Raising an Autistic Child

I’m currently updating my first published book, an autobiography as a mother with an autistic child. My son, Benjamin, was non-verbal as a small child and was later identified as having High-Functioning Autism. He is now a published author and speaks at churches and schools about his experience growing up with autism. You can still get a copy of the first edition but some of the links in the resources are outdated. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction of the book.

Raising Benjamin Frog--A Mother's Journey with her Autistic Son, by Lynne Collier
Raising Benjamin Frog–A Mother’s Journey with her Autistic Son, by Lynne Collier

 

Where do you go to, My Sunshine? 

“You have the most beautiful blue eyes, my handsome baby boy. Why can’t I see you behind them? Where do you go when your eyes wander away from me?

I hold you in my arms and stroke your tiny face, run my fingers through the yellow strands falling across your brow and I search for a glimpse of soul connection, but you are nowhere to be found.

If I let go of your small hand you’ll run away or you’ll walk in an endless straight line and not care where you’re going. You won’t see the people on the path in front of you or the tree that blocks your way. You won’t run excited to play with the other children on the swings because they’re not there in your world.

We walk by the lake. I point at the birds, gracefully gliding, skimming over the lapping waves. A young puppy barks and, for an instant, I see a puzzled frown on your tiny forehead, then it’s gone.

I show you the delicate, colourful blue petals of the Forget-Me-Not and we stop for a while to listen to the rustling of the birch. But you walk where I walk and stop when I stop only because I hold on tightly to your little fingers so you don’t slide down the bank and disappear. You have no response to these wonders around you.

I tell you how God made all these things. How He loves you and created you as part of His masterpiece too. How you have a purpose in this life and how I’ll do my best as your Mummy to help you find that purpose He has planned for you. But you don’t seem to hear a word. You just stare into the distance.

We walk back on the path and I sing to you “Forever Young.” You don’t sing along or dance in circles around me giggling. But oh how I love you my Sunshine.

Where do you go to, my sweet baby boy, when your eyes wander away from me and you’re lost in your autistic world.”

Buy the First Edition

Get updates on the second edition and other work 

For a closer look at autism from Benjamin’s perspective and to see what he’s up to now, visit his blog benjaminfrog.wordpress.com

https://benjaminfrog.wordpress.com/about/
Benjamin T. Collier/Author & Speaker
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Happy Valentines/Whatever Day

I wish all of you a very happy day today, be it Valentines Day, Love Day or Tuesday. I don’t for one moment profess to be an expert at any of the above (well, Tuesday I could handle, I guess), so I’m going to hand you over to the experts:

What Is Love?

For the Christ followers out there, here’re a few scripture verses from 1 Corinthians:  (not only for weddings!)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

Just a recap; this was written by Paul to the church at Corinth and is for all believers to remind them that Christ taught us to love one another. It’s a beautiful passage but it refers to the love of all people, not just romantic love. However, I still think it goes well with a couple starting a life together, don’t you?

 

For The Lovers

I’ve met this amazing speaker in person and had the privilege of taking a few of her classes at a writer’s conference. She’s a straight-talking Christian woman who doesn’t mince words. So if you’re looking for that little something extra today, well here’s Sheila’s award-winning book.

The Good Girls Guide To Great Sex book

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/
The Good Girl’s Guide To Great Sex

 

The Single Life

And, if you’re single and you’re wondering where that leaves you, here’s an honest post by a single guy on how he feels about being single in a church full of mostly couples.

The Single Christian blog post

https://benjaminfrog.wordpress.com/about/
Benjamin T. Collier/Author

 

Autistic Love 

If you landed on my blog looking for articles on Autism I have a super blog for you. Ben speaks about growing up on the autism spectrum and, yes -love in the autistic world.

Autistic Love blog post

 

So there you are, dear friends. I hope I found something for everyone. May the Lord bless you today and always.

‘Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you.

Lynne

Writing Fantasy || Character Interview

Good Morning, readers, and welcome to our blog on Interviewing Characters. Today I’m with Colin Wade from Singularity.

#CharacterInterview
Lynne: Colin – first, let me say “happy birthday!”
Colin: (Laughs) Thanks. It was quite an accomplishment for me.

Lynne: I understand you’re a pilot for Deep-Sight Space Exploration. How long have you been working for D.S.S.E.?

Colin: Not very long. I mean, I’ve been with them for a long time, in training. And I’ve done some odd jobs here and there but this is my first time doing anything this… big.

