Autism, blogging

Is Spring Here Yet?: Featuring What I May or May Not Be Doing with My Life After The Longest Winter Ever

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So, for those of you who live in places where it snows, can we all just agree, now, that this was the LONGEST WINTER EVER? It feels like the last 5 months in fact spanned at least 15. I definitely feel like I should’ve had a cameo in Game of Thrones. Usually I embrace living in a region where all 4 seasons are in concrete representation…but not this go-round.

Anyway, I don’t think it helps one sliver that this rollercoaster of a winter finished for us with a strong bout of sickness that we’re still trying to kick. There’s been multiple days — sometimes in a row — of more rest than doing anything else, which has led to falling behind on other stuff (welcome to my writing goals getting completely tossed out the window), and domino-effect-issues like the contents of the freezer reaching uninspiring levels. Poor Muffin and White Fang are still on the road to recovery, while the cat seems largely unscathed (yay), and my husband and I are finally turning the corner.

By some miracle, I’ve still been able to do at least a little editing on my current projects, and the distant dream of having a book ready to release in the next couple of months is still alive! I’m not going to be anywhere near as bold as to slap an actual date down, but it may still happen, and I am awesome with that!

Otherwise…

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Interestingly, I haven’t even been reading very much. I did complete a re-read of books 1-3 in Kyle Robert Shultz’s delightful Beaumont and Beasley series, mostly before he releases a million new novels and I realize I forgot everything that took place previously. (Ahem. My memory generally is much better than that, but, hey, it’s been a hell of a time.)

I have been able to make it to recent book club meetings at my local library, which is important for me as a self-published author, because I don’t have a highly-paid marketing team behind my titles, so I need all the exposure I can get. And joining in community events (and they are small, as we live in a rural area between the big cities) means I have the chance to share my street cred, which increases that, and it all keeps rolling merrily along.

And can I just say…the promotion part of indie authorship is much harder than a lot of folks realize. Yesterday I noticed a Tweet that mentioned since Amazon changed its review policies, it’s harder for readers of indie authors to leave reviews supporting our work. This becomes Reason # 4736 I don’t use Amazon for self-publishing. If anyone who has loved my books would like to leave a review on the new Barnes and Noble links for my re-releases, please, feel free! It only takes a B&N account (which costs nothing to have), and a few minutes of your time, and when you do something like this for your favorite indies, it really makes our day!

(Wow, I worked that plug in pretty seamlessly…)

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In non-writing-or-reading news…

Hmm, there’s really not much. I think by now everyone knows (or may have come across hints) that personally February was rather brutal, and a lot of March was picking up the pieces of that. For privacy reasons, I’m not sharing certain details with the entire world, but suffice it to say, it was hell in a handbasket. Not even kidding.

Now, the positives from this: At the moment, there has been some significant progress made, and while there are still a few loose threads, we are, praise the Lord, a far cry from where we were. In the midst of all these appointments and meetings and schedule changes and costs that weren’t there before, we have received so much heartfelt emotional, social media, and even financial support that we remain eternally grateful for. I would be flatout lying if I claimed it hasn’t gone a long way towards helping me make it through. Waking up every morning terrified of what the day would bring was an absolutely horrible feeling. Knowing there are people who have my back, even in the darkest moments, gave me that little push to keep going.

So, what’s coming up next?…

April is going to be a month featuring autism, and not much else. It’s Autism Acceptance/Autism Pride Month, as typically it’s been a month where organizations pushing for a cure to neurological and developmental disorders try to get people to feel sorry for us, and we’re just not tracking with that anymore. So the goal of the online Actually Autistic community is to reclaim this month, to share what we love about how we are, and to push for people to love us, to hell with “awareness.” Especially since many people who are aware of autism still judge and condemn us, which makes our platform for tolerance nearly impossible. Hence shifting the focus of the campaign, and this is an endeavor I am more than happy to get behind.

I will be blogging only about once or twice a week, though, in April, in the interest of getting more writing and editing done, and I can. Not. Even. with the idea of May showing its face. So if you notice I’m not around as much, it’s simply due to expending my energies elsewhere. Forsooth!

