Beyond My Dying Mind: A Life of Struggle, and the Chance to Make Things Right

Hello world. It’s happening. I’m a legit author with a book on Amazon again. I have no idea how to feel or where to go from here.

I don’t have a marketing plan. I don’t really have much experience. Since the story involves all these triggering subjects like suicide, social anxiety, and the afterlife, I want to discuss it with sensitivity, but I’m not sure how. What’s the correct way to promote a book in which characters travel through time to stop people from killing themselves? How do you send a message of hope and inspiration to help people stay alive in this world when you’ve struggled with the idea so much yourself?

Wanting Off This Rock but Wondering if the Next Rock Might be Worse

 

The book stars Noland Randall and Jasmine North, both in their early thirties before death, both losers in their own eyes. Now, in some in-between realm where souls often end up post-suicide, they can see there would’ve been much happiness had they kept going.

One of the factors that’s kept me breathing during the darkest times in my life is the belief that killing one’s physical body doesn’t end anything. I could never get past the idea that I’d wake up in some twisted realm like Spine Desert, the opening location in the book. Or worse, that my death would force the burden of suffering onto others, both the people left behind, and perhaps a new existence too, reincarnated into a world like this one carrying similar negative patterns and traits.

I’m happy to say I’m doing pretty good these days, but mental health is a delicate thing that can never be taken for granted. That’s a point I tried to make in this book. Even if someone is saved from suicide, they aren’t cured. They could still become suicidal again a week later. Staying healthy and happy is a process with no end point.

Social Anxiety | I Love You, but I’d Rather Jump from a Moving Vehicle than Interact with You

 

Not really. But that’s how intense social anxiety can feel. Terrifying. Crushing. Exhausting.

Since the living Jasmine’s crippling social anxiety plays such a huge role in the story, I thought discussing my own experiences might be a way to introduce this book to the world.

I can be social at times. If I’m in the mood, I can talk with someone for hours, and I enjoy meeting new people, too. But often, I prefer to be in my own world, and sometimes, even after a lot of time healing, I find it difficult to be around people at all.

If you’ve experienced social anxiety, I know you relate to the waves of dread rolling over your body. The thumping heartbeat. The shaking hands and trembling knees. The way it feels to see yourself become a high master in the art of avoiding people, leveling up your game every time you make a successful dodge. For the living Jasmine, this was her everyday life.

What’s helped me the most with social anxiety has been self-acceptance. Most of my anxious feelings and fears are just about wanting to avoid awkwardness, and the only reason for awkwardness is not being able to be yourself or speak the truth.

That’s the point of this blog. To say sorry if I’ve abandoned conversations, ignored messages, or not shown up to things. Sorry if I’ve ever avoided you in person. It’s not about you. I’m probably cool with you, and I might even like you. It doesn’t mean I always want to talk. The more I understand myself, set boundaries, and give myself permission to say no to things, the less reason there is to worry. And in turn, the more energy I have for people when the timing is right.

It’s the same for the living Jasmine, she just can’t see it. She’s spent so long isolated in a prison of her own creation that she’s lost the exit door. Because of her anxiety and PTSD, she thinks there’s no hope of ever having friends or being a healthy person again. Whether Noland can manipulate the course of life on Earth enough to change that in time, the story will tell.

If the Most Amazing Person was Standing in Front of You, Would You Feel Good Enough for Them?

 

This book tells of hungering for someone who feels out of reach. I’ve known that feeling. I’ve asked myself the above question and gotten no in response. It showed me what I still needed to work on. Healing is a process, and there are no quick fixes, but life is bursting with abundant potential, even if we can’t always see it. That’s the overall message I hope comes across in this book.

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Fans of What Dreams May Come, The Butterfly Effect, and 13 Reasons Why might enjoy BEYOND MY DYING MIND, a time travel fantasy available on Amazon.

BMDM_COVER_FINAL VERSION

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Blog Revival: Changing too Fast to Keep Up

Hello everyone. First of all, major thanks to the lovely Devon J. Hall, who designed my beautiful and mysterious-looking new banner, which I could stare at forever! 🌺

The Usual Catch-up Stuff

This past year has been transformative. So many changes, too personal and massive to get into but worthy of mention. I took a break from this blog due to being too burned out on writing and having no idea what sort of content I wanted to do. I switched my focus onto Youtube, which led me to a similar conclusion. I’ve been struggling to connect to my true vision for so long now.

The difficulties of needing income can lead you down the wrong path, but intuition always helps me readjust and go in a better direction. After chasing various dreams the last few years, I now see how unhappy I’ve been, and why it’s been so hard to manifest what I want.

I’ve spread myself too thin, pushed myself too hard, and hated myself way too much for not being successful. I’m now moving into a chapter of my life where I’m learning to accept myself easier. I just want to enjoy the ride, manifest what I can, and write as many great books as possible along the way.

Book News and the Plan for the Blog

I have a new book that’s going to beta readers in August. It remains top-secret until more of the details are figured out, but it’s a low/portal fantasy love story about an afterlife for suicides and a couple trying to right the wrongs they did on Earth. I’m nervous! This will be the first time my writing has been seen by outside eyes since I was still published.

I’d like to start using this blog for flash fiction and short series that interlock with my books. The process of writing books involves going through the story over and over, seeing it differently and learning things about what happened each time. I’m trying to streamline this best I can, but I also want my books to be perfect for you guys. While I’m working on that, it will be fun to experiment with shorter fiction and share whatever I come up with.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A little late, but just wanted to say I hope you all had a great day. If you’re in a relationship, I hope you get everything you dream out of tonight. If you’re single, I hope you own it! Freedom and independence are gifts. Check out my latest video if you need a pep talk:

Quick writing update:

My apocalyptic series is flowing. I thought that writing my first book was the deepest learning experience I could ever know, but tackling this series has already taught me a lot. A lot of it writes itself, which is the magical experience I live for.

There’s a romance brewing, too. These characters developed an intense connection against my will. She was supposed to be with someone else. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt, but this was too powerful to be stopped. And I’m so glad it wasn’t! These two are one of the best couples I’ve written. They’re a perfect match, and it makes me happy that it wasn’t planned.

That’s it for now. Happy Valentine’s!

Andi

My Author Rebranding: Navigating the Jungles of Change

Happy 2017! I haven’t posted here in ages, but now that a new year and new wave of energy has arrived, it’s time to get this blog active again.

I’ve been going through the process of rebranding my author name for some time now. I mentioned this on my author Facebook page, Twitter, and Youtube channel (you can check out the video here), but I haven’t yet done a blog post to officially make the change, so here it is: After much thought, I’ve decided to switch genres.

Knowing Myself as an Author

In case you can’t tell, I’ve had a bit of an identity crisis as an author. All you have to do is look at this blog. Do I write fiction? Am I a self-help author? A lifestyle blogger? I have a huge spectrum of interests that I’m passionate about, and it’s taken a few years to start making sense of my vision for my career and life.

When I first started writing, I didn’t have any ideas about what sort of writer I’d be. I wasn’t even aware of genre. I knew that some stories were about murder or monsters and others were about high-school romance, but I knew nothing about author branding. I therefore had no plan for my career. I was just writing my book because I loved the story, and when it was revealed to me that I’d written a contemporary romance, I thought, great! Romance is a top-selling genre.

What I didn’t realize was that I’d be expected to continue writing contemporary romance, and if I wanted to write my other stories, I’d have to start over with a new pen name. I didn’t like that. Trying to build a following on social media is hard. As I went through the process of learning about the industry, I began to realize I might have made a mistake.

My main goal had always been to focus on subjects that were closest to my heart: the spirit world, the afterlife, aliens, alternate dimensions, space travel, time travel, monsters, and so on. I like the big stuff. The crazy stuff. Stories that keep you thinking after they end. So when I lost my book deal, I thought it could be a good time to change direction.

My New Genre: What the Hell is It?

I haven’t faced the daunting task of trying to write a blurb about the series I’m working on now, which follows a group of survivors through the apocalypse and beyond. I’m calling it a fantasy with elements of science fiction and romance. It has some typical apocalyptic juiciness you would expect from such a story. At its core, it’s really about an intense connection between a group of people who experience the unimaginable together. They slowly put together a shocking bigger picture that continues to grow from there.

I talk a little bit more about it here.

The Law of Attraction and Happiness with Writing

I’m starting to accept that I’m a slow writer. I took seven years working on my first book. Did I end up with something I’m proud of? Yes. But at that rate, I’m only going to complete a few more books before death. I’m working on speeding up, but I also need to make this the priority in my life if I want to live the dream.

Then again, I’m already living the dream in some way. I love my characters. I love the adventures they experience and how those experiences make them grow and change as people. I love watching them learn. I enjoy witnessing them go through joy, grief, falling in love, or sometimes, even dying. Not every writer is blessed enough to enjoy the experience at the level I do. So while I haven’t found the full dream in life yet, I still feel grateful.

