Archive for the ‘Anna's Soul of the Matter’ Category

Loyalty makes you family

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Blood makes you related. Loyalty make you family.

hunky guy embrace

I dream of families that become, not perfection that arrives already formed. I read, I write, I create worlds where courage and facing the best and the worst together, as one, is family.

Community. Our strength. Attaching to anything less values your “self” meanly. It’s settling. It’s failure, when the threads slip and the weaker falls away.

No perfection, but trust.

No guarantees, but loyalty.

No winning, but together through it all.

We must…

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

“We must do that which we think we cannot…” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Quote TomorrowStrength

Who also tells us, “With the new day comes new strength…”

So let’s lean in and kick some ass today ;o)

Be brave enough…

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.” ~ Alan Alda

quote inspiration live life love

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

“When your cup is empty, you do not mourn what is gone. Because if you do, you will miss the opportunity to fill it again.” ~Sarah Addison Allen, Lost Lake

lost lake SAA

I can’t WAIT to read this one.

It’s finally at the top of my TBR pile. It received a starred Booklist review, and from everything I’ve heard SAA is back with a vengeance ;o)

“One would need a heart of steel, or the skin of an alligator, not to fall in love with Allen’s beguiling cast of misfits. A surefire star of feel-good fiction, Allen always manages to nimbly mask her potent messages of inspiration and romance beneath her trademark touches of mirth and magic, but this endearing tale of surprising second chances may just be her wisest work yet.” –Carol Haggas, Booklist

Stay tuned… I suspect I’ll be reading this one lightening fast!


Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

“Family isn’t an important thing. It’s everything.” ~Michael J. Fox

quote family mjf

Love Eternally…

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


Pay It Forward Friday: Mentoring

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Who do you know, who is where you’ve been, waiting for you to help them stretch their wings and soar far beyond their dreams?

Just about a year ago, I was asked to mentor a math/science wiz at my son’s magnet high school, who wanted to write a novel–a collection of short stories, actually. During our first meeting I realized that she in fact wanted to PUBLISH said novel. And as of this week, twelve months of hard work and back and forth and a lot of generous industry professionals pitching in to help later, she has.

Working with someone with stars in her eyes each time we talked about making her stories better and putting them out in the world for others to read has meant everything to me. I’ve received so much more than I’ve donated to this project, in inspiration and energy and the thrill of witnessing a seemingly impossible dream come true.

More to come on this project–I’ll write a full article soon about her journey and every single goddess in this industry who’s stepped in to make this happen.

But for now, as you help me celebrate Chinye Ijeli’s Fresco, I ask you to consider paying forward your gifts and talents and connections by helping someone else reach their goals and beyond!

Mentoring. This Pay It Forward Friday’s focus. Look into it. You’ll be glad you did!


Building Community One Story at a Time…

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Pay it forward. We like the sound of it. We learn the difficulty of it. We must find our own way to it. We must make it real on a personal level, before it becomes a guiding  force in our lives.

For me, that way began with Building Community One Story at a Time, which is my 2014 challenge: for this blog going forward, for the life I’ve been blessed to have, for my family and writing and service and teaching and editing and mental well-being.

I’ve already experienced some amazing results this year, trying my personal Pay It Forward mantra on for size, taking it out for a spin, stretching it at the seams to see what gives, throwing a pebble into the stream and searching the ripples for what is real… You get the picture.  And you’ll get more details here, daily. I’m so excited to share. I hope to inspire. I long to create a space where others can’t wait to do the same. It’s time to turn up the volume and live my 2014 challenge out loud.

I’m all in.

pay it forward BW

Meditating on what could be my chance to give is no longer enough for me. There’s more calling me than thinking about it. There’s more calling each of us.

Deadlines and responsibilities and demands and successes and failures and fears and dreams aside, there’s life to live. And paying what I’ve found forward, feeding myself with the energy of feeding others however I can, is that life for me. Living on “building” others up, in tangible and intangible ways every day, is already changing me. More than I could have imagined. It will change you, too. I challenge you to find out just how much.

Building Community One Story at a Time…

What does it mean to me? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll be finding my way out here every day. I invite you to search and experiment and share what you find, right along with me.

So far this year I’ve:

  • Begun a book-donation/community-based charity (Hearts for Hearts) and inspired friends, family, writers, publishing professionals and neighbors to donate thousands of books to those in need in their communities.
  • Mentored a high school senior, helping her (with assistance from more rock star publishing pro friends of mine) write, revise, edit, create cover art for and (very soon) indie publish her first novel on Smashwords.
  • Seeded a book donation program at my YMCA that drove member participation and resulted in a landslide of books and TWO community libraries (adult and children’s) for members who can’t afford to buy their own, all in a matter of months and launching by the end of April. A dream come true, and Hearts for Hearts is only getting started.
  • Begun a non-fiction project to share with other mothers/parents my experience raising and letting go of my teenager, proceeds of which will fund another, to-be-named, community-based assistance program for families not as lucky as mine who must conquer challenges I can’t possibly imagine WHILE dealing the insanity that is loving, inspiring, guiding and letting go of our children as they grow.
  • Started mentoring/freelance editing again for a few select clients, feeding my passion for helping writers learn how to create the very best they can and set their voice free in the world for readers to find.
  • Finished one new novel (a long novella, actually), and begun a second, in a new series about community and family and the struggles beneath the seeming calm in the ordered world so many of us see when we look out our suburban windows. By the end of 2014 I will be close to completing a third, and I could be more excited about the spin-off on Mimosa Lane (younger and full of energy and light AND deeper emotions and challenges and successes!) my publishers supporting!
  • Given a keynote at a reader event, focused more on the “person” of my reader/writer audience than the business of publishing. I have another scheduled for the fall. I couldn’t be more excited–more than I’ve been about any writer/publishing event I’ve been asked to speak at for years. The energy of immersing myself in that kind of “inspiring” opportunity was a revelation.

That’s my pay-it-forward start.

What will be yours?

It takes only one decision to go for it (in December of last year, Hearts for Hearts was only a flicker of an idea) to change your entire world’s view. Make that decision today. (more…)

‘Tis The Season… To feel alone?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
“For unloved daughters and sons, the stress of the holidays sweeps in much more than the nuisance of crowded stores, piped-in joys, worries about money or pleasing everyone with the right gift…”
Currently writing about (and studying) grown foster kids who’ve aged out of the system. You know, in the midst of my charming, warm family novels. It might not come as a shock to you that holidays can be difficult for many in our country. But would it surprise you to know that they’re difficult for me? Maybe even for you sometimes, just a little more than you’ve let yourself think about?
If so

“For unloved daughters and sons, the stress of the holidays sweeps in much more than the nuisance of crowded stores, piped-in joys, worries about money or pleasing everyone with the right gift…”

I’m writing into a new story about (and studying) grown foster kids who’ve aged out of the system. You know, in the midst of my charming, warm family novels. I stumbled across this article from Psychology Today, among many others, in my research.

It might not come as a shock to you that holidays can be difficult for many in our country. But would it surprise you to know that they’re difficult for me? And maybe even for you sometimes, just a little more than you’ve let yourself deal with?

baby stress

Yeah, it’s a cute baby. And we fight so hard to keep the holidays full of cheer, despite disappointments or unhappiness from our pasts. And that’s a good thing. We move forward, we heal, we become who’re we’re meant to be. There’s no one I know who thinks it’s a good idea to stagnate in the hurt of the past and let it define all that will ever come. But as cute as all the holiday hype is, and as much as we might want to dive into the celebration along with everyone else, sometimes there’s just too much bubbling up from deep inside to laugh or hug or work or jingle away.

“For many, it [holidays] will conjure up–almost as if fresh and hew–the pain, exclusion, and loss they felt in their families of origin,” the article says.

Yeah. That’s real stuff. Holiday stuff we don’t want to see but too often can’t dismiss. I’m determined to write an inspirational, hopeful, loving and celebratory Christmas novella for next November/December’s readers. But in it (because I’m me and I’m made up of all my experiences of family origin, and because I’m writing about characters with disconnection and abandonment and insecurity and fear as their own earliest memories), I’m also going to be tackling the reality that many of us face each year– that, “the holidays sometimes evoke a renewed sense of self-doubt about the decision made, along with a feeling of isolation. The weight of cultural disapproval may feel heavier at this time of year…” (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Listening…

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

New beginnings aren’t just about action. In my case, there’s no real action yet. But I’m definitely beginning again. A new story in the works, a new release to plan for, a new PR team, a new season for my family as my son prepares to graduate from high school (whimper, sniffle, YAY!).


Before any challenge, and a new beginning is always a challenge, it’s the start that’s so scary, not the actual work to be done. It’s the watching and wondering and trying to subdue those pesky emotions and fears that sucks our momentum and energy away. I’m living that right now. I’m in-the-flesh proof that living never gets “easier,” no matter how much success you’ve had or how far you’ve come (in my case, raising a family and building a thriving publishing career and learning to write emotional novels that connect with readers and finding a publisher and agent and publicity team who believe in my vision maybe more than I can believe in myself yet).

But living isn’t about easy, I’ve learned.

You have, too, right?


To live, not just endure or survive or bide your time, is the goal. It’s the start of all that’s right in the world. Any world, whoever you are and wherever you call home. It’s never going away, the drive to live today. Just today. To make this moment count.

My mind numbs at the possibilities. The responsibilities. The choices and the weight of making them right. The possibilities and how few care what I want them to be, or how I need them to pan out.

PossibilitiesPostLetting go. As you wait and wonder and listen and try to move ahead but feel the weight of all you don’t know dragging you down, it’s tomorrow that you’re hearing, if you let go and let it in. It’s today that stands in your way. It’s worry that you throw in your own path to “soften” the impact.

Step out of those shadows with me. (more…)