Monday, January 04, 2010


Chynna Laird, author of Not Just Spirited, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Chynna T. Laird is a mother of three beautiful girls, Jaimie (six-and-a-half), Jordhan (five) and baby Sophie (sixteen months), and a gorgeous baby boy Xander (almost three). In addition to living her dream building up her at-home freelance business (Lily Wolf Words), she's also studying to obtain her B.A. in Psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Development.

Her hobbies include writing, reading, playing piano and crafting with her girls. A lot of the material she writes about includes childhood experiences, her adventures as a Mom, and her personal observations.

She's won writing contests in Byline magazine and her work has been published in various Christian, parenting, writing and inspirational magazines in Canada, the United States, Britain and Australia. As well, she's had personal essays featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs and Cup of Comfort for Special Needs. Last year, she released a children's picture book called, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, where she describes--through the voice and perspective of four-year old Alexandra--what it's like to live with Sensory Integration Dysfunction (Sensory Processing Disorder).

Chynna is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), The International Women's Writing Guild, The Writers-Editors Network, Christian Writers' Guild, The Canadian Author's Association as well as The Writers Guild of Alberta. She has press cards through the PWAC and the Writers-Editors Network.

Chynna is on tour for her second book, Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and her third book, The Sensory Diet: Setting Your SPD Child up for Success, will be released this year.

Find out more about Chynna by visiting her websites:
Lily Wolf Words:

Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
By Chynna T. Laird

What would you do if your child suffered with something so severe it affected every aspect of her life?

And what if your cries for help fell on deaf ears at every turn? You'd follow your gut and fight until someone listened. And that's what Chynna Laird did. When she was just three months old, Jaimie's reactions to people and situations seemed odd. She refused any form of touch, she gagged at smells, she was clutzy and threw herself around and spent most of her day screaming with her hands over her ears and eyes.

By the time she turned two, Jaimie was so fearful of her world they spent most days inside. What was wrong with Chynna's miracle girl? Why wouldn't anyone help her figure it out? Jaimie wasn't "just spirited" as her physician suggested, nor did she lack discipline at home. When Jaimie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) at two-and-a-half, Chynna thought she had "the answer," but that was just the start of a three-year quest for the right treatments to bring the Jaimie she loved so much out for others to see. With the right diagnosis and treatment suited to Jaimie, this family finally felt hope. Not Just Spirited is one mother's journey to finding peace for her daughter, Jaimie. As Chynna says often, "Knowledge breeds understanding. And that's so powerful."

Genre: Memoir/Children with Special Needs
Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Loving Healing Press (November 2009)
ISBN: 1615990089

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Chynna Laird's book, Not Just Spirited, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

(Photo: Chynna's beauties!)

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Welcome, Chynna! Presently, you have three books to your name--each in a different category--but all concentrating on the same subject, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). In writing these books, did you find that you preferred one type of writing over another?

What a great question! I have to say that I loved writing the children's book the best. That's not because it was the easiest--I still had to concentrate on the target audience, make sure I was saying things "correctly" for that audience, etc. But I think it was because the book was for my little girl. It was my way of helping her to understand what she was going through and how to give her the words to explain her SPD to others. I guess because, at the time I wrote it, I wasn't able to hold her or comfort her or give her any of the usual mommy forms of affection due to her sense of touch being so sensitive; it was my way to do those things. I'll always treasure that book.

WOW: That's beautiful. So what lessons did you learn from your children's book that helped you with your memoir, Not Just Spirited?

Chynna: The number one lesson I learned from the children's book is how important marketing is. I wrote the book in 2007 but didn't really get out there and hard-core market it until earlier this year. Not good, especially when you self-publish. I soon realized that no one would even know my book was out there unless I steered people to it. So now I'm learning about different marketing tools, the most effective social connection tools I can access with the time I have to use them, etc. Some writers make the mistake of thinking their publisher or someone else will be doing all the promoting for them and it's not the case. The writer/author is expected to do a lot of her own promotion and marketing. It's a lot of work but so worth it!

WOW: Thank you for mentioning that--it's a great reminder for authors. Tell us the origins of your memoir.

Chynna: When I first started writing the memoir, I was really just working through the feelings of hurt, confusion and anger I had. Why couldn't I help my child? What was wrong with her? What was wrong with me? At first, it was basically a compilation of journal entries--you know, trying to work through all the emotions.

Then after I wrote my children's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, I really wanted to do more to help other families out there if I could. I didn't want to write a tell-all or make parents think or do a specific thing. I just wanted to say, "This was our experience. This is what happened in our house and how we dealt with it. These are the things we went up against. It may not have been the 'right thing,' or the 'wrong thing,' but it was what we did. Take what you need, and keep pushing forward with your own journey."

The most important thing I wanted to do was to give parents something I didn't have in the beginning of our SPD journey: The comfort that other families are going through the same things we are and that they aren't alone. One thing I was told in the beginning of my struggle was that, "Parents often feel like they're on a remote island where no one else is going through what they are or understand what it's like to raise a child with sensory issues. Once we reach out...once we share our stories...bridges are built among those islands and we aren't alone anymore." When I heard those words, I realized how important it was for parents to tell their stories.

WOW: I totally agree. I'm sure your book will help a lot of parents who are going through the same thing, and I applaud you for that! When you sat down to write your memoir, how did the process work? Did you rely on memories and journals? Did you discuss the experience with your family?

Chynna: For the longest time, it was only me and Steve [Chynna's husband] here going through everything with Jaimie. It's truly a difficult thing to make people understand your situation when they aren't there to go through it with you. It was so frustrating and lonely, and writing about it always made me feel better.

I wrote journal entries mostly, at first. Then, when I went back to edit it, I went through everything again. It was painful, joyous, angering and enlightening all at the same time. I re-lived every experience...every emotion...and it could be so hard. I often had to leave the computer, just turn it off. It was difficult enough to go through all of that initially...not just for me but especially for Jaimie.

I rewrote parts of the manuscript many times. Not because I'd written it "wrong," but more because this isn't just my story. It's Jaimie's and Steve's and my other children's story. So I had to be sure it was told 'just right,' you know? I didn't want to complain or give a 'poor me' type of perspective. If I was going to share our story, it had to be giving the message that things are tough and you'll face many obstacles but you have to be strong and you'll get where you need to be.

I constantly talked with Steve about the book. A huge part of our story was Jaimie's rejection of his love because she wasn't--and still isn't--able to deal with that. So I had to be sure that I was being true to his feelings and views while remembering this book would be out there for a long time (Hopefully!) and Jaimie's early life would be out there. I wanted it to be something she'd be proud of later on.

WOW: It must be difficult writing a memoir that includes young children. Do you ever worry they'll grow up and say, "Mom, why did you have to write about us?"

Chynna: What another great question. Well, as I touched on earlier I did worry about that. How could I not? They are all so young right now and don't fully understand what Mommy does with her writing. And I remember Steve saying, "Nothing in this is going to come back to haunt Jaimie when she's a teenager or anything, will it?"

I almost didn't publish it for those reasons. But you know what? Jaimie is helping so many people with her story...with our story. I think she'd be proud of how I wrote it and how my publisher edited it (Thank you so much, Victor and Ernest!). She already is! She truly wants people to understand her. I spoke with her constantly about what I was doing because I remember awhile ago, when I'd written my story for the
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs book, she was devastated that I'd talked about her and that everyone would read it. She was embarrassed and believed people wouldn't like her--that was a couple of years ago (and one of the reasons I'd written my children's book). Now, she thinks it's pretty cool to think that she may be able to help others with what she's gone through, and still goes through.

I never made her look pathetic or went into huge, intimate details--that's very important when writing about children in such books. I tried representing her as a little girl going through something tough that she had the strength to learn how to cope with. And that's what I hope she'll see.

WOW: Have you set any writing resolutions for the New Year?

Chynna: I actually blogged about this recently! Okay, some of my goals for 2010 are to: (1) Prioritize my ideas (I have many ideas and not much time to accomplish them so I need to zero in on what I really want to do!); (2) Finish my reference book; (3) Finish my memoir about my mom; and (4) Build up my courage to edit the two fiction works I have shelved. My biggest goals are to finally finish my B.A. in psychology (in April! Yay!) and spend more time with my kids. They need me more than anything or anyone and they're only little for so long. Writing can be very consuming. If you're a writer and a Mama, you can do both you just need to find that balance.

WOW: Wow! I thought I had a lot to accomplish. ;) Thank you, Chynna, for a wonderful and inspirational interview. I wish you the best of luck with your 2010 goals, and with your blog tour!

Want to join Chynna on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

January 4, 2010 Monday
Chynna will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Chynna's memoir!

January 5, 2010 Tuesday
Chynna Laird is the guest writer at Write for a Reader's special feature "Because of a Book." Don't miss her take on books and reading and share how they have affected your life.

January 6, 2010 Wednesday
Teachers, parents, and caregivers will want to read this interview about Chynna Laird's experiences striving for a diagnosis and the best life for her daughter with SPD. You can also win her memoir, Not Just Spirited!

January 8, 2010 Friday
Chynna Laird shares her secrets to survival in "How to Successfully Combine All Your Roles: Mom, Wife, Employee, Woman." Don't forget to enter to win a copy of her memoir Not Just Spirited!

January 12, 2010 Tuesday
Chynna Laird, author of Not Just Spirited, shares how rewarding memoir writing was for her. Don't miss it!

January 14, 2010 Thursday
Stop by Writer Inspired to check out what Chynna has to say in her interview, and enter to win a copy of her memoir Not Just Spirited!

January 15, 2010 Friday
Stop by the Mom-Blog for "Five Things No One Ever Told You About Sensory Processing Disorder." You'll also have a chance to win a copy of Chynna Laird's memoir, Not Just Spirited, about raising a daughter with SPD.

January 18, 2010 Monday
Author and Mom Chynna Laird writes about Advocating for Special Needs Children at Your School. Not to miss!

January 25, 2010 Monday
Stop by for a review of Chynna Laird's memoir, Not Just Spirited, and a chance to win a copy!

January 26, 2010 Tuesday
Don't miss a peek into the world of Sensory Processing Disorder with a guest post from Chynna Laird, author of a children's book, memoir, and cookbook on SPD.

We have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to host one of our touring authors, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Chynna Laird's memoir Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!

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Monday, July 13, 2009


Chynna Laird, author of I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Chynna Laird credits her adventures as mom of four children under the age of six as the source for much of her writing. When she's not spending Mom-time reading, playing piano and violin, and crafting with her children, she divides her time between being a student and a writer.

Chynna is busy finishing up her BA in Psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Development as well as continuing her career as a writer through her business Lily Wolf Words. She's written for many magazines: Amaze, Mindful Mama, Parenting Special Needs and Unique. She also has several bigger projects, including a thriller making the rounds. Her memoir, Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder, will be released this August.

Find out more about Chynna by visiting her websites:
Lily Wolf Words:

About her book:

I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD

By Chynna T. Laird

Four year old Alexandra describes, in her own words, how it feels to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) readers get a peek at how she hears things, smells things, even how things feel on her skin. She tells readers how frustrating it was for her to try to explain to other people she wasn't trying to be difficult or naughty, she was trying to communicate. Alexandra shows us all the things she does to cope in a world she finds so terrifying and how she helps others understand her better.

The book can be used as resource/reference tool for parents of children with SPD; to help children with SPD learn to express how they feel in words; and to educate counselors, teachers, friends and family.

Genre: Children's picture book
Paperback: 24 pages
ISBN: 1432714724
Publisher: Outskirts Press

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are
holding a contest to win a copy of Chynna's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Chynna's beautiful children (photo right): Xander (two), Jaimie (six), Sophie (ten months), Jordhan (four).

WOW: Welcome to The Muffin, Chynna. We're delighted to launch your blog tour for your book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD. [editor’s note: the original title of the book was I'm Not Weird, I Have SID] You've written a variety of non-fiction articles and essays about Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD for various magazines. What made you decide to also write a children's book about SPD?

Chynna: Initially, I wrote the story just for my daughter Jaimie who lives with SPD--to validate her feelings. When she was about three, she had an unfortunate experience with a small group of children who made fun of her reactions to them and her behaviour. The book was to help her feel better about herself and also help her see that there were other kids in the world who felt things the same way she did.

WOW: Tell us how your book got from idea to publication and how long it took.

Chynna: Jaimie loved being read to so I thought the perfect way to reach her and teach her how to talk about her SPD was to write a children's picture book that she'd love and be proud of. I honestly never had any intention of having the entire world read the children's book.

