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#bipolar #books #dreams #dystopian #publishing anxiety Depression Freedom Mental Health Musings Novel novella Promotion Stress Time Work Writing

Swing shift

Ah, mental health days. They come and they go, and sometimes they hit like a freight train to the gut.

Yesterday evening I had one of those moments. I was riding high on a mania brought on by exciting new writing projects and opportunities, including two contracts signed in one day, and then the realization hit me:

I still have to go to my fucking day job.

Yeah, I’m growing and progressing as an author. I’m getting there, slowly. But I’m nowhere in the zip code of “writing for a living.” Nope. Not even on the same continent. Not gonna happen soon, unless something big happens first.

I’ve been at my day job for almost nine years, but it’s stressful and stagnating. I don’t have really much opportunity for growth and change, and sometimes I don’t even have the opportunity to get the training I need to do some of the positions I have there.

Some of you are probably saying, “Well, get another job.” Sure. In a small town. Where jobs are scarce to begin with. Oh, and I can’t afford to take a pay cut, so if whoever is hiring could just pay me what I’m making currently–which is so not minimum wage–that’d be great.

I find myself trying to think of what skills I may have to market, if I decide to look for a new job. I am semi-bilingual, but only in regards to medical Spanish, really, and mostly in regards to the eyes. Conversational Spanish is hard for me to remember, because it’s been so long since high school/early college. I suck at verb tenses. I am organized, a little OCD even, and I am one of those rare nerds who enjoys filling out paperwork. But what could I do with that? I honestly don’t know.

I need a change. Something to be different. This knowledge that I have to go in there five days a week and do the same shit every time is killing me. I’ve been in this routine for the better part of nine years. Sure, it changes on occasion, but not much and not often. It’s a grind, that’s for sure.

I think that’s what caused the depressive episode to slam into me last night. My time, at least 40-ish hours of it a week, is not my own. I can’t make decisions for my time, because I need this job. I need to keep plugging away, keep grinding at it. I can’t stop.

Resentment at my lack of choice is eating me up as well. I hate that I’m stuck, hate that I can’t escape. I know, I know, looking at it as a kind of prison isn’t helping matters.

One of my friends is trying to encourage me to at least give it a try to find another job, but I’m hesitant. Hell, I’m scared. What if I find something and it’s even worse? What if I can’t find anything that pays what I need to make? What if I find something great and lose it somehow (closures, firings, etc)? What if, what if, what if….

Maybe I’ll start with baby steps. Update my resume. At least browse job sites and want ads. Work my way up to actually applying.

I know the statistics in my area aren’t good. I don’t have any government experience, and that’s about the only type of availability in my “price range” that there is around here, without any experience, that is…

But I guess it couldn’t hurt to look.

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#books #dreams #dystopian #publishing Abnormal Fandom Flash Fiction Interview Musings Novel novella Podcast Poetry Romance Sci-fi Short story Short Story Social Media Thoughts Time WIP Work Writing

Pro-draft-inating

It’s the weekend. I’m home alone until Sunday afternoon, so I have all the time in the world–or at least thirty-six hours of it–to get shit done.

So why am I rooted to the couch, laptop in hand, working on a rough draft, when I could be sewing, doing laundry, or cleaning up–all the things I don’t have time for during the week?

I guess I’m just prodraftinating. It’s a thing now, I’ve decided. Basically, I’m avoiding all the work I need to do by working on the rough draft of my romance WIP. I’m at 12,600 words out of a minimum 15,000, and the story’s close to wrapping up, but I’m still far from “done.” My story has trapped me, and I have to see it through.

I’m loving my new characters, and it’s nice to take a break from the Abnormalverse (as I’ve dubbed it) for a contemporary story. No magic, no supernatural happenings, so evolutionary powers, no politics–just a story about a girl and a guy and a little happily ever after.

Once it’s drafted, though, I’ll have to dive back into the Abnormalverse for a couple of WIPs: my current 3rd installment of the primary Abnormal series, plus a new WIP that fell into my lap yesterday that takes place in the Abnormalverse but only features a cameo of my MCs from Abnormal.

