How to Write Aspie Characters

How can a writer portray a character with Asperger Syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism) realistically? Even writers who actually have Asperger Syndrome themselves may have difficulty.

One of the troubles these days is that Asperger Syndrome has been folded in the label ‘autism spectrum disorder’ along with Kanner’s autism (which is often low-functioning autism.) Since Aspies often have high intelligence and are very verbal and may have ambitions to be writers, they don’t have much in common with a person who has Kanner’s autism, is believed to have a low IQ, and never learns to speak.

I remember an experience of my own with the diagnosis changed. I told the lady at the Michigan food distribution that I had an ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and she presumed I would be unable to sign my own name on a form. She was probably looking about for my ‘caregiver.’ As a person cursed with a Mensa-level IQ, I didn’t like that. My intelligence is one of the few possibly-good things about me and I am testy when people presume I don’t have any.

To write an Aspie character you need to learn more about actual people with Asperger Syndrome from good sources. It’s not the same as having ‘autism’ and, contrary to news reports, it’s nothing like being a sociopath. The organism Autism Speaks, oriented towards parents of young children with autism, isn’t very helpful in learning about people with Asperger Syndrome. Even the diagnosis lists on good web sites don’t actually give you a good picture for character creation.

A few years ago I found a children’s book called ‘All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome’ by Kathy Hoopman. Yeah, it’s a kid’s book, but I liked it enough to bring it to a session with my then-therapist and we spend a few sessions going through the few pages and comparing it to my life. (It’s a great book for Aspies or their parents to give to significant people to explain the condition because it’s a quick read and has cute cat pictures. Get this book!)

I was not diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome until adult life— in school I was diagnosed as being a lazy troublemaker, or shy, or sad, or needing to go to a therapist. I associate my Aspie status with my being bullied by kids in school, humiliating experiences of misunderstanding by teachers, loving books, and massive fandom for TV shows like Star Trek and Dark Shadows. 

It’s not untypical for an Aspie like me, who moved from city to city in childhood, that I grew up with zero friends after a certain age. But once I got internet access as a adult, I had a few online friends, initially from my blog and later from Facebook (which I joined to gain more readers for my blog.) I even have friends with Asperger Syndrome, officially diagnosed and self-diagnosed. I’m in a couple of Facebook groups for Aspies, and so I’ve learned that different Aspies have different ideas of what is ‘typical’ for Aspies. Also, I’m not sure that the online Aspies are actually sharing all the gory details of their real lives— though many of us share too much! 

When writing an Aspie, even if you are an Aspie, you have to trim back some of your knowledge when creating a character. You can mainly pattern your Aspie character after two or three real-world Aspies that you know or have read about. Take a trait from one and a trait from another. Some Aspies have real-world friends, others don’t. Some lack most social skills, others have more such skills. And sometimes an Aspie person just seems to have contradictory traits. I myself am afraid to initiate phone calls and find it stressful. I can’t even call some family members that seem to care about me, I’m afraid to disturb them. Yet I phone my mother (who’s in her 90s) every single day (we both seem to be ‘addicted’ to that contact.)

I believe our Aspie characters have to serve a greater purpose in our fiction than virtue-signalling support for the ‘differently-able.’ They should have an important role in the story or not exist at all. It’s probably better to pick a character that you already suspect must exist in the story and give him Asperger Syndrome. Pick the set of symptoms for that character that still allows him to do the things you need him to do in the story. For example, if your Aspie is a receptionist for your hard-boiled private detective, she will probably need minimal phone skills much of the time. If your Aspie character will have to talk to a lot of other people, he should somewhat able to talk to other people, though it may be difficult for him. 

So good luck in creating your Aspie characters! If you do it well— or do it poorly but tell a good story— I may count myself as one of your readers some day.

Finding Your Genres #IWSG

It’s not enough to aspire to be a real writer— you have to be a writer OF something. That’s where genres come in.

A genre is a book-selling category. If you go into a real-world bookstore, there may be a section of science fiction and fantasy, a section of mysteries, a section of romance. In a big bookstore there may even be a bit of literary fiction around somewhere. 

Genres are the way most of us find stuff to read. We learn that certain genres reliably give us a good reading experience and other genres do not. We pick up Westerns or mysteries or thrillers or military SF or gothic romance or whatever other kind of book we have learned delivers the kind of story we want.

When you are becoming a writer, part of the job is developing a self-identity as a writer. And writers are known by the genres they work in— there are romance writers and horror writers and Western writers and science fiction writers. 

Of course there are writers who write in multiple genres, or who write a book in one genre but then write in a different genre— as in the case of Louis L’Amour, whose first published book was poetry and wrote many many Western novels, which are still in print today. 

But your writer-identity ought to have one or more genres connected to it. It’s not a limiting thing— you are still free to write and publish what you like— but it helps you think of which playing-field you will likely be working in. But how do you figure out what genre(s) to pick?

What Genres do you Read?

When you are reading for your own pleasure, what genres are you most likely to pick? Don’t be ashamed of what you like— even if your English prof told you that intelligent people only read literary fiction, that doesn’t mean you should feel bad for reading things you actually enjoy. Learning to be a good writer— of ANY genre— means a lot of reading since if you are a Regency romance writer you need to learn what current writers are doing IN THAT GENRE. It’s easier to do that reading if you don’t hate the genre!

What Genres do you get ideas in?

Some well-known writers enjoy READING in certain genres, but they don’t really THINK in that genre. They may read every science fiction novel that comes out, but their brains don’t come up with valid science-fiction story ideas. Or they may love historical fiction but not be able to do the massive amount of research involved. (I might want to set a story in the Roman empire but I don’t speak Latin well, and don’t have access to a library that would have the books I’d need for research or the money to buy a library’s worth of books about Roman history, so any mystery novel ideas I have where the Emperor Claudius solves crimes will have to remain unwritten.)

What Genres currently sell well?

This is where many aspiring writers go astray. They think the genre they love doesn’t sell or is too competitive so they randomly pick a genre that’s currently ‘hot.’ But if you think Amish romance or Dystopian YA is utter dreck, you will likely not be able to write in that genre in a way that fans of that genre will appreciate. 

But there is room for writing in popular genres in the world of writing. The top Gothic romance authors, when the genre tanked, called their books Romantic Suspense and kept on writing. Fantasy writers might try writing some ‘paranormal romance’ if that category is selling. Science fiction writers might try a ‘dystopian YA’ novel, especially of some of their science fiction novels have been described under that term. 

Even when you are a mere unpublished— not even indie published— writer, picking your genre(s,) reading in your genre(s,) and thinking of yourself as a future writer in those genre(s) is a good step towards becoming a writer for real. And that’s always a good thing.

What genres do you read? Get ideas in? Write? Publish? Are there other genres you might like to try someday? Share about it in a comment!

Yours in genre-identity,

Nissa Annakindt

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This was a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Need to know more about book marketing? Read ‘How to Market a Book’ by Joanna Penn. (Not my book, not a paid ad. Just a recommendation.)

Is Your Writing Life an Utter Failure?

Have you ever felt like this? ‘My writing life is hopeless! I will never write anything worthwhile. I will never get the kind of publication that really counts. (Or ‘My books will never well because I will never know enough about book marketing.’) Everything I think I’ve learned to do a little bit well is really just superficial or commercial and therefore does not count as writing skill. My plots are either unoriginal dreck, or too darn original for anyone to relate to, or possibly both at once. My characters are cardboard and I am DOOMED! DOOMED! DOOMED! as a writer.’ 

Even writers who have been selling for years and made the REAL bestseller lists multiple times can feel like this. It’s called ‘imposter syndrome.’ You avoid the scary thing of writing success by attributing every good part of your writing to a fluke; and believing that if people REALLY knew about you, your success would disappear as you would be exposed as a fraud.

Imposter syndrome is bull! No one gives up a favorite writer because they suddenly think that writer is a fraud. Fiction writers are people who lie for a living. Readers are gonna give up their favorite writers because those lying writers are lying? Which is their job?

Personal integrity is not required for writers. The late Marion Zimmer Bradley’s support for her husband’s fairly open pursuit of underaged boys didn’t kill her writing career during her lifetime, or even after.  Authors who publish CBA Christian fiction might lose their contracts if they are revealed as not being real Evangelical Christians. But imagine this scenario: a popular writer of Christian romance novels is revealed as being an atheist male death-row inmate. Can you imagine that he WOULDN’T get a new publisher and a brand-new set of fans as a result of the publicity surrounding being unmasked?

The writing skills you really have are not fake. You may have a hard time discerning what your real skills are: people who are willing to read your fiction and give you feedback are likely NOT to be able to tell what is good and what is weak about your writing. They will say what they liked, or what they think will make you feel good. And hired book fixers (‘editors’) are more interested in making you think that their advice is worth the money. They will have to criticize SOMETHING if you paid the money or you won’t come back to that book fixer and pay more money. 

But you do have real writing skills. They are not ‘fake’ and YOU are not fake. Being insecure about your real skills just paralyzes you. Your inner critic likes that. Your inner critic is there to stop you from writing, because writing is risky and scary because other people can read your writing and judge you. 

What about your REAL weak points in writing? Many working writers have had a weak point or two in their writing skills, and have still been able to sell well enough to make a living at it. Fiction does not have to be flaw-free, typo-free and perfect for someone to enjoy it! Aiming for perfection just ensures that you won’t finish anything, won’t publish anything, and won’t be a real writer because you will never let anyone see your ‘imperfect’ work. 

This is the fact— your ‘imperfect’ writing can take you where you want to go in the writing world. Don’t sell yourself short. Keep on writing, and keep on putting your work out there into the world without shame. You are better than your inner critic wants you to know about!

Wishing you writing confidence,

Nissa Annakindt

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KetoLife: Carnivore Forefather Vilhjalmur Stefansson

For a Harvard anthropologist, Vilhjalmur Stefansson was an exciting kind of guy. He was an Arctic explorer, and since rugged Arctic explorers weren’t cool with being chained down by having to haul tons of ‘civilized’ food wherever they went, he and his men ate what the Inuit— the Eskimos— ate. 

According to Stefansson, the tribes he travelled with ate mostly caribou meat, with fish, seal meat, polar bear, birds and bird eggs making up the rest of the dietary. The Inuit mostly ignored the plants in their environment as ‘not proper human food,’ but they would eat knotweed roots if they were short of food. 

Stefansson lived with the Inuit, eating as they did, for a decade and observed that the Inuit who ate this way were healthy and vigorous people, not weary lethargic souls suffering from scurvy, pellagra, and other deficiency diseases. 

Stefansson believed that the diet the Inuit ate, and that he himself had eaten for so long without bad effect, must have been a healthy and ‘balanced’ diet. And he was willing to put himself and a fellow explorer, Karsten Anderson, on the line to proof it under scientific observation.

In 1928, the two men became the subjects in a year-long experiment to settle the all-meat-diet controversy. For three weeks, they ate a mixed diet of fruits, grain, vegetables and meat while getting medically tested.  Then they moved to Bellevue Hospital and were fed an all-meat diet while under observation, Stefansson for three weeks and Anderson for 13 weeks. After the observation period they were sent home to live on all-meat diet for the rest of the year. Their urine was regularly tested for ketones and so the researchers would know if they ‘cheated’ on the all-meat diet. 

The men ate many types of meat— all cooked, even though the experimenters wrongly assumed that the Inuit ate only raw meat. The men remained healthy for the full year, with no loss of physical or mental vigor and not vitamin or mineral deficiencies. 

Later, Stefansson wrote a book, Not by Bread Alone, about the all-meat diet, and the researcher who supervised the experiment wrote the introduction to the book. (I have ordered the book from Amazon, where it is available.)

Modern nutritionists tend to ignore this experiment, Stefansson, and the Inuit, in their insistence that you need to down serving after serving of fruits and vegetables to ward off scurvy and other deficiency diseases.

There is a modern movement toward a carnivore diet. The noted health podcaster Jimmy Moore said on a few recent podcasts that he’s doing mostly carnivore now. Since Jimmy Moore often shares his medical test results on his podcasts, with commentary by his physician co-host, it seems likely that the carnivore diet is not causing Mr Moore any active health problems.

I haven’t tried actual carnivore myself. Being dependent on a rural grocery store for my meat supply, I can’t get grass-fed beef regularly, or get any big variety of cuts of conventionally-produced meat. Being low-income, I can’t exactly afford to have hundreds of dollars of grass-fed shipped to me without giving up such luxuries as electricity and winter home heating.

In addition, my (very conventional) primary care provider insists that my level of chronic kidney disease demands that I cut down on protein and that I eat more ‘plant-based’ protein— in other words, more over-processed fake meat and milk products. The fake milks are usually sugared, as well. I’m not sure how much I trust the advice of a non-doctor who lied to me about my test results before I insisted that the clinic mail me a print-out of the results. Though she does seem to approve of what my low-carb ketogenic diet has been doing for my blood sugar control (my A1c is currently on the low end of the prediabetic level.)

Since I now have home test strips so I can test my urine for protein myself, I can see for myself whether extreme protein restrictions are helpful to deal with that aspect of my health. So it’s possible that I may try some carnivore days or weeks in the future to see what happens.

Meaty good wishes to you,

Nissa Annakindt

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Bashing the Big Names: An Author-Blogger Trap

One of the difficulties we face as author bloggers is figuring out what to blog. Writing about our current WIP may sap our writing energy and may put off readers as they learn about a book they can’t buy yet (and may never be able to buy if the writing project dead-ends.)

And self-promos to sell your books in print, and promoting the books of your relatively-unknown writer friends may make your blog feel too commercial to your readers. 

One answer is to blog about the big names in your genre or subgenre. This will attract the kind of reader who is already a fan of something in your genre and who might become interested in YOUR writing. 

Being a glowing fan of a big writer in your genre might be a nice move, at least unless the big writer turns out to be Hitler or Marion Zimmer Bradley. But being a detractor of a big name in your genre can be a problem.

I consider Orson Scott Card to be a big name writer in the kind of fiction I want to be writing. I actually like OSC and think he writes better than I do. But if I had the disdain for him that I have for some well-known writers, I might not mention it on this blog, and for a good reason.

When a little or new writer criticizes a big name, the readers tend to wonder if the little/new writer is just jealous. Imagine a writer of Christian fantasies for kids who accused J. K. Rowling of promoting ‘witchcraft’ to kids. The presumption of envy would poison any chance of readers actually believing the Christian writer had a point. (As a Christian writer who has experienced being a neopagan and a Wiccan, I would like to point out that I personally do not believe that J. K. Rowling did in fact promote Wicca to kids. Nor do I believe that Rowling’s Christian critics were insincere or motivated by jealousy of her success.)

Now, I am not the kind of person who tends towards feeling nothing but awe and praise for a big name writer. The last time I felt like that about about a writer, it was Marion Zimmer Bradley and THAT did not turn out well. (To learn about the MZB problem, get the book The Last Closet by Moira Greyland, MZB’s daughter and abuse victim.)

The answer may be to keep the criticism small and specific, and mention the good things about the writer as well. Writer X doesn’t write female characters that I find believable, but he tells an exciting story that keeps me reading til all hours. Writer Y had an explicit sex scene in a later book of a series that had previously been pretty clean, but I find her books endlessly re-readable, even the ‘naughty’ one.

The key is to turn your blog into the blog of a person well-read in your genre. OK, I myself will never be that. I’m often content to read a book in one of my favorite genres that’s a couple of decades old rather than face a new author that may be annoyingly politically correct and a poor story-teller to boot. But that’s just me. I’m sure YOU can do better.

Yours in bloggery and/or author-bloggery,

Nissa Annakindt

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COULD YOU HELP? As a low-income person on disability, I’m facing some bill problems right now. If only a few people could buy my ebook, perhaps review it, perhaps share about it on social media, that would be a big help to me right now.

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Recipes: Keto Parmesan Eggs & Keto Parmesan Sauerkraut

Today we have a recipe twofer, Parmesan Eggs, which is a great ‘breakfast’ food (remember any meal that breaks your overnight fast is a ‘breakfast’ meal.) And Parmesan Sauerkraut, which is a great way to turn healthy sauerkraut into a food that even people who don’t normally eat sauerkraut will like. The cabbage in your sauerkraut counts as part of your low-carb veggies you are allowed even on the Induction (strictest) level of lowcarb/keto eating plans. 

A few words about parmesan cheese— the common kind of grated parmesan cheese in big plastic shakers sold by Kraft— it’s not the best. It’s not the worst, either— that would be the stuff in similar shakers that is cheaper that doesn’t even claim to be parmesan cheese that is just processed junk food. I’m using a generic version of the Kraft parmesan at the moment, but better is the kind that is just regular parmesan cheese, either pregrated for you or grated yourself at home. (I haven’t been to the grocery store that carries it for a few months.)

Parmesan Bacon Eggs

For this recipe you will need a ramekin. I’ve had a few ramekins which I’ve always called ‘mini casserole dishes.’ Two are 16 oz capacity, one is 24 oz. Recently I bought 2 made-in-France 8 oz ramekins. For this recipe it is usual to make an individual ramekin for each person. The recipe is for one individual ramekin with one serving. You can make more ramekins or make enough for two people in one larger ramekin.

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) bacon bits (or chopped cooked ham or Spam)

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk/cream)

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon (7.5 ml) butter or ghee, dotted on top

(optional) 1/8 tsp (0.63 ml) Himalayan pink salt

Spray your ramekin with olive oil cooking spray, and add the ingredients in the order listed. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C.) Bake for about 17 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your eggs and the size of your ramekin. (I use the 16 oz or 8 oz ramekins, the smaller ramekins need more cooking time.)

Nutritional info: carbs & net carbs: 2.4 grams; fat: 24.9 g; protein 16.4 g.

VARIATIONS: Make with 1 or 3 eggs depending on your hunger level, leave out the meat or replace it with tuna or salmon or some other meat; use a different kind of cheese, use EVOO or coconut oil in place of the butter or ghee. 

Parmesan Sauerkraut

Break out your ramekin for this one as well. Fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchee are good for you, but a lot of us don’t care for the taste of plain sauerkraut. I love it this way. Double or triple the recipe for more eaters— use a bigger ramekin or casserole dish if you do.

1/2 cup (125 ml) sauerkraut

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon (7.5 ml) butter, ghee or extra-virgin olive oil

(optional) 1/8 tsp (0.63 ml) Himalayan pink salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F(170 degrees C.) Spray your ramekin with olive oil cooking spray, and add ingredients in the order listed. Bake for about 12 minutes until parmesan topping is golden. 

Nutritional info: carbs: 6.3 g; net carbs: 1.9 g; fat: 13.0 g; protein: 3.3 g. 

VARIATIONS: Use kimchee instead of sauerkraut. Use home-made sauerkraut or kimchee using the recipe in Real Food Keto (by Jimmy Moore, Christine Moore, and Maria Emmerich.) OR do a combo of the two recipes by adding 1/4 cup sauerkraut/kimchee to the Parm Bacon Eggs recipe above (add before all the other ingredients.)

With parmesan-fingered salutations,

Nissa Annakindt

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Fiat Currency in SciFi Worldbuilding

One problem many authors have in building a logical science fiction (or fantasy) world is that they don’t know *stuff about economics. And so they come up with worlds that readers cannot believe in— like a fantasy-world I once read, in which a nation existed that had absolutely no agriculture and got their food by trade alone. (Why would their trading partners send them food when they could starve them out and just take stuff?)

A core item to think about in building a fictional economic/trade system is that of money/currency. In the Star Trek universe we have ‘credits’ in the Federation which we are to suppose are just like dollars, but more futuristic. But what is the dollar, anyway?

The US dollar is an example of fiat currency. That is, it’s money because the government says it’s money. Right now, the dollar works as money. Our government is fairly stable and does not print vast amounts of paper money to get itself out of debt. So the dollar is a solid currency at the moment. In the Weimar Republic in Germany after World War One, the socialist government went wild printing money— to the point there was massive inflation, people had to bring wheelbarrows of paper money to buy a loaf of bread, and in fact some of the German inflation money my grandparents brought over actual were lower-amount bills that had ‘One Million Marks’ overprinted on it.

Now, imagine space travel into that. A Terran space ship goes to planet Arleroshi and wants to buy some goods, and brings out a sheaf of US dollar bills. Will the Arleroshi people accept that? Will they know the difference between the US dollar and Weimar Republic inflation money? The US government, stuck on Terra, can’t exactly arrest people on other planets for not accepting dollars the way they would arrest a US grocery for refusing US dollars and making customers pay in yen or euros or gold or silver coins. 

The US dollar will only become useful off-world if off-world people can trade it for goods they want. If there is a regular interplanetary currency exchange so that the Arleroshi people can trade the US dollars they receive in trade for Arleroshi money or some other currency they can use, they will accept US dollars. If the US dollars mainly remain pretty pieces of paper to them, they won’t want them.

I think all trade, both in primitive or advanced societies, comes down to barter. One person has fine cows and wants a metal plowshare, another one has several metal plowshares but needs a good milch cow. A swap is arranged. 

The original money was coins stamped out of silver or gold, and it ‘worked’ because silver and gold were popular and valued commodities than many people wanted. The cow-seller, would swap cows for gold and silver coins even if he didn’t particularly want silver or gold, because he knew he could swap the silver and gold for stuff he did want. 

A futuristic society may trade on multiple worlds and trade in robots and starship parts, but the basic principle is the same— a currency, whether a fiat currency or a gold-backed one, only works if you can use it to get the stuff you want.  A complex modern economic kind of hides the ‘barter’ aspect of our economic life from us. We don’t think that we go to work to swap our labor for the US fiat currency, which we then swap at the grocer’s for grass-fed beef, cauliflower, cacao nibs, coffee and Kerrygold butter. We get hung up on ‘money’ and don’t think of it as a barter-assistance device to keep us from having to find a Kerrygold butter seller that wants our labor in accounting or flower-arranging.

In our worldbuilding work, we need to keep that barter factor in mind. If we have a fiat currency in our worlds, people have to have confidence in its buying power, and not suddenly suspect that the currency is no more useful than German inflation money. (A sudden loss of faith in a fiat currency, tragic as it is for people when it happens in real-world countries, is a nifty plot device for dystopian or apocalyptic fiction.)

May your trades be in non-inflated currency,

Nissa Annakindt

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Blogging is Essential to your Author Platform! #IWSG

Let’s take a break from being insecure about ourselves as writers, and start being insecure about our Author Platform! Just for a change of pace. (This is a post in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop: Sign up here: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html) 

What is your author platform, anyway? A ‘platform’ is like the soapboxes cranks and crackpots used to stand on in big city parks while they lectured on their topic to the entertainment of the crowd. The soapbox helped the crackpot be seen over the heads of his (hoped-for) crowd of listeners.

An author platform today consists of the things that make the author visible. Let’s take the example of television personality and author Bill O’Reilly. When he had his own show on the Fox News Network, he was allowed to plug his current book at the end of his evening broadcast. He also had a web site for which he sold memberships in exchange for exclusive content— a web site he was also allowed to plug on his television show. And so his books sold well— because they were well publicized, and because they were good enough that readers were willing to buy the next O’Reilly book. And when O’Reilly lost his Fox TV show, he had his web site to fall back on, so I would imagine any books he writes continue to sell well.

