Using my Photography to Promote my Writing

I’ve got a bold new venture in serial fiction kicking up, and I’m facing the simple reality that pictures sell. I can’t draw worth a lick, but I do take pictures and could possibly even shoot video. The thing is, I’m completely stumped about how to take pictures that support the particular story I’ll be flogging. I suppose I could put friends in costume and head out to the woods for a shoot, and then photoshop the crap out of the results to make it look less photographic, but…

There’s got to be a better way! As someone who claims to be creative, I have to admit I’m totally stumped by this one. Maybe I’ll just put the fish-eye lens on the camera and take close-ups of my little dog. Nothing to do with the story, but people love that stuff.

My Little Clickbait

My Little Clickbait

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Some Excitement in the ’Hood

I was just finishing up with my post-workout ice regimen when a helicopter buzzed the house. It sounded much meatier than the usual news chopper or police bird. And lower. The windows rattled and the walls reverberated, then the sound faded.

Only to return a couple of minutes later. On the third pass I went outside to see what was going on. That’s when I saw the smoke. There is a hill directly behind our neighborhood, and it was on fire.

The view from our house.

The view from our house.


Over the throb of the helicopter, I could hear the fire itself, crackling as it romped through the dry grass on the side of the hill. No sirens, however, despite the proximity of the fire to my neighborhood. The brush is pretty low, and there are railroad tracks along the back of the property, so the chance of the flames reaching structures on our side was pretty low.

So rather than prepare the two hard drives that serve as backups to all our systems, I grabbed the camera and walked down to the fence at the back of the neighborhood.

Happily for the helicopter driver, and for spectators on the sidelines as well, there is a little pond right next to the site of the fire. I got some good pics, but the helicopter descended completely out of view during fill-up.

The helicopter rises from loading at the pond, shrouded by smoke.

The helicopter rises from loading at the pond, shrouded by smoke.

The helicopter getting a load of water, with a lucky accident as the camera focussed on the fence.

The helicopter getting a load of water, with a lucky accident as the camera focussed on the fence.


The above pictures I got while standing on a neighbor’s boat, in exchange for a promise to share my pictures with him. Then he told me a house number that doesn’t exist. Huh. Anyway, thanks, Steve!

This one’s my favorite, I think:

The chopper drops a load of water directly upslope from firefighters.

The chopper drops a load of water directly upslope from firefighters.


The Helicopter would sound a siren just before releasing the water, to warn crews below. In this case, the water almost directly onto the ground crew.
The fire helicopter passes directly overhead after releasing a load.

The fire helicopter passes directly overhead after releasing a load.

At one point the fire flared up right next to the tracks, and the helicopter diverted and dropped a couple of bucket loads right in front of us. I have video, but I’m still working on getting it in the right orientation.

An exciting day! I hope none of the firefighters were hurt, but hats off to guys who will put on heavy clothing and go tromping up and down a grassy slope that’s on fire. Thanks, guys!

Slacker Banana

one ripe banana
I’m not going to point fingers, but someone in this bunch isn’t giving 100%.

Pinup Fundraiser

Pinup christmas card cover

Santa has excellent modeling talent


The holidays are upon us with a vengeance, as Madison Avenue tries to convince America (and the world) that November now qualifies as last-minute when it comes to your gift shopping. (One chain has advertised four Black Friday sales – on Thursdays.)

This is also the most important time for many charities to raise funds, and this year my sweetie and I thought we would help. We recruited Harlean Carpenter and Santa Claus for a photo shoot, fed them sandwiches (although Santa is on a very careful diet these days), and the above image is the result. It turns out that was the very first picture we took, out of well over two hundred. Go figure. It was a fun day, for sure. (Thanks also to Rick Markus for his excellent work with the reflector.)

Now you can share in the Christmasy fun and support two worthy charities at the same time!

The charities:
You are all familiar with the Salvation Army, and they get a chunk of dough for each pack of cards sold. The other beneficiary is a group called Pinup Angels, who will use the money to send care packages to troops serving overseas.

How you can help:
The first way to help, obviously, is to buy cards. A pack of 20 cards goes for only $15 – a ridiculously low price if you ask me. All we need is a shipping address and an email address. We will bill you though PayPal (no PayPal account is necessary) and send you your cards. It’s easy!

If you’re old-fashioned or the name “PayPal” makes your head rotate 360 degrees, I’m sure we can work out alternate payment, but the system really is pretty seamless these days.

Shipping is free in the US. For Canada, add $1US for the first pack and $0.50US for each additional pack. For European shipments add $3 for the first pack and $0.90 for each additional pack.

The second way to help, the way you can be really, really cool and earn some badly needed karma after all the things you’ve done this year is to help us sell the cards. To be honest, we’re depending on help from all our friends to get word out and flog these things far and wide. So please, please, hit up your co-workers and friends with a light but persistent pitch. Collect email addresses and we will do the rest. (We will never, ever, use the emails collected this way for anything other than billing. There shall be no spam.)

Help Now!
Here’s the link to the official Web site, with contact information and whatnot. Order your super-awesome cards and start feeling good about the holidays.

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Doing a Shoot Tonight!

Here’s a shot of the set (without lights). Can you guess what the theme is?

Pirate Set

Set for tonight's shoot with Harlean Carpenter

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After the Shoot

Did a photo shoot with Cricket LaFaux last night. At some point I’ll show you some of the pics. Here’s the living room at the end of the evening.

After the Shoot

The aftermath of a photo shoot with Cricket LaFaux

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Your Vote is Needed!

Harlean Carpenter (who is a fiction) has a photo entered in a contest at Pinup Lifestyle. It’s a pretty cool picture. The winner is decided by public vote, and while there is some pretty strong competition, it’s realistic to think she has a shot. I (who is less of a fiction but not entirely real) took the picture, and I think it’s easily the best photo not taken in a professional studio with real photography lights.

The theme of this month’s contest is circus/carnival (or something like that). Some of the entries aren’t really on-theme, but a few really do capture the theme in a pinup style.

The thing is, judging by last month’s winner, it’s not always the best that wins. It’s the one that gets the most votes. Don’t let this injustice happen again! Pop on over to Pinup Lifestyle, vote for my fictitious friend, and then hang out a while to look at the other excellent photos (borderline safe for work).

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