Shared Experiences

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Today, I’d like to put a call out to anyone who has independently published – whether it’s a book,  film or music. Here’s the question:

If you could share one piece of advice with those who are in the process of writing and publishing independently what would it be? Post your helpful tip on this website.

 

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The mission of this site has been to share all kinds of fulfilling things about independent publishing and this thing called “life.” Looking for more information? Use the search bar or category archives on the right-hand side of this page.

And for those who share their wisdom through a comment:

never surpress a generous thought.

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

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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

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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.

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Advancing the Story

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We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.Marni Gillard

Avila and wife MaribelLast week I sat down with author and playright Jorge Avila, a member of We Write Steamboat, to discuss the gigantic leap of success that he has just experienced. To read a short summary of his musical, please go to the blog from last Thursday.

(Photo left: Jorge Avila and his wife Maribel)

Jorge had just returned a week previously to his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado from a very busy six months in California. His live theatre musical, adapted from his book Maricopa Men in Pink had a three day run at the Plaza de la Raza, Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on Mission Road in Los Angeles. Avila was ebullient as he answered the questions I had for him to learn more about his experience. Here is part of our discussion about going from local author to playright in a very short few years:

Sue: Jorge, when was Maricopa Men in Pink published? 

Jorge: In 2010 it was published. A short time afterward I sent it off to a friend who is a stage designer in L.A. to get his opinion. He reviewed it and gave me some feedback about adapting it for a play. I decided that my vision for the work was a live theatre musical production. So I rewrote it exactly 2 years, nine months ago in script format along with song lyrics. Caleb Encompos, a resident who helps with the music program at the Christian Center here in Steamboat, composed the music to accompany the lyrics. I approached the Chief Theatre here in town, but it didn’t seem to be the right venue. So,then we sent it off to three production companies in California. 

Sue:  So, what was the response? 

Jorge: I’d like to say that there have been few  Latino or controversial political musicals that I am aware of other than In the Heights and Hamilton and the Book of Mormon. So I was happy to even get a response and it was positive response from two of them. I chose one of the production companies that I felt best understood my vision. I was offered a small sum of money from the production company, but I took half of that because I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process, so that the final product would be what I envisioned.

So, I began over the next six months going to L.A. one week out of every month. For the next six months, Caleb Encompos and I chose vocalists and actors for the live musical production. Once we heard my lyrics put to music and saw it performed by the actors we had chosen, there were some tweeks that were made before the opening.

Sue: So, tell me about the three night run.

Jorge: The turnout was outstanding compared to what I had anticipated. I was told for an unknown author/playright, typical sales would be 60% of the seats. The first and third nights we had 95% of all tickets sold, and the middle evening 75%. Surprising, considering I read in a New York Times article that out of 318 million Americans, 58 million agreed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s handling of inmates in Tent City Jail in Arizona. Seventy eight million disagreed, and the whole rest of the population knew nothing about the news story.

Sue: How did that feel? To see your musical come before live audience like that?

Jorge: Surreal! I feel flattered and proud but it was very stressful. I even started up a bad habit – smoking. I hadn’t smoked in six years and I ate too much and gained a little weight.

The musical was even mentioned on National TV on Spanish stations. While we were waiting for the production to begin on opening night, I stepped outside and there were 120 people in line to get a ticket – to my show! I couldn’t believe it and I counted every one of them!

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The rest of this interview on All Things Fulfilling will be posted the week after Christmas. Do return because we will be talking about Avila’s rewards in terms of personal fulfillment which were a result of his determination, persistance and his belief that what he had was fitting for a quality live musical production that still has great potential for future audiences. We will be sharing more about his special award from the City of Los Angeles also!

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.

 

 

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).

 

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.

Cowboy Ethics

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  • Real courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. ~ John Wayne

I doubt I would have ever become acquainted with the term “cowboy ethics” unless I had moved West. Sure, I believe and practice what it is about but I’d never attached such a term to it.

In fact, when I began this blog All Things Fulfilling, before I even knew what cowboy ethics were, I had decided I’d use all the principles associated with the term as I went about my mission of inspiring, informing and educating people about independent publishing. The fact that I found personal fulfillment in my writing was a bonus and a God-send.

In an interview on Living a Richer Life talk radio some months ago, the host, Earl Cobb,  mentioned that many people say they are going to write a book but never accomplish their mission. “How is it that you were successful?” he asked.  When I set out to prove to myself that I could publish a book independently as an inexperienced writer, I took to heart the inspirational words I’d heard someone say “I wanted it more than I was afraid of it.” I also changed my vocabulary from I was going to try to write a book to AM writing and publishing a book. I eliminated the word try out of my vocabulary completely. What a difference it made in the outcome and I even became an award-winning author, to boot!

If you want to accomplish your goals and if you can’t eliminate the word try completely, this video featuring Jim Owen of Cowboy Ethics points out another way of looking at the word TRY. You will find it interesting!

Last week in the blog post A Shepard’s Tea, I mentioned having a celebration after the New Year. Perhaps a Hoe Down might be more appropriate since I found fulfillment using Cowboy Ethics in Colorado. Want to learn more about the principles behind the term Cowboy Ethics, visit this website. 

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

 

 

Once within a House & Yard

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Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action. ~ Mother Teresa

Grandmothers house 2802 Fleetwood AvenueOnce upon a time all it took was a quick glance from the sidewalk and the heart and soul of this place could be felt in an instant. An American flag flew proud and tall on a big pole in the yard. A couple of rocking chairs sat on the small front porch and small pots of flowers crowded the ledge around it. The voices of neighborhood children walking by cheerily yelled out “Hi Baba!” It was a daily occurrence. The woman who lived there was a grandmother of everyone’s dreams.

A huge tall oak tree once grew on the left side. It canopied the property as if it embraced the residents living within the bungalow-style house.  Both front and backyard were carefully and lovingly tended by a bald, kind-hearted man who was called Pop by his grandchildren. He was as equally fine and gentile as his wife.

In the backyard grew lilacs, wisteria and the hugest magnolia tree I’d ever witnessed. So tall that as a young child, I couldn’t even see up to the tippy top. The tree went on forever – all the way on up to heaven. An outdoor brick fireplace in the gorgeously landscaped backyard cooked many a hotdog! Goldfish circled the waters of a four foot cement pond.The sounds of fun and laughter could be heard frequently of a wonderful couple who especially adored the days when their four grandchildren came to visit.

Smells of fresh peach cake, “smoked neck” with potatoes and green beans, yeast rolls and other lovingly cooked food and baked goods wafted outside through the screen door of the tiny galley kitchen. The aromas settled on pots of colorful pansies and petunias and on rows of dinner plate dahlias and gladiolas that lined the perimeter of the yard.

The house still stands, but when I look at this picture, I don’t see any evidence of the life that once graced the place. The tender loving care put  into the house and the children and grandchildren who visited remains only in my memories. This place once made my heartbeat warmly every time I entered in the door.

So what’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday?  I can still hear the voice of my Grandmother….”Susie Annie, is that you, hon? Want a nice tall glass of ice cold sweet tea? I just loaded up the candy dishes on the buffet in the dining room. Help yourself. There are nonpareils, jelly candies, butter mints, anything you want. The Chiclets are in the top drawer of the buffet on the left.”

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click here for more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s publications.