Posted on September 9, 2019 by Amber
Well Launch Day is just around the corner, and I am getting super excited! It’s been almost 90 days now since I started this project, and I have my author’s proof copy of the book sitting on my desk. (I already had the digital copy downloaded, but there’s just something more real to me, to actually feel the paper pages, to smell that ‘new book smell’…)
It may sound a little strange to some, but as I sat here holding the copy in my hand, thumbing through the pages, I felt a sense of warmth surrounding me, like a hug from Christian. It brought some tears, but they were mostly of joy.
I’ve been working with members of my launch team, planning the launch party since I started the 90 Day Challenge, jotting down ideas and goals in my journal. It’s going to be a live event co-hosted by my friend, Melissa Eversull, on Facebook next Saturday, from 2 PM to 5 PM, Alaska Standard Time, and all are welcome to join me in celebrating.
There will be fun and games, prizes, and open discussions, including a Q & A session. So, if there’s anything you would like to know about me, or the book, or writing, or share something about yourself, this will be a great opportunity for us to make that connection! (A big part of the reason I decided to do this event live on Facebook is the chance to get to know my audience a little better, and let them get to know me.)
I will also be posting links at the even to download the Kindle version of the book for free that day, along with giving away a few free signed copies of the print version. (There will also be a surprise bonus, announced during the event.)
I’ve never hosted a live event online before, so this will be a new adventure for me, one that I am really looking forward to. I hope you will stop by for a visit, and join me in celebrating this accomplishment!
To join the event, just click Amber’s Book Launch or you can copy & paste the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/3095403733834644/ (Make sure to click on the ‘going’ button) And of course, feel free to invite your friends. I’d love to meet them too! (We’ll be using the hashtag #TheChosenOnes for the event.)
In the meantime, it’s back to work (I’m already sketching ideas for book #2) and finishing the final touches for the party. I hope to see you all Saturday! Have a blessed week! – Amber
Posted on September 2, 2019 by Amber
I began experiencing migraine auras about 4 years ago, though I’ve suffered the migraine headaches since childhood.
The headaches are always intense, very painful, and debilitating. Most often, I become nauseous and weak from the attacks.
When I experienced my 1st migraine aura, I had no idea what was happening. I was watching a movie, when I began to notice that I couldn’t see part of the screen. When I closed my eyes, I could see bright, squiggly zig zags of color, vibrating, and feeling intense pressure in my eyes and head. Then the colored lights expanded, covering my entire field of vision, leaving me temporarily blind.
My doctor was of little help, stating that it was probably just eye strain. So after the 3rd episode, I made an appointment with the eye doctor.
As I described my symptoms, he knew right away what it was, relieving me of the fear that it might be a tumor or some unknown eye disease. He also said that folks that experience these auras are generally of high intelligence, though I’m not sure there is any scientific proof of that. But it still made me feel less anxious.
As a writer, these auras make my job very challenging at times. Since I lose my vision for a time, I am forced to take unwanted breaks. And not knowing what the duration will be makes scheduling tasks a little tricky too. I’ve had them last for 10 minutes to over an hour.
It also is a factor in my ability to drive. (Thankfully, it’s only happened twice when I was driving.) Since I can feel an oncoming episode, I have between 5 to 10 minutes to pull over and park. From there, I just have to wait it out until the episode passes. Once I am sure it is over, then I can proceed as normal.
What is a migraine aura?
Scientists believe an aura is a visual arc of scintillating, shining spots or shapes which begin in a small area of your central vision and gradually expands across the entire field of vision. This movement across the visual field is attributed to a cortical spreading depression (CSD), a wave of electrically excitable neurons and their surrounding cells depolarizing. The cells which are normally negatively charged become positively charged. Neuroimaging studies show some evidence that suggest CSD leads to a temporary decrease in blood supply to certain areas in the brain. The lack of blood supply and the electrical disruptions may account for the wide and varied range of symptoms.
