Serial Story: Live With Me, Part 15

This serial story is presented in draft (unedited) form. Each installment will be available for one week, and new installments will be posted every Friday. Miss one? Joining in late? Email me and I’ll send you the previous installments. Enjoy!

Live With Me

Part 15

One little kiss couldn’t hurt, could it? Candace didn’t fight when Emmett pulled her close, just laid her hands on that smooth, tight chest of his and lifted her face to give him access. He chuckled, and she thought for a minute that she should probably be offended, but then he kissed her, and the only thing she could think about was how good he tasted, how warm his skin felt, and how…big every part of him felt pressed against her.

Sliding her hands up to caress his neck, she didn’t argue when he kissed his way across her jaw and down the side of her neck. A small whimper escaped when he switched sides, and pressed more kissed back up the other side and back to find her lips again. His hands were at her sides, his fingers wrapped around her ribs while his thumbs made small circles on the sides of each breast.

He wanted her, she wanted him, and snuggled up cozy in his embrace, she was having a hard time remembering why this was a bad idea. She’d always wondered – always – what just one night with this man would be like. Maybe she should just ignore that little voice of reason in the back of her mind and take what he was offering. Worry about the rest later. Maybe she was just making everything more complicated than it needed to be.

“Hey.” Emmett’s soft greeting brought her attention back to him, and she opened her eyes to look up into his. There was a mixture of amusement and annoyance on his face, though she couldn’t quite tell which one had priority at that second.

“Hey yourself.” She smiled, and then bit her lower lip, unsure of what was happening. Were they stopping? Just catching their breath? Calling the whole thing off?

He took a step back and tapped her on the nose with one finger. “You’re thinking too hard.”

She did blush then, and looked away. Leave it to her to kill the mood just by thinking.


“And the coffee’s ready. Join me in the living room when you’re done here?”

She stared at him, but he was filling two cups with dark, steaming liquid, looking for all the world like he hadn’t just about kissed her senseless. Still playing it cool, he left one cup on the counter and somehow managed to hold the other in one hand while he used a single crutch on his bad side to hobble out of the kitchen.

Candace finished filling the dishwasher and put the pots and pans in a sink of soapy water to soak. Picking up the cup he’d left her, she tried to feign nonchalance as she went to the living room. Emmett was stretched out on the couch, his back propped up with pillows on one end, his bad leg propped up on a pillow at the other.

She sat in the big armchair closest to his feet, curling her legs up and holding her cup in both hands. Not sure what to say, she took a cautious sip of her coffee, and when it didn’t burn, a bigger one. As the taste registered, she frowned, and then held the cup out, staring at it for a long moment.

“What kind of coffee is this? Was it in that basket your mom sent?”

Emmett laughed and shook his head. “No, that’s the coffee you have in the cupboard. Not the best quality, but drinkable when you put a little care into it.”

She eyed him suspiciously. “What exactly did you do to make it taste like this?”

“It’s a secret.”

“Don’t tease – it’s my house and my coffee. Tell me how you did that!”

“My house and my coffee,” he mimicked in a sing-song voice. “Now you sound just like my parents. We all have our secrets, Candy. I have coffee, and you have the wi-fi password and something fun to play with under your bed. We might be able to work out a trade…”

Candace couldn’t help but grin. “Okay, but you only have one secret, so you have to choose – the wi-fi or what’s under the bed. Which do you want more?”

He thought about it for a minute – or pretended to. “Definitely what’s under the bed. And I think we should start right now.”

She nodded, finishing off her coffee and setting the cup on the end table. “Fair enough. Let’s go.”

He smiled, but she could tell he knew something was up, and she couldn’t wait to see his face when she showed him. This was going to be fun.

Leaving him to find his own way, she went into the master bedroom and knelt on the floor by the bed, one hand holding a portion of the bed skirt up just a little bit. When he came in, she waited until he was close enough to see, and then reached underneath, pulling out the slim, short wooden bookcase that she kept laying on it’s back under the bed.

“I don’t know which one you want to start with, but they’re all pretty good. Do you prefer menage, bondage, or both? There are a few historicals in here too, if you prefer…”

He stared down at her collection for a long moment, and then burst out laughing.

“Books. I should have known.”

Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

On Newsletters, Concerts, & Rolling With It…

So…my newsletters are late this month (they’re supposed to be out today). All of them (four – me, my two alter-egos, and BSB). Because the serial story installments aren’t finished (one is, two are not). And the reason the one that is done hasn’t been sent out yet is because I have a mental quirk about doing things in groups, if they belong to a group. Like the newsletters. I do them all at the same time and then schedule them to send and that’s that for another month. Then again, I normally have the serial installments done close to the first part of each month, so I don’t have to worry about finishing them close to the newsletter deadline…

This month, we had some holidays, some family stuff, and a lot of unexpected dog health stuff to deal with all in the first two weeks of the month. Needless to say, when I had the time to write, I often didn’t feel like it, and when I finally forced myself, it was to get my weekly blog serials done.

