Al Badre shares his modern immigration narrative

I'm so pleased to host Albert Nasib Badre during his WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour. I'm also pleased that his coming of age story, in his memoir, Looking West: The Journey of a Lebanese-American Immigrant, is about immigration. The immigration topic - the one I chose for my soon-to-be published novel, Papa's Shoes, is as Dr. Badre says - "has become front and center in the national discourse." Please welcome Dr. Badre and enjoy his words about why he decided to write a memoir about his immigration experience. The Back Story by Albert Nasib Badre People have been asking me, “How did you decide to write the memoirs? What motivated you?” Well, it all started after my father passed away in 2010. As I mentioned in the book, my father, Albert Youssef Badre, could not come with us to Albany the first three years of our immigration. He had work commitments in Lebanon the first year; the next two years, he lived in the (Belgian) Congo where he was the economic advisor on Cong … [Read more...]

April 2019 poem a day challenge

It's that time of the year again, and already we're twenty-four days into writing a poem a day. This year I got a late start and didn't write a poem a day until Day 4, and I'm still a couple of poems behind. But never mind. Knowing me, I'll catch and finish on time. Plus our prompt maven Robert Lee Brewer, poetry editor at Writer's Digest, gives us a month or two to catch up and polish our poems a bit before selecting a few and submitting them as chapbooks. Right now I don't have any favorites. Hopefully after I finish them all and edit them I'll find some submit. Here are some samples accompanied by the prompt. Prompt 2: On Tuesdays we get a choice of two prompts. The first Tuesday prompts were: Write a worst case poem. What’s the worst that could happen? Write a best case poem. Take the worst and reverse it! Writing a poem like I’m doing now Is the worst case. I’m tired, it’s late in the day But I have to catch up. Today is Day 5 of the April poem a day cha … [Read more...]

Linda Lee Kane is our Choices guest today

Linda Lee Kane, author of fantasies, thrillers, and contemporary fiction works, joins us today while on her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour to celebrate the re-release of The Black Madonna A Pope's Deadly Obsession. Before discussing her intriguing book, Linda shares about her life as a writer and some advice about how to publish our writing. Life as a Writer by Linda Lee Kane The same commitment you brought to writing your novel will be critical when facing the publishing world. For beginning writers, the publication can be a difficult path. The steps to publication involve finding an agent, working with an agent to sell your novel to a publisher, working with a publisher to prepare your book for launch, and marketing your book. This process can take years. Self-publishing is another option. You’ll cut out the agent and publisher, and produce and sell a book on your own. It may be a quicker route to publication, but it still requires a lot of work. In either case, … [Read more...]

Some sad thoughts about the Notre Dame Cathedral

Just a few words of sadness about the near destruction of my favorite Paris landmark. Every time I'd visit Paris, I'd see Notre Dame right there at its heart, the Seine river. And the next time I go it will not be the same. I'm sure the Paris natives are even more devastated about this fire and the havoc it caused. Who could blame them? But for us tourists, I cry as well. Let us all hope this beautiful 850-year-old building can be rebuilt to its original grandeur. By Madhurantakam - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5695351 … [Read more...]

My novel cover! Voila!

Here it is. What do you think?   Cover art by Jen Jenkins Dohner … [Read more...]

Some hints about my novel, Papa’s Shoes

This past Monday morning, April 1st, I turned in all the products my publisher asked for so they can start preparing the book for print, publication, and release on May 16. Here are a couple of hints: Dedication: For the courage and willfulness of my grandparents, Isidore (a shoemaker) and Myrtle Tasky, who left a tiny shtetl in Poland in the early 1900s to come to America in pursuit of a better life for their family. I apologize for my audacity in greatly fictionalizing their story. And for Bob, Ben, and Marissa – always my best support. Three back cover blurbs: "From an insightful storyteller, Papa's Shoes, is a heartwarming story of courage and love. Author Madeline Sharples has created an epic journey with intriguing twists and surprises along the way. From days of old in Poland to cultural and economic realities in America, this is an awe-inspiring novel about families, generational history, and the incredible power of change. You truly won't want to put it d … [Read more...]

