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.

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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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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.

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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

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

 

 

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.

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A Puppy to the Rescue #Open Book Blog Hop

This week’s question from blogger Stevie Turner is this. Have you ever written yourself into a corner? My answer is yes.

In my young adult novel-in-progress, Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, an elderly woman in a nursing home, who suffers from dementia, unexpectedly reveals a family secret to her teen-aged granddaughter. In shock, the granddaughter tells her parents she knows the secret. This causes a rift in her parents’ marriage. Then, the grandmother dies. At this point, I knew where I wanted to go but had no idea how to get there, that is, until Squeakers showed up.

I suddenly got the idea to have my characters find an abandoned black and white Dalmatian puppy while walking in the park on a cold November morning. My ten-year-old, Sarah, dubs him Squeakers because he’s doing what most puppies would do in this situation, whine piteously. Squeakers manages to bring the family together during this time of grief, but only for a short time until the next tragedy strikes.

I’m not sure when this novel will be published, since I’m still writing it. But as soon as it’s available, I’ll let you know. So, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, from now until July 31st, you can download My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress absolutely free from Smashwords as part of its annual summer/winter sale. Click here to visit my Smashwords author page.

Also, 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. Thank you for reading. 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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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

Daisy Bell #Monday Musical Memories

The song I’m featuring today is one I sang with nursing home residents many times. There are two verses. Here’s the first more common one.

 

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.

I’m half-crazy all for the love of you.

There won’t be a stylish marriage.

I can’t afford a carriage.

But you’ll look sweet

upon the seat

of the bicycle built for two.

 

The second is Daisy’s response.

 

Michael, Michael, here is your answer true.

I’m not crazy all for the love of you.

If you can’t afford a carriage,

then there will be no marriage,

cause I’ll be switched

before I’m hitched

on a bicycle built for two.

 

Now, click below to hear Dr. Crystal Grimes play this song on the zither.

 

Daisy Bell

 

By the way, in my latest book, The Red Dress, my main character’s mother suffers from dementia and lives in a nursing home. Although she doesn’t always recognize her daughter, she remembers when her daughter gave away a dress she made for her years ago and still harbors resentment. She also remembers that her hairdresser was her daughter’s best friend in school but doesn’t remember what tore their friendship apart. I’m sure the nursing home provided musical entertainment from time to time, and she probably had an opportunity to enjoy such old songs as “Daisy Bell.” If I’ve spiked your curiosity, see below. Thank you for reading.

 

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

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.