Yes, I’m overbooked, and yes, I did it to myself. I do this *every single year* with the writing…and then I get behind, and I kick myself for doing it, and I swear I won’t do it again next year. And I begin the year with good intentions, and then I get an idea (or three), and it all just spirals downhill yet again.

Planning ahead would probably help this considerably, and I am a planner, which is what’s so weird about it. I am ultra-organized in pretty much every aspect of my life – except writing. I’m not really sure how to fix that, since I do *try* to organize that, and always end up just throwing my beautiful organization out the window…

The artsy side of me isn’t all that responsible, apparently. It really bugs the intellectual side of me, but reasoning with the artsy side is just…pointless, really. Which is also annoying.

Some of you may have noticed that this blog post is also late. The reason for that is far simpler – well, somewhat simpler, anyways. I could have written it Saturday, but I was having a bit of a “reflect and regroup” day. Sunday was crazy-busy, because hubby and I went to the Alice Cooper/Motley Crue concert here in town, so I had about four hours less than normal to get all of my normal Sunday housework done.

A few notes from the concert, including about a hour in line (it was sold out):

– “Oh my God – we forgot glitter!” (overheard in line…amusing, since I spent most of the day just waffling on whether or not to shower and put makeup on for the concert…I did, but it was a close call)

– “I was smart – brought my own beer.” (from a man in line a couple feet ahead of us, who promptly dropped his plastic cup and spilled all but the couple of sips he’d taken off the top before the line even started to move)
Our main entertainment venue has about the worst sound ever on a good day, but it was actually worse than usual last night, which sucks. The last time Alice was here, he played the Alberta Bair, a smaller local theater where our symphony performs, and it was spectacular. This time…the stage show was awesome, as always, but the sound wasn’t even close to what it should have been. I should note that I’ve heard it sound just fine on very rare occasions under the hands of master mixers – the Volbeat/Five Finger Death Punch concert was absolutely awesome, and the only different was the sound techs (and maybe their equipment?).
Alice Cooper’s stage show is never disappointing. I just wanted more (and better sound). And I wanted the girls in front of us to stop blocking my view, dammit.
Motley Crue’s sound was even worse – the mic (or the lead singer’s voice, not sure which) kept cutting out every third or forth word), for very muddled lyrics. Not that it mattered much – the music was mixed poorly and there really was no balance between the lyrics and music, so if you didn’t know the songs, it’s not like you were going to really “hear” them.
The drum-kit roller coaster was incredibly cool. So was the light show.
The pyrotechnics were…really loud, really bright, and made me feel old for wishing they would just stop already. My ears have since recovered (more or less), my eyes, not so much. Extra eye drops today, thankyouverymuch.
Skunky weed is so…not cool. Whoever was toking up near us last night had some of the nastiest smelling weed ever. Seriously, dude…if you’re gonna bring it out in public, splurge for something more mellow to share with the group. No one wants to smell that cheap (I assume/hope) crap at a concert.

On a possibly related last note: The Taco Bell nearest the concert venue was hoppin’ afterwards…

So…that was…well, it was fun, but not as much fun as I’d have liked it to be. And we had to adjust Lucy’s dinner/insulin schedule just a bit, which seems to have screwed with her blood sugar a little. Just gotta wait and see if it was actually the schedule change, or just her body still adjusting to the insulin. Either way, the hubby’s off work this week, so that will make a difference too. It’s pretty amazing how even the slightest thing can make a huge difference in blood sugar (rarely thought about unless diabetes is in the picture).

As for rollin’ with it…that’s exactly what I’m trying to do at the moment. There are a lot of changes that come with having a diabetic dog, and a lot of routines that have to be added and adjusted for. Hubby and I are also making changes in our workout/evening habits, which are good, but still create stress during the initial break-in period. There are changes afoot in my professional sphere (good changes, just…changes) as well, so among all of those, life has been pretty topsy-turvy lately, and I’m really not fond of topsy-turvy, overall. This past Saturday I was attempting to make some sense out of things, but didn’t get much farther than realizing it was going to be awhile before that could logically happen. And reminding myself that it hasn’t been topsy-turvy for all that long, and I can roll with the changing tides a while longer.

It seems so simple in theory, doesn’t it?

Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

On Genetics, Motivation & Habits…

In light of my Lucy-dog’s recent health issues, along with the news this past weekend that my dad’s lymphoma is back and worse than before (stage 3, tentatively diagnosed), I’ve been thinking about genetics. Aside from the fact that one was a lab and the other a German Shepherd, I have no idea what Lucy’s parent’s medical history is like, and I’m curious as to whether her parents had any of the problems she’s having. It’s not like you can really do anything to avoid having the pancreas stop working, and one side of hers stopped working 5 yrs ago when she wasn’t quite 3 yrs old. The other side stopped working this year, and no one quite knows why dogs get diabetes (and they almost always get type 1).

