Friday, April 24, 2015

We're almost done with CampNaNoWriMo with only a week left to hit our goals. I've been hard at work revising Catch a Falling Star and I'm still making good progress on The Compromise which I have yet to post a page for. I have been falling behind in my goal to blog weekly on PTSD though. My word count is just above 70K so I have a week to hit my goal of 90K and I think I'll do it despite the challenges that lay ahead of me in this final leg of my camp journey.

I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the different topic, this is what I do when I'm not talking about the subject that fills every corner of my life. It helps, a lot, to have something that I love to do and for me that's writing love stories! Even my husband gets in on the action, discussing books ideas, plots, and characters with me for hours. My work is available for free right now, just check out my links above. And make sure you make time for fun too!

Catch a Falling Star is right on target. I have 36 of 41 chapters revised and I expect to finish it today. Once it's done I will compile it, put it on my Kindle and read it through for the first time, making notes about what I'll change in the second revision. I'm looking forward to the read-through, up to now I've only interacted with it a few chapters at a time. The total word count for Catch a Falling Star rests at just over 88K which is about 1K less than when I began the revision.

The Compromise is almost done and I'm sad about that. I've enjoyed visiting with Davis and Amanda on their journey. The next step for the series will be to migrate the first two books into Scrivener and begin their revision. Because it's a trilogy I need to watch for continuity and be sure each book stands on its own as well. I'm looking forward to the work but dreading it at the same time. The total word count for The Compromise is about 35K. Each book is a little longer than a novella but they will work well as a trilogy for that reason.

When I'm done with CampNaNoWriMo I will work on making pages for the Trust and Obey trilogy. I have to decide how much to reveal since they fall under the erotica category and I want my blog to remain family friendly. Not sure if I will post links or not. 

That's the update for Camp this week, late again.There is another camp in July, I think, that I will participate in and of course the parent event NaNoWriMo in November. Can you believe I am already stressing about having a story idea for it? I'm sure it will be fine. Anyway, subscribe to me, or add me to your feed and watch me grow!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PTSD- the good, the bad and the ugly

PTSD is a repugnant creature, it's covered in the slime of anger and rage, fear and anxiety and once it has it's claws in you it can feel like a life sentence. It doesn't have to be like that but it can be frightening to admit that you've been captured by the darkness and once it has you in its icy grip it lies to you, trying to keep you there, isolated and lonely, as long as it can. It's time to break free from it's insidious lies, learn the truth, how to get and offer help and break free from it's stinking grip. That freedom starts with information, understanding and love, lots of love.

PTSD simply looks like a goblin, lets call it what it is- a disease that can be treated.
PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and according to the Mayo Clinic it's a mental health condition caused by either experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. It can express itself in life-changing ways and be debilitating for those to suffer from it and it doesn't just affect the individual who has it. PTSD can affect those who care for the sufferer as well. There is treatment available, a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak for those who suffer and those who love them.

Lets chat.

PTSD is real. It's not some made up problem designed to get attention. When an individual experiences a stressful event it can change the way the body responds to stress, affecting stress hormones and the chemicals that transmit information between the nerves (reference). These changes affect the way we see the world around us, suddenly a visit to the doctors office or the prospect of driving in public is beyond terrifying. The beast grabs its victim causing them to freeze up and avoid that which the beast says they can't handle anymore. The person who's been drawn in by the demons of PTSD avoid the triggers that stress them out or to act out against them in an effort to win the battle.

These changes can be debilitating for those who struggle with PTSD in their daily life. Road rage and avoidance aren't the only ways that the PTSD goblins show themselves, if they were then it might be easier to deal with (not really but we can hope). Often they rear their hideous heads in nightmares, flashbacks, overly emotional reactions and anxiety and depression to name a few and rarely does it come with only one or two manifestations. Some of my husbands symptoms include depression, anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, road rage, withdrawal and rage and each of these come with their own list of challenges as we work through them and learn to live again. They make simple day to day life a daunting prospect.

Lost in the desert of PTSD
As if the demons and goblins of PTSD weren't enough to make the prospect of living with them for the rest of your life a frightening prospect, they don't just affect the person who's suffering, their slimy tendrils reach out and grab everyone in the vicinity as well. PTSD affects the loved ones of those who struggle with it. They themselves can end up with PTSD from helping the sufferer or from dealing with their behaviors. I know myself that I simply can't drive with my husband behind the wheel. He has lost his temper too many times. Do I trust his driving? Absolutely! Can I remember that when we are in heavy New Jersey traffic? Never. It's just a fact of PTSD that we live with.

So what's to be done about this insidious mental health issue? First we can call it out, demand the demons and goblins show their faces by recognizing it as real, and by we I mean the general public. Second we can educate ourselves about it so that when it's mentioned we can carry on an intelligent conversation about it rather than mumble and change the subject (yes I've had that happen). Finally, we can equip ourselves to love and support those we know who suffer and their caregivers.

A little knowledge goes a long way
In my upcoming posts I will be discussing PTSD in more detail, the symptoms, the effects on family, and what sort of help is available. I will be posting an occasional journal entry, I hope to make it weekly soon, illustrating our journey with PTSD, I want you to know that you are not on this journey alone. I also intend to do a bi-weekly book review on a book about PTSD and list resources I have found for those suffering. My focus will be on veterans since that is my primary experience but it's important to note that it's not just a veteran problem and I will discuss that in more detail in another post. Lets keep this discussion going because the best way to find healing to pull those demons and goblins out into the light and let them burn.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

So it's time for another Camp NaNoWriMo update. It's day 15 of camp and I am chugging along. I've made up for my low word count last week despite not working over the weekend.  I've been working hard at editing Catch a Falling Star and even found a major flaw that I fixed immediately. I've also been working on my new story The Compromise. I have not been working as hard I'd like on the blog but I am making new habits and changing old ones. My current word count rest just short of 44K which I'm sure I'll blow by as I have more authoring to do today.

I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the change in topic, this is the rest of my life. I find it helps to have something that I love to do and for me, writing is it! My hubby and I sit and discuss my book ideas, developing plots and characters for hours sometimes. It makes for great fun and we bond while we do it. Make sure you make time for fun too!

Catch a Falling Star is right on track to be revised by the end of April. I finished chapter 21/41 this morning and re-posted it for reading at FictionPress. One thing I've realized is that I will never be completely content with what I've written, I will always think it could be better. I guess I will have to learn to live with that.

The Compromise is coming along well and in creating the villain in it I've realized that I have a very dark side in my mind. He is truly awful. Perhaps that is fodder for a later blog post?

I've completed 24K words in it so far, so only a little over 4K in that this week but I lost Monday to a homeschool class and part of Tuesday to a sick dog. I am determined to finish the first draft this month. I've also realized that the first two parts of the trilogy, currently titled The Romance, and The Contract, will need major rewriting to be worth publishing but I am looking forward to that.

So that's the update for this week. We are halfway through Camp and I am excited to be reaching my first ever Camp goals. Are you participating in Camp? Are you a writer who wishes you could just get that novel down? Tell me your thoughts.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Camp NanoWriMo Update- Week 2

It's day 10 of Camp NanoWriMo and I missed my first update but I have lots to tell! My original intention was to spend all of camp editing and revising Catch a Falling Star and I have been working towards those goals diligently. I've also been authoring a new story that's been keeping me up nights and demanding to be written and working on developing my blog here. It's exhausting to have so much I want to write and actually try to make time to get it all done. My sister says there is no such thing as no time, you make time for the things you want to do but in reality sometimes the words flow faster than I can type and I do need to sleep, eat and move away from my desk occasionally. (#campnanowrimo) 

My first goal was to revise chapter 1 of Catch a Falling Star and make it more interesting. I'd love it if you'd go and read just that chapter leaving me a comment either here or on FictionPress to let me know if you like it.

So here's the tally. I've edited up to chapter 12 in Catch a Falling Star and I've been updating it on FictionPress as I go. That puts me ahead on my goals sheet that I created here. I've written almost 20K words in the new story subtitled The Compromise, and I've written one, as yet unpublished, blog post. My word count is sitting at 31980, and I upped my goal to 90K since the new book is flowing so fast. The blog is moving slowly for me which is odd since my specialty is research writing and that is pretty much what I am doing on it but we are moving forward with it and that's what counts, right?

For those who want to know about the new story, I have a fanfiction that's been very popular and I've decided to rewrite it and publish it. (Yes I know it's been done before but it's a very good story.) It falls outside of the genre I usually write being a bit more explicit than my usual romance work and I expect I will publish it under a pseudonym for that reason. So far it's two parts and The Compromise would be the third part making it a trilogy. So far it's the best yet of the three and I am very excited about it. Of course the other two will experience revision before they're published so that they are fully cohesive.

If I finish Amethyst in the Rough this year and the trilogy I will have written 5 (FIVE!) books this year! Not too shabby! Now to wade into the waters of indie publishing. Anyway, there's my update, a few days late. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A conversation about PTSD

What is PTSD? We hear about it in the news, sometimes. We hear whispers about it at Uncle Joe's funeral- “you know he never was the same after the war...” And we see bits and pieces of it in articles about soldiers who've lost control and harmed people, blaming it on PTSD.

I'd like to begin a conversation on PTSD, what it is, who it affects, how it's treated and ways we, as a society, can begin a dialog to understanding it and changing the stigma that comes with it. This where the shit gets real. This is where we will dispel myths and misunderstandings.

  • You don't have PTSD unless you are amassing weapons and barricading yourself behind the sofa.
  • Only combat veterans experience PTSD
  • PTSD only happens to the weak
  • They (the person with PTSD) just need to talk about it
  • Admitting and getting treatment will interfere with my work
  • PTSD isn't treatable

That last one is the worst myth of all because it leads those suffering to not seek treatment. Treatment is available and can help. Just like any other illness PTSD will manifest differently in different people and the treatments will, accordingly, be different. There is no 'one size fits all' treatment, and there are no quick fixes. Treating PTSD takes time and commitment but there is help.

PTSD is a huge topic that is affecting someone you know. It is estimated that roughly 7% of the population will deal with PTSD at some point, that's about 5.2 million adults in a given year, numbers are here. Chances are you either know someone with PTSD or you know someone who is dealing with a loved one that has it. And if you live in a community with a high military population then your chances are even higher. And the chances are good that they don't talk about it.

Let's get this conversation started!

First, a definition and then in my next post I will revisit these myths and discuss them in more detail.

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a traumatic life event. These events can include assaults, natural or unnatural disasters, accidents or military combat. (Reference

There are 2.3 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, an estimated 20% of them are struggling with PTSD, and some of them don't know it or won't admit to it. Statistics say that 50% won't seek treatment because of the stigma associated with PTSD and that out of the half that do seek treatment only half of them will get adequate treatment. People who struggle with PTSD may not show it outwardly but inside they are hurting. They may live very normal lives, work full time jobs and be respected members of their communities. You can't tell by looking at someone if they have PTSD.

But PTSD isn't just a military issue, it can happen to anyone who experiences a traumatic event, repeated trauma or threats to their life. It is suspected that PTSD affects 5.2 million adults in the US. A sudden traumatic life event, repeated abuse or being the victim of a crime can cause PTSD.

PTSD can manifest itself in many ways, as flashbacks, depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts or thought patterns and suicide or suicidal thoughts. For anyone dealing with PTSD their ability to deal with normal everyday stressors that you and I might take for granted is limited, they may not be able to drive, go to the dentist, or take a walk depending on how their symptoms play out in their lives.

If left unchecked these symptoms can worsen or increase over time and cause more symptoms to appear. It's likely that someone with untreated PTSD will self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to ease the pain. Or they may choose the unthinkable, suicide. PTSD will not go away on its own. This year alone saw a 44 percent increase in suicides among male veterans under 30.

Next week we will look at each myth more deeply and discuss them in detail. Let's get this conversation going. We are losing 22 soldiers a day to this and that is unacceptable.

If you or someone you love is dealing with PTSD please don't delay, get help. There is help available, check out the links I've included in my post, or google PTSD help. Don't delay, every day, every moment counts.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Camp NanoWriMo Update- Week 1

It's day one of camp and I am off and running. I didn't feel well yesterday and I'm tired today as a result but I'm pushing through regardless. I am going to finish my first edit of Catch a Falling Star this month! My schedule can be found here.

My first goal in camp is to edit chapter 1 and make it more interesting. I've noticed today that there's a lot of extra activity in it and I am working to get it out of the way. I think I made good headway on that this morning. Tomorrow I will finish it and re-post the new chapter to FictionPress.

I also worked on the synopsis today and I feel like I did a good job with it. What do you think? Would you read this book?

Naomi knew when she filed for divorce that Gannon Sharp wouldn’t let her go quietly. Five years later he’s still stalking her and now he’s threatening to kill her.  She’s ready to move on. She thought she’d be able to when she bought a condo in a gated community until her real estate agent lets it slip that the unit next to hers has been purchased by a man who has silver hair and owns his own business. If it isn’t Gannon then who is it? Will she ever be safe from Gannon? Her family and friends are urging her to move on and start over but how can she consider romance when her ex-husband is everywhere she goes?
I am 2400 words into my 75,000 goal. Do you think I'll make it? I do! Check back and watch my progress. This one will be a best-seller when I'm done writing it and you will be the first to know about it!