It’s a New Day…


As I’ve mentioned previously, I changed jobs almost 2 months ago. This change has done more than enable me to pursue my passions in new ways, it has freed up my creative self. As a result, I have been working on several very neglected areas in my life ranging from my physical health, to goal-setting habits, to my writer’s life. It’s an exciting and productive time. I am so thankful for the sudden infusion of creative energy and commitment.

One of the by-products of my rekindled passion for writing and my coaching work has been opening my online store. This is something I’ve thought about doing for many years – ever since I started using a Square reader I guess. Well, I finally did it.

Currently my store includes signed copies of my nonfiction work, available at the special pricing I reserve for my speaking events. I am not certain how long I will be offering these prices, so if you think you might like a signed copy of my books I’d order them soon.

In addition to the online store, I am working on a new logo and new website/blog designs – all things that will be coming soon. Also, I will be putting out information on my coaching business as well.

Thank you for coming with me on this ride. It is exciting, overwhelming, and fun!

What things are you working on?

Lots of covers, lots of excitement…


Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I, for one, can’t wait the week to be over. My oldest is home from college in three short days and I couldn’t be more excited. But that isn’t what this blog post is about.

It’s about my shiny new cover. Elana Johnson is helping me out with a cover reveal for my next book, Indie and Proud. But as I was prepping for that post, I realized that isn’t the only cover I have ready to share. I have COVER-S. That’s right, covers plural. Three to be exact.

 
CHECK THEM OUT!

INDIE AND PROUD

You did it! You achieved your dream of writing and publishing your book. You should be happy. Instead you feel trapped in an ever-changing publishing race, stressed over the never-ending to-do list, and frustrated with yourself for continuing to doubt your talents, despite achieving your goals.


Face it, being a creative is difficult, and achieving some measure of success in the business doesn’t make you immune to your own fears and doubts. If anything, your achievements have added even more pressures. Indie and Proud shines a light on those fears and pressures, providing tools to deal with your frustrations and embrace your passions again.


Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses everyday examples and stories from writers and other artists to help artists find and maintain their balance in the exciting world of independent publishing. With specific strategies to address self-doubt, underlying fears, and the truly intense nature of being creative, Indie and Proud is a must read for anyone ready to embrace everything it means to be Indie.

Coming February 2, 2015

RAISING THE SHY CHILD: A Parent’s Guide To Social Anxiety

The fear of being judged by others in social activities is a common human experience, especially during childhood. But when the fear becomes all-consuming, it can disrupt daily functioning and the development of social competency. Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety takes a fresh look at social anxiety disorder, coupling the latest in research trends with evidence-based strategies and real-world stories to untangle the complexities of this disorder. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of real-world examples and stories from adults and children with social anxiety disorder to show parents and educators how to help children find a path through their fear and into social competence. With specific strategies to address school refusal, bullying, and identity issues, Raising the Shy Child is a must-read resource for anyone dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.

Coming March 1, 2015 from Prufrock Press

I’M NOT JUST GIFTED:
Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Students

What does it mean to be a successful person? What traits and characteristics define successful people? Why do gifted children, in particular, need a strong affective curricula in order to maximize their potential? These questions and more are explored in this guide to helping gifted children in grades 4-7 as they navigate the complicated social and emotional aspects of their lives. This curriculum is designed to help gifted children explore their giftedness, develop resiliency, manage their intensities, face adversities and tough situations, and cultivate their talents and passions. Including lesson plans, worksheets, and connections to Common Core State Standards, I’m Not Just Gifted is the practical guide necessary for anyone serving and working with gifted children.

Coming May 15, 2015 from Prufrock Press
I don’t know about you, but I am so freakin excited! I am also planning a few fiction releases – so I will be sharing that information soon…ish….
Until next time, what books are you excited for???

Big NEWS!


HOLY WOW!!!  

Where did all the time go? One moment it is early August, and the next September is here. I am so sorry I feel off the blogging planet. To say the start of the school year has been hectic is a serious understatement!

But, that’s not why I’m here. I wanted to share all shorts of book-related news. New books coming, award nominations, and lots of non-fiction book escitement: 

It’s an exciting time.

