Author Talk Session & Book Signing: A Community Success

I have a question for you: What do you do when you have a vision with little time to pull it off, not sure who will come, and not sure if it will even work? I’m sure you know the answer…you do it anyway

God dropped a vision into my spirit recently to bring together 10 authors living in the city of Pittsburgh, along with members of the community, to engage with one another, to learn from one another, and to bless one another. The event was billed as “Building Community through Literary Arts”. I began by reaching out to authors I had met through daily living—on Uber rides, attending bookstore events, and social media.

It was the same with the guests. I just put it out there and got some folks in attendance who were just the right people to be there; even had some young people there! The venue was spot on for how I set up the “Meet the Artist” activity. The idea was to have the authors behind the scenes until everyone had eaten. Then unleash the guests to find the authors using a raffle card showing only pictures of their books. The authors were waiting in two separate areas designated as Author Alley 1 & 2. The guests who participated and filled their card were then put in the raffle drawing for individual gift bags that had been donated by the authors themselves—including tee shirts, mugs, bookmarks, books and more. 

Partial list of authors: View the Author Gallery for the complete lineup.

  1. Devantae Butler (Breakthrough from Isolation to Elevation)
  2. Kyosho John Morgan Hamilton (Participation)
  3. Mark Craven (Karyeator)
  4. Rick Claypool (Leech Girl Lives)

I also invited a visual artist by the name of Tranikka Powell, an incredibly gifted young woman who showcased many of her pieces for the amazement of the guests as part of the “Meet the Artist” raffle. We auctioned off one piece called the “Lion Queen”. What I absolutely love about Tranikka’s work is that there is a life story behind each piece; about family, God, relationships, etc. She also presented us with a live event sketch at the end of the evening.

And there was the hospitality crew: hostess Victoria Dorsett (a local high school student) and caterer Vickey Giddens of Vickey Soul Grill Takeout and Catering in Mckeesport PA, a new startup supported by the Mon Valley Launch Box (a business incubator) and Idea Foundry (a business accelerator). The venue, The Beauty Shoppe Pitt Building, provided support as well with a staff member by the name of Sophia. I loved her spirit as she jumped right in, joined the conversation with the authors, and even helped with the cleanup. A young man by the name of Tacumba Turner was the photographer/videographer. One of the things he did was interview each author separately. (Can’t with to see what he produces!)

The highlight of the evening was the moderated Author Panel Discussion where we dived right into the topic of building community through literary arts. Each author gave a bit of their personal story and their writing testimony. Several moderated questions were presented which made for a dynamic, transparent and authentic discussion. The guest participated by asking their own questions, adding comments, and sharing some of their own personal experiences. Breakthroughs were made, prayers were sent up, and new relationships forged. Everyone contributed to building the community conversation. It was an amazing sight to behold!

The next step in the vision is twofold. First, launch a quarterly series of similar events in 2020 (Feb, May, Aug, Nov). And second, officially launch the “Write Source Community Book Club”, which will include a Facebook community for others to participate. Additional details will follow soon.

If you would like to be informed of what’s happening next, please join our mailing list. You can also visit my website, The Place to SOAR, to see what else is on the horizon.

“Always do more to SOAR!”

Voices of the 21st Century

I am excited to be a part of yet another book anthology, Voices of the 21st Century, a publication from Women Speakers Association. My chapter of the book, Pangs of Guilt, tells of decision I made that taught me two significant life lessons. First, it is important to recognize that deeply rooted negative emotions often drive decision-making. Second, sometimes God will answer your prayer not to bless you but to teach you.

I am premiere member of Women Speakers Association leading the way for women to take the driver’s seat in creating what is to come. We are clear that this is a birthing process; a collaborative, co-creative experience that is being defined moment by moment by our members. We are committed to you being a part of our evolution.

Responding to what you want, rather than deciding for you, is what we stand for. We invite you to contribute your feelings, feedback and ideas, and to participate in this pivotal, generative conversation; to express yourself authentically and powerfully; to be bold and take a stand; and to give voice to your truest heart’s desires.

LEARN MORE AND JOIN
To participate in this dialogue and be a part of our community, we invite you to become a WSA member today.

Reviews: I Wanna See Laney’s House

WONDERFUL WRITING STYLE
I met the author several months ago and wanted to support her writing effort; besides I wanted to know what the title referred to. Anita’s writing style drew me in and made me feel like I was experiencing the events of her childhood along with her. I found it difficult to put the book down. Her chapter titles, often references to the Bible, were spot on. I wish I had the ability to remember even half as many events from my youth as she does from hers.
C Schelle

A MUST READ
The author, Anita D. Russell and I were high school classmates at the then newly merged Steel Valley High School in Pennsylvania. I Loved her book! For anyone from our area, from our times, this is a MUST READ. Anyone else could certainly learn from Anita’s well-written journey and wisdom. The book tells her personal story, (which could have been enough), and threads the story of integration, family, life and death, and her spiritual relationship with God. Enjoy and tell your friends and family!
Joanne Rego

DON’T STOP READING
I would definitely recommend everyone pick up this book and read. I was in tears and joy of remembering my childhood. The author bought life to the words on the pages.
Jean Thompson

Reviews: Voices of the 21st Century

A BOOK EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO READ.
This is definitely an extraordinary work. You rarely get this kind of opportunity to hear from 50 powerful women all at once. The Author Gail Watson brings the teachings, encouragements, and inspirations of these 50 women all in one place. You have no excuses not to have a copy of this book. I love the fact that each woman in this book has a voice of her own and not like 50 people talking over the same idea. Above all, this book really inspired me and opened my eyes to a lot of things I never knew in the past. When I read some of the chapters, it felt as if though I was the one been addressed to. I can’t wait to introduce this book to my daughter when she comes home for a holiday.
—KarynH

YOU, TOO, ARE A DIAMOND WHO IS HERE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Author Gail Watson, founder of Women Speakers Association, is joined by Deb Coman, an editor, copywriter, and marketer, in presenting this valuable and inspiring collection of women who have made a difference and share their messages to aid other women in empowering themselves.This fine book is published by the Women Speakers Association and as an opener, Gail shares the vision of that group: ‘Our vision is of a world in which women are empowered to authentically express themselves; to build a thriving, prosperous business; and feel a part of something greater. A world in which women take ownership of and step into being the leaders they are; using their voice to powerfully inspire others, thus causing transformation in the lives of their clients, their companies, communities and the world.
—Grady Harp

A COLLECTION OF INSPIRATION FROM WOMEN OF THE WORLD.
This book is a collection of stories from women of different backgrounds who have shared personal experiences and how they overcame the adversity to prosper and be successful. One of my favorites was I tore off my Superhero costume. This was a powerful story from a successful business woman, wife, and mother who one day decided to stop trying to be perfect. The methods she used were inspiring and can benefit anyone in that situation. This is a great collection of advice from some very successful women with inspiring stories and action plans. This is a great read for anyone looking to make a positive change in life, personal or work. Check this one out and let me know what you think.
—Jimmy ray

Solo Debut Release: I Wanna See Laney’s House

GET YOUR SIGNED COPY TODAY!

Take a Walk in a Decades-long Spiritual  Journey Towards Mental Wellness. Anita immerses you in her life story from tragedy and grief to triumph and peace. She divides her life into five main seasons of growth and cultivated change from a broken little girl to an awakening adolescent, a nurturing young adult, and an evolving grown woman. As a result, she stands today speaking of her yearnings as a liberated woman.

Continue reading

Advocacy, Health and Wellness

Overcoming Decades of Childhood Grief

My recent debut as a solo author, “I Wanna See Laney’s House”, reveals a decades-long journey towards spiritual growth and mental wellness. It begins with a tragic moment at the family home on Linden Avenue in East Pittsburgh. A dark night of the soul unfolds when one sister is hit by a car and the other hit by depression.

I have a riddle for you: How does a 5-year-old girl recover from depression? Click to read the full article on Kidsburgh online magazine to find the answer. . .