Pixabay.com: A Powerful Free-Source for the Serious Blog, Tweet, Book or School

Inventers dream of ways to solve problems. Computer Science and IT guys solve problems by building a crowd-sourced website that supports dreamers all over the globe.

Problem: Wizzley.com authors being cited for using copyright protected images found on the web.

Solution: Pixabay.com

As Pixabay’s front page stated for years – it is a ‘repository for stunning Public Domain media.’ (As of this writing the site hosts 500,000 images and 1,000 video clips.)

Crowd-sourced, images and videos are uploaded by members. All media is released under a Creative Commons CC0 license which means that it is completely free for personal or commercial use.

Photo by Deog Yeon Hwang - Pixabay user:lalalife
Photo by c – Pixabay user:lalalife

‘Stunning’ is not an over exaggeration of the media quality on Pixabay – it is first-rate.  

Established in Germany, Pixabay’s worldwide popularity continues to grow. To date, 1.4 million user accounts have been created and over 1,500 new images are uploaded every day. With over 10 million visits per month, the site is outshining competing sites such as fotolia.com and pixelio.de.

Users from the United States account for almost 30% of the site traffic followed by Germany at around 8%. Brazil, Britain, France and Japan are at about 4%.

Income for Pixabay is generated by optional ‘gifts’ from its users and from Shutterstock and Google ads. Site founders, Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger prefer to keep the layout and design of the site as clean and uncluttered (by ads) as possible.

As one explores the site, ‘coffee’ buttons are noticeable. By clicking on these, donations can be made to the image author or to Pixabay. “Coffee” buttons on the artist page go to the artist and those on the download page go to Pixabay.

What keeps Pixabay’s good mojo going? Once the site users discover the outstanding image quality, the plethora of subject matter available and the site’s ease-of-use, they soon find themselves wanting to participate in the global community of sharing.

The Pixabay Founders
Hans photo strip
Hans Braxmeier, Germany

Hans is the founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied computer science in Ulm (Germany), and has launched several web projects.  He has donated over 18,000 images to the site.

“The main focus of Pixabay was never to make a lot of money. The focus is to give something like Wikipedia back to cool users,” says Hans Braxmeier.

simon

Simon Steinberger, Germany

Simon is co-founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied chemistry in Ulm (Germany) and finished his PhD in 2011. During this time, he started working in the IT sector and developed various websites.

Editor’s Choice award media is awe-inspiring! These are the best and greatest Pixabay photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. Media for this award is selected by our team members.” – Simon Steinberger

Comments from the Pixabay chat forumsdebbies books

“A personal thank you [to Pixabay.com]. I now have two books on Amazon thanks to this site. I always wanted to write books for kids but had the issue of how to illustrate them. Now I am using images from here and a few of my own.”

Debbie Walkingbird, Oregon

“A huge thank you to all of the generous and talented Pixabay photographers! I manage a blog for a small animal welfare non-profit and you make my life so much easier!” – MsLisaJo

“Pixabay gives me a great place to have my work seen and used and hopefully that exposure will lead to eventual sales elsewhere. Taking pictures that I think are great but just sit in a hard drive doesn’t cut it. I would much rather people see, use and enjoy my work.” – Jim

“I find that initiatives like Pixabay (and many others) are a great way to keep culture flowing enabling others to build on and create new exciting works. For me, being in the academic world, this is a great resource to find new images for web design and illustration of work materials.” –José R Valverde

DH allen books“I used Pixabay images and clipart as artwork for book covers and on my blog. Wanted to say thank you to all who images and clipart I was able to use for these ventures. Pixabay and you guys are the best!” Smile – D.H. Allen | Writer, Traveler, Photographer blog

 

 

As Pixabay Member, Steve Buissinne of South Africa puts it, “Across the world people speak in 6500 languages, but we all see in only one. I think that donating images contributes to a more interesting and fulfilling life for us all.”

Related article: Pixabay Member Spotlight

 

Positive Gifts from the County Go Beyond Doctors and Medicine

It can start as a cry at a higher than normal pitch, a raging fever that won’t come down, bruises that appear for no reason. A parent, consumed with worry seeks out help. The Pediatrician makes a preliminary evaluation and orders more tests.

Then the moment arrives…words, delivered with professionalism and care from the doctor;  everything has changed for the family and the child with the difficult diagnosis.

For nearly 300 families in Nevada County (California), these experiences are part of their story. But that’s only the beginning. A new reality sets in—one that involves long drives to special care units at UC Davis, San Francisco or Stanford and physician specialists, dieticians, nutritionists, social workers and rounds of medication.IMG_1555-web

Maryellen Beauchamp has a special connection with these families. She is Nevada County’s Public Health Nurse Case Manager for California Children’s Services. 53 webCalifornia Children’s Services is operated by the State of California. Over 80 years old, it has an office in every county. Maryellen acts as the conductor in an orchestra that encompasses multi-faceted medical assistance for children with severe health issues. These issues can range from growth plate or skull fractures, endocrine, neurological, orthopedic, and metabolic disorders to Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and premature infants.

This type of work comes with a heavy weight and knowledge that is often difficult to leave behind at the end of the day.  On her desk, Maryellen keeps several inspirational quotes that remind her to remain grounded. One of them reads; Today, I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive; I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. –H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama

Maryellen recently had the opportunity to incorporate something important into her program—a sense of positive empowerment for her young clients. It came in the form of a beautifully illustrated book, Toby Bear and the Healing Light.  It is the story of a stuffed bear who teaches a sick child the power of affirmations, meditation and visualizations in the healing process.

Toby Bear and the Healing Light was created by author, Lisa Boulton while undergoing cancer treatments, as a gentle way to help children going through difficult illness. Boulton enlisted photographer and artist Lisa Redfern to create the photo-illustrations. “I wanted the story to feature local people, places and businesses as a way to express my love for our community and for the outpouring of support and caring that I received when I was sick,” says Boulton.SNMH Approved 12-14-12

Maryellen says, “I like that the story features Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital—the place where the journey with California Children’s Services begins for many of our families. It is also a plus that the Nevada  County Public Health Department could partner with the local women who created the book.”

As Maryellen puts it, “You can’t get well with doctors and medicines alone…it takes the right attitude to make it all work.”  She’s excited about the books because she plans to give them as gifts to the age appropriate children in her program. “It is a positive message and gift from Nevada County Public Health Department to the children (and their families) who need it most.”

Read more about this topic at The Union.com.

Toby Bear and the Healing Light

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Good Morning Aboard Caralee – Short Fiction – Romance

 five minute ficiton
[reddit writing prompt]

A married couple start another average morning on an average weekday. No one dies. No twist. Show their overwhelming love for each other without them speaking a single word.

Their movements were automatic with a choreograph-like smoothness.  In a galley smaller than most American coat closets, this was an accomplishment. The 45 foot Caralee housed all of their worldly possessions and had transported them to exotic ports all over the globe.

He reached for bowls while she filled a pot with water. He struck a match to light the flame on the stove as she pulled out spoons from the drawer. She placed the pot on the burner while taking a box of oats out of the cupboard.

When hands were not occupied with tasks, they would glide across or alight upon the other’s body; a brush down the back, coming to rest upon a shoulder, a hip or making a light tap on the behind.

Oats were added when the water boiled, the pot covered and the heat turned down. During the brief pause in their morning dance, their eyes lingered upon each other; they smiled.

He enjoyed watching the light play across the pink facets of the pendant that always hung around her neck. A gift he’d presented to her some thirty-five years earlier on the day that Asmara was born. Their only child had been conceived above deck, on a warm night, under a ripe Sri Lankan moon.

Sitting hip to hip at the tiny table, they held hands as they ate. Her nervous fingers twisted his wedding ring around and around on his finger. She paused occasionally to rub her fingernail over the smooth mound of rose quartz that she’d found in Brazil.

Before taking that first sip of coffee, they clinked mugs together softly. A tradition adopted from their time in the British Isles.  It signified ‘a robust day and a tender heart.’

Photography by: Mark Pepall
Photography by: Mark Pepall

Bundled in coats, they went topside to welcome the sun as it crested the horizon. Elbows resting on the rail they let the cool breeze flow across exposed skin. Smiling, she turned to him, observing the lines on his face and the wiry gray hair that steadily overtook the brown along with the passage of time.  She thought that he looked as good as the day they met…even better. She mouthed the words, ‘olive juice.’ This was a family joke; these words look like something else if one is lip reading. A chuckle from deep in his chest echoed across the water.

 

Organization & Social Media for Authors

Author Interview – Resources for Writers

If you are a Haylee fan, you’ll discover a bit of the back story in this condensed author interview. You’ll also learn about the historical research – San Francisco and California Gold Rush – that went into the project.

Created to coincide with the release of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone (paperback), the interview contains marketing and social media tips for authors. It also delves into character development, creativity and sources for Public Domain images.

The original, in-depth author interview can be read on the blog, You Read It Here First.

Interviewer:

Debbie McClure, author of In the Spirit of Love and In the Spirit of Forgiveness
You Read It Here First Blog owner—Christina Hamlett, Screenplay Consultant, Media Relations Expert and Award-Winning Author.

Book Trailer with Special Voice Artist Feature

Awakened Seed book trailer screen shot

Haylee is ready to entertain and entice you with her book trailer video!

A special feature is Voice Artist Meghan Kelly speaking as Haylee.

Meghan is currently working on producing an audio book for Awakened Seed. It will be distributed on Audible this fall.

Check out Meghan’s website and stay tuned for more about her beautiful voice work.

Sounds of Meghan Kelly website

Meghan Kelly Image 1 cropped

Haylee and the Travelers Stone

Haylee 200A young woman, with an unusual psychic ability suddenly becomes a Traveler.

Can you stop being lonely when your touch destroys everyone you love?

Haylee and the Travelers Stone is a new adult, paranormal, romantic, time travel, thriller. Click here to read back cover copy.

In order to accumulate Amazon reviewers prior to the publishing date (Summer 2014), FREE reading / review copies will be available through June 2014.

 

How to get Haylee onto your Kindle.

The first step is to download the file and save it on your computer in a place you’ll remember.

Click here for instructions on what to do on Amazon.com to Manage your Kindle.

Psychic Web Marketing – Katrina Thompson

Born with psychic abilities, Katrina Thompson vividly remembers moments (when she was about nine) laying awake and seeing a series of kind faces…people she didn’t know. They didn’t frighten her; they were just there.  Eventually she would think, that was interesting – then she’d go to sleep.08 kat 3

Years later, as an adult, Katrina had an experience that led her to the realization that mediumship could function as a form of healing. While doing a tarot reading,  she was asked a question that the cards could not possibly answer…yet the answers came quite clearly. Following their direction Katrina, connected with a loving person in spirit who gave personal information and solace to her client.

One bereaved widow comments, “When I first lost my husband, it felt like a physical wound. Katrina helped stop the bleeding.”

Although her life and work were not devoted to using psychic abilities, Katrina always maintained close ties with the Spiritualist Community, participating in training and community giving activities. A pivotal moment in her career came when she attended her first mediumship development workshop in Canada in 2007.

With her abilities fine tuned, her children mostly all grown, and a business concept in place, Katrina set out to market her psychic development workshops and her personal psychic reading services.

Although, her husband and sons helped establish her initial online presence, with Adobe products, Katrina found it challenging to rely on them (with their own busy schedules) to keep her website updated with current information.

She has the skills to learn those programs but her time is a limiting factor. She needed a framework to work within that would allow her to ’hit the ground running’ while cultivating the relationships that would grow her business.

To accomplish this, we set up a WordPress site for Katrina. Using many of the images already created by her son, katrina 1I added artistic treatments, created a color pallet and color palletproduced a series of web videos.

kat2

After only one WordPress training session, Katrina was off and running with her own website and blog.

The fact that I can have this much power over my own website is AWESOME!”  she says  enthusiastically.

The combination of Katrina’s warm personality, good writing skills, an easy-to-use website with quality imagery and cohesive design elements is working; she has quickly gained numerous online followers. Her site has become a powerful ancillary tool in her business development activities where adding posts and information about upcoming events has become second nature. Katrina can now focus on what is really important…connecting with people and facilitating healing.

To learn more about Katrina and her mediumship services, visit her website at http://www.ultravimedium.com/

Developing an Online Brand – Toby Bear the eBook

In the spring of 2012, Lisa Boulton was designing her own line of jewelry, the mother of three grown sons, starting a new career as a health care provider … and a breast cancer survivor. At the end of that same year, she had added another accomplishment: published author.

author2imageblueweb

“When I first met with Lisa (Redfern), I had written the Toby Bear story and had created a series of pencil sketches. I loved the digital paintings of children that I’d seen in Redfern’s studio, so I thought I would ask if she’d work on the project with me,” says Boulton.

Lisa Boulton says that the Toby Bear project is her “passion” and the culmination of her life experiences: An opportunity to comfort and care for children and to help them build a strong sense of self-awareness with positive thinking techniques. Redfern too thought that the project would be a excellent vehicle to express her own amalgamation of professional skills and that it could add a new dimension (ePublishing) to her business.2013 TO Do graphic

Throughout the summer, the women worked together to execute their production schedule that involved finding models, scheduling photo shoots, creating art pieces, manuscript editing, shooting and editing their first Toby Bear web video. They also gathered data to set-up the TobyBearStories.com website and Facebook page that include resources for childrens yoga, healthy eating, meditation, care tips for cancer patients, a media kit and About the Author information.

facebook

website

blog

By June, the Toby Bear website and Facebook page had launched. The eBook, Toby Bear and the Healing Light, was published and available for sale on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Soney & Diesel in September.

Although Redfern was reluctant to enter the print book market, Boulton convinced her that a continued need for physical product-in-hand existed. So they developed the manuscript into a format for print-on-demand (also available through Amazon).

Lisa Boulton had her books in hand by Christmas time.

“I was exuberant when I received my first shipment of books.” said Boulton, “The clerk at the Nevada City Post Office saw my excitement and asked me to open the box so she could see them too (there wasn’t a line behind me). It was a fabulous moment! We were both so excited to see the whole community beautifully represented in the book,” comments the author.

To learn more about Lisa Boulton and Toby Bear and the Healing Light, visit TobyBearStories.com

Toby, Lisa & Lisa

Vintage Pet Beds – Hand Crafted in Nevada City

The Cattani’s background in gift item design, pet products, building and furniture crafting make Pet Beds a natural outgrowth of their style and ingenuity.  They have amassed a stock of headboards and chair backs that they design into special and unique pet beds. They also offer a specialty service where they craft a custom Pet Bed made out of your own furniture.

“The Pet Beds we design are about love and comfort for our pets,” says Becky Cattani.

In her career, Becky traveled extensively in the orient and designing highly successful gift items for an import company. She also spent most of a decade researching the history of a 1900’s fishing lodge in Oregon and restoring it to it’s historical splendor. Prior to 2006, the Cattani’s lived in Santa Cruz County where Becky owned a pet deli & boutique in the little village.

These experiences began her love of period furniture, antique restoration and product design.

Matt enjoys working with all kinds of people. He has a quick smile and is perpetually cheerful – even when he faces challenges. His skills in building maintenance have carried him far in life. He’s managed and maintained apartment complexes, vacation rentals and a historic hotel. His workshop would make any woodworker envious. It is a gabled building painted cheery bright red and replete with a lighthouse style light at the top that shines brightly every evening.

In 2011 the Cattanis hired me to create professional product images for brochures, upcoming festivals and for a website. During the course of our photo session, we discussed their business goals, objectives, target market issues, and technical skills. We concluded that a website, that they maintain themselves, is not practical for the Cattanis at this time. Their goal is to work with pet suppliers, interior decorators, catalog companies and to connect with people one-on-one at craft fairs to generate custom orders.

For the immediate short term, they plan to list their contact information in key online locations so that they have a web presence and focus their business building efforts through connections that  they develop at festivals. To this end, they work cooperatively with artist Monique Hanson, who specializes in animal painting, to share booth space at artisans festivals throughout northern California and Nevada.

Comments they always hear when people see their Pet Beds, “Oh! Those are so darling!”

“When we first started showing the beds, people would ask if their dogs could sit on them. We thought that would be alright…until we realized that the dogs wanted to mark their territory!”  laughs Matt.

Matt and Becky are enjoying life in Nevada County,  their continual quest for unique furniture and always, always the joy and exuberance of their furry companions.

Moondoggies / Luna Kitties
(530) 470-0347
Moon Doggies Motel
13050 Discovery Way
Nevada City, CA 95959

Universally Good Business Practices – Politeness & Polished Communication Skills

During the summer of 1988, I acted as a liaison between law school interns and the staff & professionals at a sizable legal firm in Sacramento. Within that group of interns were two who stood out. Mary; a bright, cheerful young woman with shoulder length auburn hair and Pei Yei; a quiet, unassuming Chinese exchange student still getting used to the differences between life in the US and China.

Mary arrived at that point in her career after spending many years participating in theater and drama productions. The way she carried herself – excellent posture, a confident attitude and a cheerful, friendly nature no doubt landed her numerous job offers. She was the first person to show me the proper way to shake someone’s hand. (I must have had one of those ’dead fish’ handshakes up until that point.) She demonstrated it by looking directly into my eyes, grasping my hand firmly – but not too tight – making a  single, strong up and down motion. It made a lasting impression.

By comparison, Pei Yei‘s presence, with her demure style of dress and soft voice didn’t immediately shine out from the group. However; after spending time with her, I learned that she was ultra intelligent, strong, brave and persistent. Our big adventure together was taking her to have her ears pierced – something her parents would be scandalized about once she returned home.

Both of these women had qualities that set them apart from the crowd in their own way, and – I am sure – made them successful business women. Politeness, polished communication skills and presenting a confident attitude about ones area of expertise are things all of us need to be continually thinking about whether we are teenagers applying for our first job or seasoned professionals at the top of our game.

In addition to how we project ourselves in person, our online marketing, sales and social networking reflect how we are perceived at first glance.

Whenever I get ready to promote a new product or service and I expect to be directing attention to my online presence, I read through every one of my website, FaceBook, and LinkedIn pages with a fresh perspective.

  • Is everything fresh, current, organized and easy-to-understand?
  • Do the images I have on display adequately demonstrate the story I am telling?
  • Have I clearly asked people for a specific action?

I recently completed an archive job for the General Motors Corporation. I landed this job, from thousands of miles away, through a Google search, a professional looking website, and clear, business-like communication skills.

It was a kick to cross paths with GM again. My first marketing internship in college was for General Motors. The goal was to expose up-and-coming professionals to GM cars. The ‘vehicle’ was to organize and promote a Future Fair with a multitude of vendors offering cutting edge products. The event was to be held on the campus quad and the biggest challenge was to work out a way for the grounds maintenance folks to allow us to let the cars sit on the grass for a few hours…

No matter where we are in our careers, projecting confidence & knowledge, being polished, polite and business-like both in person and online will take us to new places with many more opportunities to follow.