My Mission For You:

Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Empowering Women - Angelina Jolie

Before I get to the post, I want to share some news...I did my first radio talk show on Friday with author Yvonne Mason. I was nervous but ended up having a blast. You can listen to it here: Off The Chain - Chrys Fey

Or here:

Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is far more than her looks (or her marriage/divorce to Brad Pitt). She is a major humanitarian and has received several awards for her efforts. She advocates for various causes including women’s rights, education, and conservation.

She joined forces with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and started visiting these areas to see what it was like for the refugees. She’s completed more than 40 field missions. To help ferry aid workers and food supplies, she got her private pilot license. In 2001, she became the Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR. And in 2012, she became Special Envoy to the UNHCR’s High Commissioner.

“I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation someone would help us.”

What else does she do? 
- Pushes legislation to aid child immigrants
- Co-Chairs Kids in Need of Defense
- Has funded a school and boarding facility for girls at Kakuma Refugee Camp in NW Kenya.
- Jolie Legal Fellowship, a network of lawyers and attorneys who are sponsored to advocate the development of human rights in their countries.
- Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, a campaign against sexual violence in military conflict zones .
- Centre for Women, Peace and Security, which aims to contribute to global women’s rights issues including the prosecution of war rape and women’s engagement in politics.
Plus more!

All of this is on top of adopting three children and giving birth to three more, acting, and directing (In the Land of Blood and Honey and Unbroken).


I want to talk about Unbroken for a moment. I thought she was robbed when she wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. When I watched Unbroken, I was amazed at the power of it, the story, and the craftsmanship. Angelina directed a powerful movie.

I remember hearing her in an interview that she was going through a hard time when she read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and it changed her. Unbroken is about Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner, a Lieutenant in the US Air Force and a POW. (Jolie and Zamperini were actually neighbors!)

Cancer Prevention:

Angelina has also spoken out for cancer prevention. In 2013, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after finding out she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer. She also had an oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) due to a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer.

She wrote about her decisions in The New York Times:

“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

“The Angelina Effect” started soon after as women all over the world did the BRCA gene testing. To further help at-risk women, she advocated for wider accessibility and lower costs. June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court greatly reduced the cost of the BRCA gene test.


Angelina’s role in Maleficent won her a Kid’s Choice Award for Best Villain.

“I wanna say that when I was little, like Maleficent, I was told I was different, never good at fitting in. And then I realized something, something I hope you all realize—different is good.”

Angelina is a humanitarian, business woman, fighter, and mother. She’s a force to be reckoned with.


QUESTIONS: Have you seen Maleficent or Unbroken? Are you a fan of Angelina Jolie?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Books for Writers - The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book 
by Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier. Now the title of this book is a tad misleading. While it is first and foremost about self-publishing, I found much of the marketing advice perfect for any writer, especially those writers (most of us) who publish with small presses/publishers. I found this guide when I was at Barnes & Noble hunting for books about marketing. I sat down and jotted many notes that I felt I could do, and when I got home, I started working on them.


What advice did I find?

- Look for niche magazines about subjects or destinations your books cover. Write articles for them, ask for reviews or interviews, and/or offer them an excerpt of your book.

- Provide literary magazines with freebie chapters that include your promo materials at the end, such as full ordering information.

- If your book is a how-to, take a part of a chapter, alter it, toss in an introduction and conclusion, and you have a fresh article.

- Find a writing group in your area and promote together.

- If possible, team up with organizations. Sell your book to help them raise funds.

- At a book signing, wear a badge with your book cover on it, or one that says “Author” with your name.

- At an event, have a packet of sample reviews on your table for interested readers to look at.

- Put an author interview in the “From the Author” section on your book’s Amazon page.

- When writing reviews, sign off as “Author of XYZ.” Or put this at the beginning.

If you’re self-publishing, definitely get this book. If you’re looking for ways to promote that’s unique from 1001 Ways and Guerrilla Marketing…get this book!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite self-publishing how-to book?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Give Me Your Questions! / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

For more info: Show Us Your Insecurity


Do you have writing-related questions?

Editing questions?

Marketing questions?

I don’t claim to be an expert, but I love to share what I know and have learned, so please pose any questions you can think of in the comment sectionI’ll do something with them later. :D


Contract:  I signed the contact for Flaming Crimes (Disaster Crimes #4) last month! YAY!!! 

LOGO: I have an author logo! The concept is a spark with the letter C acting as a fish hook, using a heart as bait. ;) It goes with my author tagline: Thrilling and Romantic with Heroines of Steel.

Insecuritiessss: I've been posting marketing videos on YouTube to help me get over my fears of public speaking and being seen as Chrys Fey.

Current videos since the last IWSG Day:
Marketing Spark 7: Blogging

All of this was to prepare me for something I'm doing for the IWSG:
On August 24th at 2:00 pm EST, I'll be participating in a LIVE YouTube interview with Evan Carmichael, an entrepreneur who I'll be interviewing about his book Your One Word and getting some great advice for authors and IWSG members.

