Sometimes I Just Want a Standalone Book (for my Kindle)

I frequently go to Amazon looking for books to download and read on my kindle. But I almost always run into a problem… Almost every book I find that sounds intriguing, is in a freaking series! Do you know how frustrating that is??

 


I don’t want to read the first book in a series for free and then have to pay who-knows-how-much for however many books that follow.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with books that are in a series, but sometimes I just want to read a standalone book! 

Sometimes I’ll spend a good half hour or more looking for one book, maybe two if I’m lucky. But it’s always a challenge to find books that I can read and be done with, not having to worry about the next one that follows.

Recently (the last couple times I looked for books) I found a couple good standalone books – courtesy of my mother actually. The Alligator’s Farewell (which is no longer free) and The Fifth Floor (which is also no longer free).


This isn’t saying that I’m cheap and won’t spend money on Kindle books, but it is rare occurrence that I do.
It’s usually when I accidentally get a book not knowing that it was the first in a series and the rest of them won’t cost me an arm and a leg.

 

Courtney Keesee – A Guest Post Interview

After posting this picture to Instagram and getting an overwhelming thank you from Courtney, I thought I would do blog post with them.

So without further ado, here is the guest post/interview we’ve put together.


Courtney is a very close friend of mine. Recently, they’ve become like a sibling to me. They’ve been going through a journey of their own, that has been shared on the internet via their blog and YouTube channel. However, I wanted to ask a few questions that a few many of us are probably wondering.

So without further ado, let’s have a conversation with my wonderful little sibling!


Gender Dysphoria – what is it?
Gender Dysphoria is a feeling that your biological sex doesn’t match your gender identity. Often times, it can cause major anxiety about one’s sexual parts of their body, ie. their breasts or penis. Each person experiences it differently, but often times people will find themselves hiding something that gives them anxiety about their gender identity, such as binding.

What do you mean when you say you identify as nonbinary?
I do not identify as male, or female. Nonbinary is a gender identity, and an umbrella term for more specific identities such as agender (no gender). I use it as my identity itself because I do not like to define my identity so strictly. I just don’t feel male or female. But I also use multiple other terms to describe myself, such as genderfluid (some days I feel a little more one or the other) and genderqueer, which is more about not subscribing to conventional views of gender.

What exactly does LGBTQIA stand for? Specifically the IA…
Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex, Asexual. 
More often than not, you will just hear LGBT or LGBTQ. LGBTQIA is just a more inclusive terms. 
Someone who is intersex is biologically both male and female in some way. 
Asexual are people who lack sexual attraction, and there are many sub groups/identities inside of it. 

Your dad is super supportive. Had he always been that way?
Yes, and no I suppose. He has always let me be me. I have been able to buy guys clothes with him since I was a kid. I grew up being called a “tomboy” and he loved my interest in things he was also interested in.
However, growing up, I did hear transphobic and homophobic things come out of his mouth. He has worked very hard on understanding what those things were and why they were problematic. A big part of it was simply not being educated in our issues.

How has working for Stigma Fighters been helpful for you on this journey?
While I knew who I was, maybe without such specific terms, I didn’t have the courage to come out. The more I have worked with Stigma Fighters, the more my self confidence has soared, and I finally got the courage to come out. I also met an amazing community of people who are so open-minded and accepting of who people are.

Is there anything that you friends can do to support you on your journey?
The biggest thing is listen. If I say something harmful to the tran community, listen and don’t fight back or claim that we are being oversensitive. Because more than likely, there is something that you have never experienced that is the cause. 
Also, try to understand. And try to use the pronouns, etc., that I say honor me best. 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell people? Ways to avoid offending/insulting people in the LGBTQIA community?
The biggest thing you can do to avoid offending our community, is asking or listening when we explain why something may hurt us. Avoid statements like “I support gay ___ but” because you are basically telling us you don’t. Avoid anything that may invalidate someone’s identity, such as saying that someone who is non binary is just butch lesbian or femme gay. And the list goes on. In short, just respect us and who we are. We aren’t a petting zoo for you to make fun of us or observe us in our natural habitat. We are humans too, and we want to be treated with respect. 


