Monday, March 30, 2015

Diamond Dust



So today is, they say, World Bipolar Day.

I didn’t know there was such a thing, truthfully, until I looked at my FB feed this morning and people were posting about it. 

People who suffer from other forms of brain disorders, as far as I am aware, not Bipolar itself.

That moved me.

Also moving was finding out they chose today’s date for the event, March 30th, because it is Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.

Ah, Vincent.

How the pieces that were cleaved from you have shaped us all in so many ways… like a tool made with bright, diamond dust.

I’ve thought a lot about Bipolar Disorder in the past three and a half years since my diagnosis came, decades overdue. I have suffered from this disorder since childhood, I know it, along with anxiety that became OCD and, in, my thirties, also PTSD.

I was misdiagnosed with Major Depression for twenty years. The doctors I saw never put my rapid speech patterns, periods without sleep, periods of ‘crashing and burning’ and depressive episodes together. Maybe because I am prone to mixed states, in which depression combines with (in my case, internally turned) anger and agitation instead of the “I feel like I could fly” sorts of happy manias other maniacs get.

I wish I had those moments of bliss to escape into.

The closest times I have had was when I was able—no, when I was forced—compelled to write as fast as I could, my fingers struggling to keep up with the words inside my teeming brain as a character told me their story and I had to capture it.

Some of those stories have become my novels.

All of my novels have been written in varying states of mania.

It is impossible for me to write them any other way.

Diamond dust…

I found myself thinking of those two words while half asleep this morning, pondering the marking of World Bipolar Day. I had to really think about it for a little while before I could put my finger on just why.

Then I realized… it’s because we are faceted by our struggle with this nemesis called Bipolar Disorder; we are ground down from the raw material we were and we are shaped into someone—something—new.

Everyone knows diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. So hard that they can even be used to polish each other, with the right equipment and in the right hands.

Diamonds do not shine at all until they go through the process of cutting and polishing; many, many stages resulting in various cuts depending on the original shape of the stone. The cutter must decide, based on research and experience how to proceed to get the most out of each stone.

Bipolar is cutting away parts of us each day…and changing us. There is no stopping that. The question is, what will become of our shape—of who we are—and the little tiniest bits of us that could so easily be lost because they are difficult if not impossible to see with the naked eye?

Like diamond dust which can be repurposed into tools of all kinds, making them stronger, making them into Things That Can Shape Other Things, we must treasure the parts of ourselves that are stripped away, as well as those we keep as part of our whole. Because if we sweep up every little last bit of that dust as it is polished away from us, it could be used as art, music, stories. We could turn it into life skills to maximize our parenting abilities through our afflictions; we could create things and moments that bring happiness to others, though we are pained for the process.

Think about those who suffer from Bipolar Disorder as diamonds constantly undergoing polishing. Our process never finishes. As long as we live we are losing bits of ourselves, but we can reclaim some of them if we try. If we seek and accept help. If we find hope in treatment. If new treatments come along to replace those that are difficult, at best, as they exist now.

This photo of me was taken last summer, on a day trip to a museum in Toledo. It was the first time I had ever seen a Van Gogh in person.

Me, beneath "Houses at Auvers" by Vincent Van Gogh


I smiled, but then, I wept.

Because I could feel the pieces of Vincent in the painting, I could feel the beauty in his deep despair even as he saw the world around him as something still deserving to be portrayed in vivid, living colors.

I collected up little bits of the diamond dust that live in that painting, through his gift, and it became a part of me; something to remember, to call upon at the darkest times when I struggle.

We all struggle.

On this World Bipolar Day I would ask you to cast aside for a moment your biases, your stigmatized views of us as portrayed by the media, and I would ask you to get to know someone a little better who lives with the disorder, to educate yourself. Ask questions. Feel free to tweet me any you may have at @FebruaryGrace. I can’t give medical advice, but I can give you one person’s perspective as to what it is really like to live with this disorder (and the ones who, uninvited, accompany it in me.)

Ask. Listen. Learn.

And remember Vincent, because when he suffered, no one understood just why, and it pains me to think that he may have felt alone on this earth.

