News & Events

Requiem for the status quo discounted!

The eBook and audiobook of Requiem for the status quo will continue to be available on Amazon until the end of 2019. I am going to self-publish the paperback version through my publishing arm Words Matter Press so as of March 1, 2019, you will not be able to purchase a paperback copy for your bookshelf until Words Matter Press’s Spring 2019 release on Amazon.

In the meantime, the Amazon paperback price for the month of February has been reduced so those who want to add this book to their library can do so at a discounted price before supplies run out. If you are a Prime member, shipping is FREE! 

Let these recent reviews encourage you to get your copy today!

Patty H. Good book! Such a heartbreaking topic but the story was told in a way that you hope it will help families that have been through it or are going through it knowing there is support out there and you don’t have to be alone. While I have not personally experienced Alzheimer’s, it made me think of my parents and their own struggles with aging and the feelings of frustration I had because I couldn’t make it stop. This is a strong, compassionate story and I would recommend it to any reader for support and know you aren’t alone. Thanks, for sharing your story.

Ilya B. Requiem for the Status Quo is a compelling novel with believable characters, fluid story, and intelligent writing. Some of the passages are sad, others are funny, still others quite poignant, and all too human. I particularly enjoyed Colleen’s ability to make the right choices based on her moral compass and her unwavering devotion to her father. Requiem is a book you want to tell your family and friends about.

Bruce L. It is a distinct honor to be the first to rate this outstanding, but heartbreaking, tale of a devastating and progressive health condition, and how deeply it touches those it enfolds. The author, who has closely experienced the cruelty of Alzheimers in a loved one, has shown a great deal of courage and consummate determination in writing it. This well-paced and brilliantly written story is at once poignant, agonizing, funny in places and all-consuming. The reader will have difficulty putting it down but had best keep a box of tissues at hand. It made this hardened, former combat soldier weep like a schoolchild through much of the second half. But I feel I have emerged from this novel with greater sensitivity to the whole continuum of dementia and its emotional impact on those who must find a way of dealing with its encroachment on their lives. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to give justice to a description of this debut novel by an obviously compassionate, energetic and witty author. It is worthy of six stars.

A book for your To Be Read list! DISCOUNTED!

Boy do I have a book for you. The paperback of Requiem for the status quo is discounted until the end of February. For only $13.95, you can add this book to your To Be Read (TBR) list!

If the Ebook is more to your liking, it is currently just $4.99 or free to Amazon Unlimited subscribers. It will always be available, but the paperback will not be, at least not until later this year.

Requiem belongs on your bookshelf!

Requiem for the status quo was picked up by a publisher two years ago this month. The eBook and audiobook will continue to be available on Amazon through my publisher, Black Rose Writing, until the end of 2019. I am arranging for different publishing options for the paperback version, however, and will be releasing the paperback later this year.

In the meantime, my publisher and I reduced the paperback price for the month of February so those who want to add this book to their library can do so at a discounted price. If you’re a Prime member, shipping is FREE!When I self-publish my novel’s paperback I’ll be sure to send out an announcement so you’ll again have access to the print version through Amazon once again. And of course, the eBook is still available on Amazon and will continue to be available forever and a day. (I will self-pub the eBook the end of the year.)

Let these recent reviews encourage you to get your copy today!

Gareth T. I see this book as a valuable resource for those who are not able to easily digest the more scientific type of information that would be provided on Alzheimer’s by medical professionals. This warm, relatable story gives a human side to the disease and while fictional, is an accurate portrayal of family life when a loved one is affected and could really help prepare and educate those who are looking for help and support.

Lisa B. Irene Frances Olson has written a fictional account of a family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s – an account that could not be more true for families facing the disease. The love, tension, confusion, terror and ultimate lesson of how life must go on springs from the pages of this beautifully written account. We come to understand each of Patrick, Colleen and Jonathon’s demons and how they ultimately overcome. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us Irene.

Is Alzheimer’s a death sentence?

On a daily basis, my personal blog, Living: the ultimate team sport, reveals that the following article is one of the most popular I’ve written over the years. This particular post was published in 2012 and it is just one of over 995 posts I have offered to the blogosphere. I am offering it here on my author website because I want to make sure as many possible have access to its contents.