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Autism, community

Get Ready For Autism Pride Month

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I really hope you’re ready for a whole lot of autism.

April is Autism Awareness Month in many English-speaking countries, and many of us #ActuallyAutistic folks have an issue with the way we’re often portrayed during this time period. “Autism awareness” all too frequently translates to “being aware of the affliction of autism.” When we don’t consider ourselves afflicted, generally. Some of us suffer with physical difficulties, such as seizures or food allergies or other medical conditions, that happen to go along with our being on the spectrum. But just having autism is NOT what creates our “affliction.”

To us, we just ARE how we are. Our normal IS having autism. We don’t know anything different. Some of us don’t care for that status quo, and some of us would change it. But most of us don’t see the need. And all we want is to be ACCEPTED for taking that point of view.

We don’t need to conform, we don’t need to become just like everyone else. We can bring so much value to this messed up world simply by being ourselves.

There’s a push in the #ActuallyAutistic community this spring to TAKE BACK the month devoted to “raising awareness” about us. We’re going to call it Autism Pride.

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So, throughout April 2019, every post I make on this blog will be dedicated to something about autism. Once or twice a week, I’ll pick a topic and share all the positives and negatives, all the “it is what it is” of the subject.

The prevailing theme for all of this WILL be taking pride in being autistic — no matter what the rest of the world says. No matter how hard it gets sometimes. No matter how much we do struggle.

It took me most of my life to figure out I’m on the spectrum. And when the realization finally did come, it was AMAZING. All the human behavior and perspectives I never could understand, now I got WHY I didn’t grasp it. The environments and hobbies that made me squirm because of the noise and heat and too many other people all made sense. I stopped feeling the push to apologize for wanting to be introverted, for not wanting to look at other faces the entire time I was talking, for not joining groups or having a very small social circle. I no longer cared if I wore makeup, high heels, or dresses more than twice a year. I embraced sticking to my comfort zone, at last comprehending that all my boundaries had developed from a very real physical reason of protecting my extremely sensitive nerves — not at all from shyness or stubborness or a refusal to adjust. wasn’t what required adjusting.

Knowing that, for the first time, finally, felt LIBERATING.

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For years, I’ve been speaking up on behalf of my autistic son, fighting for his acceptance in a world that would rather change him before tolerating him. Now I’m also fighting for myself, and for the next generation of ASD girls, so that they can be heard, and not have to spend their lives doubting, fearing, aching.

Neurodivergence is the civil rights platform most of us never thought we’d have the opportunity to stand on. Now that we are, and on the cusp of turning the corner, we can’t give up. We’ve been abused and mistreated for decades, and at last that’s being exposed and shamed. It’s not too late for our children to have a great life, their strengths applauded, discrimination scaled back.

Who’s with me?

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Autism

On The Prospects for an Autistic Adult

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So, this may not be a fun post, but it is a necessary discussion. And although it doesn’t apply to everyone, it’s something that more people need to be aware of. And it’s been weighing heavily on my mind lately, for a variety of reasons.

We’ve all heard the advice given to teenagers or young adults about to enter the “real world” — do well in school, go to college or get vocational training, gain experience in your chosen field through volunteering or an internship, learn how to submit a killer resume and ace the interviewing process. Then you’ll find a job to get your foot in the door and begin building your career.

Simple. Right? Not when you’re autistic.

When you’re autistic, you do all of these things…and won’t automatically succeed. We have what’s known as “an invisible disability,” meaning that we look completely “normal” on paper. But when we’re sitting in front of someone, most likely we won’t be able to help stimming, or we’ll really struggle to keep eye contact, or we’ll forget the perfect word halfway through a sentence, and need a few seconds of waving our hands around to recover it. Although none of these things are a criminal offense, they really turn off interviewers. Somehow we’re seen as potential screwups, not potential employees who could still do the job with our disability.

There’s something about us that makes people uncomfortable — mostly, just the fact that we’re different. And a lot of “average” people have issues with anything they don’t recognize, can’t quantify, or don’t have a slot for.

This has happened to me so many times I stopped keeping track.

I stopped working outside of home in 2014 after Muffin was born. In the past four years, I’ve submitted numerous applications and had several interviews. Here’s how many jobs I’ve been offered: Zero.

