Winter’s Graces: The Surprising Gifts of Later Life is being released on Tuesday, October 9, after more than 15 years of study, writing, editing, and rewriting; learning to navigate the brave new (to me) world of publishing; dealing with internal obstacles like anxiety, discouragement, and self-doubt; and growing older myself. It has been a challenging and very rewarding decade and a half, and I’m delighted that the book is finally making its way into the hands of readers. This “coming out” has taken more than a village and would not have happened without the support and contributions of five communities, for whom I am most grateful: Sonoma State University, the village of Dillon Beach, the town of Petaluma, a geographically scattered “village” of professionals, and a small group of “angels” who appeared at crucial points in the process bearing messages of encouragement.

Winters Graces by Susan Avery Stewart

Sonoma State University was the place where my curiosity about aging was first kindled and where the search for good news about later life began. I am grateful for my colleagues in the Psychology Department, for our students who taught us so much, and for Elaine Leder, Dean of Social Sciences; Jean Wasp, media coordinator; and Jack Ritchie, librarian.

The (literal) village of Dillon Beach provided a peaceful sanctuary in which to bring Winter’s Graces to completion. I’m grateful for fellow villagers like Stella, Dennis and Ellen, John, Judy, Jackie, Jim, Jan and Tom, Greg and Lynn who took me into their fold and with whom I shared the joy of living in paradise for 15 years.

Thank you written in sand

Petaluma has been my home for almost three years now, where I am blessed with closer proximity to good friends, spiritual companions, and my family – including my granddaughter Natalie who has helped me navigate the unfamiliar yet necessary territory of blogging and all things technical. Petaluma has been the place from which I was able to find a fine team of professionals without whom Winter’s Graces would not exist.

This geographically scattered “village” includes Caroline Pincus, Book Midwife (who assured me early on that publishing this book was really possible); Lauren Wise and Brooke Warner, congenial publishers at She Writes Press; a marvelous editor and info-sleuth (Barrett Briske); a supportive and talented publicity team (Julia, Jared, and Bradley) at Wildbound PR; and a fine web designer (Stephanie Racine, Off the Page Creations). Each of these helped to transform the manuscript/draft into a beautiful book and to bring it into the world.

Last but not least is a village of generous souls, “angels” who appeared at critical moments in the process, providing encouragement and  support of various kinds, especially Ellen Katzman, Anita Eliot, Mary Ann Clark, Abbey Levine, and Linda Lee Boyd.

Thanks to these five villages and many other people, Winter’s Graces will be available in bookstores on October 9 (or can be easily ordered through them); I hope you’ll support your local bookshop. An e-book will be released through Amazon on October 9 as well.

For information about upcoming books signings and other events, please visit wintersgraces.com/upcoming-events.

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