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Where I’ve been, What I’ve Been Through, and More Surgery

So, yeah, it’s “been a minute” (to borrow a Southern phrase I learned in said “minute”) since my last blog post. Sorry. But this one is the whole explanation why!

Back in 2017, I shared this post about surgery I had to have because of a big ole fibroid making my life super, extra, mega miserable. That’ll give you a few more background details.

Where to start…

On Monday, August 3, I went in for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). I wanted a hysterectomy due to all the hormonal awfulness, bleeding, and other crap that had been plaguing me for… almost 30 years. My OB-GYN said no; I was too obese.

Needless to say, I was pissed.

You see, and pretty much every fat person you or I know will back me up with similar experiences, I have a bunch of other medical issues—particularly hormone related, but also ADHD—that have been causing the obesity. Yet the doctors have been treating my fatness as a cause for the issues. One of the biggest symptoms of estrogen imbalance? WEIGHT GAIN AND OBESITY.  But no, “If you just lose weight, it will fix itself.”

Those of you with more delicate sensitivities, ignore the next line.

Fuck that fucking bullshit fuckery!

Losing weight is not a means to fix existing hormone imbalances or neuroatypical issues. The weight is there because of those issues! If the issues don’t get addressed, you know what? YOU WON’T LOSE WEIGHT!

Unfortunately, added weight also exacerbates the issues.

So you get this fan-fucking-tastic cycle of a flare-up of issues causing weight gain, weight gain increasing flare-ups / symptoms, flare-ups / worse symptoms causing more weight gain.

And then there’s outside issues that exacerbate that—like stress.

Of course, having ADHD and bleeding heavily every month also increase stress…

You see where this is going, right?

So, why did I not go find a second or third opinion and a surgeon who’d do the hysterectomy anyway, which had a good chance of helping with the weight loss?

A few reasons…

1. Quite simply, I was exhausted. I was exhausted from fighting with medical professionals, I was exhausted trying to argue about yet another weight thing, and I was exhausted from all my symptoms. (Pain, hot/cold flashes, bleeding, brain fog, forgetfulness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, rage…)

2.  My OB-GYN is actually a good doctor and the conversation didn’t stop at being too obese for a hysterectomy. She gave me a bunch of resources and research on how the VSG also affects hormones and a variety of other things.  Here’s one, and another.

3.  I have a fantastic psychologist for my ADHD who I was referred to for weight loss. She is also a wealth of information and will even pull up academic and medical journal articles for me from her JSTOR account!  She also empathized with my frustrations and helped me work through those too. On top of that, she (and my also-fantastic integrative doctor my PCP referred me to) introduced me to the studies about gut flora and how that affects obesity, and how the VSG also does the equivalent of a hard reset on gut flora.  (More on that shortly!)

4.  I have some amazing and supportive friends who have also had gastric surgery who helped me through the anger and societally-programmed guilt of needing surgery for weight issues. Who also have access to lots of research and information on top of their personal experience.

So here’s another fun Trish fact that most people don’t know (I swear this is related!): When I was a baby, I nearly died of salmonella shortly after birth, so my system was flushed with a massive broad spectrum antibiotic. And then I spent a fair amount of my childhood sick, getting prescribed antibiotics, and getting fat. Part of the illness was undiagnosed allergies and asthma… and as I got older, got my first period, I got a lot of UTIs… leading me to need the Kill All The Things antibiotics whenever I got sick because your regular run-of-the-mills wouldn’t work… and I was allergic to penicillin.

Now… y’know what they do to animals to make sure they’re fat and have a high fat content throughout their muscles?

The pump them full of broad spectrum antibiotics from a few days after they’re born and onward!

You see, lots of antibiotics change the gut biome, causing obesity. And once that’s done while it’s all developing… there’s little chance of not being fat. Because it ruins a person’s (or animal’s) gut flora! (I told you’d I’d get back to this!)

Now, let me clarify something, and pay close attention:

Antibiotics! Are! Not! Evil!

Antibiotics have saved billions of lives and the world would be worse off without them. This is not going to be a rant against Big Pharma and antibiotics. (Maybe I’ll rant about Big Pharma later… but my Adderall is still working!) Had Baby Trish not gotten a big ole thing of broad spectrum antibiotics in 1978, 42-year-old Trish would not be writing this now. However, in the 70s, there wasn’t the finesse in antibiotics that there is now. Also, it was kind of a thing in the 70s, 80s, and into the 90s to prescribe antibiotics to fix everything.

And because I’m a research kind of nerd, here’s an article about early-antibiotic use and obesity, and here’s an article on antibiotics in meats and their effect on animals (and potentially humans, but that’s also not within the scope of this post.)

Over-prescription of antibiotics is a problem. But also not the main point of this post.

The main point is this:

Due to a not-uncommon mix of medical problems, many exacerbated by medical professionals treating weight like a cause rather than a symptom, three of my doctors suggested I had a three or less percent chance of losing weight on my own—if I made losing weight my full time job!

Once again, for those in the back who equate obesity with stupidity, laziness, lack of trying, a character flaw, etc:

If I made losing weight my FULL TIME JOB, I had a less than three percent (3%) chance of losing weight.

So I decided to go with the sleeve gastrectomy. All the research I’d done showed that it held significant promise to fix a lot of my ongoing issues by resetting both my hormones and gut flora. (Hysterectomy would only affect my hormones… but it’s not off the table if this doesn’t fix the hormone issues!)

I didn’t say much of anything to anyone about it because the surgery carries a stigma. “Why can’t you just lose weight on your own?” (See above research.) “Couldn’t you just try harder?” (See above research.) “Just don’t eat so many donuts!” (I had had exactly two donuts in two years prior to two days before my surgery), thank you very much! Also, see above research.) “Maybe drink fewer sugary beverages?” (I drink water, coffee, and tea… and often the coffee is with little to no sugar, as is the tea. Also, research!) “Are you sure you want to do that to your body?” (My body is doing way worse to me. Also RESEARCH!)

It’s exhausting. If you aren’t fat, you have no idea how exhausting it is already to have to deal with people ranging from wanting to be (ignorantly) helpful with (uninformed) good intentions to full-blown raging, shit-spewing assholes.

/sarcasm/ No, I’ve never tried to lose weight by adjusting my food intake, watching calories, exercising more, trying A-Z diet… Not once has it crossed my mind. Thank goodness you suggested that; you may have changed my life. /sarcasm/

Every. Damned. Day.

It was just easier to not talk about it. It was easier to just tell my family and friends who I knew would be the good kind of supportive. (As opposed to the thinking-they’re-supportive-but-actually-fat-shaming.) As I mentioned above, I was already exhausted from the symptoms of all this. I just couldn’t fathom dealing with having to talk to a bunch of non-medical persons who have no idea of my health history questioning my decision. And that exhaustion, as you all might expect, has just been ramped up to all new heights since it struck 2020!

So, I decided this, for sure, right after DragonCon last year, after chatting with one of those aforementioned fantastic friends. And thus began my odyssey of going through my hospital’s Weight Center. For the second time.  As I tried the non-surgical program back in 2012 and managed to lose 20 lbs in a year, which outside of college, had been the most I’d lost in the shortest time ever. Until I was diagnosed with ADHD, and then getting the right prescription of Adderall and getting some cognitive behavioral therapy that matched how my brain worked had me lose 25 pounds in 6 months! (See how actually treating the cause makes a fucking difference?)

Going through the program again was frustrating… I already knew how to and was tracking my food, my food triggers. I already ate 80% of my food home-cooked, mostly from scratch, with higher ratios of healthy proteins, vegetables, and fruits as opposed to processed carbs. I already averaged between 6k-10k steps a day. I had a horse and worked out with her. I spent a lot of time outside doing work. I could hike for hours. I parked in the furthest spots so long as it was safe to do so and/or I wasn’t running terribly late (the lateness being an issue that has also, in fact, decreased since the ADHD diagnosis and treatment!) I was sharing tricks about awesome things you could do with zucchini and avocado that the nutritionists hadn’t heard of; I was giving homemade salad dressing recipes that impressed the nutritionists; and I expounded on the virtues and inclusion of fermented foods and easy home ferments.

I had done this alllllllll before… but I went through it again. It wasn’t until we got into the post-surgery diet that I really started having to learn stuff, and thus my ADHD brain was sated with an onslaught of new information.

In any case, as this is getting to be a very long blog post, I went through the program…had the surgery put on hold due to COVID-19 chaos…was getting worried as Scott does have another stint of extended work travel coming up sometime…

And then finally got offered the August 3, date… with two weeks’ notice, since they did actually listen to my concerns on timing and offered me someone else’s cancellation date.

Lemmetellya… prepping for all that, rearranging my editing and writing schedule and deadlines, making sure I had the time off to heal, making sure Scott could get the time off…that was an adventure and a half.

But it happened!  And it went well!

So now I’m here on my liquid diet for the next two weeks, then a very, very slow introduction to regular foods… and I am hoping so hard that this does fix all the other (medical and health) things that are wrong with me!

All the other things that should’ve been fixed if medical professionals had listened to me and dealt with my issues (torturous periods, in particular) instead of either gaslighting me by saying “it’s normal; you’re overreacting” or assuming my fatness was a cause rather than a symptom. 

It still pisses me off that I had to have weight surgery because weight treated like a cause rather than a symptom.

I still want to scream, “IF YOU JUST LISTENED TO ME AND DIDN’T JUST SAY ‘IF YOU JUST LOST SOME WEIGHT’…”

But retroactive fury doesn’t fix anything for me. Maybe it will for others.

Keep fighting. Do your research. If you’ve got kids who get periods, treat them seriously. Don’t treat menstruation like a taboo topic. Believe them if they say they are in a lot of pain, if they think they are bleeding too much.  Be their advocates! Teach them to know their bodies and advocate for their health.

Unless more and more people start doing this, it will continue to be a problem. My mom taught me to be a good advocate; she went into every doctor’s appointment with a list and didn’t leave until every question was answered. I continue that habit. Still, it happened to me. Unless more people accept that “being fat” can be a symptom, not necessarily a cause, people with any extra weight are going to get substandard health care. Start changing that with your kids now. Start changing that with yourself now.

It will cut down on a lot of people’s suffering.

Until I manage to post again… be good to each other! ❤

CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Ian from Terry Bruce’s THEREAFTER

03042014 - thereafter_ebookI’m very pleased, today, to have a special visitor here at A Novel Friend thanks to Terri Bruce’s Blog Tour! Ian, the cowboy from Terri’s newest release, Thereafter, took a few minutes out of his adventures in the Afterlife to chat with us!

Thanks for stopping by my blog here, Ian! Terri and I do a lot of talking about horses, so I was excited to meet the cowboy she’s been talking about. I know Thereafter has just come out, so a lot of people might not have read it yet. Can you tell these folks a little about yourself in the book?

Well, it’s gonna sound mighty strange, but me and a bunch of other folks are stuck by this river in the afterlife—we’re all dead, you see. And there’s this woman, Irene Dunphy—well, she comes along with a plan to spring us all. So I end up fallin’ in with her and this other fella—Andras—and we set about trying to get on out of there.

Before you ended up where you are now, what was your life like?

I worked on a horse ranch in Kentucky. Weren’t much excitement—it was sun up to sun down back breaking work. It was hot, it was dusty, and the only good part was headin’ to Ms. Lydia’s Dancing Girls Emporium on Saturday nights.

Being a horse person myself, I’m curious to how horses are in the Afterlife. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well, I don’t rightly know, now that you mention it. I ain’t never seen many horses running around the afterlife. There’s a few, now and again, with some of the older folks, them that died in way back times, but otherwise, ain’t too many. God only knows how Irene ended up with a horse—she don’t strike me as much of a horse woman, prancing around in that little nothing of a dress she wears and all.

What were some of your favorite pastimes or hobbies before? How has that changed?

Outside of Ms. Lydia’s, there weren’t much time for much else in the way of hobbies. When I got hitched to Irmaguard, I had to give up Ms. Lydia’s, which was a damn shame. But Irmaguard, God rest her soul, was a sure-fired jealous woman so there wasn’t any help for it.

What did you think of Irene when you meet her? How does that change as you got to know her?

Oooo-eeee! I was looking over this vista, admiring the view, and all of a sudden this woman, well, more of a blur, really, comes flying at me like a bat out of hell. I didn’t know what she was doin’. She tackles me, and the next thing I know I’m flat on my back, lookin’ up into a mass of red hair, the most beautiful brown eyes, and the sweetest little mouth I ever did see. She wanted to take off right after, but I sure wasn’t lettin’ her out of my sight that easy. Then I found she was fixin’ to find a way across the river, and then I certainly wasn’t goin’ to let her out of my sight! I been stuck there by that river for a couple hundred years and was mighty sick of it, I can tell you.

Something I always like to ask folks I interview is this: What is a question you want me to ask? And what would that answer be?

Well, now, that’s a toughie. I guess, I wish you’d asked when I wish I would have lived; I can tell you that Irene told me a bit about the future and it sure did sound good. I wish that’s when I’d been born. Life sure does seem like a lot more fun.

Thank you kindly for stopping by my blog, Ian!

No problem! And shoot, thanks for havin’ me!

03042014 - Terri Bruce Author Pic Official

Find out more about Ian, Irene, Andras, and Terri by picking up Thereafter! Here are the details!

Book Details:

ISBN: 978-0991303625

Cover Price: $14.95

E-book Price: $4.95

Buy on Amazon!

Buy on Barnes & Noble!

Jacket Copy:
Nothing in life is free. Turns out, nothing in the afterlife is, either.

When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over.

Boy, was she wrong.

She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.

As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.
Read More: http://terribruce.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=311#ixzz31l8bBDvk

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

You can win stuff, too, by leaving comments!!

Launch Party Blog Tour Giveaway  – May 1st – May 31st

2 $50 Amazon gift cards

5 signed paperback copies of Thereafter (U.S./Canada Only)
CLICK HERE FOR THE RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY!

 

Book Birthday: EXTRACTED: THE LOST IMPERIALS

11122013 - Lex_frontWhile working at Spencer Hill Press, I’ve gotten to meet and make friends with many authors…even those who I don’t edit or work with.  This year, at Book Expo America, I got to room with the fabulous Sherry D. Ficklin. (Okay, I got to room with the fabulous Sherry, Marie Romero, and Michelle Picket… but today we’re talking about Sherry…)  In any case, we hit it off and ended up hanging out even more at New York Comic Con.

And today is the book birthday of EXTRACTED: THE LOST IMPERIALS BOOK 1

The book she co-edited with Tyler Jolley.

So, Happy Book Birthday to Sherry Ficklin & Tyler!

Welcome to the war. The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it. The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens–their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream. Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war. When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Tesla Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both again.

Now Available!

Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Extracted-Sherry-Ficklin/dp/1937053687/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364924792&sr=1-2

B&N- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/extracted-sherry-ficklin/1114924285?ean=9781937053680&itm=1&usri=9781937053680

Book Depository- http://www.bookdepository.com/Extracted-Sherry-Ficklin/9781937053680

official website: www.thelostimperials.com

Sherry D. Ficklin, Author

www.sherryficklin.com

http://about.me/sherrydficklin

Guest Post: Welcome Kendra L. Saunders!

DMR-cover-FINAL1A few years ago, at the Broad Universe / Spencer Hill Press table at the very first Anthocon, this sweet young woman wandered over. There was chemistry between the bunch of us right away and the group of us table folk absconded with the lovely Kendra L. Saunders for dinner, got her to join Broad Universe, and all promptly bought copies of her first novel, Inanimate Objects, which is a beautiful story of art and immortality in the vein (there’s a pun there…) of The Great Gatsby. Trust me, you’ll love it!

Then she wrote an entirely different styled book, Death and Mr. Right, which I (and the rest of my friends) also fell in love with.  For entirely different reasons.  In the humorous style of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, Death and Mr. Right is a romp through Boston and beyond with the diva-like Death (recently-made-former agent of nightmares) as he tries to get back his job, the list of the names of the damned that he lost (oops!), and above all, not fall in love.

As you might imagine, things aren’t going so well…

Kendra is an awesome person, and she is kindly sharing her awesomeness on my blog with an interview!!  Why? Because Death and Mr. Right is now available for  you to love and laugh milk out your nose over, too!

Thanks for stopping by, Kendra!

Oh, thank you so much for having me! And I just wanted to say- thank you so much for The Great Gatsby mention. That’s one of my favorite books.

What kind of research went into writing Death and Mr. Right?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

While writing Death and Mr. Right, my friend Megan took me to Boston for a full day of exploration and research! We wandered Newbury Street and some of the popular spots, then down by the swan boats, which I guess a lot of people think are really pretty. I found them to be extremely depressing, haha. The most beautiful spot in Boston is the Church of Science, across the street from the Prudential Center. We found it by accident, because it started raining and we made a dash for cover… the reflecting pool in front of the Church of Science is just breathtaking, though, even in the rain. You feel like you’ve teleported to Italy or something. If Death and Mr. Right becomes a huge cult hit, I want to offer tours of the major locations in the book, and that would be the most important one. I took a lot of pictures of it, which can be found on my facebook page!

Also, during my research, I found out that Pandora’s “Box” was actually a jar! That was a cool fact that I had no idea about previously.

You also have a passion for fashion, which definitely seems to find its way into your work.  As the person who is constantly getting notes from her critique group that she adds too much horsey stuff–but generally isn’t into fashion at all–I’m curious how you are able to let in just enough of your passion into your writing without overwhelming–and while making it interesting for those of us who normally don’t think about fashion? 🙂

The newest book, The Unlove Spell, has maybe the most of it, because Marling lives in New York City, her friend Kyran is a fashion label obsessed metrosexual and Viktor Arson is a total babe, so we usually hear about what he’s wearing. In one part, Kyran says something about standing outside of an Alexander McQueen store and feeling too afraid to walk inside, lest he burst into flames of unworthiness. So there was lots of designer label talk in that one.

I have had the extraordinary privilege to meet a lot of designers that I really admire and have conversations with them in interviews or just while hanging out, and have learned so much. For my freelance work, I talk a lot about fashion (in interviews and articles) and I’ve been an InStyle subscriber for ten years! So it’s very possible that my projects in the future will have more and more of a fashion theme, but generally I try to describe in humorous ways, usually, or with a very light hand. That being said, I recently wrote a short story inspired by one of Zac Posen’s photos on instagram, about a designer, and I’ve been inspired for several pieces by fashion, models, and designers. Music and fashion are my greatest inspirations!

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process?  What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

Definitely for me, writing is a way of processing things that have happened to me. Maybe someone was really cruel and I couldn’t react at the time (I’m a slow reactor and very bad at confrontation), so I process it in fiction. Maybe I met a stranger who was intriguing but disappeared from the fabric of my life… I can bring them to life in fiction. Maybe someone is dancing around the edges of my life… I can get to know them through fiction. Maybe there’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit (England, Austria, etc)… fiction is a transportation device. And if I miss a place, a person, a feeling, I can resurrect it in writing. Truly, writing is the best and cheapest way to live a thousand lives.

Also, getting to travel in the name of research and promotion is great. I’ve had wanderlust all my life and this is the perfect job to allow for that.

What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?

My writing space changes from day to day but my favorite place to write is at the Concord, NH Starbucks. I’ve written most of THREE novels there (and even dedicated Death and Mr. Right to them!) I like to have a latte (no sugar) and a cup of water at the table with me. My doctor made me promise to cut back on caffeine, but the smell of espresso is just magical! I have to have headphones so I can retreat into my mental writing cave. Spotify has become my best friend… it’s an online music database that allows you to listen to whole albums or playlists that you create, for free. It’s great because the artists don’t lose money and you don’t have to pay to listen to new albums. I have a playlist for every major project I’m working on, as well as a “soothing” one, a “love” one, a “girl power” one and lots of others! Plus with spotify, you can receive suggestions from other spotify users. Fabio Costa (Project Runway contestant and co-owner of NotEqual) is one of my favorite people to get suggestions from. He has great taste in music and we can nerd out over indie albums together. Feel free to find my playlists and check them out, and be sure to check his out too!

If I’m home, I like to sit in my room surrounded by my stuffed animals. Because I’m a grown up.

What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you? Kendra blog

Well, most people don’t realize I have an embarrassingly extensive knowledge of Sting’s discography. Not even a joke! I have all of his albums up until the lute one, and even some singles. And I have “Soul Cages” on vinyl, thanks to my friend Isaac. I’ve also seen a couple of his movies- The Bride (which I told the Nostalgia Critic he should review) and Brimstone and Treacle. And yes, I own his books too. He’s been a major creative influence on my writing and life. The lyrics from “Soul Cages” are just surreal masterpieces to me. He’s a master storyteller.

Also, Andrew Bird wore the scarf I made for him in a music video with Margaret Cho. Look it up! So cool!

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

Oh, there have been so many of them! But my greatest was definitely going to New York City in May of this year for BEA, staying at the hip Jane Hotel with my sister, getting dressed up in my gorgeous Dmitry Sholokhov dress and high heels, attending a fancy breakfast as a guest author, taking a taxi to the Javit’s Center, signing review copies of Death and Mr. Right to tons of strangers and familiar faces alike, and Dmitry joining me at the event as my guest. It was amazing! We chatted and caught up a little after he arrived and I met his lovely friend Anastasiya, and then we posed behind the Spencer Hill table and suddenly there was a whole row of people standing in front of us with cameras. I’ve never seen so many cameras in my life! It was a surreal experience. Even Dmitry commented that it was a lot of camera flashes. I felt like a princess or something! Later that evening, my sister and three of my best girlfriends got together with me back at the Jane Hotel for drinks and conversation, and then my dear friend Megan and I took a late-night walk along the waterfront. To have so many wonderful people with me for that event was a beautiful experience. And Dmitry has been such an inspiration for me, both as an artist with a lot of ambition and big dreams and good sense of humor, and also because he was the muse for Viktor Arson in “The Unlove Spell.” It was the most magical day of my life! (If you don’t know about his work, you should look him up on twitter and instagram, both of which are @dmitrysholokhov )

Now that we have had a taste of your awesomeness, what are the deets about your book so we can all buy it?  (ISBN, where to buy it, etc.)

Death and Mr. Right drops October 1st. It will be for sale in most Barnes & Noble stores, on amazon and worldwide at bookdepository.com. There are many things you can do to make this funky little book into an indie success. You can call or visit your local bookstore and ask them to order a copy of the book, you can tweet me ( @kendrybird ) with the hashtag #deathandmrright , you can take a picture of yourself with the book and tweet it or instagram it with the #deathandmrright tag… I’m going to feature the pictures on my site, along with a link of your choice, if you’d like. So hit me up!

You’ve got a very active life in social media, and you promote your work in a lot of untraditional ways.  What advice can you offer other authors who are looking to help promote their books and are trying to get online more?

Choose two social media platforms that you really like and concentrate on those. Some people try to do it all- facebook, twitter, instagram, blog, pinterest, tumblr, whatever… it gets to be a burden, especially if you’re new to it. I suggest you use two that you really like, and use one more for personal contacts and one more for ‘fans.’ Facebook is great for personal contacts and twitter is great for fans. With facebook, you have more of a human connection, but you also have the gatekeeper of adding people as your ‘friend.’ With twitter, you speak and anyone in the world can listen. Post about what makes your life unique. Fans and followers want to see things they can’t see in their own lives, like places you’ve traveled, cool people you’ve met or whatever else. Also, don’t be afraid to tweet people you admire. Everyone is so connected now, and there’s comfort in that, even for someone ‘on top.’ I’ve interacted with Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Ross, Tom Hiddleston and many other of my personal heroes on twitter. So don’t be afraid to try talking to one of your heroes!

Speaking of your active online life, how can fans (un-creeper-like) stalk you to find out what you’re up to and what else they can possibly give you money for? 🙂

I LOVE to hear from everyone! My twitter handle is @kendrybird and I’m on instagram @kendralsaunders and update my website regularly http://www.kendralsaunders.com In addition, the radio interviews I do go up on my youtube channel after they air. I’ve interviewed Dmitry Sholokhov, Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Fabio Costa, Melissa Fleis, Miranda Levy.. you can hear those on my youtube channel! http://www.youtube.com/KendraLSaunders I also upload video journals there from my travels. Recent ones include my trip to NYC for Death and Mr. Right’s signing at BEA, and my adventures at NYFW!

What are you working on now, and what other projects can we look for from you in the near future?

I’ve recently finished writing The Unlove Spell, which is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever written. It’s about a young witch named Marling, who lives in New York City and isn’t very good at magic. She tries to put an unlove spell on her former lover, sexy Russian writer Viktor Arson, to keep him from falling in love with anyone else, but she accidentally puts it on herself instead. The story begins five years later, when their paths cross again and she finds out Viktor’s family are actually fae royalty. The fae and witches have a long, ugly history, and Marling has to decide… does she really love him, or is that just the unlove spell she placed on herself?

It’s a comedy and it’s fun and it’s set in New York City. It’s currently with my very favorite agent, so my fingers are crossed!

I’m also mostly finished with a poetry and short story collection about these two people who are never quite right for each other, but they keep crossing paths in different lives and realities. It’s really melancholy and I’m excited about the idea of sharing it with the world!

Once again, thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Kendra!  It’s always a blast to hang out with you!

Thank you so much, Trish! You’re amazing, and I have so much respect and love for you!

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!

COVER REVEAL: Kelly Hashway’s THE MONSTER WITHIN

08052013 - TheMonsterWithinfinalcoverFLATcropped (2)I’m very excited to share another one of my author’s beautiful covers!  Have I mentioned how much I ❤ Kelly Hashway???

If you’ve become a fan of the awesome Kelly Hashway–a totally logical thing for those who have read TOUCH OF DEATH or anything else by her–Spencer Hill Press is happy to announce the first peek at her newest addition to the SHP Family: THE MONSTER WITHIN Cover Reveal! Sporting a fabulous Lisa Amowitz cover, check out another wonderfully dark tale by Kelly Hashway!

THE MONSTER WITHIN

By Kelly Hashway

The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side–a completely unfair shot at life.

But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She’s now a monster that drains others’ lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Title: The Monster Within

Author: Kelly Hashway

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

ISBN:  978-1-937053-85-7

Release Date: 4/7/2014

Formats: Paper, e-book

Goodreads TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15839932-the-monster-within

If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website. ARCs will ship in January 2014.

COVER REVEAL: Darby Karchut’s GIDEON’S SPEAR

Gideon'sSPearfinalcoverflatSqueee!!! It’s finally time share the cover for the sequel to FINN FINNEGAN Darby Karchut‘s GIDEON’S SPEAR!  You all know how much I love my author, Darby, so please help me spread the word. Even awesomer, the amazing Lisa Amowitz, another friend of mine, outdid herself making this cover–and it truly is a perfect fit for the book. Everything you may have loved about Finn, but with even more action and humor!

Awww over the cover…and here are the details!

GIDEON’S SPEAR

The sequel to FINN FINNEGAN

By Darby Karchut

Gideon’s Spear

(The Adventures of Finn MacCullen #2)

For Finn MacCullen, it’s time to Irish up.

With a shout, Finn held the spear aloft. “Come along, ye manky beasties,” he yelled, throwing every bit of Gideon-ness he could into his voice. “I’ve a wee point to share with ye!” Gripping the end of the shaft in both hands, he swung it around and around over his head, creating a whistling sound. “Faugh a ballagh!”

“The Spear!” Goblin voices screeched in panic. “The Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan!”

“Yeah, you got that right!” Finn yelled back.

When a power-crazed sorceress and the neighborhood pack of beast-like goblins team up and threaten both his master and his friends, thirteen-year-old Finn (not Finnegan) MacCullen does the only thing an apprentice monster hunter can do: he takes the fight to the enemy.

And woe to the foe he meets along the way.

 

Praise

for

Finn Finnegan

(Book One of The Adventures of Finn MacCullen)

“Overall, a great choice for adventure-loving readers who prefer their battle scenes with a hefty dose of ancient weaponry, ground-fighting skills, and just a touch of magic.” —School Library Journal

“If Lloyd Alexander had written The Ranger’s Apprentice, the result might have been something like Finn Finnegan. Fantastic!” –Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall and Ashen Winter

Finn Finnegan brings classic adventure into a modern day setting for a great read.”

Dee Garretson, author of Wildfire Run and Wolf Storm

 

Title: Gideon’s Spear (The sequel to Finn Finnegan)

Author: Darby Karchut

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

ISBN:  978-1-937053-94-9

Release Date: 2/4/2014

Formats: Paper, e-book

Goodreads TBR: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18046728-gideon-s-spear
If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website. ARCs will ship in January 2014.

 

Guest Post: Welcome E. C. Ambrose, author of ELISHA BARBER, first in THE DARK APOSTLE series

07142013 - ElishaBarberCover_forWebDisplayI’m very excited to host my friend, E. C. Ambrose, on my blog to talk about her new book, Elisha Barber, the first book in her new The Dark Apostle series published by DAW.

I’ve known E. C. for several years through conventions, Broad Universe, and online chatting–and she’s an amazing resource on medieval history–which she beautifully works into her novel.  Because I am such a history buff, I was thrilled at the chance to pick her brain at all this cool info!

 

Let’s start with a little blurb about the book, Elisha Barber.

England in the fourteenth century: a land of poverty and opulence, prayer and plague, witchcraft and necromancy. Where the medieval barber-surgeon Elisha seeks redemption as a medic on the front lines of an unjust war, and is drawn into the perilous world of sorcery by a beautiful young witch. In the crucible of combat, at the mercy of his capricious superiors, Elisha must unravel conspiracies both magical and mundane, as well as come to terms with his own disturbing new abilities. But the only things more dangerous than the questions he’s asking are the answers he may reveal…

I’d really love to hear about the research you did to make Elisha’s knowledge as a barber surgeon real. What drew you to this profession?

When I started out, I only need to know a little more about medieval medicine for a scene in another novel, but what I found was fascinating to me. It was another way of viewing the European Middle Ages, a popular setting for fantasy, that would allow me access to all levels of society, and also engage with characters in a more intimate way.  Medical treatment and the need for it create great vulnerabilities, openings into the spirit as well as the body.  Medieval medicine was fragmented by philosophies handed down from Greek and Roman sources, by the demands of religion, and by social class—it’s rich territory for fiction.

