Tag Archives: memoir

Guest Post Did I Ever Thank You, Sister?

Guest Post

I started a little exercise about twenty years ago that has really changed my perspective on life, especially when I get uptight about things.

When I was young and in the orphanage back in the 1960’s, and for many years afterwards, I would literally wake up afraid every day. I guess it was because my childhood before I got to the orphanage at 8 was so disjointed and unpredictable, such as to always wonder if were we even going to eat that day, or was my father going to beat my mother, etc., I just learned not to trust or feel secure.

But, as an adult, I was given great advice to look for the good in life and in my past and hang on to that. That is how I discovered gratitude. Today, when I feel afraid or insecure,  I look back on the previous day and I do an inventory looking for the good that happened and I find myself smiling and feeling grateful about just how great life is and how “An average day, is a great day”.

I then realize how fortunate I am that my life has turned out so good. But, it was a lot of kindness from many people who helped me along the way that helped me get to where I am today.

 Just cooking for my lovely wife of 36 years is a great thought. She loves my cooking and I love to cook for her. It is the little things that matter.

About the Book

Title: Did I Ever Thank You Sister?

Author: Sal Di Leo

Genre: Nonfiction

Sal Di Leo returns after 30 years to the Catholic orphanage outside Chicago that he and his siblings called home in 1963. This is the beginning of a journey of discovery and remembrance as Sal is forced to reconstruct his life as it really happened, including some of his most difficult years at Boys Town in Nebraska. As an adult, Sal tried to rise above his turbulent past in an aggressive quest for power and money. Successes soon led to failures. Eventually, a wise friend convinces Sal to go back to his roots and look for the good experiences and valuable lessons he learned as a nine-year-old orphan.

 

Author Bio

Sal Di Leo is the Author of Did I Ever Thank You, Sister?, a Speaker, and an Entrepreneur.

Sal has successfully tackled many challenges in business and in life, and volunteers much of his time serving those in need. With his family, he founded St. Francis Lodge, a free retreat center where nuns, priests and others can reflect and rest to enhance their lives and work.

The State Fish Art contest, which he started in Minnesota to help kids learn about conservation through art, is now offered in all 50 states and 12 countries. Sal has been actively involved with Rotary and the Lions Club, and he has spoken to service clubs around the United States about his life and the importance of gratitude.

His memoir, Did I Ever Thank You, Sister?, rooted in his childhood experiences in a Catholic orphanage, is available worldwide.

He is the proud father of two adult daughters and has been married to his lovely wife Beth for 36 years. A longtime resident of Minneapolis, he is a 1977 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Visit Sal on his website http://www.SalDiLeo.com

 

Links

Goodreads

Amazon

Website: http://www.saldileo.com/

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Guest Post We Never Left You

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I’m hosting a guest post today for the tour for “We Never Left You”. I’ll leave the word to Beth and Rick Olsen now.

Guest Post

We Never Left You. That is the title of our book and the story and hope of our life. Our nine year old daughter Jessica and seven year old son Joshua were killed on July 18, 1999 in an accident involving a drunk driver on a Sunday afternoon. How do you go on is the question that we heard many times. At first we had no idea. We had to learn just how to get through the next five minutes. But how could we get beyond those five minutes? Our children, the heart and soul of our family were gone.

Life took over at that point. Our bodies told us we had to eat. We had to sleep. We had to use the bathroom. Life also told us we had to take care of details that we never dreamed we would have to. We went to the funeral home to talk about how we wanted our children’s funeral arranged.

Life also gave us the unexpected. When we walked into the funeral home it was empty and eerily quiet. It matched how we felt. One person greeted us and went to find Jim Phillip, the funeral director. He approached us with a smile on his face and said, “That Josh, can you tell him to leave my lights and music alone?” Jim continued, “He keeps turning my lights on and off and changing the music station.”

We stared at him in stunned silence. “What did you say?” Beth asked. He repeated it again. We had a glimmer of hope that maybe; just maybe our children were alright. We were just given our introduction to the fact that our kids have never left us.

