Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

Two Must-Have Resources for Writers (Part 1 of 2) — September 5, 2013

Two Must-Have Resources for Writers (Part 1 of 2)

I want to share with you two new resources which motivate me as a writer from the perspectives of memoir writing and fiction writing, specifically historical fiction. I’ll share my thoughts on each in separate posts. First, I’ll be looking at Bob Welch’s Pebble in the Waterand on Thursday, September 10th, I’ll review Jerry Waxler’s new book, The Memoir Revolution. 

* * *

Source: Bob WelchSource: Bob Welch

By: Bob Welch
Publisher: AO Creative
Published: 2008
Genre: Nonfiction, Inspiration
Source: Purchased

Synopsis: From ideas jotted on a Wendy’s napkin to twenty-six rejections to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” this is the true rags-to-riches-to-rags story of Welch’s research, writing, and promoting of the Oregon Book Award finalist, “American Nightingale.” His nearly four-year journey takes the journalist to Boston, Ellis Island, France, and beyond. But his ultimate destination is a place of truth, the realization that sometimes the treasure we find at the adventure’s end may not be the treasure we originally sought.

* * *

Drop a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone
But there’s a half a hundred ripples circling on and on
Spreading from the center, flowing to the sea
And there’s no way of knowing where the end is going to be.

— James W. Foley Featured in Welch’s books,
American Nightingale & Pebble in the Water

My Thoughts:

Bob Welch’s book, Pebble in the Water, chronicles not only his experiences while writing the story of a World War II nurse nearly 60 years after she died in Belgium but also the intricacy, detail, and doggedness in Welch’s work and research. Welch believes the discovery of Frances Slanger’s story is a coincidence or, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, a “spiritual pun.” In fact, Welch really didn’t discover Slanger’s story; it literally found him.

Once Welch heard Slanger’s story and her passion to change the world in a small but significant way, he could not let go of the project that would be his next book. It is getting there that was bigger than writing the book.

Research and interviews with the few remaining survivors of the war who knew Frances Slanger took Welch from his home in Eugene, Oregon, to Boston, Massachusetts, on to Paris, France, and to the Pentagon. These trips were all at the author’s own cost, not only financially but at the expense of his family who spent many days and nights without him home.

Dogged determination is the essence of Bob Welch in whatever he commits to doing. I have seen this in action in his workshops, other writings, his newspaper column, and yes, in his passion for living.

Whether you are a writer, Pebble in the Water is an inspirational book. As the reader follows Welch in pursuit of all he can learn of this Polish Jewish woman who was caring for American soldiers when she was killed by a German sniper in October 1944, the reader learns life lessons about sacrificing to follow your dreams:

“Take that step and, yes, you risk failure.
But don’t take that step and failure is a certainty.”
p. 21, Pebble in the Water

If Bob Welch had never committed to writing Frances Slanger’s story, if his wife had never committed to being both mother and father while he traveled and to love him day in and day out, if his children had never committed to loving him and caring about his dreams, American Nightingale would have never been written.

Nor would Bob Welch ever have met the remaining survivors, few that they were, of Slanger’s unit. Or could share her story on network television. Or with you and me.

My Recommendation:

Anyone interested in writing period, or specifically historical fiction, should read this book. It is a window into the life of a man balancing family, a job with a newspaper, and the research necessary to bring Frances Slanger’s story, American Nightingale, to print. Welch has something for everyone who is passionate about writing. Bob Welch can make you feel good about the day you felt you wasted and excited about the little things that you didn’t expect.

* * *

Meet the Author:

Bob Welch
BOB WELCH is a speakerauthoraward-winning columnist, and teacher. He has served as an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

As head of Pebble in the Water Inspiration, he has keynoted conferences, workshops, and retreats across America, tugging at hearts, tickling funny bones, and inspiring people to be ripples on life’s waters. Among his speaking highlights was being asked to keynote the dedication ceremony at the Massachusetts Statehouse for a plaque honoring WWII nurse Frances Slanger. It was Welch’s book about Slanger, American Nightingale, that convinced legislators to honor the Boston nurse.

“Forget the hyperbole,” said Julie Zander, organizer of the Association of Personal Historians conference in Portland in 2006. “Our 261 participants scored Welch a 4.81 on a 5.0 scale.”

A storyteller by nature, most of Welch’s speaking fodder comes from the 14 books he’s authored and the nearly 2,000 columns he’s written for The Register-Guard, Oregon’s second-largest newspaper, since 1999. He has twice won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ highest award for writing. In addition, he has won dozens of other journalism awards, most recently the 2011 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s “Best Writing” award. Other honors include the Seattle Times C.B. Blethen Award for Distinguished Feature Writing and the ONPA’s “Best Column” awards.

His book about a heroic World War II nurse, American Nightingale (Atria Books, 2004), was featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. A follow-up book, Pebble in the Water (AO Creative, 2008), amplifies the author’s American Nightingale experience from an idea written on a Wendy’s napkin to the four years it took before the book was published, and the life lessons learned along the way.

Read more about Bob Welch here.

* * *

Interested in getting your own copy? Just click on the link below. I receive a small percentage if you purchase from this link, and it doesn’t cost you any extra.



p class=”text-align-center” style=”text-align: center;”>INDIEBOUND

What a Writers’ Weekend! — March 4, 2013

What a Writers’ Weekend!

Meet the Beachside Writers Conference mascot.  Not just any old seagull — a typing seagull.  We really need to upgrade him to a computer!

This past weekend I attended my first-ever writers conference. And it was the Beachside conference I had wanted to attend for more than a couple of years.  Held in Yachats, Oregon each year, Bob Welch started the conference in 2005.

I have come away from this conference so energized not only by the presenters but the acceptance and affirmation received from other writers, both experienced and beginning (52 in all).  The diversity in backgrounds and the wide range of ages (19-80+) only added to the beauty and integrity of the weekend.

There is so much to share and tell that I’ll probably stretch this into more than this post.  But today I just want to share a few nuggets, I brought home with me:

  • “Saying what needs to be said.” (conference theme)
  • “If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real.” ~ James Buchanan (quoted by Jane Kirkpatrick, writer and presenter)
  • “Beware the IKEA affect — just because you put loving labor into your work doesn’t mean it will be loved by others.”  ~ Jane Kirkpatrick
  • Overview of POD and the possibilities available (by Roger Hite, Ph.D. in philosophy, writer and presenter)
  • Humor interspersed throughout his presentations by Bob Welch (an example follows):

“I don’t believe in writer’s block anymore than I believe in ‘plumber’s block’ should the guy fixing my pipes suddenly find the going difficult.  ‘Sorry, pal,’ he might say as he gathers up his tools — and, of course, hitches up his, ahem, jeans. ‘Just not feeling it today.'”


“I don’t believe in writer’s block anymore than I believe in ‘surgeon’s block’ should the doctor doing my hernia operation find herself stymied.  ‘Hey, Bob, hang in there.  I’m going to flex out the rest of the day.  Maybe catch a matinee to see if I can get back in the groove, you know?'”

The sessions were educational, informative, enriching and intense at times.  Several writing exercises were sprinkled throughout.  At the end of the day on Sunday, I felt a mix of emotions:  I had missed my husband and home, but I was reluctant to leave my new friends and so much camaraderie so soon.

Today, Monday, I haven’t been able to come down off the high that I found myself battling at 1:37 am as I tried to find the missing sleep I needed and wanted.

As I sort out my notes, my writing samples, AND my third place metaphor/simile contest entry, I’ll post more.  I have so much I want to share with you!

Verified by ExactMetrics