As my narrow section of the world opens once more, as vaccines skyrocket and the world dives back into social freedoms, I can only contemplate on thing.

I sat behind a closed door for twenty two months, and found who existed within.

Without the daily pressure to pretend. Without the daily demand to be someone else.

The mask I’d worn all my life was so ingrained when I could finally remove it, it tore my skin. Rivets of loss lay on my face, but it wasn’t age, it was youth. It was the person shuttered up from years before everyone told me I was wrong. A kid, a teenager, a confident woman who wasn’t quite in control, but on wobbling feet began to take the first footsteps into who I really was inside.

I didn’t have to bend to someone’s words, tone, body language to find my place.

I could uncrumple from the perpetual cowering.

To borrow from Sir Terry Pratchett’s world, I felt like Carrot after he first leaves the mine. A 6ft warrior crammed into a mine fit for dwarfs.

It wasn’t just the hunch that had to fade, or the proverbial fear of hitting my head all the time. It was to be reacquainted with who I really was, and in all of this I feel for my partner most of all.

We’d known I was autistic of years. We’d known there was another ‘me’ beneath who everyone expected me to be.

I was pleased to find she was far more confident than I’d ever allowed myself to be.

But by gods was she sensitive.

Meltdowns, temperamental, OCD, twitchy, social cues learnt but tendency for forgetting them, saying unexpected things, finding a super light sense of humor rather than dark, hyperfocus to extremes, obsessions with patterns, games, and a voice.

I’d never heard anything quite like it from myself before. When I had to speak at work on zoom, people listened. When I talked to authors as an editor, my partner came to me afterwards and while he never normally listens, said I’d intimidated him with how professional I’d sounded.

Like I knew what I was doing.

For once.

And I did.

This is the beautiful thing making me cry and why I’m filled with a deep and endless dread. I don’t want to go back to the 9 to 5 grind and social norms to find that mask slipping back beneath my skin. I had to break parts of myself to find out who lay beneath, and I can’t imagine losing her again for other people’s expectations.

So, when everyone says we’re going to go back to the way things used to be, I’m going to respond with quiet sweetness; no we’re fucking not.

Maybe it was fine for you. Maybe you missed the social piranha that is the workplace, social groups, and the constant noise, expectations, and chaos, but I sure as fuck didn’t.

I didn’t miss snide remarks about my weight.

I didn’t miss being forced into loud and uncomfortable spaces.

I didn’t miss people ignoring me because I hadn’t had time to prep what I wanted to say.

I didn’t miss the way everyone claims it’s a professional environment where all that matters is the work, when all along beneath the surface lies a social complexity I never understood, and it had nothing to do with the “work.”

I didn’t miss the social groups where I drank to get rid of my nerves and ended up making matters worse for myself, or sat there in silence wondering what the hell to say, even to people I’d known for over ten years, because familiarity didn’t take away how fucking awkward I constantly felt even in “safe” spaces.

I didn’t like the person that was on that mask. Sometimes I hated her. Getting rid of her was the most freeing experience of my life.

I’m not going back to that. I’m in a place I can be heard. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t have a lot of friends who endured the cut off of lock downs, and those that stayed are coming to know and accept me as I’ve always wanted to be. I like what I do in the work enviroment, I’m good at, and I work very hard to make sure that is the case because I like it.

That’s not true for everyone.

So, while the rest of you go about your day, remember this; someone you work with is trying not to have to put the mask back on, and you might be the cause for why they pick up that rustic tool, and force it back beneath their skin, all the while crying where you’ll never see.

And… my dear ones. My brothers and sisters and colleagues. Those of you who got to hide at home, and learn how to let go, and not hurt when you did it; I am sorry.

I’m sorry lock downs are lifting.

I’m sorry workplaces are going to make you put those masks back on, make you pretend to be someone you aren’t. That those social groups are going to return and maybe they won’t feel quite as safe for you as they used to, but that you still love them and want to go anyway.

But let me tell you something; there are workplaces that exist where you don’t have to do that. Where I can say to my boss; its better for me to work from the safety of my home. I can come in, but I do not want to do this every day because it will hurt my mental well being to do so. There are friends who will be left behind but others who stay and you get to know a whole other side of them too, or new friends you get to meet for the first time and know they’ll be with you for years to come.

And they get it.

They might not understand the complexity, or even in an emotional sense. But they understand I have a disability that is affected by being around a lot of people and thus far, have allowed me to continue to stay where I am, and be that slightly anxious autistic person. I have a place where I am safe.

This isn’t what everyone is experiencing, and for those of you that aren’t I’m so very fucking sorry.

We have to pay rent, pay bills, pay debts, and a job often means putting that mask back on.

We have things we love, people too, that means stepping outside of our comfort zones sometimes.

I hope you keep the part of you that you learned to be while we were locked down. I hope you keep the new you found in the relief of constant isolation from outside expectations. Please hold onto that part of yourself. Make a point of reacquainting often in the quiet so they’re never lost again.

Above all, remember that I love that part of you. That it is the most beautiful, heart wrenchingly honest part of you that deserves to be savored. And one day, if you want, I want to meet that part of you.

Linda's Book Bag

I’m delighted that it’s my turn on the blog tour for Behind the Veil by E. J. Dawson today and I can share my review. My thanks to Lilyan at Blackthorn Blog Tours for inviting me to participate.

Behind the Veil was published by Literary Wanderlust on 21st October 2021 is available for purchase here.

Behind the Veil

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.

For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached…

View original post 660 more words

Books and Games!

Behind the Veil leads us in to the life of Letitia, a woman with a supernatural gift to see the dead and feel people’s emotions and minds. This allows her a comfortable living as she tries to use it to help people. However, there is always a dark side to these amazing talents, and Letitia has lost as much as she has helped people find closure. As such, we are brought in to a dark and exciting story as she tries to help a young girl and her family.

As stated Behind the Veil is a dark story, the book itself even has a content warning, so if you are the sort of reader who may be triggered by some of the darker aspects of life, or death, I will strongly suggest you do not read this story. However, for everyone capable of dealing with dark aspects, Behind the Veil…

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Kathleen Foxx, Author

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


I knew I would enjoy this book when I read the back cover copy. Ghosts and shadowy figures and the veil between life and death in an historical setting? Yes, please!

The story takes place one hundred years ago in Los Angeles. The main character, Letitia, is a highly gifted psychic who can bring peace and comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one by peering into the last moments before death. It by no means comes without danger to Letitia. This sort of thing is so fascinating to me.

Behind the Veil is written beautifully and it’s very much the haunting gothic style that I love. The descriptions are about as vivid as you can get, using all the senses to elicit emotion in the reader. Dawson is a gifted storyteller! The words she pens radiate tension, and she just seems to…

View original post 648 more words

A heartwarming and fabulous review of Behind the Veil!

PowerLibrarian Book Reviews

58445984._SY475_Title: Behind the Veil
Author: E. J. Dawson
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Mystery
Date of Publication: October 1, 2021
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust


Synopsis

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when…

View original post 524 more words

FABULOUS FIVE STAR REVIEW OF BEHIND THE VEIL!!!

JennyLou's book reviews

Today is my spot on the blog tour for ‘Behind The Veil’ by E.J. Dawson. Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for my spot on the tour and the E-ARC I received to review.

About the Author:

Author Bio –

Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016.

At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. Behind the Veil is set for release on the October 1st 2021. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo…

View original post 623 more words

I’m utterly thrilled at such a lovely review of my book Behind the Veil!

Jackie’s Reading Corner

Available now | paperback | ebook |

SYNOPSIS

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.

For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may…

View original post 834 more words

The Art of Craft

Picture of a wood worker with the text: Blogpost; The Art of Craft – staring down at the block of wood, in a kind of guitar shape, it occurred to me, that this was a first draft. EJDawson.com.

I had an excellent break in which I did not do enough work.

Which was fine because I had an excellent learning experience.

Two years ago we drove through soup thick smoke to get to my parents house on the NSW coast. It was that awful Christmas where Australian fires burned so hard the smoke was seen countries away, and it’s Australia, it’s not like our neighbors are that close. The entire experience wasn’t a holiday, it was a test of nerves under a sunless sky where we couldn’t breathe anything but the ash of our forests.

This time was much more pleasant. I met my baby nephew, my husband got to meet all three of our nephews because the lock downs meant this was the first time saw them. We relaxed and had a lovely time. And then my husband started a side project with my father, in the making for months.

He’s been a guitar player for years, had made one of his guitars, and wanted to make another. My Dad has a very good workshop and so they decided to make one together. I watched my husband draw the outline over the top of my battered Terry Pratchett, and tried to ignore the bandsaw, but duly went down to breathe in the smell of camphor laurel and admire the work. And staring down at the block of wood, in a kind of guitar shape, it occurred to me, that this was a first draft.

Image of a block of wood in a guitar shape, with a paper traced copy, in a wood working shop.

He’d drawn an outline, measured it up to be sure it was right, penciled it on the wood, and then cut the shape out of a solid block of timber.

It struck me this wasn’t that different to drafting a story outline, checking it had all the relevant parts and no soggy middle, and then writing the first draft.

This wasn’t a guitar, you couldn’t play music on it, it was a guitar shaped block of wood.

Much like a first draft isn’t a book to hand to a reader. They’d recognize it as a story, but there would be rough patches, and ultimately, the music wouldn’t quite be there.

My husband proceeded to sand it, add backing, smoothed out its edges, and brought it home. He hadn’t even attached all the metal bits. But it was taking shape, it had form, you could imagine someone playing guitar on it sooner than before. It was ready for people to hold it like it was a guitar.

Unfinished guitar made of wood on cane chair.

But they can’t play on it, not yet, and that’s the next phase.

