Friday, October 29, 2010

Marketing on Halloween? Opinion PLEASE!

I'm not even going to tell y'all how frustrated I've been the past two days (with no end in site!)... there's no reason to bring you down with me!  All I'm saying is: computer virus, thought it was fixed, desktop icons, start menu, and taskbar are all M.I.freakin.A  I guess I have a date with the Geek Squad tomorrow, because clearly this is beyond my capabilities (And that's what makes me the most angry, I think).


I frequently look at other photographer's work and websites, and I saw that one local gal is tying a business card to bags of M&Ms to pass out to trick-or-treaters.  Another blogger I saw is passing out little goody bags to the parents with her biz info.

Some of the comments I've seen under proclamations such as these were interesting.  For every 5 people that think it's a great idea and want to try it themselves, there is 1 person who thinks it's very very tacky (obviously, not a business owner).  
Now, I'm a bit on the fence, because initially I thought, WHAT A COOL IDEA!! It clearly sounds perfect to give parents my photography info, because what parent doesn't like pictures of their kid? (And Christmas is coming up, HELLO)
But the Negative Nellys out there made me stop in my tracks, because I hate the idea of people thinking poorly of me (or that I am tacky! HEAVEN FORBID!), and I don't want to get a bad rep right when I'm starting out.  
But again, I just lost my job (so I'm desperate for ways to find clients) and how many free marketing tools are there?  After all, people will be coming to MY DOOR (or, my parent's neighbor's driveway for the hayride, which is where I will very likely be) begging for MY CANDY, so would it be considered soliciting at that point?

So what do I do?  Make up treat bags with a discount coupon for a session and give them to the adults?  Ask them outright if it would offend them?  Forget I ever saw the idea? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alaska Pictures!

Last month, hubs and I went to Alaska with his parents, brother, and our sister in law.  (This trip was planned and paid for long before the lay-off knowledge... we really aren't irresponsible with money!)  
Despite knowing I was out of a job in just a few weeks, I was able to relax!  I took TONS of pictures; did quite a bit of fishing; taught my sister in law how to knit scarves (while sitting on the porch of the house we rented, in full view of a GLACIER... amazing); read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, and started Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (it was on the bookshelf at the house, so I had to pick it up--I finished it at home with a library copy... it was okay); stalked the Time Bandit from Deadliest Catch; ate the most AMAZING snow crab legs; ate more; shopped along the Spit in Homer; got my internal clock all messed up and STILL haven't recovered (not having a job to get to everyday will allow you to sleep in... and stay up late... it's a problem).  I'd definitely go back to Alaska at some point.  The weather was gorgeous, scenery was, well... take a looksie: 

The river outside our cabin in Cooper Landing:

Night view from house in Homer:

Sunset on the Spit in Homer

Amazing food!  We ate at a fish market on the Spit that gets their crab from the Time Bandit!

We took a glacier tour!  This sucker is MASSIVE.  A mile wide where it touches the water.  If you look closely, you'll see a huge piece of this is falling off.

This is the same photo as above, but to give you an idea of scale, click on the photo so it fills your screen and see mid-left I highlighted a massive bird flying in the shot.

Bear print we saw at one of our stops on a guided fishing trip.  According to our guide, this was a smaller bear, maybe 2 years old.  My hand wouldn't even take up the bottom portion.

A black bear we spotted on the glacier tour.  The black bears are smaller than the brown ones because black bears stick to the mountains and eat mostly berries and what they can find, while the brown bears stick to the rivers and eat fish, getting more protein.

Brown bear we spotted on our fishing trip.  Even though he's super far away, and I zoomed in as much as I could (and cropped the photo to zoom in even more, so it's a little grainy), you can see this sucker is MASSIVE.  There were people wade fishing right by him, but he only cared about the fish.  Here he was walking along a sand bar, and shortly after he went for a swim, scooping up fishies and tearing them to shreds.  It was fascinating.

A pair of Otters we saw on the glacier tour.  They just float on their backs and twirl around in the water, keeping a layer of air between their skin and the water for insulation.

These were the most skittish little guys.  As soon as the boat approached, away they flew, or down they dove.  This little Puffin had trouble taking off and kept skimming the water surface.  I zoomed in as far as I could, and crop zoomed even more, so it's a bit grainy.  You can still see how adorable he is though! 

I did NOT expect to see so many sea lions.  This is just one location we found them on our glacier tour.  They were LOUD too!

Here is the front of the Time Bandit, as seen on Deadliest Catch.  We didn't get to meet Captain Jonathan or his brothers, but we did meet their mom working in their little Time Bandit Shop! (But I did meet Captain Sig Hansen (of the Northwestern) and his brother Edgar at Disney World a few years back!)

That's us... in a crab pot.  From left to right:
Hubs, me, sister-in-law, bro-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law 

Here is hubs fly fishing with the new rod his dad got him for his birthday.

That's all I've edited so far... just the highlights of the trip.   Hope you enjoyed them!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Storm of Brains

That sounded a bit zombie-ish, didn't it?

I'm talking about BRAINSTORMING!!

Thank y'all for your opinions about modern retellings, and for the encouragement.  I think that right now, since I have too many things on my plate, and too many WIPs already going, this idea will be in brainstorming mode for a while.  We'll see what I'm able to come up with.  Gotta make sure it's fresh!
So, speaking of this storm of the brain... what's your process?  You get an idea... what's the first thing you do?  Do you reach for a notebook and pen (I seem to do this most often), or open a blank document and start typing your ideas (which I've also done)?  Do you draw a big grid and storyboard it (which I'd LOVE to be organized enough to do without needing a super eraser)?  Do you roll up your sleeves and dive into character sketches?

When you get to the writing writing part, do you mostly write from start to finish, or just write what comes to you when it comes to you?  Often I'll start at the beginning, then something later in the story will come to mind and I'll hop around to make sure it gets written while I'm thinking about it.  Then something for a completely different story comes to mind, so I have to write that down somewhere.  It's a wonder I get anything done at all.

Oh wait.

I don't. ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Modern Retellings

We all know Jane Austen's stories have been redone with a modern twist (or a zombie twist) out the wazoo!  And how do we really feel about that?  
I'm not really an Austen purist... obviously, I mean, hello! I LOVE the movie Lost in Austen, which you've heard me go ON AND ON about, I love the book Austenland...  and I own Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (though I haven't read it yet).

While brainstorming the other day, I was hit with an idea to do a modern retelling of a classic novel... I don't know that it's been hit before (so I'm not going to spill it just yet!), so I'm even more interested in giving it a shot.  Lots of fairy tales have been redone, too.  I recently read Beastly, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and while I didn't love love it, it was pretty well done, in my opinion.

How do you feel about modern retellings?  Do you soak them up as quickly as they are released? Pick one up out of curiosity now and again?  Or are you firmly against them in the belief that what's done right the first time should just be left alone?  Have you read a retelling that was BETTER than the original?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This is Halloween, This is Halloween

Yes... I've already watched The Nightmare Before Christmas this month, and I'm sure it won't be the last time. 

The Pumpkin King and I go way back... to childhood.  I listened to the movie soundtrack so much, my player ate the tape.  I don't have a Christmas village, but I surely do have the Nightmare before Christmas village.  They light up on the inside and everything.  I've seriously thought about being Sally for Halloween just about every year, and now that I have a husband that's 6'5" (a foot taller than me) and about the same build as Jack Skelington... well... I really have tried to talk him into it. hahaha. 
I wasn't expecting a costume party this year (usually I'm the one to throw it and I just haven't had time to think about it lately), but we got invited to one, so we're a bit too crunched for time to throw together a satisfactory Jack and Sally.  
I'm contemplating getting a fedora (like a cheap one from Target) and a cute top, wearing jeans and my converse (signed by Switchfoot, hello).  I'd wear lots of mismatched jewelry, make a "press pass" and strap my camera around my neck.  Instant photographer. (To tell you the truth, I just really want a fedora, and what a great excuse! I don't even look good in hats, but I. Don't. Care.)

Anyone else going to a costume party this year?  What will you be?


Monday, October 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Are you in... or out?

I'm out. 

But I'm interested to hear about you.  If you're in, what's your goal?  Do you already have a story idea lined up or are you going to be a TOTAL pantser?  How many hours/words a day do you plan to devote to it?

Last year when I heard about this for the first time, I was a bit smitten with the idea.  I looked into it some, but couldn't come up with anything so I forgot about it.  This year, I decided I'm definitely not that kind of writer.  It sounds like it should be fun to whip out a story that quickly... just write write write without any real corrections or edits along the way.  But that's just not my writing style.  I'd be so stressed with the time limit... and I know there would be SO much work to do afterward... all that revising and editing.  Ugh I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it.
Anyone else a definite no? What are your reasons for not doing it?
Anyone on the fence?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Posessed by the Writing Fairy!!

So y'all have heard me sort of whine for a couple weeks (months) that I haven't written a darn thing.  Well, something totally took over last night and I was a writing machine!

