‘Tis the season…

NaNo prep October 2017

Yes, this is the desk in my office.

Yes, that is my wine from St. Michaels Winery.

No, I do not have a problem.

Well, to be honest, I HAD a problem: I had 19 bottles of wine and nowhere to store them. My husband and I aren’t big drinkers, but when we host gatherings, we like to have a nice selection of wine on hand. And where was that wine residing? Inside our pantry. On the floor. Hidden behind paper towels and cat food.

We’re heathens, I know. We have sinned against the God of Wine. May we be forgiven.

This past weekend, the problem was rectified with the simple purchase of a wine fridge, which now resides in my office. And to be honest, that’s the perfect place for it, because 1)I’m having major surgery in a week, and 2)NaNoWriMo just started. I may need to open up one of those bottles of Chocolate Zin after all….

Regarding point one: Yes, the surgery is major. Yes, it is necessary for my survival. No, it is NOT cancer-related (and if you’ve read Shattered, you’ll know why I mentioned that). Will it improve my quality of life? Oh yes. It could save my life, actually. This may be the first time I’ve ever looked forward to surgery, because I may have the chance to live a bit longer than the three to five years my doctors have given me.

Regarding point two: NaNoWriMo season is upon us. For those who are unfamiliar with the term or acronym, NaNoWriMo (or NaNo) stands for National Novel Writing Month. A bunch of people from around the world get together, virtually speaking, between November 1st through 30th, and commit to writing 50,000 words in those 30 days. It’s a time to let words flow freely without a lot of thought regarding revision and perfection.

If you can shove revision and perfection aside for 30 days, anyhow. I have a hard time with it. But God knows I try, because, to be honest, I really like winning things.

Still, November has given me the perfect time to begin the sequel to Shattered.

Wait. Wait, you may ask yourself. A sequel to Shattered? Why would a memoir about amnesia, a traumatic brain injury, mental illness, and one’s complete life story require a follow-up? Isn’t that a bit redundant and self-serving?

Well – no and yes. No, it’s not redundant, because I won’t be mentioning much of anything in the sequel that I mentioned in Shattered (with the exception of obvious things like mental illness, simply because that is relevant). Yes, it probably is self-serving, because I’m once again writing about myself. But to be honest, I’m not writing the sequel to make myself feel better about my wayward life. I’m doing it because a lot of people let me know that Shattered helped them – they were able to step out of the shadows of their trauma and seek help, or speak up, or say to themselves, “Something like this happened to me, and now, I’m ready to write about it or talk about it.”

And that was the goal. That was why I wanted to write Shattered. So I hope that the sequel – a lighthearted yet poignant look at mental illness, trauma, and a lot of different personalities coming in and out of my head to protect me – is something that others may be able to connect with as well.

*

On a somewhat related note, I was at the York Book Expo in York, PA on October 21st:

York Book Expo 2 October 21 2017

(This is not a good picture of me, as I had bronchitis that turned into pneumonia two days later, but you get the point.)

It was a lot of fun to get to meet fellow book lovers and writers, as well as share my life story with those who were interested in it. And several were. Several people wanted to know what my life has been like in the seven years since the injury that altered my existence.

Most of those people bought a book, so they’ll find out. But – spoiler alert – it hasn’t been that bad. If I could write a book about it, and if I’m still alive, how bad can it be?

One of the guests in attendance was a teenage girl who wandered over to the table. She engaged with my amazing friend and publisher, Cara, and then spoke to me. She took a bookmark and magnet, and said that she found my story intriguing. However, she only had enough money to buy three or four books, so she had to go to every table and then come back to pick up her top choices.

Cara’s first book in her amazing The Fay of Skye series was one of her top choices, and was ultimately a purchase.

And so was Shattered.

As she was paying, she asked me a simple question: “Why did you write this? I want to write, because I love to read. How do you do this?”

That’s a question a lot of people ask me, and it’s a good question. It’s a question I never mind answering, because I think that it always deserves an answer.

So I said to her, “I wrote this because it was the story I was meant to tell. And you have a story in you that you’re meant to tell, too. Whatever it is – the truth or fiction – put it on the page. Put down 100 words and come back to it. Put down 1000 words and keep going. Just don’t fall under the belief that you can’t do it. You absolutely can, and then, maybe one day, I’ll be visiting you at a book signing instead of you visiting me.”

She smiled. And that exchange made the very long day worth everything to me.

I hope that those still reading Shattered – or who may be interested in the sequel – can still connect to it. I hope that it’s been inspiring in some form. I hope that it helps.

I hope that the young reader I met two weekends ago is writing down her story right now, and is feeling fulfilled because she knows that she is producing something magical.

*

I probably won’t be posting a blog next week due to surgery, but in the meantime, please feel free to check back for updates, find me on NaNoWriMo (my user name is oneonthefence, and yes, I would be happy to add you as a buddy!), and/or leave a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Goodreads for Shattered. Reviews help. I always appreciate them, as well as the time and thought put into every word, greatly.

Until next time,

A.E.

Links to purchase or review Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac:

Amazon trade/paper: http://amzn.to/2xS7HO2

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2eYQLBV

Kindle: http://amzn.to/2sscDYu

iBooks: http://apple.co/2vCbBKo

Nook: http://bit.ly/2wV3tZR

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2x22Cpp

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2xwi370

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