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The Henri Cartier-Bresson Award

My work on the Power of SHe project has been nominated for a HCB Award!

For all the details please stop by http://tdphotography.me/2013/the-henri-cartier-bresson-award/ – it also includes a big THANK YOU to the Avenue Community Center for believing in me and my work as a photographer.

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The Power of SHe on FB

As of yesterday afternoon, my Power of SHe project has made it’s way onto facebook.  This?  This is your official invitation.  🙂

For those of you who’ve been following this blog for some time know all about the Power of SHe, for those who don’t, here’s the press bio for my little art instillation:  The Power of SHe is about how we, as self-identified Women, define ourselves in light of how society and the media seek to define and confine us.

I’ve been working on the Power of SHe for some time now.  It’s been exhibited twice, and continues to grow.  I believe it is a very important body of work, and something we desperately need.  So I hope you’ll join us as the journey continues.  The more the merrier.  Let’s force a shift from art project to movement.  We can make change happen!

http://facebook.com/PowerofSHe

TJ Bown, Summerset Abbey, and Water.

In the brief teaser I tacked onto yesterdays blog post I let you know there would be a special interview today, and I’m not going to disappoint!  I had the chance to ask author TJ Brown a few questions in regards to her new release Summerset Abbey and the series it kicks off.  So, let’s jump right in!

TD:  Was there a certain event or idea that inspired the book?

TJ:  I have always loved the Edwardian period, but after Downton Abbey aired, I really wanted to write something in that period. I told my agent, we should pitch an Edwardian and she asked me what I had in mind. 5 weeks later I had a contract for a three book Edwardian series!

TD:  I know this is your first foray into historical fiction, did this pose any particular challenges or did you find it was a natural fit for you?

TJ:  It actually isn’t my first foray into historical fiction. Six months prior to getting the Summerset Abbey contract, I got a contract for a young adult series set in the 1920’s. So even though it won’t be out until June (Born of Illusion, June 15th!), I wrote it before the Summerset Series.

I honestly never thought I would be a historical writer, even though I love history and reading historicals. I just thought I had a more modern voice and the research intimidated me. But I had this idea that wouldn’t go away and once I wrote Born of Illusion I was hooked. Of course, Summerset is in a different time period, but before I started writing it, I figured that I had done so much research for the twenties, surely ten years prior couldn’t be that big of a difference could it? Was I ever wrong. 1914 England was a whole different world than 1924 New York. I had to start the research all over again! And I love it!

TD:  Can you tell me a little about your process?

TJ:  Usually, I start with a concept for a plot. Just a sketchy idea. Then the characters’ come. It’s rather like putting together a puzzle. And then my plot constantly changes and develops as I write. I’m not quite a seat of my pants writer, but the Summerset books have been unusually organic for me.

TD:  How many books do you foresee in this series?

TJ:  I am contracted for three but I have an idea for a fourth that my editor likes. Nothing is set in stone yet, and it may not happen, but I do have a fourth Summerset book in mind. We’ll see! But four for sure.

TD:  Do you have a favourite character or is there one who resonates more with you than the others?

TJ:  Victoria. In all of my books I have at least one over the top character and in Summerset Abbey, Victoria is the one. She is smart and imaginative and she says almost everything that comes into her mind. I adore her. Even though all girls are featured, Bloom in Winter is her book, and I had such an awesome time working on it!

So there you have it folks!  TJ Brown on her new book, Summerset Abbey, her process, and on writing historical fiction.  Now all that’s left is to drop a few details.  😉

Summerset Abbey is available at:

Book Blurb:

  • Summerset Abbey
    1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women
    seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of
    society and the distant rumblings of war. . . .
    Rowena Buxton
    Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women
    in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister
    Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she
    believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under
    their uncle's guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey.
    Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the "under class" in
    this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive
    social circle of aristocratic "rebels," Rowena must decide where her true
    passions-and loyalties-lie.
    Victoria Buxton
    Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams
    of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most
    unladylike wish is not her only secret. Now, Victoria has stumbled upon a
    family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever.
    Prudence Tate
    Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their
    bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess's daughter, and
    to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her
    true place in society-as ladies maid to her beloved "sisters." But Pru
    doesn't belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than
    she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls.  And when a young lord catches
    her eye, she begins to wonder if she'll ever truly carve out a place for
    herself at Summerset Abbey.

For more check out TJ at http://tjbrownbooks.com/

TJ Brown, author headshot

Author TJ Brown – Hooray for MomWriters!


Now, as if that alone doesn’t make one heck of a blog post, I still have more for you!  That’s right… we’re still in the middle of the January Photo Challenge – and I’m not one to give up on a challenge.  So here we are.  😉

The challenge today was to photograph water.  Easy peasy, right?  Yep.  Here’s the girl, immersed in the stuff:

kid in the bathtub

My little bathing beauty.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a LITTLE more of an actual challenge…

photo a day challenge for january

Something I’ve bought?  Well…  I guess there’s at least a little bit of thought to go into that one.  😉

 

Favourite: on collecting art

I spent a lot of my time through the morning and afternoon thinking about what I could share for “favourite”.  After all, there are so many ways a person could go with such an open ended photography challenge.  I thought about it while brushing my teeth, while running errands, while watering the plants…  It wasn’t until it was almost time to pick up the girl from kindergarten that I settled on my subject matter.  I would share my favourite piece of art.

I’m an art collector.  I love original art.  Due to lack of funds I often have to be creative to feed this particular passion.  Trading and bartering are wonderful things – and something I encourage even in my own line of work.  As a photographer I’m happy to trade time and skill with other artists and craftspeople.

My collection includes work by local talent, and those across the globe from me.  It includes digital works as well as more traditional pieces.  I’ll admit to the inclusion of a print as well – it’s an Emily Carr, and as much as it would thrill my soul to have an original of hers, purchasing one would put us out on the street…  where it’s especially difficult a collection.

And through all this variance, and all this beauty?  My current favourite piece of art is hanging on my fridge:

my fridge

An untitled, four part piece, in ink, glitter, and stickers on construction paper by Lily-Ann Smith and her Uncle, Wilson Yandt:

princesses, puppies, fairies, and a look into the ocean depths.

One of my favourite memories from our first month in this house was watching the two of them sitting at her art station shortly after my brother had moved in.  I loved listening to the back and forth, the love and genuine sharing.  It filled my heart in a huge way.  And I think what they created together is beautiful.  It is bright, vibrant and full of goodness.  There is a real possibility it may end up in a frame before the Winter is out.  I think it would break my heart if anything were to happen to it, so while it’s on the fridge now, I think it will be much safer behind glass.

Tomorrows challenge will be much easier.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Dwarf Eye Candy?!?

Okay, one last post on the new Hobbit movie.  I just can’t let this slide.  I actually found this completely insulting and fairly disgusting to tell the truth.

The fact that movie moguls assumed The Hobbit wouldn’t be marketable to a certain segment of the population without eye candy is completely degrading.  When I watch a movie, especially one with a literary foundation like The Hobbit, I’m not watching it looking out for hot men or sexy women.  I’m watching it for the story.  The notion that I, or anyone attracted to men, wouldn’t be interested in seeing the film if it were lacking in sex appeal is pretty revolting.

Every time I saw one of these “sexy” dwarves it pissed me off.

There was a lot in The Hobbit that left me feeling less than satisfied, but this whole thing with the dwarves?  Not cool.  Not at all.  Can someone explain to me exactly how we go from this:

thorin oakenshield

A beautiful rendition of Thorin by artist Turner Mohan.

To this:

a very non-dwarfish Thorin.

While yummy, totally undwarf-like in every way.

…because frankly?  Besides attempting to sex-up The Hobbit (which is supposed to be a light hearted children’s story) I can’t see any reason for the change.  And for anyone who loved the book, not only is the movie Thorin uncharacteristically good looking he’s also uncharacteristically noble and self-sacrificing with a voice as smooth as silk.  Movie Thorin would be welcome many places (and in many beds), but in this movie?  Not so much.

Of all the things wrong with the new hobbit movie (and despite the long list I AM trying desperately to like it still) this one is the worst.  It is insulting, degrading, and someone – perhaps many someones – really deserve to be slapped upside the head over their misogynistic attitudes.  Because truly, there is something wrong with the person who believes we must be tricked into a theater with the promise of eye candy.  Seriously, eye candy not required or requested.

For more reading on what exactly went wrong with what should have been a wonderful romp of a movie, visit http://whatculture.com/film/the-hobbit-20-blunders-that-ruined-an-unexpected-journey.php

And, just because I am concerned that some may lay blame with Armitage (the actor portraying Thorin),  I feel the need to note; Armitage does a beautiful job portraying this non-dwarf version of Thorin.  The fault for this offense does not lie with him.  He’s not the one who chose to change a character to appease some warped view of the movie going public.

Craft Crazy!

This time of year I tend to be on crafting overdrive.  Far too many projects and not nearly the time needed to comfortably complete them all.  I love it anyway though.  🙂

MLP ATC

A My Little Pony Artist’s Trading Card for the Trading Post. The theme was “holiday specials”, which is why Frosty is stuck in the corner – clearly I didn’t feel adventurous enough to sketch him myself.

It used to just be me, crafting all by my lonesome… but now that Kid Kid is five, she’s in it right along with me.  It’s awesome to see how well she’s doing to, in so many mediums.  Embroidery, sewing, painting, drawing – and that’s just today.  We still have planting, baking, decorating, packaging, more painting, more embroidery, more drawing, and a buttload of sewing still to go.

paint covered pants

Paint covered play clothes. Crafting is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I wish I could share all the projects, but some of the folk who are on the receiving end of our efforts may stop by the blog, so we gotta keep it all under wraps.  I gotta say though, as artsy fartsy as we are, all this creative work is absolutely exhausting.  It is with great relief that we welcome bedtime tonight.

falling asleep on a bed full of stuffies

The girl and Sweets (the old man chi) drifting off to sleep as Daddy reads… a bedtime well deserved after a day of working hard.

Alive.

Quiet like the dawn crashing upon the rocky shore of darkness.

Full of noise, full of life.  A roar of silence.

Too loud to speak.

Self-aware.

In all things I am.

I exist.  Sentient.

Feeling, knowing, being.  Thunderous.  Mute.

Heaving towards stillness, the permanent precipice, the denouement.

Beauty in knowing acceptance.  Birthing terminus.

The rocky shore of darkness as the light creeps quietly away.

Waiting to be reborn.

Me, spewing my bad poetry on an unsuspecting readership.  😉  It had to be done.  Sorry all.  Just one of those days/nights.

Family Photography at Dusk

Dusk is a time of day often neglected by photographers.  The poor light tends to cause folk of our ilk to shy away in favour of brighter times, especially considering dusk is shortly after the “golden hour” with it’s beautiful warming rays.  However, dusk can be a lovely time to shoot.

The low light of dusk creates images reminiscent of yesteryear, with it’s last filtered rays of sunshine…  It is exceptionally moody, creating romance and intrigue.  Especially during the late Autumn or early Winter when rosy cheeks and noses only add to the feeling of crispness.  Here are a few photos from a recent shoot to inspire you to get out there and create during this mostly ignored time of day:

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My thanks to the St. Onge family for braving the chilly air in search of these shots.  It was a pleasure working with you!

Wear Purple, Be Fierce!

 

Wear Purple, Be Fierce - Spirit Day in memory of those who have lost their lives because of homophobic bullying.  Wear purple, send a message of hope.

New House Nerves and Medusa the Mean

Okay, ya got me.  I’ve been kind of a lazy blogger lately.  My posts aren’t really sounding like me, they are short and not nearly as engaging.  Yeah.  I know.

The fact of the matter is, with everything on my brain lately, I’m just not quite myself.  I’m stressed about the house…  packing up and leaving this place behind is tough.  I’m super excited about the new place and what it will mean for our family, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is our home.  We got engaged in the bathroom.  We first talked about having a baby sitting in this bedroom.  We’ve lived lots of places together, Damon and I, but this was the first one that was home.  Nine years here.  It’s a hard thing to walk away from, even if the place no longer meets our needs.

So yeah.  With the house on my brain, it’s hard to think of much else for long enough to blog about it.  …and I’m guessing you don’t want to hear me posting about the house every day.  😉

We take possession one month from today.  We already have so many boxes packed that it’s tough to move around in here.  We haven’t got even a small portion of the packing done yet.  There’s more than one reason we stayed here nine years (even though the intention was about three years when we bought the place).  LOL

It’s a good thing.  This is going to be such an amazing thing for us.  But that doesn’t take away from how difficult it is.

That said, here’s something cute and fun:

We’ve been reading Medusa the Mean (yep, another book in the Goddess Girls series).  Lily-Ann absolutely LOVED chapter 7, Kindergarten Buddies.  Of course, being IN kindergarten herself probably had a lot to do with it…  though it was a super adorable chapter that made her giggle and grin repeatedly (especially when she realized that there was a crush starting between Medusa and Dionysus, and then further imagined her Daddy as being like Dionysus and herself as Andromeda).  So tonight, before bedtime, she decided to draw Medusa and Dionysus – as inspired by the Goddess Girls books and the cover illustration of Medusa the Mean.  And for a five year old?  I was darn impressed.  😉

The cover art for Medusa the Mean, and the girl's interpretation of Medusa and Dionysus.

Medusa and Dionysus

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