So, let me get to it:

UPCOMING NEW SHORT STORY/ANTHOLOGY

 

You may have heard of a fabulous NEW anthology coming in early October, Strange and Lovely.  The book features fabulous CLEAN paranormal romance stories. Here’s a little more about the anthology:

Mermaids, changelings, and ghosts…oh my!

From fae assassins to subjugating the dead, Strange and Lovely is a collection of short stories that seamlessly blends spine-tingling chills and swoon-worthy romance.

This anthology of supernatural creatures from ten talented authors, serves up short stories with heart-stopping storytelling that will haunt you long after you’ve put it down.

If you love tales of the paranormal variety, but can’t decide which ghostly, supernatural or otherworldly creature to focus on, here’s the perfect book for you.

Whether humorous, suspenseful, or romantic, the stories in Strange and Lovely will leave you feeling wickedly entertained.

My contribution to the anthology is a NEW short story called Dark Night. Based on the Requiem World and the Seers, Dark Night follows Tristan as he tries to save his sisters from their fate. It is a precursor to a new series coming in late 2015 or so. EXCITING!

Strange and Lovely comes out October 4 and is available for pre-order HERE!


 
AWARD NEWS

 

 

Help COLLIDE and THE GIRL GUIDE WIN!!!

I am happy to announce that COLLIDE and THE GIRL GUIDE are up for the first annual Howey award in the categories of Best Cover and Best YA book of 2014 for Collide, and Best NF book for THE GIRL GUIDE. Also, I am up for best NF Author of 2014. These awards are determined by popular vote, which is where you come in.

From now until SEPT 15 you can vote on your choices in a variety of categories, including best YA book of 2014, Best NF book of 2014, Best NF Author and Best Cover. I’d of course appreciate any and all votes, but just voting for your favorites is epic too. IF YOU’VE ALREADY VOTED, PLEASE VOTE AGAIN NOW!

Follow the links below and show a little Indie Love!

BEST YA INDIE BOOK of 2014 – Collide

BEST INDIE COVER

BEST NF BOOK 2014 – The Girl Guide



BEST NF AUTHOR

I can’t win without your votes so please…VOTE TODAY!!!
I have other NEW book news, but I think I’ll wait until next week for all that…

Until then, thanks for all of your support!

Wherein I talk openly about the creative mind…


Hi all –

In light of the news about Robin Williams on Monday, I wanted to write a post that has been years in the making really. And a rare one that I decided to post on both of my sites...

Robin Williams’ death angered me in many ways, something that made me take pause. I wasn’t angry because of the tragedy of it all, but because another creative genius felt there was no way out. And more, I was angry because while his death started a much needed conversation about mental health issues and the stigma attached to those battling with a mental illness, it did not start even a ripple of the conversation I wish it had. Robin Williams was not ONLY and individual who had battled both depression and addiction, he was a genius. His very being meant he was intense.

So much of the conversations in these last days has attributed the creative genius to the mental illness, as though they always go together. But they don’t. The intensity DOES. And as a society, we don’t accept that intensity without also thinking in the back of our heads that there MUST be a mental illness piece.

How do I know this? It’s been my reality for ever.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very intense, creative person. I am a divergent thinker, a gifted adult, and prone to strong emotions. When I create, be it books, music or choreography (yes, I composed concertos as a child and conducted string orchestras and music camp. I was also a theater-dance minor in school and dabbled in choreography), I see/hear the finished product in my head long before the first word/note/move existed. Like many famous artists, everything existed in my head in perfection. My job was simply to find a way to purge it from my thoughts and get it out for the world to see.

And therein was the problem.

Once the world could see it, it was scrutinized, criticized, commented on. Teachers when I was 8 told me I was crazy for believing I could get a random group of 7 and 8-year-olds together and do a Shakespeare play (think Little Rascals does Macbeth), but that didn’t keep me from wanting to try. When I recreated a South Pacific coral reef to scale in 7th grade as part of a project that advocated for the preservation of our oceans, my teacher thought me extreme. When I came up with a theory about the relationship between political cartoons and their influence on political culture of the 1700 and 1800s in high school, my US History teacher told me I I could never prove my ideas and I should just write a term paper of something–anything–else.

