Sunday, November 12

Taking my life back...

I realized that I haven't posted in awhile. Again. I wanted to give an update on what's been going on, because I've been working very hard this year to get control back, and it's happening, though slowly. :)  
So... this year has been about taking my health back. In a lot of ways, I've done that. I had the gall bladder and ovaries removed, and those surgeries have helped a LOT. There was a cancer scare with the ovaries, but even though they were huge, there was no sign of cancer. (One was the size of a grapefruit, the other the size of a lemon, when they were removed). Since ovarian cancer runs in my family, it was a huge concern, and pretty much all I could think about until I was cleared from that. The gall bladder issues had me in so much pain and so sick all the time that I was unable to do much of anything for several months, until I got that taken care of. I know there are writers who are able to compartmentalize and escape from their issues through their writing. I am not one of those, apparently. I had so much pain in so many different areas, I pretty much existed on pain meds, sleep, and reading.
I got the MRI on my hip/back finally, but it showed nothing. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck where that's concerned, but I've accepted that it's part of life now, until we can get me to a neurologist to see if there's anything going on in that area. I'm learning to live with my limitations and adapt so that I can still do the things I love, though that means giving up other things simply because I no longer have time to do all of it. I can only sit up for an hour or two at a time before I have to go lie down and rest my hip/back (I call it my bip, just to save time), then I can sit up again for a little while longer. I have to split this time between writing, taking care of personal and writing business online, and spending time with my sweetie, because he deserves some of my 'upright time', as well. ;) I'm figuring it all out, though. I now write until I'm done with that scene, then rest, or I write until the pain drives me to bed, take copious notes while I'm lying down, then try to write like crazy when I can sit up again. It's not efficient, but it's working, so there's that. lol 

Two major things happened to derail it all earlier this year... we lost one family member to prostate cancer, and another lost his battle with depression. Those losses sent me into a writer's block that lasted nearly four months. But I've mostly dealt with that, though with the holidays coming up, it's going to be difficult without them. 

Moving on...

We'll be downsizing further, moving into a smaller/cheaper place next year, and hopefully moving back toward the mountains, if life works out for that to happen. If it doesn't, then there are other plans in the works. ;) I did my best work when we lived up there and I miss the area so very much. I need mountains and woods and babbling brooks in my life again.

This year was about taking my health back. This coming year, I'm determined to take my life back. I'm committing myself to get my Ishira sequel finished and published, as well as getting out at least three in a series of shifter books that I'm working on right now.I have seven planned so far, but I'm determined to get three FINISHED before I put out the first one, and schedule them so that they release a month apart. The first three will be as stand-alone as I can make them, but still have them in a series with an over-arching storyline, and that will end with the first three. The same 'world' and characters will be in the following books, but with different over-arching storylines for that series, and again, I'll try to get them all finished before I release any of them, so we won't have this 'five years between books' problem again. ;) That means the first one won't come out as soon (I'm almost done with it), but when I have the three done, it'll be better for all of us, I think. ;)

I need to not get distracted from this path. I need to remember that the writing is the most important thing I'm doing, and put that at the top of my priority list. That doesn't mean giving up everything else, but it does mean committing to writing more each day, no matter what, and not letting myself get distracted thinking I need to be working on other things. A few days focused on something else is okay, but I'm going to try to post my word counts daily on my Facebook page, to keep me accountable.

So if you're following me on Facebook, keep me accountable! LOL 
No nagging, but if you see a few days go by without a word count, holler at me. Honestly, as fast as I write, I should be putting out several books a year, instead of sitting here at 5 years without a sequel. It's ridiculous, and though I've had valid reasons for not getting it done, I also need to take control and make it happen in spite of some of those reasons. the other reasons have been taken care of. It's time to get serious and let me control the situation, instead of letting the situation control me. Ugh.

