June 17, 2024

How Did the Movie Pitch Black Inspire me?

 

In my Thursday 13 blog post titled Movie Lists Fun (Childhood Favorites, Comfort Movies, All-Time Favs), I shared lists of movies, including my all-time favorite movies. Next to several of those movie titles there had been an asterisk, indicating that those films had inspired/influenced me as a writer. 


The Movies:

Pitch Black

UltraViolet

Matrix: Reloaded

Van Helsing

Gothika


Once a month, I am going to highlight one of those movies and reveal how it inspired/influenced me.


This month's movie is...


PITCH BLACK


How did it inspire me?

Two words...his eyes.





The male main character in my Secret Book Baby Series has eyes that glow silver when he's angry or when he's using his powers. In my mind, I picture Riddick's metallic silver eyes.

So, that's how the movie inspired me as a writer.

As for why it's one of my all-time favorite movies...Riddick is a fascinating (and sexy) character. The movie is dark and gritty, scary with the eerie monsters lurking in the dark, gory at times but not excessively gory, and a nail-bitter with action sequences. The world building is great, the characters are easy to hate or root for and are memorable, and Riddick has great lines. It's a truly great and EPIC dark sci-fi movie that I've watched more times than I can tell you. When it first came out, I probably watched it like ten times that year alone.



June 04, 2024

Take a Peek into My Work-in-Progress: Find Ivy


I realized recently that I never talk about my works-in-progress on my blog.

I want to change that!

Usually, I share details about my WIPs in my museletter (aka newsletter) and on other forms of social media (Instagram and Facebook). But now I want to start doing that here, too. It may be repeated content (if you follow me elsewhere), but I'll try to find something different to share here, too.

With that said, museletter subscribers will always get content first, like exclusive content months in advance or that I won't share elsewhere (until the book is published). For example: In the April issue, I provided an excerpt for when these characters meet. I will not be sharing that anywhere else. So, that's an incentive to sign up for my museletter. 😘 

For being one of my blog followers/visitors, I will give you this heads-up: my next museletter for June will be a look into The Line Between, my enemies-with-benefits paranormal erotic romance. Don't worry, though, the issue will be safe for all reader sensitivities.


Okay, now for Ivy and Ethan...

NOTE: If you're a subscriber to my museletter this may look familiar as I took it from the March issue, but access to Ivy's playlist and the excerpt are perks that only you have. 😍


Genre: Contemporary Romance


Meet Ivy:

Ivy is a curly-haired goddess. Okay, so not a real goddess, but to Ethan she's up there. She is a hair and makeup stylist. Oh, and a psychic, too. Ever since she was a child, she's had visions during her nightly dreams, and they always come true.

When her best friend is kidnapped, she starts to have nightmares about her best friend running through the woods, fleeing her kidnapper. Since local authorities have been unable to find her best friend, Ivy takes it upon herself to hunt down the culprit. She does that by turning herself into bait. It's a good thing then that when she straightens her hair and applies a bit of clever makeup contouring that she looks exactly like her bestie. Her goal is to rattle the kidnapper and make him come after her.


Meet Ethan:

May 30, 2024

Movie Lists Fun (Childhood Favorites, Comfort Movies, All-Time Favs) / Thursday 13

 

This is another contribution to the Thursday 13 blog hop in which participants create a post with some kind of list of 13 things they want to share. The skies the limit.

On my iPad, I found a few movies lists I started to compile last year, thinking I could maybe share them here on my blog or in my museletter (aka newsletter) for fun. Now I have the perfect excuse to finally share them.

I have FOUR lists of 13 things for you today...since they're just movie titles. :)

NOTE: So as to not repeat any movies, I only listed them once, although there is a lot of crossover from list to list.


13 Movies My Family Watched Obsessively During My Childhood:


1. Lord of the Dance (1996)

2. Twister (1996)

3. Jurassic Park (1993)

4. Sister Act (1992)

5. First Wives Club (1996)

6. A League of their Own (1992)

7. Dirty Dancing (1987)

8. Summer Rental (1985)

9. Sarah Plain and Tall (1991)

10. Fly Away Home (1996)

11. Speed (1994)

12. Volcano (1997)

13. The River Wild (1994)

Honorable Mention:

Jumanji (1995)


13 of My Personal Childhood Favorites

May 14, 2024

The Disaster Curse is now FREE FOREVER!

 

ANNOUNCING IT FIRST HERE!


I made the decision to make The Disaster Curse perma-free (with a slight catch that I have to periodically check it on Amazon because they like to revert free eBooks back to their original pricing now, unlike the good ole days when a book was perma-free indefinitely).


NOTE: THE DISASTER CURSE (DISASTER CRIMES, 7) IS A SHORT STORY OF 23 PAGES THAT FOLLOWS A FIGHTING CHANCE (FT. THORN) AND WRAPS UP THE DISASTER CRIMES SERIES.


Could you read The Disaster Curse without having read any of the previous stories?

Well, I couldn't stop you. It could be a good way to test out if you like my writing style.

