Work-in-Progress Blog Tour | My Memoir-in-Progress

The holiday season brought to mind the impact of community. Community with which we gather to celebrate various seasons of the year are part of who we are. My online writing community became my support in 2014 during some difficult times, and without them, I would not carry out nearly as much as I do day-to-day.

Primarily, I want to thank Madeline Sharples, author of the memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, her story of living with her son’s bipolar disorder and surviving his suicide. You can read my review of Madeline’s memoir here.

I am also grateful to Madeline for tagging me to take part in this blog tour. Madeline’s tag simply jarred me out of the doldrums of the Pacific NW winter and back into the life of writing. Read about Madeline’s work-in-progress here.

So here goes:

My Work-in-Progress

Synopsis and story idea :

My memoir is the age-old story of a dysfunctional and abusive mother-daughter relationship. However, my story has a surprising twist, one I never expected and I doubt my readers will either.

Until I was 57, I believed my mother despised me and did everything within her Southern matriarchal power to destroy my dreams and aspirations. Suddenly, however, everything changed at a point when she found herself in need of finding a way to escape abuse herself.

My husband and I became her salvation and in a matter of months, she died peacefully. However, a silent, invisible gift was left as she gained the home she always dreamed of.


The first draft is finished. Upon reading it, I made the earth-shattering discovery it did not read well and needed major revisions. Not surprising, I’m told by other writers.

In the meantime, a local Portland author led a workshop I attended in August 2014. I enjoy her books and writing style. Her teaching methods and background tempted me to sign up for a course an artists and writers’ collective sponsors. As luck would have it, I fell ill two sessions into the course and had to drop out. I will be able to start over in April and hope this course equips me to write a stronger story line and develop characters forging together my story in so readers will not want to put it down.

Here are brief excerpts from my first three chapters:

Mama’s Toolbox [working title]


For some time, I ruminated over writing my story down. What would family say or think? What would friends of our family say or think? Should I change peoples’ names? Should I write under a pseudonym? And then the last question, why obsess?

It is, after all, my story and my mother’s. And yes, it is a story written many times by many different people. Yet every story is different. Each one defines a difficult mother/daughter relationship differently, especially those of the abusive kind. And I believe each one has something in it to help another, maybe more than one person.

Chapter One:

September 2000

I picked up the phone as soon as I’d sat down a couple of bags and checked for voice mails. There were a couple from my boss, but also one from an older brother that put into motion unexpected emotions at my end of the line.

“Hi, there! Thought you’d want to know what I did with your mother this weekend. Call me.”

That was it. What he did with my mother? She was his mother too. What was that all about? And what could he have done? I held power of attorney for our mother’s health care and finances, so he couldn’t have legally done anything with our mother.

Chapter Two:

December 2000

As I flew toward home in Oregon and all things comfortable, I considered the events leading up to this trip.  So far, it had not been an easy one.  Several weeks of anguish over my mother’s confinement in a nursing home and her allegations of abuse had pointed me toward resolution of my mother’s situation.  It is said “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), and I clung to the hope this was true.

In many ways, however, I felt that perhaps the truth was about to imprison me.  My plans surrounding Mama’s situation were indefinite from this point forward.  No detailed, step-by-step recipe showed me where I’d be in a day, a week, a month, maybe in years.

The work-in-progress blog tour rules:

1.  Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.

2.  Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work-in-progress (I overdid it a bit on this one).

3.  Nominate four or more other writers to do the same. (Unfortunately, many of the writers I would select had already been tagged, and at the end of the day I came up with only three takers.)

Tag. You’re it!

I’m so pleased to recognize and introduce you to friends and writing colleagues who have agreed to take part in this work-in-progress blog tour. I hope you’ll stop by their sites and get to know them and their work.

Dorit Sasson is an author, blogger, teacher, blog talk radio host, mentor and coach. Basically, Dorit is a busy woman. Dorit’s writing appears in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Timenow part of a best-selling series, and she has published two books on teacher collaboration for K-6 ELL students. Dorit’s work-in-progress is a memoir.

Luanne Castle is a woman of varied talents. Her bio shares her educational background but getting to know her through her blog and her poetry and memoir writing has shown me she can juggle many styles of creative arts at one time. Luanne’s first full-length collection of poetry, Doll God, hit bookstores January 10, 2015. (Congratulations, Luanne!). Luanne is also working on a memoir.

Jade Reyner and I met when I reviewed Jade’s first book in her Twelve Days series. The first and second books, Twelve Days: The Beginning and Twelve Days: The Future, are now under editorial review and will be re-released soon. The third in the series is still a work-in-progress, and Jade has plans for at least two others in this series. If her writing doesn’t keep her busy enough, she is mum to two boys and volunteers at the local school.

Dorit, Luanne and Jade for so willingly agreeing to take part in this WIP blog tour. I look forward to reading your posts in the future.

How about you? Do you have a work in progress you’d like to share? Share in the comments and perhaps someone will tag you!

13 thoughts on “Work-in-Progress Blog Tour | My Memoir-in-Progress

  1. Sherrey, you have a story full of conflict and drama. In life that can feel like a curse sometimes. In writing, it’s a gift. You have me hooked in Chapter One after that short phone message.
    So glad you are working and progressing! It’s a long, hard process, but I know you will persist. We’re here for you. Write on!

    1. Shirley, thank you for the affirmation regarding my story. It is always a bit nerve wracking to put your words out there for others to read, but this has been an awesome experience today.
      As I mentioned to Kathy, when I landed online and searched for other memoir writers, I landed well in the middle of a wonderful group of writers, including you, Kathy and Madeline. How blessed I feel!

  2. Dear Sherrey, As you know, I’ve been hooked into your story since you began sharing “Letters to Mama” but you have taken me to a deeper level of intrigue through these engaging brief excerpts. Congratulations for persisting in your journey. Shirley is right. We are here for you as you move toward publication. Wishing you the best. I also am looking forward to hearing from Dorit, Jade and Luanne. We all gain so much from one another when we share our stories.

    1. Kathy, once again you have bearing gifts of inspiration, encouragement, and support. Thank you, friend. I landed well when I found my online writing community. You, Madeline, and Shirley are tops among my cheering squad! I too look forward to Dorit, Luanne and Jade’s posts. We’ll enjoy them together!

  3. What seems to be unique about your mother-daughter story is that until you were 57, you thought she despised you. From the start, you catch my interest to learn the true story behind this and what happened to change it.
    Then you have a great line “I felt that perhaps the truth was about to imprison me.” This sentence stands out as one that most memoir writers can relate to when faced with the challenge of writing about difficult/painful relationships. I know how intense this writing can be. Recently, when I revived a memoir written years ago, those feelings re-emerged and made me their hostage all over again.

    1. Penelope, thank you for your comments and words of support and encouragement. To live through our past is difficult at best, but when writing it down, it seems to take on a life of its own again. However, the reactions to what people have read today gives me affirmation that I’m writing so that people will want to read. Again, I appreciate you stopping by today.

  4. Sherrey,Yay! You’re writing again…and you’re right, each mother-daughter relationship is unique and I pray your writing continues to progress and you continue to find more healing as you write 🙂

    1. Yes, Dolly, I’m getting back into the swing of writing the book, or rewriting that is. I’m enjoying it, and I’m hoping to finish this year. What I’ll do after that — either self-publish or perhaps have one copy spiral bound for myself. I never have fully committed to the entire marketing, book tour, launch party part of writing a book. To get my story down for my family was most important. Thank you for stopping by and I hope and pray you’ll continue to visit here. Your friendship is important to me.

      1. Sherrey,I will stop by again…and Yes, your friendship is definitely important to me, too…Thankful to have met you via blogging 🙂

  5. Sherrey,My best on your first revision of your memoir. I have been in this process myself, and I know how difficult it is. Years ago I wrote poetry and short stories. Today I write poetry and this memoir. I think memoir is by far the most difficult genre. How difficult to straddle so many positions, for instance. We are performing therapy on ourselves at the same time that we must give our creative spirit free reign and we also must be impartial readers of our own writing about our own lives. Yikes!!! Thank you for sharing the opening lines from the beginning of your book. This post inspires me! And thank you so much for including me in this blog tour!

    1. Luanne, anything other than memoir seems much easier. I think perhaps it is the stories we are telling, the memories recurring. Rewriting, however, may be more fun than the first writing. We’ll see. Thanks for agreeing to participating in the tour! I look forward to your post.

  6. Sherrey, thanks so much for continuing our work-in-progress blog tour. I’m pleased to read about your memoir and some of its first words. You have already gotten me interested in reading more. I wish you all the best for your revision. Please be patient. It’s a long, long process but one that will pay off in the end. All best, Madeline

    1. Madeline, thanks for inviting me to participate and continue the tour. It was fun pulling together my excerpts and reading the reactions of my readers. Once again I want to thank you for your encouragement and support as I write my story. Your friendship is a gift never anticipated when I began writing.

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