Such was my life growing up.

By the end of High School I learned just how strange and divergent I was. More, I learned that none of that was a “good” thing. Nerds and Geeks weren’t cool back then. Everything that was important to me, that made me “me”, was weird to the rest of the world. And being weird was definitely NOT celebrated.

I thought in pictures, and usually had five or more thoughts going on at once. To me, in my head, multiple realities were the norm. I couldn’t understand that other people didn’t conceptualize multi-dimensional thinking as I did. I lived in a profoundly lonely world, one in which I wasn’t accepted except by my mother (gifted in her own right) and an occasional friend.

So I cultivated new interests, ones that were more mundane. I got into fashion, modeling, and the like. I developed an eating disorder and my own intensities channeled themselves into much more destructive thinking. It would be easy to think of me as mentally ill. After all, I had developed a mental illness. But that wasn’t me. Not fully. It was a means to an end, a way to belong. And it worked in the short term. I had friends, but very few knew “me”. Heck, I barely knew me.

I was called overly dramatic, a drama queen, etc – all in response to my very extreme emotions. I don’t blame people for saying it really; from their perspective it was true. I was extreme and intense. I still am. And yes, I still lose friends because of it.

In college, my world imploded as my eating disorder spun out of control and I had to admit the problem. I sought help and got better. A lot better.

On the surface.

It wasn’t until many years later, after a load of therapy, maturity and a few personal crises that forced me to self-examine, that I learned the truth about who I was and why I acted the way I did. I learned what it meant to be gifted, to be intense.

See, I never thought of myself as smart, despite the “proof” in IQ tests, the GT label, etc. And no one ever explained to me that being smart, being gifted, MEANT asynchronous development. It meant I’d struggle with EQ, at least when I was younger. Most importantly, it meant that I was – I am – intense.

Why am I writing this crazy long post? It isn’t to brag, garnish sympathy, or anything else. It’s to talk, openly and honestly and what being gifted and creative has meant to me.

There is an intensity with which I approach life. This intensity DOES NOT mean I am crazy. It doesn’t mean I need to be fixed. When I say I need a break, when I speak openly about my intensity, I’m not looking for someone out there to “fix” me like I am a problem. I just want someone to know I’m at my limit and I need a break.

When I struggle socially, or I come off aloof, please know it isn’t intentional. My brain works fast – very fast. And sometimes, I get lost in it. That doesn’t mean I am uncaring or uninterested. In fact, the opposite is likely more true. I desperately care and I am profoundly interested. I am just somewhat lousy at showing in.

And when I get down, REALLY DOWN, I am seldom depressed. I am just overwhelmed by life and its emotions.

This is NOT TO SAY that other creative, gifted people aren’t depressed. Gifted people do get depressed.

I am lucky. I have done a TON of work in the field of giftedness, learning why I feel existential depression as often as I do, why I approach the world as I do, why I am so intense. I really think it is BECAUSE of this that I have significantly improved my EQ and learned what my personal “normal” is. I have also learned when I need to ask for help – when I am overwhelmed beyond all ability to cope. More importantly, I’ve learned how to receive help from others, even when they aren’t really able to relate.

So, this is me. And it is many other gifted individuals. We are not broken in our intensities. But we do

need acceptance, even when we seem crazy. And if we do actually break, because it can certainly happen (especially when we receive the constant message that we are crazy because of our intensities, or when we fail to connect socially because there are so few who “get us”), we need acceptance even more.

And we need the world, our family, our friends, our therapists, etc to understand that our baseline – our “normal” – is DIFFERENT from everyone else. If you force us into your version of “normal”, or medicate us to some random definition of  “normal”, we still are not “normal” from our perspective, and we will reject your version of help.

Sometimes with deadly consequences.

Gifted creatives are blessed with passions that burn brighter than the sun. And sometimes we get burned in the wake of our own intensities.

No, I haven’t left…


Happy Sunday all! I can’t believe the end of summer is in sight. I am back at work in just over two weeks, and my daughter is off to college (YIKES) in four. What the heck!

