Wednesday, June 28, 2017

AlzAuthors: Judy Cornish and The Dementia Handbook

By Judy Cornish
Seven years ago I left my law practice in Portland, Oregon, in search of a small town where I could semi-retire and practice elder law. I found the community I was looking for in Moscow, Idaho, but not retirement. Instead, I’m now the owner of two businesses, an author, and the creator of the DAWN Method, a unique approach to dementia care that helps families keep their loved ones at home with more comfort and less stress. It all began with a courageous, sweet, white-haired woman who lived across the street from me.
She lived alone, with no children nearby, and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years earlier. When her family said they were moving her into a care facility because she could no longer drive, I volunteered to help her stay on at home. Within a few months, I was helping so many neighbors it became necessary to hire staff. Palouse Dementia Care was born.
From the start, my goal was simple: I wanted to help her—and each of my new clients--continue to live where they wished to live, with dignity and autonomy. My training, however, was not in medicine or social work. I was a lawyer with a classical education.

Friday, June 23, 2017

New Release Spotlight: Awakened Light, Celestial Guardians Book 2 by J.J. Nite

Blurb: All Edie Malakim wanted was to be a regular teenager, but she never had an abundance of luck. Discovering you’re the answer to an ancient prophecy, the one destined to lock Lucifer in Hell, definitely doesn’t qualify as normal either.

As Edie struggles to control her fire-throwing power and not burn everything in her path, she must also be ready for danger appearing around every corner. With the help of Kiah, a fellow Timoreo, and her coyote friend Atlas, she begins to learn a measure of control and a little more of her history.

When an unexpected visitor appears, Edie’s world becomes even more complicated as secrets are revealed and old wounds are opened. As her eighteenth birthday and the possibility of new abilities being bestowed on her approaches, Edie must try to decipher fact from fiction and friend from foe. 


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

AlzAuthors Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month eBook Sale!

AlzAuthors was founded in 2016 by myself and three other daughters of dementia who met over the internet because of our books. We formed a friendship and a mission to create a space where caregivers can find solid support, and those who share their stories can find the proper audience. I'm proud of our work and how we've grown from a 30-day awareness mission in June of 2016, to a weekly blog showcasing books and blogs about Alz and related dementias, a bookstore, Facebook group, and active Twitter presence.
You may have heard that June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, and today, June 21st, is The Longest Day. Sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, these important events increase awareness of Alzheimer's, related dementias, and brain health. In recognition of these events, AlzAuthors has put together our very first eBook sale!
Starting June 21 through June 28, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books at reduced prices, ranging from 2.99 to free. We offer a variety of genres, from fiction, memoir, and non-fiction. Many of our books are also available in paperback and audio, so 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 three! - to help guide you on your own dementia journey.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day Memories: Blueprint for a Great Dad

photo by Sergey Nivens via Adobe Stock
Celebrating Father's Day is bittersweet for me, because I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my own father at the tender age of 15. He suffered a heart attack at home one lazy Sunday morning and life was never the same. Ted "Bunky" Kasica was a good man,  and my brothers, mother, and I keenly felt his loss. It's been 41 years, and I don't believe any of us ever got over it. In his short life, he left us with many gifts, most importantly a blueprint for what makes a man a great father. 

Dad was the 11th of twelve children born to Polish immigrants in South Boston. His own father unexpectedly died when he was just three years old. He never finished high school, but enlisted in the United States Army where he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. In spite of his humble roots, his early life was one grand adventure. The Army took him out of Boston, and stationed him in Germany and Austria for years. His love for that life is clearly documented in the few photographs I have of him as a young soldier: parachuting out of airplanes, skiing in Austria, and competing as an amateur lightweight boxer.

Once home from the Army, he soon met my mother and fell in love, married, and settled down at the age of 28 to a quiet life as a cabinetmaker, with four children, a mortgage, and an ailing heart.

Dad as young soldier, family man, and fisherman.
My father was a man who loved his family, his children, and spent all of his time with us. He was an avid fisherman and loved boats. His skill as a cabinetmaker allowed him to refurbish a couple of old wrecks, and we spent many evenings and weekends skimming a pond, bass fishing. Other nights we swam in his favorite fishing holes while he fished from shore, casting for catfish. Winter presented no obstacles, because he loved to ice fish, and I recall many afternoons out on the ice practicing my skating in the bitter cold while he dangled for a catch.

