Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Depression, Your Lease is Up

And as your landlord, it seems to me it is not in my best interest to renew.

As I contemplated my current state of mind as I drove to work this morning, my eyes often glazed with a haze of tears, it occurred to me that I have probably been fighting a battle of dreading every day for the last 25 years. For the bulk of that time, it's been sort of a low-grade pain--one that I have pretty much aways chalked up to having a melancholy personality. During certain seasons, that perpetual sanding on my heart spikes to crushing agony, though, and when that happens, my desperation to feel better kicks in. The trouble with depression, however, is its uncanny way of making you too paralyzed to do anything about the very thing you want to nip so you can stop suffering. And my personal struggle is that once I don't feel absolutely horrendous, I don't stay ticked off enough to pursue the help I know I need. I get back into the "I can survive, I just need a better outlook," mode.

And then guess what kicks in? Guilt. Guilt that I am not strong enough to push away the gloom I know isn't reasonable. Guilt that I continually cast a pall over my family they don't deserve. Guilt because I can't seem to manufacture the joy that other people have. Guilt that I secretly narrow my eyes when people gush about the little pleasures in life--pleasures I have never felt stir the dark fog in my soul.

When I do let something sweet or charming penetrate my murk, I can't just smile. I cry. And I hate it. I'm tired of never being able to have a genuine, pleasant reaction to something without coming unhinged.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I have a lot of ideas brewing, and for all I manage to get done in my depression-impaired state, there's so much more I could tackle if I wasn't driven to sleep to escape my pain, or paralyzed by an onset of anxiety, or rendered sluggish and apathetic in all the other times I'm not in the throes of a more blatant breakdown. It occurs to me that the time has come for me to stop pretending "it's not so bad enough of the time to make any radical change." Because the fact of the matter is, the dull ache days are growing fewer and fewer, and the sobbing, panic attack, confused, mean, hopeless days are becoming the majority. I'm sick of being sick. And I'm tired of pretending I'm ok.

How exactly I am going to wage an assault on my situation with a high deductible insurance plan, I'm not entirely sure. But it's becoming clear to me that while monetary cost has been a reason not to do a lot of health-related things in my life, neglect is starting to look much more costly.

My prayer is that I will break through the thigh-deep quicksand I've battled thus far and really go through with a change. It's my hope that the right intervention will help me pick my feet up enough to run the race, rather than merely dragging along behind it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Anyone for a little cheesecake? Or a shiny, new book?

I freely admit, this is going to be a little bit of a non-post today--most of my brain cells went into signing my first case of books last night in order to ship them out to those who have ordered and paid for them. It was definitely cool to see a whole pile of books arrive in a heavy box! As much as the release of the individual ebooks that comprise this print edition of the Windrider Saga are just as "real," there's nothing quite like hefting that first paper book.

The rest of the brain cells I had left last night funneled into creating a post for my day over at The Cheesecake Thickens. We newly published authors who are writing together at TCT are working hard to build a consistent audience for the blog, so we would all be deeply gratified if you dropped by. My post for today reflects on what it takes for a dreamer to become a doer. Easier said than done, right?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finding Like-Minded (Weird) People

I've had this niggling little idea in the back of my head for a while now that I keep pushing away like I would a cat that's trying to rub on my chin while I'm reading. But, like that metaphorical cat, the idea is persistent, so I may just have to think about it in a more serious way to quiet the noise in my mind.

What is this notion? It has to do with the way those of us who write speculative fiction mourn the fact that at Christian writers conferences, we always feel like the red-headed step child. We don't quite fit with Amish fiction authors, romance writers, and the mom-lit crowd. In an effort to remind ourselves we're not alone in our freakishness, we band together. We like our zombies, our swords, and our dirigibles. We don't even ask that you understand.

But I can't help but feel like it's high time we speculative fiction authors stop fighting the current for recognition and respect. Don't get me wrong--I am very glad for the strides the Christian publishing industry has made in offering more speculative fiction over the past five years or so. I recognize we are the fringe of the religious community, and that's fine. I just think it would be an incredible experience if an event existed that blended faith and speculative fiction. Something more like a fantasy con than a writer's conference--where the fans, writers, filmmakers, publishers, artists, and other folks of faith who like to speculate could come together. Rather than hunting the Christian writer's conference schedule for the one class that applies to our area of interest, how cool would it be if the whole even was layered with choices?

So here I am, with visions of readings from authors' next books, film screenings, a dealer room, round table discussions, authors intensives, and who knows what else? The idea, like all my ideas, only gets bigger every time I think about it.

Now, if I can only find a crew of people crazy enough to pull it off. I suspect this won't be the last I mention this.

Monday, March 12, 2012

In Realms Unseen

Isn't it funny, how the people who seem to be making the most powerful impact for God's kingdom seem to be the people who were once the furthest from it at some time in their lives? Whether reformed criminals, lost idol worshipers, or those forced into moral bankruptcy by desperation, it truly does seem those who have walked in the deepest darkness have amazing potential to erupt with light.

My own journey has not been so dark as many, but it seems like perhaps the time may be coming where my teenage brush with the occult may be part of what I have to offer to the body of Christ. That idea will likely raise some eyebrows, but it's still where I find myself at the moment.

A women's bible study group that I meet with has had quite a bit of talk about the uncanny emerge in our discussion time lately. Honestly, I didn't think that much of it. I simply tried to steer the discussion away from any unfounded ponderings on the activities of people's deceased loved ones, and asserted the perilous nature of delving uninformed into the territory of angels and demons. But it is growing clear to me that deflecting the issue may not be adequate--at least not what the Lord would have me do. My time spent dabbling in the occult has left me with a healthy respect for the power of Satan and his cohorts to lure the unwitting, the curious, or the despairing into an enslaving relationship of fear.

I would never wish for anyone to spend a moment in the fearsome realm whose edges I only grazed. So when I hear romanticizing of angels or ghosts and their roles in our lives, sirens of "red alert" begin to blare in the back of my head. But at the same time, I know I am not carrying as sharp a sword as I should be in this war against the deceiver. Sure, I know my boundaries, and when I even get a whiff of demonic risk, all the fine hairs across my skin stand on end. But my sense of places I won't go won't be adequate to educate and protect others from the lies that are so interwoven into our culture with regard to the supernatural.

And so, my reluctant answer to my lack of weaponry? To force myself to learn by proposing my group study spiritual warfare--what the bible actually says about angels, demons, and human spirits after the body dies. It will involve a hunt for the right teaching materials, created by someone far more expert than I. And I suspect it may take some careful convincing that these are paths we dare tread.

But for the sake of those around me who wonder but don't know, it's a place a sense I must go. Prayerfully.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Windrider Saga Available NOW

The day has finally arrived! The print edition of The Windrider Saga is now available in a print edition. As of this writing, the only retailer that has the book is Amazon, but it should be available at Barnes and Noble in the very near future as well.

For those of you less-well acquainted with this set of stories, a little explanation may be in order. The stories in the ebooks (Divine Summons and A Greater Strength) had their first incarnation as serial fiction--stories I wrote for monthly issues of Digital Dragon Magazine, and then for my blog. So the novel-size book you can get today on Amazon won't read exactly like a novel. It is episodic, by the nature of the original format. Hopefully, though, it will be the fun read it's meant to be.

Anyone who took a gander at the podcast interview I posted before will realize that the original release date for this book (January 31st) came and went. Alas, that's how it goes when all the folks involved are doing this as a second job. Family illnesses and life can slow things down. We thought, by pushing the release back to the end of February, that we'd given ourselves plenty of breathing room. But alas, due to a fairly important oversight Scott and I picked up on the weekend before the release, we had to submit a new proof, and hence the little bit of a stutter start.

Qualifiers and clarifications aside, though, this is still an exciting time. Orders for signed books are coming in through the blog here, and sales are getting rolling on Amazon as well! As a matter of fact, the book was ranked #4 in the Hot New Releases in Christian Fantasy on Amazon on Saturday night.

And one last bit of news you don't want to miss:

***Until Monday, I'm also running a promotional drawing for signed copies of the book. Drop by my facebook page and share the link to the book sales page to be entered into the drawing.***

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pre-release buzz!

There are a lot of little ways people are working very hard to get my book some visibility right now, and I wanted to be sure you folks know about them--with all the effort that has gone into these promotions, I am excited to promote them.

First of all, a huge shout-out goes to Tim Ward for his interview with me over at The New Authors Fellowship. He is doing a book giveaway of copies of The Windrider Saga, which you will want for the cover art alone, even if you've already read the stories. Check out the blog and find out the particulars of how to enter.

While you're over at NAF, I'd be deeply honored if you would follow the link over to the podcast interview Tim did with me, co-hosted by my awesome critique partner and friend, Ruth Mills. The podcast is a bit of a marathon, but even if you catch just a bit of it, that would flatter me immensely. If you don't go to NAF, you can go directly to the podcast here at Holy Worlds.

Last, but not least, if you haven't noticed, I've installed a PayPal button at the top corner of this blog for the sole purpose of collecting advance orders of signed copies of the book. If you live too far outside my physical circle of influence for me to hand you a signed copy, please don't hesitate to pre-order a copy here.

Looking forward to my true release day, just as soon as Diminished Media's Print company recovers from the fact that I had to ask for changes to the final proof in the 11th hour. Ah well--the trials of being a newbie.