Author Archives: Erica

Featured NAMW Member – Marian Beaman

Book Synposis 

Plain Mennonite girl ping pongs between two houses on Anchor Road in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: her own crooked house with a religious but abusive father and her Grandma’s Victorian house where she can roam the woods and sit on Grandma’s lap listening to stories from fancier friends. Two other strong women are part of the cast of characters in her life story: food-loving Mother Ruth at home in the kitchen or garden and a college-educated aunt who shows her a larger life, the gun-toting, piano-playing, movie-shooting Aunt Ruthie.

Readers will travel with plain-to-fancy Marian Longenecker Beaman in her forays into the larger world in search of beauty and freedom as she reveals quirky relatives and family secrets. How does she survive? Can she thrive? Can she do so with her faith intact?

Marian’s book, now in the beta-reading process, was conceived when she wrote stories paired by theme with a colleague at Florida State College. Later, two memoir-writing courses, one of which was Write Your Memoir in 6 Months with Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner, helped her learn the craft of memoir writing. Her themes include parental abuse, family tradition, and embracing change. Clocks, home movie film and the prayer veiling are three motifs woven throughout Marian’s story. She hopes her tale will entice readers to see and feel a way of life that they may never experience otherwise.

 

Bio

Longenecker, Marian’s last name for 26 years, reveals her plain Swiss Mennonite origins. Teaching at Lancaster Mennonite School, she was addressed as Sister Longenecker and wore a prayer cap. Then she turned fancy and became Beaman after marrying a blue-eyed, blonde-haired German artist from Washington State.

After 21 years teaching at Florida State College, Marian has embraced creative non-fiction. Her latest story “Making Love Edible” was published in The Mennonite magazine (September 2016).

Since beginning her blog in 2013, Marian has uncovered nostalgic photos, letters, and artifacts from her two Longenecker homes in Pennsylvania, many of which are featured at www.marianbeaman.com

June Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All- June 15, 2017

Rifka Kreiter

EVOLUTION OF A MEMOIR–EVERYTHING IN ITS OWN TIME

4 PM PDT  5 PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

June 15, 2017

We are so pleased that Rifka Kreiter will be joining us. Her book Home Free will take us back to the era of the sixties, and the adventures that were life changing for Rifka. We all go on a journey into the past as we write our memoir, and we discover and uncover surprises, ahas, and “oh, I did that?” moments along the way. It’s a journey that ultimately is rewarding, and I’m glad that we get to speak with Rifka about the life story that has become her book, and her challenges along the way to write and publish her memoir.

From Rifka:

I will speak about the nearly twenty-year journey to publication of my book Home Free: Adventures of  child of the Sixties. The journey began with writing group pieces that seemed to cry out,  “We wanna be a book.”   Classes, workshops, writing groups followed, as well as long fallow periods, illustrating one teacher’s counsel that “for some pieces, you have to do more living before you’re ready to write it.”  And then there was the “onerous” publishing process, with its many trials.

Motivations that kept me going were:

  • Self-examination: Coming to terms with my difficult personal history
  • Fun: The pleasure of revisiting the experience of being young in that extraordinary time and sharing my stories of adventure
  • Bearing witness: The deep satisfaction of describing the amazing grace that transformed my life. I felt, if only one reader found encouragement and hope in my story, that would make it worthwhile.

Members Will:

  • Find out how to keep persisting despite obstacles to write the book of your heart.
  • Be encouraged to find tools to free your inner writer, such as Morning Pages.
  • Discover techniques I found helpful in dealing with the inner critic
  • Learn about querying agents and publishers, and how I made the decisions I did.

 

Bio

An astrologer once told Rifka Kreiter that a certain planetary conjunction in her chart signifies “an unusual life, full of unexpected happenings,” and this has certainly proved true.

Home Free recounts her peripatetic early life in New York, LA and San Diego.  She studied acting at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, philosophy at City College of New York and Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University.  She has worked as a waitress, hatcheck girl and hearing researcher.  She was Continuity Director at a New York radio station and Assistant Convention Manager at the Concord Resort Hotel in the Catskill Mountains.

Since 1976 she has been following an ancient yogic path and she lived in a meditation ashram for ten years. Rifka currently teaches meditation and has a day job.  At age 55 she (finally) met her life partner, an Upper West Side psychotherapist.  They live happily together in suburban New Jersey.  Contact her at rifkakreiter.com.

 

Featured NAMW Member – Dyane Harwood

Book Synposis 

Dyane Harwood’s compelling memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder shares her struggle with postpartum bipolar disorder, a rare form of bipolar disorder. The first book to address this postpartum mood disorder, Harwood recounts how she grew up affected by mental illness in her family. Her beloved father, a gifted violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, had bipolar disorder and suffered from crippling depressions and bewildering manic highs.

During her childhood, Harwood learned how bipolar disorder could ravage a family, but no one suspected that she’d become mentally ill until her baby was born. Within a day of her daughter’s birth, Harwood’s thoughts became a manic maelstrom, and eventually she dropped into the morass of bipolar depression.

