Crystal lives in a small town in Texas with her husband, their three children, and her Yorkie, Jack.
Standard bio aside…
Words are not all I dabble in. I’m actually a voracious learner and a bit of a perfectionist, so I tend to tackle anything I’m interested in head-on, meticulously, and with all my passion.
During the winter
I enjoy knitting and crocheting and spending lots of time between exercise equipment and movies/shows—exercising is very good for warming you up on cold mornings and the TV is within viewing range of all my stuff. I have a home gym, which is a huge time-and-money-saver since it’s a thirty-minute drive to town and gas isn’t always cheap. Netflix and Kodi are life savers. I watch just about anything and everything, especially if it’s part of the Marvel universe or ties to a fandom.
The ultimate fangirl
Side note: I’m a Whovian. Doctor Who is life. Tennant is my Doctor and Donna is my companion (though I also loved Rose). I have a steadily growing collection of over a hundred things Whovian, including e-books, ornaments, paintings, puzzles, blankets, clothing, DVDs, games, handmade fangear, and over 22 Funko Pop dolls. And, as I said, it’s growing.
But that’s not all. Marvel, Sherlock, Supernatural, Grey’s Anatomy…I could go on. For hours. (I’m not against DC; I love the characters. But the movies could use some work.) And my fangirling isn’t limited to shows, either. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter…anything with Jason Momoa or Ryan Reynolds or Chris Pratt or Emma Stone or Emma Watson or Anna Kendrick…or just anything… 😉 But if you ever need to get me a gift, I’m telling you now: you can’t go wrong with a nerdy, geeky fandom. (Though I see literally zero reason you’d ever need to get me a gift, unless my husband is reading this, in which case, honey, I still need a stairclimber for the home gym.)
During the spring and summer
I can usually be found weeding the garden and talking to my animals. We run a Dorper sheep ranch, but we love all animals. Right now we also have pigs, dogs, cats, chickens, guineas, ducks, geese, turkeys, and two goldfish. The pigs are my pride and joy (and the piglets, my goodness!) so I post pictures of them to Facebook often. Spring especially is a busy time of year for me, because not only are all three of my kids in baseball/softball, but with the weather warming up, we spend more and more time outside: fishing, camping, repairing/building fences, tending to chicks and baby animals, and various other outside activities. (See the bottom of this page for a cute video of my piglets in March 2018!)
In the fall
I spend most of my time in the kitchen, canning the vegetables from the harvest and baking breads and cakes for no real reason at all. Back in 2015, I owned my own freelance cake business and spent every free moment decorating and learning how to force frosting and sugar to do my bidding. It was a lot of fun, but my waistline has regrets.
I’ve toyed with taxidermy, skinning and tanning, archery, shooting, fishing, hunting—allow me to interject, as I can already see many of you grimacing in disgust and turning toward the exit button. Archery and shooting are a lot of fun just with targets, and fishing is relaxing (we usually catch and release). As for the rest…yes, I hunt, but I’m a firm believer in hunting for food and using every part of an animal. When we fell on hard times and barely had the money for groceries, I was more than grateful for the deer that filled our freezer and kept my family alive. If you can’t accept that…well, you already know where the exit button is.
I’ve also tried my hand at a few creative crafts, and I love to sing. Not that I’m good at it, mind you… [Insert awkward laughter here.] Still, not to brag, but I know all the words to every Disney song in existence and most popular animated films. My kids get a kick out of it. My friends sing along. It’s a good life.
My career by day
I’m a stay-at-home mom and housewife, which keeps me a lot busier than any non-stay-at-home parent might think. Day in and day out, cleaning the same messes, washing the same clothes, scrubbing the same dishes. Exercise and fitness help keep me sane, but stay-at-home life is a full-time job in itself. Is it any wonder why I throw myself into fictional worlds so often? Even when I was in the Navy (Nuke ET3, represent!) I preferred the comfort and excitement of a good fantasy world to the real thing.
But that’s just by day.
My career by night (or, more accurately, by late afternoon)
I’m an industry Jack-of-all-trades, where writing and editing take the cake (which I probably baked and decorated).
Publishing is my calling. I’m so glad I found it. Not just the writing and getting published parts, but the editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing parts as well.
When my writing got picked up by a small indie publisher in 2015, I expressed an interest in editing and was fast-tracked to their intern program, studying under the guidance of their editing director. I was praised for my grammar skills and ability to learn quickly as well as my natural talent for word flow and sentence structure. I could feel the author’s voice in their work and loved making every story the best it could be. I was promoted to editing director when my predecessor left, and I learned even more through my resulting experience.
I learned to format for paperback and to use code (HTML and CSS) to format for e-book. I quickly discovered that the repetition and meticulous detail involved in formatting soothed my OCD habits, and to this day formatting is still one of my favorite parts of the publishing process.
Sadly, a lot of the information I picked up on in terms of running a publishing company came in the form of watching what not to do. I left the publisher after being with them for nine months (seven of those as an editor) and opened my doors as a self-employed freelancer. You can view my services page in the main menu to see what I offer or what I’m working on. It changes throughout the year, so check back often!
In January of 2017, my friend Jae and I were talking about publishing imprints. One thing led to another (kind of the only way anything ever happens, really) and before we knew it, we were opening our doors as Imagine House, a fantasy imprint for the self-publishing author. We didn’t want to be a serious publisher, though, with money and contracts and tricky wording. So we set ourselves up as more of a club, a collective home for certain pre-approved authors. We’re still a little picky on who we let in (no offense, y’all) but that’s just because, right now, we’re still getting our bearings in the world. It’s exciting nonetheless!
The writing community I help admin for, Authors’ Tale, hosts an annual workshop and short story anthology, and every year they make submission calls for potential cover art. In 2017, my then-anonymous cover submission was selected by our members as the face of our second anthology, Heart of a Child! I knew I had fun playing around with graphic design and stock images, but it wasn’t until my cover was chosen that I considered it as part of my publishing services. I didn’t want to immediately advertise as a designer, though (especially since, at that point, I really wasn’t one), so I began taking courses on Shaw Academy online. I’ve learned a lot (and got a few certificates to show for it!) and I’ve also done a few other custom and pre-made book covers. In addition, I personally designed the logo for Imagine House. My portfolio is growing slowly, but I’m now comfortable enough with my knowledge and skill to officially offer my services as a graphic and stock designer as well.
Here I am now
Today, my literary services are decently known throughout the indie community, I’m the author of a children’s book and many short stories in varying genres, I’ve got a few cover designs out there with my name on them, and I have a bright future ahead of me (as long as I keep learning and growing!). Want to learn with me? Join Authors’ Tale. I’m always there. 🙂
Anyway, I think I’m going to go order some pizza now, turn on The Blacklist on Netflix, and get ready for my treadmill. Have a great day, and don’t hesitate to reach out for any reason. I’m always just a few keyboard clicks away. 🙂