In Bloom

imageOver the weekend, my backdoor garden has come into bloom.

Except for a bit of weeding (which I, sadly, rarely get to), this garden is self-sustaining, filled with perennials, many of them gifted to me by my dear father before he died. The tea roses are from cuttings he brought from the Homestead (originally brought there from his mother’s tea roses in Massachusetts). My Grandma Reed died the summer before I was born, but I feel like I “know” her a little through the stories my father told me about her quiet, intelligent nature, her inventive and hearty cooking, and her beautiful flower gardens.

The iris are quintessentially my father: he loved this kind of large, colorful – and some scented – iris. These are all gifts from him, with his favorite being what he called the “blue and whites” that are in the foreground. I feature one, even, in my family-life-love-loss-hope-filled novel Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven.

We spoke many times about the mysteries of life, the Universe, energies, and what the afterlife might hold. I detail some of those conversations and thoughts in the novel as well – but I like to think that the tangible  beauty of this garden speaks to that in a different way. It blooms every year, all on its own, bringing joy, a feast for the senses, and happy memories that keep uplifting emotions and treasured people in the forefront of my thoughts.

And it reminds me yet again that love might change form, but it never truly dies.

Spring Sights

imageSpotted on back roads leading to Daughter #2’s voice lesson (her wonderful voice teacher lives about an hour distant in the countryside…well worth the trip!) The sheep looked content…and curious.

 

imageAfter this first pic on the left was snapped (at a Stop sign), the two sheep in front, who had been grazing when we first pulled up, raised their heads and stared at us. We “spoke” for a bit and then we continued on our way. 🙂

Print Advertising – Yes or No?

Moose Tracks SUM.16 Third Vertical V05I suppose that’s not really a fair question in that I’m committed to this first stab at print advertising…I’ve already paid the fee to have a print ad produced and for it to appear in in the Summer and Autumn quarterly issues of Foreword Reviews, in an effort to maximize on the news that Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven (which is on sale now!) has been named a finalist in their prestigious Book of the Year Awards.

As I’m sure you’ve already deduced, this is the ad. What do you think? It was created (with some back and forth input from me) by talented graphic designer Barbara Hodge, who works freelance but also works in a design capacity for Foreword Reviews as well. It will be 1/3 of a page in the glossy print magazine (which is also available to subscribers in a digital reader online).

I guess I’m tossing the question from the post’s title out there to see what any of your thoughts on the matter are. I don’t have a background in marketing, nor am I a large-scale book-buyer (though I do buy a LOT of books! 🙂 ).

Basically, I’m wondering whether or not you as a consumer believe that print ads have any effect on your purchasing choices…or if you are an author, if print ads have been successful or not for you or other authors you know? I’m trying a few different things, and though I realize there are many “free” ways to market (like a web presence etc), my efforts at that are often sporadic, as many of you who follow me here know, due to life/day job circumstances outside my control; that’s why I’m looking to widen the process where I can.

So…please chime in! Do print ads work for you as a reader, buyer, or author? What makes you “notice” and try the work of a new author? I’m open to any and all suggestions (though depending on the cost of them in time or money, I may not be able to actually put them into practice, LOL) 🙂

Fire away with your thoughts (and/or feedback on this particular ad…I’m all ears!)!

 

Happy Spring!

Although it’s quite chilly here in Upstate, New York, it’s been sunny and a lovely, brisk first day of Spring.

 

imageI put out my “spring-themed” flag in the front (I have 8 or so flags, to match the seasons, though I always seem to be adding more…I just put away the green spangled Saint Patrick’s Day flag).

 

 

imageAnd the first harbingers of Spring, since I can remember, have begun to poke their little blue heads from the soil next to the house. Apparently they’re called Scilla siberica (Siberian squill or wood squill). We always called them the “little blue flowers” when I was growing up. They spread a lovely-hued carpet of blooms next to the old homestead, and the autumn before my father died, he (presciently) dug me a rectangular bit of that turf from home and brought it the 1.5 hours or so to my house, so I could have a patch of them growing every Spring. Just another reason I love him and another reason to always think of him whenever I look at the beauty of those flowers.

 

Happy Spring to one and all!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I always enjoy my Irish heritage…but what I enjoy almost as much is the way anyone can be “Irish for a day” on Saint Patrick’s Day!

When considering the mix of all the cultures that make up many second or third generation Americans – and especially when focusing on those that compose my biological inheritance – I’ve always viewed the Irish part of me as one of the more happy-go-lucky, warm and welcoming parts. ❤

This video is a happy memory for me from childhood…not just of Bing but also of my sweet, 3/4 Irish mother singing this song in her lilting and pretty voice in the kitchen (often while making her famous Irish soda bread, the recipe of which she’d learned from her own Ireland-born Grandma Katherine O’Halleran who hailed from County Tipperary).

Perhaps it’s also my penchant for lush imagery in poetry or lyrics, particularly nature-based imagery, that makes me love this and so many Celtic songs.

And now, I’ll leave you with a little Irish Blessing. 🙂

“May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.”

Pretty Sky, Followed By Rain…

The pretty pink sky at dawn this morning out my back door…

Leading to the slate gray sky of daytime, out my classroom window.

image

The weather changes reflect my mood and my ruminations today on the changes we inevitably experience in life. As with everything, we must accept the bitter after the sweet…trusting that the sweet will eventually come again.

 

It’s Been A While…

It’s hard to believe that here it is the end of February, and this is my first post of 2016.

There are several reasons for this, which I won’t get into in any detail, but I will share that my life has become more complex and complicated in many ways, due to some family-related issues and a delightful and loveable new little human who has been living with us and made me a (quite youthful!) grandmother.

imageNeedless to say, the slogan on the Yogi tea I’ve been drinking this past hour is one I’m working actively toward achieving each day: “To be calm is the highest achievement of the self”.

Speaking of tea, what do you think of my mug? It’s new (well, as of January) and was a little gift to myself, purchased at a country store but from a source called Healing Touch Pottery. Each mug or pottery item is unique, handmade from quartz clay and containing a gemstone or mineral in the handle, imbued with energy associated with that. Mine is my birthstone, amethyst (yes, I recently had a milestone birthday) 🙂

I love it!  Has anyone else here tried their pottery?  I’d like to collect a few more pieces. It’s pretty and comforting all at once.

Anyway – I’m glad to be back and will try to post again more frequently. I’m writing sporadically, working at the moment on a prequel novella for The Crimson Lady – but thanks to the aforementioned changes in life, I’ve yet to find my rhythm to set up any regular schedule. It will come in time – when it’s supposed to – I’m confident.

Until my next post, wishing you all a wonderful weekend!