November Nano, New Job, New President – AJ Update

Me Looking Mysteriously into the Distance (lol)

Hey guys! Wow, November has been absolutely crazy. Especially for me this past week. I’ve just completed my first week in my new position as a Toyota body design engineer, and I’m just blown away by how much I love it already.

I’m literally not allowed to take pictures of ANYTHING, Toyota has very high security, so here’s a random image of two happy girls in hard hats.


Truth be told, it’s going to be hard not to become a workaholic, because I really see myself enjoying this job a bit too much. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be when you really find something you’re passionate about.

I’m equally as passionate about writing, and even though I’m working hard, writing will always be an important part of my life. I have my new book releasing December 2nd, Fallen to Grace, as many of you know. I’ve been working in the background getting December’s AJ Blog tour setup, which is going to include some giveaways and goodies. If you’re interested in that, all info will be updated here if you’d like to add it to your bookmarks/favorites: AJ’s December Blog Tour. Or you can just follow the blog and get automatic emails when new posts arrive!

Sneak peek of the In-Progress Paperback cover! I receive a physical proof copy this Tuesday to decide if I love it, but pretty sure I already do.


As if I didn’t have enough to deal with, I’m setting up a mortgage loan now for the house that my husband and I are building, which is closer to the new job. If you’re on my private email list, you’ve already heard some updates about this, I try to keep blog updates to a minimum. But just to be brief, the new house will be done also around December/January, talk about a Christmas present!

Here’s a picture of the builder and myself in our future living room/kitchen a few weeks ago before the drywall finished!


They say that the most stressful events in life are having a baby, changing jobs, and moving into a new home. I’m not having a baby quite yet (that’s what the house is for!), but I’m hitting two of those boxes all in one go, plus releasing a novel at the same time (which is kind of like having a baby, to be honest). I do notice I’m really stressed, and this is where I’m going to give you some advice on how to deal with stress.

The biggest thing that affects me is my lifestyle diet. It has nothing to do with weight, although putting healthy food in your body automatically gives you more substance with less calories. I have a relatively strict diet to make sure I feel 100%. I don’t need to be feeling crummy when I’m trying to impress a new boss or when I’m making sure the construction of my new home doesn’t include ignoring a giant crack in the basement! So, here’s my short list of (perhaps obvious) dealing-with-stress tips.

1. Eliminate Irritation  & Inflammation Triggers!


This means I eliminate anything in my diet that could trigger agitation in my body, such as processed foods filled with (organic) chemicals my body can’t digest, such as carrageen (found in many products such as whip cream all the way to chicken-It’s a seaweed, but your body literally can’t digest it and it’s banned in the UK, Canada, and Australia).

I’m very sensitive to foods that can encourage inflammation, and if I slip and start gorging on gluten (aka bagels), blindly putting too much sugar in things, and of course eating processed foods, I’ll start to get terrible headaches and just feel super crummy.

2. Get Enough Sleep!

baby-1151351_1280During my orientation for my new position at Toyota, they spent a couple of hours just encouraging healthy lifestyle habits backed up with public scientific research. One of the biggest things I found helpful was introduction to It seems obvious, but not getting enough sleep, and even not taking a nap when you need one, wrecks havoc on your system. You feel better and perform better when you give your body the sleep it needs, not just for rest, but because that is how you process information.

3. Allocate Your Time

alarm-clock-1246289_1280Time management is vital in both life and work. I’ve had to suppress my writing while I get through this crunch time, and likewise some house chores have taken a backseat. Now that the weekend is here, I can catch up a little bit on some of these things that are also important to me. Time is the most valuable currency there is, and it needs to be spent wisely.

I encourage you to check out these tips and tricks to find more time in your day (AKA, waste less of it): 21 Ways to Add More Hours to Your Day from LifeHacks.

Okay, now that I’ve given you some advice you didn’t ask for, I’ll give you my last couple of updates. Personally, I’m just OVER the election. This definitely added to my stress during the first week at my new position.

I enjoy my time on Facebook and Twitter, but instead of the typical cat pictures and writing articles I enjoy, it’s been spammed with hate messages from both sides of the party and international members with strong opinions. I’m so over it. I had hoped that with election day it would be over, but it got even worse. I hope my fellow Americans unite and work together to improve the country instead of bickering and getting us no where. We have so many enemies and we don’t need to be wasting time fighting amongst ourselves.

I won’t go into where I stand on the result of the election. I have followers, family and friends on both sides of politics and I choose to be bipartisan in anything displayed to the public. Spouting my own opinions will only drive people away, because most have already made up their own opinions and if they don’t align with mine, I’m losing some potentially awesome people in my life. I’ve never judged someone based on their political or religious views. I’ve had countless close friends who were 180 on religion or politics than me, because at the end of the day, they’re still an amazing inspirational person I can learn from. It’s not my job to fix the world or convince others my way is the right way. I wish more people had my philosophy. If they did, I could more openly support causes I believe in. Instead, I will silently vote and donate to those causes, and now we will move onto the next topic!

NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month that started November 1st. This is a time to write 50,000 words in one month, which is shy of the ideal novel length of 70,000~80,000 words. I’ve decided to participate, but my progress is not off to the best start. I’m not even at 5,000 words!

Screen Shot 2016-11-12 at 10.07.37 AM.png

While my progress isn’t impressive, it’s still more words than I would have written without NaNoWriMo. I’ve discovered a new novel that I’m really excited to write, tentatively called “Valkyrie.”
Poorly written blurb (but I have a blurb!)

Sixteen-year-old Val just got humiliated in front of the entire school when she was caught standing over hunkalicious Liam while he slept in his bed. She was just doing what her sister Sam had said: observe him at his most defenseless moment.

Now the laughing stock of the school, Val must somehow earn Liam’s trust and determine if he would be a good candidate for Valhalla.

Being a Valkyrie is tougher than it looks.

Okay, I think I’ve blabbed enough for one post. This is far more than I usually write, but there’re just so many amazing things going on right now. How is life going for you? (Please avoid political comments unless they are bipartisan for the sake of other viewers, thank you!)

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