Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Confession ...

Here’s the thing. There are two Rebeccas. One is quite serious, not much fun at all, but we send her off to the office where she gleefully gathers galaxies of data, squishing it together before flattening and folding it into origami unicorns and paper tigers. Her boss is very fond of Rebecca’s unicorns and tigers, but this exhausted the other Rebecca. Mischievous Rebecca crawls from this orderly structure and seeks fun in very different ways. Exercising her creative muscles, Mischievous Rebecca has dabbled in drawing and flirted with music, but a dreadful lack of talent nearly caused her to become an accountant. Then she discovered photography. Mischievous Rebecca sees magical things through the microcosm of a macro lens, and with cameras being little more than compact computers these days, the two Rebeccas hugged it out and blissfully pressed the shutter. Yet, this wasn’t enough for Mischievous Rebecca. There had to be something out there that could be uniquely Rebecca, both of them. And there always had been. From her earliest memories, Mischievous Rebecca has created entire worlds in her head. Everything was fair game. Stones became knights and apples became fairies, but she never revealed her stories to the outside world. Not until one slipped out. Assigned to write a paper on something uninteresting and utterly unimaginative, Mischievous Rebecca decided to mess with the teacher. In a single paragraph, she built a world living within the stream of ink flowing from her pen. The creatures railed against the humans and their mediocre ideas. Countless died for doodles. They deemed the teacher guilty of wasting ink and demanded she be punished for her crime. Mischievous Rebecca was pleased and thoroughly expected a failing grade, but it didn’t turn out that way. The note in the margin read: "Beautiful! You should write for a living". Serious Rebecca immediately dismissed the idea, and once again took control until one day not so very long ago. While watching a kingfisher hovering over a marsh, his eye locked on a school of minnows pooling at her feet, it happened again. An entire community of trolls appeared in Mischievous Rebecca's mind. They were clever and childish, timid and sweet—they were nothing like we had been told. Sitting there on that bench, a story formed, a full story that she thought might be worth writing down. That’s how it happened. Mischievous Rebecca has reclaimed her uniqueness. Forty-two months later, the legend is complete, and ready to share with you. Mischievous Rebecca and Serious Rebecca cohabit peacefully now. They need each other, yet neither is dominant over the other. Serious Rebecca has her paper unicorns while Mischievous Rebecca has an entire universe in which to play.

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.