Friday, September 12, 2014

Baby Hearts Press News

Dear Heart Friends:


Keeping up with social media on the internet is quite a job! I have just created a storefront for Baby Hearts Press on Google+. I still have things I'll need to do to spruce it up, but at least I've started!
I've also learned how to use Buffer to disseminate short messages that I can send to people who are linked to me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and the most exciting part was that I was able to schedule these messages to go out when I want to. This means that I could sit down and come up with my messages today and schedule them for the next week and a half -- all for free! I highly recommend everyone check out Buffer App. It's terrific!

Image courtesy of KiddaiKiddeeStudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The last thing I've done this week that is very exciting is that I've created 4 internship positions for the radio show "Heart to Heart with Anna." If you go to the "Heart to Heart with Anna" and look at the Volunteers tab, you can see the 4 job positions that are now open. Now that we are entering our 3rd Season of "Heart to Heart with Anna" we are ready to expand the reach we have established in the congenital heart defect community. Let us know if you'd like to be part of the team!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Celebrating New Writers!

Dear Heart Friends:

I usually write blogs about topics of interest in the heart world or about what's happening with Baby Hearts Press but today I have to write about 2 authors who play very important roles in my life.


My son, Alexander, who was born with a number of congenital heart defects which culminated in him having the Fontan procedure (and then a revision of that Fontan 16 years later) has written his first book. I am so excited for him! It's still in the editing stages, but it's complete! In fact, it's to be the first in a series of books and he's in the process right now of mapping out the plot for the other books. I'm so honored he allowed me to help with the editing process. We'll attend a Writers' League of Texas workshop later this month that should help him make some decisions regarding what he wants to do with his book regarding publishing.


The other author I'd like to talk about is Mary Black. Mary and I met at a Writers' League of Texas event and we became each others' accountability coaches shortly after that time. Mary is the person who helped me create a whole new website and it was while I was at her house working that I got the phone call that changed the course of my life and turned me into a talk radio show host.

Mary has completed her book, Peyote Fire, and has even set a publication date for later this fall. I'm so excited for her! I'm excited to have been part of the birthing of her book and now she has honored me with one of two proofs she had printed so I can help her with the line editing.

I think one of the most exciting things about being an author and a publisher is that I really know how Alex and Mary feels about completing their manuscripts and preparing for the next step to accomplish their dreams. Once the covers of the books are complete and the books are actually available, I'll let you know!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Change in Media

My friend, Mary Black, is writing a prehistoric fiction book about a tribe in the Pecos Valley. To me the one thing I've been most fascinated with is the true archeological information that Mary has been privy to (being married to an archeologist has its advantages!) and how Mary has woven that information into her story. Being a lover of stories of all kinds, I especially have found intriguing is the rock art found in that location and the stories that have lasted for generations.

Image courtesy of foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over time we've seen the way people transmit information has changed dramatically. In the ancient days communication was through song, dancing and oral language. Then we found evidence of a written word or codes, sculpture, art, architecture and carvings.

Music, art and different global languages have made communication across generations and throughout our world easier to understand and access. Sadly, some languages have died and some will simply never be used again.
Image courtesy of akeeris at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I'm seeing the same thing happening in how communication in just the last 70 years has changed. My father enjoyed telling the family stories about how he and his grandfather used to listen to baseball games on the radio. As a young man he was witness to the first televisions being mass produced. I still remember, as a little girl, when our television would "break" and my father would take the back off of the television set and take some fuses or bulbs out and we'd go to a hardware store or electronics store and Dad would get replacement parts to fix our television. Even though I'm only 51 years old, I actually remember our family getting a color television set! That was so exciting!

Image courtesy of koratmember at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Another huge change in communication was from the written word going from being hand-lettered, to produced with movable type (the first printing presses) -- which were both labor intensive and very expensive -- to the first typewriters (manual), then electric typewriters (I had a Brother typewriter given to me as a high school graduation gift which was the envy of most of the girls in my dorm because it had a little strip of white-out which could be used when we typed mistakes!) to the first personal computers (I actually had Apple computers first and then got one of the first Macintosh computers -- which seemed so sophisticated!


When I wrote my first book, I typed it on a Macintosh computer. In fact, all of my books have been produced on Apple products. Aside from the huge change in the size of the computers, the memory and storage capacity, the power of the computers and the portability of the computers, I think the change I have most witnessed is the software that can be used on the computers.


When I wrote my first book, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents, I produced the book with a word processing program called Appleworks. By the time I put together My Brother Needs an Operation and The Heart of a Mother, I was required to submit the books as PageMaker files. When I did my last book, The Heart of a Father, I sent a PDF file to the printer. I never would have guessed that things would change so quickly!

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now I'm getting ready to take all of my books into the electronic realm. Just having a PDF isn't good enough. Your book has to be able to be accessed on smart phones, tablets and computers. This requires yet something else -- and that's what I'll be learning about in the coming weeks. I don't expect it to be too difficult, but it will be another thing I have to learn. I'll be using my old Macintosh G4 and its Zip Drive to create a Word Document -- if that's at all possible given the operating system on my Mac and the requirements for CreateSpace and SmashWords.

I'm excited to see how things have changed over time. I can't wait to see what's next! I only hope I'm around long enough to jump in at the beginning and that my grandchildren won't think I'm a dinosaur!

I hope all of my readers have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book News!

Dear Heart Friends:

Season Two of "Heart to Heart with Anna" is about to come to a close. Callie Rickard, my webmaster, radio show newsletter editor and dear friend, and I chose the shows that will be featured as encore presentations while I take a short hiatus from recording the radio show and get geared up for next season and do something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

 
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

During the break between Season Two and Season Three I will be converting all of my books to true eBooks. While they are currently available on the website, they are all in PDF format, which isn't easy to read on all e-readers. So my goal during the hiatus is to figure out how to convert all of the books to the true eBook format so they can be read on all e-readers. I've already tried using some programs that take PDFs and convert them to Word documents, but the result was a disaster.

Image thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Mac_G4

Instead I will be using my trusty Macintosh G4 to take my Zip disks and convert my Appleworks files to Word files. I will also use that time to totally edit the books. I have correction copies of all of my books, but if any of you have noted mistakes that you've discovered in any of my books, now is the time to let me know!


Another exciting task before me is to finish reading my son's first book! Alexander Jaworski, my son who was born with a single ventricle heart, has completed his first novel. He has selected me to be one of his beta readers. I'm already into chapter 3 and I can't wait to finish the whole book. It's over 200 pages so it might take me a while but I know during my hiatus I'll have some time to work on it.


Lastly, but just as importantly, I'll be line editing my dear friend, Mary Black's, first fiction book! You can read more about Mary's experience with creating her book, Peyote Fire, on her blog. It's a prehistoric fiction novel about a real tribe that was located in the Pecos Valley. I met Mary in November 2012 at a Writer's League of Texas workshop and it wasn't long before we were friends. We are actually much more than friends. We became accountability coaches for one another. We met on a weekly basis and assigned each other "homework" to help us reach our goals. Mary's goal was to finish her book. At the time, my major goal was to revamp the Baby Hearts Press website but in August 2013 I received a phone call, while at Mary's house, that changed my life -- the call from Josh Bernstein suggesting I start  my own talk radio show. I don't know how I would have done as much as I did without Mary.


So as you can see, the next two months should be very interesting. We'll be wrapping up Season Two of "Heart to Heart with Anna" where our theme was "There is Hope!" and we'll be taking a short hiatus to complete some really important projects. I hope you'll check out some of the websites I noted in this blog. Don't forget to send me any corrections to my books for the digital version coming soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lessons Learned in Season Two


Dear Heart Friends:

It's hard to believe that Season Two of "Heart to Heart with Anna" is coming to a close. There are only 3 weeks left in Season Two and then we'll take a little hiatus to do some behind-the-scenes work in preparation for Season Three.

There have been so many lessons learned this season! First of all came the big decision and subsequent move from VoiceAmerica to BlogTalkRadio. This was a difficult decision because I really enjoyed the team I worked with at VoiceAmerica and they really seemed to believe in the show. Jessica and Amy Cowin set up a fund raiser to keep "Heart to Heart with Anna" on VoiceAmerica, but sadly, not enough money was raised to keep the show on VoiceAmerica so we had to say "good-bye."

There were many people who still believed in the show, however, and enough donations were garnered for us to move to BlogTalkRadio. This was a huge undertaking and couldn't have been done without a lot of help from Callie Rickard and many of our Season One Guests.

The move required that I learn something new -- how to use Audacity in order to edit my shows. I had to take out all references to VoiceAmerica and all VoiceAmerica ads. Then I had to learn how to export the show as an MP3 and upload it to my studio. I also had to modify my commercials and my closing music. It sounds simple when I type it out here, but it was anything but simple!


The next requirement was for Callie and me to learn how to use the BlogTalkRadio studio. BlogTalkRadio has some really good tutorials and we were able to learn what to do fairly quickly. Because all of this happened well after the time I had made plans to accompany my husband to a professional conference in Vienna, Callie came to my rescue and aired the first 4 shows for me. She learned how to take callers, open the chat room and she did a great job!

In order to try to get all of Season One moved to BlogTalkRadio as quickly as possible, we aired shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays until all 15 shows were in the Archives. Then it was time to start Season Two.

The theme for Season One was "You are Not Alone" and the theme for Season Two has been "There is Hope!" We've really enjoyed putting together shows that demonstrate how much hope there is for babies born today with a congenital heart defect. There have been some challenges with Guests being unable to make it on the show at the last minute, but our angels have been ever at our side and amazing Guests seemed to always be waiting in the wings.

Callie created a brand new logo for Season Two -- which involved the entire heart community! She came up with a lot of logos and I picked my favorites and then we posted them on Facebook. Members of the heart community voted and talked about why they liked certain logos more than others. It was interesting to see how some logos affected people. I loved them all so I was happy to let my Listeners choose the logo!

I'm not sure if we're going to change the logo again. I'd like to know what my Listeners and Guests think about having a new logo for each Season. The theme for Season Three is "Finding Your Voice" and I'm really excited about what kind of shows we can have based on that theme. Please write to me at Anna@HeartToHeartWithAnna.com if you would like to suggest a show or offer to be a Guest. You can also fill out the form on the website (go to the tab "Be on the Show"). Right now we are looking at having some authors, a music therapist and parents of adults with CHDs talking about how they had to find their voices again after their children grew up. Those are just a few of the topics we'll be covering!


Did you know that you could "find your voice" with "Heart to Heart with Anna" in a variety of ways? First of all, you can request being a Guest on our show! The second way you can find your voice is by submitting an article for our newsletter. The third way to find your voice is to offer to be a Guest Blogger or by writing a comment on our blog. There are so many ways you can find your voice with "Heart to Heart with Anna"!

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School?


Usually the end of summer -- with Labor Day looming in the distance -- signifies one thing to parents and children -- it's back to school time!

While many children look forward to being back in school, getting new school supplies and some new clothes, there are some children who are not so excited. These are the children who have been bullied and who fear the bullying will begin all over again when they go back to school.

Many parents of children with congenital heart defects have had the heartbreaking occurrence of bullying of their heart children. Sometimes the bullying occurs because the child looks small, can't keep up with the other children, requires extra equipment or extra time to do things, get special treatment (like not having to run laps with the rest of the class or a key to the elevator) and these things can be fodder for bullies. What is a parent to do?

On "Heart to Heart with Anna" we will be discussing bullying and how to make our school environments safe for our congenital heart defect (CHD) survivors. There are things parents can do, and should do, to make sure their children are safe in school and to help prevent teasing or bullying.

There are other considerations heart families must make when it comes to sending a CHD survivor back to school. Is the child current on his/her immunizations? Has an individualized education plan (IEP) been established for the child if the child is behind his/her peers? If the child is 0-3, does he/she qualify for early childhood education? Who should know about the child's heart defect? What kind of information should be provided to the school? Should the child wear some kind of identification that alerts people to the CHD condition? Should the parents plan to meet with their survivor's classmates to talk to them about their child? At what age is that appropriate? When should those kind of parent advocacy events stop? When should the CHD survivor be his/her own advocate? How do parents teach their children to be advocates for themselves?

These are just a few of the considerations that families of CHD survivors should consider when preparing to go back to school. Go to Heart to Heart with Anna to hear the radio show about this topic.
A great article with tips for teachers, parents and students can be found here.

Education is empowering. When parents, teachers and CHD survivors work together to ensure everyone understands the needs of the CHD survivor, everyone wins. That's a cause for celebration!




Back-to-School Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Cheerful School Boy Showing His Thumbs Up Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Toastmasters Petition

Dear Heart Friends:

I'm about to let you in on a secret. I'm an introvert. Shhh!

It's true. I was a painfully shy person until I was in my 30s. What brought me out of my shell? Two things: having children and becoming a writer. What made me feel confident that I could speak in front of others and that I had a message worth sharing? Toastmasters.

Toastmasters has been a vital part of my life for the last 13 years. For most of that time I was raising a young family and I was also a homeschool mom. That meant that once a week I took my two sons with me (we started when they were 6 and 9 years old) and they sat quietly while I learned the intricacies of public speaking. They were little sponges who soaked up everything I was learning and then some! They were my first evaluators as they listened to me practicing my speeches. They were my audience. They were my encouragers.


There is a situation occurring right now in Toastmasters, my beloved organization, which needs to be rectified. Currently there is an outdated and inefficient means of giving officers credit for attending a mandatory training every 6 months. I am recommending a new way of giving credit to officers which also gives every officer credit, regardless where they receive (or give -- since many of us are trainers) that training. It only seems fair that if 200 Toastmasters receive credit for attending a particular training because they went to a local training, that if they are joined by someone from a different district -- who is also part of Toastmasters International, that they should get credit, too. Unfortunately, while that is usually the case, it isn't always the case.

Please look at this petition to decide if you would like to support my suggestion. I believe it could help streamline the process needed to give officers credit and it would also show equal respect for any district-sponsored Toastmasters Leadership Institute.  https://www.change.org/petitions/toastmasters-international-give-distinguished-club-program-credit-to-any-toastmaster-attending-any-district-approved-toastmaster-leadership-institute#

I have benefited greatly from Toastmasters -- it's what enables me to conduct my radio show and to speak to groups all over North America. Without the training and the practice I receive at my Toastmasters weekly meetings, I am certain I would revert back to being more introverted and self-conscious when speaking in public. Because of Toastmasters, I have developed confidence and can focus on the message I am trying to convey instead of the art of speaking itself. Thank you all for your consideration and for sharing this with others.