Tag Archives: Author.

Questions for an Author P2 – Birth of a new Brain Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder by Dyane Harwood


 

Yesterday, Dyane was telling us about the most difficult chapter she wrote. We continue from here:

  1. How did you deal with that?

I had to take plenty of breaks from writing the “One Pill Can Kill” chapter, which helped a lot.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and what was it? I learned that I was stronger and more disciplined than I thought I ever could be, and I found those things out relatively late in life (my mid 40’s) which goes to show that late blooming (in terms of achieving our lifelong dreams) is possible!

  1. How long did it take you to ‘give birth’ to the memoir we would very soon be seeing on the shelves? Ten years! And they seemed like dog years!

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers especially those living with a mental illness? Surround yourself with those who believe in you and your writing. Find a writing mentor if you can! One thing I wish I had done years ago was join the National Association for Memoir Writers (NAMW) because they have a ton of support and advice for memoir writers – really incredible resources! They also have membership sales twice a year and you can email them to find out when they are. You may also be able to work out a payment plan with them I believe – I paid less than $100 to join, which was still a big deal for my budget, but it was completely worth it. In terms of mental health, if you’re going through a rough path, allow yourself to take weeks, months, even years off if you need to. I took lengthy breaks – I had to – and that’s why it took me so long to get the book done. But what comes first is mental stability.

  1. Was it easy to get a book deal and how did you fare in the negotiations if we may pry? I wish I could say I had an agent because many people don’t think you’re a “real” writer unless you have an agent. That is no longer the case. There are many more publishers nowadays that accept manuscripts directly from the authors, which is wonderful. But what I did have was a generous friend who knew one of the publishers at Post Hill Press. She enthusiastically recommended my proposal to him; he reviewed it and ultimately he offered me a contract. Before he worked at Post Hill Press, he worked at “Big Five” publishers for many years in high positions, so I felt pretty great that he believed in my proposal.

Any other writing projects, blogging, support groups, etc? For now I’m promoting the book and giving talks to perinatal mental health and bipolar groups in the Bay Area. I’m also getting into the world of podcasting, as you know! I really enjoy it! To hear my first podcast please go to Dr. Katayune Kaeni’s “Mom and Mind” website – and find that right here:

My second podcast is on Podcast One’s “Mind Full” program with mental health advocates Alisha Perkins and Colleen Lindstrom. I let myself loose on that episode, so kindly check it out here:

3. Where will your memoir be found, and any book tours already scheduled? You can buy my memoir on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, R Kobo and iBooks. Thank you so much, Marie, for giving me this opportunity to share my experience with your followers, I will definitely update you with any book tours I have.

Thank you very much Lady Dyane my heroine for answering our questions. We hope to stay informed of different updates with your projects.

Please visit Dyane’s blog and her website for more on her writings and mental health advocacy.

If you dear gentle readers and followers have any questions for Dyane, you could leave them in the comments too.

 

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World Mental Health Day: Questions to Dyane Harwood Author, Birth of a New Brain (Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder)


Birth of a new brain cover

Dyane Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) is published by Post Hill Press this very October 10th 2017.

It’s available on Kindle and paperback

Hello World, today on this very special day, I mean very, very special day: Today is World Mental Health Day and the Birth of Dyane Harwood’s long awaited literary baby; I have the singular honour, pleasure and modesty to interview my dear friend, one I fondly call Lady D and The Captain – the author, dynamic wife and mother par excellence. I connected with Dyane early into my blogging adventures, and we have stayed friends since then. I still look forward to visiting Dyane in her corner of the Western Coast in the US, and take a “redwood bath” with her and her famous Scottish collie Lucy.

I salute Dyane’s courage to go through with it and not give up. Dyane is equally a seasoned author and has written for the Huffington Post, SELF Magazine, BP (Bipolar) Magazine, and more. With this said, I’ll interview her for your reading pleasure and let her tell us more about herself and her life journey, mindful of her postpartum bipolar disorder diagnosis.

1) The Profile

1. Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
Hello, my dear friend Lady Marie! I grew up in Los Angeles, California with my brother Martin and of course a dog – an Irish Setter named Amber! We had two very loving parents and many blessings; however, it was a difficult childhood as my father had bipolar one disorder and his mental illness took its toll on our family.

2. About your Memoir, how did you come up with the title – you must admit it is one of its kind?
I love my title! Originally I titled the book Quest for Rest because when I began writing it in 2007, I was manic and hypergraphic (which is excessive compulsive, writing associated with bipolar mania and epilepsy, of all things, Marie!) — later on, I switched titles because I no longer felt attached to Quest for Rest. Birth of a New Brain simply popped into my mind and felt right.

