Monday, December 31, 2012

Autism vs. Neesha: Fly away, 2012

Greetings, all! Hope you're having a safe and fun NYE. I'm home in my PJs with the hubby and youngest, hearing the fire works outside and answering the texts of those who think of me on this special occasion. I'm not in a festive mood this year. I've always seen NYE as overrated even though I do stay up to watch the ball drop, and it does feel good to see a new year with new possibilities.

I know it's been a long time since I've blogged, but if you have me on fb or Twitter, you know why. The month of December has proven to be my worst experience yet with autism. My son took a turn for the worst, becoming more destructive, and, on Dec. 11, he attacked me for the first time ever. Usually, it's only objects that get thrashed, but he turned on me for whatever the reason. My hubby ran in and saved me, but this was a major wake-up call. The one thing I feared came true, that he could actually harm me. This was the saddest day of my life, thus far. I went and filled a prescription given to me by a psych doc months before that I'd been holding on to because I was wary about using meds. I never filled a 'script so fast in my life! You'd have thought it was a narcotic, lol. It's been 21 days, and I don't see that the med is working. We go back to the doc on Jan. 8, and, God, I hope they can give us something to help him. Sucks to be afraid of your own kid. I love him no less, but look over my should a hell of a lot more now.

So ... as you can imagine, my blogging frame of mind was a bit put off. But I have new aspirations for 2013. I'm working on a couple books, one about my experience with autism and my son, and the other one is book two of Storm, which you can see to your left there.

I'll take my darling husband's positive perspective and share with you all the wonderful milestones I've had in 2012, and I encourage you to do the same.

  • January - My first new year married to the husband of my dreams, via skype (Trinidad & TX)
  • February - Self-published my first book, I of the Storm.
  • March - My "baby" Nabeel turned 14! And my mom sees another year as well.
  • April - I turned 36! Wow. I doubled my life since teen pregnancy. I remember when I was a teen, and I thought 30 was ancient, haha.
  • May - A proud, teary mom moment. My 1st born, Naseem, graduated from high school.
  • June - After an 11-month wait, my husband arrived here for good from Trinidad! 
  • July - My 1st born turned 18 and entered the world of adulthood! Also had my 1-year anniversary of re-marriage, celebrated by doing our court marriage on the same date.
  • August - My youngest started high school! Aaaaaaah! Oldest got his first job.  :)
  • September - Found out I was getting a six-month extension at NASA after my August lay-off. This was my second lay-off from the same job, and also the second time to be kept. I consider that a blessing. Income is a great thing!
  • October -  My blog doubled in membership along with Twitter.
  • November - I cooked another marvelous Thanksgiving dinner, and the day was superb. My husband got his work permit, too, this month.
  • December - My husband's 6-month anniversary of being on U.S. soil, and he got his first job.

I hope to start doing author interviews and giveaways in 2013 as my blog membership has grown a bit. I aim to expand it even more. Another goal is to blog daily! I want to aim for 365 posts. I attempted this last year and fell off the wagon around 267.

Thanks for being here with me! Cheers to all of you, and happy new year! May 2013 bring you all the joy and success you deserve.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Year-end resolutions: My 2012 bucket list

I don't believe in New Year resolutions. I'm a procrastinator, therefore I worry toward the end of the year about whether or not I've accomplished enough since last January. There are roughly three weeks left of 2012, and I'm sitting here thinking "What the hell have I done with the previous 49 weeks of my life?" Not enough, apparently, otherwise, I wouldn't be wondering, right?

In 2012, I self-published a novel, edited several books for fellow indie authors, tripled my blog following, quadrupled my Twitter following, found resources to help my autistic teenager, got remarried, half wrote a book about autism, make some cool new friends, got laid off and rehired in the same week, re-branded my business, took on a pretty cool part-time job, saw my oldest graduate from high school and start college, and read a ton of outstanding books. (Only focusing on the positives!) Aside from all that, I still feel like I didn't do enough ...

So, I've come up with a list of things I want to do before the stroke of midnight, 2013. A 2012 bucket list, if you will:

  • Finish writing at least ONE short story
  • Learn how to use Rafflecopter
  • Add at least 10 more followers to my blog, fb page and Twitter
  • See The Hobbit with my husband who is an obsessed fan
  • Read 2 more books
  • Submit 5 article queries to magazines
  • Enter a story in 1 contest
  • Lose 5 pounds
  • Take the last week of the year off
  • Complete an arts & crafts project
  • Learn how to make a new dish
  • Write a blog post about how many of these I accomplished.
Is that enough? Meh ... maybe.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book review: My Sore Hush-A-Bye by Renata Barcelos

I've got a new review to share.

My Sore Hush-A-Bye by Renata Barcelos

Synopsis: Camille is a young girl stuck in the past. Classic TV shows, old music, and dresses that never made it into the 21st century.

After her mother left a puzzling note leaving her in the care of Uncle Bob, she had a rough go of it, not wanting to conform to his rigorous rules and this new life. But she learned. She learned to love and accept her sheltered life. For 8 years, Mama Cass' songs and reruns of I Love Lucy and other old TV shows were her only comfort, and Uncle Bob her only companion.

That all starts to change when Camille finally goes to public school once she reaches her teenage years. She meets a friend who mysteriously disappears. She has suspicions that Uncle Bob may not be the perfect man she once thought. She starts thinking about her mother.

Most important of all, she begins to grow up, and that is what changes everything...

I won a print copy of this book in a Batty For Books blog giveaway contest. Getting stuff in the mail is really exciting, I must say. I LOVE holding books in my hands, no matter how popular ebooks have become. There's something about turning pages that gives me the warm and fuzzies.

I read this book in 8 hours. From the first few pages, I was definitely hooked. I warn you, I have minor spoilers throughout, so if you don't want me to ruin it for you, don't read past this paragraph. You're safe 'til then. This little girl Camille, is kidnapped, only she doesn't realize it. She thinks Uncle Bob is taking her to stay with him because her mom abandoned her. She's only 7'ish, and has nothing else to believe and no one else to trust, so she becomes his property for the next 8 years, his prisoner brainwashed to believe she is his welcomed and beloved guest. She believes him when he said he loved her, and he even had a "note" from her mom that validated what he said.

I can't tell you how into this story I became. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what in the world was going on. It was very well written as far as keeping the reader in total bemusement and curiosity. I almost didn't want to put it down to do my Sunday housework, but I had to force it out of my own hands. I had to find out what happened to this girl, and the other missing girl, Ashley, who she kept mentioning and implying she had something to do with. Uncle Bob was the lowest form of life imaginable, the things he told her to keep her under his thumb, like how her "blackness" wasn't accepted in regular society (in his city) so she was much safer hiding away in his house, doing whatever he wanted. The "games" he made her play and the way the author describes it without being too over-the-top was just outright compelling. My heart pounded at some of the scenes like when she snuck in his room to search for her mom's contact information after being too scared to attempt anything of the sort in 8 years. That's the point when desperation overtakes her, and she finally takes control of her life no matter how terrified she. But she thought she was doing it to run away and rid Uncle Bob of herself because she thought he didn't love her anymore since she'd outgrown his taste.

I totally pictured this girl being shown only 60s and 70s sitcoms and classic movies to keep her mind under total control from the outside world. And I loathed that psycho doctor who came to "take care" of her and kept giving her pills! I knew he was some kind of partner with Uncle Bob in a child porn ring, but it was just too sick to imagine. I was baffled by why Uncle Bob would take the chance to send her to high school knowing she had a full-scale chance to running and exposing him. Was he that sure he had such strong mental control over her that she wouldn't dare challenge him? Now that is some kind of ego! But eventually she did, and that was the down-spiraling of the story. When she managed to find her mom, it was magical.

I love, love, love how all the things that didn't make sense to me throughout the book made perfect sense at the end. Barcelos wraps up the story quite skillfully. It's very disturbing to think this crap happens in real life. I read a story very similar to this a few months back in the local paper. A child porn ring busted, and the things I read about literally traumatized me.

This book gets my 5-star rating! The only kinds of books that earn my 5-star are ones that totally freak me out somehow, touch on my emotions and make me ponder it long after I finish reading.

I highly recommend this book. Good stuff!