9. Chatting with Pam Bitterman – why she digitally published her new children’s book

As you know I am passionate about promoting our  talented  independently published and self published Australian  authors but from time to time an international author will tap  at my window,  so I’ll let them in. But when they also have a beautiful, emotive children’s book where the proceeds go to a very worthwhile cause,  I fling open the windows.

So it is my pleasure this week to welcome U.S. author, writer and adventurer,  Pamela Bitterman.

Pamela is a published author, and in her own words, ‘ an explorer in every sense of the word’.  She has been a mediator, a teacher of maritime history and seamanship at the San Diego Maritime Museum, a devoted mother, to name but a few. She sailed for many years of her life and has written about her voyages.  Pamela has also spent some time working in Kenya, and her experiences there have been the inspiration behind her latest release.

So without further ado,  Pam takes us on a journey to a small village in Kenya, and the inspiration behind When This is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read.  A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan. She reveals why she decided to digitally publish this book.

Welcome Pam!

Thanks Helen.  It is a pleasure!

Did you always want to be a writer?

I think so, somewhere in my semi conscience. My mom always thought I would be, particularly of children’s books. Being an observer and a non-conformist from an early age has provided me with plenty of fodder for material in my later life. Working professionally with children in my early adulthood gave me the resources to identify children’s special gifts and needs, and to speak to those issues on a child’s level. Writing for them became a natural offshoot of this process.

When did you start writing?

I began writing my first manuscript for publication when I was in my forties. It was in the midst of a traumatic period in my life, and the writing became a catharsis for my tumultuous emotions. I imagine that incentive is not a unique one, as far as what stimulates writers goes; probably fairly common, as a matter of fact.

What genres do you write in/or have written in?

I have published two true adventure non-fictions, one traditionally published and one digitally. One homily for children published by World Vision, and this children’s book. I am presently working on another children’s book, and an adult fiction. The adult fiction is actually a collection of vignettes, which is emerging as precious less pure fiction than perhaps I had initially intended it to be. I’d guess that particular blurring-of-the-lines in the writing process is also likely not unique to me.

What writers do you think have influenced you?

I suppose I have been most influenced by the writers of my time and my personal experience. Among an expansive and diverse slew of other authors, I have read all of Salinger, and most of Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Kesey, Kerouak, and of course Melville. In recent years I have become a devotee of the works of Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett and Ann Lamont. But my most beloved children’s book authors are Shell Silverstein, Judith Viorst, Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, and most importantly, J.M. Barrie. I also had the uncommon pleasure of being certified to be an instructor in the Junior Great Books Program.  And consequently was introduced to, and able to share with elementary school classes K-6, some of the most miraculous children’s literature the world has to offer.

What work have you had published?

I have had published two true travel/adventure/memoirs based on my own experiences entitled: Sailing to The Far Horizon; The Restless Journey and Tragic Sinking of a Tall Ship, and Muzungu; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check, a homily entitled Child, you are Miracle, and the children’s book which is the subject of this interview.

You have recently published your moving story, When This is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read.  A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan. What was the inspiration behind this book?

Juluis, the narrator and young protagonist of the story, was in fact the inspiration for it. The story is true. It is born of my own two months long experience in Kenya working for a mission hospital, mobile medical clinic and orphan feeding program. Julius is a real boy, and one that I had the privilege to know very well. His is the voice of the thousands of needy youngsters just like him all throughout Africa, and his message speaks for them all. My hope is that it will be heard, and heart-felt, and responded to on an astronomical scale, because the needs of these youngsters are astronomical.

Why did you decide to take the self-publishing path for this book? Have you self published before?

I had been only traditionally published prior to my two books on my African experience. I had never published in digital format. This technology was unfamiliar to me, and admittedly pretty off-putting initially. It was not my first choice, but it is growing on me. I tried for a few years to have my books picked up by traditional publishing houses. It didn’t happen but not, I truly believe, because they were not good enough. In fact, I was told repeatedly in numerous rejection letters that they were good enough! They were also, unfortunately, rife with some inherent impediments that are realities in the publishing business today. Publishers too have been hit hard by the economic downturn. As much as they may wish not to prioritize it, they still have a bottom line to attend to if they are to stay afloat. My African non-fiction book was considered potentially too full of hard but accurate politically incorrect truths, to guarantee a large enough audience to offset the costs of mass-producing it in hard copy. I still have hopes for that, however. My African children’s book, the subject of this interview, had other problems. Nearly without exception, every publisher who considered this book loved it. One roadblock lay in the difficulty (impossibility, actually) of securing permission from the parents of the children who created the pictures for the book. This iffy liability matter was more than publishers were willing to overlook. (I have since learned that there is a way around this issue.) Secondly, the cost of reproducing this book with the dozens of color images it has in it was deemed prohibitive. (I have since learned of a reasonable compromise that can be applied in this area as well.) Nonetheless, the information in both books is time-sensitive. And in the case of the children’s book in particular, lives depend upon it. So there was a limit to how long I was willing to wait. I yet have hope for this book making it into hard copy as well, but for now, I simply want it to be read. And with the advent of Smart or Promethean Boards in classrooms and auditoriums everywhere, the fact that this book is available in both digital and audio formats makes it a perfect fit for schools. My wish would be to see it in every one!

How did you get started, i.e. how did you go about self-publishing or gathering information?

I needed help. As I said, this technology was new to me. Luckily my children are extremely literate in this technology. I could not have managed this without their patient tutelage, expertise and reassurance.

How did you go about editing When This is Over, I Will Go to School, And I Will Learn To Read?

Initially, I relied upon the help of a woman who was an instructor in Children’s Book Writing at a local university. She in effect gave me the keys to the kingdom by teaching me the requirements and particular parameters for writing for children. Not as simple as it looks, as anyone that does this will agree! From there, I relied on my own knowledge from working with kids, for appropriate text and detail choices. Finally, my own wonderful editor gave it the text/edit once over, and off we went!

In relation to this book, how long did the process take ie. from the beginning to the release of your book?

If you subtract the couple years spent trying to secure a traditional publishing contract, the whole process probably took about a year, not including the months spent living with the children, collecting their illustrations, and taking the photographs, of course.

What obstacles did you encounter during this process, if any?

There were many. Choosing the target group and then formatting the language and the images for age appropriateness was time consuming, but crucially important. Continuously having to push to the back of my mind the unavoidable harsh and undoubtedly worsening reality for the real children for whom the book was created was a constant struggle. I needed to do the book well, but I also needed to do it as quickly as possible.

Do you have a preference ie. Print on Demand, eBooks or print runs?

I’m an old dog, and I’m afraid I still prefer hard cover publishing contracts. I don’t know many writers who would refuse a good one in deference to self-publishing of any kind. But as I said, I am coming around. I have been very happy with the company who EPublished my books – very professional, very business-like, multifaceted with publicist, audio technology, etc. options, and very easy to work with. I’ve learned a great deal and, low and behold, the books are doing quite well!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing/publishing independently?

My guess is anybody reading this here on your site, knows these only too well. The out-of-pocket expense of old-fashioned self-publishing-to-print would seem to be a huge deterrent. It was a deal-breaker for me. Using the Internet is a big boon for writers today. In cyberspace, the sky is literally the limit for exposure and distribution. I don’t know how much anybody out there is making off their books, but they can rest assured in the knowledge that I for one did not get rich off my traditionally published work, nor did I receive a call from OPRAH – yet!

What was your biggest learning curve or is there anything that you would have done differently?

The biggest learning curve for me was getting comfortable with the technology. Would I have done it differently? With the exception of accepting a decent publishing house contract, had one been offered, nope. So far so good, and getting better all the time, thanks largely to folks like you who make these wonderful opportunities available to me!

How are you marketing your latest release?

See answer above! Plus book events, writing contests, radio shows, write-ups in newspapers and magazines, photo contests, book cover award entries, whatever, wherever, to whoever will listen. It’s work, but it’s worth it, for this book particularly. Children’s lives are at stake.

What does successful self-publishing or successful independent publishing mean to you?

See answer above!

What advice would you give other authors who are thinking about self-publishing/publishing independently or setting up their own company?

I don’t feel qualified to offer advice. Just don’t quit, maybe. Giving up is the only sure-fire guarantee you have of never being published. And maybe don’t quit writing under any circumstances, if you can help it. Writing is good for the soul.

What attributes do you feel are necessary to be a successful self-publisher, eg. determination, patience, organisation, sales and marketing experience, self-belief …???

Yep, yep, and yep! And a little luck.

If you were offered a publishing contract with a mainstream publisher, would you accept it?

You betcha.

 Would you ever consider self-publishing again?

Yes.

Is there one person you can think of who played a significant part in your writing career?

My family has been my inspiration, my loudest cheerleaders, and frankly some of the most colorful characters in my stories. My parents instilled in me the faith that I could do anything I put my mind and heart into. My husband has paid the bills allowing me to indulge this obsession. The editor, who saw the book in my first story, made me a believer, too. Gosh! Sounds like I’m accepting an award, huh?

Where would you like to be in five year’s time, writing wise?

I’d like to still be doing it! I’d like to still love it, and feel that I’m maybe being heard. I’d like to know that my words have somehow made a difference, helped some folks, been influential, made a few lives better. If being renowned is required for that to happen, then yes, that too. But I hope not because my ego is too much in it. We writers get to have our ideas and our experiences. We get to write about them. All that is ours, we own it. And we can be extremely proud of these accomplishments. If we get published, well, that technically is someone else’s doing. If we don’t, we should never be any less proud of what we’ve managed to pull off.

What projects are you working on now?

I have a new children’s book marinating in my head, and a collection of vignettes about a girls evolution throughout the stages of her life. I’m pretty excited about this one. It wakes me up at night!

What words best describe you?

I wish I knew. (or maybe not…) I hope I’m still a work in progress. I hope I’m good and kind and strong. I hope I’m honest and clear-sighted. I hope I’m a brave adventurer who has and will continue to make the very most of this amazing journey.

Have you any other words of advice?

Advice? No. I really don’t presume to be qualified to offer any here.  But can I instead make a plea? Can I ask everyone reading this to please buy this book, for the kids in Kenya?  There is also an audio version. All my proceeds from the sale of this book are promised back to the children in the tiny village there who created the illustrations for it. You can share a beautiful story, learn about another culture, have a rare window into a very separate reality, and make a benevolent donation that will all go directly to seriously at risk real children just like yours and mine, with one click of the mouse.

And Pam, just to finish up, could you please complete the following:

At school I was …

A rebel. A spirited dreamer. A happy whole incredibly lucky individual hoping to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

When I was a child I wanted to be …

Someone who would someday change the world. I know, right? But that is the truth. And for better or worse, I have to admit that this hasn’t altered much over time, although today I have shortened up my vision somewhat. Now I find myself focusing primarily on the affect my own incredible children will have on their world. Me? I could be at peace with the knowledge that I may have touched, opened, and sparked a few hearts and minds with my writing. And not done any harm along the way. And okay, yeah, maybe still change the world.

I relax by …

Reading, writing, walking, biking, swimming, travelling, challenging myself, taking leaps of faith, meeting fascinating people, learning. Life is too good, and too short, to waste one day not charging out into it with our bright lights blazing.

And now for my review of Pam’s book, When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; The Story Of Hope And Friendship For One young Kenyan Orphan.

Review by Helen Ross:

http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com

When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; The Story Of Hope And Friendship For One young Kenyan Orphan.

Author: Pamela Sisman Bitterman

Published in eBook format by eBookIt.com

http://www.eBookIt.com

ISBN-13: 978-1-4566-0322-9

This emotive children’s book not only takes the reader on a journey to the small village of Maseno in Kenya, Africa, but  also into the heart and mind of one little boy, Julius.

Author Pamela Sisman Bitterman spent two months working in Kenya, and  states that during that time she got to know Julius very well.  Pamela affirms that ‘his story is the voice of the thousands of needy youngsters just like him all throughout Africa.’  This story is a reality check for all of us.

Six year old Julius narrates the story.  He takes the reader on a factual and emotional journey into his life, his family, the people who care about him and the villagers, his language, and his thoughts and dreams.

The book’s title is nicely interwoven throughout the book – a little like a chant, but one that has the whisper of sadness yet hope.

When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; The Story Of Hope And Friendship For One young Kenyan Orphan is a well written story.  The language is straight forward but interwoven with beautiful descriptive passages.  I could see and feel the last wavy gold of the sun being swallowed up by the black shadows of night. I could also feel the ‘jiggers’ in my skin.  ‘Jiggers are bugs that crawl under the skin and lay eggs.’

This 1500 word non-fiction children’s picture book also offers the reader a little more insight into the world of the children by the inclusion of illustrations drawn by the Maseno North Sunrise Nursery School Children of Kenya, as well as original colour images. These colour images not only capture the physical harshness of the children’s lives, and their physical afflictions, but also the hope expressed in their smiles and laughter.  Despite the harshness of their world, they can still smile and have hope.

When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; The Story Of Hope And Friendship For One young Kenyan Orphan is certain to pull at your heartstrings and make you stop and think.

And you can help make a difference.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the children of the tiny village school where the illustrations were created.

To purchase, just click on the following link:

https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000660/When-This-Is-Over-I-Will-Go-To-School-And-I-Will-Learn-To-Read.html

Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6sI2hj-v5w

For further information please go to:

www.pamelasismanbitterman.com

For more information about Pam:

Website:  http://www.pamelasismanbitterman.com

To purchase book, please click on:

https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000660/When-This-Is-Over-I-Will-Go-To-School-And-I-Will-Learn-To-Read.html

You can purchase When This is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read.  A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan, read reviews, etc, and find out more information about Pam and her books  on Pam’s website.

Her blog: Moleskin (Pam states that it is a work still in progress)

Book Trailer links:   Please watch -

MUZUNGU; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M5owy_L4cU

WHEN THIS IS OVER

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6sI2hj-v5w

SAILING TO THE FAR HORIZON

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPD4LEPi3Qs

Thanks so much Pam for taking us on your journey.  We wish you every success in your travels and your writing.  Our thoughts are also with these children, and their future.

Helen Ross interviews Pamela Bitterman 12 September 2011  Copyright 2011
Supporting self published and independently published authors and their books

Interview 13. Why an acclaimed Australian author has independently published.

Well, the success stories just keep on rolling in.  Our last children’s author took us on a wonderful journey -  how self publishing led to an award, then to a commercial publishing contract.

This week we set off on another exciting  journey, this time with an acclaimed Australian author of 65 books, including fiction and non-fiction books, articles, plays and short stories for adults and children. 

So let’s meet  author Goldie Alexander,  and find out why she decided to take the self publishing/independently publishing path for her latest release, Mentoring Your Memoir.

Website:  http://www.goldiealexander.com

Did you always want to be a writer?

I don’t think I realised this consciously until I hit my early 20′s. I remember thinking when things went wrong ‘one day I will write about this.’  However I was always a confirmed/dedicated compulsive-obsessive reader.

When did you start writing?

I was already in my early 40′s when I started creating short stories, many based on my own life. They weren’t very good but they gave me the ‘writing bug’.

What genres do you write in/or have written in?

I have had 65 books published.  I write everything except erotica, or ‘Tolkien’ style fantasy.  Here are some examples of what I have written:

a. contemporary fantasy (eSide),

b. science fiction            (Alley-Cat, Starship Q, Cowpat$),

c. history                           (Mavis Road Medley, Body and Soul, Surviving Sydney Cove,  Gallipoli Medals, The Youngest Cameleer)

d. magical realism           (Trapeze),

e. mystery                          (Hedgeburners: An A~Z PI Mystery);

f.  my two adult murder mysteries   (UnJust Desserts & UnKind Cut),

g. three collections of short stories, (Killer Virus, My Horrible Cousins, Space Footy)

h. story picture books   (Tilly and Willy Bilby, Lame Duck Protest)

i.  lots of non fiction, the latest being the series (Health and Understanding, Dramatics)   

 j.  plus several books of plays (all co-written with Hazel Edwards).

 k. Hazel and I have also co- written a novel  and a ‘how to write for kids’.

 l:  My latest is this ‘how to write a memoir’- Mentoring Your Memoir.

You have books that have been self published (two adult murder mysteries, and your latest book,  Mentoring Your Memoir for adults), as well as a number of books published by a variety of commercial publishing houses.  Was your first book self published or commercially published?

My first four YA books were written under the Dolly imprint, and my pseudonym was Gerri Lapin. They had to be carefully structured so they taught me lots about writing for YA.  The first book under my own name was Mavis Road Medley (Margaret Hamilton Books). This novel won acclaim and was used in schools to illustrate life in Melbourne during the Depression.

My first self published book was my adult culinary mystery UnJust Desserts. This was the first of its kind that appeared in Australia, and as a children’s author, publishers didn’t want to know me, nor did they appreciate that some readers enjoyed ‘cosy mysteries’. All I got were rejection slips. Three years later I published the follow up to Unjust Desserts: UnKind Cut. I always thought there was a market for this kind of thriller and since have been proved correct.

How did you get started, ie. how did you go about self publishing or gathering information?

I went into self publishing in a very small way. Mostly to test if there was a market out there, thus I kept the murder mysteries at a very low level, both in terms of how many I publish and the resultant costs. These I mostly sell when I do talks. However Mentoring Your Memoir has been taken on by distributors (Dennis Jones & Peter Pal). As this is apparently unusual for self published books, it has given me courage to go ahead – because this is a hybrid (part ‘how to write’, part ‘memoir’, and part examples from my own work).

I knew from my previous experience of creating something that hadn’t been done before, that I’d have a hard time finding a publisher.  Too much wasted energy, so went ahead myself.

How did you go about editing your work?

I contacted lots of editors who were all very expensive. As I had no idea how many copies I would sell, in the end friends and family helped me edit. Of course there is still some tweaking I’d like to do, but that also happens when I’m commercially published.

How long did the self publishing process or independent publishing take place? ie. from the beginning to the printing of your books.

I was put onto a very helpful company ‘BookPod’ who did their very best to help me keep costs down and produce a good looking product. I would recommend them to anyone else who intends self publishing. All in all, less than four months.

What obstacles did you encounter during this process, if any?

My major obstacles were costs. Trying to keep them minimal. Also, given I was writing a memoir, some of my relatives were dead keen against it. Perhaps they worried about what I might say about them.

What was your print run?

My first print run is small. I’m waiting to see how the book sells, before I do more.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of self publishing or publishing independently?

The major disadvantage is that you have to be your own publisher, and know something about the business, plus having enough belief that there is a reading public waiting for your book with open arms. The major disadvantage is that there is a snobbish belief that if a book is self published, ergo. it can’t be very good. Also, if it’s a failure that the writer has to bear the costs and find enough storage space. That’s why I keep my print runs small though, as a result, each book costs more.

What was your biggest learning curve or is there anything that you would have done differently?

I would now be prepared to pay an editor for line- proofing.

What does successful self publishing or successful independent publishing mean to you?

That I am often way ahead of the market! I had already proved this with some of my ms for kids where it took me years to find a publisher who saw its potential (eg Shape-Shifters, a little book that discusses an unusual way of coping with bullies).  Then came my culinary mysteries. When it came to Mentoring Your Memoir, because I talk to many clubs, often composed of seniors and genealogy enthusiasts, I knew that many people wanted to collate/write their own or other life histories.

What advice would you give other authors who are thinking about self publishing/publishing independently or setting up their own company?

This is hard! I guess, trust your gut instincts. Is there something like it already out there? How original is the idea? And think about how many books you will give away for review and to friends. Many are wasted as newspapers rarely review self published books. I tend to keep costs as low as possible but this may not apply to other writers.

What attributes do you feel are necessary to be a successful self publisher? eg. determination, patience, organisation, sales and marketing experience, self belief, ..???

All of the above and more. In spades.

Do you get involved in the marketing of your commercially published books? If yes, how do you promote your book? And do the commercial publishers assist you greatly in book promotion?

All my books – and these include those put out by commercial publishers – have required an enormous input from me in terms of marketing.  I’m prepared to give my time, money (yes, I hate to tell you this, but marketing costs are often carried by the author) and energy. I contact state and local newspapers, radio stations, writing magazines, ezines and other people’s blogs as I don’t have one of my own. I also have cards that carry my book titles.

Are there any differences in the way you market your self published books in comparison to those commercially published?

When I give this much thought, probably not. Most publishers are reluctant to spend money on PR and those in charge of PR are often part timers with only enough time to spend maybe a week on my book. It’s always up to me to market my books. The major difference between a commercial publisher and self publishing is who carries the up front costs. Also, the public attitude to self publishing can be dishearteningly negative.

Because you are commercially published, do you feel that the self publishing/independent publishing path has been easier for you? If so, in what way?

No, not easier because I was entering a world I didn’t know enough about. I now have far more respect for designers and anyone else who works for a publisher, and am less inclined to complain. I know what they’re up against.

Even though you are widely published, where would you like to be in five year’s time? ie. writingwise.

Given I’m no ‘spring chicken’ I hope to still be writing. I still dream of being a ‘twenty-year overnight success.’ Never give up hope is my motto.

As mentioned, Mentoring Your Memoir is your latest self published/independently published book.  Do you plan to self publish again in the future. If so, why?

I honestly don’t know, and therefore can’t answer this. Let me first see how ‘Mentoring’ works out. However with the coming of the ebook I think many of us will be self publishing, and very cheaply. This is a time of transition, and though many authors, publishers and readers will be dragged screaming into this digital efuture, I think it is upon us. Therefore, more books will be published and though they may go through a publishing company, many will also be self published. I still have UnFair Fodder (the last of my adult murder mysteries) to complete. This is a project I intend to return to some time in the future.

What projects are you working on now?

In Hades - my very first verse novel. Magic realism roughly based on the Homer’s Odyssey –  this is a love story between a street kid and an anorexic lass who comes from a wealthy upper class family. Coming shortly are: Gallipoli Medals (Anzac Society) Space Footie and Other Stories (companion to My Horrible Cousins and other Stories. eSide ( a contemporary fantasy) and The Youngest Cameleer, a fictionalised account of the first sighting of Uluru in 1873.

What words best describe you?

Depends on who you ask. I see myself as quirky, cranky and persistent. I love listening to people’s stories and watching crowds. But I have quiet moments too. I was once described by an artist friend as an extravert/introvert, whatever that means.

Have you any other words of advice?

Only one: PERSISTENCE.

And Goldie, just to finish off, could you please complete the following:

At school I was ….  a naughty child who used ‘dumb insolence’ as her weapon. Probably why later I became a teacher. Always understood the more difficult kids I taught.

When I was a child I wanted to bea scientist. Given math was my weakness I didn’t have much chance of fulfilling this dream.

I relax by … reading, knitting, walking, watching DVD’s, going to movies and listening to music.

*****

Now that we have been taken on Goldie’s self publishing/independent publishing journey,  let’s find out more about Mentoring Your Memoir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentoring Your Memoir: Review by Alan Wheatley

Price: AU$28+shipping (price varies with your location)

ISBN: 978-0-9803572-1-9

Goldie is a widely-published author of fiction and non-fiction books, articles and short stories for adults and children.

In Mentoring Your Memoir Goldie successfully blends her own memoirs with, as she says, “practical hints for both experienced and novice writers”. I found her own story absorbing, which says a great deal about Goldie’s skills as a writer, while the many useful tips for writers are set out clearly and with insight. In fact, it takes a brave author to put her own writing up for judgment as well as an exemplar to illustrate the tuition.

Her early life story is set in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and London and the reader is treated to Goldie’s observations about the social mores of each place as they were from 1936 to 1967, and by extension, the ups and downs of her own life. She doesn’t pull any punches and I consider her memoirs so interestingly written that they deserve a book of their own.

But the main focus of Mentoring Your Memoir is on the many practical hints Goldie offers that will show us, she says, “how to document our own life histories … (and) that will lead you through the creative process from research, structure, crafting, to beginnings, endings, controversial issues and publishing”.

A challenging list, and one well-tackled by Goldie.

  ****

What a great review! And I  am very eager to purchase Goldie’s book, Mentoring Your Memoir as writing down my husband’s life stories, has always been on my list of books to write. And I’m sure this will steer me in the right direction.  

To find out more about Goldie’s books, and other information about Goldie, please visit:

http://www.goldiealexander.com

   *****

Thanks Goldie.  We wish you every success with Mentoring Your Memoirs, and your other books awaiting release. And please keep us posted in regards to Mentoring Your Memoirs and any future journeys  in the world of independent publishing.

Helen Ross interviews Goldie Alexander 13 September 2010. Copyright Helen Ross 2010.

Book Review: The Unfaithful Widow by Barbara Barth

Genre:             Memoir
Paperback:       246 pages
ISBN:                    1432750755
Outskirts Press   (April 2010)

The Unfaithful Widow is the first book by Barbara Barth, who at nearly 60 years of age, found herself abandoned by her husband – he died.  How inconsiderate was that? Sorry, if this sounds insensitive, but this is the type of endearing humor and candidness woven throughout the book, a montage of memories of the author’s first year alone:  some sad, funny, cheeky and naughty, including an x-rated chapter. 

The chapters are organized into sections which reflect not only the seasonal changes but the metamorphosis that Barbara is experiencing within as she endeavors to come to grips with losing her soul mate, whilst sculpting a new life for herself.  A corvette, an assortment of dogs, and a string of bad dates also help Barbara on her road to recovery and discovery.

The Unfaithful Widow is an engaging light, night-time, weekend or holiday read. The author’s cheekiness and naughtiness is refreshing, and her candid and humorous writing style made me feel I was sharing her journey over a coffee.  I laughed, shed a tear and was kept captivated by her stories.

The book’s cover is nice and simple with a lot of white space, echoing (in my mind) the openness and candor of Barbara’s reflections.  The cover, interior layout and altered art images (artistically set out) were Barbara’s visions, brought to life by her sister, an artist, and her friend, a graphic designer.  They complement each stage of Barbara’s metamorphosis.

And the reason for the title? Well, you’ll have to read The Unfaithful Widow to find out, but who knew there was a rule about dating after the death of a spouse?

The Unfaithful Widow would make a lovely movie – a little in the vein of ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’, offering hope to those in a similar situation, or to just get out there and give life a go; it should appeal to both men and women. 

Also you must check out the trailer on You tube.  Make sure you have the volume cranked up, and tissues at hand (just in case).

The Unfaithful Widow is available in paperback at http://Amazon.com or at http://www.barbarabarth.net

Review by Helen Ross, Australian author and freelance writer, with a passion for talented independently published authors, and their books. 

http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com 

And to find out more about Barbara Barth, please scroll down to see my interview with this lovely lady (posted 16 August 2010).

Review of The Unfaithful Widow by Barbara Barth. Copyright Helen Ross 19 August 2010.