2) The Soul Journey

1. I lost my only brother to bipolar disorder and its complications – hence I dread the word and diagnosis; what’s your take on that word?
I cannot STAND the word “bipolar”! I agree with Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, the author of the classic memoir An Unquiet Mind, who prefers “manic depression.” I think that term describes the mood disorder so much better than “bipolar”ever could. It’s just a really dumb word and to be honest, I have problems saying it out loud.

2. How did you get your diagnosis and how have you fared since that diagnosis?
In 2007, approximately six weeks postpartum, I voluntarily admitted myself into the local psychiatric unit as I was manic. I was diagnosed at that unit and it took me seven years to find the right medications to help me. During that time I went through two phases in which I tried to live without medications; one of those phases involved a very slow, systematic tapering schedule that I had researched before undertaking it. I do not want to sound like a drama queen, but I almost died after each attempt to live meds-free. However, some people can live with bipolar and stay stable without taking medications.

3. How have you been coping with your mental illness and yet still been able to function at times enough to write and publish?
The book has been the most challenging project of my life. When I finally secured a publisher, I found the entire process was far more difficult than I had imagined. I coped fairly well although I ate a ton of sweets and gained 15 pounds despite using Lose It! And exercising! My medications and having a stable, loving family complete with Lucy the Scottish Collie/Writing Muse enabled me to get through it all.

3) The Writing

1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
Oh yes! Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir and books by Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) and L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) have influenced my writing, but there are many other books that affected me too! I have a list of some of them in the book’s appendix section.

2. Did you have a writing mentor?
Wendy K. Williamson (author of the bestseller I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar and the co-author of 2 Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival) believed in my writing, and she inspired me to “go for it” in terms of sending my proposal to publishers.

3. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
That’s a great question. I’d definitely say the “One Pill Can Kill” chapter about how taking one Elavil (amitriptyline) pill made me acutely suicidal and when I realized what was happening to me, I asked to be taken to the emergency room at the hospital. I won’t go into other details (and I don’t go much into them in the book because I felt there were plenty of books about that topic already – it didn’t seem necessary) but I also want to say that this specific medication works well for other people! We all know medications affect every person differently…thus the need for caution when trying a new medication and have someone on hand to observe your reaction to it if it all possible!!!

To be cont’d tomorrow, kindly visit again…

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Questions for an Author: June Whittle author of Deep Within My Soul…


ask-the-author-answers-edition

Hello World, this is the first of what I hope to often do: Profile & Interview and help promote New memoir authors! Why Memoirs? Because that’s the genre I write and it’s still a ‘shy’ genre especially, in my corner of the globe – Africa. My first author to be interviewed and profiled happens to be a dear friend and sister in Christ. I fell in love with the first of her blog posts I stumbled across – yes on the very night I was fumbling around trying to start my own blog! Her post titled «Am I a blogger or a … almost made me give up before I even started; and to think she’d been into blogging a good while? But then, that post ended on a note of so much hope – yes she was – yes I could become one too if I wanted and kept at it with faith.

This is what I have also gathered from reading her maiden but oh so soul searching memoir: shared from deep within her soul and titled just that. Without much ado, I’ll interview her for your reading pleasure and let her tell us more about herself and her journey to become this published author today. It ain’t easy I can tell, been there and still go through there, but she will agree it’s worth ever step of the journey…

Note: The post is way longer than my usual posts, I didn’t want to leave any area out and didn’t want to do a P1 & P2… I think whoever reads through the end will love it. 

june-whittle
Deep within her eyes… can we see?

1) The Profile

  1. Let’s Start with a brief introduction of yourself – your background – and a tiny bit about your Childhood:
  • My name is June Whittle. I was born in Jamaica and relocated to the UK to join my parents when I was a teenager. It was tough leaving my grandmother (who raised me) and my sisters behind. I had to readjust to the climate – it was very cold – and the way of life. The culture in Jamaica was very different to that in the UK. Jamaicans are bubbly, carefree, happy-go-lucky people. I was used to sunshine, loud car horns, a variety of colours, fresh home grown food and other cultural activities. The day I arrived in the UK, it was grey, quiet and everyone looked moody. I was sad.

Anyway, I continued with my education in the UK, started relationships, (some were abusive) worked in various fields and gave birth to my daughters. I became a mature student in 2007 and went to university to complete a PGCE teacher training course to become a teacher. Afterwards, I taught in further education colleges and met some wonderful people along the way. In 2012 God told me to quit my teaching job and write books. I gave up teaching in 2013, stepped out in faith and started a freelance writing career.

  1. About your Memoir, how did you come up with the title?
  • Well, I knew I wanted to write about my life, but coming up with a title was hard. Then one day “Deep Within my Soul” popped into my head. I knew straight away it was the right title for my book. You could call it divine inspiration.