I wanted to write about a less traditional fantasy hero.  We’re used to reading about knights, princesses, remarkable children—Elisha is a mid-career adult, respected in his sphere of influence. He works among the poor and desperate of London’s lesser neighborhoods:  prostitutes, carters, laborers, for whom he’s the best medical care they can afford.  When he’s forced to the front, he finds himself serving beneath the full weight of the medieval hierarchy:  a surgeon who manages the hospital and works with knights and lesser nobility, a physician who advises only at the highest level, yet insists on supervising Elisha’s work, and all of the political layers outside of medicine—the warriors, royalty, lords and ladies who are the more usual denizens of the fantasy novel, and to whom the barber surgeon is beneath contempt.

Where did you go for this level of research?

I started with some general resources, like Medicine:  an Illustrated History, which grounded me in a broad understanding of the period.  I moved down through the books that would take me closer to the source, specialized compendia of knowledge like The History of Magic and Experimental Science. From there, I took note especially of any primary sources I could study.  That lead me to Galen, the first-century physician who developed the hugely influential theory of the four humors, and to medieval practitioners like Ambroise Pare, a French barber-surgeon, or Guy de Chauliac, surgeon and personal physician to Pope Clement VI.  Any time I could, I read works written by the practitioners, or by their contemporaries and patients.  I was a bit stymied in this area because I never learned to read Latin!

I also had the chance to visit some specialty museums of medicine, or to locate exhibits about medicine within larger collections in places like the Museum of The City of London.  Lately, I’ve been accumulating a collection of period-style surgical tools I can bring to signings and readings to illustrate the research.

What were some of the more amazing, gross, crazy things you found out?

One of the popes died of a surfeit of emeralds, which he was eating at the recommendation of his physician in order to cure a humoral imbalance.  That’s pretty crazy! They believed that all material things had properties—hot, cold, wet, and dry—which related to the humors, so when a cure could not be effected by bleeding the patient, say, because the wrong astrological sign was ascendant at that time, the patient could also be fed a diet meant to balance these properties.

What are some interesting facts you learned but that didn’t make it into this book…or the series? 🙂

I haven’t written much about disease as opposed to wound healing or individual ailments—as of yet.  But in the 14th century there were three modes by which disease was believed to be transmitted:  breath, skin (touching) and gaze.  This includes the notion that a young woman without a husband or a calling to God might emit a certain poison affecting those around her.  The so-called “maleficent gaze of the venomous virgin.”  Still want to use that. . . but I haven’t quite found the place for it!

Where should readers go to learn more about the book?Elaine Isaac

For sample chapters, historical research and some nifty extras, visit www.TheDarkApostle.com

E. C. Ambrose blogs about the intersections between fantasy and history at http://ecambrose.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/ecambrose

https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkApostle

 

Buy Links:

Indiebound:  http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780756408350

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/13pEciI

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/13HMvG2

Bio:

E. C. Ambrose wrote Elisha Barber and the rest of “The Dark Apostle” historical fantasy series from DAW books.  Published works include “The Romance of Ruins” in Clarkesworld, and “Custom of the Sea,” winner of the Tenebris Press Flash Fiction Contest 2012.   In addition to writing, the author works as an adventure guide.  Past occupations include founding a wholesale business, selecting stamps for a philatelic company, selling equestrian equipment, and portraying the Easter Bunny on weekends.

COVER REVEAL: Kelly Hashway’s FACE OF DEATH

I’m super excited to finally reveal the cover of the final installment of the Touch of Death series by the amazing, sweet, and wonderful Kelly Hashway!  (What is it about people who write wonderfully twisted horror being some of the sweetest people I know?!)  Anyway, check out this gorgeous cover (complete with Sexy Hades) and keep an eye out for this book in January!

07012013 - Face of Death Cover Image

FACE OF DEATH

The third and final book in the TOUCH OF DEATH series.

By Kelly Hashway

Having fallen at the hands of Hades, Jodi’s enduring torture like she never imagined. Worse, she has to watch her Ophi friends suffer along with her–the punishment doled out by the very people she’d sentenced to life in Tartarus. Hell. This is one reunion Jodi hoped would never happen, but now she must find a way to free them all.

Except the underworld is nearly impossible to escape.

Jodi’s one chance may rest in raising the human soul she killed when she drank Medusa’s blood.

But splitting her human soul from her Ophi soul means living a double life: One as an Ophi experiencing unspeakable torture and the other as the human she could have been if she never came into her powers. With her two worlds colliding, Jodi will have to make the toughest decision she’s faced yet.

Title: Face of Death (Touch of Death #3)

Author: Kelly Hashway

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

ISBN:  978-1-937053-92-5

Release Date: 1/7/2014

Formats: Paper, e-book

Goodreads TBR:

If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website.

 

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