About Marianne Sciucco

I'm not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, I dreamed of becoming an author when I grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. I later brought my two passions together and write about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.

AlzAuthor Linda Brendle Shares Her Alzheimer’s Caregiving Story in “Mom’s Long Goodbye,” a Memoir

By Linda Brendle

Several years ago I wrote A Long and Winding Road, the story of the hilarity and chaos that happened when my husband and I took Mom and Dad, both of whom had Alzheimer’s, on a seven-week, sixteen-state trek across the southeastern U.S. in a forty-foot motor home. In it I also told of the years and the life experiences that brought the four of us together. Readers responded to the emotions in the story – the humor, the joy, the sorrow. But most of all, they responded to the love, and they wanted to know what happened next. Mom’s Long Goodbye is the rest of the story.

This memoir is based on blog posts written as the events happened – when the details were fresh and the emotions were raw – and I knew I couldn’t write anything that was more real. The story takes the reader through grieving a continuous loss, some of the initial changes Alzheimer’s causes, the transition from caregiving to assisted living, Dad’s death, Mom’s last year, and the grief and closure of her final good-bye. It is about the good, the bad, and the ugly of Alzheimer’s – the harsh reality that dementia is bad and ugly, but the sweet truth that there are also precious moments.

I wanted to not only expose the realities of Alzheimer’s, but to strip away the face of the perfect caregiver and give the reader a look at the denial, anger and fear that come as a loved one loses herself a piece at a time to this insidious disease. Through sharing my own struggles, I tried to assure others that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real. Most of all I wanted them to know that there is life after caregiving. Reader feedback indicates that I have been successful in offering hope and comfort.

One interviewer asked me what I thought my parents would think about my books. Here’s how I answered:

Mom and Dad were very private people, and from an earthly perspective, I think they would be embarrassed about some of the personal details I shared. I struggled with that before I published, but after much prayer and meditation, I decided to go ahead. Now, if they could look back from Heaven and see how their stories are helping those who are going through the same things, I think they would be pleased.

Folk wisdom says that “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and as I wrote one chapter in A Long and Winding Road, that saying was proved true in our family from time to time. However, I truly believe that both Mom and Dad would be happy with their stories and that, like me, they would feel that helping others through their experiences gives some meaning to their otherwise senseless struggles with Alzheimer’s. My task of caregiving was long and arduous, but after having told the rest of the story, I now feel that I have finished that task, and that I have finished well.

Purchase Mom’s Long Goodbye Now

About the Author

After years as a family caregiver, Linda Brendle began to write as a way of helping herself and others deal with the pain and frustration of caregiving. Now that her parents are eternally healed, she writes about life in the country, her feral Kitty, and her amazingly patient husband David.

Connect with Linda Brendle

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New Release Spotlight: “Secrets Never Die,” Romantic Suspense by Laurie Lewis

new release spotlight

This week’s new release is written by my AlzAuthors colleague Laurie Lewis. Laurie is a prolific author, giving us romance, women’s, historical, and general fiction. Her  award-winning novel The Dragons of Alsace Farm is a featured AlzAuthors book.

img_4032About Laurie’s New Book

Tallie Brown’s life has never made sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life.

Journalistic phenom Jackson James is still recovering from the devastating mistake that flatlined his promising career. Now he’s paying the price, working as the editor of a syrupy community rag in a posh D.C. suburb. But when the very man who destroyed him drops a tantalizing lead about a potential D.C. scandal, the reporter sees his chance for redemption and sets off to chase the story.

Jackson’s investigation leads him to Cutler’s Ridge, a dying Virginia coal town, and directly into the path of the mysterious and beautiful Tallie. As these two mistrustful loners follow their leads, their stories begin to intertwine until they reach an alarming conclusion – something terrible happened in Cutler’s Ridge. As they doggedly pursue the story, the town’s cold reception spirals into threats and danger, proving that there are those who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden forever –because secrets never die.

