Author Archives: Erica

How to Write a Prize Winning Memoir

Azedeh TabazadehRoundtable Discussion – Free to All

Date: December 3, 2015

Time: 4 Pm PST  5 PM MST  6 PM CST 7 PM EST

Expert: Azadeh Tabazadeh

“What you have done in this book is exactly what I would like for my patients to do—and that is to confront the truth,” my therapist told me after reading my memoir.

She was right! I escaped Iran when I was 17 years old and came to America with nothing other than a 6-month student visa and a steadfast determination to work hard in becoming a scientist—a profession of my childhood dreams. At age 45 I had a lot going for me. I was a professor of Geophysics at Stanford University and had worked for many years for NASA. My scientific discoveries were featured in Time, Washington post, San Francisco Chronicle and many other national and international newspapers, yet something profound was missing from my life. I felt a strong desire to make sense of my past, write about it, hand it to someone and say, “Here is what I went through. I hope you learn something from it.”

What helped me the most in writing my book was joining a memoir-writing class where I could share my stories in a safe environment. To my surprise, despite our different cultural backgrounds, we all had much in common when our lives were crafted into stories. I walked away from this experience feeling that my past had lost its power over me. Now, the truth, as I believed it, was written in black-and-white and I no longer felt ashamed of my past. Instead, understanding my past gave me the perspective I needed to become whole and feel at peace with myself.

Here are a few things that might help you in writing your memoir:

  • Join a writing group to write the first draft.
  • Rewriting, at least, for me was a lot of fun.
  • Be aware that your recollection of past events may be different from others.
  • Trust your own intuition.
  • Target a broad audience, so others may benefit from your experiences.

 Azadeh Tabazadeh is the author of The Sky Detective, a debut memoir about her childhood and adolescent years in Iran. Her story offers an eyewitness account of what life was like inside an Iranian household and on the streets of Tehran, before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and during the war with Iraq. Excerpts from her memoir have won several prestigious writing contests, including the East of Eden Award in 1998 and the San Francisco Writers Conference Grand Prize in 2012. Azadeh fled Iran in 1982, two years after the Iraq invasion of Iran, to pursue her dream of becoming a scientist. In 1994 she graduated with a doctoral degree in chemistry from UCLA. Since then, she has worked at NASA, taught at Stanford University, and has published over sixty scientific articles. Among her many accolades are a Presidential White House Science Award and a feature article in Time that details her personal life and scientific discoveries.

For author updates visit Azadeh at or follow her on Facebook.

Listen to the recording here:

Featured NAMW Member – Sue Rowland

sue-is-successfulHello writers and readers, it’s great to be a part of the NAMW. I enjoy the classes, webinars, and roundtable discussions offered by Linda Joy Myers and her knowledgeable guests.

Writing one’s life story takes courage. The honesty and authenticity required to examine experiences can be excruciating because the nasty inner critic seems to operate on all levels. Well, at least, it does with me. I have to banish the nagging beast more than I care to admit. Overcoming self -doubt is one of my themes. Immersion into poetry, the arts, writing, and creative expression is a proven healing modality. It works. The spark for writing memoir is about lessons learned, sometimes called the takeaway.

My Book: I’m in the muddy middle of my first draft of my book. The working title is: The Approval Code, How a Spirited Young Girl Learns Over Time to Believe in Herself. It’s a coming of age/spiritual memoir about being brave after my mother suffered a near fatal stroke at 46. She survived, but the trauma of the event, her long hospitalization, and the subsequent changes in her behavior affected me. I came home from high school once to find her passed out on the floor. I coped by retreating into journaling, reading, doing art, and taking long walks in nature. There were also some wild and crazy times during the ‘60’s when I became a teenager. I longed for approval in a family of achievers. And, as in many families, you were expected to keep quiet. Achievers weren’t supposed to have problems.

At age 19 I left the Midwest and moved to California. The year was 1973. My goal was to become an elementary school teacher and build a cabin in the woods. Things didn’t quite go as planned. I became involved with an abusive man twelve years my senior and had two children. We struggled just to survive. Throughout that part of my life, I wrote in my journal. By being courageous, I was able to leave the bad situation even though I was working minimum wage jobs. I learned independence, self-reliance, and later pursued an education. One of the reasons I’m writing my book is to encourage people in dysfunctional or abusive relationships to get help. Nobody has to be a victim.

Some of my adventures include living way out in the country without electricity or hot running water, home births, and close encounters with rattlesnakes. The paranormal also plays into the picture along with corruption, coercion, and dealing with the complexities of family dynamics.

BIO: I’m an artist, journal writer, and spiritual intuitive. After thirty plus years in customer service and social services, I earned my BA in psychology in my early fifties. My woodcarver husband, Jesse, and I live in the Sonoran desert. We enjoy being grandparents and work with community agencies serving children and the elderly. Our house is solar powered. We’re avid environmentalists and love angels and spirit guides! I no longer worry too much about outer approval. If I empower just one person on the planet, I’ll feel successful.

Please feel free to correspond with me anytime.

