Signs of Fall

Summer was too short this year, especially in New Hampshire where I think we had about three weeks of summery weather. Even while I rue the passing of leisurely summer days, autumn has its own charms. One of those is the colorful displays of chrysanthumums. Mine are just starting to show a little color and I’ll be traveling when they burst into bloom.

Here’s a few photos I’ve taken of mums this year:







mums burgundy


Time for Another Memory Trigger – Autumn

Think back to your childhood and September days. How did you feel about going back to school after the summer? Describe an experiece of meeting a new teacher. Do you remember how you dressed for school and did you take a lunch?

 What activities did you share with your family in the fall (leaf raking? apple picking? hay rides? pumpkin patch?).

Tell about the change of season where you lived and how you felt about that.

How to Write for the eHow Website

I’ve had a lot of fun writing for the eHow site.  It’s a great place to share your knowledge.  I have many articles about how to write for eHow.

Below are articles on the topic by other writers on the site.

I struggled with the font sizes on this posting after importing the titles from eHow. I guess it’s not very tidy, but the info is good.

Photographing Moving Water

I walked down to the lake with my camera, thinking I might get good scenery shots with maybe some fall color. It’s a little early for widespread colorful foliage in late September. Next month is a better time for that in New Hampshire. At the moment I’m seeing splashes of color, but still lots of green leaves on the trees.

Standing by the lake, my eye strayed to a single red leaf resting on the sand. A small wave of clear lake water moved towards it. The leaf did not float away. It stayed in place and let the water ripple across it. I took a number of shots, trying to capture the ripples of the water playing around the scarlet leaf. The contrast against the tawny, wet sand was lovely.

I feared that my shots would be disappointing. So many things can go wrong with a photo. An unsteady hand, poor light, and many other factors ruin a photo. To my delight, the photos of the leaf, sand and moving water turned out quite pretty. Here they are for your enjoyment. Click on one if you want to see it larger.

Did You Squidoo?

I tried out the Squidoo site a few times in 2008 and found it unfathomable at first. About a year later in 2009, I gave it another whirl and found it fun. Mostly I figured out how to plug-in the different frameworks they provided to host your content. It went rather quickly after that as I added Wikipedia articles, YouTube videos, Amazon books plus my own photos and writing.

The site sure gave a lot of options so you ended up with an interesting website which they called a lens. The site ranked them and gave statistics on the number of visitors.

The first topics I tried on the site were a tribute to my sister who had died, a page about a lake resort in Kansas, a page about my 85-year-old mother publishing her childhood memoir, and one with some genealogy information about my dad’s family. Pleased with those, I wrote about how to self-publish a book using Blurb and one about writing childhood memories for the Our Echo website.
If you have something that you want to promote, like a book, Squidoo gave you lots of options. Hey, it was also free to get your info posted on the web.

I got hooked on creating Squidoo lenses on all sorts of topics relating to my life and interests. Then I realized that one could actually make money from high-traffic topics and from selling things on the pages. Over the next 5 years, I created over 600 lenses there. Some I gave away to help newbies get started.

It was fun and profitable. Over the years, I made a grand total of $37,000 from my pages, met lots of interesting people who visited my pages and grew close to other writers. I appreciate having the opportunity to share what I knew.

Unfortunately, the site changed direction and the last year and a half wasn’t fun at all. The rules kept changing so the writers scrambled to rework their pages to meet guidelines that shifted weekly. It became drudgery and the earnings dwindled as well. Finally the end came, and the site sold out to Hubpages.

Writers who remember the glory days of Squidoo with the good earnings, the networking and the open creativity have had a tough time adjusting to a new site. I learned a lot during my time at Squidoo and now must recreate myself and my content elsewhere.

Sugar Valley Lakes – Lot for Sale

(Update: 1/27/2010 – our lake lot is sold. If you have a Sugar Valley Lakes lot to sell or want to buy one, go to this site. You can post information about the lot you want to sell or find out more about Sugar Valley Lakes and the area.)

Some years ago, we bought a lake lot at this Kansas resort community near Mound City, south of Kansas City.  The idea was that eventually we would build a cottage there and enjoy summers by the lake.

They have a 9-hole golf course there that starts out rather flatly but turns dramatic with one hole in particular. It has an elevated tee area and your drive has to carry over water to a landing area. Then you jump in the golf cart and head down the steep hill, hoping that the brakes are good. Zoom across a bridge and then up a steep hill to where hopefully your ball has landed. Now the second shot is from this elevated area across to an elevated green. Again you have to carry across water. For me this hole was beyond challenging and could be described as downright scary. My husband really liked that hole, but then he’s a much better golfer than I am. My ball usually ended up in the water at least once on this hole and sometimes twice.

Our lot is on the biggest lake of the lakes at Sugar Valley. It slopes down to the water and would be a good building lot. Very few of those are left on this lake as there are quite a few houses already in place. It’s a popular place for full-time retirees and weekenders. It’s a good family place with the boating, nature walks, a pool up by the clubhouse, tennis courts and lots of community pot luck dinners at the clubhouse.

Sigh… we never did build the cabin or spend summers by the lake. Now, we live in Florida and are lucky to make it out to Kansas for a family visit a couple of times a year. Consequently, we’re looking to sell this lake lot to someone who will make use of it.

If that appeals to you, I’ve posted a photo gallery showing the lot, the lake, some of the golf course and some Kansas nature scenes. Ideally you are in Kansas or nearby in Missouri and can drive over to scope out the community. I recommend that, and hope you like it as much as we did.

Click here for more information about Sugar Valley Lakes and the surrounding area.

What Works on an Author Webpage

I’m fascinated by the statistics generated from my mom’s author page ( Here’s how it falls out:

Read an Excerpt from Gail’s Book 130
Gail’s Advice for Writing Family Memorie 73
Gail Martin’s First Book 39
Places & Topics in My Flint Hills Ch 21
Media Attention for Gail’s Book 17
Upcoming Books by Gail 13
More About Gail Martin 13
Contact the Author 11
Comments from Readers 11
Press Release for the Book 3

Obviously the READ AN EXCERPT is a big hit. The excerpt that I put was a very short essay from the book about Mom’s pet badger. Everyone loves an animal story, so I figured it was a good one to get them to click further on the BUY THE BOOK link.