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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Please welcome my WOW! guest Paige Adams Strickland

Please welcome my WOW! Women on Writing tour guest, Paige Adams Strickland, author of Akin to the Truth. I love her topic for today, The Benefits of Being An Adoptee. Imagine coming away with a group of top-notch friends or being blessed with a soaring imagination as a result. I'll let Paige fill you in on the rest in her wonderfully insightful and sensitive piece. The Benefits of Being An Adoptee by Paige Adams Strickland My adoption memoir, Akin to the Truth, contains some universal themes, which appeal and are relatable to all teenagers, adopted or not. (Pre)junior high through high school is the period of time when young people observe more and begin to analyze and form attitudes and concepts about their personal lives and the world in general.  Often these notions lack perspective and life experience, however the young person's belief system still contains value and meaningfulness because their feelings and how they deal with them are parts of becoming mature. For me, being an … [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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The blog-a-day-challenge is over

  Today is the last day of my self-inflicted July blog-a-day challenge. You can probably hear me breathing a sigh of relief as I look out my office window. Though I’m glad I achieved my goal - there were many times in the month when I was tempted to call it off - I’m happy to tell you that I’m not ever going to do that to myself again. Here’s why: Thinking up a blog subject thirty-one days in a row is hard. As a result I know my posts were repetitive and sometimes uninteresting. I should have asked more writing friends to make guest appearances to help mix it up a bit. It was time-consuming. It took me more time to decide on a post subject than it took to write about the subject. It put unneeded pressure on me. What did I need that for? Well, I decided on this scheme while I was waiting for comments on my novel from my group of beta readers. I felt I needed another activity to keep me busy. I was definitely wrong about that. I also pressured myself not … [Read more...]

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Introducing social media expert, Frances Caballo

Knowing our way around the social media is absolutely necessary to all authors. I’ve spent a lot of time on my computer socializing and marketing with my virtual friends and networks – probably much more than I can afford to do and still call myself a writer. As such I’m so pleased to introduce social media expert, Frances Caballo, and her new book, Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers Who Want to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write. WOW – Women on Writing launched Frances Caballo’s blog tour on April 7. How great to have her here on Choices for her last tour stop. Please go to http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/search?updated-max=2014-04-09T00:00:00-07:00&max-results=7&start=14&by-date=false to read WOW’s Renee Roberson’s interview with Frances and for a list of her previous blog tour stops. Any information you can glean from Frances’ social media expertise is well worth your time. Today Frances talks about Twitter. Thank … [Read more...]

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Read about David Kalish and his debut novel right here

WOW Women on Writing has done it again. They have introduced David Kalish and his first novel, The Opposite of Everything, to me and my reading audience. And I'm sure you won't be disappointed.  The Opposite of Everything is David Kalish' debut novel that explores the comic side of tragedy.  Inspired by his own brush with cancer and divorce, author Kalish makes comedy out of his past. Equal parts love story and Job-like allegory, The Opposite of Everything traces the hilarious descent of a man stricken with disease, divorce, and an over-supportive father – and the contrarian strategy he uses to resurrect himself. When Brooklyn journalist Daniel Plotnick learns he has cancer, his fortunes fall faster than you can say “Ten Plagues of Egypt.” His wife can’t cope, his marriage ends in a showdown with police, and his father accidentally pushes him off the George Washington Bridge. Plotnick miraculously survives his terrifying plunge --and comes up with a crazy plan to turn his life … [Read more...]

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Drumroll please for my WOW guest Sue Silverman

Please give Sue Silverman a huge welcome. I'm so glad she agreed to stop at Choices while on her WOW - Women on Writing blog book tour. I can relate to Sue Silverman author of The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. I too was a nice little Jewish girl looking over at my WASP grade school classmates and wishing for their long blond waves, blue eyes, clear skin and willowy bodies instead of my frizzy dark hair, short and stocky frame, and my best feature, my hazel eyes, always hidden behind thick glasses. Unlike Sue, I did not experience an abusive upbringing. However, I write about the other taboo subjects that darkened my history: mental illness and suicide. I feel our frank and raw writing goes a long way to erasing the stigma associated with such topics. Plus, writing these hard stories can be healing. Putting your pain on the page can be very liberating. That said,  I’m excited for you to read Sue's thoughts about writing about taboo subjects. Writing Tab … [Read more...]

