catnav-news-active-3Post #107 – Memoir Writing News – Matilda Butler




memoir writing contest Honorable Mentions

Pamela Jane Bell Announces the First of the Women’s Memoirs First Paragraph Winners





Who Would Have Known
On August 5, Pamela announced a new contest for the Women’s Memoirs community. It was a “send-us-your-first-paragraph-and-let’s-see-how-you-have-opened-your-book.” Consider this:

–The contest was open for less than a month.
–Most of the open time was during August, a month notorious for everyone being on vacation (just try to get a publisher to respond in those days)

I told Pamela that she had such a great idea for a contest that we should announce it. But I didn’t really expect all that many entries for the two reasons stated above.

Suddenly, the entries started rolling in, well I suppose I should say emailing in. Pamela has judged a number of contests and so quickly organized all the entries. After the initial set arrived, we thought it would calm down and we’d just get a few more. But day after day after day, the entries continued to come–filling our email inboxes in a fun and exciting way with intriguing entries.

We loved all the comments that came along with the entries. It seemed that everyone appreciated this contest. Many had never shared their writing before but decided to do so this time. We are truly honored that all of these entrants wanted to see what we thought about their opening, wanted to see if they would be winners.

And speaking of winners — because we had so many great entries, we expanded our categories for winners:

Honorable Mention
Bronze
Silver
Gold
Grand Winner

Prizes Galore

The fabulous entries caused us to rethink our prizes as well as our categories. Here’s our new, expanded list of prizes:

memoir award1. HONORABLE MENTION
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. Honorable Mention Certificate will be emailed to each Honorable Mention winner
c. $10 off coupon for the three-time award-winning Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep, which retails for $24.95 — that makes it $14.95, which includes free shipping (Details for using coupon will be emailed to each Honorable Mention winner)

2. BRONZE
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and noteworthy sentences bolded and/or a comment by Pamela Jane
c. Bronze Certificate will be emailed to each Bronze winner
d. $40 off coupon for The [Essential] Women’s Mention Writing Workshop: 21 Online Video Lessons with 8 hours of instruction and more than 40 exercises. The video lessons sell for $109 but we have them on special right now for $79. With the $40 off, the lessons are just $39 or just $ .54 each. (Details for using coupon will be emailed to each Bronze winner)

3. SILVER
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and noteworthy sentences bolded and/or a comment by Pamela Jane
c. Silver Certificate will be emailed to each Silver winner
d. Free Kindle version of one of the four ten-time award-winning anthologies in the SEASONS OF OUR LIVES (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) series

4. GOLD
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and individual comments by Pamela Jane
c. Gold Certificate will be emailed to each Gold winner
d. Choice of free copy of either Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep — or — The [Essential] Women’s Mention Writing Workshop: 21 Online Video Lessons

5. GRAND WINNER
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and individual comments by Pamela Jane on the paragraph
c. Grand Winner Certificate will be emailed to each Grand Winner
d. Free Kindle version of one of the four anthologies in the SEASONS OF OUR LIVES (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) series
e. Choice of free copy of either Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep — or — The [Essential] Women’s Mention Writing Workshop: 21 Online Video Lessons

A Word About the Kindle eBooks
Silver and Grand Winners will receive one of our four award-winning, best-selling Kindle ebooks:

Seasons of Our Lives: Spring
Seasons of Our Lives: Summer
Seasons of Our Lives: Autumn
Seasons of Our Lives: Winter

And, Finally I Turn This Over to Pamela Jane

Pamela Jane BellBy Pamela Jane Bell
Regular guest blogger, children’s book author and coach. Pamela is currently seeking an agent her memoir.

What Does It Take?

Not long ago I was talking to an aspiring writer about her dreams of publication.

“I want more than anything in the world to break in,” Sophie told me, her eyes shining.

I was quiet, studying her face.

“I predict you will break in within six months,” I said after a moment.

Almost exactly six months later, Sophie called to tell me she had received her first book contract.

“I can’t believe it!” she cried.  “You must be clairvoyant!”

“Not really,” I said, smiling to myself.

“But how did you know?” she asked.  “You hadn’t even read any of my writing.”

“I didn’t have to,” I replied.  “I knew by the look in your eyes.”

I was telling the truth.  I had seen an intensity in her gaze; a single-minded determination to succeed.  The six-months timeline was just a guess, but with that kind of resolve I knew it wouldn’t take long.

I didn’t have the chance to meet face-to-face with those of you who submitted first paragraphs, but I saw in every single entry the same determination and passion I saw in Sophie’s eyes that day. And so whether you are one of our winners or not, I believe that your determination and passion will carry you forward.

Author Stephen King said, “Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground … [they]  are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.”pottery

I hope that excavating your stories continues to be as deeply satisfying as the joy of sharing them with others.  We thank you for sharing them with us.

Today, we are announcing the Honorable Mention winners. In future posts, we will be announcing the other winning entries, as follows:

September 23, 2014:  Announcement of the first half of the Bronze winners along with their first paragraphs.

September 30, 2014:  Accouncement of the second half of the Bronze winners including their first paragraphs.

October 7, 2014:  Announcement of Silver winners and publication of their first paragraphs

October 14, 2014:  Announcement of Gold winners and publication of their first paragraphs along with a brief discussion of facets of these entries that brought them to the Gold level.

October 21, 2014:  Announcement of Grand-prize winners and publication of their first paragraphs accompanied with a discussions of what made these entries rise to the top.

We think you will find much of interest in the paragraphs — that’s why we have split the winning entries into multiple weeks. We hope you will use them to compare and contrast with what you are writing — to see what you like and what you don’t like — to find inspiration.

A WORD ABOUT OUR PROCEDURE

Every First Paragraph entry was read and rated when we received it.  When the final day arrived and the last contestant submitted, all first paragraphs were read and scored a second time.  At this time cutoff scores were established for the Honorable Mentions, Bronzes, Silvers, Golds, and Grand Winners.

Of course, even frequently used rating systems are applied by just “regular folks.”  And, although we have insights and knowledge based on years of writing, teaching, coaching, mentoring, and judging writing contests, this doesn’t mean we are always right.  So, if you won at any level we offer our congratulations. We feel confident about the progress you are making and we want you to know that we appreciated your unique premise or fresh approach.

And if you didn’t win one of the prizes?  We think you are a winner because you were willing to share your writing with others.  We saw your passion and are confident that as you work on your opening, you’ll find just the right introduction for your story. We urge you to enter other contests we’ll be holding. Keep writing!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

(Please note “m” is memoir, “f” is fiction.)

Carole Battaglia m. “Coming Into the Light”

Dorothy Black Crow m. “Belonging to the Black Crows”

Clara Bowman-Jahn m. “Spiraling: My Journey With Bipolar Disorder”

Valerie Byron m. “No Ordinary Wife”

Bobbie Carducci m. “Girl in the Wind”

Edwina Cowgill m. “The Announcement”

Anush Dawidjan m. “Around the World with Anush”

Larry Dunlap m. “Things We Lost in the Night”

Bobbie Edwards m. “Fork in the Road”

Cindy Fox f. “Evening Shadows”

Amy Mull Fremgen  f. “Invitation to Destiny”

Linda Greeley m.”Woven From Many Threads: Our Family Tapestry”

Colleen Grimes m. “Sacrifice”

Wayne Groner m. “Groner Family History”

Kathy Haaga m. “Not In The Mainstream, A Memoir”

Patti M. Hall m. “Giants Among Us”

Alma Jones m. “Momma and the Rent Man”

Ruth Kear m. “Getting a Free Education”

Lorrie Kelley m. “My Post-Traumatic Life”

Malky Kertis m. “Running with the Locas”

Barbara K. Kincaid m. “Cookies in Her Pants: A Family Saga and Alzheimer’s  Odyssey”

Truthful Kindness m. “Bits ‘n Pieces of Me: Memoirs to Retain Identity in the Face of Growing dementia”

Kathleen Kline m. “The Second Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do”

Amyah Labrèche-Docq  f. “Back to Life”

Pat LaPointe f.  “She is Me, I am She”

Christine Larsen m. “Old McLarsen had some Farms”

Tracey Lee m. “Tsunami 2004″

Constance Lieber m. “Escape to the East”

Pamela Little m. “The Resting Place, a Graveside Diary”

Ruth Littner m. “Living with Ghosts”

Carol Marrone f. “Urban Explorers and Shopping Carts”

Maddy McGuire m. “Expelled from Grace”

Darlene Mueller Morse m. “I’m No Longer Afraid”

