10 February 2015

Mrs. PG and PG recently spent a long weekend in Southern Utah. While there, they visited Zion National Park.

PG hadn’t seen Zion in thousands of years (an eyeblink in geological time) and had forgotten how astounding and otherworldly it can appear. Photos don’t really capture the enormous scale of the mountains and cliffs nor do they adequately represent the lovely and subtle variations in color and texture that one encounters in this amazing place.

You can click on the horizontal photos to see larger versions.










Two Photos

14 January 2015

Casa PG is experiencing winter. Some time ago, PG spent most of winter in Florida.

A couple of contrasting photos seem in order. One was taken yesterday at Casa PG. The other wasn’t.

Up the hill


Sunset with Blue Variation-Unsharp

Green Gables

21 October 2014

The PG’s also visited Prince Edward Island during their recent trip.

PEI is the smallest province in Canada both by population and land area. The provincial population is about 140,000 and the island is mostly rural, relying upon farming, fishing and tourism for much of its economy. 25% of all potatoes grown in Canada originate here. The largest city, Charlottetown, has a population of about 33,000, while the second-largest city has a population of about 16,000. The size of municipalities drops off rapidly from there.

Prince Edward Island is the childhood home of one of Canada’s best-known authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote Anne of Green Gables, set on a farm on PEI.

Ms. Montgomery was born on PEI. After her mother died during her infancy, Montgomery was sent to live with her grandparents’ on the island. While she was growing up, she frequently visited her cousins at nearby Green Gables Farm.

After she married, Montgomery moved with her husband to Ontario, but frequently returned to spend time on Prince Edward Island throughout her adulthood. She and her husband are buried a short distance from Green Gables.

Green Gables is a protected historical site and locations from the Anne books such as Haunted Woods, Balsam Hollow and Lovers Lane are well-preserved. (click on each photo for a larger version)

House 4a-SM
Green Gables
Bedroom in Green Gables
Green Gables

This last photo is taken at the beginning of the Haunted Wood trail looking back at the house.

Peggy’s Cove

15 October 2014

Peggy’s Cove is a tiny fishing village on the West coast of Nova Scotia. It was one of the destinations for PG and Mrs. PG during their recent travels.

Here are some photos (click to see a larger size):

Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove



27 September 2014

PG and Mrs. PG went for a drive in the mountains yesterday morning. You can click on the photos to see larger versions.

Mountain 2 - SM


Aspen - Lighter - Small


Mountain 4 - SM


27 July 2014

This was taken a short distance from Casa PG. We’ve had some high smoke floating in from forest fires in Washington and Oregon that provides some interesting texture to the sky and can really light up a sunset. Click for a larger version.


Sunset 2

Long Weekend

13 May 2014

PG and Mrs. PG decided to take a long weekend in Jackson, Wyoming, following the release of Mrs. PG’s latest book (which is selling well, thank you).

Jackson is located in a region known as Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park is nearby.

Here are a few of PG’s photos. You can click for larger versions.

Mountain Clouds 2-Clarity

Mountains - Cabin- Clarity

Mountain River Cabin

Panorama 1 - Clarity - Cropped


The big guy in the last photo was walking right alongside the road. All PG had to do was to lower the car window and take a picture.

Rights Concerns: Simon451 Novel-Writing Contest for Students

7 March 2014

From Writer Beware:

Recently, Big 5 publisher Simon & Schuster announced the launch of two adult trade speculative fiction imprints: Saga Press, which will do both print and digital, and Simon451, which will also do print and digital, but will concentrate on digital-firsts and ebook originals. Simon451 currently is accepting submissions from unagented authors.

Simon451 is also running a novel-writing contest for college students. Students submit a synopsis ad the first 50 pages of a novel. A panel of judges will select ten finalists, who will be asked to submit their entire manuscripts. The winner receives a publishing contract with Simon451, a $3,000 advance, and a trip to NY Comicon.

In the past weeks, I’ve heard from a number of writers who are wondering about an apparent rights-grab in the contest guidelines .

. . . .

First, on page 2 of the guidelines, where it refers to the initial 50-page submission, a.k.a. the Initial Entry:

Submission of an Initial Entry grants Sponsor and their agents the unconditional, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to excerpt in part or whole, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such Entry in any way, in any and all media, without limitation, and without consideration to the entrant, whether or not such Entry is selected as a winning Entry.

. . . .

What if you become a finalist, though, and are asked to submit your entire manuscript? Per pages 3 and 4 of the guidelines, you are subject to the exact same grant of rights, expressed in identical language. The only difference is the use of the term “Entry,” rather than “Initial Entry,” referring to the full manuscript:

Submission of an Entry grants Sponsor and its agents the unconditional, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to excerpt in part or whole, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such Entry in any way, in any and all media, without limitation, and without consideration to the entrant, whether or not such Entry is selected as a winning Entry.

Link to the rest at Writer Beware and thanks to Ekta for the tip.

PG says it looks like another case of runaway lawyers.

He doesn’t read contest rules for fun, but almost every time he does, he finds overbroad language and rights-grabs.

On one occasion, PG was thinking about entering one of his photographs into a contest for calendar photos featuring landscape shots. His primary reasons for doing so were that proceeds from the sale of calenders went to a children’s hospital and he thought his photo was better than previous winners.

Then he read the contest terms and conditions and discovered, instead of granting rights to use his photo on the calendar, he was surrendering all rights to his photo, which could be used for any purpose, including being licensed to third parties without compensation to the photographer.

He decided to send some cash to the children’s hospital instead.

For those in the frozen regions of the US and Canada, here is a photo PG took on the Gulf Coast of Florida several years ago:

Sunset and Pier-Blue Variation-Red Enhanced-Unsharp Mask

and another (you can click to see somewhat larger versions)

Naples Sunset 2 cropped

From Desk Job to Nomad Photographer

30 January 2014

This is about an indie photographer, not an indie writer.

However, PG found it interesting and the visuals are way better than you’ll find on any author’s blog. You will have to click through to see the photos, however.

From Topaz Labs:

In 2011 Anne McKinnell resigned from her day job, sold her belongings and traded the comforts of the American Dream lifestyle to become a nomad photographer. Having ventured all over the North American territory, McKinnell has shared some of her story.

. . . .

Being a nomadic photographer means that I travel all the time, constantly moving from one place to the next. I made a decision to change my life in the spring of 2011 as I wanted a happier, more fulfilling life that is full of adventure. Now I live in an RV and drive around North America, photographing beautiful places. I spent the first year on a trip traveling clockwise around the perimeter of the USA, along with the Atlantic provinces in Canada.  After that I spent a few months back in BC and since then I’ve been a snowbird spending six months exploring BC and six months in the USA.  Since I am Canadian, I am only allowed in the USA for six months of each year (the first year I had to get a special visa to stay longer).

. . . .

When I travel, my plans include only a general direction or area based on the weather. When you’re towing an RV you have to consider the road conditions and freezing water pipes, so I try to stay where it is warm and sunny. Since it’s winter, I’ll be spending the next couple of months in southern California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and maybe Texas.  I like to visit the national parks, so I try to see as many of them as I can plus any other interesting places in between.

. . . .

Photography is the tool I use to be a happier person. When I first became involved with photography twenty years ago, I frequently photographed the darker side of life such as poverty and injustices because that is where I was in my life. I was in university, studying politics, writing for the student newspaper, and fighting to raise awareness about everything that is wrong with the world. I gave up photography for a long time while I built my career in software development and when I took it up again it was to help me become happier by focusing on the good things in the world.

By nature I see the negative things all the time, and I wanted to change that. I had no idea that photography would change my life so much. Because of it, I am always looking for the good and beautiful things in the world, instead of focusing on the bad things. Photography constantly helps me change this negative part of myself so I can be the person I want to be and live the life I want to live. Now when I go to a place I am looking for beauty and because I am looking, I find it.

Link to the rest at Topaz Labs

The English Cemetery

11 November 2013

A couple of weeks ago, PG was on a stroll around a part of Florence that was new to him when he saw something called The English Cemetery on Google Maps.

He followed the map to a low hill covered with gravestones located behind an iron fence in the middle of a large traffic circle. Crossing over to the cemetery gate, he saw a groundskeeper and asked, “Closed? Open?” The groundskeeper answered, “Open,” so he walked in.

This is some of what he found:


Despite some traffic sounds, it was a peaceful place and PG was the only visitor.

After reading a number of detailed inscriptions, most in English, but some in German, Italian and Latin, he made his way back to the gate.

It was locked. No groundskeepers were to be seen anywhere.

After casting a dubious gaze at the iron fence (which appeared well-designed to keep intruders out and American lawyers in) PG began diligently looking for someone who might provide an alternative to scaling the fence. He definitely did not want to phone the B&B, where Mrs. PG was having a nap, for assistance.

Following a few minutes of searching, he discovered a small office containing an old woman with white hair who wore a light blue habit. Maybe it was the surroundings or, perhaps, the fence, but she looked a bit angelic.

She was a most pleasant person, a native of Sussex who had come to Florence many years before. She explained that the cemetery was closed to visitors at that time, but was happy to unlock the gate for PG.

Here’s part of the description of The English Cemetery from Wikipedia:

The English Cemetery in Florence, Italy is at Piazzale Donatello. Its names, ‘Cimitero Inglese’ and ‘Cimitero Protestante’ are somewhat misleading, as the cemetery holds bodies of Orthodox Christians as well as those of many Reformed Churches; but the majority of those buried here were of the Anglophone British and American communities of Florence.

. . . .

Before 1827 non-Catholics and non-Jews who died in Florence could be buried in Livorno only. In 1827 the Swiss Evangelical Reformed Church bought land outside the medieval wall and gate of Porta a’ Pinti at Florence from Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany for an international and ecumenical cemetery, Russian and Greek Orthodox burials joining the Protestant ones.

. . . .

Many famous people are buried in the graveyard: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (in a tomb designed by Frederic, Lord Leighton), Walter Savage Landor, Arthur Hugh Clough, Fanny Trollope and her daughter-in-law Theodosia Garrow Trollope and three other family members, Isa Blagden,Southwood Smith, Hiram Powers, Joel Tanner Hart, Theodore Parker, Fanny, the wife of William Holman Hunt in a tomb he himself sculpted, Mary, the daughter of John Roddam Spencer Stanhope in a tomb he himself sculpted, Louise, sister to Henry Adams, whose dying he describes in his ‘Chaos’ chapter in The Education of Henry Adams, two children of the Greek painter George Mignaty, whom Robert had paint Casa Guidi as it was when Elizabeth Barrett Browning died there, and Nadezhda De Santis, a black Nubian slave brought to Florence at fourteen from Jean-François Champollion’s 1827 expedition to Egypt and Nubia, while the French Royalist exile Félicie de Fauveau sculpted two tombs here. Beatrice Shakespeare and Edward Claude Shakespeare Clench relatives of William Shakespeare.

. . . .

The Cemetery had to be closed in 1877, when the law forbade burials of bodies within city limits.

Link to the rest at Wikipedia

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