Brain Buzz

Because I was severely anemic, I had to have a blood transfusion before my recent surgery. My doctor said I needed five pints, but the most they could give me was three. He said I’d feel a lot better afterwards. Well, I can’t say I got to enjoy the energy boost right away because the next morning I went to surgery, but after I came home from the hospital, my brain started buzzing.

brainbuzzLike many things that change slowly, I knew I’d been struggling with brain fog, but I didn’t realize how bad it had become until it lifted. I hadn’t written much of anything for two months before my diagnosis, and certainly couldn’t concentrate to write after. But as I recovered from the surgery, ideas started popping.

In the last two weeks, I’ve written one new short story, finished two, and edited and revised nine other stories and a couple of poems! Alas, my doctor’s warning that I would lose that energy boost all at once has proven true. I’ve slowed down again, but hopefully my body will make up the deficit soon.

In any case, I now have an anthology in the works. And I hope to finish a final polish of my supernatural thriller and submit it to the Kindle Scout program. The publication of my romantic comedy, High Tea & Flip-Flops, has been successful, so I want to try again—especially since this is a totally different genre than I’ve published before.

But it’s not darker than I’ve written before. Many of my short stories deal with death, fears, and broken relationships. But I’ll balance my anthology with a few happier stories.

So that’s my writing plans for the near future. If I can just keep the brain fog at bay, that is.

I hope your brain is buzzing merrily.

Linda

CANCER

I debated whether to blog about my latest personal trial. This is not a writing instruction blog, but I’ve also not often blogged about my non-writing life—my life as an ordinary human. Funny thing is, I’d been thinking of doing just that before my current ordeal began. I just never expected to start with such a biggie.

beach-8-15My forty-eighth wedding anniversary was 31 August. That’s certainly something to celebrate. My husband quickly arranged a day trip to the ocean for an early celebration because we didn’t know what our situation would be in the coming week. Unfortunately, I spent our actual anniversary day in the hospital. Two weeks earlier I’d been diagnosed with cancer. Now, I’m home recovering from major surgery and a bit shell-shocked at how much one’s life can change overnight.

Before 17 August, I was focused on daily promoting my latest novel on Facebook and Twitter, and I was elated to see its Amazon sales rank rising to levels I never expected to hit with a full-priced book. The renewed interest in my first two novels was the cherry on top. Life was exciting and good.

Then a doctor spoke the word cancer and none of that mattered. Suddenly, my thoughts were on whether my husband could handle my death, whether I would live to see all my grandchildren grow up, whether I would die before my elderly mother, whether I would be alive at Christmastime. One night I was disappointed to realize I might not see the third season of Sleepy Hollow.  Yes, you go a little insane when you know you have a large time bomb inside you. Thankfully, I had an excellent surgeon who moved things along ASAP.

I believe we live many lives, so I wasn’t afraid of death, only of the process of dying. I shared my “news” with only close family, two childhood friends, and two writer-friends who have maintained close contact with me. They were, of course, all loving and supportive. Then, at every turn, I was amazed at the kindness of strangers: doctors, nurses, and technicians. I think only the best of the best were chosen to care for me.

So here we are, twenty-three days after the diagnosis. The surgery went well, the pathology report was reassuring, and I may not need any chemo. I’m healing normally, though slower than I’d like. I’m happy to be surrounded by so much love and caring, and I hope to return it more diligently than I have been. I’m looking forward to eating real food again. I’m anxious to get back to my “social life” on Facebook. I’m back to thinking about marketing High Tea & Flip-Flops, which fell sharply in sales rank while I was in the hospital. And I’m itching to write the next book. My family says that one of my statements while I was still half doped after surgery was, “How am I going to make a romantic comedy out of this?”

Life goes on. 🙂

Linda

A Month of Everything and Nothing

July has come has come and gone. I had big plans for July, but most of them were not fulfilled. And then I ended the month flat on my back so sick I couldn’t even read. Four horrible, blurry days of boneless misery. I’m a fidgeter, so my husband says he knew when I was starting to come back to life because my fingers and toes started wiggling and tapping again.

