Filed under: Feedback, Promotion, Writing stuff, Science Fiction, Health, Space, NASA, Marketing, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Apollo program, Connections, Publishing, Science, ISS, Humor, Amazon, Kindle, Man Conquers Space | Tags: jim downey, writing, blogging, direct publishing, Science Fiction, Amazon, Kindle, NASA, space, science, health, free, humor, John Bourke, Alzheimer's, care-giving, hospice, Apollo, Moon, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, promotion, St. Cybi's Well, Apollo 11, Her Final Year, Chris Hadfield, Buzzfeed
And you can pee upside down, which I did, just for fun. Wouldn’t you?
Great little list about the reality of spaceflight at this point in time. Perfect perspective for this weekend, since he manages to capture and convey the wonder and excitement so many of us felt from the Apollo era. It’s so easy to lose your vision, your enthusiasm, in the grim plodding of day-to-day life.
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Thanks to all who helped make the recent anniversary promotion of Her Final Year a success! Worldwide there were about 150 downloads – not a huge number, but it is progress. I hope the book can help those who downloaded it.
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Progress continues on St Cybi’s Well. Hope to wrap up Chapter 9 in the next couple of days.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Health, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, tech | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, dementia, direct publishing, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, promotion, technology
Today’s the last day to snag a free copy of the Kindle edition of Her Final Year! Remember, you don’t need an actual Kindle to take advantage of this — Amazon has a free Kindle emulator/app for just about any phone, tablet, laptop, or computer out there, and it will sync up with your Amazon account so you can read the same book across many different platforms without any trouble whatsoever. You can find full information there on the page for Her Final Year.
So, get it. Read it. Share it.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Argentina, Ballistics, Bipolar, Book Conservation, Connections, Depression, Failure, Gardening, General Musings, Guns, Health, Italy, New Zealand, Patagonia, Science Fiction, Society, Survival, Travel, Wales, Writing stuff | Tags: Alwyn, Alzheimer's, Argentina, bipolar, blogging, book conservation, bookbinding, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, depression, direct publishing, feedback, gardening, guns, Habaneros, health, Her Final Year, hospice, Italy, jim downey, John Bourke, Legacy Bookbindery, literature, New Zealand, Patagonia, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, travel, Wales, writing
This will probably come across as a little brag-y. Sorry about that. Not my intention.
The other day I got a phone call. For Legacy Art. The gallery we closed May 31, 2004. Yeah, more than ten years ago.
And after I got through abusing the telemarketer over this point, I got to thinking about the many changes in the last decade.
First thing I should say up front: I’m at a low point in my bipolar cycle, as I’ve noted recently. That means that my self-image isn’t all that great. This isn’t a debilitating depressive episode or anything — I’ve managed to continue to work steadily, as well as enjoy the usual aspects of life. So not horrid. But it is sometimes difficult to not focus on the things which haven’t gone well, and my own failings which are often a component of that. And one of those failings is a sense of not accomplishing much, of being lazy, of wasting my time and the time of others.
Anyway. I got to thinking about the changes in the last decade. And surprisingly, more positive things came to mind than negative ones. That fed on itself, and I found myself making a mental list of the accomplishments.
In no particular order or ranking: wrote two books (one of them as co-author). Most of the way done with another. Visited Wales. And Argentina. And New Zealand. And Italy. Wrote several thousand blog posts. Became something of an authority on small caliber ballistics. Wrote several hundred articles and columns for publication. Was the full-time caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s. Have done conservation work on something more than a thousand (that’s just a guess … may be closer to two thousand) books and documents. Made some great hot sauces. Raised, loved, and then said farewell to a great dog. Tried to be a good friend, and husband. Tried to help others when I could.
We all fail. We all have things we’ve done that haunt us in one way or another. Sometimes, those fears and demons overwhelm. Me, at least.
I may or may not be at a turning point in my bipolar cycle. But I’m glad that at least I can think of things I have accomplished. That helps.
