Monthly Archives: February 2016

Adjusting My Sails (Part 1)

back on my feet

 

(Language warning if you need that. *waves to family*)

I got knocked down, guys. Hard. I thought I had depression under control… I forgot that control is shaky at best when dealing with a black dog this big and mean.

Much as I don’t like to talk about it and hard as it is to post about this, I think it’s helpful to do so. I wish I’d known more people with depression when I was first struggling with it. I wish more people I liked or admired or just knew about showed me how they dealt with it, how they live good lives in spite of the fact that this shadow is always hovering over them. I wish I’d had more people to say “Yeah, this thing fuckin’ sucks. This is exactly as hard as it seems, so don’t let anyone minimize your struggle. But you are so much stronger than you think. You will beat this. And then you’ll beat it again. And it will always be worth fighting.”

So here we are, talking about it. I was really low for a while. This is a snapshot of me getting back on my feet, promising to blow shit open and get back in control of my life.

Note: This is how I’m approaching the fight this time around. It’s not advice. It’s not necessarily the best way of fighting, but it’s what’s working for me right now. And if you’re lost in your own Despair right now, this is me saying that you’re not alone. This thing is beatable, and there’s no shame in your struggle. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help or with taking care of yourself.

‘Kay?

‘Kay.

This was my fourth or fifth big battle with depression since I was diagnosed about fifteen years ago, but this round seemed particularly unfair in its origin. It started in November, when a doctor decided to put me on antidepressants to treat my migraines in spite of the fact that I don’t have a great record with the drug he prescribed. It knocked me flat, emotionally speaking, and made my previously non-existent anxiety spike hard. I started getting off the drugs before Christmas, but the damage was done. I was not only down, but stuck.

See, when someone pushes you into a pit, the fact that they’ve stopped pushing doesn’t magically get you back to the surface. And eliminating the trigger, whether it’s chemical or situational, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to bounce right back from depression. Sometimes you do, and that’s wonderful. But not always.

It took two weeks for the pills to turn me into an emotionally-flat-yet-terribly-anxious mix of Eeyore and Piglet. It’s taken me months to get myself back to anything like normal.

Well, you know. Normal for me.

I haven’t been sad. That would require energy. I’ve been… not. I was not myself. I was not enjoying anything. I was not functioning as well as I should have, though I forced myself through editing and a book release during the worst of it. I was not thinking clearly. I was not able to take care of myself. I was just not.

Except for that frigging anxiety. That was a something that was, but that contributed a great deal to the not.

But this wasn’t my first rodeo. Though the trigger might have been a new one for me, I was walking through a dark country I’d seen before. Hell, I have the souvenir t-shirt, and I’m pretty sure my next trip will qualify me for dual citizenship. And I’ve found my way out before. I’ve had help, and I’ve fought hard. I knew I could do it again.

And I am. I’ve waited to post about it, because I didn’t want to bring anyone down (and quite frankly, I didn’t want to worry my mother if she was reading). I’m feeling better. We’re cool. I’m back to the edge of the pit. Dangerously close, but confident enough to turn around and raise my middle fingers to the depths.

So how am I fighting the drag, the lag, the damned inertia of depression? Again, this is not advice for anyone else. This is just me. NEVER TAKE ADVICE FROM ME ON ANYTHING EVER.

I force myself to move. To do something. To roll out of bed. To shower. To make the bed. To cook one good meal. To walk the dog when a nice-ish day presents itself. To stretch for five minutes. To write one blog post (hi, there!) or work for ten minutes. Sometimes one thing is all I can do, but sometimes I get a little momentum that I can use for one more thing. And one more.

I let myself breathe. I extend deadlines when I can so that anxiety has less to scream in my ear about. I let myself bounce from book to book when nothing is grabbing me during reading time, and I refuse to feel guilty when the popular thing I should love doesn’t make me swoon. I refuse to feel guilty about not being up to cooking an amazing supper every night.

I make sure my kids know that I love them, that my mood isn’t their fault, and that it’s totally cool to wear the same shirt three days in a row if someone isn’t 100% on top of the laundry. *cough*

I take days off from social media when it becomes more stressful than relaxing, and I use that time to read or re-focus.

I take my damn vitamins and get as much sun on my skin as I can. Winter in Newfoundland is hard.

And I give myself therapy. Sort of. I ask myself questions, I dig deep, and I figure shit out. It’s hard work. Really hard. But I’m making progress.

This post is already running long, so I’m going to leave it at that for now. Next time, I’ll tell you what I dug up when I asked myself some hard questions.

Yeah, it’s writing-related. And it could change everything for me.

 

(PS: check out the song I referenced at the top. I loves it, I do.)

Part 2 here

 

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Run Now. Save Yourselves.

I’m writing to you from the relative safety of my writing cave. At least, I think it’s still safe. Hard to know say, now that the infected have breached my defenses. I may be contaminated. It could be days before I know.

I should probably explain this better.

A few weeks ago, some strain of stomach flu hit my family. First, child #1 went down. Now, I hate stereotypes, but if I were the type of person to characterize someone as prone to having man colds, I’d say it was him. Not the person you want to be sick, partly because it’s hard to tell how bad it actually is when every sniffle is “I’M DYING.”

