Monday, August 29, 2016

Tamara on Acrophobia and Desensitization Therapy

Hey everyone! Today I want to welcome the lovely Tamara Narayan to my blog as part of her blog tour! Take it away, Tamara! 

 I'm Looking Down! Acrophobia and Desensitization Therapy

Image: zerega

A donkey follows a huge, green ogre across a crumbling wooden bridge like the one pictured above, but over boiling lava instead of a river. The ogre advises the trembling donkey to keep his head up, but alas, a wooden slat falls away under his hooves, and the poor animal shrieks, “Shrek, I’m looking down!”

Approximately 2% of the population suffers from acrophobia, or an irrational fear of heights. Twice as many women are affected than men. (I couldn't find the stats for donkeys.) While most people feel a twinge of fear gazing down into the Grand Canyon or at the apex of a roller coaster, someone with acrophobia may have a full blown panic attack a few steps up a ladder.

Image: uckhet

Vertigo is not another word for acrophobia. Rather, it is the sensation of movement (of the person or objects around them) when no movement has occurred. Vertigo can be triggered by looking down from a high place, which explains the confusion between the terms. For example, I'd get dizzy walking across a grate like the one below or any high place where I’m responsible for my balance. But looking out of the window of a plane? No problem. In fact, I prefer a window seat. So I experience vertigo even though I’m not acrophobic.

Image: Max Morley

In my short story, One Step Away, Darryl James' life is ruled by extreme acrophobia. This affliction started early, when he was abandoned on top of the monkeybars while his entire class, including the teacher, went inside after recess. (This actually happened to me.)

Image: David K

As an adult, things only get worse. His wife leaves him after enduring things like hanging Christmas lights herself while six months pregnant and Darryl quitting his job after a departmental transfer to the third floor.

When his acrophobia puts his son’s life in danger, Darryl seeks help from a psychiatrist. Since he has a heart condition, medication or flooding (doing something extreme like jumping out of a plane) are not viable treatments. Instead, Darryl undergoes desensitization therapy or a gradual exposure to greater and greater heights.

Image: Thomas Hawk

These days, Darryl’s psychiatrist might use virtual reality technology, but this story is set a bit too far in the past for that. To celebrate the end of his therapy, Darryl travels to a city with skyscrapers, where he’ll experience a relapse at a pivotal moment in history. To find out what happens, check out Heart Stopper and Other Stories, available at

One dreams of feathers, wings of might
Yet experiences terror at a meager height.
This phobia takes every dear thing away
Then, in a brutal twist, saves a dark summer’s day.

About the author: From doling out movie popcorn to flinging smelt to penguins, Tamara Narayan’s career took the “road less traveled”. It veered off into a land of integrals and other strange things while she taught college level math, but these days she’s cruising the fiction highway. In addition to the Heart Stopper collection, her short story Scrying the Plane is in the IWSG anthology Parallels: Felix Was HereFind her at

If you'd like to explore whether you have acrophobia or not, check out this YouTube video of a guy climbing a tower over 1700 feet high. Can you watch without flinching or feeling butterflies in your stomach?

Thanks for stopping by, Tamara! Anyone else Acrophobic? I know I am. When I was a kid, I was so scared of heights that I couldn't even comfortably stand on a choir bench. Which sucked, because I was tall, so I always got put on the highest one. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Update Day

Today is the last Friday of August, so it's time for another Update Day.

For those of you who are wondering what I'm talking about: Beth Fred and I host a monthly bloghop. A bunch of us have set huge/crazy/very important goals. On the last Friday of every month, we share updates on our progress (if any.)

You're welcome to sign up! You can find more information here, as well as see how everyone else is doing.

So how have I done? 

Reading: Pathetic. I've only read a few pages in the beginning of the month. 
Life: Uhm........ Let's just say the crap continues. Which means that: 
Writing: 20k words, all of which except for 14 were written in the first two weeks. 

I wasn't helped by the fact that I got a flu around the 14th. 

It also feels like... since setting aside my major goals for the rest of the year, I've sunk into doldrums, the likes of which I haven't experienced since my time in university. 

I guess, by abandoning my plans, I'd abandoned my hopes for my publishing career, and as a result, I no longer have the incentive needed to be productive. 

