Acceptance and more

Well, here’s a quickie update on my alter-ego the writer, such as she is:

I got a novella accepted! Lilley Press has accepted my Christmas novella “The Boys Upstairs” for release this November. I nearly didn’t even submit it to them because I figured it didn’t have a chance, but then before the deadline came I figured I’d let them reject it rather than rejecting it myself. 

Jay Farrell, a crippled priest in an impoverished church, houses homeless children in the unused rectory. As the children take their place at the church community’s heart, a struggling waitress and Jay’s estranged brother begin to come to terms with the innocent suffering they see in the world around them, learning how hope can transform the heart when a person is able to see the potential inside those deemed beyond saving.

It will be released as an ebook. I have no other details at the moment, but you can be sure I’ll update later.

Second update: I’m slowing down on the writing of ♥My Book♥ due to lack of time. The enthusiasm is there, but I’m coping with family commitments right now that are eating the time I’d spend writing. That and lack of sleep due to a teething baby. It stinks, but I knew this would happen. If I can keep doing 1,000 words a day, I’ll be thrilled; over the last weekend, I think I did 500 words a day. Very sad. Even now, I’m in the middle of a scene I was dying to write Saturday morning, but I just don’t have the oomph to keep going right now.

Thirdly: I mentioned last week how Josh, my sweet-hearted mischievous-eyed cellist also stutters. Two things happened as a result of that. First, someone told me it would be hard to read the book because she’d feel sorry for Josh.

Well, I don’t feel sorry for Josh. Moreover, Josh doesn’t feel sorry for Josh. He’s got a problem, and he deals with it. But that leads into the second thing.

That blog post got picked up by a microblog which is associated with the podcast, and since then I’ve been listening to it daily (and I  keep being impressed.) On the podcast, Greg mentions the prejudices surrounding stuttering, how something like 80% of Americans have negative stereotypes about it.

More than that, I read on a support forum that technically speaking, stuttering counts as a disability. To my mind, it was a characteristic I had a boss once who stuttered, and it certainly never disabled him. Frankly, I’d never have had the courage to start writing a character with a “disability.” 

But thinking of it as a characteristic made it graspable. I’ve written about characters who’ve had all sorts of problems, and stuttering seemed no more or less disabling than the others. 

The prejudices discussed on the podcast, however — that made me realize that I had darn well better write Josh perfectly, because the best thing in the world would be to take that prejudice and smash it to pieces. 

I’m not a militant writer. I’m not out to change the world. On the other hand, if some understanding is gained, I’m all for it. 

In the meantime, I’m listening to an audio course on chamber music to research the music part of the book.

So much to learn — hearts and voices and music. I feel like there’s a whole world being created, and as I learn along with it, parts of me are being created too. 

I love writing. I just hope you love the reading.


  1. Cricket

    Congrats! If it’s the story I think it is, I agree — it’s worth publishing!

  2. philangelus

    It’s got the same title but unless you read the first copy, it’s not obvious what it used to be.

  3. Ivy

    This should be very interesting.

  4. Cricket

    Looking forward to seeing the transformation. OneBitCPU hates series fiction, but I convinced him to start the series, and he didn’t put it down once. Definitely re-readable.

  5. Wendy

    Congratulations! With a couple of tweaks, the story makes the big time! 😉

  6. philangelus

    Hey, guys, no F-words in the comments. I’ll edit them out. You know what I mean.

  7. Scott

    Congrats and good luck with it.

  8. ivyreisner

    Frankfurter? February? Feng-huang? 😉

  9. philangelus

    Ivy! I’m shocked!

  10. Illya

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to read it. Wishing you much success.

  11. cathrl

    I know what you mean. Congratulations!

  12. Wendy

    Woops, sorry. 🙁

  13. philangelus

    No harm done. All is right in the world.

  14. stutteringme

    Hey! Thanks for the listen.

    Stuttering is really only a disability if the person that stutters believes as such. But with that said, it can also be a disability if you don’t get a job, get fired from a job, or do not get (properly) promoted because an employer holds an unfounded negative (stuttering-related) prejudice. (Which–happens all the time.)

    As a result, there are a few attorneys that are trying to get stuttering listed in the ADA, simply to try and stop work-place discrimination. (One such example is a guy who stuttered and worked at Blimpie’s subs. Worked for a while with no problems. New boss, and got fired in a week. Sued and settled.) Because stuttering isn’t formally mentioned in the ADA, it’s tried on a state-by-state basis. 🙁

    Good luck w/ your writing. Feel free to Twitter me if you want some advice relative to getting in to the stuttering mind. 🙂


    1. philangelus

      The definition someone cited on the forum defined disability in part as a malfunction of a process or part of a person, in this case fluency.

      To the question of “Is a stutterer covered by the Australian DDA”, the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission says “YES”.

      The definition of disability in the DDA includes “total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions”. Whatever the origins of a particular person’s stuttering (neurological, psychological, or more direct physical causes), it is clear that speech is one of the things we do with our bodies and so partial loss of control of speech is covered.

      Stuttering is recognized as a ‘disability’ within the framework of the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability & Health

      Until I read that, I honestly never even thought of it. (And the guy who fired someone for stuttering deserves to be hit with smelly fish. What a jerk!) It’s like you said on your podcast, I notice it long enough to think, “Oh, he stutters” and then move on with my life.

      Thanks for the offer of help! I may take you up on it. 🙂 And your podcast is excellent.

  15. Cricket

    The school board (and I think province) definition of learning disability entitling you to extra help and alternative marking methods is working two grades below your IQ. If stuttering prevents someone from learning to read (usually we learn by reading out loud), or interacting, or doing verbal reports, or speaking in class, then it counts. On the other hand, like many LDs, a good teacher and understanding classmates make a huge difference.

    1. philangelus

      I dunno, Cricket. If I couldn’t get my son with Asperger’s identified with anything (and autism spectrum disorders are legally MANDATED to receive help) I can’t imagine it would be easy to get stuttering identified as an LD. On the support forum I lurked on, many members had horror stories of teachers who refused to let them out of verbal reports (even to do them in private) or reading aloud in class. I imagine there’s a lot of humiliation involved and little understanding from the teachers who think, “Well, this is the way it’s done, so do it.” :-b

  16. Cricket

    Here, too, what the law says isn’t necessarily what the school does. We gave up trying to get the school to recognize the results of our son’s independent tests, but only because the teachers were so good. We may try again later if his situation changes.

    My point was that, at least somewhere in the chain, it isn’t the syndrome or condition’s name that gets the extra funding or alternative marking methods, it’s the effect it has on the student’s ability to learn, and whether it skews the usual evaluation methods. Stuttering (or being affected by it) badly enough that it affects your marks and your ability to do the normal exercises deserves the extra time and money, even if the schools try to weasel out of it. Enough that the child can learn and be evaluated in the way that’s best for her rather than one-size-fits-all.

  17. philangelus

    I suspect at this point that Emily wouldn’t even be recognized as having a learning disability. :-b Because they’d just say she’s not disruptive in class. {eyeroll}

    From what I read, the children who have bad grades due to stuttering are being penalized by stupid or uninformed teachers who think it’s only anxiety or that the kid is being stubborn and refuse to make alternate accommodations (ie, give his oral report to the teacher in private rather than in front of the class) or assume the child can’t read at all because he blocks when he’s reading aloud in class (rather than trusting phenomenal reading comprehension scores on written tests.)

    That seems more like a Teaching Disability than a Learning Disability.

    And then there’s the social problems a child might face: harassment, anxiety, time lost from school to do speech therapy, etc. But I guess in some schools, as long as the kid’s pulling a B average, that’s all fine.