Story Circle Network

  Story Circle Network

  ...for women with stories to tell

National e-Letter  
January 2012, Vol. 13, No 1  

Stories From the Heart VI

SCN's One Woman's Day Blog
Stories From the Heart Plan now to join us for a unique and exciting event: the sixth national women's memoir conference of the Story Circle Network! Come, learn, share, celebrate with us as we honor our stories!

April 13-15, 2012
Wyndham Hotel, Austin, Texas

Check out our newly-posted conference program and read about our presenters!

Download the conference brochure!

Submit your application to be a vendor!

Conference Subsidy Raffle. We're raffling off a cameo appearance in one of Susan Wittig Albert's two mystery series. Your raffle purchase will help SCN members attend this year's conference, and other SCN projects. Details, entry form.

Silent Auction Donations Needed! We are seeking donations for the Silent Auction. At the 2010 conference, bidders competed for a gorgeous Dick and Jane quilt, fabulous jewelry, hand knitted socks, scarves, and shawls, art work, photographs, signed copies of SCN member books, book baskets, certificates for coaching and editing, and much more. You can go here to check out last year's selections for ideas, and here to learn how easy it is to donate.

Super-Star Blogger of the Year!

SC/ES Each month, we feature one of our SCN bloggers in our national eletter. This selection is made on the basis of the blog's outstanding content, visual appeal, and the value of its contribution to the growing universe of lifestory blogging.

A team of judges has already done a first-round screening and chosen four of our twelve 2011 Stars to continue to the second round. Now it's your turn! Go here to help us select the best of the best. (members only; deadline January 31)

SCN's Online Writing Workshops

Is 2012 the year you take your writing to the next level? Whether you're just beginning to write or you've been writing for years, SCN's Winter term has something perfect for you, including brand new courses in memoir and lifewriting, journaling, sharpening your writing skills, as well as social networking and publishing options. Read full course descriptions and sign up for classes on our Story Circle Online Classes website.

If you'd like personal, one-on-one help building your writing skills or with a specific writing project, check out SCN's Writing Mentorship Program. Work with an experienced mentor to accomplish your best!

Are you an experienced teacher who loves empowering other writers? We are always eager to see new course proposals from women writers who have taught memoir, journaling, life-based fiction, and other life-writing forms. We also want to offer more courses on platform building, social networking, and publishing options. Online teaching experience helpful. (The deadline for spring 2012 class proposals is January 20, 2012.) Go to our website for more details.

Story Circle Book Reviews: By, For, and About Women

We're opening the eleventh year of StoryCircleBookReviews, the largest and longest-lived women's book review site on the Internet! If you're a reader, reviewer, author, or publisher of women's books, you'll want to get acquainted with us.

SCBR is currently featuring 8 editors' picks, along with Judy Whelley's review of Untie the Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, as well as Lisa Shirah-Hiers' interview with Gail Straub, the keynote speaker for SCN's 2012 conference. We also offer dozens of author interviews that help to tell the story behind the books that women love. Blog posts by Trilla Pando and Judy Miller keep you updated. And hey, we're on Twitter! And Facebook!

Advertising at SCBR
If you're a woman author of a book for or about women, find out how your book or other writing-related activity or item can be targeted to 1000s of readers—and how your SCN membership can save you advertising dollars.

Reviewing for SCBR
If you're a writer who loves to read books, reviewing is a great way to build your writing portfolio. We're always looking for strong reviews of books by, for, and about women. For details, visit Reviewing for StoryCircleBookReviews.

SCN's Editorial Service

SC/ES It's January. Time to make our resolutions for the new year...before we break them. As actress/comedienne Catherine O'Hara wrote, "I know. I'm lazy. But I made myself a New Year's resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have 'til December, right?"

It's a fresh year. Time to make your mark. And when you finish that masterpiece, remember that you're not quite done. Let one of the professional editors at SCN Editorial Service help you with copyediting, conceptual or organizational editing, or that final proofreading. Our editors are thoughtful, sensitive, and keep their egos in your voice shines through. Make your resolution today to contact Story Circle Network's Editorial Service. Now keep your first resolution and get to writing!

SCN Bloggers: Dawn Thurston

Dawn Thurston Dawn Thurston is January's Blogger of the Month. Dawn is the author of Breathe Life into Your Life Story. A genealogist and a member of both SCN and the Association of Personal Historians, she teaches the writing of personal history and uses her blog, Memoir Mentor, to feature the writings of lifestory writers who have studied with her. We admire Dawn's energetic support of the lifestory movement!

If you are an SCN blogger, tell us so we can add you to our growing list of member bloggers. We added 2 new blogs to our blogroll this month: we're now at 113!).

Real Women Get Involved

Conference Volunteers Needed!
Want to take on a responsibility that might actually be fun? One that directly affects SCN's ability to put on this phenomenal conference? Volunteers are being accepted now for our April, 2012 Stories from the Heart VI, SCN's sixth national memoir conference. Go here to read more.

Seeking Coordinator for Older Women's Legacy (OWL) Circle
The SCN Board of Directors is looking for a new OWL Coordinator. If you have led OWL circles and might be interested, check out our job description [members only, please].

SCN's HerStories Blog
We're looking for a volunteer to help us get the word out about the SCN HerStories blog. If you love online and personal social networking and would like to serve the Story Circle Network, read more [members only, please].

"Rest and you rust," says Helen Hayes. If you're an SCN member who wants to lend a hand, we have a job for you. For a list of available opportunities for volunteer work, check out our Get Involved page, where you'll find several important projects waiting for you.

SCN In Print, Online

See Your Work in Print! We publish original stories from SCN dues-paying members, in "True Words" (in the print Journal) and in E-Extra!, our online-only Journal supplement. You'll find submission details online or in your Journal.

Print or e-Delivery. Great Both Ways! Members, take a moment to peek at the online edition of the Journal. You'll like what you see, guaranteed! Maybe you'll even like it enough to switch to online delivery. You can do that simply by sending us an e-mail with "SCN Journal via PDF" in the subject line. Your online subscription will save postage costs—and save a tree, too!

Members In Print & In the News

Big news this month! Nancy Rigg has been nominated for the 2011 "Rare Life Award" for her work with swiftwater rescue. You can read her story here and vote (if the January 2 deadline has not passed). Sherry Wachter, writing as Bodie Parkhurst, has published a full-color edition of her edition of her illustrated memoir, Benchmarks: A Single Mother's Illustrated Journal, especially for Kindle Fire. Sherry is one of our SCN members leading the way in e-publishing. Sara Etgen-Baker has had three memoir pieces recently accepted. "He'd Walk a Mile for a Camel" will appear in Reminisce Magazine in 2012. "Barbie, Beautiful Barbie" appeared in the Fall/Winter issue of Looking Back Magazine. Another family memoir recently appeared at Ink Filled Page.

In addition, 4 SCN members published 4 posts during December on SCN's One Woman's Day blog, and 14 SCN members published 19 book reviews and interviews at StoryCircleBookReviews. Bravo, SCN sisters! You rock!

SCN members, please let us know about your magazine, book, and on-line publications and other important writing-related recognitions, so we can brag about you, too!

LifeWriters' Market

You've got a story to tell, and we have a market for you! In our LifeWriters' Market Watch, we list an up-to-date variety of venues, including opportunities for themed writings, contests (several with upcoming deadlines), short fiction, holiday stories, creative works, personal essays, and much more. And hey—if you know of a market, don't be selfish. Email us with details. (Sorry: our market list is available to members only. Not a member? We'd love to have you join us so we can share our markets with you!)

Workshop Watch

SCN invites writing teachers and writing-related workshop facilitators among our members to affiliate their programs with SCN. For more information, see the members-only Affiliated Workshops web page.

For more info on upcoming writing workshops, classes, etc., see our Writers' Workshops/Conferences/Classes web page.

Internet Chapter News

The Internet Chapter is always looking for fresh voices to add to its reading circle and any number of writing circles. If you've been telling yourself that "someday" you'll join... perhaps the arrival of the new year is the perfect time to do so! If getting more involved in SCN is on your to do list for 2012, there's no better time than now to join!

NEW: LBT Writing e-Circle! Story Circle Network is pleased to announce the formation of a new e-circle for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women. Go here to read more.

Carol Ziel (writing e-circle #6) was chosen for the "Story of the Month" award for January. Congratulations, Carol! Chapter members can read her story and previous honorees' stories on the Story of the Month web page. (Not a member of the chapter? Read a sample Story of the Month.)

Reading Circles

The Austin area's reading circle's January selection is Money, by Liz Perle. The Austin circle is open to non-members. Join our lively discussion!

The Internet Chapter's reading circle's January selection is The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston (SCN/IC members only).

You can browse this year's Austin-area book list and Internet Chapter book list (Internet Chapter members only). You can also purchase the books on those pages. And remember, when you buy a book from our website, your purchase helps fund our Story Circle programs!

Writing Circles

Circles are the heart of SCN. Keep it beating!
Our featured circle for January meets twice a month at the First Presbyterian Church in Temple TX. Facilitated by Laura Jo Fojtasek, the group writes, shares, and takes occasional field trips to a museum or other interesting place. New members are welcome. For more information and a full list of circles, go here.

Update/List Your Circle—Start One!
We love to read updates from our circles, so tell us what's going on with your group. And if your Story Circle isn't listed on our expanding list of Story Circles Around the World, we want to hear about it! No Story Circle in your community? Start one—and let us know. For more information, see our Facilitator's Guide web page.

Our Older Women's Legacy Circles began with a grant-funded program designed to help senior women chronicle their life experiences and has expanded to 100+ groups in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit the OWL-Circle website. If you would like to attend an OWL-Circle in the Austin area, please contact the coordinator.

New Members

Since our last e-letter the following women have joined or rejoined:
  • Hazel Baylor of Uvalde, TX
  • Joan Cobb of Montgomery, TX
  • Rhonda Cravey of Kerrville, TX
  • Pat Fowler of Derry, NH
  • Patricia Hollinger of Westminster, MD
  • Marty Hoover of New Albany, IN
  • Deborah Lazarus of Milford, PA
  • Sherrey Meyer of Milwaukie, OR
  • Lisa Rizzo of San Carlos, CA
  • Jeanne Sibert of Sacramento, CA
  • Elizabeth Sluder of Charlotte, NC
  • Karen Stahl of Sierra Vista, AZ
  • Liz Wiegardt of Petaluma, CA
  • Linda Xu of Naperville, IL
  • Barbara Yoder of Berkeley, CA


Who We Are & How to Join Us

Our mission: The Story Circle Network is dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives and to raising public awareness of the importance of women's personal histories. We carry out our mission through publications, a website, classes, workshops, writing and reading circles, and woman-focused programs. Our activities empower women to tell their stories, discover their identities through their stories, and choose to be the authors of their own lives.

If you're receiving this e-Letter but aren't a member, please join us. Learn more about how SCN can help you tell your story. We offer

  • a quarterly newsletter with features on women's lifewriting
  • opportunities to publish your work
  • workshops, classes, online courses
  • writing circles
  • an Internet Chapter
  • Speaker's Bureau
  • much more

Membership categories:

  • Member: $45; Canada & Mexico: $55; International $60
  • Friend: $75
  • Donor: $100
  • Supporter: $125
  • Contributor: $175
  • Sustainer: $225
  • Patron: $300
  • Benefactor: $400+

Internet Chapter membership: $20
(To join the Internet chapter you must also be a member of the national organization; chapter dues are in addition to the national dues.)

To join, see our online membership form. You can pay online, or send a check to Story Circle Network, P.O. Box 500127, Austin TX 78750-0127

Story Circle Brochures

The Story Circle Network's brochures are now online! You can print copies of our national and OWL-Circle brochures anytime. They are in PDF format, so you may need to download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Details and downloads are on our SCN Brochures web page.

Journal Back Issues

The Story Circle Journal is a unique publication dedicated to helping women tell their personal stories, now in its sixth year. Missing some issues? You can buy back issues on our Buy SCN Journals web page.

We can supply sample Journals to those starting circles. See our facilitator's guide for more info.


As we look back over 2011 we feel honored to have been able to share 85 of your stories on our One Woman's Day blog. Coordinators Laurinda Wheeler and Linda Hoye have laughed, paused to reflect, been reminded of reasons to be thankful, and even shed a few tears as we've read your posts. We thank you for sharing each one of these special moments with us.

The One Woman's Day blog is another way that SCN is able to showcase your work—the blog was viewed over 12,000 times in 2011! We look forward to a brand new year of reading and publishing your stories. You can send us an email now to reserve a date (or dates) for 2012 and when you're ready to submit (members only, please) just head over to our Blog Post Submission page.

Real Words from
True Women

"When you're trying to motivate yourself, appreciate the fact that you're even thinking about making a change. And as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough."
—Alice Domar

Read more from "Real Words from True Women".

Buy a Gift Membership

Give a gift membership using our online form. Then create a gift membership card to mail or email to your friend. See an example of a gift card. Each card contains occasion-appropriate quotations and writing prompts.

Advertise With Us

Story Circle is now accepting selected advertisements for posting at An opportunity to target 1000s of women readers with a direct link to your book/website. Go here for details.

Join Our Online
LifeWriters Circle

Writing is never lonely if you belong to SCN LifeWriters. We get together for daily this-and-that about our writing, reading, thinking, feeling—it's all part of our life stories! Log on, tune in, and join the party. SCN dues-paying members only.


Join us on Facebook and keep with our SCN goings-on. A girl can never have too many friends, right? We're updating regularly, so you can be in touch.

And check us out on Twitter, too!

Start Your Own Story Circle

Start a writing circle in your community—and let us know if you do so! For more information, see our Facilitator's Guide web page. And, please let us know about other writing groups you are in.

Wanted: SCN
Authors & Bloggers!

We're updating our list of SCN authors and bloggers and we don't want to leave anyone out. If you're an SCN member with a published book or a currently-maintained blog, tell us about it. Send details to us.

HerStories Blog

Visit SCN's Telling HerStories blog. If you haven't checked it out lately you're missing out on interesting, helpful posts by our SCN bloggers. Herstories is also the source for the latest info on our SCN book review site and the SCN podcast. Subscribe, and you won't miss a single post!

And now you can read Herstories on your Kindle! Go here to subscribe.

What Wildness is This
What Wildness is This

What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest celebrates women's experiences in the landscapes of the Southwest. Winner of the 2008 WILLA Award for Creative Non-Fiction. See our book website for more details.
Kitchen Table Stories

KTS cover   

Kitchen Table Stories is a 160-page soft-cover cookbook and story collection from SCN members. Over 70 recipes from our members together with the funny, heartwarming, and touching stories behind those recipes. Order the spiral bound Special Edition through the cookbook web page.

Starting Points

              Starting Points              

Starting Points is SCN's writing prompt e-book. Based on the weekly writing prompts that Susan Albert sent to the Internet Chapter members for six years, this book is available for purchase as either a pdf download or in a spiral-bound edition (shown here). See the Starting Points web page for more details and to place your order with our bookseller,

Now available from iTunes!

Cafepress Store


Story Circle T-Shirts

Our periwinkle feminine tees make a lovely gift, and feature this quote on the back: "We are the only ones who can tell our stories because we are the only ones who have lived them." —Susan Wittig Albert, SCN founder. Available in large, 1X, & 2X. Price is $18 (shipping/handling and tax included).

Our original beige regular-style tees are still available, too. Quote on back: "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open." —Muriel Rukeyser. Available in 2X & 3X. Close-out sale price: $12 (shipping/handling and tax included).

Order yours today.

Your Contributions

Share your life. If you are a member of the Story Circle Network, please share your story with us. Check the Journal for details, or see our Writers Guidelines.

Support Story Circle! You can help in the following ways:

  • Contribute to our Annual Fund to further SCN's mission
  • Contribute to our Memorial Fund in honor of a deceased loved one
  • Drop a bit into our Sugar Bowl to support our members in prison and other members under financial duress

    For more details, see how you can help SCN.

  • Share & Multiply

    Earn credits for your membership referrals!

    Now you can earn credits for each new member you refer to the Story Circle Network and each SCN gift membership you give. Your credits will accumulate through the calendar year, and be awarded each Spring. See our Share & Multiply credit plan.


    We publish four monthly e-Letters:

    • This National e-Letter brings you writing tips, quotes, and book reviews.

    • The Story Circle Book Reviews e-Letter brings you information about our book reviews and book news.

    • The Story Circle Online Classes e-Letter brings you information about our upcoming online classes and workshops.

    • The Internet Chapter e-Letter is sent only to members of the Internet Chapter; it features chapter news and events.

    We appreciate your help in spreading the word about Story Circle Network. Please forward this e-Letter to anyone interested in lifewriting—family and friends, students, clients, members of your writing group.

    If a friend has forwarded this to you, add your e-address and click below to get your own subscription.

    To join any of our Story Circle Network e-Letter mailing lists, type your email address below, then click the 'Go' button:

    To unsubscribe: see link at the very bottom of this email.

    To read this e-Letter on our website, click here:

    This e-Letter is a publication of the Story Circle Network, (P.O. Box 500127, Austin TX 78750-0127). It is provided free, via e-mail, for women interested in lifewriting worldwide. ©2012 Story Circle Network

    Feel free to forward this e-Letter to friends and colleagues with appropriate credit to Story Circle Network.

    This e-Letter is written and edited by Peggy Moody & Susan Wittig Albert.

          voice: 970-235-1477