The April #AtoZChallenge and #IWSG

Not only is it the first Wednesday of the month which means the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, it’s also the first day of the April #AtoZChallenge for 2015. I anticipate an exciting and exhausting month=) If you missed the reveal bloghop, no worries. My theme this year is lesser known mythology: Greek, Egyptian, and Norse.

As with every year, some letters are used more than others, so there were days where picking something to write about was hard. That’s the case here, with the first letter of the alphabet.

#atozchallenge A is for

When I started my research, I came across a site called GodChecker. It has an alphabetical list of every name that has to do with various pantheons of mythology. So, I started there for every letter.

For the letter A it has

  • 110 entries for Greek mythology
  • 68 entries for Egyptian mythology
  • 29 entries for Norse mythology

Color me overwhelmed! But I started looking at the entries and found one that I thought was interesting.

Atalanta

#atozchallenge Atalanta

Atalanta was a mortal woman. When she was born, her father left her out in the wild where a bear took care of her until some hunters came along and raised her. She loved running and even raced though the odds were against her in a race against Hippomenes. He asked Aphrodite for help so she gave him golden apples which he tossed in front of her anytime she gained the lead. Apparently she couldn’t help herself and just had to pick them up. Somehow, this allowed for Hippomenes to marry Atalanta. They had a son, then one of the gods turned them into lions.

There are myths that also place her on the Argo with Jason. She followed Meleager, whom she met during the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. Those myths are disputed though, with some saying Jason didn’t want a woman on his ship.

Atalanta makes for an interesting Greek hero and one I would love to see turned into a modern day story.

Resources

Angry and Ashamed

My Shame
bruckerrlb / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

That’s where I’m at right now. I’m angry at Gov. Mike Pence for having the audacity to sign into law SB101. I’m ashamed to call people who support this law my neighbors. I want to leave this state. I want to get away from the stain that now covers those who call themselves Hoosiers, a stain that affects everyone, even those who oppose the law.

****

It’s been two hours since I wrote that first part and I’m struggling with the words to explain just how angry this law makes me. I’m so angry I want to move out of Indiana. I’ve joked about it on Twitter and Facebook, but it’s only sort of a joke. If someone offered to pay for the move and get my husband a job, I’d take them up on it in an instant. Moving is expensive, and with this new law, I’m not certain we’d be able to sell the house.

I encourage a mass exodus.

****

I read that the republicans who pushed for the marriage ban are the front runners for the bill. They wrote it, they encouraged people to vote for it. I also read where democrats tried to get something in the bill that would prevent discrimination, but that the republicans pushing it refused. If that doesn’t tell you exactly what SB101 is for, then I don’t know what will.

I read the bill. Several times. The wording they use to describe what “freedoms” people of faith have is vague, and I think that’s on purpose. For the sole purpose of allowing for discrimination. Against the LGBTQ community, against women who need or want birth control or abortions, and against anyone they want. All so long as they say it’s against their religion.

****

I know people of faith. I know bigots. One does not include the other. It is bigotry that has been legalized here. It is hate. To confuse one with the other is what gives Christianity such a bad name. They say there’s a war against Christianity, but they’re wrong. The war is against the bigotry people claim is because of their religion. Because God says so.

No. He doesn’t. I don’t care what your bible says. It was written by flawed and biased men. It was written thousands of years ago. If you want to adhere to laws written by bigots so long ago, then that is your choice. But you don’t get to claim the war is against people of faith.

And I shouldn’t have to let it be because of some law written and put into place by bigots.

****

I don’t know.

The only thing I can do is speak out against this law and boycott business–people–that discriminate. I can only hope it’s enough and that enough fellow Hoosiers do the same.

The #AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal

I completely forgot this was today! I’ve been going through a host migration and getting over a sickness that lasted much longer than it should have, so my brain space has been fuzzy.

BUT!! It’s theme reveal day for the A to Z Challenge! So, let’s forget the fuzzy and move on to the awesome=)

So far, I’ve done a random theme, where I posted about pretty much anything that came to mind for that letter, I’ve done an Unusual Words theme and I’m still recovering from some of the macabre things I discovered, and last year I did a Paranormal Romance story based on Cinderella.

This year I’ve decided to focus on mythology.

The mythology I will highlight throughout the month will be things that aren’t well known, so don’t expect to hear about Hercules or Zeus. You’ll hear about mythic heroes and heroines and gods that don’t get a lot of time in the limelight. And it won’t be just Greek mythology either. I’m going to include Norse and Egyptian mythology as well.

