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Writing from the Couch with Susan Wingate

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Writing from the Couch with Susan Wingate

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  • January 29, 2015 07:09:35 AM
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A Little About Us

The official blog for author Susan Wingate, AMAZON BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CHRISTIAN FANTASY, FAMILY DRAMA, AND THE THRILLER

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The Dementia Chronicles Full Blog Series

“The Dementia Chronicles” full blog series is out in paperback and eBook, two years after the death of my mother. The series annals the trials and heartbreak of my mother as she suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease, coupled with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and with bouts of schizophrenia. In my humble and non-medical opinion, the… The post The Dementia Chronicles Full Blog Series appeared first on Susan...

“The Dementia Chronicles” full blog series is out in paperback and eBook, two years after the death of my mother. The series annals the trials and heartbreak of my mother as she suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease, coupled with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and with bouts of schizophrenia. In my humble and non-medical opinion, the COPD caused brain trauma. Without proper oxygen getting to the brain, the brain will die. Although, I must say, I remember my Mom’s mom being a smidgen schizophrenic. But I’m not sure the schizophrenia was a side effect of the other two problems.

Anyway, you can now read all of the posts in a single format whether print or digital. Thank you for all your kind comments during this trying time. You have no idea how much support you gave me.

The Dementia Chronicles by Susan Wingate

Ripped from Susan Wingate’s blog, THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES is a memoir of the time Susan’s mother lived with them, an eighteen-month period during her final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“The Dementia Chronicles” blog series depicts, in each of twenty-six installments, tender mercies, heartache, trials, and a fight to sustain her mother’s life.

“THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES” on Amazon

The Dementia Chronicles is one woman’s personal observations as the primary caregiver for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s Disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A discussion on aging and senescence and caring for sick parents, The Dementia Chronicles ponders issues such as health and fitness of the elderly as well as genetically-fed family health issues.

 

The post The Dementia Chronicles Full Blog Series appeared first on Susan Wingate.


THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD I don’t remember when the activity started. It was definitely after my sister, Lizz went back to Phoenix. She left Friday after Mom died, Monday, December 19, 2016. Wednesday, we drove onto the ferry, heading to Anacortes for an appointment with the… The post THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD appeared first on Susan...

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

My Mom, Amie Ajamie is on the far right.

I don’t remember when the activity started. It was definitely after my sister, Lizz went back to Phoenix. She left Friday after Mom died, Monday, December 19, 2016. Wednesday, we drove onto the ferry, heading to Anacortes for an appointment with the funeral director at Evans Funeral Home. Lizz and I had little to say the duration of the ferry ride. We slept on the ride over only speaking when necessary. Our nerves were frayed from the horror and struggle of Mom’s death. Scenes from the past three days vivid in our minds.

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

  1. THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

    My Mom with her dog and sister in Yuma, AZ.

    Mary U. came one last time to help me clean and collected all of mom’s stuff out of her bathroom and put it into a box that she stowed away in the closet

  2. After that, I went through mom’s room deep-cleaning
  3. Cleaned out her drawers & clothes closet
  4. Put all her clothing in black landscape bags and took to mom’s old house (Mary helped me put them into my car)
  5. Bob helped me get some big things out, like her bed, we threw away the mattress, left it by the dumpster
  6. Threw her pillows into the dumpster along with area rugs
  7. Put the bedframe out for “free” by the side of the road
  8. Called Lincare to pick up her oxygen supplies (I am still finding parts to the tanks and the keys two years later)
  9. Hid or got rid of all the hospital equipment we had purchased over the 1.5 years mom was with us:
    1. the portable potty I put in mom’s old house
    2. returned the bed rails, the transport chair, and the walker I borrowed from SJ Hospice
    3. put out the hospital bed tray for free by the side of the road
  10. After cleaning I gathered her legal, medical, and social security documents together and called everyone in one day so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it again, but I did have to deal with a few straggling details (I’m still dealing with ownership issues of her home)
  11. I went to my friend’s and unloaded some pretty intimate things about my past
  12. Called the lawyer to help me with legal issues (I am still not done with everything about her estate)

    THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

    One of the many times Mom went into the hospital. She was ordering lunch and… wait for it… ice cream.

  13. I bought a new futon sofa and area rug
  14. Didn’t plan a service right away—I just couldn’t manage to do that so I waited to have her service on her birthday in May. I called St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix and tried to arrange to have a service there, but it became this monolithic chore—too many details, too many parts so I bagged the idea of interring Mom’s remains so far away—too much money even to split.
  15. I did regular things too, like feed, water the animals. Let the dogs and cats out. Fed and watered the birds; oh, and the raccoons
  16. I do remember I taking extra joy with the deer—watching and feeding them
  17. I alienated family members (Lizz, Denielle, and Ashley) by sending everyone a nasty email saying they were no longer welcome at our home
  18. I screamed and yelled at Bob nearly every day
  19. I cried every day, but I can’t remember the tears only the anger, only yelling at Bob
  20. I do remember whenever I drove somewhere crying in the car, just long enough that I wouldn’t be crying when I got out of the car. The drive to town is seven minutes so I spent approximately five minutes crying.
  21. I couldn’t go to church, not until April and then, sporadically.
THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

Mom in bed with Teddy. Fat, fat Teddy. Bob and I inherited him and he’s lost a bunch of weight, with a little left to go. 🙂

It was sixteen months later, in April 2018 when I began to remember memories I’d stuffed away, memories I’d lost immediately after Mom passed away. And it was in November 2018 when I cried because I realized I was getting over her loss. I cried because I wanted to kill off that angry, bitter person I’d become, a person who had become my closest ally. My protector. I didn’t need her anymore. I had begun the dig out of the hole.

So, last week was my mother’s two year anniversary of leaving this earthly plane. My girlfriend calls her two-year birthday in Heaven. I like the sound of that much better than the anniversary of her death. Because we are promised a new life with no sorrow, no pain upon our rebirth in Heaven.

I do remember the dreams right after Mom died. Dreams of her wanting me to dye her hair the colors of the rainbow and “to hurry up!” She wanted to get to the party. She was always heading off to a party in my dreams. Were they dreams? Nah. I don’t think so. They were more like visitations. Is that too far-fetched? Well, if you’d been there with us, getting Mom ready for each event, you might not think so.

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 - A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD

The book for Mom’s service has all of her many amazing works of art. From sculptures to oil paintings, Mom created some masterful pieces which Lizz and I now both share.

THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD will be the last installment of The Dementia Chronicles. Thank you for your concern and your kindness over these past two difficult years.

The post THE DEMENTIA CHRONICLES #26 – A LIST FOR CLEANING UP AFTER THE DEAD appeared first on Susan Wingate.


MayUHavAVeeryDeeryChristmas

From our house to yours, may God bless you this Christmas season. The post MayUHavAVeeryDeeryChristmas appeared first on Susan Wingate.

From our house to yours, may God bless you this Christmas season.

The post MayUHavAVeeryDeeryChristmas appeared first on Susan Wingate.


My Scrape with Organized Crime and The Mafia

How Organized Crime Shaped My Writing I usually read bestsellers written by a novelist who has previously written a fictional and sometimes great American novel. These great books include authors like Joseph Heller, like Margaret Atwood, who write suspense, who are often Pulitzer winning fiction authors, authors of such stories like “A Handmaid’s Tale.” Other… The post My Scrape with Organized Crime and The Mafia appeared first on Susan...

How Organized Crime Shaped My Writing

I usually read bestsellers written by a novelist who has previously written a fictional and sometimes great American novel. These great books include authors like Joseph Heller, like Margaret Atwood, who write suspense, who are often Pulitzer winning fiction authors, authors of such stories like “A Handmaid’s Tale.” Other books I read fall into the genres of young adult, the murder mystery, anything Joseph Conrad, detective and procedural fiction, as well as a good old fashioned thriller. Lately, I’ve been reading novels by John LeCarre. He writes espionage fiction from his experience as a spy with MI5 and MI6. His latest is “A Legacy of Spies,” the 50-year-later sequel to “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.”

What I don’t often read, until recently (and quite by accident) when I picked up Randall Silvis’ “Blood & Ink” which one could categorize as mafia fiction, certainly mafia fiction with a “Get Shorty” feel. I watched every flipping episode of The Sopranos but did I ever read any mafia fiction? No. Which is weird for me since my scrape with organized crime and the mafia–a crime boss and his driver. The all-wise “they” say write what you know. I don’t write about this part of my past because I don’t want to glorify their criminal ways.

