Naked Mountain June Blooms and More Book Awards

It has been a long time since I last posted.  Much of that energy was put into book promotion and I am proud to say that the book has been well-received. I have won two awards and I am a finalist for two others. I am especially proud of winning a silver Nautilus Award.

This is the message the book awards team sent to their 2016 winners:

“It is our pleasure to welcome you to the honored and respected group of Nautilus Book Award Winners. You can be justly proud of your book’s selection as an Award Winner in the 2016 Nautilus season, which brought a record number of entries and a magnificent diversity of high-quality books.

On behalf of all the Nautilus reviewers, judges, staff, and volunteers, thank you for sending your book as an entry to the 2016 Nautilus program. May your book’s message bring hope, wisdom, healing, and joy to many people. We are proud that your book’s journey as a Nautilus Winner will contribute to Better Books for a Better World.

I also recently received a very nice Kirkus review which you can read in full here. It concludes with this summary quote,  “…intensely personal and compelling. An honest depiction of a courageous, difficult journey.” – Kirkus Reviews

While I am still attending book events, talking with book clubs, and displaying Naked Mountain at national events such as the American Library Association’s annual meeting, I am looking forward to a new challenge that will bring me back to the natural wonders of Naked Mountain.  I am learning to use a professional camera, a 5D Mark III.  I am using a macro lens. 100 mm, a tripod, and a cable release (remote). I have excellent help in this new endeavor with the on-site tutelage of my scholarly husband, David Hopwood. David is a committed hobbyist, but in the late 1970’s he also produced a television series on the history of American photography. He is constantly reading about the field.

I also have on-line advice and counsel from Gary Fleming, senior ecologist with the Division of Natural Heritage within Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation Gary has taken many stunning photographs of some of Naked Mountain’s most iconic plants in full bloom.

And here are a few samples of my first efforts:

Matelea obliqua, Climbing Milkweed Vine. Shot with macro lens, tripod and cable release.

Ginseng buds. Shot with a macro lens, tripod and cable release. I have never seen this small group of Ginseng bloom before being eaten by deer. Ginseng grows in many places on Naked Mountain, but is a favorite snack of White-tailed Deer.  At least I got a chance to photograph buds!

Phemeranthus teretifolius. Shot without a tripod or cable release.  On this sunny afternoon about 100 blooms were waving in the strong breeze. I have never seen so many in bloom at once! This plant only grows East of the Blue Ridge Mountains on mafic barrens, and there is just such a site steps away from my house on Naked Mountain. I was delighted to capture a pollinator – Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly. Charming! 

See you, and what’s blooming on Naked Mountain, next time.