Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Author Erica Martin and book Your Work at Home Journey

Author Erica Martin lives in North Carolina and works from home as an interviewer for a company dealing in life and health insurance applications. She also does some freelance work in writing and transcription. She’s been married for 11 years.

Her book, Your Work at Home Journey, contains information in a few areas that people can work from home in: phone work, transcriptions, and freelance writing. She also includes advice and things that others should know before they start working from home. Your Work at Home Journey came out in April, 2014 and is available on Amazon at and this book focuses on important things that people need to consider before they decide to work from home.

Your Work at Home Journey currently has six 5* ratings on Amazon. One reviewer calls it, “A good reference tool.” And comments that, “I wish I had this book many years ago It would have saved me time, money, and grief. I highly recommend it.” Another reviewer says, “The author has worked in transcriptions, sales, data entry, surveys, and writing. If you fall into one of these categories, get this book because she covers everything! Highly recommended!” A third Amazon customer calls it, “Very informative and way more than I expected!”

She’s currently working on her second book which will have more information on different companies that will hire people to work from home. Since she independently-published Your Work at Home Journey, she will likely do the same with her second book.


**Disclaimer: this is not an endorsement of the book in question as I haven’t read it, so I can’t vouch for its contents.**

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Five Stages of Grief

To go along with yesterday's post, I'm going to post an article I wrote many years ago for a support group that I belong to on MDJunction, where they have online support groups for just about every medical condition under the sun. I joined this group when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, though it's been a wonderful support and resource for me through many other illnesses! This article has been posted in several different groups, and I thought it might be helpful to have it here as well.
07 April 2010
You've not been feeling well for quite some time now.  At first, you tried to ignore it, then finally realized that you couldn't put it off any more.  You make an appointment with your doctor, who schedules a series of strange and intimidating tests: blood work, CAT scans, MRIs and stuff you probably never even heard of.  After waiting for what seems forever to get your test results back, your doctor calls you into the office.  Then you get the news: you have a chronic illness, something that cannot be cured and that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.  You sit there, perhaps still in the exam room, maybe in your car in the parking lot, and you wonder, what now?

Now is the time when the five stages of grief will step in and rule your life for a matter of time.  It could be days, weeks, months, or even years that you will spend going through the process of grieving, but every person who is diagnosed with a chronic illness will go through this process, the same as you would if you had lost a loved one.  You HAVE lost a loved one: the old YOU.  You must grieve for the person that you were, so that you can move on and accept the person that you are.

The first stage of grief is denial.  Each and every one of us goes through this process.  We may say to ourselves, "Oh, it can't be!  That can't be right!"  We may even go to another doctor, to try and find another answer, perhaps one with a "cure".  Most of us will go home and do some research, whether on the computer or at the local library or book store.  We may even KEEP that appointment with the other doctor, just to see if maybe this one will come up with something we like better.  When we go home, we may tell our loved ones and friends that the tests were inconclusive, that the "quack" we went to see doesn't know what's wrong with us and that we're going to keep trying to find an answer. 

Once you've made your way through the denial phase, the next step in your grieving process is anger.  You may become increasingly angry at the world, your job and coworkers, your family, and even yourself.  You will probably want to yell and scream, and possibly even throw things.  You will declare to yourself and to anyone who will listen about how life isn't fair and you got the short end of the stick.  At this stage, it is important to remember that your anger is an integral part of your grieving process, and that it is completely normal.  However, if your anger turns to violence toward you or others, it's time to seek professional help.

The third stage of grief is called bargaining.  If you are a person of faith (no matter what that faith is), you will probably find yourself trying to bargain with your deity; "Oh please, if you'll take this away, I will _________" (fill in the blank).  This, too, is a normal phase of grieving that everyone must go through before they can become completely comfortable.

