About The Book

Twelve Brave Women Share Their Stories

Real Women's Stories 2018

The twelve brief chapters in the premier 2018 edition reflect both the beauty and the burdens of life, the highs and lows of being a woman.

Mothers and daughters; a United States marine adopting a baby girl from an orphanage during the Vietnam War; surviving divorce, alcoholism, and domestic violence; building an empire in exotic jewelry design; trading routine for adventure… and more.

These incredible stories by and about real women celebrate the journey we all share through this crazy, sometimes scary, yet still wonderful world.

Ava Carmel

Chapter 1

Mom and Me

Marlena M. Matute

Chapter 2

A Genuine Smile
Shadow of unidentified women.

Chapter 3

The Choice

Regina Murphy-Keith

Chapter 4

A Bundle of Love and Joy

Nancy Salamone

Chapter 5

A Victory Over Violence

Jasmine Germani (Avanti Karunaratna)

Chapter 6

The Historical Artist

Jean Messina

Chapter 7

Monica and Me

Shanna Sussens

Chapter 8

Lion Lullabies
Shadow of unidentified women.

Chapter 9

Tough Girls Wear Anchors

Karin Marie Kalb

Chapter 10

What Did I Get Myself Into?

Markela Evette Morrell

Chapter 11

Surviving and Thriving

Penny James

Chapter 12

Being Still, and Listening
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

A Note from the Publisher:

On March 8, 2011, I was on the New York City committee for International Women’s Day. That was the day I met Norka Blackman-Richards and several members of 4 Real Women International (4RWI). In the years since, I’ve grown to love this dynamic nonprofit organization and the fierce women who have built it. It has been my honor to support them and the essential work they do in the global community.

Books have the power to unite strangers across time, distance, culture, and experience. They help us feel less alone, and remind us that we are far more similar than different. I am proud of Real Women’s Stories and the twelve brave women who are sharing their truths. There is no doubt that these deeply personal, revealing stories will inspire readers and prompt lively discussion in any book club. 

50% of net sales go to support innovative programs for women’s independence and leadership development. 4RWI is a 100% volunteer-driven charity devoted to mentoring and empowering women and girls. To learn more, go to www.4rwi.org.

You can follow announcements and updates about the book at www.facebook.com/realwomensstories. Stay tuned and happy reading.


Beth Kallman Werner

Founder and President, Author Connections

“All are matters that will be familiar to almost anyone with surviving parents… Some of the essays address surviving abuse and domestic violence, addiction and alcoholism, rape and betrayal; most, despite the horrors they recount, are hopeful and even helpful in assuring readers that they, too, can survive and even attain dreams that might seem out of reach… The best of these pieces stand on their own but also serve as invitations for responses…”

- Kirkus Reviews

“...a potent take on the journeys of twelve women… struggles that often go unnoticed by the world… women from different spheres of life, transcending ethnicity and borders… honest stories take center stage, immersing the readers in an incredibly beautiful journey… strong impact on the reader… book reveals aspects of these women’s lives that are hardly recognized in society… a beautiful amalgamation of anecdotes, reflected through these short and gripping pieces.”

- Literary Titan, 5*
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Author Connections, LLC is devoted to editing and marketing excellent books for discerning readers.

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4 Real Women International, Inc. is a nonprofit, award-winning, 501(C)3 charity run by women for women. The ultimate goal of the organization is to challenge ourselves to take full ownership of the countless possibilities that lie within us.