Book Review – Before We Were Yours

Breaking Silence Teleconference – Writing the Truth Memoir

There are books that come along and effect you more than others. The book by Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours is one that stirred several deep-seated emotions in me. The book is fiction, yet it is based on factual events surrounding Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society horrible episodes.

I had heard of occurrences involving the illegal adoption, but I didn’t realize this one existed for over twenty years. The fact authorities, politicians and people of wealth were aware, profited, and did nothing to stop it is appalling. How so many victims from a small region of our country were afflicted for years without intervention is unthinkable. No rationale is conceivable except inhumanity.

Spoiler Alert:

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Did You Forget Anyone This Christmas?

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My post from a year ago focused on the changing traditions of Christmas during my lifetime. As my life and the individuals that interacted changed so did my Christmases. Although, the tradition of going to Christmas Eve church services remained constant.

Christmas is the period of the year filled with hustle and bustle in preparing for the holiday. Whether or not we exchange gifts, there is the decorating of the house, attending parties, and holiday food preparation. It’s a wild and sometimes stressful period leading up to the grand day of celebration. No matter our religious affiliation, the holidays are the time to reflect the true meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. We expect to spend these celebrations with family and friends.

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Have you used CreateSpace?

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I had an experience I hope no one else has. If you did, please let me know how you resolved it. I have worked over the last month, editing and revising my first book (One Month…). Last Thursday, November 30, I uploaded the eBook to KDP and the paperback to CreateSpace (CS). Other than some formatting errors on my part, everything went smooth. KDP said it should appear within twenty-four hours. CS said to expect two to four business days. I was hoping it would be quicker.

I got an email from KDP Friday evening that the eBook was live. I went to Amazon to check and I was shocked at what I found. On a separate listing, was a third-party seller advertising my paperback book. It was listed for a price lower than my agreed price with CS. I traced the third-party seller and he had four plus star rating and had eighteen hundred previous listing. The seller had a picture of the front cover and the description from the eBook’s listing. I know that Amazon allows third-party sellers on just about anything. What was troubling, when CS hadn’t released it, how did he know about the paperback? The previous edition was in eBook only.

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As I promised, I have launched the revised One Month, Twenty Days, and a Wake-Up. Even when this book had excessive grammar and syntax errors, it is getting good reviews and selling. As an experiment, I used the editing software ProWritingAid to clean up as many errors it and I could find. The revision is now available on Amazon’s KDP as an eBook and will be available in two or three days as a paperback.

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Many of you who follow me and my blog post, know I have complained about poor sales on my second book What Did I Do? I have it listed with Amazon’s KDP as an eBook and a paperback. Initially sales did well, but after three months, they have all but stopped. I tried for two weeks doing a promotional for $.99; I sold four. I have done the sponsored ads (e.g. pay per click). I’ve promoted it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Flipboard, etc.

In my opinion there are several elements involved for the lack of sales. The prime consideration is the lack of reviews. I have pleaded and begged readers to leave a review. I get the typical promise, but they don’t follow through. I further believe the subject (e.g. child abuses) hinders people’s desire to read it. Whatever the cause, I have decided to not fret and move on.



Are you carrying around years of baggage that prevents you from personal growth?


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Even at my age of 71, I still carry the scars from child abuse. I have harbored my insecurities as a teen and a young adult when I felt vulnerable. I have been angry with my parents for their estrangement because they could not accept me as a gay man. This fueled the self-doubt and the low self-esteem I had to conquer.

For years, I did not realize this baggage strangled me in interpersonal relationships. At work, if criticized by my boss, I took it personal. He doesn’t like me. He thinks I’m stupid and I can’t do the job. He is trying to get rid of me.

Actually, he was giving me constructive criticism. He wanted me to make corrections that I had overlooked. He might  been attempting to expand my horizon and for me to take on additional responsibility. At the time, I didn’t see it that way.


Another Piece of Chuck Jackson

During my adult life, I actually had three careers. First was the four years I served in the military. When I left the military, I went to mortuary school, served a two-year apprenticeship, and then became a licensed funeral director and embalmer. I worked for funeral homes for twelve years. I started out in East Texas and most of my years were in San Antonio working for a prestigious funeral home.

They were rewarding years and I am proud of my career in the business. I left when I had a death in my immediate family and I could no longer work emotionally detached. I have many memories from the years I worked in the funeral business. Some are emotionally challenging, some involved historical individuals, and some in hindsight are comical. When you worked in view of the public, your demeanor was always dignified. When handling the remains of family members we served, we gave the same dignified and respectful care. However, I have to admit, behind the scenes were a lighter atmosphere between staff members. I have many stories of my experiences that will either pull at your heartstrings or enlighten you to the lighter side of funerals. I am going to share one of my experiences, which became notorious. I’ll let you decide if you think it was humorous.

Out of respect to the family that still owns and operates the funeral home, I am changing the name and the name of the owner. However, if your curiosity is such, you can find the story on the Internet by querying the name of the deceased that I have not changed. It will verify most of the details of my story.

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HuffPost Feb. 2014
If you have been following my blog post or social media pages, you know I have been discussing the issue of child abuse. I am no expert or do have the credential to advise anyone struggling with the issues. What I can do is share an article I have read. I can also tell you my experiences.

In one of my first blog post I wrote, I spoke about self-esteem (Self-esteem – A Self Examination). I told the story from my youth and the effects it had on my self-confidence and self-esteem. Had it only been that one incident, the long-term effects would not have been as severe. However, as I shared with the readers of my book, What Did I Do? my entire childhood contained incidences of mental and physical abuse.

I found the website Blue Knot Foundation – Empowering Recovery from Childhood Abuse. “Experiencing any form of childhood trauma and abuse can impact on an adult’s quality of life in fundamental ways. It can make basic day-to-day activities, such as eating, sleeping, working and study difficult. Trauma and abuse in childhood can also affect your mental health, physical health, and your relationships with the people around you…”

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Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

With my previous post, “Prelaunch Book Jitters” I opened the subject about book marketing. I admitted after I self-published my first book, that I had waited too long to develop a marketing plan. In fact, I really didn’t have one at all. The first few months, sales were brisk for being a novice writer. However, the sales were from friends, and friends of friends. Each month my sales dwindled until I went two month with no sales.

It was a big mistake waiting so long to start a marking program. Yet, it was even a larger mistake not having one formulated at all. I remembered all those post advising me to prepare a plan and implement it. I read that an author needed a website as well as being set up on social media. I also read that social media would not succeed alone. You must have a large following and email subscriptions too.

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What Did I Do? — Now Available

I want to acknowledge and thank all the individuals that played a part in transitioning my original manuscript into this book. It has been a long and arduous project. Often, I wanted to stop because I felt I didn’t have the talent to convey the emotional impact of my story. I wanted to bring awareness and credibility to the fight against child abuse. I wanted people to know that this atrocious offense continues within our families today. We cannot turn away when the life and sometimes the death of children are in peril. Whether you read my book or not, I beg you to never turn your back when you see or know of a child being neglected or abused.

Book Overview:

The veil of secrecy over the American family prevails and the covertness of child abuse continues. According to the National Children’s Alliance, approximately 700,000 (683,000 in 2015) children are abused each year. Child Protective Service (CPS) reports they investigate 3.4 million children and place them under the care of the CPS. These are frightening statistics attesting that child abuse is not in decline, but rather the opposite.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological mistreatment or neglect of a child or children. Have you ever suspected or even witnessed child abuse in public or in a home? If you did and did nothing, you are condoning the act and its effect on the child. Child advocacy groups are begging for the public involvement. Yet, little is being done.

Cover Design by Tatiana Vila of Vila Design

What Did I Do?  is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, What Did I Do?


Prelaunch Book Jitters

I know most writers can relate to how I am feeling. These emotions go by many names, jitters, butterflies, heebie-jeebies, etc. I am talking about the anxiety you feel when you are ready to launch a new book. I am at the final stages and most likely within days of launching my second book, What Did I Do?

It was a year ago that I published my first book, One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. I do not remember feeling this way, yet the apprehension was there. First, I worried if anyone would read it. If they read it, what kind of review would I receive? I made mistakes with the first one. The biggest was I did not have it professionally edited. I won’t do that again. I also waited too long to begin a marketing program. I will discuss these topics in future posts.

I have learned a ton of things since then. I have followed many blog and book writers here on WordPress. I have listened to their advice and taken notes. I tried my best to apply the things I learned. I can only hope it will be received well.

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Interview with Mr. Peace

My friend Annette Rochelle Aben does a podcast. Her guest recently was Kevin Szawala aka Mr. Peace. He is a motivational speaker with youth in schools and churches. This is well worth the time to listen to him speak about his work with youth preventing bullying and suicide prevention. Follow the links to the individual podcast (they are listed alphabetically). BTW mine is listed there also.


via Tell Me a Story Mr Peace Kevin Szawala