Portraits of America

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“Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”  –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801.

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In the National Portrait Gallery images of prominent people of widespread importance are featured throughout the museum.The portraits are stunning but,I was particularly drawn to an exhibit called Experience America. The paintings typify the U.S.A.  in earlier times and feature common folk both hard at work and play, building our country into what it is today.

Also portrayed in these images are good old-fashioned American values of family, faith and community. The paintings are representative of our nation’s population of people throughout history who have toiled to make us a country of free enterprise and industry.

 

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In the Experience America collection, a few of Edward Hopper’s paintings are included. He was both an oil painter and watercolorist (circa 1882 – 1967) whose urban and rural scenes are ”spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life.”

 IMG_20141005_133826_381Above: Edward Hopper painting

Below Edward Hopper’s “Cape Cod Morning”

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IMG_20141005_135508_101This plaque hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. To me it is a shining reminder to protect what we so dearly cherish about our country – freedom and independence!

That’s all today from All Things Fulfilling.  See you tomorrow!

This blog brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on the independently published book Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.

http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt

The Gift of Opportunity

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“The freedom to move forward to new opportunities and produce results comes from living in the present and not the past.” ~ Brian Koslow

Boxes tied up with pretty ribbons and bows immediately come to mind when someone mentions presents.  However, one of the most valuable favors one can be given in life is the gift of opportunity.

Ukazoo BooksThis Saturday, on October 11th, I will be given an appreciated gift of opportunity. A chance to share my award-winning memoir with book enthusiasts in my native place of residence – Towson, Maryland. A book signing and author presentation at Ukazoo Books in Dulaney Plaza from 1pm to 4pm is scheduled. Some people who will be coming to this public event I have not seen for decades.

At 2pm I’ll discuss my reasons for penning a memoir and how the independent publishing industry has paved the way for ordinary people to tell their extraordinary stories and publish them.

I look forward to the event. I hope you, the readers of All Things Fulfilling will help me broadcast the good news that the author talk is taking place. It will provide an opportunity for others to learn something about why storytelling is so important and why people should share stories through independent publishing.

Pass the word and hope to see you at Ukazoo Books on October 11th!

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of the EVVY award-winning book “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.”

Validating Quality Writers

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The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. ~ Confucious

CIPA is one of the most active and top independent publishing associations in the country, and they have worked hard to gain their admired reputation. The Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association’s educational programs afforded me the opportunity to learn so much about the parts of the publishing process that I wasn’t well-versed in while writing my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfillment in the Unexpected. It is soon to be released.

Writers write for all kinds of reasons – to inspire, influence and educate others. Aside from strong book sales, book awards validate that an authors work is worthy of respect and notice.

I encourage my clients to seek book awards whenever possible. A prestigious EVVY award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association goes along way in recognizing an author for their excellence.

It is a very special year for the Colorado Independent Publishers. The EVVY book award contest is in it’s 20th year. It’s grown to include submissions from authors in countries that are far removed from the United  States. Last year contestants came from Dubai and Russia!

2014 CIPA awards    You need not be a CIPA member anymore to enter the contest, the submission guidelines have    changed. Here is what just one award winner, Teresa Funke, has to say about the contest. “I’ve been the lucky recipient of five CIPA EVVY awards over the last eleven years for my novel, my short story collection, and two of my children’s books. Why do I continue to enter the contest? Because CIPA is doing something very important with these awards . . . they are recognizing and honoring high-qualify self-published books of all genres and bringing credibility to the efforts we make as independent authors. CIPA was providing positive attention to our books long before many credible sources would even consider looking at self-published authors. Each year, my competition in the contest has grown stronger and more impressive, proof that we, as an industry, are moving forward. I’m proud to be a CIPA EVVY winner not just because it means that my books are good, but also because it puts quality indie books on a par with those that are traditionally published.  And, frankly, it’s fun once in a while to get dressed up and go celebrate our achievements with fellow authors who have worked just as hard as we have!” 

Here is a link to the website so you can read about the submission guidelines, the fees and the various deadlines. http://www.cipacatalog.com/pages/CIPA-EVVY-Awards.

Heads up! The submission deadline is May 17! Join in and don’t miss out!

See you on Monday on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com,

More than a Picture

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To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone. -Reba McEntire

I walked into the Steamboat Art Museum http://www.steamboatartmuseum.com/  during the First Friday Art Walk not knowing what to expect of the Cowgirl Art exhibit, I was about to see. I was immediately drawn into the large scale images of Donna Howell-Sickles. Besides the wonderful use of bold color, the spirit of the images attracted me.

Donna-Howell-SicklesStrong women living larger than life  and a love of all things Western is depicted in each of the artist’s images. The work of this Texas artist from St. Jo, are highly recognizable branded images which she has worked to perfect since she was in college. Her art all came about after seeing a 1930’s vintage postcard that made its mark on her psyche. Her dreams of becoming a notable artist have been fulfilled. Her original paintings are in the NationalCowgirlMuseum and Hall of Fame and in prestigious galleries and major museums. Her art has been featured in Southwest Art Magazine.  http://bit.ly/16i0va6.

Cowgirl Rising bookThe exhibition at the SteamboatArt Museum runs until October 13, 2013. Do stop by to see it, and visit the gallery store, next door. Donna Howell-Sickles’ prints, note cards, an independently published book “Cowgirl Rising,” and a stylish neckerchief with her images are available for purchase. Other gift items, such as jewelry, dishware, teeshirts and purses which incorporate her brand images are available on her website. http://www.donnahowellsickles.com/. Click for info & ordering

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!

The Song of Hope

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twitter-bird-winkingThe other day when I was participating in World Book Night, I read the full list of books that were being distributed as part the event. Most were previous years best sellers. Some I had read, but not too many. My nose is usually between the covers of one my clients independently published books, where there’s plenty of fulfilling reading. There are not enough hours in the day to hit all the NY Times best sellers.

Reading the list led me to wonder how many books do you have to sell to be considered a best selling author? Research tells me 5,000 copies or more.  Clearly, most authors write because they love the process of creating a satisfying story.

But, for every writer out there, there is an element of hope among us. Hope that our books will do much better than we ever anticipated. Some of us allow ourselves to dream beyond our wildest imaginations.

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Don’t we all dream of better tomorrows? That’s what inspires writers to get up every morning.

I hope you’ll return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. A  LIVELY Friday is planned. We will be sharing independent thoughts, words and views that are all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Focus, Fonts and Phones

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I love to create interesting textures with language.” ~Robert Morgan

I’ve detected an important discovery about my retention and comprehension while reading my 4th or 5th e-book that I  downloaded on my Android cell phone. Because there is a limited amount of text on a small screen at one time, my concentration is so much better. I’ve come to the conclusion it is because there is less distraction. Seems kind of crazy, but, I am getting more out of books when I read on a small digital screen. 

Having a mind that flits and floats and is in constant motion,  it makes reading (and remembering what I am reading) a challenge. It’s nothing new; a life long occurrence and probably the reason, I enjoy blogging. It serves as an outlet – turning my never still thoughts into writings. 

It’s been about seven or eight…or nine or ten years since I’ve been to the eye doctor, I know I need new prescription reading glasses. With an e-book I can increase the font if I need to. Comes in handy! Never would I have thought that the purchase of a cell phone would double as a great reading platform.

Lately, I’ve been shown several new independently published books that were printed in fonts too small for the average reader. Seeking the advice of a book printing company about the best font to use for readability is a wise thing to put on your check list of things to do when publishing; especially important if you are not planning on having a book available in electronic format. Best not to subject your readers to having to find a magnifying glass in order to comfortably read the words. It’s a turn-off. 

That’s all my independent thoughts words and views for today. Come back tomorrow, on Film Friday. We will be addressing how watching movies can help novelists.

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

Film Friday – 50 Greatest Indie Films

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Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work it until it’s done and done right.” —Walt Disney

Summer is quickly winding down in many parts of the country. That means more indoors time for watching movies and reading good books.

Leaders in the independent film industry are proving that big budgets and big production crews do not necessarily mean big block buster hits. There have been notable films that many people do not realize were made by the independents. A few of them are:

  • In the Company of Man
  • Lost in Translation
  • Stranger inParadise
  • The Passion of Christ 

To read the full list of the 50 Greatest Independent Films on the AMC Filmsite, please visit http://bit.ly/5PVDeu

Being a successful independent filmmaker (and independent publisher) means more than just a great story line. Making wise business decisions and having a budget-wise, well thought out business plan, in place, is important too. Solid strategies from concept to pre and post production, marketing and financing will result in a good final product. There are lots of helpful books on the market that can answer your questions, provide you with tips and give you some of the guidance you will need with your independent filmmaking or publishing plans. 

Not ready to start your own independent publishing or film project yet? Pick up a new book from an Indie Bound bookstore near you. Here are the top selling independently published books http://bit.ly/19ybCq. Or select an independent film from the IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) http://imdb.to/5ETZHW. Have a great weekend, everyone! 

We will return on Monday with more independent thoughts, words and views from Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC. www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.