Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What to do if an Earthquake Strikes: Guest Post and Giveaway from Chrys Fey

It's my pleasure to turn over my blog today to Chrys Fey, author of Seismic Crimes for some practical advice, and some information about the book! Enjoy! -SB

What to do if an Earthquake Strikes: By Chrys Fey

Earthquakes are frightening and devastating. When a disaster of any kind occurs, people panic. Sense goes out the window. Some people end up doing some rather stupid things that puts themselves or others in further danger. Others don’t know what to do.

If an earthquake ever strikes where you live, here is what you should do:

  • -       Go in a doorway, stand against an inside wall such as in a hall, or go under a bed, desk, bench or table. Stay away from windows!

  • -       If you’re outside, stay clear of buildings…don’t run into them.

  • -       If you’re in a car, pull over and stay in your car.

  • -       After the quake, don’t go outside where there could be falling objects and downed powerlines.

  • -       Check for a gas leak. Open windows and shut off the main valve. Don’t light matches, candles or lighters until you know it’s safe.

  • -       Boil water, if you can, until authorities say the water is safe to drink.

  • -       In a real pinch, there is a large quantity of water in a toilet tank….

  • -       Listen to the radio for emergency information.

  • -       Don’t use electricity or other utilities as there could be cracks in water mains or electrical currents.

  • -       If there’s a water leak, turn off the main valve.

  • -       If electricity is shorting out, switch off the meter box.

  • -       Don’t use your phone. Only use it to report an emergency.

  • -       Don’t leave safety to sightsee. Wait until there’s no threat of aftershocks and authorities say it’s safe to be on the streets.

  • -       Lock your doors to stop looters.

  • -       And carefully clean up any glass.

QUESTION: Have you ever experience a quake?

Title: Seismic Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Digital and Print
Page Count: 282




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

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

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


Amazon CA / NOOK / KOBO 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Too Busy to Read? Audiobooks Saved my Reading Life!
When I was a kid, there were books on tape. I even had books on record, ones that gave you a tone as a signal to turn the page of the matching book. I wasn't much interested in them, overall, though I was very fond of my recording of Ferdinand the Bull. They seemed like a gimmick to me, something not necessary for reading, something created for people who needed help with their reading, maybe.

Then, I grew up and became a teacher and a mom and started to try to have a writing life and I realized that 24 hours a day were not enough hours to do all this and keep up the reading life I was accustomed to. I'm a devourer of books, given my preference. I gobble them like Halloween sweets and, as soon as I put one down, I'm ready to begin the next one.

When I don't get to read enough, I get cranky. It's like stories are part of the fuel I need to make it through my days, and being short-changed was leaving me hungry. And I was going hungry a lot.
And then, I discovered that audiobooks had grown up. In this age of smartphones and online access to anything you want, I can get high quality recordings of so many books! From indie productions like Blake Northcutt's Arena Mode, which my husband kickstarted and gifted to me, to full-scale productions like the Signature Performance of Heart of Darkness as read by Kenneth Brannagh. I borrow CDs  or digital downloads from the library. I buy books through Audible (I love those months when you can get multiple books for 1 credit!). I take the "add audible narration" option on kindle editions.

And my life is full of stories again. I can listen while I drive. I can listen while I cook and do dishes and do laundry. Unlike other kinds of multi-tasking which really mean that I just have divided focus on don't do either thing well, this kind means that menial, repetitive and uninteresting tasks that are necessary to life can also be story time!

I know audiobooks aren't for everyone. Some people tell me that their attention wanders and they lose the thread. Some books And the quality of the narration does make a difference and can color your perception of a story, for the better or the worse (like Mark Hamill's reading of The Spiderwick Chronicles: amazeballs!). But for me, it's been heaven on earth, giving me back extended time in the imaginary worlds of authors. I so love being a 21st century girl!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Milestones: #45

April and May are milestone months in the Bryant family. Three of us have birthdays (me, the youngest child, and the pup). Both our dating and wedding anniversary fall in this span, not to mention Mother's Day. And, starting last year, April became book launch month. I've launched one two Aprils in a row, choosing that date as a birthday gift to myself, and I'm hoping to keep it going as long as I can.
Different people set goals at different times of the year. For some, it's New Year's, whenever your tradition celebrates that. For others, it's the starts of school years. For me, it's birthdays. That flip forward on my personal timeline is always a time for reflection and goal setting for me.

So here are my thoughts on #45.

Writing Life: When I was turning 42, I decided to finally commit to taking writing seriously and giving it a real chance. I'm a hard worker and when I commit to something, I see it through. It's been a great run at that life goal.

When I was 43, I signed my first book contract, and when I was 44, I saw my first book in print. Now, at 45, I have two books of my own, and have my work included in three anthologies, which allowed me to take this picture at my book launch party. See that grin? That's pride and joy and gratitude for the chance to follow this dream.

Looking forward, I still have plenty of dreams to pursue here. I'd like to fund a great vacation for my family from the money earned from my words. I want to finish all the books I've started, then start some totally new ones. I want to win awards and try not to brag about them too much. I want to be famous enough to be invited as the featured guest author at a con, but not so famous as to be recognized on the street by strangers. Pie in the sky would be complaining to my writer friends about how the television adaptation changed my stories and characters, but what can you do? 

Family: When I was 34, I thought my life had fallen apart and I'd never be able to put it together again. My first marriage ended. I was in financial straits that demanded that my daughter and I move back in with my parents. Then, on top of it all, I got sick and was practically invalided for an entire quarter of school, and was treated badly by my school district and my insurance company in the classic "kick a girl while she's down move." 

