Monthly Archives: August 2017

Three Things Thursday: Uterus TMI

  1. You may or may not have blocked out the fact that I am in a war with my uterus, and so far, it’s winning. In the last six years, I have tried the following methods to wrangle it into submission:
    1. Pregnancy (worked for a while, but then I was no longer pregnant [and thank fuck for that] and all the bad came back).
    2. IUD. I had one of these inserted a few months after Bean was born. Actually, it took two tries (and literally three people to move my abdomen around and tilt my cervix up so someone could get it in because everything is wonky in there). Finally, I had an IUD and I hated it. I was in extreme discomfort all the time in the lower left quadrant, i.e. the  fallopian tube region. After eight months of stupid pain and major discomfort, I requested it get evicted. I knew I was done procreating, so we went to step 3.
    3. Essure. Little springs are inserted into the fallopian tubes and in about 3 months, scar tissue grows over them blocking the passages so sperm can’t get in and eggs can’t get out. (Sidenote: Bean loves anatomy books and we were looking at the reproductive system. “Mom, what are testicles even for? They’re weird.” Me: “They make the sperm that is needed to make babies.” Horrified look. “I don’t want any sperm.” “No worries, my love. You’re too young to be making sperm.” Bean: “Well, when I’m old enough, how do I make it? Do I eat some eggs and flour and sugar?” Me: “I can’t stop laughing long enough to admit I don’t know the exact mechanics of sperm production.”)
      Anyway, when the Essure procedure was happening, the docs found that my IUD wasn’t hanging out all happy like the below image, but instead was trying to make friends with my left ovary via the fallopian tube. That is not ideal and explains the discomfort.
    4. Essure sterilized me, but did nothing for the dysmenorrhea or anemia-inducing flow, so I was put on a progesterone-only pill, which stopped working effectively about a year ago. (I can’t have estrogen birth control because I get ocular migraines, and apparently having a stroke is bad.)
    5. After a few months of having menstrual cycles averaging 9-15 days, I’d had enough. We scheduled an ablation to destroy the lining of my uterus, eliminating menstruation and hopefully the majority of the dysmenorrhea. That didn’t take. My uterus, rather than looking like a nice little triangle, is roughly diamond-shaped (which might also explain the IUD issues, and btw – fuck you to the person who accused me of lying about my IUD issues; you are a twat of the first order). Several attempts to deploy the uterus blaster failed, leaving me sore and really fucking sad that once again, my uterus was winning.

      After staring at uterus pictures for a long time, I am now convinced those are arms and hands and they want to strangle me.
      I’m not sure exactly what my abnormal shaped uterus looks like (it’s definitely not a fully bicornated one), but it’s not fucking normal, because of course it’s not.

    6. The last few months since the failed ablation have been awful. Cramps lasting upwards of two weeks, including 24-36 hours of full-body cramps, vicious headaches, and pain in my legs rendering me unable to walk. There is a lot of crying and nausea involved and it is no good.Now that you’re all caught up, let’s go to Tuesday!
  2. Last Friday, while on day 7 of cramps, I gave up and contacted my doctor. “Please do something to help with pain management!” I begged. “It is sucking the life out of me and I can’t do this every 3 weeks for the rest of my life.” So yesterday I went in and got a Nexplanon implant in my arm. I read a few pubmed studies on using the implant to treat severe dysmenorrhea, and for the 80% who kept the implant past 3 months (20% dropped out because of an increase in irregularity and volume of bleeding), they almost across the board saw a huge reduction in pain. Like pain levels previously at an 8 or 9 dropped down to below 5 in six months and below 2 in nine months. (And 20% of women saw an almost complete cessation in menstruation.) My uterus has not been giving me the best outcomes so far, but I am hopeful that this one fucking time, I can get the pain reduction and have no more bleeding. Ever. So, I’d appreciate all the well-wishes, prayers, positive energy, and candles lit for my uterus. (My NP said she was going to go home and light a candle for my uterus and I just love her so much.)

