Nothing feels as daunting as writing my bio in a query letter.

My name is Phyllis York. I write books. You've never seen them, but some people like them. Which people? No, not witch people, but maybe some witch people. I specialize in strong female protagonists. No, not that strong. They aren't superhuman. Well, some of them are. Just the vampires. There aren't any vampires in this book though. I was just making a point. How long is a bio supposed to be anyway? j/k j/k I probably shouldn't write j/k in a professional query letter, but here we are. So, yeah, that's me.

I'm a writer.

I write.

I would like you to buy my book, so that I can continue to write.

Beta Readers

It's time to start sharing My Mother Road with my beta readers. Beta readers are the first people to read through your manuscript before you send your final copy to potential agents.

Here are some questions gathered by Ryan J. Pelton that beta readers may want to consider when reading.

#1 Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning? If not, why not?

#2 Did you get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is, and where and when it’s taking place? If not, why not?

#3 Could you relate to the main character? Nonfiction: did you understand the authors reason for writing the book? Did you feel her/his pain or excitement?

#4 Did the setting interest you and did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you? Nonfiction: Did the topic seem exciting if you had no prior knowledge of it?

#5 Was there a point at which you felt the story lagged or you became less than excited about finding out what was going to happen next? Where, exactly? Nonfiction: where did the book get boring? What parts could be cut out?

#6 Were there any parts that confused you? Or even frustrated or annoyed you? Which parts, and why? Nonfiction: did any of the research seem far fetched?

#7 Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, or other details? Nonfiction: were any details repeated or redundant?

#8 Were the characters believable? Are there any characters you think could be made more interesting or more likable? Nonfiction: could some of the stories and ideas be more punchy? If so, how so?

#9 Did you get confused about who’s who in the characters? Were there too many characters to keep track of? Too few? Are any of the names of characters too similar? Nonfiction: was there too much information, research, or not enough? Was the information helpful or did it drag?

#10 Did the dialogue keep your interest and sound natural to you? If not, whose dialogue did you think sounded artificial or not like that person would speak?

#11 Did you feel there was too much description or exposition? Not enough? Maybe too much dialogue in parts?

#12 Was there enough conflict, tension, and intrigue to keep your interest? Nonfiction: was the narrative interesting and did it move along? Why or why not?

#13 Was the ending satisfying? Believable? Nonfiction: did the book provide helpful next steps?

#14 Did you notice any obvious, repeating grammatical, spelling, punctuation or capitalization errors? Examples?

#15 Do you think the writing style suits the genre? If not, why not?

2018 by the numbers

Books written: 4

Books published: 3

Books in editing: 1

Books in revision: 4

Words written: 278,683 (documented)

What a year! I got to create characters that will impact my writing for decades to come. If there was a big win this year, it was that my character development has grown by leaps and bounds. My focus group, AKA my husband, family, and friends, have influenced my characters on the deepest levels. We sold a few thousand books in 2018 which is wonderful, but I’m hoping 2019 sees that number explode.

In June, during an 17 hour road trip, my husband and I workshopped a novel that has grown into my biggest project to date. My Mother Road was outlined while driving on the actual Mother Road. When we got home I wrote the first 10,000 in under 24 hours. I’m querying agents now, and hope to see the book published in 2019.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. I am so thankful for your support as I chase my dreams.

Black Friday

The complete Myths, Monsters, and Mary collection is available for a limited time. Mary the Queen, Turn the Paige, and Noah’s Arcana are finally here. 

The books are available on until Black Friday. They won’t be available online again in 2018. These books make great gifts for any book lover.

 Mary the Queen

Paige Harper is barely scraping by in the tiny salon her mother left her. At 22, her lonely world gets turned upside down when a vampire comes into her shop. Mary offers her a job, but taking it will mean Paige must leave her home and life behind. A regrettable lack of musical knowledge on the part of Noah, Mary's driver, is offset by his charm and wit. Unfortunately, Mary has strict rules against coworkers dating. As they travel around the world, Paige begins to question Mary’s motives in hiring her, but when there is an attempt on Paige's life, she has to decide who she can trust. Will she be able to find out who her enemies are -- and who she herself is -- before it's too late?

