Memoir Writing Opportunities

Recently, I became an editor for LifeStories Books. The publisher offers a fee-based program for memoirists that includes professional editing and creative services of top book designers. Each book also receives a website and marketing materials.

Also, on March 5, Writers of Southern Nevada are offering a one-day conference on the craft and business of memoir writing. Click here to get more info.


Good stories never die; they find new audiences.

hotrodpromo1 In 1950 Henry Gregor Felsen wrote Hot Rod. Sixty years later the book is destined to find new fans and to generate enthusiasm from Felsen enduring fan base. The new version features daughter Holly Felsen Welch's artful photos. Holly's photo genius pays tribute to the Chevy that the main character Bud Crayne drives and car collectors love.

In addition, Holly shares a personalized preface that tugs at the heart and reveals the tender journey republishing has been for her. As a former high school English teacher, I vividly recall how well-read this book was for decades. The themes are timeless; Felsen's prose fast paced and engaging. Stephen King once said that this book was significant in his decision to become a writer. A reread of his novel Christine includes a reference to Hot Rod. I strongly recommend this book for young adult readers and book collectors.

You can order your copy at Iowan Books.  

To read more about the author and the fan club that exists today: Henry Gregor Felsen

Another reason to visit Las Vegas

     Remember: Statistics from Alzheimer’s Association indicate that nearly 7 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. That population continues to grow hourly. If you have a family member with memory loss, you are not alone. Be informed. Seek experts. A place to start has opened in Las Vegas, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
      The Center is a new desert jewel and it gives people a surprising Vegas destination. Its long name signifies an important partnership between a locla businessman and an illunstrious medical institution. The physical structure is startling, at first. Yet, it is the architectural innovation of the renowned Frank Gehry that draws many to the building. The twisted swirl of steel beckons the curious and also shelters a multi-purpose area that is available for outside use. The main entrance is located to the back and features welcoming simplicity. Here you enter the quiet courtyard, check-in for a doctor appointment, or browse the library.
      CCLRCBH is full service with many educational and support programs underway. It began as the vision of Las Vegas businessman Lou Ruvo, whose father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and officially opened doors in May. Those suffering from dementia, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s or ALS find care, advice and resource information here.
     Blue-polo-shirt wearing volunteers are everywhere.  (I’m one.) The volunteers are among those wishing to help Cleveland Clinic and Lour Ruvo make a difference. Many of the volunteers have first hand experience caring for family members who have suffered from a dreadful brain disease. We encourage anyone interested to visit and learn more about treatment and research to eradicate the devastion of these memory altering diseases.

Think like a great-grandchild.

aliya_61510On April 1, our family welcomed our first granddaughter, Aliya. She is a lucky little girl with two big brothers, lots of cousins, four grandparents and five great-grandparents. With good health, her grandparents will likely become personalities in her life story, but reality is she won't likely be very acquainted with her great-grandparents.
I share this because I want to brag about her, sure. However, it also personalizes an important lesson in LifeCatching: think like a great-grandchild when collecting the stories of the family elders.
What, in the future, will be important for the small child to know about family history and heritage? Go beyond the family tree details of names and dates. Build a collection of stories of how the family came to settle in a certain place, of immigration, career decisions, health issues, and how trials were overcome. Before saying, everyone knows the story already, realize that the next generation may think they know the story. But if ask to recall the details, they are often fuzzy and imperfect.

Fourth Writing Club – making a difference

wrtgclubrtaylorFor the last two months of the school year, I became a volunteer at Robert Taylor Elementary School in Henderson, NV and started a Writing Club. Applying LifeCatching ideas to youngsters proved fun and productive.
Writing Club included eight 4th grade students who were nominated by their teachers. We met every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for one hour and practiced what happens when you are encouraged to just write-to do what I call messy writing. Call it a warm up, permission to break the rules and be creative. We can go back and edit later, after all.
With that, they rubbed words together and sparked more vivid imagery than they thought possible. After learning how adjectives expand their writing, the students found that the real workhorse of their writing lies in the verbs they choose.
Writing Club is a new project of Dr. Janet Dobry, Principal at Robert Taylor. She has an amazing track record of utilizing volunteers. Robert Taylor has 81 volunteers! It's in a poorer area of the city, but senior citizens can be seen all day long coming to volunteer.
Dr. Dobry explains: We have volunteers at every grade level. Some work on specific tasks each time, like listening to first grade students read the 100 sight word list.  Others just do whatever the teacher asks that day.  Some have the same student or students they work with each time.  Most volunteers come one day a week for a couple of hours on a regular schedule.  We have some that come almost every day.  
What a rewarding experience. Do you have an hour a week that you could reach out and make a difference in a local school? Robert Taylor is in a poor area and parents don't have the chance to help in school often. When you see how responsive these youthful learners can be, you'll want to give them an hour of your time!
I can't wait until next fall and making Writing Club a tradition.