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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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 |


How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal by Brooke Warner | A Review

Image via Goodreads
Image via Goodreads

How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal

By: Brooke Warner
Publisher: She Writes Press
Published: October 25, 2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Author

Synopsis: How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal offers memoirists an easy-to-follow formula to create a winning book proposal that will attract agents and editors. Brooke Warner is a former acquiring editor and current publisher who breaks the nonfiction proposal into three editorial components and three marketing components. This ebook includes a section about platform-and an explanation of why memoirists need one and how they can build one-as well as real samples from authors who have sold their memoirs to traditional publishers off their proposals. Find easy-to-follow templates and smart tips for navigating agents and publishers, along with best practices memoirists can’t afford not to know!

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

With a memoir well on its way to completion, I’ve been muddling over what does a writer does once the manuscript is complete, when you believe it’s really ready for the hands of a publisher.

When the opportunity arose to review Brooke Warner’s newly released book, How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal, I signed on to help spread the word about it. Little did I know that a majority of my questions would be answered while I read the book.

Warner succinctly and with clarity provides a step-by-step guide to what a memoirist needs to do in order to place his/her manuscript on the correct pathway to publication. Leaving nothing to chance, she provides tips set apart in such a way that it is easy to thumb back through the book and easily spot them. Here’s an example similar to what you’ll find in Warner’s book:

TIP: THINK OF YOUR BOOK PROPOSAL LIKE A BOOK REPORT YOU WOULD HAVE DONE IN GRADE SCHOOL. IT NEEDS A TITLE PAGE AND A TABLE OF CONTENTS SO THE READER OF THE PROPOSAL KNOWS WHAT THEY CAN EXPECT TO FIND, AND SO THEY CAN SKIP AHEAD IF THERE’S SOMETHING SPECIFIC OF INTEREST TO THEM.

Additionally, Warner provides other best practices information with each chapter. These are extremely well written and easily understood. Samples of each phase are provided, including query letter, components of proposal, marketing research, etc.

Sprinkled along the way are resources Warner believes beneficial to the writer new to the marketing and publishing aspects of book publishing.

Her writing and format are both good examples of what agents and publishers will likely be looking for.

Considering the short length, 88 pages of text and tips, Warner answers all of my questions to date and has demystified the issues of platform, query letters, book proposals and more.

My Recommendation:

I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for people writing memoir who may be reaching that point where issues surrounding marketing and publishing begin to come into focus. This is by far one of the best examples of a “how to” book which clearly maps out the process for you.

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Meet the Author:

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

Brooke Warner is the founder and president of Warner Coaching Inc., where she specializes in helping writers get published. She is also the publisher of She Writes Press. In her thirteen years in the publishing industry, including seven-plus years as an acquiring editor at Seal Press, Brooke shepherded over 500 books through the publication process. Her expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. Brooke’s website, www.warnercoaching.com, is the recipient of an award from the Association of Independent Authors for Best Website for Independent Authors. She sits on the board of the National Association of Memoir and She Writes. What’s Your Book? is her first book and she’s proud to be publishing on She Writes Press. Warner lives in Berkeley, California, and works remotely with clients nationally and internationally.

Other places to connect with Brooke Warner:

Facebook: facebook.com/warnercoaching Twitter: @brooke_warner She Writes blog: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blog/list?user=1resr57ciyxus YouTube: youtube.com/warnercoaching Pinterest: pinterest.com/warnercoaching

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UP NEXT: Coming soon we’ll take a look at how to choose stories you’ll include in your memoir.