More thoughts on insomnia…

listFirst of all, thank you to everyone who has sent me messages, commented on this post or the post on FB, etc. I now have a list of things to research as I get the energy.

The biggest suggestion seems to be acupuncture… and it sucks that it isn’t covered by my insurance. (I’m discovering that if something might actually help, it’s not covered.) Luckily, my doctor’s practice has an acupuncturist on site, and hopefully will be willing to work with me on payment. (If not, I’ll search for another solution.)

So, why am I writing about insomnia again? Because, of course, I’m suffering it again after being up all night last night, because I fell asleep around 1pm and slept til bedtime – when I woke up. Yay! (not.)

So I read everyone’s comments, made my notes, and thought about the things I’d forgotten to include in yesterday’s post. (Sleep deprivation also makes you forgetful. And stupid. And I, personally, have no idea what day it is… time is a weird thing when your schedule is so out of wack and your brain is messed up.)

Another thing I have tried for my back is heating pads. Which are nice and cozy – until I start having a freaking hot flash. And I start to sweat, and have to fling off all the covers and the fur-varmints who insist on curling up on me with their heated bodies. (And seriously? My CHIN sweats!!!! What the heck?!??!) But apparently my hot flashes have nothing to do with menopause or peri-menopause, which I haven’t started; they’re just a fun part of being me right now.

If I use an ice-pack, the pain basically feels like the ice planet from Doctor Who. Yeah, fun.

Found on>. I'm pretty sure the planet's gonna smash into me, no the other way around.

Found on I’m pretty sure the planet’s gonna smash into me, not the other way around.

Also, I wish I could say that my insomnia is new, and only because of the pain, but sadly, it’s not. I’ve fought insomnia since high school. Oh joy unbounded.

Maybe in another post I’ll tell you all the tricks I use to try to thwart it. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Darnit.

In the meantime, I want to share the comment that Miranda Kate shared on yesterday’s post, because it is definitely a big lesson for me to learn, and some of you out there may be helped by it too:

But the lesson? let it all go, the world won’t end, you won’t be worthless, let others pick up the slack and see that you are supported. And also, the other lessons, even if you only achieve one thing a day, you will find that it is enough. That is what I found – even if that one thing was doing the washing-up. I actually found that everything still got done. I learned to let myself relax and ‘be in pain’ so to speak, do what my body was asking me to do.


Posted in depression, giving to others, health, hell, illness, insomnia, learning, making a difference, mental illness | Leave a comment

Yet another sleepless night…

This sucks. This really really sucks.

This is making me insane. Insaner. More insane.

What is *this*? It’s my health. Specifically, my inability to sleep. And most specifically, my back. My back which feels like a migraine, or a tornado, or a cyclone, or some other horrible act of nature has taken up residence and refuses to leave. Not for nothing. Not for a $70 prescription pain cream, not for 1/2 a tube of $8 arnica, not for $45 prescription pain meds, or OTC pain pills, or heavy duty prescription painkillers. Not for epsom salt baths, or massages from hubs (tho they knock it back a bit), or visits to the chiropractor (ditto; but I can’t afford to go see him every day).

I’ve now had X-rays done, and an MRI (183 images!). And what do they show? My wacky scoliosis bends, which I already knew about, and could have been treated when I was 15, if only I’d been treated. But I wasn’t. They show arthritis, and minimal bulging of some of the discs, and mild degenerative disease. Nothing to explain the severe pain I’m having. (I’d show you an MRI image, but my Mac can’t read it, and the one computer we have that can, doesn’t have screenshot software.)

The back pain leads to insomnia, which also leads to insanity. Trust me, I know. And I’ve tried everything for that too. (The insomnia.) (Well, the insanity too, for that matter.) I’ll lay in bed for hours, literally hours, until I just can’t stand to lay there anymore, awake. So I’ll get up, and putter on FB, or try to read, or (more likely) cry. And then I’ll be up for 24 or 36 hours, and begin to suffer sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is a strange, strange thing. For me, I start feeling woozy. My limbs feel disconnected. I feel nauseous. My eyeballs feel dry. Everything is either too loud and too close, or too quiet and too far away.

