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Promo & Giveaway: A Delightful Little Book on Aging by Stephanie Raffelock

A DELIGHTFUL LITTLE BOOK ON AGING
by
Stephanie Raffelock

Genre: Inspirational / Spiritual / Essays / Self-Help
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Number of Pages: 119 pages

Scroll down for the giveaway!

All around us, older women flourish in industry, entertainment, and politics. Do they know something that we don’t, or are we all just trying to figure it out? For so many of us, our hearts and minds still feel that we are twenty-something young women who can take on the world. But in our bodies, the flexibility and strength that were once taken for granted are far from how we remember them. Every day we have to rise above the creaky joints and achy knees to earn the opportunity of moving through the world with a modicum of grace. 

Yet we do rise, because it’s a privilege to grow old, and every single day is a gift. Peter Pan’s mantra was, “Never grow up”; our collective mantra should be, “Never stop growing.” This collection of user-friendly stories, essays, and philosophies invites readers to celebrate whatever age they are with a sense of joy and purpose and with a spirit of gratitude.


PRAISE for A Delightful Little Book on Aging:

“Where are the elders? The wise women, the crones, the guardians of truth here to gently, lovingly, and playfully guide us towards the fulfillment of our collective destiny? It turns out that they are right here, in our midst, and Stephanie Raffelock is showcasing the reclamation of aging as a moment of becoming, no longer a dreaded withering into insignificance. A Delightful Little Book on Aging lays down new and beautiful tracks for the journey into our richest, deepest, and wildest years.” – Kelly Brogan, MD, author of the New York Times bestseller A Mind of Your Own
“A helpful, uplifting work for readers handling the challenges of growing older.” – Kirkus Reviews
 
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GuestPost

The Dominant Gene and the Gracious Ladies
of the Ranch Readers Book Club
Guest Post by Stephanie Raffelock

A friend who will share dessert with you is the very best kind of friend.

For most of my adult life I have been a carrot-juice-swilling, veggie-chomping, sugar-eschewing fitness buff. I’ve made good choices. I value health. I stood strong and somewhat smugly in the light of that truth. And then I moved to Texas.

Texas women are belles. That means they are beautiful, elegant, smart, and gracious—all in one package. I’ve never met women like them anywhere. And they all have a certain gene. The more Texan they are, the more dominant the gene. The gene causes a cross between mothering, welcoming, sisterhood, and baking. Oh my God, the baking!

Early on in my new Austin life, I was invited into a book group. I’ve been in groups before. Writing groups, book groups, bang-on-a-drum women’s groups. But nothing in my past could have prepared me for the change that this group would thrust upon me with its room full of belles all seeking expression for their dominant gene.

I’m talking about Texas hospitality. I was warmly welcomed into a sisterhood that conducts its book group in a way that would put Martha Stewart to shame. And they make it look easy. First, a light dinner is served. It’s perfect. Everything is arranged in an inviting way, and even though the food is being dished out as guests arrive, the kitchen remains mysteriously clean and sparkly.

Only after the meal is consumed and wine is poured is there talk of the book, but the talk is not an afterthought. The conversations are smart and emotionally intelligent. The women are savvy and sensitively honest, relating themes from the book to their own lives, quick to praise the author’s efforts and equally quick to point out where the story let them down. Getting to know women from my new community through the discussion of books is about as good as it gets.

Once the book has been discussed, that genetic snip raises itself up, and the hostess brings out dessert.

Please keep in mind my earlier statement about “sugar-eschewing.” The first time dessert was served at a meeting, I wanted to be polite, and so I took a little bite. There are no store-bought desserts in this group. The gene to which I refer causes these women to concoct an alchemical decadence of creamy, sweet, tart, crunchy luxury with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Like a siren calling to the mariner, I am moved to another bite, as I try making deals with myself: “Okay, just one more bite, and that’s all.” Ha!

And then came the second book group. Dessert was brought out—some kind of made-from-scratch layered cake with a Swiss buttercream frosting—and my mouth began to water. Are you kidding me? Who bakes like this? I knew I was hooked when I began to moan. “Oh, God. Ohhhhhh. Oh, this is so good. So good. Yes, yes, yes.” I’ll have what she’s having takes on a new meaning.

We have no control over the events in our life, only our attitudes. So here’s my attitude: “Bring it on!”

My life is changing before my eyes. I think about building a shrine to Paula Deen on my front porch. I dream of the ingredients these women keep in their cupboards. I fantasize about being in their kitchens and licking out the remains of chocolate, vanilla, and raspberry cream from stacks of bowls.

Last night, I wanted to throw myself into a tray of banana pudding, so I can’t really be held responsible for what escaped my lips as I finished the last bite of pudding. In front of these warm, kind, gracious ladies, the words just wouldn’t stay in my head and without my knowing it, escaped into the space. “This is so fucking good,” I moaned, unaware that I had pierced the veil between thought and Did I just say that?

