#GardenInspiration – Painted Bunting

It’s an absolutely picture perfect day here in central Florida today. Cool enough breeze to keep you from melting, but warm enough for shorts and t-shirts. And as if the weather isn’t enough reason to spend some time outside, this morning, a stunning male painted bunting visited our birdbath. He splashed and frolicked long enough for me to really enjoy his vivid orange, blue, and chartreuse coloring. I’m hoping he’ll be back later for a snack at the feeder, but when he finished his ablutions, he flew up into the bamboo, and became invisible.

You wouldn’t think a brightly colored bird like this, or our year round resident cardinals could vanish among solid green foliage, but they do. You can stand beneath, listening to the scarlet cardinals singing, and not see them to save your soul. Mother Nature is always interesting, and usually inspiring. Today, I was reminded of that once again.

Writers, when your muse has deserted you, go outside. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or a hike in the closest wooded area. Go for a canoe ride. Take an eco-tour. Or just sit on your patio with a  cup of tea, and see what flies or scampers by. You might be surprised. Even in a busy suburban area, with nearby shopping malls, and an interstate highway, I regularly see things like today’s painted bunting. And when I return to work, it’s with renewed energy and inspiration.

 

Wednesday’s #NotesFromTheRiver – Barred Owls

Today’s #NotesFromTheRiver blog post features one of central Florida’s most beautiful birds, the barred owl. Hope some of you will check out the post, and share with your friends. Doug Little’s beautiful photos are worth the visit, alone. To see (and hear) for yourself, go here: #NotesFromTheRiver – Barred Owls

#StJohnsRiverEcoTour Tomorrow!

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Off on a Meet the Author Eco-Tour, with a group of local readers tomorrow, aboard the Naiad. This is one of the most fun things I’ve been lucky enough to take part in. Captain Jeanne Bell and hubby, wildlife photographer Doug Little have been so supportive of me and my books, and these tours are just the best!

We might see these:

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Swallow-tailed Kite

Or these:

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Barred Owl

And certainly, these:

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Baby Gators

But if we see one of THESE:

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Florida Black Bear

…you’ll hear me hollerin’ all the way to wherever you are! (Still haven’t seen one in the wild, after all my many years of birding, hiking, and canoeing in Florida.)

Have a great Saturn’s Day, everyone, and I’ll check in with you when I return to civilization again! 🙂

 

#InspirationBoardSunday #SundayBlogShare Waterfalls!

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Part of Triple Falls,  Dupont State Forest, North Carolina

I’ve spend the entire day working on the last chapter of my Harbinger draft, so I’m just getting this post in under the wire. It will be short but sweet. Waterfalls. Glorious waterfalls. They make me feel close to all things spiritual, and connected to nature in ways that transcend mere beauty. So, in honor of the extraordinary way they make me feel, I’m sharing some photos of a few of my favorite ones. Enjoy!

7496782630_9ae22fc309People aren’t the only ones who love waterfalls.

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The 400′ Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock Park in North Carolina
My favorite waterfall in the world.

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Another View of Hickory Nut Falls, with more water, less sunshine. 🙂

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And that’s a wrap for today, folks.  Have a great week!

#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs Recharging Creativity

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Ever sit down to write and discover your creativity has closed up shop for the day? Oh, I don’t mean the so-called writer’s block, wherein you don’t know what to write next. I’m thinking more in terms of knowing exactly what you want to write, but the words showing up in front of you are looking really tired and uninspired. Maybe that IS a type of writer’s block, but whatever you call it, it’s darn annoying. Especially when you’re on a deadline, and you’re already running behind.

What do you do? How do you recharge and forge ahead, happy with your day’s writing again?

I have several old standbys that usually seem to work. I find great comfort in my garden. My backyard was a large, empty canvas when we moved into this house twelve years ago. Thanks to my husband’s beautiful brick pathways, it is now a series of patios and beds, with nary a blade of boring (to me) green grass anywhere.  Two years ago, before I started to spend every waking minute writing, it was really very pretty. Roses, salvias, honeysuckle, jasmine, and hanging baskets full of color were everywhere. Now, it’s a disaster, but I find cleaning it up and restoring it still works wonders for my creative renewal.

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My garden, BEFORE I decided to become a writer!

Getting out on the St.  Johns River is always good for my soul, too, and restores some equilibrium when my days have gotten out of control, and my brain feels fried. These days, I’m more apt to go out on the Naiad, the eco-tour boat that was my inspiration for the Undine, in Swamp Ghosts, rather than in my own canoe. (Old back, new pains.) But a boat ride with Captain Jeanne Bell, and her photographer husband, Doug Little, goes a long way towards sorting out my head.

boat on tourThe Naiad, plying the waters of the St. Johns River

And last, but by NO means least, I read. Losing myself in someone else’s fictional world is still my very best escape, and always will be, I expect. And the more complicated the real world gets, the more fantasy I lose myself in. For the first time in my life, I find myself moving past even URBAN fantasy, and into the epic stuff. I’ve been reading Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb for the last year, having decided magic in other worlds is just what my heart needs at the moment. And dragons, of course. Who knew how much I’d love them? I’m currently in the midst of reading our own Deborah Jay’s The Prince’s Man. Yep, fantasy is a great way to think about things far removed from the day’s headlines.

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Escaping into fantasy, and loving it!

I’m leaving shortly to do lunch with a new friend, which is in itself, another way to restore humor and sanity to my life. But, before I go, I wanted to ask what you folks do when your creativity gets sluggish? How do you recharge? Your turn! Come on, tell us. Inquiring minds wanna know.

Love is Pain

In the hush of babbling brooks
She whispers.
In the call of graceful gulls
She whispers.
In the song of whistling winds
She whispers.

Her slight and humble voice
It falls on deafened ears.
And yet she dwells in sorrow –
Generous stupor.
A Mother’s selfless blindness
To faults of sons and daughters.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and wish you success and happiness for 2015. Apologies for the apparent randomness of this poem – I’d been enjoying the beauty of the scenery at this time of year recently and this emerged as a response. Given Marcia’s earlier call for us to share what we’ve been working on, I thought I’d post it all the same.

Thanks for reading,
Callum