Below are humble stories of authors, giants of influence, impacting hundreds of people. Known yet unknown, all given a purpose on this earth. Yes, roll up your sleeves and Go For It!
Standing on the shoulders of giants...
Errol Cody MacLean
Jeremy Bloom Foundation Recipient
Errol Cody MacLean wrote his manuscript on napkins in a nursing home. The staff dismissed the scribbles of an elderly, medicated, bi-polar resident. If it weren't for Betsey G. Stewart picking up the napkins and reading, Cody would never have published a book. After reading his 'scribbles.' Betsey said, "Annie, I'm reading an amazing book on napkins!" After listening I said, "Let's do it! Let's publish!" At 75-years old, Cody lived on $40/mo. He loved writing and dreamed of publishing a book. He became a recipient of the Jeremy Bloom Foundation, his story aired on local news and saved his Senior Care facility from shutting down. Cody has now published two books, and a third novel to be launched in 2019. At the book signing, no resident could afford to purchase his book. So, Cody ripped out pages, signed each one and gave his “book” to every resident. They all said, “If Cody can do it, we can do it too!,” as they pinned the signature page up on their bedroom wall. Hope was ignited. Their dreams could come true too.
José Serrano Espinoza
Jeremy Bloom Foundation Recipient
José Serrano Espinoza, a Yaqui Indian, spend 30 years in San Quentin Prison. When released at 63-years old, he was homeless, living on the streets, hit by a car, left for dead, and now paralyzed in a wheelchair. José had a story to tell. I listened, my heart swelled with great love. Could not wait to help him publish. His book reached the heart of Father Gregory Boyle, a Catholic priest and Founder of Homeboy Industries who wrote the classic book, “Tattoos on the Heart.” Just meeting Father "G" was a dream come true to José, an answered prayer for months. With hard work, José published A Tale of Strength, in November 2017. His book, restored his family, left footprints of his grandparents love, hard work, farm workers in the strawberry fields of California. José never forgot his roots being born into the Yaqui Indian Tribe. José has left a legacy to his sons, a remembrance for generations to come. Great job José! We love you!
Tony “Elmo” Ward
Guinness Book World Record holder.
Tony L. Ward is a Guinness Book World Record holder. I met him at the Scotch Wash Super Laundromat. Tony “Elmo” Ward and Victoria Teasley, his wife, immediately captured my heart as I saw something unusual. Elmo was wearing an embroidered baseball hat with the number 31,600 in large, bold numbers. Curious about the meaning of that number, I asked him. My inquiry turned into a smile, as I sat and listened to his amazing story, and Victoria’s faithful support for hours. My heart swelled with compassion. He always dreamed of publishing a book someday. Had no idea I published books. We casually talked about manuscripts. He asked, “Annie, what is a manuscript?” Victoria typed out his 8 1/2 “X11” page manuscript —one page. After delightfully coaching him, he went back to the drawing board and wrote a novel of his story, African American roots, his Dad’s influence as a professional baseball play in the Negro League, days as a college basketball player. Mr. Push-Ups Reality 31,600 unveils a riveting story of disappointment mixed with despair yet one rising to victory, hope and reality. I cried reading his manuscript. His book was a hit to his family first, then to the local YMCA on staff as a basketball coach. He and Victoria have become my most favorite friends whom I love.
GT Gazette, Jefferson County Public Schools, Gifted & Talented Program
Maya Grant, a 10-year old author, was special to me for a lot of reasons. She is my neighbor’s grand-daughter born with Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome. Maybe the most amazing part of Maya is how tough she is. She spent her first 76 days in the NICU and had 3 surgeries before she was 3 weeks old. A miracle she is alive. Tracking with daily email updates, I published a surprise book for “RuRu,” her grandma, of the chronological timeline of events and pictures of this beautiful brave, tough little lady—a "Stones of Remembrance" book. When Maya became 10-yrs old, she wanted to publish a book she wrote in school. RuRu came to me. Yes, yes, yes! Read the manuscript and was wrecked. Events followed, where she met a stranger on a beach in CA, who was famous, Alana Nichols, a three time Paralympic Gold medalist. Maya and Alana talked about her feelings and the way she looked. Maya was honest sharing her hardships. At the end of their conversation, Alana suggested calling her “big leg” her “super leg” and endorsed her book. Maya’s book, A Different Story, is a story about discovering the secret to being special, being honest about challenges, dreaming the impossible. Shining bright standing out and following your heart. Her book was selected and promoted by Jefferson County Schools in Colorado. Now? Maya reads to 2nd graders about bullying, being different and being the star you are! She could never do this without holding her book and reading her story. Huge victory!
Lyall D. Ryden
A Giant of a Man