Today I thought I’d update you all on the behind the scenes things I’ve been working on.

Current Projects:

I’ve crazy busy with deadlines all summer. After releasing my latest YA novel, Collide, I have been working on two nonfiction projects: More Than Shy – a book about social anxiety disorder in children and adolescents, and Success Habits for the 21st Century – a book of affective curriculum for gifted children. Both books are out next Spring so yeah. Busy Busy Busy. And that’s in addition to new novels and other cool things I’ll discuss in a few.

The blog, a new website, and more:

As I said before, the next few weeks are filled with deadlines, Comic Con, birthdays and school stuff. Between it all, I thought I’d get caught up on my book reviews here and on my other blog, Christine Fonseca, AuthorThere are so many non-fiction books I’ve read about gifted children, anxiety disorders, and writing. Not to mention the novels ranging from YA to adult to romance to erotica that I would love to share with all of you. Not to mention the countless  Time to share my thoughts on it all.

Visit my blogs through out the next two weeks for reviews of it all. And who knows, I need a little bookshelf space so I may be giving a few away!

I finally finished my website. Well, almost finished it. Check it out here: http://christinefonseca.com. Thoughts? I am pleased with it. I still have another site to design and publish for An Intense Life. That one will be the home of my nonfiction projects and services, including coaching (something a lot of you have asked about) and speaking gigs. Not to mention revamping both blogs. Such an exciting time.

Events and such:

I am working on my speaking and event calendar for 2014-2015 (yes, my life operates on a school schedule!). If YOU would like to host me for an event, be it a workshop, a book chat, a school visit, or something else, just let me know. I’ll be posting more information about events and such soon. Until then, just drop me a line via my website.

 

One of my scheduled events is IndieReCon LiveI’ll be speaking about the psychology of writing/publishing. Or more accurately, how to find and stay in your happy place no matter where you are on your path. It’s an exciting topic for me, and one I’d love your help with. If you are an Indie Author please take a moment and consider being interviewed about your publishing journey to date. If you’d be willing to help me out, complete this form so I can work something out with you. I can’t wait to connect and hear your stories.

I guess that’s it for now!  I hope you all have a great week and be sure to stop by for a few reviews and information about my upcoming plans!

Tell the Truth Tuesday: Wherein I Get Real About Drowning


Well, here I am again, talking about drowning (or being in the weeds, etc). It is a well-known fact that I take on too much. There, I’ve admitted it. I have a hard time saying “no” to things. It isn’t that I don’t want to offend people; or that, like so many other bright individuals, I feel like I have to say yes all the time. No, for me it is a different set of issues all together. Two of them to be exact:

  1. I feel like I need to prove myself over and over – and saying “yes” somehow does that (I already know the fault in my thinking, trust me)
  2. I generally under-estimate my fatigue with some projects and resultant time delay on others.

It’s a never-ending cycle…

And one I hate.

There is nothing worse than feeling like I’ve let others down – or worse, let myself down over and over and over again.

So, I am getting real with myself and adjusting my expectations and goals.

For example – my original writing goal for 2014 was as follows:

  • NONFICTION – complete two nonfiction manuscripts and a nonfiction proposal
  • FICTION – complete and release three books and one short story

What the heck was I thinking??? Even looking at this all typed out is enough to give me a mini panic attack!

The revised goal is a tad more reasonable:

  • NONFICTION – Complete manuscript on contract (by July) and research for second NF manuscript under contract
  • FICTION – complete Collide for a summer release and complete a draft (minimum) of the first book in the Tempting Fate series
  • Additional writing – Update social media presence (over summer); blog schedule for fall 2014-summer 2015; release schedule for same time frame

See – much more reasonable. So much so, that I swear I feel a TON better.

I’ve revamped my other goals as well, putting an emphasis on both realistic  expectations for myself and giving myself permission to NOT be everything to everyone. It’s a small start on regain the balance since my mom died – but an important one!

What do you do when you get overwhelmed?

 

 

In The Weeds


Wow! I can’t believe I all but deserted by blog! Shoot! That was not my intent at all. I’ve been buried – with more work than I can handle on every front: Work, writing, home. It’s been a tad overwhelming.