Turn the Paige

Paige Harper has traveled the world as the personal assistant to vampire Mary Stuart. Now, with a new baby and the knowledge that she carries vampire DNA, Paige and her partner, Noah, must return to America and try to bring their mortal and vampire worlds together. But the disappearance of Paige’s close friend leads her on a hunt that pits her against a powerful enemy and her own mortality.

Noah’s Arcana

Paige Sansom is trying to have it all, but it’s hard to be the perfect wife, mother, and vampire when her husband, Noah, gets a terrible diagnosis. Now, she straddles two worlds, mortal and immortal, as she fights for every second she can get with Noah and her daughter, Layla. Will she be able to find a cure before time runs out?

Summer 2018

What a crazy year 2018 has been. My grandson will be a year old in 73 days. I have two books published, two at the editor, and at least one more to be released this year. My audiobook is due out in September around the same time that the third book in the Myths, Monsters, and Mary trilogy, Noah's Arcana, will be released.

All of these things are amazingly, awesomely, wonderful, BUT I'm even more excited about a new project that I'm working on with my husband. My Mother Road is a book that I am sinking every resource I can muster into. I can not wait to share it with you, but until then I'll give you sneak peeks as much as possible. 

Thank you so much for coming on this ride with me! 

Road Trip (1).png

Zen and the Art of Listening to the Cat


It was early when I woke up today. My only company was the blessedly cool breeze and the judgemental cat. We were reading through what I wrote yesterday, and Bucky, the cat, was unimpressed.

Bucky: This is drivel; bubblegum, the worst! 

Me: Really? I didn’t think it was that bad. I wasn’t at my best, because I ws distr...

Bucky: Do you even want to (making air quotes) be a writer? 

Me: I  am a writer.

Bucky: Really? 

Me: Yes! 

Bucky: Really? 

Me: Yes. 

Bucky: (Raises eyebrows) 

Me: I do write quite a bit.  

Bucky: Well, it’s a known fact that you write as you read. 

Me: I read Literature .

Bucky: On purpose? Let me remind you about Harry Potter, Twilight, FSOG... 

Me: I read other books too, and besides those authors are hella rich and successful. 

Bucky: Oh, may I remind you that Stephen King said, if you’re writing to get rich you’ve already failed. 

Me: So, you read Stephen King? 

Bucky: This isn’t about me.(Jumps out of high chair, and goes to sit in the sink)


In this dramatic recreation, the part of my superego was played by the Bucky the cat.

🌲 Choose your own adventure 🌲

The first person to die in the gravity spasms was a boy, not yet three years old. He was pulled from his front yard. That was in 2023 in what remained of Ohio. 

Since then hundreds, if you can believe the government, of lives have been lost as they were dragged into the sky. Some are killed when the spasm reverses and slams them back into the ground. Others are never seen again. 

Even at a time like this corporations still leach money out of the masses. Strollers that weigh over seventy pounds, and small animal tethers that prevent your poodle from being sucked into the ether are only a few of the expensive items you can pick up at the neighborhood Walzon.

My sister and I were walking to our Walzon when a spasm hit, and I couldn’t prevent her from being torn away. Ginna was only six, and it destroyed what was left of our mother when she found out. I had promised to protect her while we walked, but it was impossible. My mother, Bella, took her life that day joining our father that died had  when the mines beneath West Virginia began exploding in succession.

People began avoiding me that day. Whether they blamed me for the deaths, or were too afraid of the torture I wore on my face, I’m unsure. I left my home yesterday, and don’t plan to stop walking until nobody recognizes me as, Rayla, the kid who let their sister die.

Follow along at and

[Rayla was chosen by the majority of voters. Watch tomorrow for the next Choose Your Own Adventure poll.] 

On the subject of happy endings

In the past couple weeks I reread a few John Green books. Last week I read Looking for Alaska for book club, and today I read Turtles All the Way Down.  Green truly has a grasp of life in all its sacrosanct morbidity. He drives a story forward without losing any of the sweat-stained teenage angst or hyperfocused self awareness.

