Life in So Many Words


A Different Approach for Women’s Nonfiction and Memoir

In the world of story, the hero’s journey reigns supreme. Even if you’re not familiar with the name “hero’s journey,” you’d surely recognize the sequence of events that form the structure.   In my 22 years as a ghostwriter of 60 books, I've found that the hero's journey is not a one-size-fits-all structure, especially regarding women. In the interview process, where I began to tease out the themes of their life stories, I realized the call-to-adventure transformation doesn't align with their lived experience. It's not that these women's lives don't include adventure or trials. On the contrary, the women I've [...]

5 Reasons to Write Your Memoir Now

Some tasks in life–like fixing a leaky roof or getting that cavity filled–carry a natural sense of urgency. Address the problem now, or you’ll be sorry. But writing your memoir? Most people don’t feel pressured to write down their life stories because they assume they will always have time later. It continues to move down the priority list until it’s languishing with the other tasks you’ve been putting off for years, like cleaning out your hallway closet or organizing your filing cabinet.   The longer I’ve worked as a ghostwriter, the more I’ve realized that telling your own life story [...]

A Woman’s Worth in Words

I attended the re:Create conference earlier this year and during a lunch conversation with Emily Joy and a few other creatives, I made the remark that as a ghostwriter and editor for the last fifteen years, I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the sexes when it comes to storytelling. My male authors may ask a lot of questions during the process of telling their stories—stories of abandonment, betrayal, divorce, poverty, war—but they’re typically based on marketing ideas and the composition of the overall book. “Can we play up this angle more?” “Can we move this chapter, revise this paragraph, use [...]

Faith of the Fatherless

I had a great talk with a new friend last night, and we both shared that we’d had less-than-stellar male role models. I felt both validated and lacking, happy that I wasn’t alone and sad that so many of us in our twenties and thirties are still dealing with the aftermath of childhood. It made me think of a chapter I contributed to The One: Experience Jesus, by Carlos Darby and Judah Smith. To those who still struggle with self-worth and self-esteem, know that you are never alone. *** Know this: children are a gift from the Eternal; the fruit of the [...]

A Quitter’s Guide to Climbing Mt. Hope

On August 3, 2014, I climbed Mt. Hope in Colorado with three friends: Mary, Amy, and Payton. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. And by far the most rewarding. The first night we climbed maybe 30 minutes to low camp, set up tents, experienced the wonder that is camping food out of a bag, and giggled nervously about bears and having to pee in the bushes. We all had heavy packs on, having brought too much, and my feet already hurt. The next morning we hiked several hours up to high camp. It felt like 5 hours [...]

When You’re Overwhelmed

In the wonderful world of book publishing, everything comes in cycles. You push new titles through the spring and summer to meet the often-unreasonable deadline of holiday seasons. And during the beginning of the holiday season, you scramble to meet end-of-year and new-year deadlines. In between those times, there are weeks of no work, which prompt irrational fears of taking a side job at Starbucks, becoming a live-in nanny, or having to sell a kidney. Those lulls are usually followed by weeks of more work than is humanly possible to accomplish in even 80 hours and cause exhaustion, near-fatal levels [...]

Proof That STEINBECK Was a Spy!

Steinbeck: Citizen Spy has been the most exciting project to work on so far in my ten years in publishing (and that’s saying a lot). Author Brian Kannard has discovered proof that Steinbeck worked for the government in several capacities, and the new information now causes us to reevaluate everything we thought we new about John Steinbeck. His son, Thom, has reviewed the book (he loved it) and provided a note in the introduction as well as a quote for the cover. This is a must-read for the literary lover, English teacher, and anyone who loves a good conspiracy story. Plus, [...]