Playing Ball with the Dog #SixSentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

At the park, we took turns throwing the ball for Squeakers, who never tired of retrieving it and bringing it back to us. I got some good pictures of him and even made a little video of him barking at a squirrel he’d chased up a tree.

“Sarah will love this,” I said when I showed it to the others.

“Last night,” said Grandpa, “the way you said that Miss Sarah had appendicitis, I thought you were going to be a doctor. But you’d also make a pretty good photographer.”

“Last night, you said you wanted to be a writer,” said Grandma.

***

So, is Natalie’s diagnosis of Sarah’s condition correct? Why did she tell her grandmother she wanted to be a writer? You’ll find the answers to these questions in my new novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring the above excerpt with her six-sentence story prompt for this week. You can participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ six-sentence creations by clicking here.

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New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Hunting and Pecking #It’sSix-SentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

This week’s six-sentence prompt word is “method.” Below, I’ve copied a passage of exactly six sentences from my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Here, I show my late husband Bill using his computer for the first time in months since his first stroke. After powering up the machine, I stood nearby in case he was unsure of what to do. But as you’ll note, there are some things you don’t forget, even after you’ve had a stroke.

***

To my astonishment, after the Windows welcome screen and then the desktop came up, and the screen reader indicated it was ready, he went straight to his music folder and found “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You.”

I hugged him, and for the first time since his stroke, we snuggled while listening to the song, with him sitting in his wheelchair and me standing next to him. It wasn’t the same as cuddling on the couch together, but it was the closest we could come, and this time of loving each other was the first of many.

When the song ended, he said, “I’ll do email now.”

I left him and spent the next couple of hours in my office. As I worked, I was comforted by the distant sound of the synthetic text–to–speech voice on his computer, reading his email and saying the characters he typed. Even though he needed to use the hunt and peck method with his only good hand, this felt right.

This was in 2006. A couple of years later, we found software that allowed Bill to send email via voice recordings. If you’d like to know more, you can read My Ideal Partner.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring this. If you’d like to participate in this week’s hop and read other people’s six-sentence stories, click here.

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For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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The Power of Music #OpenBookBlogHop #Excerpt #TuesdayTidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “What is a side skill that has been useful in your life? Where did you learn it? Have you written it into any of your stories?

***

For years, I’ve enjoyed playing the piano and singing. My mother loved to tell this story about when I was five. My parents had acquired an upright piano, mostly as a toy for me. One day, Mother heard me play the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and went to call a piano teacher.

I studied piano from then until I was about thirteen when I gave up, choosing to play by ear and sing along. In high school, I won second place in a local talent competition with my rendition of Debbie Boon’s “You Light Up My Life.” In college, I majored in music performance, then switched to music therapy.

Long story short, after six and a half years of college education and a six-month internship, I returned to my home in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I’ve lived ever since. For fifteen years, I worked as a registered music therapist with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. Although I’m no longer practicing music therapy, I still enjoy entertaining at such facilities by playing my guitar and singing for their monthly birthday socials.

In my first novel, We Shall Overcome, my main character, Lisa, who is visually impaired, studied music therapy before deciding to manage her father’s coin-operated machine business. In the following scene, she and her boyfriend, John, are visiting his grandmother in a nursing home. Bessie suffers from dementia and rarely speaks. But as you’ll discover, when Lisa sings, Bessie soon starts singing along, and it’s as if the dementia never existed. Dorothy is her daughter. I was inspired to have Bessie as a character by a woman just like her with whom I worked in a nursing home.

***

Dorothy put an arm around Lisa and guided her to a chair near the recliner. As Lisa sat down, John walked around to the other side of the recliner and took his grandmother’s hand. “Hello, Grandma,” he said. “It’s John. I’d like you to meet Lisa. She’s sitting on your other side. Lisa, this is my grandmother, Bessie Macintosh.”

“Hi, Mrs. Macintosh,” said Lisa, taking the elderly woman’s other hand.

“You can call her Bessie,” said Dorothy. “Everyone else does, and she doesn’t mind.”

“Hello, Bessie,” Lisa said. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Bessie laughed and squeezed Lisa’s hand, as Dorothy said, “Ellen tells me you used to do some sort of musical therapy before you went into business with your father.”

“That’s right,” said Lisa.

“Mother always loved music,” said Dorothy. “She used to sing to us when we were kids. I recently bought her a CD player that has a repeat button, so now she can hear music all day long. She likes all kinds, especially hymns.”

“Lisa was telling us earlier about a lady she worked with in a nursing home in Fort Collins who came out of her shell when Lisa sang to her,” said John.

