Monday, September 05, 2022

Two poems and an early morning photo

I thought I shouldn't let this blog go dormant. Below are two poems written for life witnessed around my home in the Blue Ridge. Both mention Queen Anne's lace, a flower for which I have written many poems which I have posted in this blog. The first poem was inspired by a late cutting of the hay that surrounds my house and barn. Weather and equipment problems kept the farmer from cutting it until early August, about 6 weeks later than he'd like. This allowed Queen Anne's lace to sprout, to the delight of dozens of Goldfinches who feast in the field. 

Below is my early morning view from my house taken on August 7th. Old timers say that for every August fog, they'll be a heavy snow in winter. If that's the case, I better invest in a few more snow shovels! 

Ode to the Goldfinches in my neighborhood

Dressed in bright yellow

       highlighted by black and white

       you perch on a swaying stalk 

       of Queen Anne's lace.

Your delicate feet grip the plant

      just below the broad white flower

      that shades your body

      like the hats of women on Easter,

      in the church of my youth.

Your head twists back and forth

      watching your tribe dance across the meadow

       feasting on sweet vernal grass

       and making the most of this summer day.

As the season wanes, you'll molt,

      trading the yellow for a drab brown

      suitable for your trip south. 

-July 21, 2022

The Day before the Equinox 


Despite the threat of rain on the last day of summer

I walk in Laurel Fork Road in the evening, 

noticing the seasonal changes.

along the edge of the hayfields, 

where the staghorn sumac and dogwoods have turned red. 

The green leaves of the maples and oaks in the forest beyond

have already lost their luster

while golden rods brighten the ditch banks 

next to Queen Anne, who has rolled her lace into a ball 

ready to stow in the drawer for winter. 

At the cemetery by the Primitive Baptist Church

            an eight-point buck stops in the middle of the road,

            looking at me for the longest time

            as if wondering what I am doing out in this mess

            before jumping off the road and over the gravestones.

The drizzle becomes a rain shortly after passing the church,

but as I leave the payment for gravel, 

and the hayfields for dense woods,

            the rain is not as noticeable until a breeze shakes the trees

shedding its accumulated moisture on me.

I continue, zipping up my rain jacket, 

but return earlier than I’d like, in the fading gray,

for there will be no full harvest moon to guide me tonight

 as tears now pour from the sky,

each drop pinging off my jacket

Yet, I’m delighted when I get close enough to my lane,

            with water running down my bare legs,

            to be greeted by cheerful Halloween faces

painted on the sides of three round haybales

in front of my neighbor’s field. 

September 21, 2021 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Walking up Laurel Fork Road


The sun drops below the hills.
It’s time to leave the broad waters of Laurel Fork
and follow the sounds of rushing water 
paralleling the muddy dirt road lined with mountain laurel. 

Reaching Hereford Road,
the mare in the pasture looks up from her hay
and gaits over to the fence. 
I rub her head and she presses tight against my hand,

but only for moment as the first stars appear. 
I lengthen my stride, 
and pass the intersection with Dusty Trail. 
I start the steep climb,   

Moon shadows

following hairpin curves out of the darken hollow.
where shadows of bare tree limbs
illuminated by a gibbous waxing moon,
slouch across the road like arthritic fingers.

The afternoon wind has somewhat settled,
yet I hear the squeak of a widow maker in the woods,
and a truck in the distance, 
grinding gears as it climbs Highway 58

Halfway up, the enchanting sound of water
Setting out on a journey propelled by gravity, 
That begins in the hillside springs, and destined, eventually, 
for the Gulf, disappears. 

Then the road levels and the canopy opens
Bright Sirius of Canis Major appear high overhead, 
the dog of the winter sky, jumping with joy,  
as he follows his master, Orion, into spring. 

To the west, just a tinge of red remains of the fading day.
Along the horizon, the lights of homes perched on hills,
appear to twinkle like stars 
when watched through the trees while walking.

Picking up my pace,
I pass the Primitive Baptist Church,
the old one room school,
Bear Creek Road and the cemeteries. 

