Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Post from Robyn Wheeler

Today I have a guest post from writer Robyn Wheeler author of Born Mad.

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In October 2010, after being diagnosed with a mood disorder I had never heard of, I decided to pen my story in hopes of helping and educating others about Dysthymic Disorder. After much research, I wrote about my deep depression, how it affected my life and everyone around me as well as the symptoms and treatment for this low-grade but chronic depression. After four months of non-stop writing and research, I was ready to publish. A long-time friend edited my manuscript prior to sending it off to a self-publishing company called Balboa Press. Then two more revisions ensued before the final copy was ready for publication. Balboa Press was great to deal with: I selected my publishing package, paid my fee and was given step by step instructions on how to proceed and what would be happening next. When the book was ready for printing, I designed the cover and dust jacket as well as a set of questions for interviews and a camera crew came to my house for filming a short trailer for web sites and promotional purposes. The title of my book, Born Mad, came very quickly for me. I wanted something short and simple that relayed the message of my story. There were some rough patches like the numerous editing changes and waiting for the next step to arrive but in the end it is well worth the minor inconveniences. After the book was ready for publication, I was given two agents, one for social media such as Face Book, and Twitter and another agent for traditional media such as radio and television. Most of my interviews are done over the phone, Internet or web cam and sometimes I do need to travel for book signings and speaking engagements. If you have a unique experience or idea and believe your message will help others or entertain and delight readers, stay determined and do whatever necessary to get published. If you have "writers block", put the writing aside temporarily for a few d ays or weeks and eventually your thoughts will come to you when you least expect it. Also, I joined a local writers group before submitting my manuscript so I could test it out on others and receive feedback, comments and suggestions on how to be a better writer, get published and sell books. Writing a book is a lot of hard, dedicated work however, nothing tops the feeling of holding your story in your hands for the first time.

Born Mad
Paperback144 pages
Balboa Press

From Good Reads:
Follow Robyn Wheeler on her journey from fits of rage as an angry child, blunders and setbacks as an adult in deep denial, to her quest for awareness and enlightenment. Robyn takes you inside her deepest thoughts and fears, as well as her chronic anger and thoughts of suicide. After being diagnosed with a "bad state of mind" called dysthymia, Robyn wrote Born Mad to help others who may be unaware that they might be suffering from a low-grade chronic depression that will make life difficult, ruin relationships, and contribute to a negative and hopeless outlook on life. Born Mad includes symptoms of dysthymia and coping strategies, as well as the story of how Robyn came to believe in God, defeat chronic anger, and become the person she was meant to be. Read about her courage and determination to be happy and how her life has changed after having a "brain transplant." If you or someone you know suffers from constant mood swings, angry thoughts, and extreme worry or anxiety, Born Mad might shed light on the reasons why and how to fight your way through to hope, peace, and happiness.

My View:
I have not yet read Robyn's book although it sounds interesting. Today more and more people, especially children, are being diagnosed with something. I am not certain where this is coming from. Is it that we have better medical care and therefore things that were missed before are understood now? Is it because we have changed as a society and the pressures that go with it are bringing about more of these illnesses? Is it a combination of the two? I have no real answer.  I have thoughts on it.
I do think that along the way of enlightened society we have lost some core values in the home. Family is no longer the valued relationship it once was. Over time, family has lost real meaning in many homes. 
Marriage, (to me, it also includes committed relationships without the paperwork),  is no longer sacred. Instead of putting the energy and time into trying to work through a bad time - we simply walk away and start over. I am not saying we should stay in a relationship that is clearly toxic. But I do know people who have decided that divorce was the only option when a spouse lost a job and could not readily find one, when an injury from an accident or illness last "forever",  (meaning a few years), or just not "knowing" their partner anymore.  I always thought you at least made an effort with these changes. What I hear now is more and more of, "we are so different now. I found someone new who has the same interest as I do." And when I ask about the children and their feelings, I hear, "children are so resilient - they go with the flow." Really? Is that really what people honestly believe? I think children go with the flow because they are children and really have no choice. That has nothing to do with how they feel or what they are learning from this dissolution. 
Living close to brothers, sisters, parents is no longer the norm. Some of this is because of job situations or other forces like it.  But some of it is due, (in my opinion), to the ease of breaking up a family. People are replacing "family" with "friends". This can be a good thing as sometimes friends do become as close as real siblings. But if you take the easy way with family and then take the easy way with friends, what are you cultivating? Who is with you to the end? Your Face Book  Farmville friends? What are your children learning? I am not knocking Face Book. I do believe it is a wonderful tool. I have many family on my family page and that is how we keep our relationships going. Living in Alaska, while beautiful, can bring home just how far away my family is. I have also made friends on FB that I rely on and would not give up for anything, (my bookies are the most supportive people I know - this blog would not exist without the help and encouragement from Jenn at Books &Barks). But these friends and family relationships are not ones I would take the easy way with. I have a whole list of people on FB that I realize really would not put time or effort into keeping our "friendship" going. If my entire FB friendlist were made up of people who I had no connection to , I would be severely depressed. Yet I know for many people social pages on the web are where they connect to "friends". I think we are losing the art of face to face conversation and fun.
Home is losing its value as a haven. I can remember when home was where you went when your day was bad and someone would care enough about you to lift your day. Now I see everyone go to separate rooms and be alone with the computer, video game or television, (which seem to be in every room including a baby's room now). I have been in homes where the family texted each other from various rooms in the house instead of having face to face conversations. I have a hard time with that. 
I think many of us have lost the ability to balance things. All of the technology I mentioned can be a good tool but it needs balance. Our children need to know that anything that is good is worth the effort to maintain it. They need to know how to balance their lives. We need to know how to balance our lives. If not, I see depression becoming even more of an issue.
I do understand that depression, bi-polar and other mental health issues can be caused by imbalances in a person's body. I always believe you should see a doctor if you have deep depression or any type of depression that lingers or comes and goes repeatedly. However I also believe there are things we do or don't do that can contribute to mental health issues. 
If you are feeling depressed always, ALWAYS, talk to someone about it. Call your doctor or a help line in your community. The good thing with all this information on mental health is that the stigma is going away. It is no longer a bad thing to ask for help. 