But, when I was still 34, I re-met Sweetman, a man who had been my friend for many years. Timing
is everything, and for once the girl who is always early and the man who was always late had the right timing. Here I am twelve years later celebrating the first decade of my marriage to Sweetman and I still know how lucky I am. As I write this, I'm finishing a lovely quiet mother's day full of pictures and sunshine, and looking forward to a week in which I'll see my eldest daughter sing at a concert and finish another book with my youngest, and a weekend with an anniversary date to see Civil War! Lucky girl, indeed.
My family and writing career goals are all wrapped up in each other. I want flexibility and time to be able to be there for my girls, my husband, and my dog in the ways they need me. 

Teaching Career: This is my twentieth year of teaching. I've taught in small places and large places,
kids from grade six through college and adults. On a day to day basis in the classroom, I still love this. Children inspire you to be the best you that you can be. There's something about being there when they understand something for the first time, whether that "something" is irregular verb conjugation or how to organize their folder or why that one kid behaves so strangely. It's like watching the world be born again, six periods a day.

That said, it's also exhausting and repetitive and it can be hard to hold on to your positive outlook when it feels like the state of North Carolina and the United States government is out to crucify you daily to hide their own failings. Being scapegoated can make you bitter and strange. It's hard not to feel frustrated knowing that, had you chosen any other career path, you'd be making double the money or more after twenty years and that your prestige factor would have grown rather than faded.

My goals here are to find a way to keep working with young people, but in a new way that inspires me to new height and offers a little flexibility that will help me with my family and writing goals. I've got my hat in a new ring on that one, so wish me luck!

So, the TL; DR version:

In my 45th year, my goals include: finding inspiration and flexibility in my paid work, making more money off my writing so it can become my paid work, and writing yet more!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG: The First Ever Bookless Book Launch
My second book, just released, had gremlins. I'm not sure what brought them on (too many midnight snacks? an ego check from the universe?), but as soon as the book left me and went into production, they attacked. The merciless little critters kept trying to bring down the airplane of my book production, and I kept checking the seats around me to make sure William Shatner hadn't shown up. 
  • First, there was confusion about the launch date
  • Then, delays in editing
  • Then, more delays in editing
  • Then delays in art
  • Then, more delays in art correction

It felt like every time the ball came back into my court, I had to turn the work around at light speed to try and get the process back on time track. I was stubborn about that release date. I had plans for a release party, and, besides, I really loved getting my first book published for my birthday last year and wanted to give myself that present again if I could. 

But we made it! Thanks for some fantastic work from the wonderfully supportive marketing team, we pulled it out in the final lap and the book launched as scheduled . . . as an e-book. The paper was delayed yet again due to problems with getting it into Ingram. 

Me, clutching the one paper copy I was able to get by party time. But check out that banner!
Which led to: The First-Ever Bookless Book Launch Party! I had a party scheduled, sponsored by the Friends of the Orange County Public Library. My parents were coming into town for it. My mother-in-law made cookies. My husband created bookmarks. My daughter learned how to use my phone sales gadget. My banners and signs were printed. But . . . there were no paper books :-(  

Those delays getting the book into Ingram meant that there was no way to get a box of them here in time, despite the best efforts of the publisher and the bookseller I was working with.

When I found out, I just about cried. Okay, I admit it, I cried. I moped for an entire evening.
But by the next morning, I shook it off. I guess I'm a make-lemonade sort of gal. 

The point of a book launch party is to celebrate the launch of the book. The people who took time out of their busy lives to come and hear me read and talk about the novel will still buy copies if they were going to. In the meantime, there were pages to share, and cookies to eat. 

How do you celebrate your milestones as a writer? How do you handle it when your best laid plans take a left turn at Albuquerque? 

This posting is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To check out other posts by writers in a variety of places in their careers, check out the participant list. This group is one of the most open and supportive groups of people I have ever been associated with. If you write, you should check them out!

If you want to check out my superhero stories, click the covers below. Change of Life, book two of my Menopausal Superheroes series just came out two weeks ago!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A to Z Wrap-Up and Reflections

And now I know my ABCs. Next time won't you sing with me?

I'm a compulsive listmaker. In fact, as a student, when I would get bored in class, I would just write down the alphabet, give myself a theme and list words: boy's names, songs I like, places in the world, foods, etc. So now wonder the #AtoZChallenge appeals to me so much.  It's like they designed it for me!

Besides having fun writing my posts, I also had a great time reading posts. I revisited old friends who participated with me in past years and found a few new ones. Just like last year, I didn't read as much as I wanted to. April is always very busy in la casa Bryant: my daughter's birthday, my birthday, and, this year: a book launch!  So, not as much reading time as I would like (honestly, there never is). 

In case you missed any of my posts along the way, or just want to see what I wrote about, here's my abecedarium of Superheroes.
Z is for Zorro

Among my favorites for reading this year were: Tasha's Thinkings: Fictional Phantoms, The Faux Fountain Pen: The Revision Project, Laws of Gravity, My Pet Blog: Soundtrack Songs, dSavannahRambles: dSavannahDefects, Story Dam: Writing Tips, Kathleen Valentine: Meet My Imaginary Friends, Discarded Darlings: Short Stories drawn from audience suggested words.

There were lots of others I enjoyed a post or two from but didn't make it back to see the whole alphabet from, but that's what May is for, right? April showers (of blog posts) make May flowers (of discovery).

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I'll be writing about superheroes I love all month. You can check out other bloggers and see their creative takes on the challenge here.

Don't forget to check out my own superhero stories. Change of Life, book two of my Menopausal Superheroes series just came out a few days ago!