Recently a friend put a post on Facebook that started with “Hey Chicken friends…”
Not really all that crazy. She was seeking advice from her other chicken-owning friends on sending her brood of young chicks into the big coop.
But this got me thinking.
I refer to my friends based on what we have in common. I have dog friends, agility friends, flyball friends, scrapbooking friends, crafting friends, writer friends, book friends, drinking friends. The list goes on. Some people fall into multiple groups. Some, like my drinking friends, simply fall.
And we laugh, and laugh.
Do you group your friends? Or am I all alone out here?
You’ve written a brilliant post for your Facebook page. You have hundreds of likes but your reach is only a few people.
You have liked a bunch of pages over the years. Your news feed kept you informed with those posts on a regular basis but now, for some reason, you never see any of them.
When was the last time you saw posts from your favorite pages? Like me, you may have thought they haven’t written anything in a while. It has been so long, you may have forgotten about those pages you liked.
Facebook has changed its algorithms so that only a few people out of the hundreds that have liked a page actually see a post on their timeline.
For example: PAWS has 273 page likes. The most recent post listing titles earned at the New England Regional has reached 15 people. The one prior, thanking everyone, reached 85 people.
Jodi Hale Books has 25 page likes. My post on Canine Cancer reached 5 people. 🙁
Why don’t they show on your timeline?
The answer is simple – money. Pages are generally owned and managed by businesses. Facebook wants those businesses to pay them to boost the post onto the timelines. A post will bring $$ to the business so Facebook wants a small fee ($5 for each boost).
How do we get around this?
Page members can share the posts on their own timelines to reach people. This works pretty well for PAWS since there are four people sharing those posts immediately after they have been written. But that solution is hit or miss. Many pages only have one person behind it. The more people who interact with a post and the page itself, the more Facebook will think it is important enough to let others know about it.
Here’s a better way.
Under the Liked button, click See First. Now any posts will filter to the top of your news feed and you’ll be sure to see them.
Give it a try. You can find your pages feed under Pages on the left side of your Facebook news feed. On your feed you’ll see posts from all your liked pages. Pick a favorite page and set it to See First. I recommend Jodi Hale Books 😉
I hope you find this post useful. How many people are seeing your page posts? Were you able to convert some of those likes to See First?
I know many of you have creative talents and skills that can help raise some funds for the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Pet beds, jewelry, tug toys, gift certificates — these are just some of the things you could make or donate to help make our auction a success.
Many of you own or know people who own businesses that would benefit from the free exposure to the canine community that the auction will provide. Spread the word!
Last year our auction raised FIVE GRAND. With your help this year, we can beat that number.
The online auction will start in June (2016) — we need your donated items NOW. Does it have to dog related? No, we may own dogs but we love to shop for everything.
Please consider donating auction items to this important cause. If you have something to donate, or have any ideas or questions, please send an email to: NewEnglandAgilityCommunity@gmail.com
I’ve lost two close friends to canine cancer. I miss Kira (Golden) and Chilly (Eskie) every day.
I’m home from my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference. Location: Times Square, NYC. That would be Broadway, with all the lights, glitz, and topless women walking around with paint (paint!) “hiding” the girls. (Didn’t fool any of us.)
Inside the Marriott Marquis, 2500 friends and I cozied up to listen to a variety of speakers.
I don’t do cozy well.
You see, I’m a bit of an introvert. Honestly, I don’t know if that is entirely true. Put me in front of a camera and all is great. Of course, I’m not really talking to a human so it’s all good.
Set me at a table with people I know and I can hold my own in the conversation department. Put me in a room of people I don’t know and I will observe and not bother anyone.
Which leads me to my biggest regret while at RWA15. I didn’t get to meet Jill Shalvis. I did see her across the room during the Literacy signing event.
I volunteered to help at the event and I saw her before the signing, talking to people. (Snapped a picture because it didn’t happen if there are no pics)
I suppose I could have walked over, but she was busy. I would have hovered nearby waiting for her to notice me. Kinda like a stalker…
Yeah, no. I doubt I’m her biggest fan. I love her books. I think I’ve read them all and she is on my “must buy” list. But I wouldn’t follow her around or travel to every one of her appearances or rent a kayak and slowly paddle by all the homes on Donner Lake… BTW, if that did happen, it was not me. Pinky swear.
I had another chance to meet Jill at the Grand Central Publishing book signing. But… I didn’t get there. Missed opportunity. Turned out it would have been my best and only opportunity. *sigh* I was not about to walk around the tables at the RITA/Golden Heart awards ceremony and bust in saying (spoken in a high-pitched bubbly stalker-like voice) “I just love your books,” because…well… that would be weird.
It is unlikely I will get to RWA16 in San Diego, because of that whole it’s on the other coast with its high cost of travel thing. I’m setting my sights toward RWA17 in Orlando and if Jill is there, I’ll make sure I get to the book signing.
So to Jill I say, (from a distance), “Congratulations on your RITA! I love your books, thanks for writing them and please keep writing them.”
How about you? Are you somewhat introverted or are you hide-in-your-shell introverted? Is there a line you can’t cross when it comes to talking to people? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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I want to welcome author CA Jamison to my blog. Her book Polarity: Children of the Orb has an original premise I’ve not seen before. This book is a fun read and young adult readers will love it. You can find CA Jamison at her web site CAJamison.com – Jodi
There was only one person who could tell the entire story of Polarity and that was Rush James. A twenty five year old male. At first I wasn’t worried. My grandmother gave birth to nine boys. Uncles were coming out my ears. Practically all of my cousins are male. I was raised, the only girl, in a home with four males. I worked a retail sales floor with men. Later we purchased a car audio shop, also run by—you guessed it—the male species. With a son and husband at home, how could I not understand how a man thinks? Ha! That turned out to be my biggest challenge.
The pillow shams were covered in velvet. Most men don’t care or notice what color a pillow sham is. The couch had a couple pillows thrown on it. Well . . . that doesn’t sound very intelligent. See my point. Allowing a young-adult male to tell my story seemed awkward at times. Her smooth, graceful behind sat next to the sofa pillows. Yes. That’s the one, but staying in that frame of mind isn’t simple for a woman. And I, by no means, am saying that all men think sexually. But Rush does, and I began to have fun, keeping with his thoughts.
Rush says sweet things to Trulie. He’s not always the bad-boy. But reading the novel through his eyes—was a way to be different. With alien electric pulsing through his veins, you can tell, I’m all about, new and different. So put your wild-man hat on and enjoy some electric excitement, in Rush’s point of view.
Rush James and his brother, Chris, are “plasmetric” people—a unique life form born of human parents. Their blood cells are alive with alien electronic energy—and living a normal life in the human world creates havoc for those of their kind.
But Rush and Chris aren’t alone—there are others. As their parents slowly die, the Children of the Orb must find one another to survive. Rush must share his life with the only woman in the world that can keep his blood cells charged.
Trulie Morgan is the positive to Rush’s negative. When they touch, polarity moves energy, their passion grows, and the battle of opposites begins. Trulie’s kind heart is naïve to the dangers that surround them, and Rush must learn to use her optimism and strength if he wants to claim victory, and love.
But the danger is very real for all of them–both from humans and from others of their kind. As they search for the answers they’re desperate to find, someone is killing humans and animals. When an attempt is made on Trulie’s life, Rush is determined to get to the bottom of it–even if it means it could be one of their own–one of the CHILDREN OF THE ORB.
Everyone watched as I stood up. I rubbed my palms together and popped a knuckle. I glared at Trulie’s outstretched fingers.
With gradual movement, I moved my hand toward hers. Inches above her palm, friction caused air to churn. A blue light appeared, and a force pulled at my hand like a powerful magnet.
I clamped down. The small flames in our grand fireplace ignited—a hot sizzling shock to the system. The lights above flashed. Hot waves of electrical current soared through my fingers. She was right. Energy moved, and there was only one way to describe it—undeniably irresistible.
I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. Yes. Blood soared up my arm and into my chest.
In her silence, Trulie’s body spoke to me through the sensation of touch. Pleasure.
I smoothed my hand across her soft palm and curled my fingers around her hand. Unbelievable. Electric traveled through my body like a rushing river. Energy filled my hollow veins with such strong blood flow—I thought my heart would falter.
