Thursday, December 8, 2016

New Release: USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield's World War II Romance "Garden of Her Heart"

blog-tour
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield joins us with 
her latest release, a sweet World War II romance.
 

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Can forbidden love blossom  
amid the constraints of war?

The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese-Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive. After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life. A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.

Don't miss out on this beautiful happy ever after. 

Get your copy today!



 Available on:
 
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Excerpt: 
“Please, Miko? Would you at least consider marrying me?”

She shook her head and tried to pull away from him, but he drew her closer, wrapping his arms around her and holding her. His breath tantalized her ear as he bent his head near hers. 

“Please?” 

“I can’t, Rock. I don’t want to be the cause of you missing out on the love of a lifetime.” She turned her head to the side and pressed it against his neck. Unintentionally, she heightened the yearning that already pulsed between them. Forcibly, he relaxed his hold on her. 

“Miko,” he whispered. “Look at me, sweetheart.” 

Unhurried, she tipped her head back, drawn into the bright warmth of his eyes. 

“Miko, if I didn’t want to marry you, I wouldn’t offer. I rather like the idea of spending my future with you. We have more going for us than many couples who wed. There is no doubt in my mind at all about your ability to be a good wife. Me, on the other hand…” His cocky grin brought an amused light to her eyes. “It might be challenging to be married to someone like me.” 

A smile curved her mouth upward and Rock tamped down the desire to kiss her again, even with the pastor watching their every move.  

 About the Author
 
shanna-3 USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. 

Find Shanna’s books at: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible Shanna loves to hear from readers. 

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

AlzAuthors: Robin Perini, author of Forgotten Secrets and Founder of #1 Memory Challenge


by Robin Perini 

Looking back, it all started one Christmas morning with a seemingly minor event. Unlike every Christmas in the past, that morning my mom couldn’t remember which presents belonged to whom under the tree without looking at the tags. I didn’t know it then, but it would be the beginning of an over fifteen-year journey that still hasn’t ended. 

My mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. 

I won’t explain how long the illness took to diagnose, how many years it took to know what was wrong, or how much false hope we were given with phrases like Mild Cognitive Impairment. That information is available on the blog I’m writing with my dad, Moments of Clarity

I will say that it’s a horrible disease. My mother is only seventy-six years old. She and my dad should be enjoying retirement, traveling, playing with the grandkids. But those dreams and expectations were not to be, and over the last decade my family has learned two very important truths: As your loved one’s brain is destroyed, whatever its manifestations, it’s the disease, not them. 

Be thankful and appreciative of what you still have, not resentful for what you have lost—and continue to lose. 

Those two tenets have helped us through this difficult journey. In fact, my mom’s journey—our family’s journey—is what inspired my latest book, FORGOTTEN SECRETS. It's not a book about Alzheimer’s. It's a romantic mystery/thriller novel revolving around a kidnapping. However, the only witness is the victim’s grandmother who has Alzheimer’s disease. 

My hope for this story is it will entertain while raising awareness and understanding for families battling this disease. In addition, I am donating 10% of the royalties I receive from Forgotten Secrets to the Alzheimer’s Association, an organization that has been a God-send to me and my family in so many ways. Apart from the education and personal support, they were the ones who helped my family realize—finally—that we are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association’s vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. I pray for that day. 

I have never been more nervous for a book to be released. FORGOTTEN SECRETS came out on July 19, 2016 and I didn’t know what to expect. Truth be told, I didn’t really anticipate the response I’ve received. I have been unbelievably moved by the words of my readers. So many have written, thanking me for bringing awareness and for showing a slice of truth about Alzheimer’s. Some have the disease; some are caregivers; some have lost a loved one; some have never known anyone with Alzheimer’s but have thanked me for showing them a small window into the world of this difficult illness. I have been so gratified and encouraged. Sometimes I wonder if this moment in time is why I became a writer in the first place. 

While writing FORGOTTEN SECRETS, all I ever wanted was to do my mother justice. I pray I have done so, but once the book was completed, I realized I wanted to do more, something that would impact more people, so I also created the 1Memory Challenge (#1Memory Challenge). The reason: I so wish that I could talk to my mom again, share memories, ask her questions about her life as a child, growing up, as a young woman. I can’t do that, but I can share my memories with loved ones. I can record them so they won’t be lost. And I can encourage others to do the same. Because once those memories fade (whatever the cause), they are gone. 

I decided to challenge friends and family to do the following:

1) Record a memory through a video, photo and/or writing a story and post it on social media.

2) Challenge 2-5 others to share a memory and tag them.

3) Give them 24 hours to accomplish the challenge or to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association (or another organization). 

The #1MemoryChallenge was a success for me personally because my dad began recording videos for the grandkids, to give them advice and wisdom. For our family, those videos will always be priceless. He will also be recording a few videos for my mom. So they will learn to know the amazing person their grandmother is. 

So, to those of you reading this, I may share my heart, my memories, my vision, my soul through my fiction writing…but your memories can do the same. So, I want to challenge each and every one of you to take the #1MemoryChallenge. For yourself and your loved ones. Share your memories. Pass them on. Consider donating to the cause. And hold your loved ones tight. 

Hopefully someday, none of us will have to worry about losing or longing for those forgotten secrets. 

Links to more information and some memories shared:


About the Author
International and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling and award-winning author Robin Perini is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts. A RITA Award finalist, she sold fourteen titles to publishers in less than two years after winning the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award in 2011. An analyst for an advanced technology corporation, she is also a nationally acclaimed writing instructor and enjoys small-bore rifle silhouette shooting. As a result of her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, Robin has become an advocate. She is donating 10% of her royalties received from her novel, FORGOTTEN SECRETS, to the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she started the 1 Memory Challenge, a challenge to encourage others to share memories and donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, whose vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. You can learn more and connect with her by visiting her website at www.robinperini.com. 

Book Blurb

At age ten, Riley Lambert watched helplessly as her sister was abducted from her bedroom. Fifteen years later, she’s channeled the pain of her past into a career as an FBI profiler. Riley devotes her life to bringing violent criminals to justice…and secretly uses government resources to search for her sister, who was never found. 

When Riley gets a call from the only man who’s ever swept her off her feet with a killer two-step and dangerous smile—ex-Navy SEAL Thayne Blackwood of Singing River, Wyoming—it stirs up dark memories. Thayne’s sister, Cheyenne, has been kidnapped. There are no leads, and the only witness is the victim’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted grandmother. 

Desperate to find Cheyenne, Thayne needs Riley’s expertise. With time running short, they delve into dangerous small-town secrets while fighting against an increasingly ruthless adversary. But when her past and his present collide in a shocking revelation, can they overcome the secrets that have kept them apart?
Excerpt from Forgotten Secrets 
(I can vouch for this one. It's terrific.)

Thayne crossed the room and smiled. “Gram, are you feeling better? That bandage on your head is quite the fashion statement.” 

Her hand touched the dressing on her scalp, and she winced. Her sharp eyes shifted to Thayne, and her eyes widened. “Lincoln? It’s about time you got here. Get this old geezer out of here.” She tilted her head toward Pops and lowered her voice. “He’s trying to keep me here. I want to go home.” 

Those pleading words tugged at Thayne’s soul. He hadn’t realized he looked so much like his grandfather when he was young, not until Cheyenne had found a carousel of old slides. Thayne sat on the edge of the bed next to his grandmother and took one of her hands in his. Her pulse raced under his fingertips, and he cupped her face. “What’s wrong?” 

“I don’t know him,” she whispered, glancing at Pops. “I’m sorry I was mean. He looks nice enough, but . . . I don’t know him.” She clutched Thayne’s hand with a grip that belied her eighty years. “I’m scared, Lincoln. Something’s wrong with me.” 

(the final frames discuss Robin's Alzheimer’s projects). 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

AlzAuthors: Jana Panarites, author of "Scattered: My Year As An Accidental Caregiver"

scattered_coverby Jana Panarites

On a Monday night in November 2009, I had what turned out to be the last conversation I would ever have with my father. He and my mother had just come back from a trip to New York and they were now back in our family home in Maryland. Out in Los Angeles, I paced the floor as I spoke with them. My career was at a standstill. I was scrambling to make ends meet. I didn’t think life could get any worse, but it did the next morning when I learned my father was dead. Hours after we’d gotten off the phone, his heart had stopping beating.

Devastated, I flew east for the funeral and arrived at my parents’ house to find my once vibrant eighty-year-old mother standing hollow-eyed in the hallway. My parents had been married for fifty-six years. I knew that in good marriages like theirs, it wasn’t unusual for one spouse to die soon after the other because the surviving spouse loses the will to live. Having just lost my father, I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my mother too. So after spending my entire adult life in New York and LA, I moved back to the Maryland suburbs, into my childhood home—determined to save my career and my one remaining parent.

Like most caregivers, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In between taking my mother to medical appointments and trying to make sense of her increasingly absent-minded behavior, I tried to earn a living. It took me a while to realize I already had a full-time job: caring for Mom. We wound up living together for a little more than three years, and in the third year my mother was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

I wrote Scattered to contribute to a much-needed conversation about the impact of Alzheimer’s on family members. Before my mother was diagnosed, no one I knew talked about Alzheimer’s and I knew little about the disease. In the midst of grief and career transition, I felt confused, isolated and anxious—not just about my future, but about my mother’s. Scattered was my way of coming to terms with her illness and assuring readers with family members who have dementia that they are not alone.

Readers have praised Scattered for its candidness, accessibility and humor. A reviewer on Amazon wrote, “Reading it gave me tears but also laughter as I read her definition of "hanging in [t]here." I have recently used that phrase when asked about my husband's condition and the author's definition is perfect. Thank you Jana!”

Knowing I’ve helped even one reader feel less alone in their Alzheimer’s journey has given me great joy. Writing Scattered wasn’t easy, but I’m at peace with what I wrote mostly because of my mother’s response when I told her she might not like some of the things I’d written about her. She said, “It’s the truth, isn’t it?” Priceless. And vintage Mom.

jana-panarites


About the Author 

Jana Panarites was born in Washington, DC to Greek-American parents. Her professional experience runs the gamut, from working in network television production and writing screenplays to managing the needs of high net-worth clients as a criminal litigation paralegal. In December 2014 she founded Agewyz Media Group, LLC to raise awareness about the plight of caregivers and promote healthy aging across the generations. Through her book, Scattered: My Year As An Accidental Caregiver and her weekly radio show, The Agewyz Podcast, she aims to provide people with tools and resources to make every moment in life count, at every age and even under the most difficult of circumstances. Jana is a graduate of the University of Vermont, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications; and the University of Southern California, where she earned a Master’s in Public Diplomacy, a joint degree from the Annenberg School of Communications & Journalism, and the School of International Relations.

Connect with Jana Panarites

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

AlzAuthors: Angela G. Gentile's Self-Help Book for Caregivers Educates, Supports and Comforts

By Angela G. Gentile, M.S.W., R.S.W.

When I titled my book “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide” (2015) I did not expect to have people mistakenly assume that I am a wife caring for a husband with dementia. The warmth and sympathy I receive from people who don’t know me personally has been incredible. I gently explain that I am not a wife caregiver and that the book is inspired by the experience I had in counselling eight amazing caregiving women. 
 When I was deciding on a topic for my master’s degree final project I decided to focus on older women. I explored what issues are affecting them, and the subject of caregiving came up quite often. I did some research on the subject and discovered that there was very little written about women who care for husbands with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. My career as a geriatric clinician and social worker exposes me to many different mental health issues and dementia iunfortunately a common oneI quickly became an expert in assessing and screening for dementia, and recognizing the symptoms of caregiver stress and burnout. 

The short-term, individual counselling program I designed, implemented and evaluated with eight caregiving wives was very rewarding and successful. It inspired me to want to help others like the women I had learned so much from. What started out as a small booklet turned into a 16-chapter book. “Caring for a Husband with Dementia was written specifically to help women who care for husbands who have been diagnosed with a dementing illness such as vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. I dedicated this book to caregiving wives, everywhere.

Writing this book came surprisingly easy to meI called it a “Divine Intervention.” I received help from colleagues and other experts in the field who generously donated their time reviewing, editing and offering feedback. It is a unique, informative and therapeutic self-help type of book. The book offers opportunity to make it personal for the reader. There is space for self-reflection on important questions. Don’t know what to “Google” to find your local resources? I’ll help with that, too. There is a listing of helpful and important resources, plus more.

All of the reviews and feedback I have received thus far has been very positive. Some of the more helpful feedback has been that this book is written not only for wives, but for allcaregivers. I have been told this book is like a bible and it is keptat the bedside and is read every night. It’s a reference guide, a companion, and a source of education and support. It’s like a year’s worth of therapy all in one book. 

I know this book has helped spouses and other caregivers. They have told me, “Everything I was thinking, feeling and wondering about was written in this book.” I am honoured to beable to help those who are struggling with the issues of diagnosis, getting help, difficult behaviours, grief and loss, legal issues and more. I have been at book signing events where even men say they want their wives to buy this book as they want them to be prepared – just in case.

My hope is that this book reaches those who are in need of education, support and tips on how to survive the difficult task of caring for a loved one with dementia. It ialso a great gift forsomeone in need.

About the Author

Angela G. Gentile, M.S.W., R.S.W. is a clinicianolder adult specialist and author who has more than 25 years of experience working with older adults and their families in a variety of capacities. She is currently employed as a Geriatric Mental Health Clinician and enjoys writing, traveling, photography and exploring what it means to age well. She is a realistic optimist who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and two children. For more information, please go to: www.AngelaGGentile.com.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Guest Author: Andrew Joyce on Researching His Historical Novel "Yellow Tail"

Today's guest author conducted painstaking research into his three novels and shares his methods here for anyone aspiring to write a historical novel or any novel which has its basis in reality. I have done the same research myself for both of my novels. I am a stickler for accuracy, and although I trusted my knowledge on Alzheimer's disease and competitive swimming, I still spent months researching these topics. The last thing a writer wants to  learn in a review or reader mail is that she messed something up. It damages your credibility and takes the reader out of the story. I'll let Andrew Joyce tell you more about this.

