Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nurture Hope

A good man died last week. He died of loneliness surrounded by dozens of fiercely loyal friends, and a large gregarious family, and even though he lashed out at everyone who tried to help, we all still loved him.

We all knew he was in trouble as soon as his wife died. This former life of the party retreated into himself, and anger pushed out the laughter. Then his chronic illness began eating away at his still young body. He refused to listen when we begged him to take care of himself, and rejected all offers of help. Even when he finally agreed to treatment, he quickly cut the doctors off and refused further care. He went home to die, and in the end, he refused to eat or drink. After three days, his weakened body gave up.

I don’t like to blog about sad things. I do this to put positive words out there for you to read, but I have to find the kernel of truth to this. When his wife died of cancer at 48, the message to me was clear: don’t wait to live your life—do it now. This blog is one example of me doing just that, but this death is senseless. Like many I’ve talked to, I was angry—furious really—but that has mellowed and I have to stop to wipe tears away as I write this. So here is my message: nurture hope. No one can give you hope. We each must find it deep inside. Life is difficult and pain will come, but always nurture that spark of hope.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hoar Frost Adventure

As a loyal visitor to Troll Tails, you have been right there, riding on my shoulder and peering through the camera lens with me. I know that you enjoy my posts about my adventures in Wisconsin, but it isn’t all green leaves and flowers. Like most of the United States, we have transitioned to winter, and a winter far more intense than many.
My favorite photography haunt, Viking Park. Do you recognize it?
I peg it as November 18, 2013 when everything changed. It’s been bitterly cold, but strangely barren of most snow. To the north, south, east, and west, the snow has been pelting others, while we have been locked in the deep freeze. Finally, this past week, temperatures rose, but that brought the moisture, in the form of freezing rain. For more than a day, it fell. I knew I had to share the earth-made sculptures with you. After all, without the winter, I would not have my beloved Wisconsin forests. You should have a chance to share in it all.
My entry into a frozen world
Even the colorful berries are encased
And here the thistle.
Hoar frost is something you don't see everyday, or even every winter.
Smooth objects wear thorns of ice.
While truly spiky objects like this burdock seem strangely less threatening.
The last of the leaves glisten in the soft light of the day.
And here, the grass looks unnatural, even fake.
Then I saw it, flitting in the light breeze. The hoar frost coats everything ...
... even spider webs.

Now, go grab a hot cup of tea. Winter is just getting started.
Stay tuned. Things are changing quickly outside.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

John Lewis The Bear and The Hare

I have to share this video with you. Please watch the end, you won't regret it.
This Christmas Advert (as the creator calls it) expresses gorgeous images and heart-warming charm.

My wish for you? A Truly Magical Christmas ...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Legend and Myth

There was a time when men—or just as likely women—attempted to explain the world around them through the use of colorful stories. It served the community, soothed fears, and rewarded productivity.  But modern humans have grown complacent, certain they know all they need to know to survive in a sometimes hostile environment, but do we?

I didn’t set out to be a legend weaver, but here I am, blogging my heart out to people just like you on every continent. I can promise you vivid images, and colorful characters, but more importantly, a gentle reminder that we don’t know everything … not really.

Expand your horizon, live an adventure you’ll never forget. Just be there as a new mythology is born.
Blue on the Horizon, only a few more hours at 99 cents.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Kindle Countdown Madness

Don't wait another heartbeat. Click here (or click the eye to the left) to download Blue on the Horizon at a bargain basement price of just 99 cents!

But don't snooze. This price increases in 45 hours. This is your chance to get a kindle copy of your own, or to give a gift. Did you know you could do that? All you need is their email address. They will receive a coupon that can be redeemed with a few clicks.

 You read my blog, but are you getting the whole story?

The adventure really began over 100 years ago in Norway. Step into the world of nature-loving, peaceful trolls to see how it all began.

