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.