The writing has taken a sudden leap in volume and prolificity (which, spell check says, is not a word, but I’m already making up words today so whatever). I’ve gone from working on one piece exclusively, with maybe a couple short stories or poems sprinkled between primary writing sessions, to having–let’s see–three active works-in-progress. It’s kind of cool. I feel like a “real” author. Lol

I do have to do some “real” work today, though; my co-host and I have two interviews to record for our podcast, so I’ll have to stop the writing for those at least. What I’ll do after is up in the air, because that just might be the pause button I need to get up and to other things. But those are almost six hours away, so maybe I’ll finish my draft first. Who knows. Ideally, I’d like to finish the first draft within my word count limit, but I might have to go back and revise to fill it in more.

My newest project should be interesting, and even though I’m toiling away at the contemporary romance story, the back of my mind is plotting and devising a strategy for this new WIP. I’m hoping I don’t completely stall out on the 3rd Abnormal book while all this other stuff is going on, but I was needing a break from it anyway. Maybe these other Abnormalverse stories will spark some new ideas for the primary Abnormal story line. Maybe. Who knows.

I guess I’m off to finish my draft now. My characters are standing next to me, arms crossed over their chests, tapping their feet as they wait for me to hurry the fuck up.

Y’all just calm the fuck down. I’m getting to you–just be patient. 😉

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Uncategorized

Newsletters and Book Fairs and BookBub, Oh My!

^^ Pretty snazzy, huh? ^^ Thanks to my publisher, who clued me in to this opportunity, I have joined an online book fair for sci-fi and fantasy books.

C. L. Cannon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Book Fair is all about good sci-fi and fantasy books, and Abnormal is right in the thick of it. From today, November 15, 2019, through December 15, 2019, the book fair will run. There will be contests, prizes, discounts, and more! If you’ve been looking for a few new must-reads, the Fantasy and Sci-Fi Book Fair is the place to be

That’s not the only news I have for you: I’m also starting a newsletter for my writing/publishing updates. It’s late, and I’m tired, but starting tomorrow I hope to have a functional newsletter to send out to subscribers. This is to fulfill multiple roles, the most notable to keep you, the reader, informed of what’s going on with my Abnormal series, my upcoming romance novella, and more.

In addition, I am going to start sharing more reviews and recommendations on my BookBub profile. Maybe a giveaway or two? Time–and budget–will tell, but I’m hopeful that I can get something together soon. Maybe not in time for the holiday season, but the new year isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

The BookBub profile is getting more attention because it’s vital in a new project. Bottom line, I need followers. I’ve neglected that resource for far too long. Now is the time to act. To utilize it, to make it work for me. Network and all that.

More will be coming on the the book fair in the morning, along with (hopefully) a new link on this site to subscribe to the newsletter. Have suggestions for content? Use the contact form at the bottom of my home page to tell me what you’d like to see!

For right now, I’m going to crash after a long, long day!

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#bipolar #books #dreams #dystopian #publishing anxiety autoimmune Celebrity Depression Exercise fencing Fitness Food Freedom Health Keto Marketing Mental Health Musings Novel Podcast Social Media Stress swordfighting Thoughts Weight loss Work Writing

Trending Down

Another goal hit in my keto life journey! I’m proud to say that I’m under 250 lbs now, which is something I feared I’d never reach again.

I’m far from “done” with the keto lifestyle. On the contrary, I feel so good about the weight that I’ve already lost that I’m planning on continuing indefinitely–not only for fear of backsliding, but also because I actually don’t mind the low-carb life. Can’t eat any of the snacks in the break room? Okay. I’ll bring my own snacks. Not much on the menu at a fast food joint or restaurant? Fine. I’ll pick what I can eat and just not eat the carb-y stuff.

For the official count, here’s my weight loss numbers for the last 30 days, 60 days, and overall since I started:

I’ve been doing a keto diet for about 2 1/2 months now. Almost 40 lbs in 2 1/2 months! I’m so happy.

