Hello, Stars! It’s another post with music that has inspired my writing. I would also love it in the comments if you could tell me what music has inspired you. For me, music is such an integral part of my writing, and I think this holds true for a lot of writers out there. If not, then my suggestion is you start to listen to music in genres that you enjoy. You’d be surprised how inspirational music can be for your writing. Let’s begin!
Stars Align by Lindsey Stirling
I really love this, not just for the music, the music video, and the incredible dancing, but also because it inspired the title for the third book in The Stars Trilogy. The title for the third book will be All Stars Align. It’s not just the title either that makes this piece so special to me. It’s the theme of the third book this piece has helped me with. When I finished The Stars Are Infinite, I put my characters in an incredibly difficult situation that I had no clue how I was going to get them out of. Because of this piece and another, I received my answers, so now I have an exciting direction to take the third book.
Gothic Lolita by Emilie Autumn
I think this is the third post this wonderful woman has been in. It’s so sad to say this, but I relate to this song stronger than ever now. This piece right here has inspired the majority of the poems in my tentatively titled chapbook, Pretty Girl, Unravel Me. A lot of the poems in my chapbook are based off personal experiences, like sexual abuse, self-harm, suicide, mental illness, emotional abuse, and so on and so forth. I would do anything to see her live and to meet her and talk to her over a cup of tea (I am a total tea snob!).
When I first listened to her, I listened–or at least tried–to a piece named “Opheliac.” At first, I didn’t like her style of music, but I decided to give it a second chance because I was in desperate need of something new to listen to. I listened to “Opheliac” again, and that’s when I fell in love with her. She is my number one favorite artist. I am so grateful I gave her another chance.
Imaginary by Evanescence
I can’t quite remember in what way this piece has inspired me. All I know is that it was an integral part of When Stars Die’s sequel, The Stars Are Infinite. Originally the sequel was supposed to be the first book, and it was titled Witch Tourniquet back then. Perhaps this piece helped me create Alice, who wished, and still wishes, for a life beyond the nightmare she’s currently living. I wish I could delve into the thoughts of fourteen-year-old me, but this was ten years ago when I first listened to this, and ten years ago when I fell in love with Evanescence. To this day I’m still watching out for new music from Amy Lee, who is now a solo artist. I can’t wait to see what she creates now that she is free to do what she wishes with her music.
Yesterday I had my first, true panic attack since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and it was one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. I’ve had symptoms of an ensuing panic attack, but outside forces were able to stop them. For example, when I was working an event called Christmas in the South, I was in the throes of my first depressive episode. Panic attacks occur out of the blue from what I’ve researched, but I also think there are a multitude of factors for those already suffering with a mental illness that make them suddenly occur.
When I was working this event, my depression was already pretty bad. Schoolwork was pilling up–especially from my French class–and I was no longer able to cope with anything. I was excited about working Christmas in the South, but the unfamiliar atmosphere was already inducing panicky feelings within me. When someone showed me a picture of the line outside, this is when my stomach started to hurt, and I knew I was going to eventually have a panic attack. However, my boss called me to work another booth, which wasn’t as busy, a co-worker gave me half of a Xanax (which was not prescribed to me at the time), and all of those factors were able to put a stop to the attack.
A few weeks ago while I was working the mall I began to feel that same panic for absolutely no reason. Work was going fine. I had 2 appts., which is the goal in a 4-hour shift. Yet, I started to feel panicky, and I think I would have absolutely freaked out had my co-worker not finally showed up and I was able to bolt and shop at Teavana to buy a beautiful mug this tea-snob desperately wanted. The general atmosphere of Teavana, the samples I tasted, helped alleviate the panic. When I went back downstairs, I put myself right back to work, and it really helped that I was working with one of my favorite co-workers–we can be outright chatty with one another. This general conversation got rid of any bad feelings I had.
But yesterday was abysmal. I thought it was going to be a good day. I woke up tired but was actually looking forward to the drive to Aiken because my boss needed a ride with me, and I adore her greatly. We arrived, had some breakfast, set up, and began to work. The atmosphere was nice and relaxing. Adjacent to us was a woman putting on a mini cooking show that I enjoyed watching. I was also making appts. and had more than my boss. Of course, our other co-worker hadn’t showed up, so we were beginning to worry about her. However, this is when things start to become a little foggy for me. I don’t remember where I went, but when I came back to the booth, my co-worker showed up. There were more people, I was having to work harder, and I eventually had these panicky feelings overcome me–a sense of terror is the best way to describe it. I kept telling my co-worker I felt panicky and I had no idea why, and she tried to calm me down. I couldn’t. So I kept working, got 7 appts., and my co-worker had to leave because the heat was making her feel sick and dizzy. We were inside, but there wasn’t any air conditioning–just fans, none of which were aimed at our booth.
However, the heat wasn’t bothering me. I had drank plenty of water, so I wasn’t thirsty, but the panicky feeling kept rising. My co-worker started to note that I was getting really pale: she wasn’t. My boss then came back from a smoke break and told me to take a break, so I did. I walked outside and sat in my car, blasting the air conditioning. The panic was rising, worsening, and I felt this sudden dizziness overcome me. I did not feel nauseous, but there was a slight pain in my stomach. My chest hurt. My heart was beating really fast. I felt terror, I felt like I was going to faint, maybe even die or something like that. It was this impending sense of doom. I figured if I got up and walked around I’d feel better, but I didn’t. I went back inside and sat down but was unable to work, unable to function.
I still complained about my panicky feelings, my dizziness, asked where my boss was, and my co-worker told me she was feeling sick from the heat. Yet, neither of them were reacting the way I was. I was shaking, head in my hands, slightly rocking back and forth, and this urge to break down crying was rising in me. My co-worker kept commenting that I should probably go home because I didn’t look good, but I told her I needed the hours. She then suggested I probably not go to work the next day either, but I told her I needed the hours. Yet, nothing was getting better, it was becoming harder to breathe, and I was about to go to the bathroom and completely break down, when my boss came back and told me I needed to go home, that I looked absolutely terrible, and that she would give me the rest of my hours for my shift. She said I did a good job, because by then I had eight appts., and she would earn one more for me.
I rushed out of there, got in my car, blasted the AC, and broke down sobbing with bouts of intense breathing difficulties. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to calm down by myself, so I called my dad crying, gasping for air, and explained what was going on. I was probably on the phone for 10-15 minutes with my dad trying to calm me. Eventually he did, and so I was finally able to make the 45 minute drive back home. Yet, the aftermath of the panic attack lingered within me for a few hours after that, even though I had taken another Klonopin. I went to my fiance’s house, laid down in bed, and I seriously felt like I needed to be in a strait jacket, to have that tightness around me, to calm down. Eventually my fiance gave that to me (not the strait jacket), and I felt much better.
Needless to say, I did take off work for today, which absolutely sucks, but my mental health is far more important. I am also absolutely now terrified of having another panic attack. While this coming week isn’t schoolwork heavy, I am going to have to work a major event (just 5 hours) that has the possibility of triggering another one, unless I can get a more powerful anti-anxiety med from my pdoc that will prevent one.
This terrible experience has led me to the conclusion–yet again–that no matter how much I can get done, no matter how accomplished I feel from it, I am still vulnerable to attacks like this. It is one of those just-because-you-can-doesn’t-mean-you-should moments.
I really hate my limitations. My dad and I talked about them, and unfortunately, being a writer absolutely has to be my last priority. School and work come first. Ballet is also a priority because it is a temporary stress and depression reliever, but writing, book promotion, those things have to come last, which means I may not be able to do those things as often as I want to or feel like I need to–especially book promotion, which I used to love but now absolutely hate because of this panic attack. I only hate it because I myself can no longer be the sole person in charge of promoting my book. I need help, which is why I’m seeking out a publicist. This isn’t uncommon for even NYT Bestselling authors to do, but I can’t manage it anymore. For now I cannot cope with anything. And my dad pretty much told me I need to set aside one day per week where I do absolutely nothing physically or mentally taxing, even if this means sleeping in for half the day (which I did today).
I still am going to keep up with a few promotional things (like Tumblr, my website (which needs updating like once a month), this blog, and Twitter, as well as using The Fussy Librarian and sending out a monthly newsletter), but from last month’s sales (I felt last month was the hardest I’d ever promoted my book) and this month’s sales, all of that work I’ve been doing to promote my novel has not been paying off what-so-ever. I have a burgeoning following on Tumblr, I have posts that constantly go viral, and they receive thousands of notes. I have been using more graphics to help promote When Stars Die, but perhaps moving those graphics to Instagram will yield better results. I know I could do more, like continuously seek out interviews, look for a myriad of opportunities to help promote my book, but those are things I CANNOT handle, which is why I need a publicist to help me. AEC e-mails us weekly with publicity opportunities, but I absolutely cannot handle those things. I will be doing one assignment they gave us this past week, but it’s because this assignment can actually be a part of my don’t-do-anything day.
