Release Day – Falling for Sacrifice

Falling for Sacrifice Signed Paperback $14.22

Some story ideas come together nicely – much like every one of my other books – but not Falling for Sacrifice. Sacrifice was my sacrifice. I had a smidgen of an idea and started writing without forming the whole plot. Many times I had to stop and start again… I wrote and rewrote, tore up pages, deleted huge chunks; I hated and struggled with everything I was trying to say. My biggest problem was not focusing. I had very little time to write so when I did sit down, I’d reread what I wrote from the last time and then hate it and had to rewrite. I swear I stayed in those first 100 pages for a year!

Working a day job that didn’t involve children’s nap times that allowed me to write throughout the day, wasn’t an option anymore. My family needed me to have a steady and secure paycheck. My sacrifice was pushing my writing to the back burner. And even though I love my day job, I hated not writing. It’s my passion, my love, my career… and for that first year on the day job, I felt like I was failing my books. Falling for Sacrifice was not moving forward and frustrating me to pieces.

It wasn’t until I sat down with several different friends that I finally could focus on where I wanted this story to go. I learned how to plot systematically. I studied other working authors and how they scheduled their time, and truly made the time for writing on a daily basis. Even if I felt pretty crappy from being on my feet all day, I still sat and wrote something.

I’m so grateful for these friends – GP Ching, Janice Croom, Mary Hart, Kate Larkin, MJ Schiller, Dawn Taylor, Megan Timms, and Ann-Marie Zammit. Ladies, you saved this book from the burn pile and I’m so grateful. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be in love with this book. You helped me turn this chunk of worthless rock into a diamond.

I really hope everyone likes Falling for Sacrifice. It encompasses many of my passions from nature and survival, to movies and suspenseful drama… and of course, love and a hot couple!

Falling for Sacrifice is now LIVE! And waiting for your click to add it to your collection.

And because my readers so awesome, I’m going to introduce you to Evan and Isabel, my newest main characters right now! Please enjoy Falling for Sacrifice’s Prologue.

September

Evan

CRASH! THUD!

“Uhh.” Evan groaned, falling from his bed and landing smack on his backside.

Nothing was still. Books, pillows, his suitcase, his body flew around the tiny room, tossing back and forth with the violence of an earthquake. But it wasn’t the earth beneath his feet… it was water.

Crawling, sliding, clawing, slipping again…  kneeling, gripping and holding on for dear life, Evan finally made it to a stand looking out the port hole window below deck of the Alicia Maria. Up and down, back and forth the waves crashed furiously battering the boat. Purple lightning lit up the sky, highlighting the black clouds swirling overhead. A crack of thunder shook the walls.

Her words cut through the rumble. “¡Hijo de puta!” Isabel, the woman who volunteered to sail him to the Azores, yelled.

Son of a bitch, Evan somehow still knew from high school Spanish class. “Isabel!” He scrambled to his feet, using anything to steady himself as he climbed to the upper deck.

One glimpse above the doorway and he wanted to crawl right back down to the cabin. Hard, sharp slices of water pelted him in the face; sea and rain stung his eyes.

“Evan! Help, I need help,” Isabel shouted over the storm.

“What do I do?” he yelled in return, slipping along using the railing for support to her at the helm.

“The wheel!  Help me with it!”

He was on her in a second, locking his arms around her body at the wheel. She had two hands in a horizontal hold. Evan took the vertical, using all his strength against the vicious battle between sky and sea.

Another crack of thunder, another strike of lightning and the sky lit up. It happened a second time and a third, one right after another. Salt water coated his eyes and breached his mouth. Evan spat but didn’t dare let go of the wheel, or Isabel for that matter. His arms and body sheltered her, protecting her from the lashing storm while he took the brunt of it against his back. He had more skin; he could grow it back… if they lived.

“Evan! Look!” she exclaimed.

Blinking away the burn, he opened his eyes to a swell of ocean, rising high above the tiny boat. “We’re dead,” fell from his mouth.

“We don’t have time to die. Come on!” Isabel yanked him away from the wheel. “Let’s go!”

Frozen in place, Evan did as he was told, seeing the wave cap with white as it crested a mile above them.

