Thursday, November 15, 2018

Author Interview with R. D. Crist with GIVEAWAY!



1. How did you go about the world building in Scarlet Reign?

The Scarlet Reign world seemed to build itself – it’s how I pictured a world of magic would make sense. I began with just the first chapter – in five minutes I had an idea and two hours later it was complete – minus 50 or so edits. Then I focused on an ending where young women could come out of their shell and rise to the challenge; it was just there. After that, I implemented the rules and the characters as the story developed. Everything between can seem overwhelming to create, but it was so much fun because I didn’t worry about the story: I just picked one thing at a time that I wanted to see happen and tried to fit it in somewhere, so I literally bounced back and forth from the beginning to the end of the story just adding ideas. At times I had no idea what direction things would go. Toward the end, it was a challenge to make everything connect, but that was even more fun, like a puzzle. I go on long walks when something is on my mind, with no pressure, and the problems of the story are usually resolved.  On tough days, they’re really long walks.


2. What does your writing process look like?


Over the years I come up with numerous ideas that I think would be exciting to see in a story. I collect them until a complete adventure can be pieced together.  It is really just a matter of squeezing as many ideas as I can into a timeline.  Unfortunately, many of the ideas have to be left out if they don’t fit, but, then they are saved for another story.


3. What inspired you to write young adult.


Adolescence is a difficult time for many people. My intent is to facilitate a feeling of acceptance and normalcy in young adults. I believe people learn best through experience, and they can even learn through other people’s experiences. Thus, entertaining stories are a great catalyst for growth and why I chose this genre.  

4. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I never really thought of myself as a writer, even today. I know it sounds weird, but I just want to create a place where people can go for help, adventure, and emotional journeys. Writing, to me, is an art where people can work magic with words. I feel my art is in the story. Although, I think I’m too hard on myself: I didn’t really appreciate my writing until I read an excerpt of my work on another site. Then I was like, wow, I wrote that?


5. What are your future goals?  Can we expect more books?


I am working on about ten different stories at the moment. I piece them together in my mind until they are complete enough to start a treatment. I am always building them and have numerous treatments written down. I promised myself I would publish the second book to Scarlet Reign next year, which has been written and needs to be revised, but there are several more I can’t wait to complete. There are four books in this series, so we’ll see where it all goes, but first I must consider writing as a hobby because I have other responsibilities. I will do everything in my power to have one Scarlet Reign book come out every year. It shouldn’t be hard as the last two are compiled and ready to be written – but there may also be a spinoff. I have already put forth great effort to piece them together so that they connect as a complete story. Book one is filled with set-ups that are imperative to the other seven (yes, seven) books.


6. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?


Do not quit, and do not stress about it. Advice I still need to follow. I have walked away from writing and come back so many times, but I just keep getting better. This story was actually written about five years ago, but it is now just coming out in its final version. Also, I wrote another book before this one but was frustrated when a similar story came out before I published it, even though it was about four years in the making. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.  I think my stories get better each time anyway.



R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.

Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.


Website   Twitter   Facebook    

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review of Scarlet Reign, Malice of the Dark Witch by R. D. Crist with GIVEAWAY!


After the unexplainable death of her mother on the eve of Natalie’s fourteenth birthday, she is suddenly forced to grow up. Compelled to leave her dismal and deceptive life behind by a mysterious woman who claims to be an old relative, Natalie carries with her the highly coveted, scarlet stoned ring she reluctantly retrieved from her mother upon her death. 

Following Natalie’s irreversible decision, she unexpectedly finds herself alone and thrust into a peculiar all female orphanage where her arrival was strangely anticipated by the inhabitants, and greeted by some with ire. Ultimately, young Natalie must quickly learn to fend for herself against bullies, unexplained forces, a male suitor, and something lurking for revenge. Does she have both the strength and resolve, and can she set the past aside, to uncover the secrets necessary in order to fulfill her destiny?



*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

There is so much to love about this story! From the writing itself to the twisting plotline. I loved Natalie and joining her on her journey to find the truth of who she is and what she is capable of. 

This story starts off with a lot of urgency. As a reader, I quickly got caught up in Natalie and Ava's escape and the many mysterious things that happen along the way. I enjoyed seeing Natalie grow up quickly. For me, the process of her growing felt natural and helped me bond with her as the main character. The reader knows as much as she does, and it keeps you wanting to know more. 

This is a well-written coming of age story with lots of mystery and adventure to keep the reader always at the ready. While set in the present day the story takes on the same feel as a fantasy novel, as Natalie goes on a journey to the orphanage. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. 

Goodreads   Amazon 



R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.


Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.

Website   Twitter   Facebook    


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Perfect Detective


So, you’ve picked your victim. You’ve plotted out the way they’ll die. You know why they’re about to be murdered. You may even know how their body will be discovered. Now what?