There is a surprising dearth of uterus candles on the internet. Someone needs to get on that.

  1. Ten days of cramps plus the other stuff that comes with it (bodily fluids = ewwww…) mean my mental acuity is not top-notch. Chronic pain plus borderline anemia really fucks with your brain. Yesterday was a hard, hard day. I went to get my implant and couldn’t remember what floor my doctor was on in the hospital, even though this was my sixth visit in three months. I asked the reception desk if it was on the 3rd or 5th floor. Turns out it was on the 4th.Next, I had to do a pregnancy test, because those are the rules even when you’ve been spayed. I took my labeled cup into the bathroom, peed, flushed, washed my hands, and then looked at the cup I’d set on the shelf and not used at all.And then last night, I attempted to make dinner. Nothing fancy. It was taco Tuesday, but Bean requested burritos (he then refused to eat those burritos because he wants to see how fast mama can lose her mind). First, I set the plastic salsa container on the stove while I heated up the back burned to warm tortillas. (You know where this is going, right?) Yeah. I didn’t turn on the back burner. You know what smells great? Melted plastic mixed with salsa. Then, when adding avocado to the beer guy’s burrito, I threw it on myself and the floor. And then, my tortilla flipping, which I usually excel at, was terrible. And to wrap it all up, when flipping the beer guy’s burrito, it didn’t flip and everything ended in sadness and tears for everyone. (Mostly me.)

    (For Marcy)

    I am really, really looking forward to feeling better and hope this implant will be the key to getting me there sooner. I’m pretty tired of always being tired. I’d like to have the energy back and not be alternately a giant ball of intense cramps or sore from being a giant ball of intense cramps.


    In conclusion, you know more about my reproductive system’s fuckery than you probably wanted to, but if you send me a case of red wine, I promise to not talk about it any more.

 

 

 

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Writerly Wednesday: So Many Updates!

I have almost all my beta comments back and unless they’re fucking with me, this book isn’t as bad as I’d feared. (There is a point where you’re positive the words are the worst words in the absolute wrong order. I’ve seen this with more than one author of my acquaintance.) I’ll be wrapping The Ruby Blade up over the next few days and getting it to editor extraordinaire so she can rip it apart.

The Ruby Blade has a fairly firm release date of October 31 (hooray for Halloween!). It will likely be ready to go before that, but the week before, I’m going to be lounging on the beach in Mexico, eating my weight in tacos, and drinking margaritas-refreshing my spirit. Those are not the kind of activities I want to interrupt with constant “is anyone buying my book” refreshing.

I’m getting antsy to see the draft of the cover for the book. I mean, technically I told my cover artist that early September was fiiiiine, but dammit! I WANT IT NOW!

I’m just over 13K words into Book 4. (I’m not set on a title yet, but hopefully will be soonish; titles make me happy.) I’m really liking the direction this book is going. It’s 80% new material and 20% salvaged from my first draft of the original book three (which I split in twain).

I am tentatively looking at a mid-March release date for this one. Again, it’ll likely be ready a bit earlier, but again, travel plans and release dates are tricky.

The Beer Guy and I bought our birthday trip extravaganza tickets last week. We’re going to land in Dublin on my birthday, see as many historic sites, museums, fairy rings, pubs, cideries, and gin distilleries as is humanly possible and then fly down to Spain to celebrate the Beer Guy’s 4oth birthday drinking cider in the north of Spain. I am so excited about this trip. I have TWO Pinterest boards already. One for Ireland and one for Spain & Portugal.

If anyone has any recommendations for must-see spots in Ireland (we’re not sticking to Dublin, of course), northern Spain, or Portugal, feel free to leave them here!

My only other bit of writerly news is that my editing schedule for the next few months is starting to fill up. I’ve big projects in September, November, and January. I’m not taking anything big on in October because of travel/book release, but I’m open in early February and then starting in Mid March. I do have smaller projects interspersed throughout all those other dates for my most regular gig, but my next opening for something of a larger/longer nature isn’t until December.

I have three requests if you’re willing and able.

  1. Sign up for my newsletter (sign up in the sidebar) if you haven’t already. You’ll get access to the exclusive Raj serial that comes out once a month, you get snippets of stuff from WIPs (next month will have a section from The Ruby Blade). You’ll get the updated kill count in my ongoing battle with Colleen, release dates, cover previews, and title reveals ahead of the unwashed masses. In addition, you get book recommendations for other authors I think you’ll enjoy. (You’ll also know when my books are about to go on sale.)
  2. If you read my books, please, please, please go to Amazon and review them. (Unless your last name is Cissell – that just won’t work.) I don’t care if you liked them or disliked them, any reviews are good. I’d really like to get over a 50 reviews minimum for these books because that changes the algorithms and helps my book show up sooner in searches.
  3. If you are interested in receiving an advanced reading copy of The Ruby Blade in exchange for an Amazon review, please comment below and I’ll get in touch with you when it’s time. (Please note that ARCs are unformatted and unproofed, so there will be some wonkiness.) Please include a note letting me know if you’ve read the other two books and link to any existing book reviews you’ve done in the past.

Thanks! You guys are the best readers and I can’t wait for you to dive into The Ruby Blade!

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Book Review: The Silent

This is so much later than I intended it to be, and I probably owe Elizabeth Hunter an apology and a martini (or three), but here it is!

The Irin Chronicles (specifically The Scribe) were my introduction to Elizabeth Hunter. I’m pretty sure I read it at the insistence of my PSM, who occasionally introduces me to something good (and other times, according to my Facebook memories from today, insists I read shark-shifter romances that turn out to be not so good). She obviously hit the ball out of the park with this one.  Now here we are, 3 years later (I read it in 2014) and I’m reviewing an ARC of The Silent for you. (I’ve reviewed the third and fourth books in the series previously, in case you’re interested.)

The Blurb

They are called kareshta, the silent ones.
But the silent are waking.

Kyra has lived her life in the shadow of a powerful Grigori brother. She’s ignored her own desires for the good of her family, but an unexpected request from Thailand sends her on a mission that could change her life and alter the fate of free Grigori all over the world. Sons of the Fallen hidden in the mountains of Thailand have adapted an ancient human magic for their own purposes. Will this practice bring peace or lead to even greater danger for the Irin race?

A simple diplomatic mission sends Leo to Bangkok, but he didn’t expect to see a familiar face in surveillance photographs. He’s tried everything to drive Kyra from his mind, since he was convinced the gentle kareshta wanted to hide from the world. How did she turn up halfway across the globe, living with Grigori who may or may not be Irin allies?

Leo has bided his time. He’s given Kyra her space.

But this scribe is ready to hear a kareshta sing.

The Cover

 

The Review

Ugh. This was so good. (<—this was literally my entire review for a week.) I’ve never been to Thailand, and haven’t even much cared about the idea of going. There are so many other places on my bucket list that SE Asia doesn’t even register. But now? Now I want to go. So thank you, Ms. Hunter, for costing me future money. (Seriously. Thank you!)

Like all the Irin Chronicles, the world building in this book is just incredible. I’ve long enjoyed Leo but hadn’t much paid attention to Kyra before. I’m disappointed in myself and went back and reread The Secret just to make sure I could properly appreciate her.

I really enjoyed the character development of Kyra throughout this book as she goes from someone who is strong but willing to hide her light (out of necessity) to a commanding presence.

And the sex? Whoa. Elizabeth Hunter brought the goods this time. I wouldn’t have thought a “losing your virginity” sex scene could be so…steamy. *fans self*

The Verdict

I’m never not going to recommend that you head out and buy everything Elizabeth Hunter’s ever written. This series is so amazing, and trust me when I say you want to read every single book in it.

