Wednesday, December 27, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Crissi Langwell and Come Here, Cupcake, a novel


By Crissi Langwell

The story of Come Here, Cupcake focuses on an aspiring baker, Morgan Truly, and the magical ability she’s discovered that allows her to infuse her baking with feelings. If she feels sad while baking, anyone who eats it will feel sad. If she feels happy, her baking will make people feel happy. And if she bakes while feeling romantic…well, you can guess what happens to anyone who tries it. This new ability, along with finding new love, is confusing enough. But adding to Morgan’s life changes is caring for her mother, Karen Truly, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.Morgan moved back home to help care for her mom, unwilling to put her in any kind of care facility. She hired an aide to help with Karen’s care, but Morgan still found herself caring for her mom in ways she never had to worry about before. At one point, Karen shatters a glass on the floor in anger, endangering her bare feet. In another scene, she tries to burn the house down. Later, she runs away.The theme of Alzheimer’s has found its way into more of my books than just this one. In my book, The Road to Hope, one of the main characters is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s, experiencing bouts of forgetfulness. In the sequel book, Hope at the Crossroads, this character’s Alzheimer’s has advanced rapidly, and she is unable to remember anyone. In Come Here, Cupcake, Karen doesn’t recognize her own daughter, mistaking Morgan for a variety of different roles.

When certain themes show up in my writing, it’s usually because I’m working them out in my real life. Alzheimer’s is no exception. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s before she passed away in 2010. I remember the last time I saw her. She’d kept her eyes closed most of the visit, almost as if she were ignoring all of us. When my aunt announced who was there, she opened her eyes when she heard my name.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Clean Indie Reads 12 Days of Christmas Book Event!



Kicking back with that new Kindle? Got some Amazon gift cards to cash in? The Clean Indie Reads 12 Days of Fiction Book Event has just what you need: 40 titles - multiple genres - sure to keep you reading through the winter. All books are discounted, some are FREE. The theme is family drama because, hey, we've all got some, especially through the holidays. Choose from romance, mystery, YA, paranormal, fantasy, historical fiction, and more. And you can count on our assurance that all titles are flinch-free, meaning free of overt sexuality, graphic violence, and questionable language. Please check all prices before hitting the buy button. It's the individual author's responsibility to confirm her discounts with Amazon and other sellers. This blog and Amazon are not responsible for prices. Don't delay! Sale runs from December 26 through January 6. 




***

Ino's Love, a short story, by Marianne Sciucco, FREE via Instafreebie

Sometimes the people who love us best are not family.


Elderly Ino prepares a delicious Italian Christmas feast for her successful CEO son, but when he's too busy to spend the holiday with his mother she shares her dinner and gifts with her home health aid. A heartwarming story about giving and forgiveness.


***

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Wendy Mitchell Writes about Living With Young Onset Dementia


by Wendy Mitchell

Imagine yourself being given a diagnosis of Young Onset Dementia. Your life falls apart, you feel worthless, and of no use to anyone any more. Services are nonexistent, so you feel abandoned.

That’s what happened to me in July 2014, when I was diagnosed with young onset dementia at the age of 58, and still working full-time in the NHS. I retired at the age of 59, due to ill health, thinking there was no alternative. Then I sat waiting for services to kick in, but, of course, nothing happened. There were no services.


I could have given up and gone into a deep state of depression, but I knew there must be more. We all had talents before a diagnosis of dementia; we don’t suddenly lose all those talents overnight when we get a diagnosis.

Friday, December 8, 2017

New Release Spotlight and Giveaway: Summer's Squall by Amy Schissler


Do you like winter? A lot of people don’t, like me, who perseveres through it longing for beach days and hours spent by the pool. Fortunately, summer is coming. Yes, it’s about seven months away, but we can still celebrate it. And today, Amy Schliser is on the blog telling us all about her new book, Summer’s Squall.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Don Wendorf, and Caregiver Carols - A Musical, Emotional Memoir



By Don Wendorf


I wrote CAREGIVER CAROLS: A Musical, Emotional Memoir to cope with my own emotional struggles as a caregiver for my late wife Susan with her strokes and vascular dementia, and to help other caregivers deal with their feelings. I wanted them to see that their emotions, while often complex, intense, or unpleasant were normal; to know they were not alone; to encourage them to ask for even more help than they thought they needed; and to suggest very practical things for them to try to manage their feelings better. I told my/our story and shared a wide range of my experiences and emotions, including some of the hardest and least discussed, particularly anger, guilt, shame, sexuality (gasp), and grief. One selection even talks about my wishing she might die, which she actually prayed to do. I don’t imagine I’m the only one who ever fantasized about that. Despite being a psychotherapist myself and “knowing all about this,” I got massive burnout and I didn’t want anyone else to go through that.

