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

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Susan Cushman is one of my friends in AlzAuthors. Her novel, Tangles and Plaques, tells the story of her mother’s years with Alzheimer’s. This book is a collection of short stories.

Friends of the Library is a love letter to southern readers and writers that also manages to tackle serious social issues. In a world of Twitter and twaddle, Susan Cushman gives us a timely reminder of the simple pleasures of your local library. Find this book and check it out!” Jim Dees, author of The Statue and the Fury and host of the Thacker Mountain Radio Show

 

Friends of libraryBook 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. Preorder Now!

 

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. Continue reading

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

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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. Continue reading

New Release Spotlight: “Sweet Complications,” A Romance Beach Read from Bestselling Author Stacy Claflin

new release spotlight

Powerhouse author Stacy Claflin releases a new sweet romance, Sweet Complications. Stacy is the prolific author of 60 (!!!)  novels and a two-time USA Today bestselling author.  I once asked her how she manages to write so much so fast and she said she’s up before daylight, and everyone else, churning out her books. I would have guessed she never sleeps.

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Book Description

He can have any woman he wants… except her.

NFL quarterback Dylan Manley’s life revolves around his career and the fame associated with it. He’s onl

y back in Indigo Bay to help with a fundraiser in memory of his best friend. But then finds he has to work with Brooke—the one person who has always made him trip over his own feet.

Brooke Davenport is a far cry from the girl next door who left town years ago. Focused on her political aspirations and still recovering from the loss of her doting brother, she wants nothing more than to return to DC for good. But first she has to get through the fundraiser with Dylan, who she blames for her brother’s death.

When a family emergency pulls Brooke’s parents out of town, the success of the fundraiser depends on Brooke and Dylan. He’ll do whatever it takes to show her he’s a new man, but every attempt only makes him look worse. If he can’t make things right, he’ll lose her forever.

Excerpt Continue reading

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Vanessa Williams-Harvey, and “I Remember”

Harvey, Vanessa

by Vanessa Williams-Harvey

It took years of silence for me to come to terms and let it all out.  Everything came to an abrupt halt in August of 2015.  On that painful and dark day, our mother was ultimately placed in a nursing facility.  We continue to struggle with that painful decision.  My personal guilt, frustrations and regret plagued my soul to the point of endless days and restless nights.  I was able to find relief when I pulled out my tablet and began to jot down everything that had been swirling around in my head.

I started writing about the good times; there were a few. The more I wrote, the more I relaxed and I could finally exhale. I used words to breathe life into the dark reality I suppressed for far too long, finding a voice in writing that I wasn’t quite comfortable with verbalizing. I felt incapable of being accountable to myself, let alone anyone else.

I Remember Mockup“I Remember” is a candid and brutally honest glimpse of what my family and I experienced on our journey with Alzheimer’s.  My writing is a deep dive with frank details about some tough and challenging times, as we struggled to communicate and collaborate with one another.  It took a lot of time for me to realize that I wasn’t the only one hurting. The very same pain that was ripping at my heart and head was also wreaking havoc on each and every member of our family in a very distinctive way. Continue reading

Christmas is for Making Memories

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The tree is lit and laden with treasured ornaments. The cookies are baked, their delicious aroma wafting through the house. The gifts are wrapped and ribboned. It’s beginning to look a lot like –

Uh, sorry, but no. At least, not yet. Perhaps by the time you read this I will have everything under control. It seems there are a million things to do, tiny but important details to take care of in preparation for the Big Day, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It was so much simpler when we were children, wasn’t it?

When I look back upon my childhood I tend to focus on what was best. I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Brockton, Massachusetts, specifically Campello. My father was a cabinet maker and my mother was a data entry operator. I am the eldest of their four children. Christmas was important to us because we were Catholics and my parents raised us in the faith. Each year they made sure to give us a memorable holiday, and my recollections of these special times taught me how to create memorable holidays for my own child. Our Christmas memories are a reflection of our past and a blueprint for our future.

I remember Christmas as a magical time, full of wonder and delight, dreams and wishes. My parents did everything for us, and made sure we had all the fixings of the holiday: the fresh-cut pine tree glittering with lights, tinsel and garland, surrounded by piles of gifts wrapped in shiny paper and bedecked with pretty bows, a feast of roast turkey or ham with all the accompaniments, lasagna, meatballs, and desserts to last a week.

Each holiday was special, filled with love and laughter, the door open to friends and family who shared the holiday with us. We made memories, fuel for the future for when we grew up and spread apart due to marriage and jobs. These memories also helped to buffer the loss of too many of our loved ones who departed this world, including my precious dad. So many of these memories warm my heart, and bring my family closer to me in spirit. I’ll share a few. Continue reading

Christmas Books All Month Long! Day 18: “One Winter Night”

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It’s the Christmas season! One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to curl up with a Christmas-themed book, a steaming cup of tea, and a seat. I can’t send you tea and cookies, but I can send you some great book suggestions. Throughout the month I’ll be featuring DOZENS of books. Load that Kindle! It’s going to be a long winter!

Today’s featured book is One Winter Night by Heather Tullis. This selection comes from the lovely ladies at Lovin’ The Book’s Christmas Countdown. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end! I’ll be hosting this Christmas Countdown through December 23rd, followed by my Twelve Days of Christmas Book Blast starting December 26th through January 6th.

One winter night

About the Book: Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.

Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery.

Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?

Universal Amazon Link ~  Continue reading