There were occasions when I did not pursue the next step of the interview process, though, as I realized early on the position or business in question would not be able to support any accommodations I’d request. I’ve come to a point in my life where I know my limitations, and I won’t pretend otherwise. I don’t believe I can work more than 30 hours a week, know I can’t commute more than 20 minutes one way, can’t deal with tough parking situations, or loud, crowded environments on a regular basis. And yet, in spite of these factors obviously creating difficulties for my day-to-day, the chances of me actually securing a partial disability stipend are slim to none. The government will say that since there still are jobs I can do, that means I won’t qualify.

Well, how am I going to get a job that no one offers me?

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I spent a lot of money returning to college to finally obtain a degree…which I now can’t use. I accumulated debts that I can’t pay off. My references are quickly becoming outdated. I’ve explained my situation about 17 times to the people who handle the student loans, the credit checks, and the job training places — that I’m more than qualified to work part-time with small children, but because I have an intellectual disability nobody lets me through the door, or won’t let me have reduced hours or a low-key environment once they do — and I get no sympathy, no advocacy, no practical solutions. Most of the suggestions I receive are pointless — I can’t drive 45 minutes one way to go to a center that will re-train me in masking (such a commute would cause panic attacks, and masking will only result in a breakdown later on from building and then ignoring anxiety). I can’t refinance to achieve a lower interest rate because I have no numbers with which to juggle terms and conditions. And I am not going to finish a Bachelor’s degree, because that will simply mean more debt that will remain unpaid later on when even more mainstream positions — like that of a kindergarten teacher — won’t hire me.

When you think about it, it’s so ridiculous — if society is gearing towards including all sorts of people, such as those with intellectual disabilities, then why wouldn’t all sorts of businesses hire them to carry out all sorts of tasks? But the fact remains: Anything outside of the norm is viewed with extreme skepticism and prejudice.

And a “place” for us is developed within the constraints of what the rest of our culture is comfortable with letting us have.

But that place often does not benefit us.

Before I had Muffin, I had basically become a professional floater. A floater in childcare is someone who fills in for whatever staff can’t be present that day, whether it be with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, the elementary age afterschool, even the kitchen and cleaners. Most people don’t like switching their duties that frequently; they prefer to be in the same space every day, doing the same thing. For me, that’d equal soul-killing boredom. I loved getting to work with such a range of ages and developmental levels, help the kids in everything from counting the blocks to folding their nap blanket to trying a new food. And most of my colleagues respected my versatility — I could breeze into any classroom and pick up the routine within minutes, which kept their day running smoothly, and anybody who works with kids knows this means sanity is maintained.

But for some reason, eventually people will start asking, “Don’t you want to move up?”

Actually, no, I don’t. This position fits my lifestyle, and provides enough money for what I put into it, and I’m good at it. Why does this bother you?

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So now here I am, a perpetual stay at home parent, and not completely by my own choice. One could say that the clear solution would be to go into business for myself — and believe me, I’ve considered it — but how does one do that when she has no money to rent an office or studio, and no financial means to secure a loan or startup costs? How do you get customers through the door when you can’t afford advertising, have very limited networks, and a disability that prevents you from holding massive fundraisers or events? How do you get around the issue of some people simply refusing your services because you’re not like them?

None of these questions have easy answers yet, either.

So, in the face of all the hardships and uncertainty, the biggest inquiry becomes: Do we give in, or do we push on?

Pushing on can be very, very tiring.

Giving in may result in consequences we didn’t foresee, or don’t care for.

As much as there are days I feel I cannot go forward, I refuse to give up.

So I’ll keep trying.

And probably regressing.

And with any blessings, one day, I’ll make it.

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The Invisible Moth

#AmCurrently: Too Much Going On In March

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Does anybody else remember when March was a hopeful month, because we knew that, for the most part, winter was almost over?

This March, on the other hand, is making winter feel like it’s neverending.

There are too many things floating around my brain lately, and this made the idea of crafting a blog post rather intimidating. Trying to narrow it down to one topic just seemed…AAARGHHH. Anyway, that’s why, in the end, I decided to just cover it all right now.