Struggling to survive the highs and lows of her brain’s turmoil, Harwood wondered if mental health would always be out of her reach. From medications to electroconvulsive therapy, from “redwood forest baths” to bibliotherapy, she explored both the traditional and unconventional
realm in between her harrowing psychiatric hospitalizations.

In “Birth of a New Brain” Harwood reveals how she ultimately achieves stability. She learns that despite having a chronic mood disorder, a new,  richer life is possible. “Birth of a New Brain” is a chronicle of one mother’s perseverance, her burgeoning hope, and her grounded advice for others battling mental illness.

Bio
Dyane Harwood holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. A writer for two decades, she has interviewed the authors Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Anthony Bourdain and SARK. In 2007, Harwood was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder .Her memoir is the first book to discuss a woman’s experience with this rare form of bipolar disorder and overlooked postpartum mood disorder.

She founded a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) chapter and facilitates support groups for mothers with bipolar disorder. Harwood lives in Ben Lomond, California with her two daughters, husband and Scotch collie.

www.dyaneharwood.com/  

How Do You Choose the Best Storytelling Structure For Your Story?

Beth Barany

May Member Webinar

May 12, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT  1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT 

How to choose the right structure for your story is a question that haunts most writers. Especially intuitive writers — pantsers — who tend to write organically.

Why does a story’s structure make writing it easier…or harder? When you find a storytelling structure that resonates with the kind of story you want to tell, the right structure stimulates your imagination.

Choosing the wrong structure can cause you to get stuck—because the structure works against you as you’re telling the story. You might mistake it for writer’s block. And spend weeks…or months…being stuck.

(Story structure is NOT plot. But story structure gives rise to plot.)

Join us for this NAMW webinar where we discuss “How to Choose Your Story’s Structure.”

In this webinar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of five powerful storytelling structures:

  • The Three-Act Structure
  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The Virgin Archetypal Journey
  • The 5-Point Plot Structure
  • The Five Commandments of Storytelling

We’ll also discuss:

  • what kinds of stories each structure lends itself to
  • how each structure is related to the other four, and
  • how “obligatory scenes” fit into these structures. If you’ve tried to plot according to a traditional story structure but it hasn’t worked…

If your stories feel “off” but you can’t put your finger on why…

If you’ve been confused by the Hero’s Journey or three-act structure in the past…

…don’t miss out on this chance to master five powerful storytelling structures and take your stories to the next level!

 

ABOUT BETH BARANY

Beth Barany is a certified creativity coach, NLP Practitioner, and keynote speaker. She helps fiction writers get their writing done and out into the world via Barany School of Fiction and the Writer’s Fun Zone blog. She’s the bestselling author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide and Overcome Writer’s Block. Her most recent book for writers is Twitter For Authors.

Beth writes young adult fantasy and paranormal romance. Her young adult epic fantasy novel, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, now the first book in a trilogy, won the Grand Prize in the 2012 California Book Fiction Challenge. Check out her free 5-day Writer’s Motivation mini-course: http://bethbarany.com/5daycourse.htm.

 

Spring Membership Sale

A memoir tells the story that otherwise would be lost.  If you are writing a memoir, you probably are aware of the various layers of excitement/worry/curiosity/ and passion that goes with such a project. It takes craft and creativity, persistence and motivation to write a story about your life. It means you are vulnerable and exposed too, even to yourself. I know this well. have just finished writing my second memoir Song of the Plains—A Memoir of Family, Secrets, and Silence, and I can tell you I went through, and am still going through, all the ups and downs that you do as I wrote the book. And now I’m going to share it with the world. Gulp!

I kept asking  myself why I did this—again—and found an answer, or answers: because I have a story that I believe is particularly mine, yet has universal elements in it that we all share: mothers, grandmothers, fathers, and a search for identity. It’s about blood ties, and the land where bones are buried. It’s about failures and secrets and successes, and hope. All our stories are about these things in one way or another. The trick is to find your particular vision and voice, the threads of your story that you weave together for us to read. 

Here at the National Association of Memoir Writers, our goal is to help you learn new skills and to lift you up as you work on your story. This year we added two new features: our monthly programs are in a webinar format, which makes learning and connecting even easier and more fun. And at our group coaching sessions members have been making new friends and finding writing buddies that help them on the journey. Our Roundtable webinars feature new authors just like you, who have crossed the finish line into “published author.” Some of these writers have been NAMW members and now are authors! Their books are winning prizes! This is very exciting.

We’re celebrating a creative spring this year, and the fact that memoir is still wildly popular and a genre that isn’t going away! There are more ways than ever to be published and share our stories, so keep writing! 

To help you celebrate we’re offering a special spring sale of $40 off our regular membership price—Only $109 for a year membership.  Renewals are also discounted $40 off and are only $107.  Our sale begins Friday, April 14th and ends at midnight on Monday, April 17th. 

You receive two new bonuses with your membership: The audio and transcript of What Made Liar’s Club a New York Times Bestseller—a four week course taught by Brooke Warner and me a year ago. And the audio and transcript of How to Tell the Truth Without Ending up in Court, a webinar by Helen Sedwick, an attorney that specializes in what writers need to know. We have many other benefits so you can find them here.

 

 

Testimonials

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