Do you miss summer already, too? (A ramble and a flash fiction piece)

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A small mantis watches me & vice versa.

Let’s see. In summary, my summer’s been about parenting, copywriting, parenting, parenting some more, mowing grass, seeing a few critters here and there, working at weeding, parenting again, a too-short vacation and time with my husband, and, (unfortunately) a car wreck (bright spot is that no one was injured beyond minor aches).

I hope your hot or dry or windy or wet season has been much more fruitful or at least enjoyable. How’d you spend it?

Here’s today’s vignette, followed by a flash fiction piece . . .

As tides of laughter and shrill screams cascade over LEGOs and reverberate off walls into my writing room (a.k.a., the couch; tomorrow, it might be the kitchen table), I realize, with some mush of sadness and trepidation, that yet another summer is ending.

But I’m ready. It was a busy season; not necessarily a creative writing-productive summer, although I did do a bit of copywriting for the dough.

In a few days, I hope to have a few fascinatin’ features and facts about my friends’ endeavors (like this one) the last few months, as I (I hope) fall into a more regular pattern of blogging about all things literary, spec-fic, ghosty, dystopian, horror-ific, and whatever fancy strikes me in the head that day. [Also, in short, I’ve missed reading & commenting on your blogs! What can I say; full-time, full-on summertime parenting takes precedence.]

Anyway, less rambling and more story-ilization, right? Here’s an odd little throw-away that I hope you’ll enjoy; coincidentally, it has both fire and fury in it (but was written months ago for a 100-word challenge I couldn’t cut enough for).

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Hot Fur

GENRE: Weird, futuristic, dystopian

By Leigh Ward-Smith

“As you know, we’re here to commemorate the crumbling of 21st century institutions. To a man, you each had a role in slaying the dragon that is—or should I say was?—the prevailing mentality.”

The crowd bellows a series of whoops and howls, but fidgety coughs, footshuffles, and unholstered AugReal guns give them away.

Rich, you’re losing ’em. Do something dramatic.

I pull out the cannister hidden behind the flag-strewn lectern. “You all know what this is!” I waggle the can to massive cheers.

“And this.” The realization of the clear tub’s contents spread like our accustomed rolling blackouts.

The chant went up: “Pour it, pour it!” From there, the spark was mere formality.

BLOG_anarchy bear by Gerry Lauzon

Image by Gerry Lauzon, Creative Commons license 4.0 (CC By 4.0).

“Gentlemen, witness the death rasp of the 21st century and all her attendant scum!”

As flames lick the air, I pull a fast-disintegrating specimen out with tongs. I shake a clump loose, and the pallid throng wriggle onto its fallen char.

“It’s Burn-a-Bear Workshop now, ain’t it, boys?!”

END

A Mostly Wordless Wildlife Wednesday

No matter what you call it, I hope you all are enjoying Summer Solstice (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, that is)!

While gardening a few days ago, I looked up and lo and behold . . . visitors . . .

Well hello there, raccoons

 

And then the four cubs saw me and proceeded to climb up this tree. I estimate them at about 3-5 pounds/each.

 

Raccoons in tree

 

Finally, I lured them down with half of my lunch (bread and pear-applesauce). It was quite fun for this animal-lover. I hope their mom was alright (foxes have been afoot lately).

 

Raccoons came down

Have a wonderful, not-hellaciously-hot summer!

 

My Very Short Holiday Story and Photos

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I don’t own Star Trek or the rights to this graphic; I just think it’s cool. But you can buy this T-shirt elsewhere online.

Life is unpredictable. (All the more reason to hold onto it and help others do the same.)

We’re currently waylaid by the unexpected: a sick child. Sadly, we will not make it to Grandma and Grandpa’s as soon as we’d originally planned.

However, if I’ve learned anything about parenting, it’s that you must be flexible. (That’s probably been the hardest lesson for this type-A personality.)

On a positive note, I hope you all are enjoying your holidays, if you celebrate. Here’s my early wish to you for a happy 2017 as well.

Now, the story . . . which isn’t here, but it was published:

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The first day of winter.

So, my story ran yesterday (21 Dec. 2016) on 50-Word Stories. My many thanks to Tim, who’s the force behind 50-Word Stories, for taking a chance on odd fiction, which I think my story “Trees” qualifies as. If you enjoy dark/horror flash fiction and appreciate a scary story, give it a like-click over here. And be sure to check out 50-Word Stories; every day they post two bursts of microfiction and are the go-to source for a smorgasbord of shorts (fiction, that is).

In the meantime, enjoy these winter-ish photographs.

Until we meet again. Soon.

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Can you spot all the critter footprints?

