Apr 3, 2016

To Blue or Not to Blue

It's Autism month. There is some debate on if it should be awareness or acceptance month. The fact is, even those living with Autism can't agree on almost anything connected to Autism. Yesterday, buildings and monuments all around the world went blue for World Autism Awareness day and lots of people are Lighting Up Blue. I won't be. It's not popular to admit that or to point out what Light Up Blue officially represents. I specifically didn't post this yesterday out of consideration for those who just wanted to enjoy the day and not get involved in the politics of Autism. 

Living with Autism can sometime feel like shouting into a void. It can be lonely and frustrating. Awareness and Acceptance are complex issues, and my own views are continually evolving. The truth is somewhat disconcerting. Although Autism connects us, the Autism community is a community, not divided but splintered into a million pieces. There is very little universal consensus on anything from causes to decision making to if the term should be 'Autistic' or 'person with Autism'. Being a spectrum disorder, Autism affects individuals and families in such vastly different ways that everyone wants something different from Autism month. The one thing that we all want is to feel heard.

It's a touchy subject for some. Like it or not, aware of it or not, agree with it or not, Light it Up Blue started and still represents an Autism Speaks Campaign.

I used to Light Up Blue. I used to support Autism Speaks with money and time. I donated work for a fundraising collection of stories. I spread the word on social media. Then I found out that, like other charities I'd previously donated to, huge sums of money raised was going to pay salaries, research, and marketing campaigns to raise even more money. And very little going to directly to help those in need right now.

That is why I no longer go Blue. 

I don't support everything they stand for, but anyone would be hard pressed to find a group they can agree with on everything. It's not about the goal of the research for a cure because I do support the research. I hope those who are severely debilitated or who wish it can someday access a cure. It's not that they sometimes portray autism as something terrible, because you know what? For some it is terrible. It's not even that they support parents and caregivers as advocates, because what is the alternative? Someone who has never met my son but thinks they know better because they are on the spectrum too? I would no more allow my son to make major life decisions alone than I would a four-year-old. And I am even less likely to allow some autistic stranger tell me that I don't know best for my son and myself. Because I sure as hell do.

So, when I don't Light Up Blue, IS NOT A JUDGEMENT on anyone who does. Is it not me saying I support anti-AS groups either, because I don't. I have no interest in being silenced or discounted as a voice for my son. It is not me saying I support acceptance over awareness. I want both to a degree.

I will never accept something that hurts my child the way Autism does. I do want acceptance in a positive way that helps autistic people integrate and live their life to whatever level they are capable. 

I want awareness. Real awareness, not the fluffy 'isn't autism great for Silicon Valley' awareness. The raw awareness of the good and bad. The meltdowns, outbursts, the stress, the grief, the work from caregivers and autistic individuals, the determination, sleepless nights, the milestones, achievements, and the moments of joy. I want Awareness of how little things can make life a little easier. 

So, regardless of want to achieve this April, if you turn blue or not, whatever it is you support or how you support it, and even if I don't agree with your message, I do hope at the end of it, you feel heard. 

Happy Autism Month.

Feb 22, 2016

The Revenger by Debra Anastasia Release Day

I am so very excited about this release and I am already reading it. This is a not to be missed book. On FaceBook I described it as "Sheer Brilliance". It's a sort of anti-hero origin story for adults. Or hero origin story depending on your perspective. Dark, twisted, and heartbreaking. Debra Anastasia at her very best.


The real hero of this story is dead. You should have met him. He was a beautiful man. The love of my life. I didn’t deserve him.

Now what’s left are the jagged edges of the person I am without him, and what I have to do to get by. This isn’t even a story about love. Not really. It’s a twisted tale of revenge and hate—a happily never after.

The only man in my life now is the one I have to kill.
I’m Savvy Raine.
I used to be a wife.
I used to be a mother.
Now I am the Revenger.


There was very little chatter after the alarming phone call. Savvy looked at the clock. It was only five, but the extra help Tallow had enlisted acted like she was about to disintegrate. When they were finally done, they hung Savvy’s costume from a door, fully expecting her to drop trou in front of all the strangers.
She looked at the silver outfit meant to demean her and classify her as his, just like all his other favorites.
“Yeah, I’m not actually going to be wearing that.” She looked from one shocked person to the other.
Tallow recovered first. “But this is what he told you to wear!”
Savvy laughed hollowly. “Yeah, he can suck his own d*ck for all I care.”
The atmosphere changed. The others now realized Savvy didn’t think it was a huge honor to be a f*ckhole.
“That’s not acceptable. I’ll put you in it myself if I have to, but you’re leaving here in that outfit.” Tallow bravely gathered up the skirt and came into Savvy’s personal space. He obviously thought she was just a regular girl.
In an instant she’d lifted Tallow into the air by his neck. “I’m not wearing it.” She stared him down until he began to turn blue. Then she set him back on his feet.
Tallow was a quick learner and smoothed his fancy shirt. 
          “Okay then, let me see what else we have."

Buy Links 

Find the Author 

Feb 19, 2016

Abandoned Blog Tour - Guest Post from Elisa Dane

Today, I'm delighted to welcome Elisa Dane to my blog as part of the blog tour for the release of her latest book - Abandoned. As a writer myself, I'm always fascinated by the process of other writers and so I opted to ask Elisa a question about her writing. I will review the book at a later date, but trust me, this book is to the author's usual incredible high standard.