“Really!” said Dorothy. “Maybe you could sing to Mother. I’ll bet she’d like that.”

This was the last thing Lisa wanted to do, but she realized she couldn’t refuse. Leaning forward, she looked at the old woman and said, “Bessie, would you like to sing a song with me?”

The old woman laughed and squeezed Lisa’s hand. “I believe that’s a yes,” said Dorothy.

Lisa took a deep breath and began singing “You Are My Sunshine.” John and Dorothy joined in and a few lines later, to everyone’s amazement, so did Bessie. Her words were clear, and her voice was strong. It was as if she didn’t have Alzheimer’s. When they finished, John and Dorothy applauded, and Bessie laughed and patted Lisa’s hand. “I like hearing you sing,” said Lisa.

***

You can participate in this week’s Open Book Blog Hop and read what others have to say by clicking here.

***

For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

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Eve’s Cooking #OpenBookBlogHop #TuesdayTidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Does food play an important part in your writing?” How about sharing a favorite recipe of one of your characters, or maybe one of yours?

***

In The Red Dress, my protagonist, Eve, a bestselling author, feeds her family mostly ready-made meals, claiming not to have enough time to do much cooking. But as the book progresses, she learns that providing a homecooked meal for her family is just as important as producing and selling a book. Below is a scene where Eve and her daughter Ashley discuss a new meatloaf recipe Eve is trying out.

***

Late that afternoon, as Eve was preparing the meatloaf, Ashley wandered into the kitchen. Noticing the pan and ingredients scattered all over the counter, she asked, “Wow, what are you making?”

Eve wiped her hands on a paper towel. “I’m making meatloaf. It’s Sylvia’s mother’s recipe.”

“Oh, boy, I love her meatloaf!”

“Well, this is the first time I’ve made it, so I can’t guarantee it’ll come out tasting as good as hers does.”

“I’ll bet it will…

***

So, how did the meatloaf recipe turn out? You’ll find the answer to that question by reading The Red Dress.

As the book opens, there’s one dish Eve prepares, mostly from scratch, enchilada casserole. I made this often when my late husband Bill was alive. I got the recipe from a friend. But I had to modify it, substituting refried beans for olives because Bill didn’t like olives and using macaroni instead of tortilla strips because that made it easier for him to eat with one hand. Why could Bill only eat with one hand? Read My Ideal Partner to find out. Here’s my recipe.

 

Eve’s Enchilada Casserole

 

1 package large elbow macaroni

1 pound hamburger

1 15-oz can mild enchilada sauce

1 8-oz can tomato sauce

1 15-oz can refried beans

2 handfuls chopped onions

 

Cook macaroni according to directions, drain, and place in large casserole dish. Brown hamburger, then add enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, refried beans, and onions and let simmer for ten minutes. Pour over macaroni in casserole dish. Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese if desired. Bake at 350F for fifteen minutes. Enjoy!

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How about you? Do you have any favorite recipes? You can answer this in the comment field below or click here to participate in this week’s hop.

***

For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

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Pets and Writing #Open Book Blog Hop #Wednesday Words

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do pets (or other animals) play an important part in your books? Tell us about them.”

Absolutely! I love dogs. I remember plenty of them when I was growing up. Now, I don’t want the responsibility of caring for them, but I enjoy incorporating them into my stories.

In my first novel, We Shall Overcome, my heroine’s boyfriend has an Irish setter named Molly. Last year when I was blocked on my novel-in-progress, a Great Dane puppy named Squeakers saved the day. Now, here’s an excerpt from my latest novel, The Red Dress, in which we meet Ginger, the family’s Black Lab.

***

The clicking of Ginger’s nails on the floor in the hall and the jingling of her collar interrupted Eve’s thoughts. She turned as the dog loped into her office and to her side and placed her head on her knee.

“Oh, Ginger, I wish the kids would take more responsibility for you,” said Eve, stroking the dog’s head. “I’ve finished the proofs, now, so all I have to do is check email, and then we’ll go for a walk. Okay?”

Ginger flopped onto the floor at Eve’s feet and looked up at her as if to say, “I’m holding you to that.”

Eve smiled and turned to her computer, where she clicked the Accept button on Charlene’s friend request.

“We’ll see what happens,” she said.

In answer, Ginger wagged her tail, thumping it against the floor.

***

What was Eve doing when Ginger’s jingling collar interrupted her? Who is Charlene? Read the book and find out. To participate in this week’s Open Book Blog Hop, click here.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website