Thursday, November 19, 2009

Baby Hearts Press Interns!

Greetings, Heart Friends! I have some exciting news to report! Baby Hearts Press has two interns!

How did this come about? Vice-President of Marketing, Bob Daigneault, hired a life coach and has had to do various activities to satisfy his personal program. In the course of working toward his life goals, he had to take some tests. One of the tests showed his strengths and weaknesses. This test illustrated for President, Anna Jaworski (me), and Bob that Baby Hearts Press was not fully utilizing Bob's strengths.

Bob Daigneault was a classroom teacher for years before becoming an administrator first in the Killeen Independent School District and later for the San Antonio Northside Independent School District (one of the biggest in our state!). Bob's great strengths deal with helping people to reach their potential by training and guiding them in certain programs.

Together, we realized that we had a great opportunity to share what we've learned about publishing with an intern -- and meanwhile could gain some much-needed help in the areas of publicity and marketing. Bob created a proposal and sent it to Temple College and the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. Within the month, we had a chance to interview Thomas Bradley and we believed that working together would be a win-win situation. Thomas plans to self-publish a book someday and he hopes that by working with us at Baby Hearts Press, he will gain the knowledge he needs to be successful.

I was so excited about having Thomas join us at Baby Hearts Press that I posted a note about it on my Facebook page. To my amazement, Sheri Turner, a long-time friend, "heart" mom and congenital heart defect advocate posted a note stating she wished she could be a Baby Hearts Press intern. I was delighted!

After some discussion and consideration, Baby Hearts Press decided to offer Sheri an internship position as well. There certainly is more than enough work for two people! Sheri is currently working on a graduate degree in business and I'm sure she will be able to share some great information with Baby Hearts Press while she helps us help other heart families like her own.

Baby Hearts Press welcomes Thomas and Sheri to our small family and hopes our association will be a fruitful one!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Orlando Conference

Greetings, Heart Friends!

Last night was quite exciting for me. I gave the second part of a 3-part speech to my Toastmasters during our regularly scheduled Toastmasters meeting. It was about the need to find balance in our spiritual/religious life after our child is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

I have never spoken about this at a conference before. I want to thank Pepper Adair for giving me the chance to talk about this in Orlando. Pepper gave me a theme to work with when she hired me to deliver her keynote address to her audience in Miami, FL two years ago. The theme was on finding or creating balance in your life after your child's heart defect has been diagnosed. The next year (last year), when she asked me to speak to her parents in Panama City Beach, FL, she wanted to use the same theme. When she hired me to speak this year in Orlando, FL, I wasn't surprised when she told me the theme would be the same this year.

For Miami, my speech was largely about chores, normal developmental stages of development in children and how their normal development is enhanced when they are allowed to be contributing partners in a family. I gave suggestions for appropriate chores for different age groups and shared stories about children and their experiences with chores (both my own children and that of my friends). For Panama City Beach, we changed the focus so it wasn't quite so didactic and I had more stories and less "teaching" about normal development, although I still gave the handouts I had created the year before to help parents know what is normal and what isn't so they could address issues at appropriate times.

It has been so much fun to take a theme, create speeches for it and watch those speeches grow, change and blossom. I believe the speech I'm writing for this year's conference is the best one I've written yet. This year I'm focusing on finding/creating balance in 3 essential areas: 1) home, community and social network, 2) work/economic life and 3) spiritual/religious life. Because the economy is the way it is right now, I believe this speech is both timely and pertinent to today's parents. I hope the listeners enjoy hearing the speech as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

My second speech has been cut in time from 45 minutes to 30 minutes. I'll still be talking about Your Child's Bright Future -- just like in the 2 previous years, but this year it will be a little bit different. Pepper has also commissioned for a doctor who specializes in working with ACHDers to give a similar speech from the medical perspective. I can't wait to talk to the doctor who will be giving the medical speech. Pepper is so excited she's agreed to speak to the group. I'm hoping she'll talk to the young adults about the importance of taking their medicines, continuing with their regularly scheduled appointments and taking responsibility for their own healthcare so I don't have to dwell on that. I've already written a speech, but I might modify it after I speak to this doctor.

If any of you readers is going to be in the Orlando area on October 3rd, I hope you'll come to this conference. I think it's going to be very interesting and informative. I'm looking forward to hearing what the other speakers have to say. I'm also looking forward to seeing some old friends (I hope you're coming Bob and Linda!) and to making some new heart friends.

I hope everyone has a great week!


Anna Jaworski
mom to Joey (18; heart healthy) and Alex (15; HLHS)
author of “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents” and “My Brother Needs an Operation” and editor of “The Heart of a Mother” and “The Heart of a Father”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby Hearts Press Special & Parent Conference

Greetings, Friends! It has been an exciting month! Last week all three of my guys celebrated a birthday. That means my oldest son (Joey) is now 18! Alexander, my "heart" son is now 15 and my husband is a year older and wiser, too. :-)

This has been an exciting summer since we released The Heart of a Father: Essays by Men Affected by Congenital Heart Defects. We have had book signings to help spread the news about the book, but now we've decided to offer an Internet special.

In order for people to own a library of resources from Baby Hearts Press, we are currently offering The Heart of a Mother, The Heart of a Father and My Brother Needs an Operation for the low price of $50 for all three! That's a $15 savings and only available at our home website: You will not find discounts like that available anywhere else. Visit the website for more information.

