I have spoken before on this blog about seeking mental health counseling, and provided some ways to find where you can turn to find a counselor that’s just right for you to speak to. But how do you know when it’s time to talk to someone? The signs may be different for every individual, and some may not get to as far a point as others before they decide to find a therapist. But, here I will provide a guideline that has some general symptoms you should be on the lookout for that will give you a hint that it’s time to talk to someone who can help.
You feel all emotions very strongly
When you’re sad, you’re not just frowning–you’re full out sobbing. When you are angry, it’s not just a little bit–you are full of rage. Extreme emotions do occur from time to time, but should not be the norm; feelings should happen in a wide range.
You have experienced a traumatic event that you cannot seem to get past
Of course, what is considered traumatic will vary from person to person, but some examples of highly emotionally affecting experiences include breakups, deaths in the family, and careers such as military and emergency healthcare. If you are withdrawn or cannot stop thinking about the process that happened to you, it might be the time to open up to someone about it.
You don’t enjoy things you used to
You may have once had a passion for gardening, or sailing, or drawing, but you can’t seem to find the energy to commit any time to any of your favorite hobbies anymore. If you are generally bored by life, and especially those activities you used to love so much, you might be suffering from depression.
You have recurrent and unexplained aches and pains
It might not be something you realize at first, but mental health issues can manifest themselves in physical symptoms in a person’s body. If you’re always nauseated, have an aching head, or other twinges of pain, this might be a sign of anxiety.
You are disconnected from your relationships
Whether it’s from a significant other or your best friend, you don’t talk to your loved ones about your problems or much of anything. You can’t feel empathy or joy when someone shares their feelings with you. You aren’t necessarily hiding something, but you just can’t imagine they’d understand and value your problems.
Your friends and family seem worried
If you have disconnected from the ones you love, they will notice. If it goes on long enough and you don’t talk to them about it, they will worry about you and ask what’s wrong. If more than one person asks you this, it means your mental state is obvious enough to those around you that they sense that you are not yourself.
These are just a few signals that you might want to talk to a therapist about any mental health circumstances you may be facing. Trust your judgment and don’t be afraid to reach out. Help is here for you.
Beneath the Lighthouse
by Julieanne Lynch
SOME SECRETS ARE MADE TO BE UNCOVERED.
Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness’s sister is dead. Sinking into a deep depression, he frequents the lighthouse where her body was discovered, unaware of the sinister forces surrounding him.
When an angry spirit latches onto Jamie, he’s led down a dark and twisted path, one that uncovers old family secrets, destroying everything Jamie ever believed in.
Caught between the world of the living and the vengeful dead, Jamie fights the pull of the other side. It’s up to Jamie to settle old scores or no one will rest in peace—but, first, he has to survive.
Julieanne Lynch is an author of YA and Adult genre urban fantasy, crime and contemporary romance books. Julieanne was born in Northern Ireland, but spent much of her early life in London, United Kingdom, until her family relocated back to their roots.
Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland, with her husband and five children, where she is a full-time author. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University and considered journalism as a career path. Julieanne has several projects optioned for film.
Julieanne is both traditionally and independently published.
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– Winner will receive a $25 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.
It’s a scientifically proven fact that millions of people suffer from “the blues” every year around this time. If you think about it, it’s easy to come up with the reasons why. The days are shorter, giving you less time to spend outside in the sunshine. There are so many holiday functions, get togethers, and parties going on. We are dashing from shop to shop trying to finish buying gifts. We all have to-to lists that seem to never end!
Everyone might feel sad or down from time to time, but if you are experiencing a deeper feeling, which might have you shutting people out, making you lose interest in your normal activities, sleeping excessively, or not wanting to leave your house at all, it may be time to talk to a healthcare provider about what’s going on. And if you’re a person who doesn’t want to leave your house, don’t worry–with telehealth, you don’t have to. With an internet connection, an online counselor can virtually come to you!
Internet based medical and therapeutic services have been in existence for several years now. Instead of having to go out to an actual office and wait for an indeterminate amount of time, you simply request an appointment, and you will be contacted in the comfort of your own home by the provider you choose. You might have known that you can get checked out for such things as colds, sore throats, and rashes, but did you know that you can also find certified therapists and counselors in some telehealth services?
