Friday, July 29, 2016

A Forgotten Blog

I forgot my Wednesday post!

To tide my dear readership (I've been watching Emma) over until the next post (which I promise to remember and everything), here is a gorgeous sunrise from New Zealand:

New Zealand sun rise

I've been busy prepping my query for Pitch Wars and writing my YA SF, and I forgot all about my blog!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bryce Canyon Highlights

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Nigel at Bryce Canyon National Park

I worked on the query I'd mentioned last week and sent out a few letters. My current plan is to leave those be, and if I don't have any requests, enter this year's Pitch Wars, which is an awesome competition hosted by Brenda Drake. For those who don't know, Brenda is a newer author who, prior to being published, started a blog from which she hosts writing competitions (among other things; I'm sure there's much more to her, but that is the relevant part here).

Bryce Canyon National Park, shadows
You can see me and Nigel in the shadows.

And, with that writing update out of the way, I am going to keep showing off my favorite photos from Bryce Canyon, which was actually our favorite of the Utah National Parks.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Nigel
Nigel strolling. I'm the shadow off to the left.

Nigel and I got up very early to take a stroll through the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. The tall, column-like rocks are hoodoos, and according to the legends of the Native American people of the land, these rock columns used to be people who were turned to stone by the Coyote god because of their greed.

Bryce Canyon National Park, hoodoos
Some of these hoodoos were massive!
(That's Nigel in front.)

We took our walk just after sun rise, which is why I have some very cool shadows in my photos.

Bryce Canyon National Park, alien landscape
This landscape looked like it was straight out of science fiction.

And one more:

Bryce Canyon National Park, sunrise
Nigel walking into the sunshine.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Utah Flowers and Yet Another Query

evening primrose, bryce canyon national park, utah
Howard's Evening Primrose
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

This weekend was busy. My husband discovered the joy of Pokemon Go, and we wandered all around, chasing down Drowzees and Weedles. I always enjoy walking around with Nigel, so it was a win for me.

pink cactus flower, sedona, arizona
I lied. This is not a Utah flower. This is an Arizona pink cactus flower.
Sedona, Arizona

Up til now, I've been working on my YA scifi, but being out and about on a Pokemon hunt didn't leave as much time for writing, so I revisited my query yet again. I have six queries out in the wild, and haven't heard back from any of them, which isn't promising, so revisiting felt called for.

sego lily, arches national park, utah
Sego Lily
Arches National Park, Utah

Also, have I mentioned I have a thing for flower photos? Because I have a thing for flower photos.

globemallow, wildflower, utah
Globemallow (Weird name, right?)
Arches National Park, Utah

Anyway, without further ado, here is the query I've been working on for the upper MG contemporary fantasy I recently renamed THE STORM SUMMONER:

Twelve year old Eric Ortega is sick of the slimy gush of mayonnaise as he chews on week-old, school cafeteria coleslaw. Why couldn’t the wind demon that took over his body like pizza instead? Worse than the coleslaw is the creeping fear that Nikias, the creature inside him, has plans for Eric’s protective, big sister.
Eric is kidnapped and freed by Nikias’ enemies. Fighting for control over his own life, Eric is drawn into a world of magical creatures and mythical beasts in the stunning, secret parts of the Italian mountains.
Now Nikias has his sister. Nikias can bring down storms and force his will on others; Eric’s sister doesn’t stand a chance. Eric must convince his only friend, a whip-smart winged girl, to defy her people, help him escape, and let Eric challenge a centuries old demon. There’s no way this could go wrong.

And one last Globemallow photo, this time from the Grand Canyon in Arizona:

globemallow, wildflower, grand canyon, arizona

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Utah in HD

Bryce Canyon sunset
I posted my untreated version of this photo and the next one last week.
I honestly think this is a more accurate representation of what we saw.
And so gorgeous.

You know what drove me nuts? Nigel (my husband) would take a photo on his phone, and it would look way better than the photo I took on my point and shoot camera. I had a whole device devoted just to photo taking, and Nigel's stupid phone did a better job!

Isn't that dramatic pink gorgeous?

I think part of that was just that his phone had a bigger screen, so you could see the image better, but cameras just cannot see what the eye can see, and I think his phone did a little more to treat the photo so it looked more like what our eyes see.

Zion National Park, the Narrows
The photo was so dark, but this program really pulled out the detail.
Honestly, though, it was even better in real life.

So last week, I downloaded Nik, Google's free photo processing software. Take that, stupid phone!

Zion National Park, Narrows, before
Before

Zion National Park, Narrows, after
After
You can actually see the rocks and trees!

So here I am, showing off a few of my favorite, processed photos. Especially because I've been spending a decent chunk of my writing time obsessing over photos.