Posts tagged ‘Utah’

June 17, 2016

Highland Air

One view from the top of Deseret Peak

One view from the top of Deseret Peak

 

HIGHLAND AIR

After wind and sun, the climb

made bodies ache but souls feel new–

There’s never breathing more sublime

than highland air with a far-flung view,

than highland air I share with you.

 

When we descend this mountain peak

to life and days of lowland hue,

I think that I will always speak

of mountaintops and skies of blue,

of highland air I shared with you.

 

(#fridayphotopoetry) This was fun. I haven’t written poetry in a while.

 

 

 

 

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November 9, 2015

Composer J. Ryan Moat’s inspiring music

J. Ryan Moat, composer and all around extraordinary person

J. Ryan Moat, composer and all around extraordinary person

     I’ve known Ryan Moat for decades. I’ve always thought he was an inspiring person, but my respect for him skyrocketed recently, when I learned his talents include composing.
     The music Ryan Moat writes is breath-taking (see here, and here). His music is available on Amazon.com, too. I’m seriously thinking of book trailers now because of this man’s music.
     He agreed to be interviewed on my blog. I’m happy to be able to share some of what he does here, especially for my writer friends who love working with great music in the background.

The interview:

     What is it you find most inspiring about writing music?
     I find it inspiring that through writing music, it can take you to other places, to other worlds, or can reach into the listener’s soul, striking a chord within, so to speak. With music, it can help you relax, focus, bring back memories, and take you on a journey. I write it for this purpose for others to enjoy, since music is a sort of universal language. It speaks to others no matter what language they speak.
     What kinds of music do you most like writing?
     I really enjoy writing in the style of film score, television, and movie trailer (cinematic) music. It wasn’t always this way, but soundtracks are actually my favorite types of music to listen to, and it kind of led to film scoring. When I started composing, I was still a student at Utah Valley University, but had gotten a great student deal on some producer software. The software was mainly for techno and dance, which I enjoyed, but it ultimately led me into my so called genre of film scoring. Although most of my music could be considered the film score genre, I do really like composing Celtic, and other world music. 
     What kinds of experiences give you ideas for your music and fuel your muse?
There are a few different types of of experiences that give me ideas for music. The first is traveling. I love other cultures, and I love traveling the world. Not only are each individual cultures different from each other, but they also have their own individual styles of dance, or traditional music. I like a lot of the traditional music around the world, and traveling has helped me experience this as well. My first music album, La Belle Vie, which means “A Beautiful Life” in French, was based off of my experiences traveling through Europe, specifically some while exploring amazing buildings such as a Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Many of the choirs and ambient sounds I heard within those cathedrals or great halls in palaces influenced me to write an album on that Europe trip.
     A second experience is going to the movie theaters themselves. I love sitting in a theater, IMAX, Dolby Atmos, or any great sounding theaters and being immersed in the music. What would a movie be without music? It adds such an amazing affect. Sometimes sitting in the theater, a soundtrack can just give you chills. I hear the music from the popular composers and think, “That’s EXACTLY what I want to do”! Often I go home after a movie inspired to write a little bit better, to compose epic music just the same. Often I think, “I can write music just like that”, or, “I want to learn to write music like that”.
     Another experience that gives me ideas for my music is the way I feel. We all have those days that don’t go quite right, and we also have those days where we feel on top of the world. I find that it’s so easy to write music when you put your whole soul into it.
     How long have you been writing music?
     I started dabbling a little with techno music back in 2004 to 2005, and started again in around 2009. I was acting in between 2006 and 2009, so I set the music aside, especially since techno wasn’t what I really wanted to compose. It wasn’t until the acting and entertainment industry got hit really hard in 2009 that I started to get back into music. In 2010 I had started saving enough money to slowly move to Hollywood quality sound libraries, and had moved to industry standard composing software. Since 2010 I have been composing many tracks yearly.
     What were some of your first music experiences? How do they play into your successes now?
     I never had much music experience growing up. But there were three things I loved, the first was our family record player. I’d listen to that for hours, and I’m pretty sure I’m the one who wore the record player out. The next was my sister’s 40-key piano with music presets for bossa nova, polka, and other styles that come built in. My parents also had a guitar, and I’d strum it and make up lyrics. Whenever I would go to either of my grandparent’s homes, I’d sit down and play their upright pianos. I didn’t know how to read music, I’d just create my own songs on the piano, or learn the keys to common songs.
     As I grew older, every chance I got to play on a keyboard or piano, I’d just play. At my first year of college I decided I’d go learn how to read and play music on my own, and went to a building every night after classes to learn a song. A couple years later, I took a semester piano class from Utah Valley University, as well as took a group voice class. From there, it just sort of led me into music composing, and I compose mostly everything using a piano which goes directly into my computer, a digital audio workstation (DAW), similar to what famous movie composers such as Hans Zimmer have.
     How do you find time for writing music?
     Often there are times that I go weeks without sitting down at the piano. However, playing the piano and/or composing music is really a stress relief. It often lets me take what’s going on in my life and translate it into music form. When I really just need to do something that makes me happy, I’ll sit down and play, and it always seems to do the trick. Often I’ll have ideas pop in my head, and I’ll quickly write a little bit and save it, so that when I get more time on the weekend, I can return and just go with the flow.
     Do I understand correctly that you’re also into acting and modeling? What can you tell me about this?
     I was really into acting, and only did one or two modeling gigs. In the modeling industry in Utah, the requirement is normally 6’0″ for men, and I am not that tall. I did get the opportunity to walk on the runway in a tuxedo, which was quite fun. That was the only modeling gig I did, until this year when a friend asked me to come model for Porsche Design, a subsidiary of Porsche AG the German automobile manufacturer.
     Backing up to 2004, I wanted to try something different, and had heard that Utah had many talent agencies. Little did I know, Utah was in the top states for acting in the entertainment industry. In 2006 I decided to sign with an extra acting and modeling agency in Salt Lake. Right off the bat, they had me calling a production company which was over The Warner Brother’s Everwood TV show starring Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Galaxy of the Guardians) and John Beasley (CSI, CSI: Miami, Sum of All Fears), and I was off acting in my first episode on Everwood. It was perfect timing, because it was the last season of Everwood. I had no idea who I was acting with either, and had scenes walking by Chris Pratt and John Beasley having a conversation in their characters for the TV show.
     I went on to be a featured extra in a couple movies, and even got a couple lead roles, including a lead role as an elf from a book series by Anna Del C. Dye entitled, “The Elf and The Princess”. I loved my time acting, and I acted from 2006 to 2009.
     I switched to a new agent in 2009, and got professional training, but then the industry had a rough patch in late 2009 and my agent had to close his doors. I was left without an agent, and with my day job keeping me busy, I switched back to composing because I could compose any time I wanted. With acting I needed to be able to drop whatever I was doing when a call came in. While I was acting, Cosmopolitan magazine contacted my agent after they scouted me out on the agency website, and asked me to apply for the Cosmopolitan Bachelor of the Year contest. I thought that was pretty cool.
     What kinds of writing do you like best? Do you ever gain inspiration from books?
I love a lot of fantasy writing. In the range of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit (J.R.R Tolkien), elvish stories, and books such as The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan), Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind), Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson). When I find time to read, I enjoy most fantasy novels.
     I do gain inspiration from books, especially when they paint a vivid picture. Even a picture helps gain inspiration for writing music.
     I do like a good thriller or mystery as well. They make great ideas for writing music too!
     I know we’ve talked a little about the possibility of doing book trailers. Is this something you’d be interested in doing for other authors? If so, what could you offer them, and what would you charge?
     Yeah, I’d definitely be interested in doing book trailers. I have the tools to write nearly any genre style, and I’d work with the author to get a general feel for what they wanted, and then work together on creating a sound they thought would work.
     As for charging, I’m more concerned about creating something they would want, and something that they are happy with, and to work out with them what they feel is fair. Even if that means there is no budget, I would still enjoy writing it for them, because I am more interested in getting experience than I am money.
     What kinds of things do you hope for or plan for in the future regarding your music?
     I really just want to create music that people will enjoy. One day, I’d love to walk into a theater and hear my music playing on a film, or on a trailer. But if not, I still get the satisfaction of writing my own music while streaming and sharing it to the world.
November 4, 2015

Kevin L. Nielsen, author of Sands and Resurgent Shadows

I had the privilege of meeting author Kevin L. Nielsen about six weeks ago. By then I had already heard of his first book, Sands, which was released in July. (As of today, Sands has 83 reviews on Goodreads and is #4 in the Amazon paid store in the myths and legends category for teens and young adults.)

My first impression: Kevin L. Nielsen is the kind of person you want to meet no matter what the situation is. It’s easy to celebrate successes with people who are as kind and fun as he is.

