Lady Moon

As I was ready to go to bed last night, I glanced outside and saw this beautiful sight. I have been mesmerized by the moon since I was a little girl. My mom says that as a toddler, I used to point at it and call her lulu (for luna – moon in Spanish). I have looked at the moon countless of times since then, and each time I find it more beautiful. I hope we never damage it, as our species does with everything else. Here are a few pictures of the moon as I saw it last night. These were taken from inside because I was already in my PJs and ready to sleep but I could not pass the opportunity of taking just a few pictures of this beauty.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Isn’t she gorgeous?

A Crow’s Tale

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I love crows and ravens. I think they are underappreciated beautiful birds. These birds have been misrepresented for many years, centuries, and they have been given a negative label, used in horror movies, Halloween spooky props, and associated with evil and darkness. Poor little ones. They are nature’s creatures just as a white dove is, or a puppy, or even a regal peacock. Their song is mocked, called a screech; what is up with that? Have you ever heard a peacock sing or a fox calling?

I am happy to have many crows in my neck of the woods, and I love to see them hopping (yes, they hop like little bunnies) around. One thing that is particular about them is that I see them walking around in the light rain like there is nothing going on, while other birds tend to wait until the sun comes back out and the rain stops. I have been on a birdie binge, and I thought about including these pictures on the previous bird watching posts, but decided to give the crow its own spotlight. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I did. For the love of crows.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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My favorite. Walking around after the rain, all wet. Pardon the focus, and look at that stride.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Hope you enjoyed these.

 

 

 

 

 

40 Tips from Best Selling Authors

Revisiting one of my very old posts on this blog. Maybe it could be of inspiration to someone struggling in their writing career. It happens different for everybody as you can tell. There is no magic formula other than “keep at it.”

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Revisited – I wrote this sometime ago and decided to revisit it as I think these tips from best selling authors are worth reading once more.

As a writer, I love to hear what other writers have to say about writing, especially, best-selling authors.  I sat down, coffee at hand, and listened to many interviews of best-selling authors.  Many hours later, a list of their recommendations was born.  The following list is full of tips, recommendations, and inspiration, from best-selling authors to aspiring writers, although these authors have been published the traditional way, and we all know that the eBook is shaking the publishing world; however, these tips are worth considering.

1.  Write, Write, Write.

2.  Accept rejection.

3.  Send hundreds of queries.

4.  Don’t take no for an answer; keep at it.  Eventually you will get a yes.

5.  It took Janet Evanovich 10 years of trying to get…

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Beauty Remains

Among all the chaos during these challenging times, beauty remains untouched, nature prevails in its own way as it has always been since the beginning of time. When we are feeling sad, scared, hopeless, and searching for a silver lining, God blesses us in many ways, even when we cannot see it right away or understand it.

I have been taking pictures of birds from time to time, and many times, I have shared a few on this blog. Birds are beautiful. I took a few pictures the other day, and these were taken from the inside of my home and through window glass, so they are not perfect. However, looking at them I saw something I had not seen before. I looked at those bird’s faces and expressions, and there I saw a miracle, I saw beauty, but more than that, I saw innocence, purity, hope; I saw the love of God. Here, I share a few with you.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (Mathew 6:26)

I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. (Psalm 50:11)

 

 

Silent Witnesses

I have a true love for things of the past, antique or vintage items that reflect the pass of time. Rustic, old things that have been through many seasons and survived, that have been in many hands. I don’t know where this love affair comes from, but it has been there always, since I can remember.

On one occasion, someone who visited me for the first time noticed that most of my possessions are old/antique, and asked me about it. I joked replying, “If it is new, I don’t want it.” This amore extends to old books; I find them hard to resist. Everything is so beautiful and enticing about old books – the scent, the natural variation in color, the cover, the typography … I have an affinity for old journals, not only the writing type, but the record keeping as well. What I love about old journals is how well made these were – beautiful covers, quality pages, carefully selected fonts, and rich colorful patterned interior covers, among other attributes. Everything about these journals was done with such careful detail and quality that these are still around today. Here’s an example. The cover seems a corduroy type moss green fabric and oxblood leather trimmed in gold. You can’t find this workmanship quality these days. The interior is beautiful as well.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Here are a few other examples; notice the small details, the lettering, the grain, the rich colors …

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

These were everyday items used in households and businesses, and these were gorgeous, imagine that. Old writing paraphernalia calls my name as well, especially old pens and pencils, some of which I have shared on this blog. I cannot help but melt at the sight of an old desk and chairs. My love for old rulers is obvious throughout my home. Some people believe that one should not bring antiques to one’s home because they have been imprinted with the energy of previous owners, positive or negative, or even to have ghosts attached. If that was the case, I would have an army living with me.

I find beauty and joy while looking at these old things, and have no desire for “the new” unless it happens to be a well made reproduction of an antique piece. I enjoy technology and appreciate the value of some new things, mostly utilitarian, but when new is not needed/required, for me, old is better. Sometimes, I wish I could see the past of these objects of my affection, their previous “lives” in as many settings these have been throughout the decades, and even centuries. To see their stories, to have a glimpse of the many families these have belong to, and the circumstances in which these passed through time. These are like silent characters whose stories are not told – a scuff, a broken piece restored at one point, a distinctive mark … It all speaks of the people around these objects, their lives, even their dreams, in many circumstances. Imagine all the stories these would reveal to a writer. Through the miracle of time, new things become old and new stories are written around them. These things become silent witnesses of time.

 

Just a Number

Independent writers abound these days; I am one of them. Many writers dream of being published the traditional way, being offered contracts, and other writers would consider the possibility. These days, many traditionally published writers are crossing over to independent publishing as well. It is a very active and evolving field right now. Indie books are lost in a vast ocean that becomes wider every minute. I can’t imagine what will be the future of independent publishing but one thing is for sure – evolution. I am glad for this evolution because it allowed me the opportunity to write and publish my works, a long-time dream. I don’t know how many books I will write in my lifetime, or how long I will live, neither does any writer. However, I have asked myself this question – ” How many books do I want to write before I die?” It seems a bit macabre but I have settled on a number that seems to feel right. It doesn’t have any significance other than it seems to be a number that represents a happy compromise (at least in my mind) between enough and not enough, in other words, a fulfilling number. That number for me is 30.

At my age, I would have to write a minimum of one book a year to reach that number, and that is assuming that I would live to reach my eighties or beyond, and be of sound mind. This realization changes my perspective, and as a result, thirty becomes just a number. Do you have an ideal number? How many books would you like to publish?

The Five-dollar Miracle Promo Cards

Over the years, I have made a habit of making promo cards when I publish a book. I don’t go overboard; I order 25-50 cards at a time, and when I am running low I order another set. It is something I do to promote my books. I am not active on social media, so this is a small way of doing something.  I keep them at hand, and when the opportunity arises I hand them out, sometimes inside a free copy of one of my novels. These are the ones for The Five-dollar Miracle. I think they came out nice.

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Photo by M.A.D.

It may not be something at large scale, but it is something I enjoy doing, and gets the word out in a more tangible and personal way. In any case, it serves as a free bookmark. There are many print services online that you can use and are cost efficient. They are also user friendly, and the many ways in which you can promote your work using various products is unlimited. It is something that authors can use to promote their work. Something to consider if you are not too busy or involved in social media.

The Song of Our Syrian Guest

I love antique books. Everything is delightful about them. Beautiful graphics, gorgeous covers, even the hue of the pages that have been kissed by time, and what can I say, I cannot resist the scent of an old book. Someone should just come up with a perfume or air scent reminiscent of it.

Last Christmas my niece gifted me an antique copy  (1904 – 505th printing) of The Song of Our Syrian Guest by William Allen Knight. The gorgeous illustrations/prints are by Charles Copeland. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received in all my life. What a treasure it is! I gasped when I saw it, page by page, but moreover, I was delighted when I read it. Everything is so beautiful and detailed about its pages – the lovely ornate print, the simple black and white illustrations that reveal so much, and the soft palette of the cover and some of the print.  The book is about psalm 23 from the point of view of a shepherd, and how  the imagery of the psalm has a real purpose and meaning that a shepherd would know. This has been my favorite psalm; I never knew that I would read it in a whole new different light, and find so much more in it. I recommend this little gem to any reader. It is a treasure for sure. If you can get a hold of an old copy, better. I hope you do. You will not be disappointed. My niece decorated the first page with a dry flower, which I think gave it a special touch. I will treasure it forever, and it will have a prominent space in my collection. Here are some pictures so you can appreciate its beauty.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Nature Treat

When I moved from the Jersey shore to southern Virginia, I knew that two of the things I would miss most (besides my friends of course) would be being close to the waterfront, and the bird sightings we had. The area I used to lived in was classified as a bird sanctuary, and I enjoyed watching these gorgeous creatures very much. Years ago, I wrote a post that included many pictures of the birds around the area. When I moved here I didn’t know that this area was considered a bird sanctuary as well, and I rejoiced when I saw the marking signs in town. As spring approaches, the little ones are flying in numbers, and I took some pictures which I will share on this post. Here is where I experienced for the first time what is called a mixed flock. It happened during late fall of last year, and I had no idea of what it was. I saw many types of birds flying together, some circling a dead tree covered in honeysuckle vine, and other birds landing on it. They flew in together and they were very loud, and before I had the chance to grab the camera they all left at once (flying together). I researched this and found out that some birds do that to guarantee food and protection from predators during the winter. I thought it was too early, but we had a few early cold days; however, later on we ended up having a mild winter. None the less, it was a magnificent experience that I will cherish forever. This is the picture of the tree minus the birds. I call this tree my monster tree. It is charmingly spooky in a good way. It serves well many critters, and when the honeysuckle blooms I can smell its sweet scent coming through the kitchen window. It is simply delightful.

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Photo by M.A.D.

I see crows all the time, one of my favorite birds. I named this place Mill Creek Little Trees because of the many tiny pine trees surrounding it, however, those pines have grown tall since we bought the place in 2010, and the place seems to have outgrown its name. I thought of a new name, and decided to rename it Black Crow Cottage in honor of the many crows that wander around and my love for these birds. I have many plans for gardens in this place, but that will take some time to put in place, many years that is. A couple weeks ago, hundreds of robins started to arrive, and along with crows and sandpipers ( I will miss them much) they are a favorite as well. This year, for some reason they seem skinnier.

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Photo by M.A.D.

There is a giant old tree near the kitchen entrance, and I was delighted by the sight of these birds because I had never seen them before. Their color detail is beautiful. It looks as if God had taken a small brush and painted a bit of red and yellow on them. They stayed for a while and drank water from a hole in the old tree.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M,A,D,

One more pic of these gorgeous creatures.

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Photo by M.A.D.

These birds have been coming around more and more, and they are beautiful as well. They seem to enjoy being on the ground like the robins, and along side them as well.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Enjoying a well deserved lunch.

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Photo by M.A.D.

A few blue birds have been arriving, but they are so fast and aloof that I have not been able to take a picture of them. In the meantime, this little fake blue bird will have to do for now. It would be just wonderful if one day a real blue bird would pose next to him and I was able to take the picture.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Well, this is all I have for now. I hope you enjoy these photos. I am not a photographer and I don’t know the names of most birds, but I enjoy watching and taking pictures of them.

 

 

 

A Tiny World

One of my favorite times of the year is that interim between winter and spring, that in-between, just now, when spring has not arrived and winter is giving way to it. It happens fast, almost invisible, but it is there. It is a time full of magic and discovery. Nature starts waking up slowly and everywhere you look (if you are looking) you will find a tiny wonder. To the wandering eye, everything seems dry and asleep, but to the keen eye ready to discover, a tiny world is just emerging. I just love it, and I wish to share a few pictures on this post so you can enjoy that emerging tiny world that will soon give way to spring, full blooms, and more defined natural surroundings. I hope you are inspired to go outside and look at your surroundings with different eyes, and discover your own tiny world.

Remnants of winter linger still.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Tiny plants slowly awaken from their sleep and dress in kelly green.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Tiny miracles of nature abound.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Wherever you look there is something going on.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Even where is less expected.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Every shape and hue awakens – the spring before the spring.

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Photo by M.A.D.

As above so below. Nature begins to display its beautiful hues, one tiny wonder at a time.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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And when daylight gives way to shadows, don’t forget to look up.

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Photo by M.A.D.