A multiple book award winner is our guest today

BLynn Goodwin, a multiple book award winner, is our guest today. Her latest book, Disrupted, came out in late January and is doing wonderfully in sales. BLynn has also written a guest post for us about the difference between being a writer pantser and plotter with a quiz so we can easily tell what we are. I know for sure I'm a plotter but that doesn't mean it's the best choice. Here's BLynn with her pantser and plotter thoughts.   Pantser or Plotter? Does It Matter? by BLynn Goodwin   A professional writer I’ve worked with, a woman who’s published by the Big 4, posted that she was starting her ninth book and asking herself, “How do I do this?” She even googled How to Plot a Book. If she’s having problems and you are too, you are in good company. The experts say to write what you know, but they don’t tell you the best approach to take. It depends on who you are, how your brain works, and what kind of manuscript you’re working on. I found this wonderfully … [Read more...]

Introducing Anoop Judge and Mercy and Grace

The story of Gia Kumari and how she finally leaves the Delhi orphanage where she was raised is almost miraculous. You won't want to put this new novel, Mercy and Grace by Anoop Judge down. Also Anoop has  written a guest  post for us - about how beneficial writing is to help us work through our grief. I know that is very true. After my own son died, I wrote to heal and it helped me a lot. Here's Anoop: Writing Your Way Through Grief by Anoop Judge Grief is a profound and complex emotion that can arise from various sources, such as the loss of a loved one, the end of a significant relationship, or even the loss of a cherished dream. It’s a universal experience, yet it’s deeply personal and can feel isolating. In my own journey through grief, I’ve found writing to be a powerful tool for healing and self-discovery. The Power of Writing Writing has long been recognized as a therapeutic activity. It allows us to express our emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a way … [Read more...]

Writing about sensitive sociological issues

Choices is very pleased too host Dawn Reno Langley today, a very renown author of over thirty books. She has also written a guest post just for us about how important writing about sensitive issues is to our well being. Writing about Sensitive Sociological Issues By Dawn Reno Langley When I care about something, I write about it. My mother coached me through my first newspaper essay when I was nine, affirming that I had a right to speak up about how frightened I felt that nuclear war was going to obliterate us all. My young writer’s imagination focused on the fear of a giant missile pointed toward the United States. I needed to say something, and that first essay determined the type of writing I would do throughout my life. I write about social justice issues. I’ve written novels about wife abuse (Loving Marie), about ocean mammals (The Silver Dolphin), about elephant abuse and gun violence (The Mourning Parade), and about social and gender identity issues (Analyzing the … [Read more...]

Birthday tribute

I wrote this piece in my writing group last Tuesday. I was inspired by a quote from Joan Rivers: “I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it doesn’t get better. You get better.” Here goes: February fourth would have been my husband Bob’s eighty-seventh birthday. It was an awful lonely long day. No hugs, no kisses, no conversations, no plans, no nothing. And I kept thinking about how I could make it better, and I couldn’t find a way. He’s been gone over three years already and those three years seem so much longer than the over fifty years we were together married, having a family, sometimes working together, traveling, eating out, occasionally bickering and having long and interesting talks almost every night after dinner. I still have the beautiful jewels and clothes and artifacts that he gave me that I don’t even wear or use. But I can’t bear to sell or give them away. They are my memories of him and his generosity and love. My son will have to deal with them after I’m … [Read more...]

Welcome to our film and media maker guest today

Thank you, Neill McKee, for honoring our Choices blog with your presence today. Also for writing us a guest post about how important writing about our careers and life stories is. Neill is currently on his Women on Writing book tour. Here'a Neill: The benefits of writing about your career and life story by Neill McKee As is documented in my travel memoir, early in my career, I became a filmmaker and later a multimedia producer. After 45 years of such work, I decided to switch to creative nonfiction. Many people become consultants in their specialized fields in their senior years, but I had little interest in that. I had all these stories in my head about my varied life: growing up in a small industrially-polluted town in Ontario, Canada, and learning how “to escape” its confinements and stinks; my searching years at university, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life; and then a dramatic transition when I became a volunteer teacher in Sabah, Malaysia on Borneo Island. … [Read more...]

How to recover joy

Navigate Your Mid-Life Renaissance With This Guide to Rediscovering Joy by Sheila Olson                         Photo via Pexels Imagine standing at a crossroads in your life, the path behind you rich with experiences and the one ahead filled with untapped potential. This isn't a crisis; it's your mid-life renaissance. You're not lost; you're on the brink of discovery. Embrace this journey with an open heart and a curious mind, and watch as new horizons of inspiration and positivity unfold before you. In this article we’ll take a look at a few ways you can rekindle your joy and live your best life. Rediscovering Purpose Through Giving In the heart of giving, you'll find a renewed sense of purpose. Seek out opportunities to contribute to a cause close to your heart. Whether it's animal welfare, environmental conservation, or community development, immerse yourself in the act of … [Read more...]

What it costs to be a writer

Hannah Rowen Fry is our Women on Writing book tour guest today. Her book is The Way of Gratitude with reflections on the Scriptures.   Hannah has also written a guest post for us - something I'm sure we'll all benefit from - How to publish on a budget. Here's Hannah.   Publishing on a Budget by Hannah Rowen Fry   As a new writer I underestimated how much I would spend to be a writer. After all, writing is free, right? Well… There’s the cost of the writing itself - equipment like a laptop, journal and pen, note-keeping software, and the endless cups of coffee that fuel you. This doesn’t include the time it takes to write, edit, rewrite, and submit works for publication, most of which is unpaid labor until well after the fact. Beyond the writing process, once you’ve gotten a book written and ready to be published, marketing is an entirely additional cost! Email services, Amazon ads, website costs… These expenses and more threaten … [Read more...]

Our job is to love the unlovable

The Calm meditation leader said loving the unlovable doesn’t mean sentimental love. It means loving someone or something that we don’t even know and perhaps don’t even want to know. So I looked around my mind and the only one I could think of is Donald Trump. He is the most unlovable person I can think of, and there is no way I want to try to love him. Unsentimental  or sentimental, he doesn’t evoke any love from me whatsoever. It’s a shame that one person could be so despicable in his words, deeds, crimes, appearance – the list goes on and on – that I consider him to be below unlovable. So I need to let him go and think some more to find an unlovable character to love. Maybe my ex-husband. He was a real piece of work. He didn’t know how to be husband. He would rather go out drinking and play pool with his boyfriends than spend time with me. And before we were divorced I found more of his bad habits. He stored a gun in his bottom dresser drawer and bags of pot in the drawer above … [Read more...]

A memoir travelogue you’ll love

I'm pleased to share information about Katie R. Aune's new book, Finding Katya, part memoir and part travelogue.     Wouldn't we all want to have the opportunity to start over and tour another part of our world? Well, you can do it by reading Katie's compelling book. Here's some information about it. *** Book Summary Finding Katya is the inspiring and compelling story of one woman who ditches everything to embark on an unconventional adventure through the former Soviet Union. On her 35th birthday, Katie Aune was at a crossroads. Still reeling from a difficult breakup and longing to find more meaning in her life, she hopped on a one-way flight to start a year-long journey of discovery. Once a Russian and East European Studies major in college, Aune plotted a course that would take her through all 15 states of the former Soviet Union. In a book that is part memoir, part travelogue, Aune takes readers along as she discovers places that are far off the … [Read more...]

The gift

I wrote the following piece many years ago about a time my mother and I had lunch together. She didn't want to eat and surprisingly the gift did the trick. The Gift by Madeline Sharples Laura saw him standing quietly by the door. He turned and put a quarter into the vending machine.  The next time she looked up he was holding a white stuffed bear dressed in blue plaid overalls, a bow tie and baseball hat. The brightly lit restaurant was almost empty except for the waiter, a woman sitting alone in the front booth, and Laura and her mother sitting across from each other in the booth by the window. Laura was in her mid 50s, slim with short graying hair and a look on her face that said, “I want to be any place but here.”   Her mother was so short her head of pure white whispy hair barely reached the top of the booth. “I’m not even hungry,” the older woman said. “Nothing ever tastes good to me.” “Mom, you look so pale, you have to eat something,” Laura said. “What are … [Read more...]

A trip to a burlesque theater

We lied. Instead of telling our parents we were going downtown to a burlesque show, we told them we were going to the movies and that Joe Fell who had a VW van was driving. There were six of us: Lee, Tom, Ann, Wendy, Joe and me. And we were all members of the staff of our high school newspaper so we pretended this was part of our latest research project. After all, every student soon to graduate from high school had to know what the inside of a burlesque theater was like. While Joe drove, his passengers kept up a steady banter about what we expected to see. Beautiful and sexy and big bosomed girls in almost no clothes. They would have patches on their nipples with ribbons hanging from them that they could twirl in time with the music. We assumed the girls would do a lot of high kicks and squats and pole climbing that would give us a hint of what was underneath their tiny amount of clothes. We were not disappointed when we arrived at the theater in downtown Chicago. Joe got there … [Read more...]

Women’s roles changed since the 60s

I met a man at our dinner table last night who not only was from Chicago, he also worked at TRW where my husband and I worked for many years in California. That reminded me of the speech I gave at a luncheon about the changing roles of women over the last few decades – changes I’ve personally experienced. Here it is: I hired into this company –now called Northrop Grumman and then called Space Technology Laboratories – for the first time in 1963, the dark ages, as one of my young colleagues likes to say. It was a few months before Oswald killed President Kennedy. Just to set the stage: Only four buildings were on the Space Park campus – the first three research R buildings and an one executive E building. The next year Building S the service building was opened and, we called the room next to the cafeteria the Waitress Dining Room. Now it’s a gift shop. There was: no such thing as a women’s history month and Women of Achievement award, no such thing as a bring … [Read more...]

Why I became a writer

When my son Paul died in 1999 at age twenty-seven, I took the advice of several people to see a therapist. The one I chose to see led a survivors of suicide support group sponsored by the Didi Hirsch Mental Health center. The group met once a week for six weeks and consisted of people who had lost friends, loved ones, and acquaintances to suicide. There was one other mother in the group who also lost a son – she found his body hanging from their second floor stair well. She hated the group as much as I did and was brave enough to quit after two or three sessions. I lasted the whole six weeks. But after I went to a private session with the leader – who finally admitted to me that she didn’t lose anyone one she loved to suicide, I quit her too. I made up my mind not to see anyone who had not experienced the kind of loss I was going through. That’s when I turned to writing. Four months after Paul died I began going to Jack Grapes’ writing class. I went every Wednesday morning and … [Read more...]

Sheila Olson is back and giving great writing tips

We're pleased to have another guest post from Sheila Olson who wrote some months ago about the importance of getting enough "beauty" sleep. Today her post is about the steps to take to become a successful writer.   Writing Success Means Promoting Yourself by Sheila Olson As an up-and-coming author, whether you write short stories, poetry, or something else, your success depends on your exposure. Fortunately, there are many inexpensive ways to promote your writings that might just thrust you into the spotlight you desire. Today, I share tips for new writers on how to get discovered doing what you love. Launch a website. The first and ostensibly most important thing you can do as a new writer is to create a website. You can do this yourself with the website builder; the Website Planet blog explains that you may be able to find a free trial until you narrow down what you like. Having a website gives you somewhere to share your words and collect the email addresses of … [Read more...]

Welcome Alle C. Hall and her strong authorial voice

Choices is so pleased to host Alle C. Hall during her WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR of her book: As Far As You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back. It's a runaway story with a whole different twist. Alle has also written a guest post for us about how creativity and trauma are linked. We certainly agree with that. Choices has had many essays about how healing writing is. Here's Alle C. Hall.   The Link Between Creativity and Trauma by Alle C. Hall Trauma sits like a stone over the part of the brain that stimulates creativity, squashing it. Children who grow up effected by trauma use their creativity primarily to stay alive. In the U.S. alone, five In the U.S. in 2021, an estimated 1,820 children died from abuse and neglect. There are other trauma responses, as well. For example, the survivor might plunge obsessively into their art, or computer programming. A second way of coping might result in worldly success.  While nice for the bottom line and the ego, fame … [Read more...]

Over fifty and hiking the John Muir trail – WOW!

We're pleased to introduce you to Joan Griffin and her book Force of Nature: Three Women Tackle the John Muir Trail. It's astonishing that she and her friends did this after the age of fifty - something we should all aspire to do.   Joan as also honored us with a guest post: "Why You Should Write Your Life Story." There's some very good advice in her words. Here's Joan:     Why You Should Write Your Life Story by Joan M. Griffin   I have an antique wooden box filled to the brim with cherished old letters tied into bundles with faded satin ribbons. The box contains every letter my father wrote to my mother during World War II. A young man, he’s an officer in the Navy in the Pacific Arena. In the first letters, he sounds like the boy he was, kind of foolish, kind of full of himself, kind of shy. His later letters are serious, with his stress coming through between the lines of his attempted jokes. When the war was over and Dad came home, the … [Read more...]

Not a crack – it was a total break!

As another woman who broke through the glass ceiling in the 60s and 70s, I can really relate to Marilyn Howard's book. Please read The Writing on the Wall to find out how she and her associates did it. I know it wasn't easy for me when I started working in the aerospace industry in 1963. At that time there were no women's faces on company organization charts - can you imagine? I also invite you to read Marilyn's guest post: "Learn the Science of Palm Reading." That should keep you busy.     Here's Marilyn: Learn the Science of Palm Reading  by Marilyn Howard Is there a personal destiny? Many would like to know. An industry of psychics dating back to ancient civilization has developed. We all know there are many frauds in the psychic and palm reading arena. I dismissed all palm reading and psychics as charlatans, yet they held me curious. I've since learned there is a scientific basis in palm reading. Except for the brain, the fingers possess twenty times … [Read more...]

Learn about book marketing and publishing here

  Choices is pleased to host Claudine Wolk and Julie Murkette on their WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour. They have written the essential book marketing and publishing guide called: Get Your Book Seen and Sold. Also, Claudine has honored us with a guest post titled: You Can’t Do Everything To Promote Your Book. The Good News Is That You Don’t Have To! Here's Claudine: The breadth of what is possible to market and promote your book is endless. Keep reading this post, though. There is hope for you to do right by your book. No author can do everything to promote their book. But the good news is that you don’t have to do everything. You MUST promote your book, though. If you don’t promote your book, it won’t sell, plain and simple. So, what is an author to do to get their book seen and sold? First, get comfortable with book marketing as a discipline. Like any other discipline it is a bit of a new language… take some time to learn the new language. How … [Read more...]

Reunion – interesting, not fantastic

      I think it’s a good time to write about my recent weekend trip to the Chicago area. I went to celebrate my sixty-fifth high school reunion. I’d been to many other reunions but this one was very different from previous ones. Before we always stayed with a group of former high school newspaper colleagues at the home of Joe and Karen Fell in Winnetka IL – very close to the school we all attended. But in the last few years Joe developed Parkinson’s and slight dementia so they decided to sell their house and move to a house on a lake in Wisconsin. Our place to stay became the Sheraton Hotel in Northbrook IL – also not far from the school. Besides me the Fell’s and John and Judy Riley stayed there for two nights. Unfortunately, others from the high school news staff did not attend – either because they are no longer alive or suffering from cancer and unable to travel. These facts again brought to mind what we all are encountering as we grow older. These were … [Read more...]

Do you have the right attitude?

I participate in two writing groups. One - the memoir class - meets weekly. The other called Fem Ring meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month. We write in the group at Fem Ring whether we meet in person or on Zoom, so it's quite a challenge. that's why our leader sends us a prompt to ponder about a day in advance. The following is the last prompt: Right Attitude. "If you are trying to have a different experience than the one you are having, you will never be able to see the present moment clearly," by Sayadane U Tojaniya. And here is what I came up with in the forty-five minutes I was given to write.   The Not So Right Attitude I think I’m trying to ignore all the experiences I’m being offered rather than trying to have different experiences. From the list of activities that are on the weekly schedule I could get older and exhausted sooner if I tried to do them all. It’s hard enough to do the ones I choose to do – like Tai Chi, sound bath meditation, one day … [Read more...]