The sad fact is, though, that none of US is going to be invited to host a TV show on a nationwide channel so we can have a good platform for our books. We have to build our author platform ourselves, plank by plank. And a blog is a key to having a good author platform.

Why? I have heard people say that they ‘blog’ on Twitter or a Facebook author page. Those social media may be part of an author platform— until Twitter or Facebook suspend or shadowban you— but they can’t fully replace a blog, for these reasons.

1. Authors are expected to have websites, and blogs qualify. You can use ‘pages’ on your author blog to have all the things that an expensive web designer would put into a static author website for you. And you can do it yourself, and for free on Blogger or WordPress . com. 

2. Tweets are fleeting, but blog posts are forever. A tweet or a Facebook page post has a ‘shelf life’ of a few hours or a few minutes. A blog post may be drawing in new readers for years. That’s making the most of your writing time!

3. Blogs can turn into books. Particularly in the non-fiction realm, a good blog can lead to a book contract. People have actually been asked to turn their popular blogs into books! Traditionally-published books! And even if no one asks you to do that, you can take a bunch of posts on a topic, ‘fix’ and redraft them into good shape and add new material, and publish or self-publish them as a book. (You could also just throw a batch of random old blog posts together as a book, but it might receive worse reviews because of being ‘episodic’ in nature.)

4. Removed blogs can be put back up. Now, I don’t know anyone who has had his blog taken down by Blogger or WordPress, while I know quite a few people who have had their Facebook or Twitter accounts censored, suspended or removed. But anyone who does as I do and composes blog posts on software such as Scrivener or Evernote can respond to losing a blog by putting the posts back up somewhere else. Does anyone bother to do that with their tweets or FB posts? If they did, would putting the tweets back up somewhere even be worth doing? 

You may feel that your own personal blog is a failure in adding anything to your author platform. But likely your blog is doing better than you think. I recently discovered I had a couple of readers that follow this blog by email! I never thought my blog was attracting readers as loyal as that. Also, your blog can become better over time. You can read blogging advice, as from Barb Drozdowich’s Blogging for Authors or from blogs such as Problogger, and make your blog better over time.

Wishing you happy blogging,

Nissa Annakindt

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Try These Lowcarb Keto Podcasts

If you are ‘doing keto’ or lowcarb, whether for ‘fast weight loss,’ diabetes control, help in Aspergers/autism or ADHD, or other health reasons, your first order of business is to learn more about the lowcarb/keto eating plan. You don’t want to be one of those sad cases who thinks ‘keto’ means giving up regular bread and eating tons of pita bread!

I am lucky on the lowcarb/keto learning curve. I am an obsessive reader anyway, and I am blessed with good intelligence & education, so I accumulate and read books about lowcarb/keto. But some people— even well-educated people, even teachers who are SKILLED at teaching reading to children— don’t learn as well by reading.

That’s where the podcasts come in. A good podcast with a well-informed host and guests cut through all the internet keto rumors the same way a sound book does. And you can listen while doing other tasks— I’m listening to a podcast right now while writing this blog post. I listen both on my laptop computer (a Mac) using iTunes, and I download podcasts onto my fleet of mp3 players so I can listen to podcasts while doing my daily walks or hauling water buckets to my critters. 

The down side is that ANYONE with the right equipment can set up a podcast and say any old thing about keto or lowcarb. That’s one reason why many new lowcarbers are so ill-informed. It’s best to be selective about which podcasts you listen to at first. Here are some that have passed the Nissa test— the information they give matches what I have read in the best books.

