November 21, 2023

Astrology for Character Development


Astrology is something that not many of use when we’re creating our characters, but it can be a neat layer in your character development. Using astrology, we can learn more about our characters than ever before.

First, knowing your character’s sun sign (Aries, Leo, Pisces) can provide you valuable insight into the core of who your character is as a person, such as their ego and sense of self. All you need to know is your character’s birth month or day to calculate this, if you have a specific date in mind, or if you know a sun sign that sounds like a fun one, you can chose a birthday to coincide with that sun sign. You can research sun sign facts to understand the basics of each one to find a sign that matches your character.

Second, you can dig deeper in to your character by calculating the moon sign and rising sign for your character. In order to do this, you’ll need to know your character’s birth date, time, and location. This isn’t usually information we think about, but if you take some time, you’ll be able to nail down this information. It could be as easy as using your own birth time, the birth time of one of your children, or a time of day/night you’re attracted to, maybe a time you always tend to wake up or look at the clock.

The moon sign is your emotional and intimate self and will greatly help with understanding your character’s desires, emotions, and deep-rooted feelings. This would be a great aspect to explore for romance writers.

The rising sign, also known as the ascendant, is the version of yourself that people see at first glance. It’s your outer self. Knowing this sign for your character will help you to craft how other characters may respond to him or her when they first meet.

You can create an entire birth chart for your characters and download a free report packed with insights from

QUESTION: Have you used astrology for character development before? Do you know your sun/rising/moon signs? Mine are as follows Aries (sun), Taurus (rising), Scorpio (moon).

November 14, 2023

My Muse Says, "Hi!"


In Greek mythology, there are nine goddesses (known as muses), daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences:

Calliope – Epic Poetry

Clio – History

Erato – Lyric Poetry

Euterpe – Song and Elegiac Poetry

Melpomene – Tragedy

Polyhymnia – Hymns

Terpsichore – Dance

Thalia – Comedy

Urania – Astronomy 

Usually when we think of a muse, we think of a person or a force that is the source of inspiration for a creative person. Sometimes we visualize a fairy-type creature sprinkling us with glittery star dust, which can cause people to think that the idea of a muse as silly, and they balk at the idea of needing a muse to inspire them. They will say something like, “If I waited for a muse to inspire me, I’d never write.”

To me, a muse is a manifestation of your creativity that can make you feel less lonely in the writing process. This manifestation gives you someone to greet when you open the document for your work-in-progress or pick up a pen, someone to vent to or yell at when things aren’t going right. 

When I was little, I had an imaginary friend named Ena. As the youngest in my family, and often pushed aside by my siblings, my imaginative (and lonely) mind did the only thing it could to help me to grow, nurture my creativity, and give me a companion I badly needed and craved; it invented a friend for me and only me. I didn’t have to share her with anyone, and she was always there when I needed her. My entire family knew about Ena and embraced the idea of her. They would even ask me about her like, “How is Ena?” And I would be happy to deliver a report. 

November 07, 2023

Restrictive Writing Rules


One of the biggest causes of writer’s block is all of the restrictive writing rules floating around out there. Many of these writing “rules” are created by other writers and editors. Most of the time, they are opinions, and writers fall for them, thinking they are law, but they are not. Usually you can tell which “rules” are opinions, like not writing sentences that start with “as” or “-ing” words (gerunds).

For Example: As she rocked the baby, she hummed under her breath.

Or: Shaking her head, she glared at him.

There is nothing wrong with those sentences. Nothing at all. They are grammatically sound. More importantly, you very well can rock a baby and hum simultaneously. You can also shake your head and glare at someone at the same time. Writing sentences like this is NOT a sign of a hack writer, as some would say (I actually saw this wording in a book for writers), which in fact is an awful thing to say. Talented, dedicated writers have sentences like this in their work. I do, and so do well-known authors.

The only time I have a problem with sentences that start with “as” or “-ing” words is if it’s impossible for a human to do the two actions mentioned at the same time.

For Example: Running upstairs, she hopped onto her bed.

Unless her bed is in the middle of the staircase, this does not work. The character would have to run up the stairs, enter her bedroom, and then hop onto her bed.

Another writing rule I came across is not to write about tears. Yes, really…tears. This rule was published in a book of writing rules shared by published authors. I found it at the library and couldn’t believe the “advice” in it. The author for this rule said not to write about tears in any shape or form. No teary eyes. No tears on your characters’ cheeks. No lingering tears. Etc. Etc. Etc.


Tears are an emotional reaction, a physical cue that happens when we are sad, happy, or angry. Tears mean something is going on internally, and one way for that turmoil to get out is through the formation and shedding of tears. Tears are normal, natural, HUMAN. You can’t write about a crying character and not mention tears.

I feel a tear coming on right now that this rule exists in a book that writers can read.

Another rule I find crazy is to use only 10 exclamation points per manuscript. Or not to use them at all. Let me just say this…

I HATE RESTRICTIVE WRITING RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There. I abolished that rule.

I feel so much better now.

October 31, 2023

Do You Write? Then You're A Writer!

Julie & Julia is one of my favorite comfort movies. In the beginning of the film, Julie says to her husband, “You’re not a writer unless someone wants to publish you.”


You’re a writer if you write.


That doesn’t mean you have to be writing all the time, either.

You’re still a writer when you’re blocked.

You’re still a writer when your burned out.

You’re still a writer when you choose to take a break.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a writer is “one that writes,” which should say one “one who writes,” but you get it.

Another definition is that a writer is someone who “expresses ideas in writing.”

No matter which definition you choose, all of them say the same thing…that a writer is a person who writes.

“Published” is never mentioned.

Publishing Depression


For years I fought to get a single thing published. I sent out query letters and received only rejections. Nothing with any substance, either, to let me know what I did wrong. During that time, I kept on writing, though, and completed four books in a series. Still nothing. Not even a shred of hope.

I always read tips from agents telling unpublished writers to build their credentials, as if we aren’t trying to, and get stories published in magazines, as if it’s easy. To this day, I still haven’t had a story published in a print magazine. Although, I must admit I haven’t tried in a very long time, but when I did, nothing. However, there’s other markets out there, such as online magazines. So, I submitted flash fiction pieces to many of them, and still got rejections. Over time, though, I managed to publish a couple of poems and a few flash fiction pieces, one of which was published in a PDF anthology and is listed on Goodreads. Those accomplishments thrilled me and gave me something to put in my bio in query letters, but rejections continued to pour in.

Close to giving up, I had an epiphany. Perhaps I needed a different story to break into the publishing industry. That was when I thought of Hurricane Crimes, and I started to write it on Christmas Day 2012. That wasn’t the end to my struggles, though. Oh no. In many ways, it was just the beginning. The beginning of the road to a lot of good, and the beginning to some of my worst days.

Below is an entry from my journal, bad writing and all. Why am I sharing it with you? Because I hope it’ll demonstrate that you’re not alone, that some of the thoughts you may be having or troubles you may be experiencing, I had, too. Also, to show you that I got past them, and so can you.

August 8th 2013,

I have been feeling really depressed all during July.

This is from a message I sent my best friend:

“…but I’m not optimistic. Nothing ever works out for me. I know, I know, gotta be positive, but I got in a very depressed state today. I feel like a freaking thirteen-year-old! I’m just so aggravated. It’s been five years since I’ve moved to [city name] and nothing (and I mean nothing!) has changed for me. I’m tired of it! I don’t want to be in this situation much longer. So, God needs to hurry things along! [… ] I’m done with people thinking I’m a bump-on-the-log because I don’t have a job or go to school. I’m over my family not understanding my situation. I’m just over it! I don’t know how much more I can feel like a failure at this point and at this stage of my life.”

I’m cutting into my journal entry to say this: I bet you’re thinking I was being rather whiny, huh? Reading that back now, I’m definitely thinking it, but that time of my life had been tough. Every day my circumstances wore me down more and more—the fact that I couldn’t work due to a back disability but couldn’t actually get approved for disability, and how my loved ones treated me. My insecurities were at full swing then, too. Actually, that was the most insecure period of my life. Something my father said to me during his visit stuck with me, which was the same visit where I met my stepmother for the first time. During lunch, he asked me, “Are you still being a bump-on-the-log?” He said it with a light tone, but the words replayed in my head for weeks after that. My father knew my manuscript for Hurricane Crimes was being considered by the senior editor of The Wild Rose Press and how I was fighting to get disability, so his question and that phrase hurt me. Those words contributed to my emotional state at that time.