2) The Soul Journey

  1. I heard Oprah Winfrey say Love doesn’t hurt; what’s your take on that?
  • Love is a beautiful thing. It’s not meant to hurt, but it does hurt if you end up with the wrong person. I believe it depends on what we mean by love. Although my partners and I thought we loved each other, it was a dysfunctional kind of love because we didn’t love ourselves. Therefore, our love wasn’t whole. It’s hard to give 100% of what you haven’t got. So, instead of the joys of love, I mostly experienced the pains of love.

  1. Did the love in your relationships hurt from the start or something happened down the road?
  • In the beginning, it was absolutely wonderful. When you first meet a man or woman you go through the honeymoon period where everything is beautiful. During that period, they can’t do anything wrong. In other words, you don’t see their faults because you’re on cloud nine and consumed by the love feelings. That’s how it was for me too. But, after a few months (when the honeymoon period wears off) he started to look at other women and became obsessed with them. That’s when he started cheating and our relationship changed. From then on problems crept in.

  1. Can you tell who was to blame and what you felt about all this then?
  • I think he was to blame for the fact that he couldn’t keep himself away from other women. But I also blame myself because I was shy, naïve, insecure and didn’t know how to satisfy him. Looking back now, I see myself as very immature and I didn’t know anything about relationships. However, some people might say that’s no excuse for him to cheat on me. He took it far, and chatted up my friends in front of me. This led to verbal and physical abuse, plus lack of trust and many heartaches.

  1. I read a lot of poems about Love in your memoir, and yet you were going through so much pain! So how did you find it writing about love while living pain?
  • Although I was hurting, the only way for me to find peace in my heart was to write about the love I yearned for. I wrote a lot of poems about my broken heart. Those poems came from deep within my soul. I suppose I was trying to touch their hearts with my words, although I didn’t show them the poems. It’s like I was living in a make-belief world. I knew what I wanted, I couldn’t get it so, I created my own world where I was safe to write what I wanted. Writing poems kept me sane. It was my lifeline as I poured out my painful feelings on the pages in my notepad.

  1. Do you think there is an ideal time frame to wait before moving from one abusive relationship into another relationship we hope not to turn out as sour?
  • It’s extremely important to heal from an abusive relationship before going into another relationship. Otherwise, you will carry the toxic junk with you. The toxic junk is a combination of anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness and sometimes hate. When you carry those negative things in your heart, sooner or later they will surface and mess up your new relationship.

Imagine buying an old car that hasn’t been serviced or taken care of. It’s got lots of faults but you can’t see them. Eventually, the car will start to give you problems. On the other hand, if you buy a well looked after serviced car, it’s less likely to break down on you. Plus, you will get a smooth drive and it will last you longer than the one that wasn’t maintained properly. Likewise, not servicing your heart, mind and soul after an abusive relationship will have disastrous consequences on a new relationship.

  1. What’s forgiveness got to do with healing?
  • Forgiveness and healing go hand-in-hand. It’s difficult to heal properly if you hold unforgiveness in your heart. Unforgiveness is like a chain around your heart. It squeezes it tight and tighter till it drains your emotional and physical energy. As long as it’s living in you, real healing cannot take place. This includes healing of sicknesses as well as your mind.

A friend did a project with some primary school children recently about forgiveness. She gave them a heavy rucksack each, to carry on their backs. Some said they didn’t mind as the rucksacks were quite light. However, after carrying them on their backs for a while, they became heavy and weighted the children down, causing them to feel uncomfortable and unable to walk properly. That’s what unforgiveness does. It drags you down and affects all areas of your life. Nonetheless, when you forgive, you let go of all toxins and your body will feel light and live again. Painful memories may linger, but will no longer be a problem. That’s when you know that healing has taken place.

3) The Writing

  1. Did any books/memoirs influence your writing (style, presentation, content)?
  • No. Although this is my first memoir, I didn’t base it on style, presentation or content of other writers. This is mostly because mine has poems so it’s different to other memoirs I read. I went with my gut feelings when writing. But, formatted it correctly to meet the requirements for uploading to Kindle for the eBook, and Create Space for the paperback. I followed their guidelines.

  1. Did you have a writing mentor?
  • No, I’ve never had a writing mentor. I took two creative writing courses, many years ago and a copywriting course in 2012. That helped develop my writing skills, along with reading books about writing.

  1. Which was the most difficult chapter to write in your memoir and why?
  • It was the first chapter where I summarized a little about my story. While writing, old painful memories came back and made me tearful and sad. I also felt negative emotions such as anger, resentment and unforgiveness. I was surprised because I thought I had dealt with those emotions. Clearly, they were still alive in my heart. I wrote about it in chapter 11 – “Finding Hope, my Testimony of Healing”. It’s amazing how we can fool ourselves into thinking we’ve done something, when we haven’t.

  1. How did you deal with that?
  • Well, first I talked to God about it and asked Him to take away those feelings. I felt better afterwards. However, I still had more work to do in that area. So, I repented and prayed from my heart to forgive my abusers for deep healing to take place.

  1. Which was your favourite poem and why?
  • It’s False Love. It was one of the hardest poems to write because it was written out of an extremely painful experience. Nevertheless, it was my favourite because that poem started off my writing experiences. From that poem, other poems followed which helped the healing process of writing to release toxic emotions.

  1. I read two real life excerpts in your memoir, was this to add to the veracity of abuse as a phenomenon or to show the resilience of the human spirit?
  • Those real life excerpts were to demonstrate the power of forgiveness. The abuse these two women suffered were extreme, although diverse. The first example was a vicious form of domestic abuse. The second example was of a teenager being raped by her uncle plus other cruel types of abuse. However, both women decided to forgive their abusers for the sake of their mental health, peace in their lives and more.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing your memoir and what was it?
  • While writing, I did research about forgiveness and discovered there is a connection between unforgiveness and sickness such as cancer, arthritis, heart problems and other stress related illness. I also learnt that extra healing was taking place for me as I was writing my memoir. By the time I finished the last chapter, I felt free of any excess burdens that may have been clinging to my heart.

  1. How long did it take you to write and get the memoir published?
  • It took me nearly one year to write because I kept starting and stopping. I changed my mind a few times because I was nervous about telling my story to the world. But my daughters and close friends encouraged me to do it. Also, because God told me to write it in the first place, I didn’t want to disobey Him. The self-publishing process took me nearly a week. The technical formatting part of it was rather challenging.

4) The Message

  1. Do you have any advice for other memoir writers?
  • Yes, I think if your story can help others from the lessons you learnt, you should share it. Life is full of pitfalls, some good and some good. There are many lessons along the way. However, not everyone learns from their experiences. But those who learn have gold nuggets to share with others in the form of memoirs. If you can help even a handful of people struggling with the issues you came out of, it’s worth writing your stories. Your story can change another person’s life for the better. Another word of advice, make sure you have supportive people around you. It’s important to get as much encouragement as possible to boost your confidence while you write.

  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
  • I want to give you the information you need to add value to your lives. My blogs and memoir are not just about me. They are to inspire, encourage, educate and motivate you. I love when you contact me by email or leave comments on my blogs advising me what I can do for you in future blog posts. Or, how you take away something positive from my writing. This is always my aim. Feedback is extremely important to me. So, please, always tell me whether I’m providing value or not.

  1. Any other writing projects, blogging etc?
  • I plan to open up my two blogs, Miraculous Ladies and Arise Single Christian Mummies for guest blogging in 2017. It’s time I share my platforms with other aspiring or professional writers out there. I also intend to hold workshops related to my memoir. I included writing prompts in the last chapter. I want to take it further and hold small groups or one-to-one workshops to help women write away toxic emotions that’s keeping them captive. In addition, “Deep Within my Soul” is book one of a series of inspirational memoirs based on exclusive and beneficial relationship life-lessons.

  1. Where can your memoir be found?

Thank you very much for answering our questions June. We hope to stay informed of any updates with your projects.

Dear readers, please feel free to drop any questions/remarks/observations you may have in the comments section, thank you for reading along.

Book Review: Please Save Me From Myself by S.A.D


Please save me from myself

 

Disclaimer: S.A.D as abbreviated above has nothing to do with the feeling of loss, a loser or unhappy being. If for anything, the author is a Survivor as you will find out if you read his book and blog among others. His names as is, were too long hence the abbreviation 🙂

Foreward:

On that now ‘infamous’ August 2nd 2014, when I was stunk by Death, I had just purchased four different books on the Amazon. My Choice quickly settled on reading this book because I kept feeling it was my brother saying something. Well, by 11 pm that day, I got the news that I had failed to save my brother from himself. I however courageously decided to finish reading this master piece and I am glad I did and now attempt a befitting review.

Synopsis of the book:

I really prefer to post as is, excerpts from the author’s own description of this power work. I reserve my take in the assigned section to follow soon. So here is what our very Seb says about his memoir:

“My upbringing was pretty good. There were a few fucked up moments and I didn’t learn any helpful coping skills that would suit me as an adult, but I wasn’t locked in a cage and fed baby birds to eat. The first part is about those few fucked up moments and my family dynamics taught me some messed up coping mechanisms such as lying about my emotions until they exploded in my face. I also talk briefly about how the genetics of my family attributed to my mental illness because mental illness is a combination of environment and genetics. I do talk briefly in this part about how I cross dressed in my sister’s clothes once in a while when I was a teenager. You should read it just for that tummy tickler.