Abandoned by Elisa Dane

Publication Date:  February 15, 2016
Publisher:  Swoon Romance

My name is Tierra Owens, and I like to kiss. A lot. It numbs the hollow ache in my chest and—for a few minutes—makes me forget how truly alone I am. My mother is an alcoholic. She hates me and insists I'm the reason she's not married to my father, whom I have never met. My best friend, Kaylee, is the only person who knows the real me. Everyone else sees what I want them to: a happy, confident, popular girl who has the world at her feet.

I am a fraud.

Relationships are forbidden. I avoid them at all costs. Sex? Emotions? Those things make a person vulnerable, and vulnerability always leads to heartbreak. When my childhood crush, Mattie shows up at school my world tumbles off its axis. The shell I surround myself with feels more like a pathetic crutch than a protective barrier, and I find myself wanting things. Daydreaming about what it would be like to have a boyfriend, a relationship—love.

The sad fact is: I'll never have any of those things. I am unworthy—trash. Which is why my mom abandoned me.

Grab it now!
My question 

You don't seem at all shy about tackling difficult subject matter in your books, such as relationship abuse among teens and teen drinking. Can you explain a little about how you do your research?

Hi, Carol! So excited to be hanging out with you today! Okay, so you’re interested in knowing what type of research I do to tackle the tough subjects I write about. Two words: my hubby. I’m married to a police officer that worked in a high school for eight years. He’s also an active shooter instructor and owns his own company, which goes into schools and assess their safety, while training them how to deal with critical incidences, such as active shooters. While I’m never told specific details about any of his cases, I do glean a good deal of information from him as to what types of problems and situations are plaguing today’s teens. I’ve gone to him on a number of occasions while plotting, and asked what types of negative behavior he’s seeing at the schools. He’s dealt with all kinds of bullying, both online, and in person, as well as sexual extortion, substance abuse, physical abuse, etc. My guy is a fountain of information.

He was exceptionally helpful to me while I wrote each of my YA novels. In general, I’ll explain the situation my character’s are in, then ask him if that situation is believable, and if the police happen to be involved, how would they respond? My main character, Tierra, did her level best to keep the police out of her situation, which was not the smartest decision on her part. With my other books, In The After in particular, I pretty much ran every aspect of the book by him while I was writing. I consider myself extremely lucky to have a police officer for a hubby!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! I hope you and your readers enjoy Mattie and Tierra’s story!

Give Away 

Ends February 26, 2016

·  One (1) winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of Abandoned by Elisa Dane (INT)

About the Author 

Elisa Dane loves books, chocolate, reality television, her family, and All Star Cheerleading. Not necessarily in that order! She writes contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. She writes what she knows, and it’s her hope that her stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you’ll find a new respect for the sport of All Star Cheerleading you may not have had before. She’s represented by Brittany Booker of the Booker/Albert Agency, and has published a NA paranormal series under her real name, Lisa Sanchez.

Thank you, Elisa, for joining us today and Chapter by Chapter for arranging the blog tour. 

Feb 9, 2016

Review - Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia

It ends with the beginning. This legendary, indie, cult-favorite series ends its tale with the story of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood before the tattoo. Before the train station, before the church, before a criminal empire there was a foster home and three teen boys who chose each other as family, because the ones they were born into didn’t exist

Still in high school, Beckett is already laying the groundwork for a grander life ahead, one where his brothers want for nothing and get some respect for once. But even as he plans, Beckett must decide if he’s ready to make that choice—diving in to a life that trades his chance at a future, his chance at something as simple as first love with a girl named Candy Cox, for their chance to find happiness.

Blake, Beckett, and Cole’s devotion to each other is forged by fists and the driving need to belong somewhere, to do more than just survive this life. Readers of the series know they each get there in the end, but before we count smiles, we must first shed tears. These early days of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood will play on your heartstrings before serrating them with a knife; they’ll lift your soul with music, only to leave you with nothing but a desperate prayer for hope.

And when you reach the end of the beginning, you’ll be ready to start the series all over again.

It ends where it begins is so true. This is a book that delivers a hat-trick in less than two hundred pages. It is a stand alone book, an ending, and a beginning all in one. For those who haven't spent the last several years engrossed in the tales of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood as I have done, PB is an excellent way to dip your toe in the water. It's complete in itself, a stand alone novel with no cliff ending and no need to be familiar with any of the characters.

But, who are we kidding? If you haven't already, you are going to want to read the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series after this. In which case, it's a fantastic place to begin, right back in high-school.

If, like me, you have been following Beckett, Cole, and Blake through their adventures and heartache as adults, this is a bittersweet goodbye, a gift from the author. It will break your heart and give you hope all over again.

Although it is a book about young adults, this is an Adult book, or at the very least New Adult. It deals with some difficult themes, there is course language, violence, raw emotion, sex, and abuse of all sorts. However, don't let that put you off. It is a gripping story that is not long or drawn out so although it's emotionally intense, it's short enough that it didn't leave me drained as some books have in the past. 

A book definitely worth a spot on your To Read list.
Buy Links
Find the whole Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series here: http://amzn.to/1OfpAtk