Life:

For those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll already be aware that life threw me some major curve balls in February, and I am working really hard at picking up the pieces from that. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, there’s too much I’m not sure about sharing details of at the moment, but suffice it to say that we had a major shake-up, and it has negatively affected our whole family, and the fight for correcting the wrongs we suffered is ongoing. I’m pretty worn out by all the ridiculousness, and lately it seems that there is no such thing as too much sleep. But my days are busy, and there’s always more to do, so the cycle continues. At least, for now. With any blessings, that will change very soon.

(By the way, although I’m not quite comfortable going into specifics in a blog post, please know that you can always reach out to me privately for an update. And for those of you who have been following these issues, I deeply, deeply appreciate your support and encouragement.)

Reading:

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I have no idea what I’m doing with my TBR right now! Originally, in early January, I made out my TBR for the year, and it was a combination of re-reads of books I had previously checked out from the library but finally bought this Christmas, selections for book clubs, and from my subscription-box-gifts-to-myself. Then…well, then I received some books as presents, so I’m trying to balance including those with these other items, and I broke my cardinal rule of TBR-ing by ordering something from the library that fit none of these categories.

Ahem. Pardon me.

What? I think I’m stress-reading.

So, in summary, I’m kind of throwing my TBR plans out the window. (Ooh, such a rebel!) But this is actually a very healthy approach, given the current climate of my existence. So, if there are any astounding new releases I miss this year, I’ll get around to them after I retire to a remote island protected by the cats from Warriors.

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Writing:

In spite of all of this other stuff (or maybe partly because of it), I am still writing when I can! (Honestly, there are times when it’s the best therapy.) In the interest of not adding more stress to my poor worn self, I won’t decide on concrete release dates for new work this year; I’ll just get there when I get there.

Presently, I am working on finishing up a collection of some old favorites and some new(er) short fiction (including the long-anticipated How To Be A Savage), Volume 4 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes, and the standalone to accompany the canon, Fire and Wind. I have exciting covers in progress, and a trusted editor lined up, and someone on tap to help with any digital versions I proceed to release in the near future, and everyone is being SO patient and encouraging, and I am SO grateful! We’ll get these titles off the ground eventually!

A Note on Sales:

In late April, I will officially celebrate 2 years since the publication of my debut novel! I still have some first editions of Masters and Beginners available, and from now until April 21st, they can be purchased for only $5! If this is of interest to you, please get in touch! I accept DMs on Twitter from names/screen names I recognize, and my email address is very simply daley.downing@gmail.com.

Miscellaneous:

The aforementioned too-serious-and-too-time-consuming-stuff has resulted in my brain and body nearly reaching capacity for just general things. So if there’s a review or invoice or correspondence regarding anyone in particular that I haven’t gotten to yet, I swear, it will occur. Also, daylight savings loves to toss a wrench in where it’s definitely not required, so my immediate concept of time has been shattered and will need a little mending.

If anybody wants to sign up for my newsletter, post something for my bookiversary, or join my street team for ARCs and such, please do so! Just email me.

And for those of you who are aware of the Go Fund Me page for White Fang, sharing that is important, even if you can’t make a donation. Also, I don’t want my whole life to become eclipsed by the bad stuff, so if you’d also like to support me instead as an author, please do share the new links to my re-releases of Masters and Beginners and Rulers and Mages!

In the meantime, I’ll be praying for an early spring, and that I don’t fall over and turn into a puddle of unfunctional goo. Here’s to that!

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Young Adult fiction

On The Come Up: The Racial Elephant in the Room, Contemporary YA trends, and Glimmers of Hope

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Okay, confession first: I do not like rap. I did not care for this author’s debut novel. The fact I even picked up Angie Thomas’ second release, “On The Come Up,” was a pure whim. It was in my local library, I walked by it, went back, read the inside cover, put it back on the shelf. That was a couple weeks ago. Then the other day, I was on my usual picture-book-acquisition-for-Muffin mission, and repeated the previous process. Except the outcome was different: I took “On The Come Up” to the checkout desk, and then brought it home.

I read it in about 3 1/2 days, which is very rare for me and a contemporary. Contemporary fic and I have a very tenuous relationship, and many modern, non-fantasy picks that wind up in my hands for one reason or another often get returned to the library unfinished. Not this one.

