New Release Spotlight: “A Flair for Flip-Flops (The Sadie Kramer Flair Mysteries Book 5)” By Deborah Garner

A fun in the sun mystery sure to delight!

img_4170A vacation on the Southern California coast promises rest and relaxation for flamboyant senior sleuth Sadie Kramer and her mischievous Yorkie, Coco. But when the body of a heartthrob celebrity washes up on the beach outside her luxury hotel suite, Sadie’s fun-in-the-sun soon turns into sleuthing-with-the-stars.

The resort’s wine and appetizer gatherings, suspicious guest behavior, and casual strolls along the beach boardwalk may provide clues, but will they be enough to discover who the killer is? Or will mystery and mayhem leave a Hollywood scandal unsolved?

Start reading now!

Available on Amazon. A Kindle Unlimited Selection.

 

About the Author

img_4169

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Connect with Deborah Garner

Website

Facebook

Twitter

NaNoWriMo Writer? Watch Your Back, Neck, Shoulders, Arms, and Hands, Your Most Important Writing Tools  

Repetitive strain injuries chnage lives..png

The month of November brings many things:  Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Caregiver Appreciation Month, and Movember. But if you’re a writer, it also brings something else: NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo is a what-seems-to-be impossible challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It starts at midnight on November 1st and ends at 11:59 pm November 30th. Sound crazy? It did to me when I first heard about it in 2013, a rather latecomer to the game since it started in 1999. Better late than never. Anyway, since I live with chronic pain related to Repetitive Strain Injuries and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome the concept of NaNoWriMo is well beyond my capabilities, but I’m still seduced by the idea of it.

Imagine being able to commit to writing an average of 1,667 words each day for 30 days. At the end, you’ll have the first draft of a book, which over the next few months you can polish into something presentable, maybe even publishable. The possibilities astound me, a writer who worked on the first draft of a novel for four years. I started it as part of a NANO challenge in 2013, when I was able to produce 4,000 words over the course of a week before succumbing to a flare-up of RSIs and TOS.

NaNoWriMo is not for anyone without the stamina to sit at a keyboard for hours each day. One thousand six hundred and sixty-seven words sound easy – it’s the equivalent of six and a half pages – in theory, achievable for most people who are able to keep butt in chair and type long enough to do it. But if you’re prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, bursitis, headaches, or neck pain, this challenge will most likely exacerbate your condition and prevent future NaNoWriMo attempts.

Woman laptop sore neck Dollarphotoclub_47543595.jpgMaintaining the postures of keyboarding, mousing, and viewing a computer monitor for hours requires an incredible amount of exertion, muscle control, and energy. I’ve heard it said that an 8-hour worker at a computer station works her body as hard as a professional athlete, using primarily the smallest and most delicate of muscles and tendons, as well as a multitude of nerves. These micro-tissues, sustaining a static posture over long periods of time, become inflamed, injured, and cause great pain. If ignored, the condition continues. If left untreated, permanent disability can result. I am an authority on this topic: Permanently partially disabled since 2006, currently recovering from my fourth related surgery, the second on my right shoulder in ten years.

I’m not a killjoy. I simply don’t want to see other people end up like me. It’s no fun struggling to write 250 words a day and failing. It’s hard to complete a project when you have to avoid the computer for days on end. If you’re wrapped up in NaNoWriMo please take care of yourself. Here are some tips:

Prepare your body for a writing session:

  • Massage your hands with your favorite lotion.
  • Stretch your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck.
  • Don’t forget your back, which can also be overworked.

Adjust your work space for safety:

  • Make sure your monitor is an arm’s length away, at a height where your eyes are focused one inch below its upper edge.
  • Use a keyboard tray.
  • Ensure it’s at the appropriate height so your elbows are at rest and in a neutral position.
  • You should not be reaching for the keyboard.
  • Be careful with your mouse. It’s the root cause of a lot of disability. I use a keyboard with a built-in glide pad. Cured my five-year history of elbow tendinitis.
  • A lap top is not a desk top. Don’t use it as one. The ergonomics of it are completely off and will contort your body in painful ways.
  • Take the time to set your chair at the appropriate height, making sure your feet are on the floor. Use lumbar support if you have it.
  • If you can get a sit-stand desk get it! Makes a huge difference.

