Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autism inspires next book

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I am an autism mom. My youngest son was diagnosed in 2002 when he was almost 4, pretty late in the game, but there's a reason for that. Autism resources were quite scarce all those years ago compared to now. I have had a thrilling journey with the autism life in the past decade, and I've learned a whole lot. What started off as an article about my journey in the autism world morphed into a book. Not surprising, considering I'm a writer working on a topic I'm most passionate about.

I'm about 30,000 words in and full speed ahead. I have experts contributing valuable knowledge to the book, plus I want to include stories of other autism families. In the beginning of my journey, I felt alone and lost. I'm sure I handled lots of things the wrong way and paid the price later on. We've tried all kinds of tactics and therapy, been through countless phases and sleepless scream-filled nights. I never had any support outside of immediate family until the last couple years when I started joining forums and making greater use of social media. I started networking with other families who had amazing stories, and I finally felt a camaraderie and  no longer felt alone. I can't tell you enough how much this has helped me.

In light of that, I decided to dedicate a chapter of my book to the stories of other autism families. I am looking for 400-word blurbs about their autism experience thus far, what's been the biggest challenge, and what has helped their child(ren) and them cope. The point of this chapter is to let other autism families who might be feeling what I felt at one time know that we're all in this together, and there is help out there, not to mention support from others in the same shoes.

If you or anyone you know would be willing to contribute a blurb and share a little about their story, please contact me. I'm accepting submissions this whole month! My email is Neesha@theSweetTalker.com, so send me a note anytime.

Thanks in advance for helping me spread awareness about autism.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Published - One of my favorite words

I had a nice back-to-work-after-a-holiday-weekend day, thank goodness! It went smoothly, especially after I thought I had a deadline to chase today, but the client moved it to the end of the month---Nice! As an editor, I always try to be brutal because that's what it takes to make a piece of writing the best it can be. Well, today, I had a client actually tell me, "We prefer to leave that grammatically wrong." This was in regards to "because of" vs. "due to." They are not interchangeable, but that doesn't seem to be widely known OR accepted. I always tell people to look it up if I sound crazy, and the proof is rampant in the Google search results.

On a positive note, I got the final-final email note today from Chicken Soup for the Soul, confirming my story will indeed be part of their October book about inspiration for kids. Should be in stores Oct. 29, yippee!

I've been writing aimlessly for nearly a year, so that was a well-needed splash of enthusiasm, plus last weekend, I finally finished the revamp of my first novel. It's on Amazon/Kindle, and I have some tweaking to do with Createspace, but I'm good to go for the most part! My husband, Anthony, my graphic artist, is going to make some promo material for me. I'm trying to come up with some bright and fresh ideas for promos, something that hasn't been overdone. When the planning comes to fruition, I will gladly share what I learned on this blog.

I'm currently working on a fantasy short story, a small project before I resume working on my autism journey non-fiction book that I plan to release this November.  But at this very moment, I'm going to close off this wonderful day reading my latest guilty pleasure. Yes, book 4 of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

'Til next time. Happy writing!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Revamped and republished: Sept.1 milestone

I decided to make the most of this holiday weekend. I self-pubbed my first book in Feb. 2012. It was a novella titled I of the Storm. I was so proud of it because it took me 6 years to complete. It was well received after release, and I decided to write a book-2 this year. To refresh my memory of all the details I'd added to the story, I reread my book. Looking at it solely with reader's eyes and not as the author, I saw that it had lots of potential to become a full-length novel. I noticed lots of places that could use elaboration and spicing up. The story line seemed to move too fast in some parts. So I dedicated one whole weekend to fattening up my novella. She gained a lot of weight---from 37,000 words to a chunky 51,000! I added 5 more chapters and lots of new scenes, creating more depth. I also made it more spooky and added a subhead so people would have a clue what the story was about. Now the title is I of the Storm: Death is Watching. 

A fellow author told me my title was confusing when saying it out loud and not seeing it. This means, some people probably thought it was a book about weather! As the cover, I used a photo of Earth I took from a plane as I was flying home from a vacation in Trinidad. The photo looked outer space-like, and I used it for its cool factor. I hadn't thought of it beyond that the first time around, so I was grateful for the feedback about how it was confusing.

My husband of 2 years is a graphic designer. And after a photographer gave me permission to use his lightning photo, I knew my book needed a facelift. Considering the whole story is driven by the main character being struck by lightning, it was the perfect image for my cover! The hubby went to work on the new cover design, and in a couple days, my book had a new look. I'm quite pleased with the refinished product, and I'm so glad I decided to go forth with the upgrade. That's one of the perks of self-publishing.

So, with a new face and body, my book is a pending upload as we speak on Amazon/Kindle! Check out the cover below. If you're an author looking for a designer, my husband, Anthony, is for hire. (Ha! That sounded funny.)