Writing a memoir? Stick to it!

Yesterday I participated as a panel member discussing "How to Develop Your Memoir with Appeal to the Widest Possible Audience" at the Genre-LA Creative Writing Conference. Unfortunately the room was not full, but the four of us on the podium spoke from our experience writing, editing, and marketing memoirs to get an interested and inspired response from those who did attend. I think the most important point we made was in answer to this question: Defining a memoir’s theme or focus can be overwhelming – how can aspiring memoirists choose which events, memories, or moments to include, and which to leave out? My answer to that would be: Don’t write a complete autobiography. Pick a subject that’s timely and universal. For example, my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, is about our son’s mental illness and suicide and how our family survived it. And right now mental illness and suicide are in the forefront. Suicide of young men especially is an epidemic though women are more … [Read more...]

Quotes from some of my faves

I think you've read before that I like quotes. I collect them and I share them. Here are a few from some powerful women I admire - in no particular order. "I really want women to know their power, to value their experience. To understand that nothing has been more wholesome in the political process than the increased involvement of women." ~Nancy Pelosi   "Remember this in the darkest moments, when the work doesn’t seem worth it, and change seems just out of reach: out of our willingness to push through comes a tremendous power… Use it." ~Stacey Abrams     "I just hope that more people will ignore the fatalism of the argument that we are beyond repair. We are not beyond repair. We are never beyond repair." ~ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez   "What's important for my daughter to know is that... if you are fortunate to have opportunity, it is your duty to make sure other people have those opportunities as well." ~Kamela Harris   "The problem that I th … [Read more...]

Progress report

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about all the products I need to complete and get to my new publisher, Aberdeen Bay so my novel, Papa's Shoes can be published. And I'm definitely closing in on it. The list included the following: 1. Author photo 2. Author bio 3. Cover art 4. Reviews for back cover 5. Book synopsis (short and long version) 6. Dedication 7. Acknowledgement 8. Book cover and synopsis for your previously published books And as of today I've finished all but two - the cover art and all the reviews for the back cover.   I've found several photos that I think could work for the cover but I don't know their source for getting permission to use them. To combat that problem I'm going to meet  with an artist friend of mine and maybe she can reinvent one of these photos so I don't have to worry about getting permission at all. I'm very excited to work with her because I love her very creative and unique work.   Here's one of the … [Read more...]

A must-read young adult book

Politics are pretty much at the forefront of my life right now. I eat a regular diet of the news every day though I take in much more than I should. With that in mind,  Micheal D. French's new young adult book, The Beginner's Guide to Winning an Election, is just up my alley. I also find the book a great learning vehicle for young folks who are and/or want to get involved in politics. As we saw from our recent mid-term elections, more young people than ever are participating in politics in a very smart way. Don't you love the cover? I do. Here's my review. Review of The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election by Madeline Sharples Brit Kitridge was definitely a beginner when she decided to enter a high school election as a candidate for student body president. But she is smart and learns very quickly – especially about her major opponent, Matthew’s ties to money and other political shenanigans that he and his team use to ruin her reputation and try to get her to bow out. She do … [Read more...]

Ojai love

We spent this last weekend with our friends in Ojai. She and I met way back in 1961 when I first moved to Los Angeles. Ironically we were introduced by my ex-husband and his family. Though my first marriage broke apart, our friendship has lived on with increasing love all these years. I always say she was my first friend in LA. We drove up during the rain on Saturday and I was overwhelmed by the brilliant shades of greens in the landscape around us. Usually the land is dry and brown. But not this year because of all the rain we've had. We spent our time together eating and talking and talking and eating, walking around downtown Ojai, shopping for orchids at the Farmers' Market, and finally hugging and kissing goodbye Sunday afternoon. We are so fortunate to have long-time friends who we stay in touch with and who we have loved all these years. I also took a four-mile walk on Sunday morning on my own. You know me by now. I find a way to exercise every chance I get. Here are a … [Read more...]