I was up until 4AM typing, brainstorming, and typing some more--2,131 words!  And it's even more random that I chose to work on the story that I had finished, turned my nose up at, and shelved.  Serisously, the "last updated" date on the file was March of this year.  I had decided that it was just my first full length stretch of the writing legs, and I was going to be okay with that.  But yesterday, thanks to some back and forth brainstorming emails with the fabulous
Between the Letters is making a comeback... 

The characters are a bit younger now, and there's a SLIGHT paranormal twist, but nothing vampirey or immortal about it.  Another of my WIPs, Anemone, is completely YA, so I think since that's what I've been writing and reading lately, this story just felt better pulled back a few years.  I have two computer monitors (for photo editing mostly), so I pulled up the original file on one monitor, and a BLANK Word document on the other, and literally started from the beginning.  It's different...  it's got more personality... I think I'm actually going to like the story this time around.(Well, I liked the bones of the story... but I wasn't HAPPY with it... you know what I mean.)

I knew I missed writing regularly, but I just felt so ON FIRE last night that it actually took me by surprise to realize how MUCH I missed it.  Here's hoping I can keep on keepin on.  

Thank you to my critique girls, Kristi Chestnutt and Kim Franklin, for rocking so much with the encouragement and direction help.  I couldn't do it without y'all. :)

So enough about ME!  Tell me about your writing progress!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Have I Been Speeding??

I'll say!  It's a freaking miracle I haven't gotten a ticket over the last couple months.  My spedometer peetered out on me quite a while ago now, and we discovered that since my Tahoe was still under 70k miles (which is a miracle in and of itself that I'm not at 70k yet... it's an '05!), the cluster panel replacement would be covered under some extended warranty.  So I got me a new freebie this morning, and driving home admiring the way the needle moves (I'd been going about 120mph constantly lately), I noticed how SLOW I was driving.  The speed limit, yes, but SLOW.  My motto over the broken needle time has always been "Make sure someone is always going faster than you, and drive slower than you want to."  Well, crap... apparently I want to drive FAST.

Anyway... I got a new lens this weekend and found a couple of beauties to let me practice on them. Take a gander:

I love the lens... starting to hate my camera though. I KNEW this going in, but I have to manually focus the new lens on my camera.  And kids, well, they don't sit still. 

Thankfully though, adults do!

Love engagement sessions... young love. :)

Happy Tuesday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Busy Little Bee... and Inspired by JK Rowling (again)....

Well I thought I'd be a better blogger now that I'm working from home, but as you all can see.... that hasn't happened yet.  I'm busy busy busy and still haven't caught up.  Which, I'm thankful I have business coming in, but apparently I'm the type that gets this little stress layer under the skin if I can't catch up, like, EVER.  As soon as I get close to catching up, I add two or three more sessions into the mix.  I know, I know, I should only be THANKFUL and just keep pluggin away.. and I am.  I just hope this stress layer doesn't catch on fire and burn me out.  I guess it's up to me not to let it. 

On a very cool and happy side note, I scored a booth for Kristin Rae Photography at a Christmas market a school is hosting this December! Two days!!!  I won't actually be TAKING photos here... I'm just promoting my services to get my name out there. 
I'm already figuring out the set up of my first booth ever and all the fun things I want to offer--Gift certificates, email sign up sheet, maybe a drawing???  And my mind has been going crazy with booth decoration ideas.  I am so excited! I just need two customers out of it to make up for what I'm putting into the booth. :)

So... anyone catch the JK Rowling interview on Oprah?  There's just something about her story, you know?  It's so one of a kind, probably never to be repeated however we all may dream about making that happen.  The Harry Potter series did everything a writer aspires to--books that get people reading (children and adults!), turned into a series of hit movies that are so well done they stay true to the essence of the books, a theme park bringing the words from the pages to life..... it's just incredible. I haven't been able to write much the past couple of months, but since watching her interview, I'm definitely inspired to make time for it (somewhere...).  Though my writing aspirations are focused on just getting PUBLISHED!

Friday, October 1, 2010

One Week Down

And I'm still playing catch up.

Something I've notcied about working at home again... I'm very very easily distracted.  So many things to look up, so many rooms in this house to clean, so many meals to eat.

I have managed to get quite a bit of photo editing done, but I still feel like I'm swamped. And I haven't been able to write in who knows how long.  I miss it.  I really do.  Maybe this weekend I'll spread out on a blanket in the backyard and write some in a notebook.  

One disappointing thing... the Austin Comic Con... apparently you have to PAY per AUTOGRAPH... like, between $30 and $60 depending on who it is.  I'm still mulling it over.... hard to imagine spending money I don't have on a signature (let alone driving 6 hours round trip to get it).  I really just want to meet Spike and Xander.  That's all.  Sigh.  The good things in life apparently aren't free.

Anyway... on to season two of Angel.  I like it.