Your Story Matters

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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Holding Your Book in Your Hands

client stories Mar 31, 2022

This is what it feels like!

Listen to my client Jamie Gehring explain why she felt driven to spend five years of her life on her memoir, Madman In the Woods: Life Next Door to the Unabomber.

Learn more about Jamie and her true crime memoir.

Are you ready to take the first step to write your memoir?

Tell me about your idea!



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It's Never Too Late

all about suzette Oct 25, 2021

It's Never Too Late

Four and a half years ago, at the age of 56, I left what looked like a fairytale existence and moved to a city where I knew exactly one person.

Some called me brave.

Some called me crazy, a few to my face.

I read somewhere that most of us only make big changes when the pain of staying in the known is worse than the pain of leaping into the unknown.

That was certainly my experience.

On the “before” side of my leap, I wouldn’t have called myself brave but I did feel crazy at times as I  contemplated leaving a thirty-year marriage to a good man, a life that was financially secure and comfortable in more ways than one.

But one day when I finally got quiet and still enough to hear my own voice, the fog cleared. I wasn’t willing to go to my grave without having really lived my life. The pain of not living authentically was greater than the pain and fear of not knowing what was on the other side.

There’s no way forward without some...

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The Writer's Life: Tools of the Trade & Setting Aside Time

the writers life Oct 18, 2021

The Writer's Life

Writers, let me introduce you to Dabble, my new best friend.

Dabble is a simple-to-use online writing tool that helps keep your writing organized.

It keeps you from spending hours hunting through hundreds of Word docs to find that one perfect scene you cut and now want back in your draft.

Dabble makes it super easy to play with scenes, moving them from chapter to chapter.

It’s like Scrivener without complications or frustration.

Sure, Dabble comes at a cost (there’s a monthly or annual subscription), but how much is your time and sanity worth?

As I wrestle with yet another major revision of my memoir, Dabble’s been worth every penny to me.

It’s funny what happens when you set aside non-negotiable time to write.

You get that chapter to your book coach.

You submit that essay and get included in an anthology.

You meet the deadline for submissions to an independent press and increase your odds of being traditionally published.

You actually get...

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Writing Out Loud: What Matters to You

writing out loud Oct 15, 2021

What Matters to You

Margot, my fantabulous business mentor, is a woman of a certain age ... my age LOL. The other day, we were talking about my goals for my book coaching business and my goals for my own writing ... how much time I want to spend working each week, and what I want to spend that time on, in this season of life.

"I like to think of this as the third quarter," Margot said. The first quarter we grow up, the second quarter we build a career and/or take care of children, and the third quarter we get to choose ourselves and do what we want, if we are fortunate enough to be financially secure and healthy. The fourth quarter—85 +? We'll likely be reliant on others to help us manage our life.

"I figure I've got 25 years in this third quarter if I'm lucky," Margot said.

The same math for me. God willing, I have 25 good years left to write, coach writers, travel, spend time with my kids (and hopefully someday grandchildren!), hang out with friends, and continue to build a...

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Let's Get Real: Dealing with Doubt & You're on Fire!

let's get real Oct 11, 2021

Let's Get Real

If you’re a writer, it’s impossible to banish doubt completely. I’m guessing you may have wondered:

  • Is this any good?
  • Am I any good?
  • Am I ever going to actually finish my book?
  • If I do finish my book, will anybody buy it? Read it?
  • Am I wasting my time? Wasting my money?

But while you can’t banish doubt, there are ways to manage it:

  • Hang out with other writers so you feel less alone.
  • Hire a book coach to provide regular feedback, which will give you perspective. PS: book coaches are also great at holding your hand when doubt creeps in
  • And most of all, reconnect with your WHY. Why are you writing this particular piece? Why does it matter to you? Why might it matter to others? 

Doubt will always be lurking, but it doesn’t have to get the upper hand.

Writing can feel like a slog. You would rather do practically anything else (dentist appointment, anyone?) than put your butt in the chair. But then there are those magical times when...

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