Monday, June 30, 2014

What'sUpWithAllison: #CampNaNoWriMo Here I Come!

Good Morning!

I know it's Monday and I'm posting a Sunday Post. Last week was just one of those busy, busy, very busy week. This summer I have decided to take a little vacation time for myself. I've needed a vacation for so long. Sometimes you just have to put the pen down and go live. I decided to take a break from writing last week because I knew I would have to write like a mad women starting this week.

This week starts the second session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm so excited about it.

This month I will be focusing on writing the screenplay for my book, Calico. I estimate I will only need 30,000 words. Usually I write around 50,000 per month for NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. 


On your mark!

Get set! 


Friday, June 20, 2014

#Blessings: A Terracota Warrior invasion at the Children's Museum

This week I had the one of the most amazing opportunities. I was able to scratch something off my bucket list that I thought I would have never been able to do without going to China. I've waited years, just to look face to face with a terracota warrior. You have no idea how long and hard I have dreamed of doing that.

My bucket list contains archaeological delights such as:

See the Great Wall of China
Visit the Parthenon in Greece
Climb up the stairs of Tenochtitlan
See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
See the Egyptian Sphinx

I was so excited when I saw this commercial on TV.

The Children's Museum in Indianapolis is the only place in the United States where you can see actual Terracotta warriors. They are on loan to the museum from Xi'an, China until November. 
Well you know I just had to go!

What is something on your bucket list?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

#HeSaidWhat: She's the Only One for Jesse Garrett

Jesse Garrett hasn't always lived the best of life. He's a proud family man who loves his wife and children. Yet, there is darkness in his heart caused by family tragedy and experiences he had while serving in the Civil War.

#QuoteMeThursday: Open Your Eyes, Elsa

This week on the Quote Me Thursday by the Daily Mayo we turn our eyes to 1909 Marion, Ohio. Elsa is having a hard time dealing with the potential death of her older brother. Henry has collapsed and she is in the doctor's office with her family. She doesn't know what will happen to him. She is questioning whether or not to leave her brother's side in order to go on a date with Franklin. Her mother gives her sound advice.

#Appalachian Heritage: #Family Stories Brought to Life

This week on my blog we are focusing on families. Like Elsa, Field of Grace (my current WIP) is based on actual events that happened to my family. The main character in my novel is based off my great grandmother Stella Virginia McCardle. Grandma Stella's family had come to Ohio from the hills of West Virginia. She raised her daughters, Betty and Lois, in the tradition of her Appalachian family. I use to love hearing stories from my grandma and great grandmother about our family in mountains of West Virginia. When I was little my mom and I took Grandma Betty Carr and Grandma Stella McCann to the mountains for a visit. I will never forget that trip.

The Appalachian people have a long history in the United States. Our ancestors were one of the first pioneers and we have the deepest loyalty for our country. Many people make fun of the Appalachian population but I, for one, and proud to be a direct descendent of an Appalachian family.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#MentalHealthAwareness: Families with #Autism

Welcome back to the Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop. This month we have been focusing on Aspergers Syndrome. Aspergers Syndrome was once a label unto itself but in 2011 the DSM - 5 removed the label and merged the disorder as one of the autism spectrum disorders.

On Monday, we learned that Aspergers and other forms of Autism may be a genetic condition passed down from parent to child. Today I want to share with you views from a parent and siblings who have autistic children in their families. They open up what their lives are like with their loved one who has Autism.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#ExpressYourself: Overcoming Nightmares of Witches

Welcome to this week's Express Yourself Weekly Meme. This week I was asked what the scariest movie I've watched or book that I read that made me unable to sleep?

When I was a kid I was always scared of witches and vampires. I remember the first time I saw this scene in the Wizard of Oz. The Witch of the West was so scary. I had nightmares for a long time about that witch.

Now that I'm an adult I look back at that scene and just laugh. How could I have been scared of that!

I'm obsessed with all things Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz has such strong characters and world building. As I grew older I read every book of the Oz series. I would watch the movies and the TV shows. When I heard about Wicked I immediatly wanted to see it on Broadway but lived too far away. I want to read the book and see it on stage. I had come to Indianapolis but my husband and I were unable to go. I really hope they make a movie version of Wicked.

