Crystal is a multi-genre author who lives in her fantasy land amid the last of the stone giants. When she’s not getting lost in a fandom, she’s writing one of her own. Her favorite hobbies include playing video games, crocheting, and mindlessly zoning out for hours at a time.
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 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 crocheting and spending lots of time on my exercise equipment while watching movies and shows—exercising is very good for warming me up on cold mornings and the TV is within viewing range of my home gym. I watch just about anything and everything, especially if it’s part of the Marvel universe or ties to a fandom. My tastes in entertainment vary widely, from comedy to romance to horror and more. As long as it has a good story and interesting characters, I’ll like it. I’m really not too picky, to be honest.
The ultimate fangirl
On the topic of what I like . . . 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 and the Netflix shows are really well done. 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, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Pratt, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Anna Kendrick . . . you get the idea. 😉 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. (See the bottom of this page for a cute video of my piglets in March 2018!) 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. Spring and summer are the best seasons to hang out with friends and family, too, and cookouts can be pretty frequent.
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 a bit of everything, from music to drawing to languages. Moving out here to the country was a huge culture shock for me (after all, I was raised in Orlando) but as soon as I adjusted, I jumped right into country life. One of the first things I did was get into fishing. Aside from a few fishing trips as a teen, I’d never really done it on my own, so I discovered as an adult just how relaxing it can be to cast out and reel in. Especially when our lake is practically in our front yard. Repetition is nice. Although, most of what I catch are things that others have lost. Like lures. It is oddly satisfying to catch a fish that already has a lure in its mouth. Like, finally catching the one that got away.
Then I got into guns and bows. Now, I’d never held a gun—a real one—until boot camp, but I discovered I had a decent talent for aim. Our property is large enough to have our own shooting range, so from time to time I release some stress and take out a few targets. (I currently hold the household title for clay shooting with a .410 shotgun.) But my favorite “weapon” of choice is my bow. It’s a gorgeous Hoyt Vicxen with a draw that I can actually handle. I’m no Green Arrow or Hawkeye or anything, but I get excited when I hit my target.
I did get into hunting, too, though to this date all I’ve ever killed was a goose (and I had to be super angry at it to even try that) and a few quail and chickens (which pretty much all made me cry). They were all for food, of course—no life is taken without purpose. I don’t know how I’m ever supposed to take down a deer if a fist-sized bird breaks my heart, but I have a sort of “mental block” in my mind that differentiates between the living and the dead. I might have trouble taking a life myself, but once an animal is dead, I have absolutely no issue skinning and butchering it. I even wanted to get into tanning and taxidermy for a while there, but it takes a lot of time and patience that a mother just doesn’t have when she has three children to tend to. Maybe that’ll be something I explore further when they’re older.
I’ve also tried my hand at a few creative crafts with the intent of turning them into a career, but nothing really stuck. Hand-crocheted projects are appreciated but not in high demand, and even if they were, I have what’s called the “creator’s curse.” It’s where, with each new project you make, you get better, until by the end of the project, you hate it because you know now that you can in fact do better. With every project I took on, I saw all the flaws and thought to myself, “No one will want something so flawed.” Even when it really wasn’t. I just psyched myself out of it, I think. Typical Crystal. 😉 Then, right about the time I got into the cake-decorating business, so did about fifteen other locals, most of whom had the time and money to open an actual bakery. Since everything I do is out of my own house, I was pushed out of that business pretty fast.
Aside from writing, the one hobby that has stuck with me my entire life is singing. 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. In all seriousness, though, I’m pretty good at my karaoke games on PS2 (remember those?) and my husband has never once complained when I sing along to the radio (or, more accurately, to Pandora). I even used to have a friend in high school who would sit on the phone with me and just have me sing to him. I guess that means I’m not terrible.
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)
Writing and editing take the cake (which I probably baked and decorated). After a crazy couple of years writing, editing, publishing, and learning, I’m now settling comfortably into the day-to-day life of a writer.
When one of my unfinished novels 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.
Along with editing, I learned to format for paperback in Microsoft Word 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. I offered editing, formatting, and eventually cover design. My freelancing doors are closed for now as I focus on my writing, but I expect they’ll open again some day. I enjoyed it too much to stop completely.
To this day, I only have one story self-published. It’s a children’s book. As much as I love the publishing process, my sights are set on traditional publishers, so I’m trying to hold back from self-publishing too much just yet. However, I’m proud to say I have a myriad of short stories out there in various anthologies. It’s not fame and fortune, but it’s a few happy readers, and that’s worth more to me anyway. 🙂
Here I am now
Today, I’m focusing on myself and my writing. My life is always pretty busy and stress is my biggest demon, but I’m excited to continue on this path and see where it leads me. Especially since this is the first thing I’ve done with my life where I finally feel like I belong.
Anyway, I think I’m going to go cook some pizza now, turn on The Flash 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. 🙂