Well, damn, but that was impressive.

Necessary disclaimer: I am the whitest white girl there is. I can go to the beach in July, not apply sunscreen, and still not tan. My interests are strongly pulled towards British culture, language, and history. While I’ve had friends who weren’t Caucasian or straight or middle class, I simply am of WASP heritage, and I embrace that, just because that’s my people, my genes, my roots.

This is not to say, for a second, that I thought all of these things would disqualify me from potentially enjoying this novel.

And sure enough, none of it mattered a whit. From the first few pages, I loved Bri’s voice, loved her friends, her family, her relationships with everybody, and began to grow invested in their journey. The unfortunate fact of Bri and Trey coming from a single parent home, due to their father being killed in gang violence, was the backdrop of the story, but never once was this presented as a suggestion for the characters to wallow in self-pity or behave badly. (That in itself will set this publication apart from others of its genre and time.)

I LOVED Bri’s mom, Jay. She’s a former drug addict — former — who is doing her danged-est to provide for her kids. Trey went to college, and still can’t get a decent job (God, do I feel that in my bones), so he’s living at home and working in a pizza parlor to help make ends meet. Bri is in high school, and knows her mother wants her to get an education, but she really wants to be a rapper, like her father was.

No spoilers, I promise (it’ll be hard this time!), but one thing leads to another, and Bri has a song go viral, and there’s a backlash of controversy and racial issues and problems for Bri at school and in her neighborhood. And here’s, for me, where OTCU is so radically different from The Hate U Give (the author’s first book) — it’s clear from the get-go where the misunderstanding begins, what Bri’s true intentions are, and that her somewhat hostile lyrics are the result of experiencing a bunch of crap due to racial profiling and authorities’ preconceptions about a black girl from the ghetto attending a mostly white, mostly middle class school.

Considering that my family and I recently suffered a truly traumatic and unjust incident regarding misconceptions of autism and how mental health concerns should be handled by authorities, I strongly related to this perspective. For decades in this country, autistic individuals have been seen as outsiders, treated poorly, and not given a chance to stand up for themselves. While my sons and I look like the majority of our community, we are not granted the same benefit of the doubt based purely on the fact we think differently.

Bri’s anger, panic, frustration, and fear are all palpable while you’re reading. She’s caught in a world that she alone can’t change, and she hates it and loves it at the same time. She tries to avoid the world of crime and drugs just down the street from her own doorstep, and yet her own aunt is embroiled in it. She loves her aunt, but hates the dangers the family can be opened up to by her aunt’s decisions.

Bri’s grandparents come from the other side of the community: They make money legally, they go to church, they don’t approve of the gangs. They helped raise Bri and Trey while Jay was in rehab. YAY FOR FUNCTIONAL MINORITY FAMILIES IN YA FIC. Jay and her partner, Bri’s dad, were teen parents — but they stayed together and made it work, and when he died, it was sudden and tragic, and afterwards Jay focused on getting off drugs and raising their kids. She works as a secretary, and even wants to finish college to become a social worker. What an excellent role model for such a novel.

Bri’s best friends, Sonny and Malik, and later love interest, Curtis, were a lot of fun, too. I have to admit, there was a lot of slang in the text that I didn’t quite follow, so I’m sure I missed certain things, but the connection between these kids, from long-time association and personally, was tangible. Sonny is gay, but he didn’t feel like a “token” gay character; there was more than that to his role. And Malik may possibly be a sort of, kind of, perhaps one day love interest, but there’s no actual love triangle (thank heavens). In every place this novel could’ve hit on the cliches, it didn’t in my view.

And the discussion on racism is realistic, relatable, and where our country needs to be right now. Instead of becoming the stereotypes — “once an addict, always an addict,” “once a criminal, always a criminal” — break the mold. Speak up, like Bri does. Don’t accept other people’s expectations of you, like Jay doesn’t. Use your God-given rights to express dissent against an unfair status quo, and do it peacefully, like Malik and his girlfriend Shana, pushing for conversation, not more violence. The prevailing message throughout the book is striving forward, refusing to give up hope.

