Beauty and Chivalry: The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball by Lisa Eveleigh

Beauty-and-ChivalryBrussels, June 1815. The Duke of Wellington was marshalling the Allied forces in readiness to fight Napoleon, who had escaped from Elba in February that year. The many British living in the city at the time were enjoying cricket matches, race-meetings and picnics despite the threat of war.

On the fifteenth, the ambitious Charlotte, Duchess of Richmond, held what was to become the most famous Ball in history, since it was interrupted by the news that Napoleon had attacked the Prussian army earlier that day. Pale girls in lily-hued dresses said tearful goodbyes to sweethearts and brothers who raced from the ballroom to battlefields of the Waterloo campaign with terrifying speed when the news broke.

Published to coincide with the Waterloo bicentenary, the book recounts the experiences of those at the ball, and the surprising coincidence that Wellington’s despatch was presented to the Prince Regent at another ball, six momentous days later.

Targeted Age Group:: 12+

What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The bicentenary of Waterloo in 2015, and the beauty and pathos of the Duchess of Richmond’s famous ball

[Read more…]

Loveyoubye: Holding Fast, Letting Go, And Then There’s The Dog by Rossandra White

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
When my husband of twenty-five years started disappearing for weeks at a time without explanation or apology (stonewalling me at every turn), I hung tight. I loved him. There was too much at stake. So I started writing about it. I poured all my hurt, anger, and confusion onto the page. Articulating my feelings gave me a sense of release and power.

I love what Linda Joy Myers has to say about writing memoir. “It draws on all aspects of who we are, body, mind and soul. We are challenged to dig deep, to remember, and once again inhabit the skin of who we were and what we have learned. Writing memoir is an act of testimony, witnessing, healing. When you write a memoir, you draw upon layers of your consciousness and discover your true nature, your essential self, and are transformed by the process.”

But then came publication. Could I actually lay my life out there for all to see? It took a lot of anguishing, but I finally realized that I had to complete my journey out into the light of day. I had to claim it and set it free.

About your Book:
Rossandra White’s compelling memoir takes the reader from her childhood, early marriage, and motherhood in Zambia, to emigration to the United States at the age of 22. Her story reflects fierce and evolving cultures and the changing landscapes of women’s roles from the turbulent apartheid era of the 1960s to the 21st Century and her newfound independence. This is a story about the power of choice in shaping a woman’s identity and forging a meaningful life.

The story opens when Rossandra finds a cryptic, hastily-written note on the kitchen counter from her American husband. “Gone to Mexico, Adios.” He returns weeks later, offering few details about where he went. This sequence of events has played out before. But this time is different. A subsequent confluence of crises rattles Rossandra’s core, shedding light on the dark elements of their marriage.

In South Africa, land of her birth, Rossandra’s brother, whose physical and mental disabilities have stricken her with a lifetime of guilt, needs her help, and she answers the call. She returns to California where her dog Sweetpea, who for years has served as a vital emotional link between Rossandra and her husband, has begun to succumb to a fatal illness.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
After much research, I decided to go with She Writes Press. The company offers a greater share of the profits, you own the rights to your book and have a greater say in the choice of your book cover. They also have an advertising arrangement.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
Writing this memoir was a soul searching journey for me, although I found that to be true to a lesser degree with my two YA novels, Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances. Whatever the genre, if the book is to have any meaning it will draw from the author’s life and have a universal application.

Author Bio:
Rossandra White, a fourth generation South African, spent the first twenty-two years of her life in Zambia where she ran around barefoot, learned to tell a log from a crocodile, and whistle through her tongue. She emigrated to America, married the American man of her dreams and moved to Laguna Beach, California where she wrote Monkey’s Wedding and Mine Dances, two YA novels based on her childhood.

And then her world fell apart when her marriage unraveled, along with a crisis back home in Africa and the worsening health of her beloved dog. Loveyoubye: Holding Fast, Letting Go, and Then There’s the Dog, her memoir, resulted as a way to heal the past and face the future. She still lives in Laguna Beach, California with her two Staffordshire Bull Terriers with whom she hikes the canyons and fights for space in her bed.

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The Neighbor by Allison Hilliard

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
I had found myself telling and re-telling this particular story to friends, family, and occasionally acquaintances. Many seemed intrigued and I was hoping to have a written account for my children anyway. So it just seemed natural to write it down.

About your Book:
When your child cries because of the cruelty of your neighbor, does the command to love them still matter? If so, what does that love look like? The Neighbor is a true story of one family’s attempt to follow seemingly easy commands such as “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do good to those who hate you.” Through a series of increasingly difficult encounters, a new neighbor quickly becomes an enemy. Life is turned upside down as the family realizes that loving one’s enemy, while a feel-good thought, can be life-altering and deeply painful. So painful in fact, that it can bring you to question the goodness and love of God. Through this messy journey, we see the path we are called to walk as followers of Christ is not meant to be easy. It’s not meant to be comfortable. But it is the way to the very heart of God.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I decided to publish so it would be easier to share the story with those that were interested. It is published through Vox Dei Publishing (an imprint of Booktrope).

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
This is my first book, so I’m not sure I can answer this question. But I would say that a memoir tends to read less formally and is written more like one would actually speak.

Author Bio:
Allison Hilliard spent 12 years facilitating a women’s bible study at her home church. She resides in the suburbs with her husband and their four children. You can connect with Allison online at http://www.allisonhilliard.wix.com/allison.

Website(s)
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My Hilarious Sex Life by Andy Halmay

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
Good question. Two experiences led to it.

A publisher had read a screenplay of mine and wanted me to give them a book adaptation. I lacked time and interest but they offered to have it ghost-written and still pay a decent royalty. They wrote it badly, I edited it and they ignored my edit. I gave them the cover layout and elements and they messed that up. Then they pulled a bogus bankruptcy and left me with bad taste in my mouth.

A few weeks later I had an incredibly funny experience with a dog in a park, felt compelled to write about it, and sent it to a friend in Hollywood who worked as a BBC stringer. She passed it on to one of my favorite comics of the 1960s who is still active and both of them urged me to find a publication for which I ought to write a similar piece on a weekly basis. I explained that this would be impossible since this was not fiction and such experiences don’t happen on a weekly basis.

As I read over my little article I realized I had done something interesting, writing diary notes that segued into mini-memoir. Since e-books had begun their ascent to popularity, I decided me to write and self-publish my autobiography which grew to over a million words with much of my life still to cover. I then decided to ‘mine’ the overly-long bio by zeroing in on certain periods of my 88 years and break it down by subjects.

To date this tack has produced IT AIN’T FINE IF IT DON’T RHYME (60 years of lyrics and my experiences in the music industry) GHOST TOWN (fictionalization of a strange experience in a real ghost town in Utah) 100 NAKED GIRLS (book adaptation of another of my screenplays with a postscript nearly as long as the story in which I detail the events that led to my writing of the screenplay) THE FIRST 85 YEARS ARE THE HARDEST, Volume I (my early life up to my early 20s) THE ZSA ZSA AFFAIR (coverage of three of my years on Madison Avenue in which I moved from abject poverty to huge success and a production of a TV commercial with Zsa Zsa with whom I subsequently partnered to plan a cosmetics company and now the provocative title for a humorous look at sex life. We have three children so I can’t be labeled as an 88 year old virgin.

