Thursday, October 28, 2010

You like me, you really, really like me!

This will be short and sweet as I'm hitting the marketing hard for the book. However, I had a funny interview that I want to share with everyone. Please check it out.

For those who want to buy the book and not go through Amazon, Mystic Moon in Scottsdale is now carrying the book. I'll be part of their author series for talks in 2011. Stay tuned.

Also I went to the Empty Bowls event and took my two grand daughters who are 1 and 2 years old. I didn't want the girls breaking pottery so I asked them to point and tell me if they saw something they liked and I would show it to them.

I held one up a bowl for Rosannah (the older girl) to see and Baby Briannah piped up, "I like it!" That's the first sentence I've heard her say. I'm glad it was something positive.

Speaking of liking it, I had visions of Sally Field when I returned from Mystic Moon, the store with my books on the shelf. The words, "You like me, you really really like me," rolled through my brain. A small victory but my cup (or empty bowl) runneth over in happiness.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Can I Have a Little Help From My Friends?

It’s time to celebrate!!! Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is out and ready for purchase. This one is a paperback (as opposed to the electronic version I emailed you about in March) and is available for $12.99 through You can also order it through and I will donate $1 for each book to prevent skin cancer.

Of course I hope you will buy a copy (or several) and tell your friends, family, coworkers or anyone you think would like to learn how to erase negativity. I have had excellent feedback from the folks who have purchased the book and I truly believe it is something that can have a positive, life-changing effect for those who read it and embrace the message.

However, I really, really, really need your help. I know money is tight for a lot of you and I have come up with a few things that will help me tremendously and won’t cost you anything. Here are a few ways you can help me spread the word.

• Visit one, two or three library websites and request they purchase the book. I need requests to libraries in every state. I also want more people to have access to the book who cannot afford to purchase it.
• Go to Amazon and write a review.
• Call and email your local bookstores and ask them to carry the book. If they get enough requests, they will consider it.
• Post a positive message about the book to your friends on Facebook, My Space, Linked In, or any other social network sites you visit.
• Encourage your friends and family to spread the word as well.
• If you are a member of an organization that books speakers, I would be happy to speak on the Erase Negativity topic. Just let me know.
• If you have a website that takes orders and you place my book on your website, I can offer a commission and I will donate $1 for every book sold to the charity of your choice (I do have to approve the charity though.)

I am doing all the marketing myself. I don’t have a lot of money, but I do have a lot of great friends and family members. If you could help me with this, I really believe we can make a positive difference in the world. Also, thank you so much for your encouragement and assistance. It hasn’t been easy to go for years (okay decades) to publish my first book, but it just goes to show that persistence pays off.

Many thanks,

Sally Marks

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Say "No Thanks" to Holiday Negativity

I was on Cat’s Tales, a blog talk radio show last night. The discussion was on the importance of optimism and how to overcome negativity. I hope you can listen in. Here’s the link.

One of the tips I give in the valiant quest to overcome grouchiness is to avoid nasty people. This is easier said than done, particularly during the holidays when forced family gatherings are the norm. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes even Halloween can be a time when you are face to fork with negative folks who share your DNA.

I wouldn’t say my relatives are particularly negative, although a few are. However, the sarcasm gene runs strong in my family. In fact I think I got a double dose of it. For instance, my mother was a lousy cook. She preferred cigarettes and coffee to developing any culinary skills, so we all assumed food came in two varieties – raw and burnt. She was the butt of numerous jokes. When one of us wanted the bowl of mashed potatoes we would ask, “One lump or two.”

Now the tables have turned and I am the recipient of a few unkind witticisms. The story of my attempt at making gravy for our Thanksgiving feast will live forever in my in-law’s hearts. The darn gravy wouldn’t thicken and not being a patient cook, I shoveled enough flour in the pot to stock a shelf in Walmart. Anyway, the gravy bubbled into some strange mass and I tell everyone it is now a sculpture in the backyard.

I take the kidding in stride because I do not define myself by my expertise as a chef. Gravy is not a regular item on the menu at the house. I grew up on the stuff, but once I left home I rarely made it. If I’m going to clog my arteries, I’d rather do it with chocolate. So it doesn’t hit a nerve if people want to tease me about my cooking.
However, other sarcastic jibes hit closer to the bone. Family favorites were my quest for a job. It took me 13 years to earn my Bachelor’s degree in journalism and after I graduated I searched in vain for 9 months before I landed my first professional job. Once I had the job nobody asked me about it, but while I was unsuccessful in my attempts, the queries abounded.

That was a long time ago. Since that time I have acquired better coping skills, I’ve developed a more positive outlook, and I learned a few pointers that I would like to share with you.

• If someone has a negative comment, ask for their help in solving it. If they think you’re too fat, ask them to walk with you after dinner. Or better yet, tell them you have a two for one coupon to join a gym and you would love for them to accompany you.
• If someone wants to gossip about a family member (usually someone who isn’t there to defend themselves) simply say: “I do not think it is kind or gracious to talk about someone who isn’t here to defend themselves. Does anyone have something more positive we can discuss?”
• If the conversation gets snippy, suggest a new tradition. Go around the table and ask everyone to say one thing they are grateful for. This is the point of Thanksgiving. If they disagree, kindly ask them why everyone gathers together for the holidays. If it is to moan and groan, then let the snippy ones have their own holiday. The moan and groan dinner fest. Unfortunately, you will not be attending.
• Confront with compassion. Many folks do not realize what they are saying is hurtful. Gently call them on it. “Aunt Sue, I love and admire you very much and I know you would never intentionally say anything to hurt me, but I feel your comment about (name it) was unkind. We suffer enough from the negativity in the world from strangers. Why don’t we use this family gathering as a time to help, nourish and be kind to one another?”

These tips may not turn instantly turn the trauma and drama of family gatherings into a love fest, but it is a start.

My last tip is totally self-serving, but my intent to help is sincere.

• Purchase numerous copies of my new book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within and give it to friends and family members for the holidays. It’s $12.99 on Amazon. It should be available mid October 2010. If you’re in a hurry, shoot me an email at and I can have one shipped out right away. You can also get one through and I will donate $1 from each book to help fight skin cancer.

Please remember, we (and our friends and family) did not become negative overnight. It is a habit that was learned. Erasing negativity is a habit that can be learned as well. Why not start now? You don’t have to erase negativity every day, just on the days that you eat.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Rerun

It’s nearly Halloween and the stores are filled with ghoulish d├ęcor. On a recent outing my little granddaughter, Rosannah, discovered some holiday decorations packed more trick than treat. Rosannah is nearly two years old and quite fearless. She runs through the house with her hands in the air, scales the couch and her high chair with the speed of a mountain goat, and follows the family’s Rottweilers through the doggy door, with no worry of being trampled.

However, my plucky, little granddaughter’s bravery melted like a candy bar when she encountered a cackling witch at the local hardware store. Rosannah buried her head into her mother’s shoulder and whimpered, “no, no.” When she looked up, she saw another display – a werewolf. She smiled at the item and said, “doggy?” Then the eyes of the beast turned red. This elicited another whimpering “no, no” and she buried her dimpled face into her mother’s shoulder once again. Even something as innocuous as a skull on a glass elicits a quick retreat.

I’m not sure why the symbol of a skull is so frightening to Rosannah. It makes me wonder if there could be universal phobias that are buried deep within our collective consciousness. I read somewhere that snakes are feared in many cultures – including those areas that have never seen one of the slithering reptiles.

Other phobias are not so universal. For instance, my friend, Michele, has a 36-year-daughter who is afraid of dryer lint. I reminded her of this quirky habit. I assumed she had outgrown it. Nope. If her husband wanted a divorce he could chase her around the house with the lint, much like how her brother used to do when they were kids. But, like I said, the man wants to remain happily married so he takes care of the lint disposal. My normally logical sister, Diane, gets squeamish touching balls of cotton. I always felt I had a sense of power over her as I would valiantly pull the wad of the white padding from bottles of aspirin. Recently I reminded her of this childhood fear. Well, guess what? She still won’t touch the cotton balls.

The point is, there are many things that strike fear into the hearts of humankind. However, there is one demon that, unlike dryer lint, has caused tremendous harm, but holds free reign in society – negativity.

These pessimistic messages take various forms – news reports, gossip, complaints, lack of gratitude, judgmental thoughts, as well as stinging criticism of ourselves and others. Unfortunately, negativity has become so pervasive that many of us accept it as a normal part of life. This is especially true because we are bombarded with negative news 24/7. The reality is there are many more happy incidents in a day, but no journalist is going to lead the 5 o’clock news with a story of good cheer. As the old adage goes, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

As dismal as this may seem, the good news is we still have a choice on whether or not we are going to allow negativity to stain our lives. There is no law that says we have to watch depressing news. We should not feel compelled to listen to others say disparaging things about others. And we should never repeat gossip…period.

Living a happy life is not that difficult. Even in the most depressing situations there are things to be grateful for. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Every morning I recite several things that I appreciate in my life before I get out of bed. This only takes a few seconds, but it creates an attitude of gratitude that I try to embrace throughout the day.

For those who have a little more trouble adopting a positive attitude, there are little tricks you can perform to shift into an attitude of gratitude. One is to pretend you are happy until the real feeling washing over you. The “fake it until you make it” strategy is more powerful than you think. And what do you have to lose except maybe a rotten attitude?

In the meantime, you can always adopt an adult version of Rosannah’s technique when confronted with negative messages. It’s the same thing we teach children who are tempted to take drugs. Turn away and just say no.