Contest

Welcome to Women’s Memoirs Contests


Quick NEWS on Quick Contest

We’ve just announced a new contest that closes September 3. Click here for all the details.

In brief: This contest is the brainchild of Pamela Jane Bell, our regular guest blogger. Submit the opening paragraph of your memoir, novel, life story vignette, or short story. Make it the best opening ever. Pamela will read all of the contest entries and announce the winner (or winners) in September.

Hope you enjoy this contest. Just click on the link above and you’ll learn all about the contest.

Now. Get to writing (and submitting).

Scroll Down for Information on 2014 Memoir Contests

Looking for the “How I Met Your Father” Contest?

“How I Met Your Father” contest entries can be entered into our all-new 2014 Memoir Contest. All you need to do is to tell us the category you are using — Wild Card category or the Marriage/Divorce category.

…But Before We Talk About New Contests…

Before we get into the 2014 Memoir Contests on Women’s Memoirs, we want to share news of the results of last year’s contests. Ever wonder what happens to contest winners? Last year we had four contests focusing on the seasons of the year. The award-winning entries have now been published in four ebooks, available on Amazon.

WINNING CONTEST ENTRIES NOW AVAILABLE AS EBOOKS ON AMAZON

Announcing: Seasons of Our Lives. This four volume series of ebooks is the result of last year’s four memoir writing contests. After a rigorous review, we selected the best of the inspiring stories. They are now available on Amazon’s Kindle Store.

We’re excited about these stories and the four ebooks. We hope you will join in congratulating all of the talented authors in these volumes.

SEASONS OF OUR LIVES: SPRING
SEASONS OF OUR LIVES: SUMMER
SEASONS OF OUR LIVES: AUTUMN
SEASONS OF OUR LIVES: WINTER

Here are the comments of some early reviewers::

It is true that each woman is a story waiting to be told—and in this outstanding collection of memoirs you’ll find many wonderful women’s stories. It is also true that each woman’s story is everywoman’s story, for we share so many of the same experiences. As I read these stories [in Seasons of Our Lives], I am reading bits and pieces from my own life, and I am inspired to write my own with a more passionate and compassionate heart. I hope you are, too. ~Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling author of Writing from Life, New York Times bestselling series China Bayles, two memoirs, An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, and the nonfiction book A Wilder Rose.

Seasons of Our Lives, a compilation of memoirists’ vignettes, brings poignant stories of history and nostalgia to the reader, as well as writing observations and lessons for the author in everyone. Seasons of our Lives is sure to be another award-winning work from the dynamic duo of Butler and Bonnett. ~Judy Sheer Watters, author of The Road Home: The Legacy that was, is and is to Come

A summer’s bouquet of award–winning stories that engage, inspire, and also teach. Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett’s “takeaways” on each piece illuminate the modes of thought and specific techniques that make each story work. A delight for anyone who enjoys compelling stories as well as a handbook for those who desire to tell or write their own. I’m proud to be included in Seasons of Our Lives: Summer. ~Judith Newton, Professor Emerita, UC Davis, Women and Gender Studies, award-winning food memoir author, Tasting Home

The stories in Seasons of Our Lives collectively sparkle like facets of a crystal chandelier. Each enjoyable, thought-provoking story is told in an authentic voice that reads like a letter from a friend. But these are no ordinary anthologies. The editors’ insightful remarks at the end of each piece turn the volumes into uniquely powerful writing texts for students of memoir. ~Sharon Lippincott, life writing coach and author of Adventures of a Chilehead, The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description, and more.

Each Seasons Of Our Lives volume is a treasure trove filled with life experiences crafted into memoir and offered as gifts to the reader by the women who lived them. Take time to savor each story, then go deeper and examine the literary tools used by the editors Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett in their takeaway/mini-lesson at the end of each piece. With suggestions and prompts for those seeking to tell the stories of their own lives, these books are sure to please readers and life story writers alike. ~Linda Hoye, author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude.

What gems! These memoir vignettes pull us into and delight us with the rich stories of women’s lives. I literally couldn’t put the book down. Each story highlights a facet of life that speaks to our shared humanity. I found myself recalling moments from my own life and thinking, “It’s time to start writing my life stories!”

The beauty of this anthology is that the editors Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett have written “takeaways” at the end of each story to help budding memoir writers. These mini-lessons are a gold mine of tips and advice.  

I believe that in telling our stories we illuminate the world one voice at a time. Seasons of Our Lives has made my world glow a little brighter. ~Dan Curtis award-winning documentary filmmaker, personal historian, and founder/coordinator of Victor Hospice’s “Life Stories”

Seasons of Our Lives-is a series of four anthologies of memoir and heart-warming stories written by women about seemingly unnoticed moments. Their deeply personal stories will embrace you to slow down and take a deep breath. They lead you back to your own heart, filling you with a sense of purity and beauty, meaning and purpose as you turn from the page. Seasons of our Lives is a must read. It will give you a new perspective out of which your own stories will peek through. ~Jan Marquart, Author and CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

The magic of story is inherent in this valuable collection of women’s memoirs. The stories showcase seasons of our lives, as well as calendar seasons – from our awakening as youths in Spring, through the openness of Summer, to the wisdom (or not) that comes in late Fall or early Winter. They not only entertain and educate (especially for beginning memoirists), but make us feel less alone. I couldn’t stop reading. ~Brenda Clem Black, author of “Lil Alice”, read on NPR’s “Tales From the South”, and “Red Shoes”, 1st place Memoir OWFI and OWL. Now completing a memoir of her in-laws, Black and Kiddo

Writing memoir is like walking into an immense clearing and finding a wild stallion waiting there just for you. Climbing up, you wonder if you can take this ride. …but wait. Help is there to accompany you on your ride. Help in the form of award-winning memoir vignettes to read and takeaway lessons to give you guidance in sharing your life stories. That’s what Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett, editors of Seasons of Our Lives have given all of us, readers and writers. I am so proud to be part of this anthology series. ~Kathleen Hewitt, author of The Scent of Her

Memoir Writing

NEW MEMOIR WRITING CONTEST FOR 2014

WANT TO GET PUBLISHED IN A SUCCESSFUL EBOOK — TO BE AN AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR?

Our Women’s Memoirs Contests provide an exciting opportunity for you whether you have ever been published before or not. We are offering you the possibility to become a bestselling Amazon author. Although no one can promise how successful a book will be, we think that based on the ranks of the four volumes of the Seasons of Our Lives anthologies, we can create more bestselling ebooks.

Of course, the real value of entering and winning in our contests is that you have a marvelous chance to share your life story, your message, your life lessons with others.

A 2014 Twist: Enter Our Memoir Contest and Get a FREE Coaching Session

Most contests charge a fee for each entry. There are numerous costs associated with conducting contests so that’s quite reasonable. And at some point in the future, we might also charge fees. But for now, Women’s Memoirs continues to take a different approach. We bear the costs ourselves, and we’re going to do something that we think is unprecedented for our upcoming contest.

So what’s the deal?

Here are the general entry rules and an explanation of how you can get a FREE memoir coaching session.

1. Submit a 750 – 1500 word memoir vignette. Be sure to polish it. We’re not looking for rough drafts.

2. We will read your vignette. IF SELECTED to go into the second round of our contest, we will give you a FREE written coaching session or a telephone coaching session about your contest entry. We believe most of the coaching will be written but reserve the option of a telephone session. We will make suggestions for how you can go deeper into your story and how you can improve your craft of memoir writing.

3. You rework your vignette based on our suggestions from the coaching session and then submit it to us. Given our previous experience with paid coaching clients, we believe that your story will then meet our criteria and be accepted for publication in one of our upcoming five ebooks.

Fun, huh? You get the opportunity for both a free coaching session and for publication in one of our ebooks.

4. What are the forthcoming ebooks? We are developing a series of ebooks based on our award-winning WRITING ALCHEMY: HOW TO WRITE FAST AND DEEP. Currently the book is available in print format only and we have had a flood of requests to publish it as a Kindle ebook. Well, it is the modern way to read a book.

But we’ve decided that rather than putting exactly the same material into an electronic format, we will create five WRITING ALCHEMY WORKBOOKS with:

–content based on our print book
–plus our extensive teaching and coaching experience
–along with fresh examples of Writing Alchemy at work.

The contest entries, both the before-coaching and the after-coaching vignettes, will be the examples in these books. This means you have an opportunity to have both your life story and your writing showcased in these volumes.

5. What topics? All of our previous contests have directed writers to specific topics. And while we have a list of categories this time, we are adding a Wildcard so that you can write about any topic of strong interest to you. We want to support your passion for writing and storytelling.

MEMOIR CONTEST TOPICS FOR 2014, YOU PICK

LIFE TURNING POINT: Write about the one thing that has shaped you the most, that caused you to become the person you are. Most of our important life stories are generated because of that one turning point. It is the situation or the person that lead to you being on your current life path. Maybe it put you on the right path, maybe the wrong path. Exploring the turning point will lead you into the depth of your story.

FIRST LOVE: Love comes many times in a life. It comes in many shapes and forms. Think back on your loves and write about the first one. Or, if you prefer, write about your current love–what makes it special, what love means at this time in your life.

COMING OF AGE: Write about the time when you first recognized that you had an adult perspective on a situation, or at least thought that you were entering the adult world. It might have been part of the expected maturation or it might have occurred in a scary situation.

EDUCATION: College education is now fully open to women. The latest statistics show that 916,000 women and 685,000 men received college degrees in 2009, the most recent year with available statistics. But women entering college in the 1950s and 1960s often had less access to college and decidedly less access to the full range of majors than their male counterparts. Scholarships were restricted for women. Even families often favored their sons when it came time to pay for college. What types of education experiences did you have? How did the experiences change you? How has your life been changed by the education you had…or didn’t have.

EMPLOYMENT: Tell a young woman today that her employment opportunities are restricted and she’s likely to laugh at you. Of course, she’d be right. But women born in the 1930s and 1940s had few opportunities outside of the three “Ts” — teach, type, take temps. Do you have one work experience that is particularly important to you? A challenge accepted? A job denied you? Growth from your work life? Managing work and home life?

WHEN GOOD GOES BAD OR BAD GOES GOOD: Good isn’t always good and bad isn’t always bad. When we conducted interviews with women for our Rosie’s Daughters: The First Woman to Generation Tells Its Story, Second Edition collective memoir, we had a standard pair of questions: Tell me the three best things that have happened in your life. Tell me the three worst things that have happened in your life. It was amazing how many of the women said, I don’t have three worst things. For example, one woman said, “Even though the divorce was terrible, I can’t say it was a worst thing. I learned so much from it and ended up developing myself as a person. I’d have to say that it was really one of the best things that happened to me.” Reflect on a time when a good or bad situation turned out to embody the opposite element and write about it. Dig deep on this one because it may require you to rethink previous situations in your life.

SUCCESS/FAILURE: Some goals are small and some are large. All are worth achieving. Consider one of your successes in life. Why is it important to you? How has it changed your life? What did you learn from it? What can you pass on to others based on your experience? And while success is always worth a celebration, failure is sometimes the better teacher. I’ve learned much in life when things didn’t go as anticipated or as wanted. Maybe you will choose to write about a failure and what it has meant in your life.

THRIVING IN ADVERSITY: Life is tough. Some aspects of it are beyond our control. Other times we manage to undercut ourselves. The only thing we can do is manage how we deal with the situation. Has there been a serious adversity in your life? Sharing the ways you worked through it, sharing how you thrived in spite of adversity can be a marvelous help to others going through similar situations. It may also be healing for you to look at the ways you did thrive in spite of the adversity.

AGING: When young, life stretches out in front of you and the road seems to go into infinity. But the years pass quickly and you find yourself facing the real consequences of aging. Attitudes, friendships, living circumstances, families, and of course, our bodies change. What kinds of stories come to mind? They might be humorous or sad, ordinary or extraordinary. What counts is the way you write about them.

HEALTH: Every life includes some illness or an accident, minor or major. Illness wants to define us and yet many people don’t let it. What have been your experiences with illness?

FRIENDSHIP: Do you have a BFF? Describe her or him. What brought you two together? What do you share? How do you make each other’s lives better? Maybe the topic of friendship brings to mind a friend from kindergarten or from high school. What happened with the friendship? Have you ever tried to find the person again? Share your memories. Share what you have learned about friendships–both its demands and its rewards.

MARRIAGE/DIVORCE: Sometimes it seems marriage and divorce are two sides of the same coin. Even strong marriages go through times when a separation seems like a good choice. There was a time when women thought there would be a Prince Charming and life would be lived “happily ever after.” A laughable idea today but one that filled our heads when we were young. Write about something significant in your marriage…a turning point…a cherished memory…a low point. Divorce is a part of modern life with about 50 percent of marriages ending this way (actual percentages are influenced by age at time of marriage and other factors). But when you are the one involved in a divorce, the statistics don’t matter. For you it is 100 percent. There is no such thing as a happy or easy divorce although some are much worse than others. What was your experience? What did you learn about yourself from the divorce? Have you and your ex-spouse been able to forgive each other? Define this Marriage/Divorce topic in a way that is meaningful to you.

CHILDREN: A decision to have or to not have children influences an entire life. At the time of decision, you have no way of knowing the consequences. Write about your decision and the unexpected outcomes. If you could go back to an earlier time in your life would you make the same decision? Why? In what way would you be different today if you had made a different choice?

TRAVEL: Stories of trips are hard to develop in memoir because the reader wants to know more than where you went and what you did. The reader wants to know the insights you had or the lessons you learned and the ways in which travel changed you. The writer needs to develop a way of showcasing the different culture and the sights while letting the reader see your unique perspective on the experience.

DEATH: The death of a family member or close friend is one of the most difficult of life experiences. Neither a slow descent nor an abrupt and unexpected end is acceptable. But we have no control over the events that lead to the death. Your emotions are bound to return when you write and you’ll want to find ways to convey them to the reader. Although it will be difficult, you may find you are ready to write about a death that affected you.

SPIRITUAL LIFE: Are you a seeker, someone who searches for that which is larger than you? Spirituality is not necessarily associated with a religion. It is a perspective on life and your role in life. It is knowing that fads and products are not “what it’s all about.” Life is about relationships, about finding peace in nature or in music or art, about finding meaning, and about so much more. Spirituality and a spiritual life mean different things to different people. When you write on this topic, be sure to let your reader understand your perspective.

WILD CARD: The story you want to write for your contest entry may not be on this list or may cross the boundary between two items. That’s fine. Write your memoir vignette and just let us know how you define the Wild Card category.

SPECIFIC RULES FOR OUR WOMEN’S MEMOIRS CONTEST FOR 2014

1 — To even our work load and to give us an opportunity to schedule our coaching, we have three deadlines (and three possible additional ones) on the following dates:

April 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

August 31, 2014

October 31, 2014 (if we are still seeking stories for our ebooks)

November 20, 2014 (if we are still seeking stories for our ebooks)

December 31, 2014 (if we are still seeking stories for our ebooks)

It will be to your advantage to enter sooner rather than later since our schedules may fill up and we reserve the right to not accept entries after August 31, 2014.

2 — Length of your memoir vignette is between 750 – 1500 words

3 — The story should not have been previously published.

4 — We know you will write and carefully edit your entry. If you are part of a writing group, you hope you share it with them. But wait. Before you send us your memoir vignette, stop and read your story aloud. It is amazing how often you will find typos, poor word choices, and confusing sentences at this point. This will lead to the final polishing of your contest entry.

5 — Include your name and a brief 2-4 sentence bio as part of your entry.

6 — Email contest entries to:matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

7 — The subject line should read: “2014 Contest” followed by the category. For example:

2014 Contest – Friendship

or

2014 Contest – Wild Card xxx (where xxx is the topic you are writing about.)

We need this Subject Line so that your entry won’t get lost in our email. We can’t promise to spot your entry if you use another subject line. Trust me. Kendra and I get hundreds of emails each day and we don’t want yours to get buried.

8 — Attach your entry to the email as a .doc file or, if you prefer, copy and paste the entry into the email itself. We have some people who do both, just to make sure we can read the entry. Do not attach a PDF as we cannot work with a file in that format.

We’re Ready and Waiting

We’re excited about this new contest and hope you are also. We look forward to receiving your vignettes.

NOW CLOSED — SPRING MEMOIR CONTEST 2013:

Gilbert and Sullivan have brought many of us hours of delight. Remember 78 RPM records? We had a boxed set of all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and they often played in the background while we were fixing dinner. Who could forget a song like…

“I am the very model of a modern Major-General
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,…”

Another favorite song was featured in Mikado and is called to mind as I look out on Oregon in the full bloom of spring:

“The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine -
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la.”