Heh. I think the new meds are working. ;) 
Okay... enough of that! 
It's NaNoWriMo, and I've been working on the first one in my shifter series, Mama Bear. (Working title, might not be the finished title. Not sure yet.) She's an older heroine, which a lot of people have asked for. The rest of that series will be younger folks, but she's hooking up with the crew's alpha, and he's older, too. I'm having a ball writing this one, and I'm working on Ishira at the same time. I've been waking up in the middle of the night with ideas for scenes and story details for both, rushing out to the computer to get it all down while it's fresh, and the word counts are coming up in great leaps and bounds. More importantly, the stories are coming together in ways that make my heart happy, which I hope translates to you guys loving them as much as I do! :) 
I'll try to do better at keeping up with the blog... I've felt so guilty about not finishing books that I haven't had much to say here, but I'm doing to do better about that, too. You guys deserve to know what's going on! 
So that's it, in a nutshell. Lots going on. This coming year promises to be exciting in many good ways, if I can keep it going!  I'm going to try to get more book reviews up, as well. I've discovered some new-to-me authors this year that I HAVE to share with you, so I've got plans for those. 

Keep an eye out and subscribe or keep checking back. I'm hoping to get back up to speed soon! :) 

And as always, thank you so much for your support and continued understanding. The amount of love that has poured in as I've dealt with all of this has been humbling and amazing. I have the best fans in the world, some of whom have become good friends, and I appreciate each and every one of you. <3

Wednesday, August 3

Greetings, all.

Sorry that I've gone so long between posts. The past year has been, well, hell. I have not been able to get a lot of writing done for several reasons, and right now, I'm dealing with a major medical issue that kind of has my brain in lock-down until we get it sorted out.

The past year has seen a major increase in my back/hip pain and I'm now in a wheelchair most of the time when we go out and about, even for regular household shopping. I tend to have to lie down a lot, and haven't found a good solution for my computer when I'm stuck in bed for hours at a time.

Two weeks ago, I had two horrible pain episodes unrelated to my back/hip and went to the ER for them. Thought it was my gall bladder, but an ultrasound showed nothing to worry about there, but my blood work showed some alarming liver numbers. I was told to see an upper GI ASAP, which I did. I went for more blood work (since there was a week and a half between the ER and the doc), and I'm waiting to get the results from that, since my doc has been out of the office until yesterday. Tomorrow, I go for a liver MRI to check for fatty liver (which I already know I have) and scarring. In five days, I go for a HIDA scan, which tests gall bladder function. The GI doc thinks it could still be gall bladder, but without obvious stones. I PRAY that's the answer, because I have had liver issues before, have had fatty liver for almost a decade (non-alcoholic, but probably brought on by pain meds, since I reacted to ibuprofen back in the 90s by turning yellow), and if it IS liver damage, from the symptoms I've read, it's not good. I shouldn't be having this much pain, apparently.

So basically, I AM working on the sequel to Hearts of Ishira. I have been all along. I am also working on a few other projects that I hope folks will enjoy, and those are in various stages of completion. I don't have any publishing dates at this time, because we're trying to get my health under control. Once I'm no longer terrified of cirrhosis or something else life-altering/threatening, it will be much easier to concentrate on my writing again.

Right now, most of my heroines tend to either be in a wheelchair (with hunky doctors and physical therapists helping her through and loving her in spite of her limitations, of course!) or I'm writing the darker stuff for the various stories, since I'm not in a good head space for the light, sexy stuff at the moment.

All that being said, I AM still writing, never fear! I'm also reading a lot, so hopefully I'll be able to get some good books up on my review page soon.

If you're the praying type, please hold me up. If you send energy, please think of me. I accept well-wishes and love from anyone! I don't discriminate. ;)

We're hoping for gall bladder/no liver issues, since the gall bladder is a very easy, simple fix.

Wish me well for tomorrow's MRI! We're hoping to see no/minimal scarring and just fatty liver. Fatty liver, btw, can be reversed with diet. Completely. Scarring and cirrhosis cannot. Eep! 

