Blog Tour & Book Giveaway: Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small

Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small

Title: Dancing at the Shame Prom

Co-Editors: Hollye Dexter and Amy Ferris
Genre: Anthology

Synopsis:

Whether it was the one-night stand you always regretted, the family secret you never revealed, or the emotional abuse you endured in silence, there are some things you are so ashamed of you keep them hidden for a lifetime. Shame can hold you back from what you love, diminish your sense of self-worth, and prevent you from fully being who you are. But what happens when you finally relent and share that secret burden?

 In Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small (September 18, 2012, Seal Press), editors Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter encourage readers to confront this powerful emotion head-on. They gather together 27 gifted and talented writers who reveal, explore, and embrace the root of their shame, in the process demonstrating the strength that comes from defeating their demons.

In a brilliant display of bravery, these writers share their darkest fears, offer up their most vulnerable moments, and reveal jaw-dropping secrets.  Journalist Nina Burleigh discusses the shame she felt at being coerced into posing for “artsy” naked photos in “Year of the Rat.” In “Playing Dead Under the Family Tree,” Monica Holloway shows how her husband’s infidelity initially isolates her with the shame of being alone. Meredith Resnick’s story “Original Bra” weaves together her complicated feelings about body image with her quest to buy her first bra. From spilling long forbidden secrets to revealing their innermost faults, these authors openly share poignant and life-changing moments of humiliation, embarrassment, and despair, along with the wisdom they learned from letting go of the shame that’s been weighing them down.

Freeing, provocative, and audacious, Dancing at the Shame Prom is about divulging the secrets that have made you feel small so that you can stand up straight, let the shame go, and finally—decisively—move on with your life.

About the Co-Editors:

Hollye Dexter recently completed a second memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You. Her essays have been published in anthologies (Chicken Soup For the Soul, Answered Prayers, and Character Consciousness) and in many online publications. She writes regularly for iPinion Syndicate and AOL Patch News. A singer/songwriter with four albums out, she also founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. In 2007 she received the Agape Spirit award from Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret) for her work with at-risk youth. Together, with Amy Ferris she teaches writing workshops, helping others to find their authentic voices. She is on staff for the San Miguel Writer’s Conference and a visiting author at UCLA extension. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children, where she hikes, plays music and blogs about living an authentic life at www.hollyedexter.blogspot.com

Amy Ferris is an author, editor, screenwriter and playwright. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From a Midlife Crisis (Seal Press) is off-broadway bound, CAP21 Theater Company, March 2012. She has contributed to numerous anthologies, and has written everything from Young Adult novels to movies and films. She co-wrote Funny Valentines (Julie Dash, Director), and Mr. Wonderful (Anthony Minghella, Director). Funny Valentines was nominated for a Best Screenplay award, and numerous BET awards. She co-created and co-edited the first ever “all women’s issue” of Living Buddhism magazine. She serves on the Executive Board of Directors at The Pages & Places Literary Festival, Peters Valley Arts, Education and Craft Center, and is on the Advisory Board of The Women’s Media Center. She is on faculty at The San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. She is a visiting teacher at the UCLA Writers Workshop (extension). She contributes regularly to iPinion Syndicate. Her number one goal, desire, dream: Is that all women awaken to their greatness. You can find her blogging in the middle of the night at www.marryinggeorgeclooney.com. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ken.

Interview with Book Contributor: Robyn Hatcher

1. When did you fall in love with books?
 
I’ve loved reading ever since I was a very young girl. My mother subscribed to the children’s book of the month club and it was always so exciting to get the new Dr. Suess or other equivalent in the mail. I can picture the school libraries in both my elementary school and my high school because I spent countless hours there. I was a REALLY shy child so reading was my way of escaping into other realities. Reading helped me feel as though I was connecting to people, characters and situations that in my real life, I was too shy to explore. This is probably dating me, but I remember my first serious love affair with books was the Little House on the Prairie books and Nancy Drew. I read everything in those series.
 
2. When did you realize you wanted to write?
Because I rarely spoke as a child, (I was that shy) I used to express myself through note writing. Probably from the time I first learned how to write. One of my aunts kept a collection of very funny and imaginative notes that I would leave in my grandmother’s mailbox after every visit. And believe it or not, I started writing my first book when I was about 8 years old. I filled numerous legal pads and notebooks with my “novel” about a set of blonde-haired twins that lived in a picture-perfect suburb. Being an African American girl who lived in Philadelphia, this was the opposite of writing what you know. It was a case of writing what you see in the media (which I partly refer to in my essay in The Shame Prom.) Writing my totally unrealistic book, however, was a way for me to explore my imagination and a great excuse to escape to my bedroom or our attic alone; something that made me very happy. I realized then that writing was always going to be a part of my life. At the time, I never even considered that it could be a career.
3. Tell us about yourself. 
I was born and raised in Philadelphia and moved to New York over 30 years ago. Even though my early reading and writing habits were a direct result of my intense shyness, I ironically ended up in a career that calls on me to be the polar opposite of shy. In order to overcome my shyness, I auditioned for a school play in high school and consequently decided to pursue a career as an actor. I went to college for theatre and have had a fairly successful career as a professional actress in NYC for the past 30 years. I have done a lot of television commercials, off-Broadway plays, voice-overs and have appeared in soap operas and episodic dramas like Law & Order and Criminal Intent. I also spent two years writing both scripts and breakdowns (story outlines) for the ABC soaps All My Children and One Life to Live. And for the past 16 years or so, I have been growing my own business of teaching public speaking, presentations and face-to-face communication skills. I help business professionals elevate the way they communicate and I love every minute of it because it combines all the facets of every career I’ve ever had.
On the personal side, I’ve been married to the same man for 27 years. We live in Manhattan and are two of the proudest parents in the world. Our only child, my 21 year-old son, not only went to Yale where he has excelled socially and academically, but last summer he was selected in the Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds and is now a professional baseball pitcher in the minor leagues.
4. What are your favorite books?
I can’t say that I have a favorite author. I’ve been in a book club for the past 15 years or so and we have read everything from Edith Wharton to Jonathan Franzen. I love some of the classics like Anna Karenina. I found Wharton’s “The House of Mirth” absolutely delicious but was also incredibly entertained by first time author Amor Towles’, Rules of Civility. I also love contemporary fiction writers like Walter Mosley and Lee Child and I spend a lot of time reading non-fiction philosophy, psychology and science books about myth, communication and the brain because I am fascinated by the way people think and what makes them tick. I guess I always have been because I remember independently trying to tackle Freud as a high school freshman.
5. What would you like for readers to get out of Dancing At the Shame Prom?
Dancing at the Shame Prom is such an important book and I hope it sparks a series of anthologies about people speaking their shame. I would like readers to first, let go of their fear around the very word “shame” and open the book and begin to read. It is a powerful and ultimately positive anthology that shows that no matter how major or trivial our shame seems, human beings are all so courageous and creative in the ways in which we learn to cope with, acknowledge and heal ourselves. I want people to realize that by naming and addressing their shame, they can begin to kick it to the curb. When you name your shame and then shine a light on it, it ceases to have power over you. Many people are not aware that sometimes it is the tiny things that we feel shame around that are keeping us from being the incredible powerful beings that we are meant to be. I would like the readers of Dancing at the Shame Prom to unearth any secret shame they have been shoving into a corner and dance with it. Then politely sit it down and tell it to stop ruining your life.
6. What makes you unique as an author and what sets your book apart from other books in the same genre?
A quality that I believe, makes me somewhat unique as an author and very unique as a coach, is my ability to add humor, authenticity and blunt honesty in a simple and engaging way while sharing and revealing some pretty heavy and or serious information. I think all of us in the Shame Prom have been able to do that in one way or another which sets this book apart from other “woe is me” personal essay books which leaves the reader feeling more depressed than when they started. I believe Shame Prom will fill the reader with hope, courage and a sense of the universality of the human experience.
7. What is your writing process?
Honestly, I was a much more disciplined writer when I was working on my first novel at 8 years-old. Now, without a deadline, I’m pretty sadly undisciplined. My favorite and most natural process is to allow my mind to play around with what I think I might want to write about. I spend lots of time walking down the street or in the shower ruminating on what I need to write. I write whole sentences and paragraphs in my head and then keep repeating them over and over so that I will remember them. Then as a deadline approaches or when I start to fear that my mind is about to overflow, I will sit down and start putting ideas down on paper (actually in computer) Then hopefully I’ve left myself enough time to let the new material sit and marinate for awhile while I spend a couple more days in my head thinking about what I just wrote. My favorite part is re-writing and editing which I will do ad nausea until either I am satisfied or until it needs to be turned in. I’ve tried all sorts of other more disciplined processes but with very little success. Of course with a large project and/or a looming deadline, this process needs to be sped up and I am capable of doing that.
8. Are you currently working on anything new? If so, please give a brief synopsis and when should we expect it?
I’m in the process of looking over the final edit to my business book about presentations called Standing Ovation Presentations. – Discover your Actor Type and let it Shine. It is being published by Motivational Press and in it I have combined all of my experience from acting, writing and coaching to help readers define their “Actor Type” (the specific communication style that they embody based on their body language, vocal tone and personality) Then I give extensive tips and techniques to help each type become more effective communicators and teach all readers how to create more powerful and engaging presentations. The book should be available in the early Spring of 2013.
 
9. How can readers connect with you?
Website: www. SpeakEtc.com
Twitter: @SpeakETC
Amazon Pages: For: Dancing at the Shame Prom
FOR: My SpeakEtc. Vocal Workout. CD
Giveaway:
Enter for your chance to win a copy Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing The Stories That Kept Us Small here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NGJmNTE4OTM4ZGUwYzZmNjMwMjhlMzdhZTgwMmU4OjE=/. The contest ends on January 11, 2013
Good luck!

 

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