A light bulb popped above us. Chris got out of his seat and stepped back.
I could not let go. The force moved deep within. A hot penetration of strength clung to a desperate desire for more. My circulation stirred with life renewed. The skin on my arms took on a healthy radiance. I wanted to drown in disbelief.
Lightning flashed in the big brown eyes that looked up at me. Her hair’s gray strands gleamed with a new dark color. Her skin turned golden-brown, and her cheeks blushed. I took a breath of satisfaction, for I could tell, I gave as much as I received.
Panic seized Trulie’s face. “I can’t pull away,” she cried. “Your eyes—they were light blue, and now they’re—I can’t believe it! I’m—I feel…balanced.”
Chris appeared between us and yanked our hands apart. “No way! This can’t be right. Trulie is mine.” But as he held her arm, no connection was made. No flickering lights. No energy movement, just the warm skin of a creature like himself. She looked at him with apologetic eyes.
He dropped her arm and faced me. “Why do you always find a way to screw things up?”
A big welcome to local NH author Cheri Allan. Her Betting on Romance series is a hoot and you’ll love the latest – All or Nothing. Check out the excerpt below. For news on her next release, visit her web page and subscribe to her newsletter. –Jodi
Cheri Allan is the Amazon Romantic Comedy bestselling author of hopeful, humorous contemporary romances. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, four cats and an excessive amount of optimism. She’s a firm believer in do-it-yourself, new beginnings and happily-ever-afters, so after years of wearing suits, she’s grateful to finally put her English degree to good use writing romance. When not writing, you might find her whizzing down the slopes of a nearby mountain or inadvertently killing perennials in her garden. The newest book in her ‘Betting on Romance’ series released in April 2015. www.cheriallan.com.
ALL OR NOTHING
When finding Mrs. Right goes, oh, so wrong…
Self-made tech millionaire Ian McIntyre has suffered through a reality dating show only to return home to idyllic Sugar Falls, New Hampshire, empty-handed, swarmed by paparazzi, and hounded by a Hollywood producer determined to deliver a Happily Ever After. But then his home is invaded by a sexy, snarky local staging it for the season finale, and Ian finds himself more interested in the cute and scrappy hometown girl dusting off his action figures than the audience’s favorite southern belle.
Auto mechanic Bailey Adams grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is struggling to patch together enough odd jobs to buy a garage of her own. When the Golden Boy of Sugar Falls entangles her in his disastrous season of Happily Ever After, they both discover that some long-held dreams are only as ‘real’ as ‘reality’ TV. Now, with the deal on her dream garage in jeopardy and her unlikely love affair with America’s favorite geeky hunk playing out on national TV, Bailey must decide if she’s willing to risk it all for love… or be left with nothing.
**Mild sexual content; Mild language; No violence**
ALL OR NOTHING EXCERPT
“Then take off your coat and avoid hypothermia.”
Her bottom lip jutted out. “You first.”
He shrugged out of his parka and hung it on a hook by the door, raising one eyebrow as he did so.
She took another long drink then tugged her coat off and hung it next to his. Melting snow dripped onto the floorboards beneath it. Stubborn woman.
“Your lovely flannel shirt is also soaked,” he said.
“Yeah, like I’m falling for that.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve seen lumberjacks make flannel sexier than you do.”
He didn’t know why he was goading her, but he felt on edge… wet, chilled and restless.
“Like you could resist me if I were standing naked in front of you,” she said.
She paused, as if she weren’t sure how those words came to be floating in the air between them. But there they were, raining down over him like hot sparks. Heat flooded through him, and he could feel his blood pumping. He watched her, the air crackling with awareness. The fire in the stove popped and something tumbled inside. His heart thudded in his chest at the word ‘naked.’
“Try me,” he finally said.
Find buy links for all the Betting on Romance series books (both print or ebook) at www.cheriallan.com.
I’m so excited to have author Susan Ann Wall come by and visit. Another local NH author, Susan is a whirlwind of energy with and enthusiasm for writing, the color purple, and Bon Jovi. I hope you enjoy her post and and her books. –Jodi
Can you feel the heat? You may need a cold shower after reading Summer Lovin’!!
