Wednesday, December 13, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Wendy Mitchell Writes about Living With Young Onset Dementia


by Wendy Mitchell

Imagine yourself being given a diagnosis of Young Onset Dementia. Your life falls apart, you feel worthless, and of no use to anyone any more. Services are nonexistent, so you feel abandoned.

That’s what happened to me in July 2014, when I was diagnosed with young onset dementia at the age of 58, and still working full-time in the NHS. I retired at the age of 59, due to ill health, thinking there was no alternative. Then I sat waiting for services to kick in, but, of course, nothing happened. There were no services.

I could have given up and gone into a deep state of depression, but I knew there must be more. We all had talents before a diagnosis of dementia; we don’t suddenly lose all those talents overnight when we get a diagnosis.

Opportunities started to come my way, first with research. That was once I’d gotten over the barrier of health care professionals thinking it was their right to deny me the option. Taking part in research gives me hope and I need hope. I could be helping create a better future for my daughters, so taking part in research was a no-brainer for me.

Many people, when they hear the word ‘research,’ have an image of men in white coats handing out dodgy drugs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Social and technological research is equally important while we await that elusive cure. I’ve taken part in drug trials, but also social research to find the best ways to live with dementia and care for those no longer able to care for themselves. I’ve tested apps, I’ve commented on web sites. Yes, me a person with dementia. After all, how do the so-called ‘experts’ know they’re getting it right if they don’t ask the real experts – those of us living with dementia now?

My blog, Which me am I today?, is, for me, simply “my memory.” I couldn’t tell you what I did yesterday unless I read my blog. That other people all over the world choose to read it is humbling, plus it’s enabled me to raise awareness. All I'm doing in my own little way is to show others what can be achieved and not to give up. I also hope it will help others look at dementia differently.

Oh, and I've just finished writing my book, Somebody I Used to Know, which is due out in the UK in the New Year and America in May, along with a little “firewalking” in October for my local Hospice.

So, as you can see, I’m a great believer in concentrating on what I still CAN do and not dwelling on the issues that dementia throws at me.


About the Author

I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia on the 31st July 2014 at the age of 58 years young. I might not have much of a short-term memory, but that’s one date I’ll never forget. I have two daughters and live happily in Yorkshire.



Connect with Wendy Mitchell

Website/Blog
Twitter: @WendyPMitchell

Friday, December 8, 2017

New Release Spotlight and Giveaway: Summer's Squall by Amy Schissler


 
Do you like winter? A lot of people don’t, like me, who perseveres through it longing for beach days and hours spent by the pool. Fortunately, summer is coming. Yes, it’s about seven months away, but we can still celebrate it. And today, Amy Schliser is on the blog telling us all about her new book, Summer’s Squall.
 
Summer’s Squall, begins in Baltimore where Baltimore City Police Detective, Abe (Lank) Lankton, assumes he'll be helping his cousin solve a minor problem when she calls and asks him to fly west. When he learns that he's been called out there to aid in capturing an elusive stalker, his first instinct is go straight back to Maryland. However, when he meets the alluring victim, Summer Cooper, all bets are off. With his future, and his own life, in jeopardy, Lank must choose between going back to the life he knows in America's Charm City or staying out west to help Summer. But Lank's not sure that Summer is all that she claims to be or that the stalker even exists. One thing he knows for sure, Summer is guilty... of stealing his heart. Summer’s Squall is published by Chesapeake Sunrise Publishing and will be available in local book stores. It may be ordered through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and most other online sellers.
 
About the Author
 
Award-winning author, Amy MacWilliams Schisler, grew up in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. She graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science and from the University of Maryland with a Masters of Library and Information Science. Amy began writing as a child and spent fifteen years working as a librarian, a job she dearly loved, before becoming a full-time author. Her debut book was the beloved children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, an autobiographical book about spending the day with her grandfather that is used throughout the state of Maryland as part of its Maryland history unit. Amy’s first novel, A Place to Call Home, was published in 2014 by Sarah Book Publishing. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, received 2016 and 2017 Illumination Book Awards, which recognize the best Christian themed books published both in the traditional book form as well as the ebook industry. Whispering Vines received a 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. She followed up her success with the acclaimed, Island of Miracles in 2017. Amy’s weekly blog currently has over 1000 subscribers, and topics vary from current events to her home life with her husband, Ken, and their three daughters, Rebecca, Katie, and Morgan, as well as their two dogs, Rosie and Misty. Schisler delights in speaking to groups. More information may be found at her website. 
 