Now back to my journal entry:

I was so depressed that day that I didn’t even bother checking my email at night before I turned off my computer. Earlier I had checked the old email from the editor from The Wild Rose Press to see how much longer I had to wait [for a decision] and was very depressed to realize I’d have to wait until September for an answer. Well, the next morning, I found I had an email from the editor, which was sent the night before. I started to panic, thinking it was a denial. It wasn’t! She offered me a contract! And this is a bigger deal than the other stories I’ve published because this is with a [real publisher]. I will get to work with editors and cover artists. And it’ll be sold as an eBook.

I signed the contract July 28th!

Oh, the excitement of a first-time published author. If you haven’t experienced that joy yet, I hope you do.

I thought this journal entry would benefit you in showing that even in your hardest, darkest moments there will be a light at the end, and that when you’re so desperate you demand for something to happen, there’s a strong chance that it will, sooner than you realize.

But when hopes and dreams come true, new stresses can emerge and tough times can be on the way. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for your dreams or hope for things because hardships will continue to come. Hardships are a part of life, but we can get through them. Each and every time.

August 15th 2013,

I am very stressed! I’ve learned so much about promotion that it’s tumbling from my ears! Not only do I have to promote my eBook when it’s published world-wide on The Wild Rose Press’s website [and on other vendors], I also have to promote my eBook when it comes out on Kindle three months before and when it’s free for five days. But I am glad I am learning all of this now. It’ll prepare me for when I get an agent and publish [print books] traditionally.

I got so stressed out in November of that same year (as well as October and December 2013) that I wasn’t eating and drinking properly. I lost six pounds and came close to dehydration. Let my mistakes be a word of warning for you. Please, please, please take care of yourself. I started to feel sick because of it. When it’s time for you to publish your first book, don’t be afraid (or too stubborn) to ask for help, take a breath, relax, pause to eat a healthy meal and drink water. Your health is much more important than your book’s release. It’s true.

The great thing is, following that stress and the release of my first eBook, a lot of good things started happening, especially with my blog. A simple nomination for a blog award from another blogger lifted my spirits and made my day. Positive comments and feedback and being mentioned in another author’s blog for my efforts to help other writers boosted my confidence and happiness as well. Those things may seem small, but when you are in the midst of a pain that no one can see and no one knows about, it means everything.

During that time, mixed in with these lovely milestones and acknowledgements that made my heart burst, I was going through one of the worst depressions of my life due to disability and poverty.

October 27, 2023

I’m Dead / Vlog / Ghost of Death


Last year, I recorded this short video. I really had to pull out my acting chops for this one. This is Jolie’s monologue in the beginning of Ghost of Death. Ghost of Death is a short story that’s always $0.99!

I’m Dead

Length: 1:13

BLURB: Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can…by stalking the lead detective on the case.

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Length: 35 Pages (short story eBook)

Genre: Paranormal mystery

Heat Rating: Mild (kissing)

Content Warning: strong language, murder, death

EBOOKs $0.99: Nook / Kobo / iTunes Google Play / Scribd / Amazon

REVIEW: The Story Graph / BookBub / Goodreads

QUESTION: Do you like short stories? Do you like eBooks that are just $0.99? Do you like ghost stories? Well, check out Ghost of Death! 👻 

October 24, 2023

Disability and Poverty Depression


The year 2014 was difficult for me. So much uncertainty, insecurity, sadness, and helplessness. I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost and scared. It was a time of questions: would I get approved for disability, would I be homeless, would I have food to eat? It was also a time of the worst money situation I’d ever lived through.

The below entries from my journal are personal, giving you a peek into my despair and lowest moments.

April 7th 2014,

I got a letter from social security about my [disability] case. It mentioned sending in more information to help my case, so I emailed my volunteering log, pain log, and educational transcripts to my attorney. I called her today, but she said she’d have to call me back tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, the social security decision will be favorable or my court date will be scheduled soon. I’m scared because I’m afraid the judge will say, “No.” If the judge does, I won’t know what to do. My life is practically in his/her hands. If I get approved, my life will literally change. And for the better. That’s what I need. Otherwise, I’m going to remain stuck in my life.

Mom and I were talking about dreams, and I told her about my dreams. It’s nice talking about dreams, but afterward, it makes me feel depressed because I’m worried my dreams won’t ever come true. I hope they do…

April 9th 2014,

Yesterday I got an email from my attorney basically saying that since I don’t have medical evidence from a doctor that I can’t work that my case will be hard to prove and the judge will most likely deny it. […]

When I read her email, it felt as though my whole life crumbled at my feet. I could see all of my dreams falling from the sky. I literally felt defeated. I cried. And not the pretty kind of crying. The snot-running-from-your-nose-non-stop kind of crying.


