Spectrums and Rainbows… Or a source to help someone on the Spectrum cope with life…

* From Uncorked

As someone with Aspergers’ who fights like hell to “human” on a daily basis… and fucking hell does not succeed most of the time :D, I do want to ask you all… especially during the holidays… to reach out and check on the people in your life who are neuroatypical. AND REALLY… if they are kids.

 
It’s not only a struggle to work within the mirror maze of society and people but also with ourselves. It’s an invisible thing and it’s rare people around us adjust. We’re told to stop being eccentric, being too weird or to just get over it.
 
If you know of someone who is being shoved into a box of someone else’s making, please see what you can do to help. Sometimes it’s just even listening. Or standing up for that person’s right to exist as best they can.
 
It’s a Rabbit Hole here, Alice… and it doesn’t seem to end.
 

Words. And how we use them to “see” skin colour in a book…

I am reading a mystery series. Or at least finished the first book in the series. Now, I’m going to start this by saying I enjoyed the book a LOT. I’ve been reading a lot of “mainstream” mysteries of late because they keep my brain engaged and I’m writing an urban fantasy so there won’t be any “voice leak” into what I’m scribbling down.

I mean I really was enjoying the book, reading along and liking the construct of the main character when a single phrase kind of brought me to a screeching halt…

“…skin stained a dark brown…”

This was used to describe a person of colour, someone of East Asian descent.

stained.

I’m not going to go on an outraged rant about this. Instead, I want to have a discussion. Because people can’t seem to grasp the concept of talking on social media so I’m stating this clear and loud at the beginning of this. Because stuff like this is complex in some ways… but simple in others.

I will continue to read the series. I like the author’s phrasing and work. Do I think an editor should have flagged this word? Yeah. Do I think anyone actually saw it? See, that’s the question… do you see the words? Do you hear yourself say the things you say? Do you see the ripples they cause? Do you care?

I am going to assume it was a word flourish that was simply used. No malevolent intent just… a word. But it kind of says a lot to someone who might not be that “default” because stained has some burdens behind it. From being dirty to altered from its natural state.

My own skin colour changes often. My base is definitely darker than porcelain and if I’m in direct sun for more than half an hour, I can kiss my foundation level goodbye. I have been driving up the SoCal coast and said to my passengers, “If we don’t make a left turn soon, my left arm’s going to be five shades darker than my right.”

But I never thought of myself as stained. And neither do I want to. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like they were stained away from a pure colour or dirtied because of their skin tone.

So, I will definitely watch the words I choose and ask my editors to do so as well. Small shifts mean a great deal to acceptance and tolerance. As does talking about it.

credit to angelica dass

The End of the Year and the Beginning of the New One

We will be celebrating the Year of the Rat in 2020, a good year for fortune and prosperity. And it’s a good year to look at where you are in life and where you are going.

We are also saying goodbye to a year of turmoil and strife as well. Hopefully going forward, this will subside but really sometimes in order to do this, we must take action.

Like voting for people who will represent us well as well as promoting those who support us, even in times of need. Or rather especially in times of need. I am very close to severing a long-held friendship over what’s been happening this year and have already distanced myself from people who have chosen to not support me. It’s sad in so many ways because I’ve stood by and supported them through some sticky things but often, in times of strife, people are tested and well, we all make choices we want to live with.

I do want to say thank you to all of the readers who have reached out and sent me encouragements and support this year. You guys rock and honestly, make the world a better place. In reality, when everything is all said and done, I’m here to write books. And to entertain someone reading it. That’s my focus. And that’s where I’m going to put my energies.

As well as heavily supporting the people and sites who support me. It’s a symbiotic relationship because while I never ever want to influence a review (that should be sacrosant) I do want to be able to provide a blog site’s visitors with a good reason to visit and continue to visit. Because well, the best (and worst) part about writing books is sometimes doing a blog tour.

Because blog tours are hard to create! They are! But oh, I have plans….

The first book up this year is Back in Black (DSP, Amazon).  With the return of Cole and Jae, I jumped forward a few years and well, it was necessary to do so. When I first started writing the McGinnis/Kim series, marriage was still denied to anyone not in a het relationship and we were just beginning to explore the edges of alternative sexualities’ language. By the end of the series, Bobby and Ichi were married and the world was a very different place.

I needed to capture that change in the books going forward in the McGinnis Investigation series and that meant jumping to the now. But in doing so, that meant I was going to end up skipping writing about an important event in Cole and Jae’s lives… their wedding.  I haven’t decided on the tone of the wedding… if it’s going to be a typical Cole day or just something sweet. I mean, doesn’t Jae deserve something sweet for his wedding day? A day without shotgun blasts or car chases?

I’ll be doing a few posts and I’m hopefully going to get it done in time for Greg to narrate the pieces for each blog spot. There will also be a big giveaway at each stop, kind of like a wedding present, to celebrate Jae finally getting to the altar and hopefully with Cole in one piece.

