Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumn 2011~ Autumn Fire

Autumn 2011

Autumn 2011 by Musings By Char
Autumn 2011, a photo by Musings By Char on Flickr.

Autumn 2011

Autumn 2011 by Musings By Char
Autumn 2011, a photo by Musings By Char on Flickr.

A shot I took Halloween weekend

An "Irish" Obsession

I have a new obsession,  and it has an Irish flair.  I'm not sure who started me down this path, and if it was you please remind me so I can give you a big hug and thank you profusely!  So do I have your curiosity piqued?  I'm talking about the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.  It is a series that I can NOT stop recommending.

The first book, Dark Fever, readers are introduced to Mac, the young, southern, heroine.   I loved this strong willed, brave, and quirky young woman from the beginning - my affinity for her just grew throughout the series.  We follow her quest for truth and justice encountering the world of the Fae in which she unknowingly plays an important pivotal  role.  I loved the interaction with two sexy but very different males, V'lane  and Barrons.  I felt myself wondering right along with her who to trust,  who to believe. Should she believe the Blonde, Adonis, like V'lane, who is a Prince of the Fae or should she believe the dark, smoldering exotic, but sexy as all get out Barrons who simmers with a animistic presence.   KM Moning keeps us guessing until the final book Shadow Fever.  If you are like me you will read these as fast as you can,  unable to put them down because you just NEED to know what happens to Mac and those she has grown to love.  

If you like paranormal fiction I can guarantee you will enjoy this series and will come to love the characters as much as I have.   

Below is an excerpt from the first book, Dark Fever:  

My philosophy is pretty simple—any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in
my book.
I haven’t had many good days lately.
Not since the walls between Man and Faery came down.
But then, there’s not a sidhe-seer alive who’s had a good day since then.
Before The Compact was struck between Man and Fae (around 4000 B.C. for those of you who aren’t up on your Fae history), the Unseelie Hunters hunted us down like animals and killed us. But The Compact forbade the Fae to spill human blood, so for the next six thousand years, give or take a few centuries, those with True Vision—people like me
who can’t be fooled by Fae glamour or magic—were taken captive and imprisoned in Faery until they died. Real big difference there: dying or being stuck in Faery until you die. Unlike some people I know, I’m not fascinated by them. Dealing with the Fae is like dealing with any addiction—you give in, they’ll own you; you resist, they never will.
Now that the walls are down, the Hunters are back to killing us again. Stamping us out like we’re the plague on this planet.
Aoibheal, the Seelie Queen of the Light, is no longer in charge. In fact, nobody seems to know where she is anymore, and some people are beginning to wonder if she is anymore. The Seelie and Unseelie have been smearing their bloody war all over our world since her disappearance, and although some might say I’m being broody and pessimistic, I think the Unseelie are gaining the distinct upper hand over their fairer brethren.
Which is a really, really bad thing.
Not that I like the Seelie any better. I don’t. The only good Fae is a dead Fae in my book. It’s just that the Seelie aren’t quite as lethal as the Unseelie. They don’t kill us on sight. They have a use for us.
Though they barely credit us with sentience, they have a taste for us in bed.
When they’re done with a woman, she’s a mess. It gets in her blood. Unprotected Fae-sex awakens a frenzy of sexual hunger inside a woman for something she should never have had to begin with, and will never be able to forget. It takes a long time for her to recover—but at least she’s alive.
Which means a chance to fight another day. To help try to find a way to return our world to what it once was.
To send those Fae bastards back to whatever hell they came from.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, ahead of the story.
It began as most things begin. Not on a dark and stormy night. Not foreshadowed by ominous here-comes-the-villain music, dire warnings at the bottom of a teacup, or dread portents in the sky. It began small and innocuously, as most catastrophes do. A butterfly flaps its wings somewhere and the wind changes, and a warm front hits a cold front off the coast of western Africa and before you know it you’ve got a hurricane closing in. By the time anyone figured out the storm was coming, it was too late to do anything but batten down the hatches and exercise damage control.
My name is MacKayla. Mac for short. I’m a sidhe-seer, a fact I accepted only recently and very reluctantly.
There were more of us out there than anyone knew. And it’s a damn good thing, too.
We’re damage control.

--Dark Fever by K.M,Moning 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rollin' through Summer

Wow, can you believe July is almost over, before you know it we will be thinking of ghouls, goblins, and pumpkins oh my! 

