Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Launch Review and Surprise Gift

Tuesday December 10, 2019

Hello,

I am excited!  I have a special gift for you, readers of this blog.

But before I tell you about that, let me tell you about the book launch celebrations.

The last I wrote I said that I hoped to update you on Saturday about the book launch and how it went.  That didn't happen on Saturday.  I am feeling a mixture of accomplishment and freedom from deadlines.   It feels pretty good!

So excuse me if I took a break from writing for a few days.

Book Launch Review


The launch on Saturday at the Cattle Dog started out strange.  Last time (for the launch of the first book in the Trippin' Series) when I arrived they had a table set up for me facing the big, main room serving area.

This time they didn't have it set up for me.  Instead they had a back room area reserved for me with one huge conference table.  It felt weird.  This was a celebration with friends, not a formal business meeting.

As I began to haul in my stuff I realized the big table was made up of smaller tables.  So I had the staff help me spread the tables out  at random angles so there could be different conversation nooks of people.  That was better.  Then I put my big "Meet the Author" sign on a table outside the door to the back room.

It worked, people found me and sat around chatting the whole time.

I had asked a neighbor to come and take pictures and he not only took them, but edited them and posted them on Facebook.  Thank you Dean Christianson!  What a gift to have the lovely pictures of the people that attended.  I am so grateful for his help and for the great pictures.

I made a slide show with them.






Debbie Selsavage and Ed Young of Coping with Dementia and Dementia Education, Inc. showed up too, which was great.  I had a jar out for donations to Dementia Education and I handed the fist-full of cash over to Ed at the end of the event.  Plus I will be sending them a check for a portion of the proceeds from the book sales at the event.

Debbie and Ed just attended a National event put on by Positive Approach to Care (PAC), Teepa Snow's organization.  It was leaders and advocates from all over the country gathering to share information, research, and ideas for better care of those with dementia.

If you weren't able to attend the launch and want to support the cause.  I have two organizations that are small and local and therefore I feel the money goes to help caregivers and not to million dollar salaries.

Dementia Education, Inc.
6356 E. Wingate Street, Inverness, FL 34452
614-519-2843

Alzheimer's Family Organization
461 Mariner Boulevard, Spring Hill, FL 34609

352-616-0170

Thank you to the wonderful people that showed up and supported the cause and me on that lovely sunny day.

You are probably curious about the number of pre-orders I ended up with on Amazon when the ebook launched onto people's devices... Ready for it?

10, yep 10 Ten 10.

A long way from the 100 I had aimed for.  I got so emotionally caught up in that goal that I spent money on advertising.  So book 2 hasn't made money yet.  YET, the sales of the first book went up with the launch of the second book and hit #1 in its category on Amazon!  I was thrilled to see that.

2nd Celebration


I am not very organized.  I am so much better than I used to be when I was in my 20s and 30s.  But still, I am not organized enough.  For example:

Thursday, December 5th, was supposed to be my second book launch celebration.  I was to go to my old neighborhood and celebrate.  But I was feeling too busy in the weeks leading up to the launch to double check and connect with folks there about the event.  So I didn't pick up the phone or send an email or go to deliver a flyer or anything.

Months ago I had sent an email to one woman and spoke with another.  They had both encouraged me to have the second book launch there.  They are now both care-givers themselves.  I don't even know if I had sent a flier to the newsletter or to one of the women who helped organize the launch celebration last time. I thought I did but I didn't and I have no record of such a flier.

So I arrive for the women's coffee which was going to be followed by my supposed book launch celebration.  Only not one person there knew about it.

That is ok, I think.  It will be good to socialize anyway with my former neighbor ladies, and that is what I did.  The books never came up in conversation.  BUT two of the women had questions about a loved one or neighbor with dementia and I was able to provide some suggestions or a hug and emotional support.  Good.

3rd Celebration


I did not have any expections for the THIRD celebration. I must have had an bit of hope anyway.  This event was in Tampa at a combination bike shop and coffee shop.  The location is right on the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.

The one friend I have in the Tampa area was off on a cruise.  Chances were good that I might just get a little walk-in traffic from the trail.  Well, the day was dead at the bike shop/coffee shop.  A friend of the owner stopped in and she chatted with me a long time.  Which was wonderful.  She had cared for her husband for many years with a rare brain disease.  He passed away two years ago.  So we shared stories of caregiving and stories of adjusting to not being a part of a couple anymore.


Just as I was packing up a man and his grandson came in to get some bike stuff.  The man was a tri-athelete and had done some major challenging rides.  He bought THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.  My one sale for the day.  He told his grandson that he was going to read the book and then give it to the grandson to read.  I said, "There is a lot of poop stories in there, just so you know."  The man said, that was ok, the grandson needed to learn about the energy and endurance.

I was glad to pack up and I was also glad that I thought to pack my trike and bring it along.  After sitting for two hours it was good to ride the trail.  I didn't go far, I maybe biked an hour.

 


Then I set my sights on a Dairy Queen.  My own mini celebration.

I arrived home and hauled the boxes of books into the den where I store them.

In the morning I awoke feeling a wave of anxiety and on the verge of tears.