Yes, spring does seem to lift our spirits. I know there may be cold and rain still headed this way, but the days are longer now and the promise of warm summer days is in the air.

This means it is time to start thinking about your favorite stories of spring. Choose the best one and write it as your submission for our Women’s Memoirs Spring Contest. We intend to publish the best of these as an ebook. So be sure we have your permission to publish your story, if it is a winner. You retain your copyright. You simply grant us the right to publish it as part of our compilation of spring memoirs.

Do you remember a special spring from your childhood? This might include Mother’s Day, Easter, as well as others. Maybe you are thinking of a story from your adult years. Your story might be light and fun or poignant and sad. Write your story and submit it to our Spring Memoir Contest. Below are the few rules we have:

1 — Deadline is July 31, 2013

2 — Length is between 750 – 1200 words

3 — Be sure to give your story a title and craft a powerful opening and closing. The opening is your one chance to grab your reader and make us want to read on.

4 — Have your described the people in your story? Have you used dialogue to help the reader “hear” the people and get to know them? Have you let the reader find out when and where your story took place? Have you created an emotional link between you and the reader? These are some of the elements that you want to consider when writing your contest entry.

5 — You write and rewrite and are ready to submit. Wait! Read your story aloud before submitting. This will help you find typos, poor word choices, and confusing sentences. This will lead to your final polishing of your contest entry.

6 — Include your name and a brief 2-4 sentence bio

7 — Include a photo relevant to the story, if possible

8 — Email contest entries to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

9 — Put: SPRING CONTEST ENTRY — as your subject line so that it won’t get lost in our email. We can’t promise to spot your entry if you use another subject line.

10 — Either attach your entry to the email as a .doc file or copy and paste the entry into the email itself. Either way is fine. Attach any photos to the email, we prefer .jpg format.

LOGO-BAR-NEW

All Contests Described Below Are Now Closed

Although all contests shown below are now closed, we have left them here so that you can see the range of contests that we have offered. We invite you to submit to our one open contest that is described above. Thank you for your interest.

PLEASE NOTE OUR CONTEST DEADLINE for WINTER STORIES has been extended to February 28, 2013. Also check out our contest for stories of women in your life (mothers, grandmothers, aunts, family friends) who worked during World War II. Share their ROSIE THE RIVETER STORIES — stories that include all women who worked or volunteered or were in the military during World War II. This deadline is now February 28, 2013 as well.

Our Rosie the Riveter Contest

Our new contest is different from any of our previous ones. This is a memoir writing website so we have always asked you to share your own stories. But this time, we want you to find a woman in your family or a family friend who worked during World War II.

NOTE: Although we hope you can find a Rosie in your family or community that may not be possible or easy for you. Therefore, if you have a family member who worked during World War II, but who is deceased, we urge you to write her story. You’ll need to go with memories as well as research about what she did. It was be an interesting challenge but we think it will be rewarding. If the person you write about is deceased, then some of the items stated below will need to be modified. We trust you to do a great job.

Rosie the Riveter, memoir storiesWhy this contest? 2012 was the 70th anniversary of the Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It” poster and 2013 is the 70th anniversary of the famous Norman Rockwell painting of Rosie. Many have said, and we agree, that World War II was won because so many women picked up where the men left off. Not only did women become riveters, but they also became welders, mechanics, drivers, pilots and more. Women became secretaries — positions previously held primarily by men. Those that poured into Washington, DC became known as Government Girls. Many women volunteered with the Red Cross and the USO to help. Some women took over what had been husband-wife companies, leading them through the war years on their own. And still other women kept the family farm going.

You name it, women did it. We’d like you to find a Rosie, a woman who worked or volunteered during World War II and tell her story. Interview her about her experiences and get a few specific memories or if she is no longer alive, find people who heard her talk about those years and create a story around those memories

This contest offers you the opportunity to turn your writing skills to saving the memories of another person. If you don’t know someone in your family or close circle, then you can go to the library or the local historical society and get some help finding a Rosie.

Be sure to:
- Describe the woman — perhaps she has a photo from the war years as well as her physical description now.
- Include details on the when and where. During which years did she work? Where did she work? What specifically was her job?
- Then try to find out her emotions about the work. What did it mean to her to have a job during the war?
- You may want to record what she says, or at least take good notes. This will give you some dialogue to include in your contest entry. Try to let her comments help you capture the essence of the woman’s experiences.
- And don’t forget about the five senses. These might be used in many ways — if she had a factory job, she might be able to describe the sights, sounds, and smells. And/or you might include the sensory details relevant to the time of your interview.

Let’s all resolve to capture the stories of this wonderful and amazing generation of women before it is too late. We will publish as many of these stories as we can. In addition, I know that family members will value and appreciate that you have helped to document the story.

LENGTH: Approximately 2000 words. If you feel you need more, please send us an email to discuss.

FORMAT: Please attach the story as a .doc file to your email. Send the email to: matilda@womensmemoirs (dot) com. If you prefer, you can simply do a copy and paste right into the text of your email.

AUTHORSHIP: Please provide your name, email address we can use to reach you, and a short (2 to 4 sentence) bio that will be used with your story if it is selected.

DEADLINE: Please send us your vignettes by February 28, 2013.

SUBJECT LINE: Be sure to put ROSIE CONTEST as the Subject Line. That way, it won’t get lost in my emails. Thanks.

PS We modified this contest to include telling the stories of mothers or relatives who worked (or volunteered) during World War II because one of our readers, Becky Povich, said that she didn’t think there were any Rosie’s still alive in her community. Thanks Becky for your comment. Those who are deceased can still be honored by telling their stories. We look forward to reading your mother’s story.

LOGO-BAR-NEW

2013: Memoir Writing Contest Rules, Deadlines and Themes

First, Kendra and I want to thank the hundreds of women who submitted their contest entries over the past year. We had some amazing winning stories that will be published in ebooks.

For 2013, we have two ongoing contests — the one about Winter stories and the Rosie the Riveter story one. We hope to use these to help you expand your writing skills and increase the pleasure you get from writing. You will find the information on the Winter stories contest below. Information on the Rosie the Riveter contest appear above.

For all our contests, attach your entry as a .doc file or put into the text of the email using copy/paste.

– Be sure that the word CONTEST is in the Subject Line.

Winter 2012-2013 Memoir Contest: Winter brings a new mood. We spend more time indoors. This is a season for reflection — for looking back at what was as well as looking forward to what will come. Send us a memory, written as a story, about your most vivid winter experience. It might be an event from one day or it might encompass the entire season. The story may have taken place in your childhood years or more recently. Be sure to write in a way that draws us into your story.

1 — Deadline is February 28, 2013

2 — Length is between 500 – 1500 words

3 — Be sure to give your story a title, craft a powerful opening and closing

4 — Include one or more photos, if possible

5 — Email contest entries to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

6 — Include your name and a brief 2-4 sentence bio

(Either attach your entry to the email as a .doc file or copy and paste the entry into the email itself. Either way is fine. Attach any photos to the email, we prefer .jpg format.)

LOGO-BAR-NEW

Food Memoir and Recipe, CONTEST CLOSED

UPDATE: The ebook version of the winning stories of this contest has been the focus of our recent effort. Learning the new publishing software has taken much more time than we anticipated. We’ll let you know as soon as it is available.

Women’s Memoirs invites you to send us a 500-1500 word story about your favorite recipe. Is it a nostalgic dish that reminds you of your mother? Is it a romantic recipe that you make for your partner on Valentine’s Day? Is it a self-invented recipe that you love to share with your friends? Whatever your story, whatever your recipe, we’d like to receive it for consideration in a new ebook from Women’s Memoirs.

A few years ago, I decided to put together a family recipe book to share with my sons at Christmas. It was only when I began to select recipes that I realized the story behind each choice was as important as the actual recipe. For example, there was the night that three of our sons called to ask about a cookie recipe. One called from Dallas, one from Eugene, and one from Sunnyvale — three states, three uncoordinated calls, one magical evening of sharing. Those three cookie recipes definitely made it into the cookbook.

And then there was the recipe for blueberry muffins, our eldest son’s favorite. It’s not surprising to learn, as I did on a recent visit to his home in Ft. Worth, that he has fresh blueberries every morning before heading to the office.

One of my sons often called me to remind him of the recipe for my mother’s plum kuchen (made each year with fresh French prunes during their limited appearance in the grocery store). So it had to be included. My mother’s version stands in stark contrast to the typical yeast sweet cakes. I always thought she just had the name wrong. But recently, I learned that it is more like a clafouti than a kuchen and probably came to her via Russia or Poland rather than Germany. I’m sure it was given to her by a friend in Oklahoma City when she was a bride learning to cook. Wish I knew who.

And speaking of Oklahoma. My mother made a marvelous Hoppin John — a dish we ate every New Year’s Day to have good luck throughout the year. Well, I could go on and on. These are some of the recipes and meanings in my life.

I hope that these hints of stories remind you of your own special stories about food. Stories and recipes just go together. So choose a story and recipe combination and tempt us with your details and imagery. And don’t forget, stories about recipes are the perfect excuse for using the five senses in your writing. If you have a photo or want to make the dish and take a picture, please send that along as well.

ScrapMoir-Contest-ChartThe Inspiration for This Contest. Did you know that more people are eating out than ever before? As you can see from the chart on the left, away-from-home food (this includes take out as well as restaurant meals) is almost half of all food consumed. Wow. When I grew up, eating out was a rare and special treat — not something you did just because it was dinner time.

Let’s give everyone some great food to prepare and eat at home and let’s give them stories they can share while they are starting to create their own special family legends around meals.

Let’s bring back kitchen table wisdom.

1 — Deadline is July 1, 2012

2 — Length is between 500 – 1500 words

3 — Be sure to give your story a title, craft a powerful opening and closing

4 — Read your story out loud. That’s a good way to find typos, missing words, and even a confusing sentence. Then revise to send us a polished story.

5 — Include one or more photos, if possible

6 — Be sure to include the recipe.

7 — Email contest entries to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

(Either attach your entry to the email as a .doc file or copy and paste the entry into the email itself. Either way is fine. Attach any photos to the email, we prefer .jpg format.)

Remember, your story and recipe is due July 1, 2012. Just email a .doc file (or copy and paste your story and recipe into the email) that includes both the story and the recipe to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com.

BE SURE TO PUT IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF THE EMAIL:
Food Memoir and Recipe Contest

(If you use a different subject line, your story might get lost in my email.)

2012 – Seasonal Contests:

Finishing our Writing Alchemy book will keep us busy for the first quarter of 2012. However, for each of the three remaining seasons, we’re offering contests. Following are the rules, themes, and deadlines:

Summer 2012 Memoir Contest: Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy: Did you love summers when you were a child? Do you have a special story you’d like to share? Maybe there is a significant summer from your adult years — a particularly fun or happy or poignant or even sad summer. Write that story and submit it to our Summer Memoir Contest.

1 — Deadline is June 30, 2012

2 — Length is between 500 – 1000 words

3 — Be sure to give your story a title, craft a powerful opening and closing

4 — Include a photo, if possible

5 — Email contest entries to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

(Either attach your entry to the email as a .doc file or copy and paste the entry into the email itself. Either way is fine. Attach any photos to the email, we prefer .jpg format.)