***

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I would like to thank Marianne for allowing me to be here today to promote my latest, Yellow Hair, which documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage I write about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in my fact-based tale of fiction were real people and I use their real names.Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century. 

Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people. 

Now that the commercial is out of the way, we can get down to what I really came here to talk about: the research that goes into writing an historical novel or an action/adventure novel that uses an historical event as a backdrop.

I want to say that I learned the hard way how important proper research is. But it wasn’t really that hard of a lesson. In my first book, which takes place in the last half of the 19th century, I made two mistakes. I had the date of an event off by one year and I had my hero loading the wrong caliber cartridge into his Winchester rifle. I would have gone blissfully throughout life not knowing how I had erred if not for my astute fans. Both mistakes were quickly pointed out to me in reviews of the book. One guy said he would have given me five stars if not for the wrong caliber bullet mistake. I had to settle for only four stars. Lesson learned!

Before I get into telling you about the year-long research I did for Yellow Hair, I’d like to tell you how I researched my second and third books and describe what that research entailed.

My second book was a western and the protagonist was a woman. The research took about three months. I had to know everything from women’s undergarments of the late 19th century to prison conditions for women in those days. (I sent my heroine to jail.) That kind of research was easy. Thank God for the internet. But then I had to do some real research. Molly (my protagonist) built up her cattle ranch to one of the largest in Montana, but she and her neighbors had nowhere to sell their beef. So Molly decided to drive her and her neighbors’ cattle to Abilene where she could get a good price. She put together the second largest herd on record (12,000 head) and took off for Abilene.

That’s when I had to really go to work. I wanted my readers to taste the dust on the trail. I wanted them to feel the cold water at river crossing. I wanted them to know about the dangers of the trail, from rustlers to Indians to cattle stampedes.

This is how I learned about all those things and more. First of all, I found old movies that were authentic in nature. I watched them to get a feel for the trail. Then I read books by great authors who had written about cattle drives to soak up even more of the atmosphere of a cattle drive. That was all well and good, but it still did not put me in the long days of breathing dust and being always fearful of a stampede.

That’s when I went looking for diaries written by real cowboys while they were on the trail. After that, I found obscure self-published books written by those cowboys. Then it was onto newspaper articles written at the time about large cattle drives. That’s how I had Molly herd the second largest cattle drive. I discovered that the largest was 15,000 head, driven from Texas to California in 1882.

My next book took place in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. Here new elements were added such as wolves and the extreme weather as adversaries. Dogsledding was also involved. I have seen snow only three times in my life and I have never dogsledded. I knew even less about wolves. I had to learn about those things. I had no idea what it was like to travel across a wilderness on a dogsled at seventy degrees below zero. I also had to acquire knowledge about the dogs themselves, especially the lead dog. I learned about all that by doing the same things I did for my second book. The old diaries were the most helpful. As to the gold rush, there was plenty of material in the form of self-published books by some of the participants. Some were never even published, but I found copies of them in the archives of universities and historical societies. Again, newspaper stories printed at the time were very useful. Concerning wolves . . . I read everything I could get my hands on about wolves—their habits, the pack hierarchy, the alpha male, and the different jobs or tasks the males and females have while hunting.

Now we come to Yellow Hair. As I mentioned above, the book is about the Sioux Nation from 1805 to 1890. I had to know both points of view, the white man’s and the Sioux’sGetting to know the whites’ take on things was easy. There are many, many books (non-fiction) that were written at the time. I even found a book written by Custer detailing his strategy for wiping out the Sioux entirely. That was hard reading. And, again, there were universities and historical societies whose archives were a great help.

As to the Sioux’s point of view, there are a few books that were dictated to newspapermen years later by the Indians that took part in the various battles that I weave into my story. I found a lot of material from Native American participants of the Little Big Horn, written twenty to thirty years after the fact.

But I wanted to immerse myself in the Sioux culture and I wanted to give them dignity by using their language wherever possible. I also wanted to introduce them by their Sioux names. So, I had to learn the Lakota language. And that wasn’t easy. There is a consortium that will teach you, but they wanted only serious students. You have to know a smattering of the language before they will even deign to let you in. I had to take a test to prove that I knew some Lakota. I failed the first time and had to go back to my Lakota dictionary and do some more studying. I got in on my second try.

I’m running out of space, so I reckon I’ll wrap it up. I hope I’ve given you a little insight into the research process. It’s time-consuming and sometimes frustrating. But it is also a blast. Every new discovery is like finding the motherlode.

I’d like to sign off with another commercial. The three books I alluded to above are:
• Molly Lee

I would like to thank Marianne once again for having me over and you good folks for tuning in.

Andrew Joyce

 About the Author

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.