Category Archives: Writing

Book excerpt: screwed-up family relationships

Brought to Their Senses, Chapter 2: screwed-up family relationships

book excerpt: screwed-up family relationships“We haven’t even figured out where to start, and we’re already at each others’ throats,” said Tom, his voice trailing off as he looked out the window into the harbor.

Elizabeth ran her hands through her hair and leaned back in her chair. “You know, we’re not like these other families,” she said with a nod to the diners around them, “privileged and perfect in their blue blazers and obnoxious jewelry. And we’re never gonna sail off into the sunset.”

“Yeah, I know, I don’t expect a miracle. But we should be able to sit down and talk without someone going off, for crying out loud.”

“Face it, Tom, we’re pretty much screwed.”

Read more books in 2014

Goal achieved to read more books!

One of my goals for 2014 was to read more books instead of focusing with such intensity on writing and editing my own novel. I knew it was one of those new year’s resolutions that stuck (unlike some of the others I won’t mention here), but I was thrilled when I got solid proof from Goodreads today!

Read more books in 2014, goal achieved!


Books I read in 2014

I finished 12 books this year, averaging 1 a month, hurray for me! That’s excellent progress and quite an improvement over previous years in my memory! Here is the list of books I tackled this year:

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Book excerpt: emotions of grief or relief?

Brought to Their Senses, Chapter 1: grief or relief?

book excerpt - grief or relief?With open arms, Elizabeth invited grief into the mourning room she had prepared for the occasion at hand. She had dusted off the memories, cleared the cobwebs of denial and anger, and readied the linens of acceptance for a belated retreat. Grief, however, declined her hospitality and instead sent a distant relative named relief for a visit. The unwelcome guest took up permanent residence and could not be persuaded to leave.

The family saga novel deconstructed

The family saga novel deconstructedNovels must be categorized.

A novel must be categorized for publishing purposes, fitting nicely into some classification for marketing efforts. To sell it, you have to know where it belongs in the scheme of things apparently. So I’ve set to work making sense of my book, determining where it fits in the publishing landscape, and it seems to fall best into the category of family saga.

What is the family saga novel?

The family saga is defined as a genre of literature that follows generations of a family through historical events, changes in social circumstances, or the gain and loss of wealth from a multiple of perspectives over a period of time.

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Quote about family relationships: Leo Tolstoy

Quote about family relationships, Leo Tolstoy, Anna KareninaSweeping generalizations are discouraged for writers, yet some of the greatest authors have used broad statements to their advantage. Take the quote about family relationships in the opening line to Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece Anna Karenina:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)

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Announcing my author website redesign!

Author Website Redesign Responsive HP ScreenshotsMy new author website redesign is finally up and running, and I’m so happy to announce this update! As an author moving forward with the publication of my first family saga novel, I decided my website needed to reflect my commitment to this endeavor. I’m pleased with the results and the professional new look and feel of my online author’s home.

Thanks to all my visitors for your patience over the last few months as I’ve tweaked and changed the website around. Sorry if all the construction has been a little confusing. With the simple navigation now in place, you should be able to locate things quickly. You’ll find some new bells and whistles too, the most important of which is an online form to download a free chapter of my novel Brought to Their Senses. There’s also a contact form if you’d like to get in touch with me and a subscription form to follow news by email about the publication of my book.

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Happy birthday to my muse Sting!

Sting is my museSting’s birthday is today, October 2nd. Each year I take the time to offer my best wishes in thanks for the music he has shared with the world.

Happy birthday Sting!

Sting is my muse and has been since 1980 when I first heard his unique voice and music on a vinyl record (remember those?). His artistry and songwriting are the inspiration behind my own writing (since I can’t sing or play an instrument). If my novel included a soundtrack, it would play from Sting’s vast catalog of songs, and I’d like to share a special one in honor of his birthday.

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The Gettysburg Address to Alzheimer’s Disease

The Gettysburg Address to Alzheimer's DiseaseThe Gettysburg Address, only 272 words in length, and yet one of the greatest speeches of all time written by Abraham Lincoln. On the 150th anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address, I took the challenge to write a similar appeal on something important to me in only 272 words.

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Roadblocks and Setbacks

Roadblock , Do Not Enter, DetourEver had one of those days where absolutely everything goes wrong? You know, a day full of setbacks and roadblocks, enough to make you feel like you just can’t do anything right. That was yesterday for me.

Setback 1: It started early with oatmeal, of all things. I’ve cooked it the same dependable way for years but yesterday it turned out watery for some reason. An attempt to fix the problem then turned my oatmeal into a substance similar to concrete just before it hardens.

Setback 2: After arriving at work, a trip to the restroom and a look in the mirror revealed a stain on my sweater in a color I could not identify, remove or hide. Was the concrete oatmeal to blame?

Roadblock 3: A project I have been conceptualizing, writing and obsessing over for the last two and a half months got shot down, forcing me against my will back to square one. I could see the fireball and smoke for miles in every direction.

Setback 4: While attempting to operate a fire extinguisher in my brain, I forgot a parent teacher conference scheduled immediately after work and was reminded by the frantic “Where are you?” phone call ten minutes before the appointment time.

Roadblock 5: A pounding headache kept me from focusing on the conversation after arriving late to the parent teacher conference.

Obviously, I was in a serious funk and needed some help to get over it. I tried a few strategies, all with varying degrees of success or failure, depending on how you look at it.

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The Rest of the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers Story from Wendy Poole

The rest of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Family Caregivers Story Wendy PooleBack in April, I posted my thoughts after reading all the moving stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers. I specifically mentioned the story “Remembrance” by Wendy Poole as my favorite dementia story, but I wondered why Wendy and her mother shared only six weeks of happiness at the piano with Wendy’s mother singing show tunes while Wendy played for her.

Recently I was delighted to learn the rest of the story from Wendy herself, as she contacted me to answer my question. As it turned out, her mother’s illness had progressed to the point that she needed to be moved to a nursing home. The piano recitals were no longer possible from the new facility, and the therapeutic ritual became another short but sweet memory in Wendy’s Alzheimer’s journey with her mother.

All dementia caregivers have stories to share, events in the progression of this devastating illness that have changed them profoundly. While these stories are all personal tributes to loved ones, there is a bittersweet commonality between them to which all caregivers can relate. Wendy was kind enough to share another of her stories with me, one she originally submitted to her local newspaper for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Thanks to Wendy for filling in the blanks and also allowing me to share her poignant story with others here.

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