Yes, seventy is fabulous!

I’ve been seeing in the news that “seventy is the new fabulous.” For example this article in the Los Angeles Times on February 5, names so many over seventy women who are still with it and productive and in a word, fabulous. Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Close, Judi Dench, Betty Buckley, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Bette Midler to name a few. And we mustn’t leave out eighty-five-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsberg who is still on the Supreme Court bench even after recent cancer surgery. She is my all-time hero. That gets me to my success after the age of seventy. I had lunch with a cousin yesterday who congratulated me on writing a novel Papa's Shoes that will come out this spring by Aberdeen Bay publishers. Look what you did and at your age, she commented. Yes, that’s right. Though I don’t work a full-time job anymore I still work every day in my home office,  beginning to market my novel and writing my new memoir (coincidentally about healthy aging), blog posts, poems, and jou … [Read more...]

My novel, Papa’s Shoes, has a publishing contract

I'm very excited to announce that I've signed a book publishing contract with Aberdeen Bay to publish my historical/romance/immigration story novel, Papa's Shoes. They've given me a lot things to provide to get it ready, including: 1. Author photo 2. Author bio 3. Cover art 4. Reviews for back cover 5. Book synopsis (short and long version) 6. Dedication 7. Acknowledgement 8. Book cover and synopsis for your previously published books   And Aberdeen Bay's next steps are to do the design, layout, and production of the book so it is ready for publication this coming spring - April or May 2019. WOW! that's fast! I'm also pleased to say that Aberdeen Bay found my book just about ready to go. I guess it helped to revise, revise, revise and give it to a professional copy/line editor for a last editing shot. I'm forever indebted to my editor Pat Zylius - a very meticulous person. Here's a bit of information about Aberdeen Bay, taken from their we … [Read more...]

Posting for women’s empowerment

I've been a member of South Bay Cares almost since its inception - the day after Donald Trump was elected president. It is a local group with a goal to Educate. Empower. Engage, founded as a source of education and to be an arbiter of positive action so that members can be the change that we want to see in the world. I am now on its Board of Directors and serve as chair of its Woman's Empowerment Task Force. To help get our membership involved I post a quote every Thursday morning - usually by a woman - to inspire us to be and act powerful. Some weeks I will post a quote by a woman recently in the news; e.g., Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Here are a few of my Thursday quotes. " I really want women to know their power, to value their experience. To understand that nothing has been more wholesome in the political process than the increased involvement of women." ~Nancy Pelosi “ Women are leading the movement in this country. I think … [Read more...]

Denis Ledoux’ new memoir brings sadness and pain (Part Two)

As promised, here is the second part of Denis Ledoux' guest post about memoir writing and his experience writing about his childhood. To refresh your memories about Part One, here is the link. I think all memoir writers will find the second part of his post just as fascinating and instructional. Writing more deeply If I write about them [his parents]in psychological terms, and include something about their woundedness—their earlier trajectory in life—and simply not having the information available to them—to some extent, perhaps due to lack of education and resourcefulness, perhaps due to certain romantic bent, then I am revealing something to the world that my parents may not have wanted me to reveal, to broadcast in a memoir. In writing this book which is clearly my memoir and not theirs but which includes much information about my parents, I feel that, to some extent, I am betraying them. Both my parents are gone now, and yet I have some loyalty to them. Isn’t it incumbent o … [Read more...]