Summer Lovin’ is a collection of 14 novels and novellas all with a summer theme, many from USA Today and National Bestselling authors. The best part, it’s only $.99. Get it while it’s hot because it’s available only for a limited time!
One of my favorite summertime activities is reading outside. I have a lovely patio where I can sit in the shade (I’m practically vampire, avoiding direct sunlight for all I’m worth) or I sit in my wooden rocking chair on the deck (also in the shade). Sometimes I’m forced to sit by the pool. No worries. I just slather on the sunscreen and dip my feet in the water.
Another of my favorite summer activities is Relay For Life. Do you Relay? I have been Relaying since 2008, a year after losing my Dad to cancer. I was reluctant to join Relay. I thought it would be too emotional. All it took was that one event, though, to get me hooked. It was emotional, no doubt about that, but it was also incredible.
I was so passionate about Relay that I joined the planning committee. I’ve done everything from team captain, to event chairperson, to mission education, to event photographer. Too many people are touched by cancer in some way, whether fighting the battle, being caregiver, or supporting friends and family.
Raising money for Relay For Life is always a challenge. My team did lots of different things, but I wanted to contribute more, in my own way. I’m not really into baking, I don’t have the patience to do a yard sale, so I said, “hey, I’m a writer, I’ll write a book as a fundraiser.” That’s how my debut novel from 2011, Relay For Love, came about and with summer upon us and Relay season here, I thought it was the perfect time to re-release it as part of the Summer Lovin’ box set.
In Relay For Love, widow Hannah Locke has a life plan, which does NOT include falling in love again. She lost her husband five years ago and still aches from that loss. That ache seems to dull as it is replaced with a new longing for a man she hardly knows but can’t seem to get out of her head. Reporter Aaron Hawkins was only supposed to write a story about Hannah’s Relay For Life fundraising event, but their immediate attraction has him looking for more than just a headline and has Hannah forgetting all about her perfect life plan.
Writing this story was an emotional journey for me. It’s an emotional journey for readers, too, who claim they are laughing on one page and crying on the next. Even my editor, who NEVER cries, shed a few tears (and cussed me out) while editing this story.
Oh, and guess what? The story takes place right here in northern New Hampshire!!
I hope someday very soon, this disease is a thing of the past!! That’s why a percentage of my royalties from this book and A Flame Burns Inside is donated to the American Cancer Society to help raise awareness about prevention and treatment and help find a cure!
Pick up Summer Lovin’ today!
Summer Lovin’ buy links:
By the way, all of my books are on sale right now, so don’t miss out on some great deals.
*The Sound of Circumstance will be released late summer 2015.
Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.
Susan is a multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance, women’s fiction, and erotic fiction (her erotic titles are published as Ann Victor). Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series, three perfect children, two amazing rescue dogs, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).
In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).
My work in process, Jinn You Sin, is a fun, humorous story of a “poor imitation of a Jinn” (Michael’s words, not mine) who would do anything to be free. Then he meets Felicity, who knocks his world sideways. Suddenly freedom isn’t as important as protecting her from those who want control of the genie. But it isn’t Michael they are after–Felicity has the power to summon him and the power to command him. Michael quickly realizes Felicity not only owns his magic, but also his heart.
I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed the excerpt. Don’t forget to use the buttons below to connect with me for cover reveal and release date of Jinn You Sin — Jodi
Without warning, Michael Donovan’s body dissolved. Seconds later, he rematerialized and did an inventory—head, arms, legs, dick. He breathed a sigh of relief. A thousand successful transports and he still didn’t trust all his parts would make it. At least he had clothes on this time.
Even though he was a poor imitation of a Jinn, Michael had a job to do—please the client, put on a show, grant their wish. Fulfillment failure brought on The Master’s wrath. When that happened, The Master had a tendency to lop off body parts, hands being his favorite. He rubbed his right wrist. He had totally freaked out the first time The Master punished him. He hadn’t known the effects of the waiting room would allow his hand to grow back. The regeneration process hurt like a sonovabitch, but he’d take the risk again if freedom from The Master were the result.