As for my dad, his mother got/developed Non-Hodgkins lymphoma presenting as a lump on her neck one week before her 50th birthday. They treated her with chemo, it came back every 5 yrs and she went another round of chemo, and finally after 15 yrs or so, it stopped coming back.

My dad developed the same thing presenting as…a lump on his neck one week before his 50th birthday (signals a very strong genetic component). It was treated by radiation (followed by hyperbaric chamber treatments to repair the damage to his jaw bone), and he’s been clear for…well, 10 yrs to this diagnosis, but certain symptoms point to the cancer maybe being present for a couple years prior.

My grandma was an oldest or only (can’t remember) child, my dad is the oldest in his family, and I’m the oldest in mine. Which means I have about 10 yrs left before we find out whether my mom’s genetics are strong enough to overpower my dad’s as far as this particular cancer goes, and if any of the healthy choices I’ve made and keep trying to make will have any effect at all on whether I end up with rebellious lymph cells or not.

Basically, it’s all a big crap-shoot.

Some days, it’s motivating. When I heard about my dad’s cancer coming back, my knee-jerk reaction was to review my diet & exercise and adjust accordingly for optimal health. I have been rather lax with both lately, and while I’m never going to be one of those people who completely eschews cookie dough and the occasional coke, I absolutely have some room for easy improvement. It would be stupid not to, really – I mean, I have ample warning about what could and may well happen to me when I hit 50, and even if I can’t stop my cells from going bonkers, I can make sure that I’m healthy enough to fight it if it does happen. There is no downside to living healthier.

But I also have those days we all do, when I just look at the genetic history and think to myself, “What’s the point? It’s gonna get me anyways, I might as well have that big plate of pasta or the too-big piece of cheesecake, or skip tonight’s workout.” Destructive thinking that is always a no-win situation, but we all indulge occasionally (thought-wise and physically).

The trick is, of course, to have more motivated days than destructive days – sometimes easier said than done, especially when there are other things going on in life. In the absence of motivation, of course, the second-best thing is habit – that thing that tells us to get up from our desks a few times a day, or get up off the couch every night whether we want to or not, just because “it’s what we do”.

I really need better habits. I’ve developed a morning yoga habit, and I keep up with that faithfully – I really enjoy starting my day that way. You wouldn’t think anything could possibly get in the way that early in the morning (I do it before my husband even gets up and the dogs go back to bed after breakfast), but last week, it got trickier with Lucy’s new insulin and blood testing needs. I still managed, but it was tight, and I might have to rework my morning routine a bit to give myself a little more breathing room. I’m determined to hang onto that habit though.

Break times at work, nightly treadmill and total gym sessions, drinking more water, making better carb choices for meals…all of that can be turned into a habit. And they should be, just like ordering iced tea in a restaurant instead of coke (even though I abhor restaurant tea – it’s still slightly more interesting than plain water).

No, I’m still not going to pass up the occasional root beer float, or pizza on Thursdays, or donuts on Sunday mornings. But the motivation to create these new habits won’t last forever (though it might be longer this time – looks like my dad’s got a lot of chemo ahead of him), so I need to get on it while the motivation is there, in order to keep the habits when the motivation fades.

I may not be able to beat genetics, but I have the opportunity to lesson the negative impact they could have on my life. Seems kind of stupid not to take advantage…


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

The Lucy Saga Continues…

Last week, I mentioned that Lucy-dog went blind, and we were taking her to the vet on Tuesday. Well, we saw three different vets – or I did (Lucy saw two). The first one diagnosed possible uveitis (and infection/inflammation of her eyes), and diabetes. The second vet got me set up to start injecting insulin on Friday. The third vet diagnosed and prescribed steroids for the uveitis, which by then (Sat) had gotten worse and put Lucy in a lot of pain.

So, Lucy is now on insulin for diabetes, and prednisone for a really bad eye infection, and I’m trying to monitor my poor dog as she deals with both meds (incidentally, the corticosteroids raise blood sugar while the insulin is trying to lower it, so color me confused as to what symptoms I should be more worried about when I see something concerning). It will be a lot easier once the glucometer I ordered gets here…hopefully by the time I get home from work today. Then at least I’ll know what’s going on with her blood sugar levels, which will help me either rest easier, or be firm with the vet about her insulin dosage.

There’s a whole bunch of info I’ve been sifting through online, and other things the vets gave me to think about that have me concerned, but we’ll see. Honestly, I’m tired of it all, and just want it to go away. But I’m not tired of Lucy, and I don’t want her to go away, so we’ll see where it leads. Later this week, she’ll have to spend a day at the vet’s for a blood glucose curve – where they get her blood glucose reading every 2 hours to see how the insulin is working and adjust the dose from there.

