May I Ask You for a Special Favor?

I’m looking for a few good men and women. Actually, I’m looking for more than a few as I assemble my book’s Launch Team. I would be honored if you agreed to participate.

My book’s working title, you may remember, is A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s. Ours is a true-life story. It’s not fiction, though I wish it were! It’s a realistic account covering 17 years, starting in 1997 with my wife’s Alzheimer's diagnosis. Martha had turned fifty just days earlier.

If you’re interested in becoming a team member, I’ll send you a copy of the manuscript when it’s ready, probably in June. I have two simple requests to ask in return, which I explain below. To sign on, email me at

Here are some reasons why you might consider joining my Launch Team…  

First, you can help spread the word about a burgeoning crisis. The number of persons in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s is expected to grow by one-third or more in the next decade—to 7.3-million by 2025. But that’s only part of the story. For every person with Alzheimer’s, roughly three more are primary or secondary caregivers, swelling the number of those directly impacted to 29.2-million. And that doesn’t count extended family members and friends. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association).  

Another reason: Few books explore the painful spiritual and emotional issues that are sure to surface during a crisis like Alzheimer’s. Plenty of caregiver guidebooks are on the market today, many of them with good practical advice. But only a few discuss the spiritual dimensions with any depth.

My book’s focus is on the spiritual path that emerged out of the darkness threatening to engulf our family. Alzheimer’s is the context of our story, not its focus. This path was not an easy one, for the issues arising along the way were too often dark and unfathomable. But the further we walked, the more we realized a light was breaking through from somewhere deep within, bracing us with hope, love, and joy.

This journey led me to travel halfway around the world to Australia; and to start writing what evolved into a 14-volume journal; and to spend over 300 days in several monasteries, including a week in Thomas Merton’s hermitage at Gethsemani.

The stories I share have the potential to touch persons faced with a variety of crises, not just Alzheimer’s. Dr. Landy Anderton, a clinical psychologist and early reader of my manuscript, told me: “This book really belongs in the hands of every family coping with a crisis.”

Our story as seen through the eyes of a friend:
“The reader who travels with Carlen into the mysterious depths of human life, human tragedy, and human relationships will be led to reflect, to ponder, and to expand. Carlen is a strong writer. One of his strengths is that, as he tells this story, his words invite us into conversation. His style invites dialogue between reader and author. Carlen does not seek to convince others of anything, certainly not anything that could be called 'religious.' Rather, he invites us to share—to share his journey, to share his discovery of how his search led his mind and soul beyond problem-solving into acceptance, peace, celebration, and gratitude.”

This statement comes from my book’s foreword, which was written by Rev. Dr. Art Ross. He left our church in St. Petersburg three years before Martha was diagnosed. Art is the former chair of the Board of Trustees at Union Presbyterian Seminary. He retired in 2009 from White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC, where he recently was honored as pastor emeritus.

I would be delighted if you volunteered for my Launch Team. If you do, you may read the manuscript either in digital or print form—your choice. At this stage the manuscript will have been edited for structure, clarity, and flow, but not final-proofed for typos. Still, the copy should be reasonably clean. I’ll send the version you prefer as soon as it’s ready.

My book probably will be published sometime in October. When it is, I have two simple requests of my Launch Team volunteers:

1)    Please tell your many friends and contacts about my book in the ways that are the most natural for you—word-of-mouth, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever is most comfortable.

 2)   Write a short review on If you’ve never done that, it’s simple and you can use a pseudonym rather than your name if you prefer. You do NOT have to be a professional writer. All you do is share 3 or 4 points about what our story meant to you. I’ll give you clear instructions on how to proceed. This, of course, is strictly voluntary on your part. 

The reason for the Amazon review? No one outside of Amazon knows how it judges books to be well received or not, especially new ones. It’s pretty clear, though, that 50 reviews going up shortly after publication are better than one.

I’m limiting my Launch Team size to the first 29 persons who respond. I’m asking that you keep your advance copy in confidence and not share with anyone else.

The deadline to sign up is Saturday, June 11, 2016. To do so, please email me at Subject Line: LAUNCH TEAM.

Oh, I almost forgot! Any Launch Team member desiring a published copy of my book can receive it at my author’s discounted cost (plus shipping). The retail price is not yet set.

Thank you,

P.S. Have a good Memorial Day weekend, remembering what we're remembering.

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