I personally would recommend at least reading A Fighting Chance (Disaster Crimes Book 6) as that's the first story in Thorn's and Amanda's points-of-view.


To test out my writing style and not spoil what could possibly be six other great reads for you, you can also get free short stories that are earlier in the series, such as:

The Crime Before the Storm (Prequel) - This is a short work of 16 pages and is the prequel before Hurricane Crimes, Book 1 of the Disaster Crimes series and a novelette under 50 pages. It's exclusive to my museletter (aka newsletter) subscribers, so you do have to subscriber to get the secret link. You can read this story for free before Hurricane Crimes. Although I'll give a little warning that it may take away some of the mystery from Book One if you read Hurricane Crimes afterward.

Lightning Crimes (#2.5) - This is a short in-between story of 22 pages, set after Seismic Crimes (Book 2), before Tsunami Crimes (Book 3). It's not an absolute requirement to read this fast story, but I will say that a mystery in it does return in Frozen Crimes (Book 5). This one is free on Amazon and elsewhere.



Pages: 23 
Genre: Action-Adventure 
Heat Rating: None

BLURB: Following a 7.1 earthquake in Guatemala, Thorn and Amanda, volunteering for the American Red Cross, help survivors in any way that they can. They hand out food and water and offer comfort to the people shaken by this event.

A sudden tremor knocks everyone off their feet, only it’s not an aftershock of the quake. One of Guatemala’s many volcanoes is erupting—a disaster on top of a disaster.

Thorn and Amanda now must do whatever they can to help each other and the survivors of the quake endure this natural phenomenon.


FREE EBOOK: Amazon / Nook / Kobo / Apple / Smashwords

REVIEW: The Story Graph / BookBub / Goodreads / LibraryThing


PRAISE:

“I enjoyed this short follow-up to A Fighting Chance and won’t even complain about it being too short. I just always seem to want more of these characters than the author gives me, but I’m pretty sure she has to eat and sleep at some point.” – Toi Thomas, Lit Carnival Reviewer

“The Disaster Curse by Chrys Fey is a short story that gives a hint of the life Thorn and Amanda will have. It’s not all smooth sailing. An earthquake caused by an erupting volcano, setting off a firenado…and the story shows how small the world can be and by believing you deserve good things, your belief will allow you to have them.” – Sherry Fundin, reviewer at Fundinmental.com



May 02, 2024

My Blog's Top 13 Posts of All Time / Thursday 13

 

During the A to Z challenge, Liz A. posted for a small blog hop called Thursday 13 in which participants create lists of 13 things to share. It could be anything. I love lists, so I thought I'd join in a couple of times this month for fun. I’m sharing a list of the most-viewed posts on my blog.


MY BLOG'S TOP 13 POSTS OF ALL TIME:

(based on views)


1. Writing About: A Car Accident - 77.3K views

2. Writing About: A Kidnapping - 15.4K views

3. Writing About: A Wedding - 11.8K views

4. Writing About: Witches - 7.35K views

5. Writing About: A Plane Ride - 6.43K views

6. Protagonist vs Antagonist - 6.27K views

7. Ad Astra Interview / Olivia and Fiona Discuss Banned Books and Intersectional Feminism - 4.01K views

8. New Release Marketing Conclusions - 3.94K views

9. Writing About: Torture - 3.56K views

10. Writing About: A Foot Chase - 3.34K views

11. Writing About: School - 3.25K views

12. Writer's Burnout Part 10 (No Stress) - 3.25K views

13. Dear “I’m Still a Nobody” Author - 3.02K views


NOTE: Comments are closed to these posts, as is the case for all of my older posts. I close the comments to every post about a month after they go live to prevent spam attacks.


It's always interesting to see what posts get the most views. My Writing About feature, which I did for a few years here on my blog, obviously was a hit. I wonder if I should revive it. Back then, the posts were about topics and characters and scenes I'd written about at the time. I've written a lot since I stopped the feature.

If you'd like to check out my Writing About feature, you can find the archive on this page: Writing About. There's sections for Characters, More on Characters, Disasters, Supernatural/Paranormal/Fantasy, Crime, Romance, Places, Seasons, Holidays, and Other.



April 30, 2024

Z - Zoo Trip

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


A couple of weeks after my mom passed away two friends took me on a tour through the Brevard Zoo, which was named the third best zoo in the nation last year. It was the perfect day, not too hot but actually started with a slight chill, so all the animals were happy and out and active, not hiding in the shade and conserving their energy because of the heat. Because of that, I was able to catch a lot of awesome videos. (You can see those in my V for Videos of Wildlife post.) 

Here are some of my favorite snapshots from that trip. They make me smile.



Tortoises make me smile. 

April 29, 2024

Y - Yahtzee

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


My dad and stepmom happened to be visiting when my mom passed away. When I went to their trailer to spend time with them, be around people, have a distraction, and get out of the house, we played two games—Yahtzee and Tri-Ominos. I had never played either game, so they had to teach me, but I quickly caught on and had fun. I was laughing and smiling and being competitive and had momentarily forgotten all about my grief and my mom.

