Friday, July 25, 2014


I do not handle it well, apparently.

So I haven't posted much lately, nor really given an explanation as to why, other than I lack time. That is true, but why do I lack the time? Home life has been extremely hectic lately, and most of the time that I get to myself has been devoted to finishing After - Part Three. (News on that later.)

But, truth is I simply don't spend a whole lot of time talking about what's been going on with Debra. Mainly because at this point, it just seems like I'm making excuses since I'm getting further and further away from the wrong side of my deadline, and I push myself to write and edit and edit and write until I collapse. And do not doubt that this has happened! It is not pretty when the meltdown occurs, because I generally end up in a fetal position crying... or laughing... or sometimes both. But mostly I just get all passive aggressive and snappy, and that scares my husband and the cats. (I love you, honey!)

ANYWAY, I'd like to put that aside for a sec, and actually take a break from all the hubbub and just blog. I'm going to talk about what's been going down in Debra town lately (sorry) and share with you a little something I learned about myself last week.

Stress is bad. Very bad. It's awful. Atrocious. Evil. It's what will cause my death during a zombie apocalypse, or any type of apocalypse, really. I realized after watching World War Z that I am *NOT* going to be one of the select few that make it through the cataclysm to later become a hero of humanity. No. Not even close. In fact, chances are pretty slim that I'm going to make it past the first 24 hours. It's just not going to happen.

So, I guess a good starting point for this story is around February, when we finished up our second move within 3 months (DO NOT RECOMMEND.) Short story, sold house, moved to rent house, bought a house, moved to a new house, husband aggravated an old injury in his hip. Ugh!

We've been dealing with his hip pain on and off for the past 3 or 4 years, and he's been to the Doc a couple times for it. Treatment was generally a steroid regimen to help the inflammation go down, and normally that worked. This time... not so much. So it was off to a specialist, who did not have good news.

After taking a look at his x-rays, the Doc was like, "LOL what happened to all your cartilage, buddy? Holy moly, looks like you need a new hip!"

Note: I wasn't actually there when he got his diagnosis, but I imagine this is how it went down.

Of course, we got a second opinion, but the consensus was the same. Severe arthritis in the left hip and no doctor liked the idea of putting a new hip into a thirty-two year old, but whatcha gonna do? He was in a tremendous amount of pain, and unable to move around freely anymore, so last Wednesday, he got his new hip.

Sorry, we do not have a cool video of him walking 24 hours after the surgery like Mark Cuban. Stop setting these crazy standards, Mark!

Anyway, day of surgery. We get to the medical center early morning, and I'm feeling okay. I'm nervous, but he seems excited. They take him to pre-op, and suddenly my stomach is like... "I don't like this so much, bub." I realize that I'm queasy, but it should get better once I finally see him again. So I wait, and do my best to ignore the growing queasiness. Then the nifty little pager they give you goes off, and we (his mom and myself) get to go back to see him before they wheel him into surgery.

It did not get better.

The string of nurses, doctors, and anesthesiologists start coming in to give him the spiel of how they're going to cut him up and... stuff, and my stomach has firmly set its speed to hyper-drive on its downward spiral. I just couldn't handle it. I began to pace in the tiny little room while, trying to settle my stomach, but it only helped so much.

And this is the worst part. The nurse comes in to shave him, and all my concentration was focused on not throwing up that I couldn't even enjoy the moment!! He was getting his ass shaved, and I couldn't even quip about it! He's mother was in the room to witness it, for crying out loud, and I had nothing! Ugh! Golden opportunity missed.

Then, my wonderful husband, who is about to go into major surgery, says to me. "I'm fine, you can leave if you need too." Oh really? Okay! *Zoom* And I barely make it back to the lobby bathroom before my stomach turned inside out. There was also a major headache that went along with it, and the few hours that followed did not get any better until the nurse updated us mid-surgery that everything was going well. That was when the stress finally let go and I began a slow, steady upswing.

I'm so happy I could be a real pillar of strength for ya, babe!


I'm horrible.

This has been an ordeal, but the tough part is behind us, and now he can really start to mend. Living in chronic pain is not fun, y'all! I'm glad he decided to go through with the surgery, even though he'll never be able to run again. (yet another reason we aren't going to make it through the apocalypse.)