I know there are haters out there that say, as an upper class, white, cis male, he shouldn't write characters that are... poor or female or persons of color, and so on. His characters are so richly written that it's hard for me to find fault with them. The characters that truly shine in his writing are the ones with mental health issues.

John Green has spoken publicly on his vlog, Vlog Brothers, about his personal battles with OCD and depression. His characters, Margo Roth Spiegelman in Paper Towns, Aza Holmes in Turtles All the Way Down, and Alaska Young in Looking for Alaska are well written characters that suffer from one ism or another. Aza's character is the first he's written in first person. I felt so In synch with Aza that her psychological breakdown left me with nightmares for days after the first time I read it.

John Green is known for writing tear-jerkers. That's an understatement. He's known for taking  you into the wormhole of the world he built, holding your eyelids open lest you look away, and then, tear soaked and spiralling, he wrings every last drop of emotional torment out of you. His books are filled with humor, self effacement, and love, but they seldom end on a happy note. When I read his books I feel quenched, at least until the next book comes out.

The problem with happy endings is that they're either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.

John Green, Turtles All the Way Down



Why "You should be writing " is an outdated meme.

  We've all seen the images. Some cool actor or character reminding us that we should get off our butts and write. To be writers we must, in fact, write, but to be a modern writer there is so much more to it than that.


Whether you are a poet, blogger, novelist, or journalist there is much more to achieving success than meeting a daily word count. Here are a few of the things modern writers have to contend with.


Most writers have to maintain a website, and unless you are rolling in Benjamins, you'll be building it yourself. This may come naturally to the blogger, but this was foreign territory to me. Thankfully there are numerous videos online to walk you through it, but it is very time consuming.

Social media

The rise and fall of the modern writer can happen in minutes on social media platforms. Everyday there seems to be a new social media site to which the hordes are flocking. There has been AIM, MySpace, Grindr, Facebook, AdultFriendFinder, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Tinder, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, and I'm only kidding about a couple of those. Authors have destroyed their reputations with poorly worded posts or racy pictures. While is important to maintain visibility it's also important to maintain your personal dignity.


 It's time time to dust off that Rolodex, and create some connections. You're going to need to know editors, graphic designers, publishers, beta readers, and most importantly consumers. It can be intimidating to dig through the internet for the services you need, but that's what most of us end up doing. Writer's conventions and workshops offer a first hand chance to meet these professionals and see what they have to offer. There are websites that try to make it easier like They are focused on being the link between writers and the services they need.

  Don't get me wrong. You should write, but even  God rested on the seventh day. It's important to nourish your soul, and maintain your personal support system. So, by all means read, write, and repeat, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.


April Goals

My goals in April were a little more extensive than my usual monthly writing goals. I'll list them, and then go over how I did.

  • Write 30,000 words
  • Sell 100 copies of Myths, Monsters, and Mary: Mary the Queen
  • Sell 200 copies of Myths, Monsters, and Mary: Turn the Paige
  • Have a kickass book launch

I only wrote 21,541 words this month. There are a lot of excuses I could make; births, deaths, hit and runs, and so on, but the fact is I just didn't do the writing. I'm aiming for 31,000 in May, and sending two books to the editor.

My book launch was amazing. We met, and exceeded, projected sales. Now I just have to keep up momentum. 

I've been using some new products to help with marketing. I'm working on a post that will better explain Ripl, Placeit, and Mail Chimp. If you know of any handy apps for writers, please, let me know.


A huge thanks to everyone that came out Saturday for the book launch. We sold a bunch of books, met a lot of people, and had a wonderful time celebrating the release of Turn the Paige.

Boat Town Brewing was a wonderful venue. The staff was helpful and courteous. They gave us great advice on picking our beverages. We sampled all of their brews. 

Spork Express had some yummy foods to try. I had the muffeleta, queso fries, and fried bread pudding bites. It was awesome! 

It was an incredible night, and I can't wait to debut my new book there in September.

Signing a book for a fan.