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.

 

 

Learning from One Another

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We all have a life story that can inspire others  or to run a better business. Why not use that story and message to serve others and grow a real business by doing it? ~ Brendan Burchard

I might get dissed for this since I am living in Colorado, the home of Celestial Seasonings. Today I am writing about one of their competitors, Bigelow Tea.

The other day I bought a box Bigelow Mint Tea which is a blend of peppermint and spearmint. I noticed there is a short story on every box. I’ve enjoyed learning a little about this American company, and their blends, through the narrative they provide on the packaging and on their website. Call me crazy, but I find personal fulfillment in reading stories of business and entrepreneurship because they are inspiring, often creative and filled with ingenuity.

In this age of technology, company stories more frequently contain a melding of intellectual talent from several continents. It seems “Made in America” has become a  foreign concept. Whatever your feelings are about this era of business, it has opened up doors of opportunity for college graduates if they are willing to travel the extra mile to pursue all possibilities.

Lifes a JourneyPlease keep your eye on this website. In coming days I will be posting a story about a member of  We Write Steamboat, a networking group that I formed whose mission has been to “foster independent publishing success.” I will be shining the spotlight on an author who was born in Mexico, came to America and has gone from local writer to playwright in a short period.  I look forward to interviewing him and sharing the excitement of his tale with our readers!

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

 

 

 

 

 

Rewards of the Business

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Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains — God composes, why shouldn’t we? ~Terri Guillemets

Good news came to a group of independent publishers last weekend at the annual EVVY book awards sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. All four of our We Write Steamboat members who were finalists came away with an award. They are as follows:

Major General Louis W Prentiss, Jr. for his book Memories of a Life in the Army (military category)

Lou Prentiss Book

Erik Landvik for Uncluttered Faith (spirituality/religion)

Eric Landvik

Jane Stein, author & Pam Duckworth, illustrator for Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J (juvenile non-fiction) and interior design/layout in the technical awards.

Dear Class

Merit Clark’s Killing Streak in the fiction/mystery & detective category and also 3rd place for cover design.

Steamboat author Merit Clark killing-streak-clark-2500px

That’s the good news on this Thirsty Thursday from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In the coming weeks more EVVY award winners will be featured on All Things Fulfilling. Stay tuned!

This blog is brought to you by 2014 EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Fostering Joy Through Publishing

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We can not accomplish all we need to without working together.” ~ Bill Richardson

I wish you could really know the joy I am feeling right now. Last week I found out that four authors in our We Write Steamboat networking group are finalists for five awards in the annual EVVY book contest sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

The group was formed in 2011 with a mission of “fostering independent publishing success.” Since then Steamboat authors have been well-represented each year as finalists and award winners. As the founder of the group, I couldn’t be more proud of what we have accomplished in bringing recognition to this community of writers.

Here is the list of Steamboat’s 2015 EVVY award finalists.

celebrate the author

Major General Louis W Prentiss, Jr. for his book Memories of a Life in the Army (military category)

Lou Prentiss Book

Merit Clark’s Killing Streak in the fiction/mystery & detective category and also finalist for cover design

Steamboat author Merit Clark killing-streak-clark-2500px

Erik Landvik for Uncluttered Faith (spirituality/religion)

Eric Landvik

Jane Stein author & Pam Duckworth, illustrator for Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J (juvenile non-fiction)

Dear Class

What a gift it has been to live and work among a community of independent publishers. I must also give recognition to the Steamboat Writers Group. Their expertise and knowledge with regards to critiquing works in progress is very valuable and that is why for thirty-plus years the group has held together.

It’s a joyful time for all of the independent publishers who are finalists in the EVVY competition. Good luck to everyone! All Things Fulfilling will be posting more information about the 2015 EVVY award-winning authors in coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow I will be featuring an artist whose life calling has gone from farm boy in Virginia to dentist to author/independent publisher and internationally acclaimed scultpure artist. Now there’s a story!

This blog is brought to you by two time  2014 EVVY 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

Storytelling for the Sake of Others

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Stories are how we learn. The progenitors of the world’s religions understood this, handing down our great myths and legends from generation to generation. —Bill Mooney and David Holt,Storyteller’s Guide (American Storytelling)

I’m looking forward to this evening. I’ve been invited as a guest to attend an event called Stories! It Takes Roots to Bloom! A year or two ago I was invited to attend this annual event organized by the Steamboat Christian Church . The first time I attended it I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so I am thrilled to be welcomed back.  The night revolves around telling stories orally.

When I gave an author talk at my own church, The United Methodist Church of Steamboat http://www.umcsteamboat.org on May 5th, I mentioned my strong belief in the importance of telling stories to help other people and to preserve culture. It makes no difference what religion you practice because those that relate to what an author has to say will appreciate it.

In my opinion, we all come to our faith (or not) through our own experiences, which is just one point of my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” Some people are exposed to very traditional teachings and some come from unique and varied viewpoints, which makes for an interesting American culture.Click here for Info & Ordering on Sue’s memoir

gift of a lifetime image from Amazon_

Several of our We Write Steamboat members are members of this congregation. They have published their stories in testimony to how their faith has made a difference in their careers. Courtney Diehl, an equine veterinarian shares stories about her dealings with horses and their owners. It is  filled with humor that anyone will enjoy. She also gives an accounting of trying to build a successful practice. At the root of her business is her faith that she will make it as a mobile veterinarian.Click here for info & ordering Horse Vet

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“Doc Dawn” Dawn V Obrecht, M.D. is a physician specializing in addiction. Her first book is about her medical missionary trips to far off places around the world helping  people who have been devastated by natural environmental disasters. She also has other publications that she has written designed to help those struggling with addiction. These are wonderful examples of personal stories told for the sake of others.Click her for info on all of Dawn V Obrechts books

mission possible

I’d like to extend a thank you to the Director of Women’s Ministry at the Steamboat Christian Church for inviting me. I am sure it will be an inspirational evening.

Do return on Monday! This blog brought to you by http://www.AllThingsFulfilling.com and author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on Sue’s publication, click on this text.Gift of a Lifetime – Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected

Mentoring Women in Business

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

Have you ever wondered why people chose the professions they do? Sometimes there is little choice as to how people support themselves and others make very deliberate career choices, according to what fits their passions and personality.

cookie lockhartCookie Lockhart, a member of our We Write Steamboat networking group for independent publishers, couldn’t have chosen a career path more suitable to her temperament. Her “pioneering spirit” led her to become the only female student  among 126 men in the Class of 1963 to pursue a career in an industry that was dominated by males. As a woman auctioneer she was featured on the TV show To Tell the Truth back in 1966. To see a video clip of the show, please follow this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bRI-H9g5zw.

Lockhart followed in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, and has been a real driving force in the auction business. She has served as an outstanding mentor for many women in business because of her leadership qualities including her love of people and her fortitude. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Cookie, you’d never forget her. Her personality is larger than life and she has a winning spirit.

It’s been a fulfilling career for Lockhart. She is the only woman who has ever been inducted into the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame, and she’s also a member of the Colorado Auctioneers Hall of Fame.

On Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 pm Mountain Time,  Cookie and her business, Lockhart Auction and Realty will be featured on American Pickers, a popular TV show on History Channel. To read more about the casting of the show when it came to Steamboat, here is a link to an article that appeared in the Steamboat Pilot newspaper. http://bit.ly/1hLjMtW 

Tune in on January 29th. It is bound to be a lively show because Cookie is like a character you read about in a book. She portrays the epitome of “Western spirit.”  Here is a quick preview of the show. http://on.fb.me/1fikAUd.

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