She’s Got the Whole World in Her Hands

Leave a comment

Independent publishing has turned the whole publishing world nearly upside down because if you have the will, now there is a way! There is no longer the need to get the “green light” from a mainstream publisher to move forward with getting a book into the market place. Every tool is now available to anyone of any age to write, publish and sell through e-commerce or through any portal an author is willing to pursue. What is needed is a mature level of stick-to-it-ive-ness to accomplish such a goal.

Today, I’d like to share a story about a young girl from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. At thirteen years of age, she recently independently published her first book. I can well remember the fulfilling feelings when I birthed my debut publication which became an award-winning memoir. But, I was decades older than the girl featured in today’s story. Read more about this story of outstanding accomplishment here because it may inspire you to step up and write the story you’ve had inside of you.

God Blessed you, Mackenzie Ostrowski, with a creative spirit filled with powerful motivation and dogged perseverance to inspire others. At your youthful age, you’ve got the whole world in your hands and you’re going for it already in your young life! Good for you! Make the most of all your interests.

I can’t wait to read Mackenzie Ostrowski’s debut novel and it sounds like her success has encouraged her to write more.

Thank you to Laurie at the Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church for sending me this story!

“Be open to God’s novelty.”

Hallowed Halls of Johns Hopkins

Leave a comment

The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. ~ M. Scott Peck, author of Gifts of the Journey, In Search of Stones and The Road Less Traveled

Happy Halloween, everyone. On October 3rd, my cousin Meg Heisse and I witnessed a little hocus-pocus when we attended An Evening of Victorian Magic at Evergreen Mansion and Library, which is a Johns Hopkins University Museum. Since my cousin is a member, we attended a pre-performance reception held in the Asian red room among Chinese and Japanese collectibles. The bartenders stirred up Victorian libations and we saw up close magic tricks by David London. Mind reader indeed, out of a 52 card deck, the magician asked me to select one card and show it to others.  No slight of hand involved, through telepathic transmission he correctly identified the card I had picked. But that was just the start of the delightful evening. The magician had many more magic tricks up his sleeve once the show started and he came to the stage.

There was no need to build a stage for the evening because there is already a Victorian era theatre in the Evergreen Museum. And although there were no upper level seats for celestials to sit as in many Victorian theatres, we were told apparitions are in or about the rooms of the mansion. The theatre, painted by Russian Artist Leon Bakst, was used regularly to entertain the three Garrett boys, who at one time lived there.

The Evergreen Museum and Library was built in 1850 and became home to railroad magnate, John Garrett and his family. He was President of Baltimore and Ohio “B & O” Railroad. A little over one hundred years later, in 1952, the Italianate home from the Guilded Era was donated to Johns Hopkins University and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also in the mansion is a 30,000  volume library with much of which is English Renaissance literature. Paintings by Picasso, DegasModigliani and stained glass by Tiffany, a 23 karat gold plated bathroom all are housed in the structure. In the Asian red room I spied several pieces of Chinoiserie furniture and as I snooped around in the museum gift shop at Evergreen, I saw several beautiful publications about stained glass.

Today, my Halloween treat to our readers is a recipe for soul cakes which traditionally was the offering to others on All Hallows Eve. And here are a few pictures of our evening at Evergreen Museum and Library, too. Look carefully you might see things that fool the eye!

Some time soon I do look forward to returning to the historic Evergreen Museum to take the full tour. This wonderful landmark is only one of the institutions of the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins. Check out the others on their website.

Thank you Meg for inviting me to accompany you for the evening.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Observations En Plein Air

Leave a comment

For me, plein air painting is about taking home memories – contemplating the subject with all senses. Smell, touch, temperature, weather – the feeling of warm sun or the start of a rainstorm, for example – and sound. ~ Melissa Jean

On October 6th, despite the calendar indicting fall had arrived, the lingering pleasant temperatures were perfect for a day of painting “en plein air” for artists who had gathered at Liriodendron Mansion.  It was a cloudy day but there was no biting chill in the air. The setting for day one of a week long plein air painting festival sponsored by the Harford Plein Air Painters and Maryland State Arts Council, was a great venue.

The property was purchased in 1890 and the Palladian mansion “Liriodendron” was built as a summer home to Dr. Howard Kelly, his wife and nine children. He was one of the founding fathers of Johns Hopkins Medical College. Artist John Singer Sargent left a legacy painting for the college a long time ago when he painted Dr. Kelly along with the other the founding physicians. For more information on Dr. Kelly and his home, please visit this writing called Perfect Timing.

As I walked the beautiful and expansive grounds of Liriodendron Mansion (originally 196 acres but now about 100 acres) with tall tulip popular trees towering over me, and their pungent, earthy-odored, crunchy dried leaves beneath my feet, I watched artists paint. I became increasingly more excited about new art-related opportunities that will come with a move to Harford County and for a new season of life.

The day reminded me of one the most fabulous plein air painting experiences I have ever had the pleasure to witness on an outstanding ranch just before I moved from Colorado back to my native Maryland, two years ago, after a forty year absence. That day was also cloudy but it was also a joy-filled day. Here is a link to the blog if you are interested in reading about Harvesting Others Joy and seeing some wonderful pictures of the experience and the artists.

Here are a few photos from last week’s plein air festival in Harford County, Maryland. There were some wonderful works in progress. If you have never been to a plein air festival, do so! It is a great way to learn a little something about art and about the creative people behind the art!