I’ll plateau eventually. Probably a few times. But for now, I’m enjoying the steady decline in weight. My clothes fit better–sometimes too big now–and I feel better overall.

Speaking of feeling better, today I see my podiatrist to see if my foot has finally healed enough to get this stupid boot off. It’s been 8 weeks today, and I’m 1000% done with the boot. It’s heavy, it’s awkward, it makes my gait weird, and my other foot is getting painful from my favoring the foot with the boot. All that, plus I can’t drive. I miss running errands on lunch or being able to take myself to work. It’s the little things in life, man.

I haven’t had the boot off for much of anything besides showering and changing clothes. Because I wake up earlier than my husband and the boot has a ton of Velcro on it, I just sleep with it on to keep from waking him every time I get up in the night. Since this is a re-break of a bone that tends to re-break once initially broken, I’m trying to be a good patient and stick to my restrictions.

If all looks good on the x-ray this afternoon, I might be able to ditch the boot and just “take it easy” for however long the doctor determines I need to do so. I have a sinking feeling that he’s going to tell me “no sword fighting,” which will be a disappointment for sure. I’m eager to get back to rapier practice and relearn all that I’ve forgotten and recondition myself to holding the sword for long periods of time and sparring with friends, but all that might have to wait if the doctor says it might jeopardize my foot.

I really don’t want another 8 weeks of boot life.

Maybe later today I’ll call and schedule the DEXA scan I was supposed to get months ago. Hard to figure out a time to do it when I can’t drive myself to it! This needing a ride everywhere stinks.

Other news in the health front: I accidentally skipped a month of my biologic injection, but I got it yesterday so that’s on board. Hopefully my doc isn’t too mad at my slipup when I see her in a couple of weeks. (And hopefully I can drive myself to that appointment.) I was out of my Adderall for a couple of weeks while the pharmacy had issues with their shipments, but I’m happy to say that I have that again as well. My mental health is, well…

…Yeah. That. I hate my job. It’s getting to me. I mean, it’s the same thing day in, day out, five days a week. Sure, there’s the occasional half day or holiday, but lately I’m getting called in to either switch which half I’m working or to work the whole day on the half days (usually at the last possible minute), and the doctor has a couple days a month off, which makes the work load on his off days easier because there aren’t any patients, but yeah…that’s not enough. I don’t know what else I would do, though.

I’ve worked in healthcare for the better part of 19 years (9 years in a hospital setting, and close to 9 years where I’m at, with a brief period of joblessness and retail when I moved to Arizona), so I’m not quite sure what other marketable skills I might have. I mean, I’m quasi-bilingual, so there’s that, and here in AZ speaking Spanish is always a bonus, but my Spanish is limited. My grammar is terrible, and as far as conversational Spanish goes I can muddle through most of it, but I know sometimes I’m using the wrong word or wrong verb form. Medical Spanish? I’m almost completely fluent there. I can snag a chief complaint or medical history no problem. But if I want to do something different, something non-medical, I don’t know if my Spanish is up to par for other professions.

I have a degree that’s non-medical–a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice Administration–but that’s 13 years old now, and I have done absolutely nothing with it since I graduated. Well, I got it framed and hung it up. That’s about it.

A friend of mine has been encouraging me to look at the possibility of working on post as a contractor or some other type of government position, but I’m leery of that. When I first found out I was moving here, I spent months ahead of time applying at various positions on a government website, and I never heard back from any of them. I even revamped my resume based on some redacted resumes my dad showed me from hires he’d done as a DOD employee. So I had my Resume Wizard one from Word that failed, and my Based on a Successfully Hired Government Employee resume that also failed. I just don’t know if I can handle the stress of trying to find a job while maintaining my stressful job.

If I was better at marketing–if my book was selling enough to be profitable–I’d hold a sliver of hope that I could make money doing that. It’s not, though, and I’m not, so that’s out. No, writing is a second profession for me, not my primary source of income, and I doubt it ever will be. I can dream, but…yeah.

I’ve gotta get moving on that marketing stuff, speaking of which. I’m part of a group of authors who are making a run on the USA Today Bestseller’s list with a box set of stories, and my newest WIP is geared towards that. I’ve got a lot of work to do with that, though, because I need to get followers and do some heavy marketing as well. Can’t get to the bestseller list without working for it.

It seems like a lot: the boot, the existential employment crisis, the writing, the marketing…Can I do it all?

I don’t know, but I know one thing: Something’s gotta give. I don’t know how soon, but it’s gotta happen. Whether it’s freedom from the boot and freedom to do my normal activities, or a new job, or a surge in sales, something has to happen to change things. And I know, I have to change to make some of these things happen. I just have to be brave enough to try.

Categories
Short Story Writing

Hell to Pay

Story prompt time! I was given this prompt by fellow author Angelique Jordonna: “You’re looking to unleash hell on earth; how do you bring this about? What are you going to do to summon those evil spirits, hell hounds, Satan….whatever?”

That’s it. I’m done. Done with this life, done with the bullshit, done with humanity.

Don’t get me wrong. I tried to “live my best life” or whatever. I tried to keep my chin up and all that. But people suck regardless of what you do, and I’m just over it.

It took me forever to find a solution to life and all its misery. I mean, even though I’m fed up, I still want to make my mark. And boy howdy, it’s one helluva mark. Get it? Hell of a mark?

Fine. Don’t laugh. Keep screaming in agony. This is why I did it: no one appreciates a good pun.

When I told my friends what I had planned, they all just kind of scoffed and dismissed me. Went back to their iPhones and smart watches. Ignored me. They fucking earned this, I tell you.

I know you probably don’t appreciate the effort I went into, seeing as how you’re burning in eternal hellfire and all. But trust me, it was a feat in itself, bringing Hell to reality. No one thought I could do it. “Satan’s not real,” they said. “Hell is just a construct of The Man to keep the sheep in line,” they said. “You’ve lost it if you think you can summon an actual demon,” they said. Well, fuck them. I showed all of them.

I have the Internet to thank for my success, really. Just about any resource you need, it’s there. It might take some searching, some really creative keywords, but yeah. You wanna summon demons? Raise Hell? Meet Satan and all his pals? You can do it. Well, you could have….I kinda beat you to it.

How did I get Satan himself to come party with me for this end-of-days event? Simple: I emailed him. What did you think it would take? A virgin sacrifice? Complicated ritual? Chanting in Aramaic? Please. It’s the twenty-first century. Satan keeps up with the times.

Satan’s not really that bad of a dude, to be honest. I mean, you might think he is, but I think he’s pretty cool. The guy has some cool torture ideas. Like, beyond Biblical. I’m talking some of the sickest, most depraved shit I’ve ever heard of. Horror-movie-on-steroids type torture. I suppose it’s not as cool to experience it firsthand, but watching it is pretty neat. Totally sitting here next to Satan with my beer and popcorn, fist-bumping him when someone who pissed me off starts to scream.

I bet you’re wondering what kind of deal I made with Satan to get the ball rolling on this. Turns out he wanted this too. His hands were just tied by holy legal shit. I guess he can’t raise literal Hell without a specific request by a mortal. Once that’s been made though, he’s a free bird. Hellfire, demonic possession, torture–all it needed was my simple “Hey, dude, can we just end life as we know it? I’m kind of cheesed at all these people, and I’d like to see them burn.”

Yep, that was it. It was all me. This hellscape is courtesy of my temper.

I pet the closest head of Cerberus, who’s lying next to my throne. I guess freeing Satan from his constraints has its perks. No torture for me, and I get a bonus comfy seat. Anyway, Cerberus is chewing on someone’s thigh bone, wagging his tail. He’s fluffier than I pictured when I thought of “demonic hellhound.” I think the bone used to belong to that guy who made fun of me in junior high.

“This is nice,” I say to Satan. “The fires are warm, and the screams are relaxing.”

“Yep,” he says. “No one ever thinks about that. They just think about ‘peace’ and ‘harmony’ and ‘being a good person.’ Bunch of crap, if you ask me.”

I nod and take a swig.

Best email I ever sent.

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#books #dystopian #publishing Abnormal Novel Promotion Reading Social Media Writing

Coming soon to audiobook: Abnormal!

Good news, everyone! ABNORMAL is coming to audiobook–soon! Missed out on this fast-paced sci-fi/dystopian novel because you just don’t have time to read a physical or digital copy? No sweat. You’ll be able to listen to the story soon. 🙂

Even better: I need reviewers! Send a message/email (here or on one of my social media pages), and I can put you on our reviewer list. What does that mean? It means as soon as I know the release date, you’ll know…and possibly some other fun stuff 😉

ABNORMAL’s journey has been incredible, and I can’t wait for more people to have access to this story of action, survival, love, and loss.

In what has been described as Push meets Blade Runner, Abnormal takes place in a future where genetic Gifts are treasured and revered–unless you’re poor. For the lower classes, any genetic “abnormalities” discovered before birth are terminated by government mandate. Clare, an Abnormal whose mother managed to evade the genescans, must keep a low profile or risk being sent to an internment camp. When two Gifted men stalk and assault her, she kills them in self defense. Too bad their parents are on the Council. Now Clare is on the run and must keep one step ahead of the Squads.

I’m still hard at work on the third installment of the series, and the sequel is with the publisher. This new milestone in ABNORMAL’s life is exciting, and I can’t wait to hear it for myself.

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#books #dystopian #publishing Abnormal escape the light Musings Novel Stress Thoughts Writing

Hidden walls and speed bumps

It happens a lot in the writing world: You’re going along at a decent clip, then BAM! you come up upon a brick wall that derails your train of thought or slams the brakes on your progress.

One of the biggest author questions I see on Twitter’s #writingcommunity hashtag is “How do I get past writer’s block?” (or some other version of that question). It’s an age-old question, and there are probably as many answers as there are ways to phrase the question–actually, probably more answers.

Everyone has a different method of breaking writer’s blocks, and no method works for all writers. I, for one, usually take a break, regroup, then come back and reread the previous work to remind myself where I left off and what’s going on. Does it work every time? No, but it’s been somewhat effective so far for me. This time, however, it’s not helping.

What next? Well, I could try any number of things..and that’s kind of the problem. You see, I have too many options here. I could do X, Y, Z, A, Q, W, or even go into the Greek or Cyrillic languages for more letters and still not run out of things to try. I could drink until something comes to me, I could try a writing prompt, I could move on to another WIP and work on it, I could scribble down a nonsense scene to get the creative juices flowing–but which one to do?

Is it possible to have writer’s block block? Because I think that’s a thing now. I can’t think of a viable solution to getting out of this rut.

“Where is Clare right now?” you might ask. “What’s she doing? What can happen to her to move the story forward?” Sure. Ask the easy ones. The ones I’ve already answered to myself, the ones that come first. How about a hard one? Like “What happens next?” or “How does X come to be?” or “Why is X happening?” Because those questions are plaguing me at the moment.

Maybe I’ll “freewrite” here….just let the writer’s block busters flow until something sparks something else.

Should I freewrite a scene? Jump to another spot in the story and come back to the stuck part? Work on another story altogether? Outline more? Should I open a dictionary or thesaurus or something and flip to a random page and close my eyes and point to a word and go from there? Interview my characters? Mind map? Ugh. So many ways to theoretically break through a block–and right now, none of them sound “right.”

At this rate, I’m going to be one slow author. I’ll be in my sixties before this series and the spin-off series are done! And what about other projects? I’d like to do more than one or two series and be done with writing. I want to branch out, write more varied works. I want to grow as an author.

Eh, what am I talking about? I’ll be fine. I just need to breathe. Take it easy. One sentence at a time. Maybe I should skip around. Or outline. Try new styles. Who knows? I could come upon the mystery solution to all writers’ blocks.

Back to the drawing board, I guess.

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Fitness Food Health Keto Mental Health Musings Plus size Stress Time Weight loss

To see myself through fresh eyes

It happens sometimes in life: you get depressed, you lose your self confidence, and you kinda wish mirrors didn’t exist. That’s how I felt when I gained all that weight–like every time I passed a mirror was another opportunity to see how I’d failed.

Now? Now, it’s not as bad. Yeah, I’m still overweight–obese, even–but I’ve lost so much weight that it’s not as obvious. I even had a patient tell me I was looking thinner yesterday! People don’t always pay attention to the workers at the doctors’ offices, especially not enough to care whether they’ve gained or lost, so it felt good that my weight loss was noticeable.

I had noticed a bit of a change in the mirror myself as well, but I still felt kinda gross and huge most of the time. That feeling dissipated, however, when I took the following picture after work:

For the first time since I’ve started losing weight, I saw the difference in a photograph. I can see that my face is thinner. Yes, I have the camera at an angle, and my head is tilted a bit, but the difference is notable. I’m starting to become me again.

Here’s a photo from a few months ago, kind of on the downhill slide of weight gain, when I was nearing my heaviest, for comparison:

The angles aren’t 100% the same (because it would take me forever and tons of OCD energy to find a selfie where I held both my head and the camera at the exact same angle), but they’re close enough for a comparison. Look at the selfie from yesterday, and the one from months ago. In the second photo, you can clearly see that the face is fuller, even though I was going for that angle where the fullness isn’t as obvious. It was “full” enough that, even though in the individual selfie it wasn’t bad, the difference between the two is striking.

The “new” me? It’s closer to the “old” me than I’ve been in a very, very long time. Long enough now that I have to search Facebook for a comparable photo of “before weight gain.” I finally found one with a similar angle to it, from four years ago (when I was at my most recent “thin” weight–which is still about 75 lbs less than my current weight):

Okay, so I’ve got three individual photos–one now, one a few months ago, one “thin-ish 30-something me”–but can we see a side-by-side? Well, seeing as how it’s almost 5am and no one else here is awake and I have apps on my phone for this, let’s see what I can do.

(Speaking of apps and stuff, sorry for the weird borders on all these….the website is basically not letting me upload anything that’s not edited in some way, so I’m doing what I can to get these up here without altering the actual photos)

Now this is a good comparison set of images! The “before” (pre-weight gain) image is blurry, but it’s almost the exact same head angle as the “now” image. I look like “me” again!

This. This is it. This is my fuel for the fire now. I can see “me” again when I take a picture. I can see the possibility of being that “me” once again if I just keep at it. I can visualize the weight loss, I can see an end in sight (even though I’m still just beginning).

What’s the purpose of this post, you may ask? (Besides a little narcissism lol) To show that it’s possible. To demonstrate that yes, noticeable weight loss can be achieved. Is it super easy? No. I have to struggle constantly not to backslide and get into old eating habits. Do you know how often people bring keto-friendly snacks in to the office? Almost never. Cookies, bagels, donuts, chips, bean dip, fruits, etc are in abundance, but meats and cheeses? Nuts? Yeah, not so much. (Don’t get me wrong, though–there are some people at work who have brought in meat and cheese trays specifically so I can snack, too.) Fast food choices are severely limited on this diet. Eating on the run isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore. And once the boot is off and I’m off activity restrictions post-Jones fractures? I’ll be exercising. I have to. I can’t rely on only the keto diet to lose this weight. It’s too deep-seated, too set in. But I can do it. I can lose it. And if I can (and I’m a pretty lazy person in general), then almost anyone can.

Find what works. Keep trying. Don’t let obesity win. Don’t let obesity kill you. I was on the road to an early grave. I could feel it. I got short of breath putting on socks or getting in and out of the car. I had trouble putting on my shoes. Now I can do those things with no problem. And they’ll get even easier the further I get.

Two months down. A lifetime to go.