Fall 2012 Memoir Contest: Explore your memories of fall seasons past. Maybe a story from your childhood. Maybe a story from your adult years. The fall is a time of harvest. Harvest the most vivid of your recollections, write about it, and submit your story to our Fall 2012 Memoir Contest.

1 — Deadline is September 30, 2012

2 — Length is between 500 – 1500 words

3 — Be sure to give your story a title, craft a powerful opening and closing

4 — Include one or more photos, if possible

5 — Email contest entries to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

(Either attach your entry to the email as a .doc file or copy and paste the entry into the email itself. Either way is fine. Attach any photos to the email, we prefer .jpg format.)

2012: StoryMap Contests:
Have you heard about our exciting new product — StoryMap: The Neverending Story Prompt? If you haven’t, click here to read about it.

StoryMap is the map of Five Points, Oklahoma where the establishments, their owners, and the locations give you all the elements you need to create fun stories and to stretch your writing ability. You’ll find embedded in this map the five essential ingredients — characters, emotions, the five senses, time and place, and even a few bits of dialogue. Each time you sit to write, start your session with a 10 minute story based in Five Points. Have fun. Put yourself into the story and see what develops. Then, once your creative juices are flowing, switch to your memoir writing. StoryMap puts FUN into the FUNdamentals of writing.

Well, back to our StoryMap Contest…

StoryMap Contest #1: A great way to test your writing skills is to pick up a story started by someone else and finish it. This requires that you understand how the characters are developed, what is happening with the plot, and how you can bring the story to conclusion. Kendra has written the first five episodes of a story. We’ve provided the five links below:

Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon, Part 1

Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon, Part 2

Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon, Part 3

Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon, Part 4

Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon, Part 5

Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon, Part 6 — written by YOU. That’s right. Read parts 1 through 5 and then write the conclusion to the story. Be sure to work yourself into the story. In Part 5, you’ll see that Kendra worked both of us into Five Points, OK: Snow Moon, No Moon.

Then just send us your conclusion and we’ll publish it. Of course, we reserve the right to reject entries that are poorly written or haven’t been polished. So:

1 — You need to purchase a copy of StoryMap in order to submit your contest entry. There will be multiple StoryMap contests throughout the year — all based on the StoryMap of Five Points, Oklahoma. The regular price of StoryMap: The Neverending Writing Prompt is $19.97. However, here’s a discount coupon code for $2 off since you’ll be using it to enter one or more contest entries: COUPON CODE: CONTEST This coupon code will be valid for all of 2012. Here’s the link to purchase StoryMap.

2 — Be sure to give yourself enough time to craft a great conclusion to the story — between 500 – 1200 words.

3 — Read your story aloud as that will help you spot problems. Edit to create a polished story.

4 — Email your conclusion to Snow Moon, No Moon to:
matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

5 — Be sure that you send your entry no later than October 30, 2012.

Then return to this contest page later where you’ll find more StoryMap contests.

Memoir Writing Contest deadlines and themes for 2011

We announced our 11 memoir writing contests for 2011 in our blog post on January 7. Since many people come directly to this Contest tab on our website, we are repeating the information here. We are quite excited about this year’s contests and look forward to receiving your contest entries. As you’ll see, the themes relate to the months but can be interpreted in many ways. We are always open to creativity.

As we like to say, “You can’t win unless to take the first step to enter.” Sometimes submitting to a contest means moving outside our normal comfort zones. However, we invite you to do just that. Share you stories with others.

Memoir Writing Contest #1 for 2011: Deadline is January 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: The Best Valentine’s Day in Your Life. Or. The Worst Valentine’s Day in Your Life. The winner(s) will be published in February.



Memoir Writing Contest #2 for 2011: Deadline is February 28, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Reflections on Green. This topic gives you room for creativity. You might write about spring or a dress or St. Patrick’s Day or … The winner(s) will be published in March.

Memoir Writing Contest #3 for 2011: Deadline is March 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: Memories of Aprils Past. April Fools’ Day might be the spark for your story. Easter comes between March 22 and April 25, but we’ll put Easter remembrances into Contest #3. If you have an April birthday, then your might draw your story from that occasion. The winner(s) will be published in April.

Memoir Writing Contest #4 for 2011: Deadline is April 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: The Best Mother’s Day. Or. The Worst Mother’s Day. Your contest entry might be drawn from your childhood or could be after you became a mother. You might want to write about your mother even though the story has nothing to do with Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day this year, by the way, is May 8. The winner(s) will be published in May.

Memoir Writing Contest #5 for 2011: Deadline is May 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Remembering Junes of the Past. Contest entries might focus on celebrating Father’s Day. Did you and your siblings get or make your father a special gift or meal? Did Father’s Day have any special traditions when you were young? What about Father’s Day celebrations as an adult? In most states, June represents the end of school, an occasion marked with joy by children but not necessarily by all adults. All types of memories are welcome here. Father’s Day this year, by the way, is June 19. The winner(s) will be published in June.

Memoir Writing Contest #6 for 2011: Deadline is June 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Independence Day. You might take this topic literally or figuratively. Let your mind wrap around a special July 4th and tell us about it. Or, you may have your own story of independence from a bad job or a bad marriage. Focus your story on independence. The winner(s) will be published in July.

Memoir Writing Contest #–: No deadline. Give yourself a month off. Or, get started on your story for next month’s contest.

Memoir Writing Contest #7 for 2011: Deadline is August 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Labor Day. This topic is meant to expand rather than restrict your creativity. You might have a story for a specific Labor Day. But you can also consider when you were in labor with your first child or when you were first in the labor force or going back to school right after Labor Day. The winner(s) will be published in September.

