Fantasy, Beauty, and Fashion

A friend and I stumbled upon this video earlier, and we were simply awestruck by this woman’s incredible sense of beauty and fashion. Watching her careful attention to detail in putting together these looks is fascinating. (Click on the images below to see the full detail.)



Despite the way people sometimes treat her when she walks down the street, she still does what she loves. I just love the way she mixes the natural world into a look.


Doing what you like is really hard, but by pursuing it you will discover a different side to yourself. You will meet certain new people only through this. If you keep doing what you want to do, you will get some chances. So never give up. Keep doing what you like!



And I certainly hope Minori keeps doing what she likes! She’s quite an inspiration!

To see more of her work, check out her website at:

Insomnia Inspiration

Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me. Er… something like that.

So I figured I would share some beautiful nighttime photography with you. The starry skies alone are breathtaking, but this photographer takes it to a new level by turning his photos into fantastic voyages. Here take a look at one of my favorite shots:


Lagerstedt prefers to get out and take photos when everyone else is asleep in bed. For one, this allows him to capture breathtaking shots of one of his favorite subjects, the Milky Way.

He doesn’t just do starry night skies either. Some of his photos could either been seen as peaceful or downright creepy, which you know I like.

Mikko-Lagerstedt--8--PathwayI’ve realized that I do enjoy Photography inspiration, and I’ve made a few posts on it over the years. So I’ve made a new category for it, and I’m going to try to go through and organize my old posts a bit. Sounds nice and mindless for my brain that doesn’t want to do anything right now…

Take a look at the gallery, purchase a print, or even learn from his tutorials at Lagerstedt’s website:

Or see the article that introduced me to his amazing work to begin with:
While You Sleep This Finnish Photographer Takes Otherworldly Night Photos On Instagram.

Writing in the Weird

(All photographs copyrighted by the Estate of Diane Arbus)

My current book in progress is about an urban explorer with a penchant for dangerous locales and getting the perfect shot. She chooses to take photos in decrepit factories or homes throughout the city where she lives. So my research of late has been engrossed in crawling inside the mind of photographers and urban explorers. Specifically ones that have to put themselves out there in order to get those shots.

Let me take a step back and explain what I mean. To go out on a regular basis and do photography at decrepit, abandoned, often condemned locations takes quite a bit of courage. You are sometimes risking your life for a few incredible shots of a place most people wouldn’t dare enter. Some places require masks so you don’t breathe in the mold, others may have dangerous people, and others may be dangerous just to reach. You have to really believe in your work in order to take these kinds of risks. My protagonist is only a teenager, but she loves the challenge. She’s starting down the path to become a professional photographer someday, and I want to have a strong grasp of her motivations.


© Estate of Diane Arbus

If you’ve read any of my writing, then you know I’m keen on the weird. I’ve had several stories take readers by surprise with weird twists and turns. So I guess it isn’t surprising that I came across Diane Arbus’ work. Arbus was a photographer before my time, but her eye is incredible. She took simple, square, black and white photos of marginal people who were sometimes seen as either ugly or surreal. In the quotes you read of hers, you can feel her love for it pour through.


© Estate of Diane Arbus

Here she talks about textures within the photos:

“In the beginning of photographing I used to make very grainy things. I’d be fascinated by what the grain did because it would make a kind of tapestry of all these little dots and everything would be translated into this medium of dots. Skin would be the same as water would be the same as sky and you were dealing mostly in dark and light, not so much in flesh and blood.

But when I’d been working for a while with all these dots, I suddenly wanted terribly to get through there. I wanted to see the real differences between things.

I’m not talking about textures. I really hate that, the idea that a picture can be interesting simply because it shows texture. I mean that just kills me I don’t see whats interesting about texture. It really bores the hell out of me.

But I wanted to show the difference between flesh and material, the densities of different kinds of things air and water and shiny. So I gradually had to learn different techniques to make it come clear. I began to get terribly hyped on clarity.”

People do strange things when they find out you’re a photographer apparently. Perfect strangers would invite her into their homes, invite her to dinner, then allow her to take photos. She would stop people in the street to get a particular shot. It takes quite a lot of gumption to do that sort of thing.


© Estate of Diane Arbus

I stumbled upon an excellent article about Arbus’ photography and a bit of her method:
11 Lessons Diane Arbus Can Teach You About Street Photography

Although these lessons are for photographers, we can easily apply some of these to writing as well.

Go places you have never been.

I’m going to say just live life. Experience new things, explore new places, and don’t be afraid of making a mistake.

The camera is a license to enter the lives of others.

Or rather… the pen! (Or the keyboard…)

Gain inspiration from reading

Really this is a given, right?

Utilize textures to add meaning to your photographs

Since we’re talking about writing here, use all the senses to add meaning. The more unique sensations the more engrossed your reader will become. Not that we need a play-by-play of temperature changes in a room, but you get the idea.

Take bad photos (aka Write bad stories)

This. Write inconsistent characters. Get all of that out of your system on stories that will never see the light of day. Make these mistakes so that you will be able to recognize them later.

Sometimes your best photos aren’t immediately apparent (to you)

This has taken me a while to understand and to really appreciate. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a novel, I work on it straight for several months, I finish it or get mostly through with it, then I realize that it’s not what it needs to be. The story is too choppy, the plot is all over the place, or my main characters aren’t interesting. Even though the entire package is ultimately scrapped, there are pieces there that I can use elsewhere. Maybe you made a really interesting group of characters that you can pick up and take with you to another story, maybe there’s an old building in another book that is actually the one you came up with in the scrapped novel, or maybe your boring characters don’t quite have the personality they need to handle the plot they deserve.


What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

We take a break for a little explanation of multiple dimensions in this story. We learn more about these terrible invaders, but that only leads to more questions. Four folks delve into the philosophy and repercussions of dealing with an invasion from another dimension and begin to understand that this is more than a series of isolated incidents. By now they’ve all had some sort of run-in with the creatures, and what they’re finding out only makes them more terrified.

Meanwhile Kate is having her own adventures. I’m just opening the scene for this, but I’m looking forward to the action. This is really going to be the major showdown of the book, so making sure all the pieces come together properly is my top #1 priority.

In other news, I found out about this amazing photographer, Kirsty Mitchell, who is doing fantasy themed shoots in a series called Wonderland. There’s an entire article about why she’s doing it, but it’s really making me itch to write some heavy-duty fantasy. Suzie’s novels are more YA horror sci-fi, a major genre change from the whimsical fantasy these photos inspire. Kirsty’s done a ton of photos, but these are some of my favorites.

Now I want to go back and work on Mr. Cloom’s Garden.

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 88,889
New words written: 3,429

Total Words for 2012: 101,890


He would have spat on his shoes

Day two of Camp NaNo and I’m still above water! Sure, I was afraid I’d dip under a few times, but so far it’s going well.

This morning was quite busy. Took two terrified cats to the vet for their shots and a bath. I learned a lesson while we were wrangling cats too. When two kitties are locked in a bathroom, and you walk up to the door carrying two open cat carriers in your hands, it’s probably best if you don’t frighten them. Especially don’t open the door making loud noises while pushing the bags through. Poor Watson, being the big kitty that he is, tried to back up really fast, then jumped up into the tub. By the time I walked in he was straining his neck up over the edge with big, frightened eyes. I felt so bad! I’d intended just to scare them away from the door so that they wouldn’t run away, not frighten the hell out of them.

So yeah, I terrified them then took them to the vet. I rock. 😛

Ran lots of errands this morning in addition to getting my word count in. I’m a little more hesitant about tomorrow since I’ll be going with friends to the Atlanta Zoo. It’s going to be great seeing them, and getting to hang out with them before they leave town in a few months, but life does seem to be conspiring against my writing plans. Next week I’ll be taking off two extra days from work just to get some breathing time now that our major website has gone live.  Turns out that will also be the next Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend. Ugh, I’m pretty sure I’ll be falling behind those days. Oh well, if you don’t live a little, what the heck are you going to write about? Maybe I’ll get some inspiration from the Zoo tomorrow. Hmm…

Tex_maam mentioned how she really liked some of the western resources I’d found, and I remembered that I never did put up this one. It’s a fellow WordPress blog that I started following, The Cabinet Card Gallery,  where they post up pictures of folks who did these types of portraits and put up a small blurb about who they were. There is no About page that I could find regarding where they find these cards or where they find the information, so I can’t tell you any more information than that, but I did find the photos and information to be very inspiring. If I had to put a time stamp on Ghosts I would say its in the mid-1800s, and a bunch of these photos come from mid-1800s to early 1900s. Fanny Davenport was the lady that really got my attention. I think she showed up on a search I did for something completely different, but then I got drawn into the site. I was pleased to see that there were so many actresses working in that time period since Mary works as one. Anyway, I needed that validation just to keep my head straight. The site even has a section for actresses, which is pretty darn cool.

Today’s writing updates:

Project: Ghosts of Pikes Peak

Summary: The old, abandoned Davis Farm just outside the bustling city of Pikes Peak is riddled with malicious spirits. Werewolf detective Colton Fen has been assigned to a half-vampire partner, Rennick Dalton, to handle the troublesome ghosts, but even their combined strength may not be enough to dissuade the poltergeists from plucking victims from the outskirts of town. Is this a simple case of ghost infestation or is there something far more malicious going on beneath the farmhouse?

Current total words: 52,911
New words written: 2,353

Progress in Story: One on one battle time followed by a very bad realization. Looks like our group just got sucker-punched. Had a fabulous time describing the bad guy too.

Total Words for 2012: 65,434