Just like when you finish a novel it may not be ready for someone to read and you know what? That’s actually ok. There is a lot that goes into a novel, into crafting it, more than just hammering out a story or agonizing over every second word for years. Even after all that there’s the smoothing out rough edges, polishing for flow. It’s adding the frets and strings, the grammar and better words. It’s cutting out a place for those by removing chunks of excess wood, chunks of filler words. Sanding it down until its smooth, reading over and over until you get lost in it.

It’s a process, and not an easy one, but it is beautiful watching it come together. Yes, it’s a lot of work. It was always going to be, but it doesn’t mean you should hate the process, it doesn’t mean you should be impatient to play it, or have someone read it.

And maybe the first time someone does, it’ll sound wrong. They’ll be tweaks needing to be made. Adjustments to get the sound quality out of the story. Until the fact it was once a block of nothing is forgotten for the sake of what can be gained out of playing your favorite song, to let your imagination take a walk somewhere else for a while.

It becomes so beautiful that it’s no longer just yours.

It’s the thing you made with the help of others, and it doesn’t change that you made it, but it became more than the sum of its parts. Just like your book is not a collection of words in a block of wood, it’s a place you can take the reader, a sliver of your imagination.

That’s something to be amazed at, a wonderful journey, a process you can sit back and be proud of when it comes time to hand it over to someone else… and move onto the next one. Better at crafting, surer of your hand, and not afraid of the work involved in creating another small miracle from nothing but a block of wood.

Series Book Lover

I enjoyed this atmospheric, gothic ghost story with a strong romance at its core. Here is my review of Behind the Veil by E J Dawson.

@ejdawsonauthor @RRbookTours1  #RRbookto

Behind the Veil

Publication Date:October 1st, 2021

Genre:Gothic Noir/ Paranormal Suspense

Source : Initially R and R book tours but then borrowed from Kindle unlimited

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it…

View original post 433 more words

Nano Hangover

Nano Hangover - Pouring out all those words leaves your tank empty. Stop and refill. Got more gas? Story isn't over yet...

You know what? I won Nano but I absolutely failed to deliver on 30 tips for Nano – and for that I’m sorry.

I am in the throws of finishing off a book that’s been mulling in my head for 2 years and I have to get the plot arc just right because it’s the 2nd book in a trilogy and the underlying themes and romance has just caught me up but exhausted me too.

Because writing 50k words in a month IS EXHAUSTING!!

Even if you tried, and didn’t make it, you’re probably still exhausted because of all the stuff you were trying to juggle when you weren’t writing or trying to make time to write!

Welp, I’m here to tell ask you one very important question;

DO YOU FEEL LUCKY-

I kid.

Are you tired?

Cause it’s OK to stop. Christmas is coming and it means different things for different people. You don’t have to keep writing now. Put the pen down, have a nap, leave the computer alone, read a book. Eat something that doesn’t have sugar. DRINK WATER.

But… some of you might have more in you. You’ve got your claws into the meat of the story and now it doesn’t know what’s going to hit it, and do you know what? DO YOU KNOW THAT MEANS YOU CAN WRITE A BOOK THIS YEAR!??!

Yeah. You could do that. So, if you’ve got the gas to keep going then do so, if you’re done for a while then put it down.

Either way – here is what you can do with that script after Nano is over.

  1. Keep working on it
  2. Put it down for a while
  3. Do NOT send it to ANY agents!
  4. Do NOT hit self pub on Amazon, Wattpad, platforms of choice!
  5. Those last two but LOUDER

You like the book need rest, so once the story is finished, what do you do?

I got bad news – you probably wrote it in a big rush. Sometimes with no idea where you were going. You could love it to the moon and back, but you need to let it breathe too, and what I’m really talking about is you.

Books don’t breathe, what do you take me for? An imaginative fool? Yeah, OK, that checks out.

But what I mean is you. You need time.

Because, despite that massive effort, chances are it wont be ready yet to share.

You need to have a little break from the story (or a big one). You need to go back and read over it, start strengthening the plot, fill in those holes, go and trim those unbelievable character traits, gradually polish it until its ready for betas or whatever you’re planning to do with it. All of which can leave you with a crushing sense of weight – the Nano Hangover.

You can send/share/publish it, it’s entirely up to you, but if you haven’t reread it you might have made some pretty big mistakes and you know what? We all have.

Pouring out all those words leaves your tank empty. Stop and refill. Got more gas? The story isn’t finished. You wrote 50k, but most novels hit at a base 60-80k words. And if you can do one thing in this miserable year of more lockdowns, pandemic woes, and what sometimes feel like a worse year than 2020, you can say, in spite of it, you wrote a book.

Remember when you talk about “what you did this year” at Christmas family dinners, celebrating holidays, meeting with friends now we’re vaccinated, what you accomplished. You’re part of a wider community that makes the idea of writing a book something all of us can and do achieve.

How many people actually do it? You still can, if you want, and even if you decide to stop, there’s still half a book to carry with you into 2022. That’s a lot to bring into the new year, and it means in 2022 you can take something pretty special with you.