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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meet Chrys Fey

Our visitor today is fellow The Wild Rose Press author Chrys Fey. Considering the crazy winter most of us here in the U.S. are experiencing, she must be freezing down in Florida. I read her debut book Hurricane Crimes. The descriptions of being in a hurricane felt like I was actually there. Now I know why.

Welcome, Chrys. Tell us about yourself.

I live in Florida and have experienced several hurricanes and tropical storms. In 2004, three hurricanes hit Florida in the space of four weeks: Charley, Frances, and Ivan. Hurricane Frances was especially devastating to my city. Then in 2008, Tropical Storm Fay visited. She actually made landfall four times because she didn’t want to leave, and during that time I was trapped inside my house while it flooded outside. These storms greatly influenced my debut, Hurricane Crimes, a romantic-suspense eBook that is now available on Amazon.

Where can readers find you?

I love to connect with readers and writers. :)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

For as long as I can remember I knew I HAD to be a writer. I loved to write ever since I was little because I had my mom, an aspiring writer, as a role model. When I was twelve I started to write my first book. That book spawned into a supernatural-thriller series that I decided to rewrite when I was seventeen. I have finished all four books and I am extremely proud of them. One day, they will make it out into the world.

What did you learn from writing your first book?

I learned a lot about writing in general, like words I should cut out of my manuscript to make it tighter, to avoid head hopping, and to eliminate passive voice. But most importantly I learned to always listen to my gut and to never give up.

If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?

I’ve thought about this question a lot. At fifteen I had spine surgery and at sixteen I had to leave high school.

Here is part of a poem I wrote a long time ago, and it is exactly what I’d tell myself:

“When you’re fifteen you’ll go through a lot of pain,

but through heavy tears you’ll continue to breathe,

nothing will stop you from healing from surgery,

and the scar soon won’t mean a thing.

When you’re sixteen it won’t be so sweet,

although you had to drop out you’ll continue to dream,

nothing will stop you from becoming the best that you can be,

and the diploma you don’t have will make you strive for everything.

Sweet thirteen-year-old me,

you don’t believe me,

you think I’m deceiving,

just remember to be me,

because I’m who you turn out to be.”

What do you enjoy most about life?

My nephews. The oldest is seven and the youngest is six. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have them in my life. They make me smile and laugh, remind me about the simple things, and inspire me.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters. Plot may push a story forward, but without good characters it doesn’t matter how exciting your story is.

What do you hope readers will take with them after reading your work?

A good experience. I want them to be entertained from beginning to end. I also hope they feel as though they can endure anything. Beth Kennedy, the heroine of Hurricane Crimes, does some remarkable things that she never thought she would be able to do, and while I don’t encourage anyone to venture out into a hurricane, I want them to feel like they have that kind of strength for whatever life throws at them.

After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.

Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he's trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.

As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?

Book Links:
Chrys Fey is the author of the short stories—The Summer Bride and Fallen. She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

Author Links:

Thanks, Chrys, for being here today. I wish you much success.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Books are Magic

I can’t remember when I started reading. It seems like I've been reading all my life. Books transport me into places I’d never visited or ever will visit. Through the magic of books I can visit Rivendell, Hogwarts, Camp Half-Blood. I can go back in time to Regency England or travel on a starship to alien planets.

Until I read a recent blog post by Jeannie Ruesch on Writer Unboxed, I’d forgotten that not only reading but writing is magic, too. In her post, Ms. Ruesch quotes from Stephen King’s On Writing: “Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art.”

That quote sparked this post. Writing is magic. Characters pop into our heads, some fully formed, others only give us sneak peeks until we write their story. Sometimes they hint at a major road block to any type of relationship. Others are blatant about it. Digging into their pasts, making them open up can be quite a challenge. Non-writers may question this. You’re the writer. You made up those characters. Why don’t you know what they’re thinking? As many writers have discovered, characters don’t always behave the way we expect them to. They take on a life of their own and force us to listen to them. Secondary characters demand their own story. Villains insist they have good reasons for what they do. We grouse about that when it doesn't fit into our plans because we forget it’s magic.

