Guest Blog Post: A Self-Publishing Story by M. A. Lossl

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

When fellow blogger M. A. Lossl said she just self-published yet another book, I asked her to tell us all how the process went for her. Here’s her post on it, plus some info on bee counting…

M.A. Lossl


June has been UK’s national bee count month. You download an app, take pictures of bees (challenging!). Then upload the bee picture, with the number of bees of that type, you saw.

The fly in the ointment

Well, I managed a couple of days of blissful bee spotting. But, I had to self-publish my paperback.

The publishing train as requested by DA-AL

Back in March, I completed the easy task of  uploading my manuscript to Amazon KDP. I then proofed and published the eBook version of Betweenwhiles; A family between two wars – a true story of rebellion against Nasizm. I decided to release the illustrated version, in paperback.

This decision was informed by reaction to my first illustrated book. Mizpah Cousins: Love, life and perilous predicaments duirng the Great War Era, received great feedback. But, the pictures could sometimes be hard to view, on…

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Guest Blog Post: Reconnecting via Photography by Richard Keys

Puffin (Bempton)
Photo courtesy by Richard Keys of

Fellow blogger Richard’s photos are stunning! Here he describes his process and how photography can heal…

Dandelion: Photos courtesy by Richard Keys of

Hey, I’m Richard, and my blog is To be honest, I’m surprised that my blog is followed by others, I’m just a guy with mental health problems, which photography helps me to cope with. Initially, it got me going outside when I was too scared to do so. Basically, I’m a middle-aged guy, trying to grow up and find a way to live in this confusing world.

Close up of a fly courtesy by Richard Keys of

Although I am a student photographer and use photography to explore social issues, such as inequality, mental health, and diversity (and more), I also thoroughly enjoy photography. Macro photography and photographing birds are my joy and my peace, especially when I am having a day of intense anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia.

When photographing birds, flowers, bees, and bugs, I have to slow down. I mean really slow down. I’m not here to take a quick photo and walk on. I want to make a great photo and that means searching. Seeking out the best angle, ensuring that the background doesn’t distract from the subject, checking the focus, and making sure the exposure is correct. When it comes to bugs, bees, and butterflies, I have to slow down even further, firstly to spot them and then to ensure great focus by getting close without scaring them off.

Having a mental illness brings challenges with living, over-thinking, analyzing, being busy because I’m scared of my feelings, and being suspicious and paranoid about people. At first, I was scared of slowing down because I thought these difficulties would overwhelm me, but the opposite is true.

Slowing down is vital for my mental health, it refreshes me, recharges me, helps me to stop running from my emotions and thoughts, and allows whatever is there to be allowed to be, as it is. The process of connecting with nature means that I reconnect with myself, and all is surprisingly well.

Richard Keys

I Bee Grateful by da-AL

161029bees3For weeks, I’ve been meaning to post these photos. This blog covers stuff that interests me, plus what makes me happy.

I’m happy that bees like my home.

Some bees pollinating flowers.Bees the world over are struggling. I bee-seech you to bee kind to them.

Here in the U.S., seven species are on the endangered list, many others critically threatened as well. They do so very much for everyone, not just those of us who enjoy honey — they’re integral to the web of life yet their populations are rapidly diminishing.

Bees pollinating a bunch of flowers.With all this in mind, what a delight it was when I snapped these. It was a bright morning, right after my Saturday yoga. The outdoor perimeter of my home beckoned me in with aromas of the brunch my mom and husband were arranging: Persian toast, husband-made fig and kumquat jams, real butter, salty crumbly feta, lush green herbs, free-range eggs, and bergamot/green/saffron/cardamom tea.

As I reached to unlock the front door, “bzzz… bzzz… bzzz,” make me turn my head. Twenty bees, maybe more, hovered about the flame-colored blossoms that line my porch!

This U.S. Thanksgiving Day as on all days, I’m thankful for you, dear reader.

I’m thankful for my upright and furry loved ones — all safe, sound of body and mind.

I’m grateful for our beautiful world. For waking each day to life, that can be as tear-jerking awful as it can be watery-eyed amazing.

I’m grateful for bees, modeling how to live with discovery and purpose, flower by flower.

A fun video from a local Iranian-American father-daughter bee-keeping team

The Huffington Post offers ways to help bees plus a video. For a start, tell your friends to swear off pesticides, be bee friendly, and vote pro-bee.

The Guardian explains their plight in depth.