Wednesday, June 20, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Ann Balcom, Blogger and Author of "The Blue Velvet Drape - Dealing with Dementia"


By Anne F. Balcom

Mom was diagnosed with dementia in 2006. From the moment my parents told my sister and me the news I began losing sleep, a lot of sleep. The worry of “How were we going to get through this?” was eating me up. I would lie in bed at night for hours thinking and crying while my husband and kids were sleeping.

After many sleepless nights, I began getting out of bed in the middle of the night, going to the living room and jotting down my thoughts in a journal. I had so many thoughts and concerns that I could not write as fast as my thoughts were coming, so I began to type them. I would print out what I typed and tape it into my journal.

After a while I began wondering if other people who were co-caregivers of family members with dementia were feeling the same as me. I had so many emotions…fear, worry, anger, frustration, and I wrote about it all. ALL of the ugly stuff.


I decided to create a blog. I didn’t really care if anyone read it or not, but I thought it would be a good way to keep family and friends of family current with Mom’s condition, so Dad, my sister and I wouldn’t have to keep retelling what was going on. This is how Dealing with Dementia was born. After Mom passed away, I changed the name to The Blue Velvet Drape: Dealing with Dementia. It truly is my journal.

For years, my father, aunt and I attended monthly support group meetings for family members caring for loved ones with dementia. At one of those meetings, Dad mentioned that I had started keeping a blog of our dementia experiences. The moderator of our support group asked for the link, so she and others could read it.

Months went by, and after she had read my blog she encouraged me to keep writing as she felt it was a good resource for others who were also caregivers. Later she encouraged me to publish my blog. “Oh my gosh”, I thought. “Who would want to buy a book about my family?” I am not a writer by any means; my blog is full of misspelled words and grammatical errors. Regardless, people kept reading, relating and encouraging me about the book. Eventually, my blog reached more than 20,000 views across 12 different countries.

It was 9-10 years before I actually bit the bullet and self-published a book in February 2017. My book IS my blog. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s mine and my family’s experience.

My hope for my book is that it is helpful to others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You cannot do it alone.

Blog Feedback

When thinking of closing my blog after Mom passed away:

Anne,

Take it for someone who has been in your shoes, writing might be the exact thing you need right now. I found it very therapeutic after my father died. Once a caregiver, always a caregiver; your journey is not over yet. You will find that this campaign will stick with you for quite a while. Write about the after affects you go through, it’s important that others learn from your experiences. There’s a course of recovery that every caregiver should know about. 
Stay strong my friend and share your wisdom with others. - Gary Joseph LeBlanc, author of  Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness

I have referred a friend of mine to your blog two weeks ago. She needed a source to learn how to deal with things. I'm glad you are keeping this blog. Even though I haven't dealt with this, it's still therapeutic in other ways. –Amy


Don't close it, Anne...you may need to come back to it someday and it may be that you will want to share this with your children. And like you said, you aren't finished...take it slow and don't rush anything right now...I have enjoyed it, although I never commented. I learned a lot, and I appreciate you and how wonderful a daughter you were to your mother. What an inspiration you are. Loving you Anne! <3 Kim

Feedback on Amazon

"A wonderful book of the daily trials that families face when dealing with dementia. Book offers insight/guidance on how to deal with situations. A must read!" -arrky66

Purchase The Blue Velvet Drape

About the Author

Ann Balcom and her mom
Anne F. Balcom was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She attended Western Kentucky University from 1984-1988. While she did not graduate from WKU, she later attended the Interior Design Institute at Sullivan College in Louisville getting her Associates of Applied Science degree in Interior Design in 1997. In 2000, she married David, the love of her life. They began growing their family in 2001 with the birth of their daughter, Emma. Their son, Wade came along in 2003. A stay-at-home mom for 12 years, she returned to the fulltime work force in 2013 working for Jefferson County Public Schools as an attendance clerk in an elementary school. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as watching her daughter play soccer and her son run cross country. She has recently started taking painting classes at a locally owned art studio.

Connect with Ann Balcom

Instagram: dealingwithdementiablog


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Lisa Wingate, author of "Tending Roses"


By Lisa Wingate

The Gap

In every story I write, there are bits of real life, nibblets of sheer invention and sprinkles of serendipity. Readers often ask me which parts are which. Sometimes, it’s hard to dissect. Our way of looking at the world comes from our experiences in it. Our passions, the things we care about enough to examine, do as well. I’ve talked about caretaking and the Alzheimer’s journey quite a bit in my books. It’s an issue I know intimately. 

My first novel, Tending Roses, was in part walking that path with my grandmother. She was a storyteller, a keeper of stories. She could wear you out with her stories, but they always came with a lesson at the end. And then, the stories, one-by-one, piece-by-piece, faded away. The newest ones vanished first. It’s a bittersweet journey, the road of memory loss. My straight-laced, sometimes overbearing grandmother lost some of her inhibitions as she lost those stories. There were funny times, tender times, funny things she said that made us laugh until we cried.

There were times we just cried. When laughter seemed an impossible luxury.

Lisa's Grandma Rose
It’s difficult, being with a loved one who is physically able but fading mentally. It’s often a lonely occupation, a painful one. Even friends and family members who would like to help frequently don’t know how to contribute. My hope is that my stories build bridges and create dialogue between primary caretakers and  surrounding friends and family members. Just a few hours out of the house, while a friend or family member takes over the duties, can be an incredible gift.

There’s something to learn from the journey of memory loss, I think. Just like my grandmother’s stories, all journeys come with lessons. Preserve the family stories while you can—that’s the first lesson. Listen. Hear. Record. Write down. Be patient. These are treasures. They’re worth your effort. Later, you’ll be glad you took the time. I could fill a dozen shoeboxes if I had a nickel for every time a reader has said to me, I wish we’d gotten the stories down when we had the chance. Now it’s too late.

Those are the saddest words. I hate those words.

Another lesson from the Alzheimer’s journey — it’s hard. Most of us go through life watching heroic acts on the news and wondering if we’d have what it takes to do the right thing, to do the hard thing. To be heroic ourselves. It’s important to remember that true heroism doesn’t manifest itself only in those who run into burning buildings or cross battlefields to save the wounded. Heroism exists in quieter forms, in entirely unremarkable places, in everyday efforts and little battles. It’s found in those who sacrifice day after day, who love someone who can’t always demonstrate love in return. Someone who can be frustrating, frustrated, sad, confused, unfamiliar, repetitive. Who can’t say, I love you. Thank you for doing this for me. Don’t leave me. I need you.

Caretakers are heroes. Straight up. They stand in the gap between this disease and its victims.

I look forward to the day when they’ll no longer be needed.

Copyright 2018 Wingate Media, LLC

Purchase Tending Roses

About the Author

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and New York Times Bestselling Author of thirty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, The Carol Award, and the Christy Award. Her blockbuster hit, Before We Were Yours remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over ten months, was Publishers Weekly’s #3 longest running bestseller of 2017, and was voted by readers as the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award winner for historical fiction. Before We Were Yours has been a book club favorite worldwide and to date has sold over one million copies.



Connect with Lisa Wingate



Friday, June 8, 2018

New Release Spotlight: Lia London's " A Bid for Love," a Romantic Comedy


 He got way more than he bid for ...

Ladies' man and mid-tier model, Crawford Andrews has a hunkalicous reputation to uphold. That means working out and making out but making no commitments.

Philanthropic (and very chaste) heiress Maris Conway would rather be passing out warm rolls and words of encouragement than working in her father's swanky real estate development company, but it's hard to be generous without a lot of money and connections.

When Crawford and Maris meet during a publicity photo shoot, they decide to attend a charity auction together. Crawford bids on a romantic getaway using both of their names, hoping to score points with Maris for helping to drive up the auction prices for her pet fundraiser. When they accidentally win, he gets much more than he ever imagined.

Self-absorbed meets selfless sweetness, and both find room to grow in this romantic comedy set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest


About the Author

Lia London was born in Oregon and raised all over (including 3 years in Europe). She earned two degrees from Western Oregon University. Upon graduation, she served for 18 months as a missionary in Guatemala, teaching cholera prevention, literacy, and gospel messages. She worked as a high school teacher and ESL instructor for college students for a few years before becoming a stay-at-home mom and launching her writing career.

London currently plays the organ and teaches a children's Sunday School class at her church, and volunteers in a martial arts studio, working with foster children. She also is the founder and chief administrator of a network called Clean Indie Reads, an organization of over 3300 authors, illustrators, and marketing specialists who work in the independent publishing industry. She loves milk chocolate, extra-cheesy pizza and cuddling with her cute dog to watch old Star Trek (all versions) episodes on Amazon Prime.