I’m delighted to be able to feature him in a question-and-answer format. It’s the first big post I’ve published in a long while, which makes it all the more fun.

Here it is:

Please describe the fun successes you’ve had with your first novel, Sands.

I’ve had a lot of fun with my first novel, Sands.  It is a fun novel with lots of twists.  I’ve been able to be on panels at Salt Lake Comic Con, had my own solo signing at the King’s English Bookshop, and even been on TV.  It has been pretty amazing.

When did you first start writing Sands, and how long did it take you to finish?

I started writing Sands in February 2014. It took me about 95 days to finish the first draft.  From there I did a couple more drafts over the next few months before ending up meeting Helena Steinecker from Future House Publishing at the LTUE convention in February 2015.

I understand you have another book coming out soon. What is it, and what would you like to share about it?

I’m very excited about this book.  It’s called Resurgent Shadows and it is essentially the story of how the fantasy world and the modern world came together in cataclysmic events that rendered electricity useless.  Dragons fill the skies and creatures some call goblins and trolls travel in massive hordes.  The race of man is on the brink of extinction.

It comes out on the 12th, so stay tuned for additional information – for the most up to date news, sign up for my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/buUhMT– you’ll get updates on all my book releases.

Who is your publisher, and what makes them great to work with?

Future House Publishing is my publisher.  They are great to work with because they have a great team that truly treats you like family.  They are a small, local pressed based here in Utah, but they’ve got a great presence and the potential to become one of the stronger presses here in Utah.  They also do great covers.

What do you do to find time to write?

Mostly, I just stay up really late and get little sleep.  I find time to write during the small moments each day, early in the mornings or even during my lunch breaks at work.  You just have to learn to monopolize on the small moments you have each day.  It also helps to have a super supportive wife who will watch the kids when I need extra writing time.

What is your favorite writing experience so far?

Outside of just publishing my first novel in general, my favorite writing experience so far is tied between meeting Jason Lyle Black, a musician I have admired for years, who wrote several songs based off my novel and being able to be a panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con.  Those were both great and amazing experiences.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I realized I wanted to be an author when my reading ability surpassed the library’s capacity to supply books.  This happened when I was in the 6thgrade at Patterson Elementary in Gilbert, Arizona.  I’ve been writing ever since.

What plans do you have for the future?

I have a lot of plans for the future.  The sequel to Sands, called Storms, will be out in December or January.  The Sands series will have five total books and Resurgent Shadows is book one of the Successive Harmony Series.  That will be four books (for now).  I’ve also got several other novels I’m working on at any given time.  For a complete breakdown of my current projects visit my current projects page on my website at the following link:http://kevinlnielsen.com/current-writing-projects/

I hope to be able to review some of Kevin L. Nielsen‘s work here in the future, and also to follow up with some of the great things he’s doing. He is one author to watch.

Kevin Nielsen, author of Sands and Resurgent Shadows

Kevin L. Nielsen, author of Sands and the soon-to-be-released Resurgent Shadows

 

June 9, 2015

A writer’s home is for sale

A writer friend is moving, and the house she built is for sale.

It’s a very pleasant writer’s home in great neighborhood–quiet and friendly, in a small town that’s conveniently close to city shopping and entertainment.

About the house: beautiful kitchen, walk-out basement, 6 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths for $234,900. It’s 3,035 square feet. (I have no idea how that compares with houses in other places.)

So here’s the information–please help my writer friend and pass it along!

http://www.utahhomes.com/property/details/441530/MLS-1298820/932-N-Jasper-Cir-Tooele-UT-84074.aspx

April 5, 2013

Building my Rome

Silly Teenager Gwen--no matter how much I change outside, I still feel like this on the inside

Silly Teenager Gwen–no matter how much I change outside, I still feel like this on the inside

Thanks to Green Embers, I’m going to be trying something new. I’ve chosen a personal goal to work on publicly through his Rome Construction Crew.

Actually, I’ve chosen three goals–a health goal, a writing/marketing goal, and a volunteer/service goal. He’s asked that we share the stories behind these goals. If I get too personal, please forgive me. I do that sometimes.

Health goal and the story behind it:

Nearly twelve years ago now, I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. It’s benign, but it causes all sorts of discomfort, mostly related to rampant hormones and their effects on the rest of my body.

Since then, I’ve discovered I have an amazing ability to develop benign tumors in other places, as well, and I have a not-so-hidden talent for gaining fat.  I once thought this was life-threatening and that I was going to die an early death from it. I’ve since learned that although it’s not fun sometimes, I don’t have to be miserable over this. I have become a much more jolly soul because of it, and that’s a gift I wouldn’t trade for anything.

There are things I’d like to change, though. Because of the hormonal imbalances, it’s very easy to gain fat and very difficult to lose it. I’m currently about a hundred pounds overweight. Only a few things seem to help control this: balancing the hormones, which involves doctor visits, MRIs, blood tests and other yucky lab work, and medicine that doesn’t always fit into our budget; a low carb diet, which is very hard for me to stick to; and at least two hours of exercise a day, which is also hard to fit into my schedule.

I’d like to say I could lose five or ten pounds with combined efforts in April, but I don’t have confidence that it would happen even if I did everything right (I’ve had trouble with this before). Instead, I’m going to focus on the goals themselves. I’m hoping to be able to start the Couch to 5K program in May, and in order to work up to it, I’ve been walking two hours a day. I intend to keep doing that until the end of April.

Of course, I’ll be working on my eating habits at the same time, but my Rome Goal for April will be the two hours of daily walking.

Writing goal and the story behind it:

The Night Ones Legacy has been poking and prodding me for the past two years now, and it’s past time I do something about it. I set a goal earlier this year to get its sequel out by the end of April. I’m beginning to see that I probably won’t make that deadline, so I’m setting a different but related writing goal: I have to work on this particular book at least ten hours a week in April. If I can’t manage my time well enough to make it happen along with the walking goal, I may not take any more journalism assignments until I complete this draft.

That’s good motivation, right?

In the meantime, I’ll also be working on the edit of the pirate story–but that’s another goal for another time. 🙂

Volunteer service goal and the story behind it:

My life is always better when it includes people, and it’s even better when I’m doing something nice for them. I love to see other people smile.

However, in the offline world, I tend to be introverted, shy and awkward, and it takes some work to bring me out of my shell.

With that in mind, my Rome Goal for April is this: I will complete my comments on two manuscripts that fellow writers here in Utah have asked me to look at, and then, instead of e-mailing them, I’ll deliver them in person.

Now, a quick note (probably more like a disclaimer):

I tend to be way too optimistic about what I can get done in a day. For that reason, I’ve learned to love setting goals, but I’m not very good at following through with them. Sometimes they’re just not realistic enough to fit into my life.

These three goals are my attempts to take baby steps toward my dreams. If I reach them in April, I’ll set new goals for May. If not, these ones will be extended.

Either way, I intend to have fun with them. It’s another fun game! And maybe I can win!

I’m counting on everyone out there to cheer me on. 🙂

 

March 26, 2013

A smoky but happy adventure day

Smoke from a wildfire

Smoke from a wildfire here in Utah, summer 2012

I woke this morning to the piercing beep of our carbon monoxide detector. Our basement was filled with smoke–especially frightening because two of my children sleep down there, and one NEVER hears her alarm clock. Thankfully, she got up when she heard my voice and went straight outside.

There was no fire–only smoke. Cold air apparently sunk down our chimney last night and pushed the smoke from our last fire, two days ago, out through the basement. It was enough to make my eyes water and my throat burn.

I’m grateful. It could have been a lot worse.

We opened several windows, set up all the fans we could find and even turned on our swamp cooler vent. The air upstairs is breathable now, but it’s cold, so two of my children and I are camping out in my office. There’s almost no smoke in here. The heat source in this room is electric, so there are no vents for the smoke to come through, and it’s cozy warm. As long as we keep the door closed, we’ll do fine–although I think a trip to the library later today may still be in order. 🙂

In an hour or so, when the smoke has cleared a little more from the basement, I’ll heat the chimney up with a hair dryer and then light a new fire. If I warm the chimney enough first, it should draw the rest of the smoke back up the chimney, and we’ll be able to close the windows, turn off the fans, and reheat the house. We can turn on our Scentsy and cook something delicious to make the air smell better.

Surprisingly, this it turning out to be a great day. It’s close quarters in my little office, but we’re having fun hanging out together while we work on our different projects.

Lots of little things are going on today– I’m blogging, of course, and working toward a deadline for an article assignment, writing some for a work in progress and editing a chapter of the pirate book. Meanwhile, one daughter is updating software on her laptop while she reads. My toddler is busy redecorating my bookshelves and rearranging a drawer in my filing cabinet. Another daughter, who truly values her privacy, has taken her laptop outside. She’s doing her schoolwork at the picnic table, and she seems perfectly content in spite of the cold.

It reminds me just a little of a few of our camp-out-in-the-basement days we had last summer, when the wildfires in Utah got so bad that the air was gray and the swamp cooler drew smoke into the house. It wasn’t as thick as it was this morning, maybe, but it was still a wonderful way to break the routine and bring my family together in a unique and fun way.

Inconvenient. That was the first word that came to my mind this morning. Now I’m calling it a blessing. How weird is that?

February 25, 2013

Six life lessons I’ve learned from the Bakken

Quick note: this photo was  taken in Utah, not North Dakota--but most drilling rigs look similar to me!

Quick note: this photo was taken in Utah, not North Dakota–but most drilling rigs look similar to me!

For the past few years, I’ve written contributed to a publication focused on oil exploration, development and production in the Bakken area of North Dakota. I’ve written before about how these kinds of articles are my constant education–and I love it.  That’s at least partly because, beyond being able to speak and write about it somewhat intelligently, it teaches me about life.

Here are the top five life lessons I’ve learned from the Bakken:

When you hit rock bottom and can’t go up, go sideways.

Horizontal drilling has and will continue to be a major factor in the amount of oil that’s recovered in the Bakken area of North Dakota. For those unfamiliar with this idea, wells are drilled vertically to a certain point (about two miles deep in the Bakken), then turned and drilled horizontally for about another two miles.

This life lesson occurred to me one day when I was contemplating what it felt like to hit rock bottom. There are times when you’re down, and you just can’t seem to get back up, to return to your starting point and try again.

In these instances, there’s usually some wiggle room if you look for it. If you go sideways, at least you’re moving, and you never know what pool of resources you might hit.

Just keep moving.

Sometimes you have to combine methods to get anything done.

Oil flow in the Bakken is determined by a variety of factors. Combining horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing has made a huge impact in the amount of oil that’s recoverable from the oil formations in North Dakota.

My writing life is very much like that. I love writing fiction. I love poetry. I love blogging. I love writing nonfiction articles.

It seems to take a combination of all of these, plus a combination of forces outside writing, to keep me balanced, healthy, and happy enough to serve my family and those around me.

My life’s lesson: think beyond what you’ve done in the past, combine your methods for reaching happiness, and let the creative juices flow.

Face life’s bottlenecks.

The oil patch in North Dakota produces more crude oil than it can get to market. To date, there simply haven’t been enough pipelines to move the product to the coasts where producers can get the best price for their oil. Pipeline projects are a big deal for this state, but so are other options like trucking the oil (mostly locally) and using rail to carry it sometimes as far as refineries on the east coast.

My personal bottlenecks usually come in the form of time management issues. Raising a family, managing a household, volunteering in my community, and writing everything I can all compete for my attention.

In my world, getting things done is like getting a product to market. It’s not something that can be ignored, but with determination to work through the issues and some creative thinking, these problems usually solve themselves.

It’s okay to be your own pipeline, to truck your own writing work and to be responsible for getting your own ideas to market.

It’s also okay to follow North Dakota’s example and find help. Like the railroad system, letting other people help you move your writing work while you concentrate on building other personal ‘pipelines’ can be a valuable investment.

Always try new things.

I really believe that success in the Bakken is based on ongoing research. Every time the issue has come up in an interview, I’ve been told the oil companies and their partners are always trying new things to increase their efficiency and decrease their ecological footprint on the land.

In the few years that I’ve been writing about the Bakken, I’ve seen a handful of new technologies make a real difference.

My lesson has been to allow my curiosity to get the better of me whenever I can. The writing methods I learn about from fiction have already improved my ability to write creative nonfiction; the methods I learned from writing articles apply to my blogging and to my editing.

The cycle continues. I’ve come to believe that personal research, trial labs and other educational pursuits are one of the best indicators of how well and how often I reach my goals.

Steer your own drilling bit.

Producers rely on all kinds of technology to help them steer the drilling bit (which is sometimes miles away) from the surface. They have to know as much as they can about what’s going on underground: what the rock formations are like, where the resources are, what they want to have happen.

This might be akin to always trying new things, but knowing what’s going on in the area you’re working in can make a big difference in where you go and how fast you get there.

This includes setting goals. Deciding where to go is the first big step, and only you know where you really want to be.

Tactfully refusing to listen to people who don’t know anything about where you’re drilling is the second step. You’ll never get where you want to go if you let other people steer your drilling bit—but keep your goal in mind, lead out, and they’ll usually follow.

