In 1871, The Great Chicago Fire Happened At The Same Time As A Less Remembered & Worse One: Peshtigo

Today is the 149th anniversary of the 1871 Chicago fire that destroyed so much of what was then a rapidly growing area of commerce. It had been incorporated as a city in 1837, only 34 years before it was ravaged by The Great Chicago Fire.

🌎 But did you know that on the same night (and starting two days earlier), there was a Wisconsin fire that burned the town of Peshtigo to the ground, killing 1/3 of its 2,000 residents? (This number is from the Russian River Flag, October 19, 1871, although TIME’s website says that there were as many as 2,500 dead—there are several possible reasons for the difference.) The problem was that the Chicago fire distracted from the Wisconsin one, and although the property destruction was less in Peshtigo, the loss of life was higher, as it “killed more people than any other fire in America’s history.” (TIME, “Top 10 Devastating Wildfires: The Peshtigo Fire, 1871”)

📰 Peshtigo suffered a “fire tornado”, and “balls of fire were soon seen observed to fall like meteors in different parts of the town, igniting wherever they touched.” A member of the Relief Committee from Milwaukee said the only ones who survived were those who threw themselves into a mill pond. (Russian River Flag, October 19, 1871)

📜 In a letter between a brother and half sister, the brother answers how some of the family survived while others died. “When the tornado struck the village they started for the river, but before they could reach it, everything was in flames.” In the letter, it says the lucky family member who survived didn’t believe the fire alarm at first because there had been so many false alarms that week. However, when another alarm sounded, he was able to get children out of the building and then headed back into the burning building to put on shoes before running from it again. He fell while carrying a child, but someone picked him up and put him in the water, where they stayed for four and a half hours while the fire swept around them. (Daily Wabash Express, November 21, 1871)

🧠 There is so much history we know nothing about and so many amazing life stories we don’t hear. They’re just as important as famous ones, and hearing their stories is something I’ve found to be important to me. ❤️

🖋 If you use this blog post as a reference for your own work, please cite it as a source. Thank you!


  1. “The Wisconsin Fires.” (1871, October 19). Russian River Flag, p. 2. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from
  2. “Editor Terre Haute Express.” (1871, November 21). Daily Wabash Express, p. 4. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from
  3. Rosenfeld, Everett. “Top 10 Devastating Wildfires: The Peshtigo Fire, 1871.” (2011, June 8). TIME. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from,28804,2076476_2076484_2076503,00.html.

August 12 at 6pm ET: Guest on Vox Vomitus

Exciting news! I’ll be on the podcast and LIVE show Vox Vomitus on Wednesday, August 12 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time! This is a show where we’ll talk about mistakes. Instead of all the things that went right while writing, we’ll dig into the things that went wrong. Ooo boy, do I have things that went wrong.

It’s funny because my first published novel was a breeze to write compared to my others. It was a great “gateway” book to prove that I absolutely love writing—so that I could handle the difficulties I would run into in the future!

So if you want to hear what’s gone wrong for me, mistakes, things I don’t like in works I read, etc., don’t miss this one! You can ask questions in the chat too.

Hope to see you there!

Join us live here: (the post will turn into the livestream, and you don’t have to have Facebook to watch!)

FREE! 🖤 Unprecedented Sale on My Books!

This is the very first time any of my books has been free. For Smashwords’ month-long sale, I decided to offer Anatomy of a Darkened Heart for FREE and Brotherhood of Secrets for $1.50 (half price). You have July 1 through July 31 to grab my books at their biggest discount. Book 3 is coming along quickly now, so get caught up before it releases!

👉 Anatomy of a Darkened Heart:
👉 Brotherhood of Secrets:

Use the codes in the image below (SS100 for Anatomy and SSW50 for Brotherhood) to grab my books at their lowest prices. ❤️

Remember, you only have one month to get them discounted. I hope you enjoy them!

