A Whip Stitch Character

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The basic quality that any great story must have is a story that illustrates the human condition.” ~ William Shattner

Who is your favorite audio book narrator?

What’s that you say? “You’ve never listened to an audio book yet?”

What is you, crazy?

Audio books are on the rise and are greatly appreciated by those who are on the run. They allow for multi-tasking – while driving in the car, exercising or cooking dinner. You need not do a thing, only listen.

Here’s a list of some of the favorite audio book narrators of all time. Narrators like Maya Angelou and Garrison Keillor and others are well liked because their voices are so memorable.

Valentines 2016It was a fulfilling experience narrating my own audio book because the central character, Fanny, had a dialect I could emulate so well.  It is what many readers say “drew them into the story in the first place.”

If she were here today, “she say, you oughts to put dem earplugs in yo’ ears, and listen to a story. You don’t knows what you is missin’.”

Oh, how I miss that lady who was the heart and soul of my story. She was some kind of special. One might even call her a “whip stitch.” Just thinking about her makes me smile. And she sowed my heart in more ways than one.

If you are looking for a fun, memorable experience listen to the audio book version of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected through Audible. It’s downloadable within a few minutes. Any one of the formats – the award-winning audio book, e-book or paperback makes for a great Valentines gift for yourself or for someone in your family.  After all, it is a love story from several different perspectives!

Also available are 10 short stories cut from the EVVY award-winning manuscript, Gift of a Lifetime. Lessons of Heart & Soul gives readers a humorous and touching glimpse into the love of a family, just like the first publication. .

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.

Storytelling To Remember

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ E.S.V.

The most loved Christmas story of all tells the tale of the virgin birth of baby Jesus. The Christmas story in Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is  different, but it is an award-winning narrative. There is something in the book for everyone in the family!  The whole tale as told by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard,  is sure to be remembered by young and old alike! It is narrated in a non-traditional way that will keep your attention.

What’s between the cover?

  • Unexpected gifts from heaven
  • Bright shining stars
  • A hilarious angel with a memorable voice
  • Blessed arrivals
  • Love of family
  • Faith’s awesome powers
  • The heart of the matter about the gift of life

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A perfect tale to share with your friends and loved ones during this Christmas season. Just as there are different versions of the Bible, some more preferred than others, the award-winning anthology of stories, a memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is available in paperback and e-book. The real treasure, however, is in the audio book! You will be able to really connect  with the stellar character, Fanny, in the story when you hear her voice! What a memorable angel!

On Monday we will continue the interview with playright Jorge Avila!

 

 

Skits, Swaps and Songs

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We all have a place in the circle of life. Always remember who you are.” ~ Unknown

Who remembers singing rounds? I had forgotten all about that form of choral singing until I attended a Girl Scout Alumni Reunion the weekend before last. We sang many familiar campfire songs from my childhood. Skits were well done by some of the youth troops. They told stories about the G.S. founder Juliette Gordon Low and the history of the organization and cookie sales.


GS Sign in

I took SWAPS to trade with new friends who have found the same kind of meaningful connections through the Girl Scouts that I did many decades ago. If you have read my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, you probably already know from my chapter about the Girl Scouts what I took to trade with others.

I’d like to share a few pictures of the SWAPS I received from new acquaintances I acquired over the course of the evening. Each troop had their own swaps that they created to give to others.

GS Swaps

The swaps below were made by Sharon, a friend who is a beautician and hair stylist. She is an Alumni who enjoyed being a member of the youth organization during the same era as me. She made these swaps from emery boards, gauze and a little ribbon. The paper doll heads were made from clip art. Very creative and the girls who were lucky enough to receive them were so excited!

sharons swaps

The s’mores we ate around the campfire were gooey and yummy. I left the event singing a little ditty that baby boomers will remember if you were a member of the Girl Scouts.

I’ve got something in my pocket, it belongs across my face.
I keep it very close at hand, in a most convenient place.
I’m sure you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long, long while.
So I’ll take it out and put it on, it’s a Great Big Brownie Smile!

A little trivia: The Brownie Smile Song was written by Harriet F. Heywood of Gloucester, MA in the late 1920’s when she was working as a Brownie Girl Scout troop leader.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. If you have an Eagle Eye, you will see something in tomorrow’s blog that you’ve seen in some of my blogs and in my writings. I was pleased when I saw them hanging on the walls unexpectedly in an art space in Breckenridge Colorado when I recently visited.

 

 

Gathering to Spark Memories

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Girl-Scout-Camp-Smores-Pops

 

Guess where I am going? To a Girl Scout Alumni Bonfire! Campfire Songs, skits, s’mores and an evening of remembering days of a being a member of a 100+ year old youth organization is planned in Routt County, Colorado. I immediately sent my RSVP to the affirmative. Yes! I don’t want to miss it! The event will surely spark memories of my youth.

I live in a resort community of people who have moved here from places all over America and from different countries, so the evening will be interesting. We can compare what it was like to be a Girl Scout (there are six levels: a Daisy, a Brownie, a Junior, a Cadette or Senior  or Ambassador Girl Scout) in different hometowns across the globe. The experiences each girl had throughout her years as a member, I am sure, were varied.

The Girl Scouts was started in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low and it’s mission was universal. Here is what the founder said about her vision of the organization “My purpose……to go on with my heart and soul, devoting all my energies to Girl Scouts, and heart and hand with them, we will make our lives and the lives of the future girls happy, healthy and holy.” 

I reminisce about those wonderful days of being a Girl Scout in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Chapter 28 – Paper Roses is one of my favorites.

After the event is over, I’ll let you know how it went.

I am looking for suggestions of campfire songs. If you were a Girl Scout and remember the names of the songs you used to sing around the bonfire or at Girl Scout camp, please post them as a comment on All Things Fulfilling. I look forward to your input!

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

 

 

Reading and Happiness

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“Surrounded by darkness yet enfolded in light.” ~― Alan Brennert

There is an interesting article in the New Yorker Magazine about the connection between reading and happiness.  Researchers say when we read that there is a neurological process that takes place in our brain that transports us away from our everyday life to feeling as if we are in the place in the story, right along with the characters.

Bibliotherapy (reading books to make people feel happier) can be traced back to 1916 when the term was used in an article in the Atlantic Monthly. “Books,” the article said, can be used as a “stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster.”

palisades parkI had to laugh when I read that quote because I am currently reading a novel called Palisades Park by Alan Brennert. Through the story I have been transported to the famed amusement park in New Jersey and I have been eating hotdogs with mustard and sugary cotton candy in my imagination from the Midway. My mind has been spinning in circles as I’ve imagined the Cyclone roller coaster and the tilt-a-whirl and all the other rides. Every bit of the book has heightened my senses, as it’s stirred nostalgic memories of my youthful visits to the amusement park at Hershey Pennsylvania and Gwynn Oak Park in Baltimore.

Brennert’s book has done well in taking me to Palisades Park during the height of it’s popularity, in the 1930s. He has helped me understand the value of such entertainment in uplifting the American spirit during war times. All four of my senses have been fulfilled through his rich descriptive writing of tastes, sounds, smells and site of the historical times and events in his novel. You’ll hear the cacophony of calliope and shrieks. A sensational nostalgic summertime read!   Highly recommended.

If you are looking for other good reads that will transport you back to another historical time Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul, will remind you of the times when life was much simpler. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Good News, Dear Margaux

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May 27, 2015

Dear Margaux,

What a pleasant surprise when I opened my mailbox last week and found that the U.S. Postal Service had delivered this notecard from you!

Girl Scout Margaux letter without last name

I am so glad you enjoyed my presentation “One Day in the Life of a Writer.” I was happy to learn that I am not the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to jump out of bed to write down ideas. It makes me feel better that you said the same thing happens to you. 

GS scribe badge I was not aware that my visit helped your troop earn your Scribe badges until I read the Girl Scout blog.

Tomorrow I am attending the  Girl Scout Fundraiser for adults at the Catamount Ranch and Club.  I am excited! I have my ticket! What a cool fundraising idea to have some of the best chefs around creating savory appetizers from sweet Girl Scout Cookies.  It will be interesting to see what the chefs will be serving up. I’d better take my camera! If your mom is coming, tell her I have saved a book for her and will bring it along incase she hasn’t yet ordered a copy.

Enjoy your outings, meetings and the friendships you have made through the Girl Scouts. I think I mentioned to your troop that I made life-long friends through scouting.

Keep on Writing! And remember the good news we shared about life “There are always flowers for those who want to see them!”

Sincerely,

Mrs. Sue Leonard (aka author Sue Batton Leonard)

Award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected 

and short stories – Lessons of Heart & Soul.