Friday, June 15, 2018

How We Spent Our Anniversary (G-rated version)

Thought for the day:  Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? [nursery rhyme]

[source: morguefile]
My name isn't Mary, but I'll tell ya how my garden grows, anyhow. At my age, I should've known better, and I definitely should've looked more closely at the labels on those dirt cheap seeds I bought from that shady guy at the flea market.

I thought I was getting a great deal on some Lavatera and Aster seeds, but it turned out, I bought Lavatoria and Assters. (sigh) Now we have bathtubs busting out all over, and even worse, little toilets are starting to come in. (I'm afraid to plant the Moonflowers and Twolips...)

[source: morguefile]

Okay, so maybe our garden isn't quite that bad, but I'm one of those people who always started out the season with big greenhouse dreams of how gorgeous our garden was gonna be, but when the reality of hot temperatures and biting insects dug in, I kinda let nature... and the weeds... take over. That's one reason I enjoy going to botanical gardens so much. I get to see all the beauty I imagined without having to do any of the work.

Like a good part of the country, we've had an incredible amount of rain this year. So much that my sturdy old rosemary bush drowned. Literally. Its roots simply rotted away. (I WILL replace it.) On the other hand, our hydrangea has never been happier, or its blooms more beautiful.

Anyhow, as our anniversary was approaching last month, I wanted to celebrate at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, because there's a reeeeeally special exhibit going on there. But no surprise, the forecast called for rain, rain, and more rain. (sigh) BUT... in spite of the dismal forecasts, the morning of the 24th was merely overcast. No liquid sunshine. Then the actual sun (What is that strange thing in the sky?) came out... and we (ta-DA!) went to the gardens. The temperature was toasty, but not a single drop of rain fell until after we finished at the gardens, went to dinner, and then got safely back home. (Then the clouds let loose.)

So what was this special exhibit I wanted to see? In July of 2013, I wrote a post about an awesome mosaiculture exhibit we went to see at the gardens, the first big exhibit of its kind in our country. And now? The gardens are hosting another even bigger and better mosaiculture exhibit!

What the heck is mosaiculture, you ask? It's a blend of art and horticulture that first bloomed (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) in Europe as early as the 16th century. Simply put, intricate metal frames are designed and built, and then they're stuffed with a growing medium, fitted with an internal irrigation system, and then plants are plugged into pockets of a special fabric that's stretched over the frames. Just as in 2013, the exhibit came to Atlanta from the fine folks of the International Mosaiculture of Montreal.

Before I show you pics of some of the sculptures featured in this year's show, how about a brief video to take you behind the scenes?

                                Okay, ready? Here goes... and I'll save my favorite for last.

This is the earth goddess,who first appeared at the first Imaginary Worlds mosaiculture show, and is now a permanent part of the gardens. Water usually flows over her hand, but her pool was drained and she was getting some maintenance work done when we were there.

This year's show was subtitled Once Upon a Time, and most of the exhibits were much more massive and ambitious than the last time around.

Like this massive Phoenix Rising... pretty appropriate for the city of Atlanta.

And this lumbering mastodon.

It was pretty warm, but it didn't keep ole Rip Van Winkle from taking a snooze.

No fantasy story world would be complete without Pegasus.

Or a mermaid, basking in the sun.

Shades of Arabian nights, perhaps? The details in these camels were amazing.

Camel #2 in the caravan.

And camel #3.

All three of them to give a better perspective as to how large they are.

A lovely sleeping princess.

And NOW... for my favorite!


Isn't he absolutely gorgeous???

Here's a closer look at one of the dragon's legs. I took quite a few shots of the dragon, (Did I happen to mention he was my favorite...?) but none of them really do it justice. The piece is both massive and majestic. Just as a dragon should be.

The International Mosaiculture of Montreal's roots ( sorry) reach back to 1998, when it first began creating these gorgeous works of art, and each year since it first sprouted, (sorry, again) they've hosted an international festival-type competition. This year's festival hasn't yet begun, but plans are currently being planted and will soon be in full bloom. (sorry... but only a little) Would you like a sneak peek at what's happening so far?

So there ya have it. It was a glorious way to spend an anniversary... or any other day. It was every bit as wonderful as I expected it to be, and for those of you who live in the area, the show will be continuing until the end of October, so you still have plenty of time to catch it.

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                      A pic of the earth goddess from our first visit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Write Stuff

Thought for the day: I wrote a book about reverse psychology. Please don't buy it!

