Perfecting a Craft

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character

Becoming a published author does not mean a writer is finished learning their craft – hardly! Just like any artist, spending time honing skills is all part of being an writer.

A week from today I will be participating in A Day for Writers in Steamboat Springs. This will be the thirty-third annual event hosted by the Steamboat Writers Group. Here’s what Friday evening and Saturday activities look like:

  • Friday evening Meet & Greet and buffet dinner. Afterward is 10 Minutes of Fame. We will get to read from our published or unpublished work. Fanny (the stellar character in Gift of A Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected) will be making a guest appearance! One never knows what words of wisdom might come out of her mouth.
  • Mystery Writer Rex Burns will lead us in learning more about setting and description. Later in the day we will practice our craft by writing descriptive passages.
  • Teresa Funke will be on hand to talk about book promotion. This will be my second opportunity to listen to this highly skilled professional speaker.I look forward to it. Secondly she will give us some insight into the perspective of what book buyers are looking for. For more information on Teresa’s publications, public speaking and creativity coaching, please visit her website http://www.teresafunke.com/.

I am looking forward to a Day for Writers in Steamboat. The opportunity to attend writers conferences and workshops are a gift of a lifetime for me because I plan to continue writing.  I can’t learn enough about what readers are looking for when they sit down to read a good book. There is more to it than you can ever imagine.

After next weekend is all over, I will provide you with a recap. So look for the upcoming story on All Things Fulfilling.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. As  narrator and author, she says of  her audio book ” Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, “the voice contains the real treasure.For info & ordering click on this link

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on Simple Pleasures

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There are few things in common between where I grew up, in Towson, Maryland and where I am residing at this moment, Steamboat Springs, Colorado except great peaches and sweet corn.

It is an unexpected gift when you live high up in the magnificent Rocky Mountains to find corn and peaches as good as what’s grown in Maryland.  The produce comes in  from Palisades, Colorado every weekend on a truck.

We are getting into the fresh from the farm season! So, although, I am living many, many miles away from all of our family – today I would like post a reminder to myself.

Peaches

And as gift for my readers on this sunny summer day – here is something you can make that is useful, healthy and delicious.It comes from http://www.OasisAdvancedWellness.com. Visit their website, there’s other fulfilling things they’ve posted for the visitors of their space on the internet.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling! This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. NOW AVAILABLE IN AUDIO BOOK, TOO! http://amzn.to/1rDx80a.

Peaches two

 

Dear Baltimore …

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“It’s your reaction to your adversity, not the adversity itself, that will determine how your life’s story develops.” ~ Dieter F Uchtdorf

Dear Baltimore ~ You provided me with many fulfilling memories of my years of growing up in your suburbs. If  I had to sum it up, I couldn’t have said it any better … Raised in Maryland precious No matter where you spent your childhood and adult years, each region of the country has their own interpretation of how they portray people who are native to the area. These two images struck me as stereotypical of people who come from my native soil – Baltimore!

And as Fanny, the stellar character in my memoir would have said,”If you ain’t precious, don’t worry! We all be dear, hon!” For today, that’s all I’m sayin’…..

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Click here for info & ordering in paperback, e-book or audio Now available in audio book, for your listening pleasure. The voice holds the treasure!

Towson, Now and Then

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Friendship is…..one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Today I am going to take a trip down memory lane during the 1950s and 1960s  to my native stomping grounds of  Towson, Maryland (in Baltimore County) . It’s the  home of Goucher College http://www.goucher.edu/  and Towson State College (now known as Towson University)http://www.towson.edu . Johns Hopkins University http://www.jhu.edu/ and Loyola University http://www.loyola.edu/ are  just down the road in Baltimore City.

When I was a young girl, Towson Plaza, was our shopping mecca. Stores like Tuerks (Twerks, as Fanny the stellar character in my memoir called it), Reads Drugstore and The Plaza Florest were just a few of the stores located there. Of course, S.S. Kresges (aka  Kresgeree’s according to Fanny) was the “flagship store.” It anchored all the rest of the stores and really kept the shopping center active with business.

Towson Plaza

Just down the street, within walking distance was Towson Bootery, Stebbins Anderson, Finkelstein’s and Sunny Surplus – my Dad’s favorite store! The last time I went into Sunny’s was in the mid-to-late 1970s when I took my husband-to-be there. He nearly went crazy. I wonder if it’s gone out of business?

In the early nineteen-seventies, during the years I went off to college in Vermont, progress really began to take place.Commercial real estate development changed the entire look and feel of that area of town. Evidently, it’s gone through several renovations and revitalizations since then. Here’s a photo with just one of the crown jewel stores in the “Towson Plaza” area now.

towson plaza now

 

Although I visit family in Towson now and then, its been quite a while since I have been to the “Towson Plaza” area. I bet I’d have a hard time finding my way around. I’m hoping to return to the area this fall and do a book signing of “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.”

I’ll keep you posted. It would be wonderful to see old school friends, aquaintances and people who have done business with five generations of the Batton building businesses throughout Baltimore County and beyond.   http://on.fb.me/1k1hWb5  and http://bit.ly/1u2nrdE.

 

 

 

Life Can be a Wild Ride

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Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” ~ Author Unknown

 

gwynnoakparksignIf you are a baby boomer you probably remember end of the school year field trips. Those trips were designed to learn how to have fun!

In Baltimore,  Gywnn Oak Park was a fun place to be except when it became very controversial and a place for riots and protests against racial segregation due to its whites-only admissions policy.   The sixty-four acre park closed up due to terrible flooding in 1973 from Hurricane Agnes. To read more historical information about the desegregation of  Gwynn Oak Park, follow these links. http://bit.ly/1jFbyWs  and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwynn_Oak_Park

Gwynn Oak Park TheWhip

gwynn oak park 3

Gwynn oak park ticket

But, Hershey Park, Pennsylvania (aka Chocolate Town) was the most desired field trip spot in my world during my days of growing up. My classmates and I got to travel to it on a Greyhound bus rather than on a school bus. That was a big deal. The seats  were plush and you could tip them back. There were headrests and ashtrays on the armrests. We thought that was pretty cool. We saw chocolate being made and Hershey’s amusement park was much larger. It was a blast. Only the real dorks didn’t like it.

I was game to go on on any of the thrilling rides except the roller coaster, aka The Comet. Once was enough. I thought I was going to have a heart attack it was so scary. The fun house with all the distorted mirrors was one of my favorites. I liked the mirror that turned my body image from skin and bones to an inflated balloon in the blink of an eye. My friends finally had a chance to see what I looked like over-sized instead of under-sized. We all thought it was hysterical. We laughed ourselves silly and had to keep going tinkle!

hersey park PA ride

 

hersey park PA ride2

 

Ahh…. the good ole days. Sometimes I wish I could bring those fulfilling times back.

This blog is brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  Sue’s audio book version of her memoir gives a real sense of the era in which it was written. The treasure is in the voice. Click this link for more information.

 

The Start of Independence

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Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.” ~ Doug Larson gphdiez3.JPG

Remember the first time your mother let you go to the department store with your girlfriends and gave you some money to buy a sandwich at the lunch counter? It was a big, big deal!

I bet you ordered a hot dog, grilled cheese or maybe splurged on a BLT? Perhaps a cherry coke,a frappe or a ginger ale to go with it. And then there was the juke box. Remember twirling the song selector around and around trying to find “the perfect song?” There were so many “pop hits” but with only a few extra coins in your pocket, playing dozens of songs, just wasn’t possible.

Where was your favorite lunch counter? At a drugstore, department store or at a regular malt shop? What did you find there that was so fulfilling – your independence, the food, the friends you met up with or how fast you could get the stool to twirl around and around?

I love writing about nostalgic times. It’s one reason I penned the memoir  “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” Click here for info & ordering. Its now available in an audio book, narrated by the author and the voice holds the real treasure! Look forward to seeing you on Monday. See you then.

Don’t Step on the Crack!

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Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mothers back. Don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mothers back, don’t step……” Remember repeating that over and over again as you paced all up and down the  sidewalks?  For our family, it was a novelty to walk on city sidewalks because we lived in a wooded suburb. When we went to the city being able to sketch on pavement with chalk or to draw out a hopscotch course, we thought was pretty “nifty.”

When we visited our grandparents in Baltimore City, we got to do all kinds of things that we couldn’t do at our house. At home, our playground was the forest and stream. At least an acre or more of land separated the neighbors. At our grandparents, we thought it was pretty neat that we could sit in rocking chairs on a  porch and politely greet passers by.

The ragman  I can still remember the voice and the words of the Ragman’s banter as he navigated the horse and cart down the city streets of Baltimore. “Rags! Rags for sale! Come get your rags.”  Hearing the clip-clop of the horses feet coming down the street, was so exciting. The rag man called out, “New rags for old. Give me yours, and I’ll give you another.” Recycling, I assure you is not a new concept.

All in good jest, my parents used to threaten to sell or trade us to the Ragman if my sister, my brothers and I didn’t behave ourselves. That was enough to make us sit up and pay attention!

If you are a baby boomer, you might have recollections of having the Ragman arrive in your neighborhood and seeing people run out in the street to greet him and check out his wares.

Do you know the origins of the Ragman story? Here’s a link, you can read it for yourself. I found it quite interesting because as a child, the only thing I was interested in was seeing the big horse (usually an old gray mare) pulling the cart down the street. Little did I know there was an inspirational story behind The Ragman.  Check  it out! http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/573/ragman/.

In 2010, Walter Wagernan’s short story The Ragman was produced into a movie. Click on the link if for more information and ordering the DVD Ragman.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author and narrator of the memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book.  Click here to listen to the audio book sample, narrated by the author

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