A birthday toast for a master

Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.

Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury


I’m not certain when I first read Dandelion Wine, though it was probably about a decade or so ago, during the years when I had a fantastic used-book store to browse through and worked my way through a lot of Ray Bradbury’s books. Ever since, I’ve wondered idly what dandelion wine really tasted like, and while I was able to find dandelion jelly, of all things, I never ran across dandelion wine.

At last, this summer at a craft fair, we happened to stop by the booth of Kirkwood Winery, and there it was (along with elderberry, strawberry, pear — basically every fruit you could think of to make wine from, and a few vegetables thrown in too).

So tonight, in honor of what would have been Ray Bradbury’s 93rd birthday, we open the bottle of dandelion wine, and I drink to summers in a time I never knew, and all the worlds that never were, and the man who brought them all to us.

Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in.

I notice the Kirkwood Winery description says “ask your grandparents how this one tastes!” Some might be able to, and if so, you’re lucky. If not?

Ask Ray Bradbury. Because just as you can bottle a bit of summer to keep against the snows, you can keep a whole time, a whole world, a whole universe in a single story, safely preserved in words, all still sweet and tingling and true.

Bradbury often told the story of an encounter he had at age 12 with a magician called Mr. Electrico — who, during the course of his act, touched Bradbury on the head with an electrified sword and told him, “Live forever!” Whoever that Mr. Electrico was, he knew his stuff; it was both a command and a prediction.

Happy birthday, Mr. Bradbury. May you truly live forever.

“The Spirit of Pinetop Inn” in Andromeda Spaceways (and other news)

Andromeda Spaceways #58 coverJust got the new issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in the mail this past weekend (all the way from Australia, which means cool echidna stamps). Issue #58 includes my story “The Spirit of Pinetop Inn,” a lighthearted look at what happens when a young couple decides to hire a ghost to help drum up business for their bed and breakfast. Really enjoyed writing this one — I don’t often get to write a lot of humor in my usual fiction, and some of the dialogue during the ghosts’ job interviews was especially fun.

The full list of contributors can be found here:

And you can buy the issue in print, mobi (Kindle) format, epub, or PDF here:

I’m happy to say I also found a home recently for a short story called “The Claw in Her Heart,” which is my dark take on childhood portal fantasies (Narnia, etc.). “Claw” will be part of episode 1 of the brand-new magazine FictionVale when it comes out in mid-November — and thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, they’re going to be able to pay pro rates to the authors, which makes it even more exciting. To everyone to contributed to that Kickstarter, I (and my checking account) extend my heartfelt gratitude. 🙂

As far as the writing part of the process goes, I’ve been busy over the past several weeks on a novella I was invited to submit for an anthropomorphic-themed anthology that’s coming out in January. This makes for a September 1 deadline, so don’t expect to see much else here for a couple more weeks unless it’s just another quick announcement or the like.

Off to do my 2K word quota for today…