Thanks to those of you who have stopped by my latest marcoujor's desk: Ponderings on Life and Trees. Working on the Mysterious and Miraculous project with such altruistic friends as Angelia Phillips, Alastar Packer, Mike Friedman, Gail Sobotkin and Vicki Warner is a beautiful and fulfilling experience.
Recently, Gail, known to some of us as Happyboomernurse, sat for an interview with a reporter from her local paper in Mitford. She asked Angelia some questions in preparation for the interview, which Angelia also shared with us. I was profoundly inspired by her answers and could not think of a better forum to share them on than my Inspiration Station page.
May you also enjoy the inspirational story behind the collection of these stories. I am also providing a must see YouTube telling you more about the K9s for Wounded Warriors Program/ Rescue.
Then buy a copy for yourself and a friend today!
Peace and thanks, mar
Q&A With Angelia Phillips on the Origins of the Mysterious & Miraculous Book project
Gail: How did the project start?
Angelia: Two years ago I got the idea of gathering up stories people had shared with me about their personal experiences with supernatural events. I'd heard lots of them. They were fascinating, and to the people who shared them with me these stories were important parts of their heritage.
I thought it'd be a great idea to find a way to maintain the stories, as in putting them into a literary work that would preserve them for future generations, as well as being able to share them with a wider audience. If they were in a book, bits and pieces of them wouldn't get lost and forgotten over the years. Neighbors, colleagues, relatives – all sorts of people had shared stories like this with me, even strangers on planes.
So, I started asking around, and gathering to me the ones people were willing to share not just with me, but with the public.
Gail: Why did you decide to use multiple contributors rather than write the book yourself?
Angelia: At first I wanted to limit the stories to folks who aren’t writers. They were the ones who were not likely to ever have the chance of putting their stories into a book, or any sort of preserved document.
Later I realized that I wasn’t being broad enough in the letting. Writers have experiences like everyone else, and I decided it’d not hurt anything to not only allow other writers into the mix, but to take one on as a partner in the project. So, I approached Alastar Packer of The Carolinian's Archives, who had an avid interest paranormal events and was already an established writer in that genre. He agreed to join me and contribute some work of his own to the book, as well as assist in ferreting out more stories.
The quest was to gather the stories ourselves, as well as put the word out to other writers, that they were welcome to not only contribute their own stories, but stories from people they knew. If the people wanted to write them up on their own, that was perfectly okay. One of the two stories from local folks I obtained was written by the person who shared it with me, Kathy Singleton Morten, who isn’t a writer by profession, but did an awesome job with it regardless.
As long as the stories fit the criteria of being non-fiction (to the best of their knowledge), and having absolutely no adult content (including four-letter-no-no’s) then it would be accepted.
I also acknowledged that just because many of the writers I’m affiliated with have had supernatural experiences, or are friends, relatives or associates with those who do, didn’t mean they’d have enough content to make the stories into a non-fiction book. This offered them a place to share their own heritage as well. Past that, it gives an opportunity for readers to discover some superbly talented folks and begin following their work, much like I follow the work of Frank Peretti, Daron D. Fraley and Jared Southwick.
Readers can’t become fans if they don’t know the writers. This made for an excellent venue to introduce them.
Gail: Why did you choose to designate a portion of the earnings from the book to K9s for Wounded Warriors? Why do you think it’s such a worthy program and what makes it so special in your eyes?
Angelia: From the very beginning of a desire to write a book, I intended to donate as large of a portion of the proceeds to a not-for-profit program I felt spiritually led to contribute to. I love animals and although I’m not a supporter of our people being sent into foreign battle zones, except under very rare circumstances. I’m a patriot of freedom and love We The People. I want to do whatever I can, whenever I can to help our veterans, and their loved ones, who pay such a high price for our privileges.
Nearing the end of the book's production, I sincerely prayed for God to guide me to which program I should support. It wasn't long after that when I found the K9s for Wounded Warriors Program/Rescue. The dogs involved are rescued from death row in animal shelters, and well … animals are such a gift when it comes to healing both spirit and body.
Gail: The percentage of earnings designated for donation is unusually high. How were you able to make that happen?
Angelia: I was able to make that happen because of some very kind folks willing to work hard for the simple joy of knowing we helped some dogs on death row hook up with some vets who would love them and care for them, and they could both benefit from the friendship.
Michael Friedman, an author, U.S. Army veteran and owner of Mockingbird Books Publishing, offered his invaluable assistance when I began floundering with the technical aspect of self-publishing. He was wonderful to be patient with my ignorance, and my pushing to make an October deadline for launching the book. I’d not involved Mike in the book from the start because I couldn't afford his services.
Maria Jordan, a close friend, who is also an author, had already volunteered her services as a free editor for the manuscript, as had Vicki Warner of Grief Can Heal. When I began struggling with the final put-together, Maria suggested I ask Mike a few questions about procedure. I was embarrassed to approach him with it, not wanting to tell him I was too poor to pay him and that’s why I’d not gone to him in the first place. But, I also let him know that I’d hoped to have enough earnings from the project to be able to have Mockingbird Books represent Mysterious and Miraculous Book II.
When Mike found out I’d already planned to give as large of a portion of the proceeds as I could manage to the K9s for Wounded Warriors group, he immediately volunteered his services and donated his 30% cut to the group as well. Alastar Packer followed suit, which left 30% to be used for out of pocket expenses, like the production of flyers, printed announcements or costs of physical copies, that last one being the most expensive thing on the list.
Gail: What are the long range plans for M&M Book I?
Will the donations to K9s be for the life of the book, and if the book is published as a paperback will the same percentage of donations continue to be given to K9s?
Are you keeping a waiting list for those who only want to purchase a physical book?
Are you keeping a list of contact info on those who purchased Book I?
Angelia: The donations to the K9s and Warriors is a forever thing. What the book earns will always go to them, unless their program/rescue dissolves and then, I’ll find a similar one to begin diverting funds to.
Yes, we’re keeping track of requests for physical copies, and will make them available as we earn enough monies to have them printed up. That’s where the remaining 30% of the profit will be going, to cover out of pocket costs for production and promotion.
No, we’re not keeping a list of contact info on those who purchased the book, unless the buyer asks us to. For that matter, we have no way of knowing who's bought the book unless they notify us about it. We only have access via the amazon kindle dashboard to see how many we've sold, but not who bought them.
Long-range plans are that M&M Book I continues to sell from generation to generation. M&M Book II, and so on, already has stories coming in from all over the place, for which I’m humbled and grateful. Each book’s earnings will go to a different program to support in the same fashion Book I has.
Gail: How did you find stories and/or author contributors for Book I?
Angelia: I asked nicely, explained what I wanted to do, and why, and people responded magnificently. Now the core team has all sorts of folks volunteering to not only help with the next book, but getting on board to help promote this one, even internationally.
Gail: You mentioned that a series of Mysterious & Miraculous books are planned, with 15 to 20 stories per book. Do you have a target date for when Book II will come out?
Angelia: I’d love to say yes, but as I write this, I have to admit that I don’t have a target date for launching Book II, for three reasons.
First, the stories are still being compiled, and haven't been through edit.
Second, the program we would like to support is still being researched, and until that’s satisfied, we’ll not set a launch date.
Third, the core team, and several others who have come on board and joined us, are still very busy with promotions so we've not had time to tackle the start-up of Book II, other than continuing to collect the stories from contributors.
Once we’re squared away with the Book I launch and have a chance to catch our breath, we’ll have a better idea of when Book II will be ready.
I can tell you this much, we're hoping to launch by the first week of December 2013. We realize that October through the end of December is, of course, our best window for the highest sales. The more books we sell the more monies the programs will receive, which is half-of-the-whole behind why the M&M books are being produced. At least that's our hope. We'll do our best and hope to make the target week.
Gail: Will you keep publishing subsequent books for as long as you have worthy submissions to fill them?
Gail: Will a different non-profit be chosen for a portion of the proceeds of each book?
Angelia: Yes. Each book will represent a different group or program.
Gail: Your name is Angelia and it seems to me like you are an angel striving to support worthy causes. Have you thought about calling your team of contributors Angel Writers for Charity, The Writing Angels or something else?
Angelia: No, hadn't thought of that, but it’s a worthy idea, to find an identification for this project that folks will recognize and look for. M&M Book I was a huge learning experience for me. But, once Mike and Maria were on board, it all fell into place. A name that fairly represents everyone involved is a valid reason to come up with one.
As for charity, that word can’t be in it. Providing funds for a veterans program is never a charity. It’s always a “thank you.”
It’s safe to say that there is a strong possibility that for every human-based program we fund, it will involve veterans. At some point, we may have to divert funding to two different organizations to ensure we represent both animal support and veterans, but most vets I know (and I know scores of them) are pretty fond of animals and many are already involved in various sorts of animal rescue. The difficult part of animal rescue funding is to ensure it’s not a front for individuals to be raking in donations that aren’t actually going towards supporting the rescue work they’re supposed to be doing. That’s why we’ll be investigating, as best we can, any group we support, to ensure the funds are being used as they profess to be using them.
A new name and a face-lift ...
A final note from mar:
Since the interview, Angelia and the production team behind M&M Book I have come up with a name for themselves.
The writers involved in writing any story that goes into any of the M&M series are now the Legacy Scribes. They are a facet of a larger group and mission called The Legacy Archives Foundation, which includes anyone associated with it, from the farmer down the lane who contributed a story, to the scribe who wrote the story for them and submitted it to be in the book.
The Legacy Archives Foundation includes everyone who gives their time and energy to the continuation of the project. So, that could be you, me ... all of us.
As I write this there are plans underway to establish a small website, that will house an online book store where guests can visit, buy the books and connect with the writers. It will also house sales reports to keep everyone informed of how book sales are doing, and other general news interests about the programs they sponsor.
Transparency is a good thing, and this way everyone whose helping can maintain a clear idea of what's being done with the earnings, such as when physical copies have been produced, how many are available and how and where to get them.
There are also plans to add more information on the back-cover of the M&M series that will include a list of the Legacy Scribes and the contributors (who maybe turned in a story, but had one of the scribes write it for them) whose stories are included in that specific book.
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