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Sexual Violence…It is OK to Talk about It!

Every 2 minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted.  In 1990, I would have never dreamed I would become a sexual assault statistic.  But indeed I did. Now, 22 years later, I will stand in the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 2nd at the Stop Violence Against Women Day and speak at noon at a press conference about what it means to be a survivor of sexual assualt. Take a moment and look at the information provided of Georgia’s statistics and share this with others. 

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Loving Being A Google Alerts Gal

I admit freely…I love Google Alerts!  I have my computer set with the words “Room 939” and any time Google “crawls” upon it, it alerts me that new content about my book is on the worldwide web.
Google Alerts are useful to:

This morning an email popped up with Google Alert in the subject line.  As always, my heart raced with anticipation of who is out there talking about my book.

Today it was Matilda Butler and  Kendra Bonnett who publish Women’s Memoirs, a blog dedicated to women who are writing memoirs, journaling, storytelling, and sharing memoirs.  They have about 5000 unique visitors per month.  A couple months ago, I was interviewed by Matilda and I’ve enjoyed seeing the power of digital marketing in generating buzz about my book.  Thanks to Tynicka Battle of Think Tank Digital, Women’s Memoirs has highlighted my book twice now.

I’ll share the link to Women’s Memoirs below for all of my 939 friends to read.  http://womensmemoirs.com/memoir-writing-book-business/memoir-book-business-an-author-explores-unique-codes-to-enhance-memoir-experience/

And again, thanks for all your support in my journey to healing.

Jenny Lynn

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Suffering can Produce Meaning in Life

I had the opportunity recently to have lunch in Statesboro with Mike Ryan who is the Op-Ed Editor of The Augusta Chronicle.  He also happens to be the author of The Last Freedom, a book about the life of Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor.  In the book, Dr. Frankl shares a parable: “A man came upon three stonecutters and asked the firs one what they were doing.  ‘Cutting stone — what does it look like?’ the first one sharply replied.  He asked the second one, who answered, ‘Making a cornerstone, of course!’  He then asked the third stonecutter what he was doing.  This one put down his tools, brushed off his hands and announced proudly, ‘Making a cathedral.”
The parable illustrates that meaning can be found in life, at any time and in all sorts of situations.  Dr. Frankl believed that human beings can find meaning in life from 1)creating a work or doing a deed 2)experiencing your values, specifically by loving another person and 3)suffering.  He states that “when faced with unavoidable suffering, one often finds opportunities for great meaning — most prominent among them the opportunity to face up to your suffering with dignity and with a sense of purpose.”
I believe that is what has happened in my life with the writing of “Room 939.”  Today I travel to Atlanta to meet with 40 friends of Beth Brannen Chandler’s at her home to share my message of hope and healing.  Dr. Frankl taught that we should not ask what we can expect from life—rather, what life expects of us.
What does life expect of you?

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Buzz about E-Reading

As a self-published author, I have joined the ranks of other writers going the E-Book route as well as the traditional method of publishing.   The latest statistics I have seen on the electronic publishing are so interesting!  According to the Association of American Publishers, e-books sales are exploding, increasing from $287 million in 2009 to $878 million in 2010.

For me, it’s a no brainer.  Amazon pays 35% royalties for books that cost up to $2.99 and 70% for books that cost $2.99 to $9.99.  Barnes and Noble pays 65% royalty fees.
I’m currently researching SmashWords, a platform launched in 2008 for independent authors and publishers.  Whether it’s Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iPad or hosts of others like Kobo and Sony, digital reading continues to entice reading enthusiasts to wade into its waters.
But I admit, even though I have a Kindle, I for one continue to like to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper and texture.  And, apparently, so do a lot of others!  Even with the crazy statistics above, e-books still only represent about one tenth of the overall book market in the United States.

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Healing on Aisle 12

Sheryl Andersen, (left), was right there with me the whole time
as cashier during the Book Signing.

It’s amazing what can happen on Aisle 12 Women’s Wear in Walmart on a busy Saturday morning pre-Christmas.  That’s where I was this past weekend for my book signing when it all started.  First I had a couple come by and wish me well with my book.  The husband and wife looked directly at me and said quietly they too understood about trauma becasue they had been held hostage in their home by a miltary extemist in 1989 in Atlanta, GA.  The wife remarked, “It took us a very long time to speak of the incident.”  They thanked me for my courage and moved into the crowd.  Later, a whisp of a lady stopped at the table and asked me the essence of my book.  The grief of her life was once being homeless and now being estranged from her grandchildren.  As she was talking about how much she missed her grandchild, she indicated she would like to buy the book, but did not have the money.  At that time, another woman who was waiting to purchase Room 939 offered to buy her a book.  “I know how you feel,” the caring woman offered softly, touching the lady on her arm.  “My child will not allow me to see my grandchildren either.”  The two women hugged as hteir hurt temporarily subsided. 

Isn’t that what sharing does to our hearts?  It brings on healing, allowing us to become open to other people’s love.  As I sat and watched these two once upon strangers united as if they had known each other a lifetime, I was humbled and grateful I had opened my heart as well by reaching out through Room 939.

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The Power of a Good Story

My teenage daughters love their TOMS shoes.  CEO of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, was inspired in 2006, when on a trip to Argentina, he starting wearing the national shoe:  the alpargata.  It was casual and comfy  and when he returned to the United States, he founded the company TOMS with a simple promise:  for every pair of shoes he sold, he would provide a free pair to a child in need.  Thanks to his efforts, TOMS gave the One Millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010.
In his book, “Start Something that Matters,” he shares, “When you have a memorable story about who you are and what your missioin is, your success no longer depends on how experienced you are or how many degrees you have or who you know.  A good story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers, and opens doors.  It is a key not only to starting a business but also to clarifying your own personal identity and choices.”
That’s what I feel I have done by writing “Room 939.”  In releasing my story, I want to allow barriers to come down for people who may have pain and suffering in their lives.  Can my story evoke emotion which leads to healing?  I sincerely hope my book starts something that matters.

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