Posted by: MaraPurl | November 5, 2012

Indie Book Tour – The Book Loft, Solvang, CA

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. And it includes a national blog tour. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting http://www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. Also join me on the ongoing Double Blog Tour , which will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

Book LoftOne of California’s most beautiful regions is the Santa Ynez Valley. Famous for its equine community and now also for its wineries, the valley has five towns. One of these is the unlikely village of Solvang which seems to have been air-lifted directly from Denmark and carefully nestled in the winding hills that also has some of the state’s finest scenery.

The Book Loft was founded in 1970 and is still run with a deft hand by Kathy Mullins, whose wisdom in locating far from the madding chain stores has served her well. Kathy has cleverly built a following among the locals. How? By continuing the time-honored tradition of “hand-selling” which truly is one of the irreplaceable services an indie bookstore can offer. The staff are savvy about two things: the books they sell, and the customers who come in on a regular basis. What they do is match these two far more effectively than any Amazon algorithm ever can. Kathy also wisely created a Reader’s Advantage program where customers earn $10 back for every $100 spent.

Solvang is also a major tourist destination, and to attract this other group of customers, Kathy added a Hans Christian Anderson Book Museum to her second floor. Filled with memorabilia and a short walking-tour through Danish history, her quaint second story also serves as an area for authors to share stories while they sign books.

My signing at the Book Loft was a two-author event, co-created with my friend and colleague Sandy Nathan. This was our second joint venture, a total delight because when Sandy and I get together the conversation just seems to take off. We have a lot of overlap in our beliefs and subject matter. We both think a lot about the heart, and this was the topic of our last joint signing. We also think about how to balance things like technology and holistic living, family and career, intuition and intellect.

Sandy is a woman of both head and heart. A true brainiac, she grew up in the competitive culture of the early Silicon Valley, earned a master’s degrees in economics and counseling and was a student in the doctoral program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. At various times in her career, she’s been an economist, negotiation coach, and businesswoman. Meanwhile, she was also developing her spiritual side with a practice of meditation. All this rich experience now combines and flows into writing her extraordinary novels, which are part mystery, part romance, and part spiritual exploration, defying categorization and thrilling her followers. To her events, she brings both preparation and spontaneity, and as our interests and idea overlap and we share stories with our readers, the room itself begins to vibrate.

Sandy and her husband are also devoted equestrians and live on a beautiful horse ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. I can’t thank them enough for their professional and personal hospitality. Be sure to explore Sandy’s website and sample her wonderful books.

If you’re in the Solvang area, The Book Loft has a few signed copies of my new novel Where the Heart Lives. Or you can order your hardcover or e-book at your favorite on-line bookseller. And don’t forget that my gift to you is the FREE short story prequel, When Whales Watch. The special page where you can find links to all e-book readers, or a PDF download if you don’t have an e-reader is http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. Join me in Milford-Haven and discover where your heart lives.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website http://www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

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Posted by: MaraPurl | November 4, 2012

Indie Book Tour – Bank of Books, Malibu, CA

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and it includes a national blog tour. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. Also join me on the ongoing Double Blog Tour, which will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

Bank-of-Books150x99Legends adhere to certain locations the way perfume clings to a silk scarf. So although one stretch of magnificent coastline might be much like another geographically, there’s something about Malibu and its storied past that hangs in its rarified ocean air like a fine aroma.

When I first moved to Los Angeles as a young actress and writer I had no awareness of this rich history, but Malibu was a magnet for me as a place to find refuge from the city, communion with the ocean, and inspiration from the Muse. Malibu was a small, coastal village with weather-beaten structures and salt-sprayed vehicles. The well-worn Malibu pier offered a way to step away from land and float over the Pacific for a few moments. On sunny days the crystalline beauty would restore my sense of magic. When low clouds or fog shrouded the coastline, I could escape the perpetual California sun-bake and drift into the moodiness needed to write my mystery storylines.

