transformation.

As usual, it’s been a while since I’ve last updated, so this is going to be a LONG one! I hope you’re ready.

I’m trying to figure out how to reconcile The Ronni Davis Author Brand with the Anywhere Is Ronni (who’s been on the web since 2000). And this is the website that’s in the Edelweiss link for my book, which is really strange… I have no idea how they even found it. But one thing I always try to live by is what you see is what you get, so if you came here from there, welcome to my personal blogspace! This is me!

(Also, if you came from there, I recommend you go look at my author page. It’s way more professional, and that’s where you’ll find out about all my books and news and stuff!) 🙂

As usual, most of my life updates happen on twitter or instagram, so if you’re not following me on either or both of those, why the heck not?

Since I always wait so long in between updates, and my last update was more than an entire season ago, I will do a bulleted rundown of the biggest things that went down.

April
• Met Kacen Callender, who acquired my book when they were still at Little Brown. Now they’re an amazing author in their own right! And a dear friend 💖

• Kindling Words West writing retreat, which was amazing. Met new friends, wrote lots of words, got some nature, and ate delicious, healthy food. Such a great experience!

• I came off the crutches and started sleeping without the leg brace
• Got let go from Sherwin-Williams
• Found out that our lease wasn’t being renewed on May Street (thanks gentrification), so had to go apartment hunting (Adam had been there nearly 15 years, I’d been there 11)
• Packed, sorted, donated, and trashed stuff on stuff on stuff
• Signed lease on gorgeous new apartment!

• Was cleared to remove leg brace for good!

May
• Moved to new place, which is 30 minutes north of where we used to be, 3x the size of the old place, and in the most ethnically diverse neighborhood I’ve ever lived in
• Started yoga again
• Attended #MMC30, where I got to meet Mouseketeers I’d looked up to since the 90s, reunite with old Mouseketeer friends, and meet/reunite with friends I’ve known for ages from the MMC fandom! It was such a good weekend, and I got so many amazing hugs. There was food, and dancing, and tears, entertainment and so much love. After, I spent a couple of short days at Disney World with my friend Nikki (the redhead), and got to meet my instagram pal Delaney (the Snow White miniature)!

• Attended MegaCon for a few hours and got to meet David Tennant!
• Went down to physical therapy 2x a week
• Started seeing my chiropractor again
• Woke up every day in my new apartment like “I can’t believe I get to live here!”

June
• Continued to get settled in the new place
• Filmed a video tour of the new place

• LOVING my office

• Went down to 1x a week for physical therapy
• Started seriously writing again
• Got the news that the bone was completely healed and that I could officially return to exercising (lol). Therapist took that as the cue to really start pushing me to regain my strength and flexibility
• Saw Sarah Dessen again!! And signed an ARC of my book for her! (And I was shaking the whole time. Sarah Dessen is my main inspiration and idol, and to sign one of MY books for her was incredible)

• Changed my hair!

Trying something new hair wise
• Said goodbye to our dear Crookshanks. He was 18 years old. So very missed, this guy.


The reason I picked the title TRANSFORMATION for this blog post is that 2019 is the year I feel like there is something seriously at work in my life. Between breaking my knee, and losing my job, and having to move, I’ve been kind of knocked for a loop. Definitely kicked far out of my comfort zone.

So is it any surprise that when I wind down at night, my YouTube go-tos (besides my favorite Simmers) are videos that are some sort of transformation? Car detailing, disaster house cleaning sessions, restorations, makeovers? The worse off the before, the more satisfying it is to see things made shiny and new again. Maybe I feel a kindred spirit with all that change, or maybe it’s just satisfying, a constant in my life, which, if the acid churning in my stomach is anything to go by, is needed because somehow I don’t think 2019 is finished with me.

When I got let go in April, I vowed to not go back into an office if I could help it, but I don’t think I’ll have a choice. I have medical debt out the wazoo, and with no money coming in right now, things are about to turn bad really fast. It sucks, but the possibility of a repeat of 2006–2007 is almost inevitable. And I’m not happy about that at all. Just a string of weird luck and now I’m staying up all night worrying about money despite taking a full dosage of Benadryl.

