Category Archives: Artist Profiles

4K Footage Space X Launches

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The 12th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest Winners

I always enjoy seeing the images from yearly Smithsonian photography competition. These are just as awesome as ever.


Smithsonian has just announced the winners of their 12th Annual Photo Contest. The winners were selected from over 26,500 entries by photographers from 93 different countries.

Pham Ty was awarded the grand prize for his photo of seamstresses sewing a fishing net in a small Vietnamese village. Six category winners were also selected along with two Readers’ Choice winners, who were the top vote getters from over 10,000 votes received.

For the complete list of finalists and winners, visit where you can also enter next year’s contest.

Grand Prize
Pham Ty


Women of a small village near Vinh Hy Bay, Vietnam, sew a fishing net while their husbands fish. (Vinh Hy Bay, Ninh Thuan, Vietnam, November 2013, Sony NEX-6)

Natural World : Winner
Lorenzo Mittiga


A green iguana surfaces for air. “I had decided to take…

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Chat with Sarah Robinson: Romance and Crime Thriller Author

Sarah Robinson Cover BannerSR-3


Sarah Robinson is an Amazon Bestselling Romance and Crime Thriller Author of the contemporary Rockstar romance series Sand & Clay, as well as the very popular romantic suspense trilogy, The Photographer Trilogy.

All of her novels have reached Amazon’s Bestseller Rank in Crime, Crime, Thriller, Contemporary Romance, and/or Romantic Suspense.
Her writing often concentrates on the complexity of love in emotions, combining psychological complexities and human flaws to create very real characters that readers can relate with.

Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in criminal psychology. In regards to future publications, Sarah is with the Seymour Literary Agency and has recently been contracted by Loveswept, a Random House Penguin imprint, to begin a new contemporary romance series in late 2015 called Kavanagh Legends, which follows Irish alpha male brothers in the world of MMA fighting.

She recently married a Fairfax Police Officer, who shares her love of animals. Together, they own a zoo of rescues and enjoy volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

Hi Sarah!

Tell me about yourself. . . your life before you became a Romance and Crime Thriller Author?

“Not much to tell, I’m young and still trying to figure everything out. I grew up in a mix of Maryland and then New Jersey as the oldest of five children in a Greek household, enough said there. Crazy! I put myself through school with several waitressing jobs at a time and then went on to get my graduate degree. I finished my Masters Degree in Criminal Psychology in 2013 and married my now-husband, Justin, who is a Fairfax County police officer. I worked a ton of different jobs during school and after school, but nothing fit me and I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I worked as a mental health counselor for severely disabled schizophrenics, then I counseled paroled sexual offenders, then I worked for a cancer research foundation, and all kinds of other jobs. Finally I got laid off in May 2013, so I started writing because I suddenly had the time! Turns out, that’s where I would find what I love to do!”

Why Romance and Crime Thrillers? Did you dabble in other genres ?

“-I’ve dabbled in several genres at this point, and I plan to try more. I think most authors don’t fit into one genre, because we write what comes to us. Genres are just labels that help sales, so we don’t tend to think about them often. In fact, it can be really stressful to figure out what genre our work fits in, because we would like to think we’re original, outside of the box, unable to be labeled. But readers want labels, they want warnings, and they want to know what they are picking up, therefore genres are a must. I also write contemporary romance, new adult, and some romantic comedy!”

Tell me about The Photographer Trilogy?

“- The Photographer Trilogy is three books based on a true story from my life. It delves into deep topics, including sexual assault, betrayal, and family dysfunction, therefore readers should be aware of that if they are sensitive to certain triggers. I began the book as sort of a therapy, writing about my life, and then I decided to take control and change my story, my ending. So, the trilogy was born, and it’s been so well received by readers, I’m honored!”

What was your inspiration for The Sand & Clay Rocker Series?

