Paige Strickland is back

Paige Strickland, my WOW tour guest on August 11, has returned and I'm thrilled. Thanks WOW! Women on Writing for scheduling this addition stop. Not only is Paige a memoirist with a book called Akin to the Truth about her adoption, she has had a long career as a teacher. Here are her thoughts about how children can have a positive school experience. It's perfect timing. School has just started  or about to start in the next few days. Tis The Season! by Paige Strickland             Our TVs and radios are clogged with advertisements about new sneakers, jeans on sale and handy lunch snacks. Discount stores and larger groceries have updated their seasonal aisle with rows of colorful binders, magic markers and Crayola 64-count crayons. These reminders began to trickle in just after July 4th with hopes of creating excitement and anticipation among parents and youngsters for back to school. As much as I detest having my relaxed-paced summer vacation day at the pool bombarded prematurely … [Read more...]

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My Gutsy Story Anthology

I’ve been so proud to be a part of the group of sixty-four writers who participated in the 2013 edition of  the My Gutsy Story Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure from Around the World, conceived and edited by Sonia Marsh. The anthology has won three awards so far: 2014 ELIT Gold Award for Anthologies 2014 International Book Awards Finalist 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Silver Honoree Winner at the Paris Book Festival Sonia is now taking submissions for the all-new 2015 anthology. I encourage you to submit your story now. Click here to find out how. Here’s the piece I wrote for the 2013 edition. And if you like my piece, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed in the sixty-three other stories in this wonderfully inspiring book. You can buy it here. My Gutsy Story When my older son Paul died by suicide in 1999 after a seven-year battle with bipolar disorder, I knew I had to find ways to keep myself busy and productive or else I would wallow away in my grief. At t … [Read more...]

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Summer reading blog hop

I’m so pleased that Susan Weidener invited me to participate in this blog hop and was so generous in her praise of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. I'm now paying it forward by recommending a few traditionally and independently published books for your summer reading enjoyment. Please include some of your favorite reads in the comments below. Adventures in Mother-Sitting by Doreen Cox. In this love story Author Doreen Cox shares her experience as a "care bear" during the last three years of her mother's life and how she learned to live with her mother's slow progression from a viable, interesting, lovable, and happy woman to a woman overcome by dementia unable to handle even her most basic bodily needs. And Doreen doesn't shirk away from those details. She repeatedly quotes her mother's mantra: "You just do what you have to do." Doreen gave up her as a career group counselor at an alternative school for at-risk and SED high school students to care for her mother, and she never re … [Read more...]

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7 awards in one – paying it forward

I am thrilled and  honored to be nominated by author and blogger Kathy Pooler for the 7-in-1 Award—a collection of seven shiny awards all rolled in one. About Kathy: Kathy retired as a  family nurse practitioner  in 2011 after forty-four years as a registered nurse. She and her  husband, Wayne have a blended family of six children, ten grandsons, ages 5-24, and a Golden Retriever, Max. They live on the 135-acre land that used to be Wayne’s grandfather’s dairy farm  where he grows organic vegetables. Life is good. Kathy's goal for 2014 is to publish her first memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: A Memoir About Choices and to complete my second memoir, Hope Matters: A Memoir of Faith. Thank you so much Kathy for nominating me for the 7-in-1 blog award (and thank you for allowing me to use some of your words here). Now it's my turn to nominate some of my favorite blogs for the award as well. First things first: Here are the rules for the 7-in-1 awards: Display the logo on your b … [Read more...]

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Some important events

Even while I work a temporary day job an hour away from my home office and writing room, author events still go on. On Thursday of this week I was interviewed again by Cyrus Webb on Conversations LIVE about my memoir Leaving The Hall Light On. This year we spent a little more time on the impact of mental illness on a family, and I was thrilled to tell the audience about our son Paul's music career. Paul showed an interest in music ("I want to watch a record" "play more Cat Stevens, Mommy") from the time he was a little boy. It just blew me away that Cyrus reread my entire book in preparation for this second interview. Cyrus, you are an interviewer extraordinaire! Please listen to Cyrus and me here: Author Madeline Sharples returns to Conversations LIVE *** And I'm very excited to announce that Sonia Marsh, author of Freeways to Flip-Flops and editor of the My Gutsy Story Anthology, and I will participate on a panel to discuss "Relationship Building: The Secret to Mark … [Read more...]

