Category Archives: Autobiography

Interview with Lorraine Reguly

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picture of Lorraine RegulyLorraine Reguly, BA/BEd, is an author and English teacher-turned-freelancer for hire. She offers 4 different services on Wording Well: writing/blogging, and editing. She also helps others become published authors! Check out her services and see what she can do for YOU. You can also visit her author site, Laying It Out There.

Shauna Kosoris: Your first book, Risky Issues, is made up of mostly fictional short stories. Why did you decide to change to nonfiction for your new book, From Nope to Hope?

Lorraine Reguly: I saw that many people needed help.

I wrote about my suicide attempt, and that article hit the #1 spot on Google. I was getting over 500 people a day reading that blog post. I was surprised that so many people were contemplating suicide, and were looking for answers on what to do, on how to cope with their problems, and how to improve their lives.

As someone who continually struggled with suicidal thoughts for years, I wanted to share the exact strategies and techniques that I used (and still use, on occasion) to overcome mine. I also wanted to share how I maintain a positive outlook on life now. I am a much happier person than I ever was… now. Finally. Thank God!

From Nope to Hope is a book that will change your life! It also contains a built-in workbook with exercises for the reader to do (at the end of each chapter).

FYI… My first book, Risky Issues, was my “practice book.” I wanted to make sure I could go through all of the steps to self-publishing.

My second book is my pride and joy (next to my son, of course!). From Nope to Hope took me about a year to write, and I shed many tears during the process because of all the old memories it brought up. However, I completed it, published it, and sold many copies. I’m proud of myself for helping others. It brings me great joy to receive emails and messages from people I have helped. There is no greater feeling in the world than when someone tells me I literally saved their life. Wow. It’s just amazing!

After overcoming many obstacles in your life (many of which you share in From Nope to Hope), you were able to turn your life around. What do you credit with helping you get to this point?

There are many factors that contributed to the positivity in my life. The person who drove me to change myself was my son. He is also the reason I always chose to continue to live and move forward.

The other factors are the strategies and techniques mentioned in my book, From Nope to Hope.

However, it was the epiphany I had while I was in the hospital when my appendix burst in 2012 and I nearly died. I realized that I wanted to live, that I didn’t want to die without saying goodbye to my son, and that I had so many things I wanted to accomplish before I died.

So I began LIVING. I reconnected with my son, and many wonderful things happened as a result.

How Re-Uniting with My Son Impacted My Life tells them all!

Along with publishing your books, you’re also an accomplished blogger.  How did you get involved in copywriting?

Once I began blogging back in 2013, others started noticing me and how well I write. My writing is always perfect and edited to perfection. I started guest-posting as a way to “get my name out there,” and one website owner hired me to write articles each month for his site. I then began marketing myself as a freelance writer and editor.

Once I became an author, I started offering services to help others become authors too.

These are the services I offer.

What was your first published piece?

I have had many published pieces both online (in the last several years) and in local newspapers (about 20 years ago!) so I honestly cannot remember. Sorry!

For a list of my online publications, you can refer to my portfolio on Wording Well.

Thinking about Wording Well, why did you start your freelance writing, editing, and coaching service?

First and foremost, as a way of helping others. Secondly, to supplement my income.

I currently have multiple income streams. You can read more about them all in the article called The Essence of Blogging (+ How to Earn Money Online).

You have written many different pieces, from short stories and articles to blog posts and poetry.  Do you have a favourite writing style?  

LOL – I like them all!

I like writing true, factual accounts about both my life and about any topic, in general.

I love writing poetry.

My favorite would have to be sharing stories about my life, though. I love talking about myself and how far I have come in my life.

To learn a bit about the obstacles I have faced and the situations I’ve overcome, you can read My Life Journey (#inspirational #poetry + #motivational #poem).

What are you working on now?

I’m considering a historical book about Winston Hall, an apartment building that contained about 130 apartments before it ultimately burned down. It used to once house the women who worked in World War II and it, at one point, contained a bowling alley, a dance hall, and a concession stand that later became a convenience store.

In fact, my mom was the last person to run the store. I also worked there, as did my sister.

My paternal grandmother and grandfather lived in the building for about 40 years. I lived there, too, for about one-and-a-half years, with my son, when he was a baby (to age one). I had many friends who lived there. I grew up in a house across the street from Winston Hall.

Winston Hall was a HUGE part of my childhood!

What book or author inspired you to write?

No book. No author.

My mother was an elementary school teacher who quit teaching when I was born. I was her firstborn child and she taught me how to read and write at a VERY young age.

I was reading and writing cursive by the time I was in Grade 1. Other children my age back then were still learning how to print within two lines, and I was already writing within one. (I remember this because I got in trouble for disobeying my teacher. Can you believe that?)

Is there a book or author that you think everyone should read?

No. People should read whatever they are interested in.

My son does not read books, but he loves magazine and Internet articles.

I, on the other hand, prefer novels – mystery novels, to be exact.

And what are you currently reading?

I’ve heard many good things about Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and so I’m going to read that soon!

I’m currently reading (and editing) Maxwell Ivey Jr’s 3rd book. Max is a blind man from Houston, Texas, who is someone who is mega-inspirational to me. He lost over 250 pounds, runs two businesses, wrote a motivational guide book to success, wrote a book about weight loss success, and then travelled to New York City alone via train for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in 2016-2017.

Max also uses social media, has two websites, and is internationally known as The Blind Blogger, a moniker I gave him! He is simply AMAZING and is someone I admire the most in this world.

Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light: A Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide to Success is his first book.

It’s Not the Cookie, It’s the Bag: An Easy-to-Follow Guide for Weight Loss Success is his second.

We are still finalizing the title for his third!

Learn more about Max’s books.

Learn more about mine.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share a few tidbits about me, my books, and my life!

Fro

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The Book of Better by Chuck Eichten

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When you have diabetes, you may get stuck in a rut while trying to stay healthy.  That’s what happened to Chuck Eichten, who was convinced that his life was perfect.  His hemoglobin A1C, the test that shows your average blood sugar over the last three months, was 4.5; that’s what someone WITHOUT diabetes should have.  But to achieve that number, he was working out twice daily and getting severely low blood sugars.  After his fifth seizure-inducing low, he decided it was time for a change.  And that’s when he discovered that doing something better, even if it improved his life by just a little bit, is still better.  So he wrote The Book of Better to impart his wisdom to other people with diabetes in the hopes that they will avoid some of the mistakes he has made over his twenty-five years with Type 1.  He is not and never professes to be a medical professional; he just wants to make life easier for everyone with the disease, regardless of whether they have Type 1 or Type 2.

One thing I really liked about reading The Book of Better was that Eichten has Type 1 Diabetes.  The vast majority of books seem to be written about Type 2 diabetes because most people with diabetes have Type 2.  So it was awesome reading a book by someone who gets what I live with.

Eichten also has lots of funny little anecdotes and goofy comparisons through the book, making The Book of Better a really fun and quick read.

The one issue I had while reading The Book of Better was that it is American and uses mg/dL to talk about blood sugars rather than the mmol/L we use here in Canada.  If you’re used to mmol/L like I am, here’s a quick conversion to keep in mind while reading it (or any other American book on diabetes): 100 mg/dL equates to about 5.5 mmol/L, 70 is 3.8, 180 is 9.9, and 400 is 22.2.

Autobiography by Morrissey

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“How would you like it if someone ordered YOUR legs for lunch?” asks a dead serious Steven Patrick Morrissey as his manager orders frog legs. As one of the most influential and morrisseypolarizing musicians (and out spoken individuals) of our time, Morrissey in all his bleak and dramatic glory has published his first tell-all in the aptly titled “Autobiography”. At last, we finally gain some insight into a man who could simultaneously release a number 1 album in England and condemn Bryan Ferry for his taste in veal.

Known commonly as Morrissey or “Moz” to his fans, Morrissey became well known at first as one of the co founders of the alternative pop group the Smiths. Morrissey’s involvement in the Smiths as lead singer would be the music world’s first introduction to his distinct baritone vocal and lyrical songwriting about doomed relationships, despair, secrecy and death. Consider the following lyrics and how they combine more than just one emotion: Last night I dreamt/That somebody loved me/No hope, but no harm/Just another false alarm.

Despite the Beatlemania success the Smiths enjoyed, professionally the band members found it difficult to continue to work together which would inevitably bring the Smiths to an end. One of the centerpieces of “Autobiography” focuses on the years after the breakup when former drummer Mike Joyce sued Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr over unpaid royalties. Morrissey makes the claim that he was wrongly treated during the proceedings, but furthermore you feel his anger and disappointment that the demise of his beloved Smiths had succumbed to bitter rivalries over ownership disagreements.

Unlike some of Morrissey’s songs, “Autobiography” is not all doom and gloom. There are moments of great comedy, as well as passages of strange occurrences and bizarre interactions. There is much exposition on Morrissey’s early childhood to his relations with fellow musicians and record labels, philosophical musings on life and death to his views on vegetarianism. Much like his songwriting, “Autobiography” is full of wit, insight, sarcasm and sly humor. “Autobiography” will without a doubt delight old and new fans.

 

Petar Vidjen is a member of the Thunder Bay Public Library staff.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

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bossypantsTo start off this review, I have to say, OH MY GOD, I freaking love Tina Fey. My unconditional love aside I want to talk about Bossypants. I had this autobiography recommended to me by a really good friend two years ago when the book was first published. I can now look back and think what an idiot I was waiting to read this book. Firstly I recommend reading this book in any format, but I formally suggest you take a look at this book in audiobook format. The book is read by Tina Fey herself and it is the best thing ever. Hearing her life told by her just makes this book. It completes the experience of what she was going through, her ups and downs, her joys and most of all her humour.

This book is definitely a funny book. I mean the cover alone with her “clearly not her own hairy man hands” says it all.  From the first few sentences of her talking about how this book includes things for those looking to “raise an achievement-oriented, drug-free, adult virgin” it has something for you, or “love Sarah Palin and you want to find reasons to hate [her]”, it has something for you. It has something for everyone.

You start off as any autobiography as you would any story, at the beginning. We learn all about her young life in summer musical theatre group with the closeted gays of her city, her thoughts on pretty yellow (not referred to as blonde as everyone refers to her hair as brown) haired girls of the 80s and how she will never have the hips or behind of Beyonce, and thats okay with her. Follow through major life events, such as college, her run with the Second City Company, moving her way up to writer at Saturday Night Live to becoming executive producer of her Emmy Award Winning sitcom “30 Rock” -to which she only credits its success to Alec Baldwin.

Not only will you learn the career life of this fantastic women, oh no. You will also get a chance to hear all about her 12 steps of beauty, her tips on raising children, and also how to not to care what other people think even when you’re completely self conscious about everything.

While her life story is both fascinating and hilarious, which it really is, its the added effort in the audiobook that really captured my heart in this tale. I often found myself bursting with laughter only to have my co-workers have no idea what I was doing and thinking that I was obviously crazy. Added things like including the original Sarah Palin skit from SNL with Amy Pohler, or having minor fake endorsements to which may or may not exist, which she always says in a whisper just add that extra something this book needed to be even more funny. And lastly the most hilarious component is Tina Fey herself. You can clearly tell that she put a great deal of effort into this book and she never once was embarrassed about what happened in her life. She gladly spoke about all those little things that most of us would never to tell to anyone and she played it off for laughs. She is comic gold and it is her job. in my opinion, no one does Tina Fey better than Tina Fey.

From the first to last sentence this book will captivate you with humour and complete enamourment for the life and times of Tina Fey. For me, there were so many things to enjoy about this book. I really recommend for you all to read it. If you don’t like it, really don’t like it that’s okay. But honestly, if you need a little humour in your life, or an easy read, or are a fan of one of the funniest women around definitely check this book out and enjoy.

-Eric Stein

The Salmon of Doubt – Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time, by Douglas Adams

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The Salmon of DoubtNeedless to say, Douglas Adams was not your average fellow. Towering over the majority of us, not only in stature, but in terms of intellect, wit and all-round likeability, he was rudely snatched away at the age of 49. Adams’ humour was one of a kind: Eoin Colfer did a decent enough job of writing the last installment for The Hitch Hiker’s Guide (see review February 12, 2012), but it just wasn’t really the same.

Given the quirky, off-the-wall content of Adams’ musings, we could never expect to see anything remotely close to him again. Who else could have given us The Meaning of Liff, for example, a dictionary for words that should have made it into the dictionary but somehow didn’t? As a result, we now have the terms Affcot (n): The sort of fart you hope people will talk about afterwards; and Tulsa (n): A slurp of beer that has accidently gone down your shirt collar. Thank you, Mr Adams.

The Salmon of Doubt is a collection of various jottings, speeches, interviews, anecdotes and short stories salvaged from the multitude of computers Adams worked on. The last, chunkier section is the beginning of what would have been the next Dirk Gently novel. It’s a real treat, but an absolute tease as it’s obviously a work in progress. Reading it only made me weep.

From an early age, Adams was already showing signs of the writer he would become. At 12, he’d already had published a funny letter to the editor of The Eagle, a science fiction magazine in the sixties. The Salmon of Doubt, however, is probably the last publication that will have his name on it as author. Some sections are a little dry, but there are also some complete gems, including The Private Life of Genghis Khan and another entitled Cookies. The first teeters on the boundary of complete silliness and portrays Khan as just a regular guy with a regular job who, at the end of the day, really just wants someone to ask him how his day went. Towards the end of the story, Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, a character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide, appears randomly out of nowhere and pays Khan a pretty cutting insult. It’s predictably unexpected.

Cookies you’ll just have to read for yourself. Telling it would only spoil it.

Rosemary