New Release Spotlight: “Friends of the Library,” Short Stories from Susan Cushman

Susan w FOTL Cover and sea oats

Description

When Adele Covington becomes an author in her sixties, she goes on a book tour
to speak to the Friends of the Library groups in ten small towns in her home state of
Mississippi. Chasing her personal demons through the Christ-haunted South of her
childhood, Adele befriends an eclectic group of wounded people and decides to tell
their stories. From Eupora to Meridian, from a budding artist with an abusive husband
to a seven-year-old with a rare form of cancer, each story contains elements of hope
and healing and honors the heart, soul, and history of the Magnolia State.

Publisher: Koehler Books
Distributor: Ingram
PUB DATE: 8/30/2019 – Preorder now from AMAZON
SOFT COVER: $14.95, 978-1-63393-895-3
HARD COVER: $26.95, 978-1-63393-897-7
EBOOK: $7.99, 978-1-63393-896-0
TRIM: 6”x 9”, pages 156
FICTION: Short Stories (Single Author)

About the Author

Cushman Author Photo high resSUSAN CUSHMAN returned to her native state of Mississippi to speak at Friends of the Library groups in ten small towns in 2017-18, including Oxford, where she had previously studied at the University of Mississippi. Those visits and the people she met inspired the stories in this, her fifth book. Her previously published books include: Cherry Bomb (a novel), Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s (a memoir), and two anthologies, A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be, and Southern Writers on Writing. She was co-director of the 2010 and 2013 Creative Nonfiction Conferences in Oxford (MS) and director of the Memphis Creative Nonfiction Conference in 2011. She has spoken at numerous literary festivals, conferences, and workshops in eight states. Susan lives in Memphis with her husband of 49 years.

Connect with Susan Cushman

Website

Facebook

Twitter

email:  sjcushman@gmail.com

Mother-Daughter Team Collaborate on Alzheimer’s Caregiving Guide “If Only You Would Ask: A Guide to Spending Quality Time with the Elderly”

Sometimes questions about ‘food’ or ‘vacations’ or ‘school days’ will ignite a memory, creating a source of comfort and delight

For five years, Joan Berger Bachman and her 92-year-old mother, Eileen Opatz Berger teamed up to write, If Only You Would Ask, A Guide to Spending Quality Conversation with the Elderly. This easy-to- use book is a conversational resource, a manual and a tool for all those who struggle to carry on meaningful, enjoyable conversations. How did this book come about?

Here’s Joan’s Story:

When my father-in-law Bill was nearing the end of his life, I would visit him quite regularly. He had made the decision to stay in his own home until the end. Winters in Minnesota are long, cold and lonely, especially for someone who is afraid and/or unable to venture out. Being the dutiful daughter-in-law that I was, I felt compelled to make the 100-mile drive from Rochester to St. Paul to visit him. We would sit at his kitchen table, and I would tell him about what the kids were up to… and what I had been doing. His major topic of conversation was the rabbits he saw as he stared for hours out the back window of his house.

During this time, I shared with my mother how difficult visits with Bill were becoming. He had so little to share, and I wondered if the visits even mattered.

Not long after, Mom gave me a notebook filled with a list of questions. She suggested I try asking Bill some of these questions to make our visits more enjoyable. “Leave it on the counter,” she advised. “The grandchildren might appreciate using the questions.”  I took the notebook over to Bill’s house and meant to get started the next time we visited. Unfortunately, that was the last time I spoke with Bill. And now he is gone, and so many questions remain unanswered.

If Only U would AskMom’s notebook filled with questions became the inspiration for If Only You Would Ask: A Guide to Spending Quality Time with the Elderly. Not long after Bill died, when Mom and I were together, we talked about Bill’s last months.  We figured there must be thousands of elderly people, just like Bill, who would enjoy sharing their stories, if only someone asked them the right questions.

Initially, If Only You Would Ask was written as an enjoyable resource for anyone who spends time with the elderly, be they adult children, grandchildren, friends, clergy, therapists, volunteers and/or caregivers.  What we have learned, however, is that this resource has great potential as a way to encourage enjoyable “trips down memory lane” with those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.   Some people with Alzheimer’s preserve their long-term memory. Consequently, they enjoy sharing stories from their past even though they might not recollect these conversations in the short term.  Sometimes questions about “food” or “vacations” or “school days” will ignite a memory, creating a source of comfort and delight! All of the questions in If Only You Would Ask are open-ended. There are no right answers. People who struggle with memory loss will not experience the stress related to questions which require a specific response.

