NAMW Guest Speakers

March Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All- April 6, 2017

Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

Exposed: Telling Our Deep Truths in Memoir or Fiction

April 6, 2017

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

We want to welcome Betsy Graziani Fasbinder to our book discussion this month. We have been in the same writing group for over fourteen years, the Bellas, and here at NAMW we are celebrating her first memoir, Filling Her Shoes, but it’s not her first book. Three years ago her novel Fire and Water was published from which she drew personal experiences to create a fictional story. The core of a story is the truth you need to tell, and today we’re going to hear from Betsy how she transitioned from fiction writer to the full out exposure in a memoir. Congratulations Betsy!


When Betsy Graziani Fasbinder was about to marry her husband, a widowed father, she knew she’d also become her first son’s second mother. She knew that she didn’t want to become any version of a wicked stepmother common in fairytales, and she was determined not to repeat her own abusive family history.

Filling Her Shoes: A Memoir of an Inherited Family is the story of a woman who stepped into the shoes of another mother taken too soon, and learning along the way that she’d need to find her own stride in the journey her new family would walk together.  This is the story of how love and loss are not opposites, but cohabitants in family life and how family is the richest inheritance of all.

Why I wrote and published this story now

I wrote these stories originally just for myself.  When I was becoming Max’s mother, none of the parenting books in the bookstore offered me what I needed. Either they were about welcoming a new baby or becoming a stepparent after a divorce. Neither of these described what I faced, so  I wrote my story to gain perspective in those moments. At the time, I also felt that I didn’t want to burden my son or my husband, who had suffered such a tragic loss, with the doubts and fears that I was carrying in my role.  Now, my older son is an adult, 32 years old. He’s happy, thriving, and living independently. I no longer feel the need to protect anyone from my own emotional process of the events of our lives. I needed this time not only to gain perspective, but to know that the story has a happy ending.

  • The vulnerability of writing yourself as a character in your story.
  • The importance of making emotion sensory in scenes…the “show don’t tell”, and techniques for writing that create a vivid story.
  • Finding the universality of a very personal story so readers can connect.
  • Discovering that “truth” can be told in both fiction and memoir.
  • The power of pacing, and using light and dark stories to give readers a chance to breathe between tough scenes.
  • Discovering that even in fiction, if we’re writing emotional truth, themes of our own lives inevitably come through.
  • Though the plot and circumstances between fiction and memoir are vastly different, the themes seemed to have their own gravitational pull, tugging us back to the truth that we need to tell.



Betsy Graziani Fasbinder has been a writer her entire life, and began to share her work with others in her early forties. She has been a licensed therapist for 25 years. Her debut novel, Fire & Water has been honored with an honorary mention in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York Book Festivals. An excerpted chapter of Filling Her Shoes was published in Women’s Day Magazine. Betsy lives in Marin County, California with her husband, Tom, in their intermittently empty nest. They just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Their old dog, Edgar (Edgar Allan Paw) is her most faithful writing companion.

Trainer, Leadership Consultant, Marriage Family Therapist

Twitter @BetsyGFasbinder


March Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All- March 9, 2017

Donna Stoneham

Critical Keys for Thriving as a Writer

March 9, 2017

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

Have you held yourself back from getting a book out into the world because you feared rejection?  Have you ever considered that you might be as afraid to succeed as you are to fail?

In her book, The Thriver’s Edge:  Seven Keys to Transform the Way You Live, Love and Lead, transformational leadership expert and executive coach Dr. Donna Stoneham show readers how to move from surviving to thriving.  Through personal stories, case studies of clients, and sharing what she’s learned over her twenty-five-year coaching and teaching career, Donna discusses why people are as afraid to succeed as they are to fail.  Using her THRIVER model, she creates a path to help readers uncover the beliefs and fears that hold them back from more fully expressing their potential, then provides tools and reflection questions for how to break those obstacles and create the life they yearn to live.  Practical, applicable, and transformative, The Thriver’s Edge is a “coach in a book” that teaches readers to unleash their potential, fulfill their dreams, and offer their best to the world.

In this webinar, Donna will discuss the fears that hold writers back.  She will provide practical tools to break through those fears by applying some of the keys to thriving from her book.  You will learn:

  • About the Jonah Complex and why many of us fear success as much as failure.
  • How to tune into and leverage your inner champion and the soul-tenders in your life, rather than the inner-critic and the doubt-planters that seek to hold you back.
  • Skillful ways to manage your inner critic when it rears its ugly head.
  • What it takes to create and sustain the resilience you need as a writer.
  • Ways to deepen self-trust and follow your inner compass.
  • How to live “at cause” versus “at effect” in your writing career.

