Tag Archive: fibromyalgia



*Before delving into the discussion, I wish to apologize for the long delay in posts.  Currently my wife/co-author and I have been looking for a new place to live which has taken much longer than we’d hoped.  Furthermore, I started this discussion just before the holidays and we all know how distracting they can be.  Our search for a new place continues, so don’t be surprised if future postings are few and far between.  Once we’re settled I hope to get back onto a regular schedule, as there are many topics I have in mind I wish to share with you all.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.  Now on to the discussion…*

When I last posted I had shared how Helen and I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas back in 2015 and that I had started learning more about how to use it and to download books.  Again, many of you thought, “That’s it we’ve lost him.  Good-bye paper, hello electronic…”  But that did not come to pass. It took me a little while to get used to the page turning abilities and how many paragraphs there are on an e-page (usually less than in a typical printed book from what I can tell).  The simple swiping of the pages on the Kindle really threw me for a long while, because I’d accidentally go to far and would then have to slowly swipe back to get to where I needed to be.  Then recently I learned there was a simple App already on the Kindle that when used would simulate the turning of a SINGLE page and even had the sound effect of a paper page turning which solved that problem for me.

Yet, I still enjoyed pulling out my paperbacks and hardback copies of books.  As a writer, its much more satisfying to smell a book, and feel the cover in your hands, as well as actually be able to put your signature inside a physical book.  But as the days have drawn on and Helen and I have had to start packing in anticipation of moving to a new place, I really took notice of how many books we had.

Every bibliophile reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.  You find sometimes you have more (heavy) boxes of books than you do most other things as you pack.  Plus you find yourself wondering, “Am I really going to re-read or need ALL of these?”  This question came up several times… okay I lie, it came up a LOT of times in the last few weeks.  Part of the solution for us was to sell some of our less desired collection to book stores for “Store Credit”.  Yes, the collection will expand once more in the near future MWAHAHAHAH!  But in the meantime it meant less boxes for us to take with us.  Yet, we still found we had more than we actually had room for.  The solution to our problem came in the form of our recently acquired Kindle.  Many of the larger books in our collection were anthologies which were rather heavy in some cases.  Now, in case you haven’t heard, both Helen and I suffer from Fibromyalgia which means we’re in pain and our muscles do not always act the way we wish them to.  On some days, holding one of those heavier volumes could be more of a discomfort than a pleasure as we tried to forget our physical pain.  So we replaced most of those books with e-book versions, allowing us to keep the stories we loved but manage them more comfortably.

I believe most of you can already see where this is going.

Also, during the recent holiday season I had heard that famous song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams on the radio which brought a new thought to mind.  There is the passage, “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmasses long, long ago…” which had always struck a chord with me.  Why ghost stories at Christmas?  I already knew from my mother who had been born and raised in England that this was a tradition back there, that stretched long before Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”.  So I began researching and found that this was indeed true and even learned there were collections of Christmas Ghost Stories out there.  Many of them were out of print, BUT could be obtained for the Kindle.  So I wound up getting several collections really cheap on Amazon (free or for just .99 cents) and have been enjoying tales from famous writers such as Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Ambrose Pierce, and many many others )who I’ll be covering in future entries).

However in the case of Mr. Blackwood, I got a collection of ALL his works in one volume.  Now let me tell you this is a BIG collection, which would’ve translated into either a book with very tiny print or a really large and heavy book which may have wreaked havoc on my Fibromyalgia.  So getting it in e-book form was just right for me.

Yet when I take a bath or am relaxing on break at work, I love to pull out a lightweight hardcover or paperback and enjoy myself.  Having a Kindle has not ended my love of reading, but merely allowed me to have another avenue to enjoy books with less strain.

So as you can see, I have learned to use my Kindle as a tool.  It permits me to deal with my physical limitations, while also allowing me to see how the latest book I’m putting out appears to e-reader fans.  I get to see firsthand how the layout is looking for myself and make whatever adjustments are needed before releasing the story for others to enjoy.  In fact, I order physical proof copies, as well as electronic ones, because I want to make sure my readers are getting a good product that they can be proud to own and feel like they got their money’s worth.

As you can see, for me there is no Print vs E-book struggle.  It all depends on how you choose to build and maintain your collection.

That’s all for now.  So until next time my friends, take care and keep writing.