Last year, I watched Oz and was delighted to learn that Once Upon a Time was featuring the story. I'm a faithful Once Upon A Time watcher. I love the way they retell classical stories for adults. Here's the scene where Zelena meets Dorothy for the first time.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

#FathersDay fun: #Quotes from our favorite fictional fathers

In honor of Father's Day, I will be sharing quotes by these three remarkable men and other men that have had an influence on Calico, Elsa and Kathleen today. You can view these quotes on my twitter page. Just follow me @emeraldkell and have fun reading everything these men have to say. 

This week's blog postings will also focus on different aspects of fatherhood. Be sure to visit my blog each day as you never know what I might post. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

#SmallBlessings: My friend, the dietician.

Happy Friday!

Can you believe next week will be the middle of June already? Where has the time gone by?
This week my small blessing was a visit to the dietician. In 2002, I was diagnoised with a severe case of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I have had to change my lifestyle in order to control my health. Having PCOS is a never ending battle with weight gain and other health concerns. I have always been told by my doctors that I need a dietician. I went for years without consulting one. I had bought a book called the PCOS handbook that helps you with diet, exercise and other matters relating to PCOS. I thought I had the diet down but things happened in my life and I slacked off of it. That was one of the worst mistakes I could have ever made.

This week I finally visited with a dietician. It was wonderful. She has helped me get back on my diet and is helping me to monitor my diet/exercise routine. It feels so great to be back on the healthy living track.

From Cob to Chip: It's probably from #Marion County, #Ohio.

Welcome back to my series on Marion County, Ohio and World War 1.  Marion County was started by farmers and farming has continued to have an impact on the county. One the most important crops produced in the county is corn, especially popcorn.

One of the most influential Ohio based snack companies is located in Marion, Ohio. Wyandot, Inc. began in Wyandot County in 1936 when W. Hoover Brown and his wife, Alva, wanted a supplement to their grain and livestock feeding operation.

“With our farm income depressed, and with Ava’s encouragement, I decided to go into the popcorn processing business. We thought this would bolster our income and, at the same time, allow me to continue to operate the family farm. In early May 1936, I planted 100 acres of popcorn.” – W. Hoover Brown.

Mr. Brown operated his popcorn business out of the one room school house he had attended when he was a boy. During the Great Depression his popcorn became a favorite, inexpensive treat. Sales grew so quickly he needed to expand his operations. In 1944, he added a four story factory adjoining the school house in order to keep up with the growing demand of his product. Annual sales for that were three billion pounds of popcorn!

Four years later, Mr. and Mrs. Brown founded the Popped-Right Corn Company, located on Mill Street in Marion, Ohio. The Popped-Right Corn Company was a subsidiary company that produced popcorn for movie theaters throughout the United States. In 1950, Popped-Right Corn Company released a caramel flavored corn that was called "Golden Crisp Caramel Corn."

Mr. Brown's company continued to expand during the 50's. He opened other subsidiary companies in Ohio, Nebraska, Indiana and Kentucky.

In 1961, the Frito Company merged with the H.W. Lay Company. Mr. Brown's younger brother, Warren,  recognized that this would be a great opportunity for Popped-Right Corn Company to become a supplier to regional potato chip manufacturers. Warren approached farmers throughout the Midwest and along the East Coast with the brilliant idea.  Popped-Right Corn Company would manufacture and package chips under the chipper's brand. With a greater operation behind their name the chippers could market their brand into larger markets. The idea took hold and Popped-Right Corn Company's sales expanded.

In 1964, Wyandot and Popped-Right Corn Company established their offices in Marion at 135 Wyandot Avenue. You can read more about the company's history on their website. In 1982, the company built the Wyandot Popcorn Museum in Marion, Ohio. The Popcorn Festival, held annually the first weekend after Labor Day, was named as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association.

Chances are if you order a salty snack at a restaurant or buy one in the grocery store you are probably eating something that was made in Marion, Ohio.

#HeSaidWhat: Chief Little Owl dedicates his life.

This week on the That's What HE said Thursday I have featured one of the most romantic things Chief Little Owl has ever said to Calico.

#QuoteMeThursday: Family Feud

Today's quote  for the Quote Me Thursday Link Up is taken from my first book, Calico (Children of the Shawnee: 1). It's not one of Little Owl's finest moments. He's speaking to his father - in - law, Pierre Lutree.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

#IndieLife: Pantser or Plotter? #IAmWriting

Welcome back to Indie Life.

Are you pantser or a plotter? When I started my writing career in 2008 the first thing another author asked me was this question. I had no idea what they meant. She explained to me that some writers (pantsers) write by the seat of their pants while other writers (plotters) have to plot everything out.

So are you a pantser or a plotter?

Up until 2012 I would have told you that I was a pantser. In fact I wrote this blog post about my writing process during my first book, Calico.

"With so many characters in my head fighting for my attention it can be hard at times to organize my own writing process. I have to admit. I am a pantser. If there were a group called Panster Anonymous I would be their leader. Can you see it now, “Hello, my name is Allison Bruning. I drive writing professors nuts. I am a writer who flies by the seat of her pants then sits down to organize her characters, plots and what ever else needs structure. I am a pantser.” Yeah that’s me. I’m well known to write three copies of the same novel then merge them together into one storyline. I’m also known to start a story, research while writing it then incorporate the research into the storyline. I’ll edit chapter by chapter as I go, inserting information here and there. With Calico, I really didn’t have the interesting details about Hunting Bear until around my third draft. He just wasn’t speaking to me about his motivations until the story was almost completed. I knew he wanted to hurt Calico and I knew it was somehow connected to Alexander but that didn’t come to my story until much later. I had to discover the character of the Demon Bride before Hunting Bear told me why he wanted to hurt Calico. Once the Demon Bride storyline was open up to me, I went back into my story and added the missing chapters and details that were not only vital but missing from my storyline."

Today I just look back at that blog post and laugh. I was such a mess. All I can say is thank heavens for graduate school. I had tried my hand at outlining a story before but it had never seemed to work for me. Let's just face it. I was a lazy writer. I didn't want to take the time to outline when I could have been writing.

Graduate school changed all of that for me. I was introduced to Syd Field's paradigm.

FINALLY! A visual format to use when plotting a writing project. I am a very visual person. I'm a great writer and can write an outline for you but my thoughts easily sway when faced with a long list. But if you present the information to me in a visual format I can retain it longer. I love using the paradigm. One of the blessings that I have found while using it is that I don't face too many of the problems I had when I was writing Calico. The paradigm is the anchor in which my story can hold to form while I am writing. If I feel a character is trying to lead me in a different direction then all I have to do is look back to the paradigm and remember where I was going.

My novels are tighter. My stories are richer. My characters are deeper. All in all I have become a better writer because I am using the paradigm to plot out all of my stories.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#ExpressYourself: One Word

Welcome back to the Express Yourself weekly blog hop. Today I was asked to use one, ONLY one adjective to describe myself. That is so hard because I could think of so many. After thinking about it for awhile I chose......

What do you think?
How would you describe me?

#MentalHealthAwareness: #Aspergers and Hypersensitivity

The world can be a unforgiving and overwhelming place to live, especially if you have Asperger's Syndrome. Last week, I introduced you to the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome and how they can be exhibited differently between males and females. Although they symptoms of Aspergers can one of the most common symptom between both males and females is hypersensitivity.

Everyone has the following five senses:

Children and adults with Asperger's Syndrome have the same senses as everyone else in the world but they experience life differently when it comes to uses their senses because one or more of their senses may be over or under sensitive than the others. People with Asperger's Syndrome tend to exhibit their sensitivities in different ways.
For example:

  •  Touch: Does not like touch (especially when unexpected). May be sensitive to textures or different fabrics
  • Taste: Easily gags due to texture or tastes. A "picky" eater.
  • Sounds: Showing great discomfort to loud noises such as fireworks, movies, or parades. Or easily distracted by sounds
  • Smells: Avoids the meat aisle in the grocery store (too stinky). Detects odors that others may not even notice
  • Sight: Bothered by bright lights
These are just some examples of hypersensitivity that I found on the this site. We've all heard the stories of how a baby with Asperger's Syndrome doesn't want to be touched or held. It's not that the baby doesn't want to receive the parents love. They do. It's just that the baby is sensitive to touch. Yet not everyone who has Asperger's Syndrome exhibits that.

Have you ever known someone with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism? 
If so, what were they sensitive to?

#SundayPosting: An Early Death

Today's not exactly Sunday but I decided to post this anyways. I haven't been able to post until today due to a death in the family. My husband's cousin died in a work related accident this past week. He was a dear friend to my husband. Johnny and my husband, Delfin, were more than cousins. They were best friends. The hardest part about this weekend was that we weren't able to go to the funeral. We live in Indianapolis, Indiana and my husband is from Marfa, Texas. It's a very expensive trip and my husband is currently in school. So we took this weekend off to mourn his passing.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

#HeSaidWhat: The ever romantic Earl Isaac James Turner #Ireland

Welcome to another new feature on my blog. The That's What He Said Thursday weekly blog hop features the most romantic lines delivered by the love interest in romance books and is hosted by Chapter Break. Every Thursday, along with the Quote Me Thursday blog hop, I will be presenting images with quotes delivered by the romantic men of all my novels. These quotes will also be featured on my other social media networks as well. You don't want to miss this weekly feature. You just never know what man will appear and what he will say.

Let's travel back in time to October 4, 1738 at Kilmore Castle in Ireland.

The book?

The man?
Earl Isaac James Turner

The love interest?
Lady Kathleen McGillpatrick

#QuoteMeThursday: How much does he love me?

This week I am pleased to introduce you to a new feature on my blog. I have joined the Quote me Thursday weekly blog hope hosted by the Daily Mayo.

Each Thursday I will present a quote from one of my books, that has to do with writing or has something to do with one of my books. I'll present it on my blog, Instagram, Google+ and other social media networks.

The first posting of the Quote Me Thursday comes from my book Elsa (The Secret Heritage: 1).

#SalvationArmy #history: General William Booth restored

General William Booth:

The last time we visited upon General William Booth we learned he had hard childhood with a father who cared more about money and vanity than his own children. His father's constant struggle to maintain a lifestyle he could not afford came to end when William was thirteen years old. Forced from his education into an apprenticeship as a pawnbroker young William learned many valuable lessons that would lead him on a path to change the world. 

William Booth had been born into poverty yet never had never seen what extreme poverty looked like until his apprenticeship. His apprenticeship began with a simple task: Sweep the floors and fold the bedding and clothes that people brought in to pawn. Mr. Eames, the man he apprenticed under, taught him how pawning works. A person needing cash would bring their items to the store. Mr. Eames would value the item and pay the customer only 60% of what the item was worth. Mr. Eames would hold the item for two weeks. If the person didn't return or pay the loan back he would keep the item and sell it at a higher cost than he bought it for. Mr. Eames showed William how to determine the value of something. William noticed people would bring all sort of items, items they would need for work or daily living. Most of the people who came to the pawnshop couldn't afford to buy their items back. It broke William's heart to see how desperate the poor were to pay their rent or put food on the table. He realized this was the kind of work his father would excel at and wanted him to employ. William hated the idea of taking advantage of the destitute just so you better your situation. He was disgusted at the thought of it and hated his apprenticeship. 

He stated of that time in his life: 

"I had scarcely any income as an apprentice, and was so hard up when my father died, that I could do next to nothing to assist my dear mother and sisters, which was the cause of no little humiliation and grief. The system of apprenticeship in those days generally bound a lad for six or seven years. During this time he received little or no wages, and was required to slave from early morning to late evening upon the supposition that he was 'being taught' the business, which, if he had a good master, was probably true. It was a severe but useful time of learning. My master was a Unitarian--that is, he did not believe Christ was the son of God and the Saviour of the world, but only the best of teachers; yet so little had he learnt of Him that his heaven consisted in making money, strutting about with his gay wife, and regaling himself with worldly amusements."

William's father, Samuel Booth, grew ill and died on September 23, 1842. His father seemed to have a change of heart as he laid dying. He was baptized on his deathbed. After baptism he dedicated his wife, Mary, and their four remaining children to God. The small family sung Rock of Ages as their patriarch died. 


William didn't know how to feel about his sixty-five year old father's passing. He had always had a closer relationship with his mother than his father. His father had kept a distant relationship with him for most of his life. The only time Samuel gave him attention was when he was trying to push William to make shady deals or use other people to get ahead in the world. William had never felt comfortable using other people for personal gain. 

Shortly after her husband's death, Mary moved the family to Goosegate where she set up a tiny sewing shop. She and her three daughters sold sewing needles, thread, hatpins and anything else a woman might require. The small shop wasn't very far from the pawn shop where William apprenticed. Although times were hard for the widow and her children, Mary never abandoned them. She would constantly encourage her children, as she had done throughout their lives, by telling them things would get better. Whenever she could, Mary would walk to the pawn shop where her son worked and check in on him. Mary was the constant rock in William's life and he never forgot her.

William wrote these words about his mother in his book, All the World, published in 1893:

Mary Moss Booth  
"I had a good mother. So good she has ever appeared to me that I have often said that all I knew of her life seemed a striking contradiction of the doctrine of human depravity. In my youth I fully accepted that doctrine, and I do not deny it now; but my patient, self-sacrificing mother always appeared to be an exception to the rule.

"I loved my mother. From infancy to manhood I lived in her. Home was not home to me without her. I do not remember any single act of wilful disobedience to her wishes. When my father died I was so passionately attached to my mother that I can recollect that, deeply though I felt his loss, my grief was
all but forbidden by the thought that it was not my mother who had been taken from me. And yet one of the regrets that has followed me to the present hour is that I did not sufficiently value the treasure while I possessed it, and that I did not with sufficient tenderness and assiduity at the time, attempt the impossible task of repaying the immeasurable debt I owed to that mother's love.

She was certainly one of the most unselfish beings it has been my lot to come into contact with. 'Never mind me' was descriptive of her whole life at every time, in every place, and under every circumstance. To make others happy was the end of all her thoughts and aims with regard not only to her children but to her domestics, and indeed to all who came within her influence. To remove misery was her delight. No beggar went empty-handed from her door. The sorrows of any poor wretch were certain of her commiseration, and of a helping hand in their removal, so far as she had ability. The children of misfortune were sure of her pity, and the children of misconduct she pitied almost the more, because, for one reason, they were the cause of sorrow to those who had reason to mourn on their account.

For many years before she died, love, joy, and peace reigned in her heart, beamed from her countenance, and spoke in her words. Her faith was immovably fixed on Him who is able to save to the uttermost. It was a common expression of confidence with her that 'Jesus would go with her all the way through the journey of life--even to the end. He would not leave her. Her feet were on the Rock."


Mary and her children faced the worst of their poverty after the death of her husband yet Mary refused to allow the negative situation of their lives destroy them. She kept encouraging their faith through prayer and taking them to Saint Stephen's Church to worship every Sunday. William was quite bored in church and disheartened at the way people were treated in church based on their social economical statues. The poor were forced to sit in seats behind the pulpit or on benches in broad aisles while the rich had reserved the right to sit in the perfect spot to see and hear the message. No one dared to sit in those areas of the church. William, his family and the rest of the poor were cast aside too poor for even Jesus to take notice of them. When the clergy preached their message to the "common people" he rarely looked at the poverty stricken and kept his eyes on the rich. William hated the dull, class discrimination message that the church taught and needed a change.

His chance for change came in the fifteenth year of his life when a Wesleyan couple invited him to their church. The Methodist Movement had begun soon after the death of John Wesley. John Wesley had sought to change the Anglican Church yet against his dying wishes his followers started their own church, the Methodist Church. William attended Broad Street Chapel and fell in love with the preachers who visited upon the church to spread their messages. He heard messages from many outstanding preachers and would often reflect upon what he learned on his way back home. Two preachers especially affected young William, Reverend James Caughey form the United States and Isaac Marsden from Yorkshire. William enjoyed the lively singing, the preaching and the free-flow atmosphere during worship. Although he enjoyed his worship experience and learning about God he never settled upon matters of his own soul. The Methodist had taught him he needed to give his entire life over to God but that seemed too hard for William to do. How could he give his entire life?

William struggled with the idea of handing his all to God until one day his bible study teacher, Henry Carey, opened his lesson with these words, "A soul dies every minute." The words haunted William. I think it would be best to hear the rest of the story in William's own words:

"When as a giddy youth of fifteen I was led to attend Wesley Chapel, Nottingham, I cannot recollect that any individual pressed me in the direction of personal surrender to God. I was wrought upon quite independently of human effort by the Holy Ghost, who created within me a great thirst for a new life.
 I felt that I wanted, in place of the life of self-indulgence, to which I was yielding myself, a happy, conscious sense that I was pleasing God, living right, and spending all my powers to get others into such a life. I saw that all this ought to be, and I decided that it should be. It is wonderful that I should have reached this decision in view of all the influences then around me. My professedly Christian master never uttered a word to indicate that he believed in anything he could not see, and many of my companions were worldly and sensual, some of them even vicious.

Yet I had that instinctive belief in God which, in common with my fellow-creatures, I had brought into the world with me. I had no disposition to deny my instincts, which told me that if there was a God His laws ought to have my obedience and His interests my service.

I felt that it was better to live right than to live wrong, and as to caring for the interests of others instead of my own, the condition of the suffering people around me, people with whom I had been so long familiar, and whose agony seemed to reach its climax about this time, undoubtedly affected me very deeply.

There were children crying for bread to parents whose own distress was little less terrible to witness.
One feeling specially forced itself upon me, and I can recollect it as distinctly as though it had transpired only yesterday, and that was the sense of the folly of spending my life in doing things for which I knew I must either repent or be punished in the days to come.

In my anxiety to get into the right way, I joined the Methodist Church, and attended the Class Meetings, to sing and pray and speak with the rest." (A Class Meeting was the weekly muster of all members of the church, who were expected to tell their leader something of their soul's condition in answer to his inquiries.) "But all the time the inward Light revealed to me that I must not only renounce everything I knew to be sinful, but make restitution, so far as I had the ability, for any wrong I had done to others before I could find peace with God.

The entrance to the Heavenly Kingdom was closed against me by an evil act of the past which required restitution. In a boyish trading affair I had managed to make a profit out of my companions, whilst giving them to suppose that what I did was all in the way of a generous fellowship. As a testimonial of their gratitude they had given me a silver pencil-case. Merely to return their gift would have been comparatively easy, but to confess the deception I had practised upon them was a humiliation to which for some days I could not bring myself. I remember, as if it were but yesterday, the spot in the corner of a room under the chapel, the hour, the resolution to end the matter, the rising up and rushing forth, the finding of the young fellow I had chiefly wronged, the acknowledgment of my sin, the return of the pencil-case--the instant rolling away from my heart of the guilty burden, the peace that came in its place, and the going forth to serve my God and my generation from that hour.

"It was in the open street that this great change passed over me, and if I could only have possessed the flagstone on which I stood at that happy moment, the sight of it occasionally might have been as useful to me as the stones carried up long ago from the bed of the Jordan were to the Israelites who had passed over them dry-shod. Since that night, for it was near upon eleven o'clock when the happy change was realised, the business of my life has been not only to make a holy character but to live a life of loving activity in the service of God and man. I have ever felt that true religion consists not only in being holy myself, but in assisting my Crucified Lord in His work of saving men and women, making them into His Soldiers, keeping them faithful to death, and so getting them into Heaven."

William vowed, "God should have all there is of William Booth." William's life was about to change forever.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#MentalHealthAwareness: Understanding Girls With #Aspergers?

Welcome back to my series on Aspergers and Autism for the Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop. The last time I posted I introduced you to the term Asperger's Syndrome and how it affects those who have it. The guidelines given to medical and mental health professions in the DSM is supposed to help them diagnosis Aspergers but there are many who have Asperger's Syndrome that fall through the cracks. The majority of these patients are women.

The problem with using the DSM to diagnosing women and girls with Asperger's Syndrome is that the criteria was developed by the studies that Hans Asperger conducted on boys. Women who have Asperger's Syndrome often times do not exhibit the same symptoms as their male counterparts. It is estimated the male to female ratio is between 2:1 and 16:1. These ratios may be greatly distorted because many women and girls are left undiagnosed. It can be very frustrating for women who have Asperger's Syndrome but are left undiagnosed.

So just how do women and girls with Asperger's Syndrome differ from their male counterparts and what qualities do they share?

Here's are some great charts that was created by that can answer that question. 

Mental Health professionals are still trying to understand how Asperger's Syndrome exhibits itself in females. We've come a long way since Hans Asperger made his clinical diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome in the 1940's. In 2011, the National Autistic Society in the United Kingdom found the following differences in woman with Asperger's Syndrome. 

  • Girls are more able to follow social actions by delayed imitation because they observe other children and copy them, perhaps masking the symptoms of Asperger syndrome (Attwood, 2007).
  • Girls are often more aware of and feel a need to interact socially. They are involved in social play, but are often led by their peers rather than initiating social contact. Girls are more socially inclined and many have one special friend.
  • In our society, girls are expected to be social in their communication. Girls on the spectrum do not ‘do social chit chat’ or make ‘meaningless’ comments in order to facilitate social communication. The idea of a social hierarchy and how one communicates with people of different status can be problematic and get girls into trouble with teachers.
  • Evidence suggests that girls have better imagination and more pretend play  (Knickmeyer et al, 2008). Many have a very rich and elaborate fantasy world with imaginary friends. Girls escape into fiction, and some live in another world with, for example, fairies and witches.
  • The interests of girls in the spectrum are very often similar to those of other girls – animals, horses, classical literature – and therefore are not seen as unusual. It is not the special interests that differentiate them from their peers but it is the quality and intensity of these interests. Many obsessively watch soap operas and have an intense interest in celebrities.
There is still so much more we need to learn about Asperger's Syndrome.

