The above quote could be my mantra – I find joy in writing and teaching others to be confident writers.
- Teaching others the various ways they can tell their stories.
- Encouraging them to play with words until they find the right ones for whatever it is they are writing.
- To move out of comfort zones, celebrate who they are and the life they have lived.
- Write their legacy in whatever style they want, whether prose or poetry, fiction or fact, or a combination of both in creative non-fiction.
In the lessons, I prepare for my writing classes memories of my own surface along with an impetus to rediscover and rework writing from years gone by – in some cases discover prose and poetry I’d forgotten.
I often shake my head with bemusement or amazement and think: Did I write that?
Forgetfulness – is it ageing or Alzheimer’s!!?
I’ll join the millions of others who Google and share a meme discovered because it suits!
I know it is not de rigour to compliment yourself and I’ve always found it difficult to be self-promoting – it is much easier to promote anthologies that include other writers or the works of writer friends.
However, what a wonderful surprise this week to exchange emails with Matilda Butler, an amazing woman in the United States who helped me gain the confidence to tell my stories and make the first foray into online publishing in 2010!
Other stories followed on the website set up by Matilda and her friend and fellow editor, Kendra Bonnett: WomensMemoirs.com
And then three were chosen for a series of Kindle books in 2015, and these books have now been redesigned and published the traditional way.
Greetings to You…An Author in Seasons of Our Lives
As one of the award-winning authors in the Seasons of Our Lives anthologies, I have exciting news for you. I invite you to join WomensMemoirs.com in celebrating the publication of paperback versions of the SEASONS OF OUR LIVES. The four volumes (SPRING, SUMMER, AUTUMN, WINTER) are filled with the best, the most inspiring award-winning stories — including yours.
The Kindle version generated a great deal of interest, book awards, rave reviews, bestseller status on Amazon, and we anticipate the paperback version will be equally popular — as well as providing you with the opportunity to let friends and family have their hands on your story.
Will you help us congratulate you and all the other award-winning memoir authors in these volumes by getting the word out about the new paperback version of these stories?
Many of your sister authors requested that these Kindle books be brought out in paperback. It definitely was a good idea, but life gets to be busy, much too busy.
In addition to regular blogging, writing, creating a new series of videos on Marketing, Publishing, and Writing (10+ hours of content to be announced in the coming weeks), and creating new products for our etsy.com stores, we found that it took more time than anticipated to create smart-looking volumes that you would be proud to own and give. These four volumes are finally available.
These memoir anthologies won seven book awards, and stayed on the Kindle bestseller list for more than a week. A real success story.
Since that time, these stories have continued to resonate with readers across the US and many countries and are now also used by memoir teachers and coaches. These stories are not only inspirational. They are also exemplars of memoir writing.
We’re all modern women and like digital technology. BUT there is still something special and satisfying about holding a book in your hands, enjoying a story, setting it aside on the coffee table where it lands with a thud rather than a ping, and returning the next day to read more.
From May 14 – June 15, Seasons of our Lives – Spring, Summer, and Autumn are specially priced at just $9.97 on Amazon and the fourth season, Winter, is priced at $10.97. On June 16, these volumes increase in price to $11.97 and $12.97 respectively.
The email resonated with me!
Call me old-fashioned but to hold the hard copy in my hand was more thrilling than having a digital copy on my computer and I thank Matilda and Kendra for all their hard work making that dream a reality for the women whose stories are showcased in the four anthologies.
The links to the printed books are:
Seasons of Our Lives: Spring https://amzn.to/2KklLXN
Seasons of Our Lives: Summer https://amzn.to/2HWoSXq
Seasons of Our Lives: Autumn https://amzn.to/2HUEGtH
Seasons of Our Lives: Winter https://amzn.to/2KlyXLN
Writing In Tune With The Seasons
Ironically, I was in the process of searching what I had written about winter to prepare for lessons and discovered the story about my mother published in the series of Kindle books about the seasons.
And then Matilda’s email arrived…
SEASONS OF OUR LIVES: WINTER includes 33 memoir vignettes and takeaways to get you thinking about your life, and perhaps writing your own stories. Five of these stories include a treasured family recipe along with the story and tell us of the scents of winter.
The mini-lessons that follow each award-winning story cover many of the topics important in memoir writing such as:
- creating a memoir title,
- crafting a powerful opening,
- linking openings and closings,
- choosing a powerful point of view,
- incorporating sensory details for reader engagement,
- adding character descriptions,
- showing (not telling) emotions,
- using dialogue effectively,
- understanding how time and place can be used in tandem or as stand-alone elements,
- making word choice a priority,
- discerning the different impacts of present versus past tense,
- considering vignette topics to write about,
- choosing between letting the reader figure out the story behind the story or spelling out all the details,
And much more!
I was fortunate to meet Matilda and her husband Bill when I went to the USA in 2012 and we spent a lovely day together as they showed me Portland, Oregon.
Although we are almost down to the ‘Christmas” staying-in-touch category I value their friendship and the happy memories we shared.
Seasons Of Our Lives – memoir for everyone
The stories in the four volumes will charm, intrigue, captivate and inspire you because they speak of and highlight all our lives with details of :
- coming of age,
- adulthood, and
At the same time, the memoir vignettes encompass:
- survival, and even
- unexpected joy
The stories tell of lives intersecting with history, profiling ordinary yet extraordinary experiences unique to the authors – and at their core, they tell of all our lives.
Seasons of Our Lives — Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter include more than 100 award-winning true stories. They’ll make you laugh. Cry. Feel joy. Experience sorrow.
I have stories in three of the books: Spring, Autumn and Winter.
Rereading them in print was exciting but reading Matilda and Kendra’s critique and “take-away” advice after all the stories an insightful and inspirational addition to the value of the book, not just as a memento but as a teaching tool.
The Writer’s Path
I never envisaged that my story would win any writing competition run by WomensMemoirs.com nor did I think them good enough to be chosen for the book series – first Kindle publishing now traditional…
… the path to publication certainly does involve having a purpose (what will we write about?) perspiration (all those hours of writing, rewriting, editing and rewriting) and persistence (for every story sent somewhere you add to your pile of rejections!).
The Editor & Publisher’s Path
Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett have co-authored several books together:
- Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Women To” Generation Tells Its Story – a collective memoir
- Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep – a manual to improve your writing
- Tales of Our Lives: Fork In The Road
- Tales of Lives: Reflection Pond
Kendra is a blogger, has ghostwritten several books, is a marketing executive who develops marketing materials for corporations, and a speaker and memoir coach.
Matilda is a psychologist, blogger, online and in-person memoir coach and writing conference speaker. She writes and teaches in Oregon and offers classes in Hawaii.
In recent months, Matilda’s husband Bill has had several operations to save his sight, yet through it all, she kept working on the layout for the anthologies.
Feedback from other authors reveals the covers have their desired effect — grabbing the (potential) reader. It was not a seamless process converting the digital books to print – especially as several years have passed since initial creation.
Matilda and Kendra decided to have a completely different layout and new covers.
The interior layout worked out well. That’s part of what took me so long. The first proof copies looked terrible. I started over with the layout and got another set of proof copies. Then I saw additional elements I could put in. After a couple more rounds of getting the printed proofs, I finally was happy!
We have memoir coaches using them in teaching and that’s quite rewarding.
The books have won the following awards:
- Next Generation Indie, First place, Women’s Issues
- Global E-book Award, Gold, Writing Non-Fiction and Silver, Anthologies
- eLit Book Award, Silver in Anthologies and Bronz in Women’s Issues
- Los Angeles Book festival, Runner Up, Anthologies
- San Francisco Book Festival, Runner Up, Anthologies
- New York Book festival, Runner Up, Anthologies
- Northwest Book Festival, Honorable Mention, Anthologies
I am humbled and privileged to be part of such a wonderful writing community and holding the books in my hands has given me a little extra oomph to knuckle down and write some more.
Often my writing takes second place to my teaching and helping others achieve their writing goals – Matilda and Kendra have inspired me that there are enough hours in the day and days in the year to do both!