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Your Story Matters

Stories Bring Hope and Light into a Dark World

client stories Jun 29, 2022

Today is the last day of Pride Month. Normally I'd write an upbeat post celebrating the LGBTQ+ community I'm now part of—sparkly rainbows and all.

But frankly, I'm not feeling very upbeat or sparkly these days with the stripping away of women's rights and marriage equality likely next on the chopping block.

Instead of wrapping ourselves in rainbows, my wife and I are researching the best places for LGBTQ+ folk to live if—when?—things get worse in this country.

Some days feel very dark.

Then there are those unexpected moments of hope when glimmers of light shine through the cracks. The light that's always there even when we can’t see it.

This week my clients—LGBTQ+ folks & allies as well as passionate advocates for women's rights—have been those glimmers of light for me.

Here are some of their stories:

  • An unexpected journey to parenthood that leads to the courageous decision to step into this person's authentic...
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The Long Road to Publication

publication publishing Jun 21, 2022

When I connect with a friend I haven't seen in a while or a new acquaintance who knows I've written a memoir, inevitably I will be asked a variation on one of these questions:

What's happening with your book?

When can I buy your book?

When's your book coming out?

Most people can't imagine why it's TAKING ME SO DAMN LONG TO WRITE AND PUBLISH MY BOOK!

Truth be told, when I started this memoir journey 4+ years ago, I had no idea it would take this long either!

A few months ago, I blogged about my memoir journey

  • 2018 - 2019: 1st draft
  • 2019: Revision and beta readers
  • Early 2020: Thought I was ready to query. A book coach told me I wasn’t. “You don’t know what your book is about yet.” Ouch. I took a break. Thought about writing another book. Ate a lot of sourdough bread and drank a lot of wine.
  • Summer 2020: The memoir wouldn’t leave me alone. I tackled another revision.
  • Winter 2021: Drafted a proposal and query letter. Surely my...
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Tell An Author You Love Their Book

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2022
 

Recently I blogged about the protestor who showed up at my wedding and why it's important to be visible and share our stories.

Here's the post in case you missed it »

Lots of you responded to the post. Thank you! I love getting feedback from readers because sometimes as a content creator, it feels like I'm writing into a black hole.

So here's a tip for those of you who are readers—which I'm assuming are all of you!  If you read a book you love, post about it on social media and tag the author. Trust me. It doesn't matter how "big" an author they are—they will appreciate the fact that you took the time to reach out.

That book you just read likely took years to create. Years where the writer experienced self-doubt. Where they wondered what they were doing. Where they asked themselves if anyone would even care.

Let them know you care!

So here's a tip for those of you who are readers—which I'm assuming are all of you!  If you...

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My Wedding Had a Protestor

"We had a protestor at our wedding," my wife tells anyone who will listen. "I consider it a queer badge of honor," she always says, with a smile.

Maybe she's right, but a year ago when I spotted a man on a step ladder blurting obscenities through a megaphone at our wedding party, I felt horrified—and afraid.

Would he follow us through the streets of Lancaster? Were there more people like him around every corner? Would a fight break out? Would my wedding day be ruined?

I had no such worries on my first wedding day, thirty-five years earlier. The day where I wore my mother's Priscilla of Boston wedding gown and my father walked me down the aisle of the Wellesley College Chapel to my soon-to-be husband.

The man I would build a good life with. Have two sons with. The man whose heart I would eventually break when I came to terms with my sexuality late in life. The man who let me go with grace and compassion. The man who continues to extend both to me.

No, that...

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No More Transphobic Bestsellers

A few weeks ago I was doing some competitive title research for my Write Yourself Out Foundations writers. Competitive titles, also known as comparable titles, are books that a writer's ideal reader would also be reading. When a writer is drafting a book proposal, which is a detailed business plan they use to pitch their nonfiction book, there's an entire section devoted to competitive titles. The point of the section is to show how your book will fit into the marketplace. How is your book in conversation with other books in its category?

I surfed around Amazon and landed on the LGBTQ+ Demographic Studies category—and what I discovered was truly horrifying.

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, a disgusting book with an even more disgusting cover, was #1 in the category.

When I checked today, it had fallen to #2.

Now I don't even want to dignify this piece of trash by giving it a lot of air time. If you...

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How to Choose Your Next Book Idea

blueprint May 25, 2022

In my marriage, one of us brings the fun and one of us brings the intensity.

Care to hazard a guess which role I play?

I bumped up against my serious side when I met with my book coach recently to discuss what I wanted to write about next. I was getting restless, waiting for responses to my queries for Graveyard of Safe Choices, my memoir about finding the courage to leave behind everything I knew at midlife for a life ripe with possibilities and unknowns.

Besides checking my email incessantly and serving my book coaching clients, I needed another outlet for my energy. I need to start writing again. I signed up for a call with Julie, my book coach.

I had a lot of ideas for my next book, some of which I'd already test driven using the Build Your Book process I use with clients to help them get clear on the one story or one big idea they want to write about now.

The Build Your Book process helped me scrap the idea of writing a self-help book about grief, although I was still...

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Shaken Out of My Cocoon

community May 04, 2022

Lately, one of my favorite hours of the week is Tuesday at noon when I hop on Zoom with my Write Yourself Out Foundations cohort. As these LGBTQ+ writers wrestle to get clear on their books, they laugh—and sometimes cry. They ponder, get vulnerable, and give supportive feedback to each other.

All those things and more happened this Tuesday. But another reality colored our time together—the news that the Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe v. Wade. The implications for this decision—if it is in fact where the Court lands—go well beyond reproductive rights. The right to marry the person of your choice, regardless of gender, may be the next right on the chopping block.

I’m angry—and I’m scared. My less-than-a-year-old marriage may be in jeopardy, not to mention other issues important to the queer community.

Truth be told, to date I’ve lived a life of privilege—I’m white, well-educated, and financially secure. Sure...

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Good Memoirs Are Not Acts of Revenge

 

Are you searching for your next read? Keep reading below to learn more or watch the video all about this recommendation! 

[Video trigger warning: the recommended book mentions sexual abuse]


Like you probably do, I get my book recommendations from people I trust. I’m in several online writers groups and a member of one of those groups is Laura Davis, the author of The Burning Light of Two Stars . I heard enough buzz about the book in the group that I decided to check it out, plus the subject matter interested me.


It’s a story about a complicated mother-daughter relationship and the tension that can arise between siblings when one sibling is bearing the brunt of the care for an elderly parent. A story many adult children can relate to. I certainly can.

Key takeaways for readers and tips for memoir writers:

The #1 takeaway for me from this memoir is that it’s possible to reimagine a challenging relationship with a parent—it’s...

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This is What a Writing Community Looks Like

This week in my Write Yourself Out Foundations group coaching call, I had the privilege of listening to queer writers share their dreams and fears about writing their stories.

I heard stories about the importance of finding common ground in the disparate parts of the queer community. About fighting insurance companies for gender confirmation surgery. About being forced to hide who you are to do work you love. About tapping into your divine to live as your authentic self. About losing friends and family as you celebrate finally being yourself.

An hour later, my cheeks were wet and my heart was full as I imagined the impact these books will make once they are out in the world.

In my book coaching work, I ask writers to dig deep to get clear on WHY they are writing their books. These LGBTQ+ writers already have a profound understanding of their “whys.” They are ready to go all in and do the hard work of planning their books so they can write forward with intention and...

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How long will it take to write your memoir?

memoir writing Apr 05, 2022

If you’re contemplating writing a memoir, you might be wondering “How long will it take?” Roll your eyes if anyone tries to give you a definitive answer. There’s so much variation in the writing process, and then there’s the path to publication, another journey altogether.

Here's my memoir timeline, but yours may look totally different, and that's okay.

  • 2018 - 2019: 1st draft
  • 2019: Revision and beta readers
  • Early 2020: Thought I was ready to query. A book coach told me I wasn’t. “You don’t know what your book is about yet.” Ouch. I took a break. Thought about writing another book. Ate a lot of sourdough bread and drank a lot of wine.
  • Summer 2020: The memoir wouldn’t leave me alone. I tackled another revision.
  • Winter 2021: Drafted a proposal and query letter. Surely my manuscript was ready now!
  • Spring 2021: Queried agents. Received a few polite nos and mostly silence. Had another book coach review my query and proposal. She...
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