The Book is (a)Live!

The Book is (a)Live!

I’ve officially started my online publishing experiment. I’m really interested to see how this goes. I haven’t posted my writing in a public forum since I was writing bad Inuyasha fanfiction as a wee lass. XD

Chapter 1 & 2 are up on Wattpad and AO3. Chapter 1 is up on Fictionpress with chapter 2 going up tomorrow. (Fictionpress had posting delays for new accounts) Guess we’ll see how it goes! For interested parties, the story blurb can be found here. Hoping folks like my lil’ book baby! >-<

Spring & New Things

Spring & New Things

I’ve been trying to keep to the habit of writing an update once a month or so, buuuuut it got away from me again. (shocking) February was busy and then I got freakin’ Covid which took me out for a week but the disruption to my anxiety meds made me less than fully operational for over a month. Woof.

Now it’s mid-April and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m back on solid footing. I really need to get back into keeping regular correspondence with all my lovely critique partners. I feel so guilty for my long lapses, but I just haven’t been in the headspace for it.

Accompanying that, I haven’t written anything meaningful in two full months and I feel like I am creatively withering away. BUT! My meds have stabilized me again, the warmer weather and promises of the coming summer are bolstering my mood, and with it I can feel my motivation returning.

That said, I have so much to look forward to this summer. :D We finally get to take our RV out on its maiden voyage! Cannot wait to get out there and do some hardcore GLAMPING.

Plus, now that I and all my close friends are all vaccinated, we finally get to see each other again after over a FULL YEAR. I cannot believe it went on this long but I cannot wait to see them again. We’ve planned our first post-vaccination girls’ day for a trip to the theater to see the Demon Hunter movie and go get some conveyer belt sushi. I haven’t been so excited for what would have been a simple day out in SO LONG. And the Renn Faire has announced its official return this year. Everything is looking up!

While I was creatively clogged, as it were, I did some office upgrades and I’m ready to start making things again.

I think I’m going to pull the trigger on posting my first MS online. I want to retire it from the query hunt and focus on my new projects since, in writing my first story, I’ve honed my approach. But I didn’t want to COMPLETELY shelve my beloved book. I’d love to see it read. So I’m putting it out there and waiting to see what happens. Looks like Wattpad and AO3 are the sites in vogue right now so I’ll add links to my menu once its posted. Hoping I get some good feedback- maybe it’ll kick my rekindling motivation into overdrive. :)

2021 Let’s goooooo

2021 Let’s goooooo

Not to get political on here but today has me looking optimistically to the future for no particular reason. -WINK- So I wanted to make a little list of stuff I want/hope to do this year.

  • Be more active. I don’t really care so much about weight/appearance but I’m starting to feel unhealthy from zero activity and I want to change that. I got Ring Fit Adventure to get me through the winter (first work out last night and it was fun) and in the spring I can get outside and go for walks/bike rides again.
  • Go camping! Hoping to spend a lot of time in the new RV this year, especially since it’s a safe outing while we’re still in plague-times.
  • Finish two manuscripts! Well on my way to finishing the first. I just can’t lose momentum.
  • I already started my own podcast (Chaotic Nerdtral) and I’m back to being a regular guest on The Pub. Hoping to keep up with both! I really enjoy it.
  • Read 50 books! I’m already almost done with book #4.
  • Play more games and don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t need permission to do something “pointless” if I enjoy it and I need to remember that.
  • See my friends again. I really hope that the vaccine distribution grants my wish but there’s nothing I can do if we don’t get there. Just have to continue to be patient.
  • Do some deep cleaning at home and purge all the unneeded junk.

Happy 2021 everyone! Really hoping for a better year for us all.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

In a recent recording for a yet unaired episode of the Pub podcast, we discussed mental health in graphic novels & web comics. One of the things we celebrated in these works was normalizing these issues and I thought, hey, as a (mostly) reformed sad person, I could talk about my own personal relationship with depression/anxiety on the off chance it helps someone somewhere, even a just little.