Living among different cultures is great material for a memoir

Our Choices guest today, Neill McKee, writes about living in and learning about a very different culture, in his new memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah. His description of how he chose to find work in a world of more sunshine reminds me of my family's adventures living in the South Pacific in the mid 1970s. We lived on a tiny Marshall Island, called Kwajalein, for nineteen months, and it was definitely a life-changing experience - exactly the way Neill feels about his sojourns. Thank you, Neill, for stopping by Choices on your WOW!Women on Writing book tour. We are very interested in knowing about your successful and long career that all started in Borneo. About  Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah by Neill McKee I grew up in Ontario, Canada. As a kid, I dreamed of escaping my industrially polluted hometown for a cleaner, greener world full of sunshine—possibly in Asia or Africa. In college I studied psychology, philosophy and playwriting, but I di … [Read more...]

Denis Ledoux’s new memoir brings up sadness and pain (Part One)

While I'm writing a new memoir about aging and what I'm doing to get along during the last years of my life, memoir guru and teacher, Denis Ledoux, is writing a memoir about his early childhood. I very much appreciate his sharing his thoughts about this new project with our Choices readers, in spite of the sadness and pain the writing has brought up. Denis' classic book on memoir writing I've posted Part One of his guest post. I plan to post Part Two one week from today, February 11.   Why Does the Truth Have To Be Coupled with Pain? Part One by  Denis Ledoux My new memoir is about my early years, my childhood. Much about this time in my life has a context that is unique and consequently different from that of my contemporaries. This memoir has a place in the world of memoirs, and I want it to find that place, but it has also brought up some pain which I do not want. My parents were thoughtful and loving people so their behavior towards me is not an issue. I am not … [Read more...]

I’m still taking hormones – are you?

I feel so vindicated after reading this article that I have to post it here verbatim. I started taking hormone replacement therapy in the mid 1990s while I was in my mid fifties, and I refused to go off of them as many of my friends did when the 2002 Women's Health Initiative final report came out. I cited my gorgeous and youthful aunt who then in her seventies said she still took hormones and had no intension of stopping. Fortunately I had a doctor who agreed with me. From the literature she read she felt there were some of the flaws in the findings of the WHI - especially the composition of the sample of women tested for its study. So here I am age seventy-eight, still taking hormones and feeling and looking more youthful than my age suggests. I had a checkup yesterday with my gynecologist who said all was perfect - especially my blood pressure - 112 over 61 (and I do not take any blood pressure medication and never have). She was happy to renew my hormone replacement therapy … [Read more...]

Welcome Jane Bertrand – hiker extraordinaire!

I thought I was pretty adventuresome when I hiked down and up the Grand Canyon at age seventy-six - a feat I had put first on my Bucket List nine years before. Well, Jane Bertrand's proclamation of wanting to reach the high point in every one of our fifty United States certainly beat me out. And I'm happy to say I was very glad to read  her memoir You Started What After 60?: Highpointing across America about her extraordinary accomplishment. Please welcome Jane during her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour.  Here Jane Bertrand traces her love of hiking back to Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, located at the foot of Katahdin in Maine, the Northern terminus for the Appalachian trail. ​ After attending college out-of-state, she would return annually for her two-week sacrosanct vacation in Maine.  Over the years she would continue to climb Katahdin, first with her sisters, later with her own children, and finally with adult friends who shared her love of the mountain. Yet not u … [Read more...]

Thoughts about my new memoir

As my husband is about to turn eighty-two and I am closing in at age turning seventy-nine this year, I felt that I’m at that stage in my life when I have almost all of it to look back on. That thought led me to the idea of writing a memoir from an old wise woman’s approach to turning eighty. I could write about the secrets of staying married to the same man for over forty-eight years and living in the same house for thirty-nine years. Really where have all those years gone? And really that brings up another big question – how much time do my husband and I have left anyway, and what are we doing to prepare for our last years? Or better yet, how we’re handling our lives right now as we age – at different paces. Yes, the options are endless: how we’re still working at surviving the loss of our son in 1999, what we eat, how we sleep, my health and exercise program, about our travels, and what do two people at our age do all day. I've gotten a good head start on this project and have … [Read more...]