“Come on! There’s a raft!” Isabel dragged him to the back of the boat to what looked like a giant pill capsule.

“Fast. We need to pull this until it pops.” She detached a rope from the thing and handed the end to him. “Pull!”

Going as fast as he could, he drew yard after yard of nylon until his hand felt like hamburger on a grill.

“Keep going,” Isabel turned to say, but in that one pause the boat jolted. She flew backward. The sound of her head hitting the floorboards was worse than the crack of thunder coming from the sky.

“Isabel!” Evan was on his knees, gathering her in his arms. “Come on, honey. Wake up. I don’t know what to do.”

The boat pitched and rolled, whipping and splintering pieces of the helm everywhere. Panicked, Evan searched and found a couple of life preservers and slipped one around Isabel’s body, then his. With shaking hands, he linked the two vests together and held her limp body to his.

Without a thought, he pressed his lips to her bloodied forehead. “I’ve got you,” he said, whether she could hear him or not. Hell, he could barely hear himself as another massive wave roared above.

Pulling hard, Evan popped the capsule. A raft expanded in the water below. He jumped overboard with Isabel in his arms into the vessel and held the vinyl wall as tight as he could. A second later, the wave crashed down with the force of an atomic bomb, pummeling him until all his senses were lost.

Click here to buy you very own copy! Falling for Sacrifice on Sale NOW

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Interview with a Character – Lindsey McKay

Most of the time I base my book characters on famous people because they are the ones in the public eye and well-known by many. But sometimes I base these make believe characters on people who live and breathe without being seen on television or movies, such as: Cameron Carmel, Xavier Delgado, and in my upcoming book, Lindsey McKay.

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Dean Cain and Lindsey McKay Martin

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Lindsey, Ernie Hudson, and Me

Lindsey McKay Martin is a friend of mine that I met on Facebook. I followed someone in a Dean Cain group and through that person, Lindsey found out I was an author. That led to lots of questions, chats, and a new reader of mine. This was back when Falling for Shock first came out and we’ve been friends ever since. Over the years, Lindsey’s job expanded from being a veterinarian assistant to working with actor  Dean Cain as his handler during conventions all over the world. Soon she branched out working with other stars, like Ghostbuster, Ernie Hudson. So when I began writing Falling for Sacrifice about another movie star in the Falling world, I immediately thought of Lindsey as the strict manager to flighty Evan Corbett.

Over the last year, I really got to know my friend and tried to capture her personality the best I could in character of Lindsey.  Next to the main characters of Evan and Isabel, Lindsey is definitely my top favorite. I can’t wait for you to meet her. In the meantime, please welcome the original Miss Lindsey McKay Martin, live from Wizard Con Chicago 2019.

 

 

Thank you so much Lindsey for taking a moment from your day to meet YOUR biggest fan. I can’t wait for you to meet your doppelgänger.

The Prizes Are Rolling In!

I am so excited to announce more of the prizes that have been donated to our Falling for Heroes Raffle in two weeks. I’d still love to have more prizes to offer, so if you are someone and you have something to offer as a donation to the raffle for Hannah the Warrior Princess  and the CABLE Project (click to read all about Hannah & CABLE).

So, if you are an author, a crafter, an entertainer, a motivationalist, small business owner or just want to contribute to the raffle with a prize, please contact me at any of my social media outlets or email.  You can find all that information on the left hand side of the screen. Thank you so much for your help!

PRIZES (so far)

Tickets will be priced at $2 each, or $5 for three

through Rafflecreator online starting July 23 ~ August 3, 2018

Falling for Heroes Media

The full and signed paperback collection of my Falling for Heroes Series: Books 1-4

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New York Times Bestselling Author Vicki Lewis Thompson has graciously donated the first four books in her new McGavin Brothers Series. All autographed by the author.

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Books and Swag gift bag donated by Best Selling Author MJ Schiller.

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The full paperback series Life After Life Chronicles signed by Comedy-Horror author Andy Zach

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Editor Liam J. Cross is donating his editing services to a winning author.

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Author and crafter Christina Gist has handpick these specific fabrics to represent Hannah with the pink, Ireland with the shamrocks, and our hero theme with the comic graphics to hand sew bookmarks for our raffle.

