Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My New Online Photography Site

For years people have asked me if I ever sold photos from my travels. I've been to some very amazing places and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences. On many of those occasions I didn't have a camera in hand, so I've written about them here in Ovations and at other places.

Internet technology, print on demand, and social media ave created a safe and easy way for photographers and other fine artists to show and sell their work online, without keeping an inventory. I've decided to take up the challenge of selling selected photographs through an art commerce website. Here are a couple of pages that contains one of my photographs along with shots from other photographers. This will give you an idea of the professionalism of photographers who are aligned with Fine Art America.

Here is a selection of photographs of Niagara Falls
Here is a selection of photographs of Avalon, Catalina Island

My Fine Art America photographer's page is still under development, but you can get a peek at www.carolyn-bass.artistwebsites.com.

I will feature other links in subsequent posts. Keep your eyes open.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ovations Is Moving...

Blogger has been a good place for Ovations over the years, and you've been great friends and supporters of my work. I've recently updated my author's website and created a blog there. I will no longer be posting here, so if you are one of my original Ovations followers, I hope you'll hop over there and subscribe to Ovations on the new site. It's all here:

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Gift to You: Sarah's Sacrifice

I'd like to thank everyone who has purchased my Christmas story, SARAH'S SACRIFICE. Your support means the world to me. Yet, I want the message of this story to go far and wide before Christmas, so I'll be offering free downloads on Amazonbeginning tomorrow and running through Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Sarah's Sacrifice

Back in the early 1990s there was another recession. Unemployment was high, shops were closing, and houses were foreclosing. My husband, just out of the Marine Corps, was looking for a civilian job. Funds were scarce around our place and Christmas was on its way. It crushed my spirit that we couldn't afford the My Size Barbie that my five-year-old daughter wanted for Christmas. I sought a way to explain to her that Santa Claus doesn't always bring that big thing that a child's heart is set on. One day I sat down at the computer and wrote her a story and called it Sarah's Sacrifice. I read the story to her and my three-year-old son later that night.

Over the years I've thought about having Sarah's Sacrifice published. Advice I received from publishing professionals was grim. I was an unknown author with a book that has a sales window of about one month. Had I been Mitch Albom or Fannie Flagg or another well-known author, my book would have been considered. I looked into self-publishing the book, but back then, the costs were prohibitive for someone in our financial strata. Sarah's Sacrifice lingered in the back of my mind every Christmas and I even brought out the story to read for each of my children's fourth grade classes.

Publishing is undergoing a revolution right now. Print on demand (POD) technology, the birth of the e-reading device (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony), and social media marketing has tossed the ball to authors without a mainstream publishing contract. Although I did publish a short story for e-readers earlier this year just for the experience, I've been dodging the ball. Until now. Last week I jumped into the game with a digital version of Sarah's Sacrifice now available through Amazon and a print book available through Lulu.

About Sarah's Sacrifice 

When ten-year-old Sarah Marshall donates her beloved doll to an organization that refurbishes used toys to distribute to needy families at Christmas, she learns that joy comes as much from giving as it does in receiving.
Sarah's Sacrifice weaves the spirit of Santa Claus with the Christian nativity tradition. It's a story about caring and sharing, blessing and believing for children and those who cherish the wonder of Christmas.

You can purchase Sarah's Sacrifice for Kindle here.

You can order a printed copy of Sarah's Sacrifice from Lulu here.

If you enjoy the story, would you please leave a comment or review on the site from where you purchased it?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Eyes in Mexico

Standing before the entrance to the National Museum
of Archeology, are me and my traveling companions (l-r):
Rob Hard, GiAnna Wyatt, me, Yusfia Jimenez, and
Matthew Thomas.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I'll never forget how my eleventh grade English teacher, Mr. Ted Mann, introduced our first reading of Shakespeare. He paced across the front of the classroom, his eyes shimmering with the overflow of his admiration. He said, "I envy each one of you. Shakespeare is the most important figure in English literature. His themes are as powerful and relevant today as they were 400 years ago. I wish I could go back and experience Shakespeare again for the first time."

I've just spent the last three days with a trio of journalists visiting Mexico City for the first time. The group included Matthew Thomas, a veteran journalist of many years; Rob Hard, a business travel writer in his early forties, and GiAnna Wyatt, a recent journalism school grad who's landed her dream job with Prevue, a travel magazine.  GiAnna bubbled with joy for her new job, her first press trip, and her craft. Her enthusiasm overflowed onto me, drawing me back to my early days in journalism, my first job as a writer and editor and settling into adult life.

The Aztec Calendar can be seen inside the National Museum
of Anthropology in Mexico City.
I've been to Mexico City several times, yet the exuberant reactions to this grand dame of cities from individuals with such diverse backgrounds pervaded my vision during the trip. We all effused over the magnificent statuary, upscale decor and sparkling marble at the Marquis Reforma Hotel & Spa where we had spacious accommodations and superb food service. I found my eyes widening along with my companions at the broad, tree-lined streets and nodding with gusto as our tour guide, Jose Alfredo Martinez, extolled the virtues of his city like a husband whose love for his wife grows stronger as the years go by. We went to several places within Mexico City that I had never before seen--Chapultepec Park and Castle, the Zocalo, the National Museum of Anthropology. I tingled with the cosmopolitan vibe and marveled anew at how Mexico infuses the ancient with the contemporary as if the two are the yin yang of Mexican culture.

Each of my travel companions had similar concerns about safety and security before arriving in Mexico City. The US news media frequently over blows reports of crime and violence within Mexico, casting dark shadows to the safety of traveling here. It's a fact that drug cartels wield enormous power,  political corruption is legendary, and Mexico has a high rate of violent crime. The execution-style killings that make headlines in the US happen in outlaying areas where tourists seldom visit. There are neighborhoods within minutes of my home near Durham, North Carolina which I avoid because of rampant crime and violence. As we drove and walked around Mexico City my travel companions repeatedly remarked at how they didn't feel any more threatened here than in their own neighborhoods within San Francisco, Chicago and Miami. 

Seeing Mexico City through fresh eyes over the past three days, I was reminded of how powerful a first-time experience can be. You can never do something again for the first time. But you can always open your eyes and understanding to fresh impressions.

So I ask again, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Stunning New Voice in Fiction

A good Southern story is set in a place as realistic and vivid as the characters are colorful and meaningful, yet it's the author's voice that gives Southern fiction its distinctive flavor. From this trinity of setting, character and voice comes Tara Staley's debut novel, NEED TO BREATHE.

Where else but a town called Union Cross, North Carolina can a guardian angel named Millie Rose look over the premature infant of a dysfunctional teenage couple? When that premature infant is born with chemical burns across her body, her lungs bursting to breathe, it's Millie Rose who gets beside her and chants, "you need to breathe." After several harrowing minutes of neonatal heroics, breathe she does. The miracle of breath fills her lungs, pumps her heart and haunts her imagination throughout her life.

This 26-week-old preemie is named Claire. Her parents, Mick and Mandy, haven't a clue about their own lives, let alone raising a child. Saddled with the special needs of Claire--medically challenging, intellectually precocious, socially awkward--they sink into the abyss of too much responsibility at too young of an age. This is where Millie Rose works wonders.

For all her Southern wisdom, Millie Rose is a Yankee. She'd dreamed of being a mother herself once, but died in childbirth in 1922. Officially she is a "Corporeal Agent," and though she answers to God, there's very little angelic about her. She has demons of her own that sidetrack her from her mission to watch over Claire and lead her to her future soul mate.

Despite her having a guardian angel guiding her--or attempting to in the case of the headstrong Claire--Claire manages to mess up her life as much as her mother and father had their own. Her father hides away in his muscle car projects, while her interior designer mother is obsessed with finding the perfect shade of white. Each of them are riddled with shame from the secret they won't even discuss among themselves behind the reason for Claire's premature birth.

Characters such as the endearing geriatric twins Gerta and Grace enrich the Southern voice, while the geeky Charlie and the androgynous Big Mac strike a contemporary chord.

The American South has produced some of the world's finest writers and NEED TO BREATHE secures Tara Staley's place among them.