Just Keep Breathing (reposted from Tumblr)

As many of you know, I’ve struggled with depression for several years. First postpartum depression aggravated by severe anemia, and then seasonal depression caused by living through an Alaskan winter. It’s been rough going. Some days have been very, very bad, especially as the pain associated with my Ehlers-Danlos has gotten worse over the years. I do try to keep my rants to a minimum, but you’ve probably seen one on Twitter or found one of my older blog posts on the subject. Last week, after a particularly bad day, I posted a bit of a pity-party on Tumblr.

This morning I had an Anonymous message in my Tumlbr Ask Box.

Liana, your message about not killing myself made me cry. Thank you so much, so much. This post might only work for now, but it,s possible that that’s one moment longer, one day longer than it would have been

… I can’t reply one-on-one to an Anonymous message, so here’s my response (posted here and on Tumblr so Anon can find it).

*hugs* 

Hang in there. I know whatever you’re going through is rough. Maybe it’s something I’ve been through too, maybe not, but I know anything that drags you down low enough that you think about killing yourself is rough. And I can’t tell you it will be over soon, or ever. But that doesn’t matter. Because you have so much potential. So many wonderful things still to do in this life. Don’t give up on it yet.

A new season is coming. There are things to look forward to. There are flowers and new people and who knows what else. Probably some of it won’t be so great, but you and me… we’re pros at dealing with “not so great”, right? Been there, done that, bought the over-priced t-shirt.

People like us, we are so much stronger than the world imagines. We have incredibly bad days. We sink down, and we fail, and the darkness all but consumes us. And somehow, against all odds, we get back up again. We take the weight of that pain, and the crushing despair, and we still stand. We still fight.

Often, no one else knows about the battle raging inside us. It’s a secret we keep.

But one day, you’ll see someone else fighting a battle you know they can’t win. They’ll be in a situation where all is lost. But you can step in, because you’ve fought hard for your scars. You’ve fought to stay alive. And all this pain, and suffering, and frustration has taught you how to build a shield. All the strength you have will be the only thing that saves that person.

You and me, we’re fighters. We’re on the toughest training ground on the planet. Like every hero in every story, depression has stripped us of our friends, our family, our joy, our weapons… all that is left is us, alone.

And like the hero you are, you are all you need.

You are going to get up and win this fight.

Today maybe all you’ll do is survive. Maybe the way you win the fight today is to just keep breathing. I know how hard that is some days. But if you keep breathing today, then tomorrow it’ll be a little easier. Next month it’ll be easier still. And inch by inch you will crawl out of the hell of depression and when you do, you will be the strongest person in the world. You will have faced all the demons of hell and crushed them with nothing more than your will to survive.

That day, you will stride the world as a titan, a god among men. Stronger, braver, and kinder for the battle you have survived.

You will be someone’s hero. You will be there to understand what no one else could, to stand against a foe so foe so few understand. You are going to save someone, because right now you are learning to save yourself.

And, today, all you need to do is breath.

I love you. Keep breathing.

<3

New Editing Options!

Brand new for the spring season, more editing options!

I’ve added editing packages exclusively for Indie authors who are prepping for launch or getting ready to re-brand a series. And there are now add-on packages for as little as $5! Come see what I have to offer!

Submission Packet Critique (synopsis, query, and first 5 pages) $25
Indie Author Special (blurb, 5 twitter pitches, and first 5 pages) $25 
First Chapter
(up to 20 pages)  $50.00 and a 1 work-week turn around time
Contest Critique (first 50 pages + blurb) $100
Full Manuscript Critique $1.00 a page minimum of 200 pages
Prewrite Consult (one-on-one time to help you develop the story before you write) starting at $20
A La Carte (add-ons and package deals) starting at $5

Impulse Buy Book of the Week: DEGREE OF RESISTANCE by Nicola M. Cameron

Freelance tech Evie Contreras is part of the Employee class of the Pacifica Protectorate, the “perfect society” that arose on the West Coast after the breakup of the United States. But Evie knows all about Pacifica’s festering core and the secrets that keep it in power. And when she discovers that her fiancé Ben Drake has been turned into a cyborg slave by a sadistic protectorate officer, she will risk everything to rescue him.

Saving Ben turns out to be the first step in a deadly game between Pacifica and a shadowy resistance group known as Rubicon. Evie reluctantly accepts Rubicon’s help in rescuing Ben, but in return she must go back to Pacifica and rescue a hidden artificial intelligence that may hold the key to saving the entire planet.