Playing games with your loved ones is a great way to feel connected to others, to bring a little happiness into your life, and to offer your mind and your heart a pause from your sorrow.

Another time I visited with my dad and stepmom, we played Bay Cityopoly, which is a Monopoly game tailored to the city in Michigan where they live.

April 27, 2024

X - X Out Certain Thoughts

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


While going to Grief Share meetings, the discussions we had and the things people shared helped me a lot, especially when it came to certain thoughts that are extremely common that need to be altered.


1. My mom wasn't taken from me.

It can often feel like our loved ones are taken from us. We'll even pray "Please, don't take [fill in with your loved one's name or title]."

I know when my mom was first diagnosed that I had prayed, "Don't take her away from me."

But I did not own my mom.

None of us own our loved ones. Everything that we say is ours (our significant other, children, parents, pets) don't belong to us. They are on loan to us while we are here. If you're religious, then they're on loan to us from God.

If we don't own them, then they can't be taken from us. My mom was my mom here, for which I'll always be grateful that I was blessed to have her as my mom, but she's more than that beyond my life and beyond her life. 

April 26, 2024

W - Wellness Journal

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


My first trip to Walmart after my mom passed away, I was picking up groceries and looking for a journal that I could use along with my Grief Share workbook because there's journal prompts. I thought a journal would be good to write through my grief process, and I didn't want to use the journal I already had, which didn't have many blank pages left anyway.

Instead of a regular blank journal, I ended up finding a "Wellness Journal." I chose this journal because of how I'd suffered from depression in the past, because of how I was beginning my grief journey and was aware that I'd need the extra help and that my wellness is a top priority.

While flipping through it, I saw pages where you could circle how you felt that day, keep track of how many minutes/hours you meditate and do physical activity, fill out acts of self-care, acts of kindness, lessons learned that day, gratitudes, and daily affirmations. You can also keep track of your screen time as well as check off whether or not you rested and relaxed, performed self-care, moved, and hydrated. 

April 25, 2024

V - Videos of Wildlife

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Even when you're in the midst of grief, it's important to find things that can bring you a bit of happiness.

For me, that was going to the Brevard Zoo in Florida and gradually posting all of the pictures and videos I captured during my visit. It made me want to dedicate my social media to nature and wildlife because of how much happiness it brought me.

I hope you enjoy them!


Here are my favorite zoo videos:

NOTE: When you click on the video to play it, the image will appear vertically.


Playful Lion


Length: 1:15

April 24, 2024

U - Use + YOU

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


I have two entries for U.

First up, Use.

Not only did I use my mom's perfume, but I used other items, too.


Rings:

The first thing I did was put my mom's high school graduation ring and the ring she left me in her will (a golden ring with a garnet stone in it that belonged to my paternal grandmother, which was gifted to my mom) on a necklace so I could have them with me day and night, everywhere I went, over my heart.


Earrings:

While going through my mom's things, I came across a pair of earrings I had bought her in November 2022. They were a cheap pair from Claire's online. She had wanted cute, small earrings she could start wearing. Before all of the PET scans, MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans, she wore earrings daily, but countless scans forced her to take them out and forget about putting them back in.

She wanted to reacquaint her ears to earrings, so I bought her Leo horoscope earrings. She wore them once before misplacing them. We thought they were in her room somewhere and couldn't find them. We even thought they had fallen on the floor somehow.

Turns out, she had put them in her bathroom...in a macaron-shaped jewelry box where she'd stored all of her earrings. *forehead smack*

April 23, 2024

T - Tauren Wells "Joy in the Morning"

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


I've listened to the Christian Music Radio Station Z88.3 FM for many years now. I like the uplifting music they play, and I know people who don't even identify as Christian who use this station as a primary source for listening when they're in their car. That's how awesome the music is.

Anyway, at a Grief Share meeting, the hosts like to play a song to start each session. They've played songs I knew, and songs that were newer, such as the one below. I had heard it maybe once or twice before, but I hadn't paid attention to the lyrics. I did this time, also thanks to captions. And damn! Tauren Wells is an amazing singer. So incredibly talented, and his song "Joy in the Morning," is full of hope and joy and power. It's impossible not to sing it.

After I heard it at the meeting, I shared it on Facebook. Then, days later, when I had to drive past the hospital where my mom passed away, I was holding back tears. A minute or two after I drove past the hospital, this song came on, and I truly felt like it was a sign, a gift. I thanked my mom for sending it to me right in the exact moment I needed it.

April 22, 2024

S - Sammy the Teddy Bear

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Sammy the Teddy Bear is the physical manifestation of Sammy the Teddy Bear in my mom's children's books A Gregory Green Adventure Series. I bought him for my mom in 2017 to have fun with my mom and to promote her children's books.

My mom and I had a ton of fun with Sammy. He’s badass. See for yourself:


Sammy went to book events.


He has his own Wookie backpack.

April 20, 2024

R - Removing and Redecorating

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


One thing you'll hear is to take your time. Don't rush. Don't change things too soon.

And there is wisdom in that. Taking your time ensures that you're ready for the next steps and don't do something or get rid of something that you'll later regret.