When I tell people I broke my patella, they’re gobsmacked. Even my personal doctor was gobsmacked. Apparently this injury is quite rare. I won’t even say how it happened… people are always unimpressed with the truth and tell me I should make up something cooler. Aidan wants me to tell a story involving pirates. Sometimes he will tell the story for me. With pirates.

Because I am/was a contractor, I didn’t have job security. No disability leave. And the medical bills are constantly rolling in. My ambulance bill is nearly $1000. This is with insurance, which I’m paying a $530/month premium on. I can’t even imagine how terrible it would be for someone who isn’t covered.

I’m doing a project for a client now, and it’s not difficult. I don’t mind it at all. And I can do it from home. But this will finish up on July 12, and then what? I need more work!

Barring a financial miracle, back into an office I’ll have to go to avoid a repeat of 2006–2007. I have debt, I have medical bills, and I hate not being able to support friends and artists and surprising people with fun things. Not to mention just buying the snacks and makeup I like.

Hopefully someone will have me this fall!

But I’m putting this into the Universe:
• Please let me nail these proposals so I get at least one new book deal in the year of our Lord 2019
• I get a permanent or long-term work-from-home part time job (or full time, whatever) in the fall season of 2019. I just work better when I’m in my own office, surrounded by my inspirational things and my toys and my books, listening to my music, and wearing my comfy leggings and tee-shirts

I know how I work best. I know how I can be great. But I also know life doesn’t always bend to cater to me. So I’m trying to fit in. To be “normal.” But then I get panic attacks and migraines, so I don’t even know.

In the meantime, I know I am changing.  New hair, as you saw earlier in the post. New place. New me. Suddenly, I am a clean freak, when before, I was just too tired and overwhelmed to care. I am still pants at coming up with yummy things for dinner, but one night I made some really tasty chicken parmesan and I feel like that’s the first time I’ve ever cooked chicken parmesan… 🤔 But the key was to sear the chicken first, then put on all the stuff, and bake it. It was delicious, maybe I’ll make a sandwich of that for dinner today…

Anyway. WTF? Yesterday I baked brownies and scrubbed all the small appliances. I don’t understand me anymore.


Just over 120 days until my book comes out. Still 6 months away so I’m not stressing too much, but it really is time to start thinking about marketing efforts. I know my publicist has some things in the works, and I think the timeline for things to jump off kicks into gear sometime in August. As it is, the ARC has made its way into readers hands, and I’ve gotten some lovely messages and emails, beautiful bookstagram posts, and someone (who you should follow because her posts are so cute) made the most ADORABLE fan art of Ashton and Devon:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by fanbookart (@fanbookart) on

The first time I got a reader message, I was floored. I cried. Because now all the hard work, the stress, the tears, the giving up and starting again was all worth it. It had been worth it already… but getting a letter from a reader who is thanking me for writing that book… I can’t even describe what that feels like. It’s a whole other level of gratitude. The readers are who this is all about. The main thing I’m hearing is “This is the book I didn’t know I needed.” And it’s amazing to see that. It’s kind of incredible, learning that my words have touched readers like that…also makes me want to work harder on my next book. Which is a whole other can of stress!!

But, my book is up for preorders, and you can get it at any of these retailers:

amazon • b&n • indiebound • chapters

Cool right?? Also, my book was one of BEA’s YA Fall Buzz Books! Which is awesome because I was mixed in with some great company!


And one last thing! I graduated from physical therapy on July 1! I’m so proud I did it. Even when it got hard, I kept going.  Now I just need to keep up with the exercises. 😬

After falling and breaking my knee in February 2019, and having an emergency surgery to fix all the things... I went from crutches to brace only to walking on my own... all with the help of Mandie and the team at PhysioPartners. Months of rehab and I can
Life keeps throwing things at me and somehow I’m pushing through. I’m sure I’ll look back on 2019 like WOW WHAT A YEAR and with fondness… but I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a bit of a challenge sometimes.