My Scrape with Organized Crime and The Mafia

If you want to know, however, I spent the full six months eating at the finest restaurants in Phoenix, riding in the backseat of a Rolls Royce with… we’ll call him Don Bosso and his driver David, getting clothing and a spending allowance, and well basically being taken care of. Now, ask me if he was married. Yes. He was. This is where guilt and self-loathing take over. He was also twenty-nine years my senior, he at fifty-five and me at twenty-six. I got swept away by the glitz, the never-ending bottle of Cristal, caviar, clothing, the high-life. But it’s funny when you’re looking down from your pedestal, you don’t bother to see everything above you, where you are in the bigger scenario. That you’re just a hair above those people wallowing in the gutter with no way to grasp a loftier, more precious spot in life. Why? Because you’ve made your choice. Because you’re blinded by champagne glasses tinkling as they swing from racks above the windows and the wood-carvings on the ice chest in the back of that Rolls.

My Scrape with Organized Crime and The MafiaIt’s only when you get the first phone call from Don asking why you went where you went today? That the shaking starts.

“Are you following me?”

*Nothing but a chuckle from his end of the line.*

When you realize the term at-risk is closer to you than you believed.

“Stop following me.”

“Ah, Lebanese,” (he liked to call me his Little Lebanese) “don’t be mad.”

After a few similar instances and a mad dash through the backyards of some beaten down homes, I lost David’s scent. David stood about six-four and looked like a wall. A dark, rugged wall with smoldering eyes, not the smoldering kind you find in the morning when you roll over and say, “Breakfast?” No, these eyes wouldn’t mind snapping your neck if given the order.

The next escape was after I was “persuaded” to go to a chi-chi resort for an event arranged by some of Don’s people. He wouldn’t leave my side until I told him I needed to use the ladies room. David stood watch. Fortunately, I ducked out as soon as I went in. David wasn’t expecting me to exit so soon. His back to a massive hallway and concentrating out in front on the area from where we’d entered. I turned down the hall deeper into the resort, opened a double-set of service doors which turned out to be a large kitchen for that floor. I told a busboy I was in trouble and needed help. He slipped me out another door, down three flights of stairs, and out to an area where a train of limos sat waiting for people to leave. I told him I didn’t have the money for a limo. He looked at one of the drivers and said, “She needs to get out of here, now. Take her wherever she needs to go.” No cost.

Of course, the next day Don called. “Why’d you go and leave so soon, Lebanese?”

He followed me for a year after.

Writing this entry my heart is pounding, my fear still ever living. So, no. I will not write what I know, not about mafia fiction because I feel like I am one of the lucky ones. I got out alive. And the inference? How many others like me did not make it out alive?


Factoid: We don’t really know the people we know until they reveal their secrets. Up to that, we see a mask.

THE DEATH OF VULTURES is available in paperback, eBook, and now in audio book. Click Here for your copy.

My Scrape with Organized Crime and The Mafia

 

 

The post My Scrape with Organized Crime and The Mafia appeared first on Susan Wingate.


Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards

Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards Yawn. Nothing special had happened Monday. You know, the usual. Get out of bed, work, work more, eat, field a host of busy-ness from being Deacon of the Month at our Church, straighten up around the house, fix dinner, watch the news. You know, the same-oh-same-oh.… The post Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards appeared first on Susan...

Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards

Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards

Yawn. Nothing special had happened Monday. You know, the usual. Get out of bed, work, work more, eat, field a host of busy-ness from being Deacon of the Month at our Church, straighten up around the house, fix dinner, watch the news. You know, the same-oh-same-oh. Ho hum. Right?

No. Not right. All at once… Crackle, fizz, pop! I got an email from another author friend of mine telling me that THE DEATH OF VULTURES, my latest thriller, made the short-list for The 2018 CLUE Book Awards.

I read the note. Backtracked, then re-read the note again. She wrote:

“First, congrats on you making the shortlist on the Clue awards. very cool. https://bit.ly/2B9UjZ1

Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards

Wah? Wait a sec. My mind fluttered between OMG! Wahoo! and What just happened? Did I recall entering the book in this contest? No. So, in my quandary, I turned to my emails to check. And, voila! The publisher had entered The Death of Vultures for a book review, which it apparently went deeper and onto the book contest from there. Who knew? Not I.