I wrote the book in a combination of regular prose and song lyrics/rhyming verse to make these difficult, scary, often painful reflections or topics more easily absorbed, processed, retained, recalled and used. I hoped the humorous, artistic, metaphorical, creative, entertaining format would help people deal with their own “stuff,” but I also found that the creative, expressive arts may be as helpful to caregivers as they have been increasingly found to be with persons living with dementia.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Richard L. Morgan, PhD



by Richard L. Morgan, PhD

Listening to the needs of caregivers as a facilitator of Alzheimer’s support groups for many years, I became aware that care giving and receiving are opportunities for mutual spiritual growth.


Collaborating with gerontologist, Jane Thibault, Ph.D., we wrote, No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia. It is our belief that caregivers have two basic needs: affirmation that caregiving is not in vain, and reassurance that the lives of those for whom they care are not being lived in vain. We also believe that care receivers need more than medical attention; they need tender care, involvement in the community, and a sense of connection with a loving God.

This book, based on personal stories of caregivers and receivers, shows how each plays a major role in acts of love that bring transformation to both. Our perspective is that caregiving is an extension of spiritual life, and we hope our book will aid families and professionals to look beyond day-to-day routines and chores and accept their role as an opportunity to serve the total person in body, mind, and spirit. We offer suggestions for the spiritual care of persons with dementia, and helpful tips for leading support groups and worship services for persons with dementia. Our goal was to move beyond the medical model of care and provide the missing piece for caring for persons with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. No act of love is ever wasted as every act of love brings positive transformation to the recipient, to the giver, and to the world.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Lynda Everman, editor of "Seasons of Caregiving - Meditations for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers"



By Lynda Everman


“To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope!” - Pope Francis

I really can’t tell the story of our book, “Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers” without first telling the story of ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s and the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition, as they are the result of the following loosely connected series of events.

Like many others, I was away from organized religion for many years. Late in 2009, a neighbor invited me to attend Sunday services with her. I had just reluctantly and painfully moved my husband to an assisted living facility.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Release Spotlight: Annie Douglass Lima's "The Student and the Slave," Dystopian Young Adult Fiction


Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase! This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard.


The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. 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.

First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2:


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?

Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.



Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, 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 read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.

And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!


Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?

Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Release Spotlight & Author Interview: Paul Toolan and "A View From Memory Hill," short stories




We live life forwards, but understand it backwards. Either way, it's a personal journey.

The characters in this collection are looking back into the half-shaded landscapes of memory. Most are "of a certain age", but young voices appear too, in stories uplifting and regretful, comic and sinister, poignant and optimistic.

Common ground is that moment of realization - eventful, fleeting or veiled - unearthed during a journey into the past. 
  • Will "Ruby, the Silver Surfer" learn to cut and paste and save?
  • Who is "Mrs. Melanie?"
  • Should "Billy the Quid" sell up?
  • Can Frank Smith cope with being an "Old Man in a Young Pub?"
  • Why is Lydia "Sleepless in Southampton?"
  • "What's in your bag, mister?" asks the small boy in "A Bag for Life."
See for yourself.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Our First National Caregiver Appreciation Month eBook Sale & Giveaway, November 15-21, 15 Great Titles


November is National Caregiver Appreciation Month, a time to recognize the long hours, sacrifice, and love all caregivers bring to the task of caring for a loved one with dementia or any long-term illness. In honor of their efforts, AlzAuthors is hosting an eBook sale and giveaway! This is a terrific way for caregivers who are looking for knowledge, guidance, and support to find carefully vetted books to help guide and inspire them everyday.
Consider this from the Alzheimer’s Association:
  • In 2016, 15.9 million family and friends provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, a contribution to the nation valued at $230.1 billion.
  • Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women, and 34 percent are age 65 or older.
  • 41 percent of caregivers have a household income of $50,000 or less.
  • Approximately one quarter of dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers — meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.

