Hi everyone! My name is Eden Grey, and I am so super excited to be a part of this anthology!

This is honestly my first experience ever with publishing my fiction writing. I am a Teen Librarian and have done many professional presentations and had an article published in VOYA magazine, but this is my first short story! I am in the process of finishing a draft of a YA sci-fi novel in preparation for starting NaNoWriMo next month. I also read and review a ton of YA fiction, which you can check out on my blog and other review sites like this one here.

In my free time I read, write reviews, write YA fiction, blog, attend to my red long-haired dachshund, make costumes and go to anime conventions, and take kickboxing classes. And yes, I still have time to sleep and consume copious amounts of coffee. Enough about me, on to the story!

My short story for this anthology is called Emergency Exit, and it’s about a peculiar little girl named Josephine who has Asperger’s and is bullied by her classmates because of her differences. At the beginning of 2014 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and while as an adult I don’t have to face the bullying challenges that youth do, I can very much see how AS affected my childhood.

Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. The diagnosis came as a relief, and a welcome way of understanding my differences from neurotypical people and my struggles after entering the professional workforce. There are so many parts of myself that stem from Asperger’s Syndrome, and I wouldn’t be myself without them. I wouldn’t be where I am today; instead, I would be stuck in the past, miserable and unable to move forward or succeed. I am brave (I take chances), honest (sometimes to the point of rudeness), ambitious (which can be intimidating), with a unique perspective (but the rules shouldn’t always be questioned), and a knack for seeing details others don’t notice (which can be very distracting).

I have learned to embrace what makes me different, and that includes much of myself that doesn’t have anything to do with AS. But without AS, I wouldn’t have learned to be so accepting. First accept yourself, be happy with yourself, or you won’t be happy with anything.

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