The jazz age, Chicago, and murder – read Sugarland

I’m happy to introduce Martha Conway and her new book, Sugarland: A Jazz Age Mystery, to my Choices readers as part of her WOW! Women on Writing virtual book (blog) tour. About Sugarland: In 1921, two women, a black jazz pianist named Eve and a white nurse named Lena, join forces after a drive-by shooting nearly kills them. Eve is looking for her missing stepsister, and Lena wants to find out who murdered her brother, a petty bootlegger killed in the shooting. Sugarland recently received a Reader’s Favorite Book Award. Genre: Historical Fiction Hardcover: 314 pages (also available in paperback and e-book) Noontime Books: June 1, 2016 ISBN: 978-0991618552 About the author: Martha Conway’s debut novel 12 Bliss Street (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was nominated for an Edgar Award while Thieving Forest won an Independent Publishers Book Award, the Laramie Award, a Reader’s Choice Award and the 2014 North American Book Award in Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared … [Read more...]

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What are you afraid of?

I'm very pleased to welcome Karen Jones Gowen during her WOW! Women on Writing blog tour. Her book, Afraid of Everything really got me thinking about fears and how hard it is to overcome them. When I was a young girl I was terrified of heights and flying, stemming from my favorite uncle’s death in an airplane crash. As I grew older, I rationalized that if I continued to have these fears, I couldn’t see and do the things I wanted to. Especially because I had to fly to most places I wanted to go. So I clenched my teeth and whitened my knuckles and flew until my fears grew less and less. However, I also encountered freeway phobia in my mid thirties. I got over that by telling myself I had to drive on the freeways – they were essential routes for someone living in Los Angeles. Therefore, I was gentle with myself, promising myself I could exit a freeway anytime I wanted to. I also opened the car’s window and let in a lot of fresh air. Of course the main antidote for all my fears was t … [Read more...]

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The work-in-progress blog tour: about my novel-in-progress

During this Hanukkah and Christmas season I can't help feeling grateful for all that this past year has provided. I'm especially grateful to my dear writing friends - some I've met in person and some not - who have brought me continued wisdom about the writing process and such joy in knowing them and their writing work. First of all thanks to Kathy Pooler, author of her new memoir: Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, for tagging me to participate in this blog tour. Kathy's memoir is a must read if you haven't yet. So here goes: My Work in Progress Synopsis and story idea : My novel, Papa’s Shoes, is the story of a family immigrating to America in the early 1900s and a daughter’s coming of age in the 1920s in downstate Illinois and Chicago. Some other things going on in the book – life in a Polish stetl, early 19th century Chicago and Illinois, a woman’s role in society at that time, religious prejudice, interfaith marriage, and a feisty mother-daugh … [Read more...]

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Author David Berner discusses writing about our lives

Our Choices guest today, David Berner, shares with us the essence of memoir writing. He tells us what it is not - a series of diary entries that relate every detail of a life - and what it is - a story that begins with a moment rounded out with the details related to that moment. My memoir Leaving the Hall Light On, begins with the moment of my son's suicide. The rest of the book details the events leading up to that moment and its aftermath. David Berner's memoir, Any Road Will Take You There, starts with a five-thousand mile road trip  that enables him to find peace and fulfillment in being a dad after a series of heartbreaking and life-changing personal events. Please welcome David Berner. Making the Choice to Write About Your Life by David Berner A woman came up to me after a workshop I conducted several years ago about writing memoir. She held in her hand a thick manuscript and told me she was writing about her life, one full of adventures, one she wanted to share. “I’ve star … [Read more...]

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Welcome our guest Linda Appleman Shapiro

Thanks to WOW! Women on Writing blog tours I'm pleased to welcome author and psychotherapist Linda Appleman Shapiro. I feel so fortunate to have her here on the first day of her tour to promote her new memoir, She's Not Herself: A Psychotherapist's Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother's Mental Illness, published in September 2014 by Dream of Things. Here's Linda, as she speaks openly about mental illness coming out of the closet and constantly being in the news. Most importantly, she personalizes what it is like to live with a family member suffering from a mental illness by sharing her experience growing up with a mother who suffered from major depressive disorder.  An Open Discussion about Keeping Secrets about Family Illnesses by Linda Appleman Shapiro Secrets about an illness in a family is the breeding ground for a wide range of emotional problems, and, yes, even mental illness.  I’ve learned this not only from personal experience, but also from 30 years as a psycho … [Read more...]

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Company is coming tomorrow – Linda Appleman Shapiro

Linda Appleman Sharpiro will join me here tomorrow on the first stop of her WOW! Women on Writing blog tour to promote her memoir, She's Not Herself: A Psychotherapist's Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother's Mental Illness. To give you a little advance information about her memoir I've posted my review here today. As you'll see I was very much taken by her book. My review of She’s Not Herself: A Psychotherapist's Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother's Mental Illness I love survival memoirs and this is certainly one of the best I’ve read. It resonated with me and touched me in many ways: the author and I both grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, we were both children of immigrant parents – hers from Russia, mine from Eastern Europe. And most important of all we both had to find a way to grow up and thrive while our mothers were never themselves. The author’s mother suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and depression, my mother battled with borderline manic depression (undiagnos … [Read more...]

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Jerry Waxler compares the benefits of journal and memoir writing

I'm so pleased to host Jerry Waxler on his third WOW! Women on Writing blog tour stop. He generously allowed me to conduct a two-part interview with him in September 2013 about the role of memoir in our lives today (here and here). At that time he also discussed his wonderful and very informative book about memoir writing, Memoir Revolution (see my review below). Today Jerry writes about the many benefits of journal and memoir writing and compares the two forms. Thanks so much, Jerry, for being here and providing your expertise to the many readers here at Choices. Comparing the Benefits of Journal Writing and Memoir Writing By Jerry Waxler I discovered the benefits of journal writing in the late 1970s when a spiritual teacher suggested, I write my thoughts as if in a letter to God. Allowing my thoughts and feelings to flow onto the page helped me maintain my poise so effectively, I kept going for years. When I began to read about the healing benefits of journal writing, I wasn … [Read more...]

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Company is coming

Tomorrow starts a series of guest blog appearances by author's touring through WOW Women on Writing. I'm so looking forward to you getting to know these authors and reading their books. Here's the line up for August: Elizabeth Maria Naranjo, author of her first novel, The Fourth Wall (August 4) Page Strickland, author of Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity (August 11) Lorraine Ash, author of Self and Soul: On Creating A Meaningful Life (August 20) Please come back tomorrow to read Elizabeth's post about the benefits of publishing with a small press. … [Read more...]

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My WOW blog tour dance card is filling up

I'm always thrilled to host authors on a Women on Writing WOW blog tour. WOW created such a great tour for my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, when it first launched, I never hesitate to return the favor. Right now I have six authors scheduled to appear here on Choices in the next few months. I don't think it hurts to give you a little advance notice, but I won't spoil the fun now with too many details. I'll just give you their names, book titles, and dates they will be my guests. Elizabeth Maria Naranjo, The Fourth Wall on August 4 Paige Strickland, Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity on August 11 Lorraine Ash, Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life on August 20 Tara Meissner, Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis on October 1 Kathleen Pooler, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse on October 7 Jerry Waxler, Memoir Revolution, on November 5 However, by no means is my calendar fully booked. Plea … [Read more...]

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Bonnie Milani, author of Home World, discusses book critiques

I always love to host WOW Women On Writing blog tour authors. It’s a great way to meet new authors and to be introduced to book genres that I don’t normally turn to. Home World by Bonnie Milani is on of those books. Today Bonnie shares her thoughts about book critiques, which are particularly timely for me. I just lived through some hard-to-take critiques about my novel from members of my writing group. Please comment here for a chance to win a copy of Home World, a fast paced well-written story about the power and the price of love. A winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday, December 9. Here’s Bonnie.... What Makes a Good Critique? Ah, critiques.  They’re the bitter part of the writer’s bittersweet craft.  Having just had an infected/impacted /fused-to-the-jaw bone wisdom tooth pulled, I’m most cogently reminded just how painful a critique can be.  Actually, that’s a pretty good analogy, come to think of it.  Because as the pain in my jaw fades, I’m becoming … [Read more...]

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A huge welcome to author Judy Mandel

Here’s what Judy has to say about how she found out exactly what she should do with her life. Switching Gears to a Writer’s Life They say that when you find out what you should be doing with your life, you will have already been doing it. At least someone said that to me once. Which always confused the hell out of me. But, now, finally it makes sense. I was always a writer, although now the title seems to be written with a capital “W” instead of a small one. For many years, I wrote about other people’s lives, or a company’s products. As a newspaper reporter, I found interesting stories for features—because I hated writing police reports and attending long town hall meetings. The hours were terrible, and I left to work in public relations, advertising and later, corporate marketing, thinking the stress would be less. Not so much. It was good though. As a single mother for several years, the stability of my corporate gig helped me provide for my son and myself, buy a home, an … [Read more...]

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My writing life – still all good

Did I really say I wouldn’t be working constantly while on my three-month virtual blog tour? I must have been dreaming. Writing, revising, and refining each and every one of my articles and getting them to the blog owners in enough time for them to post have kept me very busy. Plus, I’ve had new several requests from other bloggers to write for them that I've tucked into my blog tour schedule Right now I have a yellow sticky on my virtual desktop reminding me of the eight posts due in the next thirty days. Now that might not seem like a lot to you. However, just coming up with blog post ideas is a challenge – that is unless one of the blog owners asks for something specific. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been asked to write about: 1) how I realized poetry alone was not enough to convey the story I told in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, 2) my concept of gratitude, and 3) what I would say to someone who has just lost a loved one to suicide. These are not so simple assi … [Read more...]

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My blog tour starts today

Angela Felsted officially kicked off my blog tour today by posting her wonderful review of Leaving the Hall Light On. Please find it at her blog site, My Poetry and Prose Place, or on the Leaving the Hall Light On Amazon page. Thank you, Angela, for your kind words about my book. Thirty-seven of thirty-eight readers found your review helpful. My tour will continue through the months of October, November, and December - But so not to give you the idea that I'll be working at it constantly during that time, not every day is taken. Also, the posts will vary between book reviews, questions and answers, a blog post my me, and a giveaway. So I hope you'll stop by often. The rest of the October agenda is: October 9 - Linda Hoye at A Slice of Life Writing October 10 - Jessica Bell at The Alliterative Allomorph October 17 - Amanda Lebron at All Between the Lines October 22 - Kathy Pooler at Memoir Writer's Journey. I'll let you know what's in store for November at the end of the … [Read more...]

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String Bridge – review and author interview

I recently had the great pleasure to read Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge. And I happily gave it a well-deserved five out of five stars. From the outside it would appear Melody Hill, the main character and narrator of Jessica Bell’s debut novel, String Bridge, has a perfect life. She lives in Athens with her charming Greek music promoter husband, she has an adorably precocious daughter, and she has a dream job as an editor for a publishing company with a promotion and raise in the offing. But getting deeper into her story, the reader finds what’s hidden behind this façade and her wanting-to-please-everyone persona. She is frightened by her husband’s abusive yelling and mortified at finding out he has had an affair. She is suffering from the effects of her mother’s erratic bipolar behavior and worries that she is bipolar herself. She is constantly searching for help from her silent but loving father. And she regrets giving up her music career for a life that she can hardl … [Read more...]

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Book marketing – is there ever enough?

Okay, I’m on to another marketing project. I was overwhelmed and indeed impressed by the numbers of blogs Jessica Bell is going to visit during her two-week book launch blog tour for her soon to-be-released, String Bridge. And that got me thinking I hadn’t visited nearly enough blogs at the time of my book launch. I visited one blog a day for about three weeks, and she’s going to have interviews and reviews on up to seven or eight blogs a day for two weeks. Plus she’s going to have a whole lot of these same folks and more hit Amazon on the day of the book’s release. Now that’s using the network to the fullest, I would say. With my friend Susan at my book launch with Ben in the background I asked her how she amassed such a list and she admitted it was a lot of work. She reads and comments on all the blogs on her list regularly. And that’s why she felt she was justified in asking them to do this book marketing favor for her. I know that’s true. Jessica visits and comments on m … [Read more...]

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Company is coming tomorrow

I'm excited to interview Kathy Handley here tomorrow while she's on her WOW Women on Writing blog tour. Kathy is the author of Birds of Paradise and A World of Love and Envy (short fiction, flash-fiction, and poetry). Birds of Paradise Front Cover What is most exciting about Kathy and her newly published writing is that she, like I, started her writing career late in life. She was seventy-one years old when her novel, Birds of Paradise was released. For more information about Kathy and her work, click on these websites. Kathryn Handley’s Website: www.kathyhandley.com Publisher’s Website: www.riverhavenbooks.com Hashtag: #BirdsParadise And please join me here tomorrow to read what she has to say about her books, her writing career, and what she is most passionate about now. … [Read more...]

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WOW blog tour stop No. 3

Today I'm back with Chynna Laird on her The Gift Blog http://www.the-gift-blog.com/ answering her long list of questions about my background, my writing life, how I cared for Paul and his bipolar disorder, and how we as a family survived his suicide. She got down to the real nitty-gritty. And you know me. I'm always ready to reply with the real hard facts. I'll do what it takes to get the word out to others with similar issues. Chynna is a remarkable woman with a long list of accomplishments. Here's the list: Chynna T. Laird LILY WOLF WORDS www.lilywolfwords.ca www.the-gift-blog.com www.seethewhiteelephants.com Author of award-winning book, "I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD" Author of multi award-winning book, "Not Just Spirited: One Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)" Author of "White Elephants" http://eaglewingspress.com/whele.html Author of 'Blackbird Flies" (Now available on all online eBookstores) Author of 'The Gift' (coming … [Read more...]

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My WOW blog tour starts on June 6

I’ve been preparing for my book’s WOW blog tour. It will start on June 6 and run for a month, and I expect to have about fifteen stops. So far WOW and I have developed a list of twelve blog topics and I’ve started working through five of them already. However, I know already I’ll have to cut them quite a bit. WOW recommends each piece be no more than 300 to 500 words. So what is WOW (http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com). They state on their About page on their website: "WOW! is a global magazine, designed to support women's creativity, energy, blood, sweat and tears, throughout all stages of the writing process. We envision Wow! being a favorite watering hole for professionals, the up-and-coming, and the recipients of our labors--the avid readers. Our concept is unique, as it fills in the missing gap between writing websites and women's magazines. We are dedicated to raising the overall standards within the writing community, and devote an active profile within writing industry a … [Read more...]

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