My New Book!

Happy July, friends!

I am so excited to share with you that my second book – The Magic Key: Unlock Your Memoir – An Intuitive Guide for New Writers is done and ready to go. Woo-hoo! The eBook is available right now on Amazon, and I’ve got it priced at just $.99 for it’s debut on Kindle.

I know this book won’t be for everyone – I wrote it specifically for new writers, highly-sensitive people, and those struggling with how to tackle a memoir or a deeply personal piece of writing. It’s not a program or a “how to” book.

It’s just me, sharing what I learned on my own writing journey as I crafted Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian, how I did it (it wasn’t always pretty), and what I’ve come to learn about the writing process as I’ve coached other writers for the past three years.

The complexities of memoir can send many writers into what I call “The Vortex of Despair” – a never-ending spiral of perfectionism, doubt, shame, and hopelessness. I know this first-hand, because I was stuck there for almost 20 years with my story.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If your deepest desire is to write a heartfelt story that connects to others and serves humanity in some way, then I hope this little book helps you do that.

Like I said, it won’t be for everyone.

But if you are interested, I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s the link to buy:

Thanks for your support!


Big love,




PS: the paperback version of The Magic Key will be available soon if you prefer that format. I’ll also have it at a special promo price!

Updates, and a New Book Review

Happy Friday, friends. I hope you’re hanging in there during this very strange time! Like most of you, we are at home and safe. I’m grateful for many things – my family is healthy and we are comfortable, tucked away in our Urban Cottage in the suburbs of Phoenix.

We’ve made it through week three of social distancing, and are hunkered down for the long haul. My hub and I are both working from home, and the kids are doing school – and a lot of movies, LEGO’s, games, art, and books. Of course, the weather is fabulous right now, with birds chirping and warm sunshine. The windows are open and we’re enjoying the wildflower breezes and quiet city skies. We are trying to get outside as much as possible – things are blooming and the sun is good for the soul. I’ve been sleeping so good lately, too – probably catching up from almost thirteen years of parenthood.

A super nice thing to wake up to this morning was a wonderful new book review posted over at Metal Rules. I love it when my book entertains someone.

And just a reminder, my book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian, is available through Kindle Unlimited right now!

Get it here:

I know it’s a strange time, but please do feel free to reach out and connect if you’d like to chat, ask questions about the book or about writing in general, or if you just need someone to talk to. You can connect with me on the socials, or by email at:

Stay safe and healthy, friends!


Quick Update

Hey Everyone,

I know it’s a weird time out there and we all need to stay safe and hunker down for a while.

Many of you will be reading more books over the coming weeks, and that’s great. In the spirit of the times, I’m making my book, Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian, available for free through the Kindle Unlimited program.

Reading eBooks right now is the way to go. As lovely as physical books are, eBooks are a wonderful way to make sure our supply lines and delivery people stay functioning for the more important stuff, like food, medical supplies, and toilet paper.

So enjoy the book and stay safe and healthy, everyone!

Here’s a link for you:


Advice to Myself About Writing the Next Book, that I Learned From Writing the First Book.

  • The story of writing the book is a story of its own. Document your process in some way so that you can refer back to it, like dots on a map. Because sometime after the book is done and out in the world, you’re going to kind of forget how hard it was. But you’ll have a diary, an Instagram, a Facebook Memory to remind you. And it will fortify your soul knowing that, despite all the fear and unknowing and mental exertion and dealing with your “real” life, job, family – somehow you managed to write and publish a book, and that you ARE capable of doing it again.
  • You’ve got gather your grace, and let go of expectations regarding other people. Social media makes this harder to navigate, I think. Old friends will appear. Some friends will stay friends. Some friends will step up. Some friends will disappear on you and offer no support or encouragement. Friends of friends may reach out and want to be friends and offer big support. Some strangers will step forward and become friends. Some strangers will become your biggest cheerleaders. Some people you thought were friends and have offered initial support are actually not your friends at all. Accept it all and be grateful and gracious. You wrote a book. You are a badass regardless of other people. Not everyone gives a shit, and that’s OK. Stay in your lane and write another book.
  • Prepare for rejection. Prepare for miracles. This gets easier as you get older, I think. Your thin- skinned ego gets roughed up a bit by life and age and eventually, you don’t give a shit what other people think about you and your writing. Yes, you want your book to find its readers. Yes, you want to find and connect with your audience.  Yes, you want people to like you and your work. But it doesn’t affect you in any real sense if they don’t. Who cares, really? Likewise, keep your heart and mind open. Sometimes you get signs or meet people who help you along the way.
  • You’ve got to turn off the monkey-brain and tune in to your intuition. You can read all the how-to’s of being a “real” writer. You can wreck yourself with anxiety over the stupid advice that you must write a certain way, a certain amount, a certain time of day. That somehow you’re not a real writer if you’re not writing 500-words-day-everyday. Honestly? It’s bullshit. Sometimes it’s actually paralyzing to those of us who don’t work in such a linear fashion. Find time in your week, or in your season of life, to write. Structure it if you must. Write when you can. Keep a notebook handy. Let the story find you, let it possess you, and then as Cheryl Strayed says “write like a motherfucker”. Because when it comes down to it, when you boil it down to the simplest of things: if you want to write the book, you’ll find a way to write the book.
  • Trust. Faith.  Even being a somewhat “anxious” person, I have learned to trust myself, to trust the process, to trust the timing of things, to trust my judgement, to stop looking for validation. That inner voice knows the truth. Be realistic about your writing speed and capacity, going slower when needed, and faster when able. Be gentle with yourself, while keeping faith and doing the work. You only fail if you quit. So, just don’t quit.  
  • The work itself may not always be writing. It may be a lot of other things. It may be resting. When you’re writing a book, really writing a book, it’s inside you. It’s in your body, in your head, in your dreams, in your playlist, on your timeline, in your belly, cooking with fire – all pointing the way forward, manifesting. You must breathe it to life.  But it can also be real work, emotional and exhausting. You may need to pause and rest, especially after finishing a first draft, or a 9th draft, or after a big edit. Sometimes you need a week or two to rest your damn brain. It’s OK to do this. Rest yourself, child. Get back to it as soon as you are able. Because you can do this.
  • A new decade will be upon us soon. Let’s finish up our business, enjoy the holidays, and get down to it.

Podcast with Lonn M. Friend of RIP Magazine

I have so many updates to write. Launching a book has been so much fun – so I’ll work on documenting the whole process and getting that posted soon. In the meantime, enjoy this amazing podcast with Sherry, of Just Push Play podcast. Lonn M. Friend, formerly of RIP Magazine, was with me for the conversation. Sherry asked me some great questions, and I wish we could’ve talked longer. Here it is for your enjoyment:

Thanks for stopping by. More updates soon!

Press Release: Tempe Book Festival! Saturday November 2

Local Librarian Pens Heavy Metal Memoir

Long before she became a librarian, Anna-Marie O’Brien was a fan of hard rock and heavy metal music. In her new book, Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian, she recounts how, at the age of eighteen, she moved to Los Angeles and began working in the music industry, first for Megadeth, and then for Metal Blade Records, who’s founder helped discover bands like Metallica and Slayer.  

“Over the years I’d mention to parts of this story to people, and it was always the same reaction: “This is unbelievable! You should write a book!” so finally, I wrote the book. I think people are surprised that I am both a fan of heavy metal music, and a working librarian.I don’t quite fit the stereotypes”, she says. In addition to being a married mom of two, she’s worked for the City of Tempe for 16 years. 

Growing up in the 1980’s, she was often inspired by rock publications like RIP Magazine. “RIP had the best original articles and photos of the bands I liked.” As she was writing the book, former editor of RIP Magazine, Lonn M. Friend, reached out to her on Instagram and struck up a friendship. “Imagine my delight when he agreed to write my foreword. It’s been like another dream come true. He’s a legend to us heavy music fans.” 

Although she recounts throughout the book her run-ins with rock stars and other interesting characters on the Sunset Strip, she realized after reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild that her own story was similar – a woman alone in an unfamiliar and unforgiving wilderness. “Ultimately, it’s a survival story. A story of being lost, and then found. Except my adventure takes place in the Hollywood, and has a better soundtrack”, she jokes. 

Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian is now available on Amazon.
Anna-Marie O’Brien will be joined by Lonn M. Friend at the Tempe Book Festival on Saturday November 2, to sell and sign copies of her new book. 


I spent this summer editing my book, and I pretty much neglected every thing else – like blogging and twittering. But what I did do was have fun with my kids, I made great new real-life writing friends, and I started thinking about my next book. I can’t wait to get started on it.

My daughter began middle school in August, and my son is almost 9. A good portion of their childhoods has been spent with me writing this first book. I put my library career on hold when my son was a baby, cutting my hours in half, and it was ideal: a part-time benefitted position at the Library. It was really great when I had small children, but now they’re in school 35 hours or more per week.

So, I was recently offered a full-time position with my employer, and I’ve accepted. I’ve also accepted all of the challenges my hub and I will face with both of us working full-time outside the home, and the big one for me is: Less time for me to write. Isn’t that every writer’s fear? If I say yes, I’ll write less? But is it true?

I’m willing to challenge my assumptions on this. I do believe that action breeds action – so perhaps being even busier overall will actually increase my writing output? Making me more efficient and focused? Is it possible? One of the most productive writers I know works full-time, has a side-hustle coaching business, has published four books in four years, with many more in the pipeline. And, she had a baby, too. So I know it’s possible. The question then, is – is it possible for me? Old distractable me?

And I say YES. It is possible, because I’m choosing for it to be possible.

So, I edited another chapter and sent off a query to another agent this morning, and I’m on my way in to work at the Library until 8pm tonight. I feel supremely grateful that I can do this – be a writer, and be a librarian, and a mom and a wife, and all the other good things.

I can take care of my kids, house, hub. I can blog, twitter and Instagram. I can work full time and take care of my financial future. I’ll be busier than ever and I’ll move forward with the assumption that action breed action. I’m going to try to write books whether I work full-time, part-time, or not at all, and that’s just the truth of it. I may go fast, I may go slow – but I’ll keep going.

The writing life is for the long haul, through the choppy waters of careers and parenthood and illnesses and aging parents. It’s my life and it’s what I make it to be. I’m responsible.

And, while I’m a dreamer, I’m also a realist. I don’t have to be a starving artist, writing through poverty. I’ve got a paycheck waiting, and the writing is up to me.

Because I know that when the waters get really choppy, my writing (and my family) will be the sturdy life jacket around me, keeping my head – my dreams – afloat as the rough weather passes. And I’ll keep repeating to myself: Action breeds action.

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