A few minutes later, I’m home.
Opening the door, into the light and warmth,
my own dog, despite nursing a sore leg,
jumps with joy. jg 2-23-2021 

Main blog: 

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Thoughts on the Capitol Riots of January 6

 I recently had a piece published in an online magazine "Journal of the Plague Year" that contained thoughts of the events of January 6 from a religious perspective. Let's just say, bad theology has consequences!  Here's the link to my piece:

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Fighting Chance

1.   I am honored today to do an interview with Chrys Frey. She is promoting her new book, A Fighting Chance which is released this month. In this book, she tackles the topic of domestic violence and has established a website to help those caught up in the web of violence to escape. Way to go, Chrys! Not only do you write about tough issues, you are providing resources for others caught in real life situations.  Chrys is active as a blogger as well as an author, often supplying tips for writers.  Enjoy: 


   1. You have written a series of books on natural disasters. I can see you in a Farmers insurance commercial where the dude tells about a freak situation and ends with “Farmers covered it.” Beth and Donovan are so "high risk" for insurance. That said, have you considered writing about other types of disasters that are not so "flashy," but much more common? I'm thinking about ideas such as an illness or an economic crisis that results from a major employer closing down?

I’d love to be in a Farmers Insurance commercial!

I wouldn’t really call natural disasters “flashy,” although they can certainly appear that way when Hollywood creates movies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (whom I love, by the way), but considering earthquakes, wildfires, and even volcano eruptions are happening more frequently and so close together, they are becoming very common these days.

I do not have any desire to write about economic crisis, though. Nor do I want to write about a pandemic after what we all went through in 2020 and are still going through, but I do have a work-in-progress for Young Adults about cancer. I don’t know when or if I will finish that one, though. Years ago, I also started a novel about a zombie apocalypse. Ha! Now that’s flashy, not to mention still pretty trendy. That project will require a lot of research and writing and time, so, while at some point I want to write it, I don’t know when that will be.


2. While I know you have experienced hurricanes (you live in Florida, after all), I am pretty sure you've not experienced earthquakes and tsunamis (and maybe not forest fires). Do you disagree with the old adage that a writer should "write what he or she knows?"

I actually write much more of what I know than what I don’t know. Hurricanes and tropical storms for Hurricane Crimes. Flaming Crimes is about wildfires, and every moment of that story dealing with fire is taken from and based off my own memories of a brush fire that almost took my childhood home.

While I never experienced a tsunami, in Tsunami Crimes there’s a scene with a rogue wave that I took from my real life. What Donovan goes through in that moment is what I went through as a teenager on a beach.

On the FAQ page on my website, I discuss the disasters I’ve experienced and

link to 10 blog posts from the tour for Flaming Crimes in which I share scenes in the story and my memories of the fire that inspired them.

But you’re right that I’ve never been in an earthquake or tsunami.

I love to put my life, my memories, and my experiences into my stories, and I do that for every single story I write. With A Fighting Chance, my new release, I pulled from my history of sibling abuse to help me write about Amanda, a domestic abuse survivor.


3. You obviously have invested time into reading about such disasters? What kind of research do you engage in to prepare yourself to write?

This answer kind of follows my previous answer. I use my past, my memories, and my experiences as a large portion of my research. I did have to do more research for earthquakes and tsunamis, though. I read non-fiction books for details on what those disasters are like (including scientific facts) and watched a lot of movies. The Impossible, based on the 2004 Thailand tsunami, was a huge influence, but so were the dreams I have at night. Believe it or not…I have a lot of tsunami dreams, and those helped me so much in writing the tsunami scenes.

While writing A Fighting Chance, I read a book with accounts from sexual assault survivors that gave me valuable insight that came into play later in the story.


4. While you pair your disaster with a crime, have you ever thought about addressing other social issues in your writings? I am thinking here about another Florida author, Carl Hiaasen, who "disasters" can be funny but also show a great social problem. Two examples are the rip-off artists who flock to disaster areas after a hurricane as in his book, "Storm Warnings," or the environmental problems created from fertilizer runoff washing through the Everglades in "Skinny Dip."

