Category Archives: Not Dead Yet!

Happy New Year! The Year of the Unicorn (Cissell II)

Last August, I typed my New Year’s goals for you after declaring my own year (still working on the calendar system, but I can tell you right now, February is gonna get more days. Possibly at the expense of September. I hate that month).

I haven’t been very present on this blog. Or anywhere, actually. Although things aren’t as bleak as they were last summer, it’s still been an intense year.

I published two books last fall, the first two in a new series.

I started January with shingles, which resulted in constant pain (mostly gone now) and some hearing loss. I went through an entire season of all-to-frequent contact with my lawyer, but after almost 9 months, was able to finish that labor in a great place to protect my child for the next 11 years.

I also published A Wing and a Prayer and hit the USA Today Bestseller list!

I went to Belgium and Czechia.

I got married.

I published another book – like three days later.

A book cover. Green background with standing stones. A woman with long, dark, curly hair and white skin is on the cover. The title is "The Lost Child, An Eleanor Morgan Novel by Amy Cissell."

We celebrated my kiddo’s 1st Liana-versary with hiking and presents and cake and decorations. (I didn’t quite get the layer colors quite right, but she assured me I can keep practicing every year until I do.)

And here I am, almost through August. Ready to send my kid off to 2nd Grade. And even though all the big stressors of the last 12 months are mostly gone (I’m married, my kid is doing pretty well, the legal stuff is over for now, I got four books out in the last 12 months), something still isn’t right.

But you know what? It’s fucking New Years. Last year was the Year of the Phoenix. I had 12 goals.

  1. Feel comfortable in new job by my birthday (2/24 in case you need time to plan your celebratory activities) – done
  2. Publish five books & 1 novella by the end of the Year (8/14/19) – not quite; 3 books & 1 novella
  3. Find three new clients for the editing business I share with the Beer Guy – We have worked with 3 new clients (and then some!)
  4. Get married – Done
  5. Have the most awesome honeymoon ever – Super done
  6. Find a physical activity I super enjoy and do it regularly for fun (preferably trail running) – still in progress – more on that in a minute
  7. Develop a regular at-home yoga practice – hahaha. no.
  8. Stay meds compliant. I’ve never managed to be compliant for more than 6-8 months. I’m currently, as of New Year’s Day, five months in on my current medication. There will be the added challenge of switching providers and insurance. – passed with flying colors. I’m 17 months in, managing the dickish new providers, and making things happen.
  9. Find two really good pairs of jeans. – eh. Yes. Kinda. I’m happy with my new affinity to leggings.
  10. Learn to appreciate massages. – done. I get monthly massages and they are wonderful.
  11. Become more comfortable with self promotion. Still working on it, but if you want to check me out on Amazon, I welcome your participation!
  12. Develop an elaborate framework for the Cissell calendar and Cissell astrology. – well, I created a graphic for Cissell II. So that happened.

I found out this week that I have pretty sever sleep apnea, which has almost definitely been contributing to my depression and exhaustion. During my sleep study, I stopped breathing about 25 times each hour, meaning I’m waking up every 2 minutes or so.

I’m also upping the dosage on my crazy pills. This was the dosage that was recommended by my old psychiatrist a year ago, but when I switched to Kaiser, the new shrink didn’t believe I was bipolar (despite an almost 20 year history of getting independently diagnosed by several psychiatrists) and didn’t want to increase my dosage. So I’ve been coasting along at this ‘not quite therapeutic enough’ level for just over a year while doing my best to avoid the crummy shrink. (Did you know at Kaiser, you can’t just switch therapists or psychiatrists. It is a process of 3-4 months. Fortunately, crummy shrink was on vacation this week and I got to talk to her substitute. He was fantastic and is going to be my temporary guy until I get a permanent placement again.)

So – time for my New Year’s resolutions for this, the second year of Cissell.

  1. Find a fairly inexpensive place to vacation abroad. (Don’t want to break my streak of getting a passport stamp every year since 2016).
  2. Finish the Eleanor Morgan series and add at least one Oracle Bay book to my list.
  3. Work on marketing skills.
  4. Use CPAP machine religiously and find out what it’s like to be rested again.
  5. Learn to be more vulnerable. Strength /= lack of emotion. Ask for and accept help.
  6. Make time, 3-4x/week, for exercise. Even if it’s just 20 minutes.
  7. Rediscover my love of the trails, whether it’s hiking with my daughter or running by myself.
  8. Biweekly swim dates with the child.
  9. Monthly blog posts
  10. Quarterly fancy dates with my husband
  11. Stop frequently and watch in awe as my daughter grows up and completes second grade. Be there when she needs me, but staying a few steps back when she doesn’t. (Also, force her to ride her damn bike already, I mean I was riding before kindergarten C’MON!) Let go of the things that don’t really matter (biking) and work on the things that do (swimming) and find a way to enjoy soccer momming.
  12. Court balance and self care.
Rocks balancing on rocks - five total - in front of the ocean.
Bonus: spend more time in the water, whether it’s ocean, lake, river, or swimming pool. Water is my happy place.

What are your goals as you move into the Year of the Unicorn?

Buy my Book, Bitches

I feel like that’s what 100% of my posts lately have been. This is no exception. My latest book – an Oracle Bay novella – releases today. Wing and a Prayer is in the box set Wings of the Wicked, and if you get right on it, you can pick up 25 books – some of which, I have it on very good authority, bring the heat. We’re trying to hit the USA Today Bestseller list, which would be awesome to put on my book covers, and if you can spare $0.99 to grab this set, I’d be grateful. You have this week only to pick it up for $0.99 – on Sunday, the price goes up!

