Friday, October 30, 2015

All Kinds of Specials

Today's post has not one, not two, but three special announcements to do with books... but first of all Happy Halloween!

1st Special Announcement

Halloween is a really special time in my book March to November. To avoid spoilers I won't tell you why, but I have the book on special offer on Kindle from now until November 2nd, the day the book finishes, so please, use the link below and go have a look for yourself. You can also gift kindle books to your friends - a great time to stock up for the holiday season.
And when they check the price after the November 2nd and it's gone back up they'll think you are really generous!

2nd Special Announcement

Inspired by a request last month to post an author-signed copy of March to November as a birthday gift, I came up with the idea of doing that for Christmas/Holiday gifts. If you contact me via my website contact page or email address, we can decide what will be written inside the book. I'll sign it and ship it anywhere in the USA for only $15, that's FREE SHIPPING for the month of November, a saving of 25%. And I'll be doing all the running around and posting of your pressys! One less thing for you to do in the run up to Christmas...

3rd Special Announcement

I've just published a new book! It's not a novel - I'm still working on the next one. To buy one just click on the picture.
It's a Hiker's Journal - a book where you do the writing. It's the perfect way to plan and record your hiking adventures. It has a combination of structured prompts, freestyle notes and additional unlined pages are perfect for sketching that idyllic view. There's a place for emergency contacts and medical information. The check-list at the beginning will help you efficiently pack everything you need for each trip. There is a section to record that inspiring social media post as the muse strikes, so you won’t forget it by the time you reach cell phone coverage. It has a space to jot down the filename of your favorite photo, so you can easily find it later.

This journal also functions as a training tool to track your progress as your hikes increase in difficulty.

Its compact, 5 x 8 inch size makes it easy to carry along. The bright orange edging on the cover makes it easy to find in a pack and helps prevent it being left behind when you move on. There are 25 hikes per book. It's a handy resource for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and hiking clubs for all age groups.

Create a timeless memoir of your adventure, so you never forget a moment and it makes a great present for the hikers in your life too.

So now you've bought all those books, I have one last request - 

When you've read the book please give it an honest review on Amazon. Reviews on Amazon are really important to the authors "find-ability" especially for us independently-published authors who don't have the heft of the big publishing houses behind them. Getting exposure is a daily grind for us. It's rumored that if you can get more than 100 reviews on Amazon that they will start to promote your book by suggesting it to other readers. That's my goal. Right now I have 47 reviews on the US site and 18 on the UK site. Unfortunately they won't amalgamate them, so I'm working on drumming up more...

However, I refuse, point blank, to pay for  reviews. The internet is full of such offers and while it's tempting, right now Amazon is cracking down on that and rightly so. Besides, I want honest reviews - If I get 5 stars, I want to know they are real. If I get only 1 or 2 stars I'm a big enough girl to know that not everyone is going to like every book out there (though I dread the day that happens!)

So please consider posting your review - it doesn't have to be long - one line will do, and we authors really do appreciate it.

Byddi Lee

Friday, October 23, 2015

Animal Road Signs Snap

The last post introduced the road signs snap we played on our road trip. Animal Road Signs Snap notches it up a level because photographing animals is generally more challenging...unless you are in Yellowstone National Park!

It's hard to tell if this cow goes with this picture,
 or this picture.
What is disconcerting is the number of road signs in the US that have bullet holes in them.

At least this one was spared.
So does this sign match up with this animal?
Or this one?
Either way, I was thrilled to get this little pronghorn!

Getting a picture of a bison in Yellowstone is as easy as tripping over a bump on the road.
So easy in fact, that the shot of the animal is less blurred than the inanimate sign? What's that all about?
I'm thinking I deserve extra credit of a shot that's exactly like the sign...lights, blurriness, action!
Okay, still not as blurry as the sign...

Love this guy.
This majestic old king is simply beautiful.
 But the devil is in the detail...
And here he is with his harem!
And finally a very special one from our 2007 trip to Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean.
We were told that the signage convention required that the animal, regardless of its color, be in black, the background in white, with the red trim. When they did that, people kept asking, "Do you have black bears as well as polar bears?" So to avoid confusion, and since they had no black bears, they broke with convention and made these signs. I think it conveys the message very clearly, "Warning, polar bears nearby."

And indeed there were!
Sorry about the quality of the photo, but I hope you'll understand why we didn't want to get too close!
 Byddi Lee

Friday, October 16, 2015

Road Signs Snap

Play this on your next road trip!

Here's how it works... You take photos of road signs and then try to match them with photos you take of the real thing.

Turned out, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but it was fun trying.

You end up feeling all turned around with this one!

In fairness, it's hard to get pictures of such dangerous tractors these days since they all come with cabins, or at least safety cages. But I do remember these old tractors. This one is helping with the onion harvest. It would bring a tear to your eye!
Utah sure delivered on this promise! Some of the best scenery I've ever seen on this planet. As for this the next one...
 Should have stuck with the scenery Utah!

Now that's a bump! Utah style...

Technically these next two are a pair, because, let's face it, I can't photograph the passage of time any other way!

Next time I'll show you the results of my animal road signs snap - now that's ratcheting it up a notch alright!

Byddi Lee

P.S. If you contact me via the comments you can join in if you like! I won't publish the comments that are just used to connect.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Seeing the signs

No, this is not a post about the drought here in California. Though it should be!

No, I'm not going to bang on about carbon emissions and climate change. If you believe  in that sort of thing (Que sarcastic snigger.)

Nope - this is a blog post about signs...the signs we saw on our recent epic road trip. Hopefully, just something to amuse you over the weekend.

I'm still not finished sorting through all the photos we took - more than 2000. That's a frequency of taking a photo every 2 miles we traveled!

So here's just a wee snippet of those that made us raise an eyebrow, spark a smile and laugh out loud at times.

We wondered if the speed limit applied to the alien space ships too?
This might only mean something to the Irish readers but hey, it nice to know where all the muckers live. For my non-Irish readers - "Mucker" is a term of endearment. If you say someone is your mucker it means they are a really good friend of yours. Not sure where the term comes from. Perhaps one of my writing muckers will know!

This photo is a 2 for 1. Look closely at the sign below. Seems quite sinister...I wonder do the muckers help you to dispose of your boss? Seems kind of extreme...
Good job we're in a plug-in Prius hybrid! How far to the next electrical socket?
Seriously, take a closer look at the name of this Motel. It's bad when they admit it up front! (Sorry you may need to click on the photo to make out the sign.)
I don't we need to worry about passing anyone anywhere on this road! I think they put up these signs to stop the locals (or should that be the local - as in singular) from getting lonely.
Picnic benches beside tippy-over looking trees? Drunk trees? Is it a picnic bench or a weirdly fonted "A". And what on earth caused that damage to the arrow but not the rest of the sign. Apologies for the blurred image - this was a drive by - Ohhh, maybe that's what happened the sign...
Perhaps whatever did the damage to the sign is in this room?
I hope they are better at parking than they are at driving past signs!

We started a new road trip game too - match the sign with the real thing. I'm saving that post for next week. Despite how much we searched we never did find the match for the "self parking" sign ,so it didn't make the cut for the next post!

Byddi Lee

Friday, October 2, 2015

Volcanoes - Shhh! They're Sleeping....

Day 13 Bend, Oregon - Shasta, California

Mileage  342 miles  States – Oregon, California

This was the last day on the open road. Tomorrow we would jump on the nearest interstate and barrel back to San Jose without time for stops or photos.

But we still had one more day and no better way to spend it that to visit volcanoes, or what's left of them after they blew their top.

Recent fire activity in the area was very apparent along the road between Bend and Crater Lake National Park.
First stop - Crater Lake, formed when a huge volcano called Mount Mazama erupted in 5700BC and then collapsed in on itself. The eruption threw up 150 time more ash than Mount St Helena's 1980 eruption. The resulting Caldera filled with water. It has no rivers that run into it and its only catchment is direct precipitation. It is the deepest lake in the USA.

It is huge. I couldn't even get the whole thing in using my panorama app on the phone (without the image getting warped.)

Can you imagine being the first person to find this? There is a place called discovery point, where the first European came across it. Of course, he was not the fist human to find it since there were people already living here - a fact conveniently glossed over far too often. Even so, I tried to imagine what it must have been like to climb up the rise and see this for the first time if you hadn't expected it to be here. It was pretty impressive even from a car and knowing there was something here.

Inside the crater, Wizard Island is the tip of a drowned volcano that rises from the lake floor. You can take a boat trip out to it, or swim!
Phantom Ship Island is the other island in Crater Lake - wonder how it got its name?
We had a lovely lunch sitting by the log fire at the Crater Lake Lodge, Rim Village then we had to get back to the road.

Even before we left Oregon, we could see Mount Shasta peeking over the horizon as if to welcome us home.
Honestly the sign says "Welcome to California" but the windscreen was so icky that the camera could not focus on anything but smeared bug!
As we got close to Shasta City, the volcano of the same name stool sentinel on the road.
Mount Shasta is still a live volcano. It erupts, on average, every 600 years. The last eruption was 200 years ago, so I doubt I'll be around when it blows again, thank God!

With the moon tucked in on its left flank, it does present a very tranquil sight.
Shasta is close enough to where we live to consider coming back for another trip. It was a nice thought as we packed up the next morning and drove to Interstate 5 to take the last part of what has been an epic journey for us.

When we got home and checked the total mileage we discovered that our little Prius had driven 4004 miles in two weeks. What a great little adventurer!

We were home safe and sound, with a camera full of pictures, heads full of happy memories and hearts full of gratitude.