30 September 2014

30 Seconds by Chrys Fey

When a woman finds herself in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob, 30 SECONDS is a long time.

Title: 30 Seconds
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic-Suspense
Heat Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Length: Novella (105 pages)
Format: eBook
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: 09/10/2014


When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat? 


       She panted with fear. What if they see the chest? What if we get caught? What if my breath stinks and I’m breathing right into Officer Hottie’s face? She shut her mouth and let oxygen flow through her nose.
Her eyesight slowly adjusted to the darkness and she could see Officer Herro’s silhouette. His head was turned and he was listening to the thuds of heavy boots getting louder; the intruders were coming their way.
Then the thunder of footsteps sounded right next to them. “There’s no one here, Red,” someone announced.
“Look for documents,” a man ordered, who Dani could only assume was Red. “I want the name of the person I’m going to kill.”
A moment later, there was a reply. “All the mail is addressed to a Dr. Hart.”
Hearing her name said aloud by one of the men who had ransacked her place made her want to gasp. Her mouth fell open and her breath was reversing into her lungs, but before she could make a sound, Officer Herro lowered his lips to hers, silencing her. Stunned, she could only lie beneath him with her eyes wide and her body tense. She couldn’t believe he was kissing her. She wanted to push him back, but knew if she did he might hit the inside of the chest, giving away their hiding place. That was when she realized he was kissing her so she wouldn’t gasp.
She let her body relax. After her initial shock faded, she was able to feel his lips. They were comforting and caused a reaction deep inside her. She couldn’t stop her lips from reacting to his. It was an innocent connection, a soft touch of lips. Until his hand slid from her shoulder to her neck and the kiss deepened into something else.


Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

Bonus – Chrys Fey reveals 3 things about herself and 30 Seconds:
  1. Dani Hart and Blake Herro eat all sorts of meat in their story, but Chrys Fey has been a vegetarian for six years.
  2. Blake is a police officer and Chrys wanted to join the police force when she was a teen.
  3. Dani made it half-way to her prom while Chrys never go to have a prom.

29 September 2014

How Do You Stay Motivated?

No, really--I want to know. I don't think I could motivate myself if my life depended on it right now. I just have no desire to work on anything. Every time I think about getting the third draft of Uneven Lines done, I just cringe and stop thinking about it. If I want to plan out my new book ideas, I usually just picture some scenes in my head and then forget about it. I still haven't even named my characters or written anything down besides the synopsis for the first book, but I wrote that weeks ago.

I think part of it is because I've hit a brick wall with my editing. Of course, the other part is the feeling that no one is ever going to like this book, but there's not much I can do about that at this point. I just can't get myself to work on any part--even the easy things to fix, like cutting the words I overuse. Usually I over think things; now I feel like I have the opposite problem. I can't and don't want to think about it. I know what's wrong with it, but I can't figure out how to fix those things.

I just really want to get back into that mode of wanting to get things done. Pretty much all I can motivate myself to do right now is write blog posts and clean my apartment. I haven't been reading as much as I'd like to, either. I've been trying to finish a book for a long time so I can write a review, but I'll get through one scene and want to stop. It's not that I don't like the book, either. It's that I just have such a hard time motivating myself to keep going.

I guess the easiest answer is to just force myself to do something--like getting rid of those overused words. Maybe it will help me to ease back into editing. But it's hard to even motivate myself to do that.

What do you guys do to motivate yourself? Any tricks you'd like to share? Anyone else feel like they're in a writing slump?

24 September 2014

Making Things Up

No matter what kind of story you're writing, there's a lot of work that goes into it. You have to create realistic and compelling characters, map out an entire plot, make sure everything not only fits and makes sense, but entertains as well. I've written both fantasy and realistic fiction, and while creating the worlds in these stories is very different, I can't really say that one is easier than the other. When you're writing something realistic, it's more about research. With fantasy, you get to make things up. 

You'd think making up your own world and all of the tiny little details in it would be fun. Well, it certainly can be. But it can be difficult as well. I recently came up with a two book medieval fantasy story that I'm trying to map out in time for NaNoWriMo. I never outline any book before I write it, but in the case of this particular story, I need to figure out a lot of things before I write a single word. 

