Hello, my friends! Long time no talk!
I figured it was time I tried to rejoin the living, so this is my attempt to give you the long, long version of the craziness that’s been my year. This was a terrifying post for me to write, so please forgive me if it gets a bit rambly.
You may notice that I usually don’t write too much about my personal life online. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that I’m so very bad at it. I’m terrified of oversharing, being perceived as a constant complainer, or even just being vulnerable with people who are essentially strangers. Some days, I’m afraid that I’m just another voice in the cacophony that is social media, and no one really cares.
So when shit started blowing up last year, I pulled my usual stunt. I went silent. I got off social media. I stopped talking to most of my online friends. I even stopped talking to my real life friends. Which, in hindsight, is pretty much the worst thing you can do when you’re going through a crisis.
But life is messy, and we all deal with shitty things. So, if you want the long version, keep reading (this ended up being SO much longer than I expected!) Otherwise, just skip to the end.
You see, my mom’s got an autoimmune disease she’s been fighting for a couple of years now. And last summer/fall, it kicked into high gear. She’d been on high doses of steroids, she went through chemo. And finally everything in her body just fell apart. Since last December, she’s been in and out of the hospital (more in than out, actually), and we almost lost her three times (she coded once when I was in the room with her). Because of her disease, she’s had half a dozen serious illnesses back-to-back.
It feels like I’ve spent most of this past year sitting in a chair in the ICU/ER/nursing home.
Then the depression, which I already struggle with, set in. So I changed my medications in January, hoping it would help me cope with all the craziness that was going on. It did – the antidepressant they put me on alleviated my anxiety. At the cost of pretty much all other emotions. You know when you see your mom dying in front of you, you should *feel* something.
But I didn’t. I just stared at the doctors trying to save her like I was watching a movie.
Don’t get me wrong. Thank god for those drugs. I’m not sure I could have gotten through the last year without them. But emotional coma left me completely unable to write. How can you spend thousands of words with a story you just don’t really care about? And connecting with other people? Impossible. I didn’t have the energy or the strength to be able to be a good friend to anyone, fictional or not, let alone myself.
For me, taking a break from writing and social media was probably a good thing. I’d been so focused on publishing, on becoming a better writer, on all the stresses of publication, and reviews, and promos, that I know I needed a breather. Unfortunately, this is not how I would have chosen to take a break.
But life doesn’t always give you that choice, so I dealt the best I could. Somewhere in the craziness of my mother’s illness, and sort of my own, I started a new job, sold my house, moved to a new city, helped my sister with her new baby, and tried to keep my family from falling apart.
And then Mom actually started doing better this summer. She was still weak and couldn’t really take care of herself, but she came home from the nursing home at the end of July. It was an amazing few weeks when she started getting her strength back. We were so hopeful that life would get back to normal.
And then she broke her hip. Getting into a car. Which required a full hip replacement. And another three weeks in the hospital and nursing home. Her bones are so brittle and weak from the steroids and the chemo, that simply starting to use them again has caused more issues. She’s finally home again, but we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Funny how stress works. You deal with it as best you can, but you never know when it’s going to break you. I thought I was keeping it under control, but yeah, it finally blew up. I’ve developed chronic hives over the last 4 months. My doctor says it’ll go away, but I also realized that if I don’t start taking better care of myself, I’m going to end up in the same boat as my mom.
So one of the huge things I’ve learned from this past year is that self-care is so important.
I was lucky that I have such a supportive family – I would never have gotten through this without Ryan or my sister or my friends who talked me down from the ledge when I needed them to. But I am also terrible at putting myself first, at making choices that are good for me, like not withdrawing when things get hard. It’s a constant struggle.
I’m not sure when or if life will ever get back to normal. Maybe this is the new normal, I don’t know. But I am trying to control the few things I can – I’m trying to take better care of myself, I’m eating better, exercising, changing my meds again to see if that will help.
But I’m hoping things are starting to look up, too. I was able to start drafting a new story last week. I don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day, but it felt great to put words on paper again. Mom got good news from the doctor last week too. So *fingers crossed* that we’re on the right path. And even better, my brain’s working well enough to start making dirty jokes again. When I can text my other half that I grabbed his package (from the post office), and then crack myself up with a “that’s what she said” joke, I know things are on the up-swing.