With 42 topics and over 400 questions, If Only You Would Ask provides a framework for tapping into memories that may not have been thought about or talked about for years! Since its release in late December, 2018, If Only You Would Ask has been featured on Mayo Clinic Radio and was one of the winners for innovative products at the 2018 National Caregiving Conference in Chicago.   If Only You Would Ask has transformed conversations for many families. In fact, they look forward to their next visits!   

Every person has stories to share, If Only You Would Ask!

Purchase  If Only You Would Ask

IMG_3363About the Authors

Joan Berger Bachman is extremely pleased and proud to be coauthoring a book with her mom. As a teenager, Joan recalls her mother’s advice: “When you are in a social situation, always make an effort to ask each person three questions. This shows that you are interested in what they have to say….” In other words, give people the opportunity to talk about themselves. Generally, people are pleased to share, and you will have deflected the attention from yourself. So, it comes as no real surprise that four decades later, she has coauthored a book filled with questions to promote quality conversations. Joan resides with her husband John in Rochester, Minnesota. Proud mother of three grown children and grandmother to six, she is grateful for family, for health, and for friends who continue to enrich her life.

Eileen Opatz Berger graduated from the College of St. Benedict and the University of Wisconsin/River Falls. Presently she teaches English as a second language. In addition to her five children and their families, her foreign students have been the joy of her life. Favorite pastimes include travel, writing and tennis. She lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  

For more information about If Only You Would Ask please visit  the book’s website and  the YouTube video produced by the Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota.

For more vetted books about Alzheimer’s and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore. Reposted with permission frm AlzAuthors.

“The Story of AlzAuthors,” or “How 3 Daughters of Dementia Started a Global Community of Authors Sharing their Alzheimer’s & Dementia Caregiving Stories”

The Story of AlzAuthors

Join me as I tell the story of AlzAuthors, the global community of authors sharing their Alzheimer’s and dementia stories to light the way for others, on Friday, June 21st at 2 pm at Middletown Thrall Library, Middletown, New York. This is my fundraising and awareness effort for the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day, an annual event. You can read more about my personal Alzheimer’s story on my Longest Day Participant Page. 

eReader BHAfter publication of my novel Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story,  I reached out to two other authors I met online who also published books on this deeply stigmatized subject. What happened next was totally unexpected: We created a movement that includes 200+ authors, a website, bookstore, anthologies, community outreach, and more. Our mission: To bring carefully vetted books and blogs to caregivers and others concerned about Alzheimer’s and dementia and to break through the silence that often accompanies these diseases.

Sharing our stories makes us strong, but sadly too many of those with dementia and their loved ones caring for them are isolated, as shame and stigma often prevent them from disclosing their diagnosis. My  presentation will include a discussion on the power of telling our stories to make change – personally, globally, and legislatively – and how those overcoming or facing dementia and its caregiving can tell their own stories.

1540949297The AlzAuthors New York Traveling Library, a selection of books featured on the website and donated by their authors, will be on display, and copies of the group’s first anthology, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories: 58 authors share their inspiring personal experiences, will be available for purchase.

The Alzheimer’s Association has declared June 21st, the Summer Solstice, “The Longest Day,” where people all over the world participate in fundraising activities to support the fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Representatives from the Association will attend this event to provide information about these diseases and their services. A portion of the proceeds from sales of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories will benefit the work of the local chapter.

Middletown Thrall Library is located at 11-19 Depot Street, Middletown, NY, 10940.

For more information please contact Adult Program Coordinator Theresa Zacek at tzacek@rcls.org or 341-5483, or visit the library’s website.

You may participate in my fundraising efforts here.

Father’s Day Memories: My Dad Left Us the Blueprint for How to Be a Great Dad

blueprint for a great dad

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 43 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.

Daddy

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.

This post was originally published June 18th, 2017. Photo by Sergey Nivens via Adobe Stock.

Great Summer Reads Book Tour: “The Immundus,” YA Dystopian Fiction from Christina Enquist

Book Description

Would you sacrifice your humanity to save mankind?

