But What Are They Eating?

Where I talk about food and offer you a free book.

Shelley Workinger has a cool blog called “But What Are They Eating?” where she invites authors to talk about—you guessed it—what their characters actually have on their plates. Food for thought, as they say. She’s also been nice enough to have me back for a guest post about the foodiest of my food-laden novels, The Kitchen Brigade. I hope you’ll visit my post on Shelley’s blog, drop a comment, share the love, and maybe subscribe. And…

Because it’s been a tough week, maybe for you, too, just for today you can grab a Kindle e-copy of The Kitchen Brigade free. For all y’all, not just the KU folks. I hope you like it. 

Writing Whilst Disabled: A Guest Post by Joey Paul

I’m pleased to turn my blog over to Joey Paul today. Welcome, Joey! She writes YA crime, paranormal and general fiction. Hope you’ll give her a read and start a conversation in the comments.

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10013847_10151996564367507_516979392_nOne of the things a lot of people will tell you when you’re newly diagnosed with a chronic illness, or suddenly finding yourself identifying as disabled is that you shouldn’t let it define you. They say that your illness, condition or disabilities are not you, and while that is true in part, it’s also true that it’s part of your identity. It contributes to who you are, whether you want it to or not. I’m finishing up a degree in health and social care and a number of my courses have dealt with self-identity. What I’ve taken from those lessons is that how you, as an individual, choose to identify is made of the labels you apply to yourself. For me, one of those labels is that I’m disabled.

When I became ill at nineteen and was retired on medical grounds from my government job, I didn’t want to accept the disabled label. Despite the fact that for the majority of my adult life – in fact most of my whole life actually – I had been in and out of hospitals with my lung issues, and then was diagnosed with M.E and Fibromyalgia, I still didn’t really see myself as disabled until I finally faced that it was a part of me. I don’t see it as a bad thing. It’s just part of who I am. Just as I am a writer, and a student and an amateur musician, I am also disabled and I see nothing wrong with embracing that.

A lot of the world view on disability is negative. There are fairly few disabled characters in mainstream media, books, TV, movies and usually when there is one, they’re painted in a negative light. They’re the bad guy. Or the poor person who lost all the good in their life and would be better off dead now that they’re disabled. It doesn’t really give the disabled children and young people growing up these days anyone to look at and see that actually, being disabled can be empowering. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing when to be honest; there is already a lot of negativity around it already.

If anything, becoming disabled and allowing myself to see the good in it, made me who I am today. Yes, I admit, I had other plans for my life. I was going to be a doctor and help people. I was on track until I left secondary school and went to college. When my health started to get bad, I dropped out and decided to try my hand at working for a living. I went through a string of jobs, but I made ends meet and had I not fallen ill with M.E and Fibro, then I would probably still be working at the same job. I never saw writing as anything other than a hobby. I never saw it as a way to make money, or a way to spend my time constructively. Sure, my diagnoses and conditions changed the course of my life forever, but I can’t honestly say that it was all bad.

I’m thirty-two now and was first published in 2005. Now, I have six books out with a seventh due out in the summer. I am writing the final chapters of my eleventh and twelfth books and although I have met many bumps in the road, I’m happy. I love what I do. I love writing and while I wish I could have come to this point without the pain and fatigue, hospital appointments, stays and all the other crap that comes with being disabled and chronically ill, I did come this way, and it did bring me onto this path.

Life is a series of paths, all with their own outcomes and their own stories. My life was headed in one direction and then it changed. It moved onto the path it’s on now. Sure, I wish that this path made it possible to keep normal hours (like sleep at night and not during the day!) and to maybe do a “normal” job. However, I have never really known anything but this and although it comes with its own challenges, I can’t say that it’s all bad. I get to do a job I adore. I get to write about gifts and magic. I get to explore worlds that I create and bend characters to my will as it were. You don’t get to do that when you work at the local magistrates’ court, or at least you didn’t when I was nineteen 😉

My point is this: Disability and chronic illness carry a lot of bad and negative things along with them. However, I see nothing wrong with saying that yes, I AM disabled and I DO see it as part of my identity. I’m not allowing my conditions to control me or to define me, but they DO make up part of who I am and who I will always be. I’m Joey, what’s wrong with that?

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Joey’s Bio:

Joey is 32, disabled, a writer and part time student studying towards a degree in Health and Social Care. She loves to write and is at the moment working on her eleventh and twelfth books, as well as preparing her seventh book for publication. She started writing when she was medically retired from her job at the age of 19. Her first book was released in 2005 and after a brief time away, her second one was released in 2011. In addition to writing books, she also enjoys reading them and can often be found resting in bed with a good book, a cat and an ukulele.

You can follow Joey and learn more about her and her work here:

Blog: www.joeypaulonline.com
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/BugBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MsJoeyBug

The Kindle Book Review Awards: Finals!

Don't-Tell-Anyone_cover1Most of you might know by now that out of the danged amazing writers chosen to be semifinalists in The Kindle Book Review‘s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards (several are friends and three of those friends are fellow Indies Unlimited minions or alums), the final five have been chosen in each of the eight categories.

I’m still in a bit of shock that out of those amazing books, Don’t Tell Anyone is in the top five in the Literary Fiction category. I’m also Snoopy-dancing for Nicole Storey, making the finals with the first book in her Grimsley Hollow series, and Rosanne Dingli, chosen for her  Camera Obscura. Also, once again I’m standing beside Hugh Howey in a final, and once again grateful that we are in different categories.

Hugh Howey!

Hugh Howey!

Cooler still is one of the perks of reaching the finals. The forty finalists have been asked to write two guest posts for a contest sponsor’s blog: one, a dream interview; the other, a dream review. Stephen Woodfin, the gentleman who sent me the email request, set a high bar for entries. Informal “bragging rights” for last year’s finalists went to, yes, Hugh Howey, for his dream interview done by Natalie Portman while giving him a massage.

So I could not resist having a bit of fun with that. Here’s my entry, Good Things Gone Bad. 

Guest Post by Nicole Storey: Making a Difference for Kids with Autism

(Today, author Nicole Storey visits to talk about a cause very dear to her and her family’s hearts. I hope you will consider making a purchase to help support this very worthy organization. Besides, Nicole’s stories are delightfully magical. See my review of her first book, Grimsley Hollow: The Chosen One.)

by Nicole Storey

When my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, I was devastated and lost.  I had no idea who to turn to for help.  Thankfully, a dear friend advised me to go on the web and search for autism support sites.  I did, and found many parents treading the same turbulent waters.  I was no longer alone.

It is charities such as The GreaterGood Network at The Autism Site that help parents to believe their children can do more, be more, than the doctors dictate. This charity helps to fund therapy for children with autism: Speech, Sensory Integration, Cognitive/Behavioral, Diet, and so many more.

For the month of July, a percentage of the sales from my books will be donated to The GreaterGood Network to help provide autistic children with the help they need to thrive.  I would love it if you could give just a few dollars and download an eBook or perhaps buy a paperback.  Together, we can make a difference for children with autism! Thank you so very much!

The GreaterGood Network:  http://bit.ly/N0y9cr
Nicole Storey’s Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/KThYif
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/84094