Watch your posture:

  • Sit up, don’t slump.
  • Position your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips.
  • Do not thrust your head forward. You’ll get “turtle head” and hurt your back.

Take frequent rest breaks:

  • Use a timer. Twenty minutes is as long as you should write before taking a break.
  • While resting, do some desk stretches or stand up and stretch, have a drink of water, rest your eyes.
  • Listen to your body.

After a writing session:

  • Stretch again.
  • Soothe your muscles with gentle massage, especially your hands.

If you have pain:

  • Don’t ignore it. Respond and treat.
  • Use ice or heat as tolerated on sore areas. Thermacare wraps are awesome!
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Motrin and Tylenol, can help.
  • Topical over the counter remedies such as Topricin, Bio-Freeze, and Real Time Pain Relief are easily available and provide relief.
  • Remember to stretch gently every day.
  • Limit computer time or perform multiple short sessions each day.

If the problem continues:

  • See your doctor
    • A course of physical and/or occupational therapy can ward off chronic pain issues.
    • Your doctor can order prescription strength medicine such as analgesics, muscle relaxants, and topical therapies.
    • Surgery is a last resort. Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Consult a chiropractor.
  • Hire a massage therapist.
  • Visit an ergonomist.
  • Stay off the computer!

Interesting FAQs:

  • Since its inception in 1999, 367,913 NaNoWriMo participants have completed a novel.
  • In 2017, 306,230 writers participated in NaNoWriMo.
  • Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published, including:
    • Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants
    • Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus
    • Hugh Howey’s Wool
    • Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl
    • Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator
    • Marissa Meyer’s Cinder

Avoiding repetitive strain injuries can keep you in the running to complete your own NaNoWriMo challenge and finish that novel!

For more info on NaNoWriMo visit https://nanowrimo.org/

NaNoWriMo image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month. Others via Adobe Stock and Dollar Photo Club.

New Release Spotlight: “The Women of Great Heron Lake,” Heartwarming Women’s Fiction by Deanna Lynn Sletten

new release spotlight

From the author of the bestselling historical novel, Miss Etta.

img_3934Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives.

When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-hundred and fifty-year-old family manor on the lake. She soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs. Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to live in the lake manor. As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words decades ago and Marla finds inspiration from her strength.

1875 – Alaina Carlton was content to become a spinster until her beloved father introduces her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by this man who pursues her. When they marry, she believes she’s found a man who will treat her as an equal, but soon realizes that isn’t entirely true. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their manor at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But fifteen years and two children later when Nathaniel grows ill, she takes her rightful place where women weren’t allowed in order to secure her children’s inheritance and her future.

An inspiring family saga of two determined woman who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.

Purchase The Women of Great Heron Lake now!

About the Authorimg_3933

Deanna Lynn Sletten is the author of Maggie’s Turn, Finding Libbie, One Wrong turn, Miss Etta, and several other titles. She writes heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime. Deanna believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, and happily ever after, and her novels reflect that. Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd, traveling, and relaxing on the lake.

Connect with Deanna Lynn Sletten

Website  ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~  Twitter

Middletown Thrall Library Hosts 6th Annual Local Authors Showcase Saturday, September 28th

local authors showcase

Once again I am working with Middletown Thrall Library to host its sixth annual Local Authors Showcase on Saturday, September 28th from 10:30 am to 3 pm.

This free event is a wonderful opportunity for readers and writers to meet local authors, learn about the publishing process, and view and purchase books directly from the people who create them.

The Hudson Valley is rich with talent, especially literary talent. This event gives these authors exposure, and introduces them to readers who may be looking for something beyond the bestsellers.

“This is Thrall Library’s signature event,” says executive director Matt Pfisterer. “We’re pleased to provide an opportunity to connect a diverse group of talented, local authors with those who come to our library in search of great reads and unique literary perspectives.”

The first session is for authors of children’s books, 10:30-12:30. The second session features authors writing for adults, 1:00-3:00.

The list of participants to date includes Jan Berlin, children’s literature; Christina Cameron-Robinz, children’s literature;  Lucia Chiarelli, fiction and non-fiction; Catherine Ciocchi, children’s literature;  Marina Cramer, historical fiction; Lee Forman, horror, dark fiction; Michael Fox, non-fiction, law; Adria Gross, non-fiction; Charles Isaacs, fiction; Karen Kaufmann Orloff, children’s literature; William Lobb, thrillers; Liz Matis, romance, young adult zombie fiction; Lisa Melville, non-fiction; Jeff Montanye, science fiction, children’s literature; Kathy Morley, memoir, spiritual self-help; Gerrit Overeem, science fiction; Beth Quinn, non-fiction, memoir; Marianne Sciucco, contemporary, women’s, and young adult fiction; J.S. Shipman, children’s, non-fiction;  and Carole Weaver Linser, memoir, self-help.

Books will be available for sale, and author-donated books will be raffled off to attendees at the end of the event.

The library is located at 11-19 Depot Street, Middletown, New York. Directions are available on the library’s website.

Swim Fast! Dream Big! Girls Varsity Swim Season Has Begun!

Swim Season FREE meme 2

Girls Varsity Swim Season starts in mid-August.

For ten years my life revolved around swim practice, swim meets, fundraising, travel, and one swimmer in particular.

My daughter’s swim career ended in February, 2017. The previous October, I published my Young Adult novel Swim Season, which was inspired by my years of sitting on those cold, hard bleachers cheering her on.

I got more than a sore butt. She and her teammates inspired me to write this novel, and it took five years for me to put it together. It covers the entire season, from tryouts, to dual meets, to county and state championships.

It also covers the highlights of senior year: Football games, dances, friendships, first crush, college prep, and a host of other anxieties, including divorce, a blended family, a Wounded Warrior, PTSD, incarceration, and more.

There’s a lot in the 593 pages that comprise this book.

Book Description

Sometimes winning is everything.

Champion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin’s determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She’s got a new image and a new attitude. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She’s swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone.

But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?

A YA NOVEL.jpg

To honor  these swimmers, I’m offering Swim Season for FREE on Kindle August 27-29. Pick up your copy here. Also available in paperback and audiobook. 

To learn more about Swim Season, read my post Write What You Know and Then Some – Researching My Young Adult Novel “Swim Season.”

Caregiver Judith Clarke Looks for Laughs Every Day in “Dementia Isn’t Funny”

If nothing else in all our years, I've learned from my husband how to laugh at myself, and life, and always with him. - Judith Clarke, Blogger DementiaIsn'tFunny.com.png

By Judith Clarke, Blogger at Dementia Isn’t Funny

Laughter costs nothing and work instantly.

Take off everything but your underwear,” the nurse said. “Doctor will be in shortly.”

She handed my husband a gown and left. 

Peter looked at me. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Take everything off except your underwear.” 

He took his shirt off. “Is this enough?”

“No, everything but your underwear.”

As he stripped off his trousers he said, “Good thing I wore underwear today.”

I burst out laughing. 

When you live with someone whose medical diagnosis includes the words “mild dementia,” you learn quickly that laughter is absolutely essential for both patient and caregiver. Alzheimer’s disease may be lurking. Laughter can’t slow the disease nor cure it, but it costs nothing and works instantly.

Decades ago I learned to laugh at my husband’s lightening quick rejoinders. Ever the life of any party, he joked about everything. Even now he laughs at himself, though much of the time he forgets why before the laughs have faded.

He was diagnosed with “mild dementia” in 2003. For the next eight years I was his caregiver, a relatively easy job, though worrisome. About six years later the doctor said, “I can no longer rule out Alzheimer’s.”

By then there was no choice but to hire help. I’d come up with the idea of therapy-dog visits for Peter and his dog Nobby. I got lucky with Bill who drove them to nursing homes in our area every Wednesday for seven years.

Peter had just gotten up when Bill arrived. Not one to be rushed, Peter sipped his coffee, nibbled his toast, and wiped (and wiped and wiped) the kitchen countertop. He will not be dissuaded from that task once he starts. Bill and I smiled.

“‘Mrs. Clarke,’” I said, “are you about finished?”

Bill chuckled. “He’s a good little ‘housewife,’ isn’t he?” 

Peter muttered, “Well, someone has to do it, don’t they?” 

In 2017, he seemed to get worse by the day. He’d gotten lost on a sweltering day and was found, hours later, five miles away. With that, his easy-going temperament changed, although still quick witted, a dark side had erupted like a zit on a teenager’s chin.

Mark, an additional companion was a big help too, but by year’s end, my resolve was shredded. A temporary fix, a locater watch, gave me confidence that Peter was safe walking Nobby. But it begged problems because his engineer’s mind soon figured out how to get the thing off.

Then he fell face first into a muddy ditch while walking. A policeman notified me and took me to the ambulance a block away.

Peter was already on the gurney when I climbed in behind him. He turned his battered, muddy face toward me and said, “Uh oh, now I’m in trouble.” He kept the EMTs entertained all the way to the hospital.

With the advice of our daughters I weighed the options. I’d known for months I had to do something, but I’d played ostrich. The choices were assisted living, memory care, private-care home, or 24-hour care at home. He didn’t meet the requirements for assisted living and round-the-clock care at home was a non-starter because he would hate it, as would I.

The only real choice was memory care. The day he was admitted was one of the worst days of our lives, mine because I knew what it meant, and Peter’s because he didn’t.

Anyone who has opened a door to memory care should be prepared for the stress, guilt, and pain that lies on the other side. Peter can’t articulate his feelings, but I can speak to feeling paralyzed while watching confusion engulf him.

The first time his new neurologist visited, she introduced herself, and asked, “Would you like me to call you Peter, Mr. Clarke or Dr. Clarke?”

He grinned. “Dr. Clarke sounds good.” We laughed with her.

I know it’s easier for me than for Peter. I still live in our home while he’s in a strange new environment that will never feel like home no matter how I try to make it seem so.

When I visit, I walk in and immediately begin to tidy his room. One day, in addition to the usual mess, the comforter was turned so that the ends were dragging the floor off the sides of the bed.

“Did an aide make your bed or did you?”

“Is it right or wrong?” he asked.

“It’s the wrong way ’round.” 

“She made it,” he said.

I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in weeks.

If nothing else in all our years, I’ve learned from my husband how to laugh at myself, and life, and always with him.

About the Author

DSC00007.JPG copy copy

The author and her husband, Peter

The writer’s block that stopped Judith Clarke cold was hidden behind dementia’s sweeping skirts. During the years she’d tried to write a novel about innocence, she admitted that her husband’s “mild dementia” diagnosis was actually Alzheimer’s disease. Real life. Not fiction.

Writing a novel, or writing anything at all, was no longer a priority. Peter was, and remains, her first priority.

Daughters Carolynn and Leslie urged their mother to start a blog, Dementia Isn’t Funny. Putting thoughts to paper helps anyone facing a challenge and Judith soon realized that her therapy was helping others —

“…You are my hero and you give me hope.” Ellen

“Such honest, insightful disclosures! You avoid the trite phrases that elicit pity and get to the heart of this very complex life we lead. It’s pure generosity and what’s more, you are gifted.” Mary Ann

“Thank you for some simple answers for a not-so-simple predicament.” Carol

“Thank you…so many [posts] were just what we’ve been going through. I appreciate your candor and humor! It’s a road no one wants to be on, but you are holding a light for some of us who are coming along behind.” Jabberwalky

“So love reading these…treasures and trials…. Such stories can only help us have empathy for those we meet day to day.” Carol

In 2016, Judith placed second in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) contest for blogs with under 100,000 unique visitors.  Her other blog, “Wherever you go, there you are”  has appeared on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop site.

Judith has written two books, Mother Tough Wrote the Book (2001) and That’s All She Wrote (2007). Both are out of print, but Mother Tough will send an autographed copy, or a boxful, upon request. Contact mothertough105@gmail.com

* * *

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