Connect with Lia London

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Our 3rd Anniversary and Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month Book Sale, Giveaway, and Raffle


It's Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and AlzAuthors is celebrating its THIRD ANNIVERSARY! To celebrate this achievement, and in support of those living with Alzheimer's and other dementias, we have put together a book sale and giveaway, and a raffle, where one lucky winner will win a collection of 14 books from our authors.

Starting today through June 12 you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books at reduced prices or FREE. We offer a variety of genres, from fiction, children's, memoir, and non-fiction in digital, paperback/hardback, and audiobooks. 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. And they make great gifts!



Friday, June 1, 2018

New Release Spotlight: "The Nameless Soldier," a Young Adult Fantasy by Annie Douglass Lima

 The Nameless Soldier
The Nameless Soldier is book 4 in the Annals of Alasia young adult fantasy series. Haven't read all (or any) of the others? That's okay! The books can be read in any order, and each one can stand on its own.



Blurb:

What do you do when you’re the only survivor?

Nineteen-year-old Tarvic bears the name of a mighty hero from Alasia’s past. However, the young soldier feels anything but heroic when he regains consciousness to find himself the lone survivor of a brutal attack by invaders from the neighboring kingdom.

Forced to leave his identity behind, Tarvic is thrust into civilian life in the role of protector to three war orphans. When the four of them encounter a mysterious stranger, he must choose between keeping the young girls safe and taking on a mission that could help free his kingdom. Can Tarvic live up to his noble name and find a way to balance his duty and his dreams?


Click here to buy the ebook or paperback from Amazon. Not sure if you'll like the story or not? Take a look at the first chapter and see!


Chapter One

Tarvic woke to the sound of a distant yell, abruptly silenced. He pushed his blankets aside and sat up, puzzled, but heard only the light patter of rain on the canvas. “What was that?”

Drevel, his roommate in the barracks and tentmate out on campaigns like this, stirred and rolled over. “What?”

“I heard something. Someone shouting.”

“It’s probably just another drill.” But Drevel sat up too, shoving his own blankets away, as Tarvic crawled over and untied the tent flap.

A blast of wintry air and raindrops greeted him as he leaned out, peering across the tent-studded hillside. Clouds hid the moon and stars, and on every side the thick dark of the forest leaned in from the edges of the large clearing. But the telltale flickering light of distant torches sent shadows leaping over tents and across the open spaces between them. Why would someone be using torches out here? Any soldier in camp had easy access to lanterns among the supplies.

Something was wrong. Very wrong. Tarvic pulled back into the tent and yanked on his breeches and jacket.

They both heard the next yell, closer this time, and then the unmistakable clash of swords. Both men snatched up their own swords, jamming their feet into their boots and fumbling for shields. From all around them, shouts of alarm erupted as men in their company woke up.

And then the enemy was upon them. Horses exploded through the camp, trampling tents and the soldiers just crawling out of them. Riders leaned low off their mounts’ backs, swinging swords and waving torches.

Halfway out of his tent, Tarvic threw himself flat on his face to avoid a slash that would probably have decapitated him. He scrambled to his feet, only to be knocked off them again by a blow that he barely caught on his shield.

Light, shadows, horses, blades, rain. Chaos raged through the clearing to the sound of crashing metal, pounding hooves, shouts of challenge and desperation. Tarvic regained his feet and fought as best he could from the ground while enemy riders thundered around him. Dodging and ducking, he aimed for the men’s legs and tried to keep out from under their horses’ hooves. With no idea who he was fighting or why, his only goal to stay alive for the next heartbeat, he dodged and darted through the tumult looking for spots where horses and enemy swords weren’t. All around him, men fought and ran and crumpled to lie as limply as the trampled tents.

Slipping and stumbling in the mud, Tarvic felt a surge of satisfaction as his sword met flesh and an enemy yelled in pain. And then the man wheeled his horse and charged back toward him, and Tarvic turned to flee.

He tripped on something soft that groaned. Pain shot through Tarvic’s wrist as he caught his fall, and only a quick roll saved him from being trampled as the man’s horse cantered over him.

Its rider wheeled again, and Tarvic rose to his knees, barely raising his shield in time to protect his face. The force of the blow threw him backward, jarring his already sore wrist.

Another horse leaped over him, and Tarvic cried out in pain as a hoof struck him on the shoulder. He stumbled to his feet, ducking low to present as small a target as possible, and ran through the melee.