Let me know what you think. A typical Cole day? Or a sweet romantic wedding?

The Wrong Kind of… Attention. Or Sidestepping a Wankfest.

There is such a thing as social sadism.
 
You all have seen it. Probably experienced it.
 
It’s when someone acid-vomits stuff all over you and when you call them out on it, they go all innocent and act the victim.
 
Then shout out loudly that you’re abusing them and won’t OTHER people come save them from you.
 
It’s become very common lately.
 
But here’s the thing… you don’t owe anyone anything. Not even your time. Not even your typing.
 
It might hurt. Especially if you’d considered them your friend or if you’ve reached out to them in the past to help them when they’re down or broke.
 
That won’t matter to them. All that matters is the “rush” they feel when they’re trying to hurt you and get other people to cheer them on while doing it.
 
It’s hard. I know. Ignoring someone you once thought of as a friend is… painful. But if they’re stabbing at you just to see you bleed, then they never were your friend. Simple a tick that hadn’t yet sunk its teeth into your flesh.
 
Spend today remembering to be the best person you can be. Be the person you want to be. Be the person you’d want to know.
 
Give yourself a compliment. Find something you like about yourself. And remember, you don’t have to walk into someone else’s social kink parlour simply because they left the door open.

Time to check your neighbour’s rice bowl to see if they have enough to eat…

I want to talk to you all about a woman in the Phillipines who works to feed the kids in her area EVERY Sunday. I’ve sent her money in the past for the meals. I’ve become a patreon for her efforts. I would like to ask for you all to consider donating to her cause if you are contemplating making a charitable donation this year or want to a patreon to follow.
 
She’s posted an update on IMGUR of today’s meal and as you can see, she’s working to better the area…and conditions of those around her.
 
Her name is Jenny Remiendo and the area she is working in actually is near where Scarlet from the McGinnis series comes from.
 
A dollar a month will go a long way where she lives and I look forward to helping her provide another 80 Sundays worth of meals to the kids in her area.
 

Coffee…and Memories

One of the earliest memories I have of my Grandpa is of how he smelled. He would come home after working the fields and smell of rich soil, unfiltered cigarettes and coffee. He was swarthy, having spent endless days out in the sun and he probably was dead tired from working but always spent a bit of time with me before everyone went to bed.

I don’t know if he was a complicated man. I think he was a smart man and looked towards the future and planned for a good retirement, one he wasn’t able to enjoy because a brain tumor took him just as he was winding down his time on the fields. I was ten-ish when this happened and had already experienced more than one death in the family. I knew what it meant to lose someone I loved dearly and while I didn’t know the man he was…not as an adult and not in the way you would know a person… I did know him as my grandfather.

And to me, he was not only a good grandfather but also a good man.

He wasn’t perfect. None of us are. He infuriated my grandmother and spoiled the hell out of me and my youngest aunt (according to my slightly older uncles. that youngest aunt is only a few years older than I am). He was grumpy and anti-social to people at times, earning himself the nickname of Mr. Adams after Adam’s Sour Apple Gum. Mostly they called him Primo because that’s the beer he drank but people did seem to like him. You could count on him. He was a solid man.

There were parties in the pavilion at the park right outside of their house and they would go late into the night. I learned how to do the chicken dance watching my grandparents. I remember my grandmother waving her arms and my grandfather laughing. I think the music came from the radio. I’m not sure. It wasn’t live. There weren’t musicians. And now I wish I’d had the awareness to soak it all in because sometimes I feel like I’ve got the only memory anchoring them in place which is silly because I know other people remember them. Probably better than I have because when it’s all said and done, I am looking at them through a child’s eyes.

My grandmother survived my grandfather by decades and I got to know her as a person. That’s something I am grateful for. I wasn’t happy with who I was at the time and was still struggling to find my path when she passed but we were always honest with one another and it was no hardship to take her down into town if she needed it or for me to bring her romance novels I bought by the box at garage sales. She lived in a large house meant to be for her and my grandfather… built when he was just getting sick… and sometimes I wondered how she felt living there mostly alone…. with her sister, Mary living across the street and within shouting distance. I know my grandmother wasn’t alone but I worried. And I hoped she was happy.

We only talked about my grandfather in passing. Same with my mom and honestly, I should probably talk to her more about him. To learn who he was as a person. To fill in what I have and flesh out the man who meant so much to me and gave me a solid base on what it meant to be human and while not perfect, at least trying to do the best I can. I have no doubts that I was loved. None whatsoever. That’s a gift I don’t think I appreciate enough. Or at least I do when I still the world around me and look for some peace. Hopefully I can do right by the men who shaped my earliest memories (my other grandfather was a huge part of my life as well). For now, I still smile when I hear the chicken dance and sometimes, when I’m having coffee with sweetened condensed milk, I feel like I’m sharing a cup with him in the damned cold kitchen in that house on Kaiwiki Road. And that’s honestly not a bad thing to do on some mornings.