And the best part? Even beyond exhausted and sleep deprived…. I still can’t fall asleep! Until my body just can’t stay up anymore, and I crash for 24 hours. Totally against doctor’s orders, which are to try to get back on a normal sleep schedule, but I can’t seem to, no matter what I do.

Vicious cycle. And I’m tired. I’m sick and tired of being. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

In “good” news, a few things have changed since I wrote my “damaged” post. My new doctor is great. They listen, they respond to questions, they aren’t dismissing me because the MRI doesn’t show anything acute. They will work with me until we figure it out.

Thanks to them, at least I now know what is wrong with the rest of me: in addition to everything else, I have chronic Epstein Barr (EBV) virus, adrenal fatigue, and some nutritional deficiencies, as well as genetic abnormalities. (Thankfully, not Lyme, not thyroid.)

The EBV is so bad, my numbers are way off the charts: on two tests, the normal range is 0-18, and my numbers are 127 and 480! No wonder I’m tired and hurt all the time! (EBV is a cousin to mono, which I’ve never had, as far as I know.) I’m now taking some new medications and supplements. Which are helping, some, but I still don’t know how I’ll physically feel from day to day.

The storm on my wedding day.

The storm on my wedding day.

Mentally? I’m low. I’m down. Doing even the smallest activity – like a load of laundry – wears me out, which makes me feel worthless, which feeds the dark cloud of depression that’s following me around. I mean, I’ve been paying my own way since I was 14 years old, and I can’t even sweep or clean dishes? It’s really really difficult to separate me from my body, from my health. It’s really really easy to fall into the “I can’t sleep like a normal human being ohmygodwhatswrongwithme” mentality. And stay there. Even tho it’s just my physical self that is broken. (Okay, yeah, my mental too, but that’s a separate issue.)

Since I can’t seem to find something uplifting to write to end this post, I’ll leave you with what my friend Phyllis sent me (who has health issues and pain of her own):

Instead of “being sick and tired of being,” accept that this is your reality. Do not let the pain keep you from being you, keep you from enjoying all that you can enjoy, keep you from celebrating all that you can do despite the pain.

I may not be happy with this new reality, but I’ll try accept it. As for being me? Everyone else is taken. :)

Thanks to everyone who has donated thus far to my gofundme campaign, or shared it. It helps ease my depression/anxiety over money.

Posted in depression, health, illness, insomnia | 7 Comments

GNU Tanith Lee

It seems there has been an awful lot of deaths this year. I personally have sent out, oh, six or eight sympathy cards in the past few months, when last year, it was one. A dear friend’s sister was killed in a car accident. Another friend’s papa died. The aunt and uncle of another friend died, both within a few days of each other.

Then we lost Terry Pratchett, one of my very favorite authors, in March.

Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee. Photo by and copyright © Andrew I. Porter. Found on Mike Glyer’s blog. (I hope no one minds that I’m borrowing this image; I liked it the best, for some reason I cannot articulate.)

And then, as if that loss wasn’t enough, another wonderful voice has left us: Tanith Lee, a prolific British writer for over 40 years, who died this past Sunday at the young age of 67. She was only nine months older than Sir Terry, who by the way, I’m sure would not mind having her name continue through the clacks with GNU (for explanation on what that means, visit gnuterrypratchett.) I don’t know if Terry and Tanith were friends, but I’m sure they knew each other, both being British. (Plus, my keen eye has discerned that there is a picture of her raising money for the Alzheimer’s Research Trust as part of the Match It For Pratchett campaign (2011) on her Wikipedia page.)

All of the females writing fantasy and sci-fi today owe a great deal to Tanith’s groundbreaking, genre-bending work. She was as comfortable writing YA as she was sci-fi, horror, alternate history, fantasy, gender-bending works, detectives, adventures… You name it, she wrote it. Truly, something for everyone’s tastes. In fact, over her lifetime, it’s reported that she wrote over 90 novels and 300 short stories, along with poetry, radio plays, and scripts.

And she won many awards as well: she was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award, in 1980, with her novel Death’s Master. More recently, she was named a World Horror Grandmaster in 2009, was presented with the World Fantasy Award for life achievement in 2013, and won the Bram Stoker Award for life achievement in 2015.