Photo above & below: Artist Ray Ewing

(Pictured below: Artist Sandhya Sharma. She is originally from India and I enjoyed talking with her about her

her observations of art opportunities and the art connections she has made in America)

(Below: Artist Pamela Wilde is also a portrait artist. She recently participated in a community portraiture project in nearby Havre de Grace. Click here to read more about it.)

(Above: Artist painting indoors surrounded by archival Johns Hopkins medical ephemera of Dr. Howard Kelly)

Below: A few images on display and for sale from various other venues.

Artists are members of the Harford Plein Air Painters

Liriodendron (aka tulip poplar trees) are not quite yet in their full autumn splendor. But soon….as God intends it.

 

Art Writing Opportunities

Leave a comment

“Art helps us see connection and brings a more coherent meaning to our world.” ~ Ernest Boyer, Founder, Carnegie Foundation

In my previous post about two weeks ago, I wrote about a plein-air painting workshop I attended given by Artists-in-Residence Mike Bare and Joanne Bare at Ladew Topiary Gardens. I’m grateful I have acquired knowledge about painting through past life experiences with several master artists. It has led to opportunities to write about art and the humanities in general, such as all the essays on the website Through the Lens of Her Camera, about photojournalist Cheryl Ito.  Her work is in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Over the past year, I have been engaged in another art related writing project. Soon the manuscript will be going to print. It has been very gratifying and more will come about this later!

Some of what Bare spoke about in the workshop at Ladew Gardens can be applied to writing.  “Art,”  Mike said,  “allows us to understand who we are.”  This is precisely why I find writing so fulfilling. I have learned so much about myself and what I value through my writing.  Authors tend to write about what they know.  You can understand much of what is important to me by reading the 2500 posts (which are indexed by category) on this website, AllThingsFulfilling.com. Four topics – art, gardens, independent publishing, and faith are just some of the subjects I return to time and time again but always with a new perspective.

Painters do the same thing, according to Bare, they tend to return to the same spot time and time again because one makes connection with the scene that way and paints it well. There are often seasonal variables when painting “en plein air” but one finds value in coming back to the same location. Capturing the changes in light or other seasonal/environmental/atmospheric conditions holds both significance and challenge for the artist.

During the workshop at Ladew Topiary Gardens, photos were shown of other artists work. In one image, a cityscape, we saw a part of the composition was intentionally left unfinished. Yet, as the instructor pointed out, we did not notice it until we made a closer inspection of the painting. Why?  “Because our mind makes up what is missing!”  says Bare. True enough, I thought. Readers do the same thing with stories. They read into it what they will by the associations made with the words given on the page. Not every detail in a story is drawn-out. Some readers get irked when they have to draw their own conclusions and others like to be left hanging so they can use their own imaginations and create what happens next.

Thank you to Mike Bare and Joanne Bare for continuing my art education simply by allowing me to be a listening participant in the morning lecture. A writer’s life is wonderfully fulfilling.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

Of All Things! A Mustard Seed?

Leave a comment

As an independent publisher, it takes faith and determination to see a project to fruition. Today, I am reposting one of my favorite older blogs about faith.

All Things Fulfilling

From a small seed a mighty trunk might grow ~ Aeschylus

The other day, a memory came to me as I stood in the line at the grocery store. I saw an elderly woman who had a beautiful silver watch on her wrist. It was unlike the kind of watch that you see in this day and age, and it reminded me of my Grandmother. Back in her day, watches were made like fine art – the work that went into crafting them was apparent.

mustard seedMy grandmother always wore a lovely watch with a little bauble that hung from it, just like in this image. What really intrigued me was the seed inside the bauble. I thought it was kind of intriguing but, I couldn’t imagine why would anyone carry around a seed hanging from their watch.

My grandmother told me it was a mustard seed but never told me of the seed’s significance…

View original post 66 more words

A Vital Option: e-Books in 2016

Leave a comment

The freedom to move forward to new opportunities and to produce results comes from living in the present and not the past.” ~ Brian Koslow

Shopping-CartIf you are ready to publish your manuscript, there are many choices to consider. Offering an electronic version of a book has become a necessity if you are an author who wants to reap the benefits in the digital marketplace. More often than not, potential book buyers want to know if a title “is available as an e-book?”

According to this article from Author Earnings, in February 2016, readers downloaded one million sixty-four (1,064,000) paid e-books PER DAY!

In my opinion, there will be more technological developments coming that will blow away any remaining doubts that e-books are just a passing trend. Especially as digital publishing becomes integrated into more classrooms and library catalogs.

Authors don’t miss out on a stream of income by failing to offer an e-book version of your title. And remember “if you are selling over the internet, you must be marketing over the internet” because that is where your potential book buyers hang out!

Speaking of hang-outs, thanks for frequenting this website. Do return tomorrow.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Check out her e-books, audio book and books in print!

Typography for Independent Publishers

Leave a comment

Since this original blog was posted in February 2013, there have been more advances in e-book typography and layout. It’s an exciting digital world we live in.

All Things Fulfilling

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning,” ~ Benjamin Franklin

With each new generation of publishing software for e-books, options for typography, continues to expand. And as with any industry, there is language specific to that technology in the field.

AuthorMichael N Marcus book TypogrTypography for Indie Publishersaphy for Independent Publishers is a reference book that helps authors understand language such as fonts, serifs, outlining, embossing and other words that may be unfamiliar to those who are new to the publishing world.

Typography for e-books is quickly becoming an art. Since the initial offerings of e-books, readers are becoming more discriminating in what they want to see in e-books. Good layout, formatting and cover design is important for hard and soft cover publications and also for e-book buyers. Understanding typography terminology will help authors determine what they want to incorporate in…

View original post 73 more words