You'll be able to watch the interview live HERE. Afterward, it'll be featured in the August 30th IWSG newsletter. 

I'm nervous! 

But with my own YouTube videos and an over-the-phone radio chat I'll be doing on August 11th with Yvonne Mason, I hope I'll be ready.



For August/September, the IWSG Book Club on Goodreads is reading:

Marketing for Writers who Hate Marketing by James Scott Bell

Not selling books and marketing were the #1 and #3 biggest insecurities of our members in a poll we did on Goodreads, so we hope this book will ease your mind and give you ideas.

Author Interview: If you join our book club, you'll be able to pose a question to James Scott Bell about marketing. The best 10 questions will be sent to him.


Personal Announcement: 

Due to personal reasons, I am stepping down as an IWSG admin. BUT I will be a partner, so the book club will continue and I'll be able to support the IWSG whenever they need me.

My last IWSG newsletter will be the August issue coming out on the 30th. After that, I'll be passing on the IWSG newsletter to Christine Rains, the newest admin. Congrats, Christine! And good luck! :)

Have a great IWSG Day!

COMMENT: Give me all of your writing/editing/marketing questions!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Diverse Characters - N + O


There’s been a lot of talk about adding diverse characters to fictional books. Most of the time, this is about including people of color if you’re a Caucasian writer, but all writers can add diverse characters to their books. And why stop at race? In this series, I’m going to list all sorts of diverse characters.

Note: I'm not knowledgeable about all types of people, so I'm skipping my usual tips in favor of letting others share their knowledge. See below 

**I won't be able to list them all, so here's a list of ethnic groups...with a list of even more lists at the bottom of the page. lol

Here are the diverse characters for N:

Native Americans


Narcoleptics (Individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder)

Nepalese Individuals (Nepal)

Newly Weds

New Zealanders



Non-Binary Individuals 

Norse Gods

Norse Individuals


Nova Scotians


Here are the diverse characters for O:

Obese Individuals

Ochlophobics (people with the fear of clowns)

Octogenarians (century-old individuals)

Octophobics (people with the fear of the number 8)

Ogres (fantasy)

Oholone Indians

Opera Singers


Image from Pixabay

Orphindiophobics (people with the fear of snakes)

SHARE: If you can come up with more diverse characters that start with N or O, let me know and I will add them to my list.

QUESTION: Do you have tips or Do's/Dont's for one of the characters I mentioned above? Share your advice for writing about those characters in your comment.

Have you written about a character from my list?

*All images are free to use.


Sliding on the edge by C. Lee. McKenzie

Scarred. Scared. Alone. Can sixteen-year-old Shawna Stone overcome her inner suffering and transcend the past? 

Shawna has spent the first sixteen years of her life in Las Vegas and learned to handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Damaged inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. When her mother abandons her, with only a bus ticket and the name and number of stranger to call, this troubled , desperate teen finds herself on a California horse ranch with Kay Stone, the steely, youngish grandmother she's never known.

Kay overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores, and Shawna baffles Kay with her foul-mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by Monster, that strange voice inside her head. Kay struggles to keep the ranch going and fears that unless she helps this girl, she could lose her last living family member.

As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their suffering and transcend the past? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Empowering Women - Viola Davis

Check out my post, Dear Slow Writers, on the IWSG site!

Every month I am highlighting an empowering woman. This month it is:

Viola Davis

Although I don’t watch How to Get Away with Murder anymore, not since Season One ended, I’ll always remember the amazing response Viola got when she took off her wig and all of her makeup on camera. It was empowering for not just African American women but all women everywhere.

Viola is 52 and is a mother and a step mother. With her husband, she adopted her daughter, Genesis.

In 2015, she won an Emmy (she was the first black woman to receive one for Best Actress in a Drama) for her role as Analise Keating (HTGAWM). She gave a powerful speech while suffering from hot flashes! And she gave another awesome speech this year when she won an Oscar for her role in Fences.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” (2015)

She won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award (2001) for her role as Tonya (a 35-year-old mother fighting for her right to abort a pregnancy) in King Hedley II.

Time also listed her as one of the most influential people in the world in 2012.

On Jimmy Kimmel Live, she openly talked about bullies from grade school who are all now sending her friend requests on Facebook. Surprise, surprise, right? And when she said she’s inclined to accept them to see if they’ve become failures at life, I couldn’t help but laugh. Don’t we all do that? Or secretly want to? It just goes to show that Emmy winners are susceptible to insecurity, too. And they still want revenge on old bullies. ;)

“What is there but a dream? You can’t trade in your dreams… Dream big, and dream fierce.”


