google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Family History Writing Challenge–Meet The Guest Authors! | The Armchair Genealogist

The Family History Writing Challenge–Meet The Guest Authors!

Please help me in welcoming this year's special line-up of guest authors for The Family History Writing Challenge. I am excited this year to share with you our special guest authors who will be joining us during these 28 days of family history writing. If you’re sitting on the fence about joining the challenge perhaps these authors will be the inspiration you need to take it on.  As a member of the challenge, you’ll be the first to have their posts delivered to your inbox. As well, some of our authors may even join us in the forum to answer your questions. Posts will cover a wide range of topics from creative non-fiction techniques, timelines, life story writing, personal essays and finding your theme. We also have two special Q & A's. 

So in no particular order please welcome our special guest authors for The Family History Writing Challenge. 

Biff Barnes
Biff Barnes is a writer, educator, and historian who has published extensively about San Francisco. He was a William Robertson Coe Fellow in American History at Stanford University. His experience with historical research, oral history, and academic writing is invaluable to family history authors as they plan and organize their books.
Biff Barnes is part of the Stories To Tell team of editors and book designers who help authors to create memoirs and family history books. They have worked with hundreds of authors to develop their fiction, non-fiction, and creative non-fiction books. As an editor, he helps to plan the book's content, edits text and images, and design a professional, unique book for his clients.  Biff offers great writing advice in his Stories to Tell Blog

Lisa Alzo
Lisa Alzo, M.F.A. currently resides in Ithaca,  New York. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1987 and Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.
Lisa began writing creatively in the fourth grade with an assignment entitled, “All About Me,” and went on to win several  English/Writing Awards throughout high school and college.  Lisa has published articles in Ancestry Magazine, Discovering Family History, Family Chronicle, Family Tree Magazine, Genealogical Computing, Reunions Magazine, NGSNews Magazine, Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, FEEFHS Journal and Rocenka: Journal of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, The Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.
An avid genealogist for 22 years, Lisa currently teaches online genealogy course for Family Tree University and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She is the recipient of the 2002 Mary Zirin Prize given by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies to recognize the achievements  of independent scholars, and is a frequent speaker for national conferences, genealogical and historical societies.
You can find this busy writer at her website Lisa Alzo  and The Accidental Genealogist.

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack
Sharon is a Certified Genealogist with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing. She is a partner in the Salt Lake City-based research, writing, and publishing firm of Warren, Carmack & Associates. Sharon offers consulting, mentoring, writing, and editing services for nonfiction books, with an emphasis on memoirs, biographies, histories, family histories, and annotated diaries.
The author of sixteen books and hundreds of articles, columns, and reviews that have appeared in nearly every major genealogical journal and publication, some of Sharon’s book titles include You Can Write Your Family History, Carmack’s Guide to Copyright & Contracts, and Your Guide to Cemetery Research.
Her work has also appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, Steinbeck Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Writer’s Digest, and Personal Journaling. She is an assistant editor for Brevity and a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine.
Along with a BA (summa cum laude) in English from Regis University and an MFA (with Distinction) in Creative Nonfiction Writing from National University, Sharon holds a Diploma in Irish Studies from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Sharon teaches nonfiction writing classes for Writer’s Digest University, and Irish research classes for Family Tree University.
Sharon can be reached through her Web site:

Mariann S. Regan
Mariann Sanders Regan is Professor Emerita of English at Fairfield University in Connecticut. She grew up in North Carolina and has many relatives in South Carolina. She has a BA from Duke, a PhD from Yale, and publications that include articles, stories, literary scholarship (Cornell University Press), and a novel. Her recent family memoir Into the Briar Patch explores the effects upon her South Carolina ancestors of owning slaves, given that slavery is an evil institution. She and her husband, who have two children, live in Connecticut. Her book blog is Reviews of the memoir are at

Tami Koenig
Tami Koenig is an award-winning writer and multimedia producer who works with individuals, museums, and corporations—helping them shape and share the stories they want to tell. She offers writing classes via Skype to Active Retirement Communities and Assisted-Living Facilities internationally, while her website, Your Story Coach, offers tools, tips, and inspiring ideas to help people preserve memories and share stories. You can follow Your Story Coach on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

Our Q & A Authors 

 included Denise Levenick and Ryan Littrell.  Both authors will be answering my questions about their writing and publishing journey.

Denise Levenick
In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” Denise May Levenick is a writer, researcher, and speaker with a passion for preserving and sharing family treasures of all kinds. She is the creator of the award-winning family history blog, The Family Curator and author of the new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records, (Family Tree Books, 2012). Denise is going to share with us what she learned in writing and publishing her book.

 And lastly, we will be welcoming author of the family history memoir Reunion: A Search for Ancestors by Ryan Littrell. Ryan will join us in a question and answer period.  Ryan Littrell grew up in Chatham, Illinois and graduated from Northwestern University, followed by Boston College Law School, where he served as an Executive Editor of the Boston College Law Review. He lives in New York City, and Reunion is his first book.

If you like to know more about how you can join The Family History Writing Challenge or wish to read what past participants have to say about the challenge, click here.


Nancy said...

Thank you, Lynn, for arranging for these writers to share with us during the challenge. It will be fun to meet them.

Ann Hinds said...

Lynn, your choice for guest authors has had me reading all week. Can't wait to learn more. This week I bought Denise's book but Bill's article on an outline was an inspiration. I now understand that I am one who needs an outline to write a family story. Although I have Scrivener, I went old school by filling out index cards with names, dates, and events. I covered the closet doors with butcher paper to create a very visible timeline. From there, I will be able to pull a rough outline. Invaluable post!

Stephanie @ said...

I love the lineup! I'm really looking forward to it. And, I think I've convinced my mother to sign up as well!

~ Stephanie

youwhoineverknew said...

Can't wait to share this with my readers! If you don't write it down, you do take it with you is my motto :)
Kassie aka "Mom"

Lynn Palermo said...

Ann, I love how you jump right in and not afraid to take a tool to task. Ann I duplicate the Scrivener cue cards on index cards and do the same. I love to have the visual cues in front of me, something comes to me I can deal with it until I've get Scrivener open.

Lynn Palermo said...

Yeah, Stephanie and Stephanie's Mom, happy to have you aboard!

Lynn Palermo said...

Kassie - have to agree with you, and thanks for sharing the challenge with your readers, anybody signing up now will receive Newsletter 1 and 2 tomorrow am. After that time, all new members will be caught up mid-week.

mom said...

I am looking forward to this challenge like I look forward to your blog!
Thank you for organizing this event !

Abby Moser

Shelley Bishop said...

Wow, what a great line-up of guest authors, Lynn! I'm looking forward to reading their posts, and to your guidance and inspiration throughout the challenge. I am bound and determined to get some of these stories out of my head and into writing. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

Debra Newton-Carter said...

Wow! An exciting line-up! I am well acquainted with the first two on your list, and of course, Denise Levenick (just received my book in the mail 2 days ago!)...the rest are icing on the cake...and decorations... I am really looking forward to this year's challenge and hoping for great success! Thank you so much, Lynn, for your dedication!

sandraf93 said...

Could someone send me the Day 1 of the Challenge? I did not receive it. Only received Day 2 and 3. Email address is sandhf at

Thank, Sandra

sandraf93 said...

Could someone send me the Day 1 of the Challenge? I did not receive it. Only received Day 2 and 3. Email is sandhf at Thanks.\

Lynn Palermo said...

No problem Sandra