However, not everyone grieves the same way. And for some, waiting might be the painful part.


REMOVING:

The day my mom passed away, I started to get rid of all her medical supplies. Yes, I was sobbing while removing the blood pressure cuff, forehead thermometer, pulse oximeter, bathroom scale, and bedside commode from her bedroom, but there was a sense of urgency inside me. I HAD to get rid of the damn medical supplies that filled up her room the least year of her life. Over the next few days, I removed the labels from her medications and brought them to a prescription drop-off at CVS and took out the equipment from her bathroom. Doing those things wasn't easy, but it was necessary.


REDECORATING

April 19, 2024

Q - Quiet (Reading) Time


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom’s Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder


A month and a half after my mom passed away, I read a book called Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom’s Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder. Some people would say I shouldn’t have read it so soon, but it helped me in a few ways.

1) In the beginning, while the author remembered her mom before the diagnosis, I remembered some things about my mom and wrote them down in a new journal that I’ll be using specifically for that purpose, to preserve memories.

Side Note: If you're keeping track, I was writing in a family keepsake journal, memory journal about my mom, grief journal, and even had a prayer prompt journal. That's four different journals.

2) I became fortunate that, while my mom had declined, she still looked like herself (aside from a few extra accessories like a nasal cannula, port under her skin, a pleurx catheter, and bruises on her arms) and that she’d still had her mind. She was still clever and funny and creative. I’m also grateful that the cancer hadn’t had a chance to progress, which would’ve changed all of that.

3) It made me feel less alone. There was so much I could relate to.

April 18, 2024

P - Playlist + Photo Collages

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


I had introduced my mom to the YouTube and Spotify apps on her TV in 2020. She spent a lot of time saving songs and playlists she had found and enjoyed to her Spotify account, as well as videos to her YouTube account.

On her YouTube, she’d discovered cute digital Christmas towns and adorable snowy settings with animals created by Tim Janis, that are paired with popular Christmas carols. She loved to play these in the evening when she read. I would always go into her room for a while before bed and had a lot of fun watching those cute videos, too. Sadly, the ones she had saved (that were the best) were marked as private by the creator.

Here’s one, though, to give you an idea:

April 17, 2024

O - Our Story (Keepsake Journal)


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


MY MOM'S MEMORY JOURNAL: 

April 8th, one month and three days after my mom passed away, I found a journal my mom was using to write down her life's memories. I had been looking for a keepsake journal that I knew she had, but I never found it. She must've gotten rid of it because she didn't care for the prompts but rather wanted to write whatever came to her mind instead.

The journal is almost half full of memories.



On the inside of the journal, she'd written:

"I am writing this journal to record any memory of my life when I remember some event.

"I hope this journal will be good reading someday."

April 16, 2024

N - Nature

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey



The week after my mom passed away, I went to Erna Nixon Park, a nature park with a nice, boarded pathway. I walked it with my dad and stepmom as a distraction, to get out of the house, and to be in nature.

Before I left, I sat down on a bench in a little tree nook and spoke out loud to my mom. I don't remember what I said. Maybe I apologized for my what I regretted and felt guilty about, as I had times before then and times after that. I might've just told her I loved her and missed her. Or I did a combination of all of that. Either way, what I said wasn't really important. What was important was that I spoke to her because I needed that.

I also took a bunch of pictures and posted a few photo dumps on Instagram. 


Like these:

April 15, 2024

M - Miracle Moments

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Miracle Moments are those times after someone passes away, when in the midst of your grief, something happens to bring you peace or happiness or calm, that can make you feel connected to your loved one and give you hope, and even make guilt and regret vanish.


FIRST MIRACLE MOMENT:

I experienced my first miracle moment on March 16th (13 days after my mom had passed away). I was having a really hard time. I was in my mom's bedroom, lying on her bed, hugging myself and sobbing.

Since my mom had passed away, I'd been stepping into her room occasionally to clear out the medical supplies and to find things that my mom wanted to leave to my siblings. Each time I went in there, I couldn't find my mom's Bible, which was odd, because it had been in the same place for months--close to her recliner, beneath her childhood vanity. But every time I looked for it there, I couldn't see it.

In the middle of sobbing on my mom's bed, I looked over and there it was, right where I had known it should've been, as if it had been hiding in plain sight until that moment.

I got up, sat down on her recliner, and opened it. On the dedication page I found an old, aged yellow piece of newspaper my mom had taped to it. It was a poem...the "Immortality" poem by Clare H. 

I recognized it immediately and started sobbing anew. 

It was like a message from my mom telling me not to cry (anymore), that she was okay and that I'm okay, that she is with me still...everywhere.

April 13, 2024

L - Ladybug Rocks #LadyBugRocksFL

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


A few weeks after my mom passed away last year (2023), I found a small bucket of stones my mom had hand-painted to look like ladybugs. She had wanted to use them as swag at book events. Either as is or to turn them into magnets. I decided to leave them in random places for strangers to find, hoping they’d bring a smile to someone’s face. Or bring others a little luck. I think she would’ve liked the idea of her ladybug stones decorating the city for people to discover by chance, like treasure left behind by fairies. (I’m the fairy.) 