About your Book:
As indicated above, it is a memoir that focuses on sex-related experiences (or near-experiences) often looked at through a lens that focuses on the humorous. One of the stories supports my claim to fame for having told a lover a line that had her laughing so hard she fell out of bed. Even Jerry Seinfeld with all his writers has probably never achieved as much.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I explained earlier how I decided to self-publish because e-books make it so easy. In the past I had found that trying to interest publishers and gaining an agent was a demeaning effort. Also, I met too many of them who struck as plain dumb. But after deciding to self-publish I developed ego problems and registered a publishing company, Veni Vici Books, making it a division of my Veni Vici Entertainment Inc., which covers, film, TV, music publishing and a record label, Tibor Music. Later I discovered a wonderful writer which gave me my first real publishing effort by publishing LUCCA’S STORIES, a collection of her pieces. Now, as a publisher without a staff, I have great plans including for audio books which will have me install an in-house recording studio because I was weaned in radio – did my first radio network drama with Leslie Nielsen and recorded my first radio commercial with Monty Hall – all back in the 1940s.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
The differences, of course, are obvious. The memoir requires a lot of digging in one’s memory, which, amazingly improves as you go along, while in fiction I let my imagination take off to let the characters I create develop the story to entertain and surprise me. I wrote a screenplay – The American Healys – in the 1990s which combined the two approaches. It was based on the true story of an Irishman who came to Georgia in the early 1800s, defied slavery laws and married a slave girl with whom he had nine children who, in turn, became enormously accomplished. The eldest became America’s first black bishop, the second, president of Georgetown University, the third lad became a legendary sea captain; one of the girls became a mother superior, a younger son, a priest, served at the Vatican and the youngest, a rebel in this ecclesiastic family, became a professional gambler. Here I had months of research, then fleshing out the characters, then creating two fictitious contemporary character to narrate the story and in a sense, I injected myself into the Healy family which found me writing as though I were writing biography. I didn’t work at it so much as I let it happen. When people reach my age and still have a mind left, the tendency is to have everything that we see or that happens to us remind us of something in the past. More than half the pieces or chapters, if you will, in this collection combine diary notes with mini-memoir. Over the few years that I have been into this, I found myself recalling things from early childhood that I had completely forgotten. And as my brain got into the habit of digging in the past a really strange thing occurred one day. I used to always have trouble recalling people’s names and, having moved a great number of times, I never bothered trying to recall old street addresses. One day, as I started to fill out a form with my address, I found myself typing an address in Queens, New York where we had lived from 1954 to 1960. If I had been offered a million dollars to recall that address a day or two before, I couldn’t have done it. Writing one’s own life may be medically beneficial. I have found myself reliving experiences of decades ago and sometimes getting a new perspective on events of the past that I had failed to gain in those earlier years. It also helps to get to know oneself better. I would recommend to all retired men and women to write their life stories. It would be of help to future members of their family doing genealogical searches and it might even stave off dementia or Alzheimer’s. The brain is like the rest of the body. The more we use it the stronger its muscles.

Author Bio:
Born in Romania in a twenty room mansion built by my grandmother, who had been widowed and left destitute with two little girls under the age of three, who trained herself as a designer and became the top couturiere in our little cultural center of Eastern Austria, sometimes called “Little Vienna.” Mother was Austrian, dad Hungarian. I grew up with Romanian, German, French and Hungarian.

Came to Canada at age 12 and was doing radio work and theater in English without an accent in less than five years. Had a whirlwind career in radio before the advent of TV; worked as a TV pioneer, acting, writing, directing producing. Was lured into advertising and moved to New York and Madison Avenue where I found myself overpaid and underworked which led to filling time writing songs and recording. Ended up with 30 releases on most major labels with artists such as Paul Simon, Carl Perkins, Fred Neil, Lillian Briggs, Eddie Fontaine, etc. On Madison Avenue I peaked as VP Creative on America’s biggest TV spot account, won five awards for creative excellence but tired of it all eventually and decided to take early retirement in Baja, Mexico to fish, grow my own foods and write books. On the way down I stopped off in Hollywood to see if I could open any doors and pitched four TV programs to King World Productions which picked up three of them – which ended the retirement plans. Settled in Sherman Oaks at Horace Heidt’s Magnolia Estates surrounded by the greatest collection of retired showbiz folks including Helen Forrest (who used to sing with Harry James and Benny Goodman, Roberta Sherwood on my left, Sid Kuller on my right – he had been chief writer on one of the top comedy shows, had written for Bob Hope, the Ritz Brothers, bla bla bla; then Pat Buttram moved in with that crazy country voice he used on Green Acres. He inspired me to establish a new musical genre – Country Rap – but I couldn’t get him into a studio – he said he was retired and wouldn’t work any more. He died that same year. I had sold TV scripts in the early days of TV and later had others optioned by HBO and ABC-TV. At this point I was introduced to Howard Minsky who had produced Love Story which saved Paramount from bankruptcy. He hired me to write a screenplay about polo and later we partnered on The American Healys. My mother in Toronto broke a hip which found me moving up to look after her. Here I applied to CRTC, Canada’s FCC for a licence for a cable channel I called The Global Village Theatre Channel. They awarded the license but my plans for original programming were too ambitious to be supported by Canada’s limited market so I incorporated in the U.S. with plans to concurrently launch the channel in both countries (I’m a dual citizen of both) U.S. cable operators weren’t interested in the channel and I let the license expire to concentrate on indie films and TV programs, adding the music and book divisions later.

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Unconditional. Based in the true story of a metanoia by MaitriLorenzo Ventura

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
I was doing a meditational retreat, re-evaluating my life and looking for “what to do next”, as my life was in a crossing point. During the meditations in the 21 days retreat I got the idea of writting it, which funny enough as a child I also thought I would write books when I would be older, but forgot about it.

About your Book:
Martha was not born just to sit down and see her life passing in front of her eyes as watching a movie. She had to play a role in her life where she was the main character, but she had to decide what kind of movie she wanted to be living in and for that, she goes through a journey of changing her own mind, concepts, heart, self and ways of life. She meets a friend who gives her advices, driving her slowly to change her perception and concepts in life. Her friend always insists that whatever psychic power might show up in ourselves is not something that belongs to only one person but to everybody, because it is a part of our nature. The only difference is how much we believe in them and our self-confidence. However, adversity is part of life and she will have to deal with it if she wants to develop skills that will be needed to continue her journey.
She travelled to different countries from where she enriched her being and learnt that when life does not go in the way we want, we should not blame our past and get stuck, but to look for a different path that suits better our aims in life. She had experiences which showed her about the power of the mind and of thoughts.
She worked as a volunteer in a catholic mission in Mexico and one year later went traveling to Central America till she decided it was the time to continue with her destiny of going to India. There, she worked also as a volunteer for Mother Theresa, but something happened which created the point of no return and changed her life again. It goes through basic topics – children, friendship, relationships, education, work, money – as well as spiritual ones – faith, intuition, God, inner self, psychic phenomena, past lives – becoming a story for people who know there’s more in life than doing the same things like all the others. It´s just about the essential wisdom of listening to our inner self and following our dreams, about being brave, taking risks, daring to do something when people are always telling you not to.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
Nowdays it seems like everybody is writting books. For beginners, there is no other chance than self-publish. But also as beginners, we have no idea of how to do all the promotion.
I had to Google, and still I have to, just to be able to get some ideas.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
There is a mixture of things here. On one side, it´s like confessing your “most inner secrets” to the world. On the other side, the readers can identify themselves with the stories, because they are real. And going further, is like cleansing the interior of the things one might not have been able to “vomit” before.
And as it´s a reflection of one´s life, the memory is refreshed and also gives you the chance to give thanks to all that people who crossed in your life and you forgot they had such an influence in yours.

Author Bio:
May studied Teacher Training in a catholic university in Alcalá (Madrid) and also got training as Leader and Director of Free Time Activities.
Worked as a volunteer teaching children for the Catholic Holy First Communion, as well as in Caritas, in the Boy-Scouts of Spain and Venezuela, in a Catholic Mission in Mexico, for a NGO for Street Children in Oaxaca-Mexico, a NGO for Indigenous People in Ayutla-Mexico and with Mother Theresa in Calcutta-India.
She worked in a Farm School in Alcalá, as Leader, Director and Administrator for the summer school of an International School, and in different schools as school teacher and with very small children in a Crèche in London. Teaching later for adults in Japan and England.
She learnt different massages in Thailand, India, Japan, England and Spain, and lived basically in India for 12 years attending philosophy and spiritual teachings and seminars, doing spiritual retreats in India and Nepal, at the same time that learnt and shared with shamans in those countries and in Latin-America and Philippines. She learnt Tibetan Medicine with a teacher of Ment-See-Khan in Dharamsala, Reiki in Nepal, Tarot Card Reading in Guatemala, ESP Development (Extra Sensory Perception) with Jaime Licauco in the Philippines and Intuition with teachers from different countries.
She gave lectures and seminars in different themes like Energy Work, Aura Reading, Healing (Crystal, Energy, Past lives, Tibetan), Intuition and Shamanism, in Barcelona (Spain), and gave a talk in the radio.
Currently she is working in Germany giving massages and as Lebensberater, Psychologischer Berater (TMI), Hypnotiseurin (TMI), and does tarot cards readings and clairvoyance.

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We Never Left You by Beth and Rick Olsen

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
In July of 1999 our family was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver. Our two children were killed in the accident. Within a week of the accident we knew that someday we would be writing a book. The experiences that we had in that first year after the accident helped us to understand and heal. We have been able to share those experiences over the years with people in need. The hope and healing that people received from hearing of your experiences has been overwhelming. We knew that we had to write this book in order to help more people.

About your Book:
After unspeakable tragedy, one couple must forge their own path to healing in the bittersweet true story, We Never Left You.
One moment, Beth and Rick Olsen were enjoying an ordinary life filled with all the joys and frustrations of raising their two children, Jessica and Joshua. The next moment, a drunk driver plowed through a red light at eighty miles per hour, hitting their van and changing everything.
The death of both their children launched Beth and Rick down a long and winding path toward simple survival—and eventual healing. As shock gave way to the cruel reality of their loss, they began receiving messages that proved the existence of life after death—a welcome sign that aided them in moving forward.
The Olsens soon attempted traditional healing methods but quickly found that counseling did nothing to help them get a grasp on their monumental loss. They then turned to nontraditional approaches—a decision that led them to Peru. It was there they finally began to undergo the immense physical, mental, and emotional changes that allowed them to understand everything—including the accident—happens for a reason.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
We worked with a ghost writer who had written several best selling books. She was in the process of changing over to self-publishing and encouraged us to do the same. We liked the control and freedom that self-publishing afforded us. We published our book through Create Space, the self-publishing arm of Amazon.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
This is our first published book and we have no experience with writing other genres. That being said, the biggest issue we had with writing this memoir was exposing our thoughts and feelings. We constantly struggled with what to put in and what to leave out. What would people think of this? If we didn’t put this in how will it impact the story? Even on the day we were supposed to publish the book my wife was still struggling with how people would receive the book.

Author Bio:
Beth and Rick Olsen, married since 1987, experienced unimaginable loss when their two children were killed by a drunk driver in 1999. We Never Left You is their story of healing, written to help others who have suffered tragedy. The Olsens now live in Glenbeulah, Wisconsin, with their three children.

Andrea Cagan has been writing, ghostwriting, collaborating, and editing for over twenty years. She has had more than twelve books appear on bestseller lists, including four that were number-one New York Times and LA Times bestsellers. Over the years, she has specialized in topics of social value and worked with celebrities such as Magic Johnson, Marianne Williamson, and Grace Slick

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Impossible Beyond This Point by Joel Horn

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
My parents wrote the first books after years of people asking “why did you move there?” and “how did you do It?”
I put the two books together and filled in my vision of how it was growing up.

About your Book:
This editorial review from the local paper did a great synopsis.

The 371-page narrative combines writings by the late Virgil Horn, his wife, Marcella, and their youngest son, Joel, chronicling the true family story of life forged on a remote mining claim up the North Fork of the Trinity River in the 1960s.

The book’s title comes from an early jest by Virgil Horn suggesting that a U.S. Forest Service sign was misspelled at the start of a faint trail down to the river warning that the route was “impassable beyond this point.”

Nearing 40, the poet, sculptor, jewelry artist, teacher and World War II veteran and his wife, Marcella, an organic vegetable farmer, packed their three young sons, the dogs, the chickens, geese, tomato seedlings, tools, food, bedding and other essentials into the old family station wagon and fabricated trailer for the 600-mile trek to begin life in the wilderness of Trinity County.

It was the early 1960s and the Southern California couple from Sylmar was in search of a place where they could live an independent life free of fear and from neighbors who’d report them to the city health department for keeping chickens. They learned of a mining claim for sale in Trinity County and the adventure began before they even cleared the Tehachapi Mountains out of Los Angeles.

Ignoring their well-meaning but pessimistic friends and acquaintances who predicted only doom and failure, they landed in a place where the only neighbor for many miles in any direction was an old hermit who’d lived on the river alone for 40 years prior to their arrival and freely shared his own dire warnings and predictions. They soon found themselves to be something of a curiosity to local townspeople in Junction City and Weaverville who mistook them for “hippies” and would make the drive up Hobo Gulch to check them out.

Many old-time Trinity County characters fill the pages, as do vivid descriptions of the rugged canyons and scenic wilderness that could hide danger without warning from a day out picking blackberries above the river to a night with rattlesnakes under the floor boards of the one-room shack the family slept in.

Told with humor and an old-time flair, the Horn family story is one of grit and ingenuity as it describes their struggles and successes in creating a home on the North Fork far above the old mining town of Helena west of Junction City. Just getting there involved a harrowing drive up the Hobo Gulch Road and then a daily toil up and down a rugged two-mile trail from where the road peters out to the river flat they called home.

The book spans a 20-year period beginning with the family’s first days and then years at the flat when winters were spent at a rented cabin in Denny where Virgil got a job teaching at the school which the boys attended. As improvements were made, the family was able to reside on the river flat year-round and the boys were homeschooled.

Several years were spent in fear that the mining claim would be rescinded by the U.S. Forest Service with inhabitants and all improvements ordered removed. Theirs was one that garnered a patent due to successful mineral testing and now belongs to the Horn family and heirs in perpetuity…
-Sally Morris The Trinity Journal

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
When Create Space was launched it could not be beat as a publishing option.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
You just rely on memory and have to keep in mind libel when writing about true characters.

Author Bio:
Barely five years old when his family moved from southern California to the wilderness, Joel Horn and his two brothers grew up in the rugged Trinity Alps, learning how to do the numerous and varied tasks necessary for survival while carving out a life in the remote paradise they dubbed the Flat. Living this self-reliant life and tutored by the best of teachers, their dad and hands-on experience, they achieved a level of self-sufficiency rarely seen in modern times.

Joel is a veteran with three deployments during his 20 years as a UH-1 and UH-60 crew chief in the California National Guard. Like his father, Joel is also an artist and jeweler and works from home in the family businesses, Horn’s Jewelry and Rock Climbing Jewelry. Joel continues to live on the Flat today, with his wife of nearly two decades and his brothers close by.

In his first book, Impossible Beyond This Point, Joel combines his parents’ writings with his own recollections to create a fascinating and entertaining account of the family’s struggle and triumph creating a self-sufficient life in the wilderness.

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I’d Rather Wear Pajamas by Chelsea Flagg

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
As the mother to three young girls, I started asking myself what do I want my daughters to know and learn about me? A big part of my self-discovery was just that: discovering. I wanted them to see that our lives don’t always pan out how we think they should, but when we find and follow our true paths, that’s where we’ll be our strongest selves.

About your Book:
Even though a butterfly could beat me up, I am strong and powerful in my own way. We are all capable of being strong. Sometimes, we’re just conditioning for it in the wrong way.”

Everybody has the awesome opportunity to find their own strength and path through life. Some come about their self-discoveries through studying and working hard. Others (Chelsea) spend their time nearly burning down kitchens and driving around the country with a car full of hangers.

Chelsea grew up wanting to be “strong.” She thought arguing her way through childhood and becoming a world-class attorney would get her there. But, through a series of humorous, and only slightly embarrassing events, Chelsea comes to realize that maybe her strength is meant to shine in different ways.

Spoiler alert: This book is secretly going to brainwash you into home birthing your children. No, I’m not kidding.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I really struggled with whether to go the traditional publishing route or to self publish. I ultimately chose to self publish, because I wanted full control of what happened to my story. One small example was my cover. I looked at a handful of different sites that offer stock-photo professional cover designs, but that just didn’t resonate with me and what I wanted for my book. In the end, I had the freedom to hand pick an illustrator who I adore, and she created the perfect cover for my story.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
I actually struggle to call my book a memoir. I mean, it is a memoir because it’s a story about me, but I like to view it more as a series of humorous essays. I don’t want it to sound historical or full of facts and dates, because it’s really not. At the end of the day, it’s a novella about a girl looking to find herself. That girl just also happens to be me.

Author Bio:
Chelsea was once obsessed with cats, longed to live in a big city, didn’t think she would ever have children, and aspired to be an attorney. She now lives in Boulder, Colorado as a stay-at-home mom with her husband and three daughters. She has no current plans to own a cat.

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Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse by Tracey Casciano

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
I was inspired to write this book after sharing my story and hearing someone tell me that I needed to share my journey of faith and forgiveness to help others.

About your Book:
If you have never been in an abusive situation your mind cannot comprehend the pain and terror that an abused child knows. In her heartbreaking story, Ms. Casciano shares the horrors she suffered as a child of an alcoholic mother and a father who sexually abused her. Against all odds, is the amazing story that this abuse did not define her as an adult as she found faith in God to help her forgive her parents. Her faith is an inspiration to even the most faithful among us.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I chose to have my book published with help from Westbow Press. It was great to have some support while still having control over my book.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
Writing a memoir is deeply personal and vulnerable for the author.

Author Bio:
Tracey is a passionate speaker and writer shining a light for Jesus. She shines that light through encouraging words as a blogger, speaker, and writer to help others who may be suffering or doubting themselves on their current path in life. After a childhood with an alcoholic mother and abusive father, her love for the Lord helped rise above her past. She is happily married and in the midst of raising four wonderful sons. Tracey has a background in Special Education, has been a missionary in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Join her blog at http://ephesians2v8.wordpress.com

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With Angel’s Wings by Stephanie Collins

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What inspired you to write your memoir?
I never intended to write a book, but in what felt like the blink of an eye, I went from being a young woman wrestling with a temperamental marriage to a single mother of an asthmatic, autistic toddler and an epileptic infant in heart failure. There were suddenly an overabundance of OMG moments, WTF moments, and “I can’t even remotely believe this is happening” moments. I began writing therapeutically because I would think, “Oh, I handled that horribly; I’m such a rotten mother.” But as I wrote, I found my recollections came in layers. I would first write what happened (like, the baby stopped breathing in my arms, but I didn’t start CPR right away as I should have). Then I’d remember, “oh yeah, this was going on, too” (like, the fact that I was a young, sleep-deprived, postpartum mother who had just bore witness to hours of failed IV attempts, was reeling over a rare, potentially fatal diagnosis, holding onto hope for survival, but not having any idea what that survival would actually mean for me or my baby, while simultaneously preparing myself for the very real possibility of her passing, oh and also “mourning the death of the healthy child I thought I had” before her diagnosis). Then it would hit me that 3 other things were happening at the same time (for instance, a failing marriage, pathetic financial woes, and my other daughter’s increasingly bizarre behaviors), and so…if that portion of my parenting career didn’t exactly resemble June Cleaver, well…no wonder! Those were some pretty extreme circumstances!

Then other people (specifically nurses and therapists) began to read what I had written, and said things like, “Wow, I’m working with another mom right now, I’m certain she’s struggling with the feelings you wrote about here, but she doesn’t seem comfortable sharing her thoughts. I think she feels ashamed. I think reading something like this would really help her to know she’s not alone and that the way she’s responding to what life is throwing at her right now is only natural.” After enough people said similar things about my writing I decided to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and bear my exposed, bleeding heart to the world. I figured if sharing my tale would help just one family facing similar challenges, my fear of criticism from the rest of the reading world would all be worth it. I changed all character names out of respect to (and fear of, in one case!) people who did not want their names in print, but aside from names, the story is 100% true.

About your Book:
Laura’s world spins as pediatricians throw words at her like heart failure, seizures, and g-tube feeds…when all she wants is to hold her baby tightly and be the mom she’d always dreamed of being. Join Laura on her emotional journey as she strives to rise to the unexpected challenge of motherhood to two special needs daughters. Witness her dance along the edge of sanity through a whirlwind of mind-numbing diagnoses, from a rare chromosomal disorder to autism. Experience heart-wrenching medical drama, from IV cut-downs to code blues. And…just as Laura begins to lose all hope…share in the joy of true love discovered. With Angel’s Wings – an honest and raw, 100% true story.

How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I went into the whole publishing process completely ignorant and blind. I happened to find pubmatch.com, and [luckily!!!] I ended up finding an honest, talented, and wonderful editor/publisher to work with, named Donna Erickson. Unfortunately, she has since retired due to a cancer diagnosis. She sold her business, A Flair For Writing Publishing Services, last spring.

How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
In many ways I see memoir writing as easier than other genres. I am in awe of fictional writers! I have no imagination at all and can’t imagine (no pun intended) how they can create such rich, wonderful worlds for us to absorb and temporarily live in. All I had to do was jot down what happened to me and those around me. That, of course, is easier said than done. It was hard to re-live some of the most painful and difficult moments of my life. There are some passages I still can’t read without breaking down.

Author Bio:
With Angel’s Wings (along with the epilogue included on the book’s website and my blog “With Angel’s Wings ~ The Later Years”) pretty much sums up who I am. I am a mother of 4. Catherine (“Emily” in the book), 23 has high-functioning autism with mild to moderate cognitive delay. Sarah (“Hannah” in the book), 20, has a rare genetic disorder, Wolf-Hirschorn Syndrome (history of 7 heart defects, non-verbal, non-ambulatory, incontinent, exclusively G-tube fed, seizure disorder, cognitively approximately 6-9 months old). Will, 12, has severe ADHD and dyslexia, and Ellie, 9 – who I described for years as my [finally!] “typical” child [albeit with something of a princess complex] – was just diagnosed last fall with ADHD/dyslexia (although, a significantly milder case than Will’s). I have a 4-year degree in psychology and a 2-year degree in nursing. I worked for approximately 10 years as a registered nurse on the medical unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital, but gave up my career to focus on the growing needs of my family. When I was 40 I set out to get rid of the 10 souvenir pounds I had collected from each of my 4 pregnancies. In the process, I found my inner jock, and I now love to run and I’m addicted to Zumba. Other than that, I read every minute I can.

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The King of Casinos: Willie Martello and the El Rey Club by Andy Martello

TheKingofCasinosWINNER OF 13 AWARDS including BOOK OF THE YEAR!
A story SIXTY YEARS IN THE MAKING!

The unreal but TRUE story of the unknown casino that changed Las Vegas forever.
WARNING! Contains Nudity, Prostitution, Vintage Vegas, Celebrities, and (some) Mobsters!

After a horrific blaze destroyed Willie Martello’s El Rey Club in 1962, fifty years would pass before anyone knew of how that casino and one-time brothel influenced LAS VEGAS casinos, upset the mob, and inadvertently launched the career of Francis Ford Coppola.

Were it not for the chance discovery of a single photo in a Las Vegas museum, the El Rey Club would only be known as the seedy brothel where Senator Harry Reid learned to swim. Martello’s accomplishments should place him among magnates like Howard Hughes or Steve Wynn, yet very few knew his name until now.

Featuring over 140 rare or unseen photos, these vibrant stories are now brought to light!

Targeted Age Group:: 13 – 90

What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
While vacationing in Las Vegas, I came across a rare photo of the El Rey Club, listed only as a casino and brothel on the way to Laughlin, Nevada. On the photo was the name “Willie Martello.” With my last name being Martello, I have encountered very few people with the same last name, other than family. I immediately became fascinated by the photo and curious to learn about this mysterious Willie Martello. Was he still alive? Was the El Rey still in operation? Were we related?

I set out to find out whatever information I could and soon realized there was very little known about the man and his tiny casino. My only intention was to gather a few funny facts and see if I could find a poker chip or some other trinket from the place for my wall. It was meant to be a hobby. Nothing more.

Little did I realize, this chance discovery of a photo on a museum wall would lead down an EIGHT YEAR QUEST to bring the incredible story of one of Las Vegas’ gambling pioneers to light.

The King of Casinos is the culmination of nearly a decade of interviews, collecting, and scavenging the junk yards, museums, and libraries to learn the truth about a casino which changed how Las Vegas does business forever.


[Read more…]

FEATURED BOOK: Sister Moon of the Philippines by Victoria Mulato

IMG_06911Genre: non-fiction/Memoir

Xulli entered the world in a way no child should ever have to; into a family and Filipino culture of poverty, neglect, and terrible abuse. Astonishing and unforgettable, this is a captivating story about the effects of abuse on the mind of a child, the heart wrenching struggles of an impoverished family, and how a young girl strives and dreams for something better.

Born in the Philippines in the 1960s, Xulli is the first child of many. By the time she is four, she is taking care of three other siblings with both her mother and father working. In the beginning things were difficult but not desperate. But then life turns exceedingly ugly when her father begins binging on gin, spending nearly every penny he earns on his addiction and leaving his family on the brink of starvation on a daily basis.

The alcohol makes her abusive father mean. And very violent. At first, his anger is mostly directed at her mother, but after a particularly nasty beating, she flees for her life, leaving the children with him. Her father then turns his attention to Xulli and her siblings. Cruelly, he tries to teach the youngest ones that they don’t need their mother or milk by putting hot peppers on the nipples of their bottles.

With her mother missing, Xulli must find a way to protect her siblings from their father and provide for their needs. Eventually her mother returns and the abusive cycle continues. Plagued by death, loss, and periods of starvation, Xulli struggles to provide for her siblings, when she is just a child herself.

Even through many horrible experiences and extraordinary challenges, her spirit shines, never giving up hope. Demonstrating an extraordinary resiliency to survive against all odds, Xulli inspires us as she finds the courage to succeed in her own life.

Read more about Victoria Mulato here
Link to buy Sister Moon of the Philippines