Not sure?
Do you have a friend who loves to read stories that take her to another time and place?
Is she a she?
Does she like to read to relieve the stresses of her hectic day?
Does she like stories that make her feel good about herself and make her smile?
Does she like to laugh?
Does she like to read and share books with children?
Does she cry at the movies?
Do you have her email address?
Can you scrape together 99 cents?
Gift her Blue on the Horizon. No driving, no crazy shoppers, or bedraggled clerks.

Look, men (and boys) will like Blue on the Horizon as well, but it is women who find themselves drawn to Gaven and her struggle to become who she was always meant to be.

Just Click your way to a heartfelt gift. 

What Are You Waiting For?

available at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk websites
(Amazon limitations, not mine. I hope to be able to offer this to the rest of world, soon.)

Why are you still here?

This uplifting adventure has wrapped itself around the heart of hundreds of readers. Make your friend (or yourself) happy.

Do you know you don't need a kindle to read a kindle book? Get your free app so you can read Blue on the Horizon on virtually any electronic device.

You're here, reading my blog and viewing my photos. Time to show me you care.
Hurry, I can't run this promotion forever.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Independent Bookstores

Borrowed from The Velveteen Rabbit website
If you're lucky, you have a nearby independent bookstore, but sadly, few us are that lucky.

A friend invited me to join her in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin this morning. It's a place I never go, even had to Google it to find how to get there, but I was intrigued. Our destination: The Velveteen Rabbit. A cozy, little bookstore, just a block off Main, and sheltered in a classic Victorian house. "Come on over, you'll love this place," she said.

I rose early, found my way into my character's heads and poured 3 chapters onto virtual paper. The pull to write is strong right now, but it was time to leave. I showered, smeared some war-paint on my face, and went out into the 4 degree F temperatures. The drive over was an adventure of its own. My little red car took me across farm country marked by the last visit of the glaciers. I hope to return again, with the camera next time to document the serene beauty of that part of Wisconsin, but I had other places to be.

I pulled into the city parking lot across from The Velveteen Rabbit and rushed inside ,although the crush of people lined up at the register nearly prevented my egress, but readers are happy people. They let me inside with a broad smile. I snagged a cookie from the festive table, and went looking for my friend.

There she was. Signing up for some drawings. She handed me two forms and a pen. "Gee, I didn't know there was going to be test," I joked. She laughed and started browsing. I finished my entries and joined her at the shelves. Now, this bookstore is special. It felt like I had stepped back into a childhood memory full of colorful picture books. The back room, complete with a wooden train, set was stocked with adorable bedtime stories, stickers, and puzzles. I moved on to the next room. A little more advanced, books perfect for young readers ready to tackle the pages on their own, or even better share with an adult all while creating a permanent bond. I spent a lot of time browsing here, admiring the work of my fellow authors, and soaking in the worlds they worked hard to create.

One more room, the front room calls out to grownups, or at least the older reader, and there it was: That Tree by Mark Hirsch. A photographer just like me except he has a professional pedigree, but what we have in a common is a year-long photography challenge. His: a photo a day of the same subject, That Tree. I can't wait to dig in to his work. I know what kind of commitment that took. My copy is special, signed by the photographer/author, and it already looks great on my coffee table. I've forced myself to stop, savor the first 20 pages. It feels profane to rush through a years work in a single sitting.

I'll share a little secret. I have a shelf at The Velveteen Rabbit in mind that would be perfect for Blue on the Horizon. My friend introduced me to the owner, and we exchanged a few words about my work. I promised to be in touch later, when it slows down. It's like a dream, a place of childhood fantasy, a treasure so nearby. Please visit if you can, they'll make room for you, too.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Where have all the Geese Gone?

