deadline extended to April 30, 2012; 75+ categories; book must have been released on or before 3/11/2012; details HERE:
May 3, 2010 deadline; More than $17,000 in prizes; tons of categories – (poetry, YA, nonfiction, reference, life stories, inspirational, genre fiction, etc. etc.)
Info & entry HERE:
Jan. 21, 2010 deadline; $1,500 cash prize; $45/book entry; various genre categories
info and entry here: http://www.HofferAward.com/
Ron Kauffman, author of Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease
Ron Kauffman is a 40-year veteran of business. He attended Long Island University, C.W. Post College, and St. John’s University Graduate School of Business. For 4-years, he hosted and produced Senior LifeStyles Intelligent Live Talk Radio, a program that addressed health, wealth and lifestyle issues facing boomers and seniors. He is a syndicated columnist for a newspaper in North Carolina, and author of the recently released book, Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease, published by Senior LifeStyles Press, and a contributor of articles about caregiving and aging issues to several print and online magazines.
Ron is the president of Resources for Successful Aging, a company that provides individual and family consulting assistance in planning for and dealing with the broad range of challenges of aging including: situational assessment, Medicare & Medicaid planning, elder law, advance directives, financial longevity, long term care planning and care management needs.
Ron’s accomplishments include: 2004, earned his designation as a Certified Senior Advisor; 2005 was selected to attend the White House Conference on Aging; 2006, the 8-State Southeastern Associations of Area Agencies on Aging presented him with their Positive Images Of Aging Award for his contributions to the aging population; 2007 Ron was selected as a Fellow by the National Press Foundation for his work in broadcast journalism, and attended the Washington, DC conference on “Retirement in the 21st Century.”
He and his wife, Lisa, who is in private practice as a Geriatric Care Manager, live in Jupiter, Florida.
1. Tell us about your latest book.
Caring For A Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease provides a wealth of information for caregivers and professionals alike. Too often families postpone learning about this disease and lose valuable time preserving quality of life and dignity. My experience as a caregiver allows the reader to understand the complexities and pitfalls of Alzheimer’s, and answers many questions most people will eventually have. It is a must read for anyone wanting to be a better caregiver.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
I have been writing most of my adult life. I began writing business articles when I was working in the corporate world, and ultimately wrote a book about sales force automation that was published in 1989.
When I got into the live talk radio world, my focus was exclusively on issues facing boomer and seniors, and I decided to find a way to provide much of the information my expert guests were expressing during the more than 500 live shows we did during the 4-years of the live program called Boomer & Senior LifeStyles.
My break came when I met the owner/publisher of a small newspaper in western North Carolina. I “pitched” him on my idea for a column called “Senior LifeStyles” and have been writing that column for his paper for more than 2 years.
With the publication of my book, I contacted a number of magazines that focus on the family and caregiving. Two of those publications accepted a proposal from me, and I am now writing a monthly column for Gilbert Guide that has a very large online subscription base, and will also begin writing for the quarterly publication, “Families of Loved Ones” (FOLO) next quarter.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
I begin every day of the week at 6:15 AM leaving the house by about 6:45 AM and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays meet up with my friends for a 40-70 mile bicycle ride usually along the ocean from Jupiter through Jupiter Island to a small town called Hobe Sound. On Mondays & Fridays I start off at 7 AM in the gym working with weights and take Wednesdays off to rest my weary body.
After breakfast, I park myself in front of the computer and check all of the feeds that I get from a myriad of sources dealing with health, wellness, caregiving and aging issues – sometimes hundreds of articles plus political input that may impact our healthcare system. I review my deadline calendar, and if I have less than 1-month before deadline, I research and write my article and have it ready for edit and review weeks before deadline.
I also write and produce a weekly audio Podcast that can be heard from my website, and have a library of 40-Podcasts available on iTunes. The topics all have to do with health, wealth and lifestyle issues facing boomers & seniors.
I spend at least 4 to 8 hours a day doing research, writing or audio production from my home-based office.
4. Describe your desk/workspace.
I love my home-based office. It was supposed to be a large bedroom, but with no kids at home, my wife suggested I convert it to my office. I has plenty of daylight streaming in from the east, and allows me to look up and see the palm trees and gorgeous blue skies of southern Florida.
My large curved chrome and glass-top desk surrounds me on 3-sides and for 30-plus hours a week is my little world. And I do my best to keep my world orderly and clear. On my desk I have a computer monitor, both an inkjet and color laser printer, a small adding machine, my telephone, my desk organizers for mail, pens and markers, a blotter with a paper clip holder, a stapler and scotch tape dispenser – that’s it. There are two small audio speakers that deliver music from Pandora all day as I work, plus my desk-based microphone that I use for Podcast recording – but those are behind the monitor to conserve space. The actual computer is stored beneath the desk. There are 2-small bookcases next to me, and 3-file cabinets that fit nicely under the desk. Everything I need, from my wastebasket to a commercial shredder are within a few feet of my desk and I simply push my wheeled office chair to any item I need to reach.
There is a matching chrome and glass étagère in one corner with photos of my grandchildren and some personal items on its shelves, and against the wall across from my desk is a parson’s table with more photos of my kids and grandchildren as well as some of my favorite small western bronzes.
The wall behind the parson’s table is decorated with some of the awards I’ve received for my work in broadcasting, journalism, and community service.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)
My favorite books are just that – well written stories, both fiction and nonfiction that I read for escape and enjoyment. I would love to be able to say that I’ve been influenced by some of my favorite writers, but that would be untrue. Having said that, some of my favorite books include: anything by David Balducci or Vince Flynn in the nonfiction world, and David McCullough’s work in John Adams and Paul C. Nagel author of John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life, both wonderfully well written biographies.
My inspiration for my book came from my years of caring for my mother, and from reading many books related to caregiving and Alzheimer’s disease by some wonderful authors. I realized as I read their work that those books were heavy, in-depth reading with a great deal of information.
However, for a family member just learning that s/he is about to become an Alzheimer’s caregiver for mom or dad, there was nothing on the market that could be called a basic primer. New caregivers need to read about the disease and road that both the patient and caregiver could look forward to traveling, albeit reluctantly. Since I could find no book that did that, I wrote it.
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you
a. I am a cancer-survivor and at age 60 competed in the Florida State Senior Games and qualified to compete.
b. I am an avid bicyclist. I ride 4-days/week totaling about 8000 miles/year.
c. I have 5 grandchildren, which in itself isn’t interesting or crazy, but the fact that 4 of them, all girls, live with my son and his wife in Johannesburg, South Africa is unusual. No we don’t see the kids on weekends!
7. Favorite quote
Actually, I have two favorite quotes:
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, ‘Holy shit…what a ride!’” Anonymous
“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”
8. Best and worst part of being a writer
BEST: I love being creative and doing something that only a relatively few people really do or do it well. The best part is knowing that what I write, while it may entertain, can make a difference in lives, particularly my articles on health, aging and caregiving.
WORST: Writing is a difficult way to make a full time living or a meaningful income, and there are days when for whatever reason, the muse that usually visits me to provide inspiration and ideas, for no apparent reason takes the day off. This can be particularly troubling if I’m facing a deadline that day.
9. Advice for other writers
While it’s a difficult and challenging vocation or avocation, if it’s what you love, stick with it. Aim high, set lofty goals, but be realistic about your expectations. There are hundreds of thousands of books written and published each year, and with the Internet and self-publishing, it’s very difficult to be found and recognized in a sea of both real and aspiring writers. Consider writing for magazines that offer payment for articles and stories, and look for those that publish themes that are in line with topics you’re passionate about, and want to write about throughout the year.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.
Persevere! I found that most of my acquaintance and even my friends were not taking on the role of cheerleaders for my writing efforts. While they thought what I was doing was “interesting,” none volunteered to read rough drafts. As I wrote the book (more on that in a moment) I realized that my friends who, like me, are in their 60’s and older are focused on their own issues ranging from financial challenges to health problems. Therefore, my book became much more of a personal issue, relevant primarily to me. And by the way, that was not only okay but was a good test of commitment to writing the book.
Previously I mentioned my muse, and I’m almost embarrassed to say that on the day I began writing the book, based on a list of chapter headings I had developed a few days earlier, my muse was kind enough to not only visit, but spend the entire day, almost 8-hours guiding my mind and my fingers as I put words to computer. At the end of that day, I realized that I had completed almost 10,000 words on “paper,” and the first draft of the book was actually completed.
Within the next few weeks I completed the tasks of getting my ISBN number, ordered a Bar Code that had to be printed on the back cover, solicited a number of personal contacts, both professionals and physicians to read my book and requested their comments for the back cover. I did my due diligence regarding finding a layout artist to design the book cover and complete the actual PDF-ready layout of the book. I then I found a printing company that was willing to work with me at a very competitive price. The entire process from concept through writing, to editing, printing and final release took about 2-months from the day I decided to write that book.
The moral of my story is that if writing your book is important to you – just do it. Disregard the critics, nay Sayers, and even the lack of moral support from your family or friends. Hope that your muse or inspiration visits often, and if you can’t find or don’t want to work with a publisher – and there are good reasons both pro and con for doing either – don’t be dismayed.