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Author J.M. Ivie has donated a signed copy of her debut novel, Alvar: Battle For The Realm, and a matching mug so you can kick back with a hot coffee or tea when you settle in for a read.

 

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Mary Frances Gualandri has included an ebook of her excellent novel Unbound. (on a personal note, I’ve read and love this story so much!)

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Author Layla Stone is donating a signed paperback copy of her highly praised sci-fi romance, Unexpected Prize

 

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Trisha Prather makes her very own paw wax ~ Paw Better ~ for pets and has graciously donated 4 baskets of pet grooming and supplies including Paw Better each worth $20 each!

Pips Pirate Treasure

To see more of Pip’s anchors, there are some examples at her Etsy store.

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Cudillero, Asturias Spain in Real Life

While searching for the perfect setting for Alexander’s birth family in Falling for Hope, I knew I exactly what I wanted: a beautiful, seaside town in Spain, where fishing and tourism is prominent. In doing so, I came across this majestic, paradise called Cudillero in Asturias, Spain. My heart was swept away by the images and videos, but what truly made me a lover of this Spanish seaside village was the day I met Ana Alvarez. I had been wishing for someone I could speak to who lived there as I was writing Falling for Sacrifice, which is also set in Cudillero; so I searched Facebook until I found an apartment complex in town. Ana was the woman who responded, and boy, was I the lucky one. Ana’s family has lived in Cudillero for generations upon generations. She’s a history lover, a book lover, and is extremely intelligent, kind, and proud woman of her town. Generously Ana gave of her time and knowledge to help me in writing about the world where my characters live and today I’ve asked her to be a guest on my blog.

I will be bringing today’s blog to you bilingually, so forgive me if my Spanish is horrible! It’s definitely not my first language and not even my second language… I took French in high school! But I have learned a bit over the years and Google Translate is a big helper.

 

Without further ado… Cudillero in Real Life, by Ana Alvarez

Ana

In English

How long have you lived in Cudillero? Tell me about your connection to the town.

I have lived my life in Cudillero. I was born here, so except for my university years or work reasons, I have always been here—very united to my people.

Little Ana in Cudillero

My whole family is from this town… generations and generations. On my mother’s side were sailors, shipowners and pixuetas (name of the inhabitants of Cudillero), housewives, fish sellers, workers of canneries. On my father’s side were apothecaries, teachers, sailors, coopers, writers, and councilmen despite whether they lived here their whole lives, they have always returned and maintained their roots in Cudillero.

 

 

 

What’s the most fascinating piece of history have you learned about your town?

Cudillero is a small town in the north of Spain with centuries of history in and around its surroundings. But its mysterious foundation is perhaps the most interesting. Legends say Cudillero was founded by Normans, or inhabitants of northern Europe who fled from the Vikings, or by Vikings who were looking for a safe place to hide. Before then, there were even Roman forts in the high places that surround the town, such as Mount Santa Ana or Castro. The part of the town where my apartments are located is called Aroncés, which comes from Aras del César, another historic founder of my town.

You may also be interested to know that some of the boats that were made for the conquest of Florida were from here, as were the sailors who navigated the seas. The discoverer of Florida, D. Pedro Menendez, was from Avilés, 20km from Cudillero, and his maternal family was from my town. Menendez made sure to go with the best and most expert sailors (here they are called “sea lions”). The sailors of Cudillero are reputed to have been among the best in Europe.

 

What feeling do you have when you walk into town?

The number one feeling I have about being at home is nostalgia. When I was little the world was different. My people kept the landscape and the other families that have been here forever all know each other. At least, everyone knows me. But with the good comes the bad too, sometimes people know too much. But beyond that I liked to talk and listen to the elderly. They are like a bridge to another time… authentic at the end of the day.

 

What do you enjoy more – conversing with the locals or meeting the tourists?

The two things actually: as I mentioned before I like talking to older people it’s always a discovery, and the old sailors are going to give you the most reliable weather prediction in the world. Hahaha

As for talking to tourists I enjoy it. They are surprised by everything, customs, constructions, and history. It’s refreshing.

 

What building or “spot” is your favorite in Cudillero?

