A special to honor the Out Of Darkness walk

The Boston Out of Darkness overnight walk for suicide prevention and awareness is the night of June 27 – less than two weeks away. And I’ve been very aggressively training for it. I’ll need to walk 16 to 18 miles that night, so I want to be well prepared. Yesterday I walked almost 10 miles, so I think I’m right on track to be able to complete this personal challenge. I'll be posting photos of my team S.O.L.E.S. and me in this hat. In case you’re wondering why the walk is at night, here are my thoughts – it’s to bring the suicide word out of the darkness. We need to speak that word so we can help prevent it. If people will talk about their suicidal thoughts maybe others can help prevent those at risk from acting upon their thoughts. I wish my son had talked to my husband or me. I still think after almost sixteen years that maybe I could have changed his mind had he only told me what he was thinking. Here's one of the S.O.L.E.S. team captains, Deborah Lee Rose, wearing the&n … [Read more...]

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Blog hops – another way to introduce our fellow authors

I always love to participate in blog hops and tagging games, so I thank author David Berner, whose new memoir recently won the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year award, for tagging me to play this week. David and I recently met (virtually) through our publisher Mike O’Mary at Dream of Things. I heartedly welcome David into our Dream of Things family. David’s book due out this fall is Any Road will Take You There, the story of a father who sets out on a cross-country road trip, one he never had the guts to take as a young man. He hopes it will spark a new chapter in his life. But the once-delayed journey now takes on new meaning when he’s forced to confront his family’s unsettled past. Plus, this spring Dream of Things will publish David’s collection of essays: There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard. So here I am tagged IT and answering the: BLOG HOP AUTHOR QUESTIONS What am I working on? My list is long. I’m just about ready to get back to revising my novel based on four s … [Read more...]

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The benefits of a small press

I had an excellent experience publishing with a small press, Dream of Things. Meeting my publisher, Mike O'Mary, was the best thing that happened to my book, Leaving the Hall Light On. My Choices guest today, ElizabethMaria Naranjo, also enjoys a similar experience. Please welcome Elizabeth who has just launched her debut novel, The Fourth Wall, through WiDo Publishing. To enter to win a free eBook version of The Fourth Wall, please leave a comment on this post. Winners will be announced at the end of her WOW tour. Benefits of a Small Press by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo Writers tend to separate publishing into two camps: traditional and indie. Indie publishing is often thought of as self-publishing, while traditional publishing gets described as finding an agent, landing a contract with a big publishing house, and reaping the benefits of a nice advance. Arguments in favor of indie publishing include retaining creative control and bypassing the long wait and frustrations that ca … [Read more...]

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It takes a village to write a book

When Eleanor Vincent and I were at pages: a bookstore the other night discussing our memoirs and how writing helped us heal, we continually mentioned how it takes a village to write a book. I’m now in the process of writing a novel, and I continue to believe in the importance of many helping hands in the process. I’ve just completed a novel revision workshop and got useful comments from my instructor and classmates. I also belong to a writing group, and I’ve used the resources of The Next Big Writers website to get reviews of my book as I review the work of others. Here I discuss how I got my memoir written and published, not only once but twice. A member of my village helped me connect with my current Dream of Things publisher when my first publisher went out of business. Even though writing is a lonely business, a village of resources helped and nurtured me from the time I started writing my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. I started with journaling, at first sporadically a … [Read more...]

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A successful bookstore reading and discussion

My friend, Eleanor Vincent came down this weekend to fulfill our commitment to do a reading and discussion at my local independent pages: a bookstore. She arrived on Saturday afternoon, and after much stalling we got to work planning the event Sunday morning after breakfast. We quickly decided to alternate two or three readings with short chats related to them, and then open the discussion to the audience. We chose on our reading portions – I chose two and Eleanor chose three – and then we practiced and timed the whole piece, including our remarks. I also created an agenda so we could each have one at the ready as we sat in front of the attendees later in the afternoon. I had already purchased a few bottles of wine and sparkling water and some veggies and dip to serve. Mike O’Mary shipped us books to sell. Eleanor’s went directly to Pages. Mine came to my home. With all that we declared ourselves ready – mainly because we are very knowledgeable about our books’ messages and the co … [Read more...]

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My writing life in 2012

Writing became a way to live with my son Paul’s bipolar disorder and to survive his suicide as a result. However, I never dreamed it would become my way of life. I still cannot get through the day without writing something. However, in the last few years it has become more than a balm to ease the pain. It has become a joy and a way to meet and interact with some very wonderful writing friends. Like writing, I can never have enough Buddhas (Richard Stock photo) With that in mind, I thought I write down a few of the highlights of my writing life from 2012, starting with my first publisher’s decision to go out of business. At first I was indeed devastated and then so angry. She closed down with four days warning and cut off our websites even before that. But the devastation and anger were very short lived. I reached out to a few writing friends – especially Keith Alan Hamilton – and got some suggestions about where to query. However, my dear friend and mentor Mark Shelmerdine came thr … [Read more...]

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Mike O’Mary’s thoughts about book promotion

I couldn't leave my wonderful Dream of Things publisher, Mike O'Mary, out of my guest lineup. He has brought a whole new life to my book. His ideas for promotion have been priceless. I never would have known about most of this stuff had I gone on to self-publish after my first publisher went out of business. Please welcome Mike O'Mary and take lots of notes. Time and Commitment are Keys to Book Promotion by Mike O'Mary, My Dream of Things Publisher As the publisher of the trade paperback and e-book editions of Madeline Sharples’ Leaving the Hall LightOn, I’ve had the pleasure of working with someone who really “gets it” when it comes to what an author needs to do afterthe book is written. In fact, I’ve already told other authors about Madeline and encouraged them to follow her and learn from her example.When Madeline first contacted me about becoming her publisher, I was intrigued. The hard cover edition of her book had good reviews, but then her publisher went out of business. … [Read more...]

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Introducing my guests

For a change of pace I’m going to devote the next three weeks to the voices of other wonderful and experienced writers and publishers. I’ve asked eight people whom I’ve either met personally or online to tell you about their writing, publishing, and marketing experiences. I feel so fortunate that they have agreed to be my guests here on Choices. I hope you will keep coming back for more and more. You’ll find the information interesting and very helpful to your writing lives. Here’s my guest lineup in order of appearance: Sharon Lippincott       November 26 Sharon is the author of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, knows she's been successful. Her insightful questions and observations have challenged people in many areas for decades. Today they are primarily aimed at students in her lifestory and creative writing classes along with readers of her blog, forum posts, book reviews, and other publications. Kathleen Pooler       November 29 Kathy is a writ … [Read more...]

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Book tour report

The first event was a National Association of Memoir Writers roundtable with Linda Joy Meyers on the subject of: Keeping Your Book Alive Part I and II: Advice for authors who Need a New Publisher; Low-cost/no-cost Marketing Ideas I sat with Mike O’Mary, owner and publisher at, while we talked about what to do if your publisher goes out of business and what it's like to "start over" with a new publisher. And as you probably know already the loss of my original publisher was a blessing in disguise. Mike and I met for the first time just before we went on the air, and he is the dream of Dream of Things. During the roundtable, Mike and I also talked about what it takes to promote your memoir in today's marketplace, including a variety of low-cost and no-cost ideas that any author can use to promote his/her book. Here’s the link to this roundtable. Mike has a wealth of information about ways to promote your book. Mike orchestrated the next four book tour events for his other mem … [Read more...]

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Goodreads giveaway and launch press release

My publisher, Dream of Things, has officially launched the paperback edition of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, with a Goodsreads giveaway. Please enter to win one of five copies and tell your friends. The giveaway opportunity ends on August 28, 2012. Mike O'Mary, owner and publisher says: This week is the official launch of the trade paperback edition of Leaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples. Previously available only in hardcover, this is a powerful book that aligns perfectly with the Dream of Things goal to bring you "distinctive voices, meaningful books." Read on for more details -- and get 20% off the cover price of Leaving the Hall Light On at the Dream of Things website <http://dreamofthings.com/ hall-light>when you use coupon code "Light" at checkout. Also, if you are a member of Goodreads.com, be sure to enter the Goodreads Book Giveaway to be eligible to win a free copy of Leaving the Hall Light On. Goodreads <ht … [Read more...]

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My new publisher – Dream of Things

I feel so fortunate to have Dream of Things as my new publisher. It will officially launch my new paperback edition of Leaving the Hall Light On on August 6 and will launch an eBook version later in the month. Here, I proudly tell you a little bit of information about the owner and his company: Mike O'Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things publishing company. (dreamofthings.com, facebook.com/dreamofthings), a book publisher and online community for writers and other artists. He says, “I started Dream of Things because I wanted to find ways for us to work together more often. I also hope to make a lot of new friends and to work with many of them. Dream of Things is a place where other ‘dreamers’ can share their ideas and stories, and have fun in the process.” Mike is also the main force behind the Note Project, a campaign to make the world a million times better by encouraging more people (1 million is the goal!) to share appreciation. He has published stories … [Read more...]

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Book news – the launch is getting close

My friend Doreen Cox commented on my blog post about finding my new publisher, Dream of Things. She said, “Besides the word, synchronous, I kept hearing a word and a phrase while reading your post: fortuitous (old publisher drops out of the race) and fresh air.” Well I must agree with her. This has become a most fortuitous arrangement. Dream of Things is going to launch a paperback and eBook edition of Leaving the Hall Light On this month. And I must say it’s definitely a new and improved version. Mike O’Mary who owns Dream of Things pumped a lot of fresh air into my book – badly needed corrections, a book club discussion section, revised descriptions. And I can’t wait for it to come out. I get to review the revised PDFs of the cover and book interior tomorrow after Mike’s review, and then we’re off and running. We are both very excited. So please stand by. I’ll keep you posted on the launch date and purchasing options. … [Read more...]

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Dream of Things

For the last 40 years or so, I have had a serigraph on my wall created by (sister) Corita Kent with the quote from G.B. Shaw: "Some people see things that are and say why? I dream of things that never were and say why not." Seems like synchronicity to me that my new publisher is Mike O’Mary of Dream of Things. I met Mike through my friend, mentor, and go-to person for all things related to publishing, Mark Shelmerdine, CEO of Jeffers Press. I contacted Mark as soon as I heard Lucky Press, the first publisher of Leaving the Hall Light On, had decided to go out of business. However, I also took Mark’s advice and waited to contact Mike until I had time to distress and unwind while on vacation. That said, I wrote to Mike the Monday after we returned home. And Mike responded favorably from the start. I am so fortunate for that. Since Mike decided to become my publisher – he’ll publish paperback and eBook editions by the end of July – we’ve been busy. We first created a new book des … [Read more...]

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