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


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. 





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.


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!



FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.


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.


FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.


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.


FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.


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.


FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.


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.


FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.


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.


FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY. Click the ❤️.


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. ❤️


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.


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?