Posts Tagged ‘Anna’s Hearts for Hearts’

Delayed Valentine’s Day? Let’s delay it all year!

Friday, February 14th, 2014

I live in the arctic tundra… I mean, in the balmy Deep South. In the last three weeks, we’ve had more snow and ice than we have in the last ten years–COMBINED. No one hundreds of miles of us has been able to leave their house for days this time around, let alone shop for their sweethearts.

So what does The Rumpus recommend you do? That’s right, The Rumpus… A kick asz cool site, and they’re spreading the word about Hearts for Hearts.


the rumpus

Looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift for the book-lover in your life? Why not pay that gift forward to your community?

Romance novelist Anna DeStefano’s Hearts for Hearts initiative “to give back to their communities by donating books they already own to nearby assistance groups” such as “homeless shelters, Medicaid nursing facilities, or similar centers.”

HfH Image


There’s a lot of “Holy Valentine’s Day Interruptus Batman” going on around all over the place today. But what if Valentine’s weren’t about a single day? What if sharing love and inspiration and relaxation and escape were an everyday thing?

That’s what we want Hearts for Hearts to be. It’s a call to look closer at the community around you and find a way to help (the way the characters in my not-so-light-and-fluffy romance novels do). In my stories, there are always happy endings. But my characters and readers work harder than in a lot of other novels for their bright and shiny endings. The deeper emotions I hope their challenges stir ring truer to life, at least to me, and that makes the victories I live to write for these hard-working characters even more fulfilling.

So, yes, I write candy, hearts and flowers stories. Sort of. And I live in a candy, hearts and flowers neighborhood. Sort of.

But just a mile or so from me, there are pockets of need that I’ve been able to serve–by doing nothing more than giving away books. Books I’ve written, books I’ve read and loved, books my friends have been thrilled to share, too. My friends and I have personally given story (romance, fantasy, mystery, young adult, inspiration, non-fiction, you name it) to families living below the poverty level, foster care facilities, nursing homes, and even our local YMCA, where Hearts for Hearts has seeded new children and adult libraries for their members, many of whom join via scholarship.

What does a different kind of Valentine’s Day and paying it forward with story look like? After my initial Hearts for Hearts donation of a few hundred books to my YMCA, and my challenge to open libraries where books could be taken and donated without having to check them out (because so many of our members don’t have the ability the buy their own books and would want to take them home, and that’s EXACTLY what we want them to do) THIS is what the community “book drive” looked in January…

bin sign box


library cart sample

And the donations just keep pouring in….

donations pouring in

And the library isn’t due to open until March! (more…)

Hearts for Hearts…

Monday, December 9th, 2013

I’m a blessed girl, a lucky artist, and writer who’s been given an amazing opportunity to give back. Hearts for Hearts is my newest passion–a chance for each of us to make a difference in our communities, to give back and lighten someone else’s life, one story at a time–and I’m thrilled to have Joyce Lamb at USA Today and her Happily Every  After blog exclusively kicking things off today!

HfH Image

There’s so much to share. Too much for a single day, and some of the mechanics of the program are still being ironed out. A lot of authors and industry professionals are already on board, signing up to participate. Lots to do and people to talk with and exciting things to see unfold.

So stay tuned. Lots of fun and details and cool ways to get involved (and win some fun things) to come. But for now, I hope Joyce’s Q&A inspires you to look for opportunities to donate and get involved in your are. That’s my challenge for all my readers and fans–even if you don’t have much money or time this holiday season, find a way to reach out (with Hearts for Hearts, through story) to those around you who have less, and make a difference in their lives!

So, for now…

Let me know in the comments what you think, how you might be able to join us on this amazing journey, and any questions you might have…

I truly can’t believe this day is finally here. Thanks to the entire Nancy Berland Team for all the hard work, helping me bring Hearts for Hearts to life!

What opens your heart?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Holiday cheer? Holiday giving? Holiday spirit? I want those things mean to me the same as they would any other time of the year.  I listed my “heart happy” goals yesterday, for the holiday and beyond, and rereading them now makes me smile. I’m actually thinking I should be reading them every morning. Every new day I don’t feel up for or ready to face or willing to tackle. Because it’s not about me, not entirely. Each day is about living and giving and sharing and belonging.

open heart people

Opening your heart to the world around you…what better goal to have? There’s an entire philosophy behind our need to belong and how it drives the majority of conscience and subconscious behavior. Why do we do the things we do, why do we give up on the things we do, and why do we avoid those very things we know we need to face most? Fear and doubt, I say. We worry, and feel insignificant or powerless, and are too often on a self-fulfilling path of “I can’t make that work so why bother.”

“Don’t do that,” my daily list says. The list at the bottom of yesterday’s post that I’ll shake myself awake with each new morning now, because I want this holiday and this life and this chance I have to write and live well to mean something  more than what I want (and am maybe a little afraid I can’t have) for  myself.

What about other people? How can I be useful and meaningful to them?

shared heart

That’s what I hope my writing’s about– (more…)