But the second half is starting, and my book comes out in the fall and that’s exciting!! Also my birthday and Christmas and omg it’s only July I need to slow the eff down.

Anyway, I guess that’s all for now. I know there are a lot more feels in there, but I’m too tired to pull them out now. The Benadryl is kicking in, but first it’s asking for a snack. And this post is already super long. I don’t even feel like proofreading it.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me looking cute at Disney World in May. Till next time!

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soul searching.

Hey friends, how’s it going?

Life is.. weird over here. If you’ve been following my socials, you know, but just in case you haven’t…

Here’s what’s good:

-one-

I GOT ARCs! ARCs are Advance Review Copies; uncorrected proofs that will be sent out to trader reviewers, bookstores, book bloggers, and other authors for potential blurbs. I have a copy of my book that I can HOLD IN MY HANDS and I’m just… wow.

IT’S GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER TO BEING A REAL BOOK!

With that, my pre-order links have gone up, so if you want a copy of my book, you can get it from any of these fine retailers:

amazon • b&n • indiebound • chapters

-two-

People have been ordering my book! I know this because amazon tosses up orange ribbons from time to time. I try not to stalk my book too much, but sometimes my friends will show me!

I mean… what??!!??

-three-

I got to moderate a panel at C2E2, a comics and entertainment convention that takes place in Chicago every year. This was my first time attending, and it is the COOLEST. Maybe my favorite con of all time. So, I got to be a moderator, and it was at a cool con, and it was an official author type thing, and I loved it so, so, so much. More of this in my life, please.

I mean, I got to be a guest and have a page on the website and everything. Wow!!

-four-

I started an author newsletter. You can sign up here! I’ve sent out 3 issues, which you can see here if you’d like. I think they’re a good time, but I might be biased!!

So yeah, some good things for sure. I’m hanging in there, I am. Spring is here. Well, it’s “technically” here. Weather wise… well, winter isn’t giving up without a fight. Which is normal for Chicago.

Where I’ve lived for 11 years now. WTF.


Here’s what’s weird:

First thing: my hair is super thin now and will not hold any curl. At all. And that’s depressing. I’ve ruined it and I’m either going to cut it all off and start over or get extensions. OK, who am I kidding? I’m not going to do anything.

I miss my curls, though.

Second thing: I’m gaining weight and I don’t like it. Mainly because I don’t feel like buying new clothes.

Third thing: shortly after I posted my last post, I came down with a migraine that felt like stabbing knives and ice picks through my brain. Then the week after that, I was blessed with the worst panic attack I’d had in at least 12 years. That happened while I was at my desk at work and IT WAS NOT FUN.

Have you ever had a panic attack? It had been so long that I’d forgotten what it felt like. I wanted to literally rip my skin off, then crawl under my desk and burst into tears. My stomach was messed up, I didn’t feel like myself, and I hated every second of it. My dear friend Wanda helped me hold it together through texts. I made it through the day and pretty much collapsed when I finally got home. Adam brought me McDonald’s.

I still don’t know what happened. :(

A week later, as I was walking across the bridge to the shuttle on my way to work, I fell and couldn’t get up. I had to ride in an ambulance (a first), and I got an X-ray. This X-ray, in fact:

You’ll know when you see it.

I had to have surgery the next day, and I haven’t been back to work since.

That was 3 and a half weeks ago. The knee is healing (although it’s still warm and swollen which I don’t like). I’m in physical therapy 3 days a week, and I have to do exercises every day. I’m slowly getting better. I use crutches to get around for the most part. I’m trying not to overdo it, but the world doesn’t slow down for a broken knee. I have painkillers for the bad nights, which, luckily, are few and far between anymore.

I didn’t know an injury like this messed with one mentally and emotionally as well as physically. It hasn’t been easy. But I’m managing. And trying to focus on the good.

