Flower Power #2

I love lots of colors in the yard.  This Portulaca is hanging near my front door.  The flowers only open during the day and and stand up towards the sun.  They close up at night and droop down.

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This hibiscus bush has pretty purple flowers.  I put it in two years ago and it is starting to get a little out of hand.  I probably need to trim it this coming fall.

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ConCarolinas

I attended ConCarolinas yesterday with my daughter.  It has become somewhat of a tradition for us to attend cons.  We shoot for the smaller local cons because they are typically more intimate than some of the bigger ones.  We started years ago with MarsCon out of Williamsburg, VA; tried out RavenCon in Richmond, VA; StellarCon in Greensboro, NC; and now have zoned in on ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC.  Now that we live in Charlotte, ConCarolinas is definitely the most convenient to attend.

My daughter likes to cosplay at times and likes to talk to people at the convention, where I am the proverbial stick in the mud.  Yes, I’m the author.  Yes, I’m supposed to mingle, and meet other authors, and promote my books.  Yes, I suck at it.

I always make the rounds and talk to the authors hawking their wares.  I typically buy a handful of books from said authors, not the bookstores in the dealer room.  I hope they will do the same for me, in the future—next year.

I will be releasing the third book in my trilogy this winter (in time for Christmas), and next year will be the big marketing push to promote the series.  I plan to attend as many conventions as possible in 2018.  I’ll be the one sitting behind the table watching people walk by and hoping they’ll stop and talk.  I won’t lie—I’m a bit apprehensive about it, but excited at the same time.

Stop by and say hi.  It won’t matter if you buy a book, I’ll be happy to see you.

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Dogs Aren’t People

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I actually wrote the draft of this post about a week ago.  Here is what happened:

I was walking with my wife on the sidewalk.  A lady was approaching us from the opposite direction with her dog on a leash.  It was an older yellow lab.  As we approached, I moved over to the right (behind my wife) to give them space to pass.  The dog ignored my wife but stepped towards me as we passed and tried to bite me.  He got a hold of my shirt and snapped the belt loop off my jean shorts.  It happened so quickly, I had no time to react.

When this all registered in my brain, I heard the woman say to her dog, “That’s not nice,” as if she was talking to a child, and she kept walking.  She didn’t turn around or say anything to the guy her dog just tried to bite.

You can imagine, my original post had a different tone than this one.  Fortunately, I decided to sit on it for a week.  I had visions of doggy protesters waving signs in my front lawn, walking their dogs up and down my sidewalk, and pooping in my yard (Actually, with my single-digit readership it would probably be just some old dude with his chihuahua—sorry dad).  Can you imagine how embarrassed those dogs would be at their owners’ behavior?  That’s right, they wouldn’t be embarrassed because they are dogs, not people.

I guess I just don’t understand people why treat their dogs like children.  Maybe it’s because I have children, and have also owned dogs. Yes, I am a dog person, and I do believe they can be a part of your family.  Still, pet owners should understand that they are animals and not people.  They are responsible if their pet injures another person, or damages another’s property.  This means they are responsible to train their dog properly, not treat it like an errant child.

You don’t have to look hard to find headlines about dog attacks, even dogs that attack their owners.  It is not just pit bulls that attack people either.  Dogs of all breeds do it, like the yellow lab that wanted a piece of my shorts, and even the little chihuahua out protesting in my front yard.  The repercussions of a dog attack can be deadly.  As a pet owner, you owe it to not only your fellow humans to train your pet, but also to the pet itself.  It may be your pet’s life that you save through proper training.

I have no hard feeling towards the yellow lab, but I wouldn’t mind taking a bite out of the owner.  Of course, then she would demand that I be put down.

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An Early Christmas Present – For Me

My short story “Santa Doesn’t Work Here Anymorewill be coming your way this Christmas.  It will be appearing in the anthology Short and Twisted Christmas Tales sponsored by the North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop.

This story has been sitting in my pile waiting for the right venue.  It feels good to get it out there.    I understand the anthology will be released in November.

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Flower Power

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My wife received this White Amaryllis as a gift from Belks two years ago for buying her favorite perfume.  Well actually, I bought her the perfume for Christmas and got this flower as a gift.  It did well the first year, but didn’t bloom last year.  I guess the third year is the charm.  It probably helped that I actually gave it some fertilizer this year.

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Submission?

I just started submitting short stories again.  No excuses—I stopped sending stuff out to focus on my novels.  Okay, that was my official excuse, and I’m sticking with it.  Looking back, it wasn’t the best plan.  Be that as it may, it’s been a few years since I submitted stories.  I’m guessing I’m not alone in disliking the submission process.  Well, I used to really dislike it, but now it’s so much easier.  Everyone has gone to online submission forms.  I like it!

Still, Something about the word submission irks me.  What does it mean exactly?  I decided to see what old Merriam-Webster had to say, and because I’m rather simple, I opted for the kid’s definition:

1:  the act of putting forward something (as for consideration or comment)

2:  the condition of being humble or obedient

3:  the act of giving in to power or authority

I recognize that the first definition is appropriate for this discussion, but why does it feel like the other two seem to hit closer to the mark?  No matter how thick-skinned you are, or how well you handle rejection, it feels like you are submitting a piece of yourself along with your story.  Then you have to be humble when you receive said rejection, and obedient to the whims of the publisher.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it is a conspiracy.  Sending in your story is called a submission to put you in the right frame of mind.  Be prepared to submit to the authority of the publisher, all yea who enter here!  It can’t be a coincidence.

Anyway, I’ve sent out three submissions:  One was rejected within a day, one was accepted within a day, and the last is still out there.  Not bad odds.  Maybe I should have started submitting again sooner.

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Spring is Here!

Spring is in the air, and I love it.  We all have our reasons for loving spring:  Some are happy to see the end of winter, some like the flowers, and some like to get outside and go for walks.  This last one is my wife’s favorite.  She drags encourages me to walk with her to keep me young.  Yay walks!

I love spring for the gardening.  I love planting time, but what I don’t love is the bending over.  Since I started having lower back problems a couple of years ago, gardening has gotten harder.  All that shoveling and bending over is not so easy now, and I need to take more breaks than I want to admit.   This year I decided to make it easier (hopefully).

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I found this raised bed planter thing online as a kit, and installed it with the help of my able son.  So, he’s an engineer, but can actually handle tools.(I haven’t told him how rare he is yet.)  Next comes filling it up with soil (more shoveling), and planting my plants.  No more bending for me.

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