IWSG – April: Dancing with Dementia (+ Giveaway)

Dear IWSGers, instead of answering this month’s question, I’d like to showcase fellow Canadian Jemi Fraser’s new book Dancing with Dementia. Things are fine in my world. Yes, I am sad, but I’m also grateful for many blessings. Today Jemi’s book seems more important than anything I have to say. Though I promised I’d share my Bali adventure, I think that’s best left for another day.

Jemi has some interesting questions at the bottom of her post. Check them out. And don’t forget to visit all our co-hosts this month. They’re the reason no one’s IWSG post is left unvisited. Thanks, everyone!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Jemi Fraser’s DANCING WITH DEMENTIA, Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering a tour-wide international giveaway of an Amazon Gift Card. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia
by Jemi Fraser

◊ Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
◊ Publisher: Just Jemi Books
◊ eBooks
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1-9991258-1-3

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch the lives of millions around the world, but so much is still unknown.

As first-generation Canadians, we didn’t recognize the early warning signs. We didn’t know the differences between regular aging and the early stages of dementia. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve learned a lot.

•Identify those early warning signs
•Use visuals to improve communication
•Choose your words wisely
•Redirect and reassure
•Stay calm and cope with your own emotions
•Consider nursing home options
•Improve caregiver self-care

 We’ve learned to dance the early steps of the disease with our love and laughter intact. If you are looking for help recognizing early signposts along with practical ways to cope with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this book is for you.

Amazon.com              Amazon.ca          Apple Books       Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Add DANCING WITH DEMENTIA to your Goodreads shelf

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Jemi Fraser writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction work focuses on the ways that dementia has impacted her family. Her fiction work varies from contemporary romance to suspense and flash fiction. Years as a teacher have taught Jemi that life is short and that happy endings are a must.

Jemi lives in Northern Ontario, Canada where snow is always a topic of conversation and the autumn leaves make everything better.

For more on Jemi and her writing, visit her following sites:

Website          Just Jemi Blog       Dancing With Dementia blog 

Amazon Page        BookBub      Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter       Quick Tips Videos




This tour-wide giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Jemi on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. I hope dementia hasn’t touched your family or friends, but in case it has do you have any tips to share on dealing with this terrible disease?


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Nonlinear Writing

I’m normally a fiction writer. My novels are currently focused on romance & romantic suspense. I write flash fiction in all kinds of genres. Writing a nonfiction book, and a highly personal one at that, was a big change, not only in genre but in writing style.

When writing a fiction story, I start with a flash of emotion and build a character & scene for that. The scene floats around in my subconscious for a while. I’m learning to plot, so I try that, and then I write. From the first scene to the last.

Dancing With Dementia has an overall linear trajectory, but within the book it’s not always a linear story. And I didn’t write it in a linear fashion. In fact, I didn’t begin writing it intentionally at all.

When we were living the incidents in the Bowels of Hell: Sleep Deprivation Makes Everything Funny section of the book, I started writing down snippets of stories.

At first, I wrote things down for a couple of reasons:

  • I wanted to remember
  • I couldn’t believe what had happened
  • We wanted a timeline and running record of some of mom’s behaviours and conversations
  • I was tired and drained enough to need an external memory for what worked to help Mom and what just annoyed her

I had no original intention of writing a book. I was just trying to make sense of our world and find ways to help our mom.

For many long months, we kept living as best we could and I kept recording.

One of our family members suggested I compile the snippets into a book, a guide that might help other families.

So, I started organizing the stories, looking for themes and connections. Eventually the organization of the book became clear. A section for every area of life that was a challenge for Mom, all building toward a nursing home placement.

In its final version, the book can be read a couple of ways. Of course, you can read it start to finish. That’s probably best.

But, helping someone through the early stages of dementia takes a lot of time and energy from your life. If you’re in that stage, you might not have enough connected time to read the book in a straight shot.

Instead, it might be better to dip into an area that might help you at the time. Dip in again on another day in another section. Driving, finances, phones, living alone, outside agencies, talking about nursing homes,…

Dip into the tips section at the back, especially for those wondering if dementia is creeping in or looking for ideas on how to redirect.

I’m not sure I could ever write in a nonlinear fashion for fiction, but it was a method that worked extremely well for this book.

How about you? If you’re a writer, do you write in a linear fashion or are you able to jump from scene to scene and then weave them together later? Is there a difference in how you write fiction and nonfiction? If you’re not a writer, do you have another way of making sense of your world other than writing it down? Do you prefer stories told in a linear fashion?


IWSG was created by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh — because Alex understands we need a safe place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds like a good place to be, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

April 1 question – The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?
The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Comments 46

  1. Oh Jemi! What a powerful post. You are amazing. My girlfriend’s father suffers from the later stage of dementia. And her mother still cares for him. We are talking about 20 years. She is a saint. But so are you, Jemi. You are brave enough to share this journey with others to possibly help their journey not be so burdensome. Bravo to you! As for writing, I start out linear. Then I skip around a bit as things come to me. Joylene, thank you so much for sharing this with your followers. Stay safe, ladies!

    1. She is definitely a saint! 20 years is a long, long time to deal with dementia close up like that!
      Thank you, but I’m definitely no saint! I just hope this book will help others who are dealing with those early stages of the disease. It blindsided us.

  2. Bali sounds amazing–do tell! That’s great you featured Jemi’s book in this post. I am definitely a linear writer, though that might be hard to imagine given my editors incessant questions about the unclear timelines in my novels. 😉 Healthy vibes to you, Joylene.

  3. Nice job, Joylene, on bringing this important book to our attention. For those people who are living with conditions, it’s the carers who have the worst of it. What a powerful story this author has to tell, now, and one that will help a great many people.

    1. Thanks, Yvette! I worry about people who are caregiving with their loved ones in their homes without their usual supports right now. I’m so very glad Mom is in a wonderful nursing home where they are keeping everyone safe and entertained!

    2. (My original reply appears to have disappeared!)
      Caregivers have such a difficult and demanding job – I worry about them right now as the COVID situations removes community support from them!

  4. Congrats to Jemi on her new release! It’s important to remember that even in these extraordinary times, many people still struggle with with what might be considered ordinary day to day challenges. This is such an important topic for so many families no matter what the current circumstances.

    1. Yes! So many families with loved ones in their care must be really struggling for support during these times. I’m so grateful for mom’s wonderful nursing home!

  5. I understand your approach in writing non-fiction. I don’t write non-fiction. I’m a fiction writer, and when I work on a story, I need it to line up from start to finish, with cause-and-effect sequences throughout. So yeah, I’m a linear writer. I can’t write otherwise.

    1. I didn’t think I could either, but as you say, nonfiction is a very different beast. I’m starting to jump around more with revising my fiction, but still mostly linear as well!

  6. This sounds like such an important book. I had one grandparent who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and one who had some dementia from a stroke. It was very hard.
    I mostly write fiction, and generally I do write in linear fashion except when I get stuck. Then I may jump ahead to write the scene I know is coming or work backwards to fix the problem that’s causing me to be stuck.
    I’ve only written nonfiction articles, and those were very short. But it’s definitely a different kind of writing. I was more focused on making sure all my facts were correct (which isn’t a bad skill for fiction), and making those facts relatable and interesting to my audience, which was kids.
    I really enjoyed hearing about Jemi’s process. Congrats!

    1. Jenni – I’m so sorry your grandparents both suffered from dementia – so very, very hard!
      I’m definitely more linear for fiction as well, but I think this will help me jump around more!!

  7. Hi Joylene!
    I have my copy of Jemi’s book and will dive in as soon as I settle into this 21 day lock down.
    I think that certain types of books work well with a non-linear approach. It depends on the subject matter, amongst other things. I’m a snippet writer, which means that I’m often “all over the place”.
    Stay safe!

  8. Congrats on your new book, Jemi! I lost my mom to dementia a few months ago. It’s such a cruel disease. I hope your book helps families cope on such a difficult journey.

  9. Congrats on your new release, Jemi! Such an important topic that we need more information and insight about. Thanks for helping to make that happen!

    Very much a linear writer, but I am known to jump around if there is a particular scene I can’t wait to write. 🙂

  10. I’m trying really, really hard to be a more linear writer. In general, my process involves writing the really exciting, important scenes as they enter my head, and then connecting them, in some logical order. It’s a bearish way of revising, though, so I’m hoping I can convince my muse to work in a more step-by-step fashion, if I bribe well.
    Happy IWSG Day!

  11. Your book is so needed and I’m so glad you’ve written it.

    As a writer, I am totally linear with fiction or non-fiction. I have to write from point a to b to c…or I get totally lost, confused, and disillusioned.

    1. (not sure if my previous attempt at a comment will show up. Something wonky happening with me today)
      Thanks, Lynn! We were shocked with dementia slammed into us – such an evil disease. Ignoring those early warning signs cost us!
      Non-linear writing is tough! 🙂

  12. I’ve written two non-fiction books and both were written non-linear. It’s almost easier since you can jump around the outline and write whatever chapter you feel like writing.

  13. I’m a jumper. All over the place, except for the first draft, it’s usually straight through. But then it’s a very rough draft, but then I go where the characters take me. Some are louder than others. 🙂

    1. Post
  14. Hi Jemi,
    That was an excellent suggestion from your family member that you compose your snippets in a book. I believe it will help many people who don’t know where to begin when they do see signs of dementia.

    I am not sure what kind of writer I am. I start with a story and then I write chapter for chapter in the order that I would like the book to be read. Recently, a publisher requested structural changes. He wants to see some things presented earlier and others later. That has now introduced me to non-linear writing due to the structural revision.

    All the best, Jemi.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    1. Thanks, Pat! I wish we’d known more at the beginning of our journey – and I hope this helps people in that kind of position.
      Interesting! I prefer my fiction in a linear fashion as well. Good luck with that revision!!!

  15. Jemi, I think your book will be a great tool in helping those dealing with this terrible disease. Whether it’s read from start to finish or just bits and pieces here and there, it is well worth the read.

    Joylene, thanks for being a part of Jemi’s tour and sharing this important information.

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