At least she doesn’t even feel the shots. Being blind, she can’t see them either, so they don’t bother her, which is a godsend. And she is feeling better, so that’s something. I think the steroids have helped more than the insulin, honestly.

I wish I had something more scintillating to talk about, but this has pretty much been my whole world lately, outside of work anyways. We did watch “Big Hero 6″ the other night, which was kind of odd in the way that they did it, but overall a good animated film. And we started “Kingsmen” last night, but it ended up being too long to finish in the time we had for it, so we’ll finish that tonight. The part we’ve seen is good, if a bit slow in spots.

We started season 5 of Covert Affairs too, but it’s so dark, I’m not sure we’re going to continue with it. We both miss the light-hearted banter between the characters, and that seems to just be gone. I hate when that happens.

This week, more vet stuff, more dog monitoring, and hopefully more improvement. I need to get back to writing too – had to set it aside because I just couldn’t focus with everything going on last week, but now I’m behind on serials, and I really do need to get caught back up on those. I ended up taking more time off work than I wanted to last week for vet visits & just general Lucy stuff, and that put me behind there as well. So…catching up is the name of the game this week.


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes


On New Audio, Maple Trees & Blind Dogs…

For those of you who like/prefer audiobooks, I’m happy to announce that MacKenzie Saves the World is now available in audio! You could grab a copy on Audible at the regular price, or…you could comment on this post (here, FB, twitter, wherever), and I’ll gift you a copy for free. It’s a comic-shop themed contemporary romance (hence the title and cover), and I found it both incredibly difficult and personally satisfying to write.

In other news, my husband and I spent a good chunk of our weekend planting new trees, and doing yardwork/cleaning up our patio. Last November, we had some crazy freeze-thaw cycles that knocked half the trees/shrubs in the whole city out or back several years, and two of the three baby trees we planted didn’t survive. The lone survivor was a maple tree I didn’t even order, but just got for free with the other two.

So when I found some nice, bigger maple saplings while shopping at one of the local hardware stores, hubby and I decided maples were the way to go. We both love them, and they’re pretty hardy/fast growing, so we planted both an Amur maple and a Crimson King (Norway) maple. Hopefully within a couple of years they’ll provide good shade for our west-facing backyard and patio so they’ll be usable in the summer again. Our shade grass might pop back again too – the sun is just too, too hot back there right now!

As for the rest, we have a few landscaping projects on the go for this year, just to make the yard and patio nicer, but we also had to start getting the patio cleaned up and rearranging some things due to the Lucy-dog suddenly going blind last week.

She was fine Sunday/Monday, and by Tuesday, she could barely see. By this past Saturday, she was running into things, missing stairs and getting lost in the yard. I’m taking her to the vet Tuesday morning to see if there’s an underlying cause, or if there’s anything we can do for her, but I think we have to realistically expect that this is a permanent condition. So we’ve been trying to make things safer for her, one thing at a time (because every little change is very disorienting for her now), and working with her to learn where things are as well as new commands to help her navigate things like stairs and new obstacles.

She has some other symptoms that possibly indicate either Cushings disease or diabetes. Personally, if it’s one or the other, I’d rather deal with Cushings. Lucy already has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), which means her body doesn’t make the enzymes needed to digest food. So I pre-treat/pre-mix her food, feed her three times a day, and supplement her with B12 and a few other things that help her get nutrients from her food. I’m constantly watching how she looks & acts to see if adjustments are necessary. It took me a good 6 -8 months just to figure out how to feed her when she was first diagnosed, because these dogs all respond differently to the different nutrient profiles of foods (for instance, Lucy does better on higher animal fats, and doesn’t do well on lean meats, so beef is important, and at least some raw is vital for her). Of course she can’t digest anything that hasn’t been treated with enzymes, so we have to be careful with between-meal treats (and she’s luckier than other EPI dogs in that she can handle some treats okay).

Lucy’s 8 years old, which is considered a senior dog, but she’s still very active and incredibly smart – she doesn’t act old at all (German Shepherd/Lab mix). I’m sure she’ll adjust to the blindness eventually (and so will we), and we’ll just have to see what the vet says about the rest. I’m doing my best not to worry too much about the diagnosis (and hoping it’s neither of the two most likely), but it’s easier said than done. And then there’s the whole issue of getting a newly-blind 95lb dog into a car, out of a car, into a “strange” building, and back home again after fasting for 12 hours (which is incredibly hard both physically and mentally on a dog who quite literally starves without the correct food at routine intervals).

It’s going to be an interesting week…

Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

Talkin’ Books, July 1, 2015

The print TBR pile - The Blue Labyrinth is on top only because we just bought it. The hubby will read it first.

The print TBR pile –  or part of it, anyways (I have plenty of books sitting in my office waiting to be read as well).The Blue Labyrinth is on top only because we just bought it. The hubby will read it first.


