Tuesday, May 31, 2016

AlzAuthors: Secrets, Stigma, Silence, Reticence

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. Once again I am teamed with AlzAuthors to help raise awareness of this disease. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and all of them have loved ones and caregivers also affected. It's the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Every 66 seconds someone develops it. Yet as a society we have difficulty talking about it. Sometimes fear stops the conversation, Sometimes shame. Sometimes grief. AlzAuthors exists to start a conversation about the experiences of those living with dementia. To provide caregivers with knowledge, support, and an outlet to express their own stories. Here we each discuss how secrets, stigma, silence, and/or reticence have affected our own experiences.

Secrets, by Jean Lee

If you have not been a caregiver–if you’re not living with the disease, you may not understand the concept of secrets when dealing with Alzheimer’s. If I had been an observer I would have thought, why would anyone keep a diagnosis a secret?

But, I was not an observer. Alzheimer’s invaded and took over my parents’ lives as well as my own when they were both diagnosed on the same day. I was working full time as an elementary teacher, living in the same small town in which I’d grown up, when I assumed the primary caregiving, decision-making role with my 86-year-old parents. They were small business owners, my father still drove, and they lived independently in their own home.

On the day of their diagnosis my dad struggled to his feet shouting, “How dare you use the A. word with me.” as Mom wagged her finger at the doctor scolding, “Shame on you.”

We came home from that appointment and conversation about the diagnosis stopped, unless I brought it up. They denied, saying they didn’t want anyone to know, to think they were crazy, or start gossip.

To respect the parents who had given me everything, I propped them up, protected them and their dignity, while I felt immense guilt whittling everything away piece by piece: their independence, their driving, forcing my dad to retire, moving them eventually to a locked memory unit.

I did not write, Alzheimer’s Daughter, to come clean, be honest, or tell secrets. Through the journey Isought support by reading about personal experiences. Each time I found a similar situation, I thought, If this person survived, so will I. Keep breathing. One week after my mother’s death, when I realized my father had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage, my secrets could no longer be contained, so I wrote the book I needed to read all along. Reviewers say it is written with wincing honesty about the cruel affects of the disease, but a WWII love story held together by faith and family is contained within the pages.

I see a new openness about the disease, especially in those touched by early onset, through books like Greg O’Brien’s On Pluto, B.Smith and Dad Gasby’s Before I Forget as well as Kimberly Williams Paisley’s Where the Light Gets In. When each of us tell our stories and combine our voices, we form a large pool of collaborators offering resources, support, understanding, and empathy.


Stigma, by Marianne Sciucco

Monday, May 30, 2016

AlzAuthors Spotlights Writers on Alzheimer's and Dementia in June, Alzand Brain Awareness Month

We are AlzAuthors, four daughters who have experienced the pain and loss of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. We know the pain of being forgotten. We have all witnessed decline. Most of us have provided countless hours of caregiving.

We chose to write about our personal and painful dementia stories to help others who may be on their own journeys. Our stories can serve as guides to the disease process, a caregiver's handbook, or simply the catalyst to much needed conversations among families.

Although we haven't met personally, we found each other through our books and became friends. Together we advocate for those with dementia and their families, providing education and awareness of a disease projected to affect 131 million people worldwide by 2050.

One year ago, we formed a collaboration to pool our talents, skills, and resources to raise awareness during June, Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. This campaign resulted in exposure across dozens of Alzheimer's and dementia websites, blogs and social media, #AlzAuthors. We also held a Facebook event that has grown into a Facebook group.

We have come together again to continue our mission to educate and enlighten. On June 1st we are launching a new blog, AlzAuthors, a space where those writing about Alzheimer's and dementia can share their stories. Throughout the month we will feature a different author each day who will share what motivates him or her to write about Alzheimer's and dementia. Our goal is to increase exposure of their books and blogs, and to enable caregivers to discover resources that may help them get through their challenging times.

Our blog is also an opportunity for caregivers and others to share their stories. Let's start a conversation!

Follow us on AlzAuthors blog, our AlzAuthors Facebook group, and #AlzAuthors on Twitter. Please share your stories. We're waiting to hear from you.

AlzAuthors is:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Release Spotlight: "My Last Love Story"

Today's New Release spotlight is the fourth novel from bestselling author Falguni Kothari. Enter to win a copy at the end of the post.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreaking romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul.

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible.

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story.

Book Links: Goodreads * Amazon US * Amazon IN

Advance Praise:

At once heartbreaking, delightful and completely unexpected. A must read! ~ Sonali Dev, author of The Bollywood Affair

In My Last Love Story, Kothari examines love and loss, desire and desolation, with a deft, wry touch that kept me reading late into the night and moved me to tears. ~ Julia Tagan, author of Stages of Desire

About the Author:

Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.

Contact the Author:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest

Giveaway Details: One copy of My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari in paperback for US or Indian Resident winner; eBook for other international winner.

Enter now!

Friday, May 6, 2016

New Release Spotlight: The Gladiator and the Guard

Today's guest is fellow Clean Indie Reads author Annie Douglass Lima. Annie writes young adult action and adventure novels. Her latest, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach. Read through to find the Rafflecopter to win a $10 Amazon giftcard.

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?
The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover). Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon for a discounted price of just 0.99 cents through May 30. Regularly 2.99. 

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Bensin is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon for a discounted price of just 0.99 cents through May 30. Regularly 2.99.

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) for a discounted price of just 0.99 cents through May 30. Regularly 2.99.
About the Author

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima
Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New Release: Olympic Swim Film "Touch the Wall"

Once again I veer away from my mission to promote self publishing, indie authors, and their books to spotlight something different. As I prepare to publish my epic swim novel Swim Season, I plan to take a break to watch this documentary about two swimmers as they prepare for the 2012 London Olympics. One is a veteran at these events and the other is a first-timer. After a successful nation-wide theatrical run, the beloved swim film Touch the Wall is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital platforms. Grab it and watch! I'm waiting for my own champion swimmer to come home from school for the summer so we can watch it together.

Touch the Wall, by Grant Barbeito & Christo Brock, stars the teen-aged Missy Franklin as she prepared for her triumphant first Olympics. The film details her relationship with multiple Olympic Medalist Kara Lynn Joyce, a seasoned pro who came to swim with Missy in the altitude of Denver in 2011. At those 2012 games, Missy won 4 gold medals and broke two world records.

Watch the film trailer:

Since the film’s release, the two women have taken different paths. Kara retired after London, and continues in the swim world as a teacher and coach. Missy returned to school and swam collegiately at Berkeley for two years. She passed up millions in endorsement income to swim on a college team, and that choice paid off in 2015 when Berkeley won the NCAA division I female swimming championship.

Missy turned professional after that championship, and returned home to Denver, Colorado to train with her former coach Todd Schmitz. Armed with a sizzling smile and a keen intellect, she’s one of the world’s most sought-after pitchwomen, and endorses Visa, Wheaties, Speedo, Minute-Maid, and GoPro.

The Missy Franklin/Kara Lynn Joyce film has screened more than 500 times in the last 18 months to swim clubs, women’s groups, and Olympic fans across the country. And though DVDs have been available since September, the film just came to digital. Accompanying the digital release on iTunes are four Extra Movies – short behind-the- scenes movies of Missy and Kara talking about their experiences in the film. Those movies are a smaller part of the larger Special Edition due out later this year.

Get it on iTunes!


“Unintentionally revolutionary​ in its celebration of female physical and emotional strength​.​ ”
 – The Mary Sue

“A unique lesson in the dance between competition and collaboration​."
 – ​ The Denver Post