New Generation Libraries

Leave a comment

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things….create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut  

When I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado back in 2008, I felt like I had hit the jackpot when I saw Bud Werner Memorial Library. It had just undergone renovation and had opened only three months prior to my arrival. The improvement in physical structure (addition of approximately 26,000 sq feet) is not all that  impressed me, however. Since then, the library has become a real hub of community activity. Library services have been expanded and updated to accommodate for the digital age. The library’s computer technology is relied on, heavily, for people in the surrounding rural communities where internet access is a problem. 

quote on librariesI enjoy learning about other communities, throughout the country, who have recently built or expanded libraries with an eye on the next generation of readers. There is a library, in Tiverton, Rhode Island, which I am very excited about. It has been in the planning and developmental stages for many years.; construction begins this coming May.

Union Studio Architects: Architecture and Community Design of Providence, Rhode Island was instrumental in bringing the vision for the project together. http://bit.ly/WMDsiX . A young, hip firm, founded in 2001, draws plans for what they see as being fulfilling living in community development for the next generation. I am proud to say one of my nieces, Kara, is a contemporary in the company and helped design the Tiverton Library.

To learn more about the Union Studio Architects and their philosophy on new urbanism, here is a short video. http://bit.ly/YC4yyf .  Check out the movie star, Stanley, in this video – he is as charming as Barney, President Bush’s, dog who  sadly went to doggie heaven this week.

I look forward to seeing this facility when it is completed.

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

 

Individual Expression

Leave a comment

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”
Emory Austin 

In the January/February issue of Art of the West Magazine, there is an article by artist, Logan Maxwell Hagege, called My Voice is Coming Through. Hagege’s interests in art began in animation, but they eventually turned to fine art. Yet, the influence and his previous experience with animation can be seen to a certain extent, in his paintings. Many of his paintings reflect a southwest environment, but there is also a collection of paintings depicting the northeastern part of the country that truly reflect everyday life on the water. To see Hagege’s website, follow this link. http://bit.ly/Rv5ukg

We pick up cultural and societal influences throughout our lives –  in our travels, and through our encounters with people.  Reading the title of Hagege’s article My Voice is Coming Through made me think of how our own voices are reflected in everything we create. Whether we are practicing the art of living through our relationships, writing, painting, making films, composing music, making jewelry or any other kind of art. In the end, our creations are a picture of our imaginations, thoughts and emotions. 

self-reflection-in-mirrorOur voices even come through in the children we raise, steer and mold. We hope some of our words of wisdom to our kids will be remembered and thought about. Sometimes our attitudes come echoing back to us through our offspring, and we regret some of the things we ever said! I don’t think there has ever been a parent who hasn’t experienced that. 

In this digital age, we create profiles of ourselves through the images and words we post on the internet. Be aware of that, and post appropriate content. Believe it or not, potential employers now look at the internet to see what they can find out about someone they might hire. 

Individual expression is one reason why people find using social media fulfilling, but make sure it truly reflects who you are and what you are all about. 

More independent thoughts, words and views from www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com   tomorrow!

Living with Heart

1 Comment

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.

Do Your Homework on Book Awards

Leave a comment

It is a good thing to learn caution from the misfortunes of others.” ~ Publilius Syrus

Today’s blog will be short and sweet.  I had one more item of vital importance to mention that came out of Saturday’s meeting at the Colorado Independent Publishers Association meeting on book awards. 

Several writers in the crowd on Saturday,mentioned they have learned some difficult but valuable lessons about entering book contests. There are hundreds of award contests run by colleges, universities, publishing associations and many run by independent organizations. But, as it was pointed out, not all are valid contests. 

With poetry, in particular, you have to be careful and research to make sure a contest is not a scam. Come-ons, such as a chance of winning a free i-pod, can be a tease to get hundreds of people to submit. Do your homework and make sure the contest follows a code of ethics to protect your authorship. 

Enough said, I think you get the gist.

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

Valuable Publishing Associations

Leave a comment

Technology has changed the way book publishing works, as it has changed everything else in the world of media.” ~ Bruce Jackson

On Saturday, I attended the monthly meeting of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA). One of the reasons I don’t mind driving the distance, is the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who are publishing their stories. Their manuscripts are usually a reflection of their interests, their lives or their careers. Always diverse, always leaving me wanting to learn more about each person, I collect business cards throughout the day, so I can go home check out their author websites and see what they have written. 

