Memories of Me #bookreview #books

Memories of Me - book cover

Writing about yourself and your memories can be hard, especially if you have endured traumatic events in your life.

I speak from experience when I say this, so I know this to be true. I’ve been raped, I’ve contemplated suicide on numerous occasions, and I nearly died. Fortunately, I’m still here, reaping many benefits of some of the decisions I’ve made, which include making money from writing.

I’ve had a short story included in an anthology, I’ve won a short story contest, and my book of short stories is going to be available soon!

I’m also still working on my two books; my memoirs, and Letters to Julian. Because of this, when I was recently contacted by Laura Hedgecock and asked to write a review of her new book, Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your LifeI was intrigued, and I agreed to writing a review of this book in exchange for a free copy of it.

According to Laura Hedgecock:

Memories of Me taps into the passion of connecting with loved ones through memory narratives. It empowers hobbyists to create a legacy of family stories and memory episodes through prompts, in-depth brainstorming exercises, writing samples, and just enough writing tips for writers to take pride in their projects. 

I also agreed to participate in a blog tour. To see the other participants of this blog hop, check out the Memories of Me official tour post, beginning with this spotlight and this review.

Update: This review was given by another person, who, apparently, reviews books on a regular basis.

My Review

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life contains a lot of information, brainstorming and other exercises, and encouraging words to help YOU put into perspective your memories, thoughts and experiences so that YOU can write and catalogue your life stories.

Memories of Me uses Laura’s own experiences to show you how to implement the strategies she sets forth. For example, when writing a Christmas letter, Laura gives you specific things to include in it and then shows you how to incorporate all of them by writing a letter of her own. This practice is demonstrated throughout the book, which allows you to get to know her (and, by extension, her family) better while learning how to enhance your writing.

In this guide, worksheets are interspersed with writing tips and exercises and personal stories are shared. My favourite worksheet was the Brainstorming Lessons Learned worksheet, as it prompted me to think about and recall many things that I thought I had forgotten! This particular worksheet involves completing sentences such as “How I learned _____,” with the blank filled in with a specific action or attribute. Laura’s prompts are simply amazing.

From childhood to animals to school days to grandparents to friendships to relatives to religion to regret to conversations from the past to difficult times, Laura guides you, letting you be the decision-maker as she helps you remember and write. She also assists you with things pertaining to the art of writing, such as finding your voice, preserving your language, editing your words, and expressing yourself using humour.

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life is a true treasure chest of goodness you will benefit from and love!

My Personal Recommendation

Obviously, as someone who is writing her own memoirs (as well as a book titled Letters to Julian), I would not recommend Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life unless I found it to be useful.

I do.

I also plan on using some of the exercises and worksheets as I struggle with my book of memoirs (and dealing with some of my own demons)!

Purchasing Information

Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life is now available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books & Things. You can also buy it from The Marketplace. I’ll leave it up to you to find out where you can get it at the lowest price. 😉

A Free Option

For those of you wanting guidance via a free option, I would recommend using Sue Mitchell’s memoir starter kit, which I also have.



picture of Laura Hedgecock

Laura Hedgecock is a Michigan-based freelance writer who attended the University of South Carolina. She is the mother of two (three if you count the dog!) and is the author of Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life.

You can connect with Laura via Twitter or Google+, visit her site, Treasure Chest of Memories, and/or read her personal blog, Memories in the Wind.

Deadly Switch, A Suspense Novel by Karen Dodd (#BookReview)

Deadly Switch book cover

I met suspense novelist Karen Dodd via Indies Unlimited (IU).

For those of you not “in the know,” IU is a helpful website for authors and aspiring self-publishers. They have posts on everything over there!

I’ve connected with a bunch of people during their Twitter-fests, Google+-fests, and other LIKE-fests, and I read almost every useful post they publish.

Yep, I’m a big supporter of this site, and I have to give thanks to indie author Melissa Bowersock for suggesting I follow that blog. You might remember Melissa as the woman whom I interviewed for  a bunch of self-publishing info in early 2013.  (Thanks again, Melissa!)

Okay, I’m getting sidetracked.

This post isn’t about Melissa Bowersock, even though she has self-published three more books since our interview! (Yep. Three.)

This post is about Karen Dodd. It’s also about her suspense novel, Deadly Switch, and my book review of said novel.

Karen Dodd

I connected with Karen Dodd on both Facebook and on IU. When I realized that she is a suspense novelist who wrote a mystery, I got giddy, as I usually do when I come across a mystery. 😉

Naturally, I extended my standard offer to her: a copy of her book in exchange for a Goodreads review and blog post. As most indies are wont to do, she agreed. (Yes, wont is a word.)

Karen Dodd’s novel, Deadly Switch, was a good read. Because I received a digital version (my preference), I read it on my Kobo. It was the second book I read on this device, too. (I usually read print books, but this is changing as I adapt to the digital age, which is a whole different discussion – one already had by this freelancer!)