But it’s been good, too.

I have some big plans for the blog, my coaching and consulting life, my nonfiction writing – huge plans. But, I am not in a place to get it all going. In truth, I need to spend May getting out of the weeds.

I will be around to post at least weekly – I don’t want you all to think I’ve completely disappeared. And then, around mid-June, I’ll be ready to talk to all of you about my plans.

Until then, enjoy this little quote I got from my journal this morning:

quoteHave a great week!

 

Confessions of a Teenage Beauty Queen


dreamstime_6634032I was hanging out on FB yesterday and stumbled across a great article from a father to his young daughter. In it, he redefines our cultural ideas of beauty. If you haven’t read it – CLICK HERE and read it. That post was so touching to me. Sure, it had a great message – one sorely needed at a time when so many girls are at risk, partially due to what our culture teaches them.

But that isn’t the only reason. This topic is highly personal to me.

I grew up without a father figure until I was in my early teens. By then, I had already developed body dsymorphia – I saw myself as an obese girl even though I was a normal weight for my size. There are a ton of reasons why the body image problems developed (and that’s for another post), but suffice it to say it was a huge issue for me. For years I facilitated between periods of anorexia and bouts of bulimia. I was a mess.

And no one knew.

I kept all of that hidden away from the rest of the world. My weight stayed somewhat constant. I was in beauty pageants, even won a few. I modeled and even went to NYC. My weird quirks were normal with models and beauty queens. We were all suffering body image problems. I never told anyone about my secret rituals around food. Never admitted how ill I was.

In college, my first time away, my gifted introverted self hit crisis mode. I saw a counselor for the first time. It was terrifying. And like any bright, scared, soon-to-be-adult, I ended counseling as soon as I felt “ok”.

For the next several years, I hit the depth of my body image issues until finally I couldn’t ignore the pain any longer, and I again sought help. I had a great therapist. I stopped  and purging. Stopped the anorexia.

At least for a while.

But, although I stopped behaving like an anorexic, I hadn’t fully healed the core of my body issues. And so I became an emotional eater, and a new issue with food (or maybe the same issue reborn) blossomed.

It has taken more years than I care to admit to become more comfortable with my body. I have only just started to allow pictures of me, only now refused to inhibit my speaking career related to my body issues. I am finally in a place of healing, acceptance. I’ve done the work on the core issues, replaced emotional eating with healthy eating and no longer engage in the rituals.

In short, I am finally happy with “who” I am now. I’ve learned that diminishing myself serves no one, least of all me. I’m not willing to hate myself in order to be liked by others, something I thought I had to do in my youth. I’m better. Stronger.

It has been a long and difficult road. I wish someone had noticed the turmoil I was in, wish a trusted adult had said the words the father in the above article said to his daughter. But I am grateful that I DID figure things out. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, more resilient than I ever gave myself credit for being.

I am proud to say I have two amazingly strong daughters. They are healthy, fit, and not focused on cultural norms for beauty. They are self-confident and feel quite comfortable forging their own path. I would like to think I had something to do with it – who knows. Most of the time I am fairly certain they just came onto the planet with an amazing amount of resiliency and emotional intelligence. There are my example, my ideal.

Strong. Resilient. Intelligent.

I stand here now humbled and grateful – for the strength I’ve found, the life I have, and ability to give to our children the strength I once needed.

Whew – okay. There you go. Confessions of this victim of our cultural definition of beauty…

What confessions do you have to share?

The Art of Breathing


I find it both interesting and completely appropriate that the health difficulties I’ve had this year all relate to breathing. We all know breathing is essential to life. But it plays an even bigger role than we may realize. When we are scared or frustrated, our breathing style changes. Some of us may even hold our breath all together. When we are in awe or in love, our breathing changes yet again. For most of us, paying attention to our breath is a window to our emotions.

For me, I discovered with this rash of colds that I breathe too shallow most of the time. Since my colds all attached the upper respiratory areas, I decided to do a couple of things – one, look at what that region of the body could represent for me spiritually, and two, pay close attention to breathing from my diaphragm.

