Opening Paragraph

Thanks to Charles French for inspiring this. In his post, he encourages authors/bloggers to talk about one of their books and share the opening paragraph. So here’s the synopsis and first paragraph from my latest book, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

Synopsis

In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid-forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.

Opening Paragraph

 

This couldn’t be happening, I told myself, as, in my underwear, I paced the upstairs hall in Grandma’s house between my aunt’s old bedroom and the bathroom. It was the afternoon of September 10, 2005. In the yard, I heard strains of music from the string duo my father hired for the occasion and the chatter of arriving guests. Soon the ceremony would start. Would I have to walk down the aisle on my father’s arm in my underwear? Where was my sister–in–law, Kathleen, who agreed to be matron of honor?

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How about you? If you’re an author, please feel free to share the synopsis and opening paragraph from one of your books, either in the comment field or on your own blog with a pingback here. I look forward to reading your work.

By the way, if you use talking books because of a visual or other disability, My Ideal Partner is now available from the regional talking book library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The catalog number is DBU04558. I hope the book will eventually be available on the National Library Service’s braille and audio download site, but for now, your regional talking book library should be able to order it from Utah for you.

I now leave you with a recording of me singing a song I wish I’d had the nerve to sing at my wedding. Simply click the link below and enjoy.

 

Annie’s Song

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: No Barriers

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon

by Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy

Copyright 2017

This memoir’s title may be a bit misleading. Erik Weihenmayer doesn’t just talk about his big Grand Canyon adventure but also covers other topics. The book starts with a forward by an American journalist, injured while on assignment overseas, who was inspired by Erik’s work. Erik then touches on his Mount Everest adventure, the subject of a previous book, and how he met his wife and married her on Mount Kilimanjaro. After that, he describes how he led various mountain climbing and river rafting adventures with children and adults who have disabilities. He explains how he formed No Barriers, an organization that empowers people with disabilities through hiking and other activities.

Erik also talks about family struggles: his brother’s battle with alcoholism and subsequent death, the arduous but successful process Erik and his wife went through to adopt a little boy from Nepal, and the child’s struggle to adapt to their way of life, then finding out later his mother was still alive. All this is interspersed with stories of his adventures and finally, how he succeeded in kayaking the Grand Canyon, with its multitude of dangerous rapids. In his epilog, he tells us what became of various children and adults with disabilities whom he helped through his involvement with No Barriers. The recorded version, which I downloaded from the National Library Service’s braille and audio site, and which was produced by McMillon Audio, contains an interview with Erik.

I’m not the adventurous sort, but I always enjoy re-living others’ experiences from the comfort of my recliner, and Erik’s story didn’t disappoint. Members of my regional talking book library’s group chose this book to discuss because they wanted to escape winter and cold weather, but I found myself wrapping my blanket more tightly around me, as I read of Erik and his crew climbing mountains in sub-zero temperatures, so I don’t think this was quite the escape for which they’d hoped. Oh well, sometimes, you don’t really know until you read the book, which has a clear message meant not just for those with disabilities. You should never let barriers, real or imagined, stop you from making dreams come true.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Ready, Set, Poetry

Image contains: me, smiling.Ready, Set, Poetry

By D. P. Lyons

Copyright 2013

 

Deon Lyons is a poet living in Maine who is totally blind. The poems in this collection are divided into four sections: blindness, nature, memories, and holidays. The author writes about losing his vision in 2010, spending time with his grandchildren, and other topics. Each section begins with narrative describing the poems in that particular section. At the end of the book, there’s another narrative passage in which the author talks about his writing and his hopes for the future.

I met Deon several years ago through Behind Our Eyes, an organization of disabled writers to which we belong. Having worked with senior citizens for fifteen years, some of whom, like Deon, lost their vision later in life, I marvel at how positive Deon is in his poetry, despite frustration and depression that accompanies loss of independence. I also enjoyed reading about his childhood memories. Ready, Set, Poetry, is Deon’s second book, and I would like to read more by him.

