Dear Santa 2015

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December, 2015

Dear Santa,

635524489837773185-write-santaI hope you haven’t had your fill of yearly letters from me yet. This December I have an even larger request. Over the past few years you’ve marvelously delivered what I’ve asked for so I hope you can
pull things off for me once more.

Three or four years ago I requested that you provide me with memories of my childhood so I could pen a memoir. Things came through very clearly.

The next year I was lagging in the motivation to finish the publication. Miraculously, persistance and determination began to show up more frequently. Thus, I accomplished my goal. Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected came into the marketplace.

Last year, as you may remember, when I read my Dear Santa letter at the Steamboat Writers Group Xmas party I asked you for two gifts – to deliver some creative ideas on fresh ways to market my memoir and ideas for a new publication. Out of a small twinkle I once saw in your eye Santa, my e-book Lessons of Heart & Soul came into being.

I’m a little concerned that I am really overstepping my limits this year. I have a larger request than ever. Regretfully for you, but fortunately for me, my love of writing keeps leading me forward which requires asking for what could be harder to fill requests every year.

Santa, I am in dire need of a new computer. I mean, the one I’ve got I can tell is nearly worn out. I am grateful that it still is hanging in there.  I can always go work in the library, if  you can not fulfill my request. After all, it’s a beautiful environment – bright, cozy warm and the technology is all there. Problem is we are limited in the number of hours we can use their computers.  There are lots of other people who need them. I understand. I’m not kidding, I really do. Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night…and you know what William Faulkner says about that – “if there’s story is in you, it’s got to come out.

This year I’ve been asked to edit a publication and I need to contribute a chapter to the book also. I could work a little more efficiently if I had a new computer.

Lastly, Santa, I need a larger spark of interest in my ancestors because I have become involved in a genealogy writers group. Although I love to write about my memories, and I have a new found love of writing fiction, my most recent foray into a story can not come from just my own opinions. I’ll need some facts to better substantiate what I intend to write about. Can you help me out with that?

I’ve been a good girl. I always work hard at whatever I am doing. I’ve gotten my work ethics from my forebearers! I am not a slacker. I try to be kind and compassionate, like you. I help others to successfully accomplish their independent publishing goals by sharing my knowledge. It’s what I love to do!

Say, I have an idea! How about one year you and Mrs. Claus write love letters to one another about the spirit of Christmas.  They will be in kept in the family archives for generations. All your little elves down the line will love it too. I’ll help you if I have the means to do so. That is… with my new computer… (Hint, hint!)

P.S. Please don’t forget to take some time out for yourself. It keeps you healthy and in the right spirit of Christmas. Love U! Sue

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Returning to Familiar Place

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Each time you write something, part of you grows. You’re training your artistic muscles to find your voice.” ~ Pen Densham

Last week was busy, filled with all good things for a writer who seeks to take advantage of every opportunity to advance her knowledge about  the craft of writing and publishing.

BK Loren WSI attended an author presentation on Tuesday evening which left me hungry for more knowledge from multi-award-winning American novelist, memoirist and writing professor, BK Loren. She has been the recipient of several prestigious Pushcart Awards, the Dana award for a work in progress, the Colorado Book award and the Willa Award. She regularly teaches at the highly-touted Iowa Summer Writing Festival,  Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Chatham University and the Taos Summer Writing Conference.

BK Loren was a presenter this past summer at the annual “Day for Writers” sponsored by the Steamboat Writers Group. Last week she returned to town to spend time with creative writing students at Colorado Mountain College (Alpine Campus).

Since I am in the final revisions of my first fictional piece of writing I particularly appreciated her advice on how to advance a story through emotion, and listening to the character to determine obstacles and what actions they should take in the story. After all, Loren says “literature is the study of the human heart.” And I believe writers must craft a story that leaves an opportunity for the reader to get to know what they feel in their own hearts that attracts them to a story.

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. I am very grateful I was able to return to a familiar place inside a creative writing class with Dr. Lindsey Royce. I had taken a course from this CMC professor a few winters ago where I learned to understand the words of Pen Densham.

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

 

Thirsty Thursdays: Literary Spotlight

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“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”Vera Nazarian

Back in March 2012 I posted on All Things Fulfilling a blog about 29 cities around the world who have UNESCO’s Creative Industry designations behind them. It was a highly read piece.

