Wednesday, January 25, 2017

i-Nature via i-Phone

My friend Kathy Huston takes fantastic nature-themed photos. She started taking these types of pictures with her i-phone when she and her family moved to the county. Taking walks through the woods is undoubtedly more interesting than walks through suburban neighborhoods. Eventually she got a real camera and she was off and running trying new ways to capture her world. Her pictures just keep getting better and better.


Above photos courtesy of Kathy Huston!!!

Me reading That Tree by Mark Hirsch
Mark Hirsch, creator of ThatTree used his i-phone, along with some cool phone photo apps, to take a picture of the same burr oak tree every day for one year. 

Tim and I were able to go to a presentation he gave about the making of his photographic opus. We were so impressed with his work, we even bought his book. I enjoy looking at the book and envisioning how he got each picture.

Early this fall, I was inspired by my friend Kathy’s love of finding just the right angle, light, and presentation of her subjects in nature, along with Mark Hirsch’s use of only his i-phone camera, when I set out on a little photo-shoot of my own.

I hope you enjoy this touch of summer/fall in the middle of nasty ol’ winter.


Dew drops on blades of grass~ "Egg yolk" flowers from my childhood joined by a little tan fox tail~ The foliage gone makes the stem of this plant look spidery.


I switched my phone/camera to black and white and laid on the ground to get this shot. The mushroom looks like an elf house to me!~ These little white flowers almost got overlooked. They're smaller than a dime! So lush, I think the plant didn't realize it was fall!


Beautiful yet poisonous! Every hiker's nemesis: Poison Ivy!


My favorite picture, I think. The Velvet Leaf seed pod looks like a star!


Green leaf tipped in vibrant purple.~ We called these "Chinese Lanterns" when I was a kid.~ A true sign of winter's coming: The Woolly Bear caterpillar!

But now spring is just around the corner!

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Saving Red by Sonia Sones

I just finished reading a Young Adult book called Saving Red. People sometimes think young adult books are for readers between, let’s say, 14 and 20 years of age, but that’s not true. Young adult books typically have teen-agers as the main characters but the stories are far from teenybopper.

If you liked the Hunger Games series, the Divergent series, or the Twilight series, you actually read in the Young Adult genre.

Any book in the Young Adult genre will be fast-paced. That’s one of the things I like about YA. The action starts right away and the reader isn’t stuck on pages of description of the carpet, or weather, or what-have-you.

Saving Red is no different. I mean, just read the inside flap:  “My name is Molly.  This book is about me. I’m probably the guiltiest person who ever lived…” I checked this book out from my library solely on the cover design and inside flap blurb.

But when sat down and opened the book, ready to read, I realized the whole thing was written in verse. Crap. I was looking for a good novel. 

Courtesy of Google Images
But then I thought about another book written in verse, Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech. That book ripped my guts out. (You gotta read that book, by the way.) 

So I thought I’d give it a go. I read the whole book in 2 settings within a 24 hour period. About 4-6 hours was all it took.

This is a story about a teenage girl, Molly, who tries to help a homeless teenage girl realize that going home is safer than living on the streets. The problem is, the homeless girl has literally went off her meds and is pretty much crazy. 

Not many fictional stories take on a topic as tough as mental illness. Even less have a likable main character with a mental illness. To top it all off Molly’s family is going through their own hell dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Her mom is always high on doctor prescribed marijuana (talk about opening a can of worms!!!), and her dad is a work-a-holic lawyer.  

See?  Intriguing, isn’t it??
This is the one and only page in the book that
the verse rhymes. I laughed out loud when I
read it! That author is a trickster!

Check out Saving Red by Sonya Sones. You won’t be disappointed.  (In fact, you’ll be thinking about it for much longer than it will take you to read it.)

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself,


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wastin' all of my Time...

We’re off to a new year. 2017. Wow!

Making the best of the New Year is a common theme for most of us right now.  Setting personal and work goals, getting rid of bad habits, uncluttering, and living simply are typically part of the agenda.
Courtesy of Google Images

For me, procrastination and unfocused time use is a bad habit that I need to take a good long look at.  In my mind, I have particular things that I NEED to do on a daily basis. 

They are:
1.    Spiritual reading, meditation and prayer 
2.    Exercise
3.    Housework/Errands
4.    Writing (It has to be done like a job if I want to get anywhere with this thing!)
5.    Reading (Yes it is a Need!)
6.    Family time/ meals
7.    Part-time job at library

You know what gets left out most? Numbers one and two.(TSK!)  
Number three and five get the most attention. (And my house isn’t even that clean!) 
Numbers four and six are lacking my time more often that I’d like to admit. 
Number seven I’m nailing! (I’ve always been a good employee—I’ve got my parents’ expectations growing up to thank for that.)

Courtesy of Google Images
I need to take an honest look at my day and create a plan where all of these things can be attained. Saying that I’m going to do them all daily from now on would be a plan for failure. I need to be realistic. Maybe get number one and two accomplished three times a week would be a better plan for success???? That’s where I’ll start. When I’m successful with that, I can add more to it.

Really, I have to stop and think about how I want to spend my day. I am aware of some of my time wasters. I need to be in tune with my day and make productive choices!

How are you doing with setting goals and changing habits? It’s hard, isn’t it?!

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself,


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Writer's Life: A Look Back at 2016

Oh man! It’s driving me crazy that I missed posting last Wednesday, December 28th. Christmas and guests and running around doing this and that really cut into my writing time. Sorry dear reader!

Kristen Lamb, a writing blogger I follow, says she has four posts ready to go at all times. If I work hard, maybe I can do that and avoid missing a Wednesday post. I plan to spend my afternoon in front of this computer and try to do just that!

Today is the second-to-last day of 2016. At the end of each year, I take stock. I look at my accomplishments, as well as the happy/good and sad/bad personal events of the year. I always set goals for the upcoming year
Courtesy of Google Images

So, to get a picture of the writing life accomplishments of moi, I will share some of what’s been going on- as unspectacular as it is.

To date, I’ve sent query letters for THE INK OF TIME to six different agents. A query letter is an introduction. It gives potential agents a sense of what the book is about and includes a short author bio. Query letters need to be well written (no errors) and succinct. The letter’s job is to hook the agent, to get him/her to take a minute to think about the project.

I’m proud of the fact that I’ve gotten feed-back from three of the six agents. I think a 50% take-a-minute-look are pretty good odds. I believe it means I’m on to something with this ol’ story. Of course none of them want/need my project, but hey, it’s a start. In fact, the last agent I queried was on November 29th, so technically it’s not an ‘I'll pass on this’ until I haven’t heard anything from her agency within three months. (Yes, it is a very long process!)

While you may wonder, “Nadine, why only six?” the answer is this. I will not send out a mass mailing. I’ve read enough information to know that doing so would be a waste of my time. Agents want writers (authors!) who have researched and “know” them. So I comb through the internet looking for interviews, blog posts, and whatever else I can find to use in my query letter about that specific agent.

I went to a program where Gary W. Moore, author of Playing with the Enemy spoke of his journey to get published. He sent seventy-two (!) query letters before he got a bite. I think he’s published two more books since then. He’s just a regular guy, living in the Chicago suburbs. If he can do it, so can I!

This year, I’ve learned how to write a synopsis of my novel. The purpose of a synopsis is to tell the WHOLE story in short. It’s not easy to do. I had to decide what information must be included so that it was interesting and had a complete story line. I took my 51,000 word manuscript and created a less than 1,000 word synopsis. GAA!

Last March was the first time I felt ready to send out my story. I found out that every manuscript has to be formatted in the exact same way. There’s actually a formula to follow and luckily, I found a tutorial video on YouTube that I used to format my manuscript. Because agencies are inundated daily by writers wanting representation, something as benign as formatting “irregularities” can get a story thrown in the rejection pile.

In October, I joined a Quad Cities based writing group. That was a very scary move for me. I’m still kind of feeling my way. They’re all very positive, supportive people, but I’m just not totally comfortable yet.
Courtesy of Google Images.

That’s about it for now. I’m going to keep on keeping on.

Happy New Year!

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.