There were 63 ladybug rocks total. I still have a handful left for special occasions.



These are the ladybug rocks.

April 12, 2024

K - Kitchen Time

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


One of the first things I did after my mom passed away was go through her recipes. I was looking for her best recipes as well as things I could make myself. The recipes that I did not keep—which were just magazine recipes or recipes she jotted down from cookbooks—I gave to my siblings to go through and take what they wanted. I made copies of all of my mom's special recipes and gave them to my siblings.

The first meal I made myself was a cottage pie recipe that calls for beer (I used non-alcoholic beer because that’s what I had). It was yummy.

Then I made salmon with a brown sugar and hoisin sauce glaze.

I also made my grandma’s sloppy joe recipe that calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup.

Then came a creamy chicken recipe and another salmon recipe with mustard, brown sugar, and dill.

And so on and so forth.

April 11, 2024

J - Job (New Job)

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


I started a full-time job in June, three months after my mom passed away. Before then, I was a stay-at-home writer, fully disabled under the law. However, living on my own required me to get a job in order to survive.

I applied to more jobs than I can tell you and interviewed for a few that ended up not being right for my needs. The job I landed was actually advertised in a local Facebook group my sister is a member of. She sent me the post. I contacted the person who advertised the job, got an interview with the owner, vice president and general manager, and got confirmation two hours later that the job was mine. 

Although I will not say where I work for obvious Internet safety reasons, I will say that I am in an administrative role. I really like my job. It's easy, but there's still challenges to keep it from being boring. At the same time, there's lulls where I get to write.

April 10, 2024

I - Imari

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


When my mom passed away, I finally realized why people become so attached to their loved one's clothes (and it’s because we live our lives in our clothes, memories are attached to them, and our scent clings to them). I had a hard time dealing with my mom’s clothes because I could picture her wearing them, and then there was the fact that they still smelled like her. Not her perfume, but her.

Although her clothes and her room didn’t smell like her signature perfume—because she had been out of her signature perfume for over a year—I found myself wanting to smell it for comfort and to remember my mom.

Our sense of smell is powerful. We can catch the whiff of something and be brought back to a time when we were children. We can pass by a stranger in a store, catch the scent they are wearing and recall our mom or dad or teacher or [fill-in-the-blank] using that same scent.

For me, AVON scents hold powerful memories. 

My mom sold AVON for years.

I even sold AVON for years.

My mom’s favorite perfume is Imari by AVON.

She also loved Haiku by AVON.

Another perfume she loved, although not by AVON, was Shishado.

April 09, 2024

H - Haiku Poetry

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


My mom used to pen Haikus for fun, and she did it her way most of the time. She didn’t often pay attention to how many syllables each line had, which made them even more special and cute.

 

Here are a few of my mom's Haikus:


Flooding waters

lapping at the door

catfish swimming by

(She wrote that one after Hurricane Fay hit Florida. If you read Seismic Crimes, this is the catfish that inspired the catfish in a scene in the beginning of the book.)

April 08, 2024

G - Grief Share


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Grief Share are meetings you can attend with other grieving individuals that are typically held at churches. The lessons and the workbook are Christian-related, but even people who aren't Christian can benefit from being around and talking to other people who understand, in some way, what you're feeling and going through. And if you're not Christian, you can just ignore what doesn't work for you or your faith.

There are other meetings you can attend other than Grief Share, but I'm talking about Grief Share because those are the meetings I'd found close to me and attended.

The first meeting I attended, I came in at Week 9 of 13.

During a 2-month break when the session ended, I used GriefShare.org/my to access the weeks I'd missed so I'd continue to have a lifeline during that 2-month break, which I badly needed considering my grief was fresh (just a month old).

April 06, 2024

F - Facebook Posts

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Sharing my grief and my grief journey on Facebook helped me a lot, especially in the beginning. I didn't think I'd want to share something so personal, but I felt called to because I was lonely and also because I knew others could relate. I'm glad that I shared these things; the responses and love I received made me feel less alone...for a moment. Having a community really matters.


TEXT READS:

I was having a hard time a moment ago. Thoughts…grief…regrets…guilt… I went into my mom’s room, laid down on her bed, and cried…hard. I spoke out loud to her all those thoughts and regrets and guilt. My cheeks are sticky from tears.

After some time passed, I looked over and saw her Bible. It was right where I knew it should’ve been, but I hadn’t seen it there before now, as if it had been hiding. I opened it and saw this poem that she’d taped onto the page where you can write whom the Bible was presented to and from whom. (She’d bought it herself when she was 19 with her confirmation money. Says so on that very page.) The old, folded up piece of paper taped to the page contains the poem “Immortality” by Clare Harner.

I love that poem. I’ve used it in an unpublished story. The instant I read that first line and recognized the poem, I started sobbing all over again. To find it in that moment, after I’d been struggling with grief and talking to her, it felt like a message from her telling me not to cry, it’s okay, and that she’s everywhere.

April 05, 2024

E - Epistle (Letter from Heaven)


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Scroll down for the captions to each image post.


