I am autistic and and married to an autistic man. We have raised two sons with autism. I spent many years advocating for those with autism and their families, running a support group, a disabilities ministry, and holding local state and national posts, including president, in The Autism Society of America.
As a chemist, I made a career developing new technologies and am the inventor on multiple patents. One achievement of which I am particularly proud is the formulation of the adhesive to hold heart catheters together. I co-founded a company and learned first hand about the vagaries of business and the dishonesty and fraud that is rampant in the business world. I loves my work in the laboratory, particularly the development of green products, but eventually left it in favor of transitioning to a career writing, which I have loved to do since I could hold a pencil.
I've always had a love of music and have sung both in choirs and as a soloist since I was four years old. I continue to be active in the church choir. I also serve as Sunday School Superintendent.
As an author, I have written multiple books, including special needs cookbooks and novels. Most, but not all of my books relate to autism. The cookbooks serve the needs of those who must be gluten and casein free.
I continue to write. I have a steady stream of work as a ghostwriter creating web content, as well as continuing to pen books. I also pen stories online which are free for the reading all over the world.
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A semi-biographical novel
This book is the story of a woman with autism from her first memory through school, marriage, the business world and raising two autistic sons.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed pszr.co/OPkxa 359 views
|Memoirs Transformational memoirs|
|2 publishers interested|
This book is essentially about my life, but names and places have been changed to protect the guilty. Some events have been changed or shifted in time to make the story flow better. As an autistic , I am almost pathologically honest, and throughout most of my life, unfortunately expected others to be as well. That resulted in a multitude of difficulties which I gradually overcame.
The language in this book reflects the age of the protagonist. It is simple when she is you, but grows increasingly complex as she becomes older. It features Sarah's friendships, her experiences with dating and the bewilderment she experiences in social relationships.The connection, almost from the start, between Sarah and her husband Tim, as well as the difficulties they encounter are seen through her eyes.
Sarah goes through many stages as a chemist, the co-founder of a business and finally a writer.
This book explores the challenges inherent not only in being autistic, but in raising children with autism and ushering them through adulthood. Sarah's two sons function at very different levels and both their differences and commonalities are highlighted. The sensory difficulties encountered by both children and adults with autism are also explored.
The events in the book reflect Sarah's perception of the world at every stage of her life and how her failure to understand basic human behavior provides her with continual challenges in both her personal and business life. The also reflect the type of frauds that may be perpetrated on the innocent and unwary.
I. Sarah's earliest memories as a child, including undiagnosed symptoms of autism.
II. Sarah's early school years and her difficulties fitting in.
III. Sarah's Preteen years, her discovery of fantasy and fandom
IV. Sarah's teen years at the Bronx High School of Science and forming friendships within Young Mensa
VI. Sarah's experience with sexual assault
VII. Sarah's college years and her discovery of deception among her classmates
VIII. Sarah meets her husband Tim at graduate school. They find out they are both singers and use music to form social bonds. They are also science fictions fans, especially of Star Trek. Sarah also begins an involvement in the church.
IX. Marriage and the birth of Sarah's first son.
X. Sarah begins a career as a chemist.
XI. The birth of a second son and the diagnosis of both sons with autism.
XII. Sarah copes with her sons and becomes an activist in the autism community, while maintaining a career.
XIII. Sarah and Tim are diagnosed as autistic and decide to keep it under wraps
XIII. Sarah continues her career while moving up in the ranks of the autism world.
IX. Sarah becomes co-owner of a company
X. Sarah finds out the hard way about securities fraud.
XII. Sarah and Tim prepare the boys to leave the next.
XI Sarah continues in business as chemist until finally making the transition to being a writer, a career in which she is more content and develops a more optimistic view of the world.
My audience will be primarily the community that is interested in autism and also some who may be interested in sexual abuse. I have a group of followers of my online stories, that can read them for free. They form part of my customer base. I have several different sets of followers on Twitter: those that follow me for autism topics, those that follow me for autism topics and those who follow as a member of a fandom. The last two categories have both bought my books in the past. Within fandom we have some reciprocal agreements in terms of promoting each other's work. I have a reciprocal arrangement with a British author on Twitter as well.
The autism category can be further broken down into, autistics, parents and caregivers of autistics, and psychological professionals. I expect that this book will appeal to all three groups, but particularly the first one. There is presently a movement among autistics for acceptance of neurodiversity. There is quite a bit of hostility toward NTs or the neurologically typical.This may be thought of as similar to a movement in the hearing impaired community for the acceptance of lack of hearing as a difference rather than a handicap, and a preference for sign language over speech. Autistics involved in this movement want to be seen as competent human beings equal or superior to NTs. The book may appeal very much to them.
I also have some fairly generous readers in my church who will buy a book just because I wrote it. I'm also slowly gaining a following on Instagram and I may be able to hawk books there as well, but that is an untested theory.
My promotional strategy involves Tweeting and posting on Instagram and Facebook. I can list my book on my website as well. I add author's notes to my free stories reminding my readers that I have books out.
I encourage interviews as much as possible and post them on my websites with links from social media.
In the past, I have used video. I helped create a trailer for my novel, Dark Awakening. I posted links to it on social media. I have a YouTube Channel and can post further video.
I also have an author's page on Amazon. My works that are available on Amazon are listed there. It also features a biography. I posted my video there are well and can post any video that I have.
I also have multiple websites and multiple blogs. I can continue to write blogs relating to one or another topic in my book. Coping with sexual abuse may me one that will attract a lot of attention in light of the Me Too movement.
I would plan on at least one blog per week with links to several social media platforms.
In business I have found that press releases can be remarkably effective. They are often picked up by multiple online periodicals without even editing or paraphrasing. I believe that a press release when the book debuts and a series of them relating various portions of the book to current event in the autism world may be an effective strategy.
Since many autism organizations hold events and sell books, I propose sending letters/emails to a number of them, telling the story of the book and offering autographed copies as fundraisers
Finally, I will encourage more reciprocal relationships with other authors on social media, generating a wider reach for whatever postings I make.
1. What Autism gave me: From a Devastating Diagnosis to a Triumphant Life by Michael Haigwood Goodroe, published by Outskirts Press April 13, 2018. This book is a story of an autistic who was thought to be low functioning went on to have a successful life. It differs from my book in that it is missing the parental angle and features an entirely different form of autism.
2. Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Aspergers by John Elder Robison. This is an ebook published by Broadway books September 25, 2007. It explores the sensory and social differences in the Aspergers form of autism, a designation that is no longer officially used. Again, it is different from my book because it is missing the parenting component.
3. One of Us: A Family's Life with Autism by Mark Osteen published by the University of Missouri, November 22, 2010. This book differs from mine because it only discusses raising a child with autism and it is from the father's point of view.
4. Autism Over the Years: A Twelve Year Old's Memoir by Micaela Ellis. It is self published, October 19, 2018. This book is from the view of a girl, as is the beginning of mine, but it only follows twelve years of life while mine spans six decades.
5. Optimism for Autism: the Inspiring Journey of A Mother and Her Autistic Son by Susan Jane King, published by Create Space March 21, 2014. This is the story of a mother and her autistic son Patrick. It differs from my book in that she is not an autistic parent.
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First 2000 words of Chapter 1
My first memory is of playing on a porch. It wasn't like the porch of the house I moved to when I was four. That porch was almost an extra room. It wasn't like the porch at my grandmother's house either, which was open and full of Grandma’s plants. I know that small porch was from an earlier time. I just can’t remember much else about it.
My mother remembered things about that time, but not about the porch, just about how strange I was. She was constantly telling me tales of a daughter who spent her nights not sleeping, but standing in her crib, staring silently into the darkness. Even when I got older, I still had my quiet periods, sometimes not talking for days. It wasn’t that I couldn’t talk. I just really didn’t feel like it. My mother worried about my silence. But I liked making lots of noise too, composing little songs on the family upright piano and singing duets with my older sister, Rachel. We Goldfarbs formed some sort of family band. Judith, my mother, had an almost operatic mezzo soprano voice. My father, Gabe, was a deep, stove pipe bass. Rachel was a soprano, higher than my mother, but not as high as me. I was proud about hitting notes no one else in the family could hit, but I knew better than to say that to Rachel. Pointing out anything I thought of as being better than her, always caused her to figure out some kind of revenge. Bragging wasn’t worth it. Our whole family played instruments too. Rachel and I both took piano. I liked making up my own music better, and only schlepped to lessons and practiced the exercises the teachers gave me, when someone leaned on me to do it. Compared to other kids’ mothers, my mother didn’t do that much. Mother played piano too, and my father played the violin. He’d told me that he’d made his money growing up, playing for square dances, but Mother looked down her nose at that kind of country music, so he didn’t play it with her.
Even when I wasn’t playing it or singing it, there was usually music around me somewhere. I didn’t sleep when I was supposed to take a nap, but Mother played old “78” fairy tale records for me when she made me lie still for a while. The stories from those records just flew into my head, and I’d repeat them from memory and sing the songs that went with them, for anyone who’d listen. Something like that happened when I stayed with my grandparents, too. Their records were all of Broadway musicals. I memorized the songs, and I could hear the background music in my head when I sang them myself.
When I was four, Mother started a choir with girls from Girl Scout troops. Since most of the babysitters Mother got for me were Senior Scouts who were in the choir themselves, even if I was younger than the other girls, it was easier to put me in the choir than to find someone to watch me. It worked. I sang with the choir, and when we went into the children's hospital wards or the veterans’ hospital, I had solos. Rachel didn’t, and she got mad about it.
Rachel and I both took ballet and liked putting on little shows. For some reason, I could go up on point even in soft ballet shoes, or even in just a pair of sneakers. I also liked gymnastics and loved standing on my head. There were times when I would stay upside down all day. I even wanted to eat that way.
I learned to read before I went to school, at least easy books like The Cat in the Hat. I could write holding a pencil with both hands and both feet, something Rachel made fun of and Mother told me not to do, at least not the feet part. She wanted me to stick to using my hand. I loved books and wanted a library card. The library was just at the end of the block. They’d give you a card at any age, but you had to be able to write or at least print your name. When I was four, I was proud to be able to do that. After that, I could have all the books to read that I wanted.
Mother’s friends kept talking about the days I didn’t talk and that I used weird words when I did. I also liked to bounce and flap my arms when I was excited thinking about something. Rachel and Mother hated that and kept trying to make me stop doing it. Rachel would go running to Mother yelling, “Sarah’s flying again!”
I didn’t use toys the way everyone thought I was supposed to, either. I built strange things and made up stories to go with them. I made a huge snake out of my Tinkertoy, that went all the way through the house. Rachel and mother couldn’t understand why, but I saw my snake as doing things like greeting the man who came to fix the TV. He didn’t get it either. While the repairman couldn’t have cared less, other strangers to our family thought what I did was strange and told Mother. Finally, they talked Mother into thinking there was something wrong with me. She took me to someone I later found out was a child psychologist. He gave me a bunch of tests which my father hated having to pay for, but then just told my mother that I was smart. She put me in kindergarten early. I didn’t fit in there.
People thought Rachel wasn’t smart enough. Her reading was slow, and her math was really bad. Her teacher told my mother that Rachel was a dull normal and wouldn’t do much with her life. It was years before Mother said anything about that to my sister, but she always treated her like the dumb one, even if she acted a lot more normal than I did. For Mother, if I was smart enough, I was allowed to be a little bit strange.
Rachel could feel what was going on and it made her mean to me. Whenever I flapped my arms, Rachel would run to Mother to tattle. When Rachel's friends came to our house, she would lead them in teasing me that I had cooties. After a while, when they showed up, I’d hide in the attic or the pantry.
