Book Blitz: Lost Eye of the Serpent by @jphilips2323 and GIVEAWAY

When I heard about this book, I knew I had to sign up. I mean, a female Sherlock Holmes?? Yes. Yes please. *Grabby hands* The Eye of the Serpent is a newly published YA mystery by Jeremy Phillips. Not only can you get your mystery-hunger fulfilled, but you can enter a rafflecopter giveaway for a FREE Amazon giftcard! Want to double your chances of a giftcard? Sign up for my monthly newsletter and get entered for another giftcard!

Alright, here’s a bit about the book:

 

It may sound crazy, but Jonathan Delacroix is certain his sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes…

Girls are not detectives. But in the summer of 1893, in the small western town of Hope Springs, Rose Delacroix is bound and determined to prove them all wrong. When the famous Emerald Serpent Jewels are stolen from the Delacroix family hotel and the blame lands solely on her older brother Bill, Rose recruits Jonathan as her Watson-like counterpart to solve the case.

Proving your brother innocent is difficult when the evidence keeps stacking up against him…

Before Rose and Jonathan can properly start their investigation, another robbery is committed. The rusty revolver purported to have once belonged to Wild Bill Hickok has been stolen from the general store and found hidden amongst her brother’s belongings. With Bill in jail, and the owner of the Serpent Jewels planning to sue the Delacroix hotel, Rose knows she has to find a lead, and soon.

A witness comes forward claiming they saw Bill steal the jewels, but Rose isn’t about to be bullied into ignoring the facts…

Rose and Jonathan must put their sleuthing skills to the test or witness their family fall to ruin due to…

…the lost eye of the serpent.

Are you as intrigued as I am? You can find it online here:

About the author:
Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington. When he isn’t writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.

Book Blitz: Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler Jolley and #Giveaway!

Extracted is a YA Steampunk and the first in The Lost Imperials series. It will be released on September 8th! You can find it on Amazon and B&N. You can win an entire box of YA mysteries through a Rafflecopter giveaway! Winners will be picked on August 25th.
Extracted
Two opposing factions of time travelers vie for control of the future in this thrilling steampunk series opener dubbed “Interesting” and “Unexpected” by Kirkus Reviews.

Lex and Ember—two time travelers with no memories of their lives before being recruited into the time war—are torn between the factions. When Lex accepts a mission that lands him deep within the heart of the Telsa Institute, he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they were, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them once again.

Want a taste? Here’s an excerpt!

Continue reading

Including Invisible Disabilities in the Diversity Conversation #Weneeddiversebooks

Warning: This post is more forceful than I normally write, but I think it’s very important. I speak up now, not because I’m getting tired of being ignored (I honestly don’t care all that much), but because I’m tired of seeing my friends, who are in the boat with me, being ignored. You know who you are <3

I’ve noticed a trend at many writer conferences. While we are doing better to address race, ethnic, cultural, even sexual diversity through panels and workshops, we still have a tendency to leave out disabilities. (I’m assuming we all agree that disability is a form of diversity and on a simple Wiki definition of disability). When we do include disabilities, those represented are usually visible (think wheelchairs, amputations, cerebral palsy, ect). But there is a type disability that is just as important and should be included more in our conversations—invisible disabilities.

It’s harder to include these types of diversity. Most of the time, when we see somebody in the street, we don’t know they are struggling with severe depression or bipolar disorder or lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or even chronic pain unless they say so. Because it’s just that—invisible.

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However, being invisible doesn’t make the issue any less real, doesn’t mean there’s any less of a stigma, and doesn’t mean it affects our lives any less. I want to show why those of us with invisible disabilities should still be included in the diversity conversation by sharing a snapshot of my life with chronic migraine. These are some of the things I hear (not all negative), and my responses:

“Oh, It must be so nice to stay at home all day.” I’ve heard this one more times than I can count. No, it’s not. I want to be outside doing the things I love. But if I leave my house, my pain amplifies because my brain interprets the excess stimuli as pain. Whenever I want to go anywhere, I need to weight the consequences very carefully or else ruin my chance of being able to write (or get out of bed) the following couple days.