He saw fewer people on foot now, more obstacles in the mud. Was it cowardly to flee from a battle you couldn’t win? Nothing in Tarvic’s eight months in the military had prepared him for this. Not counting occasional minor border skirmishes, the kingdom of Alasia hadn’t seen an actual war in six generations. Besides routine patrols, city peacekeeping, and the frequent drills and training, the military’s primary duties involved escorting merchant wagons through robber-frequented stretches of rural highway and keeping an eye on the sections of coastline where seafaring raiders were known to attack. Tarvic had never fought in a battle that involved more than a handful of opponents at a time, and none of those opponents had been anywhere near this organized — or this deadly.

If we escape, we can regroup somewhere safer and — A hard blow to the back knocked him to the ground again as another horse pounded over him. Giving up all pretense of courage, Tarvic scrambled to his feet once more and fled for the edge of the clearing and the relative safety of the trees beyond. I can’t do anything here. They’re going to slaughter us all!

He was practically there when another rider appeared in front of him, leaning low with sword outstretched. Tarvic almost impaled himself on the blade, raising his shield just in time. He fought back frantically as the man slashed, swinging his weapon again and again. I need my horse! Military training had included nothing about how to fight a mounted enemy from the ground. But Lightning was tethered in the row of makeshift stalls on the far side of the camp, probably prancing restlessly under his blanket and wondering why his rider didn’t come to spur him into battle.

Tarvic didn’t even see the blow that almost killed him. His ears barely registered the thudding of more galloping hooves from behind, nearly drowned out by the rain and the sounds of battle. But the world exploded in light and pain as something struck the back of his head harder than anything had ever hit him before.

He lurched forward, feeling his sword drop from limp fingers. Managing two steps before his legs buckled, he was just conscious enough to recognize the urgent need to crawl. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Or they’ll kill you out here. That was the only thought left in his mind as he pulled himself toward the concealing shadows behind the line of tree trunks. And then even that faded, giving way to darkness.

***

Want to know what happens to Tarvic? Click here to purchase the book and find out!


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 seventeen books (four YA action and adventure novels, five fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Wendy Mitchell and "Somebody I Used to Know," on Living with Young Onset Dementia





By Wendy Mitchell

My name is Wendy Mitchell and I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia on the 31st July 2014. Who would have thought, on that day of diagnosis, over 3 years ago, that I would now be publishing a book, Somebody I Used to Know? But, on the other hand, why not?

When people hear the word dementia, they often think of the end stages. Well, it has to have a beginning and a middle and I’m someone heading for 4 years into living with the condition. We all had talents before a diagnosis, we don’t suddenly lose all those talents overnight the day we receive that diagnosis. We simply have to adapt them to use in different ways, and with support can often achieve something remarkable.

I wanted to write this book to show people how there is a life to be lived after a devastating diagnosis. Yes, mine was of dementia, but it could apply to any crisis or life changing moment. I wanted to show that with the right positive attitude and support, you can adapt and live a good, if not different, life. So yes, my book should be read by everyone who is affected by dementia or healthcare professionals in the field, but moreover, it should be read by anyone to show them how living in the moment can enhance anyone’s life.

The feedback since the publication of my book in the UK has been overwhelming and humbling. Many people have been touched by my openness. I used to be an extremely private person, but was so shocked at the lack of awareness and lack of understanding that I’ll now shout from the rooftops at every opportunity. My book has enabled me to reach so many more people. Family members have often told me how they’re ashamed to admit their loved one has dementia. My response is to say, “we have a complex brain disease, why on earth should anyone be ashamed?” No one should have to face dementia on their own, least of all through shame or stigma.

I often write of outwitting and outmaneuvering dementia, almost relishing the challenge of the fight. People so often dwell on the losses, on what the future may hold, or on the negatives. Why not instead concentrate on what you CAN still do or what you CAN do, if only differently than before.

Moreover, why dwell on the future? We have no control over what dementia will strip away from us in the future, so why dwell on the matter? Instead, focus on enjoying what you have today. The future will come soon enough and a day spent regretting and in sadness is a day of happiness wasted. I hope you gain knowledge about dementia, but also knowledge about life from reading my book, Somebody I Used to Know.

About the Author

Wendy Mitchell at her home in York. 2015
I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia on the 31st July 2014 at the age of 58 years young. I might not have much of a short-term memory but that’s one date I’ll never forget.

