Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun with Award-Winning Author Maria Dismondy
Episode 12929th September 2023 • Total Michigan • Cliff Duvernois
00:00:00 00:29:25

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Anything that gets kids reading deserves an A+. Maria Dismondy decided to roll the dice, leaving behind her secure teaching job for the world of being a writer. And it has paid off for her in spades. Not only selling thousands of copies of her books but also spreading a positive message to over 20,000 students. Her latest book, Buddy the Bucket Filler, is now for sale.

Links:

Her Website: https://mariadismondy.com

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@cardinalrulepress

To get these episodes sent directly to your inbox, visit https://totalmichigan.com/join

Transcripts

Maria Dismondy:

I don't know if it was so important to getting people to

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buy my book, but it was getting the

message of the book into the world.

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If you look at the current society

and things that you'd like to change.

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I think one way you can do that

is by educating youth and gearing

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them in a different direction.

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that is one of the biggest advantages is

helping our youth do something different.

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So you don't see what we're seeing.

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Cliff Duvernois: Hello everyone and

welcome back to Total Michigan, where

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we interview ordinary Michiganders

doing some pretty extraordinary things.

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I'm your host, Cliff DuVernois.

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And this introduction is

going to take me a minute.

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So just sit back and relax.

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We got an award winning author

with us today of 11 books, and you

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probably know some of the books.

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Some of our early ones, actually a

"Juice Box Bully, Empowering Kids

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to Stand up to Others", as well

as "Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun".

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Which makes me just want to try that.

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Okay.

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Having the courage to be who you are.

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And of course she's here talking about her

latest book, "Buddy, the Bucket Filler".

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And she's been featured in the

Detroit free press NPR, Fox News,

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Time, and the list goes on and on.

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She owns her own publishing company.

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And if she wasn't busy enough

with her husband and kids.

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She's running a non profit.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please

welcome to the show, Maria Dismondy.

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Maria, how are you?

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Maria Dismondy: Great.

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Thanks for having me.

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That was really fun.

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And if I was having a bad day, I would

just need you to say that one more time.

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Cliff Duvernois: I'll have this

on audio so you can listen to

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it as many times as you want.

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Bad day play.

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Yes, exactly.

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All right, let's talk about you.

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What do you want to know?

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Where are you from?

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Where did you grow up?

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Maria Dismondy: I grew up in

Michigan in Canton, Michigan.

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Okay.

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And then I went to

Michigan State University.

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And, then now I'm in Novi.

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Cliff Duvernois: So what did you

study when you went to Michigan State?

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Maria Dismondy: Elementary education

and English as a double major.

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And I thought I was going to be

a teacher for my entire life.

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Cliff Duvernois: What made you think

you were going to be a teacher?

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Maria Dismondy: because I played teacher.

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My, all the time when I

was little and I loved it.

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Cliff Duvernois:

Everybody's playing house.

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You're playing school.

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Maria Dismondy: I was playing

school and I loved it.

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And I loved children.

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And I thought that you went to

school and you became something.

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And that's what you did

for the rest of your life.

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Cliff Duvernois: So

you get out of college.

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Now, did you actually become a teacher?

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Maria Dismondy: I did and I loved it.

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So I taught for 11 years and

that's where I went on the journey

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of writing a children's book

was when I was in the classroom.

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Cliff Duvernois: Oh, interesting.

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Okay.

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Now, had it always been your

thought to write a book?

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Maria Dismondy: No, no.

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Apparently I don't have plans.

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They just Come to me.

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Come to me!

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No, I, I taught in Plymouth, Canton

and my classroom was super diverse.

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I had a lot of, Indian American students.

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They were so kind.

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Their families invited me

to their home for dinners.

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They gifted me saris,

these beautiful gowns.

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They would send in food with

their children to give to me.

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I mean, there were just

these amazing humans.

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And so I always, when I chose books

to read to my students, I wanted

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to make sure I was representing

the whole picture of my classroom.

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And it was really difficult in the

year:

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A lot of books that talked about courage

and these character traits featured

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teddy bears and dinosaurs and cats.