I know I have a VERY worthy book. The cover is eye catching. In the past, when I was shelling out ARCs of my book, PLENTY of people requested a copy because of the current synopsis alone–and the cover probably helped. And I have a 4.31 rating on Goodreads from 80 reviews. However, I am no longer shelling out ARCs because that is unmanageable. I have not been doing podcasts recently, and I have yet to really use the webcam I bought to do a Youtube video.
Even so, I am happy to report I have three more chapters left of When Stars Die’s sequel to finish. I have its glossary done (though not in alphabetical order), and then it’ll be sent off for copy edits. I will do NOTHING writing-related for a week, then start revisions on my YA contemporary, The Glorious In-Between, a standalone novel that will be sent off to another publisher who specializes in the book I wrote.
If any of you know any publicity firms that work with YA novels, I would love for you to recommend me a few.
As you can see from the picture above, a Goodreads giveaway ended for me about a week ago. I also received more entries for this one, and over 1200 adds on Goodreads. Both these figures are an anomaly. The average entries are about 800 (including other countries added), and the average adds are about 8%. Mine was more like 50%. I do believe the cover alone lured in readers, and probably the description, too, but I’d mostly like to think Viola Estrella for creating such an amazing cover in the first place. The giveaway wasn’t helpful at all in terms of sales (I receive monthly reports), but hopefully all of those people who added the book will eventually get to it. I will be writing a post on conducting a successful Goodreads giveaway campaign on Sunday.
My post on Creating Effective Action Scenes is also still receiving attention on Tumblr. It has 704 notes and might have more by the time you read it. So if you want to learn how to create an effective action scene, this is the post to go to! I am also trying to draw more attention to two recent posts on there. But I believe my action scenes post is very popular because it’s more bite-sized than my two recent ones, although 88 notes and 50 notes isn’t too terrible. Tomorrow’s Tumblr post will be about the correct usage of commas, so that one will be bite-sized. My blog has also gained about 200 more followers because of these posts for a total of 940 followers. I would have much more than that if I had kept diligently posting.
If you are interested in using Tumblr as a platform, read this article, which, from my stats alone, is a very popular article on my blog.
When Stars Die also has 69 ratings on Goodreads, although Goodreads claims I received a review on March 3rd, which would make it 70. However, it hasn’t registered in the filter for some reason. It’s a nice little milestone for me.
I am also on the reading-out-loud phase of The Stars Are Infinite, meaning I am getting close to re-sending it back to my publisher. For now, enjoy When Stars Die. It has 30 reviews with a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.
Helpful Articles for Writers
An Anon on Tumblr was having plot problems because this person couldn’t figure out how to interweave varying plot ideas. I simply told Anon to outline and found this article about the various types of outlines you can do. So if you wish to start outlining your novels, here is “Choosing the Best Outline Method for You,” an article at Writer’s Digest.
Here is interesting article I found on Twitter: Emergency Phone Apps to Save Your Heroine’s Life.
If you have a Tumblr, follow thewritingcafe. If you don’t have a Tumblr, I recommend that you get one. I feel like it is a must-have social marketing platform, and it isn’t too difficult to use once you get the hang of it. thewritingcafe exists to re-blog helpful articles found around the internet for writers and authors.
You can follow my author page to receive scores of updates from me. My author page is linked to both my Twitter and Tumblr.
Links for Readers
Readers, if you don’t have a Goodreads account, get one. This is such a great place to discover books your bookstore may otherwise not carry. Not all traditionally published books end up in bookstores, even if they are from the Big 6. There is limited shelf space in bookstores, and all books deserve a chance.
For voracious readers, I encourage you to buy an e-reader device. Not all books are released with print versions, so you could be missing out on some great stories by not having one. You can also get a Nook or a Kobo or some other type of device to suit your comfort levels.
Follow my personal assistant’s blog for poetry.
Friday’s post will involve something in the world of publishing. I wanted to end this with a picture quote from When Stars Die, but WordPress is not allowing me to insert any more pictures for some odd reason. So I will just end it with a regular quote from my novel instead.
“However we die…I will make certain we all die free.”