“- There wasn’t something I can pinpoint as inspiration. I wanted to write a rockstar romance, but I didn’t want it to be like all the other ones out there. Way too many rockstar romances are filled with drugs, tons of sex, promiscuity, and crazy lifestyles on the road. I write about a sensitive sweet rockstar. A family man, a lover, and a true artist at heart. This rockstar isn’t driven by fame and money, he’s driven by art. There were no books out there like that, so I wanted to put one out there. It’s definitely one of my favorite series, it’s so totally light hearted and sweet. Much different from the deep, darkness of The Photographer Trilogy. Sometimes we all need a little fantasy.”

When thinking about story ideas, what comes first. . . the development of the plot or characters?

“- The plot and the universe the plot takes part in usually come first, then the individual characters form from that usually.”

What advice do you have for young aspiring writers?

“- My advice would be to always remember where you started, and who helped you from the beginning. Remember that you should never give up, but you should listen to criticism and learn from others what you can. I’d advise to grow a thick skin as soon as possible, because people will read your book (your baby!) and hate it. They will. And it will hurt. Aside from that, just keep writing. The hardest part of being a writer is writing! So just sit down and do it!”

Her books can be found at the links below:


Book 1 (Tainted Bodies) ➜ (Only $0.99!)
Book 2 (Tainted Pictures) ➜
Book 3 (Untainted) ➜

Box Set ➜


Book 0.5 (Logan’s Story) –

Book 1 (Sand & Clay) –

Book 1.5 (Sand & Snow) –

Follow Sarah on Social Media

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –

Amazon Store –

Goodreads –


Pinterest –

Google Plus –

Tumblr –

Poetry Corner: ME

Misty blue and seeking to be true
Hard to love by ordinary ones
For they don’t see me
As a romanticist might seek to

Another dimension is my goal
Where love flows through me
Touching those most exalted
And those who only long to be

Faye Jones Majette

Poetry Corner: Faye Majette

I AM (after Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon)

I am from places and faces I have never known.

I am the hopes and fears of a farmer’s daughter.

The passion and possibility of a solider boy.

I am their offering to the future.

I am from North Carolina red clay.

It is in my bones.

I am from hard work, strong faith and

Trust in the unseen

I am from slaves and slave masters.

I am from ancestors I have never known.

The SlumGods of Mumbai: hope, hip-hop and the Dharavi way | Guardian Docs

In a real-life Billy Elliott story set in Mumbai’s biggest slum, 15-year-old Vikram loves to dance and dreams of becoming a hip-hop artist. His dance teacher believes in him – but how long can Vikram keep his dancing secret from disapproving parents?

In My Own Head

Poem by Davinna

Led to my feelings of disjointment
But my anointing phases all the pain
I am faithful and guided though im misguided with handling the pain

I looked at life as a trap
Faithful but still adapt to the devils constant breadcrumbs of the fame

He is in my head
He attacks me in my bed
Amplifying my feelings of distain

I write for truths
To give to youths
Who struggle in his name

Im crazy……not stupid
Sometimes…..I lose lucid
To fight off what it is that stains…
My brain is wired to work
To speak my worth
After a life of your never gonna be shit insane

I’m the same
Yet different
I cloak myself in difference
To be a rider in the game

One day it will all make sense
I will see over that fence
To greener pastures in his name

Until then I will crash
My behavior turned up on rash
Either your in or out
The melody is the same

I have lost friends who couldn’t see in me
Didn’t believe in me or get my walk of justice in his name
Seeing no evil of my struggles everyday

No one understands the hand of the fates
Clotho spinning
Lachesis determining places,worth and feelings…
Screw this
Atropos please give me the damn scissors so I can cut the thread

Dont want to be dead
But I fear if or when im dead
No one will get or still understand
My pain

I fall and get embarked by the dark
Slithering light
telling myself get back up to participate in this game

I climb these crystal stairs
Hoping not to break the panes

Break my ways

I break for days

I break for shade

I break in shame

To hide in when im not the same to revel in me not the getting back to me being the same
I keep the pain
Hiding in my brain

But a break is necessary
I brake for necessity
A learned condition of hiding all this pain

Im an actress but you didn’t know my role existed
I guess im gifted at hiding behind all this pain
I cant run

Or hide

Or get by with the weight of this……

The questions always exist when its detrimental to my brain
I underscore pity
Leaving out the precious gifts my family gives me
Its the definition of insane

System failure
Lets reboot

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance”

Peter said it all
even though the knowledge is tall
I still fall to repeat the same mistakes

The missed takes of my mistakes
Leading me to wrong
The questionable
leads me to questionable in head interference

Can’t seem to clear this
Bowling spares because im unable to strike within this brain……

I know this story

I live this story

I want to change this story

And I will
I will, AMEN




Artist Profile: Austin Hendrick

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Austin and I work for Fairfax County Government. I’m a Media Producer for Channel 16 and he is an Information Officer for the Office of Public Affairs. Our jobs require ongoing collaboration, so I see him often. For the past … Continue reading

Up Close with Mykal Hall – Part 2

re-post from onOne Software blog post

In part 2 of – Up Close with Mykal Hall – he talks about his typical workflow. To view part 1, click here.

Avalon+Beach-2726942318-OTell us about your workflow. How does onOne Software fit in? Are you using Photoshop anymore?

I always shoot in RAW. That way I capture the maximum amount of information so I have more creative leeway to stylize to my liking. As the saying goes “pixels are meant to be punished” and on the odd occasion I bend them to near breaking point. I copy my card to an external drive to a folder labeled by the location and date. Then I import the images into Lightroom with a few general keywords, create a Collection Set, then create a collection in that set called Full Shoot where all my RAW files are imported.

The next stage is to preview the images and delete the few that are ruined by either me having to lift my tripod in mid shoot to avoid being hit by a wave, miscalculating a wave strength and get splash back on the lens or filter, (a Seascapers torment), not having properly cleaned the said lens or filter after being splashed or just stuffing up the shot by not selecting Bulb mode when taking long exposures. From a Seascape shoot there may be 2 or 3 shots that fall into this category.

Then, I’ll 3 star rate those images that I feel are acceptable which generally culls it down by half. If I have been in a Long Exposure mood that day this process takes no time at all as I normally have a 90% plus hit rate with composition and exposure. It’s only when I’m shooting for flowing water movements with shutter speeds of 0.6sec that I have more to cull as I’m trying to capture the right timing of waves over or around rocks. After that, I will collect similar composition and view them in Survey View in Lightroom to pick the cream of the crop. These images get a 4 star rating and are placed in the next collection called Picks which is when I start my editing.

Summary of Mykal’s Pre-Editing Process

  1. Shoot in RAW
  2. Copy card to external drive to a folder labeled by location & date
  3. Import images into Adobe Lightroom (with general keywords)
  4. Create a Collection Set, then create a collection in that set called Full Shoot where all my RAW files are imported.
  5. Preview images. Delete completely ruined ones.
  6. 3 star rate images (images deemed acceptable)
  7. Pick the very best and give them 4 stars. Place these in a collection called Picks




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Samiya Bashir: Stabilimentum


Samiya Bashir is the author of Gospel, finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the 2009 Lambda Literary Award, and Where the Apple Falls, a Poetry Foundation bestseller and finalist for the 2005 Lambda Literary Award. Bashir is editor of Black Women’s Erotica 2 and co-editor, with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana, of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art.

Bashir’s poetry, stories, articles and editorial work have been featured in numerous publications including, most recently and forthcoming, in POETRY, Poet LoreMichigan Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cura, The Rumpus, Hubbub, Callaloo, and Encyclopedia Vol. 2 F-K.

She is the recipient of two Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan, as well as awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, where she was a recent NEA writer-in-residence, the University of California, where she served as Poet Laureate, the Astraea Foundation, the National Association of Pen Women, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Soul Mountain Writers Colony, The Austin Project, Alma de Mujer, the James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Cave Canem, among others. Her long poem, “Coronagraphy,” was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize.samiya

A long-time communications professional focused on editorial, arts, and social justice movement building, Bashir is a founding organizer of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer’s festival for LGBT writers of African descent and a recipient of the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award, given annually in recognition of women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.

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