William Kendall: Tulips

Tulips

by William Kendall @WilliamKendall1

Photo by William Kendall

Photo by William Kendall

If there can be a positive legacy of war, spring floral colours are a good one.

At the end of the Second World War, the Netherlands were liberated by Canadian forces. During the war, the Dutch Crown Princess Juliana had found refuge in Ottawa with her daughters, one of whom was born here. As thanks, the Dutch royal family sent tulip bulbs to Canada, a tradition they have kept up ever since. In the years that followed, those bulbs, and more being bought by the federal government, were planted in various spots in the city. By 1953, the idea of a formal tulip festival was proposed and initiated by the Canadian landscape photographer Malak Karsh, a local photographer who had been enjoying capturing the tulips as they bloomed each May. If his name sounds familiar, it should- Malak was the brother of the famed Ottawa portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh, and the two brothers pursued their common love of photography with different subjects.

The festival has carried on ever since, evolving over time, but always centered on the tulip displays. Beds of tulip bulbs are planted in the fall in parkland both in Ottawa and Gatineau, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. By late April the tulips are showing themselves, just in time for blooming in May. The festival takes place over a few days, ending on the Victoria Day weekend, and each year, weather plays a factor in the peak time of the bloom. Some years it’s early, some years it’s later. This year, as of this writing, I suspect the last weekend will be a good one for visitors.

And it brings in the visitors. Locals and tourists come to the parks and flower beds where the tulips are in their full glory. Photographers are to be found everywhere with cameras taking pictures. Some of the flower beds are arranged with patio stones leading into the middle of them, with posing for pictures specifically in mind. Weekends tend to be when it’s busiest around the tulips, so for a local like me, it’s easier to photograph during the middle of the week on a sunny afternoon.

There are numerous locations. The Rideau Canal has numerous flower beds along its length in the downtown core, filled with tulips. Where the Canal widens into Dow’s Lake, the largest number of tulips for any one location can be found- Commissioner’s Park, a spot that’s ideal for a pleasant walk, with a rich variety of bulbs and colours providing a feast for the eye.

There are other locations- Major’s Hill Park is a particularly splendid spot, with its grand views of the city skyline and multiple tulip beds. The national museums have tulip beds close by, as well as a quiet spot most people don’t know about, the Garden Of The Provinces, which lies at the western edge of the downtown core. Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau, Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor-General, and the Mackenzie King Estate in the Gatineau Hills are other ideal locations for tulips. And there are the tulips on Parliament Hill itself. They fill the flower beds out in front of Centre Block, providing a visual delight to visitors to our seat of government. Of course that doesn’t even take into account the countless tulips planted in private gardens across the city by residents.

But one of my favourite spots for the tulips is over on the Gatineau side of the river. On the grounds of the Canadian Museum of History, overlooking the river, with a great view of Parliament Hill, one will always find a bed of tulips planted and looking colourful in May. The bed is named for Malak himself, and it is a fitting place to pay tribute to the founder. He once took a photograph from this spot, a photograph of floating lumber and a boat or two managing the log drive on the river, with Parliament Hill as its backdrop. That very image was on our Canadian dollar bill for many years- with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth on the other side, an image taken from an official portrait of her done by his brother Yousuf. It’s a delightful spot to come to when the tulips are in bloom- the vivid flowers, the mighty river, and two cities and a grand landscape around you.

I’m lucky to live here. Throughout the period when the tulips are in bloom, I can go see them at my leisure. Visitors from out of town come by the legions to see them, to photograph them (becoming what I call the tulip paparazzi), and to delight in the multitude of colours. It’s a wonderful tradition that serves to be a great treat in the national capital.

Pink Tulips by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Pink Tulips by William Kendall, Photoblogger

White and Red Tulips by William Kendall, Photoblogger

White and Red Tulips by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Red Tulip Beds by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Red Tulip Beds by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Mixed Tulips by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Mixed Tulips by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Tulip Festival by William Kendall, Photoblogger

Tulip Festival by William Kendall, Photoblogger

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You are Killing Yourself With a Weak (or Nonexistent) Writer’s Bio

You are Killing Yourself With a Weak (or Nonexistent) Writer’s Bio – or Why a Writer’s Bio is Essential

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

[Be sure to check out my post today on Edie’s blog, The Write Conversation. ~Molly Jo]

Edie Melson: You are Killing Yourself With a Weak (or Nonexistent) Bio

Edie Melson: You are Killing Yourself With a Weak (or Nonexistent) Bio

I’ve been accused of being blunt and forthright, and I suppose the title of this post proves it’s true. But really people, don’t you realize how important those few lines at the end of a guest post or article really are? That space is valuable real estate and you’re growing weeds on it.

I’ll say it again, you are killing yourself with a weak writer’s bio.

What a Bio is NOT supposed to do:

Let me share what a writer’s bio is not designed to do. It’s not there to make me want to become your best friend. Sure I want enough info so I know you’re a real person, but my time (and everyone else’s) is in short supply, so don’t make me wade through folksy humor to get to what I need. If I want to get to know you better I’ll look up your blog and follow you on social media.

What a Bio IS supposed to do:

There are several reasons to have a writer’s bio ( and several sizes—but more on that later).

  1. Because people are curious and suspicious. If I’m going to read something online, I at least want to know who wrote it. I’m leery of articles that don’t have an author. Is it computer generated (yes they can do that), is it stolen (happens all the time), is the author ashamed of having written it?
  2. Because I may like what you have to say and want to read more. If what you’ve written resonates with me, I’m going to want to go deeper. No bio either means a dead-end (if I’m busy) or a lot of extra sleuthing on the internet. Trust me when I say this, a lot of you are NOT easy to find—but that’s another post.
  3. Because I want to share the post through social media. I know I can share it even if there’s no bio or attribution, but then my followers run into #1 and #2 above. And they complain to me. I’ve worked hard to build a strong online community, so I refuse to send out things that will knowingly frustrate them.

What You Have to Have:

  1. Links. You want to be found, by readers, by friends, by other writers. That’s hard to do when you don’t at least leave us a trail of breadcrumbs. Here are the links you need:
  • Blog/website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

These are the bare minimum.

  1. A sentence or two about your credibility. For me it’s a quick line about how long I’ve been in the industry and how many books I have.

That’s it. You probably thought you needed all sorts of things, but you don’t. Now you’re probably wondering how you organize all this information and I’ve got you covered there, too.

Compose Your Bio:

It’s important to remember a bio isn’t a resume. It’s not necessary to include information that isn’t relevant to what you’re writing.

  1. Keep it Relevant: For example, if you’re not writing about how to sell something, it isn’t important to mention your job fifteen years ago as an outside sales person.
  1. Organize it with the important stuff up front. I know our families are important to us, that’s not what I mean. This is a business and although I’m happy to learn you have a successful marriage, that’s not the first thing I need to know. So start with your credibility, then move into how I find you and your books.
  1. Include EMBEDDED hyperlinks when you send a bio for someone else to post. Don’t type out the full URLs, but actually embed the link to the words BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK, as well as any others that are relevant. The reason you want to have the words already linked is because of the word count guidelines you’ll run into. You don’t want to waste your word count on a hyperlink—especially if you only have 20-25 words.

How Many Bios Do I Really Need?

In a word, several. Depending on the guidelines of where you’re submitting it could be as few as 20-25 words or as long as several paragraphs. I try to keep several current versions of my bio in a file for easy access.

Here are some examples:

25 word bio:
Edie Melson is an author, freelance writer and editor with years of experience. Connect with her on her blog – The Write Conversation, Twitter or Facebook.

50 word bio:
Edie’s an author, freelance writer and editor. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, as well as the Senior Editor for Novel Rocket. Visit her on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

100 word bio:
Edie Melson is the author of four books, with two more due out January 2014. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands of writers each month, and she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her bestselling ebook on social media has just been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy and the social media director for Southern Writers Magazine. She’s also the Senior Editor at Novel Rocket. You can connect with Edie through Twitter and Facebook.

150 word bio:
Edie Melson is the author of four books, with two more due out January 2014. As a respected freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry, she’s connected with writers and readers throughout the country. Her bestselling ebook on social media has just been re-released as Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for WritersHer popular writing blog, The Write Conversation, gives her the opportunity to share what she’s learned and mentor others. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She’s also the Social Media Mentor for My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for Novel Rocket. Be sure to connect with her through Twitter and Facebook. 

300 word bio:
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the writing industry. She’s a sought after writing instructor; and her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers all over the country. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others.

She’s a prolific writer, publishing thousands of articles over the years, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. Edie is a regular contributor on the popular Novel Rocket and Inspire a Fire websites, as well as social media director for Southern Writers Magazine.

In keeping up with the leading edge of all things digital Edie has become known as one of the go-to experts on Twitter, Facebook, and social media for writers wanting to learn how to plug in. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated and expanded and re-released as Connections:Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.

Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. This devotional book for those with family members in the military debuted on Veterans Day, 2011. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in January 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves.

She’s a member of numerous civic and professional organizations, including Blue Star Mothers, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, The Christian Pen, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also the Social Media Mentor for My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for Novel Rocket.

Edie has been married to high school sweetheart, Kirk, for 30+ years and they’ve raised three sons. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.

I think you get the picture, and now it’s your turn. What questions do you have about a writer’s bio? Share them in the comments section below.

Blessings,

Edie

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And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!

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