#ISWG: The Literary Bumper Month #CampNaNoWriMo

Can you believe it's June already? This is a very important month for the literary world. This month is the bumper month between the two Camp NaNoWriMo sessions. If you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo last month and meet your goal then congratulations. Don't feel bad if you didn't meet your goal. I didn't this year, either. But I plan to hit the ground running in the second Camp NaNoWriMo session starting July 1st.

Now that you have finished your novel you probably want to turn it into a publisher or self-published. But you don't want to do that, just yet. The end result of your Camp NaNoWriMo experience should have given you a first draft. I stress the 1st draft part because a lot of new authors assume that once they have completed their novel it is ready to submit to publisher.

That is not true.

You looked stunned and confused. Stay with me now.

The first draft you hold in your hand is not large enough to be considered a complete novel. It will grow as you go through the editing process. That's ok. An average novel is anywhere between 80,000 to 100,000 words. Anything above 100,000 words is considered an epic. Most publishers will not consider an epic from any new authors. They want to ensure the authors have enough followers to produce sales.

The first thing you want to do is read through your manuscript very carefully. You're looking for plot holes, grammatical errors and structural issues. CampNaNoWriMo does not allow you the opportunity to edit as you go through the writing process. And that is ok. The main goal of Camp NaNoWriMo is to get the story out. You can edit later.

Another piece of advice while you are editing your work. Don't worry if your story changes along the way. As long as the story stays true to the outline or paradigm you created before you wrote a single word then it will be alright. If you have more than one character with the same motive, mannerisms or purpose in your book consider combining the two characters into one character. You want to make sure it is very evident who your protagonist and antagonists are. There should be only one of each in your story.

After you have edited your piece you will need to send it out to a few beta readers. Beta readers are
people who love to read books in your genre. They will tell you what works and what doesn't. They are not editors and please do not treat them as such. These are readers who will tell you if they think your book will sell in your genre and why not. You do not want to pick just anyone to beta read your book. You want to make sure the people you chose to beta your book are people who are very familiar with the genre and are willing to be brutally honest with you.

Once you receive the notes from your beta reader you will want to go over their notes and implement any changes they have suggested that will better your story.

Well a month or two have gone by since Camp NaNoWriMo occurred and you are done with the beta readers. You now have your completed second draft but your still not ready for publishing. What's next? An editor. You need fresh eyes on your masterpiece. Find a friend who is great at editing or hire a professional editor to go through your manuscript. WARNING - professional editors will charge between $1-$5 per page to edit your manuscript.

After you receive your edits back from the editor you will want make the changes they have suggested for your manuscript. Afterwards, go back through your manuscript and tighten it up. By the time you have finished this process your novel should now be between 80,000 - 100,000 words and you are ready to submit your novel to the publisher.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#ExpressYourself: Strong Girls Unite #gaming #heroines

Welcome back to the Express Yourself weekly blog hop. Today I was asked "What are my favorite video games?"

I have always loved to play video games. I can get sort of addicted to them, especially the fantasy genre ones.

When I was little I loved to play Mortal Kombat, especially with Jade and Princess Kitana. I grew up in the 80's and there just weren't that many female characters who were strong enough to stand on their own and defend themselves. So I played with Jade and Princess Kitana as much as I could. It was hard at first because Jade was a secret character when she was first introduced but she became playable in Ultimate Mortal Kombat III.

 A few years ago, I was introduced to World of Warcraft by my niece's then husband. I joined the game so I could play with him. He was a huge gamer and my thinking was this would be a great bonding experience. Then I got sucker into. I was playing for four to six hours every night after work. I had six characters and most of them were females. My strongest character was a warrior named Ravenlore.

Then I got hooked onto Tomb Raider. I love Tombraider because she's strong and she's into archaeology. It was about time there was a female Indiana Jones. I mean come on! She's the ultimate heroine, right?

I no longer have time to play video games but if I did these would be the ones I would play.

To Be #Shawnee: In Their Own Voice #NativeAmerican #History

To Be Shawnee - In Their Own Voice  

John "Soaring Eagle" Adams

Welcome back to the To Be Shawnee series. Today I have a very special treat for all of you. Actor and director, John L. Adams is a direct descendant of the famous Shawnee war chief, Tecumseh. He recently shared about his tribes' history and culture in Indiana. I have attached his complete presentation to my blog for your viewing. What a wonderful way to learn more about the Shawnee people, the People of the Southwind.  


Monday, June 2, 2014

#MentalHealthAwareness: What is #Asperger's Syndrome?

