Essay Ideas for Prospective College Students

Monday, May 31, 2021

I’m about to catapault headfirst into the whirlwind of helping a child apply for colleges in the coming months. I’m not ready for this—but I’m not sure I’ll be ready for this by the time my second child begins the college application process two years from now, either. I am grateful we weren’t experiencing my daughter’s senior year in the 2020-21, when proms, end-of-year-celebrations and so many high school graduations were simply canceled as the world began shutting down and sheltering in place due to COVID-19.

About a month ago our school hosted a guest speaker discussing the current trends in writing college essays. My daughter had track practice so she wasn’t able to attend the webinar. Based on the text messages that began coming in later that evening from my daughter’s friends, they were a little confused by the presentation. The woman who led the seminar teaches AP Literature and Language and works as a college essay tutor, and she shared some examples of writing my daughter’s classmates found strange. Granted, they were intrigued. They were told to inject more personality in their essays, and write more descriptively, as if they were writing a piece for flash fiction or a digital story for Wattpad. 

Of course, this goes against the grain of everything I was taught about college essays back in the 1990s. But I couldn’t tell you what I wrote about in my own college admissions essays if my life depended on it. Things have changed.

We discussed the topic the other day and I told her that it’s fine to show personality in your writing and not to overthink what she creates as part of her Common Application Essay (250-650 words). We brainstormed a few topics she has already started working on: 

 • Lessons learned from an obstacle you faced. Having run on her school’s varsity cross country team since she was a freshman, she has plenty of stories on this topic, from running in heat so severe runners were passing and coming in first place, to competing in an invitational where a runner from another school suffered an epileptic seizure and the park wasn’t equipped to get medics to her quickly enough. Tragically, the young woman, who had traveled to our city from another part of the state, was taken off life support the next day. 

 • Personal growth. When she was in kindergarten, my daughter’s teacher suggested to us that we have her repeat the grade because she wasn’t “socially mature” enough. We knew our daughter was intelligent and were heartbroken. However, she has come to realize she was better off having that extra year to grow, and the fact that she had an undiagnosed sensory processing disorder and is most likely ambidextrous contributed to her teacher missing a huge piece of the puzzle of who she was as a student. She’s learned a lot from herself from this process. 

 • Challenging a belief. My daughter has always been a bit different from other girls her age, and it’s been hard for her socially. She has a core group of girlfriends who share a lot of the same interests, video gaming, anime, cosplay, etc., but in the world of ethical computer hacking, she’s a female in a predominately male world. There are times she tries to play online video games and gets belittled by players she doesn’t even know because “her voice sounds too girly.” She is determined to succeed in the world of cybersecurity and computers, but knows it will be an uphill battle. 

I personally can’t wait to read some of the essays she comes up with as part of her college admissions process and I hope others will enjoy learning more about her. She and I have had a lot of discussions about writing through your pain, and no matter what the current trends are in college essays, I believe if she speaks from her heart, the right school will find her. 

 Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer, magazine editor and true crime podcaster. Learn more about her work at
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Two-Time Winner: Creative Nonfiction Essayist Natalie Beisner Shares Her Wisdom

Sunday, May 30, 2021

We are excited to welcome back, Natalie Beisner, who placed twice in our Q2 2021 Creative Nonfiction Essay contest. Links to these incredible essays are below in the questions that ask about each one. Plus, Natalie gives us a lot of words of wisdom and inspiration in this interview. But first, a little about Natalie:

Natalie Beisner is a Los Angeles-based storyteller and writer. Her personal essays have been featured in The Selkie, The Dead Magpie, antonym lit, ArtAscent, VISIO, Weird Women Co. Her writing has been previously awarded by Kaleidoscope: A Reflection on Women’s Journeys, Gulf Stream Lit, as well as WOW! Women on Writing. Natalie is a previous StorySLAM winner with The Moth, and now she helps to coordinate monthly storytelling shows, in an effort to help foster empathy. She hopes to help bridge the current political divide by encouraging people to share their stories and to listen to those of others. Natalie holds a BFA in Acting from Cal State Fullerton. You can find out more about how to get involved in her storytelling shows by following her on IG @nataliejeanbeisner.

WOW: Congratulations, Natalie, on placing TWICE in our latest creative nonfiction essay contest. We can't wait to learn from you about essay writing. Let's start with your second place win, "Run for Your Life." Why did you choose to write about this subject in the essay form? 

Natalie: Thanks so much! I wrote about this subject in essay form because that's how I write about most things, if I'm being honest. I have a harder time writing about (real) subjects in a work of fiction than I do in a creative nonfiction essay. I'm not sure why that is, or whether that's the case for other writers. When I have something I want to say, it's just easier for me to say it in a personal essay of some kind. 

WOW: It makes sense! The way the essay is structured, it almost feels like the reader is running with you, and maybe stopping to take a breath or slow down at the paragraph breaks. Was this a conscious decision as a writer? Did the essay just come out this way? 

Natalie: I wrote the piece a long time ago--about two and half years ago, I think. It was much longer then, and it encompassed the entirety of my nightly run that I used to take. It's been pared down quite a bit since then. But to answer your question: I'm not sure whether it was a decision (probably not a conscious one, if it was) or whether it just came out that way; either way, I was aware of it at a certain point, and I liked it, so I kept it. I did want the reader to feel as though I were taking her on my run with me. I wanted her to experience the city--and then, later, the worry about my family situation, and finally, the juxtaposition of the two--through my eyes, which is something I suspect most creative nonfiction writers want. 

WOW: Yes, very true. I think when essays "come out" the first time, they often are in a form we aren't aware of. Then when we see, "Oh, look at that," we develop it more into the format to help create our themes. Your second essay, "Friends," is a runner-up in the contest, and the tone, voice, subject--it all sounds very different than "Run for Your Life." Why do you think this is? 

Natalie: It's interesting you say that because in both essays, I feel as though I'm trying to work something out (a different something for each, of course)--through the writing--and by the end of each respective piece, it's perhaps not quite worked out. However, I agree that they sound different. 

I would guess it's because I not only wrote them at different times in my life ("Friends" is much more recent), but I also feel very differently about the two subjects. With the former essay, I feel very protective of my parents, of my family. At the time, I felt as though I were in a possibly somewhat unique situation--living in a city with such a homelessness crisis, and at the same time, worrying about my own parents' tenuous living situation--and I wanted to share that with the reader--in a roundabout way (i.e., via the run). 

I wanted to offer gentleness to the reader, and I wanted it in return because I was conscious this wasn't necessarily my own story to tell. 

With the second piece, however, even though I'm still trying to work something out, I've been trying to work this "something" out for a much longer period of time; it's been with me for years, and it's also completely my own. I'm less protective of it. It's OK with me if the reader doesn't like it or doesn't feel empathy or doesn't like the way I tell it, etc. I'm more comfortable with it, more brash. 

WOW: Thank you for that great explanation as I think that will really help other essayists while perfecting their own work. In "Friends," you took something that happened in high school (which wow--what a strange thing for a teacher to say!) that probably stuck with you, and you then wrote an entire heartfelt, personal essay about it. Is this a common way you go about writing essays? Remembering something from the past and then connecting it to your life now, or do you have other methods? Does it vary? 

Natalie: I think more often than not I have something I want to say, and I go about trying to say it, and then I remember flashes from my past which maybe inform what I want to say--even if I don't necessarily include those experiences in the "final" (whatever that means) version of the essay. With this piece, however, I think it was the opposite; the way you said: I think that experience--his words--stuck with me for a long time, and then I just started writing about it one night. And yes, it was a strange thing for a teacher to say. I went to a Catholic school, but most of the teachers weren't like that. It's funny because at the time, I didn't feel too affected by his words--I wasn't yet sexually-active, and I didn't watch "Friends," so it was largely meaningless to me. 

But for whatever reason, his works stuck with me, as I said, and they came to mean more to me over time, as I grew up and became sexually active and then--for various reasons--felt shame over my sexual activity, etc., and then--unintentionally--surpassed Rachel's "number." I guess he meant his words as a kind of warning--albeit a gross, inappropriate, irrelevant one (coming from a high school teacher)--and that warning stayed with me--especially after I didn't heed it. 

WOW: Just reading your answer now and thinking about "words," I wonder how many times in our lives, we've said something that has stuck with someone else--and we didn't even know it. As writers, we know the importance of the written word. But the spoken word, as your essay points out, can stick with us for so long. Since you placed twice in our contest, I have to ask you: What are two tips you have for aspiring essay writers? 

Natalie: My first and forever tip is just to do it. I don't think there's a better tip out there than that, because that's the biggest, hardest step, and that's what it all comes down to. I wish I'd started doing it a long time ago, instead of just thinking about doing it. Writing is never easy (although sometimes it's fun). More often than not, there are a million other things I would rather be doing or could be doing or should be doing, and it's true what they say: I enjoy having written more than I enjoy writing. Alas, writing is the only way to get to the having written. And the having written is so rewarding--always. 

For a long time, I was ashamed of so much of what I've done or haven't done in my life. I felt like a failure and like everything was so difficult for me (almost certainly through my own doing), and--like so many--I wondered why. However, writing has given my life meaning. It takes all the crappy stuff and makes it transcendent. No longer is it just random crappy stuff--the luck of the draw--it's now a story, and that story is something other folks can possibly relate to, and that's everything. That's life. So all that to say, if you start writing, you won't regret it. But you have to start. 

I don't know if I have a second tip--other than maybe don't give up. Cliched as it sounds. Once you start speaking truth and telling your story (be it written, verbal, fiction, or nonfiction), you will find the people who appreciate and love you for it. But again, you have to start, and then, keep going. 

WOW: Both of those are great tips. In your bio, you talk about helping to coordinate monthly storytelling shows, in an effort to help foster empathy. Can you tell us a little more about these shows and if someone's interested in participating, how to do that? 

Natalie: Yes! In September 2019, I did my first storytelling show at a local theatre. It was similar to The Moth--an evening of short, true stories on a given theme. The theme was "Purge," and I shared about my experience with bulimia. I remember being so nervous before, during, and after--so nervous, in fact, I went to hide in the bathroom directly after getting offstage! But I also remember it being very empowering to get up onstage and tell my own story with my own words. I'm an actor, which admittedly, isn't always the most empowering of jobs--particularly the auditioning part. But that storytelling show was different; it was the first time in a long time I was sharing my own words, my own "script." 

I was hooked, and so I decided to take a class nearby. And would you believe it--I actually stopped going to that class, because I was so nervous! I went to the first class (out of five or six), and then I bailed! I lost all my money, and I'm a huge cheapskate, so it's very unlike me to do that. But I was just so nervous. I still chuckle at the fact that I somehow found a class setting far more nerve-wracking than an actual show because I did the show first, and then couldn't seem to muster the nerve for a class, which you'd think would be easier in some sense! 

So I didn't do another show that year, and then, of course, 2020 happened. Like so many, I had a really hard time with everything that happened last year. I was unemployed for the first time in my life, isolated, heartbroken feeling hopeless, etc. Then I discovered that a couple groups were putting up these storytelling shows online, via Zoom. I auditioned for one and got in and performed, and shortly thereafter, 

I discovered The Moth (if you're not familiar, look them up!). I'd always heard about The Moth--on public radio, etc.--but I'd never been to a show when they were live, in person. I was so happy to discover they'd transitioned online and because it was all online, you could "go" to The Moth anywhere in the country--it didn't have to be just your city! 

So I went to a bunch of shows and watched, and then finally, one show, I decided to put my name in the hat. My name was called, and I ended up winning that StorySlam--the very first time I put my name in the hat (of course, I've attended a bunch more since then, and gotten my name called again and lost every time-- haha, c'est la vie). 

After that, I got involved in helping to produce storytelling shows online for a couple of local theatres. For a time, the virtual shows were very helpful to people, during such a difficult and frightening time, when theatres and communities were largely closed down. It was nice because while it's difficult to transition something like a staged play onto Zoom; it's not too difficult to transition an evening of storytelling onto Zoom--not a lot gets lost in translation since it's just you looking into a camera, telling your story. 

Now I get the feeling that folks are a bit burnt out on the Zoom thing, and I don't blame them. I'm anxious for shows of all kinds to return in person, and when that happens, I hope to continue being involved in the storytelling community. I believe storytelling isn't just empowering for actors and performers who maybe are used to saying someone else's words for a living; it's empowering for all of us. 

Needless to say, there's a great deal of divisiveness in the country and in the world right now, and I believe so much of that comes from the erroneous belief that people who think, vote, or believe differently than you are evil in some way, are the enemy, "the other." I see it so often, and I even see it lately in some storytelling and theatre communities--the very same communities and institutions which are traditionally and historically meant to be the most "inclusive." Someone who aligns politically opposite from us has more in common with us than we think--we just don't know their stories yet. And once you hear someone's story, it's very hard to continue to cast him as the monster in your mind and in your life. Storytelling helps foster empathy within a community, and empathy just might save us. 

WOW: All of that is so true. And I'm sure this interview will help someone either think about storytelling or at least know they are not alone in their struggles. Anything that helps us understand each other is a great thing. The last year has been so extremely difficult for most people. Many of the members of our WOW! community have relied on writing to get through it. Did you find yourself writing more or less during the pandemic? 

Natalie: At the start, I wasn't writing at all. Then, for a bit there, I was writing a bunch. Now, I'm writing much less. I started a YouTube channel and have been focusing more of my creativity on that. I think--like all things--it ebbs and flows. I know I'll come back to it. 

WOW: So true, and the YouTube channel is just as creative as writing, in my opinion. What's next for you? What are you working on? 

Natalie: I still help produce storytelling shows for a local theatre company. As I mentioned, I'm working quite a bit on this YouTube channel. I started shooting my first-ever feature film in January/February 2020, and this summer we're finally getting a chance to finish up shooting--almost a year and a half later :) I work at a drive-in movie on the weekends and am currently looking for work I love, figuring out "what I want to do with my life," etc. Before everything closed down last year, I was a server in a restaurant, and I hated it. Nothing whatsoever against serving, but I'd been doing it for over ten years, and I was burnt out but too afraid to leave.

Well, turns out I didn't have to leave, the industry left for me. It was a tragedy for sure, and I'm not happy about what happened to restaurants like the one I worked for, but I'm also taking whatever good might come from the fact that the decision was made for me, and I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, both professionally and personally. So all that to say: I'm not at all sure what's next, but I am sure it won't be what's past. Thanks so much to Margo and Angela and everyone at WOW! This quarterly creative nonfiction contest is the first-ever contest I won--about two and half years ago, when I finally started writing and sharing it. So WOW! holds a very special place in my writerly heart :)

WOW: We are lucky that you decided to enter and keep giving us great writing to read. Natalie, we wish nothing but the best for you. We appreciate all your honesty and wisdom here--and the time it took for you to write these heartfelt answers. Best of luck with all your future projects. 

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3 Things You Need to Know to Market Your Writing

Saturday, May 29, 2021
This market loves me,
 it loves me not.

Not too long after I started yoga, I met another newbie. We laughed when we realized we are both writers. But Kay was shocked when she learned I did work-for-hire. My educational writing is work-for-hire, meaning I get paid a set fee and the publisher owns the copyright.  

“You should self-publish like I do,” Kay said. Her work focuses on personality assessment and group dynamics. She speaks at businesses, churches and women’s groups. Her workshops sell out fast

When I told her that I write for the school library market, Kay laughed. “Just ignore me. Your market would never find you if you self-publish.” 

Finding the right market for your work is tricky. Get it wrong and, even if you find a publisher, your reader isn’t likely to find you. Get it right and you will make a sale and find readers. It’s no wonder we writers often procrastinate about getting our work out there. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to find markets. What types of markets you need to find and where to find them will depend on your answers to these three questions. 

What are you writing? 

A lot is going to depend on what you are writing. Although markets for poetry, essays, and recipes may overlap, there are also going to be separate markets for each. 

The first step in finding markets for your work is identifying what you write both in form and topic. I write library nonfiction. My topics include science, social science, social justice, and current events. If you write sweet romances, you will need a very different set of markets. 

Who is your audience? 

Once you know what you are writing, you also need to figure out who your reader is. In my own work, a piece for teens will be marketed differently than a piece for elementary-aged readers. It may go to the same publisher but a different imprint. 

Is the audience for your sweet romance Christian? Sixteen or 45? BIPOC and/or LGBTQ? An office worker? The answers will once again determine which publishers you look at because while there may be some overlap, it is highly unlikely that a single imprint will cater to each and every one of these readers. 

Where will they look for your work? 

You know what. You know who. Now you need to figure out where. A young reader who is doing a report on mammals or reptiles would look for books on these topics in their school library vs pulling up Amazon to buy the books. 

But a romance reader will look for different stories in different places. My local library has shelves of full-length novels. Readers scan the spines looking for their favorite publishers because they know what to expect in a Harlequin romance vs one from Tule. But what about a quick read that’s more short-story length than novel? That’s more likely to be marketed as an ebook than a print book. 

Finding markets for your work isn’t as tricky as it seems if you know the right questions to ask. Once you know the answers, you’ll know if a market is right for your work and right for you. 


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 27 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.

Her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on June 7, 2021).
Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins June 7, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins  June 7, 2021). 

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Road Trip Reads (Audio Books for the Whole Family!)

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Do you have any family road trips planned in the upcoming months?

If a vacation isn't in your immediate future, a short drive in the country may be the perfect excuse to start a new audio book too!

Many people know I'm involved in the book business, so it just makes sense that a friend recently texted the following:

Here's a challenge for you: 4-6 audiobooks that we would all enjoy (road trip prepping for late June). Got any good ideas?

Let's help a mama out!

This particular friend will be traveling with her newly turned adult daughter and her preteen son. I turned to my Mama friends (Real Mommy AF) on Facebook and here's what we came up with (along with some comments): 

- Harry Potter - Who hasn't heard of Harry Potter? As we all know, this story pulls the entire family into the adventure, but it's even better as an audio book! Action at it's best with the most amazing narration makes any of the titles a great pic for the entire family!

- Hunger Games - This is an Editor's Pick and listening to it enhances the already great story. Pick one book or listen to them all - you'll be delighted. Described as a classic - you won't want to miss an opportunity to enhance your road trip with any or all of The Hunger Games books! 

- Divergent Series -  This is an epic page turner with over 11 hours you'll find yourself caught up with the characters and great stories. 

- The Fault in Our Stars - Described as being a fantastic story, and a wonderful poignant story, this is a book for all ages (including a 71 year old). Don't let the subject of this book stop you from enjoying it! 

- The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Claire - there are so many titles in this series and each one can stand fine on it's own. These books are exciting with creative storylines. Choose one or listen to them all - either way you won't be disappointed!

- The Percy Jackson Series - with so many books to choose from and all of them available in audio, this is a great series to break up a monotonous road trip! Clever, Imaginative, and Creative are just some of the words to describe these exciting books!

- The Maze Runner  - this is a great book that's designated as being for teens; but the story quickly draws the entire family in and with over 10 hours of audio, The Maze Runner will have your road trip flying by! 

- Anything by Ree Drummond (including: Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere and The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to tractor Wheels - a Love Story). You'll love Ree's authentic voice and she's a great storyteller. 

And now it's YOUR turn! Tell us more about your summer plans.

Where are you headed?

What books (physical) have made it to your TBR pile?

What books (audio) would you like to add to your pile of "Road Trip Reads"?

What's one of the best books of the year so far in your mind?



and now...a little more about me...

Shown from left to right:
Delphine riding Honey
Mr. Otto holding Eudora
Crystal riding Marv.
Thank you Forward Farm, LLC 
Crystal is a hot mess of busy-ness who has decided to shorten her bio...

You can find Crystal milking cows, riding horses, and the occasional unicorn (not at the same time), taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books here, and at her own blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade and she has never (not once) been accused of being normal!

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No Perfect Time Than The Present To Write

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
For years there were so many things that held me back as I pursued a writing career. One particularly was waiting for the perfect time to write. I told myself far too often that I would write when my world, my family, my home life, even the weather at times, was perfect. I told myself I would write when I was in a better mood and not full of melancholy, or I would write when every room in my home was impeccably clean, or the laundry was done, or a meal cooked, or when a loved one who was ill felt better, or when whatever storm I might be going through passed.

During that season of my life, I felt that a perfect life was the only means to bring about a perfect writing life. I thought that when things aligned with the stars and my prayers, I'd be able to release a long deep sigh, feeling unburdened, and my words would flow effortlessly. 

Of course that was impossible. No one's life is seamless even if they aren't in this profession. There are rips and tears that pierce our spirits, heavy loads we must tow, and rocky terrain we must cross. There's joy but also sorrow, birth but also loss, good health but also sickness, and everything in between, and like most people I've experienced my share of both.

When I was at that point in my life, when I was trying to write solely when my life was perfect, or as perfect as I thought it should be, it led to lots of frustration and hindered my productivity. It took years, but I eventually learned a valuable lesson; that I had to view each day and whatever it held for me differently if I wanted to write. 

I had to relinquish the idea of creating when everything around me was idealistic and remember that everything that was on my to-do list was a priority only to me, or could wait, or could be delegated to others. And I had to accept the fact that there were things I had no power or control over and that I needed to let go of and pray about instead, but not stop writing.

I realized that when life was imperfect, or too full, or challenging, that writing was my saving grace. It was also my great escape at times, and other times it helped me make sense of things, heal, or cope. And sometimes writing during those imperfect times helped me to release laughter or tears, and both were purifying.

Nowadays I am so happy to have discarded my old way of thinking about writing only when life presented itself as perfect to me. There are those times though when I am stressed or worried about all I have to do or be for others, that I close my eyes and imagine myself in an impenetrable rose tinted bubble shielded from all of life's problems and responsibilities...just for a few moments. But then I quickly come back to reality, my reality, and take in a deep breath and exhale, knowing that no matter how imperfect the day, week, month, or year, I'll still be writing. I hope you will too. 


Jeanine DeHoney is a freelance writer who embraces the imperfect world she lives and writes in and the many lessons it brings. 

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Teamwork: Illustrations and Text in a Picture Book

Monday, May 24, 2021
 What's great about the picture book genre is that two mediums are telling the story: the author's words and the illustrator's pictures. What picture book writers who aren't illustrators often forget is that there are two mediums telling the story. (I'm raising my hand--I used to be one of these!) How can you let the illustrations do some of the work of telling the story? Here are a few tips below. 

Tip one: Let the illustrator handle the description. 
Picture book writers are telling an entire story with a problem, solution, and character development in about 1000 words or less. There's no time for a paragraph of what grandma's living room looked like after the kids finished decorating for a surprise party, for example, but as we know, "A picture is worth 1000 words." The illustrator can draw or paint or whatever he/she does to create this scene while you, the author, get on with the problem in the story. 

In Fred Olds's book, The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbor's Dog, he never once describes what the cat looks like, but here she is from the illustrator's mind looking out the door and checking for the big, bad dog next door. Debut illustrator Vivian Brown created this from Fred's text, and now readers will have this picture in their mind whenever they think about the poor cat!

And when I say, "Let the illustrator handle the description," that's really what I mean. Illustrators are experts and creatives, just like writers. It is your story, but they know how to tell a story with photos, so trust them. Don't use an illustrator note unless it is extremely unclear what the illustration should entail, or you are hiring the illustrator yourself, and so you are also the art director.

Tip two: Have fun with the illustrations. 
Some of the best, award-winning picture books are the ones where the illustrator puts in some special touches throughout the book that might not be in the text. Maybe the main character always has a shoe untied in the illustrations. Maybe the clouds in the sky are forming words or pictures that aren't mentioned in the text. Maybe there's a dog or cat or alien in several scenes hiding out until it's time for their appearance in the text. Now if you have something like this that is crucial to the story, and it's not in your text--then you put an illustrator's note. It's as simple as this: (Illustrator's note: In each scene from page 6 to 16, there's an alien hiding out before he makes his apperance on page 18.) 

Tip three: Even if you are a writer, study other books for the illustrations. 

Peter Brown is one of my favorite picture book writers and illustrators. His book, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, is one of my family's favorites! This is a true masterpiece of how the illustrations and text go together. There are few words, so a lot of the storytelling is told through his drawings. This is one of thousands of books out there that you might be drawn to. But here are some questions to ask yourself as a writer, thinking about illustrations for your picture book while you are studying others that have done it successfully:

  • What part of the story is told in text?
  • What part is told in illustrations?
  • Could you understand one without the other?
  • Do I like the way this author's and illustrator's work goes together? Why or why not?
  • What is my eye drawn to in the illustrations and why?
  • What is my ear drawn to in the text and why?
  • Is this a good book to be read out loud to children while they look at the illustrations? Why or why not?
We all love picture books--many of us were raised on them, and we have continued reading them to children and grandchildren. Everyone is not meant to write one though. It's not easy! (See post one and two.) And before you push "publish" or send this manuscript in to an agent or editor, it's important to understand how the text and illustrations work together, even if you are "only" the author. And that's a huge deal! 

Margo L. Dill is a picture book writer and editor, living in St. Louis, MO. She is also the owner of Editor-911 Books. To find out more, visit her website at or check out Editor-911 by clicking here.  

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Interview with Kelly Eden: Q2 2021 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest Third Place Winner

Sunday, May 23, 2021
Kelly’s Bio:
Kelly Eden lives with her family of six on the edge of a rainforest in New Zealand. She has been a writer for print and online magazines for over 12 years and now runs a Creative Nonfiction Academy and Personal Essay Course to help other writers tell their stories. 

Kelly was a school teacher before entering the writing world, completing her Bachelors in Education and Post Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences, which eventually led her into writing for parenting magazines. She also focused on short fiction early in her career, winning several local awards including a scholarship with the New Zealand Society of Authors to be mentored by international author, Shirley Corlett, for a year. 

Kelly then discovered her true passion in creative nonfiction and her personal essays and articles have been published in Mamamia Australia, Scary Mommy, Highly Sensitive Refuge and more. She is also the senior editor of Inspired Writer on Medium, a publication highlighting creative nonfiction and writing tips. 

When she’s not writing, Kelly spends her time homeschooling her oldest two daughters, walking in the bush, renovating her house, or getting involved in something creative in her small community. 

If you haven't done so already, check out Kelly's award-winning story "Shaping the Narrative" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Q2 2021 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest! How did you begin writing your essay and how did it and your writing processes evolve as you wrote? 

Kelly: This particular essay was twice the length initially. I’d been experimenting with braided essays, but I had some fantastic feedback from an editor who suggested cutting it back and focusing more on the mother/daughter aspects. I took their advice onboard and worked on it over a few months. I find when I leave a piece for a while I can see more clearly where it needs editing. After I’d polished it up and cut it down, I sent it to Chelsea from WOW! for more feedback. I’ve been a working writer for over 12 years, but I’m a huge believer that everyone can benefit from feedback no matter how experienced you are. She pointed out some areas I’d missed which was great. 

WOW: I agree – feedback for all level of writers is essential, and I’m so glad you got useful feedback from multiple sources. What did you learn about yourself or your writing by creating this essay? 

Kelly: I only began playing around with lyric essays in 2020, so it was quite freeing for me after over a decade of more structured magazine pieces. I’ve always loved when writers weave different threads of a story together. It’s something I was able to do more when I was a fiction writer a long time ago. I really enjoy finding those common themes and links in a piece. 

WOW: I love that you use the word “playing” to describe your process. Going into a piece with a playful mindset can be so freeing. How did you discover your true passion in creative nonfiction? Was it this passion that also led you to develop the Creative Nonfiction Academy and Personal Essay Course

Kelly: I was a school teacher and because I wrote a lot of short fiction, I always imagined I’d end up writing for children. But after I got Crohn’s Disease and had to quit working, I couldn’t stop writing personal essays. I didn’t actually know they were called that then; I just wrote little stories about my life. But magazines and newspapers kept picking them up and I ended up with some regular gigs and commissioned work. 

Eventually my main work became writing articles for parenting magazines, which is semi-creative but mostly just “How To’s” and “10 Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read.” As a busy homeschooling mum, I didn’t get a lot of time for experimenting with my writing. My kids are a bit older now though, and I’ve been able to start playing around with different genre. In 2019, I started getting a lot of commissioned personal essays after writing on, and I realised that editors and readers were wanting more personal writing again. I was mentoring a few new writers on Medium and saw that there were a lot of people with great writing skills and a story to tell, but they needed help structuring their ideas. That’s why I created the Personal Essay Course

As I started to research other forms of creative nonfiction, I thought, “I wonder if anyone else wants to explore this too?” and several writers showed interest, so I set up the Creative Nonfiction Academy, which has been running for almost a year now. I see creative nonfiction as such a fantastic bridge between fiction and nonfiction. You really sharpen all of your writing skills when you focus on it. 

WOW: What a great journey through the genre, from not knowing the name of it to now helping and inspiring other writers. Which creative nonfiction essays or writers have inspired you most, and in what ways did they inspire you? 

Kelly: There are so many. Every week in my Creative Nonfiction Academy I share an essay from a different writer I’ve come across and every single one of them inspires me. I love Vivian Gornick’s writing style. Her voice in her memoir, Fierce Attachments, is so strong and we can learn a lot from her about scene setting and character. I’ve also enjoyed Joan Didion’s essays lately and Beth Ann Fennelly who writes micro-nonfiction. Again, both of them have such an honest, quirky style that I love. My students always inspire me with their essays, too. One of my personal essay students, Katrina Paulson, recently sent me her piece about losing her father and it was such a beautiful reflection on the different ways her family members were grieving. It was very moving. 

WOW: How wonderful to both teach and be inspired by your students! If you could tell your younger self anything about writing, what would it be? 

Kelly: When I was seven, I wanted to be a writer, and somewhere along the way I started to think that it wasn’t a real job. I let career advisors and teachers tell me what I should do for a job instead, and ended up teaching (which I hated). I would tell my younger self, “Writing is a real job. Don’t waste any more time on other things—just do what you love. It’s going to be great.” 

WOW: And it’s so inspiring to know that you did, eventually, find your way to writing as a career. Anything else you’d like to add? 

Kelly: If writing is a dream of yours, carve out time for it. Even 15 minutes a day. It’s worth it. Learn everything you can, get feedback, get a mentor. And send your work off to contests like this one because it brings out your best work and pushes you to refine your writing! 

WOW: Thank you so much for that wonderful advice and your thoughtful responses! 

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, book reviews, and profiles of writers and competitive sportswomen. Tweets @dr_greenawalt.
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I'm No Longer Afraid of Half-Finished Stories

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Like a half-eaten sandwich, half-finished stories used to pose as a problem. Much like the sandwich that slowly goes soggy thanks to a generous amount of mustard and mayo, I wonder to myself if I really want to keep around a half-finished story. 

It wasn't until this past year that I came to embrace the idea of accepting a story that didn't have an ending. It all started thanks to this one mannequin story that I wrote without an ending. It had been years since I had worked on it, and suddenly, this fresh perspective came in. I discovered my ending, and I never thought I'd get to that point with this story.

Prior to this experience, I used to feel bad for not finishing. I felt like I had failed and somehow, felt like I was less of a writer because I couldn't get to the ending. Granted, I write short stories which is an entirely different experience than writing a novel. Not without its problems, but it's far different having a half-finished 16-page story than a half-finished 500-page novel.

I remember this advice once that said if you desire to return to a story that you couldn't complete that you should start fresh. This advice said to not try and go back and continue where you left off because you just want to capture that same momentum.

To a point, I agree. Except I have realized lately that my instincts sometimes were right before. I realized I did know the ending but somehow didn't see it or doubted myself.

Earlier this year, I had an idea for a company sponsoring an executive trip with a health and wellness spa that turns out to have dangerous ulterior motives. Well, it didn't have an ending, and I stopped at a certain point. This time, I didn't let it get me down. I moved on. I didn't fret or fight with the story. Instead, I accepted that this was as far as I could get and moved on. Since I've finished 3 more stories. 
Turns out, I trust that my future self may see something in this that I didn't. I saw some things in stories written years ago that my past self didn't see, and I expect I'll have this experience again.

Don't be afraid of half-finished work. Unlike a soggy half-eaten sandwich, it can be saved for years without getting moldy. 


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Our Body of Work

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

I was browsing through one of my books on writing (specifically, The Writer’s Workout: 366 Tips, Tasks & Techniques from Your Writing Career Coach by Christina Katz) and a tip regarding writing about the body caught my eye. The author spoke of how we have so many memories stored inside our bodies. This led me to thinking that if I brainstormed creative nonfiction essay ideas or journal entries about my own body, what would I write about? 

I’ve already written about the bump in the middle of my nose, and how I received it after falling off a pogo ball my stepfather bought me in the 1980s. I can still remember the taste of blood as it poured from my nose and onto the concrete sidewalk, and how by the end of the evening I could barely breathe from all the swelling and I lay huddled under the comforter on my bed, wondering why my parents hadn’t taken me to the hospital and vowing not to go to school until the bruises faded. (I didn’t know back then that my parents didn’t have health or dental insurance throughout much of my childhood.) 

I could write about the scar I have on the inside of my right calf, the result of me locking myself in the bathroom in middle school determined to finally shave my legs. I was tired of people making fun of the long black hairs that were so evident when I put on my regulation tiny gym shorts, and the mother who didn’t understand. I can still remember her pounding on the door because she heard me crying after I sliced open the skin on the inside of my leg with a disposable Gillette razor. How many of these body stories could we share from adolescence? 

But when writing about our bodies there should be balance of painful memories and good insights, right? I can also write about how I recently stopped recording what I eat every day in my online food diary, because I’m just exhausted. I can’t do it anymore. I’m 44 years old and I have curves. I work out almost every single day and eat healthy 85 percent of the time. I’m not going to weigh what I did in my early 20s, and to be honest, I wasn’t a healthy person back then, mentally or physically. I also don’t have much of a problem with my stretch marks—the daughter who gave them to me because she was more than eight pounds when she was born is beautiful, brilliant and my best friend and about to turn 18. I could also write about my skin, how important it is to protect it, and the connection I have with my ancestors who also had skin that turned a beautiful brown color in the sun.

Our bodies have so many stories. Think about your hands, feet, skin, hair, bruises, scars, bumps, muscles and tissue. What could you write about if you let yourself explore? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer, editor and podcaster. Visit her website at
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The Bad Habits You Need To Break To Be A Good Writer

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

As a woman of a certain age, I find myself reading more and more about retirement. What comes up frequently in these articles are the bad financial habits that must be stopped in their tracks and replaced with good financial habits. Which is a bit easier said (or written about) than done since time is not exactly on the retiree’s side. 

As I have a bit of experience with lots of bad habits, and more specifically bad writing habits, I thought I’d share a few now so as to help you sooner rather than later. Though unlike bad money habits, when it comes to starting good writing habits, it’s never too late. (Yay!)


Show me a writer who has never engaged in this bad habit and I’ll show you a unicorn munching four-leaf clovers in a rainbow-colored meadow. But admittedly, on that unicorn’s back will be a very successful writer. 

Successful writers get in the habit of writing quotas early on in their career; they share a “no excuses” mentality when getting in their word counts, whether it’s a daily, weekly, or even yearly goal. It goes without saying that they scoff at the idea of writer’s block. 

Even the writer who must dig into tons of research before writing a single word will have detailed notes and references so that when they begin the writing, it runs relatively smoothly. 

Which brings me to the key word of breaking this bad habit: begin. Just begin the writing. And it’s okay to start small. Forming a new habit can take anywhere from 21 days to a year, but even a writing quota of 500 words a week will eventually get you to the finish line. The important part in derailing procrastination is making a goal you can keep and building on that. Aim too high and you’ll never begin. Set your sights on something attainable and you’ll be way more likely to succeed. 


Sadly, this bad writing habit crept up on me the more I worked on novel manuscripts. I suspect it has something to do with a fear of failure, the concern that the story must be perfect in every way in order to make the all-important sell. 

It’s a funny thing; read about most highly successful novelists and you will find that they submitted their work even though they felt it wasn’t quite ready or they knew it could be better. So how does one break this bad writing habit? 

It’s not so much the writing as the thinking that must change, right? So if you find yourself like me, in the habit of ridiculous over-revising (should the comma go here or here?) and re-writing ad infinitum, then reach out to a trusted writing buddy, someone who will tell you the truth about your work. Someone who will nicely but firmly kick you off the perfection merry-go-round. 

Submitting Too Soon

On the other end of this bad writing habit is the newbie writer who dashes off an opus and sends the masterpiece out into the world, without so much as a single other pair of eyes taking a look first. 

Oh, dear. I cringe when I think of all the bad writing out there in the world with the name Cathy C. Hall on it. But I find solace in the fact that I don’t know a single published writer who has not submitted their work too soon. Most of us learn the error of our ways pretty darn quick, especially if we get into a critique group or pay for professional feedback. 

But woe to those writers who either don’t listen to critique or never bother to get feedback. These are the newbies with a bad writing habit that will keep them newbies. 

Still, there is always hope because the first step in breaking a bad habit—writing or whatever—is recognizing we have the habit in the first place. So do it now, be honest with yourself, or ask a trusted friend to give you the unvarnished truth. Either way, it won’t be long before you have good writing habits. (Yay!)

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Allen Long's Praying for Restraint Blog Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

Monday, May 17, 2021

We are excited to be back with Allen Long and announce the blog tour of his latest memoir, Praying for Restraint. Join us as we interview the author, highlight upcoming spots on the blog tour, and give away a copy of his book. 

First, here is a little bit about Praying for Restraint:

Allen Long works as a CNA-certified nursing assistant at that supposed sanctuary of caring, an inner-city general hospital. What an unforgettable parade of bizarre, needy, abusive, menacing, endearing, and poignant humanity passes through its doors. And those are just the staff and administrators! Meanwhile, the patient population spans the affluent and sophisticated to the homeless, the mentally ill, addicts, gang members, and criminals in custody. Praying for Restraint takes the reader on a journey into the absurd and surreal that is ultimately uplifting and harrowing, both funny and heartbreaking. Long's struggle to survive a relentlessly toxic work environment with body, soul, and marriage intact is as gripping as the battle against childhood abuse in his previous memoir, Less than Human. Reviewers found that book "inspiring, honest, and beautifully written, engaging, and thought-provoking." Praying for Restraint earns that praise and more.

Publisher: Legacy Book Press LLC (April 2021)
Genre: Medical Memoir
Pages: 168 pages
ISBN-10 : 1734798661
ISBN-13 : 978-1734798661

Praying for Restraint 
is now available to purchase on Amazon in both paperback and as a Kindle book, at Barnes & Noble, and your local independent bookstore at

About the Author, Allen Long

Here’s how I became a writer. When I was a child in Arlington, Virginia, as soon as I understood what stories were, I began telling them to anyone who would listen. As a fifth-grader, I was recruited by the Storytellers, a small group of supervised fifth- and sixth-graders who told stories once a month to kids in the first, second, and third grades.

When I reached sixth grade, my teacher allowed me to skip all of my English assignments in exchange for me writing her a short story each week. In seventh grade, one of my stories placed second in an English class competition.

One of my favorite memories from childhood is telling my younger brother, David, a made-up story every night during the summers we slept in twin beds in our cool basement.

Storytelling seems to have been hardwired into my DNA.
I earned a BA in Communications/Journalism from Virginia Tech. While I was there, I took every creative writing class offered and wrote a story that placed second at a regional literary festival sponsored by nearby Hollins University. During my student days, I also worked half-time for two years as a reporter for The Roanoke Times.

After I graduated, I accepted a scholarship to earn an MA in English/fiction writing from Hollins University, where I wrote the first half of a novel. I then received a second scholarship and a teaching assistant position to pursue an MFA in fiction writing at the University of Arizona.

Shortly after I graduated, I published a story called “Second Honeymoon” in Concho River Review. After that, I decided to continue my writing education by working with master editor Tom Jenks. When Tom was a senior editor at Scribner’s, he completed Ernest Hemingway’s unfinished novel, The Garden of Eden, which became a bestseller.

I published two more stories, and then I decided to change gears and write a memoir called “Soul Breach” about the high level of illegal and unethical behavior I’d witnessed while working in the management consulting field. The story was published, and my good friend and editor, Kit McIlroy, told me it was the best piece I’d ever written, and he encouraged me to write more nonfiction.

I followed his advice and wrote and published magazine-length memoirs about the happiest, most intriguing, and worst moments in my life. These combined pieces became my first book, Less than Human: A Memoir (Black Rose Writing, 2016).

After that, I published memoirs on a wide variety of subjects, including two about my work as an assistant nurse in a poorly managed inner-city hospital populated by challenging patients, including violent mentally ill ones who often were not sedated or restrained.

“Keep writing about that hospital, and you’ve got your next book,” Kit said. I followed his advice, eventually producing my second book, Praying for Restraint: Frequent Flying with an Inner-City Hospital CNA (Legacy Book Press, 2021).


One final comment—I’ve loved visiting zoos and aquariums my whole life, and I’ve raised box turtles, swum with sea turtles, and gone on multiple dolphin- and whale-watching expeditions. Therefore, you may notice that quite a bit of wildlife has crept into my writing. At last count, I spied lions, tigers, giraffes, eland, monkeys, chimps, elephants, alligators, caimans, box turtles, sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and humpback whales. Have I missed any?

You can discover more about Allen and his work on his website:

---  Interview by Crystal Otto

WOW: Thank you for writing this touching memoir - and a special thanks for returning to WOW to help promote your work! It's always fun to work with a returning author and like an old friend; it's great to see you again.

I know what my takeaways were, but what are the top two take-aways you'd hoped readers would find in reading Praying for Restraint?

Allen: One of my main goals was to provide readers with an inside view of how a poorly run inner-city hospital operates. For example, despite paying lip service, upper management did not care about patient and staff safety. In one case, management loosened a safety policy that immediately caused a patient to fall and break her neck. There was also a policy in place that prevented virtually all violent psych patients from being sedated or restrained. As a result, these patients roamed the halls and assaulted patients, their visitors, and staff. I personally was attacked about a dozen and a half times. 

And when I was first hired, a manager instructed me never to report these assaults. Management didn’t care—it appeared to be solely focused on financial issues. After one manager refused for two years to meet with his unhappy staff, they peacefully marched on his office and requested a meeting. The manager called the police and had the group dispersed. Finally, there were managers and nurses who verbally mistreated staff as well as a few nurses who verbally or physically abused patients. I view my book as a piercing scream for hospital reform.

Secondly, I believe readers will enjoy reading a triumphant story about an everyman type of guy who survives a toxic work environment that threatens his body, soul, and marriage.

WOW: Thanks so much for that insight. It is quite remarkable that you survived such an ordeal with your wits about you and your marriage intact! This is such a personal story - tell us about your writing process for this book?

Allen: After I’d worked at the hospital for a year, I wrote a memoir about my experiences and published it in a literary magazine. About six months later, I did the same thing. By that time, I realized I was collecting valuable material almost every day. After that, I wrote the book as a diary in the present tense until I finished it. I wrote and edited six drafts. At some point, I realized the book would work better in the past tense. The hardest thing about writing the book was changing the seemingly zillion present tense sentences into past tense ones.

WOW: Sounds like the process was therapeutic (although maybe a bit tedious). So glad you kept at it until you had it just right! Now, did you have any fears about how Praying for Restraint might be received?

Allen: My only fear is that some readers may not believe that the events portrayed in the book actually happened. Some months after I’d finished the book and resigned from the hospital, I was proofreading the book and found myself thinking that some of the episodes were hard for me to believe, even though I knew they were true. By the way, I enjoyed Tara Westover’s memoir, Educated, and I felt badly for her when some reviewers claimed the events in the book couldn’t possibly be true.

WOW: My advice to you about this particular fear is simply that not everyone is going to be able to wrap their head around the events in Praying for Restraint. I imagine someone who lovingly placed a relative into this type of environment might want to think "this really wouldn't happen at hospital xyz" and this has nothing to do with the integrity of your book and much more to do with self preservation for the non believer. It's really not about you at that point.

That said, let's move on to something a little lighter: Where do you write? What does your space look like?

Allen: I write in an upstairs spare bedroom that doubles as my study. My desk is a former dining room table that holds my computer, pens, and writing pads for notes. My three guitars rest on the bed behind me, and my Chinese box turtle, Flash, who's been my writing companion for 29 years, keeps me company from his corner aquarium. I like to write when I’m alone in the house or when my wife is deeply engaged in a major cooking project downstairs.

WOW: Well, as a foodie, those cooking projects sound distracting...and I'm glad you didn't mention anything particularly delicious or I would have gained 5 lbs just thinking about it. As I'm trying to put the thoughts of your wife's cooking out of my mind, let's move on to some writerly advice. What advice would you give to beginning memoir writers?

Allen: The key thing is to tell the truth about everything, including your own mistakes and faults. If you spend the book on the defensive, trying to make yourself look perfect, the book will lack authenticity, which the reader will notice and dislike right away. In my career as a nursing assistant, I’ve only made one serious mistake, and I included it in the book. This helps my character to appear human, especially when the reader sees his regret. In case you’re worried, no one came to any harm.

WOW: That is fantastic advice worth repeating:

"If you spend the book on the defensive, trying to make yourself look perfect, the book will lack authenticity."

Thank you for saying that out loud - thinking about memoirs I've read, authenticity seems to be the key. I enjoy reading about flawed humans (like myself).

Who is your support - what have you found to be most supportive in your writing life as well as in life in general?

Allen: First and foremost, the answer is family and friends. I’m very close to my mother, my brother, my wife, and our children. We share our lives with one another and provide support. Also, I have a great set of friends, which includes a childhood friend, a former employee, a swimming buddy, a fellow golden retriever owner, and a former MFA classmate, who has read and edited virtually everything I’ve ever written—he correctly pointed out that my primary talent lies in memoir writing. Also, a psychiatrist and a therapist helped me get through my high-stress stint at Malmed Memorial Hospital (fictitious name). And, finally, I need to give credit to my dog, Ruby, for her unconditional love. These are my resources for writing and life in general.

WOW: That's encouraging in today's world where relationships seem to be difficult. It's fabulous to hear you have such an extensive list of supporters!

What advice would you give to others when it comes to self-care for authors?

Allen: Get plenty of exercise (I love to swim), read a lot, watch movies and high-quality television, spend time in nature, spend time doing nothing, spend time with other creative pursuits (I play guitar), try to eat right and not drink too much, spend time with friends and family, and get plenty of sleep. It also helps to be in a great relationship and to own an affectionate dog. In addition, sometimes a cheeseburger and a coke are nourishing to the soul. And nurture your spiritual life, whatever it may be.

WOW: That's great advice - when I do occasionally splurge on that cheeseburger, I hear my father's age old advice about everything in moderation. A treat is fine once in a while. So, I know you aren't the idle type, so tell us: What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for the remainder of 2021 and beyond?

Allen: I have no idea. I wrote my first memoir, Less than Human, a wide variety of magazine-length memoirs, and Praying for Restraint all in one giant, inspired rush. I feel quiet inside now. I’m just going to relax and enjoy my life. At some point, it’s likely I will have a memory or an experience associated with a strong emotion that will inspire me to write again.

WOW: Your honesty and advice is greatly appreciated and I'm sure it won't be long before you're inspired once again! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us today and thank you for trusting WOW to help with promoting Praying for Restraint

--- Blog Tour Schedule

May 17th @ WOW! Women on Writing
Join us today as we celebrate the launch of Allen Long's second memoir Praying for Restraint. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy for yourself. 

May 18th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
Join readers at Bring on Lemons as Crystal Otto shares her thoughts after reading the insightful memoir Praying for Restraint by Allen Long. 

May 20th @ Book Santa Fe with Art Tucker
Avid reader Art Tucker shares his thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe. Find out what Art thought about the latest memoir written by Allen Long titled Praying for Restraint.

May 23rd @ Madeline Sharples
Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples shares her thoughts after reading Allen Long's latest memoir Praying for Restraint. Readers won't want to miss Madeline's review. 

May 23rd @ Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler reviews Praying for Restraint by Allen Long. Find out what one memoir author has to say about the memoir of another author! Don't miss this valuable insight! 

May 24th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Healthcare worker and Wisconsin mother, Michelle DelPonte shares her thoughts after reading Allen Long's memoir Praying for Restraint. 

May 25th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles offers her thoughts in an insightful review of Allen Long's medical memoir titled Praying for Restraint. Join readers at World of My Imagination as they learn more about this inspiring memoir and it's author. 

May 26th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Memoirist, Artist, and Psychotherapist Linda Appleman Shapiro offers some deep thoughts in her review of Allen Long's latest memoir Praying for Restraint. Join readers at Linda's blog today to learn more! 

May 27th @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Wisconsin educator and small business owner Cathy Hansen shares her insightful review of Allen Long's Praying for Restraint. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about this memoir!


Enter to win a copy of Praying for Restraint by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends on May 23rd at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner the next day in the widget and follow up via email. Good luck!

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