I myself have used some of these services before, and I have always been satisfied with the results. I think the best part is, you can have one session as a sort of trial, and if the counselor or just the idea of telehealth turns out to be something that’s not for you, you can always decide to go the route of traditional therapy.
Since the advent of telehealth, both medical and other services such as counselling have been accepted by more and more insurance companies as being a cost effective way to get clients seen. Thus, many insurance companies will cover the cost of virtual doctor visits. And if your insurance company does not, you should know that telehealth visits are often still less expensive than going to the traditional provider’s office and paying out of pocket for a visit.
Another fact that might be important for you to consider is that the providers on telehealth services, most of the time, have all the same privileges online that they do in their offices–meaning they can write prescriptions, thought this is not true in all states. That’s why seeing your doctor online might be a good choice if you just need to do a quick check up to get a prescription refill.
In the rush of this season, no one wants to spend unnecessary time in a doctor’s office! If you need to talk to someone, ask your doctor or insurance provider how you can connect with a telehealth service.
This Christmas Eve… no creature was
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of
the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the
extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing
contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of
Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest
dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But
what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara
Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’
Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war,
redemption, and Christmas magic.
PROLOGUELarge, white puffs floated all around me. Sinking into my flesh with their cold, yet light kisses. Every snowflake
was different, specially crafted before it fell from the sky. They were beautiful, even as they melted. I tipped my head back to catch the snow as it fell. I felt as though I was floating through air, caught in a haze of ice flakes as sugary and sweet as the icing on the gingerbread house my governess and I had made together.I stretched my arms out to my sides, spinning in place.The green forest turned with me, a wood full of large spruces perfect for Christmas trees. They were decorated as such, lighted with white candles and draped in silver tinsel. On some, icicles hung on the tips of the limbs. It was a world in which the snow was like sugar and the air smelled delicious, like freshly baked cookies. It was perfect—a world of my own making, if I was capable of crafting something so… wonderful.“Clara…”The sound of my name trilled from a distance, carried on the cool, winter wind.Turning slowly, I peered over my shoulder, catching a glimpse of a young boy my age. He was dressed in a bright
red suit, adorned with golden epaulettes. His blond hair was brushed away from his face, revealing two bright blue eyes. His lips, pink as his cheeks, curved into a smile.“Clara…”“Yes?” I asked curiously, turning to face him. As I slid my hands over my cream and ivory lace nightgown, I suddenly
felt quite foolish. My mama had always insisted I never wear my bedclothes in front of guests or visitors. And yet, here, in this strange and beautiful world, such things hardly seemed to matter. He took my hand and flashed another
warm smile as he led me to a large, white carriage.“Where are we going?” I asked softly, pausing before the door. The panels were solid ivory, adorned with a golden
handle and step.“Winter Dream,” the boy said with a relieved expression. “Home. Home to Winter Dream.”“Winter Dream?”“I’ve come to take you back, Clara. To where I am—to where all the people who love you live.”“But I don’t know where this Winter Dream is. I’ve never been there…”“Come with me,” he beckoned, squeezing my hand gently. “Come. . .”The snow fell all around us; small flakes clung to the tips of our hair and eyelashes. As much as I longed to go .
. . there was something holding me back. Something. . .As I peered behind me, a small, dark shadow began to form. It started out small, like the size of a mouse, and it
grew—or was I shrinking? The boy beside me held my hand, and his eyes grew wide with fear.“No!” I screamed, tucking myself into his shoulder. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want to know.“Clara, wait!” I heard him beg, his urgent tone tugging at my heartstrings. “Come with me, please.”“No! I want to go home!”As soon as the words poured from my lips, I woke with a start.Here, there was only me and the four walls of my bedroom. A sheer sliver of light crept through the space of an open curtain, sparkling with the bright white of the snow outside. It was quiet, as if the world had not yet woken. As if I was the only one no longer dreaming sweet things. Instead, while everyone else slept, I contained the chill of my
own strange dream.I buried myself beneath the duvet and hugged my knees to my chest. I was alone, completely and utterly alone.I closed my eyes tight, not wishing to face that Christmas morning. I wished only for the chance to slip back into my
dream. To return back to that magical world, where a boy with bright blue eyes was waiting for me. Back to the place where an enchanting land called ‘Winter Dream’ existed.
