Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bald Eagles In Syracuse, NY!

This morning, our local paper offered some refreshingly good news: bald eagles, once-endangered, have come to Syracuse, NY's Onondaga Lake, and in surprising numbers. About two dozen have been spotted at one time, fishing an area of open water where the Wastewater Treatment Plant's treated, warm water flows out into the lake and prevents ice formation.

This is very exciting news, especially when you consider that Onondaga Lake has the dubious distinction of being one of the most polluted lakes in the United States. It's recovering, in part due to mandated efforts by industries responsible for its pollution, and in part due to Mother Nature's own efforts. In fact, the lake is cleaning itself up ahead of the schedule we mapped out for it.

My one concern among the high notes of the eagles' return is the still-high level of mercury in the lake. The effects on the eagles remain to be seen and are being monitored. Local environmental groups are also working to create a safe-range viewing station where the eagles can be observed, but not bothered. It is, no matter which way you slice it, a huge coup for Central NY and for the environment in general. Hooray!

For more on the CNY bald eagles, visit Syracuse.com's many articles on the subject: http://search.syracuse.com/bald+eagles

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Creativity & Family Memories

My grandmother taught me to crochet. A couple of times. Then my mother and I picked it back up. It didn't catch on. Now that it's double-digit negative temperatures out there, I am having some second thoughts.

Recently I dug out my knitting/crochet basket - the knitting needles are useless to me, BTW, because I just can't even figure out how to get started with that yarn and two tools to mind on top of it. So I put those down in favor of the old crochet hooks.

And it's weird, but I can see my grandmother teaching me all over again. I remember it. I remember a blue hook and purple thread and my grandmother's voice explaining (How did she stay that patient?) how to turn the piece. I may have been near-useless in the kitchen, but Grandma did pass on something that stuck, a form of creativity that I can work with and relate to. And it makes me smile to know I can make something similar to the blankets she made me, to keep me warm at night. Now I can make one for my son ... when I get good at it, of course.

In addition to the satisfaction of making something (and certainly the easier task of minding only ONE tool and the yarn), I find it soothing to mow through the repetition of crochet. It's also a nice creative outlet for when I'm not writing. And bonus: I have something to do while my husband watches all that football this time of year, and I can still spend time in the living room with my family. Sweet!

I will post pictures of my finished project, once I finish it. And this time, Grandma, I WILL finish it. I swear. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Love: An Interesting View Of Romantic Idealism

I was noodling around on the Internet today, and I came across a discussion about the James Cameron film "Titanic" - why people love it, and why they hate it. It's a thought-provoking piece on a few different counts, but what I found most interesting was its dissection of romanticism vs. cynicism. In particular, why there's so much backlash to art portraying romance.

Mr. Beason talks about the prevailing, cynical worldview in society today, and he seems to believe that is the reason people in general find it necessary to lash out at something that portrays love in a positive light. In short, Joe Cynic has had so many bad experiences with love, that anything depicting love must necessarily end badly, or it's junk.

I'm sure you've heard them all, Romance Writer. I know I have. Some folks who learn I write romance novels immediately want to know, "Are they trashy?" Take it with a grain of salt, buck up, and consider it an opportunity to show someone the new face of romance. It's lovely, gritty, magical, scary, varied, tough, and amazing, and writers today have grasped that concept and run rampant with it. Look at all the talent out there. Look at the bestsellers in film and fiction. Love is alive and well in art, and I think society needs a positive note more than ever. Check out the number of box-office blockbusters and NYT bestselling romance authors, for starters.

So, daunting task that it is, Romance Writer, pick up that pen and wield it with ferocity--and a healthy dose of romantic optimism. The world needs you. :)

You can find the piece that kicked off this entry here, as well as links to the rest of the author's site, devoted to the film: Why People Hate Titanic

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Website Unveiled!

I'm excited to announce the unveiling of my new website at http://www.nickigreenwood.com! The basic layout has remained the same, but as you navigate through the website you will find a few new surprises: my characters have been paying the site a visit! Check back often to see what the Elemental Series characters - Kincade, Morgan, Elsa, and Ethan - have to say (or doodle) throughout my website.

Enjoy the new look, and drop me a line to let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Changes To The Website ...

... and more to come this year! In 2011, I will be updating my website and making a few changes to its appearance and layout. Here's a sneak preview, which you can already see in action on my site:



Not much to go on, is it? Keep an eye on NickiGreenwood.com for more snazz and pizzazz! :)