You have family of the heart, good sir, in so many more than you can imagine. I hope that somehow, now, you’ve found peace.

We will treasure every last speck of the diamond dust you left us; and we are made stronger, each one of us, when it fuses with our hearts, permeates the very blood in our veins, showing us through your eyes that the world is still worth fighting for, even against Bipolar Disorder.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Turning the Tables

While I'm away for a short while recovering from surgery, (which will hopefully be over by the time you're reading this...if Blogger scheduling works properly!) I leave you with a brief interview in which I answered questions posed to me by some of my Twitter buddies over at Clockwork Conversations.

Thanks for your questions, I had a great time answering. I hope that you find it all amusing, and I hope you have a great week. I'll talk to you all again as soon as I am able.

Much love and hugs to all,

~bru

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Health News, UPON A TIME Goes on Tour, and ALL THE THINGS

Hi all!

I know it's been a lot of book news around here lately, but ALL THE THINGS have been happening at once!

There are other things I want to blog about, but I haven't had the strength to do much other than doing my best to juggle ALL THE THINGS.

My most recent painting, "Light". I don't remember if I posted it before. It's all in shades of light blue, wish the camera got them right. I haven't had a chance to pick up a brush since I painted this...

In other news, in case you didn't hear, I am going to have (major) surgery next week and after the recovery I hope to gain some of the strength back I've lost (which is vital because I am still disabled from other conditions/dealing with chronic pain from issues that can't be resolved.)

So if I'm up and down a bit right now it's because so much happy and so much sad is going on in my life at the same time. I am doing my best to focus on the happy; it's a challenge, for anyone. Add the ongoing situation with my father's declining health and Bipolar and all and it's a whole other animal.

So for today I will leave you with this: If you'd like to follow along with UPON A TIME's blog tour, here is a link to the schedule. Some posts will be excerpts, others interviews, fun stuff and I hope that you'll come along.

Thank you to everyone who is hosting a stop-- I will do my best to thank you personally on the day of your post but some may fall while I'm in the hospital. So please be patient, I will do my best to thank everyone because I am so thankful for you all!

Thanks again to all who participated in the blog launch for the book yesterday-- you are wonderful.

Happy Tuesday, everybody...

Counting down the days until spring... here's something pretty to look at:



Photo by February Grace 2015

xoxo

~bru

Monday, March 2, 2015

Upon A Time Official Launch Day!


Click the photo to see a list of blogs participating in today's launch! Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who are taking part!!!

The day is finally here! The official launch day for UPON A TIME!

So pretty in print! Cover design by Greg Simanson
You can pick up a copy (eBook or print) online now or order it in print from your favorite bookstore! I will be posting a few links in the sidebar momentarily.

I also have to thank EVERYONE again who Tweeted, posted on FB and other social media, and otherwise helped to get the word out about GODSPEED's Bookbub promotion and sale last week. In case you missed it before, look what you all helped to make happen!!!



GODSPEED made it to Amazon #1 in Steampunk for the third time! And it went to #37 overall in Top 100 Nook books!

I can't believe it happened again, and I am so overwhelmed.

The best part of all is imagining all the new readers discovering the book. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart! xoxoxo

I wanted to mention too that I didn't get to post last week about a cool interview I was invited to do over at Socialbookshelves.com... so thank you, Dane, for hosting me! I hope you will all go check it out and say hello. It contains, among other things, the rarely told story of how I ended up published by Booktrope... it will probably surprise you! (I still can't believe it myself. Blessed.)

To wrap things up for today I want to mention there will be a blog tour over the next four weeks for UPON A TIME which begins tomorrow, so stay tuned: lots of fun, excerpts, and some behind the scenes info about the book will be posted around the interwebz.

Once more before I go I want to thank you, every single one of you, for your incredible support of my writing. Last week, this week, this month, the past two years... could not have happened without you and I am so thankful.

Now it's time for me to finish off this first round edit of the final manuscript for WISHING CROSS STATION. I can't wait... am so very excited about this book.

Happy Monday!
xoxoxo
bru

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It Takes A Village...

... to help propel a book to the top of its category on Amazon.

I am truly overwhelmed, and so grateful to everyone who helped to get the word out about our Bookbub promotion and sale for GODSPEED yesterday.

This is what you all helped accomplish:



and it made it into the top 100 in Nook Books, (40 at time of photo, 38 at the time of this writing) GODSPEED even got a spot on the Sci-Fi Bestseller's page!







Again, I am amazed, humbled, awed... struggling for words to describe what it means to see so many readers finding GODSPEED.

Thank you again to everyone who Tweeted, retweeted, shared, linked, posted, and otherwise helped to get the word out about the promotion. Thank you to Bookbub, and thank you especially to Booktrope for believing in this book enough to submit it again for another promotion. This is the third time that GODSPEED has gone to #1 in Steampunk on Amazon during promotion and it still takes my breath away-- I can't believe it happened again.

Thank you most of all to those who bought the book and will read it: thank you for taking the leap to go on Abigail's journey with me.

Friends, please celebrate with me this happy moment... because trying times lie ahead of me, in many ways.

Surgery in a couple weeks... if the redraw on my blood work (which they just called me on the phone to tell me I need to do today) turns out okay. Something was off in yesterday's labs so they need to recheck it.

Please think good thoughts for me, that my surgery will happen as scheduled. I really just need to get this all over with so I can begin to get better.

Thank you so much for all your support, thoughts, and well wishes, I appreciate them more than I can express.

xoxoxo

~bru

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exciting Week! Bookbub, AmazonEncore, and More!

Hi all!

This is a very exciting week for me! Let's start with today, shall we?

Today GODSPEED is going to be promoted by Bookbub and is on sale for $0.99! Get your eBook at that price while you can, it hasn't been on sale for quite some time!

Banner courtesy of Majanka Verstraete, Cover Design, Greg Simanson  











In other news, yesterday this became official!



Thanks to the partnership between Booktrope and Amazon, OF STARDUST (eBook) was officially republished by AmazonEncore! This is an amazing opportunity, and I am so grateful to everyone involved in making it happen, thank you all! (The eBook is now exclusive to Amazon, however the print edition remains available from several online retailers and can be ordered from your local bookstore as well!)

Last, as I mentioned in my previous post, UPON A TIME launches on Monday, 3/2!

I hope you will enjoy reading about Charlotte, Thomas and Julien as much as you've enjoyed reading about Abigail and Quinn and Gus and Till. The characters have become dear to me, and I can't wait to share this fairy tale reimagining with as many readers as I can!

That's all for today. I will be posting soon with some other updates and things.

Thank you all for your support! I appreciate every Tweet, every mention, every way you show you care, big and small. THANK YOU!!!

xoxo

~bru

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Join in the fun! Be part of the UPON A TIME Blog Blitz/Blog Tour!

Hi everyone!



My wonderful Book Manager at Booktrope, Majanka Verstraete, is putting together a blog blitz for March 2nd for the official release of UPON A TIME, and also a blog tour that starts March 3rd and will run through April 3rd.

If any of you would be interested in graciously hosting a stop on the tour or a post for the blitz, I would be so grateful! Especially grateful, since I am going to be having major surgery mid-March (I will post something about that closer to the date) and I can truly use all the help I can get in launching UPON A TIME.

You can request a certain kind of post for your blog; an interview, an excerpt, there is a list of possible choices on the sign up form which can be found HERE. 

Due to the surgery, I will try to write up some potential posts in advance that will hopefully fit what you are looking for, if not I will do my best to try to come up with something to suit as I am able.

This little book has such an important message: as the dedication says, it is meant for "every soul whose heart defies the limits of their body."

It challenges the old, damaging myths put forth in many fairy tales that beauty equals good, and those who may have been injured, damaged, even somehow disfigured are to be discarded, abused, or overlooked. This book challenges those old notions head on, and shows that every one of us is so much more than the shell that carries our soul around.

So, again, I would be very grateful for any support you can offer. Please contact Majanka through the form linked above (here it is again) and you'll be on your way.

I look forward to visiting with you all in March... can't wait!!

Thanks so much, to every one of you, for reading my stories, and for your support of my writing. It means more than I can explain...

hugs,
~bru