I recently learned, though, that Deon is battling a life-threatening form of cancer. He is currently in a rehabilitation facility, where he is receiving chemo and physical therapy in the hope that he will have at least two good years with his family. You can click here to learn more. If you believe in the power of prayer, I suggest you include him. I hope that despite his illness, Deon and his family have a lot to be thankful for on this day.

Now here’s a rare treat, a sample poem from Deon’s book. This was recorded by fellow blogger Lynda McKinney Lambert, another member of Behind Our Eyes who also knows Deon. Because there’s no easy way to translate a Kindle file into braille, I was unable to record myself reading this or any of Deon’s other poems. When Lynda sent me this recording so I could share it with his family, I thought this would be a fitting ending to my review. I hope you think so too.

 

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

***

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

*Kindling Friendship* Abbie Johnson Taylor

Image contains: me, smiling.Thanks to Joan Myles for allowing me to promote my work and myself on her blog today.

Jewniquely Myself

Friends,

It’s been about a year since I joined Behind Our Eyes (BOE), a 501(c)3organization which promotes the writing of blind and disabled individuals by way of a virtual writer’s group, as well as its own magazine, Magnets and Ladders. And I am privileged to find myself in the midst of some pretty amazing people. While we sometimes share common challenges, issues around disability are not our only creative focus. We are writers after all, writers like writers everywhere, whose inspiration is multifaceted, and whose efforts result in poetry, memoir, fantasy and much, much more, spanning the veritable cosmos of ideas.

Today as my guest, I welcome Abbie Johnson Taylor, newly elected BOE president. Abbie delivers soft-spoken compassion through a straight forward communication style, in her writing, as in her life.

Me: Abbie, how nice of you to drop by.

Abbie: Thank you for having me. You have a lovely…

View original post 1,167 more words

Thursday Book Feature: Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice

By Cara Wade

Copyright 2018.

 

Kaylan’s life is turned upside down when she learns she has inherited her deceased aunt’s bakery. Kaylan has a job and a life in the city, and the last thing she wants to do is move to the small town where she grew up and run the shop, but she agrees to try it for a few months. Along with flour, sugar, and other ingredients, add a resentful boyfriend, two dedicated employees,, and a handsome stranger named Jack to the mixture, and what comes out of the oven could be interesting.

This is a good story, but it’s not well-written. The author tells the story from Kaylan’s first person point of view, which is fine, but it’s in present tense, often slipping into past tense, which doesn’t work. I can understand using past tense to tell back story, but even when she’s in the present, she occasionally shifts into past tense. These instances could have been mistakes her editor didn’t catch. In any case, the story would have been more effective told in the past tense. Besides this, I noticed some grammatical errors and minor plot inconsistencies.

I also didn’t appreciate the detailed descriptions of love-making in this book. Unfortunately, many romance writers feel they need to include such scenes to show how their hero and heroine feel about each other. In most cases, descriptions of sex slow down a story. In this case, it was pretty obvious that Kaylan and Jack were falling for one another by their kissing, caressing, and cuddling. The bedroom action wasn’t necessary.

On the other hand, I like the way most of the character’s back stories come out in dialog and not in narrative. According to the author’s biographical information at the back of the book, Cara Wade is a new indie author. It looks like she has a lot to learn, and I hope she improves. As I said before, this is a good story, and it teaches an important lesson about relationships. Honesty with each other is always the best policy.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Re-Blog: Review—Another Chance at Life

As I said on Tuesday, if breast cancer is caught early enough, there’s a higher chance of survival. Here’s one woman’s account of how she lived through it. She’s still going strong today. I reviewed this book here several years ago, but it’s worth a second posting.

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Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

Copyright 2009.

 

This is a short but to the point account of one woman’s experience with breast cancer. As the author states in the beginning, it’s for women who may develop breast cancer later in life.

Leonore Dvorkin starts by explaining how she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 and her decision to have a mastectomy. A resident of Denver, Colorado, she talks about traveling to Kansas City to visit her family and her mother and sisters’ wish that she would just have the lump removed simply because it was what they would have done. She also touches on her family’s reaction to her novel, Apart from You, before it was published in 2010. She discusses how she and her husband bought a Polaroid camera and took pictures of her naked body the night before her surgery.

She describes what it was like to have the breast removed, assuring readers that such surgery for the patient is nothing more than having a good night’s sleep. She knew what to expect, since she had numerous surgical procedures in the past for varicose veins and other difficulties, and she touches on those. I was amazed to learn that HMO’s normally expect a mastectomy to be an out-patient procedure. Afterward, the patient is monitored for a few hours for complications and then sent home. In Leonore Dvorkin’s case, because she suffered from nausea as a result of morpheme she was given for pain, she was allowed to spend the night. I’m so thankful I don’t use an HMO for insurance, but it’s possible that nowadays, things may have changed. I hope I never have to find out.

Leonore Dvorkin then goes on to describe her recovery at home and the relief she felt upon learning she didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy. She talks about difficulty sleeping as a result of prescribed pain medication and a shoulder injury that made her rehabilitation more difficult. She touches on how her husband cared for her, not just after the mastectomy, but after other operations she had beforehand.

Several months after the surgery, she was ready to return to her job tutoring foreign languages at a Denver college and resume teaching weight training classes in her basement. She describes how she went to a store in Denver and bought a prosthetic breast and a mastectomy bra. In the end, she explains her attitude and how reducing stress and changes in diet and exercise made her feel better and gave her more confidence. She also discusses how she will age gracefully. This book includes appendices with resources and information about her particular type of breast cancer.

I like this author’s attitude. She doesn’t take cancer lightly but doesn’t wallow in self-pity or poor self-image either. I especially liked the way she describes how a prosthetic breast fits into a mastectomy bra and gives advice on how to buy and use them. I hope I never get breast cancer, but if I do, after reading this book, I hope to be able to deal with it and move on.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Guest Post: I am Soul–Virtual Blog Tour

Today, I’m pleased to introduce Yecheilyah, who will tell us about her life and her latest book and share one of her poems. You’ll find all her author links at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

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Bio

Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in high school where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at twenty-three years old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journeys. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

***

I WAS NOT THERE

I do not entirely agree
with the actions of my ancestors.
Cannot say with a straight face
that I would have stood there
in the crossfire of oppression, falling
while being bitten by dogs,
Smiling
while being spit on.
Not without a straight face will I say
that I would have been there
to ask my oppressors their permission
to walk down their streets.

But I was not there
And me not being there leads me to do nothing
but honor their legacy in humility.
I do not know the taste of their humiliation
as closely as they experienced it.
My young palate is a prejudiced mixture
of what I’ve seen in footage and read in books.
I did not feel the lash
or salt in between their wounds.
Know nothing of the seasoning
of stripped identity
of throats closing in on tongues.

I know only of gentle waters.
The kind that bathes, and cooks and quenches the thirst.
I know nothing of the kind that pierces
the skin on contact.
I do not know because I was not there.
But I can write
like Baldwin did,
As a witness
I can write the stories
and un-fairytale the tragedy
of being colored.
To make alive again
a history left virtually unknown,
Because I was not there,
Not when Moses died or Malcolm was slain,
But I can write,
articulating the suffering
of the now silent.

***

Fun Facts about Yecheilyah

    She loves to laugh, and her favorite comedy TV show is Blackish.
    She is originally from Chicago, Illinois.
    She’s been married to her husband eight years, together for eleven years.
    She believes eggs make everything better.
    She is a twin.
    She is addicted to reading and new notebooks.
    Her favorite dessert is ice cream.

***

I am Soul is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd and The Medu Bookstore at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta.
Universal Amazon Link
mybook.to/Yecheilyah

Universal Link to other Retailers
https://www.books2read.com/u/4Xoyp9

Greenbriar Mall
The Medu Bookstore
2841 Greenbriar Pkwy SW
Atlanta, GA 30331
Author Website: http://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/
Blog: http://www.thepbsbog.com
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/yecheilyah/
Twitter: twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdquShfqCN6lIX8IDK9MnSg

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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