Tag Archives: blog tour

Guest Post: Learning to Ask for Help


I was recently invited to be a part of a blog tour for an author, Renée Peterson Trudeau, and was happy to accept. Ms. Trudeau’s new book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, was just released and I’m glad to help spread the word here on my blog.  I’m part way through the book, and am looking forward to reading more!

I had some options when it came to how I’d participate in the blog tour, but quickly settled on an excerpt that Ms. Trudeau’s publisher emailed as possible content.  The title of the excerpt?  Learning to Ask for Help.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at asking for help.  And though hubby and I don’t have children, and our family is just a family of two adults (and two bunnies!), I welcome the insights Ms. Trudeau offers in her new book.

I hope you enjoy the post below…

Warm regards,

Learning to Ask for Help

An Excerpt from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

We all need support — lots of it. We weren’t meant to do everything for ourselves. Assess how you currently navigate challenges: Do you immediately isolate, put on your armor, grab your sword, and head out into the forest to slay the dragon alone? Or do you enlist the help and strategic counsel of other knights and soothsayers who have already weathered similar challenges? What is your typical response to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and isolated?

Next, consider all the ways you could ask for the help you need. What do you do now that you could do more often, or what new steps could you take? Regardless of the challenge — whether it involves parenting, your career, or a relationship issue —  consider expanding your concept of what it looks and feels like to receive support.

Here are a few ideas on how to ask for and receive help in our everyday lives:

•     Let your boss know you’re overextended at work and you’re concerned this will effect the quality of your work. Specifically, you can ask for help prioritizing tasks, request additional staff support, or tap coworkers for help or ideas on how to streamline processes or tasks.

•     Cultivate an existing friendship, or create a support group that will meet your specific needs.

•     Ask a neighbor, another mom or dad, or a single friend to watch your child when you need help. Don’t feel like you have to reciprocate; just practice receiving. If a friend or neighbor has offered help in the past, don’t be shy about taking them up on it.

•     Reach out to a career, leadership, or business coach for support on making a career change or navigating a challenging phase in your professional life.

•     If you usually handle the cooking, ask your partner to make a meal for the family — and then stay out of the kitchen. Let go!

•     If you have a big house chore to handle, like cleaning out your garage or weeding your yard, create a “work crew” of friends. Reward them with a party afterward, and/or offer to swap house tasks the following weekend.

•     For family or parenting issues, ask for support and ideas from a parenting educator or coach. Often churches or local nonprofits offer this for free. If you’re unsure, ask potential mentors to lunch to get to know them first.

•     If you want more emotional or practical help from your partner, set up a date to talk about this and brainstorm ways you could support each other to bring more flow and ease to your days (sometimes you may simply need emotional support).

•     Get your kids involved. Ask them to help fold the laundry, vacuum a room, help with dinner prep, or water the plants. Kids are never too young to share in household or family responsibilities.

•     Practice saying yes! The next time someone offers you something — to buy you coffee or lunch, to watch your cat, to help you move, and so on — accept the gift, smile, and say thank you!

In our Personal Renewal Groups for women, we designate one entire month for “Building a Support Network.” Because so many of us find it hard to receive without feeling that we have to immediately give in return, the homework challenge is to practice receiving support by “allowing” others to help — picking up the kids, running an errand, mailing a package at the post office, receiving a meal — and not reciprocating. I believe because we’re so conditioned to do for others and often put ourselves last, women always find this really difficult. Yet at the same time, they share how deeply rewarding it is to help out and support others just for the joy of it — with no expectation of receiving anything in return. In everyday life, there’s nothing wrong with offering to return a favor (“Thanks for watching Scott; I’ll be happy to watch Elijah next week”), and most people do this often, but I challenge you to balance this with learning the art of receiving without feeling that you owe the other person a thing.

The more comfortable we become modeling giving and receiving with ease, the more our children will learn to do this, too. It’s like building up your support muscle — it takes time and practice.

Maddy, a friend who facilitates our self-renewal circles, once told me she found her four-year-old daughter, Ella, creating a circle on the floor with all of her dolls and animals propped up on pillows. Ella said proudly, “Look, Mama, they’re having a Personal Renewal Group meeting to help each other!”

# # #

Life balance coach/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family.  Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her online at www.ReneeTrudeau.com

Excerpted from the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ©2013 Renée Peterson Trudeau.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com


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The Pulse of Mixed Media – Giveaway Winner!


I’m pleased to announce the winner of my April Giveaway.  Congratulations, Denise Penn!  You’ve won a copy of Seth Apter’s book, The Pulse of Mixed Media!  I’ll mail your book out shortly, and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!

May is just around the corner, and so is my May giveaway!  Next month I’ll be participating in a blog tour for Marney Makridakis’ new book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life.  I’ll be posting about Marney’s book and will be giving away the advance copy I received, so please keep an eye out…

Congrats again on winning The Pulse of Mixed Media, Denise!

Warm regards,

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The Pulse of Mixed Media: Blog Tour Post & Giveaway!


Welcome to my post on Seth Apter’s new book, The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed !  It’s a pleasure to be a part of Seth’s blog tour, and I’m happy to share a bit about his wonderful new book with both my long-time readers and new readers.  Welcome, new visitors!

I received an advance copy of this book last month, and really enjoyed pouring over the pages in order to get better acquainted with the book.  And though I’d love to keep this advance copy for my personal library ‘tis better to give than to receive, so please keep reading for details on how to enter my giveaway!

An Overview

One of the things I love about this book is it’s filled to bursting with two of my favorite things: artwork and insight.  Not only are readers treated to the visual creations of many of the quoted artists, we get to peek inside their hearts, minds, and creative processes as well!  The creative process is often a solitary one, and this book gives us a chance to hear what other artists are thinking and feeling about the art experience.  Another great thing about this book is that it’s really thought-provoking.  Sure, you’re reading the responses of others, but it also helps the reader to think about their own answers to the very same questions the author asks.

Another plus?  Exposure to interesting new artists and their mediums!  For example, after reading “The Pulse” I’d like to try using plaster for the first time.  I’d also like to give encaustic work another try, and add some more dimension to my work.  We never know what seeds of creativity will take hold in our hearts and minds, and this book is chock full of “creative seeds”.

144 pages long and full of both text and original artwork, this book is a treat for anyone who’s interested in the creative process and life as an artist.  Whether you’re just dipping a toe in the lake of creativity or have jumped in and submerged yourself completely, you’re sure to find quotes, artwork and/or questions that resonate with you.

MY answers to 3 of Seth’s Questions

Seth asked those of us participating in the blog tour to answer three questions from the book ourselves.  Here are my responses to three of his questions…

What do you think your preferred art medium says about your personality?

Well, given that my preferred art medium actually includes multiple mediums, I think it says I have varied interests and enjoy the challenge of working in different formats while still staying true to my aesthetic.  I’m most drawn to mixed media, photography, collage, writing, and card design.  And though I love vintage elements, and often incorporate them into my work, I tend to think of my art as “modern vintage”.  Not only do I mix modern elements in with pieces from the past, my work is usually clean and uncluttered, and I believe this can be said about all my work – whether it’s a photo, a collage, or a short story.

How has the internet changed your artistic practice?

I suppose the biggest change the internet has had on my artistic practice is this blog.  I launched it in August of 2010, and life hasn’t been the same since!  Blogs weren’t really on my radar prior to MY blog’s launch, truth be told, so I was a bit late to the party.  Since then, my horizons have definitely expanded.  I still don’t follow a ton of blogs, simply because I don’t have a lot of free time, but I have started following some blogs organically.  They’re mostly the blogs of creative friends/peers – folks I’ve networked with and/or come to know along the way in my own blog journey.

One benefit of the internet and blogging is the wonderful connections I’ve made with folks in my ever-growing network.  I’ve made so many new in-person and online friends, and it’s been great fun! From teaming up with folks like Catherine Ryan HydeDawn DeVries Sokol, and Seth Apter on giveaways featuring their books, to receiving donations for my art journaling program for disadvantaged public school children from some of my wonderful readers, it’s all been a blessing. The more the merrier, I say, and blogging has definitely brought more wonderful people, laughter, kindness, and creativity into my life.  For that, I’m very thankful. 

As for my own blog, it’s been such an incredible experience!  When you’re committed to posting new content twice weekly, you have to keep making/doing/creating.  Artistically, I’ve created so many things that might not have been brought into existence if I wasn’t blogging.  And though some might find it scary to commit to producing new content on a regular basis, it’s been my experience that creating and sharing begets more ideas.  The more I create and brainstorm the more I come up with ideas because I’m exercising my creative muscles, so to speak.

Is creativity built-in, learned or both?

I think creativity is both built-in and learned.  Some people are driven by a need to create – the “obviously” creative people.  The ones destined to become artists, writers, musicians, and so on – regardless of what life throws at them.  They embrace and relish their creativity.  Just about everyone else is on a sliding scale of sorts, ranging from those who enjoy creating but are reluctant or afraid to call themselves artists in their respective medium to those who don’t think they’re creative at all.  I believe that every one of us has the ability to thrive creatively, particularly if we devote the time, make the effort to find our niche, and make creating a regular practice instead of an “every once in a while” endeavor.  This applies to art, cooking, interior design – the works!

How to Enter the Giveaway

One lucky winner will win a copy of The Pulse of Mixed Media. To enter, please complete all three of the steps below:

  1. Subscribe to my blog (via the email feed).
  2. Leave a comment on this post.
  3. “Like” my website’s Facebook Fan Page.

The winner will be drawn at random and will be announced on Thursday, April 19th, so please complete all three steps by Wednesday, April 18th.

Blog Tour Schedule

Here is the complete blog tour schedule, including blog tour “stops” before mine, for those of you who might be interesting in hearing what other bloggers have to say about Seth’s “baby”.

April  2  Rice Freeman-Zachery   
April  3  Stephanie Lee               
April  4  Ali Edwards                  
April  5  Ro Bruhn                      
April  6  Roben-Marie Smith        
April  7  Nancy Lefko                 
April  8  Kelly Kilmer                  
April  9  Trudi Sissons               
April 10 Melody Nunez               
April 11 Dina Wakley
April 12 Stephanie Hilvitz

Thank you for including me in your blog tour, Seth – what a treat!  Good luck with the giveaway, everyone!

Warm regards,

Posted in art, art supplies, books, giveaway, inspiration | Also tagged , , 28 Comments

Author Interview: Kathy Cano-Murillo


Kathy Cano-Murillo, also known as the Crafty Chica, is a woman of many talents.  Not only is she an art and craft celebrity, she’s also an author of both fiction and craft-related books.  I really enjoyed reading her first novel, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter, earlier this year.  Kathy’s second novel, Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing has just been released, and I’m thrilled to be participating in her blog tour via an author interview.


Welcome, Kathy!  I know you’re busy with your blog tour, and hope it’s a smashing success.  I appreciate you taking the time to answer some writing and book-related questions.

In addition to being a writer, I’m also an avid reader and am curious about your reading habits.  I follow you on Twitter and on Facebook, so I know that you’re super busy.  Do you have time to read?  If so, do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

Oh yes! I usually have three books going at a time. One on my nightstand, one on my iPhone Kindle and an audio book in the art studio. I can’t get enough! Mostly fiction.



Both of your novels’ storylines sucked me right in, and as a writer/blogger and artist/crafter I love that they’re both set in the creative world.  Your new novel’s main character, Scarlet Santana, had two strong, creative women teaching and guiding her – her Nana Eleanor and Daisy de la Flora.  Have you had similar influences in your life?  Who are your creative idols?

Certainly! I had a Nana Eleanor, who was just like Nana Eleanor in the book. However, I never was able to spend a lot of time with her and I regret it so much. She always wanted to teach me to sew, but I was too busy and postponed it.  After she passed away, I cried for days because I never even took the time for one sewing lesson from my nana. My husband went out to the store and came home with a $99 machine. “All she wanted was for you to sew,” he said. I started with an easy placemat purse and have not looked back. I made a little sewing shrine to my nana and it is in my art studio. I think of her EVERY time I sit down to sew. After I wrote the book, I realized that Scarlet’s relationship with her Nana Eleanor was the one I should have had with my Nana. I hope my Nana knows that and forgives me!

I have a feeling that she knows, forgives you, and is very happy you’ve taken up sewing.  I know you’ve been writing since you were a child (short stories) and were a columnist for a newspaper in Arizona.  However, an inclination to write doesn’t necessarily translate to noveling.  Was there always a novel inside you waiting to come out, or was it an evolution that began after you successfully published your non-fiction titles?

It was always a far-off crazy dream of mine. I knew I wanted to see my novel on the front table at a bookstore, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I actually believed I could outline a story, begin, finish and sell it. I took it one step at a time and devoted countless hours and energy. Even if nothing came from it, I could die knowing I tried as hard as I could!

What was the biggest surprise when you wrote your first novel?


How much I enjoyed it. I thought it would be very hard, and it was at first, but once I got going, the stories just flowed out of me. The characters became real people in my life with real problems. I felt like I had an imaginary extended family. It also surprised me how sad I felt once I finished the last batch of editing.

How did the experience or process differ with your second novel?  Did you do certain things differently based on what you’d learned the first time around?


Oh yes! I learned what not to do! The process went much faster. When I wrote the first book, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I just wrote what I thought was a compelling book, only to have my editor cut half of it and send me back to my desk to redo it. I learned that every single word, sentence, paragraph and chapter has to move the story forward, otherwise it needs to be cut. That alone saved a lot of time!

What is the most difficult part of the noveling process for you?  Plot development, rewriting, or something else entirely?


Getting started on the outline. It’s a blast to dream up the characters, but you have to give them personality, problems, etc. Sometimes I get stuck. I’ll say “I know where Point A is and where Point Z is, but how do I get my character there?” It’s only difficult in the early stages, once I start writing, it all comes together and fills out and new ideas come. That’s my favorite part of the process!

Marketing is key in any industry – particularly in the competitive and rapidly-evolving world of publishing. What are some of your favorite ways to publicize your new books, and how big of a part does social media play in that?


I’ve always been an avid blogger, long before people used the social media term. I was all over MySpace when it was big, and now Twitter and Facebook. I love technology and connecting with people from all over the world! I make sure to always know the latest and greatest utilities and see if they are a good fit for what I do. I do stay with the biggest platforms, strive to build quality relationships, and don’t let myself get sidetracked with too much online stuff. I don’t want it to get in the way of my writing or crafting!

I know many publishers and authors are using blog tours to promote new titles in lieu of more traditional book tours and signings.  Do you prefer a digital tour, in-person events, or a mixture of both?


I love any kind of tour! My mission is to spread the word far and wide about Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing. The book is very meaningful to me and I’m excited to embrace any platform to share it!

I’m pleased to help you spread the word about your new novel, and thank you for your time.  I wish you continued success both personally and professionally, Kathy!

Warm regards,


*Disclosure: I received an advance copy of Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing for review purposes.

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