But no one judged. They laughed, so I don’t think I’ve been thrown out of the group for bad behavior just yet. I am not a belle, more like a street urchin who has probably been exposed to one too many Fitbits and too much kale.

I’ll get in my ten thousand steps today. I’ll prepare vegetables and protein for dinner. I’ll drink a protein smoothie for breakfast . . . with fiber. I know that for the next month, if I have dessert at all, it will be fresh berries with coconut milk and a little Stevia. Then next month, it will happen again. I’ll go to the book group. I’ll adore all those wonderful women. I’ll participate in the smart book discussion, and when dessert is served, I’ll greedily take my portion, and hope that I can behave.

My life is different now. My design on the pure and healthy diet has met its match. The sweet taste of homemade dessert served up on a bed of Southern graciousness is too difficult for me to resist. The truth is that I want to fill a bathtub with their chocolate torts, vanilla cakes, and banana puddings, inserting myself naked into the center of it. This is probably an indication that I need serious therapy.

Or maybe just that I love living in Texas.

 

Stephanie Raffelock is the author of A Delightful Little Book on Aging  (She Writes Press, April 2020). A graduate of Naropa University’s program in Writing and Poetics, she has penned articles for numerous publications, including the Aspen Times, the Rogue Valley Messenger, Nexus Magazine, Omaha Lifestyles, Care2.com, and SixtyandMe.com. Stephanie is part of the positive-aging movement, which encourages viewing age as a beautiful and noble passage, the fruition of years that birth wisdom and deep gratitude for all of life.  She’s a recent transplant to Austin, Texas, where she enjoys life with her husband, Dean, and their Labrador retriever, Jeter (yes, named after the great Yankee shortstop). 

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———————————
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS: Signed hardcover copy of A Delightful Little Book on Aging + a set of 50 pocket inspirations
ONE WINNER: A set of 50 pocket inspirations
JULY 7-19, 2020
(US ONLY)
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Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today by Suzanne Gene Courtney

 
 
Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours presents
 
DEAR DIARY: 
MY BROTHER DIED TODAY
 
by Suzanne Gene Courtney






Title: DEAR DIARY: MY BROTHER DIED TODAY
Author: Suzanne Gene Courtney
Genre: Children’s Book>Death & Dying>Grief
# of pages: 32 pages
 
 


A seven-year-old girl records the sudden death of her beloved older brother by writing her personal feelings in her diary. In her own innocent way, she tells about being able to see him when no one else can. She embraces this ability and is not afraid.


Throughout this tender book, the little girl relates her experiences in feeling her brother’s nearness, even when she cannot see him anymore. In her own trusting way, she knows that everything will be all right, and through her honest feelings, she is able to help her parents cope with their loss. She also learns about angels and knows that her brother is safe.


Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today is the third in a trilogy about the circle of life. The story enables children to perceive the life in heaven that awaits them. Although fictional, the story’s events could actually happen.
Review
It’s been a while since I’ve read a children’s book about grief or dying, and I forgot how writing so simple can affect you so deeply. Courtney does a great job of emulating the writing and drawings of a young girl grieving the loss of her big brother. You can tell that she has been around children because the story feels genuine and is certainly heartfelt. I think that this book would be great for young children who might have trouble expressing their feelings at the loss of a loved one. However, I think the spiritual element might be off putting if the family does not believe in an afterlife and angels.
 
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Suzanne Gene (Davis) Courtney comes from a family of teachers. She has taught several subjects and grade levels over a span of thirty years. Retiring in 2011, she moved to Austin, TX, in 2015 to be closer to her children and

grandchildren and continue her writing aspirations.

Suzanne has three children, Laura, Gregg, and Daniel. Daniel passed away unexpectedly in 1997 in Hawaii, where he was born. Devastated, she began to write. At first, she wrote poems of angst and darkness, then while healing, poems of understanding and hope surfaced.
To date, she has authored five books, with another due later this year. Four of the six books deal with death and grief with words of support to help the bereaved. Being a former elementary teacher, she has worked with many children experiencing loss. Two of her books, incorporate her experiences while traveling and are meant for pure reading enjoyment. Book awards to date are: Indie Excellence Award (Finalist), Character Building Counts Award (Silver), Great Southwest Book Festival (Honorable Mention), and Pacific Rim Book Festival (Honorable Mention).
Book signings at various sites around Texas so far include: the Author Extravaganza in Llano, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin. She will be presenting her books for the classroom in several schools in the area soon.

 

Suzanne is a member of the following organizations: SCBWI Austin, The Writers League of TX, Texas Authors Association, Alpha Xi Delta Alumni, and Reiki Master Teacher.
 
 
 
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