My camera and the birds

A cedar waxwing enjoying the choke cherries in Alberta.

This year has been one for the record books what with a pandemic that comes complete with masks, social distancing and far too many unknowns.

So like many others I have started to dabble in bird watching, taking along my trusted camera of course. You would think with so many birds around the house it would be easy. But no, as soon as the camera comes out they fly up and away before disappearing into the the tree tops, if they even stay that close.

But like everyone else I need to unglue myself from the screen and get outdoors. I am fortunate to live in the country. If only the birds would cooperate!

We don’t have bird feeders in our yard because our place came complete with a feral cat colony and I feed the cats well enough already. I’m not about to make it any easier for them to decimate the bird population.

I couldn’t help but notice that it is so much easier to get a good bird picture at the neighbours though. The ones who do have bird feeders out. It feels a little like cheating but there is more variety at the feeders. And it does make me appreciate the good shots that I get at home more.

Now that most of our birds have migrated south I expect to be taking lots of pictures of chickadees this winter, if only they will stay still long enough. Happy bird watching everyone.

Self Publishing again!

Secrets, Lies & Rodeo, a novel by E.M.Schumacher

The first novel that I self published ‘Secrets, Lies & Rodeo’ is once again available on Amazon in print form, as well as in ebook format.

Here’s the new book description I wrote for it;

Living near a sleepy satellite town allows for country living, horsing around and getting to know the locals. But what you see on the surface isn’t always what you get. It is easy to meet people, but it takes time to get to know them. One woman leads the reader through her own inevitable struggles and those of her misfit colt Rodeo, while she shares stories about her neighbors and friends and occasionally spills a secret or two. But there is one secret that she has promised never to reveal. When heartbreak and tragedy strike, that last deeply hidden secret finally comes to light. Then too, so do all the lies that nearly destroy the family closest to her heart, along with the life of the only woman who might be able to hold them together.

Self publishing requires yet more skills and sometimes I think, even more effort than it took to get the words on the page in the first place.

I’ll be getting myself out there this summer to promote and sell my novel after my book order arrives. I’m also hoping to arrange readings and author’s talks for writer’s groups and local libraries. There are farmer’s markets and craft sales to check out too. My sales skills are about to be severely tested!

Anyone who wants to self publish can find a whole array of services to help get the job done, but like everything else it is buyer beware, and the costs do vary widely. Anyone seriously considering self publishing should check out the information on writer’s forums and of course in the forums on the print on demand or POD service of choice.

It is important to be honest about one’s own skills before deciding what to pay for and what to do on your own. I decided to keep most of my budget for promoting and selling my novel. So I’ve been doing things like cover design and formatting myself. Help from family and friends got me through the editing work and for that I’m extremely grateful.

Working through the formatting has been the hardest part of the job for me. But what I’ve learned there is to work with a simple text document to start with and to stick with it until the writing and editing is finished. After that I’m pretty sure it will be easier to apply formatting than to try to change the formatting afterwards.

I’m still working on my YA science fiction novel and doing my best to keep my writing time free of distractions. It’s a very nice feeling though, to have one book behind me and to know that I did the best job I could possibly do.

Printing for the Edmonton Comic Expo

We have run out of summer weather here in Alberta.  I’m sad that it’s ending, but I have been so busy that this means that I might actually have something called spare time again!

Well I will,  after the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo which is held at the Edmonton Expo Centre from the 21st to the 23rd of September . This will be my second year at my table in Artist’s Alley there.  And the first year that I’ll be bringing prints of my work.

Yesterday was spent running off prints on my new Epson XP-960 after weeks of sourcing paper, ink and other supplies so that I could proof various versions of my images.  That’s why the view of my studio wall has been constantly changing.

My studio wall in September.

I’ve been going through far more paper and ink than I ever thought possible trying out variations based on my paintings and drawings.

Now that I have it all together, there’s packing and organizing to do.  If I have time maybe I can even get one or two new images done to add to my print book.

I love the crowds, the cosplay and the energy. And I can’t wait to get there, but there’s never enough time to do everything I want to get done.  That’s another reason that I’ll be happy to be there, finally nothing to do but visit with people and enjoy my time at the Expo!


My new website.

‘Cosmic Flower (black)’ by E.M.Schumacher. Digital print based on an acrylic painting on canvas.

I’m working on getting my new website, along with my new url, up and running.  Well it’s been up, but not exactly running.

I’ve been wrestling with ‘what an artist’s website needs to be’.  There are so many wonderful artist’s sites out there that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I have been stuck in other words.

As an artist and writer it feels like there are too many sides to what I do to fit it all neatly into one website.  From all the advice for artists that I’ve found online, what I’ve come away with is this;

  • I need to create a brand
  • I should stick to one direction only in my work, and only one so I don’t confuse people.
  • I should be able to identify exactly who the people are that I don’t want to confuse.

Good advice I suppose, but it doesn’t feel like it fits me. Becoming a ‘brand’ just doesn’t appeal. So I’m back to where I started many long years ago.  This is my blog.  I am going to promote my new novel here and talk about my struggles making art.  I will try hard, harder than ever to post on a schedule, at least twice a month.  Maybe even once a week.