Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#Diabetes Rears It's Ugly Head In The World of the #FatChick



Welcome back to Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick. Last week I touched upon my health issues with my obesity and high blood pressure taking center stage. The day after that post, I got another call from my doctor with the rest of the blood test results.

I'm diabetic. Type II diabetic to be precise.  It's the most common form of diabetes and also called non-insulin dependent or adult onset diabetes. It's really not a club I'd hoped to be joining any time soon, but as I said last week, I did this to myself and now it's time to pay the piper.

When I shared my diagnosis with family and friends in private and on Facebook, I got several comments that struck me as odd.  

"Oh, how can this happen?"  
"So sorry to hear. That's just horrible."
"No more sugar for you."

LOL! You know what I thought when I saw the results online? "Damn. Well, I have something else to motivate me now."  Yep. It was almost a relief to get the numbers. I am 148 mg/dl.  The high end of normal for this lab is 122.  It's not horrendous, but it is high enough to warrant testing my blood sugar daily.  Good Goddess! I hate needles!  So far it's only going to be those little lancets and no insulin.

With my obesity, it was only a matter of time before I flipped from being pre-diabetic into the diabetic state. I have to own that, accept I DID THIS TO MYSELF and let it go. Now I can use it as a goal for my plan to get healthy. I'm not going to wallow in the poor me stuff. I've had enough of that!

Just over the last week alone, I've lost six pounds. I've cut out coke and other soft drinks completely. I've increased the amount of fruit and veggies in my diet and continue to drink the water like a fiend. The water is great for me anyway but it's the blood pressure medication that's added to the increased thirst—also the weight loss as it's a diuretic! BONUS!  LOL




Through my doctor, I've signed up for a Diabetes management class. There they'll go over the lifestyle changes that go along with the diagnosis, food choices, exercise programs and of course testing my blood daily with my new One Touch Ultra 2. 




I just started using the machine yesterday and still getting used to stabbing my fingers.  It was a bit messy the first time, but today my technique improved. You would think a veterinarian would be more graceful with this machine, but noooooo. Not this chica! LOL

So for those of you reading about my diagnosis and feel sorry for me? Don't. Like I've said numerous times, I DID THIS TO MYSELF. I've got no one else to blame. Yes the amount of stress in my life contributed to it, but my uncontrolled overeating made me morbidly obese and put me at risk for so much more than high blood pressure and type II diabetes. I thank the Goddess I've got myself back on track and hopefully will have all these conditions under control in no time.

Until next week my friends,
~Tammy




Thursday, September 19, 2013

#Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick: New Weekly Feature with @dochappycamper



Welcome to the first post of the Memoirs of a Forty Something Fat Chick.  I’m “The Fat Chick, “ aka “The Vixen,” Lia Michaels, Stephanie Ryan and Tammy Dennings Maggy. With all those alter ego’s in one body, it’s a wonder I don’t weigh more than I already do.  I’ve got a lot on my plate and taking on more. I must be insane. Scratch that. I know I’m insane.

So why the memoirs?

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by the title of this feature, I’m forty-something—well, forty-six to be exact and knocking closely on forty-seven’s door. I’ve always been happy to celebrate my birthdays as aging really didn’t bother me. I’m actually excited to get to the milestones coming next. Unfortunately, my body isn’t down with the program.

As far back as I can remember I’ve had trouble with my weight. Not just a few extra pounds mind you, but by just about anyone’s standards I can be called obese. Morbidly obese. Don’t get me started on my BMI. It’s well over the limit.  I’ve tried and been successful at just about every single diet known to the free world: The Cabbage Soup Diet, Adkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Slimfast, starvation, exercise until I keel over plans and other variations of the low carb to no carb fads. 

Successful at each and every single one of them—until I let the little things slip.  It starts with no longer measuring out the portions and just eyeballing them.  The mindless snacking slips in there with the excuse, “one scoop of ice cream won’t hurt. I’ll just do another half hour on the elliptical.”  The exercise is the next to leave camp. It’s not a slow trickle either. It starts with skipping one session, then another and another until finally it’s been a few months before I ever pick up my hand weights or kick it with Leslie Sansone and her Walk Away the Pounds routines.

It all just stops.

Before I know it, the 150, yes that’s ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY pounds I dropped the last go around is almost a memory. Over the last two years, I’ve regained eighty (80) of those pounds and I feel miserable.  I’ve no one else to blame but myself for this. I know I’m an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy and when I’m sad.  I eat when I’m stressed or relaxed. It doesn’t matter. If it’s there, I’ll eat it. 