PS for all the morbid folks out there, I am going to write a 'this is what was going to happen' post, just in case I kick the bucket at some point before I can finish anything, and my hubby will post it at that time. Not that we're expecting anything like that, but I'd hate to leave you all hanging forever. ;) LOL

PPS on the bright side, I've made some great strides in my abuse recovery, which has led to freed inhibitions with my writing. I won't go into detail, but I FINALLY made it to the 'anger' stage against my abuser, and that has opened all sorts of doors and windows in my mind. It will truly help, when we get the other medical stuff sorted. <3

Wednesday, September 3

Near and dear

Recently, a book blog's facebook page asked about books with disabled heroines. I've read a few and really liked them. I particularly enjoy Catherine Anderson's books because the heroines usually have either a physical or psychological limitation that the hero has to deal with... and does, because he loves her that much.

In light of the degradation of my own mobility, I'm thinking more and more about the need for those imperfect heroines.

I am now in a wheelchair 99% of the time when I go out, or I am in one of the motorized carts at stores. The other day, my father let us take a motorized chair that was left from a deceased relative. I can now join my hubby on walks and might even be able to venture to the nearest store, in case of emergency. :) It's nice knowing that I can, to be honest.

Doing things as simple as gathering up the trash from around the house on garbage pick-up day is enough to send me to bed in pain for hours. I'm still hurting from that ten minutes of working and bending and walking, and that was almost 12 hours ago.

But you know what? My hubby is still right there, with me. I got the chair, he looked up all the specs on it so we could see if there were accessories that would help me out. He walked with me as I got used to the controls, even laughed with me as I did donuts in the driveway under the guise of seeing what the turn radius was like. ;) I was able to ramble over to my container garden and could even reach my plants without bending over and hurting myself further. (note to self, time to put those up on a table!)

Anyhow... So yeah. I'm only 43 (nearly 44) and I'm going through this. I know a bunch of people my age and even younger who are also going through the same issues.

It's hard to feel sexy when you're confined to a recliner, a wheelchair, or even a super-speedy rolly-chair (it'll hit 4 mph!). It's hard to lose weight when you can't move the parts of your body that need to be worked on. Hell, my aerobic workouts  these days include yarn and either a crochet hook or knitting needles. I'm pretty fast and I honestly do work up a sweat. Doc says it still burns more calories than just sitting here watching TV, so I'll take it. :)

So I've started a story with a totally cheesy title that I will endeavor to change before I release it.

The thing is, I recently read an article that mentioned something about 'Mary Sue heroines'. It talked about the writers making themselves the star of the book, just adjusting for looks and age, usually. Mary Sues have the same talents and skills as the author, as well as some of the same weaknesses.

This book would be very much a Mary Sue, in that the heroine's limitations would be the same as mine. The way she deals with her growing lack of mobility, how she is constantly in pain, hurting herself with daily chores, and how she has to learn to rely on the kindness of strangers (who later become her loves, of course!), is very much me. (Except for the 'loves' part... I have one. Singular. ;)  ) She's also a writer, like I am, but that's mainly because it's a job that someone can do who finds themselves suddenly resigned to a wheelchair when they used to be active.  Not everyone can write a book, of course, but she can and she does. Just as I have started a new life with my writing, mostly because I became unable to do what I was going to school for, she finds herself learning to live alone with her disabilities and making friends despite her limitations. :)


This story is very dear to my heart, mainly because it's about finding and keeping love in spite of a major life situation.

But what do you think? What do you think about a heroine in a wheel-chair or a motorized chair? I just got one of those, so I want to include the experience in the story, make it as real as I know how. :)

I'm just curious as to whether you'd read it or if it would mainly be for my own entertainment. :)


Tuesday, August 26

A happy thought.

Yesterday, I read an article about the 10 worst pieces of writing advice every author hears. It was a good article in that it listed the things, told why they were important, then reminded us why we need to not adhere to them religiously. I like articles like that.

But I've been thinking since then, about all the advice I've received over the years. I've been writing stories since I was in elementary school. Once out of high school, I realized that I'm not a very good student. I went to college... several times. But I'm just not a great student. I do pretty well the first couple of semesters, but then something happens and I'm done. When that happened in my early twenties, I joined a local romance writers' group and a national organization.