Lynne: Yes, I heard your current mission is rather ambitious. Can you explain the goal?

Colin: The mission is to study a singularity. The central point of a black hole. Research into black holes is nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve ever attempted anything this close to one. The D.S.S.E. seems to think we’ve got the technology in place to study it safely but in greater detail than we ever have before. The data we get back from this one mission should match or even surpass what would normally have taken us decades with the previous tech. It’s a good time to be in astrophysics.

Lynne: How is it going?

Colin: Slow. (Laughs) So far it’s been surprisingly difficult to find viable black holes. But it’s probably just the regions we’ve been exploring. Ang seems to think it’s just a matter of time before the perfect one shows itself.

Lynne: Ang?

Colin: Oh, sorry. My onboard computer – the Artificial Neuron Generator for Universal Studies. “Angus” sounds too formal, though, so I just took to calling him “Ang”. He doesn’t seem to mind.

Lynne: I see. I hear this is your first time as captain.

Colin: It’s my first time on official duty as a captain. I mean I’ve had training. I’ve done the tests. But actually sitting in the chair on a live mission is a completely different feeling.

Lynne: Do you find space to be a lonely place?

Colin: It’s certainly different. I don’t mind isolation, necessarily, but space is different from simply finding a quiet room or spending time alone in the woods. To have literally no other living being around for incalculable miles is a feeling hard to describe. Ang keeps me company, though. For an AI he’s not bad to talk to. Plus he plays music for me.

Lynne: Oh, really? What kind of music do you listen to?

Colin: It changes. Ang’s gotten into the habit of picking songs based on my mood. I like a lot of oldies by Sarah McLachlan and Elton John. Lately, Ang’s been playing mostly “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins. And of course, David Bowie has some good ones for my particular career choice.

Lynne: I LOVE Bowie! And yes, I suppose he does have some fitting songs. What made you choose space exploration as a career?

Colin: I never really asked myself that. But if I think about it I guess there’s a lot of reasons. The biggest attraction was probably that it’s quiet. Not that I don’t like people. I like them in small quantities. A little bit at a time, or a few people at a time. But I do my best work on my own, in a quiet room, with all of space to look at. Compared to people, astrophysics is easy.

Lynne: Do you miss home?

Colin: Oh yes. Way more than I thought I would. But they did warn me that isolation can do that.

Lynne: Is there anything you’d like to say to any friends or family back at home?

Colin: Oh geez. Well, the first thing would be to thank everyone for the razor. It’s been working like a charm. I’ll give a shout out to my mom and dad and my sis. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there on my birthday to see everyone, but duty calls. We’ll do a barbeque at mom and dad’s when I get back. I’ve been practicing. I feel like I’m forgetting some people, but whoever you are, just assume that I miss you too. I’ll see you all as soon as I get back, and thanks for all the well wishes. Ang, do you want to say anything? (Brief silence) Really? Ang just says hello. He’s being unsocial.

Lynne: Well thank you so much for doing this interview, Colin. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

Colin: Oh, the pleasure’s been all mine. It’s been great to hear another voice.

 

Well, reader, that was an interesting interview. I couldn’t imagine being alone in space for months at a time. Although listening to Bowie and staring at the stars sounds very peaceful.

Which of your characters would you interview? Why did you choose that character? What would you ask them?

Resources:

You can read more about Colin Wade and his extraordinary space mission in Singularity by Benjamin T. Collier.

Singularity by Benjamin T. Collier
Plot twists in every chapter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read my other blogs on Character Development:

Writing Fantasy || Characters 1 – Races

Writing Fantasy || Characters 2 – Names

Writing Fantasy || Characters 3 – Occupations

Writing Fantasy || Characters 4 – Personality

 

Until next time, I hope you are blessed,

Lynne

Now Available for Speaking Engagements

I’m the promotional assistant for this young man so I’m very proud of his accomplishments (and also because I’m his mum).

Benjamin T. Collier's Blog

DSC03052_crop_cropFor the past two years I’ve been speaking at schools and public events about my life on the Autism Spectrum and what it was like developing from lower to higher-functioning autism. I’ve found myself in a rare position of being able to communicate and inform teachers and parents about what that experience has been like from an inside perspective. Although it wasn’t until recently that I began advertising my speaking more openly.

So far I’ve spoken on a daytime talk show, at schools, at a church, and at autism-related events.  It’s been a very fulfilling experience to be able to share my experiences and help others to understand the condition.

