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Sunday, May 24, 2015

How Did Language Begin?


I came across an essay by Ray Jackendoff from the  Linguistic Society of America. Here are some interesting excerpts from it:

“Every human language has a vocabulary of tens of thousands of words, built up from several dozen speech sounds.

“What happened to humans in the 6 million years or so since the hominid and chimpanzee lines diverged, and when and how did hominid communication begin to have the properties of modern language?

“The basic difficulty with studying the evolution of language is that the evidence is so sparse.  Spoken languages don’t leave fossils, and fossil skulls only tell us the overall shape and size of hominid brains, not what the brains could do.  About the only definitive evidence we have is the shape of the vocal tract (the mouth, tongue, and throat): Until anatomically modern humans, about 100,000 years ago, the shape of hominid vocal tracts didn’t permit the modern range of speech sounds.  But that doesn’t mean that language necessarily began then.  Earlier hominids could have had a sort of language that used a more restricted range of consonants and vowels, and the changes in the vocal tract may only have had the effect of making speech faster and more expressive.  Some researchers even propose that language began as sign language, then (gradually or suddenly) switched to the vocal modality, leaving modern gesture as a residue.

“We do know that something important happened in the human line between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago: This is when we start to find cultural artifacts such as art and ritual objects, evidence of what we would call civilization. What changed in the species at that point?  Did they just get smarter (Even if their brains didn’t suddenly get larger)?  Did they become smarter because of the intellectual advantages that language affords (such as the ability to maintain an oral history over generations)?”

About The Linguistic Society of America
The Linguistic Society of America was founded in 1924 for the advancement of the scientific study of language.  The Society serves its nearly 6,000 personal and institutional members through scholarly meetings, publications, and special activities designed to advance the discipline.

The Society holds its Annual Meeting in early January each year and publishes a quarterly journal, LANGUAGE, and the LSA Bulletin. Among its special education activities are the Linguistic Institutes held every other summer in odd-numbered years and co-sponsored by a host university.

The website for the Society (http://www.lsadc.org) includes The Field of Linguistics (brief, nontechnical essays describing the discipline and its subfields) and statements and resolutions issued by the Society on matters such as language rights, the English-only/English-plus debate, bilingual education and Ebonics. To learn more about them, please contact them at:

Linguistic Society of America
1325 18th St, NW, Suite 211
Washington, DC 20036-6501
(202) 835-1714
lsa@lsadc.org



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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Short Ways To Promote Long Books


You can post stories at these sites using 6 to 1,000 words. They could be useful in promoting your longer-format works, such as books.


WORD RIOT: www.wordriot.org  

100 Word Story"  www.100wordstory.org   

SIX –WORDS:  www.sixwordmemoirs.com   


ECLECTICA MAGAZINE: www.eclectica.org

THE COLLAGIST: www.thecollagist.com

NANO FICTION (stories up to 300 words): www.nanofiction.org

SMOKELONG: www.smokelong.com  

FICTION SOUTHEAST: www.fictionsoutheast.org  


Interview With An Author Whose Art Comes To Life
Imagine paintings that hold the secrets to the meaning of life, and death—or scribbled words that can alter past and reshape the present. We know art imitates life but in Michael B. Koep’s thriller fiction trilogy, the author brings the arts to life in an action-packed tale spanning seven centuries.

A new book, The Newirth Mythology: Leaves of Fire (June, 2015), tells of how a journal has inadvertently created real lives off the page, changed history, and made myths and their characters real. There is a battle for life on Earth – and the Afterlife – and the fate of existence itself hangs in the balance. The war of the immortals has begun. Koep’s latest installment entwines seemingly unconnected lives from different time periods and deeply explores myth, memory, revenge, and the hope of forgiveness.

Koep’s creative writing offers insight into these questions:
·         Is art influencing life and shaping it?
·         Can we create a new mythology?
·         Are there immortals among us?
·         Will we discover a way to genetically alter ourselves so that we can become immortal?
·         How do we come to terms with the darker elements of the human condition?
·         Why are we fascinated with the notion that supernatural power and other worlds that could exist?
·         Could one’s imagination create real people – and if so – what would we do once confronted with such a reality? Could we accept the world we have authored?
·         How would our lives be lived if we were convinced an afterlife existed?
·         Are we living in a volatile time, where the fate of mankind hangs in the balance?
·         What is real – what is not – and how do we know the difference?