What?  I guess that even though I knew the event in Tampa wasn't going to be well attended, I had hope.  I had publicized, reached out to Alz organizations.  I had hope.  I kept telling myself the celebration in Tampa is more for publicity.  But still I must have had some hope.

It could have been that or the sugar.  The DQ blizzard.  I have noticed that when I have a lot of simple carbs I feel waves of anxiety and tears the next day.  The sugar is screaming for more sugar.

But I was down for only part of a day.  I forced myself to go to exercise and do yoga and reach out to a friend I hadn't seen in a while just to chat.

And then I saw the sales for the first book go up and I was happy again.

We did it!  We launched the second kindle book, the audio book is now in review at ACX and should be out by the end of December.  So much work leading up to this moment!  I feel free.  Free to ride my bike, go for a walk, think about my next steps.

Other than paid ads and an occasional event, I am going to play it cool on the work now.  I want to reconnect with friends that I haven't seen much of while working so much.  I want to enjoy the Snowbird Season here.

Ms. Organization... NOT


Yesterday, I went over the charge card and entered the data into my accounting software.  I have spent a lot on Amazon Advertising (a lot in comparison to the sales).  So today I was going to go back into the ads at Amazon.co.uk. (The UK version of Amazon... yes, I have to run separate ads and have separate pages of each geographic area of the globe.)   Well, I discovered I can't figure out how to get back to that page where I can manage my ads.  I didn't keep good notes, I didn't bookmark that page.  So unorganized.

And I don't know quite how to track which search terms are profitable and which are not.  I have not figured out how to best track and analyze successes.

More work to be done, learning to do, it is all still a trip.

This week I went to a nice potluck dinner and rode down to feed the goats.  On Sunday I decided to drop the "to do" list and meet Debra and Glen and Richard and Louise for a ride on the West Orange Trail (near Winter Garden, FL).  I have been so busy with work I have not seen any of them much.





Coming Up


I am a resource partner at the 6th Annual Coping with Dementia  Conference.  Please share the information with those in the area who are care-giving or worrying about someone they love.  The education is well worth the time, and it is FREE!


Launch of the Audio version of The Journey Continues is around December 27th.

Click here for a sample of the audio narrated by Voice Actress Candice Tuttle.


Surprise Gift

And NOW for my surprise gift.  Just for YOU.

I have a bit of Chapter 19 I made just for YOU that read my blog.  THANK YOU for Trippin' with me.




Share the fun, invite your friends to join us here.

After I take a breath I suppose I will write another book.

I have heard suggestions, write about your life after George.  The journey through grief and onto a new life. 

I have hear suggestions that I write about our tricycle trip from Northern Illinois to Florida. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - 1 more day! Giving Tuesday

December 3, 2019

Good Morning!

Brrrr, it is a cold one here in central Florida!  Freezing in parts of Citrus County.

Only ONE MORE DAY to the launch of the second book, THE JOURNEY CONTINUES!





The 6th Annual Coping with Dementia Conference is January 22nd.  If you are a caregiver or know someone with dementia, this is a great resource to learn more about the illness and the resources available in Citrus County and beyond.

Launch Celebrations 



http://bit.ly/TheJourneyContinues2


Monday, December 2, 2019

2-Days to Book Launch - The Journey Continues - Alzheimers

December 2, 2019

Hi,

Wow, can you believe it! Only two days to launch!





So the call... an older man called me last night to wish me Happy Thanksgiving. It was obvious he was nervous and ... interested in not being alone... shall I say. He has never called me before and I have noticed him looking at me with interest.

Gosh, here is the dilemma. I am documenting my on-going journey and now, as a widow my life continues. It feels really uncomfortable to talk about being single and the possibility of future relationships with men in this space. Certainly, I don't want to embarrass anyone or hurt anyone.  So putting up my thoughts and interactions here just seems not right. 

No, I am not interested in sex or even romance. But friendship, companionship, that would be something of interest to me.

But you know what I found going through my head as I talked?

OH! I don't want to admit this because it so fits into the reputation of widows and older single women... or even women in general. I think it is an evolutionary thing... I mean why else would I, a nice woman (really I am) think such a thing. It must be something programmed in my brain.

So here it is: I started wondering how well-off he is. YES! I did! I wanted to know financially if it was a relationship worth pursuing.

Sigh. My bad.

DEMENTIA EVENT

I have been invited to have a table as a resource partner at:

6th Annual Coping with Dementia 
Conference for Caregivers and Families 

January 22, 2020, 9:30-3:30 pm
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
6 Roosevelt Blvd, Beverly Hills.

If you or someone you know is giving care, be sure to let them know about this event.  I went to these while caring for George and learned so much as well as connected with other caregivers.


Here are some pictures I took yesterday on our ride on the Van Fleet Trail.  This trail goes through the Green Swamp and is very rural.  I love it!




Several times we encountered snakes like the one below.  I saw that it had a diamond shaped head so I kept a distance.  I learned later, when posting the picture on Facebook that is a pygmy rattle snake.  Very poisonous.
 





