It's all about the tea and terror here


I’ve been an insomniac since I was nine. I don’t want to imply that I’ve been awake since I was nine years old, it just started then. It came in irregular waves throughout my childhood and teenage years, became a regular visitor in my early twenties, and has become my constant companion since.

Carla and I once read a book where the lead character complained that “sometimes her insomnia persisted for three days at a time”. When we were done laughing, we moved on to the wanting to stab stage. Then I moved on to the crying in the bath stage.

I haven’t slept well since February, not consistently. Fortunately, when on holiday, my body is so shocked that I’ve left the country (it happens about once every eight years) it goes into shutdown mode. I spent most of my time in Vegas, when not getting wed, or watching Meat Loaf or WWE, either asleep or frantically praying I would stay awake long enough to get to my bed.

February aside, I’ve had trouble sleeping for so long I can’t remember the last time I was sleeping consistently, I’d hazard a guess at around 2008, but that also coincided with a heavy bout of depression that just made me want to sleep all the time. Uncharacteristically for me, I was actually able to sleep too.

I don’t know how insomnia works for everyone else but for me, my body slowly subtracts the amount of sleep I’m getting per night until I get to the point when I’ve been up for about 40 hours, then I have a massive shutdown, and start the process again.

You have no idea how many holiday days I’ve wasted at work by phoning my manager in tears saying “I’ve been up since the day before yesterday, please let me take a holiday!” Thankfully, so far, my managers have been incredibly understanding about this. Although one is prone to saying things like, “Have you tried cutting out caffeine?” or “My friend swears by a few drops of lavender in the bath at night.”

Just FYI, if you ever run into someone with insomnia, these little bits of advice provoke a rage that would ordinarily result in homicide if we weren’t too fucking tired to stab you.

And to answer the questions I’m often asked:

  • I’ve had insomnia longer than I’ve been drinking anything containing caffeine (I don’t drink fizzy drinks).
  • Lavender fucking reeks and it brings on migraines.
  • Warm milk makes me vomit.
  • Walks in the evening only work right before shutdown, which is going to happen anyway, but sometimes it will bring it on a few hours early.
  • Nytol (over-the-counter herbal sleeping aids) and others of the same ilk don’t do anything at all.
  • Sleeping pills are dangerously addictive, and largely anyone who thinks they’re being given sleeping pills are actually receiving anti-depressants, which I have been on and off for thirteen years (both for depression and insomnia), with no discernible effect on my sleep.

If anyone has had much success with any of the above, they are more likely to be someone suffering from sleepless nights, rather than insomnia. There is a difference between the odd bout of being unable to sleep and years of constant problems getting to sleep, staying asleep and getting good sleep on a nightly basis.

Saturday night, for example, I had dinner with the husband, watched an episode of Person of Interest, and realised I was dozing halfway through. I always give dozing more credit than it deserves. It happens about halfway through the whole cycle of not-sleep. When it does happen, I take myself off to bed. (I still adhere to that rule about only sleeping in the bedroom, and only using the bedroom for sleep, so as not to accidentally teach myself bad habits – this works about as well as fucking Nytol.) I then lay in bed for five hours straight, wide awake. Then I got up and watched Nightmare on Elm Street (what could be more apt?). Then read all the related TV Tropes pages. Yes. All of them.

At 7:20 a.m. I forced myself to go back to bed. Not because I was sleepy, but because I had to try. I lay awake for another few hours. And finally slept for a couple of hours.

This happens every time I doze. And still I get ridiculously hopeful that I’m about to get real sleep.

And anyone who doesn’t have insomnia must surely be thinking, well, if you can’t sleep, at least you can use that time productively.


You try getting by on a couple of hours’ sleep a night, and then using the rest of that time for anything of use. First of all, it’s the middle of the night/early hours of the morning. This is not a good time to run around with the vacuum. Also, it’s not a great time to use your brain. The less sleep I have, the dumber I get. It takes me longer to process information (so I read very slowly) and I feel very emotionally raw, which means I can’t even talk to Carla, my fellow insomniac, at times, because I feel too fragile. I can do these things with my time, but it’s a lot harder, and I get a lot less enjoyment from it.

Just to clarify, it’s now Monday, 2:32 a.m. I haven’t slept since. And I’m not even sleepy. Exhausted. But not sleepy.

Another thing I run into: “Oh, I know how you feel. I have a baby.”

No, you do not know how I feel. Craig and I did not plan for this. We did not sit down, discuss the situation and agree to bring insomnia into my life. Insomnia doesn’t smile at me, make me melt inside and make it all worthwhile. Although, on the other side of it, insomnia will never ask me for a car or money for college, so, there is that. A baby is (mostly) a choice. Insomnia is just a bad thing that happens to good people.

Posted in Life Stuff | Tagged

Update – March 2014

Well, my resolution to blog more has already crashed and burned. In my defence, I spent half of February in Las Vegas, and the other half preparing for it. As for my March excuse… I got nothing.


High: I went to Las Vegas and got married on my 10 year anniversary to Craig. Carla gave me away. Jake took many pictures. It was perfect.

Wedding Day - 21 February 2014

Wedding Day – 21 February 2014

Many vicious games of Cards Against Humanity were played. Pretty jewellery was purchased from BicoLV – Carla and I have matching bracelets, and we will buy a new charm every time we achieve a goal (or something is really pretty and we need it right now).

Low: Carla mentioned saying goodbye, and that was hard. Another thing was just how busy Las Vegas is. Carla and I get over-socialised, and Las Vegas is a place where that happens quite easily. Next time we’re renting a holiday house somewhere. Or an island. Or a lighthouse. It depends on Carla’s mood and how much Enid Blyton she reads before booking.


High: Carla and I sent The Talking Dead to first readers. Craig, my husband(!), has given us feedback. We are waiting for further feedback, but Craig’s is always very thorough and fair.

As for Monsters and Music, the sequel, parts of that are writing themselves and sticking twos up at the outline. Characters are taking charge as we get to know their voices and realise that they’re not going to react as we outlined… oh god, do I sound a bit like a certain author who believes her characters are real and is quick to litigate over fanfic?

Also, as Carla mentioned, Intern promoted himself to Manager in our absence. I asked him if that meant we needed to pay him. He said no. So, yay, my manager doesn’t need paying, but boo, my manager is a bit of an idiot.

Low: We’ve not had much time to work on Monsters and Music, and we need to review the outlines, based both on the feedback from Craig, and the small changes that have been made on M&M.

The Nox series is bothering me a lot at the moment, and I think it’s bugging Carla too, because when I briefly mentioned it, she got that gleam in her eye, before quickly saying, “We’re not working on that at the moment.”


High: I’ve read a fair bit of chick lit over the holiday, and, by strange coincidence, they were written by Lynne Moriarty, who is the sister of Jaclyn Moriarty, whose books I gave to Carla as a gift. I’m also re-reading old favourites by Stephen King.

Low: I’ve not found anything un-put-down-able since I read the Gone series by Michael Grant. I want to find something that awesome again.


High: I got to watch the Elimination Chamber with Carla and Jake. I love the Elimination Chamber, it’s my favourite PPV of the year (although nothing will touch the 2011 one). Watching wrestling with Carla is awesome.

I also saw a live event in Vegas. One of the matches pitched The Shield against Christian. Words cannot express how much I love Dean Ambrose and Christian. To see them in the ring together live was awesome. Sadly, I didn’t get any good pictures, I was still getting used to the camera. I did get a pretty good shot of the Bella twins though.

The Bella Twins in Las Vegas on 16 February 2014

The Bella Twins in Las Vegas on 16 February 2014

Also, I got a quick video of Kofi kicking ass in a dance-off.

Low: Mostly Fandom. This is why we can’t have nice things. Grow up, kids.

Posted in Life Stuff, Nox Series, Reading Stuff, UK Horror Series, Wrestling Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

2014 Goals

Carla: Too long; didn’t read version: Read 100 books a year, with individual subgoals, write Talking Dead and maybe the rest of that series, and blog more. Then a wrestling diversion at the end.

Reading Goals

Sarah: To read 100 books (and to actually track them this year), and at least 20 of them must be from my “To Read” list on my Kindle.

Carla: Sarah made an awesome spreadsheet for us to use while tracking. It also automatically calculates how many days we spent reading a book. I’m not sure why she thinks that’s important. Is it a contest? Are we competing?

Sarah: Sarah thinks that’s important because her entire job is all about making spreadsheets that track everything we do, and spit out results that can be displayed in graphs. Be thankful Sarah didn’t put a bloody graph in there.

Carla: Why is there no graph? I love graphs.

Sarah: Fuck graphs. I love my job, but I hate graphs.

Carla: Hater.

Carla: Also, my secondary goal is to read at least 50 books from my “To Read” bookcases. Yes, plural. Yes, I have way too many books I need to read, hence this part of my goal.

Sarah: Now what? Is that the only question? Was it really worth opening yet another shared document? Or are we just so totally codependent that we cannot even answer one single question alone?

Carla: Yes.

Carla: And, of course, we’re supposed to talk about other goals. Those are the only official reading goals I have, though I do have a few lists of books I am trying to read within my lifetime. Do you want in on that kind of challenge? Do you want to play with the big kids? Do you want to actually challenge yourself with your reading?

Sarah: Mostly, I just want to sleep.

Carla: It’s not even fun being mean to you when you’re this tired.

Writing Goals

Sarah: To finish Talking Dead and get it out to agents is the official one, but in the back of my mind, I’m pretty sure we can write the whole series this year.

