Tick-Tock: It’s Time

I love what I do.

A few months ago, I started freelance editing and proofreading for independent authors. This is incredibly rewarding. For some strange reason, I find joy in helping indie authors. I think it comes from the part of me that is naturally nurturing; I like for people to succeed.

I have been very busy with jobs lately, and my only regret is that I haven’t had time to work on my own writing. I don’t see this as a bad thing, though. I see it as an opportunity to grow as a writer. Every manuscript I work on challenges me to think.

How would I write that? 

How can this sentence or paragraph be improved?

I like what the author did here… 

I love what I do; however, at heart I am a writer. A writer is compelled to write. Some day, I’m going to have to return to my own writing.

I think that time is now.

Through a Mirror Darkly

My First Independently Published Book & Why I Wrote It

Through a Mirror Darkly is a short story I wrote under my pen name a couple months ago. I self-published it last month through Amazon. I wrote it originally for an anthology that was published this month. It has been categorized as a horror story, but it’s more than that.

When I think of horror stories, I think of crazy, knife-carrying clowns with fangs chasing a group of horny teenagers at a deserted camp. Through a Mirror Darkly has a paranormal element to it, but it’s also very loosely based on my own experiences with familial and personal depression.

When I wrote it, I didn’t think it would end up being therapeutic for me, but it was. I never had a chance to say goodbye to my mom when she died. I hadn’t seen her in over 35 years. After my parents separated, she tried to kill herself. I was barely seven when I heard her crying out from the other room. To this day, the memory of finding my mom on the floor, begging for help wrenches my heart.

After that, my dad got custody of my brother, sisters, and me. She was eventually released from the hospital and given visitation rights every other weekend. Despite her therapies and medications, she was not emotionally healthy and tried a few more times to take her own life.

Eventually, she stopped coming to pick us up for our weekends. The last time I saw her, I was nine years old. I never really missed her… maybe because her withdrawal from our lives was so gradual. Maybe it was because I was such a daddy’s girl. The only thing I was ever angry about was having to find her the first time she attempted suicide. More than anything, I hated the pity people would express when they found out I didn’t have a mom.

Looking back, I realize I spent my life in the shadow of my mom’s suicide attempts and depression. I was adamant that I would not be like her. I would never be weak like I thought she must have been. When I had my first child, I was even more resolved that I would be nothing like her. And I was a great mom: attentive, patient, happy, ambitious. For the first time, I resented her for leaving her children because I could not understand how anyone could do that.

Then, I had my second child. I knew something was wrong in my last trimester. I grew depressed, anxious, and obsessed about irrational things. I told nobody and figured it would go away after I got to hold my baby in my arms, but it only got worse. He seemed to cry all the time, he was a horrible nurser, and nobody but me could hold him. At the same time, my three year old demanded my attention.

I sank into a dark place. I found myself resenting my baby. I started having anxiety attacks when he would cry. I remember wondering if I could place him for adoption. I was sure someone would be a better parent to him. I didn’t want to admit I was “weak” like my mom. I spent my life being everything she wasn’t. I spent my life not being what she was.

Around this time, Brooke Shields wrote a book about her experience with postpartum depression called Down Came the Rain. I do not know where I would be if that book hadn’t ended up in my hands. As I read about her depression, I realized something: this beautiful, intelligent, talented woman was admitting she needed help overcoming her depression.

I decided that was where I would be different from my mom. I would get help before it was too late. I had to be strong enough to admit that I was weak. I was ashamed and embarrassed, but I did seek help because of my love for my boys. With the help of antidepressants, I became more like the “old” me again. I still struggle with depression and anxiety, and I still take medication for it.

When I found out my mom passed away a couple years ago, I felt I needed to do something to “release” her… to let her know I finally understood her. I needed to let her know that she had my forgiveness.

My goodbyes to her were put on the back burner, however. The same day I learned of her passing, my dad was undergoing surgery. Complications arose and he almost died. From that time on, his health deteriorated. He almost died several times in the months that followed. Emotionally, I couldn’t focus on my mom’s death. My dad had priority. He died five months ago and I miss him terribly. I always thought my first book would be dedicated to him, but as the story, Through a Mirror Darkly, wrote itself, I realized it was a book for my mom. It was my way to say goodbye, to let her go with my forgiveness.

I’ve always found comfort in writing, and this story was no different. It also brought healing. I believe in the afterlife. I believe she needed to know that she is forgiven. I feel I needed to tell her this for her sake and mine. I hope she has finally found peace and wholeness.

If you are interested in the fictional account of my story, you can get it on Amazon. It’s less than a buck and if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. If you do read it, please leave a review on Amazon. Reviews help independent authors like me. Thank you!51AiuzkwVtL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)

My First Comic-Con

Authors A.R. Shaw, Doug Bornemann, me, David Forsythe, and Kathy Porter
Authors A.R. Shaw, Doug Bornemann, me, David Forsyth, and Kathy Porter (not shown: Dan Williams)

Last weekend, I had the honor of representing some of the fabulous authors who are a part of Monique Happy Editorial Services at the Long Beach ComicCon. Even though I live in San Diego, where ComicCon is HUGE, I’ve never been to one. I’m so glad I got to attend!

Shawn Chesser and W.J. Lundy sent some promotional goodies to pass out and they were snatched up quickly! The attendees were a lot of fun and I got to talk with lots of zombie fiction and horror fans. My goal was to introduce fans of zombies and shows like The Walking Dead to some of the amazing zombie fiction authors (like Chesser and Lundy).

I only started reading zombie fiction when I went through The Walking Dead withdrawals. When I shared this with people, they laughed and said they understood the feeling. Many fans seemed very interested in checking out zombie literature, so hopefully they will!

The best part of the weekend was getting to meet some great writers. They were very generous with their advice and encouragement. As a new author, I appreciate the time they spent talking with me.

If I’m given the opportunity, I will definitely do this again. I’m not a salesperson and tend to be a bit shy about talking to people I don’t know. I surprised myself, though– turns out I’m pretty good at promoting people and things I truly like.

Now that I know what to expect, there are a few things I will change for the next time I go. I want to have actual books available for purchase. Hopefully, I will have a few of my own by then. People in that environment seemed excited to purchase autographed books from authors they could meet and talk with in person. I will also come with some sort of graphic to catch the attention of people passing the booth. Most people didn’t stop until I asked if they like zombies*. I want people to know right away what the authors I am representing are all about.

*The most common answer: “Who doesn’t like zombies?!”

In all, Comic-Con was a blast! The people were friendly and happy to be there. It was a people-watcher’s paradise. My husband took pictures while I worked the booth. Below are just a few of the amazing costumes we saw.

Many thanks to David Forsythe, author of The Sovereign Spirit Saga books and Sedulity, for arranging everything, setting up the ApocaCon booth, and inviting others to take part in this great opportunity!ii gg

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