Over cups of coffee, I chatted with fellow blogger and author Sonia Marsh about writing, marketing and motherhood. These coffee chats were part socializing, part brainstorming and it was during one of these sessions that I suggested she crowd source stories for her blog. At the time, she had just finished writing her memoir “Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island.” Her blog was called “Gutsy Living.” Since then, she’s gone on to win awards for “Freeways to Flip-Flops” and published two more books “My Gutsy Story Anthology 1 and 2.”
Like a proud mama bear, I’ve watched Sonia’s progress from being a writer wondering how to market her book to becoming an astute marketer and an inspiration to many self-published authors. Since planting that seed of an idea about asking people for their Gutsy stories, she has done so much and collaborated with so many people. “I want ” My Gutsy Story” to be like “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” she revealed.
One day, Sonia Facebook messaged me about finding a place to hold a book launch. I suggested Zov’s Bistro in Tustin, because they had great food and they had a room perfect for the event. It wasn’t until I attended the launch of the second “My Gutsy Story” anthology that I remembered one of our brainstorming sessions was held at the very same restaurant! Talk about serendipity or is it a lucky coincidence?
The book launch was a gathering of authors – a panel of contributors to the anthology, including Colleen Hannegan, Jonathan Yanez, and Mariana Williams, and Julia Capizzi from the Peace Corps. The panel was moderated by journalist and TV presenter Ann Pulice Owens. They talked about their writing processes, inspirations and stories about their Gutsy Adventures. There was nothing Guiness Book-type of gutsy (like climbing Everest etc) but more real-life inspiration, and having the guts to put yourself out there and follow your dreams. Jonathan Yanez, YA author, for example, shared that after 5 years in the corporate world he decided to pursue his original dream of being a writer. His gutsy move, quitting his day job and writing full time. “After 80 rejections (from an agent/publisher),” he said “the 81st one said yes.”
What a celebration of words, creativity, collaboration and Gutsy Living! Congratulations, Sonia!