Monday, April 9, 2018

Autism Fact: Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work.

It's that time of year again, when I dust off my blog and take part in the lovely R J Scott's annual blog hop. And, as usual, I'll leave my colleagues with more direct experience of autism to talk of how it affects their lives. There are over thirty of us taking part this year, so don't forget to check out the other posts. Apart from a wide range of posts, there's lots of fun too, as well as giveaways. 

Also, as with last year, I'm going to hoist myself with my own petard and post an excerpt from a yet-to-be-finished book. Over the next couple of years, I'll be getting the rights back to all of my Totally Bound/Pride books. The first one to come back to me, in May, is Mourning Jack. Right now, I'm working on the sequel which has the tentative title of Loving Cal. So, yes, for all of those readers who wanted Cal to have his HEA, I'm hoping to deliver that later this year--work schedule permitting. 
In this scene, I'm drawing on my own experiences of grief, how it sneaks up you when you least expect it:

It was nice to zone out a little. I just needed to make sure I kept the mower straight. The smell of cut grass made me think of the good things, of summer sun, roses in bloom, a kitchen garden bursting with produce. The latter was well on its way, which made Peggy very happy. I hummed along with the music, save in the knowledge that no one would ever hear how I couldn’t carry a tune, even in a paper bag.
            I can hear…
            One of Jack’s quirks…he absolutely loved country music. He played it all the time. After we’d been going out a while, I finally got used to it.  Not all of it. Some of it was a little too sappy and twangy for my taste, but other stuff… The old Rascal Flatts song kicked me in the guts. Grief could do that. After seven years, it could still sneak up and slap me upside the head. I couldn’t see. My eyes burned with tears I thought I’d long since left behind. I eased the mower to a halt and just…sat there crying.
            Damn it, Jack.
            So many memories passed in front of me. Jack at that party, cursing the lousy beer while giving me the glad eye. Jack sprawled out on the couch, snoring, an unread book resting on his stomach. Jack, his laugh ringing out in the cottage on an autumn morning. Doing a slow strip tease while singing Hey, Good Looking. His touch, his voice…pretty much everything I’d loved about him. All gone. But he felt so close that I was sure if I reached out I’d find him, touch him again, feel the smooth warmth of his skin beneath my fingertips. God, the pain. It was an all-encompassing ache, a deep longing made horrible because it could never be fulfilled.
            Grief sucked. It sucked and it never really checked out. Always there like an unwelcome guest, or the glimpse of something unpleasant in the corner of a mirror.

Hopefully, there'll be a finished story by summer!
In the meantime, I'm offering a book from my back list, which you can find here. All you need to do is leave an answer to this question:

What was your first job? What did you like/hate about it?

I hope you all enjoy this year's blog hop! Thanks, as always, to R J for putting this all together.