My main problem has always been anxiety, something I’m pretty sure is genetic and has no logical cause. Since I was a kid, curbing my anxiety was based on the safety net of my parents and my home. When I would go sleep over at friend’s house, once we laid down at night and everyone fell asleep and I was alone in a strange place, I’d basically have panic attacks. I couldn’t breath and my stomach hurt so bad I would make myself sick. Honestly pretty normal for a little kid, but the trouble was I never grew out of it.  

My parents got divorced when I was thirteen, and the safety net of my home/family structure was disrupted allowing my anxiety to run free. I became incredibly depressed and my coping mechanism was joking about suicide. I thought I was being edgy and funny but I wasn’t. I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to process what was happening and a concerned friend alerted a counselor and I wound up in therapy. Once I started talking about the jokes I started to realize I wasn’t exactly joking. No, I didn’t really want to kill myself but I was desperately hurting. Confronting that hurt instead of making light of it (in very poor taste) helped me work through the restructure of my family unit. I got used to two houses, to my parents separation and the safety net was strung back into place. I was in a good headspace for the rest of high school and college. (or as stable as one can be in those tumultuous years)

But when I lived alone for the first time during my early twenties, I unraveled. Now, keep in mind, I hadn’t made the connection between my safety person/safe space and my anxiety yet. I thought I had just been a dependent kid and had simply reacted badly to my parents’ divorce. All around pretty normal behavior.

When I lived alone, my anxiety became overwhelming and frustratingly, it had no cause. My apartment was shitty but it was safe. I had no reason for the panic attacks that at one point plagued me daily. I felt like I was being crushed. I cried on the floor for hours at a time for no reason whatsoever. I would rush to the bathroom to keep the tears back at work. When I was home, I would put Mythbusters on the TV and let it play over and over again every night just for the comfort of something familiar. It eroded me. I found myself going to bed at night and hoping I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. I would never call myself suicidal, I could never imagine inflicting that kind of pain onto my loved ones no matter how much pain I was in, but I recognized I was at a pretty serious stage and decided to get help. I went back into therapy.

Honestly, just having someone tell you that this behavior was normal, that it happened all the time to all kinds of people in all different circumstances was a relief. I mean, of course I logically knew that already, but it made all the difference having someone in a position of authority on the subject confirm it to my face. Slowly, I got a little better. In the meantime I had started dating and eventually moved in with my now boyfriend. Having a safety net restored helped me a lot but it didn’t solve all my problems. It was a band-aid. It had always been a band-aid. I developed stomach issues during my father’s sickness and death, though I hadn’t realized they were connected. They never went away. After every gastrointestinal test under the sun came back normal, over the following years I started to notice a pattern. When I was hyper anxious, my stomach was worse. Travel was a huge trigger, even vacations with my boyfriend were a guarantee for panic attacks and stomach issues. I would get so bloated that I looked nine months pregnant, my skin on my stomach pulled so tight it hurt. Even going to visit my mother had me waking up in the middle of the night, rushing to the bathroom to throw up.

Did you know that if you don’t have enough serotonin in your system, you get anxious? Did you know we have serotonin receptors in our STOMACH? Because I didn’t. I finally sought out a doctor with my hypothesis that my stomach issues were actually anxiety issues and I was right. They put me on medication to help me retain the serotonin I was losing too quickly and it was amazing how quickly things changed. I could have been angry if I wasn’t so relieved. All this time, all these problems, and a little white pill once a day made my life manageable again. Sure, I still get anxious sometimes, but it’s nothing like it once was.

Long story short, it does get better. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to get professional help. Medication is sometimes necessary and there’s nothing shameful in that. If you’re struggling, you are most certainly not alone. <3

It’s the most wonderful time of the (very bad) year

It’s the most wonderful time of the (very bad) year

I don’t think I need to spend much time reminiscing over how much this year sucked; we all know about it all too well.

Instead I’m going to focus on some of the good stuff I’ve got going on.

