On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for July, 2014

My First Newspaper Interview | by Linda Brendle

Mesquite High SkeetersThomas Wolf said “You can’t go home again”–but thanks to modern electronics, a newly published author can still be interviewed by her hometown newspaper. I graduated from Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas in 1965 and moved away in 1967. Although I’ve been back for many visits, I haven’t been a Mesquite resident since then.

Last week, Kenny Green, Community Editor for the Mesquite News, contacted the marketing department at Anaiah Press to set up a telephone interview with me. Kenny and I talked for about twenty minutes, and here’s some of what he wrote:

Mesquite graduate publishes first book

Local author chronicles unique journey across U.S.


Caring for others as they get older tends to be a challenge for family members. For Mesquite High School graduate Linda Brendle, the challenge became the launching point for her first book, “A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos.”
“The book itself is basically the story of a seven-week, 16-state trip [me and my husband] took in 2009,” Brendle said. “My mom and dad were suffering from dementia, so they came along with us”
Thank you, Kenny, for the great article. To read the complete text, CLICK HERE.

winding road Cover 25 percentA LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

Anaiah Press

Advice on First Drafts | by Linda Brendle

The Beauty of Writing

This quote reminds me of the best advice I read when I was working on my memoir. It came from Anne Lamott’s book, “Bird by Bird.” Basically, she said to put your rear end in your chair and write. She advised you to let yourself write a terrible first draft. The second draft would be better, and eventually you would have created something wonderful that didn’t exist until you wrote it. Before I read her book, it took me days to write a single blog post. I read and re-read what I had written after almost every sentence, micro-editing and second guessing myself. Now I write until I’ve finished a particular article or chapter, and then I go back and edit. It’s amazing how well my ideas come together if I stop obsessing on perfection and just write.


First DraftsAnother good piece of advice came from the website of Terri Blackstock, one of my favorite Christian authors. She said, “Don’t get it right. Get it written.” I copied that quote onto a sticky note and put it on my monitor. During those moments when I found myself staring at the screen, struggling to find the perfect word or phrase, I would stop and read her words. Then, I would put my hands back on the keyboard and write.



A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

Meet Jennifer Novotney, Author of Winter in the Soul, and Read My Review

Winter in the Soul

Winter in the Soul, Jennifer Novotney’s debut novel, is a young adult fantasy released by Anaiah Press on July 15. I had the privilege of chatting with Jennifer about her writing and her life, and today I’m sharing our conversation with you. Be sure to read my review of her novel following the interview.

JennNovotney head shotTell my readers a little bit about who Jennifer Novotney is. I’ve been teaching English and writing for over ten years. I’m originally from Los Angeles, California, but moved to the east coast five years ago with my husband and daughter. My first publication was a poem when I was seventeen years old. I loved poetry in high school and college and always thought I’d be a poet. A few years ago, when I was teaching at Pennsylvania State University, I started writing fiction. I had my first short story publication in 2011 and never looked back. Winter in the Soul is my debut novel and I couldn’t be happier.

What’s the hardest thing about being a writer? I think one of the hardest things about being a writer is the wait time. The publication process is a slow one and sometimes, it can feel impossible to wait for a response from editors and agents. From the time a writer signs a contract to the time the book actually comes out can feel like an eternity. The writing is the easiest part about it. The wait time can be the toughest.

You said in your author interview that you wanted to inspire your readers in the way that Paulo Coelho inspired his. What would you like your readers to be inspired to do? I would like my readers to be inspired to follow their dreams, to live a meaningful life, and to never underestimate the power of a well-planned goal. To read about characters who persevere, no matter how difficult the obstacles, can be truly inspiring. I love those type of characters and I strove to create this world in Winter in the Soul.

Now that Lilika is fully developed, is she like you, like someone in your life, or is she completely different from anyone you know? Lilika is an innocent, pure soul. I’d love to say that she is like me, but I’ve had way too many life experiences for that to be true. I think I am similar to Lilika in her determination and her intense curiosity. Those are things I’m glad I’ve never lost. Lilika reminds me very much of some of my students. She is tenacious, brave, and curious. Those are traits I see in my students every day.

In your author interview, you also said that Lilika had to move past her comfort zone and that she gained by doing so. How have you moved past your comfort zone in your writing, and what, if anything, have you gained? I always thought of myself as a good writer. All my life I’ve been told that I was one. While that may have been true for academic writing, I still had work to do with my fiction writing. It’s been an interesting experience for me to work on my own writing and it definitely offers a perspective shift since I’m usually the one teaching. I have a better appreciation for my students and how flexible they are with improving their writing. That is the most valuable aspect of improving my writing that I’ve gained. I think I’m a better teacher for it.

Lilika is drawn to Winter in the Soul, that unknown, forbidden place that arouses her curiosity. Is there such a place in your life or in your writing? There is always that element of excitement to go to a place, whether literal or figurative, that is forbidden. It does arouse one’s curiosity! I think for Lilika, Winter in the Soul is intriguing because she knows her parents originated from there, but she’s not allowed to visit. I like to live beyond boundaries. If something is off limits for me, that only makes me more curious about it. Sometimes this is dangerous, but often times, it leads to growth in my life. I’m never afraid to go that extra mile to explore various facets in life and in my writing.

When you’re not reading or teaching, what do you do for fun? I love spending time with my family. I’m off for the summer with my six year old daughter and we go swimming almost every day. This is time that I treasure and I’m so happy to share these days with her. My husband and I love watching movies together. He’s a filmmaker, so we watch movies in every category you could imagine.

What’s the number one thing on your bucket list? Wow, this is one thing I haven’t thought of much because I have the type of personality where if I want to do something, I just do it. 🙂 One thing I’d love to do with my family is travel to Europe. That’s probably the one thing my husband and I talk about the most.

What’s the next step for you in your writing career? The sequel to Winter in the Soul is in the works. I’ve also just completed another young adult book.

My Review: An Entertaining Tale of Good versus Evil

Jennifer Novotney does a masterful job of describing the world she created in her debut novel, Winter In the Soul. Her rich descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of Spring Bloom, Summer Harvest, and Winter In the Soul give her readers a sense of being part of the story rather than simply observing it. “The sky was restless. Black and gray clouds moved at a moderate pace, exposing the dark sky and a few bright stars desperate to shine.”

This young adult fantasy takes us on a journey of discovery with Lilika as she first finds a mysterious golden locket; then, the world outside her home town of Spring Bloom; next, an engaging young man named Talon; and ultimately, her destiny. We feel her growing anxiety as she sits on the road alone, guarding the cart that carries to market both the harvest and the hopes of her friends and neighbors. When she hears the approach of someone in the surrounding darkness followed by a friendly voice, we feel her initial shock, and then we feel her relief. Throughout the story, Novotney offers a full range of experiences, from excitement to terror, from new friendship to new love, from doubt to determination.

Winter In the Soul presents an entertaining tale of good versus evil that leaves just enough questions to make us wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the sequel. I look forward to watching Jennifer Novotney’s progress as a writer and to reading what happens next to Lilika and Talon.

Anaiah Press

Now Available at:

iTunes | Amazon |  Kobo | Smashwords

Caregiver Quotes and Tips #8 – Letting Go

Let go of what you can't change

I can’t say they were really happy moments, but the most freeing moments in my time as a caregiver were those times when I accepted the things I couldn’t change. I think that many caregivers share a secret belief that, if they do everything just right, their loved one will get better. While this may be true in some cases, it is not usually the case when dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The best you can hope for is to accept that their lives are controlled by their diseases, and that the disease is beyond the control of mere mortals. That moment of acceptance is heart-wrenching, but it gives the caregiver the freedom to stop fighting the unchangeable and to spend all his or her energy on caring and love.

Serenity Prayer



A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

Senior Humor – Edition #24 – Reason #1 Not to Get a Tattoo

Why Not to get a tattoo

Enough said!



A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

Bible Verses for Caregivers – The Least of These

Caregiving hands with scripture


My Aunt Fay was a caregiver for many years, and one afternoon when she was sharing some of her wisdom with me, she said this about the elderly: (more…)

Six-Word Memoirs – Can you write one? | by Linda Brendle

six word memoir

Yesterday I was cruising around Pinterest, and did a search for “Memoir Writing.” I was surprised to find several pins about six-word memoirs. The concept is simple and self-explanatory–write your memoir in just six words. The one example I saw was a great one: “I’ll always be a middle child.”

I spent some time–admittedly not a long time, but a little while–thinking about what my six-word memoir would say. For a writer who almost always goes over the set word limit, it was a real problem. The only thing I was able to come up with was this: “Mine would have to be longer.”

How about you? What would your six-word memoir say? Share it with me in a comment.



Linda Brendle, Author

A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Caregiver Quotes and Tips #7 – Remember Their Love | by Linda Brendle

Remember their love

The last few years of her life, Mom didn’t always know who I was. She knew who Linda was, but she didn’t remember that I was Linda. When she moved into assisted living, she called all the staff members with long, blonde hair by my name. I guess she remembered the younger, cuter me. (more…)

Thank You to My Blog Tour Participants | by Linda Brendle

The tour is over, and we’re back “home” again. I want to take a minute to say one more big thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who posted reviews, interviews, guest posts, and spotlights for A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos. You made the release of my first book a wonderful experiences.

To my readers, thank you for all your support as well. There wouldn’t be much point to writing a book without you. If you missed any of the stops, here is a complete list. Take a minute to visit a few of them and see what some of the early reviewers had to say.

June 17 –  Mormon Mommy Writers – Review

June 18 – The View from a Blank Word Document – Spotlight and Contest

June 19 – Princess of the Light – Interview and Review

June 20 – Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina – Spotlight

June 21 – Pam Thorson – Guest Post – “Caregivers and Heroes”

June 23 – Being Sam – Review

June 24 – Adventures in the Ballpark – Interview

June 25 – Keely Brooke Keith – Guest Post – “Street Teams for Caregivers”

June 25 – Donna L Martin’s ON THE WRITE TRACK – Review

June 26 – Angela Schroeder, Author – Spotlight

June 27 – Kick Start Your Heart – Spotlight

June 28 – Years Full of Grace – Interview

June 30 – Chuck Allen – Spotlight

July 1 – RELEASE DAY! A list of Release Day Blitzers will be posted on that day.

Princess of the Light

Angela Schroeder, Author

Keely Brooke Keith

A Book Lover’s Retreat

July 2 – Princess of the Light – Guest Blog – “The Darkness of Alzheimer’s Can Never Steal The Light”

July 3 – Ink in the Book – Review

July 6 – Mary Beth Magee Writes – Review

July 8 – Emily Ungar, Middle Grade Author – Guest Post – “Where I Write”

July 9 – A Book Lover’s Retreat – Guest Post – “Alzheimer’s Took Mom’s Ability to Read”

July 12 – Writeous – Guest Post – “Will Christianese Sell?”

July 13 – The Purple Jacket – Review and Guest Post –  “Tributes to Those We Love”

July 14 – Ink in the Book – Interview

July 15 – Kathy Pooler – Amazon Review

July 17 – Kathy Pooler – Guest Post – “Five Principles I Learned In Writing My Memoir”

If you have read A Long and Winding Road and enjoyed it, please tell your friends. Also, please consider posting your own review on Amazon, Goodreads or any of the other distributors that allow feedback.



A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play


Visit, Comment, and Win a Copy of A Long and Winding Road

KathyPoolerThis last stop on the blog tour is a special one. Today we’ve visiting with Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writer’s Journey. On Tuesday I highlighted her lovely review of A Long and Winding Road, and today she is featuring my guest post titled “Five Principles I Learned in Writing My Memoir.” If you visit her site and leave a comment, you will be entered in a drawing to win an ecopy of my book. CLICK HERE

A special thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who made my blog tour a success. I will post their names in a later post, but if you’d like to see them now, CLICK HERE.

If you have read A Long and Winding Road, please consider posting your own review on Amazon, Goodreads or any of the other distributors that allow feedback.



A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play


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