That's when the real writing advice started. Some of it was great, some of it made no sense for my way of writing, and other parts were just... things that make you go 'hmmmm'. I went to a lot of workshops, joined several critique groups, read a lot of amazingly BAD writing from my writing friends.Watching those same friends learn and grown and get much better was awesome. :) Getting better myself was awesome.

And I wrote. I wrote a LOT. I got several books close to the 'ready to submit to publisher' point, and that was back in the days where you printed out everything and sent it to New York and then held your breath for months, waiting for a response. Any response! Man, if I had a way to translate my Brother Word Processor disks to something readable, or even print them out, I'd have a gold mine.

But several years into the effort (I have a problem with finishing things), I heard something that made so much sense and I thought to be absolute truth at the time.

"Publishers hate a happy romance writer."

In my experience, to that point, this was gospel. When I was in a relationship, I wrote more of the happily-in-love romance and much less angst. I didn't write much about couples fighting, because I'm not a fighter. I wrote mushy-gushy stuff that made people go 'Awww!'. I guess I still do, but then, I'm a happy romance writer. :)

I learned, as I grew older and gained more life experience and met my husband, that yes, it's much easier to write about 'what if' when you're still searching for that one true love. It's easier because you're already in dream mode. You already have a thousand different scenarios going through your head every time you meet a new potential mate or even just hold the gaze of a handsome man for more than just a moment. Boom! There's a story, right there. Off you go to your notebook or computer to capture that moment and see where the story goes.

But what about us happy folks who have found our Prince Charmings?

Well, we dream in different ways, I suppose. We look at what we've got and write the opposite. Or we write those stories where the hero/ine fall in love early and work together, conquering all odds to get to their HEA. There's a place for those sorts of romances, as well, in my opinion. Not everyone fights. Not everyone has to hate their mate when they first meet them, in order for love to form.

And there are just some couples who don't fight. Like, ever. HoBA and I have been together for nearly 18 years now, married for 7 on September 8, and I can count on no hands how many times we've had a nasty fight. Oh, we've had discussions and misunderstandings. I think every couple does. But actual fights with screaming, slamming doors, calling names and bringing up the past? We don't do that. Both of us grew up in situations where fighting was common and we both have a deep need for peace, so we stew for a bit, talk about what's wrong, do what we can to fix it, then keep on going.

I guess I'll have to learn how to write the scenes where the hero/ine have negative sparks until they get together, but I honestly don't like writing those. I like to focus on the 'love' part of the story, not the bitterness and anger. But the market seems to like the angst, so I have to figure it out. :P

Ah well...

On another quick note, with one more book sold, I'll officially hit my second major sales milestone. It might not seem like a lot to some authors, but for me, it's fantastic. :) Cross your fingers that I get it! I've got five days left in the month, so hopefully there will be at least one more sale by then! :D

Happy author is happy! :D



Monday, August 18

Interesting... If you wanna pay that much for my book... :D

So my mom calls me today. She'd googled me and saw a few things that made her say "hmmm...". Apparently, there are book outlets out there that are selling my hard-copy for twice the cover price and more. One seller has it listed for $53 and some change!

Dude... if you wanna spend that much on one of my books, PLEASE let me know! I'll order it for you, sign it, number it, and maybe crochet a book jacket for it. Sheesh! $53 dollars?? PLEASE don't pay that much for my book. The one that is available at Createspace at the moment is the ORIGINAL published book. Same cover, all the mistakes, etc. I'm leaving it up for just a bit longer, but will be updating it September 15th of this year.

So here's the deal... I'm planning on buying 10-20 of the original printings very shortly. If you'd like to join in on that, the price will be $20, but includes me signing it and mailing it to you. There might be extras in the mailing.

Basically, if you want a signed copy of the original, comment here or PM me with your e-mail address. I'll send you a Paypal invoice for however many copies you'd like and will mail them out the moment they come in, in September.

Thanks, and please share where folks might want to know. I don't want my readers bilked out of money, and I'm sure you guys would rather have an autographed copy, much cheaper than the 'used' books that are being offered on Amazon and other outlets.