Starting today through November 21st, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books at reduced prices, ranging from free to $2.99. We offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s literature. Many of our books are also available in paperback and audio, so be sure to check them out too.

Our books are written from a deep place of understanding, experience, knowledge, and love. May you find one – or two, or more! – to help guide you on your own dementia journey.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Honoring our Vets on Veterans Day

photo by Scukrov via Dreamstime.com
Today is Veterans Day, a day when we pay tribute to those heroes who have served in our nation's military. My father, Ted Kasica, aka Bunky, served in the US Army, 82nd Airborne Division in the 1950's. He was a paratrooper stationed in Europe, specifically Austria and Germany, countries he loved. Through his service I came to respect our servicemen and women, to listen to their stories, to learn from their experiences.

As a nurse, I was often involved in their medical care, and in helping to coordinate aftercare for illness and injuries. This led me to include war veterans in two of my stories: Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story, where Jack served as a medic in World War II; and Swim Season, where Aerin's mother is an Army Reserve nurse, a Wounded Warrior, ruggling with the impacts of war in Afghanistan - a persistent blast injury, PTSD, chronic pain, opioid addiction, and depression. My attempt in this book, small as it may be, was to explore her experience, which is the experience of so many of our vets, by telling her story.  Of all my characters, she is one of my favorites.

Devon's story:

Devon was on duty in the ER at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City the day terrorists struck down the Twin Towers. This hospital, just outside Ground Zero, was the first stop for victims and recovery workers in need of medical care.  Deeply affected by the events of that day, Devon volunteered to work double shifts during the rescue and recovery effort. When the US went to war with Afghanistan, she enlisted in the Army Reserve, against her husband's wishes,  to provide care to the troops. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

New Release Spotlight:The 25 Days of Christmas Devotional



Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly's family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Women's Fiction Giveaway! Grand Prize Gift Baskets of all 20 eBooks!

Prepare for winter!

As fall settles in, it's time to prep for the coming colder days and nights with lots of great ebooks. Here's a selection of 20 titles in Women's Fiction, including my novel Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story. Take a moment to discover new authors. Maybe you'll get hooked on a new series. Enter to win 1 of 2 gift baskets holding ALL 20 books, or 1 of 20 featured ebooks! 


Win up to 20+ Women's Fiction eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize "Gift Baskets" of ALL eBooks!
(20+) Winners of Individual eBooks 
(randomly selected titles)

Disclaimer: Each participating author is responsible for providing winners with prizes.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Ann Campanella's "The Beach Poems"




Expressing the Inexpressible through Poetry

By Ann Campanella

When I was in my early thirties, my mother began showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She was 41 when I was born, so I suppose it shouldn’t have been a shock to see her aging in this way. But it was.

I always knew she was an “older mom.” She had been a fount of wisdom for me during my adolescence and early years of marriage.

Mom always said her children kept her young. There was a span of ten years among us, and I had vivid memories of my mother hiking, playing tennis, swimming and sailing at the upstate New York lake we visited each summer.

My grandmother and great aunts lived into their nineties. I had imagined my mother would always be there for me, at least until she was well into her eighties. But it wasn’t to be.

My mother’s mind began to unspool at the same time I was trying to become a mother and struggling through a series of miscarriages. At first her memory became slippery and she began repeating stories. Her emotions seemed out of proportion to what was happening in her life. Her words no longer matched her behavior.

Monday, November 6, 2017

New Release Spotlight & Giveaway: "Mice & Marriage" by Sophie Dawson


What do mice and marriage have in common? I don't know, but now I'm curious to read Sophie Dawson's new book, Mice and Marriage!

About the Book



Noelle Copeland has no intention of ever letting another man break her heart. She’s content to take care of her two boys and help her brother around the church. That is until a mouse sends her onto a table screaming like she’s being murdered, and a handsome, heroic man comes to her rescue. Now, she finds her heart longing for Turner Metcalf, but he’s keeping things from her. She wonders if she can trust him not only with her heart but her sons’ hearts as well.

Turner Metcalf is a man on a mission. He’s in town for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season for one reason only: to protect his sister and her new husband. He has a secret life he isn’t willing to give up. That is until he comes to the rescue of Noelle Copeland. Now, his heart is drawn to the one thing he never thought he could have: a future. He finds himself falling for the divorced mother of two and her sons.