IT’S THE YEAR 2828, and Domus is the last remaining country. Divided into twelve walled cities known as genuses, Domus spans what’s known as the purist lands—lands unaffected by the genetic modifications that killed all other species of mammals. But outside the walls of each genus the Immundus threaten the welfare of those within. From a young age, all citizens of Domus are trained for combat against these intruders.

At sixteen, Nia Luna knows little of the Immundus, except for the citywide alarms that ring any time an Immundus nears the genus walls. What she does know is that her own species is dying—their numbers dwindling as a mysterious disease called allagine kills many before their eleventh birthday. The same disease that ravaged her family when it took her sister.

When Nia is recruited into Genesis, a research company pioneering the path to a cure, she knows that her dream to find a cure for allagine is finally within her grasp. But within weeks of starting at Genesis, Nia witnesses something she shouldn’t have—something that changes everything. As she sets down a dangerous path that uncovers national secrets, Nia will have to decide not only what kind of person she wants to be but also how far she’s willing to go to save humanity.

Purchase The Immundus Universal Amazon Link ~  B&N ~ IndieBound ~

Q&A With the Author

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I am currently in rehearsals for a play called The Humans. We open June 7, 2019.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know if I have a quirk.

Do you have any suggestions to help budding authors become better writers?
If so, what are they?

Read, Read, Read. Especially in the genre in which you write.

Where do you get information and ideas for your books?

I find that my best source of inspiration is through meditation.

What do you think makes a good story?

When the reader is taken through various emotions.
Tell us about your favorite summer vacation? Or what do you like to do in the summer?
My favorite summer vacation was in Yosemite National Park. My family and I stayed in these tent cabins and hiked and enjoyed nature.

About the Author

Christina Enquist is a YA author and aspiring bookstore owner. She lives with her boyfriend and several pets in Visalia, Ca.

Connect with Christina

Facebook ~ Twitter ~  Instagram

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page

Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Great Summer Reads Book Tour! “Daisies in the Driveway” by Lauraine Henderson

Banner June 3_16

Book Description

Allison Lockwood and Gavin Hunt have been offered the chance to take over the Lazy Daisy Inn and Campground so their respective grandparents, the current owners, can retire and marry. It seems all too easy for Ally and Gavin to prove themselves during the six-month probationary period until they’re fighting disasters at the campground and failing at over-optimistic baking expectations.

As Ally and Gavin slowly explore their growing attraction, they help each other fight fires, endure raging storms, and share a few passionate kisses. But there’s more than fires to fight when Ally’s grandfather disapproves of their budding romance and Ally is convinced Gavin has a girlfriend in the wings…a girlfriend expecting his baby!

Ride along as the two unlikely innkeepers figure out how they fit in their new life and learn the lesson taught by the Daisies in the Driveway.

Purchase Daisies in the Driveway

Q&A With the Author

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m doing schoolwork. For the last two years, I’ve been taking two online classes each semester and I’m loving it. I also make time every evening to read. There’s a saying that to be a better writer, you need to read a lot. I know that’s true and I especially love it when one of my favorite authors comes out with a new
book or series.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I think my most interesting writing quirk is this: when I’m writing a scene, I will often close my eyes and type, while I envision the scene playing out in my mind, like a movie. I can see the setting, while I write the description. I hear the characters’ dialog and feel as though I’m transcribing it rather than inventing it. I love it when scenes like that come together.

Do you have any suggestions to help budding authors become better
writers? 

  • Write a lot; read a lot.
  • You can’t edit what you haven’t w
    ritten. Keep writing and go back later to edit.
  • Understand that the revision process is the hard part; be ready and willing to make changes.
  • Leave your ego at the door when you ask someone for a critique. Be willing to take the advice of others.
  • Don’t delete pieces and parts in your revision process; put those snippets in an
    “outtakes” file. It makes it easier to let the words go.

Where do you get information and ideas for your books?

Most of the time my story ideas come to me as inspiration. My characters introduce themselves to me and ask me to tell their story. Sometimes, they even tell me their names. The details of their story I frequently take from my own personal experiences or experiences of people in my family.

What do you think makes a good story?

Since I write about romance, what makes a good story for me is the discovery process of two people as they fall in love. A good story includes good character development with believable situations and genuine emotions. I don’t need an extreme heartache or insurmountable obstacles to be miraculously overcome. I like a good story with reasonable problems, quirky sidekicks, and confident characters. I especially love it when humor is included and people can laugh at themselves.

Tell us about your favorite summer vacation? Or what do you like to do in the summer?

My favorite summer vacation was in the winter of 2000. Our family flew from Salt Lake City to Orlando and spent six wonderful days at Disneyworld. Halfway through our trip, Tomoko, our friend from Japan, joined us. We spent one day in each ‘kingdom’ and after Tomoko arrived, we returned to our favorite rides and shows with her. Our children were old enough to ride on all the rides and young enough to still enjoy being with their parents. Disneyworld’s ability to put people from all walks of life on the same playing field, as it were, gave us the opportunity to mix with numerous cultures and find commonality in Disney-fun. I still listen to the music from the Millennial celebration and remember the good times we had there that winter.

About the Author

Lauraine Henderson began writing as a child, poems and journaling, until babies, building houses, and bookkeeping jobs usurped her world. Now, well established in Oregon and with the children grown, she devotes her time to writing her favorite genre, clean romance. Years of life experience translate into plots, calamities, and happily-ever-afters as she writes her inspirational and romantic stories about fictional people who seem so real, you’ll want to know what happens after the book ends!

Connect with Lauraine Henderson  Blog ~ Website ~  Amazon 

 To follow along with the rest of this tour visit our Official Event page 

Don’t forget to Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway

Suzanne Bottum-Jones Explains Dementia to Kids in “Nice to Meet You… Again”

 

Bottum-Jones Canva

By Suzanne Bottum-Jones, RN

Nice To Meet You… Again is the representation of years of sitting with families as a Registered Nurse, holding their hands, witnessing their frustrations, and sharing in their journeys through dementia. After fifteen years of wishing for a tool to help families learn strategies and see hope for their interactions, my father developed dementia, and I decided I needed to move my teaching outside of myself as the deliverer and multiply the effects that I, alone, could not make.  As I prepped for this, I remembered the countless families that made their final decision to stop visiting their loved ones because it was so upsetting to see the changes in their loved one and because of their fear of how these visits were affecting their children. This became my mission: to develop a tool that would help families change these moments of frustration by giving them the tools to help “see” a different expectation and journey, and change the flavor of their interactions.

bottum jones coverIn the short time the book has been available I have been blessed with  many responses from families of how they wished they would have had this resource when they were in this journey, or how it is currently changing their journeys and giving them back their joy with their loved one.  Professionals and family caregivers have stated they carry the book with them because hardly a day goes by in which someone they know or meet shares their journey of dementia. By offering this book, they state that they feel like they can finally do more then just say, “I understand;” in addition they can offer hope.

As I look back over the last 2 years, I am so glad I had the courage and support to do something new and scary, like write a book, in the hopes of affecting lives and making a difference. I am currently battling a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, making me even more grateful for the opportunity to share what I have learned and my love for these families without needing to be physically there myself. My goals for this book are very humble. If I am able to shed the light of understanding compassion for people experiencing dementia and their families and therefore decrease, by even a few families, feelings of isolation and despair, I will consider this project a shining success. The best thing we can do is talk about the behaviors, symptoms and compounding effects of dementia on our families and society openly, to help engage our public in empathy for these issues. In this way we empower everyone and multiply our efforts towards moments of joy and love. I wish you peace, hope and understanding in your journey.

Purchase Nice to Meet You… Again

About the Author

bottum-jonesSuzanne Bottum-Jones is a Registered Nurse with over 15 years of experience working with the management of behaviors and psychological symptoms associated with dementia, brain injury, and other forms of cognitive impairment. She is a nationally recognized speaker, behavioral consultant, educator, and advocate who works to encourage health professionals and caregivers to include behavioral strategies designed to move beyond pharmacologic only interventions. Suzanne is currently involved in developing and piloting ABAIT (Agitated Behavioral Assessment and Intervention Tools), a software platform designed to merge with electronic medical records that assist health care professionals and caregivers to improve quality of life and health outcomes for dementia patients. She resides in rural Wisconsin with her family on a five-generation farm. She loves sharing the beauty of the farm with friends, caring for her family, and helping families experiencing difficulties with dementia. Her motto in life has been to live gently, love passionately, and to choose joy everyday.

Connect with Suzanne Bottum-Jones

Website: National Center for Dementia Behaviors Management

Twitter

Facebook

For more vetted books about Alzheimer’s and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore.

Reposted with permission of AlzAuthors.