We all have shameful secrets we’ve guarded—whether they be big secrets like crimes or smaller secrets like “stealing” a teenage friend’s boyfriend—that are important only to us. No matter how the world would view them . . . to us they are important, so shameful that we keep them hidden for a lifetime. As long as we keep the secret no one gets, right? Except the secret keeper. Shame can hold you back from what you love, diminish your sense of self-worth, and prevent you from fully being who you are.
So what happens when you share the shameful secrets you’ve hidden for so long? In Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small
(September 18, 2012, Seal Press), editors Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter encourage readers to confront the powerful emotion of shame head-on. They gather together 27 gifted and talented writers who reveal, explore, and embrace the root of their shame, in the process demonstrating the strength that comes from defeating their demons.
In a brilliant display of bravery, these writers share their darkest fears, offer up their most vulnerable moments, and reveal jaw-dropping secrets. From spilling long forbidden secrets to revealing their innermost faults, these authors openly share poignant and life-changing moments of humiliation, embarrassment, and despair, along with the wisdom they learned from letting go of the shame that’s been weighing them down. Freeing, provocative, and audacious, Dancing at the Shame Prom
is about divulging the secrets that have made you feel small so that you can stand up straight, let the shame go, and finally—decisively—move on with your life.
Are you ready to release your secret and change your life—for the better?
Seal Press (September 11, 2012)
Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small is available in print and e-format at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and your local bookstore
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Dancing at the Shame Prom
please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, November 30 at 12:01 AM EST
. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Contributors:
Learn more about the 27 contributors to Dancing at the Shame Prom
from their interviews and guest posts during the Blog Tour! This is a fun tour that will introduce you, not to just one or two writers, but to at least EIGHT different writers.
About the Co-Editors:
Hollye Dexter recently completed a second memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You
. Her essays have been published in anthologies (Chicken Soup For the Soul
, Answered Prayers
, and Character Consciousness
) and in many online publications. She writes regularly for iPinion Syndicate and AOL Patch News. A singer/songwriter with four albums out, she also founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. In 2007 she received the Agape Spirit award from Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret) for her work with at-risk youth. Together, with Amy Ferris she teaches writing workshops, helping others to find their authentic voices. She is on staff for the San Miguel Writer’s Conference and a visiting author at UCLA extension. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children, where she hikes, plays music and blogs about living an authentic life at www.hollyedexter.blogspot.com
Amy Ferris is an author, editor, screenwriter and playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From a Midlife Crisis
(Seal Press) is off-broadway bound, CAP21 Theater Company, March 2012. She has contributed to numerous anthologies, and has written everything from Young Adult novels to movies and films. She co-wrote Funny Valentines
(Julie Dash, Director), and Mr. Wonderful
(Anthony Minghella, Director). Funny Valentines
was nominated for a Best Screenplay award, and numerous BET awards. She co-created and co-edited the first ever "all women's issue" of Living Buddhism
magazine. She serves on the Executive Board of Directors at The Pages & Places Literary Festival, Peters Valley Arts, Education and Craft Center, and is on the Advisory Board of The Women's Media Center. She is on faculty at The San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. She is a visiting teacher at the UCLA Writers Workshop (extension). She contributes regularly to iPinion Syndicate. Her number one goal, desire, dream: Is that all women awaken to their greatness. You can find her blogging in the middle of the night at www.marryinggeorgeclooney.com
. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ken.
Find Dancing at the Shame Prom Online: http://www.theshameprom.com
------Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: Can you each tell us a bit about your writing careers, how you joined forces for Dancing at the Shame Prom and how you got it published?
I began my writing career as a songwriter (twenty years) and had just finished writing my first memoir when I met Amy through SheWrites. We became great friends and began having long weekly phone chats about life, love, fear and other things—one of the recurring topics was how shame had kept each of us small in our lives. We began blogging about our own shame stories in order to free ourselves from shame's grip, which started an avalanche of responses from others wanting to share their own stories. We decided this needed to be a book.
I began writing years and years ago. I wrote a (very) short story which got the attention of Tom Fontana who was show running a TV series, Tattingers. He hired me on the spot to write an episode. From there I went on to write films (Mr. Wonderful
, and Funny Valentines
) and TV series (Tattingers
, and Jack's Place
), and then I wrote a young adult novel, A Greater Goode
(Houghton Mifflin, 2001) and my memoir, Marrying George Clooney
. Hollye and I met a few years back (THANK GOD!!!!!) and we just connected on every level. Our passion was in creating opportunities for women to speak their truth, stand up. Be heard. Voila, The Shame Prom
came about. I had been working with Seal Press for the past few years and both Hollye and I felt it a natural fit for a book like this. We put together a stunning proposal and they swept it up instantly. We were lucky, and fortunate to have had that experience.
WOW: Many times we take a second glance at a book because the title "grabs" us. And the title of this anthology definitely does that! How did you come up with such a unique title?
We knew that having a provocative title would encourage readers to pick it up out of curiosity. Amy came up with the funny term of "Shame Prom" and I added Dancing
so it would sound celebratory—because this book is not sad—it celebrates the richness of our lives and overcoming adversity.
Oh, Hollye was (is) such a genius. I came up with The Shame Prom
while sitting in a parking lot at Walmart, and after we had put together the proposal and collected some of the essays, it was Hollye who said the title sounded a bit too sad, and instantly, like right in the minute, said: "How about Dancing at The Shame Prom
? Doesn't that sound celebratory?" I mean, really, how can you say no to that.
WOW: Most of our WOW readers are also writers. Any insider tips for us on how to can be part of great project like Dancing at the Shame Prom in the future?
The most important thing I think you can do is to be part of a writing community. I participated in writing groups and workshops for years. I also joined online writing communities (SheWrites, BlogHer, Red Room, etc). Most of my opportunities have come through people I've met within my writing community. You can't just sit home in your pajamas. You have to go to literary events, sign up for workshops, get out there and be an active participant in your community and opportunities will come.
Write. Just keep writing. Submit. Keep submitting. Rejection is part of acceptance. It's as natural as having curly hair. What I would offer up: don't be hard on yourself. Be proud that you've put pen to paper (keyboard to computer). Be proud of your words, your truth, your story. Send out to everyone and anyone. While there seems to be rules (?) nothing is written in stone. Make-up new rules. Be bold. But mostly, mostly be yourself. It's no different then having a relationship—if you're yourself, you're bound to meet up with those who fall in love with you. Write/right your life. And NEVER, EVER GIVE UP.
WOW: And now the question we've all been asking since A Cup of Comfort anthology series closed up shop—is the anthology market disappearing? If not, what makes the anthology so appealing to readers?
The Chicken Soup
franchise is still alive and well! I've had two essays picked up by them in the past year, and in fact, I love writing for them. They are the nicest group of people, and they sell so many books, my writing gets out to many more people than I could reach on my own. Amy and I have a lot of friends who both edit and write for anthologies, so no, I don't think it's dead. I say if you don't find an anthology to write for, write your own!
Anthologies are like mini-series. I think folks love the opportunity to read slices of humanity, pieces of life. You get to read (what can feel like) a whole life story in 15 pages.
WOW: Did you learn anything while editing this anthology?
I learned how to really collaborate, for one thing, and Amy and I do that really well. I learned that every single person has a story that would blow your mind, and that every shame story is universal on some level. I also think that in sharing our truth, exposing the ways we are cracked and flawed, we open ourselves to connecting with others in much deeper and truer ways.
What I realized while working on the anthology is how much I adore working with Hollye. Ours is a very fluid, give and take relationship. Hollye is brilliant at editing, I'm great at gathering the troops. Hollye is great at anything/everything organizational, I'm great at networking and bringing folks together.
On a personal level, re: Shame, I learned that shame isn't something particularly identifiable. It has layers and layers attached to it, with many cousins: guilt, fear, and sadness. You think you conquer one aspect and then poof, another layer manifests. I also was thrilled to realize that shame is powerless once you say it's name, call it out.
WOW: What's up next?
Amy's play, Marrying George Clooney
, is going into production, and I am shopping a second memoir, but aside from that, Amy and I have workshops booked through the end of 2013, including: "Women Write Their Lives" at the San Miguel Writer's Conference
"Rediscover Your Creative Spirit" in Costa Rica: www.RanchoPacifico.com
For more info on upcoming workshops, see www.theshameprom.com
I'm velcro-ing myself to Hollye for the next decade or so, so whatever Hollye is doing, I'm gonna be right beside her.
(Hollye Dexter talks about shame)
---------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, November 26 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
Wednesday, November 28 @ All Things Audry
Nina Burleigh, contributor to the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
, is posting about being a woman in the Middle East. Don't miss it!
Wednesday, December 5 @ Kritter’s Ramblings
Check out a review of the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
and a guest post by Marcia Yerman, a contributor to the anthology.
Thursday, December 6 @ Kritter’s Ramblings
Need to know more about Dancing at the Shame Prom
? Check out today's review.
Friday, December 7 @ Eye on Books
Join us today for a conversation about shame, editing, anthologies and more with an audio interview of the editors of Dancing at the Shame Prom
Tuesday, December 11 @ CMash Loves to Read
Learn more about Starting Life Over from Kate Van Raden, a contributor to Dancing at the Shame Prom
. Don't forget to enter to win a copy of the anthology today.
Thursday, December 13 @ Thoughts in Progress
Learn how an anthology comes into being from Hollye Dexter and Amy Ferris, co-editors of the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
Monday, December 17 @ Empty Nest
Stop by for a review of the thought provoking anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
Wednesday, December 19 @ Lisa Buske
Don't miss a guest post by Kristine Van Raden, contributor to the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
Wednesday, January 2 @ Lisa Buske
Is your New Year’s Resolution to let go of the shame you’ve been lugging around? Read this review of Dancing at the Shame Prom
Monday, January 7 @ Read It All Book Reviews
Meet Robyn Hatcher, a contributor to the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
, and LAST CHANCE to enter and win a copy of this amazing book.
Tuesday, January 8 @ CMash Loves to Read
Need some inspiration for a great 2013? Read a review of Dancing at the Shame Prom
, an anthology of inspirational stories of overcoming life's challenges.
Thursday, January 10 @ Read These Books and Use Them!
Today Samantha Dunn, a contributor to the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom
, is guest blogging at Read These Books and Use Them! Today's topic? Surviving Poverty.
We have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE
. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at email@example.com. Some of our upcoming books include fantasy romance, children’s middle grade, memoir, cookbooks, and writer how-to.
Book Giveaway Contest
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