Monday, April 25, 2016

The New Me

I made this list in November 2015 when I felt as if I was at a standstill. Was determined to make a change and get out of this horrible funk I was drowning in. These were the things that I felt would help me be a better me:

Read more
Write more
Watch more movies
Say yes more
Eat better and drink less
Quit the day job
Pay off credit cards
Finish a book
Stop letting fear control me
Stop making excuses
Beat my anxiety
Live in the now, don't dwell on the past, or worry about the future

I kept the post hidden, sitting in my drafts and looking at it every now and again as a reminder. I'm finally posting and I'm happy to say I have checked off more than half the list and I do feel like a better me.

Before I started this journey I was a ball of stress. My blood pressure was high, I was losing my hair, and my anxiety was so bad I was having panic attacks up to three times a day. And not just a small moment of panic, but full on heart racing, room spinning, can't get my breath, afraid I'm going to pass out, completely irrational thoughts that no matter what any one said I couldn't get it to pass. Just horrible.

My anxiety comes and goes now. It's not a constant anymore and for the most part I can control it when I feel it coming on. It is my biggest accomplishment because it began to control my life. I'd go out with my girlfriends and I'd have to leave the restaurant because an attack would hit, fight or flight would kick in and I always chose flight. I stopped doing things I loved, I cancelled plans constantly, made excuses to avoid situations that might set me off, and I was miserable. I missed doing things I loved, I missed my friends, and I was driving my poor fiance crazy.

My anxiety affected every single thing on this list and once I took control of my life, and stopped letting my anxiety control me, it was easy to make the changes. I still, however, have days and moments where it comes and I'm helpless to it, so it's still a process, but more days than not I'm the winner.

Now that this list is mostly accomplished I'm going to add to it and will eventually share again. So tell me, what would be on your list to get to a better you?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Yes, I read reviews. No, they don't bother me. Well except for...

As a writer, one of the biggest pieces of advice you are given is don’t read reviews. It was never something I listened to. Call me a rebel, a glutton for punishment, whatever you like, because it’s not going to stop me. 

 I like to read the reviews for my books because personally I think it helps me as a writer. If more than one person points something out, I think about it, try to understand their reasoning, and even some times take it into consideration when writing my next book. I don’t go crazy if someone rates my book a one or two star and then writes a review explaining why they rated it that way. For me, books are an art, and when you put them out into the world you are leaving them open for interpretation just as a painter/photographer/sculptor does when they place their work in a gallery. 

And guess what. Not everybody likes the same thing. Shocker! I know. Think about it for a second. How boring of a world would we live in if everyone interpreted things the same way? If everybody, felt exactly the same, with no varying degrees of emotion. I don’t know what you think about that, but it is definitely not a world I want to live in. I love diversity, opinions, and how I can look at the same painting as ten other people yet each one of us see and feel something completely different. 

There is however something that bothers me in reviews and maybe it’s just me and I’m being oversensitive to the subject. Maybe I’m completely contradicting everything I said above, but before you jump to that conclusion, hear me out. I actually cringe when I read a review for a Young Adult book, whether it be one of my books or someone else's, and the reviewer says I hated the characters because they were dumb teenagers… 

I don’t know about everybody else, but I was a dumb teenager. If you weren’t, good for you and more power to you, but for me that wasn’t the case. I was emotional and irrational and to this day don’t know how my parents didn’t ship me off somewhere far far away from them. I felt with all of my being, and the simplest thing, in my eyes, was the end of the world. I loved deeply and lived fearlessly. I acted dumb, I made dumb decisions, and I don’t regret a single one because that’s what shaped me to be the adult I am today. 

So when I write my YA books I write them from a place I hold dear in my heart and I try my best to keep them as authentic as I possibly can. I let the adult in me take a nap and I open myself up to the teen I once was. I write through her, through her memories and her experiences. I tell the story with her view of the world because it hasn’t been tainted by the rational thinking of adulthood.  

My books aren’t a PSA and they never will be because I’d rather a teen read my book and be able to relate to the characters, to all of their beautiful, messy, confusing flaws. There’s enough pressure on teens today being told how to act and how to live their lives and I refuse to jump on that bandwagon, creating a world in my books that strips away the gritty truth of being a teen. 

I know, as an adult, it’s hard to rationalize with a teen’s mind set. I think of all the things I did back then, how I overreacted daily, let my emotions control me, and again the first word that comes to my mind is dumb.  It was dumb. I can’t deny that. However, if I send the adult in me to go take a nap and let my teen self emerge, she would think there is nothing wrong with it. 

I started this post with saying everybody interprets things differently and I stand by that. The only thing I want is when you read a YA book and you get frustrated with the characters just take a second and think back to your teen self. Imagine what he/she would say. Would your teen self be frustrated or would they be able to relate? I think most times than not you’d be surprised with the answer. 

Happy Saturday, everyone! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lift 2016

April is Autism Awareness month, shining a global light on the condition an estimated 3 million people in the United States and 70 million people in the world live with every day. 1 in every 68 American children. 1 in every 42 boys. Though Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability, affecting this many, for those outside looking in, it often remains a mystery. This month we hope to shine light and spread compassion for families living with Autism. In addition to raising awareness, we also want to take action. This is the second LIFT 4 Autism campaign, rallying the romance reading community around this cause. More than 200 authors and bloggers are partnering with this effort, many donating books and other items to an auction the last week of April. Proceeds from this auction will go directly to our charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), a national non-profit organization dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism. Specifically, our efforts will benefit families served through TACA's scholarship program to offset medical and therapy costs. To stay abreast of LIFT news and developments this month, join our Facebook Group. LiftLogo2016 (1)

How can you be involved?

1. Authors – Donate books or other items for auction
2. Bid in the auction, and your money goes straight to TACA’s scholarship fund. (You'll be asked to register before the auction date to bid.)
3. Purchase a LIFT 2016 t-shirt
4. Make a tax-deductible donation to TACA

LIFT Giveaway! $5 Amazon Gift Card, LIFT T-Shirt and E-Book from any LIFT Author

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