Sunday, January 7, 2018


Introducing a bright and fresh new face in the publishing world - an author with a creative and unique voice and viewpoint!

Ellie Collins, 11, is preparing to publish her debut book, Daisy, Bold & Beautiful, the first in a series of middle grade books.

Who is Ellie?

First and foremost, she's a gymnast, on both a girls gymnastics team...

...and a trampoline and tumbling team.

She plays piano...

And she studies hard in the sixth grade.

And when she's not doing any of that, she's playing video games or hanging with her friends. She always finds time for reading, though, and she's a huge fan of Greek mythology. It was that genre that inspired her upcoming book. Until it hits the shelves (tentatively scheduled for April 1st, 2018), she'll be by to share a bit of Greek myth trivia with you each week. Just like this:

Join us next week for another exciting Greek Mythology Minute with Ellie. She'll have her book description ready to share for the first time, too! Have a wonderful week, everyone!


Hi everyone! Here's this week's edition of Greek Mythology Minute! As promised, I'm including the description for Daisy, Bold & Beautiful. Please tell me what you think and let me know if there's anything I can do to make it better. Thanks! Have a great week and I'll see you back here for next week's EXCITING episode of Greek Mythology Minute! Oh, and you can also see that update (and others) on my brand new Facebook author page. Check it out!  :)

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful ~

D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she's starting middle school in the city with kids she's never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she'll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can't possibly be real - and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.


Hi everyone! This week's edition of a Greek Mythology Minute is a message to Zeus. Check it out and I'll see you all again next week!  :)


Hi everybody! I had to record a "quickie" video today before my coach yelled at me!


Playing piano today inspired me to think of Apollo...and rodents...


For all who are suffering long, sleepless nights contemplating nymph paternity...


The Greek gods seem to have some things backwards. Like, you'd think the Goddess of Marriage (Hera) would be totally happy with her husband. Nope. She's stuck with Zeus - the one who cheats on her all the time. And you'd think the Messenger God (Hermes) would have a symbol like a cheetah or something, showing he'll get messages to you FAST. Nope...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Birth of a Book

Is it right to spend millions of dollars to save the life of someone who will never contribute back to society?
Is it ever okay to deny life-saving surgery? If so, when, exactly?
Where do you draw the line on the use of experimental medication?
When is it okay to consider euthanasia?

These are questions that are very uncomfortable to discuss and are often avoided. These are just a few of the ethical dilemmas, however, that are hurled - typically most unexpectedly - at special needs parents. The uncertainty, anxiety and pain they can cause are a few of the reasons I began writing therapeutically when I was faced with them.

Our family is far from alone in facing such situations and decisions. The fact that most families feel isolated when they find themselves grappling with them is the reason therapists, nurses, friends and family suggested I share what I wrote with the world.

I hesitated. Ethical predicaments are not just perplexing and unpleasant; they are deeply personal, as well. When ethical dilemmas can loosely be defined as questions there "are no right answer to", you can be left feeling like you're making nothing but wrong choices when you're forced to actually live with them. For instance:

Where [exactly] is the line between the importance of a relationship between a [non-custodial] parent and his/her child and safety from verbal and emotional abuse for that child?
Where [exactly] is the line that defines unacceptable incompetence of paid caregivers (specifically when properly trained caregivers are extremely difficult to find)?

There is no exact line that answers either of those questions. So you stumble your way to your own answers, second-guessing yourself the entire time (and long afterward, as well). I had been honest in my writings about our experiences. Brutally honest. I hesitated at the suggestion to publish, because I feared judgement over the scrambles, missteps and mistakes I had openly admitted to.

Over the years, however, the potential benefit of support to families finding themselves in similar circumstances outweighed the potential criticism I imagined, so I set our story free. With Angel's Wings was born.

For the "general population" reader it is there to offer a "peek in the window" of a family living a life likely very different from their own. When the reader sees a mentally fragile child on the street, maybe that child will be looked upon with more admiration for his/her strength, rather than pity. Maybe if the reader comes across an autistic child, he/she will be a little more patient and a little less judgmental toward both the child and the parent. It can also be just plain interesting to read about others facing challenges we aren't. It's the little details that make you say, "Oh yeah...I never even thought of that being an issue!"

For readers within the special needs community, With Angel's Wings is there to offer hope that if I could find the light at the end of my tunnel, you can, too. It is there to hopefully offer companionship by way of admission to my own doubts, frustrations, struggles and screw-ups. I hope that a fellow special needs parent will understand this book is me saying, "You are not alone. You are not wrong for the way you feel. This, too, shall pass. And you are stronger than you know. You can do this."

Should you be interested in getting a copy of With Angel's Wings, seeing the chapter pictures, reading the epilogue or finding some comic relief:

Monday, January 1, 2018

That Moment You Realize You're Sexist

A few weeks ago I visited with my cousin, Clair, and shared the following story. I entitled it "You know you're raising your tween in the Seattle Area When...":

Daniel was in the car with Maddie and her friend, Isabelle. He couldn't remember what Isabelle said to Maddie, but Maddie's response was, "Isabelle! Are you making assumptions about my gender identity?!" As a good little Pacific Northwester, Isabelle was quick to assure Maddie that she would never make such an assumption!

After a good chuckle, Clair mentioned that she often struggles when she's with fellow parents of infants (she has a toddler boy and infant twin boys - she's a busy girl!). She said that when she walks up to someone holding their baby girl, she doesn't want to feed into gender stereotypes with comments like, "Oh, such a beautiful girl!" or "What a adorable dress she has on!", but she's at a loss for what she could possibly say..."My, how intellectual she looks!" "Amazing; she's such an independent thinker!"

I returned home from that visit, immediately having to do damage control, and - in the process - had to think about how I address gender as a parent. Maddie (our ADHD/dyslexic 11-year-old) had gone to a sleepover at Isabelle's while I was away and it went completely off the rails. Here's the apology letter Maddie wrote to Isabelle and her family:

Dear Isabelle and her family,

Sorry I told you I didn't believe in Santa anymore, that wasn't a good thing to say. Sorry I swore. I know that was rude and not very lady like. Sorry I poked your butt that one time. It was weird and inappropriate. It's never ok to touch someone in that way. Sorry that we cut up [your] Ken [doll]. You must think I like to cut things up now! And yes at the party [you have invited me to this weekend] I will say "please" and "thank you". I'm sorry if I've ever forgotten to say that in the past. Sorry I did all these things and thank you for giving me another chance.


Yep. That was know, the witty, care-free, adorable little social butterfly who everyone loves. [sigh]

I can hardly count the number of apology letters I have sat James (our ADHD/dyslexic 14-year-old) down to write. I definitely can't count the number of discussions I've had with him about inappropriate behaviors. What struck me, when I talked with Maddie about her behavior and sat her down to write her apology letter, was how much more disappointed I was in her behavior. It's par for the course to have to work on appropriate social behaviors with ADHD children, but while James acting like a typical ADHD child [with a nanosecond of attention span, no filter and little to no impulse control] has embarrassed me and frustrated me in the past, I've expected it. I've accepted it. I haven't been disappointed by it like I have been when Maddie acts like a typical ADHD child. I realize now that I have higher standards for her, and that's not fair to her...and it's even less fair to James.

Shame on me. Gotta work on this.