Public Memoir Roundtables

5 Things You Need to know To Become an Award Winning Author

March 6, 2014  Roundtable Discussion

Linda Bello Ruiz, Gold Medal Prize Winner

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

 Linda LBR

Linda (Cassells) Bello-Ruiz has written an award-winning memoir From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope. Originally from Redwood Valley, CA. She co-founded and directed The House of Hope in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Having never written a book, Linda did not she see herself as a “writer.”  She had to navigate a steep learning curve to achieve her dream. Not only did she work hard on her book—I coached her through the writing journey—Linda had to learn about how to present her book to the world and the various options/stages of publication. She worked hard in unfamiliar territory to achieve her well-deserved award, just as she worked hard in Costa Rica against all odds to create a safe haven for lost girls.

In this informative teleseminar, you will learn about the five things that helped Linda win her award.

  1. Perseverance against all odds—and passion for her subject
  2. How she assessed her audience
  3. The journey of finding her voice
  4. The editing and revision steps
  5. Her support team


BookFront cover LBR jpg

Linda is the author of From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope, which won the Gold Medal Award in the 2013 Illuminations Book Awards (Memoir Division).  Linda’s memoir tells the story of her remarkable journey from the darkness of despair and crushed dreams to the creation of a house of hope. A story about redemption, faith and purpose as she picked up the pieces of her crushed dreams and went on to co-found and direct The House of Hope for street girls, runaways and underage prostitutes in San Jose, Costa Rica. Linda earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior from USF and a master’s degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University, and worked as a bilingual vocational rehabilitation counselor in Santa Rosa, California for twenty-six years. The mother of four grown children, she divides her time between Lincoln, California and Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico. She is active in RotaryInspire Christian Writers, the Northern California Publishers and Authors Association, and is president of the Lincoln Hills Authors Resource Group.


 FREE March Roundtable with Linda Bello Ruiz

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Who Am I Now? The Changing Self in Memoir | Roundtable Discussion, Mark Matousek

 Mark Matousek

February 6, 2014


 Free Teleseminar–Sign up below to get the call-in number.

One major challenge in memoir writing is the self changes over time.  Who you (or your narrator) were 30 years ago is not who you are today; not even your cells are the same (we get a whole new body of cells every seven years); so who is this “I” who’s telling this story?  Linda Joy Myers and Mark Matousek will be talking about how to work with the shifting psyche in memoir and how your choice of self (who you were 30 years in the past?  Or yesterday?) shapes the truth of your story.  We will discuss the connection between self and imagination, and how imagination helps inform memory.


 None of us has only one voice; we all house many characters who evolve, appear, and disappear over time.  Just as there is no solid self, there is no solid, monolithic story—as all memoir writers know.  

“Do I contradict myself?” asked Walt Whitman in “Leaves of Grass.”

 “Very well, then I contradict myself./I am large./I contain multitudes.”  

We’ll examine the paradox of self, memory, and imagination in this conversation.


What you’ll learn:

— How to locate the self who can tell your story

— The importance of context and temporal frame in focusing this self  

— How to work with contradictions between past self and present self in memoir

— The connection between imagination and memory in the changing self

— The fluid nature of truth as we evolve over time


Mark Matousek is the author of two award-winning memoirs, Sex Death, Enlightenment: A True Story (an international bestseller) and The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search For His Lost Father (Los Angeles Times Discovery Book), as well as When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living and Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life.  A featured blogger for Psychology Today, Purple Clover, Huffington Post, he has contributed to numerous anthologies and publications including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine (contributing editor), The New York Times Magazine, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and many others. A popular lecturer and writing teacher, he is the Creative Director of V-Men (with Eve Ensler), an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls. His latest book is Ethical Wisdom for Friends.


Psychology Today Interview with Mark Matousek and Linda Joy Myers

Click here to read interview.

Click here to listen to podcast.




 February Roundtable with Mark Matousek

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Storyboarding Your 2014 Vision | Free NAMW Roundtable Discussion

 New years

 The dream changes at midnight….

from “New Year 2002” by Amy Christman

 Roundtable Discussion January 9, 2014


We begin each year filled with hope and possibilities for delicious outcomes, manifested visions, actualized goals. This will be the year our books will complete, we will build websites, we will master social media! Then, usually before the calendar page turns to February, “real life” descends and we’ve lost that oomph.

