Sharing

S J Brown Photo verticalBy S. J. Brown

I am stealing this title from a previous post I wrote in 2015. Sharing is something I was taught to do as a young child and still do today. As a child on a daily basis I shared with my big sister, even when she didn’t want to share with me. In more recent years my sister and I have shared our memories and put them into a manuscript that we hope to publish.
S J Brown SistersAs an author I share my thoughts and experiences. As a wildlife photographer I share my images and my love of the natural world. For this blog I thought I would share some of both. I think it is more important than ever for all of us to be mindful of our wild places and the critters that live there.

S J Brown Mule DeerI think living with nature can be challenging, but so well worth it. Even when the birds get to our strawberries and raspberries before we do.
S J Brown Blue JayI think we can all do our part to help out the natural world. I do what I can be sharing my images, recycling, reusing, and reducing when I can. I flip horseshoe crabs, tag monarch butterflies, and plant trees.

S J Brown Horseshoe Crab

Each week I share a wildlife image with my social media community.

https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

https://plus.google.com/107089848958196015385

https://www.linkedin.com/in/s-j-brown-40667b47/

2 KodiakIs there something your parents taught you as a child that you still do today? Have you shard that lesson with your children?

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my thoughts.

My books, Close Ups and Close Encounters, All the Birds I See, Clancy’s Cat Nap. Bennie the Butterfly and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.

 

What’s In a Name?

By S. J. Brown

On the day each of us was born our parents gave us a special name they pondered over for weeks or even months. Parents have been known to name their children after friends or relatives, places, objects, and myths. Many people who aren’t fond of their given name will use their middle name or a nick name. But does it really matter?
Let’s think about this, would Hulk Hogan have been taken seriously if he used his given name Terry Jean Bollette? How popular would dear Abby’s column be if it was called Dear Pauline?

How would using the scientific name for animals change your perception of them? Isa Eutamias as cute as a chipmunk?

SJBrown Chipmunk

Could you image calling our national symbol, Haliaeetus leucocephalus ?

SJBrown Bald Eagle

How about having Meleagris gallopavo for Thanksgiving dinner?

SJBrown Turkey

Do you think you would watch a Geococcyx californianus cartoon?

SJBrown Road Runner

I am often asked about my name. Once you say it a few times it doesn’t sound odd. It is a form of my given name. Why not just use my name? It’s not a bad name, just very popular among my generation. Early in my wildlife photography career I switched to using my initials in an attempt to get my work looked at and considered for publication.

S J Brown Photo vertical

Most publishers then and several now believe a woman couldn’t get the kinds of wildlife they were looking for. The train of thought here is that only a man would get close enough to capture the a bear, or alligator photograph that would captivate their audience.

Most photo submissions are done over the internet and don’t require any real interaction between me and the publishers that purchase my work. That means the majority of publishers assume I am a man when they review my work. Yes the check is made out to MR. S. J. Brown, but the bank will cash it for me.

Have you ever considered changing your name? Has someone’s name caused you to make assumptions about them?

Thanks for stopping by

Find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367
My books, Close Ups and Close Encounters, All the Birds I See, Clancy’s Cat Nap. Bennie the Butterfly and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.

 

 

Paths Not Taken

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

All of our lives are filled with choices. Those choices often leave us to wonder about the paths we chose not to take. Looking back there were a lot of paths I didn’t take. After spending 2 years in Cosmetology school. I decided cosmetology wasn’t the path I wanted to take. That was a good decision on my part.

I have worked as a short order cook and a waitress. Although I admit I like food and eat it daily. However working with food was another path I didn’t take, another good choice on my part.

SJBrown Sparrow

In the field there is always a path not taken that could be the perfect place to spot a fox, bear, or even a wolf. But that path could also be a waste of time.

SJBrown Wolf

This weekend I have traveled before. I hope to be sitting down with a publisher to convince him to publish “ Suburban Sisters”, a book I co authored with my big sister.

Cover, Intro EctThe last time I sat down face to face with someone in hopes of being published she loved my work, but she thought it should be made into a text book. By her estimation that would take about 30 days. I decided following that path wasn’t right for me or the book.

We all have paths we chose not to take. Hopefully the paths we did chose lead us to fun adventures and happy memories. . Feel free to share your path stories.

Find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367
My books, Close Ups and Close Encounters, All the Birds I See, Clancy’s Cat Nap and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.

Thanks for stopping by

 

 

 

 

On the Road Again

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The car was fully loaded, leaving just enough room for Jay and me.  The back seat held a small cooler for drinks, 2 camera bags, 2 duffle bags, and a bag of snacks.  In the trunk was a large cooler with food for the next few days, linens, hiking boots, a tote loaded with plate’s cups and silverware, and our coats.

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Jay and I were heading north on a 5 day excursion.  The trip began with torrential downpours and lots of traffic.  Our first stop made it all worth it when we got a chance to hang out with family and have pizza for dinner. 

The next morning we were up with the sun and back on the road.  Our destination, Michigan was still over 7 hours away.  We encountered more rain, more traffic and road construction.  Still we managed to arrive in Holland Michigan in time to cruise the downtown area, find an array of tulips and find our cabin before sunset.

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Jay and I were heading north on a 5 day excursion.  The trip began with torrential downpours and lots of traffic.  Our first stop made it all worth it when we got a chance to hang out with family and have pizza for dinner. 

The next morning we were up with the sun and back on the road.  Our destination, Michigan was still over 7 hours away.  We encountered more rain, more traffic and road construction.  Still we managed to arrive in Holland Michigan in time to cruise the downtown area, find an array of tulips and find our cabin before we were encompassed by darkness.

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We were up were up with the sun and on the hunt for critters to photograph.  Thanks to some informative birdwatchers we had a new destination. Just 2 hours away there were Heron, Cranes and several other critters building nests and settling in for a while.   As usual local people had the best information and we found some very co operative cranes and their friends.

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We returned to our cabin in time to watch the sunset over lake Michigan accompanied by hundreds of people who had the same plan.  The following day was filled with black squirrels, geese, ducks, a muskrat, and a stop to tour a working windmill.  It was imported from Holland decades ago and they still grind flower there every week. 

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Our last day was mostly driving toward home.  We did stop for a while to see the cranes, and Herons one more time to help break up the trip. 

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By the time we returned home we had traveled 1822 miles.  I had clicked off 17 rolls of film and captured 28 different types of critters.  Now I am ready to do it again.    

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your days are filled with one happy adventure after another.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

 

 

Getting Educated on Marketing

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

As a writer there are two things I truly suck at, punctuation and marketing.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to work on both.  So when an on line course I had been eyeing was offered for free for one week only I signed up.

sjbrown1butterfly 

This was my first experience with an on line class and how they work.  I knew each day of the Book Marketing Summit I would receive an email with links to the days segments.  On day one I learned there would be 4 or 5 segments each day.  Each link was accessible for 48 hours and then it disappeared.

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The segments consisted of interviews with a knowledgeable professional about a specific aspect of marketing; most of them were an hour long.  That’s four or five hours a day, add in my part time job, laundry, meals, etc, etc.  I would not be spending any time with critters that week.

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At the end of the seven days I had worked 26 hours and traveled close to 400 miles to do it.  I had completed all 28 segments and had 40 pages of notes. 

I have now sorted my notes into categories and have a game plan.  The first order of business for me is to start building my list.  What list you ask, why my e mail list of course.  This list will consist of people who want to follow the progress of my publishing journey with my new book. 

On a bi-weekly, or possibly monthly basis I will e mail each of them an update on my progress, and offer a free look behind the scenes every now and then to keep them engaged.  Once the book is released they will get an e mail with a bonus if they purchase the book.   .  If this sounds like a journey you would like to take with me just E mail me sjbrown.pictures@gmail.com.   Feel free to share this blog with others that may also be interested.

sjbrown3emu 

The timing on this marketing summit couldn’t have been better. I am in the final stages of finishing a book my sister and I wrote together.  The working title of the book is simply “Sisters”.  It is a memoir that takes the reader through 12 years of our lives as we become adults.

sjbrown4sisters 

As I build my list I will also be putting together my launch team. What is a launch team?  It’s a group of people that are super interested in this process.  The launch team is my sounding board for decisions on things like the book description, the cover,  keywords, what freebees to offer (launch team members get all the freebies)   categories and more. The launch team members will have first access to the book and I am hoping most will write reviews. 

sjbrown5sisters

There is still a lot to do before we go to print, but I have learned a lot about on line marketing and I am hoping my new found education will serve me well in the future.  What are your marketing secrets? How will you apply them to your next project? 

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See CoverHow will you apply them to your next project.

 

 

 

 

 

The Image of Writing

imgp6507By S. J. Brown

Writers paint a picture with their words while photographers create pictures that are worth 1000 words.  Writers and photographers have a lot of things in common. Both share their passion with others, and both agonize over their craft.   

When putting together a proposal a writer looks for just the right words, while a photographer seeks out just the right image. 

Which one do you think would make a better magazine cover? 

Writers use descriptive words to place an image in the mind of the reader, while photographers use an image to place the observer in their shoes.

4-landscape 

When working with words there is a lot to consider characters, descriptions, subtle details, and how many words are just enough.  When working with images there are subjects, angles, lighting and locations to contemplate.

5-heron 

Research is another necessity for both professions.  If a writer is going to create a truly memorable piece of fiction they need to know all they can about the time period, place, or professions featured in their story.  As a wildlife photographer I need to know everything I can about my subjects before I can photograph them.  In order to capture a critter on film I need to know their habits, temperament, diet and their home range.  If I can’t find them I can’t photograph them.

6-moose

 The biggest challenge for both writers and photographers is marketing.  Marketing is a time consuming, confusing, necessary task. With proper marketing writers place their work in the reader’s hands and the reader in another world.   Meanwhile photographers strive to bring a glimpse of another world into people’s homes.

8-scenic The writing trade includes a number of categories like poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  Photographers tend to specialize as well.  Some of us photograph people, while others focus on landscapes or intimate floral settings, yet others like me prefer the challenge of capturing images of critters.    

9-osprey

Sometimes the collaboration of a writer and a photographer is vital.  Think about it, a greeting card needs the image on the front and the sentiment on the inside.  A book just wouldn’t be the same without the tantalizing words encased by the cover art and accented with the author’s portrait. 

 Whether you conjure up an image or click a shutter button always follow your passion.   

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook , be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

Thank you for stopping by. I hope I can count on you to comment and share this blog.

 

Looking Back at 2016

imgp6488By S. J. Brown

Since 2016 is almost over I thought I would reminisce a bit.  For several years I have been sharing my images on Facebook.   I share a new photo each Sunday so there are many photos that my blogging buddies don’t get to see.  So I thought I would include the 10 most popular photos from 2016 on my last blog of the year.

For many of us 2016 was a roller coaster year, with plenty of ups and downs.  The snow in the beginning of the year came up over 3 feet here.  When I was finally able to get my feet down on solid ground Hubby and I headed out for a few photo trips.

This year I collected nearly 900 books for one of the libraries that flooded in Southern West Virginia. I helped plant over 150 trees and spent time with some gardening friends, when I wasn’t out taking pictures.   I tagged 20 monarch Butterflies and flipped dozens of horseshoe crabs.

My sister and I completed a Memoir and are currently working on books 2 & 3 in the series.  Perhaps years from now we will collaborate on Senior Sisters together.  2016 brought us scorching hot temperatures, new adventures and lots of fond memories.  I photographed Tree Frogs, Bald Eagles, bunny rabbits and baby birds.  I trudged through the snow to capture White Tailed deer, and sunk in the mud to zoom in on Water Fowl.

  I am currently working out the details for a few photo trips in 2017.  I will be heading North for one trip, East for another and South for yet another.  While I work out the details I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. 

I hope 2016 was kind to you.

May 2017 welcome you with open arms and make you smile. 

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Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook , be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

Thank you for stopping by. I hope I can count on you to comment and share this blog.

FAN THE FLAME, NO MATTER THE AGE

avatarby Neva Bodin

When I was a new mother, I bought a basic set of oil paints and a canvas and copied the picture of dolphins from the front of a Readers Digest magazine. A friend, who was taking a correspondence course in painting, told me my sky was wrong, (too roily, should be smooth) and my dolphins had the strokes going the wrong way, (I had them going around instead of the length of the dolphin). Discouraged I put my paints away and didn’t touch them for a couple years.

Then I learned about an artist who held a free painting session each week in her home for Newcomers in town or anyone interested. I showed her my painting. Oh, she said. Skies that are smooth are the mark of an amateur. And the round strokes show the roundness of the dolphins. Encouraged I became an artist.

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The Challenge-Oil painting by Neva

As an oil painting artist, I have enjoyed hours of relaxing, exciting, enjoyable creativity that has made my soul sing. As well as brought in some income to support my “Hobbit.” (Habit plus hobby).

I am still upset with my then friend whom I let stifle my newfound interest for two years. I had drawn in charcoal since grade school, often spending hours with a like-minded friend in high school drawing together, taken a semester of art in college, and always wanted to paint pictures. And, I still forget the lesson that others may not know what they are talking about when it comes to me personally. And that I should make my own decisions.

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Many Mules-oil painting done from black and white photo by Neva

Counsel and advice from others should definitely be considered and weighed for worthiness. Credibility also considered. But, sometimes we must gather courage and press ahead anyway.

This is true of writing or painting. I am so thankful to the instructor and now life-long friend who at 101 is unable to paint due to macular degeneration, but who can still give advice and encouragement. She gave me an immeasurable gift in her encouragement and then critique of my artistic attempts over 40 years ago. For even though I have had to drop the art for a year or so at times due to 50+ hour jobs, or family commitments, I have always been able to get back to it and experience the pleasure.

And I have the beautiful memory of having helped a lady in her 80’s, resident of a nursing home where a friend and I decided to meet and paint weekly so the residents could watch us (and eat our cookies too we found out).

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Sentinel of the Prairie-Oil by Neva

Her name was Laverne, a wonderful lady who mentioned that she had always wanted to be an artist. She came each morning to watch when a nursing aide pushed her wheelchair to the dining room where we were set up. My friend, Kathy, and I pooled our resources and set Laverne up with a canvas, palette, brushes and paints. And lots of guidance and encouragement.