I love the stroll through the intricate alleyways of the Sol de la Banca, the contour of the land, The Baluartín, the Balconada, the singing, Salsipuedes, get lost among those narrow streets I love. But in the Old dock there is a place that I love from where you can see the sea and the lighthouse. It gives me strength, like the sunset on the beach of Maria Candialis or at the end of the pier New.

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Views from the Baluartin on a foggy day, Cudillero, Asturias, Spain

María Candialis beach

María Candialis beach, Cudillero, Asturias, Spain

Sol de la Blanca at night

Sol de la Blance at night, Cudillero, Asturias, Spain

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The lighthouse at the end of the old pier, Cudillero, Asturias, Spain

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The intricate, beautiful, and mysterious alleyways near Sol de la Blanca, Cudillero, Asturias, Spain

 

 

If you’ve been away for a while, what is the first thing you see, smell, and hear that lets you know you’re home?

The sea, the seagulls, the smell of the kitchens of the houses and the fried fish fresh out of its many restaurants.

 

If someone visits Cudillero, what’s the one experience you wish the people took away from your town?

The experience of feeling at home in an authentic place with history and traditions that make you want to return; and that the people are very nice and makes you feel at ease.

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Thank you so much Ana for answering my questions and helping me so much. I’m so glad I found you. You are truly a sister across the ocean.

And you’ll be able to read more about Ana in Falling for Sacrifice. I gave her a bit of recognition and turned her into a character. You can read all about Miss Ana Alvarez, the legal aide in Falling for Sacrifice coming August 30!

 

 

 

En Español

¿Cuánto tiempo has vivido en Cudillero? Cuéntame sobre tu conexión con la ciudad.

He vivido casitoda mi vidad en Cudillero. Nací aquí y excepto algunos periodos como los años de Universidad, o por causas de trabajo siempre he estado muy unidad a mi pueblo. Además toda mi familia es de este pueblo, generaciones y generaciones . Por parte de mi madre marineros , armadores y pixuetas (nombre de los habitantes de Cudillero), amas de casa , vendedoras de pescado, trabajadoras de fábricas de conserva. Por parte de mi padre boticarios , maestros , marineros, boticarias , maestras, tonelero, escritores, … todos del concejo que aunque no vivieran aquí toda su vida siempre volvían y mantenía su arraigo.

 

¿Cuál es la parte más fascinante de la historia que has aprendido sobre tu ciudad?

Cudillero es un pequeño pueblo del norte de España, tiene siglos de historia, él y sus alrededores . Pero quizás su fundación misteriosa, dicen que fue fundado por normandos o habitantes del norte de Europa que huían de los vikingos, o por los mismo vikingos que buscaban un lugar escondido y seguro donde ocultarse. Antes ya había castros romanos en los altos que lo rodean cono el Monte de Santa Ana o Castro, incluso la población donde se encuentran los apartamentos se llama Aroncés que viene de Aras del César.

También os puede interesar que algunos de los barcos que se hicieron para la conquista de la Florida eran de aquí, como muchos de los marineros que fueron . El adelantado de la Florida, D. Pedro Menendez era de Avilés , a 20km de Cudillero, y su familia materna era de mi pueblo así que se aseguró de ir con los marineros expertos(aquí se les llama “lobos de mar”) de la villa pixueta. Los marineros de Cudillero tieneen fama de haber sido de los mejores de Europa.

 

¿Qué sensación tienes cuando entras a la ciudad?

La de estar en casa, donde estoy segura. También nostalgia. Cuando yo era pequeña el mundo era diferente, mi peblo conservaba el paisaje y la gente de las familias que han vivido aquí durante siglos y todos nos conocíamos. Por lo menos y aún sigue siendo así , me conoce todo el mundo , con lo Bueno y lo malo que conlleva eso. Pero me gustaba hablar y escuchar a la gente mayor , a los ancianos, eran como el puente a otra época. Auténticos. Al fin y al cabo un pueblo lo hacen sus gentes.

 

¿Qué es lo que más le gusta: conversar con los lugareños o conocer a los turistas?