What the Future Holds

I hope to get a solid draft of book one within a few months. I’m not quite ready to reveal the title yet, but I’m getting there. I’m going to be giving it my full effort. Then, maybe some beta readers. I’m glad to be getting involved with the writer community again. I’m navigating the jungles of change, and I’m becoming the person I was meant to be.

To my future readers: I love you. Please exist. Please find me. Please let me provide you with stories you’ll enjoy. Thank you.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Andi

Self-Care Tips: Bouncing Back After a Breakdown

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or mental-health professional. Just another human who struggles with this stuff. I understand what it’s like to read advice that doesn’t work for you. I never want anyone to feel like I’m underestimating the seriousness of depression or other disorders. If you’re in a crisis and need help now, the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. And just in case it isn’t obvious from the subject matter, TRIGGER WARNING.


Always keeping the faith. Always staying strong. Sometimes failing to “stay strong” and ending up with scars to show for it. I watch as my struggles hurt the people around me. I ache as those I love deal with problems of their own. It all gets tiring.

I could write a million blogs on how to stay positive, but this is about what to do in the aftermath of a time you weren’t able to. It doesn’t matter if one massive thing set you off or if it was a series of small incidents over a period of time. Upping your self-care game is the way to start feeling better and getting back on track ASAP.

 Recovery Tips: Self-Care is Ointment for Your Tired Brain

  1. Handling the Basic Elements of Life

It’s good to focus on physical things if you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to make sense of your situation. Water. Bathing and oral hygiene. Food. Fresh air. Sunlight. Exercise if you can. Work if you’re currently capable. The things you have to do. If you’re high strung like me, you probably get cracked out on adrenal hormones after any sort of meltdown and have the tendency to under eat. Other people devour their feelings. Whatever your tendency, just focus on getting nutritionally dense meals and plenty of fluids.

  1. Accepting Your Mistakes

No matter what kind of panic attack, episode, or negative experience you had, it’s safe to say it worsened your mood, and your current outlook likely doesn’t represent reality. It can help to logically work through how your view might be skewed by your emotions.

For example, when I’m struggling, I often end up feeling deep shame for making emotional posts on social media. I think that everyone is looking at me with disgust. And maybe some people are. I lose followers every time I post that I’m struggling, and yes, it does hurt. But screw it. I don’t want unsupportive people following me anyway. I refuse to feel shame for being human, and you shouldn’t either. Let people hate. Let them unfollow. Delete your upset posts if you feel you should, but don’t let them weigh on your soul.

The reality is that most people don’t care about what other people do or say, and even when they are upset by something, they’re often quick to forget. Look how quickly people forget about terrible occurrences like mass shootings. People will talk about something for days, then something new happens, and the first thing is almost completely forgotten. If people have such a short attention span that they easily move on from horrific, life-altering incidents, how long do you think they’ll remember your silly social-media rant? Life is hard. It’s understandable if you overreact sometimes. It’s okay.

The same goes for any other minor “mistakes” you made during your episode. Maybe it’s something as simple as forgetting plans with a friend because you were crying and lost in panic attacks all day. It happens. Apologize and move on rather than beating yourself up.

  1. Meditation, Prayer, or Mental Focus

I consider prayer one of the basic foundations of life, but not everyone shares my spiritual beliefs, and that’s okay. I’m not here to tell you what to believe. For me, giving it up to God is a powerful act. I wouldn’t be alive today without the love and guidance he offers me. That said, I think you can get a lot of the same benefits from releasing your struggles to the universe in some way.

If prayer isn’t your thing, consider writing in a journal as a way to release your pain. Let it all out. Get as nasty as you want. You don’t have to show it to anyone, but it’s a good idea to keep it around, at least for a little while. Examining it when you’re feeling better could provide you a window into the workings of your mind.

  1. Viewing the Setback as a Tool

Another way to help yourself accept what happened is by seeing if you can learn something from it. A setback can crack your psyche in two and allowed a deeper view within. Sometimes we don’t even realize what’s really bothering us. I didn’t—not until I began working with EFT and trying to manifest positive things with the law of attraction. When I started paying attention to my thoughts, it awakened something inside of me. This has only continued to unfold over the years, and I’ve found that my self-awareness is heightened even more after a major panic attack or breakdown. It’s a good time to be brave and dig deep. Understanding your triggers is the key to healing as many of them as possible.

  1. Creating a New Plan for Progress

Okay, at this point you’ve made sure that your basic needs are taken care of, forgiven yourself for any big mistakes you made during your episode, connected to God/your higher self through journaling or prayer, and taken an honest look at your triggers. Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more empowered, but if not, that’s okay. Brain chemistry is complex, and you might be unable to feel better at this time. Don’t beat yourself up about that, either.

Now is a good time to start coming up with a plan to feel better. I can’t give you an exact plan. I’m a writer, not a doctor or a therapist. People need so many different things. Your plan might be as simple as adding more exercise into your regimen or as complex as visiting your doctor to have a variety of medications adjusted. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but there is one thing I feel safe recommending to literally everyone: EFT.

EFT has helped me more than any other form of therapy. I’ve been working with it since my twenties, and it has increased my self-awareness by about a hundred times. It’s so powerful it’s mind blowing. The other day, I felt myself begin to go into a panic attack, and I was able to sort out my emotions and release all my negative energy after only 10-15 minutes of EFT.

It takes dedication, practice, and experimentation to learn about EFT and figure out how it can work for you, but it’s worth it. Please trust me—this practice is amazing. There is a lot of promising research about it too. One study showed that it can significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as reducing the severity of anxiety and depression. The best part is that it’s free!

Moving Forward: Doing the Best I Can

I decided a while ago that I was no longer going to try to be perfect. I’ve accepted that there are some limiting factors in my life, such as chronic pain, but I don’t want to let them stop me. It’s hard to accept, but there are shitty, awful people in this world, and I refuse to let them stop me either. I’m still working toward my dreams every day, and I hope all of you will continue to as well.

Thanks for reading! Please be sure to follow this blog and subscribe to my new Youtube channel!

Happy Birthday to Me: AKA, My Official “Separating from My Publisher” Post

Monday is my thirty-fourth birthday, and on paper, I’ve accomplished nothing.

Actually, if we’re being technical, I’m going in reverse. I once had a book deal. I once had a cool apartment in Denver. I once had a plan for my life that looked different from what is currently happening. To quote one of my favorite romantic comedies: I am “Benjamin Buttoning.” And you know what? I’m okay with it. Sometimes you have to back up if you want to get on the right path again.

How Book Deals Disappear: What Happened with GMMG

As some of you might already know, my publisher, Georgia McBride Media Group (GMMG), who owns both Month9Books and Swoon Romance, dropped many of their authors recently. There was a lot of scandalous craziness going on with the situation, but I don’t see much point in bathing myself in that negativity any longer. Other people can investigate if they want to, and if you’re interested in learning more about what happened, here is an article. I’ll just say that it wasn’t working out anyway, and I’m happy to be able to start over with self-publishing.

I should have known that I was always meant to be an indie author. I want the freedom to release books on my own schedule, with my own covers, set my own prices, do sales/giveaways when I want, etc. And most of all, I want access to my sales. I still have no idea how many books I sold. I’d guess it isn’t many, but still, I’d like to know. I don’t do well with being kept in the dark about things, and I’m pleased that I’ll never have to deal with that again.

Still, I’m not bitter. It’s hard to shift your perspective when you had hoped something would be your “big break,” but it can be done. This experience gave me a place in the writing world. I can walk away and wish everyone involved the best.

What Happens Next: The Future Feels Much Brighter

I have to sign a bunch of paperwork to get the rights to my book returned to me. That paperwork will be taken care of within a week or two. As soon as GMMG stops selling the book and takes it down from Amazon, I’ll be free to self-publish. So while the book is going to be temporarily unavailable, it will return.

The sequel, Edge of the Permanent Always, is coming soon!

I have another new book that I might release first, but I’m keeping quiet about it for now, because it might need a bit more work. It’s with a beta reader at the moment.

I have tons of stuff going for my other pen name, too! Aside from my epic supernatural horror love story, which will probably be in-progress for a while, I’m working on a new comedy-horror that I’m really excited about. I had no idea I would ever write anything like this, but I’m loving it!

In Conclusion: My Thoughts on My Birthday

So yes … I’m about to turn thirty-four, no longer a published author, and on paper, I’ve accomplished nothing. I also have far more freedom and opportunity than a lot of people my age, and for that I’m very grateful. I’m like a thousand high-quality parts that are just sitting on the ground in a big room waiting to be assembled. I’m not sure what this fully formed me will look like or if I’ll even live long enough to see her in the mirror. But I will keep working on building myself. I refuse to let people bring me down.

I want to thank everyone who has offered me love, support, and friendship during this rough time—especially my fellow authors. Getting closer to a lot of you guys was the best part of this entire experience. I feel blessed to be part of such a supportive community.

Stay tuned for more!

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