TWENTY MINUTES LATE

Today is publication day! Or part of it, anyway. As of about noon today, my young adult mystery, Twenty Minutes Late, can be had from its publisher, fireandiceya.com. Four to six weeks from now it will be available for Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, as well as print versions from both.

Basically, the story is this:

Cree arrives late for her babysitting job to find the mother gone, the older child in a daze, and the baby missing without a trace. The police, the neighborhood searchers, even the FBI can find no clues. At school Cree makes a new friend, a girl with troubles of her own. Maddie has just escaped from an obsessed and violent boyfriend who continues to stalk her. Her handsome brother Ben, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is also accused of stalking, although in his case it was unintentional. Cree and Maddie team up to find some answers. But there are those who don’t want the answers found. As things come to a head, Cree finds an odd connection between the two cases. If she can live to tell about it.

Twenty Minutes was originally inspired by the ordeal of Ryo Kiyan, which is mostly what this blog had been about. That by itself made for a depressing and not very exciting plotline, so I added the mystery, which is the primary plot. The Asperger situation is more of a subplot but is intermingled with the mystery, and the young man’s complainant is given a concrete motivation for her fears. The whole thing seemed just right for a young adult book, so that’s what it is, with characters in their mid-to-late teens.

The first six books I ever published, many, many years ago, were for young adults, issued by such houses as Doubleday, David McKay, and Random House. After that I had a happy career writing adult suspense for Dodd, Mead, keeping company with such authors as Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters (they are the same person), as well as Agatha Christie. Her books were originally published in the UK, then re-issued in the US by Dodd, Mead.

Unfortunately Dodd, Mead fell on hard times and was taken over by a starry-eyed young woman who had more knowledge of books than business practices. She obtained her financing from a venture capitalist, and in her naïveté didn’t realize she was hooking up with a crook. I have it on good authority that he gutted the company for his own profit, and that was the end of that honeymoon.

At the time they shut down, the new Dodd, Mead (the venture capitalist) owed me $9,000 in royalties. In their official letter, they offered 7 cents on the dollar, as well as the chance to purchase the rights to my own books.

The whole offer was ridiculous and I refused. I had a contract with Dodd, Mead, and the money they owed me had already been earned through my own creative labors. In an effort to get rid of me, they offered dribs and drabs. Finally, their closing seemed so imminent I was afraid I would end up with nothing, so I reluctantly accepted 33 cents on the dollar, and demanded that the rights revert to me at no charge, which they should. The rest of my earnings, he kept. In those days, before print-on-demand, books were printed in large quantities and warehoused. I found out later that said venture capitalist really needed that money of mine. He hadn’t paid his warehouse bill, so the warehouse owners locked their doors and wouldn’t release any more books. (To me that seems counterproductive, but as the heroine of my current work-in-progress would say, What do I know?) It was an especially bitter blow, as my last two Dodd, Mead books had been Doubleday Book Club alternates and now were no longer available for sale.

Fire and Ice, the young adult imprint of Melange Books, is a much smaller publisher than Dodd, Mead, but more stable. No venture capitalists on the horizon. I’m sure not all vent caps can be crooked, but the very term has bad connotations for me.

That’s enough of blowing my stack about vent caps. It was years ago, but it still rankles. Today is a new day, Publication Day for Twenty Minutes Late.

I had wanted to add a photo of my book cover but once again WordPress is making it nearly impossible to insert a photo. It used to be so easy. My profound apologies.

11 thoughts on “TWENTY MINUTES LATE

  1. “Maddie has just escaped from an obsessed and violent boyfriend who continues to stalk her. Her handsome brother Ben, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is accused of the same kind of behavior, although in his case it was unintentional.”

    I see.

    Trying to teach the next generation of adolescent girls to lie back and think of autism if their boyfriends do violent behaviors to them, just in case the violent ones have autism and just haven’t gone to get diagnoses of it yet…

    • The violent guy was *not* the one with Asperger’s. The violent guy was the normal-seeming football jock. By and large people with Asperger’s are not prone to violence. For further enlightenment, read my whole blog, or better yet, read the book.

      On Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 12:57 PM, carolinecrane

      • By and large people who do violent behavior are by definition prone to violence, no matter what their neurotypes and no matter what other behavior other people with their neurotypes do.

        “,,,accused of the same kind of behavior, although in his case it was unintentional” sure means that Ben did the same *actions* as the violent guy did, only with a different *motivation*.

        You’re a professional writer. If you *didn’t* mean that Ben did the same kind of actions as the violent guy did, then you *wouldn’t* have written that. You’d have written something else – for one possible example, “,,,accused of the same kind of behavior, although in his case he didn’t behave that way in the first place…”

        Meanwhile, sure Maddie could know that her obsessed and violent boyfriend doesn’t have autism, because both characters are figments of the same person’s imagination.

        IRL, a girl can never be sure that someone *else* such as her boyfriend doesn’t have autism, because they’re separate people – for all she knows, even a normal-seeming “jock” does have autism and just hasn’t gone to a doctor for a diagnosis yet…

  2. After reading your blog in it’s entirety, I feel there are many issues. First, I am so sorry to hear of Ryo’s passing, his story being truly tragic. I personally understand that your blog is not only therapeutic but fulfills a need to try and inform people about Asperger’s. The Asperger’s community is full of information and has a never-ending need to get more information that will help them deal with their loved-ones. I have a relative with Asperger’s and we constantly try to be informed.

    Then there is the “neuro-typical” majority, in which Aspies are thrown into society with, where they need to function in. This is the hard part, and see the purpose of your blog, that is to trying to inform people of how Aspies work, some Aspies being worse than others. You are not asking that they be treated differently but that one’s approach to them can significantly make a difference in outcomes to their social situations.

    Ryo was quite intelligent and he is to be applauded to self-diagnose his condition and then be formally diagnosed. What he needed was an advocate to lean on, like Jesse, however, I’m not sure if Aspies have the recognition to seek out help or do they keep to themselves?

    I find it a shame that comments by “Grace” have picked this forum to label all Aspies in the same way as her perpetrator. And it’s unfortunate that she makes claims where Ryo can’t defend himself anymore. Yes, I also have been victim to a obsessive, persistent male, who became my nightmare over a period of years. He wasn’t an Aspie and you don’t have to be an Aspie to have any of these traits but I don’t label all neuro-typical males to the point where I disassociate myself from them. Besides, something’s not right in which she lost her job because of her failure to show up to a good-bye lunch. There’s more to it.

    I will say that I have been exposed in the workplace to certain individuals with behavioral problems. Even though this one particular male was a good person, his ailment made him socially dysfunctional around the workplace, though he was extremely good at his job, everyone stayed away from him. I was one of the few who had any patience with the guy and to figure out how to talk with him, warn him when his behavior was out of sorts and we ended up becoming good friends. Understanding the ailment and the personality, produced an environment where we could co-exist in a positive, productive way.

    Aspies and autistic people have a right to co-exist with neuro-typicals. Denying their rights and their out-of-the-norm view of things, denies their existence. Knowledge is the first step. My husband works with someone with Asperger’s but finds himself losing patience with his co-worker and is now about to read the books that were suggested in this blog, to better educate himself about Asperger’s. He finds it necessary in order to improve his work environment. Thus the first step.

    Looking forward to your next entry in your blog, Caroline.

    • “…Yes, I also have been victim to a obsessive, persistent male, who became my nightmare over a period of years. He wasn’t an Aspie…”

      You considered his persistence nightmarish. I’d say that you had every right to do that!

      Some other people might have told you to give him the benefit of the doubt, to think that he might be “Aspie,” and to accept whatever he did to you just in case he meant well by it. Since that’s what Caroline wanted the coworker Ryo targeted to do, and you agree with Caroline, then how come you consider yourself victimized by “a obsessive, persistent male” and say he “wasn’t an Aspie” instead of welcoming him, calling his behavior oddball and quirky, and considering him an “Aspie” who might not have an official diagnosis yet?

      “You are not asking that they be treated differently”

      Actually, she is.

      “I find it a shame that comments by “Grace” have picked this forum to label all Aspies in the same way as her perpetrator.”

      Grace did not do that. She did not liken all autists or “Aspies” to her perpetrator, she likened people *who do what her perpetrator did, no matter if they have Autism or not* to her perpetrator. There’s a difference!

    • “I was one of the few who had any patience with the guy and to figure out how to talk with him, warn him when his behavior was out of sorts”

      You were a good friend to him! Everyone, no matter what neurotype, can sometimes use some advice from others to avoid getting in trouble. He would have been worse off if you *didn’t* warn him when his behavior was out of sorts, and instead encouraged that behavior and told everyone else to accept it for being different (not everything different is bad! not everything different is good either – some different things are good, some are bad, and that’s because different things can be different *from each other* instead of only different from normal).

    • “This is the hard part, and see the purpose of your blog, that is to trying to inform people of how Aspies work, some Aspies being worse than others. ”

      with nada, zip, zero about HOW she expects us to tell the difference in the first place between someone doing something because of Asperger’s and someone doing the exact same thing because of a different reason.

      I am very very glad that minorities such as Aspies aren’t forced to wear labels on their clothes or around their necks making it obvious which minorities they are in!

  3. Reader, I stand corrected. Caroline does ask that Aspies be treated differently. But there does seem to be different levels of behavior just within Asperger’s. Grace was unfortunately, victimized by an Aspie who’s behavior was extreme. Miss M. victimized by Ryo, who’s persistence was considered a threat, seemed not as extreme. I don’t know. Are there different levels of behavior in this syndrome? Some seem highly functional. For the record, my perpetrator was diagnosed with other behavioral conditions but was not diagnosed as an Aspie.

    Bottom line, we need to learn more about Asperger’s (or at least I do) and understand how we can deal with them in social situations, what are the triggers to certain behaviors, etc. More information needs to be available to others not only relatives of Asperger’s but to those who need to deal with these behaviors on a day to day basis. I am still trying to learn for various reasons and this blog has opened up some new questions in my thought process in how to deal with Aspies and in trying to research this behavior.

    • “Are there different levels of behavior in this syndrome? ”

      Doctors in the U.S. don’t diagnose people with autism as having “Asperger’s” or not anymore, they count everyone with autism as having ASD (autism spectrum disorder/difference/etc.). Calling it a spectrum recognizes that there are many different levels of behavior among people who have autism, including the ones who used to get diagnoses of “Asperger’s”!

      Once you include the people who *don’t* have autism but diagnose *themselves* with “Asperger’s” (like in the article http://nymag.com/news/features/autism-spectrum-2012-11/index3.htmlat ), then you’ve just seen even more levels of behavior under the “Aspie” umbrella.

      The of course there’s different levels of behavior among everyone whyether under the “Aspie” umbrella or not, and the *same person* can have different levels of behavior in different situations!

      “For the record, my perpetrator was diagnosed with other behavioral conditions but was not diagnosed as an Aspie.”

      There you go. Maybe in the future he’ll diagnose himself as having been “Aspie” the whole time, as long as he’s alive the rest of us can never be 100% certain that he won’t.

  4. Actually, I would like to apologize to Grace. Didn’t mean to sound so judgmental. I guess I started responding right after reading through the blog and got off target too. Grace’s experience is horrific and frightening. Something no one should have to suffer through.

    I will leave it to say that I have gotten a lot out of this blog as it pertains to Asperger’s but still have many questions about it.

    • “Something no one should have to suffer through.”

      That’s so true! No one should have to suffer through it no matter if the person doing it does or doesn’t have autism – and no matter if the person suffering through it does or doesn’t have autism.

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