2016 … The End Is Nigh

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN … THE SAND FOR 2016 has almost run out. I’ve only a few more blogs to do before the closing of the year. I’m surprised I’ve managed to produce one weekly (well, almost). These last few months have been crazy. I knew they would be. I almost burned out—but not quite—from five-plus weekends of book signings and a lovely OGS Artist Showcase party (and a few personal and holiday fun things I squeezed in—I just cannot say no to fun with friends and family!) … leaving me with only one more event coming up tomorrow (that’s Dec 10th at Aptos Grange, Aptos CA folks)—and a mere three blogs to conjure after today before 2016 expires.

I’m ready for it—for all of it! I still have my initial edit for book four to finish (then begin the re-writes) and my publisher will be sending me a first “re-edit” (actually, first truly professional edit) of book one for my perusal—gotta get that back asap so we can get it back into publication! And for my event tomorrow, I worked my fingers to the bone all week trying to get the Christmas cards done—I was so excited that I was able to use images taken two nights in a row at the Christmas at the Inns in Pacific Grove. The Bed and Breakfasts and Inns were splendiferously dressed for the occasion. Beautiful. And yummy goodies to nibble on, too. My favourite was the Jaberwock Inn … for obvious reasons. And I had so much fun turning a slew of photos into lovely faux watercolour images. They all turned out very nice (insert huge grin).

I did not reach the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was about 20,000 words short, but that’s okay. I’m super excited about where the story is headed. I was going to the NaNo TGIO (thank God it’s over) Party last Sunday, but was too exhausted from a combo of some personal fun and work-related stuff on Friday and Saturday. Sunday turned into a day of rest. I had printed up an excerpt to read—re-reading it was fun … oh, yeah! So sad I didn’t get to share it. Maybe I will later … maybe. Book five is going to be suspenseful. Definitely.

Tomorrow, Joyce Oroz and I will be in Aptos at the Grange—along with quite a few other vendors—hawking our wares: Josephine Stuart Mysteries series (I think she has eight) for Joyce and my Secrets Beyond Scymaria series (books one-three). I think we’re the only ones with books, but I will also have my art. I was told “no photos—we’ve already got three photographers”. I was given permission to sell art and my photopolymer prints (plus … well, I haven’t talked to the contact about my Christmas cards … but I’m sure they’ll be fine because they are “watercolour” vs straight-up photos).

Don’t freak out but … do you realise there’s only sixteen days till Christmas (eeeek!) and fifteen days till the beginning of Hanukkah? Sniggle … on that note—before I close, I want to wish you a blessed Friday and week ahead. Try to stay focused on the reason for the season rather than the craziness all around you.

Maybe . . . Just Maybe I’ll Make Photos More Regular

I’VE BEEN ENCOURAGED BY A WRITER/PHOTOGRAPHER friend of mine—to maybe make photography a regular thing in my blogging schedule.

It may happen—once I get my camera thoroughly cleaned! iPhone shots of the week is all you’ll get today.


Bindy loves a good roll in the dirt


Clouds teasing at the promise of rain

Koi Pond

Panoramic shot of the Koi pond *in* one of our local hospitals.

I was out and about having a grand time on Friday—after I had my blog posted—completely shirking my writerly duties for the rest of the day (insert huge grin). I drove all over creation … crossing into and out of three different counties and covering over 75 miles in the process.

The camera didn’t come out till late in my travels, but I wanted to capture an area I hadn’t seen before, so it took awhile. I didn’t even use my iPhone … just the Pentax. I was all excited to see the photos when I got back home.

What a let down … nice shots (nothing spectacular), good lighting, nice shadowing. And big flecks in the picture. (insert huge frown here). To say the least, I was very disappointed…and not proud of the glaring flaws, so you won’t be seeing any of them. Not sure I could have avoided the smaller flecks—they seem to be fairly consistent over my last shoots. But, I forgot to clean the lens before taking my shots.

Head/desk. Groan.

So, I ask myself … do I go back out after cleaning the lens carefully and try to retake the shots another day or wait till I’ve had the camera professionally cleaned so all of my shots will (assuming I clean the lens) be clear of debris?

I could take it in on Monday … be without my beloved Pentax for awhile as I reintroduce myself and become more familiar with my Nikon … could do that. Use the Nikon on a photo walkabout—perhaps closer to home first … then drive back up to the foothills of Gilroy to play with shadows and lighting.

Snort. Going out on Monday—or any other day this week—to reshoot photos has not happen. Just iPhone shots taken around the yard or whilst on errands. My edit consumed me, but I did manage to get the first round done (insert Snoopy dance). And after that, I found myself frittering away my time with planning an upcoming trip (it turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated—sigh). Hard to think about photography  or subsequent edits when all that is happening. But I must…I’ve put all else aside.

I do have a class coming up this weekend—I’m very excited about it! It’s a class taught by Bob Rocco on the ins and outs of the photopolymer process…taking photos and creating an engraved metal plate of the image that can be inked up and printed on the press. There are new techniques I’ll be learning—and refreshing my grey cells on how to do the stuff I should know by heart (but don’t). Love it!

I will close for now so I can begin my search through a ton of archived photos for the few images I’ll be playing with over the weekend. I also need to figure out how to put my Photoshop Elements program either on my laptop (good luck) or on an external drive (that would be better, if it will allow it), since it was one of the requirements (hopefully optional, if it doesn’t work) for the class. If all goes well, I’ll have something to share with you next week. (insert hopeful grin)

May you’re weekend will be blessed, rich with experiences you can carry forward into the years ahead.


I’m Struggling Here

THIS IS HILARIOUS. I WONDERED WHEN I’D RUN out of ideas to post each week. I think this is the week—it’s already Wednesday and I’m stuck. It’s not even October yet. And November is going to be horrible…(read: busy with NaNoWriMo). I’ve started three different posts and I’ve deleted each one. Arg. I’m actually hoping, as I ramble on here that something will come to mind.

Struggling. Okay. Now it’s Thursday and my deadline looms (at least I haven’t deleted this one yet).

My life is so full, yet I am struggling. There are so many things I could draw from to write about, yet I find it hard to get things ‘on paper’ at the moment. Yes, there’s plenty to write about, but I don’t want to bore you—too often, and I seem to be a wee bit restless—not wanting to sit still long enough to get things written. My mind is going is so many directions right now.

I am excited about all that’s going on in my life. And loving the chaoticness (is that even a word?) of it. Both my writerly and painterly side will be busy in the coming days and months (forget about the basic daily things that should be done…) with my third book’s final two-rounds of editing then publishing, book four begging to be completed, a book signing (October 25th at Open Ground Studios—I should be working harder to line more up of these), NaNoWriMo looming in the near future (Nov 1-30) and a number of fun workshops at Open Ground Studios just waiting for my participation (squeee!).

Okay…I think I’m on a roll, don’t you?

Open Ground Studios is so amazing, and as it passed it’s first birthday this summer, it continued to grow and change—for the better. Membership packages have been revamped, as have the costs of classes and workshops, all making joining and ‘playing’ a more enjoyable experience. Working in this environment, whether (for me) simply to write or to finally let my painterly side free, is wonderful. Peaceful. Friendly. Can’t say enough about this place. Really. Check it out for what’s coming up (see link above).

I, for one, will be attending the Medieval Book Binding workshop with Nicolas Yeager (November 8th)—I’m really excited! I love the first book that I made in the workshop…so much so that I’m having a hard time ‘breaking-in’ the interior—it’s so beautiful, I don’t want to spoil it! I know—the wrong frame of mine. USE IT!

Then, there’s the exposure unit (for photopolymer printing) that has been patiently waiting…waiting to be calibrated so it can be used. I am thrilled that someone (Bob Rocco) is finally coming in—very soon—to do just that. Then he will have a class for those of us interested in using it. I can hardly wait. I’m on the list, waiting for a time (date is known—October 14th—well, it is changeable, depending on availability for those interested)—I’ll make the day work, no matter which one is chosen.

Okay…I’ve said enough. Please enjoy your—and the gloriously beautiful weekend that is nearly upon us. May your days ahead be blessed and joyful.