Saturday, January 14, 2017


THE DRAGONS OF ALSACE FARM , my eighth novel, turned out to be a very different book than the historical fiction novel I intended. After my mother's diagnosis of dementia, and after watching the complexities this disorder added to every element of her life, I decided to write my World War II survivor, Agnes, as a woman affected by dementia, to showcase this disease, and to illustrate its impact on its sufferers and their families.

It was a delight and a joy to discover so many authors and other advocates for dementia awareness on social media. I found a lively group of generous authors, The Alzauthors, on Twitter, and they welcomed me and "The Dragons of Alsace Farm," into their circle.

From that association, I connected with Gary Joseph LeBlanc, host of the podcast, "The Dementia Roundtable. Aside from supporting his own family members struggling with this disease, Gary is also an author, a columnist, a National Dementia Care Speaker and Advocate, founder of the Dementia Hospital Wristband Program and Dementia Mentors. and a dementia care educator. I was honored when he invited me to be a guest on his podcast to discuss our family's experiences in supporting a loved one with dementia.

Here is the podcast.


From this discussion and many others with loved ones and providers, I share a few insights associated with this disorder.

1. Have the hard conversations early, when parents are healthy, so children aren't left to make
    agonizing decisions without their informed input.
2. Prepare financially for the possibility of a dementia diagnosis.
3. There is no "one-size-fits-all-solution. Look at in-home care, live-in support, and small group
    homes. Institutional care is not the only option.
4. Alzheimer and dementia patients can enjoy many happy, productive years with assistance.
5. There is guilt. If you intervene, your loved one will be angry. If you don't, they will suffer.
6. There is more guilt . In many circumstances, because of other responsibilities and demands, you
    may not be able to personally provide what your loved one wants and needs.
7. There will be judgment. Brace for it.
8. You will need support. Someone you can talk to and cry with.
9. despite the changes occurring, your family member is still in there.
10. When you can't add to their memories, make moments.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

George Washington's "Prayer for The United Stated of America"

While digging through some of my old "Free Men and Dreamers" files, I came across my parchment copy of George Washington's "Prayer for The United States of America." It was a beautiful find after a lesson we had in Church today about the Restoration and America's role in it.

"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.

Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Beautiful, isn't it?

When I type "United," my fingers frequently hit the wrong keys and I more often end up spelling "Untied States of America," which sadly, seems how the media and Hollywood view our nation.
I'm comforted to report that I am not seeing this. We have our problems, some very big ones, but the sampling of fellow citizens I meet still appear to ascribe to the basic values Washington prayed we'd adopt and cherish.
I hope the world knows that the vast majority of us love God, love our country, pray for her and her people, and wish for a better world for all. I hope they know that despite the messaging of those that command the biggest, loudest microphones, the majority of America's people work hard, love their neighbors, care about their families, and want justice and peace and love to be the standard for all.
Washington saw what we could be. We're not there yet, but most of us are still trying.

Monday, January 2, 2017


The holidays passed like a dream. Beautiful, fun-filled, and quickly gone. I hope yours were lovely and love-filled.

Alas, this Michael McLean song comes to mind each January 2nd.

"I cry the day
that I take the tree down
I want the season
To last all year round
And I'm dreaming of Christmases
When we'll be together again. . ."

Sadly, what remains is the holiday bulge. So here's an ode to future meal planning, sung to the very apropos, and peppy little tune--"Sugartime."

"Fruit Smoothies in the mornin',
Salad in the evening,
Chicken breast at suppertime.

Time to pay the piper,
for my dietary crime.

Puttin' way the big plates,
servin' meals on saucers,
Getting out my treadmill key.

When I see more of you all,
I'd like there to be less of me!!!!

(No guarantees. . .)

As for work, feedback on "Sweet Water" is coming in from beta-readers, and I'll be editing that book and returning to completion of "The Shell Game" once "Sweet Water" is in the hands of Gelato Books to get ready for its March release. I don't have a cover yet, but I'll post it as soon as I do.

Happy New Year! Let's make it great!

Saturday, December 10, 2016


We had a friend who ran a little food storage business out of his house. One of his items was a delicious spice mixture we lovingly called "Chuck's Sauce." It wasn't a sauce at all, but we put it on everything. It was the ketchup of it's day, transforming mere hamburgers and pieces of chicken into food kids would actually look forward to. 
Chuck introduced us to it, and kept us supplied for many years, until he became ill and passed away. 
I've tried for 15 years to replicate that delicious mix of spices, but everything was either too sweet or too spicy or too salty. I felt like hard-to-please Goldilocks. Well, not anymore.
Today I think I got it. 
Just in case you're planning on broiling or bbq-ing something over the holiday, here it is. I'm roasting some ribs, and with this culinary victory, my expectations are high, and my food-joy is complete. 
Here's the recipe for "Chuck's Sauce": Merry Christmas!

1/2 cup brown sugar,
1/2 cup paprika,
1 tablespoon black pepper,
4 teaspoons salt,
1 tablespoon chili powder,
1 tablespoon garlic powder,
4 teaspoons onion powder,
1/2 teaspoon cumin,
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Mix together and rub over meat of your choice. Store in a tightly sealed container in the freezer.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blog Tour and Rafflecopter Giveaway for "The Dragons of Alsace Farm!"

I've teamed up with "Loving the Launch" to introduce more readers to "The

 Dragons of Alsace Farm," and they're hosting a blog tour from 

December 1 to the 7th.

Visit these blogs to read excerpts and reviews about the book, 
and to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

Catch up with the blog tour!

Many thanks to "Loving the Book Launch" for coordinating the blog tour for "The Dragons of Alsace Farm," from December 1-7. Post one of these ads on your social media page, report back here, and I'll send you a link for a free copy!