I researched a few POD places and chose Outskirts. I got lucky with the people I worked with on my project. They were wonderful and so supportive. I was never pressured to spend more money than I had to. Sadly, a lot of first-time and eager writers are "advised" to spend way more than they have to with some places. My project only took a few weeks from submitting my manuscript to approving illustrations, cover and interior setup to production and printing of my book. I cried the first time I read it to Jaimie and she loved it.

WOW: A little birdie told me you're making some changes to your book. What are the changes and why are they being made?

Chynna: Yes, I'm currently in the process of revising the book to reflect important changes that have occurred in the SPD community, mostly having to do with important research.

When Jaimie was diagnosed with SID/SPD about four years ago, it was known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID), Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). All these acronyms refer to the same condition but there was no universal way to refer to it. It was very confusing. Then shortly after my book came out in October 2007, it was finally decided to universally refer to it as Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD.

There were several reasons for this decision. The first, and most important, being that a "dysfunction" can give the impression that something simply isn’t working quite right and a few simple “tweaks” can make things run smoothly again. Believe me, with this line of thought, seeking the right help for a child with this condition can be very difficult.

The other point is that SID, as an acronym, was often confused with the tragic Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.

Finally, there’s a phenomenal SPD research team attempting to finally have SPD included in the next revision of the DSM in 2010 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). To put it simply, everyone involved with SPD research, diagnosis and treatment had to agree on what to call this disorder in order for it to be taken seriously in the medical field.

WOW: You're also adding an activity page. Why did you decide to add that?

Chynna: All year long, her classmates knew Jaimie struggled with something because she was often very aloof or avoiding activities requiring closeness, touching or that were too loud/smelly/etc. During the first few months of school, Jaimie had many meltdowns and her classmates were genuinely concerned but didn’t understand what was wrong or how to help Jamie. For example, when upset most children will accept a hug from a friend. But Jaimie yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME!" or would become even more upset.

It was after I'd taken the book to read at Jaimie's Kindergarten class and given a free copy to each of her classmates that I thought of adding the activity page. Almost all of the parents came up to me the next day--some of them tearing up--to thank us for a book talking about SPD from a child's perspective. You see, there are so many reference books out there written for adults who care for or work with these children. None of them really talk about SPD from the child's eyes…in the child's voice.

Then it dawned on me that it could help children reading the book with adults to have activities that may help to further their understanding. Children are amazing people and are genuinely curious about things, especially when it’s different. Giving them fun ways to explore SPD and how it "feels" to children who have it may help readers understand it better. And that's so important.

Kids like to ask questions and explore…this just helps with that idea. Parents and teachers are always looking for fun ways to explore the subject matter in books they read with children in a deeper way. Activity suggestions already offered in the book helps give the book more "saleability" because the caregiver doesn’t have to either research or come up with ideas on their own. It’s already there!

WOW: What's up next for you?

Chynna: Well, I have a memoir called, Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) coming out at the end of August. It's about our journey finding help for Jaimie. It starts with what we went through from when we saw signs that something was wrong (pretty soon after we'd brought her home from the hospital) to begging her pediatrician to listen to us, her diagnosis, therapy, getting into Kindergarten. My story is just to help other parents who have that aching gut feeling that something is wrong never to give up. Knock on those doors until someone listens.

Another exciting thing that's just happened is that I've signed on with Sunrise River Press to write a book tentatively called, The Sensory Diet: Setting A Sensational Child Up For Success. Essentially the book talks about the natural, holistic approaches we can take to treating children with SPD using combinations of occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition and exercises specific to the needs of a child. I'll also have a great section on childhood anxiety and how it can help this too. (Children with SPD can often have high anxiety. We've had to help Jaimie with both.)

WOW: Did I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD pave the way for these new projects?

Chynna: It's funny you should ask that. It wasn't my intention but it seemed to have done just that. I honestly never planned for the entire world read the children's book. But one day when Jaimie was in her preschool class, I got to talking with one of the other mothers about Jamie's SPD.

Anyway, the mom actually said, "Wow! My son was just diagnosed with that. We always thought he'd had Autism. Do you have any information on it?" I gave her a few resources, including the book I wrote. She came up to me the next day and said, "We read your book as a family and it actually made my husband cry." She asked to buy four more copies of the book. It sort of went from there. Now it's included in several local libraries, SPD therapy centers, Early Intervention resource centers and other places.