The following morning we were given confirmation that they never left us. We were visiting a friend of ours before the funeral. She was a gifted psychic. We chatted with her for over an hour and as we were about to leave she said, “The children are here, no wait it is only Jessica.” Our friend got that far off look in her eyes, as if she was listening to something only she could hear. She gave us a message from Jessica. The message was about a conversation that Beth and Josh had an hour before the accident concerning a chicken in the basket. Nobody else knew about the conversation except for Beth and Josh. Tears rolled from our eyes as hope began to creep into our hearts. Our children were reaching out to us.

As we were leaving our friend told us that the kids were arranging something for us when we got into the car. Not sure what to expect, we waited excitedly in the car for several minutes. When nothing happened we started up the car and there it was. The children’s favorite song from the movie Tarzan was playing on the radio. The song was titled, “Two Worlds, One Family.” We smiled and wondered, if our children were gone then how are these things possible?

As time moved on we had no choice but to move on as well. We began to piece together our shattered lives. The loss and heartbreak was still unbearable. Our children continued to send us messages to let us know they were still with us. We began a journey to figure out how to communicate with our children. As we moved along that journey the seeds of healing were being planted.

We began to share the chicken in the basket story. Whenever we did we saw the power of that story. It gave hope and healing to some and peace to others. We began to understand that this story needed to be told. A slow realization began to creep over us. If this story needed to be told, could it be possible that the accident and the kids communication with us was meant to happen?

About the Book

Native Cover_5575821_Front CoverTitle: We Never Left You

Authors: Beth and Rick Olsen

Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir / Inspirational

After unspeakable tragedy, one couple must forge their own path to healing in the bittersweet true story, We Never Left You.

One moment, Beth and Rick Olsen were enjoying an ordinary life filled with all the joys and frustrations of raising their two children, Jessica and Joshua. The next moment, a drunk driver plowed through a red light at eighty miles per hour, hitting their van and changing everything.

The death of both their children launched Beth and Rick down a long and winding path toward simple survival—and eventual healing. As shock gave way to the cruel reality of their loss, they began receiving messages that proved the existence of life after death—a welcome sign that aided them in moving forward.

The Olsens soon attempted traditional healing methods but quickly found that counseling did nothing to help them get a grasp on their monumental loss. They then turned to nontraditional approaches—a decision that led them to Peru. It was there they finally began to undergo the immense physical, mental, and emotional changes that allowed them to understand everything—including the accident—happens for a reason.

Author Bio

author pictureBeth and Rick Olsen

Happily married since 1987, Rick and Beth Olsen survived the death of their two children from a drunk driver in 1999. Now, in 2015, they have written their first book about their experiences in an attempt to help other people undergoing the same kind of tragedy. Beth and Rick live in Glenbeulah, Wisconsin with their three children.

Andrea Cagan

Andrea Cagan has been writing, ghost writing, collaborating and editing for over two decades, with more than a dozen books appearing on the best seller lists, including four #1 NY Times and LA Times best sellers. She focuses on topics of social value, and has worked with such celebrities as Magic Johnson, Marianne Williamson, Grace Slick and many more.

Links

Book website www.weneverleftyou.com

Twitter @wnly99

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/wnly99

Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/weneverleftyou/

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Author Interview With New Eyes: The Power of Perspective

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Today I’m interviewing Heidi Siefkas, author of non-fiction / inspirational “With New Eyes: The Power of Perspective”. Thanks for visiting.

Have you been writing for a long time?

I have been writing for roughly ten years. Not all of that time has been as an author, but as a blogger as well as writing pres releases and marketing copy. I started writing books in 2012. I published my first book in 2014.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I wanted to inspire others. In a former life, I was a classroom teacher. I felt that the classroom and the high school audience wasn’t a good fit long-term. However, through writing and speaking, I have found a way to teach, inspire, and entertain readers without walls.

Is this your first book? If not, can you tell us about your first book?