  • The Pub podcast is coming back in the new year and we already have some recording sessions scheduled. I really missed doing the Pub so I’m excited to get back into it.
  • I took my desire to do more podcasting and the fact that current conditions mean me and my closest friends only hang out online now and squished ‘em together. We’re going to start our own nerdy lady podcast in the new year called Chaotic Nerdtral. Looking forward to to learn the editing side of podcast and share some strongly held opinions with my inner senshi in the funniest way possible.
  • I read some killer series this year including the Six of Crows duology and the Cruel Prince trilogy. I just started Shadow & Bone and I am devouring it! Can’t wait to see the Netflix adaptation this spring.
  • I got my first full request on my first finished novel! Still waiting to hear back but regardless of the response it feels like a huge milestone. And a little ward against the constant impostor syndrome.
  • I started a new project in November for NaNoWriMo and while my turtle pace means I didn’t win, I’m still having a MUCH easier time writing than I did with my first novel and I’m really happy with how it’s coming along, especially for a rough draft. I’m aiming to have it done sometime in February and ready for revisions.  
  • In more personal news, the silver lining of not being able to do a damn thing this year means I was able to save my money and pay off some debts.
  • I turned 30 and didn’t transform into a pumpkin or burst into flames.
  • We got a free RV we’ve been fixing up and we can’t wait to start doing some camping this spring! Assuming all is well with it on the short trips we’re super jazzed to plan some big trips! Ultimate destination would be taking it down to Disney World someday when I have the money for it.

All told, I have to count myself lucky. As shitty as the year has been I suffered no major losses and I know not everyone can say that. So I try not to complain. Still, looking forward to next year and hoping against hope things get better again.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

The Writer’s Paradox

The Writer’s Paradox

Thank goodness for the online writing community. If I didn’t have a chorus of fellow writers echoing my gripes, I would think I was a lunatic. Why is it so common that, for those who love writing, writing is so damn difficult? (I know this isn’t true for all of us, but for the subset who share my very frustrating struggle, I hope you find some comfort in this commiseration)

I think about stories all day. At work, driving, in the shower, when I lie in bed at night. I hear them in song lyrics. When I write or read something, I immediately want to create something like it. I get so excited, I want to rush of and create something! So why is the actual act of putting pen to paper so difficult? I feel like I’m physically pulling the words from me, one at time. And they’re painfully stuck. I’ve tried to figure out exactly why this is, why I’m like this. Best I can figure from listening to others complain of a similar problem is the propensity for perfection and a fear of failure. I know that my first draft of something is going to be garbled nonsense at best, especially compared to the scenes in my noggin. Like, of course I understand that. It’s logical. It’s obvious. But in the moment, I can’t make that logic work for me. I can feel how overwhelmed I am when I write, trying to get it right the first time even though I know it’s impossible, even though I know I have all the time in the world to sit back and edit, and polish, and revise it into something I love. But since my dumbo brain won’t cooperate with this knowledge, I’ve tried to find ways to trick it. I’ve made a writing space with candles, and bobbles, and soft music, and nice pens. I break big goals into tiny ones. And it really works! Once I sit down and settle in and get over that initial block, I can get a good amount of writing in. Writing I don’t hate, even!

So now my biggest obstacle is getting my dang butt in the dang chair. I start to visualize that blank page waiting for me at night and I find every reason to avoid sitting down and doing the damn thing. So, to help me this NaNoWriMo, I’ve come up with a new gimmick. I’ve always been interested in tarot. I’m not really into any of the spiritual aspect of it, (or anything if I’m being honest- no disrespect intended for anyone that is) but I really like the idea of it as a tool for introspection and journaling. I was thinking of starting to keep a tarot journal at my desk, something fun and easy I can look forward to sitting down and doing in at the end of the day. It will serve (I hope) as a clever excuse to get myself settled into my writing space. Then once I’m done with a journal entry, I’ll be ready to write! If I tell myself I just need to get a few pages down, I know what will happen. When the pressure if off, the buildup gone, I usually get way more written then I’m expecting. I know this must make me seem like a 100% complete psychopath but I’m hoping that any other writers who have my unfortunate neurocies can take some inspiration from me. Or at least some comfort in knowing you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.

I hope everyone is having a low stress and fun November, whether it be productive or not. If anyone has any of their own little tips and tricks PLEASE add them in the comments. Please. XD

Summer’s End – Fall Project Planning

Summer’s End – Fall Project Planning

The days are getting shorter as summer starts to fade. Spooky time approaches- my fave!