While some of the parts devoted to rap/hip-hop were a struggle for me (I don’t even know who many of these performers are, sorry, everybody), overall this was a great story that sucked me in and really spoke to me. The unexpected ending totally hit its mark as well. Kudos, Ms. Thomas. Writers, editors, publishers: Can we see more of this in contemporary YA fiction?

blogging, books

Kingdom of Ash and Soot Blog Tour

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Kingdom of Ash and Soot (The Order of the Crystal Daggers #1)

Author: C.S. Johnson

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2018

Genre: YA/ Historical Fiction/ Adventure

Synopsis:

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

 

FROM KINGDOM OF ASH AND SOOT

“What is it?” I asked him, noticing that he was staring back at me. “It seems you have remembered your dancing quite well,” he said, and I shook my head at once, keeping my forced smile steady as we passed by Lady POW.

“The practice helps,” I replied neutrally. “And it did help that  Karl was a good dancer last night. Some of the others I danced with were not as good, but fortunately they blamed it on their own poor performance.”

“They were likely distracted by your beauty.”

“You don’t have to talk to me like that.” I rolled my eyes. “Be- sides, you might distract me now with your false flattery.”

“Flattery  is  always  false,  mademoiselle.  I  was  speaking truth.”

Amir smiled. “You may have that problem in the future, when other men are dancing with you.”

“I can learn to handle it later, then.”

“You can also learn it now. There is nothing efficient about wasting time, after all.”

“I’d rather not, thank you very much. There is no need for you to continue talking to me.” My tone was frosty and bitter, every part a perfect complement to the kindness in his eyes. “Unless, of course, you’d like to tell me why you stole my father’s book from me when we unfortunately met?”

“I would not say it was unfortunate.” “What would you say it was, then?”

Amir’s mustache curled around the corners of  his mouth. “God’s humor at work.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, frustrated and infuriated. “Are you insulting me?”

“Never, mademoiselle.”

Before I could accuse him of lying in addition to insulting me, or before I could “accidentally” begin stepping on his toes, Lady POW began calling out instructions, making me feel even more insulted and infuriated—and even worse, isolated, and unable to do anything to escape.

“Hands up, Eleanora,” she called. “Yes, take a step closer. Now, remember to smile. Watch your timing; men are supposed to lead. And show your interest. Pretend you are dancing with a prince!”

Between Amir’s dancing and Lady Penelope’s snappy judgements, I felt trapped in a world of soft tyranny. It was a world where the truth was too impolite to be spoken, and even if  it had to be, it had  to be dressed up in clothes as strange and as ornate as the ones I was wearing, and it was likely as unrecognizable as I was in the end.

I certainly felt nothing like my usual self.

The others did not seem to believe it was me, either.

Amir held me at a polite distance as we danced, but I was still close enough I could see the pained delight in his eyes as he watched me, and recalling Lady POW’s earlier mistake of calling me by my mother’s name, I suddenly wondered if he was thinking of her, too.

The last note of the waltz rang out, and we finally slowed to a stop.

“Why did you take my father’s book?” This time, my question was quiet but harsh against the growing silence. Amir seemed surprised, but he did not refrain from responding.

 “It was not your father’s book, mademoiselle.”

I slowly dropped my hands from his. Already, I knew what he was going to say.

“When I saw you, it was like falling into a portal to the past, twenty-six years ago. I saw the book, and I knew it could only belong to my Naděžda.”

“You knew my mother.” The words were chunky and foreign to me as they came out of my mouth. I knew I had no reason to accuse him of  something I already knew to be true.

“Yes. She was my dearest friend for many years before … ” Amir said quietly. I saw his gaze lower to the scar on his right hand. “And when she … left … I was angry.”

It plagued me, knowing that Lady POW was not the only one who seemed to prefer my mother to me.

“When she left the Order, you mean?”

“She did not leave the Order,” Amir whispered. “She left me.”

It took me a long moment to process everything. Amir and I were still standing in the middle of the room. Somewhere, a thousand moments and a million miles away, Lady POW clapped and praised us, telling us I was already much better at the waltz than before. She was calling for another song, but I barely heard any of it, as I watched while Amir’s eyes swam over with memories and emotion.

There was suddenly no denying the full truth of the matter. Amir had been in love with my mother.

 

Giveaway Details:

I have an amazing giveaway for you all today! The author is giving away a print copy of each book in her new Order of the Crystal Daggers series, including a brand new companion novella about some of the other characters, a prequel to Kingdom of Ash and Soot! Just click the link below to enter!

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f67/?

 

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Link: http://www.rrbooktours.com

The Invisible Moth

NEWS! And Lots Of It…

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Note: I borrowed all of these images from Deviant Art. These artists are truly amazing, give them recognition and love, go check out this website. 

Hello! Welcome to another edition of The Invisible Moth’s roundup of news, announcements, changes and updates! But this time, rather than just having to tell you what’s gone wrong with my plans for this quarter, I’ll be sharing some exciting changes to my author platform that shall be consistent, regardless of whether my publishing ideas get waylaid.

The other major choice I’ve made as far as my authoring goes is accepting that I cannot do it all on my own, and I’m going to have to ask for help. Thankfully, I have been embraced by a community of people who love to read, to write, and support indie efforts in what can be a daunting venture. So, here are the areas in which I am expanding and requesting a little help from my friends. (You get stuff in return, by the way!)

  • A series relaunch!
  • A newsletter!
  • A street team!
  • A big sale!

Point A: I am in the process of making some small tweaks (formatting-wise, not plot-wise, don’t worry, my faithful readers) to all of my books. Partly to prepare for the availability of digital versions! I will soon be re-releasing all my paperbacks on Barnes & Noble.com, and uploading e-versions for Nook. If you don’t have a Nook, don’t fret, as I also plan to get started on Book Funnel!

(If anyone has looked for my series on B&N lately and not found it, this is why. I have temporarily taken my titles off sale while I’m finishing this process. Don’t worry, they will be back up and available in the very near future. More on that in a minute.)

Here’s what I would need from anybody willing: My second bookiversary is in late April, and I’d reaaaaalllly appreciate some of you who have read and enjoyed my work to make mention of the event in a blog post or social media. There will be a contest and a giveaway and (God, grant me this) hopefully a new publishing declaration! So any assistance I’d stumble across in promoting my special day would entitle you to rewards such as first chance at ARCs and an automatic subscription to my newsletter!

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Point B: I’m starting a newsletter! It won’t be anything fancy, but it will be a monthly, more coherent round-up of what I’m working on, what’s currently ready to purchase, what to expect in the next few weeks, and showers of love for all of your support.

What do you need to do to sign up?: Simply send an email to daley.downing@gmail.com, with the word “subscribe” in the subject heading. Make sure to use the email you wish to receive the document links in. Easy peasy!

Point C: I’m acquiring a street team! These are my dedicated fans (*giggles, but seriously thanks you*) who are always up for reviewing ARCs, helping with promotions, and just generally being wonderful to this moth. (Anyone who becomes part of the street team gets put on the newsletter list right away, too!)

How to join this endeavor: Use the same email as above, but put “street team” as your subject, if you would, please.

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Point D: I still have a handful of first editions of Volume 1: Masters and Beginners that I’m looking to share with my lovelies. This is the Toby cover, and my true debut novel, with its formatting flaws and a handful of minor mistakes (that I quickly turned to my advantage in Volume 2). There is also a finite number of printings, so if you have yet to acquire your copy of this literal limited edition, now’s the time! It’s on sale for a very-bookworm-friendly $5 until mid-April as well!

How to complete this transaction: I have Paypal, and I will never share your shipping address with anyone except the post office. Just — as for everything else — use the email above, only putting “sale” as your subject.

(If you’re not in the USA and wish to get a Toby cover copy, drop me a line, and we’ll work something out!)

Another tidbit: If anyone is a Goodreads librarian, could you look into how to change the image on Masters and Beginners on GR? Although I’m no longer active on that site, my books remain there, and at the moment, the reviews for Volume 1 are split between the original and the new (Kyle’s beautiful) cover. If anybody knows of a way to streamline that, and have it all under the Shultz design (since that is what I’ll be exclusively using from now on), that’d be a big help, too.

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Thank you all, moths! Have a cat-tastic day!

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