Reflections on the Writing Process

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All Things Fulfilling

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien

This morning as I open this blank Word document, I think of the adage that “every person has a story to tell.” A white page gives us a space to create, a place to give birth to a beginning and an ending. Our imaginations can compose a fictional tale without a bit of truth or we can recount a factual story with unswerving loyalty or create a composite, with a bit of both.  Even with writing a narrative that is one hundred percent true, there is choice in the words we use and the voice we use to tell it. What an opportunity! That’s the beauty of writing.

If you are a person who has a story that needs to be told, I…

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Valentines To Heaven

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Valentines Day, 2016

Valentine To Heaven2

free valentines stationary with Fanny Valentines poem

V5 Cover revised font 4 15 15

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

Click here for information on her publications.  This e-book can be delivered within a few minutes for the cost of less than a Valentine’s Day card. And you can learn more about the character that I sent this Valentines to Heaven to through the memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

From my heart to yours, Happy Valentines Day from

http://www.allthingsfulfilling.com.

 

 

 

 

 

A Girl’s Best Friend

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To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart. ~ Thomas J. Watson

hairdressers are a girls best friend

I’ve often thought that a hairstyling salon could be the best incubator for a creative book idea. There is something that makes people open up when they sit in a chair at any beauty shop. Have you ever noticed that? What is it? People literally “let their hairdown.” I suppose because it’s pretty relaxing when you get a haircut.

Last week I had my tresses trimmed and I felt as if Valentine’s Day came early I had such nice treatment. I got a style that’s fitting for me and before I walked out the door, I was offered a sweet treat. A little round brownie decorated with pink and white icing and candy sprinkles.

Thank you,  Sharon and Lisa, at my favorite and perhaps the most affordable salon in town.

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Tracing a Story

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Genealogy, n. An account of one’s descent from a man who did not particularly care to trace his own.~ Ambrose Bierce

Isn’t it interesting how others can motivate us? In yesterday’s blog I mentioned being inspired by members of our local genealogy group to begin tracing a story in my family history.

When I see the work of others, I get all fired up even when it comes to putting my energy into something I didn’t think I had much interest in. But I am beginning to get stoked up.

magnifying-glass-over-business-text-10920164One woman in our group has traced family members who came twenty-seven generations before her. She has located information about her Scottish ancestors born in the 800’s, mapping out her family tree with names, birth dates, places of death and towns of residence. A phenomenal amount of research!

Another member has compiled so much material it’s contained in a tome-sized binder. Very well organized! Now she is considering what to do with all the data, images and pedigree charts.

Others have traveled to their ancestors hometowns all over the world and taken gravestone rubbings, spoken with historians, museums and community town fathers who have helped them reveal some important facts and figures to complete their stories.

It’s sad to think how many important stories in history get lost because of people’s disinterest in keeping them alive through writing. No doubt it is easier just to live in the present.

If you have even the slightest interest in your family history, check out this website. You may come across something that could become your own version of a Gift of Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

A February Typeface

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If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. ~ Margaret Fuller

Today on All Things Fulfilling, we will be talking about typeface, otherwise known as fonts.

The last time I wrote about fonts, I told a personal story about the challenges I faced when I chose a script font for the title of my e-book of short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul. To read about the problem the font presented, check out Book Covers and Fonts, a posting from last spring.

Ist cover image – difficult to read title in some digital advertising

Lessons of Heart V4 Cover

Revised font – more clarity in small digital images

V5 Cover revised font 4 15 15

I know what I like when I see different typefaces but not being a font expert, I am not sure which work well for e-books and other digital platforms for books.

I’m putting a shout out to graphic designers to see if a new font, Heart & Soul is suitable for digital formats, such as for a title on an e-book cover. We want to pass the information along to other independent publishers.

 

Thank you! My heart goes out to you for generosity in sharing your knowledge.

heart ribbon

 

Keep a Heart from Aging

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The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball. ~Doug Larson

Guess what I got last week? A Save the Date notification of my 45th  high school reunion. When I first read it, I thought, “Oh, there is a typo,” until I made some mental calculations. How could it be that so many years have passed?  After all, wasn’t it just last week I was a teen?

In all those years since I was a student I have only attended one college reunion. I guess it’s because I am more interested in living in the present.

 I’ve maintained some friendships in my home town as well as my college town  over the years so I haven’t let go of my schoolmates completely.

About a year and a half ago, I had a book signing  for my award-winning memoir at Ukazoo Books in Towson, Maryland, the town where I grew up. It’s the setting where most of my memoir takes place. It warmed my heart to see some faces I hadn’t seen in decades.

Sue with snowball heart close upLife has been kind to me despite very tentative beginnings and I am extremely grateful for that. I feel very young at heart and try to do all in my power to stay healthy. There are lots of theories of how to achieve that, but moderation in all things is the key, in my opinion.

An exception to the rule is allowing oneself to do kid-like things frequently. What’s good for the heart and soul is guaranteed to be good for our health, including residing since 1975 in the snowy mountains.

This article explains the benefits of getting out and enjoying some wintertime activities!

Sue with snowball heart

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

 

 

Goodwill in the Workplace

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Parenting is the stewardship of the precious lives that come to you through birth, adoption or second marriages. Leadership is the stewardship of the precious lives that come to you by people walking through your door and agreeing to share their gifts with you.” ~ Bob Chapman

Any one who has read the award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected comes to know through the story that the “saving grace” who appeared at a door one day became a valued and loved part of the family.

Sure, she earned a living working as household help but she played a significant role in the fabric of a family who was richly rewarded by the human traits she brought to the workplace. Her life lessons were shared from a unique and often humourous perspective.

Everybody-Matters-coverThe other day I came across an article called The Power of Treating Employees Like Family.  I share the article with our readers today because of the insight it gives into a business story and also into the goodwill that can be nurtured between human beings through their jobs.

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve had several employers who have treated me as family. What it a difference it makes in how your feel about your job, your co-workers, your capabilities and your willingness to go above and beyond. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to experience that in the workplace. In my opinion, in makes a difference.

This blog is brought to you by the author of the EVVY award-winning memoir, an anthology of stories Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and

short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Bringing Cheer over the Holidays

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Let’s state something up front! There is no perfect life. There just isn’t. Postings on social media might lead us to believe otherwise but, remember, we are often only seeing the good parts. During the holidays people ramp up their efforts to create images of having perfect lives and Christmases.

Everyone has struggles and things to overcome in life. But as they say, what you do with those challenges is what counts. That is why it’s important that for those who have inspirational stories to tell and feel they could write a book about it, to do so. The reason I penned a memoir in the first place was to help others who struggle with health issues understand that our attitudes profoundly affect our well-being.

I’m very proud to say that this past Christmas, thanks to the Mickey Barrows Memorial Endowed Fund which “benefits children who are confined to the hospital during the holidays,” copies of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected found their way to families through the Childrens Colorado Foundation in the Denver area. The hope for the initiative is that the book brought some smiles and cheer to faces and encouragement to teen cardiac patients who were hospitalized during the holidays. The book has won the Harvest Book Award in the young adult category and two EVVY awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

So, for anyone who is considering writing a narrative that will bring light and love to others, here is my message: Help others to know you are never alone.

Your story matters!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul and the EVVY award-winning anthology Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

See you back here on Monday!

 

 

Into the Heart of the Story

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An angel can fly directly into the heart of the matter. ~ Unknown

Time is running out! Order the three time award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected right now for the entire family to enjoy reading together. It is available in audio book (the voice holds the real treasure!) and the e-book and can be delivered in just a few minutes. It’s  not too late to order the paperback either. It may arrive at your doorstep before Xmas if you jump right on it.

Since Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was published, a few of the most common remarks from readers have been:

“I wanted to be part of YOUR family!” 

another reader said:

I read the story slowly, a little bit each evening, because I didn’t want it to be over!

Why? Because the truths from the stellar character, Fanny, were told in a manner that involved hilarity and unconventional wisdom. Life long lessons were taught by a human being with a limited education who knew how to go directly to the heart in every manner. Fanny’s unique translation of the gospel truth can be grasped by children.

 

Recipe for an angel

See you back here on Monday, on All Things Fulfilling! I will look forward to your company.

Dear Santa 2015

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December, 2015

Dear Santa,

635524489837773185-write-santaI hope you haven’t had your fill of yearly letters from me yet. This December I have an even larger request. Over the past few years you’ve marvelously delivered what I’ve asked for so I hope you can
pull things off for me once more.

Three or four years ago I requested that you provide me with memories of my childhood so I could pen a memoir. Things came through very clearly.

The next year I was lagging in the motivation to finish the publication. Miraculously, persistance and determination began to show up more frequently. Thus, I accomplished my goal. Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected came into the marketplace.

Last year, as you may remember, when I read my Dear Santa letter at the Steamboat Writers Group Xmas party I asked you for two gifts – to deliver some creative ideas on fresh ways to market my memoir and ideas for a new publication. Out of a small twinkle I once saw in your eye Santa, my e-book Lessons of Heart & Soul came into being.

I’m a little concerned that I am really overstepping my limits this year. I have a larger request than ever. Regretfully for you, but fortunately for me, my love of writing keeps leading me forward which requires asking for what could be harder to fill requests every year.

Santa, I am in dire need of a new computer. I mean, the one I’ve got I can tell is nearly worn out. I am grateful that it still is hanging in there.  I can always go work in the library, if  you can not fulfill my request. After all, it’s a beautiful environment – bright, cozy warm and the technology is all there. Problem is we are limited in the number of hours we can use their computers.  There are lots of other people who need them. I understand. I’m not kidding, I really do. Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night…and you know what William Faulkner says about that – “if there’s story is in you, it’s got to come out.

This year I’ve been asked to edit a publication and I need to contribute a chapter to the book also. I could work a little more efficiently if I had a new computer.

Lastly, Santa, I need a larger spark of interest in my ancestors because I have become involved in a genealogy writers group. Although I love to write about my memories, and I have a new found love of writing fiction, my most recent foray into a story can not come from just my own opinions. I’ll need some facts to better substantiate what I intend to write about. Can you help me out with that?

I’ve been a good girl. I always work hard at whatever I am doing. I’ve gotten my work ethics from my forebearers! I am not a slacker. I try to be kind and compassionate, like you. I help others to successfully accomplish their independent publishing goals by sharing my knowledge. It’s what I love to do!

Say, I have an idea! How about one year you and Mrs. Claus write love letters to one another about the spirit of Christmas.  They will be in kept in the family archives for generations. All your little elves down the line will love it too. I’ll help you if I have the means to do so. That is… with my new computer… (Hint, hint!)

P.S. Please don’t forget to take some time out for yourself. It keeps you healthy and in the right spirit of Christmas. Love U! Sue