Category Archives: Guest Writers & Bloggers

Tarot of Dragons – The Proof is in the Dragons

You might think that a shark would never get along with a dragon. You could not be more wrong!  

Shawn MacKenzie and I have been editor pals and commiserating gals for about ten years. Without Shawn, my published poetry collection would not exist. 

Over the years, we’ve worked together on her stuff, my stuff, others’ stuff. Lots of stuff! 

Shawn is the author of The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, Dragons for BeginnersLlewellyn’s Little Book of Dragons, and the upcoming Tarot of Dragons (about which you’ll be hearing more in the months to come), as well as numerous other fictions and essays.

A dragon-sized thank you to Shawn MacKenzie. Her Tarot of Dragons is highlighted here. 

Shared with permission from MacKenzie’s Dragon’s Nest.

By Shawn MacKenzie

I have spent the past few days in the rich landscape of Dragon Country, going over proofs for the book and cards in my upcoming Tarot of Dragons.

Thanks to the exquisite artwork of Firat Solhan and the designers at my publisher, Llewellyn, I am, quite frankly, blown away. Though still months from actually being able to hold them in hand, I just had to share a sneak peak.

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Filed under Dragons, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Illustrators & Illustrations

Guest Poet, Sue Lobo

11136680_749463021821443_2489833491478305154_nSue Lobo is the author of five books of her poetry & one of her childhood in the African bush, called “Lollipops of Dust,” her autobiography of a child´s view of living in colonial Africa, in the Kalahari desert, with all the magic of what the old Africa had to offer. She has also participated in ten poetry anthologies with other very talented poets & has won poetry competitions in Gibraltar & Spain. She is married to a Spaniard, with two grown sons & presently lives in Spain. Her book of poetry about death & dying called “The Last Dance” has been used to comfort the bereaved in hospices & also used at funerals. Her book of animal poetry called “Wild Whisperings” was written to generate funds for the International Save The Rhino Fund. Her latest work called “I Am Woman” is all about women & their struggles & plight in many countries of the world, but also reflecting on their joy & beauty in every age of womanhood.

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LEST WE FORGET:

In the sadness of war, of only man´s sick making,

Leaving death, destruction & our sad earth quaking,

We now sadly remember, all those whom have died,

Every man from every nation, no matter what side.

 

But let´s not forget, the feathers, fins, hooves & the paws,

Innocent friends with no choices, we sent into our wars,

The silent creatures who fought for whatever the cause,

Not understanding man´s reasoning for fighting sad wars.

 

Dolphins, pigeons, brave equines & not forgetting the dogs,

Taken to far oceans, air, hot deserts & to muddy cold bogs,

These poor creatures who died, without knowing the game,

Let us pay homage to them & say “I´m so sorry,” in shame.

POETRY BY – SUE LOBO ©:   /|\   (PHOTOGRAPHY WITH PERMISSION GRANTED, BY THE VERY TALENTED – Lili SaatchiCemetery of staglieno and more)

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SLOW DANCE ME:

My life on earth is near on done, so please,
Slow dance me through the corridors of time,
Through mists where the satin moths waltz,
Tiptoe me through forests where Druids gather,
Where I can hear the silent melody of the moon,
The echo of wistful whisperings of woeful witches,
Take my very old hand of life´s learnt wisdom, and
Lead me through silken webs of spiders long gone,
To the waterfalls where the coloured birds sing,
To where the eagle soars & the lion roars,
Slow dance me high to clouds above, where
Pegasus flies, & dragons wink their red hot love,
Sing me songs of days gone by & tell me pretty tales,
Let me smell those intoxicating perfumes, of
Jasmine & rose, & of scents I yet don’t know,
Slow dance me to the end of a life well lived, and
Let me hear the voice of god as I take my final bow,
Slow dance me please, for my time is done.
POETRY BY – SUE LOBO ©:   /|\   (PHOTOGRAPHY WITH PERMISSION GRANTED, BY THE VERY TALENTED – Lili SaatchiCemetery of staglieno and more)

 

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MATRIARCHS:

Why did I not listen to them, so wise,
those matriarchs of my folk, my clan, my tribe?
When they foresaw & warned, I just laughed & scorned
at their words, & waltzed out the door, whilst,
they told of the reasons, the wherefores & the whys.

I hear their voices in the wind & the rain,
I see their faces in sun, stars & moon,
I now live their words of warning & scorn,
It´s too late now, but it´s a lesson well learned,
If only we could all start over again.

Their foreboding came true, every wise word,
they´ve long gone away, to other realms far afield,
Their words tormenting my every wrong deed,
too late now, & so sorry am I, that
I walked out the door leaving words unheard.

POETRY BY – SUE LOBO ©:   /|\   (PHOTOGRAPHY WITH PERMISSION GRANTED, BY THE VERY TALENTED – Lili SaatchiCemetery of staglieno and more)

 

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SUMMER CHILD:

Latticed shadows echo upon sun dappled cheek,

Tiny black minnows nibble toes down by the creek,

Wending fluffed clouds are angels merely disguised,

Hankied white gulls pinned upon lapels of blue skies,

Rosy peached lips dripping juicy with childhood smiles,

Nut-skinned brown knees clambering over mossy stiles,

Laughter gaily heard through cool green forest glades,

As you go tripping through lilacs my pretty little maid,

Gritty little bare feet, dirty-earthy & so muddily free,

The wild beasts your friends & your mentors the trees,

Your tight little fists clutching joy & fields full of flowers,

Paddling in splashing brooks for many summer hours,

Breeze brushed hair as tussled as the errant soft fern,

And peeping through the brambles, Puck, Pan & Herne,

Ladybirds, dragonflies, butterflies & soft velveteen bees,

Join in your games of tickle, chase & the laughing tease,

Lemon scented lollipop melting on small eager tongue,

Herb perfumed fingers spin stones where bees once sung,

Skipping through red berry juice & plunging into streams,

Your joyful childish laughter echoes in summer day screams.

POETRY BY – SUE LOBO © /|\
Photo for the poem “Summer Child” (Photography shared from Xavier Lobo © – my son)

 

BOOKS:

Africa My Africa – poetry – (Now out of print)

Wild Whisperings – poetry – CTU Publishing Group & Amazon

The Last Dance – poetry – CTU Publishing Group & Amazon

I Am Woman – poetry – CTU Publishing Group & Amazon

Lollipops Of Dust – Autobiography – (Available from Woodfieldpublishing.co.uk & Amazon)

ANTHOLOGIES:

Available from CTU Publishing Group & Amazon

Love, A Four Letter Word, Divided Lines, Poetic Melodies, and Women of the World

Poets With Voices Strong – Autumn Poetry – published by Brian Wrixton & available from Blurb):

Awaken To A Dream –The International Library Of Poetry (out of print)

The Golden Seed – Slippery Jack Press, UK

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Prose & Poetry, Uncategorized

Emmett Russell, Furniture Maker and Metal Sculpturist

IMG_3095I found Emmett Russell on a Facebook site for metal art (the same place I found recently featured blog guest Tim Shoemaker, the dragon sculpture guy).

Emmett is so much more than metal art. His website says “custom products,” and he creates custom furniture, sculpture, clocks, and other home furnishings and fixtures.

From his website: Tell me what you want, and I will build it.

I love Emmett’s work, and I asked him to appear here on the blog.

A little background

What a playhouse!

What a playhouse!

Emmett Russell has worked in manufacturing since he was 19. He grew up surrounded by a brother and friends who were building cars and motorcycles. He bought his first motorcycle at 20.

While working and welding, fabricating, and in assembly, he was breaking down the motorcycle and rebuilding it, making modifications to its styling.

IMG_2166This is where it all started.

Emmett has built custom parts. He’s built cabinets for motorhomes. He’s been a team captain in building entire motorhomes. He calls himself a modern day artist/fabricator.

Emmett’s business-owning mom was a big influence for him – she’d buy run-down homes and would re-build and clean them up and sell them. He remodeled his own home (admitting he made a lot of mistakes).IMG_2731

Emmett is married to Nancy, they have three kids, and currently live in Columbia, MO. Back in 2002, his wife contracted a rare eye disease, all while remodeling their own home, running a day care, and having to travel eight hours twice a week for cornea transplants and subsequent, painful follow-up care.

IMG_3004The Russell family has experienced many challenges. Son Ethan had kidney failure and had to have a transplant (received from his mom). He also has autism. Daughter Emma was later diagnosed with the same kidney disease as Ethan, has had kidney failure, and is waiting for a transplant. The family had to move several times to be near the medical care they needed.

Through all the moves, wife Nancy was taking online classes and Emmett started a home improvement business with just a welder and some basic tools.

Emmett says, “I had always dreamed of working out of my garage and making cool things but didn’t know if I could ever do it. I have been busy since the third day we moved here and haven’t stopped. Home improvement has paid the bills and helped me improve my tooling for my custom fabrication I am so driven to do. Our goal is for me to have a shop at home so Nancy can have a career and I can take care of Ethan while she is at work.”IMG_2967

What influences does Emmett have?

“My older brother Tony has been the biggest influence on me. I have always wanted to be talented like him. He kept me near when he was doing projects and always answered questions.

My wife Nancy has always been behind me in my art and my dream. She handles the kids and the house when she is home so I can work in the garage.

My mother has been a huge support and influence. Mom thought me to never give up! She taught me my work ethic and how to talk to people as a professional. Mom has always had her own business, and in the last few years she has funded a lot of my projects. She said she wanted the playhouse caboose (pictured). After it was done I felt like I could build anything I wanted. It looked just like I envisioned it. That gave me confidence. Since then she has funded a few others and it has helped me grow tremendously.”

Want to see more?

Visit Emmett on his website at www.russellbilt.com. Email at russellbilt@yahoo.com.

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21 Steps to Twitter Love, by J. J. Brown

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Elizabeth and JJ at Word Sharks Conference

From Karen…

Back in June, I met with long-time online friends in Newark, DE, for the first-ever Word Sharks Conference. In attendance – J.J. Brown, Elizabeth Cottrell, Pamela Wight, Jessica Pettengill Messinger, and Barbara Forte Abate.

Since then, we have stayed in touch sharing blogs we like, having book discussions, and sharing other resources and insights.

Out of one of those conversations came some fantastic insight into Twitter by J.J. Brown. She shared her philosophy and advice on how she uses Twitter. I thought it was so good, I called “dibs” on sharing it in a blog.

Welcome, J.J.!

* * *

Article by J. J. Brown

I love twitter because it is a free and open conversation that’s so fast-moving. Twitter is quite famous for NOT being a place to sell books or much of anything else. So, I don’t have advice about how to use twitter to sell books.

Being active on twitter is a wonderful way to meet writers and readers, and exchange thoughts on the writing process and story ideas, as well as inspiration. And once in a while I get a tweet asking to review a book of mine, or to be interviewed on a blog, or submit a post for a website, or a story to an anthology, which is fun.

I can’t count the many interesting people I’ve met and shared views with on twitter, and sometimes later in-person as friends (none of whom were creepy).

21 rules I apply loosely, depending on how much time I have are:

How to tweet:

  • Be interesting and super brief; don’t repeat identical tweets.
  • Talk about yourself and the books you’ve written, but not ALL of the time, just sometimes.
  • Post provocative things about writing, about your books, and the news – things people react to.
  • Share other writers, artists, and thinkers works, at a good ratio. Tweeting 5 of others’ things then 1 of yours works well.
  • Use a photo in your original tweet so more people will see it. This magnifies your reach because more people look at pictures than words, even on twitter.
  • Tweet quotes from famous authors or artists who inspire you, just to share the joy.
  • After you tweet something original or important, stay on a few minutes to respond to any replies.
  • Retweet things others post that you think need a broader audience because they’re great, funny, or important.
  • Say something insightful about any link you share on twitter, don’t just hit the Tweet button though it’s tempting.

How to interact:

  • When someone tweets your work or retweets you, thank them via direct message (which is private) or tweet (which is public).
  • When people react to you, tweet back like a conversation. It hurts to be ignored there like in any conversation.
  • Never argue on twitter. Yes, sometimes a person will be mean to you. Ignore them. Praise, or add a new thought, or brood away silently.
  • Use #amwriting (for insights, personal progress) #amreading (for reviews) and other hashtags to enter writer’s conversations, then respond when people join your thought stream.
  • Follow people who follow, retweet, or comment to you, IF you’re interested in their twitter feed.
  • Don’t follow people who offer to buy twitter followers or increase your reach. That is kind of spammy messy stuff I don’t get into at all.
  • Seduce people you’re most interested in on twitter, tastefully, by retweeting and commenting on their tweets.
  • Think of the new contacts as friends and connections, not followers or fans.

How not to drown in the twitter stream:

  • Don’t look at your live stream, it’s a jungle in a thunderstorm.
  • Make lists of groups like writers, editors, publishers, artists to organize your new friends.
  • Do look at your lists’ tweets, your favorite people’s tweets, and any hashtags trending on that day that stimulate you.
  • Keep an eye on the clock. I limit my twitter socializing to about 30 minutes on a free day, 10 minutes on a busy one.

I hope this is helpful. I started on twitter about three years ago, when I started publishing books. At first, I was baffled. Now I love it. But I keep it to short doses. And only log on when I’m in a pretty good mood.

***

JJ BROWNJennifer J. Brown, PhD, is an editor at EverydayHealth.com by day, and writer of books and short stories by night. She completed a PhD in genetics and worked as a research scientist for 20 years before turning to writing. In her fiction writing, she is obsessed with exploring death and the meaning of dreams. Published author of seven books as J.J. Brown, she was born in the Catskill Mountains of New York and lives in New York City.

Find out more about J.J. Brown’s book news at her author website.

Death and the Dream. Short storiesDeathandDreamCover

Vector A Modern Love Story. Novel9780983821137

The Doctor’s Dreams. Novella

Stream and Shale. Coloring bookStreamandShaleFrontCoverFinal

J.J.’s Facebook author page

Twitter 

 

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Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Social Networking