Despite her many achievements, and her unique voice, and her great success in the past, she had sadly fallen out of favor with the publishing world. As she states in an undated interview for Realms of Fantasy:

In the beginning I seldom even had to offer a synopsis or proposal, either. As I hardly ever work from a synopsis – I find they act like chains, besides anyway not often knowing where exactly the book will go until I am writing it – the earlier state was a happier one. But I did my best when a synopsis of some sort began always to be required, only adding a note to the effect that some things might change during production! Now though most of the so-called big publishers are unwilling even to look at a proposal.

How sad is that? I can only imagine how much more rich and nuanced her works would be now, but unless she has completed manuscripts in her closet that a publisher would take on, we’ll never know. We’ve been deprived of her words.

And I wonder: is it, in some small way, my fault?

You see, it seems I’ve always known the name Tanith Lee – after all, it’s a fantastic name.  In the 90s, I subscribed to lots of sci-fi magazines, and I’m certain I read stories of her in those pages, though I couldn’t swear to it. And a quick perusal of the excel spreadsheet where I keep track of my books read indicates that the first book I read by her was Winter Moon, which was actually a compilation with Mercedes Lackey and C.E. Murphy. (I have of course read quite a bit of Mercedes Lackey, and the book introduced me to C.E. Murphy, whose works I still read.)

Beyond that, I’ve only read Tanith’s Piratica trilogy for young adults, a rip-roaring adventure on the high seas, with clever language, fun plots, wacky characters (including Piratica herself), and amazing imagery. It took me forever to find a copy of the third book in the series, and now I know why: according to an article that I read a couple days ago but can’t seem to find right now, her American publishers didn’t want it. (The shame! The shame!) (My copy was indeed printed in Great Britain.) And she’d written a proposal for a Piractica IV, which her publisher ignored. Which is beyond sad, as there is more to the story.

I feel guilty I didn’t buy more of her books, support her more, because a voice like hers needs to be read. It sounds, from what I’ve read, she felt very alone, starting over at 60. The world had moved on without her, which is a crying shame. And I pledge, as I get more funds, I shall add more of her work to my library. And you should too. There’s plenty to chose from.


To learn more about Tanith, visit these sites that I referenced for my post:

Posted in author, books, fantasy, fiction, history, horror, mystery, poetry, publishing, sci-fi, talent, the dark places, wishes, writershelpingwriters | Leave a comment

The Questions with Chuck Walsh: writer

A_Splintered_Dream_sm A long time ago (late 2012) and far away (Arkansas), I worked for a publisher doing book editing. I got assigned a baseball book by this dude named Chuck Walsh. And, except for my childhood crush on the Braves, I didn’t know a thing about baseball. Which I’m sure drove Chuck nuts, as I was all the time asking him questions like, “What is this {weird baseball term I don’t know}?”

Except, lo and behold, I fell in love with this book. Seriously. Fell. In. LOVE.

Because this book, A Splintered Dream, is way more than “just” a baseball book. It’s a book about second chances. And heart. And soul. And sadness. And love. And death. And life. And family.

And lemme tell you, I did not let Chuck off easy on this edit. We did the edit in sections (three to four chapters at a time), and we had up to eight rounds per section, just to make it perfect. To make it sing.

And then: disaster. The publisher went out of business. And my heart was ever-so-broken.

And then: a joyous day – A Splintered Dream was picked up by another publisher, and today, May 13, 2015, is its official book birthday. I’m totally crying tears of joy. (Or I will, when my copy arrives into my hot little hands.)

And in honor of the launching of this wonderful book into the world, Chuck has gracefully (gratefully?) answered The Questions. Do note that although he fairly faithfully obeyed my commands whilst editing, he did not this time: instead of seven questions, he answered 23.

In any event, enjoy:

The Questions

1. Tell the good readers of this blog how we know each other.

I have known Debbie for over two years now. She was assigned as my editor for my novel, A Splintered Dream. Debbie is an excellent editor who wouldn’t let me ever use anything remotely resembling a cliché.

(dSavannah note: In truth, I let him use a couple. When he asked nicely.)

3. If you could trade places with anyone for a week, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would trade places with Bruce Springsteen. I can’t carry a tune or play a note, but can only imagine the feeling Bruce must get to have 20,000 fans on their feet, singing at the top of their lungs.

(dSavannah note: My hubs would be one of the fans singing along.)

7. What was the name of your first pet and what was it?

My first pet was a Golden Retriever named Mandy. She was the smartest, sweetest dog. I got her when I was in college and she went everywhere with me. When she passed away, it ripped my heart.

8. Your favorite book growing up? Your favorite book now?

My favorite book growing up was the story of Babe Ruth. I must have read it a dozen times. My favorite book now is The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy. I must have read it a dozen times. ☺ A tremendous work.

9. What is a guilty pleasure?

Eating a second piece of my cousin’s pecan pie (with Cool Whip).

10. Who was the last person you texted? What did you say? Did they respond?

My last text was from my brother, who asked if we were still running this afternoon. He began running with me a few weeks back and the first time he went I lost him. Yes, lost a grown man. We were sprinting the last couple hundred yards on the trail and it is quite winding. When I got to the end and turned to see how close he was to finishing, he was gone. I panicked and thought maybe he’d had a heart attack or maybe twisted his ankle. So I sprinted back and still couldn’t find him. I’m calling his name, again running back to the finish line in a panic. And finally he comes walking up from the entrance to trails. He had gotten far behind me and lost sight of the trail and began wandering through the trees like some kind of squirrel, ending up way off the beaten path. I gave him such a hard time, that when he ran with me the next time, he brought a whistle in case I lost him again.

12. Where is your favorite place to create?

The trails of a state park near my house. I run three or four times a week there, and it is on those trails where my mind creates the next scene; the next chapter; the next book. The key is getting home quickly enough before those creations fade from my brain.

13. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I used to be a night owl, but time seems to be converting me into a morning person.

(dSavannah note: I’m the night owl. Right, Chuck?)

15. What inspires you?

People inspire me more than anything. Family, friends, neighbors. It can be someone I just met, like an elderly man who is telling me about playing baseball when he was a boy; a woman who needed me to help find her cat, and she ends up telling me how she met and fell in love with her deceased husband sixty years ago. A close second to people providing inspiration is landscape, scenery. There is nothing quite like a misty mountain morning in the mountains of the Appalachians. There is nothing quite so awe-inspiring as the sun setting over the ocean. Settings and scenery infuse me with the desire to write deep in prose and setting. I want depth to my characters and depth to the setting. God created an incredible world, and I want it to be an integral part of my books.

(dSavannah note: As his editor, I can tell you in truth: he succeeds.)

16. Who inspires you? 

As noted above, it’s people who inspire me. More specifically, it’s my family, and that includes uncles, aunts, cousins. I was blessed to come from a lineage built on family closeness, built on hard work, but also built on a quirky sense of humor that has helped get through even the hardest of times. As far as inspiration from a writer, there is no question that that person is Cormac McCarthy. In my opinion, he is the greatest writer of our generation. I like to read some of McCarthy’s works before I begin writing, as he inspires me to be the best writer I can be.

20. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. I wanted to write something for her to show how much she meant to me. And that is how my first book, A Passage Back, was born. It’s about a man who has an accident after the death of his mother, and he finds himself in the past when he was twelve years old.

(dSavannah note: A Passage Back will be released in August 2015.)

24. If you could go back and give your 13-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Pay closer attention to the affections of girls who like you.

24a. What about your 20-year-old self?

Participate more in college activities.

24b. Your 30-year-old self?

Don’t take for granted the simple things such as eating dinner with the family, reading bedtime stories to your children, or playing baseball.

24c. 40?

Spend as much time with your parents as possible, and never take them for granted; never assume they will live forever.

29. You have 24 hours left to live. How will you spend it?

I’d spend it telling my family members how much I love them.

29a. Turns out you heard the doctor wrong: you actually have 24 years left. How will you spend it?

I will try and make the most of every day, to be thankful for each sunrise, to spend time with those I love. To go places I’ve never been. To walk more along the ocean; walk along the crooked streams of Tennessee.

32. Given the uphill climb to get recognition and sales why do you keep coming back?

I truly want to be the best writer I can be, and I want millions of people to think I am just that.