With New Eyes is my second book. My first book, When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything is my first. It debuted last September and it, too, is a true story of survival and life change. Through losing everything: health, marriage, and career, I found the upside. When All Balls Drop inspires you to not only survive life’s obstacles, but also thrive and spark your own life change.

With New Eyes, my newest book, shares the details of architecting a new life, Life 2.0. It is an entertaining, inspirational account of life change that shows you how to tap into the power of perspective in unique ways. Full of mishaps, bold decisions, sassy humor, and adventures, With New Eyes inspires you to conquer your fears, head for adventure, and embark on your own life 2.0

Why did you choose this genre?

I write what I know best, which is from real-life experiences. I’m currently writing my third book, Cubicle to Cuba, which features a humorous collection of stories about my travels to Cuba, Peru, New Zealand, Italy, and other far-flung places.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read everything that you can get your hands on, not only in the genre you want to write. Also, write as often as you can. It doesn’t have to be for a book. Write in a journal. Give your feedback on the books you read in the form of reviews. Start a blog.

Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?

My first book, When All Balls Drop, is transitioning to movie. Additionally, I host various events and signings through the year. This fall, I will be co-hosting the South Florida Writing Retreat in Fort Lauderdale this October 24th. To learn more about my books, film, and events, visit www.heidisiefkas.com.

About the Book

WithNewEyesHeidiSiefkasTitle: With New Eyes: The Power of Perspective

Author: Heidi Siefkas

Genre: Memoir / Inspiration

Heidi Siefkas lost her health, her career, and her marriage after she was struck by a one thousand-pound tree branch. While she made great strides in her physical and emotional recovery in the months that followed—an arduous process that she chronicled in When All Balls Drop—Heidi wasn’t content to merely survive her setbacks. The time was right to build a new life. One she could live on her own terms.

But what would a redesigned life look like? In her quest for answers, Heidi returned to her childhood home in Wisconsin, dove into the South Florida dating scene, revisited old flames in New England, sold her first home, jumped out of a plane, and traveled alone to South America. Every leg of her journey provided a healthy dose of perspective.

 With New Eyes is full of mishaps and bold decisions, all seasoned with sassy humor. Through her signature down-to-earth vignettes, Heidi inspires you to conquer your fears, head for adventure, and be the captain of your own ship.

Author Bio

Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home. Heidi is currently writing her third book, Cubicle to Cuba, which features a humorous collection of stories about her travels to Cuba, Peru, New Zealand, Italy, and other far-flung places.

Heidi invites you to share photos on social media that show where you are enjoying With New Eyes (#withneweyes). You can connect with Heidi at http://www.heidisiefkas.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Links

B&N

Goodreads

Amazon

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Promo Post The Daughters Lem

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About the Book

9781620157688-frontTitle: The Daughters Lem

Author: Nila Aamoth

Genre: Biographical / Memoir / Historical

The Daughters of Lem witnessed and survived the tragic event that forever transformed them. Orphaned, frightened, fiercely independent, the four sisters fought defiantly to raise themselves. But Lucille, Louise, and Nell Rose could not defeat the notion of a Lem bad seed; they chose to remain childless. Only Dorothy sought to achieve what she perceived to be a “normal” life as a wife and mother. In the process, she discovered her power as an independent woman. Her own three offspring became a new generation of the Daughters of Lem, and fortunate participants in their mother’s improbably joyful journey.

Author Bio

Nila Knack Aamoth wrote her first story at age four, and never stopped plying the pencil, the typewriter, and finally the computer keyboard. She began her journalism career in Houston, Texas, and owned two community newspapers in Michigan. For 25 years, she was editor and publisher of The Penasee Globe. “I figured my thoughts were more valuable than the traditional penny, so I called my weekly column A Nickel’s Worth,” she likes to joke. Those mostly light-hearted musings won her numerous state and national writing awards. Her insightful editorials, both humorous and serious, won the Michigan Press Association award for “Best Editorial” two years running. “I believed I could write about anything,” she says. “But writing the incredible story of my own family was almost too heart-wrenching. I think I’ve finally grown up!”

