The Unsinkable Human Spirit by Anna Michaels

I am so pleased and proud to welcome Anna Michaels to the convertible today.  In addition to being a lovely person, Anna is lovely writer – as her brand new hard cover release from Simon and Schuster, THE TENDER MERCY OF ROSES, will attest.  If you haven’t heard of this book, you can thank me later.  if you have heard of it, why haven’t you read it?  Truly, it’s an amazing, magical read.  Anna will be giving away a copy of THE TENDER MERCY OF ROSES to some lucky commenter!

Please welcome Anna Michaels…

Peg pub shot

As I drove to Huntsville, Alabama, last weekend for the Heart of Dixie’s Reader Appreciation Luncheon, I was thinking how remarkable that this annual event was going to take place at all.

In early April, HOD lost Beverly Barton, a marvelous writer, our wonderful friend and one of the moving forces of the chapter. Knowing she would want the event to go forward, the committee scheduled for April 30th. The event in the Von Braun Center would be a fitting memorial to Beverly, a way to remember and to heal.

Three days before the luncheon a killer tornado ripped through the South, leaving a wide swath of death and destruction. Entire towns such as Smithville, Mississippi, and Hackleburg, Alabama, were demolished. Much of Huntsville, including the Von Braun Center, was without power for weeks.

Writers and readers would not be gathering to celebrate the book.

What to do? Cancel and hope next year would be disaster free? Or go forward and hope nearly two hundred people could reschedule on short notice?

HOD marched forward. And so did the little blown-away towns.

And so on June 4thI set out to Huntsville. Driving along Alabama’s Highway 43, I saw forests that looked as if they were being clear-cut, piles of debris on the side of the road, houses and businesses flattened, and scores of volunteers sorting through the rubble to salvage lost possessions and move the unsalvageable so they could rebuild. When I arrived at Von Braun, I saw one of the largest groups of readers ever, wearing tiaras in memory of Beverly and chattering with excitement about the books they loved and the authors who wrote them.

I marveled at the resilience of the human spirit. Along the highway and in the Von Braun center were people exactly like Pony Jones, the rodeo cowgirl I created in The Tender Mercy of Roses. As I wrote the novel – my first under the pen name Anna Michaels – Pony came to me in a dream, kicking and spitting and raring, and absolutely refusing to be daunted – even in death.

The Tender Mercy of Roses cover

I was thrilled by the number of people at the luncheon/signing who told me how much they loved The Tender Mercy of Roses. And always, they spoke of Pony, of how they cheered for her, cried with her and loved her. These readers who had battled back from disaster and death identified with Pony. I think they saw in her the same unsinkable spirit that had allowed them to set aside grief and loss in order to come together in celebration of the books they love, the fictional worlds they turn to for escape, for laughter, for tears, or simply for the joy of reading.

Through the years, I’ve been blessed by these remarkable, loyal fans. As I branch into telling a different kind of story under the pen name, Anna Michaels, I’m excited to take long-time fans on this journey and meet new ones. I hope you’ll grab a tall glass of something cool and enjoy the ride!

I’d love to hear from you. Does the name on a book cover let you know what kind of story to expect? How do you feel about pseudonyms? How do you go about discovering new books and new authors?

Anna Michaels has been writing for twenty-six years under her own name, Peggy Webb. This Mississippi author has penned almost 70 novels in multiple genres. Her romance classics are being re-released as e-books. As Peggy Webb, she writes the Southern Cousins Mystery series. The Tender Mercy of Roses, her debut as Anna, is a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Featured Alternate and a Delta Magazine Top Five Pick. Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides) calls the novel “an unforgettable story written with astonishing skill and clarity by a truly gifted writer.” Follow her at www.annamichaels.net, www.peggywebb.com, and on FACEBOOK as both Peggy and Anna.

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About cindygerard

Cindy Gerard is a New York Times best-selling author of action packed romantic suspense novels. Learn more about Cindy at http://www.cindygerard.com
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21 Responses to The Unsinkable Human Spirit by Anna Michaels

  1. Helen Brenna says:

    Hi Anna/Peggy. There has been so much devastation from storms lately, it’s frightening. The tornado that ripped through here in Minneapolis was nothing compared to the Joplin tornado that hit the same day. I don’t know how people move on, but they do. It’s awe-inspiring.

    Pseudonyms are a smart way of letting readers know to expect something different. Without them, I think we’d have a lot of upset readers.

    Congrats on the kudos for this book! Sounds like one I have to get and read!

  2. Thanks, Helen! You are so right about both the indomitable human spirit and pseudonyms. Writing as Peggy, I use a light-hearted, often comedic touch. As Anna, I dig deep into the heart and soul. I’ve discovered there are at least two creative streams running through my unconscious mind, and I tap into a different one when I write under my pen name. Of course, the best part is getting to eat for two!

  3. Joyce Lamb says:

    Hi, Peggy,
    What a touching story. I imagine seeing the destruction firsthand is even more devastating in person than seeing it on the news (and it looks pretty awful there).
    I like what you said about pseudonyms in the comment above. What a great way to have a multiple personality without needing medication!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Joyce

    • Hey, Joyce,
      I’m having such fun being two people! I’m on a diet, but that pig Anna insists on eating every piece of chocolate she sees! And oh, I LOVE writing with two voices, two styles, two kinds of stories.

      In all the years I’ve lived in Tornado Alley, I had never seen firsthand the aftermath of a town blown away until I drove through Hackleburg. It was hearbreaking and sobering. But the sight made me think of hope, too, and of the human spirit that will not be daunted.

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a big glass of something cool and hug somebody today!

  4. Mary M. says:

    Hi Anna/Peggy!
    Cindy let us know on FB that you were in the convertible today so I thought I would bring some sweet tea and come over to visit. I was amazed to see how total strangers took the initiative to post pictures and documents on FB that the tornadoes had blown to them in hopes of giving people back a small keepsake when everything else lay in ruins. I appreciate learning about this new name/facet of your talent and look forward to reading more by Anna, but bless your heart Peggy, don’t let her stuff you full of whoopie pies!

    • Hi, Mary!
      Thanks for stopping by. Sweet tea hits the spot on this blistering day!

      BTW, those lost photos were also posted in the local newspapers, and many found their way home! There was a lovely story in our Daily Journal of a daughter who recognized her mother’s wedding picture, which had blown clear into another state.

      I’ll try to resist the whoopie pies, but neither one of us makes any guarantees. As one of my grandsons used to say, “I have two sweet toofies.”

  5. nida says:

    Hi Anna,
    It’s so exciting to meet new authors. Whenever find new names in romance sites and author page, I browse them, curious to know what book they wrote and what people say about it. (and I’m browsing you now LOL)
    Using pseudonyms to introduce a different kind of story is a good idea. Many authors use pen names that represent the story inside, historical romance, fantasy romance, modern romance, etc. It makes easier to decide which book to read.
    Welcome Ana, I’m looking forward to read your books

    • Hello, Nida!
      I’m so glad you stopped by to visit. It’s wonderful to meet people who are excited about reading and discovering new authors. Thanks for browsing to find out about my debut novel penned as Anna Micahaels! I’m already working on the second.

      Best of luck in the drawing for a signed copy!

  6. Debra webb says:

    I’m so sorry I missed the luncheon this year, but I was thrilled to have you visit! The Tender Mercy of Roses is my new favorite read!

  7. Abby says:

    What a lovely reminder that all around us is truly the best of the human spirit, even in the face of catastrophe. How lucky we are to have so many talented writers to help us make sense of it all!

  8. Michele says:

    Welcome, Anna! How much do I love that book cover? So much! Love the rain drops blurring out the background. So unique.

    • Thank you, Michele. I got really lucky with that gorgeous cover. It’s even more beautiful in person. The lettering has a lovely golden sheen. The rose in the lower right hand corner is a great rendition of the Cherokee rose. (The Native American legend of the Cherokee Rose winds through the novel.)

      Yesterday, a reader asked if the legend were real. Yes! The seven white petals on the rose represent the seven Cherokee nations. The golden center is the reason for their deportation – taking their “gold.” According to legend, every time someone died on that Trail of Tears, the women wept and the tears that fell to the ground sprang up as a rose. The legend captured my heart and served as an inspiration for The Tender Mercy of Roses.

  9. Thanks for a touching post, Anna. A lovely story and inspiring. Now I’m excited to read your book, The Tender Mercy of Roses. I do love that title.

    • Thank you, Carey. Pony Jones (the major narrator in The Tender Mercy of Roses) taught me to observe with my heart.

      I love that title, too! It’s the original one, and it fits the story so well, it stuck. Thank goodness!

      My readers keep me going, so do stay in touch!

  10. Welcome, Peggy! It’s so good to see your lovely face. I can’t wait to get this book. Rodeo, American Indian legend, the nobility of the human spirit–my kind of book. Ordering now!

    • Hello, Kathleen!
      I still remember when you would bring your handsome husband to RWA conferences. We all swooned over him…and over your lovely Amerian Indian romances! So I would say, yep, I think Pony is your kind of gal and The Tender Mercy of Roses is your kind of book! I’ll be eager to know what you think. And thank you so much for letting me be part of this jazzy blogspot today. It has been fun to ride with top down!

  11. MaryC says:

    Hi, Peggy/Anna!

    I love the cover and am looking forward to reading your books written as Anna Michaels.
    I’ve been a fan since your Loveswept days and welcome the opportunity to read more of your creations under whatever name you use!

    • Hi, Mary,

      You’re singing music to a writer’s ears! I love, love, LOVE fans who come along for the ride wherever my writing path takes us.

      I fell in love with the characters in this book, especially Pony (I guess you could tell!), and I hope you will, too.

      BTW, did you see that I’m releasing my Loveswepts as e-books with brand new covers. They were written long before electronic books, so it’s fun to bring them back for readers who enjoy the convenience of Nook, Kindle, etc.

      Good luck in the drawing, Mary. Stay in touch!

  12. Anita Webb says:

    Hi Peggy/ Anna!
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the resilience of the human spirit. As an Alabamian I am especially proud of the people of my home state. When tragedy strikes we “hunker down” and begin the recovery. We now live in the Florida Panhandle and have seen devastation, despair and the beautiful outpouring of love and kindness between family, friends and strangers during Ivan and other hurricanes.
    As for “The Tender Mercy of Roses” it was a fantastic read. I was so drawn into the lives of the characters that I could see flashes of my childhood. The Legend of the Cherokee Rose has always touched my heart and the see it woven so perfectly in this story was wonderful. I encourage readers to graba a copy and start the journey with pony. They will not be dissappointed.

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