Update On Me and “The Door”


How are things coming along with your next novel, “The Door”?

I’ve been hearing that a fair amount lately and I can tell you that last weekend I added another 2000 words to it.  This brought the total word count to just shy of 19,000.  A pretty good number, don’t you think?  I’m proud of it.

Unfortunately when Sunday arrived so did something else, my Fibromyalgia.

It flared up with a vengeance and at first I wasn’t even really sure it was the Fibro acting up.  I thought I might be coming down with a bug a or something.  But as the day progressed and became Monday I knew better.  There were no other flu or cold symptoms, just fatigue, pain and severe clumsiness which erupted when I least expected it.

So I was forced to take a few steps back and slow down on what I could do.  I knew from experience that I’d have to budget my time and energies so as not to wipe myself out each day.  I stuck to the most important tasks such as attending classes and doing homework, as well as taking care of the usual tasks around the house.  Normally this would have allowed me to have some energies to call upon for being creative.  However, life had other ideas.

Almost every day there was some new crisis for me to contend with that I had to use what little reserves I had available, which left me severely depleted and frustrated.

Even typing this entry is taking a bit out of me, but I felt it was important enough to let you all know what’s been happening.  I hope to get at least some writing done this weekend, but that partly depends on how much schoolwork is dumped on me before today is out.

However I remain optimistic that I can make some kind of progress on the story.  I don’t know how much, but damn it I need a little victory like that sometimes.  I’m surprised the Fibro is being so relentless this time, usually it calms down in a few days, but I seem to be in ‘Flare’ which may last a couple of weeks.

So please bear with me if I don’t post as much, I’m trying to save what energies I have to do the most necessary things.  I’ll be okay in the end, I always am.  I only ask for your patience.

Thanks again and please take care of yourselves and keep writing.

“Flare”


The word “Flare” has many meanings such as style, finesse, a signaling device, but for the last two days it’s had a different meaning for me.  Those, like myself, who suffer from Fibromyalgia know it to mean an exacerbation of symptoms.

 

There is a serious rise in pain and sensitivity levels.  My aches go way beyond the norm.  Even the simplest tasks can set off a pain reaction.  While picking up a cup of tea, I feel my hand ache in ways it shouldn’t.  But I’ll be damned if I let  the pain get in my way, I NEED my morning tea.  But it’s usually one of the earliest signals that tells me I may be in for a bad time.

 

Fatigue is another major issue.  I feel wrung out and exhausted even after a good night’s sleep.  One would think I’d just completed a marathon instead of just having done a few simple chores around the house.  For the rest of the day I not good for much else.  I feel weak and unsteady.  My hand will tremble with the effort of just picking up an object.

 

Clumsiness and inability to judge distance or proximity is another issue.  As I leave a room I can clearly see the doorway.  Yet somehow, some way, my shoulder will still manage to hit door, or the doorway itself as I pass through.  Or I will misjudge a table or other object in the room or lying on the floor and trip over it.  Some days it feels like I am trying to navigate a minefield and I’m stepping on every hidden trap.  I’ve been known to trip over my own feet quite often during these episodes.

 

My head does not feel well either.  It feels stuffed with cotton or wool.  I do not mean in the sense of when you have a cold and your head feels all stuffed up.  No, this is different.  It is difficult to think clearly.  The simplest tasks I’ve done a million times before, I have to sometimes stop and think about how to do.  My flow of creativity becomes a trickle.  Not that I have the energy to actually work on any creative projects.

 

I am in “Flare” now.  I’ve been able to accomplish very little today.  But I do not seek pity, only understanding.  Fibromyalgia is one of the many “Invisible Illnesses”.  It is with me every day of my life, but to others I look very healthy.  They cannot see the pain I contend with every day.  Most days the levels are very low, and I can overlook or ignore them for the most part.  Other days, I’m more aware of it and just try to watch myself.  But then there are the times like today when all I can do is be gentle and patient with myself because there’s not much else I can do.

 

Going into “Flare” can be frustrating, especially on those occasions when I had plans to be with family or friends, but must bow out or change what we do at the last minute.  Those who know me best and are aware of my condition are more than understanding.  However, employers, co-workers or strangers are not as understanding.  The world can be vicious without really meaning to be to those with invisible conditions.  Perhaps more patience and empathy is something we all need to have because we don’t know what battles or sufferings other people are going through.  Especially when we can’t see those struggles because they are invisible to us.

 

How long this particular “Flare” will last, I have no idea.  It may be just today and I will be much better on the morrow.  Or it may decide to stick around for a week or two, possibly a month.  I pray not, because there are things I need and want to get done.  I do not like being tired, sore, clumsy and fuzzy-brained.   But if it does last longer than a couple of days I will be kind and forgiving to myself.  For it will pass, it always does.

 

I will call it quits here, because I’m feeling very tired just from thinking and typing up this entry.  Yeah, some days it’s that bad., and today is one of them.


Within the last 2 years I’ve taken 5 different dance classes: Ballroom, Jazz, Ballet, Latin and Improvisation.  Plus I intend to take more in the fall over at my college.  Now I do these because dance is well-within the tolerance levels of my Fibromyalgia.  Plus I learn so much more about “Core-Building”, fluid movements, music, etc.  Plus, I enjoy trying all these different styles and seeing how they make me feel body-wise, emotionally and mentally.  Quite frankly I find it all quite stimulating and refreshing.

 

Now what does all this have to do with bringing characters to life and making them feel more real?  Simple.  To me, a person’s life is the sum total of their experiences both good and bad.  How we react, what choices we make, all of these things shape who we are and who we may yet become.  So if a life is shaped by experiences and how they made you feel, how can your characters be any less human than you or me?  But a character is a made up person with no real past or experiences, EXCEPT for the ones we as writers give them.  In my case, I give some of my own personal life experiences to my various characters.  For instance I’ve given the skill of Ballroom Dance to two of my characters.  I gave them different levels of experience, one was a beginner the other was extremely advanced and taught others.  Now, in no way am I an expert in Ballroom, BUT I knew people who were and was able to get some insights from them.  I transferred SOME of these insights and experiences to the characters.  You’ll note I said SOME of these insights and experiences.  Because unless the main story revolves around Ballroom, why should I bore the reader with pages and pages about that kind of dance?  I give the audience snippets of those insights and the joy and feeling of dance.  Enough let them get more information about this character and what makes them happy and why.

 

But there are other life experiences I’ve  drawn upon as well.  But I’ve also given my characters experiences from the sad times in my life such as  losing someone close to me.  The pain, the feeling of being lost and confused by the experience of someone no longer being a part of your life.  People can relate to all of this and can feel sorry for or commiserate with the character in these situations.  It makes the reader feel more like the person they’re reading about is more human, like someone they know.

 

Hobbies or jobs are another way of making your creations seem more like real people.  Their pet peeves at the job.  Annoying co-workers, friends, what they do off the job together.  All of these help make a character seem more like a real person.  Draw from your own life, give bits of your feelings or experiences to your people to make them more than 2-dimensional caricatures from a comic strip.  Remember, your characters are your children, shape them give them life and the audience will appreciate and love them as you do.


***END OF MONTH SPECIAL****

From now until the end of February, I’m running an e-book special on my novel “The Bridge”. This new 2nd edition (I corrected as many of the grammatical errors as I could find) will be available for $1.99 until February 28th on Smashwords.com. You can get the Nook, Apple, Epub and Mobi editions for your e-reader here. Grab yours now, because the price will go back up to $3.99 on March 1st.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/272613

The Bridge Book Cover 2.75

New Post On My Vlog…


Just a quick new post on my vlog.  Basically a quick update of what’s been going on and where I’m headed…

Return Of The Author…

Hmmm…. It’s Been A While…


In fact it’s been a few months since I posted any of my actual writing in progress here.  Just want to let everyone know I will remedy that situation in a few days.  A lot has been going on as you all know from my previous posts.  I’m doing better, my Mom’s going to be okay.  My Father-In-Law is in early stages of cancer that is treatable and his prognosis is looking very good.  My Fibro has calmed down quite a bit and life in general is stabilizing (knock on wood).  I also hope to have an update on the status of my first novel for you all shortly.  So please stay tuned and thanks for keeping up with me.  I’ll have a proper post up in a couple of days.  Take care and I’ll see you all soon.

Why The Video Posts Allan?


Greetings all.  I’m sure everyone has been noticing I’ve been putting up more and more videos lately as opposed to my usual entries.  Well, part of the reason for this was to get more traffic to come to my Vlog on YouTube.  But there is another reason.

Those of you who watched the video on my last entry: https://akrummenacker.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/another-entry-about-character-creating/will already know what I’m about to say.  I have a chronic pain condition.  The doctor who diagnosed me gave me a sad smile as he said, “The good news is that it won’t kill you.  But you’ll be in pain the rest of your life.”  The condition is known as Fibromyalgia and based on my own research over the years and from speaking with experts, I’ve had this since childhood.  I’ve always suffered pain more readily and easier than my peers back in grade school.  No one ever believed me when I told them how much I hurt especially after one of the numerous bully assaults because of my apparent weakness and vulnerability.  I was never good at sports even when I tried my damnedest to get good.  My muscles never responded correctly.  I was clumsy and awkward and on rare days when I was feeling ‘good’ I was able to excel in ways no one could believe.  But then a day or so later I’d be back to my usual lower performing standards no matter how HARD I tried to push myself.  I was tired a lot as well, which comes with being in pain.

Now let me point out that the pain levels I normally experience are the kind of low (somethings off but it’s not going to get in my way) kind of thing.  They can take their toll but I’ve found exercise routines that really work for me without exacerbating the pain.  I’ve taken a lot of dance and have learned a lot of core and endurance building exercises that have helped a lot.  But even these are no match for when the Fibromyalgia comes out of its remission stage and goes into “FLARE”.

During “Flare” the pain levels shoot up and my motor skills become clumsy and awkward.  I feel terribly drained and even have to resort to using a walking stick to get around (even inside my home).  Even putting my thoughts together can be difficult, as if I were trapped in a fog which is why this particular symptom is referred to as FIBROFOG.  Overall, it’s like having a terrible case of the flu with the deep body aches and fatigue, without the high temp or other symptoms.

Now, what does all this have to do with the videos?  Simple.  I have limited energy reserves during these periods.  And what little I feel up to doing is getting through my college classes and my daily life period.  I budget my reserves and try to focus on writing my novels as best I can (the Fibrofog can mess me up on that front something fierce and I can’t really write some days even though I want to).  During periods like the one I’m going through now, it’s easier to sit and talk rather than type.  And since I don’t want to neglect all of you who’ve been so kind and generous with your comments and views, I’ve been resorting to the videos.

So, now you know what’s really been going on.  I hope you all understand and I hope this particular ‘Flare’ will soon pass.  Until it does please bear with me.  I will still be posting in one form or the other.

In the meantime I’m going to take advantage of my being a writer to bring up another subject.  In my earlier entries I talked about giving your characters skills, hobbies, talents you have or someone you know has to help make them more real to your readers.  The same still holds true with bad stuff.  Losing a loved one, a bad childhood, an unhappy relationship, or having a health condition.

Now I’ve already started using my personal knowledge of dealing with Fibromyalgia with one of the characters in my novels.  Her name is Cassandra Elliott, a billionaire heiress with a heart of gold.  With looks, beauty and money, she would seem to have it all.  But Epstein-Barr plagues her, depriving her of love of dance and other activities by making her bed-ridden for days or weeks at a time.  She hates the feeling of helplessness and being an invalid at times.  But how she deals with her condition helps shape the person she’s become and her drive to be as normal as possible especially around her new love interest.

We’re all shaped by our experiences.  Good or bad, how we react to them helps make us the people we are.  So look into your own life sometimes for sources of material to help shape and make your characters into real people.  People your readers can relate to and want to keep reading about and cheer on.

Thanks for reading, sorry this post is so long, but I felt it necessary to address some of the concerns I’ve been reading in the comment sections or in private messages.  Take care everyone and I hope to have another entry up shortly.


This latest installment not only deals with creating characters, but also explains a bit why I haven’t been making as long an entry as I’d like lately.  I hope to do a more proper entry shortly.  Thanks…

A Life Held In Suspension….


Sorry for the long delay in posts everyone.  It hasn’t been on purpose I assure you.  It’s just, this month has been “STRANGE” to say the least.  As I put in the title, my life feels like it’s been suspended and just left hanging on so many fronts that I’ve been almost paralyzed in many respects.  I’ll explain.

At the beginning of the month after just getting over the holidays, I was ordered to be on-call for Jury Duty.  Now this is not a big thing usually.  Here in Santa Cruz, I could walk to the courthouse or drive on a moments notice.  But this wasn’t the case.  Oh no my friends, this Jury Duty summons was for District NOT Municipal Court.  What’s the difference?  I would’ve had to report to a courthouse 45-60 minutes away in San Jose.  You see with District Court, they can choose from a pool of prospective jurors from several nearby counties.  So I was on call for 2 solid weeks wondering and dreading if I was going to be called in.

Now, in addition to waiting and wondering about that, I was also called in for a job interview with the County.  I was excited about this and went in did my best, suit and tie, clean-shaven the works.  I was told I did well and that I would hear something in a few weeks.  Now the training for this position would start on February 6th.  To date I’ve heard….NOTHING!  Now, I am already lined up with college classes that start…you guessed in February 6th!  Some of those classes are in the evening so even if i got this job I could keep a few of them and finally be working.  And so I sit, waiting to find out which path I’m supposed to be following.  I’ve been unemployed for 3 frickin’ years for those who didn’t know and have been living off Pell Grant money along with my wife.  We are also getting support from her folks, God Bless Them!  But it would be nice to stand on our own 2 feet again to an extent.  So this has had me pretty bummed out as well.

On the writing front, I’m still waiting to hear back on my manuscript in New York.  On this front, I’m willing to be more patient and continue waiting because the agent is involved in several new endeavors regarding books and to get on with her would be so bloody worth it.  I have faith in her and will continue to wait, because I’ve seen what she’s got coming and I would love to be a part of it.

On another front, I’ve been trying to get several hundred dollars back from my old health insurers that is owed to me and my wife.  I’ve been calling them since August and every bloody time I call I get the same answer.  “Oh, well it hasn’t been approved, but it was as of today so it should be sent to you in 7-10 business days…”  Can you read a calendar?  I thought you could.  SO CAN I!  Finally, the check supposedly went out last week and we’re still (drum roll) ….waiting for it to arrive.

As a direct result of all this stress and waiting, my writing has suffered a fair amount.  I’ve been doing it, so have no fear.  It just hasn’t been in the volume I originally wanted.  I was hoping to get 2000 words done a day and it’s been more like 500-700.  I’m focusing on book #2 in my mystery/sci-fi/horror works.  It is tentatively titled “THE SHIP” or “THE DEATHSHIP”, I haven’t fully decided between those yet.

Also my health took a bit of hit.  I suffer from several conditions Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma and Fibromyalgia.  The first 2 are under control so no fears on those fronts.  But the Fibro has been rearing its ugly head with a vengeance which has also slowed me down and time in a way.  For those not familiar with it Fibromyalgia is a Neuro-Muscular condition which causes severe pain and aches throughout the body or in specific areas.  There is no surefire cure so a lot of us just have to deal and cope as best we can.  Please don’t send me a bunch of suggestions like diet, exercise, this-that-or the other thing.  I’ve been down those roads and mine doesn’t respond to them.  Everyone is different when it comes to Fibro so please understand why I’m telling you not to send me suggestions.  I have a routine that works for me that usually keeps the pain levels under control and barely noticeable.  HOWEVER… there are times when the condition just goes wild.  These are called FLARE-UPS and can last anywhere from a few days to a number of months.  So far this one seems to be lasting a week or so.  I’m hoping it will calm down soon and not be one of the long-term ones.  Wish me luck.   Anyway, the pain limits some of what I can do which adds to the feeling of having my life held in suspended animation or something.

Now I have been writing and work is progressing, albeit slowly.  I will try to post more often here and soon.  I just thought you should all know what’s been going on and needed to vent a little.  Thanks for your patience and for being good listeners, it’s really appreciated.  In time, when I have the money to spare I might get a small digital camera that also shoots videos and do a little VLOGGING.    If I do that, I will post it on YouTube with a link here.  I’ll be taking you all on tours of where some of the action will be taking place in my novels and what inspired me to use them.  I’ll also be sharing more of my experiences and pitfalls for those who are trying to be writers so hopefully you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Well, that’s all I have for now.  Thanks again and I hope to post more from one of my novels here very soon.  Stay tuned and take care.

 

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