Inspirational Authors Facebook Event


A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a one-day FB event as an “inspirational author.”


I was curious. What is an inspirational author?  I hadn’t thought of myself as an inspirational author particularly, but still, I was on this “Just say Yes” kick and so I did.

I said, “yes.”


The Facebook event is scheduled for Thursday July 2 and will feature fifteen women from around the world, converging on this Facebook page in three-hour shifts from 5 am to 11 pm Pacific Standard Time. I signed up for the 11 am – 1 pm shift, which is 2 – 5 pm EDT, New York summertime,  (I hope).




First, I wanted to know who the members of my cohort were.  Many I knew from the FB group We Love Memoirs (see my clickable icon to the right, just below my Facebook Likes). Others were new names for me. So, I Googled them all. Here’s what I learned about each of them (their name links to their website; their book title, to their Amazon page) from their websites,  Goodreads, or Amazon Author Pages. They are listed by their shift at the Facebook Event. And the “Learn More” feature that offers, helps keep this 3,440 word post under control. (egads)


FROM 5 – 8 am California Time (8 – 11 am New York Time) 

Jacky Donovan‘s life has been filled with twists and turns. She is the author of the memoir,  Instant Whips and Dream Toppings: A true-life dom rom com. Her newest book,  Simon Ships Out: A Heroic Cat at Sea, takes her in yet another direction: children’s author.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Jacky Donovan”]

Here’s Jacky’s “About” page from her website:
I’m now a published author and a writer for Huffington Post, Sabotage Times and But my past wasn’t always so…
I spent two thirds of my life conforming as a conscientious student, a successful career woman and as a loyal and devoted Stepford-like girlfriend and wife before a highly successful career as one of London’s most sought-after dominatrices with an extensive client list ranging from 18 to 83 years old and including many high profile businessmen and MPs, well-known TV personalities and even a pregnant woman.
Over recent years I have: trekked to see Mount Everest; tandem jumped from a tiny plane; been on Canarian TV due to my crazy long fingernails; run a lesbian dining club; had a cream cake throwing session with a famous MP; put a Smarties tube where it really wasn’t meant to go; escaped from a yoga holiday in a dinghy; organised Gay Pride Gran Canaria; run swingers cruises; performed an entertainment act with a bullwhip in a lesbian club and put on and lost a combined 45 stones throughout.
My autobiography Instant Whips and Dream Toppings: A true-life dom rom com is available on Amazon and, OUT NOW, the autobiography of Simon, a truly heroic cat!

Here’s her blurb from Simon Ships Out:  When Simon, a mischievous young cat, is smuggled on board HMS Amethyst, his simple life amidst the streets of Hong Kong is transformed into an adventure fit for heroes. But alongside new friend Peggy, the ship’s dog, he discovers a mortal enemy in king rat Mao Tse Tung. Under heavy fire from the Chinese Communists, the ship runs aground, stranded for 101 agonizing days. Despite severe injuries, Simon and the crew bravely battle their respective foes, enabling Amethyst to make an epic escape. Heralded worldwide as heroes, they sail into Plymouth to a jubilant welcome, but further heart-rending tragedy. Bringing joy and compassion to those on board, Simon is the only cat to have been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, the highest honour for animal gallantry in wartime. Based on the true events of Amethyst’s ‘Yangtze Incident’, Simon’s quirky yet emotional cat’s eye narrative is sure to move and entertain all who read it. [/learn_more]


M. Shannon Hernandez is a former public school teacher, blogger, educator, and author of Breaking the Silence: My Final Forty Days as a Public School Teacher.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about M. Shannon Hernandez”] America’s public school system is broken and M. Shannon Hernandez knows why, firsthand. After fifteen years in the teaching profession, three gut-wrenching realizations forced her to recognize that she must leave the career she loved so dearly. She knew that if she continued to work for a failing system, she would also continue to lose a little piece of her heart and soul every day.

You are invited into Hernandez’s classroom for the final forty days of her teaching career to understand the urgent need for school reform, clearly demonstrated in each story. You’ll witness the intelligence, vulnerability, and humanity of her students, and the challenges teachers like Hernandez face as they navigate the dangerous waters between advocating for and meeting students’ needs and disconnected education policy.

This book is not only a love letter to her students, her fellow teachers, and to the reformed public school system she envisions, but also a heartfelt message of hope, encouragement, and self-empowerment for those who feel they are stuck in soul-sucking careers. It is an essential read for each citizen who is seeking a life comprised of more purpose and happiness, as well as parents, teachers, administrators, and policymakers who know our nation’s education system is in desperate need of an overhaul. [/learn_more]


Stephanie Collins is the author of With Angels Wings, the story of  initiation into “life as a special needs mother.”
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Stephanie Collins”]  Join Laura on her emotional journey as she strives to rise to the unexpected challenge of motherhood to two special needs daughters. Witness her dance along the edge of sanity through a whirlwind of mind-numbing diagnoses, from a rare chromosomal disorder to autism. Experience heart-wrenching medical drama, from IV cut-downs to code blues. And share in the joy of true love discovered…just as Laura begins to lose all hope.  [/learn_more]


FROM 8 – 11 a.m California Time (11 am – 2 pm New York Time)

Anna Whiston-Donaldson opens her website with this, “I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home….”  That one hooked me; how about you? She is the author of Rare Bird.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Anna Whiston-Donaldson”] On an ordinary September day, Anna’s son, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.[/learn_more]


Kristin Louise Duncombe is an American writer, psychotherapist, and consultant who has lived in France since 2001. She is the author of Trailing: A Memoir and Five Flights Up, both memoirs that address, among other things, the specific challenges and idiosyncracies of the expat existence.[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Kristin Louise Duncombe”] Something unexpected occurs when Kristin Louise Duncombe moves to New Orleans to begin her adult life as a psychotherapist: She falls madly in love with a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor, abandons all of her plans, and follows him on a medical mission to East Africa. Faced with the dual culture shock of Kenya and life with the MSF team, Kristin struggles to craft a new existence in a context of mishap, witchcraft, and the life or death stakes of the MSF world. Just when she has managed to establish a life for herself in Nairobi, a violent carjacking catapults her into a state of acute post-traumatic stress, and her life thereafter devolves into a world of intense anxiety that permeates every aspect of her existence. Forced to examine questions about her relationship, career, and personal identity, she struggles to save her marriage while facing the most difficult fight of her life: saving herself. Duncombe’s debut, as humorous as it is harrowing, provides an insider’s view of an MSF marriage and the humanitarian crisis in East Africa.[/learn_more]


Sarah Jane Butfield is the author of three travel memoirs set in Australia and France. She also provides support and networking for authors through Rukia Publishing.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Sarah Jane Butfield”] Author Sarah Jane Butfield was born in Ipswich, and raised in rural Suffolk, UK. Sarah Jane is a wife, mother, ex-qualified nurse and now an internationally published author. Married three times with four children, three stepchildren and two playful Australian Cattle dogs she’s an experienced modern day mum to her ‘Brady bunch’, but she loves every minute of their convoluted lives.

Sarah Jane, the roving Florence Nightingale, fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and went on to use her nursing and later teaching qualifications to take her around the world. She is now an international best-selling author of three travel memoirs set in Australia and France.

In addition, she is releasing the first book in the What, Why, Where, When, Who & How Book Promotion Series. Book 1 titled The Accidental Author is aimed at aspiring and debut self-published authors and is on pre-order now with the release scheduled for 27th February 2015. [/learn_more]


Shirley Ledlie is a former columnist for Bella, the UK women’s magazine, and lives in Southwest France with her family. She’s the author of Naked In the Wind and The Unexpected Pilgrim.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Shirley Ledlie”]  Shirley Ann Ledlie, former UK magazine columnist, experienced what thousands of women are diagnosed with every year. The memoir begins AFTER her breast cancer treatment ends and a different battle begins. It quickly becomes a mission to uncover the truth about this little known side-effect all women (and men) should know about. With unstoppable determination her conflict with a drugs company, doctors and anyone that stands in her way, continues to rage on often in her own unique unconventional style. Last but not least the struggle with herself.[/learn_more]


FROM 11 am – 2 pm California Time (2 – 5 pm New York Time) 

CeeCee James is the author of the Ghost No More series, a story of childhood abuse.
[learn_more caption=”Click here for more information on CeeCee James”] CeeCee James writes on her Amazon Author page, “I wrote the Ghost No More Series because I know what it feels like not to have hope. I want to connect, validate and encourage people who’ve overcome or are trying to overcome abuse in their life.”

A book series of hope after unthinkable heartache.  How do you keep fighting for hope, when everything around you is tearing hope down?

Five year old CeeCee has already endured homelessness, dirty secrets and abuse. But somewhere amid the chaos and despair, CeeCee holds onto something precious, the only thing that drives her on – hope. She will do anything to make her mother happy, hoping against all things for a touch of her mother’s love. But when her Mother abandons her in a car fire, will CeeCee accept that there is nothing she can do to make her mom love her? Ghost No More is a memoir of tragedy, love, and strength that proves joy can be found beyond abuse.[/learn_more]


Fran Macilvey  is the author of Trapped: My Life with Cerebral Palsy.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Fran Macilvey”]  Living in the Belgian Congo with her husband in the 1960s, Fran’s mother became pregnant with a daughter. However, right after she gave birth in the hospital, she felt strange. Unbeknownst to anyone, another daughter was on the way, but before anybody responded, an hour had passed. Because of the delay, Fran was born with cerebral palsy. Growing up with her siblings in Africa, Fran always felt different. When everyone else was playing and having fun, she would watch and wish she could join in. After the family moved to Scotland and Fran grew older, her hurt turned into anger, self-hatred, and suicidal depression. Then one day, someone looked at her and saw a woman to love, and that was the start of her journey to self-acceptance.

She now lives in Scotland with her husband and daughter. She writes, “When I am not catching up on my sleep, I read, write, sing in the shower and dance where no-one can see me.”


And me. Janet Givens. I am humbled to be included in such a collection. I won’t link to my website for obvious reasons. I will just add that I’m the author of At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corp Memoir (2014) and co-author of Stuttering (1997), one of the “Best Textbooks of 1997” according to Choice Magazine. (A used print version is available on line for $.01   And, Woody and I now have the publication rights back from the original publisher and plan to bring it out of hibernation this summer in both print and eBook versions.)
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about my Peace Corps memoir.”] When a mid-fifties grandmother follows her husband of just three years into the Peace Corps, she leaves behind a promising new career, her home, two brand-new grandbabies, and her beloved dog. Assigned to Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country finding its own way after generations under Soviet rule, she too must find a way to be in a world different from what she knew. Feeling the stresses of a difficult new language, surprising cultural differences, and unexpected changes in her husband, Givens questions the loss of all she’s given up. At Home on the Kazakh Steppe is available from multiple retailers here.


FROM 2 – 5 pm California Time (5 – 8 pm New York Time)

Alana Terry bills herself as an “inspriational suspense novelist,” a genre I’d never heard of. She is the author of Slave Again, a Readers’ Favorite gold medal for religious fiction.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Alana Terry”] She traded in her prison uniform for shackles of a different kind.  After escaping a North Korean prison camp, Mee-Kyong is hustled over the border and sold into the Chinese underworld. She vows to survive, but sheer determination and willpower won’t save her this time. Is she fated to remain a slave forever?  Slave Again, written by Christian suspense novelist Alana Terry, is the winner of numerous awards including the Women of Faith writing contest and the Readers’ Favorite gold medal for religious fiction.


Kathleen Pooler is a frequent visitor to this page, a past guest blogger, and I’m pleased to add, a friend in the small F sense of the word. She is the author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse. [learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Kathy Pooler”] Kathleen Pooler is an author and retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28, 2014 and work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal, and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments –domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure — to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories. [/learn_more]


Victoria Noe is the author of the Friend Grief series.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Victoria Noe”]

After earning a master’s degree in Speech and Dramatic Art from the University of Iowa, Victoria Noe moved to Chicago, where she worked professionally as a stage manager, director and administrator in addition to being a founding board member of the League of Chicago Theatres. She discovered she was good at fundraising, and ventured out on her own, raising millions for arts, educational and AIDS service organizations, and later became an award-winning sales consultant of children’s books. But when a concussion ended her sales career, she decided to finally keep a promise to a dying friend to write a book.

That book became a series of small books. The first three

  • Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives A Damn,
  • Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends, and
  • Friend Grief and 9/11: The Forgotten Mourners

were published in 2013.

Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends, was published in May, 2014.

The fifth book,

Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle will be published in May, 2015, with the final book in the series coming later in the year. [/learn_more]


From 5 – 8 pm California Time (8 – 11 pm  New York Time) 

Dana Goodman is the instigator coordinator for this event. I first met her during her phenomenal Sunday Spotlight on the We Love Memoir FB Group. She is the author of In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning: A Story of Hope After Tragedy.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Dana Goodman”]  In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning is an intimate journey to the deepest places of the heart. Dana’s debut memoir is an unforgettable story of finding hope after the loss of her husband, son and mother-in-law to cancer. Dana peels back her protective layers and reveals her vulnerable inner heart, allowing her readers to experience the depths of her devastation and the joys of her triumphs.

Goodman’s passion to glean meaning out of unthinkable loss offers wisdom, encouragement and inspiration to those traveling through the wilderness of grief.

With heart touching stories, Dana
* Helps you process your own pain stories
*Invites you to move beyond the wounded places of your heart to find joy once again


Sandy Oshiro Rosen — “Author, Communicator, Dancer” — is the author of Bare: The misplaced art of grieving and dancing.
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Sandy Oshiro Rosen”]  How does a grieving mother recover from the loss of her baby when the birth of her sister’s son is being celebrated? Vanessa finds herself facing this agony when she discovers that at the same moment the doctor was telling her that her baby had died, her sister was giving birth across the corridor. This true story catapults us into a very personal exploration of grief and grieving in a culture that has misplaced its ability to lament losses of all sorts-stillborn projects, miscarried relationships, life-threatening illnesses and ruined finances. Sandy Rosen not only offers a passionate and stirring commentary on everyday casualties, balancing stories of personal loss with professional perspectives on the grieving process, but also brings a unique approach to the subject by adding an undercurrent of the body-and-soul-relieving effects of dance. She teaches us that the often awkward process of grief is both natural and critical. [/learn_more]


From 8 – 11 pm California Time (11 pm – 2 am  New York Time)

Shirley Enebrad is an author, speaker, and grief counselor. She is the author of two books: Over the Rainbow Bridge (2009), the story of her young son, Cory, and his inspiring journey as he battled leukemia, and Six Word Lessons on Coping with Grief; 100 Lessons to Help You and Your Loved Ones Deal with Loss (2013).
[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more about Shirley Enebrad”]

LIVE like there’s no tomorrow, LOVE with all your heart, and LAUGH until your spirit lights up! Thus said little nine-year-old Cory, dying of leukemia.

Cory lived every second of his five final and cancer-ridden years to the fullest. This wise old soul walked his talk, embracing life with passion and without fear of death. He lived to inspire others and brought everyone he touched–teachers, fellow students, medical professionals, Hollywood actors–his timeless message. His inspiring wisdom continues in Over the Rainbow Bridge. Laugh and cry with Cory–and never fear death again.

30% of the net proceeds of Over the Rainbow Bridge will be donated to Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of WWA to help families dealing with pediatric cancer and CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation for research. [/learn_more]



Now these are inspirational women. Survivors all of them, from domestic abuse, childhood neglect, cancer, and unspeakable grief. We have a woman who recruits us to reform our public education system, another who helps us know what it’s like to be trapped in one’s own body, and another one elevating herself from bondage, albeit a well-paying form of bondage.

There are two novelists and there is me.

I was definitely committed.  But who would our audience be for this one day event?  Each of us simply used Facebook’s Invite Your Friends feature to send invites to those we thought might have some interest.  Nearly 200 have responded positively, with another 50 “Maybe.”


I hope you’ll join us.  Choose a time that is convenient, or an author whose book inspires. Many of the authors are offering give-aways too.


I’ll be joining the Facebook Group from an Amtrak train, another story in itself, which I’ll report on next week.


How about you? Where do inspirational stories fit into your collection of reading matter? How do you define an inspirational author?  




8 Responses

  1. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I’ve seen this advertised during the last week or so, but your post brought it front and center. I’ll try to tune in. What intrigues me just as much is that you will be joining the Facebook group on an Amtrak train. THAT got my attention to.

    How do I define an inspirational author? One that challenges me to be/do better, that kicks me out of the status quo.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      “Kicks me out of the status quo,” I love that image, Marian. Thanks. I’ll look forward to conversing with you tomorrow, too.

  2. Kathleen Pooler
    | Reply

    Thanks for this fantastic shout-out, Janet! I’ll be sharing it. What makes an author inspirational? One who has the ability to move me to learn more about myself through their work. You are the queen of multitasking! Good luck on Amtrak.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Queen of multitasking! I keep reminding Woody that we women can multitask because we have 15% more blood flow in our brains than men. He is skeptical. But, I’ll take that as a compliment, so thanks.

  3. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    I agree with Kathy. You are the queen of multitasking. And a great friend to the other writers included in this event. I hope tonight in DC goes well. Wish I could be there.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Me too, Joan. But you’ve been to another one and had a much better seat than you’d get tonight. 🙂

  4. Fran Macilvey
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for the mention, Janet. Look forward to being with you on Thursday. 🙂

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks back, Fran. It was a privilege to share the shift with you and CeeCee. Fun, too.

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