Friday, October 17, 2014

Autism Answer: A Little Movie I Wrote To Change The World




One of my sons, writing a song.


About ten years ago my four sons were sleeping and I sat up all night writing a movie. I wanted to make the world my boys were growing up in a better place, an intentional open minded and accepting place, and so I wrote Carhopping

I loved it! My family loved it!! I imagined scores of interviews where Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres asked how it was that I could do so much with one movie. They applauded my story telling and sang praise for the new world I had encouraged with my movie! 

Then, I saved Carhopping on a flash drive and went on with my life. 

It was never forgotten because we had all experienced it. I'd written it, my family had read it, and we all had conversations and thoughts because of it. As my hero character says: 

"Once I've imagined it, for me it's real; a memory." ~The Hitchhiker


One of my sons, researching for his screenplay.


But I didn't breathe any more life into it than that. I was content. For a time.... 

Now my sons are teens and young adults, and they are pursuing dreams married with careers. So, to be an example of taking action (and, honestly, because I want to navigate the same worlds my sons do and I'd like to make as many of the mistakes for them as I can, in turn offering them advice and connections so their roads will be slightly less bumpy!) I dusted off my movie and queried producers. A few of them requested the script, and one of them appreciated my concept enough she offered to help me make it--well--a real script! You see, I had no idea what I was doing and so my "feature film" was 67 pages of flowery words and intriguing characters who had hardly any connection to each other. Somehow she saw through the blinding "green" of my screenwriting into the depths of my story. 

Thanks to her encouragement I've grown with my characters and deepened our stories. It's not quite there yet, I can feel an "aha" moment watching me from the peripheries, but the script is good. Soon, it'll be great!


One of my sons, writing a video game story line. 


I've learned to value connections, feedback, and friendships with volume! Though, I'll admit, I'm still shy about offering my own feedback (my sons can attest to this truth, I love sharing my thoughts and ideas but struggle to form opinions about what others might do different) however I'm more than happy to give it a try!!

I've discovered that the movie I wrote did change my world, and so it's been exactly the gift I hoped it would be, though I didn't know back then how to imagine a different world and so I gave the power to Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres. This, though, this world of editing, connecting, rethinking, reworking, formatting, and enriching my own understanding has made the world my boys are growing up in a better place. So I've already reached my dreams. 

Now, I get to live them loud!! 


One of my sons, assisting on a production and learning the art of directing. 


Friends, don't forget to take action and trust that you can reach your dreams. Know that, yes, it will likely look different when you get there, but the different (as long as you're willing to see it) will be far more enriching and real. Far more uniquely you!!!!

Of course, it would still be kick-ass awesome to be interviewed by Jon Stewart!! Giggle!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Autism Answer: The Flaws and Hopes of an (Extra)Ordinary Family!


One of my boys had a really rough few hours yesterday. Really rough. 

I waited a while (sooooooo hard for me!) before offering too much advice. But when he looked ready, and had invited me to hang out in his room, I sat down on the floor beside him, snuggled in and said offhandedly: 

"You know hun, when you're extraordinary and different, when you're the kind of person who sees things others don't and believes things with the kind of passion that you do, you just won't fit in often. The systems and charts are invented for the most common, and you won't fit. You just won't. And often it'll be hard for you, especially as a teenager but even beyond. Yet, please, always know that you are needed and appreciated. You are exactly what the world needs right now--I'm not trying to put too much pressure on you, but know that. Own that. And when it's hard or hurts to be so extraordinary, snuggle me. Even when you're forty!"

My son gave me one of his extraordinary smiles, poked my cheeks as he always does, and snuggled while we chatted.

After about an hour had passed I headed into the living room where my husband was sulking because he wants to be able to forever protect our children from hurt. He wants our words and examples to be enough. I sat with him on the couch and snuggled in. Stroking his strong, protective arms I admitted:

"Me too. I really do, babe. I guide and follow and example and insist, all because I want to give our boys everything they need to make every moment of their lives feel successful and happy. But we know better, even if we don't want to know better. Every moment of their lives is a step in the direction of success, as long as they choose to see that eventually. We can't make it never hurt, and we can't make it always easy, but we can make it our plan to always give them what we can. To always plant those seeds--so many seeds!--and bask them in rays of hope and love and support so that some of them will blossom. That's what we can do, and babe (here I looked into my husband's sad eyes) that is what we always do. No guilt, okay?"

My husband gave a sigh of understanding, though he didn't entirely allow himself to let go. That's okay. Looking for what more we can do as parents is why we're so connected to our sons and to each other. Sometimes it's why we hurt when we don't have to, and why we cloud our own judgement with a little bit of guilt or self-importance now and then, but that only serves to make us excellent human examples for our children, with flaws and a willingness to see them. So again, a bit of good parenting lives in our mistakes.

After saying lengthy goodnights to our teen sons, my hubby and I went to bed last night comfortable and confident that our lives are fantastic, and we are lucky.

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autism Answer: Declyn's Homework

*Declyn wanted me to share his homework with you. He was told to write an essay on what it would be like if he were from ancient Rome and had been suddenly transported to modern America. I think it's pretty awesome when my boys want to share their stuff with you!! It lets me know that I'm not wrong in feeling like we're all connected, like we're one big fantastical family, in the world and especially here on Autism Answers!! So without further ado, Declyn's homework!*

 Changes

by Declyn Shelton 

     I wasn't always a lawyer for the U.S. I was once a consul, a man of power. I controlled armies, and now I'm being controlled by superiors. Believe me when I say I had power. Whenever I wanted to attack, I would just say it. The biggest problem was Thane, my best friend, who was also a consul; how was I to know that he had magic? I trusted him, but I knew that all he wanted was to rule. My first mistake was to let him get close when I knew his intentions. I was about to make a very important decision that may have made Rome the most powerful nation. I was just about to announce the plan when Thane wanted to talk. Thane said,"Let me ask you something. Are your morals just, or are they wrong? Tell me when you return." In a flash my old life was gone, but a new one began.

     I was lost in a place where everyone was skinny in tight leggings, known as skinny jeans. It was as if everything the Romans achieved was for nothing. All we wanted was the world under one banner. I was surprised, but mostly cautious, due to the change. All I want is to understand how the world has changed, because the wars didn't. The way we fight and what we fight for are the same: religion, power, and land. The culture is not near what it used to be, it used to be about the Gods, but now it's God, Allah, Buddah...etc. One God, that's the most popular of the beliefs here. The way he gives hope is amazing. In Rome we had no hope, but seeing the people of this America is worthwhile. I will try to explain the differences the best I can, but it won't be perfect. I will start with education. 

     The education of Rome was very limited to specific genders. Girls were only taught to read and write, with is very unfair. Here girls have just as much education as boys, more if they want. In this generation so many people gain the ability to learn all important aspects: math, spelling, languages, and much more. In my time only boys were taught about society and the army. I was surprised when I found out most boys don't know how to wield a sword. I was even more shocked with the numbering system. They can count to millions and beyond. 

     The world knows of our actions, I have read about them in history books. Our education hasn't ended it just became so much more. In Rome the boys were rarely interested in politics, but now they are all taught it in school.  

     The economy is much different, compared to ours. The U.S. uses paper, they use it as a form of currency. If it's not paper it's numbers whizzing through the air in a technological sense. Yeah, I know, I'm using worlds like "technological", but that's because I've been here for so long. In Rome we used coins made of silver denarius. Most Romans were farmers, some were slaves owned by rich people, and there were soldiers who brought in the money. The Roman economy was mainly agricultural. The new generation's economy is so diverse that agriculture isn't as important as before. The new economic advances have allowed exponential growth of the world's technology and connections. I believe that the new economy has been the cause of people gaining new cultures and connections, finding new people to care about. The new economy is truly "one leap for mankind". 

     I could go on about all of the changes, and yet it seems unimportant. Everyone I've met in this new generation is looking for the same things we were--power, family, riches, new ideas, alliances--and some people find it while others never do. I don't know what answer I will have for Thane if he ever brings me back to the time we shared. He asked me if my morals were just or were they wrong. But I think I've learned that my morals are both just AND wrong. So I'm doing the best I can with the time I have, it doesn't really matter when. 

# # #

The Time Travelling Author!
Funny, I didn't know Greyhound had destinations that included
time travel. I mean, I know we changed time zones and all....
tee hee!


*Pretty good essay, huh? He wrote it while I was out of town and the only part I had any hand in helping him with was his closing paragraph. The whole thing was finished and already handed in to his teacher before I even got to read it.*

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Short Story~ To Try

*Author's Note: This short story is my answer to Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge. I chose the sentence "I really did try." suggested by Marshskpop. I've never done this before, but my goodness it's fun!! I hope you'll consider picking a sentence and building a story around it as well. Thanks for the challenge Chuck!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I really did try. 

The sentence was vivid and inviting. I could almost feel the evening air and hear the familiar sounds of the forest. In one sentence my dad had created a world; a situation I could feel, a place I could see, and a character I wanted to explore. The sentence was lovely. 

But it was too lovely. The ease with which my dad had jotted it down on the back of a Scrabble score sheet, the way he let it go and offered it to me as though there were many more where that came from served as proof that I was inadequate. A wanna be. A fool with an impossible dream.

If my dad's sentence spoke volumes to me, my look must have spoken equally loud to my dad. The conversation that followed was somewhat stilted, serving to highlight the authentic nature of our silent exchange. 

"That's really good, dad." I had offered, avoiding eye contact. 

"Well," he coughed, "I could come up with a different one if you want."

"No, no," I stammered, "but maybe I'll just try this later." I was rereading the sentence now, again simultaneously admiring and despising it. 

"Maybe you can have something for me when I see you next month? It doesn't have to be perfect, kiddo. Just something, so you can start working toward what you want."

"Maybe...." I muttered.

My dad took a sip of his beer and returned his attention to the ball game on TV. The Toronto Blue Jays were winning so my step-brother was doing some sort of goofy dance on the couch without getting yelled at. I'd noticed during my last few visits that he was getting smart about when to pull his antics. If the Jays were winning he could get away with just about anything, which is powerfully freeing for a six year old boy. 

I, on the other hand, was fourteen and busy feeling a pressure to impress my dad as a grown-up, whether or not the Jays were winning.

But admitting that I wanted badly to be a writer may have been too much. Too soon. 

My dad had been thrilled, and at first that made me beam with pride! However, it wasn't long before his passion colored my pride with fear. I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't know if I could. What if my stories were forever lacking in emotion, or lacking characters that lived and breathed in the heart of readers? What if, as had proven to be a habit, they remained forever unfinished?

When I dared to foolishly admit this last worry out loud, a look I recognized came over my dad. I saw him blanch and become pained, but then he quickly looked excited and filled with air. Had I imagined a fear of not finishing on him, too? There was no time for me to wonder further because he had an idea. 

"I have an idea!" he announced. And while looking for a piece of paper--finally settling on the back of a scrabble score sheet he'd been using during an ongoing game he was playing with his latest wife-- he spilled passion in the form of sharing his idea all over the room. My step-brother even stopped playing with his Ninja Turtles to listen. "I'll write a sentence, one sentence, and you build a story around it. Don't think too hard, don't try to make it perfect, but finish it. That's the most important part! Now, I know you love to read those long impressive novels, but don't try to make yours anything like those. Just make it your own. And please, finish it!"

I found myself getting excited, despite my fears and doubts. What my dad said made sense! Take a story from start to finish first, then dissect and edit and explore it's potential. 

But then, he wrote the sentence. 

"It wasn't really rain, it was a cold drizzle, night was falling fast enough I knew I wouldn't make it out of the forest before dark; I'd have to turn back now or stay the night in this cave--for me, the choice was easy."

He just wrote it. Hardly a moments thought and yet I could feel the cold drizzle and breathe the forest air. The floor of the cave was cold beneath my bare feet. 

When my mom picked me up that night I had every intention of starting my story before bed. 

I really did try. 

* * *

His death two weeks ago was expected, but the loss hurt nonetheless. As my sons studied algebra and French in school, I finally gathered the strength to explore my dad's history. 

I was going through the papers in his desk when I found it. Not hidden away in some secret compartment, or wrapped in an envelope with a note to it's eventual discoverer, but tossed in with the pens, business cards, and paper clips. 

A small notebook with the outline to a novel he'd planned on writing. 

A novel that he'd started, but never finished. 

"I am my father's child," I whispered to the world, hugging the notepad to my chest and shaking my head. 

Looking back down at his outline I remembered the sentence he'd offered me nearly twenty years earlier. Before I could finish wondering if I'd find it in his outline I'd already discovered that it was not there. 

He'd given it to me and he'd let me keep it. I had started to do something with it, I recalled.

I really did try.

Or did I? Did my dad?

Or did we try to try, and instead offer up fears disguised as reasons and justifications? We had kids, jobs, bills, baseball games, all in the way of finishing paragraphs and stories and imaginings. 

We'd seen them as in the way, but really we could see them as reasons to finish. 

I put my dad's outline in an envelope and addressed it to my step-brother. His punk rock band was into writing songs about government conspiracies and lesbian sexpots so I thought he might use dad's story for inspiration. Maybe even finish it as a song. 

My sons came home from school and went through more of my dad's belongings with me, loving especially the Toronto Blue Jays stickers, and insisting on sleeping with them glued to their cheeks. 

After saying goodnight to my boys I sat purposefully before my clunky computer, sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee. 

"It wasn't really rain, it was a cold drizzle, night was falling fast enough I knew I wouldn't make it out of the forest before dark; I'd have to turn back now or stay the night in this cave--for me, the choice was easy."

And, this time, I really did try. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Autism Answer: And That, My Friends, Is Parenting

I picked my son up from school today and he started talking to me before he'd even folded his newly manlike body into the backseat.

"Mom, when I'm sixteen can you please talk to me a lot? Talk to me like you do now, you know, about how I feel and stuff. Right now I'm fourteen so if we just keep talking like we do, and you keep trying, even when I act like I don't want you to, I'll probably stay used to it so that when I'm sixteen it'll help me."

I laughed at the strength of his request. His sixteen year old brother, who was sitting beside me and had been quite relieved to have our own "comfortable" conversation about his day interrupted by his brother, looked back at him with concern. "Don't encourage her!" his entire being seemed to plead.

"Of course I'll talk to you like we do now when you're sixteen! I can't help myself, I'm so darned interested in you and your brothers!! Why on earth are you asking?"

"I looked it up after school today," he replied, struggling to get his seat-belt on simultaneous to shrugging out of his backpack. "Sixteen is an age where a lot of kids commit suicide. If you keep talking to me like you do now, I won't be one of those kids."

Well, the whole car went from silly laughter to serious thoughtfulness in that moment. We were quiet and reflective. We had a mess of thoughts my boys and I--different I'm sure, but equally impressive--until I broke the silence with a question. With a little forced bounce in my manner I asked,"Why were you looking that up?"

"No reason," was his reply. And then he jumped topics with ease, as youngsters often do, and asked his brother about the new shirt he was wearing. "It's pretty orange!" he observed.

The brothers started chatting and I sat in the irony of the moment. My son jumped in the car almost pleading me to talk to him about "how he feels and stuff", and then just left me hanging when I did.

Totally teenager! And I know well that if I pressed him too hard for an answer he'd never want me to talk to him about it again. So I'll spend the week sneaking that same question into different disguises until I have enough of a portrait to put together an almost clear picture.

And that, my friends, is parenting. 


We can't know our kids precisely, but we can honor and respect them entirely. And we can care enough to sit in the irony. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autism Answer: Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself!

We are all living and learning. Some of us start in one place, others in another. Some have challenges with poverty, others with disability and others with prejudice. Heck, most of us probably have a little of it all! There is so much we can gain from one another. Yet I find it much easier to learn from others once we've practiced actively learning from ourselves. ~~


When I was seventeen, I got a job that was perfect for me. It would have been dangerous for me had I gotten it a year or two earlier, and I never would have taken such a job a year or two later. But for seventeen year old me, it offered lessons that would change the trajectory of my life. The choices I made and the things I thought about myself.

I would wake up early every morning to a quiet house, before my mom and sisters and four autistic brothers were up inviting noise and needs into the home. Dressed in grown-up clothes (skirts, blouses and shoes with heels) I would pour myself a cup of coffee and head out to the bus stop with other adults off to start their day. I felt like a woman.

Battling the snow and smiling at strangers, I would pull out a book and read on the hour long commute through the city of Toronto. Arriving at a square, brick, forgettable building that held the office I worked in I would chat with my co-workers and shrug off my long winter coat, stopping momentarily at the water cooler to grab a cup of water and a snippet of gossip before heading to my desk. I felt like a professional.

I would then pick up my phone and begin to telephone people—mostly widowed older ladies—in the United States and introduce myself as Kim Dawson. This was not my real name, but when I had been hired to work for this company they told me to come up with a pseudonym. According to them it would make me feel more comfortable when chatting with strangers and would also keep me safe.

Safe from what? Well, seventeen year old me hadn’t wanted to ask. She only wanted a job that made her feel like a grown-up. So I would telephone people as Kim Dawson and ask them if they were interested in selling the gems in their possession. I knew beforehand that the names and numbers on my list belonged to people who were in possession of jewels, and it was my job to talk them into faxing us the certificates so that we could possibly turn the gems into money for them. As Kim Dawson I was pleasant and excited for these people who were mostly thrilled at the idea! I felt like friend.

However, I did have a few questions that began to get louder over time. Why, for example, did we have to hide in the lobby of our building on more than one occasion just because some strange men were visiting the office? Why did we only phone and request certificates from people who resided in the United States? And what was I being kept safe from when using the name Kim Dawson at work? 

As a seventeen year old who loved the idea of being grown-up, loved being liked (I was quite good at the job), loved being out of the house so that I wouldn’t have to do chores, and loved commuting and feeling like an active part of my favorite city, it was easy to ignore these quiet questions. But as they got louder, I became more and more like the me who I was trying very hard to pretend I wasn’t.

I started flirting more with the men in the office as a distraction. I would avoid getting home at a decent hour and smoke too many cigarettes in coffee shops. I even started adding a shot of Bailys Irish Cream liqueur to my morning coffee, a sad attempt to remind myself that I was being a grown-up.

Two things happened that made me decide to figure out what we were really doing in our office. Firstly, I made one of my routine phone calls and the gentleman on the other end decided to give me a heads-up. “Kim,” he began, “if that is even your real name, you sound like a nice young lady. But what you guys are doing is morally and legally wrong. You take from people who are hopeful and then you take some more. You take until they have nothing left to give. I don’t know how aware you are of what is really happening where you work, but I suggest you open your eyes.” The fifteen year old me would have ignored him and continued with the flirting and high heeled shoe wearing. But I wasn’t fifteen anymore, and I wanted to not only feel like a grown-up, by to try acting like one too. So, I asked one of our sales guys what exactly it was he did. His honesty and lack of empathy surprised and frightened me.

“It’s so cool!” he told me with excitement, “I call these people up and tell them that I have a buyer for their piece, but the buyer only wants to get a set of gems. So I tell them that if they buy the missing piece from someone I have lined up, they can get tons of money. They usually go for it, and then I say—guess what? I can get you even more if you buy this other piece.—and I do that until they catch on and stop sending us money. They never actually get anything from us, it’s all a hoax, but I’m really good at it!”

I didn’t know what to say, and so I just told him I wasn’t surprised that he was good at it and headed to my desk. I sat and ran all sorts of justifications through my head. I wasn’t in sales; all I did was get the certificates. And no one can be taken advantage of if they don’t let themselves. And it’s just a job, and I get a paycheck. That’s all.

But when one of the bosses-- a very old man with a large veiny nose-- asked if I wanted to ride with him to pick up sandwiches, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I had to get out of there and possibly ask him if there was any truth to what we were doing. However, as soon as we got into his car I knew that I was going to chicken out. We rode in silence to the Deli, and before I could get out of the passenger seat his hands and old man lips were all over me. I just kind of let him kiss me and tell me I was sexy and touch my breasts. Then we got some sandwiches and headed back to the office. I felt like my old self.

The next morning I made it to the bus stop, but I didn’t get on the bus. I walked to the nearest payphone and called work. I told the receptionist I wasn’t going to make it in, I wasn’t feeling well. Then I walked to the donut shop near our home, the one where I had gotten my very first job, and ordered coffee.  I figured it was time to have a little chat with myself.

I couldn’t go back to the office. I couldn’t make those phone calls knowing what I knew. And I knew that if the old man asked me back into his car, I wouldn’t have the guts to say no. I also didn’t have the guts to call anyone—police, FBI—whoever it is you call when you know about illegal practices. Heck, I didn’t even have the guts to call and quit the job properly. I knew that day in the coffee shop that I would never go back, but that I wasn’t even brave enough to tell them so. I was not feeling very grown-up.

Ordering a second cup of Joe I started to think about a few other things. There were many people in that office that were going to work knowing full well what they were up to. There were people who were happily asking seventeen year old girls into their car only to cop a feel and eat a sandwich. I was making an intentional decision not to be one of them, and that counted for something.

And the old me would have gone back, in order to seem nice and like a team player. The fifteen year old me would have pretended she liked being felt up by the old man because his interest in her meant she was mature. She would have even thought that it meant he wanted to leave his wife for her. Her head would have been so filled with the need to feel grown-up and desirable that it wouldn’t matter if the old man was stinky and ugly and just plain gross.

Sitting there sipping coffee I realized that I was growing-up. That, although I had much more to learn and more stepping-up to do, I was doing the best I could with what I knew, and I was opening my eyes.

This learning has been huge for me over the years. As an individual, as a friend, and as a mom. To remember that we are all at a different place in our growing-up and that there is no ending point.  To remember that though another person would have had the guts to say no at the age of fifteen, it didn’t mean there was something wrong with me that I was learning it when I was seventeen. We all learn different lessons at different times, and they seem to be the same lessons over and over and over, just with more awareness and understanding that comes with experience. Making the lessons bigger and more all-encompassing.

It also meant a lot to me that, had I not been challenged by a random stranger on the phone, I may not have discovered exactly what we were up to until I was more deeply involved. Till I felt the need to look at it only from how I benefit, as the sales man who spilled the beans to me must have. It reminds me to share what I know with others, always with kindness (if he had yelled at me, I likely would not have listened) and always with an understanding that they may not know.  And that they may just now be ready to.

I have made most of those same mistakes over and over in my life. Not asking for information when things seem a little off, not saying ‘no’ to horny old men, not stepping-up when I see things that seem wrong, doing things only to seem grown-up or nice or smart or open minded. But I have also done them less and less, and gotten better at forgiving myself and sharing with honesty.

I am spending a lifetime spinning in circles and learning from myself. And I’ll admit, it’s a dance I enjoy!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

# # #





Authors note: Inspiration for this piece came from listening to the song CRAZY TO SANE by Lynette Louise. The lyrics ‘Spinning in circles and laughing to myself’ had me laughing AT myself, and wanting to share!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Book Review: Dirty Virgin ~ by Jessica Sitomer

Sassy, sexy, and sneakily insightful! 

That's how I would describe Jessica Sitomer's delicious read, Dirty Virgin: A Romantic Comedy Girl's Self Inflicted 12 Step Program for Finding Her Happily Ever After.

I met the author briefly at a conference in Los Angeles, and immediately fell in love with her energy and smile. Here was a woman whose life couldn't be more different than mine--and yet I felt a kindred spirit. Ladies, can't we tell when we meet someone who loves to think and wonder and take responsibility for who they are? Don't we feel a "we get each other" vibe when meeting another chickie-babe with a desire to discover herself with intention and an eye on moving forward?

Yes we do! Unless of course, we don't, but then... folks who don't aren't likely hanging out on my blog now, are they?? tee hee!

The main character in Jessica's book is the chronically hard working RCG - aka - Romantic Comedy Girl - aka - Reese Channing Gibson, and much like the movies she fashions ideas of love and romance after, her tale is a delightful romp into the very challenging world of life and romance. The road to finding our "Prince Charming" can be fraught with dragons (hurt hearts), evil step-sisters (bad habits), cruel kings (mis- communications that tear our world apart) and wart bedazzled witches (addictions we simply don't want to acknowledge as "a big deal") and Reese shares her hard truths in this adventurous tale with a big dose of fun!

Beginning with creating her very own 12 step program fashioned after the many programs that have helped countless others, but personalizing it for her own goals and her own personality. With steps as brilliant and diverse as "Make Decisions to Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health" to "Stop Comparing Yourself to Others" and--one of my favorites!--"Embrace Embarrassment You're not Perfect". 

Okay my friends, I have to admit to being surprised by how much of me I could see in this sexy single looking-for-love lady! I fully expected to enjoy the story, but never imagined I'd totally get her! 

I've never thought about my relationships with men the way Reese does, but as you all know I'm "addicted" to breaking down, making stories of, and learning from my relationship with my sons. Who, it just so happens, are men. Huh, interesting.... but I don't want to start tangentalizing! (Read the book, you'll get it!)

The point is, we discover more about ourselves, and people in general, when we take the time to both enjoy and examine who we are and what we attract in our relationships. With friends, lovers, wives, siblings, children, teachers, yoga instructors.... who are we with them? What do we attract and encourage from them?

While we take each step with Reese, the clever and sexy and fabulous friend that is the book's heroine, we are encouraged to do a bit of fun and thoughtful introspection ourselves.

And with a drink in our hands!!

As a non-drinker Reese loves to "look like a party without having a party in her glass" and so each chapter comes with a corresponding drink and recipe. Both dirty and virgin. 

Of course, I was drinking coffee..... shhhhh! Don't tell Reese! Giggle!

Ladies, this book is for you. Married or single or somewhere in between, you'll find fun and comfort in these pages. And because most of my followers enjoy reading blogs (okay, I didn't do the research but since this is a blog and you're here, I brazenly made the assumption!) you'll appreciate the many blog posts weaved into the story. Truly, we writers can all imagine gong back to our posts and examining ourselves in much the same way Reese does!

So I say grab a glass, mix up a dirty virgin Mimosa (recipe on pg. 25 of the book) and make a few new friends in the pages of the sassy, sexy, and sneakily insightful Dirty Virgin. 

Step 1: Purchase the fun on Amazon

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Book Title: Dirty Virgin: A Romantic Comedy Girl's Self Inflicted 12 Step Program For Finding Her Happily Ever After
Author: Jessica Sitomer 
Cover Design: Kathy Hoffman
Publisher: Greenlight Publishing
Number of Pages: 389
Fiction
Buy the book on Amazon
Check out the Dirty Virgin Sisterhood site!