A Good Day is a Gutsy Day: How You Can Win a Free Book or Download a Bargain

It’s a good day today.

In no spectacular way.

It’s good just by waking up, alive, in a “warm” house (I’m grateful for the afghan made by my mother-in-law and a prayer shawl give to me by Mennonite women this fall). Then there was coffee, and breakfast with Stuart, who made the steel-cut oats.

Lots of time to look at the mountains, dramatic today with clouds of many colors hovering over them. Then more coffee. Any day with a book and a cuppa is good. Right?

My Gutsy Story Anthology, volume 2

And not just any book! A book about courage, My Gutsy Story Anthology: Inspirational Short Stories About Taking Chances and Changing Your Life (Volume 2) featuring many of my writing friends. I choose to make this a Good Day, a Gutsier Day, by inviting you to make friends with these writers also.

I read many stories in this wonderful anthology this morning.  I’ll give you a chance to do the same. Read on to find out how you can win a free copy of this anthology. In the meantime, I want you to meet  a few of the writers featured in the book with links that take you right to their websites.

Sonia Marsh

Sonia has created the Gutsy brand, first with Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island and now with a My Gutsy Story website that leads to edited books such as the one above. Below are six authors I did not know three years ago, but who now make up the tapestry of my everyday life because I continue reading their stories. The title of their individual stories in the Gutsy anthology follows their name, along with other ways you can become acquainted.

Janet Givens, “Leaving a Life I Loved”

Janet joined the Peace Corps at the age of 55 and wrote a gripping memoir about the experience: At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corps Memoir.  She blogs about “oh no moments” that make us gasp, negotiating boundaries, making connections, and embracing transitions at her website.

Marian Longenecker Beaman, “Gutsy in Ukraine”

Marian blogs at Plain and Fancy Girl. Anyone who has read my memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World will love the amazingly creative and well-researched posts Marian publishes. She brings all of her wisdom from her “plain” heritage into the wider world of “fancy” professional life and draws all of these influences together into beautiful essays. She’s working on her own memoir, and I can’t wait to read it.

Laurie Buchanan, “From GED to Ph.D.”

Laurie’s philosophy as a transformative life coach is “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” Every Tuesday she delights, surprises, or challenges me with her short essays combining one picture with her unique slant on the visual and inner worlds. She’s the kind of friend who reads about a book tour and drives all the way from Boise to attend a book talk in Seattle. I’ll never forget that gesture of kindness. Get on Laurie’s list. You will thank me.

Leanne Dyck, “Rising Above Expectations”

Leanne Dyck was told as a child that she was uneducable. She has proved the teachers and social workers wrong and has become a published author, overcoming the challenges of dyslexia. Leanne interviewed me on her blog. I was delighted to find her inspiring story among the many other Gutsy stories in this anthology.

Victoria Noe, “I’m Not Gutsy, But You Are”

Victoria and I connected briefly at Book Expo America this year. We didn’t have enough time to get to know each other well, but today I got to know her better by reading her unique take on the meaning of “gutsy.” She’s had an amazing series of careers in theater, nonprofit organization leadership, activism, and now writing. She has written several books about friend grief and has been published in the Chicago Tribune and the Huffington Post. You can reach Viki , her blog, and her books, here.

Angela Marie Carter, “Poetry Saved My Life”

I’m particularly happy to end my list of friend’s Gutsy essays with Angela’s. In the words of Langston Hughes, life for her has “been no crystal stair,” but Angela has wrestled with the demons of child sexual abuse, parental alcoholism, and many other challenges by pouring her sorrows into language. It was a pleasure to share the podium with Angela this summer at a talk at our local public library and to exchange ideas over lunch a few times before and after her beautiful book of poetry Memory Chose a Woman’s Body. One of her poems in that volume has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. I will not be surprised to hear it has won. You can find Angela at her website.

Finally, I need to mention one other writer friend,

Joan Z. Rough

She doesn’t have an essay in this particular anthology, but she nominated me for a Lovely Blog Award a few weeks ago. I have not been able to respond until now. Joan lives just “across the mountain” from me in Charlottesville. Stuart and I have enjoyed getting to know Joan and her husband Bill. We don’t see enough of each other but enjoy every encounter. Joan is hard at work on her memoir called Me, Myself, and Mom: A Journey Through Love, Hate, and Healing. Coming soon! You can read the first chapter here.

Now, as promised, here is the offer. I have three My Gutsy Story Anthologies, Volume Two, to give away to those who comment below. Just answer this question “What is gutsy in your ordinary life today?

I’m also bursting to tell all my readers that Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World (Kindle edition) is on sale this week only. Tomorrow it will be the featured memoir on Bookbub. But you can jump to the head of the line and buy it for .99. Now! At this price you might want to add an e-copy even if you own the paperback. Thanks in advance for your support. And if you are interested, I’ll describe the BookBub experience after it’s over. Which leaves my with one more person to thank: Carol Bodensteiner, author and marketer extraordinaire. Check out both her books and blog too! Carol told me about BookBub.

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Shirley Showalter


  1. Laurie Buchanan on December 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Shirley – Triggering a face-splitting grin, this post is fun, Fun, FUN! It’s made my already great day, even greater — thank you!

    Having read “My Gutsy Story Anthology” (both 1 and 2), I’ve visited many of the contributing writer websites and the reward is tremendous — an ongoing treasure trove of inspiration and wisdom.

    • shirleyhs on December 10, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Laurie, I’ve got both books on my shelf too, a tribute to Sonia’s vision for helping others live more courageous lives and also sharing their inspiring stories with others.

      I loved the story of how you went from GED to Ph.D., and I look forward to hearing the rest of the story — why you ran away from home.

      Thanks for starting the conversation here today.

  2. Joan on December 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Shirley, Thanks so much for including me in your blog with a great bunch of other writers I greatly admire. I so appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

    I’ll have to get busy and submit a piece in the next Gutsy Story Anthology!

    Let’s get together soon!


    • shirleyhs on December 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      You would have a wonderful story to contribute, Joan. Any one of your chapters is a gutsy story!

      And yes, it would be lovely to get together again. Let’s do it soon!

  3. Angela M. Carter on December 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks so much for including me in this wonderful post! It’s been a pleasure working with you, and I hope we do more events together!

    With thanks,

    Angela M. Carter

    • shirleyhs on December 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Me too, Angela. I’m glad you turned your poetry into poetic prose and told your story in this anthology. My guess is that your poetry fans would love to read this essay also.

      What a year 2014 has been for you.

      I’m very proud of all you accomplished and glad to be cheering you on.

  4. Elfrieda Schroeder on December 10, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    What was gutsy about my day today was driving my husband downtown for his second cataract surgery. It is slushy and snowy and I hate city driving, but I made it there and back and feel that it is quite an accomplishment for me, wimpy driver that I am, and so directionally challenged!

    • shirleyhs on December 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Great illustration of how gutsy living and daily life come together, Elfrieda. Congratulations on successfully navigating the traffic and all the other challenges of winter and eyesight. I hope your husband makes a full recovery.

    • shirleyhs on December 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Elfrieda, see Sonia’s invitation at the end of the comments. I know you would have a wonderful contribution to make to her next anthology.

  5. Carol Bodensteiner on December 10, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Shirley, it’s been such fun to get to know authors as you have through Sonia’s Gutsy Story Facebook page and books – including many of the authors you mention in your post. I look forward to meeting the new ones, too, – Hi, Angela, Victoria & Leanne.

    Thanks for including me. I’m excited about your promotion week. Good luck reaching a gazillion more readers with your terrific memoir, BLUSH.

    What’s gutsy in my everyday life today? Hmmm. Signed that contract. You know what I mean.

    • shirleyhs on December 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Congrats on signing that contract, Carol. And if others want to know what you mean, I hope they start following your blog. 🙂

      I’m glad this list of writers includes some new folks for you. One of the pleasures of blogging and all social media is connecting friends to each other.

  6. Marian Beaman on December 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you for including me too in your gutsy group – what an honor! You have cleverly invented another way to define a good day.

    You asked, What is gutsy in your ordinary life today? My answer: Imagining I can do twice as much as I have time for, which is either gutsy or foolish. I’ll leave it at that so I can click on the links of other gutsy authors you have showcased.

    Yes, I plan to publicize this post on Facebook and Twitter. Best wishes with Bookbub!

    • shirleyhs on December 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

      So many days, so many ways, Marian.

      Hope you got most of what you needed to get done yesterday in addition to checking out these great author websites.

      I’m off myself right now — to yoga class!

      I’m trying to keep up with your Pilates example.

      Exciting to see what happens on BookBub today. Haven’t checked in yet. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing.

