Got Memories but Feel Overwhelmed with How to Share Them?

memoirs, family history, genealogy, writing, editing, coaching

P.S. I’m opening up 1:1 coaching (10 spots left)

This coaching is for family history or memoir writers who know they want to share their story but are overwhelmed or stuck with how to get it done. You have the stories and memories in your head, but struggle with getting them down on paper.

Ready to kick the overwhelm to the curb? I got you!

Three months, one goal to jumpstart your memoir, me by your side to help you every step of the way.

We will be looking at:

  • * What you want to accomplish with your story during these 3 months, as well as going forward.
  • * Where you’re stuck or limiting yourself.
  • * What are your goals for your story and what do you need to bring them to vibrant life?
  • * Weekly concrete steps to achieve forward movement toward your goals.
  • * What tactics and tools to use to make your story shine.
  • * Figuring out together the best storytelling strategy for you and your unique story.
  • * How to make everything we accomplish during our three months of 1:1 work last BEYOND and help you continue forward.

Basically, this coaching if for you if you’ve known you want to share your story (or that of a family member) but have become stuck with the size of the goal or the sheer quantity of material to work with. We handle all kinds of stuck, so let’s talk about it!

You will set your goal with my guidance and I’ll be beside you every step of the way over a period of three months to help you achieve it.

How it works:

  • * We’ll talk once a week on Zoom for an in-depth 1 hour session.
  • * You’ll have email access to me between sessions, including for critiques and questions.
  • * You’ll have phone access to me for a 15 minute check in between sessions should you need it.
  • * I will review whatever material you have and give a professional editorial evaluation, looking for strengths and weaknesses that we can address in relation to your goal. We’ll talk through any fixes or improvements that can help you tell your story in a way you can be proud of.

How to sign up:

Since 1:1 work is a big commitment for both of us, let’s make sure we’re on the same page and that there’s a good personality fit. If you’re interested in working with me, shoot me an email at and let me know what you’d like to achieve in a three month memoir coaching jumpstart. If I believe I can help you, we’ll set up a time to chat over the phone or Zoom call and I’ll send you a detailed overview of the Life Legacy Signature Coaching  program.

I’m looking forward to visiting with you about your story!


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Want to Make a Change? Share Your Life Story from the Heart!

Memoir writers and family historians typically have loads of great stories to share. On scraps of paper, partially used notebooks, journals of all shapes and sizes, napkins, envelopes. And boxes of photos. And letters. And recipes. You get the picture. One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How do I go about editing all that stuff? Where do I start?” This is often the sticking point and can become a slog through concrete without help. I’ve shared many ideas in workshops, on this blog, and with coaching clients to help you curate all that wonderful material. Take a look through the archive for inspiration.

My goal is to help you get the most out of your story and ensure you’re presenting it in a clear, enjoyable manner that showcases your unique voice.

I’ve written free blogs, given free workshops, and spoken with so many people who are convinced of the importance of sharing their story. I’ve enjoyed working lunches and many cups of coffee while encouraging people with the nuts and bolts of getting their story from their head and heart onto the page or computer screen.

However, I’ve found that sometimes readers, clients, and fellow human beings just need something more focused to get them un-stuck. They want more – specific attention to their unique story, motivation, accountability, and more one on one help to make progress with their story.  

So…I began distilling all those years of experience into a simple individual coaching program. This is designed to give you two options to jump start your memoir or family history project, making real progress toward an end goal you can be proud of. Because I believe in the innate value of life stories and experiences I developed the Life Legacy Signature Coaching Program.

The coaching comes in two flavors, 3-month and 6-month. Each is designed to support you with weekly individual meetings, phone calls, and email communication where we work directly with your story. Yes, even if it’s just in the idea stage or languishing in those boxes of material I mentioned. There is help for that!

Life Legacy Coaching is designed to provide you a practical, creative framework for learning how to gather material from your life history, how to focus, and different structuring techniques. Together we’ll enhance your story telling skills to build your memoir or that of someone else. You’ll make steady progress and receive encouraging, constructive feedback on your weekly writing goals as you refine your own unique storytelling voice.

I love to honor your life and memories by helping bring order and meaningful expression to your story. This program is only open to a limited number of clients because of the individual work we’ll do digging into your story and crafting it into a thing of beauty. 2021 promises to be a year of new opportunities as we emerge from this cloud that has been oh so hard but has also helped us focus on the love of friends and family.

Interested in talking about your project? Let’s talk story. I would love to have the opportunity to work with you and give you the tools, confidence, and encouragement to share your story. This is your opportunity to be a part of a very special small group.

What does the book journey look like? It’s not a fast process, each step is part of the ride and is vital to developing your best book. The great thing is, here’s where partnering with a coach can help you maximize your efforts and enjoy the trip. Guess what? There’s help and guidance for every step of this process. Get in touch and tell me about  your story vision and goals. You can reach me at I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Here’s your bulleted , short roadmap to your best book just FYI:

  • Collect your material, either your own writing or work with an oral historian who is skilled in conducting memoir/family history interviews
  • Decide on your basic keys – who, what , when, where, why
  • Write the stories – don’t edit yet – I know it’s hard
  • Edit your document 5 -6 times, adding sensory detail, arranging the story till it flows well, continuing to hone your theme
  • Developmental editing, either on your own or get help, professional or writing group feedback
  • Revise and correct your book as per feedback
  • Set your book manuscript aside for at least a few days so you can view it with fresh eyes in the next step
  • Review, proofread, and edit your story again – Read it aloud to yourself, work with self-editing tools like Grammarly, the Hemingway app or even just Google docs or Word spelling and grammar checks
  • Work with a copyeditor to further clean up your text – fresh eyes with professional experience will be efficient at polishing your work
  • Proofread again
  • Submit for publication if self-publishing, order a proof copy and review again, making corrections as needed
  • Market your book if for public consumption
  • Publish final manuscript
  • Celebrate your great accomplishment!
  • Market again, and again

Have another story idea? You may be hooked, have fun with it!

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What’s in a Name? Marvelous Funny Monikers

Birth, death, and taxes are inevitable, so this seems like the perfect time to focus on new life and inject a little needed humor into your day. Family history and memoir work can be rich in name mining.

Soon to be parents are up to their necks in baby name books. To prime the thought process, here are some choices you may NOT want to consider, but they’ll keep you laughing. If your grandmother or grandad sported one of these monikers my apologies in advance, I hope you’ll take this in the spirit of fun!

Check out this collection of 1918 Extinct Names that Sound Hilarious Today collected from

Can I hear it for Lurline: 58 girls  or Roswell: 45 boys ? Or how about the twins:

Dicy: 11 girls

Nicie: 11 girls

Boys named Dude: 8 boys today might be whipping around every time someone under the age of 30 calls out to a friend.

For you genealogy and family history buffs, laugh your way through the funny genealogical records at Legacy

In American colonial times, names often reflected qualities or characteristics that parents wanted their children to emulate, like Charity, Patience, or Virtue. Preserved was a name associated with salvation – preserved from sin, death, or destruction. However, Thomas and Mercy Fish should probably have given a little more thought to the burden their son would be forced to bear when they named him Preserved Fish.

If Mr. Preserved Fish could time travel from 1731 to today I wonder what names he might find bizarre or humorous? Portobella? Baby? Hashtag? Any name spelled backwards – just – no.

Glance through the hilarious collection of unbelievable actual names at Here’s a sample:

“Apparently there’s a family at my gym with the last name Bean. They have girls who are named after different types of beans, like October, Boston and Seven. Seriously.” — shadow

Number 16 from’s list of 20 weirdest baby names is memorable but I’m pretty sure this gal will have to spell it out for the rest of her life.

16. Zephyrine
“Zephyr” is the ancient Greek term for the west wind. Zephyrine is a feminized version.

Both my daughter and daughter in law sport lovely derivatives of the classic name Alexandra. This is sometimes confusing when speaking in a hurry as all of us have tripped over the similar names more than once. So far, the ladies have kept a great sense of humor. In our modern age of that ever-present digital boss lady who shall remain nameless here, an entire new past time has arisen of head-whipping “What?” when someone calls “A….!” in their home. I find myself snickering a bit evilly when this happens. I grew up in the era of Karens and sat through my entire school career with at least one other like-named lass in every classroom. And now there’s a meme about us, oy!

Then, there’s the classic Johnny Cash song A Boy Named Sue. I remember singing this, loudly and badly, with my dad on road trips. Now, that’s a good memory! The song reads like a how-to manual for bad parenting but we loved Cash’s sense of humor and grit. I’d love to know how he got the idea for this song.

What funny or unusual names are hiding in your family history? I’d love to hear them with a photo of their proud owner. Share them on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram and tell us the backstory! (Makes a great story for your memoir too)

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Contact Me

Please contact me for more information or to to schedule a free consultation. I look forward to visiting with you.

    Karen Ray Photo

    Karen Ray

    Address: 331 Bristol Avenue, Las Cruces, NM, 88001

    Phone: 575-323-1048