Writing Memoirs

Writing Memoirs by Kathy Stewart

Author’s Blurb Learn how to find your ancestor, build a family tree, do a family search and leave a legacy of your life for your descendants via a well-written and interesting life story. Learn the craft of writing plus useful tips on how to writ a family history that is both compelling and entertaining from editor, Kathy Stewart, who has worked on memoirs and autobiographies since 2004.

Review by Hazel Barker

Writing Memoirs illustrates the researching process, and points out the pitfalls to avoid. The author shows how to begin writing, explains the pros and cons of each point of view, and guides the reader through the writing process until they finish with a polished memoir.

Each chapter ends with writing exercises to prepare one before commencing to write. The book is thoroughly researched, and covers every aspect of the subject.

Had I read Writing Memoirs before embarking on my memoir, Heaven Tempers the Wind, it would have saved me endless time and worry. I recommend this treasure-trove by Kathy Stewart to all would-be memoir writers.

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Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart, Authors’ Ally, 2015

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart, Authors’ Ally, 2015

Author’s Blurb

From the author of Chameleon comes this historical fiction novel, Mark of the Leopard, the second in the African history series, a story of romance, mystery, danger and betrayal set against a backdrop of wild lands and raging seas.

In 1703 Sabrina Barrington and her children are shipwrecked and presumed drowned off the Cape of Good Hope, the site of the present-day city of Cape Town. Fourteen years later, an investigator tells Sabrina’s brother, Lucien Castle, that one of his sister’s children has been seen on the island of Madagascar, off Africa’s east coast. It is imperative to return the youngster to England before his twenty-fifth birthday, otherwise his grandfather, the corrupt and detested Robert Barrington, will usurp his rightful inheritance. Castle is the only one who can confirm the young man is not an impostor. In order to do this he must leave the comfort of Amsterdam in Holland and embark on a journey into the unknown.

Will Castle be able to overcome his demons and find his nephew in time? Or will he succumb to the perils that beset his epic expedition every step of the way?

In a voyage that takes them from the untamed island of Madagascar to the storm-tossed Dutch outpost at the Cape of Good Hope, Castle and his companion must face innumerable dangers and battle not only rival investigators but also each other.

Review by Hazel Barker

Mark of the Leopard by Kathy Stewart is a fast-moving story that is difficult to put down. It is a novel rich in history and laden with suspense. The author has clearly done extensive research and woven it seamlessly into the novel. She uses her skills as an historian to write a gripping yarn.

The characters, and in particular, Lucien Castle, who goes in search of his nephew, Tom Barrington, spring from the page. A sense of guilt regarding his wife and children, stirs Lucien to help his sister’s son. He fears the sea and faces his fear time and time again, in order to save the boy.

Kathy Stewart is a versatile writer and is the author of children’s books as well as several books of non-fiction.

Mark of the Leopard is her second novel. Her debut novel, Chameleon was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award in 2010.

 

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Australia Day 2016

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Australia Day 2016

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Live Peace by Margaret Reeson

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Live Peace by Margaret Reeson

 

Live Peace: Joy Balazo and Young Ambassadors for Peace by Margaret Reeson

(Acorn Press, 2015)

Author’s Blurb

As an experienced worker for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Joy Balazo was troubled by the many examples of conflict she was observing. In 2001, she devised a practical model of workshops and networks to sow ‘seeds of peace’ among young people living on opposite sides of conflict. This was named Young Ambassadors for Peace. Joy has used this model in many context As an experienced worker for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Joy Balazo was troubled by the many examples of conflict she was observing. In 2001, she devised a practical model of workshops and networks to sow ‘seeds of peace’ among young people living on opposite sides of conflict. This was named Young Ambassadors for Peace. Joy has used this model in many contexts, including Asian cities and Pacific islands, to help hundreds of people work for peace in their own broken communities.

Review by Hazel Barker

Live Peace by Margaret Reeson, is an excellent account of Joy Balazo and her attempts to foster peace by establishing the Young Ambassadors for Peace Programme. Her work in Papua New Guinea is the start of her journey to improve co-operation between churches and to bring about reconciliation between the opposing factions within the country. (Page 72)

The simple tactics used in the workshops surprised me, and the success, unexpected. It was backed, however, by those behind the scenes, and above all, by the grace of God. (Page 106)

The lessons learned by the work are to be commended, but the protagonist’s actions, although praise-worthy, were repetitive and not conducive to enticing the reader to read on. I think this is mostly because the writing style is not consistent. Had the story remained in the Active Voice, like that on pages 74, 77, 90 and 91, the book would have more appeal to a wider audience.

Despite this, I recommend Live Peace for its valuable content, and for introducing readers to the extraordinary life of a brave soul.

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