I don’t know when I’ll start really writing again. I don’t really have the mental energy yet, though each day gets a little better. And I’m trying to be kind to myself and not push it. But it’s so incredibly frustrating, especially when you see all your writer friends still plugging away, being successful, being part of the community. I want that too!
Like I said, there’s no real take away from this, I just wanted to let you all know where I’ve been and that I’m slowly coming back. And that I appreciate all of you who’ve supported and been there for me the last few months. It means the world.
And for anyone else struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or anything, make sure you take care of yourself, no matter what else is going on. Take a lesson from me. Don’t cut off your support group/friends. You’re going to need them. Go on medication if you need to, and keep trying until you find one that works for you. And remember that you’re not alone. There are a lot of support groups and programs that can help you, even in the darkest of times.
I am so excited to be participating with dozens of other Young Adult Science Fiction authors in a newsletter campaign that starts tomorrow (the 13th)!
Most of us — me included! — will be offering our YA sci-fi novels for FREE or a REDUCED PRICE tomorrow, Friday, March 13! (Ultraviolet Catastrophe will be on sale for the first time ever!)
There will be some amazing YA sci-fi novels you’ll be able to get for very little money, but ALSO, we’re going to be giving away 2 Kindles and a load of cash in gift cards.
The ONLY way you can get access to the free and reduced price books and enter our giveaways is through one of our newsletters. You can sign up for mine here.
My newsletters are pretty infrequent. Maybe once a quarter, or a little more often if I have news. Never more than once a month.
If you want in on some fantastic YA sci-fi books at some pretty great prices, you should definitely sign up today, because this HUGE celebration of YA science fiction is happening tomorrow!!
Oh, and you can join us in our public Facebook group to talk about YA sci-fi and stay connected with your favorite YA sci-fi authors!
I am so excited to be part of the release day for Tammy Farrell’s sequel to The Darkness of Light.
The Embers of Light – Book 2 in the Dia Chronicles comes out today and it looks fantastic!
Genre: Adult Historical Fantasy
Release Date: January 28th, 2015
The descendants of the ancient gods think they’ve found peace, but the time has come when new magic and ancient powers will collide…
Stripped of his Dia powers and left to rot, Malcolm is a prisoner of Valenia—a sentence he finds worse than death. His thoughts of revenge are the only thing keeping him sane, but when he finally manages to escape, Malcolm discovers that living as a mortal is more dangerous than he ever imagined. After stealing from the wrong man, Malcolm becomes a captive once more, only this time his punishment is one that he won’t soon forget. His only hope of survival is Seren, an enigmatic young girl with golden eyes and a malevolence to match his own.
When he’s led to Mara and Corbin, the two responsible for his fall from grace, their new faction of Dia is in chaos, infiltrated by an ancient power thought to have been banished forever. This only fuels Malcolm’s ruthless ambitions, but he soon realizes that he too is under attack, a pawn in a centuries old game of power and greed. As new battle lines are drawn, Malcolm finds himself in uncharted waters, forced to choose between helping those he’s vowed to destroy or give in to his lingering desire to settle the score.
Debts will be paid, lives will be lost, and no Dia will ever be the same.
By the time the smell of smoke and roasting meat finally reached Malcolm, and his hole in the ground was completely black, he knew the time was drawing near. The sound of laughter and flutes from above stoked the fires of determination within him, while the repetitive drumbeat counted down the minutes.
His mind wandered as he stared sullenly at the walls of black earth. He clutched his mangled hand to his chest, far too weary for anger. He was humiliated. Over and over again he’d been disgraced, robbed, laughed at. The hardest truth to face was that there still might be more degradation to come. He had wanted everything and succeeded at nothing. Hope was now but a whisper in the past, still carried on the winds, but too distant to hear.
Malcolm pressed his head against the soft earth. He had nothing left to lose and nothing left to love. Even his own mother had become an unseen shadow, abandoning him in his time of need. She was useless to him, as she always had been, and he vowed that if she ever showed herself to him again, he would speak any word that might pierce a mother’s soul.
About the Author:
Tammy Farrell grew up in Orangeville, Ontario Canada where she discovered her love of writing, and all things related to Edgar Allan Poe. She now lives with her husband and six fur babies in Greenville, South Carolina, where she attempts to learn French when she isn’t busy writing.
Learn more about The Dia Chronicles and Tammy Farrell’s other works at: www.TammyFarrell.com
Hello, my lovelies!
Today is the release day for ATHENA’S ASHES, the sequel to THE STAR THIEF! I’m so excited that it’s finally here. I loved continuing Renna’s story and digging deeper into her world, and I hope you all like it as well!
As of right now, Athena’s Ashes is available on all major sites except Amazon US. Evidently they’re still working out a glitch that’s affected a lot of authors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your copy! I’ve included links below for everywhere else it’s live. And if Amazon’s your preferred retailer, I’ll let you all know as soon as it’s up!
As part of the blog tour, there are two contests you can enter, too! Make sure to scroll down to the rafflecopter below. You could win paperback copies of the whole series, some fun swag, and even an Amazon gift card!
I’m also hard at work on my next series – a spin off set in the same universe as The Star Thief, but that follows a new group of people working for MYTH. I’m having a ton of fun writing it so far, and I can’t wait to share it with you all when I have a bit more info.
And here’s the info for Athena’s Ashes one last time! I’d love to know if you enjoy the book 🙂
It’s Renna’s biggest job yet – convincing MYTH leadership that she’s put away her lock picks and is ready to save the galaxy, despite the dangerous implant in her brain. But with the Athena on the run, she’s working solo and facing her most ruthless enemy, the traitor Pallas, who’ll go to any lengths to destroy the MYTH organization. Including framing Renna for a devastating assault on MYTH HQ that leaves their defenses crippled and hundreds dead.
Now that MYTH believes she’s a dangerous double-agent, Renna escapes their firing squad before they put more holes in her than a pair of fishnet stockings. But the ticking time-bomb in her head is the one thing Pallas needs to complete his master plan and he’s not about to let her get away. Even worse, he’s discovered the only thing that will bring Renna to her knees – threatening Captain Nick Finn.
Out of time and options, Renna’s got one shot to take down the traitor before he annihilates everything she loves, even though winning this battle may cost her everything.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’m really excited to be working with the Unofficial Addiction Book Fan club again for the blog tour. They’ve got a great giveaway going on for Athena’s Ashes. Scroll down to the end of the post to enter!
Today should have been an exciting and happy release day for Athena’s Ashes, instead, I’m dealing with an issue with Kindle Direct Publishing’s platform. I’m not the only author affected, and they assure us it’ll be fixed soon, but needless to say, I’m very annoyed.
I always publish early, to make sure something like this doesn’t happen, but unfortunately it appears this time it bit me in the ass. Many of us who’ve published during the same window over the weekend appear to be having this same problem. The book is up everywhere on Amazon EXCEPT the US store. *Shakes head*
But, for the good news? Athena’s Ashes is available EVERYWHERE ELSE! Even Amazon’s international stores. Only the US store is affected. So, if you were going to buy a copy on Nook, or Kobo, or iTunes, go right ahead 🙂
I’m hoping that they’ll have this glitch fixed soon, but in the mean time, there are some great giveaways and posts going on!
The amazing ladies who organized my Star Thief blog tour are back with an even more amazing tour for Athena’s Ashes. Check out my intro post here and make sure to scroll down to the bottom to enter to win a copy of the whole Star Thief Chronicles series and some swag.
There’s another giveaway for the Book Blitz that’s going on, hosted by Xspresso Tours, and you can enter that one here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I’ll keep you all posted as I know more. I’m so sorry for any inconvenience this is causing. Hopefully everything will be fixed soon!
Hello my friends!
I can’t believe it, but Athena’s Ashes is out in 3 weeks! Eeep! It feels like I was just releasing The Star Thief. But this summer has flown by and it’ll be fall before we know it. I’m not sure whether that makes me excited or makes me want to cry.
In honor of the new release, Goodreads is doing 2 giveaways – one for The Star Thief, and one for Athena’s Ashes. You still have time to enter both if you’d like to win either of these in paperback! I’ve included the widgets below. I’ll even sign it for you if you’d like! 🙂
Good luck if you decide to enter!