Ramblings from an Unusual Mind

Ramblings from an Unusual Mind,
Is my new book, it releases for kindle on May 7th, 2015. It is now available for pre-order. Can’t wait that long? The paperback is currently available via amazon.com and if you can swing, I recommend the paperback as the images in color are much more pleasing to the eye. The price is higher than I would have preferred for print but the cost of printing the images in color ended up a lot higher than original quoted. The images and all of the quotes and poetry in the interior of the book are all original works by me. The cover was done by Russ Turner Photography. He is amazing and has done all of my covers from the Alice Clark Series, including this one and I am beyond grateful!

What you can expect:
All of the quotes and poetry are from my personal journal I only write in during a depressive episode caused by my bipolar disorder. They are dark and above all honest to what it feels like for me during these trying times of my life. The images I took myself and paired them with what I felt was the appropriate piece. I chose to do this project for many reasons. Having any of my work out their to be loved or criticized, is scary but I wanted those out there who feel as I do to know they are not alone. For those who don’t feel as I do, I hope they may find some insight as to what it is people like me go through. Everything can be going great in my life and these episodes will still happen. So, to those who are like me, always keep fighting. As Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) says. And FYI, he is running a great campaign for awareness and support
 for those who suffer from depression, etc. https://represent.com/jaredjensen is the current campaign.

So a big thank you for taking the time to check out my blog and any of my work. Live. Love. Read.
XO

POST Recap

I haven’t been able to write. No time, no will to. I’ve felt quite well the past few months. Spent some time on my own which is not exactly possible in my situation. Maybe it’s the years of therapy or a perfect pharmaceutical cocktail, but i’ve been feeling good. Really good. It’s bizarre and terrifying as one knows relapse is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’. The trouble here is i’m incredibly frustrated with myself for not being able to write at all or at least in the few moments I have available to me to write. And I don’t want to. I hate that, and this feeling of loss over one of my most treasured feelings. The physical and emotional need to write, anything and everything. It just seems gone. That breaks my heart. Sure I’m better, for everyone else, to everyone else. Everyone prefers this ‘version’ of me. I know this version is the responsible choice, and I will stick to that choice knowing it is best for all parties. But, I miss feeling so intensely i’d cry. I miss reading something I wrote always as if I was reading it for the first time, as if it was my soul writing it and not my head and I could feel what those words were saying and sometimes others would read it and feel it too. I miss that. I don’t even know if it’s ever coming back. So I mourn the loss of my will. I morn the fractured heart beats. Though I am angry and upset at this my brain won’t let me feel that either. I’m just this shell of what I once was shifting different versions of myself around. Normally this would devastate me but today, I’m good…

Endure. Survive. Endure.

I looked at the ground, my heart broke. It took a deep breath in and tried to retain all the pieces it seemed to be in now. It didn’t. It couldn’t but be damned it still tried. Sometimes in life you are sitting still as the world rushes by you. Others, you don’t have enough time for all the things you need and want to do. Sometimes you are in motion at a steady speed until something hits you like a boulder knocking your ass back to the start line. Similarly, I had been struck with a still force across my entire being. I mourn the loss of something dear to me and feel as though I always have and will again. So many times I have roared back to life and tried again and again to reach a goal I fear I will never achieve. In this, my illness wreck’s havoc on me as it is the only constant in my life. It is cruel and meticulous. The noise in my skull is chaotic most of the time, especially this moon phase. You fear the darkness but its deep within me and all around me and feels like, home.  Many don’t get it and I didn’t expect you too. Yet, I was hopeful. Something that has never, not one time, ever paid off. Time and time again, the girl who thought Westley and Buttercup’s story was what true love really was or could be, reminds who I am today of the possibility, it could. So incredibly cruel. Another cycle burns through the night and I play a game within myself of Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde. No matter who wins, this sliver of my heart in my hand cuts me, deeply. A reminder of what happened here as to never forget, as if I could. Another toke, another drink, another pill. Numb. Wanting numbness to take hold, to give ample time to heal before I feel. My will laid at the waste side, unable to help me now. Endure. Survive. Endure. Repeat. As I reach up and feel my wet cheeks I know what I feared all along was true. My soul is in love with the idea of true love and I am far too jaded to play along anymore. As I am now as alone as some days I feel, I have the ability to do as one does when this sort of thing happens. For now I will recoil to the darkness that stalks me as it is always the same, always safe no matter how bad it is for me. Never lost I glide through the darkness until I catch the corner of a dresser. I open the top drawer and slide the shard into it, gently. I close the door and let the darkness absorb me until I am no longer present in this moment.  Silence. Endure. Survive. Repeat.

Love and Autism

I love my son more than I thought was ever possible. From the moment I found out that I was pregnant my life changed forever. When I first saw his steel baby blues looking up at me I was swimming in his love. We had a terrible scare when he was only a month old resulting in him needing surgery on thanksgiving day of 2010. I was a wreck, there was nothing I could do to ease what he was going through and he was too young to explain that everything would be okay, and it was. I remember the first time I played peek-a-boo with him not knowing at his age he would think I disappeared forever but in time he learned to love the game. I watched him hit milestones so proudly all while terrified if I was doing all I could for him. One day I noticed, others noticed really, he wasn’t looking at us. Down the road I found out he has autism spectrum disorder. It was the second scariest experience of my life. He has made such amazing progress through early child development and autism programs. I love him, just the way he is. The way he laughs with every part of his being and smiles as if the world is the most amazing thing he’s ever encountered. Sure he won’t even try this sippy cup idea and loves his bottles as if they are the most important thing in the world, next to his IPad. His iPad that has shown us all how incredibly smart he is though he doesn’t have the words to tell us. He amazes me every day, and drives me crazy as toddlers do. Most days I am only grateful for the blessing he is in my life. Sometimes I see kids his age, tell their mother’s they love them and a piece of me cries for that moment. Its possible I may never hear those words from his lips. My new terrifying thought that wanders my mind. If he never does, he shows me, everyday. I know he loves me. So no, I’m not sad that he is autistic and please don’t aww and give me a pitiful look in response. He is amazing and I will continue to do all I can to give him all the tools he needs to exceed other’s expectations and reach incredible goals he has yet to set for himself. I will shower him with love and kindness so he knows how to treat others. I will set rules and boundaries for his safety and well being and not because I’m scared of the what if’s in life. Just as I was taught, I will teach him to be the best he can be and give him the room he needs to achieve it and the help when he wants it. It’s true when they say your children become your world. They are our world and one day they will be the ones running the world we live in. Isn’t it only fair we do all we can to make it the best possible life they can live? As he hands me his bottle requesting more with that breathtaking smile, I smile back and kiss his forehead. In that moment I feel his love and that is everything to me.

Proud momma

A dream: Conversation with a small group of youthful ears. “You only know you’ve truly loved someone by the hole it leaves in your heart when they are gone.”

I was standing in front of a small group of youthful ears answering questions about how and why I chose to write. I said, “I didn’t choose to write, it’s something I just have to do.” The teacher smiled and asked if there were any techniques I could share with her students or words of wisdom and I looked around at the room and said this,

“I want you all to think about the worst day you have ever had. Some might say, you’re worst day…” I pointed at a student, “Was worse than say yours.” I pointed at another student. “This though technically on someone’s scale may be true, it is not. No one has the right to tell you your worst day or any moment is not worth as much as or worth more than someone else’s. When you write a sad scene in story you don’t write careless emotionless words on a page and hope it hits. You pour your soul out and pluck your sorrow and bleed on the pages you create. That moment is directly tied to your worse day. What you felt that day twists and turns and erupts in the sad moment you create. Experiences in life impact your work as they often do to your own lives. Let’s say the main character is a young man or a young lady and her best friend or his mother has died and the funeral has just begun. You’re not going to say, oh mom died, damn. Perhaps he is being strong for his sister and father, trying with all his might to hold them up. Begging himself not to cry as he watches the box that holds his mother’s shell lowering into the ground. His palms sweat and he tries to force a smile as people in her life pay their respects, numbing him to the core with each empty hug. He waits behind after everyone has left while he curses at the sun to himself, that the world has no right to look happy and joyous when he felt as if something was ripping out his insides. Long after the dirt and sod had been thrown onto the casket he stood, silently. All day he stood there, late into the nightfall. Staring in such disbelief that this all was real. A middle-aged man with scraggily gray hair approached him. The man said, “You only know you’ve truly loved someone by the hole it leaves in your heart when they are gone.” The young man felt his throat closing up on him, threatening of a possible breakdown. He sighed shakily before leaving on unsteady limbs to his car. He climbed in and as the door slammed shut, he faltered. His eyes rained despite his protest and as he let the loss consume him rage began to boil in his blood. Soon guilt of all the things he never had the chance to say or do attacked him relentlessly. His mind was at war with his heart and soul and he was weak from the battle. If you listened quietly, you could actually hear the sound of his heart breaking into tiny pieces, slipping through his hands. A bang on the glass jogged him back to his numb state he had prior to this, grown accustomed to.”