Assuming the protectorate doesn’t find her first.

$0.99
Amazon US
| Amazon UK

Nicola M. Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about science fiction, fantasy, and sex. When not writing about those things, she likes to make Stuff™. And she may be rather fond of absinthe. Nicola plans to continue writing until she drops dead over her keyboard or makes enough money to buy a private island and hire Rory McCann as her personal trainer/masseur, whichever comes first.

Hey, a woman can dream.

Website | Blog | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads

No Road To Follow

Picture a field of freshly fallen snow. A blanket of powdery white that stretches between the trees. In this field you know there are two things: a road, and a perilously soft shoulder with four feet of packed snow that will eat your car like candy if you get to close.

You are armed with your memory, whatever sense of distance and direction you were born with, a set of winter tires, and a vehicle whose back end swivels like a stripper on the pole even under ideal road conditions. The visibility is poor, a fog is rolling in, and – if you are very unlucky – there will be moose.

Now…. drive.

Most sane people wouldn’t. They’d take one look at the conditions and walk away. Which makes this field of pristine snow an excellent metaphor for so many things. Faith, work, immigration, politics, publishing, illness… Most people look at the trouble in front of them and turn away. They go back where it’s safe and they stay there.

But someone has to cut through the snow.

Someone has to set a path for everyone else to follow.

For me, I had to go because the kids had school. It’s prosaic, but it’s reality. The kids had to get to school, so I went out on the roads, cutting a path, marking a place for the other cars to follow. I know there’s a little old man who walks his tiny dog three times a day, and he’ll walk in these ruts today. I know the retiree next door shops on Tuesdays, and their little car can’t handle deep snow, they’ll follow these ruts today.

If I go off the road, then so will the others. The ruts freeze in weather like this and it’s hard to break a car away from the path that’s been set. My choices in the field of snow will influence the choices of everyone who drives the road today. I’m the one marking the lanes. I’m the one setting the ruts. I’m the one leading the herd. For better or worse.

I make the drive four times in the morning – two out and two back – and I’ll make three more times this afternoon. The snow is still falling. The ruts will fill in. There are cars lining the ditches on the main roads. But, on our little back road, there’s a set of tracks set by my big tires. Hopefully a snow plow will come by this evening, but it can take days to clear the roads. It’s not really a winter storm. Storm is too strong a word. This is a muddle.

A muddle of snow and fog and luck.

And so we muddle along. I make a path. My neighbors follow it out and in. We clear the road with our tires as best we can, trying to make space and redefine the roads. That’s part of civilization. We make communal choices, we work together, we set the rules, and we hope we don’t drive humanity off a cliff.

Drive carefully, my lovelies.

Impulse Buy Book of the Week: AURORA:Darwin by Amanda Bridgeman

A distress signal on the edge of inhabited space. Two very different soldiers with one common goal – survival.

When a distress signal is received from a black-ops space station on the edge of inhabited space, Captain Saul Harris of the UNF Aurora is called in from leave to respond. But the mission is not what it seems – three new female recruits have been added to the Aurora crew.

For Corporal Carrie Welles, one of the Aurora‘s new recruits, her first mission in space seems like a dream come true. Determined to achieve the success of her father before her, and suddenly thrust into a terrifying mission, she must work with her new captain and the strained Aurora crew to make it home alive.

When the Aurora arrives at the station Harris and Welles soon find themselves caught up in a desperate fight for survival. Station Darwin is not what they expected. The lights are off, but somebody is home…

$0.99
Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

 

Born and raised in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, Amanda hails from fishing and farming stock. The youngest of four children, her three brothers raised her on a diet of Rocky, Rambo, Muhammad Ali and AC/DC. Naturally, she grew up somewhat of a tomboy, preferring to watch action/sci-fi films over the standard rom-com and liking her music rock hard. But that said, she can still swoon with the best of them.


She moved to Perth (Western Australia) to pursue her dreams and study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University, earning her a BA in Communication Studies. Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen month stint in London (England) where she dabbled in Film & TV ‘Extra’ work.

Her third novel ‘Aurora: Meridian’ was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pintrest

 

Mother of Teens: Why I’m Scared of Ramen

In sixth grade I was in middle school, living in a suburb of Chicago, eleven-years-old, and from my self-centered point of view my world was falling apart.