Flighty Friday with Photos

Howdy, folks. Back by popular demand, some more nature photos, of avians this time. And, Hugh (if you see this), the Eurasian Eagle owl, I think, is like Malfoy’s owl in the “Harry Potter” universe. Not Hedwig (a snowy owl) per se, but these are beautiful creatures, don’t you think? Laura Erickson’s “For the Birds” is a fabulous resource on the Harry Potter owls, among other avian topics.

Again, the raptors pictured here are rehabilitated (or born in ‘captivity’) birds that are used for education, with all the special permits and care required under U.S. law, by the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) in rural Missouri. If you’re nearby or passing through there, consider visiting them or supporting a bird rescue group near you. The Erickson Web site mentioned earlier contains links to owl- and bird-related charities in the U.S. and U.K., as well as ways to help owls. WBS’ owls (as well as other critters) are viewable on their Web site, where you can adopt your favorites.

Birds are among humans’ closest extant connection to dinosaurs, a branching tree that includes ancient species such as turtles and tortoises, sturgeon, certain clam, etc. My 2 cents’ is that we can do our part to help keep that lineage going. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Taproots and Some Haiku

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I missed last week’s photo challenge from Hugh, depicting ‘glorious,’ so I’ll leave this great horned owl photo here. Enjoy!*

Hi, everyone. Now that May (short story month) has concluded, I’m retiring.

I kid, I kid. To your chagrin! But to be nonfacetious, I’ve been fairly creative—wedging in writing time and, perhaps even more valuable, reading time—in the interim. Amid camps and classes and appointments (oh my), I’ve found a way to make it work. Somehow. I hope you all are doing the same in your creative and life endeavors, however they may mesh.

I’ve got a story debuting (details to come) online, on approximately June 18. That is exciting, and I’ll let you know more when the publisher okays it. It might not be to your taste or, contrarily, it might be just the panacea Dr. Dystopian ordered.

Anyway, in the meanwhile, some haiku I’ve worked on. A few do contain mature language, Continue reading

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 25 – Music

Here’s a hat tipped—a toast post or post toast, if you will—for the theme of music. Eureka, that’s one of my favorite subjects!

This post exists because of the weekly inspiration provided by Hugh at Hugh’s Views and News. Hugh recently took a turn as judge for the Eurovision song contest as well—on his blog, that is. He was ably assisted by his adorable pal Toby, a corgi.

Oh, and the photos are pretty rough. I don’t have any photo-editing software (that I’ve figured out yet, anyway) on this new computer. I hope you still like them.

Have a harmonious week!

 

 

 

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 23 – Season

Well, May is shaping up very nicely. And busily, especially in that my fledglings will be leaving the school-nest in a few weeks and flying home. Let’s hope they don’t peck each other to death. (Only kidding! Okay, partly.)

The lovely Hugh, via his able and charming stand-in host Ronovan, has a photo challenge once again that sparked my interest: Seasons, which I interpreted as Nature. You’re shocked, right? [In any case, I do encourage you to visit blogger & author Ronovan’s blog, right over here.]

Here are a few views of the season here in the Northern Hemisphere, North American style.  Oh, I’m told I should put a warning/caveat of sorts here. These photos will feature wiggly squiggly critters from outdoors.

There was one decent photo of a cute little toad(let), but I’m having a problem converting it from the phone. Besides, you’re saying “oh my glob, does she not know when to stop?” And so, I shall.

Hope you enjoy these nature photographs of the spring season.

Two blue eggs

Robin’s eggs. They should hatch soon.

Powerbox Nest & mom

Same nest, same avian ingenuity.

Baby grapes

Tiny grapes a’growin.

Introducing Charlotte

The kids call her Charlotte.

Sick tree

The fungus that looked like a flat rodent.

Balancing nest

Avian ingenuity, part 2.

Crow watches

Hey, human, you talkin’ to me?

Snake-front 2

Ssssstay away from me, lady!

Snake-above

Yesss, I’m colorful, but didn’t I tell you to get losssst already?

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 21 – “Fresh”

Hello, fellow Hugh-go-nauts! Hope I’m not too late for the weekly photo challenge.

Whereas Hugh rustled up a scrumptious and delightful photo of tropical fruit, here’s a different bit of freshness I’ve experienced of late.

A freshly laid (lain? egads, those are hard to remember!) duck egg. Yes, no matter how hard you try, they are never completely clean, when you retrieve them. This one was still warm.

And a luxurious duck-spa visit amid a fresh pool of water. This is what ducks love to do as soon as you fill or refill their pool with tasty, new, cool water.

Not much time to write this morning, but I hope to be back blogging some fiction and/or poetry this week. So stay tuned!fresh splash

 

Fresh Egg