We have also been working with Pepper Adair (American Heart Association Heart Heroes) on the parent conference for this year in Orlando, Florida. Here are the details:

When? October 3, 2009
Where? Orlando, Florida
What? Parent conference featuring experts in the field of congenital heart defects. This year will feature Anna Jaworski as the keynote speaker and other speakers from the medical community.
How Much Does it Cost? nothing! It's absolutely free, but you must register with Pepper Adair
How? Contact Pepper at or call her toll free at 888-255-1060 or if you're in Florida, you can call her directly at 561-697-6619

I'm really looking forward to the conference. Every year I put together a new speech and I've already started writing the keynote speech for this year. I'll be giving the keynote speech, one other speech (they'll have concurrent sessions this year in a variety of rooms) and I'll take part in a panel discussion.

I hope all my Florida friends will come to this event! Pepper and her staff always put on a fun conference. I'm always impressed with how hard the staff works to make it fun for the whole family. There are some whole family activities and then some special activities for the children while the parents listen to the other speakers.

I'll post more information on the conference as it becomes available to me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Twig Book Signing

Last weekend Bob Daigneault (Dad), Frank Jaworski and I drove to San Antonio to do a book signing at The Twig Book Shop. This is an adorable shop on Broadway in San Antonio. It is one of the exclusive bookstores that physically carries our books. Any book store can order The Heart of a Father: Essays by Men Affected by Congenital Heart Defects because it's in Ingram's database, but only a handful of indie bookstores currently carry our books.

Here are Frank and Dad at the table where we did the book signing:

Frank and Bob Daigneault (Dad) at the book signing table

Bob signing a book with Frank and Kevin watching

Several things made this book signing special. Claudia of The Twig really outdid herself by providing refreshments and making us feel welcome.

Refreshment Table & Welcome Sign for MLH and IMH

Mary Adair kindly sent out electronic flyers inviting members of her support group, Mended Little Hearts, to come to the book signing. Heather Collins of It's My Heart also let her members know about our signing.

Here is a photo of Heather's family:

Heather, Coleman and Kevin Collins

It was delightful to see people from the heart community come out in support of the book and us. Here is a photo of Brenda Cabaza (a nurse who works with Dr. Calhoon -- the surgeon who saved Alex's life):

Brenda Cabaza

One of the most wonderful things to happen at the book signing was for Dawn and Wayne Martin to show up! Dawn contributed to The Heart of a Mother and I hadn't seen her since we did a television interview nine years ago! I really enjoyed getting a chance to meet her husband for the first time, too. Here are some photos of us:

Frank, Wayne, Dawn and Anna (me)

Just Dawn and Anna (me)

Christy Lerma of Mended Little Hearts also showed up! It was wonderful to get a chance to meet her and talk to her about her son. Here is a photo of Christy, Dawn and me:

I would like to thank The Twig, all of the members of the heart community who showed up and Mary Adair for helping to make this book signing the success it was.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book signing of The Heart of a Father: Essays by Men Affected by Congenital Heart Defects

Book signing of "The Heart of a Father"
by Anna Jaworski, Bob Daigneault and Frank Jaworski

The Twig Book Shop
Saturday, July 18th 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
5005 Broadway St.
San Antonio, TX 78209-5793

Monday, July 6, 2009

Best Book Signing Ever!

Dear Friends:

I had the best book signing ever on July 3rd at Hill Country Bookstore in Georgetown. I've been doing book signings for many years now, so I have plenty of experiences for comparison! Let me tell you about why it was the best book signing ever . . .

First of all, the signing took place in the most darling bookstore you'd ever want to step inside. The bookstore in the movie "You've Got Mail" reminds me of this bookstore. But the one in "You've Got Mail" was in a big city. Hill Country Bookstore looks like it belongs in Mayberry, RFD, not a big city. :-) It's on the square in downtown Georgetown. Here are a couple of photos of the bookstore from the outside.

On the first Friday of every month, downtown Georgetown stays open a little later. Not every store stays open late, but the ones that do have signs on their doors or marquees that say "First Friday Participant." Some of the roads are blocked and a tent is set up. Musicians arrive and so do a lot of people. They set up lawn chairs under the trees, or claim one of the many benches available on the square. Some come with their dancing shoes on (this mainly means "boots" in Texas). Some visit a sweet bookstore named Hill Country Bookstore. At 8:00 the live music begins and there is dancing in the streets.

My book signing was scheduled for July 3rd -- the first Friday in July. I had no idea how much fun it would be to see everyone getting ready to have a good time! And little did I know that Margueritte (Hill Country Bookstore's owner) intended not to be outdone by the musicians outside!

Our book signing was scheduled from 6:00-8:00 p.m. When I arrived, to my delight, I saw a little blackboard outside the bookstore welcoming me and Poetic License. We were going to have a signing and live music!

Once inside the bookstore, I had a chance to chat briefly with Margueritte, the store's owner for the last 14 years. She made my father and me feel completely welcome and at ease. She set up a little table for us with two chairs comfortably close to the check-out area and in full view of the beautiful window facing the front of the store and people preparing for the festivities. We also had a perfect view of Poetic License!