Then his little brother got hit. He’s a trooper, but it wasn’t pretty, and that’s when I realized that this thing was actually getting progressively nastier. And then their dad was down for several days. I got to handle things around here… which wasn’t that unusual, except that I ALSO got to shovel snow (yippee) and go on Gatorade runs and was solely in charge of forgetting to put the garbage out.

Last Tuesday, child one got sick again. Nasty cough this time, and a fever that lasted for days. I have dubbed it “The Plague-ish” because he acted like that’s what he had.

Then his dad got it, just to change up the roster. He got it bad, too. Chest rattling, fever, cough, headaches… he’s collecting the whole set.

I’ve been sleeping on the couch the past three nights to try to give the ill some peace, to get some sleep myself, and maybe reduce the amount of germs I’m breathing in (though honestly, if he didn’t infect me before The Plague-ish took him down, I’m not getting it now).

This morning, child #2 woke himself up coughing and decided his bed was no longer tolerable. The couch is too small for two, but on the upside, his feverish body kept my feet warm.

So that’s it. I got lucky and dodged the stomach flu, but unless this is some weird epilogue to that virus’ reign of terror, I’m probably doomed. I can try to hide in here, but they all keep coming in and coughing on my stuff. And like… needing me to do wife and mom crap.

Oh, yeah. I’m not what you’d call the most sympathetic caregiver. I’m basically the “Did you try like… sleeping somewhere that’s not here? Or not moaning and stuff? Talking is bad for your cough.” *offers comforting pat on the shoulder with a long spatula* type.

I’m not BAD. I’m willing to make lovely honey-lemon tea and bring ice packs and give medicine at acceptable intervals (all of which will be rejected by two of them). Hell, I’ll sit with sick people if they really need me to and they don’t bitch too much. I’ll sing lullabyes and stroke hair and clean up after messes. I just feel REALLY uncomfortable, and generally have no real idea what to do with people who want attention when they’re sick.

So yeah. It’s flu season. It’s cold, and we’re cooped up together.

I expect to succumb to this tomorrow morning, what with that being my birthday and these things having such perfect timing.

My throat is scratchy. I think… I think I’m infected.

PREPARE FOR HIBERNATION.

(but hey, my quickie [for me] novella project is off to alpha readers a week early. So at least that’s one less thing to worry about.)

 

 


COVER REVEAL: Bladelore (Krista Walsh)

Hey, everyone!

I’m so excited to be able to share this cover reveal with you today, along with some exciting news from the author. Because honestly, who DOESN’T want to be a part of unleashing something beautiful on the world? Especially when it happens to involve the conclusion to a wonderful story.

I mean, really.

Ready?

Introducing… Bladelore.

Bladelore-lores

War has come to Andvell. Enemy after enemy takes its place along the northern border, each one a terrifying result of dark magic and experimentation. In the face of the great army, Andvell’s resources are few.

As the enemy marches, unlikely hero Venn Connell must act or be lost in the flood — one final mission to end the war, no matter the cost.

Standing on the brink of devastation, Venn is forced to question her most deeply held beliefs and trust her friends to see her through the darkness.

EEEEEEEEP. (Lovely cover art by Jeff Brown)

Okay, now for the other exciting news. To celebrate the upcoming release of Bladelore this spring (exact date TBD, but I’ll keep you posted), book one of the Cadis trilogy is going to be on sale this coming week for 99 cents!

I’m like, 99% sure it’s to celebrate my birthday, actually, but Ms Walsh hasn’t commented on that.

BL1 promo

Mark your calendars!

Author Bio

Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. When not writing, she can be found walking, reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story. She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Contact info

website (www.kristawalshauthor.com)

Twitter: @kwalshauthor

Facebook

Author shot1


WIPpet Wednesday: A Little Background

Hey, WIPpeteers and friends!

I didn’t think I’d have time to join in this week, but a snow day (our second in a row, in fact), has left me unable to get much actual work done, but with time to read some snippets! So here we are.

Hi.

Obviously I’m not sharing from Sworn anymore, because that ship has sailed.* But I’m not quite ready to reveal much about the plot of my new book, which I should be wrapping up the first draft of this week. And I was going to share its hero with you, but my newsletter subscribers get to be the first people to meet him (perks, y’all).

You should sign up. You want to meet him.

Anyway, for 2/10, here are two quick paragraphs from chapter 10. Our heroine is paging through a religious text in a strange new world, trying to figure out how she walked in on a revolution of monsters overthrowing humans.

I flipped back to earlier pages. “And in those days the monsters roamed the land, living as animals, without understanding. The humans came among them, bearing the bright spark bestowed upon them by divine grace. And the Mother decreed that men should rule over the monsters, which would in turn find Mother’s favour by submitting their wills to that of the spark-bearers.”

And there it was. The grounds for hundreds of years of slavery and servitude, all built on this passage.

Bingo.

