Colour versus black and white

I found a couple of broken, half-dead tulips in my garden the other day. Instead of throwing them on the compost heap, I decided to try to revive them and put them into a vase of water. To my delight, after a couple of days they did recover a bit.

flowers in vase

As they started to decay, I realised the flowers became more beautiful as their petals dried up. I took some photos of them with my husband’s stained glass window as a backdrop. I thought that the colours in his glass complimented those of the flowers.

dead tulip  dead tulip 2

I was delighted with the results, then the experimental in me took over and I turned them into black and white.

dead tulip B&Wdead tulip 2 B&W

Now I’m not sure which I like best.

Do you  think the colour photos are better than the black and white pictures?

Haikus for Boris the Feral Cat – in honour of National Black Cat Day

boris up closishSince it is National Black Cat Day, I thought that I would re-blog this post relating the story of a plucky feral cat we named Boris. He has overcome so much and is now a loving and talkative feline that loves to play and be cuddled.

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About a year ago a black feral tomcat came into our garden and decided to stay. He would come and go and catch the rats that plagued us. So, to thank him we began to give him some food. Winter came along and he shivered in the cold. We built him a kennel and he kept as warm as he could. Gradually over the months he became quite friendly and allowed us to pet him. One day he didn’t turn up. Not that unusual, especially in the warmer months, he would go off for a few days at a time, return famished and sleep for a while before going away again. This time he was missing for a week. Then we saw him squatting by the place we fed him. He stood and limped over to us. He had been in a terrible accident. His back legs were badly injured, one was very swollen and his tail had been stripped of all its fur.


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He was thin and clearly in a lot of pain. We nursed him as best we could and gradually he recovered. During the course of his recovery, he became the most loving and affectionate cat I have ever known. Now, Boris, as we called him, is our shadow and follows us everywhere when we go outside. He is so adorable and very talkative. He loves to be cuddled and plays with various toys our other cats have long forgotten about. He will never be able to join us indoors, because we have several other felines that would object strongly, but he is welcome to be our outside cat and we will continue to make sure he is warm and well fed. To celebrate his return to health, I decided to do some slow synch flash photographs of Boris at play, and write some Haikus to go along with the pictures. I have fiddled with the photographs to try and make them look more like paintings or pastel art works.

So, here’s to Boris. One hell of a cat!! Boris blue

From out of the blue

Whiskers and claws, swipe at the

Mouse unused to play

Boris jumping

Feral leaves, feral

Cat, both fall and tumble in

Autumn’s blustering

Boris eyes Beyond the greyness

Red. A slash of hue amidst

The colourless day

Boris wooly bully

They become circle

For one brief moment and then

Split like a seedpod

Boris times two

He wanders solo

Shrugging off the shoulder ghost

His Doppelganger

Boris most of him

Half in the picture

Long white nails scratch at the air

Summer leaves behind  

Happy National Black Cat Day to Boris and all the other black cats in the world!!

boris handsome   boris narrow eyes  Boris beautiful

Nettle Soup and Bugs

I was picking nettles this morning to make some soup – it will be the last time this year as they are going to seed and dying off – when I spotted a rather lovely bug. Well, I had to take a picture of it, and then I saw a few more interesting things to photograph – so I did.

 

purple bug

 

buggle

 

 

spiral flower

 

white flower and bee

 

You can see more of my photographs and stuff on my new website: http://www.nicolamcdonagh.com/

Motherly Love

It is the time of year when things ripen and harvesting goes on all around me. Whilst I was wandering about my garden I noticed that the smaller creatures that share it with me, were gathering their young and protecting them from harm.

So I took some photographs of spiders and insects protecting their young.

 

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motherly love-8motherly love-7motherly love-4motherly love-5

Clouds and a Suffolk sunset

 

 

Some photographs I took a couple of days ago in my garden. The colours are not enhanced. The sky went from a dark sulphur orange to this spurt of purple in a matter of minutes. Such amazing clouds!!

Truly inspiring.

 

sunset

 

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sunset-3

 

sunset-2

Frost and Sparkle

This morning the garden was covered in a layer of white frost. Dewdrops glittered in the sunlight and my green house was covered in crazy ice patterns.

Despite the cold I ventured out with my camera and macro lens and took some pictures. The light was just perfect and bounced off blades of grass tipped with frozen water droplets that sparkled like diamonds.

Normally I’m keen to make sure that the photos are in perfect focus, but after taking a few pictures and seeing how magical they looked slightly blurred, I decided to continue with the hazy look.

I wonder if I could use some of the images as a cover for a short story or two?

Or maybe I should pick one of the photographs and create a story around it?

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Alphabetti Spaghetti Haiku

I found a tin of spaghetti letters at the back of the under stairs cupboard, a few days out of date and dusty. I don’t remember buying them. I don’t remember ever eating said tinned convenience food in my life. A mystery to be sure. Anyway, I thought the birds might enjoy them and opened the tin. I poured out all the gooey letters and for some reason thought, why not write a Haiku using some of the pasta shapes?

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My husband joined in and separated the letters – a messy business to be sure. Then we made some toast and began to play around with the pasta. My first attempts were a bit vague, and the poem I really wanted to do, I couldn’t because not all the letters were there.

Haiku I wanted to do:

Poetry from food

Nourishing both mind and gut

A sea of ideas

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But I came up with something in the end.

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Well, it was raining outside, and…I don’t need to make excuses!

In case you couldn’t quite make out the letters – below the end result:

Snake ‘s’ and moon ‘o’

Ooze and flow upon the toast

Nature’s gibberish

Does anyone else play with their food?

When do you publish the next book in a series?

I think what I’m about to say will be familiar to a lot of authors.

My debut novel ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’ was published in June of this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Forgetfulness-Volume/dp/1939897041/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Sales are slow. But that is to be expected I guess. I’m not really concerned about that. I’m more worried that I have botched my attempts at getting that all-important author profile going, despite working really hard to put myself on the on-line media world stage, and doing readings and workshops.

Previously to being published, I wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, or any sites that promote authors. I have come to realise that I should have been much more active on the social media platform and may have left it too late.

My publishers are leaving all of the marketing to me. AHH! I am useless at self-promotion. I’ve tried ‘giveaways’, paid promotion on relevant sites, guest hosting on Facebook events and getting author spotlights. I have noticed that sales went up a tiny bit after I spent a small amount to advertise Echoes on Kindle boards, but sales slumped soon after.  So, the question remains, how do I get folk to notice me and buy the book? I have received some excellent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but to what end? Now, I’m all a bit ‘harrumph’ and out of ideas.

So, I was wondering if having the next book in the series come out sooner rather than later, would be a good thing? Would readers be more willing to buy a book when they know that they wouldn’t have to wait to read the next instalment?

Does anyone have any advice? I would appreciate it.

On a different note: is it just me, or do grasshoppers look exactly like Alien?

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Haikus inspired by photography

Extinction

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Bee melts like honey

Upon a yellow flower

Wings paused in silence

 

Damage

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The weeping Willow

Sheds no tears as his wild gusts

Rip at her branches

 

Reflections of a cat

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He stares at the sky

Unblinking, slit eyed musing

Thoughts of quill and fur

 

 

 Water caterpillar

Imagellar 

I saw a feather

Dropped in dew transform into

Silver moth larva