Finding the Joy by Anna J Stewart

Greetings, Heartwarmers. Great to be with you all again.

I've been noticing something rather, well, heartwarming, in the past few weeks. It started at the national Romance Writers of America conference in New York during a morning keynote speech. Author Jennifer Armentrout was talking about her battles with issues a lot of people deal with, mainly depression and hopelessness. The hopelessness is definitely something I can relate to these days, especially if I've had the news on. Social media is inundated with just horrendous stuff that creeps into our subconscious and at times, prevents us from finding joy.

I've been struggling with finding joy. Writing romance, the genre of hope, is a tough job, made even more difficult by the world that spins around us. I'm fortunate. I don't fall into the darkness and despair I know so many of my friends and fellow writers do. At least I don't think so. But I can imagine it. And so, I'm guessing, can you. What prevents me from stepping off that ledge? I can only guess and most of those guesses would begin with my friends and family who are always, without hesitation, a text or call away.

The sixth book in my Butterfly Harbor series comes out on September 1st. SAFE IN HIS ARMS is Kendall Davidson's story, a character whose story I've been both anxious and nervous to tell. I knew from the moment she stepped on the page in ALWAYS THE HERO and reconnected with her army buddy Matt Knight that she was hovering in those dark places. She's dealt with a lot in her life, like a lot of people do. While she's isolated herself in Butterfly Harbor as she refurbishes the town's lighthouse, she's actually in a pretty good place considering what she's been through and the depression issues she continues to deal with. And she's going to be okay, even when faced with her greatest fear, losing more people she comes to love.

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What prevents Kendall from falling into the abyss she's struggled to stay out of? Her friends, friends who have become her family, which is what all my books are about. Family isn't just what you're born into, it's what you create for yourself. Most of my characters do this, and find their place in a community. It's that hope I cling to every day I open my laptop and put fingers to keys. There is hope, if even within the pages of a book; a book that will end with a promised happily ever after.

Wishing you all find moments of joy, if not around you, then in the pages of whatever wonderful story someone has written. Just for you.


~Anna J

USA Today and national bestselling hybrid author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. A former RWA Golden Heart nominee and 2018 Daphne DuMaurier finalist, her Heartwarming book RECIPIE FOR REDEMPTION was recently optioned for a TV Movie and will air during the 2019 holiday season on UpTv. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural , Sherlock, and Jason Momoa addiction and surrounds herself with friends and family. When she's not writing, you can find her at fan conventions, at her local movie theater, or building her client list for her content editing services. You can read more about Anna and her books at


  1. Beautiful. And so true. Family is more than just blood. :)

  2. I love this post. I have girlfriends I love like family. For twenty years we like to remind each other, "Friends are the family you choose." :-)

  3. Wonderful,reminder of how important our families and best friends are. This new release looks as great as the others in Butterfly Harbour!

  4. Enjoyed your post. I'm currently writing a heroine with a dark, difficult past. It's not easy to write. Your book sounds wonderful :) Also, loved seeing you at the conference!

  5. I think my favorite stories involve the various ways families are put together, fall apart, reconstitute, recover, cope, and so on. We all have friends that are closer than family. And when it comes down to it, DNA has little to do with what makes a group of people a family. Thanks for your post.

  6. I've been looking forward to Kendall's story since I met her. Thanks, Anna.

  7. Thanks for this post. Hope is such a small word for such a huge meaning. Writing romance helps with keeping hope alive. And right under the word hope is Action.

  8. It’s true. So much depression and hopelessness in the world today. Thank you for writing this book. It sounds enticing.
    My mom recently became critically ill, and if it wasn’t for the support of my close friends and spouse I might have fallen into deep despair. Seeing a loved ones health decline so rapidly is jarring, especially when it’s your parent. In life today I often look for little pockets of joy. Reading is one of the ways I achieve that.


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