Book Recommendations · Dyslexia · My Books

Disability Inclusive Fantasy Romance Recommendations

“Why highlight disabilities?

It normalizes disability.

It provides a window into life with a disability.

It raises awareness and understanding.

It increases accurate disability representation.

It allows us to see a new perspective.”

~Mary Mecham

As someone who struggles with dyslexia, anytime I find a character who also struggles with dyslexia I feel seen, even when the author gets things wrong.

I get it. A lot of people think dyslexia has to do with your eyes or vision (it doesn’t–I love that explicitly states that it does not have to do with intelligence or vision). Yes I get a little bit annoyed that this false hood persists but I really appreciate that the author tried! (For those of you wondering it has to do with the way the language center of the brain processes information.)

However to avoid spreading false information I feel it is imperative for authors to do their research especially if they don’t have experience with the specific disability they are portraying. We want to do all of those things in the quote above, normalize it, raise awareness, increase representation and provide a new prospective.

When I first began writing The Wolf’s Golden Deception, I did not set out with the intention to write a book about someone with a disability, however as I dug into the myth and did some more research I realized that losing a limb would be perfect for my story. Except I was hesitant at first. What did I know about such things? I don’t have a close relationship with anyone who has had a similar experience.

So I did what I always do when searching out information, I turned to the all-knowing internet. However I didn’t want generalized medical information about it, I wanted real personal accounts. I watched people on You-Tube share their stories and read numerous personal accounts, both for those who had experienced snake bites and for those who had lost a limb. I was touched by all of their stories and grateful for the opportunity to learn more as I did my best to portray what it might have been like for my character Mira.

For more information about dyslexia feel free to visit these sites: Dyslexia–Symptoms and Causes, 10 Symptoms of Dyslexia, What is Dyslexia?

Sweet & Swoony Retellings

Inclusive fairytales I’ve read and enjoyed!

The Wolf’s Golden Deception by Alesha Adamson

Stolen magic. Broken trust. Can love save Rafe and Mira from being consumed by the Wolf’s deception? Or is it already too late?

For months, Lord Rafe has been ensnared in a deception that he wishes he’d never fallen for. But what else could he do to protect his family? What started out as something seemingly harmless became achingly complex when he fell in love with Princess Mira. Refusing to see her hurt by his poor choices, he made the painful decision to stay away from her.

Mira still doesn’t understand why the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with vanished after the end of the midnight balls. When he finally returns contrite and ready to court her, she wants to forgive him and regain what they once had. But Rafe is accused of a shocking crime and banished just as a tragedy strikes that changes Mira’s life forever. Now they must meet cloaked in secret if they wish to be together.

Can they solve the mystery of the Wolf before time runs out, or will their secrets and their forbidden love be exposed, making things more precarious than ever?

*Representation: Main character loses a limb.

Poisoned: Snow White’s Story by Mary Mecham

A poisoned apple and true love’s first kiss were only the beginning to Snow White’s story…

After a handsome prince swoops in to save the day, Snow can’t help but feel like something is still missing in her life. She begins to wonder if “happily ever after” really exists, because what she is experiencing certainly isn’t the idyllic life she imaged a princess would have. With each passing day, Snow feels an increasing desire to escape the pressures of the castle and return to the brothers who live in the cottage in the woods.

Snow adores the youngest of the brothers, who cannot speak and has an inexplicable, infectious joy about him. Oliver’s grouchy caregiver doesn’t want anyone to get close to their family, and continually rebuffs Snow’s kindness. Snow can only hope that the unlikely friendship of these two brothers will be the key to unlocking her heart and happiness.

*Representation: Prominent character has an intellectual disability.

Becoming Hook by Mary Mecham

A pirate, a pixie, and a plot to foil Peter Pan…

James Hook never meant to become a pirate, and never dreamed that he would turn against best friend, Peter Pan. Every adventure and eternal youth awaited them… until a pixie exposes a shocking revelation. Tinkerbell’s information forces James into acknowledging that, far from being the benevolent hero he painted himself to be, Peter Pan was kidnapping innocent children.

After accepting the traumatic loss of his hand and of the family he can barely remember, James deserts Pan. In the fight to rescue the Lost Boys, Hook will risk everything, even if that means becoming the most notorious villain in Neverland… or losing the fiery pixie who is stealing his heart.

Can the original Lost Boy vanquish Neverland’s greatest threat?

*Representation: Main character loses a limb.