Yes, I’m a little nervous that people will think I’m making a statement about religion with certain aspects of this story. For the most part, I hope readers will keep this in mind:

Screenshot 2016-02-10 09.12.27

It’s a work of fiction. If things happening in a fictional world hit too close to home, well… *shrugs*

Interested in more snippets? Click this link to see what the other WIPpeteers are up to and leave a comment to say hello. And if you’d like to join in, post a bit of your work in progress on your own blog (remember, it needs to relate to today’s date!), and link back.

Thanks again to Emily Witt for hosting.

 

 

 

 

 

*Good lord, I typed “that shit has sailed.” It’s not shit. It’s fantastic. And the e-book is still only $3.99 USD, but not for long. Just saying.


SALE ENDS TOMORROW

Howdy, readerinos!

Just a quick post in case anyone missed it in the newsletter or on my Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram: $2.99 USD pricing on the books in the Bound trilogy ends TOMORROW. As in, the prices will start creeping back up on Monday.

If you’ve been putting off grabbing Sworn and finishing the trilogy, now would be a great time to do it and save yourself a couple of bucks. Or to pick up the set if you’ve been holding off on starting. Visit my website (www.katesparkes.com) or click the images in the sidebar for links and details.

Okay. I think I’ve warned everyone.

Hibernation time!

sworn sale end twitter

 


Snobbery*

Hey, guys! I’m going to start doing Throwback Thursday posts here. I’ve posted a lot of things over the past few years that deserve to see the light of day again, and this is one of them. I still stand by this. I’m happier promoting what I love than I am making people feel inferior for loving what I hate.

disregard the prologue

“I’m a coffee snob. Starbucks tastes like crap, and if you drink it, I’m laughing at you.”

“You listen to One Direction? Gross.”

“I’m super kinky. If you’re vanilla, you must be a boring, lifeless person. Sorry.”

“You say you like My Little Pony, but you collect VINTAGE ones and have only seen season one of Friendship is Magic? Poser.”

“You’re not a gamer if you haven’t played x and y. Noob.”

“You’ve watched Game of Thrones, but not read the books? You know nothing.”

“Fantasy? Really? Why don’t you read a real book?”

You all still with me? I’m sure you could come up with more examples. Whether it’s fashion or food, comics or current events, pop culture or ponies, you meet them everywhere.

Snobs. People who judge and exclude those who know less than them, whose tastes are less sophisticated, who haven’t been members of the community…

View original post 1,000 more words


So, what’s next?

It’s hard to believe that the Bound trilogy is in my rear-view mirror. It was a crazy journey. Each book challenged me in new ways (and threatened my sanity with astonishing consistency), and made me a better writer in the process.

The question as I approached the end of the journey was, “What’s next?”

I’m certainly not short on ideas. I have a gorgeous notebook that I keep them in, and even if I only look at the “gotta write it now” stories, I’m booked through 2018. The difficult thing was that I’ve grown used to deadlines. I didn’t have one with Bound, but as soon as it started finding an audience, I found that I had a whole lot of motivation to get the rest of the series done. Readers wanted more, I wanted to give them more… it worked.*

But suddenly the story is done. If there’s more of it (*cough*), it won’t be ready to be written for a few years. And I’m ready to take a little break from that world. Much as I adore the characters, they need room to breathe and grow, and so do I. When we meet again, they’ll be a little older and wiser and ready for new adventures, and I’ll be a better writer and ready to meet whatever new challenges they** throw at me.

The question was what would come next. And thanks to a message I received from a fellow indie author in early December, I have an answer.

And it’s here.

I needed a challenge, and this project is delivering. I have a very restricted word count allowance, and you all know how I love to write a big, beautiful book. I’m not willing to sacrifice character development or worldbuilding, so this is a good challenge. I also have a tight deadline. I have time for my full draft-revise-alpha readers-revise-send to editor-fix-beta readers-fix again-proofread routine, but not for much more. And I have a group of authors relying on my to uphold my end of the bargain, just as they’re busting their asses to uphold theirs.

It’s going to be tight, and the pressure is already on. And I don’t even have a title for it yet.

This project is pushing me to produce a kick-ass book with almost none of the advance planning time that I’m used to. I don’t get months or years to get to know the characters and mull over the plot before drafting. This is me jumping off a cliff and trusting my muse to catch me.

So far, so good. I adore the story and characters. In fact, it took me exactly eight chapters to fall for… someone.

Screenshot 2016-02-01 13.20.58

Do I want to do this all the time? Definitely not. But I think the lessons I learn will help me with future books, and I’m already so grateful for that.

I think that’s all I can say about the project for now, except that you should definitely watch for snippets and clues about what it’s all about on WIPpet Wednesdays. You’re going to see monsters and magic, a perfectly average fish-out-of-water heroine whose world is turned upside down, moral ambiguity, risks and regrets, romance and excitement and…

Well. You’ll see. And it will be available in June.

JUNE, GUYS. And then there’s this lovely little semi-dystopian project with vengeful gods that’s been eating at me for a few months now…

Wish me luck!

*yes, 9 and 10 months between books was me pushing myself to my productivity limits. My family says they’re not willing to let me disappear into my office ten hours a day, so I’m doing what I can. 🙂

**Or their ancestors. Hmm.


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