Tag Archives: dysfunctional family

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened on sale for $0.99 through 1/3

The Kindle version of my award-winning mental illness memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness is now on sale for just $0.99 through Tuesday, January 3rd. As always, the book is FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

 

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On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened – Only $0.99 from 12/28 to 1/3

The Kindle version of my award-winning mental illness memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness will be on sale for just $0.99 from Wednesday, 12/28 through Tuesday, 1/3. Mark your calendars!

As always, the book is FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

***

It was the spring of 1989. I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school and an honors student. I had what every teenager wants: a stable family, a nice home in the suburbs, a great group of friends, big plans for my future, and no reason to believe that any of that would ever change.

Then came my mother’s psychosis.

I experienced first-hand the terror of watching someone I loved transform into a monster, the terror of discovering that I was to be her primary victim. For years I’ve lived with the sadness of knowing that she, too, was a helpless victim – a victim of a terrible disease that consumed and destroyed the strong and caring woman I had once called Mom.

My mother’s illness took everything. My family, my home, my friends, my future. A year and a half later I would be living alone on the street on the other side of the country, wondering whether I could even survive on my own.

But I did. That was how my mother – my real mother – raised me. To survive.

She, too, was a survivor. It wasn’t until last year that I learned that she had died – in 2007. No one will ever know her side of the story now. But perhaps, at last, it’s time for me to tell mine.

***

Now available in eBook and paperback (both standard size and LARGE PRINT formats).

Amazon (Universal Link)

Barnes and Noble

On hearing of my mother's death six years after it happened

 

 

My Interview with Dorit Sasson on Giving Voice to Your Story!

Well, here it is – my first live interview and my first radio show!

As those of you who saw my post last week already know, last Thursday I had an interview with Dorit Sasson on her BlogTalkRadio program “Giving Voice to Your Story.” Dorit is a freelance writer, coach, and memoirist whose memoir Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love will be published by She Writes Press in 2016.

I considered myself lucky to have such a good host, and I thought Dorit did a great job of making our talk sound more like a conversation than an interview. I also felt fortunate in being somewhat familiar with the BlogTalkRadio setup, which made me considerably less apprehensive. I knew, for example, that I needed to keep quiet once I heard the “Blog Talk Radio” intro, and also that the program would cut off promptly at the thirty-minute mark, so I was prepared for that. And although I tend to worry about technical issues, it went quite smoothly (on my end, anyway!) as all I had to do was call in at the appointed time and hang up when it was over.

As for the interview itself, I think it went pretty well. It was interesting discussing my memoir with someone who had her own distinct perspective on it. Dorit’s focus tended to be more on the mother-daughter relationship than on the illness, which is something that few people have emphasized, although it is, of course, a vital part of the story, and also a vital part of Dorit’s own forthcoming memoir. I really felt as though I learned something about my own book in the process, and I hope you will, too.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/givingvoicetoyourstory/2015/06/04/giving-voice-to-your-story-with-lori-schafer

Dorit Sasson, host of Giving Voice to Your Story and author of Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me About Faith, Courage, and Love

Dorit Sasson, host of Giving Voice to Your Story and author of Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me About Faith, Courage, and Love

SALE! My Award-Winning Memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened Just $0.99 through 05/14

The Kindle version of my award-winning memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness has been discounted to just $0.99 through Thursday, May 14th on Amazon.com.

Blurb:

It was the spring of 1989. I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school and an honors student. I had what every teenager wants: a stable family, a nice home in the suburbs, a great group of friends, big plans for my future, and no reason to believe that any of that would ever change.

Then came my mother’s psychosis.

I experienced first-hand the terror of watching someone I loved transform into a monster, the terror of discovering that I was to be her primary victim. For years I’ve lived with the sadness of knowing that she, too, was a helpless victim – a victim of a terrible disease that consumed and destroyed the strong and caring woman I had once called Mom.

My mother’s illness took everything. My family, my home, my friends, my future. A year and a half later I would be living alone on the street on the other side of the country, wondering whether I could even survive on my own.

But I did. That was how my mother – my real mother – raised me. To survive.

She, too, was a survivor. It wasn’t until last year that I learned that she had died – in 2007. No one will ever know her side of the story now. But perhaps, at last, it’s time for me to tell mine.

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And the Winner Is… Me??!!

That’s right, I am proud to announce that On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness has been awarded a GOLD MEDAL in the category of Psychology & Mental Health in the 2015 eLit Book Awards!

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I’ll admit I had basically given up on entering writing contests. I entered a whole bunch back when I was writing a lot of short fiction and was even a finalist in two of them, but never a winner. Once I had accumulated a large pile of other writing credits, however, the potential benefits of winning a contest no longer seemed to outweigh the money and effort involved in submitting to them, and I wasn’t too terribly sad to scrape that time-consuming and onerous task off of my always-full plate. But, unlike literary contests, where the only people who are likely to see that you’ve won one are the obscure readers of even more obscure literary journals, having an award like this can actually really help with book sales, especially if you’re an indie author trying to prove your book’s worth to always-skeptical potential customers. So I sighed and dug out my spreadsheets and wallet and sent my book off to five or six such competitions on the oft-spoken lottery theory that you can’t win if you don’t play. At least it seemed reasonable to hope that the odds would be better than at a Reno roulette table.

Evidently they were, because here I am, now able to proclaim myself an award-winning author! I still don’t know whether, practically speaking, I’m going to get much out of this in terms of my writing career. But it sure is nice to enjoy one very bright spot in an otherwise rather dim-looking 2015.

And for those of you who might be inspired by my experience to submit your books to a contest, you might want to check out this list of book awards for self-published authors by The Book Designer, Joel Friedlander:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/book-awards/

What about you? Have you ever submitted your work to a contest?

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I’m Sick of the Sound of My Own Voice – But I Hope You’re Not!

Well, I’ve finally done it! I’ve finished editing the audiobook of On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened. I confess it was a much more laborious process than I had originally anticipated, and even now I’m not sure I’m quite going to meet ACX’s specifications. I suspect that I may have to do a bit more digital manipulation and possibly even some re-recording before they give it the go-ahead, but with only three days remaining until my book release, I’m thrilled just to move it to one of my two dozen back burners for a while.

I’ll admit that I was surprised to learn that my book cover would have to be reformatted for the audiobook. I mean, I understand why they want a square cover – presumably to mimic the look of a CD, laserdisc, or vinyl record – but in the current digital age, it doesn’t really seem as if it should matter, particularly when the cover is for browsing purposes only and no one is actually going to receive a physical product. Evidently technology moves faster than consumer preferences over what their book covers, whether audio or eBook, ought to look like. Anyway, here is the adjusted cover. As you can see, although the execution differs, the “empty chair” theme remains:

Mother's Death Audiobook

But more on the audiobook production and publishing process later. For now, here’s the five-minute sample recording I submitted along with the rest of my files. I would really appreciate any feedback you could give me on this, because I’ve just noticed something very strange – when I play it back on the desktop computer on which I did the editing, it sounds pretty clean, but on my laptop there are quite a few annoying clicks and pops, and it also seems a lot quieter. I thought you weren’t even supposed to get degradation on a transfer of a digital recording, so maybe it’s my crappy laptop speakers or my even crappier internet connection.

So what do you think? Could you listen to me read for two and a half hours? At this point, believe me – better you than me!

New Goodreads Review of On Hearing of My Mother’s Death!

Byron Edgington (http://www.byronedgington.com/), author of The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying and Life, has posted his review of On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened on Goodreads. I read it yesterday, and his remarks about the book are so kind that I’m still blushing – in fact, his only complaint is that the book is too short (see my comments following the review):

“Here we have an extended essay/memoir on surviving a parent’s psychosis, inventing a life and then learning of the death of the long-forgotten parent many years after her passing. It’s much too easy to compare such works as Ms Schafer’s to other neglected childhood fare: Jeannette Walls ‘Glass Castle,’ Christina Crawford’s ‘Mommy Dearest’ etc. Too easy, because the parents in those memoirs cannot be easily forgiven; they can only be easily explained. Their cruelty stems from ambition, neglect, the depredations of poor parenting skills. Ms Schafer’s mother, on the other hand, offers a much more subtle, we might say inexplicable source of her wanton neglect and cruel treatment: mental illness and its untreated ravages.

Lori Schafer is an accomplished writer at the apex of her craft. Her images and reflections shimmer on the page: “grilled cheese and tomato…butter-brown bread…’ including good alliteration and excellent use of sentence length variation, she keeps readers moving forward. “The sidewalks were empty. I was empty.” Beautiful stuff.

Transitions are well done, despite many flashbacks and oblique references. Only one time, at an end chapter, and a reference to ‘Lila’ did this reviewer lose the thread, but then it picked up again.

Schafer’s use of a fictional device inside her memoir is very well done. She writes as ‘Gloria,’ to explain the horrors of a childhood in crisis, while giving herself a bit of remove as the writer. It’s an excellent device, and it works very well. It’s also entirely understandable. Much like any child will have an invisible friend, or a security blanket, Schafer has Gloria.

The writer’s voice stays consistent throughout, shifting with subtlety between the teenage, angst-ridden Lori and the determined older Lori living in a car in Berkeley and making her own way. “I was learning,” she writes, scraping for bottles and cans in Berkeley “…like the poor man’s Santa Claus.”

There are a few loose threads: We’re never told what happened to ‘Sandra Johnson.’ Indeed, none of the siblings’ lives are explained. There’s a reference to Schafer’s own concern about being poisoned, a thinly-veiled worry that she might have acquired her mother’s mental illness, but this is not addressed or enlarged. We don’t hear about mom’s own family history, or what may have contributed to her instability, only that ‘Judy Green-Hair’ is a serial marrier. Just open a vein, as they say; readers want more details.

Indeed, one critique of this memoir may be that it’s too darned short, that readers want to know much more about who this writer is: how did that young woman survive all she did? What resources did she uncover in herself? How’s she doing now? Has she finally found ‘a safe place?’

Wordsworth wrote, ‘…the child is father to the man,’ and we must assume he meant mother to the woman as well. If so, at the end of her fine memoir, Lori Schafer pays tribute to that young mother of herself. This is a good, fulfilling memoir. I just wish it was longer, darn it. Four stars, only because it’s too short.”

Byron Edgington, author of The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life

Although it’s not an unqualified five star review, I’m really very pleased with it because Byron’s feedback actually gave me a great idea. It’s true that there are certain parts of the story into which I do not delve, in particular, regarding my mother’s family history, or what ever happened to my sister. I can’t provide answers to those questions simply because I myself don’t know the answers. My mother’s parents died when I was too young to know them; I don’t remember her sister and was merely acquainted with my uncle. I know very little about my mother’s life before me, and virtually nothing about the rest of her family. Likewise, my sister and I fell out of touch even before I left home, and as to Sandra Johnson, she’s a mystery that will forever remain unsolved.

But at no point do I ever make any of this clear to the reader. Most people, I think, see “family” as constituting a group of people; a set of relations with whom one shares varying levels of affection or bonding. For me, “family” meant Mom. She was it; there really wasn’t anyone else to fall under that heading. So it frankly never occurred to me that I might need to explain why I wasn’t talking about those larger family issues. But, of course, Byron is absolutely right; readers will be curious about those aspects of the story, and even if I have no real answers to give them, I like the idea of explaining why.

And this, of course, is one of the beauties of independent publishing. I’m not bound to someone else’s contract, or to a print run of thousands of copies that are already stacked and waiting in warehouses. So why not add another chapter? Even with my current crazy schedule, I can probably even get that done before the release date, and start fresh with an improved version of the story. A good idea is a good idea – even if it wasn’t my idea!

So thank you, Byron, for taking the time to detail what you thought was missing from my book. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I hope you’ll be glad to know that someone is listening.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

On Hearing of My Mother's Death Six Years After It Happened by Lori Schafer

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened

by Lori Schafer

Giveaway ends November 23, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win