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There wasn't a lot of

realistic fiction at the time.

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And I thought, huh, maybe I should

write a book that talks about courage

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and is from the perspective of a real

human child and has a diverse classroom.

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And so that's what I did.

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Cliff Duvernois: So your first

book, "Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun".

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So I got to ask the question

because I was reading up on

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"Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun".

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Is that semi autobiographical?

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Maria Dismondy: Semi.

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Yes.

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it, this is my hair and we're

at the end of summer right now.

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It's huge.

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And yes, I was teased for my big hair.

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I was teased for the weird foods

that I ate, which I still do.

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yeah, it really, it, it sparked

the inspiration for the story.

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It really did.

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I was teased for who I was and I tried to

change to, make other people like me and

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that didn't work because I am who I am.

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and so yeah, that's where the story

was inspired from, definitely.

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And my mom really did give me

"Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun"

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for lunch and I loved it.

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and she had to duplicate it, but the

reason she gave it to me initially

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was because she didn't have any bread.

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So she thought, okay, well, I'll

put my leftover "Spaghetti in a

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Hot Dog Bun" and she'll eat it.

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So quirky.

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Cliff Duvernois: Oh, I love that.

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So you've had the idea for

"Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun".

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You put it together in a book.

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Sales take off.

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You have gotten a lot of

love for this book online.

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I checked Amazon and it's like 2,

900 plus four and five star reviews.

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Maria Dismondy: Yeah, it might be around.

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Yeah, something like that.

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Yeah, it's interesting.

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I think teachers and families

just connected with the character

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because she is in this situation

where someone's being unkind to her.

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And then that person needs help.

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And she knows the right

thing to do is to help him.

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So I think people can connect with that.

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And again, like I said, in 2006,

when I wrote it,:

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was released, there weren't a

lot of realistic fiction books.

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So it made a name for itself.

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And even today, after writing 11 books,

I don't think it's the most well done

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book of mine by any means, but it's

still selling more than any other title.

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Cliff Duvernois: Were you really

prepared for the reception

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that you got from this book?

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Maria Dismondy: No, I was not and

My dad was mad that I quit teaching,

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that I resigned from teaching.

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Because he said how are you

gonna have health insurance?

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And I said, I'll figure it out But I

started to realize gosh I can write

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and speak at schools and I can make an

income that is very close to what I was

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making as a teacher and do less work.

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And at the time we were starting

a family and so I just took

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the risk which It's a big risk.

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And, my husband believed in me.

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So that was, helpful.

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We were living in a one

bedroom home at the time.

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And, I found out I was pregnant right

when the book was about to come out.

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So it was a big risk to do

this and to leave that income.

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But we did it.

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Cliff Duvernois: And you talked

before about speaking engagements.

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And I know that you've been to a lot

of schools talking about your book.

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How important was that to

getting people to buy your book?

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Maria Dismondy: I don't know if it

was so important to getting people to

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buy my book, but it was getting the

message of the book into the world.

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That was my goal and I'm not really

sure how people bought the book.

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Maybe they heard about

it from their friends.

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We have surveyed people and word of

mouth has always been our number one

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answer on how people find our books.

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But, right before COVID, I had a

really busy, lineup the year before.

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And I think it was in four weeks,

I was in front of almost like 15 to

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20, 000 children speaking in schools

with the message of these books.

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So that to me is Whoa, I know the world

is really big and people get overwhelmed.

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What can I do to make a difference?

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But I really felt the needle moving

when I was going into schools.

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Cliff Duvernois: Yeah, if you're talking

in front of 20, 000 people, that's a lot.

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Maria Dismondy: And little people like

little friends who are growing up and who

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are going to be our leaders and they're

going to be raising other humans and

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they're going to be shaping our world.

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So it just felt really important

to me and I love my job.

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Cliff Duvernois: When did you start

doing the speaking engagements?

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Maria Dismondy: First book in 2008.

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I started doing the speaking

engagements in:

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Cliff Duvernois: And where

did the idea come from?

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For doing speaking engagements come from?

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Maria Dismondy: Being a teacher.

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yeah.

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So I had been a teacher sitting in

the room when authors had come in.

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I was part of helping to find authors.

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And I saw the crazy prices

that we were paying.

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And, I thought, I could do this

for a lot less because I'm not as

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experienced, but I can totally do this.

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Cliff Duvernois: And what was

it like going out and giving

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that first presentation?

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Maria Dismondy: it was scary,

but I'm not afraid of risk.

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I got the adrenaline going and everything.

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But, I think the hardest part

is I like to get feedback.

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And so I have to like mentally prepare

myself for constructive feedback.

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But that's what really helped me to become

the speaker I am today is from those

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teachers giving that feedback to me.

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Cliff Duvernois: And so you've got

Spaghetti in a Bun out there, and you've

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got 10 other books that are out there.

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You've reached, you've

released the, what was it?

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The pink tiara?

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Maria Dismondy: Yeah, Pink Tiara

Cookies for three, a lot of them

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are from my personal experiences.

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So I grew up in a neighborhood

and it was the three of us.

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There was three friends.

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And one always felt left out and it seems

as though, I have my own children now, it

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seems as though I can see that threesome

is like a, is a tricky, it's a triangle.

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So I guess I take my own personal

experiences and put them into

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these realistic fiction stories.

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Cliff Duvernois: Where

do you say to yourself?

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Hey, I think this would

be a good idea for a book.

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Maria Dismondy: I actually do my research.

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And I look to see if there's

anything like it out there.

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And I make sure that if there

is, I'm doing it differently.

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And really the goal is that there

isn't anything out there like that.

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And that's when you release it,

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Cliff Duvernois: And between all these

books and the speaking engagements

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that you're doing, just a ballpark

number, how many of these speaking

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engagements do you think you've done

over the last, what, 15, 16 years?

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Maria Dismondy: Yeah.

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I'm not sure what the answer is.

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But, if you take 10 years and

I was doing about 60 a year.

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Whoa.

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huh.

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Nice.

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Yeah.

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That's a lot.

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Yeah.

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It was really tiring too.

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I actually, I got to the point

where I was like, Ooh, I'm tired.

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This is tiring.

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And, I said I wasn't

going to do them again.

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And so I, it's been about two or three

years that I've done speaking like

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in school speaking engagements, but

I recently got an offer for a school

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that was two miles from my house.

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And I said, how can I turn this down?

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So I'm back in it.

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Cliff Duvernois: Yeah.

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Very short commute there.

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Yeah.

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Nice.

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I'm back.

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And on top of all of this, as you're

going about and releasing these books.

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At some point, you decided to

start a publishing company.

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Maria Dismondy: Yes,

again, not in the plan.

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So I hope people are

hearing the theme in this.

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don't plan out your life because, you can

have these awesome detours that you go

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down and they take you to great places.

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yeah, I really.

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I was getting tired of the limelight.

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me, me, me, me, me, like

that's not who I am.

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so I thought, what if I could teach

others and give this gift to others?

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And so I started Cardinal Rule Press.

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I don't, I think the year.

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I'm not going to be able

to give you the year.

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Maybe 2015, 2016.

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And people submit their manuscripts

to us and we have a team of

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individuals who look through them.

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And we decide what we're going to publish.

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And so it's really great because

I'm allowing other people to use

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their voices and experiences and

get those messages into the world.

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Cliff Duvernois: And your latest

book, Buddy the Bucket Filler.

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So talk to us a little bit about that.

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Maria Dismondy: Yeah.

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So again, I was walking, the dogs,

we have two dogs, and, I was telling

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my husband about a mentor friend of

mine and, she was a publisher as well.

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And she had called me about some

technical issues she was having.

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And we were talking and she just

said how she was tired and she

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was thinking about retiring.

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And she wasn't sure what to do

with her publishing business.

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So I'm telling this story to my husband.

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Husband as we're just walking.

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And he said, you should buy it.

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And I was like, I don't have enough

money to buy a publishing company, . And

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he's you don't pay for all at once,

you take out a loan, you buy it.

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So I bought it.

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So I bought her company.

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So the bucket filler books

are, from Carol McLeod.

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She used to live in Michigan

and now she lives in Florida.

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And so in July of last

year, I bought her company.

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She retired.

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And she said, you know what?

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I think we should do a book together.

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And so that's where this book was born.

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Cliff Duvernois: And what's

the idea behind the book?

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Maria Dismondy: Yeah, so bucket

filling is the idea that Carol,

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got many years ago at a conference.

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She was inspired that we all walk

around with these invisible buckets.

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So I actually want to turn to the page

that shows you what kind of You want to

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imagine as you're going through life.

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So here we are.

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We're at a restaurant.

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You can see all these invisible buckets.

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So everyone has this invisible

bucket and there's hearts and

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stars when you're feeling good.

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You've got good thoughts and feelings.

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And sometimes your bucket is empty

and that's when you don't have

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those good thoughts and feelings.

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So the whole concept around bucket

filling is that when you do and say

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nice things to others and to yourself,

you're filling your bucket and it's full.

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So it's a visual for children.

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And when you're not kind to others, you're

dipping into their bucket, and you're

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taking those things away from someone.

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And if you're not kind to yourself,

you're taking things away from yourself.

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And then there's also a lid, you

can put a lid, those are like the

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boundaries we can set for ourselves

and we can help others to set as well.

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Carol, her and I both published

our first books around the same

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time from the same publisher.

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So we have known each other for years.

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And the bucket filling concept went crazy.

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And, her books alone have

sold 3 million copies.

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Nice.

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Yes.

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And so that's where we, she said, I want

to write a book with bucket filling.

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And I said, you've never written

a realistic fiction book.

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So let's combine my craft

with yours on bucket filling.

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And that's where this book came in.

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Cliff Duvernois: Absolutely.

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Love that for our audience.

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We're going to take a quick

break to thank our sponsors.

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And when we come back, Maria is

going to continue to dazzle us

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with the life of a writer and all

the goodies that comes with it.

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We'll see you after the break.

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Hello everyone.

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And welcome back to Total Michigan,

where we interview ordinary Michiganders

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doing some pretty extraordinary things.

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I am your host Cliff Duvernois.

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Today, we're chatting

with award winning author.

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Maria Dismondy.

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Just real quick, I have to give a shout

out to the people at Charlin' Used

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Books in Frankenmuth for allowing us

to use their place to record today.

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So make sure to show them a

little bit of love when you're

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going through Frankenmuth.

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Maria, so before the break, we were

talking about Buddy the Bucket Filler.

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and, you were actually telling me some

interesting facts actually about the

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book, and I want to make sure that

we capture those for the audience.

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So, if you would...

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Share with us those facts.

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Maria Dismondy: Yes, I think it's

important to note that the book is

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actually set on a cherry farm in Michigan.

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So both the author and I, Carol and I both

grew up in Michigan and live in Michigan.

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Well lived for her.

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And yeah, so we thought it was

really important to bring a

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part of Michigan into the story.

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Cliff Duvernois: Now, is this

bringing Michigan into your stories?

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Is this something unique to this

book, or has it been a theme

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throughout your other books as well?

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Maria Dismondy: No, it actually

is unique to this book.

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And, as authors, we like to add what we

call an author's wink into our stories.

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It's something special.

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So actually, my dogs are in this story.

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And if you purchase or go to the

library and get "Spaghetti in a Hot

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Dog Bun", there's a cardinal that's

hidden on almost all the pages.

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So those are author winks.

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A couple secrets to

share with your audience.

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Ooh.

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And what does the Cardinal stand for?

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traditionally a Cardinal is a, reminder

of someone that you lost and, yeah.

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And so I always loved Cardinal.

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So I put it in my first book and

I named him a company after them.

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Cliff Duvernois: And if you didn't

have enough on your plate already,

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here we go with the nonprofit.

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Talk to us.

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What is the nonprofit?

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What is it about?

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Maria Dismondy: many years ago,

my girlfriend and I met Keys.

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We started Making Spirits

Bright, and we just knew that

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we were blessed in our lives.

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And we wanted to do something for others.

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And then life we worked on

it for a couple of years.

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Life took off took over.

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We put it aside.

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And so more recently, I

just said, you know what?

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I want to bring this back, but

I want it focused on books.

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So Making Spirits Bright is a

non profit here in Michigan.

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And we are dedicated to getting

books into the hands of children

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who don't have access to stories.

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A lot of times you hear

them called book deserts.

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so we're trying to Go into those deserts

where they don't have books and fill them.

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And we're right now, I, we're

partnering with some really cool

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partners in Detroit, two different

partners that I can't mention yet.

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But if you check out non, our nonprofit,

you'll find out soon, but we are doing

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book donations, book drives, we're

getting books and we're sorting them.

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And we're don't, we're distributing

them and it's really great.

385

:

Cliff Duvernois: So you

just give away the books.

386

:

Maria Dismondy: Yes, and I'm hoping that

we can also provide tutoring with that.

387

:

So I'm just in the beginning

phases of redeveloping it, and it

388

:

literally keeps me up at night.

389

:

And I can't stop thinking

about it, and it's joyful.

390

:

So you said You said something,

around the fact that as if you

391

:

didn't have enough on your plate.

392

:

I, I thrive on these things.

393

:

And they bring me such joy.

394

:

It's not, it doesn't feel like work.

395

:

And so you talked about, the

whole podcast is about, and the

396

:

whole show is about ordinary

people doing extraordinary things.

397

:

Like these people aren't doing

them to be extraordinary.

398

:

They're doing them because

they, they feel this joy.

399

:

Doing these things certainly.

400

:

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah, and that's

actually the next question that I

401

:

want to ask is because you do have

a lot on your plate Yes between

402

:

writing books, publishing books, your

nonprofit, you've got three kids,

403

:

Maria Dismondy: three kids, two

dogs, a husband, who's awesome.

404

:

Yeah, but I have a team.

405

:

I've built a business with a team.

406

:

And so I'm not alone.

407

:

And volunteers with the nonprofit.

408

:

And, a focus, right?

409

:

So I've core values and anything that

kind of is outside of those core values.

410

:

It's easy to say no.

411

:

Cliff Duvernois: So then how did you

go about putting your team together?

412

:

Maria Dismondy: slowly but surely, I,

the first distributor that I worked

413

:

with said, tell me about your team.

414

:

And I said, there isn't a team.

415

:

And they said, you can't

be doing this by yourself.

416

:

And I said, Oh, I am.

417

:

And at that point when I got off

the phone, I was like, maybe I

418

:

shouldn't be doing this myself.

419

:

So I started with a virtual assistant.

420

:

And then it just grew from there.

421

:

But everyone that I work with is remote.

422

:

We have some interns from U of M,

Michigan State, Ohio State right now.

423

:

and our team, no one on

our team is full time.

424

:

So everyone is doing what brings

them joy with Cardinal Rule Press.

425

:

But then a lot of my team members

are also running side gigs too.

426

:

These creative businesses of their own.

427

:

Cliff Duvernois: Got you and

how has your experience with the

428

:

virtual assistants been going?

429

:

Maria Dismondy: Good really

good Yeah communication.

430

:

I think it's hard to be a team

where you're meeting on Zoom.

431

:

But that's all I've ever known and

it works for me as a mom because

432

:

I'm always there for my kids.

433

:

I'm at home when I'm working and

434

:

Cliff Duvernois: So one of the things

that typically comes up, especially

435

:

if you're building a team, because I'm

starting to understand now how your

436

:

book business is being structured.

437

:

Some of the hardest things to do

is when you first get that first

438

:

assistant, because you're so used

to when you're doing everything

439

:

yourself, you can control everything.

440

:

Oh, yeah.

441

:

Then all of a sudden now

you're bringing somebody in.

442

:

So the first question I got for you is

I know that there's a key difference

443

:

between hiring a virtual assistant.

444

:

In the states versus overseas.

445

:

Yeah.

446

:

So you said you've got assistants

that are at U of M and Ohio state.

447

:

so clearly you're in the U S.

448

:

Maria Dismondy: No, I have some

out of the country as well.

449

:

Oh, interesting.

450

:

I do.

451

:

The first virtual assistant I ever hired.

452

:

She's still with me today, Lisa May.

453

:

And she's in the Philippines.

454

:

And the reason I hired her is because

I had a friend who was already

455

:

working with her for many years.

456

:

So I brought lisa May onto the team.

457

:

And I have trust issues and,

she's a loving, caring person.

458

:

you're an entrepreneur.

459

:

We all have trust issues.

460

:

She's a loving, caring person.

461

:

And I make a lot of mistakes in my life.

462

:

I never went to school

to be a business owner.

463

:

I've made so many ridiculous mistakes.

464

:

So when I bring on team members

and they do make mistakes,

465

:

it's like a no brainer to me.

466

:

So I'm not one of those people who's

Oh my gosh, they made a mistake.

467

:

They're a bad hire.

468

:

So it's been easy for me in the fact that,

when people make mistakes, it's okay.

469

:

But I have hired a few people

that haven't worked out.

470

:

Because, once again, I'm having

to learn all these things through

471

:

podcasts and through audiobooks.

472

:

Like, how do you, how am I

supposed to be a business owner?

473

:

how do I run a non profit?

474

:

so it's all education, learning,

and trying, trial and error.

475

:

Cliff Duvernois: Hey,

experience is a great teacher.

476

:

Sure.

477

:

When you're going out and getting your

first VA, the lady that you hired from the

478

:

Philippines, Lisa May, what were some of

the responsibilities that you gave her?

479

:

Maria Dismondy: Areas

that were my weaknesses.

480

:

So spreadsheets and, numbers, things that

I really didn't have in my wheelhouse.

481

:

So taking my strengths,

keeping my strengths with me.

482

:

And then giving her my weaknesses.

483

:

Cliff Duvernois: And what are some

of the other jobs and tasks that

484

:

you've come up with along the way?

485

:

Because I usually, when I talk to an

author, spreadsheets doesn't come up.

486

:

No.

487

:

And it's all about the words.

488

:

It's all about paper, pencils.

489

:

So.

490

:

Maria Dismondy: Well, because

if authors want their books

491

:

to sell, you have to market.

492

:

And marketing includes spreadsheets.

493

:

Stop.

494

:

Stop.

495

:

I know.

496

:

Marketing is a big part of it.

497

:

Marketing.

498

:

What is this?

499

:

I know.

500

:

Yeah, I've had a lot of really good

mentors along the way who've taught

501

:

me that writing is a business.

502

:

And if you're doing writing for a

hobby, that's wonderful, but you might

503

:

not sell books unless you're one of

these amazing people I'm looking at

504

:

like James Patterson or something.

505

:

Cliff Duvernois: Oh, that, that could

be a whole other podcast right there.

506

:

I don't even want to.

507

:

Yes.

508

:

Don't even want to roll down that road.

509

:

Yeah.

510

:

I admire his success.

511

:

I will say that.

512

:

I'm not putting him down.

513

:

I admire his success.

514

:

Do you think that there's any advantage to

writing children's books over adult books?

515

:

Maria Dismondy: I do, because I think that

you're really connecting with our future.

516

:

If you look at the current society

and things that you'd like to change.

517

:

I think one way you can do that

is by educating youth and gearing

518

:

them in a different direction.

519

:

So I do.

520

:

I think that is one of the

biggest advantages is helping

521

:

our youth do something different.

522

:

So you don't see what we're seeing,

like warm winters in Michigan.

523

:

Cliff Duvernois: Oh, my goodness.

524

:

And one thing I noticed, too, is that you

chose not to do, not to have a pen name.

525

:

Correct.

526

:

You used your real name.

527

:

Correct.

528

:

why did you make that decision?

529

:

Maria Dismondy: I don't even know,

but going back, maybe I would

530

:

have done a pen name, actually.

531

:

What's the advantages of that?

532

:

so then people don't know

me when I'm out in public

533

:

or at the grocery store.

534

:

Cliff Duvernois: you're kind of out there.

535

:

If you take a look at your Amazon

author profile and everything

536

:

else, you got pictures and Facebook

537

:

Maria Dismondy: and, or when my son

Googles me, he learned how to Google.

538

:

And I think like second grade, he's

mom, I Googled you and there's a

539

:

lot of pictures of you out there.

540

:

So that's, I think probably

even to protect my children too.

541

:

So if you notice on my social media,

my kids are not featured anywhere.

542

:

I think there might be one picture out

there that I'm still trying to take

543

:

down from a podcast interview I did.

544

:

Early on, but I just made it a

point that I want their digital

545

:

footprint to be their own.

546

:

And I don't want it to be

developed by their mom.

547

:

So that's another reason a pen

name would have come in handy.

548

:

Cliff Duvernois: What has been

some of the, most effective

549

:

marketing that you've done?

550

:

Maria Dismondy: It's huge.

551

:

It is so big when it comes

to, writing books, marketing.

552

:

And one of the biggest things I think we

were talking about it, was word of mouth.

553

:

And so we did surveys.

554

:

We've done a lot of

surveys with our readers.

555

:

How did you hear about our books?

556

:

word of mouth.

557

:

The big question is how do we get

people talking about your books?

558

:

So we give books away.

559

:

All the time.

560

:

We're very generous with our books.

561

:

We provide free programming

for schools and for teachers.

562

:

So they, come on and they hear

our author panels and they hear

563

:

our authors reading stories.

564

:

We have our books for free on YouTube.

565

:

So we're not stingy with our

books and people start talking

566

:

about us because we are generous.

567

:

Another way is grassroots

marketing, so social media.

568

:

We don't pay for a ton of ads.

569

:

We just started doing

Facebook ads a few years ago.

570

:

But besides that, we're grassroots style.

571

:

We're just posting and authentically

sharing and, trying to get people

572

:

to connect, with our books.

573

:

Cliff Duvernois: And that is one of

the things that I did notice when

574

:

I was going through your website

and taking a look at your books.

575

:

Is that it seems like every book that

you have written below that you have

576

:

a bunch of pdfs free that are free,

given away so the one of them was, I

577

:

think it was for the Juice Box Bully.

578

:

There was a thing called the promise.

579

:

Maria Dismondy: Yeah.

580

:

Yeah.

581

:

Oh, good memory, Cliff.

582

:

Cliff Duvernois: See?

583

:

See?

584

:

That's great.

585

:

Yes.

586

:

It was like the promise, and I think

it was something where like a kid would

587

:

read that, sign it, Hey, I promise I'm

not going to be a bully or whatever

588

:

it is, and sign their name to it.

589

:

Maria Dismondy: And classrooms

use it all the time.

590

:

And we have our reader's guides that are

free, because teachers do not want to

591

:

spend their own money on all these things

and they do because they're amazing.

592

:

Cliff Duvernois: It's not only

money, but it's time as well.

593

:

Maria Dismondy: Money and

time to develop all of this.

594

:

So yes, we develop lesson

plans around all of our books.

595

:

At the beginning of all of our stories,

we have questions for parents and

596

:

caregivers on the copyright page.

597

:

So I know I'm really tired at night.

598

:

I usually check out around 7 38.

599

:

But if I'm reading a book to my

child, I can go a little bit deeper.

600

:

And I don't have to think of the

questions because they're here for me.

601

:

So in all of our books, we

provide questions to ask before,

602

:

during and after reading.

603

:

Because it's great to read a story.

604

:

But if you want to take it to the next

level, questioning with children is huge.

605

:

So these are just some of the things

that we've done that have worked to

606

:

get people talking about our stories.

607

:

Cliff Duvernois: I'd also think, too,

that would be a great way for parents

608

:

and kids to engage with a book,

rather than just read it and say,

609

:

okay, night night, you actually...

610

:

Maria Dismondy: Yeah, the stories start

to come out when you ask questions.

611

:

oh, how can you connect

with the character?

612

:

Like in The Juice Box Bully, how

can you connect with the character?

613

:

Oh, some school said

something to me today.

614

:

And I felt like they were bullying me.

615

:

You just never know.

616

:

And those questions correct.

617

:

They help engage the adult and child.

618

:

Cliff Duvernois: So I'm loving

the creativity for this.

619

:

And what you're doing is unique

because I haven't seen that before.

620

:

Where did the idea come from?

621

:

Maria Dismondy: This specific idea before,

during and after I did it as a teacher.

622

:

I don't know.

623

:

I learned it as a teacher that when

you read to children, you should ask

624

:

questions before, during and after.

625

:

I don't know who, maybe my teachers

at Michigan State University.

626

:

I'm not sure.

627

:

Cliff Duvernois: but to actually

incorporate that into a book.

628

:

Maria Dismondy: I don't know.

629

:

maybe I'm not sure.

630

:

I wonder if Dolly Parton's

Imagination does that.

631

:

They might do that.

632

:

I don't know.

633

:

Cliff Duvernois: So I gotta ask,

what is Dolly Parton's Imagination?

634

:

Maria Dismondy: Dolly Parton has this

book system where she sends a book to

635

:

the child to children ages, 0 to 5.

636

:

One Book per month until

they're five years old.

637

:

And my children were part of that.

638

:

And I don't know if she did

before, during and after.

639

:

All right.

640

:

but I also think a copyright

page is pretty ugly.

641

:

And so this kind of jazzes it up as well.

642

:

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah, it is.

643

:

use every page that you can.

644

:

It's all real estate.

645

:

It's all real estate.

646

:

It is.

647

:

It is all real estate.

648

:

so what's next?

649

:

What is next?

650

:

I know you just came out

with Buddy the Bucket Filler.

651

:

Maria Dismondy: We have some really

great titles coming out next year

652

:

that we're super excited about.

653

:

A story about choice, that's a little

girl and, a military family story.

654

:

We have some really

great things coming up.

655

:

Another one, a foster family.

656

:

And Yeah, and it's so cool because I can

curate these books by simply saying to

657

:

our acquisitions editor, we need a book

about foster families because there's not

658

:

enough books out there that are quality

books about, what children go through

659

:

and what does the family go through.

660

:

And so his eyes are open

looking for these things.

661

:

Cliff Duvernois: Just the fact that

you have an acquisition editor is a

662

:

testament to how much you've learned.

663

:

Maria Dismondy: Yes.

664

:

Yes.

665

:

Kudos to you.

666

:

Thank you.

667

:

What is next?

668

:

I believe in growth.

669

:

And so this year, I have been

traveling to different trade shows.

670

:

And Thank you.

671

:

Given that we're really

small, it's been scary.

672

:

I said I wasn't afraid, but it

has been scary and intimidating

673

:

being with some of these really

big publishers at these events.

674

:

But, I went to something called the ABA,

American Booksellers Association, ALA.

675

:

Those are librarians.

676

:

I'm expanding.

677

:

That's next level for me.

678

:

Cliff Duvernois: Maria, if somebody is

listening to this interview and they

679

:

want to get your books, they want to

check out more, especially all those

680

:

like yummy free resources that you

give away with your books as well.

681

:

Where's the best place

for them to do that?

682

:

Maria Dismondy: I say go to our website.

683

:

Support a small business.

684

:

However, if you have a bookstore

in your area, you should always

685

:

go to your local bookstore.

686

:

I think supporting these indie

bookstores is really important.

687

:

And yeah, our website has

all those free things on it.

688

:

And if you don't have access, you

don't have the money to buy the books.

689

:

You go to your library because

libraries are amazing, or you go on

690

:

YouTube and you can hear our stories.

691

:

Cliff Duvernois: Maria, thank you so much

for taking time out to chat with us today.

692

:

Really do appreciate it.

693

:

I thank you Cliff.

694

:

And once again, I do want to give a

shout out to the people at Charlin's

695

:

Used Bookstore and Frankenmuth

for letting us film here today.

696

:

And as usual, you can always

roll on over to total michigan.

697

:

com click on Maria's interview, and get

all the links that she mentioned above.

698

:

We'll see you next week when we

talk to another Michigander doing

699

:

some pretty extraordinary things.

700

:

We'll see you then.

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