Each student connected with a different aspect of the short story and had a million questions. I smiled as one asked, “Who was at the window?”

“Well,” I said, “Whoever you want it to be. It could be his father or sister or perhaps a high school sweet heart or new love interest. Someone who may break his heart far worse or may heal it. Each of us would write the next scene completely different and none of them would be wrong. When you tell a story a piece of you, however small, leaks into your book and that is not a bad thing. Your reader wants to feel something and to be taken on a journey. The point here is this, every moment in your life matters. As does every moment in a book. What you have felt, enjoyed, suffered through, its shapes you as a writer and as a human being. Live your life and don’t be afraid to allow your past experiences to linger in your work. The story you have to tell matters and your life is an asset to storytelling. And your life experiences are a part of what makes your own writing style unique. Good luck, keep writing.”

A

The Joy of a Sleepy Child

I rock my son in my arms as if we were listening to a sweet melody. His cries bounce of the wall begging for me not to coax him into sleeping. He loathes napping and bedtime as if I were kicking his favorite little puppy. He whines, pleading that I stop trying to make him as sleepy as he actually is. I lay him down in bed with a bottle and his favorite blanket, whispering sweet words to him. He fights, arguing every step of the way as if sleep was his mortal enemy. His eyes grow heavy and in reaction his hand reach up to rub them. Will he sleep? I wonder.

I hold my son gently in my arms reminding myself that this is just one of the many gifts that come along with children. Exhausted my hair lay a disaster, high above my head. My eyes are surrounded by a dark blanket, a sign that I have been without sleep for far too many days in a row. A nap could change my entire day and the only thing standing in the way of that is the perfect bundle of joy wrapped in my arms screaming bloody murder. My socks are mismatched and I was sure the substance on my shirt was either spit up or formula but not entirely sure to which one it was.  Reluctantly, I lay him in his bed as my arms feel as if they will fall right off of my body from the length of time I held his weight in them. I tried to hold him until he fell asleep, but I was in no condition for an endurance run against this little man.  I glanced in the mirror to see my disheveled appearance knowing this wasn’t the first nor the last time, I wasn’t going to give two shits about my reflection, mocking me. I sat waiting for him to tire himself out and fall asleep into the much needed nap he deserves, I deserved. As I am just about to give up and free him as he wishes the space around me silences and I know he has finally passed out. I dance in celebration. I debate on taking my own much needed nap or one of the other million things I could do while he lay sleeping. I peer into his crib to see his sweet angelic face, at peace. I crawl into bed and close my eyes, excitedly. Minutes pass and there I lay awake. “No, no, no.” I growl at myself. After I had made a mental note of my future to do list and had dwelled sufficiently on the past twenty-nine years of my life, I begin to drift asleep. “Momma.” I hear from cage that holds my son. My eyes snap open fearfully and as his soft voice begins to babble I sigh and pull myself from my bed and approach my son. I find him siting, staring up at me with a smile that could melt the coldest of winter’s. Even his baby blues were smiling, as if to say, thank you mom. I needed that. I reach in and lift him up into my arms and he holds on to my neck before I bring him to the floor to escape and cause whatever havoc he will, on the house. His laughter fills the house as he plays with his favorite toys and though the circle’s around my eyes darkened slightly from the ordeal I throw my hands up in defeat. There’s always bedtime, I think to myself. Who needs showers?

