Tag Archives: mental health

My Interview with Charlene Diane Jones at SoulSciences.net

The podcast of my interview with Charlene Diane Jones about my memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened is now available on her website here:

http://www.soulsciences.net/2015/10/podcast-interviews.html

There’s some distortion in the first few minutes, but it clears up after that.

Charlene is a terrific interviewer and a wonderful speaker as well. You may also enjoy her discussion of Meditation and Writing with Aurelia Maria Casey on The Writing Well:

http://www.soulsciences.net/search?updated-max=2099-01-03T09:55:00-08:00&max-results=1

Charlene Diane Jones Header

 

 

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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My Mental Illness Memoir Featured on Free Kindle Books and Tips and Bargain Booksy Today!

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness is featured on both Free Kindle Books and Tips and Bargain Booksy today as part of my $0.99 promotion. If you get a chance, I would appreciate it if you could go in and “Like” the related Facebook posts. Evidently it helps with the algorithm or something – you know how that stuff works ;)

 

SALE! On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened Just $0.99 through February 17th!

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness is on sale for just $0.99 for Kindle through February 17th. I’m happy to report that the promotions I scheduled seem to be working:

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I’ve also temporarily reduced the price of the paperback to $5.99. What a steal! ;)

The Courage to Share Your Story

I have a new guest post up at Wow! Women on Writing:

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2015/02/friday-speak-out-courage-to-share-your.html

I think I’m probably in the minority opinion here, but the longer I think about it, the more passionately I feel that I’m right.

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“Lori,” Jesse whispers, clutching me tighter. “Lori, I think you’re going insane.”

It is in one of the in-between times, when Mom has decided to let me out for a while. Perhaps she has grown fearful of Social Services. Perhaps she intends to inspect the house from roots to rafters and wants me out of the way. Perhaps she’s simply sick of watching me all day and all night. I don’t know. I know better than to question it.

My friends and I are at a hotel for a school function of some sort. I don’t remember exactly why. Band, or perhaps Key Club? It doesn’t matter. I have reached a point where nothing seems very real anymore.

I am wearing an orange dress my mother bought me. It’s hideous, but I don’t realize that until later. Jesse is with me. He is holding me. I am grateful for that.

We are on one of the upper floors. We are beside a railing. It overlooks the center of the hotel. We are talking. I don’t know what about.

I can see us standing there together. Me in that ugly orange dress with my hair cut short, my face buried in his shoulder. Him with his arms wrapped in a circle around me. I can see it, see it as if I’m above it and not inside it, and in my mind I’ve gotten up onto the railing and I’m teetering there, on the verge of going over, and I don’t know how to stop it; don’t know if I even care anymore about trying to stop it.

“Lori,” Jesse whispers, clutching me tighter. “Lori, I think you’re going insane.”

* * *

This is an excerpt from my memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness I described in this post how I recently inquired of some of my high school friends whether they had in their possession any photos I might be able to use in assembling my book trailer. Imagine my reaction when my friend Ben – who was always the big picture-taker of the group – responded with this photograph:

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Photo courtesy of Ben Sanford

Stunned and happy and heartbroken. To see that moment, captured forever on film, somehow makes it all the more devastating, all the more real. The picture can’t tell what we were saying or thinking. Yet somehow it does. Somehow, it does.

Assembling a Book Trailer – Part I

As some of you saw, last week I posted my first book trailer for On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened (I’ve included it again at the end of this post if you missed it). After I posted it, I got a request from one of my followers to explain how I went about making it. Terrific idea, I thought – I’m totally stealing it!

Let me start off by saying that I did not want to do a typical book trailer. Most of the ones that I’ve seen I think are too long or too dull, spending image after image detailing plot points or posing questions the book purports to answer. At the other extreme, you also see Hollywood-style trailers, which are usually very well-done cinematically, but often make me want to see the movie rather than read the book!

The second most influential factor for me was the realization that trailers, like other forms of visual marketing, are very expensive to have made. It’s not the kind of thing a writer will generally want to do for him or herself because it simply isn’t in their realm of expertise. In my case, however, cash proved to be king. I wanted a trailer and I wanted one now – later on, I reasoned, if it seemed worth the expense, I could have one professionally done.