 

“I wish I could sleep in however long I want and take naps whenever I want.” Well, I can’t argue with that one. Ha. But I sleep because if I don’t get the exact amount my body is needing for the day, I won’t be able to write or paint or even make dinner. This include sleeping later than my body needs. Half the time, sleeping aggravates the pain. I never know which way my body will respond until I lay down.

 

“Pop some Excedrin already.” No. Just, no. I responding to this one, and it bled into its own post. In short, when you’re dealing with chronic migraine, pain killers of any kind are a band-aid. Though they help you with the pain, it doesn’t solve the problem in the brain. A triptan can work if you take it in the correct form your body requires (liquid vs. nasal spray vs. pill), if you catch it at the exact moment your body needs it. And many times, a triptan still doesn’t cut it.

With my type of chronic migraine, triptans make the pain worse. Which means, the only time I can get some pain relief is by taking massive pain killers, which is not the same as migraine treatment. Narcotics and morphine help, but they still don’t get rid of the pain and it’s easy to send your body into headache rebound, making the next day worse, not including the next day’s migraine. Then you need more and more and…see how easy it is to become dependent?

This means, whenever you do take painkillers or rescue medication, you need to weigh the consequences and make sure you’re taking it at the appropriate time. Which means, most of the time, you can’t take pain killers. And even when you take pain killers, 98% of the time, the pain doesn’t go completely away because it’s still not effecting your brain chemistry and is only acting as a mask.

 

“You had a migraine yesterday, it should be over.” Many people think migraine Is just getting an aura and the pain afterward. Migraine comes in 4 different stages—pre-drome (which begins several days before), aura (can last anywhere from 10 min or several hours), pain (anywhere from a couple hours to several days), post-drome (usually a a couple days afterwards). A single, episodic migraine can actually affect you for an entire week (or more!) with mental slugishness, energy deficiency, moodiness, stomach problems, ect. And that’s just regular migraines. Add something like chronic migraine and your body is basically in one of these stages. All. The. Time.

 

“Let’s hang out!” Holy crap. I love people. But anytime I want to hang with a friend, I can’t just say yes. Many times I have to say no because of the energy toll it takes on my body. If I deplete too much energy, the migraines will spiral out of control. I know my body well enough to know I can only do about 1 external thing a week, up to 3 if it’s a great migraine week and they are little errands. I’ve lost many friends because of this.

 

“You’re invited to…” Let me check my calendar. I receive Botox injections every 12 weeks, so my migraines take on a 3 month cycle form. If everything else is perfect and nothing is affecting me except Botox alone, I usually have 4 good months a year, 4 bad ones, 4 so-so. Where does the event fall into the cycle? Is the traveling and stress of being else-where worth the migraine it will aggravate?

 

“Exercise solves everything.” Lies. (some people, yes, for me, no. Though I am happier when I can work out.) If I want to go for a walk, I have to decide what I’m willing to sacrifice that day since even short amount of exercise will trigger me and I will have to cut something off my to-do list. When the migraines are really bad, I can’t even get up a *$%^ flight of stairs without help.

 

“Write more!” Anytime I want to write, I ask—is this worth the pain? Usually, for me, the answer is yes. Then the follow up is, how much pain is this worth? Am I going to play a short-term game and kill myself to finish the scene and be aggravated the next 2 days? (sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no). Am I going to play long term and do less now, but draw it out and be slower than I want to work? (sometimes yes, sometimes now).

 

When you look at me, you see somebody tall and confident. And I am. I love wearing shoes that shove me over 6 foot. And I’ve been told multiple times I project one of those I-know-what-I’m-doing-even-though-I’m-actually-screwed auras. You’ll often hear me laughing because I have the humor of a junior high boy and think farts and drawing penises on the church bulletin are funny.

However, I still carry all this junk Every. Single. Day. This affects me Every. Single. Day. I’ve had to completely restructure the way I live in order to have even a chance of managing chronic migraine. I’m pretty sure this qualifies as meeting even the simple Wiki definition of disability: an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, intellectual, mental, sensory, developmental, or some combination of these that results in restrictions on an individual’s ability to participate in what is considered “normal” in their everyday society. 

