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.

xoxo
~bru

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OF STARDUST On Sale For 99 Cents For A Limited Time!

Hi everyone!




I just wanted to let you know that ahead of its second Bookbub promotion tomorrow, that OF STARDUST is on sale right now for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks for only 99 cents! It hasn't been on sale since January (if I remember correctly) and I have no idea if/when it will go on sale again, so if you've been curious about the book now is a great time to pick up a copy!

I was thrilled to see the book go back up the Amazon charts over the weekend when the promotion was featured on Pixel of Ink: it went all the way up to #7 in Books/Fantasy/Romance! Last time it was Bookbub promoted it made it all the way up to #3 in that category, so I will be curious to see if anything exciting happens this time :~)

I want to thank all of you for your support of my writing (and for your Tweets and Retweets which are always so appreciated!) and for caring so much about Gus and Till. I hope that tomorrow will be a big day for them, and for my publishing team.

Happy Tuesday!
~bru

P.S. If you haven't checked out my new interview blog, Clockwork Conversations, be sure to stop by! It's where writers, editors and publishers go to talk about everything...except writing! Short, entertaining glimpses into the personalities behind the books. Interviews currently post on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hope to see you there! :~)

Friday, August 15, 2014

When IT Wins


When we lose one of our own to IT, all are diminished.

When ITs grip is so strong that one fighting on the battlefield beside us (even if we only see them from afar) falls, we all feel the blow.

Because we know that next time the one to fall could be us, if we are not very, very careful.

"Anguish" (something I painted earlier this year while in a Bipolar mixed state)

It troubles me to see people saying already that it’s ‘time to move on’ from talking about the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, who, as the world knows, tragically took his own life earlier this week.

That nudge to ‘move on’…that push to go back to talking about ‘positive things’ is the reason that we have such a hard time having an honest, open, REALISTIC dialogue about mental health; not just in this country (the US) but worldwide.

That push to ‘lighten the mood’ and ‘get on with things’ digs at those of us who battle mental illness (and let me tell you how much I hate that ugly, antiquated term: “Brain Disorders” would be a much more accurate, and less stigmatized, name and if I had my way it would be the one adopted to describe these medically based conditions that effect mood and cause depression and anxiety, among other things.) 

It stings more than you can possibly imagine if you’ve never had an occasion, or lived in a continual state, in which you contemplated, or attempted, taking your own life.

I am saddened to see that even conversations intended to be directed toward the subject often take a turn for other topics because people grow uncomfortable so quickly: not only with the pain of others, but perhaps with the pain within themselves they don’t want to, or can’t, face.

If we don’t talk about it, how is anything ever supposed to get any better?

How is the world supposed to understand the need for research, for better treatment options, for the need to make mental health care accessible to all before tragedy strikes again in one form or another, if we don’t talk about it?

So I would politely suggest that anyone who doesn’t want to be part of such discourse can and should quietly bow out. It’s your right not to listen if you don’t want to, of course.

But please, whatever you do, do not dare to tell those of us who NEED to talk about it that it’s time to ‘think positive’ and ‘choose how we are going to feel’ or some other such platitude that does not mean a damn thing when held up against a killer disease like depression. 

THAT is not your right.

I actually wrote the following some time ago and felt too vulnerable to share it: it felt like too much, sharing this much of my raw pain with the world.

In light of the events of this week, however, I have changed my mind and I will share it with you now.

~*~

Unless
by February Grace

Unless you have flown a light year with my wings, don’t tell me how high I soar, or how crushing the lows are upon impact.

Unless you have awakened half a world and oceans away from the only home you’ve ever known, unable to look your dawning dreams in the face because of the absolute stark terror of a mixed state of mania, do not tell me that you understand my fear.

Unless you have lost the dearest thing you had to lose, never to get it back, and knew you had to face the rest of your life without it, do not tell me that you understand my grief.

Unless you have stared down the shadow of death on your wall at three o’clock in the morning, as the beast tried to wrest you from the last of your reality and drown you in the darkness of the pits of Hell, do not tell me that you understand what it feels like to want to die just to end your own suffering.

Unless you understand what it feels like to lose the things, one by one, that define who you believed that you were, leaving you unsure that you will ever be any single one of those things again, do not tell me that you understand this negative transformation and distortion of your soul.

Unless you understand and have lived any and all of these things, do not tell me that it might be a good decision to ‘try going off’ my medication.

Not, unless, you would be comfortable looking online one morning and finding a link to my obituary, and finding that the cause of death was suicide.

~*~

Now, let me clearly state that I’m not saying that it would be any one person’s fault if I did eventually lose this every- second-every-moment-every-hour-of-every-day-battle the way that Robin Williams did: THAT would only be the fault of one Thing.

IT.

The Disease.

