A Five-Second Elevator Pitch? #OpenBookBlogHop #WritingPrompts #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “It’s your book. The next five seconds are the most important. What happens?”

I’ve heard of elevator pitches that last three minutes, but five seconds? It would have to be a fast elevator, which sounds scary. So, what I’m about to tell you about my latest book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, will take a little longer than five seconds for me to write and for you to read. But I hope it’ll make you want to read the book, even though the holidays are behind us.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie learns a family secret from her grandmother, who suffers from dementia. After doing some research and realizing that her grandmother didn’t make this up, she tells her parents, and it tears the family apart. Will they come together in time for the holidays?

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To participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say, click 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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A Chat with Natalie #WednesdayWords

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

As I’m sure you’re aware, my new novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, has just been released and is now available in paperback and eBook formats from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online retailers. Today, I sat down with Natalie, one of my main characters. AT sixteen years old, she learned from her grandmother that the man she thought was her biological dad wasn’t. Let’s see what she has to say.

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Me: Natalie, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me today.

Natalie:  Sure. Whatever.

Me: What do you think about when you’re trying to fall asleep?

Natalie: Well, I guess I could say that although it was a shock, finding out about my real dad, I think how lucky I am to have two dads when some kids don’t even have one.

Me: That works. Do you have a hiding place?

Natalie: No, not really. The only thing I’ve ever hidden is the fact that I emailed my real dad after my grandmother told me about him and I told my parents I knew about him. But eventually, that came out. We’ve been keeping in touch ever since.

Me: Okay, if they make a movie about your life, what actor might play you?

Natalie: How about Britney Spears? I felt sorry for her when I heard that her dad controlled every aspect of her adult life and was glad when a judge took away his power of attorney or whatever it was. None of my dads would ever do that to me. If she were to play me in a movie, she could learn what it’s like to be in a loving family environment.

Me: That’s a good point. So, what’s the first possession you would save from a fire?

Natalie: My iPhone. I need to  be able to keep in touch with family and friends and especially my real dad.

Me: That’s nice. What’s one of the worst things you’ve ever done?

Natalie: That’s a no-brainer. Telling my parents I knew Grandma’s secret. I thought for sure that Daryl, the man I thought was my real dad, would divorce my mom for having a one-night stand with my biological dad. If only I hadn’t opened my big mouth.

Me: I know how you feel. Let’s not think about that now. Tell me. Do you envy anyone?

Natalie: No, not even Britney Spears. She’s had a hard life.

Me: I agree with that. Speaking of Britney, do you sing or dance when you’re by yourself?

Natalie: No, not really.

Me: Okay, what false impression might other people have about you?

Natalie: What kind of question is that? I don’t think anybody has a false impression of me.

Me: All right. I’m sorry. We’ll talk about something else. What’s a memory that you cherish like a treasure?

Natalie: Hmm, let’s see. Well, when I was little, Mom usually read to me at night before I went to sleep. I learned later that my favorite bedtime story was written by my biological dad.

Me: That’s interesting. Now, one last question. What’s something you usually lie about?

Natalie: Well, I don’t lie about anything anymore, but I used to lie about whether I did my homework or even having homework to do. But since I met my real dad, I decided I want to be a better person.

Me: Well, Natalie, thank you again for chatting with me today.

Natalie: You’re welcome. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this interview, but it was kind of fun.

***

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?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

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.

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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

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Writing Disabled Characters #OpenBookBlogHop

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do you write diverse characters? If so, how do you avoid cultural insensitivity?”

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The only diverse characters I’ve written are those with disabilities. In my first novel, We Shall Overcome, my main character, Lisa, is visually impaired. She falls in love with a policeman whose sister is also visually impaired. Lisa participates in a support group for the visually impaired, which consists mostly of senior citizens.

In The Red Dress, Eve, my main character, has a sister-in-law, Polly, who is blind. Although Polly doesn’t appear in the novel, she is mentioned. She lives independently and works as a computer programmer. Also, Eve’s mother, who lives in a nursing home, is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from dementia. My new novel due out this fall, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, is centered around a grandmother, who also lives in a nursing home and is confined to a wheelchair and also suffers from dementia.

For fifteen years, I worked as a registered music therapist with nursing home residents, most of whom suffered from dementia. I facilitated a support group for visually impaired adults, which has consisted mostly of senior citizens. I used these experiences, along with those associated with my own visual impairment, to portray these characters as realistically as possible.

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If you’re a blogger, you can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what others have to say.

***

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

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My Ideal Nursing Home #Wednesday Words

If I had unlimited funds to start and maintain a business, I would open a nursing home. But this wouldn’t be just any nursing home run by a corporation whose bottom line is money and not the elderly and infirmed residents who live there. In my facility, caring and not money would truly be the heart of the matter. My facility probably wouldn’t have the capacity that many large, corporate-run homes do, but with a smaller population and more staff members, each person could have more individual attention.

The facility would be all on one floor and divided into four or five units, each with the capacity of twelve residents. Each resident would have his or her own room with an attached bathroom that wouldn’t just contain a toilet and sink but also a roll-in shower. Each unit would have one tub room in case a person prefers a bath instead of a shower.

Each room would also have its own phone, and wireless Internet service would be readily available. Of course, many nursing home residents are unable to use the Internet, but for those few such as my late husband who would benefit, the service would be there. Family members could use it when they come to visit.

Each unit would have its own nurse’s station, dining room, and a lounge with recliners where residents could watch TV or just relax and read a book. Each recliner, like each room, would be outfitted with a call button to make it easier for residents to request assistance when necessary.

Residents would be able to choose what they want to eat each day. At mealtime, a menu would be given to them or read to them if necessary, and their choices would be served restaurant-style.

Residents suffering from dementia would be placed in a locked unit, no different from the others except that all staff working in this unit, including therapists and activity specialists, would have had specialized training in helping residents with dementia.

Of course, my facility wouldn’t have to be a permanent home. It would offer respite care and rehabilitation. The therapy department would have all the necessary equipment and even a swimming pool of no more than five feet, where residents could participate in water therapy and water exercise classes. There could even be a hot tub.

Last but not least, my facility would have a large, centrally located activity room. One half of the room would contain chairs and tables for bingo and social events. The other half would be open and used for church services and other group activities. Any resident from any unit would be able to attend any activity and be notified of events in advance.

Of course, money doesn’t grow on trees or flow freely from a stream. But isn’t it fun to dream of what you could do with a never-ending supply? If you’d like to know more about the nursing home where my late husband recovered from his strokes, you can read My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

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Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring the above post. In this week’s Open Book Blog Hop, she asks what kind of business you would start if you had unlimited funding. To learn how you can participate on your own blog, click here.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services 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.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.