Things you should never say to an autistic author

Or just an autistic, in general.

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As an autistic author, I’ve always prized inclusivity, diversity and unique own voices.

Talking openly about being an autistic author, my experiences, my journey is just one way to hopefully educate and prevent the many misconceptions that can be damaging and insulting. Sometimes, it’s necessary to put it bluntly and plainly in a list of does and don’ts.

Not an all-encompassing list, of course. And my experiences as an autistic may differ from another.

If you’ve met one autistic, you’ve met one autistic.

Don’t…

  1. Tell them they don’t seem autistic.
  2. Tell them it’s ‘person with autism.’
  3. Suggest a cure. Don’t. By suggesting a cure,  suggests to us that you wish we weren’t alive.
  4. Bring up Autism Speaks. (https://intheloopaboutneurodiversity.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/the-ableist-history-of-autism-speaks/)
  5. Treat them like they’re a child and can’t understand what you’re saying.
  6. Tell them their autistic characters aren’t realistic because they’re not like your child/relative/friend.
  7. Insist they’re ‘so brave.’ Seriously. Don’t.
  8. Email them with your expertise on autism despite the fact that you’re not actually autistic.
  9. Ask them if they’ve tried a gluten-free diet.
  10. Suggest yoga might make everything better.

For a point of reference, these are all things I’ve been personally told either by friends, family, authors, or readers. Some have been emailed directly to me. Others were said in person. Some have been directed to me on social media.

What can you do?

  1. A quick search on Google will find Autistic bloggers and Autistic-led organisations with loads of resources.  Here’s one of my favourites: https://autisticadvocacy.org/
  2. Be patient in conversation with us. Auditory processing disorder is something a lot of autistics deal with, we may need you to repeat yourself for us to catch up.
  3. Meet us halfway. We’re doing our best in a non-autistic world, educating yourself can help bridge the gap.
  4. Extend invitations to us. We might not always say yes but no one enjoys being excluded.

**Thanks to my beloved friend and publisher for giving me a hand with the wording of this post**

What’s your writing kryptonite?

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I think every author has a kryptonite. An aspect of writing that is difficult for them. Or, at least, I DEFINITELY do.

I thought I’d share my kryptonite with you.

  1. Editing, in general. We hates it, precious. I mean, I love my editor (love you Liv!) but I hate editing.
  2. Commas.
  3. Commas.
  4. Commas.
  5. Forgetting a word and changing an entire paragraph to compensate so I can use another one.

What about you? What’s your kryptonite?

Character Exploration

What secondary characters do I wish I could explore?

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(Me to my muse.)

This is a dangerous topic to discuss. My muse has a habit of running away with me when I’m supposed to be focus on a specific story. But, I thought it would be fun to talk about the various secondary characters in all of my books that I wish I could’ve explored further or written something for.

I picked just three either individuals or couples. There were a few others but if I give my muse too much temptation, I might get myself into trouble.

1. Silus/Zeb

The first one who came to mind was Silus and Zeb from The Sin Bin. Remi’s cousin and Scottie’s little brother who develop a romance in The Lion Tamer. I’ve always wanted to write their romance, but things just didn’t work out there. Maybe one day.

2. Jesse

The second person who came to mind was Jesse from Found You.

Here’s the intro you get to Jesse in the book:

Jesse had lived in Key West for almost twenty-three years. He’d arrived on Dusk’s seventh birthday, having drifted ashore in a banged-up life raft, looking like a cross between Santa Claus and a starved pirate. The man had claimed to have no memory of where or when his boat had sunk or what his last name was. No one knew his true age or name, though he appeared now to be in his late sixties. A jack of all trades who had done stayed on the island, doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

I have ALWAYS wanted to delve deeply into the mysterious past of Jesse and what led up to him getting shipwrecked in Key West. Maybe one day.

3. Remi/Sara

A couple we see in The Sin Bin books. I’ve written a flash fiction for them at one point. But I think it would be brilliant to dip into their backgrounds. Remi and Sara both have some interesting family dramas to cope with. We only get the slightly hint about them in the series and again in Forged in Flood.

Honorable Mentions: Ahmed from The Misguided Confession, Dr. Gen from The Caretaker, and Bishan’s siblings in The Grasmere Trilogy.

My Editing Process

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I’m pretty sure my editor doesn’t think I have a process.

(She might be right. Love you, Liv!)

So…here’s what usually happens for me throughout editing.

  • It starts while I’m writing. I generally send each finished chapter to two of my betas. I find it helps me with keeping tracking of things, though that’s not always successful either.
  • Finish the book! (Yay! Collapse in a heap. Throw confetti. Have a nap.)
  • Do a round of edits.
  • Send to my last beta who works magic for me.
  • Do another round of edits.
  • Do a third round with Grammarly.
  • Submit my book to my publisher after whining endlessly about writing a synopsis.
  • Multiple rounds of edits with my editor and publisher.
  • So many rounds.
  • All the edits.

 

 

Choosing Favourites

AKA how many times can I use the word favourite in a blog post.

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One question I see a lot is ‘What’s your favourite book you’ve written?’

And I always try to avoid the question. How do you pick your favourite? Or maybe, the truth is how do you admit to having a favourite? Gasp. Horror.

I do have a few books that are at the top of my list.

From The Blackbird Series:

Lorcan.  Lorcan is definitely my favourite from the Blackbird Anthology. I adore Ronan and Lorcan. They were such fun to write. And they had the most interesting time together.

From The Sin Bin:

This one is tricky. I love the entire series and all of the couples. I think The Caretaker is my fave, though. There’s something about Freddie and Tens’ relationship that just stands out to me from the others.

From my Standalones:

Hmm. I had a rough time with this one. My standalones are all so varied and even in different genres. But of them all, Found You is probably the one I’d choose.

it was fun to write and some of the lines still make me laugh so hard.

From my Cozies:

Oh, this one hurts. Cozy mysteries are my preferred genre to read and to write most days. I think Poisoned Primrose is going to be at the top of my list. To be honest, it’s at the top of  the entire list (even though I put it last.) And it all boils down to Motts, the main character. She’s the best character I’ve ever developed. I adore her and the story.

I didn’t lose my mind.

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A little over a week ago, I attended my first book signing at the Writers on the River event in Peoria, Il.  I thought I’d share ten things about it.

1. Sensory Overload to the max. As an autistic, I severely underestimated my ability to handle the noise and chaos of 300+ readers in one room.

2. Writers on the River has brilliant organisers and some of the kindest volunteers. Highly recommend, though if you’re autistic, consider how well you deal with crowds.

3. I survived.

4. The best burger I’ve ever had from a dive called Burger Barge.

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5. I learned I need to do better at respecting my limitations.

6. Everyone likes free candy. (And Reese’s Peanut Butter cups go first.)

7. Best cupcake ever.  Chocolate espresso cupcake. So good. OMG. So good.

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8. Swag makes everyone happy.

9. I can push myself too far in an attempt to fit into the allistic vision of an author.

10. The Grasmere Trilogy paperback has by far my most popular cover.

*If you’re interested in learning more about how attending a book signing affected me as an autistic, I’ve vlogged about it over on my patreon.*

 

A Desk By Any Other Name

I’ve wanted to do a post like this for a while. It’s just a silly post about the contents of my desk drawer (and nightstand.)

So, this is my desk drawer. It’s mostly organized. I clean it out every couple of months because it starts to irritate me.

Nothing earth-shattering. Two little baskets with post-notes, ink refills, and stapler refills, even though I never use my stapler.

Stapler. (Anyone else say that in the same voice as the guy from Office Space? Just me?)

Stamps, international and regular. They’re covering up address labels and a checkbook because…no one needs that information.

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Now, technically, this isn’t my desk drawer. This is my nightstrand drawer but most of the things on the right should be in my desk drawer.  I often write/work in bed so I keep some of my supplies in my nightstand.

The silver case has some of my pens (Should I do a blog post about my massive pen collection?) The blue folder has post-notes and a notepad. It’s from Cocoa Daisy. Then there’s a collection of drawing/sketch pads, a postcard notebook, and other random nonsense.

Oh! And there’s a sewing kit I’ve owned for twenty years and NEVER USED ONCE.

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This inspired a vlog for my patrons so if you’re interested check that out here:

My Patreon

So, what’s in your desk drawer?