Can he survive his secret mission long enough to let her know? Or will his frequent travel and hidden agenda end things before they really get started? Will he live through his mission and be able to consider a future with this ready-made family? What about Noelle’s ex-husband and his new girlfriend? Will they mess things up for Noelle and Turner? Can love find a way to overcome the doubts of a woman afraid of Mice and Marriage?

Love and marriage come to us inspired by many things. Who would have thought that mold, spots, and mice would bring love and marriage? Well, they have. The Love's Infestation Series continues with Mice and Marriage.

You can find the book on Amazon!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Gerda Saunders & "Memory's Last Breath"



By Gerda Saunders

A few days before my sixty-first birthday, I was diagnosed with cerebral microvascular disease, which is the leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. My mother also had dementia.

My diagnosis was not a total surprise—for about five years I had a short-term memory loss that led to pots on the stove at home boiling dry, washing my hair twice in an hour, forgetting to bake a casserole I had made the night before. At work, it led to a slowness in my job as the associate director of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Utah, trouble remembering what I had prepared for class while teaching, embarrassments such as asking people in a meeting to introduce themselves when they had already done so.

Given my suspicions, my diagnosis came as a relief: I was not just being lax or not trying hard enough, or imagining things. The white spots on my MRI and 20-point drop in my IQ were very real. The diagnosis was also a wake-up call: how was I going to live with joy and engagement during the 15 years I probably had left? How was my family—husband Peter and children Marissa and Newton and their spouses—going to live with and care for me?

From the time my children were small, our family had talked about what each of us thought of as a worthwhile quality of life and how to consciously live during each of its stages. Questions arose: What does a worthwhile life look like for someone with dementia? What will be the markers for when my life no longer has the kind of quality I value? Will my family be prepared to support the legal assisted death I wish for when my life no longer meets my criteria for a meaningful life? Our family talked about end-of-life issues and how each one of us interpreted a worthwhile life. In my book I list some of my criteria for a worthwhile life and share how my children and their spouses have given me their support in my quest for a legal self-death, and how we formalized our arrangements with my doctors and a lawyer.

Completing my end-of-life plans was enormously comforting. I could get on with my life. I could participate in family activities, figure out how to get around after I gave up my driver’s license, enjoy reading (which includes a lot of re-reading, because I forget), working in my garden (many bruises attest to my lack of balance)—in other words, live joyfully each day. Might I even be able to fulfill my retirement goal of writing a book?

When I retired after my diagnosis, I started a journal to document my daily difficulties. With a wink at my bachelor’s in science, I called it Dementia Field Notes. I would be an anthropologist, following the life of one member of the tribe of Dementers—myself. My journal entries led to essays that tackled the questions: What, actually, is memory, personality, identity? What is a self? Will I still have a self when my reason is gone? How come I can’t make coffee without mishaps, but can still write? My essays became the chapters of
Memory's Last Breath.

The purpose of my book is this: to add my personal story to the vast body of science about dementia accumulated by the lifetime efforts of neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, other medical researchers, and healthcare providers.

My book is for you, whether you pick it up because you or someone you love has dementia, or because you’re a medical professional, or a person searching for your own self after a huge life change, or someone just plain curious, who—like me—feels that the more you know, the better you love.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

AlzAuthors: Peter Maeck - Making Peace with Dementia through Photography




by Peter Maeck

The experience of writing a poem, play, or story, or creating a photograph, is like riding a train through wonderful, unexpected scenery. When I wake up in the morning I hurry to get to work because I never want to miss that train. My train derailed the morning of my father's Alzheimer's diagnosis. Dad hadn't chosen a trip into dementia but here he was on track to forget his friends, his family, and even his own name. Dad told me to stay calm, the decline would be gradual, and maybe some good might come from this. What good, I wondered, could come from shock, grief, and despair?

The good that came was a new dimension to my father's relationship with his family, and a revelation to me that dementia’s grip is loosened by the power of poetry, pictures, music, and love. I wrote Remembrance of Things Present – Making Peace with Dementia to celebrate my father's brave, good-humored journey through Alzheimer's, and to show how such an affliction can actually draw loved ones closer together instead of driving them apart.

