Tag Archives: mental illness memoirs

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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In Which I Make My First Attempt at Crowdfunding – and Other Tales of Terror

So today I have launched my first IndieGoGo campaign. (Yes, I know they don’t actually capitalize the Gs, but I really feel that they should. I think they’d raise more money for their vacations if they had the beat, but maybe they prefer to keep their lips sealed about it).

But, of course, IndieGoGo is not about spelling or proper capitalization or even 80s female rockers – those subjects about which we writers know so much – but about selling ourselves, about which we know so little.

I have ideas. At least a dozen very solid, potentially even achievable ideas regarding my books and my writing. I just don’t have the time, money, or capacity to make them happen.

It’s been a very strange time for me. A few years ago I was a confident and healthy young woman with my whole life ahead of me. Suddenly I’m a middle-aged lady who has no idea what she’s going to do for money during whatever life remains. It is not a pleasant feeling.

My year of disability runs out in June, which means I will have no income except for what I make from my book and eBay sales, neither of which is enough to shake even a short, skinny twig at. The irony is that I’m even more incapable of working now than I was a year ago, what with the frozen shoulder and all.

Oh, right, did I forget to mention that? Well, after several weeks of physical therapy following my shoulder dislocation, I still hadn’t made much progress with my range of motion – I had maybe forty-five degrees in a couple of directions, and close to zero in others. When I next saw the orthopedist, he diagnosed frozen shoulder, which is a condition in which calcium deposits build up around the joint following an injury. It’s more likely for this to develop when the shoulder isn’t moving – like when you’re in a sling for six weeks. Oh, yeah, and it’s also more common if you have other joint problems to begin with – which makes me wonder whether immobilizing my arm for so long was really the best course of treatment for a person like me. Because now instead of a six-to-twelve week recovery, it’s going to be six months to a year, during which I and my physical therapist attempt to break all the crap that’s grown in my arm. After which I may still need surgery. So nice to have something to look forward to in the new year!

But on the plus side, I am improving. I can wear most articles of clothing now – although I put on a dress last week and almost get stuck inside it. I can even drive a little – as long as I don’t have to make that big reach for reverse. I’m a long way from risking the freeway, but at least I can get myself to the grocery store and even the ice rink. Man, it feels good to skate again, and I feel so much better for the exercise. I put on eight pounds in the first two weeks following my injury, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal except that with my condition, every pound is a big deal.

That’s the up side. On the other end of things, boy, am I f***ed. There wasn’t a heck of a lot I could do for work when it was mostly my hands that were messed up, and there’s even less now. I can think of a few career positions that wouldn’t be agonizing – except that I might prefer to starve to death rather than spend the next twenty or thirty years doing them.

But that’s a problem for another day. In the meantime, I have a lot of ideas for my book – really cool ideas that I think could actually prove to be socially beneficial. But all of them involve investing money I don’t dare to spend on projects that may pay off in pennies rather than dollars, and not very many of those. This must be how it feels to be retired and on a fixed income. Draining your small amount of capital is somehow far more daunting when you know you can’t just go back to work.

Hence, the IndieGoGo campaign. I have several of these in mind for various projects I have in progress, but this one is the first, and so far, my favorite.

You see, a couple of weeks ago I got a five-star review from a psychiatrist who suggested that my memoir ought to be on the reading lists of high schools and colleges. Now I had already had the idea of trying to get speaking engagements at the high school level because, even though I wouldn’t expect to get much (if anything) out of that financially, I think that in today’s environment, in which mental illness has come to the forefront of social consciousness, students might appreciate hearing my story. Well, of course, not being able to get around killed that idea, and will likely make it impractical for a month or two more. But when I read this review, I thought – wait, that’s even better than what I was thinking. What if I approached a number of teachers and professors – which I would need to do by mail, anyway – and see if they were interested in teaching my book?

The more I pondered this idea, the more I loved it. In fact, it’s the perfect complement to arranging speaking engagements because then the audience will have read my memoir ahead of time. And since I could make bulk orders available quite cheaply (about $5/paperback copy) to anyone who was interested in using it, it would actually make for a very practical supplement in a course on psychology. No, I wouldn’t make much money on it, but at least it would get my name out there and, more importantly, it would get my story out there – and in the fall semester, when I should be up and about again. Will anyone actually take me up on this? No idea. It seems worth a try.

But this is the kind of project that doesn’t just take time, but also money. First I would need to order a large number of printed copies – I’d like about a hundred – and then I would need to pay to ship them. All in all, it would take close to six hundred dollars that I might never get back. Not such a big deal in the old days when I had three jobs – very scary now.

Now I want to make something clear right from the start. I’m going to post something here on my blog each time I run one of these campaigns because it only makes sense to do so. But I do not expect and, in fact, I will feel very uncomfortable if those of you who are my regular readers start contributing to these campaigns. Most of you have bought my book, and that’s enough. If you’d like to help, I’d be delighted if you share on social media or with parties whom you think might be genuinely interested, but let it end there. Nothing will make me want to stop fundraising faster than feeling as though I’ve created a sense of obligation, particularly when I have several other projects in mind.

With that being said, if you get a chance, go and check out my campaign and let me know what you think. I’m particularly interested in your opinions on how I set up the perks, which was tricky because you have to account for things like shipping and IndieGoGo’s fees – not as good a deal as it might be otherwise. In fact, I estimate that if I reach my goal of $750 that I will only net enough to send out eighty copies after the cost of perks. But of course we’ll see how it goes. Or should I say Go-Gos?

http://igg.me/at/letstalkaboutmentalillness

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.