If you’d love extras, deleted scenes, insights into my work, and exclusive access to videos and short stories, become a patron today for $1/month and get a HUGE amount of benefits! Click on the image below to check it out:

Click here to check out my Patreon page

My FREE Workshop: Get Creative and Start Writing

Come grab a spot at my half-hour workshop on writing with LIMITLESS CREATIVITY! The workshop is FREE, so please join me Wednesday, April 29 at 4 p.m. Eastern. Whether you’re brand new to writing, on your first draft, or have several books published, this workshop is for you!
👉 Register:
🚻 Both girls AND guys are welcome!
💸 Donations to my Venmo are appreciated but not necessary
❤️ Generously hosted by Girls Nite In Online ❤️

Register here:

Writers Showcase Interviews

I have a few interviews to share with you since the last time I posted, and a wide variety of topics to boot! Long-time bloggers, Oaxaca, and the Dan Marino Foundation have been my latest guests.

Blogging Panel

Wondering what the value of a blog is in the age of social media? Unsure of where to start or what the best approach is for starting a blog? And what about blogs you’ve let lapse for months or years? Can you pick back up with them or should you start another? Join Mandy Eve Barnett,
Marina RaydunDavid Ellis, and Konn Lavery as we discuss this and lots more!

Click here to watch.

Lost in Oaxaca author Jessica Mireles

Jessica Winters Mireles is the author of LOST IN OAXACA, a timely novel releasing April 21 with themes of diversity and self-acceptance as well as music, love, and lots more. Jessica herself is a pianist, and her husband is from the highlands of Oaxaca, so we explored the parallels between her life and her writing—that was just the beginning!

Click here to watch.

The Dan Marino Foundation

This month is Autism Awareness Month, and we’re honoring it with a very special guest! The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) is a results-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons with autism or other developmental disabilities. We’ll have Project Research Manager Lauren Ferguson and Director of Funding and Grants Susan Morantes talking about how they’re continuing their good work while staying at home, Marino Campus, and lots more!

Click here to watch.

Coming Up Next on Writers Showcase

Lorna Schultz Nicholson is the author of the One-2-One series, in which each novel tells the story of a different pair of teens participating in the Best Buddies program at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. Follow the lives of this group of friends who come together with different expectations and problems, seeing the world from their own unique perspectives and facing it head on together. The four books in this series are Fragile Bones, Born With, Bent Not Broken, and A Time To Run.

Click here to watch live on April 27 at 2 p.m. Eastern or watch it later.

Microfiction, positivity posts and haikus, early access and exclusive content!

Two Mini Reviews: Fiction Horror

An honest review of my very short horror story “The Subtlety of Terror”! I’m so thrilled to see this and so grateful for the lovely words from Debjani. ❤️ Grab my short story here:

Debjani's Thoughts

The Subtlety of Terror: A Short Horror Read by Christie Stratos

The Subtlety of Terror by Christie Stratos

Stratos pens an intense and scary tale in The Subtlety of Terror. It narrates the events that occur when the protagonist wants to sell her house.

Without giving away any spoiler, I will say only one thing: watch out for the house!

In a span of 1950 words, this short horror read packs a punch. Further, not a word goes waste. In such a short time, she narrates the backstory, the current predicament, and what the future has in store for the protagonist. Recommended.

The Wind by Edward Willett

The Wind by Edward Willett

Once happily married, the protagonist finds himself alone in his childhood home in The Wind by Edward Willett. Soon, the reader realizes why the house is closing in on him. The Wind is an excellent short horror story. It’s beautifully written, atmospheric, psychologically thrilling, and conjures vivid images…

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My Interview with International Best Selling Author Kathrin Hutson

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Thank you for your kind support!

I had the opportunity to interview international bestselling author Kathrin Hutson on Facebook live this past week, and it was an extra pleasure because I proofread the book we talked about! Sleepwater Static is part of her award-winning Blue Helix series, and it’s coming out on May 26. The Kindle version is up for pre-order now for only $0.99, and it will remain at that price until its release date.

Kathrin’s latest novel is one you can read on multiple levels, and it’s perfect for book clubs and readers’ groups. Diversity and inclusion handled in a sensitive manner? Check. Social issues discussed in an accessible way? Check. Unique powers that are activated by speaking? Check!

