Next Stop Home

IMGP6489By S. J. Brown

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer as much as I did. I was on the road a lot, but by choice not necessity. In early June I attended the WV Writers conference. As always it was an energizing three days. I attended a number of workshops, conversed with friends on the porch and ate a bit too much.

S J Brown 1 Conference

One event I did stay home for was to renew my wedding vows. We did this a little different than most people. We had a brief ceremony at home followed by a trip down river in canoes and kayaks. Then it was back to the house to celebrate with our guest that didn’t follow us down river. Several of our guests spent the night so we were up until the wee hours of the morning.

S J Brown 2 Canoes

Next I was off to Garrett County Maryland with family. This trip was filled with laughter, plenty of food, salamander hunts, and a visit from a skunk.

S J Brown 3 Salamander

Then it was time to unpack, repack and head to New Jersey. This trip wasn’t a photo trip it was a reunion trip. I was a bit nervous about my high school reunion, I wasn’t exactly an outgoing teen. Our reunion was at a place called the Funny Farm. Yes there were farm animals hanging out with us. I was delighted to spend time with my former classmates and the owner of the funny farm, also a photographer. The reunion turned out to be lots of fun and I am looking forward to meeting up with several people in the future.

S J Brown 5 Sunset

My next stop was the Philadelphia Pennsylvania area. There is a wildlife refuge close to the airport that I wanted to visit for a while. So Hubby and I packed up the car and drove north. We had a wonderful day at the refuge. There were a lot of birds to photograph and a loveable puppy that just wanted to give me kisses.

S J Brown 4 Bird

Before heading home Jay and I stopped for a Philadelphia cheese steak. But did we want a world famous cheese steak or did we want to get one from the king of cheese steaks? We just picked one and got our food from Genos. They were good, but not as good as the cheese steak subs I remember as a kid. We headed home with a cheese steak sub tucked in the cooler for a friend. Hey, it was on her bucket list.

After repacking my duffle bag, and checking my camera equipment I headed back to New Jersey. This trip was all about family. My sister Betty and I spent some time discussing “Sisters” our memoir.
Then we headed to our favorite sub shop from our childhood. Walking in the door the smell engulfs you and we were transported back in time. Yes, they are still as good as we remembered.

S J Brown 6 Sisters

Then it was over to see my uncle I hadn’t seen in decades. We laughed and talked and got reacquainted. My next stop was dinner then off to my little sister’s house in the Pine Barons for the night.

S J Brown 7 Pine Barons

I somehow found time to go to a baby shower before heading back home. My plan for September is to stay home. Okay I might fit in a day trip or two, but I am not packing my duffle bag until October when I head to North Carolina.
How was your summer? Do you have any plans for Fall?

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.

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


Available at http://www.sjbrown.50megs.comAcover

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Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon at

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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 http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

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Team Work

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

 Like many writers I am a bit of a loner.  I can easily spend large blocks of time alone and be quite content.  I also find that being part of a team can be very rewarding.

SJBrown 1 Geese

I was recently part of a team of a few dozen people that gathered together on a gloomy Saturday morning.   Together we planted 200 trees.  I’m not talking little sprouts, but three or four foot tall trees.  I have had the privilege of working with this team for over a year now. It is a real thrill when I drive past one of the locations we have planted and see the trees thriving.

SJBrown 2 Trees

When I am out in the field photographing wildlife I am also part of a team.  My husband Jay is the other team member.  He is an excellent spotter.  He can tell what kind of bird is flying over head by the shape of its wings, or the size of its tail.   He does all the driving and watches my back, so I don’t get surprised by an angry bear or any critter.

SJBrown 3 Jay

I am also part of a team of volunteers that does littler clean up in the area.  It always amazes me how rude people can be.  They toss all kinds of things out their car windows without ever giving it a second thought.

SJBrown 4 Sparrow

Recently I became part of yet another team, Team Sisters.  “Team Sisters” is the name we gave the launch team for my next book, “Sisters”.  This team is made up of writers, interested readers, friends, and a few family members.  Since this book is a memoir written by two sisters most of the team is female.  There are a few brave men that have volunteered to be part of the team.  Since my last blog the team  members have assembled and we are ready to get down to work.

SJBRown 5 Sisters

As part of a team I can accomplish so much more than I can on my own.  Alone I would not be able to plant hundreds of trees, pick up bags full of trash or photograph nearly as many critters.  Team Sisters will be helping to add a little insight into the finishing touches for the book my sister and I collaborated on.

SJBrown 6 Butterflies

I have been part of teams that didn’t work out very well.  Sometime we need to try out a few teams before we find a good fit.  Have you joined a team and how did that work out for you?

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.

  sjbrown2pony

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.

sjbrown6frog

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Something New

Me3By S. J. Brown

Over the last several years I have branched out, trying new things.  I know what you are thinking, now what is she up to?  I have joined a group of people who plant trees along creeks and streams to help filter water runoff and give cover and sometimes food for wildlife.  This has been a fun endeavor for me.  I‘ve met some great people and helped with the planting of over 200 trees so far.

Leaf

After my mother passed away my sisters handed me her handwritten notes for a book Mom was working on.  It took months but I got it all on the computer and formatted.  This was a memoir of her childhood years meant for family.  Once it was completed I had copies printed for family.

Alice

This started me thinking about working on a memoir of my own.  I played with memories and thoughts and put it aside. While attending a writer’s conference I took a workshop on collaborative writing.  After the conference I called my sister.  We chatted for a while and decided to tackle a memoir of our shared memories   and “Sisters” began.

Sisters

While “Sisters is still a work in progress we have made great strides this past year.  Those of you that have read my work know I generally write about animals or critters as I call them.  So this is a totally new endeavor for me.

Then I was approached about doing a story for an anthology about raising girls.  Again, I am not used to writing about people.  But I had raised a daughter so I thought I would give it a shot.  I decided to write more than one story to increase my chances of getting into the book.

I went about the task, tweaked it a bit here and there, expanded on a point or two and finally finished three stories.  One story in particular was a memory from long ago.  The story has creativity, challenges, triumph and my memories.  I wasn’t sure if this anthology the best new home for my story?  Times like this are when trying something new is a bit scary.  As the deadline approached I opened the file, reread what I had written and didn’t want to let it go.  Eventually I took a deep breath and hit the send button.

Girls Cover

Now we are just a few weeks away from the release of “ It’s All About the Girls”.   I am glad I took the time to try something new and be part of this project

Trying new things doesn’t mean I won’t continue to do the things I love.  I will continue to photograph wildlife and share my experiences in the field.

Snake Chipmunk Elk

Trying new things came be scary, intimidating, and fun.  Have you tried anything new lately?  If not you should.

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

Sister

Steph_2 copy (2)

By Stephanie Stamm

For my “S” contribution to the A to Z Blog Challenge, I decided to share a poem I wrote about my sister. Three years have passed since her death, after 10 years with early-onset Alzheimer’s. This month marks the anniversary. Writing this poem was a way for me to reclaim and honor the creative and vibrant sister I remember.

Photo by Bryce JW (full attribution below)
Photo by Bryce JW (full attribution below)

Sister

 

She had a head for numbers

and a field hockey stick.

The second, she said, was not enough reason

to get a Ph.D. in physical education.

She was an unlikely-looking magician,

and she didn’t have a black silk hat

or a rabbit, but she conjured

cowboys from the linings of old coats and

big-pawed puppies from bits of plastic,

and she made us all appear

with the flick of a hand,

because she was the one

who’d been away.

 

The way she told it,

Red defeated the wolf

with some rock-hard biscuits,

her aim being better than her baking,

and she made the world flicker

in light and shadow

on a white sheet.

 

She was elder, sister, mother,

the one who first called my name,

marking a trail with books and kite string.

Compass and lodestar, she guided me north

to the land of lakes and the sound

of my own voice.

She taught me to surface dive

for good-luck pennies

and to float on the thermals,

only one thin line

anchoring me to earth.

 ###

Kite Photograph:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/brycejw/9624803185 [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Flickr

###

Connect with me:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:

wings_promo

shadows_promo

I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover

Post A-to-Z Road Trip

A to Z Blog Challenge

This month we are part of the A2Z Challenge, squeeze in the car and ride along with us. This gives you a chance to read many great blogs you would not have normally known existed.

The Flannel Pajama Philosopher – By Sherry Hartzler

Okay, this is Tuesday morning. I’m sitting at the computer, my hair sticking out in all directions, my body wrapped in heavy flannel pajamas. I’m enjoying the view beyond my computer screen and out the garden window. The sky is a sapphire blue, the earth a dull brown, laced in a pre-winter frost. I shouldn’t be so easily distracted, but I am. That is the nature of a writer: we are easily distracted by life itself.

Writing about life is all about taking slivers of events, and then exaggerating everything onto paper. I call it my “Frankenstein method” of writing. By this, I mean using bits and pieces of everyday life and making something new and totally different than what I originally experienced. It’s maddening, euphoric, and often schizophrenic in nature. I believe that writers write because, in essence, we are control freaks, creating and manipulating characters and plot that turn into scenes and chapters with all the love and patience of a weaver who spins thread to create a beautiful fabric.                                                                                                    

Safe in my pajamas, I contemplate why I love what I do, but I’ve always known the answer in my heart. In my pj’s  I am free to ignore the frills that often encumber experiencing the basics in life. In my pj’s , my ego-driven need to wash my face and fix my crazy hair seems so unimportant. The wool socks on my feet keep me grounded in warmth, and I don’t need shoes or any other adornment such as silk scarves or earrings to complete myself.

Yes, flannel pajamas are my basic writing uniform. It suits me (no pun intended).

Deep enormous contented sigh.   

Note: Pajama photo taken from Cupcake Pajama web site. Love it!!

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sherry+hartzler