Viewed as a biological deterioration of the brain, Alzheimer’s is terrifying. But seen as fermentation which is not spoilage but transformation – grapes into wine, for example, or milk into cheese ­– it can enhance the caregiver-patient relationship. Indeed, my father and I moved from a prose relationship into one of poetry which was no better or worse, just different, where we engaged more in rhyme than in reason, freezing time then melting it and joining in a lyrical realm between past and future where, instead of fighting dementia, my father and I embraced the changes it provokes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Happy 1st Book Birthday Swim Season!

https://www.amazon.com/Swim-Season-Marianne-Sciucco-ebook/dp/B01JVHIW3O/
 
It's the first book birthday for my young adult novel Swim Season, which was born October 24th, 2016, and all of my readers get a present: a free download on Amazon October 24-26.

Have you ever celebrated a book's birthday? It's pretty cool! After working on this for FIVE years (that's right!) it was close to a miracle that I saw it in print. And Kindle. And not long after audiobook. Each part of this process took much longer than it should have because of my repetitive strain injuries. I literally wrecked my shoulder putting the final touches on it just days before it came out. But the pain was worth it because I wanted to finish it during my daughter's very last varsity swim season. Her 10-year career inspired the story, so it's very special to me. In spite of my RSI's I managed to pull it off, and I'm proud of that. Here's the blurb:

Swim Season is the fast-paced, drama driven story of Olympic hopeful Aerin Keane, starting senior year in her third high school and trying NOT to win. But can she hide her natural talent and competitive streak? Especially with a 50,000-dollar scholarship on the line?
 
There's drama in AND out of the pool!

Here's the book trailer:


And my readers seem to like it:

"This is a great story of growing up and overcoming obstacles. The characters are delightful and the swim meets engaging. You'll rally behind Aerin as she tackles her senior year and all that comes with it." - Jessica Elliott

"Excellent characters and story. Brings back lots of memories of swim teams, competition, friendships and rivalries." - Amazon customer

"This entire story was epic: competition, friendship, hiding your talents, finding yourself, facing bullies...it has it all." - ReaderGirl16

"I loved your book and I will definitely read it again, and, after that, again." Ava, age 10


So Happy 1st Book Birthday Swim Season! Don't delay!
Claim your gift now!

Can we have cake?
 

Friday, October 20, 2017

New Release Spotlight: Swing Vote by Donna K. Weaver

This new release spotlight is sure to be a good read. I love Donna Weaver's Safe Harbor Series. Donna is a fellow Clean Indie Reads author so you can expect flinch-free fiction.



Marc survived an IED, but will his heart survive McKenzie?

An IED blew up more than Marc North's career as a Cobra pilot; it shattered his plans for marriage. After being dumped by his girlfriend and spending more than a year in rehab, all he wants is to fly again. He jumps at the chance to partner with a combat buddy in a helicopter sightseeing business. Now in a boomtown in southern Utah, Marc gets caught up with local politics. And the local election official.

At work, McKenzie Terkildsen struggles to keep control of a dangerously contentious election. At home, she shares the challenge of raising younger half-brothers with her older step-brother. He complicates things by inviting a Marine buddy to stay with them while the two build a business together. As a council member takes liberty with facts and stirs the already caustic election brew, the last thing McKenzie needs is one more guy messing up her life—or her heart.

Find Swing Vote on Amazon
 and Goodreads
 
About the Author
 
Donna K. Weaver is an award-winning author, wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Army veteran, karate black belt, and online gamer girl.
 
Follow her at

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

AlzAuthors: Marita Golden - A Novelist Meditates on Writing about Alzheimer’s



Silent Storm: What We Remember, 
What We Forget, What We Discover

By Marita Golden

I didn’t choose. I was called. That’s how inspiration, art, and creativity work sometimes. I am often asked why I wrote a novel about Alzheimer’s disease.

I am not caring for anyone afflicted with it and no one in my family, from what I know, has ever been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. So there was nothing in my life, my past or my then-present to explain the fictional expedition I launched. This is what happened: I was trapped inside the wrong story. I had written 100 pages of a novel that was going nowhere very fast. So I stopped, took a breath and gave the process over quite literally to a higher power. I was willing to “let it be.” Two weeks later I was writing the story of a wife who finds herself and the nature and meaning of love transformed as she cares for her husband who has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes as a writer you get called, summoned to dive in, to plunge into the terrifying beauty of a completely unknown narrative landscape. When you report for duty, that is when you know you are a writer.