“The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and
“Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow.
Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today.
When I am home with my kids on holiday weeks such as this, I love to spend time with them watching movies I loved from my own childhood. My 10 year old always asks me about how certain things were “in the nineties” (so long ago, right?) so I show him films I grew up with. He always loves sports based movies the best, such as The Sandlot, The Mighty Ducks, and Rookie of the Year. But the one we like best is Little Giants!
For a boy, it hits all the movie marks: football, kids being funny, and fart jokes. I can appreciate it now on another level as a mom because it shows my son that you don’t always have to be the biggest and best to win, and that heart is the most important aspect of whatever you participate in. He might not quite grasp that upon watching the movie at first, but I hope he can get the message.
If you’re looking to be inspired this holiday season, the film CREED II is what you’re looking for.
“Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.”
“But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
– Rocky Balboa
Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.
The film releases in theaters on Wednesday, November 21.
The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig
by Don Zolidis
Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)
The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should’ve gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.
Yet somehow they did. Until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.
Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.
Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend and sometimes doesn’t.
Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys.Told nonsequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.
She laughed again. “You know what I’m saying?”
“Sure,” I said, realizing I had zoned out again and she had probably said something important. “It’s just like . . . ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’ By T. S. Eliot.”
“Well, yes, but I think that’s more about alienation than anything else, and what I’m talking about is acceptance. Like,
Prufrock can’t accept that he’s changed and the world is becoming different, you know?”
“Yup,” I said, crossing it off in my notebook. Shit.
You’re probably beginning to understand why I wrote down things to talk about.
“I think my favorite line,” I said, looking down at the rest of my notes, “is ‘I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.’”
“Aww,” she said. “Why?
I smiled into my pillow. I hoped she could see it too. “Because that’s how I used to feel before I met you.”
“I’m singing to you,” Amy said into the phone. “Except I really suck at singing.”
“I think the singing is metaphorical.”
“Maybe they’re like the Sirens. Luring lonely poets to their doom. And really they’ve got teeth like knives and will rip you to shreds if you come too close.”
“That pretty accurately describes my love life up to this point.”
“I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
“It’s pretty bad.”
“Oh come on.”
Amy was my first girlfriend. Well, okay, there was Jessica Southern, my junior year, who I went out with for nine days. We kissed once, and then she decided that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Which it probably was. So, twelve days into my first relationship with Amy, we had already lasted exactly 33 percent more than my previous record (yes, I had done the math).
About the Author
Originally from Wisconsin, Don Zolidis is a novelist and one of the most-produced playwrights in America.
His 102 published plays have received more than 12,000 productions and have appeared in every state and 64 countries.
His first novel, The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in October 2018.
He currently splits time between Texas and New York and aspires to owning a dog.
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3 winners will win a finished copy of THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF AMY & CRAIG, US Only.
The Girl at the Grave
by Teri Bailey Black
Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.
Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi there! I’m Teri Bailey Black, the author behind GIRL AT THE GRAVE, a YA novel of love and murder set in 1849 Connecticut. I live in Orange County, California, but feel like I spend most of my time in imaginary places. If I’m not wandering in some story, I’m probably obsessing over another creative endeavor. I love sewing, gardening, baking delicious fattening probably chocolate things, and decorating the house. And shopping! I don’t need to spend money; window shopping works too! I’m married and have four children.
2. What made you want to become a writer?
I’ve loved writing since I learned to read. I won a school writing contest when I was nine, and by the time I’d finished high school, I’d filled a small filing cabinet with my stories. Then I got married and had four children, and writing took a backseat for a while. My first child was born with severe disabilities, which brought a few extra challenges. Plus, I started a home business that took off and kept me creatively happy. Life was busy! But now my kids are teenagers, so I have more time on my hands and started writing again. I wrote aimlessly at first, trying to figure out WHAT I wanted to write, then I found the right story and some critique friends, put in the hours, attended writing conferences, endured my fair share of rejection, and finally received that wonderful phone call of success. GIRL AT THE GRAVE is my debut novel.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
So many ideas! They’re everywhere and endless. Any good book or movie gets my creative juices flowing. Some ideas drift away, others settle in, but the final idea is always quite different from the initial spark. For instance, I recently watched a History Channel show on World War II that really struck a chord in me. Ideas started flowing—but not war stories. Not even set in that era. But it made think up some interesting characters and situations. (I jotted notes but have yet to write that story.) I usually have several ideas started at once. They’re just vague, shadowy things, a few chapters written, no idea where the plot will go. Then one of the stories starts to fill out in my mind. I keep writing. As I come to understand the characters and fall in love with them, I want to write their story—so I do!
