In honor of the day…

It seems every country has its bizarre nonsensical traditions, but we here in America don’t get to point and laugh, not only because that’s rude, but because we take meteorological reporting from a large rodent hauled out of a hole by some guy in a top hat.

In honor of the utter weirdness of that, here’s a take on what it would be like to be the groundhog in an anthropomorphic world. (If the poem looks familiar, it’s because I posted it here before a few years ago, and it’s also appeared in the now-defunct magazine Allasso, but I figured my newer followers may have missed it, and it’s timely. So here you go.)

 

February 1: Groundhog Goes to the FoodMart

Mrs. Fox, pushing her cart
in her best Sunday dress, string of pearls
at her red throat, reminds him
of the tenderness of spring chickens,
gives him a smile, white and sharp.

The Rabbit family crowds the cereal aisle.
As he chooses a plain cylinder of oatmeal,
Mother Rabbit says hello, steers the small talk
toward the petunias she’s planning
to brighten up the burrow,
the rows of cabbages and carrots
Father’s mapping out for the field.
The kits tug on Groundhog’s overalls, eyes bright,
whispering to him, one more snow,
one more afternoon of sledding, one more fort,
one more snowbunny with mittens for ears.

Sleepy-eyed Bear shuffles in, only nods
when anyone speaks, gets in line
with a quart of milk and a canned ham.
His bleary gaze meets Groundhog’s,
and he adds a can of coffee, economy size.

Groundhog waits in line, stares at the tabloids
while the chattering squirrel cracks gum
and rings up the shoppers ahead.
He feels their eyes on him, all watching as if
he could melt the gray slush outside with a glance,
could give them warmth and new life on a whim.
Even in this harsh fluorescent light,
he will not look at his feet.

 

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Christmas in July sale!

WishingSince Christmas is far too magical to celebrate just once a year, I’m having a Christmas in July sale with my ebook Wishing Season: Holiday Tales of Whimsy and Wonder.

For the month of July only, you can get Wishing Season at Smashwords for just 99 cents (75% off the original price) using the coupon code ZW63S. This is the only time I’ll be putting Wishing Season on a special sale, so if you missed getting a copy back in December, now’s the time. 🙂

Wishing Season is a collection of 7 holiday-themed short stories:

“The Gingerbread Reindeer” – When Santa finds himself one reindeer short for the Christmas run, the frost-elf Boreas enchants a replacement. But there’s more than elf-magic being worked, and when an ancient foe threatens them all, the gingerbread reindeer finds he’s made of more than just flour and sugar.

“Special Delivery” – It’s Christmas Eve, and Phillip Cottington–a.k.a. the Easter Bunny–is already planning for spring. But when a letter intended for Santa gets delivered to him instead, Phillip has to make sure it gets through in time.

“Holly’s Jolly Christmas” – All the young reindeer Holly dreams of is to be part of Santa’s team, but no one will give her the chance–until a child’s letter starts her on a path that will take her places she never imagined.

“An Older World” – Jakob the toymaker lives in a world of grief, until a special toy gives him a chance at a new life.

“The First Winter” – A mother bear tells her cubs the story of how First Bear defeated Death. (New to this collection, and I really love how it turned out.)

“Nativity” – An orphaned girl finds an unusual place to belong.

“Santa’s Summer Vacation” – By order of Mrs. Claus, Santa and his head elf Fussbudget travel to the magical island of Serendipity to relax on the beach. But Maelstrom, evil King of the Eighth Sea, has other plans for Santa. (Exclusive to this collection!)

Get your copy for 75% off using the coupon code ZW63S here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/499463

Just click the “Buy” button and enter the coupon code to get the special price. After purchase, you can download the book in any format you like — Smashwords offers all major electronic formats, including mobi (Kindle), epub, and PDF. And if you like what you read (or, hey, even if you don’t), I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a quick review on Smashwords, Amazon, or Goodreads and tell potential readers what you thought of the book.

(And one last thing — I’ve just started up a mailing list, so if you want to be the first to hear about sales like these, new releases, and other news, plus get exclusive bonus fiction, sales, giveaways, and whatever else I think up to send out, you can sign up here.)

 

Now available: “Wishing Season: Holiday Tales of Whimsy and Wonder”

WishingAs Frosty would put it, “Happy birthday!” My newest ebook Wishing Season: Holiday Tales of Whimsy and Wonder is now available at Amazon and Smashwords (coming soon to B&N, iBooks, and other online retailers via Smashwords).

Wishing Season is a collection of seven short stories with a holiday theme, including two that have never before been published — the fable “The First Winter” and the tale of “Santa’s Summer Vacation” (hint: it doesn’t go as planned). It’s about 26K words — or about 88 pages, according to whatever sorcery Amazon uses to figure that — and will run you about the same cost as your peppermint mocha.* **

“The Gingerbread Reindeer” – When Santa finds himself one reindeer short for the Christmas run, the frost-elf Boreas enchants a replacement. But there’s more than elf-magic being worked, and when an ancient foe threatens them all, the gingerbread reindeer finds he’s made of more than just flour and sugar.

“Special Delivery” – It’s Christmas Eve, and Phillip Cottington–a.k.a. the Easter Bunny–is already planning for spring. But when a letter intended for Santa gets delivered to him instead, Phillip has to make sure it gets through in time.

“Holly’s Jolly Christmas” – All the young reindeer Holly dreams of is to be part of Santa’s team, but no one will give her the chance–until a child’s letter starts her on a path that will take her places she never imagined.

“An Older World” – Jakob the toymaker lives in a world of grief, until a special toy gives him a chance at a new life.

“The First Winter” – A mother bear tells her cubs the story of how First Bear defeated Death.

“Nativity” – An orphaned girl finds an unusual place to belong.

“Santa’s Summer Vacation” – By order of Mrs. Claus, Santa and his head elf Fussbudget travel to the magical island of Serendipity to relax on the beach. But Maelstrom, evil King of the Eighth Sea, has other plans for Santa.

Buy Wishing Season at Amazon (Kindle format, of course)
Buy Wishing Season at Smashwords (all ebook formats)

 

*I don’t know why specialty coffee is the standard cost comparison, much in the way a Big Mac is the standard unit of measurement for how bad some particular food is for you. I’m just a writer; I don’t make the rules.
** (Homer Simpson voice) Mmm, peppermint mocha…

 

Coming soon: “Wishing Season”

WishingI’m getting together a new short story collection for the holiday season, available soon as an ebook from Amazon and Smashwords! Wishing Season: Holiday Tales of Whimsy and Wonder will feature several previously published stories, including “The Gingerbread Reindeer” (first published in audio form in the Anthro Dreams podcast), “Nativity” (runner-up in one of Women on Writing‘s flash fiction contests), and more, as well as two brand-new stories — the fable of “The First Winter” and the tale of “Santa’s Summer Vacation.” Various real-life issues have delayed it a bit, but (fingers crossed and Christmas wishes) I’m hoping to have it all ready for release by next weekend. Watch this space!

Video: “Let it Snow” (the Star Trek: TNG version)

To say that I was deeply into Star Trek: The Next Generation during the last two years of high school would be an incredible understatement. As soon as I was introduced to it by a friend (who helpfully explained all the characters and the important parts of their backstories so I wouldn’t be lost), I threw myself into it, and everything that went with it — books, merchandise, Starfleet uniform… yeah. Everything.

Thankfully, I had friends then who were into it, too, since I grew up in a fairly isolated area, didn’t have the Internet then, and wasn’t able to go to cons outside of a small local one (which has since moved and is still going). We were a creative group, running around with camcorders, writing scripts and stories and fanfics, immersing ourselves in science fiction and fantasy and anything else that caught our attention — imagining our way out of a small town where finally getting a Taco Bell and a Blockbuster was a major event.

I often wonder what it would have been like for us if we’d had access to the Internet of today, to YouTube, to relatively inexpensive technology for filming and editing and making fan videos and such.

I like to think we might have made something like this. 🙂

Take it away, Captain Picard…

(Video by James Covenant.)

 

Video: The Bear and the Hare

First, if you’re one of those people who can’t stand having to watch/hear/see Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving… I apologize. 🙂 But I think this UK retailer’s holiday commercial is worth enjoying early. And often.

Sometimes the best storytelling comes in the most simple packages…

(And if you want to get the interactive book for your iPad, or the song on iTunes, or stuffed animals of the characters, or all sorts of other things, check out the Bear & the Hare page on the John Lewis website.)