Connect with Amy Schissler

You may follow Amy online at the following places:
Twitter @AmySchislerAuth

Giveaway
 

Amy is generously giving one lucky person two signed paperbacks. One copy is for you and the other for your friend. You can enter here: Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Don Wendorf, and Caregiver Carols - A Musical, Emotional Memoir



By Don Wendorf

I wrote CAREGIVER CAROLS: A Musical, Emotional Memoir to cope with my own emotional struggles as a caregiver for my late wife Susan with her strokes and vascular dementia, and to help other caregivers deal with their feelings. I wanted them to see that their emotions, while often complex, intense, or unpleasant were normal; to know they were not alone; to encourage them to ask for even more help than they thought they needed; and to suggest very practical things for them to try to manage their feelings better. I told my/our story and shared a wide range of my experiences and emotions, including some of the hardest and least discussed, particularly anger, guilt, shame, sexuality (gasp), and grief. One selection even talks about my wishing she might die, which she actually prayed to do. I don’t imagine I’m the only one who ever fantasized about that. Despite being a psychotherapist myself and “knowing all about this,” I got massive burnout and I didn’t want anyone else to go through that.

I wrote the book in a combination of regular prose and song lyrics/rhyming verse to make these difficult, scary, often painful reflections or topics more easily absorbed, processed, retained, recalled and used. I hoped the humorous, artistic, metaphorical, creative, entertaining format would help people deal with their own “stuff,” but I also found that the creative, expressive arts may be as helpful to caregivers as they have been increasingly found to be with persons living with dementia.

The process of composing these songs or lyrics gave me a nurturing, safe retreat to go to; a place to step back from my daily stresses and emotional struggles and look at things from another perspective; a source of insight into what was going on with me (and us); and even enjoyment in the act of creating. I found I would jump into a passage I was working on in my mind as I ran for exercise, or did errands, or cleaned up or cooked, or dressed Susan, or changed diapers. I would have verses or rhymes pop into my head when I was upset, or tired, anxious or bored with the routine, or frustrated with her. So, I’ve become an advocate for the expressive arts for caregiver self-care as well as for caregivees, and I push it as much as healthy diet, regular exercise, restorative sleep, seeking help, staying socially involved,and constantly challenging our brains to learn and grow. I perform several pieces from the book when I speak at conferences or to support groups, as well as quoting some passages to demonstrate what I mean.

Sample Song

Verse

Where’s my road map, my directions? Where’s my GPS? How will I know where I am going? Trial and error? Guess? Where’s a road sign? Find a landmark. What am I to do? I’m just groping in the dark and haven’t got a clue.

Chorus

Caregiving comes without handbooks or rules, No set of instructions, no box full of tools.
I want to choose rightly, I want to do well.
But making decisions is caregiving hell.

About the Author

Don Wendorf, Psy.D. is a retired psychologist and marriage & family therapist, who practiced over 40 years, specializing in marriage therapy. He retired in 2013 to be the full-time caregiver for his increasingly stroke-disabled wife Susan, after taking care of her and working for 15 years. She passed away in March 2014. He also helped to take care of his mother-in-law (cancer), father (Parkinson’s) and mother (Alzheimer’s). Don has been a professional musician since his high school days, playing in a variety of jazz and bluegrass bands as well as writing songs. He combined all these interests and experiences in two books, one on marriage (Love Lyrics: The Musical Marital Manual) and one on the emotional struggles in caregiving (Caregiver Carols: a Musical, Emotional Memoir), both written primarily in song lyric (rhyming light verse) form to be most easily accessed, absorbed, recalled and applied. He has two sons, two daughters-in-law and five marvelous grandchildren. Don and his wife Lynda are also avid hikers and advocates for increased funding for Alzheimer’s research. They met when he contributed to her book, Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers and together they have edited several additional books for caregivers.

Find Dr. Don Wendorf on Facebook.

For more vetted books on Alzheimer's and dementia

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Richard L. Morgan, PhD



by Richard L. Morgan, PhD

Listening to the needs of caregivers as a facilitator of Alzheimer’s support groups for many years, I became aware that care giving and receiving are opportunities for mutual spiritual growth.

Collaborating with gerontologist, Jane Thibault, Ph.D., we wrote, No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia. It is our belief that caregivers have two basic needs: affirmation that caregiving is not in vain, and reassurance that the lives of those for whom they care are not being lived in vain. We also believe that care receivers need more than medical attention; they need tender care, involvement in the community, and a sense of connection with a loving God.

This book, based on personal stories of caregivers and receivers, shows how each plays a major role in acts of love that bring transformation to both. Our perspective is that caregiving is an extension of spiritual life, and we hope our book will aid families and professionals to look beyond day-to-day routines and chores and accept their role as an opportunity to serve the total person in body, mind, and spirit. We offer suggestions for the spiritual care of persons with dementia, and helpful tips for leading support groups and worship services for persons with dementia. Our goal was to move beyond the medical model of care and provide the missing piece for caring for persons with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. No act of love is ever wasted as every act of love brings positive transformation to the recipient, to the giver, and to the world.

Drawing on 60 years of experience as a pastor, hospice chaplain, volunteer, and a friend to dying persons, I wrote At the Edge of Life: Conversations when Death Is Near, to offer perspective and counseling for people coping with a family member, friend or patient who is approaching the time of death. Serving in these roles, I learned either to be still or to carry on a conversation with those who are dying. The 30 meditations offered take us from accepting our own mortality, to the impending death of someone we care about through making preparations, to finding closure, and the dying moment.

Each meditation contains personal stories and quotations from scripture which lead into reflective questions and prayer. I wrote At the Edge of Life to help us listen, talk, and relate to each other so that those of us who remain behind are able to both give and receive the gift of this final conversation. I hope that the book will bring a sense of peace that gives readers confidence as companions to the dying. Since its publication in 2014, At the Edge of Life has been on the Amazon list of 100 Best Seller Books on Death and Dying and has received the Illumination Book Award.


About the Author

Richard L. Morgan, Ph.D., a retired Presbyterian (USA) pastor, stays busy writing and volunteering in pastoral care at the Redstone Highlands retirement community where he lives with his wife, Alice Ann. In addition to his seminary training, he has an MA in Counseling and training in clinical pastoral education. He is the author or co-author of 20 books, including best sellers: No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia and Pilgrimage Into the Last Third of Life, both written with Dr. Jane Marie Thibault, and At the Edge of Life: Conversations when Death Is Near. He was honored with the 2013 Legacy Award by the Older Adult Ministry Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is a founder of the ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s network.


Connect with Richard L. Morgan, PhD



For more carefully vetted books on 
Alzheimer's and dementia 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Lynda Everman, editor of "Seasons of Caregiving - Meditations for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers"



By Lynda Everman

“To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope!” - Pope Francis

I really can’t tell the story of our book, “Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers” without first telling the story of ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s and the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition, as they are the result of the following loosely connected series of events.

Like many others, I was away from organized religion for many years. Late in 2009, a neighbor invited me to attend Sunday services with her. I had just reluctantly and painfully moved my husband to an assisted living facility.

Early the next year George and Trish Vradenburg launched their non-profit, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. I was immediately drawn to their bold vision of stopping Alzheimer’s by 2020 and joined them as a founding member of both the Activists and Women’s Networks. Over the next few years, I came to believe that a network of interfaith clergy would offer an important and powerful voice in our efforts to advance better care, prevention, and ultimately, a cure for this merciless disease.

In 2014, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Director Ginny Biggar and I set out to create ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s and were quickly joined by an amazing team of passionate volunteers: Max Wallack, Rabbi Steven M. Glazer, Rev. Dr. Richard L. Morgan, and Dr. Daniel C. Potts.

We initially hoped to recruit about 20 interested clergy to be founders; but in just 4 months, we had over 110 founding members and went on to recruit additional clergy, laity and faith organizations.

With our interfaith network in place, it was Dr. Potts who suggested the idea for a book of meditations with these words, “Here is something to think about...” Literally, overnight, our thoughts melded into this project with an outline, a book title, original artwork, and a strategy for implementation; and in 5 months we published “Seasons of Caring.”

Our book was written to offer hope, encouragement, compassion and empathy to those on the difficult journey of caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The book is organized around themes and metaphors of seasonal transition, with each of the four seasons paralleling the various stages of life. The 141 entries open with quotes from scripture, sacred text or other inspirational text. The original writings by 72 authors representing a great diversity of spiritual traditions range from thoughtful meditations to poignant personal stories, moving poems and meaningful songs. Each is followed by a prayer and words of comfort and encouragement.

We are grateful to our authors, caregivers themselves, who so generously gave of their time, experience and counsel.

