Author Archives: Erica

February Roundtable Webinar – FREE to All- February 9, 2017

Lizbeth Meredith

Writing a Book with Benefits: Steps I Took to Take Care of My Memoir’s Future Readers 

February 9, 2017

 4 PM PST  5 PM MST  6 PM CST  7 PM EST 

Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters recounts the Lizbeth Meredith’s two year struggle to bring home her internationally abducted daughters from Greece to Alaska. It’s the story of a 29 year-old woman whose life was marked by domestic violence and childhood kidnapping who faced a $100,000 problem on a $10 an hour budget. More than simply a missing children’s story, Pieces of Me is also the story of the generous community in Anchorage, Alaska and a growing support system in Greece who joined Lizbeth’s efforts to make the impossible a reality.

It is a 2016 USA Best Book Awards Finalist in Women’s Issues.

 

“Why now?”

I’ve been asked this question repeatedly since publishing my memoir in late September of 2016. And honestly, it wasn’t as though I hadn’t been trying.

I began my journey in memoir in 1996, just after I returned with my daughters to America after recovering them from Greece, where they’d lived in hiding for two years after my ex-husband spirited them away.With my journal in hand and cassette recordings I’d made to track events, I began to write my book.  I was 31 then, my traumatized little girls were 7 and 8 years old. I was young and headstrong and raw from my experiences, and I wanted to share my story in part to get even. I wanted to get even with a justice system that had failed me, both in the states and in Greece. I wanted to get even with the people responsible for my daughter’s kidnapping. And I wanted to anyone and everyone who continued to ask battered women “Why do you stay?” that a victim leaving a violent relationship was not surefire way to end the abuse like I had once believed it was.

But year after year, draft after draft, my reasons  for writing my memoir changed in direct proportion to the amount of healing my girls and I experienced. There were universal themes and messages I wanted to share. There were lessons in dealing with inter-generational trauma that I was compelled to write. And before I knew it, my so-called misery-memoir became the piece of me I am proud to gift to my daughters and to my readers.

 

In this discussion, you will learn:

*The value of outlining your memoir’s takeaways, those messages your readers will benefit from reading.

*How the passage of time can help clarify your true story that’s encased inside all of the events.

* Tools and techniques that help channel the emotions of events long ago.

* Why including humor and insight is important to your reader’s well-being.

* How writing a book with benefits led to natural partnerships in the launch phase.

 

Bio

Lizbeth Meredith is a writer based in Alaska with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in psychology. She has worked as a domestic violence advocate and a child abuse investigator, and with at-risk teens as a juvenile probation supervisor.

Lizbeth published When Push Comes to Shove: How to Help When Someone You Love is Being Abused on Amazon and Nook, and is a contributor to A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson.

You can contact her at lameredith.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lizbethmeredithfan or on Twitter at Lizbeth Meredith@LizbethMeredith.

 

Audio and webinar recording below:

Featured NAMW Member – Patricia Dunn

Book Synopsis

Patricia was “cracked open” at age two by a nearly fatal accidental fall.  Her earliest memory is that of the unseen hands that lovingly carried her down an entire staircase.  This gracious act performed by an anonymous presence occurred within weeks of the sudden death of her eighteen-year-old sister.

Growing up in a family devastated by death and dysfunction, Patricia became increasingly aware of the many enigmatic incidents that infused themselves into her life.  By far, the most profound of these was a chill day in November of her ninth year when a premonition demanded that she remain home from school.   This was to be the day that her chronically ill father would die.  Home alone with him, Patricia was unaware that he was dead until she reached out to wake him from his day-long sleep.  In that moment, two things happened.  Her hand registered the ice-cold flesh of her father’s arm and she was pulled implausibly into a place of bliss hearing the last words she would ever hear her father speak – words of comfort, spoken from the other side.

Left with a disabled older sister and a mother plundered by grief, Patricia took on the role of peacemaker.  While her outer world was confined by walls of despair and frustration, Patricia’s inner world took on new depth and breadth.

The place was New York City during the 1960’s.  Even in this world of cultural tumult, she found nothing to explain or even validate these glimpses into the unseen.  What she was being taught by the good Dominican sisters swayed far from the mark.  As her home life degraded into darkened rooms and silence punctuated by the pain-fueled bickering of her mother and sister, she turned to books and her love for drawing.  These became her teachers and her sanctuary as she learned to navigate two worlds.