If you are looking for someone who can talk about autism with inside experience, click on the link Schedule a Speaking Event to look over my information for doing speaking engagements. Or if you know anyone who might be interested…

View original post 6 more words

Writing Fantasy || Premise 2 – Plot Twists

As you write your fantasy novel’s premise, look for unexpected ways to fill in the plot. These are commonly known as the ‘What If’ scenarios of fiction writing. They throw in something the reader isn’t expecting to happen in the story to add conflict, drama and adventure. Go back to your premise sentence and see where you can spice things up a little. Keep your readers guessing.

sparkler-839831_640

What’s Expected And What If It Doesn’t Happen That Way?   #WritingPremise

 

Write a sentence about something in your novel your reader will expect to happen.

Now write a What If.

What if that didn’t happen at all? What would happen then?

Now turn that upside-down (not literally).

What if this other thing happened instead? How would the story unfold then?

 

In her poignant novel, Rescued, Donna Fawcett (Dawson) writes about two women;

“Charlene McTaggart can’t conceive and badly wants a child. Dr Jason Steadman goes against those who would do all they can to stop a unique procedure from being performed. A procedure that will save an embryo, prevent a death and give an infertile woman a chance at motherhood”. (back cover premise)

Then Fawcett asks these questions:

“What if there was a solution to abortion?”

“What if pro-life and pro-choice could join forces to see the war over the issue end?”

“Is it possible?”

The answers to these questions fuel a powerful and emotional novel which touches the heart of the reader.

 

Now What If Your Story Just Got Really Weird?   #WritingFantasy

 

Readers crave a plot twist to keep them interested. What can you add that they may not have been written before? Write as many plot twists as you can think of. Try these exercises to get your inner Tolkien flowing:

 

  • It’s expected that the villain will be arrested. What if he suddenly vanishes?
  • It’s expected that the rain shower will stop. What if it turns into a red storm?
  • It’s expected that the hero will get the girl. What if she doesn’t like him one bit?

 

Will this plot twist change your premise? Your premise can change to accommodate your developing story. Remember, your back cover isn’t published yet.

Till next time, I hope you are blessed.

Lynne

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Ben and new friend. using as blog post for HACwC scavenger hunt

Ben with a new friend at the Toronto Zoo

Dancing on the Bus, a short story I wrote about finding love in unexpected places, was accepted to be included in a recently published book called, Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, the third in a series of short stories and poems.

My story is about being accepted and loved as a child, by total strangers. Later, as a mother, I saw that same love and acceptance for my own children. (Side note here; the picture is of my son from the story, showing love and acceptance to another child he met that day for the frist time. Paying love forward never fails).

On Nov 27th, 2015, I will be one of the hosts for the Virtual Book Launch of Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon. If you read this post in time and can join us, the launch is from 12-11pm, Ontario time. I will be ‘live’ from 8.30-9.

Secret Word for the scavenger hunt is: FAILS

Lynne

PS – Although the launch has passed, you can still view it on Facebook using this link.

NaNoWriMo Day 19

NaNoWriMo Day 19

the kingdom

Day 19 How much do you need to describe your character’s appearance? I asked my son how he approaches describing his characters;

“I intentionally never described Nevaeh’s appearance in detail. Partially because it wasn’t necessary, but also because I didn’t want to make people see my idea of “attractive” when they pictured her. I just described her as “attractive” and let people decide for themselves what that meant. Guys could picture loved ones. Women could picture themselves or someone they admire. If I’ve written the character’s personality right, then people will picture her as a beautiful person without me needing to describe her features.” – Benjamin T. Collier, referring to his female protagonist in The Kingdom.

I used this approach to describing my characters unless, as Ben explained, the external details will later be revealed to be of significance to the story. For example, I wrote the clothing transformation from dreary to expressive that my female protagonist went through, to ‘show-don’t-tell’ her inner transformation from depressed to confident. So, usually, it’s unnecessary to describe all the physical features of a character. Leave that to the reader’s imagination.

My blogs through the first half of NaNoWriMo were mostly subjective. During this second half of the process I’m hoping to bring you some useful writing insights too – as well as my personal struggles and triumphs. On that note, today was grocery shopping day and I added some Christmas shopping in there too and lunch at Boston Pizza. Word count? I’d rather not say.

Back to hitting those keys at breakneck speed tomorrow! Good Night from the NaNo Novice.

Lynne