Using a Blog as Vision Board

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Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.” ~Robert Brault

Yesterday I discovered All Things Fulfilling was featured once again on author Mara Purl’s blog. http://bit.ly/11hneiN. Purl had this to say about the content that we post on this site. Just one glance at Sue’s extensive, multi-faceted, eclectic and intriguing blog will demonstrate she actually practices the fulfillment she talks about.” 

I would agree with Purl’s assessment of this blog; the subject matter is always a little different. I write about what is  in my heart on a daily basis. We all find enjoyment in different things in our lives, so I try use my intuition to steer me in knowing what others might find appealing and interesting in the arts and humanities field. Perhaps All Things Fulfilling could be described as my vision board for committing to and exploring possibilities for creating a lifestyle filled with heart and soul.   I use my emotional energy to help others follow their hearts desires to do what makes them happy in their careers and find personal fulfillment in their personal lives.

Mara Purl’s fictional characters in her Milford-Haven books, are people who have decided to think outside the box and create a life that is uniquely suited to their personalities and interests. I like that, Purl’s characters “sit right with me.”Click for the Milford Haven Novels ink pen with heart

So, I’m going to put Purl’s next (3rd) Milford-Haven novel on my vision board, and I’ll let you know when it is available.

Did you know Mara Purl is now a national best selling author of women’s fiction? Visit us tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

A Charming Idea, Mara Purl

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Today’s blog is part 2 of my interview with Mara Purl, author of the Milford-Haven series. The second book, Where the Heart Lives was the subject of yesterday’s blog. Please scroll down to read it.

Sue: Mara, I’d like to talk with you for a few minutes about books, in general, and what, if any, shift you have noticed among readers in recent years?

Mara: Readers know what they like to read, and with people being so busy these days, I think people are looking for more specific categories of books. Rather than just say, general fiction, they are looking types of fiction such as women’s fiction or family sagas or romance. My books are categorized in all three.

Authors are offering free sample chapters of e-books, prequels that are free, and 99 cent e-books which allows readers to venture into trying new genres and new authors they otherwise may have never discovered.  Short stories had been diminishing in the marketplace, and with the arrival of e-books, they are making a return. Serial story telling has also had a resurgence. 

Because of space constraints, in the past, booksellers have been hesitant to carry whole series of books; not wanting to take up too much space with just one author’s books. With e-books, there is not that concern of taking up too much shelf space. Thus, readers have the ability to read a whole series from beginning to end. Collecting and reading an entire series presents no constraints in storage in electronic (e-book) format.  

For fans of books that bring the reader through a chronology of generations, such as Louis L’Amour books, e-books can be very useful way to fulfill the readers desires to collect an entire series without having to find space to store them in their homes. 

Sue: I have noticed your wonderful newly redesigned website. There are all kinds of fun things for your readers on the site, including jewelry for fans of the Milford- Haven Books. Tell me what it has meant to you to follow the spirit of your character, Miranda Jones, and use your artistic expression to take your creativity in a new direction.

Mara:  Women love jewelry, and I have noticed that stories go along with jewelry that women wear. Women say, “oh, that necklace or bracelet was given to me by so and so, or it used to be my grandmothers, or I got that piece of jewelry when……” I thought that women may like to collect jewelry that will remind them of the Milford-Haven books they have read. As a talisman or reminder to listen to the heart. So, each book has a different shell “dingbat” (an ornament, character or spacer used in typesetting) and each will be available as a charm and can be collected for bracelets. The first book What the Heart Knows has a heart cockle shell “dingbat” in it, and then the 2nd book in the series Where the Heart Lives is a placuna shell, (called a windowpane oyster) which is a marine bivalve that is flat and translucent, in shape).  

Sue: Where can these charms and bracelets be purchased?  I will put a link to your newly designed website for our readers, and people can keep their eyes open for them as an upcoming product. Mara’s Blog site www.marapurlcom.  Link to Milford-Haven book charms on Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/marapurl/.

Mara: Yes, they are still in the development phase by a jeweler in Colorado Springs, but once available, they can be shipped anywhere in the world and if you go to my newly redesigned website, there is information.

Sue: Mara, I appreciate so much the opportunity to interview you again. I am so pleased at the success you are having with the Milford-Haven series. When will Bellekeep Books publish the third in the series When Hearts Keep Secrets be available? I look forward to reading the next book.