Bio:  About Donna Stoneham, Ph.D.

Donna Stoneham, PhD, is a master executive coach, transformational leadership expert, facilitator, author, spiritual activist and speaker.

For the past twenty-five years, Donna has helped several thousand Fortune 1000 and not-for-profit leaders, teams, and organizations unleash their power to thrive™ and create powerful results in their work and lives through her company, Positive Impact, LLC (  Donna holds a Ph.D. with a concentration in Learning and Change in Human Systems from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is a certified Integral Coach®.

Donna is the author of the award-winning book, The Thriver’s Edge: Seven Keys to Transform the Way You Live, Love, and Lead (finalist in National Indie Best Book Awards, USA Best Book Awards, and International Book Awards) and named by Buzz Feed as “Nine Awesome Books for Your Kick-Ass Career.” She’s a contributor in two books, The Coaching Code and Ask Coach (October, 2016). (  As one of the world’s leading coaches, Donna will be featured in the upcoming full length documentary, Leap! The Coaching Movie ( (2017).  Donna is working on her next book, 52 Weeks to Thrive (2018) and a book of resistance poetry that will be released in 2017.

Donna has written for the International Journal of Coaches in Organizations, TD Magazine, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, and The Globe and Mail.  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Huffington Post and has been a guest on ABC, NBC, and Fox affiliates, Sirius Radio, IHeartRadio and on numerous radio shows throughout the US.

Take Donna’s thriver quiz:  or follow her on Facebook: or Twitter @DonnaStoneham.


Audio and webinar recording below:

MP3 File



What Does Self-discovery Have to do With Memoir Writing? | August Member Teleseminar

NAMW Member Teleseminar with Jackie Swensen

August 22, 2014



Jackie small

Many memoir writers come to their stories from having journaled much of their lives, so we are pleased to offer an expert on journaling and healing to present this August member teleseminar, Jackie Swensen.

Memoir writing requires a host of narrative skills to transform a person’s memories into something that appeals to a wide audience. For example, a sharp eye for detail, a sensitivity to nuances and subtleties of expression, and the kind of empathy that can make even flawed characters sympathetic. Memoir writers also need tenacity to keep digging for truth, especially when faced with a tangled web of conflicting stories. To accomplish that feat requires a high level of self-knowledge.

Society doesn’t really encourage self-reflection and most Americans think of themselves as doers, people of action. So action often trumps reflection. But memoir writers must reflect on a subject purposefully to understand the mysteries of human behavior. In over 20 years as a psychoanalyst, I’ve found journaling to be an effective tool for reflection and self-discovery, and for gaining insights into others. Journaling has proven to be a valuable resource for many of my clients, and so I created Journal to Health™ in order to introduce it to a wider audience.

We will discuss:
• The intellectual underpinnings of self-knowledge
• Freud’s self-analysis, which he conducted by writing
• The value of journaling as seen by a psychoanalyst
• Why I developed Journal to Health™: A Site for Self-Discovery
• How a daily journaling exercise can help memoir writers tune into themselves

Jacqueline Swensen is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. She is a board and faculty member of the Center for Human Development, a psychoanalytic institute. Jackie is the founder of Journal to Health: A Site for Self-Discovery, which is an online journaling website that launched on June 1. The member’s journals are password-protected and encrypted, can be organized by topic and subtopic, which makes it ideal for memoir writers. It is easy-to-use, customizable and includes a Discovery section that will spur your creativity and give you a place to rejuvenate your mind and your spirit.

We hope you can join us live for this discussion, and bring your questions with you. If you are a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers, you will be able to join the call and receive the audio. To learn more about becoming a member and receiving all the benefits of members, please visit our web site


Crowdfunding for Books | Amanda Barbara, Pubslush, Sonia Marsh, Kathy Pooler

Roundtable Discussion–Free for all

July 10, 2014


With the new publishing models—digital platforms, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing, authors need to find the funds to support their book project. As you all know, writing is simply the first step in getting a book into readers’ hands. Good books require several rounds of editing, which costs money. Professionally designed covers and interior need to be funded, whether it’s a team you hire or a service provided by a professional publishing company. For years now, writers have had to create and manage their own book marketing fees, hire a publicist, and provide the fees to enter book contests.

To meet the needs of writers, Pubslush has created a platform that supports your ability to presell your book, and get the word out to your community before your book is released.

Amanda Barbara, VP of Pubslush and two of our own NAMW members, Sonia Marsh and Kathy Pooler, both of whom have successfully funded their books, will join us on this call. Be sure to call in live so you can ask questions and learn how to take the next steps to launch your book, create a professional product, and have a successful book. To read more about Pubslush, click here.

On this Roundtable, we will discuss
• What crowdfunding is and why it’s important for authors
• Why Amanda created Pubslush and how it’s working for authors
• How and when you can start your own Pubslush campaign for your book
• Sonia Marsha and Kathy Pooler will discuss how Pubslush has helped them

Listen to the Recording

Download Mp3

Amanda Barbara

Amanda Barbara is the VP &Cofounder of Pubslush a global crowdfunding platform for the literary world. A philanthropist at heart, she serves on the board of directors for the Pubslush Foundation, which supports children’s literacy initiatives worldwide, and is a founder and director of The Barbara Family Foundation, an organization committed to assisting charities and children in need. Amanda is member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and is an advocate for crowdfunding in the publishing world. She has spoken at conferences–Writer’s Digest, Exceptional Women in Publishing, Crowdfunding East Conference, and the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit.

Sonia Author PhotoTurquoise Small
Sonia Marsh is the award-winning author of the travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island and founder of the “My Gutsy Story®” series. The first anthology in that series, My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, was a silver honoree in the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards. Sonia offers “gutsy” book coaching. Contact:



Kathleen Pooler‘s memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse and sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir show how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.  Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: @kathypooler;
Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey:;



Following the Yellow Brick Road of Memoir Writing |Marla Miller


Marla Miller

Member Teleseminar

Friday May 16, 2014

11 AM 12 PM   1 PM 2 PM

When you write a memoir, you’re caught up in a journey about your life, a journey that you try to capture in your book, but you can’t exactly predict the plot of this even though you know “what happened.” As you sketch out your memories, at first you think about your whole life, and can get overwhelmed with so many memories. But to write a memoir, you need to select and hone your memories, themes, and ideas and think about not only “what happened” but what the takeaway is for the reader.

The difference between memoir and autobiography can be a challenge to sort out. In memoir writing/storytelling, the theme is the ‘prize’ that writers need to keep as a focus.

What is theme? It’s the focus, the point of your story, the ‘feeling’ that propels the forward motion of your memoir. The ‘clothesline’ image is helpful:  Think of theme as a clothesline and then make sure all your scenes hang from it.

What you will learn in this teleseminar:

Autobiography vs memoir: what is the difference?

Story sequence/scenes in Autobiography: Linear story telling

Story sequence/scenes in memoir: Inciting incident

Scene in memoirs: What do you include?

Recollections that serve the memoir theme

Why “less is more” in memoir storytelling

Themes: The Heart of Memoir


Against All Odds

David vs. Goliath


Good vs. Evil

Bring your questions to this informative and important teleseminar–learn the secrets of success from an experienced editor and marketer, Marla Miller! If you are not a member  yet, check out the list of membership benefits here.


Marla Miller’s freelance writing career began 25 years ago: her talk show at KUCI ran for 8 years. Her book All American Girls, U.S Women’s National Soccer Team was published by Simon & Schuster. Since 2003, she’s been leading MarketingtheMuse Workshops at writers’ conferences. She’s co-author of the eBook, Days Gone By: Barnaby Conrad’s Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and Deadly Little Secrets. Marla works with many memoir authors. Testimonials  can be found at

Southern California Writers Conference, workshop leader-2005-present.

Santa Barbara Writers Conference: Assistant Director, 2005-2009, workshop leader, 2003-present; Writer’s Digest Conference: Pitch Witch Bootcamp, 2013

Co-host: Indie Author, a Google+ OnAir show that spotlights ‘indie authors’ works and marketing strategies, 2013-present.

Host: Launching in May, 2014, Google+OnAir show, Literary Salon: Learning Prose From the Pros. The interview format show spotlights authors – from both traditional and indie -who discuss the path to publication.. Confirmed: Jane Smiley, Suzanne Redfearn, Caitlin Rother & Janis Thomas.

Website: Google+ Marla Miller’s MarketingtheMuse

Google + Literary Salon: Learning Prose from the Pros

Twitter: @writersMAMA Facebook: Marla Miller’s MarketingtheMuse: Hooking Readers; LinkedIn: Marla Miller







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