Yes, I know what I've said before about not writing to publish. I stand by that.

But it's also a widely known fact that writing is difficult enough without staving off what might become a monstrous depression of a scope I've managed to avoid until now. It's difficult enough to write when everything else is going well. 

And I'm not doing well. Not by a long shot. 

And that's the truth beyond my radio silence. 

People don't want to hear about the sadness, hurt and pain of others. So... it's best to try, at least, to limit posts about these things to a bare minimum while burying it in pep, promises, flowers and bunnies. 

But when you're this tired... This hurt... this... hopeless. There. I've said it. Hopeless. All I've got left is a grim determination to survive. 

That's not going to help me write, because right now, writing isn't giving me anything to eat. 

And it's certainly not helping my social networking, because grim determination tends not to bring out the snappy tweets, inspirational quotes or wise, philosophical blog posts. 

So in short, I'm basically incapacitated when it comes to writing anything the way I used to. 

It's difficult for me to be friendly and funny and whatever else when I'm visiting other blogs, so I've stopped commenting because I hate writing a comment and feeling that that thing I've written just isn't me. 

But I digress. Grim determination is really not a good place to be in when writing a book. No matter how difficult it is to write, I don't believe it should be done with gritted teeth and white knuckles. And for all of eleven days, I had a moment of peace within myself. That was when I wrote 20k words. Which is sad to think, because at that rate, I could have written 60k if the peace had lasted. 

Maybe, things will turn around and I'll regret my apathy toward writing later when I'm way behind (which I am already to the point where falling more behind hardly matters) and suddenly have the opportunity to publish again. But to be honest, that seems like the best case scenario right now. 

How are you doing? 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Still alive

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the sudden and inexplicable radio silence. The plan had been to check in regularly, but my life is seriously cramping my style at the moment.

I'll be back on Friday, though, to share an update on my monthly progress.

Just didn't want to wait until then to post something.

How are you doing?


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG: Nomad Edition

Hey everyone,

It's the first Wednesday of August, which means today is officially time for an Insecure Writer's Support Group post. (Click here for more info.)


Yesterday, I posted the precise kind of post I was going to write for today, so I thought I'd bend the rules a little and ask you to visit me at Untethered Realms.

I hope you're all doing great today!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Update Day

Hey everyone! It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for another Update Day! For those of you who are unaware of what all this is about: A group of us have set some huge/crazy/crazy important goals that we're striving towards. And on the last Friday of every month, we post updates on our progress.

If you'd like more information or to sign up, please click here.

So... last month was a bit of a downer and I didn't set many official goals. But I made some progress with Book 3, having done almost 30k words of writing and editing this month. I might see how many more words I can do over the weekend. 

I also read one book, The Hunt for Red October AND I moved house. So I'm pretty happy with getting all this done despite the upheaval. 

Lots is going on in my life still, though, so I'm thinking I'll continue with giving myself a breather and just seeing how much progress I can make in August. 

How are you doing? 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tyrean Martinson on Starting Over

Hey everyone! Today I'm welcoming the lovely Tyrean over as part of a blog post exchange. If you'd like to read my post, you can find it here.

Take it away, Tyrean!

Starting Over Again

Since 2007, I’ve been working in one main fantasy world. Champion in the Darkness took several re-writes to bring to completion in 2013, and I followed it with Champion in Flight (2014), and Champion’s Destiny (beginning of 2016).

As I finished the last book, I started thinking of other ways to expand the Aramatir world with other trilogies. However, I had promised myself that I would do something different this year. I even had three “new-old” projects lined up, partially prepared to go.

Then, in the midst of my Short Story Writing Time (I have time set aside for each kind of writing), I stumbled upon a character and a dilemma that wasn’t going to resolve quickly. In fact, I was 7,000 words into it before I realized that I had written the start of a new novel, and not a short story.

So, now I’m in “A Whole New World” (Cue Music from Aladdin).

But I feel like Luke looking for R2D2 on the horizon, unsure of how much trouble I’m going to be in as I chase down the new droid idea.

I thought I would have my rough draft of this new project done by now. Cue: hysterical laughter.

What was I thinking?