Are you in crisis? Please call 1-800-273-TALK

For more information on Depression and /or Bi-Polar Disorder please go to this website: http://www.dbsalliance.org

Comments Welcome!

Meet Robert Nelson

I am going to be introducing some new writers I come across on my blog. Some of them have written books I have read, are reading or have on my TBR. Some of them may write a guest post for the blog. Others may just want to let you know about their book. The opinions expressed, unless otherwise noted, are the authors opinion. I just thought it would be a good way to get new writers out there. I will still be doing my own things - reviews, interesting books I find, Alaskan/Juneau stuff, autism awareness, the memes, products/businesses I like, (or seriously do not like in which I will tell you why),  etc. As this is a new thing I am really looking for any feedback in the coming weeks. You can do this publicly by writing a comment or you can email me your thoughts, (cristina@alaskanbookcafe.com). 


Writer Robert Nelson

Robert Nelson was born and raised in Garner, North Carolina where he earned the connections and street credibility needed to bring a sense of authenticity to his work. Consequentially, this lead to his stay in the luxurious NC-DOC where through a lot of retrospection he developed a strategy to defeat what he had become. Through the guidance of the Aryan Brotherhood and the variety of other hardened criminals he  played cards with he focused his energy into developing his skills as a writer to keep the youth from making the same mistakes he did. If he can open just one pair of eyes through his writing, everything he’s put into these pages would have paid off.

Robert has written the book:


Real-Eyez Realize Real-Liez
Kindle Edition309 pages

The War for the heart of Urban America won’t televise from some foreign shore. It’ll be fought in your living room with dope, cash, blood and bullets. The American way of life has strayed into the shadows and one by one we’re losing our children to the illusion of Hood Dreams and a Gangsta’s Paradise. 

Only one man stands strong enough to hold back the tide. A renegade Aryan Prodigy and his crew, and an unfathomable amount of guns are all that protects the last shreds of civilization in the streets. The name Riley Bennett will echo through the ages as he who so loved his people that he’d rather see the World in flames than see them suffer. 
The War is coming… Whether we’re ready for it or not…

My view:
I have not read this book. It looks like it may be an interesting look at someone's experience in prison. I do not have racial boundaries. I  find it fascinating when someone does. I cannot fathom saying one race is better than another. In my life I have found good and bad in all people regardless of skin color, religion, or culture. It truly escapes me how people come up with racial, religious or cultural superiority. 
I have also never been to prison. I have not even been arrested. I have no real idea what life is like behind bars. I do not know how that can shape your beliefs. I do believe that spending a vast amount of time in prison does shape what you come to believe and how you see things. Since a big portion of the population either has been to jail, prison or knows someone who has, I do think it is somewhat important to learn what we can of their views. Many do return to society. Whether or not they make it depends on many things, one of which is understanding.  You cannot make a difference in that which you do not attempt to understand or learn about. 
I watched a fascinating movie about prison that was based on a real life experiment.  It is available on Netflix, (DVD, BlueRay, Instant streaming - The Experiment on Netflix),  and is called "The Experiment". It was eye opening to say the least.  It is based on the Stanford Prison Experiment, ( link: http://www.prisonexp.org/ ), and is about a group of men who volunteered to be a part of a mock prison. Some were guards and some prisoners, (no one got to choose which - it was assigned), and the changes they went through in a short amount of time. 
If anyone has read this book or is planning to, please use the comment section, (or my email),  to leave your thoughts on it. I would really like to hear from you. If the author of this book sees this I would really like to hear from you. 


Comments Welcome!

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