Category Archives: Friends & Family

Hashtag Blessed

 

I was nervous all day. I tried to convince my author group that I was probably going to die. (Spoiler: I did not die.)

The Beer Guy and I sat at home and had dinner before heading on over to the bookstore, and I spent the last 30 minutes before we left bouncing around our home, trying to practice reading without hyperventilating, and freaking out about the possibility that I would mispronounce “geas.” (My PSM’s sage advice: “It’s not ever really used so no one will know.” She also helped me figure out how to correctly pronounce it, because she is aces.)

My other pre-reading activity:

A glass of white while practicing reading.

At one point, it occurred to me that I read aloud almost every evening. Sure, maybe it’s to my five-year-old, but that counts, right? I decided to pretend I was reading to a bunch of children, and that actually really helped.

The Beer Guy and I got to the bookstore about 20 minutes before I was due to go on, and Elisa, who is one of the nicest humans in the world, helped me get set up and gave me more wine (and a bottle of water) to calm myself.

MY BOOKS! ON DISPLAY!

The room filled up with friends (thank you all so much), Elisa introduced me, and then it was go time. I’d picked out three selections. One from The Cardinal Gate to introduce Eleanor, and two from The Waning Moon.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds into my reading that I realized that Eleanor swears like a motherfucking sailor. I mean, I knew she wasn’t avoiding the cursing, but until I had to read out loud in front of a roomful of people, I had no idea how many times she says fuck on a single page.

This is my “what? another motherfucking swear word?” face

I think it went well. I tripped over a couple words (but not geas!), but everyone laughed when they were supposed to laugh and no one fell asleep or wandered off. After I was done reading, there were questions. A fair few! And good questions!

My captive audience mingling while I was signing…

And then it was time for signing. I signed a dozen or so books, got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and apparently had a great time.

A few of us headed down the street to celebrate me surviving my first public reading with pink champagne (courtesy The Beer Guy, who really knows me well), snacks, and excellent conversation. The five people who joined me are five of my favorite Portlanders (I have ten favorite Portlanders…only half could make it), and it was so nice to see them all together.

A regret I often have is that I don’t take enough pics of my friends when we gather together…

It was an amazing evening, and I’m so glad I did it! I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends who gave up their time and money to come listen, ask questions, buy books, and spend time celebrating with me. One friend brought me the perfect tote bag:

So appropriate, because my uterus hates me AND my author group has termed itself the “illuterati”

My friend and fellow illuterati author Mel Sterling brought me flowers, gave me amazing advice, took some nice photos, and asked good questions.

At the end of last evening, I posted this on my Facebook author page:

And for everyone who insisted on photos and video – you have The Beer Guy to thank for that. He’s the one who uploaded everything to FB last night. He also calmed me down, carried all the heavy books, made the reservations for the post-signing drinks, and procured the bottle of champagne. There is no way I could’ve done any of this without him. I really am #blessedAF

Motivation Monday

Today is a very high-anxiety day. Chest-crushing anxiety. (I don’t know why. That happens a lot.)

Thanks to last week, in which I hit 85% of my exercise goals, I know the proper ways to start treating this anxiety.

I have my swim stuff in my bag (and, unlike last week, I packed a comb, flip flops, am charging my swim watch, and brought my goggles instead of the Bean’s). Tomorrow, I will run. Wednesday, I will yoga. Thursday, I will run. Friday, I will swim. And Saturday, I will run.

If I hit 5 of those, I’ll be happy. Even if I don’t get to my time/distance goals on each one, I’ll still be happy to get out there. (Friday, I didn’t hit my swimming goal, and was extremely frustrated until I remembered that it was my first time in the pool in a year and swimming 500 yards was better than all the swims I haven’t done. Some is better than none. I should probably get that tattooed on the backs of my hands and my forehead or something.)

Other things I am doing in the way of self-care include:

  1. Eating healthy and regular meals
  2. Getting back into the habit of meditating
  3. Reframing my life into positive “I am” statements.  (“I am a runner” NOT “I used to run more.” “I am an author” NOT “I write but still have to have a day job.”

Since I have trips planned to Mexico (October) and Spain (March), I also need to really dig into my Spanish refreshers again. I minored in Spanish in college, but haven’t kept up the practice. I could probably skate by with my limited skills and the fact that people everywhere speak English, but I’d rather make the effort – and since Bean didn’t get into the dual-language school, I want to start doing more Spanish at home so he at least has a shot at a foreign language while his brains are still malleable.

(Speaking of brains, I was texting with my PSM this morning and we decided that it was monumentally unfair that one person could have both a defective brain and a defective reproductive system. You should really only have to be stuck with one of those. Although, I guess since she and I are both graced with both breath-taking beauty and dazzling intelligence [well at least one of us is…], maybe this is the trade-off?)

I’ll leave you with a picture of my adorable Bean who’s been at the coast with grandma since Thursday. 

Three Things Thursday: Late Breaking edition

  1. Today is my mom’s birthday! Happy birthday, mother. I hope you’re having  lovely day.
  2. Yesterday, I got to spend the morning at home due to an under-the-weather kiddo. He’s back in school today and feeling much better, and his sick yesterday meant he slept really, really late and I got a decent amount of writing done on The Ruby Blade. I’m going to need each and every one of you to buy a few hundred copies of my book (each) so that I can make a living from writing. Please?
  3. I am looking forward to reaching a point in my life where I’m not constantly exhausted and can get myself out of bed when my alarm goes off. My plan for tomorrow? 5:45 wakeup call and up & out the door for a run by 6ish. I have my intervals loaded on my phone and will lay out my exercising clothes when I get home. The main challenge is going to be forcing myself to be in bed and asleep by 11.

Happy almost Friday! Woo!

Time to retire this old thing…

Moving Day!

I have been in the process of moving my website from one place to another for a long time. I’ve been blogging at gazellesoncrack since 2006 (although I’ve owned amycissell.com for just as long). Today amycissell.com is live. There might be a few broken links or broken forms, so bear with me as I get through them, but overall, this should look just like home.

My ex-husband gave me the inspiration for gazellesoncrack and I fully embraced it. I am not graceful. (In fact, in college, there was a person who regularly just called me Grace.) This is not an untruth. For 11+ years, my entire online identity was wrapped around gazelleosncrack.

But in the past 11 years, I’ve become so much more–this space has become so much more. It started as a place to share my clumsiness and book reviews, became a place to share my clumsiness, book reviews, and shoe pr0n. Morphed into a place to discuss clumsiness, book reviews, shoes, and my health & weight loss journey. Then it skidded sideways into a pregnancy tracker and half-hearted mommy blog. All of this while doing my best to hide my real name from the internets.

And now-this is where we are.

There’s a lot less focus on the awkward (although that still exists), I never talk about shoes anymore (my interest in pretty shoes fell to the wayside about the time I had foot surgery), and my posts about my kid are getting fewer and further between as he gets older (and so much bigger, omg, he comes up to my chest now!).

It’s book reviews and writing and health (physical and mental).

I was doing a meditation this morning (seriously guys, if you haven’t read Rebekah Borucki’s You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life, get on that) and realized that the last two years have been nothing but attempts to breathe out the bad and breathe in the good.

I breathed out the job that I hated with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. The job that made me have panic attacks and high-level anxiety. The job that caused me to stress-eat and stress-starve (and may have fucked up my entire digestive system semi-permanently). The breath maybe wasn’t as controlled as I’d have preferred, but it’s gone, it’s out, and this is better.

I breathed out a marriage that had been weighing me down for longer than I care to admit. Letting go of a relationship that doesn’t buoy you is harder than it ought to be. Adding a kid to the mix certainly doesn’t make that process easier.

I breathed in new possibilities. I published a book (soon to be two). I’m taking control of that part of my life.

I breathed in a new job that, although not as exciting as it could be, still pays me with real money and affords me the time and energy to continue to work on my writing.

I breathed in a new relationship with a wonderful man who continually surprises me with how much he’s willing to give to me and my son, just because he loves us.

There are still things that I need to let go of and still things I need to pick up. I need to be bolder, more brazen, more confident. I need to be less anxious, less self-deprecating, less willing to put myself and my needs last. More movement, fewer excuses. More running, less sitting.

I started meditating – started being a person who meditates – when things were terribly, terribly bad earlier this year. I’d just turned 40 and was broke. Unemployed. So anxiety-riddled that I couldn’t tell where my brain was anymore. The one meditation I did over and over and over was (again, from the aforementioned book): “Your situation may look like a mess. That’s real. But you are not that mess.”

That got me through March. I started this job the end of April. I’m sleeping better. Eating better. And (and hopefully the beer guy will back me on this) being an all-around happier, more relaxed person.

I’m not saying that mediation got me a job and fixed my crazy, but there is evidence to show that mindfulness and mediation have a positive effect on anxiety (and a whole host of things!). And less anxious = all around better everything.

I’m still not meditating every day, but I’m definitely getting to “more often than not.”

Which brings me back to moving. Moving on. Moving up. This is one more letting go. Letting go of the gazelle that I so identify with “ten years ago Amy” and “Amy who was married to the architect” and “Amy who was too scared to really live.” (My spell check suggests I mean “Amy who was too sacred to really live…interesting…)

Now, instead of taking a name someone else gave me, we are here. At amycissell.com. (Yeah, I know that technically someone else gave me that damn name, too, but hey! It’s very me. 40 years of me, in fact.) I might never achieve the level of fearlessness I’d like, but I’m going to stop letting fear hold me back from what I want.

I will no longer be a dreamer of dreams. I will be a doer of things.

So welcome. Welcome to Amy Cissell Writes. The past is all here – I don’t want to start fresh because the lessons I’ve learned have been invaluable, but let’s move forward with fresh goals, shiny new intentions, and a courage that belies the fear.

 

The day is getting right away from me…

This weekend was so busy and my week isn’t looking any less so!

Thursday evening, I did my best to take myself out. (Part of that included literally taking myself out.) I cut my right pinky on a pair of tongs while making dinner for the Beer Guy. Later, I broke a wine glass, and in an attempt to pick up the pieces, stabbed my right thumb with the broken stem of said glass. Later, after being bored to pieces, I talked the Beer Guy into taking me to karaoke. This was not my best decision to date. And then I fell down and sprained the shit out of my ankle, because that’s how I roll.

The "Most Interesting Man in the World" says, "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's my ankle."

I went to the Rose City Romance Writer’s Spring Fling on Friday evening and most of the day Saturday. I’d headed over to meet up with some writers for a pre-conference happy hour, but I couldn’t find them (and didn’t look too hard, people are scary, yo!), but I did spend a very productive hour filling in my new planner, having a beer, and making plans.

A beer, a planner, and a week's worth of plans

The morning session on Saturday (on marketing) was fabulous, I met some great people, and handed out my new cards to just about everyone. I’ve gotten to the point where I can say I’m an author, talk about my book, and encourage people to look into it. I’ve really grown a lot in the last year! I also spent more money on books in two days than in the last few months. Autographed romance novels are a deductible expense, right?

Romance novels by Farrah Rochon and Cecilia Tan

Saturday evening, I had dinner with a friend in town for the weekend. I’d met her at the RT convention last spring, so it’s not surprising that our conversation was about 75% book and writing related.

gin and tonic

There was also a G&T. My first of…more than one…that evening

The Beer Guy had a friend in town this weekend, too, so we hit up karaoke Saturday night (and talked even MOAR books…turns out we have a mutual appreciation for a lot of the same paranormal books and authors).

karaoke screen

I swear the Beer Guy is in that photo behind the inconveniently placed pole

Yesterday was a lot more chill, but I still managed to get a lot done in terms of The Waning Moon (details Wednesday!).

Today is all about errands, little business things (finances, marketing plans, freelance business planning), and wasting spending a great deal of time on a PowerPoint (complete with charts!) that I will be presenting to the Beer Guy tonight. Ideally, all conversations would have an agenda, copious notes, line charts, and trend lines. I have been informed that it’s a little weird, but have decided that I can embrace being a little weird if it enables me to get my point across.

Powerpoint Slide that says "Death by Powerpoint" in blood with a zombie

I swear, it’s not as bad as all this!

I’ll have a book review up tomorrow, some writing updates Wednesday, and my “Letter to Alvie: Five Years” post on Friday. (Thursday will be a surprise for us both!)