Thursday, November 7, 2013

Christmas Special!!

Christmas is coming!!! We only have SEVEN Saturdays left!! Have you even begun your Christmas Shopping list? Do you have someone who loves to read? Be inspired? I am offering a great deal on my book "Friends...Lessons of Life." You will get TWO signed books for $25 including SHIPPING!! What a deal!!! Send me an email for details!!! Also if you have a book group that would like to read my book for next year, contact me as well!! I can get you a great deal!! Thank you to everyone who has already bought one and left a review!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why I started with Utah Valley University...

For those who don't know, Utah Valley University (UVU) is located just south of Salt Lake City, UT and one of two major universities in Utah County.

One of the reasons I contacted the UVU bookstore was because I am an alumni of the school and have many contacts. Plus I was an employee of the school at one time and know people who know people.  The buyer I talked with at the bookstore was kind but a bit hesitant about my book. After all I am a new author and no one knows me from diddley squat…YET!  Nevertheless he invited me to send him one for review. He said something to me that made me think about what I could really do to get my book in the bookstore.  I was asked if I was speaking on campus or was it being used in any department?

I have a motto in life, “Life’s a dance, you learn as you go!”  But in order to learn as you go you must be teachable!!! We must be aware of our surroundings and the things happening around us.  Too often we focus and concentrate on ourselves.  Why do we have to be first, or take all the awards, or trophies and and then brag about it all?  While I am sure that is all nice and looks great on a resume, I think it takes away from that teachable part of us we all need to be.  I don’t have to be first, and I don’t have to win, I just have to do my best. So that is what I am trying to do with my book.  Simply do my best.

Going back to UVU when I was asked about speaking or my book being used in any department, I spoke with a friend.  I didn't feel I was in a position to do a speaking engagement, but the department idea peaked me.  She suggested a couple of departments I should contact. I first sent an email to the department coordinator introducing myself and a little about my book.  I then included links to my reviews and to my blog.  I was hoping that would at least peak some interest.  Within a couple of hours I received an email inviting me to send a copy of my book for review!! Not only the invite, but gracious words of possibly using my book in their department.  Now obviously a math department or science department will have no need for my book.  BUT there are plenty of other departments that just may have the need and want to purchase…MANY!!!

It’s been interesting there are many who have given me advice of what I should and should not do with my book. One was to mark up my book more than what I am selling them for.  But I decided early on to make them affordable to anyone who wants a copy.  The reason for the inexpensive pricing and when you are in a college bookstore, even more appealing!

I have to remember why I wrote this book. I did it to  inspire people and give them hope.  I cannot lose sight of that goal.  So starting off with one bookstore that may seem like small potatoes to some is okay. Because I have learned in this life you take one step at a time and eventually you will get to the top.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Attention...

It has been an amazing week in the Friends…Lessons of Life journey.  I mailed books to UVU (Utah Valley University), Seagull Book, and a distributing company.  My reviews increased, and I did my first speaking engagement.  So my job is now to spread the word and to get my book out.  How do you get attention from someone who gets several requests (not going to say hundreds because that would overwhelm me) so I will just think they get several every day.  It’s like sending out a resume.  You have to find a way to make sure whoever is giving you their 15 seconds of time by looking at your resume, something will peak and you are put in a “MAYBE” or even “YES” pile.  So it goes with books.

One of my goals doing this, is that I wanted to do it debt free.  In my research I didn’t want to do the printing of 1,000 books and then have to try to sell them.  I decided on the POD which means Print on Demand.   People can go to Amazon and order one copy and it is sent to them.  What I love is that I can track sales from here and people can write a review and leave their thoughts.

The week started out with 13 reviews, but I set a goal of 20 by week’s end.  Here it is Saturday and I have 19 reviews, so looking for one more.  Because the people at the above companies have never heard of me, I feel the reviews will help peak their interest to want to find out more and actually read the book.

I also love the thoughts and what everyone has taken from the book.  One little 11 year old wrote she liked Chapter 1 the best because I talked about when I was a child and she was a child now. For some it has impacted their friend relationships.  Have they been kind?  Have the inspired anyone?  Or hurt anyone not knowing it?  Some it just gives them hope to keep preserving at life. I love my reviewers!!!

Next time I will go into why I have chosen UVU to try and place my books.  Thanks again for all your support and love!!  Get ready for the ride!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Speaking Assignment...

This Thursday evening is my first speaking assignment.  The theme of the night is "Turning Lemons into Lemonade."  I truly hope they have Lemonade at the event. It's my favorite!!!

I thought I would share a bit of  insight on what I think I may speak on.  When I wrote my book, I simply wanted to be able to inspire people.  Don't give up and keep  pushing forward. I have learned the very hard way, that life is a journey.  There are those however, who see it as a competition and a check off list.

When I heard words like, "My life was so much harder than yours" it makes me sad, I wonder if I got my point across?

I used to think that if you had a trial or struggle it was because you were being punished.  That is what my mom taught me. So that is how I looked at my life struggles.  I didn't understand why I was being punished so long and I didn't understand what I had done that was so horrible.  Then one day a friend said to me, "Laura I don't know about you, but the God I believe in is a very loving God.  One who forgives us, loves us and teaches us."  They are words I will forever be grateful for.

I now see a trial or a struggle as a blessing of some sort.  Maybe I don't see the blessing at once, but in time I do.  When I first moved back to Utah a year ago, my housing fell through and all the apartments and rooms for rent were full.  Friends had no room for me.  I ended up staying in a hotel and it quickly was eating through my money.  Shortly after coming back, I was visiting friends one night and felt truly rejected.  Especially when I heard, "You should go back to Texas where you were happy."  I went to my car feeling as though I had been thrown out with the trash.  I felt dumb and stupid and humiliated and thought, "What did you do this time Laura?"  I said a little prayer and asked for Heavenly Father to indeed let me know this is where I needed to be now.  I felt like I had before many times in my life all alone in life.

Then my phone rang.  It was my friend Nancy in Michigan.  She told me she was just calling to tell me she loved me like a sister and reminded me we were--in the Gospel.  She has always been my biggest rooter, always believing in me.  When I got off the phone that night, I  knew everything was going to be okay.  I went to a hotel and prayed again. But this time I prayed to find the right ward for me.  The next day, I was at a health food  store, and an old friend walked in.  I had not seen her in years.  We talked and long story short, she was the instrument that guided me to where I needed to be.

So when it comes to trials in your life, how do you overcome them?  I no longer look at them as mountains to climb.  My trials and struggles are now just obstacles in my path I must continue to chip away at.  And when I look back I can only be grateful because I realize now there was a lesson learned in my life.

I believe I have figured out a small formula that I will be sharing on Thursday evening with the sisters of Relief Society.  If you want to know what it is before my next blog, check out the book in Chapter 4 -- Putting Aside the Running Shoes.  Read Tim's essay.  That little essay not only got him selected to run with the Olympic Torch, it is now a formula for turning Lemons into Lemonade!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And the Stories Begin......

The day before my book release party, I saw this thought come across my news feed on Facebook:

Have you ever felt beaten up emotionally, like life has kicked you to the curb? Even if you find yourself in a place you didn’t quite plan on, hold on to the things that matter most. God is always mindful of you, and your faith can carry you even when you cannot see the way.

My first thought is THAT IS SOOO ME!!  I thought about my book and the journey it had taken me on so far.  I was so excited for the book to be done and being able to celebrate with my friends at the book signing.  After all they were my friends, they would be excited to support me right?  Then the declines started to come and often I would hear the words “little party.”  I felt silly.  Maybe I was just tooting my own horn.  “Little party” made me think maybe I was hoping and imagining for more than what I thought the book was capable of doing.

My HOPE was that I could inspire others on their journeys through life. That is what I wanted. I know how hard it is.  And I know how hard it was to write this book and expose myself to the world. I was propping myself for the backlash from strangers, not friends.

Here was my reply to the thought on my news feed:

I need to share this one.....this is exactly what I have had to do in my life!!! When I began to share my story with others they told me I should write a book.....I laughed. I didn't think I could ever inspire anyone. But I know I have. The book is finally done (after 11 years), published and released. Tomorrow is the book release party!!! This statement is just so true.....we have to have FAITH!!!

Then on Sunday morning, I received the sweetest email. 

Hello, I just had to tell you, it caught my attention how after 11 years you are releasing your book!!! Congratulations, you inspire me!! I started my autobiography, and put it away, cause I shed so many tears, it's painful the things we go through life we carry deep in our hearts, but once it's written it takes another form!!! I want to get a copy, where will I find one? I am still working on mine, and will continue till I too will finish it! Thanks for the inspiration!  I. Frias

When I told my friend about this, she told me I needed to keep track of these.  So I thought I would share some here on my blog starting with this one.

But my question to myself has been why must our “friends” say the things they do?  Why must we try and manipulate people, or belittle them in small ways to make them feel foolish? Is it to make them feel better about themselves?  Is it jealousy?  Or do they really not know how hurtful their words are? I will never know the answer to those questions.  But I do know, I will always try to be supportive in the hopes and dreams of others.  You never know when a “silly little idea” turns into a dream of a life time!!   Whatever your dream is, you are the only one who can fulfill it!!  Just have Faith!!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Signing Day!!!

WOW!!!  Today was so much fun and more than I could have ever expected!!!  I figured we had close to 60 people or so there today.  There was plenty of food and chatting and fun!!  It was great to have some of the people from the book there!!  One guest even went around and got THEIR autographs!!  Too funny!!! 

The party started at 2, and I think  I finally left about 5:30.  Our last guest came about 5ish.  Here are some pictures from the shindig!!!  Thank you again to all those who came!!!

Book Signing Party 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Behind the Scenes of a Book Release Party......

I thought today I would take you behind the scenes of a book release party since it is TOMORROW!!  YIKES!!! .  I have researched different ideas on the internet.  The most common and successful book releases was to have them at a bookstore with wine and cheese.  I didn't like that idea.  In talking to a friend she said, "Let's do an Open House."  So that is what we are doing, a small open house.

Place: The place for our party, will be a friend's home, and her backyard.  There will be plenty of chairs for people sit and mingle and eat.

Party theme and colors:  Since my book cover is mainly orange, we are doing a blue and orange party, balloons, flowers, tablecloths will all be used as decorations.  I did find these cute flower cupcakes we are going to try and do.  Which ones do you like?  I like the arrangement on the left, with the cupcakes on the right.  We will see what we come up with. UPDATE:  We are scratching this idea....but still they are cute!!!

Guest List: I took my mailing list, FB Friends, and  church family list and went through to compile  the final list. Interestingly enough, as I was going through it and sent out the invite others contacted me saying "I didn't get my invite."  They were accidentally missed and I apologized.  One friend said, "I didn't know your book was out, I just ordered it!"  Good for me!!  Then I asked him if he wanted an invite to the party and he said yes.  Remember a guest list is not a final, go with the flow.  If a friend wants to come and is missed and if you can invite them DO  SO!!

Name tags: Most book release parties probably do not need name tags, but we are having name tags.  Why? Because some of the people with chapters in the book will be there.  This is as much their story as it is mine, and I want others to get to know them.  So they will have the blue name tags, and everyone else the orange. If you are coming and see a blue name tag, ask them to share their story.

Food: We wanted light refreshments.  Veggie and fruit trays are a given.  We decided on small sandwiches and chips.  For desert is going to be the best brownies you have ever eaten!!!  Maybe I will leave that surprise for the party.  It is good to entice people a bit, and then leave them hanging.  But you do not want to miss the brownies!!  So come to the party!!!