Turret by Camille Peters

Princess Gemma has been trapped for years within a magical turret, a fate she deems fitting for a sickly princess with little purpose. The enchanted walls offer security, which she’d do anything to maintain, for though she knows she should want to escape, her prison seems far safer than the outside world. But the magic of the tower has begun to fade, bringing with it not only unpredictable dangers but the very real possibility that soon Gemma will be forced to leave the prison she’s grown to trust.

The tower’s shifting magic isn’t the only thing changing, for the longer Gemma spends with her faithful guard, Quinn, the more she realizes that her feelings for him are inappropriate for one of her royal status. But the deeper her feelings for her guard grow, the more Gemma yearns not only to escape the tower in order to see more of the world beyond, but to break through the walls she’s built around herself.

But even if she finds the courage to fight for the life she wants—one filled with possibilities far more beautiful than she’s ever allowed herself to imagine—there’s one final obstacle for her to overcome…for she’s not the only one who has created walls. Though she’s striving to lower hers in order to allow her guard in, Quinn is determined to protect her from his devastating secret by keeping her out.

*Representation: Main character struggles with chronic illness. Another main character begins to go blind.

Beacon by Camille Peters

As the daughter of a lighthouse keeper, Marisa spends her days exploring the different locations the enchanted lighthouse takes her to—as well as developing her magical ability to manipulate water. But when her magic inadvertently causes a tragic accident, she chooses to pay penance by giving up both her voice and her magic.

For years, Marisa is content with her self-imposed silence…until the day she saves Prince Owen from drowning. What begins as a noble rescue soon entangles her in a fake engagement…one whose promised reward might not be worth the risk should Prince Owen’s intended discover their deception.

Marisa makes every attempt to protect her heart during their façade, but the endearing prince makes it increasingly more difficult to remember it’s nothing but a ruse. The closer they become, the less of a charade their relationship feels, and the more Marisa misses the words that are no longer hers, yearning to finally free herself from her guilt and reclaim her voice.

*Representation: Main character experiences a traumatic event and stops speaking.

The Sorcerer and the Swan Princess by Lucy Tempest

A usurped princess. A mercenary sorcerer. A fate neither expected.

As a crown princess, Ava has always anticipated betrayals—but never from her own twin. The unspeakable treachery comes the night Ava meets her true love, when Lina hires the infamous sorcerer, Lord Von Rothbart, to turn Ava into a swan, and takes her place.

Kept across the mountains in Dietrich’s castle lake, Ava’s repeated attempts to escape, to return to her prince and life, keep failing. But in the last time Dietrich recaptures her, she gets close enough to glimpse the terrible truth of what she left behind—starting with that of her prince.

Yet, it’s Dietrich’s true motivations and the unique bond that forms between them that shock her the most.

Will she reject their burgeoning feelings and trust to undo his efforts and reclaim her kingdom? Will he risk the consequences of freeing her from his curse? Will their love survive the demands of duty, and the toll of resentment and threats? Or will it fade away with the moonlight at sunrise?

*Representation: Main character’s foot was injured and never healed properly

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

*Representation: Main character has cerebral palsy

More Inclusive Fairytales TBR:

A Curse of Gold and Beauty by Mary Mecham

What if Rumpelstiltskin and the miller’s daughter fell for each other?

Meg is cursed, bewitched with breath taking beauty at the cost of absolute obedience to her father. Rhys, her best friend, is also cursed. He is able to spin straw into gold, but each pump of the treadle exacts a terrible price. Two souls were never so perfect for each other, but fate seems determined to pull them apart.

When the King holds Meg hostage and demands gold, she must decide… Is she willing to let Rhys suffer if it saves her own life or will she accept the King’s punishment and let Rhys go free?

*Representation: Main character has rheumatoid arthritis.

Use this link to download the e-book for free!

The Moonflower Dance by Lea Doue

A beastly curse. A dangerous secret. A princess with a plan.

Princess Neylan is fed up with meddling sorcerers. With more knowledge about the dangers of sorcery than any of her eleven sisters, book-loving Neylan never imagined she would lose her heart to a man who’d been cursed, much less one she’d never met. Won over after months of correspondence, she joins Master Healer Keir in a distant kingdom, confident her presence will be the cure. But when her attempt to break his beastly curse fails, she turns to an unforeseen ally who offers a solution that will grant her the knowledge she seeks … or else destroy all chances of happiness forever.

*Representation: Side character is paralyzed.