I'd been working on the memoir for quite some time and had several agents/publishers interested in it. But because the subject matter was so specified (or "niched"), it didn't fit into their editorial line-up.

The Sensory Diet project is a compilation of all the research, interviews and stuff I've done over the years in finding what worked best for Jaimie. I thought if I could offer a resource to parents that were in the same position we were in, a book that had all of that information in one place, they wouldn’t have to research as much on their own. This book isn’t going to be a signs/symptoms book but more for parents past the diagnostic stage and into the, "What do we do now? What therapies are there out there?" stage.

I still don’t consider myself an "expert" on the subject of SPD. I'm just one parent with one child who has a form of SPD who’s willing to share our experiences, especially if it helps others. I'm a strong believer that we go through things for a reason. I also believe that reaching out to others can be therapeutic in a way. Most importantly, if telling our story inspires other parents to tell their stories, we won't be islands in the middle of nowhere wondering if others are going through what we are. We'll build bridges among us to share our stories, experiences and knowledge and maybe, one day, this disorder won't seem so foreign.

WOW: Do you have a piece of advice for hopeful children's authors? Something you wish you had known starting out or something you wished you had done differently.

Chynna: The first piece of advice I can give hopeful children's authors is to try your hardest to find an agent or traditional publisher.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it all on your own or with POD places (as long as you do your research and find the "right" one.) But you are entirely responsible for the marketing part, including finding buyers. It's not a big deal for me now since I'm not going to school full-time any more but it is A LOT of work and takes A LOT of time and effort.

If you don't have that time, hang in there and do it the traditional way. You'll still have to do a lot of your own marketing but it's better to have the additional support and backing. I wished I'd waited for a traditional publishing route but, as I'd said, my initial goal wasn't to SELL my book to the world; it was to help my daughter understand her disorder and to give her the words to make others understand.

The best advice I can think of is to understand your intended audience and stay in that perspective. For example, writing for a 5-year old is much different than writing for, say, a tween or teen. Listen to how they talk, watch their mannerisms, watch how they interact with people. I'm lucky because I'm surrounded by my intended audience and they inspire me every day. Children are amazing little people and I love writing for them. In fact, I've decided to focus most of my fiction writing on the children's and YA audiences. Who knows…maybe you'll see me out on the bookshelves in that area one day.

WOW: Thanks for giving us so much to think about, especially how a writing project that was essentially a gift of love could make its way from a bookshelf in your daughter's bedroom to a bookshelf in your neighborhood bookstore.

Want to join Chynna on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

JULY 13, 2009 Monday
Chynna chats with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win copy of Chynna's book!

JULY 14, 2009 Tuesday
Chynna stops by Joyce Anthony's blog, Books and Authors, for an author interview and book review! Stop by today and learn more about I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.

JULY 16, 2009 Thursday
Chynna visits Raising Socially Anxious Children to talk about encouraging loving sibling relationships when one child has special needs. There is also a book giveaway comments contest! Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Chynna's book.

JULY 17, 2009 Friday
Chynna visits Cathy C. Hall's blog, Finders and Keepers, to chat about children's book writing. If you haven't visited Cathy's blog, be sure to stop by--it's bound to spark a lively discussion!

JULY 20, 2009 Monday
Chynna visits Shai Coggins' blog for an author interview! Stop by today and learn more about Chynna's thoughts on writing her first picture book.

JULY 24, 2009 Friday
Have questions about writing children's books? Stop by Samantha Clark's blog, Day by Day Writer, to visit with children's book author Chynna Laird.

JULY 27, 2009 Monday
Stop by Margo L. Dill's blog, Read These Books and Use Them, to find out what Margo thinks about Chynna's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, as well as some activities adults can use when reading with their child.

AUGUST 11, 2009 Tuesday
Chynna stops by Allyn Evans' blog, Happily Ever After Today, to talk about the challenges of understanding SPD and raising a child with SPD. Not to miss!

We may have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE to keep up with the latest.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you would like to host one of our authors, or are an author looking to schedule a tour of your own, please email Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a signed copy of Chynna Laird's children's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.

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