I spent a lot of time in the pantry. Mother kept old clothes that were too ripped to give away, in a pile there. It was called the rag bag, even though there was no bag. It was a safe place for me. I loved having my little nest in the soft fabric, and I could let stories run through my head there, without anyone bothering me.
School was a much better place than home. I missed a lot of it because I was sick a lot, but I loved kindergarten when I was there. I didn’t care much about the other kids, but Mrs. Grossmith let me read books from the school library. I liked the stories and felt safe in her class; that all changed when I entered first grade.
There were two first grade classes, Miss Parker’s and Miss Emerson’s. Miss Emerson's class was a combined first and second, with some of the smarter kids from first, but since I missed so much school when I was sick, the principal put me in Miss Parker's class. Mother had enough with being told Rachel was dumb. She wanted me with the smart kids. She complained, making the principal, Dr. Edith Vaughn, and Miss Parker both mad at her. Miss Parker took it out on me every chance she got, making me stand in the corner for nothing and keeping me after school. I hated her.
The only good thing about Miss Parker's class was my best friend, Arlene Rosenbaum. Arlene lived only a block from me, right across the street from the library. Her family was on the first floor of a three-family house that they owned. They didn’t rent like we did. Every day, Arlene and I would walk the eight blocks to school together. The Rosenbaums had a dog, Debbie, who was small, but she barked at everyone who came to the house. She could be scary. So instead of knocking or ringing the bell, I would stand at the foot of the stairs leading to the back door and just call Arlene's name. After all the times Mother told me to, "Breathe from the diaphragm," in the choir, everyone could hear me, even with Debbie barking. Arlene would come out, and we’d walk to school together.
Mother didn’t like Arlene. She said that whenever I was with Arlene, we got into trouble. Sometimes that was true. We were braver together than we were apart. We joined the boys in a football game on the library lawn. We walked a long way from our neighborhood. We even talked to the bikers who were on the street sometimes and asked for rides on the back of their motorcycles. Mother didn't know any of that. She didn’t keep track of me. What Mother did see was Arlene and me climbing the little house that covered up the garbage cans in my back yard. Whether it was because she was afraid that I’d fall, or just because I was so close to what she called filth, I don’t know, but she got really mad. I was grounded, and Arlene wasn’t allowed to play with me anymore.
Mother did mention another reason. She said that Arlene was dirty. That wasn’t true. Arlene’s skin was a little darker than mine. Just about everyone’s was. But she was always cleaner than I was. Her nails didn’t have dirt under them like mine did. She brushed her teeth more and washed her hair a lot more. Mother had never quite gotten the hang of washing her own long hair and had to go to see Mr. Richard to get it done. She never taught Rachel and me to wash ours. Rachel picked up tips from her friends, but I wasn’t any good at it.
Arlene and I stayed friends anyway. It got harder, though. Miss Parker's class was crowded, and we all took some kind of a test that some other lady gave us. I guess the test said I was smart because I was moved, with a few other kids, to Miss Emerson's class.
It was a much nicer place to be. Miss Emerson was just as strict, maybe stricter, than Miss Parker, but more quietly. She gave me a little book that I took home to show to my mother. Mother thought I should be reading something with bigger words, but the book was still harder than the one I was reading in Miss Parker's class. Without Mother to see us, Arlene and I still walked to school and back together, and I played at Arlene's house whenever I could get away with it. Debbie and I even made friends, and she liked to rub her tummy against my leg.
Soon it got even easier to see Arlene. My mother and father didn’t grow up the same way. My father grew up on a farm owned by his family, the Goldfarbs, and he liked working with his hands. He had a business putting glass in things. As a member of some club he called a union, he got a lot of papers with job lists on them. He spent a lot of time getting and doing as many of those jobs as he could. When he was finished with the paper, Rachel and I were allowed to draw on the back side it. My father owned a truck for work. It was yucky because there was a lot of the putty that he used to seal windows inside. Putty was even on the seats. My mother hated it.
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