Where does the time go?   But before it's all a distant sweaty blur make sure to take a little time  to enjoy the remaining summer months. Before you know it we will all be wishing for the hot humid days of  July.   I know when I was up to my knees in snow this last winter that's all I could think about.  

Now looking back on it I can only dream of a foot of snow.   Ahh those were the days, pass me an icicle will ya?  

Happy Summer 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learning to "See" --Lines

Photo by Margaret Bourke-White
One of the basic traits good photographers share is an ability to see images that many people don’t notice.  I believe you can develop an “eye”, but I think the OMG-FANTASTIC photographers are born with some added ability. However that said, all of us have to develop our skills and master the basics. Until we do this we won't know if we could be a good photographer or one of those OMG FANTASTIC ones. So let's start at the beginning with the elements - specifically lines.    

When my art teacher told us to:
1. Just shoot in black and white, (back in the days of shooting with film)
2. Go find and shoot anything depicting lines
I thought he was insane and had no clue what he was talking about.  Of course I was the one being clueless.   What I didn’t understand was that he was teaching us to see the basic elements in photography.  Lines can draw the viewer into the photograph and they can help give eyes a focal point.   So set your camera on B/W and go shoot “lines”  and please share!   

Monday, July 4, 2011

Duties of a Citizen?

If someone were to ask me what my “job” as an American is, I’m not sure I would have a quick and ready answer.  It is something though we all need to think about. What are the duties we have as citizens of the US or for that matter any country?    Here are  a few thoughts that sprang to my mind.
1.  It’s our duty to make sure the freedoms we have are protected.  Be it the freedom to get on a plane without being groped by a total stranger or something as praying with friends in school.  
2.  We have the right to be treated with respect as a human being no matter our color, race, gender, or choice of mate/partner.   We also have the duty to  treat others in the same way.   
3.  It’s our duty as citizens of the US and the world to stand up for human rights no matter if it’s in the US, Iran, or China.   
I’m reminded of a famous quote we all would be well to remember “Evil prevails when good “men” do nothing”  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reach Out!

I was amazed with the statement from the video that stated suicide was the 3rd largest cause of  death among youth between 15-25.  After checking my facts from the CDC,  I was even more appalled at the information given there.  According to the CDC , suicide is the third largest cause of death  for youth from 10-24 years old. According to this statistic that means 4400 young people loose their  life every year senselessly.   I AM/WAS shocked that this statistic included 10 year old children.

As I read these stats, I wondered  in consternation  how  a 10, 11, 12,  year old  child could get so very lost - to the point of trying to end their  life.   I can only imagine the pain  children must be experiencing if they are willing to go to this length to stop it.   It breaks my heart, and it makes me want to just hug every child  I see, letting them know what a fantastic, wonderful, creature God has created in them.   I wish there really was fairy magic, and I could jump around the world hugging every child I met.

Unfortunately I have to deal with reality and logistics so hugging every child on the planet might be impossible, but I can let the children in my world  know someone cares about them and just how very special each and everyone of them are.    I can also get this message out to everyone I know.   We all need to be vigilant about saving these young people and making this statistic a thing of the past.

Below I've shared some important information to be aware of when dealing with  young people as well as some important numbers and websites to notify if you or someone you know need help.

Factors that increase the risk of suicide

v  A psychological disorder, especially depression, bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drug use (in fact, approximately 95% of people who die by suicide have a psychological disorder at the time of death)
v  Feelings of distress, irritability, or agitation
v  Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that often accompany depression (a teen, for example, who experiences repeated failures at school, who is overwhelmed by violence at home, or who is isolated from peers is likely to experience such feelings)
v  A previous suicide attempt
v  A family history of depression or suicide (depressive illnesses may have a genetic component, so some teens may be predisposed to suffer major depression)
v  Physical or sexual abuse
v  Lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation
v  Dealing with homosexuality in an unsupportive family or community or hostile school environment

Warning Signs

v  Talk about suicide or death in general
v  Talk about "going away"
v  Talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
v  Pull away from friends or family
v  Lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
v  Have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
v  Experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
v  Self-destructive behavior (drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or driving too fast, for example)

Potential Triggers for Suicide 

v  Death of a parent.
v  Divorce of parents.
v  Feeling like a "pawn" that is being used between feuding, divorced parents.
v  Joining a new family with a step-parent and step-siblings.
v  Breaking up with a boyfriend / girlfriend.
v  Moving to a new community.
v  Not feeling accepted by peers.
v  Being ridiculed by classmates.
v  Feeling misunderstood.
v  Any experience perceived to be "humiliating."
v  Alcohol abuse.
v  Drug abuse.
v  Being bullied by classmates.

Getting Help and Information

1 800-SUICIDE  or 1 800-999-9999


1-800-273-talk   or 1 800-273-8255

Remember YOU are a beautiful, wonderful, creation of the Master of the Universe... 
Remember to remind someone everyday that they are too!   

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Attention Writers!

Attention Writers! True Blood on Twitter Writing Contest

JUNE 5, 2011
by bc
True Blood on Twitter RP group would like to invite you to participate in our first writing contest. If you’ve ever imagined that you could write a scene for some of your favorite True Blood™ characters, this is your opportunity to do just that.
We have chosen three “sneak peek” video previews for the upcoming Season 4 as inspiration for you to create the story of what happened next. The following are links to those promos. Choose one as the starting point for your story and let your imagination take over.
Our panel of judges will choose first, second and third place winners from the submissions and True Blood on Twitter group members will act the winning story out, live on Twitter, as a special event leading up to Sunday, June 26 and the first episode of Season 4 of True Blood™. Second and third place entries will be performed at a later date. First place prize is a copy of True Blood: The Complete Third Season on DVD. Runner up prizes will also be awarded for the second and third place winners.
Deadline for submissions is Midnight central time, Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011.
Rules and judging guidelines can be found under the links to the promo videos. Watch them and choose which story you’d like to continue. Good luck and we look forward to reading your entries.
1.       Pam, Marnie & Tara
2.       Arlene & Terry
3.       Pam, Jessica & Hoyt
  • Submissions should be a minimum of 1,500 words and no longer than 4,000 words.
  • Each writer can submit up to a maximum of three (3) separate stories.
  • Contest ends at Midnight central time, Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
  • All contest submissions should be sent to:
Our panel of judges will be looking equally for…
  • Creativity and originality (including structure, flow, development of characters, and so on)
  • Potential for roleplay (including audience-appropriateness and appeal).
  • Technical ability (such as writing and compositional skills, presentation, form, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.)
  • Stories should get the viewer’s attention and keep it. Beginning, middle, end, and overall pacing are very important. The dialogue needs to provide insight and the visuals must be compelling. The voice of the characters should be clear and strong. Overall impact of the piece will be the major criteria in the evaluation process.
  • Creativity will carry a weight of up to 10 points; other categories carry a weight of up to 5 points. Winners will be determined by the highest cumulative score.

Time flies

Wow I can't believe I haven't blogged here since March, it's amazing how time gets away from me.  As cliche as it, I do wish I had an extra 8 hours in the day.   Unfortunately that's not the case so I'm going to try and learn to juggle all my projects and do them all justice.  I also have decided to start sharing some photo stories as well as some other types of  creative endeavors.    I'm really trying to find my way to make this blog an extension of my own creativity and love of beauty.   So bear with me as I try and get this all worked out.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another Peak at "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris

Penguin Books has shared another sneak peek giving us chapter 3 to read.   It's full of angst and definitely seems like we have a great read ahead of us.   We still find Eric and Sookie together, but as usual things aren't going smoothly. Throw in some complications with Pam and it looks like we need to "buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy ride".  The book comes out on May 3, 2011

Click below to read chapter 3
Penguin Books  

Monday, March 7, 2011


Gosh it seems like forever since I've updated.  I've had a horrible life experience,  so far one of the hardest of my life.  On January 10, 2011 my mom passed away unexpectedly.   She had a rare blood cancer, myelofibrosis, and even though we almost lost her last summer, she had been doing really well and in "recovery" of sorts.  There is no cure for this disease but she had been given a great "bill of health" the week before.   So it really shocked me when my sister called me Monday morning telling me mom was going into cardiac arrest at the hospital and it didn't look good.

The week after is honestly a blur......there was some family drama that just made things worse and honestly all I wanted to do was get back home.  It is almost surreal to me at times and seems like I was watching a bad movie.   Sometimes it  feels like that still, but then the strangest things will trigger a memory and I find myself overwhelmed with a loss I can't describe.  But I know she is no longer suffering and being a Christian I know she's in a much better place.  So I work through the pain and tears and go forward.