Hugs to everyone, and if you don't want to comment here or PM me, send me a note with your e-mail and how many copies you want at bethanyaanerotica@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 12

Triggers

Today started out nicely. Slept till 3pm, since I'm trying to get back into our 'school schedule' where HoBA works all day while I sleep, then we spend the evening together, have dinner, and I write all night while he sleeps. I wrote 7K words last night, so yay for that. Can't wait for you to meet Tillie, Falcon, and Walker. You're gonna love 'em!

Then my MIL, who's moving in with one of my SILs stopped by with the moving truck to drop off the washer and dryer she's not going to need for awhile. YAY laundry!!!! Since we moved here, we've been going to the laundromat or to my folks' house to do laundry. NOT fun. But now we have a working washer and dryer, so all is well.

But then, I read the news. You probably already know what I'm talking about.

Robin Williams, incredible actor, inspiration to many, comedic genius, amazing humanitarian... gone. Just like that.

What changed the direction of my day was not that he had died, but the comments that started up about his apparent suicide.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but I suffer from several clinical depression, suicidal ideology, PTSD, binge eating disorder, and bi-polar disorder, plus a few others I don't remember. So yeah... Robin Williams' death is hitting me hard.

People just don't understand depression and the impact it can have on a life. Yes, people get sad. Occasional depression is normal and just a part of life, especially after a traumatic event (good or bad). A few weeks and it usually passes.

Those who suffer from chronic depression cannot get happy.

Let me repeat that: People with actual clinical depression can't just look in the mirror and 'choose to be happy'. We can't. Well, we can say the words, we can look in the mirror. We can paste a smile on our faces and go about life as though nothing's wrong. Sometimes you'd have no clue that there was a problem at all.

But we are depressed.

Depression doesn't always mean sitting against a rainy window-pane, a lone tear trickling down a sad cheek. People with depression can laugh, can smile, can dance and sing and hug and make memories. But in the back of our minds, we're all wondering if people really care about us. If we're just being tolerated. We wonder if the 'gang' would even miss us if we were gone.

Do we say anything about that? Nope. Because we don't want that answer. Do we show ourselves to be lethargic, sad, pensive, or write sad poems? Well, sometimes. We do tend to sleep a lot. You'll almost always find us taking a nap (or needing to) after a stressful situation. We also tend to brush off social engagements when a dark period comes over us. We'll make plans with folks then cancel them at the last minute. The irony is, we WANT to go to those things. We WANT to be social and enjoy the company of friends who love us, whom we love. But for some reason, we can't get up out of our chairs or bed, get ready, and actually make it to the 'out'.

I have learned, over the past 30 years or so (I started suffering depression when I was in my early teens), that I have to have a support system in place. In the past decade, it's become so horrible for me to have any sort of deadline on me that even the mention of something coming up is enough to shut me down.

Like Storms of Ishira. I want to finish it, so much. I want you to see where this story is heading. But a) I have other stories clamoring to be told, so I've been working on those as well and b) every time someone asks about it, I get a block against it.

I hate that. I truly do. There's so much to this story that I want to share, but I get stressed out and I can't write about it. I can write about almost anything else, and I do. But I can't focus on Ishira, even though I dream about it. I daydream about it. I think about it when I'm doing laundry or dishes or taking a shower or stuck on the toilet for a bit. I think about it when I'm playing Bubbles (bubble shooter game) or when I'm knitting and watching TV with HoBA. But when I sit down and actually try to write on it, I get overwhelmed.

Does this mean that there will be no Storms? HELL NO! Don't think that for a minute! I AM still working on it, but it is happening slowly. I've decided to stop promising it... it will happen with it happens. There's more to the story than I know and the characters aren't telling me what's up... yet. ;)

As for the depression, this past year has been fraught with a bunch of stressors, which has caused me to be unable to write except in small bits and pieces. Most notable was the up-in-the-air status of where we were going to be living. We wanted to move back to the mountains, but that didn't happen. The good part of that, though, is that with the knowledge that we'll be in this location for at least another year, I feel secure enough to relax and write once more. :)  Hopefully that will translate into Storms showing up in winter or early spring. We can hope! I refuse to publish quickly... I'd rather take my time and make sure the story is as good as I can make it. I hope you won't mind that!