Books:  There will be plenty of books for sale, WE HOPE!  Some have already bought theirs, others are waiting for the party.  Either way we will get you a signed copy.  (Note:  I think it is too funny I am signing books!!  I have always collected autographs! )  We are trying to come up with a unique way for people to not lose their books.  One suggestion was to put their name in it.  Any other ideas?

Layout:  We will have people come in through an entry way, sign a guest book, get their name tag, and buy a book if they need one.  Then they will come into the living area where I get a hug!!!  It will be a hugging kind of day.  We will have a short presentation of the people in the book who are present, and then will start the book signings.  I want to give people a chance to mingle and meet everyone.

I think the party is pretty simple but appropriate for what we are doing.  Because I have already started working on my next book, Santa's Little Helper I will introduce them to my next project!!

Remember this is your party and your celebration!  For me, friends have heard about this book for many many years.  Early in the beginning of the book I sent a chapter called "The Bully" for people to read.  They loved the chapter!!!  That is what gave me the hope to continue on with my journey and finish the book.

For anyone going down this is not easy.  The more I wrote about the lessons I had learned in my life, the more therapeutic I realized it was. It helped me deal with alot of my past.  Interesting enough I learned at the end of the writing, I heard about the stories that had been told about me.  So for any of my descendants that one day wonder about their Aunt Laura, hopefully they will find my book and know my story, my struggles and who I was and how I became the person I am.  Not the person everyone else decided I was.  I still have a long ways to go in my journey, but I am getting there one step at a time and one journey at a time.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two Weeks and Counting!!!

Two weeks ago today I ordered my first set of books.  Because finances were tight I ordered 10  and hoped I could sell them.  I know people say they will always buy from you, but 10 books were alot to sell!!  I thought!

My original goal was to sell 10, order 10 more, etc and see what I could do.  A friend said, here let's order 50!!!  I gulped and thought really?  I asked her why she was doing this and she said, "Because I believe in you!!"  So we ordered 50 and they arrived two weeks ago today late in the afternoon.  Since then, this is what has happened. 


How can I sell 98 books when I only had 60.  People are "pre-ordering" them for the party.  We have 150 books coming and hope that will be enough for everyone.  If not more pre-orders will be taken and they are all local so it will all work out!!

The other exciting news, my book is now available in Day's Market (Provo on Canyon Road) next to their post office inside the store.  I need to go in and mail some books off today and can hardly wait to see my books in a store.   I will take some pictures and post!!  So exciting!!!

This is the two week mark.  My original goal was to sell 100 books in a month and thought that would be hard to do!  Don't get me wrong it is hard, but very doable!!!  I have met that goal at the two week mark!!

Thank you everyone again for your support!!!  Happy reading and please remember to leave a review!!  I have four of them now!!  I was told you need to eat an elephant one bite at a time and I am trying to remember that!!

Chomp Chomp -- Have a great day everyone!!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Books! Books! And More Books!!!

It has been a crazy crazy crazy week!!!  The books are selling and I have one review on Amazon!!  So if you have bought the book and read it, please write a review for Amazon!!!

A high school classmate told me she ordered the book, but couldn't wait for it to come so she ordered the Kindle version and said, "Laura I can't put this down!!  I love it!!!"  Surprisingly the next morning I got up and had sold five more copies.  Seems she went out and told her friends!!  Ha ha Thanks Julie!!

On the other hand, the first three people I mailed  books to got their copies on Friday.  My friend Sharon said she went straight to Chapter 15 My Love Affair with Theme Park Junkies. Here and her beloved BJ are mentioned in the chapter.  They have a very sweet story but it was also the beginning  of BJ's health.  She went on to tell me of her husband's decline in health.  It made me feel sad for her that it reminded her of all the things they can no longer do together.

This week was the funeral for Frances Monson, wife of Thomas Monson who is the leader of my church and I believe to be a living prophet on earth today. I saw a sadness in him as he lost his beloved companion.  It doesn't get easy, even with the knowledge of the Gospel.  We have emotions in us for a reason.  We are here to feel joy and sadness, hurt and pain.  If we don't how can we ever know the joy of life without feeling the pain?  There is a reason for all. 

I have learned in my own life, it is okay to feel those emotions, but not to dwell in them.  Often times if dwell in the hard emotions like sadness, or hurt and pain it begins to bring us down.  The keyword there is DWELL.Thinking how much you miss your loved one will spin you into depression.  I believe the key to avoiding that and to live your life as best you can, is to find ways to serve others.  If you have a passion or love for a hobby or talent, find a way to volunteer.  You will be serving others that creates that feeling of joy and helps you deal with the things in your life.

My struggle right now is to not get over zealous in my joy of all that is happening with my book.  Because as much as we can go into depression from the sadness of life, I think we can also become prideful and boastful in our doings from the joys of life.  I do not want to go there.  I love the peace and joy I feel in me right now.

So for my friend Sharon and others who have lost loved ones, or know the time is nearing.  Find those small amounts of joy you can and do them together.  Whether it is playing a game, writing family histories, spending more time with family, taking a quick vacation....whatever "that" is to put it on the good side and not the bad.

We often hear life is all about choices.  Sometimes others choices impacts our lives in negative ways. Sometimes it will be the cycle of life.  Whatever the reasoning, remember you do have a CHOICE!! It may not be the one YOU WANT but the whole key is to find a way through the trial or challenge as best you can.  Dwelling and staying in that "place" should not be an option or a choice. This is the reason I have shared my story, to let all know to have HOPE and they too can do it!!

If you have read Friends...Lessons of Life I would love to hear your story and thoughts!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gearing up for the Book Release Party!!!

I have a lot more appreciation for all those marketing folks out there who strive to get their products, ideas, events etc. out to the public!  It is not only a lot of work but a lot of attention to detail!!! 

This week's results are the following:

The ball is rolling for friends and classmates in Iowa to order the book.
This also applies for friends in Texas and Utah.
I have ordered 50 copies to sell here in Utah to friends. Would you like one?  Contact me!
I have sold one book IN PERSON!!  Yeaaa (but I forgot my sharpie! =(  )
I am on  my way to deliver my first book to a store who will hopefully display them locally!
Several have gotten their book and I am hearing comments, but no reviews yet.  =(
UVU (my alma mater) is writing a book called the 100 Faces of UVU Alumni.  I submitted my story.
And submitted my news item to the UVU Alumni newsletter!

But the most exciting part:


It will be June 8th at 2:00 at a friends home with a view overlooking the beautiful Provo Valley!!  If you would like an invite you have to email me!!!
The FB Event has been created! Did you get yours?
If you are on FB check us out!!
The name tags have been created!!  
The invitations are created and ready to go!!
Three of the seven local people that have a chapter in my book have committed to coming!
There is free food!!!  And....

Books for Sale for $10!!!

Exciting times.....Thank you everyone for your continued support and love!!! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Day Has Arrived!!!

The magic button was pushed, copies ordered, AND my book is now available on Amazon in both paperback AND Kindle version.  Here are the links:

Friends...Lessons of Life (paperback)

Friends...Lessons of Life (Kindle Version)

This has been quite the journey to get the book to this stage.  I don't know if I ever really thought it would happen. I know that I have now opened up my life to the world.  That can either be good or bad.  For me personally, I knew the more I wrote, and the deeper I got involved in the book, the more drive I had to finish it.  I just had to stop and heal along the way.  I was hoping it wold come to this, a book...But I never could really envision the finished product. It is a great feeling to work on something for so long and see it come to life!!!

I think sometimes we say we are going to write a book  or fulfill some life dream, but to actually do it, is a whole other thing!!  I think many start it but never get to the finish line. When you do, your thoughts turn to "Okay what do I  do now."

I am already working on my second book, nothing like this one.  My second book will be a Children's Book.  Stay tuned  for more details for that one.

Please leave your feedback and comments and let me know what you think of the book.  You can read an excerpt on Amazon.  As always....THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Magic Button Was Pushed!!!

What is the magic button you ask?  It is the "Approved" button!  The next step is for Amazon to setup my page for sales!!! The "it" is my book:

I saw a quote by Jack Canfield I want to share: 

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

I made the final corrections to my book on Monday afternoon.  But try as I might, I could not press that approve button.  I knew by pressing that button, I was exposing myself to the world and I was fearful of what others would think, say, do etc.  I know I have come a long way in my life, but there will always be the critics.  I didn't know if I was ready for them.  

Then I went to a meeting on Monday night and the lady that spoke talked a little about fear.  So many things enter our live that make us fear life.  Whether it be an illness, life situation, family, whatever it may be, we all have fear.  And the only way to get past that fear is to face it.

In my book is a chapter called "Putting Aside the Running Shoes."  It is about my friend Tim who lost his wife to AIDS and raised his son alone.  But he wasn't really alone.  He had his extended family, friends, church family and Broadway family that stepped in when he needed it. And that is what we need to remember with our lives.  We are never really alone.

You see my whole life  I feel like I have ran.  And each time I did, I thought life would get better. A long the way I met incredible people and learned valuable lessons.  I realized I was just gathering more pieces of the puzzle to my life.  

On Tuesday morning, I said a prayer and pushed the magic button!!  I have ordered my first 10 copies of the book, and soon it will be available for all!!!  

It is hard for me to imagine that it is finally to this.  This journey that started in March 2002....and it has been a journey!!  I have shed  many tears, a few giggles, gained new love for my friends and stronger faith in my life.  But I think more importantly, I am learning to overcome fear!! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Slow Process.....but an update.

I realized it has been a while since I have done an update, so here goes.  Currently as we speak my book is with two people  in Salt Lake City.  One has read the book, but I learned her husband is a PRINTER of book and doesn't really deal with manuscripts.  However, his wife has read it. We have a mutual friend, and she told her she needed to read it first then they could discuss it.  Womp!!! 

The second person it was  given to has not read it yet.  Much going on in their life. Womp!  Womp!!

But I have also been told, and it was suggested to me to self publish the book rather than try to get it in Deseret Book.  It takes quite some time to do so if it is accepted, and also they will take the majority of the profits.  Hmmmmm

Upon further investigation I found out I can still get it into Seagull Book.  I am thinking about just taking this route. I gave it to another man in my ward to read.  Why?  1) I would like to get a man's perspective.  2) He does alot of public speaking, has authored books etc.  I think his view on it will help me tremendously!!

So that is where the book stands today.  The waiting game.  It is soooo hard!!  But as one friend told me, you have waited this long what's a few more weeks or months!!!  UGH!!  Maybe, but this week I also found out I was losing my job on May 31.  So now I am bit more pressed to get this out!!  I have also been working on  my children's Christmas Book.  I have been trying to be optimistic and hopeful.  It will come.....I need to pull out those patience lessons I learned in the past and brush back up on them!!!

In the mean  goes on.  You do all you can do and let God take care of the rest.  That is what I am doing!!! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

DONNY OSMOND is missing!!!

I bet that caught your attention didn't it?  This is from Chapter 6 of Friends...Lessons of Life.  It is about how I met my friend Cindy which has to do with "Donny Osmond" being missing!!!  I loved Cindy and will always be grateful for her.  Here is a snippet of the first paragraph from her story:

DONNY OSMOND IS MISSING!  The headline in, “Around the Town”, a local newspaper column definitely made me stop and take notice. As an Osmond fan, this was big news to me.  If Donny Osmond was missing, I would have known!  I went back and read the entire story. It was not about the singer at all. Someone had lost her cat, Donny Osmond. I could feel the little girl's heart break. Speculation was that Donny had been kidnapped, because according to Cindy he was a beautiful cat.