Memoir Writing Contest #8 for 2011: Deadline is September 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. As you may know by now, Halloween is Kendra’s favorite holiday. Our Rosie the Riveter bandana is always popular to create an easy and inexpensive and EMPOWERED look for a Halloween party or even for handing out treats to the children who ring your doorbell. Send us your story of a halloween costume or halloween party. Maybe you’ll recall the excitement of going out trick or treating with your parents or when you first took your child for the candy walk. The winner(s) will be published in October.

Memoir Writing Contest #9 for 2011: Deadline is October 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Gratitude. This is a special topic. Thanksgiving is a time to consider all that we are grateful in our lives. No matter today’s circumstances, we can still express gratitude for friendships or kindnesses or health or family or co-workers or surroundings or music or … Write to express your gratitude. The winner(s) will be published in November.

Memoir Writing Contest #10 for 2011: Deadline is November 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: December Holidays. Stories of the holiday season are an important part of our experience base from childhood through adulthood. Although we have both sad and happy memories of earlier times in our lives, let’s focus on happy or poignant moments for the November 2011 contest. The winner(s) will be published in December.

Memoir Writing Contest #11 for 2011: Deadline is December 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: Writers’ New Year’s Resolutions. This contest is different. Send us your New Year’s resolutions and we’ll publish a collection of them. Inspire yourself with your resolutions and we’re share them with others. Before December 31, 2011 brings the year to an end, be ready with your writing goals for 2012. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you got there? Resolutions will be published in January 2012.

Tips for Writing Memoir Contest Entries:

1. About 1000 words but we accept fewer and greater.

2. Copy your entry into the text of an email to: Matilda at WomensMemoirs dot com. We can accept .doc files but it is easier for us to take your entry from an email. Do not submit .pdf files.

3. Attach one or more .jpg or .tif images of your photos. We can resize them if we publish your story so you don’t need to worry about that.

4. Remember that you are submitting a story. This means that there needs to be a turning point or a consequence or a life lesson learned — not just a string of events.

5. Include details from the five senses, when appropriate. They help to involve readers in the story.

6. If your story has a related recipe, please do share it with us. We all like to conjure with a new recipe, even if we only make it in our minds.

7. You may submit either unpublished or previously published stories as long as you still retain your copyright.

8. And finally, remember that a brief vignette is like a single gem. Be sure to polish it until all its facets sparkle. We find that reading a finished piece out loud will help you find any final errors or ambiguities.

We’re looking forward to receiving your contest entries.

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NEW MEMOIR WRITING CONTEST FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, 2010

Women’s Memoirs is pleased to announce our new memoir writing contest. Here’s a link to our blog that describes the contest and its prize.

As a quick summary:

1. The contest begins now and ends on October 31.

2. To submit, send the text of your story including the recipe in an email to: matilda at womensmemoirs dot com (Of course, the at becomes an @ and the dot becomes a . in the actual email address). Attach the photos to the email.

3. The focus of this contest is on holidays. Write about any holiday — the best, the worst, the most outlandish, your favorite. We’ll even accept stories about your birthday. Birthdays are our personal holidays, after all.

4. Because this contest is in our KitchenScraps series, we’d like you to include a recipe. It doesn’t have to be the focus of the story but it should be related to your story. The recipe should appear at the bottom of your story.

5. We like stories (actually memoir vignettes) between 1000-1500 words. But we can always be persuaded to accept a shorter or longer story when it is well done.

6. Remember that we need a story that has a beginning, a middle (a turning point), and an ending. This is more than a “what I did on my favorite holiday.” There should be events and consequences of these events. There doesn’t have to be a major consequence, but it should be there. Here’s an example I use in my classes:

My mother died and my father died. (This is not a story.)
My mother died and my father died two weeks later of a broken heart. (This is closer to a story line, but it would be nice to have more that relates to you – the story teller. After all, this is a memoir vignette.)
My mother died and then my father died two weeks later of a broken heart, leaving my five-year old brother and me orphans. (Now, we have a story line. There are events and consequences.)

7. Just be sure to submit your entry no later than Halloween, October 31.

8. Contact Matilda if you have any questions.

TWO MEMOIR WRITING CONTESTS FOR JULY

CONTEST #1: TableScraps, Stories and Photos of Your Life with Pets

Alice the most wonderful Airedale

Alice the most wonderful Airedale

TODAY we are starting a new series in our ScrapMoir line of stories that combine the best of memoir with the best of scrapbooking–TableScraps. TableScraps, stories of you and your pet(s) combined with photos, joins KitchenScraps, stories with recipes and photos, as a way to tell our life stories.

FROM today (June 18th) until July 31st, 2010, you are encouraged to submit an approximately 1000-word memoir vignette about you and/or your family and a favorite pet (or any animal, for that matter). Kendra has had dogs, cats, turtles, even a Mallard duckling among her treasured friends. Matilda considers all the fauna–wild deer, boar, quail, even Phil and Fiona the Pheasant–that enjoy her flora and the 10 acres she lives on in California to be her pets. Actually, she considers them the best kind of pets. She can enjoy watching them without having to feed and care for them.

Do you have a story about the animals in your life? Submit your TableScraps vignette to Women’s Memoirs on or before July 31, 2010 to enter our contest. You can send to Matilda via email: matilda at womensmemoirs dot com. You can either paste your story into the text of the email or attach a .doc file. And be sure to submit a photo or two (or three) of you and your animal friend(s).

Remember that while a vignette is a very short memoir story, it is a story (not an anecdote) and needs to be a complete thought with a theme and message (although simple) and a plot with a beginning, middle and end.