TEXT READS:

Thank you to everyone for your heartfelt comments recently, especially yesterday/today. ❤️

Last week at my Grief Share meeting, someone read this Letter From Heaven. I know if my mom could, she’d want to tell me these things, especially the fourth paragraph. For anyone who has ever lost a loved one, I know they’d also want you to hear these things, too, so I’m sharing the letter for everyone who could use it. Make sure you have a hanky ready.

Hi,

     It's me.  I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know I'm OK.  The strangest part about my passing is I don't feel gone from you and I am working to let you know that I am still there with you. I do hear you talk to me and I'm just trying to get you to feel my presence. I am sending you signs, as many as I can, so please be patient if they don't come when you want them to, I promise they will come when you need to know I'm there.

     Please laugh and have fun again.  When you laugh I feel your energy and I laugh with you and when you celebrate life I am right there alongside of you doing the same.

     I need you to understand that feelings like guilt, anger, regret, and immense sadness sometimes builds a barrier between us.  I understand your grief and I wish I could help you to feel better but please understand that grief is a natural part of my passing for you and I honor how you grieve.  However, I would love for you to try harder to replace your grief, little by little, with all the happy memories of our times together.

April 04, 2024

D - Donating

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


For some, going through their loved one's belongings and figuring out what to do with them too soon can hurt them even more, but delaying the task too long can delay your grief and healing. Neither way is the right way. The only right way is your way.

I ended up going through my mom's things very early on in the grieving process for a couple of reasons. 

One, a sibling kept asking about this item and that item, and because of that I decided to gather up everything my mom left to her family or what I thought they'd like/want, which meant going through things. 

Two, I had to do SOMETHING. During the first two or three weeks, I really relied on being busy. Busy work and distractions are helpful but, again, can delay grief and healing.

Three, I didn't like having these tasks left to do, going through my mom's belongings. I didn't think that waiting would particularly make it easier, as some say, so I did it early, and because I couldn't get help, I did it all by myself.

Yes, there were a couple of moments when I got emotional, which I share in the upcoming F - Facebook Posts, but time wouldn't have made me less emotional, and I was okay afterward.

Anyway...

April 03, 2024

C - Church

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


Growing up, my family went to church occasionally. I mainly remember going on Christmas Eve, which was always special. My mom, however, grew up going to church.

I've always been spiritual. I believe in many things. Things that people would find conflicting. Many would wag their finger at me and say that I can't believe in Jesus and also celebrate pagan holidays like Ostara (Spring Equinox), Beltane, Litha (Summer Solstice), Lammas, Mabon (Autumn Equinox), and Samhain/Halloween.

Well...phooey on them! 

Last January(2023), I got the urge to start bringing my mom to church. I thought it would be something she'd enjoy and would get her out of the house, and I would've loved to share that with her.

April 02, 2024

B - Beach

 

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


The week after my mom passed away, a great friend brought me to the beach. I hadn't been to the beach in maybe 8 or 7 years. It's crazy how quickly time can go by, and I live in Florida! I hadn't realized that much time had gone by since I'd been to the beach until that occasion. I wish I could've brought my mom again, at least once during that 8-year time span. Alas, that was not in the cards. But...I believe she's enjoying the most spectacular beaches right now.

My mom loved the beach, so it felt right to go there to have a little fun, feel a little peace, and get a little sun.

Whenever my mom and I used to go to the beach, we would collect shells. It was her thing...my thing...our thing. At the beach that day, I filled up a bag. It had been a really good shell day.

April 01, 2024

A - ASMR

Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey


What is ASMR?

It stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. 

Check out the Wikipedia page here.


Basically, it's sounds (whispering, certain whispered words like "purple," tapping, mike brushing, page flipping, keyboard clicking, even eating, and a bunch of other stuff) and visuals ("plucking" and Reiki, light visuals also called light triggers) that give you brain/scalp tingles, which is calming and relaxing. 

People watch and listen to ASMR to de-stress at any time of the day, but most people (like me) watch and listen to ASMR before bed. It can help with insomnia to make you sleepy.

I knew about ASMR before I stumbled across my first ASMRtist (like 'artist' but tailored for ASMR creators...ASMRtist) on TikTok in 2022. That happened during one of my mom's hospital stays when I was at home and opened up the TikTok app. TikTok likes to show you random videos from people you don't even follow when you open the app, and that's how I discovered the joy of ASMR.

March 05, 2024

My Writing and Publishing Roadmap


This is a long post, so I color coordinated. If you’re only interested in the journey I’ve gone on with my Secret Book Baby Series, read the green destination marks (dates). If you’re interested in what I’ve actually published or other works, read the remaining destination marks (dates) in bold white font. Anything in red font is important either way.


Twelve Years Old:

I was twelve years old when my first real story idea came to me one afternoon after school and a lone game of basketball in front of my house. I've told this story many times, but I'll share it again.