Carla: I’m glad that’s in the back of your mind, because my official goal is to finish at least first drafts of the entire series, as well as polish Talking Dead and submit it to agents. Our first readers are going to love us.

Sarah: Eh, they’re mostly your friends. Mine don’t really offer much feedback. You can piss off your friends with multiple drafts of five books! Mine will just vanish!

Carla: Hey, your hubby gives excellent feedback. And I appreciate Ken’s enthusiasm.


Carla: Alas, Intern is not a reader. We should remedy this. And his hatred of wrestling. Eventually, he will give in and love both books and wrestling.

Sarah: Intern does not read, and refers to wrestling as “fake”. Remind me again why we love Intern?

Carla: He’s our “in” so we know what the kids are saying these days. Or something like that. Mostly, I love him because he’s awesome and my nephew. Isn’t that kind of required? Plus he’s going to teach me about basketball and stock car racing.

Carla: OH! The biggest reason: he keeps us on track! We should send him our list of goals.

Sarah: True. He’s very bossy (in a good way). Very motivational.

Carla: Indeed. My other big writing goal is to write every day this year.

Sarah: I have a side-goal, which is to come up with something (preferably short and sweet) that I can write on my own, just so that I remember how to write alone! Also, I think it would be good for me to outline a book by myself.

Carla: It’s hard work! I’ve forgotten how to write fiction alone!

Blogging Goals

Carla: Besides the monthly writing update, I want to blog more often. What’s a reasonable goal? Once a week?

Sarah: I think once a week is reasonable. I’m also attempting to just keep pace with you as far as blogging goes.

Carla: Now that inspires me to make a goal of blogging multiple times a day. Keep pace with that.

Sarah: *crawls under desk and cries*

Carla: Oh god, not this again.

Sarah: I’m thinking that setting goals while I’m this tired has not brought out the best in me. This kind of mood is more suited to passive-aggressive conversations with my co-workers about their lack of common sense.

Carla: We should figure out how to blog about more in-depth topics than, say, horror memes and our goals for the year.

Sarah: Also, I’d like to have a reader. I don’t even need plural, I just want someone not-Carla to read my blog.

Carla: Pretty sure my dad reads both our blogs. Just saying.

Sarah: My best friend and her dad read my blog. There are no words for the success I have attained.

Carla: I hate you so much.

Sarah: That said, I appreciate that your dad reads our blogs. Hi Carl! *waves*

Carla: So one of our goals should be to figure out topics that will draw in readers who aren’t related to one of us? And, along the same lines, possibly to network more?

Sarah: I suddenly feel like I’m at work again, being forced to join LinkedIn and use Yammer. But yes, when I’m not too busy snarking at you, I actually agree with you.

Carla: ANYTHING but Yammer. And I know how to read between the snark. Possibly we should use Twitter for more than just wrestling updates when I watch pay-per-views.

Sarah: I would suggest you do what I do and keep wrestling and writing twitters separate, that way I’m not bombarding wrestling snarkers with angst about writing, or boring YA writers with my thoughts on Dean Ambrose’s ramblings.

Carla: Ambroxley is the greatest.

Sarah: You’d best explain “Ambroxley”, otherwise we’ll look like those weird fans who think you get bonus points for knowing someone’s real or indy name!

Carla: Oh god, not that. This is really digressing, but basically, when he was wrestling in the indies, he wrestled as Moxley, and his character frequently went on drunken tirades. In the WWE, he wrestles as Ambrose, but lately, Ambrose has been having what sounds like drunken tirades more and more often. (Likely not actually drunken, because the wrestling is rated PG these days, but still.) So the more he starts to sound like Moxley in promos, the happier we are, and we coined Ambroxley for the Ambrose-channeling-Moxley hybrid.

Carla: Are you happy? Now we’ve done that writing step in our process in which we talk about wrestling instead of doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

Sarah: It’s part of our process. Don’t be a hater.

Carla: We should do an actual wrestling blog post soon.

Sarah: I last did one in November.

Carla: I have never done one. Huh.

Sarah: New goal: As a Brit, I must start to say SHED-uled, instead of SKED-uled. I guess that’s more a talking goal, but since we’re talking about (IRL, rather than in this document), it can go into my goals.

On the subject of MOAR GOALS, I also want to get another retweet from Michael Grant. The first one validated my existence, imagine how awesome and self-important I could become if he retweeted me again!

Carla: He is amazing. I’m still envious that you were retweeted. And, again, thank you for introducing me to the Gone series. SO GOOD.

Sarah: Just knowing that he and Katherine Applegate are married makes me happy. If their children end up being writers my brain may just asplode!

Carla: Can you imagine? Making Out meets Gone. It would be the greatest YA friendship-and-apocalypse story ever!

Sarah: *suddenly wishes for fanfic*

Carla: I think we’ve digressed enough. There are some goals. Let’s check back in December to see how we did.

Posted in Life Stuff, Reading Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , ,