I’m Dreaming Of…

Blue Bear and Snow Toad illustration

Blue Bear and Snow Toad illustrationWho says dreams don’t come true?

Over a decade ago, I wrote “Blue Bear and Snow Toad,” a short story about a young bear and toad who resist hibernating so they can experience the sights and sounds of winter. Like every child, they just want to stay up a bit longer, just in case they miss out on something exciting.

The story saw publication in a children’s literary magazine (Confetti Magazine), accompanied by illustrations from my dear friend, Judith Laning.  While thrilled to see it in print, the magazine had a small readership and magazines, of course, have short shelf lives.

Blue Bear and Snow Toad illustrationI tweaked the story over the years, dreaming of it becoming a children’s picture book. Now, that vision is on the verge of becoming reality. I’ve paired up with an illustrator who brings the words to life with his charming, playful art.

The artist brings a long list of publishing credits to the table, and you can see why. His illustrations are beautiful, and many make me laugh.

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Spring, Horror, and Puppy Dog Tales

Spring is on my mind. Yesterday, while cycling, I heard frog song and saw newborn long-lashed calves and a waddling squadron of goslings. A Facebook friend reported sightings of tulips pushing up through the ground. Today, the clocks sprung forward, although early morning light already brightens the bedroom, luring me from my comfy cocoon.

So inspired, I recently wrote a short story about spring. A pond frog goes ashore to experience spring on land. “Pond Frog & Robin,” a picture book story (ages 4-8), is written in the vein of “Blue Bear & Snow Toad” but without the rhyme.

I have notes for summer and autumn versions too. But, now, with frog song in my head, a celebration of spring is due.

Here’s an excerpt:

The pond ice melted, and the sun warmed the water again. Soon, fish ripples circled across the top.

In the reeds, from little jelly eggs, fat black tadpoles emerged. They grew and grew, and their tails shrunk. Four legs appeared. Then their skin turned a shade of green, and bulbous eyes popped out on their heads.

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While I’d love to present myself as a children’s writer, I dabble in other genres too.

Would you believe horror? Oddly, I don’t like being scared. “Jaws” disturbed me for years, and I freaked watching “The Village, ” throwing the bucket of popcorn into the air. But, that’s the movies.

I find the literary genre compelling for exploring the abstracts of good and evil and the many grays in between. Supernatural characters just take it to another level, but beware: monsters can also be humane and, inversely, humans can be monstrous.

(And you thought I just liked froggies and daffodils.)

Anyhow, in this genre, I have a flash fiction piece coming out next week (March 20) in The Crimson Pact. This anthology features 26 stories, including one from fantasy superstar, Larry Correia, a NY Times bestselling author. A wonderful selection of interesting, well-told stories, ultimately united by the over-arching idea that demons have been unleashed upon the universe.

My flash, “Inside Monastic Walls,” is set in Greece at one of the monasteries atop the otherworldly Meteora.  It’s a showdown when a demon arrives on the scene. I won’t tell you who wins.

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Just to mix it up, I have a couple more recent pieces intended for a general audience. The June 2011 issue of “Dog Fancy” will feature a narrative about hiking with my dogs, complete with one of my photos. A follow-up article on dog hiking supplies has an ETA of sometime this fall.

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I’d love to tell you about the novel and hiking guide in progress, but spring is calling me. Clear, blue skies. Budding aspens. Cabin-feverish dogs.  A lonely bike hanging from a rafter.

I’m getting my butt out of this chair.