“In Part 2 I move into my early college years where I struggled with psychotic thoughts, mild bulimia, unstable identity, had a suicide attempt, stayed in a mental hospital, had multiple therapists and more.

“Part 3 focuses on my time in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and trying to understand myself. This part includes the time when a therapist talked me out of suicide.

“Throughout the journey I am labeled with depression or possible borderline personality disorder or bipolar or emotional dysregulation disorder. Pick a therapist/psychiatrist from my past and each one will have a different diagnosis for you. All I know is that I was struggling to survive. It is quite dramatic parts, so maybe I’m histrionic. I once use to believe I was the reincarnation of Ted Bundy and I would kill a bunch of people so therefore I needed to kill myself before that happened. That’s the kind of “weird” things you can expect in this book.”

My Take on this work:

Now, from the above synopsis, many will agree this memoir is not one to be thrust aside until the final sentence is read. Were it not for my grief at that particular moment, I would have finished the book on that same day.  There are some weird things in that memoir and some very daring, brave, shameless and candid revelations too.

I know what I am talking about because my own memoir (My Unconventional Loves…) published in February, was pretty as revealing. I mean, I was scared by it myself until I published it and then knew I was now out of the closet.

You need to read Seb’s thriller of a memoir to learn of his sexual fantasies and idealizations, his brush with homosexuality, or even his coping with the abortion of his child. Indeed, of all the causes of mental illness, there is so much power in and around our minds, to pull or push us around. I know those of us in the psyche world understand what I mean.

There definitely was no way I could give Seb’s work anything short of a five star. He is a survivor because he is still around inspite of all what he’s been through. I really really would not hesitate recommending this memoir to all I know. Either for yourself or for a close one, it is good to read such first hand account from someone who’s hit rock bottom and is fighting each day to ‘stay afloat’.

About the Author 

MeOnce again, here are his own words:

“I use to run a website for personal growth and mental illness called http://www.findingonespath.com. I stopped doing that for various reasons around May 2013.

I decided to start Personal Growth 4 Life after undergoing over a year of intensive therapy. In total, I have spent a lot lot lot of time in therapy. One thing I learned is that personal growth is something that is a lifelong journey and is something you have to work on continously. It is very easy to step back into old habits.”

Where To Find Sebastian and his memoir:

Personal Growth 4 Life website
Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble Nook
ibooks – type in Sebastian Aiden Daniels on Itunes.
Twitter
Facebook

Everyone, please do yourself a favor and read Sebastian’s letter to Robin Williams at Personal Growth 4 Life.

You can also read what Seb had to share on writing his memoir right here: We met on that blog when I was hosted by the very kind Madeleine (I am yet to do a review of her memoir which is another power house of a mother dealing with her son’s suicide after suffering with Bi-Polar disorder and al).

Thank you dear gentle readers and followers, thank you Seb. I just returned to Brussels from a grueling trip back home and I knew I had such a wonderful e-family to return too.

Book Review: Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja


A pretty cover I must admit
A pretty cover I must admit

Hey Pals, I know I said I would start doing book reviews in August, but, I couldn’t wait any longer to do the first of such reviews. Actually, I was surprised to be asked by this Author to review his book. He is thus my Guinea Pig or rather his book is, but fortunately it is in my genre of choice domain: well, creative Non-fiction in this case.

Synopsis of the book

Schizophrenia is challenging disorder often characterized by abnormal social behaviour and a significantly altered perception of reality. Its treatment largely depends on medications and psycho-social interventions but no single approach is widely considered effective for all patients. Through this book I offer my readers a glimpse into the multifaceted world of schizophrenia in the form of fictitious story line revolving around two characters Monty (the psychotic part)  and Virginia (the non psychotic part). The boundary between the two is permeable. Monty conjures up ‘Gulabi’, following his abrupt separation from his long time partner, while Virginia, having suffered from a personal loss sets out to follow her lifelong aspiration to travel the world.

About the Author

Pankaj Suneja is a recent graduate of a Masters of Arts in Psychology. He had a psychotic episode in 2010/2011 and had to suspend his studies. When he got better thanks to medication and family support, he returned to the University in 2013 to finish his thesis. May be of course, his work was on the experience of of trying to understand the occurrence of a psychotic episode in as authentic a manner as possible. He hoped to do this by suspending his medication thinking meds would have interfered with his works. Well, if you read the book, you will realize how difficult that was.

My Take on this work

I am so much in awe at how brilliantly mental health patients can write. My understanding of the whole notion of mental health and ‘patients’, has forever been changed. This book, recounts through short and easy to follow fictitious stories, Monty’s and Virginia’s way of coping with what I will simply call Mental Illness. Although Pankaj thinks Virginia is the non psychotic character, I beg to differ on that because I see her manifesting some of those symptoms like not trusting people, instability in both physical and mental choices.

Monty, hallucinates and now has Gulabi, a firend and dare say lover who loves him unconditionally. The only problem is that Gulabi now threatens to hold him hostage forever by making a very difficult request. Monty really doesn’t think he can make that promise and that is another trigger. The book is a mere 75 pages and l read it in one afternoon. It indeed held my attention for both personal and literary reasons.

My Rating

l give this work a 4/5. I mean, I could have given him a five if only he went the extra mile of making it lengthier and more complete. All I know as an ending is that Monty passed out. Maybe he could have explained why in more details and how if at all, he got help to move on thereafter. Virginia’s own narrative also stops as  abruptly and this leaves a loop hole in my literary appreciation.

I however sincerely commend Pankaj for this work.  When a patient and I stress a ‘Mental Patient’, takes the time to write his experiences as he/she lived it then, and how it played out mostly in the ‘brain’ where nobody could experience, we can only but conclude that all is not lost. Mental Illness is indeed not a death sentence and stigma only adds to brain damage.

A visit to his website to show some love, and why not order a copy of his book, will probably be most appreciated by his modest person.

My Memoir writing journey!


I was recently asked by an e-friend of mine, to be a guest on her blog and share ‘some’ from my memoir writing journey. I copy paste the post in its entirety because there ain’t a re-blog option on her blog.

Drum rolls for my guest Marie Abanga

I’m so pleased to introduce my guest Marie Abanga, author of My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption, a book written in a voice so raw and open it almost takes my breath away. Here she  tells how she created her book almost in complete secrecy because of what she calls her “embarrassing and shameful revelations.” Please welcome Marie. I am so glad she persevered and successfully completed her memoir project.

My Memoir Writing Journey
by Marie Abanga

MarieHi there, my name is Marie Abanga, author of the memoir My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption. I was so happy when one of my favorite authors, Madeline Sharples, offered to host me on her blog. She asked me to do a post on my memoir writing journey for other beginners like myself.

I sort of knew what memoirs were and had read several. But I had not come across one with such embarrassing and shameful revelations like I included in mine. There may be worse ones out there, but the authors are more prone to bring out their ‘victim hood’ than otherwise. Sure, I did that too but to a very limited extent – I focused on my story, my mess. This is what I think appealed to me most, that I write my story and just that. I decided to write it as honestly as possible.

To use or not to use characters

To begin with, please understand something about my context. In the part of the world I come from, precisely Cameroon, you DON’T write such ‘crap,’ and if you have to, don’t use your name. It is one of those ‘taboos.’ It was therefore no wonder that when my sister got wind of my project, she quickly advised I use characters. Of course, I had already decided to use ‘nick names’ for all but myself because I wanted to be known as that ‘shameless’ woman who ‘successfully’ lived ‘parallel lives.’ Using ‘characters or nick-names,’ saved or spared me some embarrassment, but revealing myself, got me some embarrassment too.

Coming out of the closet

I don’t think coming out of the closet should be reserved only to LGBT. I mean, writing a memoir of any kind is a revelation by itself. You reveal yourself to yourself and to the world. You reveal your family sort off and you reveal other ‘stuff,’ which may directly or indirectly concern or probe others. Actually for me, writing and publishing my memoir was a big therapy for my near ‘nervous breakdown.’ I needed to see myself on paper, in no-nonsense words and in all the different feelings I experienced as I wrote what I had so far lived.

Writing in hiding

To be candid, what I wrote was even very powerful and embarrassing to myself. I dreaded what would have happened had my mother or someone else stumbled upon it. I dared not write on paper, and this had disadvantages. I then also didn’t know as much about the writing and social networks and resource websites for writers of my genre. I was scared and yet determined. I wrote my chapters at midnight when all were asleep or at 3 am before starting my 4 am workouts. I tried to password the file and give it a weird name. Publishing while still in Cameroon was out of the question. I actually hid that file away for almost two years until I found myself in Belgium and discovered CreateSpace.

What I have learnt

There is no point ‘writing your memoir in hiding.’ There are lots of websites, workshops, and nice people out there prepared to help and guide or even reassure you as you embark on that ‘tedious journey.’ After ‘opening up’ and reading several other more poignant memoirs (though none from a Cameroonian or even an African author so far), I have come to realize and accept the fact that my story is not the worst ever. I have also come to benefit fully from the ‘largess’ of that ‘courageous endeavor.’ Indeed, as I keep telling people, my writing is my therapy and message and so is my memoir.

Thank you Madeline Sharples for writing your soulful memoir. Special gratitude also to some authors like Linda Joy Myers, Sherrey Meyer, Joyce Meyer, Iyanla Vanzaart, Ellen Johnson and of course Maya Angelou for sharing your stories and much more. I am forever inspired and motivated by strong women like you.

Marie’s bio:
Marie Abanga describes herself as: “A dynamic and passionate woman, mother of three boys, lawyer, activist, mental health advocate and feminist.” She is a native of Cameroon in Africa and currently lives in Brussels, Belgium. She is enrolled at the Brussels School of International Studies as an LL.M candidate for international law with international relations. She also works as the Regional Manager Africa for the Women In Parliament Global Forum. Marie was a pioneer community champion for the UN Women Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment and has been spotlighted by various feminine magazines, including Women’s Lead and the Girls Globe. Fluent in English and French her native languages, she speaks pidgin English and tries to understand Italian and Swahili. In addition to her memoir, Marie keeps two blogs: her award-winning http://marieabanga.com andhttp://myeverydaypersonal.blogspot.be/. She is making strides into the social network world, keeps numerous journals including one for her first son, and has a second memoir in the ‘conception’ stage.

How to Grow Your Business as a Published Author… and Impact More Lives With Your Message


Tae

I discovered Lisa Nichols and until I one day meet her, I am not letting her nor any of her associates out of my e-line. It was thus with pleasure that I learnt of the transformational  author experience. I sure want to grow my business as a published author. 

So dear pals, have you dreamed of writing a book or becoming a successful published author?  Do you have a valuable message that – if put in print – will help grow your business and transform more lives?  If you answered yes, but don’t have your book written yet… keep reading!

There has never been a better time to write your book and become an author.  The opportunities available for authors in the 21stCentury are endless.  Yet, the majority of entrepreneurs who say they want to write a book don’t actually do it.  Why?  Based on more than 900 responses to a recent survey by Transformational Book Coach, Christine Kloser, aspiring authors revealed what holds them back.

Most authors don’t know where to start or what to do first.  They are overwhelmed with too much information and not enough action.  Sometimes things like fear and doubt creep in.  Other times, its confusion, lack of clarity or confidence that can stop an author in their tracks.  Another big challenge for authors is feeling like their book has already been written… by somebody else.

Not to mention the maze of information out there about writing and publishing a book.  Is it best to self-publish or try to get an agent and sell your manuscript?  How important is it to build your platform?  What are the first things to do to start writing your book?  How can you leverage your book to grow your business?  What do you do about “writer’s block?”  How much will it cost to publish?

The good news is, it IS absolutely possible to write your book in a way that is easy, joyful and fun – without wasting your precious time, money or energy going in circles.  It’s also possible your book will bring about profound personal, professional, and even planetary transformation.

Here are three steps to get started:

  1. Strategize Your Book – Don’t just start writing, rather know who you’re writing for, why you want to serve them and how you want to serve them.  Having this clarity up front will help the book flow more easily.
  2. Write Your Book For One Person – Your book is an intimate conversation with one person at a time – as they cuddle up with your words.  So, don’t set out to write your book for the masses – write if for one person and you’ll reach many.
  3. Keep Going – The only reason why aspiring authors don’t end up published authors is because they let themselves get stopped.  The most important thing you can do it keep going… even if it means you write for 1 minute today.  That’s better than nothing!

===================

if you’re ready to take the next step with your book (or even just a little bit interested in writing a book someday) you’ll want to join me for Christine Kloser’s 4th Annual Transformational Author Experience®.  Christine is offering one of the best FREE trainings I’ve ever seen for authors.  Her faculty includes Bestselling authors like Lisa Nichols, Marci Shimoff, Danielle LaPorte, and Robert Allen well as publishing industry leaders like Reid Tracy (CEO and President of Hay House), Marc Allen (Publisher of Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now), and Bill Gladstone (Neale Donald Walsch’s literary agent).  And that’s just the beginning of what’s in store for you at her FREE Transformational Author Experience®.

I hope you’ll take a look at what she’s put together for you and join us.  It truly is a phenomenal program that has the power to transform your life if you let it…  www.transformationalauthor.com

Christine Kloser Bio

Christine Kloser, “The Transformation Catalyst” is an award-winning author who powerfully combines spiritual guidance and intuition, with nuts-and-bolts transformational writing, publishing and marketing expertise.  The result is a global movement of aspiring authors who unleash their authentic voice, share their message on the pages of a book and make their difference in the world.   Trusted and celebrated by aspiring authors and publishing industry leaders for her down to earth, authentic and inspiring approach, Christine has become the well-recognized leader of the transformational author movement having trained more than 35,000 authors in less than 3 years.   Get her free training at:  www.transformationalauthor.com

Dear gentle readers and followers of mine, I am in and you?

The Twin Divorce!


Just me, battered and shattered by life but not tattered.
Just me, battered and shattered by life but not tattered.

I have heard some Africans talk of Generational curse or whatever and other wonder if there isn’t something wrong with the family history?

I am a regular contributor to the Divorce Magazine and the other day, I read with interest an article by JungleDiva  on that noble  Divorce Magazine where she highlighted her uncle’s premonition about her own marriage.

Her uncle hinted that said because her parents had been divorce, the chances of her own marriage carrying that same ‘gene’ were pretty high.

Yet, I also know it is not an established fact that kids from divorced homes will end up down that same tunnel especially if they marry for the right reasons I suppose. Well, both my sisters are still happily married.

As for me, the stakes were pretty high that I will take that same path, not because of any curse nor family history but by own ‘negligence’ I must confess.

I got married actually because I was trying to run away from a similar path. Marriage was my Refuge, turned jail in which I all over again left even younger kids than when we were left too.

Now, a little history right?

My Parents divorced when I was thirteen or so. I am the second of four siblings but the one all considered the ‘toughest’. They still call me to date ‘L’homme de situation difficile‘ (The man of tough times if I could translate it such).

I took charge soon after our mother left. I skipped the wall at my father’s to go fetch us food and all when our step mother denied that we touch her anything. I also jumped that same high fence to bring my mother some stuffs she left behind and needed. I did this because my dad locked the gate with a key on leaving for work and his wife kept it locked!

I had known from my tender age that all was not right and it hurt me who was considered a favourite of my dad’s. My mother often taught me some good lessons with the whip or her shoe. I was a revolt.

I testified in court at their divorce and none of my siblings had the courage to do so, hence I spoke on our behalf.

Simply put, I grew up my own way, out on the streets or in boarding school, wherever but home.

That was why I wanted so badly to have my own home. There was a problem however, I already had a son and so I wasn’t according to the African Tradition, a worthy woman anymore. Marriage was going to be hard to come by.

I thought I could force one into being and keep it up.

Don’t ask me where I learnt about marriage. Don’t ask me either where I learnt about Love. Still do not ask me what I intended to do to stay married or avoid a divorce at all cost.

So, it came to be that I knew barely nothing about marriage. It came to pass that I knew little or nothing about love. And the inevitable came to happen that my ‘sham of a marriage’ collapsed at even a faster rate than had my parents before mine.

Wow, was that some curse? Was that something to do with my childhood? Was it some mistake on my part?

As for a curse, I don’t believe in those, don’t care to and don’t want to think of that possibility.

Are there any statistics to link kids of divorce homes to their own divorces?

As for my childhood, I definitely think it had a lot to do and Soila published a very interesting article on the adverse effect of Divorce on Kids.

As for mistakes on my part, definitely. There are many. I did not Marry out of Love, I badly loved to get Married and out of what I considered then a jungle.

Secondly, I did not Trust the man I married, well eventually because I started out trusting him until he indicated by his actions that I was wasting my trust.

Finally and yes the big wreck, came via a string of adulteries which pushed me to suicide’s door and then out of the country all together. My tale of Unconventional Loves is now published and both the Paper back and the Kindle versions are on the amazon.

I tell my stories of course just mine and I share them to heal and help further.

I really do not know if there is any statistics to link kids of divorce homes to their own divorces should they get married.

I also had this question asked me during my book launch by a friend: ” This book captures your life during a period of time… Aren’t you worried about the implications it may have on your kids?”

I asked her to explain further and this was her explanation: ” Some stigma may be attached to you and extended to the kids. To be honest, I remember vividly when your parents divorced. No one stopped to blame your Dad- it was always why couldn’t your mother have stayed, what kind of woman is she? Etc. And with your divorce, most people just attribute it to your parent’s divorce. In your case, unfaithfulness – if any of your children stray -well, knowing our society, you know what they would say. Their mother was unfaithful, why would you expect  better? ”

And so I gave her this reply: ” you are right and you remember well. All I can say is, stigma don’t mean a damn unless you want it to. They are boys soon to be men and I hope to by my own example teach them to develop thick skin. You know too that regardless of the reasons of a divorce especially back in our country and or continent , the woman is to blame and hence her Children will have to live with it somehow.”

I don’t even know if I would ever get married again at this rate.

I am therefore a little concerned about my own boys marriages should they get married too.

What do I do now? What do I teach them? From where do I start or how do I proceed given that I have only social network routes to them for the moment?

Sincerely, I would appreciate your comments, advise and resources.