Baltimore, Maryland is a city that is a hub for literary reasons. In part, due to notable authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald,  Anne Tyler, Edgar Allen Poe and Tom Clancy who spent significant time in Baltimore or were born there. Back in the 1980s there was some controversy when the Mayor dubbed Baltimore “the city that reads.” No matter, “the city’s literary heart beats as strongly as ever,” says the Huffington Post.

Reading-and-Writing-293x300The good news today is there are other cities across America who can call their place home to writers, too. In the remote northwest corner of Colorado, in a place called Steamboat, there is a network of writers who are both traditionally and independently published. On Thursday afternoons at the “Eleanor Bliss Art Center” aka “The Art Depot” is where they’ve gathered, read and critiqued writing for more than 30 years.

Today, on All Things Fulfilling, I’d like to put the literary spotlight on Steamboat Springs, which is quite different than literary hubs in big cities.  In a more intimate setting, people come here to write and drink in the beautiful scenery to inspire their writing.

Stay tuned to All Things Fulfilling – we will be posting more details about an upcoming writers workshop a month from today on May 23rd sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. Members of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association will be providing the educational experience.

Want-to-be writers and publishers, who are within reach of Steamboat,  I’d encourage you to sign up – a real deal at for a morning full of valuable information!

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

Thirsty Thursday: Versatile Blogger

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Put your blog out into the world and hope that your talent will speak for itself. – Diablo Cody

Regular readers of All Things Fulfilling know that Thirsty Thursday’s focus is on good news. Usually we share stories of others who inspire us but every once in a while, the good news is our own.

versatile-bloggerToday, the good news is that I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award. The nomination came from a fellow writer who also has the award behind her and she has passed the torch to myself and few other fellow bloggers by nominating us. That’s pretty cool.

To receive the nomination from Linda Collison is very complimentary because I have been following her writing and blogging for a number of years. I am always inspired by her work and by the creative marketing of her publications. She is a multi-award winning author and a person who lives life admirably and literally with few restraints.

Getting recognition from fellow writers and independent publishers is an honor because it means it you are on track with what you are doing!

Thank you Linda for the nomination. Do return next week to All Things Fulfilling. I will share 7 things with our readers that may not know about me.

The good news is my  common interests with Collison go beyond writing. We are both coincidentally, Baltimore natives who had never met until our lives converged at the Steamboat Springs Writers Group!

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

 

Fulfilling Results: Indie Publishing

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Thank you

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” ~William A. Ward, author of Mountains of Faith

Today I’d like to recognize some very key people and organizations who helped me with various parts of publishing my award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Although I am well versed in most steps of independent publishing, there are parts of the writing and publishing process that I relied on having other professionals to steer and assist me. Their support services were invaluable in getting the project finished.

 

Thanks to the following:

  • Steamboat Writers Group for valuable critique and feedback.
  • Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) for education and support resources. Also for the friendships and business associates I have made through this outstanding organization.
  • We Write Steamboat members for their encouragement, support, feedback and most of all, friendships!
  • Pre-publication readers – you know who you are, thank you for your book testimonials!
  • Professional services in the Media Lab at Colorado Mountain College
  • Lindsey Royce at Colorado Mountain College for a great writing class to stir my creativity.
  • Jan McDaniel for final editing services. The final editing of dialogue was very tedious!
  • Joe McDaniel for photo restoration work
  • Joe & Jan McDaniel at bookcrafters.net for publishing my book affordably, in a timely manner and for  following  my unique publishing requests. You were delightful to work with.
  • Patti Asbury for helping me to grow professionally through public speaking
  • Karen McLane and Postnet for graphic design and printing services
  • Sound technician Brian Dow for help with audio book production
  • Terry Leonard – photography and assistance with marketing materials and book events.
  • Audio book producer –   http://www.marcrleonard.com  (aka “The Technical Dude”)
  • Technology and website support – Marc R Leonard
  • Terry Leonard and Marc R Leonard for cheering, emotional support and encouragement.
  • JDB Technology – help with computer “issues”
  • Gail Nelson – e-book designer and e-book formatting services
  • United Methodist Church for spiritual guidance and support. The United Methodist Women for hosting my wonderful book launch “party.”
  • To ALL fellow authors who networked, shared their experiences and advice.
  • All book buyers!

If there is anyone I have inadvertently left out, I apologize. Trying to remember everyone is difficult. My path has crossed with so many people throughout this four year  journey of independently publishing Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.  Thanks to everyone who gave me an encouraging word!

This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her memoir, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1t7f6Ec

Join in, Neighbors

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In most vital organizations, there is a common bond of interdependence, mutual interest, interlocking contributions, and simple joy.” —Max DePree

neighborhoodA few years ago I started a networking group called We Write Steamboat. The mission of the group is to provide support for independent publishers and to foster independent publishing success. This week we reached a new landmark. We now have 51 members.

I  live in a community where arts and literacy is highly  valued.  The Bud Werner Memorial Library, is a stellar resource in town. Artists  in this rural community find support from several organizations here including the Steamboat Arts Council and the Steamboat Writers Group which serves a great purpose of helping authors to develop their writing through very valuable critique.

Members of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (aka CIPA) www.cipacatalog.com in Denver is also very beneficial in terms of educating and connecting writers with freelance professionals in all parts of the publishing process.

It never ceases to amaze me what a diverse group of writers there are throughout the State of Colorado, and it’s always a fulfilling to see our We Write Steamboat members’ projects come to fruition. Over the next few weeks, several Steamboat Springs authors will be featured on radio talk shows and television. I will be  blogging about our We Write Steamboat members who will be in the media spotlight so the public can learn more about their publications, their careers and their interests.

bookWe Write Steamboat will also be offering a new writers’ series called “So, You Want to Write a Book? beginning in February 2014. Next week on All Things Fulfilling, I will be posting more information on this educational opportunity for those who are considering writing a book or for those who are already in the process and want to know more about taking a rough manuscript to a polished, saleable and marketable independent publication.

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

Texas Art Exploration

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All art is a kind of exploring. To discover and reveal is the way every artist sets about his business. ~Robert Flaherty

header_ArtistsGalleryAugust2013Today I continue my interview of artist Sandra Sherrod, an artist who splits her time between Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Houston, Texas.

Sue:  Sandra, what medium of art would you like to try, but haven’t tapped into it?

Sandra: Sculpture. I may try to do that when I am in Houston at a place called Glassell. http://www.mfah.org/visit/glassell-school/.  When I am in Houston I take all kinds of art courses. I am always learning.

In Houston, my art sales are stronger, particularly among women, because my pieces have a feminine side to it. In Steamboat, it seems the more masculine art sells a little better.

Sue: Interesting.  Do you stick with one project and finish it or do you jump from project to project?

Sandra: My rule of thumb is to make 15 – 20 pieces and explore an idea. When I get bored with it, I jump to something else. History has shown that both kinds of artists, those that work in only one medium and multi-dimensional artists can be successful. No matter what, you have to tweak your ideas every so often and not overwork it.

Sue:  What do you like to create the most?

Sandra: Writing is my favorite. As you know writing a book can take years whereas with other forms of art you can complete and get it out quicker to be seen by others. The satisfaction comes more immediately.

Sue:  What are you writing now, anything?

Sandra: I’ve been writing about 1,000 words a day. I just completed a series of eight books in the fantasy genre. They’re intergalactic stories. I am looking for a publisher so I can be involved in other creative projects. The series is geared to age nine to twelve.  I am also writing magical realism – earth stories with magical things happening. These are for young adult to adult.

Sue:  Seems like I’ve heard you read some of them at the Steamboat Writers Group.http://steamboatwriters.com/.

Sandra: Yes, I have read some of them to the group.

Sue: I look forward to seeing them published.

For a long time I’ve wanted to sit down and talk with Sandra about her life as an artist. Since  she was “manning the gallery” the day I visited with her, I had the added bonus of learning more about all the other artists The Artists Gallery of Steamboat represents.

Thank you, Sandra. You’d also make a wonderful art educator because you are so knowledgeable and your heart and soul is really in it!

Sandra’s jewelry was featured at The Artist Gallery in Steamboat throughout August, but it will continue to be displayed – stop in and see it. You can also communicate with her about ordering through her website. www.SandraSherrod.com.

This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. See you on Monday.