What's cooking at the Blue Fox Cafe
All about the ins and outs of writing

Apr
19

A small rock island along the South Shore of the St. Lawrence in Quebec, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth

This tiny rock island of the St. Lawrence is just a reminder that much of the earth is covered with water, 71 % to be exact. So on this Earth Day maybe it is a good time to stop and ponder how we can take care of our planet’s oceans along with the land masses.

Earth

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Apr
12

We tied up our boats and then the next morning all the water was gone, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise

Actually, alone the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada, this event happens twice a day. Difference between low and high tide averages near 40 feet, and so fisherman, when they moor their boat, will have to wait 12 hours before they can return to the bay. Good time to stop by the local tavern and have a few beers.

 

Surprise

Apr
05

Santa Fe window with iron bars and flower pots, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Security

The ornate iron bars make this living space a little bit safer. However……I hope nobody steals the flower pots.
Security

Apr
05

Ask any penguin and they will tell you, things are getting hot out there. drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot

Here are a few it’s hotter than euphemisms that readers might enjoy. Best to enjoy them now before the summer heat rolls around.

 

It’s so hot today I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking.

It’s so hot the birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

It’s hotter than a $2 pistol on the Fourth of July.

It’s hotter than a pair of sweat pants full of barbecue.

It’s so hot that the trees are creeping around looking for shade.

Mar
30

A flamingo with an umbrella, photo and drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Umbrella

This flamingo never goes anywhere without its umbrella

Mar
29

The dense forest of Maine

 

 

Dense

Dense is a relative term. Here, in this photo we get to see the dense forest of Maine firsthand.

Dense

Mar
23

Two snails share their opinion on a very important subject, drawing and photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snail(s)

These two snails were caught talking without their knowledge about a very important subject matter.

Mar
23

A Green Lady in Quebec, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It IS Easy Being Green!

It really is easy being green, just ask this lady. She will tell it to you straight.

It IS Easy Being Green!

Mar
15

This creature will ultimately find its way atop whatever lies in its path, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atop

Finding the top of things is sometimes not all that difficult.

Atop

Mar
08

I wish I had an ice cream cone, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wish

Today feels like the first day of spring, especially here in Southern Colorado, where I now reside. It is so warm that I wish I had a big ice cream cone………just like the one pictured here in Niagara Falls, Canada. Then again on second thought…………..

 
Wish

Mar
02
Reworking an old story can sometimes yield great dividends, photo by H. Koppdelaney

Reworking an old story can sometimes yield great dividends, photo by H. Kopp-Delaney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Note About the Photographer

This stunning image comes from the website of the remarkable German surrealist photographer, H. Kopp-Delaney. Fortunately, Mr. Kopp-Delaney is very generous and allows a small selection of his photos to be downloaded for free. Anyone interested in seeing more of his work is well-advised to visit the excellent online venuse of Mr. Kopp-Delaney.

 

My Experience With Reworking Old Tales

I have always felt that writing fiction is like an old bottle of wine: the longer the beverage sits, the better the flavor. This is especially true for fiction, where the passing of time may allow for the story to evolve or  even stray completely from the original tale, as our memories are a frail thing.

Some people may call this fibbing or lying, but in reality this is just a matter of “story enhancement“, which is an important ingredient of the storyteller’s craft. With this in mind, there is no reason that a writer should not go back and rework an old story. Do not the fear the linear and emotional distance that might be created over time, for with proper introspection and effort, the new story might come to life, where the old tale failed. Best of luck to all who wish to explore such territory.

After stating my case, the sober reality is that I have only returned to a few stories after they have been finished and sent to their final resting place, whether it be a small online journal or the proverbial desk drawer. Even so the results have been quite rewarding, even when I am the only person, who is familiar with both versions. So by all means, go back and rework those old, dusty stories.

Mar
02
Ready to hit road, phot by author

Ready to hit the road??? photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road Taken

Before you hit the road, you might want to invest some time and energy into your means of travel.
The Road Taken

Feb
22
Sleeping Bears, photo by author

Sleeping Bears, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Match

These two sleeping bears seemed perfectly suited for each. Spotted somewhere near Thunder Bay in western Ontario, Canada, the two animals seem to be quite comfortable in there snoozing position. Best not disturbed!!

