Please welcome romance author Gabi Stevens.
Having someone believe in you is one of the most important things in life, wouldn’t you say? So being a success and proving herself to her mother is important for the main character in my newest release, AS YOU WISH. Born into a magical family, Reggie Scott had no powers of her own; she was content to live her life out as a Groundling. Her parents, however, insisted on placing her in Arcani schools where she ended up in special ed. Eventually Reggie starts a bakery and hires two of her friends from school, Tommy and Joy.
Remember how I said that having someone believe in you is one of the most important things in life? Well, Reggie believes in Tommy and Joy. See, Tommy and Joy have special needs. Tommy has Down syndrome, and Joy has...well, Joy is just Joy. But they both have a flair for baking, and with Reggie’s supervision, they are capable of great things. It helps that they have magic, but Tommy and Joy can achieve independence because someone has given them the chance to show what they can do and hasn’t focused on what they can’t. And yes, except for the magic, they are realistic. You see, my daughter was the inspiration for Joy.
Like Joy, my daughter doesn’t have a diagnosis, but it wouldn’t matter anyway. She is who she is, and we celebrate her achievements, fight for her rights, and teach her everything we can. She is fiercely independent, makes her own lunches for school, sometimes cooks for herself, and is in charge of all batters and doughs in our house. I’m not trying to paint a completely idyllic picture here. Unlike Joy, my daughter is still a teenager, and like all teens, she can be surly and obnoxious. In fact she is more “normal” than not.
However, many people cannot see beyond her disabilities. But there is a group that’s determined to change the views about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) one friend at a time. Best Buddies International has chapters throughout the world to provide friendships for people with IDD. That’s it. Friendship. My daughter has participated in Best Buddies™ for two years now. She has a buddy she goes to restaurants with, sporting events, dances, and even texts with (Yes, I had to get my daughter a cell phone now so she can keep up with her friends). This friendship has boosted her confidence and makes her feel more a part of her school and society. Best Buddies™ has programs in high schools, colleges, communities, and even work places. To find out more about them, visit their website at www.bestbuddies.org.
So in honor of Tommy and Joy—and my daughter—I have pledged ten percent of my royalties from AS YOU WISH to Best Buddies™. I hope you will help me support this worthy group. Because everybody needs someone who believes in him. Even heroines. And heroes