Just because the disability is invisible doesn’t mean I, and my friends and others like me, shouldn’t be included in the diversity conversation.

 

A couple of my fav websites about books and diversity:

disabilityinkidlit.com—they review disabilities portrayed in children’s lit and have great articles on different types of disability.

Weneeddiversebooks.com–a great, much needed campaign

Migraine.com—great articles and community and even keeps you up to date on the newest research and treatments. Their newsletters are fantastic.

When Creativity Blocks Are Actually Depression

Sometimes ideas just won’t come. Sometimes motivation won’t knock and the Muse is MIA and getting out of bed to face the easel or keyboard seems daunting.

Sometimes this is a normal part of the creative process. There are times of bountiful ideas and inspiration, and even if there’s not, the act of sitting down to create can often make these ideas and inspiration happen.

Sometimes this lack of creativity can actually be something more—depression.

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photo found here

Confession time—I struggle with depression. A lot. Not only does it run in my family, but depression is the most common buddy-system illnesses for Chronic Migraine. I mean, try living with chronic pain every day and not be depressed at least once in a while.

I’ve had depression often and severe enough to know my symptoms and be aware of them. The biggest symptom for me? Lack of creativity. Not just a lack. An utter abhorrence of anything beautiful. I know when I’m healthy, I want to create. I want to paint and write stories and dabble in music. When the pain is bad, I don’t. When I’m depressed, I don’t.

I also know that I tend to not want to exercise or cook or get out of bed right away. When these 4 symptoms show up—lack of cooking, lack of exercising, lack of morning rising, and lack of creating—I know it’s time to head to a doctor.

I’ve also had depression often and severe enough to know that the biggest thing I need during this season—is grace.

Grace that my paintings aren’t turning out. If I’m doing any.

Grace that I can’t put my hands to the keyboard and. Just. Edit.

Grace that I’m not out socializing and being a part of society more. If I’ve left the house.

Grace that I haven’t even tried singing in ages or worked on composing.

Grace that I haven’t prayed in, who knows how long, nor do I want to.

Grace. Grace. Grace.

I bring this up because I’ve been stuck in a time of depression, and we do a terrible job of talking about hard things. I read this great article recently on writing blocks and depression, and the author does an awesome job. This time, my depression is mostly tied with Chronic Migraine and medication switches. However, not beating myself up about it when the pain is better, but my body still doesn’t want to function, is harder than growing out my nails. (context: I’ve only successfully grown out my nails, like, twice in my entire life.) My first book is getting published—YAY—and I am excited, thrilled, truly. But, getting a book deal doesn’t take away the depression. I still need hours before I can make myself get to the keyboard to work on revisions.

Grace.

I’m reminding myself.

Grace.

Does anyone else find depression interfering with their creativity?

*don’t forget, sign up for my newsletter before August 1st and be entered into a $10 Amazon giftcard giveaway!*

#Giveaway for #1 NYT Bestseller #Zenith by @sashaalsberg and Lindsay Cummings @authorlindsayc!

*Sign up for my newsletter before August 1st and be entered into a $10 Amazon giftcard giveaway!*

Since When Planets Fall is science-fiction, I wanted to bring more attention to other fun sci-fi/fantasy books out there in the world. So, if you’re looking for a fast summer read set in space, look no further! I’m giving away a free ecopy of #1 NYT Bestseller Zenith! (isn’t the cover stunning??)

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER JORIE!!!!!

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Zenith is a Young Adult sci-fi novella, the first in the Androma Saga. It’s about a team of girl space pirates (how cool is that??) lead by the Bloody Baroness, Andi, in the far away Mirabel Galaxy. It’s co-written, but you can’t even tell. Which goes to show how well they work together. (trust me, this is hard to do.) There’s danger, broken hearts, fast ships, and stars—all the best things about sci-fi :) If you love the Throne of Glass series and Celaena, then you’ll love Andi. And if you love sci-fi more along the lines of These Broken Stars and Illuminae rather than the hard political world of Red Rising, then this novella might be for you!

 

Here’s the real blurb below:

There is darkness sweeping across the stars.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, fantastical intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance.

 Happy reading!

 

 

 

The Blog Post With Book News!!

First, let me say I’m uber sorry for not keeping up to date with blogging. My disorder flared up and I’ve been really under the weather. Though I have been doing lots of painting! I promise to be better……and you’ll see why now!

Lemme start by dropping this photo:

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *hyperventilated screaming*

Yep!! When Planets Fall is getting published!!!!!

*Enter more screaming.* *flailing* *eating celebratory fro yo* *screaming some more*

I read the email right before I turned off the light, so I was 89% asleep. Honestly, my first thought was, aww. What a great dream. Then a couple minutes passed before I realized I hadn’t fallen asleep and This Was Real Life.

Then I started panicking, scaring my DGH (demi-god husband) with all my jumping up and down, and then woke my friend downstairs who was staying with us to shriek the news.

This is me signing the contract:

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Yes, that’s Apollo in the background. Fitting only his butt made it into the photo.

I can’t even tell you how excited I am. Whenever I think that I’m going to be a published author I get all cheek-cramp smiley. It’s been such a long journey, and I’m SO EXCITED to share Breaker’s story with you :)

I’ll let you know when I find out the release date from my editor. MY EDITOR. Holy crap. Can’t believe I just said that.

More screaming.

So, what’s the darn book about? Well, it’s the first Young Adult science fiction novel in a serious, and the main character is a 19 year-old amputee named Breaker. He has seven days to fix a wrecked starship under enemy deadline to keep his little bro from fighting in a three-way war. Also: red planets, body modification, blood blood blood, guilt, funny dudes, bad dudes, and bad decisions done for right reasons.

In the meanwhile, I figure now is a great time to actually start sending out my newsletter, instead of just having the signup. Lol. So, if you want to keep abreast (gosh, what an awkward word) of bookish news—sign up here!! I’m planning to have some giveaways through it…maybe some giveaways of original art too. (You can find some prints here.)

If there’s anything you’d want to see in my newsletter (or just sounds interesting), let me know and I’ll do my best to include it.

I’m so excited. And now onto revisions to make it even better for you guys!!

How to Get Out of A Rut — Keiko Tanabe Blog

So true! Or, you can do something like…switching mediums? Like switching from writing to art. Or art to music.

The artist’s growth is not always upwards. Sometimes it feels like you can keep going up but sometimes you feel stuck or think you’re moving in a wrong direction. As with any journey, the artist’s journey has ups and downs and that’s normal. I have accepted this fact now but in my earlier days…

via How to Get Out of A Rut — Keiko Tanabe Blog

Haikus as a Way of Healing

Lately, I’ve been reading Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo. (Worth picking up even if you only scribble in journals when you’re feeling particularly emo.) I’m only a couple chapters in, but already I realized this healing thing is a huge part of why I love writing. As a teen, short stories and vignettes and really bad poetry helped me discover and navigate all my emotions. I knew by age 16 writing would always be in my life, even if only in unreadable journal entries.

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here’s the book, if you’re interested

I also realized I’ve barely tapped into writing as an intentional way to process having chronic migraine.

Then I remembered, I used to go to counseling regularly to help process living with my disorder (which I totally recommend going to everybody). After a while I began to stagnate in my processing. While I can jabber with the best of them, talking wasn’t helping. In the past month, (and reading these chapters only confirmed it) I’ve realized why—as a creative person, I needed another way to process besides blabbering.

Writing and art.

*Enter exploding lightbulbs above my head.*

So, this past week, I tried processing about migraines/pain with haikus and another painting. I’m not saying they’re any good. Let’s be real. I haven’t looked at the haiku form since seventh grade English. But I tried. And that’s the point.

This haiku is about the actual migraine:

My flesh and skull has
ground away to reveal a
swollen, throbbing heart.

These two touch on more of the emotional experience of the pain:

I swim upstream though
there’s no water to speak of.
And I drown in sand.

Pain is like being
stranded on the still ocean
with no hope of wind.

Have you ever considered using art and writing as a way to process something?

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