Scattering Ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go by Joan Rough | Review

BOOK Description

When her alcoholic and emotionally abusive mother s health declines, Joan Rough invites her to move in with her. Rough longs to be the good daughter, helping her narcissistic mother face the reality of her coming death. But when repressed memories of childhood abuse by her mother arise, Rough is filled with deep resentment and hatred toward the woman who birthed her, and her dream of mending their tattered relationship shatters. Seven years later, when her mother dies, she is left with a plastic bag of her mother s ashes and a diagnosis of PTSD. What will she do with them?

Courageous and unflinchingly honest, Scattering Ashes is a powerful chronicle of letting go of a loved one, a painful past, and fear a journey that will bring hope to others who grapple with the pain and repercussions of abuse.

Book Details:

Scattering Ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go by Joan Rough
Published by She Writes Press (September 20, 2016)
Genre: Memoir/Family Relationships/Aging Parents/Child Abuse
Source: Author
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN: 1631520954

FCC Disclosure: Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book.

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Available here: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

REVIEW OF SCATTERING ASHES

People observing us from afar often comment on how close Mom and I seem. It always surprises me, because we are close only in that I am a vessel into which I allow her to pour her own challenges. I hold them for her, always there, a container she fills with anger and disappointments. They are more than a distraction. I have my own problems, but I focus on Mom, who ‘needs’ me. That is my addiction. The truth is that even when someone tells us we look so alike, I want to reply, Thanks but I’m not anything like my mother and I don’t want to be!

Scattering of Ashes, p. 28

In Scattering of Ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go, Joan Z. Rough writes with raw truth and emotion about the difficult mother-daughter relationship she sufferedNot only is Rough a writer, she also paints, writes poetry, and is a photographer. From this multitude of creative gifts, Rough draws on each one to bring the story of her life with her mother to the page for her readers.

On a personal note, her writing is so realistic and lucent I often found myself among Rough’s pages and in doing so reached more than once for a tissue to wipe away my tears.

Rough exposes the pain and scars from a childhood of emotional abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother. Needless to say, Rough’s search for peaceful days and nights in her own family life is often overwhelmed by her mother’s abuses continuing into her daughter’s adulthood.

Rough’s transparency in her writing is appreciated by the reader. It is as if we are looking through the window and watching each scene unfold. Despite Rough and her husband willingly becoming her mother’s caregivers, this abusive parent continues to spew rages and epithets at her daughter without reason. Such emotional invectives create the deepest scars to the recipient’s heart.

That she is able to write her story with such beautiful prose, almost poetic at times, is an amazing gift of creativity. It would be so easy to whimper and whine and show the negative side of everything. But not Joan Rough. She brings every sense of beauty she owns to the page in writing of these most difficult times.

Although her story begins raw and ragged with damage in place and continuing, Rough shines through each page as a disciplined and well-trained writer. The highpoint of her story is found in her dedication of this memoir “ . . . to all mothers and daughters who are seeking to love and forgive each other.”

I highly recommend this memoir to those in complicated mother-daughter relationships. If ever a pathway has been written to self-acceptance, forgiveness, and healing, Joan Rough has done so in Scattering of Ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go. 

MEEt joan rough

Joan Z. Rough is a visual artist and writer. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, and is included in Mariflo Stephens’ anthology, Some Say Tomato. Her first book, AUSTRALIAN LOCKER HOOKING: A New Approach to a Traditional Craft, was published in 1980. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, Bill, her two dogs, Sam and Max, and crazy cat, Lilliput.

CONNECT WITH JOAN:

Website | Facebook | Twitter |


Interview (and Giveaway) with Pamela Lynn France, Author of Life Soup, A Memoir: Testifying on the Healing Power of Jesus Christ

Today I am delighted to host my guest, Pamela Lynn France, author of 

Life Soup, A Memoir: Testifying of the Healing Power of Jesus Christ

Pamela’s story of surviving a childhood of abuse is a testimony to others of their own ability to rise above and survive. A copy of Pamela’s memoir, in ebook or pdf format, will be given away to one lucky winner.

Author of Life Soup: A Memoir
Author of Life Soup: A Memoir

Pamela L. France is an educator. She received her teaching degree at Adrian College in Michigan. She worked for a number of years in Child Protective Service for the State of Michigan. She has worked as the Coordinator of Services at Southern Utah University’s Student Support Services. Obtaining her Master’s Degree from Utah State University, she spent the latter part of her career as an Elementary and Middle School Counselor in Iron County School system. Pamela lives the retired life in Kanab, Utah with her husband and her little dog Dottie. Mother of six and grandmother of twenty, she finds great joy and loves the challenge and adventure of family. Pamela is a late blooming author. Life Soup is her memoir.

Welcome, Pamela. I am so happy you could join me today. And now to our interview:

Sherrey: Why did you wait so long to write your book?

Pamela: The healing process follows its own course. It takes years to understand oneself and when abuse is thrown into the mix, it can take even longer. I have been writing all my life and I found it very beneficial to get my thoughts and feelings out in this way. I wanted to share my testimony of Jesus Christ. My hope is that it might touch the hearts of those caught in the throes of traumatic abuse. Conveying this in a readable and inoffensive way took time.

SherreyWhat is your background that allows you to offer credibility to other people?

Pamela: I survived my father’s abuse. Throughout my life I have taken many opportunities to read, study and experience what I could that would help me to deal with its effects. Along the way, I learned much and wanted to help others in similar circumstances.

Sherrey: How have you gained your love of writing and your desire to write?

Pamela: I must admit that reading and writing in my teen years became an escape. Reading especially took me away to other places and helped keep my mind off my troubles. I love most genres of literature and have immersed myself in everything I read. My favorite categories are mystery and historical fiction. I believe writing is a wonderful way to heal wounds of the heart.

Sherrey: What gave you the confidence to write a book on this controversial topic?

Pamela: Frankly, my confidence was in the Lord. I hope that by writing my book helps repay some of the debt for the blessings He provides in such abundance. Sharing my story was not easy for me. Fortunately, I have a very loving family and friends who care. These people encouraged me to continue. I believe I had more determination and hope than confidence. Mia Angelo’s quote says it well – “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Sherrey: Did you ever feel sensitivity towards those in your book whose names you included?

Pamela: When I shared my manuscript with my beta-readers, I ask if I should use real names or fictional. My sister Paula, a major character in my childhood and healing journey, said, “We are who we are.” I am so appreciative of her attitude and support. My topic is sensitive, but it is my story to tell.

Sherrey: Who has this book benefited and why?

Pamela: Since writing this book, I have been surprised at the unexpected benefits. One friend shared a wish that she could have read it many years ago. She felt it would have helped her better understand and love her own mother, who was also a victim of incest. Many have told me that they shared the book with a friends dealing with similar circumstances such as: the mother of a child victimized, a woman dealing with effects of abuse perpetrated on her during childhood and now trying to raise her own children. Other victims also shared support and appreciation that I had a voice when they had none. Abuse can make one feel so isolated. I needed to tell my story to let others know that they are not alone and that someone cares and understands.

Pamela, thank you again for joining me today to discuss your memoir. Also, thank you for sharing your story so others may learn from your experience.

And now to the book~

This is a true story told using the memories of a child – my inner child. It is a story of survival – a love story without romance, but hope. It tells of the age old struggle between good and evil, light and dark forces around us. Jesus Christ has been saving souls throughout human history. Thankfully He is a part of my story.

and to the giveaway~ 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt by D.G. Kaye

D.G. Kaye's memoir, Conflicted Hearts
D.G. Kaye’s memoir, Conflicted Hearts

Somehow I believed it was my obligation to try to do the right thing by her because she had given birth to me.Burdened with constant worry for her father and the guilt caused by her mother’s narcissism, D.G. Kaye had a short childhood. When she moved away from home at age eighteen, she began to grow into herself, overcoming her lack of guidance and her insecurities. Her life experiences became her teachers, and she learned from the mistakes and choices she made along the way, plagued by the guilt she carried for her mother.

Conflicted Hearts is a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance, an exploration of the quest for solace from emotional guilt.

(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)

Imagine feeling frustrated and powerless in a situation you’re desperate to resolve. When you’re a child, that angst multiplies immensely because you are only that–a child. You have no power to speak out about what you’re feeling, and neither are you permitted to ask questions that might soothe your inner turmoil, because the cause of your dilemmas are adult matters that apparently shouldn’t concern you. ~ D.G. KayeConflicted Hearts

My Thoughts:

At the beginning of Chapter 8 of Conflicted Hearts , the same chapter from which the above quote is taken, D.G. Kaye writes the following:

We are the products of our parents. How can they teach us what they didn’t know?

Likely, these words resonate with more than one reader with parents from the same generation as Kaye’s.

The author’s fluid writing style and storyteller’s voice gives the reader a sense of sitting down over a steaming cup of coffee or tea with a friend. The friend begins to tell you what life was like for her as a child. You sit in disbelief, wondering how this positive, strong, loving woman lived through the parenting received at the mind and hands of her mother.

Yet, our author and friend lives with a guilt burdening her for far too long. This is the skin she wants to shed–the skin of her guilt feelings. It appears to this reader nothing has been D.G. Kaye’s fault with respect to her mother and her mother’s behavior. The guild is just another layer applied like frosting on a cake. Only this isn’t frosting. It isn’t sweet, and it leaves an acid taste in your mouth.

D.G. Kaye is not ashamed nor abashed about telling her story and sharing it with those willing to read. Her truthful memories will unfasten for others the doors to walk through to the other side of life. Life filled with love, happiness, and respect.