Books Finished:
Still The One by Jill Shalvis
Ruby by Anna Skye
Her Imaginary Husband by Lia London
White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Instant Temptation by Jill Shalvis
Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis

Kindle Books In Progress:
Enter Ruinland by CJ Anderson
The Indie Author Power Pack  (Write, Publish, Repeat)

Print Books in Progress:
The Kill Switch by James Rollins & Grant Blackwood

Comic Books:
Silk #1
Harley Quinn #15
Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special
A few other issues of different series that I didn’t keep track of before archiving them

I know, it’s been awhile, but time’s been in short supply for the past few months. Or I’ve been lazy about blogging. Probably both.

I have been reading though, as you can see. Lots of romantic comedy (ala Jill Shalvis, my favorite), catching up with my comic books and working away on my print TBR pile which is growing by the week.

There are even a couple romances up there I’d classify as “new adult” – romances for the late teen/early 20’s set. I’m not normally into those, and I can’t say I am now either, but Ruby was surprising in that it’s written in first person (which I really don’t like) yet it held my interest to the very end. And then I was just annoyed at where it ended – not a cliffhanger, exactly, but the story isn’t finished, it’s just in a sort of “lull” with no real resolution. Not my cup of tea – it makes me feel manipulated into buying the next book (which I haven’t, and probably won’t). Plenty of people *do* like that sort of serialized novella format, so if you do, and you like new adult romances, I’d certainly recommend it – the writing is great and the story engaging.

Her Imaginary Husband is another young/new adult romance, though light on the romance, and more of a “coming of age” sort of story. It’s well-written, but the reasons for the central plot (a non-existent husband) seemed a bit overly dramatic/angsty for me, though true to the age/maturity of the character. Mostly it just seemed “young” in every way, which makes me feel old. LOL

There’s a reason I’m really not into the new adult romance trend – mostly that a lot of the plots and decisions seem silly and overly dramatic and could all be solved with a healthy dose of honesty and confidence/backbone – but they did when I was that age too. I’ve always been an “old soul” (and a very direct one at that), so the genre as a whole really just doesn’t do it for me.

Then we swing about 180 degrees in the other direction, and you have White Fire, by Preston and Child, my favorite adventure/thriller duo. It’s not as much of a page-turner as some of their others, I’m sad to report, but it’s still a good read, with a rather engaging mystery at the core.

And in yet another direction entirely, I’ve just started Enter Ruinland, by CJ Anderson. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale with a central theme of sociopaths being genetic “mistakes”. The writing style is quite different than the normal “mass market” fare, and it took me a bit to get into it, but the story itself is very intriguing so far, and I’m interested to see where it goes.

Next up from the print pile is the latest Tucker & Kane novel by James Rollins & Grant Blackwood – The Kill Switch, which I just started, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy because…Tucker & Kane. Tucker is the rugged and oh-so-manly guy Army Ranger who finds/extracts people and “stuff”, and Kane is his dog. Who also finds things, and protects Tucker, and is incredibly intelligent, handsome and pettable. My kind of guy. 😉

And of course Jill Shalvis and Tawna Fenske both have new books out this week (more romantic comedy – yay!), but I’m trying to convince myself to wait and see if they go on sale later. Yes, I know, I should support my fellow authors, but…well…I’m still kind of cheap when it comes to books (because I buy and read quite a few, probably).

That’s what’s going on in my reading world…if you’re so inclined, feel free to share what you’re reading as well…

On Sulfur, Anxiety & Other Fun Stuff…

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try sulfur (MSM) eye drops for my corneal degeneration condition (the drops my eye doc recommended started making my eyes hurt). I did some initial research (because I’m sensitive to a lot of things in ways other people aren’t), and found lots of information on how good it is for you primarily because it opens cell walls and allows them to heal and function better. The side effects listed on medical sites seemed mild, so I started the eye drops, and then a couple days later, started taking a very small dose (a quarter dose once, instead of twice per day…like I said, I’m sensitive and thus leery) of MSM powder too, thinking maybe it would help heal from the inside out (and also do something for my arthritic hand – MSM is often used for joint pain).

The week I was taking that stuff was one of the worst I’ve had in a long time, and I didn’t realize why until I first stopped taking the powder (just got lazy/apathetic), and then finally stopped the eye drops (which allowed it to completely flush out of my system).

Physically, I was fine. Mentally, I was a hot mess, and in doing some very targeted research after my brain snapped back to normal, I found out that in some lucky individuals (including myself, apparently), MSM/sulfur can cause anxiety – like, major anxiety, and insomnia (I hadn’t been sleeping well either – because my mind was spinning). That post last week about seasonal angst? I wrote that while taking MSM & using the eye drops, and my mind was going 24/7 with constant worry, paranoia, anxiety, and obsessive/compulsive thinking. It was bad, and thank goodness I’m an introvert with few actual friends, because my best buddy had to listen to all the nasty stuff via email, and it also aversely affected my attitude and actions at work. I was still able to function and do my job without breaking stuff, but it was a serious struggle, and staying away from people as much as possible became my main goal because I *knew* something just wasn’t right with the way I was interacting/relating to others (severe paranoia along with the anxiety – warranted paranoia, as it turned out).

So. Not. Good.

Note that in order to find other people with that same reaction, I had to dig pretty deep into discussion forums and such, because when things cause mental side effects like that, the medical community tends to ignore them, or brush them off as some other problem. Same thing happened when I tried to use Splenda and it made me crazy-angry all the time, or when I tried to take extra Vitamin D (because none of us get enough, right?) and it screwed with both my head and my hormones until I stopped taking it.

I do have minor anxiety issues if I stop taking fish oil (to a far lesser extent…I’ve never experienced anything like this sulfur-induced craziness). So I may well be prone to those problems anyways, but the fish oil (brain food!) keeps me on a nice, even keel, and the MSM just basically threw me off a mental cliff and into a seemingly endless free-fall. I truly thought I was losing my mind.

In any case, one day last week (Tues, I think) after I became too lazy (or anxious – whatever) to worry about something so trivial as eye drops or extra supplements (because I was obsessing constantly), I had a horrible headache all day, but I could *think* again. All the anxiety/paranoia/obsessive thoughts just completely disappeared, and my mind was calm and rational again – like a switch flipped, just that abruptly. The headache went away after a day, and I’ve been fine ever since – mentally peaceful and focused. The only thing I changed when the anxiety shot up was taking sulfur, and the only thing I stopped when my mind cleared was the sulfur, so I’m sure that’s what it was.

The bummer of the whole thing is, the sulfur was working well for my eyes – they actually felt better than they have in over a year when I first started the MSM. But, I’ve found some other eye drops that work okay and don’t make me nuts, and I vastly prefer being logical/rational even if my eyes are a bit worse off. So no more MSM for me.

I have to say, it did give me a renewed respect for what people with clinical anxiety go through every day. I couldn’t have handled it much longer without doing *something* to stop it, because it was just completely crazy…I felt totally out of control and the lack of sleep certainly didn’t help. Dealing with other people was nearly impossible between the paranoia and obsessive thoughts, and I just wanted to go crawl into a cave far away from everyone. I never want to experience that again.

Needless to say, that took up a good chunk of last week and the week before, and since the haze cleared, I’ve been working like mad trying to catch up on all the stuff I didn’t get done as far as the writing/writing related stuff goes. I think I’m pretty well caught up now though – all the newsletters should be hitting inboxes sometime today, my serial scenes were all posted last Friday, and I can start this week with a clean slate.

On another happy note, Independence Day is this coming Saturday here in the states, which means I have Friday off work. Three-day weekend, and I do believe I’ll spend the time catching up on some much needed updates to my personal web sites, including the BSB site. I’ve been thinking about adding a mini-social network to the BSB site so I might play around with that, and I also have a book (not by me) that I need to get edited and sent back to the author, so I’m hoping to get that done this weekend as well.

Believe it or not, I even have a reading post done and scheduled for Wednesday. Don’t get too used to that – it’s more of a time issue than anything else and I have seven drafts to keep up with right now, but hopefully I can at least make it a monthly thing.

Alrighty then. Here’s to a good, level-headed, mania-free week. And hopefully a quick fix for our A/C, which isn’t working yet again just before the hottest day of the year so far…

But hey. Good excuse for a late-night ice cream float, eh? 😉


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes


On Seasonal Angst & Being Content

I don’t know what it is about summer, but it always seems to bring out my angsty/philosophical side in a major way. Or put more basically, I over-think things even more than I normally do. It’s irritating, and frustrating, and I generally end up annoyed with myself and my life for a good majority of what, for most people, are the best months of the year. I know. It’s messed up.

What can I say? I’m a fall/winter girl.

In any case, I’ve been over-thinking, over-analyzing and generally driving myself *insane* for the past few weeks, and it needs to stop (it’s starting to spill out of my head and affect other people, which really isn’t acceptable). I have nothing to be unhappy or discontented about, and in a seriously screwy plot twist, most of my angst comes from having too many “good options” on all fronts – so many that I’m frustrated that I can’t take advantage of them all no matter how I try to work it.

My mom always pounded it into our heads that we could have/do/be anything we wanted to – no limits. It’s a great sentiment that builds confidence and optimism for kids, but ultimately, she was wrong, damn it. There’s a yin-yang balance to life that automatically kicks in whether we want it to or not – and part of that is, whenever we get something, we give something up, and vice versa. I spend way too much mental energy on the things I can’t have due to choices I’ve already made. And my practical/logical side wars with my creative/emotional side far too often for my own comfort (hint: it’s easier – and probably better for the long run – when I let Logic call the shots. Just not as exciting).