For now, I must go and check out the other reveals today (and over the next few days!) as well as get some more posts written for the month of April. Hope to see you here=)

Are you doing A to Z this year? What’s your theme?

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Review: A Magic Dark and Bright

She meant to help a ghostnot unleash a curse.

Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since the night her brother died. 

The ghost seems to have disappeared from the woods surrounding Asylum, Pennsylvania—that is, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old MacAllister House next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch. And she definitely can’t ignore the connection between his arrival and the Woman in White’s return. 

Then Amelia learns that the Woman in White is a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, Amelia decides to do whatever it takes to help the Woman in White find peace–and Charlie agrees to help her.

But when Amelia’s classmates start to drown in the Susquehanna River, one right after another, rumors swirl as people begin to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As Charlie and Amelia uncover the dark history of Asylum, they realize they may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.

*I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for a fair and honest review.

Book: A Magic Dark and Bright (Asylum #1)

Author: Jenny Adams Perinovic

Publisher: Bookish Girl Press

Genre: YA paranormal

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

I loved this book. When I got it on NetGalley, I’d just happened upon it as I was browsing, loved the cover, and thought the blurb was interesting. I’m thrilled I found it.

Amelia won me over right away. Her interest in the Woman in White was infectious and I kept counting the pages until we’d see her again. The stories about her brother, and the way she missed him broke my heart. Charlie was wonderful and I loved the relationship between them, but my favorite relationship was Amelia and her best friend, Leah.

The way the story plays out pulled me in. I finished the book in two days, hanging on every word and looking forward to every twist and turn.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I give it five stars=)

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#IWSG: Starting From Scratch

I have an urban fantasy that I’ve been working on since last year. I got half way through it and finally decided that all the walls I kept hitting and writing around were leading me in a circle of no plot, no character… no story. So, I’m tossing it. Not all of it mind you. There are plot points that will translate well, but most of the characters need to be revamped, the entire plot needs an overhaul, and some of my research needs to be researched again.

The way I was writing the story just didn’t work. I kept trying to force things that just didn’t feel right. The entire time, I thought it was stuff I could fix in the second draft, but after taking a break from it for the last month, I went back to it and realized it was all wrong.

This is the second time this has happened with this book.

I could take it as a sign that the story just isn’t going to work, but I know better. I’m in love with the main idea and all the potential it has. This is a story that defies the fantasy, and especially the urban fantasy, genre. It just needs to be rewritten. Which is fine. I’ve done that with another book several times.

The idea of a rewrite doesn’t scare me. It excites me. I’ve always been excited at improving my work. I jump up and down when my CPs send my stuff back full of notes because I know that what they have to say will only make my writing better, even if I don’t use all their suggestions. I’ve always embraced the idea of a shitty first draft, a better second draft, and a best third/fourth/fifth draft. Yes, the work is hard, and yes I do grumble about it at times. But in the end and on the whole, I enjoy seeing the transformation from start to finish.

So, the idea of starting from scratch doesn’t scare me.

Have you ever had to start from scratch?

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). We post on the first Wednesday of the month and talk about our insecurities, the things that are challenging us, things that inspire us, or offer inspiration for others. The brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, you can join the IWSG by signing up here. You can also join the Facebook Group.

Canva, Storium, and Staying Creative

If you’ve noticed lately, most of my graphics have improved quite a bit. I blame it all credit it all on Canva. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a great site for creating graphics of all kinds. It has a training area so that you can learn how to use it to its full extent. It’s also fun to play around with. I’ve created graphics for the blog (obviously) as well as toyed around with infographics and quotes. I love its ease of use. Everything you need is right there on the sidebar, labeled and ready for you to click on. It’s pretty nice.

Another thing I’ve been doing is playing in Storium. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a collaborative storytelling “game”. It was completely funded (plus some!!) on Kickstarter and is currently in its gamma testing phase. I don’t know when it will launch completely, but you can get in to play the gamma test for $10. So far, I’m having a blast playing different characters and reading through stories that are already finished. Not all of the features are available, but once it launches not only will stories by various well-known authors be available to play, but so will multiple new options for characters and narrators.

I haven’t tried the role of narrator yet because I only just started, but I’ve been paying attention to how things work and I’m thinking of getting a story together sometime soon.

The great thing about these sites is it helps me to stay creative. I get to play around on Canva to stimulate my visual creativity and play around on Storium to keep my writing creativity active.

These are things that work for me. They won’t necessarily work for others (though I highly recommend using Canva for your blogging/social media needs). As long as you’re doing things creatively, as long as you’re filling that well and not draining it completely, it doesn’t matter what you do.

How do you fill your well?

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Things New and the #Giveaway Extended

First things first. I’ve  decided to extend the giveaway. It will now last until Monday at midnight. You can find the Rafflecopter form either on the original post or down at the bottom. Don’t forget to enter!

My birthday weekend went really well. Saturday I spent with chocolate and Michael Westen (Burn Notice). It was one of those lazy days where I cuddled with the family and did little else. Valentines day was good=)

Sunday was a little different. The morning was lazy. More Burn Notice, more chocolate. That afternoon and evening though, hubs and I met some friends to eat at Red Lobster to eat some lobster tail and crab legs. Yum. We also stopped to pick up my birthday present… A new laptop! It’s so pretty too. It’s one of those you can switch from laptop mode to tablet mode. It’s smaller than my last one, which now belongs to hubs (and probably won’t see much use). I also got a Wreck This Journal and I’m super excited to wreck the hell out of it=)

snow panorama
oxyrhynchos – OLOliuqui / Foter / CC BY-NC

The kids have been home the last couple of days. Snow finally made its way to Southern Indiana. It hasn’t really hampered my ability to write as much as it used to. The kids, as they get older, find more and more ways to entertain themselves, though I’m still constantly checking on them.

Anyway, I’m off to watch ET with the kidlets. They’ve never seen it before and I can’t wait to see their reactions=) Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

What’s the weather like where you’re at?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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It’s Birthentines Day Weekend!

Valentines Day

Valentines Day is on Saturday which makes for all kinds of chocolates and hearts and love, love, love! But you may be wondering what in the world Birthentines Day is. Well, since HEART Day is on the 14th and my birthday is on the 15th, my family has a tradition of combining them into a two-day celebration called Birthentines Day.

Since it’s a family tradition, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why you guys shouldn’t be involved. My internet family is awesome and each and every one of you deserves to be a part of the celebration!

Birthentines Day
Mmmmm. Cake.PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Since I can’t share cake with you guys in any way other than pictures, I thought I would offer a chance to win something awesome.

They say love never dies. I don’t know who “they” are, but I think these guys would have to agree:

Zombie Love

Entry is easy. Just fill out the Rafflecopter*! It starts today (Feb. 12th) at Noon EST and ends next Wednesday at midnight. I’ll announce winners that Friday=)

Goodluck!

And Happy Birthentines Day Weekend!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*This giveaway is US only due to international shipping rates.

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#IWSG: Two Weeks

It’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). The brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, it’s a monthly meme where you can post your insecurities for the month or inspiration for others. Check out the blog and join the Facebook Group!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Two weeks ago, I talked about being in the midst of a battle with depression. I’m still there, but I’ve been to the doctor and started an antidepressant. That’s not a lot of time to notice a change, but my family is on the look-out for me. I still have bad days that are really bad, but I do feel better knowing that I’m doing something about it.

I said that I wouldn’t be on a lot of social media for a while, and I didn’t realize how true that would be. In the last couple of weeks, I think I’ve tweeted maybe twice, shared a few pictures on Facebook, and joined a bit of conversation on /r/YAwriters. I still get on there and keep up with book-world news, see what my friends are up to, and chat with my crit partner, but actually saying something? It’s like pulling teeth. But at this point, it’s not that I don’t think anyone cares or that no one is listening, it’s more like I don’t have anything to say. Literally, there is nothing.

My life the last couple of weeks has been taking care of myself. I’m playing Candy Crush and Trivia Crack while hanging out on the couch with Hubs and watching our shows or a movie we rented. I’ve given myself permission to nap as much as I want, because it’s how I process stress. I’ve stepped away from writing one of my WIPs because I hated it and where it was going (more on that in a bit). I’ve bought books and added even more to my wish list. I’ve organized the bathroom closet and thrown out a lot of junk that was cluttering up the house and my life. I’ve begun the process of recovery.

It’s amazing the things that happen when you make time for yourself.

It’s also really frustrating when, during that time, you come to realize the book you’re writing is all wrong. Not the idea, not the story, but how you’re telling it. My main character is pissed at me because I’ve painted her into a box she doesn’t belong in. I’ve got about 20K words I have to scrap and start the thing over, but that’s okay. I’d not written on it much in the last little while. I have other projects I’m working on that have kept me quite busy. I’m okay with starting over. I’d rather start over than not finish it at all, which is where it was headed until I realized what was happening.

Anyways, it’s February: the month of love and my birth month. So, keep an eye on this space over the next couple of weeks. I’ll be giving away some goodies to celebrate=)

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Living With Depression

Last week, I talked about making an appointment for myself with the doctor. The main reason I mentioned needing to go to the doctor was because of pain. I hurt all over. A lot. There’s a plethora of reasons people tend to have full body pain. So many reasons, in fact, that making a list here would take up way too much space. So, I’ll just get down to it. The reason I think I have so much pain is because of depression.

I’ve battled depression before. I recognize the cycle. I’ve been going lower and lower and the spiral is so close to getting out of control. I can’t avoid the doctor anymore.

I’ve debated writing this post. There’s even a good chance I won’t post it, even if I do finish it. The reasons are all listed in that picture up there. The thing with depression, though, is that even though those are reasons, they’re incredibly unreasonable. I know on some level that none of it is true, probably because I’m able to recognize my own patterns of depression, but that doesn’t change the fact that it all feels true.

There have been numerous blogs where people talk about depression. None of them I can remember (Oh! Hyperbole and a Half!) so I can’t link to them, but they’re people in the writing world. I’m going to blame my current depression for the inability to remember who posted about depression because it does that. It makes you forget.

Out of all of the posts I’ve read, I do remember that pretty much every one of them was written after the depression or during recovery. They wrote with hope in their hearts thanks to the various ways they’ve moved past the depression, be it medicine or therapy or a mix of both. They weren’t at their lowest points. I’m writing this before recovery, during depression. At this moment, I am at my lowest.

So far today, I’ve contemplated giving up on writing, laying in bed for the rest of my life, and how long I can go without showering before getting crusty. Because, what’s the point? All of those things in the picture have been going through my head more and more every day. And, unreasonable though they are, they are believable. Depression lies.

Again, all I want to do right now is delete every word, log off the computer, and collapse in a heap on the couch while my kids watch Minecraft videos on my phone. Because, what’s the point? I want to sleep and sleep and sleep, so I don’t have to deal with anything. Because, what’s the point? I want to watch hours of TNG and DS9 in my room with no interruptions and forget that anything else exists in the world. Because, what’s the point? I want to delete every single file on my computer that has anything to do with the stories I’ve written and am writing. Because, what’s the point?

I’m lucky (I guess?) in that I recognized depression is kicking my ass. What I didn’t recognize was where the pain was coming from. Depression has never caused me pain before, though it can happen. I think that’s why I let things get so bad. Because I was concentrating on the pain while the depression worked on my brain, wiggling its way in and laying eggs of deception in my gray matter.

Depression sucks.

I wrote this about two weeks ago:

For me, one of the hardest parts of depression is accepting that it is depression and not something that will just pass. Then again, depression lies. It will tell you that all the pain is pointless and others have it worse than you and what right do you have to be sad. And all that only makes it worse.

This is a bad one. I’m in pain. Literal, physical pain. I’ve suffered from anxiety for years and I’ve had many a panic attack that [my husband] was convinced was an actual heart attack. But this constant ache is new. The pain has spread from my insides to my outsides. I go days where I can’t breathe, can’t think beyond catching my breath.

I’m rolling my own eyes at this point. Who the hell cares?

I know that’s the depression talking. I know that I have people in my life that care about me and care about my well-being. But that’s what depression does. It tells you that you’re not good enough. It tells you that you’re worthless. It tells you that no one in the world gives a shit about you or your problems. And while you know it’s a lie, you still believe it.

The Pit of Despair is a real fucking place. I live there.

It was at that point I realized, I needed to do something and now. It still took me a week to make an appointment with my doctor.

Depression has such a stigma attached to it, it’s easy to push away everything and do your damnedest to appear just fine. Not a lot of people know how to react to a confession of the truth, so you lie and say you’re okay, paste on a fake smile, and pretend that the world isn’t crushing you where you stand. Most of the time, it’s just easier to not answer the phone, not go out of the house, not do… anything really. Because, again, what’s the point?

I might step away from certain social media for a while, or at least not get on as much. There’s a particular trigger on a particular site that seems to make more and more of an appearance lately. If that seems vague, it’s supposed to. But, if you don’t see me much, you’ll know why. I’ll still be around, but I might not respond to you as quickly as I have in the past.

Now, to delete or not to delete?

Screw you, depression. I’m going with not

 

ETA: Thanks to Caryn Caldwell, I have several links to other writers who face many of the same problems I do. These were the posts I couldn’t remember:

It’s worth noting that every single one of these describes an ongoing process with depression and anxiety. I stated above that what I could remember of them was after their lowest points, and I see now, after rereading all the posts that was inaccurate and unfair. I’m extremely thankful that Caryn brought these to my attention so that I could go through and read them again and see that I am not alone in this.