Fort Whyte Alive

 

Dear fellow bloggers;

I’m sorry I haven’t been around to visit you on a very regular basis, lately. Things have been pretty busy around here and it’s been hard to keep up. I thought I would quickly share with you some of the things I have done over the past few weeks, besides making cards. Since I last gave an update, (see my post, Social Butterfly) I attended a ‘Bud Spud and Steak’ event to raise money for the families of four Calgary security guards who were killed in a robbery. It was a blast with great food, spent with good friends and several live bands, the members of which all donated their time to play at the event. Harlequin even flew in for it. They were great!

I have been back to the dentist to finally get my permanent crown. I’m still recovering as she did a real number on my gums and even after two weeks, there’s still some discomfort, so I may have to go back and get it checked out.  At least I don’t have to double up on the painkillers just to lessen the pain a bit, anymore.

The daughter of a friend of ours got married a week after the Bud, Spud & Steak. It was a small backyard ceremony with a reception in a local hall. The bride sings in her Dad’s band sometimes and her new husband had his own band so the two musical families did a ‘jam’ to play some of the bride’s favourite music. There was also a silent auction to help raise money for the young couple and we won a set of tools. Hubby is ecstatic! He says it’s way better than the coffee prize we won last month.  We ended up staying right up until the bitter end to help our friends clean up.

Last week, I took a friend out for lunch for her birthday. Another friend joined me on a different day for lunch so we could discuss her up-coming book and so I could teach her a little bit about the social media adventure that is blogging.  With any luck, she’ll be joining a lot of us on WordPress. Once that happens, I’ll introduce you! 🙂

Now for the finale: In my Social Butterfly post, I mentioned that I accompanied friends from my Tai Chi class to an event put on by the Independent Living Resource Centre that was held at a local wildlife preserve called Fort Whyte Alive. It was once property owned by a cement company near a wooded area and has now been reclaimed by the preserve. The sand pits dug by the cement company have become small lakes that host a large variety of waterfowl and has been stocked with fish. The preserve has several trails that wind through the park where you may encounter deer, wild geese, an assortment of waterfowl and a small bison herd. There is a sod house to explore and two tepees. There are a couple of picnic areas that can be reserved for parties, an interpretive centre which has a display of local animals and information on them and conservation. They also have a sailing program in which they teach physically and mentally challenged people how to sail.

Last Sunday, my family and I returned to Fort Whyte to meet some friends from town and also connect with a high school friend and her family, who now live in Ontario. Since I find Fort Whyte an interesting place and since I’ve been there twice this month, I thought I would compile movie clips that I took of it and share my movie with you. I used the Kodak Sport movie camera which I bought to give Hubby for Father’s Day last year. I ended up giving it to him a day early so we could document the birth of our grandson. Since it is no bigger than a cell phone, it fits easily into my purse, which it rarely leaves despite it technically being ‘Hubby’s camera’. The music I added to the clips is ‘Nature Walk’ by Dan Gibson from the album Caribbean Dreams. I hope this works!

Now, I’d better go off and make a few more cards! 🙂

Sunday Interview #9

Hi, Everyone! Today, I am featuring a young lady who has just started blogging. She’s an avid YA reader and writer and believes ‘aliens are real’ (and so do I! lol). Please welcome Ravena Guron from the UK.

Hi, Ravena! As an introduction, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I hail from London. I’ve never met the Queen, and I’m fairly sure my teachers are out to get me. I don’t have a Saturday job because no one would take me (and I wasn’t bothered to go out and look for one.) So I’m pretty much your average teenager.


You sound very much like my son! 🙂

Being a teen, you are uniquely qualified to talk about writing aimed at a YA audience. Please tell us some of your thoughts on the subject of YA fiction.

It’s awesome. I think it’s the best type of fiction out there (not that I’m biased at all.) I’m really proud that it’s booming right now because it proves teenagers do read. It’s like being a baby compared to adult fiction. I also think the best is yet to come.

As a YA reader, what genres do you prefer to settle into a comfy chair with?

Supernatural, dystopian, fantasy, science fiction… I could go on. As long as it’s a good book, I could read any genre.


Not only are you a reader of YA, I understand you have a novel in the making. What prompted you to start writing it and how long has it taken you to get to this point?

I have no idea why I started writing it. I remember being eight and writing the first awful chapter, and not caring whether it was any good or not because I wanted to be just like the authors I spent most days reading. Then twenty pages in I started again. And again. Then I changed huge parts of the story line and tried again. And again. So it has taken me years to get to where I am today – nowhere near finishing. But at least I’m now editing a completed manuscript.



Good for you! You sound determined to make it work!

What has your writing process been like, so far? Do you write at the same time every day, or just when the muse moves you? Do you have a particular spot where you like to write? Do you have a particular method of writing – by hand with pen or pencil, by computer?

I tend to write in the evenings if it is a school day (so most of the time, sadly.) I try to write everyday, unless I have a major exam or I’ve heard rumours that the world is coming to an end, in which case I tend to wander aimlessly around the streets, warning people of our impending doom. I type much faster than I’m able to write, so I prefer using a computer, with music blaring in the background.



Once your novel is finished, what are your plans for it? Do you think you will attempt the traditional publishing route or self-publish? Why?

Oh, definitely traditional publishing. I don’t know a thing about self-publishing and the thought of it scares me a little. I’d have to do everything, even things like design a cover… and I’m not creative like that. At all. 




Do you have someone who you trust to critique it and help you prepare it for the market?

I have three amazing beta partners who I found through Nathan Bransford’s forums, which is home to a really nice bunch of people. I’d recommend checking it out and his blog if you haven’t already.



What inspired you to start blogging and what sorts of things can we expect to read on it in the future?

I wanted to connect with the world. I had a whole load of random thoughts which I wanted to force onto other people (I mean share. Share.) I’ll be posting about writing, and the writing process and stuff. Yeah. It’ll be funny (or at least I think so. I crack myself up, at the very least.)



I’ve been amused by what I’ve seen on your blog, so far. 🙂

What are your thoughts about blogging, since you started?

It’s great! Everyone has been so welcoming and I feel like I’ve joined an elite group of people I didn’t even knew existed.





Are there any links you would like to share with us? (Facebook, blog, twitter, etc)

My Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ravenakguron

My itty-bitty blog: http://ravenaguron.blogspot.co.uk/

My Twitter account is @RavenaGuron

Is there anything you’d like to add?

For people who write YA, someone once asked me what turns me off in a book. Aside from all the normal stuff, as a YA, it is seriously frustrating for me when all teens are portrayed in a certain way (like drug dealing/ sex loving/ alcohol drinking lunatics.) Sure, there are some teens in the world like that, but there are some that aren’t. Making out that all teens are terribly awful people without a single drop of responsibility will probably make me jump ship faster than you can say “reading rocks.” 

Thank you for your insight into YA and for taking the time to chat with us, today, Ravena! 🙂

Thank you for having me!



To give Ravena a bit of encouragement, or just to drop by to say hello and see what she’s doing, check out her blog. All links are in red, so click away! 🙂

Write A Story With Me

Jennifer M. Eaton has come up with the perfect birthday present to herself – a story written by many writers, each with a 250 word limit. I decided to join the crew and can’t wait to see how the story unfolds until it’s my turn to add something. The next installment will be posted next Tuesday. If you’d like to follow the story so far, drop by her blog (click on Jennifer’s name) and follow the links. It’s going to be a wild ride! 🙂

Crafty Wednesday

It will be a short one, today, since I posted my Liebster award stuff earlier. Not only that, but I have to leave soon to babysit the Grandson. (Hooray!)

I thought I’d discuss this card because it uses one of my favourite stamp sets by Stampin’ Up – ‘Cool Cat’. It comes with the cat, perfume bottle, crown, a stack of presents and the sentiment. The paw prints stamp that I used on the inside was one I found in the bargain bin at Michael‘s.

I started with a bright pink card stock (8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″), folded in half. I ran the front part of the card through my Cuttlebug using the Dots embossing folder. I cut a pink polka dot paper to measure 3-3/4″ x 5″, then trimmed the corners with my corner punch. I measured a piece of pink polka dot ribbon about 1/2″ longer than the paper and fastened to the back with two-sided tape. I then attached the paper to the card stock with the two-sided tape. I used my Versa Mark sticky pad and black embossing powder to stamp the cat and sentiment, then used my heat tool to finish the embossing. I carefully cut around the cat and painted the eyes, ears, nose and collar with my shiny paint set. I used my ‘Postage Stamp’ punch to cut out the sentiment. I used gold heat embossing powder for the crown and cut it out. I used purple ink to stamp the perfume bottle and added finishing touches with my shiny paints. All elements were attached with 3-D double-sided tape.

