The Gifts of Writing a Memoir

If you have an itch or a yearning to write your memoir, I encourage you to go for it. Even if you are the only one who reads it, writing your story can bring unimaginable gifts.

Eighteen months ago, I anxiously waited for my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph to go live on Amazon. What a wonderful, unexpected and humbling time it has been.

I took a huge risk by writing and publishing my memoir. My entire life was focused on keeping quiet, not telling, protecting those I loved, or who loved me. It took me a long time to understand that by keeping quiet, I was actually protecting the people who hurt me in my life. Writing Untangled was a way to announce in a really big way, that I will not keep quiet any longer.

I literally went from telling no one but my therapist about my past to throwing my arms up, and saying, okay, let’s go for it, and tell everyone at once. My husband and children read the book before it was released to the public, but close friends, acquaintances, and long-lost friends learned the truth of my past when they read the book.  Were there big reactions? You bet there were! Of course, they reacted. The biggest reaction was sadness that they didn’t know what was happening at the time and that feeling that if they knew, they could have helped. I get that reaction, I probably would have felt the same way upon hearing of a friend’s brutal past. But, they couldn’t have helped and it was imperative to my safety that I kept quiet. I used to feel guilty that I somehow hurt my friend’s feelings that I didn’t share my past, but I’ve learned to let go of that.

In the book, I talk about my life and some of the trauma I experienced.  I write about how I repressed my memories and how I managed to raise a family and live a life where I mistakenly convinced myself, that my hidden past had no effect or impact on my life. The last part of the book is my healing journey. Untangled isn’t about naming names or the horrific specifics of what happened to me. I don’t feel people, especially those of us who have been through trauma need to read and be triggered by another’s specific tales of horror.

I do, however, explain in detail the feelings that went along with being hurt, traumatized, abandoned, neglected. I don’t shy away from feeling words such as fear, emptiness, loneliness, embarrassment, shame, etc.  One of the most humbling gifts of Untangled is that when people read the book, they find it is relatable. The events that happened to me may not be relatable, but the effects, the feelings, the sense of no-self is something that a lot of people experience, or they know and love someone who has experienced those things.

We all have feelings, but we may not all be able to articulate them, we may doubt or judge our feelings, or that terrible feeling that no one else could possibly understand this kind of emotional pain. I lived with that terrible alone feeling until a year ago. Now from the feedback of the readers of Untangled, I know that I am not alone. Admittedly, the validation is a bit of a paradox…I’m so relieved to be validated by relatability and so sad to be validated by relatability.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. I began to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  It provided distance from having to use my voice. What I discovered was that writing actually gave me a voice.  When I still couldn’t speak a truth, I found, if I read what I wrote out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. The bonus for me as that He didn’t freak out or go away. The gift of Untangled is that people also don’t freak out and run away. The book has been a tool for conversation.

I am frequently asked if I was afraid for my safety when I released the book?  To be honest, I felt a lot of fear for my safety and took as many precautions as I could, but in the end, I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for 20 plus years, with continued threats to stay silent and still be determined to be live not just survive.  I knew that this was my truth, and by publishing my story and continue to talk about the effects of trauma and the resulting PTSD that no one could ever take my past, my truth away from me again.

There are so many gifts from Untangled. The gift of writing, the gift of remembering, the gift of a congruent past, the gift of trying to remove the stigma of living with an illness. I wouldn’t have started writing a blog if I hadn’t written my memoir. I was told to start a blog in order to market a book. I never, in my wildest dreams knew the world of connection that awaited me last October when I wrote my first post. Not only have I connected with survivors and mental health professionals, but I also have connected with poets, authors, thinkers, travelers, photographers, fun-loving lets blog for the heck of it people all over the world. I’m a better person because of all these connections. There are some people I’ve met that have changed my life. I’m grateful every day for my blog.

I’m not ready to leave Untangled behind. I’m excited every time someone purchases the book, I wish I could personally thank every person. I don’t ever take it for granted. I love getting reviews on Amazon, I love hearing the feedback. I hope that the readership grows each month. As I look to the future, collaborate on a writing project, and think about what direction I’m going next, I feel eternally grateful for writing my memoir. If you ever wanted to write your book, I encourage you to go for it. You never know what gifts await you, who comes into your life and what new doors open and new dreams emerge.


Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

Wolf Pack Moon


By Clark Carr on December 8, 2016
Format: Paperback
“Wolf Pack Moon” is a great title, you have to admit. And the poem of the same title inside is just as good. The whole of the 100 pages is filled with delightful “If I were…” poems. Really a good read, and here’s what’s cool — NOT just if you’re a poet. All of the poems were written, Rensberry says, within a couple months. And they do feel like a close family. There are so many fine lines…

“If I were an onion, I’d make you cry…” from a poem named ‘Bully.’ Very clever.

You begin to get the idea that “If I were…” does not just mean “if” but “when I will…” or “when I was…” or “maybe I am…” Which, of course, is what poetry should be about, along with science fiction. Or daydreaming. Or wishful thinking.

There are serious poems like ‘Wounded’ or ‘San Quentin’ and others that perhaps go a smidgen into the bully pulpit. (How many times do you find ‘Pfizer’ and ‘Monsanto’ in one poem?) Poet’s license.

So many fine lines:

“If I were a lake, I’d hide in the mountains…” Isn’t that so true. (From ‘Mountain Boat’)

“If I were the past, I would be driving a cherry Mercury…” Oh, how one remembers when the word ‘cherry’ had the richness of that meaning.

“If I were a lie, I might be the truth…” Oh, yes, yes. (From ‘Justice’)

And on and on. May I recommend this book to middle school or high school teachers. These are poems that young people would like to read, and you might even be able to get them to recite one aloud. They yearn for that.

Buy this book. Give it to a friend. Maybe even sneak a private read first!

By Clark Carr

Richard Rensberry 

Guest Blogger

Linda agreed to clean the dragon cage…

You can find her guest post below! Check her blog out and give her book a read!


3 Things I Learned from Self-Publishing – A Guest Post by Linda G. Hill

Have you ever been tempted to self-publish a book? According to a four-year-old Forbes article I found, at that time it was estimated between 300K and 500K books were being self-published a year, so if you haven’t thought about it … well, maybe you should at least consider jumping on the bandwagon.

Before I really start into this post, I have to say I can only comment on the experience of publishing an e-book. The learning curve required to create a physical book, when I get to it, is going to be a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, I’m sure.

Self-publishing an e-book on Kindle and Kobo is free. Anyone can do it. Slap a bunch of words together, send it off, and Bob’s your uncle. It’s a good idea to slap your words together in a way that makes sense if you want anyone to read it, but you get my meaning.

It’s easy! That’s one of the first things I learned. As long as I followed the instructions to the letter, the act of uploading my book was simple. Making it look good once it’s there though, that’s a trick.

There were all kinds of formatting hoops I had to jump through before got my book looking better than something the cat dragged in out of the rain. Title headings, tabs, file types… I won’t bore you with the details here. Suffice to say that the best way to format a manuscript is on Microsoft Word. For me, that meant having to buy it. Suddenly, self-publishing didn’t seem very “free.” But okay, I can use Word. Then it came time to do it all over again for Kobo. Easy enough, I’ve done this once …or not. Kobo’s formatting requirements are nearly totally different. So a new Word file it was.

Next lesson was pricing. I figured if I set my price for 99 cents, more people will buy it. I’d be an overnight sensation! A millionaire within weeks! So, 99 cents it is. Except, surprise! At that price, I get .35 cents each. Which means before I get to go to the bank with my million bucks, I have to sell 2,857,143 copies. Unfortunately I’m no J.K. Rowling, so that ain’t happening. The best news thus far was that at Kobo, I earn a whopping .45 cents on the same 99 cent price tag!

I went from “I’m a published author! Let’s open the champagne!” to “I’m a published author. Where’s my Canada Dry?” (it’s the champagne of ginger ales!) in 3.6 seconds or less. This is the reality of selling books.

Finally it was published. I just had to wait until the reviews came in. “But wait! There’s a review on Kindle of my book! They didn’t tell me it’s there?!” They don’t. So if you’ve ever left a lovely review of a book by your favourite indie author and they didn’t send you a thank you note and flowers, it’s possible that they don’t even know your kind words exist. This goes for Kindle, Kobo, and Goodreads.

Though it’s not all red wine and roses, there are a lot of perks to self-publishing: no rejection letters, you get to make your own cover and edit it the way you want to, (tip: if you don’t want your reviews to be all one-star, have it professionally edited or at least take a grammar course) and you can publish it in the amount of time it takes you to format it, and all for free if you want to.

Don’t have a fictional story in your head? Self-publishing is a great way to get that memoir off your chest. You know, the one where you tell the world what you really think of the tuna casserole Uncle Bob makes you eat every Easter? Best part – if Uncle Bob wants to read it, he’ll have to pay you (and Kindle) for the pleasure. Take that, Uncle Bob!

So what are you waiting for? … Other than NaNoWriMo to finish…?


You can find Linda at her blog, at


Donate your .35 cents (note: it’ll cost you .99) by buying Linda’s romantic comedy novelette, All Good Stories, at: (U.S.A.) (10 reviews) (Canada) (2 reviews) (United Kingdom) (Australia)
and on Amazon, in English, almost everywhere else in the world, as well as
Kobo (1 review)

Find it on Goodreads (9 reviews)

Playing with Fire-BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!!

If you are looking for a new book check out Playing with Fire and details on her blog! -OM
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Write, Live and Love


You can order my debut novel now for a discounted price of 7.49!! ALSO, if you would like a signed copy, you can order one starting today for only 10.00!!!

Click the links below for a signed or for an unsigned copy of my debut nove!! Happy Holidays!!
Signed copy:!/Playing-with-Fire-signed/p/63117668/category=0

Amazon (unsigned):

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When You Deck Your Halls, The Magic Happens

Check out the December 2016 Edition of the digital magazine, The Magic Happens on Annette’s blog and the great connections she has over there! -OM
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Annette Rochelle Aben

Fa- la – la- la – la and all that jazz!!

The December 2016 Edition of the digital magazine, The Magic Happens is filled with the wit and wisdom of many of our talented writers.

Working with  the prompt words of GIGGLETECHNOLOGY and OPENHEARTED, articles have been presented with joy and panache.

Of course you can stuff your stockings with many other wonderful reads not only in this edition, but in our archives as well.

Take the time to visit our BOOKSTORE to find a gift that will make anyone on your list smile!  

Here are my offerings this month, and I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments.


Wish you the brightest of holidays and the happiest of New Years, from everyone at The Magic Happens

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