Purchase Secrets Never Die Now!

About the Author

Laurie LewisLaurie (L.C.) Lewis knows that wherever life takes her, she will always be a Marylander at heart–a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Therapists have been chasing her down to diagnose her multiple personality syndrome, since she writes under three names–historical fiction as L.C. Lewis, romance and women’s fiction as Laurie Lewis, and general fiction as Laurie L.C. Lewis. Laurie was honored to win the 2017 RONE Award for Inspirational Romance. She also has been an IndieBRAG Medallion Honoree, and a New Apple Literary Medallion winner. She has twice been named a Whitney Awards finalist, and a USA Best Books Award finalist.

Connect with Laurie Lewis

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AlzAuthor Eleanor Cooney Reveals a Cautionary Tale of Alzheimer’s in her Memoir “Death in Slow Motion”

Cooney CanvaBy Eleanor Cooney

In the third grade, I was kicked out of show-and-tell for three weeks. I told a story that the teacher, Mrs. Fitz, had specifically asked me not to tell. She knew about it because she heard me blabbing a preview to some of the other kids early that morning. “I don’t think that’s the sort of story to share with the class,” she’d said, shocked.

Mrs. Fitz was a gentle soul, and we loved each other, but my story upset her. She didn’t want me to tell it, and I hardly blame her. It was pretty terrible. Roaming around the woods and river near my house in Connecticut, I’d spotted something snagged in the shallow water: a burlap bag. I dragged it ashore, opened it, and found a drowned dog. I remember what it looked like: A brown-and-white Bassett hound. Even though Mrs. Fitz was shaking her head sadly in the back of the room as I stood in the front and she saw that I was about to spill it, I went ahead anyway. I had to. It’s not that I wasn’t sad for the dog. I was, and still am. But I just had to tell that story.

slowmotionI know that some will find the story I tell in my book Death in Slow Motion shocking and terrible, and they’ll think I shouldn’t have told it. When my mother came down with Alzheimer’s and I undertook (in vain) to save her, a calm dispassionate voice, quite separate from the desperate babble of other voices in my head, whispered: Here’s your next book.

This is not to say my motivations were identical to those of that headline-grabbing eight-year-old. But I still know a good story when it comes along. In this case, though, I wouldn’t be telling the dreadful truth for its mere gratuitous shock value; the subject matter begged for a brutally frank telling, something as pitiless and unladylike as the disease itself. I was, by that time, a seasoned, published novelist, figured I had the “chops” to do the job. My writerly sensibilities tend toward the “noir” anyway, and you can’t get much more “noir” than Alzheimer’s. It was a match.

I started with an article, published in Harper’s magazine. Serendipity led me to an editor at HarperCollins, who said: “I don’t want the book to be just a longer version of the article. I want background and character development. I want to know who your mother was, who you are.”

The possibilities were tantalizing: My mother was a writer, and I’m a writer exactly because she was a writer. We lived in a town right out of Cheever. She’d had three husbands and plenty of lovers. Even without Alzheimer’s shuffling onto the stage, her life, the life my brother and I had because of her, would have been the stuff of literary memoir or a roman à clef. The illness added a classic dimension of tragedy to the story, but it was not the whole story. This is not a “help” or a “how to” book, nor even really an “Alzheimer’s” book, though there’s plenty to be learned about the disease, and about failure, including what I learned the hard, hard way. It’s a cautionary tale, and it’s also the story of a woman, my mother, a superb writer, anything but ordinary, brilliant, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous. I wrote it the way I did because of the writer she was. I wanted to bring her to life so that the reader will know, really know, what’s been lost.

About the Author


Eleanor Cooney is the author of the T’ang Trilogy, historical novels set in 7th- and 8th-century China. This September, her nonfiction memoir, written for Frank Gregory Ford, Midnight in Samarra (Skyhorse, NYC), will be released, the searing account of an intelligence agent and medic who went into Iraq in the ’03 invasion and witnessed high crimes and misdemeanors on the part of his countrymen. She’s completing a new novel, a literary thriller set in the 19th and 21st centuries in Wisconsin, plus a collection of essays, No Country for Old Women. Her work has been published in Harper’s magazine and Mother Jones magazine. She lives in coastal northern California.

Connect with Eleanor Cooney

Facebook
Website
The Tang Trilogy
Facebook/TangTrilogy

The links below are for her long essay “No Country for Old Women,” a new “final chapter” to Death in Slow Motion. The editor divided it into four parts because of its length. They should, of course, be read all together, as one piece. They’re in order here:
https://www.theava.com/archives/84373
https://www.theava.com/archives/84659
https://www.theava.com/archives/84904
https://www.theava.com/archives/85174

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

New Release Spotlight: “Mermaid’s Song” and “Mermaid’s Heart,” Paranormal Academy Romances from Stacy Claflin

new release spotlight

Stacy Claflin is at it again with a new series and two books already out there.

Book One: Mermaid’s Song

Mermaids Song

I live a double life—and it’s about to tangle me in its net.

I’m Marra Ayers, a mermaid pretending to be human. Or at least, I was. It’s over now that my uncle died, making my dad the new king of Valora. My parents are dragging me away from the life I love to our undersea kingdom. And to make matters worse, everybody hates us.

My parents send me straight to the Dark Sea Academy, where the building is creepy and the students are worse. The dean pairs me with a student to show me the ropes.

I get stuck with Bash, who’s one wrong move from being expelled, and showing me around is his latest punishment. He’s as gorgeous as he is arrogant. And an incredible guitarist, as it turns out. Not that it matters. We can’t stand each other, and when my orientation is over, we’ll go our separate ways. Good riddance.

Whispers and glares greet me at every turn, and the most popular girl has it out for me. My first night, she tries to kill me. Then, bloodied and bruised, I run into Bash. And this time, he actually seems to care…

He keeps looking at me with concern in his eyes while giving me this crooked smirk. Kind of makes me forget how irritating he is. Almost makes me forget all my problems.

But I can’t let myself get side-tracked by him. I won’t.

If I’m to survive the academy, I need to focus on staying alive. Unfortunately, that means relying on Bash—and he’s a distraction that could very well cost me everything.

Purchase Mermaid’s Song Now

Book Two: Mermaid’s Heart

Note: This is the second part of the Dark Sea Academy trilogy, and if you haven’t read Mermaid’s Song, you’ll want to do that first. The following description contains spoilers for the first book. 

Mermaids Heart
What’s the point of being a princess if the whole kingdom hates you?

Being a royal should make my life easier, but it only compounds my problems. When my father, the new King of Valora, succeeded the beloved King Tiberius, many of his subjects believed he killed my uncle just to gain the throne. His new policies only make the people hate him more.

Just my luck, they transfer their loathing onto me.

Even my best friend and my boyfriend aren’t enough of a buffer, and I’m continually fending off verbal, and sometimes physical, attacks.

That’s when my powers start growing…

When no one at the academy can—or will—help me learn about my new abilities, I begin to research them on my own. Modern answers seem to be entwined with a terrifying ancient legend.

If the lore is true, my destiny is far more tragic than my present problems. And I don’t know if I can change it.

Or if I should even try.

Purchase Mermaid’s Heart Now

About the Author

img_3823

I’m Stacy Claflin, a two-time USA Today bestselling author who has published sixty books at the time of this writing. I’ve always been an avid reader and a writer. When I was a teenager, I was always in the middle of reading at least five books at a time. Not only could I keep up with each storyline, but I also never needed a bookmark! These days, I’m lucky to remember why I went into the kitchen. There’s more to me than writing and reading. I’m the mom of two smart and hilarious boys that I educate from home. I love hiking and being active outdoors. There isn’t anything better than spending time with family and friends! I also enjoy watching a wide range of shows, such as SupernaturalReignThe Walking Dead, HavenPretty Little LiarsStranger ThingsDexterDesignated Survivor, and Glitch. I’m also obsessed with true crime podcasts and taking online courses to improve my writing craft.