Sheree Nielsen m.  “Ocean Spirit – The Journey of a Women’s Soul”

Cheryl O’Connor m. “Condemned”

Rita Pomade m.  ”Finding Ithaka:  A Sea Story”

SueAnn Porter f.  “Ambassador”

Carol Reeves m. “All the Little Miracles”

Betty Robinson m.  “A Country Girl’s Diary”

Barbara Rogers f.  “The Werewolf’s Daughter”

Tammy Roth m.  “New Bottom”

Johnine  M. Simpson m. “Vignettes from My Life”

Cindy Small m. “Family Sequins”

Jennifer Sugden f.  “An Ancient Series”

Leslie Sussan m.  “Nuclear Legacy:  From Hollywood to Hiroshima”

Sonia Usatch-Kuhn f.   “Dance the Steps”

J.H. Waldrep m. “In The Beginning”

Debi Wandrey m. “Champagne Taste and a Beer Pocket Book”

Bette Waters m. “Say My Name”

Jude Walsh Whelley m. “Intersection Lesson”

Raven White m. “Bad Can Be Broken”

Mary K. Williams m. “Driving Home from Boston: 12 Ways to Navigate Crisis”

Congratulations to you all!

Womens Memoirs Logo, memoir writing

Pamela Jane is the author of thirty children’s books published by Houghton Mifflin, Atheneum, Simon & Schuster, Penguin-Putnam, Harper, and others. Her newest book for adults, Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp through Jane Austen’s Classic was featured in The Wall Street JournalThe Huffington Post, and BBC America, among other places. She recently finished her memoir Shout!  How I Lost Everything and Found My Voice: A Writer’s Journey.

Just in time for Halloween! Pamela’s recent Halloween picture book, Little Goblins Ten, illustrated by NY Times best-selling llustrator, Jane Manning, is based on the old country rhyme, “Over in the Meadow.” Here’s what’s being said about it:

“…trust the team of Jane and Manning to conjure up an impressive new vision in time for Halloween —Kirkus starred review

The classic counting rhyme ‘Over in the Meadow’ goes spooky in this Halloween riff, which should endure well past Oct. 31 —New York Times Book Review

Jane has fun playing within the nursery rhyme’s parameters…Manning’s quirky and expressive monster families are 10 kinds of cute.” —Publishers Weekly

[A NOTE FROM MATILDA] Fortunately, I have grandchildren just the perfect age for Pamela’s Little Goblins Ten and will be getting them copies as my Halloween gift to them…so much better than candy. If you have a child or grandchildren, I hope you will consider this great gift.

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Memoir Review: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Memoir “Hard Choices” Reviewed by Lanie Tankard

by Matilda ButlerSeptember 9, 2014
Memoir Review: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Memoir “Hard Choices” Reviewed by Lanie Tankard

Lanie Tankard takes a unique look at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices, examining it not as political but as a woman’s personal story.

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Writing Prompt: A Bit of Inspiration

by Matilda ButlerSeptember 4, 2014
Writing Prompt: A Bit of Inspiration

Looking for a little inspiration? These writing prompts provide valuable messages to bring inspiration into our lives.

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Writing Contest Deadline Looms: Enter Now

by Matilda ButlerAugust 25, 2014
Writing Contest Deadline Looms: Enter Now

Thoughts on writing the opening to your memoir or novel.

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Writers, Consider: When Words Divide Versus Unite

by Matilda ButlerAugust 18, 2014
Writers, Consider: When Words Divide Versus Unite

Our website has been nominated as one of the top sites of interest to genealogists as well as memoir writers. Consider voting for us and learn about the overlapping interests of memoirists, genealogists, and scrapbookers.

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Pamela Jane Bell Announces Women’s Memoirs “Opening Paragraph” Contest

by Pamela Jane BellAugust 5, 2014
Pamela Jane Bell Announces Women’s Memoirs “Opening Paragraph” Contest

Pamela Jane Bell, our regular guest blogger, has come up with a dandy idea for a quick contest. This contest — your best opening paragraph — ends on September 3 so get out your keyboard or pencil and get to writing. Read all about it in this article and check out some of her favorite openings.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writing: Why Do You Need Another Book About Writing?

by Matilda ButlerJuly 28, 2014
Memoir Writing: Why Do You Need Another Book About Writing?

Check out this video about a solution to the frustrations writers have with their skill level.

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