Being Independent ~ by Bruno Skibbild

Forgive me for my spelling and grammar. English is not my first language reading is fine, talking better - and singing in English is almost perfect.

I live in Denmark - Danish is my first language. Living in a small country with one of the smallest language's in the World, there is no way around it when I want to get my words and tunes out there.

Being seen - being heard - being listened to.

That is the dream for me as an independent artist - to get out there - speaking about life itself with sorrow and pain, sunshine and rain - telling the stories from everyday life in poetry and music.

I guess it is the Dream for any artist - you can sit home alone and create new stuff - you can enjoy when you succeed inside. But at the end of the day the dream is for someone else to look at your painting, read your poem or listen to your song.

Because suddenly when that happens you are no longer alone with your Art.

The times that we live in right now are difficult for everybody - no one walks free.

Anxiety, stress and fear of the future are a part of all of us - Artists included.

So what does an Artist do when there is no possibility of getting your art out there in real life?

The Artist starts creating even more - writing another book and another - hoping that some day the world will be ready to receive.

Being independent is not about wanting to work on your own - wanting to be alone. It's about wanting to get out there in the world and find people who are the same - and in my view those people are everywhere.

They might not be in the established industry at first - but we shouldn't forget that inside every star is an independent artist.

For me being independent is about being myself - working every day to take that one step further - to get that one more listener - one more reader.

And every time that happens - I feel less and less alone - being independent.

Bruno Skibbild is a singer/songwriter/author who resides in Denmark. You can connect with Bruno by clicking the link below.

Beautiful Blue Beauties--Sapphires ~ by Grace Augustine

photo: Pinterest
The most famous of all sapphires is, of course, the beautiful 2.5c sapphire surrounded with diamonds that graced the hand of Princess Diana. The ring has since been passed on to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, who proudly wears this remembrance of Prince William’s mother.

Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. This precious gemstone is a variety of the mineral corundum. As the third hardest precious gemstones, it comes in at a 9 on the Mohs scale.  It’s durability makes this stone one to be worn daily. 

photo: Deposit Photos
Ruby and Sapphire are both forms of corundum, but each forms in different ways. While the ruby forms in marble, the sapphire forms in granitic pegmatites or corundum syenites. Sapphires that are completely untreated are more valuable than those that have. Sapphires are mined in East Africa, Madagascar, Myanmar, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Australia, and the United States. 
photo: Deposit Photos

One place to mine sapphires in the US is in my home state, Montana. Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine, outside of Helena, and Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine, outside of Philipsburg, have all of the equipment needed. When you visit, you can sift through your own purchased bucket of dirt, hoping to find one of the blue beauties. Please check out their websites.

The sapphire comes in a variety of colors and is mined in many different locations worldwide. Kashmir sapphires set the standard high with intense color and velvety hue. The Padparadscha sapphire is a rare pinkish-orange gem whose name means “lotus flower.”

During the Middle Ages, Greeks would wear the sapphire while visiting the Oracle of Delphi and to find favor with the god Apollo. In Medieval times, the stone was associated with the tranquility and majesty of the heavens. Because many believed it symbolized heaven, clergy wore sapphires. Kings and Queens wore the precious gemstone for protection and to attract wealth. The sapphire was also found in the breastplates of the High Priest of Israel.

photo: Pinterest/Blue Earth
“From antiquity, gemstones have been thought to possess mysterious powers. Sapphire is said to be the wisdom stone, stimulating concentration, enhancing creativity, and promoting purity and depth of thought. It is believed to focus and calm the mind as well as remove unwanted thoughts, depression, and mental tension. It is known as the stone of new love and commitment and is claimed to be useful in encouraging faithfulness and loyalty. Sapphire is thought to bring peace of mind, serenity, and prosperity.” (Fire Mountain Gems)

Clean sapphire stones with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse the stone well after washing it. Ultrasonic treatment and steam cleaning may be used; however, like many gemstones, sapphire should not be boiled.

Sawtooth Vacation


The Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho are beautiful, wild, and a terrific place for a vacation.  The family headed there for a long weekend at a resort with lovely log cabins and a beautiful outdoor pool.  True wilderness, which meant the resort clerk made sure we knew that the local bears had come down from the hills and were prowling around for food, so we should be sure to bag up our garbage and use the tie downs on the garbage cans.  But this vacation was not focused on the wilderness; instead four siblings, their partners, mom and dad, and one grand baby were bedding down in one cabin, and the oldest brother and his wife were parked next to the cabin in their posh RV. Luxury and intense family togetherness!

The cabin had a beautiful covered porch where we set up a string of metal tables so everyone could sit down to dinner.  After dinner the whole crew played a raucous game of cards and everyone finally packed it in when the growing mosquito population threatened exsanguination. Snoozing in the RV meant that we needed to plug it in somewhere, but the cabin windows were fixed and the cabin had no external plugs so there was no way we could snake an extension cord safely through a window. So the cord had to come through the main cabin door...leaving it ajar.  Somehow my husband and I were appointed to sleep on the floor up against the door, so we could hold it shut against all invaders, including garbage-hunting bears.

The real guy was cuter.

The night was long and the floor was hard. Every rustle and snore woke us up, so it's no wonder we were awake at 3 a.m. when a rustling noise came from a grocery bag on the floor.  As our flashlight found the bag, over the edge popped up the cutest little pale gray mouse with huge pink round ears and twitching white whiskers...Mickey had nothing on this guy. 

Unfortunately, the discovery that a mouse had been raiding the baby's cereal enraged the new, first-child mom and everyone was up for at least 30 minutes discussing what to do with the rest of the food.  Mickey Jr. got away scot free, thank goodness, but the rest of us took forever to settle down.

 Sometime around dawn, after two hours of never quite falling asleep, the two of us door guardians heard heavy footsteps thudding up the stairs and onto the front porch.  The adrenaline rush accelerated when we heard a rasping sound as something moved around the metal tables, just on the other side of the not-even-closed doors. Something big was licking the tables for leftover crumbs.

My husband jumped up (in naught but his underwear), wielding his flashlight, ready to take on the invader...was it a bear foraging for food, just outside the door, less than a yard away? 

 "What are you doing?" I squeaked, wondering how the hell opening the door was a good idea.

He clearly wasn't listening though. Fixated on the threat, he threw open the door before I could even get out of my sleeping bag, so we were both front and center when a huge head loomed out of the pale morning light and, backlit, filled up the doorway.

My husband inserted himself right up to the door frame, bravely blocking the killer bear and hissed, "Shoo!"

 Shoo?  Shoo?!?

It was one of the resort's burros; they had freed themselves from their overnight shelter and gone foraging for food amidst the cabins.


Refilling the Well ~ Lexa Fisher

Photo by Frederick Tubiermont on Unsplash

Creatives often feel negligent if they aren’t generating new ideas constantly, but there are times when the creative well needs to be refilled. 
On my staycation last month, I indulged in activities that took me away from my normal routine, though I still made sure I got in my daily writing time. 

Abandoned railroad track 
As I put the staycation days to good use, my first stop was visiting the actual town and surrounding area that my next story is based on. A hike along an old mining trail showed how rough life was back in the early 1900s. This old railroad track was abandoned shortly after it was built because winter snows repeatedly washed it out.

The heroine in my next story will be using a metal detector to uncover history. My love of tangible history led me to this hobby and it seems my husband was equally as intrigued when much to my delight he bought a metal detector. We visited and detected on beaches and parks I had never been to. 

Before we went in search of treasure, we found great pleasure in a new YouTube channel on metal detecting. As with any hobby, there is a lot to learn. We invested in a quality detector that will serve us for years. Lesson one: metal detectors are LOUD, so I was glad we purchased a model with wireless headphones.

There is quite an acquired skill to metal detecting with the many beeps and tones that one hears. Different pitches cue you into what type of metal you may be hovering over. One spot we dug had two coins nestled together, known as a "spill".

We also found a disturbing number of rusted nails on beaches, likely from burning wooden pallets for bonfires. It's hard to think of going barefoot along a beach again.

Over our week off we developed blisters from digging into cement-like, arid soil to uncover coins, cheap jewelry, but mostly beer bottle tops. 


It's said, write what you know, and now I know a lot more about metal detecting. Swinging the three-pound metal detector over the ground got tiring on my shoulder in about half an hour, so I gave my heroine a job that will give her better upper body strength.

The total find for our staycation week? $1.28 in change, lots of time together exploring in the fresh air, and plenty of story ideas sparked by expanded new experiences

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Meet our Members

Author Jacquolyn McMurray

When she’s not writing, Jackie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, sewing, and solving crossword puzzles.  In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher.

To view Jacquolyn's blog posts or listen to interviews, please click HERE

Being Independent ~ by Bruno Skibbild

Forgive me for my spelling and grammar. English is not my first language reading is fine, talking better - and singing in English is almost ...