Balancing Fame and Family #MondayMusings #OpenBookBlogHop #Inspiration

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: If your book took off tomorrow with enormous worldwide interest and sales, are you prepared for all that entails?”

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In my novel, The Red Dress, my main character Eve is a bestselling author. I wouldn’t say her books have gained worldwide interest, but as a bestselling author, she’s struggling, at the beginning of the book, to balance her writing with her family life. Want to know more? Read the book.

That having been said, my answer to this week’s question is yes. Since, unlike Eve, I don’t have a husband and children, I probably wouldn’t have to worry about balancing my writing life with my family life. Of course, I might have to give up my other obligations, but that would be nothing compared to neglecting family. Frankly, though, I doubt my books will gain worldwide interest, and that’s okay. As long as I reach one person, I’m happy.

What about you authors out there? If your books took off tomorrow, gaining worldwide interest, could you handle it? You can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

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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.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

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 Humorous Look at Marriage and Family #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?

by Erma Bombeck

Copyright 1978.

 

What Amazon Says

 

The hilarious #1 New York Times bestseller: Erma Bombeck’s take on marriage and family life is “fun from cover to cover” (Hartford Courant).

Ever since she was a child, Erma Bombeck has been an expert worrier, and married life has only honed that skill. She gets anxious about running out of ball bearings; about snakes sneaking in through the pipes; about making meaningful conversation on New Year’s Eve. Married life, she realizes, is an unpredictable saga even when you know exactly how loud your husband snores every night—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. In this crisp collection of essays, Bombeck shows off the irresistible style that made her one of America’s favorite humorists for more than three decades. When she sharpens her wit, no family member is sacred and no self-help fad is safe…

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I first became familiar with Erma Bombeck in the 1970s when a fellow orator on my high school’s speech team presented an oral interpretation of one of her pieces. A couple of years ago, I was inspired to write my latest novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, by a quote from Erma Bombeck I read online. “Your grandmother pretends not to know who you are on Halloween.” So, I thought it fitting to read one of her books.

These essays were written during the 1970s, but I think we can still relate to many of the topics covered. Being a singer, I especially liked her opinion on our national anthem.

I obtained a recorded version of this book from the National Library Service’s Braille and Audio Download site and listened to part of it while in my recliner, suffering from indigestion. What can I say about laughter being the best medicine? It’s definitely cheaper than Pepto Bismol, which I didn’t have on hand at the time. So, if you’re interested in marriage and family and want some good laughs, this book is for you.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

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 Novel About Loss #FridayFunReads #Inspiration #BookReviews

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Optimist’s Daughter

by Eudora Welty

 

What Amazon Says

 

This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel tells the story of Laurel McKelva Hand, a young woman who has left the South and returns, years later, to New Orleans, where her father is dying. After his death, she and her silly young stepmother go back still farther, to the small Mississippi town where she grew up. Along in the old house, Laurel finally comes to an understanding of the past, herself, and her parents.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

It should also be said that Laurel is a widow, having lost her husband, I’m assuming, during World War II. Because I lost my own husband and father, I can relate to her. Her stepmother, the New Orleans doctor, and the people in the small Mississippi town where Laurel and her stepmother return help create this short, heart-wrenching tale of loss. However, preferring stories with a more positive ending, I found this one’s conclusion disappointing. But I’m not sorry I read the book.

 

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

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Website

 

 

A Piano of My Own #Jottings #TuesdayTidbit #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

When my mother was alive, she loved to talk about an incident from my childhood that I don’t remember. When I was about five years old and we were living in Tucson, Arizona, my parents acquired an upright piano. I don’t know what brand it was or if it was new or used. It was intended as a toy for me, but one day, my mother heard me playing the opening notes to Beethoven’s fifth symphony and decided it was time to call a piano teacher.

I loved playing the piano, especially making up melodies and harmonies, which impressed my parents. I didn’t like the piano lessons so much because I had to play these boring exercises, then some classical pieces by Bach and Mozart, which I loved listening to but found hard to play. Because of my limited vision, I couldn’t read music. So, Mother had to teach me the pieces I was required to learn, and she had little patience. However, I endured the lessons until I was twelve. By that time, we’d moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, and my mother had given up insisting I take lessons.

I enjoyed playing popular songs. Friends taught me how to play “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul,” which are two fun duets children can play together. My mother and I often played classical duets. I tried teaching her “Heart and Soul,” but without sheet music, she couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

After we moved to Wyoming, I started using the piano to accompany my singing. When I was a freshman in high school, my father encouraged me to take a jazz improvisation class. But like classical music, although I enjoyed listening to jazz, I couldn’t get the hang of playing it.

As a junior in high school, I won first place in a local talent competition with my rendition of “You Light Up My Life.” My brother, seven years my junior, got a drum set, and we often had fun playing and performing together with me on piano and vocals and him on drums.

In college, when I majored in music for four years, I had to endure more piano lessons and learn to play classical music again. But I survived, and during my senior recital, I managed to do a decent job of playing Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor.

Once I started training in music therapy, I was free of the obligation to play classical music. Since I decided to focus primarily on nursing home residents, I used the piano to accompany my singing of standards from the earlier part of the twentieth century, which were popular when many older people were growing up. After I got my first apartment and job here in Sheridan, my grandmother gave me her piano, an upright Kimball, since she didn’t play. Others in my family were musical. My grandfather played the saxophone, and two uncles played piano and guitar. But since my grandfather had passed away and both uncles were no longer living at home, Grandma didn’t want the piano. I was delighted to take it off her hands. I’ve moved three times since then, but I’ve always found a place for it and treasure it still today.

I no longer work as a registered music therapist, but I entertain at nursing homes and other venues. So, I use the piano to practice what I’ll perform. I recently started playing the piano and singing in on-line talent programs through ACB Community Calls, a series of activities held on Zoom, sponsored by the American Council of the Blind.

In case you’re wondering what happened to the original piano my parents bought, my nephew in Colorado has it. He teaches piano and writes songs, and I hope he’ll make good use of it. As for my piano, as long as I’m able to play, it’ll be with me always.

How about you? Did you ever learn to play a musical instrument? Do you still have such an instrument today? Please feel free to share your memories in the comment field.

***

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

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Website

 

 

Hurricane Matthew and Me #Tuesday Tidbit #Poetry #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

In Sheridan, Wyoming, a Florida hurricane
was far from most people’s minds
on the morning of Thursday, October 6th, 2016.
I texted my brother in Jupiter,
got no response, not unusual.

In the afternoon, he called,
said they were putting up special shutters,
preparing for shortages of power and food.

In the evening, while munching a sandwich,
I found a Florida radio station online,
pictured my relatives in their shuttered home amid wind and rain.

Before going to bed, I tuned in the same station.
Phone and power lines were down, shelters open.

Friday morning, I tuned in the station a third time.
The storm had passed, left damage in its wake.
I sent a text to my brother
before dashing off to my water exercise class,
found a response on my return.
They hadn’t even lost power.

***

The above poem was published in the current issue of Magnets and Ladders, which can be read here. Click below for a recording of me reading it.

 

hurricane matthew and me

 

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