When Jennifer Hudson performed this song at the 2013 Oscars, she was stunning and powerful. She received a worthy standing ovation:

QUESTIONS: Have you watched HTGAWM? Do you get teary-eyed when Viola gives speeches? I do.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Books for Writers - Feng Shui for Writers


I’ve always been fascinated by Feng Shui, and I’m such a serious writer that I’ll try anything to make me a better writer. M.C. Simon offers ways to master our lives. She thoroughly explains what Feng Shui and Chi is and walks us through the steps to incorporate both, as well as the five elements, into our work space.

Some of her tips:

“Don’t face any empty wall. Decorate it, or else you will always have a feeling that you face obstacles.”

She suggests room dividers for those writers who have to work at home in a bedroom or the living room. A divider will separate our home life from our work life. A rug can also work because it marks the start of our writing zone.

“If you have no way of facing the door, and you must have your desk where you back will be toward the door’s direction, you can cure this situation by placing a mirror in front of your desk, so your eyes can observe the door behind you at any moment.”

Each section of a room had a purpose and M.C. Simon offers tips to utilize each area to bring out their benefits. EX: “Your career as a writer is represented by the north direction. In this area, place elements that symbolize water and metal.”

She also walks us through where to put our desk and how to decorate it.

As a writer and someone who loves to do interior design, I love all of her tips!

Check out this book and balance the harmony of your work space!

QUESTION: Have you ever tried Feng Shui?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#Sparks VS #Doubt / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.
Sign up here: Insecure Writer’s Support Group 

Tweet a book pitch on July 27! More Info.

The IWSG is listed on Writer's Digest's
Top 101 Websites for Writers!

Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

My Answer: Don’t let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. 

A spark is the reason why you do what you do. It’s the pulse for your passion. It’s your inspiration and creativity. Sparks can motivate you, encourage you, challenge you, empower you. Sparks can give you insight and wisdom. Sparks are magical!

When we read, the text that invigorates us…what is it? Sparks.

When we find things that inspire us, those are sparks.

When we find motivational tools that work, those are sparks.

When I provide tips on my blog for writing, what am I sharing? Sparks.

#Sparks are powerful.

#Doubt is also powerful.

If we let it, #Doubt can kill our dreams, and that would be a tragedy. Don’t let #Doubt extinguish your dreams. Your dreams deserve to come to life.

Fight #Doubt with #Sparks.

Look for sparks everywhere. In books, nature, people, art, blogs. Everything has the potential to be a spark, which is why #Sparks are more powerful than #Doubt.

We must collect sparks like kindling and use them. That’s the key. Sparks aren’t #Sparks unless they are used. Use that inspiration you discovered. Let yourself be motivated. When you do, you’ll start a fire, because that’s what sparks do.

#Sparks ignite blazes. Within us.

Now go out and find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life!


INSECURITY: To beat my insecurity of being Chrys Fey in public, I've been taking baby steps, and one of those steps is to do videos.

Now I have a YouTube Channel!

I need 100 subscribers to create a custom URL.

Would you please subscribe?

Right now, I'm sharing videos about marketing.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing my 4th video about Goodreads.

Have a great IWSG Day!

Monday, June 26, 2017

I'm a YouTuber! / Monthly Mishmash

YouTube - I never thought I'd say this but...I'm a YouTuber! 

I even have a YouTube Channel!

I need 100 subscribers to create a custom URL. 

Would you please subscribe?

Right now, I'm sharing videos about marketing.

Thursday I'll be sharing my 3rd video about Amazon.

DEPRESSION - I am happy to report that since April, I feel as though I am back to my old self. I know that depression will always be part of my life and that it can pop up at any moment, but I am strong. Actually, I am stronger. I believe that each time I beat my depression, I get stronger. This last bout lasted 7 months and was the worse case I've ever had, but I learned from that experience and now I have weapons for the future.

WRITING - Yes, but am I writing? That's the big question, isn't it?

And I am! Well, not for what I should be writing...the final book of the Disaster Crimes Series, but I've been revising an old WIP. Half of it needs to be rewritten to reflect the changes I did in the book that comes before it. This is a huge step. I haven't written since November!

READING - I've been reading a lot of books, (this was part of my depression recovery) mainly African American, Wiccan, and feminism literature. I've felt like I've grown as a human being, so I wanted to share my favorite reads so far this year that have 4-5 star reviews from me.

My Favorite Reads (so far) 2017:

- Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life that Matters by Evan Carmichael

- Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery.

- The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch by Deborah Blake

- The Color Purple by Alice Walker

- Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

- Moranifesto by Caitlin Maron

- Book of Shadows by Phyllis Curott

- To be a Slave by Julius Lester

- Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams by Heather Sellers (and also her book Page After Page)

QUESTIONS: Will you subscribe to my YouTube channel? I'm thinking of doing a giveaway when I reach 100. One random subscriber may get something nice. :)

What good books have you read so far this year?

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