Links

Facebook

 Twitter

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon (Paperback)

B&N

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Release Day Party The Daughters Lem

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About the Book

9781620157688-frontTitle: The Daughters Lem

Author: Nila Aamoth

Genre: Biographical / Memoir / Historical

The Daughters of Lem witnessed and survived the tragic event that forever transformed them. Orphaned, frightened, fiercely independent, the four sisters fought defiantly to raise themselves. But Lucille, Louise, and Nell Rose could not defeat the notion of a Lem bad seed; they chose to remain childless. Only Dorothy sought to achieve what she perceived to be a “normal” life as a wife and mother. In the process, she discovered her power as an independent woman. Her own three offspring became a new generation of the Daughters of Lem, and fortunate participants in their mother’s improbably joyful journey.

Author Bio

Nila Knack Aamoth wrote her first story at age four, and never stopped plying the pencil, the typewriter, and finally the computer keyboard. She began her journalism career in Houston, Texas, and owned two community newspapers in Michigan. For 25 years, she was editor and publisher of The Penasee Globe. “I figured my thoughts were more valuable than the traditional penny, so I called my weekly column A Nickel’s Worth,” she likes to joke. Those mostly light-hearted musings won her numerous state and national writing awards. Her insightful editorials, both humorous and serious, won the Michigan Press Association award for “Best Editorial” two years running. “I believed I could write about anything,” she says. “But writing the incredible story of my own family was almost too heart-wrenching. I think I’ve finally grown up!”

Links

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon (Paperback)

B&N

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Guest Post Mothering Through Bipolar Tour

motheringbipolar

Today’s guest is Rebecca Moore, author of “Mothering Through Bipolar”, a memoir. Welcome, and thanks for guest posting on my blog.

Why I Do What I do

Four years ago when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I made it my mission to reach out to other parents who were struggling with the same illness. At the time, my illness consumed me and there were many days I couldn’t get out of bed. I needed to find support from other parents and find out how they coped when the symptoms returned and they found themselves unable to push through those hard times. I needed suggestions, advice, but more importantly, I needed a support network.

A year passed and I found no other parent that had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I scoured the internet for hours, even losing sleep during my search, trying to locate just one support group to help me get through.

I finally had enough and decided to start my own blog, writing about the coping techniques I found to be helpful and writing about my daily life as a mother with Bipolar Disorder trying to raise a family of seven children. Not an easy task when my youngest child was just a year old herself.

But soon enough I had parents searching me out. I was speaking out about my illness, I wasn’t hiding it. I wanted the world to know that moms can have a mental illness and still be great parents. I wanted to be a positive influence on mental health in general.

The media had reported way too many horror stories of moms taking their own lives and the lives of their children. As a society, our first reactions are, “How can a mother do that to her own children?”

The truth of the matter is, if we didn’t stigmatize against mental illness as much as we do, then maybe those moms would have felt safe enough to reach out to other family members, psychiatrists and therapists and be honest about how they are feeling without fear of judgement or worse, losing their children because of having a mental illness.

Pregnancy and the change in hormones that comes with it can change our mental status. We find ourselves having thoughts about harming ourselves or harming our children and these thoughts come out of nowhere. They envelope us in their darkness and with no place to turn for help sometimes we act on what our brains are telling us to do.

But there is a solution to this. We can make it safe for moms and dads alike to reach out for help without judgement. We should be able to tell our doctors that we are having thoughts of suicide or worse without fear that we’ll lose our children. We should be commended for taking that step of strength and asking for help.

And that is why I write about my illness, that is why I wrote “Mothering Through Bipolar” and that is why I do what I do. I don’t want parents to feel as though they have to hide behind a curtain and not be able to reach out for the help they so desperately need.

I was one of those moms who had those scary, dark thoughts. Had I not reached out, I would not be here today to help raise awareness about mental illness.

About the Book

CoverTitle: Mothering Through Bipolar

Author: Rebecca Moore

Genre: Memoir

Mothering Through Bipolar is Rebecca’s journey of living with Bipolar Disorder while raising a family of seven children. She takes her readers on an adventure through depression, mania, legal issues, relationship problems and other difficulties. Rebecca offers her readers encouragement, comfort and support; always with a message of hope.

Author Bio

Author PhotoRebecca Moore has been diagnosed with everything from Postpartum Depression to Bipolar Disorder. Rebecca enjoys writing about surviving her journey through mental health and likes to help others who have been there as well. She is a strong Mental Health Advocate for parents living with mental illness. Rebecca is also the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Bipolar Parenting Foundation. She also runs a column on PsychCentral called Bipolar Parenting. Rebecca lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and seven children.

“We must break down the wall of shame society has built for us” – Rebecca Moore in Mothering Through Bipolar

 

Links

http://embracingmadness.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rebeccamooreauthor

https://twitter.com/authorRmoore

Buy Mothering Through Bipolar:

Amazon:     Amazon

Barnes and Noble:    B&N

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Book Review Learning to Float

Learning to FloatTitle: Learning to Float

Author: Allan Ament

Genre: Memoir

Allan and Deloris Ament’s lives take a dramatic turn when Deloris suffers a debilitating stroke. No longer an equal partner in marriage, Allan becomes Deloris’s primary caregiver, responsible for maintaining their household and her well-being. Learning to Float describes Allan’s transformation from a criminal defense attorney to a compassionate, emotionally vulnerable caregiver. Drawing on contemporaneously written emails and private journal entries, Ament unflinchingly exposes his emotional, mental, and physical ups and downs, consistently focusing on the love, humor, and opportunities for personal and spiritual growth he experiences on this journey. Anyone with the possibility of becoming a caregiver for a loved one, now or in the future, will benefit from the insights Ament shares. Everyone will be buoyed by the love Allan and Deloris experience as they face their new normal.

I don’t review books too often. I’m really picky about what books I choose to review, and I picked up this one because it reminded me a lot of what my mother went through when she had to take care of my father after he had a stroke and became partially paralyzed. I wanted to read about Allan and Deloris and their journey and struggles, and see how much related to what my parents went through. The author has an unique, easy-to-read writing style, and garners sympathy almost right away. He transforms from an attorney into a caregiver, and it’s not always easy, sometimes it’s tough and sometimes he wants to give up, but he always keeps on going.

I have to applaud the author for his honesty, which turns the book into a raw, emotional read. You can often feel the author’s frustration, but you also feel his hope and his strength, and it’s an inspiring book to people in similar situations.

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Book Excerpt from Learning to Float

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Book Excerpt

Excerpted from “It’s Actually a Loft”

My body and mind were attuned to Deloris’s smallest movements; I would be wide-awake within seconds whenever I sensed Deloris needed help. If Deloris slept on the first floor, there was no place for me to sleep next to her. Nor did I want to pay a caregiver to sit in a chair beside my wife in order to help her to and from the bathroom a couple of times a night. The stairs were not wide enough for a standard chair lift; a customized chair lift was too expensive. Major house renovations would take time, even if they were possible, practical, and affordable.

No option that involved staying in our present house seemed feasible. The clock was ticking, and it scared the hell out of me. I needed to fix the problem and had no idea how.

One evening Ben and Fredericka, who were back from New York, came over for dinner. As we were eating, I described my frustration and stress at being unable to come up with a workable living solution. Ben looked around the room. “Think of the downstairs as one big open space. You’ve been in our loft in New York. This has the same sort of possibilities. Move your bed downstairs, set up some screens, and live on one floor. It’s what we do in New York.”

I looked around and was surprised by what I saw. “That could work,” I said.

While not ideal from a decorator’s standpoint, the solution entailed minimal inconvenience. We would no longer have a functional living room, but it was a lot easier, and less expensive, than moving. And if we bought a new bed, we could move our present one into the empty room upstairs and have a real guest room.

As a teacher of critical thinking, I was familiar with how our strong feelings can cloud our thought processes. I had been caught up in my own emotional maelstrom and could neither recognize it for what it was nor find a means to escape it. I had needed another pair of eyes, someone uninvolved who could look at things dispassionately and come up with a rational, workable solution. Ben’s suggestion excited me on several levels. We could remain in our home, and I would now have new material for my classes: a personal example of how a dispassionate party can help in problem solving.

About The Book

Learning to FloatTitle: Learning to Float

Author: Allan Ament

Genre: Memoir

Allan and Deloris Ament’s lives take a dramatic turn when Deloris suffers a debilitating stroke. No longer an equal partner in marriage, Allan becomes Deloris’s primary caregiver, responsible for maintaining their household and her well-being. Learning to Float describes Allan’s transformation from a criminal defense attorney to a compassionate, emotionally vulnerable caregiver. Drawing on contemporaneously written emails and private journal entries, Ament unflinchingly exposes his emotional, mental, and physical ups and downs, consistently focusing on the love, humor, and opportunities for personal and spiritual growth he experiences on this journey. Anyone with the possibility of becoming a caregiver for a loved one, now or in the future, will benefit from the insights Ament shares. Everyone will be buoyed by the love Allan and Deloris experience as they face their new normal.

 

Author Bio

final cover shotAfter successful careers as a criminal defense attorney, higher education administrator and instructor, and day spa manager, Allan Ament now enjoys retirement with his wife, an award-winning journalist and author, and their semi-neurotic cat (are there other kinds?) They live on an island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle, where, in addition to writing and being his wife’s primary caregiver, Ament serves as board chair for the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (nila.edu).  His work has previously appeared in academic, professional, and literary journals, and is included in an upcoming anthology, Being: What Makes a Man. Learning to Float is his first book-length work.

Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Allan-Ament-Author/748062721931129

Blog:  allanament.com

Twitter:  @allanament

Purchase Links:

bit.ly/LTFamazon

bit.ly/LTFBarnesN

Giveaway

Win a signed paperback copy of the book along with a Whidbey Island, WA goodie basket with bonus Seattle coffee and mug.

Go here to participate in the giveaway.

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Book Excerpt for When All Balls Drop Tour

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I’m sharing an excerpt today from creative non-ficiton / inspirational / memoir “When All Balls Drop”. Enjoy the excerpt, and have a great day.

Book Excerpt

Returning to My Roots

Passing the hours in a dazed state on the fifth floor of St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, I thought of another St. Francis Hospital. In the mid-1970s, I was born in St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, nearly three thousand miles away. Suddenly, I was given a second chance at life in a hospital with the same name as the one where I was born. What a rare coincidence!

Not having lived in Wisconsin since my undergraduate studies in Madison, perhaps I needed to revisit my roots.

My childhood home was a hobby farm in rural western Wisconsin. We lived nearly three miles outside of the small town of Galesville in Little Tamarack, a valley of dairy farms and apple orchards. Our cedar-sided two-story house and its twenty acres were nestled in the heart of the valley. A former orchard served as a pasture for our flock of sheep. Large maple, oak, and pine trees completely hid the house atop a small hill. The rest of the property was peppered with red sheds. One served as the stables for the sheep, another as my playhouse, and the largest for my mom’s antique shop called The Little Red Shed.

About The Book

whenallballsdropcoverTitle: When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything

Author: Heidi Siefkas

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Memoir

The true story of a survivor
who through losing everything,
redefined having it all

Heidi Siefkas was a happily married, globetrotting professional who seemingly “had it all”—until a tree limb in New York’s Hudson River Valley struck her down, breaking her neck and leaving her unconscious. Suddenly, life as she knew it stopped. She lost her independence. She lost her career. She watched her marriage disintegrate as she confronted a trail of devastating lies about her husband’s double life.

