Saturday, 5 August 2017

What is diversity in books

I always thought it meant different races and cultures eg Asian, Chinese etc and not just white characters written about. But since I've started writing about autistic children, I now know there is more to it. It can mean disabled children in books, not just physically disabled but hidden and invisible ones, too. Eg autistic children might look normal but they are not inside. Also, deafness and heart problems. They all affect people and are not visible, unless someone is wearing hearing aids.

There is another way to help diversity in writing, especially if you are an indie author like me. As well as writing about these different characters, you can choose which font to print in and how much space to have on the page, to make it easier for children with learning difficulties to read. My current children's books (The Rainbow School) has large font because I was told that was best for that age range (7-9s). When I published via Createspace, I found there were big spaces between some pages (where I had written long paragraphs which didn't fit on 1 page). I wasn't happy but then I got thinking. At the retreat in May, I sold a copy of Billy to a new friend, who bought it for her friend's daughter who was older than the target age but had learning difficulties. She liked the book. So, now I feel that even thought it wasn't intentional to have those gaps, it is a good thing to have, because it makes the books more accessible and available for a wider audience than I intended. I shall try to keep this in mind for the further children's books.

What does diversity mean to you with books?

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

What I really really want...to write

Over the last week I have been thinking a lot about writing for women's mags (womags) and how I feel about the market and how I have been getting on, or not. I have been trying to get stories accepted by both Woman's Weekly and The People's Friend, but have come up with rejection after rejection. I have now come to the conclusion that I am not cut out for those markets and am going to have a break from trying. The markets for women's short stories are getting fewer now, with Take A Break now only taking stories by their published authors. I have recently sent a Xmas story to an overseas magazine, so shall see what happens with that. I might try a few times with that magazine. I also might try to write a different genre, which I think I have mentioned before - sci-fi. I have a few ideas rattling around my brain for stories, just need to explore them more. I have sent a magical realism story to a digital magazine so shall see how that goes too.

I have realised there are a few genres that I do like writing: asper fiction (stories about children with Asperger's/autism who find confidence), ghosts and magical realism. So, I have already written and printed out a few stories for the first two genres, and have thought of the idea of putting them in a short story collection. Then they can go along and beside my other books and ebooks eg the shorts about ghosts can go beside my Geraldine's Gems ebook series that features a ghost, and can also be a prelude to a series I have about ghosts helping relatives. The Asper fiction shorts can go along side the Rainbow School series I am currently publishing and the other series' I have in mind. There will be a third genre - fiction that I think will be suitable for the overseas magazine. I have found one which I want to rewrite and cut half to get to the word count they want.

So, that is what I really really want to write. One other thing I found about trying to write for womags is that I didn't find it fun and enjoyable anymore. I like writing short stories but realising that maybe I wasn't cut out for it took that fun away for me. I want to get back to writing stories I want to write and have fun with.

I will let you know how it goes, esp with the stories I have out on submission.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Charlie is now on Amazon

Some exciting news, for me anyway. Charlie and the Captivating Cap, the second book in the Rainbow School series for 7-9s is now available on Amazon. It took me 5-6 days to finally get it right and publish it. Each time I reviewed the digital proof, one of the chapter heading was out of syn and not on the right page. Then the back pages were all askew. I am so pleased as it means that my Asper Fiction is well on its way out there to reach readers.

You can find Charlie here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1548727415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500026939&sr=8-1&keywords=Charlie+and+the+captivating+cap

I am currently working on Book 5 in the series which is all about Alistair who is a v anxious boy with Asperger's. Once I have finished his story, I am going back to Book 3 about Susie to do some minor edits, then on to Book 4 to check something in that.

I am loving writing this series as I feel I have now found my true voice and what I want to write about.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Asperger's and pacing myself

There are ways that Aspies can help themselves to not get so tired and end up having shutdowns. I have already said that I often take a nap in the afternoon. That is one way.

Someone else called it 'energy accounting' I call it pacing myself. I try to pace myself with going out. I don't go out twice in a day (or try not to), I try not to go out every day of the week, and have at least 1 or 2 days when I stay in and do other things that I like doing eg writing/typing or helping my mum in the garden and feed the birds.

It helps a lot that I am at home now and not working. I can do what I want when I want to, and that includes having a nap. And like today, if my head goes all funny and light because I have done too much, I can stop what I am doing and go to bed. Now that I have rested my head, I feel a bit more myself.


So, if you do work at home, try to have a nap during the day. You will find it will recharge your brain and body. Try to go out only when needed.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

What's the worst thing about Asperger's every day

Someone asked me what's the worst thing abut having Asperger's in every day life. My answer is getting so tired after going out.

I never really knew that I got tired at the end of the day until my mum told me that I was after work, which was why she always let me relax while she made the dinner.

I do get tired, very much so, after going out shopping or meeting people. I never knew why but since I have been reading and learning about Asperger's and autism, I have found out the probable reason. I just thought it was the travelling, and also my heart problem (I have a hole in the heart) but I have come to think it's more than that. It's the whole Aspie experience of communicating, fitting in with others, acting as if you're normal and all the sensory challenges I can come across eg the noise and lights.

Take the morning I drafted this post. I had a meeting with my client. I was so tired that apart from this post, I didn't write anything except this and a status on Facebook. The whole morning exhausted me.

Thankfully, as I work from home, I can have a nap in the afternoon if I want to, and most days I do. I find it recharges my brain and body. If I don't get a proper nap or no nap at all, then I stay tired for the rest of the day, and can become grumpy and miserable.


So, if you have an autistic child and they are tired at the end of the day, let them be themselves and do what they want to, if it's going to their bedroom to rest. They need to recharge their brain and body and get back to normal calmness.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

An Aspie at a writing retreat

This time last week I was in W Sussex at a writing retreat eating lunch, which might have been a veggie curry with rice and salad. V nice. So, how did I cope going to a retreat as an Aspie? Well, my brother and his girlfriend came with me to Waterloo as I had to pick up my ticket and didn't know where from or how. I know now it's quite easy. Then they saw me onto the train, making sure I left all right. I travelled on my own but it wasn't too bad as I read from a magazine and looked out the window most of the time. At Haslemere station I met another writer who I had hoped to travel with, but she had got on the train before me. We then were met by two other writers on the retreat and they drove us to the retreat.

There were lots of sessions scheduled for writing, so I was on my own in a room, writing. Sometimes distracted by the sights and sounds of birds around the area, esp the goldfinches. When I felt my head go light, I would get up and walk round the room, or go out to the grounds to get some air. Luckily it was lovely weather all weekend. That did the trick as it helped my head clear and I went back to write more. Break times weren't too bad as we were spread out over the floor so the noise wasn't too great. It was the meal times that were the worst for me. What do you get when you have a lot of writers in a small room? Lots of chatter and noise. I managed to cope with eating my meal and lasting half an hour afterwards. Then I would get up, saying I was going to get some quiet, and walk back to the lounge, where it was quiet until everyone finished their meal. I was tired most days as I never sleep properly elsewhere, esp with a loud dawn chorus. Lol.

Anyway, I managed to write a few chapters of Alistair's story. I think it might reach 2000 words. I wrote half a short story. Got stuck on how to continue it and what the ending is. Think I know now. And I sold 2 copies of Billy, which I took with me, just in case. Both were for autistic children,

I said I might not go again as my mum hasn't been too well and it depends on her health, but she says she'd love me to go as I enjoy it, and I want to go again. We shall see.

So, if you do go on a retreat, and have Asperger's like me, or even an issue with noise, then that is what you can do. Walk about a bit, and get some air if you can. It helped that the house we stayed in is in the middle of trees and bushes so is tranquil. The perfect place to write and get some peace.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The positive things to having an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis

I am going to answer a few questions that people asked me about having Asperger's. The first is a positive post. I was asked: What are the positive things about my diagnosis? Here they are:

1. As others I know who have been diagnosed late in life, it's a sense of relief. A relief that, as someone else said, after a life of feeling somehow different, you now know why and have a real reason for being that way. When I was diagnosed in 2011, it felt that all the pieces of my life, esp the negative side (not fitting in, difficulty making friends), finally all fit together.

2. Because I know I have Asperger's, and been diagnosed late, I can help others, esp younger Aspies. Giving them tips based on how I was at that age, from school to work. I feel that this is a definite positive thing. This blog is one of those. My new children's fiction 'The Rainbow School' series is also part of this.


3. And lastly, as my author client often tells me, I am good at focussing on what I am good at eg writing and helping indie authors such as him.