The Disclaimer

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Three Things Thursday: The Intern Edition

 

  1. A couple weeks ago, the Beer Guy and I got a new intern. We’d been toying with the idea for a while, and then I accidentally wandered onto the Humane Society’s website, and three days later Rupurrt Giles joined the family.

    New intern is photogenically representing the interests of the beer guy AND the author in one handy photo.

     

  2. The other cats are slowly getting used to the intruder. At this point, it appears that one of the biggest problems they’re having with him involves a Twitter account takeover.

    He’s settling right in, though. He chases the bigger cats, climbs all over the things he’s not supposed to climb on, and is getting really good at making a general nuisance of himself. Keyboards are one of Giles’s aka Ctrl-Z’s favorite places to settle.

    His typing skills could use some work.

    Of course, kittening is exhausting, and Giles spends a lot of time resting up for the next round of speeding through the house at top speed and chasing his own tail.

  3. The best part of this all, though, is watching Bean and Giles get on. Alvie was delighted beyond measure at the new surprise kitten when I brought him home last Friday (after nine – 9! – days apart) and has had a blast playing with the kitten.

    They are perfect for each other. So much energy and so much joy.

    It was nice to have Giles now since over the weekend, Mr. Fish (Alvie’s betta) died after only 18 months in residence. We had a funeral on Monday and Alvie delivered a stirring eulogy: “You were a good fish, Mr. Fish. I’m sorry you’re dead.”

    Fish burial under the eclipse shadows.

Writerly Wednesday: Eleanor Book 4

I wrote book 3 of the Eleanor Morgan series in the fall of 2014. It wasn’t until I started looking at it after publishing The Waning Moon that I realized book 3 was actually two separate books; books that needed a great deal of work to make them acceptable.

I split it in half, but not evenly. What became book 3 was well over half of the original manuscript, and I spent most of July and early August writing in new scenes and rewriting the older ones. I have been informed by reliable sources that it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever written, and gods willing, the feedback that should start trickling in from my beta readers over the next week will give me the information I need to strengthen it even further before I send it off to my editor extraordinaire.

What that left me with was approximately 40,000 words that needed to encompass the last two gates and close the first major arc of the series. Instead of taking the tack I took with what ended up being The Ruby Blade (rewriting around what’s already there), I decided to start from – if not scratch – something as close as makes no nevermind.

Over the weekend, I finished my outline of Eleanor book 4 and got started writing. I’ll take some of the passages in part or in whole to add into the story, but it’s going in a slightly different direction than I’d imagined three years ago when I wrote the first draft.

I’ve also started my Pinterest board for this story, and you can see who I see in my head when I talk about Finn, Emma, Isaac, Petrina, Marie, Raj, Florence, and Eleanor. You’ll get a glimpse of the landscapes I’ll be writing in (and, in November, you’ll get to see photos I take as I do a location scout!), the characters you’re getting to know and some new ones that are coming along.

I’m hoping to release book 4 in late February or mid-March (to be honest, I think mid-March is going to be more likely as I may or may not have just purchased plane tickets to Ireland and points beyond for late Feb/early March), but I’m still a bit uncertain. It depends on how well this first draft comes together. I’m only about 6,000 new words into it so far, but it’s really coming together. I’m so excited about this project (at this stage)  and believe that it’s probably going to be one of the best things I’ve ever written. (Of course, when I’m doing the 2nd draft of it in a few months, I will be convinced that it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written, and will hate myself and everyone until it’s over.)

The August newsletter drops tomorrow (sign up in the side bar!), and with it, the latest Raj chapter, some news on recent/upcoming releases from members of the Illuterati (my author coven), and general news about my writing plans and release dates. (Psssttt…newsletter subscribers not only get access to my Raj serial, but will also be the first to see The Ruby Blade’s cover!)

This is how I assume my characters see me…