So I finally took the query plunge and sent my finished MS to a handful of agents. I have pretty realistic expectations- I won’t be the slightest bit surprised if I only get form rejections. But I’m thinking it’ll help inform me on the state of my novel. The way I see it, there are three options. One, my novel is actually ready and an agent requests a full. Two, my novel isn’t quite ready and I need to have some more beta readers clue me into why. Three, the novel isn’t working on a fundamental core level and I need to take what I’ve learned, shelve it, and move on to the next project.

At least there’s a couple big motivators on the horizon. Pitch Wars is coming up quick and I think I’ll throw my hat in the ring. My MS is certainly in waaaaay better shape than last time I entered. I had barely finished it in time last year. After that we’ll be coming into NaNoWriMo so of course I have to try again. I’m hoping to start getting into a rhythm on this new project in October and create some good habits before November. The new WIP is kind of a Inuyasha meets Howl’s Moving Castle type fantasy. Still working out the details. All I can do is try!

But I’m getting that itch again- I took enough time off over the summer to recharge. I want to get back into it. The motivation is back but is the discipline? (World of Warcraft is testing me but I must be strong! Haha)

I also really need to sit my but down and read Save the Cat already, especially going into a new project. I keep opening it and starting and finding an excuse to read something else. I just get so intimidated and overwhelmed. The imposter syndrome kicks in hard. I need to relax, let go, and have fun with it. Write for myself and stop worrying about making it perfect or marketable or whatever.

What’s everyone else reading, watching, playing, or writing right now??

Welcome to Weird

Welcome to Weird

Well it’s been a hot minute since I updated the old ramblespace but I wasn’t sure what to even say what with the whole damn world flipping upside down. Betcha didn’t have global pandemic on your 2020 bingo card, didja? I sure didn’t. It’s been one month and six days since I’ve left the house for more than the occasional supply run to the grocery store. I’ve finally settled into something resembling a routine while working from home and only rarely have the fleeting awareness of just how truly bizarre life has become. It comes on suddenly, disorienting and awful, but then it passes.

So let’s breakdown the last month or so into some highs and lows.

Low: Thought that, as an introvert, I was well prepared for a life where I’m forced to stay at home (something I love) and was quickly proven to be mistaken. I miss the occasional night out, the spontaneous adventure or, at the very least, the freedom of the option. I miss my friends. I miss my coworkers. I am sad for my very extroverted partner and feel his frustration acutely. I had a hard time managing my guilt for getting to work from home while he was forced to go back to work and I worry for his health and safety. I worry for my sibling who works at a restaurant. I worry for my grandparents. I worry for my workplace’s ability to function. I just worry a lot and I was already a worrier.

High: I was finally able to get in to see a doctor (digitally, of course) and was prescribed medication for my anxiety. After a rough adjustment period, I feel like it might be starting to work. My mood has stabilized and the anxiety is much easier to manage. I feel like I have more energy. I’m very hopeful! I’m still clenching my jaw a lot but the neck pain I get from stress is gone.

Low: Fizzled out so early in Camp NaNoWriMo as I was overcome with a crushing swell of anxiety and impostor syndrome.

High: Entered RevPit and, regardless of how I do in it, am feeling creatively energized by the writing community and really want to get back into it and try again. (especially now that I’m managing my anxiety so much better)

Low: Now that I’m always home, the feeling that I need to be using my time productively is worse. I have to constantly remind myself that isn’t true.

High: I’ve had time to get some reading done. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom were so damn good. Instant favorites. The complexity of the story and the characters is as intimating as it is inspiring. They are masterpieces. Highly recommend.

High: Animal crossing is everything. I love it so much.

High: I finally get to fully utilize this amazing workspace.

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High: I get to hang out all day with my fat little serotonin factory.

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And thank the old gods and the new for Lofi music because right now it is the zen balm on my soul that gets me through each day. Have a listen if it’s your thing.

I sincerely hope that whoever you are, wherever you are, you are healthy and safe. Break the day into pieces and get through it one moment at a time. Be kind to yourself.

Back, & Back At It

Back, & Back At It

Back from vacation- I survived! Well, except that I’m sick now, so I suppose I shouldn’t speak so soon. I always get sick when I travel. Air ports are goddamn Petri dishes. And I was so careful! T-T Oh well, it’s just a cold, more annoying than anything else.

Had a lot more fun on the cruise than I was anticipating. I’m not a drinker and my partner is, so I wasn’t sure how that dynamic would play out. Plus travel and crowds hella spike my anxiety, but it was actually a lovely time. I got plenty of sun; the view was always incredible. Did some fun stuff at the various ports and, most importantly, got some reading in!

I sped through Howl’s Moving Castle within the first two days and loved it. Very IMG_5769interesting to see the similarities and differences between the source and the Ghibli adaptation. I really want to read the sequels now. Then I started Truthwitch and MAN what a book. I’m halfway through and I know the whole series is going on the TBR list. When am I going to have time to read all this stuff?! Very exciting, though- I love finding new favorites.  Reading such awesome stories has really got me inspired to write again, too. I bought a lil’ dollar pocket notebook and have been jotting down ideas for a new fantasy. Plotting and world-building again is so enjoyable and a great pallet cleanser after finishing another round of revisions on my manuscript.

Speaking of, I wrapped up revisions just in time to enter Author Mentor Match. I have no idea if anything will come of it as I still have a hard time judging if the book is ready. I certainly feel better prepared than I did for Pitch Wars. I knew that was a shot in the dark- I had barely finished the manuscript when I entered. I’ve done a lot of polishing since then. I think my greatest hope (aside from being selected, obviously) is that I get some sort of defined feedback to better guide me in where to go next. We shall see.

All told, I’m loving where my writing life is right now. I have a finished story I adore and I learned a ton about the craft in the process. I’ve got my toes in a community that seems really supportive and fun and I’m dying to dive deeper. I don’t feel as frustrated or impatient with myself anymore. I write more and feel burned out less. Hopefully the trend only continues to improve.

The only thing that could make me happier is ditching this cough and maybe some warmer weather. (And a request for a full in my inbox, of course)

Here We Go Again (2020 Edition)

Here We Go Again (2020 Edition)

Happy New Year and all that jazz.

Holidays came and went mostly without incident and I made it through the most trying time of the year: boat show week. Now I’m ready to settle into some sort of routine- hopefully a productive one. I’ve got my normal new year ‘resolutions,’ if you can call them that. I want to start getting more active again (I go total sloth mode over the winter and I’m starting to feel sluggish and unhealthy) and I need to get my sleep schedule right. I’m always tired. :(

I’ve finally got an appointment on the calendar for seeing someone about my anxiety. It’s gotten so much worse lately and I’m starting to think it might be more directly responsible for my stomach problems than I’ve been willing to admit. I can’t get in to see anyone till April, but at least it’s scheduled. I’ll survive till then.

2020 is also going to be the year I get my finances back on track. I have a budget planned that should get my credit cards all paid off by the fall. That means this is going to be a really lean year- no frivolous purchases, no new cosplay, no conventions.  The positive flip side of living really frugally means I should at least have more time to dedicate to writing and reading. (in theory, haha)

I would like to make a big dent in my TBR pile this year. Titles of interest include: Tarnished are the Stars (reading now), Howl’s Moving Castle, Serpent and Dove, Throne of Glass, Six of Crows, Furyborn, Girls of Paper and Fire, and Truthwitch, just to name a few. I also picked up a few highly recommended author craft books that I’m dying to dive into.booksshelf

As far as writing goals go, I’m working with an awesome critique partner right now and starting to chip away at revisions. I’m entering the drawing for RevPit to see if I can get some editor eyes on my query and then I’m also submitting to Author Mentor Match. Depending on how those shake out, I’m hoping to be ready to start seriously querying agents by March or April at the latest. I’ll have a better idea when I get into the back half of my revisions, where the changes are more work intensive. I’m excited though!

Life is pretty good, all things considered. I saw Star Wars twice and loved it. I haven’t gotten around to starting the Witcher yet but that damn song is still stuck in my head. (thanks internet) I might get back into playing Warcraft just because I need a pressure release and it honestly sounds really fun. Don’t really know if that’s necessarily the wisest decision but I’m committed enough to my goals that I’m not worried about shirking my work to play. My guilt won’t let me anymore.

Best of luck in the new year everyone! I’ll check in again soon.