Depression is the fourth stage of the process of grieving for your lost self.  This stage is easy to get into and difficult to get out of.  But again, this phase is completely normal, however, if your depression is so serious that you are having feelings and/or thoughts of hurting yourself (or worse), please seek professional help!!  You may become depressed because you can no longer do some of the things you used to do, or be the person you used to be.  You may feel as if you are "broken" or that there is something wrong with you.  You may isolate yourself from your friends (or they may do it for you--but if they do, they weren't true friends), slow or completely stop your social activities, and spend hours or days at a time in bed crying.  You are grieving over the loss of your self.

The final stage of grieving is acceptance.  This is where you finally get to the point where you say to yourself, this is where I'm at, and I can accept it.  You have come to terms with your illness, learned about it, and learned how you yourself can cope with your condition and make your life a bit more livable with that condition.  You may slowly pick up your social activities and come out of your shell more and more.  A big step toward managing your condition, no matter what it is, is the acceptance of that condition.  Once you are no longer fighting the inevitable, you will be better able to listen to your body as it tells you what it needs.

You may not necessarily go through these five stages in the order listed, and there's no time limit for each one.  You will remain in a stage for as long as YOU need to.  There's no right or wrong answer here.  You may even go back to a stage you have already been through, because there is something there that is still unresolved in your mind.  However, there is one thing to remember through all of this: the stages of grief are necessary to your physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being, not only when you grieve the loss of a loved one, but when you grieve the loss of yourself as well.  Do not be ashamed, but rather embrace your grieving process; once you do, you will find that you manage a lot better!**The five stages of grief information was taken from: Recover From Grief.

December Contest!

I'm holding a contest from December 1 through December 15, and the prize will be a PDF copy of Once Upon a Western Way. All you'll need is Adobe Reader or similar PDF reader software. No cheating and starting before December 1! (Just kidding, it won't let you anyway!) This is sort of a test to see what sort of response I get, but the winner will still get a prize! Have fun! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Has New Meaning This Year

Today is a major holiday for those of us living in the United States (and possibly other places as well; I don't mean to exclude anyone!). It's the holiday of Thanksgiving, where, among other things, we think back upon the past year and give thanks for what we have. We usually cook massive feasts of turkey, ham, dressing or stuffing (and YES, as my mother will continually remind you, there is a difference! Dressing is not cooked inside the turkey like STUFFING is.), mounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and more pies than we can stand to look at. Most people don't have to go to work, kids don't have to go to school, and it's a major family occasion, sometimes one of the few times a year that whole extended families might see each other. This ritual may seem odd to those in other countries, but at its core, it's intended to show that we're prosperous enough to make such a meal for a single day.

But beyond the Hallmark version is the real truth behind Thanksgiving: that of giving THANKS for what we have (or in some cases, what we don't have!). There has never been a single year in which I was more grateful and thankful than I am this year. At this point last year, we weren't sure if I was going to be home for the holiday, or stuck in a hospital 3 hours away from those I love. Even, some months before this time last year, whether I was going to live or not.

Going back over your past year can sometimes be painful, and I think about the long journey I've walked over the past 365 days. I went from a person paralyzed from an autoimmune condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome over Christmas 2012, to a healthy and active young woman who went to work every day, played with dogs, and rode and trained my horse. Just 5 months later, that recovery had done a complete 180 and I was again ill, and finally, on July 27, 2013, I was diagnosed with leukemia. At the time, we were sure it was a death sentence.

Before being sick, I'd worked at Auto Zone, a local auto parts store, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri (yes, and I can change my own oil and brakes too!), and I'm grateful for the kindness and support of all my coworkers there. Thank you, my friends, for just being you! I wish I could return, but at this point...well, who knows what the next 365 days will bring? The Auto Zone corporation even gave me a donation, something they do for employees in situations like mine. Thank you, too, Auto Zone.