Welcome to the Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop. This month I will be focusing on Aspergers Syndrome, which is a form of Autism.

What is Asperger's Syndrome?
         “I don’t understand why you two are acting like this and why Cora says he’s stupid. He’s not stupid, he’s wonderful,” Elsa protested. 
         Gideon answered, “Elsa, Franklin has to do things a certain way. Every day of his life he has to follow a strict routine or he will not be able to concentrate on the task he’s asked to do. When he plans to do something it is planned down to the tiniest of details. Sometimes one of those details is so peculiar you would miss it. Not Franklin. He has to complete each step of his plan in precise order.”
         “He was going to propose at the dance, wasn’t he?”
          “He was.”
          Juliette interrupted, “He had it planned all out. How did he react when you told him you knew his intentions?” 
         “He was upset. Cora said it was a panic attack.”
         Gideon shook his head, “It was too much for him. Elsa, you are right about my son’s intelligence. He is very smart but there are just some things we don’t tell him because we know it will upset him.”
- From Elsa: (The Secret Heritage Series: Book 1) by: Allison Bruning

The life of someone who has Asperger's Syndrome and the ones who love them can be quite complex. My novel, Elsa, takes place in 1909, a time when Asperger's Syndrome had not yet been discovered. Although it hadn't been discovered there were plenty of people in history who had it. 

Asperger's Syndrome was not recognized as a mental condition until Austrian  pediatrician, medical theorist, and medical professor, Hans Asperger published a definition of autistic psychopathy in 1944 after studying four boys who in his words had "a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversations, intense absorption in a special interest, and clumsy movements." Think of these children as little Mr. Spocks from Star Trek. 

Hans Asperger also noted that many children with these characteristic tended to become very successful in their chosen careers in adulthood because they were able to hone in on their special interests. These adults could talk for hours about their specialized interests even when their audience had long lost interest in the topic. Some famous people who had Asperger's Syndrome are Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Sir Isaac Newton, Alfred Hitchcock, Jane Austin, Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Shultz, Mozart, Thomas Edison, Michael Jackson, Mark Twain and Jim Henson.

Hans Asperger worked with patients who had Asperger's Syndrome until his death on October 21, 1980. Despite his hard work, Asperger's Syndrome was not well known until after his death. Scientists Tantam (1988) in the UK, Gillberg and Gilbert in Sweden (1989), and Szatmari, Bartolucci and Bremmer (1989) in North America each conducted the first systematic studies of patients with Asperger's Syndrome which was later published in the years show by their names. In 1989,  Gillberg and Gillberg in Sweden and Szatmari in North America each proposed a criteria establishing the symptoms required to diagnosis someone with Asperger's Syndrome. Yet Asperger's Syndrome would not be widely recognized until it became a distinct diagnosis by it's inclusion in the 0th published edition of the World Health Organization’s diagnostic manual, International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). It was added to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as Asperger's Disorder in 1994. Asperger's Syndrome was named after Hans Asperger.

So what are the criteria to be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome? 

According to the DSM-IV Asperger's Syndrome Criteria is defined as:

(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
(D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
(A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia."

Unfortunately the DSM-V, released May 2013, has eliminated the term Asperger's Syndrome replacing it with  autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This has brought much controversy from the families, friends and professionals of those who care about someone with Asperger's Syndrome. The new criteria has included three levels of they syndrome ranging in severity. 

Under the new guidelines, Franklin Raymond would be diagnosed as Level 2 ASD with tendencies to drop to a Level 1 when overstimulated. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

#SundayPost: What's New #AllisonBruning?

Welcome to a new weekly feature on my blog. There have been so many wonderful changes since I was picked up by my manager, Craig Michael Lewis, and there are many great things ahead for me.
The Sunday Post is the place to be if you want the latest news on my writing career. I'll be posting my announcements in this feature each week.

Week of June 1 - June 7

I can't believe it's the first week of June. Where has the time gone by?

Mental Health Awareness Month

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month. My book, Elsa, has to do with a man who has Aspergers Syndrome, which is a form of Autism. This month I will be presenting posts on Aspergers and Autism on Monday and Wednesday in addition to my regularly scheduled posts. 


Last week I participated in the ArmchairBEA and hosted two giveaways on my blog. Here are the winners. 


Mary McAuliffe


Melissa Meeks


Kristen Noel


Rose Causey


Suzanne Cowles


Jessica Hizey Chiles


Rose C.