Because I enjoyed Karen’s story, it proves to me that my reading experiences have nothing to do with how I read a book, the quality of the writing, or my overall experience. (Some people were not thrilled with my less-than-stellar review of the first book that I read on my Kobo.)

In fact, I gave Deadly Switch the following review on Goodreads: Read More

A Flame In the Wind of Death (#bookreview ) and a Q and A with Author Jen J. Danna


Jen Danna headshot

It’s official. The new book from Jen J. Danna is out, and it’s getting great reviews!

(I’m not surprised, I LOVED the first book!)

Jen agreed to answer a few more questions, too, for me, today on my blog!

To recap, Jen J. Danna (partnered with Ann Vanderlaan) is the author of the Abbott and Lowell Forensic Mysteries. As a mystery lover who somehow discovered Jen’s website one day, I simply had to contact her and request a copy! As it turns out, I’ve been on her street team, beta-reading her books ever since!

You might recall that I interviewed Jen J. Danna last year, when I gave her a review of Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It.

I also provided her with a review for her second book, a novella called No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall.

Now, I’m pleased to share my review for her latest, A Flame in the Wind of Death, which received this review on Kirkus Reviews and the following review on Goodreads from me:

While I loved the plot and the solving of the case presented in “A Flame in the Wind of Death,” I found some of the writing to be a tad bit too technical for my personal taste. The research scientist side of the authors clearly shines through, and I ended up learning a few new things and adding several new words to my vocabulary. I cannot criticize the authors for this; instead, I have to complement them for expanding my repertoire! The one thing I didn’t really like is that there is a sub-plot that was not resolved. I understand that this is a tactic used my many series writers to get you to keep reading, and so I can’t fault the authors for successfully pulling this off. I’m intrigued and looking forward to the next book in this series already! I’m just the type of person who likes all loose ends to be tied up by the end of the book. The final scene in the book, however, is awesome. Without giving too much away, I will say that it ties together the progress the characters have made thus far, and is a beautiful tribute to the dead. Having read all three books so far (Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It and the novella, No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall), I have to say that the authors are doing a bang-up job with this series. I’m hooked. I also like seeing the romance between the two main characters develop, and I’m not a romance fan AT ALL. But, given their tenuous backgrounds, it’s nice to learn about their pasts and their issues with their scars. Having had multiple surgeries in my life, I think this is a nice touch, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this sub-plot is developed further. I’d recommend that you catch up on your reading before book four in this series is released!

Some of you might be wondering how many books are going to be in this series. Today you will get answers to this question, and several others, too.

Another Q and A session with  Jen

Let’s give Jen a big Wording Well welcome, shall we?

Me: Welcome, Jen!

Jen: Hi, Lorraine! It’s good to see you again. Hmm. Your site looks different.

Me: (laughing) That’s because it is! I finally got my own hosted site. Jen: I like it. Me: Thanks. I took a survey of what my readers want, to help me plan my blog for 2014, and I was shocked and surprised to learn that they like my author interviews and book reviews.

Jen: YAY! Great news! I’m always up for another interview! No One Sees Me 'Til I Fall cover Me: I appreciate that, and I’m happy you took the time to join me today, to answer a few more questions. Let’s start by talking a bit about your novella, No One Sees Me ‘Til I Fall. Your daughter is featured on the cover, isn’t she?

Jen: Yes. I was lucky to have a daughter who is a professional photographer with a full studio at her disposal, as well as another daughter who is a good sport. We had quite the photo shoot, too. I kept telling her, “Look subservient. No, no, really subservient.” I think I drove her crazy! But we got it done.

We were also lucky to have professional editorial assistance and got the manuscript properly edited. I was immensely lucky that Ann is a computer wizard and took on all the persnickety formatting of the manuscript and didn’t kill me when I kept saying, “A little to the left, now to the right. Now back again…” (although it was likely deserved!).

Me: It looks good. Why did you write a novella instead of a novel?

Jen: We wanted to give our fans something to read while the second novel was being finished, and so we self-published a novella to keep our fans happy!

Me: How many more books can readers expect, and when?

Jen: Here is a rundown of all books, published and planned:


2) NO ONE SEES ME ‘TIL I FALL (e-novella), November 2013



5) Work-in-progress, projected 2016

6) Planned novel, projected 2017

7) Planned novel, projected 2018 cover for book, Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It Me: Is it easier to plan for future books once you have one book written? I would think it is, as you can develop the characters more fully, etc. Most authors fare better with a series than with a single book. Has this been your experience, too? Also, do you agree with this statement?

Jen: I think it depends on the author. Series are certainly easier on the author – you don’t have to come up with fascinating characters every time because you’ve already created them. You’ve created the world they live in and the type of story you’re going to tell. Whether authors fare better would depend on the series they create.

Me: Do you have any other series’ planned?

Jen: No other series planned at this point. Not to say that there won’t be others in the future, but I’m too into this one and it still feels fresh to me. Since I’m only able to write one book a year because of my day job, I want to keep the regular releases going in this series so I’ll concentrate on it. At this point, we’re planned out to book 7, but don’t have a set number of books planned for the series.