I have 2 daughters and live happily in Yorkshire. I retired early from the NHS, having worked as a non-clinical team leader for 20 years. Post diagnosis, I was shocked by the lack of awareness, both in the community and clinical world, so I now spend all my time travelling around the country raising awareness and encouraging others to embrace my passion for research.

Connect with Wendy Mitchell

Twitter: @WendyPMitchell



Monday, May 28, 2018

New Release Spotlight: The Tick-tock Between You and Me, A Canterbury Romance (Canterbury Romance Series Book 1) by Kristy Tate

Darby thought she had love all figured out
 until she heard the tick-tock of a clock

Darby Elliott thinks she’s in love with her long-distance boyfriend until he arrives on her doorstep. Now, she’s not so sure about him or how to get her car and money back. Which is embarrassing, because she’s a hot-shot accountant and money isn’t supposed to slip through her fingers... or into her boyfriend’s wallet.

Chad George and his girlfriend, Jessica have been together since they were kids. The trouble is, Jessica thinks Chad should convert his grandfather’s dying horse ranch into a cosmetic surgery recovery spa, and Chad thinks his grandfather should maintain the ranch as he wishes.

When Chad’s grandfather hires Darby, she discovers the ranch is full of untapped potential and hidden treasures including a clock that only seems to tick when she and Chad are together. Does the clock have a hidden message? Can Darby and Chad save the ranch before time runs out?

USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate returns with another clean and wholesome romance that will be sure to warm the hearts of Hallmark movie fans. If you like sweet romances with a touch of magical realism, be sure and pick up your copy of The Tick-tock Between You and Me today. You'll never look at your clock the same way again.

Excerpt from CHAPTER 1

Modern Day
Los Angeles International Airport

Darby stood in the line snaking its way toward the crowded Starbuck’s counter. She shivered, but this had more to do with nerves and anticipation than the over-zealous air-conditioning or her lack of caffeine. She glanced at the board announcing the arriving flights and consulted her watch.

Benjamin’s plane had been delayed. Again. She tried to wrap her head around this. After all, it was August, not the dead of winter when one might expect turbulent weather. Of course, he was flying from London—and when she had flown from London to L.A., her flight path had gone over the North Pole, where rotten weather was sure to happen. She needed to be patient, but she was tired of being patient. Other than on FaceTime or social media, she hadn’t seen Benjamin in three whole months.

Not that she had known him for much longer.

A sudden splash of burning hot wetness pulled Darby’s thoughts away from Benjamin. “Ow!” she pulled her blouse away from her chest and stared at the brown stain spreading like a fungus.

“Oh! I’m sorry!” A man with large hands grabbed a handful of napkins from the dispenser on a nearby table and tried to pat her chest.

She flinched away from him and noticed his face for the first time. Aside from his embarrassed and apologetic expression, he was incredibly gorgeous, like a young Paul Newman—blond, blue-eyed, rugged and weathered as if he spent a good deal of time outside. He was almost as good looking as Benjamin, but in a completely different way. But of course, Benjamin was a model and an actor who made a living with his beauty. This man was a silky-blouse-staining moron.

“It’s okay,” Darby said, even though it obviously wasn’t because the coffee was burning hot, her blouse was probably going to be ruined, and, worst of all, she’d now have to welcome Benjamin to L.A. with a giant brown spot on her shirt. She moved away from his clumsiness and wads of napkins.

“Oh no, I can tell you’re upset.” He shook the coffee off his own hands, making her realize he’d burned himself as well. 

“Let me pay for your dry -cleaning, at least.”

“No, don’t be silly,” she said, edging away from him, which wasn’t easy to do because of the crowd. Most people were ignoring them, but a few watched with open curiosity, waiting to see her response. Darby gulped back her frustration, mostly because she didn’t want to make a scene, but also because the man was cute and remorseful—a little like a puppy who knows his paws are too big.

“How about I buy you lunch?” he said.

Darby glanced at the board, noting that Benjamin’s flight had been delayed another hour. “Okay,” she agreed, tempted by a free lunch…and the handsome man.


About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate--writing her own happily-ever-after one day (and sentence) at a time.

She's the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling and award-winning Beyond Series and the Kindle Scout winning Witch Ways series. She writes mysteries with romance, humorous romance, light-hearted young adult romance, and urban fantasy.

When she's not reading, writing, or traveling, she can be found playing games with her family, hiking with her dogs, or watching movies while eating brownies.

She is also a popular public speaker and presents writing workshops for schools, libraries, and fundraisers. References available upon request.