So why not just jump back on the Healthy Band Wagon and lose the weight again?

There’s a bit more going on with this fat chick. I finally have the support system to do this. My first husband never gave a rip what I did with my life or with my health. It’s why we’re no longer together…well, one of the reasons.  My current hubby and love of my life is just the opposite. He’s there in my corner every step of the way. Even with that, I still resisted.  I was afraid to make an appointment with a new doctor and be lectured.  I know I’m fat and I know what I need to do to get rid of it. I was afraid of starting up with the exercise again because of the aches and pains I’ve been having.  It hasn’t been just my knees, shoulder and back, but I’ve had some chest pain as well.

I was scared to try again for fear I’d make things worse.  But you see? By not doing anything, I made things worse with each passing day.  I needed the strength to stop wallowing in self-pity, take the much deserved scolding from the doctor and BUCK UP BUTTERCUP! 

What really helped me make the appointment with the new doctor was reading the memoir of my good friend, Amber Lea Easton.  She wrote about the loss of her husband due to suicide and how she and her family had to cope with it all.  My heart broke for her and it broke again when I thought of what I’d put my husband through if I kept on my same path.  Instead of the decades together as we’d planned, I’d be lucky to be around for another five.

Walking into the doctor’s office was the scariest thing I’ve had to do since getting up in front of the class in high school for my first speech.  I swore all eyes were on me as I made my way to the elevators to take me to the third floor.  Never mind others milled about all over the facility in worse shape than me, I just knew all were watching and judging ME.  

Yes, that’s a bit melodramatic but hey, I’m a writer! Of course I’d make it all scary and weepy eyed.

Article on weight loss for those over 40

I was scared going in there but put immediately at ease by both the assistant and the doctor.  As we went over my family history of breast cancer, high blood pressure, colon cancer, heart disease, COPD and obesity, not once did the doctor judge me. She was concerned yes, but determined to help me get back on track.  We discussed everything I’d need to help me along including staring on blood pressure medication until my weight began to drop. I needed help to not stroke out during workouts and this would do just that.

She also prescribed a pain medication for my back and hip so I could use it if needed in order to sleep. I didn’t want to have anything stronger than Tylenol and ibuprofen while working at the veterinary hospital. She agreed. She listened to all of my concerns and told me I wasn’t crazy for being scared. There was a real good possibility I’d harm myself further if I didn’t have the physical before starting my exercise regimen.

So by the end of that visit, I was poked, prodded and squished.  In other words, had a full exam, blood drawn for testing, tetanus shot updated and had my boobs squished for the mammogram.  Whew! Oh and I have another appointment for follow up blood work in a week to be sure the blood pressure medication isn’t lowering my potassium too much.

Did I tell you I’m afraid of needles?  LOL!  Yep.  Thank the Goddess for the phlebotomist and the nurse who administered my tetanus shot. I didn’t feel a thing and am only a tiny bit sore today.  I had anticipated not being able to use my arm today at all but all’s well.  I even got in some yoga.

Goddess! I’ve missed the yoga and all the other exercises I had worked up to in the past. I didn’t realize just how much until I started again today.

No more excuses! This Fat Chick is taking her life back. I’m gonna be around for a hell of a long time so you all might as well pull up a chair. I have three pen names, a publishing house, household and job as a full time veterinarian to keep up with. I've worked hard to get to this place in my life and I'll be damned if I'm going to go out without a fight. Glad you're here with me.

We’ll have lots to talk about each week as I go on this journey. There’ll be ups and downs, milestones and set-backs.  Bring it! I’m not afraid anymore.

Until next time,

~Tammy 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

@dochappycamper Says: There's More to #Romance Novels Than the #Sex Scenes


I've been sitting back on the sidelines watching a bit of drama unfold in the publishing world. Well, I should say in the self publishing world. I'm sure this sort of thing happens with traditional publishers too from time to time, but not to the extent it does with the Indie/self published group. Now that I've entered the publisher realm with starting up Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC, I've noticed this particular problem occurring more often than ever. 

You all know my opinion of authors and publishers labeling stories of whatever length, "erotic" when they're barely sensual at best. I've written blog articles as myself, The Vixen and Lia Michaels on this very topic. Don't worry, I won't go into it again here, but today's topic is related.

Glancing through the descriptions of some of the "romance" books on Amazon, Smashwords, ARe and other sites, I've spotted a few that don't quite fit the bill of a romance. That in itself didn't raise my hackles up all the way. What really got my blood simmering was listening to other authors talk about their current works in progress. Not one of them had any elements in their books to justify the romance genre label and yet it's exactly how they were going to market it.

