Category Archives: Priorities!

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?

Winning! All the winning!

Hi! I’m hoping to get back to a schedule that’s NOT ‘every six weeks,’ but realistically, it might continue this way through the rest of the year. I’ve finished Oracle Bay 2 and it’s off to the editor this week. I have a good start on the novella that is ostensibly Oracle Bay 3.5. I am still hoping to bust out Oracle Bay 3 in time for the winter holidays, and Eleanor Morgan #5 will be out the end of February.

BUT BUT BUT – updating you all on my publishing schedule is only kinda why I’m here.

Mostly, I’m here to announce that Eleanor has new covers! And they are so beautiful. My previous covers were also great, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them, but Eleanor v2.0 is a whole lotta wow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are these magnificent or what? Daqri Combs (of Covers by Combs) did these for me and I am so excited about them. I love that she kept the original color scheme and added hella more dragons.  (pssstttt…there is a super sale going on in the store for my remaining paperbacks with the original covers! grab them while they last!)

In addition to new covers, The Cardinal Gate is getting a rewrite/edit for the first third and that will be live by the end of the week, too!

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, The Waning Moon got an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Readers’ Favorites awards in the Urban Fantasy category!

I am so pleased with this award. This is the second book that I published, and to get an Honorable Mention is a huge deal for me. It is so gratifying! I feel fancy.

Last, but not least – Not in the Cards is going to be released in a just a few weeks! Grab your presale copy for $0.99 now! Price is back up to $3.99 once it comes out on October 25.

I’ll be back on and off for the next month, talking about my books and release dates and deadlines and my release party on 10/25 (if you’re in Portland and want to come, let me know), as well as my upcoming whirlwind trip to Vancouver BC and a weekend getaway to Oracle Bay.

In addition, starting about 10 days before Not in the Cards comes out, there will be a gift basket giveaway, so stay tuned!

New Year’s Resolutions – The Year of the Phoenix (Cissell I)

What’s that? It’s not the new year?

Well it is for me. So there, motherfuckers! Don’t be a hater!

That was probably a little harsh, but I’m ready for a blank slate (no slate can be perfectly blank, I realize that) and I have some goals for the next 12 months.

Henceforth, 8/15 will be known as the beginning of the Cissell Year, a new reckoning of time that will, no doubt, become a reliable astrological something or other.

So, in The Year of the Phoenix (Cissell I), I am going to work on the following 12 things – 1 thing for every month in the year. The theme, based on the fact that it’s The Year of the Phoenix (Cissell I) is rebirth and growth.

I am going to need some help to achieve all the goals, but I am feeling so freaking positive right now, it’s ridiculous.

  1. Feel comfortable in new job by my birthday (2/24 in case you need time to plan your celebratory activities)
  2. Publish five books & 1 novella by the end of the Year (8/14/19)
  3. Find three new clients for the editing business I share with the Beer Guy
  4. Get married
  5. Have the most awesome honeymoon ever
  6. Find a physical activity I super enjoy and do it regularly for fun (preferably trail running)
  7. Develop a regular at-home yoga practice
  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.
  9. Find two really good pairs of jeans.
  10. Learn to appreciate massages.
  11. Become more comfortable with self promotion (preorder Oracle Bay #1! Buy sale copies of Eleanor Morgan paperbacks!)
  12. Develop an elaborate framework for the Cissell calendar and Cissell astrology.

 

Do you have any

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May Motivation

Soooo….I had goals. And lo! They were awesome goals. And, with the exception of one, I knocked them out of the park.

Which one did I fumble on? (Look at me with my sportsball metaphors! Fun fact: I played softball for years, although I haven’t played since my team was kicked out of the LA blah blah blah league for a travesty on the field of play. I don’t remember exactly what happened, because afterwards, there were mimosas, but I think one of our players tried to [or possibly succeeded] in hitting an umpire.)

ANYWAY, all that being said, I messed up on the yoga goal. I’d been doing so well! So much yoga! I was going to yoga six whole times in May. I went once. One time. On May second.

*hangs head in shame*

There were so many confounding factors! We went to the coast! I had my kid’s afterschool program end of the year family night! I went to a celebration of life. (It was for a cat, but he was a very, very good cat.) The beer guy had to work and Alvie Bean is still (STILL!) not old enough to take care of himself. And on. And on.

I was very, very busy is what I’m saying.

This is exactly what I told my therapist when we were talking about how I’m too busy to add in the stuff I know needs to happen. And it’s true. I am busy. I work my day job 8 hours/day. On my lunch break and commutes, I’m usually working by either writing or editing. I generally spend 7-10:30 writing or editing each night (7:30-10:30 when I have Ye Olde Kidde), and spend a lot of the weekends writing/editing/ensuring that we don’t live in squalor.

