Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo competition finalist

I am presently one of the finalists in one of I Shot It's photo competition and I'm very excited.

Over 2,000 photos have been submitted presently, 16 are now finalists.

Mine at present is one the bottom row, third from the right.

That photo is also available on 123rf, my profile link is on the photography page here on the blog.

Another day and half, can't wait to see the results. still at 16 finalists as of this point.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Whole World In A Raindrop

   I decided to experiment a bit with my writing, this story is one of the results. I don't know if I'll do more fantasy pieces but writing this was really fun. It's good to grow as an author by taking little excursions once in a while.

   Quite the downpour it was minutes earlier. Terry decided to see if there was any damage to his flowers in the garden. A veritable rainbow of colors just outside his door. Chamomile, Roses, Verbena and Echinacea all delightful when he used the flowers and leaves to make tea. Such a delight for him was the experience, scent would fill the house just as the yard.

   Getting closer to inspect the flowers it seemed as if the scent was stronger. All of the smells of the city were gone, taken away by the rain. Terry decided that he would take a break and enjoy his garden. An empty bucket became his stool as he sat by the beauty. It didn't really concern him that the bucket was a bit wet, he sat down on it by the flowers.

   As he sat there quietly he noticed the sound of the dripping of the raindrops from the flowers and trees.



   A cricket began to chirp from under some hiding place. Worms appeared from the ground. The rustle of leaves sounded from the release of the water that had fallen on them. Soon Terry was getting lost in those sounds also that were so refreshing to the heart and mind.

   A drip appeared at the tips of one of the verbena leaves. He had watched it start to build on the surface and become a drop. So slowly it made its way along the leaf, soon hanging below it. Building a bit larger, it finally let go and found its way to the ground.


   Terry blinked with the sound of the drop hitting the ground. He began looking for another one to watch. Next to the Verbena an Echinacea was in full bloom. Drops were appearing on the petals. Each building to become larger drops themselves. Lost in contemplation of the moment Terry focused on a single drop on the petals. It was getting larger and Terry was enthralled.

   Then glistening began to appear around him in the air. Into the raindrop Terry was pulled. His body still sitting on the bucket, his consciousness part of the rain drop. It was a bit of a shock at first to look out at himself. After a moment he decided he liked being part of the drop now.

   Soon, the drop got heavier and began to fall from the flower petal. It felt as if he were stretching really thin while he fell within the raindrop. Then, just before the drop was about to hit he separated from the drop. He began to be carried by the sparkles towards the clouds above.

   Looking around in amazement at his new friends it was like they were dancing. With each movement of the sparkles they went higher and higher. Soon, he was within the clouds and he could see others like him. A cacophony of sparkles all around moving in a fantastic dance.

   Carried upon the wind the cloud moved farther and farther. Land gave away to the ocean beyond. Waves churned up by the wind as the cloud began to descend. Closer and closer it came to the surging water until they became one. Waves, sparkles, fellow travelers all dancing together and merging to become one entity. Time seemed to pass away into forever even if it really was just a moment.

   Soon, the sparkles carried all the entities like Terry up above again. They all continued to dance around as higher and higher they went. All of them lost in the amazing passage until over land again. Then the group began to separate, each one going in a different direction. All of them surrounded by the dancing sparkles.

   After a while Terry began to descend once again getting closer and closer to where he had been when the journey started. His body was still positioned on the bucket by the flowers. The sparkles guided him to his body again where he left the sparkles behind. His eyes opened and he shook his head in amazement. He watched the last of the sparkles leave and he wanted to join them again but it was not to be.

   Terry sat for a while on the bucket watching the last of the drops fall from the leaves and flowers. When he realized they weren't coming back he finally got up from the bucket and slowly made his way to the house. This would be something that he would never forget he thought to himself. He couldn't ever tell anyone either, they just wouldn't believe it. At the same time, he would never look at a raindrop the same way again.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An interview with author SJ Byrne.

BB: It's really great to have you here SJ to be interviewed and I would like to thank you. Could you tell my readers a little more about you?

Hiya Brian! Thanks for having me! Hmmm a little more about me...well I'm..... hahahaha

BB: I was just reading a bit of My Butterfly, very intense book. Some could consider it very disturbing with some of the images of the sexual and mental abuse that occurred at the beginning. Why did you write it?

I wrote it because Katherine would not leave me alone until I did. No seriously! I was walking through Victoria Park in Glasgow, Scotland and had this sensation of a presence kind of hanging out with me. At that point in my life I hadn't written anything of substance in probably 15 years. But suddenly I had this overwhelming urge to grab a piece of paper and start scribbling my thoughts down. Basically, Katherine was downloading a rough idea of her story into my head.

BB: Was there something you were intending to accomplish?

Only to get Katherine's story out of me. Yea, that was it. Writing her story was a difficult journey into some very tough situations and emotions. Many times after a particularly intense scene I was exhausted to the point I couldn't write again for a month or more.

BB: Could you tell your readers a bit more about the book, why should they put it at the top of their reading list?

Because it's a damn good read! No, seriously...for far too long we have shoved abuse and its consequences under the rug to be forgotten. For anything to be healed it needs to be revealed. My Butterfly gives a unique outlook on one woman's ability to face the choices she made in her life and how she comes to terms with
forgiving herself for those choices. And if they are at all intrigued by Scotland, they will LOVE the scenery depicted within.

BB: What are you working on at present SJ that you would like to tell your readers about?

I'm working with my daughter Alex Byrne on a paranormal series I started writing back in 1996 - yano, when Anne Rice was the only author really getting recognition for writing this kind of stuff. I haven't really found a way to talk about it yet without giving away the entire story! LOL But I will say this, keep an eye out for "Once a Druid"

BB: What made you decide to start a career in writing?

It decided me. I've always been a writer - since grade school even. Teachers knew they
were grading my pieces even when we used numbers to signify ownership instead of names.
It took me a long time to make a connection between my deep dark moody side and my writing.
When I don't write, I'm not very fun to be around - I don't even want to be around me when
I haven't been writing for too long.

BB: What fuels and brings out your creativity SJ?

Anything can spark my creativity into action - a scent, a song, a visual aid. I'm not the kind
of writer that plots and plans things out. An idea will pop into my head and I sit down to write.
I don't work from an outline so I never know what's coming next - I read it as it appears on
the screen. Doesn't that sound like fun?! =) And let me tell you, my muse has a wicked
sense of humor.

BB: Is there any advice that you'd care to offer to new authors that might be reading this?

Even if you don't believe in your abilities, if writing is what you love to do - never give up! The old saying is true - where there's a will, there's a way. Even if its the smallest grain of sand sized will - the way will be revealed! I'm living proof.

BB: So where can we find out more about you and your books?

My books can be found on Amazon
I have a video trailer for My Butterfly on Youtube
Fans can also interact with me on my blog

BB: Thanks so much for stopping by my author's blog to talk with us SJ. Is there anything else you'd like to leave my readers with?

I'd like to leave you with Katherine's message - "Love is all there is, dare to fly!"
Thanks for having me Brian! It's always a pleasure chatting with you. =)

1378 Oak Street [Kindle Edition] by Lovely Whitmore

My review for 1378 Oak Street by Lovely Whitmore

There's a very folksy feel to this book, a style that reminded me a bit of the feel of Samuel Clemens writing. Actually, it was quite refreshing to see this style of writing, it made it extra engaging for me. As I was reading about Lovely's life growing up it reminded me of my own growing up in Minnesota many years ago. While this story is the story of someone elses childhood it might just get you thinking about your own. I know that it did for me. This story has been written with a touch of humor throughout that I really enjoyed. Some of them really had me chuckling.

Available on Amazon:

The books description: 

Growing up in Atlanta Georgia in the 80's was full of fun, friendship and lots of adventures for me and my siblings.

Especially on Oak Street!

Even though we weren't rich we learned how to take what we had and have fun. Whether we were playing restaurant, making mud pies and barbecue chicken out of sticks and dirt; or playing monster chase games, or even taking turns riding on one bike, there was never a dull moment for us kids.

Explorations (New story)

It's funny the things as an author that can give you an idea of a story. Brandy and I were kidding each other about homemade chili. I make a mean homemade slow cooked chili.

She said she would eat it all, I said that I would beat her. That's when the idea hit me for a story that starts with an empty pot of chili. Zack and Katie have been together for five years and decide to spark things up with some BDSM.

It's been a lot of fun writing even if I do I feel like I need a cold shower during the writing of certain scenes, LOL!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Future Of Publishing

This is something that concerns me directly as an author. The digital revolution has taken over in how my own books are doing. Print versions don't seem to sell very well, however my Kindle editions sell very well. Quite often they are on the best seller lists. I would  have to agree with this Huffington Post article that someone made me aware of.

     There will be many less physical book stores in the future and there are none within a couple of miles from where I live at. The experience I used to enjoy of walking through the aisles at the nearby bookstore I'm afraid are pretty much gone. I so used to love going through the store and holding various volumes in my hands, flipping pages and doing a bit of reading before making my selection. You can get a little of the same experience at your local Walmart or Kmart but at the same time it isn't the same. They carry on average maybe 100 books, the bookstore of the old days used to carry several thousand books. There was also an ambiance that is completely missing at your local Walmart or Kmart. That is what I miss more than anything I think.

     What probably did more than anything to create the dearth of local bookstores is the ease with getting your books just about anywhere you can be at. From what a fellow told me once was floating down the Nile river and they downloaded a book that they started to read. While I live in a city with little unsecured Wi-Fi it's still pretty easy to connect my Kindle up to the computer and download books just about whenever I want. When I seen how easy it was to do I knew where the print publishing industry was headed in the future. I even have an app on my Blackberry that I do most of rough drafts on for reading Kindle editions.

     Some of the best sellers have 80% pulp rates for their print editions from what I understand. That means that they are not being read, they are getting turned into new books. That's incredible! In fact, some small publishers won't do print editions from what I understand. Oh, print won't go away completely I'm sure. It will become an even smaller portion of the book market though in the future.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review for How To Find A Job

How To Find A Job: When There Are No Jobs, 2012 Edition: A Necessary Job Search Book & Career Planning Guide For Surviving And Prospering In Today's Hyper Competitive Job Market [Kindle Edition]Paul Rega (Author), H. Savage (Editor)

5-STAR REVIEW I had just lost my job of 32 years. I was desperate and didn't know what to do, where to go, or what to focus on. Someone suggested that I read Paul's book and through his unique way of presenting the job search process I was able to regain my composure, to remeasure my focus, and to reduce my sense of desperation. Wow...what a great opportunity it was to find a much needed guide for survival during a difficult time in my life. I must admit, things are much better now (I got a job!) thanks to Paul's words of guidance and support.

Grocery Shopping

You know that song "I can't drive 55" by Sammy Hagar? Well, I lived it. Apparently I couldn't exactly keep from speeding and other laws like having insurance. Now, because of it for the last several years I haven't had a drivers license. I'm not entirely sure I want one again either every time I go by a gas station and see the price of gas. The stuff has gotten expensive lately and it will get more expensive. I'll admit I laughed at a couple of the Presidential candidates trying to say they could guarantee gas at $2/gallon if elected. That just isn't going to happen ever again in the US. A lot of others also feel the same way and now those candidates are no longer candidates thankfully.

Getting back on track, going to get groceries is in interesting experience for me. I don't call a cab or take the bus. My bicycle and a cargo trailer that I have does the trick for me. The cargo trailer I think maxes out at about 80 Kg of groceries when fully loaded which is quite a bit. While it's a little difficult to get started moving, once you do all of that weight helps push you along nicely.

It ends up being pretty efficient for me and I'll admit the exercise does me good. If I lived farther from the store than I do I would probably do something different for going grocery shopping. Luckily, traffic isn't too bad in the city I live in and the streets I go down aren't the heaviest traveled.

Later today, I'll be headed to get the main groceries for the month. I'm glad it's only one main trip per month also, really wouldn't want to do it more often. Have a great day.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone, powered by Cricket.

Monday, May 7, 2012

On Writing

A blank screen is what I see
As a cursor blinks before me
Words begin appearing
While I'm busily typing
Thoughts become sentences
In these pleasant moments
Lost in the story as I write
On into the dark of night
Characters become so real
That I can touch and feel
Every time I begin writing
New worlds I am finding
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone, powered by Cricket.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New stories!

I've now written three complete short stories in the last week. All three are definitely not the same thing as what I have been writing. A couple of them really pushed the boundaries for me in fact.

Two of the short stories are fiction and one of those, The Box, was submitted for possible inclusion into a young adult anthology. Because there was a word count restriction I couldn't develop all of the story as of yet. So, starting tomorrow I start to fill in all of the gaps that I couldn't because of the requirements.

The second fiction piece is pure fantasy. Imagine becoming a raindrop on a leaf or a flower. You go on journey to the ocean and back while a raindrop. This one was really interesting and could become part of something longer.

The other piece is not fiction. Starts quite traumatically in fact with the death of my first wife. It relates how I came back from that morning in 2001 and the loss that happened. It's another piece that could very easily become something much larger.

Well, it looks like I will be busy for a while and you'll soon have some new reading material. :-)

Phone Interviews

These are nice when they happen in some ways. You could be anywhere and get the call which can be very useful for a job seeker. Unlike the usual in person interview you don't even have to dress up like you normally would.

However, just because it seems like it's less formal doesn't mean that it is by any means. A lot is riding on that call.

Your future at that company for one thing.

Just like a personal interview you need to have answers prepared and ready. What I found helped me out with phone interviews was to make sure I had the same posture as I would in a personal interview. Also, I always reminded myself that it was an interview. Regardless of on the phone or in person it still comes down to the fact that it is an interview.

Many companies use phone interviews for various reasons. One of them of course is for scheduling, another is because candidates have a greater tendency to disqualify themselves. So, be on your toes when you get the call as it can happen at any time.