Las dos cosas, como te dije antes, hablar con la gente mayor siempre es un descubrimiento y los marineros viejos te van a dar la predicción meteorológica más fiable del mundo. Jajaja

Hablar con los turistas también me gusta, se sorprenden por todo, las costumbres, la construcciones, la historia,…

 

¿Qué edificio o “lugar” es tu favorito en Cudillero?

Callejear me encanta por las caleas intrincadas,  Sol de la Banca, El Contorno, El Baluartín , la Balconada, el Canto , Salsipuedes, perderme entre esas calles estrechas me encanta. Pero en el muelle Viejo hay un lugar que me encanta , desde donde se ve la mar y el faro. Me da fuerza, al igual que la puesta de sol en la playa de Maria candialis, al final del muelle Nuevo.

 

Si has estado fuera por un tiempo, ¿qué es lo primero que ves, hueles y oyes que te deja saber que estás en casa?

La mar, las gaviotas, el olor de las cocinas de las casas y el de los fritos de pescado fresco saliendo de sus muchos restauroantes.

 

 

Si alguien visita Cudillero, ¿cuál es la única experiencia que desearía que la gente se llevara de su pueblo?

La experiencia de sentirse en casa, en un lugar auténtico, con historia y tradiciones al que querer volver porque la gente es muy maja y  te hace sentir a gusto.

 

 

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Muchas gracias Ana por responder mis preguntas y ayudarme mucho. Estoy tan feliz por haberte encontrado. Eres una verdadera hermana al otro lado del océano.

Y podrás leer más sobre Ana en Falling for Sacrifice. Le di un poco de reconocimiento y la convertí en un personaje. ¡Puede leer todo sobre la Srta. Ana Álvarez, la asistente legal en Falling for Sacrifice el 30 de agosto!

 

Where Were You When…

Two very important world events will be happening in the next two days: The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the end of Once Upon a Time (okay, so one huge world event and one series finale that’s very important to me.) If you know anything about me, you know that I am super excited to experience both, but then that started me thinking… when we think of tragic events everyone seems to ask – where were you when such and such happened? But instead of focusing on negative events like assassinations, terrorism, or accidents, let’s see if we can remember some happy events.

 

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Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s Wedding

“I, Diana Frances, take thee Phillip Charles Arthur George…”

Just like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I was enthralled as a young girl (very young) over his mother and father, Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding. I was six, I believe, and my mother had gone on and on about this real life prince and princess getting married. I was already a very imaginative and romantic child, using the sheer curtains in the living room as a wedding veil when I’d play pretend, so of course I was excited to see a real royal wedding. I remember it was a hot day and my mom had spread a sheet on the floor, since we had a shag carpet and it was cooler, and plopped my sisters and I in front of the television set. The princess bride was gorgeous, the prince was doofy but handsome in his blue royal suit. I loved it and since then, I don’t think there’s been a royal wedding I’ve missed from Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, to Prince William and Catherine Middleton–where I shared my royal wedding fascination with my son and “daughter” Princess Ellie (may she rest in peace).

 

 

Classic Television Show Endings

“I’m sorry, we’re closed.”

I may not remember the ends of super classic shows like The Brady Bunch, M*A*S*H, or Little House on the Prairie, but I clearly was present for shows in my generation ending, like Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, Smallville and a bunch of others. Sometimes those final shows are awesome. Smallville, for instance, finally had our young Clark Kent that we had seen grow up finally don the red cape and save the day in a super suit. I shot off the bed, jumping up and down since I thought for sure they’d never show Tom Welling in the suit. Even still, we didn’t get much of a glimpse, but it was enough for me.

Some shows have had stupid endings like Seinfeld where everyone went to jail for all the narcissistic things they caused of the run of the series. They could’ve done better. Cheers too, it was so boring all sitting around the bar contemplating the meaning of life. Zzzzzz… The only thing I liked was Sam turning off the lights and telling the customer outside that they were closed. Great line, but very lack luster ending.

Friends though, oh boy. I cried. Those six people I watched every week were my friends and to watch them grow over the years into relationships and families of their own touched my heart. Then to have Monica and Chandler move away and everyone turn in their key was just heartwarming. I have a feeling my precious Once Upon a Time will be that way. From the way the actors on social media have been posting, it seems like this final episode will be bittersweet. Once has meant so much to me from the moment it aired too, so I know I will be sobbing whether it’s a good episode or not. I don’t want to see it go.

 

 

First Independence Day After 9/11

God bless America
Land that I love
Stand beside her
And guide her
Through the night with the light from above

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Yeah, yeah, so it’s not some big historic moment, but it definitely was important and I know exactly what I was doing. After 9/11 our country was in chaos and depressed – not economically, but as a mood. No one wanted to laugh at first, no one wanted to be adventurous. There was a heaviness to the nation and I know I had felt it. But that first Independence Day, July 4th, 2002, I will remember well. Jon and I had moved to Solana Beach, California from Tierrasanta, which is on the coast, north of San Diego. We lived on this hillside overlooking the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds, and the Pacific Ocean. We knew there were going to be fireworks shot off after the P!nk concert going on, so we (and most of the neighborhood) started setting up chairs overlooking the grounds down below. We couldn’t see the concert, but we could definitely hear it and when it was over, P!nk sang some patriotic tunes as the fireworks burst almost eye level with us on top of the hill. It was magical. I remember leaning on Jon’s shoulder at one point tearing because it was such a perfect moment to celebrate the first American birthday after such a tragic event shook our world. He knew I am a huge patriotic sap, and wrapped his arms around me, sharing in the moment.

 

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President Obama’s Inauguration

“We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin…”

Politics aside (and I don’t want to read them in the comments either), Barack Obama being elected to the presidency was an extremely historical moment: The first black person to hold the highest role in the country.

As a nation we unfortunately have slavery in our past. I am not proud of this. To me it’s a deep scar in our history and it shouldn’t be forgotten, but learned from so the same mistakes should never be made again. What our black ancestors went through was disgusting; how they were treated, how they were abused… and for what, because their skin is a different color? Seriously, beyond disgusting and it fires me up to no end. So to see how far people of this ethnicity have risen to such high powers makes me extremely proud.

The morning of President Obama’s inauguration I was in Springfield, IL, working for a company where the people weren’t too tolerant. In fact, some were down right ignorant, asking why I wanted to watch, since I was white. As if it shouldn’t matter to me since I’m not his same race. I remember shaking my head and fuming inside at the audacity of such a thought. I was so proud and here these people were ruining it. Anyway, I asked to take a long lunch so I could see the inauguration and witness the swearing in of our first black president. I came home and watched with chills gathering on my arms. The historical significance not lost on what was happening. I think I may have even shed a tear or two. Like I said above, politics aside, it was a beautiful moment in American history, seeing President Obama take on his new role.

 

Berlin Wall Coming Down

“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall.”

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I specifically remember being in an elementary school assembly watching a movie about an East German family flying a hot air balloon over the Berlin Wall into West Germany to be reunited with the rest of their family. It was called Night Crossing, as I just looked it up, and I went home that night after watching it and asked my parents if it was a real story. That was the first time I heard about the Berlin Wall. Even as a child the story about the Berlin Wall effected me. How could families be separated and kept from each other like that? So fast forward to when I was in high school and I remember watching television in my parents’ bedroom when the show was interrupted with news that the wall was being torn down. There I watched as people were standing on top of this graffitied wall with pick axes, striking the concrete and breaking off pieces and panels of the wall that kept them separated from freedom. They were joyous and celebrating, crying for the freedom they’d been bestowed.

To this day, every time I hear President Reagan’s famous quote shown above, I smile and get those historic chills running up and down my arms and legs. What a privilege it was to have witnessed such an event.

 

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I could go on and on, but I’ve already written a short story here. So it’s your turn. In the comments below or back on any of my social media posts, tell me what some of your positive memories are from historic and/or world events?  

 

 

An Open Look at Anxiety

Time to some is just a minute on a clock. To others it’s a guide; and to others still, it’s a prison. I am one of those people who feel like I’m in a time prison when anxiety hits me like a torrential rain storm. Some of you may know, and other may not, but I suffer from panic attacks and bouts of anxiety. I don’t like it– I hate it, in fact, and wouldn’t wish on anyone. I do feel the need to talk about it today so maybe it helps someone else in desperate need to find answers.

I have a phobia, I have fears, and worries that plague me almost on a daily basis. I never stop thinking. Sometimes I can curb the madness and throw myself in work or family and those days are the very best. I feel like there are more of those than the anxious days, but if I’m being honest, they’re probably a 60/40 ratio (60% going to the better days). I’d love it if the anxiety side was a lower number and that is why I’ve taken the reins and gone to therapy to help learn why the anxiety comes on as often as it does.

When I first began going to therapy, I thought my only problem was anxiety that stemmed from my phobia of being sick to my stomach. I can’t even call it the real word when talking about it. I have to use a word that doesn’t specifically mean being stomach sick; I have to use a word that has another meaning like the word hurl. Hurl means the bad thing, and it also means to throw something – like a ball. And even after using a non-specific word, I still just say H, to further distance myself from it.  Anyhow, it’s a deep fear and it sets off panic attacks pretty badly.  These attacks then somehow get turned into the time prison I mentioned above. If I’m panicking, I start thinking about how long until this or that? How much sleep do I need to get before I’m supposed to be up for work? How long is my work shift? If I’m panicking on a trip, how long are we in the car/plane for ? But mostly, I think how long has it been since I or my son was last sick? Is there a long enough buffer zone from the last time to have trust in our stomachs? Or, oh no, it’s coming up on one week, one month, one year, five years, ten years, since some H’ed ? If I can get through those time prisons I can make it through the attack. At least that’s my thinking. Yeah, time is not my friend when attacks hit.

I would really like to know where this stems from and perhaps one day, I’ll figure it out. Until that day comes, I will try to do what my therapist says and ask the question WHY? Why am I feeling this way? Why is my brain taking me down this road? Why am I feeling nauseous or shaky or upset? Why don’t I want to work? Why don’t I want to move? Asking why, helps me logically think about why I’m feeling the way I am and how I can break free. So far it works. I’ve stopped a handful of panic attacks by asking why and focusing on the logic behind why my attacks are coming on.

Another method I try is the good, old favorite distraction method of finding a place I can go to where time doesn’t exist and bliss was forever. For me that would be on a beach somewhere listening to the ocean and seagulls with a cool breeze lapping my sun-kissed skin; my husband and son playing not too far away. Their laughter lingers on the air while I write stories to my heart’s desire. Ahh, my anxiety free, happy place of peace.

All in all, it’s hard for me to admit my faults (and yes, I see them as faults even thought I can’t help it – still working on that one too), but I do hope that writing this might help someone else in need of answers they are struggling to find. Anxiety is an individual affliction, but know you are not alone in the fight. I’m there too and together we can work on eliminating the prison where find ourselves trapped. We can break through.

 

 

 

 

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If you have found this during a panic attack and are looking for a place of peace, I hope you’ve found it. You are not alone. You are not trapped. I know what you are going through, and I pray that you will get through this bleak moment. You are strong. You will be free. Breathe. Relax. Go to my happy place if you’d like… there’s room for you and your family or friends or pets too.

If you are religious, God is with you. He won’t let you be alone either. Focus on Him. If you aren’t religious, consider searching your soul for God, a spirit that can guide you. God doesn’t have to be a strict religion in a church with rules. He’s a father, He’s love, He’s comfort. He’s in your heart. Trust Him. Trust yourself. You are stronger than you think you are. You’ve got this. Breathe.

Living Here, There, and In-Between

Aside from the state where I was born during my father’s stint in the United States Army, I’ve lived in three different states: Connecticut, California, and Illinois. Each place more drastically different from the other. I thought today, I’d go through some of  what I liked and disliked about living in these regions.

CONNECTICUT

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Brookfield, Connecticut

I grew up in Connecticut, in the tiny, semi-pretentious town of Brookfield. Where it’s a gorgeous place to live all year around with it’s lush green woodlands, rolling hills, and babbling brooks. It’s also a place I never felt a part of. I moved to this tiny town when I was 8 and by then, all the kids had spent the first 4 years of school together. I was an outsider, and I suppose I felt that way until I was 24 and when I moved out of my childhood home. I did end up finding friends and having some beautiful memories with them, but the once out-going, out-spoken little girl who danced around the grocery stores in costumes in the next town over before moving, I became the quiet one, not ruffling any feathers, not fighting for things I wanted. I simply retreated in my own little world and that’s where I stayed. I was a very lonely person who just wanted to find my place in the world, and hopefully someone to share it with me.

