (or lack thereof), and belonging through the lens of Muslim Americans.

BUY @ BOOKSHOP

March 22, 2022

The 5-Second Rule / Books for Writers

 

Please Note: I’m taking a break from social media and all things for the month of March, so my replies to comments and return visits to bloggers will be delayed. I will get to it eventually, though. Promise. Thanks for your understanding! 


You can read The 5-Second Rule for the reading challenge for writers I’m hosting called Read With Fey. You can join it on The StoryGraph here. But you don’t have to be on The StoryGraph to participate! Check out all the details here: Read With Fey: Challenge For Writers


THE 5-SECOND RULE 

Image by Chrys Fey

BUY @ BOOKSHOP


FYI: The 5-Second Rule is exactly what it sounds like. You literally say/think “5- 4- 3- 2- 1,” meaning you countdown, and then you use that as momentum (like a rocket blasting off) to do something, like whatever you are procrastinating doing. 


While reading Chapter Two, I already recognized the benefit in using the 5-Second Rule to get me to do the things I've always wanted to pick up and turn into a habit but I was too busy or too tired to too lazy or too...

This tool doesn't only have to be used for a daily habit; it can be used spontaneously, too, especially in those moments when you need courage: like asking for that promotion, looking for a new/better job, sending a query letter, submitting a story, hitting "publish" on Amazon. The potential for this tool is endless and can be used by writers in many ways.

Even 5- 4- 3- 2- 1- Butt in seat.

However...

I'd like to share one warning that's not discussed in the book.

5- 4- 3- 2- 1- BURNOUT!

Don't let the 5-Second Rule burn you out. 

As someone who has gotten burned out and suffered for it, I can see how someone obsessed with this tool and the results of it could overdo it and burn themselves out. 

I mean, in the very same Chapter Two where I recognized the benefits, I also recognized the possible danger. Mel Robbins talked about how her husband used the Rule to meet with dozens of advisors and "worked day and night." She described the "grit, hustle, and commitment" and said that he and his partner "pushed, pushed, and pushed some more."

And they probably burned themselves out or came pretty damn close to it.

So, definitely use it to get you to do those things you always put off or would like to do (e.g. meditate, exercise), as well as the things that require courage that you truly want to do, but also...pay attention to your body.

While your brain can stop you and hold you back, as Mel says, you need to be in tune with the rest of your body. This is called embodiment and is not discussed in this book. Be in tune with your body at all times so you can use this tool wisely and at the right time.

Image taken of a page from the book
The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Yes, this tool is great for cultivating those habits of exercising when you should or waking up on time and going for the opportunities that present themselves to you before fear can make you back down, but I also believe it can be used this way: