Thursday, March 24, 2016

Story Behind the Photo(s), edition six

Today, at my patch of the planet, 

it's cold and wet,

 and getting worse every heartbeat.
Spring is so fickle.
'Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Story Behind the Photo, edition five

I have many interests (don't we all?) but one thing they all have in common is nature. I'm a creature of the woods, a skulker of the forest, but the world around me offers other paradises. 

The photo above was taken at Pope Farms in Middleton, Wisconsin. Pope Farms was once a sheep farm on the edge of Madison. It's now a fabulous restored ecosystem with several types of native prairie and even a some wood. It's a great place to get lost during the warmer months. 

I miss green. Spring 2016 can't arrive soon enough.

BOUNS photo:
Notice that wooden tower in the distance? It can be seen from the top of the hill in the photo above. It's a ski jump, one once used by Olympians (and I'm told Teddy Kennedy once rocketed down that jump on a dare).  

It all takes me back to Henry hurtling down the ski jump in Blue on the Horizon. Imagine you are a troll witnessing the human madness. Certain death awaits young Henry yet he gleefully shoves off and soars into a triumphant descent down a wicked slope.  Now imagine you are a rabbit sized troll sliding down that jump on nothing more than a tortoise shell. Insanity! But Twig does it, and helps to save the village. Confused? Read Blue on the Horizon. It's free on Amazon, Nook Barnes and Noble, itunes,  kobo ...most places digital books are sold. 

Wisconsin was once littered with ski jumps. One even existed outside my hometown. Settled by the Norwegians I celebrate in Blue, they brought the traditions of their homeland to Wisconsin. You just won't catch me flinging myself down one of those things.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Story Behind the Photo, edition four

From the Field Museum of Chicago. 

I hadn't been the this museum since the first time King Tut's artifacts toured the United States. (That's a really long time ago. Disco was in style and I was years from a drivers license) I love history, always have, and my parents knew what it meant to me so on a blustery February morning, my mother, her friend, and I perched on the steps of the Field Museum of Chicago. With the cold seeping from the granite steps to my young butt, we waited with a hundred other history buffs. There was no internet, no advance tickets. If you wanted to see King Tut, you got in line and waited for the museum to open. Even that was no guarantee of access to Tut's treasures. The hall was severely limited to a small number of visitors per day. I seem to remember something about humidity being the cause. It was fantastic, but to be honest, the details are fuzzy.  

Fast forward decades to December 2015. The hubs and I decide it's time to hit the mega-city again, and this time, I want to do the museum. We spent two days wandering around that massive building. We even worked out way through Egypt which still models Tut's tomb. I could share dozens of photos, but this one caught my eye just now. It's a water buffalo. I chose it because one of the live events was a naturalist handing antlers or horns to people. He handed us an antelope skull and began to explain the difference between antlers and horns. Horns are sheaths that have a bone core. They are permanent features while antlers are shed. (the water buffalo has horns). All this while dozens of school kids screamed as they raced between halls.

On this visit, my I was enthralled by the dinosaurs and mastodons, minerals and China. Even with two days, we barely brushed the dust from the surface of the Field Museum of Chicago. If I lived closer, I would be there frequently and it would still take me a year to really see it all. By that time, they would have rotated out the displays. I hope Chicago continues to appreciate this jewel along the shores of Lake Michigan. I will return, and this time, it won't take so long.

Photos are precious time capsules. Thanks for allowing me to share this historic weekend.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Garden of Betrayal, Available Now!

No. That can't be right. I hate fairies. I will never help you.

Then Terra wins, and magic is doomed. 

Garden of Betrayal, on sale now. 

As a bonus to my fans, get your digital copy of 
Blue on the Horizon AND 
Cairn: A Dragon Memoir 
FREE for the next five days! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Story Behind the Photo, edition three

Today's photos reflects one of those magical moments in the forest. This was taken on a hike in central Wisconsin. It was mid-morning, well past the time I normally find deer, and I even had the dog strapped to my waist (more on this exciting means of photographing the world in later posts). 

The hike circled a small lake and I was busy looking for mushrooms and such when I rounded a corner to this sight. Tasha, normally a huge barker was just as shocked as I was. She stamped her foot, the fawn stamped his foot, fawn's mom bounded off. I raised the camera. Fawn squeaked. Tasha growled. I snapped. 

Then it was over. A few crashing bounds, and the fawn and doe were gone. I could hear them moving along the shore for a long time, but only caught small flashes of brown. 

Adventures like this helped me create, Fern, the orphaned fawn in Cairn: A Dragon Memoir. Her mother lost to a dragon feast, Fern is too young to survive on her own, but then Leaf finds her and Fern's life changes. Drastically. For example, she learns to ride astride a dragon!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Story Behind the Photo, edition 2

I took this photo early on in my renewed interest in photography. When I look at it today, I see how it could be improved, but I still love the memories it invokes. Taken on the shore of Lake Superior, it reflects that cold, rocky beach in its wild state. This lonely stretch is called Bette Gris. It sits astride the eastern shore of that defiant finger jutting deep into the inland sea. This is my favorite part of upper Michigan. 

All along Superior lay huge chunks of driftwood and sea rounded stones, some as big as cars, but many, many more palm sized. Each stone is different, yet if you look hard enough, you can fit pair and trios that fit together perfectly. I love my stones, and I've given away nearly all my Superior stones. It must be time to go back. It's not so far away. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Story behind the Photo, edition 1

On Facebook (Rebecca Ferrell Porter) I've been challenged to the wildly popular 7 Day Nature Photography Challenge by a good friend. Although we've never met in person, we've been friends for several years, and in 2013 we undertook a 52 week photography challenge together. Georgia was already an accomplished photographer at that time while I had just rediscovered a passion for the craft, but I've learned a lot since then. (much of it from her)

I'm finding the challenge fun and now realize I could go on for several weeks as nature is my favorite subject. I'm also using it to tell the micro-story behind the photo. (I am a writer after all) So I begin a new series today on my blog. 

A few years back, I decided I needed a photo that would bring the trolls I write about to life for my readers. I really do envision them cavorting through the forest with me on my walks. Oton, Gaven, Uredd, Leaf, all of them ... they are real to me. They have to be, or they will read as flat. I couldn't have that! 

So with camera in hand, I crawled among the weeds along the river. Really, on my hands and knees. Suddenly, this amazing puff ball loomed above me. It was about 18 inches tall, and I was looking up at it when I found it. I couldn't have that. The trolls are the size of rabbits, and I'm--well, I'm a substantially larger. Shifting my position, I found a better angle and snapped this photo. 

I still chuckle when I see this photo. It looks very much like the back of a troll head. 
Don't you agree?