Archive | July 2009


HA! I have figured out how to fix the spacing when I copy and paste from Word!!! YAY! Damn code!


My Life with Lupus

I tried to sleep yesterday morning. Really, I did. That lasted about an hour. Well, actually less than that before the barrage of stress overwhelmed me and I found myself in tears. I don’t do that often. Really. Those who are close to me know the stress well and where it stems from these days. I started thinking too much, which is about par for the course in my head, but then, I really started thinking about what’s been going on with me over the last what seems umpteen years. I felt like I had to get up and write this down. Maybe it’s for the best, as I’m about to end a chapter in my life. Don’t worry, the book is still in progress.

It’s really only been twelve years, just a bit over. It all started in May 1997.

Twelve years ago, the doctors diagnosed me with something called autoimmune hepatitis. It’s a liver disorder. I may have explained it before. Essentially, my body is attacking itself. Fun, right? No, not really. This wonderful disease prevented me from having children, and is the prime suspect of a miscarriage – my one and only pregnancy.

I can no longer have children, mostly by my own doing. I had a tubal ligation and an ablation because I didn’t want to experience another horrid miscarriage, and I was supposed to be on specific medications for the rest of my life that would cause birth defects anyway. One of those meds is the other suspect for causing the miscarriage. Yes, I’m bitter about it. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I’m not on any meds now, but that has to do with the fact that I have no health insurance. Tell me again why you hate social medicine. I just can’t agree. Sorry. I’ve been through the insurance ringer and have experienced all of the major insurance companies. To say that I hate them would be kind.

About four or five years ago, my wonderful Rheumatologist finally diagnosed me with lupus and fibromyalgia. They couldn’t see it twelve years ago, though they did try. The lupus, for me, is a skin condition. I’m photosensitive now, and have scars covering my chest, arms and face that stem from the flare-ups. That’s real great for self-esteem issues, let me tell ya. However, they’re not really noticeable unless you’re close to me. But I can see them. Every day. The worst one is on my upper lip. That was the first place the lupus decided to show itself about eight years ago. It puffed up for six months, and when it finally faded, I had these lovely wrinkles left in its place that make me look really old sometimes, mostly when I’m tired. Some days are better than others and that goes for more than my upper lip. I’ll get to that in a minute. The fibromyalgia makes me hurt… everywhere and constantly. It affects my joints and muscles. Waking up in the morning/afternoon/evening is not fun. I have to move slowly.

When I say that some days are better than others, what I mean is that I have good days and bad days. The good days are awesome and I have this amazing burst of energy that gets me through the work I need to do. The bad days really suck and come more frequently anymore. They are those days where I don’t feel like doing anything at all, when I don’t have the energy to do much. Mostly, I just write on those days, if a story feels like talking to me, but that hasn’t been happening lately. When I’m actually working, as in I have a job, I just get through the day. I don’t take those bad days off. I’ve learned to work through them and get done what I need to get done. The pain doesn’t matter, the lack of energy doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I get the work done. Preoccupation keeps my mind off the pain and lack of energy. When I have nothing to do but write I can work for hours. But only when it’s creative writing. The freelance writing I do is not creative. In fact, it can be quite draining. I should find something else. Part of the reason for my being able to work through a bad day is because I have a high pain tolerance, so the pain I feel doesn’t really affect my movement because I’ve lived with it for so long now. Caffeine and protein take care of the lack of energy for me, but I really shouldn’t have any form of caffeine.

The three diseases combined, which are all linked by the way, create the insomniac that is me. It’s very difficult to sleep when your body won’t shut down completely. The brain is another story and deals with my creativity. That’s nearly impossible to shut down, but I have managed on occasion.

About three hours after I started this post, and after watching Madagascar 2, I finally felt tired enough to fall asleep. And I did sleep, for about ten hours, which seems to be the norm these days. I don’t like it. I don’t like sleeping completely through the day. It makes me feel like I’ve wasted so much time, but I’m having trouble fixing it.

I don’t know what in the hell is wrong with me these past couple of days. All I know is that I’m starting to feel lost again and I can’t find my way out of the maze. I don’t know where to begin, where I want to go (aside from writing), or how I’m going to get there. Maybe it’s the lupus fog, too. There is such a thing. It causes confusion and I feel like I have no sense of purpose right now.

All I can do is hope that this will clear up in a day or two, and if it doesn’t, I’m going to have to force it because I just can’t go on like this much longer. I’m frightened, yes. I don’t know what’s going to happen for me in the near future. No one does. I don’t know what the lupus holds in store for me, or the fibro. I can tell you that the flare-ups are happening again. I was in remission for a long time—the last eight years. Not so much now.

So what do all of my troubles have to do with lupus? Well, the lupus doesn’t help. The fog doesn’t help. In fact, it just instigates it all, especially these days. Most days, I’m just too damn tired to leave the house. That makes it a bit difficult to find a job. I could apply for disability, yes, but by the time it gets approved, I won’t have a house to live in anymore.

I’ve come out of the cocoon I’ve been in for the last six months. It happens during a life-altering event such as I have been through recently. You know the one, where you thought everything was in place for your life and it all came crashing down at once. Some of you met me during this cocooned time. Some knew me beforehand. I haven’t pulled away from the shell quite yet, but I’m getting there. I have to find a job, and that scares me too because of my last experience. I don’t really want to work for anyone anymore because of what they did. This job market isn’t the best for starting one’s life over, either. I think it’s part of the reason I want to move out of Arizona. I mean, if I’m going to start over, I may as well go for it completely. Unfortunately, I don’t have the means to get there, so I have to find something here in this hellhole.

So yeah, this is where I’m at right now. Trying to focus, trying to figure things out to move me forward because I really don’t want to fall backward anymore. Losing the house will be bad enough.

This will likely be the last “life in hell” type of post I’ll make. I suppose that’s good for both of us. Now, on to more positive thinking…

Oh, and if you pray, please say a prayer for my cousin Lucy. She’ll be 90 soon and her breast cancer is back. It’s not looking good.

EastonAshe – The Split

This picture was taken 11/2006 at the Whiskey A Go-Go
LA Music Awards show

copyright NL Gervasio

I just found out last night that one of my favorite local bands – EastonAshe – has split up, gone their separate ways, basically kaputzville. I am not happy about this. They’re a talented bunch of guys. Okay, they haven’t completely broken up. There’s one remaining member. That would be the lovely blue-eyed lead singer Ryan Sims. He’s a sweetheart and I love him to death.

Isn’t he cute? Yes, and quite talented, too. I hear he’s doing a solo album. Good for him! I hope it takes off because he certainly deserves it.

Geoff Jouas is quite possibly one of the best drummers I’ve seen. He’s always reminded me of Tommy Lee. I remember thinking that as I sat across from him at the Saddle Ranch Chop House in West Hollywood after their show.

Matt Henderson is an awesome guitarist and I hear he’s getting married. Congratulations Matty!

Over the last however many years it’s been, I have spent a lot of time with the boys of EastonAshe, with exception to this last year. I’ve seen three different bassists – GK Mack (also solo now), Nathan, and Jason, all wonderful guys – and have attended many concerts. I’ve even worked for them during a New Year’s Eve bash in Cave Creek. Too bad I was drugged that night, but that’s another story that may exist somewhere in this blog. I’ve celebrated birthdays with them, and on one occasion, had Tony the light guy and my fellow Italian sing to me on his birthday three days after mine. These guys are like family to me and I love every one of them. It’s so sad to see this happen.

I wish all of you the best, guys, and I will miss seeing your shows and hanging out. Hell, I miss that anyway.

I hope you all find your dreams, whatever they may be!

Much love,


Guest Blogger Time: HC Zuerner and The One

Today, we have guest blogger HC Zuerner (I still don’t know how to pronounce that), and she is going to talk about The One with us. For me, The One is Nemesis, I suppose. It’s one of those really strong stories that won’t shut up.

And I’m going to shut up now and let her talk…

HC Zuerner and The One

I have been concocting stories since I can remember. I started many a book, short story or something of the like. I wrote poems and lyrics, which mainly were penned in junior high during the 80’s, so you can imagine how Hair Band they were. I started my first true novel the summer before I started high school.

We had our first computer, and I was typing on Word Star. I still hold great nostalgia for that blue background with white text. It was during the time that Young Riders was on TV and I was obsessed with Wild Bill Hickok. I had always loved the history of the Wild West, and I was inspired to write a historical fiction with him as a main character. I started writing and kept at it day and night until school started. I plugged away the next couple of years until I had over half of it finished. I even printed out 5 copies and put them in manila envelopes addressed to the publishing companies listed on my favorite books (I pulled the addresses from the inside cover of the books). Yes, I had no idea what I was doing, but that didn’t matter.

I was a writer.

Throughout the years, I had many more ideas and started several other novels. I seem to be incapable of short stories. I kept going back and revising my historical fiction, all with the intent of one day finishing it and being published. I even was a Writing/Lit major with a US History minor at college.

Life got in the way, and I became very ill. I had little energy to spend, and my writing became sporadic to almost non-existent at times. I finally started a blog to force myself to have a small avenue to write. It was a silly inspiration, but reading through the Twilight Saga made me desperate to write again. I also wanted to try my hand at something I had previously turned my nose up at, first person.

For years, I had been trying to write the story of my dream warrior, Gabriel. In fact, I had at least three separate Word documents attempting her novel. It wasn’t until I started writing her in first person that I found her; and then, an odd thing happened. I couldn’t STOP writing. I wrote in chunks. I wrote scenes in a notebook. I stayed up nights on end, typing, crafting, creating. I couldn’t sleep well because I was anxious to be up, going over what I had just written, revising and adding. I talked nonstop about it to my husband and friends.

The story consumed me, and I realized I had found The One.

It’s the story that isn’t just enjoyable or a piece of us writers. It is the story that brings us to life. The story we can’t put away, no matter what else clamors for our time. The characters that are more real to us than most of the people we know. The One is the story that owns us, mind and soul.

This is the story I will seek publication with; the story I will not stop writing until I have brought it out of my head and poured it onto the page. This is The One that will make my dreams reality.

The Fourth Wall

For those who are not writers or in theatre, the title may confuse you. We’re going to stick with writing for this post. So what exactly is the fourth wall?

In writing, the fourth wall is that level or “wall” that separates a writer and audience from the characters. In other words, the fine line that keeps reality and fiction from blending into one another. Several writers do not cross the fourth wall or break it down, but I have met a few who do. When the fourth wall is intact, the writer and the characters do not intermingle or converse with each other, nor do the characters converse with the audience. Doing so can make us writers look a bit crazy, I suppose, but in all honesty, writers are a crazy bunch to begin with, since we all have some level of schizophrenia with an outlet going on. That’s what I call it, anyway. I mean, really, we have all these voices in our heads. Writing is how we get them out. And to be honest, when we have them tweeting with one another, we’re really talking to ourselves anyway, right? However, that’s not much different than having the dialogue in the book. The only difference is that it is in real time. This is why it seems odd, and because they can talk to you, the audience.

I recently broke down this wall. Why? Because it seems to help in getting to know the characters better. For instance, Shawn – one of my vampires – recently came to Vegas with me. I know, that sounds insane, but wait for it. He tweeted his little heart out during his stay and had a blast with the Wookies and me. And yes, he did converse with me. I don’t think I have to tell you how incredibly difficult that was without Splitweet available to me. It takes a lot of time, especially from a cell phone. However, in the car ride on the way home, I let Shawn take over from my phone for a while… when I had a signal. In fact, he took it right out of my hand and taunted me with it. Now, the question is, do I really believe Shawn was in the car with us and stealing my phone from me? Absolutely not. I do know the difference between reality and fiction, and while I always say that I have one foot in the door of the world I do not currently inhabit, I do not fall completely into the world I’m in at that particular time, either.

Yes, I have blended the two worlds a bit.

Yes, it is weird.

It will always be weird to me, no matter how often I do it. I don’t think it’s much different from what J.R. Ward does with her interviews of the Brotherhood, though. She steps into their world, instead of bringing them into hers. I happen to do the opposite. Either way, her characters are as real to her as mine are to me, and as real as LeStat is to Anne Rice.

My MC (main character) for Nemesis has also spoken with me on occasion. That was during the time where I had to write the query letter and synopsis for the MS (manuscript), and having Nemy out on Twitter and talking to people, as well as to me, helped me through that process because it’s a difficult one. Her character has really come alive, and I don’t mean in the living, breathing sort of way. Many people think that Nemy is modeled completely after me. This is not entirely true. Yes, she is a 6ft tall Italian girl, but most of my heroines are tall because I don’t see a lot of that in books. Us tall girls need someone to look up to, as well, you know. Nemy has a helluva lot more backbone than I do, too. Her father is a mafia man, whereas mine is just… well, we won’t go into that. While I do have some tattoos, Nemy is practically covered with them. Nemy has also found her damn Prince Charming, the bitch. In essence, Nemy really is her own person. She has a different personality than I do. Yes, I have worked as a bartender and I have been to strip clubs before, but I have to tell you, the first bustier/corset I’ve ever worn was quite recently in Vegas. It’s not a comfortable article of clothing for me, but Nemy is quite comfortable in them. Nemy is a product of some of my experiences, yes, but at the same time, she has several of her own to work with for the story. Quite simply, Nemy and I are not the same person. No more than Kylie and me, or Nadira and me are the same, or even Armen and me. They are all unique in their worlds, as am I in mine. *I am a snowflake*

But I digress…

I think the first time I ever breached the fourth wall was during Nemy and Shawn’s fight on Twitter—the Monday Night Brawl. I spoke to one of my first-ever created characters, Kylie, who announced the entire event. I also spoke with a friend’s character during that event, which I found amusing, as it was all still new to me. That was the first time I had ever had a multi-character-from-several-different-books event, and man was that a pain in the ass, although quite entertaining. I’ll probably never do one that big again, but recently a few of the boys had a poker game. Other writers’ characters popped into that one as well, which made it even more entertaining as well as interesting.

So why is it called the fourth wall and not the third or second wall? The term originated in theatre and is an “imaginary wall” through which the audience watches the events taking place onstage. Breaking the fourth wall is used for dramatic or comedic effect, but also “reveals to the audience that the characters know they are fictional” (Wikipedia, Fourth Wall). You can read a bit more on that site.

So there you have it.

I just thought I’d give a little insight on the inner workings of one specific point of the writer’s mind, which can be a pretty damn scary place at times. So when it comes out into the open, now you’ll know that there may be a slight possibility that the writer isn’t inherently insane… so to speak. Now, the characters on the other hand, might be a completely different story.


I was going to put up a post about my Vegas weekend, but I’m kind of upset by something I discovered tonight when I got home. Actually, there are a few things I came home to, so I’ll post the Vegas thing later this week when I’ve rediscovered my bearings that have been thrown completely out of whack.