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Summer Adventures with Mickey

As you might have guessed, things are a little busy here at the Tamago because we have a book release in THREE WEEKS!!! I could cue some hyperventilation, or I could just get on with some blog posts catching you up with my zany adventures in various places this summer.

So. Bryon and I did this entire adventure with the Mouse (TM) in Anaheim, starting with D23 and ending with Disney’s California Adventure. We ensconced ourselves at our favorite Anaheim hotel The Candy Cane Inn and got down to some serious Disney.

D23 reminded me of many years of costuming and comic cons. There were some cool things there, such as I bought some of the Besame Snow White vintage make-up collection, and Bryon met Olszewski, maker of fine miniatures. As you can see from a couple of the pictures herein, there were some wonderful costuming moments as well. Yes, I did break out the Mary Poppins suit. No, I certainly was not the only Mary Poppins there, as the charming Mary Poppins with me attests to. 😀

I was also lucky enough to meet very skilled costumers Chelsea Robinson, Daniel Robinson, and Katie McKenna, who I am happy to follow on Facebook now, and are reminding me of those many happy days of costuming in Bryon and my past.

After D23, Bryon and I visited Disneyland and California Adventure. Both days were seriously busy. We had a good time seeing old favorites, and experiencing California Adventure, which was brand new for us, since we hadn’t been to Disneyland since 1998. One of the interesting features now is that California Adventure has a heavy Marvel component, which makes sense now, but it still tickles me that Captain America and friends now hang out with Mickey.

All in all, a good vacation. Bryon and I enjoyed some quality time together, we had some flashbacks to our past, and we saw something new. The travelogue will continue as I break down the Writing Excuses Cruise 2017, which you can hear some about over at Unreliable Narrators.

The Vessel of Ra: The Cover

And here it is: the finalized cover for The Vessel of Ra. Click on the image to see it in all of its detailed glory!

Just a little something to leave you with while I go cruise Europe.

Pretty cool, huh? Many thanks to Eugene Teplitsky for his hard work!

Reach for You by Pat Esden

Some of you might remember me reviewing Pat’s first two books of the Dark Heart series over at Unreliable Narrators. These two books are high on romance and adventure. The third book is a fitting end to the series, with a definite maturing of the main character that I find appealing.

Annie Fremont is back, and I mean that in more than a “returns in book 3” kind of way. In this book, as Annie and her family go to rescue the love of her life, half-efrit Chase, Annie is in charge. She’s calling all the shots, making all the right moves, and proving to be brave, compassionate and smart. Gone is the indecisive young woman from the first two books. In her place is an adult who knows what she has to do to save her man.

This is a book about family, what it means to belong to one, and how important building and keeping family together are. It’s also a book about forgiveness and acceptance. Will Annie keep Chase from losing his way as he transitions into his djinn nature, or will she find a way to save the Chase she knows? Honestly, I didn’t see Annie’s solution from the way she had been, but what she does follows so beautifully from her character progression, I was so pleased.

The book seems less about sex this time, and more about emotion and relationship, and while Edsen delivers on hot, steamy sex still, the book focuses on hot, steamy, solid emotion. I was left with the true feeling of love story on all levels ater reading all three books.

This book released June 27th. Go get it. And if you haven’t yet, go get the first two as well.

Convergence!

Thus begins the July of travel.

This weekend I’ll be at Convergence in Minneapolsi on a variety of panels and doing some readings. Hope to see you there.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Window of Misbehavior

Today is post traumatic stress disorder day, and June has been post traumatic stress disorder month. The most dramatic kind of PTSD that we often see portrayed is the kind of someone who has lived through great trauma having a flashback of the event. There’s much more to PTSD than that. If you follow the link down the internet rabbit hole, you’ll see the two kinds of PTSD that affect my life the most.

Avoiding situations that remind you of the event. You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.

I continually try to avoid putting myself at risk. This is a natural reaction. There have even been times in my life when I have had emotional outbursts or engaged in inappropriate behavior to drive people who made me feel uncomfortable out of my life. Not that I was really doing this consciously, but it was what I did in hindsight. This was the reason I cut my family out of my life, and could explain a couple of events of inconsistent behavior from a relatively nice person.

Having more negative beliefs and feelings. The way you think about yourself and others may change because of the trauma. You may feel guilt or shame. Or, you may not be interested in activities you used to enjoy. You may feel that the world is dangerous and you can’t trust anyone. You might be numb, or find it hard to feel happy.

I used to have more trouble with this one, but I’ve been very lucky in my friends. I have gone from suspicion and fear and numbness to occasional feelings of isolation with the very occasional outburst based in suspicion and fear, which relates to the first problem, trying to make sure you are bullet proof in terms of being hurt again. Impossible, I know, but PTSD doesn’t think so.

***

I don’t know what to say, really, about PTSD, except that, like any other kind of illness, there are symptoms. The responsibility is still on me for the way I act under its influence, but it is one of those things you have to consider in your interactions with others. Why does anyone act the way they act? I think we understand aspects of people better than we used to, such as autism, Asperger’s, anxiety, depression, or alcoholism. Of course, a person’s make up can make it harder to be around them.

That said, I would like to offer up a challenge. When interacting with someone, if their behavior seems atypical to what you’re used to, or what other people’s interaction is, you should probably figure there is something going on. There is a quote that says, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” But guess what? In this case, we are NOT showing you who we are. We are showing you we’re afraid.

And here’s a thoughtful quote.

It’s hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but it’s important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over their behavior. Your loved one’s nervous system is “stuck” in a state of constant alert, making them continually feel vulnerable and unsafe. This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one can’t simply choose to turn off. With the right support from friends and family, though, your loved one’s nervous system can become “unstuck” and he or she can finally move on from the traumatic event.

As a person with PTSD, sometimes I need to be reminded when I need to step back and take a look at what I’m doing, and maybe what I’m doing is not about you, although it might seem like it. It’s really about me and my protective mechanisms. You might need to give me some time to understand that you are not going to slam my fingers in the door, once I decide I am going to get to know you, once I get beyond that pleasant front of acquaintance, once I decide to risk sinking roots. I am not a good friend for people who don’t have patience with skittish horses, shy dogs, or cats going to the vet. 😀 I am a hard person to get to know, but my friends tell me I am worth the effort. I’ll go with it.

The world is rough because I am trust challenged. Because I am running scared. Because I am reminded of what has gone before. It is not your fault I am these things. PTSD doesn’t come with a label that flashes warnings at you. I am risky business.

You need to know I am doing the best I can. We all are. I recognize you also bring your own baggage to any interaction. My experience helps me think about that, which is a hidden blessing. I want to encourage you to do the same.

The Year of Living Authorly Post 14: Press Kit

This week, I made my press kit. Hey, maybe it’s never too soon to make a press kit, so you know, when you go to a convention and someone asks you to fill out a bio about yourself, you have something ready. Or, you know, the book store calls you up about your release party, something like that.

You’ll notice a wide variety of photos to choose from, and blurbs of three lengths for whatever purposes necessary. Of course, I plan to stay on top of updating this as publications change, and my look changes too. I modeled what I did heavily on Sarah Gailey‘s and Ken Liu‘s kits. Most author sites have pretty good kits you can model yours after.

You could even model yours after mine. Now.