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Everybody is talking about sisterhood

Everybody at Women on Writing is talking about Sisterhood today. And so am I. But first I want to tell you about Therese Walsh’s new novel The Moon Sisters so you can join our celebration. In The Moon Sisters, her second novel, Therese Walsh wanted to write about one sister’s quest to find will-o’-the-wisp light, which was her mother’s unfulfilled dream. Also called “foolish fires”, these lights are sometimes seen over wetlands and are thought to lead those who follow them to treasure. Despite the promise, they are never captured and sometimes lead to injury or even death for adventurers who follow them. The metaphor of that fire – that some dreams and goals are impossible to reach, and that hope itself may not be innately good – eventually rooted its way into deeper meaning as the Moon sisters tried to come to terms with real-world dreams and hopes, and with each other, in their strange new world.  Olivia and Jazz Moon are polar opposites: one a dreamy synesthete, able to see sou … [Read more...]

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What more can we do to boost book sales?

Right at the start of the year I received an email from my Dream of Things publisher to tell me he had scheduled some advertising for Leaving the Hall Light On since January is typically a big month for eBook sales. I was elated to have this great opportunity. Here’s the list of advertising events he set up. Kindle Book Review - three posts on their Facebook page on January 2, 3 and 4, and tweets about Leaving the Hall Light On ten times in the month of January. World Literary Cafe – Leaving the Hall Light On featured as "Today's Hot Title" on their website on Jan 4, 5 or 12 (exact date TBD) – it occurred on January 2. Indie Author News – Leaving the Hall Light On their "Book of the Day" on January 6. Digital Book Today - Leaving the Hall Light On their "Book of the Day" on January 7. Indies Unlimited - will do an article on Dream of Things memoirs and anthologies (including Leaving the Hall Light On), date TBD. (hasn’t appeared yet) Kindle Books and Tips - will do a sp … [Read more...]

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The beat goes on – how women remember the 1960s and 1970s

The sixties in my life were turbulent indeed: moving from Chicago to Los Angeles, transferring from the University of Wisconsin to UCLA, getting married, graduating college, working at my first real job as a technical writer and editor in the aerospace business, having a miscarriage, getting divorced, spending five years looking for the real Mr. Right and trying to get equal pay and status in the corporate world, and remarrying just as the seventies came around. It was the time of the Pill, which I took advantage of, and a new kind of openness and creativity as my WOW Women on Writing blog tour guest Kate Farrell discusses today. I certainly remember those times – especially the music that I still love to listen to in this twenty-first century. Now just in time for the holidays, Linda Joy Myers, Kate Farrell and Amber Lea Starfire have launched their anthology Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the '60s and '70s. The book is the perfect gift for opening discussions with fri … [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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Please join me in welcoming Eleanor Vincent back to Choices

It’s wonderful to have Eleanor Vincent back on Choices on the last day of her WOW Women on Writing blog tour. I’m delighted to share about her memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story with you. (See my review at Goodreads.) Eleanor’s work hugely inspired me to write my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide. Swimming with Maya had been released a few years before, and I felt if she can do it so can I – as hard as writing about the death of a child is. As soon as we met in December 1999 I felt we were soul mates – the deaths of our eldest children bound us together, and we have been friends and writing buddies ever since. Just last weekend my husband and I visited with her in northern California. It was such a treat to meet her two grandchildren for the first time. I wrote a blog piece about how we met earlier this year – you can find it here. About Swimming With Maya; A Mother’s Story Swimm … [Read more...]

