Welcome to my site. Thanks for visiting. I’m an author, creative writing teacher, and empowerment coach, who helps writers (and others) experience greater freedom, joy, and peace of mind.
I believe in the power of writing to heal and transform lives, and I view publishing as an opportunity to deepen self-awareness, nourish meaningful connections, and delight in peak experiences while being of service.
My current writing project, due out in the spring of 2021, is: Where Do You Hang Your Hammock? How to Find Freedom and Peace of Mind While You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book. It‘s an invaluable resource for writers that encourages authors to rethink their ambitions (which may be fueled by the tyrannical demands of the ego) and trust their heartfelt purpose and values in the journey to becoming, or continuing on, as authors. It shows writers how to reframe an otherwise fraught journey and embrace where they are—even if it’s not where they’d like to be—and to use present moment circumstances and opportunities as stepping-stones to a successful and meaningful writing life.
I've been teaching and coaching for over a decade, have a masters degree in spiritual psychology, and this year my memoir, “Raw: My Journey From Anxiety to Joy” won a silver medal in the Mind, Body, Spirit category at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards, sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Aspire Magazine selected raw for its “Top Ten Inspirational Books” for June 2018, and Independent Publisher called it an “Indie groundbreaking book.”
The work I do with writers is multi-faceted. In my writing circles (offered online and on-site in Studio City, CA) I help people find their voice on the page and in their lives. These are mainly sessions in craft, but are intimate and supportive, and we also discuss writing business, platform-building, and more. Every student writes and reads in every class. My writing circles are popular, productive, inspiring, transformational, and fun—and they fill up quickly!
I also coach authors one-on-one who are ready to take a deep-dive into their writing, or need help with a book proposal, or are navigating publishing decisions, book launches, promotional activities, and more.
Since the publication of my memoir, Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy, I've become an Anxiety-to-Joy coach. Readers reached out to me for help and I couldn't turn them away. This work has chosen me and it’s powerful. I’ve gone from being a person paralyzed by an anxiety disorder—afraid to leave my house—to someone who teaches others how to holistically heal anxiety! I never planned this; life unfolds in mysterious ways, and I’m both honored and grateful to be of service in this way.
Explores intersections between the writing life, spirituality, and personal transformation and growth. I talk about how to stay sane and joyful as a writer, from inspiration to publication, and beyond. I’m concerned with the whole-person—body, mind, and spirit. My posts include information about self-care, nourishment, mental health (especially anxiety), and more. In my heart of hearts I’m a healer, and much of my work is informed and inspired by my passion for spiritual psychology. My work is motivated by my own desire for, and cultivation of, inner liberation and peace.
If you’d like to ignite your creativity, courage, and joy, leave your contact info in the “Free Tips” box, and you’ll receive my best self-nurturing tips for free.
If you’re new to my site, you might want to start with this popular post: The Only Reason to Do Anything Is for Love.
My Author Bio
I’m the author of Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy, a memoir, and Secrets of My Sex, a collection of narrative poems. My poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction appear in Mind,Body,Green; The Sun; Lilith; Calyx; Two Review; Onthebus; Pearl; Literary Mama; and elsewhere. My essay, “Writing Naked: The Benefits of Exposing Yourself Through Memoir” is published in The Magic of Memoir: Inspiration for the Writing Journey. My work has also been anthologized in Grandmothers’ Necklace, and in Writing Our Way Out of The Dark: An Anthology of Literary Acts of Bravery. I’m a featured columnist at SheWrites.com, the world’s largest online community for women writers.
Growing up, I learned a lot about people while lingering around the dining room table and listening—long after the other kids asked to be excused. My mom, who entertained a lot, explained to guests that I, her “baby,” enjoyed “adult conversation.” She was right. I couldn’t get enough of their stories.
Life and books have been excellent teachers. But I’ve also had the privilege of attending some stellar colleges and universities. I studied dance at The Juilliard School, and earned a B.A. in Dance and Literature from Scripps College; an M.F.A. in Film Production, with a Screenwriting emphasis, from The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts; and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from The University of Santa Monica (USM).
In addition to the award I received for my memoir, I was awarded a teaching residency at Scripps College, where I created and presented Transformational Creative Practices for Living Your Best Life, a multi-disciplinary program designed to enhance self-awareness, heighten creativity, and inspire personal empowerment & growth.
In my last year of film school, my screenplay, The Emerald Quartet, was a first-round semi-finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship, an international screenwriting competition sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That same year, a film I co-edited was nominated for an Oscar.
My Movement Background
I‘ve had years of somatic studies, starting with dance: ballet, modern, jazz, and flamenco—as well as choreography and composition. In New York City, when Juilliard was not in session, I studied at The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and American Ballet Theater. I also studied at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and elsewhere on the east coast.
In California, I’ve practiced yoga (on and off) for over thirty years; studied Moving Theater with Camille Maurine; The Halprin Life/Art Process at the Tamalpa Institute; Jungle Gym at Continuum Studios; Medicine Dance with Fred Sugarman; BodyFreedom with Tarnie Falloon; Vital Danza USA with Jaquelin Levin-Zabare; Fumbling Toward Ecstasy with Jo Cobbett; and Nia Dance with Paula Foster Chambers. I currently get my groove on, whenever possible, with the Los Angels Dance collective.
My Personal Bliss
When I’m not teaching, coaching, or working on my own projects, you can find me meditating at my altar, scribbling in my journal, reading in my hammock (outstanding Mother’s Day gift!), hiking, walking our dog, Katie, dancing indoors and out, or visiting with friends. I also love bodywork, especially massage, Reiki, Craniosacral, and breath work.
I live in Studio City, California, with my husband Jim. We just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary and 37 years living together. We have a grown daughter, who returns on her college breaks to visit our nest—which I prefer to think of as spacious rather than empty.
class you get much more than a teacher, you get a steadfast facilitator who offers calm encouragement and tremendous insight into the entire writing process, which by nature is fraught with insecurity. Her warmth and guidance fosters a place of creativity and unparalleled support, not to mention crazy productivity! I’m thrilled to have Bella in my corner and can’t recommend her highly enough.”
Huffington Post blogger