I definitely feel more educated after having asked and gotten answers to these questions. The one thing that made me comfortable asking these things, is that Courtney is very easy-going and willing to explain things they know you’re genuinely curious and really trying to understand. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for me! Maybe I can have you come back another time for another guest post interview.

Depression

You asked me how depression feels, and this is all I could come up with.

It feels like I’m walking upstream through a current strong enough to pull me under four times.

There are others with me but they are walking along the banks telling me to “just get out of the water.” But instead of extending me a hand in help, they just move along and leave me behind.

Every once in a while I find a rock that is strong enough for me to lean on, and I can rest for a bit.

But the rock always gets tired of holding me up, and when they let go, I’m left drowning, thrown 50 ft back again.

And nothing is harder than standing up in that current, when everything in you is telling you how much easier things would be if you just let yourself get dragged under.

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Imagine it like this. It’s cold and rainy outside. You’re in the middle of nowhere. You’ve got a convertible. The top’s down. The battery’s dead. You can’t put the top up, you can’t go anywhere, you don’t know when the rain is gonna end. It’s gonna take a toll on your mood, your outlook, even if just temporarily.

Depression does that same thing, but it’s not so nicely temporary. And it burrows its way in deeper than just your mood.

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Sweetheart, depression hurts. It hurts bad. Some days are worse than others, and some are intolerable. Especially when I’m all alone and I want so strongly to do something, but my brain tells me to stay where I am and be sad instead.

It’s even worse when I have someone I love worrying about me and trying their best to help, but I just can’t. Leaving the house? Impossible. Taking a shower? Forget it. Putting on actual clothes (that aren’t pajamas)? I can’t imagine it. Admit I need help? Ha, you’re funny.

I have next to no attention span (unless I’m watching one of my three shows). I rarely have energy to do more than I have to. I feel like I’m doing things wrong. I feel like I’m stuck and can’t go anywhere. I frequently see the potential negative aspects of situations. I have so much trouble falling asleep at night. Even when I got enough sleep at night I’m still tired during the day. I snap at people for the smallest things. I constantly fidget. I’m pushing myself to read and write so I’m not just doing nothing all day. I don’t want to have sex. My eating goes to one extreme or the other. My head hurts. My stomach keeps cramping I’ve got a knot in my shoulder that won’t go away. My emotions tend to level out pretty low. I constantly feel down, or I don’t feel much of anything. I’ve thought about suicide, albeit not recently, and had a couple dreams about it, but I’ve never made an attempt to do anything.

The times I do force myself to leave the house, I end up pasting a fake smile on my face and acting like I’m okay. Doing that kills me, but it keeps things less complicated with people who don’t know that I was diagnosed. Or at least I can’t remember if they know that I was. Keeping people in the dark is so much more often easier than to let them into this world. But dragging someone into it would mean letting them past the walls that I’ve worked so hard to build in order to keep people out.

I know it probably seems strange to call depression its own world, but it honestly is. Functioning in reality isn’t something that those who suffer from mental illness can do with ease most times. Whether it be because of asshole neurotransmitters in your brain telling you that you should just stay home because you’re worthless, or because of crippling anxiety, or paranoia, or whatever the reason may be. It’s not something that everyone understand, and yet we try to make people understand. Even if they’re not willing, or don’t believe it unless it’s something that they can see.

Unfortunately, for most of us, mental illness isn’t something that others can physically see just by looking at our bodies. It’s mental. It’s inside our minds. Yes, they may be physical manifestations but they’re not always obvious. Shallow breathing that comes with anxiety/panic attacks? It’s not exactly easily seen, but it pains the body as well as zaps your energy and strength. Shaking/trembling hands? It can be hidden with hands in pockets or bracing hands against something.

The racing thoughts, the stomach knots, the walls closing in, the deathly need to flee. None of these things are visible, but they come with living daily with a mental illness. When it comes to facing every day, we have two choices: 1) just get through the day and know that you have another chance to fight harder tomorrow and 2) push yourself to do what you don’t really want to do but need to. The second option is going to leave you drained, both emotionally and probably physically, but it’s going to make tomorrow just a little easier.