  7. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living on December 11, 2014 at 12:27 am

    WOW!!! Shirley. Thanks to you and all the amazing authors who contributed their own “My Gutsy Story.” Your story, on page 109 about “Staring Death in the Face”, at the tender age of six, offers so many life lessons, including how life became more precious, when you realized,”we all die.” I just want to mention that I met Carol Bodensteiner at the Readers’ Favorites Book Awards in Miami, and that her “my Gutsy Story,” “Giving up Everything to Find What Matter,” is on page 230 of the first Anthology. I would love to receive Joan Rough’s story, as well as many other new writers in our 3rd Anthology. So please ask your friends to submit theirs and contact me for guidelines: Sonia@soniaMarsh.com

    I look forward to hearing more about BookBub and wish you lots of new book orders. Thanks for featuring the “My Gutsy Story,” Anthology on your site.

    • shirleyhs on December 11, 2014 at 11:34 am

      Sonia, hats off to you! Your vision for these essays and these books has already produced two volumes and appears headed toward a third. It takes a HUGE amount of work to create the monthly contests, select winners, gather up permissions and then format and publish a handsome book.

      I have a complete Gutsy trio of books on my shelf and am happy that so many of my blogger/author friends have been included in the first two anthologies. Good luck with the IBPA Awards. It would be wonderful to see you, and all your Gutsy authors, receive that award.

      Also, thank you for suggesting I look at the criteria for inclusion. My book IS eligible because they go back two years. I just might submit.

      All best with your many transitions. I am full of admiration for all you’ve accomplished.

  8. Leanne Dyck on December 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you for the shout out, Shirley. It was a pleasure interviewing you on my blog. And congratulations on being nominated.
    What is gutsy in my ordinary life, today?
    Well, I’m going to cheat a little and tell you what I plan to do.
    This coming Friday a small crowd of people will gather on my rural island home for an open mic night. The group mainly consists of musicians. My husband fits into this group very well. Music pours forth from his fingertips — he plays drums, a guitar and a bass. No, not all at the same time.
    Me? I don’t play anything. I do sing and once upon a time had a standing gig with a very appreciative audience — of under two year olds, when I was an Early Childhood Educator. It didn’t take much to impress this group, which was good because I didn’t have much.
    However, I have written a short story inspired by ColdPlay’s Viva La Vida. I plan to read my short story on Friday night. And, if I’m gutsy enough, I will also sing a short song. Fingers crossed….

    • shirleyhs on December 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      What a perfect example of gutsiness in everyday life, Leanne.

      By writing your intention you make it more likely to happen! And the evening on the island sounds delightful.

      I also identify with performing in front of children. What a great audience they are. And how much we can learn from them about how to lose our own self-consciousness.

      I have even more admiration for your courage and accomplishment after I read your story in the anthology. Write on!

    • Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living on December 14, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Leanne, I know you will sing that song. Hope you have a video to share with us. Thanks for being “Gutsy.”

  9. Leanne Dyck on December 14, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I did sing — and read. It was such a supportive audience. And now I’m hooked. I’m already planning my reading and song for the next open mic, which will be on Mayne Island on January 16th.
    Take a video… That’s a great idea, Sonia — I may just do that. : )

    • shirleyhs on December 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Sonia is a great role model when it comes to video. Have you seen her website?

  10. Leanne Dyck on December 15, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I’ve enjoyed some of Sonia’s videos. You’re right, Shirley, she is a great role model when it comes to videos.

  11. shirleyhs on December 16, 2014 at 7:54 am

    The three winners: Joan, Leanne, and Elfrieda! Congratulations. And may you find inspiration in all these stories.

    • Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living on December 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Congratulations to Joan, Elfrieda and Leanne. I hope you all leave a review on Amazon to help all the authors. Thank you Shirley for the post and the giveaway. Greeting from London. I just arrived.

  12. Kathleen Friesen on December 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Somehow this appeared a week late, but nevertheless in a timely manner for me. While I won’t share my gutsy act for today here, know that I appreciate the stories and links to more stories of extraordinary courage … brought about by acting from the heart.


    • shirleyhs on December 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Thanks, Kathleen. Glad you found the post and this conversation. I know that any gutsy choice you ponder in your heart is a good one. Your heart is a large place already. Courage makes it even wider. Blessings.

  13. Leanne Dyck on December 16, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much, Shirley. This is very kind of you. And I can’t wait to receive my book. I’ll sing out loud about it on my blog. : )

  14. shirleyhs on December 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Your book is on the way, Leanne. Sing on!

  15. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living on January 3, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I’m back from my 2-week trip to Europe, and wish to thank you Shirley, for featuring the Anthology and offering copies to 3 winners.

    • shirleyhs on January 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

      It was a pleasure, Sonia. Can’t wait to hear more about your travels and plans for the future. I know you will always be Gutsy! Glad to do a little part to help these stories find readers.

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