Tag Archives: mother-daughter relationships

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened is now FREE with Amazon Prime Reading!

Now FREE with Amazon Prime Reading!

That’s right – my memoir has been selected for Amazon’s Prime Reading program, which means that the eBook will be available free to all Amazon Prime members for a limited time. The book can be read on a Kindle or any other device using one of Amazon’s free apps.

This newly expanded version is nearly twice the length of the original book and contains eight new chapters. Download your free copy today!

image

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 2013 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.

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

In Which She Talks About Herself in the Third Person

So here it is – two firsts. My very first radio interview, which I’ve announced in my very first press release:

Award-winning memoirist Lori Schafer to appear on BlogTalkRadio show “Giving Voice to Your Story” on Thursday, June 4th

Author Lori Schafer will give her first live interview concerning her award-winning memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened on “Giving Voice to Your Story” on Thursday, June 4th at 11 am EDT. Schafer, whose memoir recounts her terrifying adolescent experience of her mother’s psychosis, won a spot on Dorit Sasson’s BlogTalkRadio program through a contest on the popular writer’s blog “The Write Life” earlier this year.

“I’m excited, but also a bit nervous,” Schafer admitted. “Dorit and I only met through the contest, so we don’t know each other at all. I have no idea what she’s going to ask me. It’s like a job interview – I’ll mostly be winging it and hoping to make a good impression on listeners.”

Schafer has high hopes for the interview, however. In fact, it was Sasson’s program that inspired her to begin a BlogTalkRadio show of her own.

“I’m currently looking at a fall start date,” she affirmed. “I had hoped to begin sooner, but my schedule has been so full this year that I had to postpone it.”

Schafer is planning an eclectic program featuring readings from her own work, discussion panels on topics of interest to readers and writers, and interviews like the one Sasson will be conducting with the author.

“I’m truly appreciative of this opportunity to interview with Dorit. Radio is a very different way of interacting with an audience, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing that. But the format feels strange to me – it isn’t like writing, where you get the chance to edit and re-edit your words if they come out wrong the first or second or twentieth time. Live is live – you only get one shot at getting it right.”

Schafer’s memoir has recently been the subject of critical acclaim. It was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2015 eLit Book Awards and was a finalist in both the National Indie Excellence and International Book Awards competitions.

“It’s a fascinating book, not only because of its subject matter, but because of its non-linear narrative structure. It will be interesting to discuss from both a literary and a psychological perspective.”

Listeners can tune in to the thirty-minute program live or listen to the podcast, which will be archived after the show airs at the following link:

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

Listeners are also encouraged to call in with questions and comments.

“I’ve really enjoyed discussing my book with readers on social media,” Schafer says. “But it can be hard to have a real conversation in 140 characters or less!”

Schafer, who originally intended to shy away from requests for live interviews, now welcomes them.

“Reader response to my memoir has been simply amazing. People have been incredibly supportive, but what’s really moved me have been the number of folks who have come forward to share their stories with me. It’s as if they, too, have been keeping this dark family secret and are glad to have someone finally reveal it.”

Schafer’s memoir is available in paperback at retailers worldwide and in eBook exclusively on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N0WYHDQ/). Interested parties may visit her website at https://lorilschafer.com/ for further information.

Dorit Sasson Interview

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.

image

How, On Mother’s Day, Twitter Taught Me the True Meaning of Social Support

I wrote this post last year on the day after Mother’s Day. I’m still blown away when I remember how I felt that day, and I felt compelled to share it again.

***

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It is not a holiday I celebrate. I am not a mother myself, and as those of you who know something of my personal history are aware, my relationship with my own mother was critically wounded when she became mentally ill during my adolescence.

I’m generally not much affected by the holiday. It’s been years since I left home, and by now I’ve spent more of my life without my mom than I spent with her. Time heals. But last year I learned that she had died – in 2007. And ever since then I’ve found myself thinking of her much more often, of the mother she was when I was young, and of the mother she became when I was older. And in completing my memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened naturally I’ve had to spend a great deal of time digging deeper into my long-repressed feelings towards her, this woman I once loved with all my heart.

And maybe that’s why, on Sunday morning as I was doing my usual Twitter thing, I found myself growing uncomfortable when faced with the steady stream of tweets celebrating moms and motherhood. That’s wonderful, of course, for people who are mothers and who have mothers – they should celebrate. But then I thought, what about those who don’t ? What about all those children – young and old alike – who have lost their mothers? How does it make them feel to be deluged with these reminders of other people’s happy families when their own has been torn apart?

I hadn’t known ahead of time what I was going to tweet that day. I had nothing sweet or tender to offer in honor of the holiday, nothing warm or fuzzy I wanted to say about my mom or anyone else’s. But as I waded my way through my tweetstream, it suddenly came to me that even if I didn’t know what I wanted to say, I knew who I wanted to speak to, this Mother’s Day. Not to the mothers, but to the motherless.

And this is what I posted.

“For all those who can no longer celebrate #MothersDay… Remember #Mom.”

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

And then I got up and made breakfast. When I returned to my computer about an hour later, my tweet had been retweeted 49 times and favorited 70 times.

I was blown away. Needless to say, nothing I have ever posted on Twitter has ever gotten anything close to that kind of response. As of this writing, there have been 133 retweets and 152 favorites – mostly by people with whom I had no prior connection. And people responded! How they responded. Here are a few of the notes I received:

“I remember my mom too! Its the 1st Mother’s Day without her! Be strong, Lori!”

“I put flowers on my mother’s grave too. Miss her so much today.”

“Thank you. Lovely reminder of our mothers lost too early.”

“Thank you Lori. This is a tough day for a lot of us, but this makes it a little easier.”

I was moved. Deeply, deeply moved. My tweet – 70 characters and a photo – had actually reached people, hundreds of them; it had touched them in a brief yet meaningful way. And when you look at the responses it prompted, it’s apparent that there were different reasons why. Some wanted to share their own feelings about their own lost mothers. Some wanted to offer their support to others who might be in pain. And some were merely grateful to be acknowledged – to be given the recognition that Mother’s Day is not necessarily a day of celebration for everyone. The responses varied. But at heart they all stemmed from the same impulse, our unquenchable desire to communicate our feelings to other humans.

It’s often said that social media is about making meaningful connections, about developing relationships with individuals you wouldn’t normally encounter in your local environment. But there’s a different kind of connection that social media also makes possible. Connecting to strangers. People with whom you have no real relationship and probably never will. People with whom you have absolutely nothing in common, except for this – a shared emotion. A shared feeling, a shared experience. A shared bit of the humanity that’s common to us all.

In its own strange way, social media unites us. We’ve all heard of revolutionary movements being organized through Twitter. We’re all aware of the grassroots activism that’s transpiring every day on the internet. We all know how social media is changing our lives, how it’s connecting people all around the world, how it brings people together, how it makes their voices heard.

And what we’re discovering is that we are not alone. There are millions upon millions of others just like us, in all the countries of the world, who are living and loving and laughing and crying and hurting and dying. We no longer have to be alone with our feelings. We can touch, and be touched. We can share our sorrow. We can share our pain. We can find comfort and support in the hearts of strangers. We can find strength in the swell of humanity that surrounds us, in the knowledge that in some of the most essential ways, we are not many, but one.

It’s a powerful age. And a beautiful one. For the first time in history, we can reach out to our fellow humans, all of them. Knowing that they can respond to us. Knowing that they will reach back.

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!

Man_with_trophy

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?

logoMark1 eLit

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 ;)