4. Tell us about The Girl at the Grave.
GIRL AT THE GRAVE is a story of murder and romance set in 1849 in Connecticut. As a child, Valentine saw her mother hanged for murdering the wealthiest man in town. She’s grown up feeling like an outcast, fending for herself in a crumbling estate. She’s worked hard to prove herself at Drake Academy and overcome her mother’s crime, but when a new string of murders strikes the town, everyone suspects her—the daughter of a killer. As Valentine hunts the killer to clear her own name, she uncovers dark secrets she’d rather keep buried. Oh, and there are a couple of good looking guys in her life as well. So basically—a Gothic murder mystery with lots of atmosphere. No ghosts. Not paranormal. (The spooky cover has confused some people.)
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
I wish I were one of those super speedy writers who pumps out books. I’m not a slooow writer—I’m probably average—but I’m definitely not a fast writing machine. For me, much of the joy is playing with the words, being creative, wandering one direction, then another, figuring out the story, changing my mind, maybe murdering a different person. I would rather take my time and get it right than get it fast. That said—I do push myself to outline and write as quickly as possible because publishing deadlines do exist. I just wrote a book in 10 months. Is that slow? I think that’s as fast as my writing brain can create.
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
The time of day makes a huge difference for me. I write really well in the wee dawn hours. I actually start writing at 4 or 5 in the morning—yes, really! The world is asleep, the house is quiet, and I can disappear into my story. Then, alas, the sun rises, the house gets noisy, time to shower and make the bed and throw in a load of laundry. I still write throughout the day, but I’m much more productive in those early morning hours. The downside: my brain melts at 8pm.
About the Author
Teri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.
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Prize: Wonderland Book Beau, size XL for a standard hardcover (USA only)
The Stranger Game
by Peter Gadol
A literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously—and criminally—out of control.
Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country.
Curious about this popular new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.
A thought-provoking, haunting novel, The Stranger Game unearths the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us in the physical and digital world, and where the boundaries blur between them.
“The Stranger Game is a sharp-toothed commentary on the ways in which ‘following’ can foster a pretense of intimacy between strangers, and how the falsity of this intimacy—its utter lack of substance—often creates a perilous hunger for more: more access, more communion, more knowledge. It’s also a fun, moody, twisty thriller, with a sun-touched, West Coast vibe…as much Joan Didion as Patricia Highsmith.” —Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins
“‘Following’ gets a whole new meaning in Peter Gadol’s stylish psychological thriller set in the future of the day-after-tomorrow. A moody, increasingly dangerous house of mirrors where the rules morph as his players become more obsessed with ‘the stranger game.’” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and The Revolution of Marina M.
“The Stranger Game is a gripping and nuanced novel that asks whom we trust and why. It is about being an insider and an outsider, about being watched and, finally being truly seen.” —Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One is Here Except All of Us
About the Author
Peter Gadol’s seven novels include THE STRANGER GAME, SILVER LAKE, LIGHT AT DUSK, and THE LONG RAIN. His work his been translated for foreign editions and appeared in literary journals, including StoryQuarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and Tin House. Gadol lives in Los Angeles, where he is Chair and Professor of the MFA Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design. Visit petergadol.com for more info on his work.
All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.
The cast includes: Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Miranda Hart, Sergei Polunin, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Omid Djalili, Jack Whitehall, Meera Syal, Ellie Bamber, Misty Copeland, with Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman. The film is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston.
Death by the River
by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Some truths are better kept secret.
Some secrets are better off dead.
Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.
And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.
The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.
He is also a psychopath.
A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.
As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.
And that someone will pay with their life.
WARNING: Readers of Death by the River will encounter situations of violence and sexual abuse which could be upsetting.
About the Authors
Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of over twenty-five novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.
Lucas Astor, Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
– 1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of DEATH BY THE RIVER by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor