Monday, 18 June 2018

Support your local library

I had a book launch at my local community library on Saturday, and it was brilliant. The librarians are very friendly and helpful, esp the main librarian called Sue. This is why I want authors and readers to support their own local libraries, esp community ones. I have been doing events and taking part in the library's own events such as fayres over the last 5 years. They have been understanding and supportive of me and my Asperger's, and are always helping me and praising me to their customers. So, if you are an author, please think about doing events at your local library, even more if it is a community led one like mine. There are a few others libraries in my borough, but none of them have been interested in me having events there. It has just been the community led one, who support me as an indie author. I thank them each time for having me. But I made a bigger thank you to them, esp Sue, by mentioning them in the acknowledgement pages in the back of Susie and the Jiggling Jumper (available on Amazon).

So, go and find your local library and ask if you can do events there from time to time. You will be bringing in more readers to them as well as yourself. A win-win, I believe.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Patience is a virtue...

It certainly was for me the last week when I had been trying to publish my latest children's book on Createspace. I didn't complete the first setup to start with, then there was a problem with the cover, then the interior file, then the cover, then inside again. The cover was sorted out by my illustrator. It was accepted. The interior file (contents) aren't perfect as there are no page numbers and the text isn't the same length on each page (like the others) but I am going to get it sorted out very soon as my illustrator has said she does interior formatting, and I will ask her to help me out to reformat it. Anyway, Tuesday just gone I finally got Susie out the in world. Her story is now on Amazon, available at

This story is close to my heart because Susie is based on me when I was at primary school, with Asperger's and heart problems (I still have both).

I hope you will buy it and spread the word about Asperger's and heart problems that go with it.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

I am a hybrid author

Keep meaning to write this post but so busy with home things going on and writing my books. Am here now.

I believe now that I am a hybrid author. For those not in the know, a hybrid author is someone who writes for both mainstream/traditional publishers and is self-published. I always thought of myself as just an indie author until last year that is. I read a blog post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (do read it if you are an author) last year, and she wrote that she is a hybrid author. She wrote that as well as self-publishing her books, she also writes short stories for magazines. It got me thinking - what have I had published in mainstream magazines? Fillers. Lots of them over the years. So I have been published traditionally too. This makes me a hybrid author. I am quite pleased with that title. I will be having a short story published in a magazine in July, so that definitely will make me a hybrid author.

So, if you think you are just an indie author, think about what else you might have published? Esp in magazines. You could be surprised like I was.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

ASD, gastro problems and anxiety - tips to help

I don't recall having any gastro problems as a child, or being anxious to cause it. I was anxious, I know, cos I used to bite my fingernails (not done so for over 20 years now.)

I am not a health expert, so these are just my ideas.

If your child does have gastro problems cos of anxiety, then try to calm them down. Maybe with a toy they like, or singing if that's what they like doing. Get their mind away from what is going on with their body to something they enjoy.

For older children to adults. There are two ways that help me at times, that you could try.

1. Deep breathing exercise that can be called 'the 4-5-4'. You breathe through the nose to the count of 4, hold for 5 seconds, then breathe out of your mouth to the count of 4, relaxing as you go. Do that a few times. I have done this on a bus to go shopping to calm my anxiety so I didn't have to dash to the toilet.

2. Mindfulness. I was taught this in CBT. I usually do it in bed at night. I lie down, arms at my side, breathing in and out calmly. I tense my feet for a few seconds then release, then my legs, working my way up to my head. Then I loosen my body so I'm relaxed enough to turn over and go to sleep. It is meant to work.

I hope these can be of help to your autistic child.

Sunday, 22 April 2018


April is Autism Awareness month, and IBS and Stress Awareness month, and all three of these can be closely connected. People with autism often have gastro problems, which IBS is one of, and stress from autism can cause IBS, and this is why I am posting about all three now.

I have autism and IBS. My IBS started when I was an adult in the 90s. Most of the time it is caused by foods. Other times it is from nerves, anxiety and stress.

My tips if it is due to foods is to work out which ones cause the problem and eliminate them for a month, then add them back in to your diet one by one with a few days in between. That way you will get to know what the foods are to avoid. My foods are many. I'm intolerant to dairy, gluten. I can't eat raw apples, carrots, or dark green veg, except a few Brussels. I can't eat too much fibre either. I have since found out that many of these are high FODMAP foods. (Fermented, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monos and Polyols (sweeteners ending in 'ol')).

If you know for certain that a particular food causes a problem eg stomach upset, then avoid it altogether. I avoid all dairy and gluten foods, esp butter which makes me v ill, except Marmite. I esp avoid wheat as I know that does give me IBS flare ups.

So that is what to do if food causes you gastro problems. What if it's anxiety and stress? Read my next post for that topic....

Monday, 2 April 2018

Anxiety in adults - Tips

I have had anxiety with meltdowns, mainly as an adult. I don't know about other Aspie adults, but I have found that my anxiety has got worse as I get older. But I have found ways to cope with the anxiety. Here are the situations I have been in and my tips to cope with them.

1. Shopping – Always take more money than is needed. This was the situation I was in when I had my first meltdown and had gone shopping on my own for the first time. I didn't have enough money to buy the tapestry threads I wanted, which upset me greatly.

2. Shopping with someone else – Arrange to meet at a certain point in the shop or outside if you get separated.

3. Going to a new place - Work out times and transport to get there. Leave with plenty of time, especially if it's for an appointment. When there, take a map. Make a note of any landmarks eg a shop or statue, so you know where you are going.

4. Job interview application – If you feel it will help you, then do put down on the form that you have Asperger's/autism, and explain how it affects you, what they can do to help you in the interview. Eg eyes, questions etc. Familiarise yourself with the place and job. If you don't understand a question, ask them to repeat it but in simple language. I recall the last interview I had when I only suspected I had Asperger's. A couple of the questions I took too long to answer and replied wrongly. If I had asked for it to be repeated simply, I might have got a different outcome – fail. As it was, I didn't get the job. It turned out to be the right thing in the end, as I got the time to find out about myself more and get diagnosed.

5. Appointments running late – This one really makes me anxious and worked up. If your appointment is running v late, do tell the consultant when you see them. They will understand, and hopefully will arrange your next appointment to be at an earlier time in the day.

Do you find anxiety is worse as an adult? How do you cope?

Friday, 30 March 2018

ASD and common co-morbidity

I was born with a ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart or congenital heart disease). It wasn't until I was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2011 and read the report that I discovered that this is a common co-morbidity with ASD. Who knew?

So how does it affect me? I am slow, physically, than others. I get a stitch in my side and breathless when I either walk fast, go up a hill or run.

At school I hated PE because I'd be one of the last people to be chosen for teams; probably because I was slower. I hated the gym sessions in primary school. I couldn't do handstands because the blood would rush to my head and I'd go dizzy. In secondary school I remember when we had a sports day at a nearby stadium. Most of the school walked there but I had to get the bus with a few others in my class. We got off at the wrong stop and were late for the start.

When I was little I was told that the hole would decrease in size when I got older but over the last couple of years, I've been told that it has done the opposite and stretched. I still get breathless going too fast or up hill. Sometimes when I walk fast I can hear my heart beat louder, as it's worked hard.

So, that is my common co-morbidity with ASD. Do you have one, too? How does it affect you?

I have loosely based Book 3 of my Rainbow School series ' Susie and the Jiggling Jumper' on me. Susie has a heart condition which makes her slower than her classmates and her little sister, so she has to overcome this with her ASD.

Susie's advice with coping with the anxiety of a heart condition is: 'Don't worry about this. Do things at your own pace and don't feel pressured into doing something that you know you can't do.'