No U Turns in Life Either 5

In Life Either

Bullying affects families not just the child who experiences it. This is why I am continuing Mia’s story from the point of view of her brother, Cal. Those of you just beginning to follow my blog might not know who Cal is. You can click on the menu to Cal’s Story Begins to find out. You may need to click pages from the menu to reach it depending on your reader source.

I ask those of you who know my family to realize that both stories are works of fiction despite being based on my daughter’s experience with bullying. Still, I want to be clear here. Bullying really did affect our entire family much more than her diagnosis did. Damage done by any type of abuse cannot be undone, but it can get better and it can help others to avoid pitfalls.

We are all mending and just the other day my son touched my heart when he told me that his sister’s experience taught him to be tough. He has learned good comebacks to use when kids try to bully him because of this. He said my work and his sister’s experience have taught him the value of being kind to others. I am so proud of him.

I started posting outlines last January and a friend suggested I was trying to put too much in the first chapter. She was right. I do not plan to post the complete story here, but I want to share the beginning with you and get your input.

Wow! Mia is practically glowing. I guess I would be too if I were her. How many people get to hear their high school orchestra play their composition at their own graduation? It’s amazing how far she’s come in the last seven years. I still remember the horror our family went through ….

Mia, what is wrong with you? Mom did you see that? She tried to hit me with her bag. Aren’t you going to do something?

Mom asked me to please be quiet until we got home. Then she just talked to Mia instead of punishing her. Mom’s raised eyebrows and piercing green eyes greeted me in the rearview mirror, when I started to say more. She actually made me feel bad for upsetting Mia instead of defending me like I thought she would.

She did try to explain after we got home, “I’m sorry this isn’t fair to you, but for now, I have to cut her some slack. She is going through a very rough time right now, and she didn’t actually hit you. I promise I will make it up to you later, and I certainly won’t allow her to harm you. For now, it’s probably best if you try to avoid her when she is upset.”

Yes, I knew all about Mia’s former friends and how they bullied her, but Mom’s explanation was more about Mia than I liked. What about me? Does Mom really think Mia’s problem isn’t affecting me?

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried talking to Mom about Mia. Just two weeks ago, Mia punched me in the arm on the way home from school. Mom’s response then was to pull the car over and refuse to drive until we both apologized. It was so unfair! Mia started it, and I was the one who was hurt just like today. I tried talking to Dad about it, but he sided with Mom.

I have to come up with a plan to get Mom and Dad to understand that Mia’s behavior is scary, and she is destroying my social life too. I can’t even have my friends over right now because we can’t upset Mia. What is that about? I live here too!

I retreated to my room and locked the door to avoid more of Mia’s abuse. Then it hit me! I learned arbitration skills at school. I needed to apply them at home. I unzipped my black backpack, pulled out my pen and paper, and sat at my desk as I thought of what to say.

Problem List

1. I need love and support just like Mia.

2. I need to be able to have my friends over.

3. I need Mia to stop abusing me.

4. I need someone to really listen and to really hear how Mia treats me.

5. I need help with my life sometimes too. After all I’m still a kid.

6. I miss our old family, the one where we ate meals together and discussed our day and where we actually went out to dinner sometimes.

Potential Solutions

1. I know you have to give Mia extra time. I get it I really do, but I need at least one of you to be there for me too.

2. I realize Mia is fragile, but how am I supposed to maintain my friendships if I can never have anyone over?

3. This should really be number one! I never bullied Mia. She has to stop bullying me and she has to have real consequences when she does.

4. Do either of you realize the awful things she says to me or really see the hate in her eyes when she looks at me? I need you to pay attention. You have to start seeing and hearing.

5. I need to be able to come to you when I have a problem too. I still need help with homework sometimes,  and I still need to talk about my day. This has to be okay. You have to make time for me too.

6. Why can’t we still go around the table and talk about how our day went instead of just talking about how Mia’s day went?  I understand Mia does not want to go out, but can’t the three of us still go out? Can’t Ah Ma and Ah Gung come over and stay with Mia?

I feel better. I have a plan. Now all I have to do is wait for Dad to come home and find a time to talk to Mom and Dad.

First Book Award for Delightfully Different! 12

Young Voices Foundation

Young Voices Foundation

Young Voices Foundaton.

Young Voices Foundaton.

Today I am grateful. I received the following via e-mail from Bobbi Carducci at the Young Voices Foundation Awards today,

“Congratulations! Delightfully Different has met the criteria for a prestigious BRONZE AWARD by the Young Voices Foundation Awards judges in Categories Regional Youth West Pacific and Regional Teen/YA West Pacific. It also earned a Blue Seal of Approval in the Spiritual/Inspirational Category. Young Voices Awards are sponsored by the Young Voices Foundation and honor books that Inspire, Mentor, and/or Educate Readers of all ages. The announcement will appear on the Young Voices Foundation Awards website within 24 hours. A link to your website will be added within a week.” You can view the results at Young Voices Awards ™. 

Tony Attwood, Ipo,and Friends Thank You for Your Support 6

The video is of my first book signing for Delightfully Different at the local Barnes and Noble.  Thanks Ipo for arranging this and coming in on your day off for me. You can view the short video above to see it. 

I got to meet new people including someone who works at the DOE here who will be taking my book into the public schools when school returns. I was also pleasantly surprised to see an old friend from my daughter’s preschool days who happens to be an elementary school teacher. She too purchased the book. I met other wonderful people as well, and all of you helped to restore my faith in the goodness of people. I know others want real change in our schools and society too.   

Mahalo to my friends who came to my book signing despite the fact that they all already had signed copies of my book. Not only did they come, but they bought more copies for friends. One couple came even though they had a big graduation party planned the next day for their youngest daughter. I love my friends!

I attended the graduation party for a wonderful young woman, our close friends’ daughter and sister to our former house and dog sitter the next day. While the second event in two days involved sitting longer, I survived with my extra, store brought, first brace along with the doctor prescribed back brace. I iced my back and used heat and Advil a little more often the following two days as a result. Still, I am grateful that I could participate in both events. 

June 29, 2011 brought more good news. I have an endorsement from the man so many of us admire, Dr. Tony Attwood, clinical psychologist and author of several books on Asperger’s including The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. I gave him a copy of Delightfully Different a while back after attending one of his delightful and informative conferences. He agreed to read it and offer his comments for publication. 

Here is what he said, There are many facts within fiction. This captivating story provides invaluable insights into the childhood of a girl who has Asperger’s syndrome. Fiction allows the author to explore different perspectives and add poignancy to the experiences of sensory sensitivity and being bullied and teased of someone who has Asperger’s syndrome. The title Delightfully Different describes Asperger’s syndrome but also the qualities of this novel.”

Thank you Tony! I think I owe you more Kona coffee!

Needless to say, I will be contacting iUniverse tomorrow to see about redoing my book cover so I can add his wonderful comments. 

Then, I also got a quick responses from my wonderful blogging friends regarding a request that I will not post, but they all know who they are. I love my very supportive blogging community of friends. I really do not know how I survived before I had all of you. We may only know each other virtually, but we do know each other and for that I am truly grateful.

   

Success with Self Publishing 14

D. S. Walker 1st Book Signing ©Delightfully Different LifeI have heard that it takes approximately seven months for authors who use self publishing to begin to have success. I have even read blogs that swear the traditional publishing is the only way to go if you want to ever get your books in book stores. I have attended conferences that imply that you should only self publish if you plan to just sell your books at conferences where you are a speaker. 

Yet, I still chose an assisted publisher versus traditional publishing. Why did I do this? Was it because traditional publishers rejected my book? No, I did not send my manuscript to any agents or publishers, so it was not rejected by traditional publishing.

I did my research and determined that hiring a good editor costs almost as much money as an editing package and a publishing package combined through iUniverse. They have a relationship with Amazon.com and with Barnes and Noble. I previously purchased two iUniverse books that were well written, one from a local author I knew personally. I also spoke to another local author who used them and had a good experience.

Therefore, I chose to use iUniverse too. I can always pursue traditional publishing later if I choose. I continue to own my copyright. I get to choose how I market my book. I am not required to spend thousands of dollars traveling to multiple cities, on a tour, at a time my publisher chooses where I might or might not have success.

Remember I have two children who are still school age. No they are not toddlers, but they do still need me around, so having control of my time is important to me. That was the biggest factor in my decision.

How’s it going you ask? Okay, I am far from being on the best sellers list. Still, I am in the local Barnes and Noble bookstore and I have received two small royalty checks. I have my first book signing tomorrow. I will be happy if at least 50 people show up although I would certainly love it if more did.

I am just at month seven. Remember I am not even supposed to have my book in a book store by some accounts. I received Editor’s Choice and Rising Star designation from iUniverse which means they believe my book has the potential to have some commercial success. I also received a good Kirkus review. I have entered two book contests that are pending.

Locally, I have been on two news shows, the second of which was an evening news show and that station repeated the showing on their morning show the next day, so technically I guess I could say I have been on three news shows. I have been on a talk show on Hawaii Public Radio. A local, free, biweekly paper told my story this week. The paper is the only source for grocery store ads so most households on the island receive it in their mailboxes.

I have made wonderful new blogging friends. Four bloggers have written reviews of my novel which you can read from this blog. Another blogger wrote a mini review.

One school has twenty copies of my book which they will hopefully use. Teachers at another school have read and talked about my book. The book has been given to a third school.

I told a former colleague that I would be happy if my book changed just one life when I made the decision to quit work and to write my first novel when bullies targeted my child. Today I am grateful for success!