Kindle Direct Publishing’s New Reporting System and Some Author Updates!

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Yesterday I logged into my Kindle Direct Publishing account on Amazon and while looking at the reports, noticed there is a new “beta” reporting program they are working on that I could test (the picture above shows the new graphing, with part of the book breakdown below). I checked it out and it is WAY better than their old reporting program! It uses color coded graphs to plainly show which books you are selling, when you are selling them, and also easily separates books sold from “free” promotions vs. paid sales.

I am thrilled they are updating their system, because what they have had the last few years sucks in my opinion. It was hard to even tell which books sold! In other good news, while checking out the new system, I looked at my overall numbers from the last quarter and was pleasantly surprised to see that all together I’ve sold more than 230 ebooks (including promotions) during the last 90 days! Not bad for an indie author!!! It makes my heart happy to know that many people are reading my books!

If you use KDP publishing, I would recommend checking out the new program if you are able to under your own reports! By the way, if you want to check out my Amazon Author Page and maybe give it a follow, that would be awesome! I also have a FREE ebook promotion running today through Monday for my art ebook, “Stories Behind My Art” (if you like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon!)

Lastly, a few years back, I published a little short story/spiritual ebook called “Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham – A Parable about Love and Peace” under the name M.N. Russell ($0.99, FREE for Kindle Unlimited) . I decided to add that to my Amazon author bibliography, so you can check that out if you think it sounds interesting!

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Christmas and Family Forgiveness

Yesterday my husband and I traveled over to Indiana to meet my mom and her husband for Christmas dinner. We all decided to meet at a truckstop that is about halfway between us, so that neither of us would have to cook, clean up, or drive too far:

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I genuinely had a good time and am glad I’ve been able to spend more time with them recently. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, may remember that there has been a lot of water under the bridge between my mother and myself over things that happened when I was growing up. She made some huge mistakes, and as is often the case, my sister and I had to pay for many of those choices just as much as she did…maybe more in some cases.

She genuinely seems to be regretful and is trying to make things better between us, so although I am always going to be cautious and protective of myself, it feels good to be able to embrace forgiveness for my own peace of mind and well-being. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what we went through was ok, or that the damage wasn’t done, but it does mean that it doesn’t have control of my life, my mind, or my heart anymore. I can move on.

I am somewhat a believer in the saying “When we know better, we do better”. Some of us take a long, long time to “know better”, but healing and wisdom are ours once we finally do face the truth.

 

Reincarnation: Remembering Past Lives?

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I want to start this post by saying I am not implying that the experiences I will reveal prove that past lives are a thing or that these were definitely my past lives, however, they were interesting experiences and I thought you guys might enjoy reading about them. I do not ascribe to any particular religion or ideology, although I do tend to favor new age spirituality concepts over religious dogma. Reincarnation makes sense to me in many ways, so I do consider it a possibility and enjoy reading about it.

I have had two very emotional, realistic dreams that made me wonder if they may be tied to my past lives. In both dreams, I think the strangest thing was that I was in an entirely different time and place, surrounded by people I do not recognize from this life, but I felt that I intimately knew these people and places, just like I do my own family and home now.

In the first dream, I was in a Celtic land, it felt medieval or earlier to me, although I don’t know the exact era. I was in a wealthy family, maybe even connected to royalty somehow. The dream wasn’t particularly exciting that I remember, just kind of mundane day to day life as a wealthy young lady, but what stood out to me was how emotionally connected I felt to the dream and how deeply I felt connected to people I do not recognize at all from this lifetime. I do have Celtic family roots and have always felt drawn to that culture, but perhaps there is even more to my love for that era than I thought…

In the second dream, I was a young man (really weird for me to dream that!) and I was fighting on a battlefield. I’m not a war historian by any means, but it felt like it was around WW1 from the uniforms and what I saw on the battlefield (I’m not sure what country I was from, but it felt like I was on the side of the allies). I ended up dying in the dream, which is always an interesting experience. I remember most the feeling of camaraderie and deep love I felt towards my “brothers” in uniform. I was almost glad to die if it meant maybe my friends could live. It was a sad and somewhat scary dream, but also full of love and friendship.

I also had one other experience that wasn’t a dream but was very curious. I was meditating, definitely not asleep, when I was suddenly in a foreign but very familiar place. I was in the desert, in what looked and felt to me like ancient Egypt. I saw a young girl climbing a large sand dune and instantly knew that I was that girl, and yet, I was watching events from a distance, outside of her body.

Suddenly, a gang of what I felt were robbers and criminals appeared. This group assaulted the girl and did horrible things to her (I’m sure you can imagine). The odd thing was that even though I felt that girl had been me, I wasn’t emotionally reactive to what I was seeing, at least not in the way you would expect. I didn’t feel fear, anger, trauma, or anything like that, I just felt deep sadness for all involved, both the poor, innocent girl and the deeply misguided men. I actually felt compassion towards these men who had abused me.

I want to say that this meditative experience was only the second time I have ever had something like that happen while meditating. The other time that I suddenly found myself somewhere else, it was simply a field of wildflowers I found myself transported to. I don’t know what the heck that was about lol, but it was a beautiful place.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these odd dreams and visions. If you enjoy this type of stuff, let me know. There are plenty of other odd “woo woo” type of experiences I can share if you are interested!

Poetry – Lovers Movie Night

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Lovers Movie Night
By: Maranda Russell

He leans over to grab a magazine.

“People like you are so annoying,”
she sniffs disdainfully.

“People like me?”
he asks as he reclines back
and settles in to read.

Soon, he feels a tiny foot
wiggle over to nudge his shin.

“Why pay to see the movie then?”
she mutters
with a deeply pained sigh.

“What movie?”

…..

“I hate you.”

I Survived the Birthday Party!

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Just a few of the leftover treats!

A few of you seemed like you wanted an update about how my husband’s birthday party went yesterday (if you didn’t read my post yesterday, you can find it here). Most of the really bad nerves happened before the party and on the way there, which is pretty normal for me. I had an IBS attack about a half hour before leaving the house (nausea, diarrhea, cramps – the whole shebang). On the drive to the party, I noticed my right leg was shaking pretty bad (a sure sign of anxiety), which made driving even more uncomfortable.

However, once I arrived at the school, it didn’t go too bad. Checking in at the front office wasn’t nearly as scary as I had imagined, although the receptionist was kind of grumpy. They had me stay in the office until the party was ready, as they wanted to surprise my husband. When they were ready, I joined the kids in my husband’s class and his assistants on their way back to the classroom from music class. We all got to my husband’s classroom and sang Happy Birthday to him and had some cupcakes. There was a ton of other food there as well – a huge assortment of candy, an amazing cream cheese peanut butter cake, chocolate covered pretzels, chips and salsa, and more.

Meeting my husband’s assistants (and a few other school employees) went ok. They were nice and friendly, although I did feel pretty shy. I had to ask my husband a few times if they were kidding or not when they said certain things, because I genuinely have a hard time deciphering whether people I don’t know well are being sarcastic or for real when they talk. One of the highlights of the party was meeting one student’s therapy dog. Meeting people fills me with anxiety, but meeting animals is always pure joy! I also got a couple hugs from my husband’s students, which was sweet.

After the party I was definitely relieved to get back home, but proud that I went. I know it meant a lot to my husband, so it was worth it.

Birthday Party Anxiety

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Today is my husband’s birthday. At his work (he teaches special education), they are holding a special party for him this afternoon and his coworkers reached out to invite me. I am going to go, but I must admit I am nervous. I’ve never actually met his coworkers since they are fairly new, so that is a little intimidating to me (having to meet them all at one time).

For some reason, I am super nervous about having to go to the office to check in as a guest…I know I am 35 years old and it is kind of ridiculous to be nervous about something so simple, but I am what I am. I am also worried about the drive, because it is about a 40 minute drive and that is way out of my comfort zone as far as driving goes.

I must admit when I first heard about the party, my first instinct was to say I couldn’t make it. Anxiety is a powerful force. But in the end, my love for my husband won out and I want to be there for him more than I want to be comfortable or free from anxiety. I guess love is an even more powerful force…

A Night Full of Nightmares

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Last night I had a bunch of nightmares. In fact, I woke up feeling like that was all I did all night – face some of my darkest fears. These nightmares didn’t feature vampires, ghosts, ax murderers, clowns, or spiders…they featured the person I love the most in the world, my husband.

In these dreams my husband turned cruel and cold. He stopped caring about me. He wanted to leave me or even kill me. The betrayals started small in the dreams, with him choosing friends over me and simply being uncaring and dismissive of my feelings, but they accelerated as the dreams went on and turned to him expressing extreme hatred towards me and even trying to stage an “accident” to get rid of me.

Let me say that these dreams ARE NOT representative of my husband’s treatment of me. We have been together 15 years and he has been wonderful. Caring, patient, understanding, loving, forgiving….all of these are adjectives that fit him perfectly. He always puts me first before anyone else, often, even before himself.

So why the bad dreams? My guess is PTSD. When you grow up in an unstable environment with mentally ill, abusive, and selfish people who often put their own desires before your needs, it fucks you up for life. You always feel unworthy. You always feel like the rug of security can be pulled out from beneath your feet at any time. You feel like you don’t deserve good things, and if you do happen to get love and affection, you are suspicious and paranoid about it. How I wish I could just forget the past.

Dream Analysis: Fear of Death

 

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My Spyder

Last night I had an interesting dream. In the dream, there was a big snake loose in our house and I was trying to stay as far away from it as I could because I feared getting bit. Every time I would see it somewhere, I would run to another room. Then, the dream took an unexpected turn when the snake attacked my cat, Spyder. Spyder has been my baby since the day he came home to us and has been with us almost 12 years.

When I realized the snake was attacking Spyder in the dream, I was suddenly like “HELL NO!!!” and I ran into the room with a small sword (that suddenly appeared out of nowhere) and I cut that snake’s head clean off! I was suddenly as brave as an Amazon warrior, or like a mother bear defending her cubs.

When I woke up today, I was trying to decode this dream a bit, and I think what I was actually dreaming about was the fear of death. Just last night I was talking to someone about the short spans our pets live and about how my last two cats died around the same age Spyder is now. I think the snake symbolized death coming to take a loved one from me, and while I clearly have a self-preservation instinct and a healthy fear of my own death, that fear pales in comparison to the terror I feel at losing a loved one.