Writing a Self-help Memoir to Help Oneself

SlimWithin_CVR_MEDA year ago I was deep into writing about my life-long diet addiction. How I got into it, how it affected my life, how I managed to pull free and lose weight in the process.

I started this project as a way to get re-focused and balanced with healthy meals after we moved to Guatemala. Everything felt weird and upside down, including the way I was eating.

Originally, I wasn’t thinking about it for publication. For one thing, I didn’t want to write a “diet” book, because it wasn’t about dieting. Unless you count all the harm I did to myself through years of dieting.

I didn’t want to write about anything beyond my own story. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to people.

Finally, it began to take shape into three parts: the Memoir, the Plan, and the Program. Once the format was clear, it came together quickly. The writing was the easy part, I think. The hardest was revisiting my past diet addictions, realizing how bad it had been for so long.

Still, I’m glad I followed through on this project. Readers have told me how grateful they are for my willingness to be open with my story, how reading about my experience has helped them. This makes it worth anything I went through to write the words and finish the book.

(More information about Slim Within the book can be found here. The Facebook page Slim Within Workshops can be found here.)

Animales

(The following is an excerpt from the book I’m writing about our Guatemala experience.)

I didn’t realize how much stress I was feeling in the first house we had in Guatemala until we’d finally left it. The lack of natural light throughout the house, the termite problem, the sounds of animal life on the roof with things dropping down from the ceiling.

I didn’t much care for Lucas, the guardian, either. When we’d moved in, he said he’d be there twice a week and would take the trash down the lane and out to the street. He never once did that. He didn’t come twice a week, sometimes only twice a month. I wouldn’t have cared except I knew Morris was paying him to do the gardening twice a week, and to take care of the place. Continue reading

“Creating Something Wonderful”

Steve Jobs said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me…Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.”

He made this statement in 1999, well before his cancer diagnosis. At the time of his death he was worth $10 billion. His estate is now worth $30 billion. He could have been much richer but he sold shares of Apple when they ousted him. He used the money to create something else wonderful: Pixar Studios. Continue reading

Merry Christmas from the Land of Nada

I was layering on the decorations on the Christmas tree at the hotel in San Pedro where we live now. Adding more lights, more shiny balls, beads, red and gold wrappy things. One of the workers came by and complimented my work.

I said, “Is it too much?” He said, “No, it is pretty. It’s good that you are doing that.” I said, “In the U.S., Christmas is a time of excess. It’s all about too much. Too many decorations, too much food, too many sweets, too many presents, too much everything.”

I asked him if it was like that in Guatemala, although I already knew the answer. He smiled and said, “Nada.” (nothing) Continue reading

Blog Tour Schedule for AFRAID OF EVERYTHING

b6198-afraidof_cvr_medMonday, March 2 (today) @ The Muffin Stop by for an interview and book giveaway! http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/Monday, March 2 @ Romance Junkies Check in at Romance Junkies blog today and learn more about author Karen Jones Gowen and her latest book, Afraid of Everything. http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/

Tuesday, March 3 @ The Lit Ladies See what author Margo Dill has to say after reading Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. There will also be a giveaway of Afraid of Everything for one lucky winner; Good Luck! http://www.thelitladies.com/

Wednesday, March 4 @ All Things Audry Fellow author Audry Fryer reviews Karen Jones Gowen’s latest work, Afraid of Everything. Stop by and hear from Audry and get in on a giveaway for your own copy of this fabulous read! http://allthingsaudry.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 5 @ Choices with Madeline Tasky Sharples Madeline Sharples reviews the fabulous new novel by Karen Jones Gowen. Learn more about Gowen and Afraid of Everything and one lucky blog reader will win a copy of the book in a giveaway.http://madelinesharples.com/

Friday, March 6 @ Create Write Now Mari McCarthy reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. Fellow author reviews are always the best – stop by and see what Mari has to say!http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog

Monday, March 9 @ Hott Books Don’t miss today’s giveaway and book review for Karen Jones Gowen’s Afraid of Everything! Guest author Melissa Bennett will be reviewing this fabulous novel and one lucky winner will walk away with their own copy to read (and hopefully review)! http://www.hottbooks.com/

Tuesday, March 10 @ Bring on Lemons Join educator and guest blogger Cathy Hansen as she shares her thoughts after reading Karen Jones Gowen’s latest book Afraid of Everything. Be sure to complete the Rafflecopter form and see if you’ll be the lucky winner of the giveaway for your own copy of this great book! bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 11 @ Nutshell Newsletter Press Join Sheila Gazlay as she reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. http://nutshellnewsletterpress.wordpress.com/

Thursday, March 12 @ Lauren Scharhag Avid reader and book enthusiast Cathy Kirby Contino reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. Readers of Lauren Scharhag’s blog will also have an opportunity to win a copy of Afraid of Everything. This is a blog stop you won’t want to miss! http://laurenscharhag.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 13 @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker Catch up with Karen Jones Gowen as she is interviewed by Cathy Stucker about her latest work Afraid of Everything. Don’t miss this WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour stop at Selling Books! http://www.sellingbooks.com/

Monday, March 16 @ Katherine Hajer Katherine Hajer reads and reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. One lucky reader of Katherine’s blog will also win the giveaway and take home their very own copy of this great book! http://www.katherine-hajer.com/

Wednesday, March 18 @ Renee’s Pages WOW!’s own Renee Roberson reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen and will host a giveaway for one lucky winner to go home with their very own copy of this page turning novel! http://reneespages.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 19 @ I’d So Rather Be Reading Find out what the lovely Kelli at I’d So Rather Be Reading has to say after reading the latest work by Karen Jones Gowen. Find out more about Afraid of Everything and get in on the giveaway to win your very own copy! http://www.idsoratherbereading.com/

Friday, March 20 @ Author Ava Louise Fellow author Ava Louise reviews Karen Jones Gowen’s latest work “Afraid of Everything” and offers a giveaway for one lucky reader! http://avalouiseauthor.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 30 @ Memoir Writer’s Journey Join Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writer’s Journey as she reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen http://krpooler.com/

Interview with Angela Jackson-Brown about my Writing and Publishing

Angela Jackson-BrownThe following is an interview I did with author Angela Jackson-Brown, whose debut novel Drinking from a Bitter Cup was release by WiDo Publishing in January, 2014. Angela was curious about WiDo, about my own writing and had a lot of questions about both.  You can learn more about Angela and her upcoming novel at her website, angelajacksonbrown.com.

I did this interview some time ago, back when I first released my cookbook. The book I was working on at the time, “Waking Up,” came out in November, 2014, as Afraid of Everything. And the book I mentioned as next in line, #3 in my Diamond series, I’m now fully into. Currently the title is “California Diamonds,” but who knows, it could change!

The complete interview with comments is on Angela’s blog here.

Angela: What motivated you to get into the publishing industry?

Karen: I had absolutely no idea of getting into the publishing industry, but I always wanted to be a writer. The story behind how all this came about is in a post called “The Truth about Farm Girl” on my blog. We like to say that while some publishing companies launch a book, in WiDo’s case it was a book that launched a publishing company.

That book was Farm Girl, a folklore history I wrote to honor my mother on her 90th birthday. I had no idea it would lead to the creation of a traditional book publishing company that has released 40 (now over 65) books­­­­­­. Continue reading