The Book of Which I’m Most Proud Tuesday, Jun 14 2022 

A question I’ve been asked over the years is which of the books that I’ve written is my favorite. This is a question that is as impossible to answer as which child is my favorite. Each book is special to me. I’m proud of all of all of them for different reasons.

Each was written with an intent to fill a need. Each book was sent out into the world with a mission to offer information and consolation to a particular audience. Most have won awards and sold consistently well over the years. And now I’m very excited about a new book coming out this year, which I will tell you about at the end of this post.

Mentoring Heroes was my first book. Published in 2000, this book centered on my recognition through newspaper articles I’d written that successful people attributed their progress to the mentors who helped them along the way. I also recognized that women’s lives are complicated and multi-layered with family, household, and work responsibilities, and therefore, more challenging in finding ways in which to be mentored. Mentoring Heroes was widely used in university Women Studies programs and by clubs and groups. Today, I know that the book is dated in the way that it was printed–with copper plates and blue-line editing as opposed to today’s digital print method–and due to men participating more in household responsibilities and technology offering more ways in which to be mentored. Yet, the overall benefits and need for mentoring remains relevant.

The Rosary Prayer by Prayer, Grieving with Mary, and Fatima at 100. Fatima Today were inspired by a devotion to the Virgin Mary. These were the types of books I wanted to write since childhood. Praying with Mary should always lead to a greater devotion to her son, Jesus. Mary is our heavenly mother, and like a good mother, she loves us dearly, promotes peace among all creation, and encourages us to care for one another as Jesus does. Praying with her offers a sense of calm in a world where this type of alliance is greatly needed.

With the The Rosary Prayer by Prayer readers can pray along simply by following pages showing the placement on the rosary, the prayer to be prayed, illustrations by Joseph Cannella, and a reflection. Grieving with Mary is a best-seller that aligns praying with Mary in a wide variety of ways during times of loss. And Fatima at 100. Fatima Today is a little booklet that reviews Mary’s messages in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 and how those messages remain vital in attaining peace.

Seven Principles of Sainthood Following Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God are books about a woman who immigrated to the United States to teach children and young woman. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, also known as Saint Theodora, and a small group of sisters opened schools throughout rural Indiana and Illinois in the mid to late 1800s, a time when Catholic schools were greatly needed and in which this band of women faced great obstacles. The sisters also opened a school for the higher education of women when women had little-to-no choice for such an opportunity. Seven Principles was written for adults and Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God was written for children. I was inspired to write these books after attending Saint Mary of the Woods College, the school Saint Mother Theodore founded, as well as her canonization in Rome, Italy.

Young in the Spirit was published in 2013 when I was closing in on one of those big decade birthdays (I was 60 in 2014-Yikes!). Big birthdays spark contemplation on where we came from, how we arrived at a particular point in time, and where we anticipate the future to bring us. One of the areas of contemplation for me was in regard to my faith—how it changed through the years and what I could offer the Church now. Those thoughts are at the heart of Young in the Spirit.

Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message was part of a series initiated by my publisher, Greg Pierce. The series offers a unique way to promote prayer by pairing Scripture verses with passages from classic writings. I chose Hans Christian Andersen in remembrance of my mother and her childhood book, a 1936 edition of Anderson’s Fairy Tales, the same book from which my mother read to me.

Navigating Alzheimer’s, The Alzheimer’s Spouse, and Inspired Caregiving was born from a need recognized by Pam Sebern, the director of a memory care home where my husband resided in his last years. Pam asked for books to help families understand dementia and better care for their loved ones while caring for themselves along the way. She felt that the books available at that time were too medical and needed a perspective from one who lived the experience. As my husband suffered from symptoms from Alzheimer’s disease for more than 15 years, and I was an author with substantial writing experience, Pam believed I could fulfill that need.

Navigating Alzheimer’s covers the basics of Alzheimer’s and ways in which we can work with our loved one. It offers family members and caregivers a clear overall of the changes they’re likely to notice. The Alzheimer’s Spouse also covers the basics of the disease but from the perspective of the spouse. Alzheimer’s touches every aspect of both spouses in devastating ways. Inspired Caregiving provides readers with a daily/weekly boost of inspiration. Each weekly reflection follows a rotation that includes a photo, prayer, thought, activity, stretch, affirmation, quote, and bit of humor to offer guidance, encouragement, improved self-talk, and maybe a smile. All three of these books are recommended by memory care facilities across the country.  

My next book, which currently is in publication, is less serious. I believe readers and I are in need of opportunities that promote peace, beauty, love, and inspiration. For this reason, my newest book, tentatively called The Gifts of Public Gardens, showcases vivid photos of nature that I have taken at public gardens paired with short, thoughtful poems. My intent is for readers to escape into the positive, wonderous gifts around us. I will keep you posted on when this book will be available.

If you’ve read any of my books, please post a review on Amazon. Readers rely on these comments to find books best suited to their needs.

Author Marketing Advisor Wednesday, Feb 23 2022 

I’m excited to share with you that I have a new position as an Author Marketing Advisor with ACTA Publications. I’ll be working with authors inspiring them and informing them of the competition they face, the responsibilities of the publisher, the need for authors to self-promote, and especially, ways in which they can bring their book to the attention of readers. In addition to several of my books being published by ACTA, I’ve also worked for them as a trade rep and wrote a blog reviewing their books as they were released.

After researching, writing, and rewriting for several years, authors balk at the thought of having to market their book, as well. However, the fact is, publishers package books, align the books with distributors, print and warehouse copies, and fulfill orders. Their marketing consists of listing them on Amazon, in catalogues, and on their website; sending out review copies; and producing sell sheets. They may also nominate books for awards.

Authors must do the rest to alert the public of their new book. Considering the millions of books released each year (more than 4 million books were published in the U.S. in 2019) in addition to those previously published and still available (perhaps as many as 20 million worldwide), an author’s new title is just one in a stadium-sized library stacked floor to ceiling.

After all the time and passion an author invests in a book, it is of little value if no one knows it exists. Authors who actively get the word out about their books do sell copies. The rest see their books collecting dust on their own shelves.

Publisher Greg Pierce at ACTA Publications made an ingenious move in hiring an Author Marketing Advisor. By doing so, he’s investing more money in the title, but also, and more importantly, in its success. In the end, publisher and author should benefit much more than they would without this guidance.

As authors, we don’t just write books. We start a business of book selling that may even include public speaking, one of the most lucrative ways to sell that book. The challenge for most of us is that, although we may be powerful storytellers in print, we are not particularly business minded. The marketing, selling, payment collection, bookkeeping, and tax filing make us uncomfortable. We find we must push ourselves to complete these other tasks.

It’s all very time-consuming. We must decide how much time and money we are comfortable investing in our book’s success and where we want to focus. Does our budget and time allow for building and maintaining a website and/or blog? Are we active on social media and want to post about the topic of our new book? Are we socially active and able to talk up our book or make cold calls to organizations that will find our book of interest?

Publishing our books is like giving birth to children. Our responsibility is to send them out into the world, especially if they serve a public need. Creative marketing offers countless opportunities to do just that.

*Have you read my books? You can find all of them on my website, most on Amazon, and some on ACTA Publications. Check out my newest ones, Inspired Caregiving, The Alzheimer’s Spouse, Navigating Alzheimer’s and my best sellers, Grieving with Mary and The Rosary Prayer by Prayer.

*Winter Photo taken at Cantigny Park, Winfield, IL, 2/18/22

A Few Extra Bucks in the Pocket Thursday, Dec 3 2020 

Aging has its perks. Sure, time takes its toll on our bodies resulting in a full range of chronic aches and pains, but with age, also comes a few privileges. Senior discounts and early access to stores in this season of COVID are two of those little blessings. And I do enjoy shopping when I have stores such as Target, Jewel, and Aldi, and the availability of employee assistance, all to myself.

Most retail stores offer discounts on particular days. Kohl’s is every Wednesday while Walgreens offers senior discounts on the first Tuesday of the month, if you are a Balance Reward member. Signing up for that takes only a minute.

But think beyond retail. AMC has a senior policy. So do some utility, insurance, and phone companies such as Sprint and T-Mobile. I recently asked AT&T if they offer senior discounts. They do not (at least for my plan) but they gave me a $15 credit just because I asked.

Traveling? Check out Budget, Avis, Hertz, Delta, Marriot Hotels, and Motel 6. Attending a performance or going to a museum? Ask for that discount before purchasing tickets. You’ll be surprised how often a few dollars will be subtracted.

The trick to getting those reductions is to ask for them and follow their rules. The qualifications vary greatly from one company to another. Some simply respond to the request, while others need proof of age by showing identification. Others offer those discounts on special days or when booking through AARP. In fact, AARP can point you in the direction of many of these benefits.

Check company websites or call before shopping. You have nothing to lose by asking.

***

Pet a Pet to Ease the COVID Blues.

The COVID Affect Tuesday, Apr 7 2020 

You’re not worried about yourself. You don’t fit the demographics for anything other than a normal viral reaction. So why should the restrictions apply to you? Why should you suffer because someone else may get sick?

No matter your race, nationality, or lifestyle, COVID-19 will affect you dearly. The world will not be the same after this. If you are fortunate enough not to be personally touched, or know anyone who is, you still will be affected financially. Your employment opportunities, investments, insurance premiums, product availability, neighboring shops, bars, and restaurants you frequent, and countless other factors will be negatively impacted by the Corona virus. The more people infected, the longer and more intense the results.

Even healthy young adults I know who believe they had or have the virus tell me COVID was a tough illness to get through. It isn’t anything you want to be flippant about. If you do get it, you are likely to be down for the count for several weeks.

Please be responsible for the sake of the vulnerable and yourself. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, respect social distancing until notified, and be a beacon of light. Call or text friends, send note cards to those living alone, post uplifting quotes, music, video, and photos. Before we know it, we will be longing for quiet time at home again.

***

Have you seen my latest post on Mary K Doyle Books, The Sacred Pit?

Direct Sales: Your Business Your Way Monday, Apr 3 2017 

My husband, Marshall, used to say that sales is the one business that has no limits. You control your amount of income and the number of hours you want to put into your career.

When my children were young, I sold Avon and Tupperware. These companies allowed me to make some good money with the flexibility needed while caring for three little ones.

Today we have many home-based direct sales businesses to choose from. Along with some personal contact, such as home parties, most lean more toward the utilization of social media than door-to-door sales as Avon once did. But they all offer an opportunity to own a business, be your own boss, and make it as successful as you want it to be.

Every company has their own twist in this very competitive market. For example, Beautycounter offers safer cosmetics and personal care products. Pampered Chef is known for quality kitchen items. And my favorite, Young Living, carries a wide-range of pure essential oils. I promote Young Living while also pursuing my writing career, public speaking, and working as a trade rep for my publisher.  (If you decide to purchase or join Young Living, please use my full name as a reference – Mary Doyle Brodien)

Other home-based direct sales companies include Scentsy, Jamberry, Younique, tastefullysimple, 31 Bags, Norwex, Shaklee, Damsel in Defense, Stella & Dot, Rodan & Fields, Origami Owl, Lilla Rose, and Mary Kay.

Self-employment comes with as many challenges as there are rewards. If you’re interested in following the direct-sales path, here are some points to consider:

  • Will you be selling a product you personally use and value?
  • Is there a start-up fee or requirement?
  • Must you meet a certain quota?
  • Do you have friends, family members, and neighbors who you believe will be interested in what you sell?
  • Are you comfortable reaching out and talking up the products you sell?
  • Are you disciplined enough to market, sell, collect, and maintain records for tax purposes?
  • Do you want to work this business as your part-time or full-time employment?
  • If this is your sole income, can you support yourself when sales are low or non-existent?
  • Can you afford your own medical insurance?
  • Are the hours you hope to work this job doable with your current family/employment situation?

(To see my posts on topics relating to my book, go to Mary K Doyle Books.)

Your Business Your Way Sunday, Apr 3 2016 

DSCN3746

My husband, Marshall, was a born pitchman. He easily could entice customers to happily empty their wallets on the products he showed them. He often said that he loved the challenge of sales because it is a profession that has no limits to your income.

If you enjoy sales and are interested in building your own business, consider joining a movement to bring safe products into the hands of everyone. Become a Beautycounter consultant and your income is only limited by your earning desire. Put in a handful of hours a week for some fun money. Make it your career, and you will earn a very comfortable living on our generous compensation plan. Some of our 11,000 consultants earn as much as 6 figures.

Once customers try our products, they’re hooked. They not only return to replenish the products they use, they’re eager to try others. Beyond the assurance of being among the safest available, these products perform fabulously. Our line is continuously increasing and appropriate for babies to adults. And we have cosmetics for the look you want from everyday to runway.

Beautycounter is a thriving three-year-old company that covers the United States and Canada with a mission to offer exceptional personal care products without known toxins and dangerous chemicals. Believe it or not, this is not the industry norm.We have chosen to ban the use of more than 1,500 ingredients deemed even marginally unsafe.You can see our entire product line and list of ingredients here on our site.

Contact me if you want to have your own business, be a part of an important mission, offer amazing products, and enjoy the camaraderie of a friendly and fun team of peers and mentors. I love this company and am happy to tell you more!

©2016, Mary K Doyle

 

Statistics and Magician’s Wife Tuesday, Feb 23 2016 

 

Storytelling throughout history was the passing on of the essence of an event. Specific details were not necessary. It was a person’s emotional interpretation of a significant occurrence. The heart of the story was what was important.

These stories would get passed down by word of mouth, so they altered along the way. I recently heard on the science program, Nova, that every time we recall a memory, we edit it. It becomes less and less accurate because our imagination fills in bits and pieces of things that may have happened, and then those imagined additions become part of the memory.

Today, we do more reporting than storytelling. We want specific details—time, dates, and numbers. When I wrote Sunday feature articles for the Chicago Tribune, three things were to be included: real voices, meaningful quotes, and statistics. Stories needed to be about people with real concerns, told in their own words, and backed up with relevant data.

Statics are an important element in substantiating a story. They tell a level of truth in numbers. Although it was my least favorite college class, I do realize its significance from sports and politics to science and demographics. However, in all reality, even those numbers are a matter of interpretation and can be twisted.

WordPress offers a stats page for each of my blogs. It shows the number of views, likes, visitors, and comments for every post and even where those viewers are located. These numbers give me an idea of who is reading my blogs and whether they are of interest to anyone. There is a wide variation of numbers for many reasons including relevancy of content, writing style, and the time and day of posting.

My most viewed post ran back on August 19, 2013. It had 777 views on WordPress plus countless others via Facebook reposting.

For those who might like to re-read it, and those who never saw it, here it is again:Top 10 Ways You Know You Are a Magicians Wife

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Best Business Advice Tuesday, May 20 2014 

Experience has taught me that there are no results without action. You have to dream, develop your idea through research and investigation, and then make it happen with time and effort.

Nearly 15 years ago when I interviewed author/entrepreneur/nurse/public speaker Carol Havey for my book, Mentoring Heroes, she said she based her seminars on three key steps to decision-making. These steps are:

  1. Figure out what you really want.
  2. Consider what it will take to get it.
  3. Decide if you are willing to pay the price.

Carol’s steps sound simple, but there are many people who go into business without thinking these things through to begin with and then cannot, or do not want to, do what they need to do to achieve their goal.

Another one of the 52 women highlighted in Mentoring Heroes, Harriet Gerber Lewis, who was Chairman of the Board of Gerber Plumbing Fixtures, Corp., said one of the most important business lessons she learned from her father was to respect every employee. Each one is an integral part to the company’s success.

Following are some other good business pointers, mostly from my family. Please comment and add your own to the list:

  • Never tell a customer “No.” Give them another option. If they ask if we print posters, which technically we do not, tell them the largest size we print and that it fits in a standard-sized frame. (Photographer Ron Grey)
  • If someone else can do it, so can you. (My husband, Marshall Brodien, creator of all TV Magic products)
  • You don’t get the order if you don’t ask for it. (My sister, Patti Brewer, financial advisor)
  • Don’t spend more on your business than you make in profit. (My practical father, John Doyle, who was an engineer for the phone company)
  • At the end of the day, ask yourself what you’ve learned. If you want to succeed, you can’t remain stagnant. You have to learn, apply, and grow. (My daughter, Lisa Kluge, pharmaceutical rep)
  • Don’t assume you know what the customer wants. Ask questions, listen, and be honest. (My son-in-law, Chief Petty Officer, Steven Lukasiewicz, USN)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

There’s Always Laundry Friday, Nov 15 2013 

Someone once said that she wanted laundry to count. When asked what she did that day, she said she should be able to add laundry to the list.

Many of us wash, dry, fold, and put away a load or two of laundry every day. It’s something that’s added to the countless other activities we run around doing. But it isn’t the type of thing we tell others. When asked about our day, we don’t respond, “Great. I threw in a load of laundry.” Unless we spent the day in the laundry room, we don’t consider it mentionable.

The necessary, mundane, routine activities consume most of our time and are vital to getting from one day to the next, and yet, don’t seem to count. It is as if our whole day, our whole life is insignificant. So how do we make it all meaningful?

In addition to our outside work, ministries, and activities, there is an endless list of tasks that keep a household running: caregiving, laundry, cooking, cleaning, house maintenance, grocery shopping, business calls, and so many errands. If we have children there is an extensive list involved with them as well.

Perhaps acknowledging the importance of our work begins with a title. Years ago women came up with “Domestic Goddess” to replace housewife and homemaker. It’s not a bad name but does not recognize the men who fill this position. An appropriate title that recognizes both men and women and all of the responsibilities involved is needed.

Family CEO or President are starters but the position is bigger than that because, not only are we overseeing all of the work, we also must complete most it ourselves. We are more than President, more than CEO.

A new friend recently told me she is considered essential to her company. So perhaps that is our title. Essential. If we are completing all of these vital responsibilities, we are – Essential.

As the saying from Saturday Night Live once went, “Now aren’t we special!”

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Accountability for Success Tuesday, Jun 11 2013 

Building a profitable business appears more challenging today but taking a different approach may turn all of that around.

Originally published in 1994, The Oz Principle by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman continues to make a valid point that is useful personally as well as professionally. The premise is that businesses are not successful because we as individuals and organizations are not accountable. We don’t recognize and take responsibility for our shortcomings and failures.

Instead, we look outside of ourselves at all the challenges and obstacles. We blame the economy, unproductive employees, vendors, the government – basically anyone and anything other than ourselves for the decline.

According to the authors, this  woe-is-me mentality is unproductive and deems ourselves as victims. It focuses on what difficult things are happening to us, how impossible the situation is. We see ourselves as trapped, stifled, and unable to succeed. We then are unable to make the necessary changes for success.

On the other hand, if we honestly assess the situation and take responsibility for our decisions, actions, or non-actions we can rectify the problems and move into a more positive position. The questions would then be, what could I have done differently? What can I do now? And then we need to take action.

Yes, this means that we have to be accountable for our mistakes but we no longer are victims. When every employee is allowed and encouraged to take ownership and is involved, the success of the organization and every employee is inevitable.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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