My Mother’s Keeper by S. G. Benson

Hi everyone. Something a little different this Friday. As some of you know when I’m not writing or puzzling I edit books for others. My editing projects run the gambit from children’s picture books, to gritty thrillers and sometimes include memoir.

One of the most powerful memoirs I edited recently is S. G. Benson’s My Mother’s Keeper. In it she chronicles her journey as caretaker for her mother as she succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a tough journey but well worth the read.

Most people, at some point in their lives, confront issues with aging parents. Whether the problems are medical, financial, logistical, or emotional—or some combination—it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless.

My Mother’s Keeper: One family’s journey through dementia chronicles the author’s journey through parental dementia. At first, the author didn’t even recognize it as an illness. Once she found herself up to her neck in a nightmare, she had no time for research. She spent every waking moment coping, reacting, and scrambling—and was simply too exhausted to do more than try to put out each fire as it flared.

Later, once the crisis subsided, she found several books, articles, and websites that contained helpful information about dementia, its associated behaviors, and care suggestions for patients. What she didn’t find were stories of how families coped with it.

By sharing her experience, she hopes to help fill that gap. This book tells her family’s story of rapidly-accelerating personality changes, aggression, violence, fear, mistakes, hopelessness, helplessness, and eventual closure. The author hopes it will help readers who find themselves embarking on a similar journey understand that they are not alone.

My Mother’s Keeper is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Authors, readers, and bloggers are uniting again his year to fight stigma, spread mental health awareness, and support the prevention of suicide. To encourage participation, we’re giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt to one lucky winner.

Two kinds of stigma continue to persist: public stigma and self-stigma. Public stigma occurs when other people view a person with a mental illness in a negative way. Public stigma feeds into self-stigma when people with mental illness internalize the negative talk they hear from others.

Well-meaning people say things like, “Suck it up,” “Choose to be happy,” “Turn that frown upside down,” or “Focus on your blessings,” as if mental illness were a mood, a frame of mind, or an attitude that can simply be overcome at will.

Often, people who suffer from mental illness blame themselves instead of seeking help. Just as a diabetic needs insulin, a person with mental illness may need treatment.

People who contemplate suicide don’t want to die; they just can’t fathom how to live because they are so miserable. They can’t see past their pain and misery, and they see no point in going on.

According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, “Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.”

IASP explains that “[e]very life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.”

If you’re contemplating suicide, please don’t do it! Instead, seek help. You might be suffering now, but you never know what tomorrow brings. Reach out to a friend or family member. See a doctor. If that doctor doesn’t help, try another. Please don’t give up.

If you’re in crisis, please reach out to the toll-free hotline in your region. You can find your hotline here: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/.

If you are grieving the death of a victim of suicide and need help, here are resources that can help: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Postvention/National_Suicide_Survivor_Organizations/.

If you suspect that someone you know may be contemplating suicide, please reach out. We often hesitate because we’re afraid we might make things worse by saying the wrong thing. According to IASP, “Evidence suggests that this is not the case. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.”

Warning signs to look for include severe anxiety, agitation, hopelessness, rage, feelings of being trapped, a strong urge for vengeance, engaging in risky activities, excessive alcohol and/or drug use, withdrawing from people, trouble sleeping, and dramatic mood changes.

Click to Tweet: Mental illness isn’t a personality flaw; it’s an illness that comes on through no fault of the individual who suffers with it. Mental illness is treatable and suicide is preventable. #WSPD

LIZ’S STORY

For my personal section of this blog I want to highlight a very special memoir I edited a few years ago from the wonderfully courageous Elizabeth Biermann.

Her memoir focuses on  healing from childhood sexual abuse. The time she spent healing from sexual abuse was not without struggle and yet she considers her journey fairly typical. This has allowed her to look back at her life with peace and move forward with strength and pride. Elizabeth believes it is through speaking out and through awareness that change will come. With awareness in mind, she writes this book for everyone, not just survivors. Available in paperback from Amazon.

WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE

I’d also in this section like to draw attention to a charity anthology I’m part of. All proceeds for this one go to Project Semicolon.

