Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Deadline: 200 Marshals - A Film Adaptation of 'Frontier Justice: Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

This is an adaptation of my novel Frontier Justice: Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. With your help, it could reach the silver screen. Support today!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Book Trailer Love Fest - Voting Begins Today

Voting begins . . . NOW!

Book Trailer Love Fest 2 Show your support of over 30 authors including USA Today bestsellers by voting in the first ever Book Trailer Love Fest. Watch the trailers, vote in the polls, and share the contest with your friends! The voting is live from February 15th to February 22nd. Winner will be selected on the February 23rd. This is a fun, free contest made to support all authors! So hop on over to and get your vote on! Here is a list of authors participating in the contest:

USA TODAY Bestselling Authors:

Amazon Bestselling Authors:

Award Winning Authors:

Also featuring these fabulous authors:

Susan Laqueur
J.R. Smith
Angelica Dawson
Katherine Jean Pope
Everett Robert
Charity Tober
Tam Linsey
W K Pomeroy
Jordan Mierek
Elle Jacklee
Support your favorite author by voting for his or her trailer!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Photography: Winter Birds in Maryland

Downy woodpecker

White-breasted nuthatch

Red-headed woodpecker

White-breasted nuthatch

Canada Goose

Blue jay


Dark-eyed Junco

Winter Wildlife Watching - Cold Weather Doesn't Have to Hamper Your Nature Photography

Last year, this was just about all the
wildlife photography available in my
I’ve been an avid photographer for most of my adult life, and I love wildlife and nature photography. What I don’t like, though, is being cold. So, most of my winter nature photography – unless I can arrange to be in the tropics, or a place like California, Nevada, or Arizona, with mild winters – has consisted of photos of the deer that come to my backyard in winter here in North Potomac, Maryland.

I like (trying) to get good photos of birds, maybe because it’s so difficult to do well. I’d never really thought of doing bird photography in winter except for the occasional shots of the Canada geese that winter in this area. But, then, my daughter and her husband moved to Woodbine in Howard County – a beautiful rural area, where they have six acres of forest for their yard. They put in bird feeders, and as the weather began getting cold in November I noticed the number of birds of different species still around their house.

That gave me an idea, and thanks to my daughter who bought us a feeder in December, I wanted to see if I could do some winter wildlife watching beyond the occasional deer.

My wife and I installed the feeder in our backyard, in one of the trees that are on our property. Just beyond that is a really nice undeveloped forest park, which is home to deer, fox, badger, squirrels, chipmunks, and many species of birds. I’ve been trying, for instance, to get a picture of a blue jay for the past two years to no avail – until this winter.
Nuthatches feeding during one of this
year's snowfalls.

It took the birds about three weeks to discover the feeder. But, when they did, they began visiting in significant numbers. First came the white-breasted nuthatches, followed by the dark-eyed juncos. Within a week, we also had cardinals and a blue jay dropping in. These are shy birds, so my photos of them aren’t as sharp as I like – I got myself a new camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T5, in January, which is far superior to my Canon PowerShot or Fuji Film Finepix – so I think I have that problem solved.

Back to the wildlife watching. There are mixed views on whether or not winter bird feeding is a good idea. The general opinion, though, is that it is helpful, as this article on the Nature Conservancy blog says. What it is good for, as the photos you see here attest, is attracting birds – and, it turns out, other animals as well – when the weather is not what you might think good for such activities. Between my backyard and my daughter’s place, I’ve managed to get more photos of wildlife (primarily birds) this year than ever before, except when I was in southern Africa.
A cardinal.
Finally got a photo of an elusive blue jay.   
In southern Africa, especially Zimbabwe,
I was able to photograph nature all
year long.

First came the birds, followed quickly as you might imagine by the squirrels. Thankfully, our feeder is squirrel proof, so these pesky little critters are relegated to scarfing up the seeds the birds scatter on the ground. After the birds, the deer came in greater numbers this year than previously. And, to my surprise, the fox actually came to the edge of the forest long enough for me to get some good shots. I think they were attracted by the squirrels, that were smart enough to make themselves scarce, so there’s been no bloodshed – yet.

So, if you want a great bird watching winter, consider installing a feeder in your backyard.  

Not one, but two red fox visit my backyard.

Deer foraging in the snow.

The squirrels, you always get the squirrels.

Canada goose flying over my house.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Why I Don't Watch the Super Bowl

Super Bowl 49 is over, and the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 on an interception in the final seconds. I know this, not from watching the game, but from reading this morning’s news reports, which are dwelling more on the controversy of the Seahawks’ Coach’s final play call than the game itself. Oh, and I also read somewhere that the half-time show was, as usual, a subject of tons of comment – plus and minus.
But, I saw none of this. I am among what is no doubt only a handful of American males born in the state of Texas who wasn't glued to the idiot box yesterday evening watching the Super Bowl live.
In fact, I’m having trouble remembering the last time I watched a Super Bowl game. Now as a former Texan, I know that means I’ll never be welcomed back home, considering that in Texas, football and openly carrying firearms is akin to a religion. I’m opposed to the latter, and not impressed by the former, so I’m an apostate of the first rank.
Oh, I like the game of football well enough. I played in in college, and when I was in the army, I was on the flag football team of almost every unit to which I was assigned. It’s just the Super Bowl that doesn’t get my juices flowing.
I guess I should explain this, though, for those who are shaking their heads at this point, and wondering if this is some kind of joke. It’s not. When I was a youngster, I watched the Super Bowl – like most Texans, religiously. Then, some time after 1963, my work (first in the army, and then after 1982, in the Foreign Service) had me serving in faraway places where the time zone difference meant that in order to watch the Super Bowl live I had to be up at three or four in the morning. Ain't gonna happen. And, watching a recording of the game, when I’d already learned the score, didn't impress me either. So, over time, I got used to not watching the Super Bowl.

If the inconvenience of widely displaced time zones was bad, the direction the game began taking some years ago was worse. Pre-game publicity is often more about which ads will be good or bad than the game, and this year’s deflated balls brouhaha was sickening. Whatever happened to talking about the game itself? Then, there’s the post-game finger pointing, etc. Remember Janice Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction? That got more press than the game itself. I haven’t seen much about Katy Perry’s(?) performance this year – it was Katy Perry, right? But, I’m sure it’s out there – I’m just not interested enough to look for it. I did see the angst over Seattle coach Pete Carroll’s decision to go for a pass play instead of a run from inside the red zone with just seconds to play. Mistakes get made – in football and in war. At least, no one got killed.
As I scanned this morning’s news stories, I had a hard time finding one that talked about the game, per se. There was the thing about the call, some stuff on a brawl that happened after the interception. I guess I’ll stop looking.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t watch the Super Bowl any more. I might never be able to go back to Texas, but given where my home state’s politics is going these days, I can live with that.

Why Dark Social Could Be the Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing

Why are marketers so excited about the possibility of tracking dark social traffic? Not only is it the quantity of traffic found on dark social channels, but also the quality of traffic there.
Everyone seems to be talking about dark social these days. The term, coined by Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic, refers to social traffic from previously untrackable sources, such as links shared via emails, messaging apps, and some mobile applications. This is opposed to traffic from open social platforms - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. - which is easily tracked.

Read more at the link below on how  #DarkSocial is changing the way we view the Internet.

See full list on Listly