Let's Talk Daddy Issues I love introducing you to new authors. Allan is the nephew of a dear friend and I think you will appreciate his book. After all, who doesn’t have Daddy Issues and who doesn’t need to laugh at provocative, edgy, corny, genius ...
I love introducing you to new authors. Allan is the nephew of a dear friend and I think you will appreciate his book. After all, who doesn’t have Daddy Issues and who doesn’t need to laugh at provocative, edgy, corny, genius and stupid jokes after the crazy year we’ve all had?
Daddy Issues is an inside look of author Allan Sidley’s best and worst jokes over his comedy career. Poking fun at real subjects like his family, religion, politics, and pokémon, you’ll laugh when you should(n’t), groan often, and see words transform right before your eyes.
For those who are dads, have their own daddy issues, or are simply human, this book reminds us humor is in EVERYTHING. A therapy session cheaper than your co-pay, Daddy Issues celebrates life’s highs, mediums, and loathes.
Where did you grow up and did you have any siblings?
I grew up in Vienna, VA where we thrive on public education, government contracting, sports and competition in general. As for siblings, that’s kind of complicated. I’m an only child with a half-brother Steve Sidley, from my Dad’s previous marriage (same Dad who died 30 years ago). He’s 20 years older than me so our sibling relationship is pretty- unconventional.
Was writing a book always on your bucket list, something you always thought you wanted to do?
It was always something I “joked” about once I was a couple years into performing stand-up comedy. Before that I had small aspirations to write action novels like Tom Clancy. Those aspirations never went anywhere.
Who did you write this book for, who is your audience? Other than laughs what’s in it for the reader, what message did you want them to receive?
I wrote it for myself and anyone else who loves jokes, especially one liners and puns. A little bit of self- help/therapy, if you can connect to my jokes then hopefully you can see more humor in your life as well. We need to re-learn how to laugh more, and this helps with that.
How long did it take you to write the book?
As a stand-up comedian I’ve been writing jokes for a little over six years. My process of converting the best ones and organizing them into chapters with an intuitive flow, editing, and publishing, took about six months.
Did you enjoy the writing process, or do you prefer having written?
I love writing jokes and ultimately telling them on stage. I also write sketches and have a blog. For Daddy Issues, the writing process was really done over the span of my comedy career, so the book came together naturally from the material I’ve refined through performances.
Did you grow up in a reading or a writing family?
My Mom is an avid reader. I was personally turned off from reading because I couldn’t connect with books that were required by school. There was ONE BOOK I enjoyed reading in my years in high school. How messed up is that?!
When did you first know, deep down that you were funny, that you had the gift to make people laugh?
As a young kid I made my Mom, friends, and family laugh by making various quips. (It wasn’t huge public knowledge as I wasn’t a class clown, more of a reserved person)
Do you have a day job?
I work in the data analysis field, and currently do data development and governance for a construction company. It’s actually-really great! I did spend three years away from the grind, building a live comedy producing business (on top of performing) full-time. The money wasn’t great, but I gained lots of skills, growth, exposure, and opportunities. Covid ultimately shut me down, but I’m okay with that.
Do you write your own jokes? What’s that process like?
I 100% write my own jokes. It happens one of three ways:
The entire joke comes to me perfectly packaged in a moment of inspiration – this is rare.
The punchline comes to me, then I need to figure out how to write the set-up, so people get the joke – this is most common
I’m on stage and improvise/riff on an existing joke, if I see that the improvisational bit has repeatability I’ll add it.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is your go to meal there?
Having just moved to Little Italy / Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland. Favorite place for breakfast is Blue Moon Cafe –Chorizo eggs and hash browns are amazing.
Back in Northern VA where I grew up, we were regulars at Kizuna for the ramen and sushi.
Imagine you are the survivor of a horrible car crash. One day, while you’re walking down the street, you hear a car horn followed by a screeching noise. Before you get a chance to look around and figure out what happened, you feel a sudden rush of adrenaline. Fear paralyzes you from head to toe, and your mind fills up with images of the accident in which you were involved not long ago. It may look like you’re overreacting from the outside, but from the inside, everything feels so ‘real’ and overwhelming. And so, you sit there shaking and waiting for something horrible to happen.
For someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the world no longer looks like a place worth exploring but rather a minefield where every step presents a risk.
As you can probably imagine, being hypervigilant and ‘on edge’ most of the day is exhausting. In time, and without proper help, you will eventually shut down because you don’t feel like there’s someone who can truly understand what you’re going through.
But part of the reason people who’ve been through traumatic events resort to social isolation is that society often fails to provide what people living with PTSD genuinely need.
And it’s not out of ignorance or ill-intention, not always, but merely a lack of understanding of the difficulties associated with this condition. This manifests in the public services offered to them, the reactions of their loves to their condition, and even in the way those around them communicate with them.
So, here is a list of things you SHOULDN’T say to someone with PTSD:
1. “You’ll get over it”
Whether someone is dealing with depression, burnout, or PTSD, telling them to simply “Get over it” will trivialize the severity of their condition and make them feel like they’re not strong enough.
Imagine you are dealing with something so painful that it almost seems unsolvable. At the same time, you keep hearing that it’s nothing and you should get over it. At some point, you begin to feel like you are the problem; you are the one who doesn’t have what it takes to overcome your condition.
2. “You’re just a bit shocked; that’s all”
A traumatic event can send shockwaves for months (even years) after the initial impact.
It’s like throwing a rock into a pond. Even though the waves are not as ‘loud’ as the initial splash, they’re still strong enough to disturb the surface of the water.
But the worst part is that if you find yourself in a triggering situation, your mind will (emotionally) reenact the trauma, which can be shocking enough to make you avoid specific contexts or experience intense anxiety if you have nowhere to run.
Long story short, people with PTSD are not “just a bit shocked.”
3. “I’m no expert, but I think you should…”
Nobody, regardless of the problems they are dealing with, wants to hear unsolicited advice.
In fact, there’s a good chance that someone who’s going through a rough patch might have already tried what you’re about to suggest.
For people with PTSD, an empathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on is significantly more valuable than any piece of ‘expert’ advice you might have picked off the Internet.
Just stop at “I’m no expert” because you’re definitely not. All you need to be is the person who can listen and understand.
4. “Maybe you need to do more and complain less”
Once again, we have a perfect example of an invalidating response resulting from a lack of empathy and understanding.
When you’re dealing with something as emotionally draining as PTSD, there’s little energy left for anything else. It’s not that you don’t want to do more; it’s just that every attempt to get past your traumatic experience feels like a herculean task.
Patience is a crucial factor during the recovery process, and just because someone is complaining doesn’t mean they don’t actively work on their problem.
5. “It’s not that bad”
Sometimes, people think that making a problem seem less severe will somehow take the burden off the sufferer’s shoulders, thus speeding recovery.
Although the intention is good, playing down the severity of the problem can backfire horribly. More specifically, you risk becoming yet another person who doesn’t understand the pain and difficulties associated with PTSD.
If you want to provide support to someone who’s been through a traumatic event, don’t evaluate the situation based on your criteria.
Listen, understand, and try to see the pain through his/her eyes.
6. “Others have it worse”
Comparing one sufferer to another can sometimes be useful as it sheds new light on the situation. The fact that life could have been far worse represents a glimmer of hope that paves the way for a better future.
But this perspective only works when the sufferer has already overcome helplessness and is making real steps towards recovery.
Otherwise, it’s just another trigger for shame and guilt.
7. “Stop making a big fuss about it”
This reply screams frustration right off the bat.
It’s the kind of thing that tends to slip out of your mouth when, for some reason, you’re feeling emotionally unavailable, or perhaps you’ve grown tired of hearing the same complaints over and over again.
If you don’t feel emotionally available, perhaps it would be wiser to take a step back for a moment instead of venting your frustration to someone who’s already in a dark place.
People with PTSD make a big fuss about it because the pain and anxiety can be truly unbearable at times.
8. “I have a friend who’s been through a similar situation, and he got over it”
Just like “Others have it worse,” telling someone with PTSD that they’ll get over it simply because you’ve seen others recovering from the same condition is a faulty comparison.
For starters, one person’s trauma is hardly comparable to another’s. People’s reaction to traumatic events varies depending on their personality, emotional resilience, coping mechanisms, and social support system.
9. “You’re completely irrational”
Given that the underlying emotions people with PTSD experience most of the time are fear and anticipatory anxiety, it’s no surprise that rational arguments prove entirely ineffective.
Additionally, telling people that they’re irrational will definitely not make them adopt a rational perspective. It will only deepen their sense of worthlessness and helplessness.
Often, a simple gesture of, “Help me understand why this situation is difficult for you” is far more helpful than saying, “Let’s look at your problem from a rational standpoint.”
10. “You have to face your fears”
Facing your fears or, as experts call it, exposure therapy is one of the most effective strategies in dealing with PTSD and other anxiety disorders.
But this process should only take place under the guidance and supervision of a licensed counselor or therapist.
For people with PTSD, facing their fears can be a huge endeavor requiring patience and careful planning.
11. “You must be really sensitive”
Given that people living with PTSD avoid contexts that could trigger them or behave ‘strangely’ when confronted with a situation that reminds them of their traumatic experience, it’s easy to label them as sensitive.
But this sensitivity isn’t a feature of their identity but a coping mechanism that shields them from further pain and suffering.
Remember that some of them are battle-hardened veterans who could do things that most of us wouldn’t even have the courage to try.
12. “Loosen up a bit; you’re too uptight”
Telling someone with PTSD to loosen up is like telling someone with depression to smile more often.
The reason why people who’ve been through traumatic events seem uptight is that they shield themselves from anything that might trigger that painful memory.
For them, loosening up means letting their guard down, something for which they might not feel ready yet.
13. “Are you a war veteran?”
Given that a significant proportion of people who struggle with PTSD are soldiers and war veterans, we can understand why this stereotype has taken root.
But PTSD can result from a wide range of traumatic events. From emotional and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and severe illness to car accidents, the death of a loved one, and natural disasters, any event that shakes you to the core can trigger the onset of PTSD.
The best thing you can do is ask before making any assumptions that could put the other person in an awkward position.
14. “Leave the past behind”
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for the human mind to leave the past behind, especially when the past holds something that has shaken the very core of your personality.
When something traumatic happens, the brain registers the event to prevent it from happening again. That’s why some memories will stick and remain with us forever.
In short, the past isn’t something that we should forget or put behind, but understand, accept and integrate into our experience.
15. “Focus on the Positive”
We know that humans possess a diverse spectrum of emotions, some being pleasant, others less so. But each emotional experience has a purpose and a valuable message that we need to hear.
If we choose to focus on “positive vibes only” (and encourage others to do the same), all we are doing is running away from ourselves.
Unpleasant emotions are part of who we are just as much as pleasant ones are.
16. “Let’s talk about something else”
Although being close to people who’ve experienced a tragedy may feel ‘heavy’ at times, it’s vital to create a space where they can unburden their soul.
As long as ‘the wound is still fresh,’ trying to change the subject to something less tragic in hopes of lifting their mood will only result in disappointment.
There’s a good chance you’ll make them feel like a burden.
17. “Why didn’t you say anything at that time?”
Trauma survivors rarely talk about what they’ve been through, especially immediately after the event. It is usually when people notice changes in their behavior that they begin to share their struggles.
On top of that, it’s challenging to be open about something as painful as sexual abuse or domestic violence. Especially when you know that people might not understand what you’re going through, and the authorities might not always have the power to provide proper assistance.
18. “Let’s do something fun”
When you’re having a hard time adjusting to everyday life, fun is the last thing on your mind.
Even if you try to do something to take your mind off the problems you face, there’s always that profound sense of imminent threat that’s keeping you from enjoying a fun activity.
Instead of suggesting something fun, try to create a safe space where they can experience a sense of comfort and calm.
19. “Didn’t this happen a long time ago?”
Asking this question is like saying, “You should have been over it by now.”
It’s definitely something you don’t want to say to someone who’s already having a hard time going about his/her daily life.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it takes 6 to 12 weeks of psychotherapy for someone with PTSD to achieve recovery. But keep in mind this is just a rough estimate.
20. “It will only get better and better from now on”
As an outside observer, it’s easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But when you’re dealing with something as debilitating as PTSD, all you can see are miles and miles of tunnel.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complicated condition with numerous emotional, psychological, and behavioral factors that affect one’s ability to perceive a better future.
So instead of desperately pointing towards the light, try helping those suffering from PTSD navigate through the tunnel until they find their own way out.
Alexander Draghici is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and CBT practitioner. His work focuses mainly on strategies designed to help people manage and prevent two of the most common emotional problems – anxiety and de
I LOVE introducing you to fabulous authors and great books. Elaine and I met in Nashville and again in Las Vegas where we were both presenters at the BAM Conference.
She is so talented, lovely and hysterically funny!
About the book:
Melody is an amusing ten-year-old girl with Down syndrome who loves to daydream beneath a catalpa tree in the backyard. She narrates her story and explains, “I can do almost everything other children can do, and I’m happy.”
She loves her teacher, going to the library, and playing with her little brother as he tells knock-knock jokes. After a sad day, she meets an enchanted talking bird, and they use a 3-D printer to create a flying machine pulled by two dragons.
Melody soars over the playground to amaze her friends and confront a group of bullies. Melody’s energetic talent in storytelling empowers her to educate others about Down syndrome while sharing her tall tales and strong hugs. Caroline Zina’s pencil illustrations are beautifully textured and shaded, with a magical quality that deftly matches the text.
This positive story is a beginning chapter book for children ages 7 through 11.
About the Author:
Elaine Ambrose is a bestselling author of ten books and has won prestigious writing awards in three genres: humor, memoir, and children’s books.
Kirkus Reviewswrote that the book is “A joyful, well-told story that celebrates the power of imagination.”
She organizes professional writing retreats with acclaimed faculty, and she is a popular motivational speaker at college commencement ceremonies, writing conferences, workshops, retreats, book clubs, and live comedy shows.
In 2008, Ambrose collaborated with author Joanne Kimes to write Menopause Sucks. Published by Adams Media, the book continues to sell well and receive positive reviews.
Ambrose is the founder and facilitator of the quarterly Women, Words, and Wine Writing Retreat as well as the annual Write by the River Retreats sponsored by her business, Mill Park Publishing. Write by the River Retreats have featured New York Times bestselling authors Anthony Doerr, AK Turner, Jennifer Basye Sander, and Whiting award winner Alan Heathcock.
Elaine recently toured Greece and the Spanish island of Palma de Mallora with only carry-on luggage and her husband, Studley.
Interview with the author:
1. You have an impressive catalogue of published books, congratulations! As a writer what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/or spirit animal for each one of your books?
Thanks! As for mascots, I think of several birds for my books. An eagle works for my memoir because it took strength, focus, and the quest for freedom from childhood baggage to write the book. My humorous books could be compared to a woodpecker because I compiled a noisy group of funny, loud stories that couldn’t be ignored. My children’s books go with quail because they bob along, perky and jaunty, and they make me laugh.
2. Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of things do they say?
Middle-age women love my humor books: Menopause Sucks, Midlife Cabernet, and Midlife Happy Hour. I’ve received emails and reviews thanking me for causing laughter about the trials of getting older. Several women wrote they had to run to the bathroom because they were laughing so hard and didn’t want to wet their pants.
Others have said they were reading the books on the airplane and other people asked them what was so funny. Those messages made my day. Parents like my children’s books because the stories are positive and uncomplicated. One story in Gators & Taters includes a mother showing family photo albums to her children after they had a bad day. Several scrapbook clubs ordered copies of the book just for that story.
3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? The worst?
The best money spent was for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. After calculating the costs for registration, airfare, and hotel they were more than $1,000 but the workshops were valuable and important.
The worst money was a $500 program that promised to get my books into libraries. It was a scam.
4. Melody’s Magical Flying Machine is such a positive story, what was your inspiration?
I was close to a delightful little girl with Down syndrome. She used to run to me and beg me to tell her a story. I haven’t seen her in years, so I wanted to write a story for her. It is the type of story I would have told her in person. I hope she sees it someday.
5. This is a first chapter book for 7 to 11- year-olds. What challenged you writing for this age group?
I’d never written a chapter book, and I wanted to go beyond the short stories in Gators & Taters. I imagined students reading and wanting to know what happened in the next chapter.
6. Tell us about the process of using youth editors?
Knowing several children who are voracious readers, I wanted their opinion of the original manuscript. One reader suggested I develop the character of the boy named Jack. I added that he told “knock-knock” jokes. That was a delightful and fun addition. Another child suggested I elaborate more about Melody’s daily outfits. Children know what they want to read.
7. Tell us about the spectacular illustrations
I wanted an illustrator from my state of Idaho. While researching various websites I fortunately found Caroline Zina. I liked her portfolio and asked her for some sample sketches. She’s a young, new illustrator, and she jumped at the chance to do the book. National reviews have been positive about the illustrations.
8. Where did the idea for the cover come from?
The cover motivated the story. I’ve used the Bridgeman Art Gallery of New York for two others book covers and was searching their website for a cover for my next humor book titled Midlife Reboot – How to Unplug and Start Over. (It’s in the rough draft stage.) Suddenly I saw the splendid artwork by Wayne Anderson titled Female Warrior. The girl in the picture reminded me of my little friend with Down syndrome. I purchased the rights to use the art, placed a copy of the artwork next to my computer, and wrote the 8,000-word first draft in 12 hours.
9. How many unpublished; half written or ideas for books do you have?
Too many to count. Some titles include: Farmer’s Daughter’s Almanac and Returning to the River of No Return. I have several unpublished short stories, some are humorous, some serious.
10. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are?
I grew up on an isolated potato and pig farm outside the village of Wendell, Idaho, population 1,000. When I was 10 I started writing short stories on a Big Chief tablet. I majored in journalism at the University of Idaho and enjoyed several good jobs: the first female TV news reporter and talk show hostess in Idaho, the first female assistant director of school services for the University of Idaho, the first female communications officer for Idaho Bank & Trust, and one of five female managers at the corporate headquarters of Boise Cascade Corporation.
After my children were grown, I started a publishing company called Mill Park Publishing.
I became a syndicated blogger, author, and certified workshop facilitator. I’m a third-generation Idahoan and will remain in Idaho. I’ve traveled to 32 countries around the world, but always come home.
Favorite travel memories include floating on a boat down the Nile to visit several ancient Egyptian temples, walking into the Taj Mahal in India, riding a bull elephant on safari in Nepal and watching a tiger kill a buffalo, eating bird’s nest soup in Hong Kong, watching people dress the Jade Buddha in Thailand, climbing stairs to the top of the Dome in the Vatican in Rome, and leading a writing workshop at a sacred site in Ireland.
11. What is your favorite, local restaurant and what are you choosing from the menu?
I love Italian food and we have a restaurant here called Luciano’s. I can be found consuming Bolognese and dry red wine.
12. Do you have a guilty type favorite TV show and what are you drinking while watching?
I don’t watch TV. There is nothing on I want to see. On the rare times I watch a movie, I’m drinking dry red wine.
To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can’t find you to comment back.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
Remember, the question is optional!
December 2 question – Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?
Most definitely! I’ve always been a procrastinator but I also work well with deadlines. For those reasons, I think during the month of November, I always start to feel twinges of anxiety and regret that I haven’t accomplished the goals I wanted to that year. January 1st is looming and I need to come up with NEW goals! My choices are to kick it into high gear and finish, or roll a few goals into the new year. Let’s face it, this year sucked on SO many different levels. I’ve faired well, I don’t have much to complain about and so much to be grateful for. I wish it was the same for everyone but it hasn’t been:(
My 3rd book was released on March 17th. Two days into the Pennsylvania and pretty much the entire worlds shut down. Was I devastated? Yes, of course. But the book Realize your Writing Dreams is a book on writing, publishing and marketing. So many people that were laid off from their jobs decided it would be a great time to write that book they always wanted to write! It turned out to be the perfect time for that books release.
The New Year, January is always a productive writing month for me. I always want to have a better year than the last, and am motivated to get off to a good start. That usually last a month.
For as long as I can remember late Spring, Summer and early Fall have always been my most creative and most productive writing seasons. I’m a Pisces, so during those seasons I spend a lot of time at the beach, it’s my favorite writing space.
One of my 2020 goals was to host a writing retreat at the beach. I planned it and was so excited. Sadly, I had to scale it way back but it still happened and it was amazing. Another reason to be so grateful. I’ll be writing about the retreat next week!
How about you? Are you cramming in writing time to complete your 2020 goals? Has this year been a curse or a blessing in disguise? Have you chosen 2021 writing goals or at this point are we going to be happy to arrive in 2021 in one piece?
It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.
September Question – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?
What a tough question! After giving it some thought, I would love to meet and have a conversation with Nora Roberts. Having her beta read for me would have me so nervous, but what an honor it would be.
Nora has written more than 200 romance novels! She also writes under the pen names, J.D. Robb, Jill March, and Sarah Hardesty. Can you imagine having your novels on the NYT Best seller list for 861 weeks, 176 weeks in the #1 spot.
She write’s eight-hours a day, even when she’s on vacation. That’s impressive! Writing mostly trilogies, Nora doesn’t write from an outline but creates a short first draft with all the elements of the story and then adds texture and color in her second draft, something I’d love to learn more about from her.
Because she doesn’t care for flying she does most of her research online.
We are both baseball fans so I imagine the sport would be part of our conversation.
Which author would you like to have as a beta reader?