The episodes generally last from 5 to 60 minutes, with varying degrees of intensity. For those who experience migraine aura, it often signals an unmistakable warning of an impending migraine attack.
4 types of migraine with aura:
The types I experience are primarily typical aura, though I have also experienced brainstem aura as well. My symptoms of the aura phase have included:
The Most Dangerous Aspect
Migraine aura is perhaps the most dangerous part of a migraine attack for two reasons.
#1 – The restriction of blood supply to brain cells can potentially lead to the damage or death of these cells. Reports indicate nonspecific white matter lesions in the scans of those with migraine with aura are common. Those with migraine with aura have a higher likelihood of stroke than the general population. (When damage or death does occur to brain tissue due to reduced blood flow it is called an ischaemic stroke.)
#2 – A mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) can be mistaken by someone with migraine as “just another aura”.
Symptoms of TIA are similar:
A TIA is a dangerous precursor to a full-blown stroke, a life-threatening event which can lead to permanent disability or death.
The key difference is the ‘slow march’ of spreading symptoms which is characteristic of a migraine aura, along with clearing up within the hour. With stroke it tends to be sudden and intense, almost immediate.
Triggers for migraine with aura are similar to other classifications of migraine. Triggers vary widely amongst individuals. Common triggers include:
Acute symptoms for migraine headaches can sometimes be managed effectively with over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen when taken at the onset of migraine symptoms.
There are a few specific “migraine” pain relievers available that contain a mixture of aspirin, acetaminophen, and a small amount of caffeine, such as Vanquish and Excedrin Migraine, as well as several new prescription medications.
There are also natural remedies that have proven successful. These include:
In addition, there are complementary treatments options, such as:
Migraines are a painful experience that can range from mild to extreme. While there is no one-size-fits-all cure, working with your doctor and trying various therapies should be able to provide some relief.
My own therapy consists of: 800 mg ibuprofen, ice pack, heat, and massage, which usually brings relief within about 90 minutes, provided that I begin treatment at the first sign of a migraine.
As for the aura part, while they are annoying and sometimes painful, at least they give me warning of an oncoming migraine attack, and (according to my eye doctor) indicates that I am highly intelligent. (Although I would gladly give up a few IQ points to be rid of the pain.)
10 Natural Ways to Reduce Migraine Symptoms
Posted on August 30, 2019 by Amber
I haven’t posted anything here lately, and for that, I apologize.
I’ve been working hard to finish all the little details in the publishing phase, preparing for the upcoming book launch.
As of today, there are 14 more days left to this 90 Day Challenge. And I must say, it has been one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever done.
But it has been a labor of love, and therefore of more value to me than any monetary gain could ever be.
I shared with you why I decided to write this book, in the article 90 Days to Published Challenge back in June, to keep my promise to Christian.
Now I’d like to share with you the essay that he wrote that started the whole idea behind the book. (He was 11 years old at the time, in 6th grade.)
Although Christian did not like the writing part, he was much more enthusiastic in his storytelling when explaining it verbally to me, giving rich details from his imagination. That is how the story began to take form in my mind. I could see the details he gave transform into living pictures that impressed me, and scenarios that inspired thought and encouragement.
I hope that is what I created in the book, and that I’ve done justice to his story.
Posted on August 14, 2019 by Amber
So, I decided to take a little time off to give my eyes (and brain) a little break. Yeah, right. Let me share with you how that went.
The first 2 days, I did actually stay off of the computer, and all other digital screens (they really drain my eyes). Instead, in between loads of built up laundry and cleaning chores, Frodo demanding to play with the frisbee, and the cats getting into everything, I managed to catch up on a little reading.
As I read through the next section of the 90 Day Challenge, my brain went into overload with questions and ideas. There are so many possibilities, so many little details and choices to make.
Having published 2 previous books, and helping several other authors to publish their books, I’m not a novice. However, I was disappointed in the sales of my books. But I learned from the experiences.
I learned that there are many more hats to wear as an independent author than most people are aware of. So, I made it my mission to learn every aspect of the writing industry, and learn how to become efficient at each job. I won’t say that I’m an expert in all of it, particularly in the technology area, but I learned how to perform all the duties for each different job title.
After the rough draft was completed and being reviewed, the next phase is creating the book cover.
Being an artist, I love the creation aspect, though I’m not proficient in using the modern art programs on the computer (I still prefer paper and pencils, but I’m old). It takes a little longer for me to figure out how to work some of the programs, but with a fierce stubbornness, I finally managed.
Once I figured out how to use my art software, I created 3 different cover designs that I felt represented the feel of the story.
I also created a private Facebook group, where I posted pictures of the 3 designs and took a poll for the members to vote on their favorite.
While the voting process was going on, my mind jumped ahead to the actual uploading the book to Amazon, along with creative marketing ideas. (Sometimes, I start wearing several different hats at the same time, and it gives me a headache.)
Knowing that Amazon changes their formatting requirements from time to time, and this part of the technology is confusing to me at times, I decided to check for any changes. And of course, there were several.
It took me a few days to work out the details, and I had a few issues with the computer along the way. At one point, I felt like throwing the computer out the window, so I took a break and played with the dog for a while.
Once I got the bugs worked out of the computer, I tried to create a sample cover, but part of the process involves giving a page count to build the correct size spine for the book.
I used KDP’s template to create the proper trim size, but of course, in the conversion process, it changed the chapter layouts. So, I had to change quite a bit of formatting, which took a few days. And since I’m still working on editing, there may still be more formatting work to be done in the days to come. But I at least got the majority of the work done for the cover.
The poll ended last night, and the winner is:
As of today, there are 31 days left until the book launch, and still much work to be done. But for today, I’m celebrating one more check off the list of to do’s.
The next phase will be where I’m going to need the most help in making this book launch successful. So, if anyone is interested in helping out, things like spreading the word, it would be most appreciated. (You might even win a prize for your efforts.) You can let me know here in the comments, or on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmberLeaLeggette/ I’ll be posting more details in the coming days.
In the meantime, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone for all the support and encouragement. I am so excited to see this all coming together!
Have a great day, and share a smile. – Amber
Posted on August 2, 2019 by Amber
I finished the rough draft of your story late last night. I didn’t quite make the deadline of 30 days, due to some technical difficulties (aka cats and your dog). But publishing is still scheduled for the middle of September.
I thought as anxious as I’ve been to keep my promise to you, that I would be happy to get the writing done. And I am…somewhat.
But the truth is, it feels bittersweet.
My first thought last night, as I placed the period after the last word, was remembering how excited and happy you were for me when I published my first book.
You took me out to dinner to celebrate. You were only 10 years old, but you had been saving money just for that special occasion. I remember how proud you looked when you told the waitress that you were buying me dinner to celebrate, and how insulted you looked when she handed me the bill afterwards.
I wish I could take you out to dinner to celebrate your story.
I remember when I first read the essay you wrote. The concept and the ideas were very strong, and I knew it would make a good book, maybe even a series.
While I was writing the words, it was your voice that I heard saying them in my head. I miss the sound of your sweet voice so much!
I changed the names you had for some of the characters, replacing them with names of your friends. I didn’t think you would mind. Your friends miss you too, so I think they will like being included with you in the story.
It was really hard getting started at first. So, I put this sticky-note on the wall above my desk. It kept me going through all the long hours, skipped meals, and throbbing eyeballs. And it fueled my heart, knowing that even if it was the last thing that I would ever accomplish on this earth, no matter what it takes, I am keeping the promise I made to you.
I hope, and I pray with all my heart, that the words I have written are what you would have wanted, that this book would make you proud.
But more than anything else, right now, I just wish you were here.
Posted on July 27, 2019 by Amber
So, I totally forgot to write the Friday Fun post yesterday. I was so focused on finishing up the rough draft on the book, I forgot what day it was!
I decided to share my Saturday with you instead, since I’ve been distracted from my work today, once again, by the cats.
Coal and Pretty went out after breakfast for their usual morning business, and I went to work. Things went along fairly well for about an hour.
Then I heard a loud thud, followed by the sound of breaking glass in the kitchen. Just as I finished cleaning up the mess, I heard loud cat screams coming from out front.
So I went outside and found Coal and Pretty locked in a ball of claws and flying fur. As I reached down to grab them, Coal managed to pull himself loose and got away, but I scooped Pretty up and brought her inside.
As soon as I walked through the door with her, Mo began hissing and growling, and the other 2 stooges took off into the bedroom to hide.
I brought Pretty into the office (the critters aren’t usually allowed in here) and held her close, trying to comfort her and check to make she was alright. Then I began to notice the aroma.
Apparently, she had been visiting the small farm across the street, and rolling in horse poop.
So then, I too smelled like horse poop from holding her.
I went back to the door and let Coal in, who also reeked. Something about the smell seemed very offensive to the kittens, and Larry, Curly, and Mo, all began growling and hissing at him…and me.
By this time, my whole house smelled like a barn, and all of the cats were in a foul mood with everyone. Poor Frodo even got his nose smacked a few times.
So, I decided it was time to baptize the cats.
I thought about filling the tub and just dunking all 5 into the whirlpool together…it would have been a real furricane!
But since I couldn’t catch all 5 at the same time, I decided a shower in the kitchen sink would have to suffice.
Mission accomplished, and I still have most of my skin left. Though now, I have five furious felines, and I’m pretty sure they are plotting my eminent demise at this very moment.
(I wasn’t able to get a picture of Mo, as she’s using her cloak of invisibility right now.)
So, if you don’t hear from me in the next day or so, please send help, as they may have figured out how to open their own cans of food and no longer have any use for me.
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend! See you next week (hopefully).
Posted on July 24, 2019 by Amber
Last night was an evening of poetry and music, and melancholy reflections.
The coolness of the gentle rain brought a reminder that Summer here is quickly coming to an end, as witnessed by the full blooming of the fireweed, and the ripening berries on the bushes.
Autumn will soon arrive, in its splendor and glory, announcing its harvest with joy and beauty, as the fruit is ripe and ready to be plucked, and the withering leaves are carried away on gentle breezes.
This time of year has always stirred a restlessness in my soul, and it is particularly strong this year. I can’t explain it, nor do I understand it. But somehow, I found comfort and peace in the words of the following poem and song:
While I may remember (and sometimes miss) the days of my youth in the Spring, and the glory and strength of my Summer, I am contented in these days of my Autumn.
Winter will come soon enough, softly blanketing the earth with its silence, muffling the sounds and signs of life, and I will grow old and the spark of life will fade away in the fulfillment of promised rest and deep slumber.
But until then, I will be here, writing, and remembering.
Posted on July 19, 2019 by Amber
Just a short story for today, describing my morning. (When you share a house with 5 cats and a German Shepherd, there is entertainment a plenty.)
Cats are notorious hunters…at least most of them are. And my cat, Pretty, is no exception.
Though I was extremely worried about her when she disappeared 2 weeks ago, she appeared to be in good shape when she finally returned. But still, after worrying so much, I decided at first, that I was not going to let her go back outside.
But to my dismay, she has continually insisted on being free of the 3 stooges and Frodo, at least for short periods throughout the day (they all seem to get on her nerves quite a bit).
So, I’ve been allowing her some outside time during the day, and then keeping her in at night.
Since she returned last week from her 6-day (unapproved) leave of absence, she has been bringing me daily peace offerings of several voles, which are small, 3 to 7 inch long rodents, similar to mice with a short tail.
Though I would prefer a delivery of a Wendy’s cheeseburger, Pretty seems quite proud of her gifts, as she loudly announces each delivery as she places it on the porch or nearby in the driveway.
Last night Pretty discovered a hole in my living room window screen and managed to squeeze through, escaping for a short wandering through the yard.
She was recaptured, and the window was closed for the night.
This morning the window was reopened after Pretty went out for her morning stroll. (I had planned to fix the screen before lock down this evening.)
A short time later, while I was busy working, I heard a strange noise coming from the living room and went to investigate.
Pretty had decided to use the hole in the screen to bring her offering inside, and proceeded to drop it in the middle of the living room floor…AND IT WAS STILL ALIVE AND UNHARMED!
This was the look on Larry’s face as the vole took off across the room…
His sisters, Curly and Mo, needed no prompting as to what to do, along with Frodo, though they lack experience (and grace). And the chase was on!
Finally (after wrecking the house), I managed to put Frodo outside, and the girls cornered the vole, while Larry hid under the couch, crying the whole time. (As I said, MOST cats are good hunters. But Larry apparently isn’t one of them.)
Feeling a little guilty for stealing their trophy, I rewarded Pretty, Curly, and Mo with a can of tuna. (Coal was outside during the battle, missing out on all the fun.) They gladly accepted the exchange, while poor Larry watched their victory feast from under the safety of the couch.
After spending over an hour cleaning up the war zone, I let Frodo back inside and gave him a treat, Pretty went back outside, the window is staying closed until I fix the screen, Larry is hiding in a bucket now, and I’m ready to take a nap.
But, alas, I owe, I owe, so it’s off to work I go…
I hope everyone enjoys a peaceful and happy weekend! See you next week. – Amber
Posted on July 18, 2019 by Amber
Have you ever been captivated by thoughts or ideas, becoming so engrossed that you forget about everything else?
That was me yesterday. I completely forgot about Wednesday’s post! (Sorry)
The good news is, I have completed 2 more chapters of our book. And I am happy to say that so far, what I have shared has received positive feedback.
I am still looking for a few more beta readers to preview the book for free before it is released. Please click here to join my email list if you are interested.
Here is another sneak peek, as promised. The following excerpt is a scene from chapter 2, describing a brief background of two main characters, Brian Harrison, and his wife, Sarah:
When Brian and Sarah had first been married, Brian had taken a job as a long haul driver delivering fuel. He was earning a good paycheck, but he often spent days at a time on the road, away from his new bride. His plan was to save up enough money to retire early so that they could travel the world together. Other than the time apart due to his job, their life seemed almost like a fairytale romance. They were truly and completely in love, and very happy.
Brian and Sarah’s dream of raising a family together was already on its way to becoming a reality by the end of their first year of marriage, and everything seemed perfect in their life. Although Brian’s job kept them apart for days at a time, it also afforded them uninterrupted days in between.
Going into the winter months was always a busy time for the fuel companies, making sure the remote towns had a good supply of heating and cooking fuel. There were often times when the roads were impassable, sometimes for several days, due to the frequent snowstorms. So the deliveries were critical for their customers’ survival in the months of sub-zero temperatures.
Brian did not relish the idea of being gone for an entire week, but one of the other drivers had broken his leg and could not make his deliveries. So Brian had been asked to cover the additional route, and knowing that the extra money would be very helpful, he accepted the job.
Since this trip was going to be for an entire week, he asked Sarah to come with him. The cab in the back of his truck had a bed that was large enough for two people, and he thought it would be nice to have Sarah along with him. And since she had always wondered what it was like for her husband to be on the road, she accepted. She said, “It will give us a chance to see what traveling together will be like for when we retire”.
Though being cooped up in a small space was not as comfortable as their home, and the bed was not as soft, the young couple made the most of it, enjoying each other’s company. Sarah greatly enjoyed the scenery and the wildlife they encountered, remarking that it was like an Alaskan safari adventure.
On the fifth day of their trip, as they were about halfway to the next town, a terrible snowstorm hit. This was the kind of unexpected storm that brings extreme winds and heavy wet snow. The roads were getting slippery, making it hard to see the road at times. But the truck was outfitted with heavy duty snow chains that gave good traction, and Brian decided to keep pushing onward. Since they had to slow down, the trip was going to take longer than planned, and Brian was a little anxious about getting the delivery in on time.
