The Backstory to Being Published In Fast Fall Women edited by Gina Barreca (My Book Preface), Episode 195

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Send me a “hi” DM on Insta letting me know you caught this week’s episode. I’d love to know who is listening.

In this episode, I’ll reveal the backstory of my participation in Fast Fall Women. But first, what was I thinking? I went from no one knowing about my experiences being raised by a mom with manic depression – to today, the world being able to hear one of my most vulnerable moments for $18.95. 

Here’s the truth: Today marks a milestone for me as a published author in a book that features these writing goddesses: Amy Tan, Jane Smiley, Caroline Leavitt, Bobbie Ann Mason, Honor Moore, Darien Hsu Gee, Ilene Beckerman, Lynn Peril as well as new writers like myself. It’s a big deal and this is why you should tune into today’s episode especially if you’ve ever wanted to tell your story (or feel scared to). 

Imagine harnessing the whimsical power of your childhood imagination and translating it into the real world as a mompreneur. That’s the journey I’ve been on, and in this episode, I share the heart and soul of it all. Listen in as I explore how motherhood can transform your relationship with your imagination and how you can navigate through the ups and downs of life using this powerful tool. 

In today’s episode, you will also hear the backstory to Fertile Imagination: my own book coming out on October 31, 2023. Prefaces tend to be overlooked but mine left an impression on other moms who are looking for more bubble wrap to protect their sanity, so I figured I’d share it with you. It took courage to tell this story, and I hope it resonates with you, giving you the strength to face your own high stakes and standards.

Let’s connect on Instagram: Send me a “hi” DM on Instagram letting me know you caught this week’s episode. I’d love to know who is listening.

In this episode, you will hear these ideas expressed:

  • What does it feel like to be published?
  • How did Melissa pitch her story, Imagine It Forward?
  • Why Melissa wrote the book, Fertile Imagination
  • When imagination can come in handy: Harnessing the power of childhood imagination in motherhood and entrepreneurship
  • Is imagining too big possible?
  • What it takes to write a book for two years without losing hope…
  • Growing up with a single mom with manic depression
  • Relying on imagination as a child 
  • How imagination helps navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and motherhood
  • The journey of writing a book, how the vision sustained through massive life changes, and the reawakening of imagination


SHARE this episode with a mom founder, entrepreneur, or creator who wants to pursue bigger dreams for herself and needs a guide with on-the-ground experience.

Similar episodes: 

Supporting Resources:

Fertile Imagination Waitlist: 

Fast Fallen Women: 

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Have you subscribed to my podcast for new moms who are entrepreneurs, founders, and creators?  I’d love for you to subscribe if you haven’t yet. 

I’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast for writer moms. 

This episode is brought to you by Fertile Imagination A Guide for Stretching Every Mom’s Superpower for Maximum Impact  – available for purchase on October 31, 2023!

Get on the waitlist – today.

My debut non-fiction book for moms like you!

Fertile Imagination is the jet engine you need to go after what you really, really want.

You don’t have to give up your dreams, shrink them, or hide them to be a great mom anymore! There’s flexibility in how you pursue anything—your role, your lifestyle, and your personal and professional goals. The ceiling on what you go after is waiting to be shattered. It’s time to see and seize what’s beyond your gaze. Let’s bridge your childhood daydreams with your grown-up realities. Imagine skipping with your kids across any path—you, surpassing your milestones while your kids are reaching theirs. There’s only one superpower versatile enough to stretch your thinking beyond what’s been done before: a Fertile Imagination. It’s the perfect kryptonite for impostor syndrome and feeling stuck when it’s alert! 

In Fertile Imagination, you will awaken your sleeping source of creative solutions. If you can wake up a toddler or a groggy middle schooler, then together with the stories in this book—featuring 25 guests from my podcast Unimaginable Wellness, proven tools, and personal anecdotes—we will wake up your former playmate: your imagination! 

Dive in if you’ve ever asked yourself:

  • Why do I want more?
  • What about my big ideas?
  • When do I get to play? 
  • Where can I find the energy?
  • Who else is going for it and getting it done?
  • How can I stay relevant and keep growing?
  • What if I don’t want to wait until my kids are gone?

Praise For Fertile Imagination

Get on the waitlist – today.

Book participants/podcast guests

“Melissa is an inspiring display of tenacity and motivation. Whenever you’re feeling stuck, peruse Melissa’s thoughtfully compiled tips and exercises and you’ll be creating magic in no time.” – Suzy Batiz, Chief Executive and Visionary Officer, ~Pourri, The Makers of Poo~Pourri, supernatural, Alive OS®

“Melissa’s words are authentic and important. She is a great listener and now shares reality-based strategies for imagining your own imperfect, fulfilling life.” – Martha Hennessey, Former New Hampshire State Senator / House of Representative

This is the book for a mom who wants a second jet engine to embark on her own journey from thinking she will have to wait another lifetime to dream big to knowing she can take steps right now to uncover and do what she would find more fulfilling at this life stage. Melissa writes both intimately and conversationally about topics that many moms around the world can relate to (some dads too). She invites the reader into a personal and deep journey about topics that are crucially important to uncover what would make a mom truly happy to work on…even after the kids are in bed. It was an honor and a pleasure to speak with her for an interview, which she has included excerpts of in this book, too!” – Ken Honda, Japan’s bestselling zen millionaire, author of Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money

Moms like us with big dreams and school-age kids:

For moms like me, the pandemic was an opportunity to re-evaluate and course-correct things in our lives we weren’t thrilled with. Coming out of this period, sluggish yet motivated, so many of us can use this book to help us wake up! If you’re looking to refresh, reenergize, and yes, reimagine a better version of your life, this book is for you. I loved the hilarious, yet poignant stories about motherhood today and the window into the world of those who’ve gone for it – and did it. – Macollvie Neel, Brooklyn, NY

“The words: imagination, play and fun are not the usual things we as mothers think of when wondering how to get a grip back on our career and I believe it provides a really fresh take and lots of food for thought for mothers reading it. Its tone is so energetic and fresh!” – Alejandra Molina, Coach, Miami, Florida

“Melissa is a mom of three with big dreams who tells it like it is. She draws on her own experiences and the experiences of professionals she’s interviewed for her podcast to reflect on the plight of the mother. How do women conform to or challenge the traditional “mom script”? If you’re a mom, what can you do to break the “cultural glass ceiling” to be yourself and a great parent, all without having to force yourself into a mom mold that doesn’t fit you? Melissa is like a great friend, honest and wise and funny, telling you about her life and asking you to reflect on yours. This book is a great purchase for moms in every stage of life.” – Maureen Turner Carey, Librarian, Austin, Texas

“In her book, Melissa shows us that motherhood does not have to be a pause or an end to your pre-child self. With guidance from her podcast guests, she encourages us to think big, find what lights us up, think big, and move towards our goals with the steps that fit the reality of our lives as they are today. In doing so we honor and inspire our child(ren), and our own inner child.” – Katherine Howell, Administrator in a Museum, Queens, NY 

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa Llarena is an author, imagination coach, consultant, speaker, and contributor to ForbesWomen articles that have garnered 4 million + views. She is also the host of Unimaginable Wellness, the podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms. Featured guests include GaryVee and Beth Comstock. Melissa holds a psychology degree from New York University, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate. She is training to become a meditation practitioner. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three sons. Visit

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