Friday, January 17, 2020

Reviews Are Loved By Authors

Reviews are so important to writers. The good ones boost us and the not so good ones influence us to do better.

Here's my first FIVE-STAR Amazon Review:
Bob and Nancy S.
Reviewed on January 4, 2020
Lynne Gassel's deeply personal memoir takes us on a journey filled with tragedy and triumph, sorrow and gratitude, betrayal and forgiveness. Along the way, she delves into issues of family relationships, friendship, religion, politics, psychology, mental health, and the realities of aging. Her story is compelling and her resilience is inspiring. This is a page-turner.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Raising A Teen...NOT AGAIN!

It's been awhile....Raising a now 14-1/2 year-old teen has been daunting and been taking up all my energy and time. He's a fabulous kids. But as those of you currently raising a teen or have memories you'd like to forget about the age, know exactly what I'm talking about. Aside from the hormonal crazy mood swings with the "I'm sorry" follow-up, the teens of today have a different life than when we raised their millennial parents. All the social media and the overly detailed homework is exhausting for not only the student but for the parents who are forever overseeing that it gets done. So, that's why I haven't posted. Good to get that off my chest. Please share your teen adventures!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

If you haven't read the original version (or if you have), I know you'll like this newer version. Most of the book remains intact, but there are several added chapters, better writing/editing, a resource section and a new cover. Oh, and if you read the first or this one, PLEASE re-post your REVIEW or post a new one! It really helps me on Amazon. Thanks so much!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


"Brady, please get your muddy cleats off the carpet," calls Lynne Gassel to her 10-year-old, who's just returned from baseball practice and has dumped everything—backpack, shoes, cap—on the floor. He grudgingly obliges, then heads to his room to play a video game while Lynne prepares dinner. Shortly thereafter, over takeout pizza and salad, Lynne, her husband Stu and Brady discuss their upcoming Disney cruise. It's all quite ordinary, except that Lynne, 65, and Stu, 66, are Brady's grandparents, and they are raising him as their son.
In fact, the Gassels' family structure is becoming less out of the ordinary every day. More than 2 million grandparents in the United States are caring for their grandchildren without the help of a parent or another relative, according to census data. "That number rises to 2.7 million when you factor in the parents whose own grown children and their children have moved in with them," says Deborah Whitley, PhD, codirector of the National Research Center on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
Experts refer to these as "grandfamilies"—households with kids headed by a grandparent. It's easy to see why so many would-be retirees are forgoing golf and long-postponed salsa lessons: The 2008 recession saw many parents out of work. There was also a 25% rise in the number of parents who were incarcerated between 1997 and 2007, and a jump in heroin and other illicit drug use between 2002 and 2012.
The Gassels began the process of adopting Brady five years ago, after their daughter Jaime, Brady's mother, died from complications of drug use when she was 32. (His birth father was never in the picture.) The transition was difficult for Stu and Lynne, who were devastated at losing Jaime, but it was fairly seamless for Brady, who was 5 when his mom died, because he had already been living with the Gassels.
As hard as Jaime's death was, in one way it came as a relief. "We no longer had to worry about how her coming in and out of his life would affect him. And it gave us the opportunity to be parents to him in every sense," says Lynne.
The challenges of taking on parental duties late in life are many, and a big one is financial strain. For the Gassels, who are financially stable thanks to Stu's pension, the hardest issue is physically keeping up with their son. "When Brady was a toddler, I tried so hard to do what the younger moms were doing," says Lynne. "I remember one birthday party, where all the moms were kneeling on the floor playing with the kids. I forced myself to get down on the floor with them until one of the grandmothers said to me, 'You don't have to be their age.' I realized then that I wasn't really fooling anyone," she laughs.
Still, Lynne pushed herself. "I didn't want Brady to miss out on anything." Looking back at the toddler years, Lynne sees that she and Stu were trying to make up for the fact that Brady's mom was frequently absent. "We raced around every weekend. Brady loved fire engines and police cars, so we visited every police and fire station and went to all the county fairs, trying to give him as much joy as we could."
Brady is a happy kid, but the pace took its toll on Lynne and Stu. When Brady was 6, Lynne tore her rotator cuff while holding onto his shirt as he tried to avoid cleaning his room. "Brady pulled away from me really fast and I heard something in my shoulder snap. I went 'Uh-oh.' I had to have surgery and was in physical therapy for six months. It wasn't easy."
And of course, grandparents don't get a pass on later-in-life health problems just because they're doing what is usually a younger person's job. Many have arthritis, high blood pressure or diabetes, and research shows they delay their own medical care to look after the kids. To Stu, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's abdominal lymphoma when Brady was 3, raising an energetic boy began to seem impossible. "He adored Brady, but one night he said to me, 'I can't do it.'" Stu suggested asking one of their sons to take Brady (they have three other children, all adults), but Lynne felt they couldn't allow Brady to experience another rejection. She took on more of the parenting so Stu could recover, and tried to keep Brady away when Stu was resting after his chemotherapy treatments.
Ultimately, though, Lynne says it was Brady who helped Stu through his ordeal. "One evening my youngest son came over to shave Stu's head, since he was losing his hair from the chemo, and Brady just thought it was the funniest thing. He giggled hysterically and had us all laughing. Then he threw his arms around Stu and told him, 'You're gonna be OK.'" From then on, there was never any question for Stu that Brady would be his son. "I made a choice to e
mbrace fathering my grandson," says Stu. "Brady gives purpose to my life."
Now that Brady is older and the physical demands have lessened, the Gassels love that they can be the kind of parents to Brady that they simply didn't have time to be while raising their own kids and working. "I almost feel like now we're being given a second chance to do it better," says Lynne, who was the class mother for Brady's fourth-grade homeroom; Stu coaches his baseball team. "Brady loves to have us involved in his activities. He would just beam when I came into the classroom," says Lynne.
The Gassels' adult children are supportive, but it has affected all of their lives. "It's probably hardest on my son who has kids," says Lynne. "We're busy being Brady's parents, which takes away from our ability to be grandparents." Lynne also sometimes wishes she could spoil Brady rotten. "But Brady needs me more as a mother than as a grandmother, so that's what I am."
Raising a child who has lost a parent is another grandfamily challenge. Brady hadn't seen his mom in over two years when she died. "Brady doesn't remember Jaime leaving but it had to have left a mark on him," says Lynne, who adds that Brady suffers from mild PTSD. The Gassels answer any questions Brady has, but they rarely bring up Jaime's death themselves. When he first asked, around age 6, they told him that his mom loved him and wanted to take care of him, but that the drugs changed her brain so she couldn't. "Brady said that God knew that Jaime couldn't take care of him, so God gave him to us. He's an amazing kid," says Lynne. Still, she says, "I know it's in there somewhere, that sense of loss."
That is likely why Brady regularly makes deals with them, asking, "How long do you think you'll live?" Lynne says, "He'll just grab Stu and hug him out of nowhere. That anxiety, that fear of being abandoned, is his biggest challenge." So Lynne and Stu take extra-good care of themselves: While Brady's at school, the couple exercises and Lynne enjoys creative outlets—painting, singing and writing (she wrote about losing Jaime and raising Brady in a self-published book called Fifth Child).
Lynne admits that there have been days when she imagines what it would be like if she and Stu had a more typical retirement, spending evenings with couples their own age. She often conks out at 8:30 P.M., when Brady goes to bed. But the Gassels wouldn't trade their grandfamily. "Brady made me a Mother's Day card in May," says Lynne. "He cut out big red letters spelling M-O-M and wrote: 'I love you because…it's hard to say why I love you because no words describe how special you are to me.'" The feeling, she says, is mutual.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

“Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” Judge’s Commentary*: HAD TO SHARE!

So I entered my book in a Writer's Digest Contest and expected negative comments about how I'm not a real writer, etc. OMG! I had to share this! From “Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” Judge’s Commentary*:
FIFTH CHILD is a real ringer -pick it up. Start reading, you are immediately transported into author Lynne R. Gassel's situation -waiting at the airport for a flight with her husband Stu and five-year-old grandson Brady, she gets a phone call from a stranger from rehab where her daughter Jaime (mother of Brady) is supposedly staying, and she's thinking, why bother me now? What follows unleashes an all-too-believable thread of events that takes the reader by surprise and might very well leave one in tears.
This and the rest of the FIFTH CHILD are a testament to author Gassel's simple yet deceptively powerful writing style. The finely structured story weaves back and forth between the challenges faced by grandparents in their 60s; Jaime's constant struggle with addiction and relapse; and the lively antics of Brady, whose quotes are cleverly placed at the beginning of each chapter. The author's insight and lack of pretense cuts right to the heart of things, aided by her fine eye for characterization and dialogue. Especially poignant is the ending when one finds out the real truth about Jaime. While this is a book best read with a box of Kleenex, it offers understanding to those with a limited knowledge of addiction and reasons why grandparents become "second time around" parents. It also offers hope.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ONE GRAND FAMILY-Woman's Day Magazine-It's here!

The November issue is in the stores! It's the Feature Article and our story about our raising our grandchild as our own. Go get it!

Reviews Are Loved By Authors

Reviews are so important to writers. The good ones boost us and the not so good ones influence us to do better. Here's my first FIVE-S...