Meet The Pitch Week XX Finalists
bonniejean alford, Life’s a Concert: How I found me, danced through personal armageddons, and enjoyed buttered popcorn along the way
Buttered popcorn. The simple pleasure that has consistently offered bonniejean alford solace when hope seemed defeated as armageddon after armageddon threatened the very depth of her soul. Somehow, she survived and eventually thrived. Through personal essay format, with songs as inspiration, she takes us on that journey through the harsh experiences that stole her beauty for far too long, and some of the amazing times that returned what had been stolen.
With her speaking engagements and writing of various styles and genres, bonniejean guides others to understand identity—their own and society’s. Branded The Identity Guru, she believes people should know who they are, own it, and then share it boldly and beautifully with the world. Recently she launched a publishing company, Parking Lot Press, which will focus on identity, both of new authors and an eclectic catalog of varied genres.
bonniejean pens articles and e-books, maintains an Academic Blog devoted to Social Justice, hosts a podcast radio show about identity, and teaches college students how to write about Sociology. She enjoys taking artistic photographs, dancing to amazing music, and meeting people. She holds two Master of Art degrees, one in Sociology and one in Communication. Born in Illinois, raised predominately in California, bonniejean currently resides in Wheaton, Illinois.
Christina Beauchemin, Let My Legacy Be Love
In Let My Legacy Be Love, and its enclosed workbook, Christina Beauchemin shares her stories as an example of the unlimited possibility available to everyone. With the clarity gained, she confronts head-on the thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve in her adult life. As she mindfully considers each situation, she shares her challenges, small successes, backslides, and finally, her victory.
After nearly 20 years working in finance and another 10 as an entrepreneur in marketing and digital advertising, Christina Beauchemin stepped away to marry her lifelong passion for writing and her belief that everything is achievable with curiosity and an openness to a new perspective. As a certified Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP) practitioner, she coaches in the Breakthrough program, which she co-created in 2019. During the COVID crisis, she created the I Love My Life Challenge, which is in development as an online course and currently being focused-grouped with recovering addicts.
Christina is a mother to two grown boys, a wife to her best friend, Rick, and an author, singer/songwriter, speaker, and workshop facilitator. On almost any day, no matter what the weather, you will find her wandering the woods with her dog Kye before returning home to her office, where her two furry supervisors, Minou and Sherlock, monitor her every move.
Anne Dimock, Fleur
Fleur is a coming-of-age Young Adult novel taking place in the years 1962–1964 when Fleur Williams is in her junior and senior years of high school and against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Her family is African-American; common to the time period, they are referred to as colored people or Negros. They are out of place as the town’s only Negro Catholic family in Holy Trinity parish and shunned by blacks and whites alike.
The wife of the local college president takes an interest in Fleur. Johnnie Abercrombie, a classmate and rogue, takes an interest, too. Fleur becomes involved with a student activist group from the college. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to speak at the college and Fleur is inspired to action.
Anne Dimock is an author, librettist, and playwright. Her dramatic writing focuses on comedies and adaptations, and always includes strong roles for women. Her plays include Roxanne(dot)com, Debbie Does Death, and Woman Bakes American Flag Cake (The Matriot Act). Her nonfiction book, Humble Pie – Musings on What Lies Beneath the Crust, was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. Besides writing, Anne has a fundraising career in the nonprofit sector. She lives in the New York City metropolitan area, and can be found on LinkedIn, Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and her website, www.annedimock.com.
Trish McDonald, Paper Bags: Open with Curiosity
For 34 years, Kat McNeil is the perfect wife. She keeps her emotions hidden under a veil of pretense. Her sister, Liz, asks, “But, what do you need?” With a writer’s sense of curiosity, Kat sets out on a journey to find out. She leaves her marriage, grabs her paper bags full of shame and unworthiness, and escapes to a camper in the Florida Keys.
As Kat and her dog, Que, stroll the seawall on a lovely evening, Kat is jolted by the sight of Poseidon emerging from the ocean. They meet; his name is Sal and Kat becomes entranced, even obsessed. But Sal is illusive, secretive, unavailable. Desperate for love, Kat’s curiosity takes on deviant undertones. She becomes a stalker.
The paper bags in the back seat of her car, always present, hold the answers for Kat. She’ll need a sense of wonder to open them. So, come with curiosity, stay for love.
According to her DNA profile, Trish McDonald is 86% Irish. For a storyteller, this “blarney” heritage comes in handy when writing about issues of childhood trauma. Using her nutrition education background, McDonald introduces science-based approaches to healing trauma through powerful scenes: a yoga class, cranial sacral therapy sessions, reiki, music, dancing, and ultimately, the healing power of love and intimacy.
Anne Poirier, The BodyJoyful
The BodyJoyful, a memoir and self-help book, takes us on a highly personal and life-changing journey. Anne Poirier sees herself as not being good enough, thin enough, or smart enough, spiraling her into anorexia, compulsion, exhaustion, and depression.
Anne’s own thoughts imprison her. She finds herself restricting, binging, drinking, running, pushing, striving, and searching for acceptance. When her body breaks down due to decades of her own physical and emotional abuse, she decides it’s time to take off her distorted glasses. She learns a new way to think, act, and live. She finds joy, peace, and love of her body along the way. She invites readers to begin our own transformational journey, and guides us to finding our own BodyJoyful.
Anne is an Intuitive Eating Coach, Lifestyle Strategist, and Speaker. She founded Shaping Perspectives … A Woman’s Way to Joy, helping women to transform their eating, thinking, moving, body, and health. Drawing on her own transformation, she created the BodyJoyFul Signature System.
Magazines, on-line publications, and podcasts featuring her work include: Eating Well Magazine, Huffington Post, Life Unrestricted, Living Well, The Cut, and others. Anne lives in OOB, Maine with her husband, Tim. She is a life-long learner and doer and loves walks on the beach and taking pictures of sunrises along the coast.
Robert Tomaino, New Madrid
In the early 1800s, in a United States where the Salem witch trials did not end, Jack Ellard is the de facto, reluctant Marshal for the small town of New Madrid (in present-day Missouri). After his expulsion from the army for his role in a brutal Native American massacre, Jack has carved out a solitary life. When young Abigail Duncan goes missing, Jack is forced into the town’s life and to confront his feelings for the girl’s mother, Sarah.
A mysterious preacher, named Elijah Prescott, and a city-raised Native American, named Chata, arrive to help find the girl. Jack realizes neither Prescott nor Chata are what they claim to be, and even Sarah is keeping secrets. Jack is forced to come to terms with his past in order to find Abbie and challenge Prescott’s belief that men cannot be trusted to make their own decisions and that woman must take a secondary role in life.
Robert Tomaino is a writer, editor, and consultant. For over 20 years, he has provided editorial support, guidance, and strategic consultation to medical nonprofits and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Robert has extensive experience writing about rare disorders for both patients and physicians. His fiction writing covers a much broader range, from the fantastical to the urbane. He is a member of the Fairfield Scribes writing group in Connecticut.