In the meantime, I have several other projects in the works, hopefully to be published in the near future.

But please... If you know someone that has been diagnosed with depression, PLEASE support them. Don't tell them that they can choose to be happy. Don't tell them that getting right with the Lord will do the trick. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it should be treated as any other physiological illness... with good doctors, the right medications, and a support system that lets someone feel safe, loved, and most of all... supported. If you dont' know how to do that, please consider taking the time to research how to help someone with depression. I would urge you to use secular sources, rather than religious, simply because the religious ones tend to eschew medical means and imply that as long as your faith is strong, depression can be beaten. This is rarely the truth and only adds to the sense of failure depressed folks already have an abundance of.

Instead, do the research, even so far as to maybe going with a friend to their therapy or doctor's appointments and asking how you can better support them when they need help. If nothing else, ask the person themselves how you can help them. Most of the time, all they need is a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and someone to tell them they are loved, needed, and WANTED in other folks' lives. That means more than you can imagine, if you've never experienced true depression.

Sorry so down on this post, but I am a huge advocate of mental health awareness and understanding. NO one should feel too ashamed to ask for help when they feel like they're fighting their own damn brain for the right to be happy. No one.

Friday, August 8

why I don't blog very often...

A friend asked me today why I don't blog as often as a lot of other writers seem to.

Well, the answer is really simple: I don't write until I have something to say, even if I'm the only one who thinks it's worthwhile.

Case in point: I could have written about my new kitten when we got him. Do you guys come here for updates on what cute thing he's done today? Nope. You have facebook for that, I'm assuming. Not that I'll never post pics of him... if I ever catch him licking the aquarium again, trying to get to the fishies, I'll be recording and posting that! It was too adorable for words.

I could have written about my summer shenanigans, if I had any. :P The highlights so far have been watching several different TV series we missed the first time around. Netflix is a wonderful thing, isn't it?? And since HoBA is home for the summer, thanks to being a teacher, we've been able to go through a number of series... Dexter, Farscape, Lost Girl, and most recently and still working on it, Game of Thrones. We're in season 4, right after the wedding, so no spoilers!!!! HoBA has been using my morning sleeps (since I write best at night, after he's in bed and the house is quiet) to watch movies he didn't have time to watch while school was in session.

I could have written about my writing exploits, but as I have nothing amazing to update you on, I figured it was best to spend my writing energy elsewhere... like putting it into several books that are nearing completion... including Storms of Ishira. (I knew you'd ask, so I figured I'd just let ya know!)

I might have told you of my gardening adventures, but again, you don't come here for that. Or my foray into aquaponics, since I'll be using it in several different books. I need to get that going again... hmm...

And of course, there's always the usual 'here's what I did today, I'm sure it's far more interesting to me than it is to you!' posts.

But look at the above: I've updated my entire summer break in several paragraphs. I could go into detail about each one. I'm writer... we like doing things like that.

So here we are, all caught up!

I will have more interesting posts coming up soon, I promise. I've read several really awesome books in the past few months and I want to sit down and review them for you so you can run out and get them, if you haven't already read them. :)

I will also be posting teasers soon from a new book I'm almost done with.

Oh! And there is one piece of business I should mention... I've updated Hearts of Ishira with the original cover of torsos. I've also done some revising and have added bonus 'preview' chapters at the end, leading into Storms of Ishira. So if you haven't read those yet, see if you can get the updated revision and look for it at the end of Hearts. :)

Well, that's about it... Other than watching movies, cleaning, raising a rambunctious kitten, and writing when and where I can, things haven't been all that exciting. That should change in a month or two, though. Until then, I'll see about getting those reviews up for you! :)

Have fun, read lots, and be sure to post reviews and links for the authors and books you support. Every time you share a link, there's a new sales potential for the author, but more importantly, you're introducing friends to a whole new world and new people to fall in love with. :)