The Wilting Captive by Abigail Manning

A duchess, a beast, and a castle full of hungry hostages…

Duchess Mirabel Brantley has spent nearly all her life being sheltered due to her fragile health. With no hope of ever living the life of adventure she dreamed of, Mira agrees to an arranged marriage with the neighboring duke of Dhurin. Their betrothal celebration might have been pleasant if they didn’t already despise each other, but it also might have helped if the entire party wasn’t taken hostage…

The ex-prince Conan has been left beaten and scarred after his partnership with the criminal group, the beasts. With a hunger for vengeance against the Ruby Realm and a never-ending craving for power, Conan seizes the entire Dhurin castle with the help of an enchanted gift. His terms are simple; hand over Dhurin, and the hostages live. Refuse and… well, the guests will learn why he was favored by the beasts.

Mira is a prisoner at her own party, but they might not be in as much trouble as they thought when a lone caster offers up her powers as protection. With the ability to cast her magic into living plants, the caster selects a simple rose to contain her gift. With only the dwindling lifespan of a rose keeping the hostages from being torn apart, it’s only a matter of time before matters get grim. Can Mira convince their captor to set them free before their time runs out? Or will they simply wilt with their rose?

*Representation: Main character deals with celiac disease.

Maiden of the Sea by Sarah Beran

It all started one dark and stormy night…

After a foolhardy rescue attempt in the middle of a raging storm, Ariel found herself crippled and robbed of the one thing she had always taken for granted–her legs. As an initiate to the Daughters of the Creator, she strove to find meaning and purpose in her life through service to others, and tried to convince herself that saving the life of the Earl of Ashland’s young son was worth the price of her legs. But despite all that, in her deepest parts she still dreams of the day she will be able to dance again. Twelve years later, a meeting with the mysterious (and probably completely untrustworthy) Captain Lesard leaves with her greatest wish fulfilled: he can restore her legs to her for three days if she agrees to help him find the treasure hidden in Davy Jones’ locker–but the cost is her voice.

Davy Jones, heir to the Earl of Ashland, has been on the trail of Captain Pierre Lesard for almost a year, ever since he discovered the nefarious pirate had been the one keeping his cousin Pan captive. Lesard has evaded capture twice, but the newest trail leads Davy and his friend John Childs to the island country of Maregar. Davy remembers well the site of his near death, and the voice of the girl who rescued him still haunts his dreams at night. With Lesard as his excuse, he can finally return and express the proper gratitude to the girl who saved him all those years ago.

When their paths collide, Ariel and Davy race against Lesard to find the locker and the treasure he believes is hidden inside. As her time slips away, Ariel is forced to make a choice: Will she take Lesard’s offer and have her legs restored permanently? Or can she give up the dream she has been holding onto for years in order to once again save Davy’s life?

*Representation: Main character suffers a severe leg injury.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

*Representation: Main character has a limb difference.

The Theft of Sunlight by Instisar Khanani

I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away from it.

Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer—even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.

Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. 

But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself.

*Representation: Main character has a clubfoot.

The Scarred Prince by Erika Everest

A bitter and reclusive prince. A determined intruder. An unlikely friendship.

His face scarred from a witch’s curse, Prince Sebastian retreats inside his castle, resentful and angry. He shuns contact with everyone except the Red Hoods, the elite soldiers he trains and leads.

Four years ago, Sienna was kidnapped. Still traumatized by her ordeal, she needs to learn to protect herself to feel safe again, and she wants the Prince to train her.

Reluctantly, Sebastian agrees.

But long-held beliefs aren’t so easy to cast aside. Can the bitter soldier and the haunted girl overcome their demons? Or will their pasts rip them apart?

*Representation: Main character has severe burn scars.

The Golden Ball by Erika Everest

A disguised princess. A friend in need. A desperate plan.
And one entitled prince standing in their way. 

To save her friend, Princess Natashya travels across the continent and goes undercover as a servant, Asha. But the enchanted golden ball that could help them is in the possession of the Prince, and his price for relinquishing it is the one thing Asha doesn’t have… time.

As the Midsummer Ball approaches, so does the deadline. Natashya’s involvement is risking her own Kingdom, but is she risking her heart as well?

*Representation: Main character has autism.

The Princess Vow by Erika Everest

Princess Aurora is not going to wait for a prince to rescue her.

Trapped in an enchanted sleep, Aurora uses her magical link to twelve other princesses to find out how to break the spell. But she also has to contend with the mysterious man who visits her in her sleep. Is he her protector as he claims, or is he her jailer?

