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Local nonfiction authors finding success

Between the pages of an international bestseller is a local name. Chelsea Gibson was already a popular Prince George entrepreneur and now she's completed a lifelong goal to also be an author.
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Chelsea Gibson is now a certified bestselling author. She contributed a story to the Happy Publications anthology The Energy of Play that recently hit bestseller status with Amazon and the New York Times.

Between the pages of an international bestseller is a local name. Chelsea Gibson was already a popular Prince George entrepreneur and now she's completed a lifelong goal to also be an author.

The bestseller part was out of her control, but its an extra asterisk she can also keep forever.

The book is entitled The Energy of Play and is published by self-help/motivational serial editor Erica Glessing and her Happy Publishing production house.

Other titles by Glessing include The Energy of Spirit, The Energy of Healing, The Power of Releasing Judgment, and many others. The books typically collect chapter-length contributions from guest writers. Gibson was one of the 11 co-authors invited into this themed volume.

"Being a published author has always been a dream of mine," said Gibson, proprietor of Wild Rose Wellness, the downtown alternative health studio. Her alternative therapies led her to Happy Publishing.

Actually it led Happy Publishing to her. Gibson participated in a live-streamed online wellness course and it was seen by people connected to Glessing.

That led to outreach, conversation, and eventually an invitation to write a chapter.

The topic of play and the business of holistic wellness are interconnected anyway, said Gibson, so it was an easy mind-path to follow.

"If you watch a child learning to walk and they fall, they don't sit and cry and give it all up. They get up and go for it again. They stay happy for it, even if there is failure at first and even if it hurts," Gibson said.

"We can look to that and apply that instinct to our adult selves. It's already in us, that pursuit of joy. We know if we work through those first frustrating steps, that a whole new world is waiting for us. So just because we grow up doesn't change that."

The mental space for turning her work and her life's observations into a story was itself an act of personal health, she said. Health is choice and she was in a position to choose to apply her time and energy to the writing process, and still operate her busy business.

"Part of it is being in Prince George. Because in Prince George, it's possible - whatever you imagine 'it' to be," said Gibson, a transplanted Albertan who also tried out Toronto before moving here.

"This is a place where you can do the things you dream of: school, business, lifestyle. Whatever you want your life to look like, it is actually possible here. That has consequences - positive ones. People are walking around Prince George with a sense of gratitude and wonderment, and you bet that has a ripple effect that eventually plays a role in your life. It is one of the reasons I decided to leave Toronto and plant both feet here, because I can do things here - and I mean all of them, everything I ever had on my list of personal goals - that I just couldn't do in other Canadian cities."

She had visions of getting hundreds of rejection letters before ever getting a single publication in the literary world. Instead it was her first attempt and it came with a special message from the publisher not long after The Energy of Play was published. All it was, said Gibson, was the iconic golden New York Times Bestseller stamp.

What more needed to be said?

All kinds of descriptions and affirmations and endorsements could be rendered thin and extraneous by that single circular symbol. Now she is on to the next challenge. Happy Publishing has asked her to submit another story for a future theme book they are considering. Perhaps Gibson can soon add the word "multiple" to her bestseller status. That's an idea she likes to play with.

Beattie turns experience into story

Anthology books are a helpful path for aspiring writers to break into the publishing world.

Short stories and lengthy articles are often the means by which star authors got their start, often published in theme magazines (Stephen King first wrote Carrie, destined to be his first novel publication, as a short story idea for Cavalier Magazine), literary periodicals, and increasingly in curated online literature spaces like the Dooney's Cafe website (dooneyscafe.com) operated by Prince George writer Brian Fawcett.

Sometimes, these collected works will be the big break a writer needs to stimulate their bigger career aspirations. Sometimes the collection gathers the voices of those who have key perspectives or empirical knowledge but no intention of being career writers.

The latter was such a case for JoJo Beattie.

The Prince George humanitarian professional is on the staff of Mercy Ships Canada, a not-for-profit organization based in Victoria that co-ordinates volunteer medical teams aboard a hospital ship dispatched to select locations around the coast of Africa to provide medical aid to hard-hit communities.

Her perspectives were the subject of a story she had published in the book Heartmind Wisdom

Vol. 3. The title of her story was Love In Action and discussed her Mercy Ships insights.

"The story was about the uniqueness of Mercy Ships and the love shown to all people from all walks of life, through kindness, gentleness, and sincerity," Beattie said.

"The experiences of four different volunteers were highlighted, describing the joy, tears and fulfillment of helping other people and seeing such positive change."

There are four Heartmind Wisdom books published so far, each one broken into five sections (Beattie's story was assembled into the Hope category). Each book features a total of 21 co-authors.

"It was an unusual feeling," said Beattie, describing what happened when the book was released to the world.

"I got a lot of attention but was a bit uncomfortable with it because (the story) wasn't about me, it was about other people and the love they have in their hearts which inspired them to make sacrifices to contribute to a cause that is making an incredible difference in the lives of so many people. It was a privilege to be included in the book and to be able to share that story."