The words of Pope Francis bear repeating as they well describe the intent of ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s and “Seasons of Caring”:

“Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that...let us become bearers of hope!” 

Visit www.SeasonsofCaring.org to learn more about our mission and work, and to find resources for faith communities, including sermons, books, programs, and actions you can take that will help us defeat Alzheimer’s.

About the Author

Lynda Everman has spent most of her adult life - 24 years - as a caregiver, first for her mom who was paralyzed by a stroke and later died from complications of diabetes, then for her dad who, in 1994, showed symptoms of vascular dementia, and finally for her husband who was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in 1997 and passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012.

It was because of these experiences, especially those related to the relentless individual and societal toll of dementia that Lynda was called into advocacy for increased awareness, better treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

She and fellow advocate Kathy Siggins have mounted a national campaign for a semipostal (awareness and fundraising) stamp for Alzheimer's research and have created the Help Stamp OUT Alzheimer’s facebook community to further this effort.

Lynda is a board member of B.A.B.E.S. (Beating Alzheimer’s By Embracing Science), a founding member of ActivistsAgainstAlzheimer’s, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, and has recently served as founder and convener to ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s. She is an editor and contributor to “Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers”, an interfaith volume with more than 140 original meditations from seventy religious leaders and care specialists representing seventeen faith traditions. She and her husband, Dr. Don Wendorf, have served as editors for the Leader’s Guide for Seasons of Caring and Treasure for Alzheimer’s, both written by Dr. Richard Morgan, a fellow Clergy Network founder and well-known author on issues of aging and caregiving. Because of her relentless advocacy, she has been recognized by Maria Shriver as a woman of influence in the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and included on Maria's "Big Wall of Empowerment”.

A retired Human Resources professional from the University of California, Lynda is determined to change the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease through public policy, increased funding for biomedical research, and recruitment of volunteers for clinical trials. Lynda is honored to speak on behalf of those with dementia and their loved ones and has addressed caregivers with her powerful message of being “The Voice: Advocating for your Loved One.” She may be contacted via the Help Stamp OUT Alzheimer’s facebook page, on Twitter @helpstampoutalz or by email @ ldeverman@icloud.com.


For more vetted books about Alzheimer's and dementia 
visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Release Spotlight: Annie Douglass Lima's "The Student and the Slave," Dystopian Young Adult Fiction


Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase! This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard.

The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2:


Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.



Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.

And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!


Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?

Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!

About the Author

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima
Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

An interview with Annie Douglass Lima

What inspires you to write in this genre?

It’s just too hard to see myself writing anything other than speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, etc.). Nonfiction and realistic fiction don’t give my imagination enough room to play!

Any more books in the series?

There probably won’t be a sequel to The Student and the Slave. However, I’ve thought about writing books (or perhaps short stories or novellas) set in the same world. They might focus on characters who’ve played a minor role in the Krillonian Chronicles trilogy, or on totally new characters. We’ll see.

Are you eclectic?

Yes, absolutely! Having lived in four countries and traveled to 21 so far, I consider myself to be a patchwork quilt of the different cultures that have shaped me. My tastes in food and clothing, and the d├ęcor in my home, reflect this combination of influences.

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!


***

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Release Spotlight & Author Interview: Paul Toolan and "A View From Memory Hill," short stories




We live life forwards, but understand it backwards. Either way, it's a personal journey.

The characters in this collection are looking back into the half-shaded landscapes of memory. Most are "of a certain age", but young voices appear too, in stories uplifting and regretful, comic and sinister, poignant and optimistic.

 
Common ground is that moment of realization - eventful, fleeting or veiled - unearthed during a journey into the past. 
  • Will "Ruby, the Silver Surfer" learn to cut and paste and save?
  • Who is "Mrs. Melanie?"
  • Should "Billy the Quid" sell up?
  • Can Frank Smith cope with being an "Old Man in a Young Pub?"
  • Why is Lydia "Sleepless in Southampton?"
  • "What's in your bag, mister?" asks the small boy in "A Bag for Life."
See for yourself.  

Interview with Paul Toolan 

Where do your stories come from?

If only I received royalties every time a reader asks me this! Here, there, and everywhere is the true but unhelpful answer. In A View from Memory Hill, there's a story called Old Man, Young Pub that was triggered by seeing…an old man in a young pub!
 
I was at the Brighton Festival (Brighton, England - I used to live there) with old friends/fellow retirees. We dropped in to a wonderful, low-ceilinged pub called The Basketmakers, whose decor has barely been touched since it opened. I remember thinking we were the oldest people there, among many young and lively folk, some dressed in the trendiest fashion, some so far ahead they were next year.

It was a hot day, but as I looked around I spotted an old gentleman in a tweed jacket and tie, standing at the bar, quietly sipping his pint. All around him, bright young things were loud and full of energy. They squatted on bar stools, but no-one offered a seat to the old guy, and his legs could have used one. I wondered about his silent thoughts.

His anonymity, mine too, amongst this colorful crowd threw up a name: Smith. With the conscious germ of a story now in my head, I called him Frank Smith in hope he would eventually be frank enough to tell some sort of tale. I never spoke to this old man, but later when I sat at my keyboard, I spoke to Frank Smith, or he to me. I really don't know which came first.

What I had was a character and a setting. No plot, no events, no history. Yet. But Frank Smith traveled with me, later in the Arts Festival, to a shabby-chic little theatre where, on hard seats, we watched a trio of skilled actors on a bare, dark stage. Magically, they brought to life some of Damon Runyan's New York Prohibition stories.

Shortly after, inside that inexplicable swirl called a writer's head, two separate experiences merged. Frank Smith went to his local pub; and he went to see a play. To keep the story structure tight, I made the theatre a blacked-out room at his pub, and had him go out of sheer boredom. Frank would have liked the Damon Runyan stories, but there's insufficient conflict in what characters enjoy. I needed to change the play, to find one that Frank Smith liked less, that triggered something of his history, his demons or regrets.

On my bookshelves, I have Samuel Beckett: The Complete Dramatic Works. I browsed through it. Krapp's Last Tape seemed ideal. It featured an old man's memories, recalled with the aid of an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. Krapp is a drinker too, which resonated with Frank. While flicking through, I revisited Rockaby, a short Beckett play featuring an old woman in a rocking chair, remembering her past. Within moments, Frank Smith had a wife.

A day or two later, I named her Lucy. Then killed her off. The story would have become a novel if I hadn't, and I wanted to balance Frank's ageing memories - of Lucy and others - with voices of youth. So along came the young woman who ushers the audience to their seats in "the long thin dark theatre" where Krapp's Last Tape is performed. Her surprise that Frank turned up at all, among so many young people, releases the demons that rumbled as Frank watched the play. Short stories need a moment of realization or change, and the clash between her enthusiasm for the play's use of the past and Frank's disturbed memories provided this.

"We've all been something," was all he managed to say. "Known someone."

The story might have ended there, but because the theme of age and youth was well-established I felt more could be done. I went back to the keyboard and jiggled the plot, making Frank inadvertently upset the "woman in black", so her young hopes and dreams could quietly confront his regrets.

"In the half-dark, she looked squarely at him, black T-shirt and jeans appraising jacket and tie. A slight twitch flickered her lips. He thought there might be tears.

'We all have dreams,' she said, in the quietest voice he'd ever heard. 'I'd rather dream than drift, any day.' She pressed her lips together to control the twitch, but it continued. 'What's wrong with having dreams?' she asked.

This exchange then allowed a more positive development in Frank, making for a more satisfying conclusion [in my view, anyway, but I'd love to hear yours too].

So, a chance observation in a pub, a visit to a play, a book on a shelf, some musings and experiments at the keyboard – and before too long there's a character's voice, a felt situation, and a set of realizations. If it was as easy as I've made it sound...
 
I drop in to a pub maybe once week. I'm wondering if I should go more often. Pubs are full of people, and where there are people, there are stories.
 
Purchase A View from Memory Hill


About the Author


Paul Toolan is a Northerner who now cheerfully admits being a southern softie living in rural Somerset in the United Kingdom. After a successful career in Colleges and Universities, he wrote book/lyrics for stage musicals, before "turning to crime."

A Killing Tree and A January Killing, the first two books in the Detective Inspector Zig Batten series, are set in the apple orchard landscape of the West of England. Look out for the third, An Easter Killing.

A View from Memory Hill, is Paul's first short story collection, exploring themes of aging, memory, and personal realization.

Like Inspector Batten, Paul enjoys walking, gardens, fishing, music and the occasional whisky. Unlike him, he enjoys sport and the taste of mushrooms, and loves travelling to sunnier climes - Greece in particular.

Connect with Paul Toolan