Friday, December 13, 2013

Introducing On Higher Ground

Author Paula Hrbacek is pleased to announce the release of her new Christian romance novel, On Higher Ground, a sweet romance about finding the courage to change.

The story features three humans and two angels.  The angels have been assigned to help the humans find God’s will for their lives.  They offer inspiration, good luck, divine intervention, and at times, appear in human form.

“One review of the book didn’t like the angels,” comments the author.  “She said that everything I had to say about a ‘still small voice’ should have been attributed to the Holy Spirit, instead.  She’s right.  It could have been the Holy Spirit, but I had to use angels in order to create a dialogue.  Characters speak when they don’t understand or don’t know something.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t need to explain anything to the rest of the Trinity, because they already agree with each other.  So, instead, I made one angel an apprentice, and one a supervisor, so that they would have something to talk about.”

At the end of each chapter, the angels discuss why God has answered one prayer with a no, and another with a yes.  The angels take a look at why bad things happen to nice people.  It also discusses why good things happen to not so nice people and why bad things happen to bad people.

The main character is a young adult woman, Melanie Worlds, who has run out of luck; no job, no friends, no future.  Desperately wanting to replace the middle class life she once knew up on “the Hill,” her faith is being tested to the limits.  JT, her newest friend, is up to something, but Melanie isn’t sure what it is.  And then Brad, her high school crush, comes back to town.  She can’t let him know how bad it is, or he’ll lose all respect for her.  And, to make matters worse, someone is trying to break into her apartment. 

None of her prayers are getting answered, and she feels all alone.  But she’s not.  Two guardian angels have been assigned to help these three humans.  The angels know God’s plan, and it’s going to take everything they’ve got to pull it off.  To battle temptation, the angels will need to instill courage; courage to dare, courage to dream and most of all, courage to love one another.

Personal thoughts from Mary Anne Benedetto:
Mary Anne Benedetto
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book of Christian fiction. I felt that the use of interaction between the two angels who are assigned to the young people in the story was incredibly clever and effective. I was reminded by the multiple times in my life when I have no doubt that I was being spoken to either by the Holy Spirit or angels or by God Himself, but that “voice” tells you something. It warns you or causes you to pause and make a better decision or washes you with peace.

I love to read books that take me to a place about which I am completely unfamiliar, and On Higher Ground succeeded in teaching me what it is like to financially live one day at a time and have to stretch every single penny. The story provides a clear picture of the challenges faced by countless numbers of people every day, and if we’ve never been in their shoes, we have no idea.

This book also reminded me that we are to offer our time and talents for His glory, that we need to listen to that small voice that plants thoughts in our minds about ways in which we can help others--not for our benefit or recognition, but as a part of His plan for our lives. One small kindness that may not seem all that significant to us could be a life saver to someone else.

People are definitely brought into our paths for a reason. I know this through personal experience. When we are sincerely willing to turn to God for direction, He opens gigantic doors, He orchestrates “chance” meetings, and He paves those steep, winding trails.

For a book that is a bright spark in your reading life, add On Higher Ground to your list and devour it for a sweet blessing.

  Mary Anne Benedetto

Paula Hrbacek is the author of On Higher Ground, Stars Shine After Dark and four non-fiction craft books.  She won first place in an international writing contest sponsored by Echoes of The Right to God in 2011.  She majored in journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and writes two newspaper columns for The Examiner, an online newspaper. 
Paula Hrbacek

On Higher Ground is available in paperback, Kindle and Nook from Amazon and B&N.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year!

Lovingly presented to you by,
Mary Anne Benedetto
Author and Certified Lifewriting Instructor

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect and From Italy with Love & Limoncello, Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

Yip, yip! Meow, meow! They may be furry, make unintentional messes on the floor, exhibit unusual behavioral issues, demand that we not leave them alone for extended periods of time and make us walk outdoors even when we aren’t in the mood. But we love them as much or perhaps even more than we do some folks in our own family. They don’t argue with us, even though they may want their own way, are always delighted to see us, and they are completely helpless and dependent upon our loving care for their survival. They are our treasured pets and are essentially our family members.

Each has its own personality traits and habits, and unfortunately, their relatively abbreviated life spans insure that some day we will mourn their loss. As a Certified Lifewriting Instructor, I  spend considerable time influencing people to write their  life stories while it is possible to do so. But what about our pets? Why are we not preserving their sagas as well? Photos and videos are helpful in reminiscing, but they don’t offer the details. They don’t explain why a particular pet was chosen or define the qualities that made this special one so endearing.

Capturing pet stories can be accomplished in following seven easy steps. By answering the list of straightforward questions in order to formulate the story, anyone who can read a book and write a simple paragraph can create a booklet that encompasses the essence of a beloved pet.

Great for pet owners, class projects for students (even if they don’t own a pet, they can interview someone who does), pet groups, associations and clubs, this publication also represents a wonderful appreciation gift that groomers, trainers, veterinarians, animal hospitals, breeders and pet stores can provide to pet parent customers.
Complete with logical procedural  writing steps, as well as adorable pet-related quotes, sayings and photos, Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps paves the path to creating a document, booklet or book that preserves those special memories of sweet Fido or Whiskers.

Visit for links to formats in paperback, Kindle and Nook or for a quick link to Amazon for print & Kindle versions.
Capture your pet's story today! Also makes a great gift for pet lovers...

Mary Anne

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Legacy Letters and Epistolary Memoirs

While writing letters has become almost as common as listening to music on a Walkman, there can be an enormous benefit to engaging in a particular form of letter writing.

Epistolary memoirs are life events that have been captured in the form of written correspondence--yes, letters! You may ask, “Why would I want to do that?”

Passing along your memoirs is obviously important to succeed in offering your personal version of your life’s events and in order to prevent the stories from becoming forever lost. It offers loved ones a tangible form of documentation to preserve and hand down to future generations. Writing about your experiences in letter form is simply another option that might enable you to more easily allow the stories to flow.

Tackling Epistolary Memoirs

1-Chart a list of your memories and highlights that you want to be certain to include.

2-Choose an individual (child, grandchild, niece, nephew) or group of people (children, grandchildren, etc.) and write your stories directly to that person or group, clearly explaining about the people involved in the stories, exactly what occurred, the positive or negative impact on you and perhaps how you feel about those events.

3-Don’t forget to include sensory details (think sight, smell sound, taste, touch, feeling, thinking, distinctive characteristics of individuals including you).

When Time is Ticking on a Downward Spiral

Recently, a close friend and I were discussing an idea for gift-giving to folks who are elderly or under hospice care. Her thought was to buy a box of stationery and envelopes and suggest that the individual write a separate letter to each grown child and/or grandchild. I love that thought! Who wouldn’t appreciate a personalized  letter from a parent or grandparent that told them how much and why they were treasured? Or why certain circumstances existed? Or something they always wanted to say, but had never taken that step?

If you intend to give this stationery gift to someone, consider these points:

1-Don’t wait until they no longer have the capacity to recall their memories or to write the letters.

2-If they need assistance, encourage them to dictate the letters to someone who will write for them.

3-In searching for boxes of stationery to purchase, you may be surprised to discover that because of the world of instant communication in which we now exist, you may have to search extensively to find boxes of paper and matching envelopes that would have, at one time, been readily available. Check your local office supply stores, as they ordinarily carry these items.

4-If more convenient and practical, utilize a small handheld recorder to allow them to verbalize the letters they would write if they were able. Have the recordings transcribed into letters.

Tips for Writing Epistolary Memoirs or Special Legacy Letters:

1-Make a list of the individuals to whom you would like to share your thoughts.

2-Tell him/her what your relationship with them has meant to you. How has he/she enhanced your life?

3-What do you recall most about his/her personality, appearance, contribution to you personally and to society in general?

4-Describe special moments have you shared with him/her.

5-Once you are no longer here, what might you regret not having told him/her?

6-What words of wisdom would you like to share with future generations to whom your letters may be passed down?  For instance, by what philosophies/standards/goals/beliefs/values have you lived and operated? By what means has strength been imparted to you during difficult times?
Inspire them. Give them something meaningful which they and the next generations can clasp tightly to their hearts and benefit simply because you devoted a block of time to disclose previously unrevealed valuable thoughts and feelings. Your legacy matters.

About Mary Anne Benedetto:
Speaker, ghostwriter,  blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor and author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing and From Italy with Love & Limoncello, Coming mid-November, 2013: Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps. Mary Anne Benedetto’s passions include helping people preserve their life and pet stories, creating Christian fiction, visits with friends and family, world travel and walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches.  Please visit her at,, and