Cover reveal of Keren Hughes debut novel, Stolen


I’m super excited to be apart of the cover real of Keren Hughes’s book Stolen. She is an amazing woman who I met when I was searching for someone to review my first book Finding Alice. She is a breath of fresh air and I know from speaking to her on many occasions that her book will be outstanding and breathtaking. Yes I do have that much faith as I was able to read a small fraction of the book while she was still writing it! So check out the beautiful cover that I know will make you want to read it as much as I do!

— 

Keren Hughes

Author of Stolen, book one in the Freedom of Souls series.
Owner of ‘Gothic Angel Book Reviews’ book blog.

— 

Keren Hughes

Author of Stolen, book one in the Freedom of Souls series.
Owner of ‘Gothic Angel Book Reviews’ book blog.
There it is folks! Make sure to check out her links and tell her I sent you! 
XO

Personal journal entry

Here is an entry from my private journal. Honestly it’s on the lighter side, not sure what that says about my inner struggles.

October 2013:

I feel as if I’m floating through a sea of shadows. My mind is as tired as my body. I try to find the lighter side of things but the irritation of doing so is nauseating. I dream sometimes of a little house with an ocean view on a private beach where my mind can finally relax and I can enjoy my time here in this world. I dream of a body I feel comfortable in with no self loathing. Sadly, all of these things aren’t real and they leave me longing until I break down from the loss of something I never even had. As I cycle through waves of yet another bipolar episode I reach acceptance if only for a short period of time. Acceptance for who I am, baggage and all. For who I’m not and never will be. Allowing myself to dream even if it will never come to pass. I float between angry, depressed and a calmness I refer as the calm before the next storm. I wonder if I have the right to want more for myself. I try to be thankful for those moments of eerie calmness and quiet contemplation. It’s always so difficult to do so as I know if I wait a few hours, a day, days even I’ll be back to singing the blues and crying myself to sleep. My wonderland is a wasteland for broken souls. Once again the calmness before the storm settles on my skin like an itch I just can’t scratch. I will always continue to fight this nearing episode with what little strength I have. The air is crisp and inviting me to soak up the sun. As if the darkness wasn’t calling out to me. It’s moments like this I crave to be alone, yet a piece of me reaches out to those I love for comfort, for acceptance. The things I love to do hold less meaning in times like this. A hollowness erupts inside of me, taunting my rage and sadness. There’s no real rhyme or reason to feel this way. I know my life is far from horrible. Like a warm blanket the darkness comforts me as it usually does, inviting me to let go and cry about everything and nothing at all. The sad truth for me is, this battle is everlasting. Light may win today but as a new day dawns the fight starts over. I sit in shambles of a former version of myself. Oddly with hope that it will all be over soon and I will yet again bask in the light and enjoy a fragment of this life. How have I become such a jaded and cynical creature? I sigh deeply and prepare for another drop into sadness and utter grief. As if each time a piece of me dies I must mourn the loss. With shock plastered across me I can admit I am far better now with these modern poisons than many moons ago when I laid adrift in my depressing solitude. I accept this fate as much as I fight it. Always hiding this enormous side of myself from everyone. Knowing they couldn’t take it, knowing I couldn’t take that look upon their face or their response as heartfelt as they meant it to be. It feels as if I am living two lives all of the time. Except once in a while, like a full moon, where both sides of me collide and the true version of what I’ve become comes into full view. I don’t always hate her, the girl looking back at me. Though her voice is like poison in my mind. I would never wish this inner struggle on a single soul, it is far to cruel. Yet the calmness washes over me carrying a wicked grin. Even it sees what comes next. It feels pleasure with a nearing episode and yet it feels sorry for me too. I stare into the dark night’s sky wishing this episode would pass me by for once. So hopeful in my suffering. Now that is blind faith. Ridiculous as any other. I am but a shadow dancing through my life. And to be whole is but a dream.

Andrea
XO

The family Buggy’s Marty salad and cheese bread, recipe

I grew up on this salad and bread combo as it was my families favorite restaurant. It’s still a favorite to this day.

