Mother’s Day Surprises #WordPressWednesday #Reblogs #Inspiration

On Sunday, March 27th, folks in the UK celebrated Mother’s Day. Here’s fellow author and blogger Stevie Turner with her reflections on the subject. If you’re a mother in the UK, I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

***

All those years of broken sleep, homework dramas, piano lessons, guitar lessons, band-in-the-garage, 50cc motorbike dramas, driving lessons, too-much-beer issues, girlfriend issues, Mum and Dad’s taxi and bank of Mum and Dad are behind us now.

 

View original post.

A Heartwarming Page-Turner #FridayFunReads #BookReviews #Inspiration

West with Giraffes: A Novel

by Lynda Rutledge

 

What Amazon Says

 

An emotional, rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America.

“Few true friends have I known and two were giraffes…”

Woodrow Wilson Nickel, age 105, feels his life ebbing away. But when he learns giraffes are going extinct, he finds himself recalling the unforgettable experience he cannot take to his grave.

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.

Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.

 

My Thoughts

 

I’ve always enjoyed stories about animals, and this one didn’t disappoint me. I was right there with Woody, the old man, and the giraffes, as they crossed the country, dealing with one adversity after another, wondering if they would make it to California. I appreciated the author’s and historical notes at the end, which explain the inspiration behind the book and provide fascinating background information about the time period during which most of the story takes place. If you’re interested in reading an adventure story involving animals and learning something along the way, West with Giraffes 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?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

The Importance of Knowing the Time #Reblogs #TuesdayTidbit #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Note: I posted the following here a year ago. If you’ve read it before, I hope you’ll agree it’s worth a second look. If it’s new to you, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

***

In January of 2006, three months after Bill and I were married and two weeks before he suffered his first stroke, I learned the value of having an effective time piece. Bill and I took the bus from our home in Sheridan, Wyoming, to Fowler, Colorado, to visit Bill’s sister and other family and friends for a couple of weeks. In our haste to get to the Sheridan bus station at three in the morning, I forgot to put on my talking watch after showering and didn’t realize it until it was too late. The following excerpt from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds describes a faux pas that occurred as a result of me not having my watch.

***

One morning, soon after we arrived in Fowler, Bill shook me awake and told me it was seven o’clock. Shirley’s cleaning lady was due at eight, and I didn’t want her to catch us in bed. At a quarter to eight, after having showered and dressed, I settled in a recliner in the living room with my radio and headphones.

Shirley wasn’t up yet, and this seemed odd. I also noticed that it didn’t appear to be getting any lighter. I tuned in a public radio station out of Pueblo, and after fifteen minutes of national news, a local announcer said, “Good morning. It’s six a.m.”

Barely able to contain my anger, I stomped into the bedroom where Bill was dressing. I didn’t want to yell for fear of waking Shirley. “You idiot! It’s only six o’clock.”

Bill laughed. “I thought my watch said it was seven.”

“Yeah, right,” I said, as I sat on the bed and took off my shoes. “That’s why I don’t use a Braille watch anymore.”

“Well, let’s go out to breakfast.”

“You go out to breakfast,” I said, as I lay on the bed and covered myself with the blanket. “I’m going back to sleep.”

I turned on my side and closed my eyes. I heard him leave and knew he was mad, but I didn’t care. As I drifted back to sleep, I vowed never to forget my watch again. Little did I know that this was the last trip Bill and I would take together.

***

How about you? Can you remember an instance when you didn’t have a watch or a way to tell time? What happened as a result?

 

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

 

 

A Christmas Party to Remember #OpenBookBlogHop #Excerpt #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “If you could invite anyone in the world to be your dinner guest, who would you invite?”

***

To tell the truth, I can’t think of anyone I would invite to my home for dinner. Although I enjoy eating dinner at other people’s houses, not being much of a cook, I’ve never relished the idea of having dinner guests.

On the other hand, my late husband Bill loved parties. After we became engaged in 2005, he threw a barbecue at his home, inviting at least fifty people, including members of my family. So, after he suffered his first stroke, I volunteered to host our annual Range Writers Christmas party, knowing how much he would enjoy the festivities and how difficult it might have been to get him into someone else’s house in his wheelchair.

Fortunately, it was pot luck. So, I didn’t have to do much cooking. And how did Bill thank me for my efforts? He hit on another woman. Well, he didn’t mean to do that. As you’ll see from the following excerpt from My Ideal Partner, being totally blind, he didn’t realize I wasn’t sitting next to him when he suddenly extended his hand and said, “I love you, honey.”

***

As I mentioned before, one side effect of a stroke is that the person has little control over emotions. Often while listening to a talking book or email message, Bill would start bawling because the material moved him. When I sat next to him, even in public, he frequently put his arm around me and told me he loved me. As we all sat in the living room, laughing and chatting, Bill extended his hand to the woman sitting on the couch next to his recliner, thinking it was me. “I love you, honey,” he said.

From across the room, I heard and saw everything. “Oh, sweetie, that’s Mary,” I said.

Embarrassed, Mary rose and offered to trade places with me. As I sat down next to Bill and took his hand, I said, “I turn my back for ten seconds, and you’re hitting on another woman.” He laughed, and so did everyone else.

After that, I always made sure I sat next to him at parties, and if that wasn’t possible, he always knew where I was.

***

How about you? If you could invite anyone in the world to dinner, who would it be? You can click here to participate and read what other bloggers have to say.

***

Now, I have one exciting event to announce, and I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of it. 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.

 

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

 

 

Hunting and Pecking #It’sSix-SentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

This week’s six-sentence prompt word is “method.” Below, I’ve copied a passage of exactly six sentences from my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Here, I show my late husband Bill using his computer for the first time in months since his first stroke. After powering up the machine, I stood nearby in case he was unsure of what to do. But as you’ll note, there are some things you don’t forget, even after you’ve had a stroke.

***

To my astonishment, after the Windows welcome screen and then the desktop came up, and the screen reader indicated it was ready, he went straight to his music folder and found “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You.”

I hugged him, and for the first time since his stroke, we snuggled while listening to the song, with him sitting in his wheelchair and me standing next to him. It wasn’t the same as cuddling on the couch together, but it was the closest we could come, and this time of loving each other was the first of many.

When the song ended, he said, “I’ll do email now.”

I left him and spent the next couple of hours in my office. As I worked, I was comforted by the distant sound of the synthetic text–to–speech voice on his computer, reading his email and saying the characters he typed. Even though he needed to use the hunt and peck method with his only good hand, this felt right.

This was in 2006. A couple of years later, we found software that allowed Bill to send email via voice recordings. If you’d like to know more, you can read My Ideal Partner.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring this. If you’d like to participate in this week’s hop and read other people’s six-sentence stories, click 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

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website