I’m so pleased to have as our guest my friend and veteran journaler, visionary, and presenter, Kathleen (Kay) Adams! She is a master of creating new methods to help writing emerge and become real on the page, to invite healing through writing personal stories. Through her books, workbooks, and workshops, Kay has helped train and teach hundreds, even thousands of people through the years, to find their voice, and to invite writing as a way to the inside of their story and their hearts.

In this lively teleworkshop, you’ll learn proven strategies and techniques to “storyboard” your vision for the new year. You’ll be guided to–

  • conceptualize a vision for 2014
  • build the bridge from “here” to “there”
  • draw the map that will help you cross the bridge
  • discover the power of accountability
  • “jump time” to embed and embody successful outcome

Bring your journals or notebooks and come ready to start your own storyboard for success in 2014!


Kay Adams head-shot-205-small1-257x300

Kathleen (Kay) Adams LPC, CJT is the CEO/Director of the Center for Journal Therapy, Inc. and its professional training division, the fully online Therapeutic Writing Institute. She spent 2013 actualizing her vision for the Journalverse, an online learning community for journal writers and facilitators worldwide. Kay is the author/editor of nine books on therapeutic writing, including the best-selling Journal to the Self and the just-released Expressive Writing: Foundations of Practice. She has never quite grasped the difference between work and play.

Roundtable Discussion: Immersion Writing—A Field Guide and Discussion | Robin Hemley


December 5, 2013


I’m so pleased to have Robin Hemley back with us again for our Roundtable Discussion! I admire Robin’s work, and have read several of his books. In fact they are dog-eared and underlined, and I refer to them often. Turning Your Life Into Fiction is friendly readable compilation of stories, tips, and guidance for the memoir writer and for the writer who wants to adapt personal stories into fiction. His memoir Nola is poetic, inspiring, and tragic, an example of how a memoirist can create a unique, emotionally honest, and relatable memoir. You must read it.

A Field Guide for Immersion Writing is his most recent book, and during our discussion, we are going to journey with him into the world of memoir, journalism, and travel as we examine the different angles we can use to tease out our stories. Immersion writing is a way to be in the world as a participant-observer, and delight in the experience and flow of a place, people, and culture while keeping an eye toward what will make a good story. We are the writer and the observer all at once.

We will discuss several kinds of immersion writing:

  • Immersion journalism
  • Immersion memoir
  • Travel writing

These can be looked at through the lens of

  • Quest
  • Experiment
  • Investigation
  • Reenactment
  • Infiltration

Please join us for an interesting and exciting tour of a kind of nonfiction writing that may be new to you. Thinking about writing stories through the lens of immersion memoir can open you to new ways to view the world and write about it.

Robin Hemley directs the Writing Program at Yale-NUS College in Singapore and is the author of eleven books of nonfiction and fiction and the winner of many awards including a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, The Nelson Algren Award for Fiction from The Chicago Tribune, The Story Magazine Humor Prize, as well as three Pushcart Prizes in both fiction and nonfiction.  His popular craft book, Turning Life into Fiction, has sold over 80,000 copies and is now in its fourth printing with Graywolf Press. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and elsewhere and he frequently teaches creative writing workshops around the world. 

His memoir, NOLA: A Memoir of Faith, Art, and Madness was reissued by The University of Iowa Press in 2013.  He is the founder and organizer of NonfictioNow a biennial conference that will convene next at Northern Arizona University in October of 2015. 


December Roundtable with Robin Hemley

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Virtual Book Party! Times They Were A’Changing—Women Remember the ’60s & 70’s

Just Released from She Writes Press! Women’s Memoir Essays about the ’60s and ’70s

October 10, 2013


Today at NAMW we are celebrating the release of the anthology Times They Were A’Changing—Women Remember the ’60s and ’70s.





The editors of this powerful anthology about the ’60s and ’70s invite you to join our celebration! Lift a glass of virtual—or real—champagne and join in our discussion with guest authors and the editors of the anthology Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers, and Amber Lea Starfire.


The women in these powerful stories rode the sexual revolution with new found freedom, struggled for identity in divorce courts and boardrooms, and marched in the streets. They trampled the taboos, and felt the pain and joy of the amazing breakthrough era of the ’60s and ’70s. Where were you then? What do you remember?





Guests and Speakers


From Sheila Bender, author of the inspiring Foreword to the book.

“During the ’60s and ’70s, in every part of our country, women were waking up to their power, intelligence, right to succeed in life and opportunities to contribute their gifts without inhibition.  The road ahead was not a smooth one. It was fraught with conflict between offspring and their parents, between students and teachers, and between those questioning the status quo and traditionally civic-minded people. Many women felt conflict between who they were raised and trained to believe they would be and who they wanted to become.”

Our guests today include:


  • etgen-baker headshot aSara Etgen Baker “September Wind”—First place prize prose winner

Sara’s love for words began when, as a young girl, her mother read the dictionary to her every night. A teacher’s unexpected whisper, “You’ve got writing talent,” ignited her writing desire.


  • Rhonda Baker50 years oldRhonda Rae Baker “Stranger to Myself”

 Rhonda is a voracious reader of memoir, literature, self-improvement, and fiction. She began writing creative nonfiction to share the legacy of her life through lessons learned


  • JBarrington-3thumbnailJudith Barrington “To Change the World: London 1972”

Judith Barrington was born in Brighton, England in 1944, and moved to the United States in 1976. Although she has made her home in Oregon since then, she gives readings and workshops each year in Europe.


  • Jill Taft KauffmanJill Taft Kaufmann “A Berkeley Spring”

Jill Taft-Kaufman went to Mills College then to Berkeley to complete her Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. She’s a professor at Central Michigan University where she still feels passionate about her teaching.


  • Carol DerfnerCarol Derfner “In the Family Way”

Carol Derfner’s writing career began with poetry in the ’70s. Currently she is producing short fiction and personal essays, as well a long-form memoir related to her life in Alaska in the 1960s and 1970s.

Watch the video interview of Linda Joy’s inspiration to create the anthology about the 60’s and 70s. Interview with Matilda Butler of Women’s Memoirs.


The editors: Kate Farrell, Amber Lea Starfire, and Linda Joy Myers










Kate Farrell is founder of Wisdom Has a Voice memoir project and edited Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother (2011). Farrell is president of Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter.

Amber Lea Starfire is the author of Week by Week: A Year’s Worth of Journaling Prompts & Meditations (2012) and Not the Mother I Remember, due for release in the fall of 2013.

Linda Joy Myers is president of National Association of Memoir Writers, and the author of Don’t Call Me Mother, The Power of Memoir, and Journey of Memoir. Becoming Whole—Writing Your Healing Story was a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. She co-teaches the program Write Your Memoir in Six Months.


Virtual Book Party!


Times They Were A’Changing—Women Remember the ’60s & 70′s

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What people are saying about the book:

This marvelous anthology shows the vital role outrider women played in changing our world—often overlooked, they were the heart of the ‘60s revolution.

–Brenda Knight, author of Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution

We lived in the Haight Ashbury and Bourbon Street and the high plains of Oklahoma. We wore hip-huggers, tie-dyes, military uniforms, and fringed ponchos embroidered with peace signs. We danced and marched and organized and loved and broke all the rules. We were changing, and we changed the world. I love this book because it is written by women who were on the scene—and such a scene it was! If you were there, it will remind you of those remarkable years. If you weren’t, you’ll be amazed and delighted and proud of the brave women who have written these stories and poems. Thank you, lovely women, for telling us about it!

—Susan Wittig Albert, author of A Wilder Rose, and founder of Story Circle Network

Times They Were A-Changing is the book long missing from the packed second wave feminism shelf. Finally, the women you never heard from are speaking in their own powerful voices about how each in her own way and in places you might never imagine pushed America toward greater equality and justice. If you are a woman over a certain age, you will find yourself in this book’s stories. If you are a woman of any other age, you will find your own story informed and enriched by these beautifully written, honest, and evocative essays. 

–Gloria Feldt, Co-Founder and President of Take the Lead, Author, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, former President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Times They Were A’Changing anthology challenges us to see past the clichés of the ’60s and ’70s to see the unique experiences of young people who were rebelling against their parents’ teachings to reinvent not just themselves—but the whole world. The pieces in this anthology open a window into a fascinating, important time, seen through the eyes of those who lived it.  This collection lets us look back and see the era with wisdom, humor, power, and grace.

–Jerry Waxler, Author of The Memoir Revolution and the blog Memory Writers Network.



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