There’s just been so much bad luck in my life recently. I really need something good, something amazing, to happen.

During this time, my dreams were really up in the air, and soon my sense of security vanished. Every single day I was stressed and full of worry. I didn’t know where to look for relief, because relief couldn’t be found anywhere. There’s a saying “one thing after another.” That’s exactly what this was. One hardship after another. One more thing to try to break me.

Break, I did.

Happy HalloREAD!!! What I Do For Trick-Or-Treaters


Last year, I gave out books to trick-or-treaters. I got the idea the year before and spent all of 2022 stocking up on children’s books, middle grade, and young adult books, and I had a lot of fun doing it, too. I collected these books from library book sales, my own shelves after I’d read them, and other means.

Along with the tubs of books, I included a bucket full of goodie bags containing Halloween pencils, erasers, crayons, stickers, and more. Those supplies came from my mom’s book signing freebies. I’ll have goodie bags this year, too.

Although not pictured, I did have a bunch of plastic bags available, too, for convenience.

My 2022 HalloREAD Display for Trick-or-Treaters

35 Children’s Books

25 Middle Grade Books

13 Young Adult Books

Meet My New Scarecrow

I had a plaid, long-sleeve shirt and old men’s jeans for a scarecrow, but I’d apparently accidentally donated it or threw it out because in its place was a bag of clothes I’d meant to donate. So, I decided to make a scarecrow out of those clothes, which was a lot of fun since scarecrows are usually masculine. I gave her my “You say witch like it’s a bad thing” T-shirt, and my mom gave me the idea to make a scarecrow baby bundle when it looked like the scarecrow was missing something.

I think I need to name her. Any ideas? 

This year, I’m doing the same thing. I still have a few of these books and a bunch of “new” ones. And this year my sign will say “FREE BOOKS! Take as many as you want!” because I want to encourage everyone to take, take, take. Let’s encourage kids to read more. ❤️

I’ll share pictures of my display on my Facebook and Instagram on Halloween. Follow me there!

QUESTIONS: What should I name my scarecrow? Have you ever given books to truck-or-treaters?

October 10, 2023

Remove Trigger People


My depression impacted my motivation and ability to write, and it can do the same for you, especially if your depression is trigged by the people in your life.

A big factor in my depression (that started late 2016) was people in my life who brought me down. On purpose. Following family drama, which was the first rung down into the pits of depression for me, I blocked specific people from sending me Facebook messages since this was the popular mode of conversation, especially when someone wanted to start a fight or cause drama. I kept the blocks on for about six months.

I strongly suggest you do the same when you go through a tough time that involves others. Seek space from them.

In this day and age, that can be tough with social media, but it can be done. I don’t recommend unfriending them and blocking them from your social media accounts, though, as that is a bit extreme. Besides, after some time passes and things get patched up, you’d have to send that person another friend request or accept the one he/she sends you. Instead, must/unfollow that person's posts so you won’t see their updates in your feed and block them in your Facebook messenger. You can also stop them from seeing any of your future posts. However, if you want to cut all ties, unfriending is necessary when all of the above doesn’t help you to move on. I’ve had to do this.

Now, if this person is harassing you, commenting on your posts or posting nasty things on your wall, then yes, blocking is your answer. No one has the right to bully you, not even on social media, and you don’t have to stand there (or sit there) and take it. Block, block, block with no regret. You’ll feel freer and lighter and, ultimately, safer with that person blocked.

If the toxic person is at work, talk to human resources and/or your boss about the issue. Don’t allow anyone at your job tell you to let it go or keep it quiet or ignore it. No one should have to let go, keep quiet about, or ignore harassment, bullying, rudeness, aggression, racism, sexism, and anything else dehumanizing.

If your boss or fellow employees stick up for the other person, saying things like “that’s how he/she is,” “that’s how he/she communicates,” and basically telling you to get over it or get used to it, I think it’s time (for your health and sanity) to start looking (on the down low) for another job. This is exactly what I had to do.

September 26, 2023

Tish McGinnis, Medical Examiner / Character Interview

Today I'm bringing you a character interview with Tish McGinnis, a medical examiner, from Witch of Death, my short paranormal suspense eBook available for 99 cents. This was a post for my blog tour years ago that is no longer on the other blogger's site (and which I had linked to on my website...bummer), so I am sharing it here on my own blog.

Name: Tish McGinnis

Place of Employment: New Orleans Police Department

Occupation: Medical Examiner 

Actress: Meg Ryan

Chrys: Hi, Tish! Thanks for meeting me in the cafeteria. *looks at a box in Tish’s hands* What’s that?

Tish: Muffins. I brought them for you.

Chrys: Oh, that’s so sweet. Thanks! Are you ready for a quick interview?

Tish: I’m always ready.

1. Can you tell us about your typical day on the job?

Sure, I may get called to 1-2 crime scenes to check out the body or bodies. When they’re transported to my office, I examine them thoroughly from head to toe. I take swabs from the inside of their mouths, scrap under their finger nails, and look for any evidence and signs of injury, as well as cause of death.

2. What is your hardest case to date?

All of my cases involving babies and children are equally difficult. I hate seeing tiny people on my table.

3. On a scale of 1-10 how difficult would you rate your current case?


4. Why’s that?

Because it’s so strange! There’s no wounds on his body, no blood on his clothes, no bite marks, no nothing, and yet there’s no blood left in his body. I don’t know how this could’ve happened or what kind of weapon could cause this. It had to be something...supernatural.

5. Interesting...what are your hobbies outside of work?

I like to ride my Harley, binge watch Vampire Diaries (I love me some Damon), and bake all sorts of goodies such as muffins, cookies, and pies. I give some of it away, but I eat most of it. No wonder why I can’t ever lose my muffin top!

Chrys: *looks down at the empty box* Well, I don’t think you have to worry about that this time, because I ate all of the muffins.

Tish: So now you’ll have the muffin top!

Chrys: Wonderful.

BLURB: Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

EBOOK: Nook / Kobo / iTunes / Google Play / Scribd / Amazon 

September 19, 2023

Meet Libby, the Witch + Witches - True or False


There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation out there about witches, so let’s debunk them and get some facts straight, shall we?

This was a post for my blog tour years ago that is no longer on the other blogger's site (which I had linked to on my website...bummer), so I am sharing it here on my own blog.

1. Witches fly on broomsticks at night.

False. Witches use brooms to cleanse sacred spaces and sweep away negative energy.

2. The pentagram is the sign of evil.

False. The pentagram represents the earth element and the feminine force.

3. Practical Magic isn’t just the name of a book/movie, but a type of magic.

True. Practical magick is the use of magic for practical means, such as for healing and medicinal use through herbs, tea, soap, candles, and aroma therapy.

4. Witches wear pointed hats.

True. A pointed hat represents a cone of power flowing from a higher source into the witch’s mind. They are mostly worn during rituals.

5. Witches sacrifice animals for spells and rituals.

False. Witches believe animals and everything on earth, including trees and rocks, are sacred. 

6. Witches serve in the military.

True. This is an old statistic, but as of 2006, an estimated 1,800 witches served in the US Military.

7. Everyone who practices Wicca is a witch.

False. Not every witch is Wiccan, nor is every Wiccan a witch.

8. Witches perform spells to attract things they want.

True. Witches do try to attract good things they want with spells (which can be elaborate rituals or a simple spell bottle containing herbs and crystals), chanting, or visualization, but they don’t cast a spell that harms others or takes away someone’s free will. They may bind someone from causing harm, though, or energetically cut ties.

9. Wiccans honor the gods and goddesses only.

False. Many witches pray to the Christian God and believe that all spiritual paths (Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) are equally valid. A witch can pray to whatever higher power they choose, from a single Goddess to Mother Earth. Some even refer connect to what they call "spirit." 

10. Witches have hooked noses and warts.

False. Witches look like everyone else. They look like me.

BLURB: Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.

EBOOK: Nook / Kobo / iTunes / Google Play / Scribd / Amazon 

September 12, 2023

Simone Rose, Medical Examiner / Character Interview

Today I'm bringing you a character interview with Simone Rose, a medical examiner, from Ghost of Death, my short paranormal suspense eBook available for 99 cents. This was a post for my blog tour years ago that is no longer on the other blogger's site (and which I had linked to on my website...bummer), so I am sharing it here on my own blog.

