Wednesday, February 14, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Kathi Macias and "To the Moon and Back"






By Kathi Macias

As a fulltime writer/editor, I was blessed to be able to work at home and take care of my mother during her last few years of life. I was also blessed that even up until her death at the age of ninety, she was clear-minded. Sadly, so many others are not, making their caregiver’s job so much more difficult.

Though I didn’t have to deal with the issue of Alzheimer’s with either of my parents, I have countless friends and acquaintances who have done so in the past and are doing so even now. Because I write novels about current issues, it seemed a natural choice to base one of my books on the heart-rending topic of Alzheimer’s.

As I planned the book, I realized I wanted it to be about more than what the caregiver experienced; I wanted it to be told (primarily) from the viewpoint of the person actually experiencing Alzheimer’s. And so the idea for To the Moon and Back was born.

Rachel, my primary character, is in her late sixties and also in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s. At times she is clear-headed, but more and more often she finds herself slipping into what she considers “the darkness,” where she begins to lose herself and the memories of a life she once considered happy and fulfilling.

With the increasing darkness comes more and more confusion and fear—and yes, even anger. Her husband of nearly forty-five years, dealing with health issues of his own, is perplexed at the changes he sees in Rachel. Their grown daughter, who comes home to help out, is the first to suspect the problem, but she tries desperately to come up with alternate explanations for her mother’s erratic behavior.

As this family takes its first tentative steps toward acceptance and working through this devastating diagnosis and debilitating disease, readers are drawn in and better able to view and understand the issues related to Alzheimer’s because they can “feel” those issues through the eyes and hearts of the book’s characters. That’s why I felt it was important for me to write about this issue in a fictional setting; the feedback I’m getting from readers confirms I was right. Many, in fact, have told me they’ve found numerous helpful nonfiction books about Alzheimer’s, but To the Moon and Back is one of the few fictional resources available.

In addition to the moving story of a family dealing with Alzheimer’s, I’ve added a “Making It Personal” section at the end of the book, containing thought-provoking questions that can easily be used by individuals or in a group setting. These questions are followed by a section of resources for caregivers and friends/family members of those with Alzheimer’s. This particular disease, perhaps more than most, is definitely a “family affair,” and I believe it is important to approach and deal with the topic with that fact in mind.

Purchase To the Moon and Back

Connect with Kathi Macias





For more vetted books about Alzheimer's and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors bookstore.


Monday, February 12, 2018

New Release Spotlight: Angel Leya's Short YA Fantasy "Marked," Book 4 in her Running Toward Illumia Series


This week's New Release Spotlight is Marked, Book 4 in the Running Toward Illumia series, short YA fantasy by fellow Books Go Social Author Angel Leya. Welcome to Adventures in Publishing Angel! 



Hi, I’m Angel Leya, and I write clean young adult stories with (at least) a touch of magic and romance. My latest story in the Running Toward Illumia series is Marked, Astrea’s tale of finding herself while running from the one thing she wants most: To find her sense of belonging.

Astrea’s lived in the Mist all her life, and she loves it there. In fact, she’d do just about anything to feel like she fits in with her Rudan people, even hunt a unicorn to feed her starving tribe.

Illumia is the first city beyond the Mist, just past the Dragon Range. Astrea’s come up with 10 reasons to never go to Illumia. I’ll let her tell you more.

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Travel to Illumia

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Bobbi Carducci, Author of "Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver"




By Bobby Carducci

“What’s going to happen to Rodger?’ was the first thing most people asked upon hearing of my mother-in-law’s passing. Extremely introverted, unable to drive, and not in good health, he’d been dependent on her to care for everything it took to run a home for many years. Fortunately my husband and I had talked about taking in one of our parents when and if the time came. We had the room and the desire to take someone in. We knew it would be hard at times but we were convinced we would make it work.

We didn’t know how sick he was, how hard it would be, or how long it would last. The first surprise for both my husband and I was learning that he was schizophrenic and had been since 1947. It certainly explained a lot about his odd behavior over the years, but until the medical records arrived no one in the family had ever mentioned the 13 years he spent in mental hospitals from 1947 to 1960. In addition to being mentally ill he developed dementia, Parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure, and dysphagia.

I did what I could to educate myself about the various diseases and how to help him have the best possible life as long as possible. It was harder than I ever thought it could be. I called it creative problem solving on the run. All day, every day and night, was a challenge. I doubted myself so many times. Why couldn’t I figure this out? Why couldn’t I make him understand I loved him and wanted the best for him?