While writing, we can enjoy a sunny Caribbean beach while it’s twenty below outside or a mountain retreat when everyone around us suffers through ninety degrees with ninety-nine percent humidity. The best time of year and location for our stories seem to flow from the story itself. While we are writing, we shut out the here-and-now and are transported to that place and time. That’s magic.

The spark that leads to a story can hit us in the middle of the night, while driving, or doing laundry. A first scene. An opening sentence. They seem to come out of nowhere. We have no idea why. In the middle of writing the current book, especially when we’re stalled, a strange character will pop up, saying I’m more fun, write my story. I used to call that my Muse talking to me. Now I think it’s magic.

Writing is a job. Like most jobs, we start out all bright-eyed, full of enthusiasm. After a while, the job can become onerous. The crunch of deadlines. Hours spent in promotion when we’d rather be writing. Great ideas fizzle out. Stress from outside sources undermines our creativity. Throw in other roadblocks and we forget what we knew in the beginning. Writing really is magic.

I’m too much a wuss to read Stephen King’s fiction, but On Writing is fabulous, a must-have for any writer, and an interesting read for non-writers. In her post, Ms. Ruesch recites other lessons she should have learned from that book. Like her, I’d forgotten them. I’m especially glad she reminded me about the magic.

Now if I could remember which unopened box that book is in, I would reread it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Sampler - Mr. Shipley's Governess by Joanne Troppello

Blurb: Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her. Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective. When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.


Sophie tried to steady her rapidly beating heart as she knocked on the dark wooden door. She felt like Queen Esther trying to gain an audience with King Ahasuerus. A moment later, she heard Sebastian respond for her to enter. He glanced up from the mound of paperwork spread across his desk. She thought she detected an expression of surprise on his face. He did say he’d be in his office if I needed anything.  
            “Is everything all right?” he asked.
            “Yes, I was hoping I could speak with you, but if now’s not a good time, I can come back.”
            “Please forgive my manners.” Sebastian stood up and offered her a seat on the leather chair in front of the desk. “How did your morning go?”
            “It went well. I guess I wanted to know what you’ll be expecting from me while I’m here.” There, she’d said it, but didn’t feel any relief from her nerves. She hoped he’d understood what she meant.
            Sebastian’s eyebrows rose. “Well, to teach my daughter. I thought we established that.”
            Sophie inched forward on the chair and hurried to assure him. “Of course, I understand that part of my job description. I was curious what your involvement would be in regard to supervision of my teaching.”
            He leaned back and stretched his arms over his head. This time, he was not wearing his black suit jacket and she got a better glimpse of his broad shoulders and solid form in his white buttoned shirt. She had to refocus her attention onto his words and not his muscular body. “I see. I suppose you can think of me as an interested observer. I did check out your references, and I trust your experience with children. In no way will I hinder your method of operation unless, of course, you decide to suggest a field trip on an African Safari.” Sophie chuckled and Sebastian rested his arms on the desk. “You find that amusing?”
            “A little. You don’t have to worry about the safari right now. That’s part of the curriculum for next semester.” It felt good to banter back. She saw him barely begin to smile, and spoke without thinking, “You’re very serious, Sebastian, aren’t you?”
            She immediately experienced regret, but Sebastian’s response alleviated repercussions from her slip of the tongue. “Actually, yes, I am, but I do have some sense of humor. I think you’ll be good for Ana, and I’m glad you’re here.”
            Sophie took his words as her exit cue. “Thank you for speaking with me.”
            “I hope I’ve cleared up any uncertainties in your mind.” 
            She nodded and started to leave.
            “Mrs. Andrews usually serves dinner around six o’clock. I hope you don’t mind, but I think it would be good for Ana if you eat with us, unless you have any objections.”
            “Oh, that would be fine. I’ll see you later.” As she closed the dark cherry wood door behind her, she wondered if eating with the family would be a good idea. So much for doing her job and remaining emotionally isolated. I can still keep things from getting personal…I hope.  

About the author

Joanne Troppello is an author of inspirational and romantic suspense novels. She and her husband are Network Marketing Coaches and owners of Mustard Seed Marketing Group, LLC. They have several active blogs and readers are encouraged to visit their Author's Corner Blog, a place for authors and readers to connect. They host various blog parties throughout the year and many guest authors stop by to meet with readers.