The audio version of the first book in the Trippin' Series is doing very well.  I was hoping it would, Robin Siegerman did a wonderful job narrating it.  I don't want the sales to disappoint her.

http://bit.ly/AlztrippinAudible


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - Day 3 - Ups and Downs

December 1, 2019

Today I get to go ride the Van Fleet Trail!  I don't know if anyone is going to be riding the trail with me.  It is one of the rides that the Withlacoochee Riders schedule during the winter season.

I DO know that Will Byers and maybe Marie Adams will be riding toward me from Polk City.  (Remember I met up with Will and his group in the Everglades for a moonlight ride on the Shark Valley Trail?)


I probably won't ride all the way to Polk City.  That is 60 miles and my hip doesn't like my trike seat much these days.

I was thinking the other day that my hip started hurting after I changed the webbing on my seat.  The new webbing that Catrike has for the seats has more pockets in back of the seat, BUT it doesn't tighten as much.  The straps are pulled all the way and the webbing still sags.  I want to go back to the old seat!!!  I guess I will contact them and see if they still make them.

Wouldn't it be great if all I have to do is change webbing on my trike seat and my hip/lower back problems will go away???  YES!

This time of year we won't see many gator on the Van Fleet Trail, but there may be snakes and hawks and such.

It is only 3 Days to the launch of The Journey Continues!




I ordered 40 books for the book launches.  I have 20 Large Print and 20 regular print.  I sure hope that is enough.  Last time I ran out, bought more, and now I still have boxes of books of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George in my den.  I don't want to over-buy again.

Both books will be available at the book launch celebrations.




Yesterday I got notice from Candace Tuttle, the narrator for the audio book of THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.  She said she has the changes made that I had asked for.  So I will listen to those and then if it is good, I will send it off to ACX to review.  It takes them 14 business days to review it.  So it may launch the week before Christmas... it could... maybe.  Here is the sample, in case you missed it:



Yesterday I also put out a newsletter for the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders.  Dick Marr that started the group along with a few others wrote about the history of the group and I thought, since he was resigning from organizing the Christmas ride, now would be a good time to share the history of the group.


Also, yesterday as I was launching the blog post I checked Amazon for the ranking of my books.  There are millions and millions of books available on Amazon, but there are many categories.

And even though I was down about the fact that I am no-where near the goal of 100 pre-orders for The Journey Continues, (only 8 last I checked) I was thrilled when I learned that the first book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is #37 in the UK for the category Senior Travel!  Whoo hoo!

In the USA I am #2 in a category.  That's how Amazon drives me forward.  They probably have it figured out, like Facebook.  Give me enough reward that I keep trying, keep pushing.



“Just finished reading a second time. It still...... review gif



I just found another review on The Journey Continues.  Thank you Connie!

"This book is written for anyone who finds themselves in the role of primary caregiver. Susan Straley writes with such honesty and compassion in regards to the joys and hardships caring for a loved one. Susan’s honesty in regard to anger and frustration with the role, while still loving the person, left this reader with a feeling of being understood. The book also demonstrates the ability to find joy, laughter, and love in simple things everyday. I laughed and sometimes cried as I followed George and Susan’s journey and I found strength in regard to my role of primary caregiver; thank you Susan for sharing your strength."  Connie Tice

Reviews on Amazon, Audible, Bookbub and Goodreads are so helpful to authors.  I never knew or I would have been leaving reviews all along.  It seems silly, but each site requires its own review!  I don't have any reviews yet on Bookbub.  Yet a lot of book lovers find their next read through emails sent to them by Bookbub.  Each site I have to set up and attend to.  I was going to advertise the new book on Bookbub and it said it would "blast it out to my followers".  I think I have one follower on Bookbub.  Ha ha.  I decided to go a different route.

Well, I have to pack up and get over to the Van Fleet Trail.  Off to new adventures!  




See you tomorrow... just a few more days to launch!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - Day 4 - Persistence or Insanity?

November 30, 2019

Good Morning!

Yesterday I was going to ride down to feed the goats, but I felt low in energy.  So I got as far as Floral City and decided to go feed the Zebra and Donkeys instead.






I have been wondering lately why I am doing this. I spend a lot of time trying to promote the book. And the needle isn't moving much at all. I feel like a dung beetle pushing a big ball of manure up a hill.

I have advertisements up on Amazon. Do you know, when you search for an item and it pops up at the top of your list that you can look around it to see the word "sponsored". If you click on that ad, the seller gets charged for that click. But if you scroll down the natural algorithms have it there again without the sponsored. Then the seller doesn't get charged for your ad.

The more I work with Amazon I am amazed at their technological savvy AND how they have an army of millions of "wanna be" folks out there advertising and paying not only a large portion of each sale, but also the advertising fees. They are smart, so smart.

Smarter than I am on this side of the great divide.

So anyway here are some promos I have paid for in order to increase sales.

Amazon
Amazon.UK
Bookbub
Facebook
AllAuthor



I think that is it.

What I am seeing is that the advertisements are not increasing my ebook sales of THE JOURNEY CONTINUES, but of the paperback and ebook of the first book in the series, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.

Am I crazy to keep going in this direction. It reminds me of getting lost in the woods, there will be a sign or a recognizable something just over the next hill or around the next bend.

What an adventure!

Please share this blog if you know anyone who might be interested in the author's journey, the caregiver's journey, the widows journey.

See?  Aren't we supposed to have focus focus focus.  Yet here I am as always, dancing the salsa and the hokey-pokey at the same time.

Well, I gotta go.  I will be late for breakfast at the Hen House... and I don't want to miss that!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - Day 5 - Black Friday Sale

November 11, 2019

Hello!

It is Black Friday!  And the Kindle version of The Journey Continues - Alzheimer's Trippin' with George is on sale until December 4, 2019 for only $2.99.  Who do you know that could use a little inspiration, lift, fun?

Thanksgiving was wonderful, thanks to the folks that joined me and sent greetings.

Someone somewhere created this cool image.  Who does it belong to?  I would like to give credit where credit is due... or get permission to post it.

Thanks to the artist and the owner.  It is pretty cool.  I got it from Jim Cook an Ohio Trike-rider.  He doesn't remember which trike site he found it.

Here is my Count-down video.  Only 5 more days to the launch!



It is another gorgeous day in our area of Florida. I am going to ride my trike down to feed the goats (about 16 miles down the trail). I have stored my vegetable and fruit scraps from a couple weeks to share with them.

Then, if I get back in time, some friends are meeting at the new Seven State Brewery on Tompkins. We'll see if I make it in time.

I will be back tomorrow. Will the number of pre-orders still be hovering at six? Tomorrow in the video I will go over what I have been doing to promote the book. So much! And seek your honest feed back, is it the cover? The title?  Should I change the title to "Alzheimer's is Shitty"?  Gosh, what a journey I am on.

Informative, inspirational, funny, sad - I highly recommend this book, "Alzheimer's Trippin' with George" by Susan Straley. Buy it - for yourself, for others, a perfect gift for any occasion, or no occasion at all!

Have a wonderful Friday and yes... I'LL BE BACK!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Count Down to Book Launch - Day 6

Happy Thanksgiving!


Preventing Alzheimer's


A fellow former caregiver told me this week that he thinks those who have cared for someone with dementia tend to worry more about getting the symptoms.

I don't know if that is true, but I was comforted by an article I read recently.

The Alzheimer's Association put out a magazine this fall that has a great article in about genetic testing. In the article it talked about the RESEARCH and the nature vs nurture, genes vs environment.

I will post what they said further down in this post... but right now I have to post....

COUNT DOWN TO LAUNCH





Well, the kindle pre-orders are still sitting at six (6).  Sigh.  It is what it is! 
The thing is, it sure does keep me busy, promoting the books... video, Facebook, Twitter, events, emails.  

After the launch I may send out my resume to places in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota.  I want to find a seasonal job near a bike trail.  I think it will be good... but it is scarey for me.  To leave the known and step into the unknown.  Changes to self-image, identity... changes.  Just for the 2020 season and then I don't know.

My friend Debra bought a travel trailer and she is anxious to go on camping trips with me.  I have been looking at trailers and thinking and exploring.  But I can't both work for the season in one location and travel with her or meet up in Idaho for the Trike Rally.  My friends Regis and Cindy will be there and it would be cool to explore the area again with them.  A lot to think about... but not today.

Today is Thanksgiving and I have spent too much time on this blog already.  Got to start getting ready for guests and exercise.



Preventing Alzheimer's

Back to the article.

Early onset Alzheimers (younger than 65 years old) is VERY hereditary.  So if you get tested for the gene, might as well just  plan on getting it.

BUT old age Alzheimer's (after 65) may have a gene marker, but the market is just one factor of many that will influence whether you get the disease.

Other factors -- ways to boost your "environment" to prevent Alzheimer's.

Don't Smoke
Limit Alcohol consumption
Eat a healthy diet
Be physically active
Engage in cognitively stimulating activites

The biggest influencer is the older you get, the higher the risk.  So just plan on dieing before you get it, I guess...




Where do I get your books?


Oh!  I forgot to tell you where to find the information about ordering the book directly from me.  It is under contacts.




Review


I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this independent review. Having just finished listening to it, I'm extremely grateful Alzheimer's Trippin' with George came my way. What a special book this is, succinctly and candidly capturing the highs and lows that a dementia diagnosis can bring. It's written with real passion (the author is not afraid to show things just as they are) and the searingly honest and detailed narrative pulls a real punch. For me, it is the detail which makes this book unique and creates a book all caregivers will identify with and learn from. There's a natural, relaxed writing style here and a great narration from Robin Siegerman. A unique account of a unique road-trip. Insightful, humorous and emotional.
Paddy Hartnett
Member of The Society for Editors and Proofreaders


I am grateful this Thanksgiving that YOU read to the end of this blog!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Count-down To Book Launch - Day 7

November 27, 2019

This is so exciting!

Only seven more days to the launch on ebook/kindle of THE JOURNEY CONTINUES!



I am doing a series of videos as I count down to launch.  Just me, talking about the books and the process and life this week.



Let me know what you would like to see in an up-coming countdown video.

Who do you know that would enjoy our journey, or benefit from the positive out-look and caregiving information within it?  Share this post and this link to the book.









Thanks for watching and joining me on this journey!


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Coming Soon - Count Down to Launch and Holidays


Hello,

It is Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Today I was interviewed on our local TV station.  They were nice enough to share the program with me.  I added the captions to clarify what we were talking about.  It is about nine minutes.

How do you like that cover picture?  Ha ha, what does it look like?  Leave a comment and let me know. 



The big thing was I offered the first 20 people who sign up to Join the fun here on this blog a FREE download of the Audio Book of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  If you don't get email alerts to let you know I have posted, then you need to click the "Join the Fun" tab above and enter you email.

So... first about the books and then about the rest of life...



THE JOURNEY CONTINUES


Some of you have been asking when book two THE JOURNEY CONTINUES will be out on ebook.   You have been anxiously awaiting.

December 4th it launches!   And guess what!  You can pre-order the ebook now and it will download on Wednesday, December 4th!

The price bumps up when it launches.  So now is the time to get it.

Then on December 4th, if you are in the Inverness area, come help me celebrate in the morning at 10 a.m.  


I will do a reading from the book and then I will hang out as long as people want to.  I will sell and sign books.  I will have the first book there also and the LARGE PRINT!!!
 
A reader that is also a support group leader is highly recommending THE JOURNEY CONTINUES on Facebook and in her groups.  High praise!  She loves that I actually talk about how I dealt with bowel incontinence step by step.  She has not found that kind of instruction in any other Alzheimer's book, and she has read a lot of them.

I did a series of videos when I launched the first book, counting down to the launch date.  I will TRY to do something similar this time.  Short videos about what is happening as we approach the launch.

Currently there have been FIVE pre-orders.  I am a LONG way from the my goal of 100!  But then, it won't be the first or last time I have to work very hard to reach a goal... with no guarantees I will reach it.  We will see!  I will keep you posted in the count-down videos.

I got the first draft of the audio book for THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.  I am starting the process of listening and taking notes.  I have a hard time not comparing this voice actress with the one that did the first book.  I wonder if the readers are going to expect the same voice for both books.  The first voice actress, Robin Siegerman, was booked through the winter, so I hired a different one.

Candace Tuttle is good, her style is different, and her voice is pleasant.  This audio-book will be different but still have a good quality production and a clear voice. 

Here is her sample.



ALZHEIMER'S TRIPPIN'


I love how the sales are going on Audible for ALZHEIMER'S TRIPPIN' WITH GEORGE.  The audio adds a whole new dimension to our story.  If you have already read the book and enjoyed it, I guarantee you will also enjoy the Audio version.

I imagine other bicyclists listening as they travel like we did from trail to trail.  Or other caregivers and those just diagnosed out on a trip to try to grab as much of life as they can while they can.  It makes me smile.

If you are thinking about starting an Audible account and are buying my audio book,  use this link I will get a bonus from Audible!


It is available on:

Amazon
Audible
Itunes

Wow, I just found the audio book on itunes to create the link above and I gotta tell you, it was thrilling to see my name up there.  Wow.

And then I saw that my interview on Fading Memories Podcast was up there too.  Pretty cool.  Itunes!

BOOK SIGNING EVENT


On Sunday, November 24th I will be at the Citrus Writers Book Fair.  If you are out that way, stop by and say "Hi".


PARKS ON THE WITHLACOOCHEE

Those of us living and riding the Withlacoochee State Trail have been watching the construction workers revamping two parks that sit side by side along the Withlacoochee in Inverness, Florida.  It was a major redesign.  They added pathways, a shelter for the farmers' market, places for bands to play, half walls where people can sit, showers for sweaty bikers and boaters, kayak launch and rental place, docks, bathrooms, an adult fitness area with chin-up bars and sit-up bench, an amazing fenced-in playground for kids.  It was expensive to do, but exciting to watch.

On Saturday after our Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders breakfast at the Hen House, many of us went down to watch the ribbon cutting and to get a tour of the parks.  You know why two parks are side by side?  One, Wallace Brooks Park, was for the African American Community.  Even in 1968 after all the civil rights marches and exposure of the Jim Crow south, they were created separate facilities based on the color of your skin.  That was when Wallace Brooks Park was created.

It was a cool 50-degree day after a long hot fall.  The breeze was brisk.  Many of our group and the crowd did the tour but didn't hang out.   A guy hired to play jazz was on the stage playing with no audience.

Some of us went over to Cattle Dog afterward to warm up over hot drinks.  It was fun to see Regis and Cindy back on the trail.



 



HOLIDAYS

The holidays are coming.  I have about 18 people coming over for Thanksgiving!

We are all bicyclists and that is what binds us.  I invite folks who don't have any family in the area to celebrate with and who play well with others.  Many of them have come every year for several years.  They are my extended family here.  Many of them stepped in to help when I was care-giving and George was living with dementia symptoms.

I was going to make the turkey, but one of the attendees offered to do it.   Everyone else is bringing a dish to share too.  So I won't have a lot to do for this event.  Set-up and wait.  My friend Beth is coming over early to help greet people and get the food set up for the buffet so if my hip gives me trouble I can sit down a while.

I called my doctor and made an appointment again.  This will be the 6th time I have been to a doctor about this hip/back/leg thing.  The healthcare system is very frustrating.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Unfocused, Unqualified, Unsatified

Hello,

It is often said that to achieve great things, you need to focus your energy on one thing.  You can't spread your energy over many many things or you won't excel at anything.

I guess I am programmed to be mediocre.  Ha ha.

I kind of timed things wrong.  You see the audio version of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George has just been launched.  With that launch is the task of writing and sending out press-releases, putting posts up on social media, and giving out lots of free copies to experts and audio-book fans in the hope that they will leave a review on Audible or Good Reads.


I just got my first review of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George on Audible!

This book was great! I was a caregiver for my mother who had Alzheimer’s for 10 years!
It was very hard when she did get angry and aggressive. This book gave a sense of calm and patience. I look forward to the second half when it gets much more difficult to see how it is handled. Being married for 45 years now one of the things we do anticipate is what we would do if one of us gets this dreadful disease!!!!!
Thank you for sharing! 



When you launch a new book on Audible they give you 25 free audio books to give away.

If you want to listen and give an honest review I would love to give you a code.  Just send an email to me, susan at susanstraley dot com.  I still try to give my email in code to avoid spammers.  Giving out the free codes and getting reviews is the best way to promote the audio-book.

If you want to join Audible, use this link because then I get credit.   I think a membership at Audible is $14 something a month.  I joined recently and the first book I listened to was Becoming by Michele Obama.  I like listening to books when I ride or walk alone.

Back to talking about the work involved after the launch of the first audio book.  The work would be just fine if I didn't also plan the release of the ebook and audio-book of The Journey Continues for early December.  That also requires press releases, social media posts, and events.

So I am feeling like a squirrel... first I head one way, pause and run the other way, and then end up dashing in front of someone almost getting squashed in the process.

My emotions fly from excited to nervous to confident and calm to unworthy and not confident at all.   I have taken up a bit of meditation.  Only 5 minute blocks of time throughout the day.  Sometimes it helps me stop the squirrel and find the stillness where I might encounter insight, direction, and peace. Boy is it great when that happens!

There is a bit of pressure to get a lot of press for The Journey Continues in November.  Because from now until December 4th the ebook is available for pre-order.

So what?


Soooo... if I get alot of pre-orders (say 100), they all download on the day the book releases.  Amazon will take notice, maybe give me best-seller status for my book categories, and help find buyers for the book.  That is why pre-orders are important.

Last I looked I have 15 pre-orders.  Only 85 more to go!

You can help!

Send your friends to here to pre-order their kindle today.  At the special discounted price of ONLY $2.99 during the pre-order period.

I have found a few folks through some facebook pages and even twitter that wanted a code.  I keep my fingers crossed that they will leave a review.

Events


If you are in the Tampa or Inverness area, I hope you can join me for one of the launch celebrations.  This time I hope to spend a few minutes in the beginning reading from The Journey Continues before I sit down to sell and sign books.



Also the Citrus Writers Club is hosting a book sale at the Citrus Memorial Library in Citrus Springs, Florida on November 24th.




Speaking of signing, I was talking with my neighbor that is also a new author.  She just is in the process of producing her second book.   She shared with me that her emotions are high and low too.  We might be feeling low and then we hear from a reader that was touched by our writing and our emotions soar.  It's a crazy ride.

Friday I went to a fundraiser for Dementia Education at the Hen House Cafe in Inverness.  Two friends joined me, and I also saw and sat with two Dementia Divas and their princes.  I had donated ten books to the cause.  I guess they had decided to give them away as door prizes.  But one lady came up and asked if she could buy one for her friend.  Sure!  I donated the money to the cause.


Dementia Education helps educate businesses in the area.  And they have two booklets they have created.  One is about dealing with fire-arms, which is something I didn't have to worry about with George.  I know of several caregivers that do have to figure out how to deal with fire-arms in the house.

Anyway, the very next morning after the fundraiser, I was back at the Hen House for our bike-group's Saturday-morning breakfast.  A waitress brought a white-haired woman back who was carrying Alzheimer's Trippin' with George in her hand.  The waitress told the woman she read the book in two days, "It was very good."  The woman, (her name was Adele), wanted me to sign the book.  She was just thrilled to meet me.  I felt so high... "I am a celebrity!"  ha ha.


Short-lived, these highs drive me to keep going, keep working to spread the news about the books.   Sometimes I wonder why, then someone says that if I feel driven it is what I should be doing.

I am feeling driven by some unseen force.  Maybe it is angel George with his hand on my back that is nudging me forward.  George had high integrity and showed people respect.  To me he was better and kinder than some evangelicals I have met who don't have integrity or respect.  George also had Athiest beliefs... or let's just say he didn't believe in the stories that churches tell.  

I am open to knowing that I don't know what happens after our heart stops beating and our brain-waves stop waving.  I am one to think that we can pick and choose our beliefs.  Each of us can find the stories that make sense to us and help us through tough times.  For some that is the story of virgin births and salvation, for others it is the story of angels watching over us.  For some it is the idea that our thoughts create our reality or the law of attraction.   I say, whatever toots your horn,  it all might have some truth to it.  Just don't blast that horn in my ears.  If there is a all knowing being, I choose to believe it is full of love and forgiveness and kindness... flowers, butterflies and puffy white clouds.

See what I mean?  How did I get off on religion and philosophy?

Oh yes, I was talking about feeling driven... and unfocused.

A bit About Care-giving


AARP Bulletin has a great article on financial stress and care-giving.  Mostly it is talking about the financial burden on caregivers.   Extra medical care, neglect of their own medical care, less savings, more debt, less paid hours of work.

What they didn't mention is that spouses carry the burden of poor financial decisions by their partner.  Decisions made by the person with dementia that were made before they are diagnosed.  And those with dementia in these early stages are especially vulnerable to spammers and con-artists.

Other Stuff


Besides working on the books, I have been riding trike, attending parties.  I even entered a walk/run and got second place.  So I signed up for another one, the Jingle Bell run/walk.


I hosted a party here.  My hip didn't start hurting until people arrived and I had to stand and find counter space for stuff and utensils and prepare the last-minute stuff.

The very next night I had Warmshowers guest.  This was a couple from Turkey that were making their way up Florida to New Orleans.  I enjoyed having them here and I had some left-over chili and ice cream from my party so they were very happy.


Of course they both wanted to try out my lovely trike.  And I was happy to show them how much fun it is.



 Ok, I have yammered enough.  Now to dash off in a different direction.

Til' next time, enjoy your moments.
 




Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wow! Alzheimer's Trippin' on Audible! Interview

Howdy howdy!

Can you believe it??? I posted yesterday that I was waiting for the audio book to be launched by Amazon and Audible and Itunes. This morning it was there!

I made a short link for you.

http://bit.ly/AlzTrippin1

So you can send the link to your friends and post it on your social media.

Thanks again to Robin Siegerman the Voice Actor who put so much life and fun into my writing.  What a thrill.

Here is a short link to the sample so you can share that with friends too if you want to.

bit.ly/Alzheimers-trip-AudioSample


Podcast Interview Coming Soon!


And then, I went up on Twitter to let folks know and saw that the interview I had with Jennifer of the Fading Memories Podcast is going to go LIVE on November 5th.  It says 5 a.m.  Is that my time or her time?  She is in California.





Whoo hoo!

Can we stand any more excitement?

Thanks for being part of this new "trip"!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Thought Switching, Fundraising, Book Launching

 It is Tuesday, October 29, 2019 and my mind and body are all over the place.

Before I get into what I have been up to, I want to share a statistic put out by the Associated Press.  


More than five million people
in the United States
have Alzheimer's Disease.
We have just over 329 million people in the USA.  So five million is a lot, but it is less than two percent of the population.

Now that figure doesn't tell us how many have dementia.  Remember that dementia is the set of symptoms.  You can think of dementia as the umbrella of symptoms.  Under those symptoms are many reasons, diagnoses, or folders.   Debbie Selsalvage says the folder under the umbrella with the most papers in it (people or cases) is Alzheimer's Disease.  

There are many, many causes of dementia symptoms.  Some of them are curable.  That is why it is good to get to the doctor if you or a loved one is showing symptoms.  Sometimes it is just a vitamin deficiency, a tumor, or a medication side affect.  

Speaking of Debbie Selsalvage, she is part of a fundraising effort for Dementia Education happening at the restaurant that I go to with my bike group every Saturday morning.



I am donating 10 paperback copies of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I deliver them tomorrow when I go to buy my ticket(s).   I don't know if they will have a drawing and give them away or if they will sell them to raise more funds.



I haven't decided if I am buying more than one ticket.  I can think of a lot of people I would like to invite to go with me.  If you want to go and want me to pick up tickets for you, let me know.  I could meet you out front by the rooster.   

**********

I am not over it....  
What? you may ask.
The day George died.

Notice I didn't say, being a widow or missing George or George not being here.

I mean I think of those things and I am adjusting, but the biggest effort (and I talked with others who have this symptom) is getting my mind to not mull over the last days.  Some widows have lived wonderfully with their spouse for 50 years or more and still their thoughts loop and loop over the last weeks, days, hours.

Today I was having a busy and great day.  It still is a busy and great day.  At 6 p.m. after a warm and sweaty and active day I decided I needed to shower.  I showered just fine in the master bath.  

Afterward, on my way walking through the master bedroom I remembered him lying on the floor there unable to move.   I quickly made the effort to change the subject in my mind.  I don't need to go there again.  We had 41 years of memories.  I don't need to replay that one.

I do well with the mind switch.  Right after he passed, the thoughts looped obsessively.  It is like a worry loop only looking at the past instead of the future.  I was trying to think of what I could have done differently in those last hours.  I think this might be a traumatic-event symptom of the brain.

I had to make the effort to stop those thoughts.  Logically I told myself I was a loving wife and cared for him well.  I could continue to torture myself with those images and thoughts or I could re-direct to something more positive. 

In my long life I have read and practiced positive thinking and thought re-direction.  So I created a fun image that I could think about whenever I caught myself heading down that same thought path. 

Want to know the image I created?  Doesn't really matter, just make up an image or remember a nice one from the past.  Something that gets you to smile... puppies playing, babies laughing, a pretty scene.

OK, twist my arm!  I will tell you the image I created.  I call her Bertha.  She is a large busty woman in a low-cut, tight-fitting, teal gown with glittery sequins.  She is leaning toward me and shaking her finger at me and saying, "Oh no, girl!  You ain't goin' there!"

So Bertha and I interupted my thought loop again and again and again.  Now the switch happens so often and so fast that it takes less effort.  And sometimes it doesn't even take Bertha!  But it still takes a little effort.

So....

I don't sleep in the master bedroom yet. I sleep upstairs.  As we fall asleep we relax, our guard falls away.

Shortly after George passed, I slept in the master bedroom with no problem.  I slept on the floor in a different part of the room.  That was when there was not a bed in the room... just fresh carpet and paint.

When the bed was put back into the room, it had to be placed in the same location.  It is a different bed, but it is the same size and the only wall it fits on is the location it was in that last day.

It has been well over a year since George has passed. It still takes effort.

I wanted to share that experience in case anyone out there is experiencing the guilt, the what-ifs, the horrible images of a trauma.  If you want Bertha, she's available.

*********

 OK, now for the mind and body all over the place stuff.

Audio Book


I have approved and submitted the first audio book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George, to Amazons audio book division (ACX.com).   As I have told you before the narrator, Robin Siegerman, added so much fun to the book!  She is great!  Did you listen to the sample yet?

ACX said it takes 14 business days to go through a book and if there are no problems they release it.  Only it seems like this has been so much longer than 14 days.  I keep checking to see if it is released yet.  Today I wrote them an email.

In the meantime I am working on a press release, gathering emails of editors and reporters who might find it news-worthy.



The Journey Continues

I am preparing for the launch of the second book, The Journey Continues.

The editor I hired, Patrick Hartnett, has completed his work.  So now I get to take his edits that he made to the audio script and put them into the Kindle version.  DONE!

Since the Kindle version has colored pictures and the paperback version had black and white photos, I am now going through the paperback adding the edits.

In the meantime the voice actor, Candace Tuttle, is working on recording the book.  My goal is to have it all done by the launch date, December 4th.

Candace wrote to me yesterday, "I'm enjoying the story and your attitude through all of it.  I can't believe how active you stayed through such draining times!  And I laughed about the lady's dad who got his walker stuck in the bathroom!!"

Which reminds me that this blast of activity with the books and life is an on-going thing with me.  It is the energy of care-giving re-directed.

The official launch of The Journey Continues will also involve press releases, a celebration (just coffee and a reading) at Cattle Dog both here in Inverness and one on December 6th in the Tampa area, Social media images and blasts.  More info on that coming in a future post.

And I just put together a Launch Leader Team on Facebook to help me spread the word when time comes and help me keep my thoughts clear.  I feel there is too much to do and too little time.  I can use some clear minds of some talented fans to help me launch successfully.  If you would like to add your talent and enthusiasm to the team, private message me on Facebook:  Susan Straley.

Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders

I do the newsletter and schedule for the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders.  I got up this morning and thought I better check the schedule so I can remind folks when our ride start time changes.  I send everyone the schedule at the beginning of the season, but no one remembers to write stuff into their calendar... including me.  I learned that our ride start time changes today.

I quick had to get an email out to the group.  And as I was doing that I realized I have not reminded people of the upcoming special rides for November.  So I had to put that newsletter together and send it out the committee for review and approval.

All that before jumping on the trike to go ride with some of our riders for a shorter ride because I had an appointment with a health-insurance agent in the afternoon.


Body Moving

It seems as we age we need to keep moving in order to... well, keep moving.

I am just thinking that there are still parts of my body I am neglecting as I do all this other exercise.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I still ride my trike with the bike group.  

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to the clubhouse and meet up with my friends in the neighborhood.  We do high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) for about 20-30 minutes and then yoga.  

After that I really need to work my bones, so I have to get to the gym at least twice a week to lift weights.  Somewhere in there I am supposed to walk for the old bones too.  That doesn't happen as much, except to walk the three blocks to the mailboxes in the neighborhood. 

If you aren't moving around, here are the simple exercises I did with George to keep him ambulatory.  At least try to do these.



 

Life

Did I tell you that my traveling is done until the spring?  I was going to fly my trike to Arizona but the people I was going to visit had some medical stuff going on so I canceled my flight.  I have a credit sitting at Southwest Airline until July.  So I am going somewhere, maybe still flying my trike to Arizona.

I am glad to be here in one spot.  So much to do, so little time. 

Book Launch Review and Surprise Gift

Tuesday December 10, 2019 Hello, I am excited!  I have a special gift for you, readers of this blog. But before I tell you about that,...