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Please welcome Toni Piccinini, author of The Goodbye Year

I’m so pleased to host Toni Piccinini during her WOW! Women On Writing blog tour. Her memoir, The Goodbye Year, is an inspirational, honest, and hilarious tale of Toni’s approach to the end of an era in the Piccinini household. For many mothers, a child’s senior year brings about a serious look back on the past eighteen. Every event—from Halloween to Mother’s Day—becomes The Last Time. Toni Piccinini knows exactly what that’s like, and in The Goodbye Year, she offers the loving support every soon-to-be Empty Nester needs. Think of Toni as your bossy-but-loving Italian auntie, with modern sensibilities and a packed pantry. With the wisdom she’s acquired from saying goodbye three times to her own children, she reassuringly holds your hand while encouraging you through the insanity of the college application process, the rejections and the acceptances, and the teary dorm drop-offs. Even better, she reminds every mother that the best is yet to come—freedom, creativity, flexibility, and t … [Read more...]

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Guest author Donald R. Dempsey: review of Betty’s Child, Q&A, and giveaway

I am honored to host author Donald R. Dempsey during his WOW-Women On Writing blog tour. His memoir, Betty’s Child (Dream of Things, March 2013) is the story of one young man’s ordeals with poverty, religion, physical and mental abuse, maternal insanity, and the dire need for confidence and direction as he attempts to come of age. Here’s what three noted reviewers had to say. “Heartrending and humorous. In scene after vivid scene, Dempsey presents his inspiring true story with accomplished style. Dempsey’s discipline as a writer lends the real-life tale the feel of a fictional page-turner.” Kirkus Reviews ”Honest and raw, yet full of humor, pathos, and no-holds-barred dialogue. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for a roller coaster ride. Highly recommended.” Dr. Alan Gettis, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of The Happiness Solution ”This memoir is for everyone who has ever known someone abandoned, someone unloved, someone with barriers that seem impenetrable. With wit … [Read more...]

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Please welcome Jennifer Richardson

I'm always pleased when WOW - Women on Writing asks me to participate in one of their new author blog tours. WOW hosted my first blog tour, and I have made many lasting friends as a result. Plus I'm a huge advocate of virtual book tours as a way of promoting our books. My guest today is Jennifer Richardson, author of Americashire: A Field Guide to a Marriage (She Writes Press, May 2013) who discusses her decision to live a child-free life. This topic is particularly of interest to me because my son and his wife recently made that decision as well. Here's Jennifer: Living a Childfree Life: The Oprah Problem and Other Myths I already know what you’re thinking. You’re about to read something fabulous and envy-inducing. Because surely, since I chose not to have kids, I must be living the life exotic AND making a difference along the way. It’s not your fault for thinking this; that blame lies directly with Oprah. While the childfree life has become quite stylish with celeb … [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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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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Entering a novel competition is a lot of work

I’ve been inspired to enter the Strongest Start Novel Competition 2012, sponsored by The Next Big Writer website. I heard about the contest through Women on Writing, WOW, the group that put together my blog tour after my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, launched last year.   Here is what WOW had to say: If you've been working on a novel, or have one written already, polish your first three chapters and consider entering this competition. TheNextBigWriter is an online workshop. By entering, you receive feedback on every chapter you submit. This is a great opportunity to have your work-in-progress reviewed, and you may even win! You do NOT need to have completed your entire novel, so this competition is open to those who have started or are working on their novels. There is NO ENTRY FEE, but membership is required. So I thought why not? Why not is actually a very good question. First I worked and worked on my first three chapters to get them ready for submission by t … [Read more...]

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Welcome, Kathy Handley, author of Birds of Paradise

I am so pleased to host Kathy Handley today on her WOW – Women on Writing Blog tour and chat with her about her novel Birds of Paradise. Her subject matter is sad and powerful – about homeless teenagers in Hollywood California. Here is a brief synopsis: When trucker Joe-Mack picks up a runaway in Vegas and drops him in Hollywood, he offers to help him. When the call comes, he reaches out to the boy and becomes embroiled in Freddie’s life along with Starlet, the homeless girl who desires stardom. The three have in common a search for love and for a place to belong. Set in California’s beautiful, yet challenging neighborhoods, the characters, like lost Birds of Paradise, take on risks and maintain thin threads of dignity amidst troubling situations with surprising twists along the way. A recent reviewer said: I read Birds of Paradise while on vacation in L.A.-- the perfect place to experience Kathy Handley's powerful portraits of young street people lost and found. Walki … [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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