Revelations for My Mother

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“…human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
― Gabriel Garcí¬a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Today is another special day in my personal and family life. Today’s blog will be very brief. It’s February 28th, the birthday of the woman who gave me life – my mother. Since thousands of miles separate us on this day, I wanted to give my mom something to celebrate on her very special birthday – something she will never forget.

So, here you go Mom, here is an image of my book cover that I have been waiting to reveal to you as a birthday gift. The official release of my book will be in May on Mothers Day but today I’m giving you a glimpse of what I have been promising is coming.

Low res front cover final

Happy Birthday, Mom. With gratitude for all you have given me through out my life.

Love you lots ~ Your eldest twin daughter, Sue

See you back here on Monday on All Things Fulfilling. Today I send out a huge thanks to Karen McLane, my cover designer from http://www.postnet.com/steamboat-springs-co105. She worked so diligently to craft a cover that exceeds my expectations for my first publication as an author from www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

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Reading into Thoughts

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We buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them. ~ Warren Zevon

Good story line, great characters, mystery, romance, captivating dialogue or cover, identification with place or setting – all good reasons why people buy books.

I never much thought that hope may be a reason for buying a book. But, yes, as I ponder the idea, it is true. We do buy books anticipating we will find time to read them. And we trust there will be something that speaks to us from within the pages.

man with child readingI recently read The Light between Oceans by author M.L. Stedman. What a moral dilemma the characters in this novel face. It is a very compelling, thought provoking story. The book made me stop and consider all the reasons parents take the plunge and bear children. On the list is the same element of hope we have in buying novels.

We hope we will have enough time to love our children they way we ought to and we will have a fulfilling relationship with them. As with books, what’s the point of having children in the home if we can’t appreciate them, and if they do not remain in our hearts and minds forever?

There is a blog I’ve been following for about a year by Tom Dawson, author of Cottonwood. http://tdawson-cottonwood.com/pieces.html . Dawson’s commentary on being a father  and grandfather in his “Pieces” column is worthy of reading. Follow the link, and scroll down until you see the article titled “The Promise.”

Just another independent thought this morning about books and children. Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling.

Fulfilling an Interest

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Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it. ~ Unknown

As a representative of We Write Steamboat and a volunteer for World Book Night, I stopped by the Colorado State University Extension of Routt County http://bit.ly/16qQLxr  to give out The Language of Flowers: A Novel

to volunteers in the agriculture department.

I took time to explain to the recipients that the mission of the World Book Night is to spread a love of literacy and I also gave them a brief history of the organization.

book_day 003 (2)We purposely waited until May Day to give out a portion of the books from World Book Night to this group because a gathering of CSU Extension volunteers had just completed their Master Gardeners program, and were holding a breakfast burrito fundraiser.

book_day 002When given the book, gratefulness was the overriding sentiment for a publication that so well-suited the volunteers interests. A few people  I gave books to worked in another part of the office building, but were there to support the fundraiser and get breakfast. One person walked out with me as I left, and said “I have to get back to work, but I can’t wait to peak between the covers!” I had explained to her that there was a glossary at the back of the book that lists flowers and  the emotions that are associated with each. During the Victorian period, giving flowers communicated feelings in relationships, the art of choosing an “appropriate flower” was very important.

My hope, as a World Book Volunteer, is that The Language of Flowers will help the volunteers of CSU Agriculture Department learn a fascinating new aspect about plants they had known little about before.

Happy Reading CSU Volunteers! I hope the snow we received on May Day disappears quickly so you can get out in the gardens and enjoy planting your passion!

Return tomorrow to  All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views  are all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected

The Inside Story

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“In all things, preserve integrity.” ~ Barbara Paley 

A few days ago, I talked with author Marl Purl regarding the changes that were made to the cover of her book “What the Heart Knows” to better match what was inside. This morning, I gained a whole new perspective to this conversation while I was out taking my early morning walk. 

I walked by three beautiful little girls standing on the street corner waiting for the bus. I stopped just for a moment to chit-chat with the girls. They told me it was the first day of school. I asked the girls how old they were and what grades they were “rising to.” They were ages 8, 9 and lO – stair step sisters. 

Call me old fashioned! But, does anyone think that a 10 year old little girl standing on the street corner waiting for the bus on the first day of school really needs to be made up with lipstick, eyeliner, mascara and rouge?  

As I began to walk toward home, I began to think about the analogy between the publishing process and a 10 year old wearing make-up. In my opinion, she was wearing a cover far too soon. At 10, she doesn’t even know what her own inside story is all about. The tale of her life had hardly begun to unfold, and she already had decided that she needed to cover up her natural beauty with something that may or may not match her final  internal constitution.  And shame on me, I have drawn my own conclusions based on the girl’s surface appearance before her full biography has even evolved. That’s not right – she is only 10 years old! http://bit.ly/22ZvMo.

This correlation does however, support the importance of having a cover that preserves and accurately portrays the integrity of the book. As an independent publisher, you have the final say in making sure the cover reflects the inside works. As a ” non-traditional publisher”,  you will be fulfilling the role of boss of your own book!

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

Speaking the Language of Books

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This morning I had the honor and privilege of interviewing the award-winning writer-producer-performer Mara Purl. For the back story of Mara’s professional career, please visit yesterday’s blog Portrait of a Consummate Artist. Mara is on a month long virtual book tour to promote What the Heart Knows” which will be released in hardcover next month.

The Interview: 

Sue: Mara, we met when my company, Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC  joined the Colorado Independent Publishers Association as a vendor member. You were President at the time. Can you tell us what you learned as an independent publisher that led you to a new publisher, Bellekeep Books?

Mara: Primarily, I have always been an author.  I had gotten an offer from the  London office of Random House books many years ago and because of very complex situations between an agreement with the BBC relating to my radio drama series and some changes that were going on with Random House I felt it was not a good time to engage in a contract with them.

So, I and five other authors and our teams independently published our books through Haven Books. It really began as a test marketing phase of the books and to get to know who our readers were. What I didn’t know was NY publisher Eric Kampmann was watching me. He was a very wise man.  He recognized the trend that began the implosion of the larger publishing companies and saw that good books were getting lost because they weren’t getting into the system. He founded Mid Point Trade Books , and has now roughly 400 imprints under his umbrella. He became a distribution arm for the independents, including my new publisher Bellekeep Books.

Sue: What did you learn from first independently publishing your books?

Mara: I learned after rejection that there were some publishing elements that were important and missing. Every field has some language and that was rapidly evolving. I always thought I was a fiction writer but really I was writing women’s fiction. Then I began studying displays at book shows and in bookstores. I learned that my book covers did not speak the language of the women’s fiction code. I learned about developing a vision for my brand and each decision I made for my books were art projects designed to make sure they fit the genre and they would catch the eye of the buyer of women’s fiction.

Although my new publisher Bellekeep Books did not require that I rewrite my book, I did go through “What the Heart Knows” with my editor and brought some story elements foreword which added 100 pages to the hardcover book. I also learned that the cover of my book, which was a line drawing, did not fit with the character of my protagonist, Miranda Jones, who was a painter. So the hardcover has a new cover design. Mary Helsaple, who has been my art research expert and is a nationally known artist, painted a watercolor cover for my book. I loved it! Now the cover design matches the integrity of the inside of the book.

Sue:  As you well know, independent publishing is continuing to grow and now represents over 50% of all publishing revenue. Where do you see the publishing industry going and how do e-books fit into your assessment of this new generation of publishing?

Mara: I notice that people are reading incessantly. As I travel, I see people reading hardcovers, on laptops, trade paper books, hard cover books and using e-readers. E-books are just another platform. People still love the tactile experience of holding a book. They are tracking book sale trends and surprisingly, those that like an e-book are treating them as a morsel for a real book. If they really liked it, they want to purchase not the paper back but the hardback version to keep on their bookshelves as part of their permanent collections.

Mara: People value time they can carve out for themselves and they use that valued time to read on all different kinds of platforms.

Sue:  Mara, many lives are changed through reading non-fiction, but many say that women’s fiction has the same ability to change lives. How do you go about getting messages across to women through a fictional narrative?

Mara:  Well…non-fiction is about facts and fiction is about truth. Through non-fiction you can’t access every nuance.  You can only record the facts. For example: If you are telling a story of violence –  facts are sometimes distasteful and you can use fiction as a lens to magnify theoretical cases and go inside the mind of the victim and perpetrator.

In the case of a positive issue of relationships – through fiction you can follow the development of a romantic attraction and the personalities involved. Through fiction writing you can present a picture for people to understand what is going on inside the story.

Read the rest of our in-depth interview with on Tuesday, August 23rd when Mara will be back on All Things Fulfilling to discuss her career and how she has incorporated her love for the Arts into her books. 

That is it till Monday, folks!