My dad had moved out as part of my parent’s ongoing divorce. My mother had a brain aneurysm. Between the aneurysm and the treatments her memory was limited, and her temper mercurial. There was no way to predict what was going to happen next.

School was my refuge. I’d been moved to classes for advanced students in third grade, and for the past three years my classmates had been a second family to me. We had shared memories, inside jokes, and a surety that comes from knowing you’re spending the day with twenty of your best friends. My classmates were my saving grace. While things were falling apart at home they were the ones making sure I passed class.

When we exchanged homework for in-class grading, my friends made sure I only missed a few problems… even when the page was empty. When I couldn’t get a ride to the library, my friends photocopied notes for me so I could finish projects at lunch. When I needed a safe place, my friends were there.

But, despite their best efforts, I was on the fast track for failing all my classes. My grades were abysmal. I was getting help from my math teacher, a sweet blonde woman who made math interesting. Every day I’d hurry through lunch, then go to her class to work on assignments while she ate lunch. Every day she had ramen, usually just the broth.

I was a self-centered and unthinking child. I wasn’t aware of food prices, or why someone would choose to eat ramen every day. I just knew it was what she preferred. And I knew she looked sickly.

Since my mother had fallen ill I was hyper-aware of illness. It scared me. Illness didn’t destroy a body, it changed people. I watched my teacher for changes, but never saw anything. She was simply an enthusiastic teacher with pale skin, feathered blonde hair, and dark circles under her eyes that she hid with makeup.

We continued in that fashion for several months. I’d scarf down a sandwich, run to her class, and work on homework while she sipped ramen broth and helped me focus.

In March, we moved out of state to live with my grandmother while the divorce was finalized and our home sold.

In April, my teacher died of starvation. She’d been deathly ill, but no one had notice the warning signs. She died of anorexia, because of her fear of food and a fear of her own body.

A few years later, I’d caught the disease. I don’t believe I ever thought of myself as fat, but the word was thrown around. Women aren’t allowed to be fat. We’re not allowed to be thin, either. Western society has a very distinct image of what a woman should look like and if a lady doesn’t fit that image than she’s ugly. And “ugly” was a very familiar word.

My mom worked two to three jobs at a time, trying to make ends meet. I struggled to fit in at my new school. Fashion was something that happened to other people. I made do with clothes purchased before the divorce, and the occasional hand-me-down. At sixteen I still wasn’t five-foot tall and I might have weighed 100 pounds sopping wet.

Now, I would have been the perfect Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but this was the late 90s in an era of grunge, plaid, and no pixies (I feel a bit cheated, honestly). My hand-me-downs were loose jeans and faded t-shirts, no bubble vests from A&E, no brightly colored socks from Hot Topics (oh! but I wanted them!). Everything I owned was over-sized with the hope I would one day grow into them. So I was fat. Because my clothes were loose. And I was ugly. And I was an outcast.

And I didn’t mean to be anorexic. It was a bad habit I fell into. I wasn’t starving myself, just skipping meals, or eating less than a full meal. No big deal. I was busy. Sometimes I just… forgot.

Until the day I smelled ramen cooking. Not at home, but in the newspaper office of the high school where I hid during my down time. I liked to sleep under the big conference table on an abandoned bean bag chair. One of the teachers was cooking ramen for lunch. The smell twisted my stomach, and I realized just how close I’d been to following in my teacher’s footsteps. I’d let the voices get to me.

To this day I hate ramen. I never ate in college. It’s end-of-the-world food, and there will be a zombie apocalypse before I sit down to enjoy a bowl of ramen noodles. But it’s the only food I allow myself to hate.

The voices of negativity are persuasive. The slope down into depression and self-abuse is slippery, a slow slide down into the pit. There are still days I slip. There are still days the voices of negativity win.

There are two lessons I take away from ramen noodles. One, killing yourself doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts everyone around you. Two, hating something only gives it power over you, what we hate controls us.

Why’d I write this post today? I have no idea. Maybe just to get it off my chest. Maybe to explain to my friends why I’m scared of ramen (scary noodles!). Maybe because it can help someone else. Or maybe just because I never got to say goodbye to a wonderful woman who was there during on of the darkest periods of my life and I always wonder if I’d just noticed, if I hadn’t been quite so self-centered, if she would still be alive today.

Here’s to you, Miss B., and the lesson your never meant to teach.

Coming to an Anthology Near You!

Surprise! Guess who has a new release date?

March 14th you will have a chance to buy a collection of 38 short stories ranging from, including the follow-up to SEVENTY and a short story from the same universe as FEY LIGHTS.

All these stories were previously published on Darkness and Good with Amy Laurens (and this year Thea van Diepen). The anthology has stories from 2015 and the first half of 2016 (before Thea joined us), and each story has been edited, refined, and cleaned up for the anthology. In addition, the talented Amy Laurens has added some beautiful line art created just for the anthology. And there will be a print edition!

The anthology is now available for Pre-Order and is on Goodreads.

Shiny pictures are shiny!

 

 

 

Impulse Buy Book of the Week: GETHYON by Pippa Jay

Abandoned. Hunted. Out of control. 

Gethyon Rees had always felt at odds with the universe, and hoped for an escape among the stars. But discovering he has the ability to cross time and space with just a thought brings more problems than it solves: a deadly bounty hunter who can follow him anywhere, the unwelcome return of Tarquin Secker—the mother who abandoned him—and an ancient darkness that seeks him and all those with his talents.

When an unforgivable act sets him on the run, it’ll take more than his unearthly powers to save his skin and the lives of those he cares about. It’ll take a sacrifice he never expected to have to make.

 

$3.99
Amazon
| Kobo | B&N | Omnilit | iTunes | GoodReads

A science fiction adventure novel previously published by BURST (Champagne Books), and part of the Travellers Universe. A 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner for Most Awesome Psychic Talent and a 2015 EPIC eBook Awards finalist in the Science Fiction category. Also now includes the SF short story The Bones of the Sea.

“With colorful worlds full of nuance and dimension, characters that walk off the page…” J.C. Cassels, author of The Black Wing Chronicles series

“This fast-paced, gripping ride zips through time and space, love and loss, rebellion and acceptance.” Anna McLain, SFR Galaxy Award judge

 
Pippa JayAfter spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 22 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, and Broad Universe, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the 2015 EPIC eBook awards, the 2015 RWA LERA Rebecca (2nd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

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Technical Difficulties… or why the blog has been so quiet

So, several of you have noticed that – despite this being post-winter break – I haven’t really got back to blogging full time. I’m sorry about that. I’m experiencing what you might call Technical Difficulties. And it’s not my computer that’s broken.

January saw the plague sweep through my house, complete with fevers, whiny children, and no spare time. I was trying to hit a couple of crucial book deadlines for 2017 releases and the blog was not a top priority. The plague was followed by news about a new job offer (more on that later this week), and a broken car (more about that never… unless you want to buy me a new car). Being a 1 car family with 6 people, two with jobs, and 3 with extracurricular activities has moved me from commuting 3 hours a day to commuting 7+ hours a day depending on the day.

Those lost 4 hours include blogging time.

What does this mean for you? Less content right now.

The blog is open. The Impulse Buy will continue to come out on Tuesdays (if I can remember to schedule it correctly this week 😛 ). And regular blog content will resume in the next week or so as (hopefully) my schedule evens out. If you are absolutely desperate to hear from me, feel free to check out my Twitter, FaceBook, or Tumblr.

Impulse Buy Book of the Week: ASHES TO FIRE by Emily B. Martin

“You are a country.”

Those words have been the guiding force behind Queen Mona’s every move since she was a little girl—the idea that all her actions and desires were, first and foremost, decided based on what was best for Lumen Lake. It had kept her alive after the Alcoran invasion, it had driven her to retake her country, and now it is the steely resolve she needs to finally confront the despotic Seventh King, Celeno.

But when her diplomatic mission finds herself on the run through the swamps of Cyprien—accompanied by the unlikeliest group of companions—Mona discovers that while she is her country, she is also someone who has been sheltered by principles and bound by past mistakes. Now she must struggle to reshape her view of the world and face intimate new truths—not only for the good of her country, but for herself, as well.
A desperate journey to secure peace, and an even greater journey to discover herself, Ashes to Fire is the captivating and adventurous follow-up to Emily B. Martin’s Woodwalker—once more with cover art by the author herself!

$3.99
Amazon | HarperCollins | GoodReads

Park ranger by summer, stay-at-home mom the rest of the year, Emily B. Martin is also a freelance artist and illustrator. An avid hiker and explorer, her experiences as a ranger helped inform the stories of Woodwalker and Ashes to Fire. When not patrolling places like Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, or Philmont Scout Ranch, she lives in South Carolina with her husband, Will, and two daughters, Lucy and Amelia.