Monday, November 20, 2017

#MentalHealthMonday

#MHM
I was not aware that this is today, and with what I have been going through, it should seem that I would know 🙂 But I didn't know until I saw something on Twitter today. A user linked to her blog post today.  Since  this is something close to me, I just had to blog about it today.

Those of you who have been reading my blog regularly will know that I have been taking Prozac for dysthymia and anxiety. And you will know that I have ben writing about my experience. It's been a while since I've done any rewriting, but I plan to do so when I get the energy to.  I did take a quick glance  at the story a day or two ago, but was it so far.

In the link above, the author says:

It’s not that I don’t want to be happy and healthy. It’s not that I enjoy being depressed. What I worry is that this round of drugs will actually make me so functional that nobody believes me when I say I’ve battled depression. I already feel like I have to justify my mental illness with a laundry list of symptoms—because, like I said, on paper my life looks great. I already bear the label of “high-functioning.” I’m not a real suicide risk, just this person who’s constantly unwilling to be alive, which means I’m not really one to worry over.

I'd say that that is a bit how I have been. I always get the impression that many will look at me and not believe I have any sort of depression.  But that things aren't always what they appear to be and this is one such case.   I've had some thoughts of self-harm, even though suicide has never been a big thought of mine.  I've never gone though with these thoughts however.  And IU can still feel depressed, but less than I would feel before I began Prozac.

And I still have great bouts of anxiety whenever I have to wait for something to happen. I've been this way for as long as I can remember.

I'm glad I saw this post or I might not have known about today as #MentalHealthMonday.  I wasn't told anything about it at work last week, so I don't know if other clients know about it either. But now I can tell them.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

11th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Challenge

The Graphic Novels and Manga reading Challenge is now in its 11th year and has been moved to a group on Facebook.

What counts: graphic novels, collected trade editions, manga, comic strip collections, comic books or combinations of text and bubbles all in the same book. In print or digital. Anything else you feel is suitable. My personal criteria are if it has either frames OR speech bubbles it counts. I also feel many picture books and zines fall under this criteria as well. I'm not going to be the comic police but if you are unsure, ask me in the comments anytime.
You must write a review and link to it for it to count towards the challenge. Reviews may be posted on your blog or goodreads or similar places. Several reviews may be gathered and posted in one link on your blog, but each book must be linked here to count. Do not post your actual review here on the group.

Here is how the Challenge plays out:
runs from Jan.1 - Dec. 31, 2018
Levels
Modern Age: read and review 12 books during the year (that's only 1 book a month)
Bronze Age: read and review 24 books during the year (Can you handle 2 books a month.)
Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year (Are you up to a book a week!)
Golden Age: read and review 104 books during the year (Are you addicted? 2 books a week!)

My Books:

Friday, November 17, 2017

The 2018 Reading Challenge at Island Reader

I will be doing the Island Reader's Challenge again. 

New year, new reading challenge!
I had so much fun working my way through last year’s challenge that I thought it would only be right to create a new one for 2018.
Yes, it’s November, but I’m trying to be fully prepared for 2018 so my list is ready for consumption.
Like before, we are going to focus more on quality than quantity. There are 14 books on this year’s list and it’s broken up into two main parts again; romance and ‘other’. ‘Other’ as you well know is where I put everything that isn’t romance related on this site, biographies, essays etc. #dontjudgeme
I would love it if you all would join me once again. To participate, simply click HERE to download and print a copy of the challenge.
Make sure you’re signed up for my mailing list. The first person to finish and can show me a copy of the completed challenge will win a $25 Amazon gift card. 🙂
ARE YOU IN?!
*Click HERE for the full list*

My Books:
  1. Old School Romance--Published Before 1990:
  2. Interracial Romance:
  3. Single-Parent Romance:
  4. Debut Novel by a Romance Writer:
  5. Collection of Poetry by an Author of Color:
  6. Fiction Novel During the Jazz Age:
  7. Novel by a Caribbean Author:
  8. A Book You Read Last Year:
  9. Book by an LGBTQ Author:
  10. A Childhood Favorite:
  11. Book by an Author Currently Under 25 Years Old:
  12. Book Published by an Indie Press:
  13. Political Memoir:
  14. A Book Recommended by Your BFF:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Christmas Spirit #ReadingChallenge

I'm going to try to get  at least two Christmas books, more if time permits. Sign up here.

Yikes! This starts next week. I'm constantly trying to stay up to speed. Seems there's never enough time to get everything done...but I digress...

Welcome to the 2017 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge! 

As usual, there are multiple levels for participation, like children's books and watching Christmas movies AND the Christmas Spirit Readathon (with a twist!) is back again this year. Keep reading for details!

Details and sign up:
challenge will run from Monday, November 20, 2017 through Saturday, January 6, 2018, Twelfth Night (or Epiphany for the Christians among us). 
cross over with other challenges is totally permitted AND encouraged! 
These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore, a book of Christmas short stories or poems, books about Christmas crafts, and for the first time...a children's Christmas books level! 
Levels:

--Candy Cane: read 1 book
--Mistletoe: read 2-4 books
--Christmas Tree: read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!)

Additional levels:

--Fa La La La Films: watch a bunch or a few Christmas movies...it's up to you!
--Visions of Sugar Plums: read books with your children this season and share what you read

My Books:


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2018 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

I'm doing this one again, counting the first book I read that begins with each letter.




The Alphabet Soup Challenge means that by December 31, 2018
your bowls must be filled by one book for each letter of the Alphabet.
Each Letter Counts As 1 Spoonful
Details
This challenge will run from January 1st, 2018 until December 31st, 2018.
You can join anytime. You do not have to post a review of the book. Books can come from any genre.
You do not need to link up each spoonful.
Make a page or a post or a GoodReads shelf where you will keep track of your spoonfuls. I keep track of mine on my Challenge Page
Crossovers to other challenges are allowed and encouraged! 
It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.
You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles as shown below. 

The First Main Word Needs To Be
The Letter You Are Counting 


Except For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles then the word that starts with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.

So there are two different ways you can set up your own A-Z Reading Challenge.
A – How I plan to do it: Make a list on your blog from A-Z. Throughout the year, as you go along, add the books you are reading to the list. Towards the end of the year, you can check and see which letters you are missing and find books to fit.
OR
B – Make a list now of 26 books, picking one for each letter of the alphabet. For example: A – Antiques Wanted by Barbara Allan B – Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day C – Class Reunions Are Murder by Libby Klein D- The Diva Cooks Up A Storm by Krista Davis, etc.. 
Books can be read in any order and all formats – print – e-book – audio – are acceptable for this challenge!
Ready to join??


Bloggers grab the image below and make a post about the challenge to encourage others to join!

My Books:
A
B
F
H
I
K
L
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Z

Things to Remember When Asking for Feedback

From Writerslife.org:



One of the most useful ways you can help yourself improve your writing is to ask for feedback. Having someone who isn’t as close to your work as you are, read and critique it, can help you see both where you are going right and where you are going wrong!
However, asking for feedback can be pretty nerve-wracking. If you have poured your heart and soul into your work it’s no wonder you might be feeling a little sensitive when it comes to discussing it. However constructive or indeed pertinent another’s comments might be, it can be difficult not to take feedback the wrong way (unless it’s just gushing about how amazing your work is of course!).
The best way to combat this is to do some preparation before you ask for feedback, to think carefully about exactly what you are asking for and whose opinion will be most beneficial to improving your work.
Here are some things to remember when asking for feedback:

Don’t choose someone close to you.
It's going to be difficult to get a genuinely constructive critique of your work if you ask someone close to you. Your mum, your partner, a dear friend - they aren’t going to want to hurt your feelings and are more likely to look at your work with rose tinted spectacles on anyway. Ask someone you can trust to be completely objective - if you are not just looking for an ego boost that is!

Opinions are subjective.
You’ve got to face facts that not everyone will like or ‘get’ your work - and that’s OK. If someone fundamentally disagrees with what you have done or simply doesn’t ‘like’ it, it doesn’t mean your work has no value. So remember to take even the most professional opinion with a pinch of salt.

Be clear about what kind of feedback you want.
Be specific about the type of constructive criticism you want, give examples if necessary to be even more obvious. You can also make it known what kind of feedback you don’t want. The clearer you are the more likely you’ll get the kind of feedback you can actually use.

Remember you don’t have to follow their advice.
It’s great to get the opinions of others, and hopefully, you will be able to take on board their feedback and use it to improve your writing. However, it is good to remember that you don’t have to! Your work is yours and yours only. You can make it exactly as you want it to be!

Only ask for feedback when your work is ready to receive it.
Wait until you feel you have done all you can to improve your work before giving it to someone else for feedback. If it’s not up to standard and full of glaring errors and mistakes it will be hard for them to get past that and their review will be much less helpful than it could have been.

Remember, they are doing you a favour.
At the end of the day, unless you are paying for a review or critique, this person is doing you a favour and trying to help you - it’s always good to remember that, no matter what sort of feedback they give!

It’s great to get feedback, to strive to learn more, to have a desire to improve our writing and make it the best it can be. Just remember that negative feedback doesn’t mean you should give up, and positive feedback doesn’t mean your work is perfect. As long as you are always trying to grow, always trying to improve as a writer - that’s the most important thing!

Despite what this article says, I have asked my mom to look at my story, though she still hasn't done so. My dad, on the other hand, I dread letting him look as he really does get critical. I always await what critical things he's going to point out in what I have written. It has been hard to find others who are willing to read my stuff, though some did read the very first draft of my memoir, back when it was only 87 pages. 

I still haven't done any working on it since visiting the instructor almost two weeks ago. I had felt a little discouraged by some of the things she suggested. But like it says above, I can make it as I want it to be. I still have some decisions to make on that. I haven't done any work on the piece since the meeting almost two weeks ago, but I guess that waiting a while  will give me fresh eyes as I begin again to look over it. 

I may not have been completely sure that my work was ready to receive feedback, but I think any amount of feedback helps when going through different writings of the work. I certainly feel the current version can use some feedback any time soon.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

I'm Not Ready for Christmas, or Even Thanksgiving

As someone who once worked in retail, it has never surprised me how early holiday items turn up in stores. No surprise when I walked into Dollar Tree at the beginning of August and saw Halloween stuff already being set up, and overheard another customer complaining,  "It's only August!" Again, as a former retail worker, I have come to expect to see seasonal items earlier that the actual holiday, but I do agree with remarks people have been known to make about seasonal merchandise appearing about two months ahead of time.  


Christmas is the big offender when it comes to being displayed. It seems to appear alongside the Halloween stuff before the calendar even switches to October! I may or may not be thinking about Halloween in late September, but I'm certainly not thinking about Christmas yet.  And do people think about Halloween costumes in the middle of August? Well, maybe some--those who want to be a superhero or animated character from a then-recent blockbuster movie.  But I didn't decide on my disguise for this year until just before the first day of October.   

Right now,  the only Christmas-related things I'm really thinking about is craft ideas for the center for next month. I saw the paper-cup bell idea a few days ago.  And just now, I saw how to make Santa, elves or reindeer a out of paper plates. I'm going to suggest these for  class in the weeks to come.




Meanwhile, I must admit I have no plans for Thanksgiving yet.  I hate to sound like one of those who have the holiday--I really don't, but it's just not my favorite.  Yet every year, I'm seeing complaints about how the holiday is overlooked by retailers. So few people seem to decorate for Thanksgiving so there seem to be very few decorations in stores.  This is why I get surprised to see an inflatable turkey on someone's front lawn. I happened to see one while taking a walk the other day. And it seems that the grocery stores make more money off the holiday that do other retailers. More people are likely to get their turkeys at Safeway than at Target. Target is where the Halloween and Christmas stuff come in. Even Goodwill makes a lot from Halloween what with recycled costumes originally bought from Kmart or Amazon, and pinstriped tuxedos purchased to make zombie gangster costumes. And now in place of the Halloween rack, there is a Christmas sweater rack. But if you're doing a play for school and need a tuxedo for a pilgrim, you'll have dig through the racks to find one since there will not be a display for Thanksgiving wear. But just what do people wear for their Thanksgiving celebration? Probably just stuff they already have and consider holiday-worthy.  It seems like those who do decorate for Thanksgiving only decorate the table  with small cornucopia, a set pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, and a turkey made from a hand traced onto construction paper.  Is this why you see so few Thanksgiving items in stores? Not that I have ever been looking for any or have complained about the lack there of. Rather, I just wanted to comment on this complaint that seems to come year after year. 

Whatever you are doing for Thanksgiving, I hope you have a great day. And I'm not even going to get started on the day after giving thanks, but I just had to share this image. And for the record, I have no plans to do any shopping on that day.





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