While I was sick, my family was making the long drive to visit me one weekend, and they were in a car accident. They're all okay, but the vehicle was a total loss. My husband arranged to purchase a vehicle from a coworker of his, and she was nice enough to let him make payments on it. But unknown to us, they were secretly collecting donations and raised enough money for him to pay off the car, get it inspected, and registered, and even had a little left over for gas. Thank you, everyone at Gates Refurb Plant in Poplar Bluff, for your generosity.

Also, my sister, Dana Jordan, who lives in Michigan, organized a fundraiser. My brother, Matt, and his girlfriend Maria, my other sister Becky Rottenbucher, my parents, Dan and Coy Jordan, and Maria's parents, all pitched in to help. Maria's parents allowed the use of Colonial Lanes in Flushing, Michigan, and they had a bowling fundraiser. They collected donations of services from local businesses, or items to raffle off, designed T-shirts, and much more. To each of them, as well as the sea of faceless (to me anyway) strangers who participated or donated, I say thank you very much. They raised a bit over $4,000 that night, and my family needed it desperately.

My sister-in-law, Jacinda Dees, who lives in Florida, also did some fundraising with silicon bracelets from the Max Foundation, and a go-fund-me (or something similar online) where people could go to donate. She also started a Facebook page so that I could post updates (or she or my husband could, when I wasn't able to) in a single place and reach all of the people that I really cared about, all from one place! She also (on occasion) had to edit my posts because I was on so many medications, some of them for pain, that I would often fall asleep posting, or I couldn't focus on what I was posting. Now that I look back, we should have saved some of those posts...we could probably devote an entire blog post to them alone! They would go perfect with all the "text message spell check fails" that are going around everywhere! So to her, and my in-laws Cathy and Darrell Dees, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I need to mention my friend Denise Mercer at this point. She's the one who sent me a simple friend request on Facebook, sort of a "I heard from so-and-so that you're sick, I wanted to check in" sort of thing. Denise is a published author as well, her book is called  My Father's Table, and you can click the link to see it on Amazon. You can also get it at CreateSpace and Barnes and Noble, and for Kindle. Many of you who regularly follow my blog may be aware that I had already published Once Upon a Western Way (in April, 2012), but it was only available digitally at Smashwords. Denise was the one that started "the butterfly effect" in my life, and gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to publish in print. Butterflies hold a special significance to Denise and her family, and that's why I chose the Monarch butterfly for the cover image for My Butterfly Cancer, and part of the reason I chose the butterfly logo to represent my publishing company. Denise, my dear and wonderful friend, thank you with big hugs!

I'm thankful for all the staff at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, who gave me the very best of care and made sure that I was alive to celebrate another Thanksgiving day. This includes doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, janitors, and even the people who brought my food. I couldn't have gotten care closer to home, as we're extremely rural here, and they gave me 5 star service! I still keep in touch with some of them, and from time to time I stop there when I'm in town for checkups. And of course, I'm working to donate my books (and hopefully soon, my audiobooks) to the patients there. Thank you, all of you.

And finally, I'm ever grateful for the presence of my family. Being sick brought me and my mother closer together, and that makes me happy. My husband Jay, my kids Ally and Tasha, my best friends Val and Darlene, my (sister-from-another-mother) Michelle, Pam White (her husband had leukemia at the same time I did), all my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, close friends, acquaintances, my pets at home, and anyone else I've forgotten to mention (and I'm sure there are some!): I am more thankful for you guys than ever before!

For my blog visitors (whom I am also thankful for), if you've made it this far in this long post, I'm going to ask you to do something. I'd like you to share something you're thankful for in the comments section. It doesn't have to be today, because I know some people will be very busy (as I likely will be), but take a moment to think about what you're really grateful for this year. And those of you in countries that don't exactly celebrate Thanksgiving (and I know Canada does, but it's not today) can do the same today. Leave a short comment about what you're thankful for this year, then share this post to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or any other social media you might wish to. If I can get enough comments, maybe I can write a follow up post as to what my fans are thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Author Elora Carmen Shore and book A Road to Count my Days By

 Author Elora Shore lives in the southern USA and is looking for a “day” job as she’s just moved. She lives with a vain cockatiel named Snowflake (though she often calls him “His Lord Grumpship”!) and a Beagle named Buddy. She is a self-published author, whose family introduced her to the possibilities of e-book publishing.