Sitting in the grass, with the basketball on my lap, I was catching my breath, enjoying the weather, and playing with the blades of grass with my right hand. My fingertips brushed something cold and hard close to the earth. Excited, hoping to find a coin or a key, I searched the blades only to discover a rusted screw with a crooked tip. The strangest thing happened while I held that screw, though. I thought about what it would mean if that screw was really a key to an unknown world, and who would be there if I found that door? A girl was there, who had extraordinary powers. I ran into my house, grabbed writing utensils, and resumed my spot outside to write the opening of that story. The rest is, well, herstory.

I had kept that screw for many years, but when my family moved out of my childhood home because of foreclosure, I got rid of it. I could've kept it. It was tiny, after all. Alas, I did not. I wish I had that screw still. I honestly don't remember if I put it in the trash or stuck it back into the ground where I'd found it. Part of me thinks I did the latter...to honor it, so I choose to believe I did.


Fourteen Years Old:

I finished writing my first novel. I had called it The Unknown World. It was a fantasy adventure and took up four hand-written notebooks. The computer document was complete at ​87,018 words/​​​​​​​426 pages.​​​


Sixteen Years Old:

Writing became my passion. I couldn't not write. I wrote on the school bus and in class. I wrote at home. I carried my current notebook wherever I went.

At ​the age of sixteen, I completed Book Two, The Face Beyond, which took up eleven hand-written notebooks. I was unable to open this document, so I don’t know the word/page count.


Seventeen Years Old:

Book Three took up seven hand-written notebooks. I apparently never typed this one up, which is surprising to me. I swear I did. I used to have so much fun typing up these stories, listening to music from my headphones, and adding to the story as I went. Alas, I can’t find that ancient document.

Book Three was the story that changed the course of my series, my characters, and my writing forever, and it was all because of a new character who came into the story. His name was (and is) Rainer. I loved him. Plain and simple. I liked him more than the love interest I had at the time for my FMC (female main character), and I struggled to justify keeping her and Rainer apart, as only best friends rather than boyfriend and girlfriend as they truly wanted to be.


Seventeen Years Old (Again):

I was working on Book Four, and I was seven notebooks in (nowhere near done), when writer's block hit. A big part of it was because of my Rainer dilemma. The other part of it, I later discovered, was because I'd matured while writing my stories and felt a disconnect from them because of where I was taking them. The first two, especially, weren't anything like the story I was working on, which was much more adult.

That's when I decided to rewrite them from page one. Age my characters. Give them interesting jobs. Change their world to be less fantastical. Dump the old love interest and bring Rainer in from the start.

February 27, 2024

Learning to Read was a Struggle


Hello, I'm a writer, and I struggle to pronounce certain words and names that I don't know.

Hello, I'm a writer, and I do not have an extensive vocabulary.

Hello, I'm a writer, and I'm a horrible speller.

Hello, I'm a writer, and learning to read was a challenge.

I've shared in the past about how I am not a vocab or spelling wiz. (See: To Be a Writer, You Don't Need...To Be a Good Speller)

I've also casually commented and told others about how I don't know how to pronounce other people's names, especially if I've never come across that name and the spelling for that name before.

Don't even get me started on the name Louis. I get tripped up on that name every time. Without fail.

I want to talk more about how I struggled to read as a kid.

February 20, 2024

What Rejections Still Hurt?

 

Note: I realize the title and graphics should say ‘which’ instead of ‘what,’ but this is a “Google” search, so just go with it.


Now, these rejections aren’t for the same project, but four different works. Two of which are currently on the back-burner while I focus efforts with the other two. I will label each rejection below the image with Project One, Project Two, etc.



Project One

I just got this rejection on 2/13/2024. When I found this agency/agent, I thought, this could go well. This could get me a partial or full request. I submitted. An hour later, a reply came. Keep in mind it was after 8:00pm. Usually such a quick turnaround means a rejection, but I was hopeful that just once a quick response was enthusiasm. Then came the disappointment, which only worsened as I continued to read the rejection.

Often, the same form rejections are sent to every writer, even when you think it has a personal touch. I had just received one that said my work had ‘merit,’ then a look at QueryTracker revealed that that particular agent says that to everyone she rejects.

Now, this one had the personal touch, actually stating that they loved the concept and my voice. Then came, “I don’t feel it’s quite what I’m looking for at this time.” No other words can be more infuriating. Looking at the agency’s website, my story was in the realm, but, yes, different.

Here’s why that’s so frustrating. Agents and publishers want what’s popular.

For example: romantasy is huge right now and a big want thanks to Sarah J. Maas. So if your work is, say, paranormal romance set in a world somewhat similar to ours but is different from other PNRs, then you’re shit outta luck. 

But the thing is, before Sarah J. Maas (romantasy) or Twilight (vampires) or Harry Potter (witches & wizards), nothing else had been like them. They set the path. They created the trend and the demand. So while sticking with the trend is profitable for agents and publishers, finding the next big thing would be EVEN MORE profitable. 

So that not “quite what I’m looking for at this time,” well, one day it may very well be. 🤷‍♀️

February 13, 2024

Let's Talk Taylor Swift

 

Now, I could contribute to the debates going on that are revolving around Taylor Swift and the fact that she's supportive of her boyfriend (who also supports her), attending each of his games and the Superbowl (for which he's voiced gratitude that she comes to each one), and how some people (mainly men but also women) are annoyed with that and very possibly setting bad examples for their daughters/nieces/granddaughters with the things they are saying and demonstrating in regard to Taylor Swift.

But I'm not going to. Others have done that so much better than I could. And, hell, let's face it...that opening probably contributed to the debate and made it clear which side I'm on with all that anyway.

This post has a different purpose, though, and it doesn't matter if you like her music or even her. Maybe you took Kanye's side in that whole mess. Maybe you like Katy Perry more. Maybe you didn't like that she dated certain celebrities (i.e. Loki). Maybe you don't like her politics or her support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Maybe you dislike her bangs, her size, her fame, her music. Maybe you hate it how the cameras pan to her every time her boyfriend makes a touchdown.

Again, none of that matters, so forget it. Put it to the side.

January 30, 2024

Space is Hard / Writers on the Moon


Writers on the Moon is a time capsule of 125 authors' works (plus their stowaways' works) that was onboard the Peregrine Lunar Lander.

Peregrine was the first American Moon Lander to launch in 50 years! Although it didn't go as planned, we will always be a part of that bit of space history.


Peregrine Lander Timeline of Events:


January 8th, 2024, 2:18am EST:

- The United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket carrying the Peregrine lander launched 1/8/2024 at 2:18am from Cape Canaveral, FL.

Check out the launch here.

- After successfully separating from the rocket, Peregrine experienced an anomaly that impacted Astrobotic's ability to maintain a sun-pointing orientation.

- The team at Astrobotic executed an improvised maneuver to reorient the lander's solar array toward the Sun. All the while, the lander's battery was reaching operationally low levels.

- The maneuver to reorient the solar array toward the sun was successful, and Astrobotic's team began charging the battery.

- Astrobotic confirmed that a failure in the propulsion system caused a critical loss of propellant, meaning there would be no way to safely land on the moon. The goal was to get Peregrine as close to lunar distance as possible.


January 9th, 2024:

- However, despite the team at Astrobotic overcoming another instanced when Peregrine tilted away from the sun and had to be reoriented again, and the batteries being fully charged, it became clear there would be no moon landing.

- Astrobotic operated Peregrine as a spacecraft and was able to use all 9 the scientific payloads onboard to gather data and perform experiments, as well as prove operational capability in space.


January 12th, 2024:

- Peregrine reached lunar distance at about 238,000 miles from Earth.  The spacecraft was steadily losing fuel, though.


January 13th, 2024:

- Peregrine was on a path back to Earth.


January 14th, 2024:

- NASA and Astrobotic agreed to let Peregrine burn up during re-entry in Earth's atmosphere to protect our satellites and prevent space debris. 


January 18th, 2024, 4:40pm EST:

- Re-entry location over a remote area in the South Pacific.

January 24, 2024

Oops…Best of Write with Fey 2023

 

I am late with this post. I usually compile it and post it in December of the year I’m highlighting. Well, it’s the end of January, and I am just now getting to it. Better late than never, right? 

This is my 12th year of blogging. Usually I have a plan for my blogging year about six months in advance. This year, I have no plan, aside from participating in the April Blogging from A to Z challenge. I already have those posts created. They’re very different than what you’ve seen in this space and deeply personal. Stay tuned!

So, what does it mean that I have no plan for 2024?

Well, I’ll be blogging infrequently, when I have something to blog about. Fortunately, while creating this post, I at least thought of one post idea. I’m mulling over a feature for the year that, again, will be very different and not exactly for writers, but about a writer growing up. That writer is me. They’d be personal essays, memoir style. Think in the realm of Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman. I’m just not sure if it’s something anyone would be interested in reading here. Let me know if you’d be interested or if it would be a hard pass. 

No matter what I end up doing here on my blog in 2024, to make sure you don't miss my blog posts, sign up here to get email reminders.


BEST OF WRITE WITH FEY 2023:


For Writers:

Forget To-Do Lists, It’s Time for Don’t Do Lists 

Are You Prioritizing Your Responsibilities Correctly?

It’s Okay Not to Write

The Frustrations of a Creative Life

Dear Undiscovered Writer

Disappointing Sales

How to Cleanse & Spring Clean Your Writing Space

Dear Perfectionist Writer

Dear Writer with a Problematic Story

Dear Marketing Conflicted Writer

Write What Makes You Happy

Do You Write? Then You’re a Writer!

Restrictive Writing Rules

Astrology for Character Development

Should You Keep Writing or Stop?


Depression Awareness:

Remove Trigger People

Disability and Poverty Depression

Publishing Depression


Books Recommendations:

My Romance Reading Journey

Children’s Books for Pride Month


Fun Promos:

I’m Dead / Vlog

Interview with a Killer

Flour Tortilla Pizza Recipe

Simone Rose, Medical Examiner Interview 

Witches - True or False

Tish McGinnis, Medical Examiner Interview


Personal:

Dear Mom, I Love You

My Muse Says, “Hi!”


Other:

Happy HalloRead! What I Do for Trick or Treaters