A Frosty Morning in Pictures

Heavy fog and -4 degrees Celsius temperatures produces a wonderful morning for pictures. On my way out to the bus stop with the kids, I grabbed the camera and snapped several images before the sun (it’s up there somewhere) burned off the fog.

Here are just a few.

A line of trees near the driveway.

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Just For Fun

I just came in from feeding the animals. While I was out, I photographed the wool from yesterday’s shearing. I’m always on the look-out for images that will make great book covers, so while I snapped away, I thought, mmm…wool…perhaps.

Below is the cover I whipped up just to see what a close up shot of wool might look like. This is not an actual book, just a fun let’s see what it looks like thing.

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Pen to Pencils

It may be hibernation season for some. Others might curl up with a remote and surf the television channels. In my house, we dust off the sketch books, sharpen our pencils and start creating.

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Many times I’ve sketched characters or created maps for my stories. For me, writing and sketching go hand and hand. I’ve passed my love for drawing onto my children.

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Exposure Time

I knew it would arrive sooner or later, but like digging out dreaded Christmas decorations, I had put it off for as long as I could. Then one morning I downloaded my messages and found the request sitting there, like a cat with enlarged pupils, ready to pounce.

An editor asked for an updated headshot to accompany my genealogy column, Roots to the Past. I had to face the music . . . er, the camera. After all, I couldn’t write forever with a picture taken in 2005, could I?

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Using Images to Capture a Character

I opened my inbox this morning and found an interesting blog post by Christi Corbett. She had written about pictures that inspired her, got her into the mindset of her characters and set the scene. She asked, “How about you?” Do you use images for writing inspiration?

My answer was a loud, “Yes!”

I’m a very visual person. When I’m writing dialogue, I can picture in my mind the character, what he/she’s wearing, their dialect, stance and hand motions. I know when an eye brow goes up or a lip is curled. My characters scratch their heads and their butts and put their hands in their pockets.

I often sketch my characters to better see their faces. Sometimes, I stumble upon an image that cries out, “I’m Anna!” I snatch it, print it and stare at it when I’m writing.

For example, last year, while googling my name to see where it appeared on the Internet, I came upon a page

containing a black and white image. The intense stare spoke to me. It said, “Hello there. I’m Tam. It’s been a hard day at the castle. My brother’s being a wingnut again, the lords are asking for tighter security and the plumbing is backed up in the guard house. I just need a cold one to relax.”

I saved the photo to my hard drive, naming it ‘Tam Mulryan’.

Searching the page further, I discovered it was Gerard Butler’s face I had stolen. But why was my name on the same web page as his? Oh, I had written a review of Nym’s Island several years ago and he was one of the stars. Little did I know that little review would link me with the photo I’d use to identify with one of my characters.

I googled Gerard Butler’s name to see if I could find Tam in another setting. Jackpot! Butler had starred in Timeline, a movie in which the characters travelled back in time to the age of sword fighting and castles. I found Tam in rugged

clothing with longer hair and a thicker beard. Almost perfect.

While living at the castle, Tam was clean cut with a short beard, but while hiding out on the trail, he’d become a little rough around the edges with longer, shaggier hair. The intense stare in this new photograph was perfect for Tam. He thought more than he spoke.

Printed and posted on the wall behind my computer, this photograph of Tam keeps an eye on my writing, making sure I write him true to character. Whenever I need inspiration for him, I just stare into his eyes and he lets me know what I must do.

The Stylish Blogger Award and My Favourite Things

AwardI wasn’t aware there were awards for blogging – I’m that new to Blogland. So when Laura Best bestowed The Stylish Blogger Award on me, I was quite surprised. Thank you, Laura.

Upon receiving this award, I’m to share five of my most favourite things. I’m going to skip the obvious – family, friends, writing – and move into my other five favourite things, things I’d like to enjoy every day, but don’t always get the chance to.

1) Sunshine: Whether it’s pouring through the windows, dancing on the water, revealing magic dust on minute snowflakes, highlighting my children’s hair, dappling the forest floor or cascading on my skin, I love it.

2) Cranberries: Cranberry sandwiches every day for all my school years have not turned me against this wonderful berry. I still love it. I eat them as a sauce in a bowl or on bread, in loaves and muffins, squeezed into juice and when nothing else is available, from a can. But the best way to eat a cranberry is in the fall when they are ripe and ready to burst. I love to pick one, put it in my mouth and test the strength of the skin until it explodes with flavour.

3) Music: It makes me laugh, curse out loud, smile, cry, think and dance. In 3.20 minutes, a song can make me consider another way of thinking, give me ideas or make me happy. Life without music would be unbearable.Diane Lynn Tibert

4) My camera: My love for photography is as old as my love for writing. After all these years, I’m still fascinated by the fact that I can capture an image in a fraction of a second. My many thousands of photographs remind me of a life that has passed. Long after the day turns into history, I can look at the pictures and remember my children as they were when they were toddlers beneath the table covered in Jello powder or surrounded by their stuffed animals the first day they moved from a crib to a real bed.

5) My pencil: It records my imagination in words and images. My first novel was written in pencil in a coiled Diane Lynn Tibertnotebook. Pencils of various quality and abilities have a special spot on my desk for quick notes, entries into my day planner and to work out a scene in a novel. My pencil creates visuals of my characters, reminds me with a quick sketch that they have long hair, wear their sword on the left or are missing a finger. I will never master the pencil, but I certainly have fun trying.

Now I have the pleasure of passing on The Stylish Blogger Award to five bloggers.

  1. Sandra Phinney: Sandra is an amazing writer based in Nova Scotia. She’s published in many formats including book, newspaper and magazine. I was fortunate to meet Sandra in 1999, just when she was getting started and I was dreaming of getting started. She has always been an inspiration to me.
  2. Jodi DeLong: Jodi is a garden writer based in Nova Scotia, author of Plants for Atlantic Gardens. I’ve been reading her gardening articles for many years in different publications.
  3. Thea Atkinson: Author of The Secret Language of Crows, Pray for Reign and others. Thea is based in Nova Scotia.
  4. Tracy: I recently discovered Tracy’s blog. I find her posts interesting and make me stop and think about my own life.
  5. Genevieve Graham-Sawchyn: Genevieve is a historical fiction author and editor based in Nova Scotia. Her posts contain helpful editing tips among other things.