Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Best Days: Or, The View From Inside Looking Out

There is a song by that title by Graham Colton that I absolutely love…and you can hear it here:

I have loved this song for a very long time, and was unprepared for the emotions it brought up in me when it came on shuffle today on my iPad.

So many memories.

I remember dancing in the living room to this song with my daughter.

I remember us singing it together at the top of our lungs. I remember the stories it inspired, the laughs and hugs and all the times that I knew, even then, would never come again.

So many times will never come again.

I was thinking recently about how lucky I am: I have a spouse who supports me financially; I have, literally, all the time in the world to write, paint, sing; imagine. To play, to create, to feel joy.

But I am not free in my free time. I am never, ever free.
I have an invisible jailer called Brain Disorder; it is the taskmaster of my days and the thief of my nights.

Its right-hand man is called Grief.

Grief and Brain Disorder work very hard to control, waste, and steal my time. They lull me into sleep I cannot escape from; Brain Disorder requires medications that make me sluggish and each day unpredictable even though they are supposed to bring balance: any new stress, such as the two-week long illness I am still getting over push me beyond my limits and I just want it all to stop.

I want the world to stop spinning and making me so dizzy; I want the air I to stop making so much noise as it rushes around in my ears.

I want the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes when I think of my daughter to go away.

Totally random things can take me back to the place of raw grief over losing her presence in my life (by her choice, not mine, due to her joining a cult: see previous blog posts if you don’t know the story yet) such as seeing a little rainbow-colored stuffed unicorn in the check-out line at Michaels the other day. I looked at my husband and said “Who does that remind you of?” and he named my daughter’s favorite childhood stuffed toy: the one she left with me when she moved out: the one that is carefully kept in my closet because I don’t know what else to do with her.

We both got tears in our eyes.

Then the day went on.

I have tried to make some positive use of my time, of my ‘freedom’ since she has gone. But on some days it all feels pointless and I would just give anything and everything to go back to those “best days”. I hate to think that the best days of my life are behind me—if I accept that then not only is the battle lost but so is the entire war.

I have to live for hope; which doesn’t play well with Brain Disorder and Grief, but is forced to play anyway.

How I long for a sweet day when I could once again dance, in my fashion as I am able, clattering along with my crutch, with my daughter in my arms; spinning, smiling, glowing, as she does.

I want more “best days”.

And all I can do, with no guarantee that they will be there, is hope, and try to do something to make the time in between meaningful, despite the unkind mental and physical wardens that imprison me.

Someone’s life can seem one thing from the outside…when in fact they are living in a prison, just the same. I try not to view it that way because if I do then I might give up trying to get out; to do things, to make things better, as better as they can be.

I use the example so that others, on the outside may understand. You may have a day job that takes time away from your writing: be glad you have the health and independence to hold it down, I wish I still could.

Your children may take your attention away from your creative pursuits as well: let them, for their time with you is shorter than you can imagine and it will NEVER come again.

You may look at someone's life and wish it were yours: don’t, they may be hiding pain that would be beyond your ability to fathom. Your vision of their freedom may not include the boundaries of their invisible prison.

Live now, be here, be you. Make each day the best day it can be. Sing. Dance. Laugh. Don't envy me my 'freedom', which is, in reality, no such thing at all.

Carry the torch for those of us who often find we can’t, because we’re stuck behind bars stronger than steel.

Maybe one day they'll find a cure (or at least better treatments...) and I’ll figure out how to finally pick the lock.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Excitement! One Wish: The OF STARDUST Collection Officially Launches in One Week! Join the Tour!

Hi all!

Well it's time to finally OFFICIALLY launch this baby, and I couldn't be more excited.

There will be a FB launch party on September 22nd (If you didn't get an invite and are on my friends list let me know, I will be happy to send you one!) Also, Enchanted Book Promotions is going to host a blog tour for the book set starting right after the launch!

This means I will be happily talking about all things Fairy Godparent to interested folks; so if you would like to host a stop on the tour, please get in touch with my amazing book manager, Majanka Verstraete, at this link and let her know. Together you can pick a date to host a guest post, excerpt, interview, pretty much whatever you prefer!

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of these books individually; it is such a joy to me to think of them being virtually boxed together to tell Gus and Till's whole story all at once. It is really as it was meant to be.

Happy Monday, all! I have to dash, I have guest posts to write! :~)


P.S. I am still trying to find a way to upload the media kit for ONE WISH to Blogger and not having any luck. If you would like the kit, please email me at fireworksflowers at gmail dot com and I will be happy to send it on to you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hoping For A Better World

In a perfect world, no one would suffer from brain disorders any more.

"Turning To Stone" by February Grace 2/14

There would be cures for Bipolar Disorder and Depression and Schizophrenia and all the others that didn’t disfigure, debilitate, and forever change those who had to take them.

Counseling would be available to all who were struggling.

There would be enough excellent, compassionate healthcare professionals in all corners of the earth to deal with these situations and find ways to intervene before terrible things like injuries to self or others happened. Or both.

Our world is nowhere near perfect.

In a better world, we would at least talk about ‘mental illness’ (an antiquated term that I LOATHE) and suicide without it devolving into a situation where the person who dies is blamed for it. A person who dies by suicide chooses to die no more than a cancer patient chooses to die; they are not in control of their faculties at the time they make the decision in a desperate attempt to end their suffering. They do not  wish to cause harm to others, in fact I know at the times when my life has been in the most danger from my illnesses (Bipolar 1, OCD, PTSD) I was absolutely convinced I would be removing a huge burden from those I loved if I were no longer around. I wanted to set us all free of the thing that was killing me, moment by moment.

I am one of the lucky ones: I am still here to battle another day.

But believe me, every day is a battle.

I am one of the lucky ones: I have access to good healthcare professionals, to medicines (though their side effects have changed me and my life forever.)

It is still, even so, a battle. Even for the luckiest, like me.

So before you judge the homeless person you see on the street corner, remember it may very well be a brain disorder that put them there.

We could all be one or two people or a small support system away from becoming that person.

Brain disorders do not play favorites and cross all lines. They don’t fight fair, and they destroy lives, marriages, families. They kill, plain and simple.

In a better world, Bipolar and other disorders would not be such deadly diseases.

May we begin to build that better world right now, TODAY, without shaming or throwing platitudes at those who are suffering and fighting for their lives. 

Honest and open dialog is imperative if anyone is ever going to learn anything about anyone who really suffers from these illnesses, and not what we’ve been shown on TV and in movies. The reality of it all is a very different thing.

Please, help begin to build that better world today by opening your eyes; by listening to those of us who speak from experience on days like World Suicide Prevention Day today and say, I could so easily have been another cold statistic. 

Sometimes it still feels like it’s gaining on me, like eventually 
I won’t be able to outrun it any more.

But I am, still trying for all I’m worth, to outrun it.

I am grateful to those who have made the difference between life and death at critical moments in my life: a small number, and you know who you are.

Without their compassion, kindness, and willingness to see me through the darkest hours into the light of a new day, I would not be writing these words now.

Brain disorders are real, they are illnesses every bit as much as a breakdown of any other part of the body is.

It is out of our control; it’s in the cards we are dealt and none of us wanted this.

Only when people are willing to get over the awkwardness of accepting these conversations need to take place at all (and quit trying to change the subject to something ‘lighter’) will we progress toward that ‘better world’.

For all our sakes, I hope that better world comes soon.


Monday, September 8, 2014

A Quick, Important Post: My Publisher, Booktrope, Expands Relationship With Amazon

Hey all,

I am late to the 'breaking news' party, but I thought I would post this anyway, because some of you who follow Booktrope news might have missed it and will find it very interesting.

Rachel Thompson at Bad Redhead Media broke the story in an interview with Booktrope CMO and co-founder Katherine Sears a few days ago: you can read that interview in its entirety here.

What it means for now (quote)"The relationship kicks off with a licensing agreement which includes fifteen titles to be reissued under Amazon Publishing as e-books and audio books. Booktrope will continue to publish print versions of these titles and to manage development and publication of future books by the authors." (end quote.)

Ten authors and fifteen books were chosen by Amazon editors in the first round to enter into this arrangement. Those books/Authors are:

  1. “Touched”, A.J. Aalto
  2. “Spirit Warriors: The Concealing”, D.E.L. Connor
  3. “Grace Unexpected”, Gale Martin
  4. “Next Year I’ll be Perfect”, Laura Kilmartin
  5. “Pulled Beneath”, Marni Mann
  6. “A State of Jane”, Meredith Schorr
  7. “Blogger Girl”, Meredith Schorr
  8. “GOTU”, Mike McNeff
  9. “Necessary Retribution”, Mike McNeff
  10. “A Tainted Mind”, Tamsen Schultz
  11. “The Puppeteer”, Tamsen Schultz
  12. “Caramel and Magnolias”, Tess Thompson
  13. “Tea and Primroses”, Tess Thompson
  14. “Water, Stone, Heart”, Will North
  15. “The Long Walk Home”, Will North
I congratulate these authors, and will watch with interest as this new chapter in Booktrope history unfolds.

Check out the whole interview for much more on this new, evolving relationship between Booktrope and Amazon.

Publishing is changing all around us, it's only wise to keep an eye on all developments even if you're with a particular publisher (as I am published by Booktrope) or not. Exciting times!

Talk to you all soon as I am feeling better- I am really sick this week.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

So Excited Today! Talking With the Punkettes About Godspeed...

Wow, it's been a good long while since I was able to talk about my 'baby', GODSPEED!

So I was honored and especially excited when the awesome Rebecca Sky of the #Wattpad4 (if you are interested in Wattpad at all and aren't attending their Twitter chat on Monday evenings at 8pm EST you are really missing out! Such a great resource and a great time!) and of the Punkettes so cordially invited me to visit their blog.

Godspeed cover art by Greg Simanson, for Booktrope

You can join us for the interview here!

Thank you again so much, to Rebecca and the Punkettes for hosting me today!

Happy Thursday, everyone!


P.S. Today over at Clockwork Conversations I am hosting author and educator Dr. Shay West...hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Happiest Cat on Earth...

I have just returned from a short trip (probably my last solo one, sadly, traveling alone is too hard on me now in so many ways...) to my favorite place in the world and I brought back a special prize for my best little furry friend.

You see, he has been obsessed with my Elsa doll for months...even tried to get to her a couple of times (she's up on a table) and I wanted to find him one that would be safe for him to snuggle. Finally, they had one at WDW.

So, please enjoy this cuteness while I recover from my trip (may take awhile, I am beat!)

...and also please stop by Clockwork Conversations today for a chat with my friend and fantasy author, the wonderful Michelle Gregory!

Hope to see you there!



Thursday, August 21, 2014

OF STARDUST #2 Bestseller in Books/Romance/Fantasy on Amazon!

First a note: OF STARDUST is still only 99 cents for the next few days! So if you missed the chance to pick up a copy yesterday there is still time to get it on sale!

Now, a promotional day on Bookbub is an amazing thrill ride...and yesterday (with the numbers at their peak early this morning) was no exception. I was shocked that OF STARDUST actually passed its previous best rankings of #3 in Books/Romance/Fantasy during last January's promotion and bested its overall BN.com number, too by a dozen or so places.

Please forgive me posting these here...I just don't want to forget how they looked.

Best rank:149 paid in Kindle Store...#2 in Books/Romance/Fantasy.

The photos tell the story...

From Amazon:

And from BN.Com where the highest overall Nook Books rank has reached #26 in the top 100 paid Nook Books...look at the company it is keeping there! TFIOS and Divergent?!?

(and I took this one last night, of the book on the BN Sci-fi and fantasy page...wow. Just...wow.)

Also a nice unexpected surprise, the sequel IN STARLIGHT got a nice bump from this promotion and is on a top 100 list on Amazon for the first time ever! #64 and I'll take it! :~)

Thank you so much to everyone who supported this promotion: my amazing publisher Booktrope, awesome book manager Majanka Verstraete, all the incredible Booktrope folk who came out to tweet and RT...and of course, the READERS without whom none of this could be possible!!! Thank you, too, to Bookbub!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


P.S. Be sure to stop by the Clockwork Conversations blog today, for an interview with author Arleen Williams!