I’m a thyroid cancer survivor. I’ve been cancer free since 2008. Get your thyroid checked!

Connect with Stacy Claflin

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AlzAuthor Judy Cornish On Providing Dementia Care with Dignity

Judy Canva

By Judy Cornish

It’s been nine years since I left my law practice in Portland, Oregon, thinking I would semi-retire and spend most of my time gardening, skiing and enjoying the outdoors. Instead, I’ve been busier than ever before, with a task I just can’t walk away from. A friend asked me last summer why I’ve taken on so much and am working so hard. “I saw a mess and I saw a broom,” I replied, “and I couldn’t help picking up the broom and doing my best to clean up the mess.”

The ‘mess’ I saw is that we have a senior care industry well equipped to support people experiencing physical frailty, but that offers people with forgetfulness and confusion little more than misunderstanding, psychotropic drugs and locked doors. The ‘mess’ is that we, as families, don’t know how to help our loved ones cope when their cognitive skills begin to fade, and unwittingly cause them more pain and distress. And the ‘mess’ is that we, as a society, seem to have forgotten that life has three stages, not two: childhood and adulthood are followed by elderhood, and being an elder is no less valuable a role than being a child or an adult. The ‘broom’ I saw and picked up is what I learned from my clients—the many people I’ve worked with and come to love.

When I wrote and published my first book (The Dementia Handbook) in the spring of 2017, my dementia care business in Moscow, Idaho was keeping me very busy as the sole case manager, supervisor, accountant, lawyer and administrator. I had started providing dementia care in 2010, and founded DAWN (the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network®) in 2014—because I wanted to help other families begin caring for their loved ones in the same way. I began developing a training program that would help families provide truly strength-based care at home. I’m still very busy; I’m running both businesses, teaching the DAWN Method, and developing a set of short, dementia care videos for families to subscribe to and access online.

Dementia with DignityBut at the same time, I began writing Dementia With Dignity – Living Well with Alzheimer’s or Dementia Using the DAWN Method® , and published it in January 2019. My first little book had explained the principles of the DAWN approach—what I’d learned from my clients here in Moscow as I strove to help them retain not only dignity and autonomy but also to continue to live rich and happy lives. But this second book is truly a work of love, from my heart. I knew I needed to give families not only the principles of DAWN care, but also the specific tools and techniques my clients have shown me are the kindest way to support their skills. Dementia With Dignity is filled with stories from my years with my clients—stories of their courage, wisdom and perseverance.

I’m still not retired. I’m still running both businesses, but I’m beginning to see that many of us have become aware of the ‘mess’ I saw back in 2010, that I’ve been joined by many who are also using their hearts and minds to the utmost—making a better world for those who experience dementia. We’re not there yet, but we’ve made great progress. Many families are now providing wise and supportive dementia care, at home, and our elders are beginning to enjoy more respect and autonomy, even with dementia. Once again—thank you! AlzAuthors, for the opportunity to share my vision with you and your readers.

About the Author

JudyJudy Cornish is an elder law attorney, geriatric care manager and author who has spent the past nine years working with families and people experiencing dementia in northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. Prior to her law practice and founding the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN), Judy had worked in vocational rehabilitation and as a psychosocial skills trainer with the mentally ill. With her varied background—and education in literature, languages, fine arts and the law—she discovered a unique and truly effective approach to dementia care. The DAWN Method® enables families to recognize and meet their loved ones’ emotional needs, so they can live comfortably and safely at home for longer. Today, Judy runs Palouse Dementia Care, providing case management and care services on the Palouse, and DAWN, through which she consults and provides training in DAWN care.