Koep’s writings offer probing philosophical insight into humanity’s purpose and limitations. He provokes us with non-stop action, witty dialogue, and a challenging premise.

 “I have always had a love for myths and how myths frame a culture’s narrative,” says Koep, “and ultimately, I wanted to try my hand at my own mythology.”

Amid swordfights, shootouts, betrayal, secret guardians prone to poetic monologues and murders – in a milieu of fine art, fine food, secret lovers, myth, mafia, ancient languages, and the loud music of classic vinyl LPs, Koep’s trilogy will leave the reader questioning what it means to be human and what lies beyond this world.

Here is a Q & A with the author whose book is now being promoted by the PR firm I am employed by:

1. Michael, what inspired you to launch your thought-provoking, supernatural thriller series? A number of things inspired the writing of Part One of the Newirth Mythology, The Invasion of Heaven, for the story has been haunting my notebooks for a little over fifteen years. Looking at the book now I’m thrilled to see that I managed to fit nearly all of my obsessions into the story: music, painting, poetic monologues, sword fighting, bits of psychology, poetry, mafia, international travel and mystery. I even got to explore the big why are we here questions.

I dedicated Part One to my mother. She has suffered from depression for most of her adult life,
and growing up watching her battle the illness was a confusing and helpless experience.
Reading helped me through those years. Psychology became a poignant interest, as did escape
vehicles like fantasy and science fiction-- and because I didn’t have the kind of mind to become
a psychologist myself I felt that the best way in which I could help my mother was to entertain
her with stories and music. The character of Loche Newirth appeared in my journals very soon
thereafter-- and as a mental health professional, Loche could explore not only the difficulties of
being human, but he just might discover a cure to the darker parts of our nature. Maybe even
depression. Of course, he hasn’t yet become the kind of hero that I had imagined, but he’s
trying.

As a touring rock musician, my travels influenced large parts of the story, too. The Middle East,
the Mediterranean, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Crete, Egypt and many other places-- all steeped in
myth and mystery-- so how could I not resist their beckoning to be included in the tale?

2. Your story involves mythology. Could there be truth to our mythologies? Is there a need to create a new mythology?  Certainly mythologies contain truth- human truth. Consider the term mythos: the pattern of basic values and historical experiences of a people characteristically transmitted through the arts. Or, made up stories to make sense and express the inexpressible. Myths tell two stories at once. On the surface they are usually straightforward, plot based narratives with symbolic characters facing fantastic circumstances--very often supernatural at their core. Simultaneously, these stories can provide transformative insights and footholds of understanding about the mysteries of existence and the human condition. Mythology can change not only the behavior of the individual, but so, too, an entire culture. It is this transforming characteristic of storytelling that is of great interest for me-- and it is the central theme of The Invasion of Heaven and Leaves of Fire. I am fascinated with the deeply held beliefs that people have for stories--and how those stories dictate both love and fear.

As long as there are questions about our existence, there will always be stories reaching for
answers. The historical cannon of myth over thousands of years has changed along side our
ability to reason and adapt. Though we still worship the sun (at the beach, mostly these days),
our little star no longer holds the divine nature it once did for the ancients. The Sumerian gods
fell to the Greek gods-- and they to the recent cast of divine characters that hold their place on
the current metaphysical and religious stages. When a new evolutionary burst of thought
happens for humankind, it is to be expected that another system of belief flourish.

In The Newirth Mythology I wanted gather all mythological narratives, the stories themselves,
the events and characters and their metaphorical values, and pronounce, simply: they are all
true-- they all happened-- it is all very real. What main character Loche Newirth discovers,
however, is that there is always more to the story.

3. You explore the question of reality: what is real and what is not?   For the pragmatic and conservative psychologist, Loche Newirth, knowing the difference between what is real and what is not is vital to not only his vocation, but his identity. He wonders throughout the journal he writes in The Invasion of Heaven, “This is really happening, isn’t it?” In one way he uses the question to balance himself as he teeters on the edge of sanity (for after all, he claims that he’s seeing things that no rational person would believe), but also, he asks as if there is an answer--hoping that other characters in his journal are experiencing the same things. More importantly however, he asks the question to his readers so that they might be prepared to accept that his writing is factual and true. The distinction between what is real and
what is imagined is another root theme for the book.

4. How would we know the difference? Loche might use Socrates’ Cave Allegory to start toward answering the question, or a number of other philosophical launching pads, but ultimately
storytelling is at the root of Loche’s quandary. Loche counts on his story to be believed in order
to achieve his goal. At the end of The Invasion of Heaven we learn that his words turn out to be
more than a mere suspension of disbelief.

5. The balance of good and evil is weighed throughout your story. Can we know one without the other? With volumes written on the problem of evil, I’m not sure that I can add much other than providing another story to hopefully keep the discussion going. Unlike classical myth, The
Newirth Mythology leans away from the black and white nature of morality. I am more interested
in the many sides and emotional levels of characters, their pasts, their fears, their hopes and
what motivates their actions. The character of Helen Newirth, for example, has been called evil
by some of my readers in emails and letters. In fact, I’ve been asked more than once by readers
at book events, “Why is Helen such a bitch?” I have to agree because the story paints her rather
unfavorably, but I often add laughing, “You don’t know Helen like I know Helen.” In other words, there is more to the story. Her past is dark. Her upbringing was a horror-- and how she survived is touched upon in Part Two, Leaves of Fire. In other words, Helen operates out of what she knows and out of the environment she has been dealt. Does that make her evil? I’m not sure. I
tend to agree with Plato’s idea: “Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.” It is my hope that
Helen will find redemption by the end--and hopefully not continue her spree of bad choices.

6. In your series, art comes to life. Pictures influence behavior and a journal’s words create real people out of the writer’s imagination. What role should art play in our lives? Art is transcendence. It is a time machine. It is the shiny thing. It is the mirror.  I had intended to use art as a sort of character in the trilogy, though, it didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, art became the environment and setting. It surrounded the story.

Like most artists and writers, I walk beside my characters, I live with them, I see what they see
and I (safely) experience their joys and horrors. I’m often thankful that I am able to leave them
on the page and escape. I remember thinkingwhen I was creating the writer/psychologist Loche
Newirth: wouldn’t it be nightmarish if he couldn’t escape his creation--his art? If what he made
came into being?

From that point dominos tumbled, and a huge pile of notes with “what if?” (my favorite question
of all) scribbled at the topn of each began cluttering my desk. What if Loche changes history?
What if God couldn’t escape his own creation? What if all myths and gods exist in reality? What
if art is the vehicle between this life and the next?

Art’s role in The Newirth Mythology is just that--a vehicle to the unknown--to what if. But hasn’t
art always been just that? Art transports us beyond ourselves and guides us out of ignorance to
empathy and knowledge. To me, art is the singular proof of a soul.


7. You are a bit of a renaissance man- educator, world traveler, poet, artist and rock musician- as well as a novelist. Do you hope your books further the arts and inspire others to create new worlds- and nourish ours?  Art should knit us all together. It should inspire, elevate and excite. So yes, it is a humbling delight knowing that readers are identifying with my work. Learning that what you’ve created resonates with others and inspires is the primary aim--and better still, the connection invigorates the entire process--from wanting to continually pursue improving one’s craft, to new approaches, reaching further, and dreaming wider and longer. I like to think of art as a good conversation that you don’t want to end--so you order more drinks.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How To Connect To The Media Like It’s 1998



I had lunch with a publicist at a growing medium-sized, New York City based publisher and discussed the trends and challenges to generating publicity for today’s books and authors.  I was not surprised when this beautiful young woman told me that she and her fellow Millennials rely almost solely on email and digital contacts with the news media.  I tried to exhort the value and utility of supplementing such efforts with good old phone calls. I don't know if she fully appreciates the advice.

My colleague at work, a Boomer Baby, reported to me that he got a Fox-TV booking, a meeting with a CBS This Morning Weekend Show producer, and a potential New Yorker article all with phone calls.  He said after mailing books and sending follow-up emails the only real tool he had to reach and persuade the media was the phone. It worked. He even took it a step further and converted a call into an in-person meeting.

Now, this doesn’t’ mean email will fail us or that calls will always produce big bookings, but it’s obvious that we must vary our pitches, our timing, and our means of contact if we are to reach, influence, and impact the media.

The same goes with networking.  Sure, it’s convenient to meet people online at sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, but to really further those relationships, phone calls and meet-ups really help.