There's this beautiful, little inlet along my drive to work. It's a perfect place from which to launch a boat into the chain of five lakes that make this part of the world extra special.  I always look as I drive by, but rarely stop because if you have ever been where Canadian Geese congregate, you already know the layer of dropping they leave behind. But I've been noticing something is off the last few days. Where have all the geese gone? Before I was even parked, the reason was crystal clear.
It is bitterly cold here, and it got that way in a flash. Shelves of ice stretch out from the sides of the large lake, and the wind has picked up. A recipe for what lay before me. The inlet, on the eastern shore is now stacked with blades of ice.
Imagine you are a 20 pound bird, just minding your own business, and this starts bumping your side. How long would you tolerate the ice ripping at your feathers?
The same feathers you need to stay alive.
I snapped just five pictures before rushing back to my car, but I was still curious. Could I guess where they had gone? I've started to learn the patterns of the Yahara river. It will take a lifetime to really understand, but maybe, just maybe, I know.

I'll admit my first guess was wrong, but here they are. Hundreds of them now dot the ice shelf of the Yahara river as it splits to go around the isthmus that holds the dog park at Viking County Park. At least what they leave behind there will fall to the bottom of the river when the spring returns. No goose is dumb enough to take on the labs and retrievers that really were inside the park on this insanely cold day.

Riddle solved.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Another 5 Star Review!

5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful journey... December 1, 2013

Amazon Verified Purchase

What a wonderful journey...what a captivating tale. While I have always loved the fantasy world of trolls, fairies and dragons, this story threw me a curve ball with good trolls and bad fairies - nice twist!

Ms. Porter has such an incredible imagination - what a gift!

The author has done an amazing job for her first book. I am a person who enjoys reading to escape my stressful "day" life and this book did the trick. From the beginning I was drawn into Gaven's life and her adventures. All characters have been well developed and I feel I would recognize all of them if I were to meet them on the street (who knows, maybe I will).

Blue on the Horizon offers so much more than the usual good vs evil tale we have come to expect. There is a message here for everyone - young and old. This crazy world we live in would be a much better place if we took lessons from the trolls. Learn to accept people for who they are no matter what the differences - we are all special in our own way. Work together to achieve your goals - much easier than going it alone. Gaven's life, while fantasy, is so current to the lives we all live today.

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone by recapping details - all I can say is read it...you won't be disappointed!!

Can't wait for the next book to see where the author goes from here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In the Feeder

It's cold out there. One day I was seeing robins bouncing around my flowerbeds and the next, snow piled up, covering those grubs, blocking my little workers from the meal I want them to find.

Then bam; the birds are flocking and soon gone. At least I have my little chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, woodpeckers, goldfinches and house finches to keep me company through the long winter sleep.

I plan my feed carefully. Lots of nuts, and protein rich seeds. Put away the niger seed and corn, bring on the berries, peanuts, sunflower seeds and suet. I invited them in, fed them through the good times, and helped to raise their broods. We trust each other. It's a big obligation, and I not going to let them down.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Welcome Back

Welcome back NaNoWri Mighty. I hope you all reached your personal goal, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the coming weeks.

The rest of us are still here, where you left us, writing away in on own personal journey. I'm happy to say that my goal of reaching the climax of my WIP has been reached. I started in late October, and have written nearly all of the first draft of book two in the Legends of the Aurora series. It just happened to coincide with the November madness.

fyi ... I'm not just talking about writing here.

We all find a separate path--may yours be magical.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I miss the green

It is still November, but the weather doesn't seem to care. Sure, it starts to get cold here in Wisconsin in late November, but it's brutal out there.

Single digits (Fahrenheit) this morning, and still a wind chill near zero. It's going to be to be a long winter. I'm so glad I have my photos to remind me of the explosion of green that will return, eventually ... I think.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cozy Fantasy

When I say Cozy Fantasy, what comes to mind? Do images of Agatha Christie surrounded by flittering fairies zoom across your vision? Or maybe, you see favorite scenes from a beloved movie like Shrek or the Wizard of Oz. Thinking more contemporary? What about Once Upon a Time? A current hit on US television?
To me, a cozy fantasy allows the characters to take center stage. The plot is tight and little or no gratuitous death occurs. Sure they are non-human creatures, and magic is a part of their reality, but the ugly need to describe in titillating detail each and every wound is simply missing. Cozy fantasy focuses on the protagonist and her journey to change. One last element is humor, appropriate to the character and setting.