Me: So there might be a book #8 (and maybe #9), too?

Jen: Yes. Ann and I are good long term planners.  For instance, the seed for book 7’s plot was sewn into book 1.

Me: Can you talk a bit about your writing process and series development? When you first started this series, did you know it was going to be a series, or did it just evolve into one?

Jen: We wrote it as a series and pitched it to agents as such. As I said, right from the start we set up Juka Petrović as an open door to a particular plot, so we knew we were in it for the long haul (although at the time, we didn’t know that payoff wouldn’t come until book 7). Another character is introduced in concept in book 3 and in person in book 4 to support that same storyline and book. But to an extent, some storylines evolve as we go. There’s a character that is mentioned in name only in chapter 1 of book 1 that may be a focal point in book 5 if we can figure out some potential jurisdictional issues.

Me: Did you plan to write x number of books when you first started writing, or did they just evolve?

Jen: We don’t have any set number of books in mind. As long as the series can stay fresh, we’d like to keep writing it. When we started, we knew we were setting up a series, but that’s about as specific as we were until we got going.

Me: Are you going to write another series?

Jen: I’m not going to say “no” to that, but I will say “not right now.” I’m having too much fun writing this one and the ideas are still coming fast and furious. And, truthfully, when you’re trying to generate momentum on a series, it’s best to keep the installments coming at a regular pace. As a reader myself, I know how much I love getting onto a series and picking up the newest book the moment it comes out. And as I still work full-time in the lab, I wouldn’t be able to manage more than one series at a time for proper pacing.

Me: Have you had much success with your “filler” novella? Do you think it’s crucial to the series? (I know it can be read as a stand-alone, having read it.)

Jen: I’ve been quite happy with the novella. It’s done exactly what we wanted it to do – filled the gap for our readers during the long 11 months between DEAD and FLAME, and introduced us to new readers who’d never heard of Matt and Leigh in a nice, risk-free way. And while it’s not crucial to the series, I do think it’s a nice addition and tackles a real and disturbing issue.

Me: How have your views about publishing changed as a result of publishing both ways (traditionally and self-published)?

Jen: I always knew I wanted to go with traditional publishing and that hasn’t changed at all.

Me: Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to add? Maybe something about Pinterest, perhaps?

Jen: Yes! You can see a Pinterest board for A Flame in the Wind of Death here and one for the upcoming book, Two Parts Bloody Murder here.

I’d also like to add that A Flame in the Wind of Death, in Canada, is being carried by Chapters/Indigo. And it’s available online through North America via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters. Of course, all books are featured on my website, too, with links to places where they can be purchased.

headshot of Jen J. Danna

Me: I want to wish you a lot of continued success, Jen, and thank you for being here today to answer questions. If any of my readers have more questions, can they ask them in the comments?

Jen: Sure! I’ll reply to anyone who asks me something!

Me: Thanks again, Jen. And congratulations on your latest publication!

Jen: Thank you, Lorraine. See you in the comment section!

Readers: You can learn more about Jen’s books – and read sample chapters – on her website, and you can also connect with Jen J. Danna on Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest.

*I also want to remind you that you can still grab a copy of my free ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves too! 😉


Do you have any questions or comments for Jen (or me)?

If so, please voice them; don’t be shy!

And DO pick up a copy of Jen’s book, A Flame in the Wind of Death, from Amazon!

“Rapunzel” by Molly Greene (#BookReview)

book cover for Rapunzel (a book by Molly Greene)

Rapunzel, by Molly Greene,was not on my list of books to read until I read the review of fellow freelancer, Jeri Walker-Bickett. She indicated that it had elements found in Fifty Shades Of Grey, which she also has critiqued, didn’t like, but which I actually loved. (Sue me, all you FSOG haters!)

However, it seems that Jeri and I have completely different personal preferences! I will admit that I did not read her review of Fifty Shades of Grey until after reading Rapunzel. If I had, I would have learned that the two of us definitely don’t like the same types of books!

I read Molly’s book on the Kobo my sister gave me and enjoyed reading on this reader. It’s much easier than holding a novel, as it’s not as heavy and is more portable. It fits into my purse more easily than a bulky novel does! However, I like making notes as I go (yes, I often deface my books – they’re MINE) and like flipping back to certain pages, so e-readers have their disadvantages, too. 🙁

But I’m not here to debate the use of e-readers; I’m here to offer up my book review of Rapunzel. Read More

Novella by Jen J. Danna Astonishes this Reader!

No One Sees Me 'Til I Fall
Do you remember HOW MUCH I loved author Jen J. Danna’s debut novel, Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It? Good news – last month she released the second book in this series! Today’s Featured Friday post is short and sweet because all I’m posting is my review of it and letting you know that you can read the first chapter on her website, and find all links to buy this book (if you’re interested) there, too.  Here’s my review: Read More