Four years later, after hearing the stories of those with Alzheimer’s, their caretakers, the professionals who care for them, the families who are burdened and sometimes buoyed by the demands of the disease, the researchers trying to find a cure, the  novel was finished. I realized that I had started out as a novelist and ended up as, not only a novelist, but an activist/advocate for greater awareness about the epidemic of Alzheimer’s in Black America.

I met adult children who found themselves stunned and incompetent in the face of a parent’s diminished capacity, and others who unflinchingly faced the disease and embraced their parent with the kind of transcendent love and loyalty of which they never knew themselves capable. I gave a 20-minute talk and reading about my life as a writer before a group of residents of a memory care unit. They taught me to be here now, the value of the present moment, and that they are indeed present, sensitive, intuitive. They remember the most important things--the meaning of human touch, an honest look in someone’s eyes, that a whole story can be told in a fleeting fragment of an iridescent memory of joy, and that words are often overrated.

But it was the statistics that turned me into an activist/advocate, that convinced me that maybe I was the right vessel to capture, contain, and pour this story into the hearts and minds of readers. Statistics reveal a “silent storm” raging in the Black community. If Alzheimer’s is a crisis for America, it is an epidemic for Black America. African Americans are twice as likely as whites to develop the disease, are only three percent of those enrolled in trial to find a cure, and could be 40% of all those with Alzheimer’s by 2050.

Sometimes a story asks to be written and then asks to be used as a platform. My novel, The Wide Circumference of Love, about the Tate family, Gregory, Diane, Lauren and Sean, is a story for everyone who has been alive long enough to hurt and heal, to feel coursing through their blood the strange strength borne of all we are sure we cannot bear.

All art is political, and social, and at its best engages in a frenzied dance with everything being thought and lived and denied and discovered swirling around it.

A story is never “just a story.” A book is never “just a book.” A story, a book, can set the world on fire or give a writer, or a reader, something to believe in or fight for.

About the Author


Co-founder and President Emeritus of the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation, Marita Golden is a veteran teacher of writing and an acclaimed award-winning author of over a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher of writing she has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing Programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MA Creative Writing Program at John Hopkins University. She has taught writing workshops nationally and internationally to a variety of constituencies.

Her new novel is The Wide Circumference of Love. Her other books include the novels, After and The Edge of Heaven and the memoirs Migrations of the Heart, Saving Our Sons,  and Don’t Play in the Sun: One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Writers for Writers Award presented by Barnes & Noble and Poets and Writers. Her novel After won the Fiction Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Her cover story for the Washington Post Sunday Magazine on African Americans and Alzheimer’s disease can be found here:


Connect with Marita



Monday, October 16, 2017

Monster Mash Countdown Blitz Starts October 16! Discover Books with Autumnal, Halloween, or Spooky Themes and Enter a Keychain Raffle


Loving the Book runs fun seasonal promotions. The Monster Mash Countdown Blitz starts today, October 16, and runs through the 28th. Each day (except Sunday) a new book will be featured, all with an autumnal, Halloween, paranormal, mystery, or suspense theme. (My epic YA novel Swim Season is included because it takes place in the fall.) These are  fun or scary stories, but not horror. And, as always, they're clean reads, free of excessive (or any) sexual content, violence, or offensive language. You'll also see author spotlights and interviews, and there's a RAFFLECOPTER where you can win a one-of-a-kind key chain made for each book (see Swim Season's below). You can win door-prizes too! Here's the schedule. See you there!



Here's the key chain specially created for Swim Season. Cute, isn't it? 

Make sure you enter the raffle to win one!


Loving The Book offers book tours with reviews, book blitzes, cover reveals, and Holiday countdown events.



Friday, October 13, 2017

9 Reasons Why YA Fiction Still Gets Me

photo by BillionPhotos.com via AdobeStock
There's something about YA fiction. Although I've been an adult for decades, I love it. I love to read it and I love to write it. 

Maybe it's because it pulls me back to my teenage years, when everything was all wrong, and gives me a chance to view life from a different lens, to a life where I wasn't gawky, awkward, and insecure, where money wasn't an issue and I had the right jeans and the right sneakers, where my father didn't pass away and leave me rudderless. 

Or maybe it's because I have my own young adult (now a perfect 22) and lived through her much happier teen years, seeing that she had everything I lacked. 

My love of books and reading solidified when I was a teen, providing a much needed escape. YA spans a variety of genres - historical, fantasy, paranormal, romance, social - and brought me places I could only dream of seeing or didn't know existed. 

It introduced me to cultures and worlds beyond my own. 

I met important and famous people, and time traveled throughout the ages.

I learned about dark things in life while never leaving my comfort zone. 

I fell in love with heroes and heroines. 

I read and reread many books that touched my soul.

I still need to escape sometimes and a YA novel is often the best transporter. Some favorites: John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, Suzanne Collins' Hunger Game series, the Harry Potters, Cynthia Toney's Bird Face series, Ruta Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray, and Alyssa Sheinmel's R.I.P. Eliza Hart. 

How about you? Are you a YA fan? What's moved you lately?

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Here's a collection of 14 YA books currently free to download in the Discoveries promo sponsored by My Book Cave.  Multi authors, multi genres, rated all ages to moderate+ for language, sexuality, and violence. A sample of my novel Swim Season is included. Download now! Offer ends October 31st. 


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

AlzAuthors: Philip D. Sloane, MD and The Alzheimer's Medical Advisor



By Philip D. Sloane, MD

I was six years into my medical training – a second year resident in family medicine – when I saw the first patient who I now know had Alzheimer’s disease. A middle-aged man brought her in, explaining that she was his mother and that the family was at wits end. His mother didn’t seem sick, he explained, but she couldn’t remember “anything,” made poor decisions, and would wander off and get lost if left alone. In the examining room, she wouldn’t sit down. From my limited history and examination, it was clear that she had a problem involving memory, judgment, and communication. This was not a little forgetfulness, it was a progressive problem that the family was struggling to understand and cope with. I asked my faculty preceptor what to do, and he had no idea. I still remember how helpless I felt, because something was so wrong and yet I had nothing to offer. It was 1977.

In the forty years since then, so much has changed and yet so little. Back then we called it senility and knew almost nothing about it; today we can talk at great length about the different cognitive disorders, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most prominent, and about amyloid precursor protein, tau microfilaments, PET image studies, and so on. Back then it seemed rare; today it’s a leading cause of death and disability – widespread and widely recognized. But the impact on families hasn’t changed at all.

Since then, much of my career and life has focused on aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. I obtained certification in geriatric medicine; worked in nursing homes, assisted living and home care settings; authored 18 books, including a textbook of geriatric medicine; and conducted numerous research studies on Alzheimer’s care. My mother, who died at 98, and my father-in-law, who died at 87, both had cognitive disorders and died after a long period of illness. I developed training programs for doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and other professional caregivers on diagnosis and management of persons with dementia. All of this was part of a general awakening among health professionals of the challenges family caregivers face providing day-to-day care of a loved one.

The Alzheimer’s Medical Advisor: A Caregiver’s Guide was written to help share with family caregivers the practical knowledge that has accumulated during the past 40 years. A major focus of the book is helping family caregivers know what to do when confronted with new or worsening symptoms – from medical problems like abdominal pain, cough, and diarrhea; to behavioral symptoms such as hitting, hollering, or refusing care; to more vague issues like not eating well. It also contains sections on working with the health care system, medications, watching for conditions such as pain and dehydration, and self-care advice for caregivers. An advisory group of nine family caregivers helped shape the book. Dozens of health professionals and students contributed background research, thanks in part to financial support from the National Institutes of Health. To make the book attractive and easy to read, we partnered with a nationally-prominent graphics designer. To field test an early version of the book, 50 family caregivers used it for six months and told us what they liked and what needed to be changed. Our final book was published in July of this year (2017) by Sunrise River Press. Feedback has been gratifyingly positive.

About the Author

Dr. Philip Sloane is the Elizabeth and Oscar Goodwin Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jointly certified in family medicine and geriatric medicine, he has served as medical director of a skilled nursing facility, medical director of an Alzheimer's Unit, national advisor on Alzheimer's care for a major nursing home chain, director of a nursing home teaching service, and physician and quality consultant to a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. As a researcher, he’s conducted over 20 studies in nursing homes and assisted living, including the research that developed two award-winning training programs, Bathing without a Battle and Mouth Care Without a Battle. He was the recipient of the prestigious Pioneer Award from the national Alzheimer’s Association.

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Purchase The Alzheimer's Medical Advisor

The Alzheimer’s Medical Advisor (Sunrise River Press, 2017) is available from major retailers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and from the Sunrise River Press website.