Learning Digital Photography Skill

Little Girl in a pretty dress

Recently I took a class at SNHU on digital photography. I learned a lot about photography, including how to operate a camera and customize all of the controls. In my sixth week, I took a pleathera of black and white pictures, which I find striking and powerful. I wanted to share a couple of those here.

Happy Little Girl

I will add more in the future. I think I’m going to keep taking pictures. I have fallen in love with capturing true human emotions and moments that seem mundane.

My first FICTION publication is live!

It’s official! My first short story “Down the Country Road” has been published!

You can read it here: https://penmenreview.com/down-the-country-road/

I’ve been waiting for this for over a month now. I was informed it would be published in early March, and have been patiently (impatiently) waiting for the story to go live before sharing the news here, just in case they changed their minds.

I hope you all have a lovely day! Mine will be fantastic after this!

My First Nonfiction Publication is Live!

My first creative non-fiction collaboration has been published! My team won the W.R.I.T.E. Challenge this year!

You can read the article at: https://penmenreview.com/writing-resources/6-dos-and-donts-for-starting-a-new-writing-career/

I am super proud of my group for pulling this article off! Due to COVID-19 complications, my involvement was more limited than I intended, however I did pick out the author and conduct the interview portion. For the author interview, I chose Adrienne Kisner, whom I first encountered as an instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. If you want to learn more about her, you can access her website here http://www.adriennekisner.com/.

I’m so excited to finally have a publication under my belt. It’s twice as exciting since the Penmen Review will be publishing one of my short stories in a couple of days. I will write more on that on Thursday! I’ve known for a month, but waited to share until I got an official publication date!

Fading Away

I feel like I’m fading away

Life cannot make me stay

In my final hours

I’ve lost all my power

Its ten seconds to midnight

Something just doesn’t feel right.

My hands on an invisible trigger

Fear couldn’t get any bigger. 

I sense the end is near for me

The fate that awaits, I long to flee.

Terrified of what’s to come, 

I cannot be the only one. 

Am I alone in this delusion

Fueled by my seclusion?

Cathy Marie Bown

*Author’s note: COVID-19 recovery has taken a toll on my mental health. I don’t know how others have handled being sick and brain fogged. I can’t see myself finishing things I started before I got sick. It feels, to me, like this is the end of a long journey I didn’t ask to take. I desperately hope that the fog lifts eventually and I can resume my life as it was before. I weep at the idea the fog could be permanent.


Well, it’s official. My husband and our 16-month-old granddaughter have tested positive for COVID-19. My test results haven’t come back yet.

We knew we were sick, but I honestly didn’t think it was “that sick” until my husband completely lost his sense of taste and smell.

The baby, who is autistic and non-verbal at this time, has been miserable for several days. She sleeps a lot or doesn’t sleep at all. She wants to snuggle constantly or doesn’t want to be touched at all. It can be very frustrating. And now, because of the illness, I can’t even send her to a relative for a brief respite.

As for my husband, he’s high risk and avoiding him getting sick is the reason we have been so careful all year. He’s been very sick for a few days, and seems to be getting better. I am hoping he doesn’t get worse, but the honest truth is we have to be worried.

I have been dizzy and nauseous. I thought it was side effects from medication changes, but now I’m not so sure. My doctor put me on new meds for depression and anxiety but it’s hard to tell if they are working.

Being sick makes it impossible to complete college assignments. I’m trying to focus but it’s nearly impossible.

I’ll write again to update our Coronavirus journey in a few days as a record for myself.

Cathy Bown


It isn’t weak to ask for help,

It isn’t weak to run away.

It isn’t weak to know you failed,

It isn’t weak to hate today.

It isn’t weak to relapse.

It isn’t weak to give in.

It isn’t weak to not say no,

It isn’t weak to sin.

It’s only weak to give up,

To never try again

To leave something that kills you,

Will never be the end.

Second Chance Progress Check-In

Good morning and Happy New Year!

It’s 2021 now, and things aren’t looking any better than last year. As such, I’ve decided to just focus on college, writing, and family. The world is chaos and I don’t like it. I lost my job, so I have some free time. Time to write. New medications are making my depression more tolerable, so I can see through the fog, for now.

“Second Chance” is doing well. I’ve just finished writing chapter seven. I am currently averaging between 500-1500 words a day, depending on the temperament of my children and granddaughter each day.

I’m eager to finish the story. I’m finding the hardest part of writing is putting my characters through difficult situations. This work features LGBTQ themes and violence, so it is difficult to write sometimes. There are echoes of my own life hidden in the stories of the characters, and that also makes it hard some days to make progress.

But, such is the life of a writer. I’m documenting it here, despite the small audience, mostly for my own records. I want my children to read this some day and understand that I struggled with this process, but I did not quit. I will finish this novel. My current goal is to finish my March 31st. I’m playing with several software platforms to find the best one for writing a novel.

The image for this post is a preliminary book cover design I created with Adobe. Creating it, I learned just how bad I am at cover design. I’m going to have to find someone to help me because I’m absolute rubbish at it!

Time to get back to the writing grind! Feel free to leave me comments, suggestions, or thoughts. I appreciate all the support I get from knowing a dozen or so people regularly read my posts and enjoy them. You keep me posting!


P.S. I Love You – A Poem

Going through the pictures

Of what used to be,

I stumbled on the feelings

Of what I used to see.

I hid what I couldnt say,

Afraid of what I’d hear.

Now I’m filled with regrets

That I could have held you near.

I don’t think you’d remember

We almost had something there,

Long forgotten over time,

We’d have made quite a pair.

I wrote you a long letter,

Revealing all my deepest thoughts

But I couldn’t send it,

Fear of rejection leaving me frought.

The only thing I can say,

Though it’s nothing new,

I ended it by writing,

P.S. I love you.

Untitled Poetry

Everytime I see you

I see so much more.

I get these feelings deep inside

Urging me to explore.

I keep my feelings hidden

So no one else will know.

I’m not supposed to love you

So I can’t let it show.

Yet Everytime I start to think

My thoughts drift to your face.

I can’t even think clearly

I feel like I’m lost in space.

The butterflies won’t go away

I’m so in love with you.

Someday I hope your heart

Will say you love me too.

By Cathy Welton (Bown)

August 1, 2003

This is an older poem from my young adult days. I hope you guys like it.

Happy Holidays!

I’m currently on a two-week winter break from college. It’s a much needed break. As last term ended, I was refreshing my brightspace classroom often, watching for final scores to be posted. My 4.0 GPA hanging precariously in the air. When the dust of the term settled, my GPA still sits at 4.0. I’m eternally grateful for amazing scores on my final projects.

You see, I’m overly critical of my own work, to a fault. I can make sure all of the required elements are in the paper, and then some, but it still never seems good enough to me.

It’s this behavior that prevents me from making swift progress on my novel projects. I’m currently writing a thousand words a day for the romance project, “Second Chance.” At the current pace, the novel might actually be done by Valentine’s Day, though it is centered around Christmas.

I want so desperately to publish my first novel and get over that massive hurdle. But I am terrified that it won’t be very good. Severe anxiety keeps me from realizing my dreams, I know that. To date, I can push those worries aside by saying the story isn’t ready yet. Someday, though, the story will have to be ready. What excuse will I give then to keep from publishing? Thanks to my courses at SNHU, I know what my publishing options are and how to achieve that dream. I may still sabatoge myself, as humans do, because I am afraid of success and failure. My stories are my babies, and I’m quite afraid the world won’t love them as much as I do.

Well, now that I have rambled on about my problems, I hope you are all enjoying your holiday breaks. Stay safe out there and stay connected in whatever way you can. Whether COVID is keeping you home or you are out about with your friends, respect those around you and the choices they have made. In the crazy world we are living in today, if we can’t respect each other, how can we possibly respect ourselves?



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