Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (
© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Winter, through the window, 2010

I thought I'd post some of my most favorite photographs from this year today.
A Memento, 2010
Horses once lived here, 2010

Hope, 2010

Another year has gone by, and a new one is on deck. I treat every year as an "open-ended hope". I do the best I can to accomplish my goals, I work at my own pace with patient persistence, and do what I do in spite of everything that could cause me to give up.
Independently published 2010 by Field Stone Press

Looking back, I see my happiest achievement, I independently published my second novel, The Fractured Hues of White Light, although it doesn't seem to be as well received as Dusty Waters was in 2009, I still feel it is one of my best efforts. It was a difficult book to write, I don't know if I have words to explain what I went through since the book first took form to the day the first paperback copy came into my hands, but it was much like a birth, a very difficult birth...the self-doubts are the worst. And I put together an e-book file for Dusty Waters to become available for the B&N NOOK. There's one in the works for The Fractured Hues of White Light, but I'm not ready to release it yet. In time I will. And I'm busy with the third novel, Drinking from the Fishbowl, which I hope to have ready by mid to late fall 2011, if I get it ready sooner, that's cool, but I'm going to take my time...no rush. I am pleased that the books are selling, one at a time, I'm not making much money with it, but I'm patient, this has been an experiment to see how I do out there, and I can't be happier about it...my books are being read! That's important.

Me n' my Fred at the Gallery making art together on a Thursday night

My second happiest achievement this year has to be our little co-op art gallery, Moonlighting. I am always a firm believer that from little things, big things grow, this is only the beginning, we're doing a good thing.The resulting artwork has been encouraging, and although I haven't sold much this year, just having a place to gather with other artists, create art, display our work on a consistent basis, hold openings, and treat the community to a nice space filled with beautiful artwork is special. It's another experiment in DIY!

Suddenly, Last Summer, 2010

A lot has happened, and there's no way I can recap everything said and done, between my blogs and my journal there are plenty of entries of everyday things. I have been hanging in there in spite of the fiendish symptoms of FMS, and continue to adjust to the phases that I go through and alter the "me management" to get through the day. My mantra is "I'm upright and going forward." I'm grateful that I have stayed away from the pharmaceutical band-aids and that I can still keep going to my day job, as I know so many with this illness lose so much because of it. I'm thankful that I have many who support me in my day to day life, tho' because I'm stubborn, I tend to do for myself, but I do have the sense to ask for help when I need it. I'm hanging in there, staying positive, and remembering to breathe deeply when the pain gets to be too much.

Full Moon, June 5, 2010
I'm trying to pick a favorite painting that I made this year, I'm happy with so many of them, I had to scale back to picking one that I'm glad did not sell...it's hanging on my studio wall where I can see it every day. I remember how I went at this painting with a 'fuck it' attitude, it had such a bad start and I was getting frustrated with it, so I just started to make marks in random places...I was in my "zone", and was very happy while I worked...I truly painted this one for myself. (I posted the favorites at my other blog Follow Your Bliss http://ohdrat.blogspot.com/)

Hands down, my favorite book this year has to be A Writer's Diary

I read a whole bunch of cool books this year...thought I'd share a few here:

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973-1982
Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
Joyce Carol Oates, Little Bird of Heaven (a signed copy!)
Ondaatje, Divisadero
Poppy Adams, The Sister
Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary
Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry
Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio
E. M. Forster, The Celestial Omnibus
Nichole Krauss, The History of Love
Janet Frame, Towards Another Summer
Rikki Ducornet, The Stain
Angela Carter, Magic Toy Shop
Joyce Carol Oates, A Bloodsmoor Romance
Iris Murdock, The Sea, the Sea

Books of Poetry that I’ve carried around in my purse this year:

If Not, Winter, poems of Sappho (ed. Anne Carson)
Kay Ryan, Flamingo Watching
Catherine Daly, Da Da Da (I’m still carrying this one around)

Favorite books that I opened to read random passages from:

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Virginia Woolf, The Waves
John Cowper Powys, Porius
Virginia Woolf, Night and Day
Joyce Carol Oates, Bellefleur
Joyce Carol Oates, Wonderland
E.M. Forster, Howards End
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Books started in 2010 to finish in 2011:
Virginia Woolf, The Years

Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities
Isak Dinesen, The Gothic Tales
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (e-book, reading on my laptop using the NOOK app)

Sunburst, 2010
A full year and a full life. I am content.
Sunflower, August 14, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

My tree is an 8ft tall concolor fir... full of white lights...

We've had freezing drizzle on top of our snow, and then snow on top of the freezing drizzle with temps dipping into the teens, so the trees, bushes, and weeds are covered in spiky hoar frost.
Frosted trees

Frost and Mist

Behind the barn...

The red maple at night.

Porch light...

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Solstice time...

