Some Interesting Reads #OpenBookBlogHop #TuesdayTidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is:  “What’s on your “TBR” (to be read) list?”

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Twelve books are listed in my iPhone’s reminders app. I won’t mention all of them, but I’ll talk about a few.

First of all, I’m currently reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. In Texas during the 1920’s, a rich girl, considered not marriage material because of her looks, ends up marrying a farm boy. Twelve years later, her family, after barely surviving four years of drought, plagued by lost crops and livestock, dust storms, and illness, is planning to leave Texas for California.

By the time you read this post, on Tuesday, October 12th, I will be farther along in the book. But as I write this, on Saturday, October 9th, that’s where things stand. It’s a depressing book, and I’ve been tempted to not finish it. But now, I need to know what happens to these characters and can only hope this book doesn’t end like John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

Next, I plan to read something I hope will be more positive. Lonnie Love is a black comedian whom I’d never heard of until I recently read an excerpt from her book, I Tried to Change So You Don’t Have To, in Reader’s Digest. One takeaway I got from this is the idea that you can’t let others’ stereotypes define who you are. This book ought to be interesting.

Last but not least, I found a novel, Clara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s about  a female robot who is purchased to be a companion to a sick girl. I haven’t been into science fiction much these days, but this sounds intriguing.

How about you? What are you reading now? What do you plan to read in the future? You can sound off in the comment field below or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what others have to say. Happy reading!

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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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More About Thomas’s Birthday Gift #TuesdayTidbit #OpenBookBlogHop #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Does ‘show don’t tell’ ever run up against your personal prohibitions?”

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Not anymore it doesn’t. When I first started writing, I wrote a lot of narrative, in other words, telling the reader what was going on. Over the years, I learned to show readers, not tell them, through dialogue, body language, and other subtle tactics.

Let’s take, for example, the six-sentence excerpt from The Red Dress that I posted here last week, in which Thomas receives a bike for his birthday. To tell my readers what happened, I could have written something like this.

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One of the gifts Thomas received for his thirteenth birthday was a bike that once belonged to his grandfather. Eve, being a tomboy in her younger years, had also ridden the bike, but now, it was time for it to be passed on to her son. Delighted, the boy mounted the bike and rode across the street to show it to Andy.

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But since I wanted to show my readers how Thomas received the birthday gift, I wrote this.

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Thomas scampered through the kitchen in the direction of the back door leading to the garage, saying, “What could be better than Colorado Rockies tickets and a new ball and catcher’s mitt?”

 

“It’s something you’ve wanted for a while,” said Greg as they all trooped after him.

 

In the garage, Greg pressed the lever to open the outside door and provide more light.

 

Thomas gaped open–mouthed at the gleaming bicycle standing next to Julie’s. “Is that really for me?” he asked, casting a look of uncertainty towards his parents.

 

Eve laughed. “There’s a card from Grandpa pinned to the handlebars. Why don’t you see what it says?”

 

Thomas unclipped the note and gazed at it for a moment. “Dear Thomas,” he finally read. “This was my bike a long time ago when I was your age. I gave it to your mom when she turned 13 because she was quite the tomboy. Happy Birthday, and Go, Rockies!”

 

“Yeah, Go, Rockies,” Thomas said. He tossed the card aside, released the kickstand, and mounted the bike. “Wow, this is a lot like my other one that broke. I promise I’ll take better care of this one.”

 

Greg and Eve laughed, and Greg said, “I’m sure you will.”

 

“Can I go show this to Andy?” asked Thomas. “I’ll ask him if he wants to swim at the club.”

 

“Go ahead, honey,” said Eve. “Be careful.”

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If you want to know what happens after that, you’ll have to read The Red Dress. You can participate in this week’s Open Book Blog Hop and read what other bloggers have to say by clicking 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.

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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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Respecting One another’s Reading Preferences #OpenBookBlogHop #TuesdayTidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Have you experienced or witnessed genre shaming, where readers/authors degrade a genre? If so, how do you deal with it?

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When I was a teenager, my mother bought me a Harlequin romance novel. I made the mistake of mentioning it at the dinner table. My father said, “Why are you reading that trash?”

Mother stood up for me, but I don’t remember what she said. I do recall that I didn’t finish the book, not because of what Dad said but because I was taken aback by the myriad sex scenes. This might have been something Mother enjoyed when she was a teenager, but it wasn’t for me. However, I would never have called it trash.

I don’t particularly care for certain genres such as horror or erotica, but I would never begrudge someone else the pleasure of reading such material by degrading it. I’m not a religious person, but I believe in doing or not doing unto others what you would or would not have them do unto you. I wouldn’t want anyone to degrade the genres I write and read. So, I’m not about to degrade a genre I don’t like just because I don’t like it.

We all have different likes and dislikes and the right to express such likes and dislikes. Saying you don’t like a particular genre is okay, but making people feel bad because they read a particular genre isn’t cool. So, before you degrade a genre you don’t like, ask yourself if you would want someone to degrade a genre you enjoy reading.

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How about you? Have you ever experienced genre shaming? If so, how have you dealt with it? You can participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say by clicking here. You can also learn more about genre shaming by reading this article from The Washington Independent Review of Books.

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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.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website