Friday, May 25, 2018

New Release Spotlight: Engaging Mr. Darcy, an Austen Inspired Romantic Comedy by Rachel John


“Angry people are not always wise.” – Jane Austen


After a standoff in the pizza parlor, Elsie Bennet has decided Fitzwilliam “I-Throw-Fitz” Darcy is the worst customer she’s ever encountered. Also the best looking, but that’s beside the point. She’s horrified to discover Will is not just passing through her small town, he’s her new neighbor.

Will Darcy has all the money and time he could ask for, and yet life never seems to meet his expectations. When his best friend, Charlie, starts dating Jane Bennet, Will becomes their unhappy third-wheel. The solution? Bring along Jane’s sister, Elsie, a girl who challenges him, makes him laugh, plagues his thoughts, and unfortunately, hates his guts.

Will might control a lot of things, but he won’t control her. Elsie’s already been warned away by her new friend, Jeff Wickham, who found out the hard way that Will is not someone to be crossed. Things would be so much simpler if she was attracted to Jeff. But she’s not. She’s attracted to Will, and the tug-o-war between her mind and her heart is going to drive her mad.

Purchase Engaging Mr. Darcy


About the Author


Rachel John loves to read anything with romance or humor, and thinks the best books should combine the two. She's found that writing is the best outlet for her wild imagination. She's a terrible cook, but unfortunately for her family, she keeps trying. Rachel lives in Arizona with her husband, four crazy kids, and her desert tortoise. Come visit Rachel on her Facebook page, blog or Twitter. She'd love to hear from you!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Miki Klocke, Photographer and Author of "Alzheimer’s - Beyond Caregiving"


by Miki Klocke


My Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when she was 56 years old and still working two jobs. I was 33 and became her full-time caregiver. A few years into our journey, when Mom still occasionally had coherent moments, we talked about how difficult this path is and what limited resources there were to help us. There wasn’t anyone for us to talk to. During that conversation I promised Mom that I would share our story so that it could help others. I had no clue how I would accomplish that as I had a degree in photography and limited writing experience.


Many very overwhelming years passed where that promise remained a passing thought. During what would be Mom’s fourth year on hospice, I finally had the time to get serious about keeping my promise. I wrote, I shared, I rewrote many, many times. Photography has always been a part of my life, a lifeline, in fact, during the difficult years of caregiving. Through encouragement, I was led to combine my photography and writing into a visual and poetic expression of the trials and tribulations of caregiving that became Alzheimer’s: Beyond Caregiving.

Through 17 years of caregiving, my greatest source of support came from Caregiver Support groups offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. Hearing the stories of others who had gone before me and those navigating a similar path gave me hope and strength to continue on. They also gave me the permission I needed to express my fears, shed tears and verbalize the anger and shame at not being able to do enough. I want to make not only Alzheimer’s, but also caregiving, a topic we can all freely talk about.

The stigma and misunderstandings of both Alzheimer’s and caregiving open us up to misguided suggestions that can hurt more than help. When you are a full-time caregiver, you have little to no time for yourself. Well-meaning friends and acquaintances often say to “take care of yourself first.” I found it hard not to cry, scream and/or laugh every time I heard this advice. I grew to despise those words. They made me feel more alone – proof that no one understood what it was like caring for Mom.

However, I also grew to understand that taking time doesn’t have to be a physical act as I first imagined, but it can be a mental act. My photography often shows what can seem to some a lonely place, but to others a place of solace. Our perceptions can be foggy in the trenches of caregiving. You can feel trapped by circumstances, but they can also be a place of introspection and an opportunity for a connection beyond words that is simply love.

My time of reflection led me to discover that we never really have control. Therefore, I was able to not only accept – but embrace – the changes that are inevitable in Alzheimer’s. The minute-by-minute changes, as well as the daily, weekly and monthly changes. And the big change, the one that Alzheimer’s always leads to, because there is no cure.

But there is, if not a cure for the loneliness of caregiving, at least good medicine — sharing our stories openly with each other, without censure or shame. There’s a whole community out there waiting to talk about the grief, the pain and the hardships that are part of this devastating journey.

When I began Alzheimer’s: Beyond Caregiving, I knew I wasn’t alone in my challenges and concerns of caregiving, but the greatest validation came in this comment: ". . . this book is like sitting down with a friend who knows what it’s like.” I couldn’t have put into words what I wanted the take away of this book to be, but that is it.


