About the Author:
During her teaching career, Barb Geiger spent every day surrounded by young children and good books. Now retired, her extra time is spent volunteering in the community and pursuing her own dream of writing.
Barb has studied with AllWriters’ Workplace and Workshop since 2011. Paddle for a Purpose is her first book. She lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with her husband, Gene, and their chinchilla, Raji.
A Memoir Author – Who Me?
By Barb Geiger
By Barb Geiger
Who would have guessed I would write a memoir? Since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed living vicariously through the genre – so many stories of exciting adventures, trauma overcome, and inspirational experiences. But my ordinary life was not made of these. As a teacher of young children, I saved anecdotes as voraciously as collectors saved coins, autographs, and baseball cards. I had visions of someday, writing children’s books. But those dreams never included writing about myself.
Until I built a boat. And then, paddled that tandem wooden kayak on a faith-inspired journey with my husband, Gene, from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, volunteering with over two dozen charities in towns along the way. It was the feedback from those we met along the way – people who probed us for information and reacted to our stories with awe and fascination – that planted seeds for a memoir to grow.
Paddle for a Purpose is the story of this journey. The memoir invites readers along for a ride down one of the most scenic and powerful river systems in America. Set to a backdrop of picturesque scenes and the river’s changing moods, exciting and often humorous accounts of adventure and mishap intermingle with inspiring stories of healing, renewal, beauty, compassion and trust in God.
My writing coach, Kathie Giorgio, once told me that creating a book is like giving birth. Each one is different – and special. I’m sure she’s right. But I’ve only had a single childbirth to compare with one book, and I think perhaps the childbirth was easier. It certainly was quicker. After over two years of collegial writing groups and one year of coaching, I finished draft number ten, and finally decided the story was told as well as I knew how. On one of my writing journals is a quote by Benjamin Franklin: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” I hoped I did both.
My path to publishing seemed easier than the writing itself. Desiring a traditional publisher, I made a list of twenty possible small presses for submission. But I knew, long before that, which publisher was the best fit for our story. I became familiar with eLectio Publishing through a colleague of mine, Jim Landwehr. I read his Boundary Waters memoir, Dirty Shirt. I loved his humor, gentle storytelling style and emphasis on relationships. I learned eLectio’s mission included discovering and publishing works by both new and established authors, and publishing God-honoring stories…stories that exemplify Christian living. If my story was ever ready to send to publishers, I wanted to send it to eLectio. I certainly met the criteria of an unknown author. Maybe I had a shot.
I sent my manuscript to eLectio three weeks earlier than any of the other publishers on my list and heard back from them in little more than a month. I barely made a dent in my list of possible submissions and, with contract in hand, am now an eLectio author! I am grateful every day for their faith in me, the quality of my work and the merit of our story. I couldn’t have found a better home.
Paddle for a Purpose will be available April 3, 2018, both in paperback and as an eBook at www.electiopublishing.com. It will also be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. All author profits, after expenses, will be donated to charity, including those with whom we served during our journey.
Please feel free to visit our website, www.paddleforapurpose.net for a link to our publisher, an interactive map of our journey, and photo galleries of river sights, wildlife, friends and charities, as well as a current list of author appearances.