The October meeting was “Get the Skinny on Book Awards.” There was time for networking and facilitated breakout sessions, fulfilling CIPA members requests for information on: 

  • Award-winning Editing
  • Award-winning Design
  • Guidelines used by CIPA for their annual EVVY Book Awards
  • Discussions about Social Media and other Marketing 

Christine Goff, a judge and organizer for the Colorado Book Awards was the guest speaker on Saturday. She spoke about book awards in general and it became clear to me as she spoke that the criteria for judging books is as she said “subjective,” depending on each contest. The aim should be to make the judging fair for all by having a set of standards in place to go by. 

Interestingly, Goff mentioned, there are only about 19 states that have State Book Award contests. The Colorado Independent Publishers Association is opening up their awards to non-members meaning more submissions, a higher level of competition and an increased need for qualified judges. A four hour workshop on book competition judging will be offered. 

Winning a book award gives a book distinction, indicating it is well-worth reading. There are many contests, and it is important that the contests that you, as an author, enter have been researched to make sure they are run legitimately.

I can not express enough, the value of joining publishing associations, at the national or state level, such as the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. Networking with other authors should be  at the top of your list.  Join a publishing association in your area or State today!

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

Images, Words and White Space

Leave a comment

We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” ~ Carl Sagan

On Monday, our local paper Steamboat Today was printed on pink paper in honor of National Breast Cancer Month. It seems that no one is immune from knowing someone who has been touched by this cancer. The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of early detection. 

The color of the newspaper was more than just a blush of pink, bolder than that, yet not as dark as fuchsia either. That edition made me realize something – the importance of white space. Although, as always,  I read the paper from cover to cover, I found reading from pink paper difficult and in fact, it slowed down my progress because my eyes were straining. As I struggled to read the article on raising money at the local level through events such as The Bust of Steamboat http://thebustofsteamboat.org/, I couldn’t help but think of what white space means to publishing. 

Digital reading devices, such as Kindles, have now gone through a few generations of development, improvements have come with each new model. The Kindle Paperwhite is purported to give the reader the clearest text, the best reading experience, due to its bright white screen. Yet not everyone can afford this top model. Many people do not have the luxury of buying a digital reader at all. 

I thought about how this relates to funding for breast cancer. Over the years, there have been advancements in detection through technology, yet people still slip through the cracks and find out about their case too late. Not every woman is able to afford mammograms and treatments either, which means not every woman has a chance of survival. Thank goodness for non-profit organizations such as the Susan G Komen Foundation http://bit.ly/TqInTF at the national and local level that work hard at trying to provide the means for everyone through their fundraising efforts. 

I don’t mean to trivialize the devastating disease of breast cancer by comparing technology of Kindle readers to a very personal medical issue. Digital reading devices are luxuries, and having medical technology and treatment for cancer is a necessity for survival; two very different issues. 

 These are just a few independent thoughts that came to my mind regarding white space as I read the news of the day on pink paper. That’s all….

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

Digital books: Conserving Gas and Trees

Leave a comment

What’s cheaper than a gallon of gas? An e-book. Save a dollar, stay home and read!”
~ Shandy L. Kurth 

At the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, there was a lot of discussion about the e-book industry. Digital books are gaining popularity globally. In fact, according to an article in Publishers Weekly Magazine, people in India top the charts as leaders in e-book buying. Thirty nine percent of the respondents to a survey say they have bought an e-book. Other top countries of digital book buyers are the United States and the United Kingdom.With each passing year, there is healthy growth in the electronic publishing industry, indicating an increased interest in digital reading content. 

If you have ever had any doubt about whether Americans are consumed with buying books, volunteer at a donation center for a thrift shop. Three or four hours every Saturday, I help out in a donation center run by the local churches. The amount of books that come through the doors is astounding. Each week, I gain a greater understanding of the value of buying e-books.

Electronic books take up less space for one thing. For readers who read a book once and then get rid of it, the new generation of books makes more sense. Sure, the reading experience is a little different. There are no paper pages to turn or to dog-ear to mark a spot. But, the story is still the same whether we are reading it digitally, in a hardback version, paperback or listening to an audio book. 

I am grateful the books have not ended up in the landfill and I know they are very much appreciated by the people who buy them. They are resold at a minimal price – usually 50 cents up to a few dollars. Sometimes a little more if the book is a large volume or a special collectible publication. Many of the donated books are in “like new” condition. Read once, then discarded. 

If you would like to know more about this growing trend among publishers, please read this article. It is a good source of information, brought to you by Publisher’s Weekly Magazine, digitally. http://bit.ly/Trf7RF.

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