Let’s take the first one of these – the possible “meaning” of my breathing problems beyond the physical realities of my cold. Now, don’t take me wrong – I know my colds are rooted in my physical being, and I’ve taken measures to heal myself (Nothing like GREAT meds!). But I also believe strongly in mind-body-soul connections. And it was that aspect of this I wanted to explore.

Breathing has often been associated with fear – fear of life, feelings of being overwhelmed, etc. For me, this didn’t ring 100% true, at least not initially. But as I reflected on 2013 and what, if anything, had held me back, I had to admit that there were fears and blockages. Once I acknowledged these blockages, I got to work clearing them; letting them go and focusing on “being”. It has been a good journey thus far, and something I know I must continue to work on.

The second part of what I decided to look at is HOW I am actually breathing: am I taking little puffs of air most of the time, barely utilizing my lung capacity, or am I taking deep relaxed breaths from my diaphragm. As I looked at it, the short breaths (also consistent with “fear” responses) made up the majority of my breathing of late. Sure, the cold was part of the reason, but if i am being honest, I must admit it isn’t the only thing going on. Once I came clean on this fact, the coughing fits and moments of breathlessness I’ve been dealing with changed. No longer did I get more frustrated every time I had them, but I used them as warning signs that I was breathing too shallow. For the past week or so I’ve been making it a point to breathe deeper, slower; to focus on my relaxation. It is helping, along with my meds, and between them both, my breathing issues are improving very quickly.

Our breath – it is important in every way imaginable. Guess it’s time to really pay attention to it!

How is your breathing?

Going Green – Literally


Those of you who follow my Intense Life Facebook page know that part of my goals this year center around my health. As I mentioned on Monday, my passions involve around my post too! There are several reasons for this! First, both my grandmother and my mother died relatively young – my grandmother at 85 (cancer related), and my mom at 70 (also cancer related). My grandmother never practiced a healthy lifestyle. She was of the era that believed that women did not exercise. Furthermore, she drank and smoked to excess. My mother came to a healthy lifestyle later in life (around my age, actually). She smoked from her twenties until she was in her fifties and she hated to exercise. Otherwise, she was pretty healthy. She always ate a balanced diet, maintained a healthy weight, meditated daily or more, and regularly saw her health care providers. In the end, the smoking lead to her cancer (oral) and took her life prematurely.

Being healthy is something I have always strived to achieve. But, if I;m being completely honest with everyone, it is not something that was at the top of my list of things to become passionate about. Yes, I grew up exercising and eating right. I meditate daily, believe strongly in being physically active, and understand the need to a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle.

That said, I’ve had my struggles – especially with my weight. When I was an adolescent, my weight defined my  value in my head and an eating disorder was born. In my adulthood, food became a panacea for other issues. Biological issues came into play as I aged, and now obesity defines my current weight struggles.

Until this year.

That’s right – I have absolutely committed to reclaiming my healthy lifestyle – the one that exists in my head and heart, but has not made it in my everyday world. There are a million reasons why I am finally ready to do this, starting with living a longer life. This is literally about living for me. I am lucky right now – my heart is good, there is no diabetes or other obesity related things I need to panic about. But my blood pressure is creeping in the wrong direction, I have some issues around anemia and vitamin D deficiencies to deal with and I know I am setting up a lot of potential problems with the weight.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Part of my commitment to making healthy lifestyle choices/changes is a commitment to going “green” with my diet. By this I mean including more vegetables, drinking green smoothies daily and taking the time to make sure that what I am putting into my body will serve my body well.

I started this journey the way I start many things – with a quick web search for recipes that included kale, spinach, and other greens. Now, I have an adventurous palette, and I am willing to try most things. But, I wanted to start off the whole green smoothie thing will something that didn’t really taste, well, green!

Enter my new fav website – Simple Green Smoothies. This site has recipes, testimonials and more. AND, the best part – I’ve tried several of the recipes and they are good. BEYOND good! My picky eaters at home even love them.

In addition to going green, I am meditating more, exercising more, and stressing out less! Yep, 2014 is all about LIVING GENTLY!

What are you doing this year?