 

CALIFORNIA

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San Diego, California – La Jolla Cove

 

After college, I had to get out of the tininess of Connecticut and drove 3,000 miles to San Diego, California for the next stage of my life. I wanted to find myself, my career, and hopefully someone I could share love with there. In the sun and the surf, I soaked up every drop of California, from it’s amazing weather to it’s rocking night life and everything in between. I lived not too far from the photo above and worked at a little cafe that delivered to places all along the cove. Gorgeous did not begin explain how incredible it was to see sights like these every single day…and this was the first place I lived in Cali. I also was able to live in a 1920s studio apartment right downtown, in the mountains and canyons of eastern San Diego, and on the coast 6 miles from the ocean in Solana Beach. Each part of the city was more beautiful than the next. Even more than the beauty of the city, I met the man who shares my soul. I remember once walking into my bedroom with the sea breeze of the Pacific wafting through my apartment and thinking, “this is a dream and I never want to wake up.”
But with every delicious high of living in California there were a few downsides too. There’s the obvious downside of traffic… oh my gosh, it’s awful there! The anxiety I used to have driving to work was outrageous. Distance wise – I lived 15 miles away, but traffic wise – it took me upwards of 90 minutes to get there.

Then there was the cut-throatedness of the people. Whether I was in law school and having someone befriend me only for my notes, or a boss that was nice to my face but telling corporate crap about me behind my back, it was a tough world to live in. Let’s just say I learned a lot of valuable lessons about trust over there.

I also learned that the right people mean everything. If I thought living in Connecticut was lonely, I was wrong. I, at least, had my family. In California, I had no one for that first year. At one point, I called my friend, who lived 2 hours away in Los Angeles, and asked if we could meet half way just for some real human contact. She felt the same way and we did exactly that, giving each other a hug in Irvine, California because we both needed one.

At least the loneliness went away before I left, as well as finding out what I wanted from life and someone to share it with me. The traffic never died though.

 

ILLINOIS

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Bloomington, Illinois

 

While I lived in California, my parents and most of my sisters moved to Illinois. Jon (my then fiancé, now husband) wanted to go back to school and it just wasn’t feasible in California, since it meant we’d have only one full-time job to support us both. So we moved to Illinois. Boy did it take a while to get used to this place. Nothing prepared me for the Midwest. It’s a slower pace, flat, and a little behind in style, fashion, and dare I say it – education. (Sorry, Illinoisans, I don’t mean all of you. There are many highly intelligent residents of the state – I’ll explain in a bit what I mean by the lack of education.)  The first city we lived in was Springfield, and dear Lord, that is the sinkhole of the United States. The only memory that will keep me proud of Springfield is having my son there.

The biggest problem I had with Springfield is the racism (which brings us back to the lack of education in the smaller, more rural outskirts of the city). Both of my sisters were abused verbally and physically by kids at their school for being a different race other than their own blonde hair, blue eyed, Anglo-Saxon world. My husband, who is Korean, and I encountered some of this too, bumping into a kid at the grocery store who spun around, pointed to Jon and said, “Look mom, a foreigner.” The mother didn’t correct her son, just agreed with him, and walked on, leaving Jon and I staring at them like two wide-mouth bass.

Needless to say, we did not want to raise our son in Springfield and before he entered elementary school, we moved to Bloomington. What a night and day difference! The culture in Bloomington is vastly different, and I am so proud of this community. Every race is welcome and celebrated with open arms.

I’m happy to say that this is a town I love. I have my family, a career I love, and beauty all around us. Sure it’s not the rolling hills and lush woodlands of Connecticut, nor the sand and surf of California, but we have exhilarating storms, sunsets with colors I can’t begin to describe, and fields of green and gold as far as the eye can see all summer long.

All in all, I am a big fan of being an explorer. If you don’t know what you want to do in your life, go out and find it. Try different places, visit, travel, and treat your life like an adventure. Through it you never know, you might find exactly what you are looking for.