Top 5 of 2019: Stigma of Mental Illness (#3)

This originally went live on March 17, 2019.  I’m happy to see it here too.  Not a bad thing for this to make a reappearance.

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So, I might be short and to the point here.  Mostly because I know I’m going to get a pretty big workout in the comments.  My opinion has also been stated here a few times, but I felt like bringing up the topic once more.

One of the most interesting things that I’ve noticed over the last year is that there is a lot of shame attached to mental illness.  Some by the sufferer and others by those who think they are helping.  I’ve always wondered why this is, but it feels more or more like the stigmas are built into society.  Don’t let them know you see a therapist.  Why?  Because you’ll never get a job, get married, have kids, or be able to do anything.  Never reveal that you’re on medications.  Why?  Because you’ll never get a job, get married, have kids, or be able to anything.  It’s like people with mental illness are being asked to ‘not be who they are’, which makes the problem infinitely worse.  Imagine struggling with anxiety and then being told that your anxiety will cause all these problems, so you need to hide it.  Now, you’re anxious about revealing that you’re anxious.  It’s just emotionally and mentally destructive.

Now, I mentioned therapy and medication in there too.  The strangest thing is that these are actions that show an intent to get a handle on one’s illness.  Yet, we use them as marks of shame.  People who go in for chemo or have to use an inhaler for asthma aren’t treated like this.  The reason might be because those are physical diseases, which are easier to wrap our heads around than mental.  I wonder if there’s a fear when it comes to mental illness too.  A person might push for someone to get better quickly because then it means it isn’t that big a deal if they themselves have one.  There’s no infection when it comes to these things, but helping a person with severe mental illness can trigger ones in the helper if they are stressed too much.  If you can convince a person to get over their depression then maybe you can do it too in the future.  This is ridiculous, of course.

Honestly, I’m just throwing ideas out there because I really can’t see the point in stigmatizing mental illness.  Especially these days when you have the Internet and more connections than ever.  It’s easier to trigger a breakdown because of some jackass online or to indulge in certain harmful activities.  If anything, society should be pushing for these issues to be brought to the light and teach more people about them.  Maybe have a time in high school where students learn about things like depression, anxiety, etc. and get to share their thoughts.  Make it a discussion class and try to eliminate the stigma with the younger generations.  Just a thought, which has some downsides because you don’t want to upset anyone who is currently suffering.

Anyway, what do you think about the mental illness stigma?

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The BookBub Experience

Story Empire

Hello, Story Empire readers! We seem to be sharing our November experiences this week. Wednesday it was Joan’s lessons from NaNoWriMo but today it’s another book trip where you get to see what can happen on the sales side of things. This isn’t a brag, but more of an inside view from a top promotion service and some tips about gaining one.

For some years, BookBub has been a marketing gold standard for authors and their books. It’s difficult to get a deal with the advertiser for many reasons but it can be done. The results for getting one of these deals can be very eye-opening for many authors. Back in November, I was fortunate enough to land a BookBub deal so I thought I’d share the experience with everyone with some observations and tips should you want to pursue this marketing channel.

For those who don’t know, BookBub is…

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Immortal Wars: The Summoning Part 2 #fiction #throwback

(Previously on Immortal Wars.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!

It had started out as a normal day for Edward Slane on this windy summer morning.  He did his usual morning routine of taking a hot shower, haphazardly getting dressed, and combing his blond hair that reaches down to his shoulders.  The only difference this specific morning was that he tripped over his misplaced skateboard on the way downstairs because his blue eyes wouldn’t focus.  Thankfully he pulled off a midair flip and landed on his feet.  Other than that little incident, it had started off as a normal day.

As the teenager makes his small breakfast, he picks up a black, cordless phone and starts dialing.  No one answers the first number, so Ed hits the hang up button and tries another number.  This time it is answered by a cheerful, female’s voice.

“Hi!  This is the Tavinowsky residence,” says the voice on the phone in such a friendly and pleasant tone that it’s almost eerie.

“This is Eddie.  Is Kelly there?” asks the tired, young man as he turns on the small kitchen television.  Ed and Kelly had been dating for a full year now.  But they had known each other since Ed had moved in with his adoptive parents at the age of thirteen.  Most of the girls in the high school became interested in this young man due tot he fact that he had no real past beyond the years at the orphanage, but only Kelly was able to get his full attention.  She just walked up to him one day and kissed him right on the lips during school assembly.  After that Kelly simply asked Ed if he wanted to go out on a date and they’ve been together ever since.

“Of course she’s here.  Who do you think you’re talking to, handsome?  My god, you sound like you’re half dead,” answers the upbeat voice.

“I definitely feel like it.  I called to find out if you wanted to go to the park today.  Steve and Delila will be there, so we’ll be playing some basketball.  Or in Delila’s case, trying to play basketball while complaining like a rich bitch.”

“That sounds like fun.  Except for Delila being there.  But I promise to be civil and only beat her half to death if she annoys me.  I’ll decide which half of her I’ll beat to death when the time comes.  So, when should I come over to your house?”

“What do you mean come over to my house?  I thought that I just asked you about going to the park.”

“I know what you said, but I just want to walk there with you.  I mean, we both have the same distance to go since we’re neighbors.  Don’t pull the loner act on me again.  Last time you did that, I was ready to test my new kickboxing equipment on your skull.  Since you only went out for a night run, I forgave you.  But not this time, sweetheart.  We’re going to the park together, Edward Joseph Slane.  And that’s final.”

“Fine.  We’ll walk to the park together.  I’m way too tired to try and talk about this with you.  Not that I’d try to change your mind if I was fully awake,” says Ed while he finishes putting his breakfast together.  The toast that he makes comes out all black, so he regretfully throws it out and drinks a glass of grapefruit juice instead.  He could pick up something at the local bagel shop like he usually does.

“I’ll be over in a few minutes.  See you soon,” the female voice remarks.  She hangs up the phone before Eddie can get another word in edgewise.

Ed yawns before putting down the phone and turns off the small television, which is showing some old scientist talking about a strange energy flux in space.  As Edward finishes his drink, the broken doorbell makes a loud shriek.  He quickly jumps over a wooden chair and opens the dented oak door for his expected guest.  Outside is a young girl, whose long, black hair is getting whipped around in the strong wind.  Every now and then her hair gets blown into her innocent, green eyes.  She walks right into the house and goes straight to Ed in order to give him a playful series of kisses on the lips.

“Are you ready to go?” asks Kelly when the kisses end.  Her body seems like that of a professional athlete with her nice tan and slender muscle tone.  Her well-toned body comes from her constant exercising and being on the gymnastics team.  She has tried several times to get Ed to join the gymnastics team because of his great agility.  But he had more fun just relaxing and goofing off than competing in organized sports.

“Give me a few minutes.  I just have to get my shoes and jacket on,” answers Ed as he starts putting his left shoe on his right foot.  When he finally notices what he’s trying to do, he switches the shoes and looks at Kelly, who is giggling at him.

“Like you never did anything like that in your lifetime,” Ed mumbles as he gets his denim jacket from the closet.

When Kelly stops laughing at him, she answers, “If I did, I swear that I would never tell you about it.  But at least you got your jacket on without any problems.  Did you tell your parents where we’re going?  Or is this another tell them tomorrow and get yelled at for being irresponsible event.”

“They already know.  You don’t have to act like my mother.  One’s enough for me even though she isn’t my birth mother.  Steve and Delila are probably already there, so we better hurry.”  The two of them walk out of the house and swiftly moves down the street while holding hands.

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Revenge is Sweet and A Little Overdone

Pride and body
Have been maimed and marred
Only one path remains
To make life worth living
Plotting every hour
Barely breaking for sleep
Notes written on shower curtains
In the finest of soaps
Used only for vengeance
Befriend your victim
Who may already be a pal
Unwittingly remaining
Within reach
Of the bitter grudge holder
A tale older than history
From back when dinosaurs
Demanded blood
For those that fell to Tyrants
And tar pits

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Fantasy Maps for Books Pricing

Jo Robinson

Happy New Decade! Hopefully this one will be rather more fabulous than the previous one. It’s been a busy start to 2020 for me, but I like busy so that’s not a bad thing. Mostly I’ve been busy with work for my author clients, but whenever I’ve had a little bit of down time I’ve been diving into my pile of works in progress that have been left gathering dust over the past few years, when it often seemed that the sky had only one desire, which was to fall on my head and beat the daylights out of me. Having figured out that the sky will always be pretty much all around my head all the time without malicious intent, I finally learned to enjoy its dark blue days as well as the pastel shiny rainbow ones, and so life has become a lot more fun.

Just because you…

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Teaser Tuesday: Before They Were Friends #fantasy #adventure

Enjoy the first meeting between Luke Callindor and Nyx from Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

“We’re already here. I’m just going to knock,” Luke says, easily freeing his arm.

“You don’t knock on a caster tower,” Fritz hisses in a hushed voice. “That’s like shooting spitballs at a werewolf. The results tend to be fatal.”

“Calm down. It’s a simple knock,” Luke whispers with a friendly smile.

Fritz cringes as Luke lifts his fist to deliver the ominous knock. It never connects as Luke suddenly grabs Fritz by the shirt and leaps away from the tower. The gnome can feel a surge of intense heat narrowly miss them. Luke lands in a crouch putting himself between Fritz and the tower. A patch of fire is still smoldering where they were standing and a small trail of flickering flame continues for a few yards.

“What kind of idiot tries to break into a caster tower while the masters are home?” asks a loud female voice from the direction of the tower. They turn to see the half-elven girl has returned and spurts of flame are dancing along her fingers. Being closer to the girl, Luke notices that her skin appears to have been marked by constant exposure to fire. It is a fire-licked tan that looks out of place on the half-elf.

“You said she wasn’t an apprentice,” Luke says through the side of his mouth.

“She must not be traditional,” Fritz replies, putting a little distance between himself and Luke. “I’ve never seen an apprentice of Rainbow Tower dressed like that in public”

A sword of fire grows around the girl’s left hand. “Stop your banter! It is my job to protect my home and my masters. Do either of you have anything to say before I kill you?”

“I think you’re being overly dramatic. We are invited guests. If will you let me explain, we-” starts Luke. A slash of fire passes between him and Fritz before it explodes against a sapling. The young tree crumbles to ash in seconds.

“Bullshit!” the girl screams.

“I sense her etiquette lessons never stuck,” Fritz whispers, watching the smoke float off the tree ashes. He turns toward the girl and flashes a charming smile. “You got detention a lot for violent and hot-tempered behavior, right?”

“Shut up!” the girl angrily yells. “Do either of you have anything to say that won’t make me hurt you? I can stand here with a prepared spell all night.”

Fritz clears his throat to say, “Uh . . . nice legs?”

The caster roars in anger as she sends a wave of fire along the ground. It fades away as Luke scoops Fritz up and sprints out of the spell’s range. The girl chases them across the garden, but she is quickly left behind by the faster warrior. Luke wastes no time in hurling Fritz over the wall where the gnome is safe and no longer a concern. The girl catches up to them in time to hear a crash followed by some muttered gnomish that she assumes to be curses.

“It was my idea to jump the wall and approach the tower. Your problem is with me alone,” Luke states, turning to bravely face the angry caster. “Now, are you going to listen or are we going to fight until I beat you?”

“I choose fight,” she growls. She launches a flurry of fire lances out of her hands, the heated projectiles leaving a trail of haze behind them.

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Check This Out: Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

With me on the blog today is the fabulous Shari Swanson (another great Secret Gardener classmate; for others, click here and here), who is here to talk about her picture book, Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln, which was published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins and debuts today, people! Woot!


Shari is represented by John Rudolph. After Shari and I chat, I’ll fill you in on a giveaway of this very book. Now, let’s talk to Shari!

El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Shari: My favorite color is periwinkle. Actually, periwinkle is a favorite word, too. Perhaps I’ll write a book about Mr. Perry Winkle and his Phantasmagoric Adventures Through Color. (Dibs. 😀)

• I love games, all sorts—puzzles, mysteries, board games, sports, hiding pictures, and treasure hunting.
• I have a beloved dog named Honey, not, surprisingly, named after Abraham Lincoln’s dog.

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