(dSavannah note: He’s not as full of himself as that last statement sounds. ;) )

33. Why do you create in your medium/genre? What about it speaks to you?

It speaks that I am passionate about my work, and I believe the characters in my books are ones readers should get to know, get to learn about what is in their hearts. That love can overcome even the greatest of flaws.

35. Tell me one random fact about you that not a lot of people know.

I was fortunate to work under Coach Lou Holtz and Coach Steve Spurrier, two of the greatest college football coaches of all time.

(dSavannah note: derp.)

43. If you could snap your fingers and be transported to anywhere in the universe, real or imaginary, where would you want to end up?

I would go to Tennessee, probably in the 1930s, so I could meet my maternal grandparents, more specifically, my grandfather. They passed away before I was born. Based on the stories I’ve heard about my grandfather, and based on how incredible my mother and her brothers and sisters are/were, he must have been a very special man.

47. What’s your favorite holiday?

Labor Day. It signals the beginning of college football, you get the day off, and you don’t have to buy anyone a present.

48. What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? When was it?

The Exorcist (the original one). I was only 13 and it scared the crud out of me. I had nightmares for months. Just hearing the music would make me sweat.

About A Splintered Dream:

“I felt God had set me up for a life of misery. Like He held some grudge, standing on the mound on a baseball field in heaven, throwing a cosmic fastball at my head, smiling as I lay sprawled on the ground.”

Cape Jeffers has wanted to play for the New York Yankees ever since he tossed a baseball with his dad on the Little League field in the tiny town of Santee, S.C. He chases a dream that begins between dusty lines of chalk, on fields with crumbled fences, with bases dry and brittle, with endless summer skies of blue beyond the center field fence.

At nineteen years old, the top pick of the Major League draft, Cape carries the hopes of an entire town on his broad shoulders. And it seems nothing can stop the Cape Train on his journey to stardom.

The Santee Stallion meets and marries Kasey, an artistic southern belle, learning that life is more than just baseball. But when he looks into the eyes of his newborn daughter, he has no idea that his magical ride is about to crash.

The best-selling author of A Month of Tomorrows takes you on a journey full of heart and humor, family and faith, one that celebrates the fragility of life and the strength of the human spirit. More than just a baseball story, A Splintered Dream lovingly commemorates the bumps, bruises, laughter, and delight shared along the way.

About Chuck:

chuckChuck Walsh is a fiction writer from Columbia, South Carolina. He is the author of A Month of Tomorrows, Shadows on Iron Mountain, and Backwoods Justice. His fourth book, A Splintered Dream, was released today, May 13, 2015. And his fifth book, A Passage Back, will be released in August 2015.

His books cover a broad spectrum of story lines. Whether it’s time travel in A Passage Back, historical fiction in A Month of Tomorrows, or killers roaming the backwoods of Appalachia in Shadows on Iron Mountain and Backwoods Justice, Walsh’s books are stories deep in prose and character development. His novels strike all emotions, from the pensive reflections of a dying man, to the inner workings of a madman terrorizing women in the backwoods of East Tennessee. His writing is fueled by his love for family and settings, and most each and every character in his books are based on blood relatives. Walsh was blessed to have come from a long line of wonderful, charismatic, and oddly eclectic family members. And in each book he pays homage to those he loves.

Walsh lives with his wife, Sandy, in Columbia. Together they have three adult children and four grandchildren.

Find Chuck:

Posted in author, book launch, community, dreams, editing, family, fiction, giving to others, hard work, kindle, making a difference, passion, perseverance, publishing, The Questions, writershelpingwriters, writing | 6 Comments

My first #IWSG post

InsecureWritersSupportGroupWhat the heck is #IWSG, you might ask…. well, it stands for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and I discovered them last month while doing the #AtoZChallenge.

#IWSG is posted by a various group of bloggers the the first Wednesday of every month. As the site says: “Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.”

Today, as I am tired (darn insomnia last night), I shall offer a bit of funny and a wee bit of encouragement.  I have long thought of writing a series of posts on “So You Want to Be a Writer”, so this will fit right in. And, it’ll (hopefully) get to me to publish something at least once a month. :)  (Tho of course, I plan on doing more: I’ve got several editions of The Questions lined up, and I have the Reflections post to write for #AtoZChallenge, and lots more swimming in my head.)