Just be aware, though, that urging people not to talk about their feelings, or trying to gloss them over because they make you feel uncomfortable COULD dissuade someone from seeking help elsewhere from someone who could help them, even if you can’t or don't want to. 

Tweeting the link/number to the Suicide Prevention Hotline is just not enough. Someday, I hope people will realize that.

Even if all you do is to say to someone you're worried about, “Please know that I care. Talk to a professional about this, right away…” and maybe even check in to see that they do just that, it could make all the difference in the world.

I don’t know if anything on this planet, said, written, spoken, or promised could have saved Robin Williams’ life. 

Or the lives of those I have loved and known personally who died at the hands of depression and related medical conditions.

How we wish in vain we could turn back the hands of time, and see what was so clearly before us.

That is the hardest part in any case where someone is in so much pain they can see no way out but to end their suffering: those left behind will always, always wonder what might have been.

“O! Captain. My Captain!”

We will not forget you, or the struggles you fought so bravely, for so long.

FG

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trying to Keep Busy...and Reimagining Author Interviews...

Trying to keep busy...to make the seconds into minutes, the minutes into hours, and the hours into another whole day...

I have launched a new blog, where I hope to interview other writers as well as editors, publishing folk, and bloggers about everything EXCEPT books and writing.

Because we ALL know that everyone has a book out or is reading one, right? Twitter has established that, if you spend any time there.

E V E R Y O N E has a book out.

So, I figure, let's find out what makes interesting authors/editors/etc. interesting people; thereby making us all curious about what their books would be like.

Then, you can click over to their website at the end of the interview to learn more if you like. But outright book promotion will not be a part of these interviews, themselves, so it should be something different!

I think it sounds like a cool idea, and from the response so far I would say that others are into it too.

I am already scheduling interviews into October now (if everyone who has asked for questions responds, and I hope they will) and hope to run interviews every Tuesday and Thursday, however that may drop down to once a week once I am in revision on my latest first draft (starting in September...which would mean that it would have an effect on interviews in October and beyond.)

So, if you're interested, in either reading the interviews or possibly participating in an interview yourself, drop by Clockwork Conversations and see what's going on! (If you'd like to participate, send me an email (address is on the sidebar of this blog and also of that one) please include "Clockwork Interview" in the subject line!)



My first interview is live, and it is with the amazing Ally Bishop from upgradeyourstory.com. It's a great one! I hope you'll come by to say hello.

You can also follow @ClockworkChats on Twitter to keep up on who is being interviewed as the posts go up.

I hope that Wednesday is being kind to you...

xoxo
~bru

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

There Are No Words

...to describe how I'm feeling right now.

Maybe later I'll be able to write more than the few words you manage to choke out in a Tweet... about the great influence that Robin Williams' work had on my life, specifically the movie Dead Poets Society: back when I was a teenaged poet who thought no one understood or could understand my NEED to write.


From July, 1989: came out just about exactly when I turned 18. Yellow, and dog-eared, one of my most treasured keepsakes from my youth.


For now though I can only say this:

O! Captain! My Captain!

May you finally have peace.

and

Can we finally have a dialogue about depression, mental illnesses, and suicide NOW that lasts longer than a few days?

Will someone finally hear us and know that we're in pain? That we need better treatment options? That we need to be understood?

Maybe if someone had heard sooner, the world would not be mourning such a bright light now.

~bru

P.S. Tomorrow (hopefully) I will post about what I was originally going to post about today...I just don't have the heart to promote anything at the moment, not even something I'm doing for the benefit of other writers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Snark Attack (Or, Hip v. Earnest)

Note: I am still waiting on a link to share for the interview about GODSPEED: I will update this post as soon as I get one.

Now, I find myself thinking of one of my favorite quotes from The Last Lecture today (and if you haven't seen the whole speech online, make time to watch it. Reading the book is not the same as seeing it. You'll be glad you did.)

That quote is as follows:

"I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short-term, earnest is long term."
                                                            --Dr. Randy Pausch

I guess it has always been the way, perhaps, of writers in social media (and social media in general...) taking the road to the Snark Side. Seems to me that certain agent blogs started it way back when, and then it spread into the writing community in general. 

It never appealed to me then, nor does it now.

A painting of mine from February, 2014

It seems, though, that is the posts written with a razor's edge of nastiness that seem to go viral most often. 

Why is that? When did kindness and encouraging words that inspire instead of degrade become the normal way to speak to others? (All while claiming to make a joke, of course...which is supposed to make derogatory remarks okay, I guess?)

Where has respect gone?

I find that even sometimes in online chats that people will make seemingly positive comments, but in a way that shows their true intent is to jab. Or they jab outright.

Can't we all be nice to each other? Being a writer is hard enough. Can't we just be kind to fellow travelers along the same path?