I love entering a new story, but getting all the layers of world-building together has been both challenging and exciting. I’m only a quarter of the way into my rough draft and it’s a completely horrifying mess. I changed from 1st POV to 3rd POV and back to 1st POV in the first three chapters as I’ve been challenging myself to write in 1st POV; it’s distinctly weird for me to write like that for a character but I felt I needed to get closer to her. I also changed from present to past tense in two chapters, and I’m not sure which one I like best.

I feel like I’m starting everything all over again – everything.

I’ve been doing research, taking notes, asking myself questions, digging into the history of the world as well as the history of the characters, and I feel like this project will be better than anything else I’ve ever written. (Or . . . no, I just won’t go there.)

However, it’s going to take more than a month or two to write. It might take six months, or it might take a year. (I’m trying not to think longer.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep a few non-fiction projects running and some real short fiction moving through the submission cycles.

Is it just me, or is it hard to start over again?

Tyrean Martinson

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I don't even know if I want to laugh or cry anymore.

Just when you think you've hit the bottom, some asshole throws shows up with a shovel.

Things have gotten ugly here. So ugly, I can't even really write it out in public.

Anyway. If I'm not here tomorrow, that's why. I'll have a guest post up tomorrow at Tyrean's blog. (Sorry Tyrean! I meant to do more to generate traffic. But the best laid plans of mice and men and all that) and on Thursday, she'll be here to talk about Starting Over with a new story.

In the meantime, can anyone tell me where I can find the reset button?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Hey everyone! Before I get started, I just wanted to mention that the lovely Crystal Collier is hosting Endless on her blog. So if you'd like a chance to win an e-copy, please head over there and guess which one is the lie. 

Hey everyone! Today's the first Wednesday of the month, so I thought I would stop by and give a bit of an update. For those of you wondering what The Insecure Writer's Support Group is about... We're a group of writers who come together on the first Wednesday of the month to share our insecurities. The idea is to be encouraged, but also to visit each other and find that no, being insecure as a writer really isn't all that strange. If you'd like more information or just to sign up, please feel free to visit the awesome Alex J Cavanaugh (he's the host). 

So. Why am I so quiet? 

Long story. Mostly, I'm busy trying to change up the way my whole social networking strategy works. I know what I want to do and why. The issue is that right now, I just don't have as much time as I'd like. 

Another long story. If you're really interested in what's going on in my life, please feel free to go check out my previous two or three posts. 

So. Big deal that I don't have so much time left, right? (Pun not intended.) 


See... I have this one thing left where, if I manage nothing else this year, I want to see book 3 in The War of Six Crowns published. We're already past half way and because of my consistent lack of time, I'm nowhere near where I want to be with it. 

So. I'm cutting back for the next month or so just to get myself on some sort of track, because as it happens, I belong to the school of thought that the best marketing to do is to publish a new book. 

Which won't happen if I'm more obsessed with my social networking than... you know... editing my story. 

Speaking of edits... I sent book 3 to my first CP last month. Usually, I send to more people at a time, but right then, I needed someone to tell me if my sneaking suspicions about the book were wrong or not. They weren't. 

Which isn't much of an issue, except that the issues I had been avoiding until now require that I basically re-do the first third of my book to get more information in. 


Except, I'm currently somewhat stuck on the subject of exactly how I'm supposed to manage it without turning book 3 into a 200k word monster. Right now, it's at 90k because I already split it in two. Now I have to add a third to it. Which means I'm looking at a book that's twice as long as The Vanished Knight. 

And I'm worried that that extra third will throw off the pacing. 

I'm worried, yet again, that this series is just too... big for me. Yes, this has been a reoccurring theme from the first time I started writing the first books. But I don't always think people realize just how big this series is set to become. 

Somehow, I'm supposed to manage the scope of the story while still keeping the pace to at least a reasonable pace. 

Which is just... not something I'm dead sure I can do right now. 

So for now, I'm rereading The Vanished Knight and The Heir's Choice, trying to see which strings I'd left untied and if I've forgotten anything that can be worked in. Or just if anything in the story shakes loose something that I might use to bridge the gap between the end of The Heir's Choice and the start of the main action of Book 3. 

Long story short, I'm super insecure about finishing Book 3 for publishing this year. How are you doing?