I miss her beyond words, but I am so very glad that I followed one of her many pieces of  advice. Mom always told us "Don't wait to give me flowers at my grave,  give me them when I can enjoy them."   I tried to follow that letting her know how much I loved her and how very grateful I was to have been blessed with such a wonderful woman for a mother.   She's the reason I'm the woman I am today.

I know as time goes by the pain will lesson but I don't think I will ever not miss the special place she held in my life.   There will always be something I want to share with her or get her advice about, but that's ok because I know because of her I have the strength to get through anything this life dishes out.  I was so very blessed to have her as long as I did and I tried my best to let her know how special she was.

Remember to tell those in your life how lucky you are and how very much you love them, because life is full of the "unexpected" and regret is a very bitter pill to swallow.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Tips To Reach Your New Goals

It's unbelievable to me that 2010 is dead and gone.   This time of year always makes me a bit reflective, wondering what this next year will hold and thinking about the previous one. I guess maybe it's the need   to improve and fix ourselves.  We make resolutions and sometimes it's not even a month when they are blown out of the water, and  we sit there wondering what in the world happened.  According to statistics half  of our goals and resolutions won't make it more than six months, but hey don't give up that still leaves  50% of them that reach success.  So what do we do to ensure  we are in the successful 50%, becoming one of those who actually kept our resolutions and  reached our goals?  

Here are a few simple tips: 

1. Know yourself and be realistic --  Let's face it we all have things about our personal appearance that we think needs "fixed".   If we are overweight we want to loose a pound or two,  if we are skinny we want to gain a pound a two (lucky dogs) and so the list goes.  If you want to bring about a change make it one that you can realistically do.  If your unsure ask the people that really know you....not your twitter  and online friends but your real life ones who know the REAL you.    

2.  Make plans for success --  Come up with some concrete plans and even make  lists to help you out.   For example say you want to exercise more,  this is a great goal but you need to plan.   Know your body, it's limits, and set realistic goals.  You also need to decide how your going to get into shape.   Are you going to walk, jog, or join a gym.   Again all these take planning and maybe even some new equipment.   So plan! plan! plan!   Put it on paper.   Can you tell yet that I'm a list maker.. ; )   

3. Plan for temptations or roadblocks -- All of us are going to hit stumbling blocks  so we need to come up with a plan to fight them.   How are you going to deal with the temptation of not walking that mile when it's 30 degrees outside or when you are just worn out from work or class?   Come up with something to tackle it.   It could be something as simple as a call to a friend for positive feedback or maybe it's self talk or even a little reward for pushing through the temptation.   

4.  Pros and Cons -- Make a list of  the reasons why you should continue to reach your goal and a list of consequences if you don't.   Some goals of course have harsher smoking has a pretty heavy consequence if you continue.  Spell these out and quit burying your head in the sand.  ( I'm using self talk here)   

5.  Get it out there -- This one is simple, talk about your goals and changes you want to achieve.  Tell your friends and family.  Ask them to help with motivation and to keep your "feet to the fire"  so to speak.

6.  Reward yourself -- Give yourself rewards for keeping your focus and  motivation.  Make them small rewards within short increments of time.   This will help with your motivation, and you can set predetermined success points within the overall time frame.  You know what you are going to need to keep  going.   Are you someone who needs a lot of motivation?  If so set up weekly goals and rewards. Of course don't give yourself rewards that are going to sabotage  your main goal. Make it something that will motivate you even more!  

7.  When you slip -- Don't beat yourself up when you mess up .   We are all going to do it one time or another so look at what happened,  what didn't work with your temptation plan and then get back to work.   Don't give up just because you slipped.  Don't eat an entire gallon of ice cream because you slipped and had an ice cream cone.  Just put down the spoon and walk away....; )  

8.  Keep at it -- Consider it takes 21 days to form new habits so you have to be patient and you have to make it a part of the new and improved YOU.  Give it a chance to become part of who you are and your daily life.   

9. Try, try again -- If you totally blow your goals and bulldoze through your plans, don't give up. Start over, make adjustments for what worked and what didn't then get back to the goal you set.   Remember resolutions just aren't for January.       

Hope these tips help out.  Good luck and definitely feel free to contact me and make me one of your motivators.  I'm great at teamwork!