What??? Where on earth do these folks get the idea that slapping in a sex scene or two makes their book a romance?  

Before I answer that question, how about I fill you in on what actually makes up a romance, regardless of the genre. Whether it's erotic, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, historical, or contemporary all follow the same set of rules. 

  1. The primary focus is on the RELATIONSHIP and ROMANTIC LOVE between two (or more in the case of menage) individuals.
  2. There must be a happily ever after for the couple or at least a happy for now. Some romance series have the HFN with the HEA coming in the following book.
  3. The conflict and climax of the novel must relate to the relationship between the two main characters. They must overcome these conflicts in order to build their relationship and future together.
Notice how in all three items the central theme is the love story between the main couple. If you write a story where your heroine spends 90% of the story doing anything and everyone other than the one she thinks is her soul mate, you can't label it a romance.

At least 70% of the story has to center around the couple who'll get the HEA at the end. You can't just have the hero show up in the last scene and declare his undying love for your heroine without showing any of the story of how he got to that point. Well, you can do it, but it's still NOT a romance and you shouldn't try to label it as such.

"But romance novels do so well in sales. I want to be a part of that too."
Then go ahead and write one. Just don't take another fiction genre and try to squeeze it into the romance world unless you're willing to do some serious rewrites. 

Why can't I write a science fiction romance?
You can. You just have to make the main focus of your story the ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP between your hero and heroine or whatever romantic pairing you choose. 

You can write any kind of romance be it LGBT, paranormal, historical, science fiction, fantasy or contemporary as long as the main focus of the entire story is the relationship between your main couple. Period. End of story.

Well, I'm just going to label it a romance and see how it goes.
Good luck with that. You'll find romance readers, other authors and reviewers won't take too kindly to it. Get ready to develop a very thick skin. You're writing may be flawless and error free. Your e-book formats can look perfect on any e-reader but you will be slammed in reviews for not delivering what you promised...a ROMANCE.

So where do authors get the idea just adding a sex scene to their work makes it a romance?  
More often than not they just assume that's all they need. No research into the genre. No reading actual romances to get the feel of what they need to do. If you want to write in any genre, it pays for you to do your research to be sure your work fits the guidelines. Read books by different authors in these genres to see if you enjoy them first as a reader. If not, you have no business writing in that genre. Find another one.

Recently I've received numerous submission requests to my publishing house Sassy Vixen Publishing. Nearly all of them have been labeled as romances—almost half of those are definitely NOT

When I do open up for submissions, there will be multiple fiction genres, not just romance. Some of these early submissions fall into those non-romance categories and I'll be happy to consider them at a later time—without the romance label.

By marketing your work in the incorrect genre, you sell yourself short. Don't be in such a rush to get published that you force your writing into a slot it will never fit into. 

Find your own niche, put your best work out there, and shine for all to see.

Until next time
~Tammy 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

#Sockpuppets Run Amok on Goodreads: When Will It Be About the WRITING Again?




Hello everyone! Welcome to Not Enough Time in the Day. 

Once again we're faced with the sad inappropriate actions of a few people. First we have the author creating multiple accounts on Amazon in order to move his book up the ranks and slam his competition with low rated reviews. It was because of him Amazon randomly deletes reviews written by an author for another simply because they are "competition." Nevermind the reviews are four and five stars.

Then we have people abusing the tagging system on Amazon, using it as a way to bully the author or overall just make asses of themselves. Amazon took the tagging system away because of that childish behavior on the main site. The UK and other sites seem to have it still...for now.

Then we get "writers" stealing the work of published authors and passing it off as their own. Not just a sentence or two here and there, mind you but the ENTIRE BOOK, only bothering to change a few names.

Let's not forget the war between authors and reviewers/book bloggers. This one is ongoing, ebbing and flowing depending on the week. 

Now we're back to sockpuppets again on Goodreads. What on earth possesses an author to spend time to create over 160 fake accounts just to move a newly published book up the ranks of readers lists? What possible motive is there other than making an ass out of himself?   Why not take that extra energy and actually PROMOTE your work on the social media sites. Go on and get to know potential readers instead of creating them.

All those four and five star reviews given to yourself? They mean NOTHING. Your attempts to low ball your competition actually brings them more publicity and more sales. Go ahead and keep doing what you're doing buddy! The authors you've attacked are now reaping the benefits while you will be persona non grata very soon. 

Check out my post on Behind Closed Doors and that of Travis Luedke to find out more. Spread the word and help us stop this author and all those like him. We know who you all are. It's only a matter of time before the rest of the world knows too.

Just sayin'
~Tammy