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Meet master-networker, Sonia Marsh

I'm delighted to host Sonia Marsh, author of Freeways to Flip-Flops, today. I got the opportunity to ask her several questions about her writing and publishing experience. As you'll read from Sonia's answers, she is a master networker. I have learned an immense amount from her. Plus Sonia is very generous about imparting her wisdom. If you are thinking about self-publishing, and even if you have a publisher, take some tips from Sonia about how to market your book. I believe you formed your own publishing company for the release of your book. Why did you decide to do that rather than go the traditional publishing route? Like most writers. I was hoping to get a traditional publisher; in fact a small traditional publisher loved the premise of my story and kept asking me to show my manuscript. I knew it wasn’t ready, but after her third request, I finally e-mailed it to her. She agreed it needed more work, and a year later, she asked to see it again. It still wasn’t quite ready, b … [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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The Look Challenge

Linda Hoye, author of Two Hearts, invited me to take part in The Look Challenge for writers. According to Linda, “The premise is simple: find a passage in your manuscript or book that contains the word “look,” post it on your blog, and tag five other blogging writers to do the same. Seems to me like a great way to introduce readers to other writers, so I’m all in.” And I’m all in too. Here is a one of the poems included in my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On – it even has the right title for this challenge. The Look (inspired by the movie “Revolutionary Road”) She looked toward him from the counter and offered him a glass of orange juice freshly squeezed. She was fully dressed in blouse and skirt and little wedgie shoes, Her makeup was perfect. Her long blonde hair just so. She then invited him to sit down at the table. “Scrambled or fried eggs?” she asked. He said whatever is easier, scrambled probably, and unbuttoning his suit jacket sat down, looking at … [Read more...]

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Introducing Sonia Marsh

I met face to face with Sonia Marsh for the first time yesterday after a long virtual friendship and a lot of win-win networking. She is the author of the newly released memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops (available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle, as well as Barnes and Noble) and the Gutsy Livingblog. I posted my gutsy story there in June, and I’m pleased to say, I won for the gutsiest story of the month. Please go over to Gutsy Livingto receive a special gift. Just scroll down and look for the red starfish. So Sonia and I talked nonstop – mostly about how to go about the business of selling a book. We shared websites, conference information, how to get on panel discussions, what organizations we belong to. I urged her to join our Greater Los Angeles Writers Society. Although Sonia lives in Orange County, GLAWS has members who come to meetings and events all the way from Arizona. Yesterday’s highlight was meeting with one of the proprietors of my local indie book … [Read more...]

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My Gutsy Story won!

I am thrilled that My Gutsy Story won first place for the month of June. I heartfully thank Sonia Marsh for accepting my story application and posting it for her monthly contest. Also, so many people made very insightful and wonderful comments about my story. One in particular was just posted this morning. And I have to share it with you. It is from my friend and fellow poet and cell-phone photographer, Keith Alan Hamilton. Ever since I joined Keith's Poets, Writers, Photographers, Musicians, Artists - Networking Group on Facebook, he and I have had a special bond. And I was fortunate to meet him and his girlfriend personally when my husband and I were in Boston in May. Keith has also created The Hamilton Gallery ~ Online: an Artist Collaborative of Words, Images and more..... Online publisher providing the creative spirit greater distribution & readership over the internet free of charge. Keith has honored me by showcasing my poetry and material about my memoir, … [Read more...]

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My Gutsy Story contest – redux

I take it all back. So many people came through for me and voted that I have no complaints at all. Please forgive my last rant. As of today with just over two days to go I am leading by fifty-one votes. Though I don't want to rest on my laurels, and I know how easy it is to surge ahead like I did with your support, I'm feeling very good about my chances now. I'd also like to share My Gutsy Story here. I hope piece about what I did to survive my son's death will help others going through their own tragedies. Some of the material here is also in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. Sonia Marsh - Founder of The Gutsy Story contest My Gutsy Story When my older son Paul died by suicide in 1999 after a seven-year battle with bipolar disorder, I knew I had to find ways to keep myself busy and productive or else I would wallow away in my grief. At the time of his death I was writing grant proposals for a homeless shelter, but I found too many reminders working from my home … [Read more...]

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Another rant – this must be my rant week

So I’m frustrated. I am in the running for a prize at the My Gutsy Story contest site. Up until yesterday another contender and I kept taking the lead back and forth, but now I’m seven votes behind. I’ve sent out two group emails, posted the contest info all over the place on Facebook, tweeted about it, other folks have tweeted about it, and just today created an event to ask people to over there to vote. And out of all that I have forty-five votes. I need seven right now just to tie the first place guy. And I would think that wouldn’t be so hard to do. Don’t people respond to requests like this anymore? Is this going to make me lose some of my FB friends and make me seem like a pest? It really isn’t pesty, I don’t think. Just a simple request: Click on a link, look on the right sidebar, find the Polling place, and click on my name. Should be a piece of cake. I can’t even get my family to do it. So now I’m at a loss as to how to draw folks in and to click where I’ve a … [Read more...]

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Blatant Bragging

Really I don't do this very often, but I couldn't help it today. Mentions of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On or me have occurred in each of the last three days. And they are all good. On Saturday I found out that the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society Literary Landscapes magazine is now available. And an excerpt from my memoir is there. Here is the link and a picture of the cover. Please take a look. The GLAWS writers are a very talented bunch. We write in all genres. On Sunday Marty Tousley, creator of the Grief Healing website, sent me a Facebook message that she had finished her read of Leaving the Hall Light On and liked it well enough to post it on her Pinterest board called Books Worth Reading and on her list of books for adults on her websites's Grief Healing Books resource. Here's what Marty had to say: "A mother's brutally honest and heartfelt account of living through her son's bipolar disorder and surviving his tragic death by suicide. This is a powerful … [Read more...]

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