Writing Life Stories

We were out to dinner with our friends Patti and Pat the other night and Patti shared with me that she’s taking a writing class at her church. I’ve never known that Patti had an interest in writing, so I was fascinated to know that this is a class in lifestory writing – a topic that’s been very much on my mind lately. I also discussed it with a friend who works at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Los Angeles, suggesting they offer a class for the folks who live there. As people age, we mustn’t lose their stories. We must find a way to record and save their stories for future generations. I would love to teach the class should the Jewish Home decide to offer it. Writing life stories has become all the rage. We’re in the so-called Memoir Revolution with volumes written about how to write your life story or memoir and how to produce it into a book. One in particular is Sharon M. Lippincott’s The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing: How to Transform Memoires into Meaningful … [Read more...]

Late breaking book news

It’s time to bring you up to date with book news. It seems like things are moving so fast, I barely have time to do my novel and article writing. But it’s all good. Books for Sale As of yesterday the Kindle version of Leaving the Hall Light On is for sale. The paperback has been available for the last month or so. And in case you still like hardback books as I do, I have them for sale at my Amazon storefront at a reduced price of $21.50. Marketing Events Book giveaway at Goodreads. Hurry over there. It ends on August 28. Google + Hangouts with Jason Matthews: Indie Authors #21 on Memoir Writing and Indie Authors # 24 on Writing as Therapy. I’ll participate in another hangout next Monday, August 27. A September 13 roundtable with Linda Joy Myers of the National Association of Memoir Writers and Mike O’Mary of Dream of Things to talk about how I was able to contract with Dream of Things after my former publisher went out of business. Readings at the Essay Fies … [Read more...]

Birthday post mortem or how I’m moving forward

Just about a year ago – on Mother’s Day and near my last birthday – I achieved a huge goal. My memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, A Mother’s Memoir of Living with her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, was published. In it I tell the steps I took in living with the loss of my son. First and foremost I chose to live and take care of myself as a woman, wife, mother, writer. In hopes that my story will inspire others to find ways to survive their own tragic experiences, I’ve devoted most of this last year marketing my book. I have become increasingly more engaged in social networking, through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, I had a blog tour through Women on Writing (WOW), radio interviews, and many speaking and book signing engagements. I’ve also embarked on a whole new writing career – writing for the Huffington Post That’s Fit and Healthy Living columns, the Naturally Savvy website as its over sixty expert, PsychAlive, a website tha … [Read more...]

I’m querying again

Well, I’ve already sent out mini query letters to a couple of recommended prospective publishers. I’ve included information about my book and links to sample chapters of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On, and I’ve told them I’ll have all the files in native QuarkXpress and pdf. So if they want to add my book to their portfolios it should be a slam-dunk. Plus I’m not interested in another hardback run. I would prefer a paperback and/or e-book. I've also made a little pitch about my current writing work with links to my blogs Choices and Red Room, and to the PsychAlive and Naturally Savvy websites, where I blog every month. And now the waiting begins. I hate this part. The querying and waiting.   I thought I wouldn’t have to do it again until I’m ready to market my novel. And, now I wonder if it is even worth it. Readers, I need your advice on this one. Should I even try to find a new publisher or should I just go ahead and self-publish? Wh … [Read more...]

April Platform Challenge – Day 2

Today's platform-building task is to set goals, including short-term and long-term goals. Robert Lee Brewer wants us to also make a list of goals to accomplish by the end of this year; and then, make a list of goals to accomplish before I die. Here are my goal lists: Short-term goals: Complete April Platform Challenge on My Name Is Not Bob blog Complete April PAD Challenge on Poetic Asides blog Get an ebook of my memoir ready for publication Submit poetry to chapbook and full-length book contests Have lots of sales at the LA Times Festival of Books Finish editing Keith Alan Hamilton’s Nature IQ book of poetry Answer Daisy’s questions for her SunnyRoomStudio blog Keep on with my social network marketing efforts Set up blog tour for release of my ebook Long-term goals (same as goals to accomplish by the end of 2012): Publish my ebook Produce and release a CD with Paul’s music Finish my novel and find an agent for it Publish full … [Read more...]

Writing resolutions check-in

Besides writing I do participate in other creative activities - like seeing a wonderful art exhibit at LACMA called In Wonderland. This painting is by Frieda Khalo. Time to revisit my 2012 writing resolutions (posted on January 1, 2012) and report how I’ve been doing. First for the things I’ve accomplished. I participated in the January River of Stones project, writing a small stone every day of the month. I finished reading Doreen Cox’ Adventures in Mother Sitting and wrote and posted reviews for it. I overachieved in the review category, by finally writing and posting a review of Laura Mays Hoopes memoir Breaking the Spiral Ceiling: An American Woman Becomes A DNA Scientist. And I’m happy to report that my novel writing has gone very well. I’m writing a bit more than the one thousand words a week that was my commitment. I’m also writing a poem a week and writing my regular posts for NaturallySavvy and PsychAlive One of my best accomplishments of the month … [Read more...]

My 2012 writing resolutions

It’s time to get back to my writing life again. I know this list looks daunting but it’s not much more than I’ve already been doing for the last six months or so. But I must say that writing this all down makes it seem more ambitious. Hopefully, this list will encourage my writing readers to join me. · Participate in the January River of Stones project – notice something properly and write a small piece (stone) about it every day this month · Finish Doreen Cox’ Adventures in Mother Sitting book and write a review · Read and comment on other writing blogs to get ready for a May blog tour promoting the release of the eBook and paperback editions of Leaving the Hall Light On · Write a thousand words a week on my novel · Write at least one poem a week – use Robert E. Brewer’s prompts at Poetry Asides as a jump start · Enter a poem into a contest or for publication at least once a month · Post a poem a week on my Facebook poetry group pages, Poetr … [Read more...]

The eve of New Year’s Eve

I think this is a perfect day for looking back. Usually we go to an eve, eve party where we always share about our events of the year. Since it was cancelled this year, I'll share our major happenings of 2011 here. Major Happenings of 2011: 1. My husband, Bob, and I traveled to Amador County and Sutter Creek, CA with Manhattan Beach friends to taste some native zinfandel wines in January. On our first night there Bob fell and broke the three metatarsal bones in his right foot. Bob had foot surgery to repair and pin his broken bones together in February and had to be off his foot for eight weeks. He got around on a knee scooter (Rolleraid) or crutches. I was his driver. Bob on his knee scooter (Rolleraid) 2. On May 8 (Mother’s Day) my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On was released by Lucky Press. My successful book launch reading and signing at our local independent bookstore, Pages, was held on May 12. A couple of weeks later we celebrated my birthday in Lake Os … [Read more...]

Midweek Work Progress Report

This week has been very productive. I’ve sent off my second piece for the PsychAlive website, and I got word from the editor that it’s ready to go live. The piece is called “Comforting Those Who Grieve.” I’m still awaiting word from my Savvy Over 60 editor about when my November piece for them will be up. I also started working on a piece for a new blog I’m interested in called, Heartache to Healing, founded by grief coach, author, and speaker, JoAnne Funch. Hopefully, the piece will be good enough that I’ll be allowed to contribute there once in a while as well. And I started working on my speech that I’m scheduled to make on November 19 for our local chapter of the American Association of University Women. It was suggested I talk about the mental health and suicide prevention services available in our area. I’ll do that and expand the speech to tell my story of healing after my son’s suicide that I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. And s … [Read more...]

So how many more "acts" do I have left?

This has been a busy week. First thing Monday morning I received a note from my publisher, Lucky Press LLC, that it will submit my book to the ForeWord independent book award competition in January with awards are announced in June. That email definitely got my attention and my imagination percolating about what it must feel like to receive a book award. Next I received a call from a member of our local American Association of University Women inviting me to speak at its November meeting on the subject of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On. One of my former work colleagues suggested me. I’ll be expected to speak for about an hour, including time for questions and answers. And, needless to say I happily accepted. We discussed topics and settled on: 1) local help for mental illness and suicide prevention, and 2) how I used writing to help me survive after my son’s suicide. Of course writing or any other creative outlet can help assuage grief from any kind of trauma or loss. … [Read more...]

Pirates and book sales – any connection?

October started out with a bang and a trip via the Catalina Express to Two Harbors for Lisa Smyth’s pirate birthday party. This was Buccaneer Days on the island and everyone came in costume. Lisa won the prize with seven costume changes. Bob and I bought pirate hats and he got a swashbuckler’s black velvet coat with brass buttons, while I mostly commandeered stuff hanging in my closet to bring for the festivities. Needless to say many people we met enjoyed themselves with their brains thoroughly adjusted by pirate’s rum. I stuck with my usual red wine. The Birthday Wench  As you can see the Two Harbors (formerly called Isthmus) village of Catalina is almost barren – one hotel, one restaurant and bar, lots of camp grounds, boating and other water activities, about 300 locals, and lots of buffalos left over from an old Tom Mix movie. It was absolutely beautiful this past weekend. Gorgeous Harbor   And now that that not-to-be-missed experience is over it’s back t … [Read more...]