  1. I didn’t break any teeth
  2. I’m expected to make a full recovery
  3. The cost of the surgery sucked up my 2019 deductible and out-of-pocket maximum, so yay for that
  4. No commuting for now!

Now….

Soul searching. Trying to figure out what’s next. I really don’t fancy getting back into the rat race of commuting and having to be “on” for 12 hours a day. But I need to make money. Steady money. Good money. Because I have at least $8K in medical bills coming and I need to figure out how to pay for that along with my other bills. Which means work-life balance is about to fly out the window … as I will need to work, work work.

And I need to write, which is not good money (yet). I’m also scared to write. I don’t know if I’ll even have time to write, since I’ll have to take on as much freelance as I can for the foreseeable future.

But that doesn’t stop me from wanting other stuff. I want to travel. I’m still healing. I have debt. My apartment is a mess. There’s always a million things to do and organize and sort out, and it’s so hard to get motivated. Or I get motivated at the wrong damn times (like when I should be sleeping, hence the insomnia yay). I have too much stuff (especially clothes and books) and I need to get rid of a lot of it. I want to play the Sims and watch Netflix. I want to sleep.

I know other stuff I want, but I’m scared to get it. And then my mind goes round and round and I get all tense and freaking out in my brain and even though I’m exhausted, I can’t sleep at night and my appetite is super weird and I’m TIRED.

So yeah. Soul searching. But I don’t think I’m doing it right.

Told ya things were weird over here.

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precious free time.

Weekends are way too short. Now that I’m working outside of the home again, with an hour commute each way, my free time has become very limited. After working from home for three years, I’m still adjusting, even after four months, to the sheer amount of resources dedicated to having a full time job in an office again.

There is the financial cost. Now I have to pay for a monthly commuter pass, when before I paid as I went. Since I didn’t use the train or buses more than once or twice a week at most… well, that’s an increase.

I try not to buy lunches out, as that can add up. $10 a day, $50 a week, $200 a month? No thanks! I take my lunch in most of the time, and I’ll buy lunch only as a treat from time to time.

New clothes (we can only wear jeans on Friday), new expensive headphones (I work in a busy area, and that’s no good when you’re an introverted proofreader), new shoes, because boots are not comfy all day, and my others were either athletic shoes or falling apart.

Energetically, I’m exhausted every day when I come home. Constant people people people. I like my co-workers. But I wish, all the time, for a quiet office where I can work in the dark.

But the hardest cost is the time cost. Eight or more hours, five days a week where my time is not my own. Two hours of commuting back and forth. The prep time every morning and every evening…. that’s another 2–3 hours. If I have freelance work to do, or stuff for my book, or other assorted administrative things to do., plus dinner…well, that’s my entire day.

My personal to do lists are towering. My apartment and bedroom is a mess. I haven’t unpacked from Disney World. Because when the weekend rolls around, I’m exhausted. I crash the whole time.

I have plans and lists. Clean. Organize. Exercise. Sims! Read ALL the things. Shop (I need new ear plugs, gloves, boots, work pants). Write!

But instead. Instead.

I sleep. I play games on my iPad. I read. Sunday night comes way too quickly. And I spend the weekend desperate for Friday night, so the next weekend, I can maybe do better.

I never do better.

I have to figure out how to do better.

Because I do like the work I do. And I do like the office; it’s very pretty. As I said, I like my co-workers. And I LOVE having a steady income. I’m in debt again, and I like supported my artist friends. I like buying books and makeup and traveling.

I just have to figure out… how to balance things better.

But in the meantime…

Rest. It’s time to start a new week.

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hi there, 2019.

19 is my favorite number, and this is the first (and barring any major scientific breakthroughs) and last time I’ll get to have it as the actual year! How exciting!

The last few years have been rough on a general, worldly scale. Seems like every day in the news there is something horrible happening. I hope 2019 brings some big, positive changes for good people trying to do good things.

I hope I am a good person and that I keep focus on doing good things.

The year started off with me sleeping in a bit, finishing up a deadline, relaxing, reading, and writing. Tonight’s dinner menu was pork loin and green beans.

Tomorrow, I’m back to work for real. I’d been back since December 26, but it was very slow in the office, and the floor was quiet and chill. I don’t anticipate things getting too out of hand this week, but next week is sure to be ramped up to 100. I started just as the busiest year ever was winding down, so soon I’ll get to see what it’s really like.

I’m only a little bit nervous.

When I look at the things I hoped to accomplish last year and beyond, these are the ones that I managed to land:

– a publishing contract
(my book sold! eeee!)
– read at least 25 new books (at least 10 by POC)
(I read 37 new books, and 20 were by POC)
– travel to at least one place, domestic or international
(I went to Jekyll Island, Disney World, the Smoky Mountains, Atlanta, Charleston, and Cleveland)
– do more yoga
(before I started a new day job, I was going every week for a while there. still not ideal, but better than before)
– walk more
(the commute made this necessary! plus I went to Disney World. naturally lots of walking there!)
– take more pictures!!
(definitely did this one!)

As I’ve said in the past, I don’t really do resolutions. I like to set goals. Actually, intentions. Things I want to accomplish, changes I’d like to make, but not necessarily within the confines of the 365 days. Some of these goals are recycled, because let’s face it. I am who I am and the same things I’ve been working on all this time are probably the same things I’ll be working on for the rest of my life. But it’s OK. I’m a work in progress, and that’s fine. (The purple ones are new for 2019!)

Intentions for 2019:
– I want a joyful, energetic body.
– I want a loving, compassionate heart.
– I want a restful, alert mind.
– I want lightness of being.

In 2019, I NEED to:
– DRINK LESS SODA (And only ginger ale if I *do* have it. I’m talking no more than once or twice a month.)
– DRINK MORE WATER
– exercise more
– walk more
– write more (this novel NEEDS to come out of me. It’s been in there for nearly 3 years now)
– make more money
– pay off at least one big credit card
– spend less time on social media
– spend more time working toward my goals
– spend more time with my loved ones
– declutter and clean my bedroom
– go somewhere cool
– take even more pictures

In 2019, I hope to:
– read at least 35 new books (at least 10 by POC)—up from 25 last year
– do a better job of keeping the place clean and neat-looking
– travel to at least one place, domestic or international
– have financial comfort
– have more fresh, whole foods and less meat in my diet
– eat less fast food
– get in better physical shape
– make new friends and appreciate the friends I already have even more
– do more self care (massages, positive self talk, spa days, etc.)
– journal more
– save money
– be more brave with my writing
– write more snail mail letters
– maintain a work-life balance that also sustains my lifestyle

In My Dreams for 2019:
– a new publishing contract
– my creative well running over
– discipline to complement and honor the creative well
– happiness and health for me and my loved ones
– hitting at least one best-seller list
– things I want to hold close, for now

Looking Forward To:
MY BOOK!! NOVEMBER 12, 2019!!!!
– summer
– new books and music discoveries
– writing this novel (or whatever novel comes out of me)
– trying to grow my hair longer
– seeing where my writing takes me!

Here’s hoping that 2019 is filled with love, light, peace, happiness, good health, amazing opportunities, and positivity for all of us. Be willing to let go of what does not serve you to make room for that which does. Sending it to me and all of you.

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year in review: 2018

Was 2018 a good year for you?
2018 started off rough, not gonna lie. I got sick twice, I lost my sweet Fi, and some publishing things didn’t work out like I’d hoped. My day job ended in April, and while I needed the break I did worry about money. I got frozen shoulder. Too many migraines. Depression was right there all the time, just waiting to take over. Sometimes it did. I felt lonely and exhausted and like all I did was mess up and disappoint people. I had to take a major break from social media and the writing community because my head was a mess.

Lots of tears and frustration in those first months.

But then on May 1, I had a spa day which included a chakra balancing. And suddenly, I felt a shift. Things started changing. I started feeling hope and strength again.

I visited my mommy. I took the time off to rest and enjoy playing The Sims. I started meeting new people. I started getting more interest in my book.

Summer came and things completely shifted! Adam and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary, and he asked me to plan a trip to Disney for later in the year! We went to Atlanta and Jekyll to visit family and see friends. I started seeing a chiropractor. I got to go to Tennessee and I saw a baby bear!

In the fall, I got a new job which was OK, but then I landed a better job, with a reverse commute and a great team and more pay. My son turned 16!

But my BIGGEST NEWS is that my book sold. My first novel is going to be published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers, my dream publisher. November 12, 2019, my book will be on shelves, but I’ll let you know when you can pre-order it.

My BOOK SOLD. To my DREAM PUBLISHER. I’ve been pursuing this seriously since 2005. Thirteen years. And I still can’t believe it’s happening.

What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
– SOLD A NOVEL!
– stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort
– rode Slinky Dog Dash
– saw a baby bear in the wild!
– rode a chairlift
– had a chakra balancing
– had a real photo shoot
– attended YALLFEST

Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

Did anyone close to you die?
I lost my dear Fi in February.

What countries did you visit?
I stayed domestic this year. But in the US, I visited Florida, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, and Wisconsin

What date(s) from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 24, 2018: the day I lost my dear Fi
May 1, 2018: RESET
June 13, 2018: the day I got THE CALL that my novel had sold!
July 27, 2018: 10 years!
September 18, 2018: When I got to officially announce my book deal. I got SO MUCH LOVE I cried!
November 27, 2018: the day I started the job that (so far) I really, really like

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I SOLD MY NOVEL!


(ashton: linneart.tumblr.com | devon: alexiscastellanos.com)

I’m so happy you’ll get to meet these two dreamy teens this November!

What was your biggest failure?
– keeping the apartment clean. EPIC FAIL on that one.
– not keeping up with my gratitude journal as regularly as I’d have liked.
– not eating enough leafy greens.
– not doing enough yoga or barre.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
– frozen shoulder (started in April, seemingly “thawing” now)
– the flu (January)
– migraines, ugh

Where did most of your money go?
bills, books, travel, gaming

What song(s) will always remind you of 2018?
– thank u, next—Ariana Grande
– God is a Woman—Ariana Grande
– All The Stars (f. SZA)—Kendrick Lamar
– Never Fall In Love (f. MØ)—Jack Antonoff
– Warrior—Chloe x Halle
– I Like that—Janelle Monet
– Sober II (Melodrama)—Lorde

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– ***writing***
– yoga
– moving my body in general
– learning
– traveling
– journaling
– connecting with my friends
– spending time with my mommy

What do you wish you’d done less of?
– eating junk food
– procrastinating
– being afraid

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– EXES
– MØ
– King Princess
– Ariana Grande (I know I’m so late but she’s a QUEEN)

What did you want and get?
– a trip to Disney World
– an upgraded computer for gaming
– a BOOK DEAL!

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– a visit to Morton Arboretum
– a trip abroad
– long hair

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 44. I worked, then came home and collapsed. But to be fair, I’d been at Disney just recently, and wore the birthday button, and had many mini-celebrations, and that was fun!

What kept you sane?
– therapy
– friends
– The Sims

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I guess no one this year 🤔

What political issue stirred you the most?
😡

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
I NEED to find a viable work-life balance! My family and leisure time is important, and I have to find a way to not work all the time but still make decent money. I’m tired, the place is a wreck, and I am doing stuff all the time but I don’t feel like any progress is being made. Something’s broken and needs to be fixed soon!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
at home: PJs, yoga pants, leggings, tops
out and about: skinny jeans and tops or sweaters

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
making more money

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? in the middle
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter, definitely fatter
iii. richer or poorer? poorer (for now)

In 2019, I’m looking forward to:
My official debut year! I’m so excited (and nervous) about what’s in store! 😱

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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