Then I’d head for a funky little shack that offered diner-food and good, strong coffee served in a thick, white mug. I’d sit on the narrow balcony, which seemed to be fastened to the building by nothing more than a pair of nails. I’d let my gaze find the horizon, then glance down at the fresh yellow pad I always carried with me. My pen would start to fly across that paper, filling the pages with episodic television scripts and song lyrics, screenplays and story treatments, disembodied scenes that might later fit into a play, and even the beginnings of a serial drama I hoped to write one day.

Eventually I had several friends who lived in Malibu and joined them for mountain hikes with panoramic ocean views, or dinner parties where the background sound of pounding surf was nearly drowned out by the pounding of my heart at keeping company with directors and writers I so admired, As I gathered some credits of my own and, Malibu became once again a place of refuge where I’d meet friends for Sunday brunches, catching up while we waited in long lines then sitting at minuscule tables for some fabulous seafood Benedicts. I even house sat in Malibu for a stretch, writing feverishly in that rarified setting, all my moments spent there over the years becoming seeds that later bloomed into my own coastal serial story Milford-Haven.

So it was a full-circle thrill—and perfect timing—when Malibu’s brand new independent store invited me to be part of their Grand Opening as part of the tour for my brand new (California coastal) novel. Located strategically in one of Malibu’s only shopping centers, the store is as enticing and delightful as you might hope, with a few extras not every indie bookstore can boast. Café? Check. Good children’s section? Check. Places to sit and relax? Check. And the brand new Kobo Reader download service? Check. But then there are the extras: collectible first editions; a list of local authors that reads like a who’s-who of celebrities; and, of course, the view.

Who is it who dared to open an independent store in this era of bookstore closures? None other than Clarey Rudd, an independent book seller with thirty year personal experience and a family history of bookselling. You might think he actually knows what he’s doing. And he does! We became acquainted when we both served on the board of the California Literary Arts Society in Ventura. That’s when I first visited his original store — Bank of Books on Ventura’s Main Street. His original two-storied store is a treasure trove of every new or used book imaginable. It restores the word “browse” to its original meaning, where instead of squinting at tiny book-cover images on a screen, one picks up volumes fo test their heft and thickness, detailed cover imagery and font, paper quality and dust-covers.

All this experience came into play when they hired the lovely Anne Vanoy as the store’s manager, and she in turn proved her worth immediately at their Grand Opening. She chose an impressive line-up of authors, provided a small stage with a sound system that pulled in the folks who’d otherwise have walked by, and invited authors to share their reasons for writing their newest book. Nearby Pepperdine University sent their broadcast journalist to cover the event for local cable television and a photographer captured images for the store’s archives. When it was my turn, I found an engaged audience who asked the kind of stimulating questions that keep me coming back for more.

The new store is the latest jewel in the Rudd family’s crown. Their decision to open a new bookstore at this moment is both a stroke of genius and a vote of confidence in the recovering economy. It provides a Main-Street-style service to a busy, active community of smart, accomplished people. It makes a new wave in a place famous for making waves. And on the California coastal map, it has added a small jewel that will only get more polished as visitors discover it.

If you’re in the Malibu area, Bank of Books has a few signed copies of my new novel Where the Heart Lives. Or you can order your hardcover or e-book at your favorite on-line bookseller. And don’t forget that my gift to you is the FREE short story prequel, When Whales Watch. The special page where you can find links to all e-book readers, or a PDF download if you don’t have an e-reader is www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. Join me in Milford-Haven and discover where your heart lives.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | November 3, 2012

Indie Book Tour – Coalesce Bookstore, Morro Bay, CA

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and it includes a national blog tour. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. Also join me on the ongoing Double Blog Tour, which will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

Coalesce150x153Coalesce is one of those favorite words—an elegant, mystically dynamic word that describes the particular transformation that occurs when things come together. Getting things to coalesce is sometimes a key goal in life: when a project and its funding coalesces, the project can become a reality; when characters and plot point coalesce, a good story can be written.

When Linna Thomas sailed down the California coast from Oregon after graduating from college, she found a friendly port called Morro Bay. When she decided to stay and co-found her bookstore in the 1970s, her love of words and her sense of timing and opportunity coalesced and she created a unique independent store that has now been a Morro Bay landmark for thirty years. Once you peer into the beautifully gilded late glass window and find yourself wandering through the book shelves, you discover a back door that leads to a beautiful garden where a charming little chapel is nestled. The complex hosts not only book signings but classes, parties, and even wedding receptions.

The store caught my attention several years ago when I was on one of my many Central Coast research runs. Though my fictional town Milford-Haven is located about thirty minutes and is loosely based on Cambria, my story naturally expanded to include Morro Bay with its harbor and boating, qualities that make it distinct from my other story locations.

Authors always have to make choices about what to fictionalize and what to report authentically. The heart of my story had to be a fictional town to give me maximum freedom to tell my story. Yet the fictional Milford-Haven is surrounded by the real towns that dot the California coastal map, including Morro Bay. Having decided to include this real town, of course I had to do my homework and include real places. I knew I wanted a bookstore as my starting point, and when I found this one, ideas . . . coalesced.

My story is set in the late 1990s. Was the store actually there at the time? In my new novel Where the Heart Lives, my character Samantha wanders in, just as I did myself. What fun it was to research the actual books she’d have found displayed on the shelves back then, and to give my readers this anchor as they float through time in my story.

Imagine my delight when the real Linna invited me to do a real book signing in her real bookstore as the starting point of my California book tour!

If you’re in the Morro Bay area, Coalesce has a few signed copies of my new novel Where the Heart Lives. Or you can order your hardcover or e-book at your favorite on-line bookseller. And don’t forget that my gift to you is the FREE short story prequel, When Whales Watch. The special page where you can find links to all e-book readers, or a PDF download if you don’t have an e-reader is www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. Join me in Milford-Haven and discover where your heart lives.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | November 2, 2012

Blog Tour Visit #6 – Kathy Holmes California Girl Fiction

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a national blog tour, as well as a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting http://www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. To thank my blog hosts, I created the Double Blog Tour which includes “blog-backs” like this one. The Blog Tour will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

beach_girl_180California is many things to many people. Yet there’s something quintessential about “California Babes.” Kathy Holmes tapped into this essence when she created her wonderful blog, (“Flip Flops & Flabs” is the old title of her blog, now renamed.) Happily, she also recognized a kindred spirit and invited me for a return visit during this blog tour for my novel Where the Heart Lives.

“Women’s Fiction with Attitude” is the title of her blog, and “California Girl Fiction” is the theme, and since I’m a California girl who writes fiction with plenty of attitude, I seem to be a great match. What is it that connects my novels and stories to California? First, of course, California’s Central Coast is the setting of the Milford-Haven Novels. Second, my characters engage in the kind of quest for the deeper sense of purpose that’s become synonymous with the California Dream. Third, there’s a sense of fun, an irreverence, and an abiding sense of humor.

Since our last blog visit, we’ve both been busy—and each of us has a new book. I actually have two new works—a short story and a novel—each of which is as quintessentially “California” as is Kathy’s blog. When Whales Watch is a prequel short story about one of the Golden State’s favorite pastimes: whale watching. The story has a twist, in that it turns out the whale watchers are themselves being watched by the whales they’re watching. And the story begins in Morro Bay, the Central Coast’s favorite marina complete with sea lions and fishing, delicious sea food and kayaking, blue skies and silky seas.

Where the Heart Lives is the second novel in my series and features on its cover a map of that same Central Coast. In the story, my protagonist travels from my fictional town of Milford-Haven to another iconic part of the state—Los Angeles—from its lighthouse to its mountains, to its Hollywood heart. In my guest post I focused on that map, both from the perspective of using our “head” to plan a journey and from the perspective of using our “heart” to follow our intuition and experience an inner journey of discovery.

Speaking of using our hearts to follow an inner journey, I know my readers will be intrigued by the journey Kathy Holmes herself has been pursuing. When I asked her about the evolution of her novels, she explained that it was finding and meeting the father she’d never known in childhood that first sparked her writing. She started with the non-fiction book Myths of the Fatherless. “And then,” she explained, “I found this theme appearing in my fiction in a similar way.” This topic certainly struck a nerve for me, as my character Zackery discovers he’s adopted and begins his own parental search. Surely this is an epic theme for humans and for our literature.

I asked Kathy what matters most to her about her writing. “My writing comes from me and my experience in life—a girl who grew up in Southern California. That childhood is different from, say, a childhood in the Midwest. And so my writing takes on that point of view.” What does she find is the best way to reach her readers? “I call my fiction “California Girl Fiction” and I think it appeals to a California girl at heart. You don’t have to be from California but there’s a certain point of view or mindset. So just being myself on social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, is where I find a lot of my readers. I’ve also found readers on common interest social groups such as Fabulously40, Passporter (a Disney fan site), and Cruise Critic.

Kathy’s first published novel was Real Women Wear Red and I asked her where she got that title. “Red seems to be my signature color. I do remember asking for candy apple red shoes when I was a child. When I was asking how to take off some red scuff marks on my antique white dresser, my brother-in-law said, ‘A real woman would paint it red.’ And I had to laugh! I also think the book was titled partly as a response to all of that pink during the heyday of chick lit.” (I told Kathy I’ve become an official Real Red woman because red is the “heart” color.) Kathy struck a resonating chord with readers when she identified the concept of “Real Women,” so her brand new book two is Real Women Sing the Blues available on amazon for the Kindle.

There’s so much overlap and synergy between Kathy and me, even though we have yet to meet in person. One of the wonders of this internet-age is that we—all of us, including authors and readers—can connect through our core interests. I’d say both Kathy and I are helping to define what it means to be real women . . . those of us who use our heads, but live life from the heart.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | November 1, 2012

Blog Tour Visit #5 – Romance Junkies

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a national blog tour, as well as a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting http://www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. To thank my blog hosts, I created the Double Blog Tour which includes “blog-backs” like this one. The Blog Tour will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

RomanceJunkies logoOne of my favorite sites for discovering All Things Romance is the fabulous website Www.RomanceJunkies.com. I most certainly am not alone in enjoying this site, which gets one million hits every month! So it’s an honor to be invited back to share book two of my series, Where the Heart Lives. My post for Romance Junkies is about structuring my one-hundred-episode radio drama into novels, and how this organically grew into the five serial novels that will comprise the Milford-Haven pentalogy. I wrote about this from the perspective of both “head” and “heart”—the underlying theme of all my blogs.

Romance Junkies.com is essentially a review website created and maintained by Cat “Chaoscat” Brown and her husband Todd. As Cat began her own writing career, and quickly realized that promotion was the key to a successful book, she created the site to help herself, her fellow authors, and readers who love romance novels—a win, win, win scenario.

The first thing that happens when a reader finds a book she loves, is that she wants to talk about it with others who also enjoy reading. Accordingly, Cat and her team also created a blog that’s “designed to be a bit edgier than the main RJ site.” Kim, the RJ Blog coordinator, posted on the “about” page: “We want all the interactions to be fun and thought-provoking while still respecting all of our visitors in the process. . . We welcome all who wish to express their opinion. Don’t be afraid to share with us, just remember to disagree with tact and maturity.”

I thought that was a terrific challenge, so in my guest blog post I tackled the tricky question of “serial romance”—a category that doesn’t yet exist, or didn’t until I began writing the Milford-Haven Novels. “Serial” is different from “series.” Indeed, lots of romance series exist, but each sticks to the signature structure of the romance novel: the couple meet at the beginning and marry at the end, with any and all imaginative obstacles overcome between the two. My novels, however, do not follow this structure. Things are a lot more complex in Milford-Haven, where the first partners who meet may not be the ones to find happy endings; where self-discovery is a key component of all relationships; and where people from the past have a way of popping into the present unexpectedly.

If you’re thinking the structure of my books sounds more like that of a soap opera, you’d be right! Milford-Haven did start out as a soap opera and it found an audience of 4.5 million in the U.K. on BBC radio. The interesting thing is, the audience for soap opera and the audience for romance novels is virtually synonymous, a fact not lost on soap opera producers, as I discovered when I performed regularly on Days of Our Lives and found again when I did some writing for Guiding Light. Yet until now, traditional romance readers, writers, publishers and groups had found serial story-telling objectionable. Though I do have thousands of loyal fans, and have won numerous Romance literary awards, I also get angry comments about my books having “no ending.”

In my experience, life doesn’t tie itself up in neat little bows. Instead, as snarls are untangled and deep realizations surface, our big “aha” moments shed light on our path and we have an epiphany. As a result of this “inner” work, something adjusts in our “outer” world: we find the right partner; our career takes a better turn; we resolve a family argument.

By featuring my work, Romance Junkies is doing much to open the minds of readers and allow me to suggest a more expanded view of romantic writing—one that not only more closely mirrors the complexities of real life, but also suggests that we use both our heads and our hearts to tackle life’s toughest issues. Maybe that’s how we find true romance.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a national blog tour, as well as a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers Here: When Whales Watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting http://www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. To thank my blog hosts, I created the Double Blog Tour which includes “blog-backs” like this one. The Blog Tour will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

NABBW-logoWhat an honor to again be the featured guest at the National Association of Baby Boomer Women! Director Anne Holmes (“Boomer in Chief”, as she’s titled) asked me a great series of questions during this second national blog tour, establishing my posting on her site as an important tradition. Her questions allowed me to share ideas about my new novel, Where the Heart Lives and about the many issues the book delves into: a young artist in the process of finding herself, a restauranteur working hard to create the second chapter of her life, an environmentalist searching for the son she gave up decades earlier, and even going back stage at a Doobie Brothers concert. Anne asked me a whole string of creative questions as well, about what inspires my storylines, how I come up with my characters, why I’m writing serial-structure in my novels. Anne’s post can be found here: “Mara Purl Maps Out a New Novel & offers a Free Prequel.” I so appreciate our vibrant conversation, and am thrilled to be sharing it with her huge group of followers.

Which brings me to the NABBW. Who are its members? Boomer woman are designated as the millions of us who’ve were born between 1946 and 1964. I asked Anne what the organization is about and she said, “The National Association of Baby Boomer Women is the only association devoted to addressing issues concerning 38 million of the healthiest, wealthiest, and best educated generation of women to ever hit midlife.” What does membership offer? “We’ve developed a complete package that offers a variety of products, services, and resources to help any boomer woman tackle midlife’s challenges. We try to provide a well-needed source of positive and nurturing resources for our Baby Boomer Women followers. Within our suite of NABBW products – the website, the Boomer Women Speak forum, the NABBW Facebook page, our LinkedIn page, the Boomer Women’s World newsletter, and our monthly teleseminars – we try to remind members of our strong suits and help them solve current-day problems and challenges.”

Anne went on to enumerate what some of these challenges are, and I found it interesting that several of my characters are dealing with a few of the very same challenges, whether it be creating a romantic relationship with a Vietnam vet, befriending the first African-American detective in the Central Coast region, poking at the glass ceiling and standing for women’s rights, or finding a way to fold environmental practices into mainstream daily life.

In eloquent language, Anne praised the progress made by the Boomers. “After all,” she said, “I believe we’ve ushered in the most tolerant and inclusive era in our history. What women can do today would have been considered science fiction in the Fifties. Gays and lesbians, who once were routinely arrested or committed to psychiatric institutions, can now marry and raise a family in many parts of the country. We now have an African-American president. And of course, we have a very accomplished female Secretary of State.”

Boomer women tend to be very busy, over-achievers, which means we get a lot done, but also means we rarely take time for ourselves. What I work at creating is what I call “mindful fiction”—stories and novels that encourage my readers to honor their own time and goals. I asked Anne, “How do you think ‘mindful fiction’ can serve your readers?”

“As all of us know, we Boomer women don’t like to be preached to. But often times there are life lessons we need to learn . . . lessons that can make our lives better, richer, stronger, and more enjoyable. In my experience, we can learn these lessons through a sort of ‘mental osmosis,’ if you will forgive me for inventing a term. What I mean is, we can read a fun, fictional story, and learn from it without actually knowing that we’ve been taught. It’s a way to learn by benefitting from others’ experiences – both good and bad . . . without having to go through everything personally.”

Ultimately what strikes me about the NABBW is that it offers a multi-faceted mirror in which we can perhaps see ourselves more clearly. Self-examination is the ticket that gives us admission to the life we really want to create. We have to use our heads to make sense of the complex issues with which we wrestle. But real healing and success comes from following the example of a generous woman like Anne Holmes who reaches out from her heart.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | October 30, 2012

Blog Tour Visit #3 – All Things Fulfilling

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a national blog tour, as well as a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. To thank my blog hosts, I created the Double Blog Tour which includes “blog-backs” like this one. The Blog Tour will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

All Things Fulfilling-logoFulfillment is a special word in almost every field, but in the book industry it means something so tangible and so important that you might say it’s the cornerstone of the industry. It’s when the book you’ve ordered arrives. Now the anticipation pays off, and the brand new book is in your hands.

Sue Leonard founded her company, Cornerstone Fulfillment in 1998, and has successfully fulfilled orders for vendors and customers of books, music CDs and art ever since. When Sue and I talked about her core mission last year, I listened to her passion for her work. Then looked at her logo—a brilliant image that instantly shows what she does, a picture worth a thousand words. Still, being the word person that I am, I came up with a new slogan for Sue, one that articulates her logo and her mission: Bringing my customers to the world. Bringing the world to my customers.

That core mission now encompasses a whole new world of technology that goes well beyond the mailing of packages, but does indeed bring the world to her customers. Her range of client services includes blogging, social media, and a long list of specialized technologies that help companies reach their specific audiences.

I asked Sue what had changed or evolved since last year, and she immediately said she now has more clients who want assistance with internet marketing. “A lot of authors are moving into e-books,” she explained. “And what goes hand-in-hand with e-books are the evolving internet social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But then we’re adding the newer ones as well, like Stumbleupon and Tumblr. And we find blogging is very useful. The idea is to put together a whole package.”

I know, I know, for some folks hearing about how “important” it is to post to Facebook and LinkedIn, Tweet regularly, post visuals to Pinterest, keep up with the latest and greatest social media sites and then have a life is enough to make your head spin and your eyes glaze. If this is the case, Sue’s wonderful services might be your answer. She summed up the whole world of internet marketing very well by saying, “The more info that’s out there, the more visibility your book has.”

As we talked further, I found Sue and I are on the same page not only about how the external aspect of a book has to work, but also about the all-important inside of a book. “Authors have to find a unique voice,” she said, proving she understands the most important core aspect of writing. So, is there a difference between a manuscript and a book . . . between a text that satisfied its author, but has yet to be proven as a published work? “When it comes to a published book, it’s not so much what the book is about, but what it will do for the reader. I think a good author and/or publisher asks herself or himself, “How can I help fulfill what you’re looking for?” I agree whole-heartedly.

Now I want to share a definition of the word fulfillment: to carry into effect as an intention; to realize or manifest completely. Just one glance at Sue’s extensive, multi-faceted, eclectic and intriguing blog will demonstrate she actually practices the fulfillment she talks about. Fortunately for me, her lush generosity extended to my work during this blog tour, and she wrote about me not once, but in three separate posts. On October 29th, she wrote an intro, titled Preparing for Blog Tour Storm.

On the 30th, Sue posted the core of her blog mini-series about my work, “Living with Heart.” Sue’s thought-provoking questions led us into a dynamic discussion about life-choices based on head and heart. We used my new book as the springboard, and we delved into the deeper issues underlying the characters’ actions. The way she structured her questions really makes her whole blog a great framework for a book club discussion.

Then on the 31st, she’ll be posting “A Charming Idea.” This is the continuation of our conversation about serial fiction, and also about the jewelry charms I’ve been co-designing to coordinate with my novels. Each novel has a “dingbat” or symbol, and the bead-charms we’re creating match these icons.

Perhaps this is the very best part of the internet—that we can cross-connect ideas and network synergistically such that as both friends and strangers we assist each other in creating new possibilities. It’s the expansiveness and generosity practiced by a pro like Sue Leonard that bring fulfillment for both head and heart.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | October 23, 2012

Blog Tour Visit #2 – Dad of Divas

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a national blog tour, as well as a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at http://www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers here: When Whales Watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting http://www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. To thank my blog hosts, I created the Double Blog Tour which includes “blog-backs” like this one. The Blog Tour will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

The title of this wonderful book blog is so unusual, it deserves a note of introduction. Author-blogger Chris Lewis—when he and his wife discovered they were going to be the proud parents of a second daughter—had that special foreknowledge that sometimes settles like a mischievous angel. The Lewis family legend has it that Chris’s wife—as a librarian, a book afficionada herself—said, “You know you’re about to the dad of a second daughter, so you’ll be a dad of divas.” Sure enough, the catchy name of his blog was born shortly before diva number two. Since I’m one of two daughters to an omnivorous reader-dad myself, I can relate to Chris’s perspective.

Chris actually has two blogs. He developed DadOfDivas.com to capture the experience of being a new father. He’s created a community of young men who are experiencing this chapter of life. In addition, Chris’s life is a voracious reader and passionate reviewer. Last year, he gave the first novel in my series, What the Heart Knows a glowing review, reaching into a genre not quite his own, like the sensitive, aware dad he is. (He figures it’s more than likely his daughters will someday be readers of the Women’s Fiction category.)

His review of my second book is, if possible, even better! It’s tremendously gratifying for an author to feel understood. Chris really came with me as I deepened the Milford-Haven experience in book two, Where the Heart Lives. He said, in part, “What I love about this author’s writing is that she paints a vivid picture for her readers and you literally feel that you are there in the midst of the story, interacting with characters and the environment. The characters in this book were great and you truly get to see and experience the quirky aspects of the characters as well as live and understand some of the choices that they have to make in this book.”

To thank my blog hosts, I “blog back,” so I asked Chris a few questions to catch up on his busy schedule. The biggest change in his life this year is that his own brand new book was published. It’s clear he takes this fatherhood role quite seriously and is planning way ahead. The title of his new book is The Ultimate College Preparation Blueprint, so his girls will be ready when the time comes. (Meanwhile, I’m buying a copy for my nephew!)

I also asked him what changes he’d noticed in the blogosphere. “More dads and men are blogging which is great as we need to have more people like me sharing the good news about being good fathers and husbands.” Does he feel blogs are more effective than ever in reaching and informing his readers? “Yes, I believe that blogs are a great way to get the word out to the masses.”

Since Chris has his finger on the pulse of authoring, blogging, and publishing, I asked what book trends he’s been noticing. “There are many more e-books lately and publishers are pushing these to a vastly higher degree.” He’s exactly right. Several industry sources are reporting a forty-percent growth in e-book sales over the past two years. In my own experience, I now have one novel and two short stories that became best-sellers in their ebook formats.

It’s so good to know that a young father like Chris continues to give the gift of reading in so many ways to so many people. He reads to his children, has written a wonderfully practical book of his own, and continues to review books of all genres and types. He reminds me that even if you’re not a woman who reads Women’s Fiction . . . you might find much to enjoy and glean from a trip to Milford-Haven in . . . Where the Heart Lives.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | October 21, 2012

Indie Book Tour – Moby Dickens, Taos, NM

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and it includes a national blog tour. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. Also join me on the ongoing Double Blog Tour, which will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

MobyDickens150x143What a delight to return to the charming Moby Dickens in Taos, New Mexico, a store that radiates originality and creativity in a town of originality and creativity. It did seem especially apt this year, with my latest short story being titled When Whales Watch – a tale that features the same species about which Melville penned his famous Moby Dick. In his story, the aggressive behavior of the behemoth almost seems to justify the obsessive rampage of his hunter. In my tale, we see into the creature in ways not available until modern science began to reveal some of the wonders of this cetacean who boasts the largest brain on earth.

The other part of the bookstore’s name suits as well, since Charles Dickens made famous, and tremendously popular, the serial story, and I’ve picked up that thread with my serial novels. I know they annoy some readers! (One reason I’m adding the stand-alone short stories.) But I also know most readers adore a continuing story, just as I do.

Moby Dickens is under new ownership since I was here last January, but the delightful couple who’ve taken over the venerable store are carrying on its best traditions and adding some good new ones of their own—like adding a social media component to extend their reach and interconnect their customers. So I wish Jay and Carolyn Moore all the very best with their new-old venture, a wonderful store that’s long been a hub of Taos.

The bookseller who gets the gold star for my tour so far is Betty Palmer, who was in charge of my book signing. Following last year’s tradition, she baked one of the recipes from my novel, offering delicious, crisp annis cookies that she manifested right out of the Star Party chapter of Where the Heart Lives. What fun! (And how yummy!) But in addition, Betty also created a collage for the front window of the store, featuring every story elements in my book: the Doobie Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl, a map of California, a whale leaping from the water, exotic felines . . . they were all there in an intriguing visual display that had customers stopping to enjoy, decipher, and then attend the event.

Now THAT is bookselling! She read, she assimilated, she shared. She even memorized a lovely introduction for me before I began to speak to the attendees. If I had a diamond tiara, Betty would be wearing it now. Don’t miss a chance to visit Moby Dickens. When you do, you’ll Betty has saved a few signed copies of my books for you. I’ll be back next year with a new recipe!

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

Posted by: MaraPurl | October 19, 2012

Indie Book Tour – Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

Thanks for joining me on the 2012 MARA-thon! This includes a physical book tour through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and it includes a national blog tour. During the entire MARA-thon, please be sure to download your FREE prequel short story, When Whales Watch at www.MaraPurl.com/downloads. As of January 1, you’ll be able to find purchase links for all e-readers at http://marapurl.com/books/when-whales-watch.

This is posted from the road during my All-Indie-Bookstore book tour titled MAPPING THE JOURNEY OF YOUR HEART. Revisit the entire tour at any time by visiting www.MaraPurl.com/calendar where you’ll see event details, links to the bookstores, and soon, photo archives. Also join me on the ongoing Double Blog Tour, which will be archived at http://marapurl.com/fall-blog-tour-schedule.

Bookworks130x109Much of a writer’s life requires solitude. Though in our minds, we’re spending time with characters and situations, it’s sometimes startling to look around the room and remember we’re actually sitting at a desk by ourselves. Perhaps that’s one reason we seek out and belong to writer groups. It’s tremendously reassuring to know others are walking the same path.

Of all the groups I belong to, one of my most cherished is Women Writing the West, and every member I’ve spoken with feels the same way. We only get together once a year at our marvelous conference. And, of course, not everyone can attend every year. The conferences are held in a different city each time, which exposes us to new locations and fresh opportunities for researching our stories. The year we met in Los Angeles, I co-chaired the conference and was delighted to share some of the treasures of my town. This year, the conference was held in New Mexico, which happened to dovetail perfectly with my book tour.

Another perfect fit was the indie bookstore Bookworks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Logistically, we authors couldn’t all get to the bookstore, so it kindly came to us, providing a weekend-long array of books by members as well as a schedule of signings. We’re such a supportive group that we actually buy and read each other’s books, and we buy them as gifts for others, too.

Bookworks was founded in 1984 when, as their website reminds us, “We were indie before indie was cool.” They’re still very cool, even in the very hot summer and pretty hot autumn, not only featuring the latest releases but sending knowledgeable, friendly staff off-site to run out conference book sales and signings. And they offer this as a service to all local organizations. In or out of the store, they hold over 300 events a year, showcasing the works of all kinds of authors, from the nationally known who are on book tour, to the locally published who stay close to home. Add to this their blog, their free newsletter and the fact that they’ll soon be offering e-books, and you have local gem that gleams like a fine piece of turquoise, bright as the New Mexico sky.

I’ll be adding this store to my regular list of book-tour stops, and hope you’ll stop by if you’re in Albuquerque. Happily, Bookworks purchased some signed copies for you of Where the Heart Lives and What the Heart Knows.

For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit my new website www.MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.

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