This is my post for RJ Scott’s annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop. The theme for this year’s blog hop is Animals.

I’m going to start with a couple of facts about autism:
Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike)
There are various comorbid conditions that often occur with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder). One of these is anxiety.
I have one child who has autism, and another who has ADHD — but who also shows some overlap with autistic traits (which isn’t unusual).
Both my children also have issues with anxiety, and I’ve always been very aware of how much our pets help them when they’re struggling.
We’re a cat household. When my kids were small we had an amazing, affectionate, cuddly ginger cat called George. George was my daughter’s security blanket when she didn’t want to go to bed on her own at night. Sometimes he was even her pillow. He was endlessly tolerant and they adored each other. His loss was a huge blow.

After George, we acquired two new-to-us cats — one from a rescue centre and one we adopted from my sister when she moved abroad. These cats (Mr Pickles and Khan) are now a great source of comfort and company for my teenagers. Both my kids have a very special relationship with the cats, and they both say how calming it is to sit with a purring cat on your lap.
It’s hard to stay anxious when you have a cat who needs stroking 🙂
I’m giving away an ebook copy of Practice Makes Perfect. One of the main characters, Dev, doesn’t officially have ASD, but in my mind he had a lot of the traits when I was writing, and several readers who recognised that contacted me to ask if he had autism. So it seemed like an appropriate giveaway for this post.
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Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.

Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.
Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.
They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.

NB: Although this book is part of a series, it is a complete story with different main characters and can be read as a standalone.

This giveaway has now finished.