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Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

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January 2nd, I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award by Amy, who writes over at Under the Surface. Her nomination actually came at a good time for me because I’m hoping to get back into blogging in 2016. I’m currently working on a guest post for this blog, and I can’t wait to hopefully have more guest posts up here on CoffeeTattoos this year.

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you
  • Nominate 10 bloggers for the award
  • Write 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Display the award on your blog or post

My Answers

How do you like to write? (Include the environment you like to be in, the mood you like to be in and any extras you like to have such as a mug of tea and a blanket…)

When I blog, I tend to be in my bedroom. Usually I’m sitting on my bed with my computer sitting on a lap desk. Generally it’s late at night when I do most of my writing. Often, because I do my writing at night, I’m quite lonely; however, being lonely gives me a different perspective on things and allows me to be a little more honest about what I’m feeling.
As for extras I like to have with me when I’m writing, there aren’t really any staples. Although I do like to listen to music (this is one of my favorite playlists) while I’m working. 

Where do you find the topics you write about?

I know that some people have certain theme for their blogs – like they’re a music, a beauty, or a fashion blogger – but that’s not something that I think I could commit myself to. So that means that my topics come from wherever I find them. I do tend to write about my mental health journey often however. But as for my other topics, there’s no rhyme or reason as to where I find them.

What are your blogging pet peeves?

  • People who do nothing but product reviews
  • People who try to push their opinion on others
  • People who argue with their readers in the comments when they disagree with them

What draws your attention to find a blog and makes you want to follow it?

There really isn’t anything in specific that draws my attention to a blog. I read all posts on a range of topics.
I mean, yes, one of my favorite bloggers (Sarcastica) blogs a good bit about her kids, but she also do posts about other things – like her writing or MHE (you can find some of her posts about it here) or her depression and anxiety. That’s one of my favorite things about her, she doesn’t limit herself to one thing.
If you’re looking to get me to subscribe to/follow your blog, just give me some time to look through what you’ve posted in the past and make my decision.

If there was something you could change in your blogging past, what would it be and why?

Honestly, I hate how people always ask this question. As much as I would love to analyze my blogging history and give you a precise answer about what I would change, I can’t. Because I don’t that think I would be the same blogger I am today if I went back and changed something in my past.
It’s just like life, if you went back to your past and changed something, everything in the future would change as a result of that and you would no longer be the same person you are today.

What is the main thing that keeps you blogging regularly?

Since I started this blog in December 2013, I haven’t really had a set schedule for when I blog. I would just post whenever I felt like I had something to say, however frequently or infrequently that was.
Now that CoffeeTattoos is two years old, and I put up a post the past two Fridays, I’m hoping that I can continue to push myself to expand my writing skills by finding things to post every Friday.
It may not always be much of a post, but I promise that I will do my best to post every week.

In two years time where would you like your blog to be?

I don’t think I have a dream of where my blog will end up going. I used to think that it was important to have a blog that hundreds, or thousands, of people read, but I’ve realized in the last couple years that that’s really not important.
I just want my blog

  • to continue to be a creative outlet for me
  • to be a place for me to connect with my readers
  • to be a way to reach out and get to know other bloggers

Do you share your blog with people you know in real life or is it all online only?

I am selective with who I share my blog with. There are people in real life who know about my blog (my aunt saw me typing and asked if she was allowed to read it). However, there are more people online who know about it. But when I really stop and think about it, my online friends are also my friends in real life – so the answer is both.

What’s your favorite ways to connect with other writers/bloggers?

This is a awful thing to say, but I rarely comment on other blog posts. It’s not that I don’t like connecting with other blogger, but I just don’t really know what to say in response to what they’ve written.
I guess, this year I should make a point of doing better to respond to blog posts others have written.

Do you have any tips you would like to share with fellow bloggers?

The only two pieces of advice I have for fellow bloggers is something that Rachel Thompson said:

  • Give yourself permission to write on ANY topic (even if it will ruffle feathers)
  • Write what scares you

My Nominees

  1. Sarah Fader (Old School/New School Mom)
  2. Jess Davis (Sarcastica)
  3. Marisa Lancing (Mad Girl’s Lament)
  4. Sarah Comerford (The Real Sarah C)
  5. Nicole Lyons (The Lithium Chronicles)
  6. Allie Burke (Organic Coffee, Haphazardly)
  7. Jessica Scarlett (Dabbling in Food Porn)
  8. Courtney Keesee (Courtney’s Voice)
  9. Bipolar On Fire
  10. Kelley (Free of Her Cage)

My 10 Questions

  1. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
  2. What are your blogging goals for 2016?
  3. How are you feeling, emotionally, about the year ahead?
  4. When do you think people should have to decide what they want to do with their life? Is 18 too young?
  5. Why do you think there is so much stigma surrounding mental illness, admitting that you need help, and getting said help?
  6. Do you believe in love at first sight or soulmates?
  7. Is there anything you want to write about on your blog but you’re afraid to? If so, I think you should write about that for one of your next posts.
  8. When it comes to kids wanting to dye their hair (any color) or pierce their cartilage or nose when they’re in middle or high school, would you let your child do that? Why or why not?
  9. When it comes to planners, what do you do? Do you use a bullet journal, Erin Condren, Filofax, etc? Or if you don’t use one of those, take a few minutes to research them all and tell me what you would like to start using.
  10. What was your favorite nonfiction book that you read in 2015? How did you find it? Who wrote it? What was it about?

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I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know about my blogging life and history. I can’t wait to hear your answers to my questions!

Old School/New School Mom by Sarah Fader

713Cd8rQHGL.jpgThe book Old School/New School Mom is better than I could’ve imagined.

I flew through the whole thing in less than 12 hours.


Sarah Fader is an amazing writer. She doesn’t limit herself to one single topic. She talks about college, parenting, mental illness, relationships, coffee, and all kind of miscellaneous other things. There are pieces in this book that will make you wish you were in her living room so you could hug her, and other that will make you laugh so hard you’re scared you’ll wet your pants.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something different, and that will give you a break from all those books in series that are out there.


I encourage everyone to head on over to Amazon and order yourself a copy RIGHT NOW

Blogging… Why?

Everyone seems to love writing about why they started blogging. That’s not what I’m doing here. I want to talk with you about why I continue blogging. Why I haven’t stopped yet.


I look back at dates when posts have gone up, and I feel as though I’ve failed my readers.

I haven’t really had true posts of my own go up, with any regularity, in quite a while. Anything of worth that went up, was probably from someone else. Or it was part of a challenge that someone tagged me in. So I’m feeling a bit like I’ve neglected this blog. In reality, I was overwhelmed with schoolwork and simply didn’t had the time to sit down and put the effort that I wanted to into posts.

But now that it’s Winter Break, and I’ve decided that I’m taking a break from school because I want to figure things out with my wrist, hopefully I can do some post planning and get things rolling again. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I will have posts go up every Thursday or something like that, because there are going to be things that get in the way. I don’t want to tell you that and then break the “promise” within a few weeks.


Over the years, blogging became a form of self-therapy for me. I tend to come back and write my way through things when they they get overwhelming or stressful. I haven’t done that too much recently, but hopefully that’ll change in the new year.

Because I sometimes post about what I’m going through with my mental illness, it lets people know that they’re not alone. I know that if I was in a position where I had just been given a mental illness diagnosis, I would probably be searching for other people who are in my same shoes so I could see how they’re handling everything.

Blogging gives me a chance to meet and connect with other people. Sometimes those people are in other countries. One of my good friends, who has guest posted here on CoffeeTattoos, is in Australia. Another wonderful girl that I have connected with over blogging is in the UK. This is something that can connect you with people all over the place. You don’t have to be within driving distance of your blogger friends. It’s great!

By occasionally writing and posting about different topics, I have the chance to explore different perspectives , both through my research and through other people leaving comments. It’s something that can be eye-opening – if it’s something you hadn’t thought about, to it can be irritating/angering – if someone is so set in their opinion that they’re just telling you you’re wrong, or it can spark a debate – when someone comments with their opinion just to share what they believe.

One of the last reasons that I love blogging so much is that it gives me a chance to explore different topics for