Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Facebook covers for writers

Here is another Facebook cover for authors. If you want to see more (I'll be adding them here and there), click the "Facebook covers" label at the bottom of the post. These are free to use on your writer Facebook page. Please do not alter them. Thank you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The great disc degeneration debate.

I've been doing oodles and oodles of research since my back issues started.  After all this research and after seeing doctor after doctor, I have one conclusion. No one really knows squat. Doctors can only use their educated guesses mixed with their own opinions to try to diagnose and treat their patients. Don't get me wrong. I don't mean that to be demeaning in any way and I value my doctors. But at some point, I had to understand that I have to take everything I've learned over the last decade and make my own assessment. I'm a smart girl, too, and more personally familiar with my issues than my doctors are.

I have premature degenerative disc disease and have been told this by two doctors. Now here's where it gets sketchy. Some doctors scoff at the notion that it is called a disease, others will say no such thing exists because an injury to a disc doesn't mean it is a degenerative disc condition. Degenerative disc refers to what happens to your spine as you age. Your discs start losing fluid gradually, making them more brittle and prone to injury. Most people won't have symptoms at all and those who do won't usually notice anything significant until they are 50 or older. I started having symptoms in my late twenties. At the time I began having symptoms, I was not overweight and I was a fairly active person. I was not a super-athlete who took regular blows to the body that would've caused such injuries. These herniations, bulges (yes, multiple; the worst right now being between L4-L5), and facet joint problems I'm suffering from now are not normal and are not typical of a 30-year-old. So while many doctors will dispute the terminology of "disease", I will call it one because I am in a unique position to know that there is no rhyme or reason for my discs to be behaving like they are. A friend of mine has the same thing. She is my age, has been having symptoms for years, and is now in a wheelchair because a disc slipped and compressed her spine. There is no rhyme or reason for it; she is a social worker, not an Olympic athlete. So I dare anyone to tell her she doesn't have a disorder or disease.

Is there anything I can do about it or any way I can get better? That is a debate in itself. I have a feeling that many doctors are just as jaded as any other profession. Patients lie and then don't take care of themselves in the way a doctor would suggest so it's no wonder such skepticism rests in their hearts. So while some of them might say that exercise and diet can eventually cure me, I'm more of a realist now. I don't believe this will get better for me. I've been doing what doctors have told me to do for years now and this has gotten worse. I'm not trying to be doom and gloom, I'm being real. You can't stop the aging process and if my discs are already aging prematurely, there's not much I can do to reverse that. I'm sure I can slow it, though. I am eating better and exercising; low impact to strengthen my muscles and keep myself healthy; and don't get me wrong, I am otherwise a healthy woman. My hypothyroidism is under control and my latest blood test shows nothing abnormal.

I'm still in pain every day, though, but I'm under the care of a pain management doctor who is respectful of the fact that I abhor taking more medication and as long as I can tolerate the pain, I'm not resorting to more needles and procedures. This is something I'm going to have to take one day at a time and I think I'm in the right frame of mind to do that, now that I know what I'm up against. We're focusing on what I can do to make myself healthier, the first stop being that I will have my blood taken to check my hormone levels.

Most of my back pain readers are here because of the posts related to my journey after my discectomy on the ruptured disc between L5-S1. I should note that I'm probably not the best candidate for what's "normal" after a discectomy and I apologize that it has taken me so long to understand that.

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best.

Peace, love, and less pain,


Friday, February 22, 2013

Two book releases later this year!

I've hinted at this before but want to officially announce the publishing of not one, but two (2!) books near the end of this year.

First up will be a non-fiction book for writers entitled:

25 Writing Prompts for All Genres

In this book, I've compiled a list of writing prompts to kick-start the Great Idea I know is tooling around in that brain of yours. These prompts are designed to use over and over again in many different ways for many different genres, making this a great book to have on hand when you feel your creativity slamming against a brick wall. It will be great for simple writing exercises, too, for when you just want to flex those muscles or for sharing in a peer writing group.


And next (this is the one I'm most excited about!), will be the publishing of my second novel, Future Past, my first fantasy.

Future Past

For ten years, Dayel struggled to survive inside the most infamous prison in the world with no memory of who she was before or what she did to get there.  Scars over her body and rumors of mass murder indicate that she might not want to know. She can't believe she could be such a monster, despite evidence to the contrary. All she wants upon her release is to live in quiet solitude.

She soon finds that others have no intention of allowing her the normalcy she desires. On her path, she makes unlikely friends, escapes assassins, and battles unimaginable foes. Her memory begins to return and with it, magic begins to manifest. Terrified that she will hurt someone with her untamed abilities, she begins the journey to unravel her past, for doing so can only ensure her future is lined with peace. But what she finds is more horrifying than she ever thought possible and everything she thought she was comes crumbling down around her.

So stay tuned for these releases, news, and more! You may subscribe or "Like" me on Facebook. It's going to be an exciting year!
Peace, love, and WOOT!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Facebook covers for writers

Here is another Facebook cover for authors. If you want to see more (I'll be adding them here and there), click the "Facebook covers" label at the bottom of the post. These are free to use on your writer Facebook page. Please do not alter them. Thank you!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Meth War in DeKalb - When are regulations too much?

Anyone who has been around me this winter knows that I've struggled from one cold/sinus episode to another. I was even knocked out with the flu a couple of weeks ago. Normally I would just go to my doc and get a shot in the hip but it doesn't really work and it still takes me forever to get over... only to have a couple of days of peace before the stuffiness starts again.

So I decided to try something different this time. While searching the Walmart cold relief shelf, I saw the cardboard display for the regulated cold medicines that I could purchase at the pharmacy counter. Having never done that before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought I would have to show my license, maybe sign something, but it wasn't that simple. The clerk got my license and took a good five full minutes inputting ALL my information in her computer. Never once did she crack a smile and even regarded me with disdain. By the time I paid her for my perfectly legal purchase, I felt like I'd done something wrong.

It's kind of like trying on clothes at most stores. First you have to check in with an employee who will physically count the number of items you have, then they have to lead you back and unlock the door to the fitting room, and then you see all these large-lettered signs proclaiming, "SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED!" as if you had no clue that stealing was illegal. And the friskiness of airport security can be attributed to the stupidity of those who have no regard for others.

Don't get me wrong. I get it. I've been in retail. I get that there are people who will not bat an eye at stealing. I even had a cousin one time try to distract me while his friend lifted a carton of cigarettes. There are people out there who have no regard for others. They want what they want when they want it and they don't care who they rip off to get it. Drugs are an even bigger evil. There have been so many people who have had their lives affected or ruined by meth. I read an account from another local blogger last week about how her family had been terrorized because of her father-in-law's meth addiction. I've had police officers tell me how meth is "the devil" and how a large percentage of the calls they deal with are directly and indirectly related to meth.

But at what point do we, as a society, continue to tolerate being treated like criminals? I understand there are no easy answers. Anyone who has been affected by meth (like anyone affected by terrorism, I imagine) would likely not have any qualms about promoting the inconvenience of a few if it meant saving lives. While I can understand that mind-set, something about it still bothers me. Why do I have to be treated like a criminal because others want to be stupid? Why should I have to feel like I'm doing something wrong when I buy a legal substance? It's confusing. On one hand, you want to promote safety and you want these meth makers and dealers ousted, but what price do we have to pay otherwise?  I wish I had the answers. I'm terribly sorry for those who have had to deal with this horrible drug.

Perhaps the first step would be that Walmart inform their employees not to assume that when someone buys a pseudoephedrine product, they are going to use it for nefarious purposes. I understand they have to get that information but they can at least be a little kinder about it.

And as an aside, and I'm not getting paid to say this, Mucinex Max D, while expensive, has made me feel so much better than anything the doctor has prescribed the last few months. It started wearing off about hour 9-10 (it's supposed to last 12 hours) but while it was working, I could actually breathe and my head didn't feel like it was going to explode. I'll definitely be getting Mucinex again once my supply has exhausted.  By then, I may be patted down or followed to my car to be searched.

Peace, love, and relief,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Facebook covers for writers

Here is another Facebook cover for authors. If you want to see more (I'll be adding them here and there), click the "Facebook covers" label at the bottom of the post. These are free to use on your writer Facebook page. Please do not alter them. Thank you!

Monday, February 4, 2013

You is a writer. You is an author. You is awesome.

It was a week or so ago that I saw someone online mention how they were, "taking a stand against the title of author." She said she was a writer, not an author. I had to double-take and wonder what was so important about the distinction that the writer had to get so worked up over it.

Which led me to the next inevitable question: What is the difference between a writer and an author? So I did what any reasonably sane person would do in this tech age; I Googled it. According to a little website called, "A writer is a person who writes a book, article, or any literary piece, while an author is essentially the person who originates the idea, plot, or content of the work being written." How accurate this information is, is unknown. (I'm assuming that because it is on the Internet, it is true because nothing that isn't true can be put on the Internet. Bonjour.)

If that distinction is true, then I'm even more confused by that writer's insistence on her title. So I wasted my valuable time reaching for yet another answer. According to author Dean Wesley Smith, "A Writer is a person who writes. An Author is a person who has written." Author Jason Stanford says, "An author has readers. A writer doesn't."

No disrespect to anyone who is hell-bent on their own distinction but here's my opinion on it:

Whatevs, Dude.

I've always considered myself both and it doesn't matter to me which title people prefer to label me. However, I will take issue with my tax preparer putting my occupation as "eBay Seller" on my forms last year because apparently she couldn't process that I was an actual writer. I mean author. I mean writer. I mean... oh, crap. Now my head hurts.

On that same thought, could the title have something to do with the reaction writer/authors get from the general public when we say we are writer/authors? People just don't seem to believe me. Those who haven't read my work have a hard time understanding that, yes, I'm a published author, yes, I write stories and yes, I make money from it. It is a job. I do have other jobs, yes, but writing is a profession of mine. It's not some flighty hobby that I might do once or twice a year. It is a career. For example, just the other day, I was speaking with a local police officer and he was telling me about his gardening business. I then told him that I was a writer. "A writer?" he says with a half laugh. I get that reaction more than I would like.

But back to the point; I think we writer/authors sometimes overthink things. Regardless what you like to call yourself or what other people like to call you, you're awesome. You have to be to have the gumption to get those thoughts down and to open yourself and your work up to others. Don't sweat these small distinctions. Focus on the important stuff, like getting those brilliant ideas down on the screen, because ultimately, that's what's important.

Peace, love, and don't call me an eBay Seller,


Facebook cover for writers

One of my hobbies is a bit of design. I created this Facebook cover the other day for my author page and decided that every time I make one, I'll offer it up here for free. Enjoy. If I have any more, it will show up under the label "facebook covers" below.