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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Now through Memorial Day Get The Birth of Super Crip for FREE!!

I just made my book free on SmashWords through Memorial Day. I really just want people to read the novella, so I'm making it as easy as possible. Kickoff your summer reading with a free book! Click here to get The Birth of Super Crip for free.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hoping for More Adam on CBS’ Mom

Last night the CBS hit sit-com Mom ended its third season, which included a short arc of the story line in which one of the two main characters, Bonnie, dated Adam—a rare prime time character living with a disability. Adam was injured while doing his job as a stuntman, and now uses a wheelchair.

If I’m not careful, I could start gushing about Adam. He was inserted almost seamlessly into what I imagine is one of the raunchiest shows on network television that’s actually funny and has a story line. (Consider that my dig at Two Broke Girls, which probably has more crass lines per episode than any other show. But since piling on one-liners seems to be the only goal of that show, it doesn’t really count. And, not for nothing, but how did they mess up The Odd Couple? Remember when Matthew Perry was funny as Chandler on Friends?)

I love the fact that the character of Adam is portrayed in the no-holds-barred manner that the rest of the show has been built on. Mom manages to tackle the issue of substance abuse on a weekly basis with blunt humor that can actually offer belly laughs, while showing characters relapse, reject Alcoholics Anonymous, and even die from an overdose of drugs. Adam is one of the only characters not dealing with addiction in the show.

Yet, he’s a real character who . . . wait for it . . . has sex. He’s funny, intelligent, and independent. In fact, I thought the only misstep by writers so far was when Adam, who is introduced to the show and Bonnie (Allison Janney) in several phone conversations that started with a wrong number, stands up Bonnie on their first date because he gets cold feet and doesn’t want to reveal his disability. I just didn’t quite buy that a character who is otherwise quite confident, would suddenly fear revealing his own disability at the last second.

Aside from one or two forgivable but clichéd lines in which Bonnie’s friends question Adam’s ability to perform in bed and a couple predictable jokes, my only other complaint was that the character was gone too fast. But at least he left because he found employment, something he had been struggling with since his injury and a major issue for many people with disabilities. He took a job as stunt coordinator for a film shooting overseas, in an episode that saw him deal with more anxiety over his disability—a little more genuinely this time—when he hesitated to reconnect with some of his buddies who are also stuntmen. Hopefully, the exit really is temporary as the actor is working on a film, Krystal, according to IMDB.com.

The biggest surprise about Adam (played by William Fichtner) for me has been the almost complete lack of interest from Twitter land, where pretty much everything gets a reaction. In fact, even the most remote link to disability generally garners over analysis and usually criticism from the corner of the disability blogosphere / Twitterati that I follow. Though some results may have eluded me as “mom” is such a frequently used word, searches for the official Twitter handle of the show, @MomCBS, plus “disability,” along with a couple variations and several google searches around the sitcom, turned up little.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of response from the so-called disability community is that there’s little to criticize with Adam. If you don’t have anything negative to say, don’t say anything at all, seems to be the rule at times. To be fair, that’s a code not exactly unique to the disability community on Twitter. And maybe I just follow the wrong people as my own mentality on some issues seems to be changing. No doubt I’ve done my share of complaining.

Of course, I did manage to find one criticism of Adam on Twitter. He’s not played by an actor who is disabled. It’s an argument that I understand, and agree has some merit, but as with many things in the ongoing disability conversation on social media, I think it goes a little too far. It is acting after all.

Hopefully, we’ll see more of Adam on Mom next season. Realistic, and especially fun, portrayals of characters with disabilities are desperately needed on television.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Answering questions from GoodReads.com


I responded to the initial author questions on GoodReads.com. Check out my answers below or on their site, and feel free to add your own question. No spoilers, of course! I appreciate everyone who reads my work, and welcome the opportunity to interact with you. Thanks for your interest!

How do you deal with writer’s block?
I don’t have a great answer for getting out of “writer’s block,” but I try to avoid it with a couple techniques. I have to credit Rachel Simon, with whom I was fortunate enough to have a couple of tutoring sessions years ago, with the first. She suggested stopping for the day before running out of ideas to be able to get started right away (or at least much more quickly) the next day. Obviously, there’s a bit of a balance in doing that—you wouldn’t want to stop when you’re on a roll—but the tip has been helpful. Another technique I use, which might be an offshoot of the first, is to write notes on what I’m thinking in the middle of a good run of writing. As a writer with a physical disability, my typing speed can be a little slow. My mind can get way ahead of my typing. So at times I’ll just space down several lines in Word and leave a note about where I want to go with the scene I’m working on. It might also be a line of dialogue or a specific line of the narrative that I know is five, ten, lines away. This helps trigger the rest of what I was thinking.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Writing that first draft of a story that I’ve fallen in love with and keeps me busy for months . . . before I have to deal with showing it to people I respect (or even to evaluate it myself) to see if I have something worthwhile. That escape from reality, the feeling that you’re creating something (or at least think you are!) is the joy of writing. Without it, I’d never even think about trying to write.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
I’m probably still in that category, but I would say, love the process.

What are you currently working on?
Promoting The Birth of Super Crip while praying it finds enough of an audience to write what I hope is the next in the series about Red O’Ryan.

How do you get inspired to write?
I think it’s just “there” if you like to write. But I think the best movies or books that I enjoy are those that make you want to write. They sort of stir your creative juices. If that counts as inspiration, I guess that’s my answer.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
The man whom I guess would be considered my mentor suggested years ago that I always keep a character with a disability in my stories. His suggestion, a desire to write something fun (versus the blogging I was doing), and landing on Iron Man way too many times on cable, combined with a commercial for Agents of SHIELD that ultimately turned on a “light bulb” in my mind that eventually lead to Red. Ironically, I still thought of him as a character who happened to have a super power versus a superhero, if that makes sense.
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