A Good Match

Feb
22
Despite the painted toenails, this big stomper can be a huge hassle

Despite the painted toenails, this big stomper can be a huge hassle, drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Stomper

Currently, the illegal ivory trade is putting these animals at risk. If this species is to survive in the wild, the black market for ivory items must be eliminated.

 

Feb
15
These two guys are definitely working against the odds, but nonetheless they appear to be holding up just fine. photo by author

These two guys are definitely working against the odds, but nonetheless, they appear to be holding up just fine. photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against The Odds

Here, in Ljubljana, Slovenia these two muscle men are doing the impossible…..And unbelievably, they have been doing it for many years, photo by author
Against the Odds

Feb
15
How a cup of Viking tra inadvertently lrad to the discovery of North America, drawing by author

How a cup of Viking tea inadvertently lead to the discovery of North America, drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea (Tea for the Tillerman – Part II)

The true story behind the Viking discovery of North America

Feb
15
Shadow on the Stairs, photo by author

Shadow on the Stairs, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow

This shadow takes on a strange shape, when it falls on a set of concrete stairs.

Shadow

Feb
08

Looking up at the trees, drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UP

This is a drawing inspired by photographers. Manual artists seldom looked directly overhead before making a drawing until the camera came along.

Feb
06
The Charles River in winter, photo by author

The Charles River in winter, photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solitude

This picture of the winter sun setting over Cambridge and the Charles River fulfills quite well my definition of solitude. In this case the title could just as well be urban solitude, for it appears that the two figures have found some sort of solitude by contemplating the winter sunset, as viewed from the Boston side of the Charles River.

On further thought, it appears to me that solitude (and isolation) are both an integral part of photography, for just the use of a camera, creates a certain distance between you and your subject. Some photographers relish in this separation, while others, especially people photographers try and minimize the space between the subject and the person behind the camera.

Solitude

Feb
01

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

n-c-wyeth-the-giant-1923-oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the actual question as it was posted at the IWSG site.

Being a writer did not change my reader habits very much, until recently, when I set out on writing a middle grade novel. Actually, my intention was only to write a Young Adult novel, based on some autobiographical events that happened during my teen and pre-teen years. However, for better or worse, the word count on my YA novel kept growing…..and growing…..and growing, until I was staring at the 100,000 word mark.

This was way too long for a YA novel (unless your last name is Rowling), so I did what any prudent writer would do; I split the manuscript in two. Not evenly of course, but the first third went into my MG novel and the second two thirds became the basis for my YA story. This was a very convenient split, especially since the first part of my story covered the grade school years, while the remainder centered on 7th through 12 grade.

As I shopped the MG tale around, my response was almost non-existent. That’s when I discovered the main missing ingredient, middle grade voice, and that also explains while I am currently reading short, simply written books designed for fourth, fifth and six graders. To my surprise the reading has been very rewarding, though I am still struggling to find my new middle grade voice.

 

Feb
01
A trickster plays a mischievous prank, drawing by author

A trickster plays a mischievous prank, drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mischief

While Mrs. Fitzball was addressing the school body, a little person or “trickster” mysteriously appeared and placed two eggs on her chair. When she sat down, Mrs. Fitzball was not amused.

Jan
23
This graceful astronaut can be seen floating around downtown Salt Lake City

This graceful astronaut can be seen floating around downtown Salt Lake City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graceful

I guess you can say gracefulness is in the eye of the beholder. In this picture, weightlessness, a 20th century discovery,  makes for a slightly different definition of graceful.
Graceful

Jan
18
Las Vegas is an urban photographer's delight

Las Vegas is an urban photographer’s delight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambience

For me, photographing 21st century urban America is an enthralling, artistic passion. Featured here, is me (represented by my shadow) confronting a large urban graphic design that is situated near the downtown area in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is an ideal place for photographing graphic design and outdoor advertising, because examples like this can be found all across the sprawling city. Even the Strip with its hodgepodge of icons from around the globe hold endless possibilities for the inspired photographer. Where else could you find the Stature of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the Sphinx standing in relatively close proximity. I guess you could say that Las Vegas has a welcoming ambience for the contemporary street photographer.
Ambience

Jan
18
The butterfly enters the net

The butterfly enters the net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enternet

Before the Internet, there was the Enternet. Here, a perfectly healthy butterfly is about to enter the net, where he ( or she ) will be killed, pinned and preserved. Eventually the insect will be put on display behind glass with all the other bugs.

Jan
10
Durango is actually derived from the Basque language

Durango is actually derived from the Basque language

 

 

 

 

 

 

Names

Here is a picture of the word Durango, which is a state in north central Mexico, where the the capitol city also has the same name. That’s simple enough, but where in the heck did the word come from. Is it Native, for it sure doesn’t sound Spanish. Actually, the word is reported to be of Basque origin. According to ancestry.com the word means a place, possibly a fertile land located between great heights or perhaps on a great plain.

Names

Jan
09

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

Sorry, I’m a few days late with my response, but here’s my take on the subject anyhow.

Breaking the rules can be an exhilirating experience

Breaking the rules can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also get you into deep trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience

There are many rules to writing. If you don’t believe me just pick a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style or William Zinser’s On Writing Well. For here, among many pages of good advice, you will find more rules than you could possibly ever break.

Then there are the more nebulous rules of creative writing that deal with such things as plot structure, storyline, character development, antagonists, protagonists and so on. Good advice on these matters can be found all across the blogosphere, as well in many books and periodical publications. The information overload here is astounding, but for some good all around advice, you might want to go here or here or here. The list is endless, really.

However, for better or worse, I’m going to talk about a slightly different subject matter, and that is writing for the content mills. This activity goes against every grain of creative writing advice in so many ways that it’s not funny, but I have to say that my foray into this gray area, helped solidify my writing, plus it earned me tens of thousands dollars over a five year period.

I didn’t get rich doing this, for if you added up the time spent, I barely made minimum wage, but yet during this sometimes grueling activity, I learned how to put a short article together, plus I got in the habit of meeting a deadline. And possibly the best benefit of all, was that I acquired self confidence. Seeing my work published at places like USA Today Online more than made up for the necessary rejections and disappointments that accompanied this learning process.

Now that most of my effort goes into writing short and long fiction, I can look back on this school-of-hard-knocks for the limited success that I have had in this more difficult endeavor.

 

And Finally

Here is one rule that you definitely don’t want to break.

A real life sign from New Zealand, from Wikipedia

A sign from New Zealand, from Wikipedia

Jan
03
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The Cat in the Hat can be seen in many places including Las Vegas, NV   photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resilient (Are you a fan of the Cat in the Hat?)

Perhaps, one of the most resilient fictional characters of all times is Dr. Seuss’s, Cat in the Hat. Here he is pictured in an obscure location in Las Vegas, NV, but the elusive feline has been known to appear almost anywhere without more than a moment’s notice. And don’t try to get rid of this creature, for he is sure to return and cause more trouble if you do.
Resilient

Dec
27
This bike path near St. George, Utah has a strong resemblance to the proverbial

This bike path near St. George, Utah has a strong visual resemblance to the proverbial “Red Road”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Path

Path

My time in St. George, Utah consisted of camping out in the red rock desert just north of the city limits. My trip into town included traveling down this scenic bike path. Once in town, my first stop was usually the public library.

On one of my walks around town a woman gave me a ride across town and during our conversation she suggested I check out the visitor center of the local Mormon temple. Not wanting to seem like a prude, I eventually did make a trip to the visitor center, where I saw a bunch of fascinating paintings and I also learned how the town got its name.

For those of you who might think this desert oasis is named after the English saint, who slayed the dragon, you’re wrong. (I must admit that I am one of those.) Instead, the town title comes from George Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, who cured the residents from sickness by encouraging them to eat the skin off the potatoes. Before that, the early settlers were skinning the potatoes before consumption, thus eliminating a bunch of natural vitamins.

 

Dec
16
This Quebec road sign warns motorists of an impending problem. photo by author

This Quebec road sign warns motorists of an impending problem. photo by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

Some events in life can be anticipated, while others may come as a complete surprise.

Anticipation

Dec
15
Two spirals make up a pair of owl's eyes, photo and drawing by author

Two spirals make up a pair of owl’s eyes, photo and drawing by author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eyes Have It

These two spirals could be the eyes of an owl. With each spiral spinning in an opposite direction, one might think that the owl was cross-eyed or maybe just dizzy.

 

 

A Spiral from Space

A natural spiral found in outer space, photo by NASA

A natural spiral found in outer space, photo by NASA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Space Spiral

Here’s a little Christmas bonus for everybody, a natural spiral found in space, more specifically it is located within the star system, known as LL Pegasi.

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