Wacky Socks, Flowing Scarves, and Love is a visual story and journal created by the love and journey of two talented sisters, Roxann and Rhonda. This book is filled with emotional-healing advice and encouragement for living with cancer and serves as a guide for navigating the mindless maze of a cancer diagnosis.
Rhonda loved to wear wacky socks and flowing scarves during her cancer treatment years. She found that they added humor, light, and connection with all those surrounding her. Rhonda believed in the power of journaling to clear one’s thoughts and give rise to a new life full of possibilities, beauty, joy, peace, and love. She never liked the saying “battling with cancer.” She preferred making peace with it in her life by practicing gratitude, which allowed her not only to live with cancer but also to thrive.
Roxann Christle Smith is the founder of Tell Your Story, a creative company focused on helping individuals tell their stories through photos and scrapbooking. She works to create an understanding and acceptance of our individual stories by telling and celebrating one story at a time. Prior to founding her company, Roxann received a bachelor’s degree in education from Purdue University, which led to a teaching career in Indiana, Illinois, and Georgia. She expanded her love of teaching and her desire to help individuals to tell and preserve their stories as a creative memories consultant. She is the proud mother of two amazing, grown children, Katie and Kyle. Roxann currently lives in the North Carolina mountains with her husband, Scott, and her favorite chocolate lab, Bailey.
Roxanne on Working with SPARK Publications
Working with SPARK Publications was nothing short of miraculous! From the very first meeting with Fabi Preslar, I knew I was in amazing hands. She was extremely knowledgeable and helped lead me to discover my goals and establish my reader audience. I soon began to work with Shauna Sinyard and always felt my ideas, thoughts, and visions for our book were heard. I loved hearing their suggestions for improvement or how readers might interpret passages. The design of the book was outstanding. With every suggestion backed with super knowledge in publishing, I was always in control of how I wanted the book to be created. As a company, SPARK Publications made publishing our book exciting, positive, and enlightening.
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
Whenever our friends or family were faced with a cancer diagnosis, my sister Rhonda and I were both at a loss on what to send. Even with Rhonda’s experience of living with cancer for fourteen years, we struggled to find a gift to send to show love and support during this difficult chapter in life.
One day after the loss of a friend to cancer, I took a walk in the Cancer Survivor’s Garden located in Chicago, Illinois. I was inspired by the advice plaques along the pathway. I asked Rhonda to write twelve emotional-healing advice passages to be shared in a book format. The seed was planted. If I couldn’t find a gift to give to a loved one that was newly diagnosed with cancer, then I would create a book that would fit that need.
Now that your book is published, are there any goals or experiences you’re looking forward to?
I look forward to sharing my sister Rhonda’s words of wisdom, advice, and love for those living with a cancer diagnosis. It is my hope that her journaling tools create a space for emotional healing for individuals living with cancer. Using the hashtag #TellYourScarfStory, I dream of creating a web of love and support through sharing our living-with-cancer stories.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
I can honestly say that writing and publishing a book was never a dream or goal of mine. My first draft of our work together was printed by a photo website. It was limiting to say the least, but it gave Rhonda a chance to see our creation in a book format before she left us on April 20, 2019. My mission to find a publisher for our book became a high priority in my life. I knew Rhonda’s words needed to be in the hands and hearts of many.
I met Fabi Preslar at a workshop in Charlotte, North Carolina. During a lunch break, the group shared our stories with one another. You can imagine my surprise when Fabi shared she owned a publishing company. I spent the rest of the workshop thinking of ways to approach her in a calm, non-intrusive way. Fortunately, I managed to connect with Fabi and tell her about my project. Little did we both know that our connection would be interrupted, as Fabi would soon begin a chapter of working on her own health and healing.
Several months later, I attended the amazing FiveFecta® event in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was inspired by listening to the other authors speak of their experience working with SPARK Publications. I was eager to begin, so I ran to sign up for the “Let’s Do This” package. As I was signing my deposit, I heard my name announced by Fabi as the winner of a $2,000 package! What a beautiful sign from my sister Rhonda! My mission of honoring my sister Rhonda by allowing her voice to be heard in her words was imminent. Rhonda will live on in the hearts of the many she has touched.[Read more about Rhonda’s experience at FiveFecta. It was kismet!]
How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?
From the very first Zoom meeting with Fabi Preslar, I felt heard, seen, and valued. Not knowing one thing about the publishing process, I needed hand-holding and supportive guidance throughout the publishing process. Fabi has established a publishing company with a dream team of amazing, talented individuals. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Shauna Sinyard, one of the SPARKlers, and treasured our time together. Expert advice was given, but my voice, ideas, and vision were honored throughout the whole process.
SPARK Publications believed in my book and its mission. My heart was touched deeply with their action of each SPARKler wearing a flowing scarf to honor my sister Rhonda on her birthday. I’m forever in gratitude to SPARK Publications for making the process of publishing my book a magical experience.
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Always reach for the dream of having your voice heard! Your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge are gifts that many are waiting to hear. Hitch a ride with the talented SPARKlers at SPARK Publications for help in making your words stand out in a sea of books on the market. SPARK Publications makes the daunting task of creating a book achievable and enjoyable.
Tell us about your future plans. What’s next for you?
My company recently purchased a five-acre mini-farm surrounded by the North Carolina mountains. The old farmhouse will serve as a studio, providing a space to sell my book, Wacky Socks, Flowing Scarves, And Love. Healing Advice for Living With Cancer. The studio will also welcome individuals and small groups to gather in a healing setting and share their stories.
What does success mean to you?
Success is the connection or life that might be changed in a positive way from reading and journaling in our book. When we share our stories, we truly connect and recognize ourselves in one another.
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