Name: Simone Rose

Place of Employment: Aurora Police Department

Occupation: Medical Examiner

Actress: Amy Lee (who is really a singer from the band Evanescence.)

Chrys: Hey, Simone. Sorry for making you come into the lobby of the department, but I didn’t exactly want to be near any dead bodies.

Simone: No worries, Chrys. But you know, they don’t bite. 

Chrys: I figured that.

Simone: Although, they sometimes burp.

Chrys: *blinks* Really? Never mind. Are you ready to answer a few questions.

Simone: Absolutely. The DB’s will keep for a few minutes.

1. So, why did you decide to be a medical examiner?

I was always different. *shrugs* As a child, I would sit in my room all day reading murder mysteries. I got into medical science young and volunteered at a morgue for school credit. Many people would think it weird, but I feel as though I have more in common with the dead than the living.

2. What’s the worst type of corpse(s) you’ve had to work on?

The worse, by far, are floaters. You know, those bodies that have been in water for days. Not only are they bloated, discolored, slimy, stinky, and covered with maggot but...two slippage.

3. Ick! Can you tell us about the body on your table now? I hope it’s not a floater.

Not a floater...a young woman. She’s twenty-one, and she’s a beauty. She’s how I would imagine my daughter, if I had a daughter. She was murdered last night, her throat slit, and I’m doing everything I can to find evidence to help Detective Avrianna Heavenborn close this case.

4. What do you do when you’re not working?

I’m an intimate creature by nature and I like to spend time with members of the opposite sex. With that said, let your imagination run wild.

5. Oh. *clears throat* Okay. would you describe death?

Death is a spiritual journey we all eventually go on and it’s unique to each of us. It’s not the end, but a doorway to much more. What that more is won’t be known until we take that journey; when it’s our time.

Chrys: Thanks for your time, Simone.

Simone: And thanks for yours, Chrys. I’m just going to go back to make sure none of the DB’s are walking around. I sure hate it when they do that!

Chrys: *laughs* 

BLURB: Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost stalking the lead detective on the case. 

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

EBOOK: Nook / Kobo / iTunes / Google Play / Scribd / Amazon

September 05, 2023

Write What Makes You Happy & Let Others Write What Makes Them Happy

Once, on social media, I read comments between two authors who mocked Hallmark Christmas movies, and they laughed over the idea of them writing stories like that. One writer responded, “Shoot me now.” The other asked a moral quandary question that went like this: “Would you write those cheesy stories if you knew you’d be able to support your family?” The one who asked added that she would because she’s a “sellout.”

That conversation, which I did not get involved in, stuck with me.

Dialogue like that, in public settings, can put other writers down. Someone who writes sweet romances with Hallmark-like vibes may have seen that and felt ridiculed for writing stories that make them happy, and also uplifts the spirits of so many people.

Writing “cheesy stories,” Hallmark-esque stories, sweet romances, romantic-comedies is NOT selling out. 

Nor is writing erotica, a genre that has become increasing popular over the years.

What we write is personal. It’s a decision.

No one has the right to make the decision for anyone else what genres and types of stories are worthy of being written. We all get to make that decision for ourselves.

One writer may not like science fiction. One may not enjoy horror. Another may not like romance of any subgenre.

That’s fine. As long as you don’t claim that certain genres are more superior than others. Or certain genres are crap.

Every genre has a purpose. Fantasy. Sweet romance. True crime. Erotica. Just because it may not be your cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s any less.

Writing a Hallmark-inspired story isn’t selling out if it’s truly what you want to do. 

Neither is writing erotica.

Both ends of the romance spectrum exist for a reason. 

As long as you’re staying true to yourself and your creativity, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for the stories you write.

QUESTION: What do you write that makes you happy and you won't let anyone stop you from writing it NO MATTER WHAT THE HELL THEY SAY ABOUT IT?

August 29, 2023

Flour Tortilla Pizza Recipe / Ghost of Death


In Ghost of Death, my short paranormal suspense eBook available for 99 cents, pizza is very significant to the story. I won’t reveal why or in what way, but because it is important, it had me thinking about the pizza I make to eat. One of my favorites is one that I make at night for a late snack. Below is the recipe for a quick and easy pizza. 