I think what made this a perfect book signing is the fact that people who enjoy First Friday events are either locals or out-of-towners who heard about Georgetown from friends or family and who choose to come downtown to enjoy the festivities. These are people who want to meet other people and have a good time. Couple all of that with a welcoming bookstore owner who knows most of her customers by name, and who supports local artists such as Poetic License, and you're bound to have a great time.

(Dad and me at Hill Country Bookstore)

(Poetic License: Martha Pinto and Lissie Connolly)

So the set up was ideal. Beautiful bookstore, fun and welcoming people, live music . . . what more could you ask for? How about generous, warm and friendly customers?

Frequently at book signings, I feel that the customers wish I wasn't there. :-( I know that may sound mean to say, and I don't wish to be mean, but what I'm saying is that frequently customers don't know what to do when they see an author sitting at a table. It's so interesting to see how people respond! At two of the recent signings we had, the bookstore managers put us at the front of the store to be greeters. We were happy to do this, so we were surprised when people did everything they could not to be greeted! We weren't yelling, "Please buy our books." We were saying, "Hi! How are you?" and if people acted interested, then we'd tell them about our books. Many people would come in the store and duck their heads to avoid eye contact when we tried to greet them. This was disheartening. We knew we wouldn't sell tons of books; mostly we have signings just to get the word out, hoping that if someone has a child with a heart defect, or knows someone with a heart defect, they'll find our resources helpful.

At Hill Country Bookstore, you could tell that these customers knew how to talk to authors. They weren't afraid of us. They were happy to see us, to talk to us, and some even chose to buy our books! A number of people came over to us to tell us about a mother in Georgetown whose son had a heart transplant. She's a local celebrity because she has become an extremely strong advocate and has helped purchase AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) for local schools. In fact, as legend has it, one of the AEDs in the middle school was used to save a student's life! I was told over and over again that I need to meet Teri Lucas. This is something I hope to do in the near future.

At one point, some newly married friends showed up and I moved from behind my table to speak with them and give them a hug. They purchased a book and Dad and I autographed it for them. We chatted a few more minutes and when they left, I noticed two new things on our table. One thing was a tri-fold brochure for a local restaurant down the street. The other thing was a little napkin with two chocolate truffles on it! Just for me! Dad has his own little napkin with two truffles on it! The restaurant proprietor of Silver and Stone had quietly put the brochures and the truffles on the table while we were talking and left before I could thank her!

(Thank you for the truffles! I can't wait to take my husband to your restaurant some day!)

Martha and Lissie made beautiful music. They sang with acoustic guitars. They sang accompanied by a tambourine and some other gentle percussion instruments. Then they sang a capello. One little boy was captivated by their singing and I caught a photo of him.

The two hours flew. We met wonderful people, enjoyed beautiful music, ate delectable truffles and even spread the word that you don't have to feel alone if you have a child with a congenital heart defect. I didn't want this magical book signing to end! I came away feeling inspired, relaxed and happy.

We're scheduled to do a book signing at The Twig Book Shop on Broadway in San Antonio on July 18th. I am very excited about that signing because I've already been in touch with a lady who runs a support group in San Antonio and I'm hoping to meet some heart families. We'll be reading from our books and sharing stories. I hope I have cause to write about another perfect book signing after that.
July 18, 2009 book signing and reading by Frank Jaworski, Bob Daigneault and Anna Jaworski from 1-3 o'clock.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Heart of a Father Update

Dear Friends:

I still can't believe it's done. :-) There were so many times I wondered if I'd ever be able to complete The Heart of a Father. I was so picky! I could have finished it dozens of times, but it never felt right. It seemed to be lacking something. So I held on and held off on publishing it.

I'm so glad I did.

Now it feels right! It looks right! It IS right! :-) Thanks, Dad! Without Dad, I'd still be wondering if I will ever finish the book! He was the key ingredient to me finding a way to finish the book.

I've been receiving emails from contributors and readers who are very happy with the book. It's not an easy read. Neither was The Heart of a Mother. These books are not books read for pleasure. They're read for comfort, for education and for inspiration, but not for pleasure. Reliving the times in the hospital or difficult times in our marriages due to the stress of dealing with a sick child on top of everything else -- those things aren't easy to read. But the most amazing thing happens when I write about my experiences or read the experiences of others. I feel a kinship, a connection, that I don't feel with anyone else. Instead of feeling isolated and bereft, I realize I belong to a very special group of warriors. This sense of belonging makes me stronger. It makes me actually feel capable.

Ironically, when I was in that situation (at the hospital mainly), I felt anything but capable. When Alex was in the hospital, I felt like a zombie. I couldn't remember anything. I felt so useless and ineffective. It was awful! That's why I couldn't wait until the catheter was taken out and I could change diapers, when the wounds healed enough that I could bathe Alex and when he was off the ventilator and I could feed my baby. Until I could be the hands-on mom I was used to being, I was a wreck. I hated for anyone to ask me how I was doing. I was fine as long as no one asked me that. I had a mask of composure that I was able to wear, but for some reason, when someone said, "Wow! You really seem to be holding up well!" or "How are you doing?" That's when the mask would slip and the tears would fill my eyes. I wasn't doing well; I was in agony. My baby was sick and I felt powerless to do anything about it.

Most days, I don't even think about those times. I'm raising a teenager. Oh yeah, he was born with a heart defect. Alex's heart defect is always there and I'm the mom who asks if meds have been taken and teeth brushed everyday, but I don't stress over Alex's heart defect anymore. I wondered, when we were in the throes of dealing with his condition, if I would ever have a morning where I didn't wake up and rush to his bedside afraid he might not be with me anymore. Would I ever go to sleep without thanking God for having one more day with my children and without tears accompanying my dreams?

The answer to both questions is "yes." I've had many days where I hardly think about Alex's heart defect. We're too busy with swim meets, robotic tournaments, Boy Scouts, Tae Kwon Do, art lessons, piano lessons. Yes. There were days that I just tumbled into bed too exhausted to worry about Alex. Too happy to let those thoughts infiltrate my mind. The days have come and I hope there will be many more.

The book is done. :-) Dads now have a say! Dads now have a voice! :-) The moms have told their stories and the dads have told their stories. Some of the men who wrote are husbands to the women who wrote for The Heart of a Mother, so some readers will have a chance to see how the children they read about are doing 10 years later. That was exciting for me. To watch these young heart heroes grow up and realize their potential. Wow. Those stories empower me. They give me hope that Alex will beat the odds and grow up to live a full life, too. I think all of us heart parents need that thread of hope.

We've done three book signings -- one in Austin, Waco and Killeen, Texas. We have two more scheduled for July -- one in Georgetown and one in San Antonio. If anyone else would like a book signing, please let me know. We've had two television interviews -- one with Dad and me in Austin and one with Jess McCain in Sacramento. Dad did an interview for the radio in Austin. A wonderful newspaper article has been written about David Nowell. It's been a busy time.

For the latest updates and links to television interviews and newspaper articles, check out our websites: or

Have a great day!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Preparing Postcards!

I'm preparing postcards to announce the release of my latest book and to invite people to the San Antonio book signing which will take place in July. If you, or someone you know, would like to be invited to the San Antonio book signing, please let me know!


Anna Jaworski
mom to Joey (17; heart healthy) and Alex (14; HLHS) -- resources for the CHD community -- the Best site on the Internet for CHD information -- information about Alex's robotics team
author of "Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents" and
"My Brother Needs an Operation" and editor of "The Heart of a Mother"
and "The Heart of a Father" (publication date: June 15, 2009!)

My Toastmasters Meeting

My Toastmasters meeting went well last night! We celebrated our 5th anniversary as a club. I gave a toast and Bob Daigneault (my dad) gave his 10th speech in his Communication and Leadership manual qualifying him to be a Competent Communicator! Katie Thieme also gave a speech. Frank Jaworski did Table Topics and we all had a great time. Instead of our typical venue, we met at Luigi's, our favorite Italian restaurant in Belton, Texas.

Here is a photo of Dad, after he gave his speech.

Dad's speech was on Power Aging and it was terrific! I heard so many people saying they wanted to know more. Several people even told Dad that he needed to give another speech on that subject. Dad's passion and knowledge came through, but more than that -- Dad is a living example of how to power age! At almost 70 years of age, there's just no stopping him!

I can't wait to see what Dad's next speech will be about. I hope that others feel as inspired when they hear me talk as I feel when I hear Dad speak. He's a great role model!



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers' Day

Dear Friends:

I am preparing to spend this day with the two most important fathers in my life -- my husband, Frank, and my dad, Bob Daigneault.

Today will be the third book signing in a row for us! Friday night we did one in Austin, Texas at BookPeople. What a terrific venue! We were on the second floor, had a stage, a sound system, and chairs for people to sit in while Dad and Frank read from the book. It was probably the nicest set up for a book signing I've ever had.

Here is Dad at the lectern.

Here is Frank reading from the book.

Saturday we had a book a book signing in Killeen, Texas. They put us in the front of the store, as greeters. This is an uncomfortable position for me to be in. I'm amazed at how many people will walk in the door and do everything they possibly can to avoid looking at the greeter! Still, Killeen has some advantages for us. I graduated from high school in Killeen and my dad taught in Killeen for years and then was an administrator there. Surprisingly enough, after graduating from college, my first job as a teacher was at my rival high school in Killeen, Texas. :-) We also have some family there (my sister-in-law, Susan) and friends nearby.

This signing was so much more fun because some friends and family took the time to stop by. I don't know if people realize how much that means to an author! Thanks Susan, Rachel, Nicky, Janet, John, Lynn, Roy, and Noah! Here's a photo of some of my dear high school friends and us.

(back, l-r) Roy Martin, Dad (Bob Daigneault), Frank Jaworski
(front, l-r) me (Anna Jaworski) and Lynn Mayo

We're starting out the day by having a Fathers' Day lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant in Belton, Luigi's. Then it's on to the book signing in Waco!



Friday, June 19, 2009

First "The Heart of a Father" Book Signing!

I'm about to leave for a book signing in Austin, Texas at BookPeople!

Bob Daigneault (co-editor and contributor), Frank Jaworski (contributor) and Anna Jaworski (co-editor) will be at BookPeople at 7 p.m. tonight to read from their newest book, "The Heart of a Father." They will read selected excerpts and be on hand to autograph copies of this book and Anna Jaworski's other books, "The Heart of a Mother" and "My Brother Needs an Operation."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sending out books!

Dear Friends:

I'm sending out books! It's exciting to be sending complimentary copies of The Heart of a Father to the contributors of the book. We now have reviews on B & N and Amazon! :-)


Anna Jaworski

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Heart of a Father

The Heart of a Father is being printed! I just spoke to my Credit Representative from Lightning Source, Inc. and she informed me that all but one box of books has been printed! That means that no later than tomorrow, all the books should be shipped to me. I can't wait to get them!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Press Releases

Press Releases This is exciting! I just finished putting together the first draft of a press release to send out to local media for Bob Daigneault and Frank Jaworski. I am hoping our local newspaper will want to do a story about the book coming out and Frank and Bob's role in making the book a reality. There really is an amazing human interest story surrounding this book.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm testing out whether Hellotxt will send this message to all of my social networks. I hope it works! It's a great way for everything to get updated at once! Let's see if it works.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Literary Festival

Yesterday Alexander and I attended a Literary Festival at Harmony School in Pflugerville, Texas. Lora Negrito had invited members of the Writer's League of Texas to attend and she was delighted when I responded, especially since I told her that Alex is also a published writer. She had tables for each of us.

Here is Alex's table:

We had the Highlights for Children and Disney Magazines that Alex had been published in to show the children that there are opportunities for children to publish, too. We forgot to bring Alex newspaper articles! Alex really wished he had brought the first few chapters of his book, too. He actually had two students very interested in his story line. He has some students who are going to check out his www.fanfiction chapters. He doesn't use his real name on the Fan Fiction site, so he had to tell the boys the name to look for to find his stories.

Here I am at my table:

It was really great that I had the galley/proof of The Heart of a Father. You can see it here next to The Heart of a Mother. The cover is really quite striking. Of course, the book the kids were most interested in was My Brother Needs an Operation. I had fun telling them the story of how K.C., my toy poodle, had managed to get in so many photographs, that Linda Ball (the illustrator) decided to work her into the story line.

As much as I enjoyed talking to the students -- and 4 or 5 of them had siblings with CHDs! -- I think I enjoyed even more seeing Alex talk with the students about his writing projects and achievements.

The school has about 150 students. They had the students come to us by grade (6th - 9th) a little at a time. There were several other authors' tables not visible in this photograph which is why it doesn't look like there are many people here. There were. The children split up and spoke to all of the different authors in the different sections of this room. Unfortunately, the photos of the other authors I took came out way too dark for me to post.

I think one of the things that I got the biggest kick out of was watching some of the students ask Alex for his autograph.

We had lunch with the main speaker for the Literary Festival, Maria Snyder, author of Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study, Storm Glass, and (soon to be released) Sea Glass. Unfortunately, the photo I took of Maria Snyder came out too dark. :-( She was extremely personable and very kind to both Alex and me. In fact, she impressed Alex enough with her presentation and luncheon discussion for him to get an autographed copy of her very first book (Poison Study).

Here's a photo of her that I found online:

We had a great time! Thank you to the Harmony School for inviting Alex and me to their Literary Festival and thanks to all the kind people we met yesterday. It really was a most enjoyable day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Heart of a Father Galley Received!

I am thrilled to announce that today I received the galley (proof) of The Heart of a Father. It looks even better than I thought it would! It looks and feels very much like The Heart of a Mother. I was a little afraid it would be quite different since I am using a different printer, but I'm delighted with the way it has turned out.

The book will be available June 15th. The book can be pre-ordered on the Baby Hearts Press website (

Thanks to all of you who supported me through the years it took to make this project a reality.


Anna Jaworski

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Heart of a Father -- Latest Update


I am so excited to announce that The Heart of a Father is almost ready to send to the printer. The ISBN has been assigned, as has the Preassigned Control Number for the Library of Congress. All of the paperwork with the printing company has been filled out, signed and received. The book has been edited multiple times and changes suggested by our Advanced Readers have been taken into consideration. The book has been sent to 20 Advanced Readers and almost half returned their surveys and gave me plenty of material to choose from to create the back cover of the book. Speaking of the cover . . . Sue Dove, designer extraordinaire, has done a wonderful job putting the covers of the book together. She has even been extremely patient with me as I've asked her to make certain changes and adjustments only to discover that we had to start all over with our printer's cover template! It worked out fine, and our first attempts just made everything else come together more smoothly.

After over seven years of contacting men about the book, it's finally ready to go to the printer. So many times I was embarrassed to look at the Baby Hearts Press homepage where we had a book with The Heart of a Father on the cover and the words "coming soon!" next to it. I remember thinking that "soon" was certainly a relative term!

Now that the time is upon us, I feel such a sense of peace. I didn't want to publish the book without having certain essays and I held out until I received the kind of essays I wanted. I wish I would have had more submissions by fathers of children with less severe CHDs, but I guess those fathers don't feel the same urgency to contribute to a book like The Heart of a Father that the actual contributors felt. After receiving communication from over 120 men who stated an interest in contributing to the book, only 50 followed through and sent me something to work with. But what a rich array of stories I received! It has been an honor and a joy to work with these 50 contributors and to act as their Developmental Editor, Copy Editor and Line Editor. All along the editing process I grew to understand these men's stories better and became better able to help them tell their stories to others. It's been quite an enriching process.

I've also been with some of these contributors for over 7 years -- especially husbands of wives who contributed to The Heart of a Mother. Through our correspondence we've shared news of marriages, graduations, births and deaths. I feel I can honestly call many of these people my dear friends. Some of us have had the good fortune to meet face to face. I've talked to almost all of them on the telephone. I used a relay service to communicate with our one deaf contributor. I believe we've probably shared more of ourselves -- our feelings, fears and experiences -- with each other than we have with just about anyone else. We understand each other in a special way since we're all members of the heart community. We rejoice in each other's triumphs and weep at each other's tribulations.

I hope that all of the readers of this special book glean the same sense of community, sense of belonging and understanding that I have come to appreciate by working with these remarkable men. I hope that all of you who choose to read this book better understand the unique challenges facing fathers of children with congenital heart defects, grandfathers or men born with congenital heart defects. Each group has a unique set of challenges. Each of these groups of men has a special chapter dedicated to their experiences. There are even two unique chapters for bereaved dads -- one for dads who have lost a baby or young child and another chapter for fathers who have lost an adult child born with a congenital heart defect. We have so many lessons we can learn from these fathers.

Thanks to all of you who have been patient with me over the last many years. Thank you for believing in me. So many of you sent letters of support, notes of encouragement and words of praise for my other books. Those kind deeds kept me energized and motivated to complete this project.

Special thanks, most of all, to the two men in my life who not only contributed to this book, but who also made its birth possible by helping me in so many ways. Thank you Frank Jaworski, my husband, father of my children and life helpmate. Without you, I would never have made it this far. Without you I would not have had the confidence that I could do this. Thank you, Daddy. Without Bob Daigneault, my father, and grandfather to my heart child, this book would still be on the back burner. It took us over a year of hard work, Daddy, but we finished it. In the midst of working to complete this book, we lost Florina Jordan, my grandmother (Daddy's mother). That tragedy set the book's calendar off track, but I think it was Divine Intervention. Had we not been set back a year, we never would have met the Greg Myers, Steve Catoe, Max Gerber, Gary Tucker or Kevin Kilkeary, Jr. The book is much richer for the detour we took working to finish the book.

I couldn't end this update without singing the praises of Sue Dove. Sue has been my CHD partner for about nine years! She has been my webmistress, my confidante, my idea lady. Whenever I've needed a colorful handout -- I've sent the boring text to Sue and she's waved her magic wand over it and madesit marvelous! When I wanted a new pin for our new website, she created it. When I needed someone to help with the interior book design, I researched my options -- local and across the Internet. Then I wised up and realized I already knew the best designer for the project! When Sue agreed to help create the interior design of the book and the covers, I knew the project would be done right. She hasn't let me down. If anything, our combined vision has been much greater than what either of us would have created alone. It didn't hurt that Ian Berry sent us a fabulous photo to use on the front cover. It made me go "Wow!" when I saw it. It's a pity we had to put identifying information on the cover because with just the photo and the title, it was breathtaking. It's still a cover to be proud of -- thanks to the combined effort of many helping hands and hearts.

So there you have it, my friends. We have been on a long journey together and we're about to send the fruit of our labors off to the printer. This isn't the end of our journey. We've just come to a fork in the road. Before we know it, we'll be holding fresh, off-the-press books and presenting them at booksignings, talking about them at conferences and sharing them with everyone we know. Thanks to the permanence of the printed word, these stories will become legend. They will last for generations. The lessons we learned will be shared with other heart families. We can ease the loneliness and fear associated with the phrase "congenital heart defects." We can replace those feelings with a sense of belonging, with true appreciation for what we do have and with a grateful heart for every day, every moment, every breath our loved ones take.

Life is good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Catching Up

Dear Friends:

It's been a crazy month since I last wrote on the blog. So much has happened! First, the book -- I cannot begin to say how excited I am about the book. It took forever to finish the back matter -- the Index, Glossary (that was really a bear because I did it for the printed book and the eBook which meant finding good websites to send readers to for more information) and the Bibliography. Since I made such an extensive Glossary, the Bibliography had to be extensive, too. I'm so happy it's done, although I know most people don't bother reading the front or back matter of the book.

Review copies have been printed and mailed or emailed to almost 20 reviewers. I've already received some of the Advanced Reader surveys and I'm delighted to see that people really like the book, but more importantly, they find it valuable. I knew that fathers had a valuable and unique story to share, but it's good to hear from others that they regarded the essays special, too.

I'm still waiting on more Advanced Reader Surveys in order to complete the back cover of the book. Otherwise, the only 2 things I need to completely finish the book are my Catatogue-in-Print information and the Colophon. I've never had a Colophon in a book before, but I wish I had! If I had put that in the back of The Heart of a Mother, I wouldn't be trying to remember exactly what quality of paper I had used, what fonts I had used, etc. like I am now. It doesn't look like it's going to be possible for me to make The Heart of a Father look quite like The Heart of a Mother. Now I'm seeing there are certain obstacles that are making the last decision I have to make even more difficult.

When I printed The Heart of a Mother I wanted it to be keepsake quality. I chose a special Japanese paper that would not turn yellow over time and that would display the photos in the book optimally. I chose to have the book scored -- you can see an indentation all the way down the book so that the covers don't curl up with the heat (really important since I live in Texas!) and so it lays flat. I've decided this time around to be a more "green" publisher. Instead of printing 5000 copies of the book, I am only doing a short run of about 1000 books and then making it available via Print-on-Demand. Print-on-Demand printing is "green" but it's not fine printing like off-set printing is and doesn't seem to offer quite as many niceties.

Then there's the price to consider. When you print 5000 books, the price per book is much less than when you print 1000 even if you have nicer paper and binding techniques. So how do I be "green" and reduce the amount of stock to carry while still having the quality of book people have come to associate with Baby Hearts Press? That's the dilemma I find myself facing right now.

But more than that, I would like to make my books more available than they are right now. Right now I'm only on and some other online bookstores and selling books through my website. I'm afraid it's time to go back to Ingram so that my books can be available to bookstores. My experience with Ingram in the past was less than ideal and I'm hesitant to jump into a relationship with them, yet Lightning Source seems like a good option for the printing of the books.

I'm really impressed with what I've seen about BookMasters and last night my dad sent me a link to a publishing company I've never heard of before called Outskirts Press. Their website is interesting. I like the fact that they (really all 3 of the aforementioned companies) allow you (the author, or in my case, the editor) to retain all rights to the work. I also like the fact that I can use my own ISBN instead of having to use theirs (which is not the case with so many other companies out there). And it looks like Outskirts Press helps with marketing -- which is my greatest weakness. But I've really taken steps to work on that by having my dad come on board as Vice President of PR and by hiring a publicist. So I am hopeful we will be able to successfully launch The Heart of a Father to great fanfare. :-)

Other news:

Alexander's robotics team, the X-Bots, were invited to attend the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Atlanta, Georgia! Last week our team was in the Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center. Opening Ceremonies were in Centennial Park. It was an amazing experience and quite humbling. There were teams from 27 countries and most states were also represented. In all, there were 84 teams from around the world at the competition.

Joey's One-Act Play (Anna Karenina) continues to advance. Tomorrow he will be at Baylor University for the Regional UIL competition. It's been exciting to watch his play over time. It gets better and better as people help to improve the play.

That's all for now!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Heart of a Father & Groundbreaking Legislation

Dear Heart Readers:

At one point, I really wondered if The Heart of a Father would ever be completed. I despaired of getting the essays I felt were necessary for the book to satisfy the vision I had for it. Today, I shake my head in disbelief. The book is turning out even better than I originally envisioned.

Just when I thought I was done editing every single essay for the book and had turned my attention to the front matter of the book, a dear friend and heart mom, Michelle Rintamaki, forwarded a posting from an adult with a congenital heart defect which was posted on her listserv. It was so good, I had to contact the gentleman to see if he would let me put it in the book. He not only agreed for me to reprint his posting, he sent me another posting for consideration, too! Thus, Steve Catoe's essay, "Who Are We?" will be the lead essay in the Adults with Congenital Heart Defects chapter and his other posting is now a poem which will be the epigraph for the book. I hadn't even planned on having an epigraph! But his beautiful words in "The Heroes We Forget About" made me feel the need to have a poem set the tone of the book. The epigraph is the verso page of the Dedication.

Sue Dove is doing a fabulous job with the book. With a request from me, she changed the cover of the book and now it's even more striking. She has also put all of the essays in the correct format and she has taken the front matter I gave her and put that into the book. The "book" still needs a bit of tweaking, but it is now taking its final form and is allowing me to begin the blueline editing and construction of the Index and Glossary.

Overall I am very pleased with the progress we are making on the book. My goal is to have the pre-publication version of the book available for distribution on April 1st. This time, the draft will be an eBook to speed up the time needed to get it to the reviewers and to reduce the cost of printing and shipping the book. The pre-publication version will be representative of the printed book. Once this book is finished, we will create the eBook and Kindle versions of the book. Although I have already created my wish list of reviewers for The Heart of a Father, if anyone is interested in reviewing the book and taking a survey to help us before the actual publication of the book, please send me an email at with your credentials for reviewing the book (heart parent, professional working in the heart community or adult with a congenital heart defect).

Now for even more exciting news!

Last week we saw history in the making due to new legislation being introduced to the United States Congress regarding the need for more attention and funding for the congenital heart defect community (CHD). The "Congenital Heart Futures Act" was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Congressman Zack Space (D-OH).

One of the most exciting aspects of this legislation is not only the recognition of CHDs as the most common birth defect, but that they were able to bring together representatives from so many sectors of the CHD community. The effort was spearheaded by the following organizations: The Children's Heart Foundation, the Adult Congenital Heart Association, Congenital Heart Information Network, It's My Heart and Mended Little Hearts support groups. This effort united organizations that support the National Congenital Heart Coalition in an effort to persuade senators and representatives to fund important initiatives surrounding CHDs. The effort was also supported by the American College of Cardiology.

For even more information about this initiative, check out ACHA member, Steve Catoe's blog:

When my son's heart defect was diagnosed fourteen years ago, there was little published information available. Sadly, much of what was written about hypoplastic left heart syndrome regarded only a dismal prognosis at best. Today we are publishing books about hope and the inspirational lives our heart heroes are leading and our country is finally recognizing the need for more funding, support and recognition of this, the most prevalent birth defect in the United States. There is more hope today than ever before.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Progress and Alexander

I am happy to announce that I have finished with the first round of line editing the entire first rough draft of The Heart of a Father. Dad has finished the second round of editing on the first two-thirds of the book! And Sue is right on top of things. She has already completed most of the interior design work on that first two-thirds of the book.

Although the progress on the book is quite exciting to see, something else very exciting has been happening in my life.

My son, Alexander, is the reason Baby Hearts Press exists. Alexander was born in 1994 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and it was not expected he would survive his first surgery, but he beat the odds. Then he beat the odds by surviving the Fontan surgery. Then again when he reached age five.

Now Alexander has beat the odds once again. His robotic team has made it all the way to the international competition! This is Alex's sixth year to compete, but first year to make it to the FLL World Festival.

Our team needs your support. To read more about the team, please visit our website:

Our heart children are amazing. Some of them not only survive against amazing odds, some of them go on to accomplish great things. You'll read about that on our robotics website. You'll read about that in The Heart of a Father. What is amazing to me is having the chance to witness this greatness firsthand. If you want to be a part of the support for Alexander's robotics team, please visit our website and give a donation. No donation is too small. If you want to sponsor the team, we'll put your organization or company's logo on our new shirts.

Thank you for your time and consideration. As my friends Greg and Rikki would say, "Always Believe!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Heart of a Father Progress

I am so excited to announce that I am halfway through the line editing of the book! I have met my goal of cutting at least 10% and the book is much tighter and more succinct. My interior graphics artist is working on the first two chapters. I have already scheduled an appointment with my Vice President of Marketing, publicist Phil West and me to put together a marketing plan for the book. Everything seems to be moving so fast now!

Going through the book has brought back so many memories. I've known some of these contributors for many years and we've seen each other through some major life events. It's hard reliving some of the difficult times and inspiring reliving triumphant events. I find myself emotionally spent at the end of a day of editing. It is difficult sometimes to cut a single word or change a phrase when I know how much these essays mean to the contributors. I only pray that God is guiding me through this process to help illuminate the stories these gentlemen have been willing to share with the world. This is a most humbling experience for me. I feel a weight right now that I hope will be lifted when the book is completed and (hopefully) well received.

To all of you parents out there who feel you are alone in dealing with life raising a child with a congenital heart defect, please know you are in very good company. The Heart of a Mother and soon The Heart of a Father are two resources that will help you see you are not alone. The experience of raising a child with a heart defect is shared across religious, socio-economic, racial and physical boundaries. Regardless of the native language spoken, we CHD parents speak a common language. We know meanings of abbreviations like HLHS, SATs, EKG, ToF and more. We have all experienced hearing words from doctors and technicians that no parent should ever have to hear. We've all spent countless hours waiting for our children to return to our loving arms after surgery. These books help to illustrate the fact that we are not alone.

I hope all of you have a wonderful day and look forward to reading The Heart of a Father as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Heart of a Father -- First Draft Complete!

Dear Heart Friends:

I have just returned from Staples where I printed and bound copies of the first draft of the book for my co-editor and for Dr. Fedderly, who will write the Foreword for the book. It's 200 pages without any clip art or photos. So one of my first jobs with the line editing is to cut, cut, cut. Michelle Jestice and I cut The Heart of a Mother by at least 10% twice before we were done. I think if I cut HOF by 10%, that will be a good start. I'm not sure I want to cut it by 10% twice. The Heart of a Mother was over 400 pages when I realized that I had to cut, cut, cut.

I have really had fun this week with finishing up my phone calls to the contributors. I still have 6 or 7 calls to make. It has been so much fun putting a voice to the essay. Or in one case, putting someone else's voice to the essay -- since one of our contributors is deaf and I had to use a special relay service to communicate with him. I am hoping that this contributor will sign his essay so we can make it available to other deaf readers in ASL. As a former teacher of the deaf, this is something very special to me -- I'll certainly be letting all my deaf friends know about it!

I appreciate those of you who left a note that you want a copy of the book. I know you won't be disappointed. These gentlemen have really shared some special stories, advice and wisdom. I only hope that my editing and organization does them justice.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Heart of a Father - Publication Date Set!

Greetings, friends! I have some very exciting news to report regarding The Heart of a Father. I finally received all of the essays I have been waiting for! We are still in the process of editing the essays, but now the book has all of the material I feel it needed to be complete. It feels good to finally be at this point.

I have set Fathers Day 2009 as our publication date. We need time to get the book to the printer, to receive it and then send it out to reviewers. We still need to create the back cover -- which will depend up quotes from the reviews we get from early readers. We are hoping to receive some pre-publication publicity and book reviews in magazines and newspapers. Sometimes it feels like putting the book together was a piece of cake compared to the tasks we have before us -- and we aren't quite done putting the book together yet!

I am excited that we have agreed upon the front cover and that I have hired an interior designer to help with inserting art and photos in the book. I really needed extra help putting this book together. I did almost everything myself with The Heart of a Mother (except for hiring an excellent editor to work with me -- Michelle Jestice), and it was extremely time-consuming. With all of the other things I'm involved in now (robotics coach, swim official, having a senior in high school and taking Alex to college 5 days a week), I'm afraid it would take me over a year to get everything together. With the help of my dad and Sue, my interior designer, I am hopeful we'll get the book to the printer in a much more timely manner.

Once we send the book to the printer, Sue will post a pre-order form on the website. I am eager to see who wants to order the book. I am hopeful the heart community will welcome this new resource which shares so many heartfelt stories, expert advice and downright insightful experiences of men from around the world.