About the Author


Miki Klocke is a photographer and author. Her images mirror what is going on in her heart and soul. During her 17 years of taking care of her mom, her images reflected a lonely time, an introspective time, a longing for peace and solitude . . .

Connect with Miki Klocke

Instagram: @AlzStories

For more vetted books on Alzheimer's and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore.

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Release Spotlight: Halcyon, YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fiction by Caroline Akervic and Ruth Rankin

It’s hard enough to always be the new girl at school for Hailey Schick. She’s managed to irritate the ruling clique and Trevor, the boy she sort of likes, is a total social outcast. 

Nothing is as it seems at University. Preston and Chelsea rule the school with an iron fist and are obsessed with stomping out all nonconformity. There is more going on here than the usual cutthroat high school games.

Eternally young sentinels from the parallel universe of Halcyon have infiltrated their school and plan to use it as a launching pad for a planned takeover of Earth. Hailey and Trevor may be all that stands between Earth and a takeover by the militaristic Juventus.

Friday, May 18, 2018

New Release Spotlight: "In a Jam" by Cindy Dorminy


I fell in love with the cover of this book and its sweet premise, and just had to invite the author to visit the blog. Welcome to Adventures in Publishing Cindy! 


Andie Carson has to do three things to inherit her grandmother’s lottery winnings—sober up, spend a month running her grandmother’s Georgia coffee shop, and enter homemade jam in the county fair. If she can’t meet those terms, the money goes to the church, and Andie gets nothing. She figures her tasks will be easy enough, and once she completes them, Andie plans to sell the shop, take the money, and run back to Boston.


After a rough breakup from his crazy ex-fiancĂ©e, Officer Gunnar Wills decides to take a hiatus from women. All he wants is to help make his small town thrive the way it did when he was a kid. But when wild and beautiful Andie shows up, Gunnar’s hesitant heart begins to flutter.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Cofounder and Admin Vicki Tapia



Today's guest blogger is my good friend and AlzAuthors partner Vicki Tapia. We met through our books, and never in person, but work closely together to manage AlzAuthors blog. Here, Vicki tells us her dementia story. 

By Vicki Tapia


In 2004, both my parents were diagnosed with dementia, Dad with Parkinson’s-related dementia and Mom with moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Even though symptoms had become increasingly obvious by the time of diagnosis, hearing the words dementia and Alzheimer’s disease really knocked the wind out of my sails. We now faced the stark reality of terminal diagnoses.


Trained as a teacher and looking for answers, I sought information to describe what to expect and how to best navigate what lay ahead. I searched for books written from the family caregiver’s perspective, but found few, and none that actually proved very helpful. I could cry on my husband’s shoulder or unload my anxiety on a close friend only so often.

In a deviation from my usual handwritten journals, I began tapping away at my computer keyboard on a near daily basis. When I began writing about dementia, it was merely a vehicle to help me cope with family caregiving. My diary became the place I sought solace at the end of a long day. It didn’t talk back or demand anything of me. However, after a year or so of writing, an awareness slowly took shape inside my brain and I realized I was in the midst of writing a book. I began to recall memories of Mom’s dementia-like behavior from years previous and it amazed me how many recollections remained vivid in my mind. Scene after scene from both the past and present came alive on the computer screen.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Happy 5th Birthday Indie Author!


In 2014, I compiled this list to celebrate the first book birthday of my first novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story. Five years have now passed since publication day, and I've learned even more from this experience. I'm reposting my original list with a few updates in an effort to help others who are starting out as authors.

#1 I Need Help

Indie publishing is not for the faint of heart. Never did I dream how much I had to learn and how much I had to do in order to be successful. If I had, I probably would have let the manuscript languish on my hard drive for eternity. Since early childhood, I always had to do everything myself, and have a hard time asking for help. But some things I just can’t do. Formatting a manuscript is at the top of that list. My repetitive strain injuries would not allow this no matter how many times I tried and how many strategies I used to get around the crippling pain. In the end, I asked for help and realized I didn’t have to do everything, or cripple myself to do it all. There are many skills needed to make a book, and no one person possesses all of them to do it expertly. Part of being an indie author is knowing when to call in the professionals to help make your book the best it can be. That’s why big publishing houses employ a staff of pros to turn out a book. It was foolish to think I could make it on my own.