See? Much, much too busy for pesky things like “exercise” and “eating.”

Oh yeah. Eating. (CW: disordered eating)

I prefer not to eat. If I could, I’d subsist on a diet of cheese, tartare, eggs (lightly cooked), and wine. However, I can no longer eat cheese (at least not much), and going out for tartare with quail egg every night is apparently “extravagant” and my bank says “no.”

This explains my vitamin D levels, which are low, even for Portland.

I am supposed to be brainstorming ways to talk myself into prioritizing me and my health. So far, I’ve tried yelling at myself in very motivational ways.

[I couldn’t find a meme that accurately depicted me yelling at myself without be creepy or borderline offensive. Imagine something nice and amusing here, instead.]

So, instead of being “too busy” or “too tired” to exercise/eat/take care of myself, I’m supposed to take baby steps of kindness. Which sounds kinda silly when I type it out, but for someone like me, it might be the best way.

Easily achievable goals instead of stretch goals – at least when it comes to exercise and food – are what I’m supposed to be looking at now.

For June, I will go to yoga once/week and will make a point of getting on my bike once/week. I will also do 10 minute walks (like ten minutes in a row; not a combined total of 10 minutes) once/week. I will start logging my eating again and will eat regular meals…regularly. No more “forgetting” or “being too busy to eat.”

Ugh. That looks so pathetic all written out. I want something like my schedule from eight years ago (taken directly from my workout log):

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 10 mile bike ride, 3.5 mile run, 10 minutes of upper body strength
Wednesday – 1 mile swim
Thursday – 4.5 mile hill run, 90 minute yoga class
Friday – rest/walk
Saturday – 2 hours unspecified activity
Sunday – 12.5 mile trail run

Food – not tracked, but likely I ate all the food. I looked good, yo!

Never mind that it was 9 years ago, 1 kid ago, and that I was working part time (4 days/week), hadn’t quite started grad school yet, and didn’t care about spending time with my now ex-husband. it doesn’t matter! I should 100% be able to jump right back into that schedule, right? RIGHT?

Apparently no.

So here I am, taking baby steps, not so that I can get back to that place, but so that I can imagine the possibility of getting back to that place.

So, motivation…I’m still lacking the push that it takes to go from an object at rest.

Looking for my external force.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll try faking it ’til I make it. I’ve done this before. Granted, I was a lot younger and had 100% fewer children, but I made it work once, and I can do it again.

 

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May Day! May Day!

Well hellllooooooo! I have been gone lo! these many weeks. I feel like the last five weeks have been crazy, but then when I look back at my life, it turns out that crazy is the new normal. (That’s what my shrink says. Probably.)

Since The Broken World came out, I’ve been managing to keep myself busy. (True story – 99% of the time I type “busy,” I accidentally write “busty” instead. And I have definitely been keeping myself busty.)

ANYWAY. What have I accomplished?

  • I finished my first draft of “It’s Not in the Cards,” which will be the first book in my Oracle Bay series.
  • I started a new medication that seems to be (knock on all the black cats) working pretty well, now that the side effects have mostly dissipated.
  • I took a quick trip to the coast to visit Oracle Bay with the Beer Guy.
  • I’ve been editing for my freelance clients.
  • I’ve outlined Oracle Bay #2
  • I’ve spent more time learning about blocking IP addresses and dealing with Amazon customer service than I cared to
  • I’ve been momming at a very high level (side note: when does parenting get easy? asking for a friend)
  • I’ve managed to get through 4.5 seasons of Supernatural
  • I saw Hamilton (!!!)
  • I went to the Saturday yoga class that’s been on my calendar for a year. Yes, for the first time. (I’ve been twice now. I’m ready for my Yoga Journal cover shot.)

So, you know, since all that crap’s behind me…

I want to revive my habit of making monthly goals. But I also don’t want to get carried away. Small starts. I’m a huge checklist person. Nothing makes me happier (well, almost nothing) than crossing things off a list. And although I’ve been riding out this never-ending storm, I’d like to get enough perspective/distance to see if I’m just sitting in some rough water or if I’ve lost my ability to determine how hard things are. So. Goals.

May 2018 Goals 

  1. Yoga – six classes
  2. Oracle Bay 2 – 40K words
  3. Two Raj chapters/two Wing and a Prayer chapters
  4. Get the bike out and make sure it’s ridable. Then, if I’m feeling extra feisty, ride it.
  5. 3/6/12 month business plans.

That is ambitious, but achievable.

Dream big, pony boy.

 

And you? Anything big for May? I can’t believe the school year’s almost over and my kid is just about finished with kindergarten. How did that even happen?