A Road to Count My Days By is a book of poetry. She was looking over them one day and discovered that she had plenty to publish into a book. Rather than have them collect virtual dust in a document folder, she decided to share them instead. This book was released in October of 2013 on Amazon for Kindle readers. She is currently trying to get it available in print as well.

The first piece in the book, Falling Into My Dreams, “opens with an invitations for the other to lose herself in her own dreams, where she will find comfort, and perhaps save a bit of herself.” She hopes to inspire comfort, and hope, and let her readers know that they’re not alone. One Kindle reviewer comments, “A delightful read. I liked this book from the moment I looked at the cover. The author’s vivid observations lead to questions of existence and introspection… …the feeling you get is along the lines of ‘Ah, I am not alone.’” (Amazon review) A Road to Count My Days By currently holds an Amazon 5* rating.

Elora continues to write poems and may eventually release another compilation of her work. She’s also writing her first novel, a romantic comedy about a young woman who wants to escape the rut of trying to survive in the world of part-time jobs and increasingly high living expenses. She’s also working on book one of a trilogy, The Nelessar Legends.

Another book by Elora is called Eloise (a short story): “Day in, day out, the past follows one girl on every side. But not at night. Eloise is the role that defines the longings of her heart. But when Eloise is taken away…the glass structure of her sanity is fractured…” (Taken from Amazon description). This book is rated 5*.

Elora says marketing is difficult for her, as she realizes that “poetry is a small, tough market.” But she welcomes teaming up with others and has learned that, even if a relationship with another author, for example, doesn’t net any extra sales, the networking alone is worth it to her. She can be found on GoodReads, in their “I poetry” group, and many others. You can find her on Amazon: , her blog: , on Facebook: , on Google+ and on LinkedIn: .


**Disclaimer: This interview is not an endorsement of the book in question, as I haven’t read it and can’t vouch for its contents.**

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Author Annalisa Crawford and book Our Beautiful Child

Comments in blocks [ ] are my own, and not ( ) citations.


I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting with author Annalisa Crawford, a resident of Cornwall, England. She lives with her husband, two sons, a dog, and a cat, and is a fitness instructor when she’s not writing.

Our Beautiful Child was released by Vagabondage Press in June 2014, and she says her publisher calls it “gothic”, which she loves. It’s a collection of three novellas set in the same town, and spun around the same pub. Each story has its own main characters, three women running away from their problems and encountering new ones along the way. [Isn’t that just how karma works?] She says her characters tend to evolve over time, sometimes over the course of several drafts. Our Beautiful Child was inspired by her town, by a song, and that dream most of us have had where we’re falling.
Our beautiful child is rated 4.8* on Amazon! "The three novellas tie in and weave tales that keep you glued to the book and turning pages."

This book is available on Amazon, Vagabondage Press, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Google Play, and OmniLit. These stories will inspire the reader to think, and she leaves the endings somewhat open so the reader can draw their own conclusions. Plus, she loves to hear how her readers THINK the story ends! She says she wants her readers to be emotionally engaged with her writing.

She is hard at work on another novella, about a woman’s fight to overcome domestic violence and alcoholism. She’s also developing a full-length novel about how a man’s ego can have dire consequences for his friends and strangers alike.

Annalisa has also written Cat and the Dreamer, available at Vagabondage Press. She self-published a book called That Sadie Thing, a collection of short stories thata she’s had in literary competitions over the years, basically a “greatest hits” of her life’s work. You can find Annalisa on GoodReads where she says she’s “sporadically active in some groups”, but she loves reading reviews, especially on new books before she’s read them. She addicted to the book spoiler!


**Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of these books, as I haven’t read them and can’t vouch for their contents.**