NOTE: This was a post for my blog tour years ago that is no longer on the other blogger's site (and which I had linked to on my website...bummer), so I am sharing it here on my own blog. What’s an even bigger bummer is that this wasn’t the only post no longer on another blogger’s site that I had on my website as bonus content for my books, and I lost two really good character interviews because I didn’t have them saved. *sigh* 

Flour Tortilla Pizza


Flour Tortillas

Marinara sauce

Shredded mozzarella cheese (cheddar is also good)

Pepperoni (if you want it)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Put a flour tortilla on a cookie sheet.

3. Spread marinara sauce of your choosing on the flour tortilla. I have used pizza and pasta sauce. Both are good.

4. Add pepperoni if you want it.

5. Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella cheese. Sometimes I didn’t have mozzarella so I used cheddar. You can even mix them.

6. Pop into oven. Keep a close eye on it because it doesn’t take long for it to get done. 5 – 10 minutes depending on how crispy you want it to get.

7. Use a knife to cut it, let cool a moment, and then enjoy!

BLURB: Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost stalking the lead detective on the case. 

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

EBOOK: Nook / Kobo / iTunes / Google Play / Scribd / Amazon

Interview with a Killer / Seismic Crimes

This was a post for my blog tour years ago that is no longer on the other blogger's site (and which I had linked to on my website...bummer), so I am sharing it here on my own blog.

This interview is coming to you from a Florida prison. I’m sitting at a table, waiting for David Buckland aka Buck to be brought in by guards. I’m a bit nervous. I only have a few minutes to ask him questions and he’s not exactly warm and fuzzy. But I don’t have any more time to think about that because here he comes.

*Buck takes a seat across from me, the guard backs away after shackling buff to the table.*

Chrys: Thanks for meeting with me.

Buck: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not like I had a real choice in the matter.

Chrys: Okay. First question . . .

1. How did you get caught up in Jackson Storm’s drug ring?

*laughs* You think I was dragged into it by Chewy? I was the one who brought him into it. The narcotics kept in the department are a gold mind. All the money! Through street contacts, I linked up with Jackson. He liked the idea of cops working for him, so I approached Chewy and a few others in the department who I knew had the same hunger for money. It didn’t take long before cops from other precincts joined us.

2. But you ran into a problem; You were caught. How did that happen?

We weren’t as careful as we should’ve been. People started to notice narcs going missing and an investigation started. We thought we covered our bases by bribing the man in charge of the evidence locker, but we were wrong…he snitched.

3. So you killed him?


4. Just as you killed the Internal Affairs Investigator who found out—Ryan Goldwyn.

We had to kill him. He put his nose in our business. We had to get rid of him to eliminate the threat of our operation going under.

5. And yet it still went under because of his brother, Donovan. Do you have anything to say to him?

Yeah. He better look over his shoulder for the rest of his life.

BLURB: An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?

EBOOK/PRINT: Bookshop Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Google Play / Scribd / Amazon 

AUDIOBOOK: Audible / iTunes / Amazon 

August 01, 2023

Dear Marketing Conflicted Writer


Dear Marketing Conflicted Writer,

Do you worry about having to sell yourself and your book?

Many writers do. For some, the fear and aversion to selling is so strong that they do nothing to promote their books, which is absolutely in their right. No one has to do what they truly don’t want to do. If promoting yourself and your books fills you with anxiety and insecurity, don’t do it. You’ll be happier for it. At the same time, you have to be okay with accepting the possible results of not promoting—fewer sales, fewer reviews.

Then there are the writers who want to promote but worry about others thinking they’ve sold out. Why? Because there are artists out there who believe marketing is a bad thing, that real artists shouldn’t stoop so low as to promote their work, that the people who do are only after fame and fortune. They say you’ve “sold out.”

I am here to tell you that promoting and marketing and branding are not bad things. 

We all have different goals.

We all have different ideas of success. Even of art.

As it should be.

We all have the right to choose for ourselves what’s right for us and our art. No one else has the say. No one else’s opinions matter. 

You are a real artist if you promote, and you are a real artist if you don’t.

QUESTION: Do you worry about (or hate) having to sell yourself and your book?

July 03, 2023

Dear Writer with a Problematic Story


Dear Writer with a Problematic Story,

If something isn’t working, let it be.

Sometimes, no matter what we do, a story isn’t working out the way we want it to. Despite trying. Despite determination. Despite the best of intentions.

When this happens, the best thing we can do is to let it be.

Not to forget it.

Not to give up on it.

Definitely not to trash it.