Life is full of ups and downs. We struggle day to day sometimes with our jobs, social interactions, bills and finding time to spend with our families. It can be somewhat depressing to go through the motions, waiting for that break so more time can be devoted to what matters most. Delve into the darkest depths of life in this anthology to find the strength to overcome the hardships.

Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

THE TOUR

Book lovers from all over the world have joined together to share their stories and spread mental health awareness. Please follow this tour guide to find our posts and to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 t-shirt:

P.D. Workman, Author

Triple A Book Blog

Jessica Burkhart, Author

Here Is What I Read Blog

Crossroad Reviews

Jazzy Book Reviews

Book Corner News and Reviews

I Love Books and Stuff Blog

Luv Saving Money

Debbie Manber Kupfer, Author

Ash Ineski, Author

Allie Burton, Author

Book Butterfly in Dreamland

Sara Crawford, Author

Tawdra Kandle, Author

Quinn Loftis, Author

Kat’s Indie Book Blog

Day Leitao, Author

Steph Weston, Author

Lanie Bynum, Author

L.B. Carter, Author

Holly and Mistletoe

Eva Pohler, Author

THE GIVEAWAY

From September 1-10, enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt. There are lots of ways to enter below–choose one or all. You can also tweet daily for extra entries. We’ll email the winner by September 11th.

Enter the Rafflecopter here!

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP

1. On September 10th at 8 p.m. your time, light a candle to remember all those we have lost to suicide and to represent the hope of preventing suicide. People all over the world will be participating. You can send an ecard in 63 different languages to invite others to participate. Find the ecards here.

2. Purchase a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 for $20. For every shirt sold, five dollars is donated to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Order yours here.

3. Spread the word about this giveaway, to encourage more people to read our posts and tweet about overcoming stigma. Use the share buttons at the bottom of this post, and

Click to tweet: #EntertoWin a $50 #giftcard and #Tshirt while fighting #stigma and spreading #mentalhealthawareness for #suicideprevention #WSPD.

OTHER RESOURCES

Here are videos on suicide and mental helath that I have found to be helpful:

The Bridge Between Suicide and Life

You’re Still Here: Living After Suicide

This Is for All of You in a Dark Place

https://storyoriginapp.com/to/Ktcvs2s

My Favorite Characters

In one of my author Facebook groups a friend asked the question today who are your favorite characters you’ve created. It got me thinking. It’s hard to choose favorites, kind of like choosing your favorite child.

All of my fictional children are dear to me, but still after a bit of though I came up with a list of five.

  1. All-time favorite – Gromer the Green – my wild Welsh warlock that I created originally for Argentum (P.A.W.S. 2) and keeps coming back because I love him so much. His love story with Caradog is probably also my favorite relationship I’ve ever created. The love between the two is so genuine and perfect it almost makes me cry.
  2. Doris – my psychotic vacuu-droid that I created for my story in Sins of the Future. Probably the most fun character to write ever. I read the story allowed for an event about a year ago and reading that kind of crazy was awesome.  You can read a little of Doris’s story on this site.  Doris
  3. Griddlebone – This genetically modified werecat was also originally created for an anthology (Sins of the Past) but his story linked with the Holocaust was only partly told in that tale and Griddlebone became the glue that bound book 3 of my series (Umbrae) together. Even though I write YA I have a tendency to place a lot of emphasis on my older characters with more experience in this world and Griddlebone is definitely one ot the best I’ve created. Sign up for my newsletter to read Griddlebone’s story for free.  12141512_881749858604439_20870965501264272_n
  4. The TegsStella and Morgana. My evil green fairies are probably the funnest of all my characters to write.
  5. Shirley the Camel – this one I created for my mum who passed away a year ago. It came about because my mum even in the hot Israeli heat never needed more than a sip or two of water at a time. So I joked that she was a camel and then I created her character and put her in the zoo in London where she could watch her soap operas and make her scones.

I really have to stop at 5 – well so be it, but there are so many more — Joey the animagus kangaroo, Xavier the wereduck, Ian the chimp and of course my villain, Alistair.

I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve read any of my books and stories who is your favorite character?

Favorite Reads of 2019

wintermagic

Hi folks and Happy New Year. I hope you all had an awesome holiday season.

It’s time for my annual run down of my favorite titles I read in 2019. According to Goodreads I read a total of 32 books this year — that’s six more than my challenge number of 24.

Here in no particular order are my favorite reads of 2019. And this year I’m proud to say that every one of them was written by an indie author.

EverUpward

First up — I was excited to pick up a signed copy of part two of George Sirois’s Excelsior Journey – EVER UPWARD. This book took a while in coming, but was definitely worth the wait. If you enjoy YA sci-fi give it a whirl, but start first with book one EXCELSIOR.

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I completed several awesome fantasy series this year that I had begun the year before. One of them is Ben S. Reeder’s Demon’s Apprentice series. This upper YA urban fantasy keeps getting better and is highly recommended. (One again start from the beginning!)

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And another awesome series I completed this year. PROVIDENCE PARANORMAL COLLEGE by D.R. Perry. This is a series of interconnected stories each focusing on different pairs of students. The story arc between all the characters is rich and complex with a lot of aha moments towards the end when different parts of the puzzle that is created over all ten books come into place. Although in theory you could read each book separately I suggest you take them order. I actually read them all over a two-year period and was sad when I came to the end of the last book.

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And now for something completely different. CHASE THE RABBIT by Steven M. Thomas along with its three sequels is an action adventure series like you’ve never read before. Thomas intersperses old Hollywood with mystery in a delightful way that keeps you glued to the story. A huge heap of nostalgia here along with some excellent writing.

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*Sigh* – another final book in a series and one that made me sad as I adore Jen Ponce’s fantastic Devany Miller series. SOUL HOOK was a satisfying conclusion to the quintet which I cannot recommend more strongly.

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In FLIGHT, part three of Camille Faye’s Voodoo Butterfly series we depart from New Orleans and venture into faraway Malaysia. The book is captivating and I await anxiously for book 4 that should be released in 2020.

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As you probably know from my previous years’ best of posts I’m a huge fan of R.R.Virdi’s Grave Report. DANGEROUS WAYS is set in the same world where Vincent dwells but while Graves is like popcorn and addictive to consume, Dangerous Ways has the richness of a good meal. I enjoyed digesting the book slowly and reveling in the world. (And I really hope a second Book of Winter is coming soon.

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And finally — another favorite author that I’ve been waiting for a new book from for a long time. BAD DREAMS & BROKEN HEARTS is a collection of case studies from a detective that lives and works an a world like ours except magic is commonplace and sometimes problematic. The stories are perfect and well worth the wait. Highly recommended along with Misha’s dark urban fantasy series, The Book of Doors.

So there we go, my favorite reads from 2019. What were your favorite reads? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Also just a little reminder that my P.A.W.S. Saga is still on sale for 99 cents/99p a piece until Jan 1st.

Catch up on the P.A.W.S. Saga

 

 

 

Walter and Shirley

Today would have been my parents’ Shirley and Walter Manber’s 57th wedding anniversary. Here’s a little something I wrote a few months after my mother passed at the end of last year.

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Walter sat in the chair reading. This was the fourth book in the series and he smiled when he read about the camel. She reminded him of someone. Someone he had known a long time ago.

There was a knock on the door and she entered. She looked like she had done when they had first met at the dance. She walked up to him unsure.

“I see you made it,” he said.

She nodded and smiled, then pointed at the book.

“I liked that one. It was the last thing I read. You know she put the camel in for me?”

“I thought so. It was definitely a good bit.”

 

“Ah I see she found you,” said a voice from the doorway.

Walter nodded at the cat that waited just outside the door. He was used to Griddlebone. The cat would come by and talk every few days and would ask if he wanted to pass on to the next place. He always said no, he would wait until she could join him.

“Are you ready?” asked Griddlebone.

Walter turned to Shirley and she nodded, and they both followed the cat.

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