Yesterday Huntsville Independent Press sent photos of the first printed copies of my new book, Soul to Soul: Tiny Stories of Hope and Resilience. I haven’t held the book in my hands yet, but the pictures already reveal what a beautiful book it is – thanks in great measure to the wonderful illustrations by European Artist Anya Lauchlan. The hints I received of what is inside these pages took my breath away.

Anya and I have never met, but we have corresponded regularly for the past year. We have worked on this book on two different continents, with Anya drawing and adding color in both France and the U.K. Our publisher was like a Border Collie, herding us in the right direction as we found our way through the creative process of producing words and images that work together to tell stories. Not every story in Soul to Soul is illustrated (there are 100 stories, after all!), but many are thanks to the incredibly hard work of an artist who somehow understood exactly what I was imagining when I wrote each one.

In one case, I’d written a story based on an actual scene I’d observed while on a walk. When I saw Anya’s interpretation of the words I’d written, I was stunned at how perfectly she’d recreated the scene, even though she had only read my 100-word fictional version of it.

More importantly, perhaps, Anya captures the very soul of each story — the spark and meaning that touches the heart. I am so grateful for the way she illuminated every story she worked on.

We are just beginning the effort to get news about this book out into the world. Soul to Soul is designed to be read for a few minutes at a time over many weeks or months, or from cover to cover in a day – whatever the reader enjoys and prefers. The book can sit on a coffee table or night stand, waiting for those moments when someone wants to pick it up for a couple of minutes to read a note of hope or to enjoy, nod, and smile. The mini-stories can begin, end, or add to any day. They’re written to be accessible to any reader, and numerous communities and perspectives are represented. I wanted this book to offer something for everyone.

Now the work is to get the book out there so that many, many readers can find it. If you’d like to inquire about selling Soul to Soul in your bookstore, gift shop, or at your event, contact The press is offering deep discounts for orders of 50 copies or more. Book club requests, including author discussions via Zoom, are welcome.

For individuals, watch this space for the pre-order link, which is scheduled to be posted online October 1. The book will debut on December 1, just in time for the holidays!