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Gwen Hernandez

Martial arts are a lesson in patience. It took me two years to reach First Brown (the second level of brown belt, just before black) when I was in Tae Kwon Do, and that was with an intensive practice schedule for the last six months.

Then I injured my shoulder, my husband got his black belt without me, and we moved out of town.

After moving back to Virginia, we signed up for Kung Fu with a former instructor who’d opened his own school. Two years later, we’ve graduated to red sash. It’ll probably take at least another year or two to reach black.

You cannot rush the skills.

Writing is the same way. When I first started writing, I wanted to get published with my second manuscript, less than a year after I’d started writing. I was ready.


I would have been like a white belt trying to…

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Aspie Writer: Twirling Naked in the Streets--and No-one Noticed--Growing up with undiagnosed Autism

An except from Twirling Naked in the Streets and No-One Noticed…


“You tried on ten pairs of socks every morning before deciding which pair you would wear” ~ Mom

I hate socks. I hate the way they feel on my feet, the way they bunch up in my shoes, and how the seams rub against my toes when I walk. Socks make me hot. When I’m overheated the first thing I need to do is rip them off—now.

To make matter worse my mother liked to buy thin nylon socks trimmed with lace. Not many materials irritate me more than scratchy lace. The thin nylon socks made my feet sweaty. My feet slid around inside my hard patent leather school shoes. They were not good shoes for a clumsy kindergartener.

When I finally found a pair of socks that I could wear, they usually did not match. Mom insisted…

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Emma's Hope Book

When Emma was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified) in 2004, I was lulled into believing it was a temporary condition, nothing that a few years of therapy wouldn’t resolve.  I saw it as a kind of throw away diagnosis, not exactly full-blown autism, more like a mild version of something that resembled Autism, but wasn’t.  Kind of like a bad cold, not exactly a bacterial infection requiring antibiotics, but troublesome never-the-less and we’d have to ride it out.  Besides, I reasoned, just because many of Em’s behavior looked autistic-like, seemed autistic-ish, she probably wasn’t autistic because, well, no one really understood what autism was and so how could she be labeled something that no one understood or really knew what it even meant?  Or so my thinking went.  During this initial period I kept my eye out for any Autistic adults I could find, just…

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As the dividing line between our online and offline lives continues to fade, more and more of what happens in the “real” world is also seeping into the online world — and that includes death. So how should we deal with it when our friends or loved ones die? I started thinking about this recently when I decided to live-tweet a friend’s funeral (something that many people felt was inappropriate), and it was reinforced for me when I saw the same friend’s face pop up in my Facebook chat list, and even saw updates in my stream from his page. What is the appropriate response when this happens? Is it a sign of how creepy social networks can be in such situations, or is it just part of what living our lives online means now?

I confess that when I first saw my friend Michael’s face appear in my chat…

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Cristian Mihai

A while ago, a good friend of mine, Bryan Edmonson, asked me for advice on character development. And I didn’t know what to tell him. How do you create characters? How do you make them feel like real people? To be honest, I’m not sure is as simple as following some strict conventions or rules. Or as complicated as that.

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