Living unselfishly is part of living the dream.

I’ve often been surprised at how quick oil companies are to lend a hand to the communities they work in. I recently learned of a huge donation to a city to help develop affordable housing. I can think of a number of other projects where oil companies have worked to decrease traffic on the roads, help protect wildlife near oil resource areas, and more.

All this while they’re producing oil, making money for the state and employing a huge work force—is it possible?

If nothing else, it emphasizes the idea that I can do things for others even while I try to make life better for my family and myself.

I can recycle; I can make small donations of my own to local charities; I can pitch in and help when someone needs something—and, if I use my time right, I can do this even while I manage my household, raise my children, keep falling in love with my sweetheart and write, write, write!

Granted, I can’t do everything—but I can do some things, and that makes living the dream completely worthwhile.

January 14, 2013

My contest, The Night Ones Legacy and a fire that burns from the inside out

Purple Flowers

These are my ‘serenity flowers.’ They remind me that writing should be a calm experience, not a fiery burn-yourself-out one.

The whole idea of hosting a contest has made me think back to when I first wrote The Night Ones Legacy. Like many writers, I secretly harbored a dream that it would be BIG, but I’m also pretty grounded in the idea that book sales from an unknown author takes a lot of work.

If I remember right, I sent one query off for The Night Ones Legacy, just about the time my son was born. Most of the books and articles I’ve read on the subject say one try simply isn’t enough. When you’re looking for an agent or a publisher, you have to try over and over and over again to find the right fit.

I didn’t know why at the time, but I was reluctant to send more queries out. I read about self-publishing somewhere, and the idea clicked with me immediately. I felt an urgency to move on the idea. Two weeks later, I published The Night Ones Legacy for Kindle and on CreateSpace.

I shyly gave a few copies of the book to friends in North Dakota. I was pleased (and still shy) with the enthusiastic response I got. Someone told me a local book club read it and discussed it, and I was elated (and shy).

Soon after, we found out we were moving to Utah. I didn’t know where we’d be living or how long we’d be between homes. I had a local e-mail carrier that was canceled when we moved, and my phone number changed three times over the course of about five months.

Looking back, I realize I didn’t know what a rough move it was going to be. I only knew I needed to do SOMETHING with my book RIGHT AWAY. You know that feeling. It’s the fire that burns from the inside out, the warmth and heat that gives you courage to do things you wouldn’t normally do.

In any other circumstance, self-publishing wouldn’t have been my first choice. This time, it turned out to be perfect for me. It got the book out of my heart and mind and into the wide world, leaving me free to focus on keeping my family together through our difficult year. While I didn’t do much to market it, knowing it was available gave me the confidence I needed to introduce myself to new friends.

I found myself straightening a little every time someone asked what I like to do. “I’m a writer,” I said. “I mostly write for regional newspapers and magazines, but I’ve also got a book out now.”

My family and I were in a jumble between May and November, when we finally purchased another home. It’s taken another year to stabilize our lives (and my writing schedule).

Now that we’re finally somewhat settled, the fire inside is blazing again. This time, it has to do with the contest I’m throwing. I deeply hope to give away at least five gift cards, but I can’t see the future any more now than I could in 2011. I just know this is something I have to do.

No matter how shy I feel.

No matter what the results are.

I tell myself that those are the things that don’t really matter. The fire inside DOES matter, and I’m always a better person if I pay attention to it.

January 4, 2013

Stalwart

Looking east at one peak in the Oquirr Mountains, at sunset

Looking east at one peak in the Oquirr Mountains behind my home, at sunset

Shadows, like grey flames, grow up the mountain face,

and still the heights, like warriors, hold the light;

The evening, softly creeping, brings darkness to this place,

but the mountains guard my home throughout the night.

I wake before each dawn to see the burning

on mountain peaks: it’s love and light, returning!

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August 7, 2012

Still Writing Articles

DSC08321

I thought when we moved to Utah from North Dakota that my freelance journalism days were at an end. I’m humbled and grateful to be able to say that my work must be appreciated more than I realized. I’m still getting assignments that I can complete by telephone. It feels great to know that people enjoy reading my work even though I’m far away now.

Most of my recent work has been for Bismarck Tribune’s Bakken Breakout, a bi-monthly magazine insert that comes out with the daily paper. You can read my latest article, “Go East, Young Man, Go East,” in the July 2012 issue. It’s on page 64.

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