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.

Last Chapter of Book Sent to Editor

awesome   Awesome news! I finished the last chapter in my book and sent it to my editor, Lindsay, today (July 30, 2014). I know, I know, I’ve said it was done in the past, well the manuscript truly is finished this time. When I get this section back from her, my book is ready for line editing. I don’t expect a lot of red ink to flow, though, because she did a lot of that during this development editing stage. (BTW: If you need a great editor, Lindsay at http://www.youhavemyword.net/ is fantastic!)

It’s now time for me to think about a cover. I suppose it should have my picture on it. 🙂 Oh, and the other things a book needs: dedication, author information, etc.

I decided that I’m going to enter the manuscript into a contest where first prize is a publishing contract. The deadline is August 30. Wish me luck.

Life is what you make it (A Short Story)

 

what path will you travelThe disease ravaged her body and lowered her self-esteem. Her nights were spent in the bar. The alcohol eased the pain and dulled her mind. The attention filled her heart and warmed her body. The truck drivers called her Margarita Girl—her drink of choice. The music vibrated through her like a siren’s song, enticing her to swing and sway. Stopping only long enough to take another drink, she danced through the night.

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain spoke to her soul…but hers were green. No matter, the story was the same. Two men loved her, two men begged for her hand. Two men broke her heart—that damned disease scaring them away.

She lived a wild life—lost weekends, hidden memories, only known to a few. She ached for love, finding none. Her life was in shatters.

“I must get free. I must flee this place.” A new outlook. A new attitude. She straightens up. Life is bright and her mind is clear. Saved from despair; healed and repaired. She changes course and…finds true love!

Remember life is what you make it.

 

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…”

 

 

 

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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On my book, and a couple of questions

I am trying to become more focused and disciplined in my blogging and writing. My intentions are to have the memoir published by the end of May. Can I do it? I don’t know, I sure hope so. I’m discovering there is much to do before publishing a book. Its a long complicated process, but I push on., knowing that after I’ve done it once, the next time will be easier.
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Writing with RA

sample of my handwriting

 Sample of my handwriting

I’m always surprised when someone hands me a form then asks, ‟Can you sign this? Or do you want me to do it and you can initial it?” My hands aren’t pretty, by any means; they are gnarled and weak looking. At first glance, they give the impression of being difficult to use. However, once I write my name, it is east to see that they are still useful in some tasks.
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