Sunday, April 20, 2014

Exciting News

The problem having collaborators for a project is working around their schedules. Mine is made even more difficult given two of my collaborators are active duty Marines. A third is (sometimes it seems) over active in retirement. All three of them have my utmost respect and I think I owe it to them to be patient considering everything they do and have done for us. However, my nature prevents me from staying idle.

While I wait for the guys to get back to me, Ive decided to go back to the well as it were and start on my second Bloid News novel. Bloid News 2: Extra Edition is proceeding better than the original. I'm not only bringing back our favorite characters (I'm assuming I still have their permission) but I've also gotten permission from a few others to add to the new book.

The new book will deal with the fallout of my first tell-all as well as see the Bloid News staff thrown into deeper waters than we've ever been before. Not sure what will happen, but I'm pretty sure that all of the characters will handle things with the dignity that they've always shown. I'm also putting in a surprise for one of our characters, I have a story coming out of left field that might leave him reeling, but I have every bit of confidence that the man behind the character will love it.

So while I'm working on this project, I'm putting my research for Always a Marine on the back burner. With luck by the time Bloid News 2 is finished, I'll have everything I need to finish Always a Marine. But then, I still have a dozen other book ideas flying around just in case the Marines need more time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why Bloid News?

Yesterday, I added another blog to my account, My Life at Bloid News. Many of you who know me must by now realize that I'm spending more time promoting the Bloid News website and you probably think it's because I'm trying to promote my book. You're only partly right.

When I decided to write the Bloid News novel, it was because I wanted to pay tribute to Rick and the gang that contribute to the website. After all, writing for Bloid News is a ton of fun and my fellow contributors are some pretty awesome people. If you haven't yet had the chance to visit the site, I suggest you give it a try. The articles are pretty short and cover a myriad of topics. The team seems to enjoy writing their articles and I know that I personally love reading them.

When I wrote the Bloid News novel, I selected a few of my favorite contributors to feature in the book, but to be honest, I'm feeling compelled to write a follow up to the novel. I want to include some of the other contributors that I didn't get to the last time and give some of our newer contributors a spot. Why? It's simple. I love the idea of putting people I respect in a place that they deserve, but we normally do not find them... the spotlight.

While I'm working on my current projects, I'm going to keep the theme of the Bloid News novel going with My Life at Bloid News blog. I'll add a new post there every couple of days highlighting current articles on the website and giving you glimpses of some of these great contributors. By the time I finish writing Always a Marine and the two as yet untitled projects I'm working on, I should be ready to dedicate my full attention on Bloid News 2: Extra Edition.

In the mean time, I invite everyone to continue reading Bloid News and following both blogs as well as my Twitter feeds and Facebook page. Oh yeah, don't forget to buy my books! Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Advocacy

Earlier tonight I was trolling random tweets when I came across something I thought was nice. I commented on it and the response got me curious. The tweet involved a charity I have supported for the past six years and the more I looked into it, the more I asked myself if I truly believe in the organization as much as I once claimed. Maybe a little background is in order.

Before my granddaughter's second birthday her vocabulary centered around the word "Papaw". I might have had something to do with that. Suddenly, seemingly overnight, she stopped saying Papaw and didn't seem interested in picking up any more words. She started to withdraw and stopped actively participating in activities. She was soon diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum and our lives changed.

Having grown up with a sister who was MR/DD and worked with adults and children with mental and physical disabilities, I was prepared for the worst and to be honest, every piece of material that I could get my hands on gave us the most grim picture of our future with an autistic child. No, we knew there wouldn't be a ton of illnesses and surgeries or late night trips to the emergency room, but we were warned that life would suddenly become very stressed and our meager finances would disappear.

Every press release warned us about how difficult it would be to control an autistic child and prevent her from "embarrassing" us in public. They talked about the sleepless nights, the scary moments when children run off and the intense moments when they would shriek and cry out for no apparent reason.