Meanwhile, please visit me at:

Twitter: @SueRowlandJrnls


(That’s hawk like the bird, not the politics)


Upcoming Events

Shades of Blue coverOCTOBER 15, 2015 7-8PM



Address: Bay Street Emeryville, 5604 Bay St, Emeryville, CA 94608

Phone:(510) 547-0905

I’ll be joining Amy Ferris, editor of Shades of Blue, Brooke Warner, Founder She Writes Press, Author of What’s Your Book? And Hollye Dexter, Fire Season for a panel discussion about using stories to save lives.



Memoir Conference—Memories Are Made of This    

October 23-25, 2015

Los Angeles Valley College, 5800 Fulton Ave, Van Nuys CA


Saturday Keynote Luncheon
October 24, 12:30 pm

The Heart and Craft of Writing a Successful Memoir
Ms. Myers will reveal how to dig deep into the truth of your life and examine the essential elements of craft to help you write the best memoir. Bring your heart — your past, your secrets and your challenges — to your work, and draw upon the craft of story to author a memoir that will keep readers turning the page.


Sunday workshop

Write Your Legacy Memoir

You have a story to tell—many stories that you want to share with your family. It’s a deeply meaningful act to write your story well so generations that come after you can learn about who you were, and where you came from. You are the only one who can tell your stories the way they need to be told. Learn how to use craft to create stories that your family will treasure forever.

Learn more here


November 19, 2015


I’m excited to join Amy Ferris and other authors for the L.A. launch of her new anthology Shades Of Blue. I’ll be reading my piece from the book, along with Jennifer Pastiloff, David Lacy, Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, and Hollye Dexter.
The event is sponsored by The Depressed Cake Shop. This is a “This Is My Brave” event.




Panel Discussion with Writers on Suicide/Depression

Sunday, November 22nd at 2pm

Barnes & Noble Bookstore

5604 Bay Street. Emeryville, CA

Shades of Blue cover Guardian of Golden Gate

Meet Betsy Graziani Fasbinder & Linda Joy Meyers, contributing authors of Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, & Feeling Blue

Meet Kevin Briggs, author of Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair

August Member Teleseminar

Stephanie ChandlerFriday, August 21, 2015


Stephanie Chandler

All about Blogging and Online Media—Tips for Memoir Writers

I know that most of you have heard teleseminars and webinars about building your platform. Some of you are excited about that idea and others of you groan at the mere thought. A million ideas go through your mind, and then you are so tired, you lay down to take a nap.

Don’t despair! There is a simple solution that can be very down home and not stressful: start your own blog.

The reason your own blog is a good idea is that it belongs to you—and it’s in your voice. When you write a memoir, one of the biggest and most powerful assets you have is your voice—your ideas, writing style, and your message. You can start putting your message—your themes—out into the world this week by learning to write short blog posts and convey your voice and your passion.

Learn more about this with our upcoming NAMW member teleseminar presenter Stephanie Chandler.

She’s going to talk about how to reach a bigger audience and what to do with feeling overwhelmed. Join us as we discuss how to leverage blogging—both your own and others—along with some simple social media tactics that can help drive traffic to your website and build your fan base. This session will teach you all the basics so that you can build a bigger platform without spending a ton of time (really!).

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books including The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Online and Offline Promotion Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. Stephanie is also founder and CEO of, a vibrant marketing community for trail-blazing writers, and, an annual event conducted entirely online. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine, and she is a blogger for Forbes. See also: @bizauthor and @NonfictionAssoc on Twitter

5 Tools to Fuel Your Writing & Creative Process

Free Roundtable Discussion—Beth Barany

August 6, 2015


There are three main turning points to the writing process: the start, the middle, and the end. Writers often find themselves stuck in one of these three places. When you get stuck, everything grinds to a screeching halt, and we are tempted to abandon our project—book, essay, chapter. We experience this as writer’s block, and are bound by massive frustration, procrastination, or tearing out our hair while crying.

In this conversation with Linda Joy Myers, founder and president of National Association of Memoir Writers, and Beth Barany, award-winning novelist and creativity coach for writers, you’ll learn about 5 tools to help you get back to writing your story.

In this lively conversation between teachers and lovers of story, you’ll discover:

  • How planning can enhance your creativity instead of stifle it
  • How a simple tool can help you stay focused so you can actually get writing done
  • How a simple mindset tool can shift your energy from No to Go
  • How goal setting can restart you when you’re stuck in the middle of your project
  • How you can connect with the most powerful tool in the five senses to spark or re-spark your passion for your project


Listen to the recording.

ABOUT BETH BARANY Beth-Barany_MG_6971_900x900Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist and a Creativity Coach for Writers. She runs the blog for writers by writers, the Writer’s Fun Zone, and the Barany School of Fiction. She’s coached hundreds of authors over the last nine years and specializes in helping novelists write, publish, and market their novels. Her mission is to empower authors to create sustainable and successful careers. You can find out more about Beth and her services at her site: There you can sign up for her free 5-Day Writer’s Motivation Mini-Course: Her latest book for writers is Twitter for Authors: Social Media Marketing for Shy Writers. In her off hours, Beth enjoys capoeira, reading, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, suspense novelist Ezra Barany. Beth Barany lives in Oakland, California with her husband, two cats, and over 2,000 books.


Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler