Reading Life’s Signals

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Hear with your heart, see with your soul, be guided by a hand that you can not hold, and trust even if you can not see. That’s how faith must be.” ~ Unknown

Last week when I was interviewing Mara Purl, author of What the Heart Knows and  Where the Heart Lives we spoke about her recent keynote address for Go for the Red event, sponsored by the American Heart Association.

I asked her whether there was a connection between the message in her books and the subject of her keynote address. She said “she  took  the principles of Life Simple 7 http://bit.ly/RsCok9  that  are outlined in the American Heart Association’s brochures and literature. Then she made a correlation between a  literal interpretation of unclogging our lives by saying “we need to stop ignoring our intuition when it is telling us something.”  When our intuition tells us to change something, such as to stop smoking or get that cholesterol checked, Mara said “we need to listen.”

In Mara’s story “Where the Heart Lives,” the protagonist makes a geographical move, based on a “heart” decision. This decision has implications that changes her life and the focus of it. For more information on Mara Purl’s books, <a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=mara%20purl&linkCode=ur2&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Amara%20purl&tag=allthinfulf-20&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&linkId=JAPOA45PHI7EE76U”>Click here</a><img src=”https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=allthinfulf-20&l=ur2&o=1&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />.

The events of Hurricane Sandy, reminds us of how life can turn on us at a moments notice, dealing  nasty,long lasting blows. Unfortunately, individuals sometimes forget to take the time to interpret signs and signals that tell us it is time to slow down and heed the warnings along the path of life.

What a gift life is!  It is up to us as individuals to honor the life we have been given by taking good care of ourselves through healthy diets, regular exercise and by avoiding addictive behaviors – such as overindulging in food, alcohol, and other risky behaviors. Maintaining healthy personal relationships helps us to be mentally and spiritually fit.

Intuition research has been a growing field among nurses and other medical professionals.  It has been said that listening to our hearts and intuition, can help us to create better lifestyles for ourselves. Sometimes we learn the hard way, through devastating life events. We are all  guilty of not listening to our hearts at various points in our lives, I suppose. Here is an article that addresses some of the most recent findings concerning intuition research. http://lifesciencefoundation.org/inmain.html

What kind of listener you are? Head or heart?  Do you listen to what your heart is telling you?

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

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Film Friday: Adaptation

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It has been a busy week on All Things Fulfilling. I feel as if I have been knocked over by a self induced hurricane this week. Between daily blogging, my creative writing course and other business meetings and commitments, I am glad it is Friday. It was a delight to be part of author Mara Purl’s blog tour this week also. If you missed out, scroll down to read my interview with Mara about her second book “Where the Heart Lives.”

At lunchtime today, local writers from the independent publishing networking group that I started a year and a half ago here in Steamboat, will be presenting their books and will talk about the independent publishing process with the Yampa Valley University Women. Another group I belong to. 

This morning as I start my blog writing, I feel exactly like Charlie Kaufman in the film Adaptation. Here are his words and also my thinking.  

“To begin… To begin… How to start? I’m hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That’s a good muffin.” 

Too bad I am not a coffee drinker, hot tea will have to do as a substitute. I will take that banana-nut muffin, though, sounds good!

Speaking of the film  Adaptation, my creative writing teacher says that it is a good movie suggestion to pass along to others. The movie is  directed by Spike Jonze.  She says, it is well worth watching.  “Interesting,” she said “how the screenwriter creates a story out of a person who has a passion for orchid collecting.” For information on this movie, Click here.

This is not a newly released movie. It hit the movie screens back in 2003. It is an adaptation of the book “Orchid Thief.” It won an Oscar and many other film awards.  Actors include Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, just to name a few of the cast. 

Sorry for the quick blog, today. Have a fulfilling fall weekend, everyone! Please return on Monday for more independent thoughts, words and views from www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

A Charming Idea, Mara Purl

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Today’s blog is part 2 of my interview with Mara Purl, author of the Milford-Haven series. The second book, Where the Heart Lives was the subject of yesterday’s blog. Please scroll down to read it.

Sue: Mara, I’d like to talk with you for a few minutes about books, in general, and what, if any, shift you have noticed among readers in recent years?

Mara: Readers know what they like to read, and with people being so busy these days, I think people are looking for more specific categories of books. Rather than just say, general fiction, they are looking types of fiction such as women’s fiction or family sagas or romance. My books are categorized in all three.

Authors are offering free sample chapters of e-books, prequels that are free, and 99 cent e-books which allows readers to venture into trying new genres and new authors they otherwise may have never discovered.  Short stories had been diminishing in the marketplace, and with the arrival of e-books, they are making a return. Serial story telling has also had a resurgence. 

Because of space constraints, in the past, booksellers have been hesitant to carry whole series of books; not wanting to take up too much space with just one author’s books. With e-books, there is not that concern of taking up too much shelf space. Thus, readers have the ability to read a whole series from beginning to end. Collecting and reading an entire series presents no constraints in storage in electronic (e-book) format.  

For fans of books that bring the reader through a chronology of generations, such as Louis L’Amour books, e-books can be very useful way to fulfill the readers desires to collect an entire series without having to find space to store them in their homes. 

Sue: I have noticed your wonderful newly redesigned website. There are all kinds of fun things for your readers on the site, including jewelry for fans of the Milford- Haven Books. Tell me what it has meant to you to follow the spirit of your character, Miranda Jones, and use your artistic expression to take your creativity in a new direction.

Mara:  Women love jewelry, and I have noticed that stories go along with jewelry that women wear. Women say, “oh, that necklace or bracelet was given to me by so and so, or it used to be my grandmothers, or I got that piece of jewelry when……” I thought that women may like to collect jewelry that will remind them of the Milford-Haven books they have read. As a talisman or reminder to listen to the heart. So, each book has a different shell “dingbat” (an ornament, character or spacer used in typesetting) and each will be available as a charm and can be collected for bracelets. The first book What the Heart Knows has a heart cockle shell “dingbat” in it, and then the 2nd book in the series Where the Heart Lives is a placuna shell, (called a windowpane oyster) which is a marine bivalve that is flat and translucent, in shape).  

Sue: Where can these charms and bracelets be purchased?  I will put a link to your newly designed website for our readers, and people can keep their eyes open for them as an upcoming product. Mara’s Blog site www.marapurlcom.  Link to Milford-Haven book charms on Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/marapurl/.

Mara: Yes, they are still in the development phase by a jeweler in Colorado Springs, but once available, they can be shipped anywhere in the world and if you go to my newly redesigned website, there is information.

Sue: Mara, I appreciate so much the opportunity to interview you again. I am so pleased at the success you are having with the Milford-Haven series. When will Bellekeep Books publish the third in the series When Hearts Keep Secrets be available? I look forward to reading the next book.

Mara: Look for When Hearts Keep Secrets in 2013. Probably in autumn of the year. Also, the e-book “When Whales Watch” the prequel to the second book  is available through Amazon.

For more information on all of Mara Purls’ publications,Click here

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpectedand www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Living with Heart

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The following is part 1 of my interview with author Mara Purl this morning. If you missed my interviews with Mara when her first book was released, please scroll down to yesterday’s blog. There are links that will take you to them.

Sue: Mara, we are honored to have the opportunity to interview you again on All Things Fulfilling. This time I’d like discuss your new book, the second Milford-Haven novel, Where the Heart Lives. http://bit.ly/SunF8d Congratulations on the success of Book One What the Heart Knows and it’s ranking of #5 on the Amazon best seller list as well as its finalist status for Book of the Year. Also, congratulations on the success of your short story e-book, When Hummers Dream, the prequel to the first book of the series.

Sue: Over the past years, there have been many people who have had to take a look at their own lives due to the job market, and in some cases, they’ve had to change geographical locations for new or different professional opportunities or even to rebuild their life. Your protagonist Miranda Jones makes a difficult personal decision to move from city life (San Francisco) to a small coastal town (Milford-Haven). She pursues her artistic endeavors from what many may see as a more limiting environment. How do your characters help your readers examine their own lives and decisions?

Mara: Our culture typically focuses on using logic and intellect to make life decisions, (both big and small). We tend to choose what feels “safe” and the steady path in life because we make decisions based on external rather than internal “intuitive thinking.” Mentors such as Joseph Campbell, whom I worked under at Open Eye Theatre, along with Jean Erdman, http://bit.ly/S9vmhK  tell us to “follow our bliss.” This can be difficult to do because it tends to be different than the way our culture views things, usually not part of a normal career path. Those that decide to do something because it “feels good” can be opening a crack into what leads to our own fulfilling path in life. People who work in the arts use a life-long practice of listening to their hearts and intuition. It may go against logic but it what they do is personally fulfilling.

My characters in my books either reject this idea of “doing what you love” or they decide to be authentic to themselves, and decide to go against logic. In the case of Miranda Jones, she is at odds because she is a wildlife painter, yet, she is living in a city and in order to observe wildlife, she needs to escape city life. Ultimately, she settles in the coastal town of Milford-Haven against her manager’s advice and against her parent’s wishes. But, she creates a sense of home and connection with nature in Milford-Haven. Many of my characters feel conflicted between what their heads and hearts are telling them, which gives the reader permission to examine their own core beliefs and think about how they live their lives.

In this current economy, people have been forced to think more about making decisions using intuition and they have learned that the secure path they’ve lived may have been an illusion.

Sue: Is what you write based on experience or do your storylines bring realizations to you?

Mara: Both, my experiences and internal direction help craft a story. I don’t feel comfortable if everything I do is based on the external. There is a spiritual component that leads me- beyond intelligence. Many years after I began writing about the town of Milford-Haven which is based on a town in Wales, I found out that I had relatives in that part of the world. It made me realize that I was doing what I was supposed to do.

In doing my research for the third book, I was unable to locate an expert that I wanted to talk to about the architecture of oil rigs. One day, I got on a very crowd flight and sat next to a man and our conversation led to what we did for a living. As it turned out, he designed off shore oil rigs. He drew pictures for me, and I got exactly what I needed to continue the story for the third book.

For information on Mara Purl’s publications, Click here

Return tomorrow to the blog of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC www.AllThingsFulfilling.com. We will be continuing our conversation with Mara Purl about a shift she has noticed in books people read. We will also discuss how Mara has been able to take the spirit of her character, artist Miranda Jones, and use her own artistic creativity to come up with a reminder for her readers of what they have learned and perhaps the decisions they have made for themselves in the reading of the Milford Haven Series.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

Preparing for Blog Tour Storm

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“Life…it consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” ~ Mark Twain 

Good Morning! I am preparing for tomorrow’s blog – a special interview with best selling author Mara Purl. Many of you may remember our blogs about What the Heart Knows, book one of the Milford-Haven series . We are so excited that Mara’s promotions company contacted us a few weeks ago to request that All Things Fulfilling be part of her blog tour again for her 2nd book Where the Heart Lives. An astounding 17 million readers followed All Things Fulfilling and the other blogs that participated in the blog tour for book one. 

If you missed out, here are links to our previous blogs about Mara Purl as a published author of her Milford Haven series.

 Portrait of a Consummate Artist
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/portrait-of-a-consummate-artist/

Part I
Speaking the Language of Books
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/speaking-the-language-of-books/ 

Part II
Speaking the Language of Head and Heart
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/speaking-the-language-of-heart-and-art/
Extra Bonus
Getting Drawn In – Reading “ Hummer” on Kindle for PC
https://allthingsfulfilling.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/getting-drawn-in/ 

Mara’s book one What the Heart Knows  is an Amazon best-seller (ranked #5) and a finalist for the Book of the Year Award. Her prequel short story When Hummers Dream (also a best seller) was nominated for the Global e-book award. 

Please return tomorrow. Mara is guaranteed to have some interesting things to say about book two Where the Heart Lives. As a former soap opera actress who played the part of Darla Cook, R.N. on Days of Our Lives, Mara is well versed in telling and writing award-winning stories that reach hearts of her readers.

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