Tag Archives: science fiction

I’ve never wanted to end my life… #holdontothelight, #alwayskeepfighting, #akf, #mentalwellness

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I’ve never wanted to end my life.

I’ve been sad, angry, lethargic, overwhelmed to the point of being unable to get out of bed. I would never use “depressed,” though, to describe how I felt. Part of it, I’m sure, is stigma. Another part, however, is knowing my friends who have been depressed – clinically or situationally – and who at one point really did want to end their lives.

I was bullied through a good part of school. In first grade, my best friend told me she was leaving me to hang out with the cooler kids. In fifth and sixth grade, my best friend and I were belittled by teachers and physically threatened by classmates for being different. I became the lead drummer in junior high because I spent every lunch hiding in the band room, practicing so I could avoid the lunchroom where no one would sit with me and I’d gotten shoved and told “Stop following us! We don’t want you around us!” by a group of girls I’d thought were friends. In high school, things changed because there were over 2000 kids, so enough of us outcasts and geeks found each other and made our own group – but we all knew we should never travel alone. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or if we were Magic the Gathering people or Dungeons and Dragons players, we employed the buddy system and made friends with the librarians who let us stay there rather than the more dangerous realms of lunch rooms and study halls.

Through all that, I never came close to wanting to end my life.

My emotions didn’t go to the dark level I saw in others, so I didn’t want to take that term “depression” from them. I was worried about appropriation before I’d even heard the word “appropriation.” I loved these people, and I respected what they were going through – even when it made me feel helpless. It wasn’t about me feeling helpless; it was about them. People who were hurting the way I’d hurt – only much, much worse.

I’m going to get into a confessional that some people might just consider “woo-woo” or “New Agey” or some other diminutive term that downplays the intense levels humans can connect. This is a #sorrynotsorry moment where I think such people are wrong.

A friend of mine, also a writer – keeping names confidential – and I regularly share how we both are deeply affected by others’ emotion, and how that affects each of us in our writing  and working lives. We remind each other to protect our energies – because if someone is very excited, we get that way. And if someone was hurting, we take on that pain in hopes that it made them hurt less. Often unconsciously. Often to a level where we need time to physically, mentally, and emotionally recover from a particular conversation.

When I started learning about energy work in my adulthood, I’d been told by more than a few people I needed to protect myself better when it came to energy. I did. Somewhat.

Until I didn’t.

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I was visiting another dear friend of mine who was going through an especially difficult time in her life. She was successful, happily married, brilliant in literary gifts as well as science… And for the first time, she was actively thinking of ways she might end her life. She was even planning ways she might do so with as little impact to others as possible – because she didn’t want to hurt anyone. I listened, we held each other, and I just wanted to do something to help.

Perhaps I did. I don’t know. I know she is still alive and at least posting happy things on social media.

I also know that I was more drained than I’d ever been. And a few days later, I was feeling things I’d never felt before.

I didn’t want to kill myself.

But I didn’t want to do anything. I hurt. Everywhere. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt utterly and completely empty, like there was nothing inside and nothing good would ever happen again. My brain was spinning its logic wheels; there was no reason for me to have these emotions. My work and money issues were actually doing well, I was writing a story I really enjoyed, no one I knew was terminally sick or dying or dead…

I was sitting in the car while my husband had run into the store and I was just sobbing uncontrollably.

Not only were there all those negative feelings, but the fact there was no logical reason for me to have those feelings, feelings I’d never felt before, was utterly terrifying.

Fortunately, I do have a wonderfully supportive husband who took how I was feeling very seriously and spent the day doing things with me. He looked online for ways to help “reset the brain” while I napped. Then we went walking in the woods. After that, we visited our long-time friend, apothecary, and “kitchen witch,” who smudged me and suggested foods with garlic, tumeric, and chocolate. My husband drove to all this so I wouldn’t have to, and he listened to me going on and on while he drove.  Then we went home and I took the “day off” and snuggled with him as we binge watched Supernatural.*

The feelings alleviated as the day passed, but not entirely. It was not an immediate fix. Not for a week, maybe two, did I feel even close to my usual self. And the memory still chills my stomach and grips my lungs so I feel I need my asthma inhaler.

Those feelings – the combination of them all at once – that is how I understand depression.  It’s not just one thing. It’s everything all at once at the loudest volume and THE HIGHEST PRESSURE. And no strength to handle it.

I’ve never been diagnosed as clinically depressed. In fact, I even got turned down for a weight study because, during the interview, I had no signs of depression whatsoever.

But it happened to me.

It happened to me, and it can happen to anyone. It could happen to everyone; you don’t need a diagnosis.

Do I know what my other friends with depression know? Certainly not. I know enough about emotions that they are not the same for any two people. And everyone has a different pain threshold. Can I speak for people who suffer clinical depression or any other type of depression? Absolutely not.

But I can say how I felt. And I can share the stories I’m permitted to share. For those who are suffering, you aren’t alone – even if someone might only share a moment or a piece of that pain – someone has felt desperation and depression.  Someone believes what you say you feel. Someone wants to help.

For those who don’t understand, can’t imagine…perhaps my short moment will give you pause, will describe it in a way you can understand and help you empathize. It happened to me; it can happen to anyone; so everyone needs to be aware and everyone should be more compassionate. I hope that adding to this conversation, we can build a better support system and a kinder, more aware culture.

If you are experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts, here are some resources for you. Remember, you’re not alone and people care about you:

http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/#  – 1-800-273-8255

http://suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html – has a list of numbers for specific states and regions.

http://www.nami.org/ – The National Alliance on Mental Health has a lot of resources you can call for emergency help, to educate yourself,  to find community support, and more.

* When I had my writing colleague who has confided about me about her depression beta read this article, she gave me a lot of great feedback, but one thing she told me was that I needed to detail what I did to get through my depressive episode. I was reticent to do so because I get infuriated at all the “inspirational” posters, memes, messages, etc. that say “You don’t need pills; you just need to walk in the woods.” I want to slap the people who post them because it’s insulting and outright deadly. Period. Long explanation short: Sometimes natural, herbal, cognitive-behavior methods work; sometimes they don’t and medicine does. There are good reasons to take medication and there are good reasons to not take medication. Respect what works for each individual, share information and techniques, but NEVER shame someone or belittle their choices or needs.

About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms, and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

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SILENT STARSONG is Available to Pre-Order!!

silentstarsongfrontcoverI know, I know… all my blogs for 2014 have fallen under “self-promotional.”  But…but…but… all these things are rocking my world and my dreams are coming true!!

Sooo… if you’ll indulge me…

SILENT STARSONG…written even before THE KELPIE, who some of you have been fans of long before you met the MacArthurs…is FINALLY AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!!

Here it is on Amazon!! (Already discounted!)

Here it is on Barnes & Noble!

And Friends with Stores – you can pre-order your stock, too, at wholesale prices through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or directly through the SHP distributor, Midpoint.

Here are the details!

Title: Silent Starsong

Author: T.J. Woolridge

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.spencerhillpress.com) ISBN: 9781939392930

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Formats: Paperback, e-book

If the stars were singing your future, what would you do to hear it?

Eleven-year-old Kyra Starbard has proud family legacy of interpreting the future from the stars’ songs.  But her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother’s heart and pushes her father to try anything—including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to disability.

Marne’s telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of cruel owners—until he meets a human child who begs her father to “save” him.  Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world—one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people’s abuse and the stars’ songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath.

But there are forces that believe Starbards, whether they can hear the stars are not, should be utterly destroyed. Can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?

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A SILENT STARSONG! My cover! Yep, that’s how I’m starting 2014 blog posts…

silentstarsongfrontcoverI can’t tell you how excited I am about this!!  I wrote Kyra’s adventures long before I even thought about Heather and the MacArthur family.  The Husband-of-Awesome has been a fan of Kyra and Marne for years and years; they’re his favorite of my literary “children.”

AND THEY’RE FINALLY REAL!!

The fabulous Veronica V. Jones is the artist for this cover, and she made them EXACTLY how I picture them in my head.

E-X-A-C-T-L-Y!!!!

So, I’m thrilled to pieces to finally share this with you!

 

Here are the deets for this baby:

 

Title: Silent Starsong

Author: T.J. Woolridge

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.spencerhillpress.com) Please feel free to use any images, text. Links, etc. from our website.

ISBN: 9781939392930

Release Date: July 15, 2014

Formats: Paperback, e-book

If the stars were singing your future, what would you do to hear it?

Eleven-year-old Kyra Starbard has proud family legacy of interpreting the future from the stars’ songs.  But her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother’s heart and pushes her father to try anything—including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to disability.

Marne’s telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of cruel owners—until he meets a human child who begs her father to “save” him.  Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world—one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people’s abuse and the stars’ songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath.

But there are forces that believe Starbards, whether they can hear the stars are not, should be utterly destroyed. Can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?

If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website (http://www.spencerhillpress.com/reviewers.html). ARC’s will ship in February/March 2014.

Below is the wraparound. There have been a few tweaks to the lettering/wording, but you HAVE to see how gorgeous the whole thing is!  Veronica has outdone herself!!

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DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME – Is Finally Here!!

Doorways CoverFor the good part of about two years, now, my friend and fellow Dragon*Writer, Anthony Francis and I have been working on the DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME anthology–and it finally comes out this Tuesday!!

I am so seriously proud of this baby…there was a lot of beauty and a lot of heartache (some amazing, amazing, amazing stories got sent to us–and we couldn’t even fit them all!!) and a lot of time (heh!) and a lot of sweat and blood into this anthology.  I hope you love it as much as we do!

We’re planning a bunch of promotional thingama-gigs over the next month or so, so stay tuned. 🙂  If you happen to be going to DragonCon this year, though, check out our release party at Ray’s in the City!  Consider this your invitation!

And just in case you needed more incentive than an awesome anthology, free food, and cool people… well, we’re also raffling off this AWESOME stained glass piece from Stained Glass Creations and Beyond!

Doorway Stained Glass

Now, onto the coolness of this anthology.  Here’s the back copy:

Everyone wishes they could get an extra hour in the day.

But what if you could?

What if you had a special device that gave you an extra day every week? You could use it to get ahead at work…unless your boss had it too.

What if you knew a spell that gave you an extra hour every day? You could use it to correct a mistake…or make a new one.

What if you could just stop time? You could accomplish a myriad of wonders…if you only knew how to get time started again.

Time loops and time travel, time apps and time outs, time machines, time merchants, and more can be found passing through these doorways into worlds where time can be spent like money…or where extra time can only be bought at a terrible price.

With stories and poetry by Jody Lynne Nye, Walter Hunt, Erica Cameron, Martin Feekins, Anthony Francis, L.M. Graham, R.E. Gofstein, Melina Gunnett, Betsy Miller, Susan Mittmann, Brenda Moguez, Jenny More, Ira Nayman, Errick A. Nunnally, Kate Saturday, Gayle Schultz, Rich Storrs, Keshia Swaim, Aimee Weinstein, and Trisha J. Wooldridge, Doorways to Extra Time presents twenty twists on the idea that if only we had a little extra time…

We’d have to deal with the consequences.

And here’s the Amazon link so you can buy it!

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The Broad Pod: February 2012 Romance

ImageFebruary_Broadly_Speaking_2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Welcome to the February 2012 edition of Broadly Speaking, where this month we are romantically speaking.  Your host, Heidi Ruby Miller, writes stories where the relationship is as important as the adventure. She is the author of the SF Romance series set in the Ambasadora-verse and co-editor of the writing guide MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT based on the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction graduate program. Find her at http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com.

Heidi’s guests are:

PAULINE BAIRD JONES
The “romance force” is strong in Pauline Baird Jones’ family. Her parents recently celebrated 60 years of marriage and she and her hubby will clock 37 years this April. Maybe that’s why romance is laced into her 12 novels of mysterious mayhem and space opera action adventure. She hangs out at all the usual social networking sites and has a website at paulinebjones.com

ALEXA GRAVE
Alexa Grave loves to tell stories–it just so happens her characters occasionally take her on an unexpected ride.  Her story “Kindled Morphogenesis” can be found in the anthology Modern Magic: Tales of Fantasy and Horror.  Please visit her at Born to Write–http://alexagrave.blogspot.com.

BRENDA COOPER
Brenda Cooper lives in the rain-sodden and beautiful Pacific Northwest where she works as a technology executive and writes science fiction and fantasy in the wee hours of the morning.  Her most recent published novel,  Mayan December, came out from Prime Books last August, and Pyr will be publishing a duology that can loosely be described as “Evita in Space” in 2011 and 2012.

No matter the level of sensuality, whether the sex is on or off the page, romance has its place among the many stories of speculative fiction from these women. After all, love stories are universal.

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Broadly Speaking Travels Through Time!

Welcome to the January 2012 edition of Broadly Speaking. According to the Mayan Calender, this year is the year that we run out of time. (Or, more probably, a new cycle begins quite uneventfully.)  But if we can’t go Back to the Future in our own version of The Time Machine, we can at least talk about it. 

Join your host, Tracy S. Morris, for a timely discussion about the adventures of women writing science fiction, fantasy, horror — and everything in between.
 
Up first, Tracy and Melanie Fletcher discuss the rules that one must decide on before writing about time travel. 
 
Then, listen to a round-table discussion on the various conflicts that are inherent in time travel fiction with Pauline Baird Jones, author of Steamrolled, Kathryn Sullivan, author of Talking to Trees,  S.A. Bolich, author of Firedancer and Lynda Williams, author of the Okal Rei Saga.     
 
We hope that you can make time to listen to this podcast. If not, save it in your player for sometime when you have time on your hands.

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January 31, 2012 · 2:45 am