Opening Just One Present #Tuesday Tidbit #Excerpt #Inspiration

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When you were growing up, were you allowed to open just one present on Christmas Eve? The family in my new book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, has this tradition. Below is an excerpt where they do just that. This part of the story is told from the point of view of Daryl, the father. Other characters include his wife Marti, his two daughters Natalie and Sarah, and his parents.

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That night, as we usually did on Christmas Eve, we went to the early evening Mass, then ate a late supper of homemade oyster stew. Marti had inherited the recipe from her mother and perfected it over the years. After supper, we all gathered in the living room, where we would each open just one gift.

“I want to open the one from Natalie,” said Sarah. She searched among the packages and gift bags under the tree and soon found it.

The week before, Marti, Natalie, and I had bought the tree and decorated it, and Sarah hadn’t seemed to mind that we’d done this without her.

“Well, kitten, you might as well go first,” said Dad.

Sarah sat down between Natalie and me on the couch and tore into the present with gusto. I glanced across the room at Marti, expecting to see her grimace, since she liked to save wrapping paper. But for once, she only smiled.

Sarah must have read my mind, for she said, “Oops. I’m sorry, Mom. I promise I’ll be more careful with my other presents.”

“It’s all right, honey,” said Marti.

“What’s in there?” said Mom. “Show us.”

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What’s in Sarah’s present? Why did she miss the tree decorating? Read the book and find out. By the way, it’s now absolutely free from Smashwords. Please see below for details.

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Now, I have two exciting events to announce, and I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of one or both of them. First of all, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, The Red Dress, and My Ideal Partner are now absolutely free as part of the Smashwords end-of-year sale, which will run until December 31st. You can click here for more information and to download these books.

Also, I’ll be playing the piano and singing on Thursday, December 23rd, at noon mountain time at The Hub, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you live in my neck of the woods, you’re welcome to come and enjoy a delicious, nutritious lunch while listening to my music. If you’re unable to attend, you can view the event on Facebook, and a recording should be available later. You can click here to visit the event’s Facebook page. Again, I hope you can take advantage of these exciting events.

 

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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I’ll Fly Away #Musical Monday

My uncle Tony recently passed away. He was a lawyer, but one of my fondest memories is of him playing the guitar and singing. When I took up the guitar in high school, he gave me some pointers. After my grandmother passed, I sang “I’ll Fly Away,” and he accompanied me on guitar.

According to Wikipedia, “I’ll Fly Away” was written in 1929 by Albert P. Brumley and published in 1932 by the Hartford Music Company in a collection called Wonderful Message. It was inspired by the 1924 ballad, “The Prisoner’s Song.” Frequently used in worship services, it’s the most recorded gospel song.

When I was working as a registered music therapist in a nursing home, a local church group ended its weekly services at the facility with this song. One of the residents asked to have it sung at her funeral, and her wish was granted.

So, when we were discussing what songs I should sing at Grandma’s funeral, I suggested “I’ll Fly Away,” and Uncle Tony offered to accompany me. I don’t have a recording of that. So, my guitar playing will have to do. Rest in peace, Uncle Tony.

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. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

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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Thursday Book Feature: Our Souls At Night

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Our Souls At Night

by Kent Haruf

Copyright 2015.

 

In Kent Haruf’s last novel, published posthumously, Addie, a widow, is lonely after the death of her husband. In desperation, she asks her long-time neighbor, Louis, a widower, to spend nights in her bed, keeping her company. Their relationship blossoms from friendship to romance amid gossip from people in the small town where they live and despite their families’ objections.

From the beginning, this author takes us directly into the story with little description of the setting. As the story progresses, we learn about our main characters’ lives through dialog instead of paragraphs of narrative back story. All this make Our Souls at Night a sweet story about two people finding happiness in their older years. The ending, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

 

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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

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Thursday Book Feature: The Demmies

The Demmies: A Novel

By Ann K. Parsons

Copyright 2017.

Fast forward to the year 2050. Demmies are what Randy Newman could have meant by “

.” These genetically engineered human beings are no more than a foot tall, and as a result, their bodily functions are different from ours. However, they have voices and minds just like we do and can live, love, and think just like the rest of us.

For years, Alex Kenyon and his family have been birds in a gilded cage, living in a luxurious doll house in a lab in Houston, Texas. By day, they are celebrities, promoting the cause of genetic engineering through regular press conferences. By night, they are tortured at the hands of mad scientist Dr. Lud.

As the book opens, Alex’s wife has just given birth to their tenth child. Everyone is on edge as a result of what is being done to them at night, which no one knows about, and the adults fear for their safety and that of the children. They’re afraid to try and escape because it’s a big world out there with big people who may or may not help them. After a series of events including the discovery of a Mexican family of demmies in a different part of the lab complex and the fake death of the Kenyons’ oldest son, some of those big folks risk their lives in an attempt to help them escape and start a new life.

I met the author, Ann Parsons, several years ago when she joined a writers’ group to which I belong. She began writing this story in the 1970’s. After joining our group, she decided to start work on it again and sent chapters to our email list. Even so, knowing how the book ends, I found it hard to put down and might have pulled an all-nighter in order to finish it more quickly.

You don’t have to be a science fiction buff to appreciate this story of oppression followed by freedom. In a way, this book is similar to Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World except in this case, the demmies are only conditioned not to trust big folk, and the ending is more positive. The Demmies is the first of a trilogy of books Ann has written about these little characters. I hope she publishes the other two books in this series. I want to read more.

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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

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