Thursday, October 31, 2013

Legacy Letters and Epistolary Memoirs

While writing letters has become almost as common as listening to music on a Walkman, there can be an enormous benefit to engaging in a particular form of letter writing.

Epistolary memoirs are life events that have been captured in the form of written correspondence--yes, letters! You may ask, “Why would I want to do that?”

Passing along your memoirs is obviously important to succeed in offering your personal version of your life’s events and in order to prevent the stories from becoming forever lost. It offers loved ones a tangible form of documentation to preserve and hand down to future generations. Writing about your experiences in letter form is simply another option that might enable you to more easily allow the stories to flow.

Tackling Epistolary Memoirs

1-Chart a list of your memories and highlights that you want to be certain to include.

2-Choose an individual (child, grandchild, niece, nephew) or group of people (children, grandchildren, etc.) and write your stories directly to that person or group, clearly explaining about the people involved in the stories, exactly what occurred, the positive or negative impact on you and perhaps how you feel about those events.

3-Don’t forget to include sensory details (think sight, smell sound, taste, touch, feeling, thinking, distinctive characteristics of individuals including you).

When Time is Ticking on a Downward Spiral

Recently, a close friend and I were discussing an idea for gift-giving to folks who are elderly or under hospice care. Her thought was to buy a box of stationery and envelopes and suggest that the individual write a separate letter to each grown child and/or grandchild. I love that thought! Who wouldn’t appreciate a personalized  letter from a parent or grandparent that told them how much and why they were treasured? Or why certain circumstances existed? Or something they always wanted to say, but had never taken that step?

If you intend to give this stationery gift to someone, consider these points:

1-Don’t wait until they no longer have the capacity to recall their memories or to write the letters.

2-If they need assistance, encourage them to dictate the letters to someone who will write for them.

3-In searching for boxes of stationery to purchase, you may be surprised to discover that because of the world of instant communication in which we now exist, you may have to search extensively to find boxes of paper and matching envelopes that would have, at one time, been readily available. Check your local office supply stores, as they ordinarily carry these items.

4-If more convenient and practical, utilize a small handheld recorder to allow them to verbalize the letters they would write if they were able. Have the recordings transcribed into letters.

Tips for Writing Epistolary Memoirs or Special Legacy Letters:

1-Make a list of the individuals to whom you would like to share your thoughts.

2-Tell him/her what your relationship with them has meant to you. How has he/she enhanced your life?

3-What do you recall most about his/her personality, appearance, contribution to you personally and to society in general?

4-Describe special moments have you shared with him/her.

5-Once you are no longer here, what might you regret not having told him/her?

6-What words of wisdom would you like to share with future generations to whom your letters may be passed down?  For instance, by what philosophies/standards/goals/beliefs/values have you lived and operated? By what means has strength been imparted to you during difficult times?
Inspire them. Give them something meaningful which they and the next generations can clasp tightly to their hearts and benefit simply because you devoted a block of time to disclose previously unrevealed valuable thoughts and feelings. Your legacy matters.

About Mary Anne Benedetto:
Speaker, ghostwriter,  blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor and author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing and From Italy with Love & Limoncello, Coming mid-November, 2013: Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps. Mary Anne Benedetto’s passions include helping people preserve their life and pet stories, creating Christian fiction, visits with friends and family, world travel and walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches.  Please visit her at,, and

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Introducing A Brother's Vow by Naty Matos

Today we are featuring Naty Matos and her new book, A Brother's Vow. According to Naty, we all experience turning points in life:

"If we look at life as a journey, we will see that along the path we encounter many crossroads. Depending on the side we decide to walk when we encounter those forks on the road will determine how our journey will continue. 

Making the right decision at those times can be quite challenging. We may feel external or internal pressures to pursue either side of the path. We have to always remember that at the end of the day, it is us and only us who will either suffer the consequences or reap the benefits of our final decision.
I know that at the same time sometimes we sit at that fork, thinking that no decision is better than the wrong one. This cannot be further from the truth. Staying stagnant will always make us more miserable that any pain that we can encounter. 
I once heard Joyce Meyer say, “You have to make the best decision with the information you have at the moment. Even if it’s the incorrect one God will give you Grace because he knew you were trying to do the best with what you knew.”  Those words have stayed with me for a long time, and when I know that I need to make a decision that may constitute a risk, I remember these words. Obviously I research, seek counsel because I need that portion of the best information possible to assess the elements of my decision, but at the end of the day I have decisions to make to further my growth and to fulfill my purpose.
In my new book, A Brother’s Vow, Randall has made a promise that he never thought he would need to fulfill. Then he’s faced with having to make a life-changing decision in order to fulfill it. Join my journey and find out if he did and, if so, how it turned out."

Interview with Naty Matos

What inspired you to write this book?
I am always inspired by the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and that’s part of what inspired this story. There were times where decisions are clouded by condemnation or rebellion; so I decided to write a story from that standpoint.

How did you come up with the title?
To be honest, my first title was My Promise to Keep because the story centers around a promise that Randall, the main character, makes to his twin brother Brian and the events that follow him trying to fulfill that promise. I found that there were too many books with that title already, so I changed it to A Brother’s Vow, as it is a more fitting theme in the book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That no matter how far gone or deep in trouble we think we are, God always welcomes us with open arms and there’s always the chance for new beginnings.

How much of the book is realistic?
Nothing, this is a pure work of fiction.

What book are you reading now?
I just finished “Waking up Married” by Mira Lynn Kelly a few weeks ago which I truly enjoyed. I’m about to start “Until Forever” by Darlene Shortridge

What are your current projects?
I have a powerful book on the subject of domestic violence titled, Breaking Free that is at the second draft revision and a Christmas romance novella, Lost Love on Christmas Day, which is also at the second draft revision level. I’m hoping to be able to release those next year.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up, and keep on writing. Be open to correction and feedback.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Open yourselves to the opportunity of supporting indie authors. You will find that some traditionally published books are great and some are not; the same is true for the indie books. I have recently been watching some indie movies and found some great ones. It is time to open our minds to the concept that quality doesn’t always come behind a corporate label. Happy reading!

What is the main story line of A Brother’s Vow?
Randall Benson didn't think life could be any better. His job with the family business allowed him to travel and meet new people. His relationship with his girlfriend, the model, gave his access to all the red carpet events and parties, yet there was no requirement for him to be faithful. Although his family doesn't approve of his careless lifestyle, they love him and do whatever they can to keep him from self-destructing. Yet Randall’s only concern is Randall.

Randall’s world begins to come undone after a series of unexpected events. As Randall tries to settle down and become more dependable , his twin brother Brian seems to be headed down a path that Randall finds way too familiar. Brian makes an unusual request that, nonchalantly, he agrees to keep. He never thought that he would have to keep his word, but he does. As Randall struggles to fulfill his promise to his brother, he is confronted with challenges from his past. Will he succumb to his past and risk losing everything he’s worked so hard to accomplish?

This e-book is being launched on, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Print copies will be available within the next few weeks.

About Naty Matos
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.
Naty Matos

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction and maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at

Stop back soon for more!
All the best,

Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect and From Italy with Love & Limoncello.