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 Proteges and Their New Books Thursday, Jun 9 2022 

On February 23, 2022, I posted about a new position I have with my publisher as a marketing advisor. I’m enjoying coaching authors in ways they can promote their new books. Every author and book are unique in its opportunities to reach their readers. I brainstorm with these authors on how they may take advantage of those avenues, such as reaching potential readers in their particular lane, as well as with press releases, blog posts, and maintaining an informative website.

If I was grading the authors I’ve worked with so far, I’d give them all A+s for their efforts. They fully understand their responsibility to promote their book along with the publisher and are striving to do so to the best of their abilities. Perhaps one or more of their books are exactly what you’re looking for. Following is a bit about each of them and links for ordering.

Steven Denny, author of The Merton Prayer: An Exercise in Authenticity illustrates how words are powerful, both the ones we say out loud and those that ramble in our heads. Author Steven Denny claims that a group of words written by Thomas Merton that begin with “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going” changed his life. And he isn’t the only one. Denny offers fourteen reflections on this prayer with color photographs, scriptural passages, personal stories, and questions designed to stimulate serious and deep reflection on the profound words of the Merton Prayer.

Leaps of Faith: Playful Poems and Fanciful Photos by Marva Hoeckelman, OSB is a quirky, faith-filled book of playful poems and photos depicting contemporary monastic life in America. Sister Marva shakes up some of the stereotypes of vowed religious held by many in secular society with her imagination and personal experiences in this fun, yet thoughtful, book.

Sometimes David Wins is a remarkable book of true stories by community organizer Frank Pierson who spent a career encouraging and training people to organize enough power to take on the Goliaths that sought to do them wrong. Starting with his own family’s checkered history of involvement in the infamous Ludlow Massacre in Colorado in 1914 and continuing through the founding of community organizations in Illinois, New York, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, Pierson weaves his considerable storytelling skills to create a picture of “the world as it could be.”

  • Bending Granite: 30+ True Stories of Leading Change compiled by Tom Mosgaller, Maury Cotter, and Kathleen Paris is an inspiring and informative book for leaders from committee chairs and supervisors to educators and students. Readers are gifted with more than 30 stories from people who share how they brought about positive change under circumstances that were as challenging as bending granite.

These books are available from both the publisher, ACTA Publications, and Amazon.

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

Do You Like Me? Thursday, Feb 4 2016 

How much do you want to ‘Like” Me? I have 11 Facebook pages. Not only do I have a personal page and one for me as an author, I also have one for every one of my books as well as one for my Beautycounter business. Some posts are duplicated but most are targeted to specific groups.

Please “Like” as many as you find of interest. And comment and post! It’s very lonely to post alone. I need your feedback to know if I’m on track with my thoughts and words.

Here is a list of my Facebook pages and the content you’ll find there:

  • Mary K Doyle – My writing and work as an author/speaker
  • Navigating Alzheimer’s – Credible information on dementia and caregiving
  • Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message – Faith and fairytales, especially those by Andersen
  • Grieving with Mary – Grieving and Marian devotion
  • Young in the Spirit – Aging faithfully
  • Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God – Saint Theodora and children
  • Seven Principles of Sainthood – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, also known as Saint Theodora
  • The Rosary Prayer by Prayer – The rosary and Marian devotion
  • Mentoring Heroes – Mentoring
  • Beautycounter By Mary Doyle Brodien – Beauty products, beauty tips, health
  • Mary Doyle Brodien – My personal page for close friends and family

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message Friday, Oct 2 2015 

 

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Have you ever had fun reading a prayer book? Well, you will now. My newest book, Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message, pairs passages from some of our favorite fairy tales (Emperor’s New Clothes, Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier) with Scripture. It’s an unusual way to pray but one that will get you thinking.

Fifty passages are taken from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales and paired with 50 passages from The Message, a version of the Bible that uses contemporary language. For example, an excerpt from The Ugly Duckling is on the left hand page and a verse from the biblical Book of Job is on the right. The Message literally illuminates the literary passage.

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Hans Christian Andersen was one of my favorite childhood authors. My mother read his stories to us from her own childhood book dating back to 1936. The pages were so well-worn and old, they disintegrated in my hands as I compiled this new prayer book.

The credit for the ingenious concept of raising spirituality through literature in this way goes to publisher, Greg Pierce, at ACTA Publications. Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message is one in a series called Literary Portals to Prayer that also includes, Elizabeth Gaskel (North and South, Wives and Daughters), William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth), and Herman Melville (Moby Dick, Typee, Billy Budd). Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austin also will be out soon.

Books are available in a standard paperback size and also an Enhanced-Size with large print for public readings and display.

You won’t want to put these books down before reading cover-to-cover, and you’ll go back to them again and again, finding new inspiration each time. Literary Portals to Prayer are excellent choices for Christmas gifts and to snuggle up with on chilly nights.

You can order Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message, or the other titles in the series, through ACTA Publications, Amazon, or your local bookstore.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Blessing of Bright Stars Friday, Aug 21 2015 

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Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is both heartwarming and heart wrenching. It is an intense and intimate form of care, especially for spouses caring 24/7 for the main person in their lives. They become one as the caregiver must think and feel for their spouse all day, all night. We are their external hard drive as they no longer can tell if they are hungry, tired, anxious, or uncomfortable. Remaining calm, compassionate, and steady is essential.

My husband, Marshall, has Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms have been noticeable for at least 11 years; however, Alzheimer’s can be progressing in the brain for 10 to 20 years before any signs. I cared for Marshall at home for the first 10 years. He now resides in an assisted living home for memory care where I talk to him and/or visit him daily.

Marshall was a larger-than-life personality who continues to light up the room. But our conversations are basic at this point—mostly about how much we love each other.  The stars shine brightest in the darkest of night, and each time he says, “I love you” and “You are the love of my life” is a bright star indeed that I hold close to my heart.

WGN-TV is airing a special on Alzheimer’s at 7pm Central Time on Saturday, August 29. The program, Unforgettable: Living with Alzheimer’s, also will stream live online on wgntv.com and be replayed on Sunday, August 30th at 2pm Central Time on CLTV. I was interviewed for this special along with doctors, patients, and Glen Campbell and his wife, Kim.

You also can listen to an interview I had with Dean Richards on WGN radio on this subject.

  • Read more about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in my new book, Navigating Alzheimer’s. 12 Truths About Caring for Your Loved One, available from ACTA Publications or Amazon.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

 

Turning Flaws Into Assets Sunday, Dec 14 2014 

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose, and that nose helped make him the reindeer we’ve grown to know and love.

The children’s tale of a reindeer with a glowing, red nose was written by Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward. May’s Rudolph is much like he believed himself to be, an outcast who didn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. Rudolph’s bright, red nose made him the brunt of bullying and excluded him from reindeer games. But in the end, it is that nose that saved the day when Santa needs him to lead the way.

The famous story was written for commercial purposes in 1939. The long-time department store of Montgomery Ward gave away coloring books every year for Christmas. To save money, May was hired to write a story they could use in one of these books and publish themselves. More than 2.5 million copies were distributed that first year alone.

The story became even more popular when May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, adapted the story into song. Gene Autry’s recording of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer hit the radios in 1949 and was the second best-selling record of all time until the 1980s.

Montgomery Ward turned over the story’s copyright to May in 1947, ensuring him financial security.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

2014 CPA Book Awards Tuesday, Jun 24 2014 

Writing books takes years of research, writing, and rewriting, and it is rewarding when readers tell me the books made a difference in their life or when they are honored by my peers.

Both Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God and Young in the Spirit received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada book competition.

The awards are not First Place (or Second or Third) but meaningful to me because they were awarded by respected professionals in the industry and competed against significant publishers such as Ave Maria Press, Liguori Publication, Loyola Press, Orbis Books, Georgetown University Press, and Paulist Press.

This is the first year I entered one of my books in this contest. Young in the Spirit also received an Honorable Mention in the Great Midwest Book Festival competition.

Winners were announced at the annual CPA convention, on the CPA website, and in the publication, The Catholic Journalist.

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God is my first published children’s book. It is about Saint Theodora, also known as Mother Theodore Guerin, who founded schools in Indiana and Illinois in the mid 1800s. One of these schools, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, is the oldest liberal arts college for women in the United States and also offers co-ed graduate degrees. I received my Master’s of Arts Degree in Pastoral Theology from this school.

Young in the Spirit explores the impact of spirituality on aging and caregiving. It offers suggestions on ways to build on our faith during these times.

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God was published by the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN and Young in the Spirit was published by my little press, 3E Press.

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God and Young in the Spirit are available on Amazon and my website: marykdoyle.com.You can see the entire list of winners on the CPA website at: Catholic Press Association

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Going Digital Monday, Oct 22 2012 

Newsweek is going fully digital. After 79 years in print, the magazine soon will only be available online. They are one more publisher crying “uncle” and giving up on the financial struggle to publish in print.

As a writer and very small publisher, I understand. I have two unpublished manuscripts at this time that are valuable in content but appeal to a small niche market. Producing such books in hardcopy is often unlikely to recoup the expenses much less make a profit.

Readers sit on both sides of the how-to-read-a-book fence. Some swear by the Ereaders while others only want a paper book they can hold in their hands. And then there are the rest of us who see the value in both.

I admit that reading on my Kindle is easy on the eyes and easy to hold. I enjoy it for the most part, especially for one-time reads, and the embedded links to related websites is a fun bonus. My luggage is considerably lighter than the days of carrying an armful of books and my book shelves are less cluttered. Ebooks and magazines are greener, less wasteful. I especially like the benefit of reading what I want without comments from surrounding people who can see the title.

However, there are hardcopy books and magazines I continue to purchase. I prefer to have a traditional book or magazine if it has a lot of color photos or graphics or ones I use for reference. I like to underline and write in the margins and it’s much easier to find these notations in a regular book.

I also enjoy physical bookstores and libraries over the online ones. It’s heaven for me to stroll through the aisles and be in the midst of all the books, to smell them, and feel their weight in my hands.

As a writer, my greatest concern is the ethereal aspect of digital. We have papyrus from the Egyptians, antique books in museums, and can buy ones over a hundred years in specialized book stores, on ebay, and Amazon Marketplace. This type of longevity can’t happen with digital publications. As the formats change, many will be left in the wind. There will be no retrieval for them.

I work many years gathering and sorting through research, writing and rewriting. I hope my books, especially future ones that may only be available electronically, aren’t among the casualties.

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

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