M.E., a book promo, the HP Stream x360, and a complete publishing contract.

What a week… actually… what a month!

Now… those who know me are aware of my medical condition, M.E. Aka C.F.S, (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), here in the US. A name I HATE as it implies that is all there is to the illness… I can tell you, it is not.

[If you don’t know what it is and are interested to find out, THIS SITE explains it best]

I have had a few relapses before, but in recent times, and for a good long spell of about 6 years, the M.E., although still “somewhat” symptomatic, had been in remission… until a few weeks ago, when I began to feel more tired than normal. In fact, exhausted. Especially in the evenings, which ruled out critique group for a few weeks. I knew what that meant – a relapse – and made the necessary adjustments to my life, (like the example above RE: critique group), meanwhile to kicking said relapse’s arse.

Well, I’m happy to say, (tentatively, don’t want to jinx myself!), I have been feeling a little better for the past few days – as far as the fatigue goes, anyway – so I shall be making a cautious return to critique group this week, and see how I fair from that. I still hurt, but that is pretty much normal for me, and still waiting for my concentration to improve again, so that I can get on with rewriting The Blue Door Trilogy, (perhaps for submission to a publisher, finally). I’m not going to change the story any, but I would like to improve the writing quality and tweak the style in line with what I have learnt since first finishing it back in 2008.

Speaking of those books.

cropped-cropped-blue-door-collage.jpg

As my way of saying a big THANK YOU to all who have followed, bought books, offered invaluable advice, or otherwise been a huge support to me since I began my authorly journey, I have my self-published “Blue Door” books coming up for a FREE promotion from December 18th until December 22nd, (just in time for Christmas 😉 ).. You can access them all HERE or HERE, or click on the above picture of them.

A few weeks ago, just before the relapse as a matter of fact, I decided to upgrade my computer. I went with an HP Stream x360. Mine is “Blizzard White”, like those in the pictures.

HP Stream x360HP Stream x360 foldedHP Stream x360 folded back

If you have not already been made aware of this fabulous little machine, let me tell you how wonderful it is. I had an HP Pavilion G6 notebook, running Windows 7 – and I LOVED it! It never gave me a day’s grief in its long, productive life, I just needed something more up to date.

Sad as I was to say goodbye to my beloved Pavilion, this Stream more than takes its place. Not only does it do everything the Pavilion did, it does it better, faster, and with a touchscreen – not to mention the 360 keyboard, turning it into either a laptop, or a tablet, or anything in between. I also love the smaller size. My old HP was a 15 inch screen and rather heavy. The Stream’s screen is a petite-but-adequate 11.6 inches, and it is feather-light, compared to the Pavilion.

Now, for Windows 8.1. First, let me say; I will NEVER get a laptop with Windows 10. A previous blog post will explain why. 8.1, however, is fantastic. I really like how it keeps the best bits of 7, (not that there was anything remotely wrong with 7 at all), and melds them with new features. As a result, I could not be happier with this little darling.

And now the VERY BESTEST EVER news. Today, my completed publishing contract arrived in my mail box – signed by both parties. Now it’s REALLY official!! And I am so very thankful to have Snow Leopard Publishing as my publisher for “That English Lady” 🙂

thTBKDUVGS

I’m looking forward to receiving my first editing draft from them soon 🙂

M.E. The misunderstood.

I decided to let you all in on a little known fact about me. It is not something I tend to crow about, because I don’t want it to define me. However, it has come to light that a friend of mine may have the same illness as me, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), (yes, it is a real illness, I know, I have it), and knew nothing about it. Apparently, their doctor didn’t think of it as a possibility either, (many doctors still don’t, unfortunately).

So many misconceptions have arisen over the years regarding this illness, and I would like to take a stand an quash those, at least within my own circle. Perhaps, it might help someone else going through extreme and unwarranted fatigue (not aided by rest or sleep), sore or weak muscles and joints, poor concentration and short term memory, and flu-like symptoms.

So. For those with any misconceptions/questions I have included a link in this post about M.E. AKA C.F.S. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) in the US. I don’t particularly like the term C.F.S.. I find it demeaning, personally, because it implies that fatigue is all there is to M.E. IT IS NOT. Here is the best and most correct information about the illness I have found so far.

