Anxiety

Anxiety leaves me breathless. It causes my mind to wander to far off and scary places. Anxiety distracts me from my children, housework, writing. I hate it. It's terrible. It's a liar. While I know that it doesn't help when I'm in the throes of it. I can't think straight. My mind is my own worst enemy. I could take medication and I've seen it work wonders for other people, but I know myself. I have an addictive personality. Those particular medications aren't meant to be taken long term. Do people still do it? Sure. Would I take it way longer than necessary if it made me feel even the slightest bit better? You better believe it. You'd have to pry it from my fingers! 

All weekend I've not been able to cope. My anxiety takes the form of fixation and certain obsessive compulsive behaviors. I can't think of anything else. Not my social media accounts, not blogging, nothing. I forget to respond to messages from friends for days. I stress for what seems like no reason whatsoever, but once it takes root I can't get it out of my head. 

I'm going to use what tools I do have though. I'm in therapy so I'm not attempting this alone, by any means. My tool for now is my stubbornness. I simply refuse to let this get the better of me. Will it always work? Absolutely not. Will I still succumb to my anxiety? Yep. This week I will learn to be gracious with myself and push through. I will do my best and accept that I can't do any more than that. I am not perfect and that's okay. 

Special Preview Edition

So, as it turns out, Kobo offers a preview of e-books. This includes pre-orders. I wasn't aware of that and it is the only place, that I've found, that does this. While I love the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon and totally support it, doing so on pre-orders isn't okay. Why? Because some of my wonderfully glorious readers got a glimpse at actual text not meant to be released until July! 😳😳 

 

What's available, while having been edited on some level, hasn't been given that professional's touch yet. There weren't any issues, but I would much rather you guys see the finished and polished version. So, I decided to not only offer up the first couple of pages of the novella, but the whole first 5 chapters. The other thing is I'm going to give it away! That's right!! You get the first 5 chapters FOR FREE!! You have been so amazing and I still can't believe the amount of excitement surrounding this story. I love that you love it as much as me!  

Stay tuned for all the info, links, etc in the coming week! I can't wait to know what you guys think so don't forget to leave reviews!  

Where's my Newsletter?!

For all those who have gotten used to the nearly weekly newsletter, I promise it's coming! I want to include the links for all available pre-orders, but am still waiting on Nook at the time of this post. As soon as it becomes available I will make sure to get the newsletter out! 

 

As a reminder, make sure to follow me on Tumblr or check out the contests tab to see what's in store for next month! 

Autism Awareness Month

I, like a lot of people in my specific sub-generation, feel like a fraud. We use terms like "adulting", for crying out loud!! Why? Because, to us, it's something we do on occasion... not something we are. We are mostly in our late twenties and early thirties. A time when our own parents had it together, or appeared to in our eyes. People may claim that they had less stress, less attention focused on their flaws (see: Facebook), and less political/economic problems. Just less. I now see that might not have been the case though it was certainly different. 

 

How does all all that relate to Autism? Well, it all goes back to that feeling of being a fraud. I have three kids. Two girls and a boy. My oldest has severe dyslexia. A learning difference I defend daily, but I've never had a problem communicating with her. In fact, most days I just smile and nod as she tells me yet another story about dance class because she's talking 900 mph. Her brain is in overdrive and it's hard to keep up, but I do my best because her stories are a work of art. I love them. I felt, and still feel, like I was destined to be her Mommy. I have gone to bat for her and her learning difference since she walked into the public school system. I am uniquely qualified. I have two siblings with dyslexia. I knew the signs and the struggles. I was ready, day 1, when I saw it. It's been rough, but not impossible. 

 

Then my second child came along and she is completely opposite from her sister. She is quiet and shy. Not in a way that worried me or was stunting her social or educational growth. Just quiet. I have to ask her specific questions to get her going, but once I do she lights up like a Christmas tree. She loves to draw and if you can start her talking about that you'll never get another moment's peace. I love it. Now, it's taken me more time and patience to relate to her as she's gotten older because I know nothing about drawing and can't do it to save my life, but we make it  work. Besides, I always know what to get her for birthdays and holidays. It's fantastic! Again, as a Mom, I felt prepared and ready to tackle anything with her too. In a million other areas of my life I feel like a fraud, but as a Mom I've always kinda felt like a bada**. 

 

Then, three years ago I had a gorgeous little boy with bright blue eyes. He was (and is) the perfect addition to my little family. By this time, I knew what I was doing from the start. I needed almost zero help from the nursing staff in the hospital and was referred to as the "rock star" on the labor & delivery floor. Yep, I got a big head. Not gonna lie.  

 

So, I said all that to say this: Autism stole my rock star Mommy status and I'm sad. It took me longer than necessary to even admit there might be a problem because I knew absolutely nothing about it. I had never dealt with it directly and, therefore, seriously knew zero signs. That's why entire months about bringing awareness to it are not only important, they are vital! For people like me who were convinced my own son simply progressed at a different rate. While that's very true this was not that. I know milestones are basically crap (in most aspects) and kids do really hit them when they're ready. However, there are certain communication and behavior issues that shouldn't and can't be ignored, even by the most reluctant parent like myself. 

 

Now, this post was brought on by a typical meltdown. Typical for me. Typical for my son. Not typical for a "normal" 3 year old though. At the end of it I realized how much like a fraud I feel because of this. I can't communicate with my wonderful little man. Especially when he's hurting. It's painful to witness and I hate it. When my girls get hurt they immediately look for me, run over for a kiss and a hug, and then leave again to go play or generally be too-cool-for-school pre-teen girls. My son, however, quite literally pushes me away. He won't let me kiss and hug his tiny tears away. He can't even tell me what happened to make him cry in the first place. Usually it's because something scared or upset him and not because he's physically hurt, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch. I can't fix it. That's my job and I can't do it because I don't know what bothered him. I realize as frustrating, scary, and overwhelming it is for me it's 1,000x more so for him. I do get that. My feeling like a fraud in no way compares to how he feels at all. I get that too. Don't think for one second I don't, but I'm his Mommy and I want to help. I want to fix it. That's an insatiable need I have deep in my core. I wish I could end this post on a happy note, but I can't right now. Yes, he does talk sometimes. He even has 1-10 down. It makes me incredibly happy to hear anything at all. Some parents don't even get to have that. I'm told I'm lucky, but I don't feel that way. I don't know what scares him, what makes him excited, what he loves or hates. I can't talk to him. He's not potty-trained when all the other kids are transitioning out of diapers. All mild inconveniences, according to most people, but to me it feels much different. 

 

While he's not crying anymore and he's sat here quietly eating a waffle the whole time I made this post I hate that silence. I want to hear his little voice tell me he loves me. Maybe one day. So, these months are crucial... for people like me. 

Free E-Book Version

So, I've decided to give away the e-book version of The First novella for all those signed up for the newsletter before it's release. At this time, it's set to release by July, at the latest. So, as long as you're signed up to the newsletter before it becomes available to the public you're eligible to receive the ePub/E-book version of the novella! There will also be more drawings and giveaways as the release date draws near so stay tuned. It's gonna be fun! 

 

-Dylan  

Newsletter Today

My goal for the day: get out a very overdue weekly newsletter. It will hold some pretty exciting news, which I'll then announce on my social media channels in the coming week! There's no author Q&A this week, like we thought, but we hope to soon. It will be a fellow YA author though. I don't ever wanna bog down anything I send you all with stuff that's not relevant. Those kind of bait-and-switches are the absolute worst!  

 

Camp NaNoWriMo is still going strong (and so am I!) and I couldn't be happier with the progress. At this rate, the rough draft of the novella will be finished by the 3rd week in April! I didn't start writing it until April 1st, officially, so that is just flat out amazing! I can't wait to get it in everyone's hands! I might even have a cool little present for those that pre-order 😉  

 

-Dylan  

10K

The difference between a novel, novella, and novellete is simple: word count. In order to call your book a novella you MUST remain under the 40,000 word count. As of today, with only three scenes written, I'm coming in at a little over 10,000 words.  

 

There are will probably be a significant portion that gets removed for that reason. With that said, nothing will get permanently deleted. I will be offering special "deleted scenes" that don't make it into the official novella to 5 lucky newsletter subscribers! Make sure you're following along to be entered to win! We also have 2 signed and advanced paperback copies that will be available to win as well! All kinds of goodies! 

 

Despite the recent changes to internet privacy lately this website will NEVER sell you email address (or any information) to anyone.  

 

We send out weekly newsletters (or try to) that include things like cover reveals, books that I am reading, and other fun stuff. It will also allow you all to be the first to know when we have a release date and other pertinent information. If you're interested in the series at all the newsletter is the best source of info!  

 

Remember, if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please don't hesitate to track me down on social media or by email! I'll always get back to you guys in 24-48 hours! 

 

-Dylan

Trucking right along

I have made incredible progress over the last week. I have kept up with the blog (though I'm sure it could be argued I just rambled), exceeded my daily word count most days, and even managed to stomp out my habit of procrastination! I'm not sure how long that last one will hold up, but for now I'm doing pretty good. All in all these week has gone well. And it's not over yet!  

 

The storms that came through yesterday didn't hit us directly and it's sunny once again here in Florida. 😎 So, what are my plans for the weekend? For now, I plan to get out an overdue newsletter! There may even be an interview from a fellow YA author if I'm lucky! 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo is going well and I couldn't ask for a better start to April! I'm sending out all the good vibes and juju I can muster and promise to send them right along, to all of you, so you can enjoy too! It's always more fun when you can experience the awesomeness with someone you care about!  

 

-Dylan  

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Despite the title I actually love it when it rains! It's when I wake up to Tornado Watches that I have a problem. It's more than likely a precaution, but it's nerve wracking anyway. I'm originally from Tornado Alley (aka Oklahoma) and they make me nervous no matter where I am. I know the odds of one of the monsters occurring where I live now is slim to none, but it makes me understandably anxious anyway.

 

The best case scenario for my morning is some lazy snuggle time with my little dude... maybe even some writing. I can't write very well in the bright sunlight, which is why night time is perfect for me. It's just something about being "alone" with my writing at night that I love. Rainy days give me that same feeling, but bad storms are distracting. I can't help but watch as they pass and be in awe of Mother Nature, probably because I've witnessed her worst. Speaking of, what's my worst case scenario? Spending the morning, huddled in my closet, riding out a storm while I stare at radar for hours. I'll just pray for a happy medium and be glad when it's over. 

-Dylan

Is it really on Tuesday?!

Every week, I feel like I get to Tuesday and I'm already spent! I always get a second wind and make it through the rest of the week just fine, but it's something about Tuesday that seems to shock me each time. Maybe Tuesday is the new Wednesday. Maybe there's always something insane that's happened politically by this time each week it feels as if it should be much later. I'm not sure.

 

Day 3 of Camp NaNoWriMo ended well yesterday. Much better than I anticipated as I was pretty exhausted by the time my writing time rolled around. I buckled down and did it even though, at first, I was really feeling it. Totally worth it in the end to stick to it!  Everything is on track and going well. The weekly newsletter should be coming out soon so make sure you're signed up for that. 

 

-Dylan

Word Counts

 

Why are word counts so important? I get this question A LOT! I'll try to sum it up without boring you too much. Basically, word counts determine what your work is classified. For example, a novella (which I'm working on now) must remain under 40,000 words. Anything over that and you officially have a novel. There's also something called a novelette that's even shorter! 

 

Yeah, okay, but why do they matter to the reader? Oh, they don't actually! Outside of the fact that a novella is usually more direct and a faster/more fun read you probably could care less what it's "labeled"  I'm sure. That's okay! Just know, in the month of April, I'll be slightly obsessed with the number of words I write as I have a very specific goal in mind. I promise not to post each day about my word count, but sometimes it's how an author measures that day's success. There will be plenty of days (sometimes weeks 😱😱) where we don't write a single, solidarity word, due to vacations, family stuff, health issues, or writer's block. When we get in a groove we tend to get excited. Just bear with me and I promise not to get too annoying! And remember, the more I write each day the sooner you'll have something to read!!

-Dylan  

Day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is traditionally held in November each year. 

Camp NaNoWriMo is a separate month, April 1st - April 30th. It's held for a number of reasons and usually I don't participate as I am usually around for the one in November. However, this year I wasn't able to due to health reasons. So, I may be around less and less as the month progresses. My blog posts haven't been up to par in the past anyway so you might not notice a change or maybe I'll use this blog as a new procrastination tool. Either way, the newsletters will still be coming out each week, but probably not on any certain schedule. I just hope I don't forget all together, which I've been known to do! 

Thank you for being here and for keeping up with my craziness either way! Stay tuned for Rare Sunshine, the series! 

xoxo, 

Dylan

Chapter Excerpt

I couldn't share just one excerpt this week because I'm super impatient!! So, here's one and the newsletter had another. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!


I wasn’t the only one hurting. I wasn’t the only one alone. This wasn’t just happening to me. My best friend was dying inside and I had been too busy with myself to pay attention. It would have only taken one look at his face, one true look in his direction, to see what was going on. He had been lying just like I had, but the difference was I knew he was lying. He had no idea how deep mine went. I had been too concerned with the idea of losing him to be truthful. He deserved so much more than that.

Longest.Week.Ever

Well, week #1 of the Trump Administration is in the books and I'm so beyond embarrassed I don't know if I can express it properly. Why am I embarrassed? Did I vote for him? Oh, HELLLLL NO I did not, but I am embarrassed because this is happening. This will be written down and this is history. It's history that my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will learn about and ask me how in the world this came to be. I can guarantee you I will feel the same level of embarrassment as I explain as I do now. How can I not? 

There is a slight silver lining, even now, so all is not lost yet. You know how we mock and ridicule the crazy aunts, uncle, grandmas, and grandpas around our Thanksgiving tables who still are so determined to be racist, misogynistic, straight-up crazies? Well... the super conservative, racist, misogynistic, misinformed, straight-up crazies of today will one day be looked down on the same way. And, I for one, know that I'll be invited to Thanksgiving dinner because I have never (nor will I ever) behave in that manner. My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren sure won't be embarrassed of me!

I will be a tad different though in that I will be apologizing for ever letting this come to pass in the first place. I didn't protect my children and I am leaving the world in a much worse position than I found it. There was always more I could and should have done to ensure their future and I thought it such an impossibility that I didn't pay attention until it was far too late. Now, they get to pay for that and it's not fair. They'll have to take down every metaphorical (and possibly physical wall) that is put up. They will have to fix a very, very, VERY broken political system. They will have to drag those, kicking and screaming I'm sure, people who are determined to live in the past into the current century for the greater good. All because I didn't pay enough attention and neither did those around me because "this is too silly, too crazy, too (insert word of choice) to become reality". We were wrong and I am sorry. 

I will help though. I won't ridicule. I won't say, "let the grown-ups fix this" because clearly we're in no better position than you to do that. I will make sure you have all the tools you need to continue the revolutions I thought wouldn't be necessary. I will be right there, every step of the way, but I won't pretend I didn't cause this. My inaction did and I can pretend, like the generations before me, that I didn't make it worse therefore I didn't do anything, but that doesn't help anyone. I will teach you and guide you and make sure this particular bit of history NEVER repeats itself again. 

Generation to Generation

Well, I’ve just put on the ‘Peaceful Piano’ playlist in Spotify and thought I might get some writing done on chapter 3. But it looks like I need to get this out of my head first before I can move on. I keep putting it off, pushing off my feelings on the subject, thinking they will all just go away. Nope. Not happening. So, here goes:

It turns out I’m a Millennial or Generation Y. One of the most talked about generations lately, but I wasn’t born anywhere close to the millenia. I’m not sure where the disconnect is, but hey.. that’s what the internet says so it’s probably true. Honestly, that’s not the point of this post anyway, but it’s worth noting these labels and that they don’t actually mean anything. Labels, in general, don’t mean anything for that matter. How you feel about yourself and your little world is what ultimately matters. If it doesn’t directly affect you why should it, right?

That mentality is the one I grew up with and the one I’m currently adjusting. The things I personally and even indirectly dealt with growing up have since showed me some things. The biggest one is that my entire generation left the one behind us hanging pretty bad. And, for that, I am sorry.

The generation in front of us taught us things like how to be safe on the internet, but you didn’t need us for that. You knew those rules already. They also taught us about stranger danger, how to use pagers and then cell phones, and even how to form our own opinions. Research was key. Your own research was the most important because it helped you find your individual voice in the conversation. We were shown that not only that you could do these things, but you should. But, again, you did us for most of that. You knew and know more about technology than we can probably ever hope to.

So, how did we fail those behind us? Well, first and foremost we didn’t explain the necessity of the individual research that is so vital today. We didn’t sit them down and say, “Hey.. I know this is kinda boring and might sound stupid, but don’t just click the first thing you see and share it. Read the whole damn article. It might actually say something different. It might be a downright lie. It may even be a virus. Or worse yet.. It might spread like one and you can’t take it back. Once you share it, once you’ve spread the lie to the weak and closed-minded you can’t undo it.” What are the consequences of this as it directly affects you Gen Y? Well, I’m sitting in my office writing while a man never meant to be president takes away my insurance and the insurance for millions of Americans. Maybe even you. You remember the arts we all cultivated and nurtured and spent our lives (so far) making? Yeah… we might spend the next 4-8 years with very little new work because people simply can’t afford to be artists any longer.

But how did this happen? How is it our fault? Because we failed. In our narrow-sighted behavior of figuring out our world, our views, our beliefs, and our needs we forgot to turn around and explain to the kids behind us. Their parents could have done it you say? Come on, guys. We didn’t listen to ours and they weren’t going to listen to theirs. Not on this. We needed someone close enough to our age to feel connected so we didn’t think they were talking down to us. We needed that feeling that they still understood what we were going through and even then we mostly brushed them off. We should have educated and informed them. We should have told them what we knew even if we looked silly, old, and out of touch. Because who the hell cares what we look like to them or anyone else?! What matters if that should have been given all the information.

But there is good news. It probably doesn’t feel like it right now, but there is. They’re impassioned. They’re mobilizing. They’re not taking our place, but fighting with us. And we are not alone. They are not alone. And this is going to be scary enough if we don’t take off the blinders. It’s time. We are the adults. It’s time to turn back and help them hone the voice they discovered all by themselves. Show them that we are here, we can help, we will help, and that we want to. We want to know their experiences as well as the generation ahead of us. They are all valid, along with our own. They need to see that they can make a change. We did and we shouldn’t be comfortable with “going backwards” now. They have a fresh perspective and they aren’t as quite as cynical as we are now… yet.