Back to work on St. Cybi’s Well.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Feedback, Health, Kindle, NPR, Preparedness, Society | Tags: Amazon, blogging, care-giving, caregiving, cerebral palsy, dementia, feedback, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, KXJZ, NPR, predictions, promotion, reviews, stroke
NPR recently did a very good series looking at family caregivers — those who are caring for a family member who has dementia or has suffered a sudden serious illness/injury or lives with a challenging birth defect. I thought that it was particularly good in highlighting how the traditional image we have of caregivers has been changing. Installments in the series concerned parents caring for a 16 year-old son with cerebral palsy, a 46 year-old woman caring for her sister who suffered a devastating stroke (as well as their father who has dementia), and a retired man who cares for his wife of 42 years who has dementia.
None of it is easy to listen to. None of it is easy to contemplate. I think all of us shy away from the thought of such a responsibility. I think all of us wonder whether or not we would be adequate to the challenge of caring for someone at this level.
Three years ago we published Her Final Year. In that time the book has been downloaded nearly 10,000 times. And when people read it, they find it a huge help, as seen in reviews and in plenty of comments which people have made to us.
But I know that many of those 10,000 downloads, perhaps even most of them, have never been read. Many people are so daunted by the idea of caregiving that they just can’t bring themselves to read the book. I know a couple of people who are currently *in* a caregiving role who haven’t been able to bring themselves to open the book, because they’re afraid that they can’t face the experience.
I understand this. Contemplating being a caregiver … or being someone who needs a caregiver … is frightening. The experience is incredibly stressful. Exhausting. Financially difficult. That comes through in the NPR series, and in our book. In spades. From the second story cited above:
“The experience for these caregivers is quite burdensome, emotionally and physically,” Hoffman says.
The work these family caregivers are doing would be enormously expensive if their loved ones were instead in nursing homes or other institutions, Hoffman says. But the caregivers also often find they must cut their hours at work or, as in Loretta’s case, give up outside jobs in order to care for their relatives.
“In effect,” Hoffman says, “we are taking care of the most vulnerable in our society — aging adults who have chronic care needs — by placing the burden on the backs of some of the people who can least afford to do … those who are themselves economically fragile and vulnerable.”
Little wonder people don’t want to picture themselves in that role. It’d scare the hell out of anyone with any sense.
But you know what? There are also incredible rewards which come from caregiving. It may be hard to believe, but as hard as the experience is, there are real benefits. We try and convey that in the book. I try to explain to people how I am a much better person now for having gone through that. And that I would not wish to go back and erase those difficult years for anything. But here’s a bit from the third story cited above which illustrates what I mean:
Dementia has transformed her into someone who’s dependent and vulnerable. That’s triggering changes within Rick, too. He’s noticed himself gravitating toward traits Marianne was known for, like empathy.
“The importance of listening and caring for others. Now I can see why that is so important and why you can go through life just giving and feeling totally satisfied. You know, that’s a good thing,” Rick says.
Marianne may no longer be the woman Rick married, but he says she’s still helping him become a better husband.
Three years. The actual anniversary is July 15th. And Her Final Year will be available for free download starting that day and going through the 17th. Please, download it.
But more importantly, read it.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Depression, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Humor, Kindle, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, dementia, feedback, free, health, Heidegger, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, reviews, Science Fiction
The caregiver puts up with that out of love and decency. This book describes these things in the form of daily and weekly accounts as well as diary log pages of personal fear and depression and exasperation and recurring bubbling senses of humor. I loved this because it made me cry and it made me laugh. It’s not all drudgery. It’s hysterically funny at times. But it wouldn’t be funny at all if you didn’t love the patient. This is a book of love…
So often people see the words “Alzheimer’s” or “dementia” or even “care-giving” and just move on, thinking that the book (and the experience) is nothing but darkness and depression. And yeah, there is darkness there, but to borrow a phrase from Communion of Dreams/Heidegger: “That which emerges from darkness gives definition to the light.”
We’re coming up on the three-year publishing anniversary (July 15). If you haven’t yet read Her Final Year go ahead and do so. If you want to wait a month, the Kindle edition will be available for free download around the anniversary.
And if you have read it, please consider posting your own review on Amazon or elsewhere. It helps.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Health, Italy, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, health, Her Final Year, Italy, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, promotion, Science Fiction
OK, now that the foolishness of April First is over and done with, a quick update on how things are going in the two-day promotion.
Currently, just shy of 800 copies of Communion of Dreams have been downloaded worldwide. The bulk of those are here in the US, though there are decent numbers in Europe (including one in Italy – been a while since seen one there!) and Canada. Plus a couple in Australia and another one in India. I still think that’s really cool. Anyway, Communion of Dreams is currently #1 in the Hard Science Fiction subcategory of the free Kindle store, #11 in general Science Fiction, and #286 overall of all books. Not bad.
Her Final Year is doing less well, but still respectably, with 50+ downloads worldwide (including in India and Australia!). It is #1 in the Aging and Elderly Parents subcategories. Nice!
So, the promotion continues today: get your Kindle edition copy of either or both books, if you haven’t already done so! And remember, you don’t actually need to own a Kindle — Amazon has a free Kindle emulator for just about every platform out there.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Feedback, Health, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Society | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, April Fools, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, feedback, free, health, hospice, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, promotion, reviews, Science Fiction
From giving away copies of my novel and our care-giving memoir, that is.
Yup, in *spite* of the fact that today is April Fool’s Day, or perhaps precisely BECAUSE today is April Fool’s Day, both Communion of Dreams and Her Final Year are free to download all day today. No joke. Really!
Though I’d like to think that perhaps this new review posted on Amazon is a joke:
just OK, March 31, 2014Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)This review is from: Communion of Dreams (Kindle Edition)usually my kind of story, but felt it took too long to get to the heart of the story. Never felt “connected” to the characters. OK for a free book
Ouch. Ah, well, that makes three ratings each for one, two, and three stars, out of a total of 73 ratings/reviews. Can’t make everyone happy.
But I can try, at least by making the books free to download. Today. And tomorrow. So go get yours!
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, marketing, promotion, Science Fiction
Tuesday is April 1, the day when I tend to ignore just about everything said/reported online.
But here’s something that’s legit: Both Communion of Dreams and Her Final Year will be free to download. And just in case you’re like me and tend not to trust *any* special offers on that day, they’ll both also be free to download the next day, as well. And remember, you don’t need to own an actual Kindle — there are free emulators for just about every reader/mobile device/computer.
You’re no fool. Don’t be parted from your money. Get a free copy of the Kindle edition of either or both books.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Arthur C. Clarke, Connections, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing stuff | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, direct publishing, feedback, free, health, hospice, humor, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, literature, promotion, reviews, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, writing
I found this to be a helpful account of what to expect as parents age. The two men in the account were truly devoted attendants and I was impressed by them.
I enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was my “recovering from Christmas insanity this weekend” selection on my kindle and it was just perfect for the purpose! I started Saturday and read until I was bleary eyed and finished Sunday.
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I very much loved the weaving of deep lines of spirituality throughout the story and how integral it was to the story from beginning to end. Unlike several books I’ve read that attempted this, Communion of Dreams actually succeeds in making you WONDER! Mr. Downey’s writing definitely favors Clarke and evokes the same beautiful but disturbing feelings that 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Well, gee … ;)
Like I said, it’s a fairly lengthy review, and not all gushing. Check it out when you get a chance.
Work continues apace on St. Cybi’s Well. I’m starting to get feedback from several “alpha readers” on the first batch of chapters, and so far I’m pleased with the overall response. Which isn’t to say that it is all praise; that wouldn’t be of any help to me at all. As I’ve noted before, if you check my FB page, I often will post small passages from the working text there.