I’ll be back later this week with a general 2018 wrap-up/2019 plans. You may or may not remember that I already had my New Year celebration in August (Amy’s Year of the Phoenix), so it’s about time to check in to see where I’m at with that. (Spoiler: NOT VERY FAR. IT HAS BEEN A YEAR.)

I rang in the new year with the Beer Guy and my face shingles, but things are definitely looking up now. They have to. I might be able to get further down, but I’m hoping this ladder I’ve constructed out of hemp and iffy metaphors will hold as I climb back out and work on taking care of myself well enough to keep parenting and partnering and writing.

I hope you all had a great 2018 and your 2019 is off to an even better start!

Wings of the Wicked – Release Day is Nigh!

Wings of the Wicked – the box set of which I am a part – is about 3 weeks from release date. Now’s your chance to preorder the whole set, including my Oracle Bay novella “Wing and a Prayer,” for $0.99! We’re trying to hit the USA Today Bestseller list, and I’m hoping you can help buy grabbing a copy.

To help my cause, I’m giving away the entire e-catalog of my published books, including the novella in Wings of the Wicked. To enter to win, head over to my Facebook page and share this post. For a bonus entry, leave a screenshot of your proof of purchase of Wings of the Wicked! 

I’ll draw two winners at noon (Pacific) on Monday, December 17!

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

It’s Here! It’s Here!

Not in the Cards, the first book in my new series, is out! Right now! Like, you can fucking buy it, and it will instantaneously appear in your ereader of choice.

You can pick up what I’m throwing down for $0.99 now, or $3.99 whenever the price goes back up.

When my first book came out, I was super tense. I assumed it was because it was my first book. Turns out, every book has the same effect.

Have a great weekend. Enjoy Sandy and the psychics; there’s a lot going on in Oracle Bay.

*tap tap* Oh hey! You’re still here! Spoiler: So am I.

It’s been a couple minutes, right? I left you on a fairly grim note, and I’d love to tell you that my two month absence since then is because I’ve been frolicking on a cloud made of rainbows and gin cocktails and unicorns and nachos.

That, however, would be a lie.

June and July were so fucking hard, y’all. I don’t know what I did to deserve the child I got, but it must be so karmically confusing to everyone who knows about it. She’s simultaneously the best and hardest thing that’s ever happened to me.

BUT BUT BUT! It’s August now, and things are good! Looking up! So much excite! You’ll have to excuse me for pouring out all my happies and announcements all in one post.

First, the personal news.

  1. I am engaged. Like for realsies. The beer guy is going to marry me, even after everything. He knows my crazy and not only isn’t running away screaming, but actually put a ring on the insanity. It’s really hard to convince myself that he just feels sorry for me when there are wedding plans afoot.

    I should be both the hand model and the hand photographer, right?

  2. I got a new job! I’ve been at my current one only about 16 months. It was there when I needed it, and I’ve honestly loved working with the departments I was assigned to. My issues were elsewhere. After spending the last 15+ years in jobs that treated me like a professional adult, it was hard to go back to an environment where that wasn’t the case. Once they denied my ADA accommodation because it’s more important for me to have a physical presence in the office (where I see almost no one and talk to even fewer people) than for me to be productive, happy, and healthy, I knew there was no way to win. The number of times I was either misled or flat out lied to just compounded the issues. I’d been hoping to stay at least four more years for a number of reasons, but my mental health and happiness (and that of the people I’m close to) weren’t worth it. Once I’ve started for real, I’ll share more of my new job information – and do another little celebration as I leave academia – forever!
  3. Professional Excite time!
    My next book, the first in the Oracle Bay series not only has a cover, but it has a presale sale! From now until release day (10/25/18), Not in the Cards is on sale for 99¢ at just about every online outlet you can think of. Paperbacks will be available a little closer to the release date. (And, if you’re in Portland, you can come to my release day party! There will be books, and tarot cards, and definitely some bubbles.)
  4. Professional Excite #2!
    The Eleanor Morgan series is getting a new look. While I get my ducks in a row to replace the series (and go with a re-edited version of The Cardinal Gate), you can pick up my remaining inventory of old covers for the low, low price of $10/ea (autographed) + shipping ($8 for Cardinal Gate), or grab all four for $30 + shipping. Just head on over to my store! (There is a separate entry to grab all four at once – you won’t get the discount if you pick them up separately.)

    In the meantime, check out the newly imagined The Cardinal Gate (the rest of the covers will be revealed in my next newsletter, which will also have a Raj chapter in it…you may wanna subscribe over there on the right…)

That should cover all the big stuff that’s been going on over the last couple months – at least the stuff that’s any of your business! 😀

We have a family trip to the coast this weekend (the Bean, the beer guy, his parents, and me), then school/new job starts, my spontaneous trip to Canada in October (I just decided yesterday to go spend the night in Vancouver one weekend), and then a busy fall/winter/spring schedule.

I’m a little behind on my writing schedule, but I’m still hoping to get everything out more or less as planned.

  • Not in the Cards – 10/25
  • First Hand Knowledge (I’m about 60% done with this and will finish this month) – end of November
  • Belle of the Ball – December (ideally 12/15)
  • Wing & a Prayer – January 8 (set in stone!)
  • The Lost Child (Eleanor #5) – end of February

After that, my schedule is an unknown. It will depend a bit on the demands of my day job, how busy my editing schedule is next year, and book sales. I am fairly committed to releasing Eleanor #6 in 2019 and likely the next Oracle Bay. That’ll be 3 novels & 1 novella next year and that might have to be my max.