The Marty’s salad and cheese bread from The Family Buggy (which sadly went out of business recently after a long many years)

The salad:

Romaine Lettuce, 1-2 heads
red onion thinly sliced, 1/2 onion
cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
bacon bits, (from fresh bacon) (1/2 cup)

marty’s dressing:
equal parts white sugar and miricle whip, mix in mixer for min 2 minutes (usually use 1 cup each)

Mix all ingredients and serve immediately.

The Bread:
Use french bread (cut on angle) or italian
equal parts (1 cup each) shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese and Mayonnaise

Put cheese mixture on bread slices about 1/4″thick and broil until cheese is bubbling and orangish brown. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

~Andrea

Stolen by Keren Kiesslinger

Keren is such a doll and I adore her, I cannot wait to read her debut novel Stolen! I am so proud!  
Roshanna O’Dare had the perfect life. Everything was as it should be until the day she wakes to finds her parents murdered in their own home.
Roshanna doesn’t have any other family in Cypress Hill so she has to leave her best friend Marissa behind to move in with her last living relative, Uncle Joe, who lives in Texas, Austin. It’s where she meets Bodhi, her uncle’s chauffeur and a kind loving man who understands her and helps her through her parents deaths.
Before moving away, Roshanna is confronted with a shocking secret that Marissa has kept from her—a secret that changes how Shanna sees life and the people in it. A secret about Roshanna’s parent that makes her take a journey to free them from the fate they’re in.
Will she succeed? And will she find love along the way?




My gift to you all an excerpt! Enjoy!


Excerpt 1
“Bodhi, what we have is special to me. We have a sort of connection that for the life of me I cannot explain. I’ve told you before how your touch feels like a sort of gravity. As for your kisses, they give me butterflies in my tummy like you wouldn’t believe. When we’re alone together, I don’t think about anything except for us. I… care about you.” I faltered those last 3 words. It had come to feel like more than just caring about him, but I wasn’t willing to admit that yet.
“Wow. You really do care about me? I had hoped you did and what we had wasn’t just a bit of fun while you were figuring out where your head was at. I feel the same, you know?! When you kiss me, it sends shivers down my spine and when you touch me, it’s electric. I feel alive. Not just living but truly alive.” he confessed.
I looked at him and saw the smile on his face as he spoke. We had time to figure out exactly what we had, but for now, I knew he cared for me as much as I cared for him. That thought made me smile inside and out.
We got home and as we stepped out of the car, Bodhi took my hand and led me to the pergoda where we lay on the floor with the blanket underneath us. We lay encircled in each other’s arms and Bodhi kept trailing light kisses from my lips, to my jaw, to my arm.
As he came back up to my lips, I kissed him with such fervour. He drew me closer to him and the kiss deepened into something I had never felt before.
I couldn’t admit it to Bodhi but if I was falling in love with him, if this was what love felt like, I was happy to be feeling something so special for such a great guy. Not only was he hot as all Hell to look at, he was an amazing person underneath the surface too. If this really was love, then so be it.  



Author Bio
Keren lives in the UK and is an avid bookworm; she has been since she read things like Black Beauty, What Katy Did and The Hobbit as a child. Her first real memories of reading are the summers she used to lie on her bed and re-read What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next.
Over the years she has come to realise that she is a bit OCD about books. They have to be in perfect condition without the slightest bit of damage.
She is a book reviewer and has been for the past 18 months or so.
The idea for Stolen came to her one day but she never thought she’d actually write it let alone publish it. If it wasn’t for her author friend Kira Saito, the idea would still be stuck in her head not on paper. But constant love and support from Kira is why you are now able to read Stolen.
Stolen is her first novel but now that she’s written one, she knows she needs to write more. There will be one sequel, called Freed which will be from Bodhi’s POV. This will be set a couple of years on.
Then, the plan is for her to write either NA or Adult Contemporary Romances. She has a big crush on Lady Antebellum’s music at the moment and their songs have inspired a few book ideas.
Keren loves hearing from her readers and if you want to contact her, you can do so at any of the following places:
Twitter: @Gothic_Angel28