Guest Post: Redemption by Author Mike Schlossberg

Note From Anthony Avina: 

 

Hi there everyone! I am thrilled to share with you an amazing guest blog post from an author I will be working with in the months to come. Please read and enjoy this post from author Mike Schlossberg on how he came up with the title for his book Redemption and how others can learn from it. 

 

 

My book is called Redemptionand it’s about depression, anxiety and saving the world. From the blurb:

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Now, here’s the question I keep getting: Why is it called Redemption?

First is the obvious: It’s the name of the ship. But it’s the name of the ship in the book for a reason.

Okay. So I wrote this thing not just to tell a science fiction story, but to tell a story of mental illness and give those who suffer hope. That’s sort of been my driving force, as an elected official and advocate for the mentally ill. And to be perfectly honest, that permeates just about every facet of the book. Including the name of the ship.

I named it Redemption because I think the idea of guilt – and seeking Redemption – was and is a big part of my depression. Guilt is a common symptom of depression. It’s something I certainly got to know in a very personal way. And I spent most of my life searching for redemption. I desperately wanted to be redeemed from some unknown sin. And I think that’s something that’s relatively common among those who have suffered.

The entire plot is, at it’s core, a redemption story, but not from a sin: From mental illness, from depression and from anxiety. It’s a redemption that I think we all strive for. In my experience, it’s almost not complete obtainable. Personally, I know I will never be completely free from mental illness. It will always be there, running in the background like an iPhone app. Recovery isn’t an end state, it’s a journey. And that’s a lesson I that I have tried to learn all my life, and a journey I try to highlight in Redemption.

As always, I’d love to have your thoughts. Is this an experience you understand? No? Either way, let us know in the comments!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7M8WT8

https://mikeschlossbergauthor.com

http://www.twitter.com/MikeSchlossberg

http://www.facebook.com/MikeSchlossbergAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39896276-redemption

Summary:

Redemption Cover from Amazon

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Author bio:

Michael Schlossberg

Mike Schlossberg has been a writer since he wrote his first short story in eighth grade, a Star Wars fanfiction. While he claims it was terrible, the creative passion followed him into adulthood.

Serving as a State Representative in Pennsylvania, Mike has had the chance to make a difference. The problem closest to his heart is mental health, where he strives to break the stigma surrounding those who suffer from mental illnesses and give them hope. For Mike, this issue is personal, as he has been treated for depression and anxiety related disorders since he was 18. It was this desire to help which drove him to write Redemption, his first novel, but not his first book. That honor goes to Tweets and Consequences, an anthology about the varied ways elected officials have destroyed their careers via social media.

When not writing, Mike plays video games (both modern and old school), watches anything related to the Muppets (specifically Fraggle Rock!), reads, attempts to get to the gym, and calls his constituents on their birthdays.

Mike lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife Brenna and his two wonderful children: Auron, born in 2011, and Ayla, born in 2012.

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Guest Post: My Top Five Tips For Writing Great Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Michael Phillip Cash

Hey everyone. I’m honored to share this amazing guest post from author Michael Phillip Cash. Be sure to check out his website and links down below, and don’t forget to follow the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway as well! Take it away Michael!

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“My Top Five Tips For Writing Great Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels”

By Michael Phillip Cash

When you’re just starting out as an author you may be tempted to heed the advice to “write what you know.” But what about writers who want to write in the Science Fiction Fantasy genre? That’s certainly not a world you’re going to have some knowledge of. But wait. Don’t get discouraged. You have a distinct advantage over some other genres. Everything you need to know about writing Sci-Fi Fantasy is already stored right in your noggin. That’s because it’s your world and you get to create every single thing about it. It’s known as world building and it’s awesome. As long as you keep some things in mind you’ll be good to go. Here are my top five tips for writing great Sci-Fi Fantasy books:

  1. Read, read and then read some more

Read every science fiction/fantasy book you can get your hands on. Study them like you would any other reference book. Learn from the masters. Take notes as you read. Don’t aim to copy, but use other books as jumping off points for your own unique stories.  

  1. Tap into traditional fantasy elements

It’s okay to include the standard trolls, elves, giants, wizards, warriors, or whatever. Just use them in totally different and unique ways. Use these tried and true elements, but do it as originally as possible.

  1. Combine basic writing principles in distinctly unique ways

Boy loves girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets captured by a ten-foot tall giant and girl must use her magical powers and her talking dragon to fool the giant into letting boy go. You get the idea. Much of what works in say for instance romance or another genre will work in fantasy. You just have to do it with a magical sort of imagination.

  1. Make sure your characters have dreams, hopes and goals

If your characters have nothing at stake, or nothing to overcome then no one will care what happens to them. When you’re creating your cast of characters, be sure to give them strengths, weaknesses, fears and flaws. Even fantasy characters have these and this is what will keep your readers invested in your story.

  1. Study old (and new) maps, and learn about different cultures and climates.

Maps are beautiful and artistic props to use as inspiration – particularly older maps. Imagine what it might be like to live in a foreign land. Research the clothing, tools and equipment other cultures use now and in the past. Considering what the terrain or climate might be like in your fantasy world will ultimately allow your readers to immerse themselves in your story.  

About Michael Phillip Cash

Author Photo

Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novel The Battle for Darracia is a three-part saga and is available on Amazon.

Michael’s novels are best-sellers on Amazon under their genres – Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Ghost, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. Michael writes full-time and lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wonderful wife and screaming children. You can follow him @michaelpcash or connect with him via his website.

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Bipolar Disorder and Creativity: Can You Still Be Creative on Bipolar Medication?

If you’re a creative type, the idea of bipolar disorder as a component of your creativity can keep you from getting the help you need. A common misperception is that treatment renders artists incapable of the kinds of thought that allow them to see the world in their own unique way. Is this true? Maybe and maybe not.

Artists Do Think Differently

Artists are typically better at two types of thinking. One, called janusian thought, is defined as actively thinking of multiple opposites at the same time. The other, called homospatial process, is defined as actively thinking of two or more different things or people occupying the same space.

Artists also tend to think in nonlinear and nonconventional ways. The treatment you choose needs to allow you to continue doing that.

Effects of Medication on Bipolar Disorder

People who create art need to be careful to get the right medications for them. Finding the right medication regimen may make a huge difference in your creative output. The right medications for you also allow you to stay mentally healthy enough to produce quality art.

Creativity and Lithium

Lithium may not be a good choice for artists, as it suppresses janusian thought and homospatial process.

It’s also easy to confuse the effects of going off lithium with a return to creativity, which may prompt you to quit taking it.

What actually happens is that you become energized and hypomanic or manic after abruptly stopping a large dose of lithium. The effects on creativity, if there are any, don’t last. Instead, you may become too ill to create anything at all.

So, What Medications are Better?

A few medications have been used successfully to treat bipolar disorder without causing effects that impair creative thinking.

So far, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, valproate, lamotrigine, gabapentin, and tiagabine are excellent choices for artists. Channel blockers like verapamil have also shown favorable results in a few cases.

Is Therapy Better than Medication?

The wrong kind of psychotherapy can indeed suppress creative ways of thinking. However, therapy is a treatment of choice when the therapist understands your need to remain creative while overcoming the harmful effects of bipolar disorder.

Even though you might prefer therapy to medication as a treatment, you might need to take medications to be well enough to attend and learn from therapy. Therapy helps you deal with anxiety, bipolar depression, and mania by encouraging you to take medication as needed (adherence).

What You can Do

You do have control over your own treatment for bipolar disorder. Taking charge of your care helps you get the right treatments for you. Here are some things you can do to protect your creativity while getting treatment:

  • Find an understanding psychiatrist and/or therapist.
  • Emphasize the importance of preserving your ability to think creatively.
  • If you are worried about side effects of any of the possible medications, such as lithium carbonate, ask your psychiatrist to choose a different medication for you.
  • If you do take medication, take them as directed, and don’t discontinue them abruptly. Talk to your psychiatrist if you are experiencing any difficulties with your medication.
  • Call on your creativity during therapy to better understand how to deal with your bipolar disorder.

Both medications and therapy can help creative people with bipolar disorder. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stick with treatment until you find the right combination for you!

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy

Dealing with Anxiety in a Fast-Paced World

It seems like just when we get used to our phone or computer, another one comes along that is better and faster. Everything is faster and everyone seems to want to move at the speed of sound. What happened to slowing down and relaxing? I bet none of the teenagers now would even understand if we told them to stop and smell the roses. Well, they could actually just Google it but they still would not really understand what it actually means. Why is everyone in such a hurry?

Why Are We in Such a Hurry?

In the beginning, nature pretty much went along as a slow pace, moving at nature’s schedule when time was only noticed by the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Until humans decided they wanted to change time (daylight savings time) and move along at their own schedules whether it went with nature or not. In ancient times, when it got dark, it was time to go to sleep and when the sun came up, our days would start. That is not true anymore! Now some of us get up and work or party all night long and sleep during the day. Some people barely sleep at all because they are too busy with technology, gaming or talking on Facebook or Twitter all night long. We have disconnected from nature’s nice slow pace and tried to adapt to living under our new unnatural time pressures. Talk about some stress!

Anxiety Disorders

So, it should come as no surprise that we end up in our doctor or therapist’s office trying to figure out why we are so anxious all the time. Many experts are calling this condition time poverty and it is actually recognized as a psychological stressor. Trying to keep up with society and pushing ourselves to catch up when we fall behind is causing a great deal of anxiety in many people. In fact, anxiety disorder is the number one most common mental health condition in the United States. In fact, about 40 million American adults, which is over 18% of the population. On a more global note, approximately 1 in 13 of the world’s population suffer from anxiety.

Exercise

There are many things you can do to deal with your anxiety in this high-tech world. The one that seems most obvious is also the hardest to do, which is to just unplug. Turn off your cellphone, put down your tablet, and get off the computer. Get outside and do something physical such as taking a walk, bike riding, hiking, swimming, jogging, tennis, baseball, whatever you want to do. Exercise is good for both anxiety and depression and it is also good for your physical health. The “feel good” chemicals in your brain (serotonin) increase during and after exercise, making you feel more relaxed and satisfied. It can also help keep your mind off your stressors and keep you too busy to worry about checking your email or updating your Facebook status.

Talk to Someone

Another way to relieve stress is through talk therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these can be done from home on your electronic device for those of us who are just too busy to set an appointment. In fact, BetterHelp has more than 2,000 licensed professionals that are available to help you right now.

The Basics of Bipolar Disorder (Guest Post)

Hi there my friends. I’m honored to once again be hosting a guest post from the incredible website BetterHelp. The post they’ve put together for you guys is near and dear to my heart, as Bipolar Disorder affects someone I love and care for dearly. I may talk about that in a separate post, but for now I hope this post will help anyone suffering from Bipolar Disorder or anyone who knows and loves someone suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Take special care to read the article and click the links, especially if any of you feel you need help in this regard. Thank you once again to BetterHelp for this amazing guest post, and I hope you all will enjoy it.

Anthony Avina

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You may know it as manic-depressive disorder, but it is typically now referred to as bipolar disorder. This is a serious mental health disorder that affects close to three percent of the United States population. Bipolar disorder is a double-edged sword in that it causes both severe depression and mania or hypomania, which is an extremely high mood. There are several types of bipolar disorder, including bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder is characterized by having at least one manic episode that lasts at least seven days and is followed by a depressive or hypomanic episode. Those with bipolar I disorder can also have psychosis, which is a period when emotions and thoughts are impaired so much that you are no longer able to tell what is real and what is not real. This sometimes includes hallucinations.

Bipolar II Disorder

This condition consists of having more than one period of depression and a period of hypomania but no manic episode. Hypomania is a less severe type of mania that causes some manic episodes but you can still perform your daily activities. Many people with bipolar II disorder are mistakenly diagnosed with depression because they do not consider the hypomania a part of the disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, is a milder type of bipolar disorder. With this disorder, you will have both depression and hypomania on and off for several years but it will not get severe enough to affect your daily life. It is called cyclothymic disorder because you cycle through high and low emotions over and over again. This condition is rare and only affects less than one percent of the American population.

How You Can Tell if You Have Bipolar Disorder

Even though the signs of bipolar disorder can vary from person to person, there are some that are common in all patients. These symptoms include:

Mania

  • Not sleeping
  • Talking louder, faster, and more often than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Trying to do more than you can handle (overbooking yourself)
  • Extreme behaviors such as gambling, unprotected sex, spending money that you cannot afford
  • Drinking in excess or using illegal drugs
  • Rapid thoughts

Depression

  • Feeling sad, despondent, and helpless
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Anger or aggression
  • Crying bouts for no obvious reasons
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Memory lapses
  • Thoughts of suicide

Risk Factors

According to experts, bipolar disorders are genetic, but they can also be affected by environmental issues like constant and extreme stress, lack of sleep for long periods of time, addiction to alcohol or drugs, physical abnormalities in the brain, and/or chemical or hormonal imbalances.

Treatment

The treatment for bipolar disorder includes medications such as a tricyclic antidepressant, an atypical antidepressant, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In addition, those with bipolar disorder should talk to a therapist on a regular basis. This is important because some of the medications can become less effective over time and your therapist will be able to tell just by talking to you if you need to switch your dosage or medication. If you do not have a therapist to talk to or you are too busy to find the time to make an appointment, you can find a professional on BetterHelp.com. Just click here to talk to someone, with no appointment necessary.

What Is Depression? (Guest Post with BetterHelp)

Hello there everyone. This is Anthony Avina. I am honored to be working with BetterHelp on this guest post regarding depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness, and I hope this will be the first of many guest posts working with this amazing company to bring awareness to these very serious topics that affect so many people. I hope you guys will enjoy this article and if you or anyone you know is suffering from any sort of mental health disorder, please be sure to go to this website and find the necessary resources and support systems you need to help you or those you love. Now here is BetterHelp with a look at depression.

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How to Live with Depression

For those of us who suffer with depression, we know that life is not as easy for us as it is for other people. What makes it worse is that depression and other mental health conditions are “invisible” diseases so nobody can tell what is wrong with you just by looking at you. While some may think this is a good thing, it also makes it hard for others to understand why we may not feel like getting up and going to the beach with the gang or how it takes everything we have to just get out of bed on some days. In fact, I am sure some of you have heard “you are just lazy,” or “quit being so dramatic,” or my favorite “it is all in your head.”

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that is very common in both adults as well as children. In fact, it is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives, which is almost 17% of the American population. It is not just feeling sad or grouchy for a while or being upset because you lost a loved one, although that can trigger it. Depression is a group of symptoms that include:

  • Feelings of sadness that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Lack of interest in activities you usually enjoy
  • Sleep changes (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual)
  • Extreme fatigue or listlessness
  • Feeling empty or lost
  • Crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who Is Most at Risk?

While anyone can suffer from depression, it is more common in some people than others. For example, women are twice as likely to have depression as men. Other risk factors of depression include:

  • Hereditary – Mental health conditions such as depression can be hereditary so if someone in your family has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, you may be more susceptible.
  • Chemistry – Many experts believe that a chemical imbalance (too much or too little) in the brain is a major cause of depression.
  • Previous mental health disorders – If you have had trouble with anxiety or depression before, you are more likely to have another bout of one of these mental health disorders.
  • Environmental situations – Many situations such as abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, or exposure to violence can make you more susceptible to depression.
  • Physical ailments – Certain major chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can cause depression.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is talk to someone. Even if you do not have a doctor or therapist, there are experts who are available to you that can help. In fact, you can talk to an online psychologist without even having to leave your home or make an appointment. These therapists are licensed and trained in dealing with depression as well as many other disorders. There are other things you can do in the mean time to make your life easier to deal with such as:

  • Exercise – Force yourself to get out of bed at least once a day and move around. Even if it is just to get up and take a shower and walk around the house.
  • Smile – According to experts, even a fake smile can make you feel happier.
  • Break things up – Do things a little bit at a time so you do not get overwhelmed. Thinking about all the things you have to do that day can be a major block but if you break things up into smaller tasks, it is much easier.
  • Talk about itTell people how you feel. Even if they do not seem to care, talking about it helps you understand your illness.
  • Goals Set some small goals for yourself. Talk yourself into doing at least one thing from that goal list every week.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore it and do not try to hide it. There is nothing to be ashamed of and it is more common than you think. Talk to someone. Today.

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Guest Post: Cine-Books

Hey guys!

I have an exciting post for you all. A company reached out to me and asked me to post a guest post, and I thought this would be a great article
for you all to read. I will be including pictures, the article and a link to the official YouTube trailer for the company. I hope you guys will
enjoy this post.

Author Anthony Avina

 

CINE-BOOKS — read, listen and even watch books!

 It is believed that the age of books is over. This is partly true. The Internet readily provides almost any information you can imagine. You don’t need a dictionary to translate a single word, and there’s no more need to keep a collection of encyclopedias at home. Entertaining websites, social networks, TV and cinema gave a good thrashing to fiction, but the fight is not over yet. The CINE-BOOKS Company decided to bring a new life to the book-reading.

 

Do you sometimes find yourself thinking that a book was much better than its movie adaptation? The major advantage of books today is their capacity for information and display of authors’ unique styles. An average book holds much more content than a movie. Author’s description of some location could be much more interesting than just a view of a mountain or forest in a movie. At the same time movies involve us in the story in the easiest way. We can behold everything from behind without any necessity read and imagine what’s going on.

Thus the question of marrying the new visual technologies and advantages of the traditional book reading remained open until recently. The CINE-BOOKS Company is going to move literature to the next level and make it competitive to other modern kind of entertainment.

Every book is adapted entirely and literally. There are no more cuts and directing errors like in general movie adaptations. Absolutely every piece of a story in cine-books is enriched with cinematic animated illustrations. They seamlessly merge with the text creating an organic flow, rather than selectively illustrating the fragments of the plot.

 

The company holds a full cast of film crew and hire professional actors to illustrate each cine-book. Every frame that appears before the eyes of a cine-reader is directed with exactly the same requirements as a Hollywood movie. Сostumes, makeup, scenery — everything is selected in full compliance with the author’s description. Both location shooting and green screen technology are used to create a spectacular and realistic cine-books. Afterwards the footage  gets processed by the 3D artists and animators who bring the image to its final quality.

 

You can READ cine-books like regular written stories illustrated with cinematic quality photos on each page. LISTEN to them as audio-books with professional voice-acting, background audio and musical inserts. Or even WATCH them just like movies with dynamic animations and special effects that breathe new life into every story!

 

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Many innovators are eager to create something radically new, but in this case their efforts are not appreciated. The reading audience holds to traditions. Cine-books are an organic blend between the classic book reading experience and the cutting-edge technologies, perfected with the highest standards of quality during all stages of production. Once a heavy leather-bound volume with color illustrations was a source of great pride for its owner. Today, cine-books are ready to take over the torch. Cine-books bring the best experience and total immersion wherever you are — on the road or at home, alone or with family. Cine-book format makes reading more fun without sacrificing quality or depth!
Visit cine-books.com to learn more and support this ambitious startup.

 

 

Cine-books trailer: https://youtu.be/Z1NyEb0BeNQ