Even though it was getting late and he had been driving for almost 16 hours that day, he joked with Sarah about his ability to survive off of his thermos of coffee for at least a couple of days. Sarah was getting tired, so finally Brian suggested she climb in the back and get some sleep. She agreed, saying he should join her for a nap. But he didn’t want to stop. So she climbed into the bed alone and quickly fell asleep to the rhythm of the large diesel engine.
Brian pushed on through the night and into the early morning, and was about 2 miles away from reaching the town of Ashburg. As the truck was winding its way down the last steep hill coming out of the mountain pass, Brian could feel his eyelids growing heavy. He thought about stopping to get some fresh air and stretch his legs, but since he was so close, he decided to keep going. Unfortunately, this was a huge mistake.
The next thing Brian knew, he was jarred awake as the big rig scraped against the guardrail. As he woke up, he instinctively hit the brakes as he tried to get his bearings back. But the truck was already beginning to slide and drift sideways. Brian turned the steering wheel, trying to guide the direction of the slide, but it was too late.
When the truck slammed into the rock cliff on the other side of the road, it lifted up on the driver’s side, and the impact of hitting the hard rock caused the truck to flip over. The steepness of the hill and the speed and weight of the truck caused it to keep sliding forward and back across to the other side of the road, right through the guardrail and down over the embankment. Brian yelled Sarah’s name as he heard her scream, and then everything went dark.
Brian woke up in the hospital the next day. He had a concussion and dislocated shoulder, but otherwise was okay. The truck had been found by one of the locals from Ashburg just after dawn, and with the help of a few more people, they had carried Brian and Sarah into town on sleds pulled behind snowmobiles.
Even though his head was reeling and he ached in every part of his body, his first thought was of Sarah. He asked the doctor where his wife was and if she was okay. But Brian knew from the look on the doctor’s face that it was not good. The doctor assured Brian they were doing everything they could for her at the moment, and a helicopter had been dispatched to take her into Fairbanks, to the closest major hospital for further treatment. But due to the snowstorm, the helicopter had been delayed.
Sarah had been thrown around inside the cab compartment during the rollover, and by the time the truck had come to a stop, she had sustained several injuries, including a severe break in her lower spine. In addition, she was also suffering from hypothermia, a dangerous condition where the body temperature has fallen far below normal and can cause internal organs to begin shutting down. Sarah was literally in a fight for her life. But remote towns such as Ashburg do not have large medical facilities equipped for such severe conditions, so it was imperative that she be transferred to a major hospital as soon as possible. The doctor feared she would not live long enough to get the help she needed.
“I need to see her” Brian exclaimed. But he was not prepared for what he saw. His beloved wife looked so pale, and the doctor was struggling just to keep her breathing. She didn’t look anything like the vibrant young woman that he knew, and Brain was afraid. Very afraid. In that instant he knew he might lose the love of his life, and to even think of such a possibility put him in a state of panic. Without even knowing why, Brian did something he had seldom ever done…he began to pray. He said, “God, I know I don’t know You that well, and maybe I have no right to ask. But please…save her! She is a good woman, and she is all that I have. This is all my fault. Please don’t let her die because of me! I promise I will do anything You want, just please save her!”
I’ll stop there for today. My head is reeling with ideas and images right now, so I should take advantage of these creative juices and get back to the work.
As mentioned earlier, I will be keeping the list open for 1 more week for those interested in signing up to become beta readers. Each reader will receive a free PDF version of the book, before it is released to the public. If you would like to sign up, just click here.
As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
I’ll be back tomorrow (I actually set an alarm so I won’t forget). Have an awesome day! – Amber
Posted on July 12, 2019 by Amber
Well, that’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, filled with lots of laughter.
I’ll be back next week with another excerpt from the book.
Blessings. – Amber
“Live a life worth living, a life of integrity. Be real, kind, helpful and wise, always with an attitude of gratitude. And whatever it is you do, give 110% effort to it, even in the little things”. – Amber
Copyright © 2019 Amber Leggette-Aldrich.