Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Thought...

What I have come to realize in this life is that we choose how we react and respond to situations. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be sucked up into nonsense, especially nonsense that has nothing to do with us and we should simply walk away from it. Learning to "walk away" is a gift to give one’s self. Instead of getting aggravated, tied up into frustrated knots, or sink into a depressed resentment, we should *try* (and it will be challenging) to honor ourselves and let go of what is not only not our business, but also not healthy to our mind and soul.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams and Why We Need To Be More Compassionate Toward Mental Illness

I have known many, many people throughout my life who have suffered from mental illness, specifically bi-polar (manic depression) disorder. It is a disease that is pure torture to the person who suffers it and to the people who love them. I have watched people I love go from smart, successful, funny, loving people to people who cannot control their behavior, their thoughts or the things they say, and who have lived a life with unspeakable events that they have either wrought onto themselves or events that have happened because of the terrible decisions they have made and who have put themselves into situations that have spiraled out of control. I have been worried. I have been angry. I have been a friend who stood by them staunchly and a friend who sometimes needed to take breaks from them because their destruction was overwhelming and uncontrollable, even while taking their medication. The helplessness I have felt has been…a hell of its own as I watched their descents into the pits of their living hell. 

I am sick and tired of mental illness being treated like a dirty little secret.  I am sick and tired of people suffering and not seeking treatment. I am sick and tired of people finding a sense of solace in drugs or alcohol instead of admitting they need help to themselves and to their families, and then seeking therapy. It is a sad society when saying someone’s an addict or someone has 20 kids by 20 different men/women or someone’s embezzled millions of dollars from people is more respectful than saying, “I have a mental illness”, “I have a therapist” or “I need to take medication to [mentally] live”. Mental illness has been around for centuries and it is not going away. There is no shame in having this illness, but people have made it shameful to admit, “we are not perfect”. No one on this earth lives a life with “no issues” whatever they may be. We may try to pretend our way through life, but life is a process of discovering ourselves and some people’s path are more challenging when our mind - that part of ourselves most of us trust and take for granted - seemingly works against us. I worked in a mental health hospital for a year and a half. I saw patients who came for office visits and those who were locked down on the psych ward. Guess what? They looked just like you and me. There for the grace…it was not you! 

As for suicide, people are always saying it is a selfish act and link that “selfish act” to it being selfish to the living left behind, but I will tell you right now, the act of committing suicide is NEVER decided lightly. Suicide is an act of sheer and final desperation. It is an act of release from a pain-filled existence that none of us who would “never do such a thing” can even remotely comprehend. Yes, you do feel the abject pain of loss and you most likely will never truly understand the why’s of the person you love taking their life, but if you do not suffer the illness, you can never know the toll and the many tries of getting better or the many, many ways of finding other solutions to be freed from the maniacal grip of that beast or – and this is extremely important - the many, many, many, many more times that person you love was on the precipice of ending their life…but chose not to for that day, that time or that moment. 

We make judgments, but we don’t walk in their shoes. Let’s get educated and let’s create a society where our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, priests, politician, electrician, bellmen and the homeless person on the street can not only get the help they desperately need, but also the love and understanding that can help them chose to live another day, rather than end their physical existence causing the ripple effect of a different kind of pain to those left behind.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Going Indie – A Book in the Hand is Worth…Everything

In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .
                               
Staring change and opportunity in the eyes.

Musical Moment ~ “Blue World” The Moody Blues

© Photo by Joe Dempsey
I haven’t been perfect with blogging the last few weeks, but that’s because the Indie publishing side of my life was pushed into overdrive. My book, The Hoppernots is coming out on August 5th and the last few weeks have been filled with work: hiring and working with the awesome book formatter Ali Cross of Novel Ninjitsu, uploading those formatted files to all the places you can find and purchase by book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press, Smashwords, Apple iBooks, and Kobo and (the hardest and longest process) I signed up with IngramSpark (my paperback book provider) and created the cover jacket of my paperback book. What a steep learning curb I had. I had to use Adobe InDesign to create the book jacket for in the template IngramSpark provided. I’ve never seen InDesign, never used InDesign, but now I (somewhat) know what I’m doing. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. (And yes, it looks like any book you would pick up at a bookstore.)

Anyway, last night I came home from work and found the UPS guy had gently laid a package on my doorstep. Yes folks, the proof copy of The Hoppernots arrived and I am overwhelmed with happiness.

I did it.

I FREAKING DID IT!!!

I set my mind, my heart, and my intention toward becoming a publisher and I not only created Pug Paw Press, but I officially became an author. This dream has been bubbling in me for years and I took the bull by the horns and steered it in the direction of my own choosing. It’s been a fun, sometimes scary, sometimes challenging ride, but a ride well worth it.

That’s it for right now. I’m going to bask in this moment and then it’s back to business:

The business of marketing and publicizing my new book.

The business of working on book two – THE HOPPERNOTS: CAUGHT IN A WEB.

The business of writing my next Going Indie blog post­­ because the process is just as important as the desired result of being an author and you can never have too much information on Going Indie.

The business of enjoying this feeling of accomplishment because…

I FREAKING DID IT!

Good luck and Good Writing,

Deb

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Thought...

You know what I've learned in my life? When days suck (or weeks or months), they can suck the life out of you and change your perspective, but when your days are glorious, happy, and filled with laughter and love, you need to grab on, hold tight, say "thank you, thank you, thank you" and let those emotions and thoughts grace your every day so that when your day sucks (or weeks or months), you can still remember the good and blessed moments and ride that high through to the other side. Be strong peeps.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Going Indie – Having A Plan


In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .
                               
Basking in the warm winds of summer.

Musical Moment ~ “Space Heater” Geggy Tah

Photo By: therecoveringpolitician.com, googleimages

Going Indie is a lot of work. It’s satisfying work, but it’s a lot because in this self-publishing gig, all or most of the work falls into your lap. You need to have a plan on what you need to do, when you need to do it, and you should identify when there are things you need to outsource to someone else, like book cover art, illustration, formatting, etc.

In my “regular” job I am a Project Manager, so I had an idea of how to tackle and identify what needed to be done to get me to publication. I created a Work Plan, which identified the following categories:

 Vision – Mission Statement, Business Plan, 5-Year Plan

  Editing - Finding an editor, Copyediting, Developmental editing, etc.)

  Marketing and Publicity – Kindle, Magazines, Online Journals, Facebook page, Twitter, Book Trailer, etc.

  Book Cover – Illustrator, Book Cover Designers

  Formatting – ePub, Mobi, PDF, Formatting for paperback, etc.

 Writer’s Organizations – Identify and join organizations to network, learn the craft, critique groups, etc.

  Conferences/Workshops – Find places to network, learn the craft, etc.

  eBook Retailers – Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, etc.

 Merchandise – If you decide to give out swag (i.e. bookmarks, pens) or sell products (t-shirts, cups, etc.) associated with your book(s).

  Website Design – Do it your self or find someone to hire (I did it myself).

Financial – You need to think about how you will keep track of your revenue and expenses, taxes, hiring an accountant, purchasing accounting software or creating your own accounting system to report to the IRS.

  Legal – LLC, Sole Proprietor, registering your company with your state (if creating a small press), etc.

  Miscellaneous – Business Cards, ISBN, Attorney, Metadata, etc.

These are just some of the items I have on my Work Plan. Every Work Plan will be different depending on your needs and goals. But I think it is necessary to have one in place to keep you focused and help you identify everything you need to accomplish your publishing dreams.

It looks daunting, but it is completely doable and, I believe, if you know what you face in choosing to walk the Going Indie path, then you can plan your next steps, manage your expectations, and even decide if Indie Publishing is the right path for you. Going Indie is not for the faint of heart, so know what you are getting into before making the deciding to go indie.

Do you have a working plan? What is your process to getting your books out on the market place?

Good luck and Good Writing,
Deb

Wednesday, June 18, 2014