So, now, instead of regular daily activities of the work, work, eat, clean thing, I’ll now insert another task of freaking out.

But really, of course, I’m totally stoked and excited about any further advancements. And, if you have the chance, you should read the list of short-listed authors! They include Timothy Burgess! Timothy Burgess and 28 other awesome authors. Even if I don’t make it further in the contest, I’m so honored to have placed.

Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards

Factoid: The word Chanticleer has a French etymology with roots to c. 1250 meaning:  Old French Chantecler noun use of verb phrase chante cler to sing clear. See chant, clear. And was used “rooster” in fairy tales as a proper noun.

 

The post Chanticleer Book Reviews and The 2018 CLUE Book Awards appeared first on Susan Wingate.


#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis What a life. Read books. Eat. Sleep. Read more. Write. Write. Edit. Read another book. I’d say a blessed existence. Especially, since I’ve recently offered up giving book reviews as #BagLady Book Reviews. So, on we go with the next installment of #BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST… The post #BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis appeared first on Susan...

baglady b busy

#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

What a life. Read books. Eat. Sleep. Read more. Write. Write. Edit. Read another book. I’d say a blessed existence. Especially, since I’ve recently offered up giving book reviews as #BagLady Book Reviews.

So, on we go with the next installment of #BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis.

#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

When I finished reading Randall Silvis’s latest novel FIRST THE THUNDER (November 2018, Thomas & Mercer), I sat back, took in a deep breath, and thought, “I have to wait for his next book?!” I hate waiting. Patience has never been my strong suit. And patience shirks away from me when it comes to Randall Silvis books. I first read him when I picked up an e-copy of Blood & Ink. From Blood & Ink, I’ve been hooked on Silvis’s writing–his turns of phrase, his voicey narration, and his come-to-life characters. IMHO, Silvis is a self-made master of fiction. He told me in an interview on Dialogue January 2018, he took a year off, read a book a day, devoured fiction, then started writing novels. His self-training seems to have worked. He’s gotten major publishing deal after major publishing deal. His writing elicits visceral imagery, palpable conflict, and a core understanding of the human conditions through his characterization.

FIRST THE THUNDER is no different. In a tale of three brothers, reminiscent of Greek tragedy, the brothers (products of their run-down Pennsylvania mining town), grapple with life in decline. Harvey drives a delivery truck; Stevie works odd jobs; and Will is a struggling bar owner whose wife, Laci, is edging toward desperation when her boss offers her more money…for a price. Then, in this tight circle where prosperity is rare—and hope, even rarer—comes a breaking point in a simple but indefensible slight… When Harvey gets shafted by his brother-in-law in a deal over a vintage Indian motorcycle, he enlists the help of Stevie and Will to set things right. But the revenge plan goes awry, and the three men stumble upon a shocking secret that, if revealed, would upend their lives. As they’re crushed under the weight of a nightmarish truth and the damning evidence in their possession, it’s up to Laci to save her family from the coming storm the brothers have wrought. And no one is prepared for the fallout.

And believe me, the reader will not escape the turmoil that grows to the tipping point within this tale. The story does gymnastics with your mind. Silvis has created a story stuffed full of interesting characters, situations, and tension, that you fly through this book. Layered with characters ranging from the cool and steady to the furious and injured. Each character comes alive in FIRST THE THUNDER. Not your typical mystery, no. This story’s mystery lies deep within the characters until once their secrets can no longer stay under wraps, they explode… in grand fashion. Casualties all around, certainly of the psychological kind. This story becomes so real that you think you might be reading about it in your local newspaper. A redemptive story of heartbreaking brilliance, FIRST THE THUNDER, is a must-have on your library shelves.

FIRST THE THUNDER gets a 5-heart review: Image result for heartImage result for heartImage result for heartImage result for heartImage result for heart

Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. Also a prize-winning playwright, a produced screenwriter, and a prolific essayist, he has been published and produced in virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in the Discovery Channel magazines, The Writer, Prism International, Short Story International, Manoa, and numerous other online and print magazines. His work has been translated into 10 languages.

Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for “distinguished literary achievement.”

#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

The #BagLady B Busy reading and writing. #BagLady says, “Read a book!”


If you’re interested in a book review by the #BagLady, head over to my Writing Services & Book Reviews page.

The post #BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis appeared first on Susan Wingate.


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