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Miracles of Kindness is anthology in which recipients of kind acts tell their stories.

Ann & Mark Wright remkjnd you to Think Kindness.
Ann & Mark Wright remkjnd you to Think Kindness.

Miracles of Kindness is a project that began in 2010, when Mark Wright, a freelance video producer looking for work and nurturing an idea, approached his mother, Ann, a retired teacher 25 years his senior and looking for projects to keep her busy, about writing a book together.  Wouldn’t it be nice ... wouldn’t it be fun ... wouldn’t people love to read a book that presented, in short, third-person accounts, stories of regular folks being helped, guided, assisted, in some cases even saved, by acts of kindness.  The stories would be presented in chapters of similar themes and situations, all rewritten to establish a sense of drama and character.  They viewed the book as a source of inspiration, a way to illustrate the many ways that we come to each other’s aid at critical times, behavior that truly begets small if not life-changing miracles.  In the subsequent three years of development and writing, as they negotiated a path to publishing success with number of ups and downs, Ann and Mark have tried to hold on to this vision.

Miracles of Kindness Stories

Miracles of Kindness stories all have one unique characteristic:  They must be acts of kindness that benefit not just the recipient of the deed but others, as well, directly or indirectly.  Our logo, the rippling water, illustrates that a miracle, as defined by Ann and Mark Wright (and not venturing into definitions that embrace anything more religious than that), is something that occurs between two people or a person and others that has a greater, more profound effect.  Stories are always told in the third person, from the perspective of the recipient, never from the kindness giver, so as to accentuate the magic of the act.  Although we have been lucky to find many a story that recounts a noble act, like fixing a flat tire for a sidelined driver or picking up the tab for a hungry diner, our stories are a bit more complex, presented in a number of forms.  Sometimes, the act of kindness is small and almost inconsequential but provides, somehow, an emotional uplift that makes further action possible, like Julie in her story “Kindness from an Acquaintance” that can be read at our Website, www.themiraclespage.com.  Sometimes, the acts began as a simple courtesy or a thoughtful gesture that blossomed into something vastly more impactful, like the 93 Dollar Club in Menlo Park, CA, that has now raised over $200,000 for Second Harvest, a food bank.  Sometimes, the act is not just a gesture or an offer of help but a true commitment to each other as living human beings, as in a story like Dale’s in “Kindness from the Enemy” whose life was saved by German soldiers at the end of World War II.  Each story is a reminder of what we all hold so dear ... each other.

Story Development and Presentation

Through three years of research and “story mining”, Ann and Mark have settled on a process for development and writing that has each pursuing clearly defined roles.  Mark works on a daily basis working several different Internet sources for story possibilities.  He makes the first pass at filtering, getting rid of spam responses and other digital irritants, at which point all stories are read by Ann and assessed for interest, overall book balance and, most importantly, “miracle” quality.  That’s Ann’s specialty.  The qualifying stories are then passed back to Mark who follows up with specific email queries and phone calls.  Mark rewrites the story and corresponds with the contributor so that it meets with their satisfaction.  Other crucial members of the Kindness team are Mark’s wife, Karen Petterson, former San Mateo Times reporter and columnist and current San Francisco Chronicle copy editor, who will be reviewing all stories as editorial chief, and Robin Wright, Mark’s sister and Ann’s daughter, a retired telecommunications executive who consults with them on business matters.

Robin Wright & Karen Petterson
Robin Wright & Karen Petterson

It should be noted that our stories, thanks to the global reach of the Internet, are truly international in scope and impact, from road-weary travelers in strange locales to newcomers in foreign cultures, desperate for help.Kindness is a language spoken by everyone with a conscience and a willingness to stop and seize an opportunity to reach out to their fellow man or woman, no matter where there are.

We Need Stories

We estimate that Miracles of Kindness is about one-third complete.  In order to finish the book with stories that truly help define the miracles of human interaction, we must attract more story submissions.  As much as Ann and Mark are excited about the possibility of raising the money needed to make the physical publication of Miracles of Kindness a reality, perhaps a greater benefit to them is the publicity and promotion generated by the Kickstarter site.  If you are now aware of our project and would like to contribute, certainly your financial pledge is most welcome and appreciated.  As well, however, spread the word to friends and associates that we are looking for stories from recipients of acts of kindness, random or not, and that we are paying for them.

The Miracles Financial Strategy

With the emphasis they place on the value of their stories, with the relationship between writer and contributor so critical to the success of the book, Ann and Mark are focusing their Kickstarter financial strategy on making sure there are just rewards for those who have submitted a story that makes it into the book.  We envision a book of around 100 stories, for which contributor will be paid $150.  That then accounts of $15,000 of our proposed budget.  The rest of the expenses, in addition to taxes, Kickstarter fees, etc, are for the accessible, electronic delivery of the book, the printing of 500 hard copies for reward and promotion, and some of our own promotional fees.

The Writer/Contributor Relationship

The heart and soul of Miracles of Kindness lies not in the quality and style of the writing (as much as we’d like to think we’re dressing things nicely) but in the stories themselves, the way that people somehow come together in times of need or opportunity and how they conduct themselves in well-intentioned ways never before reported.  Our stories are the reason that Miracles of Kindness might achieve any literary or financial success.  Therefore, it is critical to both Ann and Mark that relationships between them and their contributors are professional, respectful and as inspiring as the stories they help publish together.  All published story contributors will be paid $150 immediately upon publication or when funding is received, whichever comes first.  Subsequent profits, should there be any, will be reasonably shared, once a formula for dividends is created.

A Miracles Line of E-books

From the start, Miracles of Kindness, if executed properly, was to be the just the first of a planned series of ebooks within the “Miracles” brand.  Next in line is Miracles of Teaching, Ann’s pet project, which will present stories of how students have been positively affected by a teacher.  Mark’s pet project is Miracles of Sobriety which will tell stories of people changing their lives with the help of a sponsor or a friend.  They’re even thinking of Miracles of Love as a lighter, yet just as inspirational, approach to their brand.  With the writer/contributor relationship clearly defined and nurtured through our Website, the possibilities for Miracles book are, well ... miraculous.

Ann & daughter Robin celebrate in the Castro.
Ann & daughter Robin celebrate in the Castro.

Our Miracle

On June 26 of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States decided at long last to recognize the value and legality of gay marriage and a nine year quest to achieve a true marriage was successful for Mark’s sister, Robin, and her wife, Jan.By coincidence, Robin was in town visiting Ann when the decision came down and the two of them made it to the Castro district of San Francisco, perhaps the gay capital of the world, to celebrate.Robin pushed Ann in her wheelchair through crowded, singing streets, holding a sign that said, “I love my gay daughter and her wife”.They estimate that they must have had their picture taken 500 times.They were on the local news and several blogs and it has proven to be a real life-affirming moment for the two of them, and by extension, Mark and Karen.This moment has shown them, for Mark at 62 and Ann at 87, that life is full of miracles that arrive daily in a variety of shapes and sizes.Once again, Ann and Mark have come to see that they are possible.

Through 3 years of hope and disappointment, research and frustration, stop and start, Ann and Mark have always believed in the worth of their vision, in the value of Miracles of Kindness.  What began as a simple observation and reflection blossomed into a vision for a book that hoped to bring light to a world that needs occasional reminding of its own worth.  Through perseverance and small reward, through luck and circumstance but primarily through the the strength of the stories thus far collected, stories that have both an urgency and a fundamental truth, we know Miracles of Kindness now has a chance to reach the world.  We welcome your help.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Certainly, the fact that this is an enterprise negotiated by two publishing neophytes is reason for skepticism. Ann and Mark began the process knowing nothing about this business and nothing they have learned in the last three years is cause for optimism. It is a business that has changed dramatically in the last decade, as have all communications vehicles in this digital age. Very few traditional publishers are in a position to take a chance on unknowns like Ann and Mark with a book concept that has no proven track record or market. The digital marketplace is a literal jungle these days, constantly changing as technologies advance and user habits evolve. Being able to approach these new technologies and markets with a reading experience that engages people they way they’re accustomed with books, without traditional, literary characters, is the challenge that Ann and Mark face.

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    You’ll receive an ebook copy of "Miracles of Kindness" plus a personal card of appreciation signed by Ann & Mark

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    You’ll receive the "Miracles of Kindness" gift package which includes a hard copy of the book (plus an ebook copy), the Think Kindness signed poster, a genuine Ann Wright-designed ceramic "Angel of Kindness", and a personal, digital video thank you from Ann & Mark (professionally produced).

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    You’ll receive the "Miracles of Kindness" gift package, the personal web profile plus a copy of "Behind the Miracles", a 15 minute video documentary that looks at some of our actual story contributors and how their moment of kindness effected them.

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