The struggle to understand both of these worlds and find the nexus between them, became her secret obsession.  Search for meaning both in the seen world, so fragile and temporary and the unseen world so tantalizing and unpredictable, led her down many esoteric paths.

In this memoir, Patricia winds her story around the chronological recounting of a multitude of these inscrutable vignettes, depicting them both through illustration and the written word.  This is a story of one woman’s search for meaning.

 

Bio

The hauntingly beautiful Delaware River Valley is home to Patricia and her husband of nearly thirty years.  Patricia has been writing since childhood and drawing since infancy.  Mostly self-taught, she can cite many talented individuals who have mentored her along the way.  Mostly a writer of short stories, having published two, Patricia’s memoir is her first book-length work.  Patricia has worked as a counselor, a legal assistant and as an art director.  She is the winner of The People’s Choice Award at the Niagara Falls International Plein Air Painter’s Worldwide Paint-out.

Dancing with Darkness and Light

Moving with the Ebb and Flow of the Creative Process

Tina Games

January Member Teleseminar

January 20, 2017

11 AM PST    12 PM MST    1 PM CST   2 PM EST

 

As we begin to celebrate the New Year 2017, it’s important to draw from within the darkness of winter to find the themes of our memoir that will blossom as the year moves into the light of spring. I’m so pleased to have Tina Games, the Moonlight Muse and the author/creator of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Creative Path to New Beginnings lead us into journal writing exercises to strengthen our ability to trust the creative process and bring more clarity to writing our memoir. Her specialty is bringing an awareness of the larger planetary and energetic elements to writers and creative people. I hope you enjoy the presentation!

________________________________________

Our lunar goddess is rich with wisdom. She teaches us how to move from darkness into light with the gracefulness of a ballroom dance. We step in, we step out – and we circle back around again.

Looking up at the night sky during a first quarter lunar phase, we see a moon that’s half lit. It serves as a reminder that there’s always more than what meets the eye. It sparks a strong sense of curiosity within us.

When we ponder our creative process and the memoir that we’re writing, we can choose to look at this moon phase as half light – with lots of room for possibilities and expansion. Or we can look at it as half dark – with lots of space to hide, wondering about the safety of “coming out” and triggering our own vulnerability.

As we look at the brightness of this magnificent lunar object, we can feel a sense of wonderment. There is so much potential in territories not yet explored.

Of course, it’s only natural to wonder what craters or bumpy roads may lay ahead as the moon slowly reveals herself – and as we slowly reveal the many layers of our story.

The first quarter moon signals the balance between light and dark. It serves as a breakthrough point between our potential and our tendency to hold back (out of doubt or fear).

So how does this affect your creative process? How does it impact the writing of your memoir?

Grab your journal and pen – and prepare to be gently guided into:

  • A clearing exercise that allows you to identify what needs to be released or shifted as you create the space to write with more awareness and clarity.
  • An exploration of what could be possible when you give yourself permission to create from the fullest expression of you.
  • A closer look at the obstacles that keep you from stepping into your full potential as a writer.
  • An understanding of the ebb and flow of emotions that can get activated during the creative process.
  • An awareness of how curiosity serves as a way of moving out of creative darkness and into the light of possibility.

Join Linda as she chats with Tina Games, “The Moonlight Muse” – exploring ways that you can navigate the ebb and flow of the creative process using the moon as a metaphor.

 

******************************************************

Tina M. Games is the author of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-
Discovery
(an interactive book with an accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards). As a certified creativity and life purpose coach, and a gifted intuitive and certified retreat leader, she is the “Moonlight Muse” for women who want to tap into the “full moon within” and claim their authentic self, both personally and professionally. Through her signature coaching programs, based on the phases of the moon, Tina gently guides women from darkness into light as they create an authentic vision filled with purpose, passion, and creative expression. For more information about her work please visit: www.TheMoonlightMuse.com where you can pick up her complimentary Creating a New Moon Vision Board kit.

 

 

 

January Roundtable Discussion – FREE to All

Dorit Sasson 

What I Learned about the Courage to Write and Publish my Memoir Accidental Soldier

January 12, 2017 

 4 PM PST  5 PM MST  6 PM CST  7 PM EST 

What kind of crazy person would trade college life for serving in the Israel Defense Forces at the tender age of 18? As a dual American-Israeli citizen, I was trying to make my life work as a college student until I realized that if I didn’t distance myself from my neurotic worrywart of a mother, I would become just like her. 

Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is the story of how I dropped out of college and volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces in an effort to change my life. The story shows that by stepping out of my comfort zone and into a war zone, I discovered courage and faith I didn’t know I was capable of.

As a first-time memoirist, I put myself out into the writing world in many ways, and learned what it takes to come full-circle with the writing and publishing process. I’d love to share the “highs” and “lows” of my journey with you. It is my hope that learning about my wins and successes will give you a road map to see your book as a marketable journey of creativity.

  • It was a challenge to translate some of the “foreign” experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces for the United States audience. Through doing this, I discovered that my book was marketable here.
  • I discovered it took courage to build my author platform creatively.
  • I learned the importance of marketing my memoir to a niche audience and what that meant for choosing the right publisher
  • There were unexpected challenges and successes with the publicity and marketing as I did a book tour for my memoir in the United States and in Israel.
  • I’ll discuss how writing my memoir inspired me to support other writers and authors

 

Bio:

Dorit Sasson is a copywriter, content marketing strategist, speaker, and author. She is the founder of “Giving Voice to Your Courage” podcast and website. She mentors authors and writers on how to build a more visible and engaging platform – creatively and with courage! Her groundbreaking memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces is a finalist for the next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Books USA Awards and Santa Fe Literary Awards. It’s a widely read handbook on how to become more courageous in life.

 

Listen to the recording below:

Unlocking the Power of Humor in Your Memoir

Susan Sparks

December Member Teleseminar

December 16, 2016

11 AM PST    12 PM MST    1 PM CST   2 PM EST

We’re so happy, literally, to have Susan Sparks as our guest for the end of the year member teleseminar. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to have a writer, trial lawyer, standup comedian and Baptist minister—and my friend–Susan Sparks whip up an entertaining and instructional discussion. She is going to be funny and also offer us an angle through which to view our work as creative artists: humor. Many of you are writing serious stories, but still, a story can be told so many different ways.

I’m jazzed to be talking with Susan for our December teleseminar! I hope you can join us live on the phone, and if not, members will all receive the audio as our Christmas present. No, actually, you always get the audio after each of our teleseminars.

Have a great holiday season, everyone.

 

From Susan: 

susan-sparks

Humor is, perhaps, the most undervalued tool we have—especially as artists. Laughter brings perspective, forgiveness, empathy and power to us as writers and depth, craft, intimacy, and honesty to our work. This is not about being a comedian. This is about discovering the gift of joy and hope in our own voice. Let’s find it together and take our work to new levels!

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Discover the deeper power of humor and it how builds intimacy and honesty with your reader/listener
  • Learn specific tools used in standup comedy that can improve your writing
  • Identify places to find material
  • Understand the times humor doesn’t work
  • Learn how to use humor to deal with the hecklers, such as rejection letters and the voices in our head
  • Discover how to use humor to address difficult topics, conflict, and crisis

 

BIO:

susan-sparks-laugh-your-way-to-graceA trial lawyer, turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Rev. Susan Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit. After ten years as a lawyer moonlighting as a standup, Susan left the practice and spent two years on a solo trip around the world, including working for Mother Teresa’s mission in Calcutta and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Upon returning home, she earned a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, writing an honors thesis on humor and religion entitled “Laughing Your Way to Grace.”

Currently, the Senior Pastor of the historic Madison AvenueBaptist Church in New York City (and the first woman in its 165-year history), Susan is also a professional comedian. She tours national with a Rabbi and a Muslim comic in the Laugh in Peace Tour. Susan’s work with humor and healing has been featured in such media outlets as the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, CBS, CNN, and ABC. A blogger for Huffington Post and Psychology Today, her book Laugh Your Way to Grace, was named a best spiritual book and featured in USA Today and Good Morning America.

 

 

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