Monday, July 12, 2021

Guest Post: No Spring Chicken by Francine Falk-Allen

Five Things Your Mom, Dad or Disabled Friend May Not Be Telling You
by Francine Falk Allen

Everyone eventually has physical challenges as he or she ages. Many of my girlfriends and I started having arthritis or other painful hand issues as early as our late 50’s or early 60’s, and we sure did not consider ourselves old! I have had a mostly paralyzed leg from polio since I was three, so am aware of hidden difficulties, and also know that people with disabilities or physical challenges often don’t like to bring them up. Frequently people feel that admitting these issues is also conceding to aging, or that people don’t want to hear about physical problems. Well, no one likes to hear a lot of grousing, but it’s important to know if our relatives or friends need a little compassion or assistance.

  1. Pain or weakness are not always obvious. People have different pain tolerances, and sometimes people will put up with pain and try to hide it until there is physical detriment which might not be reversible. Tendinitis (painful tendon) can be healed with rest and physical therapy, and tendinosis (permanent damage to a tendon) requires making adjustments to live with it. If your friend or relative is limping a little, that’s almost always due to pain or weakness. Please don’t say, “Oh don’t let it bother you, just keep walking.” Shorten the hike and kindly ask what the problem is. A trip to a doctor may be in order.
  2. People in wheelchairs hate to be patted on the head, just as deaf people don’t like to be shouted at. These are condescending actions. Patting someone on the head when they are seated is treating them like a child or a pet. Additionally, it’s hard on one’s neck to talk to people at length when they are standing above you. So sit down in a chair where you’ll have direct eye contact and relate on a more equal basis; if it’s just a brief set of comments, squat next to the person.
  3. Many disabled or challenged people hate to ask for help unless it’s a dire circumstance, such as a fall. I need assistance much of the time, and rather than ask for it constantly, I save up my requests for the most significant needs. Mom may find shopping more difficult, or not be able to lift things as “light” as ten pounds. I finally learned to ask for carrying out help at the market, rather than keeping up the pretense that I didn’t need help. When someone casually asks, “Need a hand?” it’s easy to say “Yes.”
  4.  “I don’t want to be seen on a mobility scooter but I sure wish I didn’t have to walk this far.” When I realized I was starting to need a scooter, I was an accountant and went to three-day tax seminars, which were held at huge convention centers or hotels. It’s never been easy for me to walk the distances other people can, and these big venues became exhausting for me. But I had a biased mindset that people who used scooters were either obese and lazy, or giving up on themselves, and that walking was always good for me and others. I had a prejudice about disabilities, even though I had one! Walking is not always good for people if it causes pain or exhaustion. I tried renting scooters on vacations, and had a much better time! I eventually bought a folding one that comes apart which I can lift into my trunk. Mine is a TravelScoot, but there are others; some are heavier and good for rougher terrain but may require a helper, a van, or a lift in order to transport them. I saw a guy with a nifty golf-cart-looking one recently; it was red, streamlined, had a windshield and roof, and would be good for the two-mile distance from my home to our nearest shopping center.
  5. “This house (and/or garden) has gotten too difficult for me to maintain, but I love my home and don’t want to think about moving.” This can be a tough one. If you notice that your mom’s or friend’s place is looking a little dirtier, messier or shabbier than it did in the past, there are a few approaches I’d suggest. One is to offer to chip in when you visit, or offer a particular time when you could come by for an hour to help clean, sort, or whatever. If there’s money to pay for extra help, you might say, “I have a great cleaning lady/gardener/handyman I think you would love; I’ll leave the phone number for you,” or offer to make the call. (Word to the wise: My 82-year-old mom refused help from her church, though her eyesight was so bad that she couldn’t see the dirt. She was too proud to have a “stranger” come in.) If things have gone beyond needing just a little help, it’s time to address finding a new and easier home environment; this is especially true if memory becomes an issue. Bring up these kinds of conversations far in advance of when a move or change is needed. Sometimes parents don’t feel comfortable with their adult kids “nosing through the checkbook” or changing things in the home, so a good way to begin this is to offer to help in small ways so that the parent (or friend) feels safe with your participation. We all love our homes to be bastions of privacy and safety. Abrupt changes are especially unsettling the older we become.
Some things about aging are welcome: the freedom from a full-time job, or having time to read or see friends more often. But physical difficulties will come to all of us, and they always feel they’ve come too soon. Your gentle non-invasive inquiries about someone’s needs will likely be welcomed and generate a closer relationship!

Question and Answer with Author

  • Tell us about your new book. 

No Spring Chicken addresses what we all face eventually: aging and the physical difficulties that can ensue. 

I’m a polio survivor who knows a thing or two about living with a disability and offer my take on how to navigate the complications aging brings with equanimity (and a sense of humor). Part I is a jaunt through accessible travel pleasures and pitfalls; Part II addresses the adaptations caregivers can make for a mutually rewarding relationship with their loved ones, plus advice for physically challenged and aging persons themselves regarding exercise, diet, pain management, mobility, care tips and more; and Part III discusses the rewards of engaging with support groups sharing similar issues, with a little activism and advocacy for good measure.

I’m told it’s accessible and wryly funny and is a fun and informative guide to living your best and longest life―whatever your physical challenges, and whatever your age.

  • What inspired you to write it? 

Well, again, I have a lifetime of experience to share about how to take care of oneself with a physical challenge, handicap, or disability and enjoy life as much as possible at the same time. I thought it would be useful to those facing the later years of life, or even younger people with a disability, or family and friends who are perhaps stumped about how to face their loved one’s challenges.

  • What is the one aspect that you hope readers learn from it? 

I hope they take away that there is almost always something we can do to improve at least one aspect of our condition, if not many, and to keep functioning as best we can in order to enjoy whatever opportunities present themselves to us.

  • As family members age, what should we keep in mind? 

That they are the same people they have always been with the same needs and desires, and they want to keep participating in life to the extent possible. Also, generally, aging people could use a little or even a lot of assistance, but most of us hate to ask, and only ask when it’s a dire necessity. There are exceptions of course, but most people I know prefer to be as independent as possible. So chipping in more than you used to without an air of “You should have asked me for help” or “Mom, you aren’t keeping your house clean enough anymore” is likely to be appreciated.

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Monday, June 28, 2021

Book Highlight: Cheyenne Summer by Terry Mort

The Battle of Beecher Island: A History 

Pegasus | $27.95 | Hardcover | 352 pages | 6 x 9” | 9781643137100 | July 6th, 2021

"Mort bases his detailed, page-turning account largely on recollections by Forsyth and by Cheyenne warrior George Bent, creating a nuanced portrayal of a battle that epitomizes the struggle to settle the Plains. A rich addition to the popular military history of the late-18th-century frontier." 

KirkusStarred Review

About the Book

During the morning hours of September 17, 1868, on a sandbar in the middle of the Republican River in eastern Colorado, a large group of Cheyenne and Sioux soldiers attacked 50 civilian scouts, signaling the start of one of the hardest fought battles in the annals of the American frontier. In Cheyenne Summer - The Battle of Beecher Island: A History (Pegasus | July 6th, 2021), a navy veteran and acclaimed author Terry Mort presents a stunning, detailed account of this untold chapter of American history, the Battle of Beecher Island.   


In the years after the Civil War, the completion of a railroad connecting the states on both coasts was a national priority. At the same time, the railroad - and the settlements along its route - posed a direct threat to Indigenous people. The Army, drastically reduced in size since the end of the war, was charged with keeping the peace, prompting General Phillip Sheridan to hire civilian frontiersmen to supplement his forces. After a week of scouting, a group of these frontiersmen, finding themselves at the limit of their supplies, were attacked by a force of as many as six hundred Cheyenne and Sioux warriors. 


When the smoke cleared after four days of fighting, half of the scouts and nine Cheyenne warriors were killed or wounded, including the famous fighter, Roman Nose. The commanding officer, Major George Forsyth, was finally able to send two scouts back to the nearby Fort Wallace on foot while the rest held out on the island for nine more days. All were on the verge of starvation when the 10th Cavalry—one of the Army’s two African American units nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers”—came riding to their rescue with a field ambulance and medical supplies. 


Though the Battle of Beecher Island was a small incident in US history, its story is exemplary of the Western frontier—exhibiting the heroism of warriors on either side of the dramatic conflict.  

“The Wrath of Cochise is compact, crisply written and provocative. Simply as a narrative of Western warfare, Mr. Mort's lucid, often beautifully written book is a pleasure to read. But he also poses questions that take his story to a deeper, morally challenging plane.”  

– The Wall Street Journal 


 “A well-done chronicle of a harsh war fought in a harsh environment.”  

– Booklist 


 “Meticulously written. Mort makes a fascinating read of every subject he takes up.” 

 – The Associated Press 


 “A unique biography of Ernest Hemingway’s decision to volunteer to hunt German U-boats in the Gulf Stream—it was this quest that would shape much of The Old Man and the Sea.  A rewarding read about the inner workings of an artistic mind.”  

– Kirkus Reviews 


 “Epic in scope. Terry Mort tells the story of a little-known period in the life of one of America’s greatest novelists.”  

– Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War 

About the Author

Terry Mort did his undergraduate work in English literature at Princeton University and his graduate work at the University of Michigan. After school he served as an officer in the navy, specializing in navigation and gunnery. His service included a lengthy deployment to Vietnam. He is the author of five novels, a book on fly-fishing, and most recently The Hemingway Patrols, a non-fiction account of Ernest Hemingway’s anti-U boat patrols off Cuba during WWII. He has also edited works by Mark Twain, Jack London, and Zane Grey. He lives in Sonoita, Arizona, and Durango, Colorado. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: The Grumpy Frumpy Croissant by Mona K

A Sip of Milk and 10 Deep Breaths: Anger Management for Kids

Cute kids book to help calm angry minds and soften misunderstandings

About the Book

Croissant isn't happy, and he's taking it out on the breakfast plate! Toast, Scone, and Milk think he's being mean, but Croissant thinks they’re being mean to him. A sip of Milk and ten deep breaths help everyone calm down and talk to each other.
The Grumpy Frumpy Croissant is a children’s picture book with fun and colorful hand-drawn illustrations that teach a lesson about misunderstandings any child can grasp. Croissant learns how to let anger pass, and that yelling hurts others’ feelings. It's a simple story for parents to introduce ideas of managing feelings to children, illustrated by Korey Scott. 
The book also features a delicious croissant recipe that parents can make with their children, and full-page coloring activities featuring the characters in the book (kindle and e-reader compatible too!).

Book Specs

      Publisher: Canoe Tree Press (Dartfrog Books)
      ISBN: Hardcover: 978-1735930800, Paperback: 978-1735930824
      Pub Date: Hardcover: November 2020, Paperback: January 2021
      Price: Hardcover: $13.99, Paperback: $7.99
      Age Range: Age range: 0-7
"A quirky and engaging breakfast tale that stresses conflict resolution." - Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Mona K is a statistician by training and loves to weave stories with numbers in her day job as a health services researcher. She is also a children’s book author who believes that picture books are a source of both wisdom and silliness. Mona loves to bake in her free time, and her love for croissants and meditation inspired her to write this debut children's picture book. She lives in New Jersey with her seven-year-old son and husband. 


Website and Social Media:



Twitter: @monaswhimsicalbooks


Book Tour: Indestructible: The Hidden Gifts of Trauma by Krista Nerestant

The Memoir That Will Disrupt Society’s Perspective On Trauma

Instead of wincing from pain, readers will be empowered in recognizing the hidden gifts of trauma


Indestructible: The Hidden Gifts of Trauma is a child survivor’s shocking narrative expertly woven through the perspective of the adult self, who is ultimately healed. This is the fascinating personal story of a traumatized overachiever bound by the cultural and societal limitations of her home country, who endures multiple traumas as a child in the Philippines and as a young immigrant in the United States.

In this unique inspirational and teaching memoir, Krista weaves the past and the present seamlessly to incite many emotions—hurt, love, joy, excitement, empowerment, etc. She transforms each trauma into gifts—courage, resilience, forgiveness, and more—succeeding and healing throughout her journey, leading her to become a trauma coach and inspirational leader to her community.

In Indestructible, she shares how she learned to extract life-healing lessons while overcoming a violent past, with the hope of inspiring and teaching survivors to approach personal wounds as a gateway to unleashing their own self-actualization. Crossing over spirituality and self-help genres, Indestructible disrupts society’s chosen perspective on trauma. Instead of wincing from the pain, readers will be empowered in recognizing the gifts it will present.

Krista’s story will stimulate readers mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually―but most of all, it will lead them to start their own journey of self-discovery and uncover their very own hidden gifts of trauma.

Praise for Indestructible: The Hidden Gifts of Trauma

“Her gift to readers: effective guidance to creating a healthier, more fulfilling life. A true story that may be useful to anyone seeking emotional healing.”―Kirkus Reviews

“Indestructible is a powerful memoir about resilience and forgiveness.”―Foreword Clarion Review, 4 stars

“In moving, unsparing prose, Krista shares the incredible, heroic journey of her life, and along the way turns her struggles into powerful lessons that can help anyone. Despite the unbelievable obstacles she’s faced, Krista shows that it’s possible not just to survive but to thrive, so long as you never stop nurturing compassion.”―Jeff Campbell, writing teacher, editor, and author of Daisy to the Rescue

Krista Nerestant is a practicing life coach, educated and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and The Satir Method of Transformational Systemic Therapy to heal family dynamics and trauma, and an advocate for women and children. She hosts a podcast, Self-Care Tuesdays, that is dedicated to encouraging, empowering, and elevating the journey of self-care. She’s teaching women it’s OK to be “Self-ish”!

Question/Answer Session with the Author

    What inspired your story? I was inspired by my need to practice what I preach as a facilitator at I am like a broken record in repeating the mantra of SELF-accountability, responsibility, and awareness. The need for championing trauma survivors who are living on survival mode and encouraging them to survive rather than just thrive. Indestructible: The Hidden Gifts of Trauma encourages and teaches individuals to use their personal power to live their best life in all levels--mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

    What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book? It was the most therapeutic experience. I laughed, cried, angered, and certainly squirmed in re-living the past but it healed me and allowed me to gain an objective perspective to extract life healing lessons to share with the community.

    On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing? Decompressing and relaxing with my hubby and daughter with family time whether that’s through a home-cooked dinner or take out and watching a movie. 

    What do you like to do when you are not writing? Yoga, meditation, hanging out with my friends, salsa dancing, and bouncing off entrepreneurial concepts with my husband. 

    Who are some of your favorite authors? Lee Child, Nora Roberts, David Baldacci, Emily Griffin, Harlan Coben

    Website and Media Links:

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