I read a lot of fantasy, and I'm worried that the cozy fantasy is fading away, a relict of the past, but it can't be.
When I read, I want to enter the head of the characters, feel what they feel, laugh when the laugh, and cry when they cry. That's the way I write. I don't know any other way.

Comment below if you agree with me. I'm feeling like a dinosaur in an ugly world.
"There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."
Alfred Hitchcock

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Reckoning

It's my birthday, and no, I'm going to say which one, but it a way to personally judge my progress toward my ultimate goals. What had I done to improve my skills, and grow as a human? So while I chomp down on my chocolate cupcake, sprinkle covered of course, here's my list.

  1. I completed a year-long photography challenge, and I can now say that I really do know how to use my camera effectively. It took tenacity to keep going especially after I felt I had already learned to use the camera well, but I stuck it out and now I can hold my head high and say I did it.
  2. I completed a refresher course on grammar and although it remains a difficult subject, I have a solid base under me.
  3. I completed a second writing course with Steve Alcorn, a wonderful mentor. His teaching always helps to tame my wild imagination, and my readers are the benefactor. His five star review of my work sure made my day.
  4. Along with the compassionate determination of my doctor, I finally determined what was causing my months long asthma flair. I know what to avoid to stay healthy. It feels like a miracle.
  5. I watched the sunset over the Mississippi, alone with my camera and thoughts. It was spiritual.
  6. I saw my fourth short story published in the Stoughton Press. Oton has taken me places I never dreamed existed.
  7. I set up and published my first website to highlight my many projects. Visit Gnarled Roots to check it out.
  8. I have finally unlocked the secret to orchid blooms. Want to know what it is? Ignore them, let them dry out, hell, call them bad names, but give them plenty of light. Both of my orchids have tiny flower stems jutting from their sides, again. It's going to be a colorful Christmas.
  9. I have fallen deeply in love with my old dog, again. He won't be around forever, and he means more to me than I can express without crying. I'm working hard to give him more of my time.
  10. I joined GoodReads, SheWrites and Support-a-Writer communities. It feels great to call myself a writer.
  11. My first book was accepted into The Wishing Shelf Book Award. School children in England are judging my book now, and I can't want to hear what they have to say.
  12. And about that book. I published my first novel in May. Blue on the Horizon is getting great reviews and I still can't believe it's mine.
  13. I'm more than half way through the first draft of book two. My dreams are filled with dragons and trolls and creatures without a name. I can't wait to share it with all of you.
  14. I donated a copy of Blue on the Horizon to my local library. I looked for it the other day, but couldn't find it. Makes me smile to think of Blue in some readers hands as she flips the pages, going along on the incredible adventure, and falling in love with Gaven, just as I did.
  15. I'm in a good place. I love writing, love dreaming up quirky characters and amazing adventures, and love knowing that you are reading this, right now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Anybody Out There?

Hellooooo ...

I peer, deep into my monitor. Dust bunnies drift by, catching in the cobwebs hanging from the corners. Where did everybody go?

It's lonely being a writer in November when the NaNoWriMo virus runs rampant through the community. No, I don't NaNo, never will. I have enough stress in my life. Besides the non-conformist in me tucker her  chin as my finger bones fuse into flippers. I can't think of any process less conducive to my creative process. Oops, there's one, popping her head up for air. Sounds a little rattled, crazed even. There she goes, back to the tribe. Come back, little writer, I miss you ... Oh well.

Good luck to everyone who has signed up for what amounts to a worldwide writer's boot camp. I'll be here, right where you left me, waiting to read your stuff.

Meanwhile, my own WIP has organically grown to 30,000 words since the last week of October. Writing comes to me in spurts, and once I unplug the creative tubes in my imagination, words and images pour out and go splat on the page. Feels fantastic, and with a week of vacation just around the corner, I imagine I will nearly double that count, but no pressure, the words will come, if I just relax and listen for them. That's what works for me, and I have no plans to change it. Is anybody with me?


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Halloween to Forget

So what would you do if a troll asked you to take him treat or treating?

It was at one of my now infamous Packer parties where it began. During halftime, Oton pulled me aside and asked, “how do I get the candy?” He had already downed a baker’s dozen of sprinkle-plastered donuts, chocolate of course. “What are you talking about?” A wicked grin snaked across his gaunt cheeks. “You know ... when the little humans put on crazy clothes and demand candy from strangers.”
Little humans? I knew what he meant. It was mid-October, and Oton has spent more than a hundred years observing the people of Stoughton, but there was no way I was taking a troll trick-or-treating, no way, period. Okay, so I’m made of pudding and relented, but only after endless nights of begging. I was afraid he was going to go out there on his own. I had to do something to control the situation, but what. “Fine, but there are rules,” I said as my shoulders slumped. “1. I’m going with you. 2. You need a bath, and 3. No Magic, None. If you so much as sneeze a spell, we are going straight back to Elvsmyr.” He flung his arms in the air, and started sputtering. “Nope, you do this the human way, or not at all.” I should have known better. The next few nights were a blur; Oton was impossible to please. He wanted to wear a costume just like the little humans he saw each year, but have you ever tried to put a Halloween costume on a troll? Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. First, we tried my idea. I figured a cut up sheet and viola, a ghost. “This is not what I had in mind,” he growled from under the delicate pink blooms of the sheet. I guess plain white was the way to go, but I didn’t have one.

 However, I did have a plan B: Mummy, but I may have wrapped him a little too tightly because he fell over after just a few steps.
 Next, we tried his idea. “I want to be a Viking.” It wasn’t what you think. “You mean like Clay Matthews?” He wiggled, dancing in place, obviously in love with the idea. “Oton, I keep telling you—Clay is a Packer. Not all football players are Vikings.” He furrowed his brow and looked at me from under hooded eyes. “They’re all Vikings.” I gave up. I had introduced the trolls to football last year. Their first game was the Packers vs. Vikings. Something about that blasted Viking horn is stuck in their troll brains and now every game is a great battle of so-called Vikings. It all makes my little green and gold heart cringe, but on the bright side, Oton and the others cheer wildly for the Packers. Anyway, back to the Halloween fiasco. Oton wanted to be a tiny Clay Matthews so I tried to imagine that in my head. Let’s see, a jersey, toss on a blonde wig, and leave his hair spiky on top so it looks like he’s flinging it just like number 52. Yikes.

 It was October 25, and I was getting desperate. If I didn’t think of something, and quick, this thing was going to get out of hand. Then it hit me. Oton is a costume—just slap a mask on his face and he’s a walking ghoulie.

The big night was just hours away, and Oton showed up, as promised, for his bath. Sure, he tried to bargain his way out it, but I held my ground and hosed him off in the backyard then plunged him into a bubble bath. That’s right—clothes and all—I dunked him repeatedly in a tub of frothy bubbles. I may never get that ring out of the tub, and he wasn’t what I would call clean, but at least the stench had been neutralized. Through it all, he smiled. I should have known.
We hit the streets as soon as it got dark. Every time a prancing cluster of kids headed one direction, we went the other. I couldn’t risk an encounter with a curious child. The first several houses opened the door, politely complimented him on his “amazing” costume, and tossed a few treats in his bag. That is until somebody opened the door, shoved a giant bowl of chocolate bars in his face, and said, “you can choose.” Uh-oh. Before I could stop him, he had yanked the bowl from the squealing old man’s arms, dumped the whole thing in his bag, flashed a giant smile of gray teeth, and beaming, said, “thanks.” The look on that man’s face will stay burned in my memory for years to come; it’s the stuff of nightmares. However, Oton was already down the sidewalk and hollering, “we’re burning moonlight.” I mumbled an apology and stomped after the troll. “He meant choose one. That was rude.” Oton was already on his way up the front walk of the next house. “He said choose, and I chose. You humans have funny rules.”
It was going to be a long night, but he was good for the next few houses. Then a young mother, home with a squalling baby opened the door. Oton dropped his pumpkin of goodies, ripped a pair of mums from the pot near the door, jammed one in each ear, and started flapping his arms. The baby instantly quieted and started to giggle. I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on to the next house. “Why did you do that?” Oton looked puzzled and said, “I didn’t want her to be scared.” I shook my head and trailed behind him as we rounded the corner. Right in front of us, stood a little girl dressed as an adorable purple fairy and what I assume was her brother, posing as Wolverine. They made quite a pair. I wasn’t worried about Wolverine, but the fairy was going to be trouble. You see, trolls and fairies don’t get along. In fact, few humans know this, but Elvsmyr, where Oton lives, was the site of the Great Fairy Battle. I felt the troll take my hand. He was shaking and I whispered, “easy, it’s just a little human. She’s not really a fairy.” However, this particular little girl seemed to be convinced that she really was a fairy because she skipped up to Oton, tapped the troll on the forehead, and said, “a fairy kiss for you.” My stomach bottomed out and Oton began to scream, a horrible rasping scrape of a scream. The girl recoiled and started to scream as well. Her brother flashed his rubber claws and ran bawling into his father’s arms. I escorted Oton in the opposite direction as I waved my arm overhead, “Sorry, it’s a scary night for the little ones,” and then grumbled to Oton, “I knew it, I just knew it. I never should have let you talk me into this.” He was squirming wildly as I drug him up the street, away from the “fearsome fairy” of Stoughton.
I had had enough, and most of the houses had already turned the porch light out, but we were a long way from home. I wanted only to avoid people at all cost, but I wasn’t that lucky. I heard the steady slap of running shoes coming up behind us, and turned to see a young woman jogging with her fuzzy dog. If you’ve been following along, you will already know this meant trouble. This dog, a lovely, floppy dog, knew exactly what lived under that colorful mask. He lunged at Oton, jaws snapping, hackles rigid as the woman held him back. “I don’t know what’s gotten into him. He’s usually so good.” I knew exactly what had gotten into the dog. “Oton,” I snarled under my breath. “Don’t do it…” Too late. I should have known.

I’m not making excuses, but Oton is really—really sorry. He assures me the horns will fall off in a few days.

Are you curious to learn more about my Packer Parties with the trolls? Enter Green Bay Packers in the search box.
Want to learn more about the Great Fairy Battle? Blue on the Horizon reveals the hidden history of trolls. Purchase your copy today at Amazon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sadness with a Tinge of Glee

I did it. I've posted my final photo! Oh, I'll be posting more as this virus called photography has no cure, but If you have visited my website, you already know that I have undertaken an insane year-long challenge to photograph a randomly chosen category each week. It's been hard, what with writing and publishing a book and starting another
during this same year, but it's been worth it.

I took this challenge to force the mysteries of the camera into my brain. I had bought a nice DSL and while I could manage a good photo, I struggled to remember how to use the dang thing. Not anymore, like my writing, it has become part of me. I can envision the photo even before removing the camera from the bag. My fingers glide across the settings, choosing what I need to make my vision become reality. It has worked, but I'm so very relieved it is over.

Passion drove me through the first half of the year. I would contemplate the category for hours, search the roadside as I drove here and there. Each shot a tiny story of its own. But as summer died away, I longed to focus on my writing. I persevered, and I so very happy I did.

I end the challenge a photographer. Not a hack, a real photographer who can feel my way through the world with a keen eye. It has helped my writing, saturated it with deeper images. The two passions meld together into the Legends of the Aurora.

Follow me, my vision is only just being to show itself to the world.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Author, Step Aside

Maybe you won't understand this, but I've been experiencing something wonderful. As I start to write each time, I like to go back a chapter or two-- just enough to find the loose thread of the story. I fight to keep my mind from nit-picky edits at this point, but I have to do this or I tend to lose my way.

Today, as I read the passage I blogged about a few days ago, I'm stunned by my reaction. Did those words really come from me? The quicker I step aside, allow the characters to speak for themselves, the deeper my response to my own work. I must forget how I would react in the same situation, how my friends will feel when they read these words, what my mother might think ...

I'm a weekend writer, and it's almost time to return to this fledgling world I've begun to craft. I struggle to stay away, only making furious notes as the week drags on.

The power or world building is intoxicating.
Call me addicted.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Titles

I'm pretty new to this writing thing, and while I'm extremely proud of Blue on the Horizon, I made a few rookie boo-boos.(Is any author ever 100% pleased with the final draft?) The one that bothers me more than the others: I didn't wait to title the book.

Blue on the Horizon is a great name, and it applies in a very appropriate way to my first novel, but later, I thought of a different, stronger title. Damn. Too late to change now.

This time I'm being very careful to refer to the next book as Book Two. That's it, Book Two in both my writing and mind. Why? Because as I write, key phrases or powerful images bang into each other in my imagination, each a better title than the last. I like this approach. I have no preconceived ideas to force the novel into a box, and today I proved that this works better, for me.

I was writing a scene. Something needed to happen to my protagonist, and he/she (no hints) needed to respond to it. Simply put, that is all any book is, but because I have not boxed myself in, this simple scene morphed into something quite profound. I didn't know it was going there, I didn't plan it that way, but just like "THAT WORD" from earlier this summer, this scene has changed how I think about Book Two.

I can't wait for my next flash of inspiration.

Read about my first flash of inspiration regarding Book Two

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's almost time for the next Oton article

It's November and Oton's next adventure is just about to publish. If you're local, look for it in Downtown Stoughton. Stacks of the Stoughton Press will be appearing any day now.

If you're viewing from afar, and so many of you are, you will have to wait until I release the post. Oton has been having fun this summer and fall, and you will not want to miss this new adventure.

How much fun can one little troll have in Stoughton Wisconsin!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jack-o-lantern trees

Jack-o-lantern trees gap at me as I walk the familiar streets of my neighborhood. Our lovely maples, now burnished to golden orbs glare back at me.

A series of killing frosts have left the noble trees of Stoughton no option. Yesterday, they were lush and beautiful--today it rains pure gold.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life is About Finding Memories

Where does the time go? I have left you hanging, but I'm back and set to show the rest of the photos from Natural Bridge.
This is the grand entrance, a broken bridge itself, that protects the incredible structure within. You can be just a few steps from the arch and have no idea it is there.
See the same pillar of rock on the right in the two photos. Right there, it's the cave that was one occupied by paleo-indians. I felt a hush fall as if I had entered a cathedral.
And there, that shelf of rock at the bottom of this photo is the roof of the cave you can see in the photo above.
 It feels like a window upon the canopy of the hardwood forest.
Other trees cling to life on the edge. This is the top of the arch.
Panning further left, this is the other side of the structure.
I spent a long time studying the layers of sandstone this time. What creatures use this furrows to live, traverse, and play? My mind takes me places
Elements like this tiny leg that hold the side of the cave up, will not last forever. I feel honored to have bore witness. 
One last thing, I don't know what this little rock building along the road is, but it makes a wonderful element for photography. If anyone knows what it is, please let me know.

This concludes this series on Natural Bridge in Wisconsin. I have stocked away crazy ideas for use in my next book.