Sometimes Laverne was late, waiting for an aide to bring her. Finally one morning, tired of waiting, this lady, now determined to be an artist, arrived pushing her own wheelchair, with her paint supplies getting the ride in the seat! For ever after, she walked on her own, pushing her wheelchair to our painting session.

She had a new brightness to her visage. She mentioned how she now noticed landscapes, foliage, and scenery in a more detailed way when her son took her for a car ride. She would visualize and plan how she might paint it!

I moved perhaps a year into our endeavor, and I received a card at my new abode, signed by Laverne, featuring a beautiful country scene of a red, round barn that she had painted and used to print greeting cards. How wonderful to know Kathy and I played a part in encouraging someone, who had considered herself too old to pursue a dream and reach a goal! And sharing the joy for this art is so gratifying.

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Wedding Over-oil by Neva donated to ART 321 for auction

Monarchs, Milkweed, and Me

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Saturday morning I will be hosting a group of fellow gardeners on our back deck. We will be talking about Monarch Butterflies.  I began tagging Monarchs three or four year ago and have learned a lot about them since.  So I will be sharing some of my wisdom along with some milkweed seeds.

1 Milkweed

Milkweed is essential for the survival of Monarch Butterflies since they will only lay their eggs on milkweed plants.   When the caterpillars emerge they gorge themselves on the poisonous milkweed which makes them taste bad to predators like birds and wasps.

2 Monarch

 

 

 

My latest addition to our yard is a butterfly garden. Butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, orange, pink and purple flowers so I made sure to include all of these colors in my garden. It has enticed a variety of butterflies to visit, but no Monarchs yet.  They should be arriving in our area soon.  I am hoping at least one will make an appearance for our little group.

3 Monarch

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies aren’t just pretty they are pollinators, and also an indicator species. Scientist use indicator species to judge the health of our environment. Unfortunately Monarch butterfly numbers are declining. While Mother Nature does play a role in regulating the number of any one species mankind also plays a role. The destruction of habitat for development and the practice of mowing down milkweed and other beneficial plants has impacted Monarch numbers greatly.

4 Monarch

 

 

 

However with help from home gardeners and groups like Monarch watch I am confident that Monarch numbers will increase. Tagging Monarchs helps keep track of their numbers from year to year. The tags are a little round sticker with reference numbers on them. They aren’t much larger than the tip of a pencil eraser. The tag is placed on the base of the Monarchs hind wing. Before the butterfly is released the date, location, and sex of the Monarch is recorded. This information is added to the information collected throughout the country and sent to Monarch Watch where the numbers are tallied.

5 Tag

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies are only in my area for a short time so I try to get as many photographs as I can. However photographing butterflies is not that easy. They flutter from one bloom to another and often prefer the top of my butterfly bush. But experience has taught me to be patient, they will often return to the same plant after a few minutes. So I no longer chase them around the yard instead I sit and wait for them to return.  While I wait I capture images of the other visitors to my garden.

6 Butterfly

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by I hope you learned a little about Monarch Butterflies and enjoyed the photos.

7 Hummingbird moth

 

 

 

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

 

The Waiting Game.

Me3By S. J. Brown

At some time in our lives we all have to wait. We wait in line at the grocery store, or sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  Farmers wait for just the right time to plant their crops, students wait for the end of the school day and all of us are now waiting for spring to truly arrive.

1 Flower

This time of year I am waiting for the days to pass, waiting for eggs to hatch, and baby animals to be born. Photographing baby animals is one of the hardest things about my job, besides paperwork of course.  Baby animals are soooo cute, but their mothers keep them close and are very protective.  I prefer not be clawed, pawed or pecked in the pursuit of an adorable image.

4 Goose

Once I am in the field I wait some more. I wait for the critters to get comfortable with me being in their home. I wait for just the right angle, and that treasured shot that fills the lens.  I don’t like causing Mama critters stress so I use a telephone lens, stay down wind, and shoot from behind a tree, bush, large rock whatever is in the area.

3 Squirrels

Then after I am sure I have the perfect shot I wait for the lab to develop the film.

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Once I have the prints in my hands I submit them to publishers, then I wait some more. I may wait just a few days or it could be weeks before I know if what I sent is what they were looking for. While I wait I am working on a memoir, once it is done I will wait some more.

5 Butterflies

I am also waiting for April 23rd.  That Saturday I will be signing books at the Chocolatefest & Book faire in Martinsburg WV.  This event includes over 20 authors, a chocolate walk, tours of a chocolate factory and more.

Chocolate 2016 both

So what are you waiting for? What drives you crazy when you have to wait for it?  What don’t you mind waiting for?

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover