Word Alive Press Posts

Help needed, please!

CaregiverMy book, The Reluctant Caregiver, is nearing publication. Word Alive Press is putting together a promotional package and has asked me to choose an excerpt from the book to be used in marketing.

It’s a challenge to find short excerpts that make sense without context. I’ve found three possibilities. Which do you think works best as a stand alone? Your feedback is most appreciated.



“Hi, Mom. It’s Bobbi. How are you doing?”

“I’m surprised you actually called me,” she sputtered.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Don’t act like you don’t know. You know very well”

“But I don’t. Can you tell me what’s happened?”

“You and your brother happened. That’s what.”

It’s amazing how much fury she can put into her words, how articulate she is when she’s angry. Lawrence thought his visit last week had gone well, but maybe not… Lord, help me understand what’s going on.

“Did something happen when Lawrence was here?”

The sound of the radio blared from her kitchen, but it didn’t cover the curse she uttered. “You’re nothing but liars and stealers, the both of you.”



“The accountant says they have more papers that have to be signed,” Mom said over the phone. “Maybe I did it wrong. I hope not. The government, you know. There could be trouble. I’m scared. I’m really scared. I mailed them. Mailed them in on time.”

“You always do your taxes carefully, Mom.”

“Well, not this time. I thought I’d be dead by now, so I didn’t keep my records very well.”

“You thought… you thought you’d be dead?”

“Well yes. I am eighty. I think. Am I eighty now?”

“You’re ninety, Mom.

“Really? Am I? In any case, I thought I’d be dead, and then you could worry about it. So it took me weeks and weeks to do them.”

I gulped, not knowing whether to laugh or be annoyed. Diplomatically, I did neither.



Mom carefully pulled the letters from the pile, laying each on the side counter. Next she neatly tucked and re-tucked the wad of papers into her purse, then took them out again, shuffled through the pile, returned them, took them out once more, turned them around and put them back.

Breathe. Breathe. Wait. No rush.

Now she turned to the packet of stamps and began to fumble with the cover. After several false starts she managed to open it, and then tried to hook the first stamp with her fingernail. Over and over, she flicked and scratched at it with no success.

“Here, I can help, Mom.” She had often told me how her fingertips were numb. It seemed reasonable that I assist.

I quickly placed three stamps on three letters and popped them into the slot under the counter. Mom put the rest of the stamps in her purse. As we left, I was careful not to make eye contact with any of the now-seven people lined up behind us.

I did hear Mom, though, as she quietly said, “I hope I can remember that the letters got mailed, since I didn’t do it myself.”

Oh, Lord, I never thought of that. 


Which excerpt gets your vote? Let me know in the comments. I need to send it in this week.

Thanks in advance!

The Reluctant Caregiver – an Introduction

This month I was surprised and honoured when my manuscript, The Reluctant Caregiver, was awarded first place in the Word Alive Press annual non-fiction contest. This week WAP posted an interview about the writing of the book. I’m excited to enter into the publishing process with them and see my story come to fruition.

Being Published

The Reluctant Caregiver tells about the last year my mother, who suffered from dementia, lived independently in her home. Circumstances were such that I was the only person in a position to provide support on a day to day basis.

My efforts were hampered by two challenges. First, my mother and I had been estranged most of my life, so we had no positive relationship as a foundation for our forced interaction.

Second, Mom did not want to be cared for. Throughout the year she came up with strategies she felt would be the magical formula that would hold the dementia at bay. As her caregiver, she insisted I put them in place, and then blamed me for sabotaging her when she couldn’t adapt to the change.

Nothing could prevent the progress of the disease.

In the midst of this very challenging year, I came to know Jesus on a much deeper level, as he was my only resource in caring for Mom.

Many families are already affected by Alzheimers and dementia, and the number is growing daily. Each story is different. I’m thankful to Word Alive Press for the opportunity to share mine. I hope it will give some insight and understanding to those who are seeking to know more.


photo credit: sidewalk flying via photopin cc

My Convoluted Path to Entering a Contest

February 2014

Status: My manuscript, The Reluctant Caregiver, is almost finished.

The Problem: My manuscript, The Reluctant Caregiver, is boring me silly. I’ve worked on it so long that it’s become a job instead of a joy. I’m tempted to put it on the shelf and walk away.

The Solution: Word Alive Press is having a contest. Book length submissions in fiction and non-fiction will be judged, with a complete publishing contract as the main prize.

The Plan: While I have no aspirations that I might win, I realize this is an answer to prayer. I will use their deadline. I will follow their submission guidelines. And I will COMPLETE the boring, millstone-around-my-neck manuscript once and for all.

Whew. That feels better.


March 13 2014

Message to my Facebook Writer Groups – InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship and The Word Guild.

Update Status: “Help please! What exactly does a publisher expect when asking for a synopsis?”

Comment: This is where you actually tell, don’t show. Stick to the facts.

Comment: Usually they want a statement for each chapter, saying what it’s about.

Reply: But I have 36 Chapters!

Comment: So? LOL


June 6, 2014

I did it! At least I hope I did it. I’m rather tickled to have reached a point where I’m actually sending a book-length manuscript to a contest. Is there a teeny tiny spot in me that wonders if I could win? Not really.

I know the topic is a winner. Caregiving is high on the list for many these days, and Christians aren’t exempt from the struggle.

I showed the first chapter to an editor at a Blue Pencil meeting awhile back and she burst any bubble that may have been trying to grow. “Yes, you can tell a story, but this one’s a dime a dozen. There’s no hook.”

I will not think of that now. In true Scarlet O’Hara fashion, I will think of that tomorrow. For now, my goal has been reached. I am done. I have met (I think) the submission guidelines.

Entry form completed on line.

Bio chewed over, finalized, inserted.

Required format—font, spacing, header, contact info—double checked. (Thankful I discovered Scrivener. Such a help.)

Saved in Word format (I wonder if Mac will ever become the format of choice?).



What a relief. Not incomplete and nagging me from my shelf. Done! Thank you, Lord, for the push. I feel free to move on.

Being Published

photo credit: sidewalk flying via photopin cc   photo credit: Javmorcas via photopin cc