While creating a fantasy world can be fun, it's also a lot of work. You may need to start from scratch. You could certainly write a fantasy novel that takes place in any time period within the structure of the real world. But if you want to take it a step further, you can literally create an entire new world. This has its ups and downs. You can basically make this world whatever you want it to be, but you also can't leave any room for error. It has to be consistent, and it also has to make sense. 

There are a lot of details that go into creating a world, and I'm trying to figure all of these things out as I craft this story idea. I have the basic story line mapped out and all of the characters at least partially created, but there's still a lot to figure out. I have to at least have a vague idea on so many things--geography, religion, laws--so that if I need to insert a tiny detail into the story, I'll have it ready to go. It's even taking me a while to name my characters, since I'm not sure if I want to use real names or make them up. It can be fun to create names, but they can also sound silly. I want people to take my characters seriously. When creating this kind of story, you have to decide what elements from the real world you want to use, and which ones you want to completely make up. 

When there's fantasy involved, it can be easy to fall back on that as an excuse. If something doesn't make sense, you feel like you can say, "Because magic, that's why!" While this can work to some extent, overusing the fantasy elements just to move the story forward can be annoying for the reader. I actually just figured out something that was bothering me about this story. I knew that two of my characters will have a protection spell over them, but I had to figure out how this spell actually worked. The point is so that these characters can't be seriously harmed, but can they feel any pain? Like, if they stub a toe, would they even feel it? One of these characters goes his whole life without even knowing he was under this spell, which I thought was a little unbelievable. I also have the other character sentenced to death at one point. But if he's protected, can he even be killed? It was a lot to consider, and the easy way to deal with it would just be to say, "well, it's magic so it can be whatever I want it to be." Well, the reader is going to see right through that. Sure, it's fantasy and magic, but it still has to make sense. I did some brainstorming and thought, what if this spell only protected the characters in an instance where blood would be shed? So, maybe these characters can't be cut, but can still bruise, or the threat of hanging would be something to worry about. I haven't figured out all the details yet, but I came up with something specific that will help this idea to work. 

I think my best advice would be to constantly ask yourself questions. Don't get so caught up in your fantasy world that you can't see what's wrong with it. After I wrote out a quick synopsis for the first book, I immediately started a list of questions I had--things that needed figuring out, potential plot holes I saw. I'm hoping I can actually figure out every detail of this story before November so I can write this thing. 

Anyone else working on fantasy? How do you go about creating a world? 

22 September 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest

Today I get to take a break from all the doom and gloom and write about something I really love. Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting the Underrated Treasures Blogfest.

Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure!

Today, September 22, post about your favorite unknown –


Post about one or all four – dealer’s choice!

I was all over this one because I always feel that when people ask me about my favorite musicians, authors, actors, etc., I get a puzzled look with an exaggerated "WHO?!" And then I have to tell them something that they would know this person from. I decided to only pick one for the blogfest, because I felt the need to not have my post go on for days. And also because I can blame most of my obsessions on this man.

But first I'm going to bring you back to 1996 (when I was 9), because I know you remember this song...

If I had to pick a favorite musician, it would hands down be Duncan Sheik. I think the man is a genius. Honestly. Most people only know him from the one hit wonder that is "Barely Breathing," but I'm not really here to talk about something you already know. UNLESS, you're also a Broadway nut like myself, then you probably know him because of THIS...

Which I could really talk about for days (like how I still listen to the cast recording on a regular basis, my ridiculous obsession with the original cast, and so on...). I find a hard time picking a favorite movie, TV show, book, but favorite musical? Spring Awakening trumps any favorite thing I've ever had. I'm eternally obsessed with it, and I only went to see it because Duncan Sheik composed the music for it. But I'm not going to talk about that, either (Ow! My heart...). You should know, however, that Sheik has two Tonys and a Grammy because of it, so if you still think of him as a one hit wonder, you shouldn't feel too bad. 

What you probably don't know is that Duncan Sheik has released seven albums, all of which I adore. When "Barely Breathing" was first released, my sister and I were obsessed with it. I remember running into her room one morning and telling her how I had learned more of the lyrics by watching the video with the closed captioning on. For a few years I didn't really keep up with him, well, because I wasn't even a preteen and I was obsessed with the Spice Girls, but anyway, my sister always kept the love alive. She bought all of his albums, occasionally playing a song for me.

When I was 15 and actually started to develop a taste in music, my sister burned me a copy of Sheik's fourth album, Daylight. That was when the obsession started to kick in. It's still my favorite album of his overall--like if I could only pick a few CDs to take with me on a deserted island, this would be one of them. After that, I kept track of everything new he released, especially after my sister took me to see him in concert when I was 19. I've seen him two more times, most recently at 54 Below in NYC last year, which was AWESOME. He performed a lot of musical songs including three from Spring Awakening, as well as some of my favorites of his songs. 

So whenever there are blogfests like this I tend to go on and on, so I'll try to wrap it up. I'm going to share my top five Duncan Sheik songs...which was really hard for me to pick! Surprisingly, no songs off Daylight are actually on my list, I think because it's hard for me to pick just one. The first two are from his first album (self-titled), "Alibi" is from his second, Humming. "Mr. Chess" is from Phantom Moon, his third album, and "Stripped" is from his most recent album, Covers 80's (it's a cover of a Depeche Mode song). 

19 September 2014

Book Realizations, Part Two

So with all of the negative feedback I got from my PitchWars entry, I came to a few realizations about my book. The first was something I pretty much knew the whole time, and the second is something I've thought and thought about but didn't realize I had made the wrong decision until I got this feedback.

First of all, my query sucked. This is mostly because of procrastination. I waited way too long to even look into what PitchWars was, and so was scrambling to write a query just a few days before the deadline. I struggled to cram everything I thought I needed to say about my book into a short, concise query. My novel is a bit complicated and I found it hard trying to figure out what I needed to say about it.

But I also think that maybe the way I was trying to sell my book isn't the way I should be selling it. Maybe what I thought was at the heart of this story isn't the most important thing to tell. I may need to totally reassess how I want to pitch this book, and what I think is going to make people want to read it. Judging by the feedback from one mentor, I really don't think I got the right point across in my query, although that could also be subjective. It could also be that the concept just didn't appeal to her.

Here is the second thing--my big, giant realization: my book is not Young Adult.

It still feels weird saying it. Yes, my main character and narrator is fifteen. And no, it is not told from an adult perspective, like if he was thirty and looking back on these events. It reads like a fifteen-year-old is telling the story. And yet, it can't possibly be a YA book.

I've struggled over this decision for a long time. Obviously, I made the wrong choice when I submitted to PitchWars. Genres are always changing, and just because a book has sex or swearing in it doesn't automatically mean it can't be YA. But I also think it depends on the story itself. There is a bit of a coming of age element, but I also have a narrator who doesn't really give a crap about that sort of thing. He doesn't necessarily find himself throughout the course of the novel--maybe he learns a few things, but there's nothing earth shattering. He doesn't really learn a lesson, which is usually important in Young Adult fiction.

I've always had a hard time calling my book YA even though my main character IS a young adult. But it's about more than just the age of the character. It's about the story more than anything else. So by calling my book YA, I made a bad decision, but I guess one that ultimately led me in the right direction. I made the wrong choice, so now I know what the right one is.

I'm not sure which is harder, trying to sell a YA book with adult themes, or an adult book with a teenage narrator. I've been trying to research some examples and I'll I've got so far is The Catcher in the Rye, which I love, of course, but I think it might be really pretentious to use that as a comp title in my query. Then again, there's a huge part of me that wants to call my book "Catcher in the Rye meets Lolita" so freaking bad! But I really don't think that will impress anyone.

So what do you think? Have you read any adult novels with younger POVs? Because I would love to read them!

17 September 2014

Book Realizations, Part One

I apologize if this comes off as whiny. I'm going to do my best to have it not do so.

I absolutely, completely, 100% regret submitting to PitchWars. I wish I hadn't done it. It's not because I didn't get picked--there was roughly a 10% chance of getting picked, so I was hopeful, but not delusional. I don't think my book is so fantastic that anyone who read it would jump at the chance to pick me. But I also didn't think it was so horrible that everyone would hate it.

Here's what they don't tell you: after the choices are announced, some mentors send out rejection emails explaining WHY they didn't pick you. Depending on the reasons, obviously, this could actually be useful, but it also depends on how the mentor goes about it. I've come to realize that some of the mentors understand that everything is subjective, that maybe a certain book just wasn't for them. Others, though, I honestly believe are way too full of themselves and frankly, just plain mean. (Judging by a lot of Twitter nonsense, the whole full of themselves thing goes for potential mentees as well--but that's a whole other rant in itself.)

I don't want to get too much into it because what I really want to talk about is the realizations about my own book this process has led me to, but I'll tell you this: I got two personalized rejection emails, one of which was slightly constructive, the other I couldn't get past the first two seconds before I burst into tears. I never read the whole thing and I'm not going to. It's already deleted and long gone. I could honestly tell by the first two sentences that there wasn't anything useful in there, and reading the whole thing was just going to put me in a worse place than I already was.

But anyway, the general consensus was that nobody liked my book, hated it even. They didn't like my narrator. Yes, that's right. Nobody likes Jordan. He doesn't care, of course, but I do! I was more confused than anything else. People always seem to like him when I have him write on my blog, and when I first sent out my chapters for people to read, I got some positive feedback. But one of the mentors I sent to said he was "shallow and unlikable," and that made her not care about what was going to happen to him for the rest of the book.

Now, obviously everything IS subjective. Not everyone is going to like every book, or every character. Maybe my writing style just didn't appeal to this particular mentor (she did actually talk about the subjective thing, so it's understandable). But I honestly felt like I was missing something. Was I completely delusional in thinking my book was any good at all? Do I have to start from scratch or should I just scrap the whole thing?

After several days of "woe is me" thinking, and a good discussion with a fellow writer (who has also read my book), I know I don't want to scrap it. Yes, not everyone is going to like my book. Honestly, that would be a little weird. But I feel like it can be very frustrating for a writer when the world is telling you your only options are to completely change your book or give up on it altogether. And I've worked way too hard on this book to do either of those things.

I think what I really need to do is turn this book into the book I want it to be, the one I've always dreamed it would be. And then I'll hopefully find an agent who gets it--who isn't turned off by the narrator or the subject matter. And I just need to not worry about everyone who says no in between.

Look at that, I've rambled and rambled and didn't even tell you half of what I wanted to. Well, I guess I'll be back on Friday to wrap things up--and I'll actually tell you some of the changes I'm planning on making.

15 September 2014

Figuring Some Things Out

Last week I did something that I haven't done in a long time. I didn't blog at all. Not once. I didn't even look at other people's blogs because I didn't want to comment and then have them go to my blog only to see I hadn't written anything new.

I could go into a big, lengthy explanation of why I did this, but that would probably just be really awkward for everyone. I think at some point I probably should write about depression, but when I'm in a better state of mind so it's not completely personal. Another problem I had last week was that my motivation was at 0%. I didn't want to work on anything.

I also don't really want to whine about why I haven't been working on my novel. I do want to tell you about some of the changes I've come up with, but I think I'll save that for another day. Today I want to talk about motivation.

I just haven't had it. Like, at all. I feel like I haven't gotten anything done since I quit my job. I was supposed to get a lot of things done, figure things out. And it just hasn't happened. I think part of the problem is that I have a hard time motivating myself. I try to schedule myself, or make a daily to do list, and I never stick to it. I just haven't found a system that works for me.

I'm trying to change a few things. I want to actually write again. I feel like I haven't written anything new in a long time. I need to finish editing my novel, although I think there's even more to do than I originally anticipated. I want to exercise more and change the way I eat. I really need to not watch so much TV.

Here's one thing I have done: I put my cat on a diet! He's gone his whole life having 24/7 food access, and now I'm feeding him two times a day. It's going pretty well so far, but last night was the first time his food ran out before bed so he kept jumping up on the bed and bothering us all night. We'll see how it goes. I kept saying he was looking less like a cat and more like a sausage with fur, so I knew I had to do something.

Anyway, I'm drifting into rambling territory, so I should probably stop and actually get going with my day. I promise I will actually blog this week!