Crow tracks
Crow in Snow

A snowy crow
The old maple tree in winter
It's a funny time of year, moody and emotional, sentimental, the darkness, the blowing snow, the persistent gray, the slant of the sun when it is out, the shadows are different now...its' the first we've seen a great deal of sunshine in a couple of weeks, so we're all bleary-eyed and squinting in the daylight...I feel like a mole on these rare sunny days...oh, but it's pretty out there this morning...8 degrees this morning, a paw lifter for Max...all that clear sky with moonshine and starlight last night made the temps drop, but with the sun out, it's quite pleasant, not so bitter, a relief from the cabin fever, which has come early this year because of the storms...normally that doesn't set in until later in January or early February.

I was out and about with my son doing the final shop...I never was a fan of shop 'til you drop, and I dislike the crowds, so we set out early with the goal to be off Erie Blvd by noon...last stop B&N...that place was delightfully packed! I didn't see any indication that the book in the form of paper is on life support, people were clutching plenty of them in their hands in the long line at the front registers...but there were the curiosity seekers lingering around the NOOK display...and I was one of them, listening to the inquiries, the "ooo's" and "ahhh's", the "oh, really? Well, that's neat." One fellow did ask if I needed any help or had any questions, and I just told him I thought it was an interesting little thing. But he lost interest in me quick because there was another customer with potential to buy (there was quite a swarm, and I had no problem with being left alone to play). He did come back to check on me, but I only smiled and said, "I think my son or my husband might buy me one." (I don't have it on my wish list at all.) Although I do have my little ghost story published for the Nook, I only have the Nook app on my laptop, so I haven't seen it on the actual device, seeing the gadget in person and seeing that it's so bitty is a fun feeling. So, naturally, I played with it! My son and I huddled around it. It didn't take long to figure it out, tho' my fingers are being a bit funky lately with tingly-numbness, I'm not so nibble anymore. I found my way through Google to my blog, clicked the icon that I have set up for the Nook store, and once I saw my little book cover, after that, I walked away. Someone stepped up and started looking at the device right away, I don't know if she was looking at my book, or if she explored something else, but it was a guilty pleasure... because of my lingering over the Nook, we didn't leave Erie Blvd until 12:17, but that was fine. I needed to satisfy that little craving.

I nearly adopted a cat yesterday during our travels... a 2 year old tabby, Wandering Paws had their Saturday adoption hopefuls set up at PETCO, the little sweetie named Emmi started chirping to us and was very engaging, she could've passed for Charlie's sister, a big girl too (big like Charlie).

Yes, this is Charlie...Mr. Mischief Mittens himself.

Well, I left that store with all the treats and goodies for my cats and Max feeling so sad and choked up that I couldn't justify opening our home to one more...it was all I could do not to tell my son, "Turn around, we're going back!" Self-control for sure...at this point I'm not sure if I want to deal with the hissing and bushy tails. So we hugged them all when we got home, and told them they are so lucky to have a home when there are so many who do not. All of ours were stray once, drop-offs, or the offspring of feral barn cats...they look at us with those cat eyes with no memory of the time before this moment. Happy purrs all around!

The Three Wise Cats having a snuggle-fest, flannel blankets, Max's toys for pillows, and warm sunshine, the best!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Always looking...

Hollyhock stalk with seed buds, 12/11/2010
Snowdrift, 12/11/2010
 I'm a bit sick of the snow...it's blowing and raining today, tomorrow there will be more snow after this current mess passes by and triggers more lake effect snow, pretty much the same weather set up as last week (oh, joy.)

My yard has been invaded by a flock of starlings wearing their winter speckles, I love hearing their chatter!

My dog is dreaming, and barking in his sleep.

Thought I'd throw in some pictures I took last week of an old door...


 I'm a sucker for old weather beaten wood...I love the shapes, the colors, and textures of this door...and it's got the character scratches left behind by an eager dog begging to go out or just glad to see you coming home, sort of like a written history of someone coming home. I'm always looking for inspiration somewhere...

I've been slightly under the weather...maybe weather related, maybe just worn out, but I'm plugging along, the snow is melting, and winding up in my basement, the sump-pumps are in action taking care of that mess...it's warm enough for lady bugs to come out.

I've written a raw bit for my latest manuscript, Layers of Illusion...my main character, Eleanor spoke up last night and started a rant about television, so I had to listen to her and write it down...so here it is, warts n' all...


The television makes me uneasy—everything about the little innocuous box makes me feel un-easy. Too much focus on fear in the news—the world is being overrun by terrorists in turbans (but it seems we have enough of our home-grown variety to worry about), in politics, the Republicans are the Party of Boo! The old fear mongers are constantly being grim-faced negative about everything under the sun that might possibly be good for the people, the bastards. You gotta love how manufactured anger has permeated our society; human disasters implode in our faces every day. Natural disasters seem to be everywhere (they used to be a rare thing when I was a kid), good grief, I never heard of a tsunami until Indonesia got slammed, and now it seems there are tsunami’s (or the potential of one) all the time—what the hell, right? What irritates me even more—every Made for TV Movie is exploiting someone’s unfortunate tragedy for the entertainment of us! Someone is always in trouble, chronically; someone always getting hurt, badly; someone always getting ripped off, incessantly; someone always getting killed, senselessly. Anything brought forth that is positive is so over the top saccharine I could cry my eyeballs out. Yes—I cry at the drop of a hat these days—especially around the holidays, even the commercials are on the tear-jerker setting at full blast. Initially, I was blaming it on hormones, but now, no, I’ve come to realize that I've been marketed to distraction by a media that is bludgeoning my emotions every time I turn on the television. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I unplugged the fucking thing, hauled it into the hallway outside my apartment with the hope that someone will take it. From that moment on I vowed that I will rely on NPR to give me the news reports with their kind, level-headed voices that drone at a volume that is set to relax—sure the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but wait, there is still hope for something better. Hope, I need a good dose of that for my frazzled nerves, I could listen to that shit forever—sure beats the hopeless drumbeat on television. Sometimes I don’t get out of my car right away when I get home at night, I want to finish listening to the story they’re talking about, and then the next one, and then the next. No matter how bad the news is, there is a gentle hum of hope. At least I don't feel like banging my head against the wall or becoming a ranting lunatic toting a gun for a no good reason.

No one took the stupid television until I dragged it out to the common area by the elevators and taped a sign on it FREE! It sat there for a couple of days before it finally disappeared. I don't miss it, not one bit.


Eleanor Dean is still developing...growing. Her circumstances keep evolving in that mysterious way of writing a book, the road map is a twisty route from beginning to end, lots of stuff in the middle, some of it will stay, some of it will go the way of things...who knows if this latest piece will make it. She's a woman teetering on the edge, stuck on survive, suffering from one thing after another, being ground down by a cascading sequence of catastrophes, chucking out her television is a sign that she's trying to get a handle on her life. I'm letting the ideas simmer quietly, this has been going on for about 9-10 years, I have gathered at least 200 pages of bits and pieces like this (if not more), one day, I will print it all out, get my scissors and tape, and start piecing it together to create the whole. Goodness knows if it will actually become a book...I do have my doubts about it...but that's part of the process, and I'm okay with it.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Snow...

Sunset Snow, 12/8/2010  
I'm embracing this wintry weather through my camera (which I do every year)...and as Grandma Moses put it "everyone knows that snow sparkles with the sunshine on it"...and at sunset it  picks up such pretty colors! (shot with my old camera) The snow weary CNY Upstate area saw the sun for the first time in several days, but more snow on the way tonight! They say some places might receive an inch or more an hour in the more intense bands of lake effect snow showers...great...lake. (Thanks!) Just out there with the dog a few minutes ago...the stars are out and it's bitter burrrrr cold! Looking at the radar on the NOAA website, the snow is north of the NYS Thruway above Syracuse...but we're all prepared for it to show up anywhere at anytime, it's random like that...keeps life interesting!

Our chairs on the patio...two days ago...they're nearly gone now, the snow has drifted around them. (I love the old-time feel of this image!) I took the photo through my dining room window at twilight Monday night using my new camera.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lake Effect

Bare Trees

The Crow in Snowy Weather

Grass in snow
Twigs in snow

Tangle Weeds

Tangle Weeds #2

Three Leaves

The Thin Leaf

Weeds n' Snow by the shed

Snow Dog
It's been snowing steady all weekend...bands of lake effect drifting down from Lake Ontario, our typical weather for this time of year...it's enough to make chipmunks go underground...but my dog, Max, turns into a snow bunny! I bundle up and walk with my cameras at the ready (yes, plural!) I started to become a wee bit uneasy when the lens on my little point n' shoot started to make funny noises when I start it up, and I even thought maybe it wasn't taking very good pictures anymore, so I bought the upgraded version of what I have (a Fuji Finepix 9MP to a 12MP), they're just little point n' shoot cameras, they're nothing fancy, I fear anything fancier would probably drive me nuts with too much and such, I learned on manual cameras with light meters and all the extra lenses and gear...I just want simple at this point, what I'm doing now is just a digital sketchbook, and I'm rather pleased with what I've accomplished thus far. Someday I'll buy the big SLR, gotta save my pennies. This selection of pictures came from both cameras...I'm pleased that both cameras performed well, the elder one did better in some cases because I'm more used to how it works...the little new one is going to take some getting used to, I thought it did a good job snagging a shot of the crow in the tree from the dining room window.

There goes the snowplow.

I wrote an essay about Grandma Moses for the newsletter at work, it was fun writing it, short n' sweet, and I finished it in 24 hours. (Not everything I write takes 11 years.)

I've been tinkering around with my manuscript (Drinking from the Fishbowl) on and off all weekend, I'm back tracking through chapters 1-5, having to hit the reset button to get back on track...minor changes, and good ones, I'm quite pleased with it.

I mailed off copies of The Fractured Hues of White Light to my two giveaway winners (at Goodreads) and I'm looking forward to hearing from both of them once they've finished. It's hard to tell with this one how readers are going to react, some like it, some don't. I'm fine with it.

The kitties are getting restless, Willy Big just came charging out of the den, pads skating around on the wood floor, Tiggy-Pooh is yodeling...must be getting near time to eat. There's a dog with his ears turned on...I think he wants to go O-U-T...I better suit up and do that...