Thanks. No Thanks. Thanks.

April is generally considered ‘Autism Awareness’ month. I prefer Autism Acceptance.  I do not support Autism Speaks. I do not light it up blue. I am not a puzzle piece.

I thought for my first Monday Blog in April. I’d discuss an aspect of my life as an autistic adult.

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The above gif is an accurate representation of how I feel about my brain daily.

True story.

I’ve wanted to write this blog post for over a year but struggled to put my thoughts into coherent words. Something I deal with quite frequently as an autistic. An experience this week made me want to make an attempt yet again–so please forgive any rambling. I’m trying.

I am autistic.

I live in a world that isn’t designed for the neurally divergent.

Let’s be honest, the world was made for the neurally and physically abled person.

The older I get, the harder it becomes to mask my way through life. (If you’d like to learn more about autistic masking, Neurodivergent Rebel has a fantastic video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZB38phQNzw)

And with masking becoming harder, it can be a battle to do specific tasks. All the author things I have to do with promo, talking to people, blogging, so many things. It can be overwhelming and some days impossible. I have days where I sit at my desk and stare at my to-do list for an hour without actually accomplishing a single item.

I get comfortable with people and routines, both of which help me climb these hurdlers within myself.

My life has been blessed with a core group of friends who go out of their way to help me…or at least not make my life more difficult.

The trouble is that I struggle with something that feels a bit like imposter syndrome. I know I need help. I don’t ask for it, but when I receive it.

I suddenly feel like I shouldn’t take the help. Like, I not only do I not need help. I don’t deserve it.

This past week offered a prime example.

My point of contact with my publisher is generally one of two people. As my publisher grows, more people are added to the mix. It causes me a lot of anxiety.

My beloved publisher graciously makes accommodations for me, so that I’m able to cope.

The downside of this brilliant kindness is that a negative internal conversation happens. I question myself. I don’t really need this help, do I? I can manage. I’ll be fine. I’m making their lives more difficult.

It’s toxic self-doubt.

I don’t know if many of my fellow autistics struggle with this.  I’m sure some must.

I do need help at times. I can manage, sometimes, but at what cost to my mental health and stress levels?

One of my goals this year was to be kinder to myself.

I don’t have to be extraordinary or superhuman to validate my existence as an autistic and person.

(This is one of my greatest issues with inspiration porn featuring extraordinary autistics with amazing gifts. It inspires non-autistics, but frequently leaves other autistics feeling as though they will never be enough just as they are.)

I’m trying to do better.

How do you handle accepting help when you need it?

Excerpt: Forged in Flood.


Excerpt:

The Blacks of Boscastle had run the forge since before the sixteenth century. All the men and many of the women in his family had been blacksmiths by trade. Ivan had always felt particularly proud to follow in their footsteps. They’d worked through rains, wars, and plagues.

I’m not going to be the first to run over a spot of bad weather.

There was one major downside to everyone in the village having fled—there were no distractions. Ivan had far too much time on his hands to think. His mind went back in time to an event best left untouched. One dismal night, one massive car crash, and three young lives drastically altered forever.

He’d restricted himself to Boscastle and the smithy since then, promising never to take risks ever again. And he hadn’t, not really. His life had become incredibly boring and predictable.

Ivan gritted his teeth and slammed down the hammer in his hand to stave off the onslaught of memories. “Sodding rain.”

As a young man, Ivan and his two best mates had been the pride of their university. Rugby stars in the making; all three had already signed contracts to turn professional upon graduation. The offers hinged on them staying healthy and keeping their heads in the game.

One accident had ruined it for all three of them.

All my fucking fault.

Of the three young men, Ivan had gotten off easiest as far as long-term issues. He’d suffered a severe concussion along with cuts and bruises. The accident left him with memory problems, a short fuse on his temper, and blindingly painful migraines; his balance had also been greatly affected by the damage to his brain.

His mate, Wes, had the injuries that were most visible. His face, hands, and arms had been left covered with scars. He’d also lost the sight in his right eye.

The third of their trio, Rolly, had gone through multiple surgeries on his left leg. Even with the best care, it would never be the same. He’d walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

Three promising sports careers flushed down the toilet by one foolish mistake. Everyone consoled Ivan by reminding him that any of them could’ve been behind the wheel. They’d driven drunk a thousand times before and gotten lucky each time.

Their luck had simply run out. They’d taken their lives (and the lives of anyone else on the road) into their own stupid, drunken hands. The car had flown around a corner on a rain-slicked road and rolled several times before crashing into a tree.

For Ivan, his dreams going up in smoke hadn’t been the worst part. Not a day went by where he didn’t regret losing his best mates. Guilt, more than anything, kept him from trying to breach the gap and contact them.

He’d hidden himself away in Cornwall to avoid ever having to see either man again.

Fucking enough, you fuckwitted moron.

Beating yourself up won’t change anything.

Sod this sodding rain.


Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2lcaCwN

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2JWcKXw

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2JWcUhA

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2litkmF

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2sYpraG

iTunes: https://apple.co/2le829J

Nook: http://bit.ly/2LUULhw

 

Review: Forged in Flood.

This is probably one of my favorite short stories I have ever read. There is basically continuous banter and sass and arguments but it is in the best possible way. I did not feel like anything was forced like I usually do in short stories. The characters all knew each other before the book so I think that helped in the relationship being formed authentically. .” ~ 4.5 Stars Ayla from Book Bayou Junkie

What am I binge watching this month?

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I thought I’d share the shows I’m currently binge watching on either Netflix or Amazon Prime. They’re in no particular order.

  1. Skin Wars
  2. Bake Off
  3. QI
  4. Mock the Week
  5. Lords & Ladles
  6. Cold Justice
  7. Nailed It
  8. Court Justice
  9. An Hour To Save Your Life
  10. Salt Fat Acid Heat

What about you? What are you binge watching this week/month? Do you binge watch at all?

An Excerpt from The Misguided Confession

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An exhausted Alim had been bouncing from country to country, sorting out issues with several of their family businesses. He’d returned to London feeling utterly spent and decided to head out of the city to the estate he owned in Kent.
He’d missed Elaine. They’d been together steadily since their Christmas tea. Each date had further cemented his desire to have her in his life.
It had started out with meals after work or the occasional weekend excursion. Elaine disliked crowds, a fact that made dating complicated. He’d gone so far as to book out an entire convention as a surprise for Valentine’s Day.
The little quirks of Elaine’s tended to make others uncomfortable around her. Alim found them charming. It dragged him deeper into love than he’d ever imagined possible.
 Travelling for an extended period had only reinforced it for him. He hadn’t been satisfied with phone conversations, particularly when Elaine hated them. Their attachment to each other had grown until they were far too intertwined to be apart for long. His niece, Alicia, had escaped to his home, but she wouldn’t mind him returning there. The house itself was large enough to allow her whatever privacy she wanted. Alim had no doubts Josh Withers would be with her. The man never seemed to leave his niece alone these days.
Striding through the front doors the butler opened for him, Alim paused at what sounded like an immensely large animal racing through one of the nearby rooms. He frowned at his butler, then froze at the loud roar that echoed through the mansion. His heart started to race while he grabbed one of the hunting rifles from a nearby cupboard and ran in the direction of the roar.
“No!”
Alim stopped short when his niece darted in front of what had to be the largest panther he could ever recall seeing. “Alicia?”
“You can’t shoot him, Uncle.” Alicia rested a hand lightly on top of the animal’s head.
“Him?” Alim frowned at her with the weapon held tightly in his hand. “Did Minxie suddenly grow while I was away?”
Alicia laughed behind her hand for several minutes while the panther made what sounded like a grumbling sort of snarl. “Play nicely, Joshua.”
“Joshua?” Alim stumbled backwards as the dots started to connect in his mind. His arm fell to his side letting the weapon point harmlessly towards the floor. “How is this even possible? Is this a joke? I am not amused, Alicia.”

books2read.com/misguided

 

Book Review: The Misguided Confession

Cover600I loved Elaine’s relationship with her mate. It was beautifully written and I was able to see feel her struggles with all her relationships in her life. Her love for her mate was able to overcome some of these obstacles. He was an amazing man, patient and kind, taking his time with Elaine and giving her space when for others it would be difficult to take that step back. That to me is love in it’s purest form!” 5 Stars from Gen Ryan

From straight pantser to ever so slightly plotting along.

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I used to be a straight pantser.  (Someone who writes by the seat of their pants instead of plotting with an outline, etc.)

Never did anything, not even writing down character notes, before starting a novel. My mind liked it, but my manuscripts became a bit of a nightmare to edit. It’s hard to keep track of characters, plots, and timelines when NOTHING is written down.

And your memory is a bit shit.

Now, I do better.

I plot a little. I’ll never be a true plotter. Outlines bore me to tears. So, I’ve found a compromise that works.

Stage One: Faces, Names and Places

Three things I usually do before anything else is to pick the location of a story, the novel title, and visual references for the characters.

I’m not a very visual person, so I definitely need an actual image to picture while I’m writing.

Stage Two: Build out a Book Bible.

I use thin A5 Muji notebooks and fill out little character questionnaires for the main characters along with notes about family/friends. I also jot down a loose timeline. I find this helps keep the novel on track, but also with writing newsletters and blog posts once I’m done with the book.

Stage Three: Media.

Before writing, I build two essential lists. A musical playlist, my current WIP has a mostly country music playlist. I also create a TV/movie list. I find watching shows or movies based around the theme of what I’m writing can really help me get in the mood.

For The Royal Marine, for example, I watched a lot of Bake Off. For the Grasmere trilogy, it watched Poirot, of course.

Stage Four: Let’s Play Pretend

This is the stage where I’m usually supposed to be giving myself a writing break, but I’m chomping at the bit to write.

Stage Five: Write

Self-explanatory that involves a lot of coffee, sobbing, and hitting my head against the keyboard.

If you’re a writer, are you a pantser or a plotter?