Show time. “I am the great and magnificent Jinn,” Michael boomed, “of the, ah…” A trail of blue smoke led to a pristine vacuum cleaner tucked into a corner. You have got to be kidding me. Why couldn’t it be a lamp or a bottle? How would he impress his summoner when he came out of a thing best known for its suction? He readied his best Oz voice. “Of the Hoover Upright.” He struck a pose, fists on his hips and feet spread wide. Suck it, Aladdin. “Your wish is my command.” He held his pose, stared at nothing in particular, and waited.
“Oh, come on, you must know what you want.” He relaxed his stance. “Just spit it out and…”
And no one was there. He lifted a brow. That’s a first.
I’m excited to include C. Marie Bowen in my Meet the Authors series. Connie lives a little outside of my local New England author area (okay, a lot outside) Her book Passage – Book 1 of the Soul of the Witch series is a must read for all you historical western, time travel, paranormal fans. Set mainly in 1870s Western U.S., it has suspense, six-guns and yes, sexy heroes. Passage is one of my favorite new books out there. The story doesn’t stop there. Check out her Amazon Author page for additional short stories from the characters in the Soul of the Witch series. —Jodi
Thank you, Jodi, for inviting me to guest present on your blog.
The Near-Death Experience.
By C. Marie Bowen
The near-death experience—an occurrence that takes place after an individual’s heart stops beating, and before resuscitation—happens all the time. Not only is this a frequent phenomena, they have been experienced by humans for, well…practically forever. NDEs have been documented in all parts of the world, and have been experienced by people of all religions.
There is even a research foundation, NDERF, that allows on-line readers to document their own experience. NDERF weblink. There is no shortage of information and opinions about this phenomenon.
I once spoke with a man who had been electrocuted and was without a heartbeat for several minutes before resuscitation. He told me he did not experience anything during the time his heart stopped beating. That non-experience is also not unusual.
Since my research for Passage began well before the advent of the internet, I have a number of book references in my notes cited by Dewey Decimal numbers. I have to laugh, because now, I have more information than ever regarding NDE’s. Despite easy access to a wealth of information, the experiences and opinions haven’t changed much in 30+ years.
1) A non-experience or Initial experience. This type of experience is either cut short by resuscitation, or precedes one of the other types. Atwater suggests that this type of experience is common with individuals who require the least amount of evidence, or proof of survival after death.
2) Unpleasant or Hell-type experience. This has been described as an encounter with a threatening void or a hellish purgatory. Atwater suggests that individuals with repressed guilt, fears or anger may experience this type of NDE – expecting punishment after death.
3) Pleasant or Heaven-type experience. These include loving scenarios with family and/or religious figures, and sometimes even “beings of light.” Atwater believes these are experienced by those who require reassurance and self-validation—individuals who need to know they were loved.
4) Transcendent Experience. This type of experience is often difficult to explain. Individuals are exposed to otherworldly dimensions and visions beyond their own frame of reference. Usually, there is no personal content relating to the individual. Atwater suggests this experience is for those ready to embrace the next challenge.
The near-death experience changes people, in both positive and negative ways, regardless of which type of experience they have. You might expect the Hell-type experience to lead to guilt, anger and depression, but that isn’t always the case. This type of experience is sometimes viewed as a “wake up call” to change the type of life you lead. Likewise, the after affects of a pleasant experience can lead to broken relationships and difficulty relating to the world “as it is”, just as often as it brings ecstatic joy and fills the individual with the wonder of life.
People who disbelieve in the NDE phenomenon have sited drug use, psychological trauma, and physiological injury such as high endorphins or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) as the root cause of this experience.
Information on this phenomenon hasn’t changed much in 30 years. What has changed is the ability to connect with others who have had an NDE, and for people to share their experience on-line.
In Passage, Courtney Veau experiences an NDE after a car accident. When her heart stops beating, she encounters an other-worldly hallway with darkened doorways, and a compelling light at the end of the hall. As she moves toward the light and familiar voices, one of the doorways brightens and begins to pulse with the beat of a human heart. She is drawn through that doorway and falls into her previous life. When she reawakens in a present-day hospital, she is heartbroken. Courtney Veau would give anything to return to her soul-mate, Merril Shilo, and the life she lived as Nichole Harris, if she could only find the passage back to her previous life
Passage – blurb:
After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.
A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole’s own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.
Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.
Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She’d found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where’s his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
“Yes! Merril, it’s me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don’t go. Stay with me.”
“Merril, I’m here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
“Nicki, don’t leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
“I’m right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.
Connie (C. Marie) Bowen is an award winning writer of paranormal adventures laced with suspense and romance. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and has a love of western history, science fiction, and fantasy. Her life travels have taken her from Denver to Wichita, Kansas, before she eventually settled in North Texas to raise her family.
A LEED accredited professional, Connie worked as an Architectural Project Manager in North Texas for fifteen years. An empty nest gave her to follow her writing muse and pen the stories that have lived in her heart for years.
She plans to release Prophecy, Soul of the Witch, Book 2 this fall, and the final chapter, Paradox, Soul of the Witch, Book 3 next year.
Connie is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Sub-chapter of RWA, North Texas RWA, and Savvy Authors.
Welcome author Emma Leigh Reed. Check out her post below and follow the links to find more about this wonderful NH author. —Jodi
As I sit and think about writing this blog, my mind wanders to the beginning of my serious writing journey. Eight years ago I decided I wanted to tell my son’s story. My son has PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, nonspecific – in layman’s terms high functioning autism). At that time (the start of my writing journey) he was eleven years old and the journey he had taken me on had been frustrating, rewarding, all consuming at times, but on the whole, it was a journey of looking at the world in a totally different light.
As I sat down to start writing his story, the emotions were so raw still I just couldn’t do it. So instead, I decided to write a fiction story, but weave my son’s journey in autism into the story line. I did not plot out this story. As it developed, the characters took over and the story just became what it is.
SECOND CHANCES, although fiction, in a lot of ways has my own personal, and my son’s, experiences weaved throughout. A lot of the accomplishments you will see Jared making in SECOND CHANCES are accomplishments that my son made. It was a therapeutic story for me to write, allowing me to tell some about my journey through autism and my son’s accomplishments and also allowing me to write a story in which I always wanted to do, but never had the courage.
My son’s autism has taught me a lot about my own life. His hard work to get where he is now in life has given me bravery to do what I truly love to do – write. People who have never had the experience of knowing an autistic child do not understand the small milestones that are huge. The simple act of finally getting a hug from your child, a real hug with arms wrapped around you, will bring tears to your eyes. The first words out of a four-year-old after being nonverbal and only using sign language to communicate tears can melt your heart. I would never be able to convey through a book how powerful a journey it is to be taught by your child how to never take the little things for granted.
At this time, my son has just graduated high school and is moving on to a trade school and then working in his dad’s family business. Over the years I have said over and over again that my son is autistic. I do NOT say he has autism because for me autism is not a disability. It is a way of life and it is just what makes my son who he is, but it does not define him. Yes, he is quirky and downright odd at times, but he takes life in stride and I have seen him overcome being nonverbal, overcome sensory overloading times and deal appropriately with them. My son is an incredible young man who has taught me and his sisters so much just by knowing him.
Blurb for Second Chances:
Consumed by guilt surrounding her husband’s death as she raises her autistic son alone, KIRA NICHOLS shuts herself off from everyone and everything. That is until GRANT RUTLEDGE returns to town to help run his family’s business. The spark between them is unlike anything either has ever experienced, but when Kira discovers a secret from Grant’s past, her suspicious nature puts up a roadblock to a happy future. She’ll have to overcome her suspicions and leave behind the haunting ghosts from the past in order to let love heal the broken trust she’s lived with for too long.
Emma Leigh Reed has lived in New Hampshire all her life. She has fond memories of the Maine coastline and incorporates the ocean into all her books. Her life has been touched and changed by her son’s autism – she views life through a very different lens than before he was born. Growing up as an avid reader, it was only natural for Emma Leigh to turn to creating the stories for others to enjoy and has found herself an author of contemporary and romantic suspense. With a BA in Creative Writing/English, Emma Leigh enjoys sharing her knowledge with others and helping aspiring authors.