My Thoughts Right Now, May 11 Alzheimers Reading Room.

The article above attached article is from a blog diary kept by Dotty’s son, Bob DeMarco, from the inception of Dotty’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s to the end, which is very near almost nine years later.

My Dad and I on a picnic, Spring 2005.

Dementia care is a very high station in life.  That’s what Bob DeMarco believes, and so do I.  Dementia caregiving is one of the most difficult challenges anyone can face and not everyone excels at that task.  Bob has indeed excelled and there are manyof you for which the same can be said.  I sincerely believe if you can get through that journey, you can handle just about anything life can throw at you.  My caregiving journey with my father ended in 2007, so I am speaking from experience, not just with an educated opinion.

Is Alzheimer’s an automatic death sentence?  Many in the medical community, including the Alzheimer’s Association, will declare that indeed it is a death sentence.  I think one of the obvious reasons why so many believe that to be the case is that at this point, there is no cure.  There are no thoroughly effective medications or treatments that cure it or stop it in its tracks.  A person gets an infection?  A regimen of antibiotics is prescribed and poof – the infection goes away.  Someone is diagnosed with a particular cancer – a treatment regimen is prescribed and as a result many cancer patients become former cancer patients.  Not so with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

There’s no such thing as a “former Alzheimer’s patient.”  At this point, the only former Alzheimer’s patients are those who have passed on.  If I interpret correctly what Bob DeMarco said in the above attached article I think he may be saying that if you start your Alzheimer’s/dementia journey convinced that the disease is a death sentence, those involved, especially the caregiver, might not work nearly hard enough to make the patient’s remaining life one that can be called a dignified, quality life.

“Surviving” a disease takes on an entirely new meaning.  It sounds as though Bob set out to make sure that his mother, Dotty, had a quality of life that she was able to enjoy for an extended period of time.  For that reason he can confidently say the following: “We did survive.  We are survivors.”

Well done Bob and Dotty.  You are beautiful examples of how to be a survivor when the odds are stacked up against you.

Tuesday, Nov. 13th: last day of discount book sale!

All of the books shown in this graphic are part of the AlzAuthors Caregiver Appreciation week-long sale, starting today, November 7th. You’ll see my novel, Requiem for the status quo, in the upper right corner that is priced at 99 cents from Nov 7th through 13th. To link to all the books you see above, click on the AlzAuthors link here. Simply click on the book’s image and it will take you directly to its page on Amazon, making it extremely easy to purchase as many titles as you please. And don’t forget to gift others with titles as well. It’s so easy to do and the recipients of your gifts will be so pleased that you’ve thought of them.

One week only: highly discounted books about Alzheimer’s!

All of the books shown in this graphic are part of the AlzAuthors Caregiver Appreciation, week-long sale, starting today, November 7th. You’ll see my novel, Requiem for the status quo, in the upper right corner that is priced at 99 cents from Nov 7th through 13th. To link to all the books you see above, click on the AlzAuthors link here. Simply click on the book’s image and it will take you directly to its page on Amazon, making it extremely easy to purchase as many titles as you please. And don’t forget to gift others with titles as well. It’s so easy to do and the recipients of your gifts will be so pleased that you’ve thought of them.

I want everyone to have a copy of my novel

I want everyone who would like a copy of my eBook on Amazon to have one so starting November 7th, and running through November 13th, it will be available for a mere 99 cents…less than $1.

Perhaps you’d like to gift someone with a copy. You can easily do so by clicking on the Buy for Others button found on my novel’s Amazon page. You purchase it – or several copies of it – and when prompted, you provide the email address(es) for the recipient(s) and they will receive a notification that a free book is waiting for them, generously gifted by you. You can even write a personal message to the recipient. It’s so very, very easy to do.

This 99 cents sale period is being brought to you by AlzAuthors as these 170 authors honor caregivers during National Caregiver Appreciation Month. Not all the authors’ books will be available at a discounted rate, but many will be, so if you’re looking to add to your eBook library, November 7 – 13 is the time to do so.

This promotion serves to recognize the long hours, sacrifice, and love all caregivers bring to the task of caring for a loved one with dementia or any long-term illness.

I truly believe that caregivers are heroes: ordinary people, doing the ordinary right thing, at an extraordinary time. Reward yourself, or other caregivers with whom you are acquainted, for all tireless efforts, past or present.

I will post a link to the AlzAuthors discount page the morning of the 7th so come back then to fill your library shelves with heavily discounted books about Alzheimer’s & other dementias. In the meantime, the AlzAuthors Anthology filled with 58 caregiver short stories is available for pre-order for just $1.99 for the Kindle version!

Stories that make a difference

As an author of a novel whose mission it is to make a difference in the lives of those faced with a horrendous terminal disease, I feel my stories-that-make-a-difference-detector is quite keen.

Ariel & Shya Kane’s new storybook, Being Here…Too, is one of those, and deserves 5 out of 5 stars. (Preorders now being taken for the Kindle version; both eBook and paperback will be released November 12, 2018.)

I was gifted with the opportunity to read the Kane’s latest book before its release, an opportunity I could not pass up given how impactful their books’ messages have been to me over the years. There is no woo-woo involved in what they offer a world conflicted and torn apart not by just political or global issues, but also those internal how do I live the best life I can live? struggles each of us face.

On page xviii, the following statement sets the tone for the direction readers can expect to go later in the book:

“life will support you if you let it”

The format of the book is such that each brief chapter contains a story of individuals who were not afraid to be honest/transparent about their failed efforts to make the best of their lives. In Chapter 8, co-author, Shya Kane, states, “…everyone has a terminal illness – it’s called life.” So very true. Many are those who have lost a loved one and/or prior to receiving their own terminal illness diagnosis had the mistaken notion that there’s always tomorrow, or I’ll live my life to the fullest another day when erroneously convinced another day, and another, will actually be granted us.

Living in the moment – “bypassing the mind to find the moment” – is where Ariel & Shya Kane suggest true fulfillment lies. We can either live life as a victim or as its author and my friends, after sixty-five years of life, I can declare that for me, fulfillment exists in the here and now, not in the past or the future. The stories presented within the pages of Being Here…Too will paint a clear picture of what it is like to be buried in thoughts that wipe out any chance of the present taking center stage in one’s life. Been there…done that…doesn’t work for me..at all.

The authors conclude the book by describing how dissatisfaction with life gets in the way of being fulfilled.

Over the years…we have come to realize that the only time life dominates you is when you are not living in the moment. When you are not being here, your hopes for the future create an illusion, a dream of how it will someday be better than it is now…

True freedom happens when the illusion dissolves and you live life directly in each moment – not as you would prefer it, but as it is.

The present is all we have, so why live elsewhere?

I hope you’ll not let another moment go by before securing your own copy of Being Here…Too.

 

 

 

The Alzheimer’s Community

I have been closely involved in matters regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia for eighteen years now: long-term care (LTC) housing, memory care, Alzheimer’s support group facilitator, and Washington State LTC Ombudsman. But it took me becoming a published author of a novel that focuses on a family’s Alzheimer’s disease experience, before I finally found my Alzheimer’s community.

AlzAuthors is a group comprised of over 170 published authors (as of this writing) who have published fiction and non-fiction books reflective of their personal Alzheimer’s experience. The six members of the AlzAuthors Management Team (Team) is the Alzheimer’s community about which I speak.

The Team’s motto says it all:

We can sing a lonely song, or form a choir and create harmony.

Without exception, the authors featured on our site and each member of our Management Team, had the experience of struggling with the learn-as-you-go-task of caring for someone with cognitive impairment. We all made mistakes, and we learned from them, but we also had successes, and we celebrated them.

As a recent addition to the AlzAuthors Management Team, I became even more convinced that my personal Alzheimer’s community resides within this group. The support, the kindness, the giving nature reflected within the Team is incomparable in my experience, and we are not just keeping it to ourselves. AlzAuthors is spreading their influence into numerous parts of the world…which is kinda why they asked me to join the team as their Global Outreach Coordinator. The six of us know our presence is evident in more countries than just the United States, but our imagination and passion is boundless so we have set out to become a household word in small and large communities throughout the world.

Why AlzAuthors? Because this 100% volunteer group has brought together some of the best books on Alzheimer’s and other dementia in one central location: our bookstore. We’ve categorized those books to make the personal caregivers’ or professionals’ shopping experiences an easy one with categories such as: Caring for Parents or Grandparents, Caring for Spouses or Partners, Living with Dementia, and Children and Teen books, to name a few. We know a caregiver’s “free” time is limited or non-existent, so we’ve done our best to make their shopping experience an easy one. They simply click on the cover of the book they’re interested in and they are taken directly to Amazon to make the paperback, eBook, or audiobook purchase.

We’re working hard so you don’t have to.

And finally, we understand the journey of unpaid (family & friend) caregivers because:

  • We have experienced the loss of a loved one with dementia.
  • We know the pain of being forgotten.
  • We all have witnessed decline.
  • We have provided countless hours of caregiving.
  • We know many others have experienced the same and we believe in the power of sharing those stories.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, declared, how important it is to be granted respect in one’s life. A person deserves respect in youth and in adulthood, and those among us who are the most vulnerable deserve the highest degree of that honorable treatment.

I recently watched a special-interest show where a couple in their 60s were documented over a period of ten years, but not just any ten years: it was the decade following the wife’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The more time that passed in the documentary, the harder it was to watch her cognitive decline.

It was also very difficult to witness the effects of the wife’s illness on the husband: weight was gained, stress became unmanageable, and he even thought about ending his life. At the end of the episode, the CBS interviewer asked the husband if he still loved his wife, to which the husband responded that he loved the woman his wife used to be, but not the woman she had become. I tried to resist the way his sentiment made me feel.

I experienced the decline and loss of my father, and the decline and loss of my sister-in-law, both of whom died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease: Dad in 2007, my sister-in-law in 2012. My brother never stopped loving his wife as he performed the learn-as-you-go tasks of caring for someone with worsening cognitive impairment. Although a novice at caregiving, my brother managed to glom onto the concept of respecting the bride to whom he had committed for better or worse. Was it easy to love the person she had become, especially with her erratic and sometimes combative behavior? No, not easy, but he was wise enough to know that she was still the woman he married almost 25 years prior.

I had it easy, well, no, I didn’t. Being my father’s primary care person wasn’t at all easy, but throughout his declining health, he maintained that sweetheart of a personality he always exhibited throughout his life. I guess it was the luck of the draw that Dad kept his sense of humor and gentleness until the end. Being fully transparent with you, I have to say the typical behavior associated with cognitive decline really shook my foundation and there were times I verbally lashed out at him because I’m one of 6.8 billion people in this world (as of August 2018) who is far from a perfect specimen of a human being.

I allowed myself to hate the disease and everything it had done to my father and to my family, but I couldn’t stop loving the man, who, along with my mother, guided my path from infancy to maturity. I blame my father for not letting me get away with anything. I blame him for being strict about managing my finances. He’s the reason why I have a sense of humor so I blame him for that as well. And I blame both my parents for impressing upon me that I would never regret being kind towards others, that I should never judge others whose experiences are different from my own, that when all is said and done, we’re all equally flawed, and equally worthy of respect.

So I now blame Mom and Dad for helping me come to a compassionate place of not judging the aforementioned husband’s statement about the way he feels about his wife. I can hold kind thoughts towards him, knowing that everyone’s caregiving experience is different; that I have no right to consider my or my brother’s experiences as being more honorable than the husband’s.

Bottom line: respect is warranted regardless of the circumstances. We would all hope others would treat us with respect, isn’t that right? So I say this about that husband’s caregiving experience: You are a hero to many, and you are a hero to me. Bless you, for walking the difficult path you’ve been given. Bless you, for always doing what is best for your wife, and not what is most expedient. 

My definition of a hero:

Ordinary people, doing the ordinary right thing, at an extraordinary time.

My novel, Requiem for the status quo, is a fictional treatment of my caregiving experiences with my father.