You’ve got to pick someone to solve this delicious crime.

Depending on your process, you may already have your detective in mind, but, if you’re like me, you may have fallen into your mystery with the mystery first and everything else secondary.

A little backstory. I was driving to work one day in the horrible traffic that no city as small as Baton Rouge should possibly be able to produce on a daily basis, when I began to reminisce about my band. It was something I did every so often. Something would remind me of one of my bandmates and down I’d go through memory lane.

On this particular morning, I was thinking about my former drummer. He had this large hardware case for all his cymbal stands, drum throne, drum heads, and whatever kind of accessory a 29-year-old man with a very good job and very few responsibilities could buy. This thing was a beast; and because our bassist lived in Hammond and not New Orleans, I was generally lifting the other end to help heft the damn thing out of our second-floor warehouse space, down the rickety steps and into the drummer’s Jeep. And he made the same joke every time. 

“She was a good ol’ girl, but I just had to go and kill her.”

I think he made it every time, because the first time he made it, I did actually laugh because I was imagining myself into a gangster movie disposing of a dead body at exactly that same moment.

However, after the thirtieth time, it did lose its charm. 

So, flash forward years later and I’m thinking about this as I pull into work and snicker to myself imagining the look on his face had a dead body ever come tumbling out of that box and that’s when it hit me. That spark. That arrow of creativity pierced my brain and by the end of lunch that day I had the first chapter of That Old Devil Sin.

Problem was, I had a mystery and no earthly idea how I was going to solve it or who was going to do the solving. In a traditional whodunit, the detective is as important as the whodunit. And while a mystery can be all about the mystery (see Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), I am not that disciplined of a writer to pull it off. 

Besides, I like my mysteries to have a good story and that was the kind of mystery I wanted to write. 

When you’re developing your detective and the cast of characters that surround them, you have to figure out the world in which they inhabited up until the moment that dead body makes its appearance, even if it makes its appearance in the first paragraph. 

By and large, the crime solver in every mystery falls into one of two categories: the Perfect Detective and the Flawed Detective.

The progenitor of the Perfect Detective is, of course, Sherlock Holmes. A man of genius intellect and few emotional attachments. This makes his personal life rather clean and tidy and it never interferes with his work. Let’s put aside the fact that he’s a cocaine addict and possibly a sociopath himself based on clues the modern reader can pick up from ancillary text in the stories. Sherlock Holmes is, in many ways, a detecting machine. That’s his core function. 

Hercule Poirot is another example. Sure, he’s a narcissist and possibly a closeted homosexual, but we don’t know that. We’re only guessing. Just like Sherlock Holmes, he has no inner world that is open to us.

Even when that inner world is opened, there might not be much there. Let’s take Kay Scarpetta. She’s a badass criminologist, but that’s pretty much all she is. She has few, if any, flaws. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great character, but there is very little about her that distracts from her core function: finding the killer.

As writers, however, we’re able to explore the human condition. And while having a detective with few distractions and flaws that back up on them while they’re solving the case may make your mystery clean and tidy, where’s the fun in clean and tidy?

This leads us to the Flawed Detective. Let’s take Dave Robicheaux. When we first meet Streak, he’s a low-functioning alcoholic fucking around on his wife with a stripper. Even when he gets sober, his personal life is always getting in the way of his professional crime-solving. 

Will Trent is another great example. The dude can barely read and has an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again relationship with his childhood sweetheart to the point of exhaustion. 

Or more recently, Lisbeth Salander. A victim of sexual abuse who’s a high-function autistic with a very limited moral compass.

What makes the Flawed Detectives more fun to write, in my estimation, than the Perfect Detectives, is that you get to go off-script. You can diverge from the path of your mystery on a little daytrip down Dysfunctional Lane. You can load your mystery with distracting relationships and offstage backstory that makes your detective behave erratically. You can let your detective leap to the wrong assumptions and beat up someone they shouldn’t and feel guilty about it… or not feel guilty about it; they are flawed, after all.

My detective, Clementine “Q” Toledano is Flawed with a capital F for Fucked Up. And her partner in crime, Aaron Sanger is equally Flawed, albeit in a more staid manner. And their flaws sometimes converge to play off one another. This dynamic allows me to go to darker places than if Q was just a happy-go-lucky musician and her friend, Detective Aaron Sanger, was an NOPD crime-fighting machine.

They get to fight. They get to make up. They get to make each other laugh and hold each other when they cry. They get to drink too much and love the wrong people and jump to the wrong conclusions.

In short, they get to live.

Whatever kind of mystery you are writing, taking the time to really understand your detective will make the mystery more fun to read and, in the end, a lot easier to write. Happy #NaNoWrMo!