1. Jimmy Moore podcasts – Jimmy Moore is a lowcarb/keto superstar, even though he’s not a doctor or scientist. He’s a formerly 410 pound man who lost weight on lowcarb, learned as much as he could about it, and made a long running health podcast about it. His main podcast, The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show, is the longest-running health podcast, and has had most of the lowcarb world’s superstars as guests. Jimmy’s good at explaining the science behind lowcarb to ordinary people. He also does other podcasts, such as Real Talk with Jimmy Moore.

2. The Fat-Burning Man Show – This is the one with Abel James. I learned about this podcast from a Jimmy Moore book. I’ve listened to it a few times and it’s good and sciency. Presumes you are big on doing workouts, which is great if that is what you are doing. (At my current age and state of health I need gentler exercises myself.)

3. Dr. Berg’s Healthy Keto and Intermittent Fasting Podcast – This podcast is in short bits mostly of about 4 to 7 minutes on one topic or question. If you listen mainly on your laptop and get impatient listening to longer podcasts, this might be the right one for you. I’m listening to this one a lot lately.

4. 2 Keto Dudes – Now one of the Keto Dudes is a Keto Lady, and this one doesn’t seem to be updating much lately, but I enjoyed the episodes I have heard. 

These are the podcasts I’m listening to at the moment. Do you have any different ones you would recommend? Please let us all know in a comment! I’m always looking to learn more, especially as I’m currently writing a book about the lowcarb/keto way of life, specifically on the accusation that ‘Keto’ is a ‘fad diet.’

Personal Update: Still trying to figure out how much I need to lower my protein count, if any. Using Carb Manager to track stuff. Made ghee today, double batch in 2 kettles since last time I made a double batch in a big kettle it didn’t turn out as good. Trying to get more fasting & intermittent fasting in my life. Been in ketosis for 27 straight days now. Life is good.

Wishing you the best in podcasts and life,

Nissa Annakindt

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Can Aspie Authors do ‘Platform Building?’

When you finish a book, you’re not finished. Not in the author world of these days. You have to help market your book, even if you have a traditional publisher. And marketing means having an ‘author platform’ which means interacting with other people, perhaps in ways that are difficult for *Aspies to do.

So, what can we Aspies do to build our platforms? The first step is to know what we CAN do versus what we CANNOT, and what we have no opportunity to do. 

Examples— I personally am able to blog, to interact on certain social media, especially Facebook, MeWe and Twitter. I don’t think I am able to do podcasts as some of my author friends do— I would be too scared, my voice has gone weird since my slight stroke last year, and I don’t have any special video equipment. And I have never been invited on a television show the way Dean Koontz is frequently invited to be interviewed on The World Over on EWTN. 

Your personal situation may be different from mine. Perhaps you are able to be a YouTube star, or perhaps you can’t manage to do Twitter, you just find it too intimidating. It doesn’t matter. There are things you can do, or you can learn to do. Put your emphasis on those things.

There is one thing that most every kind of ‘platform building’ will involve— you have to think of what you do from the other person’s point of view. Other people are not committed to helping you peddle your book! You have to be interesting to other people, and make your book sound intriguing. And you have to learn to be interested in what is important to the other people, so you don’t come off as being self-centered. Seeming self-centered is a common problem with us Aspies, because when you are as socially isolated as we so often are, other people’s interests are kind of a distant and theoretical thing.

So— if your ‘platform’ involves having a blog, think about what problems your blog post might solve for other people. You might share how YOU solved a problem— perhaps in how you got Scrivener to work for you— only when you write it, think about how other people might be dealing with the same problem that you have faced. If you can provide the information to solve a practical problem, and perhaps share your personal experience in facing the problem, 

Aspie (and other) authors— what is your current author platform like? Do you have a blog, a static web site, are you active on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook, Pintarest or YouTube? What is the strongest part of your current author platform? What are you doing RIGHT? Share it with us in a comment!

Aspie-related greetings from

Nissa Annakindt

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Aspies – persons with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

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Want tips to improve an author blog? Join my FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310331253293318/

My new book: Getting More Blog Traffic: Steps Towards a Happier Blogging Life  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H4FQ4M