A Reading Group Discussion Guide

A Reading Group Discussion Guide for Growing Up In Mama’s Club is now available at the bottom of the Home and Biography pages of the www.richardekelly.com website. There is a “page view” version that can easily be seen on any computer and is searchable by Google and Yahoo. There is also a PDF version for quick printing. Actually both are printable in most cases.  But if your printer gives you problems, you can use the PDF version. If you don’t have Acrobat Reader, then you can use the page view version.

Question 12 on the Guide asks the readers, “Do you believe that only unintelligent people are attracted to the Club? Why do you feel this way?” It was this question that generated a long, interesting discussion at one of the Book Clubs that I met with in October. How would you respond to these questions?

One young woman told me rather spiritedly that before she read the book, she always thought Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t very smart. Then after getting to know Mama, she had changed her mind. It wasn’t that these people didn’t have good minds. Its that they consciously chose not to use their thinking skills, abdicating instead to have someone else make those decisions. She thought it was a little scary, reminding her how important it was to be able to question what she was told by the leaders of the church she attended without being made to feel guilty.

After reviewing the Reading Group Guide, I would be very interested in knowing your suggestions for making the Guide as user friendly as possible. What would you add, delete, or change? You can respond to me in this blog or by emailing me at parkerridgepubs@aol.com.

I Couldn’t Have Done it Without Them

Several readers of Mama’s Club have told me they too have a story to tell, asking for my advice on how to put their memoirs into print. While I’m certainly not an expert, here’s how it worked for me:

After doing my first draft of Growing Up In Mama’s Club I asked a trusted friend to read it and give me his advice. While it was a bitter pill to swallow, Bob Rogers didn’t mince words. He told me that I had way too much anger and needed to learn how to write. It was an honest diagnosis of where I was at that moment in time. I needed to hear the truth so that I could ultimately come up with a plan to resolve my problem. Fortunately, professional help was available. And for the next three years, I went back to school, learning to write, and I exorcised my demons.

But being able to write is not enough if one’s goal is to get their story into print and to have people want to read it. I needed an editor that I could work with. Someone who understood where I was in my learning curve, shared my passion for getting it into print, and could give me constructive criticism. After finishing my story, I needed a publisher or for someone to help me self-publish. Then I needed someone with the graphic skills to design an attractive book cover. And because I wanted to include pictures in my book, I needed a photographer familiar with restoring old pictures and knowing how to present them in a paperback book. Once I had the book complete, I needed to let people know about it and why I thought they would enjoy reading the book. I prioritized the Internet as the place to start. But I needed a technical expert who knew how to set up an easy to use, attractive website. And so, I have described the team of experts who helped me get Mama’s Club to where it is today. If you would like to meet those five talented professionals and learn how I met them, I would encourage you to link onto the new Acknowledgments section on my main website.