Mara: Look for When Hearts Keep Secrets in 2013. Probably in autumn of the year. Also, the e-book “When Whales Watch” the prequel to the second book  is available through Amazon.

For more information on all of Mara Purls’ publications,Click here

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpectedand www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Living with Heart

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The following is part 1 of my interview with author Mara Purl this morning. If you missed my interviews with Mara when her first book was released, please scroll down to yesterday’s blog. There are links that will take you to them.

Sue: Mara, we are honored to have the opportunity to interview you again on All Things Fulfilling. This time I’d like discuss your new book, the second Milford-Haven novel, Where the Heart Lives. http://bit.ly/SunF8d Congratulations on the success of Book One What the Heart Knows and it’s ranking of #5 on the Amazon best seller list as well as its finalist status for Book of the Year. Also, congratulations on the success of your short story e-book, When Hummers Dream, the prequel to the first book of the series.

Sue: Over the past years, there have been many people who have had to take a look at their own lives due to the job market, and in some cases, they’ve had to change geographical locations for new or different professional opportunities or even to rebuild their life. Your protagonist Miranda Jones makes a difficult personal decision to move from city life (San Francisco) to a small coastal town (Milford-Haven). She pursues her artistic endeavors from what many may see as a more limiting environment. How do your characters help your readers examine their own lives and decisions?

Mara: Our culture typically focuses on using logic and intellect to make life decisions, (both big and small). We tend to choose what feels “safe” and the steady path in life because we make decisions based on external rather than internal “intuitive thinking.” Mentors such as Joseph Campbell, whom I worked under at Open Eye Theatre, along with Jean Erdman, http://bit.ly/S9vmhK  tell us to “follow our bliss.” This can be difficult to do because it tends to be different than the way our culture views things, usually not part of a normal career path. Those that decide to do something because it “feels good” can be opening a crack into what leads to our own fulfilling path in life. People who work in the arts use a life-long practice of listening to their hearts and intuition. It may go against logic but it what they do is personally fulfilling.

My characters in my books either reject this idea of “doing what you love” or they decide to be authentic to themselves, and decide to go against logic. In the case of Miranda Jones, she is at odds because she is a wildlife painter, yet, she is living in a city and in order to observe wildlife, she needs to escape city life. Ultimately, she settles in the coastal town of Milford-Haven against her manager’s advice and against her parent’s wishes. But, she creates a sense of home and connection with nature in Milford-Haven. Many of my characters feel conflicted between what their heads and hearts are telling them, which gives the reader permission to examine their own core beliefs and think about how they live their lives.

In this current economy, people have been forced to think more about making decisions using intuition and they have learned that the secure path they’ve lived may have been an illusion.

Sue: Is what you write based on experience or do your storylines bring realizations to you?

Mara: Both, my experiences and internal direction help craft a story. I don’t feel comfortable if everything I do is based on the external. There is a spiritual component that leads me- beyond intelligence. Many years after I began writing about the town of Milford-Haven which is based on a town in Wales, I found out that I had relatives in that part of the world. It made me realize that I was doing what I was supposed to do.

In doing my research for the third book, I was unable to locate an expert that I wanted to talk to about the architecture of oil rigs. One day, I got on a very crowd flight and sat next to a man and our conversation led to what we did for a living. As it turned out, he designed off shore oil rigs. He drew pictures for me, and I got exactly what I needed to continue the story for the third book.

For information on Mara Purl’s publications, Click here

Return tomorrow to the blog of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC www.AllThingsFulfilling.com. We will be continuing our conversation with Mara Purl about a shift she has noticed in books people read. We will also discuss how Mara has been able to take the spirit of her character, artist Miranda Jones, and use her own artistic creativity to come up with a reminder for her readers of what they have learned and perhaps the decisions they have made for themselves in the reading of the Milford Haven Series.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Preparing for Blog Tour Storm

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“Life…it consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” ~ Mark Twain 

Good Morning! I am preparing for tomorrow’s blog – a special interview with best selling author Mara Purl. Many of you may remember our blogs about What the Heart Knows, book one of the Milford-Haven series . We are so excited that Mara’s promotions company contacted us a few weeks ago to request that All Things Fulfilling be part of her blog tour again for her 2nd book Where the Heart Lives. An astounding 17 million readers followed All Things Fulfilling and the other blogs that participated in the blog tour for book one. 

If you missed out, here are links to our previous blogs about Mara Purl as a published author of her Milford Haven series.

 Portrait of a Consummate Artist
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/portrait-of-a-consummate-artist/

Part I
Speaking the Language of Books
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/speaking-the-language-of-books/ 

Part II
Speaking the Language of Head and Heart
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/speaking-the-language-of-heart-and-art/
Extra Bonus
Getting Drawn In – Reading “ Hummer” on Kindle for PC
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/getting-drawn-in/ 

Mara’s book one What the Heart Knows  is an Amazon best-seller (ranked #5) and a finalist for the Book of the Year Award. Her prequel short story When Hummers Dream (also a best seller) was nominated for the Global e-book award. 

Please return tomorrow. Mara is guaranteed to have some interesting things to say about book two Where the Heart Lives. As a former soap opera actress who played the part of Darla Cook, R.N. on Days of Our Lives, Mara is well versed in telling and writing award-winning stories that reach hearts of her readers.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Speaking the Language of Heart and Art

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As we broke away from our interview on Thursday with author Mara Purl, we began to talk about the hardcover release of “What the Heart Knows” and the new cover design painted by watercolorist Mary Helsaple. Today, we will engage in conversation about the creative artistic marketing of the book as well as Mara’s life as a multi-dimensional artist. 

The Interview Continues – 

Sue:  What other creative things are you doing with marketing and merchandising as part of your new arrangement with Bellekeep Books? 

Mara: I have written a short story “When Hummers Dream” which is a prequel to “What the Heart Knows” available through Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-readers. It is free until Labor Day. “When Hummers Dream” is a Best Seller on the Kindle free e-book list. After I wrote the short story, I realized there are many bird enthusiasts that follow all kinds of hummingbirds. I got invited to speak at a Hummingbird Garden in Phoenix. I look forward to that! 

We are having an internet launch on September 27 and there will be some bonus items included in the purchase of the hardcover “What the Heart Knows.” We also incorporated a heart cockleshell dingbat on the pages and each subsequent book in the series will have a different kind of shell dingbat aside the chapter numbers. Also, as part of the merchandising, there will be shell charms that people can purchase to match the dingbats in the books. They can begin to build their charm bracelets. It is our way of incorporating books and art. I created my protagonist Miranda Jones, a painter out of my love for art. 

Also, at the back of the book “What the Heart Knows” there will be questions to the reader to ask them whether they are listening……are they listening to their own hearts? 

Sue: Mara, you have worn many artistic hats over the course of your life time, as performing artist, award-winning author, screenwriter, songwriter and journalist. Were your parents always supportive of your career in the Arts? 

Mara: Yes! Tremendously supportive…always.  

Sue:  A little while after we met, I found out that you graduated from Bennington College with a degree in the Arts. As you know now, my place of residence of almost 30 years was in Bennington County,Vermont. Has your career matched your vision when you decided upon this field of study many years ago? 

Mara: Yes.Vermont is a magical place with independent spirit. Winter was long but the solitude became a cauldron for internal development. The mentors at Bennington College were wonderful and had extraordinary influence on me. I met two Bennington grads as a teen and both said it would be a good fit. The decision ended up a heart decision for me. There were small classes and I learned how to talk in front of people. You had to contribute because there was little other structure and few others in the class. I learned to be a self starter there. 

Sue: I was going to ask you to what do you attribute your success in working in so many dimensions of the Arts, but you may have just answered my question, in part. 

Mara:  Yes, I did. I found that in the quiet came self growth. And you ask yourself what are you here to do? I learned in my college years that the rest doesn’t happen unless you become a self-starter. I have concern about kids today and all the external they are exposed to – the TV, the iPods,  the cell phones, all the digital devices. They can’t be quiet and be with themselves in quiet spaces. They are plugged into something constantly. 

Sue:  What has it meant to you personally to be able to follow your dreams and pursue your passions in the Arts? 

Mara:  It’s funny, years into my career, I came across a guy that I had known way back, he said to me “you didn’t sell out.” At first I didn’t know what he meant, but what he meant is I stuck with what I wanted to do. But, I didn’t know what else to do. I was just being me.  For some people painful choices have to be made but I say it is never too late to come back to your core mission. 

Sue:  To wrap things up, what words of advice can you give to the younger generations who are interested in pursuing careers in the Arts? 

Mara: Listen to your heart and soul. Look for mentors that have walked the path in what you want to do. There will be well meaning people and ask their advice but there has to be internal and external balance. Finally consult with yourself only you really know. 

Sue:  This has been a busy month for you. You have been on virtual blog tours for weeks and you have a few more to go. Mara, I appreciate so much your taking the time to stop by All Things Fulfilling and giving us insight into your books and also into your career as a person who has so successfully made their living in the Arts. 

Sue: One last question – where can we look for “What the Heart Knows?” 

Mara:  In bookstores, through links on my own website www.marapurl.com, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, on i-Readers. Just Google and you will find it.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Getting Drawn In

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Gardens are a form of autobiography.” ~Sydney Eddison 

The other night, I read my first e-book! I don’t have an e-reader yet, but I downloaded Kindle onto my laptop (yes, it is possible!).  I decided to give digital books a whorl, by taking advantage of a free e-book, available until Labor Day. “When Hummers Dream” was my book of choice.  It is on the Kindle best selling free e-book list. http://bit.ly/rgRNo1.

You might ask –“Did you like reading by digital format, rather than having a book in hand?”  I dunno! I was too involved in waltzing through a painting of a gorgeous garden created by words of author Mara Purl to notice. Which, I suppose supports the argument that if a book is fulfilling, it really does not matter which format you use. Good books come via hardcover, paper bound volumes, audio and digital forms. The choices have been expanded by one more platform with the addition of e-books. 

There was one drawback, however, to downloading Kindle on my laptop computer, rather than having an independent e-reading device. I was too tempted to quickly peek to find out if I had any urgent emails.  I overcame that urge by deciding to fully enjoy my stroll through the place of enchantment where hummingbirds dream. I followed along the path of the little winged creature as it flew among hollyhocks, soared above the blue and purple flags of iris and indulged in the essence of the scented flora. 

Let’s face it – the distractions are there when reading books in print, too. Thoughts of a decadent ice cream treat, a steamy cup of tea ……a sound of an intriguing voice can interrupt a journey through a wonderful storyline of any book.  But a good read http://bit.ly/cPS5QL will always draw you back in, time and time again.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Portrait of a Consummate Artist

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Romance and novel paint beauty in colors more charming than nature, and describe a happiness that humans never taste. How deceptive and destructive are those pictures of consummate bliss!” ~ Oliver Goldsmith 

Tomorrow, on All Things Fulfilling we will have the honor of interviewing author and actress Mara Purl. I met Mara several years ago when our company, Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC joined the Colorado Independent Publishers Association as a service vendor. www.cipabooks.org. Mara was President at the time. 

The Back Story:

Mara Purl has been fulfilling her life, through her multi-facetted career in the Arts. Her professional accomplishments as an award winning writer-producer-performer include:

  • Author of serial novels, set in her fictitious coastal town Milford- Haven. They are the basis for the first American radio drama ever licensed by the BBC. The series drew an audience of 4.5 million fans.
  • Actress on Days of Our Lives. Mara played the role of Darla Cook.
  • Journalist/staff writer for the Financial Times of London and the Associated Press.
  • Co-authored Act Right with Erin Gray. This book is frequently used by schools of performing arts as an educational tool.http://bit.ly/neZ5tJ
  • Founder of S.T.A.R. – Student Theatre And Radio – a program she has taught in the U.S, and abroad inJapan.
  • Mara Purl was named one of the twelve Women of the Year in 2002 by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women.
  • Musician for Teijo Ito’s CD Watermill. She is accomplished at playing the koto.
  • Mara grew up in Tokyo, Japan. She lives in Los Angeles and Colorado Springs, CO 

    Thursday (tomorrow) I look forward to sharing my interview with Mara and information on the hardcover release of her Milford-Haven book.  Not only will we be discussing books and publishing, we will also be discussing topics of common interest that faithful readers of this blog site have come to expect – such as integrating Art into one’s life for personal fulfillment. 

Come on back tomorrow. Mara is guaranteed to have a lot to say of interest on this matter!

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.