Thank you to the author for the gift of her words.

My Recommendation:

I highly recommend this book for anyone who lived through an emotionally and verbally abusive childhood, one like D.G. Kaye’s. Remember, you are not the one at fault, and reading Kaye’s memoir will help you understand that.

Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter's Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt

Book Details:
Publisher: D.G. Kaye
Published: January 9, 2014
Kindle Edition: 202 pages
ASIN: B00HDTPPUQ

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of Conflicted Heartsfrom the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Conflicted Hearts is available for purchase at the following booksellers:*

*Please read about Affiliate Links under the Disclosure tab above.

Meet D.G. Kaye:

Author D.G. Kaye
Author D.G. Kaye

D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction writer of memoirs about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues. She began writing when pen and paper became tools to express her pent-up emotions during a turbulent childhood. D.G.’s writing began as notes and cards she wrote for the people she loved and admired when she was afraid to use her own voice. D.G. journaled about life, and her opinions on people and events. She later began writing poetry and health articles for a Canadian magazine as her interest was piqued by natural healthcare.

Becoming interested in natural healing and remedies, D.G. began reading extensively on the subject after encountering quite a few serious health issues—family and her own. Against many odds, Kaye has overcome adversity several times throughout her life.

Kaye began writing books to share her stories and inspiration. She looks for the good and the positive in everything and believes in paying it forward. “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

Her favourite saying: Live. Laugh. Love …and don’t forget to breathe! is her website logo, to remind herself and others that we often forget to take a pause.

You can find D.G. on social media and her author and blog pages:

www.dgkayewriter.comwww.goodreads.com/dgkayewww.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7www.conflictedhearts.comwww.menowhatthememoir.com

www.twitter.com/@pokercubsterwww.facebook.com/dgkayewww.about.me/d.g.kaye.writer

(Image and bio via Goodreads)

National Child Abuse Prevention Month | April 2015

Most likely many of you were not aware that this month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. For some children, every month impacts their lives as a result of continuing abuse.
What makes up child abuse?

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse. From website of Childhelp

Each day someone abuses some of the children in our country. For these children, every day, week or month brings abuse of some kind. We dedicate one month each year to prevention of these horrific acts. Unless we take a more definitive stand and become involved, nothing will change for these children.

Photo by Patrik Nygren
Photo by Patrik Nygren

Growing up in a home where one parent chose abuse as a method of control, I feel strongly about abuses against children, women, and the elderly. Abuse is not an acceptable solution to any situation.

Those of us with time and/or money can find ways in our communities to help those suffering from a variety of abuses. Among the possibilities are donating to a center or organization committed to preventing such abuses. Perhaps volunteering at a facility housing and supporting abused children. What about lending a hand in performing administrative tasks? There is always something for someone to do at such organizations.

Please take a moment to consider what you can do in your community to protect the next victim of child abuse.

Growing up did you know anyone who suffered abuse as a child? At your school, in your family, or in the community where you lived? Were you ever the victim of child abuse? If you are comfortable, perhaps you’ll share with us in the comments section below.

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened, a Memoir by Lori Schafer

The child does not question, the child believes in the supremacy and the certainty of the parent, the child trusts. The child does what she is told. ~ Lori Schafer in On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened (Kindle Loc. 456)

Lori Schafer's book cover from On Hearing of My Mother's Death
Lori Schafer’s book cover from On Hearing of My Mother’s Death

It was the spring of 1989. I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school and an honors student. I had what every teenager wants: a stable family, a nice home in the suburbs, a great group of friends, big plans for my future, and no reason to believe that any of that would ever change.

Then came my mother’s psychosis.

I experienced first-hand the terror of watching someone I loved transform into a monster, the terror of discovering that I was to be her primary victim. For years I’ve lived with the sadness of knowing that she, too, was a helpless victim – a victim of a terrible disease that consumed and destroyed the strong and caring woman I had once called Mom.

My mother’s illness took everything. My family, my home, my friends, my future. A year and a half later I would be living alone on the street on the other side of the country, wondering whether I could even survive on my own.

But I did. That was how my mother – my real mother – raised me. To survive.

She, too, was a survivor. It wasn’t until last year that I learned that she had died – in 2007. No one will ever know her side of the story now. But perhaps, at last, it’s time for me to tell mine.

(Image and synopsis via Goodreads)

Book Details:
Publisher: Lori Schafer
Published: November 7, 2014
Kindle Edition: 85 pages

ISBN13: 9781942170044


Lori Schafer is an expressive and passionate writer. Considering the subject of her memoir, On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened, the reader would expect expression and passion. Yet, the essence of Lori’s writing is not based in the subject. Lori is a gifted writer. It does not matter what she is writing; her gift is in the craft and she is expressive and passionate about everything she writes.

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death … is a herculean and intense read for such a short book. A mother who is a professional marrier encumbered with mental illness, something a child doesn’t grasp, leads a life burdensome and frightening for her children. An older sister has left home, and Lori is left to fend for herself. By age 17, she is living on the streets.

Lori addresses the structure of her storytelling in a foreword. But it is the only structure I believe would have worked with Lori’s story. Told in flashbacks and present day, alternating as memories fluctuate, Lori organizes her story in the way a child would remember. Often Gloria, whom I believe is Lori’s inner child, tells much of the story making the structure reasonable.

The reader joins Lori as she watches her mother sink into the depths of mental illness, a specific diagnosis never given. It could have been any one of a number of mental illnesses, but the never-changing impact on the lives of her children were neglect and cruelty resulting in fear, side effects of the ravages of their mother’s untreated mental illness.

To hear the level of fear and the horrid conditions in which she lived is to join Lori on a most difficult journey. Years after leaving home Lori receives a letter from her mother:

That fear, it never quite went away. And when my mother wrote to me the second time, a decade and a half later [circa 2006], I was almost more afraid than I had been the first time. I’d just begun dating a man who had two young children. I had nightmare visions of her appearing on his doorstep with a butcher knife or worse. I sent out warnings to everyone I knew. Judy Green-Hair is back. Watch your step. Because you never know; you just can’t ever predict what someone with an untreated psychotic illness might decide to do. ~ Lori Schafer, On Hearing of My Mother’s Death (Kindle Loc. 865)

This is only one example of Lori’s continuing fear surrounding her mother and her untreated illness. It is hard to imagine living this way for so long. And yet, Lori survived.

I cannot leave you without sharing one last quote from Lori’s book:

… And while our individual experiences vary, the emotions are the same. We all hurt. We all have fear. We all have pain.

But we all, too, have strength. We have power. Even the weakest and meekest show us glow and shine with the light of hope, the light of life. We try, we fight, we strive. We endure. We survive. ~ Lori Schafer, On Hearing of My Mother’s Death (Kindle Loc. 1559)


If you are writing memoir or want to write memoir, I urge you to read this one. Lori’s writing style, character development, and scene building is exceptional. Her passion and expression when telling her story is real. These are the tools of your craft if you write memoir. Or if you simply enjoy reading the life stories of others, Lori’s memoir is for you too. To read of Lori’s life and know that she survived it is inspirational and encouraging.


Meet Lori Schafer:

I’m a very eclectic writer, by which I mean I’m all over the place. My first two novels, My Life with Michael: A Story of Sex and Beer for the Middle-Agedand Just the Three of Us: An Erotic Romantic Comedy for the Commitment-Challenged are humorous and genre-bending amalgamations of women’s fiction, romance, and erotica. But I also write memoir when the mood strikes; this is how On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened, a book commemorating my adolescent experience of my mother’s mental illness, was born.

In addition, I’ve had a ton of short work published in a wide variety of print and online venues – more than thirty pieces in the last year and a half – so if you enjoy flash fiction, short stories, and essays, please check out my publications page, where you’ll find links and a complete list of my credits. I have also published selected works as FREE ebooks on Amazon, ITunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, Smashwords, and Lulu, so feel free to download whatever strikes your fancy.

(Read more here)

(Image via Goodreads)

Where to Find Lori’s Book:

Currently, Lori’s book is featured in a Goodreads giveaway. You can enter the giveaway right here.

Note the list of distributors in Lori’s bio above.

You can also buy Lori’s book via:

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Silenced Voices of Abused Children

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Today I am pleased to join Gwen Plano on her blog, From Sorrow to Joy–Perfect Love. Last week Gwen visited me, and now I have the privilege of visiting Gwen. I hope you’ll come over and read my post and take a look around Gwen’s blog.

Silenced Voices of Abused Children

Via Lloydminster Interval Home
Via Lloydminster Interval Home

A little spoken of tragedy in our world is the silenced voices of abused children. Voices silenced for a variety of reasons are a hindrance to well-adjusted lives and justice for these children. Their scars are invisible, etched in tiny hearts and minds forever.

I was born in 1946, the first year of Baby Boomers. Our parents adhered to firm rules of 1940s and 1950s etiquette and discipline. Mama and Daddy were firm believers in proper behavior from their offspring.

Some likely familiar phrases heard on a regular basis in our home included:

  • Children should be seen and not heard.
  • Children should not speak unless spoken to.
  • Children should stand when an adult enters or leaves a room.
  • Children will not talk back or sass their parents or other adults.
  • Children will not begin a conversation with an adult; always wait for the adult to start the conversation.

These are only a few of the rules laid down for children in our family and culture to follow. Some of these often heard rules instruct children to be silent in certain situations involving adults. These instructions lay a perfect foundation for silencing children who are victims of abuse.

Read the rest here…