Watch or listen to our interview on Facebook:

Up Next on Writers Showcase

On Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific / 10 p.m. UK time, I’ll be chatting with a panel of bloggers about what the modern world of blogging is like. We’ll talk about blogging platforms, blogging ideas for writers, blogging tips for fiction writers, what to put on a blog vs. social media, and more!

Bring your questions to the live chat—we’ll be taking them! I hope you’ll join us here on Facebook:

March 2020 Newsletter

Did you get my March newsletter? If not, then don’t forget to sign up here: 
If you want to see what my newsletter is like, check out this month’s issue here:

Dont forget I have a Patreon! Ive been sharing free content on there as well as paid, so follow for free or join for as little as $1/month, far less than your daily coffee!

Six-Page Spread in Uncaged Book Reviews!

I’m so thrilled! Uncaged Book Reviews has featured me in their November issue, and it’s six pages of their interview with me and an excerpt from Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. What more could I ask for?

Thank you so much to Uncaged Book Reviews for this lovely feature!

Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a rare page-turner novel that sometimes kept me in suspense, but wholly captured my heart. Eleanor Oliphant is an utterly relatable character, even in her most extreme moments. Author Gail Honeyman manages to talk about very dark and serious subjects—child abuse and the growing epidemic of loneliness—in ways that don’t bring you down but instead are highlighted with appropriate humor. The character development and Eleanor’s journey are superbly and expertly fleshed out, and in the end, there was a twist I really didn’t see coming, something that isn’t easy to pull off with me. I highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews

My Poem in Auroras & Blossoms!

What better way is there to start October than with a brand new poetry journal?

I’m excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into the inaugural issue of Auroras & Blossoms! It’s out today on Amazon, and it’s chock-full of positivity poems to lift your spirits, share experiences, and motivate you. Plus, it includes extra sections dedicated to writing and social media.

I find that any publication dedicated to positivity is great to start or end my day with. If I start my day with it, my mindset starts out looking on the brighter side of things and seeing the possibilities in every situation. Ending my day with it helps me sleep and often sets my mind for the next day, believe it or not!

I hope you’ll buy a copy and let me know what you think! My piece is entitled “The Answer is Redefinition”. I’m going to read the whole thing from cover to cover myself, and I can’t wait to see what my fellow poets wrote!

Follow Auroras & Blossoms

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Podcast Updates and My Latest Interviews

I have quite the accumulation of appearances to share with you! So this is a roundup of interviews and news from me.

Writers Showcase

First of all, Creative Edge Writers Showcase has now been renamed simply Writers Showcase. It’s still part of the Authors on the Air Radio Network, but now we’re Facebook livestreaming author interviews! You can watch live and ask questions, or you can wait for the replay, which you can watch on Facebook or YouTube, or you can listen via SoundCloud and almost anywhere podcasts are available.

So far this September, I’ve interviewed Dark Data: Control, Alt, Delete author Douglas J. Wood and Mirador author James Jennings. Both have written books that required an immense amount of research but on totally different topics. You can watch them below.

A Scribe’s Journey

Richard Paolinelli has a podcast called A Scribe’s Journey, where he interviews an author for about half the podcast and then shares his own news in the second half. This interview was not my first time chatting with Richard! He was a guest on The Writer’s Edge in 2018, then later that year on Writers Showcase. And now I’m on his podcast in 2019! We always have great chats and can talk about anything writing-related.

Siren Radio / Southside Broadcasting

I was on the fast-paced Midweek Drive show hosted by Alex Anthony-Lewczuk, and we talked Victorian feminism, the hypocrisy of Victorian etiquette and true horrors of the time, whether original Victorian novels helped to inspire my books, and lots more.

Author Assist with Karina Kantas

I knew author Karina Kantas back when she published her first book, before she had her Author Assist business and before she had a podcast, so it was a real treat to catch up with her! My interview starts at 36:58 of this episode, and during the interview, I read a section from Brotherhood of Secrets that I’ve never read aloud before.

The Indie View

My latest written interview is with The Indie View, and if you don’t know a whole lot about me, this interview is a great place to start. You’ll learn about my books, my writing process, and my publishing journey.

Read it here.