A Pioneer in a Field

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Shoot for the Moon

Quote by: Norman Vincent Peale

Have you read the debut novel by Amy Brill, The Movement of Stars? I just finished it and enjoyed a book club discussion of the publication with a group of United Methodist women.

Knowing so little about astronomy, when I first began reading Brill’s novel I was concerned that I may not be able to get through the astronomical details. How wrong I was. I became quickly involved in the relationship of the two main characters whose lives intersected. They seemed to have a deep understanding of one another due to parallel themes that ran throughout their lives. Both were strangers in a strange land, each deemed by their culture to be a people who should be denied to dream and excel.

As I became involved in the narrative, I  could see how necessary the astronomical details were to the heart of the story. Brill’s writing about the planetary world was written as tightly as possible to convey the story of a well-rendered fictional personality based on a real life person, Maria Mitchell. She was a pioneer in her field, the first professional woman astronomer.

I felt the author did an admirable job of crafting an historical novel and I would argue with some reviewers who said “the central character was too staid.” After all, she was a Quaker who the author aptly portrayed with the values of her culture.

5 star

This blog is brought to you by the author of the EVVY award-winning book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

A Secret Society of Influencers

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atomic 6 einstein

If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein

As I strolled through the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History last week I read accounting after accounting of life in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the years when the pioneers researched and tested the origins of atomic theory. Exposure of the scientists to the general population was very limited, and they formed their own “secret society” of sorts.  Their early discoveries have opened the doors to modern day nuclear physics, medicine and quantum mechanics.  The work of Albert Einstein, Madame Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi and others have impacted our world immeasurably.

This point was driven home to me in a way that I could most relate to when I saw the pop-culture exhibit which displayed how many movies, television shows, books, childrens toys and games, and other products (even Atomic skis!) have been influenced. The captivating and educational collection of materials are nostalgic and historic. Seeing displays of science and art in one place made me realize the impact of nuclear science and medicine on our society during the formative years of my childhood. Post World War II men and women as well as  baby boomers especially will appreciate the exhibit. Here are a few images I captured of  my visit. I am sure you will recognize many of the titles and products.

atomic2

atomic7 comics

atomic 4

atomic 3

atomic 5

atomic 8

atomic 9 movie

There was much more of interest to me in this museum than I would have ever fathomed. Here are some of the other exhibits. If you are near Albuquerque, NM do stop in to the National Museum of Atomic Science and History. The Bradbury Scientific Labratory in Los Alamos, NM the site where the first nuclear bomb testing took place is just an hour away also.

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

Partners and Publishing

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Literacy arouses hopes, not only in society as a whole but also in the individual who is striving for fulfillment, happiness and personal benefit by learning how to read and write. ~ Unesco

HANDOUT IMAGE - Cover of Harper Lee's new book 'Go Set A Watchman'

Wow! “Am I ever fortunate to be here tonight,” I thought as I learned of the agenda for the first in a series of gatherings which revolves around “One Book Steamboat.” Harper Lee’s newly published book Go Set a Watchman was selected for an all community read.

On Wednesday evening, a community member began the presentation by dispelling some rumors about Lee’s second novel. He knows first-hand what has transpired in the publishing of the manuscript. He is part of a team of advisors looking out for the author’s interests. What he said was very different than some of the news stories. Contrary to everyone’s belief, even though Lee is 89 years old and does not hear well, her decision making abilities are rational. All communications were written to make sure Lee fully understood all implications of the publishing process. To read more about the publishing of a long awaited second book from the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, please visit this article from the Steamboat
Today newspaper and the others listed.

Wall Street Journal – How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript

New York Times – Joe Nocera the Watchman Fraud

What Does Harper Lee Want? 

Not only has a Steamboat Springs, Colorado community member been involved with the publishing of “Watchman,” thanks to Lee’s generosity, she has donated to Partners of Routt County very special editions of her two publications for a fundraising auction to support a wonderful organization. How special is that?

The evening culminated with the screening of  the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck. I had never seen it before, and for me the characters became even more alive and their messages hit even closer to home after having seen the role playing of the characters in the movie version.

“One Book Steamboat” continues with three more events in October which will give us an opportunity to look even closer at the work of Harper Lee (aka Nelle)! I’ll keep you posted.

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

Honoring Black History Month

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Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.  ― Carl Sagan

February is Black History Month. I recently read a book about the Underground Railroad which helped me to understand more deeply about period of history when the movement to free slaves began. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier is a departure from the historical art fiction that I’d come to know this author by. Her hugely successful book The Girl with the Pearl Earring was my first foray into Chevalier.

As with all of Chevalier’s other books, the writing is beautifully rendered and The Last Runaway did not disappoint. My journey into this period of history through Chevalier’s publication has made me want to read even more about the Underground Railroad.  As suggested by the docent at the Harriet Tubman Educational Center and Museum, A Song Unsung will be my next push into learning more about the Underground Railroad.

My interest in black history began in earnest last fall when I visited the Harriet Tubman Educational Center last in Cambridge, Maryland. Tubman was one of the most notable figures in history who was a catalyst for change in her people and in our country’s story about slavery.

underground railroad map

Celebrate Black History Month by doing some reading on the subject.

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

e-Book Extravaganza

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Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. ~ Kofi Annan

cipa logoOn Saturday I made the very worthwhile three hour trek into Denver from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to attend Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) monthly meeting. The September agenda was an e-Book Extravaganza. Here are just a few things that were discussed throughout the day:

  • The e-book industry now represents 33% of book sales. How about that?
  • People like having a choice of formats, so offering books in print, as well as an e-book version is wise marketing.
  • There is still a viable market for books-in-print but there is a certain part of the reading population who are clamoring for e-books due to their convenience.
  • Surprisingly, people who are 55 years of age and over ARE BUYING e-books, contrary to what was expected. It is not just the young generation that are interested in the digital format.
  • We discussed pricing of e-books and how you can leverage your intellectual property.
  • E-books make it easy to offer samples, providing potential book buyers the  opportunity to see if they like an author they’ve never read before.
  • A big advantage to e-books – there is no printing involved, thus it removes the need for physical space of inventory.

If you are a writer who wants to get on The Fast Track to Independent Publishing, here is a short webinar that will introduce you to the basics. http://bit.ly/10cCp1Y. 

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, we will be discussing the next best step if you are a person who is considering independent publishing and you are in need of knowledge. I will tell you a quick but valuable story from this weekend.

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

 

Gatsby Groupies

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 “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

gatsbyI feel as if I am becoming a Gatsby groupie! Today I walked into the Bud Werner Library, and saw a display case announcing the next One Book Steamboat (a community read). It is The Great Gatsby.I’m in,” I thought, as I proceeded to the DVDs and took out the 2000 production of The Great Gatsby movie by A & E Television Networks. Then I wandered over the computer and put in a reserve for a copy of the book by the same title.

I guess I haven’t had enough of the Fitzgeralds, the Jazz Age and the Long Island social elite even though last summer on my vacation, I took in the movie The Great Gatsby with my sister and I also hawked my mother’s copy of  Zelda and read it.

Truthfully, I was disappointed in the latest rendition of the movie, with Leonardo DiCaprio. The visual effects, I felt, were so over the top and frantic that it distracted me from being able to absorb the tragic tale of wealth and entitlement. The telling essence of Jay Gatsby’s character weaknesses were lost in the visual chaos of the movie, rather being told by the dialogue of the story.

The book Zelda, for me, provided much better insight into the psyche of an artist who “never wanted to give in or give up” despite failure and rejection. The narrative told an up-close and personal story of the relationship between wife and husband, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald and it gave historical perspective into their friendships with other contemporaries (filmmakers, writers and artists) from the era.

As a lead-up to the community discussion of the novel, on October 10th, the latest Leo Dicaprio version of “Gatsby” will be aired at the Bud Werner Library. I’ll probably skip it. But then again, perhaps with a second look I might have a different opinion. But I hope not to miss what will probably be a very fulfilling discussion on Monday, October 21st.  It will be led by the English teachers of SteamboatHigh School. I hope students are required to join in and read this classic novel.  For more information, please follow this link. http://www.steamboatlibrary.org/events/one-book-steamboat

Come on back tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Art at the Heart of the Story

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Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character.” ~Samuel Butler

Yesterday we featured a soon-to-be released book by Pearl S Buck. The unpublished manuscript was found many years after her death, and the story is projected to be one of Buck’s best publications yet. If you missed out on the blog about The Eternal Wonder, scroll down and read it.

Photo Below: Pearl S Buck

Pearl S BuckToday I’d like to highlight one of Pearl S Buck’s lesser known stories, called This Proud Heart. The story is about a sculpture artist who is torn between her second marriage and her craft. Her life becomes a juggling act to try to find balance between her relationship with her husband and her art. I wonder how many artists worldwide have this theme weaving in and out of their own personal life and career.

The struggles of the main character, Susan, were particularly burdensome because in the 1930’s when the story takes place, few women ever made difficult choices between marriage and a profession. Overwhelmingly, women stayed the course and made self-sacrifices in the best interest of the marriage. And gaining credibility during that era as an artist or in any business, for women, was much more difficult.

Artists, put This Proud Heart on your reading list. Click for info & ordering
 It is fulfilling to read something other than contemporary fiction every once in a while.  Reacquaint yourself with a classic from time to time, you’ll most likely rediscover some of the characteristics of why novels like this become classics in the first place.

This Proud Heart can be downloaded on Nook and other digital readers, as an e-book. Click for info & ordering

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I will be interviewing an artist about all sorts of things. This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click for Info & ordering