My mother worked nights and Dad watched over us. We played games, swam in the city pool, worked in his wood shop, tended to his garden,  and listened to Red Sox and Bruins games, or the classical music he loved: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. I grew up in a  musical house. The last gift he gave me was an acoustic guitar, and he took me for lessons every Thursday night. It was precious time alone with him, sharing something we both loved. Foolishly, I gave up on the guitar shortly after he passed. 

My father went to work every day, six days a week, to a job he didn't always want to go to, but he shouldered his responsibilities like a man and made sure a paycheck came home with him every Friday night. He was a daily presence in his children's lives, doling out love and fun generously, and discipline reluctantly. He shared what he loved with us, and taught us an appreciation for many precious things: nature, music, family. He gave of himself, his time, and his talents. Toys and trinkets would never make up for his loss. 

We thought we'd have him forever. His death was a shock. But he left us with something not everyone gets, no matter how long they have their father: The blueprint for how to be a great dad.

Friday, June 16, 2017

It's the Book Blogger Hop! Week of June 16-22

This is something new for me and it looks like fun.

Each week, the Book Blogger Hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday, with a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The Hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blogs. 

Here's this week’s question:

How do you organize your blog in terms of what is in your side bar? 
Do you have categories and defined sections in your side bar?
  (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

I'll go first. 

If you look at the right side of my blog you'll see I've organized my sidebar into different sections. At the top is my book trailer for Swim Season, which I'm so excited about. It's my first one and the bright young man who made it with me did a super job. Then you'll see my AlzAuthors badge, which identifies me as an author writing in the Alzheimer's  and dementia genre. I am a founding member of AlzAuthors, dedicated to helping those on the dementia journey find great sources for understanding and support. I also display my Books Go Social Ambassador's badge. BGS is a great group for authors and I keep active with it each week. Below that there's a link to translate my blog into different languages, and  a link to follow the blog. Then you'll see my most popular posts, followed by other pages on the blog. I try to keep my blog  as clean and simple as possible. How'd I do? How do you organize your blog? If you don't have a blog, how do you like to see a blog organized? Please reply in the comments.

About the Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

AlzAuthors: Ann Richardson, Life in a Hospice

By Ann Richardson

Some years ago, I was taken to a hospice by a friend, who happened to be doing an errand. I immediately felt that this was the kind of tranquil place where I wanted to spend time. Soon after, I began to volunteer at a local hospice every Saturday afternoon. I did so for four years.

This experience had a strong impact on me, lasting even to the present day. Death – as with birth – is a very special time and I felt privileged to help people, even in small ways, in their last days.

As I was a writer, I thought the views and experiences of hospice staff would make a fascinating book. I had developed a technique, based on the kind of research I did for a living, of creating books formed around the direct views of people acquired by long and intimate interviews. Like a television documentary, it allows people to talk directly to the reader.

I undertook 31 interviews in two hospices with a whole range of staff – nurses, doctors, chaplains, managers and even a very reflective cook. They talked about the many ways in which they tried to make patients’ last days peaceful and meaningful, about the impact of such work on their own lives and, most importantly, about what they gained personally from such work. Like myself, they often used the word ‘privileged’ for being with people at the end of their lives.

The resulting book, Life in a Hospice, was, in my humble view, the best I had ever written – and I anticipated that many people would be keen to read it. It was very well reviewed, there was an article in the Times newspaper about it and it was even Highly Commended by the British Medical Association, despite not being a ‘medical’ book at all. All this was hugely pleasing.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Release Spotlight: Krysten Lindsay Hager's Dating the It Guy

Welcome back talented YA author Krysten Lindsay Hager and her latest release, Dating the It Guy. Krysten's novels are full of all the doubts, anxieties, and fears all young teens face. She easily channels her teenage self in each of her books, all sweet and suitable for readers of any age. 

Blurb:  Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren, seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her, and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy. YA contemporary romance 

Short Excerpt:

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's the Book Blogger Hop! Week of June 9-15

This is something new for me and it looks like fun.

Each week, the Book Blogger Hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday, with a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The Hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blogs. 

Here's this week’s question:

If you could have lunch with any living authors and/or 
book bloggers, who would you choose and why?
 (submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm)

I'll go first.

 This is a tough one because I have so many beloved authors, but I'd have to ask the New York Times bestselling writer who motivated me to stop talking about writing and start writing: Elizabeth Berg. Her novel True to Form captured my interest in such a way that I had to begin my own novel. I'd also invite Anne Tyler, the subject of my Honors thesis back at UMass Boston. Incidentally, she's a favorite author of Elizabeth Berg. Lastly, I'd save a seat for Jan Karon, because I adore her Mitford series; each novel in the series makes me feel like I live in the town. 

What about you? Who would you invite to your writer's table? 

About the Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

AlzAuthors: Karenna Wright and her memoir, "The Grapes of Dementia"

by Karenna Wright

It used to be that nine months or so after a traditional wedding, couples would announce they were pregnant. Not with Alan and me.

Nine months after we were married, and before our first honeymoon year was over, we were instead adjusting to the symptoms of Alan’s newly diagnosed dementia.

He passed less than five years after that diagnosis. He was 67 years old, I was 59.

Since then, I've been writing about our lives with early onset dementia, as well as my grief process.

I'd been writing all my life, had published in journals and magazines, so the thought of writing our story came naturally to me. And really, it wasn't an idea at all. It was something I did as instinctively as a mother loves her child.

At first I randomly jotted down brief notes, a shorthand to capture all my memories.

Several years later, Alan fell at home, then had a bad reaction to an anti-anxiety drug given him in the hospital.

He suffered disorienting, disturbing hallucinations and excruciatingly painful muscle spasms. Under the influence of the drug, he clawed at me, grabbed me, pulled me close to him, and fought me off—all at the same time. He squeezed my hand so tight I thought it would break.

When I got home at eleven o'clock that night, physically beat up and emotionally broken, I wrote down everything that happened that day.

My writing was raw, uncensored. I wrote for my own mental health. I needed to share my agony, to find a glimmer of hope in it, then offer it to others.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fantastic Young Adult Fiction Giveaway! Build that Summer TBR List

5 Lucky Winners Will Each Receive a $10 Gift Card!

For me, summer is all about reading: at the beach, in the pool, laid out in a hammock in my backyard. Of course, this requires lots of books. YA is one of my favorite genres, so I'm happy to offer you 30+ FREE titles for your e-reader along with a cool raffle to get your summer reading started.

You're going to love these FREE ebooks, so please enter our raffle so you get even more books from these great authors. 5 winners will each receive a $10 gift card from Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

 Good luck. I hope you win! 

What about you? Where do you like to read?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Book Blogger Hop: June 2 - 8

This is something new and it looks like fun.

About the Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop was originally created 
by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books
in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012.
With Jennifer’s permission,  
relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013.

Each week the hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blogs. 

Here's this week’s question:

Do your bookshelves have books ONLY
or do you also have bookish items on the shelves?
(submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

I'll go first:

My bookshelves are overflowing, spilling books out on to the floor and any other available space. I cull them frequently, and donate those I'm not serving well to my library's used bookstore, where I hope they'll find better owners. My bookshelves also display other assorted items, such as my daughter's artwork, photos of my daughter, a cute doll I won one Christmas in a Yankee Swap at work, a lint brush, and a few other pieces of paraphernalia I haven't found a better home for. What about you? What's on your bookshelves? Comments welcome.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

It's Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month. Why Did I Write a Book About Alzheimer's?

From my early days as a nurse I’ve had a soft spot for dementia patients. Most people are unfamiliar with the day to day pain and loss this disease brings. Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story is my attempt to tell the heartbreaking story of dementia, and to honor the more than 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and the people who love and care for them.

One day at work as a nurse case manager in a rehabilitation unit, I met an elderly couple who inspired my characters Jack and Sara. She had Alzheimer’s, and he was physically frail. The amazing thing about them was that they’d driven from Florida to New York by themselves without any incident. Unfortunately, once home she fell and broke her pelvis and landed in the hospital. That’s where I came in, to assist with the discharge plan. She was supposed to go to a local nursing home for continued rehab and her son planned to drive her and her husband there on discharge day. I completed their plans and said goodbye, but couldn’t stop thinking about them, wondering what would happen if they somehow left the hospital without their son and did not go to the rehab. Where would they go? What would they do? My wild imagination took off, and the seeds for the novel took root.

The response from readers is both satisfying and humbling. When I published I had no idea if the book would find an audience, but within weeks I’d received several 5-star reviews from caregivers who thanked me for writing “their” story. A later reviewer called it “healing,” and another said it was “grief release.” A favorite comment is “Read it twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.” I could not have hoped for a better response.

As a nurse, I’m proud to help others dealing with this disease. As an author, I’m grateful this important topic found me, and that I had the determination and fortitude to bring this book to completion.

Knowing that I have not only touched lives but validated the experiences of these unsung heroes is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.