Monday, June 20, 2016

Queen of my Kingdom: It's Summer! #AmWriting at the #Beach

It's summer! I love this season because it means more time with my boys. The school year is so busy that there's very little time, especially quality time. But summer means both quality time and plenty of quantity. There's not much planned this summer so most of our time will be at home - at the pool or just hanging out around home.

And of course, we kick it all off with our annual beach week with friends. That's always a blast though we've gone from sand castle building and water balloon fights to the kids, now mostly teens, heading down to the boardwalk on their own. How did that happen?

It seems as if each time I get comfortable in a phase of our life, it all changes. The boys are growing up and it's an amazing thing to watch as they become young men. I recognize my time with them at home is short and plan to seize every moment they'll give me. So hip-hip-hurray for summer since it offers me the best opportunity to have time with my boys.

Hope your summer is off to a warm beginning and that you take time with the ones that mean the most to you.

WRITING UPDATE: I've had a good week health-wise and was able to sneak some writing in even though we were away at the beach!

Monday, June 13, 2016

#WWoW! The Author's Craft: Cutting Sentences for Focus #AmEditing

Editing Tips
Tighten Your Copy Yourself

Cut long sentences in two.
This goes beyond run-on sentences. Most of your long sentences are likely grammatically correct. BUT long sentences often contain multiple ideas, so they can easily lose the reader’s focus because they don’t provide a break, leading readers to get stuck or lose interest, and perhaps the reader might get bored and go make dinner instead.*

See what I mean? If you find a comma-heavy sentence in your manuscript, try giving each idea its own sentence. By giving the break, readers keep focus and maintain interest. Dinner goes by the wayside, and though hungry, your reader doesn't get bored.

*I borrowed this sentence example from a blog post I read years ago. I think it's great at making the point. I can't remember where I found it though but wanted to acknowledge it wasn't of my own creation.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Author's Life: Coming Out of Hiding #MenieresDisease "Life in a Fog"

It's been a long time since I've blogged. I guess you could say I've been in hiding. For a long time I suffered with vertigo and migraines. They began over twelve years ago and I accepted that doctors had found medication to keep the vertigo at bay. Life went on... years went by...

Then the vertigo came back despite the medication. During that same period, my family noticed my hearing was not as sharp as it had always been. That observation ended up being a turning point when a standard hearing test led to the beginnings of a diagnosis. In the summer of 2014, two doctors -because of course I insisted on a second opinion - confirmed that I have Meniere's disease.
What's Meniere's disease?
It is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you're spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In most cases, the disease affects only one ear. It's considered a chronic condition, but various treatments can help relieve symptoms and minimize the long-term impact on your life. (Mayo Clinic)
Treatment is a slow trial of proven methods. Since different treatments work for different patients, the process is very much trial-and-error. So far, nothing has alleviated the symptoms a considerable amount but we're still trying. Each day is an unknown... will I be able to function normally, will I have background vertigo and tinnitus to work through, or will I have a vertigo episode that keeps me in bed.

The structured control freak in me finds the unknown most challenging. Plans become irrelevant and appointments impossible, never knowing if I'll feel up to a social event or even an outing. I've long since given up committing to deadlines and due dates. With a chronic illness, patients have to become accustomed to the unknown and this is a lesson I've learned through frustration.

For a long time now, I've hidden away and shared my diagnosis with very few people - mostly close family. There's this inner fear of pity or, just the opposite, ignorance. The perfectionist in me even sees this as a failure. Though chronic illness by its very definition is incurable and debilitating, people still believe you can eliminate the symptoms. That's not true. So I'm learning to live day-by-day in this new reality and create within it's parameters a life worth living... despite living a life in a fog.

My writing has declined to almost nothing but I'm determined to begin again. With so many untold stories floating in my head, I can't allow them to go untold so I'm actively working again as often as possible. For those of you who have followed my series, you can expect book two in the Home series and book three in the Heart and Soul series next. I'm also back to work on my serial under my new pen name, Becca Layne. No promises on the time frame but I can promise they'll all be completed.

I'll be documenting my journey here on my blog, hoping to bring awareness to Meniere's Disease. I am no longer letting this defeat me. This is a first step in regaining some control. Watch for more "Life in a Fog" posts to be published monthly.
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