She had lost all that mattered, but she was a survivor. She fought to restore her health, repair her broken heart, and rebuild herself. Along the way, she gained clarity about her core values, ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to have it all.

Through down-to-earth, short vignettes, When All Balls Drop shows us how it’s possible to “look up” in spite of pain, deceit, and loss. Heidi’s memoir–rich with hope and humor, inspires anyone who’s had to confront tragedy and reassess their life in the wake of life-altering events.

Author Bio

Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home. Heidi is currently crafting a sequel to this memoir, embracing both her wanderlust and love of writing by documenting her many travels. You can connect with Heidi at www.heidisiefkas.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Links

Website: http://www.heidisiefkas.com

Twitter: @HeidiSiefkas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeidiNSiefkas?ref=hl

Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for 5 paperback copies (US only). Contest will end on September 26, and winners will be announced on September 27. Additionally readers who sign up via the author’s mailing list, will get a free excerpt of the book.

Go here to participate in the giveaway.

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Guest Post Sister Surrendered

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I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for memoir “Sister Surrendered”. Enjoy.

Often asked what my desired final result is from publishing Sister Surrendered, I find myself pausing each time before answering. Instinctually, I’d like to jump on my soap-box and insist that the mental health care system be reformed, that all veterans diagnosed with PTSD receive extensive, on-going, interactive psychotherapy, that the public educates itself better on addiction and mental illness and the difficulties associated with these terrible and often debilitating disorders, that we as a society, together, rip off the band aids of a fractured system and repair it for the long-haul. These are just some of the answers that I’d like to sputter off, but thankfully, I’ve learned to take a breath first.

Frankly, it wasn’t that long ago that I too was ignorant to mental illness, depression, anxiety and addiction. When you read the first few chapters of Sister Surrendered, you’ll see that life was pretty good for my twin sister and me. Actually, it was great. We had an amazing childhood filled with fun, laughter and mischief. Eventually we joined the Navy and served six incredibly rewarding years as Hospital Corpsman, having the times of our lives. Certainly we had our challenges, but for the most part, life was smooth sailing.

But life as we knew it changed after our discharge. Life as we knew it ended. And what once seemed to be a bright, exciting future of new beginnings, sadly, turned dark and uncertain. The days became riddled with anxiety and the nights even worse.

It’s clear to me now that there is no “specific” message that I’d like to send. I’ve learned through the countless personal messages from readers that I’ve received that this book is a different experience for everyone. Some have cried for days, while others’ laughed hysterically. Some were left furious at a system who failed a beautiful young woman, leaving her desperate enough to take her own life.

And that beautiful young woman’s name was Kelli. Hopefully you’ll choose to read her story, a journey filled with more twists than I care to recall. And if you choose too, you’ll find yourself rooting for her by the end, you’ll cry for her after you finish, and you’ll remember her name for a lifetime. And this is my promise to you.

Sister Surrendered

Sister Surrendered Ebook Cover jpgTitle: Sister Surrendered

Author: Darla Grese

Genre: Memoir

When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace.

This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco.

I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met.

I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.

Author Bio

277920_4153854852406_1828888743_oDarla M. Grese is a twin sister who lost her better half to side effects from prescribed medication. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she is an advocate of Veteran X and Veteran Hope programs that address mental illness, PTSD, and unintentional addiction issues. Both programs are sponsored by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and focus on Veteran recovery and independence. She raises money for Team Kelli and annually participates in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach (http://www.sos-walk.org/sos/). While continuing to bring awareness to this cause, being a loving parent is her favorite passion and the main focus of her life. Darla’s love for the arts has been expressed as a talented actress with appearances in The F.B.I. files, The New Detectives, Diagnosis Unknown, Wicked Attraction, Discovery Channel’s The Haunting, and the movie Atlantis Down. She currently works full time as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in Norfolk, Virginia.

Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sister-Surrendered-Darla-M-Grese-ebook/dp/B00JMFPBJO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402257715&sr=8-1&keywords=sister+surrendered

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