Jun 4 2013

Three Years: Nature, Writing, Connections & a Giveaway

Melissa Crytzer Fry

When I started my blog three years ago today, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wrote my inaugural post about bees, then subsequent posts about great-horned owlets, desert chopper rides, prairie dogs and a host of other desert experiences, feeling inspired by my natural surroundings and buoyed creatively. As the theme of my blog implies, I can and do find writing lessons from what I see in my rural corner of the desert. Still.

Over the years, you’ve indulged me as I’ve shared photos of the fearsome and furry. This is a venomous Gila Monster under my breezeway last month. Click to enlarge.

Never did I expect the sense of community that this little blog – with the help of Twitter – would foster. I’ve met writers, readers, bakers and candlestick makers (okay – maybe not the latter) – people who share my interests, fears, dreams, hopes and who pass along new thoughts and ideas daily.

One of those people is author, Erika Marks, whose third novel – The Guest House – just happens to be releasing today, the very day of my three-year blogaversary.

We met on Twitter back in 2010 when we were both new to the social media scene, soon discovering a shared interest in all-things nature, hiking, biology (her hubby’s a science teacher) and birds (we are among a bird-nerd group incessantly Tweeting photos of our sightings).

What better blogaversary giveaway than an author-signed copy of  The Guest House? I’m excited to read this latest gem, because this book draws from Erika’s past as a carpenter. She’s also been a cake decorator, art director, culinary creator … wait … candlestick maker, perchance?

Before you get the full scoop about this family saga set in a coastal Cape Cod town (a tale of combative families and hidden declarations of love),enjoy this sneak-peek passage that illustrates Erika’s appreciation of the natural world:

The hours of dusk had always been her favorite in the house, watching the evening sun slip lower through the windows, feathering the floors with shades of lilac and silver, bringing with it the gentle breeze of coming night and the luscious smells of earth and sea settling into sleep. It was a sexy time, full of secrets and promise. She’d always thought so. Now, here with Cooper, she felt the stirrings of that promise again. Somehow she suspected dinner with him, their table basking in the lavender glow of sunset, would be a deeply romantic experience.

Ooo la la. Earthy and steamy! Erika’s additional passions – for legend and lore, history, and the power of love – will be apparent to readers of The Guest House. (Did I mention how much I loved Erika’s Little Gale Gumbo and The Mermaid Collector, as well?)

To Win a Signed Copy: Between June 4 and June 9 (midnight EST), just answer one (or more, if you’re so inclined) of the following questions. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced June 10.

  • In what ways has social media surprised you – good or bad? Any stories of lasting connections, friendships, fun or freakiness?
  • In what ways does nature inspire your creativity? I would love to hear personal anecdotes.
  • Why do you want to read The Guest House?

21 Responses to “Three Years: Nature, Writing, Connections & a Giveaway”

  • avatar Jolina Petersheim Says:

    What a great passage from Erika’s new book (happy pub day, Erika!); I can’t wait to read The Guest House! Social media has helped me make lasting connections that — living in the sticks — I would’ve never had the opportunity to foster otherwise. So grateful for it and how it helped me meet great people like Erika and you! 🙂

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    Melissa Reply:

    Boy can I relate to the “sticks living” comment! Social media has been such a godsend for the lonely writer’s life! (I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for three years… where does the time go?)

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  • avatar Jolina Petersheim Says:

    PS~Happy blogging anniversary, Melissa! Your posts make the hectic social media world a centered place!

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  • avatar Kathy Becraft Says:

    I would want to read the Guest House because the words roll off like a delicious chocolate malt. Also because you recommend it Melissa and so far being in your book club has been enlightening and you have opened a new chapter in my life. Being in nature has inspired me in my paintings along with the healing properties that it has had on my soul. Going for hikes with you has repaired this humpty dumpty person. The social media has provided me with a way of keeping in touch, making me laugh with tears and starting new relationships…what more could a person want? Some think of social media in a negative way but for me it has been a key in creativity.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Oh, Kathy! I’m so happy to hear you loved Erika’s excerpt – and that you’re enjoying book club (me, too!). Such fun to talk about BOOKS. I miss our hikes, my friend, but am happy for you and your new journey in life! Oh the places you will go….

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  • avatar Cynthia Robertson Says:

    That Gila Monster is not very monstrous. He’s kinda pretty. But…venomous? Really? And under your breezeway? Yikes! Holy anxious ankles!

    That passage from The Guest House is amazing! Congratulations on your ***third*** novel coming out Erika. Woohoo!!

    Twitter and blogging has taught me so much about the craft we all love. And I’ve made some truly wonderful friends along the way. As Jolina points out, it enables us all to connect, though we live many miles apart.

    Congratulations on three years of blogging, Melissa. Hooray!! 🙂

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    Melissa Reply:

    Gila Monsters are FABULOUS. Did you know there are only two venemous lizards in the world? And we have one of them? I also just read that the peptides in their venom is being studied for the treatment of diabetes! (They’re also a protected animal in Arizona, under the Endangered Species Act).

    Ah, yes .. Twitter introduced US, when we were an hour away in this great state. Meeting in person was such fun – and I’m looking forward to it again this weekend! (And, I agree about learning so much more about craft via Twitter and blogs).

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  • avatar Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Melissa –

    CONGRATULATIONS on your three year anniversary! As an avid reader of your blog, I appreciate the tapestry you weave with your writing and photography.

    In what way does nature inspire my creativity?

    As a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist, I crave oodles of nothing — space. It’s in the vastness of uncluttered space, that I dance with my writing muse. In nature, she never fails to show up and unleash my creativity.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Thanks, Laurie! Your kindness is appreciated – and the beauty of your words; I couldn’t have said it better about ‘craving oodles of nothing.’ Me, too!

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  • avatar Annie Neugebauer Says:

    I think what most surprised me about social media was how much I’ve learned about the industry from it. I joined thinking I would make friends, have fun, and possibly begin building the mystical platform — but I don’t think I ever dreamed that it would become my best and most reliable source for news, thoughts, and info about almost every aspect of the industry.

    Congrats to you, Melissa, on the blogiversary! And happy book birthday to Erika!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I was one of those hesitant social media adopters — came to Twitter kicking and screaming — and was so pleasantly surprised to find so many wonderful people AND so much insightful industry information, as you say. It’s been a bit of an unexpected blessing.

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  • avatar Donna Says:

    Congratulations, Melissa, on your 3rd anniversary! I look forward to your blogs – love the nature you bring from your world to mine. May you have many more anniversaries!

    I’d enjoy reading The Guest House because I’ve been reading somewhat “darker”, heavier-on-the-heart material. The excerpt you provided gave me a relaxed, easy feeling that is perfect for this time of year.

    Congrats, again!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Thank you so much, Donna, for your enthusiasm. I’m like you – a reader of dark fiction! Erika’s writing is delicious, I agree.

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  • avatar Lori P Says:

    WOW – congratulations to both Erika and you, Melissa! I can’t believe this is Erika’s THIRD book. I remember when she was so excited to find an agent for Gumbo! My goodness.

    So, I elect to answer the first because Twitter is how I found you, Erika M, Erika R, Jessica M, and the list goes on. My writing community!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I KNOW… I can’t believe she’s publishing book three. Insane (I remember Gumbo, too). Aww – I love your response about Twitter. I feel the same way about finding our remote writing community (and I’m still chomping at the bit to get out and visit you).

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  • avatar Julia Munroe Martin Says:

    Can’t wait to read Erika’s latest!! I love social media because it’s allowed me to meet so many writer friends… but I am not crazy about how much time it can take away from writing. (Please exclude me from the giveaway; I’ve already purchased the book!)

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  • avatar Nina Says:

    I’m surprised by how much I love social media and how REAL the connections feel.

    Congrats on three years!!!

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  • avatar Erika Marks Says:

    I still can’t believe I get to be a part of YOUR birthday celebration, my sweet friend! And I am so touched to read all the cheer from my fellow writers and friends here. Can you all believe we have been savoring Melissa’s gorgeous pictures for 3 YEARS???!! Here’s to many, many more–and the promise that even if you slow or stop your blog, my dear, that you will NEVER stop your shutter–you capture the natural world like no one else.

    Thank you for sharing this special anniversary with me!

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  • avatar Leah Says:

    First of all, congrats on three years! I love that we’ve been following each other for so long too. Your blog always has such great writing and inspiration! Second, I love Erika too. Little Gale Gumbo was one of my favorites. Third, I love that Facebook has helped me as an introvert become an extrovert.

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  • avatar Melissa Says:

    CONGRATS to Donna: you’ve won Erika’s newest book. She’ll be in touch with you for contact information. Thanks, everyone, for your visits and comments.

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    Donna Reply:

    Thank you, Melissa! I am excited to have won and am looking forward to Erika’s book!

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