So there's a little bit of what we Johnson's have been dealing with the past few months! Time is still being poured into After - Part Three and I think I'm still on my schedule to release next month, as long as my #1 beta reader can muddle through the pain-pill drowsiness to actually concentrate on reading. Then I ship the manuscript off to my editor. The timeline is looking good!!

And now..... ***VACATION!!!*** Well, working vacation anyway. I'll continue to write! Catch y'all soon!

Also, quick shout out to George Tate. Thank you for the copy of The Gathering of Twine! It's on my list of things to read, now!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

Alright, everyone! It's time to hop! That's right. Let's get your blog hop on! And I'm about to hop to it!

Was that painful? I apologize. I've never participated in a blog hop before, so wasn't entirely sure how to get this started. I'm going to assume that my awkward stumbling has sufficed as a header, and just move on. *facepalm*

Today is my post for the My Writing Process Blog Tour.

First thing, I want to thank Johi Jenkins for tagging me. I have read both her Resurgence and The Thirst Within novels, and I'm eagerly waiting on the next installments. They're definitely the kind of books I still think about long after I'm done reading. Thanks again for tagging me, Johi!

Welp, I guess it's on to the questions now!

1) What are you working on? 

I am currently in the finishing stages of the last 3rd of After - Part Three. I'm getting nudged on this almost daily now to get it released, so the pressure is on! But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that the release date is just around the corner. After that, I have a couple of other projects simmering on the burners that I will unveil in August. I am incredibly excited about both of these, but my main focus still remains on The Phoenix Curse.

2) How does you work differ from others of its genre?

This is a toughie, since not only am I in the over saturated horror/supernatural nook, but in the zombie nook as well. Zombies!! Zombie novels are literally a dime a dozen now-a-days, and if someone had told me ten years ago that my first published novel would be about the mindless hordes, I would have scoffed and thought they were a moron... and then delved into what else they might know about the future, but seriously... zombies?

Yes, zombies!!! Not only because so many people out there love apocalyptic/distopia/zombie fiction, but I love apocalyptic/distopia/zombie fiction... and a strong female lead. Now, zombies have been done every which way, so I went the way of the not-dead mindless horde and ended up with infected LIVE zombies. Ones that will definitely die (and stay dead) if they suffer some massive trauma, but they're strong... and they're fast... and they're resilient, and that's what my nightmares are made of.

Also, most zombie novels start at the cusp of the desolation. I jump a few years past the apocalypse, and dropped my characters into the new and (not) improved distopia America, and let them take over from there. 

3) Why do you write what you do? 

It captured me. I fell in love with my characters and then fell into the world that I created. The Phoenix Curse started off as an exercise, but managed to bloom and come to life in my mind. Now it's just a matter of finding the time to get it all down on paper.

4) How does your writing process work? 

Slowly? *cackle* Probably not the answer you're looking for. I start with a prompt, a rough outline in my head, and I try to get a complete story down on paper as fast as I can. I've only done this a couple times, so I'm definitely no pro at it, but I'm working to get better! Once that part is done, then I bitch and moan for the next few months about how much I hate revising/rewriting/editing while I put myself through a slow kind of torture by getting my manuscript ready for the editor. Oy, editing sucks.

But as much as I grumble, it is all worth it when the scene I was struggling with finally clicks into place, and nothing compares to that feeling when I have my final manuscript in my hands. It's wonderfully awesome, and I hope to have that exact feeling here soon with After - Part Three. Never fails to bring a tear to my eye.


And there it is! We're really hopping now!!

Ugh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't torture those that made it this far down my post. Please accept my humble apologies. I'm ashamed. And sleepy, but no excuse.

Okay, NEXT week, be sure to check out the two blogs below, whom I have nominated to follow me in this blog hop.

First is Monica La Porta, whom I worked with on Off the Beaten Path. She is the author of the wonderful Priest series, which is set in a very intriguing world.

Next is Arreis Rose, who is currently working on her first series, and is just now getting her brand new blog off the ground with this blog hop. The first book in her series, Small, is tentatively set to release next Summer.