But to set it aside. Put it on the backburner. Let it breathe without you hoovering over it, picking at its bones and tearing it apart again and again. Give it some space from YOU. Give it a break and time to rest from your relentless hammering.

When you do this, you’re giving yourself a break and space from it, too. That time away will give you the rest you need, so that when you do come back to your story you will have a clear mind and fresh eyes to better solve the problem standing in your way. 

For now, though, you have to let it be. It’s okay to do that. It’s acceptable. It’s fine. 




QUESTION: Is your story giving your problems? I'm here to listen.

June 20, 2023

Children’s Books for Pride Month


I’m highlighting children’s books with LGBTQIA+ rep or by LGBTQIA+ authors for Pride Month. These are harmless books that are banned or people want to be banned, which is precisely why I read them and why I’m spotlighting them on my blog. I’m grateful that my local libraries carried these. 

Read banned books!

Read books by LGBTQIA+ authors!

Read books with LGBTQIA+ representation!

Read books about gender identity to children!

Fight for these books to stay accessible to all readers!

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson:

A cute, real story about two male penguins who chose each other and were blessed with a baby of their own to love and care for, making their family whole.

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack:

I adored this story about a prince who knew what he wanted and found that love with a knight. And EVERYONE welcomed their love. 

Tale of the Shadow King by Daniel Haack: 

A nice follow-up to Prince & Knight. Perhaps not as special, but it still carries the important message that it’s okay to be different, and that no one should be shunned or harmed for being different.

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman:

A simple picture book with stunning and colorful illustrations that celebrates love. I’ve never been to a Pride Parade, but this story made me want to go to one. 

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders:

A wonderful story about how the rainbow flag came to be. It made me cry. First with sadness and then with joy and pride.

Stonewall: A Building, An Uprising, A Revolution by Rob Sanders:

A great picture book about the Stonewall uprising. It’s written in the perspective of the building—originally two stable houses—which is unique and I loved.

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff:

A lovely story about a child who knew he was a boy, and whose parents accepted that. The three of them, especially Aidan, want to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes with the new baby. This is a great lesson for siblings and parents about not assuming gender and how you can alter your way of thinking and actions.

Born Ready by Jodie Patterson:

A cute story about how a child is finally able to embrace their true identity and how his family accepts him and loves him regardless.

Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty:

A fun story with brilliant rhymes and wackiness that had me laughing, which means kids will surely burst with laughter.

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lebel:

A cute collection that demonstrates how to be a best friend, a good friend.

The story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf:

A sweet story that teaches kids it’s okay to be different.

William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow:

An older story with a message still relevant today. Kids should be able to play with whatever toys they wants. Toys shouldn’t be gendered. Girls can play with skateboards, and boys can play with dolls. A boy who learns how to care for a doll is preparing for being a father. ❤️

Teddy’s Favorite Toy by Christian Timmy:

A boy’s favorite toy can be a beautiful porcelain doll.

Angus All Aglow by Heather Smith and Alice Carter:

Angus loves things that sparkle and glitter and gleam. He loves his grandma’s necklace that she gifts him when she realizes it brings him joy, but when he wears it to school, the reaction of the other kids dims that joy.

Pink Is for Boys by Bobb Pearlman:

This board book demonstrates that all colors are for all people.

Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love:

Julian loves mermaids and learns to embrace his mermaid-self.

The Boy & the Bindi by Vivek Shraya:

About a boy who has always been fascinated by the dot on his mothership forehead and learns of the magic it can bring you when you wear it.

I’m Not A Girl by Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi, Calvin by JR and Vanessa Ford, Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman are about kids who know exactly who they are and who find the courage to tell their loved ones who that is.

Pride Puppy by Robin Stevenson and Julie McLaughlin is a a cute alphabet story with vivid illustrations.

In Our Mother’s House by Patricia Polacco is perfect for Mother’s Day and Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schaffer is actually set during Mother’s Day but can also be enjoyed on Father’s Day.

Maiden & Princess by Daniel Haack is a “love is love” story set during fairytale/medieval times.

Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride, and Protest in the Fight for Queer Rights by Jamie Lawson and Eve Lloyd Knight (an illustrated collection).

Identity: A Story of Transistioning by Corey Maison (a YA graphic novel).

I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings (a picture book).

NOTE: I blocked out an adult graphic novel that’s not suitable for kids because of the illustrated sex scenes.