Ironically enough, a lot of times when we’re able (or we decide, rather) to be content with what we have, things click into place that allow us to have more than we thought we could. It’s all about state of mind in so many cases – and mine has been spectacularly bad lately. Mea culpa! An unfortunate side-effect of my control-freak nature colliding with my constant desire for variety in all areas of life.

For me, part of my problem is hormones (say/think what you like – but in my opinion/experience they affect more aspects of our lives than we generally want to admit – for both women and men), and the other part is a choice of focus…that is, focusing on the wrong things. I’m getting better at managing the hormonal element through exercise & diet, and the choice of focus…well, that kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?

To that end, my mission this week is to focus on being content with what I have, and to not be so fatalistic about the things that seem out of reach. One never knows what will happen in the future, but being content with how things are now ensures that I’ll be in the right frame of mind to take advantage of opportunities later.

Life is strange and constantly changing. Trite as the saying is, attitude really is everything.

Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

On Beautiful Things

I took some pictures late last week to illustrate today’s post, and then decided at the last minute (12:12am, to be exact), not to use them. The fact is, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and the things I think are beautiful, you may or may not, and if you do, it may well be for an entirely different reason than mine.

I started thinking about things I consider “beautiful” and why when I was admiring some pottery at our local renaissance fair a week ago or so. I was thinking about how the different artist’s work affected me differently, and some “spoke” to me more or less than others. I have some theories that still need to percolate before I try to express them, but the overreaching truth is, it matters who handles the clay. And that’s not to say any of it is better or worse than any other piece, but merely to say that what makes a piece of pottery beautiful to me personally is more than anything I could actually describe satisfactorily.

I have been trying for days to put words to what called me to the tiny little brown pot/vase that now sits on my desk at work. I could tell you that it’s the lines of the piece, the gentle curve that leads gracefully up to a longish neck, or the glaze that somehow came out in the subtlest of pinstripes that give the piece dimension and movement. I could even tell you it’s the imperfections, the little mistakes that maybe happened during firing or when something was jarred in transit and marred the glaze.

The fact is though, it’s all and none of those things all at once that I find attractive about that tiny little pot. There is a quality about it that maybe wouldn’t draw the attention of anyone else, but every time I look at it, it’s almost mesmerizing to me. Does it have that effect on other people? Probably. But certainly not all.

This past Saturday, my mom and I were perusing the local Strawberry Festival vendors, and there was an older lady there selling her tole painting pieces. Most of it was stuff that…looked to me like most other chairs and tables and platters and such, but then on our second pass through, I saw a wooden box that for whatever reason, I found incredibly, undeniably attractive. There’s really nothing special about the pattern or painting, but I find it soothing and restful to look at, and it puts me in a calm, relaxed state of mind just to see it. I bought it, of course, and my mom brought up the fact that sometimes, we just have to surround ourselves with things we find beautiful, even if we have no other practical use for them (like my tiny pot – I’ll use the wooden box for stamps).

I don’t really have a point to all this, but it did make me think about what we perceive as “beautiful” or “attractive” vs what other people see. The filters we all bring to the table with us are so incredibly complex that it’s amazing any of us ever agree on anything as far as beautiful and/or attractive.

In any case, I’ll be writing a book this fall where beauty and what it is is the central theme, and I can’t help but wonder whether my character and I will agree on what is beautiful and what is…not. It should be a very interesting and intense journey we take together…

Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

On Discomfort, Journeys, & Authorship…

This post being late? Side effect of both summer (wherein there’s too much to do outside to get everything done inside too) and high temps coupled with our A/C being out. Basically, I’ve been spoiled by central air for the last 10 years, and sort of shut down when it gets too hot until we can get the house cooled down again. Repair guy’s coming June 18th…it’s gonna be a long week!

Gotta remember my eye drops tonight too. All the extra time outside is making things a bit blurry… *memo to self*

I’ve been thinking a lot again lately (too much time in my head), and last week, I read a couple of blog posts that did a great job not only of distilling the gist of what I’d been pondering, but also raised some great points and a few important questions as well.

The first one is titled False Summits by Hugh Howey. The basic premise is not to wait for things, not to let yourself become stagnant, and to always be confronting things that are uncomfortable (baby steps) as a way to keep learning and growing and *doing*. Hugh is the same age I am, and he’s done an incredible amount of moving around and had some amazing experiences all because he refused to let himself get too comfortable in any one place or or situation (go read the post – it’s okay, I’ll wait).

Good stuff, eh? Now, my personality is such that the life that Hugh has chosen would have put me in the looney bin in short order (for anyone new who might be reading, I’m a 100% introverted INTJ with an almost obsessive need for daily routines in order to stay sane). But, I completely agree with the philosophy behind his choices – keep pushing that comfort zone, and don’t let yourself stagnate, because it is *so* incredibly easy to do just that. For some of us, that means changing jobs and/or cities, traveling to lots of places and just generally keeping moving to avoid getting too comfortable.

