When Jackie M. Stebbins had reached the pinnacle of success as a young trial lawyer, she desperately tried to hide her anxiety and depression. But her shaking hands, endless insomnia, and white noise in her ears told her it was true: she had burned herself out.
Welcome to the May 9th stop on the blog tour for Unwillable by Jackie M. Stebbins with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Last summer, I ran into my dorm roommate from my sophomore year in undergrad. I hadn’t seen her since we moved out for summer break back in 2004. We chatted a lot about our careers, my health, and the book I had just published, Unwillable.
As we reminisced about life before and now, she made a very astute comment: “Our generation is the only one who had to straddle the line between analog and digital.”
As I prepared my thoughts to pen this blog, I was thinking about how one of my newest forms of book marketing is #booktok on TikTok.
I had sworn off TikTok for life. The first time someone asked me if I was on it, I thought she was offering me a breath mint. This was prior to 2020, when making ridiculous or somewhat funny videos became the norm in our shared captivity. I continued to avoid it like the plague, until my friend Leigh, an author and writing coach, sent an email that said, “Twitter is dying. Get on TikTok or you’ll never sell another book again.” (OK, she didn’t really say that, but that was the gist of the email, and I knew it was true.)
So I closed my eyes, downloaded the app, and watched a YouTube video on how to create basic videos (that was my first mistake, I didn’t realize I was supposed to search right in the app for how to use it – which shows my millennial age, I first turn to Google; Gen Z first turns to TikTok).
I’m now #booktoking with weekly frequency and (shhh do not tell) I really enjoy it. It’s a fun way for me to accomplish a few things: 1) talk about books, because I’m an avid reader; 2) talk about my book, without really talking about it, because Gen Z doesn’t want you to sell them things; 3) talk about autoimmune encephalitis, the rare brain illness that’s the reason I’m no longer a lawyer and now an author on TikTok, and 4) get a lot of great recommendations for my TBR pile.
And now that I think about it, TikTok is a lot like the PowerPoint presentations I grew up with in the 90s. Except that the movies are clearer and easier to make; the pictures are clearer and easier to take; popular music is on the app; and you can do it all from the ease of the tiny computer you carry in your pocket.
My ol’ roomie was right: those of us born in the 80s have straddled it all – including camcorders, film development, and slideshows to iPhone and TikTok. It really is a wonderful world!
PS If you happen to be a #booktoker, #Unwillable would love it if you’d talk about it. (Rules of TikTok, be shameless without being shameless.)
About the Book
A Journey to Reclaim My Brain
by Jackie M. Stebbins
Published 5 May 2022
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Page Count: 284
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
When Jackie M. Stebbins had reached the pinnacle of success as a young trial lawyer, she desperately tried to hide her anxiety and depression. But her shaking hands, endless insomnia, and white noise in her ears told her it was true: she had burned herself out. After she pleaded to be committed to a psychiatric ward, her world went black. She awoke a month later to learn that she had a rare and debilitating brain illness that stole her career and nearly ended her life. The twists and turns of her journey to a diagnosis, recovery, and new life takes readers on an emotional and psychedelic rollercoaster ride. You will feel her terror and devastation and be moved by her will and hope. Unwillable makes you laugh, cry, and cheer for Jackie in this fast-paced story of a woman whose persistence burdened her, but also equipped her to survive.
“Jackie Stebbins’ UNWILLABLE is an inspiring story of a brilliant woman’s battle with autoimmune encephalitis and the circle of support–from loving family members to dedicated physicians–who helped guide her through a hard-won recovery. Her story is as moving as it is important and is destined to help so many others facing this condition.” – Susannah Cahalan author of NYT #1 Bestseller Brain on Fire
I remember the moment it hit. It was like the physical feeling of lightning striking me and an earthquake ripping through me all at once. It had an instantaneous feeling of terror and destruction. The explosion started in my brain and reverberated through my entire body. It caught and spread like wildfire.
It is my memory that I sat upright in bed when it felt like the lightning bolt struck my head. My hands and arms immediately started to fly wildly and uncontrollably all over the place, as if I was trying to brace myself while the earthquake tore through me. For just a second, I wanted to scream out for help, but I couldn’t. I peed my pants. And after that, it all goes black.
The memory I have is only an instant long, but I can still feel the desire to scream. I can feel my arms moving so rapidly and uncontrollably that they are almost screaming out too. It is the worst of all the nightmares, all the terrors, and all the episodes I had in that bed for those seven months, in a few split seconds.
About the Author
Jackie M. Stebbins was living her dream as a nationally recognized family law, criminal defense, and civil litigator. But Stebbins’s career as a lawyer abruptly ended in May, 2018, when she was diagnosed with a rare brain illness, autoimmune encephalitis. Stebbins persevered to make a remarkable recovery and turned herself into an author and motivational speaker. Stebbins is the author of the JM Stebbins blog and host of the Brain Fever podcast. Stebbins’s side hustle includes raising three lovely children with her wonderful husband, Sean, in Bismarck, North Dakota, and in her leisure time she can be found reading, trying to be funny, and aqua jogging.
Jackie M. Stebbins will be awarding a custom #StebbinsStrong t-shirt (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
|May 1||Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews||May 2||Literary Gold|
|May 3||Fabulous and Brunette||May 4||All the Ups and Downs|
|May 5||The Avid Reader||May 8||Christine Young|
|May 9||Westveil Publishing||May 10||Uplifting Reads|
|May 11||The Faerie Review||May 12||Joanne Guidoccio|
|May 15||Author C.A.Milson||May 16||Inkspired|
|May 17||Let me tell you a story||May 18||The Book Countess|
|May 19||It’s Raining Books||May 22||Hope. Dreams. Life… Love|
|May 23||Straight From the Library||May 24||Long and Short Reviews|
|May 25||Novels Alive||May 25||Welcome to My World of Dreams|
|May 26||Our Town Book Reviews|
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