Connect with Judy Cornish

Dementia With Dignity on Amazon
The Dementia Handbook on Amazon

Judy’s TEDx talk

Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN):

judy@thedawnmethod.com
www.thedawnmethod.com
The DAWN Method Facebook Page
The DAWN Method Twitter
The DAWN Method LinkedIn

Judy Cornish, JD:
Judy Cornish Public Figure Facebook Page
Judy Cornish Twitter
Judy Cornish LinkedIn

Judy’s dementia care company in Moscow, ID:
www.palousedementiacare.com
Palouse Dementia Care Facebook Page

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

New Release Spotlight: “Meet Me at Half Court,” Young Adult Sports Fiction by Julie L. Spencer

new release spotlight

I’m a sucker for YA sports fiction ever since I wrote Swim Season. Having the inside scoop as a swim mom inspired me to write about these varsity athletes who give their all to their sport. In a few weeks varsity season will be upon us and the athletes will be back in their games (or meets.) Until then, enjoy this new novel from Julie L. Spencer.

All’s fair in love and sports… until her boyfriend comes home.

Basketball was Christine’s ticket from high school to college and her dream of becoming a scientist. The cocky new kid at school was getting in her way, and into her heart.

Dylan knew his snarky new tutor was smart, gorgeous and a great basketball player. He just didn’t realize she had a boyfriend, until after he kissed her.

Now he has a choice, play fair and wait for Eddie to screw up? Or fight to win back Christine’s heart?

Purchase Meet Me at Half Court now!

 

About the Author

Julie SpencerJulie L. Spencer lives in the central Michigan area with her husband and teenagers. She has a very full life managing a conservation district office, writing grant proposals & book reviews, and chasing after several teenage athletes. Julie’s been writing since she was in junior high, but prior to publishing The Cove, her only published work was her Master’s Thesis. She loves to read and write New Adult Contemporary Christian Romance novels, and has several more novels nearing publication.

Connect with Julie L. Spencer

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Timothy Scott Honors His Grandfather in “Don’t Forget,” an Alzheimer’s Novel

I wrote Don't Forget as a reminder to myself and to all of us of the responsibility we have to the memory of those who made us who we are, and an inspiration for us to be that positive force in the lives of the

By Timothy Scott

Almost everyone I know has experienced the pain of having someone in their life affected by Alzheimer’s. The names and faces are different, but the stories are eerily similar. As is the impact and the pain. Forgetting is a terrible cruelty. For me, that someone was my grandfather.

My grandfather was a very special man. He was a larger-than-life figure to me as a child, and a constant source of encouragement and joy in adulthood. He was the same powerful influence on so many others in my family. Alzheimer’s took my grandfather’s mind, and it was hard for all of us to watch as the powerful man we knew slowly faded away.

But I treasure the memories I have of him, and to share his influence with continued generations, his stories have become my stories. The memories that slipped away from his mind have found a firm, honored place in mine. That is my tribute to him.

This isn’t a memoir of my grandfather, but it is a poignant story about the power of presence and memory in the relationships that shape all of us.

My greatest satisfaction in writing this book has been hearing from readers how they found themselves and their loved ones in the pages, and how the story stirred within them deep memories of joy and a commitment to cherish and carry their loved one’s memories.

I’d be honored if you read it. I hope it helps you to remember and keep the memories of those you love.

Purchase Don’t Forget

About the Author

Timothy Scott is a husband and father, and storyteller. He writes stories that celebrate the power of family and relationships in order to make a difference in the lives of others.

Timothy has climbed the corporate ladder, working in the recruiting and talent development functions of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., Trane Commercial Systems, Yum! Brands/Pizza Hut, and Southwest Airlines. He built a dynamic NextGen Ministry at a growing church, and served two terms as a city councilman.

Whether one-on-one, or on stage in front of thousands of people, Timothy is an engaging and effective story-teller, and has the ability to harness the power of story to inspire and motivate others.

Timothy and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter in college and two spoiled dogs.

Connect with Timothy Scott

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Twitter

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