UPDATE: I'll add to this that four years later I'm now teaching classes in self-publishing in the continuing education programs at three colleges. I've also mentored a number of people in publishing their own books. So, student became teacher. Who knew? Next step would be to write a book on the subject, but there are already so many good ones out there I'll save my energy for something else. I could do a webinar or a podcast, but that would require a whole new set of skills. Not sure if I'm up for that, but you never know...

#2 People are Helpful

One thing about book people: they’re helpful. I learned this at a writer’s conference a number of years ago. It must be a writer thing, this urge to share information, to write about your experiences, to answer when called upon for advice. I received information and help from many different sources: authors, publishers, editors, bloggers, and web sites, usually for free. I haven’t experienced such generosity in any other field. In turn, I give of myself, sharing what I've learned, letting others in on a good deal or a bad experience. When indie authors work together, we all win. It elevates our industry, and makes us all better at what we do. In the end, readers benefit, and that’s what we’re all here for, isn't it?

UPDATE: A few years ago I joined a wonderful writer's group, Clean Indie Reads, where I received not only knowledge but support. Through this affiliation I participated in numerous book sales and promotions, contests, blog tours, blog hops, podcasts, author interviews, guest blog posts, and more. Groups like this are essential for any author and I advise all aspiring authors to find one that suits them. As a result of this positive experience I helped create the AlzAuthors blog and writers group. This is a family of writers who share their dementia stories, paving the way for others dealing with the dementias to find resources to meet their needs. 

#3 I Am Not Invisible

People notice. They do, whether you’re commenting on someone’s Facebook status, a blog post, or retweeting a tweet. In order to be in this game, you need to put yourself out there, build a presence both online and in your community, letting the world know you’re an author with something to share, which leads me to the next thing I learned.

UPDATE: Some of the best things that have happened to me came by networking online in social media (see above.) Not all of these opportunities were online, but local, such as my recent participation in a regional authors event at a Barnes and Noble,  and at an Art Walk in a nearby town.  I learned of these opportunities through my involvement in Facebook groups. It is unlikely I would have learned of them otherwise. So time on social media is not wasted.

#4 Don’t Be Shy

No, you can’t be shy. This is not the time to be bashful, or wait for someone else to tell the world what you have to offer. Self-promotion doesn't come easy to me. I tend to do things quietly. But, in publishing you can’t sit back. You need to tell the world about your book, your next appearance, your latest interview. We indie authors are just drops in the ocean; there are thousands of us with thousands of books out there jockeying for attention. In order for us to reach readers, we must be our own best fans.

UPDATE: I still find this difficult. I sometimes go on whirlwind promotions but then sink back into obscurity. Neither is good. A consistent but not obnoxious prescence would be helpful. It's something I'm working on.

#5 I’m Important

It’s true. I never realized it before but I am important. I’m the only one who’s written this book, this story, about an important topic, one that affects millions of lives, and one that has moved many people to write to me and post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads letting me know how my work has touched them. And when I started to realize that, in my own small way, in my own little niche, I’m important, I started to act important, and then other people acted like I’m important. I accomplish so much more this way.

UPDATE: I tend to underestimate myself, so when I stand before an audience to talk about one of my books or in front of a roomful of students I surprise myself by what I know. I've picked up so much knowledge from my writer friends, bloggers, journals and podcasts, as well as my own practice. In time, you can do this too. It doesn't happen overnight, but with persistence, it happens.

#6 Don’t Give Up

This is a tough business. There are times I feel like giving up. Why did I ever get involved with this? How am I ever going to get it all done? But, after a little respite I get my equilibrium back and keep plugging along. In the end, I do get it all done, astonishing myself. Things may not happen overnight, or when I want them to, but things happen: the invitation to speak at the conference arrives; the interview with the alumni magazine is published; the host of the radio show wants an interview; the royalties are direct deposited. I never know what’s going to happen next, what opportunity will present itself to help me advance as an author, a writer, to build my reputation, to grow my brand. Each day brings a new adventure. Or not. During the slow times, I play catch up, and dream.

UPDATE: In five years, writing has not gotten easier because of my repetitive strain injuries. I still need frequent rest periods (sometimes weeks) but I have learned to plan and organize my projects to manage or eliminate stress. I don't think anyone ever gets the perfect writers life, anyway.

#7 I Love This!

I wouldn't change anything. Every ounce of frustration and disappointment is worth every moment of joy. This is a journey, and not everyone is destined to take it or make it. The end is nowhere close, but I continue to work, a little each day, to make my dream come true.

UPDATE: No change!