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

Sketches of Ancestors

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Last week I was up against the clock. I hadn’t a thing to contribute to the genealogy writers group that I attend at our local library. Our meeting was impending and I felt pressure to be an active participating member by reading my writing.

In the wee hours of the morning, I suddenly awoke with a glimmer of a thought. As I lay in bed tossing and turning, mental images of my maternal grandfather were brought together as I recalled what my mom had told me through her storytelling. Finally at 2:30 in the morning I got up and began to put words to the depiction I had created in my mind of my deceased grandfather.

As I wrote I sipped a cup of chamomile tea, hoping that once I had put my thoughts to rest on a piece of paper, the tea would relax me and help me fall back asleep. No such luck.

I was so content with the picture I had painted with words of my maternal grandfather, the rest of the night I lay awake pondering it.

My maternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother both passed away when I was very young. Their presence is not in my childhood memories of thanksgiving tables my family and I have shared together. However through the tales of my mother, I can bring her parents alive through my writing.

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Writing about the legacy and values of a family is never time wasted. It becomes part of our heritage.

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Writing: Host Your Own Party

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Happy Friday! The other day I began thinking about what I like about writing. Its akin to hosting your own theme party.

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Here are a few bonbons for thought:

  • Set the stage for a grand fete with all your favorite characters in attendance. Beautiful imagery with words draws others into the celebration.
  • Need a pity party? A sadder story is never told when we are feeling as if the world is against us. Relate the experience in great detail with raw, heart-wrenching emotion.
  • What would a movable feast look like? Take a journey in your imagination to a far off place.  Describe the garb, the people, the food that decorates the table. What does it taste, smell and look like?
  •  You say “you want to get down and dirty?” How about a thriller?
  • A fantasy tale with a carousel of amusement from fairies and elves is always a rousing good time.

As C. S. Lewis once said “You can make anything by writing.” ~ C.S. Lewis

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

See you after the Halloween weekend. On Monday we will be blogging about work on hallowed ground. Join us!

 

Anthology Construction

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Anthology construction is one of the pleasantest hobbies that a person who is not mad about golf and bridge – that is to say a thinking person – can possibly have.” ~Arnold Bennett

Hey, wait a minute! Did I really post that? Before you jump all over me let me clarify that I should have edited the statement (the part about golf and bridge) since I don’t fully agree with it. Please forgive…

Both golf and bridge, in my opinion, take great thought and brilliant tactical moves to play them well.

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So, now that I’ve done my pondering, I wish to share a writing tip about short stories that I’ve learned from experience in penning an EVVY award-winning memoir, an anthology of stories.

The beauty of anthology construction – with great thought you can tactically plan the order and organization of your individual stories to give the publication a cohesive theme, which it needs to be successful and adds to the lessons for the reader. ~ Sue Batton Leonard

Did you know?  Harper Lee’s book “To Set a Watchman” began as an anthology of stories -until editors got their hands on the manuscript. Then it became the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. The author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It won the Harvest Book Reading Contest in the Young Adult category as well as two EVVY book awards (one in the anthology category and one for the audio book).

 

Telling Narratives

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Memoir isn’t the summary of a life, it is a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition… its a deliberate construction. – William Zinsser

So, you’ve decided to turn your geneaology research into a publication but there are missing pieces of the puzzle. That concerns you. Don’t let it stop you. You could search till doomsday and never find what you are looking for. Move ahead…

Sometimes you have to narrate a story with only the facts as you know them. The creative part of memoir writing is what is fun! It allows you to fill in the blanks as best you can. But make sure you create missing content that falls in line with your fact gathering.

And don’t forget to add a disclaimer in your book something to the effect that  you have created a narrative based on the facts as you have them. That’s the best an author can do when resources have been exhausted.


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Next week on  Things Fulfilling we will give you some good resources to help you identify where and how to begin writing a family story.

This blog is brought to you by 2014 EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Links to Past, Present and Future

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My first duty is to write a gripping yarn. Second is to convey credible characters who make you feel what they feel. Only third comes the idea. ~ David Brin

Did you read Friday’s post on All Things Fulfilling about stitching yarns together? Today we are going to continue the conversation from a slightly different angle.

In my first publication, the award-winning memoir called Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, I wrote a first hand account of my memories.The facts were all there as best as I could remember from my childhood.

For years I have been told some interesting stories about a character of interest on my mother’s side of the family tree that I did not write about previously.  The tales could be full of baloney because they are a bit sketchy. I need to determine if they are fact or fiction.

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In order to find out the truth of the matter I recently joined in with a genealogy group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to see if I can stitch together the vague pieces of information that I have been given my mother. If there is some truth to the matter, this figure from my heritage could prove to be a fascinating fellow.

Great resources are available at my finger tips! The Bud Werner Memorial Library (BWML) is an affiliate of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Some people find great fascination in tracing their family back many generations, I am not sure if I am up for the task. “But how will I know whether I’ll find that kind of research fulfilling or not if I don’t begin somewhere?” I ask myself.

I’ll keep you posted….

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

Sundown for Labor Day

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What a glorious summer it has been.  It is the time of the year when I feel as if I have returned to days of my youth. An outpouring of memories come with that.

Over Labor Day weekend and for a few days next week I’d like to encourage our readers to check out some of the posts in the archives. You can look them up by category or scroll through the site. Something will catch your interest. There are over 1700 writings on All Things Fulfilling that have drawn 100,000+ viewers to this website.

Each of the postings is about something that has inspired me as a writer or as a human being to follow my own kind of bliss.

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See you back here a little later in the week. I promise. Refreshed, rejuvenated and with a wealth of ideas that will come together between now and the New Year.

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