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This collection of poignant and uplifting essays is the perfect book to enjoy over your morning coffee. The stories will warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. As a tie-in to her mystery book Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, novelist and award-winning journalist Stacy Juba invited her author colleagues to answer the question "What were you doing 25 years ago?" Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes ...
This collection of poignant and uplifting essays is the perfect book to enjoy over your morning coffee. The stories will warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. As a tie-in to her mystery book Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, novelist and award-winning journalist Stacy Juba invited her author colleagues to answer the question "What were you doing 25 years ago?" Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick. This 30,000-word book will help readers to discover new authors for their to-read list, and inspire them to reflect upon the small defining moments that have shaped their own lives.
Includes a foreword by Elaine Raco Chase, award-winning author of seventeen paperback novels with over 3 million books in print. Publishing credits of the contributing writers include New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling. They also include recipients of the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award, Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award, Mississippi Author Award, Benjamin Franklin Award and Eppie Award, as well as nominees of the Pushcart Prize, Agatha and Shamus Awards, to name a few of the many honors.
The following sections are included in the book:
School Days: Literary Friends by Stacy Juba, The Red Man by Maria Savva, Rocking in the '80s by Susan Helene Gottfried, Seniors are Wimps by Matthew Dicks, Prom Night by A.W. Hartoin, Friend in Need by Alina Adams, A Life-Changing Decision by CJ Lyons, Oldest Campus Editor Looks Back by Sharon Love Cook.
The Jobs That Shape Us: Lieutenant Pink Shoes by Laura DiSilverio, Training the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers by Gwen Mayo, The Biggest Job Shift Ever by Ann Littlewood, Long Live Rock by Loni Emmert, The Cost of Doing Business by Stephen D. Rogers, Life as a Singing Telegram by Monica M. Brinkman, The Pipe Bomb by Kenneth Weene, School for Sleuths by Carole Shmurak, Driven Bats by Sarah E. Glenn, Can One Beer Change Your Life? by Mike Bove.
Remembering the Romance: A Special Anniversary by Steve Liskow, California Magic by Mike Angley, Drummer and Dumber by Cara Lopez Lee, Paving the Road to Conscious Living by Lillian Brummet.
The Ups and Downs of Family Life: The Elephant in the Living Room by Mary Anna Evans, Baby Steps by Tracy Krauss, Finding the Right Balance by Barbara Ross, Climbing the Mountain of Single Parenthood by J. R. Lindermuth, The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same by Donna Fletcher Crow, A Busy Mom's Dream by Deanna Jewel, Family Fun at the Dinner Table by Maryann Miller.
Hard Times: Finding the Right Direction by Michele Drier, The Scent of Lives Changed Forever by Beth Kanell, Surviving the Killer Tsunami by Cherish D'Angelo (Cheryl Kaye Tardif), Christa's Legacy by Jaleta Clegg, Weathering the Storm by Red Tash.
The Writing Journey: Unit-Lessons in Composition by Stacy Juba, Traveling Down the Writing Path by Patricia Gulley, Sticking With It by J.E. Seymour, Detecting the Humor by Marja McGraw, Never Give Up by Karen McCullough, An Early Computer by Velda Brotherton, Choosing My Destiny by Peggy Ehrhart, The Tuesdays by Bonnie Hearn Hill, Cropdusting the Way to a Series by R.P. Dahlke.
Characters Have Pasts, Too: Diana's Promise by Stacy Juba, The Sandbox by Darcia Helle, An Empty Nest by Suzanne Young, Misfortune's Daughter by Mary Deal, The White Widow by Norma Huss, The Policeman by Vicki Delany, Miranda's History by Leslie Wheeler, Meeting Sam Fullerton by Ellis Vidler, The Gas Chamber by Douglas Corleone, Storm Shadow Eyes by Caitlyn Hunter.
Further Back in Time: A Long Look Back by Norma Huss, The Ghost of Mr. Stetson by Darcia Helle, Finding My Voice by Stacy Juba.
Posted January 20, 2013
While I read and enjoy fiction, both as entertainment and sometimes for what it can teach about real life, and non-fiction, for learning, the memoir, which I also enjoy, is somewhere in the middle. It’s true, or at least some person’s view of the truth, but done well it can still entertain, just like a fictional story. We all have stories that, given the prerequisite writing chops, could be entertaining. Which leads me to a few observations about books like this (and others like it), as well as where these stories worked best for me, and a few reasons why some didn’t.
One of the positives is that these short, autobiographical stories are variously interesting, entertaining, enlightening, and all the other adjectives sometimes used to describe a good tale of this type. They stand on their own. But they also give the reader some exposure to an author they might not be aware of, and what avid reader isn’t on the lookout for that? To pretend the contributing authors don’t see this as a marketing tool would be naïve, but it is marketing that is a win-win. With the hundreds of books I’ve read in the last few years, I’d only read a handful of these authors. Getting a glimpse into their way with words is much more efficient for a reader than reading sample after sample of their novels. Plus, many of us like the glimpse behind the scenes, at the real person behind the fiction we’ve been reading.
Which leads me to the one aspect of this collection that didn’t work as well for me. These were ten of the stories that broke the pattern of the autobiographical memoir, instead using the same exercise of writing about something from twenty-five years in the past from the viewpoint of one of the author’s characters. While pertinent as a writing exercise, which is the reason these pieces were originally done, and on the surface a good marketing move, I found these stories much harder to get into. The exception was the character I was familiar with, which seems the opposite of the desired effect.
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