First Photography Award on Photocrowd

Recently I told you guys I had really gotten into photography and was entering contests on a site called Photocrowd. Yesterday I found out that I had won my first award on the site! It isn’t a major award, but I won a crowd favorite award for being in the top half of the crowd choice for a contest about “The Abstract Universe”. Here is the photo that won the award:

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The photography talent on Photocrowd is amazing (many are professionals), so I am honored to even compete with them and come close to the top of any contest!

My Drawing Won Honorable Mention!

I received notice today that my drawing “A Soft Place to Land” won honorable mention in the Disability Legal Rights Center Art Contest, run in conjunction with the Art of Autism website. Here is the drawing that placed:

Maranda Russell, A Soft Place to Land

I enjoy entering contests like these and am always honored when I actually win or place in any way. Receiving this news today was a welcome happy moment in a week that has been pretty hard overall.

Life Update: MRSA, Cleveland Vacation, Freelance Writing, and Book Awards!

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Me at the USS Cod Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

As June 2016 draws to a close, I thought I would do a quick life update. Things have been kind of crazy lately between health problems, summer vacations, book releases, editing and freelance writing, vlogging, etc. So here are a few highlights (or low points) of my recent days:

*We went on an actual vacation for the first time in a few years! We went up to Cleveland, Ohio and went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the USS Cod Submarine Museum, the Cleveland Zoo, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and Lake Erie. I found some awesome driftwood while walking along the beach, drooled over the Michael Jackson and Nirvana memorabilia at the Hall of Fame, rode a camel, and ate way too much junk food!

*My hubby is fighting off another MRSA infection, which makes me afraid we are both going to be passing it back and forth again. Even with all the bleaching and cleaning we do, that stuff is hard to keep from spreading!

*I am proud of the fact that my career in freelance writing and editing continues to expand, with many repeat customers and brand new clients! My favorite projects are those that align well with my natural interests (specifically children’s writing and poetry), but even some of the more technical jobs have been more fun than I expected! These jobs allow me to continue to do what I love to do and work at home!

*My YouTube vlog, Maranda’s Toys & Books, continues to grow! I have been pleasantly surprised to find out I’m not the only nerdy adult who still loves collecting dolls, ponies, action figures, and other things from her childhood! I am even getting some free toys and books to review on my channel which is pretty darn awesome!

*My new middle grade children’s book, “Creepy, Funny & Just Plain Weird: Stories and poems for kids“, has already been nominated for a children’s book award! Fingers crossed that I win! If you haven’t read it yet, please give it a try!

I am an award-winning author!!! Yay! Woo-hoo!

I got some very exciting but unexpected news recently! The first children’s ebook I ever published, “In Memory of Dad”, published a little over a year ago has been named a finalist for the Literary Classics International Book Awards! Although the award levels and categories won’t be announced until October 15th, I do know that my book placed in at least one of the categories!

What made this a real surprise is that I don’t remember entering my book in this competition, so I assume someone else did for me! Whoever did, I want to say I am most grateful and thrilled! For those of you who haven’t read “In Memory of Dad”, please consider doing so! This ebook is a short story about a girl dealing with the loss of her father. It is a positive story about grief, loss, friendship, healing and being able to move on after a tragedy. The suggested age range for this ebook is 8-12, but even adults have found it moving. You can read “In Memory of Dad” on the Kindle for only $0.99!