I often heard caregivers ask the same questions, express the same frustrations, and cry for help. “Why doesn’t someone write a book that tells people what it’s really like to care for someone with dementia at home?” I decided to write that book.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Release Spotlight: "Five Days Five Kisses," a YA Sweet Romance By Guest Blogger Angela Carling


This week's New Release Spotlight is from Angela Carling who wants to tell you all about her new Young Adult sweet romance Five Days Five Kisses. Welcome to Adventures in Publishing Angela!


Hi everyone! Angela Carling here, writer of sweet romance and award-winning paranormal suspense. I'm so excited to tell you about my latest book, Five Days, Five Kisses and three best friends you'll want to hang out with long after you've finished the book. Their names are Nikola, Maya, and Liberty. Eventually each girl will have her own book, but Five Days Five Kisses is Nikola's story, and it's all about the awkwardness of a bad breakup. If you read on, you'll learn about my worst break up.

Do you like the cover? It was custom made by a very talented cover artist that I will definitely use again for the other two books! I love how it captures the vibe of this fun feel-good romance!


Here's a teaser:)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Alzheimer's Blogger and Advocate Amie McGraham




LIFE, REPURPOSED

By Amie McGraham

The year I turned fifty, I transitioned from a successful thirty-year sales and marketing career to the role of primary caregiver for my mother, returning to the island home of my childhood three thousand miles away. Mom has had Alzheimer’s for the past few years and, while she’s aware that she’s slowly slipping away, refuses to recognize this because of her religious beliefs. Disease of any type is a topic we never talk about. For her, to acknowledge dementia would be to admit that disease is real: that God’s plan has been altered.

I was raised in this religion. Based on faith healing, it rejects medicine, doctors and hospitals; prohibits alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and drugs. My parents divorced when I was eleven and I divorced myself from religion, beginning a twenty-five year spiral into a life of alcoholism, half measures and wanderlust; unfulfilled careers and relationships. Eventually, I clawed my way out and began rebuilding my life.

Repairing the relationship with my mother is part of my recovery. Immersion into the world of Alzheimer’s caregiving initially felt like a labyrinth in which all roads seemed to lead to frustration, anger and impatience. Sometimes it seemed more like a duty. But caregiving, I’ve discovered, is truly the best form of service. It's taken a while to embrace this; longer to actually live it. In caring for my mother -- actually living with her for the first time since my reckless departure from her life at age thirteen -- I have developed real compassion. For my mother. For others. And for myself.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Lauren Dykovitz, author of Learning to Weather the Storm


By Lauren Dykovitz

When I was just 25 years old, my whole world was turned upside down. My mom, who was 62 at the time, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I remember that phone call like it was yesterday, although it has been over seven years now. I immediately felt completely alone and utterly lost. I didn’t know anyone my age who had a parent with Alzheimer’s. I had heard a few people talk about a grandparent who had died of the disease, but never a parent. I felt like I had nowhere to turn and no one to confide in, so I didn’t tell anyone about it. I had just gotten engaged that same month and spent the next year of my life planning my wedding without my mom, while grieving small losses of her along the way. And yet, no one knew that I was suffering. Depressed, helpless, hopeless, and lost, but somehow, I got through that very dark time.

At age 28, I made the decision to quit my full-time job and 
became a part-time caregiver for my mom. My experience as a caregiver taught me many lessons of life, love, and Alzheimer’s. I eventually came to accept my mom’s illness and began looking at it in a whole new way. Thinking back on the beginning, I remembered those feelings of loneliness and isolation all too well. I wondered how many other younger people were dealing with a parent’s Alzheimer’s and felt like I once did. I wanted to help them. I decided to share my story with others by writing a blog. The encouragement and praise of my readers led me to write my book, "Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Alzheimer's Advocate Brian Kursonis

 

By Ann Campanella

Brian Kursonis, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, and I met for the first time back in April. He showed up at the memory care facility where I was doing a reading from Motherhood: Lost and Found, a memoir about my mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s. He had reached out to me a few months earlier after seeing some posts on social media about my mother’s illness.

Brian had attempted to meet me at two earlier book signing events. The first one came and went because, well, he forgot about it. The second one, there was some confusion about which Barnes & Noble I would be at, so we ended up missing each other.

The third time was the charm. When Brian walked into the dining room of the memory care facility, I recognized him immediately from photos I'd seen on Facebook and Twitter. I asked him to join our group that had gathered around a long table. I was struck by Brian’s kind smile, his intelligence and wisdom and the fact that he and I were almost the same age.

 At the time, Brian was 55 and I was 56. We connected instantly, perhaps because I had experienced 14 years of my mother's Alzheimer's, and he was at the beginning of his journey. According to research studies, he may only live 8 to 12 more years, and his cognitive function will likely decline within 2 to 4 years.

During the reading, I asked Brian tentatively if he was comfortable talking about his condition. He cleared his throat and said, “Sure. I’d be happy to.”