I don’t go into writing with the goal of writing about specific social issues. If I do, it happens naturally or emerges while I’m plotting the story.

Per your examples, in Seismic Crimes, I do show looters in action. It’s just that those things aren’t the main focus.

There’s actually a lot of crimes that take place in each story rather than just one. Throughout the Disaster Crimes series, my characters help to take down corrupt cops, a drug dealer, and a man who brutalizes prostitutes. I may not ground the story in those issues or make them the main conflict, but they are there.

And in A Fighting Chance, I tackle the issue of domestic abuse and sexual assault, something that carries through a lot of the stories I write. Most of my characters are survivors of some kind of abuse or are advocates for survivors of abuse.


5. Can you see yourself coming back to Beth and Donovan when they are older? Maybe as grandparents? What might their story be then?

I cannot see myself writing about Beth and Donovan when they are older. Their stories centered around disasters and people who were after them. Frozen Crimes was their final book. I can’t put them through anymore, which is why I gave Thorn and Amanda the tornado in A Fighting Chance and a volcano eruption in The Disaster Curse. More details about that short story below. :)

But I will say that I see Beth and Donovan as utterly happy. Totally in love and living their best lives. Even as grandparents.


6. Having completed this series, what topic will you tackle next?

Next, I have many different stories in the works or waiting for their time. There are paranormal romantic-suspense books about a heroine who went through so many horrible things in her childhood but still grows up to become the most powerful woman in her world, a sweet romance with a mixed-race couple, middle grade stories with a biracial girl who has a wheelchair-bound twin brother and a best friend from France, as well as a story about rivaling families of witches that dips into abuse, racism, and more.

But that’s not all.

So many stories about so many different things! That’s what I love about being a writer. You don’t have to limit yourself to one genre or topic.



Pages: 154

Genre: Romantic-Suspense

Heat Rating: Hot



*A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.*

Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse—space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's worried the truth will frighten her away.

And Amanda is afraid. She’s scared of her attraction for Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.

Up against an abusive ex and Mother Nature, do Thorn and Amanda have a fighting chance?


Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes



Amanda looked up from the current list of up-to-date payments for classes. A movement outside the glass storefront caught her eye. She tilted her head to see a man coming up the sidewalk from the side where the picnic bench sat. Through the vertical blinds, she glimpsed a square face—a short, rugged beard and long, dark hair pulled into a man bun. Her breath fled from her lungs. Her body went from icy cold to flaming hot in the span of a millisecond. She dropped to the floor and slid under the counter, beneath the ledge where they put their purses and cell phones.

“What—” Beth peeked at the windows. Then she snapped her fingers at April and pointed at the stools.

April jumped into action. She pushed the stools in so they blocked Amanda. The bell attached to the door jingled as April removed the jacket she wore and draped it across the stools, creating a curtain to shield Amanda.

From a crack, Amanda watched Beth move to stand in front of the twins, who were in their walkers playing peacefully. “I’m sorry, but we’re going to be closing.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’m here for Amanda.”

The sound of Damon’s voice had her heart beating even harder. That voice had haunted her nightmares, had come back to life in her memories.

Beth cocked her head to the side. “Who? There’s no one by that name here.”

“Don’t bullshit me. I know she works here.”

His voice was closer now.






Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Author’s Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance, and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow. Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink*


The Disaster Crimes Series:

*The Crime Before the Storm (prequel)

Hurricane Crimes (novella, #1)

Seismic Crimes (#2)

Lightning Crimes (free short, #2.5)

Tsunami Crimes (#3)

Flaming Crimes (#4)

Frozen Crimes (#5)

A Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6)

The Disaster Curse (short story, #7)

*Free exclusive story to newsletter subscribers.



***LAUNCHING A WEBSITE*** is a website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired by the Disaster Crimes series.




Prizes: Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes 1) and Seismic Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2) eBooks (mobi or epub), Hurricane Crimes Playing Cards, Girl Boss Sign, and a Volcanic Blast Scented Candle




Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

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