Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

Jack Wendell, protagonist of the Vampire Syndrome Saga, would like to wish everyone in the world a Happy World Down Syndrome Day! #worlddownsyndromeday

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Misconceptions About Down Syndrome

Huffington Post UK: 12 Common Misconceptions About Down Syndrome

The twelve misconceptions listed in this article are important to understand, but they are only the beginning.

In fact, the major driving force behind my creation of the Vampire Syndrome Saga isn’t any of these twelve. The central message of my saga is “Cunning, quick wit and high IQ scores do not equal wisdom.”

A rabid Vampire’s bite thrusts my protagonist Jack Wendell into a world of rapacious, reclusive human monsters who foist quick and lethal judgments upon those they consider to be “too slow” to survive and thrive in their cloaked domain. Soon after, the Venator law enforcers find Jack to be a much more difficult target than they ever suspected. Assuming they could even find Jack in the first place. Try as they may, they fail to realize Jack has a simple yet unimpeachable wisdom guiding his lightning legs across the numerous routes of his elusive escapes. Like many other humans (Vampires or not), the Venators over-think and over-analyze themselves into an inability to compete with those who just do the right things at the right times. The zen of Jack, inverting the concept of ‘disability’ into super-ability. Within the Venators’ pursued “mongoloid” beats a heart as fearless as the Mongol warriors of legend.

Jack’s continued survival unlocks a key the Venators had been burying within all of their previous ‘special’ victims. The key to a possible peace with the fearsome Pure Vampires, shark-like alien carnivores who strike terror in the hearts of all human vampires. Yet the Pures sense something inside Jack that no other human Vampire can match.

The major misconception humans (Vampires or otherwise) make about Down Syndrome is that the average person tends to equate speech level with cognition level. The perception persists that individuals with Down Syndrome have ‘slow’ cognition to match their ‘slow’ speech. If this line of thought was true, mute persons would have no cognition. And we all know that isn’t true.

In the Vampire Syndrome Saga, you are inside Jack’s head, free of the perceived limitations of ‘slow’ speech. From within Jack, you can see the difference between his thoughts and his verbiage. It has been said that people with Down Syndrome have to expend twice as much brainpower as a “normal” person to make the same amount of speech. Which accounts for Jack’s stammering, saying thoughts out loud intentionally, speech-stumbling over certain words, etc.

Some of my readers have commented that Jack seems “too cognizant” for a person with Down Syndrome (never mind that his 90 IQ is quite close to the statistical ‘norm’ of 100, more than enough for fully functional reasoning).

Other persons who have read my book have Down Syndrome, or close family members with Down Syndrome. And all of them so far have told me they consider Jack to be right on target. Guess whose opinions matter more to me. ;-)

Why PDMI Publishing, LLC Matters To Me

As “Vampire Conspiracy” (book two of the Vampire Syndrome Saga) hits the editing room of PDMI Publishing, LLC, I think this is the perfect time to reflect on how I got here, and why I’m still here.

Back in the last days of 2012, a tiny upstart publisher by the name of PDMI Freelance Publishing was beginning to put some big plans into motion. PDMI sought to change its business model from “freelance” publishing (publishing books by commission of their authors) to a full-line traditional publisher. A small company, with a big dream.

My experiences with submitting my work to the Big Five in 2012 showed me that New York Publishing’s ever-narrowing marketing criteria was leaving a void in the literary marketplace, enough to support dozens of independent traditional publishers of the size PDMI has since become. So what I was searching for was a company with a vision for literary quality and originality, where my work would truly be at home. The size of the company didn’t matter, their mission was what mattered to me.

By the end of 2012, PDMI had signed two authors under traditional publishing contracts. Emily Guido, and myself. By September 2013, PDMI’s transition to PDMI Publishing, LLC, an independent traditional publisher, was complete.

Not that there haven’t been a few rocky paths along PDMI’s hike up the “mid-size” publisher mountain. The transition to traditional publishing was carrying some baggage from PDMI’s old freelance days. Some “squeaky wheels” needed new bearings, or even outright replacement. A few of the “freelance” authors were not happy with PDMI’s transition to traditional publishing, as can be expected.

Once PDMI fully transitioned to traditional publishing, they have grown by leaps and bounds. The dozens of people now with PDMI realize the company’s mission is to grow into a publisher big enough to be reckoned with. Something that will not happen overnight, or without a few growing pains at crucial stages.

I bring this to your attention, because of late there have been a few scattered voices of dissent, of the opinion that PDMI is “growing too fast.” The Big Five’s ever-contracting business models make me extremely happy that I’m with a publisher that’s willing and able to grow, one with a true mission to put authors’ personal visions into print, a company not afraid to take a few risks that must be taken, to achieve the “big dream” and a brighter future. The Big Five’s contractions leave more and more room for those “proud few” who have the vision to grow.

PDMI has charted their growth course very well, but not without having to pass through some rocky waters. The Editorial Department has had to be beefed up to cover the additional workload, by hiring new editors, and also hiring a software developer to design custom programs to facilitate much faster author/editor communications, with both parties working on the same Office 365 manuscript to make sure authors and editors are (literally) on the same page.

I signed with PDMI in December 2012, because even then, the company’s mission showed me they were on track to become what they are now, and are still on the right path to the right future. A few may have taken an Editorial backlog as a sign of “too-rapid expansion”, but I know such problems are akin to raising children. Even a child who grows to surpass your wildest dreams will not have a perfect childhood. We all have rocky paths along our roads to achievement. You can see the rocks as insurmountable boulders, or see them for what they really are: A life experience we must learn from and overcome, to get to the peak of the mountain.

PDMI Banner 2014

Trending: The Collective Consciousness

Kirkus Reviews – Q&A: Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency

I also find it fascinating that as an agent, I’ll suddenly see a slew of similar-type stories cross the transom via query letters or sample pages—as if writers are somehow unconsciously tapping into some cultural zeitgeist all at the same time. Creative synchronicity in the world.

Like Kristin, I am fascinated by the ‘trends’ agents see in their queries from authors. When many authors are working on similar projects at once (without knowledge of each others’ work), it suggests a ‘collective consciousness of creation’ echoed in the world of invention. Several people ‘invented’ wireless radio, but Marconi gets the credit. Edison’s DC current notwithstanding, our world runs on Tesla’s AC current, and we are finally ‘beginning’ to use the wireless power Tesla demonstrated over a century ago.
If YA/New Adult characters with special needs ever become a ‘trend’, I’ll be able to say I was way ahead of that curve

Leonard Nimoy #LLAP

Nimoy’s autobiographies were titled “I Am Not Spock” and “I Am Spock”. The younger Nimoy wanted to show the world he was much more than Mr. Spock (which, of course, he was!), and the older Nimoy fully realized the incredible impact his beloved character had on the world. Gene Roddenberry’s vision endures because great people like Leonard Nimoy embodied that vision, and made it a part of our culture.
‪#‎RIPLeonardNimoy‬, a shining star whose light leads us to the better way. ‪#‎LLAP‬

Leonard Nimoy Final Tweet

NY Times: Leonard Nimoy Was Not (Only) Spock)

Be Proud of Them All

Daven Anderson:

All the special people I’ve worked with over the past 25 years inspired me to create the Vampire Syndrome Saga, centered on Jack Wendell, a newly-turned vampire with Down Syndrome. I hope to reach readers who wouldn’t otherwise read a story about a young man with Down Syndrome, for it is they who most need to know the humanity inside.
Thank you Marla and Juliette for sharing the stories of people similar to the coworkers who inspired me! :-)

Originally posted on Stories that Must Not Die:

The following ramblings (in her own words) were submitted by Juliette, from VampireMaman and WestCoastReview, while she was thinking through some unedited thoughts and memories.  We here at STMND think her ramblings are well worth reading through, appreciating, learning from, and spreading across the blogosphere.

  …………………………………………

I often see special needs teens when I pick up my daughter at school. I always tell her how different it was when I was growing up. The special kids I see now are fashionably dressed, usually have great hair and are walking along like all the other teens.

So what are my experiences from the deep dark past?

My family has so many skeletons in the closet that it is starting to look like the famous scene in the Marx Brother Movie “Night at the Opera”.  You know the one where people keep coming into a teeny tiny little room and eventually…

View original 1,400 more words

Why Authors Should Pay Attention To Gravity

Well, okay, you should always pay attention to gravity (as in the earth’s natural force), but there is another, graver “Gravity” story you need to know.

Kristin Nelson Pub Rants Article: “Why Authors Should Pay Attention To Gravity”

Quick Summary: Bestselling author Tess Gerritsen brought the suit making a claim that the movie was based on her book that New Line Productions had optioned in 1999. Warner Bros. acquired New Line studios and what is in question is whether Warner Bros, after the acquisition, is required to honor the New Line option agreement.

One thing Nelson didn’t touch on is the possible ramifications for those who are (specifically) pursuing “indie” film adaptations of their novels. For example, it might be quite possible your “vampire novel” is more akin to the artistic spirit of successful recent indie vampire films such as Let The Right One In/Let Me In, Byzantium, Only Lovers Left Alive and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night than middling ‘major’ projects such as Vampire Academy and Dracula: Untold.

If a major studio buys out your indie film producer(s), a situation like Tess Gerritsen’s could easily happen. Authors pursuing indie projects will have to trust their “gut feelings” that the producers are committed to crafting the films that Hollywood won’t or can’t do. :twisted:

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