Yeah. We had all of that, but not in the abundance we were told to expect. The older Hoochie (my nickname for her since she loves to dance to everything) got, the more we learned about her, about autism and the various disorders on the spectrum. We came to realize that contrary to what we'd been told, we didn't lose Hoochie. She is ever present in our lives, mine more than others because... well, let's face it, every little girl has grandpa wrapped around her finger. But yes, she is present and in a big way.

Hoochie hasn't disappeared. She nor her mind have been taken from us. Because of her, her mother, grandmother and I have learned so much we would never have learned without her. I'm not talking just about the spectrum, I'm talking everything. You see, Hoochie loves everything. Well, it seems that way. I'm convinced that she wants to be a polygamist and marry Shrek, Handy Manny and Elmo. Any video she finds with any of them in it she will watch. It doesn't even need to be in English. In fact, she seems drawn to foreign languages.

We have come to be able to identify and differentiate at least five languages because of her, even if we never learn to speak them. To help her better communicate with us, we have learned some rudimentary sign language along with her. Even when she doesn't speak or sign, we've learned to identify her wants and needs based on her body language. We're not experts in any way, but we are masters at communicating with her.

When we first started learning about autism, we turned to what was then a young organization called Autism Speaks. Back then they were great. They helped us get ready for the worst that was to come. Even as we began to learn more about autism and the information we were getting from Autism Speaks started to become either outdated or opposed to new research, we still supported the organization because they are looking for a cure to autism. That sounds good doesn't it? Who wouldn't want a cure for autism? I personally dream of the day when I get ot hear my Hoochie say "I love you, Papaw."

Let's face it though. A cure may never come. We can't even agree on the cause. While we wait for a cure, my family has become more interested in what is now and not what could be. You see, we have learned that yes, there are and will be times when we get stressed and unnerved and confused by Hoochie's reactions to the world around her. But, we have also learned that there have been, are and always will be times when she does nothing but make us proud.

This is one of the most loving, open children on the planet. Never does a day go by when she doesn't give use kisses and hugs. Never does she have an outburst that when it's over she doesn't look at us with hurt in her eyes as if she were apologizing. It is impossible to meet this child and not love her. So our focus is on her. Our focus is on making sure she gets an education and has friends and enjoys life. Our focus is on making sure this child knows every day that she is loved, that she matters, that what she wants and what she needs is just as important as everyone else.

Everything I've read this evening has convinced me that Autism Speaks no longer does so for my Hoochie or my family. My grandchild does not need an organization that still believes she is a burden on her family representing her. My grandchild needs her family and friends to love her and show her that she is just like us and just as different from us as we are from each other. She is not a puzzle. She is definitely not a puzzle piece. She is no more and no less than the wonderful, amazing, brilliant, loving, fascinating Hannah.

Now, having said that, I will still paint my public profiles blue throughout the month of April, to show my love for everyone whether they're on the spectrum or not. I will, however, starting tomorrow find a more appropriate way to do so that does not show puzzle pieces or affiliate us in any way with Autism Speaks.

Thank you for reading my little rant. I invite discussions on this subject, so if you are reading this on my blog, via my Google+, on twitter or facebook, contact me in any way you can and I promise to share our conversations and hopefully we can all learn just a little bit more. Until then, happy reading.

Is It My Birthday?

I had to show a tremendous amount of restraint to prevent myself from giving this notice to my wife at midnight last night. You see, my wife just bought a car from one of our daughter's friends. She's now expecting the title to come back so we can secure it in a safe place. Unfortunately for her, the title hasn't come back yet. Fortunately for me, the title hasn't come back yet.

This morning, after I took my granddaughter to the bus, I came back into the house carrying this envelope. My wife, so eager to get her car title she didn't realize it was only 7:00 am snatched it out of my hand before I could even start the video recording.

Once she finally found her glasses, she found this
letter inside the envelope. What happened next was the most fun I've had all year.

So now I'm wondering what kind of pranks you've pulled this year. What was your all-time best prank? Do you have it on video? I would personally love to see all of your pranks and if you send them to me, I will post them on my facebook page.

For now, though, enjoy this video and please feel free to send videos of your own pranks to my facebook page at: Until next time, have fun and happy pranking. :)