Preserving Memories and Writing Memoir…

Writing Wednesday


Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Writing Memoir

I think it is so important for all of us to find a way to document our lives for those we are going to eventually leave behind. Not only our personal and family stories but- history. Our first- hand accounts of historical events and how we reacted to them.

The young people in our lives might not be interested now, but the day will come that they need to know.

Just think of the history that’s happened in our lifetime. My 21-year-old-grandaughter does not remember life without computers, the internet and cell phones. So much has changed.

My grandmother, before she passed away gave me a wooden box, a cigar box that is full of the correspondence between her and my grandfather starting when they were 14-year-old kids growing up in Philadelphia and spanning 75-years. This is now one of my most precious possessions. I’ve copied one of my grandfather’s letters below. It was written while he was working in a pharmacy out of town for the summer.



Many of us believe our lives are boring but the truth is everyone does have a story to tell. We all have that one thing that happened in our lives that changed our course in either a positive or negative way.

There are many ways we can record our stories. We can keep journals, writing our thoughts, memories and historical events in them as they happen. Or we could write a memoir.


What exactly is a memoir? Let’s start with what it is not. It is not an autobiography which is the story of your entire lifetime. Unless you are somebody famous that has many accomplishments to your credit readers will not be interested in your entire life. It also is not a biography, which is also the story of an entire lifetime.

Memoir is about a memory. That moment that the something that changed your life forever happened is where your memoir begins. You can add a bit of before story and some after story but that memory is the beginning.

What memoir is finally clicked with me when my editor said, imagine someone is taking a walk around the block and they see your house and walk up to look into your large picture window on the very day of your “what happened” What would that person, who is walking by your house, see? A memoir is about an event, an incident, something that changed you in a positive or a negative way. It explains how you dealt with the “it,” The author questions what happened, tells the lessons learned and where you went from that moment on.

The memoir can be written in first person from the author’s point of view. It can also be told as Narrative nonfiction which is written like fiction-in story form.

There is little dialogue.

Your readers should learn something and their life should also be affected in some positive and educational way.

Memoirs should never be about revenge and should not be a book length rant.

They are between 90,000 and 100,000 words.

When writing nonfiction it helps to start with an outline.

Make a list of any research you will need to do

If you are writing nonfiction, you need to write the truth. Real names and places should be used unless using them will cause great harm. If you are planning on using fake names and places consider telling your story as fiction, instead of non-fiction.

If it happened to you, it is your story and you own it and have every right to tell it in your way.

Start with an outline, a brief description of your story. The description should include the beginning, the middle and the end in a concise three paragraph’s. Next, write a paragraph or two on each chapter. Name your chapters and choose a title for your memoir. Nothing is written in stone, this is just the starting point.

I find it helps to have some photo’s and personal items that remind me of the time period I am writing about on my desk.

While writing The Stranger in My Recliner I kept a photo of Sophie, a few Peppermint Patties and a can of peas, all of which reminded me of her.


Once your outline is finished the next step is to write your proposal. Once your proposal is written you will have a solid foundation to write your book.

Happy Writing,




Dearest Peg,                                                                                                                                    Sunday August 5, 1933

I couldn’t find anything else to occupy my mind. So I’ve decided to give you a break and send you this sweet but short letter. Isn’t that nice of me.

If it happens to be real scorching hot tomorrow, and you’re through washing you can come over home, and we’ll go swimming. I am not so anxious to go unless it’s real hot, so don’t go to any trouble just for me.

I know how you hate to come over home anyway, and I can’t blame you. It’s the only chance I get to go swimming myself. If you’re over home before 6:00 I’ll know you are going. If not I’ll come over to your house about 7:30. I’ll leave at 6:30 so don’t come any later.

Is that okay with you? Did I hear you say yes?

Do you roll your own? Here are some papers.

Take these stamps down to Hodili, and get 15cents for car fare if you come over.

You are most likely having a swell time all by your lonesome today. I can imagine how much you are missing me and I feel terribly sorry I am not there to keep you straight.

With love,


Women Called the Other “C” Word…

I tried not to get sucked into the ever churning cesspool of endless social media tit -for- tat that goes on around election time. Over the last 8-years it seems to be constant. There doesn’t even seem to be a break long enough to celebrate our wins and grieve our losses.


Growing up in the Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia, our house was the actual precinct polling place. A few days before the election our dining room furniture was moved out and the big gray voting machine was brought in. Folks started lining up an hour or so before the poles officially opened.

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A Group for the Insecure and who loves Writing Query Letters?

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share bits of information that I picked up on my journey to publication and preparing to be published again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me back then.

It’s also the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for the monthly meeting of the:

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Meet Adela…

Meet the Author


I met Adela in a Facebook group, The Women of Midlife and finally in person at the BAM conference and she is lovely. I enjoy her blogs and I really enjoyed reading The Ship of Pearl. I highly recommend it and was happy to hear she is donating a portion of proceeds to the homeless and the hungry.

About the book

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Halt and Catch Fire

Binge watching TV series has become one of our favorite past-times. It’s not like we become obsessive and not get dressed, eating only delivered pizza and Chinese food all weekend but we have done that a few times.

One of our latest favorites just started its 3rd season. Halt and Catch Fire airs Tuesday nights at 9:00 EST on AMC.


The show is based on the pre-internet tech drama of the 1980’s. If you remember those days you will appreciate the fashion, music and culture in this series. If you don’t remember those days but want to know what it was like prior to cell phones and laptops this series will be a history lesson.

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Lets get back to writing…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Writing Spaces, Routines and Rituals

When writing my first book I used a PC. We kept that computer in one of our extra bedrooms. Back then I had a writing schedule and I didn’t have any trouble sticking with it. I would get up an hour earlier each morning, make a cup of tea and I would sit down and write for an hour before going to work. I would spend another hour, writing at night. If there were no family events to attend, Saturdays were dedicated to writing.

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What is a writing coach and do you need one?

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my writing journey and on to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips, please share them with us…

What is a writing coach and do you need one?

A writing coach is a professional writer that you hire to guide you through either the writing, publishing or marketing of a book or to guide you through the entire project. A writing coach can also assist with blogging, essay writing, speech writing and content writing.

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Meet Baby Bailino…

I am so excited to introduce you to author, Dina Santorelli. I really enjoyed her first book Baby Grand and cannot wait to read the sequel, Baby Bailino!



Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Queens, New York, one of the five boroughs of New York City and about ten minutes from midtown Manhattan—two hours, if there’s traffic. J

Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading or writing?

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Finding time…

The first Wednesday of every month I participate in The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. #IWSG. This is one AMAZING group of talented writers. Some of them are beginners and some are professional authors. One of the many things we all have in common is our moments of extreme insecurity about our craft. Another is our gratitude and strong -pay it forward attitudes when our confidence is soaring.

To find out more about the IWSG (there is really big news there this month) or to join us, visit:

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Poldark Returns On…

One of PBS’s first hit series, Poldark first ran almost 40-years ago. The timeless classic was brought back to the small screen last year thrilling old fans like my mother who loved the original series and me a new fan.

The new season starring the dreamy Aidan Turner and gorgeous Eleanor Tomlinson begins with a 2-hour special on September 25th. Fans will be thrilled to know that season 3 has been ordered and will begin filming in September.

Poldark Books 3

In season 2 the love triangle between Elizabeth, Demelza and Ross continues as Ross fights to stay out of prison and for his life while also trying to save his marriage. Demelza still struggling with the pain of losing their baby is terrified she will lose Ross too.

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