ME Association of the UK

If you, like my friend, feel after reading that you can relate to this information more than you would like to, please, go and talk to your doctor about it. For they are the only ones who can diagnose it and set you on a path of self management, (since there is no cure and no drugs proven to work for M.E.), and pacing yourself. Some doctors are still living in the dark ages, and refuse to recognize this illness. I had 11 years of doctors telling me, “It’s all in your head”, etc. But I was still sick, so persisted, and glad I did.

The thing is. If you don’t know you have this, and persist in “working through the pain”, you will only get worse. Working through the pain is the last thing an M.E. patient should do. I learned that the hard way! Partly, it wasn’t my fault. I had doctors telling me to “Get over it, and work through it.” But, partly it was my own fault. Even after a diagnosis, it is very hard to break the habit of a lifetime and stop “working through it”.

It took many years to get a handle on this, and even then, sometimes nothing helps and it flares up, no matter what you do. You have to learn your limits and stay within them. The problem being, those limits are constantly changing. What you could get away with yesterday may not be possible today, and visa versa.

I hasten to add, I am currently in a remission. Have been for a few years, happily. That doesn’t mean I am “over it”. That is a common mistake many make when going through a “Less poorly time”. They think they are fully better and resume their former activities, only to go right back to being ill again from overdoing it. Again, I am familiar with this cycle of events.

M.E. doesn’t go away. One may “feel better”, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. We simply are having a better period, and long may that last! But we do have to continue caution with everything we do, not overdo it. Always be aware that it can strike back at any given moment and often of its own accord.

I will finish with one of the most important things to remember. M.E. sufferers do NOT want your sympathy. We need your UNDERSTANDING. The link I included will, I hope, go some way way toward that.

Namaste. 🙂

Quite a week… again.

On Monday we went grocery shopping, yet again, trying to get the pantries full for the holiday season when everything will be shut. No, we did NOT go to Walmart. I do not use Walmart for grocery shopping, except their online store for everything but perishables. That really helps a lot with ‘shopping stress’ and fatigue from actually having to walk around their store three times because they moved your favourite things, again.

No. We do our perishable grocery shop at Marvin’s. It is a lot quieter than Wally world and the prices are actually very competitive. They even do that thing where they take your bags out to the car for you… Compete with that, Walmart 😉

So, Tuesday arrived. I had an appointment to attend with the surgeon. Some of you might remember that I had abnormal blood work… three times in fact, with the same results. I had the scan two weeks ago to determine a problem, or not, with my Para-thyroids. This appointment was made to discuss those results.

Unlike most other appointments at this office, this one was on time.

The long and the short of it is… my para-thyroids appeared normal on the scan…

“Good news,” you say. Well, yes… indeed it is. I don’t have to have surgery, yet. BUT the blood results remain and so do the symptoms I am experiencing: Even more fatigue, more lack of concentration, more muscle/bone aches and short-term memory loss than is normal for me. With the M.E., AKA Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,  I already have those things, but at the moment they are more so. The fatigue in particular feels different to M.E. fatigue, otherwise I might have suspected a relapse… Thankfully, it isn’t that, but it is something I am not sure how to deal with yet.

I am to go back in six months for MORE blood work, to see if anything changes…

I have not been able to concentrate on my writing, but for another six months I will have to try. I am not sure if they expect the problem to vanish (that would be nice) or to get ‘bad enough to do something about’. I suppose we shall have to wait and see… for six months… lovely.

I have a Great Niece and it is her first Christmas. We wanted to get her something nice, so after the appointment we went shopping for baby clothes and toys, to be posted the next day.

When we got home, I managed to write a small story for her, involving the two stuffed animals we managed to find. Yay for me! I wrote something! Don’t get too excited though, it was extremely short but it is a start! I printed it off, including front and back covers onto photo paper, stapled it into book form and placed it in the bottom of the – now packed and wrapped – box.

Yesterday we posted the box. I was told that it would not get there for Christmas, but I had already envisaged that outcome. At least she WILL get them and can have another present day…

Today, I was planning on writing something for my new book. Nothing has transpired, so far, so I opted to write a blog instead. Maybe I will get inspired after visiting with the Writer’s workshop tonight… We shall see. I have nothing to take to the workshop tonight. I haven’t written anything, save the short book for my Great Niece and that was just for her.

So, it has been another one of ‘those’ weeks. We deal…

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season/Christmas and a Happy New Year and I shall be back next year!

Meanwhile, in case you feel like buying my books, here are a couple of ‘shameless promotion’ links where you can do so.

Amazon (digital and paperback) books by Alice White

Barnes and Noble (paperback only) books by Alice White