For the inside, I cut pink polka dot paper, 5″ x 2-1/2″, and used a glue runner to attach it to the card base. I printed out the sentiment with MS Word, then used my 3-1/2″ scalloped circle punch to cut it out. I poked holes in the bottom of the circle and threaded four 6″ strands of pink embroidery cotton through and tied them in a bow. I attached the circle to the card with 3-D double-sided tape. With my Versa Mark sticky pad, I stamped the paw prints across the polka dot paper, sprinkled black embossing powder over it, shook off the excess and heated it with my heat tool…and we’re done!

Drop by next week for the next installment of Crafty Wednesdays! 🙂

Sharing the Liebster

For those of you who are going, “What?” the word liebster comes from the German word lieb, or love. It also means cute, lovely, sweet or kind and forms the stem of the word lieben, to love. Liebster(s) is an adjective meaning favourite, loved, or dear or it can be used to refer to a person as a sweetheart or darling. If you’re still saying, “What?” then I will clarify.

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Wings of Wonder. Thank you so much for thinking of me! The blog’s creator is a wonderful artist and always shows such beauty, both physically and in spirit on her blog. Please drop by for a visit.

As with most of these awards, accepting it requires a few rules – thank the person who gave it to you, answer the questions the nominator created, create 11 more questions, select 11 people/blogs along with links and notify the recipients but you cannot nominate the person who nominated you. Wings of Wonder ‘cheated’ a bit and did not create any more questions for me to answer. She simply nominated blogs and then told us things about herself. I think I’ll follow in her footsteps, since today will be a busy one, so here are some tidbits about me:

1) When I was about 8 0r 9, I was hanging upside down on the ‘monkey bar’ of our swing set and must have hit a nerve in my knees for they suddenly straightened and I landed straight down on my head. I’ve had back problems ever since and cringe whenever I see kids hanging upside down.

2) I started babysitting kids other than my younger brothers when I was 12. I think that’s where my love of young children was born – as long as I didn’t have too many to take care of at one time!

3) Around the age of 15 or 16, I got a part-time job at a toy & craft store. Being an arts & crafts type of person, I loved getting the 10% off all crafts supplies!

4) For the summers between the ages of 15 & 18, I worked at the grocery store in the beach resort where we had a cottage. I got to sell lots of candy to kids back when it was truly ‘penny candy’. It was amazing how much you could buy with a quarter, when Mojos and licorice whips were 5 for a penny!

5) The summer I turned 19, I got a job in the canteen at a nearby golf course. I learned I hated sardines. We had a regular who always ordered a sardine sandwich and the smell of those things used to turn my stomach!

6) Between the ages of 16 & 19, I realized I never wanted to be a banker and I never wanted to work retail again! I hated working with money because my Math dyslexia (self-diagnosed) made it scary to give out change – and this was before we had cash registers that told the cashier how much change to give back! I also had nightmares about serving customers until the wee hours of the morning. One night, I even woke up to find I was actually sitting up in bed as I served customers in my sleep!

7) When my daughter turned 8, I enrolled her in Brownies and, in order to help out the Brown Owl, I became her assistant, Tawny Owl. I loved doing crafts with the kids and taking them camping.

8) When my daughter turned 9, Brown Owl retired and no one wanted to take her place, so I volunteered to keep the pack open for Daughter. I was the Brown Owl for the next two years until my daughter moved on to Girl Guides. The last year became rather tedious as I had no regular helper and was often left with 12-15 little girls to keep an eye on – and I had one boy-crazy 10-year old who insisted on slipping away to watch the boys play basketball in the school yard!

9) I learned I never wanted to be an accountant after fundraising for the Brownie pack and trying to make the books balance at the end of each year. I’d get so stressed out working on making things balance. One year I actually thought I was out a hundred dollars! Fortunately, Hubby is a wizard at Math and helped me realize I had put some things in the wrong column. Whew!

10) After working with the Brownies, and later Girl Guides, I found I liked camping out and roughing it. A lot of my ideas for my stories came from those experiences. 🙂

11) Despite my love for roughing it and camping, I don’t ever want to sleep on the cold hard ground ever again. My back just could not handle that!

So we’ve come around full circle and I will leave it at that. On to ‘sharing the love’. These are blogs I’ve been following regularly for a long time because I just love them. There are many more that I have started following recently, but these I have been following the longest. Oh, and if you haven’t checked out the ones I nominated for the Booker Award, yesterday, you really should go visit them, too!

Sky Diaries

wantoncreation

Diane’s Story Site

C. B. Wentworth

Tim Kane Books

Essi Tolling

Leta Blake

Poetic Parfait

Elizabeth Creith’s Emporium

Raging Gail

Traci Kenworth’s Blog

 

Now, it’s up to you to go check out these blogs. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do!

I got a Booker!

I’m blushing because I have just been nominated for a couple of awards, one I’ll acknowledge today, the other one tomorrow.

I want to thank Storyteller In The Digital Age for passing along The Booker Award. Her blog revolves around writing and books, so you really should go see what she’s been doing.

The Booker Award is awarded to those blogs that talk about books & writing and, although I started out talking about MY books & writing, I have listed many other YA books and recently started my Sunday Interview series that often features other writers and their books/writing.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1) Give thanks to the person who gave it to you (check!)

2) List 5 of your all-time favourite books

3) Pass the love onto 5-10 other deserving Bookworms

Okay, so my top 5 books of all time…. It’s so hard to choose only 5 but I’ll try. I might cheat a little and mention series of books and their authors. Let’s see…

Shogun

1) Shogun by James Clavell has to be #1 on my list, followed closely by all his sequels. It is an excellent series if you like history and anything Japanese. I actually loved Shogun so much, I researched its history for a Literature assignment in college. My paperback copy has been read so many times, it’s falling apart, so I ended up getting a hard cover version! The TV series based on the book with Richard Chamberlain is also one of my favourite series-based-on-a-book. The story itself is about the first Englishman to set foot on Japanese soil and how he is taken into the household of the ‘Shogun’ (Japanese overlord in service to the Emperor) He has one year to learn and speak Japanese and is taught by the very beautiful Mariko. Actually, she teaches him much more than the language!

The Far Pavilions Vol. 1

2) Far Pavilions (Volumes 1 & 2) by M. M. Kaye is second on my list for pretty much the same reasons as I loved Shogun, except it was set in India. The story follows the exploits of a young Englishman raised as a Hindu, who rescues an Indian princess after her husband dies. It is tradition for the wife to be placed on his funeral pyre to die in the fire. The two must flee to avoid retaliation by the husband’s family. Both Clavell and Kaye describe the countries in which their stories are set with such vibrance one can imagine themselves living the adventure of those tumultuous times.

Powers That Be

3) Powers That Be series by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Scarborough is a favourite SciFi series of mine. I picked it up at World Con when it came to Winnipeg in 1995, never having heard of Anne McCaffrey before. She is most famous for her Dragon Riders of Pern series, which I have yet to read. I was impressed by her writing presence at a writers panel and picked up Powers because it was one of her newest books. The story is basically about the troubles that befall a group of people who try to exploit the resources on the planet Petaybe. The planet becomes terribly unstable each time they drill into it. The people who live near the mining camp are appalled at what the miners are doing to their homeland and try to stop them. One of the mining crew begins to realize the exact cost of trying to take by force what is essentially the planet’s ‘heart’ and learns the secret of Petaybe’s people.

Product Details

4) Hoot To Kill and all subsequent Robin Devarra mysteries written by Karen Dudley are definitely favourites of mine. I was completely enamored of Karen’s work when I attended her first book signing where a conservation officer stood beside her with a snowy owl on her arm as Karen read from her book. Not only that, Karen has a delightful sense of humour that exudes from her character, as well. Hoot To Kill is about a conservation officer who is sent to a logging camp in the old-growth forests of British Columbia to survey for an endangered species of spotted owls. If she finds any, it will mean shutting down the logging operation in the area. While she’s rummaging through the undergrowth, she stumbles upon a body and is drawn into the search for his killer. Karen is a local writer whose past includes field biology studies and archeaology, among many other things, so she is able to put her knowledge into all her bird-named mysteries (Ptarmigeddon, Macaws of Death and Red Heron)

Dune

5) Dune and all its sequels by Frank Herbert are favourites, too. While Dune is a little slow to get into, Herbert has created such a unique world and its influence on the people who reside there. When Paul Atreides is tested by the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserat it is believed he is the one who will change the balance of power in the universe. An attempt is made on his life when Paul arrives on the planet Arrakis with his Bene Gesserat mother and his father, head of the Atreides family legacy. The Harkonnens want what House Atreides has and will stop at nothing to get it, but they do not take into account what the people of Arrakis want and the changes Paul will make to the planet itself.

Now to share this award. Although there are many to choose from, I will limit it to only 5, for time’s sake.

At Ramblings you will find a lot of advice about writing, thoughts on her writing experience, and almost always includes a great quote by famous authors.

At easyondeyes you will find a ton of book reviews. These two girls are avid readers and are so wonderful about sharing their thoughts on every book they read.

J. Keller Ford is a writer of YA and is more than happy to share her thoughts on YA fiction and support writers in the field. She is currently featuring 9 YA authors (including me) so you really should check out her YA Blog Takeover during the next week or so.

At My First Book, Misha also features other writers and their books, as well as providing information about the basics of writing a novel and what it involves, such as Inspiration, Character Development, Plot, etc.

As you can tell by the title, Writing Is Hard Work is about the process of writing. He discusses a lot of what goes into good writing and refers to others work for examples.

Well, that took a lot longer than I expected. In order to accept my next award, I have some more thinking to do, like think of 11 things that you might not already know about me!

Have a great day, everyone, and if you know of any blogs that are deserving of the Booker Award that I haven’t mentioned, feel free to leave their addresses in the Comments section. 🙂

Sunday Interview #8

Hello, Everyone! Today I would like to introduce the writer of the Utopian novel ‘Slant of Light‘. Please welcome Steve Wiegenstein!

Hi, Steve! To start with, would you mind telling us a little about yourself?

I’m a native of Missouri, having grown up on a farm in the eastern Ozarks. It’s a rugged and rather poor part of the country, but it’s home. After high school, I went off to university, became a newspaper writer for a while, then returned for graduate degrees and became a college teacher. I’m currently in administration at Columbia College in Missouri, about a four-hour drive from where I grew up. So I guess I’d say I’ve come full circle.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to start?

I started writing as a little kid, inspired by my mother, who wrote freelance feature stories for the local newspapers. I’ll admit, I became enamored with the mythology of the “great novelist,” the superhuman Hemingway- or Faulkner-like figure who created entire worlds in his head. I wrote like crazy when I was in my twenties and thirties, but then got caught up in earning a living, and didn’t get back to real writing–by which I mean serious, daily, disciplined writing–until about eight years ago.

Great writing history, having a mother who wrote for the paper! 🙂
In which genre do you prefer to write?

Until recently, I had always written short stories, but when I got back into the writing saddle this latest time, what compelled me was the idea of an interlocked series of novels, set in the same location, but unfolding over the generations with an evolving cast of characters. That’s the big project I’m working on now, and it will take years. The first set could be called “historical novels,” I suppose, but as I get closer to the present day, I won’t be able to call them that.

That sounds like quite the undertaking. Good luck with it! 🙂
Please tell us a little about your writing process. Do you write daily, at a specific time, in a particular place?

If I could, I’d write all day, every day, but as it happens I have a day job that requires a lot of my time. So I get up early in the mornings and write for an hour or two before anybody else is up. It’s a good time to write, when the house is quiet and there are few distractions. 

What is your strategy with regards to editing? Do you have a writers group, critique partner or beta reader that helps you assess you manuscript?

One thing newspaper work taught me is to be ruthless with my own prose. When I’m writing, I’m full of emotion and love every little word that drops onto the page. But when I’m editing, I put on my green eyeshade and get very cold-hearted. So I mostly edit my own work. I’ve been fortunate to work with careful editors at Blank Slate Press, in addition.

I know you’ve been recently published. Please tell us what that process was like.

Writers are masochists, let’s face it! You spend months and years crafting a book . . . then more months and years trying to convince an agent to represent it! And most writers I know are pretty introverted to begin with, so the task of selling their manuscript doesn’t come easy to them. But if you truly believe in what you’ve written, you have to get over that reticence and develop the thick skin necessary to persist. When I finally found a publisher, Blank Slate Press of St. Louis, Missouri, it was such a thrill! Here were these people, complete strangers to me, who were responding to my work with such a level of enthusiasm and understanding. It was like pushing your way through brambles for a couple of years and finally emerging into a beautiful landscape. Of course, you quickly discover that your work is only beginning, because the folks at Blank Slate had their own ideas about how the book should develop. We had many, many intense discussions, and the book is the better for it. 

What a great analogy, “pushing through brambles”! I’m glad you made it through to the “beautiful landscape”. 🙂
Would you like to tell us a little about ‘Slant of Light’? Brag as much as you like! 🙂

Oh, I’ll brag all right! The novel takes place in the years 1857-1862, which in American history are really fascinating — the trouble times leading up to the Civil War, when everybody in the country knew that something terrible was about to happen, but had no idea of its magnitude, and the leaders were incapable of achieving a peaceful solution to the intractable differences that divided the country. So it’s a time with built-in drama right there. Add to that the fact that this was also one of the great periods of American literary creativity, with people like Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, and others at work, and you get an idea of the amazing ferment that the country was in. So I decided to explore the great themes of that era — nature and civilization, human perfectibility, the American ideal of self-reliance — through a utopian community located in the Missouri Ozarks.

Why did you choose to write about Utopian lifestyles?

They’ve been a scholarly interest of mine for many years. I’ve been particularly interested in a group called the Icarians, who existed in the United States from 1848 to 1898. They were true believers in democracy and communism, but their dreams of creating an ideal community kept getting interrupted by internal strife and by problems with the world at large — not necessarily antagonism from outsiders, but mundane things like debt and crop prices. And yet they persisted, year after year, because they truly believed they had a solution to the problems of the world. That’s the thing about utopians . . . even if you think their ideas are nutty, you have to admire the way that they establish their lives according to a principle and put that principle out there for everyone to see. The big questions about human motivation, social structure, and fate versus free will, questions that most of us don’t think about most of the time, get placed front and center in an intentional community.

History has always been a favorite topic of mine. That sounds very interesting! 🙂
You mentioned Missouri and the Ozarks and on your blog I’ve seen many lovely photographs taken in these areas. Would you like to tell us a little about the places that are special to you?

I think the most remarkable thing about the Ozarks is the number of beautiful wild springs it has. The hills are not tall, but the rivers are amazingly clear and bubble up from springs that are among the largest in the world. Some of my favorites are Blue Spring on the Current River, Greer Spring on the Eleven Point River, and Falling Spring on Hurricane Creek, but there are thousands of springs all over the region, and each is fascinating in its own way. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

To my fellow writers — keep it up! In some small way, writers and artists are the glue that holds civilization together. And to my readers — thank you from a grateful writer. It’s a simple fact that without readers, writers have no reason for existence. I appreciate every comment, review, and e-mail I get.

Are there any links you’d like to share so that we can find you?

You bet! I blog at stevewiegenstein.wordpress.com 

My website is www.stevewiegenstein.com 

I’m on Twitter @SWiegenstein 

On Facebook, just search for Steve Wiegenstein – Slant of Light (or click on the name for the link), and on both Amazon and Goodreads.

My publisher’s website is blankslatepress.com, and you can order the book directly there, or from your local bookstore or online bookseller. I love to do book signings at local indie stores, so I always recommend them first!

Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to chat with us. Good luck with your book sales. 🙂

Thank you!

Hope you all enjoyed meeting Steve and will stop by to visit his website. 🙂

A Cautionary Tale

I want to send thanks to Jennifer Eaton for her latest post Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued  For Using Pics On Your Blog. She referred me to the site of a woman who WAS sued because she used a copyrighted photo on her blog. It apparently doesn’t matter if you credit the photo, whether you don’t use it full-sized, whether you are not selling the picture, or even if you put a disclaimer that says you do not have the rights to the photo. If it is a copyrighted image we should not be using it in any way shape or form without compensating the person who took the photo, unless it was posted in The Public Domain and the photographer is not expecting compensation.

There are certain places where you might find photos that are in the Public Domain. The site Creative Commons  is not a search engine but offers ‘convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations’. They don’t give any guarantees that the images that have been posted on their site are okay to use, but suggest contacting the copyright holder directly to confirm whether it’s okay to use it. There also other sites like Wikimedia Commons that hosts images under the Public Domain, if you want to look for pictures to use in your blog.

The whole issue is very troubling because it also involves many social media sites such as Pinterest, where there is often images posted that are copyrighted and ‘re-pinning’ them could put you in trouble with whoever owns the rights to it. As a result, I think I will be removing all images I may have ‘borrowed’ to illustrate my blog posts and I am reconsidering my use of Pinterest, as much as I love the site.

I am, by no means, an expert in copyright law, but as a writer I respect the fact that photographers need to be compensated for their images because it is their livelihood. I wouldn’t want anyone taking my written work and posting it without my permission, either. As for the pictures of my cards and any other photos I’ve taken and posted here, it doesn’t matter to me. I am throwing them out there for the public to use, if they want to, or simply enjoy. If they are inspired by them, great!

I just thought I’d pass along this information so you can check things out for yourself and think twice before posting someone else’s images on your sites. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Have a great weekend. 🙂

2012 YA Author Blog Takeover

Something exciting is beginning on Jenny Keller Ford‘s blog beginning this Sunday. She will be featuring 9 YA authors, one each day until the end of the month, including me. 🙂

We will be discussing our books and our thoughts on writing, publishing and life.

Her line-up will be as follows:

Sunday, June, 22 – Kim Richardson, author of ‘The Soul Guardians

Monday, June 23 – ME! (Susan Rocan), author of ‘Withershins‘ & ‘Spirit Quest‘.

Tuesday, June 24 – Emi Gayle, author of ‘After Dark

Wednesday, June 25 – L. S. Murphy, author of ‘Reaper

Thursday, June 26 – Kevin McGill, author of ‘Nikolas & Company: The Merman and the Moon Forgotten

Friday, June 27 – Jus Accardo, author of ‘Touch‘ and ‘Toxic

Saturday, June 28 – Michael Conn, author of ‘Maxwell Huxley’s Demon

Sunday, June 29 – Jamie Ayers, author of ‘18 Things

Monday, July 30 – Rachel Coker, author of ‘Interrupted: life beyond words‘ and ‘Chasing Jupiter

Please come by and see what we all have to say. Each day, the featured author will be hanging around Jenny’s blog to answer any questions you may have for them. To get there, just click on the picture, which will link you straight to Jenny’s site. Hope to see you there! 🙂

Crafty Wednesday/Who wants an Interview?

Before I begin another Crafty Wednesday, I want you to know I have some Sundays open for Interviews, if there is anyone out there who would like a little face time on my blog. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a published author or not, or whether you are crafty or whether you just blog about everyday things.  If you are interested, please leave a comment below and I will contact you.

Now, on to the crafty stuff:

For the musical folks in your circle of family & friends, here’s a simple little number that’s sure to please. I started with a dark green card stock for the base card which measures 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″, then folded it in half. I found some green polka dot paper that I cut to 3-3/4″ x 5″, then trimmed the corner with a curved-corner paper punch and attached to the front of the card with a glue-runner. If you have any old sheet music lying about (or if you can find printed paper packs with musical paper in it) cut it to 5-1/4″ x 2-1/4″ and trim the corners with your curved-corner paper punch. I sponged the edges with green ink and angled it over the polka dot paper and attached it with a glue -runner.

The scrolled ‘Happy Birthday’ was created with a Stampin’ Up stamp and the ‘Groovy’ is from the Close To My Heart ‘Groovy’ stamp set. Both sentiments were first stamped using the Versa Mark sticky pad, and then heat-embossed with black embossing powder. I cut out the HB with a 2″circle punch and the groovy was cut out using a 1-1/2″ scalloped oval punch. I sponged their edges with green ink.

The inside started with more green polka dot paper measuring 3″ x 5-1/4″ with corners rounded with the corner punch. It was attached to the inside of thecard with a glue runner. From the CTMH ‘Love Life’ clear acrylic set, I stamped the ‘cherish simple pleasures, Live. Laugh. Love.’ with Versa Mark and heat embossed with black embossing powder. I sponged around its edged with green ink and attached it with a glue runner. The musical grid, notes and treble clef were stamped with black ink using the CTMH ‘Groovy’ stamp set. I cut around the treble clef and stuck it on the card with 3-D sticky dots.

Here’s a masculine card. I started with a white piece of card stock measuring 8-1/2″ x 5-1/4″ and folded it in half. I sponged the edges with brown ink. The brown card stock measures 5″ x 3-3/4″ and was attached with a glue runner. Around a piece of wine-colored card stock, measuring 5″ x 1-3/4″, I wound twine three times, tying it in the front a little off-centre so the ship will hide the bulge of the knot. I attached this piece to the card using Sukwang double-sided tape to secure it & the twine. With my 3-1/2″ scalloped circle punch I cut out the centre piece out of gray card stock, then embossed the bottom half of it with the Cuttlebug‘s embossing folder ‘Vine Swirl‘. I cut out white card stock with my 1-1/2″ scalloped oval punch and stamped ‘happy birthday’ with the stamp from my Stampin’ Up set ‘Plane & Simple’, (there’s a similar ‘happy birthday’ stamp from SU‘s ‘Just My Type’ set) using a blank ink pad. It was slipped under the twine and stuck on with 3-D sticky dots.

The main features of the card front were created using the SU‘s ‘Open Sea’ stamp set for the ship and the globe and a black ink pad. I added color with my shiny paint set & a thin brush. I carefully cut around the ship and used my 2″ circle punch to cut out the globe. The globe was attached with a glue runner, the ship with 3-D sticky dots.

Inside, I cut a 3-1/4″ square, embossed it with the ‘Vine Swirls’ Cuttlebug embossing folder and lightly sponged it with brown ink to bring up the swirl pattern (I probably should have done that on the front, too). It was then secured to the card with a glue runner. Next, I cut out the scalloped circle out of brown card stock with my 2-1/2″ scalloped circle punch and glue-runnered it to the centre of the embossed square. I stamped the compass (SU‘s ‘Open Sea’ set) with black ink. The ‘Go confidently in the Direction of your Dreams’ (from SU‘s ‘Word Play’ set), was stamped with black ink and carefully cut out. Both the sentiment and compass were attached with 3-D sticky dots.

For the super hero among your friends and family, here’s a card that will be sure to ‘fly’ with whoever you choose to give it to. I started with a blue card stock for my base, measuring 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ folded in half. I cut out a yellow card stock ‘sun’ with my 2″ circle punch, & attached it to the lower left-hand corner of the card with a glue runner. Superman was cut out of a wallpaper sample book and attached with 3-D sticky dots. ‘Built Tough’ (CTMH‘s ‘Hero’ set) and ‘Brave and True’ (CTMH‘s ‘Brave Adventure’ set) were stamped with Versa Mark and heat-embossed with black embossing powder. I carefully painted a bit of color onto them with my shiny paint set before carefully cutting them out and attaching them with 3-D sticky dots.

For the inside, I cut out the Superman emblem from a wallpaper sample book page, cutting out the ‘S’ and replacing it with the appropriate letter cut out of red card stock using a Cricut and the ‘Winterland’ cartridge. (Thank-you, Sister-in-law!) It took some adjustments to get the right size, but we finally did it. I attached the red emblem outline to yellow card stock and the whole emblem onto the card with a glue runner. I attached the ‘J’ with 3-D sticky dots. The ‘Incredible’ (from CTMH‘s ‘Hero’ stamp set) and the ‘Happy Birthday’ (from SU‘s ‘Punch Bunch’ set) were stamped with Versa Mark & heat-embossed with black embossing powder and carefully cut out. I colored the ‘HB’ with my shiny paints. Both sentiments were attached with 3-D sticky dots.

Well, I think that about covers it for today. Now, it’s off to make more cards! 

Don’t forget to let me know if you’d like to be interviewed! 🙂