However, given that my knowledge in this area is severely limited, and my experience with digital media slight, I cast aside some of the early daydreams I had had of gorgeous cinematography, professional graphics, and a custom soundtrack to fit the action. Over-shooting my own skill level, I feared, would only result in an inferior product. I might mess up a sausage soufflé – and why attempt one when I know I can make a mean breakfast burrito? It would be better to make a trailer that was technically simpler, but hopefully equally as meaningful.

The second problem was this – I had no idea what the trailer was going to be about. I wanted a trailer that would evoke the mood of my story without attempting to tell it, which meant emphasizing feel over plotline. I also wanted it to be short, yet the moments from my book that I had considered utilizing required camera work that I just wasn’t sure I could effectively accomplish. I began ruminating over the idea of maybe including some images from my hometown – the problem being, of course, that I don’t have any. So I contacted those few high school friends with whom I’ve stayed loosely in touch and asked around to see if anyone had any pictures or videos that might be suitable for me.

My hopes in this quest were very, very low. First there was the issue of quality, because naturally pictures from twenty-some odd years ago were generally not in digital format. Secondly, unless the images were of me specifically – which, in my mind, was not necessarily a selling point! – I would be unable to use any that contained recognizable people because I wouldn’t have model releases for them.

My friend John Lin responded with a handful of photos from his graduation, which was the year before mine. Most of them were, as I suspected, unusable, as they were mostly of him and his family, and the quality, too, left much to be desired. And in any case, I still didn’t know what I would do with them. They weren’t even my pictures. This was not my graduation.

And that’s when it hit me – this was not my graduation.

I have almost no memories of my high school graduation. Most of what I remember about that day was the thrill of knowing that I would be free once it was over. My happiness over unexpectedly meeting my boyfriend after the ceremony, who had graduated a year ahead of me and whom I hadn’t expected to see again before I left for good. The tension of knowing that the car I had bought without my mother knowing was waiting for me on the street behind our house, waiting for me to pack up and leave. I don’t remember anything like what John no doubt remembers – receiving his diploma, being with his friends and family, throwing his cap in the air. Those things were utterly irrelevant to me. Same type of day, entirely different experience.

I flipped through his photos again, saddened somehow by what they had revealed. There was one in particular that showed students streaming down the lawn from our high school building down to the field with a TV crew filming. The photo was blurry – but how perfect for me, because you couldn’t make out any of the students’ faces. It was someone else’s high school graduation. But in another life, it might have been mine.

I went to freestockphotos.biz and began searching for photos. I wanted typical things, people and objects of which most kids would keep pictures. Their homes, their friends, their pets – maybe even their parents.

It took maybe two hours. Again, there was the issue of model releases, which prevented me from using some of the images I might have liked for me and my mother. And since I preferred free photos over paid ones, I had to dig a little deeper into my well of creativity, as I simply couldn’t find suitable photos for some of my initial ideas.

Once I had assembled the photos, the text was easy. And once I found a site that features royalty-free music, the soundtrack was easy, too. I won’t cover the technical aspects of assembling the project here, as this post is long enough already, but I am going to put together a video that will walk those of you who are interested through the whole process from start to finish. The technicalities of this type of sequence aren’t terribly difficult to master, although there are certainly some tricks that can make it easier.

But the big thing for me was coming up with the idea. Once I had the idea, the rest of it fell into place. So if you’re considering making your own trailer, my advice is to ask yourself these three questions:

1) What do you want to express in the trailer? A story, a mood, a character, a state of mind, an event?

2) What style do you want for your trailer? Will that style effectively convey whatever you said you wanted to achieve in your answer to Question 1?

3) Are you technically capable of achieving your vision for your trailer? Does it need to be flashy, or will simple suit you better? Will your fancy trailer look stupid if you can’t pull it off, or will your plain trailer be too dull even if you assemble it well?

One last important thing to consider is where you will be promoting your trailer. For me, my main outlets are WordPress and Twitter, both of which consist of audiences that are fairly forgiving. There’s a certain amount of leniency people are willing to grant if your ceramic ashtray is homemade – and for some that may even increase its charm. But if you’re looking to win competitions or be featured on fancy promotional websites, then you might want to consider making an investment in a professional product. Don’t, however, get stuck on the idea that many writers seem to, which is thinking that you can only have one trailer. For the amount of time and money they take to put together, you can make as many as you like, of whatever styles and lengths you like. You are limited only by the size of your own imagination.

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!