As you can probably tell by that tattletale badge on the left, it's once again time for the monthly IWSG post, and as always, many thanks go to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Now then, what's happening with me, writing-wise? I'm working hard (or hardly working... you pick) on book two of my trilogy. Sales have been pretty lackluster for book one so far, so I must confess to having some doubts as to whether or not it's worth it to keep going. Then again... I can't help myself, dammit. I'm afflicted with this cursed writing disease, and it will NOT give me any peace until I finish telling my story. (sigh) So write I will.

I tried something different with Explosive Beginnings. I gave away 100 e-book copies through a Goodreads giveaway promotion before the book was released, because I figured that'd be a good way to get some reviews, which in turn, would be a good way to generate some word-of-mouth buzz. Right? Sound good?


Again, I say... HA!

To date, as a result of that giveaway, I've received ONE review and TWO ratings from people who won a copy of my book.

PBBBBT! I haven't entirely given up hope on receiving more giveaway-generated reviews yet, but I thought I'd share my dismal results with you, in case some of you might be considering a big e-book giveaway for one of your books. (Then again, it could work out great for you... maybe it's just ME.)

You and I know that just because something is FREE doesn't mean it's worthless, but now I'm kinda wondering what kind of message we writers send when we spend our money so we can give our books away for FREE...?

Maybe if we could figure out a way to give away free WiFi with our books?

Okay, let's move on to this month's question, shall we?

What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Hmmm, interesting question. Maybe I'll give you a clue to my response by telling you my favorite childhood riddle. Ready...?

                                                   What would you rather have chase you...

[image: morguefile]

                               An elephant...

[image: morguefile]

              or a gorilla?

Give up? The answer: I'd rather have the elephant chase the gorilla. (Yeah, okay. I'll admit it. I was a weird kid.)

But the point is, it's the same with this month's question.My answer lies beyond the parameters set by the question. I love coming up with titles and character names, so to me, that part is fun... and easy. The hard part is making those characters come alive and giving that title some significance.

                                       So in answer to this month's question, I'd have to say...


Didn't like my first riddle? Okay, here's another one: What's the difference between a hippo and a zippo? Ready for it? Simple... one is heavy and the other is... a little lighter.

One last thing. May I have a drum roll, please? It's time to announce the winner of an autographed copy of Explosive Beginnings. That winner is (ta-DA!) the lovely JOANNE FARIES. Congratulations, kiddo! Please send me an email with your snail mail address. (If you forgot my email address, that email me badge on the right hand side of my blog works just dandy.)

                                   Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Thought for the day:  Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives value to survival. [C.S. Lewis]

[image from Morguefile]
When I was a young girl, a framed piece of embroidery hung on my bedroom wall, and it was comprised of a big sprawling tree, two people standing under it, and the words, Friendship is a sheltering tree.

And that's true, isn't it? Friends pull together and help shelter each other from the many storms in life, while doubling our joys and halving our sorrows. It may not be one big thing that binds us together, but rather, a million little things over the course of time.

 A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart. [author unknown]

Looking back, I've been blessed with many wonderful friends, but since I started blogging, my concept of friendship has changed in ways I never would've thought possible. Now, some of the men and women I think of as friends... as people I genuinely care about... are people I've never actually met face-to-face. And probably never will.

YOU are very likely one of them.

Today, I was planning to do a blog post about something super cool Smarticus and I did on our anniversary, but my conscience pushed me in a different direction. While he and I were celebrating our 49th anniversary, another blogging author was grieving the death of her husband. I know who Lee is, but she probably doesn't know me from Adam, but still... I felt compelled to do something. 

So I'm going to do what many other bloggers and members of the IWSG have done. I'm going to tell you about her latest book, which was released just two days before her husband died. Needless to say, she can't bear the burden of promoting her book right now, but we, her fellow bloggers and writers, can. This can be our one little thing to show her we care. Our chance to be her sheltering tree.

Perhaps you'd like to mention her new book on your blog? Or some of her many other books? Maybe purchase one or two...? It may not be much, but it's... something.

Her books may be called juvenile fiction, but then... so are the Harry Potter books. I believe this is the third book of a trilogy, so I'm gonna have to start with book one. Care to join me?

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.


Seeing's as how this is June first, the window has closed for entries to receive an autographed copy of my new book Explosive Beginnings. I will announce the winner on next Wednesday's IWSG post. Good luck!

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                     Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.  [Maya Angelou]