Meanwhile, Aurora’s sister Rosebud and their friend Sienna are on a quest to find her. The three must work together to uncover the secrets of the past if they want to have a future. They made a blood vow to each other, and they are going to fulfil it: No princess left behind.

No matter what it takes.

*Representation: Main character deals with depression.

Pirouette by Kenely Davidson

It was just a dance. But in Caelan, dancing changes everything.
Especially if you’re a princess.

Princess Ilani is cursed. She can no longer dance, and is therefore considered worthless. Forgotten. Invisible.
Until her twelve sisters are trapped in a deadly game with a breathtaking prize—a royal bride and an empire for the taking, if a man is willing to risk everything for a chance to win.

Only Ilani can see the sinister forces at work behind the scenes and the danger lurking beneath the smiles of the court. But who will listen to a cursed princess? No one, that’s who. No one except a strangely compelling foreigner, whose motives remain shrouded in secrecy and mistrust.

As darkness gathers and deadly plans come to light, a fierce princess and a dangerously charming spy may be the only ones who can save both their kingdoms from the malice and magic of a treacherous adversary.

*Representation: Main character’s legs were broken and never healed properly.

The Cursed Prince by Aya Ling

Can a disabled mage save a prince from a terrible fate?

When she was fourteen, Gabi promised she’d do anything to protect Prince Alrik of Arksar. Including falling in love with him, in case true love’s kiss is needed to break the curse. But six years later, Alrik hasn’t expressed interest in any woman. He is content to flirt, but never showed a strong attachment for anyone. And now the witch who cursed him has returned after years in exile…

Time is also running out in Savony, where trolls have broken out from underground, terrorizing the castle. More help is needed to defeat the trolls, but with half the mages tasked to protect Alrik, how will Alix, Sybil, and the princes band together and save their kingdom from an unprecedented crisis?

*Representation: Main character has a foot injury.

Fairest Son by H.S.J. Williams

The Fair and Foul courts of the fey folk have long yearned for one to bring them together in peace, but hopes are dashed when the fairest prince and the prophecy concerning him are laid to ruin. Burdened with shame and sorrow, the prince flees to the cold mountains far above the forests and lochs with nothing but animals and goblins for company.

When a human huntress stumbles upon him in her search for a legendary predator, their fates are intertwined. But she hides deadly secrets, and if he dares to trust her, he may risk the doom of both courts to an ancient evil…

*Representation: Main character is blind.

Sweet & Swoony Fantasy Romance

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Inclusive Fantasy Romances TBR:

The King’s Captive by K.M. Shea

I can turn into a housecat.

It’s a fun magic, except in a world filled with vampires and werewolves, it doesn’t exactly make me a powerhouse. Instead, the supernatural community has classified me as an outcast, which means one thing: picking on me is open season all day, every day.

The local fae are the worst of all, and it’s during one of their regular “capture the cat-girl” sessions that I shift into my cat form and meet HIM for the first time.

Noctus is so powerful his magic radiates off him like a sun, and my fae captors can barely look in his general direction. And then my life gets even more terrifying when Noctus decides to take me with him. As a pet.

Why did he pick today to “adopt don’t shop” a cat?

It gets worse when I realize he’s an elf, a ruling race of supernaturals that was supposedly killed off centuries ago.

But he’s not just any elf, no. He’s an elven king, with heaps of secrets to protect. Secrets that I am quickly learning since he includes his new pet in everything from breaking into buildings to inspect classified paperwork to tracking down sketchy supernaturals.

All this means if he gets even a hint that I’m not a real cat, I’m going to find out firsthand how elves treat their prisoners.

So, escaping Noctus is priority #1. How hard can it be? (Answer: very.)

*Representation: Main character has anxiety and side character is blind.

Grace by Contract by Rachel Rossano

After her father uproots the family to the northern duchy of Brackenhurst, Grace Eldon and her four younger sisters struggle with a new life of hardship. Desperate to keep a roof over their heads amid mounting debts, she and her youngest sister seek employment in the Duke of Brackenhurst’s household despite fearsome rumors.

Scarred and maimed from a terrible fire Silas Isling, Duke of Brackenhurst, buries himself in his work to avoid the stares of pity and fear. When one of the new maids shows no fear at his appearance, he is intrigued. That is until his meddling steward gives her the task of cleaning Silas’ bookroom. It is a most unwelcome disruption since he prefers to be alone.

While a thief plagues his castle, an old nemesis reappears, and enemies invade in the guise of guests. Amidst the distractions and chaos, Grace brings some unexpected order. Once convinced his scars had stolen all hope for love, Silas finds his life forever changed by the quiet maid. Could she love a scarred Duke?

*Representation: Main Character struggles with vision problems, chronic illness and has a limb difference.

Dragon’s Fire by Kimberly Rogers

They survived one curse, breaking another could burn them.

Thalassa and Alina spent one hundred years dancing for a golden dragon. With their elder sister and her huntsman venturing north, they are left to figure out a new place in life. One that might not involve dragons. However, when the dragons are attacked by a shadowy cabal, the sisters choose to join a quest to root out the organization before it can bring war back to the Five Kingdoms.

Lore spent over a century alone save for his human companions, the huntsman and three sisters. A healer and curse breaker, he closed away his emotions after unimaginable loss until one of the sisters dared challenge his rule of detachment. Something he cannot allow. When he discovers an old enemy is involved with the cabal attack, he agrees to help break the cabal’s schemes in hopes the dancer wrapping her fingers around his heart will fall for another.

Their quest becomes more perilous when the cabal uses magic to separate the group and curse the dragons to madness. Thalassa and Alina must each fight for their dragon’s mind. But to survive this curse, they must unlock the secrets of their own heritage before everyone succumbs to dragon’s fire.

*Representation: Main Character is dyslexic.

Gryphon’s Sister by Kimberly Rogers

The curse stole her voice, but breaking it may cost everything she holds dear.

Hidden in the northern mountains, Sybil longs for the day when their curse will be broken. Life with only gryphons as company is not easy. She knows that she is the key to returning her brothers to their human forms but doing so may be impossible. Then everything changes when she saves a stranger.

Damian is a hunted man. When he makes the mistake of trying to protect a mysterious and silent girl, his fate takes an unexpected turn. A foreigner, he’s lived on the run for years. As he grows closer to Sybil, he discovers she doesn’t need a voice to speak. However, he cannot forget his haunted past and the gryphons she claims as brothers are eager to see him gone.

With danger closing in on all sides, will Sybil be forced to sacrifice something greater than her voice?

*Representation: Main Character is non-verbal.

Of Heat and Springs by Kimberly Rogers

A Daughter of Zeus
A Loyal Servant
A Love Daring to Rebel

Athena, daughter of Zeus, is the ultimate strategist. Her mind is her greatest strength in surviving the Storm King’s court. And she proves it by being her father’s most loyal child. Until the day she fails a mission.

Desperate to regain her place, Athena obeys Zeus’ command to bring a recalcitrant weapon smith to heel. Hephaestus of the fire elementals is the greatest weapon smith known to elementals and he is infuriating. Athena’s strength lies in her mind but crossing a water elemental risks drowning. When Hephaestus challenges her loyalty to the Storm King, she thinks she can handle any scheme.

A smith with a magnificent mind is not what she expected. But when they are both accused of disloyalty, Athena faces the most challenging choice of her life. Stay loyal to the father she cannot trust. Or, rely on an unexpected bond and rebel.

*Representation: Main character suffered severe injury resulting in weakened legs.

The Elf King’s Sacrifice by Elisa Rae

The King of Eldarlan hates parties. Superficial conversations and social niceties never come easy for him. When cursed to host human princesses at a party every night, he considers it mild torture until an unusual princess appears one night. Wrapped in a worn robe with bare feet and tousled hair, she intrigues him immediately

Kate had been a princess only a matter of hours before being pulled from her bed by a magical spell. It drops her in an enchanted garden populated by silent elves and princesses of various ages. Attempting to avoid the unsolicited advice of her new peers, she retreats to the dark hedge maze where she encounters her host.

*Representation: Main Character has POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) disease.

Runemaster by Everly Haywood

A kidnapped governess. A goblin prince. A world on the brink of disaster.

Anrid Fray left her sister for an arranged marriage to a dark elf; instead, she is stolen away and accidentally binds herself to a temperamental magic known as the Bifrost. She only wants to find her betrothed, but a harassed Runemaster and a pack of unruly orphans won’t let her leave.

Prince Jael Daemon needs to save his kingdom from strange earthquakes, but the Bifrost protecting Agmon is inexplicably failing. The last thing he wants is responsibility for his wayward younger brother, a naïve human girl, and her homeless goblinborn children who are all in danger.

With the Bifrost under attack and their souls bonded to its fate, can these star-crossed lovers reconcile duty and desire before shadows consume all they hold dear?

*Representation: The goblin children are inspired by down syndrome.

Dragon School: First Flight by Sarah K. Wilson

Join Dragon School. Learn to Fly. Sixteen-year-old Amel arrived at Dragon School just like everyone else – with a dream to ride dragons and join the Dominion Dragon Riders. But Amel has a crippled leg and Dragon School training is gruelling. Before she can even become an initiate, she must complete her First Flight on a dragon. Can Amel survive First Flight and become a Dragon School initiate or will her dreams dash on the rocks below? 

*Representation: Main character has a leg injury.

Phoenix Heart by Sarah K. Wilson


Disabled and rejected in her community, Sersha has never had a best friend. Until one day, a phoenix enters her world, tied to her heart in a way no one can break. Now, this great fiery beast has adopted her as his best friend and he wants to take her away from the world she’s known until now. But Sersha’s village is in trouble and unless she can learn to work with her phoenix friend right now, they might both lose the future they were counting on. Will Sersha’s big heart be enough to forge a bond between them?

*Representation: Main character is non-verbal.

Reader Recommendations:

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Cece Louise

*Representation: Main character is autistic and has a leg injury.

Snow White by K.M. Shea

*Representation: Main character struggles with anxiety.

Guarding Snow by Elizabeth D. Marie

*Representation: Main character struggles with anxiety and depression.

By Winged Chair by Kendra Merritt

*Representation: Main character is paralyzed.

**It sounds liked there are characters struggling with things from anxiety to a limb difference to neurodivergence throughout the whole Mark of the Least series.

Have you read any of these books? Any other books with disability representation that you loved and read? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

I was pleased and happily surprised at the amount of books I was able to find with such wonderful and diverse representation! A huge thank you to all of these amazing authors who made these books possible and those on the sidelines who helped them (and us) learn and understand the stories behind the disabilities. I hope you are able to find some new and fantastic reads and learn a little bit more about the struggles–seen and unseen–that some people might be facing.

Happy Reading!

Alesha Adamson

P.S. If you want to find more disability inclusive books or find a sensitivity reader check out or follow on Instagram.

P.P.S Want even more sweet and swoony lists directly in your mail box? Click the button below!

Author Advice · New Author · The Process · Writing

Alesha’s Secret Sauce: Recipe for a Rough Draft


  • One intriguing idea
  • A healthy heap of excitement
  • A daily dose of writing
  • A dash of direction
  • *Warning: Turn OFF the editing brain. It is not yet time to bake.


Begin with one intriguing idea. Ideas are flourishing everywhere, ripe for the picking, if you know where to look for them. They are hanging in your dreams, growing from life experiences or events, sprouting from words, fairytales or tropes, blossoming from an image, story or show. The places may vary for each individual. However, they cannot be found if you are not looking for them. Rarely do ideas fall out of nowhere and hit you in the head, like the proverbial apple. Unless you’ve already opened your eyes to them. In which case, you may be trying to avoid paying attention to the over-abundance of ideas popping up everywhere you look. Unfortunately, you cannot harvest all of them at once. Thankfully, you can combine some of them making for an even tastier draft! You can also pick your favorites and write them down to save for later.

For those of you struggling to hold on to just one. Never fear. One is all you need. Also please note that looking for the perfect idea may prove difficult, if not impossible. No idea is perfect in its infancy, you must see its potential. That is what you are here for, dear writer, to help bake it into the fabulous story it has the potential to become! Now that you have selected the idea you want to work with, you can begin mixing your rough draft.

Whip your idea with a healthy heap of excitement. If you aren’t feeling excited about it, then no one else will. Everything flows so much better when you are delighted with your idea, trust me. Perhaps it has been a while since you last looked at this particular idea and you find yourself feeling a lack of that former enthusiasm. Perhaps you have been writing this idea for far too long and the flavor has become stale or even sour. Calm down. The idea isn’t necessarily bad—you just need to freshen it up. It might need more time to ripen or you might need a break.

This could be a good time to put it aside and work on something else. Spend a day writing an idea that has sparked your interest, work on fun prompts or even a bit of world building, before returning. Perhaps you need a much longer break. I finally allowed myself a five-year brake from a story that had become particularly sour. This allowed me to finally focus on a new idea and finish what would become my first fully baked novel.

When sludging through your writing and feelings of enthusiasm have waned, consider stirring in another heap of excitement to get you whisking along once more. Renew that passion by building a playlist that reminds you of your book or compile images that resonate with your world. Repeat positive affirmations. Tell yourself how awesome your idea is. Ask yourself why you are such a speedy writer. Remember why you wanted to bake this intriguing idea into a novel. Reread your favorite parts. Remind yourself why you love writing.

Review all the things you originally loved about your idea through journaling—as a friend of mine recently suggested. As you journal you may discover something is missing. Originally you were super stoked about your villain but now the villain isn’t living up to your dream. Good thing this is your rough draft. Keep working the batter. Shift things around and regain that spark that originally drove you! Dive into the scene that has been on your mind or you are feeling stoked about. If you are a linear writer, consider summarizing the scenes you don’t want to write to get to the fun part. You can always fill in the missing parts later.

It is important to note, as you are folding in excitement, that nothing will happen if you are not putting in your daily dose of writing. You must give your idea substance to work with or you will have nothing to bake into a novel. Start off small to make writing a habit. Like other good habits it will become easier with time. Try to schedule a daily writing time—it doesn’t have to be long just regular. If this is not possible with your current schedule, don’t panic! Squeeze writing in at various times during the day, during breaks, during nap time, during those moments you have to yourself before bed or in the morning. The most important thing is to write frequently. Even when you aren’t feeling particularly inspired.

Train your brain to write by using the same writing space. Give yourself goals to work toward. You can do word count goals, page goals, time goals, or even weekly writing goals. Any writing will do, it is not meant to be beautiful. This is your rough draft. It is meant to be fun and messy. Ingredients get spilled on the counter. Pieces get discarded. Flavoring is added at the end. You will clean up the mess later. Putting things away before you are finished with them can create a lot of extra work. The goal is to take your idea and unravel it—until it begins to resemble the story you imagined.

Throughout this process keep in mind my warning. Now is NOT the time for editing! This is a rough draft. It is not ready to bake. No matter how tempting, you must resist. Turn OFF your editing brain. It is exceedingly difficult to fix something half-baked. It is equally difficult to figure out all the ingredients you want to mix in before you know exactly what you are making. You can add spice, flowery words and motifs later. It is unnecessary and nearly impossible to do all of it at once.

Personally, I find it difficult to turn off the editing brain while typing on a computer. It is fine for short papers and blogs, but to complete a whole book, I needed to find a way to stop the perfectionist syndrome and roll the story out. There are a variety of techniques to help. Some authors chose to use various writing programs or platforms, others dictate, using speech to text. I discovered notebook writing. I write my rough draft by hand on a notebook I cut in half. I carry this notebook wherever I go and jot down ideas whenever they strike me. This also allows me to be messy.

I advise you not to delete parts that aren’t working. The wording you use there may help you in your next draft. If you are using a computer, consider striking through or highlighting unwanted sections rather than deleting them. Don’t try and edit or rework them at this time. Simply add a note or start the section anew. In my notebook, I put a bracket around the chunk that went amiss and begin the scene over adding various notes in the margins when necessary. I needn’t figure it out now. I simply make a note and move forward. Forward momentum will move your toward completing your recipe!

As you get going, remember to dust your idea with a dash of direction. When and how much, is up to you. However, it is very difficult to get anything accomplished if you don’t have a general idea of how you want your final product to turn out. There are hundreds of ways this idea could go. Things could get unwieldy. Gently beat it into submission. Whether you are a recipe follower or improv baker, direction is needed. As an improv baker myself, I start with a main idea and a bit of direction then jump right in. When things get tough, I pause to sift in some more direction by creating an informal sort of outline. If I do this, things tend to go much smoother.

There are a myriad of ways to mix an outline—formal or informal. You can create a long, detailed summary of the whole book called a snap-draft. You can form a table or chart, having each box represent a chapter or time frame and add in the corresponding scenes at specific points in the novel. You can do a mind dump, writing down everything you know about the story before organizing it to your liking. You can get to know your characters and world by creating charts, timelines, or family trees. You can storyboard using movable notecards containing all the scenes you know need to happen. Start off with the bigger picture, and fill in the details along the way, or start off with the small details or scenes and built your story out.

Personally, I like to summarize the story using succinct bullet points starting at the beginning and moving from point to point as far as I can, in a linear fashion. When I find myself uncertain what course a character will take, I do what I like to call the A/B scenario—journaling different paths that the characters can take and what will happen if they take each one. Often, I’ll find my answer based on the path that leads to the most thoughts or the outcome that gets me closer to my next plot point. I constantly take notes or talk with friends to slice through and analyze various ideas. This keeps the juices flowing and the excitement levels up.

Chose or combine any of these processes or create your own. Learn from master story bakers. Discover what works best for you. Take the time to find the direction your mind has been searching for. Remember, this is your story. You get to choose how it will go. There may be times when characters do things seemingly of their own accord; however, you can work with that because you are becoming a seasoned story baker, you are now equipped with the secret sauce.

Keep in mind that each writer is different. This can be both frustrating and freeing. Frustrating as you struggle to determine how you work best and freeing when you realize you don’t have to write in a certain way to be successful! However, these key ingredients seem to be universal. An intriguing idea whipped with a healthy heap of excitement, given a daily dose of writing, all dusted with a dash of direction will help you complete your recipe for a rough draft, moving you closer to baking up the novel you’ve been dreaming of.

Happy writing!

Author Advice · New Author · The Process · Writing

Four Tips for Aspiring Authors

1. Write! 

I know this sounds obvious, but all your ideas will remain just that—ideas, until you set pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and write it down. We make time for the things that are important to us. If writing a book in important to you, make the time. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go. When I have a thought or idea, I jot it down. I can write on my break or while waiting for something. You don’t need to carve out hours and hours to write. Time is everywhere if we know how to look for it. 

Write often! Some authors prefer to write at the same time every day or in the same location. Some set word goals or page goals, while others write for a set amount of time or number of days a week. For a while I had a goal to write something (even if it was one word) five days a week. See what works best for you. Have fun! Celebrate your successes! 

2. Resist the urge to revise! 

That piece of advice I kept getting but took forever to follow… Yep, it has made all the difference. After thirteen years of writing and writing without ever finishing anything, I suddenly had a manuscript within a matter of months. 

A rough draft is meant to be rough. It doesn’t have to be pretty; it doesn’t have to sound good, in fact, at times, it doesn’t even have to make sense (that is what the second draft is for). The goal here is to get that amazing story that is floating around in your head out, and on to paper. I have found that handwriting my first draft helps to turn off my critical brain and allows the story to flow. Do what works for you. I promise when you resist the urge to revise, magic will happen! 

3. Believe you can achieve! 

You have to believe it to achieve it. If you don’t believe it will happen then it never will. Everything we do and become started out as a thought, going to school, getting a job etc. Then it became an action and that action made it into a reality. Why would writing a book be any different? Do you want to be a published author? Imagine it happening.   

One large step on my journey was committing to be a part of A Villain’s Ever After anthology. I knew others were counting on me. When I wasn’t progressing very fast, I had to question my process and do something different. I started telling everyone that I was going to publish in 2021. I started calling myself an author. I got the cover for my book and really started to visualize it happening—an informal sort of vision board. (A vision board is where you post pictures of your dreams in a prominent location and visualize them happening.) 

Get really clear on what you want to do with your novel. What do you need to do to feel it, see it, taste it, and visualize it happening? You can make your novel a reality. 

4. Invest in yourself! 

After putting all that time and energy into writing your novel, I’d imagine you want to get it out there. First, get clear about what you want. Do you just want to share it with friends and family? Great, invest the time and money into binding it and getting it out. (My grandparents have created several family history books that I treasure.) 

Do you want to try the traditional or self-publish route? Great, find someone who is successful doing what you’d like to do and learn all you can from them. However, beware of the get rich quick scheme and paying someone to publish your book for you, they should be paying you. Read carefully through anything before ever signing your name. 

If you’d like to self-publish, invest your time into editing your book then invest in a good cover and a good editor. If it looks professionally done and sounds professionally done—with an enticing blurb—readers will be more likely to want to purchase it. 

I also feel that it is important to invest in a good group of beta readers and ARC readers. My beta readers were friends and family who I felt comfortable reading my book before it was complete. They told me their thoughts, feelings and opinions about my book. I was able to discover problems that I was unable to see on my own and fix them before ever publishing my book. ARC (advanced reader’s copy) readers are people who you don’t know. You give them your book for free, and usually before it comes out, in exchange for a true and honest review. They help promote your book and leave reviews on Amazon and other platforms to help other readers see if they would be interested in reading your book. It also helps with your ranking on Amazon.

There are many ins and outs of publishing. Invest your time and possibly money into finding those recourses and studying what it is you will need to do to be successful. 

Good luck and happy writing!