The brightest point of the month was the annual summer visit from my son Daniel Lewis and “daughter-in-law” Sarah Chavez, both professors at Marshall University in West Virginia. We always have a good visit with them. On one afternoon, we visited the Nonini Winery—said to be haunted. It’s been owned by the same family since it was founded in 1936, and I loved the old photos and documents displayed in the tasting room. I enjoyed the wine and, yes, it was a little spooky standing among those massive, old redwood aging tanks.

winery_7_15

The second brightest point was the release of my latest novel, High Tea & Flip-Flops. Unfortunately, launch day was one of my sickest. The early reviews are good. Readers are laughing, which is a relief because it’s my first romantic comedy novel. Of course I hope for more reviews, even a couple of negative ones—especially if the reviewer complains about too much s-e-x and bad language, since I hear those complaints tend to sell more books! 🙂

High Tea & Flip-Flops is available for Kindle at Amazon worldwide as well as in paperback at Amazon and other online stores and by special order at your local bookshop. (Amazon.ca is slow adding the paperback, but it’s coming.) If you’d like to help me spread the word on Facebook or Twitter, please click this link, choose the appropriate image, and copy or save it. When you share it, please remember to add the link: author.to/LindaCassidyLewis in your post or tweet. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

So, that’s the everything part of this post.

The nothing part concerns my writing. No progress. I haven’t added a word to the first draft of my next novel. Oh, I think about it. I open the file and read parts of it. I stare at the Scrivener screen for a while. Then I hit exit. It feels odd not to be writing every day. It feels scary, to be honest. What if I never write again?

The odd thing is that it’s not this particular story I’m struggling with. The plot outline is complete. I’ve visualized the rest of the scenes. I believe it’s a story worth telling. The problem is not in that manuscript.

The problem is in me. I’ve had a blow to the confidence in my writing (concerning another manuscript) and haven’t been able to get beyond it. That seems silly when I have a new book out that readers are praising, doesn’t it? Or maybe it doesn’t. I’m as confounded by the writer’s mind as anyone.

I hope your July was fabulous and your August is off to a wonderful start!

Linda

My New Book: Free or Pre-order?

I’m excited to share with you a quick update on my third novel High Tea & Flip-Flops. If you nominated it for a Kindle Press contract in May, you should have received notice that your free copy is now available. If you don’t qualify for a free copy, the ebook is listed at Amazon for pre-order until its official release date of 28 July, which is when the paperback will also become available.

tea_front_heartAmazon sent out the advance copies in the hope you’ll download, read, and review the book before the release date. I realize many of you have a to-be-read list a mile long, but please download your copy anyway, and when you do get the opportunity to read High Tea & Flip-Flops , please, please, pretty please write at least a few words in review at Amazon. (And anywhere else you please.) You don’t have to write a lengthy, professional review, just a few honest words. The more action a book gets—in sales and reviews—the more promotion Amazon gives it. So I hope you’ll enjoy High Tea & Flip-Flops and tell your friends about it as well as help me spread the word on social media.

Here’s what it’s about:

Chelsea Cole has lost her way. A year ago, she had her heart set on launching a retail marketing career. Now, still working the deli job that got her through college, she’s one paycheck away from—OMG—moving back to her mother’s house. And that would seriously suck because her life recently got more interesting when a gorgeous Brit moved into the apartment above hers.

Jeremy Pearce is definitely not her usual blond and bronzed surfer type. He’s all sexy long hair, poet shirts, suede boots, and secrets. Lots of secrets. He’s definitely aroused her curiosity, but how will she get close enough to solve the Jeremy puzzle if she keeps humiliating herself every time he’s around?

To Chelsea’s amazement, Jeremy comes to her rescue with an offer that not only ends her financial worries but means they’ll be spending long hours together. The first secret she discovers is his surprising occupation—one that sets her on a new career path. While Chelsea’s confidence grows so does the sexual tension between them, and she boldly suggests they would be perfect together for more than business.

Linda