My book will never be a NY Times bestseller, and I wasn’t hoping to achieve that as a goal. I am hopeful that people who are or will become caregivers – and that covers a large number of baby boomers and seniors – may discover my book and find it helpful as they begin their personal journeys over many of the roads that I have traveled, one of which lead me to write my book. I wish you good luck with your book.
Where can people buy your book?
My book, “Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease” is available at www.SeniorLifestyles.net, on eBay and directly from our Florida office. References and links to my book can also be found in the publications, both print and electronic where my monthly articles appear including: www.GilbertGuide.com, www.EasyLivingFrontRange.com, and beginning in May 2009 http://www.familiesoflovedones.com.
**Note to readers: Although Anthony’s 10 questions are not our standard 10, I’m sure you’ll still find his answers interesting! You can always post questions for him!
Absence of Faith, a new novel with a twist of faith
Anthony S. Policastro is the author of two novels, and a freelance writer with articles in The New York Times, American Photographer, and other national, regional and local publications.
His first novel, Absence of Faith, involving a mystery that causes the highly religious residents of a small coastal town to lose their faith, is available free as an e-book from smashwords.com and in print from Lulu.com
1 Q. Where do you get your ideas for a book?
ASP: I’m always thinking of what ifs. I guess this goes back to my curiosity as a kid. I was always interested is how things worked, what made them work and why? I still have that curiosity. I like to push the envelope and see what happens, and then I know how and why things work the way they do. One of my favorite web sites is How Stuff Works. Sometimes I think that site was made for me. I think to be a good writer you have to be curious about everything.
2 Q. How did you come up with the idea for Absence of Faith?
ASP: I had just finished my first novel and my wife and I were discussing story ideas for the next book when we came up with the idea for Absence of Faith. What would you do if you lost your belief in religion, your belief in God and thought everything was hopeless? What if you lost something that was extremely important to you? What would you do?
Bestselling author and psychic Sylvia Browne writes in her book, Prophecy, that, “…our beliefs are the driving force behind our behavior, our opinions, our actions. Without faith, without our beliefs, we’re lost.”
These are the issues addressed in the novel.
3 Q. How did you come up with the plot for Absence of Faith?
ASP: I always start out with a basic concept, a unique what if situation and let the plot evolve from there. I’ve tried outlining the plot chapter by chapter and found it too constricting on my creativity. I found myself trying to fit the characters into the plot rather than letting the characters create the plot for me.
4 Q. The characters create the plot for you? How does that work?
ASP: Each character has unique qualities and traits and when you put that character into a specific situation, he or she will react in a certain way. If you have a character that is very stubborn and you put him in a situation where he is faced with a multiple of decisions, he will most likely pick the decision that he knows works rather than the right decision. His actions then drive the plot forward. For every action there is a reaction.
5 Q. Why did you write this book?
ASP: I have wanted to write a novel since I was 17, but when I sat down to write, I had nothing to say. I hadn’t lived long enough; I didn’t have enough life experiences to write anything outside of myself.
I wrote this book to communicate an idea; to let people into the unique way I view the world. I love to communicate to people information that helps them or enlightens them. I like to invent unique situations and characters and see how people react to them with laughter, sadness, elation, surprise, or delight. I’m thrilled when that happens.
6 Q. Do you think you have a bestseller?
ASP: That’s a loaded question. Every author believes they have a bestseller, but the truth will be known when people read it and recommend it to others. I hope so, but the market will decide that for me.
In light of all the interest in spirituality and religion that was spawned by The DaVinci Code and other books, my book may be of interest. It is about the affirmation of faith; it doesn’t matter what religion you practice or what you believe in as long as you have faith in something. This is the message in my book.
7 Q. Have you written other novels?
ASP: Yes. Dark End of the Spectrum, my third book, is a mystery suspense thriller about hackers who take over the US power grid and cell phone network. My first novel, The Water Witch, which I wrote in 1990 has to be modernized to bring it into the 21st century, and I have a new one that I started last year, Looking for Lucy, that I hope to finish in the next few months.
8 Q: Where do you get all these ideas for novels?
ASP: Funny you asked that. I may be reading something in a magazine or online and suddenly an idea jumps into my head – a what if question. Then I do a little research on the question to see if it is plausible and to make sure no one has written a novel with the same concept. If I don’t have the time to research it right away, I write the idea down and do it later.
9 Q. What are your goals as a novelist?
ASP: I want to tell a story that helps people live more meaningful lives – a story that enables them to better understand the problems facing everyone. A lot of writers write for themselves and there is nothing wrong with this because what they write sometimes helps all of us. I always write with the reader in mind and what they will get out of my work.
10 Q. What advice would you give to upcoming writers?
ASP: Never give up if you truly want to be an author. It’s a tough road, but every published author I know goes down the same road and has a bag full of disappointment, self-doubt, and loss of purpose. Just keep writing.