I absolutely *adore* Calvin & Hobbes, and this is probably my favorite cartoon of all:



As writers, we often have many many many reasons why we aren’t writing. We’re often the creators of our very own BLOCK, and we put it on our very own desks (or writing space), and walk around it, and look at it, but don’t remove it. The BLOCK can be anything from doing laundry to paying bills to doing anything and everything but writing.

And yes, I am guilty of this, far more often than I want to admit.

That’s partially why I participated in #AtoZ… to get my brain back on writing. And it has, and I hope to continue the trend. And I hope my fellow writers will simply pick up the block, move it, and get back to slinging words.

Posted in #IWSG, inspiration, writershelpingwriters, writing | 5 Comments

Z is for…

…Zee End

ZYeah, I know it’s kinda cheating to say that, but I did it last year too, and I didn’t get smacked by the Blogging from A to Z people, so since I’m completely gobsmacked exhausted, I’m sticking with it.

Because, yeah, here we are at “Z” end of the April blogging challenge. There were times I didn’t think I’d make it. Times I’d wrack my brain and worry I wouldn’t have a single thing to write about, and even tho I was late some days (which made my deadline-loving self twitch), I still wrote something for every letter. Maybe not anything good, but still. Wrote. Something.

For the Z topic, Kyle suggested I write about “Zingiberaceous”, but since I can’t pronounce it and don’t really care about it (sorry, Kyle), I suggest that you go read the first three pages of a free preview on Scribd. (By the way, it has to do with medicinal plants, if you just can’t bother to click the link.)

Kyle also suggested “Zanzibar” which is one of my very favorite words to say. (If you say it with enough vim and vigor, it sounds like a curse word. But it’s not! Ha!)

I am thinking (but may not be remembering correctly; after all, I’m working on fumes of fumes, as I said in my “Y” post, which I just now finished writing and published) that Brandi suggested these topics: “Zoos. Zydeco. Zebras. Zithromax.”  Andrew suggested I write about how English stupid, but I think we all know that. (And again, tired.)

I don’t know if it was suggested or not, but I will mention one more great Z word: Zoolander, my very favorite-of-all-time stupid-funny movie. The original movie came out in 2001 (ohmygarshIamOld), but this March, the stars of the movie, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, crashed Paris Fashion Week to announce a sequel. It will be released next February.

So, there you have it. Zee End.



But of course, not really, cuz I’m gonna keep blogging. I’m sure y’all want to learn more about what goes on in the crazy brain of mine, yes? (Just say yes.)

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, movies, writing | 11 Comments

Y is for…


YAll of us have these things we want desperately, that we yearn for. And of course, those yearnings change as we get older. Or not.

For instance, a yearning I have had since high school was to own a 1965 Fire Engine Red Mustang Convertible with White Top. I even had a chance to own one, but I passed it up. (A decision I totally regret.)

Yearnings that stay the same throughout our lives include the desire for love, warmth, food and comfort – tho we may not call some of them ‘yearnings’ until we don’t get them.

The yearning for love of course gets super-great when our hormones start rushing around in puberty, and we tend to think we’re worthless if we don’t have a million boyfriends. (And by ‘we’, of course I mean ‘me’. Ahem.) (Which I now know is silly. I mean, the couple of boyfriends I had back then weren’t even worth my time of day.)

Right now, I’m yearning, desperately, for sleep, and to get well. (Not getting enough sleep makes you crazy. Trust me on this. I’m running on the fumes of fumes right now, so if this post makes zero sense, that’s why.)

Other than following doctor’s orders, I’m torn: do I give up and trust the universe, or do I keep fighting?  I’m not sure.

Only I discern—
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.
~ Robert Browning

I launched my gofundme campaign, “Help me find *health* again“, two days ago, and I am ever so grateful for everyone who has donated and shared my story. I am blessed by your generosity. (Even if the vast majority of y’all have donated “anonymously”, as if you don’t want people to know ya love me. Ha!)

Posted in #AtoZchallenge2015, age, dreams, wishes | Leave a comment