The other day I met a 30-year-old travel expert who is regularly interviewed by the media and I concluded the 15-minute conversation by exchanging business cards.  She didn’t have one.  I asked why not.  She said she just gives out her Instagram page.  I told her it’s not always practical.  Now I have to remember her page or write it down immediately?  What if I’m not on that social media platform?  It’s just dumb not to use business cards.  Paper, phones, and postal mail should not be demonized or ignored.  They have their purpose and can be an asset to you.

Another thing I’m noticing is that communication have gotten shorter and thus less detailed – which causes more people to ask more questions and for clarification. Or worse, people throw too much at you in an email or attachment and overwhelm you with useless materials.  Can’t we find the right balance of sharing useful, detailed, and relevant information?

I’m finding we’re beginning to segregate based on social media platforms.  There’s a whole other world on Pinterest than on LinkedIn, and Twitter is not YouTube.  Some of us use multiple platforms – or none at all.  The same goes with traditional media.  Some watch TV, but some stream and download things that few see.  Everyone’s reading, listening, and watching two different things – or the same things but at different times. The variety and choice are wonderful, but as a society, we’re losing a core foundation of information and entertainment that a vast majority can reference or understand.

There is also a chasm in the book world. You have e-book only vs. print and e-book or Print On Demand vs. printed books.  There’s the Amazon Kindle, the Nook, other competing devices, each with exclusive titles.  There’s self-published vs. traditionally published, fiction vs. non-fiction, and unknown author vs. bestselling author.  This is all normal and fine but I wonder how society will continue to grow as it breaks down into different content silos and information segregation.

All types of media are looking to get into the business of others and everyone wants to commoditize content.  Mergers happen daily as brands look to align with what they don’t have or with those that threaten them.  What will the mass media landscape look like in 2025 and how does one position themselves for the coming changes?

We can’t turn the clocks back nor can we speed up the future.  We need to strike a balance between old and new, paper and digital, tech and in-person.  Society will be in flux for a while and until an exact standard or formula is established, diversity your portfolio of communication styles.  Call!  Email!  Snail mail!  Meet in person!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why You Need To Spend At Least $10,000 On Book PR


If you want to properly promote your book to the news media it will take resources, namely money and time. But the media rarely discovers you unless you pursue it.  You can’t publish a book and say that you don’t have the money or time to promote it.  If that’s the case, you should rethink why you went through the effort to write and publish a book in the first place.  It always amazes me when I meet authors who tell me they have no budget to promote their book, yet they spend so much time and brainpower to research, write, edit, and produce these books.  How do authors, think books will sell if no effort is made to promote, market, and champion them?

I can’t tell anyone how to spend their money, especially money they don’t have, but I can simply tell you that without a minimum of $10,000 to fund your marketing and publicity efforts, you are relying on luck and prayers to get discovered.  Or, you are dedicating a ton of time to promote and market yourself and learn as you go.  Or, you are ignoring the major media out there and only relying on social media to build your brand and sales pipeline.

Now, money spent doesn’t mean that results automatically happen either.  If you hire a lousy publicist or use the money unwisely, it’s the same as not spending money at all.  Sometimes you can hire right, generate good PR, and still sell few books.  It can be a problem that you have with your distribution, cover price or subject matter.

I want to encourage authors to open their wallets and invest in their own writing careers.  There are many ways to spend your money, and there are things worth considering, depending on what stage you’re at, what your goals are, and what your books are about:

Consultant
Utilize an experienced promoter or marketer to guide you on what to do, share resources and ideas with you, and help mentor your path.

Advertising
Consider using FB and Google ads to generate book sales.

Securing Media
There are four media areas to explore – local and national television, radio, print, and online (Blogs, websites, podcasts).  You want your message to reach media that is consumed by your targeted reader demographic.  You want a quantity of quality outlets interviewing you, reviewing your book, featuring you in a story or giving you an opportunity to write guest-posts and byline articles.  Someone with experience, knowledge, ideas, passion, and connections should be reaching the media on your behalf.

Social Media
Either you do it or hire a surrogate to do it for you.  There’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube – as well as Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.  Write a blog and host a podcast.  It takes time, but it’s worth it.  You can connect with your readers this way.

Some things are free but unless you take the time to pursue them, such as scheduling speaking engagements, bookstore signings, and library discussions, you need to pay someone to do it for you.

I implore every author to:
·         Have a marketing and publicity plan
·         Dedicate a meaningful budget to enact the plan
·         Put in the right amount of time and effort to supplement any paid services that you hired others to do
·         Seriously rethink publishing a book if you don’t plan on investing in its marketing and promotion

Whether you are a best-selling author with a traditional publisher – or a first-time, self-published author – you need PR, marketing, and branding.  Everyone needs to break through the clutter and get to the next level.  The best way to do this is to invest in yourself and be realistic in your expectations.  You can make things happen – but you need some green to get the green light!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Tweetable Advice on Guerrilla Social Media Marketing



I came across a five-year-old book that amazingly still seemed relevant today.  Normally, a book that’s a few years old is not outdated, especially if it’s on a subject like improving relationships or how to build a birdcage, but when it comes to marketing or social media, almost all books are in need of refreshing upon the date they are published.  But Guerrilla Social Media Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson and Shane Gibson offers a lot of useful advice and resources.

I was particularly entertained by their chapter called 107 Social Media Tweets, which was filled by Twitter-size statements about social media marketing.  Here are 11 such tweetable tips:

#5 Contrast keeps people interested.  With your blog and Twitter content vary tempo, topic, and format.

#9 Stay curious and you will stay current.

#16 Improve the way you use five tools 10 percent each. Cumulatively it will have a big effect.

#37 Being a thought leader is just is just as much about selfless contribution as it is about unique dialogue.

#58 Worry less about selling and more about connecting and rapport.

#76 Constantly look for ways to contribute, and you will never run out of marketing leverage.

#107 Think twice, click once.

#102 Social media is 90% contribution and connection, 10% marketing and sales.

#103 Social media belongs to the people.  They get to make the rules, not the marketer.

#19 The best medium is the one your customer likes.  Use multiple media.

#24 Social media works better when it’s incorporated holistically with your entire set of marketing tools.

The book contains checklists, trips and strategies, and identifies over 100 sites or tools to use.  It said it best on page 174: “Guerilla social media marketing is both a strategy and a way of thinking and living virtual lives.  It’s about applying time – tested principles of community building, relationship development, innovation, and imagination to the lightning-fast world of digital social networks.  As we have said earlier, a guerrilla social media marketing attack has a beginning, a middle, but no end.  You need to sustain the attack for one year or even longer before you reap the full benefits.”

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Interview With A Wildlife Photographer/Author


Award-Winning Photographer & Author Pat Toth-Smith, Author of Wild Among Us


1.      What inspired you to become a wildlife photographer? A trip to Yellowstone National Park started it all. It was during the seasonal rut, a time when horned animals like Elk and Moose fought each other for the chance to mate. The noise of the crashing horns, the visible aggression, and being in such close proximity to the spectacle excited me.  I couldn’t sleep the night before the first photo shoot and went out early to capture these animals in the morning light.  This experience was the start of my long photographic career.

2.      Where is your favorite place to shoot and why?  Yellowstone National Park.  The wildlife is accessible. The road there is in the shape of a figure eight, which allows you to scan the park for wildlife. Thus, making the wildlife very accessible from wherever you’re driving.  It’s easy to stumble onto buffalo, elk, and coyote.  Bears, moose, eagles and wolves are a bit harder to find and require more persistence, knowledge of their behaviors and some stalking skills. Many of my challenging stalking experiences in my book, Wild Among Us, are from Yellowstone.

3.      What perspective does a woman like you bring to wildlife photography and how does it differ from a man’s?  I try to make the animals comfortable in my presence by being unobtrusive and far enough away that they feel like they have a lot of space.  I’m sensitive to their behaviors and how they relate to one another.  I especially like to capture the animals in their intimate or funny moments. Each animal has its own unique temperament.  From my experience I’d say that many male photographers are just after the peak of action shot and will move on after they get it.  I like to get the peak of action shot also, but my goal is to spend more time chronicling the animal’s behavior, and as a result get some rare expressions and more intimate moments of the animal alone or with others.  I try to stay with the animal.

4.      Aren’t you afraid seeking out these sometimes dangerous predator animals and how do you keep yourself safe?  I am always afraid when I am around predator animals but I think fear is a good thing. It keeps me hyperaware so I can do the right thing, if I feel threatened by these animals. There are many stories in my book Wild Among Us where I’ve done just that and avoided being attacked.  When in wild places, I always do what the authorities recommend, keeping an appropriate distance from the animals and making noise when hiking on the trails. Also, I carry pepper spray and will abandon a situation if my intuition is telling me it’s not safe.  I’ve always had a philosophy that I would rather fail than to be too afraid to try something, so I’ll try to get the shot of the bear, mountain lion, etc. if the risk does not outweigh the reward.  This has propelled me on-ward to try difficult things.

5.      What is the most dangerous situation you’ve encountered during your travels? One of my most dangerous encounters is in the introduction of Wild Among Us.  Once a large grizzly bear and her cub growled at me and followed me.  It was in Katmai National Park in Alaska during the salmon run.  I had just arrived at the park and was headed to the campground when I surprised a full grown female grizzly and her cub by the lakefront.  She growled loudly at me.  I knew not to make eye contact, but I also wanted to be aware of her in case she charges me.  I backed away slowly with my head down and my eyes staring at the ground trying to give her plenty of space.  I reached the trail that ran parallel to the beach the bear and her cub were on and walked for twenty minutes to the campground with the agitated bear yards away. She walked parallel to me and stared at me the entire time.  She never charged and I finally reached the campsite which had an electrified fence.

6.      What have you learned about humans in your observations of animals?  Humans and animals are very similar in many ways. Animals take care of their offspring with the same care as humans.  They will defend them aggressively. I’ve seen small cubs behave like small children, disregarding their mom’s instructions and then the mom scolding them--just like a human mother would dole out.   I think humans and wildlife both want the same thing-- to share the planet with each other peacefully and to be mutually respected and left alone in their respective habitats.

7.      When was your most memorable shoot? Why? It is hard to narrow it down to one, but I would have to say it was a bald eagle photography trip; I made after a neck surgery and a long recovery that followed. It really took an emotional toll on me, I had chronic pain and serious weight loss for over a year and after I recovered physically, I was emotionally devastated. It took a trip to Canada to see bald eagles that helped me reconnect to myself. Seeing the bald eagles beauty and the majestic rainforest habitat helped me to reconnect spiritually and heal my once famished soul.

8.      What did you do before you became a wildlife photographer? I was a registered nurse.  I had worked in hospice with terminally ill patients and was ready for a change. I had always enjoyed photography as a hobby, but gradually became more serious about it.  I took some college courses on photography, and decided to make a career of it.  I still use many of my nursing skills in my work now: I’ve helped in roadside accidents and natural disasters that I’ve encountered on my photo trips, I use my assessment skills to evaluate an animal’s level of agitation and to control my anxiety level in stressful situations.

9.      What is it like to be a woman in a primarily male-dominated profession? Wildlife photography is a solitary profession so you are only occasionally meeting up with other professional photographers. Usually it’s in Yellowstone National Park pursuing wolves or on a tundra buggy in Canada to view polar bears. Our conversations frequently are about photo equipment, and once they see I am as serous or more serious about what I do, I’m accepted as an equal.  On the other hand, I also have the added isolation of needing to be safe, meeting so many strangers and not always completely trusting them, for example, I feel more vulnerable as a woman hiking and camping alone. Wild Among Us contains many of my stories of being in danger as women.  But being cautious and intuitive allows me to continue do what I love to do.

10.  What is the most difficult thing about being a wildlife photographer? The inability to control your subjects. Usually, wildlife is difficult to find, or when you do find them the lighting can be bad. Frequently the animal runs off when he or she sees you, which gives you only a few minutes at most to get your shot.  Or sometimes an animal’s behavioral patterns can change, so what was reliable last year may not be this year.  I also struggle with the changing weather conditions:  freak snow storms and severe cold are a challenge.

11.  What exactly are you thinking as you get within feet of creatures that could rip you apart?  I actually act first and think later when I am in a precarious situation. I am grateful for this ability.  It seems like my body knows what to do even if my head hasn’t quite registered it yet. This has gotten me out of many sticky situations.  I refer too many of these situations in Wild Among Us.  It’s only later in the safety of my vehicle or tent that I will mull over what just happened and how close I came to getting hurt. I try to make sense of it and find a strategy to try the next time.

Please note the author is currently being represented by the book publicity firm that I work for.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015