Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolving to Write in 2013

Is anyone else trying to figure out where 2012 has gone? This year has zipped by like an Air Force jet breaking the sound barrier. I realize that I was consumed by releasing two books, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing and Never Say Perfect and speaking to groups on the topic of memoir writing, plus moving my mom from North Carolina to Pawleys Island, SC, but I feel as though I just went to sleep in January and woke up at the end of December and am facing 2013 with a long “To Do” list and much to accomplish!

January always brings thoughts of new beginnings, fresh ideas, and a resolve to do some things differently, raising the bar slightly higher to set even loftier goals. What do I hope to achieve in 2013?

  •  Releasing a book that features my 2011 tour of Italy with three friends (as chronicled in my blog at in print format and as an e-book for Kindle and Nook. The title is From Italy With Love and Limoncello, and I expect a release date of late January or early February if I can devote a few uninterrupted days to final editing and formatting!

  •  Continued progress on the ghost writing of the life story of a dear friend, whose experiences rival a Lifetime TV movie. Some of the obstacles she overcame are truly amazing, and throughout the darkest days and most difficult times, she remained enthusiastic and appreciates every single day of life. This story is a work-in-progress, but I would like to see this book reach publication some time in 2013. I know it will be an inspiration.

  • Continued progress on writing Never Say Hopeless, the sequel to Never Say Perfect. In this next saga, Laina accepts a challenge that is way beyond her comfort zone. The family adventure continues. Will she and Connor ever have a serious, committed relationship? Will Susan marry Dr. Scott Beck, the renowned plastic surgeon? Will Jason continue to live in Milan and marry Allegria? Stay tuned! This one’s going to glue you to the pages.

  • Two more “How To” books for writing life stories—one for your pets and one for your spiritual life.

  • On a personal note, I want to try to connect more frequently with beloved family members and friends in spite of a crazy schedule and one that requires blocks of time in isolation in order to concentrate on the above projects. I also want to make sure I remain active with my church and Life Group, a special collection of ladies, and to attempt to carve a little time for my golfing friends. I think we’re already at the point of needing far more hours in the day than exist.

I hope you’ll contemplate your 2013 goals and resolutions, and try to include making this the year that you take active steps to preserve your life stories for future generations. There are amazing memoirs and autobiographies out there to read, which will help you gain some insight into how this genre is successfully written. Four examples that I have recently read are The Man of Passage by Ian Mathie, Days of a Wounded Heart by Barbara Flowers Jacobs, The Outhouse at the End of the Earth by Sherry Day, and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. In these non-airbrushed stories, the authors reveal events that represented the good, the bad, and the ugly in life. Jeannette Walls describes a childhood that makes Honey Boo Boo appear to be living a luxurious life!

If you want to discover an uncomplicated, logical method of writing about the events of your lifetime, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! will gently guide you through the process. It was written to remove the “overwhelmed” feeling from an otherwise daunting memoir writing project.

My next blog post will feature an interview with Stuart Gustafson, a dynamo who shares my passion for memoir writing, creating fiction, and travel. Please watch for that post in mid-January.

May 2013 bring you joy, hope, good books to devour, excellent health, many blessings, and much love!

Mary Anne

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance

Pearl Harbor Day

Most people are aware, on some level, that December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day. Before I personally toured Pearl Harbor a few years ago, the massive impact of that day had eluded me. Then I stood there on the memorial of the USS Arizona listening to the gripping story of what transpired that day and remembering that my own dad, Ralph Greene, had been right there on December 7, 1941 when the winds of war shifted to obliterate an unsuspecting Pacific fleet.

I had a multitude of questions that I wanted to ask him after having actually been there to that revered, sacred location where I could almost visualize the Japanese bombers coming in across the blue skies on that February morning of my visit. It was simply too late, however. Dad had passed away about five years before I found myself visiting Oahu.

Why had I never sat down with him to ask him to tell me about that day? I wanted to hear every detail—from the time he awakened that morning until he sent a telegram to his parents that served as an answer to their prayers—word that he was okay.

My Aunt Ruth, Dad’s sister, wrote a few pages of family history many years ago and references the state of shock they and the entire country were in and that the “whole week was a nightmare until Dad and Mama received a telegram the next Sunday saying Ralph was fine. That was such a relief to all of us.”

As it turned out, Dad’s family was going through a devastating time. His older brother George was killed in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina on December 15, 1941—just days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  After Pearl Harbor settled down, Dad was shipped out to Guadalcanal and then the Solomon Islands. Aunt Ruth stated in her family history accounting, “Those were dark days. It was very hard on Dad and Mama with the loss of one son and not knowing what news would come from day to day about the other one under such grim circumstances.”

I clearly remember my dad always having a special fondness for my cousin David. When George was killed, his wife Violet was expecting, and David was born six months after George’s death. I think David was always Dad’s link to the brother he had lost when he was far away in the midst of a cruel war.

An article about Dad’s service in a local newspaper in 1944 said, “His most interesting experience was once on Guadalcanal when the Japs raided them with 110 planes. The Japs lost 97 while we lost only six. Everywhere he looked, there was a Jap plane falling. Then there are many incidents, he says, that one doesn’t care to remember, not now anyway. He says the only reason for his being here today is due to the prayers of friends and loved ones, with a little luck on the side.”

Visiting Pearl Harbor changed my life. It injected me with a fervent passion to influence people to capture and preserve their stories to pass along to future generations. We need to engage the older folks in conversations and record their stories. Those exchanges can be transcribed into a document that will preserve history. And as senior citizens, we need to embrace our responsibility to share our stories with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and provide a priceless document of family history to them.

Fast forward from December 7, 1941: This is a photo of the young lady Dad fell in love with when they began dating in North Carolina in April, 1945—the beautiful lady who would eventually become my Mom!

Just a few facts about Pearl Harbor: the bombing began at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, 12:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The attack that day took less than two hours, killing approximately 2,500 and wounding approximately 1,000. Almost 300 airplanes and 18 American ships were lost.

In 1949, the Pacific War Memorial Commission was formed to create a permanent tribute to those who were lost, but it wasn’t until 1958 when President Eisenhower signed legislation to create a national memorial that action was taken. Funds came from the public and private sectors, including over $50,000 raised by Elvis Presley via a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor for this purpose. This funded more than 10 percent of the final cost of the memorial, which was dedicated May 30, 1962. At, Jamie Lee Curtis narrates a brief audio tour about Pearl Harbor.

Time has a way of speeding along like a high flying Peregrine Falcon diving to catch its prey. Don’t let the stories be forever lost. There is no rewind—no going back. The time is now. Besides, it’s actually an enjoyable experience! Learn how to jump-start your memoir project in 7 Easy Steps!
Visit for format options for this helpful guide.

On this Pearl Harbor Day, let’s say a prayer of thanks to all veterans who have served to keep our country free and continuous prayers for those who currently serve and sacrifice on our behalf. Thank God for those willing to risk their own lives for our safety. We owe them more than we can ever repay.