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.

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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.

 

Bringing Cheer over the Holidays

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Let’s state something up front! There is no perfect life. There just isn’t. Postings on social media might lead us to believe otherwise but, remember, we are often only seeing the good parts. During the holidays people ramp up their efforts to create images of having perfect lives and Christmases.

Everyone has struggles and things to overcome in life. But as they say, what you do with those challenges is what counts. That is why it’s important that for those who have inspirational stories to tell and feel they could write a book about it, to do so. The reason I penned a memoir in the first place was to help others who struggle with health issues understand that our attitudes profoundly affect our well-being.

I’m very proud to say that this past Christmas, thanks to the Mickey Barrows Memorial Endowed Fund which “benefits children who are confined to the hospital during the holidays,” copies of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected found their way to families through the Childrens Colorado Foundation in the Denver area. The hope for the initiative is that the book brought some smiles and cheer to faces and encouragement to teen cardiac patients who were hospitalized during the holidays. The book has won the Harvest Book Award in the young adult category and two EVVY awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

So, for anyone who is considering writing a narrative that will bring light and love to others, here is my message: Help others to know you are never alone.

Your story matters!

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

See you back here on Monday!

 

 

Beauty Within All Generations

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The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I recently edited a chapter of a book for an writer who is involved in a collaborative effort of publishing a Christian book. She asked me whether I was working on writing any new publications of my own.

“Yes,” I said, “Actually, I have finished writing my first piece of fiction and am hoping to have it published in the near future. First I need to have it professionally edited (yes, everyone needs editors). I have a deadline for the project but as you know as a person who is involved in an independent publishing project, funds are needed up front. Not quite sure if I can get it all together. I’d put the book in the genre of women’s fiction. It’s about relationships between friends.”

friendship-66v“I like those kinds of stories. Don’t you find that your friendships with women become more important as you age? Many of my friends I have had since I was young have become even more meaningful to me than they ever were.” she asked.

“Yes, definitely,” I said, “but I like being around with people of all ages.” Great wisdom comes from our elders and also from young children. In their naïveté they have candid and truthful things to say.

Interesting how divine life is designed, isn’t it?

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 and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Holiday Gift for the Family

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There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. —Jacqueline Kennedy

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What makes for good stories that families can read together?

One or more memorable characters

Writing that paints a picture

A unique voice (audio books hold the best treasures!)

Messages that make us either groan or laugh, reflect or ponder

Cause emotional reaction from the reader (feelings of sadness, love, hope, compassion)

Leaves the reader changed in some way (i.e. attitude or understanding about something)

Themes that are relevant to family life and are age appropriate

Topics that lead to engaging discussion for family members

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected contains all the elements of a good story for family enjoyment. Here are the words of some book reviewers ~

“This is a story of trust, faith, friendship and deep love for one another.” ~ Barbara Gueldner, Ph.D., MSE, Licensed Psychologist.

“Gift of a Lifetime is indeed that…a story of how the simplest words can have the most impact on our lives.” ~ Salley Gibney, You are Never Alone Foundation

“Sue’s ability, through dialogue, to share Fanny’s voice and powerful role in Sue’s developing years is a gift to readers.” ~ Mary B Kurtz, author

Share this warm hearted story with your family this holiday season!   It is available in the following three reading choices. How To Order:

Author Sue Batton Leonard has won three Book Awards for her debut publication.

  • Merit EVVY Award – Anthology
  • 2nd Place EVVY Award – Audio Book
  • Winner of Harvest Book Contest – Young Adult Category

Wandering Early Places of Worship

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“Ghosts wandering here and there troop home to churchyards.” ~ William Shakespeare

Today, as promised, I’d like to share more about my fulfilling travels to  St Paul’s Kent in Rockhall, Maryland. If you are ever in the area, do stop by and visit this historic Anglican Church. It was organized in 1692 after William and Mary ruled England.  The historical facts about the church are many but, here is a brief synopsis about the structures in the 19 acre churchyard.

  • The first building was 40 X 24 ft – erected by Daniel Norris (1695 – 1696)
  • The present church was constructed in 1713 at the cost of 70,000 lbs of tobacco
  • 34 pews were contained in the original structure
  • It is only one of four 18th Century churches to have a semicircular apse
  • Church walls feature Flemish bond brickwork
  • Semicircular arches are above doors and windows
  • Church remodeled in 1940 with an addition adding 23 new pews
  • The stained glass window in the chancel cost $250 back in 1864
  • The church bell was installed also in 1864 for $10
  • The Marble baptismal font was a gift by the congregation to the church in 1863
  • The Parish House, offices and classrooms were added in the later part of the 20th Century.
  • Actress Tallulah Bankhead is buried in the churchyard at St Paul’s Kent.

Although our country is relatively new compared to European history, getting out and exploring historic churches and museums in Maryland is a fascinating way to spend a beautiful fall day. Not too far from St Pauls, Kent is the African-American Schoolhouse Museum.http://bit.ly/1tFqu9R. Since I was headed north to another historic church called Shrewsbury Parish, I’ve saved that museum until I return next time to the Eastern shore of Maryland.

I hope you enjoy these images of the historic landmark church St Paul’s Kent. It is a beautiful and holy place for reflection and meditation!

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Below Photos: Another structure in the churchyard – Circa 1766 according to bricks on the side of the building. This building was inaccessible but peaking through the windows there were identical fireplaces on each side of the interior of the structure. The photo of the fireplace was taken through old windowpane.

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IMG_20141028_151351_247Happy Halloween, everybody. On Monday I will making revelations about my mother and our stop at Shrewsbury Parish – off at the beaten path of the Eastern shore of Maryland.

This blog is brought to you by http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com.For information on Sue Batton Leonard’s EVVY award-winning memoir, please visit this link http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.

 

 

Home Grown Success

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Since new developments are products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.” ~ George Washington Carver

All the focus today will be on someone that I ran into two weeks ago in the halls of the National Portrait Gallery. I looked across the room at one of the paintings and thought “Who is that fella?” With my gardening interests, of course, I was drawn into this picture.

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It’s George Washington Carver! A person in history that I knew very little about. Over the past few days I’ve learned more about this man of great importance whose picture hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. As it turns out, there are many words of wisdom that this man born into slavery shared through the course of his lifetime – inspiring, indeed!

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untitledGeorge Washington Carver (1864- 1943) was a man of many interests – an American scientist, inventor, botanist and educator. He certainly had much worthwhile to say about creativity, innovation and success from his humble beginnings to his rise as a person of great national recognition, known as the “plant doctor.”

There are many books about the man whose fame grew throughout his lifetime from an orphan son of slaves to a world famous peanut farmer. George Washington Carver: An Innovative Life  by Elizabeth Macleod follows his contributions to our society through his breakthrough in agricultural research. His words of inspiration are many, and should not be forgotten.

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George Washington Carver 2

That’s all for today from award-winning author, Sue Batton Leonard. I’m happily living an innovative life in this new world of e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers. For information on my EVVY award-winning memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” please visit this link http://amzn.to/1xTvPwQ. For a special treat, listen to the audio book because the “treasure is in the voice!”

It won a 2nd place award for audio books from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association! And it is a finalist in two categories in the 2014 Harvest Book Competition.http://bit.ly/1vbWwfb.

A Caring, Comedic Character

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Through humor you can soften some of the worst blows that life can deliver. And once you find the laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. ~ Bill Cosby

“The treasure is in the voice,” the author says of her EVVY award-winning audio book version of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Some readers argue that “the real gold is in Fanny’s character.”  Either way, the Batton family benefited from the love and friendship of a woman who kept things in the right perspective. Fanny was a real winner!

Last weekend at a book signing in Towson, Maryland, award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard’s home town, something wonderful happened – a group of Fanny fans gathered round! Some knew Fanny in real life and others met her through reading the award-winning memoir.

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Fanny’s Fan Club

If you want to learn more about the “phenom Fanny,” Ukazoo has Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfillling Things in the Unexpected in stock! http://www.ukazoo.com. It is also available through other major on-line book sellers in audio book, paperback and e-book.

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected has become a finalist in another book competition, in two categories – young adult and non-fiction. To read more about the 2014 Harvest Book Competition, please visit this link. http://bit.ly/ZWqMxV and to see the list of other finalists and the titles of their books, please visit this list. http://bit.ly/1vbWwfb.