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Serenity, Anyone?

In the 1980s, my grandmother had the Serenity Prayer decoupaged and hung in her guest bedroom. When my cousins and I had sleepovers as kids, I always marveled at its simple, rhythmic request:  

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

courage to change the things I can, 

and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

I typed those lines from childhood memory. That prayer has been with me ever since. Even as a gradeschooler, I knew my life-long goal was serenity in a chaotic world. 

 

Decades later, I discovered the Enneagram. I know it’s all the rage right now, but for good reason; its pegs humanity’s nine personality types through the core beliefs of the types, the wounds they suffer from, and the healing they seek. 

 

I’m a number One: The Reformer. I want to make this world a better, more beautiful place. Which is a teensy bit exhausting and mostly impossible. Zero surprise that the life pursuit of a One is serenity. Can we say #challenge?

 

This year, we need the Serenity Prayer not just as a decoupage over the guest bed, but as cosmic light show illuminating our dark skies.

 

A few nights after the Oregon fires had ravaged friends’ homes just miles away, and another news cycle featuring Angry Everybody made me want to move to the Yukon Territory without the Internet, I found myself awake in the wee hours, whispering the Serenity Prayer over and over again until—much later—I finally fell back asleep. 

 

Honestly, the more authentic version of that prayer often sounds like the character George Costanza from Seinfeld screaming, “Serenity Now!” 

 

We can yell two words. 

 

We can whisper three lines over and over. 

 

May we pray the prayers. May we also do the work to heal our own wounds so that we don’t wound others from our unresolved pain and so that we can bring our healthy selves to serve a hurting world from a place of forgiven wholeness seeking to restore instead of retaliatory brokenness seeking to destroy. 

 

(And may we have a bit of serenity!)

 

 

My Favorite Classroom

It’s back-to-school season, but you might say I’ve been in summer school since July 4: the day I got married. I never knew that marriage would be my favorite classroom. I also never knew that no matter how much reading I did ahead of time, nothing would compare to experiential learning!

 

So-o-o much to learn. Such a variable curriculum, such a huge canon—love languages, personality styles, bathroom habits.

 

And I’ve never been more excited to study. 

 

I couldn’t really prepare for it like I did in my student days, by plowing through the required reading list and over-achiever-ing by plotting out the syllabus on my calendar. 

 

I couldn’t prepare for it like I did in my teacher days, by plotting units and setting assignments all the way till Christmas. 

 

So even though preparation is my superpower, I find myself releasing the ways I thought I learned best. 

 

And I am embracing every unplanned moment that arises. This photo is from last Sunday, when I looked up to see my husband smiling as he loaded the car after an afternoon on the lake. We had made a  detour there after an active camping weekend near the Deschutes River. The river was splendid, but he knows I love lakes, so he suggested we find one. 

 

On the obsidian-rich shore, we read aloud, napped, and played on the stand-up paddleboard. (My play looks more like a wobbly attempt to not to fall off. He can do a handstand on the thing…on a moving river). 


He is learning to enjoy the stillness I love, and I am learning to enjoy the motion he loves.  

 

It’s actually because of—not in spite of—our differences that we are on the trajectory for a master’s degree in communication someday. 

 

At this moment in our culture (and at any moment) we might do well to adjust our usual learning styles. We might do well risk wobbling as we try for new balance. To be still when we prefer motionor vice versa. Generally: to push the limits of our personal learning curves.

 

Here’s to embracing the classrooms of life: marriage and more. 

Lucky Valley Press July Newsletter


OUR MISSION: to help authors get their books into print and worldwide retail distribution; to provide inspired solutions for editing, design and layout; and to maintain the voice of the author and the integrity of the concept.


The Little Bach Book by David Gordon

160 pages, 6 x 9, softcover, 82 illustrations, maps, bibliography

Bach specialist David Gordon has created a richly illustrated and amusing collection of his favorite anecdotes, historical explanations, timelines, bits of pathos, gritty vignettes of everyday realities, and colorful stories about J.S. Bach and everyday life around him in early 18th-century Germany. There’s no other book like it. Learn More…

The Little Bach Book

The Soup Kit

The Soup Kit
by
Ginna BB Gordon
color photos by the author, 208 pages,
8.5 x 8.5, softcover

Everything a cook needs to know about soup: a little history, a lot of spice and herb combos borrowed from other cultures, notes about thickeners and other additions, the right vegetable cut for the right end result, when to add which ingredient, 55 recipes, and more. Learn more…

WHAT WE DO

All our services are available for print books and ebooks. We edit and proof manuscripts, design books from cover to cover, acquire ISBNs and deal with other book registration duties, process and edit photos and images and prepare the material for uploading to the distributor. Throughout the entire process we work closely with you by phone, email, snail mail and text to make sure your book has the look and feel you imagined.


Looking for John Steinbeck

Released in 2016

Deke Interrupted

Released in 2018

Humming in Spanish

Coming Sept. 2020!!

Ginna BB Gordon’s Lavandula Series

Set in Carmel Valley, California in the 1960s, The Lavandula Series is based on the fictional journals of Stefani Michel. It’s the life stories of Stevie and her two cousins. Learn More


Soul Companion: A Memoir

by Judy Hilyard

230 pages, 6 x 9, softcover, hardcover, ebook

After a 47-year career as an ICU nurse, Judy Hilyard took a completely different road and became an Anam Aira, a soul companion, for those who have died or are in the final stages of dying.

Soul Companion is the story of what Judy has learned as she cares for souls on both sides of the Veil. Learn More…

Soul Companion

AT LVP YOU ARE THE PUBLISHER

With digital print-on-demand publishing you have complete control over your book before and after it is released.

We provide all necessary design, account management and pre-press services and we partner with you every step of the way from the preliminary editing stages through the actual release of the book for international retail distribution.

OUR FEE is based on the length of your manuscript and the ultimate complexity of your book. After an examination of your manuscript and a discussion with you about your goals and ideas, we prepare a multi-page Project Evaluation with a detailed breakdown of services and costs and a project timeline. We also discuss the book size and retail price and explain how the book size, paper and price will affect your revenue.


Joseph Meister

Aunt in the Amazon
La Tia en la selva Amazónica

A True Adventure Coloring Book
by Diane Wallace

Illustrations by the author, 80 pages, 8.5 x 11, softcover

This coloring book story in Spanish and English takes you on an expedition down the Amazon by canoe. It’s the perfect book for bilingual families with kids of all ages. The engaging and true story will inspire curiosity about the world, interest in other cultures and a desire to travel without fear. Learn More…


Scherzo’s Magical Musical Adventure

by Nancy E. Bennett

This is a story about a little dog, Scherzo, with a great desire to sing. If a child is musical and loves animals, this humorous book will educate and inspire while providing an intuitive understanding of musical terminology. This is the perfect book for little ones and grown-ups to share. Learn More…

Scherzo

54 pages, 11 x 8.5, softcover,
with 23 oil paintings by the author.


Penitentiary Tales

Penitentiary Tales: A Love Story

by EA Luetkemeyer

404 pages, 6 x 9, softcover
Illustrations by the author

In the 1980s, Dean Davis, a 30-something, educated, straight white male from affluent Sausalito, California, is sent to an Illinois prison filled with inmates from the mean streets of Chicago. What challenges does he meet? How does the experience affect his social and political consciousness? Learn More…


LVP

GINNA has been reading two or three books at a time ever since she can remember. Her love of books led her to a life as writer, editor and publisher, while her love of cooking led to a parallel career as chef and cookbook author.

At Lucky Valley Press, Ginna is project manager and art director. With her artist’s eye she creates the look and personality of each book, cover to cover.

An experienced editor, she has worked closely with more than 30 authors to help them develop and refine their work.

Ginna’s first book, A Simple Celebration, the Nutritional Program for the Chopra Center for Well Being, was published in 1997 by Harmony Books, a Division of Random House.

Since then Ginna has published nine more titles including cookbooks (First You Grow the Pumpkin and The Soup Kit), memoirs about cooking (The Honey Baby Darlin’ Series), and novels (The Lavandula Series, the story of three girls growing up in the 1960s in Carmel Valley, California.)

DAVID is a life-long professional musician, writer, lecturer and historian.

At Lucky Valley Press, he is the layout and typography designer and manager of tech and pre-press. He likes to design with type and has typeset the interiors of nearly all the books we’ve produced during the past decade.

He and Ginna collaborate on the concept and design of book covers.

In 2015 David published Carmel Impresarios, a 400-page cultural biography of the two extraordinary women who helped establish Carmel, California as a major hub for the arts. It is the definitive history of the growth of music and theater in Carmel’s early years.

His second book, The Little Bach Book, describes daily life in the era of J.S. Bach. To date, it has sold more than 1,500 copies worldwide.

Learn more about David’s musical career at www.spiritsound.com.

Follow this link for a list of books by Ginna and David.


Collage of book covers


Since 2012 Lucky Valley Press has designed
and produced 65 books for 34 independent authors.
Visit www.luckyvalleypress.com to learn more.


The Corndog Compromise

When Jared proposed this spring, he had a wedding date in mind: July 4. Beyond the general delight, I was also delighted he’d already thought of the day. I was game for the holiday wedding—we’d have anniversary fireworks forever! 
The venue that first came to my mind was Plaisance Ranch, a vineyard owned by dear people we both knew. We not only loved the connection to them, I had also written the poetry wine labels for Plaisance’s beautiful vintages. 
Perfect! I thought, we’ll have a wine and cheese reception.
Thing is, my now-husband is more of a beer-and-corndogs guy (though we’ve also shared plenty of cheese and wine). Still, I thought he was joking when he said he’d like corndogs as an appetizer at the reception. Beer in addition to the wine, of course. But corndogs? That would mean renting a deep-fat fryer, and…it kinda clashed with my vision. 
Enter our first compromise. 
Just after the proposal, we were talking with the Pennington’s, who had helped introduce us once upon a time at their bakery farm stand. They make a wow version of pigs-in-a-blanket, complete with honey mustard baked into the crust. Cathy suggested, “How about we make little ones and put them on a stick, and you can call them corndogs?” Wisdom from a woman married for forty years. 
And then, Jared’s parents asked if they could cater a full dinner for the wedding in addition to the planned appetizers. My solo vision expanded into something better when shared. 
There might be a lesson in there somewhere. 
And so, we had “corndogs” at our wedding. One of the moments I asked the photographer to capture was us biting into a compromise—aka corndog—together. It’s more important to me than the traditional feed-each-other-cake thing. This, we made possible together. A symbol of many things to come. May they be sweet—or at least savory.

Solstice Eve


Solstice Eve
On the longest
day of the year,
I want to choose
the shortest path
to joy—the one
with no distance,
no time. The one 
we can know
as close as our skin
& in any season. 
I want to go to sleep
& come awake
to this lengthy day, 
to sun—to all 
that’s possible
in hours of light. 
But may I remind
myself of all I can also 
do when darkness 
begins again—when 
joy will dress in shadow
but still glow, 
nevertheless. 

Hope of Stones


Paris, New York, San Francisco…and Southern Oregon! A dream lineup for a poetry book tour, and Im so grateful for the friends in each place who helped make this happen.

Hope of Stones is ready to greet the world, and you can pre-order it via my wonderful publisher, Press 53

Im going to let the dear poets who wrote praise for the book speak for me on this blog. Continued gratitude to them for the beautiful words!

+++

Anna Elkins’ Hope of Stones is a magnificent (I do not use the word lightly) collection—a beautiful, moving, and thought-provoking book of poems. The writing is striking in its control of tone and its precision, unfolding layer after layer of resonance and implication. Three characters: the nun, the architect, the poet who triangulates the relationship. Three different times in history, three different significant endeavors: the architect’s Paris below ground that reflects and supports the Paris above; the visionary nun’s passionate immersion in the inner mansions of God’s Castle; the poet’s engagement in the sensuous spirituality of her research. Give this book to everyone you love. No book of poems I’ve read in a long time more deserves serious, joyful attention and a wide readership. 
—Jim Peterson, author of Speech Minus Applause

This gorgeous book of contemplative poems refuses to accept an easy division between work and prayer. Here, hope is not a thing with feathers. Hope is a paradox, a thing with both heft and light. It is weightless with history, ruin, and body. It is heavy with abyss, nothingness, and caves. Bone and stone point beyond themselves towards the absence of building things up and the presence of emptying things out. Language is both meaningful and errant or even wayward: “earth / is an anagram for heart.” A nun prays “none” against “none.” A whole is reminiscent of a hole. This is a poet’s clearing, housed in eventual collapse. The one who works and the one who prays cross paths, eventually, head to head, skull to skull, in the undertaking of the poet, who excavates a kind of fast, and a kind of pilgrimage, as a way of seeking the first lost garden fruit–the castle cathedral, the ever-never-catacombs–unpicked, undisturbed, and undreamed. 
Gina Franco, author of The Accidental

In Hope of Stones, Anna Elkins creates a multi-various and many-voiced world—set both in the present and in two different pasts, and narrated by three different characters—the Nun, the Architect, and the Poet. This fantastic book reminds me of A. Van Jordan’s M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, another hybrid collection that brings strong individual poems together into a cohesive narrative. Whereas Jordan’s mode is often cinematic, Elkins works as a portrait painter. Through osmosis, the scholar-poet becomesthe architect and the nun, allowing this intertwined history to work also as an extended metaphor on creativity and desire: “One stair at a time / one corridor after another & a final glimpse / up a shaft to see the pinhole light of sky shining / though a manhole cover….”
Sebastian Matthews, author of Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision

Hope of Stones is an elegant collection. Its formally accomplished poems, distinct voices, and visual design invite us to see the page as a temporal-geographical region. The architect, Charles-Axel Guillaumot, speaks from the lower left margin where he focuses on materiality, catacombs and the undergirding of Paris as he tries to save the city from collapse; the nun, Teresa of Avila, speaks from the upper right margin, where she shares her architectural vision of the spirit. And the poet, who is either in Oregon or traveling, occupies the center of the page where she brings her own dailiness—fires in summer, plums ripening—into conversations with these historic figures. The poet descends literally beneath Paris in her quest for the architect and ascends into the ethereal and sometimes levitational world of the nun. Like Dante, Elkins takes us on a journey. Hope of Stones traverses countries, continents, and historical periods until finally time and space collapse into a kaleidoscope of spirit.
Tami Haaland, author of What Does Not Return

April in Paris, Anyone?

Come with us!
Deep Travel is heading to Paris in April! We have two spots left on the trip, which runs from April 4-10. For six splendid days, our small group will be exploring the City of Light’s boulevards, bridges, bistros, galleries, patisseries, and parks. 

We’ve named this trip “The Artist’s Life,” and that’s exactly what you’ll get to explore. To enrich our travels, we’ll hold daily “happy hour” art sessions blending art, writing, and conversation. 

We’ll be staying in the marvelous Marais neighborhood—my favorite—in walking distance of the Seine, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, and countless eateries. 

A few extra perks: a luncheon cruise along the Seine, a dinner and literary salon in a private home on the city’s oldest park, and a walking around our Marais neighborhood with author and Paris podcaster, Oliver Gee

I’ve been delighted to help organize Deep Travel trips since 2014. We’ve gone to Morocco, Mexico, Spain, and Nepal, and this will be our first Deep Travel workshop in Paris. 

For more info, visit the Deep Travel website.  And for even more photos and fun, check out the Facebook page

Come play with us!

The Feels

A year ago today, I drew this compass to illustrate the five feelings I wanted to cultivate in 2019.

The four points: joy, peace, prosperity, and grace. The heart-center: harmony.

I started to write the words onto the compass, but then I realized I wanted the image to be “evergreen.” I wanted to use it every year if I felt like it. To use five words…or just one.

For 2020, I have just one word. This time next year, I’ll let you know how it turns out! I have a feeling it will be good, if only because this year, I let my five desired feelings guide most everything I chose to do.

This was the first time I approached a year with feelings instead of goals…so much more fun and freeing! I’ve spent too long confusing what I want with what I want to feel.

What do you want to feel during the coming twelve months?

Here’s to all the feels!

And blessings as we navigate toward them,

Anna

Big Gratitude for All the Little Things

Happy Gratitude!

Little things can bring such big delight. Like receiving photos of my new book, Living Large on Little, trotting the globe from New Zealand to Kansas (with a few furry bibliophiles, too!) 

Thank you, thank you to all the readers! Another delight: reading reviews. Here are teasers from a few that have come in so far:

“At the end of this little book I was happier and more hopeful…Finished the book feeling inspired and amazed…As I closed it I felt richer!”

“What a delight! I read this short but powerful collection of anecdotes in a single evening! So much heart and depth tucked in these pages. I will read it more than once, surely. Love!”

“I finished this book feeling hopeful, appreciative, optimistic and grateful. It’s full of insightful personal stories about wealth, the actual money kind, or the “feeling wealthy”, the internal abundance kind that comes from within (which is no small thing! it’s actually THE THING!!!)…”

Of course, I’d also be immensely grateful if you want to add to the reviews! You can find the book here. It brims with gratitude and grace—good for every season, but especially this one. 

Thank you for reading & blessings of delight, 

Anna

Big Gratitude for All the Little Things

Happy Gratitude!

Little things can bring such big delight. Like receiving photos of my new book, Living Large on Little, trotting the globe from New Zealand to Kansas (with a few furry bibliophiles, too!) 

Thank you, thank you to all the readers! Another delight: reading reviews. Here are teasers from a few that have come in so far:

“At the end of this little book I was happier and more hopeful…Finished the book feeling inspired and amazed…As I closed it I felt richer!”

“What a delight! I read this short but powerful collection of anecdotes in a single evening! So much heart and depth tucked in these pages. I will read it more than once, surely. Love!”

“I finished this book feeling hopeful, appreciative, optimistic and grateful. It’s full of insightful personal stories about wealth, the actual money kind, or the “feeling wealthy”, the internal abundance kind that comes from within (which is no small thing! it’s actually THE THING!!!)…”

Of course, I’d also be immensely grateful if you want to add to the reviews! You can find the book here. It brims with gratitude and grace—good for every season, but especially this one. 

Thank you for reading & blessings of delight, 

Anna