Twitter Party Tomorrow for My Kind (of) America!

Hey everybody!

Chicken Soup for the Soul just released a brand new book, and they’re having a Twitter party tomorrow to celebrate! Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind (of) America features 101 stories about kindness in America.

My story, “Out of the Mouths of Strangers,” can be found on page 260. Writing this piece involved several very embarrassing trips down Memory Lane, but it was all worth it when I got to relive the feeling of sheer joy and gratitude at the end of the story. If you’re ever thinking about saying something really nice to someone, but you’re feeling shy or you’re not sure if you should, just go with your gut and say it. You won’t regret it and neither will the recipient of those kind words. 🙂

Whether it’s a grand act of heroism or something as simple as a homemade Valentine, kindness changes lives. It reminds us who we really are, deep down inside. Underneath all of our many differences–skin color, gender, religion, age, education level–we are all human beings. And we all, at one time or another, need to be reminded that someone cares.

So, check out the book! And come join us on Twitter tomorrow (Wednesday, September 6th) for the launch party! The party will run from 2-3pm ET, with the hashtag #MyKindAmerica. I will be there (@astheheroflies) along with many of the other authors and our awesome publisher, Amy Newmark!

Hope to see you there, and remember–kindness matters!

~Gretchen

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Chicken Soup Celebrates American Kindness

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One of my favorite publishers, Chicken Soup for the Soul, is collecting stories for a new book focusing on kindness in America. They want to hear about the time you helped someone whose car was broken down on the side of the road, or the time a stranger paid for your groceries when you forgot your wallet. They want to know what American kindness means to you, how you’ve embraced it in your life, or seen others do so. They want stories about immigrants, stories about soldiers, stories about everyday people learning to overcome prejudice and fear in order to extend a helping hand.

There’s never been a better time to show the world – and remind ourselves – what truly makes this country great: our kindness.

If you’re interested in submitting, don’t dawdle – this is a last-minute addition to their publication schedule, and the deadline is March 31. Click on the link below for more information about what they’re looking for and how to submit.

http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

Best of luck!

-Gretchen

 

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom cover design and layout by Brian Taylor, Pneuma Books, LLC. Image used with permission.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom cover design and layout by Brian Taylor, Pneuma Books, LLC. Image used with permission.

Tomorrow is a special day. Yes, I know it’s St. Patrick’s Day, but March 17, 2015 is special for another reason, too. Tomorrow is the day Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom will officially hit the bookshelves. And my story “Honest Love” will be sitting there on page 302 for all to read!

For years, my mom has worked tirelessly at the tasks of being my editor, my sounding board, the person to whom I gloomily confess all of my rejections, and the person who has to read every single freaking draft of every single freaking story (even the ones that stink like last month’s dirty socks).

And what does she usually get for her efforts? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a beautiful pitcher of flowers. Sadly, my poor mom has had to absorb the brunt of all my writerly mood swings, including the times I curl up on the couch and stare morosely at the wall. She’s endured me snapping at her and telling her that her ideas are not appreciated, because “it’s my story, and I like the way I originally had it.” She’s had the unfortunate job of breaking the news to me when a story just isn’t good enough for submission (because no one else would have had the guts).

She’s also been with me through the slow, painful realization that my stories, 99.9999% of the time, are not better the way I originally wrote them. That honest feedback isn’t something to be shunned or even just accepted grudgingly, but rather, it is to be horded like precious chips of gold, sifted from the dirt.

If my mom hadn’t given me tough love when I needed it, I wouldn’t be published today. If she hadn’t transformed my skin into leathery elephant hide, I would’ve quit submitting after that first rejection.

If you’re a writer, and you have someone in your life who not only reads all of your stories, but cares enough (and is brave enough) to give you helpful, honest feedback – even though it might earn them nasty looks and a week’s worth of undeserved silent treatment – then please, take a moment to say “thank you.”

I’m so glad I finally did.

-Gretchen