We look forward to your stories. After all, who doesn’t like to read animal stories? Remember, cold nose=warm heart.ddd cover-small

The prize for this month’s TableScraps contest winner is quite special too. We’re giving away a copy of Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog’s Health. This is the first book we’ve published under our Riparian Press imprint. It has won four national book awards including the coveted Gold Medal in the Living Now Awards, and it’s author Dr. Greg Martinez won the Gilroy, California, Best Vet award. You can read much more about Dr. Greg and his book Dog Dish Diet HERE.

REMEMBER: Approximately 1000 word story plus one or more photographs.

CONTEST #2: KitchenScraps, Stories, Recipes, and Photos of Summer’s Abundant Produce

We couldn’t resist adding a second contest for July. If your parents or grandparents had a garden with fruits or vegetables that were part of your childhood, submit your story along with a treasured family recipe and photographs. Perhaps you have become the gardener who grows food for your table in the summer. Juicy tomatoes, just-dug Yukon Gold potatoes, baby arugula, ears of corn eaten 10 minutes after picking — these are just a few of my favorite things.

Send [ matilda at womensmemoirs dot com] your memoir vignette of food grown and/or shared along with a recipe and photographs, if possible. You’ll be sharing from the abundance of your life.

Mindfulness Soap - Memoir WritingThe contest winner will receive a bar of our Mindfulness Soap, made exclusively for Women’s Memoirs by two women who hand make each bar, just as their grandmothers did. Click Here to read the story of these two creative women.

REMEMBER: Approximately 1000 word story plus a recipe and one or more photographs. Submit stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Include use of the five senses and all the other elements of a well-crafted story.

Good luck, now get to writing.

OUR MAY GOOGLE SEARCH STORY CONTEST WINNERS

Congratulations to Barbara and Tricia. You can see their winning videos HERE. Barbara and Tricia will receive our original Rosie the Riveter Legacy bandana. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

OUR MAY MEMOIR WRITING CONTEST

If you haven’t yet played with the YouTube Google Search Story Creator, you’re in for some fun. Kendra has written a post about this over on our blog. Here’s the link. We recommend you go read that post before beginning the contest.

RULES:

youtube-Google-search-story-page

1-You enter your search phrases in chronological order on the right; and select the type of search you want for each search string (Web search, Maps, Product search, etc.) You’ll notice that the preview screen (just below this form–you can’t see it in this screen shot) shows you what your Google search actually found. Try changing from Web search to Maps to Product Search, etc. to give your screens variety.

2-When you’re done and click NEXT, you’ll go to another screen where you can choose from several musical scores.

3-And when you are finally done, YouTube will begin building your video. This will take a few minutes. Be patient.

4-After you watch your video and if you’re pleased with the results, give your video memoir a name and brief description. Put “Women’s Memoirs” in quotes as a tag.

youtube-login5-Post your new video on YouTube.

6-Finally, go back to my original blog post HERE and add a Comment telling us the name of your video and the URL. You must do this last step so we’ll know who’s video is who’s.

That’s all there is to it. Have fun, and good luck. The contest ends May 31, 2010.

Our Limited Edition Rosie the Riveter Bandana

Our Limited Edition Rosie the Riveter Bandana

Oh, the prize: We’re giving away our popular Rosie the Riveter Limited Edition Bandana.

Be sure to check back regularly as we have additional contests planned for this year. Past winners are only eligible to win every 90 days.


OUR MARCH AND APRIL MEMOIR WRITING CONTESTS

For March and April, we have a new Women’s Memoirs contest. We invite you to submit a story that features a recipe. All entries will be read by both of us. Kendra and I will choose the best one. It will be published as the month’s award winner. In addition, the top 5 will also be published in the coming months.

BUT WAIT, that’s not all. Kendra has talked me into another prize for the first place winner in each March and April. In addition to being published on our website, the winner will receive a free copy of our [Essential] Women’s Memoir Writing Workshop, a 5-DVD set. This product, based on my all-day workshops, is regularly $132. My in-person workshop is $200.

Be sure to enter. You have nothing to lose and everything (or at least two great prizes) to win.

WinningRULES:

1. Submit a story vignette that centers around a recipe by March 31 (or April 30 for the second month’s contest). If you’d like to read some of the stories already published, just click here

2. The story should be approximately 1000 words.

3. Include the recipe and photos. Photos might include a picture of the prepared dish, a picture of one or more of the people mentioned in the story, a photo of any memorabilia mentioned in the story. Use your creativity both in your writing and in the way to include graphical elements. Have a great story and recipe, but no photos? Just let us know and we’ll work with you on graphical elements.

4. Send the story, recipe, and photos to: Matilda Butler

5. Be sure to email us if you have any questions.

Be sure to check back regularly as we have additional contests planned for this year. Past winners are only eligible to win every 90 days.

January Women’s Memoir Writing Contest Winner

Congratulations Janet Riehl

Congratulations Janet Riehl

January 2010 Winner: Janet Riehl provided the most substantive comments to our blogs. It was thrilling for us to announce her award at the Saturday luncheon of Story Circle Network’s Stories from the Heart Conference on February 6.

February Women’s Memoir Writing Contest Winner

Our February winner is Mairi Neil. You may have read her touching KitchenScraps called Mum’s Legendary Scones. Her story generated a lot of responses and she commented back to each person — helping to create a real community around her story.

Mairi Neil with her contest prize -- Mindfulness Soap

Mairi Neil with her contest prize -- Mindfulness Soap

Here’s the photo that Mairi Neil sent us after her prize — a bar of our special Mindfulness Soap arrived in Australia where she lives. This soap is made just for Women’s Memoirs of all organic ingredients and we’re pleased that Mairi likes it so much.

Congratulations Mairi on a touching story.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Amyah April 7, 2013 at

I would like to know what happened with the Rosie contest that was ending end of February 2013? Was there a “winner”?

Have a nice day :)

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