What good could we do if we built each other up, celebrated our diverse methods of writing and varied genres (or ways of playing music, or creating visual art, etc...) and cheered on the successes of others as we would our own? What if we surrounded ourselves with giving and positive energy instead of this swirling black vortex of toxic meanness veiled under the cloak of 'wit'?

I think a lot of good could be done.

I also know that I'm going to be weeding the snark out of my timelines again. 

A poster/writer/person may be popular with others, but if I get a sense that deep down there is meanness there, I am bailing out. No matter how 'hip' they may be to others.

Maybe one day they will realize that while their audience may seem big by the numbers, that as soon as we see what's beneath the surface, some of us (okay, I can't speak for anyone else, but I will) bail before reading their whole post/article/whatever. So a hit may not be a hit that means someone actually read what you said.

Not that I haven't written my own mildly-snarky posts in the past (especially at the beginning of this blog, when the query process was turning me into someone I didn't want to be.) 


But I've grown. I've learned that you draw more of the kind of people you really want to have around you with sincere care and concern than you get by making jokes at the expense of others or just trying to sound cool or edgy.

Now, if snark is your path and you enjoy reading/writing it, then by all means, I know you'll disregard me entirely and carry on. As it should be. Whatever works for you.

I'll just be over here in my little virtual corner, sorting my feed for those who would rather go out of their way to say something nice to someone else than trying to make themselves the center of attention all the time.

One thing about the brightest lights; they tend to show things, and people, as they really are. 

Think about the light you're casting yourself in...because people take note.

Be real, people. Be kind, and be real. That's all I'm trying to ask, and trying to do.

I wonder what would happen if people just tried it for awhile. 

The world would, at least, feel like it was a gentler place to have to live in.

Happy Weekend!

~bru

Monday, August 4, 2014

Until You Can't Cry Anymore

What a weekend.

I think what I went through is commonly known as 'hitting the wall'.

I don't know if it was the mix of chemicals they pumped into me at the ER almost two weeks ago (my body holds on to medicines a lot longer than the average person; I've been DNA tested, it's been proven) or the stress of upcoming events I am anticipating: but the bottom line is that I just flat out freaked out.

"Turning to Stone" A painting I did in February depicting what Bipolar depression feels like to me at times.   

I rambled on about anything that came to mind. I paced. I rearranged my art supplies. I took down and put away collectible items that reminded me of things that made me feel sadder.

...at one o'clock in the morning.

Then, the next day, I put them all back.

I cried until I absolutely had no tears left-- and that was only after three days where I cried every waking moment, and cried myself to sleep, when I did sleep.

I don't know if some of it is coming out of the 'high' month of July, in which (at the beginning at least I was on the manic side of Bipolar) I wrote 101,805 new words: two new WIPs...not including all the notes I jotted down and extra material that didn't make it into either draft.

That is a lot of writing, and as I suspected when I posted last week my brain was overwrought: I just had no idea how overwrought.

I have also been in a transitional phase with my team at my publisher for a while now; and I am so excited that I will now be working with an exciting new book manager (more on that later; watch FB for the chance to be a part of my new author group there...stay tuned!) but it has been a concern, too. Add on family stuff, worry about people I care about who are facing medical issues, etc...just too much.

After all that crying, I am very tired now.

I cried about everything (and then some) I could possibly think to cry about and sometimes I wasn't even sure why I was crying at all. That has to be the chemical part of all of this-- whether my own chemistry off-kilter or the meds they added in to try to treat the massive migraine that I went to the ER for or a mixture of both...well, looking back all I can say is at least the ER docs ruled out another stroke.

Whatever the cause, it's all been overwhelming.

So if I am a little bit quiet as I try to reenter the social media worlds...if I seem to not quite be myself, please understand. It's because I'm not quite myself right now.

I'm not sure exactly who I am right now; all I can do is hope that I'm in the process of becoming more the person I wish I'd be. Or, at least, accepting who I am, at last. Mixed states, and all.

For those who wonder why I blog about these things: again, it's to try to speak for those who are not in a position to, but who suffer in silence just the same.

Not everyone can speak about these things, because of their life, their job, their families, or a million other reasons, they can't be as open as I can.

I see that as a responsibility, and a mission. To try to get rid of stigma, to try to help people see that someone can look 'okay' on the outside and be absolutely coming unglued within.

That sometimes it takes all they can do to try to appear 'normal' and that the struggle to deny what is inside of us is exhausting and frightening. We shouldn't have to fight that fight any more.

This is, for better or worse, who I am. I wish I could change that; just like I wish my physical body were healthier, too.

Since I can't, I just have to try to make the best of it all and hope for a better world in the future: one in which there is no stigma left...and no reason for anyone at all to have to hide their tears if they're in pain.

xoxoxo
~bru