SBR Resident and Self-Published Author Addresses the Ranch Roots Genealogy Club

Michael McManus, author and SaddleBrooke Ranch resident

Karen Peltier

Research and discovery are only one part of a genealogist’s quest. Bringing your relatives to life is a vital part of the craft, but determining just how to do that is often hard.

The March meeting of the Ranch Roots Genealogy Club heard from SaddleBrooke Ranch resident and author of eight self-published novels, Michael (Mike) McManus.

Mike’s daughter gifted him a subscription from Storyworth, one of several companies that will send one question per week for one year to inspire a person to write their own personal history. Some questions may be as simple as “Which bands or musicians have you most enjoyed seeing live?” or as complicated as “If you could hold onto just one memory from your life forever, what would that be?”

After 52 weeks, the giftee’s responses are bound in a book and presented to the storyteller. The company contacts the buyer and lets them know when it is time to print. Edits may be made, and photos added to enhance the stories. Once given the go ahead, the company will then print the book.

Additional books may be purchased to share with others, or family and friends may order the book themselves when given a link by the person who bought the subscription. It is a fun, thought-provoking and beautiful way to preserve your story for future generations.

There are several companies that provide this type of service including My Life in a Book and A Life Untold.

Mike also shared his self-publishing experience. His eight novels, which are available on, were originally written as Word documents and then added to the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) template. It is free to upload and submit the book, and royalties are paid from KDP to the author based on a percentage of the book price. Other such platforms include Apple Books and Barnes and Noble Press.

Mike’s books include Separate Journey, The Last 13, Death is Not an Option, Framed but Not Forgotten, And Then She Was Gone, Trickle Creek—A Modern Saga, Bottled Up—A Trickle Creek Mystery, and Ann’s Journey.

The Ranch Roots Genealogy Club is made up of SaddleBrooke Ranch residents who are interested in researching and preserving their family histories. Meetings are held the fourth Monday of the month in the La Mesa and La Montana rooms at the Hacienda Club from 1 to 3 p.m. Meetings consist of an educational program designed to inform and assist genealogists in their research, as well as sharing of member discoveries and successes. There is no cost to join the club and information can be accessed via GroupWorks.

Future topics will include Census Records Research, Organizing Your Genealogy, and country specific research. Specialty presentations include working in Family Tree Maker software and Genealogy 101: How to Begin Researching Your Family History. Meetings are open to all!