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

 

 

Pets and Writing #Open Book Blog Hop #Wednesday Words

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do pets (or other animals) play an important part in your books? Tell us about them.”

Absolutely! I love dogs. I remember plenty of them when I was growing up. Now, I don’t want the responsibility of caring for them, but I enjoy incorporating them into my stories.

In my first novel, We Shall Overcome, my heroine’s boyfriend has an Irish setter named Molly. Last year when I was blocked on my novel-in-progress, a Great Dane puppy named Squeakers saved the day. Now, here’s an excerpt from my latest novel, The Red Dress, in which we meet Ginger, the family’s Black Lab.

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The clicking of Ginger’s nails on the floor in the hall and the jingling of her collar interrupted Eve’s thoughts. She turned as the dog loped into her office and to her side and placed her head on her knee.

“Oh, Ginger, I wish the kids would take more responsibility for you,” said Eve, stroking the dog’s head. “I’ve finished the proofs, now, so all I have to do is check email, and then we’ll go for a walk. Okay?”

Ginger flopped onto the floor at Eve’s feet and looked up at her as if to say, “I’m holding you to that.”

Eve smiled and turned to her computer, where she clicked the Accept button on Charlene’s friend request.

“We’ll see what happens,” she said.

In answer, Ginger wagged her tail, thumping it against the floor.

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What was Eve doing when Ginger’s jingling collar interrupted her? Who is Charlene? Read the book and find out. To participate in this week’s Open Book Blog Hop, click here.

***

By the way, 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

 

 

Only Time #Musical Monday

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

I first heard this song in 2003 while I was writing my first novel, We Shall Overcome. According to Wikipedia, Enya, who’s birth name was Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, born in County Donegal, Ireland on May 17, 1961, is the same age as me, 59. Her genres include Celtic, pop, new age, and world. Her original birth name was anglicized to Enya Patricia Brennan. She first joined her family’s Irish band on keyboard and backing vocals. She left in 1980 with their manager and producer to pursue a solo career.

Over the next four years, she developed her own sound, including elements of classical, folk, and church music as well as her other genres. She has sung in ten languages. Her first solo projects include the soundtrack for The Frog Prince (1984) and the BBC documentary series, The Celts, which was released as her debut album in 1987. In 1988, she soared to the top of the charts with her hit single “Orinoco Flow,” followed by the multi-million selling albums, Shepherd Moons in 1991, The Memory of Trees in 1995, and A Day Without Rain in 2000. “Only Time” became popular in the United States after it was used in media coverage of the September 11th attacks in 2001. You can learn more about Ireland’s best-selling solo artist

here.

After hearing this song, I was inspired to refer to it in a scene from We Shall Overcome, which I’ll include below. My main character, Lisa, is visually impaired and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. She is dating John, who used to be a policeman. Hank is Lisa’s brother, who is visiting from New Mexico. As the scene begins, John and Lisa are returning from a ride together on a tandem bike. If you want to know more, you’ll need to read the book, and you’ll find more information about it here. Now, here’s the scene, followed by the song.

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They rode the trail a while before returning to the shop. The truck was parked in the driveway, and the station wagon was still parked on the street.  The shop door was still locked. “I guess Dad and Hank must be in the house eating lunch,” Lisa said. “Would you please wait while I reset the alarm in case I screw up?” With trembling fingers, she unlocked the door and pushed the buttons on the panel, giving a sigh of relief when a beep indicated the alarm was reset.

“You did it,” said John, pulling Lisa into his arms. A nearby jukebox in the shop began to play. John jumped and said, “I think there’s something wrong with that machine.”

“Oh, no,” said Lisa with a laugh. “This is one of the newer jukeboxes that plays CDs. It plays a song at random every twenty minutes unless it is already being played.”

“Very interesting,” said John, delivering a passionate kiss on Lisa’s mouth.

As Lisa became enveloped in this kiss she noticed the song being played. It was one she’d never heard before but she liked it.

“Hello,” said Hank who stood in the doorway. Startled, the two lovers separated. “Guilty as charged,” said Hank.

“We just got here and were listening to this song that just came on the jukebox,” said John. “Do you know what it is?”

After Hank listened a minute, he said, “Yes. It’s ‘Only Time’ by Enya. A good song to kiss to, if you ask me.”

By the way, 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.

***

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Wind Beneath My Wings #Monday Musical Memories

The song I’m featuring today is one I sang to my late husband Bill. After his death, I realized that he was truly the wind beneath my wings.

If he hadn’t come along and persuaded me to marry him, quit my day job, and write full time, I might still be conducting music activities in nursing homes and other senior facilities. If not for him, I might still be in the apartment where I lived for years instead of in my own house with my own washer and dryer and back yard. If I hadn’t married him, I wouldn’t have five published books under my belt with a sixth on the way.

Bill was one of my biggest fans. He supported all my writing endeavors, even helping me with story ideas. I remember the day I received print copies of my first book, We Shall Overcome. I placed a copy in his hands, and because he had no vision at all, I described the front and back cover to him. With what I imagined to be his shit-eating grin, he said, “My wife, the published author.” When my second book, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver was ready to be published, he posed with me for the photo on the front cover. Whenever possible, he was at my side during book signings and other events, smiling, even though he was confined to a wheelchair as a result of two strokes. You can read more about us in My Ideal Partner: How I met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

On my birthday today, I’d like to give you all the gift of my gratitude to Bill for making me what I am today. Even now, this song is hard for me to sing. But as you’ll note when you press the Play button below, I somehow managed to pull it off. Enjoy!

I was inspired to share this song by a prompt. 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.