For others of us, it’s smaller things. Last year, one of my resolutions was to do something social every month, and I did, and it was more fun than I thought. I experienced new things and people and environments, and it was a good way to remind myself that I actually can handle “people”, at least every once in awhile. I also learned that I can get a little too carried away with the social thing as well, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story that really requires more alcohol…

This year, I’ve been slacking on that (and everything social, online & off), but there have been some changes at work that required a lot of mental/emotional energy, and I only have so much of that to go around. So I’ve been pretty high on the introverted scale, not even really interacting much on social media, but rather trying to conserve/recharge my energy for whatever comes next. And there are more changes on the horizon – I’m in a lull (mentally speaking) at the moment, but it could come at any time.

Still, I’m stretching, reaching, pushing my brain through those uncomfortable things and dealing with them as I can. The industry I’m in is nice, because I don’t have to change jobs to be mentally stimulated – there is always some new technology, new programming language to learn. More than enough stuff I don’t know to keep my brain engaged for many years to come.

This summer, there are a bunch of social/community things going on, and the next two Saturday’s I’ll be out and about with hubby. More people, more experiences, more missed chances to be at home writing and working on the business of publishing books… (*sigh*). But, it’s good for me to get out and remember that “life” exists outside my personal little bubble, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

Another way I keep from growing stagnant is by having many interests. I have several hobbies, all of which I wish I could devote more time to, and all of which are challenging mentally, physically or both. I love them, and I want to spend more time doing/learning/growing, but there’s a downside to that, which leads me to the second post that sort of said basically what I was thinking this week:

Lessons from #life drawing #6 by Toby Neal. Toby’s taking art classes, and in this latest installment about the growth she’s experiencing as a result, she wonders if she can ever do anything “just as a hobby”, or if there has to be a purpose behind it. Whether or not she can ever be happy with mediocrity and just enjoy something for the journey itself, rather than constantly focusing on the end point.

Unlike Toby, I have no problem with that particular issue in most cases. However, my writing is a different story (so to speak). And while I’ll never quit writing, and I’ll never quit striving to be better, I also am limited by the fact of my humanity as far as how many things I can pursue at once, even at a hobby-type level.

The fact is, while I have the drive to keep writing and keep constantly enjoying the journey of discovery that goes with that, I really don’t have what it takes to be an “Author”, like Toby and Hugh. They both work incredibly hard not only to write the best books they can, but also to get the word out about those books, and to connect with fans and people in general. I don’t know Hugh, but I “know” Toby a little, and I know they both have a serious drive not only to bring their stories alive on the page, but also to make sure those stories have the best chance possible at getting out into the world.

I thought I had that drive once, but I really don’t. And before any of you try to come to my emotional rescue, I’m okay with that. The thing I’ve been working through in my head, is that while I have always and will always have the drive to write and share what I write with others, I have zero interest whatsoever in doing much of the work required for actually making money from my writing. I like having it as a side-business, and I have marketing obligations I intend to meet, and I will do a certain level of connecting, but I have no desire whatsoever to ever do a book-signing, or a conference, or a launch party, or vlogging, or…well, any of the actual “work” involved in selling books and being a successful Author. I also have no desire to make a bestseller list or be recognized in any way as an Author. I’d love it if people would eventually talk about my books, but leave me happily in the background writing the next one.

It’s the act of writing that satisfies me – the first draft, where I dig in to a story and discover what it is. I also get a certain amount of satisfaction in working to make my books better for those who might read them…because storytelling is a skill, and one I’d like to get better at. I do want to entertain people, but with my words, not my oh-so-sparkling personality.

It’s a hard view to take, surrounded by writers who all want fortune (or at least to make a living) and fame (or at least one bestseller list). Everyone’s always talking about how to market your books, how to write the best blurbs and design the best covers. How to get the most reviews. It’s easy to get caught up in all of that, and to start thinking that’s the important part – the part where we sell our work and convince people to read it.

And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, I hate this, I’d rather be writing. I have a good job, I don’t need the money, and there’s absolutely no reason to push myself to do something (selling books) when I really have no drive to do in the first place. I thought I wanted to be a full-time writer at one point, and eventually, when I retire from my job, I will be (because I can’t see myself ever actually retiring…). But for now, all that time I “should” be spending marketing? That’s not just time away from writing, but time away from the other hobbies I love and learn from as well.

Yes, I’m aware that plenty of people do both. I don’t have the drive to do what they do. And I’m learning to be okay with that, at least for now.

Toby’s post asking the question about whether she could ever be okay with mediocrity struck a chord because by basically doing the absolute minimum where sales are concerned, I’m settling for a mediocre writing “experience” – and it is a bit unsettling to actually do that when it seems like every other writer out there is dreaming of turning their hobby into a career, and most writing conversation revolves around that very thing.

I still don’t know exactly where that line is for me, and as I mentioned, I have obligations to meet, so there is that.

Deep thoughts for a hot summer week, eh?


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes