Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards (Judges Comments)

Entered my book into the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Although I didn’t win, I got some nice comments from the judges which I wanted to share with you. I copied and pasted the email body text here so you can read it. I’m happy with what the judges had to say. I know I did a good job in writing it.

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Below is a brief commentary for your entry in the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. If you received the incorrect review by mistake, please contact Writer’s Digest immediately at this email address. With so many books to judge/record, our judges may accidently input the incorrect review into the system. We do our best to catch all of these, but there are always a few that slip past. Thank you for your understanding~

Entry Title Diagnosed At Seventeen
Author: Ruth Spoonemore
Judge Number: 51
Entry Category: Life Stories

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a “0”.

*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 3

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 3

Production Quality and Cover Design: 3

Plot and Story Appeal: 3

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary*:

There is much more here by and about the author than the title first suggests. While the story indeed starts at age 17, when she is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the narrative extends long past that part of her life. In fact, the reader is taken into the author’s 50s. Along the way, the story shares her journey with a crippling disease and affiliated illnesses and challenges for decades. It started with her fingers (somewhat ironic since she is maintaining a journal and other writing projects). The important factor is that this is not a “poor me” tale. The author shares the other parts of her life. Sometimes, the volume seems to be about everything else but her RA, but the disease and its impact are always lurking in the background. For one, as the author ages, walking and balance prove more and more challenging. This is carried to the point where she is afraid to live alone for fear of falling — something millions of Americans share for various reasons. There are some good writing techniques here (such as the sense of smell); the author maintains a readable voice that mixes quotes italics (to represent her thoughts and emotions) and observations by friends. The cover is a very apt image of a lone, spare tree, perhaps in fall, with a rainbow arcing overhead. This mix of reality and hope seems apropos for the memoir.

Taking the Journey…Slowly

The journey

 

Do you ever experience a time when, although you’re content, you think your life is boring? Well, that’s the way I’m feeling this week. I’m feeling stressed because I don’t have anything interesting to post and frankly, it’s getting harder to think of things to share with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a life of daring and adventure, but when the highlight of your week is going to the dentist, well–and the report wasn’t even that good. Doctors’ visits are my most frequent type of outing.

As I continue to write my book, I realize that up until the time I quit working, I had a more active social life. Of course most of it revolved around my job, but then the other tutors were my friends, too.

Not that I don’t have friends now, I do. I have coffee, or go to lunch with one of them three or four times a year. (Hi Bernadette!) In fact, we met last Wednesday for coffee, but we won’t see each other again until August.

However, I will push forward. I might skip a weekly update, but I won’t give up. It is the journey that is important, not where we end up.

I appreciate you and want you to know it. Hang in there with me. As the song goes “The best is yet to come…”

 

 

 

Getting Over Fatigue and Being Productive Again

 

The last couple of weeks have been a struggle for me. I’ve experienced fatigue every afternoon. I noticed that by one or two o’clock my body had begun to feel limp and my eyes refused to stay open. I know that this is normal for people with rheumatoid arthritis. We are told to ‟rest frequently” and not ‟over do it.” However, this is not normal for me.

Unless I’m sick, I don’t take naps. I am active throughout the day, writing, watching television, or playing on my computer. Having the urge–no, the need—to lie on the sofa and rest is rather disconcerting.

Why am I so tired? Being a logical person, I had to analyze the situation. After some thought, I’ve come up with two possible reasons.

  1. I was taking prednisone for ear problems and when I finished the prescription, my body was in withdrawal. One of the side effects of prednisone is feeling antsy and nervous.
  2. I’ve been off my Enbrel since April 13. It is possible my RA is causing the fatigue. Not taking anything except ibuprofen for pain may have created more activity.

I’m happy to report that I am feeling more energetic this week. Enough so, that I was able to work on my book and sent files to my editor. Looking at my list, I see that there are only four chapters left to rewrite. Yay!

How has you week been? I’d love to read your comments.

 

A New Life

open book diagnosed at 17 excerpt The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you want more, sign up to my mailing list. Not only will you get emails alerting you to new content on the site, you’ll also receive a copy of my ebook Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Life-Changing Disease. This ebook is the ‟appetizer” before the meal. It describes some of my experiences coping with RA.
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Enbrel Stopped working?

syringe
RA is a despicable disease! One day you’re feeling okay, the next it knocks you on your butt. I went to my rheumatologist today for my regular check-up. Felt crappy and told her so.. After checking me out and discussing my problem, we decided that perhaps my Enbrel isn’t working anymore.
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Don’t lose heart

I wanted to write an upbeat, cheerful post this week. I hoped to bring you a positive story about how my life was easy and free flowing last week. However, I’d be lying. Over the last seven to ten days my body has been screaming for attention—not that it doesn’t get enough attention already; but it wants to be front and center. That is the nature of any chronic illness, and certainly rheumatoid arthritis. So, settle in and let me tell you about my week.

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Metal and Plastic

picture of me

“I am the real bionic woman.” At least that’s what my family calls me. As a result of my rheumatoid arthritis, every major joint in my body, and a couple not so major, is now made up of metal and plastic. In fact, in 1982 four of them were replaced. The first two, my knees were done in January, 7 days apart. I tell everyone my many surgeries paid a large portion of the cost to build the hospital’s parking garage. And, as the years pass, I continue to pay for the maintenance costs.
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